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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned

Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned Unveiled on IGN is a Q&A with Alex Peters of Propaganda Games who reveals they are working on Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned, an open-world action/RPG for Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360 for publisher Disney Interactive Studios. The conversation reveals this is a prequel to the movie series, how there will be both land and sea to explore, and a few other details about gameplay. No release date is offered, but they have a piece of artwork and a screenshot we suspect may also be concept art.

Team Fortress 2 Update

Steam News has details on a new update that's now automatically available for Team Fortress 2, Valve's teamplay shooter. The new version fixes Ambassador critical hits for headshots, tweaks the Dead Ringer, makes server log improvements, and fixes a couple of bugs, including a pee-jar crashing problem (yum!).

Mafia II Delay

Mafia II is delayed until the first half of 2K Games' 2010 fiscal year, which concludes April 30, 2010, and console western shooter Red Dead Redemption is delayed until that point as well. The delays are reported in this Reuters report along with the company's Q2 2009 results, which were better than projected, but still show a loss compared with profits in the same period last year when they released GTA4. The delays are described as necessary by a spokesperson: "We have a pretty stern policy at Take-Two about serving no wine before its time."

Jumpgate Evolution Delay

A Jumpgate Evolution Development Update on the Codemasters Forum breaks the news that Jumpgate Evolution is delayed, and NetDevil's MMO space-combat remake is not going to be released in June as planned, and they are not offering a revised release date at this point. The update, written by Scott Brown, says that the game is actually feature-complete, but that friends and family testing has allowed them to see the game's shortcomings in its current state through fresh eyes, and they are working on making a more fun experience. Word is:

Based on these results, it is clear that the product needs more time to meet its objectives. As an example, we have received and read lots of feedback regarding the instanced and public PvP systems. The feedback has been vital in helping us polish and improve this core feature of the game. We take a lot of time in digesting and considering what people say and take feedback seriously. Given that situation I can tell you that we would rather delay the release, than let you down by releasing an unfinished product. We will continue development past June while extending the test schedules and respond to the results of those tests.

Ships Ahoy - Delta Force Xtreme 2

The NovaLogic Website announces Delta Force Xtreme 2 is now available for online purchase via Direct2Drive. The boxed version of the military shooter sequel is expected in North American stores on June 2.

Gatheryn Beta Signups

MindFuse Games is now accepting signups from those interested in beta testing Gatheryn, their upcoming Victorian-themed MMO adventure game. Word is: "Mindfuse intends to start with a small number of beta testers, but that number will grow rapidly over the course of the beta phase, which will extend until the game’s launch later this year."

Dev Coasts Soar

The Interview with Krome's Robert Walsh on Develop highlights the increasing cost of game development: "I think that’s one thing that the press, to a certain extent, is forgetting. They’re saying sales have increased over ten percent since last year or whatever; I mean, dev costs have probably doubled or tripled in the console transition. To go back to the PS2 days, not too many people were making ten million dollar PS2 games." Thanks GameBizBlog. On a semi-related note, the results of The Develop Quality of Life Survey are now online.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Tech Bits



Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

BioShock 2 Release Dates

The Cult of Rapture has release dates for BioShock 2, saying the Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 editions of 2K's underwater shooter sequel will hit North American store shelves on November 3, after being released in all other territories on October 30.

UT3 Black Free Weekend Preloads

Epic Games announces that preloads are underway for the Unreal Tournament III Black Free Weekend on Steam that will begin on Thursday. Unreal Tournament III Black is how they are referring to UT3 with the addition of the Titan Bonus pack, and they also point out the multiplayer shooter is further improved since the previous free weekend with the addition of the recently released version 2.1 patch. Full details are on the Steam Website, where they also point to new Phase 3 results in the Make Something Unreal contest.

NecroVisioN NA Ships, AU Cut Details

Aspyr Media announces that NecroVisioN is now available in North America, providing the chance to experience this supernatural first-person shooter set during World War I. The game is already available in Europe, and it is now in North American stores (free of DRM), and available for digital distribution via GameAgent. Word is: "NecroVisioN is the spiritual successor to Painkiller, created by some of the people from the original developer. NecroVisioN is a first-person shooter that blends fast action, fun First World War combat and magical weaponry with zombies and vampires in an occult world. The year is 1916. A young American joins the British Army in WWI to experience the adventure of his life and soon realizes that a greater evil is hiding beneath the Great War storm. He has to face the underground world of vampires, demons, evil genius creatures and even become a demon himself to rescue humanity from the forces of darkness." On a related topic, Games On Net has details on what is changed after the game's banning in Australia to allow the game to be sold in Australia, saying some of the game's gore has been toned down (for example blood spurts now appear as dust clouds).

BattleForge Free

The BattleForge Website announces this card-based strategy game is now free to download, and play, just three weeks after a price reduction on the game. Booster packs for the game can still be purchased, but word is: "With Play4Free you can now explore the full world of BattleForge, for free! An army of 32 units from all factions awaits your command. Lead your forces in single player scenarios now, or team up with your friends in epic co-op real time battles."

Company of Heroes Map Details

There's a New Panzerkrieg Map Feature on the Company of Heroes Website with details on the promised new map for Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor and a few screenshots offering a look at it. The map is called "Hébécrevon," and they say: "This map is a derivative of mission eleven of the original Invasion of Normandy campaign where you battled a number of hidden Panthers. Considering that this map was originally designed to be a tank and vehicle battle map, we felt it had great potential to serve as the basis for a Panzerkrieg map. Thus Panzerkrieg: Hébécrevon was born."

Cities XL MMO Details

Monte Cristo has released new Cities XL Details outlining subscription fees and other details about the persistent aspects of the upcoming urban planning game. The monthly fees are in Euros: one month is 7€, three months are 5€/month, and six months are 4.5€/month. Finances aside, here's a bit on persistent gameplay:

Multiplayer gameplay both in-game and on the web:

    • Trade resources with other players to develop economic strategies, specialise your cities, maximise your possibilities in a global economy
    • Work cooperatively to build Mega Structures – special buildings that enhance your city aesthetically and economically
    • Web-based city management -- check your trade contracts, receive alerts, adjust your decisions from any computer in the world

Persistent MMO world:

    • Each player receives five slots to build five persistent cities on different Planets
    • Contribute to the life and statistics of the Planets (economics, population, pollution…): what you do has an impact on the world

Community features and animations in-game and on the web:

    • Visit one another’s cities, see other players’ creations and content, chat with other players     • Create and participate in online events, discover virtual cities and real people

Ships Ahoy - Restaurant Empire II

Paradox Interactive announces the release of Restaurant Empire II, Enlight's casual cook-'em-up sequel, which is now available for online purchase from GamersGate. A playable demo is promised, but not yet available, but a video on the YouTube offers a look at the game's sizzling strategy.

CoH Architect Badges Axed

The City of Heroes Forums have word that a number of badges are being removed from City of Heroes since the Mission Architect system has been so thoroughly exploited by players. Giving players the opportunity to create their own missions seemed like a good idea at the time, but now word is: "What this means for the Mission Architect badges is that many of them are going to be removed in Issue 15. This is because they encouraged farming, because they encouraged aberrant behavior by doing one thing over and over again, they were unobtainable by a large portion of our players, or earning them was completely out of a player’s hands and in the hands of other players." Thanks IncGamers.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat Interview

GSC On Call Of Pripyat on Rock, Paper, Shotgun is an interview with GSC Game World's Oleg Yavorsky about S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat, the upcoming continuation of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of shooters. Topics include lessons learned from the Clear Sky prequel, new areas, changes to the A-Life system, the new Sleep function, freeplay mode, and more.

Tim Sweeney Interview

From The Past To The Future- Tim Sweeney Talks on Gamasutra is an extensive interview with the Technical Director and CEO of Epic Games about his background and his work. Some of the specifics covered include his early days as a hobbyist programmer, the Origins of ZZT and Epic, his education, his BBS, Xargon, Jazz Jackrabbit, Jill of the Jungle, shareware publishing, their entry into the shooter scene, and where the future of computer and video gaming lies.

Op Ed

Significant Bits - What made those old, 2D platformers so great? Thanks Mike Martinez.
It’s important to note that the majority of 8-bit and 16-bit games actually ran at 60 frames-per-second. Sure, many of the animations might’ve been composed of only 2-3 frames, but the actual motion of the sprites was very smooth. This not only aided the physics, but also created a very dynamic sense of movement.

Gamasutra - Ditch The Script -- The Art Of Developer PR.
In this way, the press' first contact with a game is extremely artificial. Usually, the precise quotes cooked up in a prep session between the devs showing the game and the marketing team are exactly the ones that make it into the preview stories. "Successful" marketing campaigns will maintain this artifice all the way up until the game's launch. At which point everyone's usually disappointed, of course.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

How hot does cast iron get in a charcoal grill? Hot enough to melt through heavy-duty fireplace gloves is what I learned over the weekend, when I used my gloved hand to brace a cast iron smoking box as I moved it out of the fire, and managed to collect a burn in under a second. I stopped cooking my finger quickly enough that it didn't blister, but it is very painful, so as a two-finger-typist, I am at half-capacity for the moment.

R.I.P.: Former Wilco member Jay Bennett dead at 45. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Hot Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: RepliCat. Thanks Jay is Games.
Science: At NIF, a Quest for Fusion Energy (or Maybe Folly). Thanks j.c.f.
The Great Ethanol Scam. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: Let's Be Friends. Thanks MrKawfy.
With High-Speed Camera, Glimpsing Worlds Too Fast for the Eye. Thanks j.c.f.
Media: Fedor Emelianenko's Punchout.
Pygmy Jerboa. Thanks MrKawfy.
There Will Be Pokemon.

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