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Alone in space, with nothing but emails from loved ones, uncaring corporate missives and an endlessly looping folksy theme song for company. Such is the life of a Cargo Commander. Far from menial labour, it’s a perilous task. When you activate your ship’s magnet, a wave of containers come crashing into it, breaking off panels to provide easy entrance. And, because we’re in space, those containers are full of dangerous mutants. Every workplace is going to have some jerks.
That's no moon. No, really, some of the games in the Indie Royale Lunar Bundle take place in space, but none of them appear to be set on - or are even about - the Moon. Still, nonsensical titles can be forgiven when the upshot is a four pack of pay-what-you-want indie games, including Back to the Future and the enjoyably tense zero gravity platformer Cargo Commander.
The recently released Cargo Commander is what happens when Spelunky crash-lands into FTL. It's a sidescrolling roguelike-like-like with randomly generated levels, destructible environments, online leaderboards, and the Dark Souls-ish ability to "loot the dead corpses of other players' vain attempts at beating your score". So to sum up: it echoes Spelunky, FTL and Dark Souls - yep, this seems like something we might enjoy.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, we take a spin through the rich, interplanetary world of Wing Commander: Privateer. And blow significant portions of it up, of course. Confession time: I don’t like Elite. Never did. It’s a huge, empty, boring universe, existing solely for you to fly tedious trade routes from A to B, and occasionally be blown up in rubbish fights with other ships. Where’s the action? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the excitement of being a space smuggler type? I’ll tell you. It’s in Privateer. At least, it was. Like the other early Wing Commander games, its use of sprites instead of primitively shaded polygons made for gloriously cinematic space battles back in the early ’90s. Their 320x200 pixel graphics blown up on a modern LCD mean much more squinting. See those huge cockpits? You can’t hide them. For your first few missions, the biggest challenge is working out if you’re meant to use your viewscreen or post a letter through it. Some games successfully hide their age. Privateer is not one of them.
Well this is tremendous. Former rainforest turned online retail behemoth Amazon has launched a dedicated Indie Games department, flogging digital copies of the likes of Mutant Mudds, Hotline Miami and, well, hundreds of other independent games, and putting a ton of them on sale to celebrate. There are also some rather tasty bundles. Amazon aren't taking a cut from sales of these collections - 100% of the money will go to the developers. The only apparent catch is that, like a lot of the digital content on the website, it's currently only available in the US. Boo!
It’s so tempting to get blasé about the folks at Star Citizen raking in another million dollars, as a new blog post announces that funding for the game has crossed the $26 million mark. “Oh?” I think, “another million? Yawn.” Then I realize that a space flight sim, a genre thought to be completely dead by traditional publishers, is whipping up cash at the pace of a million bucks a week with absolutely no sign of slowing down. Fantastic.
We managed to write this whole preview without making a single seamen joke. Nice.[/caption]Browser games aren’t meant to be hardcore. They’re distractions from work, something to do while other games install, a way to keep family members quiet while we hog the TV. So why is Silent Hunter Online – a free-to-play browser game, currently in closed Beta – launching into the dangerous waters of obsessive simulation?
Star Citizen's huge ambitions haven't faded since the upcoming space sim warped past the $6 million mark during its twin crowdfunding campaigns. In a lengthy blog post, project head Chris Roberts shares his ideas for creating a "sense of living history" through a permadeath mechanic that underscores a character's legacy.
It's a certain sort of vicious bastard that enjoys the tough submarine simulations of the Silent Hunter series. I'm one of them. You're not only fighting on the side of the baddies, you're a Bond villain; a sneaky baddy attacking civilians with underwater steampunk bombs. The more hardcore the mode, the crueller it is to the player. At the highest levels, you're setting up the clockwork in your torpedos and manually working out your position from the innumerable dials and charts. Silent Hunter Online is no different.
Whoops. I accidentally discharged my cargo of extremely sharp eating utensils through my missile tube right at a nearby police frigate. As I yet again contemplate my utter incompetence at playing EVE Online, I can't help but look forward to the noob-friendly services the incoming Retribution expansion provides. In a dev blog posted yesterday (via Massively), CCP Designer Greyscale detailed the safe logoff and criminal action toggle systems deploying alongside Retribtution's bounties and new ships on December 4.
Frank Zappa once said that you should never discuss politics or philosophy in a disco environment. Wolfenstein: The New Order ignores both the letter and spirit of this wise counsel, resulting in a game that attempts to comment upon conflict while also having a bit where you hammer a button to stab a Nazi robodog in the eye. Sepia dream sequences, impossible moral choices, a philosophising protagonist: this is either a phenomenal parody of over-earnest war games or a phenomenal accidental parody of over-earnest war games. It opens in 1946, as BJ Blazkowicz wakes from a dream about a barbeque (yes, really) to find himself in the middle of a last-ditch Allied air assault on General Deathshead, a Nazi scientist-turned-commander responsible for prolonging the war with advanced technology. The tutorial has you scutter about an aircraft cabin, put out a fire, ditch the cargo, and gun down Nazi superjets using the nose turret.
Star Citizen is being billed as a return to form for PC gaming and the space combat genre. It's to be bigger than the rest, more open than the rest, and more detailed than the rest, especially in regard to ship design and handling—the official bullet points describe full rigid body simulation, "Dynamic Ship Maneuverability," and meaningful component decisions. Tasty stuff, but just a sweet glaze of promises on top of the rich, substantial detail filling we're after—and now we have a little more of it.
Sexy rogue ninja lady pirate. If one of those words hasn't caught your eye, Dragon Age 2 is not a game for you, and you should move along. When I saw Bioware's follow-up to Dragon Age Origins earlier in the year, I was told by the series' creative director Mike Laidlaw that the second game would be “gritty, bloody and sexy.” Newly announced pirate captain Isabella has the attitude, weaponry, and low-cut top to fulfil all of those objectives in one package.
If you're anything like me, everything you know about Australia comes from Mad Max, the first half of Crocodile Dundee, the second half of Crocodile Dundee II, and that Monty Python sketch about the Bruces. Let's change that right now with a history lesson! No, not recited out of some stuffy history textbook full of facts, but with a mod that brings Australia into Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World!
Jita is the most populated system in the entire galaxy of EVE Online. It is far from the dangers of null sec, an incredibly safe zone guarded by a deadly NPC police force with impeccable response time. Hundreds of billions of ISK move between players every day as the rich traders and industrial overlords manufacture the goods that fuel the entire game and trade them on the well-protected markets in Jita, the heart of the Empire. That was before last night. Today, Jita is a chaotic mess, trapped in the middle of an anarchistic suicide bombardment months in the making. We talk to members of Goonswarm, the group behind the attack that's continuing all weekend, to try to find out what the crazy players of EVE Online are up to this time.
The demonstration opens from within a dropship, flying above an unnamed planet. On screen, we can see a single soul. He’s wearing bright blue power-armour and carrying a bolter. On his shoulders we can see an upturned white crescent. The carrier is moving at high speed, delivering an invasion force to an Orkoccupied forge world. We’re not alone in the sky. There are multiple carriers, each carrying multiple marines. Through the clouds come Orks. They’re rocket-propelled kamikazes, pulling up alongside the airship and firing off a few rounds from their submachineguns before jumping onto the bulkheads, trying to tear the metal apart. No one’s going to survive this. First the marine tries to fend off the onslaught using the heavy bolter that’s welded into the door frame, but there are just too many, too relentless. He pulls back and starts firing from the hip, ducking to the back door. It’s not enough. More and more Orks are on the troop carrier. It’s going down. One Ork falls off the edge, and is quickly sucked into the dropship’s engine. The view shifts. The dropship is now a fireball. It smashes into the ground. A lone figure, our hero, emerges from the wreckage. He is a Space Marine.
By now you’ve heard some clever modder has added mouse controls to the LucasArts classic adventure Grim Fandango, allowing you to play the game without having to awkwardly steer Manny Calavera around like a friggin' cargo barge. I've actually tried it out, and I can answer all of your questions. Is the mod hard to install? Not really! Does it work? Almost entirely! Can I squeeze an entire column out of telling you how to get it running? Most definitely. Read on to learn how you can point -- finally point -- in Grim Fandango. Just like Manny's doing!
Each year, our staff plays hundreds of games as we separate the good from the bad and the great from the good. Now, we separate the year’s truly exceptional from the rest, and crown our singular Game of the Year. Drumroll please...
Star Citizen is one of the most ambitious games in development—a massive, high-fidelity, multiplayer space combat sim headed by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts. Back at GDC I interviewed Roberts about how he plans to realize Star Citizen's prodigious goals, the latest development update—which details modular ship customization—and how the universe as a whole will be simulated. You probably also want to scroll down for the first in-engine screenshots since the prototype reveal.