Kickstart My Heart – 5/18

On Projects That Were Coming Anyway

There’s a bunch of new additions to the Kickstarter entry this week, among them are two projects of particular interest to me: Road to Enlightenment and Xenonauts. The first is a boardgame from a good friend’s of Bill’s (full disclosure and all that) and the other is the pseudo X-COM remake we all knew about before we found out there was going to be an actual X-COM remake. What’s notable to me about these two projects in particular is that both of them were planned and coming before Kickstarter exploded onto the scene. Both have already achieved their Kickstarter funding levels, but even had they failed they were still going to be released.

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The Making of The Witcher 2

Eurogamer has a massive article up today on the making of The Witcher 2 and how it was ported to the Xbox 360 and a host of other topics. This is absolutely worth a read, although you may want to bring a snack.

It’s Brakke-esque in its length.

There’s a ton of tech talk here if you are into that sort of thing but the big take away, for me, was that the people at CD Projekt RED are not to be messed with — this is a ridiculously talented group of developers, programmers, writers and artists. They deserve every accolade they get and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

Let’s just hope they don’t go down an all to familiar road…

I loved this bit about the community in regards to both DLC and DRM:

“We create and deliver DLC as a way to retain our loyal fan base and don’t want to alienate them by nickel-and-diming them every time we release something new,” explains executive producer John Mamais. “Hopefully we can also pick up some new fans along the way with such a philosophy. The community is very important to the continuing success of a game development studio, and we always try to listen to our fan feedback.”

Mamais also hopes that the studio’s noted dislike of DRM helps reduce the impact of piracy.

“I think we’ve gained lots of respect in the gaming community because of it and hopefully that’s mitigating some of the piracy,” he says. “When W2 pirates openly converse on forums they are often lambasted by other would-be pirates because of our policy – look at the comments on 4chan, where pirates were getting trolled for trying to download our game. To some extent, that’s evidence that our way is not only right, but actually makes an impact. We need folks to buy the game so we can earn enough cash to make the next one – but customers should feel that they want to buy it. That’s why we put so much care into our community.”

How can you not root for these guys?

Scotland Yard on iOS Devices for Five Bucks

Yet another boardgame has made its way to iOS devices. This time it’s Scotland Yard, a hidden movement/deduction game that was first released way back in the early ’80s. The boardgame is “cute” and has its fans, although I am much more inclined to games like The Fury of Dracula for this time of mechanic. I’ll likely hold off until I hear otherwise.

Get on that Brandon.

Still, it’s good to see more and more boardgames popping up – even oldies like Scotland Yard.

(Thanks Joystiq)

Don’t Shoot the Food – Donut Time Edition

At the time of this writing, I am a scant 230 points away from my goal of a 100,000 gamerscore. Obtaining this number means a lot of things, which I’ll get to in a future post, but the immediate result is that I get donuts.

I started the trend for donuts at significant achievement milestones a couple of years ago. I want to say it was when Petey broke 100k but honestly, I don’t remember. Between the three of us, we’ve had several occasions to eat delectable breakfast treats. They all tend to blend together after a while. Barring a significant natural disaster at my home this weekend, the next dozen should be enjoyed on Monday, but in the mean time, there’s no reason we can’t all whip up a batch of homemade donut holes to celebrate my devotion to trivial pursuits and my capacity for mind numbing toil.

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38 Studios Saga Continues from Payroll to (Almost) Bounced Checks

38 Studios misses payroll, can’t pay RI: wpri.com

The hits keep coming. In addition to the video above there is a follow up:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – 38 Studios failed to pay its employees Thursday, then stiffed the state as well.

Curt Schilling’s taxpayer-backed video game company was unable to make payroll this week, Judy Chong, a spokeswoman for the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, confirmed Thursday in response to an inquiry from WPRI.com.

Separately, Governor Chafee’s office said 38 Studios hand-delivered a check around 5 p.m. for the overdue $1.125 million payment to the EDC, which set off this week’s crisis. But Rick Wester, its chief financial officer, told the EDC there were insufficient funds to cover the check, and so the agency returned it.

Commands & Colours: Napoleonics Review

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics - the latest iteration of this famous series from GMT games

You may recall that at the start of last weeks’ Commands & Colors: Ancients review I stated that there were a number of games based on the system, and that wargame publisher GMT had sent me a big box of stuff related to it? Well, next in the spotlight is the recent Commands & Colors: Napoleonics game, which transplants the action to the fields of early 19th century Europe and the famed conflict between England and France. This is a particularly interesting one to talk about because rumour has it that designer Richard Borg originally designed the Commands & Colors system from Napoleonic warfare. If that’s true then it’s taken a surprisingly long time for the actual game on the subject to appear.

If you missed that review last week but are reading this one, here’s a brief recap of the basic rules system that underpins all the Commands & Colors systems. The board is divided into three areas, left, right and center, and each player has a hand of cards most of which will allow the movement and attack of a certain number of units across one or more of those areas. So, one card might say three units in the center for example, another might be one unit in each area and so on. One card is played each turn. This is a very simple and intuitive way to model the chaos of command and control in real-life battle situations where your subordinates might well be unaware of or unable to comply with your orders for reasons beyond your control. Usefully it also offers some interesting tactical and strategic decisions, both on board and in terms of hand management, for the board game player. This model still makes pretty good sense in the pre-radio era of Napoleonic warfare. Each unit is made up of a variable number of blocks which are removed as the unit accumulates damage in the dice-based combat system until all the blocks are gone and the unit is destroyed.

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Batman: Arkham City – Harley Quinn’s Revenge Trailer

A trailer for the upcoming Batman Arkham City DLC, Harley Quinn’s Revenge, is above for your viewing pleasure. I’m skipping this DLC so we’ll wait for Brandon’s verdict in a week or so.

But looking at that trailer, yep, that’s Batman: Arkham City alright.

Download This Demo: Unity of Command

One of the best strategy/wargames of the year, or maybe the past few years, is now available in demo form on both PC and Mac. Unity of Command is a wonderful piece of game design and you really need to give it a whirl.

Remember, even the esteemed Jon Shafer thinks so too.

Don’t be intimidated by that screenshot, this is a streamlined design that is a step up from Panzer General but not super detailed like a chit-based wargame. It’s excellent.

You can buy Unity of Command direct from Gamersgate for $29.99 and is worth every penny.

Resonance Available for Pre-order

I don’t actually know much about Resonance, except that it’s a new point-and-click adventure from xii games and Wadjet Eye Games, publisher of Gemini Rue, and it features voice-work from Logan Cunningham (aka Bastion’s narrator). Oh, and the trailer has a quote from Forbes.com, which means…something, I guess. Still, I’m a sucker for classically-inspired adventure games, and this one is looking mighty tempting.

Resonance is set to release June 19, but you can currently choose from two flavors of pre-orders, including a boxed collector’s edition for $24.99, or the digital-only version for $8.99 through GOG.com.

Want some Far Cry 3 Multiplayer Action?

Far Cry 3 won’t release in North America until September 4, but Ubisoft is holding a multiplayer beta (preview event?) on Xbox 360 and PS3 over the course of two weeks this summer. The multiplayer event will be by invitation only. I wouldn’t exactly call a cross-promotion involving Ubisoft, GameStop, and Facebook an “invitation,” but I am looking forward to Far Cry 3, and I’m guessing that I’m not alone.

So, how do you gain access to this uber-elite VIP club where people drink diamonds from platinum chalices?

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