DICE open new studio in LA, possibly to work on Star Wars games

Phil Savage at

DICE have sailed across the Atlantic, and planted a studio shaped flag in a patch of Los Angeles. The newly opened DICE LA has already taken on veterans from Medal of Honor devs Danger Close and plans to have around 60 staff members by the end of the year, taking their orders from DICE's current HQ in Stockholm. As yet, we're unsure what the studio will be working on, although there's been some speculation that they've been appropriated to push EA's further expansion into the Star Wars license.

DICE seeking thesis student to implement Oculus Rift support in Frostbite

Tyler Wilde at

DICE has put out a call for a master thesis student capable of implementing support for the Oculus Rift SDK in the Frostbite Engine, meaning the much-hyped VR headset is at least in the developer's periphery. It also answers the question: "Can university life become even further removed from reality?"

New Mass Effect helmed by Bioware Montreal, uses Frostbite engine, adds new gameplay

Marsh Davies at

Following the announcement of a new Mass Effect game, and an invitation to contribute ideas to it, Bioware are now passing the baton for the franchise's future development from its Edmonton crew to the company's Montreal studio. And that's not the only change for the series: the new game will set aside Unreal in favour of Battlefield's Frostbite engine and there are hints of significant changes to the game's formula, too. Fingers-crossed for that rhythm-action Krogan-boffing minigame we've all been waiting for!

64-bit OS required for some 2013 Frostbite games says DICE dev

Tom Senior at

Some of next year's Frostbite 2-powered games will require a 64-bit OS to run. That's according to a tweet from DICE Frostbite rendering architect, Johan Andersson, picked up by Eurogamer. Battlefield 3 was the first game released to be powered by the new engine, but it's since turned up in other EA titles like Need for Speed: The Run and Medal of Honor. It'll be interesting to learn which 2013 games will also be carrying the new tech.

"If you are on 32-bit, great opportunity to upgrade to Windows 8," says Andersson. Windows 7 64-bit should work just as well. A 64-bit OS lets systems make of more than 2GB of RAM, so it's a useful upgrade whether or not you're planning on playing any EA games next year. It's inconvenient, maybe, but shows that graphics tech is levelling up. Recently, Epic released the first screenshots of Unreal Engine 4. 2013 could be a big year for graphics engines.

This week's best free PC games

Lewis Denby at

So, a Ludum Dare 48-hour development competition happened recently, and three of the games below are a result of it. Frostbite smartly works an entire game around the concept of deadly cold, Last Breath is about a dead dog, and ZERO2 sees you investigating something odd among snowy hills. Elsewhere, absolutely enormous point-and-click adventure Donna: Avenger of Blood is a dark and brooding title that demands many hours of your time. Read on for more juicy details on this week's best freebies!

Ludum Dare 22 won by Frostbite and Midas

Tom Senior at

"Alone" was the theme of the latest Ludum Dare indie game contest. Anyone who fancied joining in had 48 hours to create a game based on the theme. Then, everyone got to play each other's games and rate them based on categories like humour, fun, innovation, graphics, audio. The game with the highest overall score takes the top spot.