Archived News:

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009

Zeno Clash Free DLC & Sale This Weekend

ACE Team announces plans to release free downloadable content this weekend for Zeno Clash, their recently released fighting game. The DLC is called The Pit, which is described like so: "Players can again compete for leaderboard scores and achievements in these three new scenarios where gravity is the enemy and taking a wrong step can be fatal. Destructible floors and traps await the skilled who want to reach the bottom of the pit alive." The DLC will be released amid a promotion that will offer the game for half price for the weekend. There is a trailer showing off the new content on the YouTube.

Dawn of War II Map Tool Nears

Dawn Of War II Website has word to expect the release of the map edition tool for Dawn of War II along with the promised content update they've dubbed "There is Only War." They have some screenshots of the editor, and here part of how it is described: "World Builder lets you add victory points, power nodes, and requisition points under Urban, Desert, Tyrannoformed, and Jungle map tilesets. You can deform terrain, place cover objects, choose the weather, and define the size of the map. Maps can be released for two, four, or six players."

America's Army 3 & More Steam Patches

Steam News announces a new automatic update that's available for America's Army 3, offering an extensive list of changes and fixes for the just-released military shooter. In other Steam news, there is also a smaller update for Garry's Mod, and an update for Battlestations: Pacific, for which no details are provided at all.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Demo, Movies

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Game Demo Now Available For PC points the way to a Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince Demo that's now available for download from EA's FTP Server. The demo is a 595 MB download, and it includes two sections: "Gryffindor Dueling Club" and "Flying Club." Also, there's also a new "making of" trailer from the game on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell and a "Quidditch Preview" trailer on AtomicGamer and FileFront.

Nancy Drew Demo

A playable demo for Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships is now available, offering a sample of the 20th(!!) installment in this long running series based on the old-school children's mystery book series. Downloads are found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Blood Bowl Patch, Q&A

There's a Blood Bowl Q&A on Rock, Paper, Shotgun talking with Antoine Villepreux, project lead on Cyanide's fantasy-themed sports game, and they also offer a link to a trailer for the game on Finally, a new patch is now available to update the game to version, which is apparently to prepare for the game's release via digital distribution tomorrow. Downloads of the patch can be found on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

Majesty 2 Gets GOOey DRM

Stardock announces Paradox Interactive has selected Stardock's GOO (Game Object Obfuscation) technology as the DRM for Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, the real-time strategy game in development at 1C:Ino-Co, and will be using GOO to protect other titles going forward. The Impulse Website has more details on GOO, and here are a couple of portions of the announcement:
Announced by Stardock earlier this year, GOO is a new technology that developers can use to protect their game executable. When a protected game is run for the first-time, the player simply needs to enter in their email address and serial number. Once validated, the game can be played normally and typically never needs to connect to the Internet account.
Brad Wardell, CEO at Stardock, continued, “Stardock has been outspoken in advocating solutions that protect consumer’s rights. At the same time, we also recognize that many publishers are going to seek to protect their properties via some type of DRM solution. Our goal in developing GOO was to find a middle-ground solution, a technology that would treat consumers not as criminals, but instead with respect. It is great getting feedback from partners like Paradox that we have succeeded in our goal.”

New Gearbox TMs

The trademark watchers at superannuation have spotted several new titles recently registered by Gearbox Software. There are World War II Hero, War Hero, Brothers In Arms War Hero, and Modern War Hero. Sadly, our hopes for a game called Half-Life: Opposing Force Hero are left unfulfilled for the moment. There's no indication of the nature of these projects beyond their applicability to Computer Game Programs and Computer Game Software.

Depths of Peril Beta Patches

The Depths of Peril patches page now has new beta version 1.015 patches for the Windows and Macintosh editions of Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG. The Change List details all that's new and different in the new beta.

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

Link of the Evening: Don’t Blink: 392 MPH Glider Tears Through the Air. Wow! Thanks nin.

Demigod Patched

The promised new version 1.1 patch for Demigod is now automatically available, offering the first of "several major planned updates" for Gas Powered Games' action/strategy game. Here's word on the changes:
Demigod v1.1 is out! This is the first of several major planned updates to Demigod from developer Gas Powered Games.

Version v1.1 highlights:

        • Teams can concede a game to end it early once it becomes apparent who is going to win.
        • Launch of the second Epoch online. Existing statistics archived and rankings based on new games.
        • Improved chat window handling
        • When players sell a minion idol, minions connected to that idol are destroyed.
        • Improved computer AI.
        • Removed “spammy” achievement alerts.
        • Improved visuals on certain nVidia cards at lower quality settings.
        • Heart of Life more expensive, now an artifact, longer cooldown.
        • Hex Scroll is more powerful
        • Pantheon games are forced to even teams (e.g. 3 vs. 3)
        • Reward for completing a game is now 40 favor points.
        • Reduced experience and gold reward from killing piling priests and angels.
        • Angel unit AI improved
        • Many small tweaks and fixes to engine and multiplayer
        • Custom Games fully make use of new Demigod Online system developed by Stardock:

        ◦ Players who have opened their ports get directly connected.
        ◦ Players who don’t have opened ports will get connected via a NAT server
        ◦ Players who still can’t connect will have their games hosted by Stardock servers based in Asia, Europe, or North America depending on player location.

We will also be resetting the stats to launch the second Epoch later today and that includes favor points so that everyone is starting from an equal playing field. First epoch stats are being archived.

Pro Cycling Manager 2009 Patch

A new patch for Pro Cycling Manager 2009 is now available to update the bicycle racing game to version Numerous bug fixes are included, as well as updates to several drivers and a few stages in the Tour de France. The patch is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.

Mythic & BioWare Combine, Mark Jacobs Departs

The Warhammer Herald has news of another gaming shake-up, as Electronic Arts announces it is restructuring its RPG and MMO games development into a new group that includes both Mythic and BioWare. The new group is headed up by BioWare cofounder Ray Muzyka, who will serve as Group General Manager, while BioWare's other cofounder Greg Zeschuk will become Group Creative Officer. The announcement also includes word that Mythic General Manager Mark Jacobs has parted ways with EA as of yesterday, and has been replaced by Rob Denton. Thanks Vern.

ZeniMax Buys id Software

Kotaku has the surprising news that id Software has been acquired by ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks (thanks nin). They have interview quotes from id CEO Todd Hollenshead and ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman indicating that this will not change any of the core principles of either company, nor will it impact publishing arrangements already in place for future id projects, though word is ZeniMax is now the publisher of id's upcoming DOOM game. "We're really getting kind of tired competing with our own publishers in terms of how our titles will be featured," says id Technical Director John Carmack. "And we've really gotten more IPs than we've been able to take advantage of. And working with other companies hasn't been working out as spectacularly as it could. So the idea of actually becoming a publisher and merging Bethesda and ZeniMax on there [is ideal.] It would be hard to imagine a more complementary relationship. They are triple A, top-of-the-line in what they do in the RPGs. And they have no overlap with all the things we do in the FPSes."

Rockstar New England Layoffs?

Kotaku reports rumors of layoffs at Rockstar New England (previously Mad Doc Software), saying they've learned from "several sources" that the entire QA department was closed and artists and other staff members also lost their jobs in what is estimated as a greater than 10% headcount reduction. The story also indicates that the laid off employees are receiving a "fairly generous" severance package as well as assistance in finding new work. Word is Rockstar New England has just completed a milestone on an unannounced project.

World of Warcraft PTR Patched

IncGamers reports that the new version 3.20 patch for World of Warcraft is now live on the Public Test Realm for those interested in testing it out. The Test Realm Patch Notes were released last week outlining what to expect, including new druid art, new portals, and new mailboxes.

Age of Conan Updated

Funcom announces Update 5, titled "Gangs of Tarantia" is now live for Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. Here's a bit:
Besides adding a wealth of new content, the update also introduces fundamental changes to how the game is played and experienced. Players will now find that items within the game and their associated statistics has changed radically, making items have a more profound impact on your character's powers. This will make equipment even more valuable, and the process of obtaining new weapons and armor through quests and adventure even more rewarding. The update should make a significant impact on how gamers play 'Age of Conan' and how they now experience the gameplay with their characters.

The update also introduces a vast number of other changes and additions. For instance, guild cities will now see an increased activity as guards and merchants now walk the streets, bringing life to the settlement. Also, players can now gain PvP (player vs. player) experience from doing PvP mini-games, and even purchase social pets such as snakes, dogs, and cats. For more information on all the improvements the update has to offer, please visit the 'Age of Conan' community website.

Spore Patch

The Spore Website announces the availability of new patches to update the Windows and Mac editions of Spore to version 1.04, available automatically through the EADM program. The update includes performance tweaks, bug fixes, and balance changes related to the new Galactic Adventures add-on, and there is a manual version of the Windows patch on ActionTrip and The Patches Scrolls.

THQ Restructures

THQ Announces Management and Business Unit Reorganization to Support Focused Product Strategy follows up on news of THQ's new Austin studio with word that the developer/publisher is undergoing a global restructuring. THQ has subdivided into three divisions, devoted to Core Games; Kids, Family and Casual Games; and Online Games. They have promoted Ian Curran to EVP for Global Publishing, and word is: "Under Curran’s leadership, THQ’s international sales have more than doubled and he has overseen the expansion of THQ’s global operations to include 15 direct sales and marketing locations outside of the Americas."

DDO Unlimited Plans

Turbine announces upcoming changes planned for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (DDO Unlimited), and sends along a reminder that players interested in beta testing the free-to-play version of DDO can do so on the official website. Here are the new features:
» New Player Class: Players can now create characters using DDO Unlimited’s newest class, Favored Soul. Favored souls draw on divine magic to both heal and destroy. Like clerics, favored souls have access to powerful healing spells, but they are also more skilled with weapons than any other spell caster. Like sorcerers, they get a larger number of spell points than other spell casters and cannot freely switch spells at taverns or rest shrines.

» Raised Level Cap: Players can now advance to 20th-level under the D&D® rules. This includes access to new arcane and divine spells, new character abilities, feats, and skills.

» New Adventure Packs:

    o The Plane of Battle -- Players can now travel to the Plane of Shavarath and explore a large wilderness area as they try to infiltrate several fortresses and upset the carefully laid plans of the Devils.

    o The Crime Syndicate -- Coin Lord Yorrick Amanatu, who controls the Stormreach Guard, wants players to help him eliminate the growing Sharn Syndicate presence in Stormreach.

» The Fiercest Combat – This update introduces some exciting enhancements to DDO’s extraordinary combat experience including a new combat feedback and smart targeting system that gives players even more information and control that lets them fully engage in the battle by relying on their wits and reflexes in real time.

» Mind-blowing Visuals – Explore DDO’s vivid and dangerous online world featuring some of the most advanced graphics in the industry with the fully deployed DX10 technology that brings the world to life.

» The Return of the Marketplace! – Last year, Turbine held a spectacular live in-game event that resulted in the complete destruction of the Stormreach Marketplace. The Coin Lords have completed their beautification project and the once desolated Market has been restored to its days as a center for trade, entertainment, and welcome to all who come to Stormreach!

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

On this day in 1947, the first "flying saucer" that was called such was spotted by American pilot Kenneth Arnold, and coincidentally, on this day in 1997 the US Air Force finally "explained" the Roswell incident (also in 1947), taking just 50 years to come up with their weather balloons and test dummies story.

UFO Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Panda's BIG Adventure.
Epic War 2.
Links: License to Chill: Daniel Craig-Shaped Popsicle. WTF?
5 Famous Geeks Who Never Finished College.
When Wild Animals Attack - An Encounter With a Rabid Skunk. Wow.
Stories: More Nixon tapes to be made public.
Beijing Transformers fans gather to celebrate Revenge of the Fallen.
Beer Spill Shuts Down Route 78. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
Science: Work Begins on World's Deepest Underground Lab.
NASA criticised for sticking to imperial units.
Media: Spoiler Alert!
Bolivian News Fail « FAIL.
Seether "Careless Whisper" Dr. Tony Petrossian.
Follow-up: Two NASA space probes reach moon's orbit.
The Funnies: xkcd - Game Theory.
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