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Friday, Sep 30, 2011


Planned Battlefield 3 Changes

The Battlefield Blog offers a list of changes DICE will implement in the release version of the military shooter sequel based on feedback from beta testers. A full list is outlined on the Battlelog forums, and here's the condensed list: Continue here to read the full story.

Dead Island DLC Delayed

The Dead Island Facebook page indicates that the release of the first DLC for Techland's zombie game is delayed while they polish the game itself (thanks VG247). Here's the deal:

We are working hard to make the Bloodbath Arena DLC available as soon as possible. However, due to further polishing of the main game the finalisation of the DLC code has been delayed. We know that many fans are eagerly waiting for it and apologise for any inconvenience. We expect to announce a release update next week.

RAGE Steam Preloads Begin

Steam News announces that preloads of RAGE are now underway for those who have preordered id's upcoming first-person shooter so it will be easier to get started playing upon its release next week.

Diablo III Speed Hack?

A post on Diablo IncGamers offers a video showing a character in the Diablo III beta moving at extreme speeds. Many of the posters in the ensuing discussion thread feel this may be showing an actual speed hack for the game as other elements seem to move at normal speed, which suggests this is not just sped-up video. They reproduce a quote from the Blizzard on this also suggesting it may be real, as it says: "Thanks for bringing this to our attention. If you would like to report information regarding cheats or hacks, send it to Please don’t assist with disseminating the information by posting it here on the forums." Since this is the type of thing that requiring online play is meant to prevent, if there is such a cheat in the wild, hopefully it can be addressed quickly.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Trailers

The SEGA Blog now offers the E3 presentation from Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox Software's upcoming shooter based on the sci-fi series. Word is: "It’s here – the footage you’ve been waiting for – Aliens: Colonial Marines! We have a true treat for fans who have been waiting so patiently (soooo patiently!) for footage of the upcoming SEGA and Gearbox title. We have an 11 minute video that details a single encounter in the upcoming game, narrated expertly by the one and only Randy Pitchford of Gearbox." There's also an gameplay walkthrough video on GamePro, along with discussion of their anticipation for the game.

On BF3's Battlelog and Platoons

The Battlefield Blog now offers a Battlefield 3 Battlelog Features Trailer with a look at the social component of DICE's upcoming military shooter sequel. The update also offers details on how platoons work in Battlefield 3. Here's a bit:

Every game you play when part of a Platoon (whether you play on your own or with other members) will count towards your Platoon’s aggregate statistics, scores, and rank. Having a large pool of skilled players who play a lot of games is a good idea if you want to rise to the top in the Platoon-specific leaderboards.

Just like on an individual player level, the Platoon page will have detailed stats on how you are doing collectively. What’s your record for winning and losing online? What’s the breakdown of classes within your Platoon? Who is the most valuable player in your Platoon? What is the mean rank of your Platoon? and so on.

PC Piracy and DRM Analysis

An article on Eurogamer speaks with a few figures from the game industry seeking to answer the question "How Bad is PC Piracy Really?" The general consensus is that it is impossible to definitively determine what percentage of PC games are pirated, or how many legitimate sales are actually lost as a result, but that doesn't stop some of the people they spoke with from taking guesses: Reinhard Blaukovitsch from SecuROM vendor Sony DADC says "between 40 and 80 per cent of total copies of a game being played are pirated," and: "The commercial value of global software piracy is growing by 14 percent annually." Analyst Michael Pachter tells them: "Ubisoft told me that their PC game sales are down 90 per cent without a corresponding lift in console sales," and that he guesses "40 to 50 per cent of PC games played are not purchased." Capcom's and PCGA's Christian Svensson says he thinks it ranges from 50/50 at the low end and: "At the higher end you can see 90 per cent illegitimate usage to 10 per cent legitimate."

They also discuss solutions: "[There's] no public data to suggest that DRM works," says Pachter. "But the fact that more companies are imposing it strongly suggests that they believe it works." They also have a separate article about Pachter's comments. "Yes, piracy is ruining PC gameplay, and yes, it is forcing PC games online," the analyst says. "This happened in China 15 years ago, and in Korea in the last decade, and it's happening in the West now." One thing all their respondents seem to agree on is that it's a problem when DRM punishes legitimate users and encourages piracy. Here's a chunk with a few takes on that concept:

"Consumers are right to complain about DRM, since it impacts both legitimate and illegitimate users," reckons Pachter. "The problem is that the companies think it limits piracy, and an industrious and determined hacker can work around DRM, while a normal, legitimate user must deal with a hassle. I'm not sure where to come down on this, as I respect the companies' right to protect their intellectual property, while acknowledging the legitimate consumer's complaint about the problems created with DRM."

"The challenge nowadays is to reward loyal users,"'s managing director Guillaume Rambourg believes. "If you make the whole gaming experience more complicated and more frustrating for people who buy the game; if it's easier to play a game that is pirated because they removed all the technical restraints, then I think there is a big issue on the plate now. It should be easier to play a game that you bought legally than play a game that you pirated."

"Through the use of DRM, a publisher can meaningfully improve profitability on a project." Christian Svensson, PCGA and Capcom "There's good DRM and what we call bad DRM," explains Svensson. "There's a huge breadth of parameters and technologies available, and no one technology is bad - it's the implementation that can be bad, the communication around the implementation that can be bad. What we try and do - and we haven't always been successful in this - is never hurt the legitimate user. If the legitimate user is ever going to have a more negative experience than a pirate, you've done something wrong.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Galaxy Map

The Star Wars: The Old Republic website announces a new interactive galaxy map from BioWare's upcoming MMORPG. Word is: "The Star Wars™ galaxy is massive and you will be able to visit numerous worlds during your travels in the [sic] The Old Republic™. To give you an early taste of what the experience will be, we’ve added a new feature to the website, allowing you to explore the Galaxy Map for yourself. You’ll get to see the five major sectors of the Known Galaxy, check out profiles of the planets, and even examine interactive models of the player Starships. " To use the interactive features you need to have the Unity Web Player installed.

AfterFall: Insanity Trailer

A new trailer from AfterFall: Insanity offers cinematics and gameplay from the recently delayed survival/horror-themed third-person shooter from Polish developer Intoxicate Studios. The clip shows combat, and creatures from the game and a variety of environments. Continue here to read the full story.

Team Fortress Arcade

Piki Geek now offers downloads of Team Fortress Arcade, a sprite-based 2D side-scroller demake based on the team Fortress series. They also offer a trailer showing it in action and an interview with Eric Ruth, its creator. This is not where the project ends, as Ruth outlines future plans: "I actually intend on updating the game in a couple months with some new modes, difficulty challenges, a player VS player match-up and yes, online co-op. For now, I needed to get the game out the door, but just like the real Team Fortress 2 that we know and love, there will be updates later to add things you will most definitely want. So, you won’t have to pay me anything, I assure you (although donations go a long way) to get online co-op involved in the project." Thanks Ant via TDW Geeks.

Project "Pathfinder" Revealed; Duke Nukem Reloaded Screenshots

The Interceptor Entertainment Website has relaunched, indicating the upcoming project from this indie developer is called Project "Pathfinder", though there are no details on that yet. This comes as they turn the page on their now on hold Duke Nukem Reloaded remake of Duke Nukem 3D. To offer a look at what that would have been like, they send along a few Duke Nukem Reloaded screenshots.

Op Ed

insert credit - Who Killed Videogames? (a ghost story). Thanks Boing Boing via Wonderland.
Now the larger man praises me; I am above blushing: “He is an expert at balancing these things. He will construct an algorithm that shrewdly obscures a downward-trending curve for in-game investment values.”

“What we’re saying,” the smaller man says, “is that the other guys are making things that people will fathom playing for three months if they play it for a week, and that we’re going to make a thing that people will consider playing for six months, if they play it for three days. We’ll generate a mathematically proofable engagement wheel. The players will come for the cute characters, and–”

I’m not listening anymore. For all I care, he is probably going to say “The players will come for the cute characters, and stay for the cruel mathematics.”

New Via digital Distribution


  • Air Conflicts: Secret Wars on Steam.
  • Iron Grip: Marauders on Steam.
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior - Second Strike DLC on Steam.


  • Global Agenda on Steam.
  • Worms Ultimate Mayhem on Steam.

On Sale

The Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle now also includes TRAUMA. Thanks Shacknews.

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  • Pinball Gold Pack on Save 50%.
  • The Sims 3 Late Night Expansion Pack on Direct2Drive. Save 75%.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron on Steam. Save 75%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

StarCraft II Patched

The StarCraft II Website announces that a new patch is now automatically available to update StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty to version 1.4.1. The new version addresses some bugs in the real-time strategy sequel and its editor Thanks The Patches Scrolls. Here are the patch notes: Continue here to read the full story.

Portal 2 Free DLC Next Week

Valve announces an October 4th release of Peer Review, the promised free Portal 2 DLC, which will offer a new co-op campaign, a single player and co-op Challenge Mode, and Challenge Mode leaderboards for the Windows, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 editions of the puzzle/platformer sequel. The DLC was scheduled for this past summer, making so it's right on schedule (Valve Time). Here's the announcement, which includes word that the final installment in the "Songs to Test By soundtrack on the Official Portal 2 Website:

September 29, 2011 -- Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the free DLC update for its bestselling game franchise Portal 2 will be rolled out across all regions on Steam, Xbox LIVE and PSN starting October 4th. The free DLC, titled "Portal 2: Peer Review", is available to all owners of Portal 2 for download on PS3 and Xbox 360, and will be automatically downloaded via Steam on PC and Mac.

In "Peer Review", you and a friend will continue the story of loyal bots P-Body and Atlas as you puzzle your way through a mysterious new co-op test track and once again match wits with GLaDOS. The DLC also features a single player and co-op Challenge Mode, and leaderboards to compare Challenge Mode scores with friends and the Portal community.

To hold you over until the release next week, visit for the final installment of the Portal 2 soundtrack Music to Test By.

Portal 2 is a hilariously mind-bending adventure that challenges you to use wits over weaponry in a funhouse of diabolical science. For more information on Steam, please visit

Serious Sam 3: BFE Delayed to November

Croteam announces a another delay to Serious Sam 3: BFE, saying the first-person shooter prequel is now due on November 22nd. The game was originally planned for release this past summer before being delayed until October 18th because Devolver CFO Fork Parker wanted "to work around his vacation to the brothels of Europe." This time around the reasons are more game related. "Serious Sam 3: BFE is the next evolution in our beloved franchise and the team wants to take a little extra time to make it perfect for Serious Sam fans worldwide," said Davor Hunski, Chief Creative Guy at Croteam. "The game is playing wonderfully and looks great so we are going through to balance the difficulty and fine tune the code to eliminate any technical issues at launch. And we’ll probably add some more enemies to the hordes to blow your mind." There's a post on the Seriously! Forums from Croteam's Alen Ladavac with more on this:

We have been working very hard on SS3 all the way, and especially in these recent months trying to make it for the promised October 18th. In the past few days, we did some reassessments, based both on internal results, and on beta testing feedback, and determined that we would want to do some more gameplay tuning, bugfixing and optimization - more than would be possible within the given timeframe. This is the game that we have invested a lot of love and work into, and one that we know the series' fans are expecting a lot from.

Dawn of Fantasy Dawns

505 Games announces the launch of Dawn of Fantasy, saying Reverie World Studios' MMORTS game is now available in stores. "We’re incredibly excited to be bringing Dawn of Fantasy to an eager market of MMO and RTS fans," said Ralph Pitt-Stanley, General Manager UK & Export for 505 Games. "The sheer level of depth, detail and destruction in the game – along with copious amounts of online functionality – should ensure players are bringing the fantasy fight to the realm of Mythador for many, many months to come." This trailer celebrates the news, and here's part of the announcement:

Dawn of Fantasy’s unique online real-time strategy gameplay introduces players to a new era of strategy gaming. Players take their chance to write their own chapter in the bloody history of the war-torn fantasy world of Mythador. Immersed in a vivid, living world, from the swamps of ErtheeL’Bala of the Wood Elves to the scorched dragon-inhabited lands of Sssilistra, players will explore a detailed world, interacting with native villagers or waging war on nearby armies and trade convoys. Adventurers will complete dozens of story-driven quests in one of three campaigns, and interact with thousands of other players through trading, forging alliances, and waging war in both Player vs Player (PvP) and Player vs Environment (PvE) battles.

Dawn of Fantasy enables players to build up villages into towns and then mighty strongholds, to manage a thriving, persistent economy, and to lay siege to enemy armies and citadels with great trebuchets, the brute strength of the walking woods, and fire-breathing dragon mercenaries to reign supreme.

Players can play as one of three different races – elves, men and orcs, each of which offers a radically different play style and has been given a deep, compelling mythology, a dramatic, historical background, and a spectrum of complex political ambitions and sub-plots that drive the story and gameplay.

With a rare combination of the RTS and RPG genres in its persistent MMO environment, Dawn of Fantasy is definitely not your average RTS.

Ships Ahoy - Off-Road Drive

1C Company announces that Off-Road Drive is now available in U.S. stores, offering the chance to strap in to this rally racing game. Here's word:

Players will take part in The Russian Trophy, Off-Road Trial, Thai Trophy and many other events through the worst driving conditions such as swamps, rocks, snow and sand. This is not just a racing game though, it is a simulation. Featuring the largest variety of real off-road sport vehicles, Off-Road Drive includes tuned stock SUVs and trucks, as well as several classes of prototypes specifically built for extreme driving. The vehicles can be equipped with an assortment of special cross-country equipment and accessories including winches, low gear, differential gear locking, GPS, clinometer, altimeter, tire air pressure control, sand tracks, etc.

Gatherings & Competitions

Midday Previews

Midday Consolidation

Midday Mobilization

Midday Metaverse

Midday Tech Bits

Midday Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Between working on a Diablo III preview and problems caused by buggy beta video drivers for the BF3 beta, I was already off to a late start today. Then MrsBlue, who is home from work today, decided to call the doctor to inquire about flu shots and announced we needed to immediately head off to get them, because they could fit us in this morning. This has thrown me off completely, so apologies for the extra-late update, but on the bright side, this whole fiasco may prevent the lateness of future updates that might have been impacted by the flu. How's that for looking on the bright side? At least I got the good nurse, while she was stuck with (and by, for that matter) the helmet-haired nurse that I call "the butcher" for the bruises she tends to leave with the needle.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Factory Balls 4.
Links: LEGO Gears of War Lancer Assault Rifle. Thanks Joker961.
Stories: Police respond to Onion's Capitol hostage spoof. Thanks brother19.
China played "America the Beautiful" to accompany launch of space station
Science: Why chillies are hot- the science behind the heat. Thanks Slashdot.
2011 Ig Nobels honor research into why people sigh, beetles that mate with beer bottles.
'Magic Mushroom' Drug May Improve Personality Long Term.
Media: Left 4 Dead - The Movie- Pre-Outbreak File #A.
Steamrollers: Not Just for Crushing People.
How Jurassic Park Should Have Ended.

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