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Thursday, Jul 22, 2010

  

PC Mafia II Demo Confirmed

Following word this morning about plans for a Mafia II demo on August 10 comes an official announcement from 2K indicating we should expect the release of a PC demo alongside its console counterparts. This also includes details on the demo's contents: "The Mafia II demo invites gamers to dive into the “Buzzsaw” level, where Vito and his buddies, Joe and Henry, are sent to take out a mobster known as “The Fat Man”. While the epic game spans two decades, the Buzzsaw demo takes place during the summer of the ‘50s – a time considered the “Birth of Cool”, and with it, rock ‘n’ roll, hot rods, and rebellious attitudes. The demo showcases the type of vibrant edge-of-your-seat action, as well as a slice of the expansive city of Empire Bay in the colorful era."

Ubisoft's Results

Ubisoft's first quarter 2010-11 results are in for the fiscal first quarter ending June 30, 2010. Word is: "Sales for the first quarter totaled €161 million, up 94%, or up 81% at constant exchange rates, compared with the €83 million recorded for the first quarter 2009-10. As announced on July 12th, sales for the first-quarter of 2010-11 exceeded the guidance (of approximately €145 million) announced at the time of the 2009-10 full-year earnings communication." They attribute this to "the solid performance of Splinter Cell Conviction," a "good performance by back-catalog and casual titles, spurred by the sustained sales of Just Dance®, as well as Assassin’s Creed® 2 and Avatar," as well as "a favorable exchange rate impact." The announcement doesn't cover profits and losses, except for this reference: "Ubisoft confirms its previous forecast for the full year 2010-11 of an expected return to profitable growth and positive cash flow from operating activities." Thanks joao.

Battlestar Galactica Online Details, Screenshots

Bigpoint offers an extensive list of Battlestar Galactica Online details with more of what to expect from the upcoming browser-based MMORPG based on the science-fiction television series. Here are some Battlestar Galactica Online screenshots, and here is a bit from this new fact sheet on the game: "Players in Battlestar Galactica Online take on the role of a pilot in their chosen faction's military - either a 'nugget' recently recruited from the human civilian fleet or a recently generated Cylon 'pilot mind'. From these humble beginnings, players can develop their character into a skilled and experienced officer capable of using the most advanced combat systems and commanding the largest and most powerful ships. Upon starting the game the player will be able to fully customize their avatar. This avatar will be used for the out of ship gameplay experience and in their respective faction's homebase."

Console Transformers DLC Next Week, PC Uncertain

Activision today announced plans to release a new Map and Character Pack as DLC for the console editions of Transformers: War for Cybertron next week. The failure to mention a PC version of the DLC prompted us to contact them to learn if it was in the works, and we received the following uncertain reply: "The first DLC pack is slated for just the Xbox 360 and PS3. The team is looking into the potential for PC." This trailer offers a look at the DLC.

Magic: The Gathering DLC

Steam now offers the Duels of the Planeswalkers DLC for Magic: The Gathering. Word is: "Buy the Duels of the Planeswalkers Deck Collection and get all 22 items of DLC at once for more than 50% off! Or, if you're just getting started, get all Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers content at once with the Duels of the Planeswalkers Complete Pack."

FPS Terminator Alpha

Mod DB offers downloads of alpha version 1.0 of FPS Terminator, a standalone game created with the Unreal Development Kit based on some movie franchise or other. "The purpose of this demo is for proof of concept. That means it's really more like a tech-demo than anything," says the creator of the game, adding "there will be more to come in the next few months." There is also a tip in reply to a complaint of performance problems: "If you are having really bad performance problems, and you have an Nvidia graphics card on Windows Vista/7, may I recommend you use the 190.62 drivers. The latest drivers have problems with the UDK." Thanks Big Download.

Rulers Of Nations Announced

The Rulers Of Nations Website announces development of this geo-political simulator, planned for release this September. Here's a bit: "Governing the U.S. on a constantly changing, perilous world stage is the ultimate challenge. Play solo or with friends (up to 16 online players) and decide if other human or simulated Heads of State are your friends or enemies. Not only can you play the President, but your avatar looks like him! Eversim has cleverly created 3D clones of the heads of major political leaders to add more realism to an already realistic game."

LEGO Universe Trailers

Three new trailers are now available for LEGO Universe, Netdevil's upcoming MMORPG based on the popular building blocks. There's a "Partner" trailer highlighting the contribution to the game of a real-life LEGO fanatic who is one of many such consultants on the project. The "Pet Taming" trailer shows off the role of LEGO pets in the game. Finally, there's a "Factions" Trailer discussing the choices the player will make in the game, and the influence the Faction you join will have on gameplay. Be aware that for some reason the audio on that last trailer is considerably louder than the other two clips. All three clips are embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

  • Dragon Age II on Greywardens.com. Based on the print preview in GameInformer.
  • StarCraft 2 on IncGamers. Trailer spoilers.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: TRON- Legacy trailer. Thanks nin.

More SEGA Genesis Revivals Coming

SEGA announces plans to release more old 16-bit SEGA Genesis games for PC via digital distribution. Word is: "The next group of titles being made available for download include favorites such as Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Dr Robotnick's Mean Bean Machine, Eternal Champions and many more. These popular SEGA titles will be available via digital partners with pricing from $2.99."

Global Agenda Patched

Steam now offers a new automatic patch for Global Agenda, bringing Hi-Rez Studios' online espionage game to version 1.35 with the promised "sandstorm" update. This is a free upgrade that introduces the Sonoran Desert Open Zone, 10-person Defense Raids, Consumable Weapons, and more. Word is the game's servers are currently down as they implement the new version, and everything is expected to be back online by around 5:00 pm EDT today.

Half-Life 2: Episode Three Hints?

GamingBolt notes some activity on the Steam Users' Forums highlighting what's a discovery said to be found in the Alien Swarm SDK that is being taken as a clue that Half-Life 2: Episode Three is actually in development, or at least is still being planned. The post links an image showing an object purportedly from the SDK called "info_node_hint" with several Ep3 references. Feel free to sprinkle this with salt, though Valve has made a recent habit of letting announcement hints slip in odd ways. Thanks Ant via Digg.

Arma 2: British Armed Forces Next Month

The Arma 2 Official Website announces plans for Arma 2: British Armed Forces, which will offer new content for Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead, Bohemia Interactive's expanded military shooter sequel. The DLC will include a new solo campaign, engine improvements, a new faction, new weapons and vehicles, and more when it is released on August 26 for GBP 7.99/EUR 8.99/USD 9.99. Word is: "The development of the brand new content has demanded engine updates, resulting in unique features and new gameplay options. The fully modelled artillery and mortar strikes and the extension of the engineer class to include new duties - such as vehicle repair and bomb disposal - add a new depth of realism to the most authentic mil-sim available." A key features list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

H.A.W.X 2 in September

Ubisoft's Tom Clancy aerial combat sequel H.A.W.X 2 is expected in the UK on September 3, reports MCV. They do not have dates for other territories, but the corresponding Tuesdays when a US release would likely occur are August 31 or September 7.

Ships Ahoy - PureSim Baseball 3 and Demo

Wolverine Studios is now offering online sales and digital distribution of PureSim Baseball 3, the new installment in their baseball simulator. The new version includes a new TRU-Life Transaction Mode that models real-world transactions for all seasons from 1946-2009, a new manager tendencies editor, new MLB manager modeling, and two new career modes for historical replays among the 75 enhancements in the new version. This page has more details, links to the store, and downloads of a playable demo. Owners of PureSim Baseball 2 need not dispair, as their upgrade to PureSim Baseball 3 is free.

Shank Co-op Trailer, PC Edition Delayed

A new cooperative multiplayer trailer from Shank offers gameplay and cinematics from Klei Entertainment's upcoming side-scrolling action game. The clip, accompanied by some new co-op screenshots, shows how you and a buddy can take on the game in tandem in a co-op specific campaign, eventually at least (the first half of the clip is solo play and pull quotes from previews). On a related note, EA announces Shank will be released on PSN on August 24 and XBLA on August 25, but the PC edition is now due this autumn, after being previously promised for this summer. The embedded trailer follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Commander Series on Mac

Slitherine Ltd announces they are now offering online sales of Macintosh editions of Commander series of strategy games in their Slitherine Shop. There's a Mac edition of Commander: Europe at War, described like so: "The first game spans WW2, allowing players to control the axis or allied forces through the entire war in the European Theatre. Can Germany’s rise be stopped or will the jackboots of the SS march through London?" There's also a Mac edition of Commander: Napoleon at War, which carries the following description: "Building on the international success of its predecessor, Commander: Napoleon at War brings the same simple and intuitive gameplay mechanics from the WWII setting to the Napoleonic era, designed to create a different and even more compelling gaming experience."

PC Player Dominance Killed Cross-Platform Gaming?

A blog post by Voodoo PC founder Rahul Sood relates a rumor that Microsoft was working on a program that would offer PC versus Xbox 360 gameplay, expanding on the cross-platform play of Shadowrun. According to his sources, in spite of pitting top-level console players with controllers against "mediocre" PC gamers using keyboards and mice, the "console players got destroyed every time. So much so that it would be embarrassing to the XBOX team in general had Microsoft launched this initiative." This leads him to draw a rueful conclusion: "..had they allowed something like this to take place then perhaps the desire to have the best platform would still be there. Perhaps the scale of the PC would have allowed Microsoft to get away from the hardware business and focus on their core, software. Perhaps we could have finally integrated the XBOX into the PC..." Since that didn't happen, he goes on to offer some opinions on the future of PC gaming, encouraging developers to develop for webOS. Thanks Gizmodo.

Medal of Honor Trailer

A third trailer of interview footage with a special forces Tier 1 operative is now available for the upcoming modern installment in the Medal of Honor military shooter series is now available. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Alien Swarm Patched

Steam News has word on the availability of another new automatic patch for Alien Swarm, Valve's freeware top-down shooter. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

War in the Pacific – Admiral’s Edition Patch

A new patch is now available for War in the Pacific – Admiral’s Edition, announces Matrix Games, calling this a comprehensive update that brings the World War II strategy game to version 1.01.06g with 80 fixes and improvements, "including the ability to show all patrol zones and gameplay balance and realism improvements to naval bombardments and flak." The patch, which includes the changes from the three previous patches, is available on this page.

New Battle for Wesnoth

A new update for Battle for Wesnoth was released earlier this month bringing the Windows, Mac, and Linux editions of this free fantasy-themed, turn-based strategy game to version 1.8.3. Downloads of the new version are mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

Mafia II Demo Next Month (Console Only?)

Computer and Video Games has word from a print ad in the latest MCV to expect a playable demo for Mafia II on August 10. This may not include a sample of the PC edition of the open-world crime sequel, however, as they only mention Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Thanks VG247.

MicroVolts Beta Next Month

Rock Hippo Productions announces closed beta testing of their online third-person shooter MicroVolts will commence on August 12, so those registered on their website should keep an eye on their mail for a possible invitation. They also promise new info on the game, saying: "Starting on July 23rd check out the official website at www.MicroVolts.com for daily updates which will reveal different elements of the game."

GameAgent Expands

Digital distributor GameAgent announces its expansion across the pond with the launch of Gameagent.com/eu for customers on the continent and Gameagent.com/uk for UK residents. This is accompanied by a sale, here's word: "In celebration of these new GameAgent.com features, Aspyr and GameAgent customers can enjoy fifteen percent (15%) off Aspyr products on GameAgent.com between July 21, 2010, and July 28th, 2010."

Op Ed

Edge Magazine - Cliffski Is A Jerk. Thanks Mike Martinez.
The industry is just so whitewashed of personality that when someone says something normal, everyone has to grab for it like some sort of slippery pig before it escapes. Please nobody let Tim Schafer get away.

BitMob - Getting My Girlfriend to Game.
When we were in GameStop the other day, she said something I never thought I’d hear. She was looking around the store and spotted a poster for Fable 3. Then she began to tell me why she wanted to play it. At the same time, I thought about all the grief hardcore gamers give the Fable series. We complain about Peter Molyneux’s exaggerated promises and grandstanding. But suddenly, I didn’t care. The only thing on my mind was experiencing a fun game with someone special to me -- not an anonymous jackass on Xbox Live.

BitMob - Developer Commentary- The Greatest Feature Games Rarely Include.
I realize that Monkey Island 2 isn't the first of its kind to include commentary. This feature seems to come standard in every Valve release. I loved listening to the Portal, Left 4 Dead, Half-Life 2, and Team Fortress 2 teams chat about their respective games because I learned a lot about the games I love. I also prefer the level of interaction the information brings. It's one thing to read about Portal's level design in an interview, but to hear designer Kim Swift explain it while you're solving it is something else entirely.

The Firearm Blog - On Guns in Video Games. Thanks Mike Martinez.
Now there are animators who will not be happy hearing how a bolt catch on an AR-15 works because it looks less interesting than pulling the charging handle, but I would definitely argue for the real behavior because it looks more professional and less like a cliché. Another example would be when game designers decide if game guns should have a rail accessory system, because it suggests that the player could modify the weapon. So now you understand why weapons in games behave like they behave. But how do they get into the game?

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Dang, I was minding my own business perusing the forums, where I saw a post by kxmode admitting he lost the game, which immediately lead to me losing the game repeatedly, which is frustrating. What's that? You lost too? Well, misery loves company.

R.I.P.: Ralph Houk Dies At 90; Managed 2 Champions.

Game Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Darkness 2.
Epic War 4.
Sift Heads World: Act 4.
Links: 9 best-selling video games that aren’t all that good.
Having White Roofs Would Save the U.S. $735 Million per Year.
Stories: Auto thefts drop, pushing car insurance premiums lower.
San Francisco's unluckiest thief. Thanks Digg.
Science: O2h no! Is our oxygen running out? Thanks j.c.f.
Images: Kaboom! Whale Crash-Lands on Boat.
Genetic Mystery: Black British Couple Birth White, Blue-Eyed Baby.
Media: Double Rainbow guy in every day life. NSFW.
Library Does Old Spice Spoof.
Man eats 72 oz steak in under 7 Minutes. OMGWTFBBQ! Thanks Kenn.
Follow-up: Workers on Doomed Rig Voiced Safety Concerns (registration required).
Boeing shows off commercial spacecraft.
Veggieworld: Why eating greens won't save the planet. Thanks j.c.f.
Studio Casting Grid Names Riddler as Batman 3 Villain.



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