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Fallout Miami Will Allow You To Kill Quest Givers (Not That You Should)

The Fallout universe is full of interesting quests and world-building; some of which can be so out of the ordinary that players find it hard to believe. Of course, in the new Fallout Miami mod for Fallout 4, you’ll be able to kill quest givers. Which means that if you do, you might be missing out on things.

The Fallout world is begging for community mods. The stories that you can tell in the game are nearly limitless—even if they aren’t canon. People are still so interested in telling unique stories, that they are still modding 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas to this day.

However, one of the most ambitious projects is undoubtedly the Fallout Miami mod, which has turned into more of a DLC than a mod. We sat down with the game’s two lead writers to get a better idea of how the quests would work, and they revealed to us that it is possible to kill quest givers in the game.

“Actually, that’s something we discussed a lot. Originally, we intended to make all quest-essential NPCs Protected (meaning they cannot be killed by anyone except the player) and then ultimately decided to make some of them Essential (they cannot be killed, period) until they fulfill a certain role in a quest,” said Ezra Wayne. We’re told to assume that any NPC with a name is probably essential to some part of the story, so you’re not going to want to kill them unless you are asked to.

That being said, there are many ways to complete quests, so even if you are missing an important NPC or three, you’ll be able to progress through the main story (though maybe not the side missions). Of course, that’s probably not the best option, but it is available to you if you decide to make the game more difficult for yourself.

We were told in our interview that player choice is important to the developers of this mod, so they are going to give you as many options as possible to play the way that you like. If you’re going to be a killing machine, though, you should expect the NPCs to treat you as such.

Next: What Nintendo Learned From Disney’s Anti-Consumer Playbook

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Michael spent some time owning and running a bar. He is currently living on wheels with his wife, playing video games, guitar, and watching Pewdiepie comment on memes. #Floorgang

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Facebook opens Messenger API to Instagram messaging for businesses

Facebook is expanding its Messenger API to support Instagram messaging, enabling developers and businesses to integrate messaging from Instagram into other business applications.

The social networking giant has been pushing to unite its various properties including Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram over the past couple of years, and last month the company announced a major milestone in this movement when it started making it possible for Messenger and Instagram users to message each other. While the Messenger API itself doesn’t support cross-app communication, this latest expansion will bring Instagram onto a more equal footing with its Messenger counterpart in terms of its utility as a business communications platform.

Instagram has come a long way since Facebook swooped in with $1 billion to buy the photo-sharing app back in 2012, and with well over 1 billion users it is an attractive proposition for businesses looking to increase their engagement and sales. Indeed, Instagram has long offered myriad tools for businesses, and has emerged as an ecommerce platform in its own right where consumers can discover and buy goods.

By opening the Messenger API to Instagram, this will let businesses access its customers’ conversations from within whatever applications they use as part of their daily workflow, for example customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This means that messages from a customer can be displayed alongside other data relating to them, such as their order history.

Facebook also said that its new Messenger API will also support automated responses for businesses to manage some of the most common inbound enquiries, which is designed to improve response rates to customers’ questions.

The upgraded Messenger API is currently available as part of a beta program with select developers and businesses, such as Adidas, Amaro, Glossier, H&M, Michael Kors, Nars, and Sephora.

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Jumpstart Is The Perfect Way To Get Into (Or Back Into) Magic: The Gathering

Magic: The Gathering is probably the most famous trading card game of all time. It brings beloved fantasy tropes to the table in card form (in fact there’s a D&D expansion coming!), making it universally recognizable in way. But its decades-long history also make it intimidating. What cards does one need to buy to start? How do you build a deck that’s at least somewhat competent? Jumpstart is a new Magic set that throws those questions out the window in favor of fun.

When one walks into their local game store (or opens up online player MTG Arena), all they have to do is look for the white and orange Jumpstart logo. From there, all you need are two 20-card packs. Mash them together and you have a 40-card deck. No deckbuilding required. There’s still the whole “learning the rules” thing, but even that is made a little simpler with Jumpstart.

The 20-card Jumpstart packs are all built around a singular theme – think dogs, pirates, and goblins. These themes carry a distinct strategy. A player should just be able to look at their cards and know what the playstyle is. The depth of Jumpstart comes from mashing up the themes. By choosing which two themes to combine, players make their own strategy. This simple introduction to Magic’s elaborate card combos was part of the inspiration for Jumpstart, according to its designer.

“One of the great things about Magic is how players can mix and match their cards to create new decks and new gameplay,” said Jumpstart designer Mark Heggen. “Jumpstart is a way to get that experience quickly and easily – just shuffle together any two packs and play.”

When it comes to actually playing, Jumpstart is still the same game. It just gives you 46 halves of a deck to mix and match as you choose. “The gameplay strategy isn’t all that different from Magic’s Limited formats: Sealed and Draft. You’re still playing a game of Magic, the deckbuilding is just streamlined,” said Heggen. This makes Jumpstart great for returning Magic fans as well. You can scratch that itch without having to wade into the deep pool of the current meta.

As Magic: The Gathering closes out another successful year, it looks forward to unleashing yet another Core Set. There’s no denying that it’s a game steeped in lore, with the confidence to bask in that proud history. Yet Heggen and the Jumpstart team haven’t forgotten that, at its core, Magic is a fast-paced strategy card game full of unlikely combos. Jumpstart puts those combos – and the hijinks they inspire – front and center for the player’s benefit.

So what happens when players finally use all the available combinations? Is there more Jumpstart on the way?

“We don’t have any plans to announce about future Jumpstart products at the moment,” Heggen answered. “All I can tell you is that we saw how much people enjoyed Jumpstart, and there were a lot of themes that we wanted to do that we didn’t get a chance to print in this set.”

Magic: The Gathering Jumpstart is now available in all regions, both in game stores and through MTG Arena.

NEXT: Continue Your Nathan Fillion-Voiced Starfinder Saga With Alexa

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Sergio is the Lead News Editor for TheGamer. But usually he asks people to call him “Serg” because he wants to sound cool like the guy from System of a Down. He began as a convention reporter for FLiP Magazine and Albany Radio’s The Shaw Report to get free badges to Comic-Con. Eventually he realized he liked talking to game developers and discovering weird new indie games. Now he brings that love of weird games to TheGamer, where he tries to talk about them in clickable ways so you grow to love them too. When he’s not stressing over how to do that, he’s a DM, Cleric of Bahamut, cosplay boyfriend, and occasional actor.

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PC

Baldur’s Gate 3 devs built a testing AI. Then, they tried to defeat it.

It does not eat, it does not sleep. But unlike the Terminator, the quality assurance AI that Larian Studios uses to help test old-school RPG throwback Baldur’s Gate 3 is meant to help people build the most solid video game possible, at a pace much faster than a human could achieve alone.

Quality assurance jobs in video games are some of the most misunderstood positions in the industry. Where the average player imagines that QA testers get paid to play games for a living, the reality is more tedious. Often, testers will spend hours doing things like walking into walls just to make sure the game is solid all the way through, or opening different menus at different points in the game to double-check that it keeps running smoothly. Once a bug is found, QA testers have to find ways to reproduce it so that the development team can fix the issue — at least, if it’s considered an important enough hindrance.

Humans have been doing exactly that for decades, but advances in technology are allowing developers to outsource some of the work to machines that are perfectly suited for endless repetitive tasks. Mossmouth used a Spelunky 2 AI, for example, to help generate random levels that could actually be completed by real players.

Larian Studios started going down this path during the development of 2014’s Divinity: Original Sin, when the company started building a proprietary AI that it now dubs the World Tester.

“In the early years, it was just teleporting an NPC across regions, testing performance markers and looking for basic crashes,” a Larian representative told Polygon over email.

Related

Baldur’s Gate 3 makers tell players to stop being so basic

The “super gamer,” as Larian sometimes calls the AI, works with QA teams to help stress-test player actions and combat, among other things. The second that a new game build is put together, the World Tester digs in before any human lays a finger on it. Sometimes, the Tester will juggle more than one build at the same time, apparently capable of simulating multiple hours of gameplay at once. The QA team will only get involved if the game is stable enough to not fail during its session with the World Tester, which helps save everyone time. The aim isn’t to replace humans. It’s to help humans become more efficient at what they do, Larian said.

Nowhere did this become more apparent than during a showdown that transpired right before the release of the Enhanced Edition of Original Sin. While the Tester was still rudimentary, it could still open and close interfaces extremely quickly — leagues ahead of a living, breathing human being. The programmers who helped shape the AI felt confident that it could get rid of corruption and crashing issues. Notably, the code they had built did not use controller inputs, so the team could hook up a gamepad to meddle with the AI’s affairs.

Hilariously, someone on the team was actually able to start up combat against the AI, eventually defeating it in a one-on-one battle. When it happened, the Larian chief technology officer started screaming that it was “impossible.” Except, it wasn’t. To celebrate the unexpected victory against a superhuman opponent, the dueling developer was promoted to become a principal tester at Larian’s studio in Belgium.

Since then, the AI has only gotten stronger — Larian has expanded its abilities for more sophisticated manipulation of UI, and for sifting through dialogue at “lightning speed,” the studio said. With Baldur’s Gate 3 now available in early access, the World Tester is still being put to good use in 2020. Everything the AI does gets tracked, of course, and at the end of the process, the team parses that data. In the end, the humans still call the shots.

“Our QA teams across the world are extremely important, and the world-tester is really not as smart as it thinks it is,” Larian said.

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