Archived News:

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015

Dirty Bomb Closed Beta Begins

Steam News announces the release of Dirty Bomb, the free-to-play tactical shooter from Splash Damage, though clicking through reveals they are omitting the essential detail that the game is still a closed beta. Those interested should sign up on the Dirty Bomb website, and a Steam Transition FAQ answers questions about the process for both new players and those already in the beta. This game was announced with the title Dirty Bomb before it was renamed Extraction before it reverted back to the Dirty Bomb title. They are calling this "the ultimate team-based free-to-play shooter," and here's part of their justification: "London is a post-apocalyptic wasteland with no law and no order, it's time to call in the mercenaries. Suit up and go toe-to-toe with other soldiers of fortune as you battle it out for riches and bragging rights." Here's more on the game:
Drop into the aftermath of a radiological attack in London as part of an elite team of mercenaries. Dirty Bomb is the ultimate team-based free-to-play shooter.

LONDON FALLING

In the near future London stands abandoned, a dilapidated shell of its former self. After a mysterious disaster, the International Crisis and Disaster Agency stepped in to clean up the mess and decontaminate the city. They failed… badly.

Now the streets of London are the playground of Private Military Companies (PMCs) who battle to control what remains of the city’s riches. After all, what’s a little radiation sickness when there’s money to be made?

Say goodbye to London, say hello to the Merc Capital of the World.

Borderlands Creative Director Joins Robot

A post on the Robot Entertainment blog announces that Paul Hellquist has joined Robot Entertainment after previously serving as the creative director on Borderlands 2, Gearbox Software's role-playing shooter sequel and before that as lead designer on BioShock (thanks Gamasutra). Robot CEO Patrick Hudson explains Paul's role on Orcs Must Die! Unchained, saying the next beta of their tower defense sequel is coming "soon." Here's word:
On behalf of all of us at Robot Entertainment, I am thrilled to welcome Paul Hellquist to our team as Lead Designer. Paul’s track record as a game designer is impressive, to say the least. Paul joins Robot after seven years at Gearbox Software where he was Creative Director on the outstanding Borderlands 2. Prior to this, Paul spent nine years at Irrational Games where he was Lead Designer on the stellar and influential BioShock.

I spent a considerable amount of time with Paul recently, and I was consistently impressed with his breadth of thinking, passion for great design, and humility. His remarkable portfolio of work is clearly well-earned. Paul is a great fit for Robot, and I expect him to have a profound impact on the games we make, starting with Orcs Must Die! Unchained.

The next beta phase for Orcs Must Die! Unchained is coming soon, and we can’t wait to share the many updates with you. Until then, please give a hearty welcome to Paul and follow him on Twitter!

Loading Human VR Video

This video shows off a demo of Loading Human being demonstrated at CES, a prototype of the sci-fi adventure game being used to show off the operation of Razer's just revealed OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, a VR headset supporting the Open-Source Virtual Reality initiative. Here's word on the game and plans to support a wide range of new technology:
Virtual Reality developers since 2013, Untold Games’ Loading Human is a virtual reality adventure game powered by groundbreaking controls and set in a thrilling sci-fi world. Developed from the ground up for VR and motion control devices like Oculus Rift and Sixense Stem System, players will be able to interact with objects within the environment to solve puzzles and uncover the secrets of Loading Human‘s story-driven gameplay.

Loading Human is currently in development for PC and Mac, and has had its concept approved for PlayStation4’s “Project Morpheus” virtual reality system. The game is designed to support the Oculus Rift VR headset, and motion-based controllers like the Sixense STEM, Razer Hydra, YEI Technology PrioVR and Virtuix Omni.
Continue here to read the full story.

Heroes of Might and Magic III HD Pre-Purchases

Steam News announces pre-purchases are now underway for Heroes of Might and Magic III HD Edition, the promised classic turn-based strategy game remade with modernized graphics. Word is: "The most popular Heroes title of all time is back in HD! Fifteen years later, rediscover the epic tale of Queen Catherine Ironfist, as she re-embarks on her critically acclaimed quest to unite her ravaged homeland and re-conquer the kingdom of Erathia."

Mad Catz Announces $300 PC/Mobile Controller

Mad Catz announces The L.Y.N.X. 9 Mobile Controller, a modular controller for both Windows and Android devices with a folding mechanic for greater portability. This has some additional features beyond the typical controller including ports for outboard video support, a QWERTY keyboard module, and a microphone. It also boasts premium components, and they are planning to capitalize on its unique qualities, as this carries a premium $299.99 price tag. Here's word:
The L.Y.N.X. 9 design uniquely enables the controller to be assembled in a variety of different configurations to fit the gamers’ chosen device. Consisting of three primary components (Left Wing, Right Wing and Controller ‘Brain’), the L.Y.N.X. 9 can break apart and attach to the included tablet stand, transforming a tablet of up to seven inches into a portable games console! Configure as a standard controller and enjoy living room gaming on a compatible set-top box or PC or attach the mobile clip and dock your smart phone for console quality gaming on the go.

The L.Y.N.X. 9 is an ideal companion for Smart TVs and living room browsing. The included QWERTY Keyboard Module attaches simply to the underside of the L.Y.N.X. 9 and provides effortless on screen typing. At the top of the controller, the integrated Mouse Sensor Pad and media controls allow for all manner of traditional control and the L.Y.N.X. 9 even includes an integrated microphone allowing for voice search with compatible hardware and applications.

On Sale

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Internet Archive's MS-DOS Free Software Library. 2,391 old school games playable for free.

Shadow Realms Reboot Rumor

Citing "sources," Kotaku reports that BioWare's upcoming Shadow Realms is undergoing major pre-release changes, and "may have totally been rebooted." This is actually a mix of rumors, as they say two "industry sources" tell them the episodic action/RPG was cancelled outright, while word that it is actually being reworked comes from a "third, reliable source familiar with goings-on." This third source says the game was rebooted in October to add a full campaign, and that a release is slated for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in 2017. The game's announcement specified an Origin account was required to sign up for the alpha, but a major portion of the article discusses the possibility that the game is being reworked with greater integration of Origin, as one of their sources tells them that BioWare is taking a lesson from the failure of Dawngate and Command & Conquer, two games that could have had higher budgets if they had further integrated EA's online service. They add a confirmation from a "different person connected to EA" that Origin integration will earn a game a larger budget from EA.

Assassin's Creed Unity Dead Kings DLC Next Week

Ubisoft announces a January 13th release date for the Dead Kings DLC for Assassin's Creed Unity for Windows and Xbox One, with the PS4 version of the DLC to follow the next day. This will be free to all owners of the stealthy action/adventure sequel after Ubisoft cancelled the game's season pass program in response to issues surrounding its launch. They celebrate the news with a new cinematic trailer showing off the pack, and offer the following explanation of what to expect:
After the events of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Arno leaves Paris for Saint Denis, a mysterious city that holds the crypts of deceased French kings. Sent on a mission to the extensive underground of the Basilica, Arno will face a faction of new foes, the Raiders, populating its catacombs. Equipped with a lantern and a new powerful weapon, the Guillotine gun, Arno will have to navigate the dangerous passageways to uncover the darkest secrets of the city.

In addition to a fully-fledged main single-player campaign, Assassin’s Creed Unity - Dead Kings also offers new open world activities and side missions, including new Murder Mysteries, enigmas and cooperative missions. Both single-player and cooperative modes enable players to unlock new weapons, gear and outfits that carry over between Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed Unity - Dead Kings.
Continue here to read the full story.

Razer Unveils OSVR Headset

Game peripheral maker Razer announces the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, a USD$199.99 headset with support for OSVR, which stands for Open-Source Virtual Reality, a new entry in the burgeoning VR space. Here's word on OSVR: "Built from the ground up to bring the best Virtual Reality gaming experience to the gaming world, OSVR is the one platform where all aspects of the industry – input devices, games, and output – are unified, collaborating and innovating to take Virtual Reality gaming into the next frontier." Here's more on Razer's participation and their new headsets:
Razer is part of the Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem, a new standard in VR gaming to push the VR gaming experience forward and supporting the venture with the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, a virtual reality device and open-source software that enables programming for any variety of VR technology.

WHAT IS OSVR?
OSVR™ stands for Open Source Virtual Reality. It is an ecosystem designed from the ground up to set an open standard for Virtual Reality input devices, games and output with the sole goal of providing the best possible game experience in the Virtual Reality space. Supported by Industry Leaders and focused on gaming, the OSVR framework rallies gamers worldwide together to push the boundaries of VR-Gaming.

SMITE World Championship This Week

The SMITE World Championship 2015 kicks off on Friday in Atlanta, GA, with the prize pool for the MOBA's first world championship currently sitting at over $2.5 million. Hi-Rez Studios celebrates the occasion with the release of a new cinematic trailer titled "Battleground of the Gods." Word is: "The SWC is taking place at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, USA, on January 9-11 and will see the best pro-players from around the world fight it out for their share of a prize pool of over $2.5 million. The event will also see the first time that the upcoming Xbox One version of SMITE will be shown to the public. SMITE on Xbox One will be the first MOBA on the console and will release later this year." Continue here to read the full story.

Guild Wars Season 2 Finale Trailer

NCSOFT and ArenaNet offer a new teaser trailer from Guild Wars 2 called "No Turning Back" to highlight the upcoming conclusion to the Living World Season 2 in the MMORPG. Word is: "In this update, with Glint’s egg still missing, Tyria’s heroes rally their allies and prepare the pact fleet as they begin to launch an assault against Mordrem. As the teaser trailer suggests, players will face a decisive moment in this thrilling finale to Living World Season 2 as they reach the ‘Point of No Return’." Continue here to read the full story.

League Legends Dedicated Internet Optimizations Coming

The League of Legends website has word on Riot Games' plans on creating more optimal Internet routing for their MOBA sensation to reduce "ping disparity" for users in the U.S. and Canada (thanks Gamasutra). Here's word on what they're doing, why they are doing it, and how players interested in supporting their efforts can do so:
Today, I want to introduce Riot WizardOTL (formerly Riot WizardoftheLake), who has been busy leading the charge on Phase 2 of the Roadmap: building a dedicated network for League of Legends traffic.

Why are we doing this? Currently, ISPs focus primarily on moving large volumes of data in seconds or minutes, which is good for buffered applications like YouTube or Netflix but not so good for real-time games, which need to move very small amounts of data in milliseconds. On top of that, your internet connection might bounce all over the country instead of running directly to where it needs to go, which can impact your network quality and ping whether the game server is across the country or right down the street.

This is why we’re in the process of creating our own direct network for League traffic and working with ISPs across the US and Canada to connect players to this network.

There’s a lot of fine-tuning to do as we bring additional parts of the network online, and we could use your help. Some connections can misfire and run a longer route than necessary to get to this network, so If you have experienced a sudden spike to your connection since November, please let us know by filling out this short survey.

There’s a lot to cover, so we thought this would be best served as a Q&A. We’ll hang around this thread for the next 4 hours to answer questions and get into the nitty-gritty should anyone be curious.

FIRE Delayed

Daedalic Entertainment announces a delay to FIRE, their comedic prehistoric adventure game that was supposed to be released today. The announcement does not explain the setback, it just offers a new release date. Here's word: "The new year starts with a small change in the Daedalic Entertainment release calendar: Fire our intuitive Stone Age game featuring the clumsy Neanderthal Ungh will now be released on March 26th 2015. iOS will follow on May 28th 2015." The game is available for pre-purchase on Steam, where they keep us off-balance by saying the game is due on April 9th, and that date may actually be more accurate than the one in the announcement we received, as the announcement on the Daedalic website says it's due on April 9th as well.

Elite: Dangerous Server Fix Today

The Frontier forums have word of a server-side fix that will roll out today for Elite: Dangerous intended to help the users still unable to log in to the space combat game following some recent technical issues (thanks Massively). Here's word:
Rest assured that players that cannot login are our top priority right now. We have a server side fix in-place to go live tomorrow, it's just undergoing some final testing tonight and tomorrow morning before making its way to the live servers. This should fix it for everyone that's not already been fixed by customer services already. We just want to ensure that the fix is correct and safe so we don't cause more issues for players that are currently unaffected - but we're working on it as quickly and safely as possible, promise!

Assassin's Creed Film Dated

The Assassin's Creed movie now has a release date, as The Hollywood Reporter says the game tie-in directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender will debut on December 21, 2016. They note that this is just one week after the planned release date for the first Star Wars "spin-off" movie.

$500 Sound Blaster X7 Limited Edition Announced

Creative Labs announces the Sound Blaster X7 Limited Edition, more powerful white version of their external audio processor which will sell for $100.00 more than the original black X7, a premium item itself that carries a $399.99 price tag. They call the X7 Limited Edition the "ultimate sound companion for pro-gamers and audio enthusiasts," and here is their explanation for why it costs five hundred dollars, which apparently involves the skill of the headphone amp:
The Sound Blaster X7 Limited Edition has never looked this classy, with a touch of elegance. This pearl white edition certainly takes to the next level with the ultimate audio upgrade for pro-gamers and audio enthusiasts. A room-pleaser with unparalleled sound quality, the Sound Blaster X7 reflects the skill of its exclusive 1 ohm headphone amp output impedance, with a nice kick of extra audio amplification power.

Chris Evans' Call of Duty Online Trailer

A live action trailer for Call of Duty Online features Chris Evans following the appearance of the actor in a poster for the online military shooter that's coming to China (thanks VG247). We are always grateful for the chance to reuse a good joke, so we'll once again ask if Captain China will appear in the ads if they decide to launch this game in the west? Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Around a week ago a few ball bearings showed up on the kitchen floor, which was not the safety hazard it sounds like, as they were not large enough to cause a fall when stepped on. It was a mystery however, as there was no sign of where they originated. The mystery deepened a few days later when more of these popped up in the same area, again with no suggestion of what was dropping them. The casters on the island in the kitchen seem free-rolling, and nothing else I investigated offered any clues either. I'll be able to live with the mystery if no explanation ever arises, but I'm worried I'm going to turn on a seldom-used appliance one day and the motor is going to explode.

R.I.P.: Former Giants coach Allie Sherman dies at age 91.

Explosive Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Dream Car Racing 2.
Snowline 2.
Click Battle Madness.
Links: All The Minutes – a Twitter clock. Thanks reddit.
21 Classic NYC Spots That Closed Forever In 2014.
Rubik Solve - Solve Your Cube In Less Than 25 Moves. Thanks reddit.
Stories: Liftoff Aborted: SpaceX Attempt at Historic Landing Delayed. Thanks Slashdot.
Chocolate's health touters 'may have misunderstood local reality' of tribe. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: SpaceX’s Next Frontier: Landing a Rocket on Earth. Thanks j.c.f.
Ancient dwarf galaxy discovered in our neighborhood.
What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped In Its Orbit.
Media: GE Advanced Materials Commercial - Destroying Everyday Stuff.
Craig Ferguson: A Late Night Revolutionary.
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