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Watch the Dota 2 International Grand Finals right now

The Dota 2 International Grand Finals are live right now, with Newbee versus ViCi Gaming in a best-of-five matchup. The teams are competing for their piece of the almost-$11 million prize pool. Here's how you can watch (yes, right now):
  • ESPN3: Watch online if you have one of the supported cable subscriptions, or watch via the ESPN apps on consoles.
  • Twitch: The official Dota 2 International channel, complete with all the chat commentary you never knew you wanted.
  • Dota 2: Watch the stream directly on the Dota 2 website.
  • Game client: Load up Dota 2 and enjoy the stream from there.
"At the end of Phase 2 (group stage) there could not have been two teams further apart," the Dota team says. "VG had dominated the entire set of round robin matches ending on top of the standings with a 12-3 record. Newbee on the other hand, squeaked in with a 7-8 record that forced them into a three way TieBreaker."

Yogventures dev breaks down costs of a Kickstarter failure

Developer Winterkewl Games has issued a financial breakdown of its failed Yogventures project, offering insight into how nearly $600,000 in backer pledges was spent without a finished product to show for it.

After wrapping up its Kickstarter project in 2012, Winterkewl weathered a series of setbacks and costly mistakes before calling it quits on the project earlier this month. In one notable gaffe, the project's concept artist departed after two weeks of work, pocketing Winterkewl's lump-sum payment of $35,000 before taking on a job at LucasArts.

While the artist's LucasArts contract prevented them from working on Yogventures and other outside projects, Winterkewl's own contract did not ensure artist exclusivity, nor did it provide a way to recoup its money for failure to render expected services. Winterkewl additionally claims that it gave the Yogscast team $150,000 to create physical Kickstarter rewards and to help hire an additional programmer who never surfaced.

"Since the money was all spent either directly on development of the game or paid to the Yogscast to handle physical rewards and 'licensing fees' I'm afraid Winterkewl Games has a negative balance at this point," Winterkewl's lead developer Kris Vale stated in his final project update. "We don't have any of the money left and as such can't really offer refunds."

Yogscast members announced last week that project backers will receive Steam keys for Nerd Kingdom's in-progress RPG TUG in lieu of refunds.

[Image: Winterkewl Games]

Bethesda: Doom reveal meant to quell negative Id Software chatter

Id Software's upcoming Doom reboot was revealed last week at QuakeCon 2014, though the event's livestream cut out during the presentation. As Bethesda's VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines told PC Gamer, Doom isn't exactly ready to show off, so the developers at id Software were reluctant to offer images of the game up freely for the rest of the world to pick at.

"We're working with them to say, 'How does this work? What do we want to show?'" Hines said. "And they're like, 'Look, we don't want a stream to go up for a game that isn't at the point where we would formally show it to the world, and now that thing is getting picked apart, and digested, and gone through frame-by-frame and getting nitpicked to death, when normally we wouldn't be showing this to anybody at all.'"

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Sims dev hiring for 'unique, emerging IP'

A recent Maxis (The Sims, SimCity) job posting for a Senior Designer sounds like the studio is in the early stages of creating a new brand in the creative genre.

The job posting notes the candidate should have an "understanding [of] other games in the creativity space, including Little Big Planet, Minecraft and its popular mods, Roblox, Disney Infinity, Project Spark, and other upcoming efforts."

EA describes this as a "unique, emerging IP." We'd describe it as another "me too!" move by the publisher to keep shareholders appeased with a genre that requires massive investment and will be past its prime by launch. Oh well, better this than EA trying to push another MOBA in a saturated market. Sorry, another other MOBA.

UK charts: Watch Dogs stands guard, market melts in heat

Watch Dogs notched its fifth UK number one this week, the most for any game in 2014, and that's all well and good. Frankly, the entire country is just too exhausted from the relentless summer heat to notice. Brits are so used to rain, clouds, rain and more rain, so prolonged heatwaves like this one tend to take their toll.

Maybe the heat's even affected games retail in the country, with nationwide sales enduring a 14 percent drop in revenue from the week before as the heat ramped up. Then again, it really doesn't help when you're having a summer drought of new releases.

Since the UK charts refuse to play - it's another week of tiny changes - we're continuing our run of music below the break. In the words of Avicii, wake us up when it's all over.

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Stand your ground or flee for now in Darkwood trailer

Image You can't play ​Darkwood until it shines a light on Early Access on July 24, but you can make a pivotal decision in an adventurer's life: fight or flight? Don't fret too much about your choice – the survival horror game will show you equally-unsettling things either way. [Image: Acid... Continue Reading

Inside My Radio laying down extra tracks for official release

Action platformers might be second nature to you after years of practice, but how many have you played that demand a knack for rhythm for everything but basic movement? You can add Inside My Radio to that shorter list once Seaven Studio finishes helping TurboDindon expand the build that won the Overall and Audio prizes during 2012's Lundun Game #23 Jam.

Inside My Radio follows a little grinning square as he tries to fix the boom box he lives in. While players can freely move left and right, dashes and jumps must be done in unison with an area's beat. Different sections of the stereo will be backed by different styles of music, with the existing build featuring electro and disco-styled stages. Visuals shift to accommodate each genre, complete with our protagonist swapping headphones for a poofy hairdo between the electro to disco-driven dance floors.

The game's website lists a "when it's done" arrival for the finished version on PC and consoles, but if your interest is piqued and you're running a PC, you can try the Lundun build right this minute. Your clicks don't have to match a beat as you make your way to the download link, but it might prepare you for what's ahead.
[Image: Seaven Studio, TurboDindon]

Steam lights a path to PC and Mac for 2D horror game, Claire

It's been awhile since we heard from Claire, the pixelated 2D horror game from Hailstorm Games; almost three years, actually. Having gathered enough votes on Steam Greenlight since then, the game is now complete and available to purchase on Steam.

Claire follows the life of a young girl named Jennifer - just kidding, her name is totally Claire. Anyway, like most young children, Claire has nightmares about the things that go bump in the night. Unlike most children, Claire actually has something to fear, as her nightmares become real and invade the real world. Armed with a flashlight, Claire must explore and survive the darkness as she seeks out her mother.

Claire has been available since the beginning of the month for PC, but Mac users just got their chance at exploring its haunted pixels earlier this week.

[Thanks, David!]
[Image: Hailstorm Games]

Morrowind-meets-Skyrim mod puts out call for voice actors

ME: Single Dark Elf (Dunmer), living in province of Morrowind. Own my mushroom-house, can travel via Siltstrider. Reliable, kind, funny. Recently had makeover to improve face and body.

YOU: A talented voice actor with proper equipment who can contribute to the Skywind mod project that's recreating The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind in the engine of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. Will you be my voice?

CALL: Actually, don't call - head to the TES Renewal Project Forums to get started. Look forward to hearing from you - or should I say "from myself"? ;)
[Image: TES Renewal Project]

Join Risen 3's Demon Hunters faction, kill creepy beasts

When your world's gods have bailed, how do you combat mysterious, unchecked enemies stemming from the darkness? You side with the faction called Demon Hunters, earn a bunch of skills and gear from quests and then trample everything in sight with your newly-earned power. Risen 3: Titan Lords' adventurers will have three allegiances to choose from, though Deep Silver's recent press release and accompanying batch of screens only detail the Demon Hunters.

The Demon Hunters are recovering from a bit of a slump ... okay, slump probably understates a few decades' worth of time. The point is, they're getting back together, arming themselves to restore their once-glorious citadel and reestablish fear in their enemies, which we're assuming would be the demons.

Risen 3 won't reach the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC until August 12, but you can pass some time viewing its landscapes in the gallery below, complete with twisted creatures that look like some prime prey for the Demon Hunters.
[Image: Deep Silver]

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Loot dungeons, pay your village's debt in The Nightmare Cooperative

Surviving in monster-filled dungeons is stressful enough, but in Nightmare Cooperative for PC, Mac and Linux, perseverance is about more than just your own survival. You see, your village's leaders aren't exactly savvy with budgets. They've built monuments for previous Cooperative members, but there are hefty interest rates involved. You'll need to join the Cooperative and go find some gold to keep the village funded, since they're unfortunately also in charge of protecting everyone you care about.

Nightmare Cooperative's tile-based dungeons are filled with beasts, potions and ever-important bars of gold, but all movement is shared between your party. If you'd like your archer to move up and to the right, that's fine, but your warrior will follow the same route, assuming there isn't an obstacle in the way. You can't always spend a dozen turns regrouping your team either, as fresh enemies will spawn after a set number of turns. Clearing a room is a balance of gathering as much treasure as possible and getting out before a party member is slain. Or guided into a pool of acid.

You might also stumble across previous Cooperative members in your journey, who can be recruited to fight alongside you. Nightmare Cooperative is currently on sale for $8.99 on Steam, but you can buy a DRM-free copy directly from Lucky Frame for $9.99.
[Image: Lucky Frame]

Sims 4 gameplay walkthrough reveals Premium membership

EA and Maxis have a new trailer for The Sims 4, and it contains at least one surprise; though maybe not the sort of surprise you're happy to see. During the 20-minute gameplay walkthrough - which you can check out below the break - we see a the image above, which advertises a "Premium" membership for The Sims 4.

In case you're having difficulty reading the screencap, here's the text: "The Sims 4 Premium. Save on new packs with early access and exclusive items. Become a Premium member to get early access to three new packs, with exclusive items. Your Sims can throw a spooky costume party, camp in the great outdoors, and toast to the new year in style."

The Battlefield series has had Premium memberships for awhile now, and there have historically been Premium editions of Sims games, but a membership would be a first for series - if it comes to fruition, that is. Ryan Vaughan, producer on the game, states at the beginning of the gameplay demonstration that everything seen is unfinished and thus, subject to change before release. To see the full trailer, click that handy "Continue Reading" button.

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Crypt of the NecroDancer boogies on Early Access July 30

Break out the shovels, swords and dance pads; roguelike/rhythm hybrid Crypt of the NecroDancer is zombie-shuffle-dancing its way to Steam Early Access on July 30. It will be available for PC, Mac and Linux.

Not everyone will have to wait until the end of the month to practice their dance moves though - developer Brace Yourself Games is also hosting a "NecroThon," a Crypt of the NecroDancer tournament that will benefit charities like Child's Play, Doctors Without Borders and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Participation is by invite-only, but you can still watch and learn more by checking out the event's hub page.

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Defense Grid 2 pre-order rewards grow as orders stack

Hidden Path Entertainment is offering pre-order incentives for Defense Grid 2 on Steam, but it's twisting the standard "you give us money, here are guaranteed bonuses" formula. The store listing shows three different reward tiers, which are unlocked based on the total number of pre-orders placed. Assuming a tier's pre-order threshold is cleared, the related content will be given to anyone who has placed an order.

The first tier has already been surpassed, which includes the Containment expansion for Defense Grid: The Awakening and a digital art book. Tier 2 includes Awakening, the Containment expansion and a 50 percent off coupon for Windborne, Hidden Path's sandbox adventure game that's currently on Early Access. That leaves tier 3, which is dedicated to A Matter of Endurance, an "original audio story" to be penned by Mary Robinette Kowal that will arrive "on or before" Defense Grid 2's launch.

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Dota 2 plus ESPN2 equals televised 2014 International

Valve has announced that streaming service ESPN3 will broadcast the Dota 2 International 2014 this weekend, adding yet another route through which fans and newcomers alike can catch up on the tournament. Valve also announced that ESPN2 will host an exclusive preview of the tournament's final match at 8:30 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, featuring previous game highlights and interviews with players and Gabe Newell.

An ESPN broadcast is just the most recent accomplishment for the championship series, which kicked off yesterday and runs through Monday; thanks to crowdfunding, The International 2014 now holds the record for largest eSports prize pool, with more than $10 million to split between the winners. The line between eSports and traditional sports is becoming blurry, indeed.

Welp, you know what this means: everyone, head to your favorite sports bar and request they turn on ESPN2 on Sunday night. This weekend, Valve is giving us an excuse to go out and still get our video game fix.
[Image: Valve]

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