Try Apple's Photos app in the latest OS X public beta
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 1:55 pm
If you've been anxious to try Apple's Photos app and kick iPhoto to the curb, you now have a (relatively) easy way to do it. The Mac maker has just released the first public beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, which includes the simpler, streamlined imagi...

Free Champion Rotation
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 12:36 pm

This week's free champion rotation has been posted. These champions will become free to play starting tomorrow March 3rd.

March 2 – March 8
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 10:39 am

We find ourselves with another week of a lot of games on the list, and no obvious picks, to me at least, for Game of the Week. The thing is, inevitably some game out of this list that I'd never heard of prior will eke out its own little following and gather momentum.

In some ways, it's made me wonder lately how much having a Game of the Week makes sense. Sure, during the more rich weeks of the fall gaming season it's easier to pick some big-name release to focus on, but for most weeks that doesn't really hold true. "Game of the Week" assumes a little bit of an outdated model where there are high-visibility previews and pre-release marketing that make a big splash, but that's becoming increasingly less common.

As we pack to travel off to PAX East this week, I'm not really going with a huge list of upcoming games that I want to try and learn about. If anything, the more I go to these conventions, the better I get at just being open to discovering something heretofore unknown. Thing is, there's probably something awesome in the list below, and I honestly have no idea what it is yet.

Still, it would be a shame not to pick something and give you guys the opportunity to tell me which game was so obviously robbed, so we'll give this week's GotW to Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2. Last week's first episode appears to have been fairly well received, so here's hoping that Capcom can stick the landing.

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Your Assignment: Achieve Greatness!
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 10:58 am
With The Evil Within’s first DLC releasing next week, you might notice a new title update deploying this week on Steam, PSN, Xbox LIVE. The update will ready the game for DLC compatibility and a detectives-to-be might notice the reveal of The Assignment’s trophies & achievements. If you’d like to be a super sleuth like […]

Skyrim Workshop file limit is now… limitless
Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 11:47 am
Get ready for bigger mods on Steam’s Skyrim Workshop. This week This week we’ve pulled the restraining bolt that restricted mod sizes to 100 mb – allowing you to upload mod projects to the file size your project demands! Before we go live with this feature for everyone, we’re beta testing things this week – […]

Panasonic takes on Dropcam with a 4G-equipped monitoring camera
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 10:30 am
WiFi monitoring cameras, like Dropcam, are great for keeping tabs while your away. But what if there were devices that didn't require that connection, or to be plugged in all the time. Meet Panasonic's Nubo: a 4G-equipped security camera that can sti...

Jolla Tablet shows us what Sailfish OS is capable of
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 10:45 am
When Jolla's first smartphone debuted with Sailfish OS, it didn't leave a great impression with some of our staff. The gesture-heavy UI was confusing to newcomers and offered few advantages over rival mobile platforms. Aside from just being different...

Tinder's paid service launches with a pretty sleazy catch
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 11:32 am
If you didn't think that your opinion of Tinder could go any lower, something new pops up to make you change your mind. The hookup app has reportedly launched its long-awaited paid tier, but in Europe, users will have to overcome something worse than...

Fraudsters take advantage of banks' weak Apple Pay identity checks
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 11:57 am
A mobile payment system is only as secure as its weakest link... and in the case of Apple Pay, it's the banks' ability to verify who you are. The Guardian has learned that thieves are setting up iPhones with stolen IDs and taking advantage of lackada...

Wacom finally outfits its Cintiq 13HD pen display with touch gestures
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 8:00 am
Wacom has a habit of trotting out non-touch versions of its stylus-friendly tech first. The Cintiq 13HD arrived back in 2013, and one of my main gripes with the device was its lack of support for your fingertips. Well, the company finally announced t...

'Light Field' 3D maps take VR broadcasting to the next level
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 8:04 am
Ever since I experienced a live 3D virtual reality broadcast for the first time, I've been giving demos of the technology to anyone who will sit still long enough for me to put a Gear VR on their head. Across the board, the reactions have included at...

Google confirms it'll launch the 'Nexus' of virtual phone networks
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 8:26 am
Google has just confirmed a rumor at Mobile World Congress that many thought unlikely: it'll launch its own "white label" MVNO cell network. That means it'll carry or resell wireless services from larger operators in one way or the other, not unlike,...

Google balloons and drones bring global wireless closer to reality
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 8:30 am
Google's aerial ambitions continue unabated. Need proof? Just talk to Sundar Pichai -- just before he sat down for a Q&A with Bloomberg's Brad Stone at MWC, the Google SVP confirmed the company's internet-beaming Titan drones would take their flight ...

Google's new mobile payment platform is called Android Pay
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 8:42 am
It's shaping up to be a big year for mobile payments, what with Apple Pay enjoying rapid adoption and Samsung finally getting in the game too. Google also has a presence, but it's only very recently decided to ramp up its efforts in this space. Last ...

The Big Picture: HTC's Vive VR headset up close and personal
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 8:56 am
This is what HTC's Vive VR headset looks like in real life. It's not a dummy model, those sensors are fully functional. It's on my actual head. The first thing you may notice (if you don't, check the gallery below), is that it looks a little bigger t...

Intel's new Atom chips cover cheap phones to premium tablets
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 9:04 am
Intel's been slow to transform itself for the new mobile world, but with its latest family of Atom chips it may finally be able to go toe-to-toe with Qualcomm. The chip giant announced the Atom X3, X5 and X7 processors at Mobile World Congress today,...

GAME gets into eSports with the £20 million acquisition of Multiplay
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 9:09 am
It looks like 2015 could be a big year for competitive gaming in the UK. Just weeks after we found out where the UK's first eSports arena will be located, Britain's biggest video game retailer GAME has confirmed it's getting into the tournament busin...

T-Mobile wants your WiFi spectrum to boost its coverage
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 9:43 am
Wireless spectrum is expensive, which is why carriers are eyeing up at the portions of our airwaves that are currently reserved for WiFi. According to GigaOm, T-Mobile is planning to stick its tanks on the WiFi industry's lawn by launching a form of ...

Sneaking In Plain Sight – Why Stealth is Broken as a DDO Play Style
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 7:57 am

Posted in OurDDOSyndicated

Severlin left me dumbfounded. Not because I didn't have things to say, but because I had too many things to say.

Media Link

Ford's foldable e-bike pedals itself when your heart rate goes up
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 6:25 am
At CES in January, Ford threw down its "Smart Mobility Plan" to make transport easier using a combination of cars and electric bikes. Today at MWC, it just revealed the actual "bike" part of that with its "Handle on Mobility" experiment consisting of...

Vodafone deal makes Dropbox a part of your smartphone backups
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 7:09 am
Dropbox just scored a huge deal that will not only put its cloud storage in front of a lot of people, but help you safeguard your smartphone's data. The company has forged a partnership with Vodafone that both gives the carrier's Android and iPhone u...

ISIS threatens Twitter employees after account was blocked
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 7:35 am
Middle Eastern terror group ISIS has apparently threatened the lives of Twitter's employees, as well as that of its chairman, Jack Dorsey. The threat was reportedly made as a response to the service's policy of blocking accounts that directly encoura...

Blackphone launches a new phone and tablet alongside its privacy platform
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 5:19 am
Silent Circle, the outfit behind the security-oriented Blackphone, has just revealed two new handsets and "the world's first enterprise privacy platform." The first Blackphone was unveiled last year for (understandably) paranoid entrepreneurs. It was...

Jolla takes on Android with a promise not to sell your data
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 5:30 am
When Jolla launched its tablet on Indiegogo, it was an instant success. Today that tablet is being shown to the media for the first time at MWC. But, that's not all that the plucky mobile start-up has to reveal. With the new tablet comes the second v...

A multi-layer approach to role-playing
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 March 2015, 4:58 am
Pen & paper tabletop role-playing games are a combination of two very distinctive parts: A mechanical rules part in which your character is a collection of stats and numbers, with dice, mathematics, rules, and tactical decisions deciding what happens. And a "playing a role" part comparable to improvised theater where a character has a background, history, and personality different from that of the player controlling the character, where "what would my character do next" decides what happens.

Since the early days there have always been conflicts between the two parts. Different players prefer different approaches. Some are perfectly happy to play a tabletop game like you play a computer game, as a tactical combat game with numerical character advancement. Others insist on the role-playing being essential, especially in view of the fact that it the part that tends to fall short in the computerized games, and thus is the unique selling proposition for the pen & paper version. Also gamers have a strong tendency to tell other gamers that they are "playing it wrong", and get into pseudo-religious arguments about stuff like this.

When I started my current 4th edition D&D campaign three years ago, I was faced with two problems: A group of players where I knew that not all of them liked to role-play, and a rules system which was new to us and very much on the complicated side. Tons of options (which my players loved), but requiring a lot of rules knowledge and mechanical game preparation by the DM. So at that point I decided to keep the role-playing on the light side. I didn't push anyone to create a character background, and only one player did it voluntarily. And the episodic form of the campaign with the characters not having strong bonds or loyalties, but just being a band of mercenaries traveling from one adventure to the next didn't encourage role-playing either.

Now this campaign is drawing towards the end, and I would like to have a bit more role-playing in the next campaign. We won't change the rules system (because 5E isn't available in French), but at least we are sufficiently familiar with the rules now that we can add role-playing layers to the game without causing a total chaos. I'm going for the Zeitgeist adventure path as campaign, so the world and campaign has a lot of background that can encourage role-playing. But what I still need to overcome is that some of the players might not be terrible interested in the role-playing part. How can I offer role-playing opportunities to those who would like them without forcing those who don't like them?

What I came up with is a multi-layer approach where different levels of role-playing are possible, and there are some house rule incentives to trying them. At the most basic level every character has the same motivation: They are all members of the Royal Homeland Constabulary of Risur, and loyal to king and country. So if in doubt to the question "what would my character do?", this basic premise should already provide a lot of answers. And even that basic level is a lot better for interactive story-telling than the characters being orphans without loyalty or bonds to anything. It is what the Zeitgeist adventure path strongly suggests as premise, because without the loyalty to the king and to Risur a lot of the story of the campaign doesn't make much sense. Imagine Game of Thrones where the various characters would not have bonds and loyalties to their houses, it would make for a much weaker story.

As medium level option for role-playing I decided to use character themes. This is something that has been added to 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons later in its life-cycle, often as part of some campaign setting. Basically a theme describes what your character did before the first adventure starts. The Zeitgeist campaign setting has a list of pre-made character themes that fit into that particular campaign world, for example the Docker, the Gunsmith, or the Skyseer. But there are also some more generic options, like the Aristocrat, Scholar, or Street Urchin. It is character background and history made easy: Choosing a theme from a list is a lot easier than creating a background from scratch by yourself, and as the DM you can make sure that the list of proposed themes fits into the campaign story and is relevant for giving role-playing opportunities. As an incentive for players who are more comfortable to think in min-maxing terms than role-playing, the theme gives access to different skills, and I am going to give every character with a theme or self-made background one additional encounter power which will be based on that background.

For those who really want to get creative with role-playing, I have created an added page for the character sheet using a mix of 13th Age and 5th edition D&D rules. If they want the players can invent a "One Unique Thing", a freely created unique characteristic that sets their character apart from everybody else. They can also choose personality traits like their ideals, or flaws. And their background and personality can then give rise to bonds with places, organisations, or NPCs. Again I'm using a bit of an incentive here, from 5E rules: A player who makes decisions based on the personality and background of his character, especially if those decisions aren't just the strategic or tactical best choice, will get a point of Inspiration, which he can use to roll two dice instead of one in one future dice roll.

The Zeitgeist campaign world is both sufficiently rich in story, and sufficiently open to additions to that story so that I can use all those possible levels of improved character description and create some interesting individual stories besides the main campaign story. Whatever theme or One Unique Thing a player chooses, it will figure somewhere in one of the campaign adventures. But if the players don't want to play along with that, I can also run the whole campaign just on the basic level premise of loyalty to the king and country. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. I will see how it goes.
Tobold's Blog

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