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Monday, Jun 15, 2009

  

New Source SDK

The Team Fortress 2 Blog announces the release of a new Source SDK on Steam that includes some of the .vmf source files for official TF2 maps, and stating that more map & model sources will be included in future updates. They say: "This is something we've wanted to do for a while, especially as we've been growing the range of game modes in TF. Here's the list of maps that are included in the update: Lumberyard, Ravine, Badlands, Dustbowl, Granary, Gravelpit, 2Fort, Badwater, Goldrush, and Hydro." Also, a new Steam client update is now automatically available.

Street Fighter IV Benchmark Tool

A new benchmark utility is now available to test PCs for how well they can run the Windows edition of Street Fighter IV when the fighting sequel is released for PCs later this year. The tool is 397 MB, and the download is available on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

ISPs Get Gamier

Joystiq reports on Verizon's plans to offer more than 1400 PC games on demand via its broadband service, for a monthly fee of $9.99. This is launching as a pilot program in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York, but there's no indication of when it will be implemented elsewhere. On a related note, even more ambitious plans are outlined in AT&T Investing Millions in Gaming on IndustryGamers, an interview with Glenn Broderick, AT&T's Executive Director of Gaming, who describes plans to relaunch AT&T's gaming website, launch an IPTV service, and efforts at getting game developers to cooperate with three-screen convergence games. He also sees them being a major player as plans for cloud-based gaming from companies like OnLive go forward.

Downsized Crystal Dynamics Still "AAA"

Develop reports on a job posting for Crystal Dynamics, saying in spite of layoffs in January and again just last week, the Square Enix-owned developer is working on a "AAA" title. The listing specifically says "one of the most prestigious AAA franchises in the industry," which we're guessing is also one of the most prestigious DDD franchises in the industry: Tomb Raider.

Need for Speed: Shift Profiles Trailer

A new trailer for Need for Speed: Shift explains the way driver profiles will work in Need for Speed: Shift. Here's a bit on the profiles: "As a player’s driver profile develops through the course of the game, it creates rivalries, triggers specific challenges and even unlocks vehicles and customization options. Need for Speed SHIFT’s multiple reward systems keeps players in each race regardless of their position." The clip is posted on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, and Gamer's Hell.

The "New THQ"

Danny Bilson on the 'New THQ' and Avoiding 'Unacceptable' Waste on IndustryGamers is an interview with Danny Bilson of THQ about their new approach to quality assurance in their game development. Here's a bit on how things have changed: "The other thing I want to talk about in quality is a process. We have a very rigorous system now at THQ that was not in existence before. It starts with concept, prototyping, schedule... a team will go eight months before they have an official green light, so we have long pre-productions, many check ins... And we stop games and we will not have $15 million dollar write offs at THQ anymore, because games will get stopped in the early R&D phase."

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

DNF Banking Shenanigans?

Shacknews has a story based on the contents of a 20-page court filing relating to Take Two's lawsuit against 3D Realms over the failure to complete development of Duke Nukem Forever. The story outlines negotiations for concurrent development of an Xbox 360 version of the first-person shooter sequel, and how that helped lead to where we are today, and why Take Two feels entitled to take ownership over the source code for the project. Most intriguing is an allegation that some offshore banking high jinks have taken place, as Take Two says: "upon information and belief, [3D Realms/Apogee Ltd.] has title to a substantial amount of funds deposited in an off-shore account, which Take-Two believes Apogee can use to fund its outstanding obligations." 3D Realms has not yet addressed this accusation.

StarCraft II Beta Prep

Both Kotaku and CNET report being told by Blizzard they need to set up their press accounts for the StarCraft II beta. No start date for the beta is offered, but Kotaku does say they were given a June 19 deadline to send writers' account login information. Thanks StarcraftWire.net.

New ATI Drivers

The AMD Graphics Drivers & Software Page and the AMD Game Drivers & Tools Page now offer new version 9.6 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI graphics cards. Here are the highlights of the new Windows drivers:

    • Company of Heroes – performance gains of up to 25% for the ATI Radeon™ HD 4600 Series, and performance gains of up to 10% for the ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series.
    • Crysis Warhead – performance gains of up to 11% for ATI CrossFireX™ configurations.
    • Crysis – performance gains of up to 13% for ATI CrossFireX™ configurations.
    • World in Conflict – performance gains of up to 30% for settings are were previously CPU limited.

XIII Century Gold Edition Announced

Aspyr Media announces a North American publishing deal with 1C Company for XIII Century Gold Edition, a bundle of XIII Century: Death or Glory as well as XIII Century: Blood of Europe, the upcoming sequel to the medieval RTS game. The DRM-free Gold Edition will be released this summer in stores and via digital distribution, and here's word:

XIII Century Gold Edition will include the 2008 release XIII Century: Death or Glory and the upcoming sequel XIII Century: Blood of Europe in one package. Both RTS titles offer up large-scale battles set in the Middle Ages and feature stunning graphics and thousands of units on the field of combat. As one of the famous military leaders of the 13th Century, gamers are able to test their steel against neighboring nations and carve their names into history. Both XIII Century titles depict realistic actions of Middle Ages fighting units and their behavior during battle.

Death to Spies: Moment of Truth This Summer

Aspyr Media also announces they are the North American publisher for Death to Spies: Moment of Truth, the recently announced counterespionage sequel, confirming a DRM-free summer release. Here's an updated description of the sequel:

Death to Spies: Moment of Truth is a sequel to the popular stealth action title Death to Spies. The game's main character is Semion Strogov, a captain in the 4th department of the Soviet counterintelligence service called SMERSH. SMERSH, a Russian acronym that means "Death to Spies," was the name of a set of Soviet military counterintelligence departments that were formed during World War II. Strogov is back from his previous missions and must now participate in a series of even more complex and exciting military operations.

Euro Truck Simulator Patch

A new patch for Euro Truck Simulator updates this transport simulation to version 1.3. Here's the explanation: "While version 1.2 was a sizable content update with new destinations and roads in the UK, version 1.3 is only a bug fix maintenance release. We hope to be able to provide another region as a content update for Euro Truck Sim in forthcoming patch later this year." The download is also mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.

Op Ed

IGN- The Future of Gaming Past.
In the IGDA's white paper on games preservation titled: "Before It's Too Late: A Digital Game Preservation White Paper", released in March of this year, the team of gaming and history experts highlighted the rapidly changing nature of the digital entertainment industry and how easy it is for our digital history to get left behind. Where it once took societies decades or even centuries to make leaps and bounds in their art-making practices, video games have been moving at a pace of a tape on fast-forward. This only makes it easier for developments to go undocumented and increases the chances of large chunks of our gaming history getting lost.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Here's some perspective on the recently demised Duke Nukem Forever, not that there haven't been enough efforts to put this in context: Today is the 11th anniversary of the announcement that the game would be switching to use the Unreal engine, rather than the Quake engine. The announcement also touches on the question of why they didn't change to the engine for Prey, which was also killed before being revived and developed by Human Head studios: ""It is of utmost importance to us to have Prey be the first game released using the Prey technology. By going with Unreal's tech to create Duke Nukem Forever, we'll be able to stay on schedule to get Duke done and released before Prey."

Unreal Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Pwong 2.
Hit The Road.
Science: Sushi: The Culprit of the Urban Tapeworm Problem?
The cephalopods can hear you.
Media: Man Bear Pig in L4D2? Thanks Digg.
Jimmy Fallon - The Dave Matthews GPS.
Angry Video Game Nerd - Theme (Amazing Techno Remix). NSFW.
The Funnies: ActionTrip Comic Strip- The Future of Gaming... It's Awesome.



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