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Friday, Sep 10, 2010

Software First Sale Doctrine Slashed

Wired.com reports a ruling by a federal appeals court (Adobe Acrobat format) saying that first-sale doctrine is "unavailable to those who are only licensed to use their copies of copyrighted works," which makes it unlawful to resell software distributed under shrink-wrap and click-wrap licenses. As they explain: "The first-sale doctrine of 1909, in its current form, allows the 'owner of a particular copy' of a copyrighted work top sell or dispose of his copy without the copyright owner's authorization. 'The first sale doctrine does not apply to a person who possesses a copy of the copyrighted work without owning it, such as a licensee,' the court ruled." This case was an appeal of a case involving sales of AutoCAD on eBay, and it sounds likely that another appeal will follow. Thanks Aclesius via Slashdot.

FreeJack Demo

The FreeJack Website now offers a playable demo for this upcoming online parkour racing game. The demo will only be operational for the next week, but there will not be that much downtime for the game, as its open beta is planned to begin on October 1. "The response to FreeJack thus far has been overwhelming," said Matthew Denomme, Marketing Manager at Game Bridger Entertainment, "closed beta participants and new players alike simply could not wait for a chance to play FreeJack, so we have obliged by offering this exclusive opportunity to demo the game prior to its official open beta release on October 1st, 2010."

PC Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Plans

The press release announcing the availability of the console editions of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has word on plans for another edition of Beenox's superhero action game, saying it is "soon to be available on Windows PC." Big Download contacted Activision about this, and got a confirmation that we should expect a PC edition to swing into stores sometime before the end of this year. Word is the game will offer a surreal take on the not always completely realistic world of comics: "Penned by acclaimed Marvel comic book writer Dan Slott, the story takes players on a mission to restore the magical energy of the Tablet of Order and Chaos, which has been shattered and scattered across parallel universes. Gamers are challenged to battle fan-favorite villains such as the lethal Kraven and a custom, never-before-seen Noir version of Hammerhead, in a quest to restore the fabric of reality."

Dhaila's Adventures Announced

Wild Games Studio announces Dhaila's Adventures, an open-ended third-person RPG/adventure for Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The Dhaila's Adventures Website is online with some screenshots and a trailer, and here's a bit on the game: "Featuring Dhaila, a young fairy whose powers are bound to nature, the game will rely on gameplay taking place in an open world where the player will update the origins of Dhaila and help fulfill her destiny. In addition to the main quest, Dhaila could fill hundreds of side quests depending on the choices and actions proposed. Puzzles and large dungeons filled with traps and monsters will be part of her adventure to enhance the gameplay. Furthermore, Dhaila will be accompanied with a friend that can be controlled by another player to help Dhaila during certain puzzles through teamwork."

The Lord of the Rings Online Goes Free

The free-to-play era for The Lord of the Rings Online begins today, offering the chance to cut some costs of your gaming hobbit. This page outlines the game's business model, showing what you get for free, and the benefits of upgrading to a Premium or VIP account, and saying that free players can get started without using a credit card. Word is: "Earn free Turbine Points as you adventure in the massive world of Middle-earth, and spend them in the LOTRO Store to access hundreds of items, expansion packs, premium content, character customization, and more! And you may also purchase Turbine Points in the LOTRO Store whenever you choose. The legend is yours, and the adventure is free!"

Heroes of Stalingrad Name Change

Tripwire Interactive announces a name change for Heroes of Stalingrad, their upcoming sequel to Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45, their World War II shooter. Recognizing that the new game was not capitalizing on any of the recognition of the original, they have renamed it Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad. They celebrate with some new screenshots and a trailer on the Heroes Of Stalingrad Website.

Lionheart: Kings' Crusade Next Month

Paradox Interactive and Neocore Games announce an October 8, 2010 release date for Lionheart: Kings' Crusade, their 12th century real-time strategy game. Here's a refresher on the game: "Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade invites players to rewrite history through controlling and upgrading leaders and their armies, guiding various historical factions through political events, collecting relics, and unlocking new content in a feature-rich campaign set to take on the strategy genre by force."

New (Old) Left 4 Dead 2 Mutation

The Left 4 Dead Blog explains the mutation in the new automatic update for Left 4 Dead 2 that's now available through Steam as a free update for the co-op zombie shooter. The mutation is Follow the Liter, which returns from a previous go 'round which was not a rousing success, something they are once again blaming on the writers: "Week 3’s Mutation did not win over the crowds, but we think that’s because it was misunderstood. It has a very different feeling than Scavenge and games tend to be much lower scoring. You have to remember, if their can goes up in flames – they have to wait for it to respawn. So get that can on the ground and use the Spitter to light it up!"

Worms Reloaded Patched

A new patch for Worms Reloaded is now automatically available through Steam, with a few fixes for the squirmy strategy sequel. Here's the change list. Continue here to read the full story.

Team Fortress 2 Patched

Steam announces a new automatic update for Team Fortress 2, adding two fixes to the teamplay shooter sequel. There's an engine fix for "clients locking up while attempting to load the game and re-enabled signature checking," an update that also impacts Counter-Strike: Source and Day of Defeat: Source. There is also a fix for an issue "where some items would display an empty string for their name."

DNF Interview

Shacknews interviews Steve Gibson getting cozy with the site's former owner to ask about Duke Nukem Forever in context of his gig at Gearbox Software. Steve sheds a little more light on the story of how they came into possession of the property, and says that in spite of the game's 2011 release date, they are currently purely in the polishing mode, and that: "We have the game assembled; you can play the game front to back."

AC Brotherhood Video Diary

A second video diary from Assassin's Creed Brotherhood offers more on Ubisoft's upcoming stealth/action sequel, presented by the game's development team in a setting reminiscent of the game's secretive Templar theme (or maybe they're just pledging a frat). The clip has further discussion of the impact of the player's actions on the city of Rome, the joys of mounted combat, and recruiting the game's titular brotherhood of assassins. Here's the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.

The Haunted – Hells Reach Media

The Haunted – Hells Reach Website has some new media from this upcoming third-person action/horror game based on the first-place winner in Epic's Make Something Unreal Contest. They have a bunch of new screenshots, and a new trailer showing off gameplay.

New X-Motor Racing

The X-Motor Racing Website now offers a new version 1.275 of this indie racing simulation. The game can be automatically updated to the new version, which can be purchased on this page. There's also an updated demo on this page, offering two tracks and one car along with some physics profiles. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

etc., etc.

Dead meets Lead Announced

Keldyn Interactive announces Dead meets Lead, an upcoming third-person "zombie slaying game" set in the 18th century. The Dead meets Lead Website is online, offering information and screenshots on the game, which does not yet carry a set release date. Here's a bit from the announcement: "Gothenburg, Sweden – September 10, 2010 Keldyn Interactive today announced their upcoming title Dead meets Lead and released a website together with screenshots of the game. Dead meets Lead is a fast paced zombie slaying game where you take the role of an 18th century commander who sets out to rid an island from its zombie infestation. Armed with his sword and pistol the player faces not only the gruesome villagers-turned-zombies and a range of other beasts converted to the dark side, but also the mischievous mystics behind the plague. The game is played in a third person view and will be available for PC."

Blade Kitten Story Trailer

A new trailer from Blade Kitten highlights the story in the imminent female/feline action/adventure game from KROME Studios. In addition to the plot-oriented cinematics the clip also features gameplay footage depicting fast and furious combat. Here's the embedded clip. Continue here to read the full story.

Evochron Mercenary Next Week?

The Evochron Mercenary Website has word that the release of Evochron Mercenary nears, and StarWraith 3D Games currently expects to launch its latest freeform space combat/trade/exploration game "around" September 17. The update includes some screenshots from recent beta testing sessions to show off some scenic locales, and here's word on release plans: "Details on how to receive the upcoming newsletter announcing the game along with discount offers are available in the forum." Thanks John.

Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris Patch

A new patch is now available for Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris to update the just-released war strategy game to version 1.01. They say: "The v1.01 update is focused on maintenance and fixes most of the issues reported since release, including a few of [sic] crashes and campaign issues. Overall, this update tightens up and polishes the unique and addicting gameplay in this new wargame series and we recommend it to all owners of Decisive Campaigns: Warsaw to Paris." They also note a couple of recent articles on the game; an After Action Report and some Developer’s Notes. The patch is available on this page.

Positech Plans

Cliffski’s Blog offers the Posiplan, a brief roadmap of his near future plans for Positech, his independent developer. He speaks of plans for the release of the new Nomads race for Gratuitous Space Battles "in a slightly strange way (details to follow)," the Mac edition of GSB, the GSB campaign game, and his next project, which for now he simply calls "Game IV."

FIFA 11 Trailer

A new FIFA 11 trailer on PlayStation Universe offers a look at the upcoming association football/soccer simulation sequel. The new installment in the series will feature enhanced control of your defenders, which is demonstrated in this clip.

CitiesXL 2011 Website & Screenshots

A new CitiesXL 2011 Website is online for Focus Home Interactive's upcoming revival of this urban planning series. They have info and forums for the game, and they also offer the first CitiesXL 2011 screenshots.

Op Ed

BitMob - Taliban in Medal of Honor: Controversy Based on Misconception.
Yet, in the case of EA’s reboot of Medal of Honor, we have a misconception that we should be able to correct easily. People rankle at the idea of “playing as a Taliban soldier”, but in multiplayer matches that isn’t really an accurate description of what happens. In actuality, the game randomly assigns players to one of two teams. The two sides play identically, and the only real differences are cosmetic or related to objectives in certain modes. In fact, when you play the objective-based modes you automatically switch between American and Taliban, or more accurately, Offense and Defense, at the end of each round.

Gamasutra - Are Long Development Times Worth The Money?
It’s a problem that has haunted – and will continue to haunt – Take-Two. While investors are a bit more patient with games that have Grand Theft Auto in their name, they get antsy when something like Mafia II takes six years to complete. And they’re starting to feel the same way about Max Payne 3.

Gamasutra: Nicholas Lovell's Blog - Snobbish, Arrogant and Elitist - Why Attitudes to Zynga Suck. Thanks GamePolitics.
So when will gamers stop sneering, stop hiding behind their bleating “but Farmville isn’t a game” and start realising that Zynga have done something that traditional games have never done. They have made gaming something for everyone. Isn’t it time we applauded that?

Morning Tech Bits

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Today is the anniversary of the first drunk driving arrest in world history. The surprising part is that this took place in 1897! That article has a history of the laws against driving under the influence, but in spite of ever-increasing awareness of the dangers of impaired driving, they offer a (hopefully) sobering statistic: "In 2005, 16,885 people died in alcohol-related crashes and almost 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs." Pretty scary.

Sobering Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Hanger.
BlocKage.
Epic Battle Fantasy 3.
Link: How to succeed in comics: Why Stan is 'The Man'. Thanks scorcese.fan.
Story: ‘Office’ plan- How NBC will tackle replacing Carell.
Science: Supernova shrapnel slammed into meteorite.
Brain Scans Can Predict How You'll React to a Movie Scene.
Mars drops hints of an active past involving water.
Images: Soviet Arcade Machines. Thanks BB. Machine plays you!
Media: The Matrix meets The Big Lebowski. NSFW.
Stop Motion Pac-Man.
Cartoon Bears are Still Bears. NSFW.
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