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Monday, Mar 08, 2010

Over 25 Million Modern Warfare 2 Virtual Soldiers

Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling tweets about how many gamers are playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: "...annnd we JUST hit 25 MILLION unique players on Modern Warfare 2. Insanity! Also, got a lot of #MW2 DLC details coming this week! FINALLY!" This is followed by a clarification: "That's 25 million unique across all platforms. Most on Xbox 360, then a close 2nd goes to PS3, will millions more on PC."

Dragon Age: Origins Patch

A new patch is now available for Dragon Age: Origins to update BioWare's RPG to version 1.03. The patch is available on the BioWare Social Network and mirrored on ActionTrip and WorthPlaying, and the patch will be applied for owners of the Steam version next time they login. The change list follows, including word on support for the Awakening expansion and fixes for long load times. Continue here to read the full story.

Spaceships Ahoy - Star Wolves 3

Direct2Drive now offers online sales of Star Wolves 3, pointing out the space real-time strategy game is devoid of any DRM. Here's word on the game: "Large-scale battles have become a vestige of the past, depleting resources of conflicting parties. Settled space, where welfare and order had reigned, has become a cemetery for dead ships which is flooded with pirates and adventurists. Complete impunity, black market flourishing where gun and tech trade is on the move, arbitrariness and anarchy – the Galaxy has become a real dangerous place. Events in the Universe and its habitant’s destiny are completely up to player’s choice and tactical decisions. “Star Wolves 3: Civil War” is a sequel to the popular real time strategy with RPG elements. Original large-scale scenario, closely tied with the first part of intergalactic epic helps the player influence the ongoing events and foreordain one of many endings. Free roam, free mission selection, free team forming – the world of Star Wolves waits for its heroes."

Kalypso Publishing Disciples III

Kalypso Media announces they have signed on to publish Akella's upcoming turn-based RPG/strategy sequel Disciples III: Renaissance in North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific this summer. Word is: "Disciples III: Renaissance is a standalone turn-based RPG/strategy game set in an expansive fantasy world, offering players action, adventure and glory. Stunning 3D environments, three playable races, and multiplayer functionality all combine to offer an outstanding gameplay experience. Kalypso Media will release Disciples III: Renaissance in summer 2010 on Windows PC." The announcement is accompanied by some new screenshots.

Metro 2033 Tech Interview

There's a Metro 2033 interview PC Games Hardware with Dean Sharpe focusing on the technology in the 4A Games' upcoming first-person shooter. They talk about the decision to design a new engine from scratch and why they chose to forego the licensed engine route, various features they are supporting, and how they are still supporting DirectX 9 and older hardware.

Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight Motion Comic

An Unexpected Hero on the Command & Conquer Website is part one of a four-part motion comic series promoting Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, the next installment in the C&C series of real-time strategy games. Here's word on the episode: "The year is 2068, and Tiberium has nearly destroyed our world. Christian Pierce, a young farmer and militiaman who is quickly losing his livelihood to the encroaching crystals, leaves his family and heads for the nearest GDI Blue Zone to find work. But what he finds there isn't just a job. It's destiny."

Left 4 Dead & L4D2 Mac Details

The Left 4 Dead Blog elaborates on today's announcement that Mac editions of Valve games are coming, focusing on the Mac editions of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Word is:
Steam on the Mac will behave just like Steam for Windows, but through Steam Play will add cross-platform ownership. That means if you own Left 4 Dead 2 for Windows, then you already own it for the Mac. There's no need to buy it twice! Unless you want to buy it twice, in which case, as long as you're feeling so generous, why not buy it five times?

Plus, Mac and Windows players can go head-to-head, since both Left 4 Deads are cross-platform compatible. Mac owners can even host their own servers and create their own maps, just like Windows users.
Continue here to read the full story.

Shank Trailer

A new trailer from Shank shows off the side-scrolling action/brawler from Klei Entertainment that will be shown off at the Game Developer's Conference. The game play trailer is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

On Sale

Steam News will put different titles from SQUARE ENIX and Eidos Interactive on sale every day this week.

  • Condemned: Criminal Origins on Direct2Drive. Save 75%.
  • Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Football Manager 2010 on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Hitman: Blood Money on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Hitman: Codename 47 on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Deus Ex Collection on Steam. Save 60%.
  • Hitman and Deus Ex Bundle on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Hitman Collection on Steam. Save 60%.
  • Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on Steam. Save 50%.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
      Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Winter Olympics Roundup in 60 Seconds. Thanks Ant.

AMD: Games Only Use PhysX for Cash

An article on THINQ talks with AMD senior manager of developer relations Richard Huddy about plans to promote AMD's open approach to GPU-accelerated physics at the Game Developers Conference. Along the way he takes a shot at PhysX, NVIDIA's proprietary physics solution, saying he's not aware of any developers besides Epic who are using PhysX for any reason other than finances: "They’re not doing it because they want it; they’re doing it because they’re paid to do it. So we have a rather artificial situation at the moment where you see PhysX in games, but it isn’t because the game developer wants it in there," he tells them. "I’m not aware of any GPU-accelerated PhysX code which is there because the games developer wanted it with the exception of the Unreal stuff," he continues. "I don’t know of any games company that's actually said 'you know what, I really want GPU-accelerated PhysX, I'd like to tie myself to Nvidia and that sounds like a great plan'." Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant via Slashdot.

Standalone Just Cause 2 Demo

A standalone demo for Just Cause 2 is now available, following the release last week of a sample of Avalanche Studios' action sequel on Steam. The download is available on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FanGaming, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying. As before, the demo requires DirectX 10, and the same description applies. Continue here to read the full story.

Ubisoft DRM Servers Under Fire Again

Ubisoft tweets that their DRM servers are experiencing another denial of service attack, and users are having trouble playing, as was the case over the weekend. Word is: "Our servers are under attack again. Some gamers are experiencing trouble signing in. We're working on it and will keep you posted."

On Bad Company 2 PunkBuster Errors

The Battlefield Blog says an update for the PlayStation 3 edition of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is undergoing approval at Sony, and they are hopeful this will go live today, also saying they are keeping an eye on Windows and Xbox 360 servers to make sure they keep running. There is also a note on the Bad Company 2 Forums for PC users about PunkBuster issues:
Punkbuster Failed to INIT error

If you see this error and you know who the server admins are then ask them to restart their server. The message is caused by an error on the server side with PB and a restart will clear up the problem.

If you do not know the admin of the server then please find another server to play on.

We are working with Evenbalance to find the cause of this INIT failure and will hopefully get a solution soon.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Trailer

A new trailer for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands features developer interviews from Ubisoft's upcoming installment in the long-running (jumping, etc.) platformer series as well as the first look at gameplay. They describe how this game fits in the seven year gap in the Prince's story between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within that has them going back to more of a "Sands of Time feel." Other topics include the emphasis on getting the feel of familiar acrobatics just right, the beauty of the environments, the new "power over the elements" the Prince holds, and more. They also briefly mention combat, saying the game will feature 50-enemy battles and epic boss battles. The embedded HD version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

What Kind of Mafioso Reads Playboy?

2K Games announces a partnership with Playboy Enterprises to have copies of Playboy magazine in Mafia II to add some 20th century pr0n authentic to the 1940s-1950s setting of the life of crime sequel. The magazine will actually be part of the game, as word is: "Mafia II will enable players to collect virtual copies of the iconic magazine, which has served as the definitive guide to lifestyle and culture for men since December 1953." A couple of SFW screenshots accompany the announcement.

Valve's Mac Plans Announced

Valve announces plans to bring their Steam platform and Source engine to the Mac platform, confirming pretty obvious clues that this was in the works, saying Steam and Valve's library of games including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available for Mac in April. Word is Portal 2 will be the first of their new titles to be simultaneously released on both platforms, and that developing in Source automates this: "Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Josh Weier, Portal 2 Project Lead. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."

They say they explored emulation, but decided to go with native versions: "We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360. Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates. Furthermore, Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer universe, sharing servers, lobbies, and so forth. We fully support a heterogeneous mix of servers and clients. The first Mac Steam client will be the new generation currently in beta testing on Windows." They are also adding a new feature, called Steam Play, which allows customers who purchase the product for the Mac or Windows to play on the other platform free of charge, and Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve, says: "For example, Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac. We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."

Aliens vs Predator DLC Next Week

The SEGA Europe Blog announces plans to release the Swarm Map Pack on March 18, offering the first downloadable content for Aliens vs Predator for the Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 editions of the shooter remake. The DLC consists of the four maps released with the special editions of the game; two new multiplayer maps and two new survival mode maps, and they will be cost €5.99/ £4.79/ 560 Microsoft Points. Details follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Server Fixes Follow-up

The Battlefield Blog has a follow-up on the promised server fixes for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which are now in place, saying: "After optimizations and restarts yesterday, we had been stable across all platforms," until they had an outage across all three platforms. Things are up and running again, and they describe their efforts at tracking down what happened like this: "All teams are actively engaged in diagnosis and remediation. We are adding additional services to alleviate load. Despite having a major infrastructure in place, the peak traffic this weekend has been huge, 400% higher than any other Battlefield's peak simultaneous users. The teams will continue to monitor the services closely. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and will provide further updates on the latest developments as they are relevant."

Ubisoft's DRM Failure

The Ubisoft Forums have posts from customers who were unable to play games protected by Ubisoft's online DRM yesterday because the DRM servers were offline. Needless to say most of the posts express severe unhappiness at being unable to play and express anger over a DRM scheme that locks paying customers out of their own game. This Ubisoft tweet explains: "Apologies to anyone who couldn’t play ACII or SH5 yesterday. Servers were attacked which limited service from 2:30pm to 9pm Paris time," and this one follows up: "95% of players were not affected, but a small group of players attempting to open a game session did receive denial of service errors."

More Gray Matter Game Plans?

UK label Odyssia announces they will be publishing Gray Matter in the UK when this long-awaited adventure from Jane Jensen is released. The announcement includes a few screenshots and concludes with a nota bene with garbled word to expect news about more installments in the series: "A press event is in the process of being arrange [sic] to announce further editions to the Gray Matter series. Updates to follow in the coming weeks."

Dominions 3: The Awakening Patches

Shrapnel Games now offers new patches for Dominions 3: The Awakening, updating the Windows, Mac, and Linux editions of the fantasy-themed 4X strategy game to version 3.24. The patches can be found on this page, and the patch notes outline everything that's changed in Adobe Acrobat format. Highlights of the new version follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Atmosphir Beta

The Atmosphir Website is online, teasing that this free user-created adventure game is expected for release this spring. The site offers a trailer from the game, registrations for the closed beta, and the following explanation: "Atmosphir is a free user-created adventure game. Play through thousands of diverse worlds, cooperate or compete against your friends in online multiplayer, and design your own levels in minutes." The project seems to include participation of Dave Werner, whose creative portfolio turned some heads a few years ago. Thanks Kxmode. There are more details on TechCrunch.

Op Ed

  • Kotaku - Can Hurt Locker Inspire A New Generation Of "War" Games? Thanks Joker961.
    I mean, we could - if we're going to take Hurt Locker as direct inspiration - have a puzzle game, in the vein of Trauma Centre, where you need to disarm bombs and unexploded ordinance. We could have an adventure game, with journalists or military police on an investigation in a warzone. We could have a base-building deal, where you have to manage the rebuilding of ruined areas of Iraq. Heck, we could even have a Heavy Rain-type deal, a dialogue-heavy game built more around the bond shared by men in conflict than the conflict itself.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Happy International Women's Day!

Well, I could have helped with your Oscar pool after all, as every pundit predicted the winners of every major award. Weird. At least they kept things on the show moving along quickly enough that I only fell asleep a dozen times.

Oscar-Worthy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Robot Wants Kitty.
Link: A Photo Gallery of Chestbursting Aliens.
Story: TV News: Fringe, NBC, Dexter, Bad, 24.
Science: Finding Your Roots. Thanks j.c.f.
Scientists reaffirm theory that giant asteroid killed dinosaurs.
Images: Ultimate D&D-playing dungeon. And I do mean "ultimate."
Media: AGVN - Laserdisc. NSFW.
I hate it when a t-rex with a laser cannon ruins my day.
BMW XXXL Tablecloth Pull.
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