Saturday, February 26, 2011

Norn Week on Guild Wars 2 website

More information on another playable race was released yesterday on the Guild Wars 2 web page as part of Norn Week, including an awesome new trailer.

Screencaps and wallpapers were also released.
Since the holiday season, information has only trickled through their web page for the game until a couple weeks ago when they started Human Week, and then Norn Week.

I'm very excited for the eventual release of this game. There were a few problems in the original Guild Wars, however anything that was a flaw in the system seems like they're going to fix it in Guild Wars 2.

Demos were shown at several gaming conventions recently, and everything looks beautiful, polished, and ready to go. I can not wait till it's released.
Beta Testing is rumored to take place later this year.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ubisoft Dropping Anti-Pirating, "Always Online" DRM?

Ubisoft, infamous for their Online DRM requirement, recently announced Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood will have a different DRM.

I remember years ago for the first Assasin's Creed, I was foolish enough to get it without paying attention to that little portion of the box that said "Internet Connection Required." It frustrated me many times when I was out and about, going places that did not have a constant internet connection, and then not being able to play a game I dropped hard earned money for. It was annoying, extreme, and unnecessary.

When someone goes to the trouble of giving your company money, I think it is more than just a little rude to tell them "oh, sorry, you can only use this on our terms." It is asinine.

Apparently, many other people have felt the same way. Enough so that the moans, groans, tears, and death knells of frustrated pc gamers can be soothed for a moment by their change on AC:B.
It is unknown if their choice for the change in DRM will be reflected in all of their future games, but at least pc gamers can get a reprieve at least this once.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Time to Mine

Tuesday marked a fairly large update for Minecraft to Beta 1.3. Some of the larger features added a few half blocks added in, a complete user interface makeover, and now you can quietly sleep through the night with creepers tapping on your windows, singing you a sweet lullaby. Okay, maybe not a lullaby, but beds have been implemented.


Here's the full list, taken from Notch's blog, The Word of Notch.

* Implemented a new lighting engine with the help of MrMessiahs (can be turned off)
* Changed the options around, added a new “Graphics options” button
* Added beds. If all players in a map sleeps in a bed during night, the game immediately skips until morning
* Added three new half-size blocks
* Added Delay/Repeater redstone dust blocks
* Added whitelisting to the server. To use, enter “whitelist <cmd>” where cmd is “on”, “off”, “add <player>”, “remove <player>”, “list” or “reload”
* New save file format, old maps need to be converted (that might take a while..)
* It’s now possible to have more than five save slots, and to rename saves
* Scrollbars in both the texture pack list, and in the map selection screen
* Replaced the Mojang splash image to reflect the new logo colors
* .. and a bunch of bug fixes and tweaks!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

World of Starcraft?

Ryan Winzen, developer of the  World of Starcraft mod for Starcraft II, has come to fame recently for his creation as well as his potential job offers.

World of Starcraft is exactly what it sounds like. World of Warcraft meets Starcraft. It is a mod for Starcraft II that is programmed in such a way to give it online capabilities, character design, and what not all in a similar fashion to World of Warcraft.

After Ryan Winzen's Youtube video went viral and garnered much attention, WoW and Starcraft publisher Activision/Blizzard sent a Cease and Desist letter via the original video getting removed from Youtube for DMCA infringement. However, this cloud comes with a silver lining. Riot Games, whose claim to fame is League of Legends, offered Ryan a job offer because of the World of Starcraft mod.

The plot thickened even more when Blizzard said the whole cease and desist letter was "just a misunderstanding" and that they actually enjoy the fact that the modding tools they released for SCII were used. They were so happy about it, in fact, that they are even looking into hiring him.

 In semi-related news and jumping on the band-wagon, Halo game designer Bungie might be producing an online game that would be a WoW in space.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just Dance Fallout: New Vegas

Do you enjoy dancing? Do you enjoy the Fallout franchise? Now you can utilize a Fallout: New Vegas mod and use it to create hilarious videos. Unfortunately this only works for the PC version, though it is still quite hilarious all around.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Square Enix Week on Steam

Steam is an interface to sort through, purchase, and play games online and communicate with other Steam members. Boasting an impressive 50-70% of online purchases and downloads of PC Games, Valve's site is quite a prolific sales front for the PC gamer crowd.

February 14th marked the start of Square Enix Week on Steam, starting with an impressive sale taking place on the entire catalog of the Japanese game publisher.

Quite a deal, if I say so myself.
Considering that the average brand new game costs approximately $60, this is an insane deal given the sheer volume of the catalog.

Square Enix Week is taking place through the 20th on Steam. Check it out before the deal is gone!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Holophonic Sound?

A friend referred me to a sound clip of a holophonic sound the other day.

I was intrigued. I was confused. I was captivated. I had to look over my shoulder and make sure someone wasn't pulling a prank on me.

Haha, it was just my creepy room mate!
That's not really what happened, but I was still creeped out.

Because of how the sound is recorded, it sounds realistically as if it's moving around your head. Eerily realistic. My friend remarked on how convincing it sounded, and mentioned it would be great if incorporated into video games more.

Essentially, it's surround sound, but only with two speakers, one for each ear, instead of four and a subwoofer. One of the earlier devices used to record holophonic sound clips was a set of two microphones set up in casings that mimic how the human ear gathers sound.

Like reverse earbuds
I haven't looked much into the topic, but I'm sure there has already been quite a bit of research done on the topic in relation to video games, already. Feel free to look it up on your own, if you're so inclined!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let the Red Water Flow

Video games tend to have a violent aspect. It is pretty much assumed. It's been that way as far back as Space Invaders.

Conflict makes fictional worlds run. It is the drive for the main character. It is the plot mover. Usually this literary device of conflict is played out in some form of gory bloodshed.

Dragon Age 2 trailers tote a fair amount of this life fluid.
Deus Ex seems fairly gory,
Magicka, a fairly comical game, even recently had an unlockable assault rifle that would pulverize anything that moves into a fine red mist,
and the soon to be released game Bulletstorm primarily revolves around making sure you spray blood.

Personally, gore is not an issue to me.It takes particularly realistic gore in realistic situations to produce much of an effect in me. Bulletstorm, Magicka, Deus Ex, and Dragon Age 2 are quite far from realistic situations.

What is an issue is when news teams flaunt the progression of gore and violence in video games as targets for crime rates.

Fox news recently attacked Bulletstorm in an article claiming that the violence in video games that kids are exposed to in games such as bulletstorm are the cause for an increase in rapes.

Well, fox news. The problem with 9 year olds playing gory, bloody, violent video games is not any fault of the game designers or publishers. The problem is that there are parents out there who allow their kids to play these games designed for mature audiences. When a CHILD in developmental stages of life are exposed to hard, fairly realistic violence, it wouldn't be surprising if they modeled this behavior later in their life.

A mature audience playing these games, however, is no different than reading a book or watching a movie, yet the video game industry catches a large amount of blame.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Talkin' Bout Minecraft.

In case you are behind the times in the realm of PC Gaming, Minecraft is an extremely successful indie sandbox game released by Markus Persson, a programmer who goes by the alias "Notch" online, and run by his company Mojang Specifications. Oh, did I mention the game has since surpassed one million sales?

Minecraft is a sandbox game where you design whatever you want to, with whatever you gather. Wood? Check. Forest? Check. One (not so) giant wooden cock and balls in the middle of a forest?

To put it simply; generate a world, break blocks, place blocks creatively and usefully. Essentially it's Legos. Except if those legos were half the size of a person. And you never stepped on them barefoot then proceeded to weep in pain for several agonizing moments.

Safety legos!

 I avoided this game like the plague for the first few weeks I had known about it.

This game, which seemed so simple and uneventful, annoyed me. That is, before I actually played it.

My friends raved about it endlessly in the few moments I would see them between their day long binges of excavating new caves they found in their world.

It's like a gateway drug. Except it's just a gateway.
Eventually, I caved (pun). There had to be something to this blocky game with a retro feel.

Oh how much there is to it.

Punch trees to get wood. Make Planks out of wood. Make sticks out of planks. Make a workbench. Make an axe out of sticks and planks, using the workbench. Eventually make picks, get stone, make stone picks.

It just keeps going.

This game has many layers to it, many many more layers than I thought at first glance. Kind of like a cake. Except you can't eat it.

The Cake: Not a lie?
Even though it is an inedible delicacy, it is a sweet game that I highly recommend to anyone who has free time and about $20 USD to drop on it at the official Minecraft website here.