AI War Releases Light of the Spire Expansion. Also Becomes Officially Enormous with v5.0

AI War is a huge game already. Arcen Games has ceaselessly released update over update and expansion over expansion over the years the game has been active. This indirectly controlled space-strategy game is pretty big. Running on the beautiful Unity engine, the game is quite brilliant and requires a serious amount of forethought and strategizing to play.


The game has now been updated to version 5.0 and a new expansion pack has also been released, titled Light of the Spire, increasing the number of ships by 180, new music and factions and a new game mode called Defendermode that you can pick up and play. A lot of the mechanics of the game have been rebalanced for better and challenging gameplay. It is also as cold and unwelcoming as ever to newcomers, like Dwarf Fortress. It’s so hard it’s good. Try losing a couple of times (or a few hundred times) before it clicks with you. The game is pretty huge and, if bought from the Arcen Games store, has no DRM.

Do keep on the lookout for a Steam or Impulse sale for the entire AI War series at a discount. The larger this game gets, the more tempting it is for me to get into it. However, the larger this game gets, the more intimidating and cold this game seems; it’s like Minecraft that way (but thankfully I got into it earlier than most. Ha!)

Check out the release trailer for Light of the Spire here.

Old Classics Hit Facebook as Casual Games

Remember Oregon Trail? The educational video game developed in 1974 designed to teach children the perils of the pioneer life of the 19th century? Yes that game with dysentry and snakebite that could kill your settlers as you moved from Independence, Missouri to Willamette Valley, Oregon. It was a lot of fun to play (and caused a lot of irritation when your settlers died of dysentry). Also, in the same vein, remember Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? ? Oh yes, playing as ACME agency’s best agents in the never-ending battle of subtlety and guile against V.I.L.E’s thieving villainess Carmen Sandiego travelling around the world and its exotic locales to get the next clue in the case file. Good times!


Well, it seems that The Learning Company has decided that they could use new-age casual gaming platforms to encourage students to play these games again.

However, we do not understand how this will benefit players right now. Considering that most Facebook users are in the 18-25 age bracket and that these games have a target audience of elementary to mid-school students, it is quite odd to see The Learning Company push for these games as casual titles for Facebook users to play.

Nevertheless, I’d be happier to see pop-ups of educational games rather than lost cows on my Facebook news digest. Trailers for both the games follow.

Activate3D wants to increase your immersion in games

Motion Sensing is all the rage these days, and it’s all Nintendo’s fault. Starting with the Nintendo Wii’s Wiimotes and eventually ending up with the Sony PlayStation Move controller and the ever-modded Microsoft Kinect, motion-based gameplay has come a very long way. We all have seen how Microsoft’s revolutionary motion-capturing controller has allowed for a lot of awesome hacks and mods. So what could possibly better all of these brilliant pieces of tech?


A new kind of software technology, of course! Activate3D has come up with a new piece of tech called Intelligent Character Motion (ICM) technology. The ICM basically allows the player to feelthrough the virtual world as if they were in it the ultimate goal of most of these motion control input devices. Based on the input (via a Kinect sensor or a Wii wand or any other motion-sensing device) and the surrounds of the virtual avatar, the ICM predicts the most accurate action based on the context. This means that climbing ropes, walking around and swinging on bars would be intuitive.

ICM has been developed after a lot of academic research in this field. CEO and co-founder Jeff Levy said:-

The next few years will see huge advancements in motion input devices.   Translating these new paradigms into compelling and fun games will be challenging.   We are excited about the possibilities that ICM will bring to these next generation games.

We sure are looking forward to immersive gaming based on this new technology!

Cloud Storage on the PS3 with FW 3.60

It seems that the PS3 is in for a major update after quite some time. Remember what they said about Portal 2 for the PS3 also incorporating Steam Cloud? Well Sony is really pleased with this idea and want to generously put up this service for PlayStation Plus subscribers with the newest update.


Calling it the very unimaginative Online Savingprocess, Sony has informed developers about this new axis of storing files and save data with their forthcoming 3.60 firmware update. Cloud storage has the dual advantage of not only making sure the gamer has his/her peace of mind, knowing that their save data is safely backed up on a remote server, it also enables the gamer to play the same game from the same save point on multiple consoles, since the save data is tied to a specific PlayStation Network account.

There is a catch with all this generosity, as mentioned before only PlayStation Plus subscribers will be able to utilize this Online Saving process. The general public (also known as Those-Who-Refuse-To-Pay-For-Demos) is largely barred from this process. Also, since the game data is copied beyond the gamer’s console, some game developers might not be happy with the idea and can thus choose to opt out their video game’s data from being saved on the cloud.

Hopefully it will be implemented well by Sony.

Angry Birds + Rio = Motion Picture Based Casual Game!

We all know and love Rovio’s Angry Birds. Let’s face it it’s addictive, it’s free (for the most part) and the entire concept of birds kamikaze-ing into fat pigs for revengeor defenseis hilarious! Coupled with the Finnish developer’s remarkable amount of market penetration and platform penetration, it’s hard to find smartphone aficionados who have not heard about Angry Birds.


Fox Studios have recognized this exceptional appeal that the mobile game has amongst the general populace and have partnered with Rovio for the publicity of their up and coming motion picture Rio featuring two rare macaws Blu and Jewel on a whirlwind journey through the magical city of Rio. The movie, slated for an April release, will utilize the mobile gaming platform in a delightfully new way.

In partnering with Rovio, we are combining the world’s hottest application developer with one of the motion picture industry’s premier creative forces to introduce the millions of fans of ANGRY BIRDS to the exciting world of RIO,said Peter Levinsohn, president of new media and digital distribution for Twentieth Century Fox.

The premise for the video game is that the birds are kidnapped and taken to the magical city of Rio. The birds eventually escape (by smashing into the bars of their cage, no doubt) and start a quest for saving their macaw friends. As with any Angry Birds game, Angry Birds Rio will feature replayable physics-based gameplay, loads of twists and will set the stage for the movie.

Check out the video for Angry Birds Rio here!

New Mount & Blade Game Officially Announced

Mount & Blade: Warband is one of my favorite games. This is because it allows me to do things I see in the movies in the most brutal, undignified and feudal way possible. It allows me to be either an adventurer, a feudal lord or a King of the pseudo-realistic realm of Calradia (which is very similar to Europe), collect taxes, protect fiefs and generally either contain or create havoc. All this while personally leading armies that have hundreds of soldiers in each battle charging behind your horse as you impale, slice and shoot at enemies while on your horse.


So when a new Mount & Blade game is announced by Taleworlds; one that includes new modernweapons such as pistols, muskets and crude grenades and promises more political intrigue, new factions and a generally awesome feel that follows the Mount & Blade games, I have every reason to get excited, and so do you.


Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword will involve all of the above stated features, along with the fact that this game will be set in Europe and not Calradia. A Europe that you, the player, will fight to rule. While it is not an entire clone of the original Mount & Blade game it will contain a definite story and a rich pool of historic events that have been thoroughly researched it will contain the essence of the M&B games specifically the mounting and the blade-ing.

I’m not complaining at all, though.

Sony Aims to Send Harsh Message to Security Researchers

The hot topic in the Sony PlayStation community has been the security breach of the PS3 devices by computer security analysts and hackers as was revealed in the Chaos Communication Congress. When hacker George Hotz (of the legalizediPhone jailbreak fame) managed to use root keys to make the PS3 run unauthorized code, there was havoc. Geohotz’s method allows anyone with a PS3 to use his hack to run homebrew games or applications (software that is not authorized by Sony) and pirated games. While Geohotz claims that the purpose of his hack was to enable the running of homebrew software something the PS3’s smaller sibling, the PlayStation Portable, is highly sought-after for the inevitability of piracy landing on the unhackablePS3 is quite obvious.


Thus, Sony is suing George Hotz, and some other security analysts under certain laws of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA is supposed to be a champion for the cause of intellectual property rights and royalty rights, and is also the key support on which Digital Rights Management (DRM) stands.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that tries to preserve our rights of speech and privacy in this age of electronic devices and networks, has always warned the general public about the DMCA. Corrynne McSherry and Marcia Hofmann of the EFF write:-

For years, EFF has been warning that the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be used to chill speech, particularly security research, because legitimate researchers will be afraid to publish their results lest they be accused of circumventing a technological protection measure. We’ve also been concerned that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be abused to try to make alleged contract violations into crimes.

The DMCA is also strangely inconsistent. While Geohotz is being tried under this law, earlier he was released by the same law when he allowed the jailbreaking of Apple’s iPhone. Sony also words its complaint harshly stating that Hotz and his defendants breached the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well:

by transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a communication containing a threat to obtain information from a protected computer without authorization, or to impair the confidentiality of information obtained from a protected computer.

(The entire lawsuit is embedded below)


How Sony will ever remove the hack from the depths of the internet is something that will keep the tech world interested in the coming days. It would be the nearest that the net will come to seeing a slapstick comedy performed live by a huge technology company.

Duke Nukem Forever Release Date Announced: May 3, 2011

May 6th for every country apart from the US of A, because there will be a considerable amount of collective mangasms when Duke Nukem Forever is released for poor mother earth to bear.

Being a member of the Duke Nukem Forever First Access Club has several advantages. One gets to know about the release dates, gets to see new videos and concept art and generally feels good, knowing that after all the trouble 3D Realms went about to become Gearbox Studios, all their really hard work is going to see some really good recognition.


Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software had this to say.

When I said goodbye to 3D Realms and the original Duke Nukem 3D team in 1997 and soon after founded Gearbox Software, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that a day like today would come. Today I am proud, humbled and even astounded to announce that the day is coming at last for all gamers to be a part of video game history: Duke Nukem Forever will launch worldwide this May!

In line with this announcement a spanking new video trailer has been released for DNF (which, as you all know by now is not an acronym for Did Not Finish; those jokes are old and irrelevant now). You can watch the trailer here (or below, where you shall find it embedded).

Zork and Police Quest Anthologies Released on GOG!

As mentioned earlier, the initial conjectures were partly right about the police line on The fine Polish people have managed to wriggle out some more Activision titles to add to their truly old and classic library of games for sale. The two impressive DRM-free bunch of titles that they have recently acquired are the Zork Anthology and Police Quest games. If you need to know what these games are, then here goes:

Zork Anthology: The Zork games are the fruits of a very ripe harvest of text-based adventures. The games are honed and shaped to your skill with nothing but text and a few commands that make up the world. The only graphics card that you would ever need is your imagination as it shapes the words from the text into a bizarre, funny and quite an interesting world. Welcome to the Underground!


The Zork Anthology consists of Zork I, Zork II, Zork III, Beyond Zork, Zork Zero, and Planetfall.

Police Quest 1-4: As a forerunner of many detective stories these days, the Police Quest games are one of the most realistic police games ever made. In the four games, the stories of crime on the streets mix with the personal lives of the officers and layers of complex storytelling come as one. Not only will the games allow you to follow a very realistic story each time, they also educate you on the different aspects of police protocol.


The Police Quest series consists of Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel, Police Quest 2: The Vengeance, Police Quest 3: The Kindred, and Police Quest: Open Season

So which game will you be buying, and why? Do tell us in the comments!

Portal 2 PS3 Version Will Include SteamPlay Version Free

Well this is a first for both Valve and Sony. The highly anticipated successor to the really awesome First Person Puzzle Solver That Ate Your Brains Out While Being Ridiculously Funny Portal will very probably be one of the firsts in gaming history; Portal 2‘s PS3 version will come with an activation key for the Steam version to play on your PC (or Mac), completely free!


All you need to do is type up the key on Steam and voila, you’ll have Portal 2 waiting to be downloaded and played by you, the gamer on the go. Apparently, this cross-platform gaming will also include PS3-to-PC chatting between players, and might also involve a good deal of cross-platform play (obviously) and will include syncs between your PlayStation Network (PSN) ID and your Steam account.

However, the clincher is that the PS3 version will include SteamCloud support which means that if you save at a certain point on your PS3, it syncs to Steam’s servers, and you can start the game from the exact place on your PC! So, just in case GLaDOS screws you over at a certain level and you decide to throw your controller at your PS3 very forcibly (thereby killing it instantly), fear not for SteamCloud will come to the rescue (of your game, not your console).

Here’s to looking at more console and PC friendships!

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