virtual-heroes posts

North Carolina latest state to give tax breaks to game developers

The state of North Carolina just became more friendly to game developers. The Triangle Business Journal reports that the state''s governor Bev Perdue has just signed into law a new tax break that should encourage more game developers to work in North Carolina.

The law, which was signed by Perdue at the offices of Epic Games (located in Cary, NC), will give creators of " digital media products" a 15 percent tax credit on all all development costs that exceed $50,000. The tax break increases to 20 percent if the developer works with a university or community college. Besides Epic Games a number of other game developers already call North Carolina home including Ubisoft's Red Storm team, Virtual Heroes (America's Army) and Atomic Games (Breach). Most are located in the state's Research Triangle Park area.

Free Moonbase Alpha game released

As promised last week, the free space simulation game Moonbase Alpha has been released via Steam. And we once again state that this game has nothing to do (unfortunately) with the 1970's TV series Space 1999 which is set on (wait for it) Moonbase Alpha.

The game was co-developed by Virtual Heroes and the America's Army Game Project on behalf of NASA. The game pits you as a space-suited astronaut on the moon in the near future. The goal of the game is to repair the life support systems of Moonbase Alpha after they are damaged by a meteorite impact. The game is also supposed to be a proof-of-concept for a proposed NASA MMO game which Big Download exclusively revealed the details of several months ago.

Moonbase Alpha to be released for free on Steam July 6

Several months ago we reported that NASA was looking to develop an MMO game project titled Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond. While that project is still in the development stage, NASA is prepping to launch a (kind of) demo for the game called Moonbase Alpha. Now comes word from NASA Games' Twitter page that Moonbase Alpha will be released on June 6 for free via Steam.

The demo was supposed to be released way back in January but it apparently got delayed. Other than the fact that the game runs on Unreal Engine 3 there's little info on Moonbase Alpha at this point.

[Via Rock Paper Shotgun]

Feature: First look at NASA's Unreal Engine 3 based MMO


By John Gaudiosi

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina – Epic Games has seen an influx recently in the number of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games in development that utilize its Unreal Engine 3 technology – an engine that was not originally designed for MMO games.

The latest entry in this Unreal MMO games category is the new subscription-based NASA MMO game, "Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond." This game, which will ship next year, joins other Unreal Engine 3-driven MMO games like RealTime Worlds APB, NHN USA's Huxley, Acony Games' Parabellum and Sony Online Entertainment's The Agency and DC Universe Online.

"We're using Unreal Engine 3 for the new NASA MMO game, which will allow us to focus on gameplay and realism and not worry about things like multi-threaded rendering problems or issues with rigid body physics or network programming," said Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Virtual Heroes.

"Unreal Engine 3 is simply one of the best, state-of-the art game engines available," said Daniel Laughlin, Ph.D., project manager for the game at NASA Learning Technologies.

It was Virtual Heroes work on another Unreal Engine 3 game, America's Army, that opened the door for Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond.

Free multiplayer PC game designed for AIDS prevention in Kenya


We have seen a number of PC games designed specifically to teach about certain issues. Now Variety reports today that the game developer Virtual Heroes (best known for their work on America's Army) has helped to develop a free PC multiplayer game that's designed to teach AIDS prevention in Kenya.

The game itself is titled Pamoja Mtaani ("Together in the Hood") and is being distributed in youth centers in Nairobi via Warner Bros. Interactive. The LAN based multiplayer is for five people and according to the story players work "...their way through various East African neighborhoods." Players must also recover stolen items and help an injured woman on their quest in the game. The story add, "Along the way, they will experience barriers and facilitators to behavior change through a variety of missions and mini-games. "
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