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Memorial Fund Started For Family of Dev Killed in Car Crash Friends of Brian Wood, the Company of Heroes developer who lost his life in a tragic car accident on Friday, have established a trust fund to aid his wife and their unborn child during this trying time. Every dollar counts.



As reported earlier this week, Company of Heroes Online lead designer Brian Wood of Relic Entertainment lost his life on Friday night, when his Subaru Outback was struck head-on by an out-of-control Chevy Blazer. The 33-year-old developer was killed in the crash. According to his wife, his last act was swerving his vehicle to take the full brunt of the impact himself, saving her life and that of the couple's unborn child.



Radical Entertainment's Szymon Mazus, a close friend of the family, now points us towards a trust fund established to aid Erin and her child as they deal with this tragic situation.



"Brian was a very close friend. He was just the kindest most down to earth person you could ever hope to meet, as is Erin. We have set up a trust fund to help Erin and the baby during this very difficult time and I was hoping you would be willing to post a blurb about this and a link to www.brianwoodmemorialtrust.com on your site. We, family and friends, would be incredibly grateful."



I can only imagine how deeply this tragedy affects Erin and her child. With so much to worry about now that Brian Wood has passed on, not having to worry about financial matters would certainly be a large weight off of her shoulders, while helping ensure that the pair have the sort of life that Brian would have wanted for them.



Every single dollar does count. Imagine the relief we could give Erin and her child if everyone who read this donated just one dollar to the fund. I've donated, and I only have $35 in the bank right now. If I can do it, so can you.



Click the link below to find out how you can contribute.



The Brian Wood Memorial Trust [Official Page]


Kotaku

Company Of Heroes Dev Gave His Life To Save His Family Further information regarding the tragic death of Relic Entertainment's Brian R. Wood in an automobile accident Friday night reveals that the developer's final act saved the life of his wife and their unborn child.



As we reported yesterday, the lead designer on Company of Heroes Online was driving his Subaru Outback with his wife Erin of five years, pregnant with their first child, when they were struck by a speeding Chevy Blazer driven by 21 year-old Jordyn B. Weichert.



The 33-year-old developer was killed in the crash. His wife and their child survived the crash, thanks to Brian's last-minute sacrifice.



According to Erin Wood, she and the baby would not have survived the crash had Brian not swerved at the last minute, taking the brunt of the impact himself.




"All the policeman say that if we had hit the car head-on all of us would be dead. At the very last second (Brian) braked really hard and turned right so that he would be put in the path of the SUV and not me and the baby, and that is the only thing that saved us both.




Rather than a head-on collision, the Chevy Blazer struck the driver's side of the Wood's Subaru, crushing the roof and killing Brian instantly. His wife escaped with a non-life-threatening head injury.



Along with being a lead designer with Relic Entertainment, Wood also sang baritone with the Espiritu Choir in North Vancouver and enjoyed spending time outdoors.



He will be remembered fondly by his co-workers, his family, and of course, his wife and child.




"He was always sacrificing himself for me and the baby," said Erin Wood.



"He was the most amazing warm-hearted man you would ever meet who loved his job, loved his family, and was just my rock. I am not quite sure how I am supposed to live the rest of my life without him. He truly was a gift and I wouldn't change a thing of any of our moments together. (The baby is) due Nov. 5 so it will come quick and then I look forward to seeing little glimpses of Brian in our baby and that gives me a lot of strength right now."




According to Washington State police, evidence of drug use by the driver and passengers of the Blazer was discovered at the scene, and the occupants of the vehicle were known to police.



The driver of the Blazer, 21-year-old Jordan Weichert, was allegedly removing a sweater while driving, asking her 22-year-old passenger Samantha Bowling to take the wheel. Both survived the accident. Weichert is being charged with three counts of vehicular homicide and one of vehicular assault. Bowling is being investigated for the same charges.



The other two passengers in the Blazer died in the crash, 25-year-old Jacob Quistorf and 26-year-old Francis Malloy.



Brian's father, Ed Wood, says the family harbors no anger towards Weichert and Bowling, but feels they need to be put away so the tragedy doesn't happen again.




"I don't feel a sense of anger. I feel a sense of profound loss. I don't feel a need for vengeance or anything of that sort. But I do believe these people need to be put away. They are going to kill somebody else and themselves and they need to be put away just for the good of society."




North Van dad-to-be's final act saves family [The Province - Thanks Moc]


Kotaku

Company Of Heroes Developer Killed In Car AccidentBrian R. Wood, lead designer of Company of Heroes Online and a key player in the development of the series as a whole, was tragically killed on Friday night in an automobile accident north of Seattle.



Wood was behind the wheel of his Subaru Outback, with his wife Erin a passenger, when they were struck head-on by a Chevy Blazer driven by 21 year-old Jordyn B. Weichert. Two passengers in Weichert's car were killed, while it's alleged that the young driver was also under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident.



The Washington State Patrol say Weichert could be charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault once she is released from hospital, while another passenger in her car, 22 year-old Samantha R. Bowling, may also be charged with vehicular homicide.



Wood was 33. His wife, six months pregnant, is "hospitalized but in improving condition".



Our thoughts go out to Wood's family and everyone at Relic Entertainment.



Vehicular homicide charges possible in Whidbey crash [Seattlepi]


Kotaku

The Games To Play When You're Not Playing StarcraftIf the extent of your real-time strategy gaming extends to playing Starcraft and pre-ordering Starcraft II, boy have you missed a lot in the last ten years.



While Starcraft II looks pretty great, we know from the beta that the fundamentals of the game remain largely unchanged since the 1998 original. If you want more of the same, it looks set to be right up your alley, but if you'd like to see some of the changes and additions made to the genre over the past decade, you should read on.



Note: Every game I'm about to recommend is for the PC. I know there will be scores of other games you could recommend aside from these, but I've tried to stick to the most significant and recent titles. If you think you know something better, let us know in the comments below!





3D



Starcraft was essentially a two-dimensional strategy game. Like Command & Conquer before it, while the game map gave the illusion of height and depth, most gameplay – including that of the game's flying units - was limited to the X-axis. Maps featured only crude elevation in the form of "second levels", while aircraft couldn't adjust their altitude.



Later real-time strategy games have since embraced true three dimensional maps. This means sloping hills, river beds and a true sense of height. Not only does this look more realistic, but many modern RTS games use this 3D space in terms of gameplay; running up hills tires out infantry, etc.



See: World in Conflict, Total War series





COVER



Cover. It's the most important thing for a soldier on the battlefield, yet from Dune to Command & Conquer to Warcraft to Starcraft, developers either refused or were unable to implement the feature. Many games today make it a staple, however, and the addition of cover to the genre has revolutionised RTS gaming.



Relic's Company of Heroes remains the standard bearer for this feature; when moving infantry, you not only click on a spot on the map to move them, but arrange how the troops will deploy behind cover, and are even told how effective that cover is from enemy fire by a colour-coded feedback system.



No longer are infantry meat for an eternal grinder; they can now be safely moved across maps and safeguarded.



See: Company of Heroes, Dawn of War, Dawn of War II





RESOURCES



One of the most important aspects of Starcraft is resource gathering. You can't build troops without minerals and gas, so half your time in the game is spent…mining. If mining is a passion of yours, that is awesome, but most modern RTS games realised that mining isn't as much fun as fighting, and have settled on ways to reward you for territory held and blood spilled, not how much stuff you can dig out of the ground.



The concept of "command points", or "control points" is how this philosophy is implemented. Rather than holing yourself up in a base like you would in Starcraft or, say, Age of Empires, many RTS games of today instead force you out of your base early in the game, with control over certain sectors of the map the only way to earn the points/money required to build more units.



Not only does this relieve the need to focus on non-military tasks, but it encourages players to constantly engage each other across an entire map, rather than simply hoarding all their units for a single rush as is still a dominant tactic in Starcraft.



See: Company of Heroes, Dawn of War



Now, this isn't to say that these new additions to the genre are universal improvements. A lot of people – millions of people - like the way Starcraft plays, which is exactly why Blizzard has stayed true to the same formula for the sequel.



But like it is with Call of Duty, or Madden, there are many people whose only experience with real-time strategy is solely through the giant of genre. In this instance Starcraft. And if that's you, and you feel like trying something a little different, then any of the games listed here are a great place to start.


Kotaku

Closed Beta for Company of Heroes Online Begins in North AmericaThe upcoming freemium real-time simulation Company of Heroes Online kicked off an exclusive closed beta today, promising that 20,000 more access keys will be handed out on July 26 via IGN's FilePlanet.


A news release today said only a few Company of Heroes community members were emailed keys today, granting them access to the testing phase of the closed beta. The real fun begins next Monday, when FilePlanet hands out another 20,000 in a promotion lasting until July 30. See that site for more details.



The Company of Heroes Online Beta will feature 17 maps and two different armies, the Allies and Axis, each with three different divisions. Maps will be split between 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 modes. Players of the Company of Heroes Online beta will also be able to enjoy the single player campaign from the original Company of Heroes.


Kotaku

Company Of Heroes Is Back! (Sort Of)Company of Heroes Online - the free-to-play version of the classic PC real-time strategy game that's previously only been available in Asia - is going to be released in the West, publisher THQ said today.



Having tinkered with the game in overseas markets, first with a Shanda-developed title in China and then an in-house THQ production in Korea, Company of Heroes' Western launch will see the original 2006 title essentially re-released. Multiplayer will become "persistent", requiring you to create a character then log hours and win matches to advance in rank. Or, if you'd rather skip the slog and get straight into the more powerful abilities and units, you can just pay up (though paying won't get you anything you can't unlock through regular play).



As a pleasant bonus, the game will include, also free of charge, the singleplayer campaign from the original Company of Heroes, which even four years on remains the pinnacle of real-time strategy in many people's eyes.



Oh, and if you're wondering whether this will be a sloppy port handled by an external studio, fear not: it's being handled by Relic, developers of the original (and Homeworld, and Dawn of War).



The multiplayer game could suck a suck for all I care. If the singleplayer game is free, that's the deal of the decade right there.



Company Of Heroes Returns [Venture Beat]


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