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Thursday, Sep 07, 2006


BF2142 Beta Opens

EA announces that beta testing of Battlefield 2142 will open up to another 10,000 testers tomorrow, with a paid subscription no longer required to test DICE's coming shooter sequel, though a free registration is:

The Battlefield 2142 public beta period has been extended until Tuesday, September 12. In addition, due to the overwhelming response to the beta, DICE and EA have opened 10,000 new slots to the public.

The 10,000 new slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting Friday, September 8th at 10am PST. A free GameSpy ID is required to participate.

A new version of the tuning beta is also available now, which already includes more than 1,000 changes to the game based on feedback from the beta to date. Current players will need to download the new client, but no new access key is required.

The beta has been a huge success over the past two weeks, with more than 65,000 gamers participating, helping DICE secure a clean launch for the game on October 17th.

Gold - Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales

Atari sends word that review copies of Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales are ready, and the game has a ship date of September 18, 2006, so we'll go out on a limb and say this signifies Akella's RPG is gold. Here's the description of the game they sent along:

Age of Pirates: Caribbean tales is a completely fully featured pirate-based role playing adventure game. Offering a rich gaming experience with deep character development and extensive open ended quests, Age of Pirates is truly the most advanced and fully featured pirate game ever made. Age of Pirates takes full advantage of cutting edge PC graphical technology and boasts a visually stunning 3D setting. The storyline offers players a passionate and involved plot without forcing linear play and player will find the game extremely open ended. In terms of action, the game offers both land and sea battles, from bloody sword fights on the Caribbean shores to epic naval battles with squadrons of warships blasting each other out of the water.

Sam & Max Dated

GameTap Announces Exclusive Premiere of 'Sam & Max' - October 17 reveals the official return date for the dog & bunny show, saying the first episode in the adventure series will premiere on October 17 for GameTap members as part of their subscription, 15 days before going on sale for the rest of us riffraff on the Telltale Games Website on November 1.

Stalin Subway: Red Veil Ahead of Schedule

The Stalin Subway Red Veil Product Section reveals that the Cold War shooter sequel will be arriving earlier than expected, a rarity in an industry in which delays are the norm. The site formerly listed I quarter 2007 as a release window, but that has been updated to read IV quarter 2006. Thanks Frans.

Galactic Civilizations II Patch

The Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords Website offers downloads of a new version 1.3 patch for Stardock's space strategy sequel. A complete list of what's new and different in the new version can be found in the version 1.3 Change Log.

Lineage II Update

NCsoft announces Chapter Five of Lineage II is now live and automatically available to North American and European subscribers to their MMORPG:

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 7, 2006óNCsoft has released Chronicle 5: Oath of Blood to Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, the marketís premier player-versus-player (PvP) massively multiplayer online PC game, in North America and Europe. The expansion is free to all Lineage II subscribers.

Chronicle 5 offers players both playable content and refinements of existing systems that make gameplay at every level more exciting. The Chronicle 5 content includes new hunting grounds, castles, clan halls and monsters. The changes to existing features are a result of feedback from Lineage II players, which Studio E&G has used to revitalize multiple systems to appeal to new players and enrich the experience of veterans.

The sweeping systems changes mean that new and lower level players will progress faster. New items and other enhancements have been added to make the game more rewarding at those levels without sacrificing the challenge that Lineage II is known for. Additionally, the new Academy in the gameís clan system helps clan members rapidly train up and become powerful members much more quickly than before.

Highlighting the challenges for mid- and upper-level players is the addition of Rune and Schuttgart castles, plus several contestable clan halls that are ripe for the taking. In addition, there are many powerful beasts, like the maniacal Prince Frintezza, who controls an insanely scary monster called Scarlet von Halisha by playing an ornate organ in his lair, and the formidable Benom, who lurks in the depths of Rune castle.

In addition, revitalized PvP systems and an increased level cap give players of all classes the ability to be successful and even more to aspire to.

Site Seeing - Portal Site

ApertureScience (thanks FiringSquad and Frans) is live as a viral teaser site for Portal, Valve's upcoming Source-engine puzzle shooter. Get started by typing "login", picking a username, and using "portal" as the password. Then remember your old DOS commands and check out the nuttiness.

The Late Show

  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two
    The fourth installment in the five-part series of movies from the next episode in Valve's shooter sequel expansion is now available on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gameguru Mania, Gamer's Hell, Techgage, and Worthplaying.
  • Savage 2
    The Savage 2: A Tortured Soul Website offers a new "beast building" preview movie from S2 Games' upcoming FPS/RTS hybrid sequel in four size/format variants. Thanks Frans.
  • Phantasy Star Universe
    A new movie offers new footage and scenes from the GC trailer from Sonic Team's fantasy-themed RPG. The download is available on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.
  • Medieval II: Total War
    Another new movie shows off more of Creative Assembly's RTS sequel in high resolution and a good portion of the clip is narrated by designer Dan Toose discussing religion and crusades. The download is available on 3D Gamers, Boomtown, and Worthplaying.
  • Super-Bikes Riding Challenge
    Another new movie from Milestone's upcoming racing game, showing a Honda CBR 1000RR hauling ass on the Assen circuit. Available on 3D Gamers and Worthplaying.
  • NBA Live 07
    Electronic Arts Germany offers a new trailer for NBA Live 07 with thirty-some seconds of hi-rez footage from the coming hoops sequel. Thanks Frans.

Evening Q&As

  • CellFactor: Revolution
    CellFactor: Revolution Preview on 1Up offers a Q&A with Jeremy Stieglitz of Artificial Studios about their upcoming shooter: "Physics are the basis of this game, and the core mechanics wouldn't be possible (or at least as interesting) without thousands of physical objects in play. What good are psychic powers if there isn't a ton of stuff to interact with? Of course, the PhysX hardware lets us push the boundaries even further than we anticipated, which is why in Revolution we've moved towards implementing destroyable environments in addition to pre-placed objects. This means that pillars, bridges, scaffolding, and various other structural elements now are potential hazards, weapons, traps -- creating emergent scenarios for creative killing."
  • Raph Koster
    Raph Koster to game biz: evolve or die on GameSpot recaps the Austin Game Conference session by the former COO pf SOE where he outlines the challenges he feels the industry faces: "Our signature moments are things like The Drew Carey show reaching in, pulling out The Sims and putting it on a TV show, things like some psycho kid reaching in, grabbing [Grand Theft Auto], and turning it into a court case. Those are our signature pop-culture moments right now. The high-grade achievements of gaming are not the ones that are going out to the mass market, I'm sad to say."

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Legal Briefs

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Thanks Mike Martinez.

etc., etc.

Into the Black

I really like the place I took the doggies today, it was very pleasant, and the people there seemed particularly kind. I am also comforted knowing they have each other for familiar company (they are sharing a private room). They'll be fine, but I miss them already.

Doggone Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Links of the Evening: Your World of Warcraft. Thanks the_culture. Scrapbooking meets gaming in a convergence of geekiness.
College Professors to Be Replaced by Apple's iProf.
Stories: Cell Phones Found Inside Four Prisoners. Thanks Mindstorm. Can you hear me now?
Drug use up for boomers, down for teens. Kids today…
Group says giant worm must be protected. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science!: Giant machine set to probe secrets of the universe.
Brain changes may help explain teenage behavior.
Media: Casino Royale Trailer No. 2. Thanks nin. Now that's what I'm talking about.
Spiderman 2 Doc Ok Parody Video. Wow!!! Thanks frag.machine.
World of Warcraft Meets China Coke... Again.
Follow-up: Catman will get truck. Thanks Jaxx.
'Mermaid' girl's legs separated. Insert Tom Hanks/Darryl Hannah joke here

Civilization Chronicles

Take 2 Games announces Civilization Chronicles (thanks Frans), "the most comprehensive civilization collection ever made" planned for release next month for an MSRP of $69.99. The anthology will include extras like the Civilization card game, a 96 page book on the series, a DVD on the creation of Civ IV, and more, as well as the entire turn-based strategy series:

The set will include: Sid Meier's Civilization I, Sid Meier's Civilization II, Civilization II: Fantastic Worlds, Civilization II: Conflicts in Civilization, Civilization II: Test of Time, Sid Meier's Civilization III, Sid Meier's Civilization III: Play the World, Sid Meier's Civilization III: Conquests and Sid Meier's Civilization IV.

Shadowgrounds Patch

Meridian 4 now offers downloads of a new patch for Shadowgrounds for non-Steam users, updating the top down shooter to version 1.05 (thanks Frans). Word is: "The latest patch is a unified 1.05 patch that removes copy protection from all versions, fixes minor technical and gameplay issues and has some features aimed at helping modders."

HyperBall Racing Demo

GabitaSoft Entertainment now offers a game trailer from HyperBall Racing, announcing preorders of the racing game are now being accepted. They also quietly offer the release of a demo for the game on their downloads section. Word on the game is: "You can race on different islands, each in a new setting. Go treasure hunting on the isle of the pirates or race along ancient historic temples and through vast bamboo forests on the isle of the orient."

Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War Patch

The recently released beta patch for Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War (story) has now been given the seal of approval for final distribution, and is now available automatically via the game's auto-update function (thanks Frans). The patch notes (featuring one of the longer URLs you'll see) offer details on what's new and different after the update.

Jade Empire Switch

This Take 2 Games Press Release (thanks Frans) reveals a change in publishers for Jade Empire for the PC (the Game's console publisher was Microsoft), revealing "Special Edition" as the project's new subtitle, and saying to expect the game's release in January 2007. Word is:

Jade Empire: Special Edition will be exclusively available for the PC and will feature increased graphic resolutions with new visual effects and fighting styles, as well as new monsters and enemies with enhanced AI. The game will also include customizable, intuitive controls and an all-new art book as part of the Special Edition bonus content.

Ship Sim 2006 Patches

New Ship Simulator 2006 retail patches are now available, updating the seafaring sim to version 1.4. The new version adds a new texture, improved controller support, and bug fixes (thanks Frans). The patch is available on the Shipsim 2006 Downloads Page.

Site Seeing

A teaser The Mark Website is now live as the stub for the upcoming counter-terrorism first-person shooter. The site offers some screenshots as they hold that spot open for the launch of the full site, said to be "coming soon." Thanks Frans.

The Early Show

A new Company of Heroes movie offers another look at Relic's upcoming World War II real-time strategy game. The clip offers in-engine cinematics, available on 3D Gamers and GameSpot. Also, The Crazy Machines II Website now offers a the first teaser trailer from the coming sequel to the game of mental mechanicals. The clip is just under 4 MB. Thanks YiYas.

Morning Q&As

  • Star Trek Legacy
    The Star Trek Legacy Update Q&A on FiringSquad continues their Star Trek week by talking briefly with Mad Doc's Gary Conti about the coming game that features all the captains from the various Trek series: "We currently donít plan on releasing a demo for the game, and we canít give specifics on modding tools yet."
  • Hellgate: London
    The Hellgate: London Q&A on HellgateGuru offer their third Interview with Ivan Sulic, tiring him out to the point that the answers are shorter than the questions: "No. Hellgate: London is very much focused on London and general European mythos. If we go Eastern with an expansion pack or sequel, then we will certainly incorporate Far East classes to represent that."

Morning Previews

  • Caesar IV on GameSpot. City Building in the Ancient World.
  • DEFCON on Strategy Informer.
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars on GameSpy. Dev Diary #2: Advanced Games Technology.
  • Medieval II: Total War on IGN. The Russians.
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X on Gaming Nexus.
  • NFS Carbon on IGN. Official Car List, Part 2.
  • Scarface: The World is Yours on IGN.

Morning Screenshots

Morning Legal Briefs

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Gatherings & Competitions

Game & Mod Development

Command and Conquer DEN has word to expect an updated version of the Renegade software development kit is expected sometime this week. Thanks Ant.

Help Wanted

BioWare/Pandemic announce they are attending the Austin Games Conference looking to hire developers for their semi-secretive upcoming MMORPG project.

Op Ed

Thursday Game Reviews

Thursday Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I am off at some point today to take the doggies to their little vacation getaway. As you probably know all-to-well by now I am a little mental about the dogs' wellbeing, but these people seem really nice, and I'm sure everything will be fine. Of course that's not preventing me from stressing about it, but if it was rational, I wouldn't be mental, now would I?

Mental Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Play: Online Alarm Clock. Thanks Digg.
Pie Craving. Thanks User Friendly.
Link of the Morning: BabyToupee. Maybe this explains that picture of Cruise's kid.
Stories: Fox's joke on fan just plain mean. Thanks Howard Stern.
Speeding driver blames lack of goats.
High Definition Star Trek Details.
Science!: Rover nears crater science trove.
New underground trigger for volcano eruption found.
Invasion of the DIY Robots.
Images: Demotivational Posters. Some funny, some cruel, some both. NSFW.
Transformers, Blades, Legend Pics.
Media: Blood Elf and Draenei Voices.
Rat & Doberman. Not even a R.O.U.S.
Teh funny: ActionTrip Comic Strip PS3 Delay.

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