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Saturday, Jul 09, 2011

  

Castle Empire Revealed

A Castle Empire Website is online, revealing an upcoming free-to-play online empire-building game from Ubisoft. They offer preliminary details, saying the game will include more than 40 types of buildings and nine "unique" military units, and providing some screenshots showing stylized, cartoony graphics. The site also offers signups for closed beta testing, and word that the game will be web-based, as they say it will not require a download. If this all seems reminiscent of The Settlers series, that shouldn't be too surprising, since it is being developed by Settlers originators Blue Byte. Thanks GameSpot.

Origin Exclusive Mass Effect 3 Digital Deluxe Edition

Origin now offers preorders of a Mass Effect 3 Digital Deluxe Edition that's exclusive to EA's online service. This includes physical bonuses such as an art book and a lithographic print, as well as in-game items, including several features they say "can’t be found anywhere else," like a robot dog companion (thanks Computer and Video Games). Here's the list of bonus content to be included with this version of the sci-fi action/RPG sequel: Continue here to read the full story.

Combat Command: The Matrix Edition Patch

Matrix Games announces the release of a new patch for Combat Command: The Matrix Edition to update the World War II strategy game to version 1.01a. You take the blue pill (skip the patch), the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill (apply the patch), you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Oh heck, regardless of which pill you take, here's the outline of what this does: "The update fixes a few issues including a problem with PBEM games, adds Bocage to the Editor, and includes a new set of art from JMass which replaces the original map art files, adds a Spring tileset, and offers an additional zoom level."

BioShock: Infinite E3 Trailer

This trailer offers the entire E3 presentation of BioShock: Infinite, featuring over 15 minutes from Irrational Games' upcoming first-person shooter sequel. The clip features lots of environment exploration and exposition, as well as combat and other gameplay (for the record, Damon Runyan coined the term "roscoe" for gun, so it's probably an anachronism in this game).

DRIVER San Francisco Car Show

Ubisoft announces the full car list for DRIVER San Francisco, saying the upcoming driving action sequel will feature "a wide variety of iconic muscle cars, modern supercars, and a bit of everything in between." This trailer accompanies the list, highlighting six of the included autos; The 2006 Ford GT, the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, the 2009 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR, the 1974 Ford Gran Torino (a la Starsky & Hutch), the 1986 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (no IROC-Z?), and the 1971 Pontiac Lemans. The full car list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Play For Japan: The Album

Grasshopper Manufacture, PlayforJapan.Org, and Sumthing Else Music Works announce Play For Japan: The Album is now available in stores, offering a collection of original music from some of the most famous composers in videogames today, with all proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross to help victims of the March 11th earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

Gatherings & Competitions

Saturday Previews

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Okay, this alarm clock idea is pretty damned clever (thanks reddit via GameSetWatch). Here's the description of how this works: "If you hit the user-defined snooze limit, the alarm sounds and will not turn off until you have cleared 4 lines in Tetris. That’s right, you have to prove to the clock that you are awake and coherent before it will shut off. Technically you can silence the alarm for a 30 second period so you can focus on Tetris, but that’s all the break you get."

Snoozy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Iron Overlord.
The Light Years.
Stories: Davison offices in Pittsburgh are just like a real-life Willy Wonka factory. Thanks jimnms.
Science: NASA’s Stillsuit- Atlantis Crew to Test Pee-Recycling Bag.
Paying in Cash Keeps Us Healthy.
Women football players half as likely to fake an injury as men.
Images: Which ‘Arrested Development’ Character Am I?
Media: Jack Sparrow (feat. Michael Bolton). NSFW. Thanks nin.
Bubba Gracie pranks jiu jitsu class.
Wonderfuzzy - Chimichanga Fix. Thanks Emgarf.

Friday, Jul 08, 2011

CD Projekt RED Sued for Removing The Witcher 2 DRM

Namco Bandai is suing CD Projekt RED for removing the DRM from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, reports DSOGaming, where word is: "According to the lawsuit, CD Projekt RED broke their agreement by removing the DRM protection without the publisher’s authority and by choosing THQ for the distribution of The Witcher 2′s X360 version." GameSpot has a confirmation of the suit, but no further details.

Section 8 Map Pack and Free MP Mode Plans

TimeGate Studios announces plans to release the Windows edition of The Frontier Colonies Map Pack for Section 8: Prejudice on July 27, adding two new maps to the science fiction shooter for the price of $3.99 USD. They also announce this will be followed later this summer with a new Skirmish multiplayer mode for the game which will be free on all platforms. Here's a bit:

The upcoming Frontier Colonies Map Pack includes two new maps for you to fight over, both on and offline. Desolation is a parched desert world haunted by the remains of a failed colonization attempt. Overseer is home to military facilities overlooking a habitable forest valley. Both maps are playable for all multiplayer game modes, including Conquest, Swarm, Assault, and the soon to be released Skirmish mode.

Touted by TimeGate’s game testers as “oh man, so awesome,” the new Skirmish mode pits the 8th Armored Infantry against the Arm of Orion in a team death match with a twist. Victory Points are awarded for kills and completed missions. Control Points cannot be captured or hacked in this game mode, though, so you’ll need to adjust your gameplay tactics.

Dungeon Siege III Patched

Steam now offers the promised patch for Dungeon Siege III, which addresses key mapping issues, among other things. The complete list of changes follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Cities Trailer

A new trailer from Deus Ex: Human Revolution features the developers at Eidos Montreal describing their vision of cities in the year 2027, the setting of their upcoming action/RPG prequel. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

F1 2011 Trailer and Screenshots

Here's a new trailer from F1 2011, the upcoming installment in Codemasters' Formula 1 racing series. Word is: "The new video features thrilling wheel to wheel racing along with some of the new innovations and enhancements coming to the game, including improved garages, paddocks and pit lanes that will immerse gamers into the life of a F1 driver." On a related note, this interview on IncGamers is part one of a conversation with Stephen Hood, lead game designer on the project. Here are some new screenshots, and here's the embedded video. Continue here to read the full story.

Line of Defense Details

A new Line of Defense blog update talks about 3000AD's upcoming MMOG. Topics include the reasons for not licensing a game engine, making the game more accessible while still appealing to hardcore players, the resurgence of space-based games, and more. There is also the game's official poster art, a bunch of new screenshots, and an indication that virtual real estate will be part of the game's business model:

The reason that so much was invested in these huge areas (planets, stations/carrier) is because we’re going to be selling and renting rooms inside these installations. So you can have your own private quarters in any base, station (or the carrier) and be able to invite your friends over (in full first or third person mode gameplay btw), stash your stuff (gear, ammo etc) etc. In short, they are fully functional areas. Monocles are optional. ;)

New Via Digital Distribution

Games

Patches

  • Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland on Steam.
  • Sanctum on Steam.
  • Steel Storm: Burning Retribution on Steam.
  • Team Fortress 2 on Steam.

On Sale

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Democracy 2 on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • DiRT 3 on Steam. Save 33%.
  • Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Empire & Napoleon Total War: Game of the Year Edition on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Hearts Of Iron III on Direct2Drive. Save 75%.
  • The Last Remnant on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Machinarium on Direct2Drive. Save 80%.
  • Mafia Franchise on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Magicka on Direct2Drive. Save 33%.
  • Mass Effect Franchise on Steam. Save 67%.
  • Red Faction: Armageddon on Steam. Save 33%.
  • Sanitarium on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • Splinter Cell Collector Pack on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Trainz Simulator 2010: Duchess DLC on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Universe Sandbox on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Worms Reloaded on Steam. Save 75%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Firefighters free man’s hand from car. Helped when he let go of the Snickers. Thanks Ant via Boing Boing.

Battlefield 3 Specs?

GameStop now offers minimum and recommended system specifications for Battlefield 3, DICE's upcoming military shooter sequel (thanks VG247). There's no indication that these are official, so our minimum approach is to view them cautiously, and our recommended approach is that you do so as well, though the Windows Vista as the minimum OS is accurate, as we've already learned the game will not support Windows XP. Here are the specs:

Minimum
Hard Drive Space
15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version
Operating System Windows Vista or Windows 7ProcessorCore 2 Duo @ 2.0GHz
RAM 2GB
Video Card DirectX 10 or 11 compatible Nvidia or AMD ATI card

Recommended
Hard Drive Space
15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit
Processor Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
RAM 4GB
Video Card DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, GeForce GTX 460, Radeon Radeon HD 6850

Pirates of Black Cove Demo

A playable demo is now available for Pirates of Black Cove, the "Light Strategy Adventure" for Windows where the player sails the Caribbean during the "golden age of pirates," seeking to unite three pirate factions. The download is available on the game's official website and mirrored on AtomicGamer, GamePron, and Gamer's Hell. Here's piratized word: "The captains of Paradox Interactive and Nitro Games today announced that the demo for highly anticipated RTS RPG Pirates of Black Cove is now available to all aspiring pirates who dare to try it for themselves. Sail through this epic new adventure, pillaging and plundering all the way, as you battle to become the King of all Pirates. But know this: you’ll never get our buried booty without the duty! Will you be playing the demo or joining the others in Davy Jones’ Locker? Choose carefully you scurvy landlubbers!"

Far Cry 3 Alternate E3 Trailer

This trailer from Far Cry 3 shows an alternate way to play through the mission from the game's E3 presentation. The clip shows a stealthier approach as game designer game designer Andrea Zanini tries to GET TO DA CHOPPA by snapping a neck, sneaking through the jungle, doing a little sniping, and regaining the element of surprise after alerting the enemy to his presence.

From Dust This Month

A new From Dust developer Diary #3 is online, with a look at gameplay from the upcoming sandbox god-game. This clip discusses the game's story and shows off your godlike powers of landscape architecture. According to VG247 From Dust now carries a July 27th release date via Steam, a Wednesday that neatly splits the difference between traditional North American and European releases.

Modern Warfare 3 & Color Blindness

The Sledgehammer Games Blog responds to their question of the week, saying that in designing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 they are making efforts at accommodating gamers like myself with Color Vision Deficiency (thanks Computer and Video Games). The post shows they appreciate the problems this causes in games that do not take this into account:

Research suggests that as much as 6% of the general population suffers from Color Blindness, or more accurately Color Vision Deficiency. Men (9-12%) are 20x more likely to be afflicted than women (0.25-1%). Those numbers vary depending on which source you quote, but we estimate that nearly a million gamers are playing Call of Duty every day with this issue. I am happy to report that we are working on a Color Blind Assist option for Modern Warfare 3.

So start honing your MP skills, Nick. You won’t be able blame your red-green deficiency for all that friendly-fire come November 8th.

The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles Next Month

Electronic Arts' EA Play label announces The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles, an adventure pack that will be released next month for The Sims Medieval, the throwback lifestyle simulation. Here are some screenshots and a Pirates and Nobles trailer offering looks at what to expect from this. Here's word:

The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles provides players with more variety and new choices in every aspect of the game. A player’s heroic story begins when the Pirates of Aarbyville and the Nobles of Tredony arrive in the kingdom, followed quickly by sword fights, love affairs, grand adventures and mysteries. For those who enjoy the rush of heroic missions, new exhilarating quests expand upon the original adventures like finding the fountain of youth or protecting the kingdom from an evil sorcerer. The war between Tredony and Aarbyville creates a new ambition and opportunity for players to suit up their kingdoms. Players can choose to be anyone from a king or queen to a knight or blacksmith, and with that, prepare for voyage accordingly. Treasure hunting is an exciting new gameplay feature in the pack with maps, shovels, rare treasures and surprising dangers, while challenging players to find hidden objects and search for desirable rewards that will benefit their Hero Sims. Other new items include birds that you can name and train, and interrogation chairs.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Demo [Updated]

A playable demo is now available for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, the adaptation of the concluding episode (for now) of the Harry Potter series. The demo includes two levels: "an action-packed sequence on Hogwarts rooftops as Harry and his friends battle Voldemort’s Death Eater army; the second is a dramatic showdown between Hermione and Fenrir." The download is available on AtomicGamer, GamePron, and Gamer's Hell. Update: This was originally mistakenly referred to as a LEGO game. Apologies of the error and ant confusion it caused.

PlanetSide 2 Announced

The PlanetSide 2 Website now offers the promised announcement of PlanetSide 2, a follow-up to SOE's MMO shooter. They offer some screenshots and concept art, a teaser trailer showing cinematics and gameplay, and a FAQ saying the game will be an MMOFPS, will include three factions, and will offer vehicular combat. They plan a beta before release, but a release date and the game's business model are not being revealed at this time. Here's word from the FAQ:

What is PlanetSide® 2?
PlanetSide 2 is a Massively Multiplayer first person shooter that delivers truly epic, massive combat on a scale never before seen in stunning, breathtaking detail. Battles take place not between dozens of troops, but thousands; with air and ground vehicles slugging it out alongside squads of troops. Whether in open fields, tightly-packed urban centers or enormous structures, winning requires strategic teamwork and a quick trigger finger.

Is PlanetSide 2 an MMO?
Yes. PlanetSide 2 is an MMO FPS set in an online persistent world where the war wages non-stop and the balance of power shifts with every base and territory captured and lost. Players will be able to unlock diverse combat roles by advancing through the deep skill trees, including several classic roles from PlanetSide. As players unlock new roles, they can switch between them at will.

Men of War: Condemned Heroes Announced

1C Company announces Men of War: Condemned Heroes, a new installment in this World War II real-time strategy series in development at 1C-Softclub for release in Q1 2012. To the delight of both Beavis and Butthead, the game will surround "the story of one of the infamous Soviet penal battalions during the WWII." Word is: "Take command of one of these notorious companies and lead it to victory against all odds through most of the war on the Eastern front. Fight from desperate battles in 1942 in the area of Volyn in the Ukraine, to the massive operation "Bagration" in the Brest area, Magnush bridgehead and Warsaw area in Poland and finally to attacks on the German Altdam and Stettin near the end of the war." Here's a feature list:

  • Ultimate singleplayer experience - 4 campaigns consisting of 15 missions telling the story of the penal company from crucial 1942 to victorious 1945
  • Truth about Soviet penal battalions from their former members
  • New ultra-detailed photorealistic human models, faces and uniforms
  • A comprehensive encyclopedia describing the structure of penal battalions and their operations

World of Warcraft Recruit-A-Friend Program Levels Up

Battle.net describes enhancements to Blizzard's World of Warcraft recruit-a-friend program that rewards players for enticing new recruits to take their first hit of this MMORPG. Players will now reap the rewards for this all the way through level 80, earn 30 days of free play for every recruit who upgrades to a full account, get an exclusive flying mount when a recruit passes 60 days of playing time, and more. Thanks Ant.

Bizarre Vet Forms Totem Games

Totem Games is a new studio formed by Matt Cavanagh, formerly of Bizarre Creations where he was lead designer on the racing game Blur, reports GamesIndustry.biz (registration required). The company's Twitter Feed offers a mission statement: "Totem Games is joining all the shiny new indie games companies in their mission to make the world a happier place." This is not to be confused with Ironclads developer Totem Games, though why two studios with the exact same name would cause confusion is very confusing to us.

Evochron Mercenary Patched

StarWraith 3D Games now offers a new version 1.488 of Evochron Mercenary, with changes, fixes, and improvements to this space combat simulation. The new version includes a new distress call and event system with a number of gameplay implications. As always, the new version serves as a full installer as well as a playable trial. The patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Thanks Dapperdanman for the link to the America’s Test Kitchen video on the topic of slow-cooked ribs, which shows how to start them on the grill and finish them in the oven, I think I'll give that a try as a starting point to learn a proper technique for this. I'm also intrigued by their pork chop recipe, and also picked up a quick education on the four different types of pork chops (who knew?). The whole clip is worth the price of admission (being free, that doesn't say much, but you know what I mean) just for the tip about slicing the fat at the edge of a chop to avoid "cupping." Good stuff.

Chopped Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Fat Wizard.
Wasted Youth: Part 1.
Zombie Marching.
Links: Boring Magazine design contest winner.
Stories: Teen burned in fireworks-in-coffee-grinder blast. Thanks brother19.
Science: NASA's next big space telescope faces termination.
Last flight of the Space Shuttle- a 30-year retrospective.
Media: Kitten Rescued with Leafblower. Thanks Kenn.
Writing Movies For Fun and Profit. NSFW.
Captain Kirk Encounters Nyan Cat.
The Funnies: The Oatmeal: What Would Don Draper Do?
xkcd- Fight Club.
Brevity and Savage Chickens.



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