The 90s and early 00s bore witness to an effective boom-and-bust of city-builders, RTS, and other types of top-down strategy-derivatives. Industry trends are in constant flux – as Call of Duty’s success has prompted an insufferable proliferation of mediocrity, games like Caesar, Zeus, and Sim City prefixed the rise of dozens of city builder titles; in this same era, we saw the rapid iteration of the highly-successful Command & Conquer series, Age of Empires games, Civilization, and plenty of others. The industry has stopped caring about top-down management games as much as it used to, but there’s still a rather empty market for fans of the sub-genres.


I’m obviously nostalgic for these types of games. There’s no hiding that.

Clockwork Empires immediately had my attention, and with thanks given to developers Nicholas Vining and David Baumgart, it was able to keep that initial interest throughout our hour-long GDC hands-on. Many puns and jokes that’d make a PR manager cringe later (“no!” was groaned from behind me throughout our video process), and I’m convinced that Clockwork Empires stands a solid chance in shaping up to be a solid experience.


Epic’s GDC 2014 press conference saw the demonstration of the engine’s technology in-use, with the primary focus centered on accessibility (even to non-coders), affordability, and flexibility. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney started off by admitting the conference wouldn’t be a “Steve Jobs type of keynote, [we’re] just computer nerds,” before then diving into some of the history and advancements of Unreal Engine. Sweeney noted that he was personally responsible for approximately 80% of the original UE’s codebase, but with UE4 there are now entire teams dedicated to the engine.


Mozilla has spent the last year expanding and improving its support of browser-based gaming with JavaScript-derived asm.js, Emscripten (cross-compiler for C and C++ games to run in browsers), and the WebGL standard. At this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, Mozilla demoed its support for Unreal Engine 4 technology and games using the upcoming Unity 5.0 engine. We caught up with platform gaming experts Vlad Vukićević and Martin Best to talk about how WebGL (and accompanying components) can make gaming anywhere possible and the degree to which it replicates native performance.

For those who followed our EverQuest Next: Landmark and EverQuest Next coverage two days ago, we mentioned the topic of another article pending publication for today. While at GDC 2014, Director of Development Dave Georgeson answered several community questions for us (re-embedded the video below for your convenience) and told us about upcoming events. The biggest – Landmark’s closed beta initiates on March 26th, next week.


Georgeson explained that a complete server wipe is in store for beta, but was quick to note that creations won’t be lost. By templating and saving your creations, you’ll be able to pop them back down in beta after collecting the appropriate materials. We were told that the very last day of alpha will be March 23rd, so you’ve still got some time to back up data.

At Intel’s press conference today near GDC’s bustling convention center, new details were spoiled pertaining to the Haswell revamp and its target market. We don’t yet have full specifications on the processors nor do we know if it is related to the recently-leaked prices for the i7-4790 and i5-4690 CPUs (and Intel exited the conversation when we pressed), but it is potentially of interest to enthusiasts.


The name is still unknown, but what will eventually become DirectX 12 should be shown off at GDC shortly; we'll be in attendance to report on the new announcements and will also be attending the GPU Technology Conference the following week, so check back for deeper analysis as we are exposed to information. In the meantime, Microsoft's new iteration of DirectX has some between-the-lines reading for AMD's Mantle.

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Hey everyone - this is just a quick blog-style post for our regulars and fans. I wanted to notify you all that we will be adding to our convention coverage extensively this year, including on-site content produced from the floors of GDC (Game Developer's Conference) in San Francisco and GTC (GPU Technology Conference) in San Jose. The events will be hosted back-to-back (March 17-21 & March 24-27, respectively) and will be promptly followed-up by PAX East coverage (April 11-13).


I'll personally be at all of these events. I will be joined at GTC by our resident expert on all things programming (CUDA expert, GPU/CPU architecture expert), Jim Vincent - who often handles behind-the-scenes research and photography; Games Editor Nick Pinkerton will likely be joining me for GDC (at least in part) and will again be present at PAX East; Staff Writer Paige Spears will be joining me and Nick for PAX East, where she will get her first experience with major convention coverage.

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