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Monday, Nov 19, 2012

  

Red Orchestra 2 Free Content

Tripwire Interactive announces the release of the Fall 2012 free content pack for Red Orchestra 2, their World War II shooter sequel. This trailer shows off the new pack, which centers around a new map and a redesign of the countdown game mode. Here's the deal:

The new map is Barashka, a re-imagining and re-working of an old favorite from the original Red Orchestra. This brings in combined arms combat, villages, bridges and a river crossing to fight for. The map features both Territory and Countdown game modes.

For the Countdown game mode, simplified and improved match flow and user interface will make it much simpler to understand, making for much more instant and direct battles. Just to encourage everyone to try out the changes, we'll be issuing Double XP towards your Honor from today in Countdown mode!

Of course, there are a host of other updates to the game. These include requests from the community, such as walk while actively firing machine guns from the hip; increased stamina pool in Classic; chat system refinements and more.

All of this is available, as always, for free to everyone who already owns the game. If you don't, you can buy the game from the Steam Store Page here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/35450/

Nuketown 2025 II Map Pulled from Black Ops 2 Playlists

The Nuketown 2025 zombie map that was a bonus for preordering Call of Duty: Black Ops II has been pulled from the playlists for public servers for the shooter sequel, though it is still available to play in custom games with friends. Treyarch Game Design Director David Vonderhaar tweets the news: "Double XP weekend is official over. That means Nuketown 2025 / 24-7 is as well. I know. RIGHT? Don't kill the messenger," following with: "Nuketown 2025 / 24-7 will be back for special events. You can always play it with your friends in Custom Games." For the record, the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 NUKETOWN 2025 FAQ does not make any reference to this turn of events. Mltiplyr notes another tweet about this we cannot locate in David's timeline (who knew Twitter was so complicated?) where someone asks "Will Nuketown 2025 be available in the regular playlists?" David replies: "Yeah. Probably eventually. We are talking that over internally."

Star Citizen's Record Funding Drive Ends

As noted on the Roberts Space Industries Website, the crowd-sourced fundraiser for Star Citizen blew past its initial $2 million goal, the $4.2 million record set recently by Project Eternity, and their own dream goal of $6 million to finish at $6,238,563. The campaign may be concluded, but they plan on continuing to offer chances to support development of this upcoming space sim, saying: "Going forward, Roberts says, people who backed the project during the crowd funding campaign will have the ability to purchase further tiers or upgrade existing ones at the initial prices. And for those who missed this opportunity, there is still a chance to be a part of the Star Citizen community and back the project but at slightly higher prices. Roberts says it will still be cheaper than purchasing the final product when it is released and it will enable backers to reserve a limited amount of alpha and beta slots that remain. Behind-the-scenes subscription updates during development are also available for purchase. They will provide even more extras and inside info for those who sign up." Here are some stats from the Star Citizen crowd funding campaign updated as of 1:00 pm CST today:

  • Kickstarter backers– 34,397
  • Kickstarter funds pledged - $2,134,374
  • Roberts Space Industries backers – 55,270
  • Roberts Space Industries funds raised - $4,104,189
  • Total backers – 89,667
  • Total funds raised and pledged - $6,238,563

Indie Royale Stuffing Bundle

Indie Royale offers The Stuffing Bundle, their latest collection of flexibly priced indie games. Included in this one are The Dream Machine: Chapters 1-3, Puzzle Agent 2, Children of the Nile: Enhanced Edition, Anomaly: Warzone Earth, and Adventure Apes and the Mayan Mystery. Here's their incentive for beating the minimum price, which drives down the minimum for others: "Those who pay $8 USD or their currency equivalent during the Stuffing Bundle will get a chiptune album with soothing synthesizer melodies, jazz fusion and progressive rock sensibilities Tree of Knowledge from yogurtbox, a $10 value on its own. This unique album, available as part of an Indie Royale partnership with seminal chiptune label Ubiktune, was developed as an homage to distinctly retro Japanese PC-98 game soundtracks."

The Banner Saga: Factions Beta Signups; Video

Stoic Studio Website now has a link to sign up to express your interest in beta testing The Banner Saga: Factions, saying: "Know any friends who would like to be involved in the beta but missed the campaign? We're not quite ready to take pre-orders yet but feel free to send them to our updated website where they can find our Beta signup" (thanks Sean). They also offer a new video from this upcoming free multiplayer turn-based strategy game. Continue here to read the full story.

Double Fine Public Prototyping Project

Double Fine Productions announces plans to open its annual prototyping project to the innocent eyes of the public. This two week process will end in the opportunity to check out these caffeine-fueled rush jobs carefully planned masterpieces thanks to the proud Humble Bundle folks through this page. Here's word:

Double Fine Productions is proud and not freaked out at all to announce that this year the Amnesia Fortnight Project, its annual prototyping process, will be open to the public, and that there’s no reason to be absolutely, unbearably afraid of this.

This normally-secretive process is named “Amnesia” because the entire team at Double Fine forgets what they’re working on, and “Fortnight” because it lasts for two weeks. During this time the company is divided into smaller teams, and each team must make a game in those two weeks. This has been a very successful formula in the past, so changing it only makes sense.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: World's Biggest Pile of Leaves.

Rockstar: GTA 5 for PC "Up for Consideration"

An interview on IGN answers some "burning questions" about Grand Theft Auto V, the next installment in Rockstar's open-world action series (thanks VG247). Along the way Dan Houser replies to a question about the prospects for a PC edition of the game, which we've presuming is a given based on history. Here's word:

Everything else is up for consideration. That's all I can give you. The main thing is we are not... we are a third-party publisher. We're not Nintendo, we're not Sony, we're not Microsoft. We love all of them in different ways. But we can do what we want wherever there's the appropriate business opportunity and chance to find a market. If that's on Apple we put something on Apple. Wherever it might be. I think that's the fun in what we do. We see ourselves as a content company that uses technology. We don't make it; we use it to make the most fun stuff.

Star Citizen Kickstarter Reaches for the Stars

The Roberts Space Industries Website shows that the crowdsourced fundraising campaign for Star Citizen has blown past all the goals they have set for it, and now stands at over $5.8 million with a few hours to go. They reveal the new content being added after the $5.4 and $5.5 million goals are shattered in what is now clearly the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever. They describe their final goal of $6 million:

Six million was what it would take us to build the game we were imagining with all the bells and whistles we wanted included. Well, here we are with just over eight hours to go and that impossible goal where everything is unlocked is suddenly in sight. At six million you’ll launch the game with 100 systems, a full orchestral score and a free copy of the first Squadron 42 mission disk, Behind Enemy Lines.

It’s not as sexy as the carrier, for sure, but would certainly be pretty amazing if we met every one of our goals. So let’s push this campaign all the way to the last minute. We can make this march!

Last Day for Hero-U Kickstarter

The Kickstarter for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is will enter its final 24 hour homestretch today to see if this proposed RPG from the developers of Quest for Glory will achieve its financing goals. This has been touch-and-go all along, but with the project close to 90% funded, a good last day will push it over the top. They offer an outline of various creative ways to support the project, and speaking of creative, they also outline "How Hero-U Is Different from Other Games." Thanks nin.

U.K. Sales Charts

An updated list from GfK Chart-Track reveals the 20 bestselling full-price PC entertainment titles in the U.K. for the week ending November 17th. The Sims 3: Seasons enters at number one with little fanfare (a comment on the strength of the franchise or the state of the platform?) and Call of Duty: Black Ops II is the new number two after a number two load of marketing. There's also a new sheriff in town on the all-platforms chart, where Black Ops II is number one, knocking Halo 4 out of the top spot.

Free Far Cry 3 with SSD Offer

Samsung announces that customers who purchase one of their 250 GB 840-series SSDs between Black Friday and Cyber Monday will get a downloadable copy of Far Cry 3 as a bonus:

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, announced today that for a limited time over this Black Friday weekend, its new 250 gigabyte (GB) SSD 840 solid-state drives will be available at a special discounted price and will include a download of the new “Far Cry® 3” video game from Ubisoft Entertainment at no additional cost.

“This limited time Black Friday offer allows consumers to dramatically increase their PC’s performance at an unbeatable price” From Black Friday through Cyber Monday (11/22 – 11/26), or while supplies last, consumers will be able to purchase the 250 GB version of Samsung’s SSD 840 drive for just $169.99, $20 less than the usual minimum advertised price. They also will receive a code enabling them to download the full PC version of “Far Cry 3,” normally priced at $59.99.

Op Ed

SlashGear - Sales Mean Nothing: Call of Duty Has Gone Stale. Thanks HARDOCP.
But I’ve had enough. The Call of Duty franchise has become one big, repurposed offering that gets customers to pay too much for what is essentially a bunch of new maps launched annually in November. Sure, there’s a bit of a storyline and the updates to online gaming are nice enough, but are they enough to justify calling the game an entirely new entry into the franchise? As far as I’m concerned, it’s just more of the same.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

This Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and since we host our family for the occasion, it is sort of our Super Bowl of annual entertaining. We did a lot of our shopping over the weekend, but we still have one more major run, which will include a 20+ pound turkey, and, if tradition holds, a half-dozen quick trips to the store to follow for "one more" forgotten item. I'm not complaining though, it's always a fun event, and I won't even pretend that nearly as much of the burden of all this falls on me as it does on MrsBlue (though she has finally stopped trying to threaten to make me cook the turkey since I keep saying I would gladly do it).

Shopping Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Incredipede.
Stories: Bella Opens Big, Bond The Biggest Yet.
German police stop man with mobile office in car. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: Solar vehicles in Chile race across world's driest desert.
One in 20 youth has used steroids to bulk up: study.
Images: We're supposed to be friends, computer... Thanks reddit.
Media: "Game Of Thrones" S3 Teaser Video.
Jeri and her Commodore 64 bass guitar.
Ellen Knows What's Wrong with These Photos.
Follow-up: No nation immune to climate change - World Bank.
John McAfee Starts Blog While in Hiding.
Confirmed "Star Wars" Ep. VII: Non-Directors.
Twinkies May Have Future After Hostess Bankruptcy.

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.



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