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Hearthstone game director Ben Brode departs Blizzard

Hearthstone game director and longtime Blizzard developer Ben Brode has announced that he is leaving the developer to “take a crazy risk” and help start a game development company of his own.

Brode, who has worked on Hearthstone for 10 of his 15 years at Blizzard, shared all of this in a heartfelt post on the Hearthstone forums, tracing back the path his career has taken and thanking his coworkers and the Hearthstone community for their support.

“I was 20 years old when I started here. My first role was ‘Night Crew Game Tester,” wrote Brode. “Since then, Blizzard has been good to me. I got to cast esports events, announce BlizzCons, play in Rock Bands, write raps, and work with incredible people. But the biggest opportunity came in 2008 when I joined ‘Team 5.’ The Hearthstone Team.”

Brode notes that, while he has enjoyed his time with the Hearthstone team, he is looking forward to stepping out of his current role and getting back to hands-on development like programming, designing, and “actually creating things again” with the studio he is helping to start.

While his post doesn’t mention who will be at the helm of Hearthstone development following his departure, Brode shared that he isn’t worried about the future of the digital card game he helped put on the map. 

“I get too much credit by virtue of being a public face, but the 80+ people on the development team are still there, and they are the ones actually making the cards, brawls, events, missions, and features,” said Brode. “I am confident the game is in the best possible hands, and I’m excited to see where a new generation of leaders takes Hearthstone from here.”

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Blog: How the Rubik’s Cube inspired a laid-back Atari puzzler

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


[This is an excerpt from ‘21 Unexpected Games to Love For The Atari VCS’, available in the current game eBook Storybundle, which covers a number of classic VCS games that, untethered from nostalgia, may still be of interest to a player who didn’t grow up with the system. The Atari Video Cube is a laid back kind of puzzle game that’s not nearly as imposing as an actual Rubik’s Cube. It was developed before the Game Crash of 1983, but sold through mail order until Atari revived the VCS/2600 to try to compete with the NES.]

Atari Video Cube

1 player, joystick. 4K in size.

Created by an unknown developer working for GCC. Published via mail order in 1982 by Atari.

Accessibility: 4/5

In a sentence: It’s not a Rubik’s Cube, but instead you swap individual colored squares on the cube with the one you’re carrying and try to get each side all the same hue in this laid-back puzzle game.

Squares In The Mail

In the 80s it seemed like anything could become a fad. You think fidget spinners were big? One of the best-selling toys of the decade was a super-hard puzzle that very few people could complete. Rubik’s Cube was popular enough that it remains well-known today in a way that Cabbage Patch Kids and Beanie Babies are not, partly because it continues to be sold in various formats and sizes, and partly because there’s still a bit of magic about it. Twisting one around in your hands, it’s difficult to conceive how such a thing could even be invented, let alone assembled into a thing you can own for about $12.

Atari was a fad of comparable size right around the same time, so combining the two must have seemed like a paring as salutary as sparkly balls and disco. Atari had a coder from GCC, whose name does not come down to us, work on this interesting puzzle game that despite the name and appearances is actually not a Rubik’s Cube. It’s a great deal easier, and because of it, rather more fun.

Perhaps sensing legal trouble if it appeared on then-Cube-licensee Ideal’s radar, it was not sold at first on store shelves, but instead as a mail order-only product offered in Atari’s newsletter. When the VCS got its shadowy second life as a distant competitor to the Nintendo Entertainment System, some units appeared in shops at that point, possibly unsold inventory. atariprotos.com says that it was sold with Rubik’s Cube branding at this time, but I don’t remember seeing it myself. I presume they are accurate.

The Game

It’s quite simple. You have a person, like an elf or an imp and identified by the manual as “Hubie the Cube Master,” who lives on a cube, each face divided into a 3×3 grid, like a Rubik’s Cube. And like a Rubik’s Cube, each face’s sub-squares are colored, and also like a Rubik’s Cube, the colors are scrambled at the start of play, scrambled around the cube. There’s nine of each colored square; your job, like the puzzle, is to get it so that each side of the cube is a single color.

How you do this is how the game diverges from Ernő Rubik’s portable conundrum. Your cube-living gremlin moves between the squares of the cube according to how you press the joystick. You only see one side of the cube, the one the elf is on, at a time. When you move them off the side of the cube, it “rotates,” with a simple 3D effect, to show the next side. Your imp-person has free reign of the cube with one exception; they can change color through the game, but can never stand on a square that matches the color they currently are. You see, they’re shown in relief against the background of the cube color they’re standing on. If they were standing on a spot of the same color, they’d be invisible, and we can’t have that!

How do you change color, then? You can “pick up” the color on a spot when you press the button. Then the imp changes to that color, and the color they previously were is dropped and becomes the color of that square. Then you can move to another space, exchange colors there, and so on, always with the limitation that you can’t cross onto a space that’s your current color.

Slowly, space by space, you construct a “solved” cube in this way. It might sound easy, since at any time five kinds of spaces are walkable out of six, but as you solve spaces you start having to plan your moves a bit. Remember, solving a side requires filling it with the same color, you have to be that color in order to drop more of it into that side, and a side is hidden from your view until you walk into it. The result is that a kind of hidden wall of that color develops as you fill that side with more of the color you want it to have. The effect is even more confounding because of a clever little fact about the cube, that shows its unknown creator’s attention to detail….

Your task is made a little harder, and a little weirder, because of the geometry of cubic shapes. Think about if you had a cube in front of you. Of course, the Atari can only show it orthogonally, its sides parallel to the screen. Now take this cube, imagined in your mind’s eye, and rotate it so the side on its top is now facing you. This means the original side that was facing you, we’ll call it Side One, is facing the floor. This is just how the game does it, with a nifty 3D effect.

Now, turn it left, so the currently-viewed side is on the left. Side One is still on the bottom in this example, but it’s been rotated 90 degrees. Now, if you turned the cube “up,” to bring Side One back into view, it’ll be rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise from your original view of it! My point is, the Atari Video Cube obeys this rule; it’s not like a six-screen flat grid you can scroll around, your perspective on the squares can become rotated based on how you scroll them around.

Imagine if you were playing the game, and your elf-friend was tying to fill Side One with blue squares. You might see that the upper-left space on that side is the only one left to fill, so you leave the blue side looking for a new square. It could be anywhere. When you find it, unless you retrace your steps to get back to the blue side the same way you went away from it, that one space might not be on the top-left; it might be one of the other corners. If you haven’t paid attention to how you rotated the cube, you might have to pace around, trying each of the other corners, until you find the one that allows you entrance.

This may sound confusing, but it’s not that hard to get used to really. It’s nowhere near as difficult as an actual Rubik’s Cube, and the real point of it all is to work on optimizing your solutions. 50 puzzles are included on the cartridge, and you can play each either for lowest moves or fastest time. Note that they’re not selected by the Game Select switch, but by the joystick before the Reset switch is pressed. There are the usual number of game variations, which include modes that have the computer showing you an optimal solution to a cube, modes that “black out” the colors so that they’re only visible when turning the cube, and perhaps the most interesting, a mode that restricts movement to up or right, which requires different strategy to solving.

It’s a shame that the Video Cube didn’t make it to store shelves back in the glory days of the console, as it’s one of the most interesting cartridges available for the VCS. It’s interesting for being quite a “pure” game. There are no enemies, extra rules or needless complications. You’re free to keep playing until you solve a puzzle, and the only barrier to that is that of the colors posing obstacles, which is both more of a problem than you’d think, and still not so harsh that you’ll be stuck for long. It’s a nice unwinding kind of puzzle, something to flip around for a few minutes.

And that’s about all there is to say about Atari Video Cube. Sometimes, simple is best!

Notes

The source for the GCC credit on Atari Video Cube is atariprotos.com. That site also notes that Atari had in development a more accurate version of Rubik’s Cube, presented in perspective. From a technical standpoint it’s interesting, but it’s just not as interesting a game as Atari Video Cube.

Links

AtariAge  Manual

Also try…

Of course, Q*bert!

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Learn the secrets behind reviving BattleTech today at 4PM EDT

One of the game industry’s oldest and most lawsuit-friendly franchises, BattleTech went from being a ’90s staple of game licensing to a forgotten memory, before being resurrected a couple years ago by Shadowrun developer Harebrained Schemes via Kickstarter. Next week, the new BattleTech will launch on Steam to the general public, and we’ve been afforded the rare opportunity to chat with the developers right before the game launches. 

So today at 4PM EDT, we’re going live on Twitch with Mike McCain (who joined us previously during the BattleTech backer beta) and Mitch Gitelman (who’s been working on BattleTech-related games for quite some time), to talk about the launch of BattleTech, what they’ve learned during development, and why managing your mercenary company’s financial spreadsheets is just so satisfying. 

If you’ve got questions for McCain and Gitelman (and you should), be sure to join us at 4PM EDT and ask them in Twitch chat! 

And while you’re at it, be sure to follow the Gamsutra Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables and gameplay commentary. 

Nintendo unboxes new possibilities to make, play and discover with launch of Nintendo Labo

Nintendo unboxes new possibilities to make, play and discover with launch of Nintendo Labo

Experience a whole new way to interact with Nintendo Switch as you Make, Play and Discover with Nintendo Labo. Now available at retailers nationwide, Nintendo Labo kits offer interactive build-and-play experiences that combine the magic of the Nintendo Switch system* with the fun of DIY creations. In celebration of the launch, Nintendo unveiled a new online destination for you to share your Nintendo Labo creations and enter for a chance to win special Nintendo Labo prizes.

With each Nintendo Labo kit, building and discovery are designed to be just as much fun as playing, which is why the experience is categorized into three key pillars: Make, Play and Discover.

  • Make: Transform modular sheets of cardboard into interactive creations called Toy-Con – from a 13-key piano to a motorbike, a robot suit and more.
  • Play: After they are built, combine the Toy-Con creations with the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con controllers in creative ways to enjoy a variety of game-play experiences.
  • Discover: Learn how Nintendo Switch technology works together with each Toy-Con project. With Toy-Con Garage mode, a feature included with the software in each Nintendo Labo kit, you can invent new ways to play with your Toy-Con projects.

“As with anything we do at Nintendo, our primary goal with Nintendo Labo is to make people smile,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart, we hope the playful spirit of Nintendo Labo ignites imagination and creativity in people of all ages as they interact with Nintendo Switch in new ways.”

For some initial inspiration, Nintendo Labo owners can visit the user-generated content (UGC) hub to see a dapperly decorated RC Car created by TV personality and “Science Guy” Bill Nye, who recently took Nintendo Labo for a spin and spent time tinkering with Toy-Con Garage. Check out Bill Nye’s full Nintendo Labo experience here. Throughout the next few weeks, the UGC website will also feature custom Toy-Con creations from popular social media influencers and Toy-Con Garage inventions from Nintendo employees.

Starting today, you can submit your own creations to the site by signing in with your free Nintendo Account. Fans in the U.S. or Canada who are 13 years old or older can also choose to enter their creations in the limited-time Nintendo Labo Creators Contest for a chance to win a Nintendo Labo prize package, including a Nintendo Labo kit, a special jacket and a signed framed certificate. Learn more about the contest and upload your submissions here: https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest/.**

The first two Nintendo Labo kits (available now) are the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit.

The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit ($69.99MSRP*** USD) includes all the necessary materials and software to create five different Toy-Con projects:

  • RC Car: The RC Car is powered by vibrations in the Joy-Con controllers and can follow a path of reflective tape by using the IR Motion Camera in the right Joy-Con controller – it even works in the dark! Materials to build two RC Cars are included, so two players can race or battle each other!****
  • Fishing Rod: Build a working rod and reel, and then go fishing on the screen of your Nintendo Switch console to catch a variety of exotic fish. You can also enter Aquarium mode – accessed via Toy-Con Piano – to view all the fish you’ve caught or even design your own colorful fish.
  • House: Insert different blocks into your newly constructed House to interact with the adorable creature inside. Combining multiple blocks can unlock special features and mini-games, including an exhilarating mine cart ride!
  • Motorbike: Rev the throttle of your Motorbike by twisting the right handle, just like the real thing! You can even create and race on tracks you design.
  • Piano: Compose and record music using different octaves, reverb and sound effects – even cat noises!

With Nintendo Labo Robot Kit ($79.99 MSRP*** USD), you can build a wearable robot suit, including a backpack and visor, which allows you to assume control of a huge on-screen robot. Smash buildings and UFOs in Robot Mode, make sound effects using your Toy-Con Robot in Robo Studio or customize your in-game robot in the Hangar. With an additional Nintendo Labo Robot Kit and set of Joy-Con, you can even battle against a friend in multiplayer mode using just one Nintendo Switch system!

A Customization Set ($9.99 MSRP*** USD) is also available, which includes colorful tape, stencils and Nintendo themed stickers to decorate your Toy-Con creations. When it comes to decorating your Toy-Con projects, almost anything will work! Try some of your favorite arts-and-crafts supplies, like markers or paint.

For more information about Nintendo Labo, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/.

Remember that Nintendo Switch features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about other features, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/.

*Nintendo Switch system required; sold separately.

**Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada, ages 13+. Nintendo Switch system and Nintendo Labo kit required. Contest begins 11AM PT on 4/20/18 and ends at 10:59AM PT on 5/11/18 for the Best Decorated Toy-Con Contest Category, 10:59AM PT on 5/25/18 for the Best Toy-Con Mod Using Toy-Con Garage Contest Category, and 10:59AM PT on 6/15/18 for the Best Original Invention Using Toy-Con Garage Contest Category. To enter, upload your photo or video of your Toy-Con creation or invention as detailed in the Official Rules. 9 winners will each receive One (1) Nintendo Labo Variety Kit (ARV: $ $69.99 USD) or Nintendo Labo Robot Kit (ARV: $79.99 USD), one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). ARV of each prize package: $209.99-$219.99 USD. Total ARV of all prizes: $1,889.91-$1,979.91 USD. Chances of winning a prize depend on eligibility and quality of entries received, and how well each meets the judging criteria. Details and restrictions apply. For Official Rules, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest-rules. Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc.

***Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. The actual price may vary.

****Requires an extra pair of Joy-Con controllers, which are sold separately.

Games Rated:

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Blog: A postmortem of the Anime Matsuri Expo

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


A first-time indie game exhibitor experience in a big expo.

I have done it, there is no going back now. We brought Rabbit Hole to show off at a convention for the first time: Anime Matsuri. Oh boy! I did not know what I was getting into.

As an indie developer with the first commercial project, It is difficult to know what to expect and what to prepare. There were so many little questions: what to bring? Where do I get those? How much to bring? What should you get from the guests? How to get traffic to your booth? Can I bring food? Is the table big enough? Can we setup extra chairs? How much should I spend? How about meals?  The list of questions just goes on and on.

This blog post is a way for me to reflect on the experience and share it with other fellow aspiring indie developers, or other creative individuals who want to share their works with the world. It is full of answers to the little things that you didn’t even know to ask. If you have never gone to an expo as an exhibitor, read on. Even if you are a seasoned exhibitor, I hope you will find something interesting and relatable.

Preparing the booth

To prepare for the booth, I started off with our good old friend, Google search. I looked at dozen of articles, listened to a few GDC speeches, and scanned through hundred of booth photos from PAX and other gaming events. There are lot of advice, and you can spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on the booth trying to follow all that advice. Who am I kidding? an indie guy like me can’t afford that.

When you are not sure what to do, the best option is to pick a goal, pick a budget, and then optimize for those goals. Since Rabbit Hole is still in development, my goals are just to get email addresses and build up a list of potential players/fans for the game, and all with a budget that is less than $600 for the entire booth. Here is a list of things that I bought, and why:

  1. A refurbished 30’ TV from Best buy ($90): I needed a large TV to show gameplay footage, and to let people play the demo. I couldn’t bring my computer monitor, and the spare one I got is too small. Also, moving images and video help capture people attention as they walk by the booth.

  2. A 8’x’4 vertical banner with stand from Vista Print ($83): I feel that a portable large banner facing oncoming traffic is a good way to catch the eye of each passerby. The art is one of the biggest assets of Rabbit Hole, so it is important to be able to show it off.

  3. 500 business cards to Rabbit Hole website from Vista Print, with UV finish ($42). Again, not sure how effective they were, but it is nice to have something to give to those show interest, but did not want to sign up that very moment. A great way for them to find the game online, after the expo.. More about this in the “The Script” section.

  4. A 4’x’4 banner from Vista Print ($43): This was used as the table runner. The default table provided by the organizer is too ugly and it just looks bad without some branding.

  5. A Small T-shirt with Rabbit Hole artwork ($10): I just wanted a t-shirt.

  6. A 8’x4’ banner from Vista Print ($69): To use as the backdrop. Again, another great way to grab the attention of those walking by,

  7. A Studio PhotoShoot Stand and Backdrop support from Amazon ($32): I needed something to hang the backdrops.

  8. Clamps and Clip Holders from Amazon ($15): These are super useful. I speak of this in greater detail in the section: Things that went well.

  9. Black Linen tablecloth from Amazon ($8): Super cheap, work greats due to the dark theme of Rabbit Hole.

  10. Props and miscellaneous from Michael Craft store ($130): The whole booth needs to have a theme that ties them all together, so I went shopping: sketchbooks, blackboards, prop trees and greeneries, bookstands, lantern, table lights, power cord, rotating display stand…

Here is how the booth looks after we put everything together, the bunny girl not included:

Not too shabby, and at around $550, the whole thing comes in a little bit under my targeted budget. The only thing that I would change is that I would have bought extra black linen to cover the whole booth. They are super inexpensive, and the red/white default color of the provided booth looks so weird.

The script, the script, and the script

Thank god for the scripts. If you are not a natural extrovert that becomes energized by talking to hundreds of strangers, you need a script. I’m glad that I put some time in before the event and thought about the script and it totally paid off. What is a script you may ask?

Simple. The script is the steps of events that you want your guests to go through to accomplish your goals. I’m very introvert, having a script helps so much because it makes everything repeatable and comfortable. My goal, as stated above, is to gather as many email addresses of potentials fans and players as possible. This was my script:

  1. Identify and approaching interested guests: If anyone looks at the banner for more than 4 seconds, or pointing at the booth, or carrying/wearing something that indicates that they are an RPG gamer, I would approach and ask if they would like to know more. 90% of the time, they will say yes. If they hesitate, just say “No problem! Enjoy your convention” and leave them alone.

  2. Give them the pitch: After they said yes, I would quickly and excitedly (as much as I could) give them the elevator pitch and the story. My elevator pitch and story was 3 sentences.

  3. Give them the artbook: I would quickly hand them the artbook, and ask them to just flip around while I give them 2 more sentences explaining the art direction and the platform the game will be available on. I would make a comment about a couple of my favorite piece of art in the artbook.

  4. Most of the guests will want to end the encounter after your pitch: After this point, most of the guest will want to just take a business card and leave, a few of them will ask a couple simple questions, and a few will want to play the demo.

  5. Draw a Rabbit: If they want to just take a card and leave, I would tell them that we have a “Draw A rabbit” event. It’s free to enter, they don’t have to draw well, and we will give 30 free copies of the game to 30 random drawings by the end of the convention. Majority of the time, the guest will say yes. View the winners of that Rabbit Contest here.

  1. If the guest wants to draw, I would give them paper pad and pencil, have them sit on the chair and ask them to draw and write down their emails. I also ask if they would like to be updated when the game come out. Everyone says yes.

  2. Collect Email: I would ask if it is okay to send them email update about the game and for their email. 90% of them would say yes.

  3. Finally, I would hand them a business card for the game before they leave the booth.

I improvised here and there but stuck with most of this script in every encounter. Even if you are a natural at talking to people and really good at improvising during conversations, you should still have an outline of steps that you want the guests to take.

This is even more important if you have other people helping run the booth. I found that by just telling my wife and sister to copy what I was doing, they were able to run the booth effectively without any additional directions at all. This is especially impressive since my wife is not a gamer and really doesn’t know anything about video games.

Things that went well

  • The art in Rabbit Hole is pretty unique and caught a lot of attention.

  • I learned so many useful noggins, and it is super motivating to see that people are really responding well to the game.

  • Draw A rabbit is a huge success. I got about  300 drawing! That is like a rabbit every 4 minute! It also kept guests at the booth longer, and crowds attract more crowds.

  • Soylent: they are meal replacement drinks. I wasted no time for lunch, these are awesome as fuel for running the booths.

  • This was on Easter Weekend, so my Rabbit Booth got extra attention!

  • Location was good. It is not a crazy prime location or anything, but we were not tucked in a back. One of the entrance was right in front of our booth, so we got decent traffic.

  • I also watch some anime and read manga, so I got stuff to talk to our guests who are mostly anime fan

  • The neighbor booths are pretty great. They drew a good amount of traffic, and some spill over to us.

Things that did not go well

  • I underestimated how physically draining it was. My legs were dead after the first day. After the 3rd day, my throat also hurt.

  • Mentally, I was also drained. Talking to hundreds and hundreds of people for 3 days straight is not my idea of a good time. If you are an introvert, get prepared, and plan some alone time during the event. Get someone to run the booth for you so you can take breaks.

  • We ran out of papers for “Draw A Rabbit” and had to have people draw on the other side of the page. Not good.

  • I was planning to use the TV again, but the power cord got damaged during transportation. I only spent $90 on it. Still, that sucked.

Things you need to know

  • Lighting: depending on the location, your booth may not be well lit. Make sure to get lights. It’s also great to attract people. We got a lantern and table lights.

  • Power outlet: bring at least 2. I only bought 1, and the power supply was not long enough to reach some sections of my booth. I had to borrow one from the organizer.

  • Bring extra chairs: I didn’t think of this but my wife suggested that we bring extra chairs. It turned out to be a great idea because sometimes you just get people to sit and relax on one of the chairs. That makes the booth seem busier. More attention!

  • I didn’t think of this, but most people have terrible handwriting and it is hard to read their email. Make sure if you have people writing down your email, double check if you can read it. In retrospect, I should have spent more time in a better system of gathering email and have a dedicated station for people to type in emails.

  • Bring clamps and clip ties. They are so useful in so many little things. I even use a clamp to balance my falling vertical banner.

  • You definitely need a dolly or a wagon of some sort. I can’t imagine carrying everything from the parking spot to the booth without a wagon.

  • Most people don’t care about the details of your game. They just need to know: genres, platforms, when it come out. They can get the rest from seeing the gameplay or playing the demo. I spent a bit more time in the art direction, but I think it didn’t matter much in the end.

  • If music is important to your game, bring a headset. It is always so loud.

  • Also, bring tissue and hand sanitizer to clean the controller and the headset. Some people wouldn’t touch the controller if they didn’t put sanitizer on it.

  • Don’t run a booth alone. Get help, use the script, and take breaks. Walk around the convention and talk to other vendor/exhibitors. I ran into some really cool people that I plan to keep in my network of contacts.

Other random stuff

  • A fan of my older flash games (Ge.Ne.Sis) sent someone over to say hi. It was super cool. I also met someone who recognized the main character in Rabbit Hole and asked if I made Ge.Ne.Sis 7 years ago. Crazy stuff.

  • I met these guys who came all the way from Tokyo for the expo. Their comic book app is actually very nice, and the owner of the booth is super nice. You should definitely check them out and give them some supports: link here.

  • I found these Turtle Tee people and they were collecting emails by just handing out these business cards and have people writing down emails for random prizes. It is a good ideal, maybe I will steal this idea for the next expo.

So, was it worth it?

There were ups and downs, but it is totally worth it. The experience of running the actual booth is indispensable, and our email list grew by a whopping 350. I suspect some of the guests will unsubscribe later because people are just terrible at saying “No” face to face. However, we found some true fans and most of the list should remain intact. More importantly, I have a new story to tell, an experience to share, and a renewed motivation to complete the project.

Thank you for reading. If you are a creative individual who wants to show off your work to the world one day, I hope this blog was somewhat useful. Got any questions or comments, I can be reached at pretty much all these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Discord!

Follow our progress with Rabbit Hole on my studio website: 1manstudio.net

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Free This Weekend – Eador. Masters of the Broken World

In celebration of its 5 year anniversary, you can add Eador. Masters of the Broken World to your account for FREE starting now until Sunday at 6pm Pacific! Once you add the game, it will remain in your account permanently.

Eador is a universe made of countless shards of land drifting in the Great Nothing. Each of the shards is a little world unto itself, with geography and denizens of its own. The power over the shards is bitterly contested by Masters, the immortal beings mortals believe to be gods. Take the role of the mighty Master and shape the destiny of Eador! It is in your power to deliver the world from ultimate destruction – or to choke it with an iron fist of tyranny. Eador: Masters of the Broken World is a turn-based fantasy strategy game, where the decisions you make affect the world even deeper than the battles you win.

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Daedalic Publisher Weekend, Up to 90% Off!!

Eador. Masters of the Broken World – Valve

In celebration of its 5 year anniversary, you can add Eador. Masters of the Broken World to your account for FREE starting now until Sunday at 6pm Pacific! Once you add the game, it will remain in your account permanently.

Eador is a universe made of countless shards of land drifting in the Great Nothing. Each of the shards is a little world unto itself, with geography and denizens of its own. The power over the shards is bitterly contested by Masters, the immortal beings mortals believe to be gods. Take the role of the mighty Master and shape the destiny of Eador! It is in your power to deliver the world from ultimate destruction – or to choke it with an iron fist of tyranny. Eador: Masters of the Broken World is a turn-based fantasy strategy game, where the decisions you make affect the world even deeper than the battles you win.

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Loot boxes with real-world value deemed unlawful in The Netherlands

Developers looking to launch their games in the Netherlands might want to avoid loot boxes after the region’s Gaming Authority found that some implementations violate the Betting and Gaming Act. 

The Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA) had been investigating loot box usage in 10 unnamed titles after concerns were raised by players, parents, and those working in addiction care.

It found that four of those 10 games are currently breaking the law by offering random prizes that have real-world value without letting players influence the outcome.

As reported by Dutch website NOS (via Reddit), the publishers of those four mystery titles (rumored to be FIFA 18, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Rocket League) have been told to amend their loot box model within the next eight weeks. If they fail to do so, the gambling authority could hit them with a fine or even pull the offending titles from sale. 

The NGA claims offering “games of chance” to Dutch consumers is prohibited without a license, and believes loot boxes are very similar to gambling games like slot machines and roulette in terms of design and mechanics. 

It took no legal issue with the other six titles as they don’t offer loot box rewards with any real-world worth or market value, although the group still feels loot boxes in general pose an addiction risk — namely because they’re aimed towards younger people.

“As a result of opening loot boxes, socially vulnerable groups such as young people could eventually be encouraged to play other games of chance. The risk of gambling addiction in this group is many times higher than in adults,” reads the study. 

“To date, the Netherlands Gaming Authority has not observed any suitable control measures taken by the providers of games with loot boxes to exclude vulnerable groups and prevent gambling addiction.”

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