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Archived News:

Monday, Aug 20, 2007

BioShock Demo

The BioShock demo is now officially available, after a poorly executed embargo that prompted a request on The Cult of Rapture that folks hold off until now in order to ensure the availability of proper video drivers. On that topic, the NVIDIA beta drivers with BioShock support are here and the ATI drivers are here. As for the demo itself, the 1.84 GB download is available from 3D Downloads, AusGamers, FanGaming, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), GameDaily, Gamer's Hell, GameSpot (registration required), Gameworld Network, and PixelRage. The demo is also available via Steam.

ATI Beta (BioShock) Drivers

AMD Customer Care now offers beta drivers for ATI accelerators with the promised (story) support for BioShock. Thanks Overon.

Free Romanians in Space

2 Bad Design announces the free release of Romanians in Space, saying the space simulator can be freely distributed "as is" as long as no part of the game is modified. They also point out the boxed edition of the game is still available for a very low price. Word is: "The game has had a full retail release in Romania. It has generated above average review scores and secured a huge revenue increase for 2 Bad Design for over a year."

Evening Q&As

  • BioShock
    The BioShock Q&A on Rock, Paper, Shotgun talks with Irrational's Ken Levine about the making of their first-person shooter. They discuss the game's setting, the number of art assets in the game, the team, how long development lasted, controversial content, and the inevitable more.
  • World in Conflict
    The World in Conflict Q&A #2 on the Sierra Community Forums asks fan-submitted questions of Massive's David Polfeldt about the upcoming strategy game. Subjects covered include several questions about the demo, the tutorial, game merchandise, and more.
  • 2Moons
    The 2Moons Q&A on WarCry chats with Rusel DeMaria about Acclaim's western adaptation of this Korean MMOG. Topics include the game's low system requirements, class balance, how beta testing is going, and more.
  • Star Wars Galaxies
    The Star Wars Galaxies interview on WarCry offers a video interview from SOE's Fan Faire 2007 with systems designer Mark "Tunso" Halash and events manager Jason "Pex" Ryan, who discuss the state of the Star Wars MMORPG.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

etc., etc.

Into the Black

R.I.P.: 'Queen of mean' Leona Helmsley dies.

BioShocking Links! Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Cubex.
Amberial.
Link of the Evening: ExtremeTech Case Mod Contest 2007.
Science!: Can Fat Be Fit? Thanks j.c.f.
Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of Flight. Thanks Jim.
Auction: World of Warcraft's Spectral Tiger sells for $2000.
Media:
Unsafe at any speed edition
Best of -- Crash Tests Compilation -- Part 1.
Best of -- Crash Tests Compilation -- Part 2.
Woman Crashes Shelby Cobra. I'm guessing it was a kit car.
Teh Funny: Andy Capp. Thanks Payback.

Epic Can Fly

Epic Games announces they have acquired a majority stake in Painkiller developer People Can Fly, revealing that the Polish studio has been working with them on the upcoming PC edition of Gears of War:
Warsaw, Poland 20-Aug-2007. Epic Games today announced that it has acquired a majority interest in Warsaw, Poland-based game developer People Can Fly. People Can Fly (“PCF”) is best known for creating the hit PC game, Painkiller, but most recently has been collaborating with Epic on the PC version of Gears of War®. In addition the two companies are collaborating on a new intellectual property which Epic will be previewing privately to publishers at Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany this week.

The relationship began last year when People Can Fly was evaluating Unreal® Engine 3 to use for a new multi-platform game project. “PCF showed us their early prototypes within only a few weeks and we were totally blown away,” said Mark Rein, Vice President, Epic Games, Inc. “The quality of their work was extremely high, and knew we had to find a way to work more closely with them in the future.” Epic hired PCF to work on the PC version of Gears of War, and collaborated with them on design of a new IP.

“Working with this team of guys who love making over-the-top shooters was a blast, and we didn’t want it to end,” said Dr. Michael Capps, President of Epic Games. “And their work was outstanding. The multiplayer levels they created for Gears PC look as good or better than the original. How could we not jump at the opportunity to work together on a long-term basis?”.

“We are very excited to be working with Epic Games” said Adrian Chmielarz, Creative Director and Co-Owner of People Can Fly. “To be able to work with the best technology company in the business and collaborate on making amazing fantastic games is an offer you just can’t refuse. Making games is hard work but it is also great fun. Working with Epic reduces the stress of being an independent developer and lets us focus even more on fun side of the business.”

Lord of the Rings Online Updated

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Forums announce that the scheduled downtime is complete, and Book 10 for the Tolkien MMORPG is now live. The Patch Notes (story) outline what's new.

NVIDIA Beta (BioShock) Drivers

NVIDIA's BETA Drivers Page now offers ForceWare beta version 163.44 drivers for NVIDIA accerators running under Windows XP and Windows Vista with the promised (story) "Improved compatibility for Bioshock" to support tonight's release of the BioShock demo.

World in Conflict Demo Friday

Sierra announces plans to release a demo for World in Conflict on Friday:
LOS ANGELES (August 20, 2007) -- Sierra Entertainment, a division of Vivendi Games, will release a public demo of World in Conflict, the award-winning action-strategy PC game developed by Massive Entertainment, on Aug. 24 – the first day of both Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany and Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, WA. The World in Conflict Demo will contain both single player and multiplayer modes. World in Conflict will be available at retail outlets across North America on Sept. 18.

The World in Conflict Demo, which will be available as a free download, will give PC players a taste of the innovative gameplay and next-generation graphics that made World in Conflict the unanimous choice of E3 judges and media as the Best Strategy Game of E3 2007.

Included in the World in Conflict Demo will be:
    · Multiplayer combat for up to 16 players in a match
        . Map: “Seaside” (US vs. USSR)
        . Exclusive Bonus Map: Customers who have pre-ordered the game will also be able to play a second MP map: “Ruins” (US vs. USSR)
    · First public experience with World in Conflict’s epic single-player campaign
        . Tutorial: US Airbase
        . SP Mission 3: “The Battle of Pine Valley”
    · Skirmish Mode: For the first time, players will be able to hone their combat skills versus bots (available only on “Seaside”)
    . Fully enabled online support through Massgate, including:
        . Few-player-mode
        . Clan matches
        . Full access to Massgate forums

World in Conflict will be available Sept. 18 in both Standard and Collector’s Edition formats. The World in Conflict Collector’s Edition will include limited edition extras for hardcore fans and Cold War enthusiasts, including an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall, a bonus DVD from The History Channel®, behind the scenes videos and special packaging. Additional pre-order bonuses for the Collector’s Edition and Standard Edition versions of World in Conflict are now available at participating retailers across North America, including an additional bonus DVD from The History Channel® and other added content.

For more information about World in Conflict or to find participating pre-order retailers, please visit www.worldinconflict.com.

Crysis Special Edition Preorders

EA announces the Special Edition of Crysis is now available for preorder:
It’s bigger, better and packs more punch than even the most advanced of Nanosuits! The limited Special Edition of Crysis is now available for pre-order at most major retailers and will also be available at retail stores in North America and Europe on November 16, 2007.

This 3-disc set contains a tremendous amount of extras including behind the scenes looks and interviews with the minds behind Crysis at Crytek, and some of the breathtaking art that has had kept people buzzing since the game’s debut. Beyond getting the one of the year’s most anticipated PC games and first person shooters of 2007, the special steelbook box will contain:

    • “Making of Crysis” featurette taking you inside the making of the epic game
    • A unique in-game vehicle*
    • “Meet the Developers” vignettes with the lead designers at Crytek
    • The initial Crysis concept video that started it all, along with key trailers
    • A show reel of original concept and production artwork from the team
    • 32 page concept art book
    • Official soundtrack of all original music by the award-winning composer Inon Zur (past video game credits include Baldur’s Gate II, Prince of Persia and Everquest II)

Stay tuned as we continue the countdown to Crysis! For more information, visit www.nanosuit.com.

* Also available to those who pre-order either version of the game

Tabula Rasa Collector's Edition Announced

NCsoft announces plans for a Collector's Edition for Tabula Rasa, while will include exclusive content for the upcoming MMORPG:
Austin, Texas, August 20, 2007—NCsoft®, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, announced their plans for the Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa® Limited Collector’s Edition, which will be released to stores in North America and Europe when the game launches this fall.

This special retail box offers customers exclusive in-game items, including a special character emote, exclusive dye recipes players can use to create unique armor colors, and a unique pet. Players who purchase the Limited Collector’s Edition box also receive a briefing from Richard Garriott’s alter-ego in the game, General British, classified maps, an Allied Free Sentients (AFS) field guide, Tabula Rasa dog tags, an AFS challenge coin and a special edition poster.

The Limited Collector’s Edition also includes one month of free game play and a “Making of Tabula Rasa” DVD.

One of the most anticipated PC games of the year, Tabula Rasa is the latest title by gaming legend Richard Garriott and offers a strikingly new approach to the design of multiplayer online games by combining a vast, persistent game world and rich storyline with fast-paced action. The game introduces several innovative elements to massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, including a Character Cloning System™ that allows players to explore different character classes without having to create a new character. Dynamic battlefields and ethical parables make this MMO game incredibly immersive, where players really feel a part of the ongoing war effort.

“The Limited Collector’s Edition we have put together for Tabula Rasa is loaded with cool things for players who really get into the role-playing aspect of the game,” said Executive Producer Richard Garriott. “Regular players will find the maps and field guide useful as they move full-force into the game’s fast-paced action. Other items, like the dog tags and challenge coins, bring home the ‘brothers in arms’ feeling of this game even when you aren’t playing.”

When the game launches later this fall, players will find the Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa Limited Collector’s Edition at most local and online retailers and at the PlayNC store (https://secure.plaync.com/cgi-bin/Store.pl).

For more information about Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa visit http://www.rgtr.com.

Crossfire Renamed, Delayed

Eidos Announces... Conflict: Denied Ops is the press release announcing Conflict: Denied Ops is the new title for Crossfire, so Pivotal Games' two-player cooperative first-person shooter will now be part of the Conflict series. The announcement also carries a 2008 release date, representing a delay from the 2007 date offered when the game was first announced (story), and while the perpetually "coming soon" Flash Crossfire Website still says "only on Xbox 360" (along with the PC logo), indicating a console exclusive, the new announcement adds PS3 to the game's target platforms. Some screenshots from the renamed project can be found on FileFront, and here's the announcement: :
Previously announced under the working title of CROSSFIRE, CONFLICT: DENIED OPS is an innovative new two player co-op FPS from award-winning developers, Pivotal Games, and is the fifth game in the best selling Conflict series.

CONFLICT: DENIED OPS is set in today’s volatile political climate, focusing on two covert field operatives, experts in weapons and military tactics. The game allows players to switch seamlessly, at any point, between these two operatives to lay down covering fire, explore diverging paths through the levels, create distractions and pin the enemy under fire.

Making full use of Pivotal’s new Puncture Technology™, the game features a highly destructible environment, allowing players to shoot through walls to create sniping holes or blast through walls to take the enemy by surprise. Taking place in politically sensitive areas across South America, Africa and Russia, CONFLICT: DENIED OPS features an intuitive command system, non-stop action and Hollywood-esque explosive moments throughout.

“This is our first chance to develop a Conflict game for next-gen platforms,” said Alex McLean, Technical Director at Pivotal. “Working on the 360 and PS3 we’ve been able to take the series to new heights, with true next-gen lighting, advanced enemy AI, an explosive environment and unique tactical co-op gameplay. CONFLICT: DENIED OPS marks a new era for the Conflict series.”

When the US government needs intelligence but wants no association with an operation, deniable operatives are dispatched. Responsible for covert paramilitary actions, the Special Activities Division is a division of the Central Intelligence Agency, now the National Clandestine Service. Members of the unit must bear no identity; no objects, papers or clothing that could associate them in any way with their employees. CONFLICT: DENIED OPS draws its inspiration from this group of highly skilled individuals.

CONFLICT: DENIED OPS will be coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2008.

BioShock Demo This Evening

The Cult of Rapture relates a post from the 2K forums where Ken Levine suggests avoiding the forums if you are picking up BioShock this week, as there are plot points that will probably be spoiled as a result. An earlier post offers the news that the eagerly awaited BioShock demo is due for release at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time today:
The wait is nearly over. At 7 PM EST the BioShock PC demo will go live for you to enjoy. We will have exclusive pre-loading at Fileplanet. Set your watches for 7 o'clock!

IMPORTANT: Please be sure to download the latest drivers from ATI and Nvidia that will be available Monday for best performance with your video cards.

Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars Beta Reset Planned

badman's Beta Blog has word on plans for an account reset in the Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars demo, saying they are looking to stress the backend infrastructure for account registration and their ability to roll back statistics:
The wipe is currently scheduled for this coming Wednesday (August 22, 2007), at which point you will no longer be able to play unless you re-create your account in the manner described above. The statistics are also going to be reset that day.

The other test we’re running is currently taking place on a much smaller scale and concerns the statistics roll-back and restoration functionality. In the final game, we’ll be able to use this to combat statistics exploits, padding, and other unwanted activity. To make sure that rolling back and restoring statistics on a large scale is as seamless and robust a process as it can be, 5000 beta accounts have been randomly selected for this test and their owners have already been notified. Essentially, we’re be rolling back the statistics for those accounts by several hours, followed by returning them to their original, pre-rollback state. We’re taking great care during this process, but since this is still a beta, there is a chance that the statistics may be corrupted during the test.

CryENGINE 2 MMORPG

Korean developer XLGames announces plans to create an MMORPG using Crytek's CryENGINE 2:
FRANKFURT, GERMANY / SEOUL, KOREA, August 20, 2007 -- XLGames, the game company founded by Jake Song, former Executive VP of Development at NCSoft, and creator of Lineage, the most successful MMORPG game released to date, today announces that they have entered into an agreement with German developer Crytek to license the award winning CryENGINE 2 for use in their newest MMORPG.

“We are very excited to be working with the Crytek team again” says Vice President and Technical Director Patrick Doane. “We previously had a lot of success using their ground breaking CryENGINE 1 technology while at NCSoft for AION, and after seeing what it could do in the early previews of Crysis, we just knew we wanted to continue to work with their great new tools and engine”. Adds CEO Jake Song, “The CryENGINE 2 is in a class by itself, and is the perfect technology on which to build our future gaming world and business. Not only are the graphics unquestionably the best available, but the unprecedented ability it offers to physically interact with the environment will allow us to create entirely new modes of game play which up to now we could only dream of implementing”.

“Crytek is extremely pleased to have XLGames join the select number of companies who have chosen our technology as the basis for their next major project.” said Faruk Yerli, managing director of Crytek, “Jake Song is a true pioneer and legend in the world of massively multiplayer games, having almost single handedly created the original market for them in Asia. To now have his own company select the CryENGINE 2 as their middleware, and Crytek as their primary technology provider, demonstrates a high level of confidence in our tools and technology, as well as in our team’s ability to support their ongoing efforts to build a ground breaking new next generation game, not only now, but also for many years to come.”

Love is in the Air

Quel Solaar announces Love, an upcoming "First-person-not-so-massively-multiplayer-online-procedural-adventure-game" to be unveiled to the press this week at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. The description provided for the time sounds like another online endeavor that focuses more on lust, but perhaps its deeper side is yet to be revealed:
You wont be told a story, but you will get to live one. Its not what is given to you its what you do when you hold it. The more you give to more you get. Love your planet, and every one who is on it. We know you can, so just go for it. Its the right thing to do, and you know it.

Zu Online Website

The Zu Online Community Website is now live. Word is: "This site will be a resource for the testers and all players in the future, as well as serve the community as a place to follow what’s happening in the game."

Saga Q&A

The Saga Q&A on The Game Musketeers talks with Jason Faller about Saga, Silverlode Interactive's MMORTS game. Topics include a history of the game, the inspiration behind creating it, how beta testing is progressing, the freedom of being independent, compelling reasons for checking out the game, and more.

Morning Previews

Monday Game Reviews

Monday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy birthday to Joe "Dopefish" Siegler of 3D Realms!

R.I.P.: Ralph Alpher, 86, Expert in Work on the Big Bang, Dies (registration required).

Dopey Links! Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Story: Bears eat man at beer festival. Heed the threatdown!
Pet camel kills Australian woman.
Bank Robber Left His Resume, Photo At Scene. Thanks Neatorama.
Science!: Scientists: Artificial Life Success Approaching.
Poll: Family ties key to youth happiness.
Marburg outbreak in Uganda contained: WHO expert.
Image: Steve Jobs' Grave. Thanks Digg. The real thing would have Bill Gates dancing on it.
Media: Borg War: The Movie.
Alex Trebek: Drunk. Totally NSFW.
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