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Saturday, Mar 26, 2011


Game of Thrones RPG Plans

French site FactorNews has details (in French) on a Game of Thrones RPG in the works at Cyanide, in addition to the previously announced A Song of Ice and Fire-based RTS game A Game of Thrones - Genesis. The project does not yet carry a release date, but they have word from Cyanide on the story, as they say (courtesy of Google Translate): "Cyanide has chosen to make an RPG strongly narrative, citing Planescape - Torment, Baldur's Gate II or KOTOR as an example." Thanks Joystiq/Big Download.

Avalanche on Piracy, DRM, and Ports

Computer and Video Games has some thoughts on piracy and DRM from Christofer Sundberg, founder of Swedish developer Avalanche Studios. He admits piracy is as worrisome to them as it is to all other developers, but that 50% of his employees come from hacking background. He also once again explains his distain for DRM. "The DRM does not stop piracy," he said, "it just punishes the people who have actually paid for the game. It's completely useless. Forcing people to be online all the time and so on doesn't show respect to the people who actually buy PC games." To some degree he also blames PC piracy on bad PC games and console ports, saying: "I think piracy wouldn't be as much of an issue if there were better PC games out there. We could just scrap the whole concept of stupid DRM." Here's more:

I've always been of the opinion that we should design PC games for the PC players. PC players and console players are completely two different types of consumer. It's always unfair to not design the game for the consumer you're targeting. The PC version is always a second thought [for publishers], like: 'Oh, and we need a PC version too.'

You end up just doing a port, so there's not a lot of time, budget or creative thinking going into using the PC. I think that's quite sad. We [as an industry] should take the PC platform more seriously. Everyone is just complaining about piracy on the PC, but when it comes to in-game DLC or social connectivity, the options on PC compared to console are endless. I would like at some point to do a really good PC game designed specifically for PC players.

MicroVolts Special Events

Rock Hippo Productions is celebrating the success of the open beta testing of MicroVolts with special events in the free-to-play online shooter that run from today through April 11. This announcement has all the details. Here's a bit: "To thank the active and growing community, MicroVolts will host the MicroVolts iPad 2 contest where they will be giving away two custom MicroVolts iPad 2's. Players who rack up 10 hours of play in one week will automatically be entered into the drawing. The first event will take place between March 28 through April 4, and the second iPad 2 drawing for 10 hours of play will take place between April 4-11. Additionally, this weekend between March 26th and 27th, MicroVolts will give out 2,000 bonus experience points for everyone who plays at least three hours!"

Rogers Throttling WoW

This thread on the Rogers Community Forums explores the performance problems experienced by World of Warcraft players who use this Canadian telecom company as their ISP (thanks Blizzplanet via Nate). A post from Rogers confirms suspicions that they are throttling WoW connections, saying this is inadvertent, calling it "a problem with our traffic management equipment." They say a software update has helped a bit, and they are expecting to clear this up with another software update in June. In the meantime, they offer this workaround:

We believe the problem occurs when P2P is running while simultaneously playing the game. If you are experiencing problems we suggest you turn off the peer to peer setting within the WoW game and ensure no other P2P file sharing applications are running while playing WoW. WoW does use P2P for software updates, but with this setting changed you should continue to automatically receive software updates through other methods.

This is only a temporary solution. We continue to work closely with the game manufacturer and our equipment supplier to help resolve this issue as soon as possible.

AMD/DirectX Follow-up

An interview with AMD's Richard Huddy on CRN follows recent comments where he said that "DirectX is getting in the way," and developers frequently express a desire to "Make the API go away" (thanks Gamasutra). Huddy takes the opportunity to clarify. Here's a bit:

Huddy cited developers including Dice, known for its successful Battlefield series, and Critech are among the minority of game developers who are looking to get around the API. “It’s not something most developers want,” he said. “If you held a vote among developers, they would go for Direct X or Open GL, because it’s a great platform.”

In particular, Robison touted Direct X’s stability and the standardization it has brought to what was a highly-segmented industry. “We saw some of the chaos before Direct X coalesced the industry,” Robison said. “In the past there were all kinds of APIs developers had to worry about.”

Op Ed

IndustryGamers - Hollywood, Please Stay Away From Games.
This TWC Games announcement is actually shocking to me. Do the Weinstein brothers have any researchers? Have they never heard of Brash Entertainment? You might recall that Brash was co-founded in 2007 by Thomas Tull of Legendary Pictures. In 2008, the company went out of business. Similar to TWC, Brash's business was based entirely on licenses (mostly from Hollywood - Alvin and the Chimpmunks, Saw, Jumper, etc.) It was just a bad, bad idea destined to fail, and unless the Weinsteins have some magic trick up their sleeves, they will suffer the same fate.

On Sale

Week three of the 5th Anniversary Sale on GamersGate offers another huge selection of games up to 75% off. The IGN PC Store offers 20% off on over 3000 games when you use the code "ignpcstore" on checkout and Direct2Drive offers the same discount with a different code: "marchmadness".

  • Arcadia on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops on Steam. Save 25%.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Gray Matter on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 Platinum on Steam. Save 50%.
  • RIFT on EBGames. Save $10.00. Thanks Acleacius.
  • RIFT on WeGame. Save 28%.
  • Sacred 2: Fallen Angel on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Sword of the Stars - Complete Collection on Impulse. Save 66%.
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director's Cut on Steam. Save 50%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I have a good handle on cooking most basic breakfast dishes, including both stove-top and oven-baked omelets. For some reason I never tried hash browns before today, in spite of how much I enjoy them. Unfortunately my overconfidence that this would be simple caused me to take a whack at them without checking a recipe first, and they turned out terrible. The problem was not the ingredients, but my failure to appreciate the key element being drying the potatoes as well as possible before frying them, which caused them to be a soggy mess. MrsBlue was nice about them, saying she enjoyed them nonetheless, but is insisting I wait until next weekend before trying again. I'm really eager to try again, have to agree it is probably wise to avoiding overdoing the whole fried potatoes thing.

Fried Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Panzertroopers.
Mario and Friends Tower Defense.
World of Science.
Stories: Defecating dog sparks US shootout.
Teen break-in leads to weeklong party, complete with live bands: cops. Thanks Devicer.
Images: What Syfy's 'Piranhaconda' looks like.
NASA's "images" of life on Mars circa 1975.
Media: Mitchell and Webb - Arse Store (Apple Store Parody).
Tron Uprising 2011 New HD Animated Trailer.
NFL lockout could mean disaster for 2011 season.
Auction: Steve McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ Porsche 911S to be auctioned.
Follow-up: Stardust, NASA's Comet-Hunting Spaceship, Shuts Down.

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