Arrowhead's fourth-wall-busting, spell-slinging adventure Magicka received a new entry in its arcane codex of patch notes today. But in true Magicka fashion, the fixed bugs and slight tweaks were cheekily presented alongside an abundance of flavor text carrying Arrowhead's snappy wit.
The full patch notes are below.
- Added some missing characters to certain fonts. Continuing our commitment to offering characters to all fonts everywhere. - Fixed a pathfinding crash. Took us a bit, but we found it. - Fixed disappearing boss Vlad. Turns out he was just at the bar up the street. - Fixed a crash when killing frozen Khan (and possibly other bosses). KHAAAAAAN! - Fixed camera issue when being revived by the fairy. Fairies weren’t previously aware of auto-focus. - Fixed NPC spellcaster AI sometimes freezing up. After taking some public speaking classes, though, the NPC finally warmed up. - Mobs are now able to spawn their own kind upon death. That sounds kinda gross, actually. - Added some new functionality to scene scripts. Scene scripts run. Run, scripts, run! - Reduced the physical damage resistance of Enraged Goblin Warlocks. Let’s face it, Warlocks sound all-powerful but they’re really just a bunch of pansies. - Fixed a localization crash. Que haya sido reparado. - Fixed a crash with the Performance Enchantment magick. Talk to your doctor first. - Fixed a crash that occurred when firing a water projectile during a level transition. That’ll show those pesky levels who’s boss around here. - Fixed an issue with collision checks that resulted in multiple fall damage. Large Hadron Collider consulted, collisions now in check. - Fixed certain lights being removed when restarting a scene. Disco disco, good good. - Fixed scores being inconsistent between client and host in challenges. Issues resolved with just a couple trust falls. - Fixed script delays being reset when restarting a challenge level. No more delays, the movie will finally be coming out soon. - Fixed element icons getting stuck highlighted when disabled (as in Elemental Roulette). Now if we could only get our car’s dome light to turn off. - Fixed a crash where players were gripped during level transition. Now they’ll just be gripped in anticipation, amirite?! - General stability improvements.
Magicka's hypreractive wizards caused too much collateral damage to accurately fit the "good guys" label, but most of the time their menacing array of lasers and magic mines were pointing at evildoers. In Magicka's new expansion, The Other Side of the Coin, you'll have license to cause as much havoc as you want. You play either as the vampire Alucart, or one of his necromancer entourage on a mission to blow up the elves in their homeland.
The Other Side of the Coin will land in just a couple of weeks on June 14 and will cost $4.99. It'll add a story challenge, four challenge maps and let you play as a necromancer in Magicka's hilarious player vs. player mode. Grab the full feature list below.
Play as Alucart the Vampire and his henchmen, the Necromancers One exciting new story challenge set among beautiful new elven architecture 4 new challenge maps playing as necromancers: World's End, Volcano Hideout, OSOTC Arena and the Mirror Crystal Cavern Hideout. Necromancer introduced to PvP New achivements Innovative and dynamic spellcasting system with thousands of possible combinations Up to four player co-op in all game modes as well as single player option Experience the parody and satire of a cliché fantasy world
Paradox seems to be cornering the cutesy fantasy market; first Magicka, then A Game of Dwarves, now Dungeonland. Dungeonland's premise is simple; an evil lord, tired of heroes rampaging through his dungeon, takes a loan from the Evil Overlord Foundation and creates a kingdom especially for heroes to destroy, chockful of powerful monsters and magic tat.
Developed by Brazil-based Critical Studio, Dungeon Land is half Left4Dead, half Diablo, half Overlord and totally not about maths. A team of three intrepid adventurers (that's you!) take the archetypes of rogue, wizard and warrior and fight their way through an long open level, battling varieties of minions. Each character has access to a limited variety of weapons, which change their abilities and function. For example, the warrior's sword and shield allows him to block attacks and knock back enemies, but can be swapped for a two-handed hammer.
The level we attempted was about an hour long and was a soft parody of Dungeons & Dragons and Disneyland, complete with endless gift shops and costumed characters to battle. Combat is simple, and works best with gamepads; we ran around frantically bashing enemies, looting crap, and fending off the massed hordes.
Each player had three potions, which enabled a super-attack, and a limited number of friend-resurrections before permadeath kicked in. The feel was very close to Torchlight, with enemies dying very quickly, and abilities more being used for crowd control and survival in a giant melee.
Intriguingly, the Dungeon Lord himself can be either a fourth player or controlled by the AI. With the AI, he behaves like Left4Dead's director, spawning enemies, treasure and minibosses at critical moments. It's not clear how the fourth player will handle it, but we do know they'll have direct control of any bosses.
Like the Elder Dragon (an old dragon wearing a hat and glasses) and Mind Flayer (a giant illithid, D&D fans) we encountered, bosses are huge and normally surrounded by minions. Like all bosses after World of Warcraft, they're big, cartoony and signal their attacks waaay in advance.
There are just three levels planned at the moment, giving the game about three hours linear playtime; it remains to be seen if the Dungeon Master AI will give it greater replay value. Dungeonland is due for release in 2012. You can watch the most recent Dungonland trailer here.
Magicka devs Paradox Interactive have just announced three new games. The Showdown Effect, Dungonland and RED Frontier are all on show at GDC. Paradox say "Action-packed and loaded with adventure, all three of these games will fulfill a unique need in gamers’ lives, whether it is their thirst for blood, fame and glory for their teams, or helpful theme-park-survival skills." We'll have our impressions of all three games online soon. Until then, feast your eyes upon the trailers within.
DRM's the hideous multi-tendriled monster PC gamers pump shotgun blasts into while bellowing "Why! Won't! You! Diiiiiiie!" And, questionable punctuation aside, it's a good question. DRM gives legitimate customers no end of trouble while providing pirates with an allegedly righteous cause for their actions. In the cases of companies like Ubisoft, it's utterly baffling. What gives? Do publishers hate our money?
Obviously not. However, according to Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester, we can't aim our pitchforks and torches entirely at maniacally monolithic companies that erupt in a din of evil cackling and ominous lightning strikes each time someone's booted back to a start screen. Business, he says, isn't such a one-sided game.
"I think there’s a lot of politics, especially in bigger companies," Wester said in an interview with GameSpy. "If you’re a CEO, you need to cover your back. And the people who ask, the board, know nothing about games. They’re there because they’re some investment company or something, and they ask 'So what are you doing to protect our game from pirates?' And then they can reply 'We’re buying this solution from Sony.'
Even so, Wester finds the whole "solution" to be incredibly counter-productive from both a business and consumer-centric standpoint.
"I just can’t see why people are using DRM still," he continued. "If you take something like Sony’s DRM, SecuROM - it’s a waste of money. It will keep you protected for three days, it will create a lot of technical support, and it will not increase sales. And I know this for a fact, because we tried it eight years ago, and it never worked for us. Two major reasons: it costs money and it makes you lose money, and the other is that it’s so inconvenient to customers."
"Now, I see no reasonable explanation for why people keep on adding it. Especially the kind where you have to be online all the time, like Ubisoft. I think that’s, to me that’s 2003."
The Stars are Left adds several sinister new campaign missions to Magicka, complete with tentacled Lovecraftian bosses, new enemies and new outfits. The pack also comes with a couple of challenge maps and there's a new trailer, which may be the first H. P. Lovecraft/film noir comedy crossover film ever made. Hopefully it's not the last. The Stars are Left is available now for £3.99 / $5.99 on Steam and Gamersate.
‘Tis a grand weekend for indie gaming on Steam. In addition to the Super Meat Boy Pack, bonkers co-op RPG Magicka is free until 9pm on Sunday, and, yes, developers Arrowhead Game Studios have fixed most of the bugs. There’s also a wizard’s sleeve worth of offers on Steam, including Magicka itself for £1.99, a four-pack for you and three chums for £5.99, and the Magicka Collection - including all DLC - for £4.24. Magic!
Rock Paper Shotgun have spotted a trailer for Magikca's new expansion, The Stars Are Left. It promises, in typical Magicka style, the chance to 'kick Lovecraftian butt' in a new campaign. Time to get those ARSE mines ready, they are the only thing cosmic horrors truly fear.
Along with the paid expansion, there'll also be a massive free patch that addresses a number of issues with the game, improves the visuals and makes the whole thing far more user friendly. Full patch notes inside.
Fairy familiar added, revives characters after death occurs in solo campaign Checkpoints now save progress even if game is quit Chapter select added to replay previously played chapters Several improvements to the server browser Physics and collision detection improved - less falling through the floor Frame rate stuttering - should be less noticeable for some users Extended particle system with particle lights Improved light performance Several minor bug fixes, game balance, and tweaks
Will you be picking up Magicka again for the new expansion?
Ah Magicka, with your completely bonkers expansions. Joining this year’s Vietnam is The Stars are Left, a ‘spandey based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, spotted over on RPS. Scheduled to launch this winter, it includes a new adventure campaign, which is one of the most requested features for the co-op spell ‘em up.
Like Vietnam, only the host player needs the expansion for others to join in - an act described by developer Arrowhead Studios’ colleagues as, “More insane than a black goat with a thousand young.” We don’t believe for one minute that anyone actually said that.
It also makes fun of Minecraft. Magicka is rapidly becoming the Naked Gun series of computer games.
Here are some bullet points, if you’re into that kind of thing:
An all-new adventure, several levels long, allowing players to get lost in space and time 2 new challenge maps 2 new robes 2 new bosses 5 new achievements 7 new enemies Considerably more than 2 new items and Magicks Also, we make fun of Minecraft this time
Wizarding adventure Magicka might have gone on to sell 600,000 copies, but the game had a rocky start. When the game first launched, players experienced bugs that made it basically unplayable in both singleplayer and multiplayer, and it was weeks before it was stable.
At E3 last month, I spoke to Emil Englund, one of the founders of developers Arrowhead Game Studios, and asked him how the buggy launch happened.
PC Gamer: When the first game out it had quite a few bugs, how did that happen?
Emil Englund: Oh, I mean, you have to start from the beginning. First of all, we were students, we were a very small team. We didn't have any experience. We started working with Microsoft XNA initially, and we were looking at the XBox, and then halfway through we changed to the PC. So, I mean, already there you have a foundation for a lot of bugs. Combined with not having a lot of resources to try the game on different platforms, you know. I read an article in Game Developer Magazine about the Civilization 5 development, and they said, 'Oh, and we had engineers from Nvidia and AMD at our office who constantly helped us try the game on the different graphics cards.' We didn't have that. So it's kind of hard for us to do everything right from the get go.
Also, some other things. We didn't know the game was being released, the time that it did. It's kind of stupid, but we thought it was released the day after or something. And all of a sudden someone says, "It's live!" And we were working on the Day One patch already. We're like, "What!?" We had like three hours where the game pretty much didn't work because we hadn't got out there with the release patch. There were a few bugs that snuck through at the end. We had them fixed, but it wasn't distributed to Steam. It was a nightmare.
And then, of course, there were a lot of other bugs as well. Many of the bugs were simply things we hadn't noticed. We had beta testing, but nobody reported it, so we didn't find it. So the only thing we could do was promise everybody we were going to patch this a lot. Which we did. We pretty much lived at the office the first two weeks and just kept pushing out patches each day, to fix as much as possible just to show our good will. And it seemed to work out. People appreciated it, and we kept patching, only we had to put more and more space in between the patches. Right now, we have a lot better quality assurance about patches as well, to make sure that the new patches don't break the game further.
But yeah, working with XNA wasn't really helping us. And right now we have a lot more resources. I mean, Paradox is helping out a lot as well. If we need somebody that knows more about something, they'll help to get a contact for us to talk to, and that has increased quality for DLC and patches.
Magicka is now polished, and last month Arrowhead pushed out an enormous free update adding PvP. I asked Emil what had changed for them since the game's success.
PC Gamer: The game has sold 600k copies so far. How has that changed your lives?
Emil Englund:Oh, we actually have a salary now, which we didn't before. We had a really low one towards the end so we could actually pay our rent, and buy food without loaning from parents. Right now we have salaries so we can live regular lives. We managed to employ some more people. We've grown from 7 to 11 since release, which is always fun, to bring some fresh blood aboard. And I don't know, it's kinda strange, sometimes I just don't get how much we've sold, how successful the release has been. And though there were a lot of issues, we have more plans for the future, there's a lot more stability in the company now. I mean, there was no money in it at all at the start. Right now, we at least feel we might be able to get somewhere. I guess that's the main thing, that we have a salary, so we can live ordinary lives.