An exciting set of news today focusing mainly on the upcoming FPS Homefront and World of Warcraft gets played by a man waving his arms around using Kinect. Welcome to the first Hot Press of 2011…enjoy!
A dedicated Homefront:
Kaos, the studio behind upcoming FPS Homefront, have announced that there will be dedicated servers in multiplayer for their game on the PC, 360 and PS3 with support of up to 32 players whilst also providing the opportunity for PC players to set up their own local servers. They believe that dedicated servers are vital for games providing large scale online multiplayer experiences as they reduce the amount of lag, support more players and are more reliable than games which rely on being hosted by a local player. Jeremy Greiner, the Community Manager for Kaos had this to say in a recent interview to CVG.com:
We’ve confirmed dedicated servers for console and PC – but PC users will also be able to configure and set up their own servers, which is something that has kind of faded away recently but people like it. For 32 players, you have to have dedicated servers, or else it would be unplayable. When you play Xbox Live where it’s 12 to maybe 16 players max, where it’s just one of the players hosting it, it can still get pretty darn laggy. So it’s a necessity in order to deliver the multiplayer experience we want. We’re committed to setting up server farms all around the world so that everyone has good ping, low latency and gets rid of that awful host advantage. So, dedicated servers are hugely important and in order to deliver the multiplayer experience we’re looking for with vehicle, air strikes, drones, infantry, air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, all on really large maps, it’s the only way to do it.
The third development video has also been released dubbed ‘Fight for Freedom’ and focuses on the struggle for the resistance, and the consequences while taking a deeper look into the characters you fight with in the battle for freedom. The game is really starting to come along and could be a breath of fresh air for the FPS genre which has recently focused more on you playing as frontline soldiers with superior weapons.
Wave your arms in World of Warcraft:
John did an article on Kinect for the Xbox 360 and told us all how good it was and you were possibly wondering when we PC owners would be able to have a play. Well hacks have been appearing online now for a little while to enable people to unofficially play games/do tasks on the PC with the Kinect sensor bar. A team of researchers at the University of California are in the process of developing the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST) which is middleware to facilitate integration of full-body control with games and VR applications. The software currently supports the PrimeSensor and the Microsoft Kinect using the OpenNI framework (download it at www.openni.org) and is available to download for free at http://people.ict.usc.edu/~suma/faast/
Their latest video shows how they are using the software to play World of Warcraft and as they develop the software more actions will be able to be done within the game but it is already looking fantastic! Now all we need is for Microsoft to officially bring Kinect to the PC…
APB: Reloaded back into Beta:
It has been announced by GamersFirst on their Twitter that APB: Reloaded be going into closed beta late February if all goes to plan with more details being released later this week on the applications process. They bought the IP in November and are re-releasing the game with a free to play model with a premium account available to those who wish to have access to a range of unique features.
EA shuts down online servers:
EA have announced that they are shutting down servers on various titles due to low demand and licenses running out for franchises. See their press release below with the full list of games and timelines found in the link below.
Our licensing deal with Middle-earth Enterprises has expired, forcing us to shutdown the online services for The Lord of the Rings™ games. We hope you have enjoyed playing these games online and appreciate your patronage. There’s still time for one last epic tower rush!
Also, The Sims Carnival at http://www.simscarnival.com will not be available after January 16th 2011. After January 16th 2011, you will not be able to access any content from The Sims Carnival. Any games that you may have created or modified or other content that you have created on the website will no longer be available to you. Also any embedded links to games on The Sims Carnival website will no longer function. We thank you for playing with us on The Sims Carnival. We hope you’ve enjoyed the site as much as we have and that we’ll see you again in another great EA game!
As background information, the EA SPORTS™ games scheduled for shutdown in February and March 2011 represent roughly 1% of all peak online players across all EA titles. Despite some people’s perception, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these older games up and running. We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99% of customers playing our more popular games. These decisions to retire games is never easy. The development teams and operational staff pour their hearts into these games almost as much as the customers playing them and it is hard to see one retired. We hope you have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of the games and we appreciate your ongoing patronage.
If you have further questions about your account or the shut down of these services, please visit http://support.ea.com.
The full list of servers to be shut down can be found here.