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Thursday, Oct 11, 2012

  

WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship Demo

A playable demo is now available for WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship, offering the chance to test drive the next installment in this rally racing series, saying: "The demo will allow you to try out the Road to Glory Mode." The 1.2 GB download can be found on AtomicGamer, AusGamers, and Jeuxvideo. Here's more on the game:

Developed by Milestone, WRC 3 marks a radical departure from the previous titles and sees the team using a completely new graphics and game engine, developed in-house, in order to bring the 2012 WRC drivers and teams to players on all relevant gaming platforms.

WRC 3 features all the rallies in the 2012 WRC calendar, complete with all leading WRC teams and drivers in the revamped career mode. WRC 3 also features a brand new graphics engine, called Spikengine, allowing Milestone to accurately model lighting, particle effects and other real-world characteristics to create an in-game virtual reality, offering complete immersion in the WRC universe. The cars themselves showcase new modelling techniques - they have never looked as life-like, or handled as realistically, as in WRC 3. Milestone has streamlined every aspect of the game to allow new players instant gameplay satisfaction, while still allowing experienced rally gamers to explore the game’s full range of features and drive a WRC car from the comfort of their own home.

As well as all this, the game has improved crowd effects, rebuilt stages and new cinematic introductions to each stage. WRC 3 features more than 50 official WRC teams, alongside Class 2 and Class 3 series. WRC 3 also offers amazing Super Special Stages

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Patch

The 2K Games Forums have a list of the changes in a new patch for XCOM: Enemy Unknown that's now available to update the newly released installment in the counter-UFO strategy series (thanks Scott). Here's word on what this does:

We wanted to let you know the details for the PC update for XCOM: Enemy Unknown that went live today (10/11/12). I've included the notes on this patch below:

  • Various visibility/hiding optimizations
  • Multiplayer text chat support (press J to activate)
  • Mouse button 4/5 will switch soldiers in the Barracks
  • ESC hides the movement grid, if you do not want to commit to a move while it is activated
  • Squad Sight ability optimization
  • Fixed issue when equipping two grenades with Deep Pockets.
  • Fixed Rapid Fire sometimes consuming too much ammo.
  • SHIVs that are damaged will no longer become unusable.
  • Fixed some hangs/soft crashes in tactical combat.
  • Replaced software cursor with the operating system cursor to reduce lag and framerate dependence.
  • Fixed rendering bug which causes some soldier’s hair to appear as if it is rendering on top of environment fog.
  • 1080p movies are now used at all times on the PC.

Magicka Patch & DLC Released

As noted in the Paradox Interactive Forums, a new patch is now automatically available for Magicka, addressing some issues in the action/adventure/RPG and paving the way for the newly released Dungeons and Daemons DLC for the game. This page shows where to buy the DLC, here's a launch trailer, and here's the pitch for the new content:

Something stirs beneath Castle Aldrheim…

Deep in the sub-dungeons, long forgotten by the Wizards, the demented ancestors of the Aldrheim Order have awoken an ancient evil. The fate of the world has yet again fallen on the shoulders of our haphazard and colorful wizards. Will the Wizards survive as they stumble upon Aldrheim’s most secret of secrets?

Explore never before seen places in the fantastical world of Magicka. Test your mettle against new enemies and try to avoid getting slime all over your robes. Where does that even come from? It’s everywhere! If we could reveal the super-secret hard mode, it would attract even the most battle-hardened wizards. Unfortunately, it’s a secret, so we can’t talk about it.

No Terraforming in SimCity

An article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun breaks down some footage of a live presentation that includes a look at SimCity, EA Maxis' upcoming installment in the classic urban planning series. They take note of a couple of things the new game will not include, starting with terraforming, as word is the landscapes are regarded as puzzles where figuring out how to suit your construction to the terrain is part of the challenge. They also note that while the game will include boat transports, but will eliminate subways. Thanks Joao.

NPD September Figures

GamesIndustry International has details on the September report from the NPD Group, which show year-on-year declines in all categories: "the report showed total industry sales down 24 percent to $848.3 million. Hardware sales plummeted 39 percent to $210.9 million, while software sales (including physical PC titles) fell 14 percent to $547.3 million. Accessories also dipped 11 percent to $139.9 million." The NPD adds: "When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales in September such as used and rentals at $191MM, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $488MM, we would estimate the total consumer spend in September to be just under $1.6B."

The Astronauts Formed

Though Epic recently bought up the remainder of People Can Fly, that is not keeping the founders of this Polish developer from reaching for the stars, as they today announce the formation of The Astronauts, an indie studio with the rights to develop multiple games using Epic's Unreal technology. Here's word:

Epic Games, Inc. and The Astronauts, the new independent games studio founded by Adrian Chmielarz, Andrzej Poznanski and Michal Kosieradzki, announce a long-term Unreal Engine licensing agreement. Under the deal terms, The Astronauts have the rights to develop multiple games using the latest Unreal Engine technology. The team is creating its debut title, an unannounced game due for release in 2013, with Epic’s award- winning Unreal Engine 3 (UE3).

“We’ve worked with UE3 for the last six years, and we know its power,” said Adrian Chmielarz, co-founder of The Astronauts. “Choosing Unreal Engine technology for our future was the textbook definition of a no-brainer. We are on a quest to map uncharted waters, and Epic’s tech provides the stability required for success.”

“We’re truly impressed with what high-quality games small, independent teams are creating using the Unreal Engine,” said Mike Gamble, European territory manager of Epic. “The best is yet to come, and there’s a good chance that The Astronauts will be one of those teams that makes us say ‘Wow.’”

Stuart Black Leaves City Interactive

Polish website Miastogier reports that Black and Bodycount developer Stuart Black has parted ways with City Interactive, saying his vision for Enemy Front (once referred to here as "Stuart Black's City Interactive Shooter") is different from the company's. VG247 has an official statement on this: "We can confirm that Stuart Black is no longer working with City Interactive on the Enemy Front project," Marshall Zwicker, CI's North American VP of sales and marketing told them. "Based on on [sic] early builds of the game and various internal and external feedback that we received, we decided to take a different approach to the, gameplay, and the story and characters in the game than originally envisioned. We are now working with Mark Bristol, a very experienced cinematic director from the US and together with him we have been implementing what we feel are some really compelling changes."

Gone Gold - Stronghold Kingdoms

Firefly Studios announces that Stronghold Kingdoms is "gold," and the free-to-play MMO castle sim will officially leave beta testing on October 17th. Word is this will be accompanied by fulfilling user requests for a revamp to the game's audio: "New sound effects have been one of the most frequently requested features for Stronghold Kingdoms, adding a layer of immersion to the game that appeals to players new and old. Battles now rumble with the marching and clash of armies, scouts can be heard galloping to their next target and traders carting off to the parish capital with their goods. There are also a number of sounds added to the user interface, providing better feedback for players."

Need For Speed Most Wanted MP Trailer

The Need for Speed Website now features a second feature on multiplayer play in Need For Speed Most Wanted with this trailer from the upcoming road rage sequel. Word is: "Our online play is about friends and fun, as long as by “friends” you mean the people you want to slam off the road and by 'fun' you mean intense competition, brutal humiliation and maniac driving. Pick a car, meet up and laugh your way through a nonstop Playlist of competitive races, events and challenges. Fight for your place on the start line or turn back to take out oncoming rivals at the finish." Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: When Gordon Met Chell. Thanks Ant.

Grand Theft Auto V Details Near

Game Informer editor-in-chief Andy McNamara tweets that he is here in the town so nice they named it twice to check out Grand Theft Auto V, the open-world action game so nice, it's on its fifth installment: "In NYC, about to check out December’s cover game #GTAV." Kotaku notes that the way GI typically promotes things suggests we'll hear more about GTA5 in early November. Thanks nin.

Borderlands 2 Captain Scarlett DLC Next Week

The CBS 3 Website has a confirmation of Tuesday's rumors of DLC for Borderlands 2 called Captain Scarlett and her Pirate's Booty. It turns out the release of this pirate-themed DLC is expected next week on October 16th for $10.00 USD (except for Season Pass holders). Here's what they have about this for now:

The downloadable content focuses on the one-eyed pirate queen Captain Scarlett and is set amid an expansive desert that features a bandit-filled shanty town called Oasis.

"You can sense the pirate theme across the landscape, even though there's no water," said Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford. "It's all dried up. It feels more like Tatooine than an ocean. These bandits have really embraced the pirate lifestyle, and there's the legend of a treasure. That kicks off this whole adventure that the players can go on."

The new campaign tasks players with battling new enemies like sand worms, hovering across the terrain in the new sand skiff vehicle and collecting a new currency called seraph crystals. Pitchford said the new campaign was designed with all players in mind - from those who haven't finished the game to the elite who are replaying it again to discover more swag.

No Adult Games on Windows 8 Marketplace

A post on Critical Detail takes a critical look at the closed distribution model in Windows 8 and Windows RT, speculating about how this will impact software distribution over the next 20 years. As noted on Kotaku, this includes a rule against selling adult content through the Windows 8 Marketplace, saying: "Your app must not contain adult content, and metadata must be appropriate for everyone. Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed." While this will not impact U.S. users much since almost no games are ever rated "AO," there are lots of games with a PEGI-18 rating in Europe this will prohibit. There are a number of reasons this will not impact hardcore gamers in the short term, as they are unlikely to be rushing to adopt the new Windows, unlikely to make a tablet their primary gaming machine, and unlikely to make the Microsoft walled garden the place they buy their games, but the trend this represents is certainly troubling. Update: Corrected to be clear the rule will prohibit AO games in North America, not "M" rated games. Apologies for the confusion.

Game Developers Choice Online Award Results

The results of the Game Developers Choice Online Awards are now available, heaping a pile of prizes on Star Wars: The Old Republic, in spite of the ups and downs experienced by BioWare's MMORPG since it launched a short time ago in a galaxy not so far away. The game took honors for Best Online Game Design, Best Online Visual Arts, Best Online Technology, and Best New Online Game. League of Legends won for Best Community Relations and Best Live Game, while for those who stay a while and listen, Diablo III was picked for Best Audio for an Online Game (the good sportsmanship award).

More Project Eternity Goals

The Kickstarter Campaign for Obsidian Entertainment's Project Eternity shows this fundraiser has passed its $2.6 million stretch goal, and announces the rewards that go along with that milestone (thanks nin). They have complete details on rewards for every tier, as well as the artwork that will go on some of the reward merchandise. Word is they will close out this campaign with their foot firmly on the accelerator:

We have a lot of great stuff planned over the next six days. Josh is doing a lore update tomorrow along with some other BIG announcements, we are organizing an AMA over on reddit so everyone can ask Tim, Josh, Feargus and myself (Adam) a ton of questions, and we are getting our crazy ideas put together for the live stream of the last hours of the campaign next Tuesday.

Ships Ahoy - Planets Under Attack

TopWare Interactive announces Planets Under Attack is now available in stores in Europe, offering a boxed Windows and OS X edition of this space strategy game that was recently released on Steam. The box includes an optional Steam code, but all features of the game can be accessed without using Steam. Here's a description of the game:

The goal of this challenging space adventure is to conquer a galaxy of planets, while undertaking a multitude of special challenges. Take control of your mighty space armada, and wreak havoc across the cosmos, but choose your targets wisely! Conquered planets will net you income to expand your forces, but you must carefully weigh the pros and cons of attacking each planet, as timing and available resources are critical to victory. Above all else, you must keep a cool head. Enemies race to capture your territory as you hone in on theirs and multiple battles will rage on all fronts. You must make tactical decisions at every turn, from scouting your enemies and deploying units, to shoring up your planets’ defenses and knowing when to attack and when to defend. Strategic multi-tasking and a keen military mind will lead directly to unrivaled glory…while careless play will reduce your army to space dust.

Harvey‘s New Eyes Next Week

Daedalic Entertainment announces development is complete on Edna & Harvey: Harvey‘s New Eyes, and a fully localized English edition of the now-gold adventure game is expected on Steam on October 16th. Here's word:

At first glance Lilli is the best-behaved little girl in the world. She executes all her chores in a diligent manner, no matter how unfair they may be. Her innocent, imperturbable way of carrying out the orders of others has something both tragic and eerie about it. Any angry thoughts, any childlike disobedience is buried deep beneath a seemingly impenetrable shell of sweetness. But how long will these feelings stay hidden? And where do the friendly little censor-gnomes come from, which paint over anything upsetting in Lilli’s vicinity with a pleasant pink color? Are they real or just a product of her subconscious?

When her best friend Edna disappears under mysterious circumstances, Lilli has to rise above, facing a tough journey to not only get her friend back but also confront her subconscious fears.

"Edna and Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes" will be released in English, German and Russian on October 16th on Steam. http://www.edna-and-harvey.com

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy 10/11/12! Unless you're in Europe, where it's 11/10/12, and you must wait until next month to experience the sheer, unadulterated awesomeness of this date.

Last week's NFL games were more true to form, judging by our general success at picking winners, and Creston and I tied for top honors. Here goes for this week: Steelers, Falcons, Ravens, Bengals, Dolphins, Colts, Eagles, Chiefs, Cardinals, Seahawks, Giants, Vikings, Texans, Broncos. Here are the outcomes from last week: Blue & Creston: 11-3, Batman and Jivaro: 10-4, mag: 8-6, and Cutter: 6-8.

Consecutive Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Medieval Shark.
Links: NHTSA Alerting Consumers to Dangers of Counterfeit Air Bags. Thanks Slashdot.
Stories: Failed -Munsters- Reboot Airs This Halloween.
DHS to start testing drones over US for 'public safety'. Thanks DSLReports.
Science: DNA has a 521-year half-life. Thanks nin via Slashdot. Dodo Bird Park.
Two Americans win Nobel chemistry prize. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Eurogamer 2012 Cosplay Music Video.
"NFL On Fox" Officially Kills "Gangnam Style". Warning: You can't unsee it.
Self-Parking Bicycle.



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