Archived News:

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King Midnight Madness

Here's a reminder that the World of Warcraft Community Website outlines locations holding midnight madness events for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft, which will become available as of the stoke of midnight tonight/tomorrow morning.

Good Old Games Update

GOG.com, the online Good Old Games marketplace announces two new additions to their roster of DRM-free games updated to run on modern systems. The new old games (huh?) they have just added are Sacred Gold, the upgraded edition of this hack-and-slash action/RPG, and Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games, a continuation of the turn-based combat of the original Jagged Alliance.

On Football Manager 2009 DRM

Electronic Theatre has details about plans for copy protection in Football Manager 2009, saying the upcoming Windows and MacOS football (soccer) game will use new technology created by Uniloc. The new scheme will prevent users from being able to play the game before its official release (apparently historically a problem for this series). This new Uniloc DRM will be activation based, so no disc is required to play, and from the description it sounds like they've been listening to complaints about SecuROM and are hoping to avoid similar controversy: "Uniloc’s software works in much the same was as traditional DRM protections, the user is given a number of personal licences tied to their activation key and can use these as required to activate/deactivate their game. SEGA have worked hard with Uniloc to ensure that the user experience is the best it has ever been with copy protection and a huge leap forward is the removal of the ‘disc in the drive’ requirement of previous years. We have listened to customer feedback and have chosen Uniloc as a result. There are no hidden surprises with Uniloc, the protection software is completely removed if you choose to on uninstall and there are no blacklists, or hidden drivers stopping other applications from running." Thanks N4G.

EVE Online Updated, Now on Steam

Now that the new Quantum Rise update is live for EVE Online, CCP's sci-fi MMORPG, Steam News has word that EVE Online: Quantum Rise is available on their service "for just $9.99 when new customers buy it on Steam before November 18th."

Microsoft's Steamy Ambitions

Upon the release of an updated Games for Windows client (described here), Shacknews has a bit from their conversation with Microsoft's Chris Early, the Games for Windows LIVE general manager. They will post the full interview tomorrow, but in the meantime they excerpt a portion indicating that MS ultimately has ambitions of competing with Steam as a digital distribution platform, as Chris lets slip their plans to sell full games through Games for Windows LIVE.

Evening Previews

  • Hearts of Iron 3 on GiantRealm. Dev Diary No. 5.
  • Mafia II on GamesRadar.
  • Prince of Persia on 1Up and again on 1Up. Thanks Mike Martinez. On the game's "hidden message."

Mobilization

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Uwe Boll Must Pay

Uwe Boll ordered to pay $2.1m for breach of contract reports that this director of bad movies, many of them based on video games, has been ordered to pay $2.1 million in damages to Fantastic Films International, a majority of the judgment for breach-of-contract, though $200,000 of it is for libel. A judge in Los Angeles presided over the ruling that supports an earlier decision by an arbiter, but there's no word on whether Boll has challenged either to a boxing match. Thanks Mike Martinez.

New ESRB Rating Summaries

ESRB Announces New Video Game Rating Summaries has word they are adding "rating summaries," to their game ratings, describing "a new, supplementary source of information about game content that parents can use when considering which games to purchase for their children this holiday season and beyond." The announcement contains a quote from president of the ESRB Patricia Vance, on why parents need such an additional resource, considering most of them make use of the ESRB ratings already: "Research shows that the vast majority of parents who purchase games for their kids are aware of and regularly check ESRB ratings, but parents can always use more help when making choices as to which games are right for their children."

Cyan Layoffs

Gamasutra has word of almost 50 layoffs at Cyan Worlds (Myst), saying the cuts at their CyanTest QA division are a result of SouthPeak's acquisition of Gamecock, as Gamecock was apparently the primarily client of CyanTest's quality assurance services. They say Cyan's current project is a port of Myst to the iPhone and iPod Touch. On a semi-related note, the Gamecock Interview on Edge Online talks with Mike Wilson of the recently acquired Gamecock, discussing how this publisher is probably better known for its antics than its games, when this is likely to change, and a bit on how buttoned down the games industry has become from the perspective of the fairly unbuttoned Wilson.

Wheel of Time Game Plans

This press release has word that film studio Red Eagle Entertainment is entering the world of games, as the owner of the rights to late author Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series says they will create a series of Wheel of Time games to accompany each of their movies based on the series, the first of which, The Eye of the World, is currently in production. Even more ambitiously, they say their Red Eagle Games is also to create an MMOG based on the series. There's not much more in the way of details about the games, other than they are being targeted at "all major videogame platforms, including consoles, personal computers, handheld systems and wireless devices." There's an article on VentureBeat (thanks Mike Martinez and GamesIndustry.biz) focusing on the riskiness associated with such plans. Those with long memories will recall Legend Entertainment released an Unreal-engine Wheel of Time action/RPG in 1999.

MotoGP08 Demo and Patch

A playable demo for MotoGP08 offer the chance to test drive, or at least test ride the latest installment in Capcom's motorcycle racing series. The demo is available from the official MotoGP Website and mirrored on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. Also on the MotoGP Website is an update for owners of the Windows version of the game with word of new installers for the various language editions of the game and a version 1.1 patch to address the previously identified issue with installing the game to a custom directory. The patch can be found on this MotoGP Support Page and it is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.

NecroVisioN Movie, Date

1C Publishing Website has a new trailer showing off gameplay from NecroVisioN, the supernatural Painkiller-engine first-person shooter set during World War I in development at The Farm 51. The clip concludes with a release date, or at least a release window, saying, "Coming Q1 2009." The clip is also available from AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and Strategy Informer.

Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge Movie

A new movie from Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge is now available, showing off the combat in the turn-based strategy game originally announced as Jagged Alliance 3D. The clip is posted on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Pyroblazer Movie

A new Pyroblazer movie show off more of the futuristic hover-racing in the sci-fi game due for release tomorrow. The clip can be found on the Eipix website and mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Wrath of the Lich King Early at 7-Eleven

7-Eleven Breaks Wrath of the Lich King Street Date on 1Up reports at least one instance of the convenience chain conveniently offering the World of Warcraft expansion in advance of its release date (selling tomorrow's game perhaps making up for a predilection for selling yesterday's hotdogs). The article points out that the expansion probably won't be playable until the servers are updated anyway, but a jumbo coffee and a Slurpee will probably help you stay up to midnight if you manage to strike heaven at your local 7-Eleven. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Alpha Protocol Alpha

Alpha Protocol interview on GameBanshee talks with Ryan Rucinski, Chris Avellone, and Matt MacLean of Obsidian Entertainment about Alpha Protocol, their upcoming role-playing game focused on the cloak-and-dagger world of international espionage. Delighting as we do with wordplay, we rejoice in the news that the game is now in the alpha stage: "Currently we are at Alpha stage in development of Alpha Protocol. Reaching Alpha is huge for us because instead of just dealing with single elements of the game we are seeing all the pieces together."

Mosby's Confederacy Trailer

A new trailer from Mosby's Confederacy offers a look at Tilted Mill Entertainment's upcoming strategy game focusing on guerrilla warfare during the American Civil War. The clip is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Supreme Commander 2 Announced

Square Enix and Gas Powered Games announce a strategic partnership and plans for Supreme Commander 2, a sequel to Gas Powered's real-time strategy game. There are no details about the game at all, other than it is now in development, as they say: "gameplay features, platform(s) and release date will be available at a later time" The majority of the announcement covers the partnership, which Square Enix calls one of the first steps "towards their goal of increasing western development efforts aimed for the global markets."

Ships Ahoy - World War One – La Grande Guerre

Matrix Games announces the release of World War One – La Grande Guerre, AGEOD's new grand strategy game that gets in the trenches with the first world war. Word is: "Gaze over an incredibly detailed, beautifully crafted, and massive WWI map as you control dozens of different ground units, planes, and ships. To add further flavor to an already chaotic and intense period of conflict, hundreds of military, economic, political and technological events can help turn the tide of war for or against you. Deftly craft new alliances and jockey for any advantage that can break the deadlock by using ambassadors in an innovative and intuitive diplomacy system."

Free Virtual Skipper Online

Focus Home Interactive and Nadeo announce Virtual Skipper Online, a free complete game in the vein of Nadeo's TrackMania Nations. The game is available now to download and play, and word is: "Take the helm of the most famous boats such as Class America, Open 60, Melges 24 or even offshore racers to sail the four corners of the world in 14 of the best competitive watercourses, either solo or in multiplayer mode." The game boasts "outstanding graphics and an ultra-realistic sea modeled and animated to perfection," offering "a magnificent simulation with intense regattas in solo or multiplayer mode." The game is an 877 MB download, which is available on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, FileShack, and Gamer's Hell.

FIFA Manager 09 Demo

A playable demo for FIFA Manager 09 is now available, offering the chance to kick around a sample of the sports management sequel. The demo includes the first divisions of six countries and four stadiums, while the full game will include 67 divisions spanning 41 countries and over 30 stadiums. Several other features of the full game are omitted, and the demo will operate for 90 days of game time, but progress in the demo can be transferred to the full game. The 876 MB download is available on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FanGaming, FileFront, Games On Net, Gamer's Hell, and PixelRage.

Battle.Net Bans & Policy Change

Battle.net announces a policy change for Blizzard's online service, saying they've identified and closed over 350,000 accounts for using third-party hacks to cheat at Diablo II and StarCraft II. They have long had a policy of banning accounts for cheating, but the new twist is that the CD keys associated with those counts have also been restricted from playing on Battle.net for approximately one month, and repeat offenders risk having their CD keys banned permanently. In conclusion, they state: "Cheating ruins the game experience for legitimate players, and we will not tolerate it." Thanks GamesIndustry.biz.

Dungeons and Dragons Online Plans

The Dungeons and Dragons Online Q&A on Massive Gamer Magazine talks with Kate Paiz, senior producer on Dungeons and Dragons Online, Turbine's D&D MMORPG. The conversation covers "Prisoners of Prophecy," the recently launched eighth module for the game, as well as future plans. These include the goal of expanding the role of hirelings in the game, the launch of module 9 on or around the third anniversary of the game on February 28, 2009, a bit on the module 10 that will follow, and the long-awaited introduction of Druids sometime later next year.

Meet Bill Roper

Meet the Team - Bill Roper on the Champions Online Website adds Cryptic's new hire to the roster of employees so profiled. For those looking to crack wise, the conclusion of his description of his résumé kind of beats you to the punch: "I’ve been in the industry for just over 14 years. I started by doing voice-over and music on Blackthorne for Blizzard Entertainment and then moved onto Warcraft: Orcs & Humans to create the world fiction, write the missions, put together the manual and basically everything and anything else they asked of me. Over the next 9 years I worked on the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo franchises and did everything from design to production to working with outside developers and leading internal strike teams to press, marketing and eventually becoming a vice president. In 2003, I started Flagship Studios (and later Ping0) with the core team of people that created Diablo and we put out our first game, Hellgate: London, in October 2007. We also were working on a casual online MMO called Mythos when we had to close the studio in July 2008. I’m looking forward not only to bringing what I’ve learned from the numerous successes I’ve worked on to Cryptic and Champions Online, but also what I learned from the failures."

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

A few years ago Hudson the wonder dog was injured in an attack by another dog as we walked the local doggie trail, an unfortunate incident I described here at the time. We've ventured back occasionally since then, but I've been a little too wary of a repeat incident to make it a regular event. Yesterday afternoon I brought Huddy and the Gunnar-man over there for a romp, and even as I was considering the benefits of resuming regular trips to the trail, Hudson had another run-in with another dog. Now just like last time, she did not start things, but she's probably more at fault this time around, as I think her "once bitten, twice shy" attitude probably contributed to the dust-up. Anyway, just like last time, as the other owner stood by helplessly, I dove into the fight and separated the dogs before either of them got bitten. The same cannot be said for me, however, as I felt a pinch on my arm as the other dog went after me, and when I saw the large tear in the sleeve of my leather jacket, I had to thank goodness I was wearing it, as it was clear that I would have suffered a severe injury had that bite caught my arm. It turns out I didn't get off scot-free, though, as there was a small wound beneath. It was more a scrape than a puncture, so I'm confident I won't get tetanus, but since the other owner and I parted ways before I noticed the wound, I'll just have to take it on faith that I'm not going to come down with rabies either.

Bitten Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Protector: Reclaiming The Throne.
Links: The Top 7... worst release dates EVER.
The Best and Worst Movies About the Internet.
Stories: Photographer races clock to honor last few World War I vets.
Service Dogs Give Hope, and Help, to Wounded Veterans. Thanks wingnut.
Portal to Maya "Hell" Found in Mexico? And the bar in front is open from dusk 'til dawn.
Science: Why a Speeding Shark is Like a Golf Ball.
Researchers discover fungus that eats trees, pees diesel.
'Super-microscope' opens at Isis.
Media: YouTube Contest Challenges Users To Make A 'Good' Video.
Louis Armstrong sings "Super Mario World".
Lightsaber Strikes Back.
Follow-up: Winner of world's ugliest dog contest dies. R.I.P. Gus.
Mars Phoenix lander goes silent, NASA ends mission.
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