Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010

MOH Beta Opens to Steam BC2 Owners

The Battlefield Blog has word that owners of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on Steam are now entitled to join the closed beta testing of Medal of Honor, the military first-person shooter reboot. Word is: "Do you own Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on Steam? If so, you now have access to the Medal of Honor beta! Download it from your games library and jump into the fast and furious multiplayer action created by DICE and prove that you are Tier 1!"

New Oddworld Plans

The Just Add Water Blog indicates that a new Oddworld game is in the works. Word is: "It’s with a huge amount of pride that we can announce that for the past 12 months we have been working extremely closely with the fantastic people at Oddworld Inhabitants, from what started off as brief discussions in June 2009, to now working on multiple projects, across multiple platforms. Whilst we cannot go into specifics right now, we can tell you that over the coming weeks and months we will be announcing these exciting projects starring all of your favourite Oddworld characters." Thanks Destructoid.

R.U.S.E. Free Weekend Underway

Steam News announces the promised R.U.S.E. Free Preview Weekend is now underway for the upcoming RTS game. Word is: "During the Free Weekend, you can also play battles against the medium or hard AI for the first time. Select which nation your opposing AI will play and check out the strengths of each faction. Good luck defeating the hard AI!" The Free Preview Weekend ends July 18 at 4:00 pm Eastern time.

Bond Game Revealed?

Though the next James Bond movie is in jeopardy of being axed, it's possible a new James Bond game called Blood Stone is in development, according to GamePron, who discovered clues to that effect in a now-deleted post on a Eurythmics fan site, of all places (apparently the game will feature a song co-written by Eurythmic Dave Stewart). According to their story, the game is in development for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 at Bizarre Creations, who were known to be working on a Bond game not tied to a specific movie as far back as December 2008. Word is Blood Stone will feature a story by screenwriter Bruce Feirstein (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough), and the likenesses of singer/songwriter and actress Joss Stone as a Bond girl with Daniel Craig and Judi Dench reprising their roles from the films. They report the game will feature 16-player multiplayer support, and lending the unconfirmed report credibility is a quote purportedly from David Pokress, Head of Marketing for Licensed Properties, Activision Publishing: "James Bond 007: Blood Stone captures the cinematic intensity of a Bond film by immersing players in an intriguing conspiracy that will require them to think and act like James Bond. In addition, the game will feature a diverse array of multi-player modes and debut strategic objective-based gameplay that will allow Xbox 360, PS3 and PC players to battle as teams of spies and mercenaries through authentic Bond locales."

PC BC2 Onslaught In Question Again

A tweet by Bad Company 2 community manager zh1nt0 denies the accuracy of PC Gamer's recent report (which has now been 404ed) that DICE had decided to bring the Onslaught DLC to the PC edition of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Word is: "The article published by PC-Gamer is not accurate. We are currently researching if Onslaught will be available for PC. No release date." Thanks Big Download.

BlizzCon Charity Dinner Opt-ins

Battle.net is now offering the chance to opt-in to the previously announced BlizzCon 2010 Benefit Dinner, a charity dinner to benefit the CHOC Children's Foundation. The opt-in period runs from today through Saturday, and they will hold a drawing on July 18, and those selected will be given the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets to the event for $500.00 USD each (the page also states the drawing will be held between July 13-15, but this is incorrect). Those who purchase tickets will be invited to a dinner on Thursday, October 21, 2010, the eve of BlizzCon, where they will have dinner and an opportunity to converse with employees of Blizzard Entertainment. They will also receive a signed print featuring Blizzard Entertainment artwork, and one ticket to the sold-out BlizzCon 2010 (a $150.00 USD value). BlizzCon will be held on October 22, 2010 and October 23, 2010 in the Anaheim Convention Center.

StarCraft II Specs (Really)

Big Download contacted Blizzard, and coaxed them to give up the final system requirements for StarCraft II, not to be confused with the don't believe everything you read version of the specs release in January. The minimum and recommended specs for both PCs and Macs follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Steam Software Survey

Steam News announces a software survey is being added to their opt-in hardware survey. Word is: "So in today's Steam Client Beta release we're extending the survey to include installed software - Any programs listed within Windows' Programs and Features control panel (OS X coming soon) are reported alongside the hardware information Steam collects and reports online." They add: "As always, this survey is both optional and anonymous, with none of the collected data being associated with your Steam account. Survey selection is random; you'll know you're part of the Survey because Steam will ask if you want to take part."

Ships Ahoy - Field of Glory – Immortal Fire

Matrix Games announces the availability of Field of Glory – Immortal Fire, a new expansion for their historical turn-based strategy game, Field of Glory. Here's the story: "Now this award winning ancient combat system is taking phalanx form and marching toward gamers with Field of Glory – Immortal Fire! Immortal Fire covers the armies of the Classical and Hellenistic eras from the development of the hoplite system in Greece in the 7th century BC until the Hellenistic successor kingdoms of the 3rd century BC. Fight battles with a huge variety of armies in conflicts ranging from wars between Greek city-states and against the mighty Achaemenid Persian Empire. Alexander the Great fans will be particularly exhilarated as they take part in the Greek counter-offensive against Persia, or even the wars of Alexander’s successors!"

Runes of Magic Level Cap to Raise

The Runes of Magic Website has word that a new Chapter III titled The Elder Kingdoms will go live in this subscription-free MMORPG in the next few weeks. The update will introduce a new region, mysterious dragon half-breeds, and more than 100 new quests, while raising the level cap to 60.

Codemasters on DRM

Who needs DRM on Computer and Video Games hears from Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens on the topic of digital rights management. Cousens says DRM is "almost counter-productive," adding "my initial thought is that DRM is not the answer to the piracy issue." He says: "When it comes to piracy, I think you have to make the experience the answer to the issue," and expresses support for the model that's recently come into vogue of providing part of the game experience as paid DLC: "The video games industry has to learn to operate in a different way. My answer is for us as publishers is to actually sell unfinished games - and to offer the consumer multiple micro-payments to buy elements of the full experience. That would create an offering that is affordable at retail - but over a period of time may also generate more revenue for the publishers to reinvest in our games."

SOE Layoffs

Sony Online Entertainment has laid off 35 employees, representing "just over 4% of its full-time workforce," reports Joystiq. They quote a statement from Scott Gulbransen, SOE's Sr. Director of Global PR and Corporate Communications, saying: "In a move to better align the company's resources against areas of growth that meet consumer demand in today's online market as well as improve operational efficiency, Sony Online Entertainment has eliminated just over 4% of its full-time workforce, equaling 35 people. The changes will better position SOE to deliver against its emphasis on developing games for a wider, more diverse audience and remaining a worldwide leader in online gaming."

OnLive Interview

Steve Perlman gives us his post-launch perspective on CNET chats with the CEO of OnLive, discussing how things have been going since the initial launch of this cloud-based media service. The lengthy conversation goes forward with the assumption that performance is satisfactory, and focuses on other questions, such as how they ramp up to add users, whether ISPs are complaining about bandwidth consumption, how much this will cost when they begin charging, and a response to concerns that users won't own their games, but rather are buying a three year license to play, which elicited this response:
We have to put a stake in the ground somewhere. We could put five years, we could put two years. It's less of an issue about the licenses evaporating, and more of an issue of whether or not we continue to maintain the operating systems and the graphics cards to run those games. If a game is tied to a particular Nvidia or ATI card, or if it's relying on a particular version of Windows with different drivers, we can't be sure that those will continue to be available as our servers age and need to be replaced. If it's a popular game that can't run on old hardware anymore, the publishers can do an upgrade for the game. Also, servers usually do last longer than three years, so chances are we'll keep running them. But we have a legal obligation to disclose what might happen. I think the probability of us pulling a game in three years is on the order of 0.1 percent. It's also highly unlikely that a game server will evaporate after three years, but we have to allow for that possibility.

C-S: Source, TF2, and DoD: Source Patched

Steam News announces the release of another new automatic patch for Counter-Strike: Source, Team Fortress 2, and Day of Defeat: Source. Here are the patch notes. Continue here to read the full story.

Garry's Mod Patched

A new automatic patch for Garry's Mod is now available on Steam, announces Steam News. The patch notes for the Source sandbox update follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Screenshots

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Gulf Oil Spill Stopped: BP Says Oil Leak Is HALTED. Thanks Acleacius. Here's hoping they are right.

Natural Selection 2 Dedicated Server Support

A tweet from the Natural Selection 2 team mentions that the upcoming strategy/shooter hybrid will feature moddable Windows and Linux dedicated servers, saying the former will be released with the imminent playable alpha: "Regarding the NS2 dedicated server (win32) - that should ship with our alpha as well. Linux will come later. YES, you can run mods! :)" Thanks joao. There is also a brief Q&A about the game with Charlie Cleveland of Unknown Worlds on Big Download.

AvP Bughunt DLC

Steam offers the promised Bughunt Map Pack for Aliens vs Predator, which includes two maps for Survivor Mode and two maps for all other multiplayer modes in Rebellion's first-person shooter remake. This is a "for the record" post, as the release was not announced by SEGA or Steam, but presumably took place as promised last week, probably around the release of the latest AvP patch. The pack is $7.49 USD, and a full descriptions of the included maps follows. Continue here to read the full story.

StarCraft II Pre-Downloads

The Battle.net Web Beta is now offering the opportunity to pre-download the digitally distributed edition of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, provided you plan to purchase the game directly from Blizzard, warning: "If you are planning to buy a boxed copy from a retail store, this is not for you!" This will allow players to begin playing more quickly when the game goes on sale on July 27. Blizzard has previously stated that digital distribution would come after the real-time strategy sequel appeared in stores, but it turns out they were splitting hairs, saying: "They’ll go on sale slightly later, on 07/27/2010 10:00 AM PDT in North America and Latin America." Thanks IncGamers.

MicroVolts Signups, Trailer

MicroVolts Website is now enlisting players interested in a sneak preview of this upcoming free-to-play online third-person shooter following a toy-theme. This will also register your interest in participating in the game's upcoming closed beta test. A new tutorial trailer accompanies the news, showing off the game's controls, which is not really required for anyone who has played a shooter before. The embedded version of the trailer is below. Continue here to read the full story.

Kotick/Schafer Episode 3: Return of the Jedi

Eurogamer has a follow-up on from Double Fine's Tim Schafer to the incendiary comments he made yesterday about Activision boss Bobby Kotick, which prompted a defense of Kotick's gamer cred. "That was an accident," Schafer said of the comments. "I was going to change the title of my talk to 'how to give interviews and remember to check the microphone is off'." He doesn't really back off the comments, but does express regrets over his candor. "I need to keep my mouth shut. It is shocking how you really burn bridges in the industry. You start your own company and you don't have to work for that jerky boss any more. Not naming names," he says. "Then it's like Empire Strikes Back - you walk in the room and, 'Holy s*** Darth Vader's at the table.' It's such a small industry, you see the same people over and over again. No-one ever goes away." On a game-related note, Joystiq has word that Double-Fine's next four projects will be "smaller games," some of which will be download-only, stemming from eight prototypes they previously created, which came in handy after the abrupt cancellation of a Brutal Legends prequel.

World of Tanks Trailer

The World of Tanks Website offers a new Light Tanks Gameplay trailer from Wargaming.net's upcoming armored combat MMOG, the first in a series of such clips showing the different classes of tanks and artillery in the game. Here's how the clip is described: "Being an integral part of a team light tanks can accomplish multiple objectives – from scouting and rushing enemy bases to swift flanking thrusts and encirclements – thus contributing to overall success in a battle. Due to their high speed and increased maneuverability light tanks can easily disrupt enemy rare areas and normally become a real nightmare for hostile artillery." Here's the embedded trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

Close Combat - Last Stand Arnhem Trailer

Matrix Games announces the release of a new post-release trailer for Close Combat - Last Stand Arnhem, the recently released World War II strategy game that re-imagines the original Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far. The clip offers a timeline of various World War II operations using real photographs to set the stage for Operation Market Garden, though it concludes with a look at some gameplay footage. It also has a couple of audio glitches, so keep your speakers low. The trailer follows. Continue here to read the full story.

38 Studios Move Follow-up

The Providence Journal has more on the pitch to move 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Rhode Island mentioned Tuesday. It explains how the loan guarantees behind this talk are supposed to work, and gets some equal time with locals who are dissatisfied with the proposal: "A lot of red flags are going off," said Angus Davis, a high-tech entrepreneur. "It’s highly unusual for a pre-product-launch, pre-revenue, software company in a high-risk industry to get this kind of loan." He also expresses mystification at the state taking on the risk of guaranteeing a loan from Wells Fargo: "It’s a weird deal," Davis said. "In deals like this, the investor usually shoulders both the upside and the downside risk. In this case, there’s no downside for them [Wells Fargo]."

Star Trek Online Ship Architect

The Star Trek Online Forums announce the launch of the Star Trek Online Architect, offering the chance to design your own starships, and win prizes: "We've partnered with Intel to create the Star Trek Online Architect, a web-based ship building game, hosted here on the Star Trek Online website. Head over to the Architect section of the site, create and assemble your own ship, and enter a sweepstakes to win a replica TOS captain's chair, Intel processors and copies of Star Trek Online!" There's no indication these designs will be used in the game. They also have a ship shaper game.

Game Reviews

  • ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead on GameSpot.
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening on MacGamer.
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Leliana's Song on GameSpot.
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior on GBase.ch. In German.
  • Tropico 3 - Absolute Power on Gaming Nexus.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We picked up a compost bin a couple of months ago, and have been attempting to cultivate a little soil in our yard with it, but so far, our success has been limited at best. I know it's too early to expect the kitchen scraps and such we've been adding to have decomposed by now, but so far we have not been able to keep the bin from being swarmed by flying insects. I've attempted the suggested ways around this, including frequent turnings, and the occasional addition of a top layer of leaves or grass cuttings, but to no avail. In fact, I've even resorted to the suggestion of adding some bagged topsoil to impede bugs, so rather than creating new dirt, so far this process has actually cost us soil.

Soiled Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Level King. Lode Runner clone. No relation to the sofa king.
IQ Ball.
DuckLife 2.
Links: Movies and Modern Games Recreated as 8-bit Games.
How Do I Win Rock Paper Scissors Every Time.
The Hottest Nerds and Geeks on TV and Film.
Stories: Joan Ginther Wins Texas Lottery 4 Times.
Spirit CEO Defends Luggage Fees; Tells Congress Bags Are 'Not Essential' For Vacations.
Who Wants Prosciutto Ice Cream? (registration required). Thanks j.c.f.
Wild Tiger Population Dropped by 96.8% in 20 Years. Very sad.
Science: Boeing's egg-shaped hydrogen spy plane flies for four days.
Prototype device to spot knee osteoarthritis unveiled.
'The chicken came first, not the egg', scientists prove.
Images: San Francisco Crafted Out Of Jell-O.
Media: Star Wars Subway Car. Thanks dakslf.
Original iPhone Commercial Updated (Parody).
Christian Bale versus Mel Gibson - Rant Off. NSFW, sugar tits.
Huge airbag fireball and smoke ring. NSFW. Thanks jim.
The Funnies: Videogame Characters Are Getting Old.
Follow-up: The Vuvuzela as Cultural Artifact. Thanks j.c.f.
Saving Bees: Population Decline Being Fought By Ordinary Citizens.
Higgs boson discovery rumour denied by US lab.
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