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Monday, May 09, 2011

  

Naval Warfare Announced

Publisher “Just A Game” announces Naval Warfare, a steampunk action shooter in the works at Slovakian developer Games Distillery for release on Windows later this month. Here are a few screenshots, and here's word on the game:

In “Naval Warfare” the player will take control of an elite cruiser and steer into the middle of a raging naval war where masses of enemies and allies engage in real-time operations. Being attacked from above and below the water surface the player has to destroy masses of enemies’ troops to be victorious. By unlocking new ship-types, weapons and upgrades, the player will have the opportunity to enhance his ship and gear up for the next fight. Choosing from various tactics and forming special supporting squadrons, the player will also have the option to command offensive and defensive troops in order to overcome large enemy formations and defensive installations.

WoW Subscriptions Down 5% Since 10/10

During the post-earnings conference call where Activision Blizzard unveiled Diablo III beta plans, there was also discussion of World of Warcraft subscription levels, noted by Kotaku. Word is the MMORPG, which was announced to have more than 12 million subscribers in October 2010, currently "only" has 11.4 million subscribers, which, after several hours of number crunching, the computer bank in the BlueTower says is a five percent drop off. Gamasutra notes that Blizzard president Michael Morhaime spoke of addressing this: "We need to be faster at delivering content to players," he says. "And so that's one of the reasons that we're looking to decrease the amount of time in-between expansions."

CoD Info Nears

There's more from the Activision Blizzard earnings conference call on VG247, where they report that Activision boss Bobby Kotick told investors to expect details on this year's installment in the Call of Duty series of military shooter in the coming weeks, redundantly saying: "This year’s Call of Duty initiative will create the best… initiatives to date." They speak of making a "robust investment" in the game as well as the upcoming microtransaction-driven CoD game they are bringing to China. Gamasutra has word on this as well, saying the next Call of Duty "will incorporate the digital and social networking initiatives being developed at its new dedicated Beachhead studio."

Brink Dedicated Server Released

The Bethesda Blog has part two of their Q&A of their community Q&A with Splash Damage's Paul Wedgwood. They also announce the release of the dedicated server for Brink, their imminent first-person shooter, adding this should be updated soon: "The Brink PC dedicated server is now available in the 'Tools' section of Steam. We expect an updated version of the server will also be released in a few hours."

James Bond Will Return in 2011

One more bit from the Activision Blizzard earnings conference call is on Eurogamer, where they have word that a new James Bond game is expected this year. They presume this is probably the Bond game long rumored to be in development at Raven Software.

World Supremacy Patch & Updated Demo

Shrapnel Games now offers a new patch for World Supremacy to update the strategy game to version 1.09. This is accompanied by a new version 1.09 demo to provide an up-to-date sample of the game. Here's word on the new version: "The version 1.09 patch is a cumulative patch and contains a great many improvements to how the AI conducts war, along with game balance issues and bug elimination. Unzip to a temporary folder and run setup.exe. PLEASE NOTE: If you ordered World Supremacy after May 8, 2011 then you do not need to patch your game." Downloads of the patch and demo are mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Quest of Legends Open Beta

Open beta testing of Quest of Legends is now underway. Here's word on what to expect: "Quest of Legends is a Co-Op multiplayer turn based action adventure game that plays like a cross between a mini-MMO raid and a fantasy boardgame. With up to four players taking part, Quest of Legends offers a great social experience to play alongside your Clan or Guild."

GOG.com Drops Geo IP

GOG.com announces they are no longer using Geo IP to set customer's regions:

For example, customers may be travelling when they want to purchase or download a game from GOG.com. In this case, automatic IP address capture might change the price or the content of the game they’re ordering (such as the default language of the installer). Further, geo IP data collection is not always right. IP addresses are not a perfect or unique identifier of location, and can report the incorrect region of users, particularly ones who are not using standard Internet connections. Finally, we’re always very sensitive of our users’ privacy. Effective privacy protections for our users means that any data that we don’t need to collect, we shouldn’t. We only need to know the country that you’re making this purchase from, so although we originally planned to use geo-IP to determine user’s location, we’ve decided to trust our users and let them inform us as to the correct region for their purchase.

New Digitally Distributed Games

On Sale

  • 1C Games on GamersGate. Save 70%.
  • BEEP on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Dragon Age II (Mac) on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Duke Nukem Forever on Direct2Drive. Save 10% on preorders.
  • Duke Nukem Forever on GamersGate. Save 10% on preorders.
  • Duke Nukem Forever on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchases.
  • Fortix 2 on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Freight Tycoon Inc. on Impulse. Save 75%.
  • Garshasp: The Monster Slayer on GamersGate. Save 10%.
  • Garshasp: The Monster Slayer on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Lume on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Rocksmith on GameStop. Preorder and get $25.00 off on a guitar from Guitar Center.
  • SpaceChem on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Space Pirates and Zombies Pre-Order BETA on Impulse. Save 25%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Impulse Top 10

Here's the list of the 10 bestselling games on Impulse for the week:

  1. Sins of a Solar Empire – Trinity
  2. Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  3. The Guild 2 Collection
  4. Majesty 2 Collection
  5. Lost Empire – Immortals
  6. Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition
  7. Sins of a Solar Empire Expansion Bundle
  8. King’s Bounty Platinum Edition
  9. Section 8® - Prejudice™
  10. Elemental: War of Magic

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Diablo III Beta in Q3, "Driving Hard" for 2011 Launch

Activision Blizzard's Q1 Earnings Report is now available, showing higher than expected earnings and revenue. As noted on Blizzplanet, the company also used their post-earnings conference call to announce that external beta testing of Diablo III will begin in the third quarter of this year, and though they still aren't setting an official release date for the action/RPG sequel, one slide states: "Do not have an official release date or window yet, but driving hard to launch Diablo III this year." Here's word on the company's financial reporting: "Net income for the first three months of the year was $503 million, or 42 cents per share. That's up 32 percent from $381 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago. Activision's revenue grew 11 percent to $1.45 billion from $1.31 billion. Besides the latest 'Call of Duty' and related digital content, the online game 'World of Warcraft' did well. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $156 million, or 13 cents per share, surpassing the 8 cents that analysts polled by FactSet were expecting. Adjusted revenue was $755 million, well above analysts' expectations of $665 million. The results were also ahead of the forecast the company gave in February."

New AMD/ATI Reference Drivers

The AMD.com Downloads Area now offers new version 11.5 Catalyst reference drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards. There are new drivers for Windows Vista and Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 64-bit, Windows XP 64-bit, and Linux. They also have new AMD Catalyst 11.5a hotfixes with fixes for various games, including Brink, though the hotfixes are not WHQL certified.

Steam and YouTube

Users launching Steam are now greeted by a message saying you can now link YouTube trailers to your Steam account:

Your videos. Now on Steam.
Share your finest gaming moments with your friends. Upload amazing highlights, insightful reviews, helpful tutorials and other game-inspired greatness created by you.

1. Link your YouTube™ account to your Steam Profile.
2. Select the videos you want to add to your profile.
3. Share with your Steam friends so they can marvel.

Total War: Shogun 2 DX11 Patch

The promised new patch for Total War: Shogun 2 is now available automatically through Steam, offering the promised DirectX 11 support for The Creative Assembly's historical strategy sequel, along with four new maps and dozens of other changes.

Valve on Episodes

Gabe Newell tells Develop that Valve has moved past episodic gaming. "We went through the episodes phase, and now we're going towards shorter and even shorter cycles," the Valve Managing Director tells them. "For me, ‘entertainment as a service’ is a clear distillation of the episodic content model." He expands his explanation with quotes that are sure to be re-clarified at some future point (see Portal 2 will probably be Valve's last game with an isolated single-player experience versus not that we’re not doing single player games). "Team Fortress 2 is the fastest frequency we work on with comparatively fast updates. Er, Half-Life is apparently the slowest! [Laughs] Although, from the outside world, we have no evidence that Half-Life is working on any frequency at all. [Laughs]" He does add that this does not mean they are done with longer projects: "You want to distribute your choices. Right now there’s a bunch of pressures to have shorter and shorter development cycles. But that could change. I’d have to find a reason for it to change, but it could. I don’t want to be caught completely off-guard and overly invested in one area. I think you’ll still see projects from us that are huge in scale, simply because we have the ability to do that." The full interview with Gabe can be read in the Free Develop digital edition.

Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword Patch

A new patch for Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword is now available from TaleWorlds to update the just-released medieval mounted combat game to version 1.139. The download is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls, and the patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Obsidian on Glitchy Games

An interview with Feargus Urquhart on NowGamer includes frank comments from the Obsidian CEO about the developer's reputation for buggy releases, though he oddly conflates bugs with enjoyment: "I think it's fair and unfair at the same time, because in the same conversation that I hear how buggy KOTOR and Alpha Protocol were, I also hear how great they were." He discusses this in relation to their last and next releases: "Now in the case of Fallout: New Vegas, we made a gigantic game, and I'm proud with what we were able to do but I wish it wasn't as glitchy when it came out. The criticisms people had are fair but it's difficult to get a game the size of New Vegas bug free. But that's an excuse and it doesn't matter when someone's paid $60 for a game. It's something we need to work on," he explains. "From the standpoint of Dungeon Siege III, we've been working very hard to make sure it doesn't happen again. We've been playing and playing and playing and playing to ensure it's of a high standard. On top of this, this is the first time we've got to use our own technology on something, which means we know where to find the bad bugs from the start!" Thanks PC Gamer.

Brink Launch Trailer

The Bethesda Blog now offers the Brink (BRINK?) launch trailer on the eve (brink?) of the North American launch of Splash Damage's first-person shooter. The clip sets the story for the game's core conflict, and shows off combat with plenty of gameplay footage. It is accompanied by this note on getting your hands on the game as early as possible: "For those looking to play the game at the strike of midnight, call your local retailer to see if they have a midnight opening. And if you’re playing on Steam and Direct2Drive, you’ll be able to unlock the PC game at midnight EST [sic]." There's also an interview on VG247 where Splash Damage CEO Paul Wedgwood discusses the game and the Bethesda Blog also has part two of a preview of Prima’s Official Game Guide for Brink, be still our beating hearts. Finally, an Ilabaca vs. Brink Trailer on ActionTrip compares the game's acrobatic maneuvers to real-life parkour.

Age of Empires Online This Fall, More Keys

Update: Thanks for all the interest in the giveaway, but our supply of beta keys is finally exhausted. Strategy Informer quotes Microsoft's Danan Davis on when to expect the launch of Age of Empires Online, and he tells them the online installment in the real-time strategy series will "definitely be coming in the Fall." He also gives a general outlook on their business model, saying the game's civilization packs, content packs, and "vanity items", are set to cost between $5.00 and $20.00, but no details are being offered just yet. This provides us with the opportunity to give away more beta keys from our vast collection of keys for the game. If you are interested, reply to this thread and we'll send a key to the address associated with your account. Update: Thanks for all the interest in the giveaway, but our supply of beta keys is finally exhausted.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Patch/DLC Follow-up

This post on the Test Drive Unlimited 2 Official Website portends the release of the patch with the free DLC mentioned yesterday, which is indeed available through the internal auto-updated for the racing sequel. This process has not been without its problems, as this forum thread and this one each outline issues users have encountered with the patch, outlining workarounds for some of them. Thanks joo mama.

U.K. Charts

GfK Chart-Track is back on track, as its rundown of the 20 bestselling PC titles in the U.K. is out on Monday again this week. The boggling success of Football Manager 2011 continues, as it knocks Portal 2 out of the top spot this week. The big winner for the week is the Empire and Napoleon Total War Collection, which jumps all of four spots to #11, while on the downside, Darkspore drops six spots to #18 and RIFT drops six places to #13. MCV has word on the U.K. all platform chart, where Portal 2 was supplanted at number one by Zumba Fitness. On a related note, please remember, you can do anything at Zombo.com.

Chart-Track on Digital Charts

MCV quotes Chart-Track on comments from Steam's Jason Holtman that the idea of charting digital game sales is "old." Chart-Track's MD John Pinder is playing the "I'm rubber, you're glue" card on this: "A retreat from mutual co-operation back to isolationism would be a truly retrograde step – I urge Jason to join us in the 21st Century."

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Interview

An interview on Shacknews talks with Raphael Van Lierop, director on Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Relic's upcoming Warhammer 40K action/RPG. Topics include the story, the setting, the decision to create a third-person action game, the 40K design ethos, selecting enemies, skipping the ever-more-common cover system, combat scenarios, and more.

Tropico 4 Interview

A new interview on Strategy Informer chats with Krasimir Gatev of Haemimont Games about Tropico 4, the next installment in the dictator simulation series. They discuss returning to the roots of the franchise, key lessons carried over from the original game, the possibility of a console edition, the new game engine, social network integration, and more.

Dawn of War II - Retribution Postmortem

Gaming Nexus interviews Jeff Lydell of Relic, talking with the lead producer on Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution to get a postmortem on the latest installment in the RTS series. They discuss the best and worst decisions they made with Dawn of War II, the step back from the base-building style, the ability to play as any race, balance difficulties, challenges of adapting tabletop gameplay elements, and more.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

One of those old sayings that constantly turns out to be true is "right tool for the right job." A positive example of this was the faucet handle I needed to fix over the weekend, as I had the needle nose pliers to remove the little cap covering the screw to affix it, and more importantly, the Allen wrench to finish the job in three minutes. The negative example was me deciding I could fell the mulberry tree that's endangering our back deck with my sawzall. This actually worked pretty well for branches and smaller sections, but the base of the trunk was just a little larger than my saw blade, which required attacking it from both sides. This took far more time and effort than it should have, though I eventually worked it out. The climax to this amateur hour was me coaxing the last bit of the trunk to break by standing on the deck rail and pushing at it as I reassuring MrsBlue that I was safe. This was just before it cracked, sending it pitching into the forsythia seven or eight feet below, with me following close behind. I somehow managed to come out unscathed, no thanks to my own poor judgement (MrsBlue's account of this is comical, describing me silently disappearing off the deck, followed by a calm "I'm okay" from below). And after all that, to finish off the job and cut down the remainder of the tree to a proper stump I'm going to need to buy or borrow some manner of chainsaw, which would have made easy work of this in the first place.

Felled Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: The I of It.
That Way.
Link: ‘Cowboys vs. Aliens’ Star Harrison Ford Slams CGI Effects.
Stories: Navy Destroyer named after hero SEAL. Thanks brother19.
Maori Head Returns to New Zealand After 136 Years. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
Science: Easily distracted people may have too much brain. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: It looks like you're trying to play Minecraft.
Animals with Stuffed Animals. Thanks Neatorama.
Spokane City Council Candidate of the Day.
Media: Nerd Alert: Why Portal 2 Sucks. NSFW.
Star Trek Fan Film from 1971.
The Royal Wedding - redubbed. NSFW.
Follow-up: World's Loudest Cat - Smokey.
A SETI Infographic.
Segway falls and crashes.



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