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Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010

  

More StarCraft II

Happy Starcraft II Day, here's your cake. There's a StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Walkthrough on FileFront. Also, The Orange County Register has photos of the game's launch at the Fountain Valley Fry's Electronics store. Thanks Ant.

FFXI Support Will Continue After FFXIV

Gamasutra interviews Hiromichi  "Tiger" Tanaka of Square Enix about FINAL FANTASY XIV, the upcoming MMO installment in the FF series of role-playing games. A natural question is what the new game means to the future of FINAL FANTASY XI, their other MMORPG in the series. They learn that while they would like players to migrate to the new game, they will continue to support the old one as long as is warranted: "Since FFXI has been out of eight years, we think it's reached its time now, so obviously we would want FFXI players to shift to FFXIV. However, we do understand if FFXI players have special memories of FFXI, so there must be some people who will continue to play FFXI. So, we would like to keep of them happy, and we will try to introduce some bonus for our customers, probably from a monetary point of view. However, of course, we will continue working on FFXI. Even after we launch FFXIV, we will still continue the development side. So, as long as the players enjoy the game, we will continue the service." Thanks Strategy Informer.

Dungeon Siege III Movie, Interview

Dungeon Siege III Details on IGN is an interview with Rich Taylor, Obsidian's project director on Dungeon Siege III, the next installment in the action/RPG series. Topics include designing for PCs and consoles, multiplayer support, the story, items, and more. The interview is accompanied by a cinematic trailer. Also, we have a pair of new Dungeon Siege III screenshots.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Into the Black

Well, it's certainly not black in these parts yet, but I need to make an early departure today to deal with a family emergency. My apologies.

Court: Breaking DRM Allowable

Ars Technica has word of another blow to another of the more contested aspects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, following news that "jailbreaking" a cell phone is allowable. They report the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled (Adobe Acrobat-format) that breaking through digital rights management does not automatically invoke the DMCA's "anti-circumvention" provisions. Getting past such DRM is said to be permissible for accessing the work, as well as "fair use," saying: "Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision. The DMCA prohibits only forms of access that would violate or impinge on the protections that the Copyright Act otherwise affords copyright owners." There are suggestions that this may apply to the recent decision that made RealDVD illegal, and they have attempted to contact MGE to see if they will appeal the RealDVD case.

GameStop Acquires Kongregate

Game retailer GameStop has acquired Kongregate, the purveyor of web-based games said to host 10 million games a month. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but word is Kongregate will maintain its offices in San Francisco and continue under the leadership of co-founders Jim and Emily Greer. It's not clear how they plan to monetize this acquisition, but word is: "The move is part of an effort by the Grapevine, Tex.-based video game retailer to grow its digital business."

Captains of DarkTide Open Beta

Captains of DarkTide is a web-based, fantasy-themed MMOG from Silverlode Interactive where the player is the captain of a mighty sailing ship, doing battle against magical creatures and other players. As closed beta testing has concluded, they are now inviting players to participate in open beta testing of the game. Here's word: "As of August 3rd all players who have registered at www.playdarktide.com will be granted instant access to the CoDT open beta. Each player will start with a fantasy ship, outfitted with cannons, archers and even a ballista. Captains will be able to explore the world, try all six races and factions, and recruit powerful humanoids and magical creatures for their crews. Each zone offers increasingly challenging encounters and gives access to new ship designs and more powerful weaponry."

38 Studios' RI Loan Approved

The Providence Journal has word that the proposed $75 million loan guarantees have been approved in an effort to lure developer 38 Studios into moving to Rhode Island from Massachusetts. The article calls the loan guarantees for the developer founded by former major league pitcher Curt Schilling "controversial," but the lone dissenting loan vote was from a vibrator manufacturer: "The guarantee passed on an 8-to-1 vote, with Karl Wadensten, president of Vibco, a manufacturer of industrial vibrators, the lone opposition vote. Three members of the board were absent." The article makes it sound like a move by 38 Studios is now a sure thing, saying Schilling spoke at a news conference following the board meeting, saying he’s been negotiating exclusively with Rhode Island for the last four months, and stating: "This is a partnership."

On StarCraft II Anti-aliasing

Today is launch day for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard's real-time sequel that's been a dozen years in the making (or waiting, at least). There is a Known Issues - Technical Support related list and a Current list of bugs on the StarCraft II Forums outlining issues with the game (thanks Big Download). Also, since there turns out to be no option within the game to activate anti-aliasing, there's a post on PC Games Hardware explaining how to turn this on in the control panel for NVIDIA graphics cards. As there is no corresponding option for ATI owners, they have word from ATI on why, saying: "third parties found that 4x AA led to a reduction in fps rendering at lower screen resolutions, which only became more noticeable at larger resolutions. After evaluating our options, our engineering team opted not to provide AA support for StarCraft II within the Catalyst Control Center, even though the competition has included AA support in their driver at launch. We are committed to making AA perform at an acceptable level before we release it to our customers. We will continue to work with Blizzard on this matter and hope to offer our customers an acceptable AA solution at a later date." On a related note, PC Perspective has an article on this topic that includes benchmarks for NVIDIA accelerators showing what sort of performance hit this entails. On a semi-related note, there is a StarCraft II Q&A with Blizzard's Rob Pardo on USATODAY.com discussing the game in general terms.

Counter-Strike: Source Patched

A new patch is automatically available on Steam to update Counter-Strike: Source, Valve's teamplay first-person shooter. The included bug fixes, audio tweaks, and clan tag changes are outlined below. Continue here to read the full story.

Alien Swarm Patched

Another automatic patch is now available on Steam to update Alien Swarm, Valve's recently released, freeware top-down shooter. The new version includes a performance tweak, cheat protection, and a dedicated server browser. Here are the patch notes. Continue here to read the full story.

Space Quest 1-3 on GOG.com

GOG.com now offers sales of Space Quest 1+2+3 to go along with their previous DRM-free reissue of Space Quest 4+5+6, offering even more of Sierra's classic space adventures. Word is: "The first two installments require text input to interact with the environment, but Space Quest 3 is of the more modern point-and-click variety. Despite the lack of full-talkie voiceovers, you'll surely recognize the witty, sarcastic humor and cunning sci-fi references you know and love from the later installments."

Op Ed

GameZone - Five Issues With PC Gaming.
Personally, my biggest pet peeve with the PC is the lack of split-screen multiplayer.

Koku Gamer - Sony and Their Perpetual Hole. Thanks Joker961.
Sony has been digging this perpetual hole for itself since it released the PS3. They are probably the company with least amount of concern for the gamer and their relentless self-promoting and attempted cash-cows have cost them a lot this generation, especially considering the PS2 was a juggernaut last generation for doing almost the opposite of what Sony is doing now. One can only wonder what the executives at Sony are thinking when they make these business decisions and I can only say, thank God that platform has managed to get some really great games on it brought to them by third-parties or this could have very well been the end of the PlayStation.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Thanks Ant.

Out of the Blue

Well today is the launch day for StarCraft II. This is obviously a big deal for real-time strategy buffs, which I do not count myself as, but also to PC gamers in general (which I do), so it will be interesting to see how big this all turns out to be. Meanwhile, I will be giving the game a try myself, though I imagine it will probably just kick my non-strategic ass pretty badly.

Real-Time Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: AirBeat.
Ka-Bloom.
CanPop.
Links: 6 Ways Your Office Is Literally Killing You.
Retr0Bright. Clean cases, consoles, and LEGO bricks. Thanks Boing Boing.
Ancient Ninja: Separating the Men from the Myth.
Stories: Boat made from plastic bottles completes Pacific voyage.
99 Cents Only Stores sued over price increase. Thanks Neatorama.
Verbed! Thanks Neatorama.
Science: Education 'helps brain compensate for dementia changes'.
Images: Top 10 Best Halo 3 Screenshots of All Time.
Press Start! - a set on Flickr. Thanks Boing Boing.
Skateboard with Many Wheels.
Media: Video Games Are Dangerous.
Blockheads Burritos Brawl: Fight Breaks Out At Restaurant.
Meanwhile At Walmart ....
Auction: My Little Pony Team Fortress 2 Spy. Thanks Morris via Plaza.



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