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Monday, Oct 01, 2012

  

Ships Ahoy - Strategic Command WWI Breakthrough

Battlefront.com now offers Strategic Command WWI Breakthrough, an expansion for the turn-based strategy of Strategic Command WW1 1914-1918: The Great War. The add-on is available by itself or as a bundle along with the original game, and for those still on the fence about this (or in a trench, to follow the World War I theme), they say a playable demo is expected soon. Word is:

If you think that WWI gaming is all about trenches, stalemate and pointless attacks, think again! Strategic Command WWI Breakthrough! comes with no less than 20 exciting and action packed campaigns (30! in total with the base game), offering you the best in WWI grand strategy.

Lorne Lanning on Micro-Publishing

Oddworld: Spending $30m on games, not Ferraris and private jets on GamesIndustry International features a conversation with Lorne Lanning of Oddworld Inhabitants, who shows a defiant independence when he says his answer was "F-ck you very much" to Electronic Arts at the prospect of being acquired (an offer EA says they cannot recall making). He goes on to describe how EA pulled marketing dollars from Stranger's Wrath and offered to buy them because of the money they lost on the project. "That's not a sustainable model, that's a hostile acquisition," he explains. "That's why we had to strive to get independent. Rather than get into bed with someone we knew was a horrible bed partner we said 'let's stay virgins for longer'." Here's how he describes his outlook on being a micro-publisher since he returned to gaming:

"On the micro-publisher level it's very simple. We fund our own products," he says. "We weren't able to do that in the boxed product days, we're only able to do that in the digital distribution landscape.

"Rather than having to have 1.5 million units in the opening week or suffer death, now if we have 50,000 sales and we're still in business. People are still employed and we're able to keep making content. When we released box product we would get 20 per cent of the revenue. After that 20 per cent paid back the entire development budget, if it was still selling at $60 we would start seeing $7 a unit. Because of the bricks and mortar, the plastic, the manufacturing, the gas involved in taking games to the store, the store itself and all those extra costs - not one of those costs makes a better game for the player."

"If you're the gamer, where do you want the money of the game you're buying to go?" he asks. "I want it going to help make more games. But the majority of that money is not going to games in the boxed product market.

He continues: "Now we're on a digitally distributed landscape, instead of a $60 price point we can offer a $9.99 price point. At $9.99 we get $7 per unit. At this price you're getting a game for one sixth of the price and we're still getting money to make more games. The player is truly funding our games. We have a few hundred thousand people we can depend on as fans of Oddworld who will buy our games. If we can get that number up to 3-5 million and with the increase of what that brings to the developer, then we can start funding our own $20 - $30 million triple-A games. That's our goal."

New Morrowind Overhaul

Ornitocopter now offers version 3.0 of Morrowind Overhaul, a collection of individual mods for The Elder Scrolls IV: Morrowind. Word is: "Basically MO is a 'compilation' of the best mods out there, packed together with care for detail and user-friendliness. In fact you will be able to install hundreds of beautiful mods at once, with a simple installer designed by us with simplicity in mind. Another thing that I have to mention is the attention to create something that keeps the Morrowind’s feeling intact. That’s why we tried to choose only the mods that were really well made and faithful to the original colours and environment." Thanks Shacknews.

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: NASA Starts Work on Real Life Star Trek Warp Drive. Thanks scorcese.fan.

A Valley Without Wind 2 Announced; Free for Owners of Original

Games By Design announces plans for A Valley Without Wind 2, a sequel to their procedurally generated side-scrolling action game. This was spotted on VG247 after being posted on Friday, but the site clarifies why this has not been formally announced (apologies to them for whatever undesired hype mentioning this provides): "We're now reversing that stance, however. We actually don't particularly want major news coverage about this in advance of it being playable, we decided. Why? We don't want it to be over-hyped, and we don't want to run up against potential skepticism for people who didn't like the first game. We're still in the process of getting the art assets together to where we could really do a true announcement, and so we haven't even contacted any of the press just yet about it." Word is the sequel will be free to owners of the first game, and here's word on what it will involve:

Is this really a sequel?
Make no mistake, Valley 2 is a true sequel -- it's a lot more different from the first game than many sequels are compared to their original. There are a lot of changes I've been wanting to make for a while to the game, but these changes were too deep to do without angering players who bought one game and then had us change it on them to that degree. This way players can keep playing the original in its current state (though we won't be doing much more of anything to update the original game from here on out), and they can also enjoy the awesome sequel for free as well.

And I get this for free if I already have the first game?
Yeah. Basically everyone will be getting both games whenever they buy either one. Kind of like what Zeboyd Games does with Breath of Death 7 and C Saves the World. You get both for the price of one.

XCOM Shooter Going Third-Person?

Kotaku has some screenshots claimed to be from a marketing survey that suggest that the upcoming shooter based on the X-COM series may now be a third-person shooter after being announced as an FPS. According to their unverified source, these shots came along with questions about the appeal of such a game as a $30 download for Xbox 360 and PS3, with no mention of a PC edition, suggesting a downgrade from a AAA game to a downloadable console title. They received the following no comment from 2K: "We have not made any new announcements regarding the XCOM title currently in development at 2K Marin, and it is our policy not to comment on rumors or speculation."

EVE Online Retribution in December

The EVE Online Website announces Retribution, the 18th expansion for CCP's freewheeling space MMORPG, which is expected to launch on December 4th. They offer preliminary looks at what this will bring to the game, including Bounty Hunting, New Ships and New Roles, and a way to keep tabs on the game's signature malfeasance called Crimewatch. Thanks Shock Fuel.

Borderlands 3 Mentioned

Gearbox Software lead writer Anthony Burch mentioned they are already toying with ideas for Borderlands 3 on The Totally Rad Show. This is noted on MP1st, where this relieves their concern that Gearbox "will ever let the fans of Borderlands get to see a third installment of this franchise," since Borderlands 2 shipped almost a full two weeks ago. Thanks VG247.

U.K. Sales Charts

A post on GfK Chart-Track has the list of 20 bestselling full-price PC entertainment titles, updated for the week ending September 29th. There's some action at the top as FIFA 13 enters at number three and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is the new number one. FIFA 13 is number one on the all platforms chart, while Mists of Pandaria joins the chart at number four.

Miner Wars 2081 Trailer

This trailer shows off gameplay from the just-launched closed beta of Miner Wars 2081, the upcoming Descent-style space shooter. Here's the description of the clip, which shows a four-player co-op mission: "It's Arrr-guably the best trailer we've put out yet, and you'll hear some finalized voices as well as some storyline progression, and you've guessed it... Pirates! So don't scallywag and get yourself an eye-full of this motion picture. It's nothing to give a wide berth over..."

Iron Grip: Marauders Patched

ISOTX announces a new update is now live in Iron Grip: Marauders, their MMO turn-based strategy game. Here's word on what's new:

  • Level 24 Unlocked, with new tech and higher level units!
  • Hero training is back and better than ever before!
  • New perk stores offering more choice!
  • Better friend invite rewards - get up to 10 Gems per invite!
  • Improved tutorials - your friends will find it easier than ever to get into the game!

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

I discovered the plastic innards of our coffee grinder are cracked, and the tube that passes the beans onto the burrs is now in two pieces. Amazingly, this inexpensive Cuisinart grinder still actually works in spite of this, continuing to show a surprising will to live after taking beatings to get it to grind beans, which has lead to it needing a weight sitting on it to work. For a long time I was looking for an excuse to replace this with something a bit spiffier, but it's been cranking along for over four years, which is longer than the cool KitchenAid grinder it replaced lived, so I'm starting to take it as a point of pride to keep it running and want to repair it and give it one more lease on life. And yes, it's crossed my mind that it's sad that four years seems like a great lifespan for one of these electric grinders, as I bet there are manual hand-crank grinders out there that are still operating fine after 100 years.

Ground Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Go Robots.
Science: Mandelbrot: art, math, science, and works in progress.
Images: Snuggly Chestburster.
Media: Deer Tackles A Downhill Going Skateboarder. Compassion FTW.
Mark Morrone - World's Worst Petkeeper.
Dog Watching Himself On Laptop.
Auction: Bonnie and Clyde guns fetch $0.5m in New Hampshire. Thanks brother19.
The Funnies: Dilbert.



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