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Tuesday, Jul 02, 2013

  

Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned

A new Kickstarter update for Double Fine Adventure, aka Broken Age, outlines the current financial state of the game, but the update is for backers only, and not viewable by the general public (thanks nin). The post lays out some bad news about the game, as Tim Shaeffer reveals that that in spite of raising over $3.3 million for development, money is still tight, for as he puts it: "that didn’t stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money." He explains further: "I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it’s hard for me to design one that’s much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle. There’s just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is." He describes their wake up call when they projected they would not be done with the first half/episode of the game until a year from now, which would mean they'd need to cut the game's design by 75%. Realizing they couldn't go back to Kickstarter or a publisher, nor could they afford to absorb the overages, Tim explains they decided to release the game via Steam Early Access in January 2014 after some "modest cuts." Here's a bit on the plan:

We were always planning to release the beta on Steam, but in addition to that we now have Steam Early Access, which is a new opportunity that actually lets you charge money for pre-release content. That means we could actually sell this early access version of the game to the public at large, and use that money to fund the remaining game development. The second part of the game would come in a free update a few months down the road, closer to April-May.

So, everybody gets to play the game sooner, and we don’t have to cut the game down drastically. Backers still get the whole game this way—nobody has to pay again for the second half.

And whatever date we start selling the early release, backers still have exclusive beta access before that, as promised in the Kickstarter.

I want to point out that Broken Age’s schedule changes have nothing to do with the team working slowly. They have been kicking ass and the game looks, plays, and sounds amazing. It’s just taking a while because I designed too much game, as I pretty much always do. But we’re pulling it in, and the good news is that the game’s design is now 100% done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and it’s not going to get any bigger.

Ubisoft Breached

Ubisoft has suffered a security breach, and while they say no payment information was accessed, but that users should create new passwords (thanks Mashiki). Here's the mail they are sending about this:

Dear Member,

We recently found that one of our Web sites was exploited to gain unauthorized access to some of our online systems. We instantly took steps to close off this access, investigate the incident and begin restoring the integrity of any compromised systems.

During this process, we learned that data had been illegally accessed from our account database, including user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. Please note that no personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your debit/credit card information was safe from this intrusion.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Trailer

A new trailer from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 celebrates the release of the Vengeance map pack DLC, which debuts tomorrow for the Xbox 360 and will come in the future to the Windows and PS3 editions of the military shooter sequel. The "Always Running" clip is a cinematic look at Buried, the included new chapter in the game's zombie mode. The clip's evocative score recalls the original Dead Island trailer, though the footage of mowing down endless hoards of the undead doesn't strike the same emotional chord. Here's word on the mission: "Players will be challenged to face their deepest fears, trapped inside a long-forgotten subterranean Old West mining town infested with swarms of flesh-eating undead."

Infested Planet Early Access

Early access to Infested Planet is now available on Steam, where players can support development of Rocket Bear Games' strategy game buy purchasing it in advance, which carries a 20% discount. This includes access to the game as it currently stands, and here's word on where that is: "Infested Planet is very close to being complete, but there are still many finishing touches that it needs. What do you get right now? Hours and hours of random battles using our procedural mission generator and the finished half of the story campaign."

Left 4 Dead 2 Beta Concludes

The Left 4 Dead Blog announces Linux support and other new features for Left 4 Dead 2 are now out of beta:

The Extended Mutation System, Linux support, and other features and fixes are moving to Left 4 Dead 2 proper. Thanks to everyone who helped test all the changes in the Beta Build. You can find a complete list of the change notes here.

Linux The Linux conversion is ready for primetime so we are opening it up to more people and releasing it officially on Steam. This will let us get feedback on more builds and distros.

SteamPipe Some of you may have noticed a quick update to your game last week. That was our conversion over to SteamPipe. For L4D2 it was quick and painless as our system was already using VPKs. What does this change mean? For server operators there is an easier update path and smaller downloads. For clients, we have improved the downloading experience and you can now install L4D2 on any drive. You can get more details on the support page.

Extended Mutation System. The EMS takes the current idea of mutations and mutates it into a powerful tool for modders. They have been busy at work creating a bunch of new Mutation and game modes that will begin to be uploaded to the L4D2 workshop today. With names like Vicious Infected, Boomer Peril, Stranded, Vampirism, Plague of the Dead, Zombie Run, and Tiny Terror, there is something for everyone.

On Sale

Evening Patches

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

The Walking Dead: 400 Days Tomorrow

The Telltale Games website has release details on 400 Days, the new DLC for their episodic The Walking Dead game. The Windows and OS X PC editions will come tomorrow as part of a staggered schedule that begins with today's release of the DLC on PSN and will culminate a week from Thursday when the iOS edition comes out. This FAQ has details on this content and the explanation of why it's not included with season passes for the game, and word is they will be showing off some gameplay in a live stream on Twitch today at 3:00 pm EDT.

World of Warplanes Open Beta

Wargaming puts out the call for test pilots, as World of Warplanes soars into open beta testing, allowing everyone access to this MMO aerial combat shooter. Signups are being conducted on the North American Website and European Website for the game, and here's the rundown of what to expect:

July 2, 2013 — Wargaming, the leading free-to-play developer and publisher, today announced that the company's highly anticipated free-to-play flight combat MMO World of Warplanes has officially gone into open beta testing, inviting all virtual pilots to climb into the cockpits of some of the most iconic warbirds from the 1930s to the early 1950s. Open beta goes live today in Russia and North America, and July 4th in Europe. In total, the closed beta saw more than 2.7 million applications from 194 different countries.

Featuring planes from the United States, the Soviet Union, Germany and Japan, players will be able to jump into white-knuckle 15 vs. 15 PvP matches, where supremacy of the skies is determined not only by skill, but also coordinated teamwork and cooperation.

Continue here to read the full story.

PlanetSide 2 Battle Island Plans

A new trailer from PlanetSide 2 shows off content from an upcoming patch that will add Battle Islands to the MMOFPS. The clip shows off the vast interior and exterior environments of Nexus Battle Island along with some combat. According to the description, "Battle Islands is currently in development for Auraxis but will be integrated into the live game servers in preparation for esports." Here's more on the plan to offer focused 48x48 island combat:

Battle Islands are designed to emulate the PlanetSide 2 live game as closely as possible, but in a tighter space to encourage Outfit vs. Outfit competitive, close-quarters gameplay. Battle Islands will be integrated into the live game servers and will have a population cap. All gear, vehicles and features available in the open world of Auraxis will be available in the Battle Islands... just with fewer places to run or hide. Multiple win conditions will encourage both offensive and defensive tactics, so outfits will be challenged to come up with mixed-arms battle plans tailored for their opponents.

To help Outfits prepare, SOE is giving players a sneak peek at one of the islands, Nexus. A throwback to the original PlanetSide battle islands and themes, the Nexus battle island features an icy terrain, complete with ice caves, alpine forests, frozen canyons and ice fields.

As troops train for Battle Islands, they can also start preparations for upcoming updates to the Infiltrator class. The Infiltrator will now be deadlier and stealthier than ever with updates including a stalker cloak, motion sensor and recon drone. Decoy grenades will also help the Infiltrator to distract enemy troops.

On the Future of Diablo III

IncGamers has a write-up of what they learned from Blizzard Entertainment about the future of Diablo III during a "fansite summit" about the action/RPG sequel. The main lesson is the future is not the present, and nothing much is changing in the short term, as the "itemization" patch first mentioned four months ago is not to be expected for at least another four months, as they confirm it is not expected to be released before BlizzCon in November. They also believe that the game's first expansion will be first unveiled at BlizzCon, which would support a recent indication that the release of an add-on will probably not happen before next year.

Saints Row 4 "Low Violence" Edition Plans?

Kotaku Australia describes having sighted a "low violence" edition of Saints Row IV on the Steam page from Volition's open-world action sequel. They speculate that this may be intended to address the game recently being refused classification in Australia. We cannot find the listing for this edition of the game as of now, so it may be removed or localized content, or it could be premature, as Kotaku received a "no comment" reply from Deep Silver about this, and they were told the Classification Board were not aware preorders of the game were still underway.

Morning Interviews

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

Well, we're officially halfway through 2013, as there were 182 days before today this year, and 182 days remaining after today (I guess the pro trick is to remember to commemorate this at noon). At the halfway point I'm going to have to give the year so far a failing grade, if for no other reason than I still don't have my flying car.

Median Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: 3LIND Game.
Offroaders 2.
Links: TV Trailer: The "Fleming" Mini-Series.
Patient's response to insurer who said, "No biopsy for you, you're going to die anyway."
Stories: Serena Williams: Tracy Austin on the shock Wimbledon 2013 exit.
Science: Cuteness Inspires Aggression. Thanks Boing Boing.
Images: New Poster: "Riddick".



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