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Microsoft developing a new controller for the less able gamer: Meet the Xbox Adaptive Controller

As a gaming-orientated radio station whose listener and staffing base incorporates many people with disabilities both physical and mental, we at Sanitarium.FM champion any attempt by a major corporation to create technology that caters for the less able user. For that reason, when we heard that Microsoft have unveiled an Xbox One controller designed with the differently-abled in mind, we knew this was something we had to take a look at.

 

A picture of the XBox Adaptive Controller

Officially named the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft’s latest creation – which will actually support both XBox and Windows PCs – is billed as ‘the most flexible adaptive controller made by a major gaming company’. As Microsoft tells it, When a customised controller from non-profit veterans’ organisation Warfighter Engaged caught the eye of a Microsoft engineer back in 2014, Microsoft decided to create its own disability-friendly controller for the following year’s Hackathon, which is where this project began. Refinements followed a year later; but it was the release of the Copilot function – which allows two Xbox One controllers to be treated as a single controller – that led Microsoft to declare their new controller concept ready for launch.

 

In fact, Copilot is actually the key to how this new controller becomes adaptable for a wide range of disabilities. Designed to be used on a desktop surface, the Xbox Adaptive Controller features all number of ports to allow additional controllers, headsets, switches and other assistive devices to expand on its base capabilities, allowing a user to create a custom gaming solution whereby a user can combine many different controls into a workable solution for their own body. The ports are labelled such that the user doesn’t need to turn or pick up the device to see what goes where; and each controller can function as one or more physical buttons according to the user’s needs. The Adaptive Controller itself sports two giant buttons, mapped to the A and B of a standard Xbox controller and with enough spacing to allow a hand to rest in between; along with a D-Pad and other smaller control buttons to the left side.

 

Microsoft have explained the full story behind the controller on their Story Labs, which also gives further details about the upcoming product. The Xbox Adaptive Controller will launch later this year, and will retail for $100 in the US, which is likely to translate to around £100 in the UK after the inclusion of VAT.


May 17th, 2018 by CrimsonShade
Posted in Gaming, General, Technology, Xbox |

Multiplatform Review: Bridge Constructor: Portal

Enter the Aperture Science Enrichment Center and experience Bridge Constructor Portal – the unique merging of the classic Portal™ and Bridge Constructor™ games.

 

 

Deep within the test chambers of Aperture Science, a new branch of research and development is initiated. Welcome, Trainee, to Bridge Constructor: Portal.

 

From developers, ClockStone Studio, and published by HeadUp Games, comes a new addition to the puzzle-based universe of Portal.

 

 

The task is simple enough. Build a bridge to guide forklifts, transporting obviously important Aperture Science Sciencing Materials, from a starting position, to an end position.

 

The challenge comes from an increasingly abstract level layout, alternating start and end positions, adversarial gun turrets, and of course, the iconic portals.

 

The level progression moves at a comfortable pace, which provides a good opportunity to practice each time a new element is added to the game.

 

There are 60 test chambers to work your way through, with two levels of challenge; build a construct that will handle a single truck, or put your engineering abilities to the test, and successfully help a convoy of trucks traverse the chamber!

 

 

A vaguely wobbly bridge might suffice for a single truck, but that wobble might throw off the trajectory of the third driver of the convoy, or there might be insufficient support in your build, and the whole thing might come crashing down; sending you straight back to the drawing board!

 

Aesthetically, the game takes much of it’s style from the Aperture Science infomercials that introduced new mechanics in Portal 2, and it adds a unique charm to the game that instantly makes you feel like you’re back in the Aperture testing chambers.

 

Tutorial assistance, and comments from GLaDOS further add to the game’s appeal.

 

The user interface is minimalistic, yet incredibly functional, with controls that are easy to master, and in the main menu, there is a section for additional tips to improve your constructions.

 

 

Available on Steam, Mac, PS4, XBox One, Switch, and Mobile devices; Bridge Constructor: Portal is a well-designed, easily accessible, and ingenious little game, full of charm, and challenge, that is well worth checking out if you enjoy physics puzzles, or are a fan of the games that preceded this one.

 

It’s a perfect blend of the Bridge Constructor series, and the unique sci-fi world of Portal!

 

Bridge Constructor: Portal is available now on –

STEAM

https://store.steampowered.com/app/684410/Bridge_Constructor_Portal/

Playstation 4

https://store.playstation.com/en-us/product/UP0825-CUSA09729_00-BRIDPORPS4SCEA00

XBox One

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/p/bridge-constructor-portal/bnrx1dn6gxm6

Switch

https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Bridge-Constructor-Portal-1342894.html

 

Just remember that the cake, and the bridge, is a lie.

8.5/10 ~Captain Meatshield


April 27th, 2018 by
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Real Time Strategy, Xbox |

3D Print Your Ships From Star Trek Online!

Remember when it was announced a year or two ago, that soon you’d be able to 3D print your Star Trek Online, and literally within a month of this announcement the company that were going to do it, went under?

 

Guess what? Second time lucky maybe?!

 

That’s right, officially announced on February 20th via the Facebook Page for STO, you will (again) be able to 3D print your ships directly from Star Trek Online and recieve them as a model directly to your mailbox!

 

 

Perfect World & Cryptic have teamed up with the team at Mixed Dimensions with the goal of introducing the custom Star Trek ships into the community of STO fans. The end result will be a 12’ model made of resin which will come in three different tiers. A single colour version, a primed model ready for your painting at home, and a hand painted version, painted by the talented artists at Mixed Dimensions.

 

 

Players will be able to design their own ships in the game, and upload their design to the Mixed Dimensions website for printing. Fans will also be able to order from 20 of the most popular ships in Star Trek Online.

 

At time of writing, there has been no pricing announced, for custom or pre-made ships. And the planned launch is sometime in March 2018.

 

Below are just a few pictures of the Pathfinder Long Range Science Vessel model primed and painted.

 

 

Remember, Star Trek Online is Free To Play and is playable via ARC or Steam game clients, XBox 1 and PS4.

 

 

Register for an account now at http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online and join in the fun Boldly Going Where Some Men Have Gone Before!!


February 23rd, 2018 by
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Technology, Xbox |

Star Trek Online New Mission Overview – Scylla and Charybdis

My face lit up when I heard the news come directly from the Star Trek Online Facebook page. A brand new episode (mission) was coming to Star Trek Online to kick off the 8th anniversary festivities! For me, the big gap between episodes now is just downright depressing, but Perfect World will be Perfect World!

 

 

The mission begins in the Alpha Quadrant, as soon as you transition to this new map after accepting the mission, Admiral Quinn suddenly appears on-screen and tells you a Tzenkethi fleet isn’t too far from your location, and you’re to intercept at maximum warp. There is even a cool animation of your ship jumping to warp IN SECTOR SPACE! *Insert a fanboy face because who doesn’t love new animations?!* Sounds pretty simple right?

 

 

So I arrive in the system named NGC-9835 System (Creative right?) and when my camera pans round, I see the massive fleet of enemy ships in front of me, and my immediate reaction? Was a simple “Oh f…” but by some wonderful mercy, the bulk of the ships jump to warp, leaving you with only 3 or 4 ships to take care of. But wait, the lead ship is firing those darn Protomatter Torpedos at the planet!! Great! So the task is to take down these ships, as well as the protomatter torpedoes heading straight for the planet. This happens three times, on system two and system three, the LSS Reskava, captained by Kuumaarke, a very lovely Lukari female who is still in awe of space travel, assists in taking out the torpedoes launched while I deal with the ships. Heck no, I want ALL that glory, I’m taking down ALL of the ships & ALL of the torpedoes launched. There’s even an accolade for doing this. Pretty cool right?!

 

 

Suddenly I get a hail stating that the Tzenkethi are heading for Bajor (DS9 fans this mission is for you!) and that all ships must report there. Upon arrival, I even see Deep Space Nine itself has been moved into Bajor orbit, impressive work! She’s a big station after all! And now I have fighting along my side, Martok, Geordi LaForge, and General Rodek. Come at us now! Well, to my surprise here they came, the Tzenkethi on a full blown attempt to launch their weapons of genocide at Bajor, not on my watch Dinoboy!! The battle against the Tzenkethi fleet is pretty straight forward until DS9 contact me. They need repair teams! Oh my! So I send them over and I pan my camera around as I hear more ships arrive. Oh no, not only ships. Godzilla over there brought a freaking SPACE STATION OF HIS OWN!!! Ship after ship falls but not only that, you need to disable that freaking station too! Then guess which mug has to beam over and take down the station from the inside….you guessed it…me. Sometimes I wonder why I even joined up for this.

 

 

Once I board, it becomes obvious that they ain’t gonna let go without a hell of a fight. That’s when we come across the weapons control room. Perfect, disarm them now! Only, one big old P’O’ed Tzenkethi turns up ready for a sparring match with Martok. He falls, and the weapons consoles have been disabl…oh what’s that? It’s been rerouted to the bridge? Didn’t see that coming! That’s when it’s to the command deck itself. Before we arrive there, we find that a Captain Tzenkethi has defected to our side, and that just annoys Godzilla further. After a monologue, of what’s right and wrong, it’s time to subdue Admiral Tzen-Terrak (Godzilla) and his men and shut this station down for good. But before we can celebrate after he yields, he tells us that there is a greater evil at large….surely he’s bluffing? Suddenly, that’s when things begin to hit the fan. Some weird looking ships begin breaking free from the planets the Tzenkethi were attacking. Suddenly the fear in Martok’s voice tells the entire story. An old enemy of the Klingons has resurfaced. The only ones to almost conquer the Klingon Empire almost 1000 years ago. It’s the Hur’Q! BATTLESTATIONS!!!

 

 

Upon returning to the ship, the swarm arrives, and all hell breaks loose. Hur’Q attack anyone and everyone, and you must defend the Tzenkethi battlestation for 1:30 while evacuations take place. Suddenly DS9 takes a massive hit and an arm is completely blown apart (Oh sh..) and DS9 is now vulnerable. It doesn’t end there, as more and more of the Hur’Q swarm ships arrive. But they aren’t the only ones to arrive, as the newly refitted USS Enterprise F joins the battle defending DS9. Sadly however, for the Tzenkethi their battlestation is destroyed. But wait. Again someone else is coming….ships drop from warp….THE DOMINION ARE BACK, but they fire upon the Hur’Q and not my ship? What is this madness? Finally, after a grueling fight, the Hur’Q retreat and a hail comes in. Loriss 4 appears, and if you recall back to the old DS9 Story Arc, there was a Loriss that caused the Federation a bit of trouble by occupying DS9, but that’s another story! Anyway, she claims someone has come to deliver a message, and when asked who, an all familiar voice comes over the speaker. “We have to talk.”

 

 

FREAKING ODO ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! My jaw hit the floor on that one!! The mission concludes on a cliffhanger, and is clearly an opener for the upcoming summer expansion this year. ODO!!! HOLY MOTHER OF MY SOCKS!! The rewards are pretty decent though, a Bajoran Shield, Impulse Engines, and Deflector Dish, followed by the Mek’Leth of Martok himself! Overall from me, this mission gets a solid 5/5 for combat and shock factors. I look forward to seeing where the new content will take us.

 

Remember, Star Trek Online is Free To Play and is playable via ARC or Steam game clients, XBox 1 and PS4.

 

 

Register for an account now at http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online and join in the fun Boldly Going Where Some Men Have Gone Before!!


February 18th, 2018 by
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, PC, Playstation, Xbox |

Multiplatform Review: Steamworld Heist (STEAM & Nintendo Switch versions)

First released on STEAM in June 2016, but recently released on Nintendo Switch, takes a look at a great game, out on a new platform  ~Lone

 

Command a steam-driven pirate crew in a series of epic tactical shootouts. Inspired by classics like XCOM and Worms, SteamWorld Heist is turn-based strategy with a twist: You manually aim the guns of your robots, allowing for insane skill shots and bullet-bouncing action!

 

 

Steamworld Heist is the third game in the Steamworld franchise created by Swedish indie developers Image & Form, set in what appears to be the same universe still populated with a cast of colorful steam powered robots but this time with a new set of characters and a new style of game play, Heist being a blend of turn based strategy and skill based 2D shooting.

 

The story of Steamworld Heist follows Captain Piper Faraday, a smuggler and occasional pirate who is rebuilding her crew in order to collect as much swag (gallons of water) as possible and maybe make the universe a safer place, as long as it doesn’t interfere with her livelihood of course. Faraday begins her journey on an enemy ship where something went terribly wrong and she ended up alone, but you soon meet up with another crew member, the surly Seabrass, during the tutorial.

 

 

Upon completion of the tutorial you are introduced to the main ship which acts as a sort of hub between levels where you can relax, chat with the crew you have found/enlisted so far, and check your items/crew/skills at your leisure, then it’s off to the map to select a level or store to visit.

 

Levels in Steamworld Heist are largely procedurally generated so the ship layout will change each time, but the objective remains the same, whether that is collect x amount of swag, defeat x amount of scavengers etc., normally procedural generation in a game is a bit of a gripe of mine because although the programming can create a seemingly endless amount of level designs there are certain limitations in that some parts will always need to connect or things come out looking unnatural or boring, but during my time with Steamworld Heist I did not experience this and I played through levels a few times trying to get the maximum reputation stars (generally 3 a level) and level up some new crew members and I believe the reason why the procedural generation didn’t get to me is because the core gameplay is so well thought out and the implementation is near perfect.

 

 

Gameplay consists of a simple squad turn based movement and attack/skill or item round followed by enemies (if there are any) turn and then repeat until one side is destroyed and if you are skillful enough to make sure the other team is the one destroyed you can then explore the ship and collect the swag however you will be restricted to the same movement limitation regardless of enemy robots left, meaning that if your character has 6 movement points (as most of the starting ones do) you can move 6 spaces and attack or you can move a few extra spaces (referred in game as “sprinting”) and give up your chance to attack to cover more ground which can be handy if you want to move your character into cover or if you’re making a mad dash for the exit (killing enemies doesn’t give you anything extra so unless it is the objective it’s generally optional), now the attacking is where things get really interesting.

 

 

Attacks in the game are largely ranged and the exact type will be determined on the character class (unchangeable) and the weapon they have equipped (a little more versatile but linked to the classes as well), the characters at least during my playtime all used guns as their primary weapon (swapping to a melee attack when enemies are one space away) and these guns range from a scoped pistol to a shotgun all the way to a grenade launcher, each one handles differently and is useful in certain situations but by far my prefered weapons were the scoped ones, the scopes in the game come paired with laser sights so you can see the trajectory your bullet will take before you fire allowing you to set up some very satisfying ricochet trickshots, the ricochets work with the other weapons as well but without the laser sight they require a keen eye and some patience to pull off the same kind of shots.

 

 

The game is refreshing in that it really is set up to reward skill over luck, every situation I was able to overcome with a well placed shot or a tactical retreat, sometimes losing an ally along the way but their scrap is returned to your ship so they can be rebuilt to fight another day, the only penalty being that the destroyed robot doesn’t take their share of experience but you can always take them back to the level or even to an easier one to harvest some experience, get a few level ups and come back with a more powerful and tactical team and as you are the one that aims the gun and the set up is turn based you really do have the time to plan your attack and pull off some spectacular shots, maybe aiming for the head for a (by default) 50% chance of a critical hit or taking out their legs to stop them from being able to move, or even if you are so inclined firing a shot at their hat to knock it off their head and (assuming you don’t already have it) picking it up and taking it for your own.

 

 

In summation I had a wonderful time with Steamworld Heist, the characters are cartoony, cliched and simplistic which fits right alongside the strong undercurrent of humour throughout the game, the graphics are polished and wonderful to look at, the music (by steampunk band Steam Powered Giraffe) is fitting and great to listen to and there is something so satisfying of bouncing a bullet off two walls and getting a headshot destroying a robot who was hiding behind cover, the levels are short but action packed and I feel like I will be spending quite a while enjoying my time there, if you like well paced turn based tactical games and/or impressive snooker trick shots then you could do much worse than checking out Steamworld Heist for yourself.

 

Steamworld heist gets a steampunk 9/10 from us!

 

SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition, including all previously released DLC, is out now on Nintendo Switch for $19.99 / €19.99 or the equivalent.

The standard edition is available for $14.99 / €14.99 on Steam, PS4/PS Vita, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

A mobile version for iPhone and iPad is yours for $9.99.

 

Check out the trailer below


February 12th, 2018 by TGB_SirhcAndAr0n
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox |

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