ESO Roundup – Veteran Crypt of Hearts & more

With Craglorn now playable in ESO, ZeniMax Online has moved their focus to the game’s second major update — featuring the Veteran version of Crypt of Hearts. Like our other Veteran Dungeons, it continues the story and cranks up the challenge with deadly new enemies and bosses. Crypt of Hearts has some of our toughest fights yet, and we can’t wait to see you and your group go up against them. To get a taste of what you’re in for, check out our new playthrough video.

More information about Update 2 is coming soon. In the meantime, here are other ESO highlights worth checking out…

For much more on ESO, visit www.elderscrollsonline.com.

Heroes of Tamriel Breton Statue

Gaming Heads is back with more excellent merchandise for The Elder Scrolls Online. Starting today, you can pre-order their new 16” Breton statue, modeled after the character from our three-part cinematic trailer series. The richly detailed statue includes deluxe full-color packaging, a hand-numbered base, and a certificate of authenticity. Even better, the exclusive edition includes an alternative headpiece featuring the character’s undead appearance. You won’t want to miss your chance to own this high-quality collectible.

Get a look at the statue in the images below, and order soon—only 500 exclusive editions and 1,000 standard editions will be printed worldwide.

The Iterative Level Design Process of Bethesda Game Studios

Back in March of this year, BGS senior designer Joel Burgess made the trek out to San Francisco to be apart of the 2014 Game Developers Conference. During the week, Joel presented the following presentation to industry peers focused on level design.

For the prospective game designers out there, Joel was nice enough to bring his presentation, “The Iterative Level Design Process of Bethesda Game Studios”  to Bethesda Blog. Here’s Joel…

A note about author voice in this article: As per the usual disclaimers, the views and opinions expressed within are my own, and may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bethesda or Zenimax.  Those views and opinions are intertwined with the interests, history and objectives of Bethesda Game Studios, however.  While I am reporting on the practices of the studio, some of the particular reasons behind these practices are my own opinions, which only have partial impact on the actual adoption and implementation thereof.  For this reason, I will try to use “I” to express my opinions, where “we” will usually express a fact about the studio.

Iteration, as it’s generally known within game development, is the progressive process of planning, creating and testing content.  This is typically expressed as a cycle, where a process is repeated, with each repetition applying lessons learned from the prior.  This cycle is progressive, with each iteration building upon and refining the last.  This concept is widely embraced: many game developers have espoused iteration when discussing the design process.

There’s good reason for this.  Iteration works.  Studies such as this one from J. Nielsen show that when developing interfaces for software such as a banking application, polling users on the UI experience can provide designers with findings which then inform their next UI iteration.  The result is that early iterations see major gains in usability.  These finding are echoed in other studies, as well as being supported by observing everything from how an artist develops a painting to the scientific process.

Like any broadly-referenced term, there are many interpretations, scopes, and applications of iteration. An annual game franchise such as Madden Football, for example, can be seen as a very long-form iteration, where each game sees entire features added, removed, and improved upon.  Spelunky, which originally came into existence as a fairly low-fidelityGamemaker game would later be released as a commercial title with entirely new art and codebase which largely mimicked and refined that seen in the original release.

Individual assets within a game are frequently iterated upon, too.  The look of the original Team Fortress Spy is a far cry from his modern TF2 incarnation.  The gameplay design of the Spy has also been iterated upon over the years, even though the core class role has remained fairly consistent.  The visual design of the spy also demonstrates that elements, such as his balaclava, can stand the test of time over many iterations, while other aspects change radically.  TF2 is also a game which has seen a great deal of publicly-observable iteration over the years, as Valve has introduced many new gameplay-altering items and game types.

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Weekend Update: Polygon previews The Evil Within

We’re only two weeks away from E3, but there’s already plenty of folks sharing their hands-on experience with The Evil Within. This weekend Polygon has a new video preview featuring Griffin McElroy and Mike McWhertor discussing the latter’s hands-on experience with the game. Watch it above, and check out more previews from our Tuesday roundup.

As a reminder, The Evil Within is arriving this October – releasing on October 21st in North America, October 23rd in Australia, and throughout Europe on October 24th, 2014. With your pre-order of the game, you’ll receive The Fighting Chance Pack. 

On the Store Front – Daggerfall t-shirt & more!

By popular demand, we’ve got into the archives and created this Daggerfall t-shirt  — inspired by the game’s iconic box art. And if it’s school pride you want to show, we’ve also released a new College of Winterhold tee.

Looking for more awesome tees? Check out the imgur slideshow for some of the newest threads for TES, Fallout, and Wolfenstein — all available at store.bethsoft.com.

QuakeCon and AT&T Come Together to Provide Ultimate Gaming Experience

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QUAKECON AND AT&T COME TOGETHER TO PROVIDE
ULTIMATE GAMING EXPERIENCE

AT&T Returns to QuakeCon 2014 to Provide Fast Content Streaming and Fan Interactivity

May 30, 2014 (Rockville, MD) — id® Software and Bethesda Softworks® are pleased to announce that AT&T is returning for the fourth consecutive year as an official sponsor of QuakeCon® 2014, North America’s largest Bring-Your-Own-Computer (BYOC) LAN party and gaming festival. AT&T’s powerful network and U-verse® High Speed Internet will once again provide optimal bandwidth speed and connectivity to bring together thousands of gamers for an amazing gaming experience.

In addition to providing attendees with an excellent networked gaming experience in QuakeCon’s BYOC, AT&T’s presence helps open up the event to gamers around the world by providing the opportunity for Quakecon to present live and on-demand video streams of tournaments and presentations.

“Once again, AT&T was instrumental in the success of QuakeCon 2013 thanks to the speed and accessibility their network resources provide attendees and fans watching from home,” said Tim Willits, studio director of id Software. “Thanks to their support and enthusiasm, we’re excited to make this year’s event the best and most connected QuakeCon yet.”

“We’re proud to return to QuakeCon with U-verse High Speed Internet to help connect the thousands of BYOC attendees,” said Tasos Kaiafas, Director of AT&T U-verse Game Product Development, AT&T Home Solutions. “We know how important fast, reliable speeds are to the gaming community, and AT&T U-verse is thrilled to offer the connectivity they need.”

QuakeCon 2014, the ultimate video game festival, will take place on-site at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX on Thursday, July 17 through Sunday, July 20. Doors to QuakeCon will open on Thursday, July 17 at 10:00am and will remain open through 12:00pm on Sunday, July 20.

QuakeCon Exhibit Hall Hours are:

Roundup: The Wolfen-wide Web

It’s only been a week since Wolfenstein: The New Order’s, but there’s already plenty of web highlights from around the web. On top of our initial review roundup, there’s plenty of must-read coverage to catch up on.

To start, recently we had the opportunity to send Wolfenstein’s collection of awesome goodies, The Panzerhund Edition, to MachineGames’ office so they could do a proper unboxing video. Watch their video, featuring Jens Matthies and Jerk Gustafsson, in the embed above. To purchase this collection, visit the Official Bethesda Store.

Elsewhere, catch these articles, features, and videos…

  • Polygon – As a story-driven experience, Polygon’s Ben Kuchera discusses how Wolfenstein manages to handle sexual situations the right way — unlike most pop-culture affairs. Elsewhere on the site, watch a 2-minute primer for playing the game.
  • Prima Games — Known for their prowess on gameplay strategy, Prima tackles beginner’s tips, Easter eggs, and throwback surprises.
  • Who is more imposing than B.J. Blaskowicz? Perhaps UFC middleweight/TUF Nations champ Elias Theodorou and UFC welterweight Sean Pierson. Watch them play Wolfenstein here.

Continuing our review roundup, read and watch full reviews after the break…
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Craglorn Is Here!

Put on your best gear, pack your provisions, and turn your eyes to the stars—Craglorn launches today! The game update brings a challenge for groups of Veteran Rank players to ESO along with tons of fixes and improvements. Read the full patch notes to get every detail.

In Craglorn, you and your allies will take on new quests as you discover the Celestial threat to Tamriel, explore delves where your skills will be put to the test, and even participate in 12-player Trials—a completely new kind of adventure with the deadliest enemies yet (and fantastic rewards). The patch also introduces class and skill updates, fixes throughout the game, and more.

What else is new with ESO? Check out highlights at elderscrollsonline.com

Almost there…

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… as you wait for Wolfenstein’s midnight launch, we wanted to share some last-minute videos worth checking out.

In our third and final Twitch stream, watch as we make our way through the London Nautica level — a middle chapter from the game. In addition to seeing yours truly get torn apart by the enemy, we also answer fan questions and explain the game’s Enigma Codes — secret documents used to unlock new gameplay modes. Note: With several cutscenes included, you may run into some spoilers.

Elsewhere on the web, YouTube channels for The Psychotic Engima and Elegant Skull demonstrate some pretty impressive skills creating Wolfenstein-inspired artwork. For those that saw it, their work is reminiscent of MachineGames’ own Axel Torvenius — whose speedpainting was featured last year by Bethesda Underground. Watch all three videos after the break.

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