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Battlefield 4 will be officially announced later this month, on March 26 at the Games Development Conference 2013 (GDC), but for now we have the first image of the game. The image, below, confirms that the next-gen, first-person shooter will take place in the present day.
As you can see, the image shows off a soldier and various vehicles pushing through a city, which is in the background. Battlefield 4 continues on its predecessor's color scheme, of orange, black and blue - which is definitely not a bad thing. DICE's Karl Magnus Troedsson said last summer: "We still want to stay in this genre, the modern day as it is. We feel this is a place we can be and continue with the series. Battlefield 4 can live in this space and be very successful."
Something I'm looking forward to seeing is the unlocking of the potential of the graphics engine to be used, Frostbite 2. Frostbite 2's engine in Battlefield 3 was only utilized to a reported 30%, with Battlefield 4 pushing that right up to 80% with improved dynamic lighting and tessellation, among other goodies.
Well, well, well, here we are; Maxis' chief, Lucy Bradshaw, has come out and admitted what we all thought - SimCity was capable of an offline mode, but it conflicted with the vision that the developer had for the game. Bradshaw said Maxis had:
Rejected that idea because it didn't fit with our vision. We did not focus on the "single city in isolation" that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans - people who love the original SimCity - who want that. But we're also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology.
Bradshaw also added:
Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn't come down as an order from corporate and it isn't a clandestine strategy to control players. It's fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind - using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world.
In an interesting move, mobile messaging app company WhatsApp, could be launching a new games platform that would provide the company their monetization and increase their revenues. Reports are coming out of Korea where the US startup has reportedly inked a deal with Korean/US games-maker, WeMade.
The deal between the companies is reportedly a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which is the first step toward a proper deal that would see WhatsUp open a games platform. We don't know if WhatsApp have inked a deal exclusively through WeMade, or whether they've talked to other game companies. We should hear more in the coming weeks.
Portal is one of those games that really took off, surprising most people - but then you play it, and you totally understand. Now we have an actual live-action look inside the Portal world, with a Portal 2-inspired web series from Wayside Creations.
The new web series' first outing is Aperture R&D - Episode 1, which takes you deep in the labs of the research facility following some scientists as they try to earn the distinction of Lab Team of the Month. Losing a team member to a turret laser doesn't stop these protagonists from going after that Lab Team of the Month award. The first episode has some great references to the series, which should have fans having a laugh or three.
In celebration of it's 20th birthday, Duke Nukem 2 will be resurrecting and moving from a PC based shooter to something you can play on your iOS based iPhone and iPad. The side scrolling shooter that many of us wore keyboards out playing is set to hit the App Store in April.
3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment are working on porting the original 32 levels to iOS, and the game will feature new music and touchscreen support. The developer claims the game will cost just $1.99, which puts it in that sweet spot to sell many copies for those looking for a nostalgic throwback.
Nostalgic games are becoming a major hit on mobile devices recently, with official games like Sonic, Final Fantasty, Doom, and even Duke Nukem 3D being ported over to iOS. If we were to see classics like Super Mario Brothers, Punch Out and Contra, I might consider purchasing an iPad just to play them.
Our latest poll had almost 5,000 people who answered, "Which excites you most?"
We asked which upcoming gaming console from Sony and Microsoft you are most excited about. Out of the consoles Sony's upcoming PS4 is more popular with TweakTown readers than Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 720.
But wait, scrap the consoles. An overwhelming 74% of TweakTown readers said "meh, I'm a PC gamer!".
EA completes SimCity server upgrades after frustrating launch, releases new patch to improve "trade intermittency issues"
EA and Maxis have just announced that they have completed a series of server upgrades that is expected to solve the on-going connection issues with SimCity. EA has also released a patch that is said to improve some issues with "trade intermittency".
In a blog post, Maxis said that all the original servers were migrated to "faster/higher capacity server architecture." Server status can now be checked by visiting a dedicated page that was launched yesterday. It is still up in the air at this moment whether or not all the connection issues have been corrected or not, the real test comes this afternoon during peak hours when everyone tries to log in at once.
EA says that the new servers have been in the works since shortly after launch when a large number of players were unable to connect due to high server traffic. There is still no word yet on when EA will address the street and population issues within the game, but if you are unwilling to wait on an official patch, UKAzzer has a solution for you.
At this point, SimCity is slowly becoming playable again for some users, and while EA is still fixing things, a modder has stepped up and created his own workaround that effectively removes the always on DRM.
UKAzzer's mod fixes pesky connection issue by removing the game's disconnect timer. Where you were once able to only get about 20 minutes of offline play, you will now be able to play indefinitely. You must reconnect however, if you want to save your game. In addition to disabling the disconnect timer, UKAzzer made it possible to tweak highways outside of your city, and changed the population count to more accurately reflect how many people are living in your city.
In the video above you can see UKAzzer tweaking freeways outside your city and we assume the disconnect timer disable working. The whole gaming world is waiting to see how EA responds to this mod. We are hoping that they embrace it, give UKAzzer recognition, and maybe even add it to the game core. However, it is more likely that EA will patch the game to block this mod and opt to keep their unneeded DRM. Let's wait and see what happens.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has quite the exclusive today, reporting from a SimCity developer who reached out to them that Maxis don't actually offload a large portion of their game's calculations to their servers. The Maxis insider has said that the server isn't actually handling these calculations for non-social aspects of the game, and that engineering a single-player mode would not require that much effort.
RPS have verified that the Maxis insider works on the game, and has first-hand knowledge of how SimCity works. This insider has also made is clear that his repeated claims of server-side calculations is at odds with the reality of the project he worked on, where he explains:
The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they're doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they're not doing anything. I have no idea why they're claiming otherwise. It's possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I'm clueless.
Activision has finally jumped on the microtransactions train by way of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Call of Duty games have traditionally earned money after launch by selling DLC content packs, normally consisting of new multiplayer and new Zombie maps. Black Ops 2 broke away from this by offering the Peacekeeper SMG in the first DLC pack.
Starting Wednesday, Black Ops 2 players on the Xbox 360 console will be able to change cosmetic features of their gaming experience. By purchasing "Personalization Paks" for 160 Microsoft Points, players will be able to change the look of their guns and gain access to new "Calling Cards."
Also available are World Calling Card Packs, $1, and Extra Slot Packs, $2. For the time being, Activision will likely stay with cosmetic microtransactions only. If they were to introduce microtransactions that changed the way multiplayer worked, Digital Trends notes that they would likely have player riots.