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Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

  

Steamships Ahoy - America's Army: Proving Grounds

Uncle Sam announces the open beta of America's Army: Proving Grounds is now available on Steam, allowing interested players to sample the latest version of this military shooter designed by the U.S. Army. Registrations for the beta and soldier name reservations are being accepted through this page. Here's the deal:

“We took a back to basics approach that highlights a move, shoot, communicate system within a fun gaming experience that echoes teamwork-based Army training,” said Marsha Berry, Project Manager for America’s Army. “Just like in the Army, America’s Army: Proving Grounds focuses on creating elite, well trained Soldiers that will complete the missions as a fine-tuned team beginning with smaller, focused exercises and advancing up to larger, more complex exercises.”

Bringing the best features of the previous versions to a new America’s Army environment, AA: PG stresses small unit tactical maneuvers and training that reflects the current day Army. America’s Army: Proving Grounds (AA: PG) showcases the Army by emphasizing Army Values, teamwork, training and completing the objectives through gameplay that reflects the Soldier’s Creed.

BioShock Infinite for OS X

Steam News announces that BioShock Infinite is now available for Mac OS X:

Indebted to the wrong people, with his life on the line, veteran of the U.S. Cavalry and now hired gun, Booker DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean. He must rescue Elizabeth, a mysterious girl imprisoned since childhood and locked up in the flying city of Columbia. Forced to trust one another, Booker and Elizabeth form a powerful bond during their daring escape. Together, they learn to harness an expanding arsenal of weapons and abilities, as they fight on zeppelins in the clouds, along high-speed Sky-Lines, and down in the streets of Columbia, all while surviving the threats of the air-city and uncovering its dark secret.

Lost Planet 3 Map Plans

Capcom announces that six additional maps for Lost Planet 3 are in the works for the just-released shooter sequel. This early word has the names of the maps and some screenshots, and the following explanation: "Word on the interplanetary wire via Jim's Rig is there will be an additional six maps made available for Lost Planet 3 in the near future. I don’t have too many details for you just but the paid maps will soon be offered up giving you some different arenas to battle Snow Pirates and NEVEC forces."

Ships Ahoy - Guardians of Middle-earth for Windows

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces the Windows PC edition of Guardians of Middle-earth is now available via digital distribution. Those who own one of the console editions of this MOBA are entitled to a free copy of the base version for PC, and this page has details on how to redeem this. Here are some screenshots of the PC edition and here's the announcement:

Burbank, Calif. – August 29, 2013 – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces the launch of Guardians of Middle-earth for Windows PC, a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Monolith Productions and brought to PC by Zombie Studios, available today through Steam and other digital retailers.

Guardians of Middle-earth for Windows PC allows gamers to team up and battle as powerful and iconic heroes from Middle-earth. Gamers will have access to 36 original Guardians, earnable through gameplay and in-game currency, to take into 10 player competitive and five player cooperative multiplayer battle arenas. Players also have access to three modes, including the Survival gameplay mode previously introduced as downloadable content (DLC), and six maps including The Shire, Goblin-town and Mirkwood. Exclusive to the PC version of the game, there are 36 alternate Guardian skins available for purchase through the Steam store. Offering a true MOBA experience, Guardians of Middle-earth for PC supports full Steamworks integration, Steam Trading Cards, Big Picture full controller compatibility and Raptr integration for live streaming matches.

In Guardians of Middle-earth for PC, player versus player (PvP) matches range from 15 to 30 minutes and gamers can decide to play against friends, other live opponents or artificial intelligence combatants in PvP, Co-Op vs. AI, Survival or Training modes. Gamers will have access to a detailed online system to track friends’ victories and defeats any time through integrated stats and leaderboard systems, to connect with other players via in-game voice communication and more.

Diablo III Patch to "Cut the Legs Out from the Auction House"

PC Gamer has more from their conversation with Diablo III lead content designer Kevin Martens, who explains that the Loot 2.0 system in their upcoming version 2.0 patch for the action/RPG, along with the enchanting and crafting systems, is "intended to cut the legs out from the auction house." Here's word:

“It is fun to go buy something instantly, the instant gratification feel, that sugar high,” he said, “however it’s not the core fantasy, it’s not the most fun and by the endgame, for a variety of reasons, they tend to check the auction house first and play the game second.”

That’s not what we intend, and we do want to address that, so the loot system and the enchanting and crafting systems are both intended to cut the legs out from the auction house; to make it unnecessary to go on it to some degree, where the most fun way to play the game becomes the best way to play the game.”

Takedown: Red Sabre Preorders; Date; Trailer

A Kickstarter update for Takedown: Red Sabre has lots of news about this upcoming tactical shooter, starting with a release date, which is September 20th on Steam and XBLA. Pre-orders are now underway on Steam, which include day one access to the Red Sabre Deadly Killhouse Unlock. They go on to recap the LAN party that was Robert Bowling's backer reward, and they also offer this trailer with a look at gameplay. Continue here to read the full story.

LEGO Minifigures Online Announced

Funcom has made the announcement they teased for today of LEGO Minifigures Online, an upcoming multiplayer game based on the little folk lucky enough to ride in your LEGO creations. The game is due next year for several platforms, including two ways to play it on Windows PCs, as a standalone client, or as a web-based version. Here's a reveal trailer, here are some screenshots, and here's how this is to work:

Oslo, Norway – August 29th, 2013 – Get ready! The minifigures are coming! Funcom is excited to finally unveil details, screenshots and the first ever trailer for its upcoming 'LEGO Minifigures Online' game to LEGO fans and gaming enthusiasts across the world. Based on the hugely successful LEGO Minifigures brand, 'LEGO Minifigures Online' brings the small, colorful characters to life in their own adventure-filled online world during the second half of 2014.

While primarily geared towards kids, 'LEGO Minifigures Online' will deliver both gameplay depth and loads of that crazy fun which makes everything LEGO such a universally enjoyable pastime among the young at heart everywhere -- whether they are ten, thirty or fifty years old!

Just think about it: most of us have fond memories of LEGO bricks in all the colors of the rainbow strewn about our childhood bedroom floor. These plastic bricks were – and still are – the building blocks of the worlds that we created from our very own imagination. While these are but childhood memories for some, many of us still lose ourselves in imaginary worlds; some made up by LEGO bricks, others by bits and bytes.

In 'LEGO Minifigures Online' you once again get to visit Pirate World, Space World, Medieval World and many others, as you play together with thousands of other players while collecting minifigures and developing their unique and powerful abilities. Smash, build and collect -- thousands of exciting adventures are just a brick away in 'LEGO Minifigures Online'!

Continue here to read the full story.

Sword of the Stars: Ground Pounders Kickstarter

Kerberos Productions announces the planned Kickstarter is now underway for Sword of the Stars: Ground Pounders, their upcoming hex-based, turn-based science fiction strategy game. Here's word on what makes this different: "The Kickstarter campaign for Ground Pounders is unusual, with the developers seeking just $42,000 to cover the final three months of development, rather than more typical campaigns which attempt to raise the full budget for a full dev cycle. Instead, Kerberos has plans to take the game from its current Alpha state (a playable Alpha Demo has already been released) through an exclusive Beta period to release at lightning speed—with the projected final release date being December 2013." An early playable demo is available on Gamer's Hell.

Dying Light "Be the Zombie" Preorder Bonus

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces a Be the Zombie mode for Dying Light, which will be a pre-order bonus in North America for the upcoming zombie survival game. Word is: "Reserving the game early is the only way at launch to get the mode which allows gamers to play as deadly predators and engage in the game’s only PvP mode." Here's more:

The special “Be the Zombie” PvP game mode provides gamers the ability to stalk other players as a night hunter, a lethal predator with unique and deadly skills like superhuman speed, a tendril used to grapple around the game world, special charge and distance attacks, and more. As an extremely rare zombie mutation, the night hunter is an agile, fast and dangerous enemy who emerges nocturnally in order to prevent the destruction of Hives by killing humans.

By playing as a night hunter, gamers will earn experience points and develop the character through its own special skill tree, as well as earn other exclusive rewards and perks. This multiplayer mode gives players an entirely new way to experience the world of Dying Light on top of the story campaign.

On Sale

  • The Debut 4 Bundle on Indie Royale. Six (plus one) games for one low price.
  • Greenlight One Year Anniversary Sale on Steam.
  • Paradox Interactive bundle on Humble Weekly Sale. Pay what you want and help charity.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Thanks nin.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: PRSM - The Sharing Network. Thanks viperfour.

SimCity OS X Released

EA now offers the promised release of the Mac OS X edition of SimCity, the latest installment in Maxis' urban-planning series. This is available through Origin as the standard edition and the digital deluxe edition, both of which include the Windows edition, so those who already own one of the downloadable versions of the game now own it for both systems. All of the game's DLC is now listed for "PC/Mac Download" as well.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer

Rockstar Games now offers the promised official trailer for Grand Theft Auto V, which looks like it may be a television commercial. The clip runs an even one minute, showing off a bunch of cinematics and touting the console release of the sandbox action sequel on September 17th. Continue here to read the full story.

Diablo III 2.0 Details

PC Gamer spoke with Blizzard at Gamescom, learning that a version 2.0 patch for Diablo III is planned for release around the same time as the newly revealed Reaper of Souls expansion for the action/RPG sequel. Here's the explanation of what's in the patch versus what's only found in the expansion:

Lead content designer Kevin Martens ran us through the free features of patch 2.0. “You’re going to get all the loot, you’re going to get all the new item types, you’re going to get all the new legendary affixes, you’re going to get our new gem type – which is the diamond – and you’re going to get all the changes to the rules, the smart drop system, the targeted drop system, probably you’ll get loot runs – we haven’t figured that one out yet – probably you’ll get paragon, etc, etc.”

Martens explains the division as being between systemic changes to the game’s rules and new content that the player to discover. “All the content is Reaper of Souls, like the act five stuff and the new higher level items, from sixty to seventy – so that level cap increase, which includes the new abilities, the new runes and the new passives for existing classes.”

Saints Row IV Sells 1M in One Week

Deep Silver announces sales figures for Saints Row IV, saying Volition's open-world action sequel sold over (Dr. Evil voice) one million copies in its first week of availability:

Already hailed as a critical success, Deep Silver & Volition’s Saints Row IV has had a breakthrough commercial achievement as more than one million units sold through in its first week of retail availability. In the first days of availability, the PC version of Saints Row IV more than tripled its first week’s sale numbers over the prior release from THQ, Saints Row: The Third.

Saints Row IV is also leading the charts in almost all major European countries in the first week of its sale. The game has already garnered the top spot in the UK, Germany and Benelux (on all platforms).

Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar Next Year

Kalypso media announces a new spring 2014 release window for Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar, a significant delay for Longbow Digital Arts' strategy sequel, which was announced with the expectation that it would launch in Spring 2012. We have no word on what set the project back as the announcement does not acknowledge the delay: "Bracknell, UK – 29th August, 2013 – Kalypso Media Digital is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar for Windows PC. Developed by Longbow Digital Arts, Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar will challenge players’ strategic battlefield skills as they manage huge armies through the massive historical battles of first century BC. In this, the sequel to Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece, players will wage war on battlefields beautifully rendered by an upgraded graphics engine as they strive to dominate the known world – via conquest, or by starving out their enemies."

Magic 2014 - Duels of the Planeswalkers Expansion Next Month

Wizards of the Coast announces a Magic 2014 - Duels of the Planeswalkers expansion that's coming next month to Magic: The Gathering for all platforms on September 18th. Details can be found on the Magic: The Gathering website, and here's word on what this does for the virtual card strategy game: "With an easy to use tutorial, Duels of the Planeswalkers is the best way for new players to learn how to play Magic: The Gathering. Players that are already familiar with Magic will enjoy the newly introduced Sealed Play game mode in Magic 2014, as well as the introduction of Sliver creature cards into the Duels of the Planeswalkers franchise."

Dragons of Elanthia Announced

Dragons of Elanthia website is now accepting signups from those interested in beta testing this upcoming free-to-play online game based on dragon-back aerial combat. The game will launch later this year, and they offer a trailer with almost three minutes of gameplay to show what to expect. Here's word:

In Dragons of Elanthia, players choose an elite dragon rider and mount, each with three unique abilities, and fly into massive battles in richly detailed environments. Together with a squadron of teammates, players use a range of tactics to defeat the opposition in intense, fast-paced combat. As players gain experience, their dragon and rider abilities become more powerful. Simutronics will continually expand the roster of both dragons and riders, enabling a myriad of combinations to suit every play style and provide endless replay value.

Continue here to read the full story.

Wargaming's Unified Account System Launches

Wargaming has launched their promised new Unified Account System is now live, allowing players to access all their games from a single account. They say: "Now live in World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, the new service spares players from paying for premium status in every project, spreading its benefits across other company’s titles and providing players with an increased experience and credit accrual rate in-game." Here's more from the Wargaming website:

With a single unified account, you’ll have direct access to all of Wargaming’s MMO titles in a single portal. Logging into your Wargaming.net account will automatically log you into all other Wargaming-related projects, including partner and fan websites that can be reached via the secure OpenID authentication.

Already registered with World of Tanks or World of Warplanes? Your account automatically becomes your Wargaming.net ID. Use it to access any title you want.

Vikings and Wizards in Livestream Mashup Today

Paradox Interactive announces plans for a livestream today on their Twitch channel at a 2:00 pm EDT showing off not one, but two of their upcoming games. The session will feature both War of the Vikings and Magicka: Wizard Wars, with developers of these multiplayer titles on hand to show them off. Here's word: "For the first time War of the Vikings fans will get a sneak peak of a new lush map and Paradox North will talk about the development of Magicka: Wizard Wars while setting each other on fire. Both games will be showcasing their latest content, with commentary from War of the Vikings Executive Producer Gordon Van Dyke and Magicka: Wizard Wars Lead Designer David Nisshagen."

KarBOOM Demos

A playable standalone demo is now available for KarBOOM, following the recent release of a web-based sample of this game of kar carnage that's expected for full release in October. There are technically three demos, as Indie DB offers versions for Windows, OS X, and Linux. For those who need a pre-sample of the game before committing to a download, there is a an abridged video showing about three minutes of basic combat and an extended video that runs over 20 minutes showing off additional mutators and other features. Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

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, I had about as good an outcome as I could have hoped for in my court case, as the prosecutor cited my "extenuating circumstances" to the judge in explanation of knocking my violation down to a parking ticket. So according to the record, the impression I was speeding was erroneous, it turned out that I was parked on the sidewalk. My infraction even occurred just before a new surcharge went into effect, so my fine was less than it would be for the same thing today. There was a little talk in the forums about hoping the complaining officer would not show, which would formerly have been the most desirable outcome here, but they have new computerized tickets they print out in the car now with the officer's deposition, which seems to be acceptable to the court (I certainly wasn't going to get a lawyer to challenge it).

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Nelly 2: Episode 1.
DomiHammi.
Stories: NIN enters the 'loudness war' with multiple versions of new album. Thanks, yes, nin.
Science: Stem cells used to create mini-brains in the lab. Suited to politicians and their ilk.
Ocean acidification could affect rising temperatures.
Media: Mario Warfare (Part 4).
Roof Tar Tornado.
DUCT TAPE (DuckTales Theme Parody).
Sir Patrick Stewart gives you a masterclass. Thanks nin. No spit take?
Follow-up: Ars does Soylent, Day 2: My God, what have I gotten myself into?
Recent slowdown in atmospheric warming thanks to La Niña.



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