I’m back baby! After a week away, it’s good to be back!

Welcome to the Daily News!
In the press today…


Niantic, Inc., and The Pokémon Company International today revealed dynamic new ways for Trainers to play and explore together this summer with  significant updates to Pokémon GO. Beginning today, revamped Gyms will begin rolling out to players, while a later update will introduce a brand-new cooperative group gameplay feature, Raid Battles. These features will be added as free updates to the game, which can be downloaded now on the App Store and Google Play.

Coming soon to Trainers worldwide, Gyms in Pokémon GO are undergoing a major upgrade to make ownership more collaborative, and to encourage all players to visit friendly Gyms and engage with them in a variety of new ways. The new Gyms will add a spinnable Photo Disc (just like PokéStops) that will distribute unique items. Trainers will also receive Gym Badges—mementos of adventures that they can level up to earn increased rewards and bonus items at Gyms.

Gyms will now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokémon, and opposing teams will battle Pokémon in the order they were assigned to the Gym. The new motivation system introduces an interactive factor for Pokémon assigned to a Gym that will impact their potential Combat Power (CP). Pokémon defending a Gym will lose motivation over time and as they are defeated, lowering their effective CP and making it easier for opposing teams to defeat them. However, Trainers from the same team can give defending Pokémon Berries to keep them motivated.

Raid Battles, the brand-new cooperative social gameplay experience, will be coming in another update in the weeks ahead. Trainers will have the opportunity to team up with others nearby and work together to defeat extremely powerful Pokémon known as Raid Bosses. Raid Battles are timed in-game events that will temporarily take over a Gym, providing Trainers from all teams the chance to visit the Gym and group up together to challenge the Raid Boss and potentially earn special new items along with an opportunity to catch these Pokémon. Friends can also create Private Raid groups via a customizable code system that allows Trainers to invite their friends to a specific Raid group.

To learn more about Pokémon GO’s new Gym update and upcoming Raid Battles feature, please visit the official Pokémon GO blog at PokemonGOLive.com.

Niantic and The Pokémon Company recently announced a variety of in-game and real-world activities that will bring Trainers together in new and unique ways this summer to celebrate Pokémon GO’s first anniversary. The first live Pokémon GO event organized by Niantic, Pokémon GO Fest, will be hosted in Chicago’s Grant Park on July 22. Tickets for Pokémon GO Fest will be on sale on June 19 at 10:00 a.m. PT at www.PokemonGoLive.com/Fest.

Trainers can also stay up-to-date on Pokémon GO announcements by following the game on Twitter or liking it on Facebook.

Record Breaking Action-Platformer Blasphemous Becomes Most Successful Spanish Kickstarter Game Ever

YouTube trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyskUorhheg

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/828401966/blasphemous-dark-and-brutal-2d-non-linear-platform

Less than a month since its initial Kickstarter campaign was unveiled, the retro-inspired 2D action-platformer Blasphemous has become the most successful Spanish game ever listed on the crowdfunding platform, hurtling towards the $200,000 barrier at a pace.

The game, which packs in fast and frenetic skilled combat with a deep and evocative narrative core, has amassed that figure with just over 5,900 backers, with each pledging an average of $34 in total.

Though this is the final week of the campaign, things aren’t going to slow down, however. Developer The Game Kitchen has added five new goals for its growing fan base, the top end of which – an ambitious $320,000 – will unlock a reward that’s yet to be revealed.

“We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve seen on Kickstarter so far,” offers the game’s Producer, Mauricio Garcia. “To have hit our goals so quickly is amazing, but we want to add more elements to play to give our fans the best possible game we can.

“If we can get to $210,000, we’ll provide Carlos Viola, the composer of the soundtrack, a budget to add real live instruments recorded in a professional studio to the soundtrack. We’d also like to have voice acting to really lift the play, which we’ll add in if we hit $300.000.”

Those who have already supported Blasphemous have been drawn to the dark fantasy nightmare The Game Kitchen has set out to create, delivering a huge universe comprised of non-linear levels. Of particular note is the hand crafted pixel art that helps give the animation an authentically retro look.

Set in the savage land of Orthodoxia where religion dominates the lives of the populace, players will take on the role of The Penitent One, a rogue nomad with a trusty sword by his side.

“We’ve designed the core of Blasphemous around fast, intense and satisfying action combat,” continues Garcia. “Players will fight and slay creatures, each one bigger and more fearsome than the last. They’ll also have to take on epic boss battles as they journey through the lands of Orthodoxia, with enormous and fierce creatures ruling a world dominated by suspicion. It’s a world that our artists have constructed pixel by pixel, delivering distinctive visuals we’re proud to put our name to.”

In development for Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, Blasphemous is the latest game from Spanish studio The Game Kitchen. The studio previously made waves with psychological thriller point-and-click adventure The Last Door, which won scores of awards when it launched back in 2013.

Following the recent announcement of consoles release, Blasphemous backers who pledged $40 to $120 can freely change their original PC pledge by simply selecting the “(Console)” tier counterpart by selecting “Manage your pledge” from the campaign page. Those who pledged over $200 do not need to take any further action as they will be asked the platform of their choice via a form at the end of the campaign.

Finally, anyone who has currently pledged below $25 but would like to receive a console version of Blasphemous as their reward can do so by upgrading their pledge to at least $25 that has “(Console)” on the end of the tier.

In addition to a digital copy of the game on console, pledges at $25 will also receive some nice extra perks such as a digital download of the OST, and your name featured in the game’s credits. For further details on how to back the console version of Blasphemous please check out the latest Kickstarter update.

Funcom counts down to ‘Secret World Legends’ Launch with Mystery ARG

One week to go! On Monday June 26th Funcom is launching ‘Secret World Legends‘, its Free-to-Play reboot of its conspiracy themed massively multiplayer online game ‘The Secret World’. With fully revamped combat mechanics, a redesigned progression system, visual upgrades, and with a greater focus on the player’s journey through the world and its massive storyline, ‘Secret World Legends’ offers a better and more accessible entry into the world myths and legends.

With only one week to go, Funcom is counting down to release by kicking off a mystery ARG (Alternate Reality Game) titled ‘ Kiss of the Revenant’. Focusing on the solving of intricate puzzles and mysteries, in this ARG an unsettling storyteller invites players to take a second look at a tragic love story on the Savage Coast. Players will be challenged to decipher and perform a ritual that crafts an exclusive set of weapons for use in ‘Secret World Legends‘. The ARG is free and accessible to anyone on www.kissoftherevenant.com .

“This is a fantastic throwback to the early days of ‘The Secret World’ when we ran massive ARGs with thousands of players involved,” says Game Director Romain Amiel. “We wanted to give fans an opportunity to experience that excitement again, and it is really the perfect way to get into the spirit of the Secret World universe as enter the final days before launch.”

‘Kiss of the Revenant’ has now started and will run up to launch of the game on June 26th.

For this event, Funcom worked with the gaming studio Alice & Smith. The companies have a track record of teaming up together to make innovative, compelling alternate reality games and puzzle events, including crossovers between ‘ The Secret World’ and Alice & Smith’s own property, ‘The Black Watchmen’. As part of this event, a special edition of ‘Secret World Legends’ will also be available soon on Steam in an ARG bundle including various exclusive in-game items and a copy of ‘The Black Watchmen’.

For more information about ‘ Secret World Legends‘, please visit www.secretworldlegends.com .

EDENGRAD: Game gets a new “War” content update, hits Steam Summer Sale

Edengrad, the immersive MMORPG, has been updated with new content and features. The updated game will be available on Steam Summer Sale.

Edengrad is a hardcore survival MMORPG game rooted in post-apo genre and drawing on the best features of such classics as Fallout, Mad Max and Wasteland.  The game takes place in a world contaminated after many years of global wars. Only a small fraction of society managed to survive the turmoil, but due to heavy pollution, still faced extinction. The chosen ones left the Earth and traveled to Lobos, a planet in the Alpha Centauri, and lost contact with the Earth.  Some of those left behind were lucky enough to find refuge in underground vaults.

After many years, the government regenerated the environment on Earth’s surface using special types of machines known as “Hydra”-class nature generators. In the game, the player  controls a character, who is a great-grandchild of the first residents of one of the vaults and a mercenary for the W.A.R.P. organization.

The developer of Edengrad has enriched the gameplay with completely new features. The players will now be able to engage in, long awaited, wars with other towns. The creators also added new animations, new maps, a new planting system, new construction elements and skills such as “First Aid”, allowing the players to heal their companions. The players will also be able to enjoy a faster and more stable gameplay, due to improved servers.

Steam Summer Sale begins on June 22 2017.

Bot Colony Integrates Microsoft Cognitive Services Speech Capabilities – to Enhance Game Experience

The Bot Colony update shipping today integrates Microsoft’s Cognitive Services speech API. North Side hopes this speech recognition technology will revolutionize the Bot Colony game experience.  “Internal tests show  that Microsoft speech API performs very accurately out- of- the- gate, without training”- says Eugene Joseph, the Bot Colony game designer and author of the Bot Colony sci-fi novel.

Why does this matter? ”For years, online posts criticized voice recognition as a technology not fit for real applications due to lack of precision. The inability to deal with particular accents, noisy environments, ambiguity as to what words to assign to particular audio inputs – posed a formidable problem for North Side: many players bought its game expecting to talk to robots normally and be understood.  Though North Side focuses on natural language understanding ( NLU) technology and is only an integrator  of speech recognition, the quality of the overall experience heavily depends on how well speech recognition performs – as many players choose to speak rather than type. Concern about speech recognition negatively impacting the game became so high that the February 21, 2017 update to Bot Colony encourages players to type instead of speaking.  The Cognitive Services speech  API  now enables the kind of immersive game experience we wanted Bot Colony to offer,” says Joseph.

North Side advertises its Bot Colony videogame as ‘the first intelligent conversation game on the planet’. In Bot Colony players use their own words to investigate mysteries, command robots, or get oriented in the game. Bot Colony has some unique features that push NLU boundaries:  players command robots to manipulate objects in the 3D environment, to erase the traces of an intrusion or dispose of a bomb – using colloquial English. Players can use words like ‘this’, ‘it, ‘the last one’, ‘the blue one’, ‘the one on the stovetop’, ‘the open one’ , ‘the other one’ to refer to objects.

Bot Colony understands English sufficiently well to enable players to conduct a complex investigation – rewarding them with videos of robot observations that are missing pieces of a puzzle.

North Side uses the same NLU pipeline for both the Bot Colony videogame and to enable conversational access to financial services API’s, such as used in banking, insurance or wealth management.

That’s all for the news today…