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Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012

  

0x10c, Mojang's Space Adventure Details

The 0x10 ͨ Website is online as home to Mojang's upcoming space adventure game that Notch recently mentioned on television. Here's what they think this will involve at this point: "The game is still extremely early in development, but like we did with Minecraft, we expect to release it early and let the players help me shape the game as it grows. The cost of the game is still undecided, but it's likely there will be a monthly fee for joining the Multiverse as we are going to emulate all computers and physics even when players aren't logged in." Here's the feature list they offer of things they "hope" to include:

  • Hard science fiction.
  • Lots of engineering.
  • Fully working computer system.
  • Space battles against the AI or other players.
  • Abandoned ships full of loot.
  • Duct tape!
  • Seamlessly landing on planets.
  • Advanced economy system.
  • Random encounters.
  • Mining, trading, and looting.
  • Single and multi player connected via the multiverse.

The Political Machine 2012 Announced

With another U.S. presidential election on the way, Stardock announces The Political Machine 2012, saying the next installment in their politics simulation will be released via digital distribution this summer. Here's word:

Players take to the campaign trail against a computer controlled opponent or a human challenger over the Internet. The goal: win the hearts and minds of America's voters to achieve victory in the 2012 presidential election.

The Political Machine 2012 features updated political topics from across the United States. Issues such as Afghanistan, the economy, Obamacare, income inequality, gay rights, and the national debt have been integrated into the game's election database. Regional issues such as "right to work", state minimum wage, local environmental policies, farm subsidies and more require the candidate to walk a tight rope between appealing to the widest range of voters and appearing to "flip flop".

The 2012 version includes user interface and graphical improvements, new gameplay features and enhancements to update in-game topics based on new polling data after release.

Ships Ahoy - Tropico 4: Modern Times

Kalypso Media announces that Tropico 4: Modern Times is now available in North America for Windows PCs, offering the chance to once again put on the jackboots of beloved leader El Presidente. This expansion for the dictator simulation, which is required, features a new campaign, additional edicts, buildings and much more, all set in a new modern timeline. There are more details and a trailer on the World of Tropico Website.

Blacklight Retribution Launch

Perfect World Entertainment announces that Blacklight Retribution is now out of beta, and the launch version of Zombie Studios' free-to-play online shooter is now live. They follow the news with word on plans for the first post-beta content update: "Blacklight: Retribution fans can expect to strap on their combat helmets tighter than ever before with two upcoming game modes and supporting maps going live shortly after launch. Capture, control and hold areas of a highly hazardous oil rig and pilot a Scorpion Tank through a twisting path of carnage in an experimental weapons facility. Both the new game modes, Netwar and Siege, blend acute team strategy and crafty combat prowess in a heart-pounding race to annihilate or be annihilated."

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion Intro

Here's the full intro trailer for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, Ironclad's upcoming standalone expansion to their space real-tie strategy game. This features cinematics to accompany a narration that sets the stage for the new game, which is expected in June. Continue here to read the full story.

Wasteland 2 Interview

An interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun talks with Brian Fargo about plans for Wasteland 2, the kickstart that got the sequel going, and the role Obsidian is going to play in the project. They dig for some details on how the story will be written, the size of the development team, the kick it forward concept, and more. Thanks nin.

2012 World of Warcraft Arena Pass Nears

The World of Warcraft Website offers details on the 2012 World of Warcraft Arena Pass, a premium completion for their MMORPG:

We’re pleased to announce that the 2012 World of Warcraft Arena Pass is nearly here. Starting April 10, players will be able to sign up to compete against like-minded individuals in a dedicated Arena sandbox. The Arena Pass service will feature access to the special tournament realms with level-85 character templates and epic gear from Cataclysm.

As an added bonus, we have included an exclusive reward that players can earn by purchasing their Arena Pass and participating in the competition -- an Armored Murloc in-game pet. Top players will also contend for a chance to achieve the “Vanquisher” title for their live characters. Players that choose to take part in the 2012 Arena Pass will also receive access to a special level-90 realm with upgraded epic gear after they’ve upgraded their accounts with the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion.

If you would like to demonstrate your Arena prowess, are eager for a chance to earn the exclusive loot, or just want to reserve a spot in the level-90 Mists of Pandaria Arena Pass realm, please check back next week for more details and be sure to register!

Evening Consolidation

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

PC Ghost Recon Future Soldier in June; Specs; DRM Details

Ubisoft announces a June 12th release date for the Windows PC edition of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier. Here's word, including PC-specific features, system recommendations, and word that the game's DRM will require a one time online activation:

SAN FRANCISCO - April 3, 2012 - Today Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier for Microsoft Windows® PC will be available in stores and for digital download on June 12th.

PC version features:

  • PC high standard visuals (DX11 renderer, new high-quality assets, new post process effects, multi-monitor solutions support, TriDef stereoscopic support).
  • DirectX11 enhanced: tessellation (for soft 3D models), compute shaders-based realistic lighting (for global illumination), volumetric fog.
  • Online widget: Party, Friends and Ghost Feed functionality can be accessed at any moment from any screen
  • Extended party functionality: simplified and more flexible invitation system
  • Party text chat
  • Uplay Friends system
  • Fully customizable controls for the localized keyboards

A temporary broadband connection will be required for one-time product registration at first launch using the player Uplay account. From that point on, no permanent connection is required, except for online modes.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Secret World Preorders Include Beta Access

Funcom and EA Partners announce they are now accepting preorders for The Secret World, and that this advance commitment to the conspiratorial MMORPG will include guaranteed access to all the game's beta event, which will run "most" weekends between May 11th and the game's launch on June 19th. Here's the complete list of preorder incentives.

  • Guaranteed access to all Beta Weekends starting May 11, with the ability to carry over their characters to every subsequent event
  • Guaranteed Early Access to the game, up to four days prior to the game’s official launch
  • An exclusive in-game item providing an experience boost to progression
  • An exclusive in-game t-shirt featuring a unique monster design
  • A powerful pet (Ferocious Wolf, Egyptian Cat or Loyal Hound) to support the player in combat
  • A head start on character naming before the game launches

Tiny Troopers Announced

Iceberg Interactive announces Tiny Troopers, a squad-based action game in the works at Finnish developer Kukouri Mobile Entertainment for release for Windows and OS X in the third quarter of this year. There are some screenshots from the game on the Iceberg Interactive Facebook Page, and here's word:

Iceberg Interactive and Finnish development studios Kukouri Mobile Entertainment announced today that the full 3D squad-based action game Tiny Troopers is coming to PC and MAC platforms in the third quarter of 2012 via digital download portals worldwide.

“Tiny Troopers started as a mobile game but it soon grew in scope so much that we wanted to create PC and Mac versions too. Heavily targeting the digital market, Iceberg Interactive is the top publisher in that field. With their connections and close relationship with all the big digital channels but also the smaller ones, they are the best publisher in bringing Tiny Troopers to PC and Mac markets,” says Kim Soares, CEO of Kukouri.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats Announced

EA announces a furthering of the collaboration between Katy Perry and The Sims franchise continues this June when eager gamers can get their hands on Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats:

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced that the next collaborative project between The Sims™ and Katy Perry will be available this June on PC/Mac. In The Sims™ 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats*, players can sweeten up their Sims’ lives with Katy Perry-inspired, candylicious items that will enhance their game experience such as décor, furniture, objects and of course, fashions and hairstyles. Players will sink their sweet tooth into all new in-game goodies and turn the homes and neighborhoods of their Sims into a whimsical Candyfornia™, complete with cupcake-themed guitars, candy playground equipment and delicious cotton candy trees. Outfitting their Sims in an array of new clothing and hairstyles, players will make their Sims look good enough to eat! Three pre-built venues will help transform the world for the Sims characters with a game packed full of Katy Perry-inspired content.

Free-to-Play AION Soars in EU

The Aion Free-to-Play Website has word on the success of the European edition of AION since the MMORPG went free-to-play. Here's word on the influx of new players that also mentions plans for the game's next content update:

Karlsruhe, 3rd of April 2012 – only four weeks after the successful MMORPG AION switched to a Free-to-Play model, Gameforge is announcing the first batch of figures. Since that time, more than 750,000 accounts have been created on the Gameforge servers. Currently, around 20,000 new accounts are adding to this figure every day. The Karlsruhe-based company is also able to show a growth in the number of active daily users: since the release of the Free-to-Play version these numbers have increased fivefold already. With only four weeks of running time, AION has seamlessly added itself to the Gameforge portfolio, alongside other internationally successful titles such as Metin 2 and Ikariam.

“With the successful launch of the AAA title AION, Gameforge has heralded the start of a new era for its free-to-play sector. Further AAA titles will follow in the coming months”, said Alexander Rösner, CEO of Gameforge.

Currently the team is working flat out on the coming 3.0 content update, which, alongside the level cap increase, brings with it much more than further regions and instances: the hotly anticipated housing system and additional mounts are also part of the update.

Indie Royale Preorders

The Indie Royale Website now offers preorders of their "April Fools Bundle," part of the joke apparently being April Fools' Day has already come and gone. They are offering bonuses for those who preorder, and the following hints about what it will include: "Headlining the bundle in an acclaimed tower-defense game with a free built-in expansion (for Windows on Steam, Desura, and DRM-free). Featured alongside it is a retro turn-based dungeon crawler (for Windows and Mac in a Steam debut, Windows and Linux on Desura, and Windows/Mac/Linux DRM-free), a pair of titles from the same developer spanning platformer shooter and horizontal shmup (for Windows on Steam, Desura, and DRM-free), and an incendiary 2D action platformer (for Windows on Desura and DRM-free)."

Naval War: Arctic Circle Video Diary

This new video is a new developer diary for Naval War: Arctic Circle, the naval combat RTS game due for release next week. This time around the developers at Turbo Tape Games discuss strategy and tactics, describing the cat-and-mouse game involved in doing combat on the high seas. Continue here to read the full story.

Combat Command: The Matrix Edition Patched

Matrix Games announces the release of a new patch for Combat Command: The Matrix Edition, updating the World War II strategy game to version 1.04. The latest and greatest version of the game addresses withdraw issues, an infinite assault hex loop, and other changes, all detailed in this change log: Continue here to read the full story.

South Australia's Rating Complication

GameSpot reports another ratings issue in Australia besides the ongoing efforts to approve an adult-oriented R18+ rating for games sold in the country. South Australian Attorney-General John Rau tells them he plans to introduce legislation alongside the R18+ bill to prevent the sale of MA15+ rated games to those under the age of 18 as well. "Complementary South Australian legislation [on R18+ for games] is likely to be introduced in State Parliament in May," Rau told GameSpot AU. "However, my long-stated position has been to protect children by creating a clearer distinction between games that may be suitable for children and those that are suitable only for adults. Therefore, my intention is that the South Australian legislation will prevent the sale of MA15+ games to minors. This move will give parents greater certainty about the appropriateness of games for their children."

Op Ed

VentureBeat - Can we panic now? — Core gaming has a problem.
Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all taking an extra beat because they don’t really know what gaming is going to look like in two years. It’s a war of attrition, and the winner is very likely going to be the manufacturer who makes the fewest number of mistakes. As a result, it seems like the industry is suffering perhaps more than it actually is. The NPD group tracking numbers show that February sales are down significantly from the same time frame in 2011. That alone wouldn’t be much of an issue, but third-parties like Sega are probably assuming that this is a trend that’ll continue until the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 hit store shelves. With the news that Microsoft will definitely not reveal a new console at this summer’s E3, Sega and THQ are likely attempting to conserve their last bit of money until the next generation can drum up consumer excitement.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ADATA XPG SX900 256GB SATA 3 SSD on The SSD Review.
  • Aerocool Strike-X 800W PSU on ProClockers.
  • Antec P280 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case on Benchmark Reviews.
  • Arctic Freezer i30 CPU Cooler on Bjorn3D.com.
  • ASUS Xonar Essence One DAC & Headphone Amplifier on techPowerUp.
  • Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1050 PSU on Ninjalane.
  • Corsair Vengeance K60 Performance FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on TweakTown.
  • Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3 Motherboard on HCW.
  • Palit JetStream GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Cards in SLI on TweakTown.
  • SilenX EFZ-120HA5 CPU Cooler on Hardware Secrets.
  • Steelseries Desmo White Optiks Glasses on XSReviews.

etc.

Out of the Blue

You know I can remember a time when you couldn't find a good show on television. Things have changed so dramatically in this regard that at 9:00 pm Sundays we have a choice between Mad Men, Shameless, and Game of Thrones, each of which could easily have been the best show on TV some years ago. Quite an embarrassment of riches. Thank goodness for the DVR.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Pigs Will Fly.
Hungry Bobby Bear.
Links: Watch Arthur C. Clarke predict the internet and the iPads decades before they were invented.
Stories: Chevy Chase's SCATHING Voicemail to 'Community' Creator -- You're a Piece of S**t
Science: Lots of radioactivity, but little risk in oceans, seafood near Fukushima.
Media: Canadian Member of Parliament Beats the Tar out of Senator.



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