Matchmaking and More Coming in Phase 2 Release of Impulse
Stardock’s digital distribution platform, Impulse, has been available for two months now, and it’s about time for the first major update. Dubbed “Phase 2,” this update had been previously promised to include Achievement and game rankings support, as well as a slate of other features and new software and support from publishers. Capcom added its first games to Impulse earlier this month, perhaps signaling the beginning of Phase 2′s release which has been planned for a late August release.
Brad Wardell, Stardock’s CEO, has posted a preview of the new features and technical issues Phase 2 will address. Four issues — which Wardell claims account for 99% of technical complaints — are going to be fixed. Faster load times, downloads and updates encompass the majority of what to expect on that front.
As for features, the biggest addition will be the new community features and the addition of matchmaking. The Political Machine 2008 will be the first to employ matchmaking. Hardcore PC gamers have previously expressed their disdain of matchmaking compared to the usual server browser, but this should make things much easier for newcomers — which a game like Political Machine is catered to bringing in.
In addition, support will be added for smart queing, which will make it easy to install multiple programs; mod libraries/galleries, where you can view mods for a particular game within Impulse; freeware support, which will allow you to install and update third-party freeware through Impulse, making it easier to reinstall your software en masse on a new computer.
The much-hyped ImpulseReactor and MyImpulse will start showing up, too. While MyImpulse won’t be released to the public until Phase 3 (currently scheduled for February 2009), a private beta will begin with Phase 2′s release. This will allow publishers and developers to more easily and quickly release their content on Impulse.
ImpulseReactor includes a slew of features (some of which are already in Impulse and others that we’ve been waiting for) that developers will be able to use in their games without requiring gamers to actually install Impulse, such as Achievements, matchmaking, NAT negotiation, and more. Don’t expect to see all of this right off the bat, though — this will just enable developers to start implementing the features in their games.
A number of those features, as well as other things, will be releasing soon after Phase 2 rolls out. Those include rankings, Achievements, the v1.1 update to Sins of a Solar Empire, and the affiliates program. While it might not have the support Steam does from third-party game publishers (yet), Stardock seems to be making great strides with Impulse.