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Monday, Oct 31, 2011 Boo! Happy Halloween


DOOM 3 Source Code Release Nears

John Carmack tweets about the imminent release of the source code for DOOM 3, id Software's flashlight-powered first-person shooter. Word is the game is now in the hands of the most intimidating monsters of all: "@adamix_ doom 3 source is packaged and tested, we are waiting on final lawyer clearance for release."

Cognition & The Silver Lining 4 Announced

Phoenix Online Studios announces Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, a commercial game being developed in collaboration with renowned adventure game designer Jane Jensen. Their website has a teaser trailer and word on how to support the project through its Kickstarter campaign. If the developer's name seems familiar, it's because they are the team behind The Silver Lining, the King’s Quest fan project, and they also announce that the fourth episode in this endeavor will be released on Sunday. Word is:

The long-awaited fourth episode of The Silver Lining will release next Sunday, November 6! In the previous installment, King Graham’s quest to save his children from a mysterious coma took a complicated turn as haunting visions of his wife Valanice's dark past entered into the mix. Now, as the saga builds to its exciting climax, King Graham voyages to the remaining Green Isles to complete the spell to save his children and learns more about the motivations of his mysterious enemy. Added bonus: this is the first time in the TSL series that players will get to control a second playable character, in addition to King Graham.

The Humble Voxatron Debut

The Humble Bundle Website now offers The Humble Voxatron Debut, a bundle composed of a single game, Voxatron, which is described as a "voxel-based, old-school-gone-new platform shooter." The game runs under Windows, OS X, and Linux, and is being sold in the same manner as the previous Humble deals: Customers can select their own price, and designate how it is to be divided between the developer, publisher, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Child's Play. The game, which includes its own level editor, is currently in alpha, but all future updates will be included.

MechWarrior Online Interview

This interview on PC Gamer talks with Bryan Ekman and Russ Bullock of Piranha Games about MechWarrior Online, their finally unveiled free-to-play installment in the giant robot combat series. Here are a couple of questions and answers that speak to concerns we've already seen expressed about this project:

Let’s talk about what MechWarrior Online is going to be. The first question on my mind as I read this press release is that, honestly, when I think MechWarrior, I’m thinking of, well, MechWarrior 2 through MechWarrior 4. Is MWO in that vein?

Creative Director Bryan Ekman: Yeah, absolutely. From a gameplay point of view, it’s the online component of those games. It’s match-based gameplay. So you go in, you fight, and you come out. So in that sense, it’s absolutely true to the heritage. The way you control the Mech, and the way the Mech works, and the options available to you during gameplay are inspired by Mech 2 through 4. Anybody who has played those games will feel right at home playing MWO.

OK. Does that mean it’s going to be in a Mech cockpit, playing from the first person?

BE: That’s right.

Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games: Just a quick little filler there. I understand your question completely. And I think that’s the number one question a lot of fans have. They want to know if the game we’re making is going to be a MechWarrior product, or if it’s going to be some new evolution, or similar to, say, the past Mech Assault products.

Very simply, I think we can just say, we are making a Mechwarrior game.

Just for – Oh, hell, it’s PC Gamer. I know a million people are going to be asking this question: what’s the over / under on joystick support?

BE: Haha. Very good. You got very good odds on joystick support. We will have announcements down the road talking about some more of that. But we are very excited about being dedicated to the PC platform, because of all the little tools and hardware and things we can do with it. Including joystick support, and advanced joystick support. So, yes, absolutely. We’re dedicated to it.

Battlefield 3 Status Report

Following the indication that 10 million units have shipped for Battlefield 3, EA announces the game has sold five million copies in its first week, "making it the fastest-selling game in EA’s history." Also, a post on the Battlefield Blog thanks Battlefield 3 for their valuable feedback, and offers a status report on the state of the recently released military shooter sequel. They outline post-launch improvements in the game, and highlight five areas they are continuing to work on: Quick Match functionality, squad joining, Origin authentication, dealing with cheaters, and server maintenance.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Beta Delayed

Valve is delaying the beta testing of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, reports Eurogamer, saying the test currently has no set start date after being postponed following feedback from a group of professional Counter-Strike players. "They gave us a lot of feedback on things we should get in the game before we release it, otherwise we're going to be getting a lot of bug reports or a lot of feedback and it would just be redundant," Valve's Chet Faliszek told two of those professionals. "There's going to be things we're going to release it with knowing we need to add more, to do more. But just knowing there's some feel and some just operating the game issues that need to be resolved first. We want to get those done first."

New AMD/ATI Catalyst Reference Drivers

Updated version 11.10 reference drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards are now available, along with new Catalyst application profiles with improved CrossFire performance for Battlefield 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link, Dead Island, Batman Arkham City (DX9 version), and more. There are new drivers for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows Vista 64-bit, and Windows XP 64-bit. Thanks Jake.

Petroglyph Turns Eight; Launches Referral Bonuses

Petroglyph celebrates its eighth anniversary with a video looking back at the developer's first twelfth of a century. They also announce a Refer A Friend, Get Petroglyph Coins promotion. Word is: "It's easy, just click on the following link to get a special URL to give out to friends and if they signup and get to level 5 (or more for a further reward) you get Petroglyph Coins!"

Silicon Knights Layoff Rumors

1Up reports a rumor that all but 25 employees at Canadian studio Silicon Knights have lost their jobs, attributing this to "two credible independent sources." Word is the Too Human developer has not yet responded to requests for comment. Thanks VG247 via Joystiq.

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

Two for one sales are now underway on Amazon and Target.

  • Hegemony: Philip of Macedon on Steam. Save 66%.
  • inMomentum on Steam. Save 20%.

Evening Previews

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

MechWarrior Online Name Reservations

Another Inner Sphere News Tweet has another indication that the upcoming MechWarrior game will be MechWarrior Online. They point the way to this MechWarrior Online Website where they are accepting name reservations. Word is: "This is your first call to action and your chance to register your pilot name for MechWarrior® Online™! Visit and sign up today! Register your name to make sure you can use it on day 1 of the official MechWarrior® Online™ launch!" We've now gotten a confirmation that the game will indeed will be MechWarrior Online, and according to PC Gamer this will be a PC exclusive.

MechWarrior 5 (MechWarrior Online?) in Summer 2012

A fully decoded version of the teaser image from MechWarrior 5, reveals the full release date for Piranha Games' upcoming MechWarrior reboot. Word is the robot combat game is due in summer 2012. On the other hand, the release of this image was planned for 2:00 pm EDT today before a setback pushed it back a couple of hours, which seems like a good illustration of the fragile nature of advance release dates. The image also lists the game's title as "MechWarrior Online." Thanks Hump.

Serious Sam 3: BFE Weapons Trailer

A new weapons trailer shows off all of the weapons from Serious Sam 3: BFE, Croteam's upcoming first-person shooter prequel. The clip offers a render of each as well as footage of them being put to use in the game. Continue here to read the full story.

BF3 on Steam Hints

Eurogamer has a couple of hints found scattered about that there are plans to release Battlefield 3 on Steam in spite of its reliance on EA's competing Origin service. They note that the code for the military shooter sequel's PunkBuster anti-cheat installation files contain references to steam directories. They also point the way to a Sapphire Select Club promotion also references Steam, saying their competition offers: "One (1) PC Game code for Battlefield 3, redeemable for the game on Steam ( with a Suggested Retail Price of $USD 59.99."

Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues

The Kerberos Productions website and Paradox Interactive Forums have posts about issues surrounding the recent launch of Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter, the space-themed 4X strategy sequel (thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun). There's a State of the Game post from Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester who talks of the game's issues on Steam, which helps explain a pair of patches over the weekend. There's also a post on the Kerberos Forums from Kerberos Productions CEO/Creative Director Martin Cirulis on what they plan to do about this going forward, starting off by saying: "Welcome to the perfect storm of cockup made up of 40% Murphy's Law, 30% Chaos, 20% Overambition and 10% wishful thinking. And you have our deepest regrets for what it is worth as none of this was part of the plan," and that: "This plan means that you folks can expect at least 2 or 3 updates a week over the next month or so that will gradually make this game into what it should have been when the switch was pulled on Friday." The post is quite lengthy, but comes with a convenient summary:

a) cockup
b) my fault
c) will be Completely fixed
d) fun stuff in many updates
e) Understanding of your position
f) Apology again and underserved request for faith and patience from people who don't know us.

Jagged Alliance: Back in Action "Plan & Go" Combat Detailed

Kalypso Media and bitComposer Games send along a new Developer Diary Part 7 from Jagged Alliance: Back in Action describing the "Plan & Go" combat system in the upcoming remake of Jagged Alliance II, the PC strategy sequel. Word is: "The new system allows for the player to switch between real-time play, and a waypoint-styled movement and combat, for ultimate battlefield flexibility." The article is accompanied by this batch of screenshots.

Salem Trailer; Live Stream Demo Tomorrow

A Halloween trailer from the developers of Salem celebrates Samhain, focusing on the witchy version of the holiday to promote their upcoming witchy MMOG. This is a bit more trick than treat, as it just features a simple animated witch stirring a cauldron and an ear-punishing soundtrack, but they say this will be followed tomorrow with a celebration of the second day of Samhain with a live streaming demo of the game on TwitchTV at 12:30 pm EDT. Following the theme, this live demo is to reveal what there is to know about witchcraft within the game. Continue here to read the full story.

WildStar Beta Signups

The official website for WildStar is now accepting applications from those interested in beta testing this upcoming science fiction MMORPG from Carbine Studios. The signup form asks for some basic information, but does not offer any hints about when testing will commence, or what it will entail. Thanks Acleacius.

Obsidian's Unannounced Project

This PDF-format presentation uncovered by Joystiq reveals Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian Entertainment is working on an unannounced project for a "leading animation franchise." The same presentation also notes that Need for Speed: Shift developer Slightly Mad Studios is working on an unannounced project (noting this could be the crowd-sourced C.A.R.S.), and that Triumph Studios (Overlord and Age of Wonders), is also working on an unannounced title. Thanks GameInformer.

U.K. Charts

GfK Chart-Track has their list of the top 20 bestselling PC entertainment titles in the U.K. for the week ending October 29. This week Battlefield 3 enters the chart at number one and Stronghold 3 debuts at number six. The all formats chart also sees BF3 begin at the top spot.

NVIDIA Investigating TDR Issues

A post by NVIDIA tech support to the NVIDIA Forums looking to address driver restart issues connected with the latest GeForce reference drivers (thanks Mashiki). While noting that they have "been able to reproduce the major Battlefield 3 issues and have marked this as must fix for the upcoming driver in November," they have not been able to reproduce TDR (driver reset) issues, and are offering to pay roundtrip shipping to evaluate cards from users in the U.S. Here's the deal:

R280.xx or later Firefox/IE9 TDR issue - We have ordered some of the retail graphics cards that have been mentioned in these threads to resolve this issue. However it would be of great help to us if anyone who is facing this problem can send us their graphics card to diagnose internally at our Santa Clara office since the cards we have been tested so far do not seem to show the TDR issues end users are reporting in this forum. We can pay for shipping both ways and I can probably get some free game codes to offer you for your time. Please PM if you would be willing to do so. You must be in the USA however since international shipping can complicate things.

Data Jammers: FastForward Tracks Music Sampler

Digital Eel's Nightmare Band Website now offers a sampler of some of the music tracks in Data Jammers: FastForward Tracks. The three song EP is available in a variety of formats. This is offered as a "name your price" deal.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Footage

YouTube trailer that's no longer available thanks to a copyright claim by ZeniMax Media is posted on Kotaku (copyrights be damned), showing off over 20 minutes of the beginning of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda's upcoming RPG sequel. The clip includes the opening cinematic, intro sequence, character creation, and more, so it definitely should be avoided by those who don't want to spoil the experience when Skyrim is released a week from Friday.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

This is how you do a product review. Thanks Ant.


Out of the Blue

Happy Halloween! We're mostly prepared for the festivities, as we have restocked the candy cauldron from my raids preceding the occasion, and MrsBlue is working from home today so we'll both be ready when the bell starts ringing. What we haven't done is figure out what the pooches will wear, as at this point the kids who show up are probably anticipating being greeted by costumed doggies as much as their candy. Oh well, if nothing else we have some costumes from Halloweens past to fall back on, so we'll work it out.

If you need to be out and about this evening, please be careful, as studies have shown that this night is by far the most likely time for children to be hit by cars.

Halloween Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Halloween Shooter.
Haunted Halloween.
Monster Town.
Links: The 10 Scariest Real Places In America.
13 Horror Movies and the 'True Stories' They're Based On.
TV Halloween Costumes That Will Stand Out From the Crowd of Charlie Sheens.
Stories: Man in Smurf costume shot leaving Halloween party.
What the Costumes Reveal. Thanks Boing Boing.
Man Steals Sandwich, Uses Stolen Forklift As Getaway. Thanks Neatorama.
Science: Women defy biology to avoid giving birth on Halloween. Thanks Neatorama.
Heavy drinking tied to higher stomach cancer risk.
The Crisis That Hit Physics 100 Years Ago.
Images: Halloween Costume Expectation vs. Reality. Thanks Kenn.
Portal Turret Pumpkin.
Portal 2 Halloween Costume.
R2-D2 pumpkin.
The Most Epic Halloween Gaming Pumpkins of All Time.
Fake Science - Carve Your Pumpkin Carefully.
90 Corgis In Costumes. Thanks Neatorama.
Media: Charlie Brown: Blockhead's Revenge.
Laser Pumpkin Carving.
-Halloween awakening: A pumpkin carves itself.
Halloween Costumes for Pets PSA.
Halloween Light Show 2010.
Celebrity Halloween Costumes.
The Funnies: EXTRALIFE – An interesting read…

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