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Friday, Oct 23, 2009

  

Unreal Tease

A story on BeyondUnreal (that's since been removed) pointed to an image they posted (which has not been removed) that was posted on The Epic forms before (you guessed it) it was removed. The teaser image has a new logo, and says "It's Unreal. And it's almost here." The fact that it was pulled shortly after it was posted may be an indication that it's not actually "almost here" just yet. We shall see.

New Age of Conan Pricing

The Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Website announces new subscription plans are now in effect for Funcom's MMORPG (thanks VideoGamer.com). Here's the deal:

As of now the 3 month subscription offers a 20% discount, 6 month subscription yields a 30% discount and 12 month offers a 45% discount vs the regular one month plan. This is more than twice the discount than before.

In addition, it is now possible to purchase additional gametime and immediately get the veteran points. Veteran points is a system where players are rewarded for each month they have subscribed, and can be used towards a variety of items. Veteran points will launch with the coming update which is due very soon, and will work backwards in time towards all gametime you have purchased.

Please log in to your account page to see the upgraded pricing and offers.

RailWorks DLC

Steam News announces the release of Black Five Scenario Pack, yet another DLC pack for RailWorks, the transportation simulation. The new DLC includes seven scenarios and a new locomotive.

Star Trek Online Trailer

A new Star Trek Online trailer offers a cinematic look at some space and ground combat in Cryptic's upcoming Trekkified MMORPG. The clip can be found on GameVideos.

R.U.S.E. Multitouch Trailer

G4tv.com has a R.U.S.E. trailer showing off the just announced Windows 7's multitouch support in the upcoming RTS game.

Killing Floor: Level Up Trailer

Steam News announces they have a new Level Up trailer promoting the just released free Level Up DLC for Killing Floor and the free play weekend that's currently underway for the co-op zombie shooter.

Dragon Age: Origins Trailers

BioWare reveals another character from Dragon Age: Origins, introducing us to Oghren, saying: "Oghren, of House Kondrat, was once a promising member of the Warrior Caste who had earned great prestige in the dwarves’ gladiatorial proving grounds. When a Smith Caste family with plenty of money but few political connections offered their daughter in marriage, his family accepted the match. And then everything changed. His wife, Branka, invented a process that revolutionized the smelting process and was declared a Paragon—the first in a generation, forever ensuring an honored place among the ancestors. Oghren gladly joined his wife’s new noble house, but when Branka took her followers and vanished into the Deep Roads, she left him behind. He remains determined to find Branka again and learn what obsession keeps her hidden away from the rest of her kind." A trailer for Oghren can be found on ActionTrip and Filefront. Also, GameTrailers has a new Dragon Gameplay trailer, Deathbed Gameplay trailer, and a new Shut Up Tree trailer.

Torchlight Interview

Working by Torchlight on Gamasutra is a conversation with Travis Baldree and Max Schaefer of Runic Games about their upcoming action/RPG. They discuss digital distribution, their experience with this type of game, how hard it is to get games in this genre right, their full-featured mod tools, a bit on their Torchlight MMOG, the PC market, and more.

Naumachia: Space Warfare Q&A

AureaSection Talk Naumachia on Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviews Lorenzo Pasini of AureaSection about Naumachia: Space Warfare, their recently revealed space combat game. Topics include their influences, why space combat games have become uncommon, offline play, their free/licensed business model, the development team, and challenges they've encountered.

Gatherings & Competitions

On Sale

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

Into the Black

ATI Hotfix

AMD support now offers a hotfix for the just released version 9.10 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI accelerators. This fix addresses the "No compatible hardware found" error when installing Catalyst drivers for ATI Radeon HD 4000, ATI Radeon HD 3000 and ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series AGP products. Thanks FLY.

PCMark Vantage Patch

Futuremark's Downloads Page now has a new patch for PCMark Vantage to update this benchmark suite to version 1.0.1, which we imagine has something to do with Windows 7. Downloads of the new version and the patch to update the previous version are mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

Gold - Dragon Age: Origins

BioWare announces that Dragon Age: Origins is gold for all three target platforms, and BioWare's RPG will be released as scheduled in North America on November 3, and in Europe on November 6 (though the PS3 edition is being held back for "later in November" in EU territories). Word is:

In anticipation of the game, players can begin their Dragon Age: Origins experience early by joining the BioWare Social Network -- a destination to share in-game screenshots, review game data and share story information. Players can also download the free to download Character Creator where players can create and customize a player character on the PC and then upload their character data and avatar to the BioWare Social Network before Dragon Age: Origins launches. The Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator will provide players with the tools to create a character with a nearly endless amount of options. Players can download the character creator and get more information on the BioWare Social Network by clicking here.

In Dragon Age: Origins, players take the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians. Now, as a rising evil threatens to destroy all life, it is up to players to unite the shattered lands and slay the corrupted dragon known as the Archdemon. To restore peace, players must make ruthless decisions and be willing to sacrifice their friends and loved ones for the greater good of mankind.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Trailer, Comic

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website touts a new holorecord on The Battle of Bothawui, "a battle in which the courage and sacrifice of Jedi and Republic forces scored a major victory against the Sith Empire." As always, the holorecord is narrated by Lance "Bishop" Henriksen. Also, The eighteenth issue of Threat of Peace is online, offering more of the back story for the Star Wars MMORPG in comic book form.

Modern Warfare 2 Steam Pre-purchase and Steamworks Support

Valve is now offering pre-purchase of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 through Steam. They also announce that Infinity Ward's military shooter sequel will ship with Steamworks, and here's a bit on that:

All PC versions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be powered by Steamworks, providing gamers with auto-updating, anti-cheat technology, Steam Achievements, and the recently introduced Steam Cloud.

"Steamworks will make it possible for us to have a closer connection to our fans, and enable us to support our community much more than ever before," said Robert Bowling, creative strategist, Infinity Ward. "Steam is the hands down leader in offering a community focused experience on PC and the inclusion of Steamworks has allowed us to deliver the most feature-rich PC version to ever come from Infinity Ward, which at the end of the day will mean the most to our fans."

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for PC will include 50 Steam Achievements, enticing players to train a local militia and be "Back in the Saddle" or infiltrate the snowy mountain side base and earn the "Cold Shoulder." Fans may access the game from any computer. And through Steam Cloud, multiplayer game progress will be stored persistently and travel with the player.

DirectX 11 Benchmark

Unigine Engine Website announces the release of Heaven Benchmark, which they claim is the "first" DirectX 11 benchmark, though it also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, and OpenGL. The benchmark is available on their downloads page, and there are videos showing it in operation on the YouTube here and here. According to Unigine CEO Denis Shergin, "Our company has been pushing the limits of advanced 3D real-time technologies with Unigine engine for almost 5 years. We focus on consistent delivering of all the innovation power to game developers and end users by taking advantage of modern GPUs capabilities. So we couldn't have missed the next major stage of DirectX evolution with its inspiring features. We are happy to be the first benchmark provider for this amazing technology. I hope that our strategic relationship with Microsoft will continue." Thanks Mocib.

Order of War Free DLC

Steam News announces free DLC for Order of War is now available to celebrate the one month anniversary of Wargaming.net's World War II strategy game (one month! Where does the time go?). The DLC is the game's "exclusive" preorder content, which is now not-so-exclusive post-order content:

    • Heavy Bomber Squadrons - Addition of German Arado and Allied B-24 Marauder heavy bomber units to air support
    • Infantry Mortar Launchers - Addition of infantry mortar units
    • Off-Map Heavy Artillery - Addition of heavy artillery strikes to the air support menu
    • Survival Mission Mode - New survival mission mode where you fend off waves of attacking enemies for as long as possible

Metal Drift and Demo Released

Black Jacket Studios announces that Metal Drift is now available from Steam, offering a futuristic first-person vehicular sport/combat game where players pilot armed hover-tanks in single-player or multiplayer play. Steam also offers a playable demo, and here's a bit more:

Layered on this is a goal-oriented game type that allows for high level strategy and team dynamics. Players can level up to unlock new ranks, weapons, and upgrades.

Each weapon and upgrade is specifically designed and balanced to allow different styles of play. Pair up the Stealth upgrade and the Shock Cannon to uncloak behind an enemy player and unload a devastating blow before disappearing again. Or choose the Sensor upgrade to see where all the nearby players are, and the Temporal Cannon to shoot them through walls! There are 56 possible combinations – choose whichever suits your strategy.

Armada 2526 Announced

Matrix Games announces they will publish Armada 2526, Ntronium Games' upcoming "spiritual successor" to Armada 2525, a space opera game released in 1991 (in case you thought the title was designed to avoid litigation from Zager and Evans). The Armada 2526 Website has details on the game and a link to a first trailer on YouTube. Matrix Games says they are "particularly excited to be working with founder and director of Ntronium Games, R.T. Smith. Mr. Smith has been creating strategy games for more than 20 years, including the original 4x space classic Armada 2525. Most recently he was the project director and lead designer for Medieval 2: Total War, having earlier served as designer and programmer on the previous Total War games." Here's word on the game:

Armada 2526 continues the great tradition of space opera games. You guide your race from its first interstellar journeys. until it becomes a mighty galactic empire. Along the way, you'll explore the galaxy, conduct research, diplomacy and trade, found new colonies, maneuver mighty star fleets, and fight epic battles.

Although the game is complex, and the possible strategies endless, powerful help and advisor features, help you get up to speed quickly. Unlike many games in this genre, Armada 2526 focuses on providing a game that can be finished in a reasonable time, and emphasizes battle and strategy over economic micro-management.

It will be available for PC running Windows 7, Vista or XP

Blood Bowl Dark Elves Next Month

Focus Home Interactive announces the Dark Elves will be added to Blood Bowl next month as a free update for Cyanide Studio's strategy game based on Warhammer fantasy and American tackle football. They will also then release an updated Blood Bowl Dark Elves Edition for digital distribution. Here are some screenshots, and here's a bit:

While the PC game already offers 8 races from Blood Bowl world (from a selection of more than twenty races), players will be pleased to know that the Dark Elves will be available as a free download this November. The full game will also be available as a digital download, and in most stores in a special version of the game called the "Blood Bowl Dark Elves Edition". This edition will feature the entire Blood Bowl game with the addition of the famous Dark Elves.

The Dark Elves enter the Blood Bowl arena with their own Star Player, cheerleaders, new model designs and unique characterful animations. These evil cousins of the Wood Elves hold their heads high and have only one goal: prove their supremacy to all! To celebrate their arrival, enjoy these first exclusive Dark Elves' images!

BioShock 2 GTTV

The new Gametrailers TV with Geoff Keighley is online, offering their extensive preview of BioShock 2, featuring interviews with the developers at 2K Boston and gameplay footage from the upcoming sequel to the submerged objectivist shooter. It's a little spoilery, if you're not into that.

World of Warcraft Twitter Q&A

The World of Warcraft Forums have the results of a World of Warcraft Q&A session conducted through Twitter. The questions were tweeted, but the answers are posted in the forums, since the 140 character limit could make proper answers difficult to form, while keeping the questions brief. Some of the topics are pretty hardcore, and it might take a pretty hardcore player to understand some of the abbreviations tossed around. Thanks Kxmode.

2010 MMO Calendar for Charity

MMO Calendar now offers sales of a 2010 calendar with original art each month from a different MMORPG. This is a charitable endeavor; word is: "As always, 100% of the proceeds of the sale of MMO Calendar go directly to the amazing people at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, helping them in the fight for children's lives." They are also holding a giveaway of subscription time to the games shown in the calendar as an added incentive.

Microsoft Fiscal Reporting

Microsoft profit, sales smash expectations has word that profits at Redmond exceeded expectations, and the better-than-expected numbers don't even include Windows 7 presales. Word is: "Microsoft said fiscal first-quarter profit fell 18 percent to $3.57 billion, or 40 cents per share, compared with $4.37 billion, or 48 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street had expected much worse, calling for profit of 32 cents per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Sales fell 14 percent to $12.92 billion, partly reduced by a deferral of $1.47 billion in revenue to future quarters related to Microsoft's free upgrade to Windows 7 for recent buyers of the predecessor Vista system. That beat analysts' average forecast of $12.31 billion."

CD Project Deal Complete

Optimus finalises CD Projekt takeover has word that the odd Polish stock market switcharoo revealed earlier this month is now complete: "As a result of the acquisition the owners of CDP Investment will retain control of the CD Projekt Group, while gaining control of Optimus by acquiring 50 per cent of the listed company's shares." By pulling some shenanigans with nearly bankrupt Polish PC company Optimus, CD Projekt is now a publicly traded company.

Gatherings & Competitions

Op Ed

Koku Gamer - An Objection to Originality. Thanks Ant via Digg.
Let us set the way back machine to 2008. Several new franchises began, some of them were blazing trails into new methods of gameplay and some just provided a shiny new coat of paint. Mirror’s Edge, Dead Space, Littlebigplanet, Left 4 Dead, Valkyria Chronicles, No More Heroes, Castle Crashers, Braid, and the list goes on. I know that some of the titles will bring up some fond memories, while others you will still remain blissfully ignorant of. That ignorance is the point. Left 4 Dead and Castle Crashers sold fantastically, while the others did either decent or remarkably less so.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

It sounds particularly nerdy to say I'm off to the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, so I have a better way to describe my plans today: I have an appointment to have a camera stuck up my nose. Actually, now that I think of where they stick cameras these days, it could be a lot worse (though I sure hope they're not using the same camera for all these procedures).

R.I.P.: A Pie in the Face of Comedy- So Long, Soupy Sales.

Nosey Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Springen Reloaded.
HeadShot.
Links: Marvel's Comic Book Creator Is $&@#ing Brilliant. Thanks Digg.
If Wedding Reception Seating Charts Were Honest.
The Top 15 TV Theme Songs at TV.com.
Stories: New AC-DC Box Set Packs Rarities Into Functioning Guitar Amp.
Real-life Harry Potter Not Happy with Fame.
Science: Mythbusters test golf ball-like dimpling effect on fuel economy (*Spoiler Alert!*).
How Tongues Taste the Carbonation in a Fizzy Beverage. Thanks j.c.f.
Weighing the pros and cons of stratospheric geoengineering.
Images: Somehow, in 1983, this costume only won third place.
You Will Be Mesmerized. Guaranteed. NSF Epileptics.
Rare photos of a North Korea amusement arcade.
Follow-ups: NASA's future: Now the space battle begins.
The Funnies: The Gelatinous Cube.



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