2010 April

April 29, 2010

Ipod Touch 3rd Gen.

I know the Ipod Touch is nothing new and most of you probably already have one, but I just got one of these as a gift and wanted post a little something about it.

I got the 8Gb model which is a tad slower than the 32/64Gb versions but not by much and its still smooth and pleasant to use. what I really like about the 3rd generation of the touch is that it has wifi so I connect to my home network or any wifi connection to get maps, apps, etc. The apps are freakin sweet for this, I got one called Pocket God and while its simple its highly entertaining and pretty damned hilarious, Another app I want to bring up is the e-reader, I know it seems like reading ebooks on such a small screen would be next to impossible and hard to do but it in fact is not, I got the barnes and noble app which allows me to buy ebooks and read then through the app, I downloaded a sample and it was actually quite easy to read, you can change the font, text size and color to match your tastes and comfort. The ability to convert my dvds to MP4 and play them on this is also a huge plus, 8Gb really isnt much for movies plus music and apps but with the right converter ( I use Badaboom) you can get videos down to a decent size and really get quite a bit on it, for instance I ripped and converted Avatar from roughly 8Gb down to 1.4Gb @ DVD quality, or I just got done converting the first disc of Family Guy season 6 and got each episode with good quality to a size of about 200Mb each. The lay out is also quite nice, its easy to use even for first time users and has a smooth feel to it all the way around. Anyway bottom line is its got awsome apps, music of course and a great video player which make it out to be a very usefull and entertaining all in one mobile media center.

April 29, 2010

Will There Be A Homeworld III?

Ever since the release of Homeworld 2 back in September of 2003 fans have been salivating over the idea of a sequel.  The Homeworld series is easily one of the best and most successful PC space strategy games to date.  The detailed ships, excellent musical score, intelligent AI, balanced game play and intriguing story line set Homeworld up to be an instant classic.

It was expected with the success of Homeworld II that the Homeworld series would be made into a trilogy. Unfortunately due to mounting legal troubles and that the fact that the copyright and intellectual property were owned by two different companies, Vivendi and THQ, a sequel seemed near impossible.  In 2007 however rumors started to surface that the rights were being purchased back by THQ.  This was later confirmed that year by Eurogamer and THQ stating “THQ currently owns Relic, which in turn means that we now have the rights to the Homeworld brand, however, at this time we have no comment on any future games from THQ based on Homeworld.”

So what does all this mean?  Is there going to be a sequel?  Lets look at the facts.  THQ went to the trouble to PURCHASE the IP from Vivendi.  If a purchase was made there should be some intent behind it.  We can assume that there are one of two things are going to happen.  The first and most likely is they wanted to get all the rights back to produce another game.  It is unlikely that a company would ignore a game with a open story line and strong sales.  The second, and less likely option is they purchased the rights to make sure no one produces another Homeworld.

It’s been known for some time that THQ has had a couple of  “hush hush” projects that they have been keeping under tight raps.  THQ made the quote “We’re really happy the IP has made its way home, and yeah, we’re definitely looking at it.”  This is a strong indicator that a project is in the works or being heavily considered.

Jonathan Dowdeswell, Relic Executive Producer when asked about the continuation of the Homeworld franchise said “You can not believe how often I hear this question, in any case we would love to develop Homeworld 3!”

Another reason for speculation is the allusions of Relic to Homeworld III and the fact that Relic has yet to deny and rumors that Homeworld III is being produced.

I have the suspecion that a lot of work is being put into Homeworld III and that it will most likely be announced this year and is going to blow away the competition in the Space Sim RTS genre.  I know many, much like me, are very excited at the idea of a new addition to the Homeworld franchise.  I will do my best to keep up on any developments involving Homeworld III and I will post them here as  soon as they become available.  If anyone has any other sourced information regarding the game please send it my way and I will add it to this post.  If you wish to discuss this with others you can head over to the Homeworld III section in the forums here.

April 27, 2010

Phenom II X6 Available on Newegg

For those of you who were waiting for the new Phenom II X6 processor you may now head over to newegg.  Newegg currently how two versions of the chip available for purchase.  I’ll list the details below with the price :

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition

Price: 309.99

Core Thuban
Multi-Core Six-Core
Name Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition
Operating Frequency 3.2GHz
Hyper Transports 4000MHz
L2 Cache 6 x 512KB
L3 Cache 6MB
Manufacturing Tech 45 nm
64 bit Support Yes
Hyper-Transport Support Yes
Integrated Memory Controller Speed Dual Channel PC3-10667U (DDR3-1333) for 2 Module, Dual Channel PC3-8500U (DDR3-1066), Dual Channel PC2-8500U (DDR2-1066)
Virtualization Technology Support Yes
Multimedia Instruction MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4a, Advanced Bit Manipulation, AMD64 technology, AMD-V (virtualization) technology, Enhanced Virus Protection, Dynamic Acceleration technology
Thermal Design Power 125W

AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Thuban 2.8GHz

Price: 209.99

Core Thuban
Multi-Core Six-Core
Name Phenom II X6 1055T
Operating Frequency 2.8GHz
Hyper Transports 4000MHz
L2 Cache 6 x 512KB
L3 Cache 6MB
Manufacturing Tech 45 nm
64 bit Support Yes
Hyper-Transport Support Yes
Integrated Memory Controller Speed Dual Channel PC3-10667U (DDR3-1333) for 2 modules, Dual Channel PC3-8500U (DDR3-1066), Dual Channel PC2-8500U (DDR2-1066)
Virtualization Technology Support Yes
Multimedia Instruction MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4a, Advanced Bit Manipulation, AMD64 technology, AMD-V (virtualization) technology, Enhanced Virus Protection, Dynamic Acceleration technology
Thermal Design Power 125W

As promised by AMD the product was released with the prices promised and in a timely manner.  It will be interesting to see how this product benchmarks.  When I get more details I will post them here.

April 26, 2010

California Video Game Law Unconstitutional?

The Supreme Court said Monday it will be deciding if a Californian law passed last to prevent the sale and rental of  “patently offensive” titles to minors is  unconstitutional.

Justices agreed to hear the appeal after a U.S . appeals court based in California struck down the law, which also imposes strict video game labeling requirements, as unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear and rule on the arguments during it’s upcoming term which starts in October.  It’s one of most important cases for the term so far. 

“In appealing to the Supreme Court, the state argued that the free-speech guarantees of the First Amendment do not bar a state from prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors under 18.”

The law was adopted in 2005, however it has never been put into effect because of the mounting legal troubles it has faced.

“The law prohibits the sale of an interactive video game to anyone under 18 if the game was so violent it was “patently offensive,” according to prevailing community standards and lacked serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

On a personal level I have no objection to barring the sale of M rated titles to minors.  I just don’t believe children, especially ones in the 8 – 13 year old range, should be playing violent video games.   It will be interesting to see how this pans out.  This is the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case on Video Games.

April 25, 2010

TheGamersBlog gets… FORUMS!!!

Hey all!  Just letting you know that after much pain and toiling I have finally gotten TheGamersBlog forums off the ground.  With the growing number of visitors and users it only makes sense they we get them.  You can visit the forums by clicking here.  You can also go to the forums in the future by typing www.thegamersblog.com/forums or you can click the forums link at the top of the page.  At the moment you need to create an account to access the forums.  In the future this may change however right now they are separate.  While creating an account on the blog is not required to post you will need to create an account on the forums to post there.  We really hope all of you sign up there and look forward to talking with you all soon!

April 25, 2010

Steam Client Beta : It’s Just Better

Steam is working on a new version of it’s steam client.  Beta participation is optional and currently anyone can join in.  I had a chance to sit down and play with the new Steam Beta today and I have to say that I am pretty impressed.  There are several new features or “reinventions of the wheel” that I am really enjoying.   Instead of telling you everything that has changed I’m going to give you the major highlights of what I think makes this new steam release better.

The first thing that really stood out to me in this beta is the changing of the color schemes and overall feel of the client.   Most of the greens that were in the previous version are gone.  The client it now predominantly black and gray.   It looks sleeker, it feels more modern and it looks more appealing.  The overall feel of the client is just more futuristic.

The Steam store has been re-done in the way it’s been laid out.  Now you can hove your mouse over any particular game that you may be interested in and it will give you some preliminary information about the game.  This includes but is not limited to which of your friends owns the game, details about the game, supported play types and steam achievements.

I love steam, but I have always had a problem with the notification noises.  You will be in the middle of a zombie rush and out of nowhere steam’s patented noise from hell rings throughout your speakers.  With the new beta release, the noise has been toned into a simple yet modern sonar bleep.

Finally the piece that I really like the most is the new games list.  It lists out all your games on the left and then if you select one of them you can sell all the recent and old news for that game.  You can also tell if you have downloaded the game by the game being highlighted.  I like this a lot more mainly because I can tell if there has been an update and I can easily see my games in alphabetical list and still know if they’ve been installed.  Unlike before, when it would make a uninstalled and installed list, it lists them cleanly now.

Steam has really reached out to its users and found what we want.  I expect steam to keep growing in popularity and introduce many new features that will revolutionize the way games are distributed, as well as how gamers keep in touch with each other.  I would strongly encourage any of you steam users to give the beta a try and reap the benefits of a modern, organized, simple, revamped client.

To access the new beta client simply visit www.steampowered.com.  Current steam users can access the beta client by going to settings >> Account >> Beta Participation – Select the UI Update

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April 24, 2010

SINGULARITY

2010-1950

 

Singularity looks to be a pretty sweet game set to release near the end of this coming June. The story takes place on an island near Soviet Russia called katorga-12 where a rare and undiscovered element was discovered by Stalin and his scientist in 1949/50. Upon further investigation and experimentation on the rare element named E99 (element 99) it was determined that it had some kind of time warping properties due to some researchers being chared and appearing to have died either much older or much younger than they actually were. After much experimentation and the chaos that resulted from said experimentation Stalin had the entire island quarntined just before his death. 60yrs later in 2010 strange activity is noticed on a remote atoll in the near Russia and a USAF pilot is sent to do recon and in doing so gets sucked into the islands bizzar chain of events and is tasked not only with survival from mutated creatures lost to the world and being ripped through time but also the prevention of another Chernobyl or possibly worse.

While the many things in the game have been done before Singularity seems to have a unique feel to it, it seems to me that between the games story, the visuals and environment factors Singularity will prove to be a hit we can all enjoy. One a side note the game is made by Developer Raven Software which is owned by Activision who in light of recent IW events have proven themselved a bunch of greedy unethical douchers, so it will be interesting to see how much they in sales for this game and future games no matter how it may appear. I personally and a bit torn, I dont want to support Activision and what they seem to stand for but I will most likely force myself to look past the Activision branding and buy the game for what it is and not who put it out. Im a sucker for a good game, especially a sci-fi shooter and probably wont be able to help myself, in any case I think this will be a good game worth checking out and will post a review of it should I buy this game.

 

 

April 24, 2010

Assasins Creed II DRM Hacked!

Ubisoft in all of it’s wisdom in an effort to protect it’s workers and property decided to develop DRM that would require you to have a constant Internet connection to play Assassins Creed II online.  This basically meant if your Internet connection dropped, even for a moment, the game would close.  This has caused havoc for many gamers who live in areas with “less then stellar” Internet connections.  This DRM has been a pain in the backside of legitimate players of the game.  It even managed to keep hackers at bay for some time. 

Today hackers have cracked Ubisofts DRM and then left a rather humorous message for them which read, “Thank you Ubisoft, this was quite [sic] a challenge for us, but nothing stops the leading force from doing what we do. Next time focus on the game and not on the DRM. It was probably horrible for all legit users. We just make their lifes [sic] easier.”

While I am not a proponent of piracy,  solutions such as this one created by hacking groups ensure that Assassin’s Creed II will still be playable years from now, or in the event of a connection outage.

Personally, I have to agree with the hackers sentiments.  DRM is starting to become more of a hassle to legitimate users more so then it deters pirates.

April 22, 2010

Left 4 Dead 2 “The Passing” Released Today

Left 4 Dead 2 “The Passing” was released today.  Below are the details about the new addon.

“The first game add-on for Left 4 Dead 2 brings the original Left 4 Dead (L4D1) Survivors down south for a meeting with the L4D2 cast, while delivering new single-player, multiplayer and co-operative gameplay for the PC and Xbox 360.

The Passing also introduces a series of weekly game mode events dubbed “Mutations.” These week-long runs of new gameplay modes range from “Realism Versus” mode to “Chainsaw Massacre,” which gives all players chainsaws with an unlimited supply of gasoline. There are over 20 Mutations planned, each playable on all L4D2 Campaigns. Mutations are exclusively available to owners of “The Passing” DLC.

In addition, “The Passing” offers a new co-operative challenge mode of play, support for infected bot play in Versus, a new “uncommon common” zombie class (the fallen survivor), melee weapon (golf club), and firearm (M-60).”

This addon is of course free for the owners of the PC version of the game.  If you don’t own the PC version it will cost you 560 microsoft points on Xbox Live.  This is a fairly large download.  It is over 1gb so plan a little time to download the addon.

April 22, 2010

Printed Manuals No More?

No more manuals? Ubisoft announced this week that they will be ditching the trend of printing instruction manuals for new games under the “green” initiative.  While no other publishers have jumped on that “green” train just yet it is likely that others will follow suit.

Printed manuals have been part of gaming since you bought PC games in plastic bags.  There have been many stand out eras for manuals such as the NES-era booklets to the manuals that accompanied Electronic Arts vinyl-sized game sleeves.  Some may argue that the advancement in on screen contextual commands, first level tutorials have made the manual pointless but is this really the case?

“It’s yet another example of the anti-consumer tendencies of big companies under the guise of fictional “green initiatives,” and I don’t want anyone to get it mixed up. Apart from the use of instruction manuals, and what they may mean (or not mean) to us, let’s get one thing straight: any publisher who decides to forego including printed instruction manuals with their games will save the money they have to spend on authorship of the document, putting it together, publishing it, et cetera and so on. And you better believe that none of that savings will be passed on to the consumer. You can take that to the bank.” Say Colin Moriarty at IGN.

Anti-Consumer tendencies are starting to become the trend with big publishers, MW2 is a prime example of this, stripping everything out of the PC version that made it a “PC” title and then charging $10 dollars more to boot.

Thankfully, I think consumers are starting to catch on to these trends and starting to speak out against them.  The outrage over Ubisofts recent DRM fiasco shows what outraged customers will do.

On  a personal level this will be saddening for me to see go.  Even now at the age of 25 when I? get a new game that I am excited about I make my wife drive me home and I read the instruction manual on the way there like a giddy school girl.  I also think, especially in some of complicated games, that in game manuals provide a much more in depth look at that game.  They give far more commands and button configurations that the player otherwise would have to figure out.  NHL 10 has 5 pages of just different commands you can do.  You can’t cover all that in a “In Game Tutorial”.

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