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Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 Happy Australia Day, Mate

  

On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4

An interview on IGN follows "The Long, Strange Journey of the Penny Arcade Game," talking with Zeboyd’s Robert Boyd and Bill Stiernberg about Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, the trilogy that once seemed like it would end after two episodes, and expanding on last summer's revelation that the series is now getting a fourth installment. The new version is coming to Windows and Xbox 360, and they have some screenshots, along with the following explanation:

We are also addressing linearity by providing a freely explorable overworld. Rain-Slick 3 took place entirely in one city, but Rain-Slick 4 takes place in an entirely new world, essentially. That gives us the freedom to really open up the game to a large and varied environment and let players explore. Secondly, I’m building the maps with a more open and interesting structure than I did in Rain-Slick 3. Our original Rain-Slick 3 game design called specifically for somewhat linear maps, and later when we revised the engine I was able to open the maps up a bit more. I don’t want to produce convoluted, confusing maps either; so with Rain-Slick 4, I think I’ve found a good middle ground that allows players to explore a bit without getting confused. Combined with the free, open overworld and optional stuff we’re putting into the game world, I think it’ll feel much less linear.

PC Resident Evil 6 Gets New Mode

Capcom unity reveals that the upcoming PC edition of Resident Evil 6 will include a new exclusive gameplay mode called "The Mercenaries: No Mercy." Word is: "The Mercenaries: No Mercy takes fan favorite The Mercenaries and ramps up the gameplay even further. More enemies on screen than ever before will provide a greater challenge, but also the opportunity for players to use their skills to rack up even higher combo scores!" They also outline additional modes coming soon to the console editions of the survival/horror sequel, adding these will be coming to the PC version to download and purchase "shortly" after its March 22nd release, and that other future console updates will come to the PC edition free-of-charge.

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation: Medieval Horror Released

The Medieval Horror pack for Painkiller: Hell & Damnation is now available on GameStop PC Downloads and Steam, adding new survival mode content, new skins, a new gun, and new multiplayer maps to the shooter sequel. Here are details on the contents: Continue here to read the full story.

DayZ Status Report

The DayZ Blog has an update on plans for a standalone game based on the DayZ zombie modification for Arma II (thanks VG247). This covers a broad variety of topics, and concludes with a handy summary of where things stand right now:

When is it releasing?

We don’t know. We’re going to take our time. I feel fantastic about the situation, more than ever I feel like we’re doing something really interesting with this development. Now is not the time to rush things, but we do need to ensure our pace is kept up. Our development blog and getting players in and testing as soon as possible will be key in ensuring we succeed in making this a great game.

Concluding words

At no point in development, have I been as excited as I am right now. The risks we took with the direction have paid off. The engine and approach of the game is now entirely DayZ’s own, it is striking out into it’s own territory as a project. This is very exciting for all the team.

I do need to caution though, it is a bad idea to overhype the project. We know that there are many challenges that we will face from deciding to effectively write a new engine tailored to DayZ. But we are now entirely confident, that this decision will prove to have been the best decision we could make. Now we will be able to make the game that we’ve all always wanted.

Impire Trailer

A new video is the "metal trailer" from Impire, Cyanide Studios' upcoming game of keeping dungeons and the like. Word is: "As you can tell by the trailer, imps and their minions love metal. They also love creating and maintaining dank dungeons, and dispatching pesky humans that walk into their domicile. Hell, they even go above ground to fight humans before they even come down, because they're quite proactive. And they do all this in a very tongue-in-cheek manner." Continue here to read the full story.

Alien Spidy Trailer

Gameplay from Alien Spidy is on display in a new trailer that shows off a bunch of the NPCs from this upcoming platformer. Here's the lowdown on the game: "The cute, six-legged protagonist in Alien Spidy will have to manoeuvre past lazy sloths, needle-shooting hedgehogs, ravenous fish, and pesky mosquitos in order to save his friend Virgi, collect lost parts of his space craft, and return to his home planet." Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • Alice: Madness Returns on Origin. Save 75%.
  • Batman Arkham City: Game of the Year Edition on Origin. Save 66%.
  • Battlefield 3 on Origin. Save 70%.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on Origin. Save 60%.
  • Crysis on Origin. Save 50%.
  • Crysis 2 Maximum Edition on Origin. Save 66%.
  • Deus Ex Collection on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition on Origin. Save 66%.
  • Game of Thrones on Origin. Save 75%.
  • I Am Alive on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Mass Effect on Origin. Save 50%.
  • Mass Effect 2 Digital Deluxe Edition on Origin. Save 66%.
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit on Origin. Save 50%.
  • Need for Speed: ProStreet on Origin. Save 50%.
  • Rebellion Strategy and More on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • The Sims 3 Master Suite Stuff on Origin. Save 50%.
  • Sims Games on Gamefly.com. Save up to 75%.

Evening Q&As

Saturday Patches

Op Ed

Wired.com - Hi, I'm the Game Industry, and I'm Addicted to Vaporware. Thanks Ant.
Hyping up products that are years away is important to console makers like Nintendo, especially in the early life of a new product, because it needs consumers to see the console not as something they’re going to get their $350 worth out of right now, but as a long-term investment. This is as true for Sony and Microsoft as it is for Nintendo. They want you to buy a console on the promise of content later on down the road, so they can build their install base early, so that publishers will actually create that content.

And customers who buy in to that promise? As it turns out, they can have quite an emotional reaction when you suggest that perhaps they’re being snowed even a little.

Gatherings & Competitions

Saturday Previews

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

etc., etc.

Out of the Blue

Some sort of glitch on the server prevented last night's news update from showing up, sorry about that. You may have noticed the comment counts were not updating, as this stemmed from the same issue. I have carried over the content of the missing update into today's news so that it didn't end up buried (the news posted briefly with last nights timestamps when the glitch was fixed, so you weren't seeing things if you happened to notice that).

For the record, here's the Link of the Day from last night by way of nin: The Shining original ending: Read the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick’s lost hospital scene.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Storm Ops 3.
Media: Why film cameras are better than digital cameras.
Ordering a pizza using a talking computer, Dec 4, 1974.
Matt Damon gets revenge on Jimmy Kimmel.
Follow-up: Star Wars Is Being Kick-Started with Dynamite. Thanks nin.

Friday, Jan 25, 2013

SimCity: Details on Player Region Limits and Color-Blindness Mode

Maxis creative director Ocean Quigley tweets about how many regions players will be able to own in the upcoming SimCity reboot: "You can have up to 10 regions (in total, regardless of whether they're private or shared with other players)" (thanks Joao). Also, Destructoid has details on how the game will have about 18 different visual filters, saying the developers are taking particular mercy on those (like myself) with color vision deficiencies: "Depending upon your form of colorblindness, you have different transforms. If you are red-green colorblind, you don't have much sensitivity in the red-green range. So what I've had to do for that is to pull some of the stuff that would normally be merged together into the blue channel and to pop the contrast on red and green as much as possible so that people that have some limited sensitivity to red green can still see what's going on," Ocean Quigley explains. "These transforms are collectively called daltonism. So we've done basically those transforms for the three most common forms of colorblindness." On a related note, there are hands-on previews of the game based on a few hours with the beta on Computer and Video Games, IGN, Kotaku, PC Gamer, and Shacknews.

Ships Ahoy - DmC: Devil May Cry; Livestream Today

Today is the release date for the Windows edition of DmC: Devil May Cry, Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry-based brawler. The game is available from retailers in Europe, while North American customers can get it digitally via GameStop PC Downloads, Origin, and Steam. This new trailer offers a look at the PC edition in action, and Capcom Unity has word that a livestream of the PC edition is planned for 6:00 pm EST today on Twitch, and they have a set of Alienware peripherals one participant will win. Here's word on the game:

In this retelling of Dante's origin story which is set against a contemporary backdrop, DmC Devil May Cry™ retains the stylish action, fluid combat and self-assured protagonist that have defined the iconic series but inject a more brutal and visceral edge.

Funcom Closing Chinese Studio

Funcom's restructuring continues, reports Gamasutra, saying the company is closing down its studio in Beijing China that was responsible for the art and animation in The Secret World, Funcom's conspiratorial MMORPG. These responsibilities will be taken up by the company's office in Raleigh, North Carolina, which will also be tasked with creating assets for Age of Conan and Anarchy Online, though the report notes that as part of this restructuring some positions have been cut in Raleigh, as well. No word if this has resulted in outcry from Chinese developers about their jobs being outsourced to the U.S.

On Project Shield and Local Game Streaming

There's an article on The Tech Report that goes into detail about Project Shield, NVIDIA's upcoming handheld computing device. They focus on the device's ability to stream PC games over the local wireless network, saying this makes this "arguably a new class of product." They note that the price will likely make this a luxury, but express enthusiasm of the local game streaming concept, noting there are no reasons other manufacturers like AMD could compete in this area, and rue the lack of a specific set of open protocols for low-latency local game streaming. They also call back to a recent interview on The Verge where Valve's Gabe Newell mentioned this may be an aspect of upcoming "Steam Box" hardware solutions: "The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simultaeneous [sic] game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it." Here is the Tech Report's takeaway:

Makes perfect sense, really. CPUs and GPUs continue to add parallel processing capacity, but most games are designed for consoles based on hardware that's out of date when it's released and then stagnates for years after that. Future PCs should have the ability not only to deliver a premium gaming experience in a traditional desktop environment, but also to provide a good experience for multiple networked sessions on separate devices. The potential for LAN parties—indeed, for multiplayer home arcades—is enormous. I couldn't be more excited.

Linux Postal 2 Released

The Running with Scissors forums announces Postal 2 Complete on Steam now includes Linux support. Word is: "The Linux version of POSTAL 2 is now ready for download. If you already have POSTAL 2 on your Steam account, then you already own the Linux (and also Mac) version via Steam play." They say they are working on adding achievements to the first-person shooter sequel.

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption Challenges

The Kickstarter for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption has a new update on progress on this upcoming adventure/RPG from the designers of the original Quest for Glory (thanks nin). They show the latest stuff they are working on, and go on to outline some "new challenges" they are facing, in part due to being another Kickstarter that did not anticipate the costs of fulfilling their backer rewards:

Two of our team members have decided to reduce their involvement in the project for personal and financial reasons. Because we barely scraped by with $9,000 over our minimum goal, we were not able to pay for full-time work to any of our contractors. In fact, my current projections show Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption running at a $50,000 loss, mostly because I underestimated the cost of fulfilling all of the premiums. This includes the art time needed to customize Yearbook pictures, paintings, and statues, so that's good for the artists. But we also need to get all the game art assets, so the premium reward art is an additional expense to the project as a whole.

As a result, all of our team members are working on other projects simultaneously with Hero-U. Andrew Goulding and Eriq Chang have full-time commitments on other projects, and decided that 60-hour weeks before we even start Crunch Mode are more than they can handle. They will continue to work on specific pieces of Hero-U, but will not take part in the main development effort. Andrew is graciously allowing us to continue using his MacGuffin's Curse engine under the Hero-U code, so we still have that strong head start on development.

Lori and I are "more than full time", but of course taking only a cost-of-living salary. Lori is focusing on the story design and working with the art team. Currently, I am spending much of my time on reward fulfillment and other tasks needed to keep the project running. I'm beginning to feel a bit like Mortimer Terk, the overworked school administrator at Hero-U

Mass Effect 3 Weekend Event

The BioWare Blog has details on Operation: BALLISTIC, the latest weekend event for Mass Effect 3, the sci-fi RPG/shooter sequel:

Operation BALLISTIC (Jan 25th-27th)

Event Description: Recon has new estimates on the number of Reaper creatures, and the news is dire. Each of you must inflict as many casualties as possible, and we must destroy husk-creation mechanisms like Dragon’s Teeth. If we fail to accomplish this, we will be even more outnumbered in the coming days.

Individual Goal: Earn any gold weapon medal (Assault Rifle/Heavy Pistol/Shotgun/Sniper Rifle/Submachine Gun).

Reward: Commendation Pack

Op Ed

Gamasutra - PC is not dead and mobile is shit (with Charts!).
Well the article title says it all: PC is not dead and mobile is shit.

Of course I make a certain type of game and the market is more geared up to sell PC copies of those, and indies releasing PC games on Steam certainly find they can do pretty well on there too compared to other platforms. Other developers are having great success on mobile - good for them. But I would urge caution in the mobile market. It's HUGELY over-saturated and hard to get noticed. I got my existing games ported to mobile as a low-risk approach, but there are teams of developers out there spending 6-12 months on mobile games and I personally think that's a recipe for disaster in most cases.

Looking at my numbers, perhaps I'd be best sticking to PC only? Putting all my energy into that and not buying expensive Macs (and constantly upgrading the OS and Xcode, and farting around with provisioning profiles and certificates) and not buying an ever growing army of mobile devices to test on. Most devs have a PC anyway, even if they just play games on it! For me anyway, PC is the clear winner.

Morning Patches

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The cold snap hereabouts is getting worse, rather than better, with the temps frequently below zero when the wind chill is taken into account. Seems like this going to be the case all weekend, and there is snow in the forecast for later on top of all this, so I am determined to pick up some meat and crank out some chili as a way of adding a little internal fire to our efforts at staying warm. On the other hand, the doggies are in heaven, and spending a ridiculous amount of time in the backyard... Hudson the wonder dog in particular slows down a lot in the summer, and the colder it gets, the happier she is, and this recent freeze has her acting like a puppy.

Frosty Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Soul Shift.
Science: Neil DeGrasse Tyson- science funding can “guarantee your economic future”.
Scientists discover how pet dogs evolved from wolves.
Images: Arkham: Daycare.
Media: Everything Wrong With Avatar In 4 Minutes Or Less. Thanks Ant.
Comfy Couch. NSFW.
Beatboxing Goat.
Follow-up: Video of stunt plane barely missing two people prompts FAA probe. Thanks nin.



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