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Monday, Mar 18, 2013

  

Origin Vulnerable to Remote Execution

Ars Technica has details from a demonstration at the Black Hat Europe 2013 conference showing a remote code execution vulnerability in the client software for EA's Origin on both Windows and OS X machines. Similar to a problem identified last year on Valve's Steam, this involves using a malformed URL to trick clients into executing unauthorized code, and the researches took over a remote computer by exploiting this behavior. They have a follow-up comment on this from EA saying: "Our team is constantly investigating hypotheticals like this one as we continually update our security infrastructure."

FEZ Coming to Steam

A FEZ page on Steam heralds the coming of a Windows PC edition of the indie platformer, something that's been the subject of speculation for quite some time now (thanks nin). The port has a May 1st release date, and here is the description:

Gomez is a 2D creature living in a 2D world. Or is he? When the existence of a mysterious 3rd dimension is revealed to him, Gomez is sent out on a journey that will take him to the very end of time and space. Use your ability to navigate 3D structures from 4 distinct classic 2D perspectives. Explore a serene and beautiful open-ended world full of secrets, puzzles and hidden treasures. Unearth the mysteries of the past and discover the truth about reality and perception. Change your perspective and look at the world in a different way.

Giant Aliens: Colonial Marines Patch

The Gearbox Software Community website has details on a new patch for Aliens: Colonial Marines they say is "now rolling out" on Steam, though it's not mentioned there (thanks Grumbleback). They note the patch is nearly 4 GB, which is the only way possible to surprise anyone with the fact that it's actually "only" about 3.5 GB. Word is this adds all the updates in the recent console patches as well as "several PC-specific changes, notably: improved texture resolution, various visual improvements, the addition of a mouse smoothing option, and some fixes for PC-only crashes." Gearbox Software Support has the detailed patch notes. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Shatter Haven

Arcen Games announces the release of Shattered Haven, saying their 2D horror-themed action/adventure is now on the Arcen Games Store as well as GamersGate, GOG.com, Green Man Gaming, and Steam. The Games By Design blog has an update on the release, here's the Launch Trailer, and they want everyone to know the game is on sale between now and a week from Friday. Here's word:

The 2D action adventure horror title has you solving environmental puzzles in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by Grays -- an unusual and powerful type of living dead that doesn't rely on infection to spread its numbers. Play through dozens of levels in pursuit of your kin, who are forced to scatter across the region after a breach on the family compound. Make your way through branching story paths that result in several different outcomes, all the while completing bonus objectives to reach higher scores and gold markers.

Team Fortress 2 Adding Occulus Rift Support

Engadget has details on how Valve is adding support for Occulus Rift VR headsets to Team Fortress 2 as an experiment in the VR support they've been playing with. Here's word: "No money changed hands; Oculus provided development kits, and Valve's providing Team Fortress 2's VR Mode. The casual nature of that relationship is reflected in Valve's attitude about releasing the new mode -- Team Fortress 2's VR-enabling update in the coming weeks is essentially a giant beta test in which Valve will measure and analyze the way TF2 players interact with virtual reality hardware."

Evening Patches

On Sale

  • Binary Domain on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II on Gamefly.com. Save 40%.
  • Cart Life on Steam. Save 30%.
  • Cities XL Platinum on Steam. Save 33%.
  • Disciples III - Renaissance Steam Special Edition on Steam. Save 75%.
  • DLC Quest on Steam. Save 20%.
  • F1 Race Stars on Gamefly.com. Save 60%.
  • Football Manager 2013 on Gamefly.com.
  • Grotesque Tactics 2 – Dungeons and Donuts on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Incredipede on Steam. Save 33%.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 Gold on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Lucius on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Monday Night Combat on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Monster Loves You! on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Port Royale 3: Pirates & Merchants on Gamefly.com. Save 75%.
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Resident Evil 5 on Gamefly.com. Save 75%.
  • The Secret World on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Ultratron on Steam. Save 50%.
  • The Walking Dead on Gamefly.com. Save 66%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

John Riccitiello Leaving EA

John Riccitiello is stepping down from his post as EA CEO effective March 30th, reports Polygon, saying he will be replaced on an interim day-to-day basis by Riccitiello's predecessor Larry Probst as they hunt for a permanent replacement. They have a copy of his resignation letter to the board, which suggests by its tone was requested. "This is a tough decision, but it all comes down to accountability," Riccitiello resignation letter reads. "The progress EA has made on transitioning to digital games and services is something I'm extremely proud of. However, it currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued in January, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. EA's shareholders and employees expect better and I am accountable for the miss."

SimCity Compensatory Games Revealed

The EA Forums now offer details on the promise of a free game to compensate SimCity owners for the botched launch of the urban planning sequel. Anyone with a registered copy of SimCity by the end of March 25th will be entitled to download one of the following games from Origin through March 30th:

Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)
Bejeweled 3
Dead Space 3 (Standard Edition)
Mass Effect 3 (Standard Edition)
Medal of Honor Warfighter (Standard Edition)
Need for Speed Most Wanted (Standard Edition)
Plants vs. Zombies
SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition

SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded?

Another tidbit related to how difficult it would or would not be to remove the online requirement from the new SimCity is posted on NeoGAF (thanks nin via Kotaku), where a post shows a snippet of code allegedly from the urban planning reboot that forces the game to shutdown after being disconnected from the internet 20 minutes (there's an accompanying post saying that the data files for SimCity are stored in the same format as The Sims 3, which means their inner workings are easily accessed through tools and techniques developed to modify the earlier game). Though this is unconfirmed, a 20 minute timeout does fit with Kotaku's report last week that they were able to play the game for a bit over 19 minutes after disconnecting from the Internet.

Updated Telepath Tactics Alpha Demos

Though not noted on the SinisterDesign website, new updated playable demos are now available for the Windows, OS X, and Linux editions of Telepath Tactics, their upcoming action/RPG. Details are not provided on how the new demos differ from the initial alpha demos, but it's logical to assume they are updated to reflect the most recent version of the game, and its recently relaunched Kickstarter.

U.K. Sales Charts

A new GfK Chart-Track chart reveals the 20 bestselling full-priced PC games in the U.K. for the week ending March 16th. Three new titles enter this week: Farming Simulator 2013 at #18, Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 at number six, and the new number one entry is StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. On the all platforms chart Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 enters at number four, Heart of the Swarm at number three, and God of War Ascension at number two, while Tomb Raider retains the top spot.

Oculus Rift Won't Include DOOM 3

The Oculus Rift Website announces that the DOOM 3 BFG Edition will not ship with their VR headsets as a backer reward as originally planned, saying: "Unfortunately, we’ve been informed that DOOM 3 BFG Edition will not support the Rift development kit by the time we begin shipping." They are offering a choice of alternate rewards to replace the VR-enabled edition of id' most recent DOOM game with the choice of a Steam wallet credit, an Oculus store credit, or a full pledge refund for those who feel this is a deal-breaker. Thanks NeoGAF via VG247.

Morning Interviews

Op Ed

The Seattle Times - Video-game industry not to blame for gun violence.
Just like any other form of entertainment, there are a vast number of video-game choices. Don’t throw the whole industry under the bus because of a few games that happen to be violent. And even with those games, there is no proof that violent video games lead to violent acts.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

We had an interesting experience over the weekend, albeit a boring sort of interesting experience. MrsBlue collected a speeding ticket recently, so I decided I would take the defensive driving class with her that she could use to erase the points off her license, since it would also lower my insurance rate, as I have no points to remedy. The presentation turned out to be a little scary, not because of one of those highway accident horror films from the old days, but rather all the students from the old days, as we were easily the youngest people in attendance. We thought there would be some kids there, but I guess they get all this stuff in Driver's Ed, and most of the attendees were octogenarians, and a few of them had enough trouble following the simple proceedings that it seemed the clearest way to improve general driver safety would be to take away their licenses.

There was one genuinely interesting aspect of all this, which was that in spite of me feeling I was humoring the insurance company by sitting through six hours of boredom as a gimmick to get a lower rate, by the end of it I felt it had reinforced and properly emphasized some good habits to the extent that I do feel safer out there. So there may be something to this. I would actually recommend others taking such as class as a result of this insight, but yeah, it was still incredibly boring.

Driven Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Give Up.
Links: Mario Piano Sheet Music.
Stories: Joss Whedon On Kickstarter And "Firefly": "It Doesn't Just Open The Floodgates".
Media: Death Star was an inside job: a Loose Change parody.
Social farter.
Launching a Model Saturn V Rocket is Triumphant.
The Funnies: xkcd: Aspect Ratio.



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