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Thursday, Jul 01, 2010 Happy Canada Day, Eh?


Bad Company 2 Lag Workaround

The Battlefield BC2 Twitter Feed has a tip for those experiencing lag playing the PC edition of Battlefield: Bad Company 2: "If you have lag problems with BFBC2 on PC, try disabling Remote Admin tools such as Wolfcom and ProCon."

Epic on PC Gaming

Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviews Epic's Mark Rein who tells them: "I think that’s a myth that we’ve abandoned the PC," going on to say: "we’ve just been in this situation where our biggest franchise has been published by a console-holder, and was a very console designed-IP," though he doesn't explain who "put" them there. He goes on to say that People Can Fly's upcoming shooter Bulletstorm will change this perception: "Bulletstorm is PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and you’ll see when it comes out, it will be a full-blown, oh-my-god amazing PC game. I wouldn’t draw the comparisons there." Thanks VG247.

Need For Speed Shift 2 Hints?

A post on superannuation points to Chris Mcclure's LinkedIn Profile that seems to indicate an unannounced Need For Speed Shift 2 is in the works: "Mostly worked on new open world technology but also worked on Need For Speed Shift 2." They also highlight Rees Savidis' LinkedIn Profile saying "Recently, I’ve worked on world concepts and narrative fiction for a new IP at Electronic Arts Blackbox and helped to develop the fiction and characters for the 2011 instalment in the AAA 'Need For Speed' franchise."

Medal of Honor Beta Status

The Medal of Honor Blog has a status report on beta testing of Medal of Honor, EA's upcoming first-person shooter reboot. First, the good news: "The PlayStation 3 and PC betas are in full swing with lots of great, constructive feedback flowing back to the team." The bad news is the Xbox 360 beta is delayed again, and word is: "When the Medal of Honor beta does arrive on the Xbox 360, it will be open to Xbox 360 players who’ve pre-ordered the game and we will extend the beta to ensure all players have ample time to play and provide feedback for the final product."

BioWare now BioWare Mythic [Updated]

A new Warhammer Producer's Letter discusses plans for the upcoming version 1.3.6 of Warhammer Online. It also reveals BioWare is going by a the new name of BioWare Mythic, apparently hoping that will work out better than the EA Mythic moniker they used for a short time. Back to version 1.3.6, they offer some information on the patch, link to this post with even more details, and say: "More on this and all the other things going on in the Summer of WAR next month!" Update: Apparently BioWare Mythic is now the name for the Warhammer Online team, while BioWare also seems to still exist as a separate entity, sorry for the confusion.

On Elemental's DRM

PC Gamer discusses DRM with Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, who describes the plan to combat piracy in Elemental: War of Magic, their upcoming 4X turn-based strategy game. Wardell explains: "What I think would be helpful against piracy is if you actually gave users stuff," explaining the contents of a limited edition version of the game, including a map, a pewter dragon, a poster, and a print version of the game's encyclopedia, the Hiergemenon, which Brad calls "Half D&D monster manual and half lore book." Thanks joao. On a related note, here are a few new Elemental: War of Magic screenshots.

QuakeCon 2010 Details

A post to the Bethesda Blog has QuakeCon 2010 registration details, and some details on what will take place at the upcoming id Software gaming convention, saying attendees will have the chance to play upcoming Bethesda Softworks titles like Brink, Fallout: New Vegas, and Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. A follow-up post has a write-up from Marty Stratton on the registration process for attendees, which has changed slightly from previous shows.

Team Fortress 2 Patched

A new patch is now automatically available for Team Fortress 2, announces Steam News. The patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

New Steam Client

Stem News announces a new version of the Steam client is now available. Here's the change list. Continue here to read the full story.

Runes of Magic Patched

The Runes of Magic Website announces a new version 3.0.2 update is now live in this subscription-free MMORPG. Among the new features of the new version are a new active pets system, a new six-player dungeon, and two-player mounts.

On Guild Wars II Activities

A post to the ArenaNet Blog talks about the activities in Guild Wars II, their upcoming MMORPG sequel. They call these activities the games within the game, and say they are a way of improving on other MMOGs that just say "This is your sword. This is its pointy end. Now go stick it in things until your numbers don’t go up anymore." Example activities they describe are bar brawls, the shooting range, and snowball fights, offering details on how each will work. There is also a preview of GW2 activities on IGN.UK. Thanks Guild Wars 2 Slovenija.

THQ: Warhammer 40K MMOG "Going to be a Masterpiece"

THQ's Danny Bilson tells Computer and Video Games Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium "is going to be a masterpiece," when the Warhammer 40K MMORPG is released. He goes on to explain that the game needs to attract "only" a million players to succeed, and hoping they can poach some of the World of Warcraft player base: "They've got 14 million players! Gimme a million and I'm good! We're real good at a million, right? We don't need everybody to migrate. We just need some of them - and I'm full confident we're going to get them."

Steam Summer Sale Day 8

Impulse Sale

Impulse is holding a big sale in honor of this weekend's Independence Day. There are too many titles to list (well maybe they could be listed, but 68 games is a lot). They have some games selling for $5.99 USD and $2.99 USD, and one game for $0.79.

D2D Scavenger Hunt

The Direct2Drive: The Quest For The Chosen One Scavenger Hunt continues. Two games today at 50% off each. They're not hard to find (an understatement), but if you're having trouble, one is here and the other here.

LIVE Activity

The list of LIVE Activity for week of June 21 on Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson's Blog once again includes the list of Games for Windows Top LIVE Titles (based on UU’s). The list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Ken Levine Interviews Todd Howard

The debut installment in Irrational Interviews is now live, kicking off a series of audio podcasts where Ken Levine and Shawn Elliott sit down with members of the entertainment industry. The first episode features a conversation with Todd Howard of Bethesda Softworks. In a nutshell: "The two gaming industry leaders talk about their history, breaking down multiplayer in games today, and the changing landscape of RPGs."

It Came from E3 2010, Part 32

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Thanks Ant.

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Intel Drops Project Offset

Big Download has the update on the status of Project Offset that Intel promised they would make this year, and the status is, the project has been cancelled. Intel acquired Offset Software in 2008, hoping Offset's flagship project, a first-person shooter named Project Offset, would show off Intel's Larrabee GPU with its advanced graphics, at least until Larrabee was killed off late last year. Object Software was formed in 2005 by Sam McGrath and other former employees of S2 Games, and word is McGrath has already formed Fractiv LLC. The new company is shrouded in mystery for the moment, so there is no word yet on what they are up to, or if they have managed to retain the Project Offset IP.

Victoria II Website & Trailer

A new Victoria II Website is online as a virtual home to the upcoming grand strategy sequel. To go along with the site launch is a Victoria 2 - Meet the team trailer, a fairly dry clip where the developers at Paradox Interactive take turns introducing themselves and offering tidbits about the game, and what makes it different from the original Victoria. The site also includes systems specs, which are fairly modest, and a there's also a release window in a press release from February that we didn't note at the time, saying the game is expected in Q3 2010.

Portal 2 E3 Trailers, Parts 6 & 7

The final two parts of Valve's seven-part trailer series showing their E3 2010 demonstration of Portal 2 are now available. In part six we are introduced to Repulsion Gel, which sounds like a common high school cologne, but in fact is more like grandson of Flubber. Part seven is about Propulsion Gel, which will help you run faster without having to resort to rockets from the Acme catalog. Part seven also concludes with some well wishing from an old friend. The clips are embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

City of Heroes: Going Rogue Trailer

A new City of Heroes ViDoc #2 is a gameplay trailer subtitled "Between Good and Evil," that features the developers at Paragon Studios explaining the character alignment system they are introducing in the upcoming Going Rogue expansion for their superhero MMORPG. In addition, the devs are participating in a dialog with fans on their Facebook Page and giving away codes to the Super Booster V: Mutant throughout today. Update: They've made the YouTube video private, forcing you to subject to the tyranny of Facebook to view it.

World of Tanks Closed Beta Next Week announces they are accepting applications to participate in closed beta testing of World of Tanks, their upcoming armored combat MMOG, which is slated to get underway on July 8. Here's a bit on what this entails: "Over the next few months World of Tanks players worldwide will get access to more than 70 authentic military vehicles representing German and Soviet sides with a chance to unlock and explore their full upgrade and level-up potential in tense PvP battles. 7 unique maps featuring various types of terrain designed to provide the ultimate action-packed experience will serve as proving grounds for the beta test."

New BioShock 2 DLC Next Month

2K Games announces Protector Trials, downloadable content for BioShock 2 which will add new single-player action to the underwater shooter when it is released on August 3. The pack will cost 400 MS Points for Xbox and Windows LIVE and $4.99 USD on PlayStation 3, and it will include six new maps with "three unique difficulty levels," new unlockables (including never-before-seen concept art and videos), and seven new achievements/trophies. The announcement also indicates they plan to continue the BioShock 2 single-player experience with more DLC in the future: "In the coming months, 2K Games will publish more downloadable content that extends the single-player experience, providing new insight into the world of Rapture. The next package will expand the narrative, and introduce new tools and new challenges that extend the lore and fiction of the failed utopia under the sea." A gameplay trailer accompanies the announcement, and this is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Puzzle Agent

Telltales announces the release of Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, for Windows and Mac, with the promised iDealie and WiiWare releases to follow later this month. Word is: "Puzzle Agent combines accessible Professor Layton-inspired puzzling, generous doses of Nordic folklore and enigmatic gnomes, with dark David Lynch and Coen brothers inspired sensibilities. This project is a collaborative effort with Graham Annable, Telltale's first creative director at the time of its founding, and is based on his indie comic work Grickle." This title kicks off Telltale's Pilot Program: "Puzzle Agent is a great way to launch our Pilot Program, effectively illustrating how Telltale can quickly bring high quality games to market," said Telltale CEO, Dan Connors. "The Pilot Program games allow us to innovate, take risks and evolve our games so that successful pilots can become Telltale game series in the future."

Battlefield Academy Announced

Slitherine announces Battlefield Academy, a "turn-based strategy game like no other," offering preorders in advance of a release planned for July 21. Here's word on its World War II setting: "Inspired by an original online game concept devised by the BBC, the game has more than 30 battles in a range of theatres of war from the North African desert through D-Day to the to the [sic] snowy Ardennes mountains where the Allies battled to repel the final German offensive." The elements that cause them to say the game is different are the ability for players to easily create their own missions and scenarios "in a simple and effective way," because the game engine is completely script-driven, and a "revolutionary" server-based play-by-email system. Here are some Battlefield Academy screenshots.

Field of Glory Patch

Matrix Games and Slitherine Strategies announce the availability of a new patch for Field of Glory, which updates the strategy "system" to version 1.2.8. The patch adds new battles, bug fixes, and an auto-updater, as described here: "The comprehensive 1.2.8 update includes 18 new battles, tons of fixes and rule tweaks, plenty of AI improvements, and more! The game also includes an in-game update system for all future updates. With this new system, keeping Field of Glory up to date will be as easy as clicking a button on the game’s main menu."

Team Fortress 2 Drama

The Team Fortress 2 Blog has an update breathlessly hyping something, without giving the slightest hint at what it might be. Something about distant rumblings, so start to get yourself all worked up if you are so inspired, though if Valve Time can impact firm announcements, there's no telling what effect it can have on such vagaries. To add some calories to the post, they do make note of the Polycount Contest and the new Official TF2 Wiki that's an outgrowth of the unofficial TF2 wiki.

Spectromancer: League of Heroes Expansion

Three Donkey's announces the release of the League of Heroes expansion for Spectromancer, though the Spectromancer Website seems to indicate this has been out for a while. The expansion can be found on Impulse and Steam, and here's word: "Spectromancer: League of Heroes Expansion adds a new campaign and three new mage types to the original Spectromancer. Players can take on the role of the Sorcerer, Demonologist, or Beastmaster, all with new spells and creatures and play any of the nine mages in either the old or the new campaigns. In the online multiplayer mode, gamers can now save replays of games, participate in the ever-changing Arena, and try to become the champion each month-long Arena cycle, where new environments are constantly presented to mix up the world order and keep players searching for the perfect strategy."

The adventures of Aladdin and magic Skull Announced

GFI announces The adventures of Aladdin and magic Skull, saying this will offer: "Interesting and different mini-games, droll characters and, of course, unique atmosphere of the Arabian fairytales will make gameplay enthralling and absorbing!" There aren't many details, but we do like the odd use of capitals in the title, and the announcement's use of the word "droll." Here's what they have to say about the game: "With The adventures of Aladdin and magic Skull you will make an amazing travel to Orient, place, which is full of legends and fairytales. One of them is a story about the Floating city. Together with Aladdin you’ll go on the exciting adventure to find the famous city. You’ll meet kind and droll characters and amazing animals from the Arabian fairytales, who will help you to beat all challenges and find Aladdin’s dream city."

GoG vs Goliath describes the difficulties they have being the "little guy" in the digital distribution world, talking of the problems they have competing with "Goliath," whoever that might be. They point out they can't hold splashy sales since their margins are so thin on their rock-bottom prices, so they are offering a few incentives to get folks to engage in some word-of-mouth advertising for their service. Thanks Morris, who should try and cash in for a free game after passing this along.

It Came from E3 2010, Part 31

Op Ed

Roger Ebert - Okay, kids, play on my lawn. Thanks Mike Martinez.
I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place. I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn't seen. Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so. Some opinions are best kept to yourself.

Kotaku - Weighing Morality in Gaming.
As Aristotle said, the more a person does the good, the more they like doing the good, and conversely, the more a person does evil, the more they are inclined to continue to do evil. Both reason and experience back up Aristotle' s observation. If a person acts in a pattern of charity, they will become the kind of person who is inclined toward charity. If a person habitually degrades other people, they will find it difficult to think well of someone new they meet. One can make an argument for this easily observed reality from theological, philosophical, psychological, and physical grounds. Given this, perhaps the next evolution of the morality system in games should be one which pushed a player toward a particular choice depending on their tendencies. If the player has thrown someone out of the window the past three times he or she has argued, shouldn't that be what he or she is inclined to do this time?

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I've never been a big mushroom fan, but for years I've had people urge me to try Portobello mushrooms, for their meat-like qualities. We picked a few up the other day, not really for me, but to try out grilling them to see if they would be worthy of putting out for company in the future. Some complications set in on the grilling plan, so MrsBlue made them in the oven, and I was surprised how good they were, even after being told as much so often. Now I am looking forward to trying to grill some because I'll want to eat them, in addition to expanding my cooking repertoire.

Repertory Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Black and White.
Links: Freedom Gundam Rules The Galaxy...of Paper.
The Most Caffeinated Drinks. Thanks
10 Weird Items People Tried to Smuggle.
Stories: Kentucky Names Corvette The Official State Sports Car. Thanks Neatorama.
House panel backs ending travel ban on Cuba.
Irony alert: IRS fails government audit.
Science: Alien Planet Photo - First Confirmed.
Blue Jeans Hold Secret To Making Better Solar Cells.
'Sea monster' whale fossil unearthed.
Images: Ultimate Rochambeau. Thanks dakslf.
APOD: 2010 July 1 - Above Aurora Australis. Thanks brother19.
Media: Twilight: Eclipse, The 8-Bit Interactive Game.
Kid's Homemade Dalek Invasion Video is Awesome.
The 100 Best Movie Insults In Under 10 Minutes. NSFW.
Auction: Lock of Napoleon's hair sold at New Zealand auction.
The Funnies: You don't talk much Gordon. Thanks Digg.
Follow-up: Gulf Oil Spill Myths Debunked.
Biologists find 'dead zones' around BP oil spill in Gulf.

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