I've been eager to get my hands on the Sims 4 since seeing the trailer revealed at E3 this year. Last week, I got a chance to play for a little more than five hours. I didn't find the new emotion system to be as exciting as Maxis is selling it to be, but there are a number of smaller, meaningful improvements to playability that I was really happy with. Watch the video for my full thoughts on the latest Sims installment.
Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Yarr!.
First, there were pirates, the sea dogs of the the 17th century Caribbean. Then there were Pirates!, who were very similar, except they lived inside computers like the Commodore 64 and Apple II and were created by Sid Meier in 1987. Finally, there are 2004's Pirates!, who sail the Caribbean as salty 3D scalawags instead of tiny blocky pixel sprites. Pirates, Pirates! and 3D Pirates! all do mostly the same things--plunder booty, trade stolen goods, and swordfight with Spanish sailors. 2013's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag may have the more exciting swordfighting, but the greatest piracy simulation of them all is still 2004's Sid Meier's Pirates!. Meier's classic blend of fun minigames and strategy hasn't been replicated in a pirate game since, but that's okay—Pirates! still runs just fine on modern Windows, and at high resolution, too.
Unironic truck driving game Euro Truck Simulator 2 now has three new European cities to drive to and away from. Venice, Graz and Klagenfurt are now feasible destinations thanks to update 1.11, which also introduces a range of other new features and fixes. For example: you can now adjust your seat. It’s possible to adjust your seat in real world trucks, so it’s about time this was reflected in Euro Truck Simulator 2.
Maybe you've read about First Contract, Kerbal Space Program's next update. Now you can see it in action, as SQUAD take you through the contracts, funds and reputation systems that it adds. Despite sounding like a largely administrative update, First Contract should give a big boost to the game's campaign. The contracts are randomly generated, and promise to be tailored to your style of play, hopefully making for an enjoyable series of escalating assignments.
There's something about Kerbal Space Program's current update path that I find extremely charming. They've already added the ship-building, space exploring, physics simulation stuff; now they're slowly adding the admin. The next update for SQUAD's space program, titled First Contract, will further expand the career mode with a mission system that ties into new Funds and Reputation systems.
There was a time when Microsoft Flight Simulator ruled the world. That time was the 1980s, admittedly, an era when a primitive but reasonably accurate flight simulator could provide untold hours of entertainment. Those glory days are long behind us, but good news has come out this week for fans of that particular kind of fun: The studio behind Train Simulator has signed a deal to bring Flight Simulator X to Steam, and the more recent (and apparently popular) X-Plane 10 is on its way too.
I killed a lot of people in Banished. You may have read something about that. The medieval settlement simulator has a distinct SimCity vibe to it but operates on a much more personal level: Individual settlers have names and lives and sometimes alarmingly delicate constitutions, which is problematic when you're in the middle of a heavy winter and the guy who's supposed to be out chopping trees has turned into one. That sort of dilemma may soon be considerably less troublesome, however, as developer Luke Hodorowicz recently revealed that he's spent the past few weeks working to bring mod support to the game.
Take a look at the image above. That's what Chelsea striker and Belgium international Eden Hazard looks like in real life. Now here's what he looks like in Fifa 15.
You've played Truck Simulator, Surgeon Simulator, Farming Simulator and even Goat Simulator. But someday soon, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in an innovative and highly-detailed simulation that promises to surpass them all: Rock Simulator 2014.
The vast majority of space combat simulators we've come to know and love over the years—Wing Commander, TIE Fighter, X: Beyond the Frontier and all the rest—have one thing in common: They employ atmospheric flight models rather than "Newtonian." What this means is that despite "flying" through the zero-gravity void of space, starfighters behave more or less as real-world aircraft do. It's generally seen as a necessary concession to gameplay and conformation to the space dogfight standard established by Star Wars, but Star Citizen will be taking a more complex and realistic approach to its flight model.
We've known about the existence of The Sims 4 since last summer and we have some idea of what to expect from the game too, thanks to a nice October preview that promised to imbue your tiny little digital people with "the full weight of emotion." And now, thanks to the wonders of E3, we finally know when it's coming.
Volition is most closely associated with the Saints Row franchise these days, but to a certain class of joystick-owning oldsters, the name brings something else to mind: Freespace. It was the first project for the developer, and one of the last bastions of the space combat simulation genre. Today. the entire series, including Freespace 2, makes its way to Steam.
Two years is a long time to wait for a new version of a videogame in development, but Dwarf Fortress is more than just a game. It's an "art project that has been in production for over ten years," as the most recent Bay 12 Games report puts it. And a new version is finally on the way.
When I was a youngster, beta testing was something game developers did to ensure their creations functioned correctly before they were unleashed on the public. In more recent years, the term has become almost synonymous with "demo," but Elite: Dangerous takes it a step further by charging $150 for the privilege.
From a design perspective, elaborating on Goat Simulator's features seems impossible. It has everything: goats; tongue-based physics; big, pretty score numbers; goats; a reckless disregard for property value. Still, Coffee Stain isn't yet done with the glory of goat, as a free 1.1 update hits June 3 with a new map, wall running, and local multiplayer support. From the recesses of the "just because" portion of the team's crazy minds comes another addition to the incoming patch: Minecraft—with goats.
Why aren't there more games about politics? The Extremism pack for governing sim Democracy 3 gives you a selection of 33 extra policies to level against disgruntled portions of society. People protesting about high divorce rates? Ban divorce. Too much pollution? Ban airports. Don't like Marmite? You know what to do. The ban-hammer of the elected representative is mighty indeed.
They say that power corrupts, but I suspect it also ages. A once freshfaced candidate, swept into office on an upswell of hope and enthusiasm, will inevitably leave as a wearied, greying husk. In that sense, Tropico 4 was the outgoing incumbent.
The last game in the politically parodic city-building series didn’t introduce new ideas, it merely provided additions to existing features. It brought more buildings, more edicts and more superpowers for El Presidente to deal with, but the telltale tiredness was starting to show. To rejuvenate the franchise its developers, Haemimont Games, were in need of a systemic revolution.
Earlier this month, Coffee Stain Studios made the case for giving their customers free DLC. Now the goat experts are doing exactly that in the first big patch for Goat Simulator. On its blog, Coffee Stain has detailed what the free DLC will include. Are you ready for goat parkour?
How do you beat a game about life, romance and ambition in three-and-a-half minutes? If you're thinking "well just create a charming character, pick the gold digger lifetime wish, marry a rich sim, then lock her in a tiny box and burn it down to secure her inheritance" then firstly, what is wrong with you, and secondly, yes, absolutely that.