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Monday, Jan 26, 2009 Happy Australia Day, Mate

  

UT3 "Titan Pack" Plans

A post to the BeyondUnreal Forums that BeyondUnreal says is from Epic's Steve Polge indicates the major patch plans mentioned today represents half of their planned Unreal Tournament 3 expansion, to be followed by "the Titan Pack" that will add all sorts of goodness that they are not revealing just yet to their shooter sequel:

We've decided that the best way to deliver the UT3 expansion we've been hinting about is in two parts. This patch is the first part. We aren’t quite ready yet to start going into detail about the bonus content and gametypes that will be in the Titan Pack, which is substantially bigger than any bonus pack we've released in the past.

Hellgate London Undead?

Gamasutra reports that Hellgate: London may be continuing operation in the west as a free-to-play game, according to comments from HanbitSoft, the Korean publisher/developer that claims it is the owner of the IP to the game created by defunct developer Flagship Studios. HanbitSoft says they plan future updates aimed at "strengthening community features" in the action/RPG, and that a "large-scale" patch is coming soon to combine the game's two play modes, and updates are planned to balance classes better and create more of a distinction between the game's five acts.

Saints Row 2 Patched

Steam News has word that a new patch for Saints Row 2 is now automatically available to update the open world action game. The new version fixes a number of bugs, removes the 32 FPS cap, smoothes out framerate spikes, and improves overall performance by approximately 20%.

Crysis Warhead DRM Tool

As described on the Crysis Warhead Website, a Crysis Warhead "revoke tool" is now available to help manage the digital rights management in Crytek's shooter sequel, by deauthorizing the game on one machine so it can be installed again elsewhere. The "download now" link is dead as disco, but the tool is available from AtomicGamer and Shacknews.

UFO Afterlight Patch

The UFO: Afterlight Official Website offers a new fan-made patch to update the UFO strategy game to version 1.7. The patch works with all DVD versions as well as version downloaded from Sprocket and Steam. They also offer a new version 2.03.1 of the Total Rebalance modification for the game on the ALTAR games official forum. Thanks StrategyCore.co.uk.

On PC Gaming

Edge Online has an excerpt from an article called The Death and Birth of an RPG Developer focusing on the formation of Crate Entertainment following the demise of Iron Lore. They talk with Crate's Arthur Bruno, who gives his perspective on the double-jeopardy of PC development, lower sales, and higher risk: "People can say what they want about the number of PC gaming machines being sold each year but the reality is that most titles released for both PC and Xbox 360 see higher sales of the console version, in some cases more than double even with a simultaneous release." On the bright side, he also mentions that PC ports of console games are "relatively cheap," so: "I think there is a very good chance we’d port Black Legion to PC but that’s a call we’re leaving up to prospective publishers."

On Fallout 3

Bethesda Reacts To Three Major ‘Fallout 3′ Criticisms on MTV Multiplayer gets a response from Todd Howard of Bethesda Softworks to a few criticisms of Fallout 3 they've heard leveled by gamers. The three complaints they ask about are that the game is boring as a straight first-person shooter, that the ending isn't very satisfying, and that V.A.T.S. is boring once you can headshot everyone. Todd is remarkably open to all this; for instance his response to the criticism that the action/RPG makes a boring shooter is "agreed."

Spore Galactic Adventures Movie

A new behind-the-scenes movie from Spore Galactic Adventures offers gameplay footage from the upcoming Spore add-on, accompanied by developer narration describing what the expansion will add to the game. The clip is posted on AtomicGamer and MyGameTrailers.

Godfather II Q&A

The Godfather 2 Interview on Strategy Informer chats with Joel Wade, producer on The Godfather II, the upcoming life of crime sequel. Topics include changes in gameplay from the first game, its mix of action and strategy, the story, the main character, online support, how reviews for the first game sometimes felt like they were punished for taking license with the license, and more.

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

PC Resident Evil 5 Confirmed?

YouTube offers a ten minute segment from Polish Gram TV discussing video gaming in Polish, naturally enough (for them at least). The program includes an interview with Jerzy Cichocki from CD Projekt that reveals plans for a PC edition of Resident Evil 5, a tidbit apparently picked up directly from Capcom. The comment comes at about the 4:20 mark in the video, and here is a translation provided by our tipster Kazek: "We know for sure that PC version RE5 will be released. We don't know when exactly but we expect that it will arrive to shops in second half 2009."

Gambling on Games

GAMEWAGER announces serial entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell is now involved in this service that allows players to earn tokens in their games that can be redeemed for chances at winning prizes, and even wagered on themselves. The Atari and Chuck E Cheese founder's role is not clear, they call him an "executive advisor." Not completely accurately they call this gambling: "a first of its kind in the video game industry that is desperately looking for new revenue streams to offset exponential development costs studios now face." It is not completely clear, however, what the business model is for this free service, much less how developers are supposed to share in the revenue stream. As stated above, gambling on games is not as unique as they make out: BringIt is a gaming service that offers gamers the chance to wager on their video game skills, offering support for the current generation of next generation consoles. Wagering is also at the root of BETandRACE, a European service offering its own free arcade racing game, and the chance to bet on races using either play money or real cash. Finally, WorldWinner offers the chance to play Flash games for cash, fulfilling the fantasies of would-be professional Bejeweled players all around the world. The legality of such endeavors varies by locality, and in some cases it's not clear how to figure out how this will work in a given area. A little clarity for US citizens is in the BringIt FAQ: "The games that are being played for cash prizes on BringIt are considered 'Games of Skill' and not games of chance, and are allowed by the law. However, there are nine states within the U.S. where the participation in skill-based video game tournaments for cash prizes is not allowed. At this time, if you live in the following states, you may not play for cash prizes on BringIt: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Tennessee, and Vermont."

UT3 Patch Plans

BeyondUnreal has details on what's described as a major update that's in the works for Unreal Tournament 3, and the length of the change list they've posted is indeed pretty major. No indication is offered as to when this patch will go live, but the post is headed up by an intriguing note that says the patch is "a very small part" of what Epic has in store, though there is nothing to give away what they are hinting about. The patch will include enhancements to the server browser, a UI overhaul, significant AI improvements, client-side demo recording, improved network performance, improved Steam integration (including Steam achievements), improved mod support, and more.

Games for Windows Boss Axed

VentureBeat notes that one of last week's layoff's at Microsoft was Chris Early, who had headed up the Games for Windows program. Early has not been reached yet for comment, but his email now returns a bounce message saying his time at Microsoft "has come to a close." Games for Windows launched almost two years ago, but it hasn't quite taken the gaming world by storm, and with belts tightening at Microsoft, author of the VentureBeat article Dean Takahashi questions how long they will be willing to continue investing heavily in this program. Thanks Spong.

The Sims 3 Delay?

Edge Online has a report that casts the planned February 20 release date for The Sims 3 in doubt. The release date on the game's product section has reverted to TBA, and a number of retailers have changed their listings for the upcoming lifestyle simulation sequel to say it is expected in the first half of this year. EA's comments on the situation are vague, but the implication that the game is delayed is clear: "The game looks great and in the near future we'll have more information." Thanks Mike Martinez.

Men of War Closed Beta Test

The Digitalmindsoft Forums offer details on how to apply to participate in closed multiplayer beta testing of Men of War, the upcoming World War II tactical strategy game. You must post to the forums and receive a CD key in return for entry. Word is: "Experience in one of the older games of the series is not required, everyone can participate."

Stranglehold Patch

Midway Support Customer offers patches for Stranglehold, updating the movie-inspired action game to version 1.1 (it looks like these came out some time ago to little notice). There are three patches to cover owners of the North American edition, the European edition, or the separate German version. The new version address a number of bugs and changes the default keyboard layout to allow the player to lean out from under cover. The US patch is mirrored on ActionTrip, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. The EU patch is mirrored on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls; and the German patch is mirrored on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

War Plan Pacific Patch

The War Plan Pacific Product Section is serving up a new patch to update War Plan Pacific, KE Studios' turn-based strategy game, to version 1.0.1.0123 (if the devil is in the details, that version number needs an exorcism). The new version addresses a number of bugs, enhances Allied AI, adds a new audio level for laptop users, and more.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Out of the Blue

Happy New Year for those who follow the Chinese calendar, as today begins the year of the Ox, the Earth Ox for those keeping careful track. In keeping with grand tradition here, I will point out I will probably still be writing Year of the Rat on my checks for another couple of weeks.

Ox-Drawn Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: You Have To Defecate Upon King Bhumibol. Political, explained on Digg.
Stories: At the Sundance Film Festival, a Chill Is in the Air. Thanks Digg.
Fake Teen Cop Fools Police, Patrols Chicago for 5 Hours. Thanks Roger.
Pick Me! Obamas Getting More Choices For First Dog.
Science: World's highest drug levels entering India stream.
Stockholm University research shows dogs are getting dumber. Thanks Digg.
Local DJs May Soon Be a Thing of the Past.
Media: Fanboys Movie Clip - Take Off Your Shirt.
The Funnies: UserFriendly.



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