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Wednesday, Dec 10, 2008 Happy Birthday DOOM!

  

Ships Ahoy - Prince of Persia

The Windows edition of Prince of Persia should now be in stores, though there's been no official announcement to that effect, perhaps a consequence of last week's console releases hogging the spotlight (the same thing happened when the PC version of Dead Space shipped unannounced after the release of its console counterparts). The action/platformer reboot is also available via digital distribution, as it can be purchased in North America from Direct2Drive and the Ubisoft Digital Store, or from Steam for customers in North, Central, and South America.

Gold - Perimeter 2

Strategy First announces that Perimeter 2: New Earth is gold, and that KDV Games RTS terraforming sequel is due in North American stores on January 20, 2009, reports GameSpy. Here's the party line on the game: "Set in a future universe where Earth is dying, civilization is in a race against time to discover a new home planet and colonize it for suitable living conditions. In both single and multiplayer environments, you explore New Earth and battle against opposing forces, choosing either the Exodus or the Harkback, all in an attempt to acquire energy and claim the new home planet. Perimeter 2's gameplay involves strategic terraforming to acquire resources, projecting an impenetrable perimeter force shield to protect from attack, and transforming combat units through manipulative nanomorph technology."

New X Motor Racing & Demo

A new version 1.11 of X-Motor Racing is now available, offering some performance improvements, tweaks, and fixes for this indie motorsport simulation. The new version can be acquired through the game's internal "online update" option. There is also an updated version 1.11 demo on the X-Motor Racing Downloads Page and mirrored on AtomicGamer, FanGaming, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. Those interested in the full game can purchase it via this page.

Project Aftermath Updated Demo

The report earlier today of a free update for Project Aftermath failed to note that this has inspired the release of a new demo for this arcade real-time strategy game updated with the new content. This new demo is available from the Project Aftermath Website, and it is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Evening Previews

  • The Lord of the Rings: Conquest on Eurogamer.

Evening Screenshots

2008: The Year in Lists, Part 4

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

It's hard to wrap my mind around this being the 15th anniversary of the release of the DOOM shareware, in my mind I'm still far too young to be remembering things from that long ago. I guess it's a sign of the time that's passed that you can now celebrate the birthday of this seminal first-person shooter by playing the Flash Version, especially if you recall trying to get good performance from the original game with nothing else running. Oh well, time marches on: One of these days we'll celebrate DOOM's birthday by playing a cell phone version.

Left 4 Dead 360 Cheating Fix

Valve announces that a server-side anti-cheating fix has been applied to curtail the rampant cheating in the Xbox 360 edition of Left 4 Dead: "Valve has released a server-side fix to deny the recently reported cheats on all dedicated Left 4 Dead Xbox 360 servers. The fix is designed to halt the cheating behavior on the dedicated servers, which accounts for the majority of the co-op and Versus modes of play. A title update for those playing on user-hosted servers and/or via system link will be released in the coming days."

New ATI Drivers

The AMD/ATI Drivers & Software Page now offers downloads of new version 8.12 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI graphics cards. The new drivers help accelerate applications with ATI Stream technology for many ATI Radeon graphics processors. This results in performance improvements for the ATI Avivo Video Converter and Folding@Home, and the new drivers also boast performance improvements for a number of games under both DirectX 9 and DirectX 10.

Frogster America Formed

Frogster Interactive announces the formation of Frogster America, a new North American subsidiary based in San Francisco that will be run by industry veteran Sean Kauppinen, founder of International Digital Entertainment Agency (IDEA). This comes in advance of the North American launch of Runes of Magic, expected before the end of this year, prompting this quote from Kauppinen: "Frogster is making a strategic move into the US market with Runes of Magic, a title that sets the AAA standard for premium free-to-play, micro-transaction based games. With a strong launch team in place, Frogster America is well positioned to grow the operation aggressively in the coming months."

Free Project Aftermath Add-on

Gamesfaction's Project Aftermath Page offers what's called a "major update" for this arcade real-time strategy game. Word is: "The additions see the game benefit from twenty new challenge levels and a new Tactical Deployment system which is available throughout the campaigns and challenges. With these new updates, gamers will be able to change their equipment mid-mission and call on some considerable reinforcements to tackle the New Order menace." The update is free to existing owners, while new customers can take advantage of a seasonal price-reduction to $9.99 for the game.

PC Space Giraffe Next Week

Llamasoft celebrates the one year anniversary of the release of Space Giraffe on the Xbox 360 with the release of the game's soundtrack and word that the Windows edition of this arcade game that has drawn comparisons to Tempest will be released via digital distribution next week (we've seen reports that it's available now, but these are premature). This announcement has details on how the Windows edition differs from the console version, saying it includes new graphics, remixed levels, and an overall less psychedelic effect, though it will also contain an "Acid Mix" that's the same as the Xbox 360 edition. Adding the ability to play the remix means they can also add new levels in the future, should there be demand: "If there is sufficient enthusiasm for the PC version of the game then it will be easy for me to provide more level packs for download. These needn't be simply remixes of the original levels - they can be entirely new levels with new level shapes, scripting, and texture literals. We could do themed levels (for Christmas, for example, or to celebrate L. Ron Hubbard's birthday), further level sets for the chilled crowd, further psychedelic challenges for the tripheads, shorter level sets for those who want a game that doesn't take so long to play through in one go - whatever people want, really."

Game Mechanic Studios Formed

Joystiq has word on the formation of Game Mechanic Studios, a California-based developer founded by EALA and Activision veterans Jason Alejandre, Jeff Hua, and Henry Ji, who have participated in the development of the Tony Hawk and Medal of Honor franchises and Tiberium, EA's now-cancelled first-person shooter. They offer word that an announcement is coming from the studio in the coming weeks about their first game, which will be based on an original intellectual property, and they have a humorously blurred screenshot to tease it in the vaguest possible manner.

InstantAction Free

The InstantAction Beta Blog declares "Goodbye ActionPasses; Hello Freedom," as they have abandoned their payment system, and made all the games on their action gaming portal completely free, saying: "Rokkitball, Galcon and all the maps on MBO, ThinkTanks, and ZAP have now been unlocked for unlimited free plays." They also show concern for those who have purchased ActionPasses in the past, offering beta access and refunds for their loyal customers, saying: "Now, for those early adopters who purchased ActionPasses. Fear not, we want to reward you for your dedication. Since you purchased some of this content you will soon have access to 3 unreleased private betas! Ace of Aces (aerial dogfighting), Lore: Aftermath (big time mech action), and BLUR (arcade racing). You may also be eligible for a refund if you purchased any ActionPass or a Map Pack, refund dates are between now and June 1st 2009. All you need to do is submit an email to Support@instantaction.com with DEC SITE CHANGE in the subject line. We'll get back to you and make sure everything is settled correctly." Thanks Strich.

Atari/Cryptic Q&A

The Atari Interview with Jack Emmert on Ten Ton Hammer is another conversation with Cryptic's Jack Emmert about the news they've been acquired by Atari. He talks about what will and won't change following the deal, how the deal was initiated, Atari's MMO aspirations, his admiration for Atari's intellectual property, and his enthusiasm for the idea of a community-oriented gathering in the vein of Blizzard's BlizzCon.

Plain Sight Beta Signups

The Plain Sight Website now offers sign-ups to beta test Plain Sight, a multiplayer arcade game of robot sword combat in the works at indie developer Beatnik Games for full release next year. This press release has details on testing, which will begin before Christmas, and here's word on the game: "Plain Sight is a 3D multiplayer arcade game with robots; robots who bounce around cityscapes on mini planetoids and wield swords which are used to destroy one another. Destroying another robot makes you bigger, stronger, better… a different colour. It also gives you points. Spoiler: You can’t keep the points until you kill yourself. "

EQ and EQ2 RMTs Begin

Massively has word that Sony Online Entertainment has launched a Station Cash microtransaction system in EverQuest and EverQuest II. There's a guide to the marketplaces and a FAQ on the topic. The Station knowledge base has further details on this, and there's a Q&A on the Station Cash situation on Ten Ton Hammer where SOE's John Smedley makes it clear that this does not mean either EverQuest game is going free-to-play. On a semi-related related note, a story on Shacknews had reported that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be "microtransaction-based," but this has been subsequently updated with a response from EA indicating this was based on a "misunderstanding." Thanks Dunk.

amBX SDK PDQ

amBX to launch SDK in January 2009 has word of plans to release a free software development kit for amBX on January 12, 2009, following on recent indications that enhanced developer support is part of the roadmap for the environmental effects vendor now that it is independent from former parent Philips. The SDK will offer game makers the tools needed to enhance games with amBX effects, and a forum will also launch to support developers with their amBX integration. According to amBX CEO Neil MacDonald: “The amBX SDK provides developers with everything they need to get quickly up to speed and at no charge. It makes amBX very approachable and this will be a major step forward for us as we take the amBX proposition to wider markets and sectors. The whole point of amBX is to immerse the player deeper into the game and the amBX SDK now makes a rather complex operation very simple and extremely low cost."

WoW Dual Spec Plans

The World of Warcraft Forums indicate Blizzard is looking to add a dual spec capability in the next content patch. Here's word from Blizzard poster Ghostcrawler: "The idea is to let you swap glyphs and action bars along with your talents. It will be trivial to do in town. You will also be able to do it out of towns, but not as trivially. We hope to have this done for the next major content patch, but it's a big feature and takes some time." Thanks Eurogamer.

Morning Consolidation

Evochron Legends Details & Screenshots

That's no moon! It's a preview site for Evochron Legends, providing screenshots and details for StarWraith 3D Games' next freeform space combat/mercenary/trader simulation. Here's a bit on how the freeform-ness of the game, which is due early next year: "Everything you do in the game takes place in a seamless universe without system 'walls' or 'rooms' that require a jumpgate 'door' to access. There are no required warp gates or trade lanes to restrict your travel and hold you back. You can travel anywhere you want, with or without jump drives and gates, as long as you have the fuel and time to get there. You can descend into planet atmospheres (without loading screens or sudden environment flipping) to land at city trade stations, mine valuable materials, or explore for hidden items. You can escape to nebula clouds for sensor cover or hide in a massive asteroid cave for protection."

World in Conflict Maps Coming

Massgate.net announces two new community-created maps for World in Conflict are due for release soon. One is a domination map by "Luva" called "Airport" where the white zone is for loading and shooting only. The other is a tug of war map called "Bocage" that returns to this famed historical battlefield. No specifics about when to expect a release are provided.

Steam Updates

Steam now offers automatic updates for X3: Terran Conflict, Project Aftermath, and Race - The WTCC Game. Just log in and make like George Jetson with your feet on your desk while the computer does all the work.

PCGA on DRM and Piracy

Still Alive on GamesIndustry.biz has Intel's Randy Stude put on his PCGA cap to discuss the state of PC gaming. He talks about the divergent needs of gamers and publishers regarding DRM, and describes the PCGA's role: "As an organisation, what we're going to attempt to do is try and put everybody in the same room, publishers, content protection companies and developers and hardware providers and say: 'here's what we believe the right recipe is, no matter what protection methodology you use lets make sure at least the experience is consistent so they consumers don't reject PC gaming as a platform, because digital rights management is so ominous and in the way of their fun'."

Prototype Interview & Media

The Prototype interview on 1Up sits with Radical's Chris Ansell for a progress report on Prototype, their open-world action game. They discuss the game's lack of multiplayer support, character progression, the possibility of a demo "'if' the planets align correctly," and a bit of previously unrevealed prototrivia as a capper: "I can tell you that if you have a random burning desire to take out a military transport helicopter by pitching an enemy soldier into its rotors...the average number of soldiers you'll need to pull this off is two. Again, we're still tuning that, so it might change, but let us know if you want more info on this feature." Also Joystiq has some screenshots and videos they shook loose from the teaser Prototype Website in advance of its relaunch a month hence.

2008: The Year in Lists, Part 3

Op Ed

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena on Eurogamer.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla on 1Up.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

A problem with the new and improved search function here that became evident after using it for a while is that its disdain for short words caused some searches to fail, saying it could not find results for searches on phrases like "Far Cry 2," "F.E.A.R.," and "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." So Frans rolled up his virtual sleeves and taught Blammo its ABCs as well as its A.B.C.s, and now such problems are solved. There may be some unintended consequences of this change in how the search functions, but if there are, we'll have to burn that bridge when we come to it.

R.I.P.: Pure Pwnage cast member Troy Dixon.

L.I.N.K.s: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Meeblings. Thanks Jay is Games.
Links: 10 Wonders of the Gaming World.
Stories: NBC may scale back hours.
Chinese girl gets 'kiss of deaf'.
Man with keg in vehicle admits to drinking, driving. Thanks Devicer.
Science: Men Are Red, Women Are Green, Brown Researcher Finds. Blue website links. Thanks Neatorama.
Auction: Rare Sci-Fi Movie Props Hit Auction Block.
Storefronts in Virtual Worlds Bringing In Real Money. 6K for a Gaia Online Arrow? Really?
Media: Quake On Me.
Video of Multiple Kill Vehicle Test Scares Me Silly. Thanks The Flying Penguin. With good reason.
Ome henk m'n tieten zijn okee. Kind of NSFW. Thanks Dan =0)



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