Project Alpha 31 – The Video Game Made Without A Programmer

When it comes to making things on computers many will tell you that if you don’t know a programming language like the back of your hand, you will struggle. These day’s that isn’t always true as Adrian Lazar found out when he was making Planet Alpha 31, a video game that was made without a programmer.

Lazar isn’t new to the video game market having been a professional game artist at AAA studios for a while but wanted to try making something a little different. Back in 2013, he started using Unity to make what would eventually become Planet Alpha 31, but his lack of experience with programming meant the game went on a hiatus. That was until he learned about Unreal Engine 4’s Blueprint visual scripting system. The system allows you to set up gameplay using nodes, connecting them together to create game rules, camera settings and even the very weapons and environmental effects that change the games very world.

The end result was Planet Alpha 31 becoming a full-time project, rather than a side project. Designed as a 2.5D game, played on a 2D plane but with 3D graphics, the graphical style of the game is like that of clay, with smooth dough looking graphics covering the landscape.

While the game may seem simple, it features rich and graphically diverse effects, with dynamic lighting really shown off when lasers rip across the screen. The game is set for release in 2017 on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC and I for one cannot wait to try it out.

https://youtu.be/Y9fpvjOJbJc

The Division Made $330 Million During Release Week

Video games are a big money earner for the companies that get them right, and in this case, it would appear that Ubisoft got it very right with the Division dwarfing expectations and netting $330 million during release week.

Working off the average price for the game (standard edition, physical and digital) at $60, that would equate to around 5.5 million copies sold alone during release, week surely to grow as patches and fixes appear for its numerous “bugs”. The calculated figure does include other editions, though, such as the gold edition which contains the game and the season pass alongside the exclusive “national guard” gear set.

While 5.5 million users may be off, it may not be as far off people think with the game reaching 1.2 million users concurrently online during the game’s launch weekend, and 100 million hours logged of playtime since its release.

With so many players lining up to help save New York from a pandemic devastated black Friday, it looks like the game could go for a while longer with players eagerly awaiting everything from the next fix to the next DLC.

Are you a member of the Divison? Have you enjoyed the game so far or did you get hit by the release day bugs? Tell us your stories in the comments below.

Metro 2033 Set to Become a Film

It would seem the dark is set to become a scarier place with games like Thief becoming movies. If the idea of a master thief sneaking around wasn’t enough to make you want to avoid the dark then the creatures from Metro 2033 will probably be best left on the small screen as it’s been revealed that Metro 2033 is set become a film.

Based on a novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, the book follows the story of Artyom and as he explores the world after “the war that ended the world” and the mysterious creatures titled “the Dark Ones”. The series is set in the dark tunnels of Moscow’s subway system, a dark tunnel where both friend and foe live in the dark corners of its embrace.

Commenting on the news that a Metro 2033 movie is in early development, Glukhovsky commented saying “my novel and I have been waiting for this to happen for the last ten years”.  As with many writers Glukhosvsky said he was “extremely careful about handing my ‘baby’ over to Hollywood producers for adaption for a feature film” but was convinced to hand over the concept as Michael De Luca and Stephen L’Heureux “have a great vision”.

Are you a fan of the book? Maybe the game got you into the world of Metro? Do you believe a film is a good idea for this series and if so who would you cast?

Sword Art Online VR MMO Isn’t Coming Afterall

Last week the internet was awash with news that the popular series, Sword Art Online would be getting a VR MMO. We even reported on it here at eTeknix, but sadly it seems like the internet was once again a little too quick to come to terms with the news and instead spread a huge misunderstanding.

IBM is looking to advertise their new SoftLayer cloud service, something which would, of course, require marketing and in order to do this the creation of a Sword Art Online prototype was developed to demo at their latest marketing event. Sadly this means that you won’t be able to experience the game’s fictional world come alive and will instead have to settle for the 20-minute demo that is designed to be just that.

So it looks like Sword Art Online: The Beginning will be nothing more than a fancy tech demo to advertise the new service from IBM. Sadly there are no plans to make a full Sword Art Online MMO I have no doubt that people all over the world will be upset by this news and surely the outcry and support for a project (even if it was just a misunderstanding) would encourage a company to maybe follow up on the concept and bring it to live.

Pokémon Anniversery Celebrated in a Big Way

So today is the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, the little critters that went everything from an electric mouse to a three-headed ostrich. Since then we’ve seen everything from creatures of the night to gods take form and battle it out in cards, movies and video games. If that wasn’t enough though you can now celebrate the anniversaries announcement of a new generation of games amongst other celebrations.

While we were given forewarning about the games yesterday, the Pokémon direct stream showed us the latest game concept art and the work Nintendo are doing to bring it to us this year in 6 different languages.

https://youtu.be/hmzDL1l3Fag

Sadly the video is more of an advertisement from the past rather than a teaser for the new games, but those of you who are seeking a craving a little too much can buy Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow tomorrow. It’s also been confirmed that Pokémon X, Y, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby will be able to trade over to Sun and Moon through the ‘game.

If this wasn’t enough then why not enjoy the fact that you can even buy a giant Snorlax cushion for only $460? If that’s not your cup of tea why not enjoy the “Pokémon Afternoon Soiree” to be honest by none other than actress Drew Barrymore. The event is invite only with everything from stylists to bloggers invited to receive Pokémon inspired nail art, get a photo with Pikachu (who is set to make an apperance) and even receive a gift bag (contents unknown at this point, but we bet it’s going to be some amazing stuff).

Infinity Ward to Release New Call of Duty

Video games come in all shapes and sizes, but few are larger than a release such as Call of Duty. The Call of Duty series is one that just keeps going and going, with new releases every year expanding on your weapons and abilities as you take the war from the past to the future. When it comes to producing the games, there is no one with more experience than Infinity Ward, a company who are proud to announce that this year, they will release their next Call of Duty game.

Like many Television shows, the series started a while ago, with the series going against the popular Medal of Honour series with its historic shooter, Call of Duty in 2003. Followed by Call of Duty 2, in 2005, the series kicked off to a whole new level with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007. With games released every two years, Sledgehammer games became the third studio to be added to the rotor, making three different studios releasing Call of Duty games year after year.

This year it’s back to the originals with Infinity Ward, so what could we expect from the company? With the modern warfare series behind them, the latest focus seems to be on their last release, Call of Duty Ghosts. Could we see a Ghosts 2 released this year? Only time will tell as we eagerly await more details

Nintendo Celebrating 20th Anniversary of Pokémon

Most people will remember the little pocket monsters (more commonly known as Pokémon). From the cute little Pikachu to the unstoppable power of Mewtwo, the classics of which many grew up either as parents or children. To celebrate Pokémon’s 20th Anniversary, Nintendo is releasing a whole bunch of Pokémon content to celebrate.

Styled after Tekken Tournament, Pokken Tournament will see you facing your favourite Pokémon off in epic, fast-paced real-time battles. With characters like Charizard and Mewtwo making appearances alongside some of the newer generations. With at least 16 fighters, with Magikarp (we don’t understand either) and Sylveon amongst those that are already named. Initially released as an arcade game in Japan, as with many games it didn’t take long for it to reach the rest of the world.

Set for a March 18th release date worldwide you could be fighting your favourite classics against each other sooner than originally expected.

As we mentioned before this is a big year for Pokémon with it marking 20 years since the series started. To mark this date, Nintendo are releasing a special 3DS with the original Pokémon red and blue pre-installed with interchangeable face plates of the classic Charizard and Blastoise. If this wasn’t enough you will also be able to download the games and Pokémon yellow from the Nintendo store.

If you own Pokémon X, Y, Alpha Sapphire or Omega Red you are in for a treat with monthly mythical Pokémon distributions starting February. With the likes of Celebi and Mew appearing in their announcement video (which you can find below).

If this isn’t enough check out the Pokken tournament website located here to find out more about the game and the action.

Penn and Teller’s Desert Bus To Receive Sequel

If you ever study video games (it’s something you can do and I highly recommend) you will come across this game. Desert Bus is known across the board for many reasons, more commonly though due to the long and rather bland gameplay. This won’t stop the release of a new one as one of the original founders of the game have hinted that they are working on a new Desert Bus.

Desert Bus is the brainchild of Penn and Teller. Yes that Penn and Teller, the famous magical double act, were the creators of the original game all the way back in 1992. Designed as a game for when the “violence caused by video game” argument was at a high, the game features you driving a bus for eight hours on a straight road at 45mph between Tucson, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada.

While not the most enticing game at first glance they aren’t looking to develop a game to make people suffer, instead its quite the opposite. The game will be developed to support Desert Bus for Hope, a charity event that see’s people play Desert Bus as part of a charity marathon (it’s even streamed online) in order to raise money for Child’s Play, a charity for domestic violence and children in hospitals.

Working alongside Randy Pitchford (Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Duke Nukem Forever), who is currently at Gearbox, the game will “probably be for the Oculus Rift and for the PlayStation VR”.

Not all games have to be action packed and full of explosions, Desert Bus 2.0 will be there to help others in a way to bring together gamers and people all over the world.

Amazon US Offers Prime Users Cheaper Games

You remember that feeling when you’ve really wanted a game and the best place to buy it is online? Releases in a few days and you want to make sure you have it ready for when you get in, ready to stare and watch as it starts up and the world disappears. Now remember that $99 Amazon asked you for that next day delivery through Prime? Seems like the two could now be one and the same, with Amazon Prime offering discounts on all new releases and pre-orders of video games.

Amazon’s site now reveals that when you are a prime member you will receive (if its Amazon shipping the game) 20% off. Have you been burned by recent pre-orders not living up to expectations? For those burned by games like Colonial Marines fear not, the discount not only counts towards pre-orders but also for the first two weeks after its release.

Not only does the offer extend to those who have already pre-ordered games via Prime but it will also include Collectors editions of games. I’m sorry to say that product bundles, such as consoles and games releasing at the same time, will not be included in the deal.

Saving 20% may not seem like much, but if you purchase several games over the year the savings quickly stack. Sadly the offer seems to be limited to Amazon.com for now, so hopefully other Amazon sites will quickly follow suit. Check out the terms and conditions and FAQ’s before buying all those games you’ve been putting off pre-ordering.

The Witcher Movie Release Date Released

Written by Andrzej Sapkowski, the Witcher series started as a collection of short stories and novels revolving around the world of Geralt of Rivia. Set in a fantasy world where monsters and magic are commonplace, Geralt is a Witcher, a monster hunter who gained magical abilities to help combat the creatures he hunts. After its success at a series of video games, creating several large open world RPG games following the character, it would now seem that his world will come to the big screen in the near future.

The Witcher movie has been picked up by none other than the Sean Daniel Company (SOC), a company well known for their work on “The Mummy” franchise. As if that wasn’t enough to excite you about the movie, the film is planned to just introduce us to the world which will soon become a series and is being written by Thania St John, known for working on shows such as “Grimm” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”.

With an international release planned for 2017 it could soon be gracing both our PC and big screens.

Are you a fan of the Witcher series? Do you like the idea of a fantasy series with such a deep background of knowledge and lore created ready for use within the movie or would you prefer if the show introduced you to some new lore?

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Cinematic and Release Date Revealed

These days, it’s often possible for pre-orders to start for a game before the developer has even announced the launch date. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is no exception with pre-orders opening up 2 months ago but no launch date yet. That has been rectified today with Blizzard announcing that the third and final installment of StarCraft II will launch on November 10th 2015.

Along with the announcement, Blizzard released yet another one of their glorious cinematics. In it, the Protoss struggle to hold their ground as they warp in reinforcements to reclaim their homeworld. Like the title suggests, the last expansion in the series will focus on the Protoss and their legacy as well as wrapping up the story for the rest of the characters like Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan.

Interestingly, the date Blizzard has chosen, November 10th, is already claimed by two other major titles, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Fallout 4. This means for more budget gamers, they will have to choose which game to first spend their hard earned cash on and which one to play first. While Blizzard can gamble that RTS players and fans of the other games aren’t the same, there will invariably be overlap. For now, be sure to check out the opening cinematic below.

Call of Duty Video Game Franchise Tops $10 Billion in Global Sales

The Call of Duty video game franchise has topped $10 billion in global sales, Activision proudly boasted, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the biggest game title, movie, or book launch of the entire year.

Advanced Warfare also is the highest-selling digital launch in game console history, according to Activision’s internal estimates. Considering the extremely high level of anticipation for the title, including months of marketing efforts, it wouldn’t be too surprising if the news is true.

Here is what Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said in a statement:

“We poured our hearts into making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare an epic ride, and we are pleased with the performance. Sales and engagement are up through the first week compared to last year. Season Pass sales are up, as well. The game has been very positively reviewed and the response from fans has been tremendous. We believe Advanced Warfare will be the most successful game of the year and we thank our fans for making it the biggest entertainment launch of the year.”

Video games have evolved into a major business, raking in billions of dollars in sales, especially with the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4. However, PC gaming is far from dead, with PC gamers also enjoying hours of fun, forking over cash for the latest generation of video games.

Thank you to Activision for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of vg247

Next Steam Sale Reportedly Starts on Wednesday, Nov. 26

Everyone break out your credit cards and get ready to use those PayPal accounts! The next Steam sale is reportedly going to begin on Wednesday, November 26, though Valve still hasn’t publicly confirmed the date.

PayPal recently sent an email informing VG247 of the impending Steam sale, recommending it’s time to “stock up on Steam Wallet Codes from the PayPal Digital Gift Store.” PayPal wants customers to purchase PayPal gift cards, providing the opportunity to purchase discounted game titles easily. Video games can be purchased for family and friends using the gift cards, and account restrictions aren’t applicable.

It’s always possible PayPal is incorrect about the launch date, but with PayPal and Valve sharing a close working relationship, gamers should be able to assume the Wednesday launch date is correct – but confirmation could be coming soon.

Steam continually offers some games with varying discounts, but the Black Friday-timed event could yield even more deals. Are you excited – and ready – to bust open your wallets and purses during the Steam Sale? What do you hope to see on sale?

(Thank you to vg247 for providing us with this information. Image courtesy of Polygon)

Goat Simulator Madness

Goat Simulator is AWESOME.

This is gonna sound really stupid but the game actually has a lot of depth to it. Everything from achievements, “mutators”, in-game trading cards, and a whole slew of collectibles. The possibilities are endless.

There’s so much destruction to be done in this game that the guys from Machinima have started a top ten destruction video. Check it out!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUu4KZHwV6Y[/youtube]

Thanks to Machinima for providing the great video 🙂

Alien: Isolation Announced By SEGA

SEGA has officially unveiled Alien: Isolation. In the game, you will take the role of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda. The game is planned for a late 2014 release on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One.

“Creative Assembly has created a truly incredible gaming experience, capturing perfectly the very core of what has made the Alien franchise remain relevant after 35 years,” said Jeffrey Godsick, president of Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products. “This partnership has led to the creation of a game that is simply outstanding and sets the tone for what is to come this year for the 35th anniversary of Alien.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVy_yqA2lcI[/youtube]

One of the plot threads that is teased in the “Alien” franchise, but hasn’t been explored in the films, is the throwaway line about Ellen Ripley’s daughter, whom she outlived thanks to her 50 year stasis between the first two films. Now it seems that story is finally getting told, in the form of a new “Alien” video game from SEGA, Twentieth Century Fox, and Creative Assembly, titled Alien: Isolation. You can see the announcement trailer, a developer diary, and some screenshots for the game below along with the full press release.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meNE4CPtnCo#t=28[/youtube]

“In Alien: Isolation, we have taken the series back to the roots of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie, the original survival horror,” said Alistair Hope, Creative Lead at Creative Assembly. “Our Alien is a truly terrifying creature, as intelligent as he is hostile, relentless, brutal and unstoppable. This is the Alien game fans of the series have always wanted.”

Thank you Coming Soon for providing us with this information
Image and videos courtesy of Coming Soon

Phone Number For Sex Hotline In Playstation Game The Last Of Us

Last week Peter gave us his review of the PS3 game The Last of Us by Naughty Dog. And it seems like they have been very naughty. Apparently unknowing graphic designers placed advertisements within the game for “Pest Control”, unlike in the movies having a phone number such as 555-555-5555, they placed the area code for the phone number as 800. Dialing one of the numbers will give you a notice informing you that the phone number is “temporarily unavailable” though, if you call the other number you get a woman letting you know that you are trying to reach a sex hotline.

Of course I needed to verify the facts for myself and call the number, this is what I heard… “Welcome to 800-666-1234,” moaned a woman’s voice. “Mmmmmm. We’re spread, wet and ready for you right now. Come on baby, let’s play!”

According to CVG Naughty Dog has their tail between their legs now, and has stated that they will be working to take it out. Not sure if they are going to remove the advertisement entirely or just the phone number.

Kotaku contacted creative director Neil Druckmann for a statement.

“That was an artist’s mistake,” he said. “What happened was, they put some phone numbers in the game and then they thought they could just change the area code to 555, then it’s invalid because it’s what they do in movies. But I guess that doesn’t work when you have a 1-800 in front of it. “We’re now working to take it out,” he added. “It was just an honest mistake.”

Personally, I don’t mind that the phone number is there, I find it kind of funny. According to ESRB The Last Of Us has a Mature rating, and by keeping the phone number in the game, could give it an Adult rating. Retail value of this Playstation only game is currently $59.99.

Do you feel that Naughty Dog should leave this advertisement in game, or should they remove it? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of CVG.