Steam has another new
automatic update for Left 4 Dead. The new version of the co-op shooter
introduces fatigue to the melee attack in versus mode and Boomer vomit will now
pass through common infected. The update also fixes some bugs in the client as
well as the dedicated server. Meanwhile, the
Left 4 Dead Blog explains the changes and outlines future plans for the PC
and Xbox 360 editions of the game:
We recently updated the PC version of
Left 4 Dead with some exploit fixes and Versus balancing. We are going to be
releasing another small update later today that contains some server issue fixes
and one small, but very large, gameplay adjustment. We have made a change to the
melee mechanic in Versus and the soon-to-be-released Survival Mode.
Xbox 360 users will see these same gameplay changes in an update coming out with
the DLC — which, in case you missed the announcement, will be coming out April
As we continue to work on Left 4 Dead, our plan is to release more frequently on
the PC, and then group those updates for the 360.
With the upcoming release of the SDK, and the community servers already
available on the PC, matchmaking is one place where the two platforms will
diverge. A future blog post will detail our roadmap for PC matchmaking.
Game statistics help us evaluate the success of the changes we've made to the
game. In Versus, for example, we flipped the order in which teams play the next
round based on who was winning the round before it. We were confident this would
help to better balance the game and give neither team a lasting advantage. That
would, in turn, translate into more people playing through the final maps. Since
making that change, we've noticed the percentage of games being played to the
end jump 5%. It is a small increase, but a step in the right direction.
But statistics are only part of the picture. We also use direct feedback from
players themselves. One of the questions people ask is if we read the forums:
the answer is yes. So please post your feedback on the melee and other changes
as we make them. We promise to keep listening to your feedback, making changes
and improving the gameplay experience of Left 4 Dead. Remember: If you don't see
an issue addressed with this update, that doesn't mean it isn't coming.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports
that Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah vetoed the truth in
advertising bill aimed at regulating the sale of violent games that's gotten
wide notice thanks to the involvement of Jack Thompson. In a move
that likely saved the Utah taxpayers some money, Gov. Huntsman cited
constitutional concerns: "While protecting children from inappropriate materials
is a laudable goal, the language of this bill is so broad that it likely will be
struck down by the courts as unconstitutional."
Online is offering digital distribution of the MacOS edition of Prince of
Persia. The Mac edition of the platformer requires an Intel Core Duo Processor
and an ATI X1600/NVIDIA 8600 or better graphics card. Thanks Ant and
Steam has word that a new
update for Empire: Total War is now automatically available. The new
version of the RTS sequel will allow players to find friends across regions for
multiplayer games, and addresses a number of bugs and other issues. Also now on
Steam is a patch for Garry's
Mod with a bunch of bug-fixes.
As you will have seen in our recent
Twitter post, we simply never expected that so MANY of you would be THIS keen to
get into the Beta, at exactly the same time.
Imagine the web servers to be the two-man army of Royals and everyone else the
horde of Nationals storming the lines. Perhaps they got a bit scared ;)
We want to make sure that everyone (re-)joining the Beta gets the best playing
experience we can possibly offer, so at this time, although it was a hard
decision, we bit the bullet and decided to temporarily keep the Beta site down.
This will let us properly investigate and bring in some reinforcements.
The investigation will be taking us through the night and likely occupy some of
our morning, so unless your day just started, it is safe to go to bed soon, get
some rest and think up strategies to apply on the battlefield tomorrow.
FileFront announces it is closing
on March 30, so if you have something you need to download from there, you need
to make haste. Word is: "We would like to give a warm thank you to all of you
who have been part of the FileFront communities we have built together. Your
support has had a meaningful impact for all of us here at FileFront. Again, we
want to give you a sincere “thank you” for your support over the years and wish
you all the very best."
Ubisoft, Midway, and Tigon Studios announce that Wheelman is now
available, offering the chance to experience high speed car chases in a virtual
Barcelona, Spain as you portray Milo Burik, a virtual Vin Diesel. A launch
trailer for the game can be found on
Gamer's Hell, and
here's the announcement:
SAN FRANCISCO — March 25, 2009 — Ubisoft, Midway
and Tigon Studios announce that Wheelman(TM), the action-packed driving game
featuring film star Vin Diesel as undercover agent and expert driver-for-hire
Milo Burik, has shipped and is available at retailers starting today. Wheelman
is available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from
Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC and is
rated "T” for Teen by the ESRB.
In Wheelman, Milo Burik gets caught in a crossfire of chaos and corruption while
trying to stay one step ahead of local law enforcement and rival gangs in the
beautifully re-created city of Barcelona, Spain. In Wheelman, the player's car
is the weapon. Players weave in and out of traffic, engaging in intense
vehicular warfare, leaving wreckage in their wake as they take out anything or
anyone that gets in the way with innovative super moves like "Vehicle Melee,” "AirJack”
and the "Cyclone.”
"First and foremost Wheelman is designed to be action packed, accessible and
over-the-top driving fun,” said Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and
marketing at Ubisoft. "Wheelman's dynamic systems adjust to the player's
experience level so that everyone – from a novice to an expert gamer – can play
and feel as if they're an action hero in a driving game.”
Inspired by Hollywood's most famous action-sequences, Wheelman will deliver
powerful cinematic moments throughout the game's compelling storyline. In
addition, there are more than 100 side missions available, giving players plenty
of opportunities to steer through the streets of virtual Barcelona, while
earning vehicle upgrades, achievements and trophies.
For more information about Wheelman, please visit
Nexon America announces a new "nut shot"
feature is now live in Combat
Arms, their subscription-free online shooter. Don't worry that this shows
you have a dirty mind, as this is exactly what you think, a reward for shooting
below the belt, thought this applies to male victims only, as they have not yet
introduced the hu-hu shot. Word is: "Providing Combat Arms with a unique,
comical dimension, Nut Shots are celebrated in game with a large graphic of
exploding walnuts. Other players are made aware with a corresponding icon in the
upper left-hand corner kill display featuring a golden squirrel, similar to the
golden skull that denotes a head shot." There's a "nut shot" video on
Stardock unveils their promised plans for Game Object Obfuscation
(Goo), a system they feel is a more elegant alternative to current Digital
Rights Management, especially for downloaded games. Goo will be part of the
launch of Impulse Reactor phase 3 on
April 7, offering a way for publishers to protect their games from piracy with a
one-time online activation:
PLYMOUTH, MI, March 25, 2009 – Stardock
announced today that the forthcoming update to its digital distribution
platform, Impulse, will include a new technology aimed to pave the way to
solving some of the common complaints of digital distribution.
The new technology, known as Game Object Obfuscation (Goo), is a tool that
allows developers to encapsulate their game executable into a container that
includes the original executable plus Impulse Reactor, Stardock’s virtual
platform, into a single encrypted file.
When a player runs the game for the first time, the Goo’d program lets the user
enter in their email address and serial number which associates their game to
that person as opposed to a piece of hardware like most activation systems do.
Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again.
Goo has a number of unique advantages that developer Stardock believes both
gamers and developers will appreciate:
1. There is no third-party client required. This means a developer can use this
as a universal solution since it is not tied to any particular digital
2. It paves the way to letting users validate their game on any digital
distribution service that supports that game. One common concern of gamers is if
the company they purchased a game from exits the market, their game library may
disappear too. Games that use Goo would be able to be validated anywhere.
3. It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users
can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership
to another user.
“One of our primary goals for Impulse Reactor is to create a solution that will
appeal to game developers while adhering to the Gamers Bill of Rights,” said
Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock. “Publishers want to be able to sell
their games in as many channels as possible but don’t want to have to implement
a half-dozen ‘copy protection’ schemes. Game Object Obfuscation lets the
developer have a single game build that can be distributed everywhere while
letting gamers potentially be able to re-download their game later from any
digital service. Plus, it finally makes possible a way for gamers and publishers
to transfer game licenses to players in a secure and reliable fashion.”
Because Goo ties the game to a user’s account instead of the hardware, gamers
can install their game to multiple computers without hassle.
Goo will be released on April 7 as part of the upcoming Impulse: Phase 3
release. Stardock also expects to be able to announce multiple major publishers
making use of Goo in April as well as adding their libraries to Impulse.
Impulse is poised to exceed one million customers in the next week despite only
being launched nine months ago.
If you've ever played an arcade side-scroller and thought the only thing better
would be if you could play online opponents for real money, then you're in luck,
as geePlay is a new online gaming service
offering just that. You deposit cash in an account, which will grow as you win
and shrink as you lose playing a game based on
TeeWars, an open-source
side-scrolling shooter. It seems the service is aimed at Europeans, as all
currency figures are in Euros, and laws in Europe tend to be more liberal about
online gambling, though one of the tenets of this system is that it is
skill-based, not gambling. A free training mode is offered, and upcoming plans
include tournaments with large-scale payouts. The site is owned by Skillgames
s.r.o., a company registered in Slovakia. There's a video of this in action on
Dutch/Canadian videogame publisher, Lighthouse Interactive
has officially been declared bankrupt. A spokesperson pointed out that due to
the demise of its parent company Silverbirch Incorporated and the bankruptcy of
its largest debtor Pinnacle Entertainment, Lighthouse was unable to carry on.
Lighthouse Interactive was sold to SilverBirch Inc in 2008 and was a wholly
owned subsidiary. The company was best known for publishing many critically
acclaimed PC titles including Ship Simulator, Sword of the Stars and
The Lighthouse personnel would like to thank all business partners, press and
its customers for their support over the past years.
Aspyr Media and Activision Publishing officially announce plans for PC and Mac
editions of Guitar Hero: World Tour, which were first revealed in a
preview posted last night. The ports will be released this
summer along with corresponding wireless controllers:
ASPYR MEDIA AND
ACTIVISION UNVEIL GUITAR HERO® WORLD TOUR FOR WINDOWS PC AND MAC
AUSTIN, TEXAS – March 25, 2009 – Aspyr Media and Activision Publishing, Inc.
(Nasdaq: ATVI) have teamed once again to rock the computer gaming world with the
announcement of Guitar Hero® World Tour for Windows PC and Mac. Transforming
music gaming by expanding Guitar Hero’s® signature guitar gameplay into a
cooperative band experience, Guitar Hero World Tour for PC and Mac offers
state-of-the-art wireless controllers to computer gamers for the first time, new
online and offline gameplay modes and a Music Studio feature for composing and
editing original rock and roll anthems. Guitar Hero World Tour is the most
complete music game to-date with 86 on-disc tracks from music legends such as
The Eagles, Van Halen, Metallica, Michael Jackson and The Doors and features
in-game appearances by world famous artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Corgan
and Travis Barker.
“Guitar Hero World Tour is the standard for music games on consoles and we can’t
wait to unleash this incredible experience on computer gamers,” said Ted
Staloch, Executive Vice President, Aspyr Media. “With full band play, support
for the new wireless controllers, the ability to create their own music and an
amazing array of customization options, Guitar Hero World Tour will be the
definitive music game on PC and Mac. We are proud to once again be working with
Activision to extend this powerful brand to an eager audience of gamers.”
Guitar Hero World Tour delivers more ways to play than ever before. Virtual
musicians can live out their rock and roll fantasies by playing either a single
instrument in-game, or any combination of instruments within the game, in
addition to the full band experience. Building on all of the online gameplay
modes from Guitar Hero® III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero World Tour introduces
Battle of the Bands mode, which allows eight players to join online and
challenge each other band-to-band to determine who is the best of the best. In
the Band modes, up to four players can jam together, online or offline, as they
progress through the game. In single-player Career Mode, players can jam on any
of the instruments in-game utilizing the controllers in branching venue
progression enabling them to rock out in the order of their choice.
The game’s innovative new Music Studio lets players express their musical
creativity by giving them access to a full complement of tools to create digital
music from scratch, utilizing all of the drum kit controller and guitar
controllers, and then play their compositions in the game.
Guitar Hero World Tour for PC and Mac will be available summer 2009. The game is
rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.
James Patterson’s ‘Women’s Murder Club- a Darker Shade of Grey’ for Windows PC
Ships to Retail Outlets Nationwide announces the US release of the second
casual game based on the Women's Murder Club series of mystery novels by
James Patterson. Probably of most interest is the participation of highly
regarded adventure game designer Jane Jensen (Gabriel Knight) in the
project, and THQ has this to say on the topic: "This latest offering captures
both James and Jane at their finest with a thrilling and evolving storyline,
driving thought-provoking and fast-paced action. Fans are in for an
unprecedented game experience." Update: A playable demo is available
GameSpy Technology Makes Advanced Online Gaming Services Available to
Independent Developers announces new middleware features for independent
developers, with the first game to take advantage of this being a reissue of
Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy. Word is: "Through this new program,
GameSpy Technology is now being made available to smaller developers that can
benefit from high value online services but may have been prohibited in the past
due to resource or implementation barriers. The program expands the reach of
GameSpy’s industry-leading suite of technologies and services, which are
available for every existing gaming platform."
The OnLive Website is live for
this just unveiled cloud gaming service, and accepting signups for
the OnLive Beta Program,
which is slated to get underway this summer. Word is: "You need to be at least
18, based in the US and have a broadband-connected PC running Windows
Vista®/XP®, or an Intel®-based Mac." Also,
Engadget has video of OnLive being shown off at GDC, where playing
Crysis over the service is demonstrated, and the burning issue of how lag
will be handled is discussed, as they outline the careful distribution of data
centers to keep things humming.
Steam News announces a
10% discount of preorders for
Flock, Capcom's flocking platform game that's due for release on April 7. In
order to help you decide on this commitment, Steam now offers a
Flock demo, offering a
chance to test-fly the game's UFO and try your hand at Flocking some sheep, or at
least helping them over that fence.
Following the revelation of the OnLive service,
GameDaily has a conversation with Acclaim's Dave Perry, who describes
ambitions for Gaikai, a similar cloud computing-based service, admitting the
unveiling of OnLive has "forced his hand" into revealing these plans. The
description is of a very similar service to run games on the server end,
allowing high-end gaming on lower-spec systems, and one of the advantages of
such a system he stresses is its ability to curtail the impact of those darned
used-game sales. A timeframe for launch is not offered, but Dave says they
already have World of Warcraft and EVE Online running,
interestingly specifying MMOGs, a segment that doesn't have much in the way of a
has word that Infogrames/Atari has sold off its remaining 66% stake in
PAL-fulfillment arm Distribution Partners to Namco Bandai. This follows Atari's
stated goal of moving away from boxed game distribution. According
to Infogrames CEO David Gardner: "This will now allow Atari to focus its
financial resources and creative energy exclusively on developing and publishing
online-enabled games, shifting our operations towards servicing recurring
revenues and a higher-margin online business model while still benefiting from
access to Distribution Partners strong international distribution network."
Yesterday around midday I noticed something that seemed terribly wrong with
Hudson the wonder dog's eyes, as she seemed to be unable to open her inner
eyelids and seemed to have trouble opening her eyes altogether (and when she
could, the redness of her inner lids just made her look like Kujo). I made an
appointment to take her into the vet, but a short time later she seemed
perfectly fine again, so we cancelled the appointment. I'm thinking I may have
just caught her having trouble waking up, but I'll keep an extra close eye on
here to make sure this wasn't something more serious. Presuming it isn't, I'm
sorry I was so freaked that I did not take a picture, as she made quite a sight
as a devil dog.