Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Not Sure What To Play On International Tabletop Day? Let Us Help

In light of International Tabletop Day, we've rounded up our coverage of the best tabletop games for you to peruse.

We've seen fantastic concepts come to life, including this Dark Souls board game that hit $ 1 million on Kickstarter in just 24 hours. Others include Depths of Durangrar, a board game you play in complete darkness, and video game themed tabletop games based on titles such as Gears of War and The Witcher. Click the links below to check out each board game. For more, you can also check out our top tabletop picks of 2015 and 2014.

Noteworthy Tabletop Games:

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Depths Of Durangrar

Krosmaster Arena

Armello

Eclipse

Tannhäuser


Tabletop Games Based Off Popular Franchises:

Ghostbusters

Star Wars

Video Game Themed Tabletop Games:

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Mobile games help China leapfrog Japan on iOS revenue charts

App Annie’s latest mobile index shows the region’s growth was driven “almost entirely by games,” and was centred around a group of core titles including Fantasy Westward Journey and Hero Moba. …


Gamasutra News

Blog: Why teaching about visual design will help character artists

“If master digital sculptors would mentally synthesize their knowledge about what is driving their designs, in incremental steps, then their preferred visual language would be established as a set of rules.” …


Gamasutra News

HOVR Hopes To Help Gamers Lose Weight Just By Sitting

It’s everyone’s dream to burn calories while sitting. HOVR hopes to make that a reality with a Mayo Clinic-certified device that is designed to make the most of your sedentary time.

HOVR is a pair of discs connected by a metal bar that either attach to the underside of your desk or sit on a moveable stand. Users place their feet on the discs and move freely, simulating walking.

The Chicago-based company says that this increases non-exercise calorie burn by 17 percent and can help people chained to a desk meet activity targets recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. HOVR is currently raising funds on IndieGogo, with shipments projected in July.

HOVR founders include Ronald Mochizuki, an MD specializing in rehabilitation and personal trainer John Godoy. In addition to Mayo Clinic endorsement, HOVR was tested by the the University of Illinois at Chicago, which confirms that use of the device can burn “significantly more” calories than sitting and won’t cause users to be distracted from their desk work.  

Pricing is set at $ 44 for a desk-mounted unit and $ 79 for one with a stand. Retail cost will be higher than Indiegogo backer pricing. 

Having not used the device, it’s hard to judge how comfortable and intrusive it is. However, with more of us working at desks all day (and then gaming all night), burning a few extra calories doesn’t sound like a bad deal.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

HOVR Hopes To Help Gamers Lose Weight Just By Sitting

It’s everyone’s dream to burn calories while sitting. HOVR hopes to make that a reality with a Mayo Clinic-certified device that is designed to make the most of your sedentary time.

HOVR is a pair of discs connected by a metal bar that either attach to the underside of your desk or sit on a moveable stand. Users place their feet on the discs and move freely, simulating walking.

The Chicago-based company says that this increases non-exercise calorie burn by 17 percent and can help people chained to a desk meet activity targets recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. HOVR is currently raising funds on IndieGogo, with shipments projected in July.

HOVR founders include Ronald Mochizuki, an MD specializing in rehabilitation and personal trainer John Godoy. In addition to Mayo Clinic endorsement, HOVR was tested by the the University of Illinois at Chicago, which confirms that use of the device can burn “significantly more” calories than sitting and won’t cause users to be distracted from their desk work.  

Pricing is set at $ 44 for a desk-mounted unit and $ 79 for one with a stand. Retail cost will be higher than Indiegogo backer pricing. 

Having not used the device, it’s hard to judge how comfortable and intrusive it is. However, with more of us working at desks all day (and then gaming all night), burning a few extra calories doesn’t sound like a bad deal.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Eight Tips From The Division Devs To Help You Get Some Sweet Loot

Yesterday, I ventured into New York City (the real one, not the plague-ridden version in The Division) to catch up with two members of The Division team. Producer Tony Sturtzel and game director Terry Spier from Red Storm shared some tips to get the most out of your early hours.

We also pried out a secret waiting for intrepid agents. They wouldn’t get too specific, but the hints have us excited for what might be waiting on the streets of New York.

Get Hard!
You can play The Division alone, taking on missions to restore New York City to its former glory. However, Ubisoft Massive and its cohort studios (Red Storm, Reflections, and Annecy) built The Division for cooperative play.

You can get a leg up early on by rounding up your team and pushing yourself to the limits. “Maybe I’m kind of a sucker for pain, but I recommend doing as many hard missions as possible first, even if you’re under-geared,” Spier says. “The kind of gear you get from hard missions is going to push you over the curve. You’ll get better faster if you do a main mission and then do it on hard right away.”

You’ve Got a Friend in Me
Even if you don’t have friends online, keep an eye on what other agents are doing. Stepping in to help someone in trouble might end up benefitting you in the long-run. 

“Find some friends to group up with,” Sturtzel says. “One of the best ways to do that is to help people out, especially in the Dark Zone. If you help someone finish their extraction (and you don’t shoot them), chances are you can partner up to get through some of the harder areas. That inevitably is going to lead to better gear. It’s all about leveling. We’re an RPG.”

Be a Specialist, Not a Jack-of-all-Trades
You’ll notice early on that you have three main branches to put stat points into. You'll be shunted into the Medical branch early on, with Tech and Security missions requiring a higher level to complete.

You can re-spec at any time, so there’s no harm in driving right down the Medical lane. But once you have access to more skills, you’ll still be better positioned if you hone in and specialize. Don't worry, you can change things up on the fly later if you don't like your selections.

The same goes for your gear. You want to equip yourself with gear that boosts one of the three main stats: health, firearms (damage), and electronics (skill power).

“Pick a stat,” Spier says. “Everyone has their own play style, but find the gear with the stat that you want to focus on. If you want to crunch out the DPS, or high health, or your skills to really kill people, don’t just generalize. Find the gear that has the stats you want.”

The emphasis on these stats might mean choosing a weapon with lower damage output that focuses on your key attribute. We don’t know the extent of the min-maxing players can do, but these top-level choices matter.

Part of those decisions come in the form of weapon mods. We saw a bit of it in the beta, but there’s more to explore.

“They help you drill down a lot more into your specific play style,” Sturtzel says. “So you may be maximizing your skill power, but a mod may have a talent on it.” Putting together a build that takes into account gear, weapons, and mod talents and attributes will allow you to tune to maximize your specific approach.

Follow the Boy Scout Motto
Because you can re-spec your skills at any point, The Division offers flexibility. From one play session to the next, you can be a tank, a healer, or dish out DPS. However, you might be missing one important piece of the puzzle: gear.

It’s all well and good to change up your skills, but if you don’t have the weapons, mods, and gear in support, you’re not going to be as effective. 

“Assuming you’ve prepared for this moment, and you have the gear for health and you’ve got the healing skills (assuming you’ve unlocked them through the campaign), it’s fast,” Spier says. You can re-mod a gun on the fly, and mods aren’t consumed if removed from a weapon. You just want to make sure you’re prepared and carrying the right gear with you to fully make the change. 

Playing Casually? Don’t Go to the Dark Zone
In addition to the strictly cooperative aspects, there is a player-vs-player-vs-A.I. area called the Dark Zone. There, you’ll be able to find great loot, but also run the risk of losing it to other players that have turned rogue. Red Storm suggests that you keep your wits about you when entering this difficult area. If you want to play more casually, stick to the PvE zones.

“You can’t mess around in the Dark Zone,” Spier says. “If you just want to laze around, don’t go to the Dark Zone, because you’ll lose. It’s difficult from an A.I. perspective. You have to be on.”

In the Dark Zone, you can turn rogue by attacking other players. The benefit is that you can bypass much of the work tied to getting the best loot. The trick is that going rogue marks you for a limited amount of time that grows as you kill more agents.

A bounty will be placed on your head and you'll be hunted. But if you manage to hide and let the timer wind down, you'll get to keep your loot, and the bounty will be yours. Get killed, and your Dark Zone rank goes down, you lose the loot, and someone else will get rich from taking you out.

“The Dark Zone is all about greed,” Spier says. “You want to take a shortcut. The people who have the pretty, little, yellow sack on their back, they’ve done things. They’ve killed AI and looted some chests. You can take that from them. The reward you get from surviving is the rush. How far can you go knowing the entire Dark Zone is after you?”

In order to survive your rogue status, you need to wait for a timer to wind down. Should you manage to outlast the clock, you’ll get the gear, the bounty, a rank boost, and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve outsmarted other agents. But before that timer runs out, you’re marked, and you can’t leave the Dark Zone.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Now You See Me…
This one isn’t going to apply to everyone, but if you happen to have an eye-tracker, you might want to turn it on for The Division. Both the Tobii EyeX and SteelSeries Sentry support a number of gaze-based features. You can use the eye-tracking software to mark enemies for your friends, aim grenades, identify additional cover, and even scale back the user interface so that individual elements are triggered only when you look at that area of the screen.

“Given some time with that system, it’s going to be crazy,” Spier said. “It’s definitely a positive.”

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Easter Eggs
While Spier and Sturtzel were largely quiet about specific hidden items, we did get a few hints. First, we were encouraged to visit well-known landmarks. “If you know a landmark, go there,” Spier says. “You’ll probably find something.” He wouldn’t say just what form that would take, though.

The pair suggest that the Dark Zone is where the best loot can be found, and it also holds some of the game's secrets. Specifically, we were encouraged to explore the subways. “The subways in the Dark Zone? That’s a great place to go to,” Sturtzel says.

“Also, Rockefeller,” Spier suggests. “It’s ridiculous.”

In the real Rockefeller Center, there’s an underground concourse where you can find a subway station. The Division’s subway also connects to the shopping area that exists there in the real New York. “The kind of depth we were able to create there, and the difficulty… it could be one of the most rewarding spots in the game,” Sturtzel says. “It’s not easy.”

Familiar Faces
While we couldn’t get specifics, we were told that there are nods to other Ubisoft games hidden within The Division. If you happen to get a loot drop that looks familiar, let us know. We’re curious what might be lurking in the darkened corners of New York City.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Help Leonardo DiCaprio Grab His First Oscar In This Hilarious Free Game

It’s a tragedy that Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the most respected and revered actors of our time, has never actually won an Oscar. Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage addresses this travesty by letting you control Leo as he vaults over paparazzi to snatch the Oscar he deserves.

There are many obstacles in DiCaprio’s way as he lunges for his glimmering Oscar, which is so close, yet so far away. The player steps over the heads of press photographers, bounds over icebergs, and even has to dodge Lady Gaga after an awkward encounter at this year’s Academy Awards. 

You can collect as many Golden Globe and Emmy’s as you want, but the Oscar is still just out of reach. There are even hilarious minigames interspersed between levels to break them up. You can type up Leo’s acceptance speech, crawl to your car a la The Wolf of Wall Street, or “find the black nominee” in the audience of the ceremony (spoiler alert: you automatically lose because there are none).

Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage takes more satirical jabs at the award-show institution, but it’s best experienced for yourself. If you want to see another person get their hopes shattered, watch Tim endure the horrific Martian Gothic in Super Replay

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Undertale Dev Courted For Wii U Port, Help Offered To Make It Happen

Undertale was one of 2015’s biggest surprises, blending throwback visuals, a quirky narrative, and a twist on turn-based RPG combat. As of now, it’s only on PC, though it isn’t resource intensive and compatible with a wide range of specs.

Yesterday, developer Toby Fox noted on Twitter that Nintendo had approached him for a Wii U port. There’s only one problem, though. The tools Fox used don’t export to Nintendo platforms.

There might be hope, though. Broken Rules, a developer that ported Guacamelee and other titles to Wii U reached out to Fox to offer assistance. 

And while Undertale is far from confirmed for Wii U (or any other platform). However, we may be witnessing the pieces come together in real time. For more on Undertale, check out a recent podcast conversation with Toby Fox.

[Source: Toby Fox on Twitter (1), (2), (3), Broken Rules via Destructoid]

 

Our Take
My personal feelings about Undertale aside, it’s an important game in the landscape. Getting it out to more people, particularly those with different expectations based on platform, will add a new dimension to conversation about the game.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

These Four Awesome Puzzle Games Help Decode Coding

A new crop of puzzle games is blurring the line between
entertainment and education by putting players in the role of a virtual programmer.
They also happen to be among the best puzzle games I've ever played.

People often think of computer programming as a dull and
laborious activity, but writing your own code has more in common with puzzle
games than you might guess. Puzzle games are built on presenting players with a
series of problems and a set of tools to solve them. Programming is no
different, except instead of lining up colored objects or pushing around blocks,
you use variables, statements, and basic mathematical operations to reach the
desired outcome.

That might still sound dull and laborious, but the games
outlined below are among the richest and most rewarding puzzle games I've ever
played. Why? Most puzzle games introduce a set of mechanics and then ply players
with variations on the same theme. The best puzzle games, however, continually
evolve their formulas, providing a steady stream of "a-ha" moments as you
expand your understanding of the tasks at hand.

Suffice it to say, coding is an incredibly deep and complex activity
– the possibilities for what you can do with even a basic programming language are
as varied as the software applications and games you engage with every day. Turning
that learning experience into an entertaining game is simply a matter of introducing
the commands at your disposal in a gradual and understandable way, along with increasingly
complex challenges to apply them to.

The games listed below do just that (though sometimes the
learning curve may occasionally morph into a learning cliff). While all four
games build off of the same principles, they differ in some significant ways.

Robozzle
Platform: iOS, Android,
Web
While its simple visuals may not look like much, Robozzle provides
an excellent introduction to coding because it doesn't require learning an
actual programming language. Instead, players use arrows and colored tiles to teach
their triangular robot how to navigate increasingly intricate paths and pick up stars. At first,
the functions you program are straightforward (move forward three times, then
turn right, etc.), but soon you'll be learning and employing more complex
coding concepts like loops, stacks, and recursion. The Robozzle website allows
players to create and share their own levels, which has resulted in thousands
of engaging and devious challenges to take on. A similar game called LightBot has been developed with the goal of
teaching programming to kids, but as such is far more simplistic.

Human Resource
Machine

Platform: PC, Wii U
By far the most polished and professionally done game on
this list, Human Resource Machine teaches basic coding through a charming
art style that should be familiar to World of Goo fans (thanks to the
overlapping talent of artist/designer Kyle Gabler). As with the subsequent two
games on this list, Human Resource Machine tasks players with taking numbers
and letters provided by the game (delivered to your inbox) and manipulating
them to correspond to the desired outcome (which you drop off in your outbox).
Like with Robozzle, the challenges gradually become more complex: Taking a
number and doubling it is easy enough, but what happens when you have to
multiply two numbers without a multiplication command? Or rearrange a stack of
letters into a specific order? Unlike Robozzle, HRM has you compiling actual
programming commands to add, subtract, copy, and jump your dutiful protagonist
to victory. However, achieving the correct output is only half the challenge –
as with real programming, you'll also want to optimize your code to make it as
concise and fast as possible. HRM's drag-and-drop approach to coding can make sifting
through complicated solutions more confusing than it should be, but the
game contains a satisfying collection of puzzles to test your new-found coding
wit.

Hacked
Platform: Android
Hacked was designed primarily to make coding easier on a
mobile platform, and as such it provides the most true-to-life programming of
any game on this list. Like Human Resource Machine, the game portion of Hacked
requires you to take strings of inputs and manipulate them to produce the
proper outputs. However, you'll be declaring variables, dealing with stacks,
and using a variety of conditional statements just like real programmers in
order to reach the proper solution. Hacked has a steep learning curve (the game
states that some coding knowledge is required), but thankfully this
step-by-step guide
by web developer Andrew Johns should help bridge any
gaps in your knowledge. Hacked also includes a freestyle mode that lets you
program and share your own games with other players from within the app.  

TIS-100
Platform: PC
A fun alternative take on programming, TIS-100 tasks you
with recoding a clunky old computer from the early '80s. Like Human Resource
Machine and Hacked, manipulating inputs into the proper outputs is still the
task du jour, but your resources are extremely limited – you only have a
handful of commands at your disposal, and each programming "node" can only hold
a few lines of code. Optimization is also rewarded, giving you a reason to
revisit completed challenges in hopes of minimizing your lines of code and CPU
usage. Of all the games on this list, TIS-100 has been the most rewarding;
stringing together your bite-sized portions of code to solve complex problems
is extremely satisfying, and conveys the elegance of well-written code. 

The four games listed above won't make you a coding master, but they do a good job of teaching you some of the fundamental concepts of programming. If your interest is piqued or you have a child who might be interested in programming, check out Code.org for a wealth of more education-focused games designed to teach coding, including lessons for specific programming languages like JavaScript and Python.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

This Tool Will Help You Figure Out Your Favorite Game

Popular walkthrough website GameFAQs.com is holding a best game ever poll, which prompted someone online to create a tool to help video game fans figure out they're personal favorite game of all time.

It's a time-consuming endeavor (I stopped doing it at about 30% in order to write up this story) but it's an interesting, often difficult exercise in selecting your favorite games. You can head here to try it yourself. Basically, it takes all 128 games featured on GameFAQs best game ever poll, and pits each one against one another asking you to select your preference. Sometimes (based on your personal preference) the winner is easy, sometimes it's a much more difficult selection. Obviously, not every game is featured on the list, but I bet many, if not all of your favorites, are.

According to its creator, the sorter can take between 127 and 448 "battles" in order to select one final favorite, which is why it has the potential to take some time. I had done about 200 "battles" and was only at about 30%, but fully plan on completing the survey to see which game comes out on top. I'm curious to see if it will differ from my typical favorite game of all time answer, which has been The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time since the first time I beat Ganon with the Master Sword.

Let us know your personal results below.

[Source: slimedrippings.tumblr.com, via Polygon]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed