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this week’s CoolGames Inc animation features “50 First States,” our dating simulator about dating every state in the union. a lot of work went into this - we hope you enjoy it!!!

(huge thanks to @charmwitch for the character designs!)

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This is the decision I’ve made, but I have no regrets for my figure skating career. This is an enormous decision for me, but I believe it is only one waypoint in the journey of my life. From here on I want to find new dreams and goals, and to keep moving forward, never forgetting to smile.” 

Austin is doing an AMA over on reddit. A user named VOxus asked him about his most valuable lessons learned while at Giant Bomb, and he had this to say:

“ Good (and difficult) question, so let’s start with this one!I learned a ton from my time at GB—I cannot begin to overstate the wisdom that was imparted on by everyone there. Really, really hard to push So here’s a lesson I from everyone:

-Vinny taught me the value of of a backup plan—and how to face the fact that sometimes, even your backup’s backup fails. I remember when Vinny told me that our quick look system had three redundancies. I laughed at how surreal that was. Less than a week later, the initial recording and two of those three backups totally failed. I was very grateful for that third one.

-Alex taught me how to push forward on a shitty day. Alex and I both have a great deal in common in terms of our, uh, cloudy demeanors, let’s say. But Alex was an incredible professional, and even on the days where things were rough as hell, he managed to put his nose to the stone

-Jeff taught me that it’s less about perfection, and it’s more about cadence. Every swing you take will not be a home run—both as a creator and journalist and also as a person—but if you can consistently, reliably do solid work, people will follow you.

-Rorie taught me the value of prioritization. Matt is just… super busy over there, and he constantly has to decide what challenges are things he needs to address immediately and which things need to be saved for tomorrow.

-Drew showed me the courage (and the deftness) it takes to bring really, really esoteric interests to a wide audience. Things like the Crusader Kings 2 stream or the Twilight Struggle Quick Look (which I did with Drew) never would’ve happened if he didn’t prove that if you bring a fun personality and a lot of patience, you can share your weirdest interests with people.

-Jason is a living example of grit. Long nights of setup were worth it, because tomorrow it meant that things would be that much easier. And longer nights of breakdown were worth it because hey, you were done. If I’m every a tenth of the professional Jason is, I’ll be able to get a ton done even on the hardest nights

-Dan and I bonded over our social anxiety. His ability to step out into a crowd—but also to know that it’s okay to step away when you need to was a very important lesson for me.

-Brad taught me how to deal with criticism. That’s not a joke, either. There were weeks where I saw fans of ours pile onto him unfairly—unaware of whatever really difficult task he was hard at work at accomplishing—and he was just fucking head down on what had to get done. But he also listened when people had real, important, constructive critique. Super important lesson

-While I was there, I also worked with a dude named Stan who you probably don’t know, but Stan absolutely taught me the value of working with people who understand the big picture. I’m a humanities dude, you know? I resist stats and charts and all that. Stan showed me how those things could inform my work without forcing it to change in a way I wasn’t happy with.

-Patrick was obviously gone by the time I arrived, but watching his whole career (and now being lucky enough to work with him on a daily basis), he’s taught me a ton about the value of being curious. Dig deeper. The story isn’t the obvious thing, it’s the next level down. Always take that next step.

-And while I was never lucky enough to know Ryan, as a fan, I was keenly aware of his amazing way of bringing a room of people together. In prepping for our huge 72 hour livestream, I thought a lot about how well Ryan was able to find common ground between people who had very little to do with each other. He was a master MC, and I aspire to bring even a fraction of the joy he brought others.”

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Your friendly neighborhood Austin Walker dropping by Jaden Smith’s stream to say some real shit.

An entire day on the Makalu Basecamp trail spent in shadow of this peak, Mahali, a six-thousander in the Makalu-Barun region. The mountain keeps grunting and groaning through the day, as ice blocks melt and reshape.

ALL FUTURE HALO SHOOTERS WILL HAVE SPLIT-SCREEN SUPPORT

Today at DICE 2017, 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross confirmed that all future FPS Halo games will have split-screen multiplayer.

During her talk, titled “Stewards of a Sci-Fi Universe,” Ross discussed some of the lessons that 343 has learned over the past few years, including the rough multiplayer launch of The Master Chief Collection, as well as the lack of split-screen multiplayer in Halo 5: Guardians, noting it’s “incredibly painful for the community” and for those at the studio. As such, Ross confirmed that “for any FPS going out forward, we will always have split-screen.”

The lack of split-screen support in any of Halo 5’s modes received a lot of backlash from the community. At the time, 343 said it was a “tough” choice that was made so the studio wouldn’t have to compromise on Halo 5’s “massive scale environments, improved AI behavior, increased visual and gameplay fidelity.”

She also discussed the studio’s approach to storytelling going forward, saying, “while we love our transmedia, sometimes I do think we tell a little bit too much story in our games.” So, with future Halo titles, Ross said 343 plans to keep the game stories simpler and use transmedia to tell the deeper narratives.

She used the approach taken in the recently-released Halo Wars 2 as an example of how 343 plans to tell stories in its games going forward. Read IGN’s Halo Wars 2 review for our thoughts on the RTS game, which we found offers “a dose of Halo-Universe flavor with a decent story.”

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Halo 5’s Clan System, Spartan Companies, Launches Today

Halo 5: Guardians includes a system for supporting clans, Microsoft and 343 Industries announced today.

Known as Spartan Companies, these allow for up to 100 players to form a group to play with.

Companies have access to private forums through Halo Waypoint, where they can also view stats and profiles for others members of the group. Companies themselves also have profile pages that can be customized with banners, descriptions, mottos, and customizable emblems.

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It occurs to me that, in lieu of a due north or even a compass, it’d make sense for some dragons, mostly wind dragons in all likeliness, to actually navigate by way of the Behemoth. 

Unless you’re in the far reaches of the world, it’s probably a pretty good waypoint.