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Friday, Jun 21, 2013

  

Dota 2 Launch Details

The Dota 2 blog has details on "Transitioning Into Launch Mode" for Valve's upcoming MOBA, giving some concrete news to make up for the innacurate report that the game no longer requires invitations, saying they are indeed "retiring" the invite system soon, but not just yet, so those sitting on invitations should use them. They do indicate the process of adding more players will be done carefully with the expressed goal of disrupting the existing playerbase as little as possible. As a result, they say they "aren’t sure how long this is going to take," which has no Valve Time precedent.

Steamships Ahoy - Fist Puncher

Steam News announces the release of Fist Puncher. Here's word on this throwback brawler from Adult Swim:

Return to the glory days of sidescrolling beat-em-ups, courtesy of developers Team2Bit and Adult Swim Games. The sinister Milkman holds the city of Las Cruces in his nasty criminal grip, and it’s up to legendary black belt neurosurgeon Dr. Karate and the rest of the Fist Puncher team to deliver old-school justice to the lawless streets.

Surgeon Simulator 2013 Adds TF2 Characters

Steam News announces the release of a free update for Surgeon Simulator 2013 that adds Team Fortress 2 characters to the game where medical practice rarely makes perfect. There's a clip showing the Medic preparing to work on the Heavy, which may not go well. Here's word:

In a very rare agreement with Valve, the Bossa developers have integrated two characters from the seminal TF2: the Medic and the Heavy. Inspired by Valve’s “Meet The Medic” video, these characters will now take the roles of Nigel and Bob in the game that set the internet alight this year, with around 1 million Let’s Play videos now uploaded to YouTube, garnering well in excess of 70 million video views.

Toki Tori 2+ Delayed

Two Tribes announces a delay for the release of Toki Tori 2+ on Steam, saying the enhanced edition of their console puzzle/platformer is now due on July 11th, rather than July 2nd, as they originally announced, joking that the setback is a "a time honored Two Tribes tradition." A new blog post has details on the delay as well as word on pricing, a launch discount, and loyalty coupons.

Armikrog Kickstarter Adds Art

The Kickstarter for Armikrog has less than a week to go, and to help push this claymation adventure game from Doug TenNapel and the creators of The Neverhood, Pencil Test Studios is now offering original artwork as an add-on award for backers, saying this will be "one-of-a-kind illustrations and paintings of Tommynaut, Klaymen, and Earthworm Jim." Here's more from an update by Mike Dietz: "We just posted a new add-on: a bunch of character sketches that I'll be drawing. To be honest, I've always found it a little strange that anyone would assign any value to a drawing I've done, because to me they're just drawings... I'd be off in a corner drawing whether it was my job or not, it's just what I've always done. Ed talked me into offering these as add-ons, so I hope you enjoy them. They're available as digital downloads or as original pencil drawings on 8.5x11 animation paper. As an interesting side note, the paper I'll be drawing these on is from a supply of animation paper we have left over from the Neverhood -- it's the same batch of paper I used to draw all the Willie Trombone movie player animation from the Neverhood."

March of War Trailer

A new trailer from March of War offers an introduction to this upcoming MMOTBS game in the works at Dutch developer ISOTX. The clip features gameplay footage and developer commentary from ISOTX CEO Vincent van Geel, creative director on the project. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Thanks, Textbooks. Just wow. Thanks Ant.

Dota 2 Beta Keys [Updated]

GosuGamers notes that Valve has quietly removed the requirement of a beta key for Dota 2, though this is not the case for those playing the MOBA game in China. Sure enough, checking on the game's listing on Steam included the message: "You already own Dota 2." Thanks Videogamer. Update: Apparently there was confusion here with spectator mode, and keys are still required to play the game. Apologies for the error.

Arma 3 Beta Next Week

The Arma 3 website announces Bohemia Interactive's military shooter will transition next week from the alpha phase into beta testing. This means there is only a limited time to get in on the lower price of the alpha:

Today Bohemia Interactive confirmed the 25th of June as the official release date for the Arma 3 Beta. Building upon the well-received Arma 3 Alpha, the Arma 3 Beta features a varied selection of brand new content – including 10 vehicles, 7 weapons, 4 showcase missions (Combined Arms, Supports, Commanding & Night), 2 multiplayer scenarios and 4 challenges.

Set against the beautiful backdrop of Stratis (20 km²), the Arma 3 Beta turns its focus towards firepower and logistics. The Challenges game mode will also be making its first appearance, enabling players to practice their weapons handling and movement across a selection of firing drills. Plus, all of the content from the Arma 3 Alpha will be available, alongside the popular scenario editor and modding support.

“Having just showed off the Beta for Arma 3 at E3 2013, we are keen to get it into gamers' hands quickly. Bringing some heavy firepower and additional transport options will allow for more diverse scenarios in both singleplayer and multiplayer. We also can't wait to open up the Steam Workshop scenario publication, which will make content-sharing with other players much more convenient.“ Joris-Jan van ‘t Land, Project Lead on Arma 3 People who are currently participating in the Arma 3 Alpha will gain access to the Arma 3 Beta through an automatic Steam update. Those who are new to Arma 3 can join in by purchasing the Arma 3 Beta (which includes a version of the full game) from Steam or Store.bistudio.com.

The price of the Arma 3 Beta, in comparison to the Arma 3 Alpha, will be increased. The regular Arma 3 Beta will be available for 34.99 EUR/29.99 GBP/44.99 USD (current price: 24.99 EUR/19.99 GBP/32.99 USD), while the Arma 3 Digital Deluxe Edition will be sold for 44.99 EUR/39.99 GBP/59.99 USD (current price: 39.99 EUR/34.99 GBP/49.99 USD). Please note that the current (heavily discounted) Alpha deal, which includes Beta-access and the full game, will still be available until Tuesday June 25th.

Those who would like to sponsor development further have the option to purchase the Arma 3 Supporter Edition (69.99 EUR/59.99 GBP/91.99 USD) from Store.bistudio.com. The Arma 3 Alpha Lite, a free but limited variant of the Arma 3 Alpha, will be discontinued after June 25th.

Whore of the Orient Raises Cash

GameInformer has word that troubled developer Team Bondi has raised some development capital for Whore of the Orient, their planned next project. Word is backer KMM has secured a modest grant, with the John in this case being Australia: "KMM has received $200,000 in funding from New South Wales' Interactive Media Fund. Screen NSW, the entity that handles the funding, is the governmental organization that handles filming and related activities in and around Sydney, Australia." $200K wouldn't pay for the pencil holders at 38 Studios, so it is probably not enough to complete the game, but as Game Informer notes, this is a sign that the project still lives.

Guild Wars 2 Sky Pirates of Tyria Content Next Week

ArenaNet announces plans to patch Guild Wars 2 next week with a new content update called Sky Pirates of Tyria for the MMORPG sequel. This is scheduled for June 25th, and this page has details on what the new version will offer and a schedule of related in-game events. There are more details in this announcement we received directly:

ArenaNet today announced the latest Guild Wars® 2 content update, Sky Pirates of Tyria, which will is scheduled to go live on June 25. The update brings players a robust update to the ongoing Living World saga, along with a new dungeon to explore, new events, rewards and features, not to mention the announcement that Custom Arenas and Spectator Mode is coming out of beta.

In regards to the Living Story content, Lion’s Arch is in chaos following a murder at the Dragon Bash. Inspector Ellen Kiel is spearheading the investigation and is gathering teams of deputies to capture the perpetrator. Players will need to sharpen their weapons and skills to track down the slippery culprit responsible for the crime. Players will join together and partake in multiple events that will lead them through thrilling content and discoveries as part of this update.

Ships Ahoy - Painkiller Hell & Damnation: Heaven's Above DLC

Nordic Games announces that the Heaven's Above DLC is now available for Painkiller Hell & Damnation, the fifth such content release for The Farm 51's first-person shooter. Well, it's normally an FPS, as one of the features in this DLC is a new top-down mode, saying: "With this never before seen viewpoint, players will be able to take in even more of the run and gun action as they take control of the battlefield from above." The pack is available on Steam, and carries a 25% discount for the next week. Here's a trailer and here's more:

Included in the DLC pack is 5 campaign maps; Graveyard, Town, Babel, Angkor, and Pentagon which can be played in both single player and co-op mode. Players will encounter bigger and badder boss fights that can be won using any of the Vanilla Painkiller Hell & Damnation weapons plus the throwable mine!

“We’ve made a commitment to release several DLCs throughout this year to ensure that we provide players with the best Painkiller experience possible,” said Reinhard Pollice, Business & Product Development Director at Nordic Games. “It started as an internal idea, then we prototyped Painkiller with top-down gameplay and it looked promising so we were eager to further explore the idea which ultimately led to this DLC. We know that this has the potential to be something bigger but at the moment we’re looking forward to offer this rare experience to our community and are excited to see their reaction.”

Scrolls in the Black After One Week

A tweet from almost two weeks ago that we missed at the time (thanks PC Gamer) has word from Mojang that Scrolls became profitable just one week into open beta testing of the card-based strategy game. Word is: "Wow. The revenue for one week of Scrolls in open beta now covers the entire development cost. The game is profitable!"

Borderlands 2 Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep Footage

A new trailer shows off the first five or so minutes of gameplay from Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, the next DLC for Borderlands 2, Gearbox's role-playing first-person shooter. The DLC is due next week for those holding out to play it rather than watch it. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

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

Happy summer to all of us in the Northern hemisphere, as the solstice passed at around 1:00 am today, and the weather now has an excuse for being so hot. And to those below the equator, happy winter!

Also, congrats to Miami on their back-to-back NBA titles. Personally, I was rooting for the Spurs, being one of those who was turned off by the circus surrounding Le LeBron taking his talents to South Beach. Pulling for Tim Duncan did strike me as a little odd in light of that, since the Spurs drafted him by compiling the third-worst record in the league during the lone season in the last 24 years that they missed the playoffs. I am not alone in thinking they dumped games along the way to hurt their record that year and help their draft chances, and if that's true, it's a lot sketchier than a simple free-agent signing.

Le Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Vex 2.
Links: Don Mattrick's First Draft of the Xbox One Update Announcement.
Jeremiah's Vanishing New York: Sid Vicious Pencil Set. Wow.
Say it ain't so! Cap'N Crunch not really a captain.
Stories: 'Star Trek' creator, "Scotty" bound for space. Thanks Jeffrey.
A pair of pugs helping nurse abandoned tiger cubs. Thanks j.c.f.
Science: HPV infections on the decline since cervical cancer vaccine was introduced.
Your vegetables’ nutritional content could be affected by jet lag.
Ultra-high resolution 3D map of a human brain.
Media: Crossbow vs Dr Pepper in Slowmo HD.
Better Names for Groups of Animals.
Follow-Up: RDJ will definitely be Iron Man in Avengers 2 and 3. Thanks nin.
The Funnies: Penny Arcade - Negotiations. Thanks nin.



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