Like an unpopular and neglected combination of game client, social platform and DRM system, Games for Windows Live is fast approaching its ultimate shutdown. Oh, hold on, that wasn't a clever analogy. That's what Games for Windows Live is. In preparation for its sort-of announced shutdown, a variety of games have been looking at ways to hack off the dying flesh, in the hope that such self-amputation will stop the creep of necrotic tissue, thus ensuring the survival of the host. Okay, that was a better analogy.
Codemasters have become the latest developer to announce their detachment plans, confirming over Twitter that a GfW:Live free version of rally racer Dirt 3 was being worked on.
@TweetingTommy32 We are working on it but it may not be until the new year.— Codemasters (@Codemasters) November 9, 2013
Dirt 3 was the last Codemasters game to use GfW:Live. The developer's subsequent releases, including F1 2012 and 2013, Grid 2 and Dirt: Showdown, all used Steamworks. As yet, the planned fate of the excellent Dirt 2 - also tied to GfW:Live remains unknown.
Games for Windows Live's shutdown was briefly announced through the support page for Age of Empires Online, before the webpage was updated and the closure confirmation removed. That so many games have, or are planning to switch to Steamworks confirms that there's some truth to these plans. If the original date was correct, the service will shutdown on the 1st July, 2014.
We've already seen a Steamworks shift from Bioshock 2 and the Arkham games, and Capcom recently announced that they were "looking into what options are available".
Contrary to popular belief, the anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality headset doesn't run on pixie dust and elf tears. Like all hardware, it needs software drivers. And while its 20-year-old creator, Palmer Luckey, focuses on manufacturing more developer kits to meet the exceedingly high demand, enthusiastic 3D fans are already planning homebrewed custom drivers. One such project is CyberReality's Vireio Perception which extends Rift 3D support to first-person greats such as Portal 2, Skyrim, Mirror's Edge, and Left 4 Dead.
As CyberReality describes it, Vireio (or Virtual Reality Input Output, but we like how the shorthand name sounds like an enemy boss) can "pre-warp the image to match the Oculus Rift optics, handle custom aspect-ratios (needed for the Rift's strange 8:10 screen), and utilize full 3D head-tracking." As we describe it: Whoa.
The drivers work with nine games so far: Left 4 Dead, Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Skyrim, Mirror's Edge, AaAaAA!!!, Unreal Tournament 3, Dear Esther, and DiRT 2. CyberReality plans to add additional games in the future after spending more time with the kit. If all goes well, the possibilities are enormous: Think of revisiting classics such as Thief or Deus Ex with full head-tracking vision. Oh, yes, this is exciting.
UK-based Publisher and developer Codemasters have given up making shooters, choosing instead to focus on racing games. The company have launched a new publishing label - Codemasters Racing - that will be responsible for putting out Codemasters' upcoming games. They include the inconsistently capitalised but consistently good DiRT rally series, and the similarly speedy official F1 games.
Codemasters' comms chief Rich Eddy clarified the change to MCV. "In racing, we are number two in Europe and that’s not good enough. Racing is our DNA, it is our heritage, it is our specialisation and it is our absolute focus going forward." No clues as to where that leaves Dizzy in this shakeup.
DiRT Showdown will be the first gAmE (that's how you do it, right?) to be released under the new imprint. The change is surely a good move for the publisher. They're pack leaders in the racing oeuvre, but recent forays out of it haven't met with much success. A focus of assets and resources on the games they're best at makes sense.
The trailer above loudly announces that Dirt Showdown will be released on May 25. A demo will be released on Steam in a couple of weeks on May 1 if you fancy trying out Showdown's lively, arcade slant on the relatively serious rallying of the core Dirt games. That'll let us crash a selection of cars across a "solo and multiplayer event."
Showdown features rough and tumble races set amid boisterous carnival locations. Expect ramps, choke points, stunts and plenty of collisions. Previous trailers have shown crashes on the 8 ball arena, crashes in the midst of crowded night time contests and crashes during frantic midday bouts. If that's not enough crashing, there's a destruction derby mode solely devoted to dishing out points for big hits.
If you're to get hold of Showdown early, the "Hoonigan Edition" should be available to pre-order from Game and Gamestation, though the PC version doesn't seem to be there at the moment. The Hoonigan version comes with some extra car liveries, and online XP bonus and some extra in-game cash to spend on your cars. Check out the Dirt Showdown site for more.
Codemasters stopped by earlier with a preview build of Dirt: Showdown. It's living up to its billing as a more accessible, rough and tumble take on the carefully simulated physics of Dirt 3. You won't find any serious Rallying here, it's all about going wheel to wheel with your competitors, ploughing them into barriers and boosting past them to steal the win with brute force.
We'll have some more detailed impressions for you in a bit. Meanwhile, here's three new videos of three of the different modes available in Dirt 3, including your racing, demolition derby and more of the 8 ball circuit shown in the last Dirt: Showdown trailer. Click 'Read and Comment' for more VRRRRRM-SMASH.
In case you haven't heard already we've recently announced that May 24th will be the global release date of DiRT 3.
Want to know more about what DiRT 3 holds in store for you when you fire it up on the 24th May? Well just take a look at the below URL which links to an absolute plethora of confirmed info about DiRT 3 straight from the Twitter account of Senior Game Designer Paul Coleman.
The recently-revealed Codemasters racer DiRT 3, due out on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next year, will have "snow and ice, dynamic weather, YouTube uploads, fierce rides and epic tracks, splitscreen support, party modes, an open-world playground and more real-life sponsors and stars than ever," according to the latest issue of Edge magazine.
More details can be found in the full article at the below URL.
Just a heads-up that the next editions of OXM, OPM and Edge Magazine will all contain preview articles for DiRT 3.
I think you'll start seeing copies arrive in the shops around the 7th August.
If you haven't signed up already, why not sign up to the DiRT 3 official Facebook and Twitter Sites. We've just recently uploaded to the Facebook page the first glimpse of a still image taken from the upcoming DiRT 3 trailer.