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Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011

  

Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam

Develop has Gabe Newell's take on some EA games not being sold on Steam, like the recently removed Crysis 2 and the upcoming Battlefield 3. In spite of the indications from EA that this is a result of Steam policy, Valve's managing director seems to indicate this decision is EA's as he takes an upbeat approach to the underlying conflict being a matter of showing "EA it’s a smart decision to have EA games on Steam." Here are a few quotes from an upcoming interview that cover the topic:

"Companies have to earn the right to install content on their customers' PCs on a regular basis," he began.

"The same thing is true of Steam. We have to prove we are creating value on an ongoing basis, whether it’s to EA or Ubisoft or whoever.

"We really want to show there’s a lot of value having EA titles on Steam. We want EA’s games on Steam and we have to show them that’s a smart thing to do," he said.

"I think at the end of the day we’re going to prove to Electronic Arts they have happier customers, a higher quality service, and will make more money if they have their titles on Steam. It’s our duty to demonstrate that to them. We don’t have a natural right to publish their games."

Skyrim Using Steamworks

A Bethesda Tweet has word that Bethesda's RPG sequel The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will use Steamworks, saying simply: "We can confirm today that we're using Steamworks for Skyrim."

CryENGINE 3 Free SDK Released

Crydev.net now offers the CryENGINE 3 Free SDK, the As promised non-commercial game development toolkit using Crytek's game engine (thanks The Grifter). Here's the outline of what you can and cannot do with this:

CryENGINE Free Use
You can use CryENGINE 3 for free in educational facilities, even if you are charging tuition. We have always offered our engine for free to educators, but now individual students can also freely download the engine and use it to learn about real-time 3D development.

CryENGINE 3 is also free for non-commercial use; if you are distributing your game or application for free (and not charging for your work in producing it, whether directly or indirectly), no additional license is required.

CryENGINE 3 Independent Developers Platform
We want you to make games with CryENGINE 3 that people will want to play. We hope that your work will lead to a product you can commercialise. If this is the case, before you can sell your work or your game, you must seek a development license for CryENGINE 3.

CryENGINE 3 for Independent Studios, Free To Play Games or Downloadable Games
Crytek has attractive options for smaller games built with CryENGINE 3, with shorter development timescales. If you want to move your game onto platforms other than PC, or you need access to CryENGINE 3 source code, please contact Crytek to find out more about our licensing for Independent Studios.

RIFT Semi-Anniversary Celebration Includes Free Play

The RIFT Website announces next week's sixth month birthday celebration for Trion's MMORPG will involve special events and the chance for everyone to try the game for free:

This September marks RIFT’s half-birthday, but who can wait that long to celebrate this awesome MMO? From August 25 to 31, we’ll be offering all sorts of rewards like ramped-up XP and Prestige gain for subscribers, and letting former players and newcomers play for free (with no level restriction)! And did we mention prizes? Save the dates to party in Telara and look for more information, coming your way soon!

Witcher 2 2.0 Next Month

Eurogamer has a video developer diary from CD Projekt RED on the recently revealed version 2.0 update for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. The clip goes into a little detail on the Dark Mode this will introduce, shows off some gameplay from the new version, and promises a prize for the first player to complete the game in the new Dark Mode difficulty level. The clip concludes saying this will be an automatic update on September 29 for the Windows edition of the action/RPG sequel.

World of Warcraft Transmogrification Coming

There's a version 4.3 preview on the World of Warcraft Website with a look at the transmogrification feature in the next major version of Blizzard's MMORPG. They explain that: "In patch 4.3 you’ll be able to customize the appearance of your weapons and armor like never before." Here's how:

The Ethereals, emerging from the nether, will bring with them a new technology they call Transmogrification. They’re heading to the capital cities of Azeroth to set up shop and to offer adventurers a unique service -- copying the appearance of one magical item onto another. They only ask for a modest gold donation to recoup their costs.

Visiting a Transmogrifier will present players with a new interface that will allow them to change the appearance of an item while retaining its original stats. This means that you can raid in your paladin tier 12 Immolation set, but look like you’re wearing Lightbringer, while priests can bring Benediction back -- at least in spirit. Hunters can once again roam the jungles of Stranglethorn Vale in their tier 2 Dragonstalker set. You could even slip into the saucy tailored Black Mageweave set for that matter. You know, with the thigh highs, and the little gloves, and the cute little… ahem.

Star Trek: Infinite Space Media

We have two new trailers from Star Trek: Infinite Space, a Battle Scenes trailer and a briefer Pirate Battle trailer, each showing gameplay footage of the upcoming free-to-play MMOG based on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Here's a batch of screenshots from the game, and the two trailers are also embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Notch's Q3A Scrolls Challenge

Mow married Minecraft creator Notch has updated his blog with word that he wants to settle the legal battle with Bethesda over use of the title Edge Scrolls for Mojang's next project the old-fashioned way, in a QUAKE III Arena deathmatch:

The only negative thing going on at this moment is the Scrolls trademark lawsuit nonsense, and I think I came up with the perfect solution:

Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where Tyrion chose a trial by battle in the Eyrie? Well, let’s do that instead! I challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3. Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors. We select one level, you select the other, we randomize the order. 20 minute matches, highest total frag count per team across both levels wins.

If we win, you drop the lawsuit.

If you win, we will change the name of Scrolls to something you’re fine with.

Regardless of the outcome, we could still have a small text somewhere saying our game is not related to your game series in any way, if you wish.

I am serious, by the way.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Fact following fiction? Scientists plan mission to blow up an asteroid 'hurtling towards Earth'. Thanks brother19 via Gizmodo. When we're ready to leave you'll find me in the Apollo One memorial with Liv Tyler.

TrackMania 2: Canyon Gamescom Media

Here's the GamesCom 2011 trailer for TrackMania 2: Canyon, Nadeo's upcoming racing sequel. The clip shows off cars, tracks, racing and stunts, and highlights the multiplayer beta access that comes with preordering the game. Here are some screenshots, and here's the embedded trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

New AMD/ATI Reference Drivers

AMD now offers new version 11.8 Catalyst reference drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards. The highlight of the new release is the addition of overclocking for AMD Black edition CPUs to AMD Overdrive. The new drivers are available for Windows 7 & Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows 7 & Windows Vista 64-bit, and Windows XP 64-bit. There is also a AMD Catalyst Hotfix for “No compatible hardware found” error on AGP graphics cards. Here are the performance highlights:

  • Improves performance up to 10% in Crysis 2 DirectX 11 version for both non-Anti-Aliasing, and application enabled Anti-Aliasing cases on the AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 and AMD Radeon™ HD 5000 Series
  • Improves performance up to 8% in Fear 3 DirectX 11 version with application enabled Anti-Aliasing on the AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 and AMD Radeon™ HD 5000 Series
  • Improves performance up to 30% when AMD’s Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) is enabled through the Catalyst™ Control Center on the AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 and AMD Radeon™ HD 5000 Series
  • Improves performance up to 20% in Call of Duty Black Operations for single GPU and Multi-GPU configurations on the AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 and AMD Radeon™ HD 5000 Series

War of the Roses Announced

Paradox Interactive announces War of the Roses, a team-based multiplayer action game in development at Fatshark (Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West) for release next year. The project, which has been in development with the codename "Project Postman," will be set in a Costner-free depiction of 15th century England, where players will engage in third-person melee combat. "War of the Roses will give players face-to-face melee combat they rarely see in today’s third-person and first-person online shooters," says Gordon Van Dyke, Senior Producer for Paradox Interactive. "We’re looking to steep players in that savagery, and challenge them to confront their opponents head-on in this unique multiplayer game." Here are some War of the Roses screenshots and a cinematic War of the Roses announcement trailer, which is also embedded following this snippet from the game's description:

War of the Roses will pull players into a team-based multiplayer melee combat experience, putting their band of knights right in the thick of chaotic battles against opposing hordes armed with swords, battleaxes, longbows and other iconic medieval classics.

Featuring top-notch graphics portraying the fighting from an up-close-and-personal third-person perspective, War of the Roses features both online multiplayer and a deep single-player campaign. Players will get the chance to lead their knight through a progression system, gaining upgrades and unlocking new content on their path from filthy peasant to unstoppable armored killing machine.

Continue here to read the full story.

Prototype 2 Media

We have a new trailer from Prototype 2 that Activision calls a "Need to Know Timeline Debrief" for Radical Entertainment's upcoming open-world action sequel. The cinematic clip shows events starting in 1963 that lead up to the Prototype series with some spoilers for the first game, and sets the stage for the follow-up. The clip, which is accompanied by a new batch of Prototype 2 screenshots, is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Modern Warfare 3 To Feature Dedicated Server Support

Dedicated servers will be part of the PC support for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, reports Eurogamer. "The big announcement today is that we're supporting dedicated servers for PC, which is really cool," Beachhead Studios' Noah Heller told them at Gamescom. "And of course we're working really hard right now on the customised version of Elite for the PC [versions of Call of Duty games], because it's an open platform and has some challenges." Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 did not offer dedicated server support, in spite of pleas and petitions from the community, but comments from Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling at E3 said this was at least a possibility for the next installment in the military shooter series.

Carbine's Sci-Fi MMOG WildStar Announced

NCsoft announces WildStar at Gamescom, a science fiction MMOG, revealing this is the project in development at Carbine Studios since back in 2007 when this studio was formed by industry veterans Kevin Beardslee (a lead developer on WoW), Tim Cain (Fallout programmer and co-founder of Troika), and Jeremy Gaffney (City of Heroes and Asheron’s Call). They say they have a polished three-level build of the game to show off to attendees of the trade show, and offer this cinematic introductory trailer and a very large batch of screenshots. Here's word on the game itself, followed by the embedded version of the intro trailer.

Developed by NCsoft’s Southern California-based Carbine Studios, WildStar offers epic high adventure, where players make their mark as Explorers, Soldiers, Scientists or Settlers and lay claim to a mysterious planet on the edge of known space. WildStar’s iconic visual style and “Momentum Mechanics” immerse players in a deep world stacked with content, challenges and rewards that respond to the play style choices of individual players. Depending on a combination of faction, race, class and path, WildStar will present gamers with unending surprises, mini-quests and challenges, ensuring that their experiences are fun and fresh.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Secret World in April 2012

Along with the anouncement of beta plans for The Secret World, EA and Funcom also announced an April 2012 release date for the conspiracy-themed MMOG. "It has never been more rewarding working on The Secret World than it is now," says Senior Producer and Creative Director Ragnar Tørnquist. "The progress we are making in development allows the whole team to really enjoy just playing the game for hours on end. We are all looking forward to bringing in players through upcoming betas, and their feedback will be crucial to the further development of the game as we progress toward the April 2012 launch."

World of Warcraft Real ID Party Feature Live

The World of Warcraft Website announces the new Real ID Party feature is live in Blizzard's MMORPG:

For those who haven't yet had a chance to try it out, the Real ID Party system allows players to invite Real ID friends of the same faction to a 5-player normal or Heroic dungeon, regardless of what realm their friends are on. This new feature makes it easier than ever for real-life friends to play together, and it's available to all World of Warcraft players at no additional charge -- all you need to do is have Real ID enabled.

To learn more about Real ID, visit the Real ID web page and read the FAQ.

World of Warplanes Media and Details

Wargaming.net offers new details and media for World of Warplanes, their upcoming MMO air combat game. Included is this explanation of how the game's aircraft will be rolled out: "Upon its beta release, World of Warplanes will feature around 60 airplanes from Germany, USSR, and USA, with British and Japanese planes to be added with the further content updates. New branches and new planes will be added gradually over the process of development as it is done in World of Tanks, and the total number might reach several hundred aircraft." Here are some World of Warplanes screenshots and this cinematic trailer showing a dogfight is also embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

We got a new subwoofer some time ago after the old one started to make more and more frequent loud "bumps" that were not supposed to be part of the audio. As a result, I had the old one sitting around getting in my way as I tried to figure out how best to recycle it. Okay, that's not accurate, it was actually sitting around while I planned to some day get around to figuring that out. Last week I decided to put it out by the curb to see if this would inspire someone to take it away, if not to use it as it was, maybe to recycle the case, make use of the 12" driver within, or at least play with the giant magnet in the driver. When I lived within New York City proper, such an item would have been gone as soon as it was set out, but here in the 'burbs, it sat for a couple of days undisturbed. Then the rains came and it got poured on for close to 48 straight hours, so I decided I'd leave it out until it dried off so I could stash it somewhere and resume planning to plan to recycle it. So of course, given the perverse way the world seems to work, as soon as the weather cleared, someone grabbed the now-soggy subwoofer. Maybe they were just waiting for mother nature to wash it off?

Clean Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Nitro in Pipe Land.
Links: How to Win at Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Doctor Who’s ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ Prequel. Thanks dakslf.
Stories: Mean People Earn More, Study Finds. Thanks Neatorama
Media: The fastest radio-controlled airplane you’ve ever seen. Thanks nin via Digg.
Air Swimmers. Thanks Robert.
Famous optical illusion -- live.



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