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Thursday, Apr 05, 2012

  

Fallout Free on GOG.com

The original Fallout is being offered on GOG.com for free for the next 48 hours:

GOG.com is giving away Fallout: A Post Apocalyptic Role Playing Game free for 48 hours until 23.59 GMT on 8 April, courtesy of Interplay. The grand ancestor of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas amazes to this day with extensive story, unbeatable gameplay, and doomed “atompunk” universe. GOG.com is giving the game that created the biggest and most captivating post-apocalyptic world in gaming history away for free as a thank you to all the gamers that helped GOG.com become the #1 destination for DRM-free games.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion in June; Preorders Get Beta Access

Stardock announced today that preorders for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion are underway at the Sins of a Solar Empire Store, GameStop PC Downloads, and Steam. They also announce a release date for the standalone strategy expansion, saying it will launch on June 12th. Word is that anyone who preorders will gain immediate access to the second beta, which is now live.

Shadowrun Returns Funded; Mac Threshold Reached

The Kickstarter Page for Shadowrun Returns announces this project achieved its $400,000 funding goal in a bit over 24 hours. Their update indicates that if they hit $425K a Mac version would be added, and they are closer to the $500K mark now, so presumably that's a go too.

Botanicula Preorders Begin & GOG.com Premium Editions Announced

GOG.com is now taking discounted preorders of Botanicula for a dollar off between now and the April 19th release of the next project from the folks who brought us Machinarium. They also announce a new "GOG.com Premium Edition" line:

Botanicula, available now on GOG.com for a special preorder price of $8.99, is a gorgeous adventure game from the makers of Machinarium. This charming point & click game stars five friends on a perilous journey to save the last seed of their home tree from an infestation of parasites. With lush visuals and a soundtrack composed by Czech alternative band DVA, this game is sure to wow all of the fans of Machinarium and adventure games in general. The preorder price only lasts until the game is released on 19 April, so anyone looking to pick the game on GOG.com at a discount--and get the wallpapers, artworks, demo soundtrack, and other goodies right away--should pick it up soon.

GOG.com is also announcing a “GOG.com Premium Edition” line of game releases, starting with two massive games from Ubisoft: Assassin’s Creed: Director’s Cut and the Heroes of Might & Magic V Bundle (which includes the both expansion packs “Hammer of Fate” and “Tribes of the East”). With about a gigabyte of goodies between the two titles, these games have a phenomenal line-up of extras, with a combined total of over 400 minutes of soundtracks, dozens of different artworks, official artbooks for both games, and more, these games are the best editions for sale on the ‘Net, and they’re available on GOG.com for a special introductory offer for these Premium Edition titles: buy one and get the other one free for a total price of $19.99 by 12 April or miss out on some of the best gaming values on GOG.com.

John Romero's Shooter Plans

Former id Software designer John Romero indicated earlier this year he still has plans to design a first-person shooter, and now Eurogamer has word from the Loot Drop CEO this will probably be a PC-first "MMO-ish" persistent world game, though this is not anywhere near development at this point. "Yes, I'm definitely going to be making another shooter and it will be on PC first," he tells them. It's a persistent game, it has persistent player data, the character grows and gets better over time. I think most gamers expect that now anyway, but this was a design I'd done a while ago. I think it's pretty valid. "You will be playing the game as you would expect a shooter to feel, but the specifics of your situation, narrative wrapper and reward system are all unique. I wouldn't want to give out any specifics until I'm close to shipping it. I've learned my lesson about talking too soon about specific game features and release dates."

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • Assassin’s Creed: Director’s Cut and Heroes of Might & Magic V on GOG.com. Save 50%.
  • Frozen Synapse on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Hack, Slash, Loot on Steam. Save 40%.
  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Men of War: Condemned Heroes on Steam. Prepurchase and get a free copy.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Awesome product label.

R.I.P.: Ferdinand Porsche, 911 sports car designer, dies. Thanks Dirwulf.

ME3 Ending Fix Coming in Free Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut

BioWare announces Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, a free DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 they hope will address widespread unhappiness with the conclusion of the action/RPG sequel. Here's word on the free DLC, which does not yet carry a release date:

BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts Inc. announced Mass Effect™ 3: Extended Cut, a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of the critically acclaimed Action RPG. Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. Coming this summer, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will be available for download on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC for no extra charge*.

“We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.” “We are all incredibly proud of Mass Effect 3 and the work done by Casey Hudson and team,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label. “Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe.”

Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series added, “We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.”

Wasteland 2 Status Report - Editor Possible

Update #8 on the Kickstarter Page for Wasteland 2 address the fact that fundraising for the RPG sequel has hurtled past the 200% mark, and is heading to the $2.1 million threshold InXile says will trigger the participation of Obsidian in the game's development. Since they seem sure to hit that mark as well, they set out some additional fundraising goals, saying if the game reaches the $2.5 million mark they will bring in a couple of additional designers, and if they reach the $3 million mark, they will be able to provide a mod kit to customize the game. They also outline the current state of the project, as preproduction has begun.

Ships Ahoy - Top Gun Hard Lock

505 Games announces the release of Top Gun Hard Lock, offering all the high flying, towel-snapping action of the cinematic journey to the danger zone. The game is available in stores for all platforms in the U.K. and the Windows PC edition is also available worldwide through GameStop PC Downloads. Here's word on the game:

Top Gun Hard Lock lets fans fly into the danger zone as an all-new crew of elite naval aviators taking air combat to new heights. Players engage in adrenaline-fuelled dog fights to tailgate MiGs at Mach 2 and master the game’s Hard Lock feature to perform high-G aerial combat manoeuvres in order to destroy enemy pilots.

Ships Ahoy - King’s Bounty Games for OS X

1C Company announces the release of King's Bounty: The Legend and King's Bounty: Armored Princess for Mac OS X in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. The Legend is available on the Mac App Store and Steam and Armored Princess is available on the Mac App Store and Steam. Here a quickie reminder about both games:

King's Bounty: The Legend is an adventure RPG with turn-based Strategy battles. In a fairy tale fantasy world of fearless knights, evil mages, wise kings and beautiful princesses the player controls a hero. Leading their character through the game world, exploring it, commanding armies in battle and accomplishing various quests can mean great reward or huge defeats.

King's Bounty: Armored Princess is a sequel to the critically acclaimed King’s Bounty: The Legend. Players will take on the role of Princess Amelie who travels around the world of Teana and searches for the renowned knight, and her mentor, Bill Gilbert.

Spec Ops: The Line Trailer

The PAX East trailer for Spec Ops: The Line is now available, promoting this weekend's showing of Yager Development's upcoming third-person shooter. The simple accompanying description reads: "This trailer focuses on the strong narrative and intense combat that takes place in Dubai after the city was struck by a series of cataclysmic sandstorms." Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today is opening day for the New York Mets. Sorry, I can't even get excited enough to put an exclamation point there, the hard work the team has been doing to remain mediocre seems to be paying off. As a fan, I actually can't suppress the optimism of opening day, but it's next to impossible to rationalize that. One preview of the season I saw opined the team's best case scenario this season was not losing 90 games. If they manage that, I wonder if there will be a parade.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Canary Games.
FireBoy and WaterGirl 3: The Ice Temple.
Stories: TSA screener at JFK 'hurled hot coffee at American Airlines pilot. Thanks Boing Boing.
Pilot turns back after snake pops out of dashboard. Say it!!!!!
Science: Robotic squirrels to battle it out with rattlesnakes. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Teenage physics wonder turns to nuclear safety.
Face to Face with "Weird Al" Yankovic.
How To Turn FAIL into WIN.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Funny Tweets Twaggies.
Follow-up: Study suggests rising CO2 in the past caused global warming.
First "Avengers" Clip - Boobs & Boffo.
Craig Talks & Babe Joins -Skyfall.

Wednesday, Apr 04, 2012

EA Loses Consumerist Poll

The Consumerist has the results of their voting for Worst Company In America For 2012, with Electronic Arts taking this dubious distinction. The final vote was between EA and Bank of America, with EA "winning" by a landslide. Forbes has their analysis of what this means (thanks Verno), and GamesIndustry International has a response from EA, quoting John Reseburg of EA Corporate Communications saying: "We're sure that bank presidents, oil, tobacco and weapons companies are all relieved they weren't on the list this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide."

MechWarrior Online Mech Customization

The MechWarrior Online Website has a lengthy developer blog discussing the MechLab in the upcoming multiplayer mech game, offering detail on the fine art of pimping your ride. They discuss hard points, weapons, equipment, armor, jump jets, heatsinks, modules, and visual customization.

Jane Jensen's Kickstarter

This Kickstarter Campaign is for "Jane Jensen's Pinkerton Road 2012-2013 CSG" a proposed "Community Supported Gaming" initiative by Gabriel Knight designer Jane Jensen (thanks nin and AgentJ). Word is: "Sign up as a Pinkerton Road CSG member, and you'll get all of the awesome games we produce for one year*. The CSG model will help our studio survive financially so that we can make the kinds of games that YOU and WE want to play (not what some big publisher’s marketing department has decided will be the next big hit)." Here's what they plan:

If we meet our Kickstarter goal the season will include:

  • Lola and Lucy’s Big Adventure (a kid’s e-book/game written by Jane that we’ve funded ourselves as a bootstrap studio project. It’s nearly finished and will be released Summer 2012.)
  • An all new original adventure game by Jane in the vein of Gabriel Knight and Gray Matter (no pun intended) on PC download, due approximately Mar 2013.

If we raise $600K or more the season will ALSO include:

  • A second Jane Jensen adventure game on PC download, due approximately June 2013. We have a white board full of concepts that have been crawling around in Jane’s brain for years. Or it might be another of the 3 concepts below -- if it gets enough of your votes.

Indie Royale April Fools Bundle

Indie Royale announces their promised April Fools Bundle, a belated independent gaming celebration of the recent tomfoolery. As always, you can pay the minimum price for the bundle, which drives the price up for future customers, or pay more, which not only drives the price down, but also earns you a bonus. The bundle includes Defense Grid: The Awakening; Hack, Slash, Loot; Alien Zombie Megadeath; Explodemon; and Astro Tripper. The bonus is Rock: Deluxe Edition, "Sexy Synthesizer's awesome Japanese '80s-style chip album."

GameStop & Stardock Retail/Digital Deal

GameStop announces they will be the exclusive retailer of codes for digital distribution of all of Stardock's upcoming games, which will probably be a convenience for some folks for some reason. Here's the deal:

Games developer Stardock Entertainment’s slate of up-coming PC game titles, including Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, Elemental: Fallen Enchantress and The Political Machine 2012 will only be available as digital downloads. The titles will be available for purchase through digital resellers, including the GameStop PC application, and consumers will also be able to buy the titles from GameStop’s more than 4000 retail stores in the United States. When purchasing a title at a GameStop store, the consumer will receive a redemption code that will allow them to download, install, play and update the game through the GameStop PC application.

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter

This Kickstarter by Harebrained Schemes LLC looks to fund Shadowrun Returns, described as "the game that Shadowrun fans have been waiting for a long time." This will be designed for Windows PCs and Apple & Android tablets by Jordan Weisman, creator of the original cyberpunk RPG (thanks John). Word is: "Shadowrun Returns is not only going to make some old geeks (like us) very happy but it will introduce new players to a dynamic gaming universe that is beloved around the world." They are about five percent of the way to their $400,000 target, a modest goal for game development they explain like this: "The game we want to make is very humble by modern blockbuster game standards but it is still way beyond the ability of a small start-up to fund by itself."

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning DLC This Month

38 Studios and EA announce Teeth of Naros, a DLC pack for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning coming to 38 Studios' role-playing game on April 17th for all platforms. Word is: "Players will journey through a forgotten land called the Teeth of Naros, a harsh environment named after an ancient troll god. In this new journey players will encounter the Kollossae, a devout race of giants, and uncover the mysteries of their faith." Here's the feature list:

  • A New City – Explore the city of Idylla, which magically floats in the sky above the Teeth of Naros featuring more than 20 side quests, multiple dungeons and a mysterious new race
  • New Enemies and Dungeons – Players will take part in a crucible of faith and tribulation with new dangers and enemies as they journey through five enormous new dungeons
  • New Twists of Fate and Items – Three new Twists of Fate, nine new armor sets, six new shields and 18 new unique weapons for players to choose from as they journey through this new world

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Beta This Week

The Arma 2 Website announces that on Friday they will launch a "play and contribute' beta for Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, their upcoming science fiction game. They also announce the game's release is delayed to September of this year (it has already missed its Q1 2012 release window), saying the delay is "related to the beta." Play and contribute means testers will actually "assist in the game's development process," a throwback to the days when betas were to polish games for release rather than as preorder incentives, but that doesn't mean this beta isn't an incentive as well, as they are initially offering access to those who pre-purchase the game. Word is:

The beta, which will launch on April 6, offers a compressed version of the Strategic Campaign. Instead of following the Gaea Mission storyline, this mode spotlights the gameplay and is considered to be a great representative of the enormous amount of player freedom - as opposed to the more linear experiences seen in many other games.

Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3 This Summer

The Penny Arcade's On The Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness Website has word that the off-again/on again third installment in the adventure series based on the webcomic will be debuted for the public at this week's PAX East gathering and will be released this summer. Word is: "The game continues the epic saga of Tycho Brahe and Jonathan Gabriel in New Arcadia circa 1922 and will release for PC, Macintosh, the Xbox Live Indie Games channel, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android in the coming months." Here's word on the game, which is in the works at Cthulhu Saves the World developer Zeboyd Games:

The new game continues the chronicles of Tycho Brahe, scholar of Apocalyptic Studies turned detective, and his volatile, probably entirely human partner Jonathan Gabriel. As the spectre of unspeakable evil threatens New Arcadia – and the world as we know it – the Startling Developments Detective Agency must unravel the mystery and find a way to triumph! With a cunning evil Doctor, a series of Unexplainable Thefts, a Mysterious Book of Power and Enigmatic Supernatural Forces, the ever escalating perils on the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness challenge our heroes to their very core!

Confrontation Launch Trailer

The Confrontation Website celebrates tomorrow's release of Cyanide Studio's new tactical role-playing game for PC with the game's launch trailer. Here's the description: "Today's video immerses the player in the universe of Confrontation, Aarklash. While the Rag'narok, the end of times, is inexorably approaching, the Path of Light (the Griffin), Path of Destiny (the Wolfen and Orcs), and Path of Darkness (the Scorpion) are preparing for battle. At the heart of the Syhar desert, an elite squad of the Griffin is going an important quest, which could turn the Rag'narok in their favor..." Continue here to read the full story.

Stellar Impact Trailer

This new trailer features gameplay from Stellar Impact, Headup Games' space strategy game that's coming to PCs this month. The clip gives some background on the game's underlying conflict and a look at some of the spacecraft players can command. Continue here to read the full story.

Cancelled Star Wars Battlefront III Footage?

A new trailer on the YouTube is purportedly from a pre-alpha version of Star Wars Battlefront III that was reportedly in development at Free Radical Design before that studio closed (thanks Strategy Informer) causing the cancellation of the project. The clip shows air and ground combat and several player-controlled vehicles. More recently, indications have emerged that a third Star Wars Battlefront game is in development at Spark Unlimited.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Friends Trial Expands

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website announces that the recently launched friends trial for the MMORPG is expanding:

BioWare and LucasArts are excited to announce that we have extended the amount of friends a player can invite in the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Friends Trial! Players who have an active Star Wars: The Old Republic subscription will now be able to invite up to twenty five of their friends into a 7-day free trial to explore the Star Wars™ galaxy.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Having finally concluded my lengthy analysis, I have ordered this new grill, which is on its way even as I write these words, remarkably with free delivery from Amazon, in spite of a shipping weight of 275 lbs. Some of you suggested with the amount of grilling I do I should be willing to invest in an expensive model, but I ended up shocking myself with how much I ended up paying, which was well over triple what I had planned (my approach to this shifted when I started contemplate kamado grills, which quickly add-up to even more when properly equipped with a work area). On the other hand, it seems to be built like a tank, and carries a limited lifetime warranty, which I fully plan on making good on, so hopefully its amortized cost will turn out to be justifiable (if the average backyard cook grill six times a year, then I estimate my Char-Griller saw about 20 years worth of work in its five year lifespan). If things work out they can bury me in it... or even better, cremate me with it... hey, what's cooking at the BlueTower? Blue!

Cooked Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Train Mania.
Links: Worst Album Covers of All Time. NSFW. Thanks nin via Rob/GM.
Toilet Water-Cooling. Thanks HARDOCP.
Stories: ‘Titanic’ night sky adjusted after Neil deGrasse Tyson criticized James Cameron. Thanks William.
Science: Extreme pressure could force hydrogen into a high-temperature superconductor.
Images: Unfortunately Progress on the Film Was Arrested in Development.
Media: Morgan Freeman, Dragonborn.
Fail Compilation March 2012.
Periodic Table SYMBOLS in Order Song.



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