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Monday, Jul 04, 2011 Happy Independence Day (US)

  

DOTA2 Showing Soon?

The Valve Corporation Exhibitor listing on the gamescom website lists them as planning on showing a strategy game at the show, which will be held next month in Cologne, Germany. Computer and Video Games notes this suggests they will be showing DOTA 2, their DotA-Allstars sequel planned for release this year.

EVE Online CSM Appeased

PC Gamer reports on the summit meeting between CCP and the EVE Online Council of Stellar Management over the uproar over the leaked "Greed is Good" memo about microtransactions in the space-based MMORPG. They offer details on the various specific issues discussed, and the CSM seems satisfied on all fronts. Here is their statement about microtransactions: "Game-affecting Virtual Goods: We are convinced that CCP has no plans to introduce any game-affecting virtual goods, only pure vanity items such as clothing and ship skins. We have been repeatedly assured that there are no plans for ‘gold ammo’, ships which have different statistics from existing common hulls, or any other feared ‘game destroying’ virtual goods or services. We have expressed our deep concern about potential grey areas that the introduction of virtual goods permits, and CCP has made a commitment to discuss any proposals that might fall into these grey areas in detail with CSM at the earliest possible stage."

New Star Ruler Demo

An updated version 1.0.8.0 playable demo is now available for Star Ruler, the space-based 4X strategy game from Blind Mind Studios. Here's a bit on the game: "In Star Ruler, players take command of a vast interstellar empire and safeguard their species from total extinction in a unique galaxy (3D or flat) with as many stars as their PC can handle (even 10.000+)! Prove your species' ingenuity through a deep and intricate combat system where anything (from individual components on ships to the stars themselves) is a target of opportunity." The download is available from AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, Joystiq, and Softpedia.

U.K. PC Charts

GfK Chart-Track has this week's list of the top 20 full-priced PC entertainment titles in the U.K. for the week ending July 2nd. The Sims 3: Generations holds on at number one, Brink re-enters the chart at #11, and Duke Nukem Forever falls seven spots to #19.

New Codemasters Racing IP?

Codemasters Jobs Page on Facebook has several job openings listed for a "New Racing IP." The listings don't reveal any more about the nature of the game. Thanks VG247.

AMD Catalyst Hotfix

AMD Support now offers a new version 11.6a Catalyst hotfix reference drivers for A8 – AMD Radeon HD 6550D and A6 – AMD Radeon HD 6530D series products. There are drivers for Windows 7 & Windows Vista 32-bit/64-bit Edition and Windows XP 32-bit / 64-bit Edition. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.

F2P Global Agenda Thriving

Hi-Res Studio COO Todd Harris tells PC Gamer that Global Agenda is enjoying five times the number of players since shifting to a free-to-play business model, and revenues "are higher than they ever have been before." Here's the expanded quote: "We have many many more people creating accounts every day, many more people playing concurrently, our revenues are higher than they ever have been before which means we can develop content and put it into the game faster than ever before."

Arma X Released

The Arma 2 Website has word on the release of Arma X, a new Arma 2 bundle:

We are pleased to announce that Arma X: Anniversary Edition is now available. Customers, who bought Arma 2, Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead or Arma 2: Combined Operations (or Arma 2 and Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead), can buy an upgrade version of Arma X: Anniversary Edition on store.bistudio.com with a discount (20% for Arma 2/OA, 40% for Combined Operations).

Killing Floor Steampunk Character Pack Revisited

Steam really does now offer the Steampunk Character Pack for Killing Floor, Tripwire's first-person shooter. The release was announced Thursday as part of their Killing Floor Summer Sideshow Event, but there was some mix up, and it was not actually released at that time. There was also apparently some confusion about the price, as rather than being free, the pack is $1.99 USD.

New Via Digital Distribution

Patches

On Sale

  • Alpha Protocol on Steam. Save 75%.
  • The Bionic Commando Pack on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Bully: Scholarship Edition on Steam. Save 75%.
  • DOOM Pack Complete on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Fallout New Vegas Franchise on Steam. Save 70%.
  • Frozen Synapse on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Homefront on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Mount & Blade: Complete on Steam. Save 75%.
  • R.U.S.E. on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Serious Sam HD Games on Steam.
  • Singularity on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Trine on Steam. Save 90%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Independence Day Consolidation

Independence Day Mobilization

Independence Day Metaverse

Independence Day Tech Bits

Independence Day Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • AMD A8-3850 (Llano) APU Video Performance on TweakTown.
  • Antec Kühler H2O 920 CPU Cooler on Mad Shrimps.
  • ASUS RoG Maximus IV Gene-Z Motherboard on Hardware Heaven.
  • ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum Graphics Card on Hardware Heaven.
  • ASUS Maximus IV Extreme P67 Motherboard on ProClockers.
  • ASUS Xonar DG 5.1 Channel PCI Sound Card on Futurelooks.
  • Corsair Force Series 3 120 GB SSD SATA 3 on The SSD Review.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Sigma Headphones on Vortez.
  • FSP Aurum Netzteil CS Series AU-650 im PSU on Technic3D. In German.
  • Gigabyte A75-UD4H AMD A75 Motherboard with AMD A8-3850 on OCWORKBENCH.
  • HTC Droid Incredible 2 Smartphone on AnandTech.
  • MSI N560GTX TI Twin Frozr II Graphics Card on XSReviews.
  • NZXT Avatar S Gaming Mouse on RBMODS.
  • NZXT Source 210 Elite Case on techPowerUp.
  • OCZ ZX 850W 80PLUS Gold PSU on PureOC.
  • OtterBox Defender Case for HTC Thunderbolt Smartphone on Legit Reviews.
  • Samsung Series 9 (900X3A) Notebook on t-break.
  • Sapphire HD 6770 FleX Edition Graphics Card on Overclockers Club.
  • Thermaltake Level 10 GT Full-Tower Case on Techgage.
  • Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W PSU on APH Networks.
  • Thermolab Trinity Heatsink on FrostyTech.com.

etc.

Out of the Blue

It's the fourth of July today, also known as Independence Day here in the U.S., a grand national holiday celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 235 years ago today. As always, we will mark the celebration in a low-key manner, doing our best to ease the anxiety of Hudson the wonder dog, as while she indeed has super-powers, fireworks are her kryptonite. Also, in spite of all the leftovers from Saturday, I'm going to do some more grilling today, we have some more wings (they'll get buffalo sauce instead of homemade barbeque sauce like the ones from the other night), some natural case frankfurters, and a beautiful rack of baby back ribs. We're going to end up with a lot of food to go through over the coming week, but it's a sacrifice we're willing to make.

Sacrificial Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Color Infection 3.
Tire Shop.
Links: 15 Badass Recipients Of The Dickin Medal. Thanks Neatorama.
11 Overdramatic Road Warning Signs (Ranked By Overdramaticness). Thanks Neatorama.
Stories: Samsam Bubbleman breaks another world record for the most bubbles in a bubble.
Science: New Study Says Aircraft Can Increase Precipitation Around Major Airports. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.
Media: Over 900 Parachute Fireworks EXPLOSION.
The Funnies: National Treasure Cartoon - Savage Chickens.

Sunday, Jul 03, 2011

On The Streaming Infringement Bill

The Word of Notch has a post about Bill S.978, which is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate: "to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes." The bill: "Makes unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty of up to 5 years in prison. Illegal streaming of copyrighted content is defined in the bill as an offense that 'consists of 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works' and has a total economic value, either to the copyright holder or the infringer, of at least $2,500." This is opposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but has the support of AFTRA, SAG, MPAA, RIAA, and other copyright-lovers. As Notch notes, this has raised concerns that it could criminalize the simple act of uploading a gameplay video, and while it's hard to imagine such fair use scenarios becoming illegal, he offers the straightforward way Mojang would handle it should such a law come to pass:

If the bill passes, I suspect many game companies (including us) will add a special clause to the TOS specifically to allow posting videos of their games. A huge part of why Minecraft has grown so fast is the YouTube community.

Steam Top 10

Here's Valve's list of the ten bestselling games on Steam for the week:

  1. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Digital Premium Edition
  2. Portal 2
  3. Valve Complete Pack
  4. Borderlands: Game of the Year
  5. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition Deluxe
  6. Terraria
  7. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Pack
  8. Might & Magic Heroes VI
  9. THQ Hit Collection
  10. Fable III

Guild Wars 2 Interview

Designing Guild Wars 2 - Part 1 and Part 2 on IncGamers both talk with ArenaNet's Eric Flannum about Guild Wars 2, the upcoming MMORPG sequel. Topics include how different the sequel will be from the first Guild Wars, post-release content, supporting a top-notch MMORPG without subscription fees, XP and loot sharing, increased focus on co-op gaming, marketing, and more. The two-part interview is accompanied by this article offering a behind-the-scenes look at the ArenaNet's development studio.

Mount & Blade Patches

TaleWorlds now offers a new patch for Mount & Blade: Warband that updates the hack-and-slash mounted combat game to version 1.142. The patch is available on this page along with a new dedicated server, and the patch is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls, and so is the dedicated server. Likewise, there's a new version 1.142 of Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword on this page which is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls along with that game's updated dedicated server.

Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland Patch

The Paradox Interactive Forums offer downloads of a new patch for Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland, to update the expanded World War II strategy sequel to version 3.03. The patch should be available automatically from within the game as well as at individual digital distributors, and there is also a manual patch, which is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls. The change log follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Park Baseball 12 Patch

The OOTP Developments Forums now offer a new version 12.1.11 patch for Out of the Park Baseball 12. There is a new full installer and an incremental patch for the Windows edition, and new full installers for the Linux and OS X editions. The Windows patch is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls, and the change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Pro Cycling Manager Season 2011 Patch

The Cyanide Studio Forums now offer a new patch for Pro Cycling Manager Season 2011 to update the sports management sequel to version 1.0.2.5. The Patches Scrolls has a mirror of the new version, and the patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

UX Booth - Learning from Fable III’s UX Mistakes. Thanks PC Games Forever.
Perhaps the clearest example of poor user experience design in Fable III is its menu system, or rather lack of one. In most RPGs, pressing pause brings up a menu where you can view a map, inventory, statistics, and other information. Pause menus allow you to quickly perform common actions and take stock of your situation, before returning to the main game.

In Fable III, a different metaphor replaces the menu that you’d expect to find. Pausing the game transports your character to a room called the Sanctuary, where an affable butler, voiced by John Cleese, guides you around. Instead of having a traditional menu, you direct your hero around this and its adjacent rooms, interacting with various items to access the information you need.

Sunday Consolidation

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Metaverse

Sunday Tech Bits

Sunday Safety Dance

Sunday Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Well, yesterday was our first grilling mishap of the season, though I am not to blame, so my record remains so far unblemished. The chicken thigh fillets I was going to cook turned out to be startlingly rancid. These were actually vacuum sealed in plastic, which seems like it would help prevent such a mishap, but when I cut open the package it immediately filled the kitchen with the most horrifying odor. I didn't actually think you could generate that much stench from a one pound package of chicken meat, but it was a pretty close call that we were able to dispose of this without anyone actually upchucking.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Top Defense.
Stories: Man Cited For 'Flipping The Bird' At Another Driver. Ruh roh. Thanks Devicer.
Science: These Aerodynamic Umbrellas Won't Fly Away. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.
Media: Transformers 3 = The Island?
"Man vs. Katamari".
iPhone Dropped In Toilet - while taking video. Thanks Videosift.
The Funnies: FoxTrot.



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