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Saturday, May 11, 2013

  

Incredible Machine-inspired Contraption Maker Announced

A Contraption Maker website is online, heralding development of Contraption Maker, a sandbox puzzle game that's a spiritual successor to the Incredible Machine from Spotkin, a developer that includes members of the original Incredible Machine team from Dynamix. We have some screenshots showing off the Rube Goldberg-inspired gameplay, and they say Windows and OS X gamers will get the opportunity to play the game this summer when an early alpha access program will launch. Here's word:

Solve puzzles involving ridiculous chain reactions full of hamster motors, trampolines, alligators, cats, and so much more. Then go to the powerful Maker Lab, where you can create your own contraptions. Everything you loved about the original game is back and improved with a new physics engine, high definition art, and new parts and programmability.

Diablo III Auction Houses Return

The Diablo III website announces the Diablo III auction houses are back online after an exploit allowed some players to duplicate enormous amounts of gold, though they also note that one needed billions of gold to do this, and in the end only 415 of the game's well-heeled illuminati took part in the duping. Blizzard clarifies that while they did not roll back everyone's progress, the accounts of some of the perpetrators of this game fraud have been rolled back and that accounts have been suspended or banned based on their activity. Word is that 85% of the duplicated gold has now been removed from the game, they expect to get more of it going forward, and that the proceeds of the sketchy auctions will be going to charity:

What Does That Mean for Me?

Soon after the exploit was discovered, we contemplated doing a complete rollback, as was suggested by a number of players here in the forums.

The vast majority of players did not participate in the exploit and we didn't like the idea of punishing them for the bad behavior of a few people. A rollback would mean bringing the servers down for a lengthy period and a loss of all progression since 1.0.8 was released. Many players made significant accomplishments in the game that required time and dedication, and we felt it was worth the work involved to try to preserve these efforts and go after the exploiters instead.

With this in mind, we elected not to roll back the servers in The Americas and are instead working to remove duplicated gold from the economy through targeted audits and account actions (as indicated above) without taking away progress that our players rightfully earned.

As of this this post, we have already recaptured more than 85% of the excess gold from the accounts involved, and over the days ahead we will continue to pore over our audit data to reclaim as much duplicate currency as possible. We've also done a full audit of our code to help make sure that something like this doesn't happen again.

So, What's Next?

Many people bought and sold items and gold on the Auction House on Tuesday. We're making sure that all legitimate transactions go through. This means that if your account was not involved in the exploit, you will get to keep your items and gold, as well as any money you received from sales on the real-money Auction House. We'll also be donating all proceeds from auctions conducted by the suspended or banned players—including all of THEIR sale proceeds that we intercepted as well as our transaction fee—to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

On The XCOM Shooter's Evolution

A feature on IGN Video takes a look at The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and how this shooter based on the XCOM series has evolved since it was first announced and it had a different title and focus. Or, as they put it: "How the new XCOM spin-off went from a first-person horror game to a tactical third-person shooter." This includes developer commentary and footage of the game, both then and now. Thanks Finn. Continue here to read the full story.

Shadow of the Eternals and "Donations"

Polygon examines the implications of the terms under which "donations" are being accepted to fund Shadow of the Eternals, the upcoming spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem from Precursor Games, the spiritual successor to Silicon Knights. They note the company being in Canada is the obstacle to using Kickstarter, and explain the pledge system being used, and what it does and does not offer to donors:

The pledge system, which is managed directly by Precursor Games and collects money through PayPal, includes a number of specific conditions outlined in the site's terms of service including the fact that all money given to the studio are "strictly donations and are not consideration for any services or product," and that donations will be accepted immediately upon receipt, unlike Kickstarter, which only accepts funds if a funding goal is reached.

"A donation cannot be cancelled or returned once it has been completed, whether or not Precursor Games completes the game or fulfills the specified reward," it reads.

The website's FAQ states that the financial goal is a "flexible one" and "if it becomes apparent that we cannot raise enough to develop this project then we will refund all pledges."

Saturday Interviews

On Sale

Thanks Acleacius.

  • EA Bundles on Gamefly. Save up to 80% and 15% more with code from Dealzon.
  • Rockstar Games on Amazon. Save 50% and get a $5.00 credit.
  • Tomb Raider on Amazon.com. Save 25%.
  • Torchlight II on Steam. Save 66%.

Saturday Previews

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Man, I got an emergency alert on my phone a bit ago, as the heavy rains around here have triggered a flash flood warning. We weren't really planning on this when we headed out pretty early today for supplies for a cookout tomorrow, but that's worked out pretty well, because I think they were onto something with this flood stuff... it's a scene out there.

Scenic Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: New Splitter Pals.
Stories: Bike lanes led to 49% increase in retail sales.
Movie theater publicity stunt triggers police response. Thanks brother19.
Science: MIT-trained engineers building flying hybrid car TF-X.
Media: My First Crowbar - Half Life Controller.
Future First Person Shooter - Real Life Call of Duty MW4 + Battlefield 4 +
Auction: Rare Video Game Manual Fetches Over $1,000 In Auction.
The Funnies: ActionTrip Comic Strip: EA's Star Wars Library.



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