Nice Technology proudly announced that their new free-to-play massively-multiplayer real-time strategy game, Picaroon, has entered beta after just a year’s worth of development by their small six-man Cambridge-based team. Having spent the summer in alpha, all the planned major features for a Winter 2010 release have been completed alongside some additional-unscheduled-goodies.
Picaroon is a futuristic pirates game where empires battle across the high-seas for control of the remaining land that pokes above a merciless ocean. Sessions last from a week to a few months depending on configuration and each session can support hundreds of players. Picaroon has a unique end-game phase where players are awarded otherwise unobtainable units such as submarines and super-ships depending on who has tributed the most resources to the world’s leaders.
Game-play has been enhanced with specials. These cards give players extra offensive and defensive powers including the abilities to make volcanoes erupt, build ships at quadruple construction speeds and cause nuclear explosions. Specials can be purchased in-game using gold raised by taxing settlers. In-game packs come in various flavours and have a random selection of specials. Players can also buy themed packs of specials using Nice Technology’s secure micro-transaction system to provide more control over a pack’s contents – the weekend away pack, for example, contains specials to enhance protection and defence of several islands for 72 hours.
Picaroon’s beta affords Nice Technology the opportunity to gather feedback from even more players as the game is refined prior to release. Beta keys will be available on their blog at www.picaroonthegame.co.uk/blog and also given to their alpha group for distribution to friends and to those that signed up to be part of the beta over the summer. Picaroon is a small 50MB download and is compatible with any PC running XP, Vista or Windows 7 that has a half-reasonable graphics card and a half a GB of RAM.
ABOUT: Nice Technology develops and self publishes multiplayer online games and virtual worlds using its proprietary technology, AliceServer. The development teams first game Time of Defiance was released to the public back in the summer of 2002. Since then Nice Technology has produced a children’s game for the BBC based on a popular TV show called Tronji. The studio is currently working on a new online RTS game called Picaroon which is due for release Winter 2010.
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