The best board game of 2020 is a poster-sized hidden object game

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Polygon 19 July, 2021 - 04:10pm 52 views

When does GTA tuners come out?

WHEN IS THE NEW GTA ONLINE UPDATE COMING OUT? Rockstar Games has confirmed that the GTA 5 Online Los Santos Tuners DLC has a release date scheduled for Tuesday, July 20. FortniteGTA Online update time: Los Santos Tuners release date news and patch countdown

MicroMacro: Crime City wins the prestigious Spiel des Jahres

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If you’re a fan of board games you’ve likely already heard of Crime City. It’s the work of designer Johannes Sich and the small team at Hard Boiled Games, distributed here in the United States by Pegasus Spiele. The game has been making waves in the tabletop world since its release last year, with many openly wondering if it even qualifies as a board game at all. None can doubt its popularity; print runs have sold out repeatedly over the past eight months. Right now the $29.99 game is being scalped on Amazon for $99.99.

So what is MicroMacro: Crime City? Inside the box is a black-and-white map nearly four feet wide depicting a bustling cartoon city. Also included in the box is a set of 120 cards detailing 16 different crimes. It’s up to players to pore over the elaborate scene with an included magnifying glass, solving the mysteries as they go. It’s basically the physical representation of a hidden-object game, a genre of video games that has been popular for years now. It even seems to ape the black-and-white style of the wildly popular Hidden Folks. Given how derivative the concept is, the success is in some ways surprising.

MicroMacro: Crime City is an artifact that will immediately create interest for everyone at the table. You can play it solo, in a small group, working independently or together all on the same crime. It’s an experience that adapts to any situation, and nearly any setting where you can find a big enough table.

Is MicroMacro: Crime City a great game? I really don’t think so. But, in a tabletop setting at least, it feels different enough to spark curiosity. I think its most important feature is just how simple it is. Most board games require methodical study, and then a kind of performance where you teach others what you know. Here, the cognitive load required to get going is effectively zero, and for a lot of people that’s about all they can muster right now.

Every quest and map, collectible, and side quest

Read full article at Polygon

Classic GTA Mods Pulled by Take-Two Interactive

GameRant 19 July, 2021 - 04:01pm

The publisher infamously pressured OpenIV, a popular Grand Theft Auto 5 modding program, to shut down altogether in 2017, but because of extreme backlash from the community following the removal, the publisher eventually reversed its decision and issued a new set of guidelines for modders. Although now it would appear it is repeating a similar turn of events against the modding community, as old Grand Theft Auto mods for PC have been taken down from ModDB as recently as July 17, with several prominent Vice City and San Andreas modifications being now no longer available.

This was made public by several popular Grand Theft Auto 5 modders, who revealed that their work on earlier games in the series has been completely terminated, citing DMCA claims from publisher Take-Two Interactive. The full breadth of the takedowns is outlined in Twitter user silent's post, which also includes hypotheses and comments from the afflicted mod creators.

Overall, these takedowns have confused many as some of these mods are over a decade old and have existed for a very long time without any issue from Take-Two, with Rockstar Games even releasing an agreement on its website in 2017 regarding PC GTA mods, essentially affirming that mods are fine if they are non-commercial and single-player. But this does not seem to be the case as one of the removed mods include "GTA Underground," a popular free modification that allowed gamers to explore the map of Vice City to Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, a single-player title that is currently sixteen years old.

There is no recent official public statement available from the publisher regarding the sudden change of heart, however, it would appear the agreement was revised in 2019, adding a caution that Take-Two Interactive can disregard the restrictions it established at any time, with no notification required: ‘Take-Two reserves the right to object to any third-party project, or to revise, revoke and/or withdraw this statement at any time in their own discretion."

It's unclear why Take-Two is suddenly pursuing these mods for DMCA violations, years after they were initially posted. Some speculate it may be related to the long-rumored classic GTA remakes. Others have theorized it might be the outcome of GTA 6 with a speculated 2025 release. But this is just conjecture, and as with all unverified claims, they should be taken with a hint of skepticism.

ModDB's management sought to contact Take-Two to fix the dilemma without pulling mods, however, the company was unresponsive. For the time being, ModDB has no choice but to comply with the takedowns.

Grand Theft Auto 5 is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions are currently in development.

Source: Rockstar Games, Screen RantTwitter

GTA Online Los Santos Tuners update: Everything we know

PC Gamer 19 July, 2021 - 10:22am

Get ready to show off your outrageous car collection.

If you want to get a closer look at what's to come, you can check out the trailer above. But for more on what the LS Car Meet is all about, here's what we know about the GTA Online Los Santos Tuners update.

The most significant addition to arrive with the latest GTA Online update is the LS Car Meet. This new social space is found inside an old warehouse in Cypress Flats, where you can join up with friends to check out the vehicles on show or flaunt your own car collection, complete with a test track and various other challenges and features you can unlock via its own reputation system.

But no GTA Online update would be complete without new races and cars, and we'll see new Tuner-based missions alongside the new LS Car Meet. You can also snag the Los Santos Customs Coveralls by stealing and selling a vehicle to LS Customs in Freemode on or after July 20.

There are a total of 17 new cars arriving in GTA Online over the summer, and you can expect to see ten of those when the Los Santos tuners update arrives on July 20. These are:

Look for the telltale signs to locate the LS Car Meet—the warehouse you're looking for is on the edge of town in Cypress Flats and has a 'makeshift finish line' on the road outside. Just don't show up in any weaponised vehicle; you need to leave those at the door.

Once inside, you'll have access to the Test Track, which lets you drive or race cars with your friends, and you can try out new Test Rides from a rotating selection of vehicles. 

This reputation system allows you to unlock additional benefits as you gain each level. These include car customisation options, trade prices on certain vehicles, and access to new race modes. You can earn rep by winning races, logging in daily, and taking advantage of the Test Track feature. And if you've had a hard day behind the wheel, just hanging out at the Car Meet will help you earn rep, too. 

If you're feeling particularly flush, you can fork out GTA$50,000 for a Car Meet Membership which awards you additional perks and privileges. These include Prize Ride Challenges, with the chance to win a 'Prize Ride', giving you access to Merch and Tattoo Shops, as well as a Modding Area. High-level members can customise banner and lighting colours for the Car Meet by creating a Private Takeover.

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Old GTA Mods Being Purged By Take-Two With DMCA Takedowns

Screen Rant 18 July, 2021 - 03:34pm

This is not the first time the developer has gone against the modding community. Back in 2017, the publisher forced OpenIV, a major modding tool for GTA, to shut down completely. Eventually, because of the massive uproar from the community following the takedown, the publisher went back on this decision with a new set of rules for modders. This set of rules changed two years later, however, adding a section that targets all of the game series' biggest and most popular mods. "This does not apply to... (iii) use or importation of other IP (including other Rockstar IP) in the project; or (iv) making new games, stories, missions, or maps." This was already a big disappointment for players hoping for mod support in the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto 6, but now it appears that the company is taking enforcement of this rule to the next level, and not just for GTA 5.

The news hit the mainstream media on July 17 (via Kotaku) as multiple reports from popular modders claimed that their projects for older games in the series were completely taken down following DMCA claims from publisher Take-Two Interactive. A comprehensive post from Ash_735 details the full scale of the takedowns along with theories and reactions from the mod creators affected. Taking a look at the ModDB pages for mods such as GTA: Liberty City, a mod released for Vice City way back in 2005, reveals that the projects have, indeed, been deleted from the site. At the time of writing, Take-Two has been unresponsive to game news outlets as well as the mod creators hit with the takedowns.

One of the targeted creators, Silent, has been very verbal about the company's decision and its effects on the modding community, stating "...now someone either in Rockstar or Take Two decided that they don't need modding anymore and are successively weeding it out, and no one knows how far they are going to take this. I've been modding these games since 2008, but this might be time to go." While Take-Two has earned a reputation for its historical hatred of mods, nobody in the modding community was expecting their work for the older games to still be a target for the massive publisher.

Two popular theories behind these takedowns include the rumors that remasters for these older GTA games are in development or that Take-Two is trying to use the news of the latest GTA Online update to hide the massive DMCA spree, but of course these are just speculation since the publisher remains silent on the matter. It's unfortunate that the publisher has taken such a strong stance against modding, as other games and their communities have greatly benefited from the support of these fan-made modifications. This decision looks to have much larger consequences than the publisher has realized, as many big supporters and creators for Grand Theft Auto are now turning away from the series they loved most.

Sources: Kotaku, Ash_735, Silent, ModDB, Rockstar

Take-Two Is Removing Old GTA Mods Using DMCA Notices

Kotaku 18 July, 2021 - 11:15am

Late last week, players and mod creators began reporting on Twitter and the GTA Forums that old Grand Theft Auto mods on PC were being pulled. On July 17 it became clear that something was going on. Numerous mods, including popular Vice City and San Andreas mods, were deleted and were now no longer available on ModDB.

Some of these mods are extremely old. GTA: Liberty City, a total conversion Vice City mod that ported GTA III to the Vice City engine, was first released back in 2005. It has now been deleted from ModDB. GTA Underground, a popular mod that was trying to merge multiple GTA maps into one massive game, was also removed on July 17. Its developers confirmed via a Discord message that the mod was deleted as a direct result of a DMCA takedown notice from Take-Two Interactive.

Kotaku contacted Rockstar Games about the recent DMCA takedowns but the developer and publisher didn’t respond.

Read More: The Most Popular GTA Mods Over The Last 20 Years

Previously, the publisher in 2017 had come under fire after it forced the popular GTA modding tool software Open IV to shut down. This led to a huge explosion of anger from the GTA modding community. It was so big in fact that eventually Rockstar Games and Take-Two changed its plans and allowed Open IV to return. At the time, the company provided a new set of rules that modders could follow to avoid DMCA takedowns. The main text was saved by PC Gamer in an article from 2017 and could be summed as simply “Don’t mod GTA Online, stick to singleplayer mods and don’t sell your mods.” Simple enough.

But in June 2019 these guidelines changed with this text being added to the rules:

This does not apply to... (iii) use or importation of other IP (including other Rockstar IP) in the project; or (iv) making new games, stories, missions, or maps.

Now, in 2021, it seems Take-Two is going after mods that violate this part of the rules. Though to be clear, these rules were changed with no heads up or warning, and many modders are now left scrambling as to what to do next. Though it should also be noted that the rules posted back in 2017 always stipulated that Take-Two could change the rules at any time or reject any mod for any reason at a later date. Still, this sudden surge in DMCA takedowns surprised many and angered even more.

Take-Two hasn’t been a fan of GTA modders for some time. Earlier this year, the publisher fought to remove Vice City and GTA III reversed engineered source code. Eventually, the developers behind that code were able to get their work back online. But it’s another example of Take-Two’s continued fight against modders. This is an odd stance to take in 2021, when video game mods have become a popular way to keep old games relevant and playable long past their initial release date.

It’s not clear why Take-Two is going DMCA wild now, years after these mods were first released. Some in the community have theorized it could be connected to long-rumored GTA remakes or remasters. Others have speculated that it could be a result of the still not-officially-confirmed GTA 6. But this is all speculation. Only Take-Two knows what’s going on and so far it has remained silent.

So, in what way is the DMCA remotely relevant in this situation? Because it seems like Take-Two is threatening to a bunch of spurious lawsuits to suppress public participation — in which case anti-SLAPP laws apply — an action for which they need to get punched in the face for hard enough to never do it again.

GTA parent company Take-Two is issuing takedown notices to GTA modders

Eurogamer.net 18 July, 2021 - 11:13am

GTA developer Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive, is issuing takedown notices for GTA map mods.

"Just to make sure as many people here know as possible, Take-Two have been going heavy with the DMCAs this week, first starting with GTAV map mods like GTA3 Portland, Vice City Overhaul, etc," writes Ash_735 on the official GTA Forums (thanks, PC Gamer).

As Ash puts it, an agreement to help the publisher and the modding community peacefully coexist was struck a little while back when Take-Two "tried to make modding GTA games illegal".

"Naturally this did not fly well back in 2017 and both gamers and the gaming media attacked Rockstar and Take-Two for this decision," they continue. "Now what came from this is Rockstar Games stepping up and talking to Take-Two to highlight the importance of the modding community and as such the takedowns [were] dropped but some 'rules' were put into place.

"The original [agreement] was drafted up in 2017 and can be summarised as "Don't port maps/vehicles/content from older GTA games or other video games series to RAGE" and 'Stay away from Online, absolutely do not touch Online or anything related to GTA Online'".

Now, however, Ash alleges that the agreement was "updated without informing the community, multiple changes and words were changed to pretty much add in a disclaimer that Take-Two can override any of this and well, Take-Two can do what they want". Apparently, a new rule was also allegedly added that said that as well as not porting content from older games, modders cannot create new content, either - which means they can't do very much of anything anymore.

The issue becomes particularly challenging when players discovered there was no way to compare old and new versions of the agreement, as the page was seemingly "excluded from the Wayback Machine and other archiving websites so people can no longer check what it used to say".

Since yesterday, then, Take-Two has issued mass takedown orders for a number of older GTA mods, including mods that have been featured on GTAF in the Modding Section such as GTA: Underground, which was seemingly due a large update in the next few days, and the 15-year-old project, GTA: Liberty City. Even HD texture projects such as Vice Cry have been targeted, too.

From what the modding community can gather, it looks as though Take-Two's lawyers are scouring modding databases for terms like Liberty City, Vice City, San Andreas, etc. And though no one's entirely sure why Take-Two has enacted this now, some speculate that it's either something to do with the series' highly-anticipated next update, or perhaps a remaster or remake project that will see older GTA games released on current-gen systems.

The news has seen several prolific GTA modders denounce the company for what they consider to be reneging on previous agreements, and are still reeling from the company's efforts to takedown reverse-engineered versions of GTA 3 and Vice City.

ICYMI, Rockstar recently announced its next summer update for GTA Online.

The update, due on 20th July, introduces the Los Santos Tuners, an underground car meet featuring "a gigantic, shared social space" plus Tuner-based missions and races. New races include the self-explanatory Street Race series, the Pursuit series, with sparsely placed checkpoints for players to find their own routes, and Sprint, a point-to-point race in free mode.

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Grand Theft Auto Vice City gets an unofficial port for the Nintendo Switch

Notebookcheck.net 18 July, 2021 - 12:00am

Going by the video, it would seem that Vice City’s running at 30 FPS on the Switch, a step back from the high framerate experience on the official iOS and Android ports. Moreover, because this is a port of the original PC version, and not the enhanced mobile edition, texture resolution is low, and the game misses out on real-time reflections on vehicles. All in all, however, it’s great to see the Rockstar classic running on Switch in any form, since the Nintendo console missed out on an official port. 

This isn’t the only interesting thing modders have managed to accomplish with Vice City. Earlier, modders were working on bringing ray-tracing to the game via Renderhook, along with AI-enhanced textures. While you’ll need a beefy GPU to handle the extra effects, the visuals look stunning for a game that’s nearly 20 years old. 

Check out the Nintendo Switch here on Amazon.

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