Archived News:

Friday, Oct 02, 2015

Microsoft Acquires Havoc

The Official Microsoft Blog announces Microsoft has acquired Havoc, the 3D physics middleware provider, from Intel. Here's a bit:
As we welcome Havok to the Microsoft family, we will continue to work with developers to create great gaming experiences, and continue to license Havok’s development tools to partners. We believe that Havok is a fantastic addition to Microsoft’s existing tools and platform components for developers, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio and Microsoft Azure.

Havok is an amazing technology supplier in the games industry and the leading real-time physics creator. We saw an opportunity to acquire Havok to deliver great experiences for our fans. Throughout the company’s history, they’ve partnered with Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and many others to create more than 600 games including Halo, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls and The Elder Scrolls.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Havok continues our tradition of empowering developers by providing them with the tools to unleash their creativity to the world. We will continue to innovate for the benefit of development partners. Part of this innovation will include building the most complete cloud service, which we’ve just started to show through games like “Crackdown 3.”

Escapist Defends Star Citizen Sources

There's a new article on The Escapist defending for their recent Star Citizen article from accusations that some of the anonymous quotes in their story about turmoil at the developer of the space game were lifted from unverified posts on Glassdoor, rather than comments made directly to the site from vetted current and former Cloud Imperium employees. While continuing to protect the identities of their sources, they offer a detailed timeline of the interactions with all the individuals quoted in the story, while also commenting on the dangers and pitfalls of anonymous sources. They also address allegations that this is all spurred by Derek Smart, saying: "To be clear on further allegations: None of our sources were Derek Smart and we did not get our information from Glassdoor. However, we do know that a couple sources did post on Glassdoor after talking to Lizzy."

StarCraft II UI Change Plans

There's a lengthy article on outlining changes coming to the StarCraft II user interface in an upcoming version 3.0 patch as Blizzard prepares for the release of the Legacy of the Void expansion for the real-time strategy sequel. They cover improvements intended to make a more social experience, new multiple window views, chat improvements, and other changes to help improve things. They also offer this video with a look at what's in the works. No ETA for the patch is offered. Continue here to read the full story.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Combat Change Plans

A new developer blog has details on a combat changes coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic in the upcoming launch of Knights of Fallen Empire expansion for the Force-powered MMORPG. Here's the into to what is a pretty lengthy update: "With the launch of Knights of Fallen Empire, we are planning quite a few general changes to combat. This includes everything from how some stats work to a new feature called Level Sync. Let’s jump in and talk about these changes."

Battleborn Big Numbers

Gearbox Software offers some facts and figures about Battleborn, describing how the upcoming team shooter has 49,576,665,600 different hero and team configurations, 1024 ways to play each base-level hero, and more big numbers like that. They provide this video as sort of a motion infographic. Word is: "There's a lot of different ways to play Battleborn. And we're not just talking about the cooperative Story Mode and three competitive multiplayer modes. With 25 playable heroes that can be customized each match, we figured that number would be pretty huge -- and it turns out we couldn't even capture the depth of Battleborn in one infographic. But that didn't stop us from trying!" Continue here to read the full story.

Master of Orion Gameplay Trailer

Wargaming now offers this "first look" trailer for Master of Orion, debuting gameplay footage from WG Labs' upcoming resumption of the 4X strategy series. Here's the deal: "Tune in for an exclusive Galactic News Network (GNN) broadcast to get a first look at Master of Orion’s campaign in action. Let the quirky, robotic GNN anchors be your interstellar guides with a breaking news report on the fearsome Sakkra and the ancient and intelligent Psilon Quanta. As the broadcast continues, discover how various game mechanics will function, as each galactic news segment details everything from interstellar warfare to specialized research to diplomatic negotiations with other races. During this exclusive exploration, learn more of the potential dangers lurking in the star lanes, whether they be battles against malevolent forces or encounters with other races whose intentions are always in question." Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

etc., etc.

Batman: Arkham Knight Back on Sale This Month

A Steam Community Group Announcement from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has word that the Windows edition of Batman: Arkham Knight should go back on sale by the end of this month along with the release of a new patch for the action/adventure (thanks GameSpot). Sales of the superhero sequel were suspended in June due to bugs and performance issues, and they've been working on getting things into proper shape since then. Here's word:
As many of you know, we released a major patch for Batman: Arkham Knight PC a few weeks ago. While there were significant performance improvements made to the game, the teams are continuing to work on the additional updates that were outlined in our previous post. We expect these updates to be ready at the end of October, at which time the PC version will be made available for purchase. In addition, support for all DLC that has been released for the console versions will be in place.

Thanks again for your continued patience and support. We’ll be sure to update everyone as soon as the update is live.

Star Citizen Employee Article Follow-up

A post on Reddit notes that some of the quotes purportedly from anonymous employees of Cloud Imperium Games included in The Escapist article about Star Citizen development posted yesterday originally appeared in posts on Glassdoor. The reaction to this is mixed, and some take this as a sign that there are issues with the accuracy of the article. It is noted that the identity of posters on the site are not verified, though it's possible The Escapist did their own separate verification, and their article does also have quotes that do not appear on Glassdoor.

New AMD Catalyst Beta

AMD now offers a Catalyst 15.9.1 beta driver for Windows, another beta driver for AMD/ATI graphics cards. They don't specify what's different from the beta they released earlier this week. Thanks AnandTech.

Burnout "Spiritual Successor" Revealed

The Three Fields Twitter account is teasing plans for a "spiritual successor" to the Burnout series from this studio that includes former developers from Criterion (thanks Veni Vidi Vici). They say this will be the second of two projects, as they are also working on a multiplayer sports game. As for the Burnout homage, they say it will include "Speed. Traffic. And Crashing. Lots and lots of crashing," but they also add they are not sure which game in the series they hope to honor: "Spiritual successor to which one though??? The second, the third or the fourth one?? #decisions."

Heroes of the Storm Change Testing

The Heroes of the Storm website has details on changes Blizzard is testing for Heroes of the Storm to improve gameplay flow in the MOBA. They are experimenting with lengthening early game death timers and a way of preventing matches from snowballing by adjusting player scaling with levels to make it less of a disadvantage to team fight when you are behind levels, though being behind in a talent will remain an obstacle. They are testing a custom version of the Cursed Hollow map on the PTR today, and will add this as a custom map for testing to the live game on Tuesday if you want to help them work through things.

NBA 2K16 Sales Milestone

2K announces that NBA 2K16 has set a franchise sales record, having sold over four million copies in the first week of the release of the sports sequel. They say this is not the only sales highlight for the new installment in the series: "In addition to the critical and commercial success of NBA 2K16, this year’s iteration also has achieved several incredible year-over-year milestones since launch, including doubling sales through digital download and nearly tripling the number of games played online."

DCS World & L-39 Albatros Betas

A post to the Eagle Dynamics forums has word that version 1.5.0 of DCS World is now available in open beta, offering the chance to test fly updates to this combat flight simulation that includes a graphics revamp (thanks InBlack). They also announce that open beta testing is underway for their L-39 Albatros module that adds this light jet to the game. This page is where to find the downloads along with details on testing, and this video shows off the L-39 Albatros. Continue here to read the full story.

Drone Swarm Announced

Indie developer stillalive studios announces Drone Swarm, a sci-fi strategy game coming to Windows and OS X, though it does not yet carry a set release date. You can find preliminary details on this page, where they offer this teaser trailer. Here's word:
stillalive studios today announced the development of Drone Swarm, a new and unique sci-fi strategy game for PC and Mac. In the game the player assumes the role of the commander of a gigantic space ship and is exploring the universe in a desperate hunt for a new habitat for mankind. He is in charge of a swarm of thousands of drones that he controls directly and that allows him to use unique tactics when fighting enemy aliens. Both the mighty mother ship, the “Harbinger” and the drone swarm can be upgraded and improved by new alien weapons and technology which need to be acquired or researched first.

Tactical battles are an important part of the game, but the metagame has a lot more to offer. During the exploration of the universe the player encounters alien civilizations that constantly evolve – with our without his influence or interaction. Negotiations with these aliens require diplomatic skills; the choices the player makes have direct influence on whether he makes new friends or bitter enemies. The same goes for the group of counselors on the mothership; they have conflicting goals and react actively to the decisions the player makes.
Continue here to read the full story.

Zangief and Laura in Street Fighter V

All Games Beta has some scans from Famitsu leaking a new character named Laura coming to for Street Fighter V. In more official news, CapCom Unity also has word that Zangief will return as one of the characters in the brawler sequel. They offer a Zangief reveal trailer and here's part of their rundown on what the character brings to the game:
A popular mainstay within Street Fighter, Zangief is the most prominent wrestler within the series. Zangief has made appearances in Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha II and III, and Street Fighter IV, all the while fighting for “Mother Russia.”

When it comes to raw strength, not many in the world can compete with Zangief. Training day and night, Zangief believes that the only way to victory is to have a body complete with perfect muscles. Due to his intense training, which includes wrestling bears, Zangief can lift the heaviest opponents with ease!

In SFV, Zangief shows off the results of his training through his newfound V-Skill, Iron Muscle and new V-Trigger, Cyclone Lariat. These two skills are just the tip
Continue here to read the full story.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

'Terminator Genisys' Sequels Reportedly 'on Hold Indefinitely.' Used to be if a movie did really well it got a sequel. Nowadays they plan a series and cancel the sequels if the first one tanks (see Lost in Space, John Carter, The Lone Ranger, etc.). Seems backwards, no?

Cancelled Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Thumb Fighter.
Power Connection.
Jump Out The Computer.
Story: HBO, Snyder Plan "Watchmen" TV Series?
Science: Ray Kurzweil: In The 2030s, Nanobots In Our Brains Will Make Us 'Godlike'.
Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s. Thanks JDreyer.
Media: Black Bear Gnaws on Delta 15s Seakayak in Berg Bay, Alaska. Thanks nin.
Meanwhile in Belarus.
The Slow Mo Guys - Jelly Tennis. Thanks nin.
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