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Sunday, Nov 18, 2012

  

Star Citizen Funding Homestretch; Video

The Kickstarter Page for Star Citizen notes that there are 24 hours to go (and counting) in the crowdsourcing campaign for this upcoming space simulation, which now stands at $4.7 million plus (and counting). They now offer advance sales of individual ships to support development, and one last AI gameplay video to help you choose, saying: "This is a short video of the AI attacking and defending a Bengal carrier. It demonstrates intelligent collision avoidance - a dense asteroid field, other space ships, including a large capital ship plus offensive and defensive roles. Note that this is very early pre-pre Alpha. There was a bug with laser bolt speed in this build and they were incorrectly capped at a very low speed. That is not how they will behave in the game. But we thought the video was awesome enough to show you anyway!" Continue here to read the full story.

Hitman: Absolution Reviews

Though Hitman: Absolution won't sneak in stores until this week, reviews have popped up all over for the latest installment in IO Interactive's assassination series. Thanks nin for helping round these up: Computer and Video Games, Edge Online, Eurogamer, GameInformer, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IGN, IncGamers, Joystiq, Kotaku, PC Gamer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and Shacknews.

On Sale

Amazon.com's countdown to Black Friday Deals Week is underway with daily specials and lightning deals.

  • Hearts of Iron III: Sounds of Conflict on GameStop PC Downloads. Save 80%.
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour on GameStop PC Downloads. Save 80%.
  • SiN Episodes: Emergence on Steam. Save 75%. "Launches the new era of episodic gaming."

Steam Top 10

Valve offers the following list of the 10 bestselling games on Steam for the past week:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  2. Assassin's Creed III
  3. Hitman: Absolution
  4. Football Manager 2013
  5. Darksiders II: Death Lives
  6. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  7. Natural Selection 2
  8. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
  9. Borderlands 2
  10. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Gatherings & Competitions

Sunday Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Reviewer Apologizes For Factual Inaccuracies In Pulled GameSpot Review. Thanks Joao.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Bye week is always a little odd for an NFL fan, it certainly throws me off a little. The one thing one can hope is that it falls at a time that seems advantageous to your team, and with the Giants in the midst of stumbling which follows their historically poor performance in recent Novembers, that certainly seems to apply in this case, so I'll be as happy about it as possible.

Bye Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Magic Blaster.
Links: The World in 2 Minutes.
Science: Optical Illusions Show How We See.
Images: Dark Knight Trilogy Behind the Scenes. Thanks scorcese.fan.
POTUS is not impressed. Thanks nin.
Media: The Avengers - Saturday Night Live. Thanks nin.
Leaked Disney Star Wars 7 Trailer.
Jamie Sadlowski destroys Golf Channel simulator. Thanks reddit.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Follow-up: Albert Einstein's Brain May Provide Clues To His Genius, Study Says.

Saturday, Nov 17, 2012

Star Citizen Passes $4.2MM

A post on the Roberts Space Industries Website announces that Star Citizen has attracted more than $4 million in funding from fans eager for a new space combat game from the creator of Wing Commander. The post outlines additional stretch goals beyond that point, and a follow-up announces another system is unlocked, and says they now have stretch goals all the way to the $5 million mark. Finally, the latest update announces that having passed $4.2 million, they have climbed to the top of the crowd-sourcing mountain:

$4.2 million! Which means that Star Citizen is now the highest crowd-funded game project ever! You’ve earned this star system, and a lot more! Let’s go for $4.5! By the way: you guys are now unlocking systems faster than our artists can finish them… we promise we’ll add the missing concepts in the near future.

Croteam on Windows 8 Issues

A post on the Steam Users' Forums from a couple of weeks ago offers a distressing overview of Windows 8 from Croteam (thanks Gamer's Hell), as Alen Ladavac says: "I would very much like to clear this one thing. I think that this is very important as there are 'under the hood' motions related to Windows 8 that are hidden and not well understood even by many developers (yet), and certainly not by most gamers." Saying "Gabe Newel did not overreact," he goes on to describe how "under the hood, the new tiled UI is a means for Microsoft to lock Windows applications into a walled garden, much like the one on iOS." Here's more:

There is this "small detail" that Microsoft is not advertising anywhere, but you can find it dug deep in the developer documentation:

One cannot release a tiled UI application by any other means, but only through Windows Store!

I cannot even begin to stress out just how horrible this idea is! There is no side-loading, except for corporate use inside one company, and that works only on the enterprise edition of Windows 8. Do we all understand what that means? You cannot download an application from the Internet and run it on your computer. You have to get it from Microsoft's store. Even if it is a free app!

If it was just about "being downloaded from Windows store", it would not be a problem. It would be nice to have a common hub to download things from. But to get an app onto that store, it has to be certified by MS. This means bringing the "console experience" onto your desktop. Each app that you will get through the Windows Store will have to adhere to certain requirements imposed by MS. So far, we know that they've banned mature games, like Skyrim, CoD, and Serious Sam.[*] They have forbidden modding. They could very well forbid Open Source if they want. But even if these terms were not there, this is still a certification system. With all of its downsides, including uncertain release dates, rare and late patches, and everything turning out to be more expensive and sucking more.

While, theoretically, desktop applications are exempt from these requirements, it looks more and more like just a foot-in-the-door technique. A large number of developers have expressed their concern with possibility that, probably in Windows 9 or something like that, the ability to get even desktop apps in any other way than through Windows app store may very well be removed. When that happens it will be too late.

I would not invest into supporting the tiled UI apps (which MS now conveniently calls "Windows Store apps" - does that ring a bell?), until MS removes the requirement that they have to be shipped through Windows Store on desktop at least - and thereby remove the requirement of certifying them with MS. Certification is a broken concept and should be abolished.

Now, while in current state Windows 8 do look like they support plain desktop apps seamlessly, the removal of start menu and use of "charms" even on the desktop looks like a pretty blunt attempt to force users to "get used" to the tiled UI. It would be fine by me if it wasn't for the aforementioned certification issue.

So, it is a vicious circle. And not an accidental one. This one was carefully designed to be that way. I say: no thank you, I'll skip on that one.

* (Our footnote, not Alen's): He seems to have missed this story).

Painkiller: Hell and Damnation Hotfix

Nordic Games announces the release of a new hotfix patch for Painkiller: Hell and Damnation, the recently released shooter sequel. Here's the simple explanation: "We just pushed a hotfix fixing some problem with the server browser and adding a graphic that shows how long it takes to get the server list. We hope the overall multiplayer experience is better and we will continue to update Painkiller." Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Retro City Rampage Revamp

The Retro City Rampage Blog has details on a new update now available for this throwback action/driving game, saying the makes the well received game "even better." There is an extensive explanation of what the new version does, and why, accompanied by the following concise rundown: "The update includes faster cars, tips screens, shop icons on the map, additional tutorials, checkpoints, level balancing and more. Some missions have even been completely overhauled for the better." Thanks nin.

Gatherings & Competitions

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

  • Antec High Current Pro Netzteil HCP-1000 Platinum on Technic3D. In German.
  • ASUS Matrix HD 7970 Platinum Video Card on Legit Reviews.
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum 4x4GB DDR3-2666 MHz CL10 Memory on ocaholic.
  • Enermax Hoplite ST Mid-Tower Chassis on TweakTown.
  • Fractal Design Define R4 on Hardware Heaven.
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD on HotHardware.
  • Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Midi Tower on Nikk Tech.
  • NZXT Hue LED Controller on RBMODS.
  • Spire TME III (TherMax Eclipse III) CPU Cooler on eTeknix.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Sad about Hostess Brands closing, since it seems to be the result of an insoluble labor conflict, and while strikes often result in threats that they will result in the closure of a company, that rarely seems to actually happen as it has in this case. I find it interesting how many people are going all Tallahassee over the pending Twinkie shortage, however, as they are the poster child for crappy junk food, and I don't know anyone who has eaten one in recent memory, much less actually savors them (labor strife aside, I think if everyone saddened by this actually bought Twinkies, Hostess would be fine). In my opinion, Hostess only ever made one really good product, which was their fruit pies, which I have not seen in a store in over a decade if not longer. I assumed they stopped making them, but I see them on eBay at seemingly exorbitant prices, so I'm not sure if that's due to the Hostess closure, or perhaps they are working off old stock, since these babies are half preservatives anyway (I think it's the latter, as the labels all seem to feature Fruit Pie the Magician, and Wikipedia says he was removed from the packaging in 2006).

Fruity Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Chu Rescue.
Stories: American Chopper Is Ending Its Ride.
Former Bears coach Ditka suffers stroke.
Media: Skydiving cats cause uproar.
Inside Homer Simpson's Head.
Follow-up: Cops: Man plotted attack during 'Twilight' movie.



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