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We reported yesterday that EA finally announced an offline mode for its SimCity reboot - something I think is too little, too late - but the update is at least here now. But, it took EA quite some time to get it here.
The developer has explained how much work it did to provide offline mode in SimCity, where Lead Engineer, Simon Fox, explains: "The original creative vision for SimCity was to make a game where every action had an effect on other cities in your region. As such, we engineered the game to meet this vision, setting up the player's PC (client) to communicate all of its information to the servers. That means that our entire architecture was written to support this, from the way that the simulation works to the way that you communicate across a region of cities. So yes, while someone was able to remove the 'time check' shortly after launch, they were unable to perform key actions like communicating with other cities that they had created locally, or with the rest of their region(s), or even saving the current state of their cities."
Fox says it took over six months of coding to get here, which is a massive effort for the developer. Fox continues: "My team did, however, see a path forward towards Offline, one that would maintain the integrity of the simulation. Lucy once said that Offline wouldn't be possible 'without a significant amount of engineering work,' and she's right. By the time we're finished we will have spent over 6 ½ months working to write and rewrite core parts of the game to get this to work. Even things that seem trivial, like the way that cities are saved and loaded, had to be completely reworked in order to make this feature function correctly."
A small update was pushed out by DICE for Battlefield 4 on the PC yesterday, which includes a bunch of stability, balancing and player spawning fixes. Stealth jets have also been tweaked, with a 25% increase in the amount of damage their cannons can do. A full list of fixes is below:
- Various fixes for improving general stability
- Fixed a memory leak issue occurring after level shutdowns, which could result in a out-of-memory crash in longer play sessions
- Additional fix for the "sound loop" deadlock when running High/Ultra graphics settings
- Added a warning for using Legacy AMD drivers that were out of date
- Fixed a player feedback timing issue where blood was appearing before other damage indicators, and before damage was actually done
- Fixed a bug where players' rank icons on the scoreboard would not be updated
- Fix for Asian users unable to start Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 on Windows 8.1
- Normalized repair rates across all vehicles. Vehicles with lower health points, like aircraft and transport vehicles, now repair more slowly than before
- Fixed problem with killer health in kill card not being correctly updated (showing 100% health even though the soldier was hurt)
- Fix for friendly marker not always showing when needed to, resulting in players shooting team members
- Fixed a bug where a M1 Abrams Coaxial HMG ammo box was occasionally blocking the driver's camera
- Increased damage by 25% for the Stealth Jet 20mm cannons.
- Stealth Jets now have more similar handling attributes to each other. F35 & J-20 are slightly more agile, Su-50 is less agile.
- Attack Jets now have more similar handling attributes to each other, and all 3 are now slightly less agile than earlier
- Fixed camera glitch when switching weapons while moving in crouch
- Fixed an occasional bug where players could experience intermittent engine sound dropouts when driving wheeled IFVs
- Fix for player spawning under the map when deploying on Lancang Dam
- Fixed flickering in map and minimap on Rogue Transmission and Operation Locker
After all of the disappointment Gearbox Software served up with Aliens: Colonial Marines, most gamers would not want to even hear the words "Aliens" and "game" in the same sentence, well, that is, until now.
Alien: Isolation is a completely different step in the Aliens-themed game direction, one that takes the Ridley Scott movie 'Alien', versus James Cameron's 'Aliens'. It's a survival horror game versus a first-person shooter, where you play Ellen Ripley's daughter, Amanda. In Alien: Isolation, there is no shooting, there is no crazy action, it's a survival horror game first and foremost.
Creative Assembly, the studio behind Alien: Isolation, has done some great work on the graphics engine, and especially the lightning - something you can get a taste of in the above videos. Alien: Isolation is due in fall 2014 on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will arrive at the end of the month for the next-gen consoles, and below, we have a video which compares the game on the PS3 and PS4.
The game definitely looks better on the PS4, with some added graphical features thanks to the extra grunt inside of Sony's next-generation console. Executive Producer on Tomb Raider, Scot Amos, has said that it's more than just a facelift: "a lot of development work [was] put in to custom craft it for the new platforms."
After looking at the video, the PS4 version definitely looks better, but I still think it looks very low res. Either that, or there's no anti-aliasing used. One would think that with there being nearly a decade between machines, and much more processing grunt, the PS4 version would be running 1080p at 60FPS with the extra "custom craft" for the new platforms.
Team VVV has teased the world with a new 7-minute gameplay tease of its upcoming Project CARS, which includes some commentary from a team member that has been following, and playing the driving game since 2011.
The guy in the video uses a decent racing wheel, and uses a small picture-in-picture which shows off just how the game reacts to the steering wheel. The video shows off the newly released Brands Hatch track, and also includes shots from the first-person perspective, which can look hyper realistic at times.
The game is being played on a high-end PC with all of the graphic bells and whistles cranked to maximum. Of course, this title is still in early development, so it should only get better from here. Project CARS should be released later this year on the Xbox One, PS4, Wii U and PC.
Red Barrels' horror game, Outlast, will be free for PlayStation Plus users when the service debuts next month. It is locked to the PlayStation 4 only, and for PlayStation Plus subscribers obviously.
But, considering there are already a slew of discounted games, and a free copy of BioShock Infinite on offer, how can you skip on this? On Outlast's Facebook page, the news is confirmed, with a post reading: "Outlast will be free in February for all PlayStation Plus users (PS4 only)."
EA announced today that it would be adding a long awaited offline mode to SimCity nearly a year after the games launch. EA originally required the game to have an always online connection to contact EA's authentication servers. This requirement caused many issues with the game launching and rendered it unplayable for many.
The issues with the always online requirement caused many users to call for its removal, but EA refused to budge on the matter, but less than a year later, the company is saying that it will be issuing an update to bring an offline mode to the game. Unfortunately offline mode may have came a little to late as many of us have forgotten about the game entirely.
Now that Nintendo has some strong competition in the console space, its Wii U console will continue its downward spiral, but the same cannot be said for its handheld 3DS console.
The Japanese giant sold over 16 million physical and digital 3DS games in 2013, which represents a massive 45% year-over-year increase in sales. The 3DS family includes the 3DS, 3DS XL and 2DS, and in the US alone, the 3DS family sold over 11.5 million units. We had some great system-sellers in 2013, including the new Pokemon games, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
This year, the long-awaited Yoshi's New Island will be released, which should have Nintendo fans across the world pressing buttons for months on end.
AMD's Mantle is coming, and when it comes, it should really shake up the performance for Radeon users in Battlefield 4. AMD have said it'll drive 45% more performance in Battlefield 4 when compared to DirectX 11.
AMD said at CES 2014: "It's up to 45% faster than the original version on this same hardware." The big thing we have to take away from this is, if AMD can deliver a 45% performance improvement from Mantle, what is NVIDIA going to do? You can rest assured, as soon as the Mantle update is released, I'll be re-running my SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X Tri-X GPUs in CrossFire at 4K, and my triple 1440p setup (4320x2560 and 7680x1440).
CES 2014 - The Oculus Rift isn't ready for the big time yet, and even if it were, there's no AAA first-party games available for it. Well, it looks like the virtual reality outfit is looking to change this in multiple ways.
Oculus VR has told Engadget that it is looking to create lots of content for the Rift, where it will constantly talk with developers on making Rift-related content, but it will also build some content in-house, too. Oculus said: "When we catch on to a nugget that seems like it should become a full experience, we may end up doing it ourselves. We may end up putting it out and working with a third-party studio that does. We've actually started to engage with third-party studios like that through the relations group, the publishing group, as well as our own development."
Remember that the creator of Doom and Quake, John Carmack, is on-board, so could we expect the true next-generation leap in games from Oculus VR? I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the future of gaming and technology will begin its first big leap with Oculus Rift.