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Thursday, Jan 27, 2011

  

Planet Calypso Sold for $6M

SEE Virtual Worlds announces they have purchased Planet Calypso, a planet in MindArk's real-money MMOG Entropia Universe. According to the announcement, the price tag for this transaction was an eye-opening $6 million USD. SEE Virtual Worlds is the company that recently announced plans to launch Planet Michael in Entropia Universe, offering a virtual world somehow based on the life of late pop star Michael Jackson. This excerpt from the announcement explains the value Planet Calypso is supposed to represent: "Taking place in a distant future, Planet Calypso is home to a human colony working to establish a new virtual civilization. The planet has been successfully running since 2003 with more than 950,000 registered accounts from 200 countries and territories with $428 million USD processed in player-to-player transactions in 2010. Additionally, SEE Virtual Worlds has acquired the assets of First Planet Company, a subsidiary of MindArk."

APB Beta Resumes Next Month?

Big Download has a follow up to reports about plans to resume beta testing of APB: All Points Bulletin. Word is invites have not actually been sent out yet, and the beta will probably begin around the end of next month: "GamersFirst has NOT released any keys or sent out invitations for APB Reloaded closed beta. As of now, no formal date for the APB closed beta has been released and no keys have been distributed. We expect the closed beta to come out near the end of February."

Brian Wood Memorial Game Design Internship

Relic announces the Brian Wood Memorial Game Design Internship, a paid internship in the name of the designer who died last year in an auto accident. Here's a bit: "After graduation, one successful candidate will be chosen for a 4 month internship working directly with a team at Relic, impacting the development of titles at the Vancouver based studio. Relic will provide paid internships for 3 graduating students each calendar year. For further information about the Brian Wood Memorial Game Design Internship and the Game Design course at the Vancouver Film School please visit WWW.VFS.COM." Thanks Big Download.

Din's Curse Beta Patch

The Din's Curse Patches Page now offers another pair of new beta patches for Din's Curse, updating the Windows and OS X editions of Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG to version 1.017. The new version is said to offer a bunch of small fixes and some balance changes, and the Changes Page has all the details.

Beyond Black Mesa Interview

The Beyond Black Mesa interview on Shacknews talks with Brian Curtin, director on the recently released fan-made Half-Life movie. He answers several questions, including one on the game's budget and resources, indicating the project took far more time than money: "It's painful to think about the time that went into it. It took about 2 years working on it on the weekends and in between full time jobs. So it could have been done a lot quicker if it was our only job. We spent around $1,200 out of our pockets, not including the camera and software we already had. One of our goals was to make something awesome for as little as possible. You'd be surprised what you can do when you get creative and really resourceful!"

Op Ed

Quarter to Three - 12 things that need to be fixed in DC Universe Online.
Hi, DC Universe Online! I mostly want to say, “Great job and keep doing what you’re doing!” What a fantastic variation on the MMO theme, not to mention the superhero theme. I like that you have more in common with Crackdown, Infamous, or Prototype than you do with World of Warcraft or some sort of Aquaman comic book.

However — Let’s see, where are all my notes? Ah, here we go! — I have a few, uh, “suggestions”. I make these primarily because I love the game, but also because I’m surprised you don’t know better, being the creation of Sony Online Entertainment, a company with a long and storied history in online games.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

  • Astroslugs is now available for Windows and Mac, and there's also a playable demo for this puzzle game…

Into the Black

Magicka Free DLC, Trailer

Paradox Interactive announces that the team at Arrowhead Studios is continuing to work around the clock to eradicate bugs in Magicka, their just-released action/adventure game. They also celebrate the game's launch with a new Magicka Late Night Infomercial Trailer, which they stress is not taking away from the bug hunt, saying: "No development team members were involved in the making of this video as they’re stuck in their cave working on patches to fix the current online issues, adding content and implementing player requests like keyboard mapping and more. For those having trouble with the online co-op, the multi-player is running smoothly over LAN and local co-op." Finally, they also announce that the Wizard's Survival Kit DLC for the game will be free to anyone who purchases the game by January 31. The DLC includes three items, a Wizard's Hat, a Sharp Sword, and a Staff +1, as well as a new magick called Meteor Shower.

Bulletstorm Skillisodes Trailer

The third Skillisodes trailer from Bulletstorm shows off more of the combo moves and related bonuses in People Can Fly's upcoming shooter, which rewards you being able to "kill with skill." The clip showing off Burn, Juggler, and Gang Bang is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

World of Tanks Open Beta

Wargaming.net announces the launch of open beta testing for World of Tanks, their upcoming MMO third-person shooter. Those in North America can register on this page and those in Europe can sign up on this page. "Everyone at Wargaming.net is very excited about launching the open beta as it’s an important milestone in the development of World of Tanks," said Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming.net. "We want to thank all those players who participated in the closed beta test and helped us make the game open to a bigger audience by reporting bugs and providing valuable feedback. Now it’s time for us to further enhance and polish the game before its final release." This trailer celebrates the news, and the embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Crusader Kings II Interview, Trailer

A new Crusader Kings II video interview hears from Henrik Fåhraeus, project lead on Paradox Interactive's upcoming historical strategy sequel. The clip also offers glimpses of gameplay, but you can see far more of the game from this new teaser trailer.

Brink in May

The Bethesda Blog has release information on upcoming titles, announcing Brink will be released in North America on May 17 and in Europe on May 20. Splash Damage's upcoming first-person shooter was announced with a spring 2010 release window, which was later revised to Fall 2010. No reason for the latest delay is offered.

Hunted in June

The Bethesda Blog also reveals a release date for Hunted: The Demon's Forge, saying the third-person co-op fantasy/action game is due on June 1 in North America and June 3 in Europe. They describe inXile Entertainment's upcoming release as "a fresh take on the classic dungeon crawl experience that delivers the intensity and action of a modern-day shooter."

gamigo Invests in Black Prophecy

gamigo announces they've made a strategic investment in Black Prophecy and Reakktor Media, developer of the upcoming space-based MMOG. They announce that they have acquired all trademarks and copyrights associated with Black Prophecy, and have taken a 19.9% stake in Reakktor Media. "Working even more closely together will give us more opportunity to trade know-how and will allow us to drive expansions of 'Black Prophecy' and new high-quality games forward together," said Kirk Lenke, CEO of Reakktor Media.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover Specs

The Ubisoft forums offer the system requirements for IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover, 1C's upcoming combat flight simulator. These specs follow. Continue here to read the full story.

APB Beta Resuming

As noted in our forums by xXBatmanXx, players are being re-invited to beta test the upcoming revival of APB: All Points Bulletin. Kotaku has quotes from the invite: "If you don't sign up, you won't have the chance to be one of the first to take back the mean streets of San Paro. When you sign up, we'll make sure you receive the latest APB news, including information about restoring your old character."

Magicka Patched

Steam News announces the release of another new patch to automatically update Magicka, adding some new features and addressing bugs in the recently released action/adventure game. Below is the list of changes. Continue here to read the full story.

World of Warcraft Hotfixes

Another update to the Cataclysm Hotfixes thread on Battle.net lists all the changes made to World of Warcraft over the past week (thanks Ant). The complete list of new changes follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Aion Patched

An update to Aion Online introduces part two of version 2.1 as NCsoft takes an offbeat approach to the numbering scheme for their MMORPG. Word is: "Building off the significant increase in drop rates that players received in Aion Update 2.1, the trifecta of player rewards is complete as Aion Update 2.1 Part 2 adds more than 300 new craft designs along with a higher drop rates for item designs and gathering materials." There are full details on the new version in the Aion PowerWiki, and a list of highlights follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Shogun 2: Total War Trailer, Q&A

The Shogun 2: Total War Q&A on GameShark chats with Creative Assembly's Craig Laycock about the upcoming real-time/turn-based strategy sequel. Topics include reasons for the sequel, scaling back a bit from recent Total War games, advantages of the feudal Japanese setting, advancement, hero units, diplomacy, clans, religion, siege warfare, economics, naval warfare, and more. We also have a new trailer featuring action from the game and its predecessors, which is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Ars Technica - A truly graphic adventure: the 25-year rise and fall of a beloved genre.
Graphic adventure games struggle to find success in today's market, but once upon a time they topped sales charts year after year. The genre shot to the top of computer gaming in the latter half of the 1980s, then suffered an equally precipitous fall a decade later. It shaped the fate of the largest companies in the gaming industry even as the games' crude color graphics served as the background for millions of childhood memories. It gave us Roger Wilco, Sam & Max, and the world of Myst. But few gamers today know the complete history of the genre, or how the classic Sierra and LucasArts titles of the late 1980s and early 1990s largely disappeared beneath the assault of first-person shooters.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

The NASA - Day of Remembrance Page (thanks Jim) offers homages to the Apollo 1 astronauts who died 41 years ago today, the Challenger crew who died 25 years ago from tomorrow, and the Columbia crew who died eight years ago from next Tuesday. I don't recall knowing that the anniversaries of all three disasters were within six days of each other.

We got another foot and a half of snow overnight... I think I'll just start commenting on days when we don't get snow.

Wintery Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Torpedoes Armed.
Operation Fox.
The Three Thieves.
Links: The 7 Greatest (Real) Bill Murray Stories Ever Told.
Things That Always Happen in Movies, But Never Ever in Real Life.
Stories: 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome' stars revealed: Here's the new Adama.
Smugglers catapult pot over border fence. Thanks Boing Boing.
Science: NASA's Hubble spots most far away galaxy ever.
Images: Fabric Space Invaders zoetrope.
TRUTH.
Why So Blue?
First Look At The New "Thundercats".
Media: Pato Pooh - Follow Me.
Parents throwing Angry Birds toys at child.
Brand New Old Spice Ad and Albert Wesker: Old Spice Parody.
The Funnies: Brevity.
Follow-up: Panel says financial crisis avoidable.



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