Archived News:

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2008

Atlantica Online Announced

Developer and publisher NDOORS announces Atlantica Online, a turn-based strategy MMOG set to enter closed beta in July. The Atlantica Online Website has screenshots and a debut trailer, and here's the announcement:
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- June 18, 2008 – Atlantica brings back classic turn-based gameplay and marries it to a deep strategic framework that encompasses combat, character/party development and city/country management. NDOORS, developer and publisher of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), will launch the Atlantica closed beta in July.

NDOORS designed Atlantica’s combat, mercenary and city/country management systems to set it apart from the rest of the MMO market.

The turn-based combat system offers players the chance to strategically plan every move of the nine characters in their group. Players can form teams of three to bring 27 controllable characters into combat. Or for simple fights, players can preset each character/mercenary’s skill set and let the auto-battle system resolve the fight.

The mercenary system gives players the chance to manage multiple characters’ development simultaneously. In addition to their main character, players can hire eight mercenaries each with a different class and skills. They can be obtained as an infant and raised, married to other mercenaries and even have their own children. Mercenaries’ stats will decline as they age, necessitating the need to constantly update and upkeep the mercenary roster.

The city/country management system adds a layer of strategic play beyond typical party level interaction. Guilds can establish control of cities and go to war with each other. They will need to plan everything from culture, commerce and industry, even down to the placement of buildings for the maximum output. Groups of guilds can even band together to take control of countries. Controlling cities and countries allows them to obtain rare items and mercenaries.

“We really strived to create a game that gave players something new,” said Peter Kang, CEO of NDOORS Interactive. “Atlantica was designed to bring the gameplay that RPG and strategy fans love the most to the MMO world. Atlantica takes smarts, requiring planning and strategy at every step.”

Players take on the quest to destroy the Oriharukon energy, a powerful sensor from Atlantis that is poisoning the world. This journey will take players around the globe, including the ancient civilizations of Hanyang (Korea), Indus Valley (India and Pakistan), Mesopotamia (Iraq, Syria and Turkey) and Egypt, as well as North America and legendary locales such as the Pyramids and Angkor Wat.

To sign up, visit www.playatlantica.com.

Kane's Wrath Patch Notes

A post on the Command & Conquer 3 Support Forums by community manager APOC has final patch notes for the version 1.01 patch for the Kane's Wrath expansion for the RTS sequel (thanks Ant and Command and Conquer DEN). The update also explains some issues that have delayed the patch's release but that at this time they anticipate releasing the patch during the week of June 23-27.

New ATI Catalyst Drivers

The ATI Drivers & Software Page is where to track down the new version 8.6 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI graphics accelerators running under Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Linux. The new drivers offer compatibility and performance improvements in games, applications, and benchmarks.

Mass Effect DRM Issues?

The Mass Effect Community Forums have word on issues with the SecuROM copy protection in the PC edition of Mass Effect. Users have run into issues with the software allowing only three activations, and some users have expressed concern over how the software seems to want to "phone home" via the internet, though reports in this area are a bit vague. Thanks Mike Martinez, Simprograms, and Slashdot.

Op Ed

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Dreamlords: The Awakening Launches

The Dreamlords Website announces the official launch of Dreamlords: The Awakening, Lockpick Studios' free-to-play MMORTS game:
Dreamlords is a massively multiplayer game that combines the accessibility of a web game with RPG character development, RTS battles and long term tactical strategy.

Players assume the role of the mystical Dreamlords, magical entities that spawn from the nightmares of the Dreamer himself. The Dreamer is the centre core of the universe, fuelling all things with the power of life, the gnosis, the focused attention of the Dreamer. Although Dreamlords may empower forceful methods on its subjects their presence are always welcome as they have the power to provide goals and guidance for a fragmented piece of the tired old world. These pieces of lands, home to hardened populations of survivors controlled by a Dreamlord are known as Patrias, the fatherland. The success of each patria is totally depending on the capability of its Dreamlord. The war is on, the war for existence.

The Princess Bride Ships, Demo

The Princess Bride Website now offers promised online sales of their cartoony adventure game based on the film of the same name. There is also a trial version for the PC that allows you to play the opening levels of all five of the game's episodes for up to 30 minutes and can be activated to a full version through an online purchase (a Mac trial is expected in a couple of weeks). Word is: "The Princess Bride Game combines spectacular animation with the best of casual, narrative and adventure games - all based on the classic hit movie. Help Princess Buttercup and Westley manage life on the farm, defeat dastardly villains, survive the Fire Swamp, concoct miracle remedies, and vanquish the evil prince in order to live happily ever after." Have fun stormin' the castle!

Need for Speed Undercover Unveiled

Eurogamer has word on Need for Speed Undercover, a next installment in EA's racing series that was unveiled when CEO John Riccitiello spilled the speedy beans at an investor's meeting. The game is expected before the end of this year, but has had a lengthier development run than its predecessors, as in a page taken from EA Spouse, Riccitiello admits that before splitting NFS development into two teams, development of the series had consisted of eight consecutive 12-month cycles (which makes it surprising that the content of the last few games didn't consist solely of drive-by shootings of EA HQ). Riccitiello disparages the Need for Speed Undercover, saying the new game will benefit from a stronger storyline, more inspired by action movies such as The Transporter.

Deer Hunter Tournament

Atari announces Deer Hunter Tournament as the next installment in the hunting series due this fall. The game will be released for Xbox 360 as well as the PC, and as implied by the name, will offer online tournament support. Just remember: "You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it's all about. A deer's gotta be taken with one shot."

TF2 Pyro Achievements and Unlockables Detailed

A Team Fortress 2 Pyro Update has the list of Pyro achievements and unlockables for tomorrow's Team Fortress 2 update. The update will also include a pair of community created maps, and these are detailed as well. Here's a bit:
In addition to the three unlockable Pyro weapons, we've made a significant addition to the base Pyro flamethrower. By hitting the alt-fire key, the Pyro is able to produce a blast of compressed air that knocks enemies away, and redirects enemy projectiles. It’s a highly versatile tool, allowing Pyros to get away from nearby enemies after igniting them, to kill enemy soldiers with their own rockets, or to separate enemy Medics from their healing targets. In particular, it allows a skilled Pyro to contain an enemy invulnerability push, and even to separate the Medic completely if the surrounding terrain supports it.

Sauerbraten CTF Edition

A new version of Sauerbraten is now available, offering throwback gameplay in this first-person shooter based on the open-source Cube 2 Engine (thanks Stn). The new version is called the "CTF Edition," and details on the release are in these change notes, and the download can be found on SourceForge. The Sauerbraten Website mentions commercial applications in development using this engine and that a Cube 2-engine RPG is in preproduction. Here's a bit about Sauerbraten:
Much like the original Cube, the aim of this game is not necessarily to produce the most features & eyecandy possible, but rather to allow map/geometry editing to be done dynamically in-game, to create fun gameplay and an elegant engine.

John Carmack Interview

The Gamers With Jobs Conference Call Episode 89 is online, among other things offering an interview with id Software Technical Director John Carmack. Here's the abstract describing the nearly two-hour broadcast: "We're very pleased this week to have an interview with John Carmack! Sadly, he doesn't give us much on Rage, but saves the real rage for patent trolls and the influx of lawyers into the videogame business. The rest of the time we talk about Metal Gear Solid 4, buying into games and your sweet, tender emails."

Spector on Long Games

Spector: 'One Hundred Hour Games Are On The Way Out' on Gamasutra reports on Junction Point’s Warren Spector's keynote from last week's Game Education Summit in Dallas. Along the way he states the opinion that long games are on the way out, which seems to conveniently coincide with his Disney-fied tastes:
As he has often done in the past, Spector commented on his frustration with some of the dominant tropes of video games. "I love working with Disney because I'm so tired of making games about guys in black leather carrying guns. I don’t want to make those any more," he said.

"Game costs are going to be $35-40 million, even $100 million, and the expectations are huge. You have to differentiate yourselves. One-hundred hour games are on the way out… How many of you have finished GTA? Two percent, probably. If we're spending $100 million on a game, we want you to see the last level!"

Gatherings & Competitions

  • GAMESEDU's Brighton session is slated for July 29. Speakers include Introversion's Mark Morris and Braid creator Jonathan Blow.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Well we got to grill our burgers last night: they came out great, so rather than consider the ground beef old, I'll just say it's "aged." And BTW, it was thunderstorms, not just rain that deterred my previous efforts (that's for you Enahs).

Anyway, congrats to the Celtics. You think there's something in the water in Boston causing all these championships lately?

Drilled Link: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Bounty Killers.
Puzzle Farter.
Link: 10 Movie Sequels That Came Out Waaaaaaaaay Too Late.
Stories: Escaped thief asks police to open handcuffs. Thanks Digg.
Science: Shape-shifting robot squeezes onto military radar.
Images: Wall-E, the LEGO Version.
The United States Park Police vs. the Google Maps Car. Thanks Digg.
Media: When creature creating goes too far. Thanks jimnms.
The Great Office War. Thanks Digg.
Boba Fett Can Dance Too.
Teh Funny: UserFriendly.
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