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GDC 2014 - Sony only took the wraps off of its VR headset for the PlayStation 4, Project Morpheus, earlier today, but the company will be walking attendees through four demos on the conference floor using the VR goods.
EVE: Valkyrie will be one of the big playable demos, and so will the recently-released Thief, a special build created specifically for virtual reality. Sony will also be showing off two demos: The Deep and The Castle, the former allows you to experience a shark infested lagoon, while the latter sees you exploring a medieval fortress.
Blizzard said back in September 2013 that it was going to close the Diablo III auction house, something the developer has just done. Blizzard closed it in preparation of Reaper of Souls.
Completed transactions can still be claimed through to June 24, 2014, but the developer has disabled searching and bidding. If you want to find more gear, you'll now have to find it, or craft it.
About a year ago, Electronic Arts launched SimCity to great fanfare, but just as quickly as the excitement grew, disappointment quickly took over as the game was plagued with weeks of issues surrounding its "always online" requirement. This method of DRM caused the game to crash frequently, and for some, made it impossible to play as firewall, network, and downstream issues prevented the game from authenticating. During this time, fan who paid more than $80 for the game begged EA to remove the online requirements, but the company never did.
Eventually the issues were resolved, but a call to remove the online requirement remained. Today EA has finally taken note of its customers cries and has issued an update that lets users play SimCity offline from any PC that it is installed on. Unfortunately, update 10 only allows the game to be played without an internet connection, users will still have to launch SimCity through Origin if they wish to play.
Trading in video games is something most of us have done before, and until now, we have been limited to stores such as EB Games and Gamestop. Today that ends as Walmart has announced that it has began rolling out a new Video Game Trade-in program that will let customers trade in used video games and receive a Walmart gift-card in exchange. This means that customers can use the credit they received for the games on anything that Walmart sells, from food, to car tires and even clothing.
"Gaming continues to be an important business for us, and we're actively taking aim at the $2 billion preowned video game opportunity," said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S. Walmart says that the gift-cards will be normal Walmart gift-cards that can be used at any Walmart, Neighborhood Market, or Sam's Club in the US, and that the program will be handled by the same company that oversees its smartphone and tablet buyback program that launched last fall.
Ghost Recon Online is an online-only, free-to-play shooter that has just had a name change to Ghost Recon: Phantoms. Ghost Recon: Phantoms is reaching the PC next month, according to Ubisoft.
Producer Corey Facteau explained in a Q&A post: "With all the changes the game has undergone since its conception, the team felt it deserved a 'fresh identity'." Phantoms has been in beta testing for 21 months now, has a new look, and will continue the franchise's showcase of "a realistic depiction of tomorrow's battlefield."
Ghost Recon: Phantoms will also include new character classes, new gear, and plans for "even more" additional content once it is released next month.
Battlefield 4's upcoming expansion pack 'Dragon's Teeth' includes a two-handed ballistic shield, according to a GDC talk that was given by an EA DICE animator. The team was hoping to see gamers use the ballistic shield in the game, while shooting from behind it with various hand guns.
But, the team realized that the best way to deliver the bullet-stopping shield into the game was to make it two-handed, to provide teammates with a moveable piece of cover - something you can shoot with while using. The ballistic shield will be included with the Dragon's Teeth expansion that is expected to drop sometime in the summer.
There's not much known about the upcoming Dragon's Teeth, but it will be centered around urban warfare - and the awesome new ballistic shield. During the animation bootcamp talk "Using the Power of Layered Animation to Expand Premium Content in Battlefield 4," Senior Animator, Ryan Duffin, explained how the team tried different things with the shield, while using a hand gun. These approaches failed, as the team didn't have the time required to create needed for animation changes, or they were limited by the last generation consoles and their memory.
Some news broke a little earlier than it should, with Unity Technologies revealing its next iteration of its cross-platform game engine, known as Unity 5. The updated game engine has some new tricks up its sleeve, too.
The team has described Unity 5 as a "massive update," with the new engine featuring a "completely overhauled audio system," physical shaders and enhanced real-time lighting. The updated engine will also include an ad-sharing network that should make it easier for developers using Unity 5 to cross-promote their mobile games.
Unity Technologies is hoping to attract more developers, and praise, with its support for the WebGL graphics API. Unity 5 will be available for pre-order sometime today, directly from Unity Technologies.
Battlefield 4's upcoming Naval Strike DLC is one of the most anticipated expansion packs to hit the Battlefield franchise in quite some time now, mainly due to the return of "Titan Mode" in the form of a new mode called Carrier Assault. In this new game mode teams will be pitted against each other with one single goal, destroy the other teams aircraft carrier before they destroy yours.
In Carrier Assault, teams will need to take control of key points on the map that when captured, release a torrent of missile attacks on the rival teams aircraft carrier. Once enough of these missiles reach their target, the carrier will have suffered enough damage to allow enemies to breach its hull and enter the ship. Once the rival team has entered the carrier, the objective shifts to arming two M-Com stations placed within the carrier. When both M-Coms have been destroyed for either team, the round is over. Alternatively, users can continue the missile barrage and bring the ships hull health down to zero percent which also ends the match.
The Thief reboot is set to receive a patch tomorrow that will have AMD users smiling from ear-to-ear. The new patch will add support for the company's TrueAudio and Mantle.
TrueAudio will see the world of Thief enjoy an effect dubbed "convolution reverb," which will simulate the echoes you'd normally hear in a similar real-life location. The effect works by recording an impulse response of a real location, which is then used by the game as an echo characteristic to manipulate the audio into sounding much more realistic.
This new feature is something gamers can tweak on their system, where they can have the option enabled to be run off their CPUs, which will increase gamers' CPU utilization, and on some systems, negatively impact performance. Alternatively, Thief gamers can offload the audio to their TrueAudio-enabled Radeon GPU. For this to happen, you'll need AMD's Radeon R9 290X, R9 290 or R7 260X.
Respawn Entertainment has teased that it has been playing Titanfall with Oculus VR's virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift. The developer's Community Manager, Abbie Heppe told Digital Spy: "We've been so busy just trying to get the game out. That is one of those things that we will evaluate post launch. We have them in the office, we've definitely played around with them, but that was more a side project for some of our coders."
Heppe continued: "After launch we will have probably a little more time when we are not totally crazy trying to get a game out. I've walked through a couple of the demos and it's pretty neat, especially with the cool stuff we have in Titanfall, there is a lot of possibilities. I'm always a little bit sceptical when it comes to stuff that's wearable because you've seen people attempt to do it in the past and it's never caught on large-scale. But it's so much fun to play with, so we'll see"
So there you have it, we could expect some virtual reality goodness in Titanfall, but I wouldn't hold your breath, it could be a while.