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Thursday, Aug 16, 2012

  

Rebellion Sues Stardock and Ironclad Over Rebellion

Rebellion Developments (Rogue Warrior, Aliens vs Predator, Sniper Elite) is suing Stardock Entertainment and Ironclad Games in an Eastern Michigan district court for trademark violation over the use of the word "rebellion" in the title of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. Rebellion is asking for damages for being "deprived of substantial sales of its products" and for "the value of its trademarks as commercial assets." GameSpot notes: "Rebellion provided several examples where it claimed consumers would have been easily misled, including promotional materials which displayed the word 'Rebellion' much larger than the preceding 'Sins of a Solar Empire' and some that referred to the game only by the disputed trademark." Thanks Joao.

EA Exploring Sale?

New York tabloid NYPOST.com reports Electronic Arts is exploring potential transactions with private equity firms KKR and Providence Equity Partners, attributing the rumor of a sale to "sources." Their attempt to get a response from EA on this failed as the company told them it does not comment "on rumor and speculation." Likewise they could not pry anything about this out of KKR or Providence. They quote a "source familiar with the company" saying: "They’ve made it known they’d do a deal at $20 a share."

A Valley Without Wind Art Upgrade Coming

A post on the Games By Design Blog we missed when if first went up a couple of weeks ago discusses plans for an art upgrade for A Valley Without Wind, Arcen's recently released side-scroller. This will come as a free update to those who already own the game, and the post discusses other new features in the works for the upcoming version 1.3. This also involves an interesting exploration of the implications of Kickstarter funding, as Arcen's Christopher Park discusses the pros and cons of funding the art rework in this way, going into detail about why crowdsourcing would not have been the right way to handle this.

NVIDIA's Free Borderlands 2 Promotion

The GeForce Website announces that owners of NVIDIA's new GTX 660 Ti graphics card (see today's hardware revews) or better are entitled to a free copy of Borderlands 2, Gearbox Software's upcoming role-playing shooter sequel. One of the things this will do is enable users to run the game at maximum settings for all sorts of PhysX effects. and this page offers a trailer showing these off.

On Sale

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: OH MY DAYUM - Songify the 5 Guys Review. Thanks nin.

Portal 2 Puzzle Maker Adds Co-op

Valve announces a free update to the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker to allow users to create and publish co-op maps for Portal 2, the puzzle sequel, and that have added a "quick play" feature to ease access to the top-rated maps on the Portal 2 portal. They are promoting this by giving all current owners of Portal 2 coupon to give away to allow a friend to buy the game for 75% off. Here's word:

That's right: Puzzle creators can now design and publish co-op maps, which puzzle players can now greedily consume. Well, as long as they have a co-op partner. Which the 75% off coupon should help them (i.e.: you) find. We've also added a "Quick Play" feature that creates never-ending, auto-generated playlists of the top-rated maps in a variety of categories. It has literally never been easier to figuratively jump in and literally play some Portal.

Ubisoft Uplay PC Launches

Ubisoft announces the launch of their Uplay PC application, which offers the ability to purchase their games via digital distribution along with an integrated chat system. "Uplay PC is a great way for customers to discover Ubisoft's games, connect with their friends and gaming communities, and win achievements and content that's not available anywhere else." said Stephanie Perotti, Worldwide Director for Online Games, Ubisoft. "For PC gamers that are already fans of Ubisoft's titles or have been considering trying some of our classics, this promotion is a great deal, and our way of saying thank you for their support." They are kicking things off with a sale offering 75% off on many titles, and others for just a buck:

Today at Gamescom 2012, Ubisoft officially launched Uplay PC, an application that serves as a digital distribution platform and central point for PC gamers to connect to Uplay's community and consumer-centric services. The video game developer and publisher also kicked off a promotion making select Ubisoft PC titles available through Uplay PC for as little as $1 for a limited time.

Uplay, Ubisoft's online services and distribution platform, now has more than 35 million members and is available across Ubisoft games and across platforms. Uplay PC replaces individual game launchers and lets gamers access all their Uplay-enabled PC games and Uplay services in the same place. Uplay PC also includes new features, including an integrated shop, the direct purchase and download of games, a friends list and chat system that add value to PC players' experience.

To encourage players to download and try Uplay PC, Ubisoft is making PC versions of Driver®: San Francisco, From Dust®, Silent Hunter® 5 and Tom Clancy's® H.A.W.X.® 2 available for $1 for a limited time. Other popular titles -- including Anno 2070T, Assassin's Creed® II, Assassin's Creed® Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed® Revelations, Might & Magic®: Heroes® VI, Tom Clancy's® Splinter Cell Conviction® -- are discounted up to 75%, also for a limited time.

Steam Community Beta

Valve announces the launch of limited beta testing of their new Steam Community, including access for all to the Team Fortress 2 Steam Community Hub. Here's word:

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the launch of a limited access Beta for its new Steam Community features.

The Steam Community Beta is now open to the first 50,000 players who earned the 'Pillar of the Steam Community' badge and includes another invite to share. Beta access will increase incrementally until the public launch.

To celebrate the launch of Team Fortress 2's new game mode, Mann vs. Machine, the Team Fortress 2 Game Hub (http://steamcommunity.com/app/440) is now accessible to everyone.

The new Steam Community update includes:

Game Hubs - Every game on Steam now has a Game Hub, which provides a quick way for users to browse the best of a variety of content as rated by the community at large. Each Game Hub also includes a game-specific discussion area where players can talk about their favorite Steam games.

Group Updates - Player-created groups have been redesigned so it's now easier to see what a group is all about and who is participating in it. Groups now also include public and private discussion areas where they can remain in touch with their own communities.

My Content Updates - The content you've created now lives in one central place with new viewing options including an "image wall" layout that showcases your top-rated content. Also new is the ability to mark screenshots, videos, and workshop items as Favorites to save or share with friends.

Friend Activity - The new feed makes it easy to view, rate, and comment on the content and activities of your friends in a visually-rich and interactive presentation. Players can also broadcast game-specific status updates to start a conversation with their friends, directly in the activity feed.

Trine 2 Expansion Announced

Frozenbyte announces Trine 2: Goblin Menace, a new expansion for Trine 2 expected this fall for Windows, OS X, and Linux, saying they are showing off what it adds to the platformer sequel at gamescom in Germany. This trailer and these screenshots offer a look, and here's word:

Finnish game developer Frozenbyte is proud to unveil the upcoming expansion to its action adventure game Trine 2 at gamescom 2012 in Cologne, Germany. A new trailer has been released to show how Trine 2: Goblin Menace is an all-new campaign spanning six unique levels, further improving the award-winning visuals of the original Trine 2. In addition, Goblin Menace features new skills that are also playable in the original game, and all the general improvements and tweaks will be available to all players.

TF2 Mann vs. Machine Live

The Team Fortress 2 Website reveals the promised Mann vs. Machine update is now live, adding co-op support to Valve's teamplay shooter. The Mann Up! FAQ has details on how this works, and what you get for purchasing their $0.99 "tour of duty" tickets. Here's an overview:

Valve, creators of bestselling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), announced today that Mann vs. Machine (MvM), a new co-operative game for its free-to-play online action title Team Fortress 2 (TF2), is now available to download for free via Steam on PC and Mac.

MvM lets you and five friends fight a lethal horde of robots on all-new maps, with the opportunity to upgrade abilities and weapons along the way. Band together to survive all of the robot waves in a variety of missions to earn incredible loot and unlock new achievements.

Castle Crashers Steam Plans

The Behemoth Community Forums reveal plans to bring Castle Crashers to Windows via Steam, which will add a bunch of PC and Steam features to the action/RPG (thanks Gamer's Hell via Evil Avatar). Here's word:

Castle Crashers Steam Features:

  • Integrated voice chat
  • Steam Achievements
  • Gamepad support
  • Steam Cloud Support
  • Local and Online Multiplayer
  • Colorful hand drawn 2D visuals!
  • Over 30 levels plus five arena modes
  • Unlock more than 25 characters and over 40 weapons!
  • Intuitive combo and magic system: Unlock an arsenal of new attacks as your character progresses through the game.
  • Experience system: Level up your character and adjust Strength, Magic, Defense, and Agility.
  • Animal orbs: These adorable little companions each add different abilities to aid you on your journey
  • Arena mode: Battle other players in free-for-all or team matches with four unique modes to choose from!
  • Insane Mode: Test your skills in the ultimate campaign challenge.

System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: Dual Core Processor 2GHz+
  • Memory: 1GB
  • Hard Disk Space: 300MB
  • Video Card: Graphics: 256 MB dedicated directx 9.0c compatible card
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0 compatible sound card

Stardock Sues Ex-Employee for $1M

PDFcast has word that Stardock is suing Alexandra Miseta for one million dollars, accusing their former marketing manager of deleting the company's analytics and marketing data before she left the company without notice a few weeks before the release of Elemental: War of Magic, going so far as to say this exacerbated the issues they had to deal with relating to the game's initial problems. Polygon summarizes the situation:

The case alleges that Miseta deleted, destroyed and/or stole Stardock's Elemental materials, analytics, and trade show information just before quitting, causing the company to lose all their marketing data and analytics for Elemental: War of Magic only three weeks before the game's scheduled launch.

Stardock claims that it was forced to spend more than $5000 assessing the damaged caused by Miseta's actions and attempting to restore the Elemental materials, analytics, and trade show information, and that the interruption in availablility of this data caused Stardock to lose more than $1 million in profits.

Stardock says in its filing that the loss of the materials led to a detraction from programming, debugging, and other responsibilities, and Elemental was subsequently unsuccessful in the marketplace, "earning a fraction of its anticipated profits and causing [Stardock] damages of over $1,000,000".

In addition to this, Stardock claims that Miseta did not return the company laptop she had been using, and had in fact been running side businesses during work hours using the company laptop.

Spector Calls Out Carmack & Sweeney

Eurogamer hears from famed game designer Warren Spector about the industry, hearing out his stated attempt to "shame" his fellow developers, "specifically John Carmack and Tim Sweeney," into stop designing guns and start designing "non-combat AI," saying: "Can you imagine what games we would have if John Carmack decided he wanted to create a believable character as opposed to a believable gun?" He admits "It doesn't map very well to pushing buttons. It's not what we're doing right now," but goes on to express annoyance that they are not rushing to follow him down this road less travelled:

"I find it annoying where people don't try to solve that problem. But I understand why. It's a very hard problem to solve. One of the reasons I find games like this so appealing as a developer is, at Disney it's hard to make a game like most other companies force you to make. They don't even want you to do a game like that.

"So where I am in my life and my career, I want to explore things like, what does it mean to have a brother? How do you form a family? Disney is a great company to work for if you want to talk about the possibility of redemption, and how important family and friends are to you. Most companies are not interested in that."

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Cinematic

This trailer is the opening cinematic from World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, the upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft. Word is: "You've ended Deathwing's destructive rampage and saved the dragonflights from extinction. Now you must unlock the mysteries of the lost continent and discover the dark secrets of Pandaria's past. Explore ancient kingdoms hidden since before the Sundering, plunder vast treasures from the depths of the forgotten vaults, and rise to defend Pandaria from the shadow of a long buried evil - before it's too late." Continue here to read the full story.

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Out of the Blue

An update on The Jace Hall Show Website adds a note about those interested in offering some assistance to Paul Steed's family in light of his untimely death. Here's word:

A Memorial College Fund has been set up for the family of Paul Steed. Please consider contributing to the fund by making a donation via paypal to trentsteed36@gmail.com

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Pack It.
Nom Nation.
Stories: South Korean gold gymnast vaults from rags to riches. Thanks reddit.
'World's Toughest Tobacco Packaging Law' Upheld by Australian High Court. Thanks Devicer.
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" IMAX Re-Release.
Media: Kickstarter Fandango.
We're NASA and We Know It (Mars Curiosity).
Emirates Airlines A380 First Class-Bangkok to Hong Kong. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
Calgary Windstorm Brings Some Dancing Signs To Canada.
The Funnies: Olympics for the Lazy 4 Cartoon - Savage Chickens - Cartoons on Sticky Notes by Doug Savage



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