Articles by Luke Plunkett

Mod Turns Stellaris Into Star Trek

If you thought Paradox’s grand strategy game Stellaris sounded very Star Trekky with its big alien alliances and deep space exploration, you are not alone. Stellaris: The Kotaku Review Stellaris is a space opera, played out in three acts. Read more Star Trek: Infinities is an ambitious mod project that is overhauling the base game’s factions and ships with those from Star Trek. It’s a good fit! I guess Mass Effect could work too, but when you look at how Stellaris’ universe works and what you have to do in the game, it’s no wonder a Star Trek mod was one of the first things people thought of. Advertisement Here’s a trailer from last year, when things were very early: And here’s a more recent playthrough from GB Gaming showing how it’s come along since: It’s looking good so far—so good that it won an award from ModDB last year—and just added a bunch of Klingon stuff to the game. If you want to keep track of it as it goes along (it’s not ready for mass downloads yet) you can do that here. Luke Plunkett is a Contributing Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on…

Skull & Bones' Pirate Art Is Excellent

Ubisoft’s Skull & Bones looked good at E3, but boy, this concept art for the game is looking real good. These pieces are all by Kobe Sek, a Ubisoft artist whose pirate work (on Black Flag) we’ve featured previously on the site. You can see more of Kobe’s work at his ArtStation page. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

The Black & The White

Riana Møller is an artist from Denmark who in addition to working in games has also written and illustrated her own comic book. You can see more of Riana’s work at her ArtStation page. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! More Fine Art: The Art Of Persona 5 The Art Of Mass Effect: Andromeda The Art of Bungie’s Destiny The Art Of The Witcher 3 The Art Of Prey The Art Of Battlefield 1 The Art Of Uncharted 4 The Art Of Blizzard’s Heroes Of The Storm The Art Of Horizon: Zero Dawn READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

figma

Here Is A Very Sweet Kirby Action Figure

Figma will be releasing a couple of Kirby Nendoroid figures later this year, one a re-release of their original Kirby, the other a brand new Ice Kirby. They’ve got umbrellas, Link’s hat and one is either sucking in or throwing up a star, and it looks kinda gross. Both come with alternate facial expressions and some bonus items, will be out in December, and will cost around USD$40 from importers. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

gamescom

Normally you’d expect a video game event to be ceremonially opened by, say, a video game executive,

Normally you’d expect a video game event to be ceremonially opened by, say, a video game executive, but Europe’s big 2017 show—GamesCom, in Köln—will be kicked off on August 22 by none other than the Leader Of The Free World herself, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Surprise, A Long-Lost Homeworld Game Is Now For Sale Again

Homeworld, a space strategy game that is almost perfect, was just the first of three releases in the series around the turn of the millennium. The first two games have been remastered and re-released for a while now, but the third and I think best—Homeworld: Cataclysm—has long been assumed lost. Until now. Homeworld: The Return Of A Game That’s Almost Perfect Playing through Homeworld again after all these years is weird. Read more Gearbox and GOG today announced a surprise re-release, with the catch that it now has a new name (Homeworld: Emergence) to avoid legal troubles with Blizzard, who thanks to World of WarCraft have claim to the term “Cataclysm”. Advertisement Emergence was a weird one in the series timeline. Beginning life as an expansion, it grew during development into a full-blown standalone game. While sharing the same overall premise and control scheme of the first two games, it wasn’t developed by Relic, instead being handled by Barking Dog Studios. The refinements it made to Relic’s existing systems, though—chief among them the ability to speed up time and modify your ships—made it a fan favourite. It had long been assumed by fans—and Gearbox themselves as recently as 2015—that the…

fine art

I Don't Think Fire Is Going To Work, My Man

Hakob Minasian is a concept artist at Treyarch where he’s worked on games like Black Ops 3. You can see more of Hakob’s work at his ArtStation page. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! More Fine Art: The Art Of Persona 5 The Art Of Mass Effect: Andromeda The Art of Bungie’s Destiny The Art Of The Witcher 3 READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

e3

E3's Iconic Game Ads Are Painted By Hand

GIF Every June, the giant video game images adorning the walls of the Hotel Figueroa in LA are one of the stars of E3. I’d always thought they were just enormous posters, but nope, turns out they’re actually painted by hand. Many of the more recent ads have been done by a company/group of artists called Walldogs, who specialize in creating huge advertisement murals. Here are some shots of their work for this year’s E3, when the Figueroa was done up in Battlefront II images: See how Darth Maul’s face is missing? And here’s the finished article: To give you an idea of how painstaking this work can be, but also how cool it looks when it all comes together, here’s an old timelapse video showing Walldogs’ painting of Skyrim’s ad for Bethesda in 2011: And here’s an interview with Bloomberg from 2014, where you can learn more about how the work is done, and the advantages hand-painting such an enormous space has over just printing huge posters: READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

boktai

The Kojima Game That Made You Play In The Sun

Hideo Kojima is famous for being the driving force behind stuff like Metal Gear and Snatcher. But today, we’re going to talk about another of his games: Boktai, a quirky little Game Boy Advance title that asked the player to go outside and get some sun. Snatcher, Hideo Kojima’s Adventure Masterpiece Most people know, and love, Japanese developer Hideo Kojima for the Metal Gear series, a franchise… Read more While that sounds…odd, it was for a very good reason: not only was Boktai the story of a vampire hunter who was more powerful during the daylight hours, but to ensure that these powers were properly timed, the game’s cartridge included a daylight sensor at the top. The sensor is that little round thing, which would be able to detech sunlight since the GBA’s design meant the end of the cartridge was always protruding | Image: National Museum Of Play When you first fire up the game, you get this helpful message: GIF You were then asked to input the time and your timezone, and Boktai would adjust to your location and match the daylight in the game accordingly (so READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

kotaku core

PC Shooter Removes Single Tree From Game, Just For One Guy

A few weeks back, SprayAndPlay made a request that a single tree (pictured) be taken out of Tripwire’s Rising Sun 2: Vietnam, a multiplayer PC shooter released earlier this year. And now, the tree is gone. On the surface, it seems like an odd request. But when you hear the explanation, it starts to make more sense: So there’s Huey’s in this game and I love to fly them, favourite role by far. There’s a landing zone with some tree cover fairly close to an objective which I like to try and use when possible but because its so close to the objective I get under heavy fire when I come in for a landing. So what I tend to do is fly extremely low and fast, pull a 180 and land to get my guys out there before an RPG blasts me rotor off. However the exit out of the LZ was blocked by a lone, lanky, thin tree. In the heat of the moment I’d glance out and see an exit and head there only to be met with that tree but I’d keep forgetting about it and I’d repeatedly just smash into it. READ FULL STORY AT…

adventure time

A Very Detailed Look Inside Finn & Jake's House From Adventure Time

Max Degtyarev is an artist from Russia who specialises in cutaways, my most sacred of artistic fetishes. One of his latest works is Adventure Time’s Tree Fort, and it brings a ridiculously detailed and realistic vision to the cartoon universe. Below you’ll see not just the full illustration, but some detail shots as well showing off just how much work/thought went into the image. You can see more of Max’s work at his ArtStation page. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

black mesa

Huh, Black Mesa Is Still Not Finished

I played Half-Life remake Black Mesa, and really liked it! I also in the intervening years completely forgot that it wasn’t technically finished, since it ended on Earth and not, as the original game did, on the alien planet Xen. Black Mesa: The Kotaku Review Fan-made Black Mesa is a remake of Valve’s classic 1998 shooter Half-Life. It’s been in… Read more That’s because Black Mesa’s developers thought, like the rest of us, that Valve’s ending sequence was a bit terrible, and that instead of simply remaking it like they had the rest of the game, they were going to try and make their own Xen and do it better. Advertisement That vision is almost done. The team have said today that their version of Xen will be out in December, a release window they say is a “a do-or-die deadline” (it was supposed to be out around now). In addition to this new final chapter to Gordon’s original adventure, they’re also making a few changes to the existing game like a new dynamic lighting system (see below) and some colour correction. GIF Note that READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

IOS

After Three Years, Someone Actually Beat Threes

Oh, you thought Threes was just an endless little time-waster for subway rides and long lines? Turns out you can actually beat the game, a feat accomplished for the first time a mere three years and four months after Threes was first released. Or, to be more precise, as Threes co-creator Greg Wohlwend points out, that’s 3.33 years. The game was finished by ThreesPorn, who managed to film the event for posterity: Their final score to claim the prize was 1,594,458, which is absolutely bananas. Sorry Jason. Advertisement Advertisement Also, maybe this is just me being weird, but while the accomplishment is amazing, the first thing I think of in a situation like this is that I’m glad whoever spent time and effort making that winning animation finally got to see someone enjoying it. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Track: Line of Sight | Artist: Odesza | Album: A Moment Apart

Track: Line of Sight | Artist: Odesza | Album: A Moment Apart Track: Line of Sight | Artist: Odesza | Album: A Moment Apart Kotaku Soundtrack is a selection of the stuff we’re listening to at the moment. Luke Plunkett is a Contributing Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!