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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013

  

EA's Frostbite 3 Engine and AMD

EA's upcoming Frostbite 3 engine will be optimized exclusively for AMD graphics cards, reports IGN, noting this may relate to AMD being the graphics chip supplier for all the next-generation consoles. According to their story: "Starting with the release of Battlefield 4, all current and future titles using the Frostbite 3 engine — Need for Speed Rivals, Mirror's Edge 2, etc. — will ship optimized exclusively for AMD GPUs and CPUs. While Nvidia-based systems will be supported, the company won't be able to develop and distribute updated drivers until after each game is released." This follows the earlier news that EA Sports' Ignite engine won't support PCs for the foreseeable future.

Ships Ahoy - AI War: Vengeance Of The Machine

Arcen Games now offers Vengeance Of The Machine, the fifth expansion for AI War: Fleet Command, THEIR Windows and OS X strategy game. The new expansion is on sale on the Arcen Games Store, GamersGate, and Steam for 10% off, and the entire AI War Collection is on sale on the Arcen Games Store, GamersGate, and Steam, where there is also a new Four Year Anniversary Edition comprising the whole series. They celebrate the release of the new expansion and the game's recent update to version 7.0 with this trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition

Paradox Interactive announces the release of Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition, the Windows and OS X version of Behold Studios' meta-RPG that was first released for mobile devices. Here's the deal:

Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition is an RPG where players take on the role of players who are playing an RPG. Assemble a group of mundane in-game friends and transform them into classic RPG fantasy classes, while the dungeon master narrates the adventure within their imaginations. Control both the players and the DM – design encounters for your party, and then slay the monsters for all the XP and loot your character sheets can hold. Leveling up the original mobile title, there’s a hoard of new features, including new character options, a lengthier campaign, raid-friendly dungeons, and much more. The Digital Deluxe Edition also includes a strangely familiar wizard character in a yellow robe, an extra in-game map where experience farming meets crop farming, and special sci-fi nerd treasures for the DM’s room.

Gunpoint Sales Figures

The Gunpoint Blog outlines the sales trajectory of Gunpoint, the platformer designed by PC Gamer editor Tom Francis. The post explains the game recouped its development costs in 64 seconds, which is a little less impressive when we learn that this does not account for any of his time, just the $30.00 paid for a copy of Game Maker 8. The actual impressive results follow, as he shares the graphs he used to chart the game's trajectory, saying its sales success means he "can now make games full-time for the foreseeable future." He talks about the freedom this provides, while also putting out the call for someone to help port the game to Game Maker Studio for Windows, Mac and Linux. Thanks nin.

Endless Space: Disharmony Next Week

Amplitude Studios announces a June 26th release date for Endless Space: Disharmony, the first expansion for Endless Space, their 4X space strategy game. Here are some new screenshots, and here's word:

Haarlem, The Netherlands – 18 June 2013 – Amplitude Studios is excited to announce that they have entered the last stages of development for ‘Disharmony’, the first official expansion to their 4x space strategy hit Endless Space. The expansion pack follows the release of 4 free add-ons that have extended gameplay since the game’s original inception in 2012.

Upon the Disharmony launch, Amplitude plans to unlock the ‘Sheredyn Faction’ and the ‘Endless Hero’ from the Emperor Edition for all players, as well as the addition of “Automaton ship models” as a gift to the community for being so awesome. All of this will be available at the release of the expansion (acquired or not).

Skulls of the Shogun Breaking Windows 8 Shackles

The Skulls of the Shogun website announces Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition, a revamped edition of 17-bit Studios' turn-based strategy game coming to Steam that adds new content, and also breaks free of the game's Windows 8 exclusivity, good news for most PC gamers who are avoiding the latest iteration of Microsoft's OS. This page has all the details on the new version, and those who preorder the game on Steam will receive a 20% discount, and instant access to the game's multiplayer beta. Here's word:

SKULLS OF THE SHOGUN: BONE-A-FIDE EDITION features the full campaign and multiplayer modes from the original game, while adding a challenging brand-new four-chapter episode that takes place after the original game’s ending. This episode offers a new protagonist and a new unit type, the Tanuki, who confounds enemies with teleport spells and nonstop taunts.

Players will also find all of the multiplayer functionality from the original release, including 6 new multiplayer levels, making for a total of 36 battlefields. SKULLS OF THE SHOGUN: BONE-A-FIDE EDITION supports real-time multiplayer over Steam, hotseat support, and asynchronous multiplayer modes that allow players to take turns at their leisure. Multiplayer matchups now reward players as well, with a new progression system that allows players to gain experience points, rank up, and unlock emblems. The asynchronous “Skulls Anywhere” mode is designed to be forward-compatible, so future releases of SKULLS OF THE SHOGUN will play with each other regardless of hardware platform.

Additional bonus features include an extensive developers’ commentary mode, and a new intro theme performed by chiptunes DJ, Mega Ran!

Mac Payne 3 This Week

RockstarGames tweets that the Max OS X edition of Max Payne 3 is due this week: "Max Payne 3 will be available for Mac later this week, on Thursday June 20th: http://rsg.ms/15gLZNQ." Thanks Shacknews.

Humble Bundle with Android

The Humble Bundle with Android 6 is a new flexibly priced indie bundle that adds Android versions of the included games to their typical Windows, OS X, and Linux support. Here's a promotional video and here's the lowdown:

For two weeks, fans can name their price to support developers and charities and receive the following games for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux:

  • the underwater fantasy action-adventure game Aquaria by Bit Blot, making its Android debut
  • the chromatic minimalist puzzler Fractal: Make Blooms Not War by Cipher Prime Studios, making its Android and Linux debut
  • the retro zombie survival game Organ Trail: Director’s Cut by The Men Who Wear Many Hats
  • the nail-biting stealth strategy platformer Stealth Bastard Deluxe by Curve Studios, making its Android debut

Bundle buyers will also receive a bonus game:

  • the rhythmic audio-visual experience Pulse: Volume One by Cipher Prime Studios, making its Android debut

If a buyer pays more than the average price at the time of purchase, they will also receive:

  • the intense tactical combat sim Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games, making its Android debut
  • the mystery point-and-click adventure Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - Director’s Cut by Revolution Software Ltd, making its Linux debut

Customers can choose to allocate a part of their purchase to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (who fight for our freedom on the Internet) and the Child’s Play Charity (who provide technology & games to children in hospitals around the world). So far, the generous contributions of our customers have allowed us to donate more than $13.5 million to charity!

Indie Royale Chosen 2 Bundle

Indie Royale now offers The Chosen 2 Bundle, with fan-selected indie titles available at a bargain price. Here's the deal:

Really Big Sky, Eufloria, Runespell: Overture, Cthulhu Saves the World and Breath of Death VII are available in this bundle and, if that weren’t enough, it comes with a selection of bonus soundtracks to listen to when you’re not playing.

Those who pay $7 USD or their currency equivalent during The Chosen 2 Bundle will get Disasterpeace's chiptune album: Rise Of The Obsidian Interstellar. This album is available in MP3 and FLAC format.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941 Beta Signups

Matrix Games is now accepting applications to beta test Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941, Phobetor's upcoming World War II turn-based operational strategy game. This page is where to sign up, and word is testing will encompass the game's four campaigns, the mission editor, and PBEM++ multiplayer. Here are some new screenshots showing off the game.

Mars: War Logs Voice Acting Fixed

The Mars: War Logs website announces a new patch is now available to remedy the translation woes in Spiders Studios' cyberpunk RPG. This trailer offers the first seven minutes of the game with the new dialogue, and the game happens to be a Steam daily deal for 33% off if this strikes your fancy. Here's word on what went wrong with the game's original English dialog from Focus Home Interactive's Luc Heninger:

Mars contains a vast amount of dialog, even by RPG standards. The plot has numerous strands and the dialog often has many variants to mirror the hero’s changes in reputation. The tight deadlines between the game release dates meant that the initial English translation lacked depth and contained a number of errors; it was then sent to the recording studio, making the job of the actors extremely difficult. The actual game was thoroughly tested and released with very few bugs on PC, but unfortunately the procedures for the audio and text QA failed and allowed many English localization issues to slip through. We realized the extent of the problem after seeing the first feedback from the press and gamers. The result was so far removed from what we usually produce that we took the decision to halt the submission process for the console version, which was due for release only weeks after the PC title. We have re-written the game text and dialog and, of course, recorded the actors again, replacing the sections that weren’t true to the characters in Mars. All these problems will therefore be fixed in the console version. An update is now available for players with the PC game, and we have also incorporated the new audio in the PC versions on the various download sites.

Free Pinball FX 2 Table on Friday

Steam News announces that Friday Zen Studios will release the Sorcerer’s Lair table for free for Pinball FX 2 on Steam. They say there are no strings attached: "Zen Studios is happy to provide Sorcerer’s Lair absolutely free for all Steam users, starting this Friday. This table will be free forever – no timed free play session, no ads, no gimmicks. YAAAAAAAAAAAY PINBALL! Simply download the Pinball FX2 platform, then download Sorcerer’s Lair and start playing. Additionally, the Paranormal, Fantastic Four and Marvel Civil War tables will all be available for download for $2.99. There are more tables coming from our extensive library very soon, as well as new features and continued product support."

It Came from E3 2013, Part Eight

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Evening Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Batman in Classic Movie Scenes (Part 2).

R.I.P.: Statement On Michael Hastings. Thanks Acleacius.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Vengeance Announced

Activision and Treyarch announce new Vengeance DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, saying this will debut exclusively on Xbox LIVE on July 2nd before making its way to other systems at some point thereafter. The new pack will add four multiplayer maps, "including a re-imagined classic," to the military shooter sequel along with a new zombies "experience," and this trailer offers a look at what to expect. Here's word:

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Vengeance delivers four new, diverse multiplayer maps starting with "Cove," where the stage is set for all-out conflict on this small, forgotten island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with players battling it out amongst the wreckage of a jet that crash-landed during a smuggling operation gone wrong. Next up is "Detour," a destroyed suspension bridge, high above an East Coast waterway, packed with scattered vehicles, exposed iron and collapsed pavement where the head-to-head action will play out on multiple levels. The third map, "Rush," sets the stage for fast, close-quarters engagements in this paintball course turned full-combat arena, giving players new opportunities and challenges to use the cover to their advantage. Rounding out Vengeance's multiplayer maps is "Uplink." In this re-imagined adaptation of the fan-favorite multiplayer map "Summit" from the original Call of Duty®: Black Ops, players clash deep in the rain-soaked jungles of Myanmar, high atop a hi-tech mountain facility.

Treyarch yet again expands the Zombies storyworld in new, mind-bending ways with "Buried." Players meet up with old characters and will encounter new ones as they face off against the undead residents of an abandoned underground Old West mining town. A healthy arsenal of equipment and weapons that will be at players' disposal, but with one very special addition - something so powerful it will also appear in all other Call of Duty: Black Ops II Zombies maps (with the purchase of Vengeance DLC): the Ray Gun Mark II.

Continue here to read the full story.

GOG.com No DRM Sale Includes Free Torchlight

GOG.com announces their 2013 #noDRM Summer Sale is underway, where the discounted games come with no DRM, and a free hashtag to boot. This comes with a doorbuster, as for 48 hours they are offering a free copy of Torchlight, Runic Game's action/RPG. The 17-day sale includes 500 games on sale and will feature daily deals up to 85% off, and today they are offering 90% off on Alan Wake and Alan Wake's American Nightmare and a special on all of their D&D titles, including Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, and Planescape: Torment. Here's their pitch on their anti-DRM stance and a summary of the sale:

In the last few months, there has been a lot of outcry from gamers over DRM and how it is changing our favorite form of entertainment. If it keeps growing, it may well take a large part of the fun out of gaming. As anti-DRM crusaders, we're very glad to see that the issue of restrictive digital rights management has become an item of public debate, and we want to make sure that our #NoDRM stance is clear. None of the games in our sale have DRM, and none of our games ever will.

Once again: More than 500 games 50% off until July 5. Daily Deals bringing the discount even up to 85%. Torchlight distributed as a free gift to all GOG.com users until Thursday, June 20, at 12:59PM GMT. We'll throw exciting offers at you daily, so consider following us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube just to make sure you're not missing out. That's it! The 2013 #NoDRM Summer Sale is now on. Have fun and remember to support the #NoDRM movement on GOG.com and elsewhere!

Shadowrun Returns Delayed to Next Month

The Kickstarter for Shadowrun Returns has word from Harebrained Schemes that the release of their turn-based RPG is delayed until July 25th, after being planned for this month, saying they've "decided to invest additional time in bugfixing and polishing the game" in spite of this meaning "a longer crunch period for a tired team," saying this fits with feedback they've received from fans saying they should take the time they need. They outline more of what to expect, including a section on the editor, and videos of the creations some of their backers have made with the early access version of the tools to make new content. Thanks nin.

NASCAR The Game: 2013 Early Access

NASCAR The Game: 2013 is already on the starting grid, as Eutechnyx's just announced racing simulation is available for pre-order on Steam, and those who avail themselves of this will get immediate access to the game's closed single-player beta as well as a 10% discount on their purchase. Here are a couple of screenshots and here's a rundown on the game:

In NASCAR The Game: 2013, players can drive straight into an authentic NASCAR experience, filled with intense graphics and competitive AI, all backed from a strong and supportive multiplayer system. Jump into the driver’s seat of a Gen 6 model stock car and race towards the finish line in hopes to be crowned the Sprint Cup Series Champion. Featuring Inside Line Highlights, relive and rewrite iconic moments from recent NASCAR races, all recreated using telemetry data. Update packs including the Inside Line Highlights will be released throughout the 2013 NASCAR season*.

Fallout 4 Rumor

A post on Bubblews states that Bethesda showed off Fallout 4 at E3 last week behind closed doors, saying a brief trailer (oddly specified as 37 seconds in length) was part of the presentation. They say "it seems there was a leaker inside" who allegedly shared unconfirmed details about the unannounced next installment in the action/RPG series. These details include word that the game will come to Windows, as well as Xboxes One and 360 and PlayStations 3 and 4, the game will be announced before next year's E3 but is not expected to launch before October 2015, the main setting is Boston, and more. This is all to be taken with a grain of salt, though it's interesting to note that one of the editors at Strategy Informer commented on that site's report of this with a smug: "I... can neither confirm nor deny that rumor. :p"

Thief E3 Presentation

A new video from GamesHQMedia offers the Thief presentation from E3 2013, showing the on-stage demonstration of the upcoming stealth/action reboot. The 30+ minute clip includes cinematics and gameplay footage, shot using the PlayStation 3 edition of the game, and is accompanied by a Q&A where Eidos Montreal lays out the vision for the game. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Interviews

Op Ed

Gamasutra nails it. If you are interested, GameInformer offers the new NPD report.

Gamasutra - Why Gamasutra is skipping monthly NPD reports.
NPD obviously knows the importance of tracking and reporting revenues from digital venues, such as paid downloads, subscriptions, mobile, etc., as well as used game and rental revenue: The company now includes monthly estimates for these streams. But the way that publishers and digital distributors like Steam lock down their sales data, it's hard to imagine anyone making accurate estimations of sales by title, or even overall digital sales.

The fact that NPD only focuses on U.S. sales is also an issue -- some of the biggest players on digital platforms are internationally-operating companies like Blizzard, Riot, Supercell, DeNA and Rovio.

Additionally, a while back NPD stopped reporting on software unit sales in its monthly report, leaving us questioning for some time, "What's the point?" So as editor, I need to ask myself if the monthly NPD figures paint a truthful picture of the video game industry -- does conveying monthly NPD releases to our readers help in their day-to-day decisions? I have to say "no." I've seen on Twitter and in Gamasutra comments that a lot of our readers also answer "no." Even the president of the Entertainment Software Association, Michael Gallagher, agrees that the monthly NPD U.S. retail figures hold little value these days.

As a resource for the game industry, it's not enough for Gamasutra to disclaim monthly NPD articles in the phrase, "Keep in mind, these are only physical, new U.S. retail sales." We probably should have stopped running the figures (particularly the software sales figures) a little while ago, honestly.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Blatant plug: I Was There Man is a new project from Walter "2" Costinak, who has provided this site with so much artwork and design help over the years, I couldn't repay him with a million such mentions. The site seems to be a repository for anecdotes from hippies of all ages, so if you have a good story about Jerry Garcia trading you a guitar for that last box of doughnuts in the 7/11 (a far more realistic scenario than those Diet Dew commercials), you should share it with them.

Hippie Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Jelly Alien.
Stories: "Man of Steel 2" In 2014, "Justice" In 2015?
Science: Scientists: we believe we have discovered why cancer spreads.
How a High Fat Diet Increases Alzheimer's Risk.
Colombia: Beware the zombie drug.
Images: Comic Con Poster: "Riddick".
Media: ☭ Vladimir Putin: Kleptomaniac ☭.
What if you Couldn't Stop Smiling?
Candy Crush: The Movie.
Follow-Up: Autism Tied to Air Pollution, Brain-Wiring Disconnect in Studies.
The Funnies: The Birth of Grammar.



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