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Thursday, Jun 27, 2013

  

Diablo III Bans

The Diablo III website has word that Blizzard has banned more players from the action/RPG sequel for cheating:

"Play nice; Play fair." It's one of Blizzard Entertainment's core values, and it's something we take very seriously.

Over the last year, we've issued frequent rounds of account bans for cheating in Diablo III, and we've just issued another. While we may not mention each round of account bans when they occur, we have and will continue to monitor Diablo III for exploitative behavior and take action as needed in order to help preserve the integrity of the game.

Steamships Ahoy - Rogue Legacy

GOG.com and Steam now offer Rogue Legacy, a procedurally generated roguelike they cal a "rogue-LITE," perhaps because unlike a Roguelike with permadeath, this game features the chance for future generations to carry on with the fight:

Rogue Legacy is a genealogical rogue-"LITE" where anyone can be a hero.

Each time you die, your child will succeed you. Every child is unique. One child might be colorblind, another might have tourettes-- they could even be a dwarf.

That's OK, because no one is perfect, and you don't have to be perfect to win this game. But you do have to be pretty darn good because this game is HARD. Fortunately, every time you die all the gold you've collected can be used to upgrade you manor, giving your next child a step up in life and another chance at vanquishing evil.

Ships Ahoy - Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded is now available via digital distribution on places like GameStop PC Downloads and Steam. Here's word on the remake of the little perv's first appearance:

The first game in the series, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, was first published in 1987 and helped build the Sierra On-Line dynasty. Featured in a score of original software titles since then (not even counting numerous anthologies, repackagings, and cameo appearances), the series' namesake hero, Larry Laffer, is a bumbling, persistent everyman who just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong?

With the help of Al Lowe, Larry's progenitor and designer of all of Larry's classic adventures, Replay Games is remaking the landmark first game for an entire new generation (or two!). Expanded and enhanced in every detail and ready for both mobile devices and PCs, Larry is being reborn for the players who might've seen their parents (or grandparents!) playing Larry behind closed doors!

Although the games were marketed as "naughty," Al Lowe's Larry was comedic but never explicit, and the remake retains that standard. There's no full-frontal nudity, no four-letter words, and no on-screen sex. But we do have our comedic priorities: Larry is a story of a man on the make, and the game drips with innuendo, flirts with perversity, and oozes sexuality from every pixelated pore.

Mac OS XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Steam News announces the OS X edition of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is now available. This is one of those SteamPlay dealies, so if you own the Windows edition, you already have this. Here's a reminder about the game: "XCOM: Enemy Unknown will place you in control of a secret paramilitary organization called XCOM. As the XCOM commander, you will defend against a terrifying global alien invasion by managing resources, advancing technologies, and overseeing combat strategies and individual unit tactics."

Free Space Pirates and Zombies Weekend

Steam has word that Space Pirates and Zombies is playable for free all weekend, and that the space combat game is on sale during that time:

Play Space Pirates and Zombies for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time. You can also pickup Space Pirates and Zombies at 80% off the regular price!*

At its core, Space Pirates and Zombies is an action based, skill oriented, top down space combat game. It’s similar to the ones we knew and loved in years past, but now using full physics simulation and modern graphics for those oh so pretty explosions. But as you dig deeper, SPAZ becomes much more.

Instead of flying a single ship, you are in charge of an ever growing and evolving fleet, unlocking the rich tactical elements of SPAZ, all accessed at the touch of a button. Issue orders, change ships, apply fleet AI settings, all on the fly. At any moment the battle can change, and the Tactics Panel gives you the tools to make the battle turn in your favor.

On Sale

Evening Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Steam Workshop Royalties Expand

Valve announces the Steam Workshop now includes the ability to compensate toolmakers, communities, and mentors with royalties from the sale of virtual items in Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2, allowing creators a number of choices of where to direct payments, which "will be made from a set percentage that is redirected from Valve to the toolmakers, not taken from the item creator's royalty." A Steam Community update has complete details.

TrackMania² Valley Next Week

ManiaPlanet now offers an official release date for TrackMania² Valley, saying the next iteration of Nadeo's racing sequel is due on July 4th, a surprise since TrackMania² Stadium was released just one week ago. Here's word on how you can rally in the valley: "TrackMania² Valley will introduce a new rally-style handling, along with a 65-tracks solo campaign, a new set of blocks and all the power of ManiaPlanet (3D objects import, gamemodes creation, etc.)." Thanks Frans.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Video

This video offers gameplay footage (including the Batman voice) from The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, a "Call The Shots Trailer" showing the game's Battle Focus mode that gives turn-based control over the action. Continue here to read the full story.

Atlus Parent Files for Bankruptcy; Faces Fraud Charges

GameInformer has word (by way of CNET Japan, NeoGAF, and Crunchyroll) that Index Holdings, the parent of publisher Atlus, has filed for "rehabilitation" (a Japanese form of bankruptcy) thanks to approximately 24.5 billion yen ($249 million) in outstanding debt. They explain the "streamlined" process this involves, adding the proceedings will be complicated by allegations of fraud the company must address. Here's a bit:

According to Japan's NHK (via Crunchyroll), the company has been accused of inflating sales figures by way of illegitimate business transactions. This process, known as "window dressing" or round-tripping (selling to another company under an agreement to buy back the exact same number of units at the identical price) made it seem like far more copies were moved.

Additionally, company president and CEO Yoshimi Ochiai and board chairman Masami Ochiai have expressed interest in departing the company. Whether this will necessitate a trustee for the rehabilitation is unknown.

Satellite Reign Images Leak

The countdown timer on the Satellite Reign website should reach zero around 10:00 am EDT tomorrow, but Swedish site FZ.se has some screenshots from Satellite Reign in advance of the reveal and the Kickstarter which will probably begin soon thereafter. This countdown was first revealed last month and there are indications this will be a spiritual successor of some sort to Syndicate Wars, Bullfrog's real-time tactics game.

Strike Vector Trailer, Greenlight Campaign

A gameplay trailer from Strike Vector shows the progress on this first- and third-person space combat game made by four independent developers in just 10 months time. They hope this will help inspire support for their Steam Greenlight campaign, which offers details on the project:

With a distinct old-school feel, reminiscent to games such as Crimson Skies and Quake 3, Strike Vector will let you test your fighter pilot reflexes and skills.

You fly the Vector, the last pre-war hyper-speed VTOL, highly customizable and manoeuvrable Jet fighter. Your enhanced version can instantly switch between 2 movement modes :
- Jet Mode: reach high-speed, intercept opponents and fast evade incoming projectiles.
- Stationary Mode: strafe in all directions with increased precision, hold and defend key locations.

As a sky mercenary, you join the fight in this endless post-apocalyptic world war.
Fly across floating cities, military platforms, air slums and make these humongous structures your very own playground.

Continue here to read the full story.

Black Ops II Double XP Weekend

One Of Swords notes this weekend offers the chance to get double experience points in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Dan points to this tweet that states: "Vengeance is a dish best served with Double XP, so look for it this Friday, June 28 (10am/PDT), running through Monday, July 1 (10am/PDT)," adding that this indeed is for all of the military shooter sequel's platforms.

Op Ed

GamesBeat - Publisher-led video games journalism lives on. Unmentioned in releases, Deadpool also on PC. Pot and kettle both black.
Deadpool is finally out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360... It’s hardly a fiasco that so many outlets failed to realise that Rogue would be in Deadpool until being directly told by Activision; however, it still highlights the over-reliance of games journalism on publishers. The discussion brought about by the events of the Games Media Awards and the Spike TV Video Game Awards needs to continue. Improvements need to be made. Games journalism still has a way to go before it becomes just that — journalism.

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

Well, the good news is our new AC unit arrived. The bad news is that installation will not be as trivial as I had presumed. I got a brace along with it, which will turn out to be vital to the operation, because the bottom edge of the storm window is the high point the unit would have to sit on, and this is a ridge of aluminum clearly not engineered to support (much less balance) this sort of weight. The trouble is, even using all the included extenders, the brace is still not properly spanning that window frame, and it looks like the solution will be to create a shim out of wood to give the whole works proper clearance. Not rocket surgery to be sure, but this will still probably stretch my borderline handyman skill to their limits. Could be worse, though, at least there's no risk of killing someone by dropping this from the window the way there would be if I was doing this in an urban setting. Look out below!

Installed Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Hot Air Jr.
Reverse Boots.
Links: Tic-Tac-Toe squared.
Stories: "Knight Rider" Script Gets Retooled. Threeboot.
Goldblum, Pullman Confirmed For ID4-2. No schedule shuffling required.
Science: Father’s genetic quest pays off. Thanks nin via Slashdot.
Doctor claims breakthrough in race for spinal 'cure'.
Physical Environment, Dishonesty Linked In New 'Embodied Cognition' Research.
Images: The making of Space Mountain in pictures. Thanks Jeffrey.
Media: 10 Amazing Science Stunts.
Exploding Actresses.
Don't Be a Dick - Wil Wheaton Explains Wheaton's Law. Someone needs to start enforcing it.
Auction: Buy Matthew Broderick’s old movie computer and possibly impress Ally Sheedy. Thanks /..
Follow-Up: Mendes Still Uncertain About "Bond 24". Brett Favre would be proud.
Woman arrested for DWI driving wrong way on Taconic. Second of these since this nightmare. Thanks Devicer.
Mushrooming legal highs leave drug control system floundering, UN warns.

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013

Todd Hollenshead Leaves id

Todd Hollenshead has parted ways with id Software, where he was president of the Zenimax Media-owned developer after previously serving as CEO from 1996 until the Zenimax acquisition. One could suspect that a management layer would be redundant for a subsidiary of a larger company, but the statement on IGN says the decision was Hollenshead's: "After many years with the studio, Todd Hollenshead decided to leave id Software to pursue other personal interests," Bethesda's Pete Hines told them. "While Todd was not part of the development teams, he was an integral part of id Software’s success as the business head of the studio and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors."

BioShock Infinite DLC Released (Again); More Coming

The BioShock Infinite: Columbia's Finest DLC is now available on Steam, offering the chance to pick up the contents of the Industrial Revolution Pack and the Upgrade Pack, which were originally part of the Premium and Ultimate Songbird Editions of BioShock Infinite. As for the first new retail DLC pack for the shooter prequel, GameInformer notes a Ken Levine tweet on the topic: "DLC Update: We are working on it- have been since the game shipped. Things are going well, but plz understand: game development takes time."

Steamships Ahoy - Endless Space: Disharmony

Endless Space: Disharmony is now available on Steam, offering a new expansion pack for Endless Space, Amplitude Studios' science fiction 4X strategy game. A brand new trailer highlights the release, and the announcement includes word that this release is accompanied by a reward for all the game's players:

Haarlem, The Netherlands – 26 June 2013 – Endless Space players will see their universe extend massively with the Endless Space: Disharmony expansion pack, which will be released on Steam later today. Developer Amplitude Studios is very pleased to enrich its 4x space strategy universe and give the community a new level of complexity.

“I’m very excited to get this into the players’ hands,” said Romain de Waubert, Creative Director. “We’ve put a lot of effort into addressing the parts of the game and gameplay that either we or the community thought could be improved. We’ve come a long way already with the four free add-ons, and the expansion pack is the icing on the Endless cake."

As previously promised, Amplitude will reward its loyal players the ‘Sheredyn Faction’, ‘Endless Hero’ and ‘Automaton ship models’. These free items will unlock to all players upon the release of the Disharmony expansion pack.

Continue here to read the full story.

Divinity: Dragon Commander Video

A new video from Divinity: Dragon Commander offers an in-depth look at gameplay from Larian Studios' "dragons-with-jetpacks strategy opus." The clip features Larian Studios CEO Swen Vincke explaining what's going on as he plays through an entire turn in the game's single-player campaign. Continue here to read the full story.

AMD Catalyst Windows 8.1 Preview Driver

AMD now offers a Catalyst Windows 8.1 Preview reference driver for AMD/ATI graphic cards. The only detail provided is a list of compatible cards. Word is this is provided "as is" with no support.

Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers Released

Steam News announces the release of Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers:

Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers is Now Available on Steam!

Ignite your spark with Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers!

With over 12 million fans, discover what makes Magic: The Gathering the world’s premier trading card game.

Become a Planeswalker and travel the planes of existence unleashing a torrent of spells and creatures to devastate your opponents. Prove yourself in combat against Chandra Nalaar—a fiercely independent Planeswalker with an affinity for fire and quick temper—then battle your way through the planes to face the mysterious villain trying to pull Chandra’s strings.

On Sale

Evening Patches

It Came from E3 2013, Part 14

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: 11 Reasons it's Great Being a Guy. Thanks Ant.

Steam Trading Cards Launch

Steam News announces that Steam Trading Cards are out of beta, allowing to make like a proper pressure cooker and raise your Steam level:

Today we're making Steam Trading Cards available to everyone. Steam Trading Cards are virtual cards you can earn just by playing some of your favorite games, like Team Fortress 2, FTL, GRID 2, Monaco, Trine 2, Super Meat Boy, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and more. In total there are over 30 games with Steam Trading Cards, with more being added every week. Collecting cards lets you craft new badges for your Steam Profile and earn rewards like emoticons, profile backgrounds, and coupons.

We've also updated everyone's Steam Community profile with a new look. The new profile has a more concentrated focus on what you play and how you participate on Steam. There are new customization options as well, like the new profile Showcases that let you choose what you want to show off: favorite games, items up for trade, workshop mods, hard-earned achievements, and more.

Additionally, you'll see a new "Steam Level" on your profile, and when hovering over a player's avatar. Every badge on Steam now grants XP, which contributes to your Steam Level. If you've been a Steam member for more than a year and have at least one game on your account, then you've already got two badges. You can earn more by participating in events and sales, collecting trading cards, trying out all the Steam Community features, and more.

To learn more about all the new features, visit the Trading Card Update Page

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 Demo

Steam now offers a playable demo for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, City Interactive's sharpshooting FPS sequel. There's no word on the demo's contents, so here's the overview of the full game: "Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is the only multi-platform, first-person, modern shooter exclusively designed around the sniper experience. It takes the bulls-eye precision of its predecessor to new and exciting heights, offering more diverse sniper challenges; a rebuilt AI system and the thrilling “one shot, one kill” precision that made the original a huge hit, selling 3 million copies worldwide. Taking advantage of the advanced capabilities of the CryENGINE3, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 also delivers striking graphic environments." Thanks Frans.

Shadow Warrior Classic Redux Announced

The Shadow Warrior Facebook Page reveals plans for Shadow Warrior Classic Redux, an upcoming remake of the original Shadow Warrior that updates the graphics of the Build-engine first-person shooter/slasher/thrower. This is not to be confused with the upcoming Shadow Warrior reboot or the unaltered original Shadow Warrior, which is available for free. Word is: "Shadow Warrior Classic Redux is coming to Steam with updated visuals, a remixed soundtrack, and both the Wanton Destruction and Twin Dragon expansion packs all for under $10." Thanks VG247.

State of Decay Also RC in Oz - SR4 Explanation

A post on the Undead Labs forums have word that State of Decay is being refused classification by the Australian ratings board, following shortly after news that Saints Row IV was refused classification under the country's rating system, which was recently revised to include an adult R18+ rating. As a result, while the games will be legal to own in Australia, they cannot be publicly sold there. The post explains: "We've run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We're working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit." Thanks Player Attack, where, on a related note, they have a follow-up on the Saints Row IV situation, saying the problem with the game is the inclusion of an "alien anal probe." In spite of this being implied and blurred, apparently there's a fear of copycat crimes once alien anal probes are actually invented.

BF4 Alpha Invite Glitch

DICE's Daniel "zh1nt0" Matros tweets a clarification that while EA indeed sent out what appeared to be some invitations to the upcoming alpha test of Battlefield 4, this was due to an error, and no additional players are actually being accepted into the alpha at this time: "@zh1nt0 EA eabastian To clarify: We accidentally sent e-mails about an invitation out. This is not a second wave of Alpha invites. :(" Thanks DsoGaming.

Toki Tori 2+ Trailer

A new trailer from Toki Tori 2+ "turns up the volume" on the promotion of the upcoming Windows edition of the platformer, which is coming to Steam on July 11th. Developer Two Tribes also reminds us that all the new features making this a "+" edition are also going to eventually come to the original Wii U edition. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Morning Interviews

It Came from E3 2013, Part 13

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

It turned out there was confusion about the delivery date for our air conditioner, and it is actually due today. This makes a lot more sense than it coming yesterday all of 28 hours after being ordered, but two day delivery for free via Amazon Prime on a 75 pound unit still seems pretty impressive, especially in light of the warning that it might require extra time to process. It's okay, we've waited almost 13 years for this, so we probably won't melt by waiting one more day. Probably.

Probable Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Guardians.
Pain Tiger Show.
Links: United States captures Carmen Sandiego. Thanks Cutter.
Science: Rare tsunami hit East Coast earlier in June, scientists say. Thanks brother19.
The obesity era. Thanks Boing Boing.
Media: Grand Theft Toy Story.
Best of Web 5 HD.
Jimmy Kimmel Learns a Valuable Lesson About Car Doors.



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