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Monday, Jul 29, 2013

  

SOE Player Studio Item Creator

Sony Online Entertainment now offers Player Studio to US gamers, offering the opportunity to create items for SOE's online games, saying that they will be selecting some of these to sell in the SOE Marketplace, with the creators to receive royalties for their work. Word is: "Player Studio is a new program that invites (initially US-based) players to download sample geometry, learn how virtual items are constructed, and try designing items. You can try your hand at writing a creative name, item description, and rationale for how it fits into the ongoing narrative storyline." To start with they will accept items for wither EverQuest, FreeRealms, and PlanetSide 2, and say support for Vanguard is coming soon. Thanks ComputerAndVideoGames.

Steamships Ahoy - Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition

Steam News announces that the Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition is now available, offering a version of 17-BIT Studios' strategy game that does not require a console or Windows 8. Here's word on the game:

Enter the Samurai Afterlife and join forces with vibrant ghost-samurai warriors, magical animal monks, and mustachioed samurai generals in a fast-paced, arcade-inspired blend of arcade action and turn-based strategy!

Rampage through 24 levels in an epic single-player campaign or battle up to 4 players at once on spectacular multiplayer maps, both locally and online!

Assassin's Creed IV Multiplayer Video

There's a preview on VG247 talking about multiplayer play in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the next installment in Ubisoft's stealth/action series. They get into detail about the game's MP support, saying it "adds a new dimension to co-op, a system for creating your own multiplayer modes called Gamelab and a revamped interface to better allow in-game comms, among plenty more." They also separately highlight the news that Assassin’s Creed IV multiplayer will not include naval battles, describing how difficult it would be to implement this over seven consoles, and saying "ship battles aren’t really being the cool assassin." On a related note, we have some new multiplayer screenshots from the game, and VG247 also offers a multiplayer video. Continue here to read the full story.

StarCraft II Patched

Blizzard announces they are rolling out a new version 2.0.10 patch for StarCraft II, saying it will go out to all regions this week, though it may not yet be live everywhere. In the meantime they offer patch notes, including word that support is being added for those of us with color vision deficiencies. They also offer this new trailer with highlights of the new version. Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

The PA Report - Swimming in a sea of shit- Phil Fish and the Internet’s war against creatives.
Is it crazy for someone to walk away from this environment? Absolutely not. Asking the people who make our games to hold their breath, submerge themselves in this environment, only to judge them for gasping when they come back up for air is too much for anyone. We do it anyway, and then we continue when they walk away.

It's not about forgetting or forgiving bad behavior, or saying it's okay to lash out at writers or fans, it's about finding a shred of empathy for what so many online are asked to deal with on a daily, if not hourly, basis. We call it all part of the job, as if you're not allowed human emotions due to your success or prickly nature.

GameZone - I'm deeply worried about Fez creator Phil Fish, and you should be too.
I admit, Beer’s comments were a bit out of line (he basically called Fish a whole bunch of nasty things purely because Fish refused to respond to an email asking his opinion on what was at that point nothing but a rumor), and Fish’s reaction was completely immature and uncalled for. The two should just apologize to each other and move on. Like adults. The fact that they're both unable to is frustrating to just about anyone with an active Twitter account.

But here's the thing: The game industry needs Phil Fish, despite how uncomfortable he makes us. It needs people who are willing to say whatever’s on their minds despite how unpopular it makes them. It needs people who can say, “You know what? Microsoft is ripping us all off,” especially when it’s absolutely true.

GamesIndustry International - The Future of Games: We Need To Protect Our Past.
With EA's closure of The Sims Social and Pet Society, both important titles in the evolution of F2P and social gaming, is their legacy lost? Or indeed will we be able to study FarmVille's transformation by rolling between versions? Or are these games simply transient leaving only a recorded, non-playable history? Will hackers afford them the same level of reverse engineering that they have World of Warcraft which surely survive any official server closures?

I am unsure of the answers to any of these questions, however I am sure that these games, like all games, are worth protecting and preserving. Yet that protection requires the cooperation of a great number of parties.

I hope that as more and more social games get shuttered that the companies behind them provide the knowledge and access to technology, such as server code, needed to keep them in some form playable for ourselves and the next generations of game makers.

On Sale

  • Blade of Darkness on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • Expeditions: Conquistador on Steam. Save 50%.
  • No Time to Explain on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Prime World: Defenders on Steam. Save 33%.
  • Space Empires IV Deluxe on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Space Empires V on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Still Life on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Still Life 2 on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Interviews

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: Too Many Left 4 Dead 2 Mods.

Men of War: Assault Squad 2 Announced

Digitalmindsoft announces Men of War: Assault Squad 2, a new chapter in Bestway's military RTS series that 1C Company says in a separate announcement is due in Q4 of this year. The Men of War: Assault Squad 2 product section has a bunch of screenshots as well as details on the game, which will include Steamworks features, including cloud saves, multiplayer matchmaking, and Steam Workshop support. Here's word:

Men of War: Assault Squad 2 features new single player style skirmish modes that take players from extreme tank combat to deadly sniper stealth missions. Commanders can now faceoff against opponents on various new multiplayer 1v1 – 4v4 maps. To truly bring the battles to life though there is the new 8v8 game mode designed for huge battles on spectacular maps.

This new Assault Squad game brings significant game engine and visual improvements as well, with special attention paid to ones that were highly requested by the players. These included items such as advanced multi-core support, advanced shader technology, interface and AI improvements, as well as added camouflage depending on season/map, fully updated inventory items with new graphics and updated vehicles, sound improvements, Steam multiplayer and much more.

Journey of a Roach Announced

It's often said that cockroaches stand a better chance than humans to survive an apocalypse, and following that theme, Daedalic Entertainment announces Journey of a Roach, an upcoming adventure game from developer Koboldgames putting the player in the role of a survivalist roach. This is expected for release for Windows and OS X this November, and in the meantime we have a batch of screenshots and the official announcement:

Hamburg, July 29th, 2013 – Cockroaches do survive everything, even a nuclear war: This is what story and gameplay of Daedalic Entertainment’s upcoming 3D adventure game Journey of a Roach are about.

Journey of a Roach, developed by the Swiss team of Koboldgames, in co-operation with Daedalic Entertainment, takes players to a sarcastic, post-apocalyptic world: Roach Jim and his sidekick Bud are out and about to find their way from a deserted vault to the Earth’s surface. Players steer them through classic point & click adventure game puzzles. Certain challenges can be overcome by using the roache’s natural features, though: Being roaches, Jim and Bud have the ability to crawl up walls and on ceilings, as well as on items. Players use the third-insect-perspective to guide Jim and Bud through the 3D comic world. There will be no written or spoken dialogues in Journey of a Roach, by the way, as the insects are using their very own, easily understandable signal language.

Koboldgames and Daedalic Entertainment scheduled Journey of a Roach for release in November 2013, for PC and Mac.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ashes Cricket 2013 Delayed

505 Game announces a delay to the release of Ashes Cricket 2013 to November of this year to coincide with the second round of this competition between English and Australia. They say the game was originally to be released this month to go along with the first round of the series, but that was a one month delay as well. Here's word on the setback, which is admittedly to improve the game:

505 Games, a global publisher of video games, today announced the delay of the heavily anticipated Ashes Cricket 2013 video game. Originally scheduled for release on PC and home console systems to coincide with the 1st Ashes series of 2013 in the United Kingdom, the release has been delayed to November 2013 when the return series starts in Australia.

Tim Woodley, Senior Vice President Global Brand & Marketing for 505 Games, said: “It is hugely disappointing that 505 Games has had to make this announcement today. We all had high hopes of bringing out a stellar cricket game during the first leg of this unprecedented Ashes year. But the fact of the matter is, we took a long hard look at the game as it stands and decided it simply wasn’t good enough in its current state. It was simply not worthy of the Ashes name.

NVIDIA's Cloud Rendering

NVIDIA announces CloudLight, a cloud-based "system for amortizing indirect lighting in real-time rendering." They say this new framework "explores tradeoffs in different partitions of the global illumination workload between Cloud and local devices, with an eye to how available network and computational power influence design decisions and image quality." This video offers a look at what this means in case the following explanation isn't crystal clear:

We introduce CloudLight, a system for computing indirect lighting in the Cloud to support real-time rendering for interactive 3D applications on a user's local device. CloudLight maps the traditional graphics pipeline onto a distributed system. That differs from a single-machine renderer in three fundamental ways. First, the mapping introduces potential asymmetry between computational resources available at the Cloud and local device sides of the pipeline. Second, compared to a hardware memory bus, the network introduces relatively large latency and low bandwidth between certain pipeline stages. Third, for multi-user virtual environments, a Cloud solution can amortize expensive global illumination costs across users. Our new CloudLight framework explores tradeoffs in different partitions of the global illumination workload between Cloud and local devices, with an eye to how available network and computational power influence design decisions and image quality. We describe the tradeoffs and characteristics of mapping three known lighting algorithms to our system and demonstrate scaling for up to 50 simultaneous CloudLight users.

Continue here to read the full story.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad Preorders

The IL-2 Sturmovik Website now offers preorders of IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad, 1C Company's upcoming combat flight simulator sequel. This includes a choice of a USD $49.99 edition and a USD $89.99 Premium Edition. These each offer different early access periods and founder's tags, along with other perks. Here's word:

Early Access: Buyers of the Standard Edition will get early access in winter 2013 prior to public release. Buyers of Premium Edition will get the early access in autumn 2013.

Founder's Tag: Buyers of the Standard Edition will get a Silver IL-2 Sturmovik logo placed under their avatar in the community forum. Buyers of the Premium Edition will get a Gold IL-2 Sturmovik logo placed under their avatar on the forum.

Aircraft at Launch: Buyers of the Standard and Premium Editions will get the same base set of 6 aircraft (LaGG-3 (series 29), Bf-109 F-4, IL-2 AM-38 (1942 year's model, single-seat), Ju-87 D-3, Pe-2 (series 87 and 110) and He-111 H-6) with the possibility to earn 2 more aircrafts in the game (Yak-1 and Bf-109 G-2).

Special Aircraft Set: Buyers of the Premium Edition will also get access to a couple more special aircraft (La-5 and FW-190 A-3) which cannot be obtained in the game, but can be purchased in our store after launch.

Special Label: Buyers of the Premium Edition will get a special label inside the game interface next to their nickname which will stand out from the other players in multiplayer mode.You can turn it off or on as you wish.

Send a Gift to a Friend: We have also built a system to send gifts. Not only can you purchase a Pre-Order copy for yourself, but you can also purchase one or more copies of either edition per user account (email) and send it to a friend. You can activate one copy (digital key) on your account and send the others to friends, family or squadron mates. The gift system will be available with the opening of the early access period in autumn 2013 to buyers of all versions.

Saints Row IV Still RC Down Under

The Australian Classification Review Board has once again refused classification for Saints Row IV (thanks nin via Kotaku Australia), which is not very surprising, since this was just a resubmission of the game that was refused classification last month, so it remains to be seen if indications that a censored edition of the game will be submitted at some point are accurate. The review ignores the anal probing that raised a brown flag the first time, but again objects to rewarding drug use: "In the Review Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted."

U.K. Sales Charts

GfK Chart-Track offers this week's U.K. sales charts, with the top 20 full-priced PC list showing pretty static results, as The Sims 3: Island Paradise retains the top spot. Things are also pretty stable on the PC bargain bin chart, but there's some action on the all formats/prices chart where Minecraft for Xbox 360 sits on top, usurping The Last of Us, which drops to number three as newcomer Pimkin 3 debuts at number two. Here's their write-up:

It’s a surge in sales of Microsoft’s ‘Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition’ (climbing from No2 to No1 / +74%) that keeps Nintendo from claiming a first Wii U No1 on the All Formats Chart.

Since launch in week 48, 2012 we’ve had 43 Wii U titles (5 from Nintendo). This week Nintendo add 2 more first party titles, the first being ‘Pikmin 3’, which debuts at No2 (Pikmin 2 debuted way back in week 41, 2004 on Gamecube at No32 on the All Formats Chart, subsequently released on Wii in week 17, 2009). The other Nintendo release this week is also for Wii U, ‘New Super Luigi U’ at No 13 on the All Formats Top 40.

Sony’s PS3 ‘The Last of Us’ (-16%) has to content itself with 6 straight weeks at the Top, dropping down to No3 this week. Aside from the Nintendo Wii U releases there’s little else to report, with last week’s big new release ‘Dynasty Warriors 8’ (-48%) from Tecmo Koei dropping from No5 to No18 and Ubisoft’s ‘The Smurfs 2’ (+213%) making an appearance at No25, having been released the previous week.

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

I decided to take some of your good advice and stop banging my poor aching head against the wall with Windows Live Mail. I am running a fresh copy of Thunderbird, and am feeling decidedly less masochistic already. It may take some work to deal with the giant email archive I now have separate, but if I'm honest with myself, one of my great weaknesses is getting back to backlogged mail anyway, so an email amnesty is probably easier for me than it would be for a lot of other people.

Forgiven Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Acid Bunny.
Images: Welcome to Life - Choose your Difficulty. Thanks reddit.
Media: GOSH JOSH! WEIRD BEARD. NSFW.
This Dog is Awesome.
The Funnies: The worst realization.... Thanks reddit.



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