Posts Tagged ‘Stardock’

Demogod: Divine Updates For Demigod Inbound

That there wasn’t a demo of a game that proved so hard to describe in a single sentence is one of several perplexing decisions around the launch of Gas-Powered Games/Stardock’s action-strategy thingy Demigod. Stardock’s Brad Wardell has shoved up another of his irregular state of play updates, and alongside another apology for those awful multiplayer problems in the game’s first week, he reveals plans for a demo and two new Demigods. Waroo!
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Divinely Disconnected: Demigod Unreviewed


What follows can’t really be said to be a review. The plan was that I would write up a “Wot I Think” discussion of Demigod for the week it was released, but that didn’t work out. Having suffered quite a bit of upset on launch, Demigod – which has been heavily patched and continues to evolve – remains troubled. The trouble is nothing to do with game design, it’s to do with the internet. A technical issue. I’ve only been able to connect to a single online game in countless hours of trying, troubleshooting, tweaking, crying. Alec seems similarly blighted. What follows is therefore is the incomplete account of an unhappy soul. But it should also be clear that I think this – in spite of it all – a brilliant game.
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Demigod: The Saga Continues

As Jim alluded to in the comments thread for our Demigod discussion last week, one of the many interesting issues around writing for the web instead of for print is that a verdict passed on a game doesn’t have to stay static in the event that game’s problems improve/worsen. Demigod’s a fine example – if one of us had written it up on compressed tree-matter and shoved a number at the end, that number would reflect its enormous netcode screw-ups, and would sit as a faintly damning judgement upon it for all time (of course, damnable parasite-site Metacritic means that problem still exists for a lot of web stuff too).

While releasing a game that was problem-riddled in the first place is scarcely something that should be condoned, as GPG and Stardock (I’m becoming increasingly confused as to who’s really in charge of DG now) have been frantically racing to patch the thing up over the last week, such a judgement would already have been innacurate. Especially as it appears – oh dear – piracy may have significantly exacerbated DG’s multiplayer problems….
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Demithoughts on Demigod

Gas-Powered Games’ (with a little help from Stardock) Demigod enjoyed an unexpected early release yesterday, thanks to a silly snafu by Gamestop. Jim’s feverishly working on a full verdict on it to be posted in a few days’ time, but unfortunately it’s been held up by the release version suffering some pretty flaky netcode. It wouldn’t do to judge a game that’s almost entirely multiplayer only on the strength of its offline skirmishes, so while we wait and pray for an ultra-patch, Jim and Alec had a brief chat about their impressions so far… If they both seem a little surly, it’s because their clever brainwave to try and get the damn thing working in LAN mode over Hamachi had also just failed miserably…
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Demigod Released Early


Well that cocks up my release-day review, doesn’t it? Thanks to Gamestop inexplicably releasing the game early at retail in the US, the release of digital download versions of Demigod have been brought forward to yesterday. Brad Wardell explains the kerfuffle over at his Impulse blog, as well as pointing out that this whole mess should, in theory, “maximise” piracy rates:

“…it was Easter weekend. And many of us had just finished a good solid 8 weeks of massive crunch and were looking forward to the weekend to recover. Instead, we found ourselves back at work having to turn on and configure the multiplayer matchmaking servers… we’ll get to actually see the effects of piracy. Since we know Demigod is an outstanding game with a wide appeal with equal retail and digital distribution to other titles that came out this year with similar demographics we can see how well it sells compared to them.”

Thoughts? I’m liking Demigod very much. Rook SMASH! And if you’re going to get it before you read a more sophisticated verdict than that, buy it on Impulse. We’ll post some more detailed thoughts later in the week.

Earth, Wind and Footage: Elemental In-Game

Little red thing, sitting on a level, being little and red. You are the little red thing. Let none mock you.

When listening to the latest Three Moves Ahead about Demigod, I found myself over on Troy’s blog nosing around. In it, I find something fun from GDC which we missed – namely, Stardock having released a little walkthrough video including the first public (if early) footage of Elemental: War of Magic. You’ll remember Elemental from the memories laid down inside your noggin when we interviewed Brad Wardell for our Unknown Pleasures feature. Anyway – as the Elemental beta inches closer, time to see the fantasy/strategy/RPG malarkies Stardock are working on. Video beneath the cut.
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Demigod “Oak” Developer Walkthrough


The mighty Brad Wardell of Stardock has done a lengthy narration of in-game footage for Demigod, and it’s been hosted over at GameTrailers. I’ve embedded that after the jump for your eyebrow-raising consideration. Wardell is playing as one of the demigods we’ve not seen before: the Oak, who has some splendid necromantic talents. The man from Stardock also talks about the Pantheon, which is Demigod’s “persistent world” battle tracking system. That will basically allow you to put your efforts into fighting for a particular faction, pushing one of the demigods towards ascension to full godhood.

Anyway, go take a look. Demigod is due to ascend to digital retailhood in April.
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Entrenchment: Sins Of A Trailer Empire


If I were making a trailer for the brilliant Sins Of A Solar Empire I would definitely show the best feature in the game: the extraordinary long zoom from space craft out to solar map. It’s the kind of camera wizziness that puts Supreme Commander to shame. It’s the thing that makes the game as impressive as it is. Instead, the new movie for the expansion, Entrenchment, shows off the exploding spacecraft, and their laser combat. That’s all good stuff, but it’s not the crux of the game. Come on trailer-making folks, let’s see genuine game footage. We’re all gamers here.
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Braid Coming To Impulse, Others


[EDIT: Actual price for this is $14.95.] Exquisitely clever time-bending platformer Braid will finally see a PC release on March 31st, and the $15 pre-orders are up on Stardock’s DRM-free digi-delivery system, Impulse. Blow says: “”I’ve signed the game with 3 different online distributors. One of them, Impulse, has already announced. The other two haven’t put out their press releases yet, so I don’t want to jump the gun saying who it is.” (Thanks, Paul.)

The IGF winner is one of the most heavily praised indie games of the past few years, and has caused many people to say “beeeeoooowwwoop!” in earnest. Creator Jonathan Blow gave a memorable keynote at FreePlay in 2007, in which he both talked up Braid and described the reward scheme of World Of Warcraft as “unethical”. Braid trailer after the click.

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Unknown Pleasures 2009: Elemental: War of Magic

He's not Elemental. He's plain mental.

Ever since RPS’ inception, Stardock done nothing but to do things to further endear themselves to PC Gamers. A fountain of Gal Civ splenditude. A move into publishing with the brilliant Sins of a Solar Empire and the looking-brilliant DemiGod. Even pushing a gamers bill of rights. This is simply their next step, a Master-of-Magic inspired fantasy game which they’ve been working on for years but only finally gave it a name towards the close of the last. It’s time we all learned it. It’s Elemental: War of Magic and looks set to becoming the next PC-strategy game du jour. We talk to Brad Wardell about it…

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We Don’t Just Post About Steam, Right


We also post about Stardock’s Impulse thinger, which is like Steam, only different. They have a sale on and look at this: Galactic Civilizations I: Ultimate for $3.99, Space Rangers 2 Complete for $3.99, Supreme Commander for $9.99, and Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords for $9.99. Ace.

Anyone using Impulse out there? Thoughts? Complaints? Concise user-reviewers to inform and aid your fellow consumers in their task of identifying and purchasing entertainment bargains? Anything?

Win! Galactic Civilisations II: Endless Universe


And some other stuff! To celebrate the UK launch of the excellent Galactic Civilisations II: Endless Universe (which is basically the compilation version of the original game, with both of the expansions integrated for a full package of galactic conquest), we’ve got a bunch of GalCiv stuff to give away, including copies of the game and a resplendent Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum – Fatal1ty Champion Edition soundcard. This competition is only open to residents of the UK. Sorry! Clickwards for details.

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The Free Free World: The Political Machine Express

Waagh

Political satire and turn-based strategy: a surprisingly winning combination. Stardock have just chucked out a free version of their lovely The Political Machine 2008, which is essentially a demo in all but name. It is, however, the part of the game that everyone wants to play the most: Obama vs Mcain. With staunch support from Joe Biden and the pitbull with lipstick, of course. Many of the full game’s features, such as design it yourself candidates and randomised issues, are missing, but multiplayer’s in there. Grab it from here.

Oh, here’s me semi-Verdicting the full game a little while ago. If you do already own TPM08, it’s worth grabbing the recent 1.5 update – not least because it adds Palin and Biden, but also because it ups the variety of what was a slightly shallow game. You have to get it through Stardock’s Impulse thinger, which is something I’ve yet to form a definite feeling about. Interesting, but it hasn’t wormed its way into my life/PC like Steam has. It’s very early days for it, of course.

Demigod Footage


So the left over footage from PAX includes a few minutes of Demigod footage with some detailed developer commentary. The explanations highlight your demigod’s character development as you play – the big old central unit in your battle will grow stronger and expand in powers during each bout against another demigod. So it’s that whole RTS-but-ooh-we-have-RPG-stats-for-heroes thing. The footage also give you some idea of how the game plays – a fairly fast-paced action RTS, via way of the tower of Babel and cosmic battle-chess. It’s looking good.

The limited beta, which should begin any day now, will be available to folks who pre-order via Impulse.
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Stardock: Gamer’s Bill Of Rights

Heading to a brave new future!

It’s hard not to want to give Stardock a kiss on the nose. But as professional, aloof critics, we are required not to have favourites, ensuring we are as precise and astute in all things. It’s interesting to note how Stardock are aiming to be everyone’s favourite. Their latest effort: The Gamer’s Bill of Rights.

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I Made Dick Cheney President

What have I done?

I’ve done a bad thing. A baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad thing. I’ve made One Of The Most Evil Men In The World president of the USA. Dick Cheney now has the keys to the planet, with staunch support from his Vice-President Lord Krona, who is a brain-washing tyrant from Mars. Or is that Cheney again? I get confused.

It might be an insane, broken system, but American politics is so much more fascinating than British politics at the moment. I may not be able to vote over there, but I can play The Political Machine 2008.

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Stardock Launches Impulse


Stardock’s digital distribution platform, Impulse, goes live today. I know what you’re thinking, but Epic Games, THQ, AVG, iolo, Gas Powered Games, Hothead Games, Ironclad Games, Meridian4 have apparently signed up to the platform. Notable games on there include Sins Of A Solar Empire, Unreal Tournament III, Gal Civ, and Space Rangers 2. No, Space Rangers 2 was awesome, go play it. Details below.
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WIN: Sins Of A Solar Empire


We know how much you love to conquer the universe. So with that in mind we’re delighted to be able to give away five copies of the excellent real-time interstellar space war strategy, Sins Of A Solar Empire. As you’ll recall from our previous discussions, this is a game that we’d definitely recommend people buying, so we’d triply recommend entering a competition to win a copy. Honestly, you might as well click through to the details.
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PC Gamer: Brad Wardell Interview

Not Brad Wardell, unless he's wearing a mask

PCG have lobbed up my interview with Stardock’s El Presidente Brad Wardell. For example, here’s Brad on why their attempts to licence Atari’s old games like Master of Magic fell through…

“We all agreed on everything but the lawyers just killed it. All kinds of requirements. We’re very open about things, and every time we wanted to say something we’d have had to run it by Atari Legal. We couldn’t even put out a news item. And it’s not like we’d be using code. Which was another point – the lawyers didn’t understand we were just doing a trademark licence, and they wanted the rights to the code of anything we wrote. Which was obviously a deal breaker too. It was so incompatible with how we do things.”

He also talks about the myth of old-school PC sales, why he’d love to do a Baldur’s Gate 2 style game, what people in marketing think about the Germans, being an Engineer not an artist and loads more. Read it here. I also now remember I’ve got quite a bit of material left over from this interview, which I’ll whip into shape sharpish.

Sins of a Solar European Release Schedule

I think the subject line is funny. I don't know why
Good news for Europeans who are a bit wary around Digital Downloads – Stardock have announced that they’ve found someone with the good sense to bring Sins of a Solar Empire to retail in Europe, the Middle and Far East. Kudos to Kalypso Media for doing the decent thing and taking our money. The press release says that it’ll be for £29.99 (Or 39.99 Euro-poundies) and “will contain an additional bonus of six exclusive maps, a techtree poster and a comprehensive manual”. Late May/Early June is promised, though there’s no set date yet set. Until then, probably a good time to re-read our RPS Sins of a Solar Empire verdict. Yes.

[Thanks to Joachim for the heads up]