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Thursday, May 01, 2014 May Day

  

Next Call of Duty Teased; Reveal on Sunday

A new Superpower For Hire trailer is now available to help set the tone for the next installment in the Call of Duty series of military shooters. The clip looks at the rise of private military corporations, or PMCs, asking the ominous question: "What happens when the highest bidder becomes the world's next superpower?" The answer may not be far off, as they say to watch out for the world reveal of the next CoD (Call of Dollars?) on May 4th. Continue here to read the full story.

Defiance Going F2P

The Defiance website announces Trion's TV tie-in MMOFPS is going free-to-play as of June 4th. They outline what they are giving to owners of boxed copies of the game to compensate for the purchase, and the following F2P plans:

Today we’re excited to announce that Trion Worlds’ post-apocalyptic massively co-op online cyberwestern shooter will be adding a new descriptor to its already meaty description: Defiance is going to become free-to-play. Starting June 4 on PC and mid-July on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, players will be able to download the Defiance client and experience the entire Bay Area storyline, original end-game content, and future missions completely for free. This may be cause for some concern from our current ark hunters, and that’s understandable as we haven’t detailed how we’re going to treat you, our frontier pioneers, like the wasteland kings and queens you are.

You’ll be glad to hear that all Defiance owners (existing badland adventurers such as yourselves) will enjoy more of everything than the greenhorns emerging from dropships and taking their first shaky footsteps in the Bay Area. You’ll continue to enjoy more character slots, loadouts, ark keycode capacity, and inventory slots than free-to-play accounts. For those looking to expand what they already have, we’ll even be offering increases to these limits.

Arma III Roadmap

The Bohemia Interactive website lays out a roadmap for Arma III through the end of next year, discussing plans to update the base version of the military shooter sequel, release DLC, and also to issue a full expansion. Here's how they sum things up:

Overall, we're excited about Arma 3's 2014/15 roadmap and the great new content, gameplay and refinements it offers. Although things can change, we've tried to reveal the parts we're most sure about and, of course, there's more in the works! Often overlapping with our own wishes and desires, we're investigating a range of features based on public feedback, which we're trying to prioritise appropriately. Alongside our goal to keep the A3 platform stable, we've got to take time and resource limitations into consideration; however, where we can implement innovative and valuable ideas, we will!

Above, we've identified several areas that we'd like to expand upon in future. Short term, that means sharing details about Steam Workshop support and our Game Launcher, introducing our strategy to keep the player-base contiguous, and presenting the key features of the free Bootcamp Update. Longer term, we'll go into more depth about the DLCs themselves and sketch out our intentions for the expansion. Until then, we'd like to thank our players for supporting Arma 3, and wish you all the best on the battlefield!

NOLF Trademarks Filed

Trademarks for No One Lives Forever and the other titles in the NOLF series were filed last week by Night Dive Studios, a company that republishes PC classics such as System Shock 2, reports Siliconera. The filings are dated April 26th, and also cover The Operative, Contract J.A.C.K., and A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way. Just over a year ago Activision admitted it probably no longer owned the rights to Monolith's spy shooter franchise, and did not know who did. Siliconera contacted Night Dive Studios to ask if this meant they were republishing the series, and the company's response is somewhat cryptic: "At this time we are unable to comment on future plans. I would like to add that our team has a great fondness for these games and our hope is that they will one day be re-released."

Sir, You Are Being Hunted Released

Though it's been available for some time via Early Access, Sir, You Are Being Hunted is now out of beta and the stealth survival game is now officially released. A new version 1.0 release trailer is online to celebrate the news, and you can find where to buy the game through its official website. Here's a description:

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a procedurally-generated first-person game of stealth and survival set in a very British world where robots hunt humans for sport. You must use your wits and possibly a flask of tea to stay alive.

Sir is a sandbox experience, where each playthrough is completely different, thanks to our British Countryside Generator. Choose how you escape from the islands: using violence, or using trickery and stealth. This brutal and unforgiving test of your mettle is now available for Windows, OSX, and Linux.

Continue here to read the full story.

Steamships Ahoy - Jet Car Stunts

Jet Car Stunts is now available on Steam, offering a TrackMania-style stunt racer featuring three different game modes. Word is: "Feel the rush of adrenaline on 36 tracks with lots of challenges, huge jumps and moving platforms and spirals. JET CAR STUNTS has three different game modes tasking players to finish the race using boost, sheer skill and ability." It's not noted on the Steam page, but they tell us: "As a very special gift bitComposer Games will give away a free copy of the Arcade Space Shooter ION ASSAULT HD to all those who purchase JET CAR STUNTS until the 8th of May." A new gameplay trailer is also now online. Continue here to read the full story.

Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars Trailer; Forum

A Kickstarter update for Infinite Space 3: Sea of Stars has the latest from Digital Eel on their upcoming roguelike-like. This includes the recently launched Early Access, word that the game now has a Steam Community forum, and a new gameplay trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech

Engadget has details from a WSJ.com article describing a formal notification sent to Oculus VR by ZeniMax declaring ZeniMax's belief that Oculus is using technology that belongs to them, saying it was developed by John Carmack before he left ZeniMax to join the virtual reality startup. ZeniMax gave them a statement saying: ""It's unfortunate, but when there's this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims. We intend to vigorously defend Oculus and its investors to the fullest extent," and Carmack also replied via twitter, saying: "No work I have ever done has been patented. Zenimax owns the code that I wrote, but they don't own VR." They also have a statement from ZeniMax:

ZeniMax confirms it recently sent formal notice of its legal rights to Oculus concerning its ownership of key technology used by Oculus to develop and market the Oculus Rift. ZeniMax's technology may not be licensed, transferred or sold without ZeniMax Media's approval. ZeniMax's intellectual property rights arise by reason of extensive VR research and development works done over a number of years by John Carmack while a ZeniMax employee, and others. ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings.

The proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee, and used by Oculus, are owned by ZeniMax. Well before the Facebook transaction was announced, Mr. Luckey acknowledged in writing ZeniMax's legal ownership of this intellectual property. It was further agreed that Mr. Luckey would not disclose this technology to third persons without approval. Oculus has used and exploited ZeniMax's technology and intellectual property without authorization, compensation or credit to ZeniMax. ZeniMax and Oculus previously attempted to reach an agreement whereby ZeniMax would be compensated for its intellectual property through equity ownership in Oculus but were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution. ZeniMax believes it is necessary to address these matters now and will take the necessary action to protect its interests.

PlanetSide 1 Now Fully F2P

SOE's Matthew Higby tweets the news that, as planned, PlanetSide 1 is now full-on free-to-play: "PlanetSide has gone free to play, completely!" Deferring to the community, he points the way to this reddit thread on the topic where there's a direct link to the installer for the MMOFPS, as well as some wisdom from PlanetSide veterans on how to get the most out of the experience. Thanks Blahman.

The Elder Scrolls Online Road Ahead

The Elder Scrolls Online website has a roadmap for the future of Bethesda's MMORPG on the one-month anniversary of the game going live, offering details on the imminent first update for the game, plans for subsequent patches, and a response to the reviews that skewed negative amid the mixed response it met with. On that last topic, producer Matt Firor says: "While I obviously don’t agree with the more negative articles, the reviews are out there, and we read them to determine if there are legitimate complaints that we should address." There's also word that players who suffered through the game's launch issues will be compensated with an additional five days of playing time. Here's the general plan going forward:

Along with fixing bugs, combatting black market gold farmers, and balance tweaks, we have a long list of features and updates we’re working on that will be coming throughout 2014 and beyond. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming up. For most of these, we don’t know yet which update they’ll be in, but they’re under active development right now:

  • A system that allows grouped players to see each other even when they’re in different phases
  • A justice system—steal from and kill NPCs and deal with the consequences if you are caught
  • Migration of European Megaserver to our European datacenter.
  • Field of View (FOV) adjustment
  • Armor dyeing and tinting
  • Two new Veteran Dungeons: Crypt of Hearts and City of Ash
  • New region of Craglorn with a new Trial (the Serpent)
  • Increased ability to pick up items in the world
  • Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood storyline and quests.
  • Spellcrafting
  • Horse Racing
  • Dragonstar Arena—similar to Trials, but built for a group of four
  • Improvements to fishing
  • Crafting system improvements
  • Improved Looking for Group system
  • Better NPC facial animations
  • Guild functionality updates: guild store interface updates, customizable guild insignias, tabards, and guild ranks, and Guild Kiosks—guild stores open to everyone that are available to the highest-bidding guild.
  • Auto-leveling dungeons that level to your group leader
  • Awards when you repeat dungeons
  • Imperial City PvP dungeon

Eador: Masters of the Broken World Free DLC

Snowbird Games now offers Sacred Gift, a free DLC pack for Eador: Masters of the Broken World, celebrating the first anniversary of the release of their fantasy-themed strategy game (thanks Strategy Informer). The Sacred Gift includes shard multiplayer and 17 units with new abilities. Word is: "Looking back at our experience, it's quite risky to state that the game is completely bug free. But we hope that today's Eador can be considered beatable, playable and stable." To help kick this off, the game is currently on sale on Steam for 75% off.

ManiaPlanet 3 Early Release

The ManiaPlanet Blog announces that "Maniaplanet 3 is available to everyone," though they note that this is still considered an early release, so this will be available to even more everyone when it is officially released "by the end of June" (thanks Frans). The new version includes an enhanced user interface, a new central store, and new custom content creation options. Here's word on the changes this brings to TrackMania and ShootMania, their racing and shooting games:

  • TrackMania upgrades
    • Multi-environments possible and a TrackMania 2 title with all modes (Canyon + Stadium + Valley)
    • Car-mixing possible in multi-environments title: select any TM² car in Canyon or Valley
    • Scripted mode all redone to open to even more custom modes
    • Solo: add ghost & medals to custom campaigns
  • Shootmania upgrades
    • Netcode: major improvement thanks to an innovative netvision layer
    • Gameplay: new freelook key (space key), progressive walljumps, more stamina, etc…
    • Many more gameplay blocks: teleport, force field & gates, slides, sound blocker, etc…

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Addonics RAID Tower III External Storage Device on TweakTown.
  • be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 CPU Cooler on eTeknix.
  • BitFenix FLO headset on Guru3D.
  • Cooler Master Elite 130 on LAN OC.
  • Corsair Graphite 760T Full Tower Case on HARDOCP.
  • Corsair Raptor K40 Gaming Keyboard on TweakTown.
  • Kingston 64GB DataTraveler Locker+G3 USB Drive on Pure Overclock.
  • MSI Primo 81 Tablet on Hardware Secrets.
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti vs. Radeon R9 280X CrossFire on ocaholic.
  • Sentey Phoenix Gaming Keyboard on Neoseeker.
  • Steelseries Sensei Wireless Gaming Mouse on AnandTech.
  • Tt eSPORTS Poseidon Z Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on Nikk Tech.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Ooops, I got myself in Dutch with those of you from the Netherlands by failing to update the notation about Queen's Day here. Since the ex-Queen's son Willem-Alexander has ascended to the throne, this makes the celebration Koningsdag, or King's Day, and changes the date from April 30th to April 27th. And just to complicate things, noting it on the 27th would have still been wrong, since this occasion is not to fall on a Sunday, so this year it was actually the 26th. So there... long live the king, and thanks to those who set me straight on this.

Regal Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Cardinal Quest 2.
The Valley Rule.
Atomic Zombie Motocross.
Links: Has the whale exploded yet? Thanks Boing Boing.
Stories: Starz Gives 20-Episode Order to Seth MacFarlane-Patrick Stewart Comedy.
Study suggests that 4% of the people we put on death row are innocent.
Mendes Talks -Skyfall- & Bond 24 Link.
Science: Canadian Government Urged To Stop Killer Robots. Thanks David.
NASA decides on crowdsourced Tron look for Mars Z-2 spacesuit.
Forget the Higgs, neutrinos may be the key to breaking the Standard Model.
Media: How Videogame Characters Eat Food.
How to Win at 5 Classic Board Games.



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