, | Games

Valve is disabling the ability to set pricing on mods. According to this official announcement, Valve is turning off the feature they rolled out on Friday that allowed modders to set pricing for their creations in the Steam Workshop. Even though modders have generated significant profit for Valve’s own Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2, gamers voiced their displeasure at the new revenue sharing system as soon as it was launched. Negatives cited by detractors included copyright concerns, sketchy future support of broken mods, poor quality control, and modders getting too small of a cut.

We understand our own game’s communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.

Earlier in the day, Bethesda had posted an explanation of their strategy on paid mods, but their reasoning did little to stem the arguments against the feature.

, | News

Kerbal Space Program is now feature-complete and out of early access. The sandbox space agency sim by Squad now has and actual game to go with its physics playground and the developer feels confident that the game has reached a point worthy of being called a 1.0 release. In recent Reddit discussions with fans, Squad confirmed that they will continue updating the game for free for as long as they can, and that they would not sell DLC unless it was “something huge that adds a lot of gameplay” like a more traditional expansion. Among the features of the 1.0 launch are a female crewmember, an overhauled flight model, a new heat sim, fairings for rocket construction, and resource mining.

Kerbal Space Program 1.0 is what we envisioned when development of the game started four years ago: we set out to make a game in which the player is given ultimate control over the exploration of space: from designing their rockets to launching and flying them to their destinations, in a universe that was modeled to be as realistic as possible while remaining fun to play in.

Kerbal Space Program has been endorsed by NASA, Elon Musk of SpaceX, and the European Space Agency. The game is available on Steam, GOG, and the official KSP site.

, | News

Silent Hills is dead. The horror game teased at the end of last year’s P.T. demo on PlayStation 4 will no longer be developed. Rumors had been swirling for weeks that the relationship between publisher Konami and developer Hideo Kojima had deteriorated and that they had stopped communicating. When Konami removed Kojima’s name from the Metal Gear Solid website, it was obvious that the situation between the two parties had hit a breaking point.

Actor Norman Reedus and director Guillermo del Toro, who were both going to be involved in the Silent Hills production, separately made apologies over the weekend lamenting the death of the project. Their statements caught Konami off-guard forcing the company to make a terse announcement this morning regarding the cancellation.

Konami is committed to new Silent Hill titles, however the embryonic ‘Silent Hills’ project developed with Guillermo del Toro and featuring the likeness of Norman Reedus will not be continued.

In terms of Kojima and Del Toro being involved, discussions on future Silent Hill projects are currently underway, and please stay tuned for further announcements.

Horror fans should note that the P.T. demo that many horror fans lauded as the best example of the genre from last year, will be removed from the PlayStation store on April 29th.

, | News

Valve is allowing mod creators to charge money for their work. Valve, working with Bethesda, has opened up creator pricing in the Steam Workshop for Skyrim. According to the announcement, content creators can set their own pricing (including free) in the Workshop, split revenue with partners, and even fight each other with DMCA Takedown notices. Congrats modders! You’ve hit the big time! Enjoy protecting your content and wrestling for rights.

On the consumer protection side, Valve has also instituted a 24-hour refund policy for mod buyers if they aren’t satisfied with what they paid for. Not enough nudity in that Bubblegum Crisis mod for your taste? Get a refund and buy the mod that lets you marry a horse.

, | News

Factions are coming to Elite: Dangerous. Frontier Developments outlined the upcoming Powerplay initiative in the latest newsletter to players. The feature will add factions to the game that players can join. Each faction, or power, will have goals that they wish to attain and territory to defend. Each week, powers will pay out credits, influence, perks, and other rewards to players in their faction based on performance. The missions and rewards for participating players will reflect the character of their chosen power.

For example, if a major economic Power sends in their traders for a financial takeover against a military powerhouse, the other side may be tasked with piracy missions to destroy or loot their cargo. You can always be a trader or a miner or a pirate for your own ends, but by joining a Power you’ll be afforded special rights and be rewarded for playing the way you already like to play.

The downside of joining a faction? Well, it will be open season on you if you come across a wing of ships on an opposing power. Also, powers don’t take kindly to players that shift loyalty. Leaving a faction may incur penalties like having a bounty set on you from your former group. Powerplay will be included in a free update to Elite: Dangerous.

, | Games podcasts

After establishing his CCG bona fides, Tom Chick talks to Brad Talton about his newest boardgame, Millennium Blades, which is currently enjoying a successful campaign on Kickstarter. If you’ve ever played a CCG, or if you’ve so much as pondered playing a CCG, or especially if you want to play a game about CCGs that isn’t actually a CCG, Millennium Blades is a game for you.

, | News

That’s one of the ships a player has built in the current beta of Galactic Civilizations III. People created some impressive stuff in Galactic Civilizations II, but just from looking through the screenshots in Steam, it’s obvious that folks will be going nuts in the newest game’s more robust ship creator. Star Trek vs. Star Wars vs. Babylon 5 vs. Battlestar Galactica vs. Flash Gordon vs. The Last Starfighter? It’s like everything in our own starship week crammed into a cage match.

Now, Galactic Civilizations III has an official launch date. Stardock announced that the third installment of their space 4X franchise will release on May 14th. In early access, it’s grown from bare bones turn-based space expansion game to an almost full-fledged star-spanning exercise in crushing puny humans. Bah, humans! With better ship creation, custom factions, strategic hex maps, 4-player online multiplayer, and an ideology mechanic, Galactic Civilizations III promises to have a modified YT-1300 light freighter’s cargo hold of improvements from previous games.

Galactic Civilizations III is available on Windows PC.

, | Game reviews

I’m at the farmer’s market on a date with Kyanna, a busty single mother with creepily childlike features. She’s most interested in talent and least interested in romance. That means I want to focus on matching blue gems instead of orange gems. And because I’ve put a point of skill into my sexuality and flirtation, I get extra affection when I match red gems and green gems. I have a teddy bear I can give her to turn all the purple gems into pink gems, which build passion that makes my matches more efficient. But until I match enough green gems, I won’t have the sentiment to use the teddy bear.

After the jump, what does this have to do with Ironcast’s steampunk mechs? Continue reading →

, | News

How do you make a movie about Grand Theft Auto? The games themselves ape cinematic crime stories, so filming a gangster epic and tacking the Grand Theft Auto name to it would be covering old ground. The BBC has a better idea. Make a movie based on the conflict between those that wanted to ban violent video games and the people that made their living from creating games. Game Changer, based on David Kushner’s book Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto, will cover the battle between moral activists and Rockstar, the studio that turned lap dances, hookers, and shooting sprees into games. Daniel Radcliffe will play Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser. Bill Paxton will take on the role of Jack Thompson who, before his fall from grace in 2008, led the media fight against what he called “murder simulators” and video games.

Game Changer’s script was written by James Wood (Rev, Ambassadors) and will be directed by Owen Harris (Black Mirror, Misfits). No air date has been announced yet.

, | News

Mad Catz is co-publishing Rock Band 4 with Harmonix. They’re not just manufacturing the new plastic instruments you’ll be jamming on, they’ll be in charge of global retail sales, promotions, and distribution for the game itself. Harmonix will still be responsible for digital sales of the game as well as track DLC. When Rock Band 4 was announced in early March, Harmonix said they were working closely with the platform manufacturers to make the old instruments work with Rock Band 4, but that the new instruments would offer many improvements. Mad Catz reiterated that sentiment.

As a hard-core Rock Band fan, I can honestly say this is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the year, and music fans are just going to go nuts for what Harmonix is creating! Not only that, but I truly believe that we’ll be delivering the very best music game controllers you’ve ever played with. We’re working so hard to improve all the controllers in so many ways, we think you’ll notice the difference immediately and love what we deliver!

Rock Band 4 will face competition from the recently announced Guitar Hero Live. They are both scheduled to launch later this year for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but Guitar Hero Live will also be available for mobile platforms.

, | News

We all know another Mass Effect game is coming. The only question is what will the game be like? Will it be a futuristic elevator simulator? An off-road planetary exploration adventure? A third-person cover shooter with lots of sexy cleavage and derrieres? According to leaked marketing survey details from BioWare and Electronic Arts, we can expect the game to resemble Dragon Age: Inquisition quite a bit, except there will be a lot more collecting. And derrieres.

The next Mass Effect game takes place in the Helius Cluster (a cluster of 100s of solar systems in the Andromeda Galaxy), far removed by time and space from Commander Shepard’s heroic acts and the final events of the Mass Effect trilogy.

As a Pathfinder, who is totally not Commander Shepard, the player will gather resources and allies to combat The Remnant, who are totally not The Precursors, before their technology destroys the galaxy. Details of some features included the return of the all-terrain Mako, establishing settlements to spread influence, and high-level raid style gameplay. Multiplayer appears to be an iteration of the current style found in Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect 3.

Previous survey leaks revealed accurate information about Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Dragon Age: Inquisition prior to their official announcements.

, | News

Desktop Dungeons, the fiendishly clever anti-roguelike that got five stars from a certain hard-assed reviewer, is about to find its way to iOS and Android devices, where it’ll freely sync itself with your PC version.

But in the course of making it for mobile platforms, the folks at QCF Design came up with some new stuff they didn’t want to leave out of the PC version. So today’s Enhanced Edition is available as a free update. I’ll leave it to QCF to explain the new features in their own words:

* Secretly despise friends for already beating you on the Daily Dungeon leaderboards.
* Unlock a terrifying new building for your Kingdom.
* Discover the Rat Monarch and Chemist classes… and their reasons for visiting the Kingdom.
* Click through new quests and ignore exposition as it streams past you.
* Gleefully and accurately sling spells from the player-requested drag-to-cast and radial menus.
* Pages and pages of optimizations and bug fixes that are awesome but don’t sound cool when we put them in lists like this one.

The mobile versions will be out “by the end of May”.