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Tuesday, Feb 01, 2011


Gold - Bulletstorm

This tweet announces Bulletstorm is gold, and People Can Fly's now-complete first-person shooter is headed off to manufacturing for its release. Word is: "There's no stopping this train! Bulletstorm has gone gold for PS3, Xbox 360 & PC. Get ready to jump on board next month." Presumably they haven't flipped their calendars, as the game is due this month, on February 22 to be exact. Thanks Big Download.

EA Financials, New Shooter Teased

Electronic Arts Q3 FY11 Financial Results are now available. Word is: "We had a solid third quarter with non-GAAP earnings up more than 75% year-over-year," said Eric Brown, Chief Financial Officer. "EA reported 39% growth in digital and is tracking toward our $750 million full year non-GAAP digital revenue target." There were also some revelations in their post-earnings conference call, one, that sales of Dead Space 2 are outpacing the original two to one, and the other that EA is working on a "very exciting" new first-person shooter, as CEO John Riccitiello describes their goal of taking back leadership in the genre: "We've made strong progress in calendar '10 over calendar '09. This year, with the tail-end of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 still doing well and Medal of Honor still doing well... with Crysis and Bulletstorm we're clearly going to make more progress towards our goal and that's before we get to what I think is going to be a very exciting entry later in the year that we're not yet announcing."

Retribution Beta Nears

The Dawn of War II Website has word that Relic is working on a few things in preparation for the promised closed beta test of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution, their real-time strategy expansion. Word is:

While we work towards a fix for code distribution for the Beta we wanted to let you know about two important things:

First, to get the beta in your hands as soon as possible, tune in to our Facebook ( and Twitter pages ( We’ll be giving out as many keys to our followers as possible, so keep your eyes peeled.

Secondly, we’ve closed the forums temporarily to so we can keep the community up while we squash a few bugs.

Thanks for bearing with us while we tackle these technical issues.

Free Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso

The Juniper Games Downloads Section now offers Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso as a free download. This is an updated version of the 2006 release that works under Windows Vista. The game was written by Steve Ince, known for his work on several of Revolutions Software's adventure games, and is offered gratis in celebration of Steve's 18th year in the industry, as he first joined Revolution on February 1, 1993.

Dead Space 2 Diary

A new Dead Space 2 video Developer Diary called "Smoke and Mirrors" features the developers at Visceral Studios discussing the user interface in their just-released third-person shooter sequel.

Darkspore Trailer

Darkspore Hero Spotlight #2 is another trailer showing off one of the heroes in Darkspore, the Spore-inspired action/RPG in development at EA's Maxis studio. Word is: "Darkspore Systems Designer Paul Sottisanti takes us through a new Hero Spotlight Video, showcasing the abilities of the Gravitic War Master, Andromeda, a Tempest Class hero and one of the more than 25 characters that gamers will be able to collect, upgrade and customize."

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: Hilarious British animal voiceovers. Thanks WalterEgo.

OnLive PlayPack Launches

The OnLive PlayPack Program is underway, offering a catalogue of 38 games for unlimited play through this cloud-based gaming service for a flat fee of $9.99 USD per month, with the first month being free. The current offerings include semi-recent games like BioShock, Unreal Tournament III: Titan Pack, and F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, and they say more games are coming. The PlayPack plan was announced in December, and at the time we took it that the entire OnLive roster of games would be available under that system, but that is not actually the case, and newer games still require an additional purchase, with prices similar to the costs of these games at retail. Thanks

Call of Duty: Black Ops Infographic

Treyarch has produced a Call of Duty: Black Ops infographic with a bunch of statistics about multiplayer play in the military shooter sequel. This offers some startling numbers like 1.1 trillion shots fired and 5.1 billion headshots along with tidbits like the top three guns and perks in the game. The landscape graphic is extremely large, but clicking on it will remove the surrounding HTML, which should make for easier viewing.

Company of Heroes Online Closing

The Company of Heroes Online Website announces that Relic will be shutting down this online installment in their World War II real-time strategy series on March 31, 2011. As of today they are no longer selling COHO Cash, and they urge players who have purchased any to spend it in-game before the game's closure, as their COHO Beta Closure FAQ notes that they will not be offering any refunds, referring to their policy that refunds are at their "sole and absolute discretion," which they are obviously not exercising here. Company of Heroes Online entered open beta testing exactly six months ago, where it has remained ever since, and in spite of them describing its run as "several very successful months," their answer to the question of whether they plan to launch a full version of COHO sounds pessimistic: "We are still working on our plans for the Company of Heroes franchise and are not ready to discuss details yet. We will be leveraging all the data and feedback the Company of Heroes Online Beta generated."

They offer beta participants their thanks as well as a code to purchase a copy of Company of Heroes Gold Edition from the THQ online store for $4.99 USD, noting that an upcoming patch will bring multiplayer improvements from COHO to the original Company of Heroes game and expansions. This forum offers Company of Heroes beta patch notes, and they say to stay tuned for a release date for a new patch. In an interview last November, producer Greg Wilson discussed a steep learning curve as an obstacle to new players trying to get started in Company of Heroes Online. Thanks Nathan.

Cities in Motion Open Beta

Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order announce open beta testing is underway for Cities in Motion, their upcoming urban mass transportation simulation. The beta client is available for download from FilePlanet (FP registration is not required), and the beta is set to continue until February 20th, offering: "the city of Vienna in sandbox mode along with one scenario – ‘Part with Petrol’." Here's word on what the full game will include: "Featuring an in-depth campaign mode made up of 12 scenarios along with an open ended sandbox mode, an advanced map editor that allows players to create their own cities, plus much more, Cities in Motion will challenge players to create the perfect public transport system that has no cancellations, no delays and where the passengers are always happy!"

Line of Defense Announced

3000 AD announces (Adobe Acrobat-format) Line of Defense, a science fiction MMOG that's slated to launch later this year featuring two opposing sides waging war on land and in space. The Line of Defense Website is online, offering some screenshots and a FAQ with system requirements, details on gameplay, and this explanation of the game's business model in answer to a question whether there's a monthly fee: "No. However, the game will have a hybrid model which supports both a F2P (Free To Play) and a premium model. In both cases, the game client will be released as a free download." Here's a bit more on what to expect:

Featuring twitched based pure PvP mayhem with various character progressions, classes, abilities and attributes, all set in a massive open persistent game world, experience the future of sci-fi warfare as you've never seen it before. Especially not of this scale and scope.

Defenders of Ardania Announced

This press release announces Defenders of Ardania, an upcoming tower defense game that was unveiled at the Paradox Interactive press event a couple of weeks ago that we missed among the bazillion new games they revealed at the time. Set in Ardania, the home of the Majesty series, the game will offer multiplayer play, allowing players to also take on the role of the attacker when it's released for Windows, iPad, PSN, and XBLA during the second quarter of this year. This video interview chats with Mattias Lilja, executive producer on the project, and this announcement trailer teases gameplay. Here's a bit more on what to expect: "Defenders of Ardanias innovative new game concepts include light RTS elements, taking the popular genre to the next level. Players must oversee unit production and upgrades while assembling the most effective army from one of three playable races, each with unique locations, towers, and units. However, without magic, a fantasy game is little more than a toothless lion (or dragon, rather), so a wide range of spells will be available for players to decimate their enemies and protect their forces."

Steam Screenshots Beta

A thread on the Steam Users' Forums announces the availability of a new beta version of the Steam client. A number of changes are included, most notably a new feature allowing players to take screenshots within any game that uses DirectX 9 or later, with screenshots being saved to the steam cloud. This forum thread hosts discussions of this new feature. To check out the beta, follow these instructions: "To access the Beta, go to File -> Settings. On the Account tab press the Change... button to open the Beta Participation dialog. Then Select Beta Update, and allow Steam to restart itself." Thanks Jeromy.

Realm of the Titans Beta Signups

The Realm of the Titans Website is now accepting signups for closed beta testing of Aeria Games' upcoming free DotA-inspired multiplayer action/strategy game. The beta is planned for the second quarter of this year, and here's a bit on the game: "Realm of the Titans is a bold, new take on the popular action strategy genre. In ROTT, two teams of up to five heroes face off on a dangerous and dynamic battlefield in an attempt to take total control of the map. As each team advances across the field of combat, they seize control points that spawn waves of NPC minions to assist them in the conflict. Players who perform well in battle are awarded points that can be used during the match to upgrade their hero’s powers and abilities. The game is meticulously designed to reward teamwork and tactics, and encourage fluid and fast-paced competitive gameplay."

Magicka Patched

Another new patch for Magicka is now automatically available on Steam, addressing more issues with Arrowhead Games' new action/adventure. The patch includes some balance tweaks as well as bug fixes, which are all detailed below. Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Destructoid - Oh no, sixty dollars for eight hours? Just ... shut up. Thanks MG Admin.
I'm talking about the, "I'm not spending $60 for eight hours" crowd. Apparently, a game that lasts eight hours is now a failure, and not worth paying full price for, no matter how good it is. This new emphasis on length over quality smacks of middle school essay requirements, where your word count was more crucial than your writing ability.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I recently began experiencing some numbness and tingling in the ring finger and pinky on my left hand. Luckily this was not a heart attack, it was clearly caused by holding my arm or leaning on my elbow in certain ways. A little investigating on the web lead to a diagnosis that I think is almost certainly correct, even given the dangers of playing internet doctor. It seems I am suffering from what is called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which impacts the two fingers not involved in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The good news is that this is not a similar sort of RSI to Carpal Tunnel; it's caused by compressing the ulnar nerve at the elbow, and since figuring this out, I realize I have several habitual ways of leaning on my left elbow that have provoked this. It's getting better now that I'm aware of avoiding these habits, but they are so ingrained I still catch myself absent-mindedly doing them, so it may take time for me to get this to go away completely.

Nervy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Grow Cannon. Thanks Jay is Games.
Neptune's Treasure.
Perfect Balance 3: Last Trials.
Links: The Zombie Tabernacle Choir. Thanks Neatorama.
Arrested Development Clue Board Game.
Beagle Freedom Project. Thanks Neatorama.
Stories: 'V' to pull a 'Jericho'- Season will end on cliffhanger despite cancellation risk.
Bakery robber may be Melbourne's dumbest criminal. Thanks Boing Boing.
Science: South Carolina scientist works to grow meat in lab: Scientific American.
Snowed In? Contribute to Science! Thanks Digg.
Super Bowl may trigger heart attacks.
Images: Jodhpur: the Blue City of India.
Media: Solar Death Ray: Power of 5000 suns. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
Win Compilation.
Wild Bald Eagle Sets Up Camp Next To Captive Bald Eagle.
Crime Cops - enhance.
Follow-up: Arctic current warmer than for 2,000 years: study.

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