Archived News:

Monday, Apr 18, 2011

Portal 2 Nears

GLaDOS@Home now shows that computations are still needed for only five more games from the Potato Sack, and the countdown to unlock Portal 2 stands at just under 10 hours. Meanwhile the potato counter is ticking off potatoes at around 20 per second, as the site says it is: "Engaging starch-based power cells." There's indication what that does.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Patch

Battle.net Europe has news that a new patch is now available for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, updating the real-time strategy sequel to version 1.3.2. The new version is available automatically, and the manual versions of the Windows and OS X patches are mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls. The patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Star Ruler Patch

The Star Ruler Patches Page now offers another new patch, which will update the space strategy game to version 1.0.7.4. The patch is also available through the game's auto-update function, though word is: "The patcher incorrectly states what version you've updated to, but it will patch correctly." The manual patch is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls. The change log outlines what's new and different, and this is reproduced below. Continue here to read the full story.

Strategic Command WW1: The Great War Patch

Battlefront.com now offers downloads of a new patch for Strategic Command WW1: The Great War, which will update the World War I strategy game to version 1.01. The new version adds unit swapping, highlighted movement paths, weather effects for air units, along with bug fixes, AI improvements, tweaks, adjustments, and more. The download is mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls.

Evening Previews

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Why is this night different from all other nights? An early update, among other things.

Blizzard's "Unannounced Game Title"

The Blizzard Entertainment Jobs Directory has a listing for Software Engineer, Tools for "Unannounced Game Title," which is listed separately from the job openings for "Next-Gen MMO," which must be Titan. The listing doesn't give much of a clue what this is for, just saying: "This is a key role on a new and exciting project within the company." Thanks GameSpot.

New NVIDIA Reference Drivers

New WHQL-certified GeForce/Ion reference drivers are now available for NVIDIA graphics cards, adding support for new GeForce GTX 590, GeForce GTX 560 Ti and GeForce GTX 550 Ti GPUs. Word is the new version 270.61 drivers increase "performance for GeForce 400 Series and 500 Series GPUs in several PC games vs. v266.58 WHQL drivers." There are new drivers for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit, and Windows XP 64-bit. Thanks Charles.

ESRB Changes

A story on NYTimes.com is titled "Busy Job of Judging Video-Game Content to Be Ceded to Machines," though that's a little misleading, as what's really happening is that the ESRB will begin giving games ratings based on surveys filled out by the developers, though they add that: "Major retail games — the ones advertised on television and stocked by Wal-Mart — will still be evaluated by real people. For now." They explain that there eventually be post-release testing: "All games rated via this new process will be tested by E.S.R.B. staff shortly after they are made publicly available to verify that disclosure was complete and accurate." They do note that the games don't actually get play-tested under the current system either:
The human game classifiers who will soon be ceding work to machines don’t actually play the games. Instead they watch a DVD submitted by a game’s publisher that is supposed to include the raunchiest and most violent scenes, if any. So they have not been experiencing games as they are played.

One Potato, Two Potato...

GLaDOS@Home shows computations are complete for seven games in the Potato Sack, leaving six more in the works. At this point it looks like Portal 2 will unlock around 4:30 am EDT.

U.K. Sales Charts

The GFK Chart-Track offers the 20 top-selling full-price PC games in the U.K. for the week ending April 16th. This week Football Manager 2011 returns to the number one spot, on a fairly stable list where the big mover for the week is Bulletstorm, which jumped from number 20 to number 13. MCV has the all-platform charts, where Zumba Fitness holds the top spot.

Op Ed

GIGAOM - Valve’s Portal 2 Early Release Promotion- Innovative or Crass. Thanks nin.
Those efforts, though, highlight why the Portal 2 promotion has limited appeal. The fans are open to getting content in different ways if they see value in it. That’s a key part of Kickstarter’s proposition: that projects need to offer supporters some kind of reward for their pledge. With the Portal 2 promotion, it takes up to $40 to do your part to get the title released early — (you can also buy games individually) which is a fair amount to spend on games — so you can have the privilege of spending more money on the game you really want. And there’s no tipping point like in Kickstarter to ensure an investment will pay off in the desired action. People just have to buy up and hope that others join in too. It may be a nice gesture to support indie game developers, but for people who are really just interested in Portal 2, it can be a little too much selling. Finally, the pay off is pretty minimal. It would be nice to get a game early, but with the April 19 release date fast approaching and the threshold for release a ways off, it’s not that much of a benefit to get the game a few days early. A week or more, and that might be cool.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Passover begins at sundown today, so Happy Pesach to all who are celebrating. I guess we qualify, as we are attending a Seder with the step-family, which will cause an early evening update today.

Pesach Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Morpho Ball.
Cubium.
My Little Army.
Link: Wanderlust. Thanks Neatorama.
Stories: Blind ten-year-old becomes European Parliament's youngest interpreter. Thanks Neatorama.
Woman orders fast food instead of pulling over for police. Thanks Neatorama.
Science: Brain buzz. Thanks Gizmodo.
Moving bikes stay upright—but not for the reasons we thought.
Images: Obey!
Clean Air FAIL.
Terminator 2: Judgment Cake.
Media: Brent Spiner: Fresh Hell - Episode 1.
Punch The Bag FAIL.
Wrecked SUV Somehow Still Roadworthy.
Zero Punctuation Cosplay of the Day.
The Funnies: Narcissist Tattoo Cartoon - Savage Chickens.
Follow-up: TED Talks - Roger Ebert- Remaking my voice.
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