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Thursday, Jul 04, 2013 Happy Independence Day (US)

  

Ships Ahoy - TrackMania2: Valley

Ubisoft announces the release of TrackMania2: Valley, saying the next installment in Nadeo's racing series is now available on ManiaPlanet and Steam. The game offers full Steam Workshop support, as do all Mania games as of today, allowing players to create and share new content, and there's an accompanying new ManiaPlanet update available as well (thanks Frans). Here's word on the release, including the explanation of how what was intended as the first TrackMania2 release ended up being the third:

Bringing added realism, Valley is a new take on the classic arcade rally racing genre and marks a new checkpoint in the history of racing games. As with all TrackMania˛ games, Valley comes with a solo campaign, deep multiplayer experience and a world of possibilities in user-generated content thanks to a feature-packed track editor and the flexibility of the ManiaPlanet system.

“ Making a racing game, is going the fastest from point A to point B. But to make a solid one, there are many areas to master, such as 3D engine, multiplayer, physics, UGC, gameplay, sounds, graphics, level design and more.

“With Valley, we started five years ago. It was supposed to be the first installment in Trackmania˛. But our target to get a specific balance between realism and arcade, immersion and fun, was so difficult to achieve that we had to change our mind, take our breath, and make other works. It turned out to be a really efficient move. Today, I hope that the 65 tracks of the solo campaign will demonstrate how well the Nadeo team finally made it.

Steam Gets Twitchy; Twitch Gets Steamy

Steam and Twitch are partnering up, reports Gamasutra, where they say Twitch accounts can now be linked to Steam accounts. Here's word:

Twitch users can now link their Twitch account to their Steam account. In particular, this is big news for Dota 2 fans, who can now watch tournament matches via Twitch, and receive items drops through Steam at the same time.

And it sounds like this is just the start of a relationship between Twitch and Valve, as the latter says that it will be working with Twitch to expand on the features available via this system in the months to come.

Monaco Editor and OS X Edition Released

Steam News announces the launch of Steam Workshop support and the release of the level editor for Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine, which coincides with the Steamplay version of the heist game that now offers Mac OS X support:

Additionally, checkout the just launched Steam Workshop and level editor! Create and share custom maps and missions for Monaco. All the tools used to build the official campaign missions and stories are available!

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is a single player or co-op heist game. Assemble a crack team of thieves, case the joint, and pull off the perfect heist. Play with up to four people online or on the same screen. Compete with others via daily leaderboards. Find out why it won the 2010 IGF and has been described by Rev3Games's Anthony Carboni as "quite possibly the best co-op ever."

Ships Ahoy - DARK

Kalypso Media announces the dawn of DARK, saying their new vampire themed stealth/action game is now available for Windows PC via digital distribution, and that a retail version will be released tomorrow in some U.K. and European territories. They celebrate the news with some new screenshots, and here's word:

DARK is a stealth action game with RPG elements that lets you slip into the role of the ultimate killer… a vampire. Stalk your enemies from the shadows then use powerful vampire abilities to attack and silently dispose of them! The exciting story of DARK immerses you in a world full of blood and darkness in which the hunter can become the hunted at any time. As you unravel the mystery behind the omnipresent and powerful global conglomerate, Geoforge, you must continually improve your character by developing powerful skills to aid you in remaining unobserved, or silence those unfortunate enough to take too keen an interest in you.

Killing Floor: Free Week; Patch; Sale; More

The Killing Floor Summer 2013 Sideshow Event is underway, as Tripwire Interactive keeps up with their annual tradition of promoting their co-op survival/horror shooter with a special event. This includes a new patch adding a new objective mode, the ability to unlock a new character, an 80% off sale on Steam, and the ability to play the game for free for a week. Here's the deal:

And, so everyone who doesn't own the game can try the new mode, Killing Floor will be available to download and play, for NO money (that is f-r-e-e), from 4th July through to 11th July. That is a whole week to try it out. And, to encourage everyone even further, the game will be on sale during the period of the free week, at an 80% discount.

But wait! There's more! We are also bringing you a new DLC character, to keep the original Mr. Foster company - Mrs. Foster! Plus a second Gold Weapons Pack for all those who like their weapons blinged out. And as if that wasn't enough - a Steampunk-themed Community Weapons Pack will also be available, to match with the whole Steampunk theme of the Summer Event. Remember, you can only unlock Mr and Mrs Foster during the Summer Sideshow event - so don't wait! If that is all a lot to take in at one go take a look at the event web page: http://summer2013.killingfloorthegame.com.

Steamships Ahoy - FINAL FANTASY VII

Grab your caps lock, as Steam News announces that FINAL FANTASY VII is now available on Steam for your old-school RPG pleasure:

The RPG classic Final Fantasy VII is Now Available on Steam!

In Midgar, a city controlled by the mega-conglomerate Shinra Inc., the No. 1 Mako Reactor has been blown up by a rebel group, AVALANCHE. AVALANCHE was secretly formed to wage a rebellion against Shinra Inc., an organisation which is absorbing Mako energy, destroying the natural resources of the planet. Cloud, a former member of Shinra's elite combat force, SOLDIER, was involved with the bombing of the Mako Reactor.

Can Cloud and AVALANCHE protect the planet from the huge, formidable enemy, Shinra Inc.?

New X-Motor Racing

The X-Motor Racing website offers a new version 1.43 of this indie racing simulation along with a corresponding updated version of the game's playable demo. This seems like a pretty major update, as the first item on the change list tells us the game now boasts a new graphics engine.

Three Matrix WW2 Games in Beta

Matrix Games is enlisting beta testers as they have no fewer than three upcoming World War II games that need to be vetted for release. Those interested in testing any of the following titles should sign up on the Matrix Games Beta Tester Page:

Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel. The second expansion for the PC adaptation of the award-winning board game Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! That will bring more exclusive content to the game, as Ghost Divisions has already done.

Mark H. Walker's Lock 'n Load: Heroes of Stalingrad. Designed by Mark H. Walker and programmed by the team responsible for bringing you Panzer General Online, Heroes of Stalingrad remains faithful to Lock' 'n Load's ease of play and immersive format, while incorporating all the advantages of playing on your office flatscreen. The game features two, branching campaigns. One that is playable from the Soviet side and one from the German point of view. The campaigns are story driven, using graphic novel-type panels to propel the plot. A turn-based game, Heroes of Stalingrad retains Lock 'n Load's engaging impulse system while adding features, such as flanking fire, hidden units, and residual machine gun fire, that would just be too fiddly for the boardgame.

Piercing Fortress Europa. Designed by Frank Hunter, the latest release from Adanac covers the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and the bitter battle for Italy. It includes units from many diverse Allied and Axis nations including Britain, America, Canada, Poland, New Zealand, India, Brazil, Germany, Italy, and more.

Independence Day Interviews

On Sale

Op Ed

Engadget - Broken promise: Double Fine's 'Broken Age' Kickstarter mess.
Whether or not Schafer made the right choice is a question for another time, and for people who are far more intimately involved with Broken Age's development than us here at Engadget. What we do know is that one of the most prominent examples of a crowdfunding success story just became one of the most prominent examples of why consumers should be wary of backing crowdfunded projects. If long-established players like Double Fine pull in more than eight times the capital they originally asked from fans yet still can't meet a grossly over-inflated budget, that's what we'd call a warning sign.

Gatherings & Competitions

Independence Day Consolidation

Independence Day Mobilization

Independence Day Metaverse

Independence Day Tech Bits

Independence Day Safety Dance

Independence Day Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy Independence Day to everyone in the U.S., and of course, happy fourth of July to everyone, since it will be that date for everyone at some point. We have a clear weather report in these parts, so we'll expect a full-on assault from the fireworks tonight. Fact is, we got one last night, as the explosions off in the distant came so close upon each other that at times it was more of a steady rumble than explosions, albeit a really loud rumble. Oddly, Hudson the wonder dog slept through this, even though she hates explosions, which inspired mixed feelings, as I was not eager for her to be upset, but this also was a stark reminder of her advanced age. Then she started acting all freaky later in the night after the fireworks ended, which was weird, and made me decide whether age-related or not, I will be happy if the commotion stops upsetting her so much, since I'm so unable to help her with this.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Ripple Dot Zero.
Pirates - Arctic Treasure.
Links: Superman invented 3D printing in 1964.
Science: Bone marrow 'frees men of HIV drugs'.
Tiny stem-cell livers grown in laboratory.
Cockatoos crack lock-picking puzzle.
Media: How Fireworks Work.
Best Fails of the Week 4 June 2013.



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