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Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012

  

PlanetSide 2 Launches

The PlanetSide 2 Website announces the official launch of SOE's highly anticipated free-to-play MMOFPS sequel:

Players can opt to play as one of six classes to aid their chosen Empire in global domination. They’ll fight for control of key territories and valuable resources on three playable continents – Indar, Esamir and Amerish. With an extensive skill tree and free-form class-based system, players will be able to customize their soldier, weapons and vehicles to match their play-style, as well as the needs of their squad, outfit or empire. Battles can last for days or weeks, so players will need to build alliances and specialized combat outfits to take on long-term strategic and tactical initiatives. With aircraft and ground vehicles, as well as infantry combat, the battles will be larger and more intense than ever before.

As players earn battle experience, they’ll increase their certs and unlock access to new roles and extensive customization options, along with a variety of weapons and vehicles.

“PlanetSide 2 is designed to enable player-driven combat where teammates rely on each other to succeed and survive. With so much control in the hands of the players, every day we learn more about what they can and will do in Auraxis,” said Higby. “We’ve launched, but development will never be done. We have tons of plans in place and content in development to help fuel years of battle.”

Ships Ahoy - Assassin's Creed III

The Windows edition of Assassin's Creed III is now available in North America, offering the chance to sneak around some American Revolutionary War battlefields in the latest installment in the stealth franchise. In addition to the retail version, there's a standard edition sold digitally through GameStop PC Downloads and Steam, along with Digital Deluxe editions (GameStop/Steam), and a DLC Seasons Pass (GameStop/Steam). Steam has a quick explanation of the difference: "The Deluxe Edition comes with the Season Pass, 4 bonus single-player missions, the official Assassin’s Creed® III soundtrack (mp3 files) and George Washington’s notebook (pdf file)."

Ships Ahoy - Hitman: Absolution

Today marks the worldwide release of Hitman: Absolution, marking the return of 47 and this stealth/action series. Here's word from the description on Steam:

Hitman: Absolution follows the Original Assassin undertaking his most personal contract to date. Betrayed by the Agency and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself pursuing redemption in a corrupt and twisted world.

Halo Team Seeks MMO Devs

This job posting and this one seek software engineers to join Halo developer 343 Studios, to work on "building the next generation of backend services to power Halo 4 and our new game saga." As noted by GameSpot, each listing has an interesting note under qualifications for an ideal candidate: "Experience in MMO development."

Legend of Dungeon Kickstarter & Demo

Kickstarter now has a campaign to fund Legend of Dungeon, a pixel art roguelike for Windows, OS X, and Linux by husband-and-wife team RobotLovesKitty. The game has a modest $5,000 goal, and to see if it's worthy of your support, here's a trailer, and there's also a playable demo of an early build. Here's word on that: "As you explore the sparsely lit dungeon, gather items and battle monsters you will no doubt end up dead, and like classic rogue, death is game over. Except with co-op, instead, you turn into a ghost and collect the glowing souls of monsters your comrades have slain in order to revive. Another interesting aspect of single and multiplayer is that the dungeon doesn't adjust for player count, so alone you might have more apples to eat and hats to wear, but there will also be more monsters for you alone to kill."

THQ Default Follow-up

THQ announces an update on the company's dicey credit situation. They announce they have entered into a forbearance agreement with Wells Fargo to prevent the bank from bringing the hammer down on THQ for its defaulted credit facility. The company also announces "that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with a financial sponsor regarding financing alternatives which may result in, among other things, significant and material dilution to shareholders." Finally, they announce the departure of Paul Pucino, their former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

On Sale

Steam's Autumn Sale Starts Tomorrow, According To One Developer. Thanks nin.

Portal 2 Patch Adds Local Co-op

Steam News has word on a new automatic patch that's now available for Portal 2. This has a couple of bug fixes and adds local co-op support. Word is: "Added 2 controller splitscreen support for Standard Co-Op. Press X on the second controller inside the first Co-op menu to activate it."

Natural Selection 2 Patched

Steam News announces the availability of a new patch for Natural Selection 2 to update Unknown Worlds' newly released action/strategy sequel with a number of balance changes and bug fixes, which are detailed below: 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: Portal 2 Sentry Turret USB Desk Defender (thanks Ant). Am I the only one who thinks of the turrets when I hear the Slinky in this commercial?

Ships Ahoy - Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage Trailer

This launch trailer offers another quick look at Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage to pave the way for this DLC for Borderlands 2, which is now available for Gearbox Software's first-person shooter/RPG on Windows and consoles. Aside from touting today's release, here's what the description says about this video: "EXPLOSIONS!!!"

Nuketown 2025 Black Ops II Map Returns

Treyarch Studios tweets that the Nuketown 2025 map for Call of Duty: Black Ops II that was removed from playlists yesterday. Perhaps reacting to the outcry over this, they announce the map has returned as part of a bonus category:

Just launched a new fast-action playlist in the Bonus category called Chaos Moshpit. Back by popular demand: Nuketown 2025!

Child's Play Underway

This year's annual charity drive is now underway on Child's Play. This year's likely-to-be-smashed goal is about $2.25 million, and they have already raised about a quarter of that total, which will benefit sick children with toys and games. Thanks nin.

Hero-U Funded

The Kickstarter for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption reveals this RPG from the designers of Quest for Glory has met its funding goals with a few hours to spare. This page has some details on their plans going forward as well as a video of a Google+ homestretch chat they conducted.

Strike Suit Zero Funded

Another just concluded Kickstarter shows that Strike Suit Zero has met its funding goals, and Born Ready Games is set to make their mark on the resurgent space combat genre, saying the PC version of their game is expected on January 24, 2013, with console versions to follow. Here's word:

The outpouring of support by close to 4,500 backers, who helped the Kickstarter succeed by an additional 75% beyond the initial target of $100K, means that in addition to the core game, fans will have access to XedMod, a lightweight and unified version of Xed, the development toolset used by Born Ready to create the game. As part of the Kickstarter campaign, Born Ready also offered exclusive PC beta access for the first thousand backers who pledged $50 or more. This closed beta is currently scheduled for early December.

James Brooksby, CEO of Born Ready Games said “We are truly grateful for all the support we’ve received and above all else want to thank the community. Their support has meant we’re now able to make the game we always envisioned, and we can’t wait for our fans to get their hands on it.”

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

  • Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage on Kotaku. Thanks nin.

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Well amidst a hectic week at the BlueTower we had our annual physicals this morning, which has caused a bit of a setback in posting the news this morning, for which I apologize. A final word on this must wait for our blood tests to return, but I got a very upbeat initial overview that I seem to have the metabolism of a runner, in spite of being amazingly sedentary. I'm not taking this for granted, and want to make a point of getting more regular exercise before whatever luck I've been experiencing in this area wears off.

Checked Up Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Stories: Giant boxing robots reality show unveiled by Syfy.
Santa stuck by beard at Reading shopping centre.
Science: NASA paint kills that new car smell, saves satellites too.
Media: Juggle-Playing WIN.
T-1000 Special Effects -- Part 1.
ESPN NFL Kickoff references the Princess Bride. Inconceivable!
The Funnies: Beyond Shuffling Cartoon - Savage Chickens.
Follow-up: Displaced Hurricane Sandy Pets.
Twohy Gives Quick Update On "Riddick".

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.



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