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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

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

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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