Epic Games, makers of the Infinity Blade series, have released the visually stunning tech demo that is Epic Zen Garden for us all to play with.
Epic Zen Garden uses Metal and Unreal Engine 4 to render beautiful vistas and tranquil ponds that you tap to explore. Different areas come with little surprises such as touching the koi pond, which summons fish from the depths, or the sakura tree that lets loose a swirl of cherry blossoms when tapped. Players can rake patterns in the sand of their garden and enjoy the simple grace of the environment as any good zen gardener would do.
You can download Epic Zen Garden for free on the App Store now.
Expect to some some really pretty, graphically rich, 3D Flappy Bird clones soon.
Epic announced today a move that makes the Unreal Engine development kit available to all, at only $19 per month. In a risky move to counter other 3D engines in the mobile space, Unreal Engine 4, launched today, is available to anyone that wants to pay the $19 per month fee. That engine can be used to deny games to both desktop and mobile games. Previously the engine that powers Infinity Blade would cost millions and require a negotiated deal.
Unreal dies require that developers that make money from games developed with The engine, from premium, free to play, or ad supported, to pay a 5% gross license fee.
The Verge reports that Epic Games has announced Infinity Blade III at today's Apple iPhone event. The final game in the Infinity Blade trilogy will be out on the App Store with the new iPhone 5S, and players can expect bigger worlds to explore and bigger bosses to fight against. Rock on!
Chair Entertainment today released Vote!, a game that promotes the most base form of political action, violence. Under the auspices of creating an app for Rock The Vote! and to raise voter awareness, it denigrates the presidential candidates by using them as avatars in a "slapstick battle" while dressing them up in "comedic outfits."
When I first read of the game on Touch Arcade I thought it seemed like an odd waste of time. After actually playing the game I was utterly dismayed at the complete lack of respect for the presidential candidates and at the way it promotes political violence in what is sure to be a very tense and charged election year.
Promoting violence between political parties while using the presidential candidates as fighters in the game is disrespectful. Possibly even dangerous considering the current extremely heightened anger between real-life political parties. It's irresponsible for Rock the Vote! to attach their name to this and degrading for a well respected game development house like Chair Entertainment to release it.
You may be thinking that I should "lighten up" or that it's "just a fun little app." Well we live in a country where members of one side are calling for an armed revolution if the other side wins and members of that side are warning about lying thieves running the White House if they lose. An app like this just perpetuates those insane political views by promoting violence. Chair and Rock the Vote! decide to let each side throw virtual punches at the opposite side, rather than add to a civilized political discourse. Vote! can only lead to an increase of the anger between members of the political parties, not an increase in political knowledge. This app does nothing to inform voters or encourage people to vote, it just perpetuates hatred.
In the press release announcing the app, Donald Mustard, Creative Director at ChAIR Entertainment proclaims, "We’re excited to join forces with Rock the Vote to help emphasize the importance of voter registration and encourage gamers to become more involved in the political process."
To me, this app does nothing to involve gamers in the political process, it promotes animosity between political parties to drive sales of virtual currency. Save a couple links to get information on web sites there is nothing politically enlightening in this game. There is no policy debate. There is no discussion of actual political issues. There is no encouragement of political involvement. Vote is just a reskin of the Infinity Blade hack and slash exploiting the candidates' images and perpetuating political rage. Vote! favors buttons to purchase "coins" to continue the game play over those to encourage political awareness. I must note that the press release announcing this game did mention that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Rock the Vote!, but no specific details were given.
Exploiting the current political rage in this country for a cheap laugh and a quick buck is just plain wrong.
An app like this would be expected from a fly by night app development house looking to make a quick buck and not worried about exploiting candidates. But for a well-esteemed development company like Chair Entertainment to release this puts them right on par with fart sound and sex position app publishers.
We've asked representatives from both Chair Entertainment and Rock the Vote! for comments on this editorial via email and phone, but at the time of publication, neither has been able respond. We will happily update this post with their responses, if received.
Epic Games and ChAIR Entertainment are putting out the second major update to Infinity Blade 2 this week. The new Vault of Tears update will bring new content to not just ClashMobs, but also to the main game mode. For the new singleplayer content, new areas and story elements have been added, which will help to dive into the past of protagonist Siris, and promises to unveil unknown secrets behind the universe of Infinity Blade.
There will be new enemies to fight while uncovering these secrets in these new areas, such as the Moss Golem, the Dark Fiend, and the ambiguously-named Acolyte. New items and gems are coming to the game, over 50 in all, including the new cardboard armor. A new treasure map feature will help with discovering those cleverly-placed hidden items in the levels. For ClashMob mode, Twitter and Facebook will be more deeply integrated, with likes and retweets contributing to the cause – which is slaying enemies, of course. The free update releases on Thursday, May 24th.
Infinity Blade 2's first major content update has finally dropped on the App Store, bringing its new ClashMob feature to the game. The ClashMob challenges are asynchronous multiplayer events where everyone who participates contributes toward some collective goal. The early challenges include dealing as much damage to an enemy in 30 seconds as possible, or collecting a bunch of teleporting gold bags in a short amount of time. If the collective score of everyone in the challenge reaches a certain number, then everyone is given a lucrative award. There are multiple challenges added each day, and it's possible to pre-register to get in to these upcoming challenges. Note that each challenge can only be played by players once.
Players are also encouraged to collect Game Center and Facebook friends who also have the game. Players get extra perks for having large numbers of friends in their mob, including additional rewards for successful challenges, and even the ability to repeat challenges a second time. Need more mob members? My Game Center username is wondroushippo, and I'll add people who comment with their Game Center username below. Let's mob up and get some sweet, sweet loot!
Even with all the praise the Infinity Blade series has gotten since its introduction, there's usually one major complaint people have: there's no freedom of movement. A rather silly gripe seeing as open-world style exploration isn't the point (plus it would be ridiculously taxing on the hardware with those graphics), but it's still probably the most common one seen in user reviews and the like. Infinity Blade: Dungeons has no such movement restrictions. It's also a fairly major departure from the gameplay series fans are used to.
Infinity Blade: Dungeons takes place thousands of years before the events in the first game, with players taking control of a weaponsmith on a quest to forge the legendary sword that's at the center of it all. At its core, it's a dungeon crawler. No more tapping from point-to-point and watching cutscenes and no more one-on-one bouts. Enemies can and will swarm and the player character can and will destroy them mightily with plenty of fast-paced combat and AOE (area of effect) strikes. And of course, being a weaponsmith means there will also be crafting. No word yet on what that would entail, specifically, but it's going to be in there.
Infinity Blade: Dungeons is due out later this year (no specific date or price, naturally). It's looking like it'll be available across most iOS platforms, but will look its best on the iPad 2 as expected.
The game that Apple used to show off the iPhone 4S and iOS5 capabilities when it was released, Infinity Blade 2, is nearing its release, and developer ChAIR Entertainment has posted a pair of videos to talk about the game and hype people up for its release. The first video covers the game's visuals with commentary from ChAIR staff on how the game's visuals aren't just designed to look stunning, but also to help create the atmosphere of the world. The second video covers the story elements of Infinity Blade 2, and what the developers, along with the author of the interquel novella Infinity Blade: Awakening, Brandon Sanderson, wanted to do to help expand the universe with this game. Both of these videos are embedded below.
Infinity Blade 2 will make its way into gamers' hands starting next Thursday, as ChAIR Entertainment has confirmed the December 1st release date, and a price of $6.99 for the universal app. Those looking to get into the series before the highly-anticipated sequel releases can check out the original Infinity Blade at a sale price of $2.99, and read Infinity Blade: Awakening for $2.99 on the iBooks Store.
It's safe to say that Infinity Blade was awesome in every sense of the word. It set a benchmark for many other games thanks to its truly impressive use of Unreal Engine 3 to give iOS gamers graphics like they've never seen before. A plethora of updates adding the likes of new armor, an increased level cap, new areas to explore and even multiplayer has kept Infinity Blade feeling fresh over the past year.
Now, it's been announced that Infinity Blade 2 is set for release on December 1st, less than two months away! Few details have been released as of yet but the news is that the game world will be filled with new types of rewards and treasures, plus plenty of new powerful enemies and bosses. New fighting styles and weapon classes will also be provided along with deep role-playing elements to spice things up. Extra online functionality will also be included such as Clash Mob, enabling players to participate in 'massively social' challenges to unlock new items and weapons.
Pretty cool, huh?
We'll be sure to keep up to date on Infinity Blade 2's development but for now, check out the teaser trailer.
It is hard to argue that people are not looking for hardcore gaming experiences on their iOS devices. In a world where Angry Birds and Cut the Rope sell millions of copies, it was nice to see a niche hardcore game succeed against all odds. Sure, it didn't hurt that ChAIR's release had the backing of development powerhouse Epic Games, but when Infinity Blade racked up an impressive $1.65 million dollars in sales over the span of a mere five days, skeptics were suddenly silenced.
Ever since then the studio has quietly been churning away on several additional content updates, but nothing that would satiate the yearning of multiplayer junkies that desired to face off head-to-head with human adversaries. This is why yesterday's announcement of a brand new update to everyone's favorite medieval Mike Tyson Punch-Out clone is so exciting! The full rundown of Thursday's upcoming update are as follows:
Enter the Arena: Assuming the role of Titan or Knight, Infinity Blade fans can now challenge their friends to multiplayer matches online via Game Center!
Survivor Mode: Players face off against a legion of Titans to see how far they can go!
New Holiday Helms! A new helm for every season, ready to be played and mastered!
More than two dozen new magic rings, swords, shields, and helmets for players to collect and master.
New Facebook integration allows fans to view their character on their profile and take a screen grab to share with friends.
Much more! New Achievements, additional Leaderboards, and some new surprises!
Just when you thought Infinity Blade was getting a little old and tired, news like this comes along and kicks the game's fanbase into overdrive. All of those that have been crying out for Game Center multiplayer should be more than pleased, while the developers still haven't forgotten the hardcore single player supporters that have been patiently grinding away since the last update.
So now the question becomes where can ChAIR go from here? Let us know what you think is coming next in the comment section.
Gameloft has announced that they are entering in a licensing agreement with Epic Games to utilize the Unreal Engine 3 in some of their upcoming games. While no specific games have been announced, four titles in particular will be utilizing the titles over the next two years. According to Gameloft's vice president of production, Julien Fournials, "using Unreal Engine 3 allows us to push game visuals with remarkable lighting and high-fidelity environments. We are confident that players will enjoy the games powered by Unreal Engine 3." Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games (who also had a hand in releasing the first Unreal Engine title on to the App Store, Infinity Blade) also says "There is no doubt that the four games running on Unreal Engine 3 will be visually stunning and take advantage of the powerful mobile gaming devices. We are thrilled to provide our technology to Gameloft and look forward to a lasting collaboration.” The agreement will cover releases for iOS, Android, Playstation Network, as well as set-top boxes.
The importance of this announcement is twofold - one, it shows that Gameloft is definitely leaving older devices behind for good, especially as games like Sacred Odyssey and Starfront Collision have only supported 3rd generation and later devices. Second, their games should be getting some major graphical improvements from the use of Unreal Engine 3. Third, and most importantly, Gameloft may be preparing for multiplatform game development. Games like Dungeon Defenders: First Wave have been developed using Unreal Engine and have been easily made to support the various platforms that Unreal Engine 3 now runs on. This move may have been in part to help get their games running on Android and even consoles easier, particularly as the budget for their games likely outclasses most of the other games on the App Store, so maximizing the value they get from their games by releasing them across as many platforms as possible may be the goal here.
Considering that Gameloft is one of the power players in the mobile gaming industry, this move to take advantage of Unreal Engine could signal a wider-reaching movement in the mobile gaming industry. As well, Epic Games has recently announced that they will not charge any royalties on projects made with the Unreal Development Kit for revenue under $50,000, raised from the previous $5,000 floor. With this move, there's a chance 2011 could see lots more titles made with the Unreal Engine 3 on the App Store from all kinds of publishers and developers big and small.