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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

  

Where Crytek Stands

Crytek Share New Details on their Plans for the Future is an announcement from the German publisher/developer on where things stand following today's news that Deep Silver has bought the Homefront IP. The update talks of transferring development of HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age from their Austin Studio to Frankfurt, saying the staff remaining in Austin will be maintaining the CRYENGINE support team to assist North American licensees. An unconfirmed report on Kotaku says that Crytek USA's senior management actually departed last week because they weren't being paid. Here's where things currently stand according to Crytek:

The internal restructuring will also see the development of Crytek IP, "HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age", transferred from their studio in Austin, USA to Frankfurt. Crytek will retain a presence in Austin, with several staff members maintaining the CRYENGINE support team to assist North American licensees. Employees who are not set to be part of that support team will be invited to apply for new positions at Crytek in Germany.

Crytek founder and CEO, Cevat Yerli, said: "As we look to cement Crytek's future, this strategic deal with Koch Media would allow us to continue with our ambitious goals to become an online publisher. With Warface, Arena of Fate and HUNT, we believe we have the perfect portfolio and teams to make that happen. We would like to thank all our staff – past and present – in both Nottingham and Austin for their contributions to the company, and we wish all the very best to anyone who may no longer be under the Crytek banner moving forward."

Crytek's studios in Budapest, Istanbul, Kiev and Sofia will continue to operate as usual. A closer collaboration between Crytek’s studios in Shanghai and Seoul is under review.

Clockwork Empire Early Access Next Month

Dungeons of Dredmor developer Gaslamp Games announces an August 15th start date for early access to Clockwork Empire, their steampunk sandbox building and management game, which is currently available via the more unusual "earliest access." They promise frequent updates, and offer the following list of features that will be present when early access begins:

  • Build a colony and your character, each with unique histories: The colony set in a Victorian steampunk era, populated by the lower, middle and upper class characters, have their own memories and unfolding futures which are shaped by the player’s choices.
  • Free-form goals: Every scenario is what the player makes of it. As the player colonizes an unknown land, objectives are handed down by “The Empire,” but players may choose to align with another faction - or none at all - if so they desire.
  • Cosmic Horror, Factories, Booze, Science, Farming, and more: Complete with all the elements for an industrial revolution, a colonial society pushed too far will begin to break down and unleash horrors such as cultists, marauding fish-people, axe murders, and things darker still from beyond the stars.

Defiance Expansion Next Week

Trion Worlds announces the Silicon Valley expansion for Defiance will go live on August 5th, adding new content to the free-to-play TV tie-in MMORPG. Here's the outline of what this will bring: "Within the world expansion, players will find Karl Von Back has disappeared into Silicon Valley with his EGO-imbued followers, but it’s not the paradise they promised. The valley is overrun with Grid, and a strange cult, the Pilgrims of the Guiding Light, have taken hold in locations across the zone. As all new mysteries unravel, the populace of Silicon Valley calls for help, and only ark hunters have what it takes to face the trials ahead."

The Sims 4 Emotions Trailer

A new trailer from The Sims 4 shows how you can influence the emotions of your sims, just as if it was real life (and if you were a horrible manipulative person). The clip is suitably Sims odd, with one example showing a sim staying "focused" by cheating at chess. This is not the only example of a Vulcan's understanding of this topic, as besides actual emotions, they include states like playfulness, boredom, energized, dazed, flirty, uncomfortable, and more. No Sims remained unharmed in the making of this video. Continue here to read the full story.

APB Reloaded Bans, Shames Cheaters

A post on the APB Reloaded website has word that the MMO crime game has implemented the Fair Fight anti-cheat system along with a new Open Conflict matchmaking system. The good news is that it turns out they have fewer cheaters than expected, but the unsurprising bad news is that there weren't none, and they are taking the step of publicly listing a sampling of 212 people they detected cheating. They say it turns out 98.8% of their daily players were not cheating at all, and they offer some other statistics they learned out the players who were cheating before they were banned:

For some even more startling facts; 60% of the players banned in this sample were paid players. That’s surprising on several levels. For comparison, about 10% of the monthly unique players in APB make a new purchase in the game in any given month. On a cumulative basis about 30% of all players playing the game have paid money for something at some point during their account history. So in simple terms, paid players turned out to be 2X over-represented in the initial ban sample, compared to the APB population as a whole.

Another startling fact; paid players who were banned had on average 260 hours of play time in the game, had played for over 1 year, and had on average spent $180 on virtual goods.

Now clearly they got their monies worth already (in comparison they could have chosen to pay $59.99 for 20-40 hours of play time in a traditional single-player game, or pay for 12 months of MMO subscription time for about that amount of money) and it's crazy that they chose to have themselves eliminated from the "sport of APB" by cheating.

Dead Rising 3 Stream

CapCom Unity announces a livestream on Twitch gets underway at the top of the hour (7:00 pm EDT) to show off the PC edition of Dead Rising 3:

Catch more blood and gore with Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition this afternoon at 4pm PT! You know the drill--the game comes out September 5th, but you can tune into our Twitch channel for a glorious early look. Remember, the game also includes the four "Untold Stories of Los Perdidos" add-on chapters at no additional cost. Pre-order today!

On Sale

Evening Patches

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Previews

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Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Deep Silver Acquires Homefront from Crytek

Publisher Deep Silver announces the acquisition of the Homefront intellectual property and all related assets from financially troubled publisher/developer Crytek, offering no hint about what they paid for the shooter series. Word is development of Homefront: The Revolution will continue in Nottingham, England at a newly formed studio called Deep Silver Dambuster Studios. Here's the announcement:

Today, Koch Media together with its publishing label Deep Silver announces that it has acquired the Homefront brand and all coherent assets from Crytek. This includes Homefront: The Revolution which has been announced on 2nd June 2014. The development will be continued in newly founded, Nottingham-based Deep Silver Dambuster Studios.

“We are thrilled to see another great IP joining the Deep Silver universe,” says Dr. Klemens Kundratitz. “We strongly believe in the potential of Homefront: The Revolution and trust in the new team to continue the path we have been walking in the last years.”

Deep Silver Dambuster Studios is the third development studio within the Koch Media Group, joining Deep Silver Volition and Deep Silver Fishlabs.

Elite Dangerous Beta Begins

Elite Dangerous is now in beta testing as promised, with the premium beta having come to a close. This does not make the "regular" beta cheap, however, as buying access will cost $75.00 USD. Frontier Developments calls the beta a "significant milestone" in development of the space combat sequel, and offer a new beta trailer to show it off. Here's an outline of what's changed:

Beta 1 increases the number of playable star systems in the game by a factor of 10 compared to Premium Beta, and covers a greatly expanded 38,000 cubic light-year volume of Elite: Dangerous’ accurately modelled Milky Way galaxy centred around the Boötes constellation familiar to Premium Beta players.

The greater volume of Beta 1 space has an increased variety of celestial bodies, trading economies and star ports, and plays host to a large number of additional features and enhancements which together provide a richer gameplay experience over the whole expanded volume of space.

Significant Beta 1 additional features include:

  • 55 star systems covering 38,000 cubic light-years
  • Initial online mission system functionality (to be further developed through Beta)
  • Player-to-player communication by text and voice
  • Friends management and matchmaking
  • Private Group play option
  • On-line single player option
  • Overview trade route mapping
  • The concept of fuel consumption
  • Docking computers to automate safe star port landings
  • Additional Viper heavy fighter and Lakon Type 6 medium trader ships

Beta 1 will be available in English only. Future builds will be localised in the following languages:

German, French, Russian, Polish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Simplified Chinese.

Continue here to read the full story.

New Hearthstone Wing

The Hearthstone website announces the release of the Curse of Naxxramas: The Plague Quarter, the second wing of their Hearthstone expansion. On this topic, Eurogamer.net has word that some players have been accidentally charged twice for this, and others have been unable to access it after the purchase, offering a statement from Blizzard: "Some players are unable to access the new wing after purchase. Some players have been charged twice in order to access the new wing. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience while we work to resolve them."

Human Orbit Announced

U.K.-based independent developer Autelia LTD announces Human Orbit, a sci-fi "social simulator" set on an orbiting space station coming to Windows and OS X next year. Since HAL, GLaDOS, and the NSA usually have all the fun, this is a game where you play as the all-knowing A.I., and here's a bit on how this will work: "As a sentient AI, you take control of a simple droid able to explore the space station and access its communications network uninhibited. Gather information, discover emergent stories, and - if the fancy takes you - take control of the station and those aboard it." The Human Orbit website is where to keep up with this going forward, and in the meantime, here's a list of highlights:

  • Advanced AI system
  • 100 unique and complex characters, each with their own personalities and histories
  • Immersive 3D world created by Dan Raihert (environment artist on Dead Space 3, The Sims 3)
  • Procedurally-generated storytelling
  • Atmospheric SFX by Eli Hason (senior sound designer on Thief (2014))
  • Node-based dialogue editor
  • Modding tools

Pandora: Eclipse of Nashira Announced

Slitherine announces Pandora: Eclipse of Nashira, an upcoming expansion coming later this year to Pandora: First Contact, their Windows OS X, and Linux 4X strategy game. There are details and system specs on the product page for the add-on, which will require the original game to play. Here's word on what this will involve:

With Eclipse of Nashira, new dangers and opportunities enter the world of Pandora. A new faction shows its face, talking of peace and friendship while their spies operate behind enemy lines. Nothing is what it seems anymore, as agents conduct covert warfare of espionage and sabotage, inciting revolts and stealing technologies. At the same time, another alien species native to the planet has appeared, lurking in the shadows. In order to overcome this new alien menace, the different factions start to expand beyond the planet's landmass to generate more resources, opening up a new frontier. To deal with all of these unfamiliar threats and opportunities, Pandora will be seen in a new light and players will have to develop a whole array of new strategies to maintain dominance over the planet.

Merchants of Kaidan Early Access

Merchants of Kaidan is now in early access on Steam, where the strategic/RPG/trading game is 10% off through tomorrow. This post has details on the latest patch for the game and this trailer offers a look. Here's a bit on how this will work, putting the player in the role of a merchant who would typically be an NPC: "To be a successful merchant you'll have to learn everything about the market. Always be on the lookout for a deal, always listening, always engaging and deepening your knowledge. You'll have to listen to rumours and gossips whispered by travelers at inns and taverns; hoping for a clue, a hint where to go, where a good deal awaits. You'll have to surround yourself with a team of specialists, people who help you maximize profits and minimize losses. You'll expand your fleet of carts, maybe establish a partnership and become the wealthiest merchant in the Kingdom. Or you'll bankrupt and become a laughingstock." Continue here to read the full story.

Path of Exile Comic

The Path of Exile website informs us that "The Karui Way," the first issue of the Path of Exile comic book is now available via digital distribution as a tie-in with Grinding Gear Games' MMORPG. They say this offers clues about an upcoming add-on: "The Karui Way reveals backstory from an upcoming, unannounced expansion, weaving elements from the existing in-game narrative with an entirely new and gripping conflict." The first issue is $4.00, and the four-issue bundle is $20.00, which doesn't add up unless you account for the two in-game masks this includes. Word is they plan on releasing one comic per month and will follow with a printed graphic novel with all four issues early next year. This trailer shows off the two in-game masks. Continue here to read the full story.

Quantum Rush Rushes EU

GameArt Studio let us know Quantum Rush is now available on Steam, offering the chance to test your skills in this free-to-play futuristic racer. When we investigated an error accessing the game's Steam page we learned a key detail about this is that it is not yet launched in North America. Here's the explanation: "Due to the game servers located in Germany, Quantum Rush Online will be available on Steam only in Europe, Russia and CIS at the moment! The reason is, under the present circumstances, ping times outside of these regions are too high for a good gaming experience."

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

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Out of the Blue

The surprising progress I'm making with my shoulder continues, it's recovered enough that it feels normal all of the time. I'm still nursing it along, but it feels strong enough to start doing some rehab exercises to strengthen it further. This is certainly a far cry from the point not to long ago when I was sure this was going to result in surgery.

Also, there was a Last of Us popup ad that was appearing here yesterday, but this should be gone now. Apologies.

Well-Armed Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: The Expendables 3 TD.
Let The Football Fly.
Cats n Fish 2.
Link: 4 Ways the '50 Shades of Grey' Film Is Worse Than You Expect.
Science: A Tentacled, Flexible Breakthrough. Thanks j.c.f.
Media: Star Wars TIE Fighter vs. Thai Fighter.
Watering the garden is difficult.
Blues Brothers - What's The Damage?



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