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Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 Happy Queen's Day (Netherlands)

  

Neverwinter Open Beta

Perfect World Entertainment announces open beta testing is now underway in Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter, Cryptic Studios' upcoming MMORPG. Signups are underway at the game's official website. The game will be free to download and play, and with the promise of no further character wipes, this amounts to a soft launch:

The major milestone of Open Beta marks the beginning of unrestricted access to Neverwinter and its content creation system, the Foundry, along with no further character wipes. All skill upgrades, profession choices, personal customizations, companions and mounts are persistent and shape the way adventurers rebuild the city of Neverwinter, saving it from Valindra Shadowmantle's evil forces. Neverwinter's Foundry further enables and empowers gamers and authors to create their own unique adventures, publish their own self-generated content directly to the game world, review the missions and quests of others and even tip creators with in-game currency.

"After four successful Beta Weekends and many months of internal Alpha tests, we are thrilled to be in Open Beta," said Cryptic Studios Executive Producer and COO, Craig Zinkievich. "On behalf of the entire team at Perfect World and Cryptic Studios, I'd like to thank the Founders, Beta Weekend participants, Alpha testers, fans, and press for their feedback and continued support in making Neverwinter the best game we've ever launched."

Open Beta also brings a new feature to the Neverwinter community. Neverwinter's Gateway is a web portal that allows players to remotely access in-game status information via their desktops, tablets, or smartphones. In its initial state, players can craft, view their characters, buy and sell in the Auction House, monitor guild activity and daily events, and access their mailboxes.

Adventure Park Announced

bitComposer Entertainment announces Adventure Park, a theme park simulator in the works at German developer B-Alive for release in Q3 of this year for €29.99. Word is: "Setting up and managing a theme park has never been so enjoyable. A wide range of different attractions provide maximum freedom of choice to the player, and the straightforward rollercoaster building system makes it even more fun to create spectacular rides with only a few clicks." Here's a feature list:

  • Build the theme park of your dreams! Play in campaign mode or start a free game on one of the 8 different maps.
  • Roller coasters and more! Offer visitors at your park many sensational attractions (e.g. free-fall tower, big wheel). Create spectacular rides with the intuitive, grid-free coaster building system and choose from different types of coasters. Your park’s visitors will be thrilled!
  • Adventures make people hungry and thirsty! Build an appropriate infrastructure in the park, with food stands, souvenir shops, and appropriate service personnel (e.g. gardeners) so that your guests always feel comfortable.
  • A top manager always has everything under control! If you keep an eye on all the processes in your park, and manage them adeptly, your park will be a success. The comprehensive management system is intuitively structured, and it offers challenges even for experienced players.
  • A lively park where there is always something going on! A variety of different objects for the park, including statues, lamps, fences, rocks, and plants, provide you with many options for decorating and beautifying your park.

Steamships Ahoy - Zeno Clash II

Publisher ATLUS announces that Zeno Clash II is now available on Steam, offering the Windows edition of ACE Team's first-person brawler sequel. The game is being offered in three flavors: a standard version USD $19.99, a Special Edition with a digital artbook and the 45-track soundtrack for $29.99, and a two-pack version that is $29.99 "for those who want to punch things with a friend." Here's how the sequel differs from the original:

Zeno Clash 2 has beefed up its combat engine with precision punch targeting, blocking, and high-impact hits that only make the bone-crunching, face-rattling fistcuffs more satisfying. The new "Lock-on" function gives players a wider range of control for dishing out the damage. New RPG mechanics will allow Ghat and Rimat to punch harder, defend better, and recruit more powerful allies to aid in their quest. Zeno Clash 2 now harnesses the full power of the Unreal III engine to bring the bizarre and beautiful world of Zenozoik to life. ACE Team's boundless imagination brings gamers into a universe of surreal foes, fantastic locations, and truly unique visuals that is unlike anything else you will ever play. With the newly added drop-in/drop-out co-op play, Zeno Clash 2 invites you AND a friend to dive once more into the fray!

Steamships Ahoy - Strike Suit Infinity

Developer Born Ready Games announces the release of Strike Suit Infinity on Steam, offering a standalone "frantic high score chaser" for Windows PCs based on Strike Suit Zero, their space combat game. Here's the launch trailer and here's the deal:

Strike Suit Infinity is a frantic high score chaser where your skill is the only thing that matters. Whatever combat experience you have had so far is considered irrelevant. There is no end to the enemies you will face. There is no winning. There is only the fight for survival. Take to the cockpit of one of three Strike Suits, engaging waves of enemies, building your multiplier and putting as many points on the board as possible. You’ll need to use your head, though. In between rounds, use credits to purchase upgrades and reinforcements, maximizing your potential in the next round. The longer you can stay alive, the bigger your score, and the higher up the leaderboard you’ll find yourself.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Leviathan: Warships

Paradox Interactive announces Leviathan: Warships is now available via digital distribution, offering turn-based cross platform play for Windows and OS X strategy gamers. Here's the game's jazzy release trailer, and here's word:

Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and an all-around ship-shape bunch, today announced that Leviathan: Warships, a strategic turn-based cross-platform game developed by Pieces Interactive, has left drydock and is officially launched. Available today on PC and Mac platforms, Leviathan: Warships is a single-player and multi-player game that challenges amateur admirals everywhere to guide a customized fleet of ships to victory in strategic battles. Leviathan: Warships is on sail for $9.99 on PC and Mac, with a single purchase allowing players to play on both platforms. The iPad and Android tablet versions will be available on May 2 2013 and are $4.99 each. All four ports (and starboards) can play together in multi-player co-op and versus modes.

DCS: UH-1H Huey Beta Access with Preorders

The DCS Forums announces that DCS: UH-1H Huey is now available for pre-purchase via digital distribution, and that this commitment to the next installment in the DCS combat flight simulator series comes with instant access to the game's closed beta test (thanks ScottishMartialArts). The game is the first in the series to offer multiple player positions, as it supports a co-pilot and a door gunner in addition to the pilot, and word is: "A variety of realism and gameplay options, a number of single missions and a handcrafted campaign storyline featuring custom voiceovers provide ample fun and immersion for both the realism buff and the casual enthusiast." The game also includes a tutorial, a mission editor, and compatibility to play online versus the other titles in the DCS series. Here's a feature list:

  • Unmatched flight physics providing the most realistic and dynamic conventional helicopter experience on the PC.
  • Multiple player positions, including pilot, co-pilot, and door gunner.
  • Accurate and highly detailed 3D cockpit featuring six-degrees-of-freedom technology.
  • Interactive cockpit controls that allow you to operate the systems using the mouse.
  • Realistic modelling of the UH-1H instruments, weapons, engine, radios, fuel, electrical, and hydraulic systems.
  • Highly detailed UH-1H external 3D model, liveries, and weapons.
  • Accurate and engaging audio environment based on actual UH-1H sound recordings.
  • Missions that include transport and combat support operations.
  • Training that includes interactive and video lessons.
  • Multiplayer coop mode for crew members of the same helicopter under development for a later update.
  • Developed in close cooperation with real UH-1H operators.

Shadowrun Returns Preorders

Steam News announces preorders are now available for Shadowrun Returns at 10% off the regular price:

Based on the venerable Shadowrun tabletop roleplaying game of the 80s and a spiritual successor to the console games of the 90s, Shadowrun Returns brings back one of our most original & cherished game settings as a single player, turn-based tactical RPG.

The year is 2054 and your old friend Sam has been murdered in Seattle. You’ve been hired to find the killers and bring them to justice, one way or another. Soon you’ll be embroiled in a mystery that expands from missing organs, an antagonistic detective and biker gangs all the way up to the dynastic control of one of the largest Megacorps.

Torment Kickstarter Makes Final Goal

The website for Torment: Tides of Numenera announces that though the Kickstarter for the upcoming RPG appears to have concluded with just under $4.2 million in pledges, they have actually achieved the game's final stretch goal (thanks nin via Shacknews). Here's the explanation:

We’ve been having a good run at the final stretch goal and saw some real spikes and increased activity far beyond what we’d normally expect from our PayPal pledges at this stage. Thanks to all of you for your effort in rallying to the cause! However, it’s looking really unlikely we’ll make the $4.5M stretch goal, with our current PayPal total being $239,438, which means our total money raised so far is $4,428,365, with only two days left to reach the stretch goal.

But! Our percentage of dropped pledges was way below our estimates, proving yet again that you guys rock! As you may recall, our Lead Tormenter Brian Fargo and superfan Steven Dengler matched pledges between $1M and $3M, adding a total of $200K. That money was set aside primarily against failed pledges, but because of your dedication, we can apply enough of it toward our budget – combined with the PayPal totals – so as to have reached $4.5 million.

Which means? We made it! Because you guys are so awesome (and because Fargo and Dengler are so awesome) we can implement every single one of our stretch goals, including not just the player “stronghold” but also our ideas for expanded reactivity, length and depth, pursuing some of our crazier ideas concerning choice and consequence. As we outlined in update 19, while the classic “stronghold” concept might not fit this game the potential is there to do some really interesting things to tie it into our theme of legacy and the unique weirdness of the Ninth World. Colin’s been hard at work hashing out the overall plot as well as resurrecting and moving forward with ideas we had for features such as the stronghold, and he’s come up with some pretty great ones.

Thanks to all of you, we can now make those ideas happen. Thank you!

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Portal Marriage Proposal.

Ships Ahoy - Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

Ubisoft announces the release of Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Ubisoft Montreal's "retro futuristic cyber shooter" loosely based on the Far Cry series. The game is available for Windows and consoles via digital distribution for USD $14.99, and they say the game's soundtrack by Power Glove will be released tomorrow on iTunes for $9.99. Reviews are already live on GameSpot, IGN, IncGamers, Joystiq, Polygon, Shacknews, and The Verge (thanks nin), and the PC edition currently has an 82 metascore. Here are some screenshots, here's a launch trailer, and here's word:

Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon lets players get the girl, kill the bad guys and save the world in a VHS-era vision of the future! As Sergeant Rex Colt, you are part man, part machine, all American. You are a state-of-the art Mark IV cyber-commando on a mission… of vengeance. You’re out to bring down your old commanding officer and his battalion of ruthless killer cyborgs and you’ll stop at nothing to get the job done. Hollywood action icon Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss), returns in this explosive 1980s style sci-fi vision of a dark future. Turn off your VCR, plug in your video game cabinet, and get ready to experience all of the thrills of Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, released as a stand-alone digital title.

“Out of the ashes of Far Cry 3, a few chosen devs came together to define a retro vision of the future. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is an all-out, balls-to-the-wall cyber shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. In a genre saturated with super-serious narrative and realistic settings we felt it was time to inject some good old-fashioned robofun into the mix,” said Dean Evans, Creative Director.

Continue here to read the full story.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailers

Rockstar Games now offers three trailers (NSFW) from Grand Theft Auto V, offering cinematic tidbits for three characters in the upcoming sandbox action sequel: Michael, Franklin, and Trevor, each of whom has their own flair. The clips conclude with a reminder that the console editions of the GTA5 are due on September 17th. Continue here to read the full story.

Jagged Alliance: Flashback Supporters Get Classic Pack

Full Control announces a new bonus for the Kickstarter for Jagged Alliance: Flashback, saying those who kick in more than $5.00 to support their upcoming installment in the tactical shooter series will also receive a collection of classic Jagged Alliance titles updated to work under Windows 7. This involves a couple of layers of fulfillment, involving Kickstarter and the Humble Bundle, and a couple of different qualifying price points of $5.00 and $25.00, but if any of this is confusing, there is an IAMA session with Full Control on reddit conveniently scheduled for 2:00 pm EDT today. But perhaps you can work things out from this explanation:

Copenhagen, Denmark – April 30th, 2013 - Danish development studio Full Control announced today that it has partnered with Humble Bundle to give each backer of the Jagged Alliance: Flashback Kickstarter campaign a copy of the limited-edition Jagged Alliance Classic Pack. Upon successful completion of project funding, all backers who have contributed $5 or more will receive a collection of Jagged Alliance titles, including Jagged Alliance, Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games, Jagged Alliance 2 and Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business in English. Additionally, the Classic Pack features Windows 7 support – a first for the franchise.

All Jagged Alliance Classic Packs will be distributed through Humble Bundle a few weeks after Kickstarter funding is successfully reached. The DRM free Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Jagged Alliance: Flashback will also be shipped through Humble Bundle to backers who pledged $25 or more upon commercial launch of the title in 2014. To contribute funds and qualify for the Jagged Alliance Classic Pack, please visit: http://kck.st/11A8VYf

“We are excited to be able to offer our Kickstarter supporters this valuable, limited edition Classic Pack to keep them entertained during the full development phase of Jagged Alliance: Flashback”, said Thomas Lund, CEO of Full Control. “Humble Bundle is a great partner, and we are grateful for their support during the funding phase of what we know will be an excellent addition to the Jagged Alliance brand”.

Steam Receives Receiver

Wolfire Games announces Receiver is now available on Steam for Windows, Linux, and OS X after recently receiving a greenlight from the Steam community. Here's a description of this manages to be the rare innovative first-person shooter: "Receiver was created for the 7-day FPS challenge to explore gun handling mechanics, randomized levels, and unordered storytelling. Armed only with a handgun and an audio cassette player, you must uncover the secrets of the Mindkill in a building complex infested with automated turrets and hovering shock drones." The game is on sale for 20% off for the first week, and includes a free content update, which is shown off in this trailer, while this trailer shows off the main game and its gun mechanics. Finally, this blog post discusses the game's journey to being greenlit.

16 Bit Arena's Charitable Free Experiment

The 16 Bit Arena website outlines plans to begin offering 16 Bit Arena as a free download with donation support for two weeks as an experiment to see if this will be a sustainable way to distribute this retro multiplayer battle game. They will be offering donors the chance to be included in the game, and will be giving 10% of the donations to ChildFund. The game will be free on Amazon, GreenManGaming, Desura, ShinyLoot, IndieCity, and IndieVania, though this promotion won't start for a couple of weeks, so sales will probably suffer in the meantime. Here's the scheme:

This giveaway is planned as a one-time thing, but during the promotion, if we get enough people (filling even one server completely with 9v9s), we'll be experimenting with something new. We'll open up donations, and every $5 you send will put you in a drawing to get a character made just for you! And if this is successful enough, we'll keep the game free permanently and do the drawing on a regular basis. If you don't win, 10% of everything sent will still go to ChildFund (supports hungry children around the world), so either way somebody wins.

Morning Patches

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy Koninginnedag to Frans and all our Dutch friends, as today is Queen's Day in the Netherlands, celebrating the birthday of Queen Beatrix (which is actually in January, but she seems to have inherited her mom's date for Queen's Day along with the crown). Today will actually be the last Queen's Day for (hopefully) a long time, as Queen Beatrix is taking the opportunity to abdicate today, and her son Prince Willem-Alexander will take the throne (I'm not sure they actually have a throne, but I know I would). Next year the event will be King's Day (Koningsdag), to be held on the King's actual birthday of April 27th (apparently it being warm enough for outdoor activities influences the date for this), so it will be that much easier to associate the event with our anniversary, as MrsBlue and I have an affection for this occasion after getting to experience it during our honeymoon. Here's a live blog of today's festivities, and of course, long live the king!

Royal Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Zombie Payback.
Links: Hot Docs premiere Unclaimed finds a Vietnam veteran left behind for 44 years. Thanks nin via Digg.
Stories: Sailendra Nath Roy dies in India ponytail stunt. Thanks brother19.
Japan and Russia want to finally end World War II, agree it is 'abnormal' not to.
A trippy idea or fiscal genius? Two pols idea to smoke away the deficit.
Science: Congress tries to reset science grants, wants every one to be “groundbreaking”.
Space coffee, just the way you like it. Real astronauts drink their coffee black. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: Treasure Trove of Empire Strikes Back photos will amaze you. Thanks nin.
Media: "Pacific Rim" WonderCon Trailer Online.
Destroy them with lasers!
Troop of Baboons Ransack a Home. Thanks nin.
Auction: Blizzard Employee Exclusive 10 Year Sword & Shield. Not cheap. Thanks Blizzplanet.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.



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