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Friday, Aug 14, 2009

  

Mac and Linux QUAKE LIVE Tuesday

1Up reports that QUAKE LIVE will add support for Macintosh and Linux users in an update next Tuesday, August 18. This was revealed by id CEO Todd Hollenshead as part of id's press conference yesterday. Thanks Joystiq.

Gold - DDO Unlimited

Turbine announces Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (DDO Unlimited) is gold, and the subscription-free version of the D&D MMORPG is set to launch for VIPs on September 1, and for everyone else on September 9:

Turbine, Inc. announced today Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™ (DDO Unlimited), a free digital upgrade for Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Stormreach™, has successfully completed beta and has now gone gold. Turbine will provide DDO VIPs early access to the game beginning September 1, 2009 prior to the official North American launch on September 9, 2009.

DDO Unlimited will raise the level cap, introduce a new player class and add major new content, as well as make the game free to play for everyone. The new DDO Unlimited delivers heart-pounding gameplay featuring the industry’s best combat system, a massive world with state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay, and a rich set of features that until now could only be found in premium subscription-based MMOs. DDO Unlimited will introduce an innovative new pricing model that allows players to download and play for free, purchasing adventure packs, items, and account services a la carte from the new DDO Store, or subscribe to get unlimited access to all of the game’s content.

DDO Unlimited is based on the world-renowned DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® franchise of Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.® (NYSE: HAS), under license to Infogrames Entertainment S.A.® Published by Atari, Inc.®, DDO has been enthusiastically received by many gaming critics, including The New York Times, PC Gamer, Game Informer and many more. For the latest information, please visit www.ddo.com.

On Sale

Half-Life Complete is the weekend deal on Steam, offering the whole Half-Life/Half-Life 2 catalog for $16.99, with individual components as low as $1.69. They also offer the Valve Complete Pack for 10% off. Also, GamersGate is offering S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl for $9.99 (half-off). Finally, GOG.com is offering all flight simulators at 30% off this weekend, DRM not included.

WAR Expansion in the "Near Future"

Mythic On The Future of Ultima Online, Warhammer and Working with BioWare on IndustryGamers is an interview with Josh Drescher and Calvin Crowner about those topics. One note of interest is word to expect an expansion for Warhammer Online in the near future: "Ray Muzyka from BioWare has a very long term plan for the future and we've had to think further into the future because of that. Most of existence, our studio has been on a shoestring budget so we couldn't think far ahead, but we just finished up a major patch for Warhammer Online and there's a lot of stuff we're thinking about improving and enhancing the gameplay experience and guaranteeing that product lives up to the legacy of the Warhammer franchise. You should expect an expansion in the near future." They also highlight a quote offering vague hopes for revival of some Origin Systems IP: "There are some folks that feel exactly as you do about Origin Systems," Crowner tells them. "I have Crusader: No Remorse on a shelf on my desk and there's tons of stuff that could be done with it; we have some people that are very passionate about these games." It's not much, but we are still happy that Wing Commander was recently re-Trademarked.

Karos Online Beta Schedule

NHN announces the Closed Beta Schedule for Karos Online, and is accepting sign-ups on the Karos Online Website. The announcement goes into great detail about the game, so here is a portion about the testing:

Seoul, Korea –Friday, 14th August, 2009 – NHN revealed today more details about the closed beta schedule for its upcoming MMORPG Karos Online. Players registering at www.karosgame.com can apply for access to the first Closed Beta Weekend Event, which will take place from Friday, August 21st until Sunday, August 23 . The precise times when the servers will open will be announced on Karos Online official website, www.karosgame.com. There will be more Closed Beta Weekend events, dates to be released later. Access to any Closed Beta Weekend event also grants access to the following ones. The game is scheduled to be released in English during Q4 2009, followed by versions in German and Turkish.

In the first Weekend Event, players can choose from three different character races, with each race offering one class. Classes can specialise twice during the course of the game, a choice of four focused sub-classes . During the first phase of Closed Beta, only the first specialisation will be available.

Castle: InstantAction Can Stream Any Game

Is InstantAction's Future on Consoles on IndustryGamers is the headline of their Q&A with Lou Castle, the new CEO at InstantAction, with a sidebar article highlighting his feelings the game industry is "on a bad spiral." The console talk is speculative, but his discussion of what their web-based platform is capable of on PCs is more concrete: "Right now if somebody wanted to publish on InstantAction the very latest PC title coming out this year that used every ounce of processing power, they could partner with us and absolutely publish through the browser. And if it's a streaming-based game it makes it even easier. We're not in a position right now to announce those partners, but I think the world's going to be pretty surprised by what they see coming up [on InstantAction]."

ATI Catalyst 9.8 Early

AMD's QuakeCon blog now offers early downloads of new version 9.8 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI accelerators. These drivers are also being offered to attendees of QuakeCon, and they will be officially released next week. PC Perspective has a change list. Thanks Bill.

Team Fortress 2 Update

Steam News announces the release of a new automatic update for Team Fortress 2. The update changes "The Big Hurt" Scout achievement to require you to "Stun 2 Medics that are ready to deploy an ÜberCharge," removes centerprint texts for TF_FLAGTYPE_ATTACK_DEFEND CTF game mode, changes the TF_FLAGTYPE_ATTACK_DEFEND capture reward from 30 kills to 1 capture, and fixes a number of bugs.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Trailer

A new "Gadgets Trailer" from Batman: Arkham Asylum is available to leave you asking "Where does he get those wonderful toys?" The superheroic clip is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and GameTrailers.com.

Aion Trailer

The CGI introductory trailer for Aion provides some of the backstory from NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG. This clip can be found on AtomicGamer and FileFront.

CITIES XL Trailer

A new trailer from Monte Cristo's CITIES XL shows off the "Heart of the City" (where the alligators roam) in the upcoming urban planning game. The clip is posted on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, and Gamer's Hell.

Heroes Over Europe Q&A, Movie

There are new Heroes Over Europe screens, Q&A on Computer and Video Games for Ubisoft's upcoming World War II aerial combat game. There's also a new trailer showing off its beauty on Gamer's Hell and GameTrailers.com.

Evening Previews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Evening: Comedy Central's RENO 911! cancelled. Sorry. Thanks Ant.

Gold - Champions Online

Atari and Cryptic Studios announce Champions Online is gold, and the superhero MMORPG will go live in September, presumably still September 1, with early access scheduled of the end of this month. The announcement includes details on beta testing and early access:

New York, NY (August 14, 2009) – Atari and Cryptic Studios are proud to give superhero fans the game they've been craving as Champions Online™ for PC has gone gold. Based on the award-winning Champions pen-and-paper role-playing games and powered by the groundbreaking Cryptic Engine, Champions Online taps into a rich universe of heroes and villains with unparalleled intrigue and adventure.

Cryptic Studios – creators of the award-winning City of Heroes and City of Villains MMOs – has taken the massively multiplayer role-playing game genre to new heights with Champions Online. The experience begins with Champions' immensely powerful character creation and customization tool, which enables players to fashion truly unique superheroes by choosing from thousands of costume pieces, body types, powers, and character appearances. Players can then modify their choices with an array of configurable sliders and color options, resulting in a completely individualized hero.

No superhero, however unique, can be complete without a super villainous Nemesis or two. With Champions Online's powerful customization tools, players can also design the perfect Nemesis to oppose their superheroes. These ultimate adversaries appear throughout a hero's career, sometimes issuing challenges, other times ambushing their heroic foe. Champions Online brings epic superheroism to the MMORPG genre with depth that challenges the most experienced online gamers, while its fast-paced action promises to engage new entrants to the online superhero universe.

Be among the first to experience this one-of-a-kind online superhero gaming universe by taking part in the open beta, exclusively run by IGN's Fileplanet. Players can access open beta by registering at Fileplanet. Additionally, this thrilling title is available for pre-order at Wal-Mart, GameStop, Best Buy, Direct2Drive, and Amazon. Gamestop and Best Buy preorders even have the opportunity to join in a special Early Start Program.

Champions Online promises to redefine online gaming with the power comic book fans have been craving. The only question is... What hero will you be?

Champions Online releases on Windows PC this September.

For additional information, please visit: www.champions-online.com

Championship Manager 2010 Demos

The Championship Manager Website now offers the promised playable demos for Championship Manager 2010, offering the chance to kick around a sample of this European football/soccer simulation. The demo is available in English, French, Italian, Polish, and Spanish languages, offering 6 months worth of gameplay from July 1st 2009-December 31st 2009. Mirror links are listed on the Championship Manager Forums, where they say a Turkish language demo is due later today. The English demo is also mirrored on ComputerGames.ro, FanGaming, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

RAGE Screenshots

There are four new RAGE screenshots on Shacknews from QuakeCon showing more of id Software's post-apocalyptic shooter. Featured are mutants, a weapon, some vehicles, and still more mutants.

Playlogic Losses

Playlogic Entertainment announces financial results for the first six months 2009 saying net revenues were $4.7 million for the half, compared with $8.3 million for the same period of 2008, which they explain like this: "During the first 6 months of 2008 we had released 7 titles, including Obscure II, one of our best selling titles to date. For the three months ended June 30, 2009, net revenues showed $3.5 million compared to $4.3 million in the same period of 2008." As for the bottom line, they lost $3.3 million compared with a profit of $1.0 million in the same period in 2008. For the Q2 2009 Playlogic reports net losses of $1.6 million, compared with a profit of $0.3 million in the Q2 2008.

More Revolutionary Lionhead Teasing

The teasing continues on the Lionhead Studios Website, where following yesterday's Che Guevara image and quote, there's now an image and quote from another revolutionary, Maximilien Robespierre, who played an instrumental role in the French Revolution (thanks VG247). Here's the quote, which refers to The Reign of Terror during the French Revolution: "Terror is only justice: promt [sic], severe, and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country."

ARMA II Mod Tools

Bohemia Interactive has released the modification tools for creation of custom content for ARMA II, their military shooter sequel. This tool suite requires ARMA II version 1.03 or later, and word is: "With these tools every ARMA II user can modify and create their own content from camo, vehicles, models and weapons or even whole new environments and share them with hundreds of thousands of likeminded fans online." The download is available from the Bohemia Interactive Community Wiki, and mirrored on AtomicGamer. More details can be found in the complete announcement.

APB Beta Signups

There's now a beta application on the APB: All Points Bulletin Website where you can register your interest in beta testing this open-world crime game under development at Realtime Worlds. There's no indication of when testing is to get underway, but they do outline the process: "We’ll be selecting beta testers who complete the application process and meet our criteria. Selected testers will receive an invitation by email along with details of how to download the game and take part. If you don’t hear back from us in the next few months, don’t despair, we’ll be selecting more people right through to launch and we will need bigger numbers of testers as time goes on. Even if you’re not selected for the start of the program you may get an invitation later." Thanks VG247.

Op Flashpoint Dragon Rising LAN Lives

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising will include LAN support, contrary to a report here yesterday. The quote from Sion Lenton in an interview on Fragland yesterday did not seem ambiguous, as he said: "There will be no offline multiplayer, nor an offline co-op mode. Online you can play the co-op mode with up to four friends." However, now Codemasters clarifies what was not clear from that statement, saying: "Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising does indeed feature LAN play and system link, and the offline MP play Sion Lenton is referring to is splitscreen." Meanwhile, a new vehicle trailer from the game is now available on ActionTrip and AtomicGamer.

Left 4 Dead 2 and Crash Course Movies

The latest installment in Game Trailers TV is online with a Valve extravaganza. Included is an interview with Valve honcho Gabe Newell, who confirms Half-Life 2: Episode Three is actually still being developed, new gameplay footage from Left 4 Dead 2, revealing an amusement park level and the katana weapon, and a preview of the new "Crash Course" DLC for the original Left 4 Dead.

WoW 3.2.2 Testing

World of Warcraft European Forums have Public Test Realm notes for the World of Warcraft version 3.2.2 update revealed yesterday that features an Onyxia revival. This indicates the new version is available for testing, though it's not mentioned on the official Test Realm Patch Notes. Thanks WorldofWar.Net.

QuakeCon Videos

QuakeUnity has videos from QuakeCon 2009, including a clip of John Carmack's keynote address and the id Software press conference. We recall in the past such clips were forbidden, but presumably this does not apply anymore.

New Mass Effect 2 Character

There are new Mass Effect 2 screenshots on the Official Website introducing Shepard's new buddy Thane. Word is: "In order to survive the mission, Commander Shepard will have to recruit the very best soldiers and specialists in the Galaxy. Meet Thane – hailing from the Drell race, he is one of the most feared assassins in the galaxy."

Terminator Salvation PhysX Still Coming?

Though NVIDIA announced PhysX support for Terminator Salvation before the movie tie-in game was released, it was not part of the game when it shipped. A movie on the YouTube from June 1 has a ShakyCam presentation showing PhysX in the game, promising it in an expansion: "this is going to release next month as an expansion and new game pack with all new levels for the game where you are going to be able to see some remarkable physics effects." With that month more than passed, and the game's developer GRIN now closed, this plan would seem to be in doubt. However, the Terminator Salvation page on nZone (thanks game|phys, dedicated to such topics) now has a new movie showing a side-by-side comparison of the game running with and without PhysX, suggesting a patch with PhysX support is still on the way. There's also a deceptive link to download an "exclusive, PhysX-packed Terminator Salvation timedemo," but this leads to a "coming soon" message.

Operation Barbarossa – The Struggle for Russia

Matrix Games announces plans for Operation Barbarossa – The Struggle for Russia, described as "an elegant and challenging World War II strategy game perfect for both new and veteran wargamers!" A product section for the game is online with info and screenshots, but a release date is not set at this time. The turn-based strategy game will include 140 different units, three historical campaigns (two German and on Soviet), assorted other scenarios, and a level editor to create your own. Here's a bit of the overview: "Aimed at all levels, from those who have never played a wargame before to those who know the history of World War II in detail, this is an entertaining and mentally challenging game of combined arms strategy. Your armor, infantry, artillery and air units will follow you through the most crucial battles of the Eastern Front."

Wolfenstein Trailer

GameTrailers offers a new launch trailer for Wolfenstein, showing off a bunch of cinematics from Raven's upcoming shooter. The clip focuses on the game's supernatural elements, with soldiers transforming to monsters all over the place.

Mini Ninjas Trailer

A new Mini Ninjas trailer shows off Tora, one of the bonsai battlers from the upcoming action game. Tora seems to be a cross between the Wolverine and Edward Scizzorhands.

Blood Bowl Trailer

The Blood Bowl Website has another new "meet our champions" video, as apparently everyone is a champion in the fantasy-themed tackle football game. Word is: "This week’s trailer focuses on the Dwarfs! Desperately slow but incredible resilient, the Dwarfs are really tough Blood Bowl players not afraid to pick on targets way, way bigger than they are! Tactics involving a running or passing game are out of question: the Dwarfs will always prefer to run through the obstacle rather than avoiding it!"

Op Ed

Crispy Gamer's Rush, Boom, Turtle: And Now for Something Completely Different.
As long as I've been playing RTSes, there have been at least one or two exciting innovations every year. 2009 has already seen its share. For instance, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, Swords & Soldiers, Demigod and Battleforge are all significant departures. But I think I've stumbled across this year's Really New Thing. There's a lot of 2009 to go, but I'll be surprised if anyone else twists the RTS formula this dramatically and this effectively. And I'm hoping it'll be the Next Big Thing, because it's big, different, entirely unprecedented and an exciting way to play an RTS. This must be what it felt like to play Defense of the Ancients back when it was a mod for Warcraft III.

Improbable Insights - PC Gaming’s Bright Future. By Lloyd Case (thanks Neutronbeam).
If you’re a PC gamer, there’s actually more games available than you can possibly play, from the casual to the deep, from the lightweight to the addictive. What is clear is that the PC gaming model is no longer monolithic, so if you want to find just the right title that floats your boat, you’ll need to fire up your web browser and do your searching there, rather than take a trip to the local gaming or electronics store.

IndustryGamers - Pachter's Podium #3.
Browser-based games are great, but they don’t offer the same experience as console games. If we ever get open Internet access in the living room on a widespread basis, I think that browser-based gaming could be a big trend, but that appears to be several years off. The consoles offer a far better gaming experience, as they’re connected to a big screen TV in a comfortable setting, typically with a great sound system. Browser-based games are typically going to be accessed through the PC, which offers a generally inferior experience. I know that the flamers will say that PC gaming rules, but the numbers speak for themselves: console gaming will be an $18 billion market this year, and PC gaming will be under $3 billion. The super hardcore PC gamer will be attracted to browser-based games, and these games certainly have great potential for expanding the market into underdeveloped territories (like China, India, Brazil), but I don’t see them putting much of a dent into the console market.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The Gunnar-man made a new girlfriend at the Vet's office yesterday, as he charmed the collar off a dog about half his size. She was a "puggle," half pug and half beagle, and while she didn't look much like either, she certainly did bark like both of them together. At one point we joked about our poodle staying behind to socialize, prompting someone to point out their puppies would be poogles (*shudder*).

Poogley Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: cronusX.
CycloManiacs.
Spell My Finger.
Links: When Video Game Characters Turn To Acting.
The 20 Greatest Shows Canceled By Fox Before Their Time.
Stories: Singer Helms A "Galactica" Reboot Film?
Science: NASA asteroid-tracking program stalled due to lack of funds.
Curing Human Genetic Disease at the Salk Institute.
Holding out for a hero: Look no further than the humble ant, say scientists.
Images: 15 Case Mods From Quakecon 2009 on Day 1.
Media: Interview with the penis name writer on Jeopardy. NSFW.
The Funnies: xkcd - Oregon.



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