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Tim Schafer to remaster more games if Grim Fandango Sells


Double Fine’s Tim Schafer said that he would love to remaster more LucasArts adventure games he worked on, though Grim Fandango Remastered will have to sell well in order for that to happen.

The news comes from the Grim Fandango: Bringing the Dead Back to Life PAX 2014 panel, where Schafer and other developers who worked on the original game talked about how they are handling various aspects of the remastered edition.

"We would love to make more of them," Schafer said in response to a fan in the audience who asked if they considered remaking or re-releasing other LucasArts adventure games. "If everyone buys 10 copies it will make it more likely that we’ll make another," Schafer joked.

As to why they decided to tackle Grim Fandango first, Schafer said it was a combination of the team’s passion for the game, the fact that it became hard to get only a few years after it was originally released, and the negotiations between Sony, Double Fine, and Disney, which acquired LucasArts last year.

Schafer and the panel also discussed the current state of Grim Fandango Remastered. The plan is to dig up the original assets, polish them, and use as much of them is possible in the remastered version. One exception is the game’s music, which will be performed and recorded with the Melbourne orchestra just for the new version of the game. The Melbourne orchestra also worked with Double Fine on Broken Age.


At the moment, the team is still digging through the archives to see what they have, but has already begun improving textures, cutscenes, and other assets, as well as implementing new mouse and DualShock controls. A short video about the production of the game that played before the panel started also briefly showed it running on the tablet, though the game hasn’t been officially announced for iOS or Android devices.

Double Fine announced that Grim Fandango will be released for Linux, Mac, and Windows PC in addition to PS4 and Vita. A release date for the remastered version of the game has not yet been announced, but Double Fine says it will be a simultaneous launch across all platforms.


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Civilization: Beyond Earth new trailer from PAX Prime

Firaxis released its latest trailer for Civilization: Beyond Earth after its panel at PAX Prime this weekend. Over six minutes of gameplay, it shows how a colony functions once it has reached full strength, about 100 years into the game’s timeline.

That includes features like the “Purity Affinity,” which basically means the human colony terraforms the environment to accomodate it, rather than adapting human biology to the environment through cybernetics, gene modification or other transfusions. There’s also a demonstration of combat (against a freakin’ Kraken), diplomacy, and the game’s orbital layer.

Civilization: Beyond Earth will launch on Oct. 24 for Linux, Mac OS and Windows PC.


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First trailer released for Firewatch this week

Firewatch, the first effort from a team of notable games developers and designers, released its first trailer this week, laying out the mystery that envelops the protagonist and the distant yet intimate radio relationship he has with his partner.

Firewatch is the work of Camp Santo, a studio comprising Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, both alumni of Telltale Games’ acclaimed The Walking Dead Series, as well as Nels Anderson of Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja, and the well known graphic designer Olly Moss.

As you can see in the video above, Firewatch is a first-person game that follows Henry, who explores the Wyoming wilderness after taking a summer job as a fire lookout. Events are sent in motion as Henry learns that a forest fire might be headed in his direction. Firewatch appears to be set sometime in the past (note the use of the typewriter at 1:15 in the above video.)

The game is being developed in Unity and is planned to release for Linux, Mac and Windows PC operating systems sometime next year.


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Prison Architect Alpha 24 updates mods and now informants

Prison Architect Alpha 24 new modding system and confidential informants

The latest alpha build of Prison Architect (Linux, Mac and Windows PC) was published on Friday morning, just under one month after Alpha 23 went live, and the latest build of Introversion Software's prison construction and management simulator offers some pretty substantial changes for the Prison Architect community to dig through.

Prison Architect Alpha 24 has been published by Introversion Software, introducing both confidential informants and a substantially improved modding system to the popular prison construction and management sim. While not an especially long list of changes, especially compared to patch notes for previous Prison Architect alpha builds, the game’s newest features offer some significant changes for regular Prison Architect players to adjust to.

Would-be wardens will now have the option of recruiting confidential informants among their inmates, typically by offering leniency in lieu of punishment for wrongdoing. The ability to recruit “snitches” gives the Prison Architect community a new way to keep an eye on the flow of contraband in your prison, and lets you know which prisoner(s) might cause trouble for you in the near future.

The Prison Architect team also drastically overhauled the game’s existing modding systems, giving players a surprising amount of freedom to customize their Prison Architect gameplay experience. The new modding tools allow players to change everything from the basic attributes of their inmates to the items and rooms that can be purchased/built at your correctional facility.

Those looking to alter the Prison Architect experience can even create new research trees for the game, along with new materials, reform programs, work rules and more. Meaning longtime Prison Architect fans can probably expect to see a substantial increase in the number of mods available for download in the Steam Workshop.

Here’s the complete change log for Prison Architect Alpha 24:
Mod System V2

The modding system has been substantially upgraded.

It is now possible to create new versions of just about everything in a mod:
  • - Objects / Entities
  • - Rooms / Zones
  • - Equipment / tools / weapons
  • - Materials
  • - Research / Bureaucracy
  • - Emergency Callouts (eg Riot Police)
  • - Reform Programs
  • - Grants (The only area you could add new content previously)
  • - Jobs (eg tend these vegetables)
  • - Needs, and Need Providers (eg “Bladder” is a need, “Toilet” is a need provider)
  • - Production/Work rules (eg Move sheet metal to the workshop, load it into the Saw, cut it into license plates)
Custom graphics can be provided by data/sprites.png. (Please keep your sprites.png as small/compact as possible - so we can load more mods at once). We currently only support a single graphics patch at a time, however we will upgrade this for next alpha

All objects can use an optional LUA script to drive their behaviour

We have created a sample Mod called “The amazing vegetable garden mod”, which demonstrates many of the new features. It adds a new Vegetable Patch, in which seeds can be planted. These seeds are tended by prisoners, and eventually grow and can be harvested as vegetables. Those veg are then taken to a (new) Vegetable Preparation Table in the kitchen, where they are chopped into ingredients. Those ingredients are then used for cooking meals within your prison.

More information can be found here: Confidential Informants

Prisoners can sometimes be hired as Confidential Informants, and will provide insight into illicit activity within your prison. Prisoners *might* be willing to become CIs in exchange for being released from a long stint in Solitary. In addition, suffering Withdrawal symtoms from drug abuse, or suppressed from heavy handed treatment will help convince them. Once recruited, CIs must be “activated” and will be escorted in cuffs to the nearest security office.

They will then reveal their information in the new “Informants” view under “Contraband”. They will reveal:
  • - All contraband owned by prisoners
  • - All contraband being smuggled in (eg by delivery trucks)
  • - All arranged throw-ins, ie near the outer walls
  • - All escape tunnels
Prisoners who have been in your prison for longer will have more information for you.

Each time you activate a CI, or act on their information, suspicion in that CI will increase.

If their suspicion rises too high, their life may be in danger.

Remote Access systems continued
  • - Servos can now be set to ‘Close on trigger’, which means they will close their door when triggered instead of opening it.
  • - Power Switches can now be turned on and off by an incoming wire connection
  • - New object : Pressure pad. Activates when stepped on
  • - New object : Status light. Lights up when activated
  • - Rendering speed of all wires increased
  • - Performance of logic gates much increased (helps with large circuits)
  • - Wires are now rendered only when an object is selected, or “All Wires” is selected in the Utilities menu.
Contraband thrown over walls is now less likely (minimum distance between throws now 15, previously 10)

Historical Contraband now pruned to 7 days maximum.
  • - This hugely reduces memory requirements and save game file size, and will also help performance in very long running maps.
Theft of spoons and forks from the Canteen was becoming excessive. The canteen is no longer a source of spoons or forks.

When multiple objects are in a single square, you can now cycle between them by pressing TAB

Fixed : Broken materials will now be dumped, so they can no longer block things from working.

Eg ‘Broken’ uniforms are never used, but also never replaced

Cleaning Cupboard rooms now require the Cleaning research to be completed

Trees now arrive in packs of 10 (saplings in plant pots), ready for planting (instead of one tree in a single crate)
What do you think of the changes implemented in Prison Architect Alpha 24? Already have an idea for a mod that you think would improve the overall Prison Architect experience?


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Costume Quest 2 pre-orders available on Linux, Mac and PC


Costume Quest 2 launches on October 7 on Steam, with pre-orders begin this weekend and ripe for the picking – or tricking or treating. Pre-order the game across Mac, Linux and PC in two ways: Costume Quest 2 plus four classic costumes for $15, or pay $20 for the “Pre-Purchase Costume Quest 2 Bundle,” which includes Costume Quest 2, Costume Quest, the Grubbins on Ice DLC and those four classic costumes.

Double Fine’s Greg Rice said: ”People have been asking for it forever. I think it’s that every Halloween you’re reminded about the game. We have a lot of people who are coming back to us saying they replay it every year.” The original Costume Quest was released in 2010.

The four included costumes are the Robot, Unicorn, Eyeball and Pumpkin. Each costume comes with its signature ability, Double Fine says: “Mow through Kronys with the Robot’s ‘Missile Barage’ or bring back KO’d friends with the Unicorn’s ‘My Pretty Panacea.’ Pumpkin can devastate groups with an ‘All Hallows Eve’ wind attack, while the Eyeball unleashes tears of fury via the ‘EYE-agra Falls’ ability.”

This holiday season, Costume Quest 2 allows everyone to partake in the most sacred of all tasks: Saving Halloween. It’s due out on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac and Linux, published by Midnight City and developed by Double Fine.


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Planetary Annihilation out of Early Access next month

Science-fiction real-time strategy game Planetary Annihilation leaves Steam Early Access and launches proper on 5th September 2014, developer Uber Entertainment (Monday Night Combat) has announced.

It does so for Linux, Mac and Windows PC with a number of new upgrades, including the Annihilaser, a Death Star-esque laser that blows up planets, and the addition of resource-rich gas giants.

Planetary Annihilation was a 2012 Kickstarter that raised $2.2m from 44,000 backers. Uber had asked for $900,000. It has been a Steam Early Access title since June 2013. “Our fans have been an amazing and constant source of support throughout the development process,” said Uber CTO Jon Mavor, “so we’re thrilled to deliver. Launch is another beginning. We can’t wait to show you what’s next.”


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Steam’s “no refunds” policy could be facing challenges

Federal court could challenge Steam’s “no refunds” policy Steam does not give refunds for purchases post-launch except under extraordinary circumstances, and Valve’s official policy is that it simply does not offer refunds. This has sparked the ire of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which argues Valve is in violation of Australian consumer laws. “Valve may be an American based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement sent to press. The ACCC alleged Valve made the following “false or misleading representations” to its Australian consumers:
  • consumers were not entitled to a refund for any games sold by Valve via Steam in any circumstances;
  • Valve had excluded, restricted or modified statutory guarantees and/or warranties that goods would be of acceptable quality;
  • Valve was not under any obligation to repair, replace or provide a refund for a game where the consumer had not contacted and attempted to resolve the problem with the computer game developer; and the statutory consumer guarantees did not apply to games sold by Valve.
So it’s not so much that Valve has failed to give refunds, but that it has stated that it doesn’t give refunds – and as the Australian Consumer Law applies to all business offerings good or services within the nation, Valve could be in a fair bit of trouble. A Federal Court hearing has been scheduled for October 7. In fact, in direct contrast to its public stance on the subject Valve does give refunds on Steam purchases – but as an individual, getting one is notoriously difficult. The onus is usually on the user to show that a product is faulty or incorrectly advertised, and it’s usually only when a successful refund goes public – as with Ubisoft’s From Dust – that users manage to take advantage.
“Ubisoft has just announced that they are working on a patch that will eliminate the need for any online authentication for From Dust. The patch will release in approximately two weeks. If you don’t want to wait for the patch or if you haven’t played the game, per Ubisoft’s request, we will issue refunds for this title. If you would still like your purchase of From Dust refunded, please reply to this ticket.”
Mass refunds are also quite rare. More often than not, mass refunds are organised by publishers; examples include the recent Colin McRae game. Valve itself has elected to issue mass refunds in cases where it has removed a game from the service following consumer complaints, as with The War Z and Earth: Year 2066. Update: Valve gave a statement on the matter to Kotaku Australia: “As with most software products, unless required by local law, we do not offer refunds or exchanges on games, DLC or in-game items purchased on our website or through the Steam Client. Please review Section 3 of the Steam Subscriber Agreement for more information.” Reblogged from: vg247


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Awesome action platformer Hive Jump now on Kickstarter

Hive Jump is one of the more exciting Kickstarter campaigns, perfectly blending the frantic run ‘n gun action of classic shooters like Contra with the unpredictability of Spelunky‘s random generated levels. If that’s not enough then developer Graphite Lab has an entirely new level for the game to operate on as well.

As promised when the game reached 50 percent funding, Graphite Lab has spelled out the game’s tactic elements. When your troops, known as Jumpers in the game, battle it out with the bugs deep underneath the surface, they aren’t just fighting for their own survival. They are part of planet-wide campaign bent on destroying these parasites once and for all.

Your job is to not only control these soldiers in the thick of battle but also to wage the war from above, assigning troops to different hives, managing resources, defending your territory, and flat out carpet bombing the enemy if they become too powerful.

Granted, it’s not quite as deep as XCOM Enemy Unknown, but the inspiration is clearly there. You will have troops which improve with experience, and you definitely want the better ones to survive. The soldiers you rescue from the depths will act as great back-up support, and of course, the resources you mine up will allow you to build new weapons to take on missions, set up stronger fortifications for your base, and research various other upgrades to give your an edge in battle.

You and the alien bugs will take turns on the map in placing troops and waging the war. They have the ability to overtake your bases if left unfortified, and you might easily find yourself pressed against the ropes if you’re not careful. Your twitch shooting skills will mean nothing if you can’t think two steps ahead of the enemy.


Anyone have been fine with Hive Jump just being a simple procedurally generated run ‘ gun action game with gorgeously animated sprites and a great sense of style, but this new strategy takes me to a whole new level of excitement. We really hope this game succeeds, because who wants to wait the extra time it will take if it fails?


Hive Jump currently sits at $29,900 out of its requested $50,000, and it has 10 days remaining. Graphite Labs is currently aiming for a release on Linux, Mac, Windows PC, and Wii U at the most basic level. A $175,000 stretch goal will bring it to the Xbox One and likewise for $235,000 goal and the PlayStation 4. They seem a bit out of reach at the moment but anything is possible.


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A bundle of PAX all weekend long on this special Flash Bundle



The Humble Flash Bundle: The PAX 10 is available all PAX Prime weekend and ends on Tuesday September 2, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time.

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Indie Megabooth - Solid Gold Collection of fine games


For the next week Steam users can purchase Guacamelee! Gold Edition, Hotline Miami, The Stanley Parable, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine and Fract OSC for a grand total of $20 / £15 as part of the Indie Megabooth - Solid Gold Collection.

Typically all of these games combined would cost a total of $85 / £61.94. Most of these titles are available for Linux, Mac and Windows PC with the exception of The Stanley Parable and Fract OSC, which do not support Linux.This offer is only good until midnight on Monday September 3rd, so you best snag this quick if you’re interested.For the uninitiated, the Megabooth is an indie collection at PAX wherein dozens of developers pool together to showcase their wares over a sizeable chunk of the showfloor. This current Steam bundle is to commemorate PAX Prime this weekend where these games were once part of the Megabooth. Other alums include cult hits like Don’t Starve, Super T.I.M.E. Force, and Papers, Please.


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Epic FPS Interstellar Marines gets co-op in September


Interstellar Marines has sold over 100,000 copies since it launched in July 2013 on Steam Early Access, developer Zero Point Software announced this week. The sci-fi game has generated “more than $1.5 million in revenue” for the studio. Still in “heavy development,” the tactical FPS will also receive an update on September 18 that adds cooperative multiplayer to the game.

Zero Point Software first revealed Interstellar Marines in 2006, and the game received multiple “it’s still alive” reassurances over the years. Players can pick up the game for Linux, Mac or Windows PC via Steam for $18.99 with it’s stunning visuals and gameplay. A small price for access to both the Early Access version of the game and its upcoming expansions and updates, such as the “Project Co-Op” one scheduled for next month. The developer will showcase its spacey shooter at PAX Prime in Seattle this weekend at Alienware’s booth (#1246).

 Interstellar Marines Has Sold More Than 100k Copies, Getting Co-Op Gameplay on Sep 18

Copenhagen-based indie developer Zero Point Software’s ambitious shooter, Interstellar Marines, is set to introduce the first iteration of co-op gameplay in its next big update, aptly codenamed “Project Co-Op” and scheduled for September 18 on Steam Early Access. The game – which has generated more than $1.5 million in revenue for the team and has sold more than 100k copies in total since launching last year – was built with top-notch co-op play in mind; this update brings the game closer to the full experience the team hoped to deliver when it set off to create Interstellar Marines more than a decade ago.

Watch a brand new teaser trailer to give you a taste of what to expect.

Media and attendees of PAX Prime will have an opportunity to get a sneak peek at the new content. It will be available at Alienware’s booth, 1246, with community manager Carsten “Bozar” Boserup making the trip to show off co-op gameplay in Interstellar Marines.

As an Early Access game Interstellar Marines is currently in heavy development. “Co-op is one of the central pillars of the game, and is a big part in providing players with an outstanding tactical experience in as realistic a manner as possible,” said Kim Haar Jørgensen, creative director on Interstellar Marines. “The co-op demo we will be showing at Alienware’s booth is an early slice of what we are working on. This is the first chance we have to present this early version of co-op to our players and we are eager to hear their feedback. After the release of Project Co-op in September we will continue to enhance and refine the co-op experience until it reaches the lofty heights we are aiming for.”


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The Journey Down: Chapter Two now available on Steam

Oldschool point-and-click adventure The Journey Down: Chapter Two is out now on Steam (Linux, Mac and Windows PC) and iOS.


The follow-up to 2012’s stylish noir adventure, this latest chapter has been in the works for quite some time and it shows, as Swedish #developer Skygoblin's latest sure is pretty. A comedic noir point-and-click in the vein of Grim Fandango, The Journey Down is a throwback to the LucasArts adventures of yore. You can’t die, but you can stumble upon whimsical gags when you attempt to combine an item with something that it ought not be combined with.

The adventure follows mechanics Bwana and Kito as they uncover a web of corruption in the search for the legendary Underland. This middle chapter sees the duo in the “the foggy and treacherous town of Port Artue” where they’re accosted by pirates while running from the law.

If you don’t want to jump into the middle of the story, you will be pleased to know that Chapter One is free this week on iOS and 90 per cent off on Steam until the end of the month - making it £0.49 rather than £4.99.

Chapter Two is only 10 per cent off on Steam at the moment, making it $8.09 rather than $8.99 USD, while the iOS version is $4.99.


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