Today only (1/16/2010), 100% of your spendings at PopCap games go to Haiti.
$20 or less gets you a great game AND does something important with the money. Go on. Buy something.
Today only (1/16/2010), 100% of your spendings at PopCap games go to Haiti.
$20 or less gets you a great game AND does something important with the money. Go on. Buy something.
The Complete Overlord Package is available on Steam right now for $8.75. That’s 1, Raising Hell, and 2, for under 10 dollars, normally 35 dollars. Overlord is a ton of fun, best described as an evil Pikmin game, with adorable goblin minions who wear pumpkins as helmets and attack with candlesticks they find.
If you feel the need to crush your foes and commit comically evil acts, jump on this immediately, it’s the Steam Weekend Deal.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a fan of GOG.com already, but this weekend has something spectacular. Beyond Good and Evil and Prince of Persia:The Sands of Time for $9.99 together, or for $6.99 separately.
PoP was excellent, make no mistake there, but Beyond Good and Evil is among the all-time greats, and I’d easily call it among my all-time top three games, beside Lunar-The Silver Star and Lunar-Eternal Blue.
I’ll be taking a spin through BG&E today, and I’ll have a full review for you. GOG has, as always, made the game XP/Vista(32/64) compatible, and it looks like this version avoids the central hall bug that affected 1.01. I’ll certainly have a report on that too, though, if I run into it. Comes with the manual, artwork, wallpapers, and soundtrack!
Go, buy! It’s 10 well spent dollars. http://www.gog.com/en/page/ubiaction_promo/
While I’m very happy there’s a new series entry, which I hope tends more toward 2 than 3, I have to ask…
What the fuck is a Thiaf, and what marketer or meddling administrator chose the name? Did they not know 3 is used for E and 4 is used for A? Not that you can just insert a number at random?
BROKEN Steel. Get it? Because the installer for PC and live achievements on Xbox are broken! Damn I’m clever. Come on Bethesda, I love the stuff you’re making, but it never seems to work right.
Okay, that bad joke aside, I’ve talked a bit to Brad Wardell, AKA, the CEO of Stardock, and he’s been active on plenty of forums as of late trying to take care of Demigod’s MP issues. He’s been spectacularly honest about how it’s all going and it’s great to see how much effort is being put into fixing this immediately, because when it works, Demigod is a ton of fun (thankfully, there are third party services like GameRanger that work well for playing right now). But for too many people, the P2P networking just isn’t cutting it, which Stardock is actively working to fix. In fact, I just got this from Wardell:
“We’re actually here at the office right now (11pm) with a dev team of 11 people working on this issue.”
Since he’s gone into quite a bit of detail on things, I’m going to put up some quotes from recent forum posts of his. It offers a better insight than anything I could paraphrase anyway!
“The Demigod launch is definitely really bringing up to roost the sad state of networking affairs on the PC.
In Supreme Commander, GPGNet was used and what it did was NAT traversal between players. Players who couldn’t be connected would show up with yellow or red pings in the SupCom lobby and the host would have to decide to kick them out.
It wasn’t a huge deal in SupCom because most people didn’t play MP and those who did, were technical enough to open up their ports.
With Demigod, the difference is that the player has to connect to everyone already in the lobby, not just the host in order to get into the lobby. That means, if there is 1 user in the lobby who can’t connect to more than a couple of people (for a variety of reasons) they can keep everyone else out.
The false assumption in Demigod was that a person who could connect to 1 person could connect to 8 other people and that’s just not the case. That edge case wasn’t identified.
The next false assumption is that because there were few complaints about Company of Heroes or SupCom, that the NAT system in Demigod would work fine. But CoH and SupCom are mostly played single player by the more casual part of the base. By contrast, Demigod is mostly played multiplayer.
As a result, a lot of people who normally wouldn’t even be trying an RTS MP are now in that mix which aggravated the first false assumption.
It particularly aggravates it because for Demigod, a new type of “Super NAT traversal” was made. For those who have opened ports and such, it works like every other game. But for those who don’t have normal network configurations, it apparently does a lot more but the result is that it uses a LOT of server resources to do it. As a result, what worked fine for a random sample of say 500 people fell apart at 5000 people and you still end up with edge cases that can thwart everyone.
Here’s an example edge case: Some ISPs we believe are limiting the number of peer connections they allow a user to make somehow. That person connects to host of a game fine, gets in. But then, nobody else can connect to them and he blocks everyone from getting into the game.
This was figured out quite quickly. But the solution isn’t something that can be engineered overnight.
Here’s basically how the solution works:
1. You have to let people get into the lobby even if they’re not connected to everyone else.
2. Once in the lobby you try to direct connect or NAT connect to each other. If that fails, we try to use proxy servers to connect them. if that fails, they will appear with a yellow ping and the host will have to decide whether to kick them.
This is non-trivial to implement because, as some people know, Stardock didn’t develop Demigod. GPG did, including the networking. The networking in Demigod works fine as a unit test just like the connection servers work fine as a unit test. But integrating the two without requiring a lot of changes to Demigod is a significant task.
It is my hope that it will be solved tomorrow.
Now, that said, and this is depressing, in the last 2 weeks I’ve talked to enough people in the industry off the record to realize that in terms of RTS’s, what Demigod is experiencing isn’t atypical. It’s just that Demigod’s *multiplayer* userbase is a different demographic than the multiplayer user base of say a Supreme Commander or a Company of Heroes.
But regardless, it has to be made bullet proof and THEN once it is made bullet proof, Stardock will have to put in extra effort to make sure the MP community stays large through contests with prizes, coupons, you name it.”
The first connectivity patch is scheduled for tomorrow at this point, though that may change.
There’s some real, brutal honesty too about the success or failure of the game, and the understanding that from a player side, it doesn’t matter why it’s happening, only that it is.
“Well my feeling is, if Stardock/GPG can’t solve the MP issue this week then Demigod deserves to go down in flames.
And before someone reading this thinks I’m trolling, I’m the CEO of Stardock (I have gotten flamed on our forums for “attacking” Stardock and Demigod).
I don’t CARE what the technical issues are. I know what they are — against my will I know them. But I don’t care and neither do gamers. The damn MP just needs to freaking work for the vast majority of users. Period. End of story.
If I wasn’t on the inside, I’d be screaming “how the hell did the MP in this game get released?!” Except in beta, it worked really well. We had 10 player MP games online routinely.
Long story short: ANY MP centric game must have a very large free PUBLIC beta test. Period. As in, 10s of thousands of players.”
I don’t think any of us who haven’t programmed a multiplayer game realized just how far back things are with network. Windows has integrated plenty of standards for video and audio, but for networking, nothing.
“With the information we know NOW, we know how things should have been done. Unlike with 3D where we have DirectX to make use of, MP on the PC is still basically like the DOS days where each game has to pretty much do this stuff from scratch.
Even with Demigod, we licensed a recommended third party network library (Raknet) which, as [the prior poster] pointed out, has problems with multiple IPs.”
Hopefully you’ve learned something interesting from this, I know I have. And it’s nice to know that Stardock is going to keep working until this is fixed, even if it takes some time. There’s not a lot of companies I’d believe when they say they’re putting customer satisfaction on top, but not many companies let people get a refund on the game when it had major launch problems like Stardock did.
“I also feel that I have a moral obligation to tell customers what is happening and what we are doing about it. These people paid $40 for the game and they don’t care whose problem it is. They just want to play their game.
It’s not that I’m emotionally involved with the game. But I feel personally responsible for any problems the game has and I think that’s a good thing.
Everyone who starts a business has a motivation to do so. My motivation is because I wanted to have a company that does things a certain way. And one of those things is responsibility to the customer.”
Remember that giant disappointed feeling you had after that big Capcom announcement was Lost Planet 2?
Remember how you wanted Marvel Vs Capcom Vs SNK? Well, you’ll still be wanting that, but at least you won’t be paying $50 for Marvel Vs Capcom 2 now! It’s set to release this summer on XBLA and PSN. The game is going to be based off the Dreamcast version, which had better assets (apparently better than the system could display, says one Capcom employee) and smoother play. Full HD graphics and online play are promised, as well as the 50 character roster. No word yet on any additions, but don’t count out Capcom’s love of selling us more parts to games we already bought.
Kotaku has said the game is priced at $15, which would be a hell of a deal considering the going rate for the discs, but like everything Kotaku, a grain of salt is advised.
Teaser trailer at Marvel.com
This won’t be too surprising to anyone, but Steam is now going to be carrying a ton of EA titles. Given that EA has handled Valve’s game on console for years now, it’s only a logical move to have Valve work EA’s digital angle.
STEAM LAUNCHES HIT PC GAMES FROM EA
Spore, Warhammer Online: Age of Recoking and More Available Now
December 19, 2008 — Valve today announced Spore(tm), Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack, Warhammer (r) Online: Age of Reckoning(tm), Mass Effect (r), Need for Speed(tm) Undercover and EA SPORTS FIFA Manager 2008 are available now to gamers in the United States and Canada via Steam, a leading platform for PC games and digital content with over 15 million accounts around the world.
In the coming weeks, Mirror’s Edge(tm), Command & Conquer(tm) Red Alet(tm) 3, and Dead Space(tm), will be added to the catalog of EA’s titles available via Steam.
“EA is one of the industry’s largest publishers,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “The EA titles coming to steam this holiday include some of this year’s top PC titles.”
“We are pleased to extend our holiday titles to gamers worldwide via Steam — a revolutionary technology that is one of the game industry’s most successful digital distribution services,” said John Pleasants, President, Global Publishing & Chief Operating Officer.
For more information, please visit www.steamgames.com
We just lost everything. No, really. We’re checking out everything now to see what’s happened, and trying to restore backups. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be working.
Google Cache may be the best thing ever, however, and we’ve found most things there.
What is, in my opinion, the greatest multiplayer game of all time is coming to Live Arcade.
Fucking WARLORDS. Warlords will be available for 400 points on May 28th, 1 am PST. Here’s hoping the devs figured out a good way to make it work without a paddle controller(say, using the analog stick to simply point at the place you need a shield).
Review to come ASAP, though it will likely be “THIS IS STILL AWESOME” or “THEY FUCKED IT UP.”
CD Projekt doesn’t care to sit idly by, it seems, and has seen fit to fix the issues with the prior release. Major complaints, like load times, the lacking English dialog, and the clunky inventory panel? Fixed.
New NPC character models, more animations for dialog, and totally redone facial animations and lip-syncing are on the list too, to really solidify the immersiveness. The new enhancements will be sold in boxed form, and freely available to any who already own the game. And as if it wasn’t big enough already, this is estimated to have 10 more hours of content for an already long game.
For the TL;DR version, click the cut.
The Witcher Enhanced Edition Announced
New, Improved and Enhanced Version of 2007 PC RPG of the Year Coming in Late Spring
Warsaw – February 18, 2008. CD Projekt RED is pleased to announce that in May of this year, a new and improved version of The Witcher will appear in stores, a game already considered by many players and media to be the best PC RPG of 2007!
Michał Kiciński, CEO of CD Projekt described the idea behind The Witcher Enhanced Edition: “The leading idea during the development of The Witcher Enhanced Edition is to create a game that is devoid of all of the major criticisms levied at the original release. The Witcher was received very warmly by both players and the media, but we are well aware that it is not a product without its faults. There was just not enough time to perfect certain elements, while we learned that some things needed to be changed from the players themselves. Now we have the opportunity to introduce changes that will allow The Witcher to provide even more enjoyment. I hope that, as a result, the game will come even closer to the ideal RPG.”
Maciej Szcześnik, Project Manager at CD Projekt RED, spoke about the content provided in the new edition: “The Witcher Enhanced Edition will be a completely polished product, something rarely found on the PC market. Of course, it would have been best if the original edition could look that way. There were a few ways the original game didn’t quite live up to our high expectations, but now we’re trying to make up for it. Work is being done on two levels: one concerns the removal of technical obstacles that hinder the player from properly using the game and thus gaining enjoyment from it. Some of those elements include the loading times, which will be reduced by 80%, the stability of the game on different PC configurations, as well as an array of smaller fixes that will increase interactivity and precision in combat. The other level consists of very important changes that are not usually found in patches. First and foremost, the English-language version will, for the most part, be completely re-done. The amount of text in that version was reduced compared to other language versions and that was said to cause a significant decrease in immersion and atmosphere. Now the English version will be as polished and atmospheric as the other language versions. Speaking of other language versions, most of them will be improved in some way. Significant changes will also be made in the German version, where we are planning to re-record the voices for many of the characters. The most important improvements concern those elements of the game that players criticized the most. For example, over 50 new supporting character models will be added, so that the player won’t run into the same person too often. The inventory panel will be re-designed and improved, and some elements of the main game screen will be polished. However, one of the biggest changes that will greatly increase the player’s immersion in the game world will be improvements concerning dialogue scenes. Both Geralt and non-player characters will get over 100 new animated gestures which will make their body language during conversations much more natural. Additionally, the facial animation and lip-sync system will be re-created, making the faces of the speakers now even more natural, as well. Of course, I’ve mentioned only the most important changes, and that’s still a lot. There will be many smaller changes that will make the game more fun. I’m convinced that, thanks to those changes, The Witcher will almost be the ideal game for fans of PC role-playing.”
Adam Kiciński, head of CD Projekt RED spoke about publishing and the availability of The Witcher Enhanced Edition in different parts of the world: “Our goal is to make the Enhanced Edition available to all players all over the world. We are currently negotiating with our publishing partners to confirm availability dates. Our release date in Eastern Europe is May 16, and thanks to the great support from fans, we’re confident that we will be able to bring the game to stores around the world on that date, as well. The retail release will be quite important for us, as we’re not just improving the game itself, but want to improve how the title is packaged. For example, aside from the game DVD, we are planning to include a DVD with the D’jinii Mod Editor, as well as two additional adventures, a video DVD with extended material detailing the making of the game, a music CD with 29 tracks from the game, a music CD with 15 tracks of music inspired by the game, an 80-page instruction booklet, a 112-page official guide written by the game’s developers, and a 50-page short story written by Andrzej Sapkowski. There will also be a map of the game world. As you can see it is quite an elaborate release and it is important to us that fans all over the world be able to buy this version of the game. Especially considering it will not be more expensive than the standard edition of the game! Fans that have already bought the game need not worry, however, because the new content and improvements will be available to them in the form of a downloadable update.”
The Witcher Enhanced Edition not only means changes in the game’s mechanics or better graphics, however. There’s also an included mod editor called D’jinni that allows players to create or modify their own adventures in the world of The Witcher, as well as two completely new adventures created by CD Projekt RED. The first adventure, entitled “The Price of Neutrality,” tells the story of Geralt coming back to Kaer Morhen and finding a mysterious camp near the stronghold (3 new quests), while the second one focuses on Geralt’s close friend, Dandelion, and his troubles in Vizima City (5 quests).
The Witcher is an RPG about the adventures of Geralt, a professional monster slayer, and was developed by Warsaw, Poland-based CD Projekt RED. The game is based on a new version of the BioWare Aurora Engine, titled Aurora 2007. The story is set in a world created in the books of Andrzej Sapkowski and sold all over the world. The game has already managed to garner worldwide success, having sold over 600,000 copies. It has received more than 45 awards and distinctions, including the prestigious “Best PC RPG of 2007″ from IGN.com, Gamespy.com and PC Gamer (see the entire list of awards: http://www.thewitcher.com/community/pl/awards/). The game has also received very high ratings from players from all over the world, which is reflected in the average player-review scores at such sites as Metacritic (9.4/10), GameTrailers (9.1/10) and Gamespot (8.8/10).