Steam Early Access – Boon or Bane?


A lot of media outlets have begun writing about the dangers of Early Access on Steam. Why did I never think about this before? Inspired by these guys, I think this is the perfect time to explain Early Access and how it is impacting video game development and the industry as a whole.

Early Access – According to Steam, developing games by including the community’s feedback, evolving elements of the game over a period of time is the way games are meant to be made.

Back in the days, most of us gained access to Beta or Alpha (unfinished games) releases free of charge. We would then play the game, offer feedback and continue playing if the developers respond to some of the biggest concerns in the game. The game was FREE of charge and allowed people to participate either via invitation or via registration. This was a pretty neat system for casual and enthusiast gamers to get their hands dirty with a game in development and production.

Come Early Access, all of this is changing. With this new addition to Steam, customers now gain access to an Alpha or Beta version by PAYING for the game. Developers now put their game up on Steam and require people to BUY the game before it is actually finished. The players then spend time on the game to offer feedback following which the developers of the game improve it.

I personally find this disturbing to see that so many people have actually spent so much money on an unfinished product that actually may or may not fix itself over a period of time. What if you don’t like where the game is headed? What if you didn’t like the game in the first place? You can’t actually criticize the game developer because you made the decision to purchase the game yourself. Is it not possible to get a refund you may ask. According to Steam policies, you have to contact the game developer if you wish to be refunded.

What if an Early Access game is cancelled? STEAM DOES NOT REFUND YOU! They treat the purchase of an Early Access game equal to the purchase of a fully finished retail release.

Here’s a video from TotalBiscuit discussing the same. He dives deeper into the Steam Early Access system and how Valve needs to take responsibility to change some of their policies towards Early Access.

Mech Suits, Fast Action, Flying beckon in Project Nimbus


If you love anything to do with Mechanical Suits, dodging bullets, shooting bullets, super fast flying while dodging and shooting bullets, Project Nimbus may well be the game you’ve been waiting for.

A Mech Suit or Battleframe, armed with a formidable arsenal of weapons, is what you will wear as you fly out into a post-apocalyptic world with a story that puts you between enemies and saving the world.

Players will get a chance to battle colossal opponents that hold the power of annihilating armies, engage with other BattleFrame pilots each with a unique story and fighting style.

The game is being developed by the GameCrafterTeam, a small independent games developer team from Thailand. They’re using the UDK (Unreal Development Kit) to bring Project Nimbus to life. The game is being published by a UK-based indie game publisher, KISS-ltd.

Project Nimbus was also recently Greenlit by the Steam Community. They’re also seeking funding on Kickstarter.

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Say Hello to the all new BMW i3 Electric Car


Before I even begin talking about BMW and their all new electric cars, I’d want to put this out – I’m a big fan of BMW. Although I don’t own any of their cars (well, I can’t afford it), I’ve been a passenger in many BMWs and driven one 5-series BMW car till date.

I was delighted when I heard BMW’s new entry of electric cars, the philosophy of which they referred to as “sustainable mobility.” This entire vision encapsulates their idea of new and visionary electric vehicles, inspiring design (oh I love their design), and a new understanding of “premium” strongly defined by sustainability. I’d love to talk about this, but first, here’s a video review of the BMW i3 from Marek Drives.

BMW i3 Review

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Ember Conflict is the new Multiplayer RTS for Mobiles


There is a dearth of RTS titles for all handheld devices running either iOS, Android or Windows. Substantial Games, a Beijing based startup developer wants to close this gap with their new title Ember Conflict.

Scheduled to release this fall on the iOS, Ember Conflict is a competitive multiplayer RTS  with short matches on tablets.

In the Ember Conflict, players take on the role of company commanders and customize their armies using a system inspired by tabletop war games such as Warhammer. Each unit has a point cost to use and armies can only include so many points’ worth of units. This system allows players to easily customize armies to match their own play style, spending big points on a few heavy-hitters, buying a lot of weak units with which to zerg the enemy, or striking a balance somewhere in between. According to developer Pin Wang, players “start off with a few basic units, and can recruit more as they play”. Once players have armies they are satisfied with, they’ll be able to queue up for a 1v1 or 2v2 match using the game’s matchmaking system.

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Wang also adds that 1v1 matches last for about a minute while 2v2 last anywhere between 2 to 5 minutes. Right now, winning is based either capturing Control Points or Eliminating enemy units.

For the first time, Wang also shares the introduction to the game,

“Ten thousand years ago a tragedy shook the planet, forgotten because nobody was left to remember. But life, slowly yet inevitably, has nursed itself back to health. Open plains, lush forests and roaring rivers are once again filled with the diversity and beauty of life.

“Human civilization steps, for a second time, towards its renaissance. Warfare is supercharging technological advancement, and the shores of a great, new continent have just been rediscovered. As bloodshed breaks out over virgin territory, will the unlearned lessons of the past stay buried, or rise to the surface once again?

“Welcome to the world of The Ember Conflict, where human, animal, and the monster of history struggle for survival and glory.”

This Week in Gaming – 19th Jan


I finally managed to squeeze time between office, commute and life for gaming. I spent the entire of last week getting back to playing RPGs and then veered towards classic MMORPGs. Again.

But first, Witcher 2.

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When I think about RPGs now, I’m reminded of the beautiful universe of Witcher 2. I was never able to finish Witcher 2: The Assassins of Kings the first time I played the game. It’s been so long now, I re-downloaded the game via Steam, fired it up and there I was, getting around the tutorial again.

As I started helping King Foltest in his siege, I realized there was so much more about this game I just could see earlier. Now, I appreciate this game’s beauty so much more!

I played the first Witcher and I absolutely loved the game. Witcher 2 is so different and unique that I sometimes wonder if CD Projekt RED sold their soul to the devil or something. Witcher 2 is unforgiving – through out the game, battles, conversations, travel and element of surprises will serve as a reminder that you’d have to use your brains.

 

MU Online

Whaaat? Yes. MU Online is one of the greatest hallmarks of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. At one time, MU Online used to house one of the biggest populations of online players and is credited with having built a framework for future MMORPGs the same way Diablo paved the way for more Action RPGs.

MUOnline - IndieSpring

So what brought me to MU Online? I was looking through so many new MMORPG offerings and I realized that most of them were deep in the F2P well that it made sense to play an MMORPG that didn’t begin as an F2P or with an item shop. I went to the MU Online website and downloaded the game. In about 10 minutes, I was ready to create a new character and venture into the world of MU.

After creating a Dark Knight, I passed the short load screen to be welcomed into the town of Lorencia. BOOM! I couldn’t see crap! The game is so full of players even now, it made it difficult to understand what the bloody hell was actually happening. After I got used to being overwhelmed, I figured what to do next – HUNT!

As a classic MMORPG that came out in 2001, there is a lot of grind. Although tiresome sometimes, the idea is to figure out a way to keep it interesting – something that modern MMORPGs are doing more.

MU Online does have an item shop, however there is only a marginal possibility of getting more powerful than someone else the same level as yours. More focus is based on natural exploration, drops from hunting, quest rewards, stats and builds, skills and timing.

 

Dekaron

Remember 2Moons anyone? I used to play 2Moons when Akklaim first introduced it as an F2P. My first character was a Senegale Hunter and I sort of enjoyed the game. I was knee deep in A3 back then, so I just didn’t play 2Moons anymore.

2Moons was the name Akklaim used to introduce Dekaron to a western audience. Now, Dekaron is Dekaron and their website is global.

The game features 7 classes – Azure Knight, Segita Hunter, Incar Magician, Vicious Summoner, Segnale, Bagi Warrior and the newly added Aloken.

The game has also added a DK system – A massive PVP ground where everyone can join the battle and be graded. A TransUp system – Quest based system for players above lvl 131 to gain new skills and grow their might, The Land of Death – A new map with the all new Tier 20 weapons.

I made an Azure Knight and I currently stand at lvl 30. As a new comer, I received some talismans to help gain more exp for 24 hours. Had I continued playing, I’d have probably hit lvl 50 or more with the Talisman. Anyway, 24 hours have passed and I don’t have the item now. So, what’s different in Dekaron? I can tell you what’s similar between MU Online and Dekaron – both games let players wear wings! Apart from that, both are grind-oriented and require players to work hard before they can actually get to being someone formidably strong. Item shop will help in leveling up your character, but you’ll still have to get your items by questing, hunting, partying and more.

 

For the next week, I plan on checking out a couple more MMORPGs if possible. Maybe, I’ll just play some new indie games. Ah.. It’s just so hard to decide. I’ll still want to finish Witcher 2.

Voyagers – A 20 metre Visual Museum inside a Museum


A permanent installation in the National Maritime Museum’s new Sammy Ofer Wing, Voyagers is an introduction to the extraordinary depth and range of the Museum’s collections.

Designed by exhibition designers Real Studio, the Voyagers gallery is a 20 metre 3D wave-like structure stretching the entire length of the room. Installed by The Light Surgeons, the Voyagers features a massive collection of 300 meta tagged images and films from the museum’s extensive collection. They’ve then translated all of this content into a series of thematic journeys that unfold down the wave. As these designs cascade down the room, the globe projection displays thematic key words relating to each asset in the journey onto a digital navigational device inspired by the museums collection of armillary spheres.

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Have you seen The Repopulation?


Hailed as one of the most anticipated sci-fi MMORPG of 2014, The Repopulation is a sandbox MMORPG with features seen in games like Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online. The game won the 2013 PAX Prime Rising Star Award from MMORPG.com

With 24 days left to go, the game is looking for backers on Kickstarter. With 530 backers already, they’ve managed to reach $40,491 out of $50,000 so far. The game is also up on Steam Greenlight and needs voting.

What stood out for me, personally, is the way you could play the game. You can either choose to play it like an RPG or a Third-Person Shooter, to either advance character with fighting or adopt peaceful means. So, technically, I’d have all the freedom to harvest, craft and trade without being forced into combat. You could either choose to participate in PVP or ignore it completely.

Continue reading Have you seen The Repopulation?

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