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Thursday, Jan 06, 2011


Thief 4 at GDC?

The Game Developers Conference schedule indicates that Eidos plans on discussing Thief 4 at next month's GDC. Here's a bit of the session description: "Stealing Sound: Generative Music in THIEF Paul Weir (Eidos Montreal) TBD Stealing Sound: Generative Music in THIEF SPEAKER/S: Paul Weir (Eidos Montreal) DAY / TIME / LOCATION: TBD TRACK / FORMAT: Audio / Lecture DESCRIPTION: Innovative audio has been at the heart of the original THIEF titles and Eidos Montreals [sic] new THIEF is no exception, this presentation will mark the first time that the game has been spoken about publicly. This talk will argue for the benefits of using generative music in games and will present a theoretical framework for its justification." Thanks Computer and Video Games.

The Elder Scrolls V's New Language has the reveal of the cover of their next issue with a profile of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda's upcoming RPG sequel. The cover features an unfamiliar language that ties in with the recently released teaser trailer for the game. This all leads to a Translating The Cover feature where they challenge readers to figure out what this all means. Word is: "During the trailer, you probably noticed some mysterious language being sung. What you might not have known is that the words are in the tongue of the dragons, an entirely new language crafted by Bethesda for use in the upcoming game. This complete language plays an integral role in the story and gameplay of the upcoming epic, and introduces an intriguing new facet to the Elder Scrolls mythology."

Total War: Shogun 2 System Specs

PC Gamer shares the system requirements for Total War: Shogun 2, Creative Assembly's upcoming RTS sequel:

Minimum Specs (Required for playing Total War: Shogun 2):

  • 2 GHz Intel Dual Core processor / 2.6 GHz Intel Single Core processor , or AMD equivalent (with SSE2)
  • 1GB RAM (XP), 2GB RAM (Vista / Windows7)
  • 256 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card (shader model 3)
  • 1024×768 minimum screen resolution
  • 20GB free hard disk space

Recommended Specs (Recommended for optimum game play of Total War: Shogun 2):

  • 2nd Generation Intel® Core™i5 processor (or greater), or AMD equivalent
  • 2GB RAM (XP), 4GB RAM (Vista / Windows7)
  • AMD Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 series graphics cards or equivalent DirectX 11 compatible graphics card
  • 1280×1024 minimum screen resolution
  • 20GB free hard disk space

Dawn of War II – Retribution Preorders and CE

THQ announces preorder bonuses and a collector's edition for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution, their upcoming standalone RTS expansion. The preorder bonuses consist of six individual race packs, and word is: "These race packs are only available for electronic distribution and ONLY available for pre-order. Each race pack includes four unique ability and Wargear items that can be used to enhance the single player campaign." As for the collector's edition, here's what its premium over the regular price will get you: "Leading the charge, the Dawn of War® II - Retribution™ Collector’s Edition will give the most dedicated Warhammer® 40,000® fan access to all of the available bonus wargear for each of the six playable races in the game as well as an exclusive poster, six race art cards and a high-quality collector’s box."

Video Game Writing Award Nominees

The Hollywood Reporter has the list of nominees for the 2010 outstanding achievement in video game writing award from the Writers Guild of America. The nominees are Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Fallout: New Vegas, God of War III, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Singularity, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. Congratulations to former Blue's News editor Jason Bergman, who is one of the additional writers credited on Fallout: New Vegas.

Civilization World Alpha Next Week

A letter from Sid about Civilization World on Facebook has an update on Civilization World, the project previously called Sid Meier's Civilization Network, which was seemingly forgotten after being announced for release this past June. In addition to the name change, the letter describes plans to launch closed alpha testing on January 12, pointing to the Civ World Alpha Registration Page as where to register and describing perks for participants. Word is: "Why a name change you say? The name better reflects the main theme of the game; in Civ World you will be joining your friends to form nations, which will compete with other player-nations to rule the world. Civ World’s shaping up to be a really fun Facebook game, as well as another addictive Civilization experience." Thanks Big Download.

Din's Curse Beta Patch

The Din's Curse Patches Page now offers another new beta patch, this time updating Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG to version 1.013. In short: "This patch addresses a bunch of bugs, balances some things a little better, adds a new NPC Pace choice, and optimizes the game some more (especially multiplayer)." The Changes Page has a complete outline of what's new.

New Hell Unleashed

Mod DB now offers a new version 1.3 of the Hell Unleashed modification for Diablo II. The new update is called a "community patch," and this website outlines all that it does. Here's the general overview of the mod: "This mod is focused towards group multiplayer in a manner of which a group of friends or players can start fresh new characters and fight through the forces of hell side by side, although there is a solo edition available." Thanks Ant.

Gatherings & Competitions

It Came from CES 2011, Part 4

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: The Brick Thief.

Medal of Honor Dev's Shooter Plans

Medal of Honor reboot co-developer Danger Close is looking to hire a Lead Gameplay Engineer "to work on an unannounced AAA first person shooter title," and a Weapons & Vehicles Artist for the "creation of game ready AAA weapons, weapon attachments, and vehicles derived from concept drawings, and reference photos." One of the descriptions says: "The title is early in development so this is an opportunity to be a key player on this major title." Thanks VG247.

World of Warcraft Hotfixes

There's yet another update on on World of Warcraft hotfixes, as Blizzard continues to tweak balance in their MMORPG following the release of the Cataclysm expansion. There is another very lengthy list of changes in spite of this being the 15th such hotfix since November 23. Thanks Ant.

New Bad Company 2 Content Unlikely

There's an interview with DICE's Björn Johnsson on Games On Net that is largely outdated, as it was sent out before the debut of Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam, but was answered after the release of the military shooter expansion. One element that is still relevant is word that Vietnam is likely the last new content for the game: "You should never say never, but we have nothing planned right now when it comes to even more maps for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam. VIP Map Pack 7 is probably the last one."

World of Tanks Asserts Server Record is claiming the Russian version of their MMOTPS World of Tanks has set a record for the greatest number of concurrent players on a single server. They say that at one point yesterday the game peaked with 74,536 online players. "The online peak has been growing steadily for the past several weeks, and the PCCU numbers shown by both World of Tanks versions are just astonishing. We are extremely proud of the scale of popularity the game has managed to gain so far," says CEO Victor Kislyi. "The fact that Western and Russian players keep on joining the ranks of virtual tank commanders makes us believe that more records are to come." There are 25 definitions for PCCU on Acronym Geek, but none of them explains this gaming use; we imagine it's something like peak concurrent users ( has now confirmed for us that this is correct). They also note that the closed beta of the global version of World of Tanks reached 16,070 concurrent online players on December 29, 2010.

NVIDIA Beta Reference Drivers

NVIDIA now offers new beta version 266.35 beta drivers for their graphics cards featuring support for the newly released GeForce GTX 580 and GeForce GTX 570 GPUs. The drivers include performance improvements for the 400 and 500 series and improves the appearance of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty by adding support for ambient occlusion. There are new beta drivers for Windows 7 and Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit, and Windows XP 64-bit. There are more details on, and the listed performance improvements follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Quote of the Day

"We see [the PC] as the centre of innovation of everything that's going on, whether it’s microtransactions, MMOs, free-to-play, or something like CityVille which – after its first month – has 84 million people playing. To us, this is just an indication of why open platforms are where innovations are going to occur." -- Valve Managing Director Gabe Newell.

Running Pillow Bundle

The Running Pillow Website now offers a "pay what you want" sale on a bundle of all the games from this independent developer. This includes three DRM-free games: King's Smith 2 for Windows/Mac, King's Smith for Windows/Mac, and Galatron for Windows.

OnLive TV Impressions

Joystiq has first-hand impressions of playing the OnLive cloud gaming service on one of Vizio's recently announced OnLive-enabled televisions. Word is this eliminates input latency: "So what did we learn? That by building the OnLive functionality right into the hardware, they're managing to bypass the input latency associated with an attached device. The television is also able to automatically switch to "game mode" to help ameliorate those delays. And since all of the VIA Plus sets support 3D, OnLive will be working with publishers to support 3D mode directly in the service."

Op Ed

Jeff Vogel - Three Reasons Creators Should Never Read Their Forums. Thanks Ant via Slashdot.
When I read the forums for, say, World of Warcraft or xkcd, I'm always amazed at how nasty things get. It makes me think, "If you hate it so much, why are you there?" But that's just the way it is, and excess exposure to insults can really get under your skin, make you doubt yourself, and interfere with your work. It's very sad, but you sometimes need to just protect yourself by staying away. Keep your brain clean.

Cliffski’s Blog - But forums are great (bring a dagger).
The big danger, and Jeff mentioned this, is that you can’t get too swayed by the forum posters into switching design decisions. There is a big temptation to do this, but be wary. If I look at the percentage of GSB buyers who are forum posters, it’s pretty small. They are a tiny percentage of the playerbase, and not the group that I should really take design cues from. Some of their ideas are truly cool (someone mentioned fighters that could repair other fighters recently), but the key is to knowing when you have spotted an idea that really is good, and when you are following the crowd.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

It Came from CES 2011, Part 3

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I woke up this morning with a bit of a cough and some tightness in my chest. This has cleared up over a few hours, so I'm not sure if I am fighting a cold or not. I haven't had an actual cold in several years now, but after reading that not getting colds can be a sign of a poor immune system, rather than a strong one, I can't decide whether I am rooting for getting sick or staying well.

Well Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Exodus.
Imperfect Balance 2.
Sierra 7.
Links: The Gamers Alphabet. Thanks Dorkly.
6 Real People With Secret Identities Nobody Saw Coming.
7 Craziest Sexual Arousal Tests Ever Used.
Stories: Coffee spill causes diversion for US flight.
Clowns Killed in Alleged Drug Gang Hit in Mexico. Thanks unseenthings.
Did Playing 'Lost' Numbers in the Lottery Pay Off for Fans? Thanks
Science: Balding may be a stem cell problem.
Journal’s Article on ESP Is Expected to Prompt Outrage (registration required).
The Toothpaste That Changes Flavor Depending on the Weather.
Images: Pac-Man Lights.
Media: TOP GEAR flies a Mini from a ski jump... with rockets.
Nice Shot!
The Eternal Question.
The Funnies: I Fir This Battle Has Taken a Turn for the Worse.
Follow-up: Homeless man Ted Williams, who has 'golden' radio voice, gets second chance.
Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud.

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