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Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014

  

Ships Ahoy - CONSORTIUM

Steam News announces the promised release of CONSORTIUM, the Kickstarted first-person shooter inspired by Cavedog's cancelled shooter Amen: The Awakening. Here's word on the game, which is 10% off for the first week:

Taking place entirely aboard a massive futuristic aircraft, CONSORTIUM is a first person science-fiction role-playing experience unlike any other. The story begins in our world - the "real world" - where we here at Interdimensional Games have developed a satellite (iDGi-1) capable of opening a digital rift through time and space...

Anyone with an internet connection can travel through this rift and awaken within an alternate dimension from our own - the "game world" - in the year 2042.

Ships Ahoy - Assassin's Creed IV Illustrious Pirates

Though it doesn't seem to be on the Official Ubisoft Online Store, the Illustrious Pirates DLC pack is now available for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, bundling all the various preorder incentives for the stealth/action sequel in a single pack. The Ubisoft blog has all the details on what's included, adding that this is free for Season's Pass holders. The pack is available on GamersGate, GameStop PC Downloads, and Steam.

GOG.com Turns Five

A post on GOG.com celebrates the fifth anniversary of the launch of this DRM-free online marketplace. They offer a first 5 years video and the following explanation:

The beginning of a new year is a good time to stop for a moment and take look back on your past. You take note of your accomplishments, try to learn from your mistakes, and you get all nostalgic about the days gone by. You know we're big on nostalgia, right? With 5 very successful years in the digital gaming market, we thought we'd chat about the company's history a little. We invite you to join CD Projekt's Marcin Iwiński, Guillaume Rambourg, our Managing Director, and Piotr Karwowski, our Creative Director (both of them core members of the GOG.com team who were with us for years), as they talk about the company's history, the concept behind it, and the best (and one not very good) ideas in our history.

Continue here to read the full story.

Alien: Isolation Video Diary

A video developer diary is online for Alien: Isolation, featuring some of the staff at the Creative Assembly discussing the newly unveiled Alien survival/horror game. Topics include the reasons for undertaking this project, their efforts at getting the story right, the isolated and vulnerable state of the player, the influence of the original movie on their art direction, and more. Thanks Joystiq. Continue here to read the full story.

Atomic Poison Ivy Unveiled for Infinite Crisis

The Infinite Crisis website announces Atomic Poison Ivy as another of the champions in Infinite Crisis, the DC Comics-based MOBA that's currently in beta. They offer details about the character, illustrated by screenshots and this trailer showing API in action. Word is: "In Gotham Heights, Atomic Poison Ivy's slower move speed makes it difficult to roam freely. Consider using her alongside allies to defend held Control Points before attempting to capture new points. Her strong crowd control and support skills can hinder enemies, slowing their escape or chase and helping to sway team fights in your favor." Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • Battlepaths - Undead Legions Bundle on GamersGate. Save 64%.
  • The Choices 2013 Bundle on Indie Royale.
  • Cold War on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves on GOG.com. Save 66%.
  • The Testament of Sherlock Holmes on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Patches

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

I've been meaning to get the evening updates posted earlier than I had been, though this is a bit sooner than planned. Still, it's a step in the right direction.

AMD: Battlefield 4 "Up to 45% Faster" Using Mantle

AMD's CES 2014 Press Conference Webcast Replay is online, letting us play fly-on-the-wall for their presentation at the show. At this point in the presentation they discuss their upcoming Mantle API, claiming for the record that they've seen an up to 45% framerate increase in Battlefield 4 using the same hardware under the new API. They offer a little BF4 gameplay footage to show this off, but there is no footage not using Mantle for comparison (oddly, the tidbit they show had two visible full-stop hitches). They brag that Mantle development is booming, with three engines working on integration at five developers, encompassing 20+ games. The patch to enable Mantle support in BF4 is expected sometime this month. Thanks PCGamesN.

EA's Code Wars Hackathon Returns

The EA Hackathon 2014 website is back online, offering a Code Wars competition for small teams to compete to develop winning apps and games in a limited time frame (thanks GameInformer). The contest launched late last year, but was pulled after concerns emerged that the rules gave EA too much license to use the entries commercially. This time around the EA Hackathon 2014 Rules and FAQ works to quell such fears:

Q: Does EA get to keep my code or idea?
A: No – what you create is all yours, you own it. We have no intention or desire to use your submission for our business and we are not even keeping copies of the submissions after the event. However, due to the nature of the business environment we operate in, we have to take measures to avoid potential future conflicts for any user generated content created at our events. To address this, we ask that participants grant us a nonexclusive license as a measure of protection.

We know that there was some confusion and frustration around this policy when we first announced the event and we understand. We would assure everyone interested in participating that we have no intention to proactively use these measures or make money from your ideas. The measures are simply there for our protection.

The purpose and goal of Code Wars is simple: to create a fun environment, foster new ideas, and meet new talent to potentially join the EA team.

Killing Floor 2 and Other Steam Games Revealed?

A post on NeoGAF has a screenshot of a Steam statistics screen that seems to have gone a little haywire, showing stats for games with as few as one player. This reveals a few unfamiliar games, including Killing Floor 2, as no follow-up to Tripwire's first-person shooter has been announced. There are also listings for Half-Minute Hero 2, a port of mobile fighting game Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate, and more. There is only the single screenshot to support this, however, so some skepticism is probably in order. Thanks PCGamesN.

John Carmack Developing Oculus VR Games

John Carmack is developing games for Oculus VR headsets, reports Engadget based on a conversation with Oculus Rift's Brendan Iribe and Aaron Davies. Carmack joined Oculus Rift as their CTO last year while maintaining ties to id Software, the developer he co-founded a couple of decades ago, but it seemed his game development days were at an end when he later departed id before this news that the itch remains. "He's working on a lot of exciting tech," Iribe tells them. "But, his heart and soul and history certainly lies in the game-development side." Iribe compares this to how Epic Games supports the Unreal Engine with internal development. "That's always been Epic's philosophy. And it's what allowed them to make what they made," he explains. "It's certainly been id's philosophy in the past. It's been John Carmack's philosophy -- you gotta eat your own dog food here, and develop internal content also." He wraps up by telling them they will be hiring more game developers in the next six to 12 months to support their plans. Thanks CVG.

Two Tribes Reboots

Dutch developer Two Tribes announces that during the last two months of 2013 their office has been mostly empty, and that the "old Two Tribes, founded in 2001, doesn’t exist anymore and we had to send everyone home." They explain that their transition to indie developer was difficult, and that delays and weaker-than-expected sales of Toki Tori 2 "basically took the company down." This all said, they announce they are rebooting:

For the outside world nothing much will change. Two Tribes Publishing is still in good shape and all our previous games will remain for sale. With the support of you, our players, the games will supply the funding for our new titles which will be released under the Two Tribes name.

We’ve got a ton of hindsight to work with and we’re going to be applying the lessons we learned to the new Two Tribes. Behind the scenes things will change quite a bit. We’ve decided to move away from creating custom technology and focus on what’s readily available. As a result we’ll be working with a much smaller team on our next game, a 2D side scrolling shooter, which will be re-using the existing Toki Tori 2+ engine.

Our focus will be on the design of our games, which we plan on making more of in less time than before.

Respawn: 6-vs-6 Multiplayer Maximum

Respawn Entertainment's Vince Zampella tweets about multiplayer support in Respawn, saying their upcoming mech game will support six-on-six multiplayer games, saying limiting this to 12 players is best for game balance: "6v6 is max player count. Turned out to be the best balance with ai for us," then clarifying "that's humans only count. There are lots of ai, everyone can have a Titan in follow or guard mode too." He follows with some responses to the reaction this inspired, saying "we had it higher at points in testing, this felt best," and "a 6v6 game can be a crazy experience, very fun." Thanks Destructoid via Beyond Entertainment, where they note a post from a Respawn employee about this on NeoGAF, and here's part of that:

And FYI, for amount of stuff happening at once in a map you'll be hard pressed to find a game that keeps the action higher. I literally have to stop playing every few rounds because my heart just can't take it some times. Remember, you can get out of your Titan and let it roam on AI mode - meaning there can be 12 Pilots wallrunning around, 12 Titans stomping below, and dozens of AI doing their thing.

Oh, and I keep seeing people thinking we've got "bots" when we talk about AI. Thats not how they are. The AI in Titanfall are not replacements for human players. Our playercount is not 6v6 because of AI - AI play their own role in the game and are a different class of character in the game.

Get Even Details and Trailer

The Farm 51 website has more details on Get Even, the recently announced first-person shooter from the Painkiller Hell & Damnation and Deadfall Adventures developer, explaining the game "blurs the lines between single and multiplayer." Meanwhile, the game's Facebook page offers a new what is real teaser trailer showing off the game's graphics, saying "To create the photo-realistic visuals that bring the gritty universe to life, Get Even is the first game to use large-scale, real-world scanning to create expansive and lifelike environments. This 3D scanning technology combines with advanced lighting effects to create a stunning and believable world that pushes the boundaries of the genre." Here's more from the website update explaining that this strict sense of realism won't necessarily apply to gameplay:

Similarly, the team has worked to provide advanced weaponry and technology that exceeds current capabilities but are not beyond the realm of real-world application. For instance, weapons that fire around corners play a large part in Get Even, allowing the user to shoot from a safe position. These weapons can be linked with the player’s in-game smart phone to not only add a sight functionality, but use apps to bolster attack options. Corner-shot weapons are fully customizable throughout the game.

Continue here to read the full story.

H-Hour: World’s Elite Trailer

SOF Studios now offers a pre-alpha build unveil trailer for H-Hour: World’s Elite, a new milestone for this tactical third-person shooter designed by David Sears, Creative Director on SOCOM 1 and 2. The trailer shows a prototype that some gamers will get to test soon, and they are expecting a full release for Windows and PlayStation 4 next January, saying: "The milestone for the turn of the New Year is releasing a video of a pre-alpha (prototype) build of that demo they committed to deliver. As they turn the corner into polishing and fine tuning the demo, some lucky community members will be play testing the build. With a full game release date of Jan 2015 on both PC and PS4 planned, they’re looking sharp." Continue here to read the full story.

Wargame: Red Dragon Trailer

Eugen Systems now offers a teaser trailer from Wargame: Red Dragon, the next installment in the Wargame series of real-time strategy games, saying they will be revealing more about the project over the coming weeks with new screenshots and videos. Here's a bit:

The NATO and Pact armies and their allies finally deploy in Asia. This first Red Dragon video gives us a taste of the strategic and pyrotechnical delights in store for you in this new Wargame title, which takes place at the start of a new major armed conflict. You can look forward to new factions, new units and combat vehicles (for a total of over 1,300!) and, in particular, the introduction of naval units: the landing craft, amphibian vehicles and warships will thrill fans of complex strategies, who will now be able to include the waterways as an integral part of their tactics!

Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

OS news The gaming press and Steam Machines. Thanks Ant.
The Xbox One and PS4 are sold not on what they offer now, but on what they will offer in the future. I see absolutely no reason why Steam Machines ought to be treated any differently.

Reality check: right now, spending $499 on a Steam Machine gets you access to a lot more games and a lot more functionality than the Xbox One and PS4 offer combined. Of course, a Windows PC will offer even more games (not functionality, Linux has that covered just fine) - but that applies just as well to any console.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I want to take a moment to send out best birthday wishes to Frans, one of the few times I've managed to do this on time over the years. I'd say happy birthday, but that might be a stretch, as he is currently mourning a death in the family, so I'll wish him peace and comfort for now, along with sincere condolences for his loss.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Zombinsanity.
Click Battle Madness.
Links: Mountain Dew Cheetos Is The Ultimate Gamer Snack.
20 Movies And Albums That Are 20 Years Old In 2014.
Story: NBA Negotiating with Silna Brothers to Remedy Their Egregious $300M TV Mistake.
Science: Further away planets 'can support life' say researchers.
N-test legacy in stratosphere bigger than thought.
New gravity lab: Two white dwarfs and a neutron star.
Images: Attempted Artistry. Thanks Kotaku.
Media: Pulp Fiction - 8 Bit Cinema.
'Neutron Dance' Improves Movie Dance Scenes. Thanks nin.
What Conan's Watching.
Follow-up: 'Global sunscreen' plan could wreck tropics, study finds.



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