Browser game studio Pixel Pandemic announced that it will open up its free beta of Radiated Wasteland the 11th of February 2013.
Radiated Wasteland is a post-apocalyptic, free-to-play browser based MMORPG. The ambition of the development team has been to adapt classic gameplay features from the great RPGs of the past two decades to the browser format.
“We feel that there are way too few challenging browser based RPGs for gamers like us who are or at least used to be hardcore gamers. In my opinion the market is flooded by cute farm animals and boring linear gameplay. We wanted to develop a complex MMORPG with a complex skill and character customization system. We also wanted a game that featured tactical turn based combat gameplay and exploration of a huge map with multiple NPCs, story driven missions and other things to engage in. We feel that we have achieved that with Radiated Wasteland and hope to develop things from the open beta with a focus on what the game community wants like we have been doing to great extend with our 1st game www.zombiepandemic.com”, says CEO Thomas Jacobsen.
The storyline is set a few decades in the future. A giant comet has crashed into Earth causing massive destruction and turning what is left of the world into a giant radiated wasteland.
The player's character is a young adult, who has spent his/her entire life in the confines of Oasis 4, a sheltered underground village. This tiny community has survived for almost three decades, well-protected from the radioactive clouds that suffocated the surface of the earth. Although there has been news of other underground cities migrating to the surface, the people of Oasis 4 know that the surface world is rife with danger. Mutants and raiders rule the surface, and anyone who tries to pioneer into the wasteland is met with lethal opposition.
As the scavenging parties find fewer and fewer resources, Oasis 4 is faced with the difficult decision to finally migrate to the surface. You are among those sent to explore this strange new world and carve out a new path for your people.
Radiated Wasteland is developed by Copenhagen based Pixel Pandemic and the 2nd game following on up on the survival horror MMORPG www.zombiepandemic.com.
Sign up at www.radiatedwasteland.com to get an early pass for the open beta.
Click the image below to view more info, images, concept art, and to sign up for the open beta:
Let me preface by saying that I’m not asking for your money in a crowd-sourcing campaign. Over the past 10 (!!) years that I’ve been involved with DAC in one way or another, we’ve gone through highs and lows, periods of intense activity and inactivity. Most of the time, I’ve tried to build up activity on the site, but in the last year or two especially, I just haven’t had as much time to give the site the attention that I’d like to – and that it deserves. With that in mind, I’d like to ask for help. I don’t really foresee me being as active as I used to be anymore, so in order to keep the site going we need people to step forward and help run it.
The most obvious position to help build momentum on the site is that of a Newsposter. Over the years, a lot of you have come forward to help out with news, but I need someone (or hopefully more than one) person to help consistently post news, editorials, original content – anything at all. There’s already a pretty established framework for exposure (via Twitter, the Facebook page, etc), so that end is fairly simple. It’s the synthesising and posting of news, rumours and speculation from around the internet on DAC that I need help with. It’s always been a big job, and I just can’t do it by myself anymore.
Newsposters are important, but the position that is most sorely needed on DAC is that of a technical administrator – someone who has the skills and knowledge to code. Specifically, we need to upgrade our forums – to phpBB 3 or something equivalent. We’re flooded with spambots, and our captcha-style defences just don’t work anymore. I’ve never had the skills to handle these sorts of things, and it’s showing more than ever. The site itself seems to work, but there’s always room for improvement.
There are other ways we can work together to improve DAC. We’ve had ideas in the past that semi-start, but then are never followed through. We had a big push to make DAC t-shirts a while back, as an example; lots of people talked about submitting designs and it seemed like it was going to be great, but then nothing happened with it. There have been weekly-features by members of the community that start, but then kind of quickly die out. There are some good features that are fairly consistent – I can think of Wasteland Radio as an example. That’s the kind of thing we need more of to survive as a site. I’m sure we can come up with some great ideas.
So, to sum it all up (TL;DR), we need technical-skilled people who can help upgrade the forums, newsposters who can consistently post news, and new ideas that are followed through with from the community. It’s been a while now since Fallout: New Vegas came out, so, with Fallout 4 on the horizon, let’s bring DAC out of this rut it’s been stuck in and into a new Golden Age.
DAC's host, the illustrious Taluntain, is moving us (and our SP brethren) to a new server this weekend. If anyone can spare some money to help him cover the costs, it would be greatly appreciated:
Good citizens of the BoM, I need your support again. You've probably noticed that for some time now our current server has been performing far below expectations in terms of speed, not to mention the occasional load/timeout issues. I've already found a suitable, much more powerful replacement with a new server provider, but this means a) that we will be moving to a new server soon and b) we will need to pay for this new server every month and the price will be nearly double what we're paying now. All of the current issues we're having, however, should be a thing of the past. RPGCodex, one of our hosted sites, will be covering the majority the expenses since they've grown considerably larger than SP over the years. However, we'll need to contribute as well. Additionally, over the next few months I'll be moving the BoM to new forum software, since our current provider is no longer worth sticking with. In the meantime, I'm going to reinstate the chat app that I've bought a licence for now and enable temporary content uploads that I've tested some time ago. However, due to impending migration to different forum software, the full transition to automated content uploads will only happen after the move. I'm hoping that we can raise at least $1000 to pay for all the costs mentioned above. You can help us reach this goal by donating for an SPS account (new or renewed). PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO PUT DOWN YOUR BoM USERNAME IN THE DONATION NOTES! I especially welcome donations from those of you who have never supported SP with a donation before - now is a great time to show your support for the community! Any amount that you can part with to help will be greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance! If you would like to donate less than the minimum SPS account subscription (<$15), you can of course do so as well. Please check this link for more details.
On a side note, I'd like to apologise for the recent lack of updates. I've been doing a fairly intensive course IRL and just haven't had time. So if anyone wants to step up while I'm busy to post news, let me know.
There are a lot of questions that come to my mind when I think of the future of robotics like will robots feel emotions? Can they have dreams and aspirations to fulfill if only they could take a week off from the factory? Do they dream of electric sheep or of paying child support or of just escaping, and slumming it in some Czech brothel far away from that bitch of a mother-in-law? Will I be able to kill robots with fire? Like I said, a lot of questions come to mind. The 2011 novel, Robopocalypse, answers exactly one of them, and yes, many of them can be killed with fire.
Set in a near future of self-driving cars, smart buildings, walking sex dolls, and a largely automated war on terror, Robopocalypse imagines an epic robotic uprising in which a top secret, highly advanced artificial intelligence learns to harness control of literally every piece of technology on Earth and turn them all against humanity.
From cell phones to toaster ovens, vibrators to celebrity Justin Beiber, the machines’ primary function suddenly, one day out of the blue, becomes to destroy humanity…. But why? Well, here is where it gets a bit weird. You see, this novel is, if nothing else, a whole lot of fun. It will give you fast paced, hardcore human on robot action in nearly every single chapter and you will enjoy the hell out of it if you’re into that sorta thing, but even epic robot battles cannot disguise the elements of the plot and narrative design that leave you scratching your head and wondering- huh? For instance, it’s explained right away that the reason this supercomputer known as Archos wants to do away with humanity is so that it can preserve the rest of the life on Earth based on the assumption that mankind is so damaging to the planet that we could destroy everything if we aren’t eradicated.
Now, I don’t want to sound like a humanist, but I find that a bit insulting, and who exactly is this supercomputer to judge what the correct path of life on this planet is exactly? I mean we’re all evolving and doing our best here so I think Archos should really cut us some slack…. But, alas, the mechanized environmentalist does not. Instead it unleashes metallic hell upon the planet and wipes most of us out immediately.
Whether the plane you’re on decides to nose dive directly into the ground, you’re smart car drives full speed into a tree, or you’re Roomba attempts to push you down an elevator shaft, chances are you will meet your maker within the first hour. Those who aren’t killed right away in Robopocalypse begin to form a resistance, slowly over several years and eventually they are victorious.
Now before you scream ‘SPOILER!!’ please understand that the outcome of the uprising is revealed to the reader in the very first chapter, and this brings me to the very bizarre narrative device that’s used in Robopocalypse. Not to spend too much time on the device but I found it to be strange and unnecessary. There is literally a ‘Black Box’ that is found at the location of the final epic battle and it’s used to play back the events of the uprising from the points of view of a handful of main characters. It was odd, but I got used to it.
Once beyond that, I found that the real major pull of Robopocalypse is in the descriptions of the robots. Not just what they look like, but also the way they react, behave, and rip people to shreds. The writer, who happens to hold a PhD in robotics, is clearly in his element when he is pitting man versus machine in close combat, and he definitely plays on that strength. I don’t think a chapter goes by without at least one extended action sequence, and that’s a great thing. The sequences are gruesome and honest about the kind of damage that robotkind can do to their flesh sacked creators.
Ultimately, while I did enjoy Robopocalypse for its action-packed robo-mayhem, it seemed often very clichéd when it came to the human characters almost to the point of being vomit-inducing (there is an Italian-American militia member whose battle cry is, I shit you not, “arrivederci”). It also failed to convey the real horror and despair that I believe is inherent in the situation. The writer, many times, seemed to be enjoying the bloodshed entirely too much to notice that most of his characters should be suffering from advanced exhaustion, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder at some point. The most major character, in particular, seems worried whether or not he is a ‘hero’ at a point in the uprising when even the toughest gentleman would be contemplating a barrel in the old mouth.
You’re not going to find any deep examinations of mankind’s relationship with its creations in Robopocalypse, but you will find a buttload of kickass action. If Terminator is your idea of deep A.I. philosophy, Robopocalypse is for you. If the prospect of a robotic uprising seems like a really fun way to start the afternoon, then Robopocalypse is also for you. If the thought of sentient killing machines horrifies you to the point of frenzied madness, you may want to check out Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream…. no, on second thought don’t do that.
I give Robopocalypse three tree hugging supercomputers out of five.
Survival Perk: When the real robopocalypse arrives, the most important lesson this novel teaches us is that it’s vital we stay arctic cool and keep in mind every machine has a weakness. If you are being hunted by an unmanned car, don’t be afraid to get off the road! If you awake to find your iPad choking you to death then it may be time to take it back to the store.
There is another major lesson that Robopocalypse attempts to teach, and I’m not sure if I agree with it. It’s the lesson that in order to fight robots we may have to give up our humanity and become robots ourselves, only to recover our humanity when the fighting is over. Can you recover your humanity once it’s lost? I’m not certain. What I am sure of is that we will all find the answer for ourselves when machines do rise up.
There's a sale currently going on at GOG (13 days remaining as of 19 October) on the Interplay catalogue of games. You can potentially pay just $34.99 to get 32 games, 21 soundtracks and 721 extra 'goodies'. Or, if you just want a few of the games, you can pay smaller amounts - including 'what you want' for pack of 8 games. Check it all out here!
And what an end it was for Feargus & co. Racking up in excess of $1.2M over the last four days, only to end up within a measly $14K of their final target of $4M which would've meant an "enhanced" version of the game, with "live instrumentation for the soundtrack" and "developer in-game commentary".
So that's 73.986 backers and a sum total of $3,986,929, almost 4 times their original goal of $1.1M.
All in all, a great run for Obsidian, so now here's hoping the game's quality mirrors its Kickstarter success. It'll be a tall order but if there's people in the gaming industry that're capable of such a feat, it's probably these guys.
God help us all! Really and truly! It’s all over or… I mean it might as well be for all the good mankind is doing on this round rock; we’re like dung beetles, like large fleshy dung beetles clutching tightly to this blue ball of feces as it hurtles ever onward through… through what? Space? Nothingness?! What’s the point?!
Okay, seriously though, I’ve just finished reading The Road and if I sound a bit depressed it’s because the word ‘bleak’ does not even begin to convey how utterly grim this master work of post-apocalyptic fiction really is. To better understand it’s twisted darkness I ask you to envision a nightmare party game of limbo in which all the players battle to see who can sink down the lowest, while on large speakers overhead we hear not ‘Mambo No.5’ nor ‘Love Shack’, but only screams of terror, pleas for mercy, and silence… dead silence. The losers in this game of limbo are cooked and eaten and their bones are left behind in the ash. This is the 2006 novel The Road, and it is beautiful.
The author, Cormac McCarthy, never makes it clear how the world ended in The Road. At the point that we join our two main characters, the world had ended at least a decade prior and we assume that it’s ending had something to do with the layers of ash that now fill the sky and cover the planet, blocking out the sun and killing off nearly all life on Earth. We are left to assume that it was some unpreventable act of God; likely an asteroid impact or massive volcano.
The Road takes place in the southeastern United States and it centers on a father and son known only as ‘the man’ and ‘the boy’. As if that wasn’t basic enough, this man and boy are on ‘the road’ and their goal is to survive long enough to reach ‘the coast’. It sounds pretty simple, but you have to remember that the devil is in the details, and when I say details I mean roving bands of sunken-eyed cannibals on the hunt for human flesh, the bitter cold of a never-ending winter, the hunger and thirst that can only exist in a world of ash, and unimaginable despair that just naturally comes along with everything else.
Whatever the cause of The Road’s apocalypse, it makes me grateful that my world ended in nuclear explosions. I’ve had to eat things that I couldn’t properly identify, although they seemed to be in some state of living, but I’ve never had to eat human flesh. That’s not so, however, for many of those that the man and boy run into on their way to the coast. There are men and women out on the road that gut, clean, and cook their own companions, their own children, and in one particularly disturbing scene there is a sort of people pantry where a cannibal can go for a midnight snack.
In this seemingly hopeless world where mankind has become a wild animal feasting only on its own, what the man and the boy need to do is not just survive, but retain their humanity and some small spark of hope. That is the crux of the conflict in this novel—that in a world so utterly forsaken, and surrounded by the most savage and brutal of what’s left of our species, the father and the son are desperate to hold on to what they call ‘the fire’, which I believe is humanity, or at least the principles that make us human.
This novel is grim and dim, but that is only to contrast with the beauty that’s also contained within. There is a poignant moment where the man and boy find a decade-old Pepsi can inside a vending machine. They pop it open and the boy, who has never had a soft drink before, takes a sip and comments on how bubbly it is.
That moment sounds simple like the quick synopsis of the novel that I laid out earlier, but it is all written so powerfully that every moment, small and large, becomes something that will stay with you for years, or even forever. Post-Apocalyptic or not, to me this could be one of the best works of fiction of the past decade. Whoever you are, and whenever you read this review, you would do yourself a disservice by not checking out The Road.
I give it five rusty cans of peas out of five.
Survival Perk: There are two possibly contradictory lessons here. The first is that one’s ultimate goal may not need to be survival. It always depends on the survivor’s moral fortitude, whenbut at some point we may need to ask ourselves ‘Am I really gonna cook and eat this dude?’ You might be surprised with the answer you come up with. Or you might not. The second lesson is that when the going gets tough, we can choose to fight for one another, and in doing so, we not only share our strength, but we also retain the will to fight on even though our own life may be long past lost.
4 days to go and Project Eternity, Obsidian'stake on fantasy RPGs, will be officially funded. At present, and at a time where gaming kickstarter projects tend to pick it up a notch, Eternity's sitting at $2.726M and they've just updated their status with more goals (a stronghold @ $3M and a city @ $3.5M), a new Josh "Rush" Sawyer video and, by far the most impressive, a preview environment screenshot:
(click for bigger)
"Dreamy" Scotty Everts promises the team is looking into having that animated and although it seems a challenge, a whole game that looked like that would surely be something all the more worth playing through.
As always, hit up their Kickstarter if you've got some money to burn.
Just a quick update to Obsidian's Project EternityKickstarter.
The fundraising campaign has surpassed $2.45 million USD. At $2.5 million, they'll be adding barbarians and ciphers to the class variety. There's also a New Backer Goal (no donation required) - 20K Likes for Obsidian on Facebook adds another level to the Mega Dungeon.
I sure do love getting letters from friends and relations out there in the wasteland, and as a matter of fact, just the other day my brother wrote to me from out in Kentucky where he’s living with his wife:
Dear Charles, A man ultimately needs to survive, and I guess that’s why I’m writing you by the light of this rusty ole lamp. Brother, I have joined the society of Wasteland Cannibals. Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘this is horrible, my own flesh and blood is feeding on the flesh and blood of someone else’s flesh and blood’, but before you judge, let me remind you that a man ultimately needs to survive. First of all, they threatened to eat me if I didn’t join their ranks and even after I showed them my mutated fourteenth finger (the one with the beginnings of an eye growing off it) they insisted on serving me up as that evening’s meal. Well, it was right then and there that I made up my mind to become a cannibal, and I swore to hunt alongside them. It’s not so bad anyhow; I’ve got myself a wife and even if she can get a bit bitey, she’s actually quite attractive on a moonless night once I’ve closed my eyes real tight. Don’t fret for me, Charles. Take care of yourself and your homey little hole in the ground.
See you soon,
It's not a hole in the ground, it's an impenetrable bunker. Well anyway, normally I love getting letters from folks; I love how a good long letter keeps me connected to the world beyond my scouting range and makes that world seem a bit more inviting. My mail carrier is a somewhat deathly looking old coot who calls himself Fishbones and wanders the wastes delivering letters and packages and accepting food, water, trinkets or pretty much whatever you're willing to give him. Recently I asked Fishbones why he does what he does and he handed me a copy of David Brin’s The Postman and told me to read it. I did.
After the world ends and the United States crumble to the ground could we ever reclaim our past symbols, achievements, and strengths and use them to crawl back from the new dark age into the light of a civilization we once knew, or are we only grasping at ghosts?
That, friends, is the question at the heart of The Postman; a novel in which the good old US of A was only nearly destroyed by the third great war, and things could have been rebuilt. That is until Uncle Sam receives a knock-out blow when an army of right-wing survivalists led by a charismatic Rush Limbaugh character decide to start a senseless civil war. The nation and it’s infrastructure are destroyed in this second American civil war and our reluctant hero finds himself wandering from Minnesota to as far west as Oregon.
Before we go any further, at this point I have to warn that if you were one of the many unfortunate souls whose minds were seared by that craptastic film adaptation starring Kevin Costner, you should by no means use that as a judge of the book it was based on. The film by the same name is related to the novel only as my snot is related to myself. In other words, the book tells an exponentially more complex and substantial story that the movie really only skims the first third of. Now that I think of it, that snot analogy doesn’t make much sense, but whatever.
The setting shared by both the book and that mental apocalypse of a film is not traditionally post-apocalyptic, and the blighted wasteland we often connect with the genre is replaced with the deep forests and rolling green hills you’re more likely to see in a northwestern flick about a guy who falls for the rancher’s daughter. It seems that The Postman’s northwest has been relatively untouched by the holocaust that left the American civilization gutted.
The main character, Gordon Krantz, may be the last idealist on Earth, with a nagging sense that living should be about more than mere survival, and many years after the U.S. has ceased to be, he finds himself roaming from community to fragile community entertaining the locals by poorly reciting Shakespeare or delighting folks with some old commercial jingles that some can remember from that amazing invention; the television. His work as a sort of post-apocalyptic travelling minstrel seems to be keeping him fed until he’s set upon by highwaymen who take nearly all his supplies and leave him to freeze to death in the night.
Thus, his adventures as the titular postman begin when instead of dying; Krantz comes across a mail carrier uniform, a sack of mail, and the will to survive (a bottle of booze). He takes the mail, wears the uniform, and drinks too deeply from the will to survive and is at first mistaken for a mail carrier because people in the towns he visits are desperate to believe that this symbol of their former nation, the mailman, is still alive and in the flesh. Later, he deliberately lies about himself and the rest of the country and causes hope to grow that the nation is not dead, but only healing.
This is a great post-apocalyptic novel and a fine modern American one as well. Check it out if you actually enjoyed the crappy movie, or if you’re looking for a less bleak, well written vision of the world ended.
I give it four Costners reciting Shakespeare out of five.
Survival Perk: Believe you me, when the world ends and the fight for our lives begins this book reminds us that words truly are weapons. Finding oneself robbed and beaten and left for dead in some wasteland ditch, if there’s anything to learn from The Postman, it’s that one had better learn to bullshit. If you can do that, and have the cajones to do it well, you may not get yourself killed right away. Oh, and it also seems to help to remember some Shakespeare, and for the tougher crowds it's a safe bet to learn to recite Legally Blonde from start to finish. Trust me when I say mutants (especially the ones out in the Deadlands) really eat up that bubbly lawyer crap. It may keep your head off a spike one day.
Fallout: Lanius has launched a competition for a chance to win a trip (if you're Aussie) to the set, while an international winner will get the chance to chat with the cast/crew on Skype. Check it out: