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Etch Play Roundup (31/01/2020)

Ben Joy
Ben Joy
Client Services Lead (Play) 31 Jan 20207 minutes read

The Play Team are back to bring you their latest updates on what's been taking our fancy this past week!

So ends the first month of 2020 - where has that gone?! This week we've got a guest appearance in the roundup from our resident SEO Wizard, Dean Dowsett, and we're trying to get Pete to play any other game that isn't Rocket League!

joe

I've got mine typed ahead of time this week. If Adam beats me, it's all over.

I've not been playing much this week, but I've been looking around at game jams instead, and a great idea for one kicked off this past Saturday, which I would've taken part in if "real life" hadn't got in the way. My First Game Jam is a jam for first timers or people who want to have an excuse to experiment with new tools, with people on discord available to give help and advice on a wide range of subjects. It ends this Saturday and I'm super excited to see what comes out of it!

Speaking of tooling, Unity 2019.3 dropped this week, which has some cool looking improvements to its post processing effect pipeline and, more importantly, a new flat UI! Unity also announced this very morning that they're moving away from 3 updates and 1 long supported version per year down to 2 updates and a long term supported version per year, which I think is going to be a good move giving them a longer running beta process which hopefully means ending with a more polished feature set rather than portentially rushing another update release out.

Unity wasn't the only engine that got an update this week though, Godot Engine also got updated to 3.2, which contains a huge list of bug fixed and QOL improvements, its really becoming a big player among the indie developers I know.

unity

adam

Well played, Joe 👏.

This week we released a video, featuring The Sims 4 and some insights into Content Design. Check that out here.

Elsewhere on the internet, this deep dive into the world of million-dollar deals is a great primer on the current state of play regarding celebrity streamers. Big business is the new normal, it seems.

Sims 4

dan

After Adam's hyping of it last week, I noticed The Outer Worlds was on Game Pass, so have been taking a look at that. I soon realised however, that I've fallen foul to the confusion that everyone else who is only half paying attention has. That is The Outer Worlds is a completely different game to The Outer Wilds (to which Adam was referencing) coincidentally both released in 2019.

Fortunately The Outer Worlds is also a very good game with a beautiful sci-fi world and humourous dialogue. I'll just add The Outer Wilds to the list to play next!

Outer Worlds

Ben J

This week my attention has basically been focused completely on the start of the Super League season. As a proud Northern boy, Rugby League is in my blood (despite only playing it for a few weeks as a kid until my Mum thought it was too dangerous 😂). I've been on a full on hype for the start of the season and have been taking in as much Rugby League content as I can, from re-watching "As good as it gets" a documentary on Leeds Rhinos, to the 1999 Challenge Cup Final, which I was at in the back row of Wembley as a 5 year old - yet somehow still remember it vividly.

I am currently back in my homeland of Leeds to take it all in with my Dad to watch the games on Sky, with the first game being yesterday night, and will be at my beloved Leeds Rhinos season opener on Sunday in the South Stand with my brother which I cannot wait for!

Apologies anyone who follows me on Twitter - if you thought it was bad in the off-season, the rugby tweets are about to go up a notch!  

Superleague

Ben G

"It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum...and I’m all outta gum"

I felt particularly old this week when I heard that the shareware version of Duke Nukem 3D was released 24 years ago. Apologies if, like me, you're also old enough to have played the original Duke Nukem, which you'll be delighted to know was released 5 years before the 3D version, back in 1991! 😭

Also: 49 weeks until my next birthday. 

Duke Nukem

Pete

Received some really upsetting news this week, Rocket League is ending support for Mac/Linux in March so our lunch time fun will come to an end. On the flip side this will allow us to explore some new games, which I'm excited about.

On the weekend Ben G showed me Red Dead Redemption 2, which I was blown away by, it's stunning and the attention to detail on all the little things is impressive. Makes me want to play it or at least sink my teeth in to an open world adventure game, any recommendations of games for XBOX One I'm all ears 😊

Oh, I also passed 1,400 hours on Rocket League this week!

RDR2

Dean

I've been playing Cities: Skylines, and loving it. However, this week I proved I'm maybe not the best city planner, when I created a brand new (expensive) harbour for my city... In a lake. When I realised my harbour was useless without access to the sea, I decided to dig an access canal down to the water, but unfortunately when I did, the lake drained into the ocean and I am now left with a dry crater full of marooned boats. It cost me $500,000 of in-game currency... I think it's time to reload an earlier save...

Cities Skylines

Lawrence

This week I've been enjoying a new town building/colony management game called Foundation which describes itself as a 'gridless' medieval city builder. I think that sums it up pretty nicely, you get to set up your little town in idyllic rolling green hills next to beautiful blue rivers and lakes and you can make a really organic and natural looking settlement due to the complete lack of any grids.

Complete free-form rotation on all buildings and customisation of larger 'monument' buildings such as markets, keeps and taverns from various customisable parts also contributes to this more realistic appearance. Unusually for this type of historical builder you place residential zones for your people and they choose where to build their little thatched houses. They can be a little picky sometimes and this does lead to some hair pulling moments where you've zoned tons of residential areas but they refuse point-blank to build on any of them, perhaps there's not a church near enough... Or maybe it's a tavern they want.

Overall although it's still early on in development it certainly gives an excellent zen experience and definitely scratches my itch for this sort of game.

Foundation

And we're out!

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