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Friday, Mar 08, 2013

  

Battlefield 4 Reveal This Month?

IGN is showing off an invite from EA to an event at the Game Developers Conference at the end of this month they think might be an official Battlefield 4 reveal. This speculation is based on their feeling that the color scheme of the invite bears a similarity to the Battlefield 3 box art. We shall know soon enough, as the invite is for March 26th.

StarDrive Pre-Purchases Get Beta Access

StarDrive is now available for pre-purchase on Steam, offering the chance to get a 15% discount on Zero Sum Games' upcoming 4X space strategy game, as well as immediate access to the game's beta testing (thanks Mark). There's a StarDrive Beta Mission Statement on the game's website outlining the goals for the beta. Here's word: "StarDrive has a solid foundation and this Beta will demonstrate to you the full power of our engine. I am making this game for you. So tell me what you want. The best ideas that have the most support will get into the game. First I want to focus on usability features - things to make your life easier. But I also want to add more meat to the areas you most enjoy."

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 Trailer

A new launch trailer paves the way for next week's release of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, the sharpshooting sequel. Word is: "The new trailer gives viewers a closer look at what to expect from the game including some of the various mission types and real world locations, along with the numerous ways players will be able to take down enemy targets using tactical sniper mechanics." The game is dues for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in North America on March 12th and un Europe on March 15th. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Op Ed

PCMag.com - An Open Letter to EA on SimCity: You Could Have Prevented This.
When concerns are raised over "online features," listen to them. When people warn you months in advance that there will be server issues, listen to them. When gamers worry that they won't be able to play SimCity years from now (when every SimCity game from the Super Nintendo version to SimCity 4 remains playable and enjoyable), listen to them. Turn away from your paranoia regarding piracy and realize that there are tons of customers who want to give you money in exchange for being able to play a game. Appreciate the value of customer loyalty and developing a community instead of squeezing every last drop out of people and discarding them.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: A Very Serious ARMA 3 Gameplay Trailer. Thanks Ant.

SimCity Marketing Campaign Paused

Electronic Arts is pulling back on online marketing of SimCity as they work to get a handle on issues caused by overworked servers following the launch of the urban planning sequel, which must be played online. Though Amazon has resumed selling the downloadable version of the game after temporarily suspending sales and our bargain-hunting friends at Dealzon point the way to a $12 off offer still in effect on Gamefly, we've been forwarded the following mail from an EA/Origin online affiliate asking them to cease promoting the game for the time being:

EA Origin has requested to pause all SimCity marketing campaigns temporarily, until further notice. We have deactivated all SimCity text links and creative and we ask you to please remove any copy promoting SimCity from your website for the time-being. To be clear we are continuing to payout commissions on all SimCity sales that are referred, however we are requesting that you please stop actively promoting the game. We will notify you as soon as the SimCity marketing campaigns have been resumed and our promotional links are once again live in the Linkshare interface. We apologize for any inconveniences that this may cause, and we thank you for your cooperation.

Shadowrun Returns Alpha Gameplay Trailer

This Kickstarter update for Shadowrun Returns offers a first look trailer with alpha gameplay footage from Harebrained Schemes' upcoming 2D turn-based RPG revival. Here's word on the clip, which runs nearly 20 minutes: "Remember as you watch the video that all the environments, conversations, and tactical situations you see were created using the Shadowrun Returns Editor - the same editor that will ship with the game on OSX and Windows. For us, re-energizing Shadowrun doesn’t just mean making a game for you to play and enjoy (although that sounds GREAT). It means creating a set of tools for YOU to experiment with, express yourself with, and share." Continue here to read the full story.

Lord British Announces Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

The countdown is up on Lord British Presents, and the site is currently livestreaming a Special RoosterTeeth Podcast from SXSW where Richard "Lord British" Garriott introduces his next gaming project: Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, a new RPG harkening back to his seminal Ultima games which will also adhere to some of the tenets he set out a few years ago on Facebook asking "What is a Lord British 'Ultimate' Role Playing Game?" The Kickstarter Campaign for the game is now live, seeking one million dollars to finance its development. The Shroud of the Avatar website is live with forums, a FAQ explaining why this is coming to PC, how it relates to Ultima, and how to influence development. Here's the overview offered on the Kickstarter:

With Shroud of the Avatar, Richard and his team will again reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience. Using state-of-the-art tools and technology, the game will focus on what made his seminal Ultima Series great. Once players are introduced to the game, they will discover their own story woven into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Players may choose to follow the life of the adventurer or, if they prefer, focus on exploration and discovery. Players may even choose the life of a homesteader; either nestled within the safety of the settled lands, or on the dangerous but potentially lucrative frontier. The world is full of opportunities and challenges!

The familiar psychological profiling used to create your character, organically derived game-play responses to player behavior and fundamental virtues and consequence of actions will all play a huge role in Shroud of the Avatar. Players will be free to choose their path, but must then live with the consequences of their actions.

Mike Capps Leaves Epic Entirely

In a post on Facebook Michael Capps announces he is completely parting ways with Epic Games, after indicating he would be serving the company in an advisory role when he announced late last year he was stepping down from his post of president of the studio (thanks VideoGamer). "When we announced that I wanted to transition out of my leadership role at Epic, the plan was for a continued but less active role, service on the board of directors, and ideally, being that eccentric semi-retired guy who still comes to playtests and gold parties," writes Capps. "I’m sad to say that plans have changed, and as of February 11th, I’m no longer affiliated with Epic Games." Besides burping his impending baby, Capps says he is "considering seats on a few company and advisory boards" (which sounds similar enough to his most recent role at Epic that it suggests questions about the departure), is "proud to serve as an advocate for our art in Washington," and is also contemplating pursuing teaching options.

Crysis 3 Patched

The MyCrysis Forums announce that the new patch is now live for the Windows edition of Crysis 3, updating the shooter sequel to version 1.2. They say this will soon be followed by "Data Patch C" with further tweaks and changes. Here are the changes listed with version 1.2:

  • Fixed after-match award dog tags from not loading from the profile correctly
  • Fixed root cause of some graphics driver crashes
  • Fixed particle shader causing black squares/broken shading on some graphics cards
  • Fixed shadering issue with underwater fog
  • Fixed issues with non-default controls for weapon customization
  • Fixed some issues with binding non-default vehicle controls

Path of Exile Patched

The Path of Exile Forums announce the successful deployment of the new version 0.10.2 beta patch in Grinding Gears Games' MMORPG. The post goes on to offer details on a new 0.10.3 beta which they expect to deploy by the middle of next week which will introduce "a heavily demanded Strength/Dexterity melee skill called Cyclone." As for the current patch, version 0.10.2 adds a new Incinerate skill among other things, and all the changes are detailed in these patch notes. Thanks IncGamers.

Painkiller Hell & Damnation Plans: Linux/OS X Support and Mod Kit Near

Nordic Games announces plans to release a beta version of the mod kit/SDK for Painkiller Hell & Damnation early next month, saying this will also introduce Steam Workshop integration to this first-person shooter from The Farm 51. They also announce that the game will add support for OS X and Linux shortly thereafter, saying this will happen before the end of spring. The This forum topic hosts discussion of this news, and here's an overview of upcoming support plans for the game:

Using the Mod-Kit, players will be able to delve the depths of their imaginations to craft a totally unique Painkiller world through the use of pioneering personalised items, maps, weapons and multiplayer skins, all within the Steam Workshop framework.

In addition to this, the Linux and Mac gaming community will also be in for a hellish treat this spring when Painkiller Hell & Damnation launches on these platforms. Players using the Linux and Mac platforms will finally be able to join the Painkiller PC gaming community and fully immerse themselves in Daniel Garner’s purgatory.

“As well as launching the Mod-Kit, we are working to provide regular updates and further improvements to the existing content and framework.” said Reinhard Pollice, Business & Product Development Director at Nordic Games. “We’re also working to port good old Daniel Garner to Linux and Mac this April/May.”

Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter Passes $2MM

A new Kickstarter update for Torment: Tides of Numenera has more on inXile entertainment's just-announced role-playing game, which has surpassed the $2 million funding plateau in about 48 hours. This includes Colin's Video Update #1, kicking off a series on from Colin McComb, creative lead on the project, word of a couple of new supporter tiers they've added to the campaign, and details on new stretch goals, most of which have already been triggered. The $2 million mark (which will cost Brian Fargo $100K) increases the amount of gameplay by 100% (gameplay is measured by weight, not volume: some settling of contents may occur), and next up is the $2.5 million goal, which adds a new writer to the project, "gameplay after death" (spoiler alert?), a secret new companion, and more.

Op Ed

games.on.net - SimCity’s launch woes: Another nail in the DRM coffin, a red flag for games reviewers.
Many games sites, including this one, were offered access to a review event where SimCity could be played in a controlled environment prior to launch. Many sites (although not this one, for reasons detailed here) published their reviews based on these events or, in some cases, on additional playtime on specific dedicated review servers. Some sites waited, played on the live servers — or tried to! — and then published their reviews. That’s fine — after all, what other options are there?

High-profile site Polygon initially gave the game a glowing 9.5 out of 10. Then, they knocked it down to 8. Then, they knocked it down to 4. There’s a collective gasp from the crowd. A four out of ten! That’s a genuinely bad score! That ain’t no seven.

No. It’s not. And it doesn’t matter, because Metacritic — which is the only reason publishers actually care about review scores — never alters a score, once it’s been published. So the Metacritic entry for SimCity from Polygon still stands at ‘95’. In fact, according to Metacritic, the critical consensus is sitting at a nice, healthy, 81. The servers could catch fire tomorrow, EA could shut down the servers, fire everyone at Maxis and flood the entire office with venomous snakes, and the Metacritic score would remain unchanged forever. Bonuses for everybody! Or not, as the case may be.

Meanwhile, the average user score is 1.7. Out of ten. Is anybody surprised?

Morning Patches

Morning Q&As

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Thanks Ant.

Out of the Blue

This won't mean anything to many of you, but as someone who grew up before Manhattan became Disneyworld North and when music was still distributed on vinyl, the news that Bleecker Bob's is closing is sad indeed. As someone with an affection for the place, however, I probably have less right to complain about this than most, since it's been so long since I was there that I wouldn't have been able to say for certain it was still open (for all my talk of vinyl, my version of old-fashioned listening is CDs). Still, it certainly marks the end of an era, even if the era actually ended a while ago. Maybe I need to construct my NYC bucket list of places to revisit before they (or I) die. I could start not too far from Bob's with my long-ago favorite pizzeria.

R.I.P.: World's oldest horse trots his final furlong. A good run.

Vinyl Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Nuclear Plant 2.
Stories: Community Is Doing a Puppet Episode.
Science: Plants make bees remember them fondly with a jolt of caffeine. Nature's coke whores.
New Type of Bacteria Reportedly Found in Buried Antarctic Lake.
Media: How Guys Will Use Google Glass.
The Worst Conditions for a Сorner Kick Ever.
Majestic Little Pony.
Follow-up: How Disney Bought Lucasfilm—and Its Plans for 'Star Wars'. Thanks nin.



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