Updated: Apr 16, 2014 08:20 am Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014


Guild Wars 2 Feature Pack

NCSOFT and ArenaNet now offer the April 2014 Feature Pack, for Guild Wars 2, an imaginatively titled add-on that's free for all owners of the MMORPG sequel. Here's the story on this:

NCSOFT and ArenaNet have just released the “April 2014 Feature Pack”, the first-ever Guild Wars 2 update dedicated exclusively to adding and enhancing game features for the award-winning MMO. Going forward, these packs will be separate from the studio’s living world releases, which have primarily been the vehicle for introducing new storylines and story-driven game play. Just as with living world, feature packs and all new content added to Guild Wars 2 are available to players free of charge and without a subscription fee.

One of the biggest updates in ArenaNet’s highly anticipated inaugural “Feature Pack” is the introduction of a megaserver system. The system makes it easy for people to find game maps populated with friends, guild members and similar players. Other major new features in the pack include a new wardrobe system, dozens of new traits, and upgrades to PvP. The new content touches on game play, quality of life and social play, meaning what’s being implemented today promises to enhance the experience of every player in Guild Wars 2.

37% of Steam Games Never Loaded by Owners

Ars Technica introduces Steam Gauge, where they go all grognard on the topic of game sales on Valve's service based on publically available data. It's very lengthy and detailed, and draws some interesting conclusions about the most owned games on the service (Dota 2 is number one), most played games on Steam (ditto), and more. Perhaps the most interesting statistic they present is "that about 37 percent of the roughly 781 million games registered to various Steam accounts haven’t even been loaded a single time.

Pillars of Eternity Heartbleed Warning

A new Kickstarter update for Project Eternity from Obsidian Entertainment talks about the Music in Pillars of Eternity, their upcoming RPG (thanks nin). They kick off, however, with a warning their community that their information of the Pillars of Eternity website may have been compromised by the Heartbleed bug. They say: "Unfortunately, the Eternity website was running an affected version of this software, and as soon as we became aware of it, we took the appropriate steps to close the vulnerability. While we have no evidence or other reasons to believe any passwords or personal information was stolen, we do recommend you change your password if you have an account, especially if you reuse this same password on other sites."

Morning Kickstarters

Morning Patches

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Wow... we had a bunch of rain yesterday, and this morning there was a layer of ice all over out there, as it is surprisingly cold. This just reminds me to remain grateful for how nice it's been lately, to the extent that I'm not sweating (shivering?) how cold it is right now. Also, happy Ash Wednesday, and happy belated Passover.

Springy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Super Strike of Rage.
Shinobi Quest.
Typeasaurus.
Link: 22 Common Phrases We All Secretly Hate.
Story: Universal Responds To Bond Rip-Off Lawsuit.
Science: Scientists pinpoint when harmless bacteria became flesh-eating monsters.
Cow Fartpacks Turn Methane into Energy.
Asian air pollution could have impact on global weather patterns.
Images: GTAV vs. REALITY.
Media: Flash Tub: The Dangers of Clipping. Thanks Mike.
Barbershop Infinite: An Amazing Cosplay Quartet.
These 'Wearable Eyes' Make Your Face Look More Friendly Than You Feel.
Follow-up: Evangeline Lilly Targeted for Marvel Studios' Ant-Man.
The Funnies: Brevity.

Established 1995. Over three-quarters of a billion visitors since 1997.

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

Battlefield 4 Naval Strike DLC Released

The Battlefield Blog announces that the Naval Strike DLC for Battlefield 4 is now available for all, celebrating with a new "ultra quality" release trailer on this page. Here's word on the pack:

The tropical Lost Islands and the massive Wave Breaker. The vast Nansha Strike, and the breathtaking Operation Mortar. They are all waiting for you… Battlefield 4 Naval Strike is rolling out during the day on all platforms for non-Premium members.

With the 4 new naval-focused maps, the new Hovercraft vehicle, 5 new weapons, and of course the thrilling Carrier Assault mode, naval warfare is taken to the next level in this expansion.

The brand new screenshots in this post will hopefully get you pumped for the water-based mayhem that is Naval Strike. Also, make sure to download the ultra quality Naval Strike release trailer, in glorious 60 FPS/1080p.

If you want to secure access to the future Battlefield 4 expansions with a two-week head start, become a Battlefield 4 Premium member. See you on the Battlefield!

War of the Vikings Launches

Paradox Interactive announces the launch of War of the Vikings, Fatshark's new melee combat game. They offer a new release trailer and the following word:

Paradox Interactive, the fearsome digital warriors of Northern Europe, have today unleashed War of The Vikings, their all-new skill-based multiplayer combat game, on to digital retail portals across the world in three variants.

Developed by Fatshark, War of The Vikings is the next generation of close-quarter combat games as players design and customize a personalized warrior and take them in to glorious battle online with other warriors from all over the world. Choose from the Standard Edition ($24.99), the Blood Eagle Edition ($34.99) or the mythic Valhalla Edition ($174.99) that includes the lifetime Viking pass where all future content released for the game is automatically unlocked, a digital art book, digital strategy guide, deluxe soundtrack, and the brand new ‘Berserker King’ digital novel.

Continue here to read the full story.

Pantheon Development to "Slow Down"

The Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen blog has word that while Visionary Realms was able to recover from a failed Kickstarter to raise enough cash through crowd-funding to create a prototype of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen for publishers, development of this MMORPG designed by EverQuest veteran Brad McQuaid is going to "slow down" until they can attract further financing to complete the game (thanks GamesIndustry International). Here's word:

Over the first month of development through crowdfunding, we’ve been able to achieve what was needed to be done in order to gain investor interest. That is, we’ve shown there is interest in a game like Pantheon, we’ve built the term sheets and business plan, and now have a prototype we can show to potential investors.

The downside now is that our initial resources have depleted, which regrettably means that development is going to slow down until finances can be secured. It’s not something we want to do by any means, but as we cannot guarantee paychecks to the team, they each need to be able to spend time on other things to pay the bills.

Once we’re able to get that level of funding we can then secure much-needed studio space and be able to pick up the pace of production dramatically. We are deeply thankful to this community for getting Pantheon to this critical point, where we have been able to put together an attractive package to present to potential investors.

In the interim, any donations made at this point until further notice will be going directly to maintaining the website during this phase, and not towards development.

Titanfall Update Plans

An update to the Titanfall website by Respawn game director Steve "Funkydooda" Fukuda outlines what's next for their multiplayer mech shooter, saying their post-release goals include accelerating how often the game us updated and to improve the frequency and quality of communication about those updates. He goes into detail on some changes, and also describes plans for content updates, saying all updates besides map packs will be free. Here's a bit:

Beyond features, there's more tangible content coming as well. Some of the new content we are developing for future updates include a new Burn Card set, and Titan "Nose Art" Insignias that you can use to customize the identity of your Titan. We are also developing new game modes and game mode variants. New maps? As you may know from PAX East, we announced the "Expedition" map pack going on sale in May. (Note that with the exception of map packs, all other updates to Titanfall will be free of charge.)

Our plans for supporting Titanfall are simple. We'll keep you better informed between updates, and we'll deliver free updates to you on a regular basis. We are constantly tweaking our support plans in response to your feedback, and although we cannot promise everything requested will go through, we are listening. Thanks again for playing Titanfall, and keep the feedback coming!

Ships Ahoy - Moebius: Empire Rising

Phoenix Online Publishing announces the release of Moebius: Empire Rising, the new story-driven adventure game for Windows and OS X from designer Jane Jensen and Pinkerton Road. A demo was released last month, here's a release trailer, and here's a description of the game:

If you fondly remember the banter between Gabriel Knight and his sidekick Grace, you’ll love the budding “bromance” between aloof genius Malachi Rector and his buff, bad-joke-cracking bodyguard David Walker. As players have come to expect in a Jane Jensen game, Moebius: Empire Rising has a slow-burning, layered storyline with complex characters and mature themes you just don’t see in many games today, and we have 5,836 Kickstarter backers to thank for making it happen.

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Kickstarter Roundup

Evening Interviews

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Holy Houdini, Honey Badger.

Star Citizen Crowdfunding Hits $42M

A new Letter from the Chairman on the Roberts Space Industries website announces that crowd-sourced funding for Star Citizen has hit a new milestone, as RSI has now collected over $42 million to develop the space combat game. This triggers several "celebratory goals," including a couple for all who backed them before they hit the $42M mark: an updated Observist Guide and a towel for your hangar, though Douglass Adams would recommend taking it with you at all times. They also reveal the $44 million goal as an additional hangar room, and have a poll up to vote on their $45 million goal.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut for OS X

Feral Interactive announces the release of the OS X edition of Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut, the enhanced version of Eidos-Montréal's action/RPG. The Mac version is available on Steam along with the Windows edition (those who already own one now own both), and it supports Steam achievements, leaderboards and save game synchronization. "Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director’s Cut polishes an already fantastic experience," said David Stephen, Managing Director of Feral Interactive. "The overhauled boss fights give players even more choice about how they approach the most climactic moments of the game."

Blood Bowl 2 Gameplay Footage

This trailer offers the first look at in-game footage of Blood Bowl 2, the upcoming strategy sequel that combines American tackle football with Games Workshop's Warhammer series. Here's word: "The commentary is provided by the double act and undisputed kings of the mic, Jim Johnson and Bob Bifford, and this first Blood Bowl 2 video sees two iconic Blood Bowl teams enter the pitch; the Humans of the Reikland Reavers and the Orcs of Gouged Eye will kick the next season off that promises to be sensational! This video highlights the impressive and scalable stadiums in Blood Bowl 2, previously only seen in screenshots, and now showcases the meticulous team modelling and animations along with the dynamic cameras that will pack more punch to the matches." Continue here to read the full story.

Civilization: Beyond Earth Getting AMD Mantle Support

AMD announces Mantle support will come to Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, the just-announce sci-fi Civilization game (thanks HARDOCP). Here's word:

Today, AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced a new technology partnership with 2K Games that will enable support for the Mantle graphics API in Sid Meier’s Civilization®: Beyond Earth™, to accelerate performance and improve image quality for customers of AMD Radeon™ graphics .

Mantle is a “low-overhead” graphics API that can help improve performance for gamers by: making better use of multi-core CPUs, streamlining game code execution, virtually eliminating software bottlenecks and utilizing GPU resources with incredible efficiency.

“The Mantle graphics API is the first and currently the only proven low-overhead API available to developers and gamers,” said Ritche Corpus, director of ISV gaming and alliances, AMD. “The performance of such an API can be tremendous, particularly in games with a large number of on-screen units. We are tremendously proud to collaborate with 2K Games on Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth to bring these benefits to life in such a beloved franchise.”

Kickstarter Roundup

The suggestion of a section like this popped up again, so let's give it a tumble, shall we?

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Beware the Ides of April, at least if you're here in the U.S., as today is the day Uncle Sam dips into our pockets for his allowance. Hopefully this is not the first you're hearing of this, as it may be a little late to start working on the paperwork at this point. Of course you could always follow the instructions on the joke short form return that used to get passed around in the Xerox and fax days that offered the following instructions: "A) How much did you earn last year? B) Send it in."

Short Form Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Notebook Space Wars 2.
Crazy Racers.
Slippy Box.
Stories: Social Security, Treasury target taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts. Thanks Slashdot.
Lunar Eclipse To Bring 'Blood Moon' On April 15.
Boston Marathon: five runners and why they'll be at the starting line.
Science: Anti-vaccine movement is giving diseases a 2nd life. Thanks JDreyer.
How Mathematicians Used A Pump-Action Shotgun to Estimate Pi. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Here's A Game Where You Pretend To Be An Airplane.
Emotional moment dog and owner Lauri da Costa are reunited.
Follow-up: Promises of Preparedness Followed Devastating Earthquakes. And Yet.
‘Mad Men’ Season 7 premiere notches lowest ratings since 2008.



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