Spitfire Spit Take: Cult Of The Wind Has Human Dogfights

By Graham Smith on April 15th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Nyeeaaoooohhh!

If you can look beyond their booger-noses and barely masked sociopathy, children make excellent game designers. They do this stuff for free all the time, just to amuse themselves. Every weekend is crunch time. Developers North of Earth are wise to look to them for inspiration, making a multiplayer shooter about human dogfights. “In Cult of the Wind, players compete and cooperate in ritualistic multi-player human dogfights, complete with imaginary weapons, pretend explosions, and airplane noises made with their mouths.” It looks delightful, it’s on Greenlight, and there’s a trailer below.

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Found: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha Mod Coming This Month

By Alice O'Connor on April 15th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

Who hasn't longed to see this little chap waddling around?

Like old Stalker tales told around the campfire, a lot of strange and wonderful things were once said to be in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, from naked green dwarves to driveable vehicles and a whole extra city. Several mods have restored various bits of cut content, based on leftover files and leaked dev builds, but Lost Alpha is one of the more ambitious. What began as a project to remake and reintegrate these leftovers has blown up into a new parallel story which includes (new) old content and a bits of the creators’ own design too.

In response to some ruffian leaking a scrappy old build from November, developers Dezowave Group have decided to release Lost Alpha earlier than planned then keep working on it. It’ll arrive on April 26, the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster which started all this.

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The Lighthouse Customer: Space Engineers (Survival Mode)

By Christopher Livingston on April 14th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

This thing better have at least one cup holder.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, space-based gathering, crafting, and dying in Space Engineers’ new survival mode.

There’s a large red and white spaceship, its front end crumpled after what must have been a spectacular nosedive. There’s a tiny yellow space engineer inspecting the wreck, armed with only a handful of tools. There’s the inky blackness of outer space, the comforting glow of a distant sun, and an asteroid field of stationary rocks, chock-full of ore and minerals to mine. As the astronaut floats there, enchanted by the view, he notices a few of the asteroids — quite a few, in fact — have given up waiting for him to visit them and taken a more proactive stance. They’re delivering themselves to him. Well, at him, anyway. In an awful hurry.

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On A High Speed Rail: Half-Life 1 Finished In 21 Minutes

By Graham Smith on April 14th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

These guys don't stand a chance.

Like any form of competition, speedrunning generates arguments over authenticity. Does a speedrun count if it relies on a bunny-hopping mod, in-game glitches and different runners tackling different parts of the game in short segments? I’m not sure I care either way. No matter the methods, Half-Life 1 being completed in 20 minutes and 41 seconds is an accomplishment of endurance, skill and effort. More importantly it’s a beautifully entertaining video, full of ingenuity and grace and physical comedy. The new record time is embedded below. You must watch it.

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SOMA’s Grip On YouTube Screamers, The Future Of Horror

By Nathan Grayson on April 14th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

I played Amnesia: The Dark Descent spiritual/ghooooostual successor SOMA, and it didn’t really do it for me. That said, Frictional creative director Thomas Grip’s plans for the wetter-is-deader stroll into the maw of madness are quite interesting, though whether he can pull it all off remains to be seen. Today we continue on from our previous discussion, pushing doggedly forward into Grip’s plan for possibly the longest build-up (five hours!) in horror gaming history, YouTube culture’s effect on horror, procedurally generated scares and why they both aid and mortally wound true terror, modern horror’s over-reliance on samey settings and tropes, and where Grip sees the genre heading in the future.

Agree or disagree, the man has some extremely illuminating perspectives, and you can’t fault him for wanting to break away from the played-out influence of his own previous game. It’s all below.

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Final Death: World of Darkness MMO Cancelled

By Alice O'Connor on April 14th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

The long dark night of the soulless

In the eight years since CCP Games started their World of Darkness MMO, we’ve barely heard more than tales about the adaptation of White Wolf’s supernatural RPG universe, whispers in the night from mouths awfully close to our necks. It was to be a sandbox world where vampires battled and politicked for power, where everyone started as a human and theoretically could stay so, where even vampires might suffer permadeath, and where we’d have as much fun dressing up as in any goth club. These plans and murmurs may be all we ever get, as today CCP officially cancelled it.

The team had been cut down several times over the years and it was clearly never the EVE Online creators’ top priority, but now the World of Darkness MMO is properly dead. Not undead. Just gone.

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A Game And A Chat: X-Com Creator Julian Gollop

By Nathan Grayson on April 14th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

Once upon a time Julian Gollop was one of the principle minds behind the original X-Com. Yes, with a dash. A dollop of Gollop’s design wizardry spawned a legendary strategy series, and now – somewhat fittingly, I suppose – he’s making a game about actual wizards. Chaos Reborn is mere days away from casting off its mortal Kickstarter, so Gollop and I are going to play a few rounds of a recent prototype while discussing the ups and downs of running a Kickstarter, the power (and lack thereof) of legacy, what made people fall so madly in love with X-Com, and which of said secret ingredients Chaos Reborn does and doesn’t apply. Expect a heady brew of history and reflection with a powerful note of fuuuuuuture. We’re kicking off at 10 AM PT/6 PM BST.

Update: We’re done! And we ended up roping in a special guest: XCOM: Enemy Unknown lead designer Jake Solomon. What followed were some great Chaos Reborn matches followed by an excellent discussion between two of the brightest minds in the turn-based strategy business. Catch it all below.

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Spike The Earth: KeeperRL Alpha

By Adam Smith on April 14th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

Every morning, my inbox contains at least one email pointing in the direction of a less complicated and/or complex Dwarf Fortress. There was a time when I believed in the dream of an approachable Dwarf Fortress with a friendly interface but I’m starting to think that even the slightest simplification invalidates the comparison. Dwarf Fortress is complexity, of simulation and control, and the games that do have something in common with it often have far more in common with more traditional management sims or roguelike adventures. KeeperRL, sensibly and pleasingly, plays more like top-down Dungeon Keeper than Dwarf Fortress with the edges smoothed and the corners cut. The alpha is available and crowdfunding has begun.

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Natural Selection 2′s Combat Mod Going Standalone

By Alice O'Connor on April 14th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Natural Selection 2: Dance-Off

Half-Life begot the mod Natural Selection, which begot standalone sequel Natural Selection 2, which together with NS1′s Combat mode incestuously begot NS2′s Combat mod, which now begets standalone game Natural Selection 2: Combat. It’s all a bit like Chronicles with assault rifles.

Faultline Games are taking their Combat mod standalone, they’ve announced, expanding and polishing it up as one would expect. Combat’s a murder-oriented version of Natural Selection, focusing on the asymmetric humans vs. aliens FPS combat while doing away with RTS-y bits like resource-gathering and commanders. It also splashes in RPG-y levelling, with murder-earned skill points unlocking new weapons, tech, life forms and whatnot.

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First Subnautica Screenshots Surface

By Alice O'Connor on April 14th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Where I'd like to be

I’ll tell you what’s in space: a big load of nothing. Oh I’m sure it’s very pretty and makes you think and all that, but I’ll find my abyssal mirror in the ocean thank you very much. You know what’s down there? Iron snails, radiant deathworms, giant woodlice, immortal jellyfish, and colossal creatures we discover by finding bits of them in other monsters’ stomachs. So naturally I’m pretty jazzed for Unknown Worlds to plumb watery depths in Subnautica.

The Natural Selection 2 devs over the weekend pulled a virtual gold tasselled rope to open digital red velvet curtains and reveal the open-world oceanic build-o-explorer, and it looks quite pleasant.

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DevLog Watch: The Hit, Infinitesimals, The Masterplan

By Graham Smith on April 14th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

A strange comic.

current mood: Optimistic
current song: Lou Reed – NYC Man

It’s a Monday and you’re back at work, but outside your window the sun is shining. You know you’re going to go into it later and have an adventure, but for now things aren’t so bad. You have friends here. You have music playing. Boots had your favourite sandwich in stock for your £3.29 lunchtime meal deal. And there’s a collection of in-development games to browse, to help you get excited about the future.

Dreams! Pilotable spider robots! Heists!

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