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Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011

  

EA Ending Online Support for "Older" Games

An EA Service Update announces plans to end online support for some older games, saying making such decisions is "never easy." The majority of games on the hit list are console titles, the only PC games impacted by this move will be the Battlefield 2142 demo and Need for Speed Most Wanted, both off which will go offline on August 11. Word is: "But as games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles below a point -- fewer than 1% of all peak online players across all EA titles -- where it’s feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running. We would rather our hard-working engineering and IT staff focus on keeping a positive experience for the other 99% of customers playing our more popular games. We hope you have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of the games and we appreciate your ongoing patronage." Thanks Shacknews.

Civilization V Patched

Steam News announces the automatic availability of a new patch for Sid Meier's Civilization V, the turn-based strategy sequel. The patch is described as a hotfix, and the list of what it changes and fixes follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Patched

A new version of Call of Duty: Black Ops is now available automatically via Steam, offering changes and bug fixes for the military shooter sequel. The most significant impact seems to be the removal of "various exploits in MP and Zombies." The complete patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Deus Ex Human Revolution Conspiracy Trailer

A new trailer from Deus Ex Human Revolution hints at some of the conspiratorial undertones in the upcoming continuation of the action/RPG series. The clip is described as a gameplay trailer, but it is mostly cinematics. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Quotable - Trip Hawkins

"I think we actually had our golden age when game development was using floppy disks and it was an open free platform when we could all make games like we wanted to make," EA founder Trip Hawkins. "Nintendo came along and software licensing came in and we’ve been in a dark age since then."

Quotable - Christoph Hartmann

"The ‘90s generation of gamers all love Xcom and we own the IP, so we thought OK, what do we do with it? Every studio we had wanted to do it and each one had its own spin on it. But the problem was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth. But this is not just a commercial thing – strategy games are just not contemporary," says 2K Games president Christoph Hartmann. "I use the example of music artists. Look at someone old school like Ray Charles, if he would make music today it would still be Ray Charles but he would probably do it more in the style of Kanye West. Bringing Ray Charles back is all fine and good, but it just needs to move on, although the core essence will still be the same." Thanks nin via Kotaku.

New Via Digital Distribution

Games

Patches

On Sale

  • BRINK on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Dream Pinball 3D on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword on Direct2Drive. Save 66%.
  • Red Faction: Armageddon on Impulse. Save 40%.
  • RIFT on Impulse. Save 40%.
  • RIFT Digital Collector's Edition on Impulse. Save 40%.
  • Rome: Total War Gold Edition on Direct2Drive. Save 60%.
  • The Stronghold Collection on Direct2Drive. Save 60%.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Screenshots

  • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad on Blue's News.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech  Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Awesome Looking Star Wars Touchscreen Game. It's a trap! Thanks Ant.

EA Buying PopCap

Electronic Arts is acquiring casual games developer PopCap for $750 million USD (including $650 million in cash), reports guardian.co.uk, saying the deal is expected to close in August, which will result in the unit becoming EA PopCap. Here's a bit:

It is expected that EA will seek to expand PopCap's roster of titles to console platforms, as well as using the developer's expertise to take EA properties such as Battlefield, Dead Space, Fifa and The Sims into the social gaming sector. PopCap also adds stability and reliability to EA's business – an attractive proposition compared to the volatile console retail sales market.

"EA and PopCap are a compelling combination," said EA CEO John Riccitiello. "PopCap's great studio talent and powerful IP add to EA's momentum and accelerate our drive towards a $1bn digital business. EA's global studio and publishing network will help PopCap rapidly expand their business to more digital devices, more countries, and more channels."

"We picked EA because they have recast their culture around making great digital games," said PopCap CEO, David Roberts. "By working with EA, we'll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience."

Gratuitous Tank Battles Announced

Independent developer Positech Games announces Gratuitous Tank Battles, an upcoming alternate-reality RTS/Tower Defense hybrid to follow Gratuitous Space Battles. The concept behind this is that the stalemated ground warfare of World War I never broke, and the "Great War" still rages on in the year 2114, though the announcement includes this tagline: "Victory is in our sights though, and we expect it will all be over by Christmas 2114." The game is currently projected for release on Windows and OS X before this Christmas (2011). Here are some screenshots, and here's a bit from the announcement:

Gratuitous Tank Battles is an RTS/Tower Defense hybrid with online elements and customisable units. The player can take the role of the defender or the attacker in a series of top-down explodey fun. A built-in map editor will allow easy sharing of custom maps and defensive challenges with other GTB players in a similar fashion to GSB's challenge system.

GTB takes place in an alternate reality where the 'central powers' never surrender and the 'great war' continues for two hundred years. Soldiers still fight in the trenches of the Somme, although rifles have (mostly) become laser rifles and giant armored mechs stride across no-mans land. The two great armies continue to fight with patriotic zeal and little memory of who Franz Ferdinand was and what happened to him. One thing is certain: It will all be over by Christmas 2114.

On the Star Wars Galaxies Closure

The Escapist has a write-up of John Smedley's talk at SOE Fan Faire 2011, where, among other things, the SOE CEO explains the closure of Star Wars Galaxies (thanks Ant via Slashdot). Here's the explanation:

"It was time to turn it off. We have a contractual relationship that's ending in 2012, The Old Republic launching, a bunch of other business things with LucasArts," Smedley said. "And then you look at the odds of a pretty large portion of the audience moving to TOR, which looks like a terrific game. I think that's going to be really well-received by the population." You can't deny Smedley's business sense there.

Strike Fighters 2 Patch

Third Wire Productions now offers downloads of a new patch for the Strike Fighters 2 series, a July update which has a few fixes for these combat flight simulators. It is specified that the game must be updated with the May 2011 patch (from this page) before applying this new version. They also warn: "Previous campaign saved data may not load after installing this Update." The download is mirrored on Gamer's Hell, and the changes from the read me are reproduced below. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Screenshots

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The other day I mentioned the large quantity of birdseed we go through in our backyard feeder. This stuff comes in large sacks that are not easy to wrangle or use to fill the feeder, etc., so along the way I started storing it in these large plastic jugs that originally held pretzel rods, and stashing the jugs under a storage bench on the deck. Recently when cleaning up, I noticed that this storage bench is not actually fully enclosed, as the back of it is open to the underside of the deck. I found it amusing that the squirrels were still frustrating themselves on our still squirrel-proof feeder while a very accessible smorgasbord was just a couple of feet away, but I also knew that they would figure things out eventually. Well eventually came today, as I found chew-marks all over the lids of the jugs, so I had to move them back indoors. Sadly for the squirrels, they did not actually make it into the seed before their efforts were discovered... I imagined they would have themselves at least one amazing feast at my expense once they discovered this treasure trove, but they missed out.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: zOMT.
Pengu Defenders.
Links: Tetris block sticky notes for your inner design-geek.
Stories: 'First Blood' bridge's final take. Thanks ASLayerAODsk.
Science: In Robotics, Human-Style Perception and Motion Are Elusive. Thanks j.c.f.
Worm Drug Ivermectin Is Shown to Kill Mosquitoes. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: Lazy man with a portal gun.
Atomic Facepalm.
'Predator catcher' Hansen gets taste of own medicine.
The Funnies: How to Decide Whether to Tell the Painful Truth.
Simon's Cat.
Follow-up: The Myth of the Allergy-Free Dog. Thanks Neutronbeam.



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