Steam May Come to Linux!

According to a huge scoop from Phoronix, Steam might just come to Linux. That’s right, Valve’s insanely popular video game digital distribution platform will finally see the light of day on /etc/Steam (Linux users please note that I am a newbie and as such am just throwing around filesystem names to appear “cool”)

For those that have doubted the exclusive Phoronix claims for quite a while now that the Steam client and Source Engine are in fact being ported to Linux, the doubts can be nearly laid to rest. Even I began to wonder how long it would take before the clients for their popular games would be publicly released under Linux. However, after confirming the information perhaps a bit too soon, their level of Linux interest is much more clear after spending a day at their offices.

After years of denying Steam on Linux it seems that Gabe Newell has finally let slip the codes of Linux into the fiery pit of an Internet guy. Michael Larabel, the founder of Linux focused website Phoronix had been personally contacted by Newell and subsequently he flew down to Valve’s headquarters and has apparently seen the build in person. How awesome is that? He also says that he will be posting the Linux screenies soon on his twitter feed. Soon, he says. Soon. Which translates to “not soon enough!”

Since the announcement, a barrage of followers and users have pretty much taken down the site where he promised a video will soon be uploaded.

Excellent news? You bet. It is thoroughly welcome after Desura’s Linux-specific game search as well as Steam’s own SteamPlay Mac support. Cannot wait for the video!

Diablo III Beta Becomes Open For All This Weekend

With less than a month to go for Diablo III to be released worldwide, Blizzard threw in a real surprise earlier today by announcing that Diablo III beta will be open for all Battle.net account holders.

The open beta will run from Friday, April 20 12:01 p.m. PDT till Monday, April 23 10:00 a.m. and will allow you to play co-op with your friends, with each of the five available classes, limited to a level cap of 13.

Diablo III Installer

So to get into the open beta, this is what you’ll have to do:

That’s it!

Blizzard calls this as a stress test to ensure that their servers are in order just before the big launch event. Korean players, however, won’t be able to participate in this stress. Blizzard has mentioned that players from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau will be involved in a separate invite-only test. The closed beta will run in parallel to this stress test. While the stress test ends on Monday, the closed beta players will be able to play till the First of May, after which the beta ends.

Mac owners will be pleased to know that they aren’t left out this time, and Blizzard has separate Windows and Mac clients. So, what are you waiting for! Headover to Battle.net & download the client!

Mass Effect 3 Gets Free Multiplayer DLC Titled Resurgence

BioWare will be releasing a free DLC tomorrow, titled Mass Effect 3:Resurgence. Resurgence will be focusing on the multiplayer section of Mass Effect 3, with the DLC bringing in 6 new characters and 2 new multiplayer maps.

The new characters include

  • Asari Justicar(available as Adept)
  • Krogan Battlemaster(available as Vanguard)
  • Batarian (available as Soldier and Sentinel)
  • Geth(available as Engineer and Infiltrator)

Mass Effect 3 MP New Characters
Image courtesy BioWare.
The new maps featured are Firebase Condor, a warzone outpost located on one of Palaven’s moons and Firebase Hydra, an old abandoned Quarian colony converted into a dam facility.

Apart from these, the DLC also features goodies including:

  • More weapons – the Striker Assault Rifle, Harpoon Gun and Geth Plasma SMG
  • More reinforcement packs including Targeting VI, Shield Power Cells and Strength Enhancers.

Resurgence will be available for free on PSN, Origin and Xbox Live on the 10th of April in North America and the 11th of April in Europe.

Epic Cancels Gears of War: Exile

Epic Games has cancelled Gears of War: Exile, Epic’s rumoured upcoming game for the Xbox 360. Speaking to Gamespot, Epic Games Design Director Cliff Bleszinski mentioned that the studio has ceased working on the game.

Quoting Cliff

Let’s just bury the hatchet now. Gears of War: Exile was an unannounced game that I can’t give any details about that has since been cancelled.

Gears of War:Exile was rumoured to be unveiled at E3 2011, with Epic Games having even gone to the extent of trademarking “Gears of War: Exile”. However, since then, very little has been known about the game, apart from rumours of it being a Kinect-supported rails shooter.

Cliff’s statement indicates a certain amount of frustration about it being canned, and we can only wonder what was the real reason for it being shelved.

Introducing 0x10c, A New MMO Being Developed By Minecraft Creator Notch

Minecraft creator Notch’s new space faring Massively Multiplayer Online game called 0x10c has an ominous backstory of a doomed people waking up after billions of years of cryogenic sleep in a universe that is slowly dimming:-

In a parallel universe where the space race never ended, space travel was gaining popularity amongst corporations and rich individuals.

In 1988, a brand new deep sleep cell was released, compatible with all popular 16 bit computers. Unfortunately, it used big endian, whereas the DCPU-16 specifications called for little endian. This led to a severe bug in the included drivers, causing a requested sleep of 0x0000 0000 0000 0001 years to last for 0x0001 0000 0000 0000 years.

It’s now the year 281 474 976 712 644 AD, and the first lost people are starting to wake up to a universe on the brink of extinction, with all remote galaxies forever lost to red shift, star formation long since ended, and massive black holes dominating the galaxy.

That is definitely a lot of information to digest, but I am guessing Markus Persson (Notch) wanted it that way, since it is a hard science fiction (read: as grounded in plausible engineering and science as it is possible) video game with a player controlled ship that is guided by a player controlled and software emulated 16-bit CPU. That is correct, you are a space farer on a ship that is controller by a computer from the ‘80s, that you have to program on the fly to work in deep space. Sounds like fun? We bet!

ox10c

The website for 0x10c mentions a lot features such as a fully working computer system, lots of engineering and knowledge-based game play and, of course, lots of space loot! The documentation for the working computer system has been released. There is also an unofficial FAQs available that answers a ton of questions!

Notch also mentions that this will be a game that features a monthly fee; probably not as much as the mainstream MMOs like EVE: Online or World of Warcraft, but is a sufficiently significant step in the annals of indie gaming history.

Fallout Goes Free on GOG.com For 48 Hours, New Premium Releases

At the recently concluded CD Projekt Spring Conference where, among ships, shoes and sealing wax, the new updates to GOG.com – the digital distribution arm of CD Projekt – were quietly rolled out to a high level of praise.

Starting with a small but important announcement of the preorder for Botanicula – a point n’ click game made by the creators of the much acclaimed Machinarium:-

This charming point & click game stars five friends on a perilous journey to save the last seed of their home tree from an infestation of parasites. With lush visuals and a soundtrack composed by Czech alternative band DVA, this game is sure to wow all of the fans of Machinarium and adventure games in general.

Next, a biggie, GOG.com announced the addition of “GOG.com Premium Edition” Games that are Good but not so Old. This is kicked off by Ubisoft’s two great hits of recent times Assassins Creed: Director’s Cut and Heroes of Might & Magic V both DRM free. That’s right, you just read “Ubisoft” and “DRM free” in the same sentence. Each is priced at $19.99, however until the 19th of April, the purchase of one game bags you the other for free!

fallout

And finally, the mega gigantic super god level behemoth kraken cthulhu roboto announcement: GOG.com will be giving away DRM free copies of Fallout: A Post Apocalyptic Adventure Game for free for the next two days. That’s right, they lived up to their hype of giving away a legendary game. Because this is one of those few games that deserves the epithet for making open world an actual workable mechanic in a highly believable alternate universe. Grab Fallout here!

BioWare’s Band Aid Solution To “Please” Fans Over Mass Effect 3 Ending: Free DLC

Mass Effect 3 has been receiving quite a lot of criticism since the day it was available for pre-order. From the bungled pre-order offer to their Day 1 DLC fiasco to the outcry over the blatantly slaughtered ending, Mass Effect fans have been quite rabid in expressing their displeasure – particularly about the way the game ended. Some of the horde have taken the route of Meta Critic bombing – and one fan has gone ahead with a FTC complaint.

BioWare have been going overboard trying to quell the fans’ displeasure – so much so that BioWare co-founder and GM Dr. Ray Muzyka ended up publishing a OMG-please-relax-we-may-fix-it blog post.

Now, it looks like BioWare have caved to fan pressure and have just published a press release informing of a new DLC that’s scheduled to be out soon. The DLC will be free and will be known as Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut.

Quoting the press release:

Mass Effect™ 3:Extended Cut, a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of the critically acclaimed Action RPG. Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. Coming this summer, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will be available for download on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC for no extra charge.

“We are all incredibly proud of Mass Effect 3 and the work done by Casey Hudson and team,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label. “Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe.”

Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series added, “We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.”

Now I’m a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, completed all the games and even though I did not like the ending, I do not like this move. As a game designer, you should either own up to the decisions that you have taken and stand by it, or get it right. Fan feedback is important, however the idea that a game developer is willing change the ending of a game to satisfy some section of fans is not something I’d like to see.

And oh, if you’re like fellow techie-buzz gaming fanatic Kaushik who’s been waiting for Mass Effect 3 price cuts, you might want to know that the “free” DLC offer is valid till April 2014.

Props to Sharath Patali for informing me of this Press Release.

CD Projekt RED Will Give Away a “Legendary” PC RPG On Thursday on GOG.com

Speaking to Eurogamer, the head of marketing of PC Role Playing Game developer CD Projekt RED, Michal Platkow-Gilewski, said that on Thursday at around 5PM GMT the Witcher developers will announce a giveaway of a “legendary” PC RPG. However he said that there is no announcement of a new game at the time of the CD Projekt Spring Conference where this announcement will be made.

witcher2

However, Platkow-Gilewski said that this announcement has nothing to do with the “extraordinary” announcement for current and future The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings owners, which will be… you guessed it, extraordinary. (Or so we hope!) Straight from the horse’s mouth:

No, there will be no announcement of a new game. But to give you some hints and not to spoil the surprise, CD Projekt RED and GOG.com have prepared something very special for all the PC fans of The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings, who already have the game, as well as for all those who will buy one any time in the future.

Good stuff from one of the better video game development companies of our time! Any speculations/guesses on what this “legendary” PC RPG would be? My money is on one of the Black Isle games but one can never be sure, can they?

Blizzard Takes a Dig at EA, Ubisoft This April Fools With “Mobile Adventure Game”

EA (specifically its subsidiary Bioware’s game Mass Effect 3) is fair game these days it seems – what with the extremely unsatisfying ending, obvious greed with Day 1 DLC as well as numerous reports of Bioware blocking legitimate customers from Origin for allegedly trying to mod the single player (which is precisely the point of owning a game on the PC). Many of the gaming industry’s terrible policies originate from EA, Activision and Ubisoft. However currently EA is leading in the douche-race by a large margin.

supplydepot

So Blizzard, the developers of Starcraft and World of Warcraft (and, ironically, partners of Activision in the publishing business) have put up an entire mobile-game website for a game called Starcraft: Supply Depot 2 with the following description:-

It is a dark time for the galaxy. The alien forces of the savage insectoid Zerg and ancient, militant Protoss have threatened the Terrans for years – but the threat is finally over, and we have lost the war. The time of the descendants of Earth is at an end.

The Terrans pin all of their hopes on a champion – a pillar of war unlike any other before or since. He is all that stands between the advancing hordes and a safer tomorrow, and he will defend the future with his very existence.

Sounds familiar? Yep, that sounds almost but not quite unlike the plot of Mass Effect 3. It is also adorned with many “features” such as “Ridiculous Amounts of Action” and “Fascinating Dialog” and more. Notably these stand out:

Multiple color coded and unfulfilling endings!

Even more endings via revolutionary Democratic DLC™!

Hilarious. Play the game (apparently Android and iPhone versions will be out soon!) here.

mobileblizz

They also have some other games “in development” such as Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder which is a dig at either the Modern Warfare series or the Battlefield series (probably the latter as Activision owns Call of Duty) and Queen’s Quest which features, among other things, a sweeping orchestral soundtrack and this rather simple DRM protection:-

  • Sweeping saxophone soundtrack
  • Literary consultation from “A Couple of Dudes from Mar Sara”
  • Comes on 17 floppy disks
  • A revolutionary Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme in 5 easy steps:
    • Open the Spin-A-Spacer DRM application on any smart phone*
    • Line up the spacer faces to reveal the page/word matrix value
    • Consult your player guide / lore manual, and turn to the appropriate page
    • Use the special 3d lenticular glasses to decode the margin text and find the keyword passphrase
    • Enter the special passphrase into the on-screen prompt
    • Speak “OK” clearly and audibly into the device’s audio input
    • ENJOY! (Occassionally, you may be asked to call a toll-free 800 number to verify your identity)

A++ will buy again!

Good Old Games Now Stocks Good New Games As Well!

Before we start this article, let’s take up a quick check list. Do you like good games? Do you like good old games? Do you like new indie games as well? Do you like them all DRM free? Of course, you answered yes to all of the questions here, especially the last one I’m sure.

So you shall be pleased to hear that GOG.com, the DRM free digital distributor of classic PC video games, has undergone a little sea of change and will now stock indie games as well! The games will be stocked at the newer price block of $14.99 (GOG.com usually has games for $9.99 and $5.99). The new games currently announced are Legend of Grimrock, SpaceChem, The Whispered World, Machinarium: Collector’s Edition, Darwinia and Trine. All amazing games (especially Trine and Machinarium!). Of course all of these games will come bundled with the signature goodies from the distributor such as the original soundtrack, wallpapers, avatars and lots more. Straight from the horse’s mouth:

GOG.com, the DRM-free digital distributor of PC games for download, is getting “Bigger, Fresher, and Newer” today, ushering in a number of updates to both the brand of GOG.com and the service as well. GOG.com is no longer only classic PC titles; starting today the distributor will be actively releasing newer titles into its catalog of 400+ games of all ages. The distributor has now signed a variety of indie game developers as partners of GOG.com

Is this excellent? I believe this is most excellent.