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Friday, Apr 24, 2009


Grand Theft Auto IV PC Fix

Games for Windows LIVE Forums have word from a member of the LIVE team that a patch is now available to address the recently reported stuttering issue with Grand Theft Auto IV. Word is: "Thanks for your patience, a new update is available that addresses the stuttering issue with GTA IV. Just log in and apply the new update." Thanks ReverendTed.

Demigod Updates

A Demigod Day 7 Report is a video of Brad Wardell introducing some of the folks at Stardock who are working on Demigod behind-the-scenes. There is also a Day 8 Status Report that outlines short-term and long-term goals for improving the action/strategy game. Also, Possible Solution- Game running slow is a short post about the possibility that Google Desktop is causing dramatic framerate drops in the game.

BlizzCon Beta Code Redemption

This Beta Sign Up Form is where to register beta codes received at BlizzCon '08 so that Blizzard can send word on how to become a beta tester for when the time comes, though what game this will be for or when this will happen are not specified. And this may not be for a while, as they say: "Be advised that it may be quite some time before this beta test begins, and this sign-up may not be for the next beta test to become available." Thanks Joystiq.

Stalin vs Martians Next Week

Mezmer Games announces Stalin vs Martians, their "historically inaccurate" World War II RTS game, will be released via digital distribution next Wednesday, April 29:

Mezmer Games today confirmed the official release date for the upcoming arcade-RTS game Stalin vs Martians, in which you fight as the Soviet Union’s Red Army to defeat the Alien invasion of 1942. The battle begins on April 29, 2009. The game is a joint development of BWF, Dreamlore Studios and N-Game Studios.

Stalin vs. Martians, as the name suggests, is a game both masterfully trashy and absolutely over-the-top. Fun and accessible, it takes a simple arcade-like approach to the genre of real-time strategy. The player controls the Red Army, as it defends Earth from the Martian Invasion of 1942, a highly classified military operation which even today remains a closely guarded state secret. Stalin himself conducts the mission briefings and later even becomes a playable unit.

“The game is ready for deployment,” said Tom Söderlund, Executive Producer at Mezmer Games. “Fans of historically inaccurate World War II games everywhere will rejoice.”

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits



Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Allods Online Announced

Publisher Gala Networks Europe and Russian developer Nival Online announce Allods Online, an upcoming subscription free MMORPG based on the Allods series of RPGs (the Rage of Mages series in North America and Europe). The game is described as fantasy meets space opera, and they claim the over $12 million in funding behind the project is "the largest games development budget in Russian history." Here's a bit on the game:

Allods Online will feature classic fantasy MMORPG gameplay that fans of the genre’s most successful titles can enjoy. It features extensive questing, intense player-versus-player combat, grand exploration, in-depth character development and plenty of social interaction. In the Astral, players will have the chance to put their wits and brawn to the test in larger-than-life Astral battles, the game’s giant fights between competing ‘Astral ships’ manned by multiple players. Adventurers from all over the world will have to choose between six races and eight character classes before choosing their allegiance between the two warring factions: the League and the Empire.

Weekend Sales

The game of the weekend on GamersGate is Space Siege, where they have the action/RPG from Gas Powered Games for $4.99, which is 75% off. Impulse is now offering $4.00 off preorders of Stalin vs Martians, the RTS game to be released next week. Steam's Weekend Deal is 66% off The Orange Box, so this bundle of Half-Life 2, Portal, Team Fortress 2, and the two episodic Half-Life 2 expansions is $9.99, a $20.00 savings off the regular cost of TOB, and almost $75.00 off the individual prices of those games. The GoGamer 48 Hour Madness Page has a large number of sale offerings, though you may need to hurry, as the date indicates they've been listed there for well over 48 hours already.

ARMA Beta Patch

Armaholic now offers a patch for ARMA that will update version 1.14 of Bohemia Interactive Studios' modern military shooter to beta version 1.16. The patch has fixes for a couple of issues with ATI accelerators, clears up a BattlEye registration problem, and attempts to address a problem that can cause the game to crash. Thanks Larry.

GameFly vs. USPS

Ars Technica reports that game rental service GameFly has filed a complaint against the US Postal Service over game discs that are lost and damaged in the mail. GameFly contends that discs are broken by the mail sorting equipment, a problem that persisted after they started using a protective insert that doubled its shipping costs. They say between one and two percent of the games they ship are damaged, but that preferential treatment of similar mailings by Netflix and Blockbuster prevents them form suffering similarly (though no breakage figures for either of them are provided).

Crysis Wars Patch Next Week

inCrysis announces Wednesday, April 29 is the planned release date for the version 1.5 Crysis Wars patch announced earlier this week that will add a new map to Crysis multiplayer. Word is the patch will be released at 18:00 CET, which is noon Eastern time.

Warner Bros. in Battle for Midway?

Citing "reliable sources," MCV reports a rumor that Warner Bros. is gearing up to make a bid for Midway, the developer and publisher that's been struggling for years, and even more so since being sold off by media mogul Sumner Redstone last year. They describe Warner's interest in IP like Mortal Kombat and Stranglehold (which is apparently a franchise), but the possibility remains that Midway's IP and studios may be sold off separately. They offer a direct quote from their source: "Warner is pretty confident that they will get Midway – which will be an immediate boost to their portfolio. The deal isn’t done yet. Midway is still open to offers from other potential buyers – but Warner looks to be favourite to wrap it up. They look ready to put the money on the table."

Fall of the Empire Empire

MCV reports that British publisher Empire Interactive has entered administration after what's described as a last-ditch attempt to find a buyer for the struggling company was unsuccessful. According to the report, employees of the company's London office were sent home this week, and Empire is "in the process of making all employees redundant." Word is Russian distributor and publisher Noviy Disk seemed interested in picking up the UK publisher of the FlatOut series, but those talks fell through. Administrator KPMG is expected to make an announcement about the fate of Empire on Monday.

Champions Online Dated

IncGamers and Strategy Informer report on attending an event with Cryptic Studios in London today where July 14, 2009 was revealed as the release date for Champions Online in both the United States and Europe. The event is apparently still ongoing, so more on the superhero MMORPG may be revealed today. Update: IncGamers has pulled their report, as this information was apparently under embargo, but the genie is out of the bottle now. Updated update: Cryptic obviously agreed about the genie, and this date has now been officially announced.

Gary Grigsby's War Between the States Patch

Matrix Games has a new patch for Gary Grigsby's War Between the States, updating the Civil War strategy game to version 1.040. The update is apparently complex enough to require some homework, as word is: "The v1.040 update includes a number of important changes to gameplay, such as an accumulating time factor that influences leader initiative, lower initial amphibious transport capacity, reduced Confederate ironclad production and adjustments to supply costs for depots and forts, among others. It is strongly recommended that players read through and print out the Rules Addendum (added to the Documentation folder by this update) to see all the important changes with references to the relevant manual sections. The in-game tutorials have been updated to reflect the rule changes, but the video tutorials do not include any of the rules changes that have been included in the patches made since the initial game release in June 2008."

Ships Ahoy - Theatre of War 2 announces Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 is now available for digital distribution or mail order, offering a World War II real-time strategy sequel focused on the battle for Tunisia. A playable demo for the game is available, and here's a bit on what the game encompasses:

Theatre of War 2, covers the events of 1943 during the operations in Tunisia. Players have the option to lead the German Afrika Korps of Rommel in their last full-scale attack or be at the head of the opposing English and American armies, led by Montgomery and Eisenhower, during 15 missions in three campaigns.

The game presents more than 40 types of different vehicles, new types of units, improved graphics and sound, a new advanced visual system taking into account the observation angle or smoke screens, combat inside buildings and hand-to-hand fighting, a brand new interface, improved soldier AI (e.g. soldiers independently search for cover) and an improved infantry damage system. Special attention is being devoted to multiplayer and user created missions.

Guild Wars Anniversary Details

The Guild Wars Website has more on the promised fourth anniversary content for ArenaNet's online RPG. The article has extensive details on a number of new and improved features, with each feature also getting a sub-page with even more images and details. The game's fourth anniversary is April 28, and the celebrations are now underway to lead up to the date. On a related note, ArenaNet announces that sales of Guild Wars has now surpassed the six million unit milestone.

Morning Consolidation

New Soldat

The Soldat Website has a new version 1.5 of this free multiplayer action game, or pretty new, as it looks like the patch came out last week (thanks Gamer's Hell). The change notes outline what's different in the new version, including a number of new maps. Downloads of the new version are mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

MLB Dugout Heroes Next Week

MLB Dugout Heroes announces this subscription-free sports MMOG will go live on April 27, though the open beta will continue to run between now and then if you want to check it out right now. Here's the party line on the game and how it works: "MLB Dugout Heroes is the first fully licensed and online-based PC baseball game in North America, featuring all Major League Baseball players and stadiums from the past and present. In addition to the MLB-licensed game features, MLB Dugout Heroes has many unique gameplay attractions including its unique and realistic leveling system which allows players to grow stronger and better as they continue through the game. In addition, special points are given to players as they complete baseball missions (quests) given daily or weekly, and these points can be used to purchase new players, uniforms, items, and more."

Op Ed

Planet Half-Life - Expecting Too Much?
The bottom line with any type of game, whether it’s professional or amateur is, it’s being made for your enjoyment with a lot of hard work being put into it. You aren’t guaranteed a single thing, so stop acting like the developers who make these products work on your unrealistic schedules and concede to your overly-ambitious goals. They don’t. There will always be a better development team that can produce something that looks nicer, but those less-than-perfect products may be a thousand times more fun, and you’d know this if you didn’t judge a book by its cover. - Captain, Report to the Bridge.
Personally, I believe gaming is all the poorer for the choice. While cockpit space sims have a lot to offer, so does the bridge simulator. There is a world of difference of being responsible for a crew of one and being responsible for a crew of hundreds; a situation that requires the need to set watches, organize boarding teams, and dispatch repair crews. Let’s face it; if you die in a fighter…you die alone. As a bridge commander, you are not just playing with your life, but the lives of your crew. What is more, as the operation of your vessel is very much a cooperative effort, success is a warm feeling shared with your virtual cohorts. As such, bridge simulators often evoke more than a bit of role playing on the part of the player, something commonly underwhelming in most go-it-alone cockpit sims.

Morning Previews

Gatherings & Competitions

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I'm doing a little overdue tidying up here in my office, as I've allowed the clutter to get a bit more out of hand than usual. Most frightening is the wire collection in a crawlspace that has taken on a Katamari Damacy quality of swallowing everything around it. From a quick inspection, it includes an amazing array of obsolescent cables, including serial cables, parallel cables, and a bunch of proprietary things that I can't even remember. I fear when I finally get around to trying to untangle it I may just get to the point where I take a wire cutter, or perhaps an axe, to the whole mess.

Tangled up in Blue Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: The Enrichment Center.
Red Moon.
Links: Tofulator.
Jasmine the Rescue Dog. Thanks Neatorama.
Stories: Some communities are printing their own currency. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
The Force Is Strong for Scottish Cop Who Admits 'Jedi' Religion. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
J.J. Abrams on the Magic of Mystery.
Science: Fructose-Sweetened Beverages Linked to Heart Risks.
Study: Pollution helps plants absorb C02.
Mission Impossible- The Code Even the CIA Can't Crack.
Auctions: Mapping a Human Genome, via an eBay Auction.
Race car powered with chocolate, made with carrots and potatoes. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Angry Video Game Nerd- The Odyssey.
New Meme- Auto-Tune the News.
Why Guys Outnumber Girls on VideoSift.
Follow-ups: Parasite behind European honeybee colony collapse, researchers say.
The Funnies: Abstruse Goose » Friends. Thanks Digg.

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