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Wednesday, Oct 15, 2008


Left 4 Dead Steam Preorders

Steam News has word that Steam preorders are being accepted for Left 4 Dead, the multiplayer zombie shooter, which is due for release next month. There are no physical preorder incentives, but they are offering a discount: "Like the pre-purchase promotions happening at retail for the PC and Xbox 360 versions, those who pre-purchase via Steam will save 10% off the regular price."

EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey Preorders

GamingShogun has word that preorders are now underway for EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey, SOE's upcoming MMORPG standalone expansion. The announcement outlines the bonuses such an advance commitment provides: those who preorder the digital download edition will get a Void Beast Pet and a Legends of Norrath Loot Card, while those who preorder the retail box will earn an in-game Dire Bear mount, a Legends of Norrath loot card and collectible poster, and a pewter figurine. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Atari Publishing Ghostbusters Next Year?

Kotaku has a report based on a radio interview with Dan Aykroyd on 105.3 KLLI where the actor says the Ghostbusters video game is out of limbo (story), and will be published by Atari. According to the alter-ego of Dr. Raymond Stantz, the game is "about a year away" from release.

John Riccitiello: Game Assassin

Gamasutra has quotes from John Riccitiello, learning how much the EA CEO hates DRM, in spite of EA's use of strong copy protection, though he continues to dismiss the nature of protests about their DRM use, saying this of those complaining about Spore: "I'm guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn’t understand." He also restates his desire to continue to improve the quality of their offerings, saying the cancellation of Tiberium "is a perfect example of EA investing in quality." He also declares how they will continue to ruthlessly enforce quality with such moves: "EA will kill a game or two a year. Forever."

Love Movie

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has the first video from Love, showing off this unusual MMORPG under construction by the one-man studio of Eskil Steenberg. This pre-alpha footage shows off editing of landscapes, the game's sweeping visual scope, and even some combat.

Revised Gamer's Bill Of Rights - Stardock on DRM

Gamasutra reports that Stardock has revised its Gamer's Bill Of Rights from the version of this call to action they released during the summer (story). This is an interim update as Stardock says it is still discussing the proposal with other publishers. The noteworthy change is item #8, which formerly read: "Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers." This entry now reads: "Gamers whose computers meet the posted minimum requirements shall have the right to use their games without being materially inconvenienced due to copy protection or digital rights management." The news is accompanied by Stardock's full 2008 customer report (Adobe Acrobat) that also describes their views on DRM, delineating the difference between complaints about DRM they feel are "legitimate" and "illegitimate." An example they offer of an "illegitimate" DRM complaint is the objection if it "keeps people from installing the program on as many PCs as they own," while a "legitimate" complaint is "a program should not be installing drivers or other hidden files on the system that use system resources." They also have a post outlining Stardock's release plans, among other things, teasing Strategy Game 2010 ("Not Master of Magic").

EVE Expansion Announced

This press release announces Quantum Rise, an upcoming ninth free expansion for EVE Online, CCP's science fiction MMORPG. The add-on will be rolled out in stages, and the first part is already in place. Word is: "EVE Online: Quantum Rise offers limitless opportunity to the talented starship pilots of New Eden as the roots of conflict spread deep for their lifeblood."

Operation Flashpoint 2 Interview

The Operation Flashpoint 2 Interview on Edge Online talks with Clive Lindop, lead AI designer on the military shooter sequel. Along the way he says the follow-up will be a little easier than the original, bringing back Flashpoint flashbacks with his accurate description of how hard the first game was: "What made the first one really hard was that there was simply nothing there, and if you can’t hide anywhere that means death. Now, there’s cover. The other reason was that the AI in the original game had no fear of anything. It would see you from 400 metres away and take the perfect shot right through your eye."

Aliens: Colonial Marines Info This Year

The Interview with Randy Pitchford on 1Up talks with the big cog at Gearbox about their various game projects, discussing managing such a heavy development schedule as well as specifics about the games. They discuss the delays to Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, whether the game was publicly revealed too early, why they are so mum about Aliens: Colonial Marines, though Randy does think they will have some Aliens news soon: "I think you'll see something this year. But I don't know when. [Laughs] We're crafting plans right now."

New NVIDIA ForceWare Drivers

New version 178.24 WHQL ForceWare reference drivers are now available for NVIDIA accelerators, adding support for newly-released GeForce 9-series motherboard GPUs, and offering several application compatibility fixes. There are new drivers for Windows XP 32-bit, Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit, and Windows Vista 64-bit. Thanks MTE.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits



Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Hey! Happy Global Handwashing Day! Thanks Ant.

New ATI Catalyst Drivers

The ATI Drivers & Software Page now offers new version 8.10 Catalyst reference drivers to ATI accelerators running under Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Linux. The new Windows drivers offer performance improvements for Unreal Tournament 3 and Prey for HD 3800-series and HD 4000-series accelerators as well as Catalyst Control Center enhancements. The release notes for the Linux drivers are not yet posted.

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Patches

New patches for Sacred 2: Fallen Angel are now available that will update Ascaron Entertainment's action/RPG sequel to version The separate patches for the UK, French, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, and Hungarian editions of the game can all be found on AtomicGamer and FileFront.

Warhammer Online Patched

Warhammer Online Website has word that the planned outage for server upgrades for Mythic's MMORPG were completed sooner than expected and all North American and Oceanic servers are back online running the new version 1.0.3. These patch notes outline the changes in the new version 1.0.3, which include a new regional chat system, an improved /ignore command, improved pet behavior, a "report gold seller" option, and more.

Far Cry 2 DRM Follow-up

DRM is official on the Far Cry 2 Forums is a post by a user reporting that a conversation with a Ubisoft representative about DRM in Far Cry 2, and a subsequent post by a Ubi Forum Manager confirms the use of the SecuROM DRM indicated on the French Ubisoft Shop yesterday (story). On a semi-related note, Riccitiello Says DRM a Minority Controversy has comments from the EA CEO saying he feels that Digital Rights management only represents an issue for 0.2% of their users: "We're still working out the kinks. We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice. But for the other .2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it." Ubisoft has not answered our mails on the topic, but here is the forum post on the Far Cry 2 DRM:

Some DRM points that will hopefully answer some of your questions and will clarify some misunderstandings about our DRM and SecuROM:

- You have 5 activations on 3 separate PCs.

- Uninstalling the game “refunds” an activation. This process is called “revoke”, so as long as you complete proper uninstall you will be able to install the game an unlimited number of times on 3 systems.

- You can upgrade your computer as many time as you want (using our revoke system)

- Ubisoft is committed to the support of our games, and additional activations can be provided.

- Ubisoft is committed to the long term support of our games: you’ll always be able to play Far Cry 2.

World of Goo Demo, EU Steam Clarification

The 2D Boy Website now offers a playable demo for World of Goo, the indie puzzle game that recently hit the tubes (story). The demo includes the entire first chapter of the game. Also, as noted on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the game is not available on Steam for European users, which is explained as some sort of contractual accident. On this topic, however, 2D Boy points out that the version for sale on their website "is 100% region free."

Morning Consolidation

Blizzard Video Interviews

The Frank Pearce Interview on StarCraftWire.Net talks with the Blizzard cofounder at the just completed BlizzCon event, talking about Diablo III, StarCraft II, and more. They also discuss the planned direction for the World of Warcraft team after the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, and even get a couple of mentions of Blizzard's still-unannounced fourth project. There is also a new video interview on Diii.Net where Jay Wilson answers more questions about Diablo III, discussing things like runes, the removal of assignable attributes, and drop rates of that sweet, sweet lewt. Meanwhile, there's a video of the BlizzCon 2008 Diablo III Gameplay, Classes, Skills Presentation Slideshow on PlanetDiablo. Finally, PlanetDiablo also has a video of Diablo III music being performed by VideoGamesLive.

Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway ATI Bug

The Gearbox Software Forums have word on a bug in Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway that slipped through which can cause crashes or slowdowns on the Black Friday level of the World War II shooter sequel. According to Gearbox: "If you have an ATI graphics card and are seeing crashes or severe slowdowns when playing the Black Friday level (the one with rain), it is a known problem with the ATI driver. We are working on a patch and are trying to make it available as soon as possible." Thanks PawPaw.

Morning Previews


Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Okay, I misinterpreted the "code view" that Frans added to the forums last week as a way of getting smilies to stop showing up in URLs and other posts, but now he has changed the way these smilies are handled to allow these characters to display properly if they are not surround by spaces. There's also a new code to insert actual URLs. Good stuff. Thanks Frans!

Coded Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Knight Rider. Thanks Efflixi.
The eyeballing game.
Links: Concept Design Brings Back The Floppy Disk.
Stories: Flaming Squirrel Blamed For Redding Wildfire. Thanks Roger.
CRUNCH! Potato chip trucks collide. Thanks jenkfj.
Puppy stays in Iraq, Army tells soldier.
Science: City hopes to shuttle people in futuristic 'podcars'.
Images: Then and Now: How (More of) your Favorite Classics Evolved.
Creepy minifigs. Thanks Morgan19.
Media: Just Say No To Nicolas Cage Movies PSA. NSFW.
POV- Failing a Test. NSFW.
Follow-up: Russian spacecraft docks with orbital station. Thanks Kris.

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