Spam Machinations III

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A quick update. I know a lot of you are frustrated with the SPAM nonsense. Our filter is about as fun to deal with as a greased pig.

For the time being I have effectively turned off the filter and Danielle added a new registration /login security system which you will see when you login again and try to post a comment. This SHOULD help alleviate the spam filter catching legit posts and should hopefully limit the way bots sign up for the site which, we hope, will in time limit the amount of spam we have to delete.

Sorry for the trouble. Believe me it’s no fun on this end either…

Warriors of God Review

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One of the things I find interesting about boardgame reviews is that there is a tightrope act involved when it comes time to actually write one. When are you ready to write an evaluation? With most videogames it’s easy. But this is more like playing an open ended game like Civ – when are you truly ready to write the review? Is one play enough? Two? Ten?

With MMP’s Warriors of God, I’ve logged half a dozen games, each taking roughly 2-4 hours so I’ve played around 20 hours with the game. I’m still learning new things about it each time I play so it’s either a terribly good design or I’m not ready to review it. I’m hoping it’s the former.

Warriors of God, a game I find to be absolutely brilliant, is also divisive due to its uncompromising reliance on the roll of the dice. Even some hard-line wargamers shy away from it due to its sometime wild shifts of fortune. But when a game tries to simulate the Hundred Years’ War with most of its major players over the course of 3-4 hours you’re going to have to deal with a bit of uncertainty.

You don’t need to be a student of history to enjoy the game, although knowing some basic themes will help. The short version: The throne of France is vacant. England and France both claim rights to it. They fight on and off for about, oh, 116 years. England wins some notable fights (Agincourt), plundering France for all its worth. Joan of Arc shows up and France “wins” even though England got rich off the war and France, well, didn’t.

There is another scenario in the game called The Lion in Winter which runs from 1135-1258. Again, just having a basic idea of the setting is enough to enjoy the game. This one even has Robin Hood in it. Simply put – are you interested at all in the upcoming Crusader Kings II from Paradox? Then you may want to give this a look….

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So what about these wild turns of fortune? This is where waiting a bit before rushing to review a game like Warriors of God, and most boardgames I’d argue, is crucial. This is the type of game that after one play has the potential to leave a bad taste in your mouth, feeling like you just wasted an afternoon playing a silly game that’s all about luck.

The game is (up to) 12 turns in length, each turn taking in several years of real time. You control several important characters from smaller nobles to the potential king. These nobles lead armies and no army can survive leaderless and at the end of each turn you roll a die for every noble on the board. This is basically a death roll to see if the noble in question has survived the decade. Perhaps illness struck down the lord? Maybe old age? Maybe he fell off his horse? Who knows? It’s not like these guys hung around a long time in the 15th century. Each game turn the odds of a noble surviving drops. If the noble has been in play for one turn it’s a one in six chance of dying outside of combat. Each turn that number goes up by one. Simple math tells you each noble has a limited amount of board time. Use them while you can.

If you don’t plan for this possible smack of the hand of fate it can certainly leave you high and dry without a leader for your army. One turn of awful die rolls and you can lose several nobles in one fell swoop. Of course in a long game this usually ends up balancing out in the end but it’s something that has the potential to crush your best laid plans. These leaders are the heart and soul of the game as a strong leader can field a massive army – and control it – where a poor noble is about as useful as chopsticks at a barbeque. I love how this game simulates an incompetent leader’s inability to manage a large army and a brilliant leader’s ability to take a smaller force and use it like an X-ACTO Knife.

Despite the wargame trappings this is at its heart an area control game. It’s the easiest way to earn the victory points which are needed to win. Controlling important regions (marked on the map with a value rating of 1 to 3) earn you points; killing enemy leaders earns you points, as does capturing leaders. What I love about this VP system is that you don’t earn points for simply winning a battle. In war, battles are a means to an end and those ends are almost always political. The same is true here.

I’m not going to go into the rules as you can read them online at your leisure ( ) but it’s worth noting that the game is not at all difficult to learn. As wargames go it’s clearly on the “easy” side of the fence compared to the more meaty options for those who wish to slop around in minutiae. Toss in the fact that this makes for a great solo experience and you have a fantastic entry level wargame for those with an interest in history.

Replayability is sky high here as some nobles start the game on either side which radically alters how the game plays out. Nobles being fickle beasts would often change sides during a fight so their whimsy is simulated accurately here. Then when you add the end of turn die rolls to see who survived, you really get a nice bit of variety each game you play. While the struggle for specific territory is common how those battles play out and the forces within are almost always different. It’s quite possible that Joan of Arc shows up, marches toward Ile de France, and dies of pneumonia on the journey before she gets to do anything. The next game she very well might kick the pig dogs out of France.

But repeated play is vital in understanding not only how the game works but how the map is laid out and how best to take advantage of certain chokepoints, when certain leaders enter the scene, and how best to take advantage of the non-aligned leaders.

I should note the beautiful production values as well. The counters used for leaders and soldiers alike are huge – easy to read and are thick suckers. The map is also easy on the eyes although I suggest buying some Plexiglas to place over the paper map to smooth it out. (If you play boardgames regularly you need to invest in Plexiglas regardless.)

Watching the Hundred Years’ War play out in a boardgame is fascinating and the sweeping history of that time period is guided with an expert hand by designers Makoto Nakajima and Adam Starkweather and I cannot wait until the next project finally sees the light of day; Warriors of Japan can’t get here fast enough.

Note: MMP currently has this on sale for $33. A steal.

Midweek Mini-Reviews

No High Scores

So I’m at a total loss as to what to do for my usual Wednesday blatherings. Not sure why. It’s been a slow news week, unless you find stories about Nintendo bringing crappy games like Urban Champion to the 3DS to be exciting news. The fact that I’m coming off of a three day weekend also doesn’t help. Honestly, since coming back from vacation I’ve had a hard time doing anything game writing related. Such is the curse of the excellent vacation. You have such a good time doing nothing that you don’t want to do anything.

So, in lieu of having anything to actually talk about, I figured I’d give some mini-reviews of what I’ve been playing lately. It’s mostly all about shooting bugs and killing ogres although not in the same game, so prepare to be amazed. There might be a little thievery in there too though. In my heart I’m a thief, not a murderer…

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
I could have picked this one up earlier in the weekend as GameStop started selling it early but my laziness and the siren call of my pajamas kept me at home. I may have a review copy coming, but alas, I couldn’t wait. I’ve played through the first of three chapters and some of the second, six missions in total, and from what I can tell so far, it is totally Earth Defense Force. The refreshing thing about this game is that it is extremely focused in its execution. It is, in a nutshell, a game about shooting giant insects, arachnids and robots. That’s it. It’s not a game about a dude trying to find his wife who was captured by an alien force or about a woman looking to deliver letters to random people as the universe burns. It is about bugs. Lots and lots of bugs, and they want to kill you and you can’t let them.

Now, the downside to this is that if you don’t want to kill a lot of bugs then the game has nothing else to offer you. That’s ok with me though, because I want to shoot bugs. Desperately. It supports three person co-op, something I plan on getting in on tonight with Petey. The AI does a decent job filling in for humans in the single player, killing bugs and reviving you when you need to be revived, but you don’t get the full experience of playing with the different armor load outs unless you play with other people. It looks like your squad outfits itself with the generic trooper load out, which, ironically enough, is what I use, so you won’t see your AI squadmates taking to the skies in their jetpack or laying down suppressing fire with their chaingun. I’m looking forward to seeing how the different armor classes play as the little I messed around with the tactical armor was a hoot. Throwing down a turret and watching it chew through ants as you take down an anthill is pretty dang cool, even if I don’t have the speediness to zip around the battlefield and pick up health packs.

On a side note, Todd would totally hate this game as the spiders show up pretty early on and they are both giant and numerous. They also like to jump on you, which would probably cause Todd to faint. The spiders aren’t too bad but those dang ticks are annoying as hell. Not only are they a pain to get off of you but the picture of a giant, bloodsucking parasite attaching itself to you like some sort of fleshy backpack is kind of gross. The giant spider thingy that disgorges them ain’t no picnic either. Still, even if you don’t like bugs, the game is worth playing if anything to see your squadmate shotgun an ant so that it flies across the map. Being able to blow up any building is also a nice touch. Yay destruction!

It’s too early to tell how the game will end up being graded, but so far I have gotten everything I expected out of it, namely a shit-ton of enemies, lots and lots of chaos and the ability to blow up every building I can see if I so choose.

Avadon: The Black Fortress
I mentioned this one on this past week’s Jumping the Shark and my opinion has not changed. I am completely hooked on this game. I bought it due to the comparisons to Baldur’s Gate, which I think are a bit of a stretch, but I can tell you that I absolutely do not regret my ten dollar purchase and I am anxiously awaiting Spiderweb’s next game. I like that the game throws dialog choices at you and I honestly have no idea where they may lead the story. The basic story is that there are five countries that make up The Pact and they’re supposed to work together and basically do what they’re told and in return they get support from Avadon in terms of protection and other matters. You’re a Hand of Avadon, basically a soldier who speaks for Avadon and as such, has free reign in the nations of the Pact to do whatever you deem necessary to keep the Pact intact. You’re a new Hand but you start getting sent on all of these missions because Hands are being targeted and killed and there aren’t enough Hands to go around. At the center of it all is a guy named Redbeard who reminds me of John Popper from Blues Traveler back before he lost all of the weight. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who makes this comparison. Any way, Redbeard keeps the Pact intact and you can tell something isn’t quite right with him, if only because by all accounts he should be a pretty old guy and he is not.

As you progress on your missions you’ll come across people breaking the laws of the Pact or approaching you for information regarding the other nations of the Pact and it gets hard to tell just what you should do. I tend to not like playing the goody-two-shoes as I find it boring so I’ve been passing information on to people when I probably shouldn’t as well as looking the other way for certain crimes against the Pact. We’ll see if this leads anywhere interesting, but so far these decisions are giving the world a good amount of color.

I do wish the targeting squares were a bit bigger, or there was some way to zoom in as I tend to fat finger my commands and I may end up telling my party members to go next to the intended target instead of attack them, or try to move away from the target which then gets them stuck and forces them to use a ranged weapon. On a related note, you have a bottomless junk bag you can fill with the stuff you want to sell and navigating through it gets tough as it seems like the hit detection on the down arrow for it is somewhat wonky. I also have a Journal screen filled with empty entries and no idea what I’m supposed to do with them. These are all small complaints though and they don’t affect the enjoyment of the game at all. I hope that other game developers take a look at this game and see that the iPad is a great device for these kind of RPG’s. From what Jeff at Spiderweb says, the sales have been good, so that can only be good for those looking to bring more of these kinds of games to the iPad. If it’s between giving Spiderweb, or studios like it, my money for an original RPG like this or giving my money to Gameloft for some Final Fantasy rip-off, I’d much rather do the former. That being said, I did get the Gameloft Final Fantasy rip-off (it was free) and it’s not half-bad. You know, for a rip-off.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves
I played the first Sly as part of the Sly Cooper Collection and while I finished it, and got my first platinum trophy as a result, I finished it more out of a lack of anything better to play than a deep, abiding desire to finish the game. There was a lot about the game I wasn’t thrilled with, but the characters were fun to hang out with and I figured that if I had paid for all three games, I might as well play it. Sly 2 mixed up the structure of the game so that all of your smaller missions all work towards a larger heist that you pull off to recover a part of the final boss you defeat at the end of the first Sly. In the first game all of your missions were to obtain keys that unlocked your means of getting to the final boss, but this new structure is more interesting and is more thief-like in its implementation. There are still too many variations in the gameplay for my tastes, only because not all of them are winners, but at least they tried. It will be interesting to see how Sly 3 takes what they did with Sly 2 and builds upon it. For 14 bucks, the Sly collection was definitely worth it. If you can find it, which is an increasingly difficult prospect, and you haven’t played these games before, definitely pick it up.

EA Planning a Mirror's Edge Sequel

No High Scores

I didn’t get deep into Mirror’s Edge, only playing it as a rental (in which I quickly got stuck), but I liked the premise and I liked that EA was trying something a bit different with it. I’ve long thought it deserves a sequel and, according to EA Senior Vice President Patrick Soderlund, it’s going to get one. Said Soderlund in an interview with GameStar:

“I loved Mirror’s Edge and what we did with Mirror’s Edge… We have not abandoned the franchise. And we are working on something, but I’m not willing to talk more about that.”

Seen at CVG.

The Wii U Gets Flexible

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In an interview with Forbes, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime lays out some of the ideas behind the Wii U’s online capability.

“So instead of a situation where a publisher has their own network and wants that to be the predominant platform, and having arguments with platform holders, we’re going to welcome that. We’re going to welcome that from the best and the brightest of the third party publishers. I think that Nintendo’s past console business has often included this idea of a set and fixed online structure. So, I think that, going forward, the question is really to what degree Nintendo can create a more flexible system for its consoles.”

So it sounds like Nintendo’s idea is to be “hands off” which is an interesting position to take to say the least.

The entire Q&A is worth a read. I found this bit interesting:

Microsoft’s message at E3 was all about Kinect, how there will be no controller, you are the controller. It seems like Nintendo’s at the polar opposite; you’re putting even more in the controller. Is this indicative of a basic philosophical difference between the two companies?

Well, all I can say is that this is not the first time that Nintendo and our competitors have had dramatically different views on the future of gaming. When we launched the original DS everyone was saying the handheld competitor coming from Sony has more powerful graphics, that’s really the way to go. And we showed that no, two screens, a touch screen, a microphone, that actually led to better gaming experiences. With the Wii, again, at the time our competitors were all about high resolution graphics. We said we think that a motion controlled experience could be more fun. Eighty six million units later around the world, I think people would say we got that one right as well. In this case we’re saying that this two screen experience –either two screens playing the same game or two screens doing fundamentally different things– is the future.

Oodles of New Skyrim Info

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The Bethesda forum has a Q&A posted which discusses Skyrim and is well worth a read. This is a fan interview so we’re talking some diverse questions.

Here’s a snip:

5) Are loot and quest rewards level scaled, like in Oblivion? Will there be any powerful un-scaled items?

Bruce: We’re handling leveling stuff similar to how we did in Fallout 3, but with a few new twists that we hope players won’t even notice. The enemies and loot are based on the “encounter zone” you’re in, so it could be higher or lower level than your current level. We do have a new concept of epic or “special” loot that you can randomly find in many cases, regardless of the zone, and you will still get better stuff in the better zones with your level higher. Same goes for quest rewards. We try to make them appropriate for what you did. Sometimes that is random, sometimes that is a set item. There’s a lot of specific stuff that is very powerful, like the Daedric artifacts.

9) Can we have some specifics about the PC version of the game? How will it’s UI be different? Will the be a 64-bit executable?

Todd: 64-bit specific exe? Not at this time. As far as UI, it visually looks the same across the platforms, but the controls are entirely different. There’s also a lot of “power user” stuff we do with the keyboard from how favorites work, to quick saves, and more that is similar to what we’ve done before in that area. We’re packing a lot of info on the screen and the whole interface is much less ‘look at giant fonts!’ than, say, Oblivion. The PC version also gets higher res textures, larger render modes, and a bunch of other effects you can scale up if your machine is a beast. Last but most important, is the Creation Kit we’ll be releasing for the PC. Modding the game and making it your own is very important to us and our fans, so we’re going to keep doing whatever we can in that area.

Read the whole thing at the Bethesda Forum.

Deus Ex Human Revolution: 12 Minutes of Gameplay

IGN has posted a 12 minute gameplay video for Deus Ex Human Revolution. This is actually a developer driven preview with a guy from IGN sitting in because…I really don’t know why.

Still, 12 minutes of gameplay footage. Enjoy.

The Final Word on Robin: From Kan Muftic, Senior Concept Artist

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Some people were “less than thrilled” when Rocksteady announced that Robin was making his way into Arkham City, as if they were going to go all Burt Ward on everyone. Here’s the latest from Rocksteady’s Kan Muftic:

“We wanted to create a Robin that players would identify as a contemporary character and move away from the traditional “Boy Wonder” image that most people know. Our vision of Robin is the one of a troubled young individual that is calm and introverted at times but very dangerous and aggressive if provoked. The shaved head is inspired by cage fighters, because we thought that Robin might be doing that in his spare time to keep him on his toes. Still, we kept all the classic trademarks of Robin’s appearance, such as the red and yellow colors of his outfit, the cape and the mask. We really hope that people will discover our Robin as one of their new favorite characters in the Batman universe. He is back and he means business.”

Could have done without that last line, but overall I like the idea.

Fallout New Vegas Patch Ahead

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A slew of new screenshots are available on the Bethesda Blog for the latest New Vegas DLC, Old World Blues. In addition, a lengthy fix list for New Vegas is posted and the patch should be available today or tomorrow.

It’s quite a long list, although some are admittedly minor clean up tweaks. Of course “Massive world optimizations in major areas for better stability/performance with multiple DLCs installed” sounds rather important…

* New feature: system save is automatically created prior to endgame sequence. After credits, user is prompted to load save game. This will allow single save players to play DLC without creating a new game.
* Fixed issue where Minigun audio could get stuck/keep playing indefinitely when fired out of VATS.
* Script fix to restore destroyed ED-E. This should address issues players have with attempting to use certain companions (e.g. Rex) or when the player needs to clear his or her companions before entering an area (e.g. Zion / Honest Hearts).
* New “Companion Dismissal Terminals” added to Gun Runners and Lucky 38. These will allow players with lost companions from earlier patches to force-fire if they are experiencing problems attempting to get into DLC or areas that prevent companions from entering.
* Arms no longer lifted above head when sneaking with certain weapons.
* Fixed sound cutting out after extended playthroughs.
* Massive world optimizations in major areas for better stability/performance with multiple DLCs installed.
* Players can now have six or more DLCs installed without encountering an infinite “loading DLC” message on startup.
* Navmesh fixes/NPCs no longer getting stuck.
* Scripts added to keep certain NPCs who were marked as dead from respawning.
* Extensive world optimizations for Hoover Dam.
* Fixed lockup with Ranger Grant’s forcegreet at HD/NCR path.
* Fixed NPC AI packages so they don’t get stuck at HD.
* Fixed bug where upgraded ED-E could be killed in non-hardcore mode.
* Post-assassination Kimball now gets removed prior to Hoover Dam battle.
* Fixed navmesh around Camp Searchlight to improve performance over long soaks.
* Searchlight Troopers don’t bump into each other as often.
* Fixed navmesh on HD Observation Deck.
* New teleport locations for Legion path through Hoover Dam. Improves performance.
* Radio stations will work properly now if DLC is uninstalled.
* Fixed instances where it was possible to fast travel during Hoover Dam battle.
* Fixed case where recruited Remnants were hostile to player during HD battle on Independent and House paths. They will still turn hostile if you shoot them too much though.
* Two vending machines in Hoover Dam were facing the wrong way.
* Made it so Big Sal/Nero no longer accepts yield if the other is already dead.
* Removed Brotherhood objectives when ED-E is given to the Followers.
* Fixed rare instance where Cachino turned hostile on the player if player attacks Big Sal/Nero prior to Cachino entering the room.
* Fixed crashes in Ultra-Luxe.
* Fixed Alpha Squad snipers getting stuck when told to support player.
* Fix for Lily’s weapon being displayed oddly on her back..
* Improvements to navmesh and pathing in Great Khan Longhouse. Fixes crashes.
* Plasma Spaz now gives 20% AP reduction (was 10%).
* Fixed crash after hearing certain ED-E dialog triggers.
* Fixed instance where Boone would constantly holster his rifle in combat if player had lost rep with the NCR.
* Veronica no longer waits for player to speak to her before leaving after Hidden Valley is destroyed.
* Extensive optimizations in McCarran.
* Optimized NPC packages at Camp Golf to improve performance. Misfits now stay in a normal radius.
* Arcade now properly rants against Caesar (once).
* Motor-Runner Helmet now properly 0 weight. Also removed after quest completes.
* NCR Heavy Troopers will now attack player if you attack Hsu.
* Vulpes (and Alerio) now properly forcegreet if you somehow fast travel before their initial forcegreet fires.
* Killing hostages while helping Khans no longer fails quest.
* Gilbert/Ackerman now properly stay dead if murdered.
* Mr. New Vegas will only mention failed NCR attack on Powder Gangers if Troopers are dead and Eddie is alive.
* Fixed case where player could break quest with Orris if they fast traveled after he shoots thugs, but before forcegreet.
* Generic Powder Gangers now set as Aggressive (previously Very Aggressive).
* Fixed rare case of black screen during dialog at REPCONN facility.
* Fixed phantom quest marker remaining on Major Knight after he’s killed.
* Fix for incorrect dialog if player meets Bryce Anders after killing Motor Runner.
* Player can no longer isolate the BoS virus by hitting “isolate virus” three times on a single console.
* Fixed crash related to Arcade leaving the Remnants bunker.
* Fixed Nightkin encounter at Tumbleweed Ranch to occur after user reloads a save.
* Arcade will no longer attempt to initiate his quest during Hoover Dam.
* Hoover Dam Boomer Bombing Run now works properly after save/reload.
* Cass now only barks (ahem, as in barkstring) once per gameday and not every two gamehours.
* Fixed XP exploits with MantisForeleg.
* Massive optimizations in Westside, North Vegas and The Thorn. Improves AI pathing and performance with high uptimes.
* Optimizations in Vault 19.
* Fixed issue where Oliver Swanick would respawn after three days if killed.
* Pathing improvements to The Strip and North Sewers.
* Moved teleport doors on The Strip so NPCs don’t collide with players or other actors that stand in front of doors.
* Ethel, Walter, and the Station Merchant no longer wander or patrol to avoid collisions with other NPCs.
* Separated NPCs in the North Sewers.
* Fixed issue where window in Vault 19 let player see through the world.
* Greasers from Crandon’s quest now become disabled when the player leaves the area.
* Fixed a Legion melee NPC near Nelson that was under the terrain.
* Modified Legion and NCR hit-squad NPCs to use new level lists. They now have a smoother leveling curve that takes into account new level caps. Legion and NCR hit squad spawning was also revised to make their appearance more consistent and less memory-intensive.
* Fixed issue where Omerta thugs wouldn’t leave Freeside if you killed Joana and Carlitos.
* Cazador Poison Effect sound no longer plays globally if someone, somewhere gets stung. Only plays if the player is hit.
* Player can no longer repair the Grenade Launcher with the minigun.
* Fix for companions going into unconscious/conscious cycle over and over again when stung with Cazador poison. In normal mode (or against companions), Cazador poison now lasts 8 seconds, doing 18 points of damage per second. It is, in fact, even deadlier than the normal version, but lasts 1/4 as long. In hardcore mode or against the player, poison remains 30 seconds/5 damage per second.
* Casino slot scripts altered so their max bets do not produce game economy-ruining levels of cap overflow
* Hit the Deck and Stonewall now properly work with player’s weapon condition. Hit the Deck is now +25 DT vs. Explosives instead of +50% vs. Explosives.
* Adjusted Deathclaw fatigue to make them less exploitable with certain attacks. Inconsistent health values for Deathclaws were also corrected (in favor of stronger Deathclaws).
* Cazadores are now properly flagged as fliers, so they won’t set off mines.
* Increased radii for plasma and pulse grenades.
* Fixed bug where rescued Powder Gangers would return to the legion camp.
* Added Followers of the Apocalypse supplies to three areas of Hoover Dam if you gain their support and fight on independent or NCR paths. This also enables the FoA + NCR “good” ending through Julie Farkas.
* Optimizations for Westside.
* Fixed issues with Recharger Pistol animation.
* Fixed issue where Aba Daba Honeymoon wouldn’t update if the player was running O My Papa simultaneously.
* Typo: “Night Stalker Blood” changed to “Nightstalker Blood”
* Yes-Man now checks both Loyal and Pearl’s status before the player can tell him the Boomer leaders are dead.
* Removed “Intelligence” flag from Int<=2 check at REPCONN HQ, as engine doesn’t support checks that low.
* Fixed scripting on Lonesome Drifter barter check so player doesn’t get next objective with Tommy Torini if they fail.
* Legion Assassins moveto script no longer occurs every frame (frees up memory).
* Added recipe so player can now break down 12.7mm ammo.
* Four Eyes now works with ball cap with glasses.
* There is now always an option to give ED-E to Lorenzo, even if player has said no the first time.
* Mister Sandman no longer works on The Forecaster (XP exploit).
* Ultra-Luxe doors no longer disable player controls if player is an enemy of the White Gloves.
* Fix scripting conflict between “Cold, Cold Heart” and Mojave Ghost with Vulpes/Benny.
* Fixed issue where player could become control locked in Gommorah if they had installed Yes-Man.
* Player can now re-hire Arcade if ED-E is in the party.
* Ultra-Luxe now properly pays out in Legion and NCR money.
* Veronica’s companion perks (as in the ones Veronica gets, not the player) now properly assigned.
* Waiting companions will no longer get teleported by the Vault 22 elevator.
* Changed objectives for How Little We Know to better reflect branching paths.
* “Return to Yes-Man” objective no longer reopens if player tells him to go to Lucky 38 in Wild Card: Change in Management.
* Player can no longer pickpocket Button Man to break the scene where he shoots Cachino.
* Player can no longer ask Cachino about plans if Bosses are already dead.
* Fix for ED-E combat dialog.
* Ranger Helmet now has weight/value.
* Fixed Gomorrah holdout scripting to properly affect companions.
* Lily now properly uses Stealth Boy when player is sneaking if told to keep it during her quest.
* Fixed exploit where player could get infinite XP for punching Big Sal’s corpse.
* Fixed scripting for For the Republic II where exposing Karl would prematurely complete the objective to destroy the Khans.
* Fixed instance where fast travel was disabled when creating new game post-credits.
* Inventory will now show cumulative weight of item stacks instead of weight of a single item.
* Missile projectiles will no longer show in player’s target HUD.
* Player will now unequip a weapon if consuming it in the crafting menu (fixes crash).
* Weapons with recharging ammo now display ammo properly.
* Fixed rare instance where player could be control-locked if loading an autosave created while lockpicking a transition door.
* Beamsplitter mod fixed to proper DAM/DPS.
* Crafting can no longer create weapons/armor at 100% condition.
* Repair kits can no longer repair to 100% condition.
* Throwing weapons can no longer take damage, and are dropped when shot at 100% condition.
* DT Perks that increase DT based on enemy weapon should function properly.
* Weapons using multiple rounds of ammunition per shot fired now show proper VATS damage estimate.
* Fixed rare case where broken stick of dynamite could crash game if thrown.
* NPCs will now play face cards on player’s stack in Caravan.
* Various tweaks to audio system to improve memory performance.
* Fixed issue where looping reload weapons would get stuck, causing VATS camera to point to the ground.
* Fixed clock/calendar so that it doesn’t reset on a fresh load.
* Fixed .45 auto pistol displaying incorrect condition/value on modding screen.
* Both DAM and DPS now display on workbenches when creating explosives.
* For ammo that reduce spread (like 12ga) effect is now properly applied to spread, not wobble.
* Fixed crash when attempting to enter DLC1 with equipped quest items.

Sandra Day O’Connor, Game Developer

When you think of octogenarian former Supreme Court Justices, surely the least common post-career move is a jump into game development, right? In the case of Sandra Day O’Connor (the first woman to serve on the highest court), that’s actually the case: Kill Screen recently blogged about Newsweek’s coverage of her games portal, which features a number of legitimately fun games about American history, the legal system, and other civics topics.

The platform isn’t brand-new – in fact, I have actually used it (and the awesome “Do I Have a Right” game) in the past to convince my game-biased (in the negative sense) co-workers to buy into the idea that creating games for our own organization could be a cool, workable idea.

It’s awesome to see iCivics get some mainstream love – it’s a very worthy platform, in terms of both its mission (teaching young people about important topics) and the fact that unlike most “educational” games, these are actually fun.