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Thursday, Feb 07, 2013

  

Ubisoft Results: AC3 Sells > 12 Million Units; New AC Coming

Ubisoft's Q3 2012/13 sales figures are now public, showing sales for the fiscal quarter ending December 31st were 23% higher than the same period the previous year, and saying this is above the upper range predicted for the period. Also, GameSpot covers the company's post-results conference call, where they revealed plans for another installment in the Assassin's Creed series, saying this will (naturally) be set during a different era, and is expected for release in their fiscal 2014, which runs from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. Back to their earnings, among other things, Ubisoft attributes the results to strong performance in the core segment:

An outstanding performance by the core gamer segment, driven by very high-quality games. Assassin's Creed® 3 was a record-breaking success with more than 12 million sell-in and digitally distributed units, representing an almost 70% increase over Assassin's Creed® Revelations. Far Cry® 3 was the highest-rated shooter game in 2012 for Xbox360 (with a Metacritic score of 90%), and delivered a much higher-than-expected performance, with already over 4.5 million sell-in and digitally distributed units.

Activision/Blizzard Reveals Profits, Unannounced MMOG

Activision Blizzard announces Fourth Quarter and Calendar Year 2012 Results, showing a better-than-expected outcome, showing record GAAP net revenues of $4.86 billion and record GAAP earnings per diluted share of $1.01 for the year. "We are very pleased to report that Activision Blizzard delivered the best performance in its history," says Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer, Activision Blizzard. "With better-than-expected net revenues, record operating margins and record earnings, and over $1.3 billion in operating cash flow, we continue to set the industry success bar. I would like to thank our incredibly talented employees around the world for their passion, drive and creativity, which continues to fuel our success." Strategy Informer reports that during the company's post-earnings conference call, two projects they are currently developing were mentioned: Blizzard All-Stars, the upcoming MOBA, and an unannounced MMOG, which should be officially unveiled at some point this year. It's not clear if this MMOG is the confirmed (but unannounced) Titan or one of the "lots of projects" that they aren't talking about.

War of the Roses Free Version Launched

The promised free trial edition of War of the Roses is now live on Steam as a permanent demo for Fatshark's multiplayer melee combat game. Paradox Interactive offers instructions on how to participate, and sends along the following outline of how this differs from the full version of the game:

  • Four base classes to play with: Footman, Guardsman, Longbowman, and Footknight
  • Trial users play with consumers who own the full game as well as other trial users
  • Only default weapons and armor available
  • Two game modes: Team Deathmatch and Conquest (a static King of the Hill with multiple capture points)
  • All maps playable
  • In-game currency used for unlocks can be accrued but not spent, but if the game is purchased then the accrued currency can be used for unlocks

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Maps Workshop Opens

A new patch for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is now automatically available through Steam to update the ongoing beta of Valve's multiplayer shooter sequel. The patch notes are here, showing the notable change is the addition of the Steam Workshop for the game, and providing a bunch of support links. Valve also offers a Counterstrike: Global Offensive Workshop Blog with more details and a FAQ, as well as this announcement explaining what we should expect from all this:

With the Map Workshop you can find new maps, vote for favorites and subscribe to any map or game mode that you'd like. Steam will automatically download the map, and update it whenever the author makes a change. Workshop maps can used in quickmatches, private matches through Play With Friends, or even offline with bots.

Map makers can specify a wide range of gameplay-affecting settings. Stick to the standard CS formula, or create a totally new experience for players. Don't worry about trying something new or testing a unique feature because you can update your maps as often as you'd like. Players and servers that have subscribed will automatically get all new updates!

Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager Announced

Slitherine Ltd announces Buzz Aldrin's Space Program, which they say will be the "ultimate game of space exploration" when it is released for Windows, OS X, and iPads this June. We'll hope this will include a special moon landing skeptic punch-out mode, but that's not included in the following feature list:

  • Manage all aspects of your fledgling space agency from the 1950’s through to the Lunar landings in the first episode. Later episodes will add a permanent space station in Earth orbit all the way to the ultimate goal – a Manned Mission to Mars!
  • Create space programs and launch missions inspired by real programs such as the X-15 Space plane and the Sputnik satellite through to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo manned spacecrafts and more!
  • Research and develop hundreds of mission components from 40 different program categories.
  • Develop your facility with advanced structures and upgrades including the Vehicle Assembly Building, the Mission Control Center and the Observatory.
  • Recruit and train astronaut candidates and assign them to missions.
  • Assemble an elite team of Scientists, Engineers, Technicians and Flight Controllers for the best chance of success.
  • Manage your agency's extensive budget.
  • Components can cause catastrophic failures. You must decide whether to abort or push on with each mission.
    Vast amounts of research ensure the huge database includes missions that launched and many more that never left the drawing board!
  • In Campaign Mode, manage your agency while pandering to the requirements of government to keep your position as Director!
  • Play in Sand Box mode to manage your budget with no politics involved.
  • Hundreds of components built in 3D and rendered out in exquisite detail allow you to follow the progress of your missions.
  • A historic advisor gives background information on the real missions and astronauts throughout the game.
  • Designed in consultation with Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot and the second human being to set foot on the Moon.

Victoria II Heart of Darkness Expansion Next Month

Paradox Interactive announces Heart of Darkness, an upcoming Joseph Conrad-inspired second expansion for Victoria II that will add a new colonization system and a new naval system to the Victorian strategy game when it's released next month. This page offers some screenshots and details, and here's the feature list:

  • Experience a brand new colonization system: Use your navy to expand your empire, compete against other colonial powers and struggle to maintain your overseas control. Colonial conflicts can spiral out of control and become international crises where they will have to be decided by diplomatic negotiations or risk costly wars.
  • Battle your enemies in the new naval combat system: Together with the new colonization system, your navies are more important than ever. We have revamped the entire naval combat system and made it much more detailed and exciting with a new system of gun ranges and maneuvering into positions for battles. New powerful battleships join the other classes of ships to bridge the gap to Dreadnoughts.
  • Prepare for International Crises: Around the world international crises continually call on the Great Powers to mediate and compromise, with war always being the last resort. As one of the lesser powers, use your influence to stir up the local flash points so you can use fleet footed diplomacy to get the Great Powers to right the wrongs that have been committed against your nation!
  • Follow the global events with the new newspaper system: You will receive reports on local and global events as well as the world's changing situation to keep up to date and get a greater sense of immersion. Over 60 newspapers, both historic and otherwise, periodically present you with the latest news reports of war, major events, royal gossip and other matters of interest.

Max Payne 3 Triple XP Weekend

Rockstar Games announces a doubleheader Social Club multiplayer event is now underway, offering triple experience points in Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3. They are offering some sweepstakes prizes, and outline how you may get to play with some of the developers.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Contact Trailer - Extended Cut

Gearbox gears up for next week's launch of Aliens: Colonial Marines with a new extended cut version of the contact trailer for the first-person shooter. Word is: "Underlined with a classical piece of cinematic music by Golden Globe nominated composer Clint Mansell, the trailer takes viewers on a vertical ride through the USS Sulaco with US Colonial Marines fighting for their lives against an incoming wave of Xenomorphs." Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Tiny Little Frogs - RTS’s aren’t dying. They’re waiting. By Stardock CEO Brad Wardell.
The third phase games can be broadly described by the technology under them: 64-bit memory, massively multithreaded. And these 3rd phase RTSs will be breathtakingly beautiful to look at, have amazing scope and micro AI (sophisticated rules for units interacting with one another without human involvement) that is astounding.

Publishers aren’t approving these designs not because there isn’t demand. There is. The problem is you can’t make a game that only a fraction of the player base can currently play.

On Sale

Evening Patches

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Evening Safety Dance

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etc., etc.

Into the Black

Tomb Raider Gold

The Tomb Raider Facebook Page announces the new Tomb Raider is gold, and this attempt at a gritty reboot of the action/adventure series is scheduled for a March 5th release (thanks Gamer's Hell). Here's word:

Back in 2010 when we announced Tomb Raider we promised to break new ground for the franchise – to create an origins story that forges Lara Croft into a hero, and takes her on a journey like no other. I’m very happy that I can stand by those words today.

We’ve put everything into this game, and I’m certain we’ve created something that explores Tomb Raider’s history while pushing the limits in interactive storytelling and design. Development has spanned two studios, a pair of E3 stage demos, 50-plus magazine covers, 150 award nominations, nearly 800 fan art submissions, almost 2,000 blog posts, and over 50,000 replies from you on our forums.

And now it’s time to get the game into your hands. We sincerely hope you enjoy it. We think you will, We are immensely proud of this game.

28 days to go.

Job Post Spurs Dishonored 2 Speculation

A job post on the ZeniMax Careers Page advertises for a Senior Engine Programmer for Arkane Studios, calling for someone who is "(p)assionate about FPS and RPG games." They seek someone who best matches the following description: "Answering to the Technical Director, you will adapt, maintain and optimize the code for PC and next gen consoles. Multipurpose, you will deal with technology issues that will come up during production (animation, IO, audio, physics….)" Though it does not actually mention Dishonored, this all leads OXM to speculate this might be for Dishonored 2 for the Xbox 720, though to our experience, the phrase "next gen consoles" isn't really a reliable reference point due to loose usage. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Aliens: Colonial Marines "Bug Hunt" DLC Revealed?

The Official Xbox Magazine notes a photo on The Gearbox Software Forums of a Wal-Mart ad promoting new Bug Hunt DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines, calling this a "$14.99 value," though not indicating what, if anything this will actually cost. It says this is due via download on March 19th, and offers the following description: "Team up with your friends to take on waves of increasingly difficult enemies in an all new game mode." Thanks VG247.

Obscure Announced

Focus Home Interactive announces Obscure, a 2.5D side-scrolling action game coming to Windows, Xbox LIVE, and PlayStation Network this spring. If the title strikes a familiar chord, that's because this is based on Obscure: Learn About Fear and Obscure II, a pair of survival/horror games released by now-defunct French developer Hydravision in the 2000s, and the developer on the new game is Mighty Rocket Studio, formed by former Hydravision staff, and seems likely this is the once-cancelled game the Wikipedia calls "Obscure D." This teaser trailer shows off gameplay from Obscure, which will feature local and online co-op as well as solo play. Here's word:

Obscure is unveiled today for the very first time, through a punchy video full of action, monsters, and hemoglobin!

Obscure for PC, PSN and Xbox LIVE is a pure, action-rich 2.5D side-scroller, drenched in the blood and caustic humor inspired by the teen and horror movie genres... a spirit that definitely shows through today's video!

Playable alone and in cooperative mode (local & online), Obscure lets you play as one of four unlikely heroes; students, each with unique skills and abilities that develop throughout the adventure. Geared toward action and all-out brawling, Obscure's combat emphasizes combos, follow-up attacks, and score-multipliers! Survive against packs of monsters trying to skin you alive, discover new weapons, and complete objectives throughout a variety of huge, non-linear levels. Overshooting the scores will earn you experience points to level your character up, unlocking new weapons, skills, and other devastating abilities! At any time, you can even get back to some of earlier levels to try your new toys and beat your scores!

Continue here to read the full story.

WildStar This Year

The WildStar Website now features a February "State of the Game" address for this upcoming sci-fi MMORPG, revealing plans to officially launch the game later this year. They take this opportunity to outline aspects of other MMOG releases they find unsatisfactory, and will look to redress with their own game. They also say this will kick off "metric boatloads of coverage from the press," and get things started by posting one, two, three different gameplay trailers.

BioWare: Mass Effect 4/ME4 References "A Disservice"

BioWare's Chris Priestly took to the BioWare Social Network to respond to speculation about the next installment in the Mass Effect series of shootery role-playing games (thanks Strategy Informer). In what seems evidence that the era of sequels is hitting a new era of oddness, he suggests calling the fourth installment in the Mass Effect series Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is a "disservice" to the game:

To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here. We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her. That is the only detail you have on the game. I see people saying "well, they'll have to pick a canon ending". No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know. Or yaddayaddayadda. Wherever, whenever, whoever, etc will all be revealed years down the road when we actually start talking about it.

I do not call the game ME4 when I talk about it ever, bucause that makes people think of it more as "what happens after Mass Effect 3" rather than "what game happens next set in the Mass Effect Universe", which is far more accurate at this point. Obviously fans are going to speculate content, character and story until we actually reveal details in the years or months to come as you have almost no actual details, just don't get bogged down in "well how are they going to continue ME3...".

Morning Patches

Morning Q&As

Gatherings & Competitions

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

It's a day of sports mourning for me, as the Giants have cut Ahmad Bradshaw, one of my very favorite players, and as important as any player in each of the team's two recent championships. The offseason can be rough on NFL players too. Poop. :(

Anyway, we're battening down the hatches here in the BlueTower, as a nor'easter is coming, and could be quite nasty, depending on the track it takes. Time to check the hot cocoa supply.

R.I.P.: Makeup master Stuart Freeborn of 'Star Wars' dead at age 98. Thanks nin.

Cut Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: 400 Years.
Stories: 'Star Wars' spin-offs- A young Han Solo movie, and a Boba Fett film.
Journalists Poop Their Pants On A Bus, Write About The Experience. Thanks Morris.
Postal Service to cut Saturday mail to trim costs. Extra junk mail on Mondays.
Science: Closest Earth-like planet 'stroll across park'.
Images: The 2013 Sony World Photography Awards. Thanks nin.
Media: When The Avengers Enrolled At Shermer High School.
Super Mario Busters.
Streak Free Shine.
Auction: "Rarer than rare" 1865 baseball card sells for $92,000.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Follow-up: How Mark Changizi conquered colorblindness with glasses. Thanks nin.

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 Happy Waitangi Day (New Zealand)

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Announced

The Astronauts announces The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the first game from this new developer formed last year by the founders of Polish studio People Can Fly. This game is the first we can recall to lay claim to the genre of "Weird Fiction Horror," and it is currently expected this year for Windows PCs, making use of Epic's Unreal Engine 3, as well as "exciting new technology," of which they mysteriously say: "the details of which we will reveal in the coming months." The announcement includes a screenshot and this teaser trailer, and here's word:

Inspired by the weird fiction stories and other tales of macabre of the early 20th century, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game to be played at night, alone, and in headphones. With The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, The Astronauts – a team comprised of People Can Fly (Bulletstorm, Painkiller) veterans – aim to evolve immersive storytelling in games. It’s set for release on PC via digital distributors in 2013.

As a detective with the supernatural ability to visualize scenes of lethal crimes, you investigate the kidnapping of a young boy, hoping to save him before it’s too late. The investigation leads you to a beautiful mountain area, where you come across a severely mutilated body of one of the kidnappers. Using both your paranormal skill and modern detective tools you discover the mystery behind the trail of corpses in the valley, the roots of an ancient force ruling the area, and the fate of the kidnapped boy.

“What we care about the most is that the players feel like they’re really there. Immersion is our number one priority," said the game’s designer, Adrian Chmielarz. “It’s a game about exploration and discovery. We’re not abandoning the gameplay – on the contrary: we’re trying to strip it down to the bone and make sure it’s always meaningful and truly makes the experience better.”

Leviathan: Warships Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Leviathan: Warships, a strategic action game for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android that will allow for cross-platform play between all four when it is released later this year. Here's a trailer, and there are details on the game's product page. Here's word:

NEW YORK — February 6, 2013 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and a wearer of lifejackets, and developer Pieces Interactive today announced the forthcoming release of a new tactical action game, Leviathan: Warships, for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms. The game, which challenges players to assemble customized fleets of warships and weaponry, will feature cross-platform gameplay across all supported platforms, allowing battles to be fought from nearly any computer, tablet, or location. With a full co-op campaign and several player-vs.-player (PvP) maps ready to put fleets to the test, Paradox reminds players that their tablets will not function as floatation devices.

In Leviathan: Warships, players will choose from a wide array of ship and weapon types to build a personalized fleet and fight battles in a unique blend of action and turn-based gameplay. Captains can take their time to plot out their turn, assigning moves and attacks to their ships, and then witness the chaos of battle as each fleet engages their maneuvers in simultaneous action sequences. With Leviathan: Warships, Paradox puts the sea in the cloud, allowing players to start a session from their tablet and continue their cloud-saved skirmish from their computer, challenging foes on any available device.

Assassin's Creed III DLC Episodes Dated

Ubisoft announces the release schedule for The Tyranny of King Washington, the three episode DLC series for Assassin's Creed III that's based on the evil version of George Washington, who presumably wears a Van Dyke (or at least a goatee). The first installment in this series is due for the stealth assassination sequel in about two weeks. Here's the deal:

SAN FRANCISCO - February 6, 2013 -Today, Ubisoft® confirmed the release dates for all three upcoming episodes of Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington. This three-part single-player experience will let gamers discover an alternate history of the events following the American Revolution where George Washington has succumbs to the temptation of infinite power and crown himself king

  • Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington: The Infamy will be available on Microsoft's Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PCs on February 19
  • Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington: The Betrayal will release on Microsoft's Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PCs on March 19
  • Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington: The Redemption will be available on Microsoft's Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PCs on April 23

In the first episode of the Tyranny of King Washington series, our hero, Ratonhnhaké:ton, awakens from an unsettling dream to find that, despite his efforts to deliver justice in the newly-founded United States of America, a new king has been crowned - George Washington. The Infamy will take gamers through the beginning of the journey to dethrone King Washington.

The three upcoming episodes of the Tyranny of King Washington are available through the Assassin's Creed III Season Pass, which is available for purchase for 2400 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE or $29.99 on the PlayStation®Network and Windows PC. It can be purchased at GameStop and Best Buy. Each episode of The Tyranny of King Washington will be available for purchase separately as a single DLC pack for 800 Microsoft points or $9.99.

Skyrim HD Pack Updated

Bethesda Blog has details on an update that's now available on Steam for the free HD texture pack for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:

In a continued effort to support our PC fanbase, we’ve released a Steam update to Skyrim’s (free) HD Texture Pack. In addition to high resolution textures in the main game, the update adds improved textures for Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and the newly-released Dragonborn.

Before you download, make sure your PC has the horsepower to support it. Make sure your system requirements exceed Skyrim’s recommended specs before attempting to install, and that your PC has Windows Vista/7, a minimum of 4GB of system RAM, and a DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with at least 1 GB of RAM and the latest drivers.

If you already have the Skyrim texture pack, be aware that you’ll be downloading an update that’s approximately 4.7 GB in size.

Age of Wonders 3 Revealed

Dutch studio Triumph is reviving their Age of Wonders series of TBS/RPGs with plans to release Age of Wonders 3 this autumn, according to Eurogamer. The report is a bit vague, saying an OS X version is also planned, and "may" coincide with a Windows edition, and it's possible a tablet edition will also be made. There's also a bit of mystery about who is behind this, as there will not be a Kickstarter, and they are planning on unveiling their "big partner" for this in the future.

Sniper Elite V2 DLC Released

Steam News heralds the release of the Windows PC edition of the new Sniper Elite V2 - St. Pierre DLC for Sniper Elite V2, the sharpshooting sequel:

The St. Pierre pack for Sniper Elite V2 gives players access to a brand new single-player mission and the use of three powerful new weapons.

In this latest mission, players find themselves deployed to a small village in rural France where they must intercept and eliminate General Rodebrecht, a rising star in the German high command who many believe could turn the tide of war against the Allies.

Steamships Ahoy - Special Forces: Team X

Steam News announces the release of Special Forces: Team X, a new "team centric 3rd Person cover based shooter" from Blacklight developer Zombie Studios. They say: "The game features a unique map selection system, with the ability to shape the battlefield by selecting individual environmental pieces, resulting in over 100 map variations. STX supports asymmetric game play with 2-4 teams and 5 frenetic game modes. Customize your skills, weapons and character to tailor your tactics and performance in battle."

On Sale

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Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: See the Real Models for the Archer Characters. Thanks nin.

Valve/J.J. Abrams Collaboration? Half-Life or Portal Movie?

Ars Technica has details from today's D.I.C.E. Summit keynote by Valve's Gabe Newell and Hollywood's J.J. Abrams where one of the topics was a game/movie collaboration. At one point Abrams says he has an "idea for a game that we'd like to work with Valve on" which inspired the following response from Newell: "We're also interested in working with you guys on movies. We're going to see if we can make a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie."

Steam Privacy Issue Fixed

A privacy issue has been corrected on the Steam Community Website that could expose details about users' games and activity, even when their profiles were set to private or friends-only. Ars Technica says they brought the problem to Valve's attention, and while it was never publically acknowledged, it is not longer possible to exploit it.

Jon Shafer's New Studio Announces At the Gates

This Kickstarter is attempting to raise $40,000 for At the Gates, a turn-based strategy game set during the decline of the Roman Empire. This will be developed by Conifer Games, a new studio formed by Jon Shafer, most recently of Stardock and lead designer on Sid Meier's Civilization V when he was at Firaxis.. Shortly after it was announced that Shafer was joining Stardock it was said that he would "bring additional modding expertise to the recently launched Elemental: War of Magic and will take the lead in designing the next as-of-yet unannounced Stardock title." Jon's LinkedIn profile indicates he left Stardock in September 2012 after serving as "project lead for an unannounced title." Back to At the Gates, they offer a trailer with almost 15 minutes of gameplay, and do a much better job than many Kickstarters of summarizing what to expect:

At the Gates is an empire builder similar to Sid Meier's Civilization. Starting with a small tribe, you must explore the world, exploit its scarce resources, and eliminate or outsmart potential enemies. The game starts simple but grows in complexity until you command a mighty economic and military powerhouse.

Over the course of a single game your tribe will migrate to more lush and bountiful lands, conquer and barter with other clans, work alongside the Romans, learn from them, and finally destroy them. Along the way, you'll need to master the art of war and craft cunning plans to strengthen your kingdom - all while enduring the worst mother nature can throw at you!

Continue here to read the full story.

John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support

A comment on reddit by id Software co-founder John Carmack (thanks Develop) follows the theme of a recent post by former id programmer Timothee Besset indicating that id's once-strong support for Linux gaming has waned. The post basically confirms and explains that premise, discussing how he sees a plausible path for Linux gaming via emulation on Steam, if "properly evangalized," but expressing skepticism about commercial native Linux ports:

However, I don’t think that a good business case can be made for officially supporting Linux for mainstream games today, and Zenimax doesn’t have any policy of “unofficial binaries” like Id used to have. I have argued for their value (mostly in the context of experimental Windows features, but Linux would also benefit), but my forceful internal pushes have been for the continuation of Id Software’s open source code releases, which I feel have broader benefits than unsupported Linux binaries.

I can’t speak for the executives at Zenimax, but they don’t even publish Mac titles (they partner with Aspyr), so I would be stunned if they showed an interest in officially publishing and supporting a Linux title. A port could be up and running in a week or two, but there is so much work to do beyond that for official support. The conventional wisdom is that native Linux games are not a good market. Id Software tested the conventional wisdom twice, with Quake Arena and Quake Live. The conventional wisdom proved correct. Arguments can be made that neither one was an optimal test case, but they were honest tries.

Oculus Rift Vision Correction Support

Update #17 to the Oculus Rift Kickstarter has word that the "pilot run" developer kits for the VR headsets are still on track to be released to developers next month. They also offer details on a change to the design to better accommodate vision correction, offering three sets of interchangeable eyecups and an adjustable viewing distance to compensate for nearsightedness or farsightedness. Word is: "This isn’t the perfect solution: the B and C cups won’t be ideal for everyone, but we’re hoping that they help some of the nearsighted developers. If you have other eye issues like astigmatism, the additional lens cups may not be sufficient. In short, your mileage may vary." They also offers loads of detail on their manufacturing process. Thanks Develop.

Metacritic Game Publisher Rankings

Metacritic offers its 2013 Game Publisher Rankings, revealing the companies behind the year's best reviewed games. The top ranking among "major publishers" goes to EA, where Mass Effect 3 got a 93 score and the lowest grade was 53 (however unfair) for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Number two was Microsoft (falling from last year's top spot), number three was Sony, and number four was Nintendo. Activision/Blizzard moved up one spot from last year, an now occupies the number 10 position. The top "mid-size" publisher was Take-Two Interactive, followed by Telltale Games and Square Enix. Thanks Destructoid/VG247.

McDROID and Demo Released

The McDROID Website offers the release of McDROID, indie developer Elefantopia's debut strategy game for Windows, OS X, and Linux. They call the game the "colourful cel-shaded love child" of R-TYPE and Dune 2, and offer a playable demo to experience that firsthand. Here's word: "Control McDROID a modular weapon droid whose areas of expertize are combat and farming. Whilst travelling through the deepest darkest fringes of unexplored space, MCDROID’s shuttle collides with space debris and crash lands on the unchartered Planet M. Survival is paramount as McDROID defends the crashed shuttle and his only means of escape." The game is currently in a paid beta phase, and can be purchased through Desura and IndieGameStand, where it's currently on sale, and there is also a Steam Greenlight campaign to drum up support for its official full release.

WoW Currency Conversions

Blizzard announces currency conversions will be part of the upcoming version 5.2 update for World of Warcraft, their MMORPG. They explain the process, and offer the following overview: "Patch 5.2 introduces a new raid tier and PvP season, and so the higher tier currencies will be down-converted during maintenance. This time around there won’t be a soft cap, old Valor items aren’t changing to cost Justice, and we’re adding a new rank of PvP gear."

Hitman Movie Reboot Plans

Deadline.com has news that Fox is planning a Hitman movie reboot following the commercially successful (but critically, not so much) movie starring Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood, Justified). Word is the new movie, called Agent 47, will star Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious, Another Fast and the Furious , Yet Another Fast and the Furious) and will mark the feature film debut of director Aleksander Bach, previously known for directing commercials. Thanks IGN.

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

Here's a little follow-up on discussions here of color vision deficiency since I brought up the fact that I am a "sufferer" myself. A Cure for Colorblindness? (by way of Ant and Slashdot) discusses a breakthrough that involves corrective lenses. This red/green enhancement comes at the expense of yellow/blue perception, so it's not without its issues (apparently it renders yellow traffic lights invisible), but it's an interesting bit of progress in an area where I never expected any. If nothing practical comes of this, I'd still be interested in experiencing this effect to see how the other half (or other 90%, technically) lives.

Colorful Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Notebook Defense.
Links: Kickstarter Open Source Death Star. Thanks nin.
Stories: Armstrong Under Criminal Investigation.
Science: Scientists 3D-print embryonic stem cells, pave the way for lab-made organ transplants.
Media: Honest Trailers - Skyfall.
What really happened to the power at the Super Bowl.
Panhandler Party.
Video Game Villain Therapy: Koopa Turtle (Super Mario Bros. Parody).
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.



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