Here's how technology works in Crusader Kings II as it stands right now: You set the focus for your entire realm to Farming, Legalism, and Tactics... then you ignore that screen for the next 400 years unless you click on it accidentally. The Old Gods (and the accompanying patch that everyone will get for free) is attempting to change that by making technology a more active system. The final dev diary goes into a little more depth on how this will work. You'll find the video version above, and some analysis below.
The best way to describe the new system is this: Duke-tier rulers and up basically serve as the fonts of technology for the world, and their advances will trickle out to neighboring provinces over time. These fonts are fueled by tech points, which you will be able to spend to purchase an advance in each of the 18 newly-consolidated technologies. Unlike the base game, you won't have a random chance to discover the next level of a tech over time, and tech focuses are out.
The way you generate tech points is based on buildings in a province and the liege's skill. Martial skill will generate more Militatry tech points, Stewardship generates Economic tech, and Diplomacy will advance your Cultural tech. The spread of each tech can be seen in the newly-skinned data layer, demonstrated above. Because if there's one thing we grand strategy players love, it's more data layers.
The other tidbit we got that hadn't been previously spoken of is the addition of "Steppe" provinces. Much of Eastern Europe will now be considered part of the Steppes, allowing Altaic and Magyar culture rulers to build the new Steppe Warrior Lodge and Steppe Riding Grounds improvements. These will ensure that their levies are more dominantly composed of mounted troops, as they were historically, since the default troop boosting buildings tend to be infantry-heavy.
As a bonus catch, it looks like the Steppe pagans are getting their own holding portrait art, instead of using the default pagan ones.
The Old Gods releases next Tuesday, and we're fairly sure we've extracted as much possible info as we can at this point without actually playing it. If you're hungry for more, sink your axe into our announcement interview, breakdowns of the first, second, and third dev diaries, details from the developer livestream, and the most in-depth Q&A about the expansion in all of existence.
Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 almost has enough development mana to be summoned onto the battlefield this summer, preceding the release of the new card set in late July. We've been given the opportunity to bring you a first look at a new card that will appear both in the digital and paper-based versions of Magic 2014: Savage Summoning. It also happens to be green, which itself happens to be the best color. Dissenting opinions in the comments will be Trampled.
Some tips from the developers:
Savage Summoning is an instant that has a couple important uses. When you are playing against a deck that has creatures attacking you, you can use it to surprise their attacking creature with your own instant-speed (flash) creature. Because your creature is cast at instant speed, your opponent will need to commit to the attack and could be accidentally running their best, but smaller, creature into your surprise. And because your creature is getting a +1/+1 counter, it’s likely to be big enough to defeat the attacker and live through it.
When you are playing against a deck with counterspells, Savage Summoning becomes an important threat. Because it makes your next creature spell uncounterable, your opponent with a counterspell in hand needs to counter the Summoning because they won’t be able to counter the creature spell. Because it’s an instant, you can cast it at the end of your opponent’s turn, which means the mana they spend to counter can’t be used on your own turn, when you can cast the creature spell as normal.
The winners of Indies Crash E3, an initiative to send ten indie studios to Los Angeles' AAA-dominated mega-tradeshow, have just been announced—but this isn't just a feelgood project to get some lesser-known names in the limelight. The ten winners will be affecting some serious change in the entire industry, says Ian Kinsey, director of SemiFormal Studios and the Indies Crash E3 project.
"I foresee us being able to affect a serious change at E3, and in the industry as a whole," Kinsey tells PC Gamer, when asked their reasons for doing this. "Indie games are arguably where most of the innovation and creativity come from, so getting more players addicted to those clever indie titles will force big developers to compete with equally compelling gameplay."
"Nothing against profit-seeking—if E3 didn't make money, it wouldn't happen—but being a show for the industry, we think E3 needs to be accessible to all facets, not just the most profitable ones."
Fans were asked to nominate their favorite indie studios, with Saibot Studios, Kaiju Combat, and Project Neumann topping the list—the full list of winners can be found at the Indies Crash E3 site. Each of the winning studios will receive two passes to the tradeshow, as well their nominator. Kinsey, himself an indie developer, admits that while other conventions and conferences are much more indie-friendly, it's important that indies have a right to be at E3 too.
"Frankly, E3 is the gaming show in terms of coverage," he explains. "E3 is an event meant to showcase what's going on in the industry; the big boys rule that playground. Yes, we indies are more welcome elsewhere, but we're a big part of the industry and it doesn't sit right that we don't have a major presence at an industry event."
We envision SimCity's residents sadly shaking their heads, mourning the students that never return from their commute to university—as well as the lack of a place to shop. These truly troubling issues, among others, are getting fixed in a patch tomorrow.
First off, some new additions. Early adopters of the game finally receive the SimCity Launch Park. Also, the newly introduced Edgewater Bay is a region with room to spare for seven cities and one great work site.
Dynamic changes in the Global Market prices will be re-enabled, as will leaderboards—EU West 3, Pacific 1, and Pacific 2's leaderboards will be up first, with other servers following suit throughout the day.
Meanwhile, fire stations have been busy training their drivers to not take such obtuse routes when responding to dire emergencies, but in the case they still find themselves caught in traffic, hey, Solar Farms now have a reduced fire risk. A fix will be deployed for the sad story of the college students who disappeared after figuring out how to cross the road, and there are also tuning fixes to Sim happiness now, especially in places without commercial zones. It seems I'm finally being listened to when I say that retail therapy is a very necessary thing in life.
Those are the most notable changes, but you can head on over to the EA forums to check out the full list of fine-tuning changes. Slowly, SimCity gets back up on its feet. Now how much longer do we need to wait for larger maps and subways?
If you’ve been itching for more Don’t Starve content, Klei Entertainment has just added some dark, dank caves for you to explore in an update today.
According to Klei’s blog post, you should find at least one cave entrance on the survival maps you played before the update, where you’ll discover spiders, bats, and bunnies that just want to welcome you to the neighborhood – with their teeth. You might, however, have better luck finding your underground pals in a newly generated map, which is supposed to have additional entrances to the caverns below.
Alongside the completely friendly, non-homicidal cave critters are some new controls to help make inventory management a little easier. Also, the NPC characters Abigail and Chester will no longer trigger any nasty traps. They could probably teach that useful skill to the other characters, but, you know, survival of the fittest and all that.
But before you go off spelunking for scraps of food, you should know that this is just the first in a series of updates, and there’s a chance you’ll find the non-creepy crawly kind of bugs during your stay in Don’t Starve’s underworld. Klei has said it's looking to squash those bugs while adding new monsters and objects in three or four additional updates.
We'll be stocking up on torches and poisoned carrots in the meantime. You know, the essential camping gear.
In a lengthy guest editorial at Kotaku, former EA CEO John Riccitiello wrote at length about what, in his view, the upcoming next generation of gaming consoles must deliver to succeed. The editorial was published before Microsoft's reveal of the Xbox One yesterday, which may require owners to check in to the Internet once every 24 hours.
After first reassuring readers that there will be plenty of space for mobile games and more involved console/PC games to coexist, the focus of Riccitiello’s essay shifts to the connectivity features available to next-generation consoles. Though he’s no longer the head of one of the biggest publishers in gaming, his opinions still shed some light on where gaming might be headed. This is, after all, the CEO who established Origin and oversaw the DRM plans attached to EA games since 2007.
“Gamers will want, and learn to love, the good parts of consoles being more connected to our digital lives than was possible with the machines launched eight years ago,” he wrote. “Some gamers fear the new consoles could be more about a DRM-walled garden than about enabling new types of connected gameplay. More about squashing second-sale (used games) than allowing us to play the games we own at our friends houses, in dorms or at home, without having to bring the disk with us. I don’t believe consoles managed as walled-gardens will succeed longer term.”
Hold on—isn't a game requiring an always-online connection a perfect example of a walled garden? It's a scenario where the publisher has total control over players' access to the content of the game. There are some fantastic things that connectivity can bring to games, like massive multiplayer battles and the ability to play with friends around the world. But one need only look at the recent launch of SimCity to be reminded that when always-online is wrapped around a game in a way that's even slightly unnatural, it can guide development to bad places as easily as it can guide it to great places.
Check out Riccitiello’s full editorial here.
Image via Ars Technica.
While the internet took cover from the barrage of Xbox One announcement news yesterday, some pertinent details for us PC gamers slowly rose to the surface of the TV-TV-Sports-Dog news conference. Among them were the release date for Battlefield 4, what the Xbox One might mean for PC gamers, and the hint that the Kinect 2.0 will eventually be available for Windows.
Via Polygon, Microsoft’s Ben Kilgore confirmed that Kinect support will be released on Windows “at some point down the line.” Since the new Kinect sensor will be shipping as a part of the Xbox One retail unit, will there be a standalone Kinect offering? Or will we have to shell out for the full Xbox One to get access to a Kinect for Windows gameplay? We don’t know.
The implications of a Windows-connected Kinect are intriguing, but not groundbreaking. Windows drivers were created independently not long after the first Kinect sensor released, and its usefulness is questionable—how will a desktop Kinect read players sitting about two feet away, as opposed to reading players sitting across the living room? Meanwhile, LeapMotion is working on desktop motion control that tracks hands in close proximity.
MechWarrior Online has been releasing new content and updates like clockwork over the past several weeks, which is great for a game still in the beta stage. Now a new canyon map has been released along with a new sniper-style mech of the month.
The Canyon Network map features sniper perches and tons of places to hide and ambush. It seems ridiculous to think about a multi-ton mech sneaking around with a sniper cannon, but just go with it. The canyon map features “vast arrays of slot canyons, small steep valleys and high plateaus,” according to the press release.
The new mech of the month, meanwhile, is the Blackjack, a 45-ton medium scrapper with jump jets and the capability for sniping and close-in damage. It is built for taking the high ground and raining down fire, so use it wisely in the altitude-shifting canyon environment.
Also returning in this update is the Champion Jenner, a new version of the popular speedy mech, and faction logo medallions to hang from the cockpit, presumably dangling on the rear view mirror.