StarForge early alpha demo 0.1 [updated]

An image from the Starforge demo, showing a small valley filled with trees and surrounded by high rocks. One tree has been cut down.

Starforge is – so far as we know at this time – an entirely procedurally-generated first/third-person sci-fi survival/construction game. Yes, alright, I’m going to say “Minecraft in space”, though that’s a very loose sort of description.

This release (whose announcement was enough to take down the Web-servers for the game) shows off a little of this indie title in its earliest playable form.

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The many faces of X-Com

Images showing the different visual and gameplay stylings of eight different X-Com game titles.

The XCOM (or X-Com, if you prefer) series has gone through significant changes. Like the Alien(s) movies, it transforms genres practically every time it goes around.

Strangely, the much-delayed-and-maybe-possibly-doomed upcoming shooter edition may have more in common with the series’ roots than you think.

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DayZ updates (week 12, 2012)

DayZ development keeps powering along with significant updates and fixes since the 1.5.8/ updates last week, and more promised for an upcoming release.

One of the things I particularly like is the addition of female survivors, although, now that I come to think about it, I’m not sure if I’ve seen any female zombies at all.

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GAME store closes. Staff decorate with Rage Faces

Our local GAME store shut its doors for the last time today. This photo was taken about an hour ago, as disconsolate staff inside were shuffling about and slowly putting things in cartons.

As you see, staff decorated the front window of the store with Rage Faces. The “Troll Face” Rage Face for Commander Shepard on the Mass Effect 3 display stand, and the “Forever Alone” Rage Face plastered all over the store windows.

It isn’t the zombies that you have to worry about

Incomplete and buggy as it is, DayZ (the terrifying zombie-survival modification for Arma 2: Combined Operations) is a superb and compelling piece of work, with more players trying to play than can comfortably be accommodated on its large list of hosted servers.

Now, you put a foot wrong and you can get pulled down by zombies in less time than it takes to tell. When one comes after you, it may bring more. Actually taking a shot at it will almost always bring more.

But it isn’t the zombies that you have to worry about.

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38 Studios and Big Huge Games. Sell 1.2 million, go broke.

A partial cover image of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, flanked by the logos of 38 Studios, and Big Huge Games.

38 Studios (and its subsidiary Big Huge Games – Rise of Nations), developers of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (2012), has apparently effectively closed. Selling 1.2 million copies of the game across Steam, Origin, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 90 days just wasn’t enough to pay the bills (though it outperformed the expectations of publisher, Electronic Arts). The break-even point apparently was 3 million copies (or even more), according to Rhode Island Governor, Lincoln Chafee.

Everything seemed to be going well, with word that a bungled loan repayment had finally been made, it looked like 38 Studios would hang in there for another few months, and that the attention its woes brought to its game might spark enough sales to keep the lights on.

No such luck, apparently.

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A tale of two XCOM release dates

Take Two Interactive has revealed two release dates for their two upcoming XCOM games – one to the public and one to investors. The Firaxis remake of UFO: Enemy Unknown will launch in North America on 9 October and elsewhere on 12 October.

As for the shooter-style reboot (just called XCOM), that was originally announced in 2010 for release in 2011. That was then delayed to 2012. Then a second delay to 2013. It has now been delayed a third time and yet another year to 2014, according to Take Two’s financials.

If I was inclined to bet, I’d say that that particular game in the XCOM franchise will meet the same fate as some others in the series and never be released.

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