Get Your Dote On: Prime World Properly Launched

Push mid and win

With so many Dote ‘em ups loose in the world by now, who has time to play them all? Especially when they’re only in open beta testing. Best to wait until they’re done enough to officially launch, then mosey on in and see what they’re all about. Now’s the time to hit Prime World, as after months of open beta testing it’s been declared cool to fool and has actually, properly launched. It’s free-to-play, of course.

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DevLog Watch: Curious Expedition, Lift, Office Management

Tesla! Flight! Offices.

The problem with turning this into a regular column is that I have to write it regularly. I have clearly failed this week, but that shouldn’t stop you enjoying day-late development blogs and GIFs from around the web.

Includes: dinosaurs, Nikola Tesla, flight sandboxes, conference tables, ‘game jams’.

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Perchance To Frog: Cave Story Dev’s Kero Blaster Dated

Given the life he leads, that is one bored-looking frog.

Another pixelated retro action-platformer? I know, I know. But this one has a frog! Also, Kero Blaster¬†is kinda the latest tadpole offspring from indie legend Cave Story‘s design/writing/sound/everything wizard,¬†Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya, and it looks like a rather sumptuous offering in its simplicity. It’s leaping jetpacking into action – as frogs are wont to do – next month, and you can see a trailer below.

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Mars Defends: The Red Solstice

The Red Solstice is currently heading to the mid-point of a fairly solid Kickstarter campaign but I predict great things for the future. It’s an eight player coop squad shooter based on a Warcraft mod called Night Of The Dead and one may be the only game in existence to jettison zombies rather than cramming in as many as possible like the deranged operator of a bilious battery farm. It’s the Warcraft origins that caught my attention though – by 2021, will people be travelling around the world to play The Red Solstice in enormous tournaments, larger and more cash-corrupted than the FIFA Pepsi Gazprom World Cup? Stranger things draw a crowd.

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Up In The Sky! – It’s An Excellent Enemy Starfighter Trailer

Until mankind has explored and shot all of space in the face, we cannot - will not - be satisfied.

It is the year 2014, and somehow on our wobbly stacks of gamerly plates we have more space games than we know what to do with. I refuse to look this (largely crowdfunded) gift horse-shaped starship in the terribly located exhaust port that resembles a mouth. That said, many of said spacefarers – Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, Limit Theory, etc – are shooting for the stars with massive Do Everything Be Everything universes, and there’s something to be said for focus. That’s what the brilliant-looking Enemy Starfighter offers in spades. Each level sees you pre-plan your leap into a system from a top-down strategic map and then execute it from the cockpit with squad in tow. It’s a magnificently svelte concept, and there’s a new trailer of it in action below.

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Dreamfall Dev Debuts ‘Gone Home Meets Amnesia’ Draugen

Are you afraid of that tree? You should be afraid of that tree.

It’s easy to forget that Red Thread Games is working on anything other than Dreamfall Chapters because, well, Dreamfall Chapters. But last year, the viking-est man in game development, Ragnar Tornquist, and his band of merry yarn-spinners announced first-person survival horror adventure Draugen, which does not sound much like Dreamfall at all. Tornquist has instead opted to plant its ragged bones between Gone Home and Amnesia, a description that has me quite intrigued indeed. Debut trailer below.

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John Carmack Speaks Out In Support Of Oculus/Facebook

Working for id funded my space ship projects, but Facebook will give me enough to establish my own planet.

Depending on which vomit-and-time-encrusted pub on the edge of the Internet you walk into, Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus Rift is either the worst or most worthy of cautious optimism thing to ever happen. Many developers are on board with the idea. Notch, however, is not. Oculus’ most recognizable faces – all of which now presumably sport company-mandated books – are quite pleased, but what of the notoriously opinionated (if not exactly outspoken) John Carmack? The former id Software tech guru has always marched to the beat of his own drum, so a corporate overlord like Facebook might not seem like his cup of perfectly optimized (for both flavor and caffeination) tea. But if there’s one thing Carmack is always good for, it’s surprises.

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The Lighthouse Customer: 1849

No spaghetti in this western, but there is a bakery.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, wild west management in 1849.

How-do, pardner! I know you’re accustomed to a ton of shootin’, lootin’, rootin’ and/or tootin’ in your wild west games, but rarely do they address the real complexities of frontier life. For instance, where did the fabric needed to sew all those enormous calico dresses come from? Who provided the lumber and fashioned the boards to build the O.K. Corral? How did gunslingers acquire olive oil to daintily dip their sourdough bread into? Finally, those head-scratchin’, long-lingerin’ questions have been answered in the early access wild-west management game 1849 from Somasim. Reach for it, cowboy! Not your gun, your sales ledger!

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Badger Cull: Shelter 2 Announced

This one is about the Lynx.

I thought Shelter was a frustrating experience about shepherding an idiot brood of badgers through bad pathfinding and poorly signposted objectives. It’s wholly possible that you’re a far better person than I, and you saw in it the same touching story of parenthood as Cara and John. If so, prepare to get broody: developers Might And Delight have announced Shelter 2.

Even I have to admit it looks very pretty. Extremely teasery trailer below.

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Hands On: LEGO Minifigures Online

Funcom haven’t had a smooth ride of late. The Secret World performed under expectations (although these were expectations based on their delusionally thinking they could charge a box price and subscription for a new IP MMO), and in January they were briefly suspended from trading as their offices were raided. That cannot have been fun. However, things appear to be back on track now, and last week they were showing off their next MMO, LEGO Minifigures Online. It could well be a much needed cash cow for the milking. I sat down and had a play of the family-friendly brick-me-do.

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Chip Off The Old Blocks: Voxel Quest

I’ve spent half an hour of my afternoon watching the Voxel Quest March update. It’s only fifteen minutes long but I went back in for a second viewing as soon as it finished because I realised I must have nodded off during the most important bit. The video shows a delicious voxel engine, capable of showing fantastically splishy-splashy water as well as lovely, warm cottages and trees which display their age rings when they’re bisected. It’s extraordinary to look at and developer Gavan Woolery talks about Dwarf Fortress, roguelikes and narrative elements in a soothing, world-weary tone. But when I got to the end, I didn’t know who I would be in the game or what I would be doing. I felt like I’d been on quick tour around a world that I might have no place in.

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Hands On: Survarium

The first part of Vostok’s grand post-apocalyptic shooter plan, Survarium, has now started inviting batches of sign ups to their beta. It’s the multiplayer FPS portion of the game, and as such basically a test of the shooting, running about, and weapon unlocking game systems. It’s an experience that will be familiar to anyone who spent time playing first-person games online in the past decade, although set in the most lavish of Ukrainian apocalypses.

So is that offering going to be strong enough to power the game through to its pseudo-Stalker co-op core? Peer into my crystal lake of toxic weirdness to find out.

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Coverage: Not A Hero Announced

No more heroes anymore

London lot Roll7’s side-on shooter Not A Hero was given a formal announcement and grand unveiling at EGX Rezzed this weekend, perhaps not coincidentally opposite the Hotline Miami 2 booth. Oh, but to compare the two would be lazy. See, while Not A Hero is a point-scoring, man-murdering, pixel-bleeding, die/restart run and gun game, it’s also a cover shooter. Having had a bash myself, I’d say it’s worth keeping an eye on. Read the rest of this entry »