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Monday, Jun 29, 2015

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Battlezone (1998) Remake Plans

Following the announcement of plans for a remake of the original 1980 arcade version of Battlezone, an open letter to Battlezone fans on the Rebellion website announces plans to also remake the original remake (huh?), saying they are working on a remaster of the 1998 PC Battlezone, an RTS/FPS hybrid that bears little resemblance to the arcade game. Details are scant for now, here is all they have to say:

Firstly, thank you so much for all the great feedback we’ve received following the unveiling of our Battlezone reboot for virtual reality devices.

Having to keep quiet about something we’re crazy excited for has been a challenge, so to finally showcase it at E3 and see so many people just as excited for the game was really gratifying.

As our teaser trailer revealed, our VR version of Battlezone is very much a reboot of Atari’s 1980 arcade classic, a game we’re very fond of at Rebellion. However, we also know that a number of you are fans of the 1998 and 1999 Battlezone games released by Activision that re-imagined the franchise as a groundbreaking hybrid of FPS and RTS gameplay. Naturally when we made our announcement last week some of you asked, “But what about the newer Battlezone games? What are you doing with them?”

Well, we’ve read your comments, articles, emails and posts and we’ve seen your love for these games – so we wanted to make another brief announcement:

We’re very pleased to reveal that we’re also working on a remaster of the 1998 Battlezone for PC.

It’s still early days but when we’re ready to show you more you’ll be the first to know. All we can say for now is that whichever vision of Battlezone you love, you’ve not been forgotten!

Scrolls Closing

The Scrolls website announces Mojang's plans to close up their virtual card-based strategy game, a surprise revelation just a couple of hours after the release of an Echoes balance update. The Microsoft-owned Minecraft developer is committing to operate the game for at least another year, and they are continuing to sell it, saying they will use all future proceeds to keep it playable for "as long as possible." Here's word:

Hi everyone,

After much deliberation, we’ve come to an important decision that we’d like to share: Echoes will be the last major content patch for Scrolls. We won’t be adding features or sets from now on, though we are planning to keep a close eye on game balance.

Scrolls will still be available to purchase for the time being, and our servers will run until at least July 1st, 2016. All future proceeds will go towards keeping Scrolls playable for as long as possible.

The launch of the Scrolls beta was a great success. Tens of thousands of players battled daily, and many of them remain active today. Unfortunately, the game has reached a point where it can no longer sustain continuous development.

We’ve had a great time working on Scrolls, and appreciate every last player who’s downloaded our game. Extra big thanks to the most dedicated members of our community; some of you have logged in almost every day since release and dedicated a large portion of your time to dominating the leaderboards and taking care of new players. We salute you, honourable scrolldiers.

We will do our best to answer any questions you might have on the standard channels.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

The Scrolls team <3

LEGO Minifigures Online Relaunched

Funcom now offers the promised relaunch of LEGO Minifigures Online, which is no longer a free-to-play dealie, and is now a buy-once game for Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android. Here's a launch trailer, and here's word on the game, which eschews all that building to focus on action figures:

"LEGO® Minifigures Online is designed for LEGO fans of all ages; for those who love online games, and those who have never played one before," says Funcom CEO Rui Casais. "To make it even easier for friends to play together, the game is playable seamlessly on a large number of platforms and devices, and everyone plays together in the same online world. No matter whether you are playing on a smartphone, tablet or desktop, you will all be playing the same game -- together."

In LEGO Minifigures Online, players can collect over one hundred Minifigures and build a team to journey through classic LEGO worlds. To unlock the full potential of their minifigures, players must collaborate with others, smashing through aliens, sea monsters, and more, from Pirate World to Space World and beyond. To ensure a fun and secure online experience for everyone, the game is KidSafe-certified and fully COPPA compliant.

Continue here to read the full story.

DiRT Rally Patched

A Steam Community Group Announcement has word on a major patch for DiRT Rally on Steam, adding a bunch of new content in what they call the Tarmac Terrors update for the Early Access racing game. The post also states they have "a really exciting summer of content and updates planned." Here's word on what's new:

Month three of DiRT Rally and our next big update is now live. Version v.0.5 - more commonly known as the Tarmac Terrors update - has now been added to DiRT Rally; it’s fast paced, technical and is going to require all your focus. Here’s the full run down of what you can expect in this month’s update.


  • 12 new rally stages based at Baumholder in Germany
  • Owners Club Online Events – A second DiRT Daily where you compete in your own car
  • A second weekly event where we’ll be experimenting and throwing new challenges at you
  • 5 new rally cars featuring new Group B RWD & Kit Car Classes
  • Opel Kadett GT/E 16v
  • Opel Manta 400
  • Lancia 037 Evo 2
  • Seat Ibiza Kitcar
  • Peugeot 306 Maxi
  • New calibration and options screens in “Advanced Wheel Settings” (added in v.0.4.5)

World of Fishing EU Closed Beta

Developer MasangSoft and publisher gameXcite are announce the launch of closed beta testing of World of Fishing for European gamers, saying they will grant access on a first-come, first-served basis to the upcoming free-to-play MMORPG through signups on the World of Fishing website. You can see a peak at the game through their "Funny Teaser" video, and here's word on what they're angling to create:

"World of Fishing" is a full-fledged MMO featuring character development, exciting quests and the addicting hunt for rare fish. Starting out with a small boat and basic equipment, players will be able to work their way up to the point where they will catch huge fish like tuna and even sharks. Dynamic real-time battles with over 360 fish species controlled by a realistic AI provide an entertaining and challenging gameplay that feels as close to the “real thing” as possible.

Competitive players can match up against each other in tournaments and team match mode, while casual players will be able to enjoy the relaxing aspect of fishing in “freestyle” mode while visiting beautiful, exotic fishing spots from Vancouver to Cape Town.

Continue here to read the full story.

Albion Online Summer Alpha Begins

The summer alpha test is now underway for Albion Online, the upcoming cross-platform MMORPG. Access is currently only open to those who have prepurchased the game's $99.95 legendary founder's pack, and access will be granted tomorrow to owners of the $49.95 epic founder's pack, while those who prepurchase the veteran's founder pack will not get alpha access, though they will get into the closed beta. If all this seems fair to you, you can buy a founder's pack through this page.

On Sale

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

Evening Screenshots

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the Deus Ex Blog. Final concept art for Adam Jensen in trench coat and combat armor.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Sorry Dude, Not Everyone Can Be A Fruit Ninja. Or, you know, smart. Thanks nin.

Steam Hardware Early Preorders Sold Out

Valve announces that the hardware preorders they began accepting early this month are now all sold out, so if you were on the fence about being a guinea pig for this, you missed your window. This first round of hardware is expected to be released on October 16th, while the official launch date for Steam Machines, Steam Link, and Steam Controllers is November 10th. They are still accepting preorders for the November release on the Steam Hardware page.

The Bard's Tale IV Chris Avellone Stretch Goal

inXile Entertainment knows how to crowdfund, and to that end, they announce a new stretch goal for their Kickstarter for The Bard's Tale IV, saying Chris Avellone will design an area for the game if it passes the $1.9 million funding mark. They also dangle the promise of an area designed by Colin McComb at the $1.7 million mark, giving Chris permanent bragging rights. The game is already funded, right now standing at about $1.35 million in community pledges. Here's word:

inXile Entertainment is excited to announce industry veteran Chris Avellone (Planescape: Torment, Fallout: New Vegas) is set to join The Bard’s Tale IV team as a writer and designer if the ongoing Kickstarter reaches $1.9 million, designing an entirely new area called the Cairn of Horrors. This all new dungeon will contain the worst things that live in the imagination of Chris Avellone.

But inXile is putting more of the Planescape: Torment design team back together, as Colin McComb (Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera) will also be joining the team at $1.7 million, designing a new Realm of the Elves area.

Chris Avellone has worked with inXile before on both of their Kickstarted titles, Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. Wasteland 2 was released to critical and popular acclaim last year.

Mafia 3 Domains Ratted Out

A NeoGAF thread links to a domain tool showing Take Two Games has registered four different domains for Mafia 3, offering another hint that an announcement of a new game in the crime series nears. They show that on June 25th the following domains were added to their name server: mafia3thegame.com, mafiaiiithegame.com, mafiathree.com, and mafiathreethegame.com. Back in January one of the voice actors in the series made a couple of tweets saying we might hear news about Mafia 3 soon. Thanks PSU.com.

On Star Citizen FPS Delays

A new Letter from the Chairman on the Roberts Space Industries website fills us in on the latest on Star Citizen, Cloud Imperium Games' upcoming space game (thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun). The chairman reveals his film directing ambitions did not die with the Wing Commander movie, saying: "Directing the Squadron 42 shoot has been one of the most fun and creatively rewarding things I’ve done." The main focus of the post is the status of the game's first-person shooter module, which was said to be "near" back in March, but has not yet materialized. He outlines the obstacles that the FPS team still needs to hurdle before this is ready to go, and also discusses the impact this has on progress for the project as a whole, saying they are investigating a release of an updated build without the FPS stuff just to give backers a look at the latest changes. If that makes it sound like they don't know when the FPS module will be ready for prime time, it's because they don't. Here's word:

When will we see Star Marine? Tonight, I don’t have an absolute answer for you. What I will tell you is that we know exactly what we have to do, and we’re already well on our way to doing it. With allocation of additional resources and increased cross-studio focus on the FPS portion of the game we are on our way… we’re just not there quite yet. I’m confident that with the significant updates and changes to the backend architecture discussed above that we will have an experience worthy of the Star Citizen name; it’s just going to take some additional integration and testing. On the public side, I know that it’s time to open up our communications on the Star Marine rollout process: starting with this message and continuing each week, we will provide a high level update on the challenges just as we did for Arena Commander.

We ended the 2012 pledge campaign with ‘The Pledge,’ in which I outlined our new company’s goals to be open about our process. Today, I want to rededicate ourselves to this: I can’t promise you we’ll meet every internal deadline or that every decision we make is something you’ll agree with. There will be challenges that we struggle to overcome, and we will never be able to predict all of these with certainty…but I can promise you we will keep you informed and that we will not stop working until the game is done right. After all, that’s why we’re here in the first place. Your support is letting us create the game we want to make before anything else. Because of you, we have the freedom to make sure things work the way we want, even if it takes more time and more effort. We won’t let you down!

Warhammer 40,000: Regicide Patched

A Steam Community group announcement outlines all the changes in a new version 1.2 update for the Warhammer 40,000: Regicide, the sci-fi strategy game currently in Early Access on Steam. This includes a number of significant changes, and they have posted a new trailer with a look at them. Here's word: "Warhammer 40,000: Regicide sees the largest update it's had to Early Access, with the addition of new environments, two new factions, hotseat, and live Multiplayer features. A series of newly released imagery depicts a new battlefield - a ruined Imperial monument surrounded by trees, smoke and motes of ash at the heart of an ancient forest." Here are the highlights:

  • Raven Guard Space Marine Chapter
  • Snake Bites Ork Clan
  • The Ancient Forrest Environment
  • Multiple daytime settings
  • Hotseat Mode (two people on the same machine)
  • LIVE multiplayer with countdown timers!
  • New AI with double the strength of previous iterations
  • Huge audio update
  • Significant Updates to Play vs Friends

Continue here to read the full story.

DCS World 2 Stream

Twitch has an archive of a stream where Matt Wagner discusses and shows off progress on DCS World 2, their upcoming flight simulator relaunch. The clip has no description, but InBlack, our reader who submitted the news, provides one: "The footage stream is about an hour long, but the flying (read: aeroplane simulation fighter porn) starts about halfway through. Very realistic flybyes over Area 51, Nellis Air Force Base, the city of Vegas, and Hoover Dam." Word is they plan such streams weekly until the launch of DCS World 2.0.

EVE Online Slump?

A reddit thread offers a link to another thread which discusses how many players are currently logging in to EVE Online, CCP's space-based MMORPG, shown in charts hosted here (thanks Destructoid). They state that player counts are at their lowest point since 2008, and attempts to summarize what has lead to this point:

  1. CCP bans the use of ISBoxer, a program that allows input broadcasting to multiple clients at once. No longer can a single player simultaneously control 40 mining ships or squads of stealth bombers. These characters are sold ("legally") to other players and the accounts unsubscribed.
  2. CCP changes the mechanics through which capital ships can move around the universe. Alt accounts used to move capitals are no longer greatly depended upon, and they are unsubscribed. Previously it was important for any alliance to have a traveling network available to anywhere at a moment's notice. Nerfs to capital ship movement made this unfeasible, and such vast networks are no longer needed.
  3. The new player experience now relies greatly on player-made corps to teach new players the game. While helpful, drama in these groups seems to result in tons of new players simply quitting the game rather than finding a new group to hang out with. New players rely on veteran players to create content for them, and when that stops happening regularly they are bored and quit.
  4. To go hand-in-hand with #3, old players are quitting for reasons that old players quit games for, but there aren't as many new players sticking with the game due to the high barrier-to-entry/required skill training times for many activities.
  5. CCP is changing how space is conquered and controlled by alliances. Once the change was announced, many large groups put everything on hold to wait for the update. Many players in these groups unsubscribed and are waiting to see if the new system is worth subscribing for.

U.K. Sales Charts

The new phonebooks are here! GfK Chart-Track is back with their weekly rundown of the bestselling games in the U.K. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward is the number one entry on the PC games chart for the week ending June 27th, dropping The Sims 4 to number two. The PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight which was pulled does not appear on that chart. On the all platforms chart the new Batman game debuts at number one, Yoshi's Wolly World enters at number four, and Heavensward debuts at number 10. Here's word:

Warner’s ‘Batman Arkham’ series is back with a bang as the fourth instalment ‘Batman Arkham Knight’ transitions to PS4/Xbox One and becomes the new No1 (knocking Warner’s No1 from last week ‘Lego Jurassic World’ down to No2).

‘Batman Arkham Knight’ is also the week 1 best-seller for the franchise (previously held by 2011’s 2nd instalment Batman Arkham City) and also becomes the week 1 best-seller this year so far, comfortably beating previous week 1 best-seller ‘The Witcher 3’. Batman AK dev duty was handed back to Rocksteady in the UK, the lead developer for all Arkham games except the third instalment (2013’s Batman Arkham Origins) and this is also the first Arkham game to get a Tuesday ‘event’ day launch in the UK.

This is Warner’s 4th No1 this year (Dying Light, MK X, Lego Jurassic World, Batman AK) - the last time a publisher had at least 4 No1 hits in the first half of the year was back in 2012 (EA with FIFA12, Kingdoms of Amalur, SSX, Mass Effect 3 and Fifa Street). The first half of 2015 closes with a few other new releases: Nintendo’s Wii U ‘Yoshi’s Woolly World’ gets off to a great start at No4, Square Enix debut at No10 with ‘Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward’ for PS4 & PC, PQube and Milestone debut at No13 with multi-format ‘MotoGP 15’ and Bandai Namco complete the Top 40 new entries at No18 with ‘J-Stars Victory VS+’ for Sony formats.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Took advantage of the rainy weekend to start a movie watching project I'm surprised I've never gotten to before now. Calling it project will probably sound less odd when I explain that this is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I have never actually seen. To make up for the omission, I watched the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, which was not short to begin with. I was still surprised that this spanned two discs, but it was so lengthy an intermission was welcome, so this wasn't as bad as I thought at first. Now I'm surprised that I was surprised at how good the first movie was (maybe because I found the books so slow)... It certainly doesn't seem logical for a movie with a 92 metacritic rating and a best picture nomination. Now I have to clear time for the other two... and of course each is longer than the last.

Lengthy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Puzzle Tower.
Nervous Bot.
Science: New “corner cloak” directs light around sharp bends.
Falling into a black hole may convert you into a hologram.
Media: MORTAL KOMBAT X (Teens React- Gaming).
Giant Intake Vortex - Denison Dam, Lake Texoma.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Explosion.
The Funnies: Mutually Assured Distinction.

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Sunday, Jun 28, 2015

Baldur's Gate Countdown Timer

The Baldur's Gate website now sports a timer counting off the seconds until a week from Thursday, when presumably some sort of announcement will come to payoff on the suspense this is hoping to generate. The most obvious explanation is that this will be an official unveiling of the game previously referred to as "Project Y," a game to bridge the gap between Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition. This was spotted by PCGamesN, who note that the site's source code indicates a live stream on Twitch may come when the timer hits zero.

Hatred Sequel and DLC Plans

There is a Hatred interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website talking with Przemyslaw Szczepaniak of Polish developer Destructive Creations about their recently released isometric shooter and their future plans (thanks James). Along the way they discuss the negative attention Hatred has attracted, as it is not actually even for sale in Australia, but Szczepaniak he says the press exaggerated the controversy of the game, which they announced it as an alternative to politically correct titles that would offer "a journey into the antagonist's hateful mind." He doesn't provide any sales figures, but says they "are happy with the sales," and true to that, tells them they are working on DLC he believe will come in Autumn, and that they also are already formulating plans for a Hatred sequel and an entirely different game:

ABC T&G: What next for Destructive Creations? Updates or expansion packs for Hatred? A sequel? Or something new? Is there a future for twin-stick shooters (and controversial games)?

PS: Yes, we plan some updates with new features soon, and a DLC in Autumn I believe. For the sequel I wouldn't like to spoil yet - there is an idea, but we won't tell much yet. There will be also a new game coming, but it will be different from what you saw in Hatred.

Battlefield 2143 Images?

A thread on reddit points to an Imgur album with three shots of a monitor showing what's alleged to be Battlefield 2143. The reactions to the blurry images cover a range, with some convinced, and others likening this to a bigfoot sighting. Thanks The Escapist.

Batman: Arkham Knight Patched; Progress Report

This Steam Community Group Announcement has the latest on efforts to fix the Windows edition of Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady's action/adventure sequel that's no longer for sale as they work on significant performance problems (thanks Shawn). They have deployed the first patch, offering this explanation of what they have done and what they still plan on addressing.

Rocksteady is leading our team of developers and partners as we work on the PC performance issues that players have been encountering. The work is significant and while we are making good progress on improving performance, it will take some time to ensure that we get the right fixes in place.

Below is the list of the key areas where we are dedicating our resources to improve the experience for our loyal fans:

  • Support for frame rates above 30FPS in the graphics settings menu
  • Fix for low resolution texture bug
  • Improve overall performance and framerate hitches
  • Add more options to the graphics settings menu
  • Improvements to hard drive streaming and hitches
  • Address full screen rendering bug on gaming laptops
  • Improvements to system memory and VRAM usage
  • NVIDIA SLI bug fixes
  • Enabling AMD Crossfire
  • NVIDIA and AMD updated drivers

While we work on improving performance, we will also continue to make interim patches available to address issues for those still playing the game on PC. The first patch is being released now and the updates include:

  • Fixed a crash that was happening for some users when exiting the game
  • Fixed a bug which disabled rain effects and ambient occlusion. We are actively looking into fixing other bugs to improve this further
  • Corrected an issue that was causing Steam to re-download the game when verifying the integrity of the game cache through the Steam client
  • Fixed a bug that caused the game to crash when turning off Motion Blur in BmSystemSettings.ini. A future patch will enable this in the graphics settings menu

We would like to thank our fans for their patience and invaluable feedback. We will continue to monitor and listen for any additional issues.

Steam Top 10

These are the 10 bestselling games on Steam for last week according to Valve:

  1. ARK: Survival Evolved
  2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Elite: Dangerous
  5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  6. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary (RU)
  7. H1Z1
  8. Ori and the Blind Forest
  9. Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
  10. BioShock Triple Pack

On Sale

Green Man Gaming site-wide code: GET23P-ERCENT-OFFGMG.

Sunday Patches

Op Ed

The Armchair Empire Infinite- The Frustrating Case of Koei Tecmo PC Ports.
"Not so with Koei Tecmo. The consistently substandard quality of their PC ports has been truly disappointing to such an extent that I think they may irreparably poison their brand in PC gaming circles if they don't sit down and seriously look at improving quality when bringing games to the platform. There comes a point when goodwill runs out, and that time may be coming soon for this company. They've been fortunate to have a small, dedicated group of die hard fans shouting that we're lucky to be seeing these games come to PC at all, but who wants to listen to a bunch of people suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?"

Sunday Interviews

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Metaverse

Sunday Tech Bits

Sunday Safety Dance

Sunday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Arespark AS100 Bluetooth Speaker and MP3 Player on Technogog.
  • ICYDOCK ExpressCage Two and Four Bay Drive Cages on TweakTown.
  • Mlais M7 Smartphone on Mad Shrimps.


Out of the Blue

Slashdot - News for Nerds! Read the funny pages. Supporting free speech on the Internet Go nuts! Use Lynx and see if I care.


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