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Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011

  

On PC Bulletstorm

An article on Ars Technica talks about issues with the PC edition of Bulletstorm, the just-released first-person shooter from Epic Games and People Can Fly. This offers some gripes about the PC edition of the game, talking about unreadable text after switching to widescreen mode, lack of in-game graphics adjustments, a framerate lock, the use of Games for Windows LIVE, and more. The good news is they describe how many of these issues can be addressed by messing around in the .ini files, which they describe as "weakly encrypted." They don't actually give details on what to change or how, but say: "The various unofficial forums online have great advice for different video card set-ups. Don't look for critical thoughts on the PC version on the official site, however, as those are getting locked," but a later article offers more tangible suggestions. Thanks Joker961.

DNF: Come Get Some... Credit

Mikey Neumann tweets about a Duke Nukem Forever Credits page on the Gearbox Website, which is where to head to make the case for having your work acknowledged if you or a long-dead relative performed some of the work on Duke Nukem Forever during the upcoming first-person shooter's lengthy development cycle. This is a laudable gesture, as sometimes developers on long-in-development games end up going uncredited.

Ships Ahoy - Hegemony Gold

The Longbow Games forums announce the release of Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece, an upgraded and expanded version of Hegemony: Philip of Macedon, their strategy game set in ancient Greece (thanks Golwar). The new game is available on their Hegemony Page for $29.99 USD, or $9.99 for those who own the original Hegemony. There's a playable demo on the page, which is mirrored on AtomicGamer. Here's an outline of what the new version of the game adds:

  • Two new campaigns allowing you to play as Sparta and Athens during the Peloponnesian War.
  • A sandbox mode allowing you to play any of the 26 factions in the game.
  • A new diplomacy system allowing you to create truces and alliances with other factions.
  • An expanded tactical system that rewards you for manoeuvres like flanking and charging.
  • A new population system that emphasizes the significance of each battle.

Dead Meets Lead Pre-Purchases, Trailer

Keldyn Interactive announces they are now accepting pre-purchases of Dead Meets Lead, saying the zombie-themed action game will be available via digital distribution via Desura, GamersGate, and Impulse, though as they note on their pre-purchase page only Desura has the game listed at this point. They celebrate the news with a new Dead Meets Lead gameplay trailer showing many of the undead becoming re-dead.

Prototype 2 Trailer

A new teaser trailer from Prototype 2 offers a very brief look at Radical Entertainment's upcoming action sequel. The clip demonstrates the game's appeal to cartoon characters, though those types are notoriously two-dimensional. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Stronghold Kingdom New World and Trailer

A new Stronghold Kingdoms Website is online for Firefly's MMO installment in the Stronghold series of strategy games. This includes the announcement that a second world is now open within the game, and they've also created a new trailer showing off the game.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Crysis 2 Trailer

A new "Prophet's Journey" trailer (NSFW) from Crysis 2 sets more of the story for Crytek's upcoming first-person shooter sequel by telling the tale of Jacob Hargreave. Word is: "Delve into the shadowy world of Jacob Hargreave – a man who has harboured an obsession with the Nanosuit for most of a century – in this latest trailer 'Prophet’s Journey'." Here's the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield 3 Footage, Preorder Bonus

A new Battlefield 3 gameplay trailer shows off a glimpse of gameplay in DICE's upcoming military shooter sequel (thanks Krisz). The clip is brief and the cuts are very rapid, but this provides the first proper look at the game in action. Also, there are some Battlefield 3 screenshots on BF3Blog from German magazine Gamestar (thanks VG247). On a semi-related note, GameInformer.com has a video of a DICE studio tour. Finally, DICE announces they are offering the game's Back to Karkand DLC as a preorder incentive, revealing the game carries a $59.99 USD price tag:

Those anxious to start the fight can pre-order the Battlefield 3 Limited Edition now at www.battlefield.com. The Battlefield 3 Limited Edition includes Battlefield 3™: Back to Karkand at no extra charge.* This themed expansion pack features four legendary maps from Battlefield 2 boldly re-imagined with Frostbite 2 physics, destruction and visuals. Completing the package are classic Battlefield 2 weapons and vehicles, unique rewards, new achievements/trophies, and more.

Battlefield 3 will be available this Fall for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the PC. For more information on Battlefield 3 please visit www.battlefield.com, and for the latest news on Battlefield 3 follow us on Twitter: @battlefield.

*Conditions and restrictions apply. See http://eastore.ea.com/battlefield3 for details.

TDU2 Free DLC

Atari and Eden Games announce they will be offering the first premium DLC for Test Drive Unlimited 2 for free as a way of compensating for some of the problems that plagued the launch of the racing sequel. Here's their open letter to the TDU2 community:

Thank you for your continued support and feedback. Our community has been amazing and helped us quickly identify a number of issues, which we have made significant progress in addressing in the upcoming patches.

We really appreciate your patience in this matter and we would like to announce that we will be making the first premium DLC for the game free for everybody as a way of saying thank you.

The Exploration Pack contains new wrecks to be discovered that unlock the Lancia Stratos version Rallye and 1969 Dodge Charger.

We now have fixes for all of the following issues that have already gone live on PC and will follow shortly once patches are approved by Microsoft and Sony, respectively.

Issues Fixed:

*Logging into the game has been improved
*Once into the game the online network experience is now much more stable in all areas
*Save games no longer corrupt
*Existing corrupted save games will be repaired in many cases
*Friends lists are now populated
*Invites now work correctly
*Clubs have been brought back online
*Exploits to gain money have been fixed
*Casino access has been improved
*Players will no longer lose money because of the Casino bug

The team spends a great deal of time looking at community feedback, so please keep posting your comments to the official TDU2 forums and we look forward to seeing you in Ibiza.

StarCraft II Bans

Battle.net has word that Blizzard has busted out the BanLaser on some StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty cheaters (thanks Big Download). Here's word:

We recently issued a new round of account suspensions and bans to StarCraft II players who were in violation of the Battle.net Terms of Use for cheating and/or using hack programs while playing. In addition to undermining the spirit of fair competition that’s essential to play on Battle.net, cheating and hacking can lead to stability and performance issues with the service. As always, maintaining a stable, safe, and secure online-gaming experience for legitimate players is a top priority for us, and we'll be continuing to keep watch on Battle.net and take action as needed.

StarCraft II Approved in China

The Chinese Ministry of Culture announces approval for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, clearing the way for NetEase's launch of the RTS sequel in China. The announcement is in Chinese: Here's an English translation. That listing also announces the approval of World of Warcraft version 3.3.5, which is at version 4.0.6 in most other places, a testimony to the fast-paced nature of bureaucracies. Thanks Ant via Blizzplanet.

UDK Royalty Threshold Raised

The Epic Games Forums announce a change in the royalty structure for games created using Epic's freely available Unreal Development Kit. Formerly developers using the kit for their game would be required to begin paying royalties after receiving payments equaling $5,000, but this has been raised to $50,000 (thanks SpectralMeat). Here's the deal:

We just wanted to let you know that we've raised the revenue threshold for UDK. Under the new rules you are not required to pay royalties on revenue earned from the use of UDK until that revenue exceeds US$50,000 which represents a 10-times increase over the previous threshold of US$5,000.

We're really excited about folks making some amazing things with UDK and we realize that a lot of you are just started in the business so not having to pay royalties on your first $50,000 should help you get a financial footing toward building a quality game development business.

One thing some folks didn't seem to realize is that whether you sell your product through digital distribution (or a retail location) the company doing the sale to the end user (called the "retailer") takes a cut (typically around 30%) for their efforts. The price they sell it for is called the retail price. The amount of money they pay to you on each sale is called the wholesale amount. When you pay us royalties you pay on the wholesale amount, i.e. the money you actually receive.

World of Warcraft Hotfixes

Battle.net has word on more hotfixes implemented yesterday in World of Warcraft, Blizzard's MMORPG. There are just a few fixes, a couple for the Hunter class, and one for the Throne of the Four Winds dungeon. Thanks Ant.

Op Ed

Ten Ton Hammer - A Plaster On a Stab Wound: Why Hotfixes Are Killing World of Warcraft.
While Bashiok maintains that devs are not using the live realms as a lab, I can’t help thinking the opposite is true. The live realms are just a PTR with a lot more people on them and each change made seems to cause ten more problems. That plaster… well soon it’s going to come off and Azeroth will fall apart. Sadly, many of my friends (all of us in our thirties) have already left WoW, either for the real world and adulthood or started migrating to other games like RIFT. I quizzed some of them and while many found their own lives were the cause, for others it was revolutionary content which actually wasn't so revolutionary. For most though, it was alienation caused by the endless changes and even though I play WoW for work purposes, even I find myself logging on a lot less than I used to. Suddenly things just don't feel so easy to learn or as friendly anymore.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Some of the Bulletstorm reviews are for the console version. Thanks Joker961 for compiling the list.

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

As one of the last people on Earth who doesn't use Netflix, I don't have a lot of proper experience with streaming TV and movies, other than DirecTV's half-hearted on-demand service. As an Amazon Prime customer, I checked out their new free streaming service yesterday and was pretty impressed, as things streamed nicely and looked good with zero delays or hiccups. Having a very fast connection and an unusual love for b movies, I'm probably the perfect target for this service.

Streaming Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Fantasy XFII.
Icy Gifts.
Symon.
Links: Hill Built into Track.
Stories: Crowds flock to naked sledging event. Thanks Slashdot.
Alert pizza delivery driver saves customer's life. Thanks Neatorama.
USDA Has Beef With Zombie Jerky. Thanks brother19.
Science: NASA satellite primed for first ever Mercury orbit.
320,000 Firecrackers.
Images: 8 Game Over Screens For Games Without Game Overs.
Pipe Dream Of The Day.
Scrabble Spelling FAIL.
Media: Black Widow Gone Wild. Thanks Dark Horizons.
Why you don't open your door in a car wash.
Darth Beiber.
Follow-up: Why New Zealand’s Earthquake Was So Deadly. Thanks Boing Boing.



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