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Botanicula ready for iPad on May 1

Charming point-and-click adventure Botanicula will be available for iPad on May 1, according to its developer Amanite Design. To mark the news, a new trailer was released today, featuring the game's central insect-like characters, which are seeking to rid their garden-home of an unwelcome infestation of spiders and other bugs. Players help the heroes by exploring environments and picking up useful items. Created in the Czech Republic by the makers of Machinarium, the Windows PC original picked up various awards, especially for its audio work, which won an Independent Games Festival Award in 2012.
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Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion Galactic Strongholds delayed

Galactic Strongholds, the upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, has been delayed from its June release for subscribers to August 19, senior producer Bruce Maclean announced via the game's official site. With the delay, BioWare will have time to add more features, including conquest events, expanded functionality for guilds, more strongholds, stronghold storage and decorations. "We have been listening to what you, our players, were hoping to see from the Galactic Strongholds expansion," Maclean wrote. "When playing early builds of Galactic Strongholds it became that clear that our June Early Access date was simply not enough. For this to truly feel like an expansion, it needs to include the full set of features, including those originally coming later in the year." In G...
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown is 'coming soon' to Android

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis Games' turned-based strategy game that pits a human resistance against alien invaders, is headed to Android "soon," according to a recent tweet from the series' official Twitter account. The game will be available through Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, according to the tweet. XCOM: Enemy Unknown arrived on iOS for iPad and iPhone last June where it's available for $19.99. You can check out the launch trailer for the game's first mobile incarnation below. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac and Windows PC. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - The Complete Edition, a version that includes its major add-on content, was released last month for Mac and PC for $49.99. For on the game's original incarnation, be sure to read Polygon's X...
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World of Warcraft designers offer 30-minute deep dive into Warlords of Draenor's changes

In the latest episode of WoW Source, lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas, lead class designer Kris Zierhut and senior game designer Brian Holinka discuss the upcoming player-vs-player and class changes for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion to the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The new content takes players to Draenor, home of the orc and draenei races, in addition to raising the game's level cap and adding new content. Speaking about the game's PvP, Holinka explained that adjusting crowd control effects from the previous expansion was a "very high priority." "There's a couple of big problems that we had in PvP [in Mists of Pandaria] that we really want to address," Holinka said. "Things that players...
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Watch Dogs multiplayer video explores hacking and stalking other players

A video walkthrough of Ubisoft's upcoming action-adventure, open-world game Watch Dogs demonstrates how players can face off against others through hacks and more in multiplayer. The video is narrated by animation director Colin Graham, who explains that Watch Dogs' multiplayer takes place in the same world as its single-player options. Players will be able to connect with others through online hacking, a mobile companion app or through competitive decryption combat. As players explore the game's world, they'll have the opportunity to accept contracts and enter the games of other players. When players themselves are being hacked, they'll be notified that they're currently "being invaded." It's worth noting that when other players enter a world, targets will look like NPCs, rather than...
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Project Cars trailer touts photorealism and reveals a November release

A trailer released today for Project Cars, the upcoming racing game from Slightly Mad Studios, shows some photorealistic in-game footage. Press play above to see the game, which, according to the final seconds of the YouTube video, is headed for a November 2014 release. Project Cars is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U and Windows PC. Its developers announced late last month that it will support Sony's Project Morpheus virtual reality headset. You can watch our hands-on impressions of the headset below and read our interview with Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, to learn more about how Sony hopes to court indies with the technology. <img src='/images/manage/video-placeholder.png' width=640 height=360...
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How to achieve long term goals by changing how we think about short ones

Life is always a balancing act: in addition to planning for the future, we need to focus on our immediate environment. Many short term goals — like saving money and dieting — are ultimately beneficial for our personal futures. But in the present we may be too absorbed in the short term, for example not eating food we like or buying things we want, to see the long-reaching benefits of sticking to them. Professor Dan Ariely, who teaches psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, believes that understanding why we focus on our short terms goals and changing how we think about them could ultimately help us achieve our long term ones — and why we sometimes fall short. Speaking at the 2014 Games for Change festival, Ariely said that in principle we know what the right behavior...
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Zynga founder Mark Pincus steps down as chief product officer amid executive shuffle

Mark Pincus, the co-founder and former CEO of social game maker Zynga, is making another transition at the company, leaving his role as chief product officer to focus on serving as chairman of Zynga's board of directors. Pincus' role change is just one of many happening at Zynga, according to a note from current CEO Don Mattrick. In a letter to employees, Mattrick said he and Pincus "will continue to be close partners and work together" to lead Zynga. Pincus stepped down as CEO last year when Zynga brought Mattrick on board. Mattrick also announced a handful of new hires and new appointments, including Alex Garden, former general manager of Xbox Live and Xbox Music at Microsoft. Garden, who was previously CEO at Nexon Publishing North Ameica and founded Relic Entertainment, will serve...
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Goat Simulator video teases four-legged parkour in 1.1 update

A short teaser trailer from Goat Simulator creator Coffee Stain Studios on Facebook offers a look at the game's upcoming features. Update 1.1, which is expected to arrive mid-May, introduces a new playable map, achievements, additional goats and split-screen multiplayer. In the video, which you can watch on the game's Facebook page, Coffee Stain Studios demonstrates goat handstands and goofy parkour. During a previous email interview with Polygon, game designer Armin Ibrisagic said that the update will open "a lot of new doors" for modders. Multiplayer is being added to the game because so many players asked for it, he said. Goat Simulator was released for Windows PC April 1. For more on the game's stupid, ridiculous fun, check out our hands-on impressions from GDC 2014.
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How to make educational games more effective

Changing the world with games is hard. Speaking at the 2014 Games for Change festival, Zoran Popović — University of Washington associate professor of computer science and founder of its Center for Game Science — outlined why drastic transformative change with games is difficult to achieve, and what we can do to come closer to doing so. Popović discussed two "key" world domains that often look to games, scientific discovery and scholastic mastery for a wider range of students, detailing why games haven't revolutionized these areas yet. Popović said transformative change requires a large amount of effort over an extended period of time, in addition to real-world synergy behind it and a design focused on outcome to begin with — including outcomes that are unknown. A game by itself...
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Defense Technica arrives on Xbox 360 today

Defense Technica, developer Kuno Interactive's multiplatform tower defense/strategy game hybrid, arrives on Xbox 360 today. The Xbox 360 incarnation is available now in the Xbox Games Store for $9.99. A free demo of the game that tasks players with defending their core from "an onslaught of unrelenting biomechanical terrors" by using and upgrading tower defense weapons, is also available for download. Defense Technica was released last year for Mac and Windows PC and is available for $14.99 on Steam. You can watch a trailer released last year alongside the PC versions to see the game in action.
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Is Watch Dogs doing anything original?

Watch Dogs begins with a tutorial mission that heavily accentuates the game's aspirations as a thriller about modern surveillance. Set in a sports stadium, this sequence forces the player to make use of cameras and security servers in order to demonstrate power over the world. It is an overlay of semi-transparent lines, criss-crossing the physical realm, bending and warping reality; a conspiracy-theorist's fantasy user interface. The in-game goons who would harm me can be rendered impotent by the flick of a switch. Reaching that switch is a matter of following simple sequential puzzles and holding down a button on the joypad. It is a secondary weapon, a smart bomb that the designers have placed in the world in order to add an extra dimension to the combat and to give the game a gleam...
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Amazon, Media Molecule, Twitch to speak at Develop 2014

The 2014 Develop in Brighton conference confirmed its first round of speakers this morning, which includes developers from Amazon, Tearaway studio Media Molecule and streaming platform Twitch, among a dozen others. The Develop 2014 conference, currently in its ninth year, will be held July 8-10 in Brighton's Hilton Metropole. The three-day event will feature more than 100 speakers across 90 different sessions — including representatives from Crytek, Nickelodeon, Chillingo, Codemasters, Ubisoft Montreal and Aardman Studios. These speakers will discuss popular industry topics, including cloud and second screen gaming, the growth of virtual reality and new funding and publishing models, and the psychology of player-game interaction. A full list of confirmed sessions is currently...
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Armello: the sneaky, treacherous race to the throne

"What we've always loved in board games is treachery," says Trent Kusters, co-founder of game studio League of Geeks. "Treachery in board games is great. It's like one minute we're buddies, but you know at some point one person is going to stab the other in the back." Kusters is demoing the alpha build of Armello, League of Geeks' debut title for PC and tablets, which is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. It's a digital board game. Players tap on their hero character to move it around as they would on a physical board. They roll virtual dice like they would physical dice. And they commit acts of treachery, they plot and scheme and form alliances just like they would in a traditional board game. "That's what we wanted to set up," Kusters says, "the ability for people to create...
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Check out Minecraft's upcoming terrain creator in action

An update headed to the PC version of Minecraft will allow players to create their own terrain down to the grittiest of details, according to a video recently shared by Team Mojang on YouTube. The video above demonstrates the terrain creation feature, which will hit with Minecraft update 1.8. The feature includes 16 different sliders for players to tinker with when building their environment — including biome depth, height and weight as well as the field's depth of noise. Players can use these sliders to play with these variables or input values directly, giving absolute control to creators in terms of how structures will be generated. According to the YouTube description, Mojang will provide seven pre-set terrain options in the update that they feel players will find "interesting,"...
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Train Jam 2014 offers up first batch of games

The first batch of games conceived out of Train Jam 2014, a 52-hour game jam held on a train travelling from Chicago to San Francisco, are now available on the event's official website. At the time of writing, the growing list currently offers 18 games available to freely download for Windows PC, Mac, Oculus or Android, or play online in a browser. Games include Android title Disconnect from Rami Ismail, Brice Puls and Benedict Fritz; Off the Grid by Ryan Wiemeyer, Jamie Sanchez, David Laskey and Chris Wade; Space Jeff from Matthew Hudgins; and, Oculus Team by Alicia Avril and Andrew Gleeson. The event, which took place March 13-15, offered a way to rally developers heading to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and create games whilst in transit. Train Jam was organized...
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