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Monday, Sep 22, 2008

Auto Game Patching in Windows 7

ThinkNext has previews of all sorts of features in Windows 7, one of which is the ability to scan for automatic updates for installed games, apparently in the vein of the automatic online updates for Windows and Office. They show a setup screen where Windows offers the option of scanning for updates to installed games, and the installer does not seem to make a particular distinction about whether these are official Games for Windows or not. Thanks Shacknews.

Quantum of Solace in November

Activision announces November 4 as the North American release date for Quantum of Solace for all platforms, fairly close to the planned November 14 US release of the James Bond movie to which it is tied. They mention a deal for preorders for a couple of the console editions: "Beginning September 22nd and continuing through early November, those who pre-order Quantum of Solace through GameStop will receive an exclusive token for a multi-player map pack on Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 that will be available post-launch." They also note a Best Buy promotion for preorders that can get you a coupon for $10 off of any Bond movie on DVD. There's also a new behind-the-scenes level design video for the game available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

STCC Demo

As noted on the SimBin Website, a playable demo for STCC: The Game is now available via Steam, offering the chance to test drive this racing game that's now available in Nordic territories, and planned for release elsewhere soon. Word is: "The tracks in STCC The Game are short, technical and intense rollercoaster rides, and are perfect for an action packed racing experience. SimBin also informs that they have spent lots of effort on the track details to recreate the real thrill of Nordic racing and its atmosphere." The demo includes English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish language support. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Pipe Mania Demo

A playable demo for Pipe Mania allows you to lay some pipe in a sample of the puzzle game remake that recently hit store shelves (story). The demo is a 93 MB download, available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Ships Ahoy - Hell's Kitchen: The Game

Ubisoft announces that Hell's Kitchen: The Game is hitting store shelves for Windows, Mac, Wii, and DS, offering gameplay based on the reality television show starring the bellicose Chef Gordon Ramsay. Word is: "The game will allow players to step into Hell's Kitchen to experience the show's high-pressure atmosphere. After successfully executing the three phases of an order – preparation, cooking, and service – players will be rewarded with recipes from Hell's Kitchen and Chef Ramsay. Failure will shut down the kitchen and incur the wrath of the man who put the hell in Hell's Kitchen."

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

A few more tweaks to the server here by Frans have things running that much more smoothly. Probably the only apparent new thing is the change in how search works, as it now defaults to exact searches, with free text a secondary option, and the search options now show on this page. These are little details, but hopefully helpful changes nonetheless.

WAR Banhammer Striketh

A banning we will go, a banning we will go. Heave ho off the servers yo, a banning we will go! This is the cheery headline of the latest blog entry from Mythic's Mark Jacobs who says the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning banhammer has already been bloodied: "Since WAR launched we have been banning these jerks like crazy." The "jerks" his ire is focused on are gold sellers, who he hates with every fiber of his being, and gold spammers, who seem to be getting to most of those fibers as well. He says they have banned 400 accounts as of Saturday night, and that they have a zero tolerance policy in this regard. He also heads off suggestions that they are cracking down on gold sellers just so they can enter that business themselves with the following: "I’ve been offered 'a piece of the action' both personally and corporately in the past if I will either turn a blind eye or help them in their actions. This would have netted me and/or Mythic a very, very tidy sum, far more than we would see from box sales. My answer was and always will remain the same: Go to hell."

Hinterland Delay

The Tilted Mill Entertainment Website announces a slight delay to Hinterland, the base-building strategy game announced for release this past summer. They say they were going to release the game today, but by pushing back the release date for a week or two they will be able to implement additional features and content, based in part by suggestions from the community. They say: "We know this delay may be disappointing to some, but we're confident it will ultimately provide a better play experience for all." It's a far far, far far far, fa da, da da da. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

New Frictional Game

The Frictional Games Website announces plans for a new first-person survival/horror game from the developers of the Penumbra series. The game does not yet carry a title or a release date, but a preliminary Next Frictional Game Website is online, offering general info, some concept art, and a coded message sure to strain your secret decoder ring. They describe their goal of making a truly scary game, and say they have ideas from creating the Penumbra games they have yet to explore. Word is: "Though the project will have a large focus on freedom, story will not be neglected. Frictional Games have been hard at work to develop a multitude of new ways to tell a story and yet allow for a dynamic gameplay. The goal is to make the story and gameplay converge and create a truly engaging and unique experience." Thanks Gamer's Hell.

F.E.A.R. 2 Diary Movie

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Website now offers an ask the devs round 2 trailer, answering more fan-submitted questions about Monolith's upcoming F.E.A.R. sequel that recently changed titles (story). This time around art directory Cory Allemeier and primary art lead Dave Matthews answer questions about the game's art direction. The movie is mirrored on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

More on Testament of Faith/Sin

The Testament of Sin Website officially announces this point-and-click adventure in the works at City Interactive based on the discovery of a secret dating back to biblical times (and to think I have trouble remembering where I put my car keys). The game centers around a young female archeologist, though she seems to have neither a sports bra nor dual-pistols, and word is the game "requires fast thinking and impeccable logic." This project was first revealed last month with the title Testament of Faith (story), and the description on that website also refers to the game by that title, which we imagine stems from a confused translation. In this case Sin will probably win out over Faith, as the website URL is testamentofsingame.com. No release date is offered, but the site does have screenshots and gameplay trailers. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Europa Universalis III: In Nomine Manual Patch

A manual patch to update Europa Universalis III: In Nomine is now available, corresponding to the new version released through the auto-update function last week for the real-time strategy expansion (story). There are patch notes on The Patches Scrolls, and the manual version 3.1 patch can be found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

CD Projekt on DRM

GamesIndustry.biz has an interesting quote from CD Projekt on the interesting and quote-worthy topic of digital rights management in discussing the launch of Good Old Games, the DRM-free vintage gaming marketplace. CD Project CEO Michal Kicinski describes their efforts at overcoming publisher's resistance to DRM-free offerings out of fear of piracy, and their reasons for swimming against that tide: "DRM makes customer's lives too complicated, and this is usually because of some corporate ideas, policies and trying to be smart, too smart, in how to get customers and how to keep them and no let them go somewhere else. We are believers in the free market and bringing freedom to customers."

WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 vs. Tiger Next Month

Lighthouse Interactive announces an October 17 European release date for WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 vs. Tiger, their armored combat simulation. Word is: "WWII Battle Tanks: T-34 vs. Tiger allows players to experience the power of some of the most advanced tank weaponry of its time, as they battle the enemy head on during critical World War 2 campaigns. Its historically accurate representations of environments and vehicles (interiors and exteriors), realistic physics, and Internet and LAN multiplayer gameplay for up to sixteen players, promises to engage simulation fans in true-to-life tank warfare."

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Patches

New patches for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames are now available to update various editions of the open-world action sequel to version 1.1. The Mercenaries 2: World In Flames Website has downloads of all the patches, and the pdf patch notes outlines the changes in the new version, which are all bug-fixes. The North American patch is mirrored on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls; the Spanish/Italian patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls; the German patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls; and the EU English/French/Russian patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

Unofficial Command & Conquer Gold Patch

Command & Conquer Gold v1.06 is an unofficial patch for the gilded edition of the original installment in this real-time strategy series. This is an unsupported user-created patch, accompanying by all the appropriate warnings about the risks this entails. Here's word on what it is for: "This version includes several program bug fixes, graphics updates, mission fixes and new features, like the advanced options in conquer.ini, and a 1024x768 high resolution mode accessible through CCSetup.exe." Command & Conquer Gold was reissued as a free release in summer 2007 (story). Thanks Ant and Planet Command & Conquer.

Carbine Studios Interview

The Jess Lebow Video Interview on The Vault Network sits the Carbine Studios designer in front of the camera to discuss what he can of their unannounced project, described as a "science-fiction/fantasy-based open-world" MMOG. He says they hope to be making more detailed information available by early next year.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Happy equinox, as today is the first day of autumn or spring, depending on your locale. Autumn it is here, though last couple of weeks of summer have been pretty chilly around here. Anyway, hopefully we'll all get lots of good presents. No wait…

Autumnal Link: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Microbe Kombat. Thanks Jay is Games.
Links: RC Car Controlled Via the Web.
Story: Paws for thought- Pet dog fitted with £10,000 bionic leg.
Science: House Stands Alone After Hurricane Ike. Thanks Digg.
Media: Greatest Slam Dunk Ever.
Mr. Tisane Battles his Tea Addiction.
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