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Tuesday, Jan 04, 2011


Battle for Freedom Demo [Updated]

Update: Posts in our forums discuss oddities with this, and suggest this demo is some sort of elaborate hoax, so be careful with this. Original Story: A playable demo for Battle for Freedom is now available, offering a sample of the recently announced multiplayer first person shooter/strategy game from Romanian indie developer Inovare Studio. The demo is available on the Inovare Studio Website, where word is: "The demo contains 1 level, playable in co-op up to 7 players. 3 different characters are playable." The download is mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Ubisoft Confirms DRM Changes

Shacknews has a confirmation from Ubisoft of recent indications that Ubisoft has removed the requirement of a constant internet connection from its DRM scheme. Confirming this unpopular aspect of their DRM is no longer present in Assassin's Creed II and Splinter Cell: Conviction, they have word that other games will be handled on a case-by-case basis, and that new games will still use the system.

Shafer and Stern Join Stardock

Big Download has word that Stardock has hired Jon Shafer, who recently parted ways with Firaxis where he was lead designer on Civilization V. They report on a conversation they had with him today: "He told us that he departed Firaxis Games on good terms and while he got a few offers from other studios he told us that he went to Stardock for a number of reasons. One is that he has been an admirer of Stardock's games for some time as a fan. Another is that he wanted to work with a company that that the freedom to make the kinds of games he wanted to make. Shafer told us he could [not] give out any info on what his stand alone project will be for the company as Stardock is still concentrating its efforts on updating Elemental, including the release of at least two expansion packs." Stardock also announces the addition of Dave Stern (Baba Booey!), saying the fantasy and science fiction author will "oversee creative storytelling and lore implementation in all future projects, including the recently launched Elemental: War of Magic."

The Sims Medieval Trailer

These screenshots and a new trailer from The Sims Medieval promotes the upcoming medieval installment in EA Maxis' lifestyle series. The clip shows gameplay and offers a description of how the game plays out from narrator Sir Patrick Stewart. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

The Great War Trailer

This Media Page now offers a new teaser trailer from Strategic Command WW1 1914-1918 - The Great War, Fury Software's upcoming World War I strategy game. The clip does not feature anything from the game, it is four annotated black and white photos describing the run up to the great war.


The FRAPS Website now offers a relatively new version 3.2.6 of this benchmarking and video capture program for gamers. The new version addresses several bugs. Thanks Ant.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Heavy Metal Penguin.

R.I.P.: Gerry Rafferty Dead at Age 63. Thanks Devicer.

RIFT Launch Date and Pricing Details

Trion Worlds announces a March 1, 2011 launch date for RIFT in North America, saying their MMORPG will kick off in Europe on March 4. They also have begun digital and retail preorder campaigns for the game, which carry some special perks. This page has details on CEs and preorder incentives, which include a choice of one-of-three exclusive in-game pets, access to the game's head start period beginning February 24, and entree into the game's remaining closed beta events, the next of which will commence on Friday. They also discuss pricing, saying RIFT will come as a standard edition for $49.99 USD, a Digital Collector's Edition for $59.99 USD, and a Retail Collector's Edition, which will sell for $79.99 USD. The standard subscription rate will be $14.99 USD per month, but they are also offering a limited-time "Founder’s Pricing" at $9.99 USD per month price for a six month subscription. Subscription information can be found on this page.

New Atari CEO

Atari SA has tapped Jim Wilson to be their new Chief Executive Officer reports (registration required). "Jim has the board's full support as he continues to drive new goals of growth and success," says Atari chairman of the board Frank Dangeard. "At the end of Jeff's mandates, Atari is better positioned as we enter the next strategic phase of our plan." Wilson was previously deputy CEO, and replaces Jeff Lapin, who is departing after one year for reasons unknown.

No Fable III PC News Yet

Lionhead Studios tweets that they are still unable to provide any news on the forsaken Windows edition of Fable III, their RPG sequel (thanks VG247). Word is:

It's painful to admit we can't yet answer any questions on the PC version of Fable III... Hopefully soon we can spill the beans!

APB Reloaded Beta May Launch Next Month

The APB Reloaded twitter account has word on plans for closed beta testing of the online sandbox game revival (thanks Big Download), saying: "If everything goes exactly like the plan, the Closed Beta will be launched somewhere in late February :)." A subsequent tweet and a follow up correction indicates they will be revealing details this week on how to apply as a tester.

Morrowind Graphical Project

The Morrowind 2011 Graphical Project is now available, offering a giant compendium of previously released modifications for Elder Scrolls IV: Morrowind, Bethesda's RPG sequel. This page has detailed instructions on how to set this up, including tips for Steam users. This trailer offers a look at what this adds to the game.

Firemint Acquires Infinite Interactive

Firemint announces the acquisition of Infinite Interactive (Warlords and Puzzle Quest), saying combing the two Australian studios "further boosts Firemint's strength in designing and developing original games, while providing the Infinite Interactive team with a channel for independent publishing." Word is: "Infinite Interactive was founded by Steve Fawkner in 1989, and is best known for the “Warlords” and “Puzzle Quest” series of games, both designed by Fawkner. Fawkner is one of the games industry’s pre-eminent innovators, and has created more than 30 games in a career spanning more than 25 years. He takes on a product management position at Firemint, and will continue to work with his current team on a game already under development."

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Hotfixes has an updated list of hotfixes for World of Warcraft as Blizzard continues to implement balance tweaks in their MMORPG since the launch of the Cataclysm expansion. Thanks Ant.

Team Fortress 2 Exploit Patched

Steam News has word on a new automatic patch that's now available for Team Fortress 2, Valve's teamplay shooter. The new version includes several bug fixes, and addresses the Amputator exploit we mentioned yesterday. The full patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Million Tank March announces their free-to-play MMOTPS World of Tanks has reached the one million registered user plateau, and that they are installing additional European servers as part of the run-up to the game's commercial launch for Western audiences this quarter. "World of Tanks team is grateful to our community for achieving such impressive figures," said Victor Kislyi, CEO of "We would like to thank all the WoT fans for their support. will continue to work hard on adding new content to the game regularly to guarantee that our community gets maximum fun from playing World of Tanks."

UK PC Sales Chart

GFK Chart-Track has a UK PC sales chart for the week ending January 1. Topping the list is Football Manager 2011, and 40% of the top 10 consists of Sims games and add-ons. In other UK sales news, MCV has word from UKIE that the UK sales market hit £2.875 billion in 2010, on £1.45 billion in console software sales and £800 million in hardware (which adds up to £2.25 billion, perhaps the other £600 million is PC related?). They say this is down from 2009 when the year totaled £3.3 billion.

Minecraft Nears 1 Million Sales, New Mine OS

A new post on The Word of Notch has word from the Minecraft developer on the game's Independent Games Festival nomination and plans for "a content patch update next week with a whole pile of fun new toys, including a water mob and quite possibly paint if we can figure out how exactly it should work." Notch also notes the game's sales success continues: "Oh, and Minecraft will hit 1 million sales soon, and I have NO idea how to celebrate that! There’s no time to plan anything!" Also, the Mine OS Website offers what they feel is the simplest way to set up a Minecraft Linux dedicated server (thanks Ant). Word is: "There are numerous guides out there to setting up a minecraft server, dozens of linux (or windows) scripts to automate this task, and to the best of my knowledge, nothing that combines these together in an idiot-proof quick-start setup, managaing [sic] memory use, mod/plugin interfaces, and server moderation."

OnLive and Vizio and SRS

OnLive and Vizio are partnering to include the hardware to connect to OnLive's cloud gaming service in Vizio televisions, blu-ray player, and mobile devices. Gamasutra interviews OnLive CEO Steve Perlman about the news. OnLive also announces a partnership with SRS Labs to deliver surround sound using SRS 5.1. Finally, OnLive also announces a CES sale, offering 33% off between now and Sunday.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I saw on the news this morning that this area is all of two inches away from our average winter snowfall total, all of two weeks into the winter. I think that means we will probably have more snow than normal (we actually hit that total about four days after the season began). It seems unfair to have a harsh winter after a harsh summer, but I guess there's not supposed to be anything fair about it.

Fair Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Thug.
Meteor Wars.
Dragon Spirits.
Links: Blue's News on the Alcowebizer. Thanks Neatorama.
Mobius Strip Traffic Light. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.
Stories: Garbage pile saves suicide jumper.
Burlesque Dancers Attempt To Break World Record In London.
Philippines killing- 'Killer'caught in victim's photo.
Science: China says it knows how to reprocess nuclear fuel.
Blood test to spot cancer gets big boost from J&J.
To Stave Off Panic, Don't Take a Deep Breath. Thanks Neatorama.
Images: Mommy & Daddy Love Quake.
Edible Protoss Nexus.
Jurassic Yoshi.
Dirty Harry Potter. Thanks Joker961 via reddit.
Media: Timelapse Video Of A New Year's Spent Gaming Wildly.
UNDERCITY: An Underground Expedition Through New York City.
Driving in America.
Auction: Lennon's white 'Abbey Road' suit sells for $46,000.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Savage Chickens.
Follow-ups: Fireworks may have caused Arkansas bird deaths.
No word from stuck NASA Mars rover Spirit.
Stargazing and dark sky tourism.
Bees in freefall as study shows sharp US decline.
Early partial solar eclipse for 2011.

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