Archived News:

Wednesday, Mar 07, 2012

Valve Worth $3B?

Forbes declares Valve's Gabe Newell "The Newest Video Game Billionaire" in an article on the success of Valve and Steam. They admit that they can't know the true financial state of Valve, which is privately owned, but they offer a "conservative" estimate that's pretty eye-popping: "Even the most conservative estimates put Valve’s enterprise value at more than $3 billion, and since Newell owns more than 50% of the company, that means he’s worth at least $1.5 billion."

Defenders of Ardania Next Week

Paradox Interactive announces that Defenders of Ardania will arrive for Windows and Xbox LIVE Arcade one week from today. Here's a new GDC 2012 gameplay trailer, and here's word on the game:
Defenders of Ardania presents a deep, immersive game world to play in, featuring three unique races and the themed environments they inhabit. The strategic tower defense gameplay will challenge players to make use of 24 different upgradeable towers to stop the invading foes, along with 24 varied units to send out for counterattacks. With an interactive environment, an arsenal of magic spells, and multiplayer battles included, Defenders of Ardania has more than enough to intrigue the most seasoned defenders of towers everywhere.

New AMD/ATI Catalyst Drivers

The AMD Website now offers new version 12.2 reference drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards. The new drivers offer Windows 7 and Windows Vista support for AMD Radeon HD 7900 and 7770 series GPUs and more. Windows XP users are told that support for their OS will come in AMD Catalyst 12.4, which is expected next month (though these new drivers were expected last month, as 12.2 means February 2012 in AMD's versioning scheme).

CrossOver XI

CodeWeavers announces the launch of CrossOver XI, a single product that replaces their previous collection that included CrossOver Games, CrossOver Pro, and more. The program allows Linux and OS X users the ability to run thousands of Windows games and applications without the need for a Windows license. A free trial is available.

Outerra Engine & Anteworld Revealed

The Outerra Website has info on this 3D "planetary engine" that offers "a world rendering engine capable to seamlessly render whole planets from space down to the ground level. It can use real world data to render the planets realistically, while it also dynamically refines the data using procedural algorithms to provide high ground-level detail." A Tech Demo is available, and MAKE has a write up on the engine and Anteworld, the first game that will use it, offering an Anteworld trailer showing off the engine. Thanks Ant via Boing Boing.

Naval War: Arctic Circle Trailer

The GDC 2012 trailer for Naval War: Arctic Circle shows off gameplay from the upcoming naval real-time strategy game set in a heated-up near-future Cold War. The clip shows off some of the games naval and air units, both intact and all explosiony.

Firefall Video Diary

A new video developer diary from Firefall features a couple of the developers from Red 5 discussing creating the open world in the upcoming free-to-play multiplayer FPS. The clip includes a lot of gameplay footage, though most of it just shows off environments, though a whole lot of shooting breaks out at the very end.

Take On Helicopters Patch

The Take On Helicopters Website now offers the new version 1.04 "Cougar" patch for Bohemia Interactive's flight simulator. The patch can be applied to any version of the game except those distributed through Steam. The download is mirrored on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. Here are highlights of the new version:

  • Massive flight model upgrade (RotorLib 4.0)
  • Initial introduction of Java scripting
  • DRM-free for users of legitimate installations
  • FXAA and SMAA support added (new anti-aliasing techniques)
  • Time Trial functionality improvements

NBA 2K12 Patch

A new patch is now available for NBA 2K12, updating the latest installment in this pro basketball simulation to version 1.01. Word is the new version has fixes to improve connectivity. You can find the patch on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

On Sale

Medal of Honor Warfighter in October; Preorder Bonuses

The Medal of Honor Blog officially announces Medal of Honor Warfighter, saying Danger Close's recently revealed continuation of the military shooter series will be released on October 23rd for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The new game will take players on missions all around the globe as they once again play a U.S. Tier 1 Operator. The announcement also has word on the bonuses that come if you preorder the Medal of Honor Warfighter Limited Edition:
The game follows the 2010 Medal of Honor reboot that moved the series out of World War II into war-torn Afghanistan and introduced the U.S. Tier 1 Operator. Medal of Honor Warfighter goes beyond Afghanistan and takes the fight to the enemy in missions that have a dotted line to real world events. From rescuing hostages in the Philippines to eliminating the pirate threat on the Somali Coast, the game is an up close and personal look into the fight against today’s global terror threat. Written by U.S. Tier 1 Operators while deployed overseas, Medal of Honor Warfighter delivers an aggressive, gritty and authentic experience that puts gamers in the boots of the world’s most precise and disciplined warriors.

Medal of Honor Warfighter tells the personal story of U.S. Tier 1 Operator “Preacher,” as he returns home only to find his family torn apart from years of combat deployment. Trying to pick up the pieces and salvage what remains of his marriage, Preacher is reminded of what he’s fighting for - family. But when a deadly explosive known as PETN penetrates civilian borders and his two worlds collide, Preacher and his fellow teammates are sent in to do what they do best – solve the problem.

Players that pre-order the Medal of Honor Warfighter Limited Edition* will unlock the U.S. Navy SEAL Tier 1 Sniper class on day one of launch. This multiplayer unlock** saves an estimated 40-hours of time that would normally be required to unlock the operator. Medal of Honor Warfighter Limited Edition is available on and other participating retailers. Visit the Limited Edition Details page for more information.

* Available while supplies last.
** Internet connection required.

Molyneux Quits Lionhead

Prominent designer Peter Molyneux has resigned from Lionhead, the studio he founded in 1997 and sold to Microsoft Game Studios nearly ten years later, reports Kotaku, where they say the Dungeon Keeper, Populous, and Fable creator will continue to work as a creative consultant on the upcoming Kinect Fable game. According to MCV, he will ultimately settle at indie developer 22 Cans, formed earlier this year by former Lionhead CTO Tim Rance. "I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created," Molyneux told Kotaku. "From Black & White to Fable to our pioneering work with Milo and Kate for the Kinect platform. However, I felt the time was right to pursue a new independent venture. I'd like to thank the team at Lionhead, as well as our partners at Microsoft Studios for their support, dedication and incredible work over the years."

Three Battlefield 3 Expansions Announced

EA announces plans for three upcoming expansion packs for Battlefield 3, DICE's military shooter sequel, revealing Battlefield 3: Close Quarters to be released in June, Battlefield 3: Armored Kill for autumn, and Battlefield 3: End Game, which is due this winter. Here's word:
-- Battlefield 3: Close Quarters -- In Battlefield 3: Close Quarters, players are dropped into a frantic, infantry-only theatre of war. Frostbite 2 high definition destruction makes the environment come alive as everything from furniture to plaster gets shot to pieces. Players will feel the intensity of the world exploding around them as rubble and broken pieces pile up on the floor, while tight level design and vertical gameplay create a highly competitive environment. Battlefield 3: Close Quarters also introduces new weapons, assignments and unique dog tags to bring back to the base game.

-- Battlefield 3: Armored Kill -- Following the tight infantry gameplay of Battlefield 3: Close Quarters, DICE will release Battlefield 3: Armored Kill that ups the ante for vehicular mayhem as only Battlefield can do. Featuring new driveable tanks, ATVs, mobile artillery and more, Battlefield 3: Armored Kill also delivers huge battlefields for an all-out vehicle assault, including the biggest map in Battlefield history.

-- Battlefield 3: End Game -- The fourth expansion pack will ship in the winter but details remain tightly guarded.
On a semi-related note, EA has opened a new studio in Gothenburg Sweden specifically to develop projects using the Frostbite 2 engine that powers Battlefield 3.

New SimCity Announced

The SimCity Developers Blog is live, offering the expected announcement of the next installment in the SimCity series of urban planning games. The site has this cinematic announce trailer for the game, while this page has an overview of new features like multiplayer support and some details on the new game engine. This FAQ says to expect the game sometime next year for Windows PCs. Continue here to read the full story.

The Old Republic Patch Plans, Friends Trial

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website has details on a Guild Summit that discussed the future of the game, while this forum fosters discussion of the Summit and its revelations. This included an unveiling of features planned for "Legacy," the upcoming version 1.2 update for the Star Wars MMORPG. This trailer shows off some of that, and here's a description what this will include: "Game Update 1.2 – Legacy will include brand new playable in-game content including the 'Explosive Conflict' Operation, a new Flashpoint 'Lost Island' and Warzone 'Novare Coast.' The next major Game Update will also include a bevy of new features including the next evolution of the Legacy system, Player-vs-Player Warzone ranking, UI Customization, Guild Banks and more." They also announce the launch of a "Friends" trial, a limited time offer to allow active players to invite up to three friends to play the game for seven days.

PlanetSide 2 Trailers

PlanetSide Universe has a series of videos of PlanetSide 2 playing on monitors at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, showing off the first looks at gameplay in SOE's upcoming MMOFPS sequel. There are five clips in total.

GunCraft Kickstarter

Here's a Kickstarter for a game project called GunCraft that's sort of a mash-up of two recent indie sensations, combining the indie crowdsourcing of the new Double Fine adventure game and the simplified voxelized appearance of Minecraft. Taking the whole homage thing a step further, they offer a MW3 The Vet & The n00b trailer with their own take on the recent Jonah Hill/Sam Worthington Modern Warfare 3 trailer. GunCraft Announced With Vet And Noob Trailer as well as this trailer showing off actual gameplay. Thanks Gaming Blend.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Trailer

The Sherlock Holmes Website now offers a new trailer from The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, the next installment in the series of games based on the famed fictional detective. Here's the pitch for the clip: "This brand new video offers today a new sneak peak at the game, its dark ambiance, and its strong story centered around a controversial hero with obscure motives. This is a thrilling investigation that players will have to lead, playing as both Holmes and Watson, while trying to discover the reasons behind the strange actions of Sherlock himself."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

After I made my chili over the weekend, a couple of folks questioned what happened to the dried Ghost Naga peppers I picked up this summer for the purpose. The answer is, they are still awaiting a use, but since I was setting out to make a batch of chili that's just moderately hot (let's say three alarm), this did not seem to be the right time to experiment to find the proper quantity of what's described as the "world's hottest pepper." I'll definitely make some chili with them at some point, though I am also contemplating creating some evil hot sauce as well.

Ghostly Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Greedy Pirates. Thanks Daniel.
Hotel Baron.
Links: Car Interiors.
Quality vs. Quantity: The Making of Good TV.
10 Largest Satellite Dishes on Earth.
Stories: WNBC booting Sue Simmons. End of an era in NYC.
Science: Mercedes turns car into a chameleon. Thanks Slashdot.
A trip to the gym alters DNA. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Wizard Synchronizes Metronomes.
Evolution I.
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