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Saturday, Mar 03, 2012


Steam Hardware Plans?

A post on The Verge follows up on recent comments by Valve's Gabe Newell about the possibility of Steam hardware by saying this is exactly what Valve is working on, and a reveal may come as early as next week at San Francisco's Game Developer's Conference (thanks Kotaku).

The article cites unnamed "sources" who say Valve is working with various hardware vendors on a "Steam Box," which sounds more exotic than "Windows PC," which is what this seems like, as word is: "Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up." They note a couple of possibilities that may make this more distinctive than a hardware specification, speculating it may include a proprietary controller, a biometric feedback device, and could take better advantage of Steam's "big picture mode."

This all still speculation at this point, as Valve has not responded to their request for comment.

Crusader Kings II Postmortem; DLC Plans

The Paradox Forums now feature a new postmortem on Crusader Kings II, written by Henrik 'Doomdark' Fåhraeus, lead designer on the medieval strategy sequel (thanks Quboid). Like any good postmortem, this looks at negative aspects of the game's development along with the positives, so Henrik describes planned features that never made it into the game, and discusses how some of that will still be added:

So, what are we planning for the future? Crusader Kings II will have many major DLC packs that are actually more like small expansions. Every time we release a major DLC, we will also release a major free content patch. I cannot say exactly when we will be adding what, but here are some things you can expect for free in the coming months:
Enhanced, more focused Crusades with a "contribution" score

        • Causes of Death
        • Asking to join an ongoing war
        • Lots of more plots and ambitions
        • Events, events, and more events
        • Improved GUI where it's needed the most (plots, marriages)
        • Flexible de jure liege structure
        • More de jure kingdoms

Of course, we will also be fixing bugs, plugging exploits and improving the interface, the AI and game balance. Oh, and unleash some DLC...

Chariot Wars Announced; Beta Underway

Candella Software's oddly named announces Chariot Wars, an upcoming arcade racing game that will allow players to channel their inner Ben Hur. The game is currently in beta, which seems to require a donation (details on this are a little sketchy), and word is beta participants will receive the final version of the game at a discount of between 25 and 50 percent. They tout social networking features, saying the game will be playable via Facebook and Google +. For further details, there's a Chariot Wars developer interview on truepcgaming.

Assassin's Creed 3 Scans

French site Gamekyo offers a scan of the Game Informer article revealing Assassin's Creed 3. We expected this to be removed shortly after it was posted yesterday, but since it remains, it seems it may be escaping notice (Murphy's Law suggests it will go away as soon as this is posted). Presuming it's still there, the article offers details on the game as well as several screenshots. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Borderlands 2 Preorder Bonuses

All Games Beta now features some new concept art from Borderlands 2, Gearbox Software's upcoming role-playing shooter sequel. This is noted on VG247, where they also note the Borderlands 2 FAQ on The Gearbox Software Forums was updated yesterday with some new information. The FAQ includes details on the Borderlands 2 Premiere Club which is a set of bonuses to be collected by preordering the game, which is due for release in September.

gamigo Breached

The gamigo Forums have a warning that their database has been attacked, resulting in the exposure of data from some of the users of their online games. Word is: "Your character data, including items, is safely stored on the backup! We cannot rule out that the intruder(s) is/are still in possession of additional personal data, although to date we have received no report of any fraudulent use. To prevent any unauthorized access to your account, we have reset all passwords for the gamigo account system and for all gamigo games!" In an unfortunate complication to an unfortunate situation, they also report "the password change function is not working completely within the gamigo Account System for the moment," and that they "are working on a solution, unfortunately this might take a couple of hours." Thanks El Pit.

After Protocol goes Beyond Beyond Protocol

The After Protocol Website has become the official home of Beyond Protocol, the science fiction MMORTS developed by Dark Sky Entertainment before the company's demise. For a while now the site has offered the open source version of the game, and word is this includes continued development and support, in spite of being free: "We've published numerous updates to get the game fully functional, patcher and all. We've replaced long time issues, most will bore you, but issues non the less. The patcher uses MD5 sums instead of file create date! Omg!" Here's more:

Do you remember playing the completely customizable space based MMORTS we came to know as BP? You may have heard the P2P server had to shut down. Since then, two of the former developers, SirParadox (EpicFail) and Anxcon (Nero), have reignited the game and have a FREE to play server running now. In keeping with the spirit of the original game, they are receptive to player suggestions, and they are able to bring about the changes needed to make BP an even better game. Behind the scenes EnochDagor is getting psyched to push a new Star Alliances release.

Do you remember setting up your own supply chains to design and manufacture all your own customized units, facilities, and colonies? The design options are mind boggling. Special technology research is now accelerated, so it's easier to get right back into the game. We made sure you can receive in 3 months what use to take 2+ years. Maybe you prefer to delve into the political arena and drive senate proposals with diplomacy or military might. Do you remember the versatile agent system that allows you to gather crucial intel and sabotage your enemies? Exciting new missions await! You can either go it alone or join with your allies in a guild for ultimate power.

This unique game allows you to practice all the tenets of Sun Tzu's Art of War or even concepts of lean manufacturing. Or maybe you just want to dive in and have fun your own way. Now's the time to give this impressively complex game second look!

Stellar Dawn Sets

U.K. developer Jagex announces the cessation of development on Stellar Dawn, their planned sci-fi MMOG, reports Develop, where they say this is to allow the studio to focus more on RuneScape and their upcoming Transformers MMOG. "Having paused all Stellar Dawn development, we have been able to reallocate all but 12 members of the team to our other development studios," says Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard. "It is very sad to lose any members of the team. We will naturally continue to support and help them during this difficult time and wish them every success in the future. The remaining team members have now all moved into their new roles."

Hardcore Tactical Shooter Kickstart

A new Crowdsourced Hardcore Tactical Shooter Kickstarter Page looks to generate funding for a hardcore, close quarters battle first-person shooter for Windows PCs from Serellan LLC. This is the brainchild of Christian Allen, who has been a design lead on Ghost Recon and Halo titles before going indie. There's an interview on talking with Christian about the project, and here's a bit on his approach:

For years, fans of tactical shooters have been crying out for someone to make a quality, hardcore, tactical shooter. But in contrast to these requests, game publishers eschew realism and tactics in exchange for ease of use and “cinematic” flavor. This campaign aims to see if my theory that real tactical shooters aren’t dead, and that enough people want one to justify the cost of development.

I’ve been in the video game industry working on best in class shooters for ten years now – designing and leading teams creating Tom Clancy games and Halo Reach. Now I’ve struck out and formed a new company for indie game development, Serellan LLC.

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Cooler Master Hyper 412S CPU-Kühler on Technic3D. In German.
  • Corsair 300R Case on Vortez.
  • Hama Hard Case Carbon Style Digital Compact Camera Bag on DragonSteelMods.
  • MSI Radeon HD 7950 Twin Frozr III 3GB Overclocked Graphics Card on TweakTown.


Out of the Blue

Happy 3/3/12 (or 3/3/12) in European date notation. This must be good, because three is usually considered to be a "lucky number," and 1+2 also add up to three (creative addition seems to be part of the "science" of lucky numbers). There may be something to this, as three was my uniform number playing youth basketball, where I was one-for-one shooting field goals for my career as an undersized guard, and I can tell you for sure the one basket I got was indeed a lucky shot (the coach had to pull me from the game as I stood transfixed staring at the hoop after it went in).

Lucky Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Relic.
The Summoning. Thanks Daniel.
Links: The Videogame Hype Chart.
Stories: New roller coaster rips the arms off crash test dummies. Thanks dakslf.
GM Suspends Chevy Volt Production After Poor Sales. Thanks HARDOCP.
Images: Good morning... Thanks Todd.
Marvel/Disney Hybrids. Thanks dakslf.
Media: How Not To Impress Girls, or Cops.
Mass Effect Rap.
The Funnies: Twaggies Comic Strip.
Avengers Auditions.

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