Friday, February 26, 2016

It's Not You It's Me.

Hey guys. So I have some good news and some bad news. First, the good news. My role and responsibilities at my daytime job have been expanded. I'm being afforded more autonomy, and more opportunities with this change. I'll be starting training immediately. However, the bad news is that this means that I will have to take a brief hiatus from the blog until my schedule clears out. I'll be staying up to date on the news, and you may see me on social media during this time. But never fear, I should be returning around E3 as my schedule clears out. I wish I could say more, but due to contractual reasons I cannot.

I am looking for any volunteers, that would like to guest post in my absence though. If you are interested, please fill out the contact form on the homepage, or hit me up on Twitter @BaicunnPress.

I really appreciate your support, and look forward to posting new content for you in June. Peace! I love you guys!

Chali Baicunn

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Breakdown: Smite Comes To PS4, Mortal Kombat Cabinet Easter Eggs, And More

Hello and welcome back to another episode 2 of The Breakdown. Just an FYI I've been working over Part 2 of my Pokemon GO series and Part 3 of the Nintendo series. I apologize for the wait on those, but I was not happy with the the initial work, and wanted to make sure that they were perfect for you guys. Sit back relax, and enjoy the ride.

In a quick bit of BaicunnPress news, BaicunnPress will be partnering with the RUM Gaming community to bring living streaming, let's plays, and community events. So stay tuned for future announcements.

In other gaming community news. Do you like MOBAs? Of course you do, the internet and eSports news outlets tell me that everyone loves MOBA's... But all joking aside, It appears that Smite is working to beating Paragon to the console market. As of today Beta keys are open to the public for Smite's Beta launch. Just go here to claim your prize.





And in other PS4 news, Sony just released the spotlight video for BroForce and Galak-Z as next month's PlayStation Plus Free games. Just check out the video below.



Up next in more PlayStation Beta news, in case you missed out on the Hitman Beta, never fear PlayStation Plus subscribers will get another opportunity to play. It was announced that the Beta will be open from March 4th through the 5th, with the title launching the next weekend on the 11th.



And just case you're wondering if today's posts are biased toward PlayStation, you're kinda right... Say Wat?! I can't help it, this was the news. Write your console manufacturers and game publishers and tell them to release more news. Or shoot me a tweet or message on Facebook with a bit of news, and it'll get covered.

And now into some more diverse news, YouTuber YourMKArcadeSource recently discovered that the classic Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3 arcade cabinets have a hidden menu that allows any player to access several easter eggs left by Ed Boon. Those easter eggs include what appears to be a thank you list, and Galaga clone. Just check out the video below.




And finally in Pokemon news, The Pokemon Company decided that it would be a wise idea to release Pokemon Photo Booth into the wild. As we all should know by now, you shouldn't give the internet nice things. Especially if those nice things have the ability to create fantastically offensive content. I recommend you visit the Apple App Store to grab a copy ASAP, and create your own inappropriate content. I foresee a future of several DMCA requests coming from the fine folks at Nintendo and The Pokemon Company in the future.

Well that's all for now folks! Thanks for stopping by again. As always, I love to get your feedback, please be sure to comment and share. If you feel I missed anything important, let me know and I will cover it. 

-Chali Baicunn

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Breakdown: Far Cry Primal Releases And The Reviews Are In, Del Toro And Kojima Share Their Bromance, And More

Hello beautiful people of the Internet!. It's Tuesday. So that means you survived Monday... YAY!, but it's only day 2. To take the sting out of the of the soul crushing suckery of the early business day of the week. The Midweek Breakdown has been coming to you every Wednesday, and due to popular demand, it'll be coming to you every day of the week as The Breakdown. So site back waste clock hour time, and enjoy! 

First up, Far Cry Primal released today, and the reviews are out. Across most outlets, Far Cry Primal is scoring at about 80 out of 100 (or 8 out of 10 for the math challenged). The biggest complaints abut the game is the inability to block and parry. A lack of compelling antagonists. As well as having so many side missions that you could fill out your skill trees and still have extras floating around on your map.



Last week at the DICE Summit, we got to see bromance Hideo Kojima and Gillermo Del Toro in full bloom. These two had a chance to do a sit down keynote and it was magic. Although the two speak different languages, it appears that their homies. During their talk, they highlighted the unifying force of media and story telling. I really suggest that you check it out, and a word to the wise, don't be surprised if we see these two working on a project together in the future.



And speaking of other creative works, The Walking Dead: Michone Episode 1 launches today on PC/MAC, PS4/PS3, and Xbox 360/Xbox One. If you some how don't have any of these or insist on playing on a mobile platform, check your market place apps on Thursday to pick it up on iOS and Android.





In other Walking Dead News, it has been reported that Robert Kirkman (story) and Charlie Adlard (art) are working on a 48 page back story for Nagan. No release date info available yet.

And while we're on the topic of things to spend your hard earned money on. Have you ever loved an eSports so much that you'd donate to the prize money. Well that's what happened when the Halo World Championships were announced. Initially Microsoft had offered a 1 million dollar prize for the winning team. However, the masses thought that it needed to be more. Through crowd sourcing the winning purse has been bumped up to 2.5 million dollars. Making the Halo World Championships the largest cash prize ever for an FPS championship. Check back later for more details. Currently the Championship is scheduled for March 18 through the 19th.

On topic with Microsoft news, Bill gates is not a a douche?... It was reported by the financial times on Monday that when speaking of Apple's battle with the FBI over breaking the encryption on iOS, Bill Gates was quoted as saying:

"It is no different than [the question of] should anybody ever have been able to tell the phone company to get information, should anybody be able to get at bank records,"

"Let's say the bank had tied a ribbon round the disk drive and said, ‘Don't make me cut this ribbon because you'll make me cut it many times.'"

As of yesterday Bill went back on the record to walk back his previous statements, saying that he "disappointed" by the reports that he supports breaking the encryption. He also made the following statement:

"I do believe that with the right safeguards, there are cases where the government, on our behalf — like stopping terrorism, which could get worse in the future — that that is valuable."

So maybe he isn't a complete douche canoe, but personally, I think Bill Gates is talking like a man with paper asshole, but I'll leave the judgement of this to you fine/ borderline anarchist people. 

That's all I have for today, stop back by later for more content. I really appreciate your support. Please share, and make sure to follow BaicunnPress, on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

-Chali Baicunn


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Midweek Breakdown - Apple Takes On The Man, R Rating For The New Wolverine, And More


Hello and welcome back to BaicunnPress. I hope that you fine people out there are having a fantastic Wednesday. As you know by now, it's that time of the week, where I bring you a list of nerd news that you need to know. My sincere hope is that this post be the bedazzled My Little Pony, in what would be the dark dungeon of your week. So without wasting anymore of your time, I hope you enjoy!

Well well well. Who would have thought, I'd live to see the day that Apple raises the middle finger to the US Federal Government, but that's exactly what we're seeing. In a letter to customers, Apple CEO, Tim Cook openly shoots down a U.S. government request to compromise the security of iOS. The full letter can be found here, but the TLDR is:

Apple is refusing a government order to create a specially crafted iOS version that would allow the FBI to compromise any iOS device. The request and subsequent order came, when Apple was approached by the FBI to assist with the investigation of the San Bernadino terrorism case. Now the FBI is intending to force Apple into building the back door under the All Writs Act of 1789, to which Apple is preparing for a legal battle. The crux of Apple refusal to comply is that once security is compromised once on a single device, the rest of the devices are susceptible, and they will not set that precedent.

This move personally gives me some warm fuzzies about Apple, but we'll see where this goes. But please do read the entire letter by Apple here.

On to some lighter gaming news. Do you like soccer games? Do you like car games? Would you like both combined? If you're like me then your answer is probably, "Why the fuck would you combine these two?". This would mean, that like me you've missed out on some serious fun. Rocket League just hit Xbox after launching on PS4 and PC last year. Developed on a $2 million budget, Rocket League has moved 11 million copies plus DLC for a combined total revenue of over $50 million. If you're on any platform, I recommend that you check it out combined price of the game, plus previous DLC will set you back about $20. And with the explosion of popularity, Rocket League devs; Psyonix has released the Rocket Labs playlist, which is being used as a test bed for future competitive play.

Fans have spoken and it appears that the next Wolverine movie will be R rated. The news hasn't been officially released in a press conference, but in an image posted on social media from a pamphlet handed out at Toy Fair 2016 by Fox. The pamphlet notes the release dates, director, cast, and expected rating of upcoming Fox movies. If you look at the pic posted out to the right, you'll see that expected rating is R. To be honest fans maybe should have expected this due to the success of recent rated R comic book movies, the likes of The King's Men and of course Valentine's Weekend Champ Deadpool.


Street Fighter V releases and is already broken. Within 24 hours of releasing Capcom has been flooded with complaints from PS4 and PC gamers regarding latest edition to the famous Capcom franchise. With complaints ranging from random crashes, to corrupted game files, The Street Fighter community is a little more than agree. Campcom devs have reported that they are working hard on resolving the issues. Here's to hoping that if you bought this game, you can return it, and didn't burn your hard earned money on the season pass DLC. 

Marvel Studios announced that they have begun production of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 with the teaser pic posted to the left. Slated to hit theaters on on May 5, 2017. Filming will take place at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios.


Just out yesterday, from the fine folks at Pokemon, the new Pokemon: XYZ trailer. The series is set to begin airing on Cartoon Network on Saturday, 2/20/16 at 7AM ET. The following first episode description was released along with the trailer:

"In the first episode of the new season, Bonnie makes an unusual new Pokémon friend, and Ash encounters a new group of villains: Team Flare. This is an episode you definitely won't want to miss!"



A few weeks ago in another Midweek Rundown, I had mentioned that a new TMNT game was coming. IGN just posted new gameplay footage from the perspective of Leonardo.



Activision describes the game in the following way in their official blog post:

"...The Heroes in a Half Shell are taking back the streets of New York, and they’re doing it with the kind of style that only PlatinumGames can deliver. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael combine their unique skillsets to take on Bebop, Rocksteady, Shredder, and a posse of other iconic bosses..."

"...For years, hardcore fans have been asking for a TMNT game that lets players team up for a little co-op action, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is exactly what they’ve been looking for.  And if online co-op isn’t your cup of tea, you can always complete the campaign individually and dynamically switch between Turtles in the heat of battle.
Long-time fans will undoubtedly recognize the art. The developers took a lot of inspiration from IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series, blending it with their own distinctive visuals and animation. And lets not forget about the combat. PlatinumGames’ mastery of fast-paced, silky smooth combat is on full display, but referring to this game as an “Action Brawler” doesn’t really do it justice..."

***UPDATE - POSTED 2/18/15***
And a quick bit more for you RTS and classic game lovers out there. Make War Not Love 3 Sale is out on Steam. With substantial discounts on Company of Heroes 2, Total War, and Warhammer 40K. And anyone who appreciates gaming should like the free prize SEGA is giving away to anyone in until 10AM PT on Saturday, 2/20. If you're interested, please click the link here

Thanks for stopping by again. Let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know. Make sure to share, and follow BaicunnPress on all of your favorite social networks. As always, I will see you later. 

-Chali Baicunn

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

TIE Fighter: An Animated Short That Should Be Canon!

Hello and welcome back to BaicunnPress.com. I hope Tuesday is finding you well. I'm finishing up my Nintendo and Pokemon series posts and get them out today or tomorrow. While you wait for those, I wanted to share the following short film with you. I recently discovered this, and it's simple too good to not get it out to you ASAP. 

Every once and awhile an animated short comes out that pushes the bounds of what you'd expect from YouTube channel. This fan made short did just that. This passion project approaches the Star Wars universe from the side of the Empire. Created by
Paul "OtaKing" Johnson over a 4 year period. Taking on the feel of classic 1980's anime. A stellar level of attention has been paid to detail. It's truly impressive; from TIE Fighter controls to battle formations. The soundtrack is on point, with an epic guitar rift that would make many a Gundam and Robotech fanboy blow their load.



Pretty amazing right? As of a week ago OtaKing posted the following comment on his YouTube channel in reference to TIE Fighter, and his future plans:

"Hello there!
Here's an update, since a lot of people have shown interest:
I haven't heard anything from the folks at Lucasfilm and I wouldn't want to do more without their blessing, so I can't really do any more TIE Fighter at the moment, sadly.
Honestly, even if people were paying me just enough to eat and pay the rent whilst I animated episodes, it would still be pretty dodgy as I'd technically be making money from someone else's property. So that's totally understandable. I have a good 4-episode story arc in my head though if the situation changes (or if I get so rich from other projects that I can just take a year's holiday to do nothing but TIE stuff!).
So here's my future plans...."


I don't know about you, but I feel that TIE fighter at the very least deserves it's own canonical history... WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE Disney and Lucas. But if they want greenlight an expantion, I'd support that too.

Never fear though my fine folks! OtaKing continued the above comment, with the following:


"...Right now at this exact moment, I'm animating a 3-4 minute R-Type space battle (remember R-Type? The 1987 arcade shooter?) for the Mashed channel here on Youtube. That'll be up in March/April, so don't worry. I'm not exactly starving to death or anything! Mashed are cool and are paying me in ham sandwiches and vitamin tablets.
I actually have one of those new-fangled Twitter things where I'm posting updates on that if you fancy a look:
twitter.com/OtaKing77077

I already have concepts and pre-production designs done on an original animated film which is my own IP; basically a "realistic" mech film (so no crazy special moves, anime tropes and whatnot). I guess you could call it "space Vietnam" or Generation Kill with mechs. This thing would be 45 mins to an hour and a half and kind of be my attempt at bringing back those beautifully-animated anime OVAs that we used to get in the 80s and 90s (Cyber City, Gunbuster, BIRTH, etc). If anyone's interested, I guess I could do a Patreon thing for that and stick it up on Youtube for free when it's done? But I understand that it's just some random thing by some random guy, and not Star Wars, so most people won't be especially excited about it (plus there have been a lot of Patreon/kickstarter scams so you have to be careful when people like myself start promising stuff!).
It's pretty nice to be doing my own thing though... all the blood and violence that I like with no censors to get past. And it's mechanised jungle combat so you need a bit of violence where appropriate. And lots and lots of cockpits, joysticks, HUD displays, actual tank-based tactics etc etc.
Anyway, I'll show off some of that when I have more done and you can see if you like the look of it. I'm currently trying to make the main cast as memorable as Predator or Aliens (yeah, good luck with that). If your characters are sitting in cockpits for most of the film, it needs a really good script (luckily I have an excellent writer on board to make my shitty lines actually decent) and top-tier voice acting (that'll come way later though).

But really, thanks for all the support and kind words/critiques. I need to improve so please do slag off anything that looks weird in any of my future stuff and call me out if I start developing an ego. I would never have guessed this thing would get over five million views and I'm glad you enjoyed it!"

Be sure to check out OtaKing's YouTube channel here, and following him on Twitter here. And for the love of the force, tweetbomb Disney and Lucasfilm (be sure to use #TIEFighter ) into granting OtaKing the creative rights to continuing TIE Fighter as a series. Thanks again for stopping by. Be sure to share, and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ at BaicunnPress. As always, I will see you later. 

-Chali Baicuann 
 

Holy Teaser Trailers Space Ghost!

Hey you beautiful bastards! Welcome to another day of work week drudgery. I apologize for being away for a few days. Deadpool on Friday with Mrs Baicunn and then sick kiddo and sick me until today. I now you guys miss me when I'm gone, but that can be expected when you're a surrogate father figure for nerd culture. If you can't tell by now, I'm feeling rather cheeky today so let's get into it . 

 There have been a few good trailers released recently, that I think you'll like. So I'll lay them out here for your viewing pleasure. 

First up we have a new Start Wars trailer for Episode 8. It's really less of trailer in traditional sense, but instead is 34 seconds of hype. I'm sold...



And who could forget everyone's favorite tragedy; Game of Thrones. Making it's 6th Season return in April to HBO. Here's to hoping for more awesomeness, and a continued story so terrible and sad that Shakespeare would weep.



And what kind of roll model would I be fore you guys, if I didn't share the final Batman vs Superman trailer. I'm not exactly sold on the new Batman, but we'll see.



And to top it all off, why not have few Superbowl trailers in case you missed them:








Thanks for stopping by again. More posts to come today. If you liked what you seen, please share. Please make sure to follow on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. As always, I will see you later. 

-Chali Baicunn

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Midweek Breakdown - New Division Trailer, Amazon Has A Game Engine?, and Farcry Primal Is Coming

Ello ello, you dapper dames and chaps! Thanks for stopping again. You know what time it is, right?.. It's that special time of the week where I bring you a quick run down of awesome nerd news. All to help take the sting out of hump day. It seems that the video game drought is coming to an end, and there is a lot of awesome shit to cover from this past week. So I'll stop wasting your time, and let's jump in. 

Unless you have been living under a rock, then your's probably already aware that there's a new DOOM coming to market. But what you might not know, and as I incorrectly predicted; Bethesda will release DOOM on May 13th 2016. In the mean time though, they left us with the following campaign trailer:



Next up, prepare to be assaulted by cannibals and sacrificed to the sun god!.. At least that's what Ubisoft is promising from the next installment of Farcry. Instead of gunning down dickish pirates, you'll me bashing skulls with clubs. From the promotional material, the game looks stunning, and here's to hoping
Ubisoft is able to deliver. The game is centered around the player experiencing what it might be like to struggle for survival as a prehistoric tribesman. Scheduled to release on PS4 and Xbox One on February 23rd, and PC on March 1st. Check out the gameplay from the newest 5 minute trailer below in the meantime:



To add to the terrible PC support for Batman: Arkam Knight, Warner Brothers officially pulled the plug for the Linux and OSX port. And let's just say the official announcement was done in a way that clearly illustrates that WB's gaming sector is clearly ran by flaming douche canoes... It was released via a Steam Community post. The announcement is great really, you know because fuck progress. Am I right? If you want to read some of the truly funny replies click this link to visit the Steam Community announcement.

Today the Division dropped a factions trailer on us.:



In further gaming news, Amazon has released a license free game engine, called Lumberyard. Yes you heard that right, I said Amazon. Lumberyard has been promised to cost exactly $0 to use, and publish games with. Based on the CryEngine game engine from Crytek. If you've ever wanted to create your own game, now may be just the time for you to do it. I covered it's release in yesterdays post, just click here to read it, or go to over to the official Lumberyard site for more details.

And just in in case you've been itching for some new info on Mirrors Edge 2, a new trailer was released 2 days ago. I know what you're thinking... This is DICE and EA making this and they can't really be trusted right now. That's fair, but don't let that prevent you from enjoying the trailer:



Now, finally in some movie news, a new X-men Age of Apocalypse trailer was dropped on us during the Superbowl 50.



And as a friendly reminder, Deadpool releases Friday!




And that's all I have for you today, hope you enjoyed. If there's anything I missed, please be sure to let me know. If you liked what you read, please be sure to share it with your friends. I'll be back tomorrow with another post. Thanks again for stopping by. And I will see you tomorrow. 

-Chali Baicunn

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Freemium Game Engine... SAY WAT?!


 Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by again. Coming to you today with some pretty interesting gaming news.

You know how Amazon licensed the CryEngine from Crytek last year, and no one really knew why? Well it turns out that Amazon is getting into the video game industry with Lumberyard. But that's not the really interesting part.

The most interesting part of this project is that it's a free license to develop from. And not free like the

CryEngine, which was free for students and hobbyists, charged if you wanted to take a product to market. Lumberyard on the other hand is free for anyone to publish their game, whether hobbyist or business. Amazon's only serious requirement is that you register your game with them before release, and that web services, like servers be hosted through them. Long short they're playing the freemium game, but with servers instead of micro-transactions.

So, I know I brought up 2 dirty words to a lot of gamers; freemium and micro-transactions. However, none of the features of the Lumberyard tools will be locked behind a pay-wall, and from what I can tell there are no licensing fees either. To highlight these points, I've directly pulled down a few interesting bits from the FAQ section (I kept the existing links in so that you can click around if you want to. They will open in other tabs):

Q. What is Amazon Lumberyard?
Amazon Lumberyard is a free AAA game engine deeply integrated with AWS and Twitch – with full source code provided. Whether you are a major studio, an indie developer, a student, or a hobbyist, Lumberyard provides a growing set of tools to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch. Lumberyard helps developers build beautiful worlds, make realistic characters, and create stunning real-time effects. With Lumberyard’s visual scripting tool, even non-technical game developers can add cloud-connected features to a game in minutes (such as a community news feed, daily gifts, or server-side combat resolution) through a drag-and-drop GUI interface. Lumberyard is also integrated with Amazon GameLift, a new AWS service for deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer games. With Amazon GameLift, Amazon Lumberyard developers can quickly scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand, without any additional engineering effort or upfront costs.

Amazon Lumberyard is free, and available in beta for developers building PC and console games, with mobile and virtual reality (VR) platforms coming soon. With Amazon Lumberyard, developers only pay standard AWS fees for the AWS services they choose to use. With Amazon GameLift, you simply pay for the standard AWS fees for Amazon EC2, Amazon EBS, and data transfer you actually use, plus a small fee per Daily Active User.

Q. How does Amazon make money with Lumberyard?
Lumberyard is free, including source. We make money when you use other


AWS services. We built Lumberyard to make it faster and easier to build fantastic live, multiplayer, community-driven games – which naturally connect to the cloud to provide these features to players. However, there is no requirement to connect your game to the cloud. There are also no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue. You pay only for the infrastructure resources you choose to use. For full licensing details, see Licensing below.

Q. Can I use Lumberyard for non-game purposes, such as architecture, simulations, and animated movies?
Yes, please do.


Q. If I build a single-player game that uses no cloud connectivity, do I have to pay to use the engine?
No, in this case you would pay us nothing.


Q. Do I need an AWS account to use Lumberyard?
No, but by downloading or using Lumberyard, you agree to the AWS Customer Agreement and Lumberyard Service Terms. If you want to use Amazon GameLift or Lumberyard’s Cloud Canvas to build connected gameplay features, you or someone from your game team needs to register for an AWS account and provision services to your account.

Q. Do I have to run my game on AWS?

No. If you own and operate your own private servers, you do not need to use AWS. You also don’t need to use AWS if your game does not use any servers. For example, if you release a free-standing single‐player or local-only multiplayer game, you pay us nothing.


Q. Is there a surcharge or other additional fee over and above AWS service rates for Lumberyard customers?
No.


Q. Can my game use an alternate web service instead of AWS?
No. If your game servers use a non-AWS alternate web service, we obviously don’t make any money, and it’s more difficult for us to support future development of Lumberyard. By “alternate web service” we mean any non-AWS web service that is similar to or can act as a replacement for Amazon EC2, Amazon Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon RDS, Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, Amazon EC2 Container Service, or Amazon GameLift. You can use hardware you own and operate for your game servers.


Q. Is it okay for me to use my own servers?
Yes. You can use hardware you own and operate for your game.


Q. Can I use the game assets that are included with Lumberyard in my game?
Yes. Lumberyard includes asset packs that you can use in your games and prototypes. We also provide additional high-fidelity assets and samples that you may find useful on our website.


Q. Is Lumberyard “open source”?
No. We make the source code available to enable you to fully customize your game, but your rights are limited by the Lumberyard Service Terms.


For example, you may not publicly release the Lumberyard engine source code, or use it to release your own game engine.

Q. Can I take Lumberyard and make my own game engine and distribute it?
No. While you may maintain an internal version of Lumberyard that you have modified, you may not distribute that modified version in source code form, or as a freestanding game engine to third parties. You also may not use Lumberyard to distribute your own game engine, to make improvements to another game engine, or otherwise compete with Lumberyard or Amazon GameLift.


It appears that Amazon is really going in a new direction as far as game development goes. I went ahead and browsed over the documentation, and sample assets and their both pretty on point. Amazon is reporting that they are planning releasing more sample asset packs in the future. If your still not convinced here's a few more entries from their FAQs that might convince you that Amazon is really thinking forward:

 Q. Can my Lumberyard game connect to services like Steamworks, Apple Game Center, Google Play Games, or console social services?
Yes. Your game may read and write data to platform services and public third-party game services for player save state, identity, social graph, matchmaking, chat, notifications, achievements, leaderboards, advertising, player acquisition, in-game purchasing, analytics, and crash reporting.

 
Q. Can I include Lumberyard’s tools so my players can build mods for my game?
Yes. Your right to redistribute Lumberyard in your game includes the right to redistribute pieces of the development environment in your game too. A list of redistributable components is included in the documentation. These rights also apply to companion products that you make available to end users to modify and create derivative works of your game. If you want to distribute Lumberyard components in source code form, please contact us.


Q. Does Lumberyard support integrations with third-party middleware?
Yes. If you’re a middleware provider interested in integrating with Lumberyard, please contact us


After looking over everything that Amazon is giving away, you might be curious as to why would they do this. I think the real question is why wouldn't they. By requiring developers to register their games before release, Amazon gets a sneak peak at new games, and can decide to if they want to invest before any other publishers can get the drop on them. Plus this gives them the ability to make some serious cash for server fees. I recommend that you check out the project in full for yourself. Cruise on over to Lumberyard's site and check it out.


What do you think? You going to give it a go? If you heard about it here and do make something, let me know, I'd love to have a look. Thanks again for stopping by. Your support means so much to me. Don't forget to share, and comment. Please make sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Also if you want to game with me sometime, make sure you add me to your friends list on pretty much every platform, just search for Chali Baicunn. And as always, I'll see you next time. 

-Chali Baicunn

Monday, February 8, 2016

Diving Into Pokemon GO - Part 1: The Data

Hey! What's ongoing on out there?! Thanks for stopping by. I don't know about you, but I'm a bit of a Pokemon game fanboy. I started off on Pokemon Blue, and it was really the first game that ever made feel like I was on my journey. And because of that the Pokemon games have always held a special place in my heart. Needless to say, after the debut Pokemon GO announcement, I've been anxiously awaiting it's release. With many sources speculating on a February release, I figured now is a good time to see what conclusions can be drawn from the whole of publicly available information. This will be a 2 part project. This post will be a collection and summary of available information, and Part 2 will be the analysis, speculation, and conclusions.

Background Information:
All of the significant background information regarding the concept and history can be found in the following press conference. It's long, but there is TLDR under the video:



TLDR: Pokemon GO is the brainchild of Satoru Iwata of Nintendo and Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokemon Company. Originally conceptualized in 2013, the idea was to bring Pokemon the game into the real world via augmented reality on a mobile platform. At some point Niantic was tapped to provide the real world mapping and mobile platform development, as they have experience doing this in their game Ingress. Nintendo was tapped for the development of the Pokemon GO Plus; a bluetooth enabled device to be worn around the neck or wrist. It is equipped with an LED and motor. It will be used to send players notifications, when they are not in app. The game will be free to play, and is expected to have an early 2016 release. Also there was a mention of possibly marrying, future generations of the DS games with Pokemon GO.

During the above video the following trailer was shown. Go ahead and watch it, and I'll post some observations under the video:



  • From the first scene we can tell that players will receive alerts regarding the location of wild Pokemon with directions. 
  • If you pause the video at 26 seconds, you'll see that the alert states "Wild Pokemon" and shows a distance and direction of travel, but you can also see that there appears to be a silhouette of a Pikachu. 
  • When the video continues to 30 seconds, we can see that this player is being directed to a location named Minato-ku in Tokyo, Japan (here's the Wiki page). 
  • At 33 seconds it appears that a player is alerted to the existence of a nearby Pokemon via the Pokemon GO Plus device. If you listen closely, you'll hear a chiming.
  • Before the 1 minute mark we see three first gen Pokemon, all with what appears to be HP bars and level listed. 
  • We also see that there are items available (assumed to be gathered through microtransactions). Multiple Pokeballs are shown and a Honey. 
  • Interesting point though, it does not appear that any of the players have to battle any of the wild Pokemon before successfully catching them.
  • At 1:06 into the video, a trade is shown. It is assumed to be via bluetooth or NFC due to proximity of the players and the animation showing a direct swap.
  • At 1:16 it appears that one player launches an unprovoked attack (not a challenge)
  • By 1:35 it appears that a group of trainers have challenged another group to a battle.
  • Around the 2 minute mark we are introduced to a timed "event/ boss battle". It appears that multiple trainers are facing off against Mewtwo.
  • At the end of the battle, there is a congratulatory message is displayed on a large screen stating that Mewtwo was captured. 

Niantic Interview With Gamesbeat:
I've pulled down several relevant details unveiled in a Gamesbeat sit down interview with Niantec's John Hanke; CEO and Mike Quigley; Chief Marketing Officer, and will be posting them directly below. The full interview and article is here.

"GamesBeat: I’m curious about what you think of mapping Pokémon onto this engine where location is such a big advantage. Location can also be a challenge or disadvantage in some other ways, though. In some past location-based games, if there’s not enough players in an area, they’re not really socially connected. If you have to travel very far to find something, is it really worth doing?

Hanke: We’ve learned a lot on those fronts with Ingress. Even if you’re in a small town — I grew up in a town of 1,000 people in Texas. We had that as a design goal. If we’re going to build a game that works with location, it has to be fun for people anywhere to play, in small towns as well as San Francisco. If we designed something that only worked in San Francisco, it wouldn’t be a real success. We wanted it to work globally..."

"GamesBeat: How do you plan to handle the distribution of different items and things in the game?

Hanke: Our goal is to make it so you can walk out of the house and within five minutes, you can find Pokémon. It may not be the most rare Pokémon in the world, but there’ll be a population of Pokémon living near all our players. Gyms will be a bit more rare. You want to find gyms so you can level up your Pokémon and battle there, so it will take a little more effort to get there.
Pokémon will live in different parts of the world depending on what type of Pokémon they are. Water Pokémon will live near the water. It may be that certain Pokémon will only exist in certain parts of the world. Very rare Pokémon may exist in very few places. But you can trade. If you live in a place with lots of water Pokémon and you come to an event — we have these Ingress events that are getting bigger and bigger. We’ll have our biggest weekend ever on Saturday.
We’ll have events for Pokémon as well. Those are competitive, but they can also be places to trade stuff with other players. Pokémon trading is going to be huge. You can’t get all of them by yourself. If you want all of them you’ll have to trade with other players. Or you have to be someone who takes time off work and travels the world for a year. There may be people who do that."

"GamesBeat: Nintendo also wants to do their own unique device, right?

Hanke: The Pokémon Go Plus, yeah.

GamesBeat: At the same time they’re racing into mobile, they have their own dedicated hardware.

Hanke: It’s a nice way to take a step in the mobile ecosystem for them. That came out of two influences. One was a learning from Ingress. We wanted to give people a way to play the game where you didn’t necessarily have to take your phone out and interact with the UX. Part of the idea of the game is, you’re outside and you can see beautiful things. If you’re always staring at your phone, you’re not seeing the world around you.
We had brainstormed this idea. Why not have a little device that buzzes when you’re near something important? You can interact with it in some subtle way, and then later on you can open up your app or your tablet and you see, “Oh, I got this or did that.” That was one of the influences.
The other was, imagine that a parent is playing with a kid and they want to give the kid a device to interact with rather than handing over the phone. I’m often handing my phone to my kid, because he’s bored or whatever. But the idea is you can give them the Pokémon Go Plus device. It vibrates and flashes when you’re near Pokémon. When they press a button in a certain sequence they capture it. Then, later on, you can look at it together on your phone or tablet.

GamesBeat: The functionality is pretty much the same as you’d do with your phone?

Hanke: It’s more limited, but it’s heads-up gameplay. I can show you the design prototype. It’s very slightly bigger, a bit heavier, but this is pretty much the size of it. It comes with a bracelet so you can wear it like a wrist device. It’s Fitbit-ish in terms of size. Battery lasts a long time. You don’t have to worry about charging all the time. This is a multicolor LED and button. You’ll notice that it’s the Google Map pen with the Pokeball shape and color fused together. You can imagine kids going to school with this on their backpack."


Pokemon Superbowl Commercial:



I reviewed the commercial several times, trying to tease out any extra info. However, it appears to be dedicated marketing info, with lots of hidden references to Pokemon, but no obvious easter eggs to give us anymore details about GO.

 The Number of Catchable Pokemon:
*!Warning Unable To Verify Source!*
Sever outlets are reporting that all 721 Pokemon will be available. I have been unable to verify the original source of this data. It is being notated as an anomalous data point until verified.



Niantic Will Demo Pokemon GO at GDC (Game Developer Conference):
According to an announcement on GDC's site John Hanke of Niantic, will be demoing Pokemon GO during a session titled, "Catch 'Em All: Pokemon GO and Real World Gaming". No Date or time details have been released yet, but we know that the session will take place during the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit. The following has been directly pulled from the announcement:


"Over the last three years, Niantic, Inc. has been defining the genre of Real World gaming, using smartphones and tablets to connect the digital world to the physical world. Niantic's newest game, Pokemon GO, ups the challenge of real world gaming design, taking a beloved franchise and setting its hundreds of brightly-colored monsters loose across the globe, adding a new Bluetooth wearable device created by Nintendo to the mix. Join Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke as he discusses how the company has developed a unique vision for delivering a mobile Pokemon experience that gets would-be trainers into the outdoors.

Takeaway
Attendees will get a first-hand, in-depth look at how players are interacting and exploring the world with one another through Pokemon GO, the collaborative approach to design and development for the game and the next evolution of augmented reality and real-world mobile gameplay experiences."


If I missed anything, let me know so I can get it added. Part 2 will be releasing later. Please make sure to follow on social media. Especially Twitter as all new posts are pushed there as soon as they are published. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my "2016 Make It Or Break It For Nintendo?" series Part 3 scheduled for later this year. Thanks for stopping by again. And as always, I will see you later.

-Chali Baicunn  

2016 Make It Or Break It For Nintendo? Part 2: Intervention

Hello again, and welcome back to BaicunnPress. I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. This is a continuance to my ongoing "2016 Make It Or Break It For Nintendo?" series of posts. Part 1 is here. Today we'll be dealing with a difficult subject... The intervention to save the life of Nintendo. I get a little misty in the eyeball regions when I think about this once proud giant dying.


The Intervention Letter
Dear Nintendo,

I hope you remember me... I was once one of your biggest fans. I played your greatest titles throughout my childhood; Mario, Megaman, Metal Gear, Battle Toads, Zelda, etc, etc. You had it all. You were once the brand I looked up to. You fought valiantly through the Great Console Wars of the 1990's. I knew when I grew up, I wanted to be just like you; smart, strong, inventive. But then it all changed... You changed. It's like you forgot who you were. You began to push me out of your life. I was broken at first, but I recovered and made new friends. They paid attention to me. They listened, and were there for me, and in return I supported them. 

We lost touch at one point, but you reached out to me during a hard time in my life. You brought me on the adventure of a lifetime. I traveled Kanto with you, and sought out the path of a Pokemon trainer. We spent so many hours together over the next few years traveling and looking for adventure. Then almost as quick as you came back into my life, you were gone again. Occasionally we'd chill over a few rounds of Golden Eye and Perfect Dark, but then you were gone again after GameCube was released. It's almost as if you fell back in with the crowd of amateurs, rookies, and noobies you had previously distinguished yourself from.

And again I had to find new friends. Microsoft was more than happy to embrace me, and Sony hung out all of the time. I'd see you around every once and a while, but you kept ignoring me. I felt used and abused. You had nothing to offer me. No FPSs except Metroid, no RTSs, no engrossing RPGs... All it seemed you had in you were party games, and god damn it I don't always want to party. The only time you seemed to care at all was when you brought Resident Evil 4 to the Cube, but then there was nothing after that. And you only responded because you were getting crushed by Halo.

Years went by, and by chance we bumped into each other again. Literally by chance, I won a Wii. For a moment, it seemed like you might have gotten your shit together. You're approach was new, and I had access to the classics again. Your new controls were classic in form and novel in design, but it seemed like you still just wanted to party. It was difficult to find any substance and depth in your catalog... It was just a party all of the time, and don't get me wrong; I like to party, but you just kept going harder and harder to the paint until I couldn't take it anymore. I finally left you. It broke me, but I had become hardened toward you. 

I was tempted so many times to come back to you. I wanted to through down on the classics and share it with the world, but everytime I turned around, I kept reading "Nintendo DMCAs channel into the ground", "Nintendo, takes profit from YouTuber", "Nintendo hates streamers!" One headline after another. I missed you, but I'd be god damned to deal with your shit. What's the point of us hanging out and being friends, if we can't hangout with everyone else. And when we do hang out, we just talk about the good ol' days, back before you made it clear that you pretty much hated anyone outside of Nintendo.

So I end this letter with a few simple statements... Nintendo, I love you man. I wants us to be tight again. I want my son to really get to know you. But we can't until you end your addiction. Your attachment to control and your business model are killing you man. It'd be great if we could hangout again, and if I could share my gaming time with the internet without fear that you'd ruin my life, and shut down my social media and ruining my life. Your behavior is that of a sophisticated drunk. You just keep wondering around in circles hoping that you'll stumble back to your home before you pass out in a puddle of your own making. If you don't change soon, you'll die! You're better than this man. You can be relevant... I believe in you.

Love,
  Chali


Thanks for stopping by again guys. What do you think? Let me know. I'm going to give Nintendo a bit to find itself, but be sure to keep check back for more content and part 3 of  this series. I'm thinking a title of  "Part 3: Redemption or Bust" seems fitting. Again, I want to thank you all for your support and your readership. As always, I'll see you later.

-Chali Baicunn

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Midweek Breakdown - Pokemon Will Own February, Ubisoft Drops The Ball, And Deadpool


Hello and welcome back my fine nerdy brethren. Thank you for stopping by! It's time for the Midweek Breakdown, where I serve you up with some tidbits of wonderfulness to help you make the final stretch of your work week toward the weekend.

First up on the list is a new Superbowl Commercial, from our friends at the Pokemon Company:



If you didn't know Pokemon has several major events coming up this month. On February 27th Pokemon will turn 20 years old. That's right, if you an OG trainer from back in the day, you're officially old... To celebrate their anniversary a special edition 3DS in the States with Pokemon Red and Blue pre-loaded on the device. In Japan, fans of the franchise will be able to pickup a 2DS bundles with choice of Red, Green, Blue, or Yellow theme, and matching game pre-installed. The American bundle price is listed at $199.99. As a side note, if someone sends me one of these they'll get free adspace on here for a year. (Can't blame me for trying. Haha!.. But no seriously.) The Pokemon TCG will also be receiving the next edition this month with XY-BREAKpoint. Honestly though, all of this doesn't hold a candle in the wind to the expected release of Pokemon GO. Widely believed, to be releasing on February 27th. If you're a Pokemon TSG fan checkout the video below, and if you're interested in some more info about Pokemon GO, please stay tuned for future posts coming out this week.



Also out this week, Bethesda has announced that it will be making a return to E3 this year. With the success of Bethesda's showcase last year, I'm expecting another great showing in 2016. If you're interested in speculations about the showcase, make sure to check out my post from last week; Pure Hyperbole: Bethesda's E3 2016 Showcase Speculation .


Over last weekend, The Division beta released and almost immediately got pwn'd. Specifically the PC version of the beta was compromised, by users that discovered that the game clients were running in a trusted status. Long short, this means that the servers didn't give a fuck about what speed, amount of ammo, or well any other player stats as long as the info was handed to it by the client. This was possible due to the fact that the servers were not checking the data to verify that it had not been tampered with. The beta was open to everyone who pre-ordered and a lucky few who made it onto the beta waiting list. No word from Ubisoft, if anti-cheating systems were left off on purpose or not. I recommend that you go check out the reddit devoted to the game here , as has a lot of great information posted on it.

I'd also like to remind you, that the Deadpool movie releases next week. So make sure you treat you're significant other to a romantic classic about a guy who'd do anything to stay alive for the woman he loves. And significant others, if you love your significant other, you'll recognize that it is a proper Valentine's Day movie. I now leave you with the following PSA:




Thanks again for stopping by. I really appreciate your support. If you feel that I missed anything, let me know. Please make sure you follow the site on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, And as always, I'll see you later.

-Chali Baicunn

2016 Make It Or Break It For Nintendo? Part 1: Trouble

Hey what's going on guys! Thanks for stopping by. Sorry for not posting anything yesterday; I was tied up with other things. Today we'll be discussing Nintendo's place in the console market. This will be a 2 to 3 part op-ed. I hope you enjoy!

Oh what terribly sad days we are living in. The ancestral sage of modern gaming is in a pretty tight spot, and 2016 may be the year they thrive or die. For many years, gamers have been speculating on the demise of the old guard. The questions now: Is Nintendo going to make a come back, and are they working on a console exit strategy as I write this?

I personally believed 12 to 13 years ago that Nintendo had one last console in it, before they went the way of Sega, and began producing only games. I was wrong in that assumption... Wildly wrong, but that's because I couldn't perceive the impact of the Wii's shtick; cheap family friendly "fun". I Couldn't have seen how the Wii's motion controls and low purchase price gimmick could have moved the volume that it did. I had no idea back in 2003 and 2004 that the DS platform would have taken off like it did. Both kept a significant flow of capital rolling into Nintendo's coffers, but it may have also set them up for a terrible fall.

It may seem as a bit of a stretch to argue that Nintendo is in dire straights, and this year will prove a lot. I am in no way saying that they'll stop making the DS platform... Why would they? It is obviously a cash cow for them, selling over 5.88 million 3DSes in the last 3 months of last year. These posts will specifically address the things that have brought Nintendo to this point, and what they may do or maybe doing, to move forward.

Big Trouble In Kyoto:
In it's lifetime, Nintendo has gained a reputation for themselves in the industry, for being difficult to work with. Especially, in regards to game development. From the control they exercise over developers to poorly documented devkits. Which has pushed devs away from them into the arms of Microsoft and Sony.

And in recent years, Nintendo's choices to use older chip sets in their consoles has alienated hardcore games and third party developers. Gamers are moving away due to a lack of graphics, and the inability of Nintendo to land quality titles outside of Nintendo family of developers. All the while third party devs are staying away, due to the time and cost of porting their games and apps to the older architecture. Thus become cost prohibitive for 3rd parties to do so as, Nintendo's console user base is shrinking and resources could be better directed at supporting their core user base.

You'd think that this would leave Nintendo, to lean back on small hobbyists for third party support... Well they've done the opposite. In an interview with Gamasutra (here) in 2011; Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime stated,

"I would separate out the true independent developer vs. the hobbyist. We are absolutely reaching out to the independent developer. Where we've drawn the line is we are not looking to do business today with the garage developer. In our view, that’s not a business we want to pursue."

Well if not hobbyists devs, then who?... Internet "let's players"? That's a gigantic NOPE! As it turns out that developing for Nintendo is actually easier, than giving them free publicity on the Internet. Nintendo has been waging an incessant campaign against people sharing video of any of their games on the internet. Known for their serial DMCA'ing of YouTube channels, Nintendo has effectively cut themselves off from their audience. With all of the hype and bullshit out there, it's hard to trust publishers enough to buy their games without seeing gameplay. In fact may publishers, including EA give Beta and early access to many popular YouTubers, because they realize the value in free publicity.

Nintendo has continued to tow these ideological lines even through the the shortish disappointing life of WiiU. From a gamer standpoint this has lead Nintendo into a state of entropy. Where they are increasingly desperate, and grasping at air. As if the WiiU was going to continue the gravy train that was the Wii.

I don't believe that this is due to Nintendo's Executives being incompetent or even arrogant. It seems to me that maybe they can't see the forest for all of the trees. Nintendo has always been so cautious in protecting their brand, and I believe they've now done more harm. At this point, you'd think that reality would have slapped Nintendo in face hard.

Is there hope for Nintendo? Maybe... What you think? Make sure to comment on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or in the comment section below. Part 2 has been released and can be found here. Don't forget to like and share. Thanks again for stopping by. As always, I'll see you later.

-Chali Baicunn

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pure Hyperbole: Bethesda's E3 2016 Showcase Speculation

Hey you fine people of the Internet! Thanks for stopping by... And FUCK MONDAYS! Haha! Bethesda has announced that they will be doing another E3 showcase this year. I did some coverage of last year's showcase (links to the posts here: DOOM & Dishonored 2). In this post I'll be speculating what they may be showing this year. I'll be breaking it down by title. Let's jump in. 

*On 2/4/15, Besthesda announced a release date of May 13th for DOOM. I think it's safe to assume that Doom won't be showcased this year.*  - Posted 2/8/15



DOOM:
GameInformer has managed to snag some pretty nice exclusives with this DOOM. When you look past the hype and read between the lines, there are a few interesting details available from them. What we know so far is that the new DOOM visually feels like the classic we know and love... It's just been turned up to 20.

What We Know:
  • Classic single-player DOOM
  • There will be at least the following weapons: pistol, chainsaw, chain gun, super shotgun, combat shotgun, plasma rifle, heavy assault rifle, rocket launcher, and of course the BFG9000
  • Weapons are upgradable via items drops in the campaign
  • Multiplayer is available through the "Arena"
  • SnapMap feature allows users to create custom maps quickly and easily.
BaicunnPress Guess:
  • DOOM will be the headliner of the showcase (first presentation)
  • Bethesda and idSoft will specifically showcase multiplayer and SnapMap
  • Weapons will be upgradable in multiplayer via item drops from enemies
  • SnapMap will allow for multiplayer and single player maps
  • SnapMap may allow for demons to be placed in multiplayer  games
  • More weapons will shown
  • (Out on a limb guess featured below. Keep reading)

  


Dishonored 2
First shown during Bethesda's E3 2015 showcase. This next chapter of the Dishonored series will return to the Empire of the Isles. Arkane Studios (dev) has promised to continue the sandbox mechanics, and the graphics appear to be highly polished. The game was originally set to be released in Spring of 2016 and now pushed back to December 30, 2016 (after being reported for a 2017 launch in November 2015).

What We Know:
  •  Sandboxing mechanics will be present just like the first dishonored.
  •  There are two characters to play as now (Corvo Attano & Emily Kaldwin)
BaicunnPress Guess:
  •  Dishonored 2 will be the second presentation
  •  The world will be more open world (think GTA but probably smaller)
  •  The release delay is two fold. One, game was not released on time because online/ multiplayer was added. Two, release date was changed from 2017 to 12/30/16 to allow the game to be available for a 2016 Game of The Year award. 
Fallout 4 DLC: I imagine that we'll be getting some Fallout 4 DLC this year, and if they drop it on the market around E3 the time would line up so that it would be about midway to the 1 year anniversary. I'd also expect a possible announcement of 1 year anniversary DLC.

New Skyrim: This is a total shot in the dark, but it's been since 2011 since Skyrim was released. I think we're do for another.

New Wolfenstein: I'm making this guess only because there has been a Wolfenstein title every year since 2014. It seems to me that both "Old Blood" and "New Order" have done fairly well for themselves. It may just be that Bethesda has decided that Wolfenstein is popular enough and profitable enough to make it a cheap cornerstone title that always keeps then relevant and is a constant source of revenue. Remember that "out on a limb guess" I mentioned before.... Here is goes... I'd speculate that if there is a Wolfenstein announcement, there will be an offer for beta access to the next DOOM title.

What do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Let me know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or in the comment section below. Thanks again for stopping by. I really appreciate your support. As a side note, I am working on a few ways to get more content out, and in different media forms. Stay tuned for more details. 

-Chali Baicunn