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Thursday, Jun 05, 2014

  

Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers Free Weekend

Steam News announces a free weekend is now underway for Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers, adding that the virtual card-based strategy game also currently on sale for 75% off. Here's the deal: "Become a Planeswalker and travel the planes of existence unleashing a torrent of spells and creatures to devastate your opponents. Prove yourself in combat against Chandra Nalaar—a fiercely independent Planeswalker with an affinity for fire and quick temper—then battle your way through the planes to face the mysterious villain trying to pull Chandra’s strings. "

Shards Online Preview Weekend Underway

The Shards Online website has details on how to participate in an open preview weekend that's now underway for this upcoming multiplayer sandbox action/RPG, in support of the game's Kickstarter, which is heading into the home stretch (thanks Remi). This page has details on the game, there's a Shards Online FAQ with more, and here's what they say about the testing on Kickstarter:

As we end our Kickstarter campaign with a bang, we invite everyone to play during our Shards Online Preview Weekend event. This event starts right now and we plan to keep it running throughout the weekend.

We are taking over the MMORPG Twitch channel (starting at 4pm EDT/8pm GMT) and streaming the preview event live! It is possible that we may also have a second stream on our Twitch channel.

Xbox One Controller Windows Drivers

Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson put Jeannie down long enough to post the first Windows drivers for the Xbox One controller. Here's word:

We know our fans have wanted PC compatibility, and we know they wanted to be able to use the Xbox One controller with the same games and applications they have been playing with using the Xbox 360 controller. We can’t wait for them to play their favorite PC games with what we consider the best controller ever made and we’re excited for fans to experience the improved D-pad, redesigned battery compartment, new comfortable design and offset analog sticks. The new PC drivers will enable the Xbox One controller to be used with any game that featured gamepad support for the Xbox 360 controller. Simply download the drivers, connect your Xbox One controller to your computer through a micro USB cable and you’ll be gaming in no time.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Trailer

The first trailer is now available for The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the upcoming debut title from The Astronauts, the developer formed by the founders of People Can Fly. Word is: "This is the first trailer for the game, with the focus on the mood of the story the players can experience, and the visuals one can expect from the game. The trailer is a real-time in-game capture (PC), just with the cameras set to tell a certain story. The game is made in Unreal Engine, and uses the photogrammetry technology (http://www.theastronauts.com/2014/03/visual-revolution-vanishing-ethan-carter/)." Continue here to read the full story.

Watch Dogs Phone Hacking Video

All The Ways To Hack Your Phone is another live action trailer for Watch Dogs, connecting the kind of hacking found in the game to real life. Here's word: "The series finale tackles the complex issue of mobile phone security, and uncovers how the sophistication levels of our devices allow for them to moonlight as spy tools, making us more susceptible than ever to attack. In the episode, we visit some of today's top white hat hackers to witness the various ways that phones can be hacked or be used as hacking tools. By raising user awareness, these security researchers aim to strengthen every smartphone's digital armor against the malicious hackers in the world." Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • Enigmatis: The Mists of Ravenwood on Steam. Save 30%.
  • EPOCH on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Humble Weekly Bundle German Edition on Humble Bundle.
  • Stardock 20yr Anniversary Sale on Steam. Save up to 75%.
  • Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition on GameFly Digital and UPlay. Save 75%.
  • Trials Fusion on Steam. Save 25%.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

GOG.com Announces Optional Client

At the CD Projekt RED & GOG.com Summer Conference today, GOG.com announced GOG Galaxy, a new platform for the DRM-free game store. This video explains how this entirely optional client will work, which is based on their focus on freedom of choice, saying this will allow GOG.com and Steam players to game together. Here's word:

During the CD PROJEKT RED and GOG.com Summer Conference, GOG.com ushered in a new era of DRM-free gaming with the announcement of GOG Galaxy, its brand new technology that places unparalleled freedom over online play and connectivity back in the hands of gamers. With this an entirely optional platform, players can dive into online multiplayer portions of their favorite games, while enjoying single-player anytime they please without needing an internet connection. GOG Galaxy is designed to be a platform-agnostic online solution, allowing GOG.com and Steam players -- with more platforms to be added in the future -- to game together. An optional client will be introduced later this year to allow for easy game updating, and GOG.com has already begun working with developers to implement the technology in their games.

Continue here to read the full story.

Witcher Adventure Game Revealed; Witcher 3 in February 2015

In addition to announcing their new GOG Galaxy platform at their Summer Conference, GOG.com and CD Projekt also unveil plans for a Witcher Adventure Game based on the tabletop Witcher Adventure Game. They don't offer much more detail on this, but say that two keys for the upcoming multiplayer beta for this are an incentive for preordering The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, saying the RPG sequel is due for release on February 24, 2015, and offering the E3 trailer from the game. They say the beta will begin in the summer, and in the meantime, preordering will also get you a free copy of Neverwinter Nights: Diamond Edition, which is the original RPG along with all three official expansions. Here's the entire preorder package:

  • An instantly-available copy of Neverwinter Nights™, the award-winning Dungeons & Dragons (www.dungeonsanddragons.com) game, an inspiration for generations of developers
  • A great pre-order price and, on top of it, up to 10% off for players who already own The Witcher and its sequel The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
  • A Fair Price Package for gamers living in regions where the price is higher than in the U.S.: get back the price difference in form of in-store coupons to grab other GOG.com games!
  • Two multiplayer beta-access keys to The Witcher Adventure Game, coming soon
  • Tons of bonus goodies such as the digital artbook, The Witcher comic book, bonus music tracks and desktop wallpapers
  • Guaranteed more great goodies that will pop up during the pre-order period

Continue here to read the full story.

Watch Dogs Conspiracy! DLC Released

Ubisoft announces the release of Conspiracy!, the first DLC pack for Watch Dogs, their open-world action game. Here's the deal:

Today, Ubisoft® announced that the first piece of downloadable content for the open world action-adventure game Watch Dogs is now available. Players can now experience the Conspiracy! Digital Trip game mode that will have them hunting down cyborgs in a mind-bending alternate game universe.

Conspiracy! is available for all players as a stand-alone piece of downloadable content for $4.99. Players can also still purchase Conspiracy! as part of the Season Pass for $19.99, which grants players one week of early access to Watch Dogs add-on content including the upcoming Single Player Story and separate Single Player Missions, outfits and weapons. Season Pass holders will save more than 25% over the individual downloadable pack prices.

For more information on the Watch Dogs Season Pass, please visit http://shop.ubi.com/wdseasonpassrelease.

64-Bit PC Dead Rising 3 Confirmed

Capcom follows on the discovery of plans for a Steam edition of Dead Rising 3 with a confirmation of plans for a PC version of the zombie-heavy survival/horror sequel this summer. We have some screenshots, a PC trailer, and the following details gleaned from a fact sheet, including system specifications that start at 6MB RAM, requiring a 64-bit OS:

GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW
The critically acclaimed Xbox One exclusive launch title Dead Rising® 3 will be available for PC digital download on Steam globally and a retail version for Windows PC in Europe in Summer 2014. PC gamers will be able to experience the hordes of horror at high PC resolutions with upgraded textures on characters, backgrounds and in-game objects.

Dead Rising 3 for PC will include Steam platform support with Steam Achievements, Steam Cloud, Steam Trading Cards, global leaderboards and full game controller support. Also compatible with the keyboard and mouse, players will be able to toggle back and forth between the two in real time.

The third title in the Dead Rising series with sales of over 1 million units to date, Dead Rising 3 takes place 10 years after the events of Dead Rising 2. Set in the city of Los Perdidos amidst a nationwide zombie outbreak, the story follows Nick Ramos, a young mechanic. He must find a way to escape from thousands of blood thirsty zombies before an impending military strike wipes out the city and its population. Relying on the help of other survivors he meets along the way and the vast array of unique and powerful combo weapons available, Nick will need to get creative to get out of the infected city before it’s too late.

FEATURES

  • Welcome to Los Perdidos – Set 10 years after the events in Fortune City players are taken to the massive open and infected world of Los Perdidos while being immersed in action and stunning visuals.
  • All the survival horror action comes to PC – Fully optimized to run at a high resolution, the PC release includes full Steam and game controller support.
  • More zombies than ever before – The zombies are smarter and deadlier than ever with intelligent AI and shared awareness forcing players to employ all their cunning skills and creativity to stay alive.
  • Hundreds of unique combo weapons and vehicles – Combine and customize hundreds of pieces found throughout the sandbox world including the gruesome Boom Cannon weapon or the Party Slapper vehicle.
  • Face the horror alone or with a friend – Join forces with a friend for endless zombie killing mayhem and earn experience points that carry back to your single player experience.

Minimum System Requirements:

Continue here to read the full story.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in October; Preorders; New Trailer

Gearbox Software announces October release dates for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, saying the new in-between installment in the shooter series will come to Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on October 14th in North America and on October 17th in other territories. They are now offering preorders, saying the advance commitment will entitle customers to a free copy of the Shock Drop Slaughter Pit bonus. They also offer a new Moon Dance trailer showing off gameplay, and, of course, moon dancing, as Claptrap gets all jiggy with it with an assist from rhythm gaming experts Harmonix. Continue here to read the full story.

Painkiller Hell & Damnation Demo

A playable demo for Painkiller Hell & Damnation has quietly appeared on the Steam page for The Farm 51's demonic first-person shooter remake for Windows, Linux, and OS X. This is a timely chance to check out the game, as a patch from last week adds a bunch of improvements and new features, including bonus levels, a dedicated server, SDK support, OS X improvements, and more, though it's not clear how much of that will be evident in the demo, since its contents are not described. Thanks Frans.

Elite Dangerous Trading Video

A new gameplay video posted by PC Gamer shows off how trading works in Elite Dangerous, Frontiers upcoming space combat remake that recently entered premium beta testing. They eight-minute video shows "how it all works, from docking, to hyperspace, to interdiction." Continue here to read the full story.

Why World of Darkness Went Dark

There's an article on theguardian.com with a postmortem on World of Darkness, casting some light on why CCP recently cancelled development of the MMORPG based on the tabletop RPG of the same name (thanks VG247). They talked to some insiders in drawing the conclusion that "bad management hubris wasted nearly a decade of work." They outline how this began with CCP's generous approach to their merger with tabletop developer White Wolf that was unfortunately complicated by CCP's disorganized management structure, explaining: "Very shortly after initial development began, the company started blurring the lines between the World of Darkness and Eve projects." The article goes on to describe a start-and-stop development that left CCP with a game that had very little game to it after nine years of work. Here's some of that:

This constant yo-yo effect contributed to a development cycle in which planned features were partially completed and then dumped numerous times over. There seemed to be no clear vision on how the various parts would create a cohesive end product.

Sources report that, over the nine-year period, the game effectively reached alpha – the stage at which all the major features have been implemented - three times, only for each version to be scrapped.

“I tested it myself, on two different occasions out of those three,” says Blood. “With the first playtest, I was amazed at how little of the core game was there – at this point the game had been in development for over half a decade. I mean, there was just nothing, literally nothing, for someone like me, a complete outsider to the WoD IP, to appreciate.

"Other testers who were familiar with it thought it was great that they could finally see their avatars ‘diablerise’ – or consume – other player’s corpses, for health, or something. I just kind of shook my head and wondered how this would ever draw in anything other than die-hard fans.

“On the second play test, quite some time later, I was struck by how much had changed – and yet remained unfinished. The flagship achievement was a new movement system, made after scrapping the old one, which was similar to the Assassin’s Creed gameplay – with mantling walls, etc. But it was very basic in comparison. CCP was quite self-congratulatory on achieving this much, and the internal propaganda was that this kind of movement system would revolutionise MMO gaming.”

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today is the day of the Reset the Net campaign, which certainly seems like a worthy cause. Word is: "On June 5, I will take strong steps to protect my freedom from government mass surveillance. I expect the services I use to do the same." There's more on the concept in this video also posted here last night.

R.I.P: Don Zimmer dies at 83; spent more than six decades in baseball.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Nether Runner.
Cyclop Physics - Level Pack.
Freegear Z.
Story: Chronicle's Josh Trank Is Your Newest Star Wars Movie Director. Thanks nin.
Images: Pac-man created from light (long-exposure photography).
Abrams Denies Millennium Falcon Rumors From Inside Millennium Falcon. Thanks nin.
Media: Villain Pub - To Battle.
Mario VS. Aliens.
The New Reading Rainbow Opening Is Somewhat Disturbing. Thanks nin.
The Star Wars Nerdgasm Choir.



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