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Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012 George Washington's Birthday


Victoria II: A House Divided Demo; Contest

A playable demo is now available for Victoria II: A House Divided, offering the chance to sample this strategy expansion focused on the American Civil War. On a related note, this forum post outlines how to qualify to win one out of two Paradox Complete Bundles on Steam by writing an after-action report. The demo is available from AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Frictional Plans: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Revealed

The Games Section on the Frictional Games Website now has a blurb for an "Unannounced project 2" in addition to the Next Frictional Game they recently teased (thanks MajorD). There are even fewer details about this second unannounced project than the first one, which we at least know is Amnesia-related. On a related note, Joystiq has details on Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, an upcoming collaboration between Frictional Games and thechineseroom (Dear Esther), though it's not clear if this is Unannounced project 2 or something else. Here's a bit:

Set in 1899, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs follows the "wealthy industrialist" Oswald Mandus, who has returned home from "a disastrous expedition to Mexico, which has ended in tragedy." Struck by a destructive fever, Mandus is haunted by dreams of a dark machine until he mysteriously regains consciousness. Months have passed, unbeknownst to the industry tycoon, and as he emerges from his slumber the roaring engine of a mysterious machine sputters to life.

Serious Sam 3 Linux Dedicated Server

Steam News announces the availability of a new automatic patch for Serious Sam 3: BFE, Croteam's first-person shooter prequel. Included is a Linux version of the game's dedicated server for those interested in providing some penguin-powered mayhem. Here's the full change list for the new version: Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield 3 Weapon Tweaks Planned

A post on has a preliminary list of weapon tweaks planned for an upcoming patch for Battlefield 3, DICE's military shooter sequel. The list goes into incredible detail, but is said to be subject to change. Thanks BF3blog.

EVE Online Plans Outlined

A new EVE Insider Dev Blog invokes Nietzsche to introduce a presumably nihilistic update on near-future plans for EVE Online. The update outlines the success of the Crucible update for CCP's MMORPG, and what will lead to the release of the upcoming EVE Online: Inferno expansion. They say more on Inferno will be unveiled in the coming months, including a showing at next month's EVE Fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Company of Heroes for OS X Next Month

Aspyr Media announces a March 1st release date for the OS X edition of Company of Heroes, Relic's World War II real-time strategy game, saying it will be available worldwide in English, French, or German as a boxed retail game as well as by digital distribution. "We're incredibly pleased to be bringing such a deep and rich real-time strategy experience to the Mac. Company of Heroes is amongst the highest-rated games of all time, and now Mac users will get to play all the single player campaigns from the series from beginning to end," said Michael Rogers, President of Aspyr Media.

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

BlackSpace Revealed

The PixelFoundry Website reveals plans for BlackSpace, an upcoming "unique form of real-time strategy, combining elements of action with an emphasis on economic and defensive efficiency" (thanks VG247). PixelFoundry is an indie developer formed by Volga Aksoy and Jerry Phaneuf, both of whom were previously at EA Sports Tiburon. Here's a teaser trailer, and here's a bit on the game:

BlackSpace, is a unique form of real-time strategy, combining elements of action with an emphasis on economic and defensive efficiency. Players will find themselves on the outskirts of explored space, harvesting minerals, and supplying markets, while using the resources around them to sustain their operations as well as the lives of the colonist workers.

The game takes place on X class asteroids, players will control both surface and orbital operations with the use of a specialized low gravity operation support vehicle. The vehicle controls take skill to maneuver safely, but once mastered, it becomes an extension of the players hand, commanding base operations, pilot drilling dig sites, prospecting large and unusual mineral deposits, and if need be, supporting the bases defense.

The play space encircles the celestial body and extends into orbit. This gives the player a layered and expansive strategic platform. The unique layout serves to broaden the players ability to develop varied and personalized solutions to the environmental and defensive challenges that await them.

Continue here to read the full story.

StarCraft II Patch

New patches are now available for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty to update Blizzard's real-time strategy sequel to version 1.4.3. Mirrors of some or all of the localized Windows and OS X patches can be found on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. The change log has all the details.

Guild Wars 2 Beta Signups

ArenaNet announces they are accepting signups on this page to participate in upcoming Guild Wars 2 beta testing events. The bad news is the site seems to be suffering under the load from this, but the good news is they are accepting applications for the next 48 hours, which will hopefully provide sufficient opportunity for everyone to sign up. Word is this is for "one of the upcoming Guild Wars 2 beta events," and signups close at 18.00 GMT on Friday. They also explain: "These special closed beta events are open to invited players only. Everything you see in the game is still confidential, so we’ll require you to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) in order to play." They say to expect a FAQ soon explaining more of what this will involve.

Borderlands 2 in September

A new trailer from Borderlands 2 offers more of a look a the stylized cel-shaded graphics and well-armed gameplay from Gearbox Software's upcoming role-playing shooter sequel. The clip is called a launch trailer, which is actually premature, something we can now say with certainly, since it reveals the release dates for the game, saying it's due for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in North America on September 18th, and internationally on September 21st. Continue here to read the full story.

Tribes: Ascend Beta Opens Friday

Hi-Rez Studios announces that the closed beta testing of Tribes: Ascend will be opened to all comers on Friday, offering the chance for anyone who is interested to check out the upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter. Players will be able to create accounts on the Tribes Ascend Website on Friday at 17:00 GMT and download and play the game at that time with no beta key, and they are gearing up for new players with expanded capacity in North America, Europe, and Australia, and new local servers in Brazil and Asia. A new patch for the game is going live this week with the following changes:

  • New gametype, Arena Deathmatch, with two initial maps
  • New Capture The Flag map, Temple Ruins
  • New Team Deathmatch map, Inferno
  • Two new unlockable items for the Soldier class: Proximity Grenade and Utility Pack
  • New default suits for Doombringer and Brute
  • Ability to view either Blood Eagle or Diamond Sword skins from Class menu
  • Service supporting Name Change
  • Large number of bug-fixes and balance adjustments.

Tim Schafer on Double Fine's Kickstart

An interview on VentureBeat talks with Double Fine's Tim Schafer about the company's phenominally successful Kickstarter campaign. He talks about their surprise at all the cash this has raked in, the prospects of having TV cameras document early development of the game the campaign is funding, and his outlook on how their campaign may or may not impact the traditional game publishing paradigm:

“I think people have asked, ‘Is this a game changer? Is this going to revolutionize game production? Are the publishers doomed?’ And I don’t think it’s that extreme, but I also think when people dismiss it as just a one-off deal that only Double Fine could have done — and it only could be done once — I think that’s not true either,” he said. “I think as long as someone else comes up with a similar story, whether it’s a game or not — just the right project, the right person making it, the right time, and a reason why only something like Kickstarter could fund it — I think you could have another explosive funding project on your hands.”

“I think it’s a great way for a lot of projects, games or not games, to be made whenever the ‘gatekeepers’ — the big companies that decide what gets made and what doesn’t get made — are not serving certain segments of the fan base,” he added. “And enough of those fans can use the Internet to coordinate and kind of pool their resources. They can make it happen for themselves instead of waiting for these gatekeepers to do it.”

Schafer says it’s the relationship between creators and backers that makes the Kickstarter process interesting. “Instead of making a game and risking all your money and hoping the fans show up, here the fans are showing up at the beginning. So the risk is over and they’re paying for the game in advance, essentially. And what that requires is just a lot of trust and faith that we’ve built up doing this for 10 years with Double Fine and 10 years before that with LucasArts. Hopefully, we’ve built up enough trust where they feel like I’m gonna do my best to deliver something worthwhile to them.”

Homefront Ultimate Edition Next Month

Eurogamer has word that the Homefront Ultimate Edition that was revealed last month will be released on March 23rd in Europe for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The bundle includes Kaos Studios' first-person shooter, its two map packs, and more.

Wargame - European Escalation Trailer

The Wargame - European Escalation Website now offers a new launch trailer from this real-time strategy game in the works at Eugen Systems. Word is: "Thanks to this impressive one minute and a half video, fully realized with gameplay sequences, players can live the last hours before the terrible war that is about to begin in the heart of Europe on the 23rd of February. Intense sequences carry the ever increasing tension that rages on the continent." Continue here to read the full story.

Signal Ops Interview

An interview on TechZwn chats with Josh Enes of Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation about Signal Ops, their upcoming stealth game. They talk about their unusual user interface, their take on stealth gaming, humorous elements, their gameplay-centric focus, and more.

Op Ed

Forbes - The WGA's Baffling Video Game Writing Award.
This isn’t to say that Uncharted 3 isn’t a good game. It’s an absolute blast, and even if the gameplay has gotten a bit repetitive over the years, it’s definitely one of the better PS3 titles of the year. The action sequences are beautifully orchestrated, and horseback chases and sinking cruise ships create some incredibly memorable moments.

But to say that Uncharted had the best script of the year would be like giving the equivalent Oscar statue to Journey to the Center of the Earth 2, or something similar. Pithy one-liners and fictionalized history may be mildly amusing, but is it really the best video game script out there?

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

With Mardi Gras wrapped up, today is Ash Wednesday, kicking off Lent. I think you are supposed to give up bad habits and such for Lent, but I'm a fairly moderate person to start with, so I don't have many obvious prospects. Maybe I should give up some of my restraint? Guess that's cheating.

Restrained Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Rupert's Zombie Diary.
The Lord of the Rings Family Tree Project. Thanks Neatorama.
Links: The World’s Worst Airport Terminals.
Stories: Animal rights group says drone shot down. Thanks Slashdot.
Denver family stranded after passport denied because of crease. Thanks Slashdot.
Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male.
Media: Can You Type Faster than Freddie Wong?
Robotic Air Guitar.
Triple Fetch.
The Funnies: Brevity.
Funny Tweets Twaggies.

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