Wasteland 2 Project Update – Designing on Unity

I am always, a bit behind the story on this one, but as a “Backer” for Wasteland 2, last week I received a fresh status update on the project, this one penned by John Alvarado, the game’s lead designer. In it, he discussed the team’s (his) decision to use the Unity 3 engine to power Wasteland 2. Danielle could surely tell you much more about Unity than I can. Mostly I know it’s supposed to be a great tool for delivering 3D-driven applications (primarily games) to multiple platforms. Given the team’s pledge to support Windows, Linux, and Mac, it’s easy to see the appeal there. (Evidently Unity, which doesn’t currently port to Linux, is working directly with inXile on the Linux port of Wasteland 2.) But does it suit a game like Wasteland 2? That’s what the rest of the update (which you can read in full here) is there to explain. Here’s a notable chunk…

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Lost Planet 3 Gameplay Footage

First off, this is in German. I have no earthly idea what these guys are saying but if you listen you can hear “Community manager”, “Survival Horror”, “Alien”, “The Thing”, “Dead Space” (twice!), “Mech”, “atmosphere”, and “Hamburg”.

Take from that what you will.

Judge Wants US Xbox 360 Import Ban

Caught this over at Eurogamer today. Courthouse News is reporting that judge David Shaw has recommened to the International Trade Commission that they place a ban on the importing of the Xbox 360 Slim 4GB and 250GB models due an infringement of a Motorola patent.

Judge Shaw also suggested that Microsoft “post a bond equal to 7 percent of the declared value of unsold Xbox inventory already in the country.” That’s huge.

This gets somewhat interesting.

The patents revolve around the wireless transmission of video content between controller and console, which Shaw says Motorola has patented, and that Microsoft well, let’s just say they “borrowed”.

According to Courthouse News:

“Motorola filed its initial complaint with the ITC in November 2010, claiming that the Xbox used Motorola-developed technology that allows set-top boxes to decode transmissions between its Droid2 and DroidX mobile devices.”

Microsoft’s response isn’t to argue the patent infringement but rather is, “Hey you shouldn’t do that because people won’t like it.”

Again, from the CHN article:

Microsoft argued that Shaw’s exclusion order does not serve the public interest because it would leave consumers of video game consoles with only two options to satisfy their needs: the Sony Playstation and the Nintendo Wii.

Shaw rebuked these claims as crazy talk. (my words).

This story isn’t going away, and it will be interesting to see what the ITC does with this.

The XCOM FPS Delayed Yet Again

Playing a little catch up with some news blurbs today as I was out gallivanting yesterday — actually took my daughter to play basketball and then I started up the Game of Thrones RPG on the 360 (more on that later).

Anyway, yesterday’s 2K news about the Firaxis developed Enemy Unknown shipping in October is countered by the news that the 2K Marin developed XCOM shooter has been delayed — again — this time to the staggering target date of April 2013 through March 31st 2014. Quite the window.

I’m no Amazing Kreskin, but I’m seeing a grim future for the XCOM shooter. After seeing the game at E3 over the past couple of years, this isn’t all that surprising.

The Cult of the Coming Soon

News came down yesterday that DmC, one of Capcom’s most electrifying lightning rods for internet (Devil May) crybaby fan whining, isn’t coming out until Q1 2013. On top of Colonial Marines getting the bump into next year as well as Bioshock: Infinite , some of 2013’s top games are already a year or more deep into video games journalism coverage.  And as the year rolls on, we’ll probably see more games pushed into what appears to be this console generation’s terminal year. This also means we have plenty of extra time for even more trailers, screenshots, hands-on previews, countdowns, DLC announcements, preorder bonus announcements, trailer announcements, screenshot announcements, preview announcements, countdown announcements, and announcements of announcements. Press agencies do your thing!

With these interesting and hopefully great games pushed further into the future (but not quite flying car, unisex jumpsuit, and meal-in-a-pill further) I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how so much of where games journalism goes wrong is precisely because so much figurative ink is spilled not in writing about the games we play or have played, but in writing about the games we will play. Fabled games writer Tom Chick mentioned something to this effect  recently over at Quarter to Three in regard to the upcoming E3 media circus that we’re about to be bombarded with and why he’s not a very good games journalist. He’d rather write about what we’re playing now than act as a marketing bullhorn. I’m on his side. Continue Reading…

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Base Building Trailer

A huge part of XCOM is what goes on outside of a mission — the goings on at XCOM HQ. This trailer shows off how this is all going to work inside the new version set to to release in October.

This looks great, but I’m hoping we can switch to each room quickly. After a while those neat visuals could get in the way if it’s not handled properly. Still, the details provided in the trailer are very encouraging.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Available on October 9

I want to play this as much as the next guy, but I really don’t like how 2K is marketing this. How is XCOM an “action-strategy game” exactly? Regardless, this is extremely high on my 2012 must play list and I hope Firaxis does it justice. Pre-orders get an Elite Soldier Pack! What is the Elite Soldier Pack?

…a launch bonus offering top-of-the-line soldier customization features that will only be available for a limited time.

This is detailed in the PR below but come on people. This is somehow limited to pre-orders?

Complete color customization: A variety of colors and tints for all armor sets in the game allow players complete control to customize their squad’s look.

If I want to change the COLOR of armor I need to pre-order the game? (Insert old man soliloquy about how in my day changing colors of uniforms wasn’t a special perk.)

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Why Do We Play Diablo?

I’m angry. I have many reasons to be angry at the moment, but this anger is leveled directly at me. I’m playing Diablo 3 quite a bit — less than some (my NHS friends list is filled with people who have finished the first playthrough) and more than others (basically Todd). I just beat the third major boss of the game with some help from veteran NHS reader nicthaninja and his wily Witch Doctor. I’m sitting at level 29 with my Demon Hunter Ms. Tessbacher and can see the end of the campaign in sight. For the record, I hate how the game doesn’t allow for spaces between names. Silly.

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Neuroshima Hex Multiplayer is Live…ish

Be! Excited! B-E excited!  Be! Excited! B-E excited! The long-awaited Neuroshima Hex multiplayer update is now live on IOS, bringing with it the async and simultaneous multiplayer the game should have had all along. Thanks, Big Daddy Creations!

Oh…wait a second. Cheerleaders, pipe down for a second…um…is anybody able to get in to create a game? Looks like Neuroshima Hex took a wrong turn into the bad part of Crash City.

So yeah, it’s apparently live in the same way that Diablo III went live last week. Crackedlcd75, when it’s working. Back to Storm of Souls…

Dungeon Twister to Hit PSN!

Whoa, I didn’t see this coming and it will be a reason for me to use my PS3 for something besides my Netflix box.

While most boardgame ports are hitting iOS devices, this sucker is going the console route, and while I would prefer XBLA, PSN will have to do. Dungeon Twister is a damn good 2-player game of turning rooms, confusing layouts and escaping with loot. I own the Asmodee edition and it’s a perfect 30-45 minute game, which makes it an ideal port to the console or iOS realm.

According top Joystiq this will drop over the summer. I’m in.

The digital boardgame Renaissance continues.