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Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014

  

Meet the Flockers

Develop has first word on Flockers, the working title of a new game in the works at Team 17 that is their first new IP since inventing the squirmy Worms franchise way back when. "This is the most important game we've worked on in over a decade," they quote Team17 MD Debbie Bestwick saying during a PlayStation Open Day today in England. They have no further details at this time, only a logo, which they say suggests this will center around "Steampunk and Team17’s love of dangerous sheep."

Portal 2 Linux Beta

A Steam Community Announcement notes that a Linux beta of Portal 2 is now available without much fanfare (thanks Ant via Slashdot). Word simply is:

We have just made Portal 2 available in Beta form on Linux; to access it, you need to opt into the Beta from the Portal 2 properties in your Steam Library.

We look forward to your feedback; head to our dedicated tracker to report issues and look at know issues:

https://github.com/ValveSoftware/portal2/issues

QuakeCon Pre-Registration Next Week

There's a save the date notification for March 5th on the Bethesda Blog, saying this will mark the beginning of the "First Round of Online Pre-Registration" for QuakeCon 2014, the next installment in the summer gaming convention. The show will offer free general admission, but this will be the first of four premium sales for the show, which will allow BYOC access and more. This round will be for 250 "BYOC Select-a-Seat with QuakeCon done Quick" packages that will be $175 each. This includes some swag and express lane fast-pass registration for the BYOC; express lane fast-pass to every speaker, panel, and public event at QuakeCon; and limited reserved access seating for all panels, presentations, and events.

Gods Will Be Watching Announced

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Deconstructeam announce Gods Will Be Watching is coming to Windows, OS X, and Linux this summer as a full game after starting off as a quick project for the Ludum Dare 26 coding competition. The Gods Will Be Watching website is online with art showing the game's throwback design and creative teaser trailer showing off the game. Here's the announcement:

Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital are super pumped to announce that upcoming indie thriller Gods Will Be Watching will arrive on PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, Humble, and GOG this June. Starting as a standout entry in Ludum Dare 26 competition, Gods Will Be Watching, developer Deconstructeam has greatly expanded the original story of a space exploration team stranded on an unfamiliar world faced with ethical conundrums and moral dilemmas.

The updated and expanded Gods Will Be Watching is a minimalistic "point and click thriller" centered on despair, commitment, and sacrifice as players face intriguing puzzles and tough decisions that will affect their entire crew's wellbeing. Set against the backdrop of an interstellar struggle, Gods Will Be Watching follows Sgt. Burden and his crew in six tense chapters from hostage situations and wilderness survival to biological weapon prevention and agonizing torture scenarios. Each decision is crucial and players will need to choose between the lives of their team and the saving the world from genocide.

"Our team set out to make a new breed of point and click adventure and capture the feeling of having to make heavy decisions with sometimes dark consequences," said Jordi de Paco, founder of developer Deconstructeam. "We understand that Gods Will Be Watching is a departure for the genre but think we have an opportunity to break new ground in storytelling and the weight of decisions."

Continue here to read the full story.

Habitat Announced

Indie developer 4gency announces Habitat, a sandbox strategy game set in Earth's orbit where the player is tasked with the job of saving humanity by building a space station out space junk. The Unity-engine game is coming to Windows, Linux, and OS X, and a Kickstarter will come in April after they show off the game at GDC next month. Word is: "Explore and salvage junk of all kinds, from earthly to alien, to build your base and manage your citizens. Space is a dangerous place and you’ll need to make tough choices to survive! The zero-G physics of space also means a new kind of combat: kinetic weaponry. Any junk you find can be used to fight enemies, and stations can be destroyed in seconds triggering massive chain reactions." The Habitat website has more details, a bunch of screenshots, and an announcement trailer showing this isn't your grandfather's Gravity. Continue here to read the full story.

Trials Fusion in April

Ubisoft announces an April 16th North American release date for Trials Fusion, saying the upcoming sequel to Trials Evolution will hit Steam that day as well as consoles, celebrating the news with a new trailer showing off the first gameplay from the stunt riding sequel. Here's word:

Developed by RedLynx in collaboration with Ubisoft Shanghai and Ubisoft Kiev, and designed specifically for the next generation of hardware, Trials Fusion offers players an unlimited array of obstacles and challenges as they race against the clock – with players from around the globe – to set track records.

Trials Fusion builds off the same maddeningly addictive physics-based gameplay of its predecessors while incorporating brand-new features, including the FMX tricks system.

Create tracks that stretch your imagination and skill, and put your friends to the test by sharing online with the bustling Trials Fusion community, made possible by the fan-favorite Editor mode.

Whether players choose to race alone, against friends or in a worldwide tournament, the competition is endless… Just one run is never enough.

For the latest information on Trials Fusion, please visit: www.trialsgame.com

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Developers can now run their own discount sales on Steam.

  • The Pancake Bundle on Indie Royale.
  • Red Faction Guerrilla on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Volgarr the Viking on GOG.com. Save 60%.

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: My 2014 Oscar picks - loonyboi.

StarDrive 2 Announced

Iceberg Interactive announces development of StarDrive 2 is underway, saying the 4X space strategy sequel us coming to Windows PCs this September, noting that owners of the original StarDrive will receive a 33% loyalty discount on the follow-up. They have already issued five screenshots, and here's word:

Following last year’s barnstorming debut for real-time 4x strategy game StarDrive, publisher Iceberg Interactive and developer Zero Sum Games have teamed up again to publish StarDrive 2, the revolutionary turn-based sequel, featuring real-time combat, which will be coming to Steam, other digital channels and boxed retail this year.

Iceberg Interactive is currently plotting a course for a September 2014 release for the sequel, with an SRP of $29.99, and Iceberg and Zero Sum plan to reward their fan-base with a loyalty discount of 33% on StarDrive 2 for owners of the original StarDrive.

"StarDrive 2 represents the culmination of two decades of love for the 4x genre and five years of work on the StarDrive universe. Here we have taken everything we have learned - our successes, our failures, and our passion - and made a 4x game that we are incredibly proud of,” says Daniel DiCicco, CEO of Zero Sum Games.

DiCicco continues, “We believe that fans of this genre will rejoice when they get their hands on StarDrive 2. It will bring them back to the golden age of 4x gaming with familiar strategic gameplay while using the full power of the Unity game engine to push AAA visuals. Furthermore, we are doubling down on our commitment to user-generated content with StarDrive 2 by integrating Steam Workshop support directly into the game. We are dedicated to our community and we're excited to start showing off StarDrive 2 to our fans."

Tropico 5 Beta Signups; Testing Next Month

Kalypso Media announces plans to commence beta testing of Tropico 5 next month, saying: "We’re looking for gamers who have a huge enthusiasm for city-building titles and with a wide experience playing within the genre. Please note that all communication within the beta will be in English language only." They've begun registering potential testers on this page where they add: "We appreciate your understanding for only being able to allow a limited number of participants. If you are selected you will be notified via email."

Star Citizen Mustang Sale Poll

The Roberts Space Industries website has a poll gauging interest from Star Citizen backers in them holding a limited sale this weekend of the Mustang, the alternate starter ship that was funded as a stretch goal back when the game had a mere $28 million in crowd-funding. Apparently none of the coding for the ship is done yet (of course, neither is the game), but word is: "Since that reveal, we’ve been inundated by support tickets demanding that we sell these new ships immediately." So here's their question:

We initially opted not to sell the Mustang alongside the announcement because it is still in the concept stages. The ship has not been built in 3D in the CryEngine yet, and they will likely not appear in your Hangar for several months. There’s no cool commercial or slate of variants yet, either. But the demand has been higher than we’ve ever seen for a prototype ship before, and so we’ve decided to leave the decision in your hands.

As promised, when we launch the Mustang, existing LTI Aurora users will be allowed to swap their ships for Mustangs. An LTI Mustang badge will be distributed to everyone with a qualifying Aurora, allowing them to melt the old ship for store credit and purchase an LTI Mustang.

Should we offer the Mustang as a limited sale this weekend? Vote below to decide!

X Rebirth Patch & Future Plans

The EGOSOFT website has news that a new version 1.25 patch is now available for X Rebirth, the latest installment in their space combat series. This is accompanied by this trailer explaining new features that the new version brings. There are more details on version 1.24 and 1.25 in this forum post, which also outlines their near-future plans for what might be considered an X Rebirth rebirth. They state: "There are many other things we are working on. We will continue to add features and of course fix bugs." Here's word on their future plans:

Now let me list a few projects we are currently working on, and which will be released in some form over the coming months. Note that this is FAR from a complete list. The following are a few examples of the different areas being worked on, and they are vaguely sorted in the order they may be released:

  • Support for Steam Workshop integration: We will soon start releasing a number of tools on Steam to help modders work on X Rebirth. We are also working on full support for the Steam Workshop in order to make it possible for everybody to easily install mods by merely subscribing to them, and by making it easy for mod developers to distribute their work through Steam.
  • Map on event monitor: This was already mentioned before. The first step will be to enable the map rendering on the event monitor whenever it currently shows no signal. We will then introduce some configuration options so the player can decide whether to view the map zone map on the monitor or the current text information.
  • Improved support for joysticks and other input devices: We are working on improving the input mapping menu and the general support for input devices. There have been numerous individual requests in this area, and we are trying to keep this as flexible as possible so X Rebirth can be configured to make best use of all kinds of input devices.
  • Improvements to menus: Improving our menu system is a big task, but some features that we've heard requested often could materialize within the next one or two months. A good example of this is a more powerful text based filtering system for menus akin to the trade menu. After we have added text input menus for renaming your ship, the next step will be to enable this functionality in live menus allowing the player to filter quickly with their keyboard.
  • 64bit EXE: Right now X Rebirth only runs on 64bit Windows because of the amount of memory required, but it is still a 32bit executable. We are experimenting with a new 64bit executable that could potentially improve several issues. Rolling out the 64bit EXE will probably happen as a beta in parallel to the 32bit EXE. Depending on the feedback, we will then gradually move away from a 32bit EXE.
  • Providing interaction functionality with NPCs from space to minimize forced landing: I know many people do not like being forced to land on stations for frequently repeated tasks. The first step to address this will be to have a list of all NPCs on a station available from the station info menu, and to then make some activities possible remotely. You will still probably need to be in the vicinity of the station - so that drones can take over the transport of acquired goods for example - but you only have to land to play missions and to pick up or deliver people.
  • Highway redesign: We've heard a lot of criticism on the way the highways behaves, so we are experimenting with radically different gameplay inside the highways. It's still too early to provide details, but as soon as we have a prototype, we will probably make this available as a beta. How soon this will then be rolled out for public release will then depend on feedback we receive.

Continue here to read the full story.

Renegade X Open Beta Released

The Renegade X website now offers the open beta of Renegade X, a fan-created first- and third-person shooter that's a remake of Command & Conquer: Renegade, the official shooter based on the Command & Conquer series. Word is: "Renegade X is FREE! It is a non-monetized game - Renegade X is straight-up free." The post explains what to expect from the beta and also outlines plans for future updates. Here's a not-new trailer, and here's word:

Renegade X is a First/Third Person Shooter with RTS elements. Players will be able to fight for two unique teams, manage their own economies, choose from over 30 weapons, 15 vehicles, and call in nuclear strikes, Ion Cannons, and airstrikes, and much more. Renegade X is for all players - lone wolves, team-based gamers, tankers, snipers, rushers, turtlers, and all others!

Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty Elite Ends Friday

Activision is set to shut down the once-premium Call of Duty: Elite service on Friday, passing along its functions to their mobile app (thanks CVG). All the implications of this are laid out in a Call of Duty Elite Shutdown FAQ, which says:

1. Why is Call of Duty® Elite going away?
As noted back in October 2013, Call of Duty® Elite was designed to work with prior Call of Duty® games and has begun winding down support for those titles since late last year, which ends on February 28, 2014. We’ve taken all the key learnings and fan feedback to create the Call of Duty® app for Call of Duty®: Ghosts, which takes some of the best and most popular features of Call of Duty® Elite and introduces new elements such as Call of Duty® Clan Wars. Download the Call of Duty® app now at http://callofduty.com/app, and join in the Call of Duty® Clan Wars fun today.

LEGO: The Hobbit in April

LEGO: The Hobbit is due on April 8th in North America and April 11th in Europe, according to a report on Digital Spy. They don't say where they learned this, but Eurogamer has a confirmation of the European release date from Warner Bros.

Gatherings & Competitions

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

Almost done with that batch of chili I recently cooked up. As I previously mentioned, this turned out to be as good as any I've ever made, which I chalk up to the inclusion of lamb. However, the embarrassing problem I described is even worse than expected... the bones in the chunks of lamb separated apart into teeny chunks which are small enough that no amount of picking through the chili can find them. The soft texture of the chili means that they are easy to notice without swallowing them, but there are so many of them it's like eating a meaty watermelon. I'm sure the bones added some of that flavor, but there's no way I can use lamb cut up that way in the future.

Boney Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Color Instinct.
Strafe - WW2 Western Front.
Idleplex.
Link: Man Says Domino's Pizza Burned Him When He Had Sex With It: Company Responds.
Stories: Gold Country couple discover $10 million in buried coins.
This Man Has Survived on Pizza Alone for 25 Years. Thanks nin.
Star Trek Kirk And Seven of Nine Team Up In New Novel.
Science: Fried and grilled meat may raise risk of diabetes and dementia.
Beware, Criminals: Robo Mall Cop to Patrol Silicon Valley.
Media: Sign Off - Remembering Harold Ramis.
Godzilla - Official Main Trailer.



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