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Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013


More on Offline SimCity

A few details have come to light in the question of how difficult it would be to make the new SimCity playable offline, a conundrum that confuses even EA, as they have indicated this would be both possible and impossible. Kotaku writes of pulling the plug on the game and having it play on for about 19 minutes before crapping out, seeming to contradict the notion that a significant portion of the game's calculations are taking place on the server side. Likewise, Notch tweets: "I like how you can keep playing Sim City even when it notifies you that the servers are down. (But I thought it REALLY needed them?)." This plays into a report on Rock, Paper, Shotgun talking with an anonymous engineer the site says they've confirmed worked on the game. He discusses the most difficult part of playing SimCity offline would be how gameplay is based on interactions between regions, but the source says: "It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff." As for the server being required to play the game, he tells them SimCity does no significant game simulation on the server side:

The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.

Dishonored Tease

The Dishonored Facebook Page has a teaser image of some Daud with the caption "Get Ready." Likewise, Shacknews notes a tweet of the same image, saying "News tomorrow." Presumably this is paving the way for a DLC announcement for the stealth/action game, rumored to be called The Other Side of the Coin.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 Ships; DLC Announced

CI Games announces the release of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 in North America, saying they've shipped a million units in anticipation of the demand for the sharpshooting sequel, which is due in other territories on Friday. They also announce plans for the game's first DLC, which will take players to Siberia at the end of this month:

Also announced, the Siberian Strike downloadable content (DLC) pack will introduce new single player missions that expand upon the original storyline of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. Available at the end of March for Xbox LIVE® Arcade and PlayStation®Network and Windows PC, players will be able to embark on a series of missions across an entirely new environment with the bone-chilling Siberia while equipping their characters with new winter-themed weaponry.

“From the suspenseful tactical sniper experience and multitude of real world locations to the incredible visuals, advanced AI and intelligent physics using Crytek’s, state-of-the-art, CryENGINE® 3, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is a game built for the modern military video game enthusiasts,” said Marek Tyminski, CEO of CI Games. “With several hours of new content, Siberian Strike is just the first step in our plan to continue to build upon the single player campaign and support the Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 experience for our fans and gamers after launch.”

Op Ed - After SimCity Debacle, a Gamers' Bill of Rights.
If companies like EA, Ubisoft, Square-Enix, Nintendo, and Capcom truly want to regain or keep the trust of gamers, they should consider this an outline for how to treat customers in the future.

This was loosely based on the Gamers' Bill of Rights website, which hasn't been updated in three years but still has an active forum.

On Sale

  • Pick Five Games on Save 80%.
  • Square Enix Games on Save 75%. Save more with the coupon code on Dealzon.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Ron Gilbert Leaves Double Fine

Grumpy Gamer, the personal blog of Ron Gilbert, reveals the designer is parting ways with Double Fine Entertainment following the release of The Cave, their new adventure game (thanks nin via Kotaku/NeoGAF). He thanks the development team for their hard work on the game and Tim Schafer for creating the opportunity to create it. The Monkey Island writer also discusses his future plans:

For the short term, Clayton Kauzlaric and I have been toiling away on another iOS side project that I'm going to focus on over the next few months. It's called Scurvy Scallywags in The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty: A Musical Match-3 Pirate RPG. I'll post some screen shots in the next few days.

I also have that PAX Australia keynote to write. How did I ever let them talk me into doing that. So much fun. So much pain. Maybe I'll just do a 45 minute Q and A session.

Ships Ahoy - StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Blizzard Entertainment announces the Heart of the Swarm expansion is now available for StarCraft II, their sci-fi RTS sequel. "Heart of the Swarm enhances every aspect of StarCraft II," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "In addition to Kerrigan’s campaign and the new multiplayer units and maps, we think players will really enjoy the new online elements and new features that make StarCraft II more fun and easier to learn than ever before." The announcement outlines the perks for buying the various editions of the add-on, and here's an overview:

Heart of the Swarm picks up the story where StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty® left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and exact revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of distinctive zerg species into her brood. Kerrigan will grow in strength from mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies to suit their play style.

New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm’s multiplayer, including new units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities. In addition, several new features will enhance the game experience, including group and clan systems; training and versus-A.I. modes, to help new players transition from the campaign into multiplayer; unranked matchmaking; Global Play, enabling players to battle others in different regions around the world; additional stat tracking; user interface improvements; an enhanced physics system, for more visceral-looking battles; “Watch With Others” and “Take Command,” to watch replays with friends as well as jump in and assume control at any point; a leveling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options for their online profiles; and much more.

Ships Ahoy - Dead Space 3: Awakened

The Awakened DLC for Dead Space 3 is now available for all platforms supported by Visceral's horror-themed shooter sequel. Word is:

Left for dead on the devastated planet of Tau Volantis, Isaac Clarke and John Carver face a daunting journey. As madness takes hold, they realize they can no longer trust their eyes or each other. Their trek leads them back to the derelict ship Terra Nova. The horror continues as the Dead Space saga enters its darkest chapter.

Low Light Combat Released

Wolfire Games now offers online sales of Low Light Combat, a new first-person shooter they developed as part of the recent Mojam coding marathon. The game was previously only available as part of the Mojang Humble Bundle of for preordering Overgrowth, but is now offered separately, with all proceeds still earmarked for charity. This trailer offers a look at the game, and here's word:

Low Light Combat is a multiplayer stealth shooter for Mac, Windows, and Linux, created for the Mojam 2 charity drive. The game is about nuclear-powered cyberninjas who decide world issues for the Illuminati via proxy battles, after traveling to a deserted ice cave in a submarine. Each ninja only has enough power to survive sixty seconds, so they can only survive by stealing power from one another, or fighting for control of a central nuclear charging station.

Continue here to read the full story.

Numenera Details

A fifth Kickstarter update for Torment: Tides of Numenera offers a new trailer where Monte Cook discusses Numenera, his separately kickstarted futuristic RPG that will serve as a backdrop for inXile entertainment's new Torment RPG. The post is almost as wordy as the video, but they offer a tl;dr version for the curious gamer on the go: "More about Numenera’s setting and game rules, with video by Monte. Further explanation of Stretch Goals and funding, and what your support is making possible. Our basic plans for dialogue and companions. Unbranded wallpapers." Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Morning Interviews

Op Ed

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - SimCity Is Inherently Broken, Let’s Not Let This Go.
Claiming SimCity fixed, by removing the server queues, random crashes, lost cities, server drops, and the artificial restrictions placed on the game just to make it run, is like claiming a broken leg fixed because you’ve mended the crutches. The game, by its very design, is hideously broken, and like Diablo III before it, it has only served to scream a complete disregard for sense and a massive disregard for customers. So what we mustn’t do now is say, “Well, teething problems.”

These aren’t teething problems. These are continuous deep-running flaws designed to cripple the game for you as a player, simply to serve some nebulous notion of protecting the game against piracy.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Well now I understand more completely why those of you who know better were so taken aback by my stupidity when I recently confessed to having caused a bathroom flood by absent-mindedly flushing a pair of chicken wings. After I cleared the clogged toilet, the other shoe dropped, so to speak, when the basement started flooding with, yes, sewage, as I managed to clog the sewer trap. And while this wasn't actually as horrible as it sounds, it was pretty damned awful. We got someone in to clear the clog, and I got to spend hours dealing with cleaning it up, which, again wasn't as horrible as it sounds, but still pretty damned awful. Needless to say, this serves as a lesson learned... to the extent that when the plumber warned against repeating my mistake I admitted at this point I was going to be wary of flushing toilet tissue.

Clogged Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Star Squadrons.
Links: Unready for takeoff- The five worst PC game launches (that aren’t SimCity).
Stressful jobs that pay badly.
Stories: Michael Vick's book-signing tour axed after threats for dogfighting ring.
Science: Physicists Discover a Whopping 13 New Solutions to Three-Body Problem.
New wave of 'superbugs' poses dire threat, says chief medical officer.
Growing New Teeth, With a Little Help From Mice. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Logic.
Media: SoundWorks Collection - Epic Trailer Music.
Street Fighter VS Call of Duty Black Ops 2 - Combat Axe & Blade Montage.
The Funnies: Brevity.
Follow-up: SpaceX Minute-by-Minute Replay on Saving Dragon Spacecraft. Thanks Boing Boing.
LucasFilm Cancels Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Delays Star Wars: Detours.

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