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Saturday, Aug 13, 2011


EA: PC "Extremely Healthy" and Could Become "Our Biggest Platform"

An article on GameSpy by Chris Morris looks at the landscape of virtual goods sales within games, analyzing sales figures on various platforms and projecting what this means for the future. One of the sources cited is Frank Gibeau, president of EA Labels, who talks of how he sees the trend of free-to-play PC games continuing to grow. "If you look at the way people play in Asia, PC is the model," said Gibeau. "I think that the free-to-play model is coming to the West in a big way." So big, in fact, that he also made the following statement:

"PC retail may be a big problem, but PC downloads are awesome," said Gibeau. "The margins are much better and we don't have any rules in terms of first-party approvals. From our perspective, it's an extremely healthy platform. ... It's totally conceivable that it will become our biggest platform."

Section 8: Prejudice Double XP Weekend

The Section 8: Prejudice Website announces a double XP weekend is now underway on all the multiplayer shooter's platforms:

Bust out your controller and keyboard and get ready to earn Double XP starting Friday, August 12th on Xbox 360, PC and PS3!

Starting RIGHT NOW, Section 8: Prejudice will be giving the community the opportunity to unlock new weapons and rank up twice as fast by giving out Double XP all weekend long. Double XP will apply to all ranked multiplayer game modes and maps.

Get out there, grab your friends, and see how much XP you can earn this weekend as the event ends Monday, August 15th at 12PM (CDT).

BF3 & Origin Accounts Linked

A week-old tweet by DICE community manager Daniel Matros notes that player names in Battlefield 3 will be linked to the player's Origin account, in response to the question: "Will it still be possible in BF3 to freely choose your ingame nick(soldiername),like it has been with BFBC2?" His exact response was: "your name is linked to your origin persona." This is interpreted by BF3Blog to possibly mean that each Origin account will only be allowed to create one soldier for the upcoming military shooter sequel, but the tweet doesn't seem to be definitive about this. He also later responded "we'll clarify that going forward" to the question: "Will our Origin ID have to be our BF3 soldier name? Or can you make up a new name?"

Serious Sam 3: BFE Gameplay Trailer

A new gameplay trailer from Serious Sam 3: BFE shows off a continuous combat sequence from Croteam's upcoming first-person shooter prequel that runs for over six minutes. The clip shows off various enemies and weapons in action as Sam both runs and guns. Thanks Seriously! where they also have word via German site GameStar that DTP will distribute Serious Sam 3 in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

Bethesda Forum Passwords Reset

VG247 has word that Bethesda Softworks is sending out notices that user passwords on their forums have been reset after their forums were breached, "in the event that any encrypted forum user passwords were compromised." Word is: "We recommend you do not use your old password or a password you have used for other sites. Further, if your old forum password was used for any other online purposes, we recommend changing the password on those accounts as well."

DOTA 2 Interview

An interview on GameSpy chats with Valve's Erik Johnson about DOTA 2, Valve's upcoming Defense of the Ancients sequel. Perhaps most interesting is Erik's take on community building in response to a question that suggested the original DOTA community is "toxic." Here's his reply:

We don't think the DOTA community is a toxic one at all. A huge number of users spend a huge amount of their time just writing guides to teach new (and experienced) players strategies for heroes, items, and high-level strategy for the game. In any community of this size, you're going to run into some people that rub you the wrong way... but I think that is true for, well, your average grocery store.

We also want to build more tools for the community to interact with each other, like allowing an experienced player to coach someone who is new to the game. Most new players come into DOTA via their friends, so we think this makes a lot of sense.

John Carmack on Unlimited Detail and More

There's a video interview on PC Perspective talking with id Software technical director John Carmack about the GPU race, Intel graphics, ray tracing, voxels, and other suitably techie topics. Due to popular demand (and threats), they have also subsequently posted a transcript of the interview, since, after all, reading is fundamental. The recently released Unlimited Detail Real-Time Rendering Technology Preview Video has attracted so much interest and criticism, his expansive answer on the topic is of particular interest at the moment, and interestingly he seems more skeptical about the actual value of "infinitive detail" than of the Voxel technology underlying the controversial video, saying: "in may ways it sounds awesomely cool: 'infinite detail,' but if we look at all of the trends that we’ve been doing and Rage epitomizes in many ways, procedurally generated detail is usually not what you want. This has been an argument going back decades: 'now is the year of procedurally generated textures and geometry.' We’ve heard that for a decade and it never has come true. What has won is being able to manage the real data that we want." He also says he now believes ray tracing is more likely to eventually win out over voxels anyway, and here's the portion with his take on this:

I’ve revisited voxels at least a half dozen times in my career, and they’ve never quite won. I am confident in saying now that ray tracing of some form will eventually win because there are too many things that we’ve suffered with rasterization for, especially for shadows and environment mapping. We live with hacks that ray tracing can let us do much better. For years I was thinking that traditional analytical ray tracing intersecting with an analytic primitive couldn’t possibly be the right solution, and it would have to be something like voxels or metaballs or something. I’m less certain of that now because the analytic tracing is closer than I thought it would be. I think it’s an interesting battle between potentially ray tracing into dense polygonal geometry versus ray tracing into voxels and things like that. The appeal of voxels, like bitmaps, [is that] a lot of things can be done with filtering operations. You can stream more things in and there is still very definitely appeals about that. You start to look at them as little light field transformers rather than hard surfaces that you bounce things off of. I still wouldn’t say that the smart money is on voxels because lots of smart people have been trying it for a long time. It’s possible now with our current, modern generation graphics cards to do incredible full screen voxel rendering into hyper-detailed environments, and especially as we look towards the next generation I’m sure some people would take a stab at it. I think it’s less likely to be something that is a corner stone of a top-of-the-line triple A title. It’s in the mix but not a forgone conclusion right now. and Revell Team and Revell announce a "strategic cross-marketing cooperation" with the World of Tanks brand. general manager Mario Baumann explains: "Our partnership with Revell will bring our World of Tanks fans the ability to collect and build their favorite tanks from the game." This is an ability they already had, as the press release notes: "Many of the tanks that can be deployed in World of Tanks can also be found in the Revell's current product line." It is possible there is more to this, as Revell's Thorsten Koss is quoted saying: "we can offer fans a very attractive package and retail receives additional sales support." We inquired whether this means there will be some sort of model/game bundle deals or discounts involved in this, but got an out of office reply from (as if this is the weekend or something!).

Saturday Screenshots

  • Borderlands 2 on GamersMint. Mag scans that may go away quickly. Thanks VG247.

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

  • Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters on IGN.
  • Global Agenda: Free Agent on FPSguru.
  • Panzer Corps: Wehrmacht on RTSguru.
  • Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on PC Gamer.
  • Trapped Dead on IGN.

Hardware Reviews

  • Acer Aspire 5750 Laptop on Hardware Secrets.
  • Enermax T.B.Silence Lüfter mit Speed-Control on Technic3D. In German.
  • ASUS GTX 580 Matrix Platinum Graphics Card on PureOC.
  • Kingston HyperX 240GB SATA 3 SSD on The SSD Review.
  • NZXT Source 210 Elite Case on APH Networks.
  • Thecus N2200XXX NAS on PC Review.
  • WD My Book Essential USB3.0 3TB Hard Drive on t-break.
  • ZOTAC GTX580 3GB AMP2! Graphics Card (SLI) on Vortez.


Out of the Blue

Well, I finally figured out that the problem with my computer rebooting is that it does not want to start up while an external USB drive I use is connected. I feel pretty foolish that I allowed the machine's inconsistent behavior in this regard to cause me to ignore a rational troubleshooting process in favor of repeated brute-force attempts to reboot it, but I can be happy that having finally figured this out that I don't have the same concern that it is in the process of going Tango Uniform on me.

Rebooted Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Bohun Revenge.
Links: If 5-Year-Olds Were In Charge of Weapon Design.
6 Companies That Rigged The Game (And Changed the World).
Stories: Teen booted off U.S. ski team for JetBlue urination incident.
YouTube sensation Rebecca Black bullied at school, starts homeschooling.
Media: Well, that's one way to get your lumber home..
Interview with a One-Year-Old.
3D Printer playing Zelda Theme.

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