Author Archives: Gary McKeon

66% off Left 4 Dead 2, today only

Left 4 Dead 2Today’s Daily Deal on Steam sees 66% off the classic Left 4 Dead sequel.

It’s never been cheaper to club flesh-eating zombies in a variety of environments, with a plethora of different weapons and tactics. Head on over to the store page, if for some strange reason you still don’t own this awesome game.

In other Steam-related news, Alice: Madness Returns, the sequel to 2000′s American McGee’s Alice is now available for pre-purchase.

Return to Wonderland and battle the corruption with all new weapon upgrades as well as 6 new collectible dresses. The new fourth tier of weapons tips the scales into Alice’s favor by unlocking a whole new level of destruction!

Related:
Pre-Purchase Now: FEAR 3

Don’t RAGE: id’s upcoming shooter delayed by 3 weeks

id Software’s post-apocalyptic shooter was due for worldwide release on September 13th, but now your calender needs to be marked on October 7th.

OK, it’s hardly even worth mentioning. We can all wait 3 weeks longer for a polished game, instead of them rushing bugs out the door with the release.

The official RAGE website has been updated to reflect the delay, but doesn’t give any reasons. Since id tech 5 looks so awesome we’ll let them off the hook.

Related:
Carmack planning RAGE sequel
Duke Nukem Forever out now on Steam
Activision CEO casts doubt on console versions of Battlefield 3

Hacker group targets Codemasters, steals thousands of personal details

Hackers target Codemasters site, steal thousands of personal detailsIn what appears to be a spate of hack attacks in recent months, the latest victim was Codemasters.

Hackers managed to break into the UK games developer’s website, compromising the the personal details of tens of thousands of customers.

Fortunately no financial records were kept on the site, mostly emails, phone numbers, dates of birth and home addresses; still enough for Codemasters to call it a “significant” theft.

It all happened on the 3rd of June. As soon as Codemasters were wise to what was going on they pulled the plug and took their site offline, but it was by then too late.

No entity has since taken responsibility for the attack and Codemasters are at a loss as to why they were targeted. The company has sent out emails to its customers warning them to change passwords on any other websites where they might use the same password, and to be vigilant of potential email scams that might result from the personal details lost in the attack.

“Furthermore, be extra cautious of potential scams, via email, phone, or post that ask you for personal or sensitive information.”

Codemaster.com will be offline for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile users visiting the site are redirected to the company’s Facebook page for the time being.

If you’re worried about your personal information head on over to Codemaster’s forums for more info and advice.

 

Duke Nukem Forever out now on Steam

Duke Nukem ForeverIt may be hard to believe, but if you’re in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia you can download Duke Nukem Forever right now on Steam. The much-delayed and anticipated shooter will be unlocking in other regions as the day progresses.

Duke Nukem has been in the hands of several publishers and a plethora of developers until Gearbox Software took the reigns and saw it through.

The system specs for the PC version were released last month, making it appear as though you could run this thing on a old GameBoy.

Minimum:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.0 Ghz
  • Graphics: NIVIDIA GeForce 7600 / ATI Radeon HD 2600
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Hard Drive: 10GB

Recommended:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.6 Ghz
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS / ATI Radeon HD 3850
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Hard Drive: 10GB

Will Duke Nukem Forever live up to his ass-kicking, steak-chomping explosive reputation? Let’s wait and see.

Related:
Duke Nukem Forever to use Steamworks DRM
Did you contribute to Duke Nukem Forever?
Duke Nukem Forever delayed ..again
GeForce 7600 will handle Duke Nukem Forever
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC

Corsair recalls dodgy Force Series SSDs

Only the 120 GB variant is affectedIf you’ve been having problems with your shiny new Corsair Force Series SSD, you’re not alone.

Corsair say they have identified a number of stability issues with the 120 GB variant CSSD-F120GB3-BK, and are urging customers to return their faulty SSDs for a replacement drive.

Unfortunately the problem can’t be fixed with a simple firmware upgrade alone;  it also requires changes to the hardware. Corsair are footing the shipping bill so at least it won’t cost you any money.

Even if you haven’t experienced any issues thus far, Corsair insist you return the drive immediately.

Head on over to Corsair’s forums for more info on their remediation plan.

Related:
iTunes 10.3 available with iCloud beta
Chrome 12 ‘safer and snazzier’ out now
Carmack planning RAGE sequel
RAGE trailer ‘The Shrouded’ hits YouTube
Mass Effect 3 coming March 2012
Ubisoft announces Far Cry 3
Valve streams Saxxy Awards live tomorrow
No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hack

iTunes 10.3 available with iCloud beta

iTunes 10.3 out nowApple have rolled out iTunes 10.3 which includes a beta of their upcoming iCloud, Apple’s online storage solution.

iCloud, which is a replacement for MobileMe will not have full functionality until a later release but some of its features are being introduced now; like ‘Automatic Download’ to ensure all your music, apps and everything else you purchased from iTunes is downloaded/synced to all of your devices running version 10.3.

This new release also lets you download previously purchased material (at no extra cost), depending of course if the music, app or whatever it may be is still available. For more of the nitty gritty head on over to Apple’s support page.

Download iTunes here (64-bit version here).

Related:
Facebook chick tattoos 150 “friends” on her arm
Chrome 12 ‘safer and snazzier’ out now
Carmack planning RAGE sequel
RAGE trailer ‘The Shrouded’ hits YouTube
Mass Effect 3 coming March 2012
Ubisoft announces Far Cry 3
Valve streams Saxxy Awards live tomorrow
No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hack

Facebook chick tattoos 150 “friends” on her arm

This right here is why I tend to limit my time on places like Facebook.

A YouTube user by the name of ‘susyj87′ has tattooed 150 of her friend’s Facebook profile pics onto her right arm in an attempt to represent who she is in her life right now, or something like that.

These are not all my friends. Just the people I care most about. I got their permission and they were very proud to be on it. To me it represents who I am right now and the time we live in.

I guess this might come in handy never. But worst of all, doesn’t it require all kinds of maintenance work when her “friends” change their damn profile pics. I guess you could look on the bright side, if one existed.

Kids seriously don’t try this at home!

Related:
Chrome 12 ‘safer and snazzier’ out now
Carmack planning RAGE sequel
RAGE trailer ‘The Shrouded’ hits YouTube
Mass Effect 3 coming March 2012
Ubisoft announces Far Cry 3
Valve streams Saxxy Awards live tomorrow
No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hack
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support

Chrome 12 ‘safer and snazzier’ out now

Chrome 12 releasedGoogle announced yesterday a new stable version of their Chrome browser, which netted bug finders nearly $10,000 according to the company’s statistics.

Chrome version 12 dubbed ‘safer and snazzier’ by the developers brings improvements in security, graphics and privacy.

First up they have enhanced the ‘Safe Browsing’ technology within Chrome to alert users to more potentially harmful files they try to download. You can also delete Flash cookies from within the browser.

There are improvements in the graphics department too including support for hardware-accelerated 3D CSS, giving you the potential for tripped out 3D effects on certain web pages.

Chrome should update automatically. If not simply click on the spanner and go to ‘About Google Chrome’; or just download the latest stable build here.

Related:
Mass Effect 3 coming March 2012
Ubisoft announces Far Cry 3
Valve streams Saxxy Awards live tomorrow
No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hack
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web

 

Valve knocks 50% off Modern Warfare series

Valve slashes 50% Modern Warfare series

This week’s Midweek Madness on Steam sees Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4, Modern Warfare 2 and all DLCs dropped in price by 50%.

Offer is good until Thursday at 4pm PST.

Related:
Mass Effect 3 coming March 2012
Ubisoft announces Far Cry 3
Valve streams Saxxy Awards live tomorrow
No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hack
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web

Valve streams Saxxy Awards live tomorrow

The First Annual Saxxy Awards Show If you’ve been waiting with anticipation for the winners of Valve’s Team Fortress 2 Saxxy wards, the wait is all but over.

Over on the Team Fortress 2 blog comes word that the winners will be announced live on Wednesday, June 8th at 3:00PM PDT; with a new category winner announced every five minutes.

We’ll be revealing a new category winner every five minutes! That’s one hundred frantic, furious minutes of award-bestowing! As far as we know, nobody has ever attempted to hand out this many awards in so short a time.

Related:
Team Fortess 2 for $9.99
No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hack
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web
Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now
Nintendo DS Lite price falls to $99 next week

No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hack

No personal data lost in Lulz Nintendo hackNintendo recently saw one of its affilliate’s servers in the US hacked by the same crew responsible for the massive breach over at Sony.

The company were quick to make clear that no personal data was lost in the breach, carried out by hacking team Lulz Security.

“There were no third-party victims,” company spokesman Ken Toyoda said.

Attacks like this seem to be on the rise, with hackers attacking corporations for one or another greivance. Earlier this year Sony’s PlayStation network was breached and the personal and financial details of over 70 million users was compromised. Luckily for Nintendo they had no personal data stored on the server that was attacked. But they said there was definite malicious intent on the part of the hackers.

The protection of our customer information is our utmost priority …therefore, we constantly monitor our security,” said Tomokazu Nakaura of Nintendo Japan.

Related:
3DS update may cause bug in game
Scammers step up phishing tactics on Skype
Adobe patches Flash Player, urges users to upgradeMichael J. Fox is Back (to the Future)
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web
Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now
Nintendo DS Lite price falls to $99 next week

 

Scammers step up phishing tactics on Skype

SkypeIn what is fast becoming a real issue for Skype, phishing scams are now in abundance and showing no sign of letting up.

The latest tactic used by scammers is to call unsuspecting Skype users under the pseudonym of ‘Skype Help’. When a person answers the call they are told that their machines are infected with viruses. A link then appears directing them to what is advertised as the cure, but what is a malware site giving the user software that will inevitably infect their machine with whatever the scammer chooses.

Obviously tech-savvy users won’t fall for such an obvious ploy, but we all know people who are not so versed in the ways of internet scams. Make sure to prepare your less savvy brethren for this latest scam.

Related:
Adobe patches Flash Player, urges users to upgrade
3DS update may cause bug in game
Michael J. Fox is Back (to the Future)
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web
Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now
Nintendo DS Lite price falls to $99 next week

Adobe patches Flash Player, urges users to upgrade

Adobe Flash Player updatedAnother Flash Player vulnerability has been announced on Adobe’s website.

This latest security flaw affects version 10.3.181.16 and earlier for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris. According to Adobe the cross-site scripting vulnerability could potentially be used to take over a user’s machine if they visit a malicious website or click on a dodgy email link.

Adobe is urging users to upgrade to the latest Flash Player, which as of now is version 10.3.181.22 (10.3.181.23 for ActiveX). Download it here.

If you’re unsure about which version you have installed don’t forget about Mozilla’s handy plugin check.

Related:
3DS update adds internet browser plus free game
rysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web
Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now
Nintendo DS Lite price falls to $99 next week

3DS update adds internet browser plus free game

Excitebike 3D free for a limited timeThe first update for Nintendo’s 3Ds console will be free of charge and available to 3DS owners on June 6th (North America),  the company announced today via a press release.

The update will mark the grand opening of the 3DS online store ( or eshop) for purchasing and downloading games and other content. There will alse be the inclusion of an internet browser.

To kick off the update with a homerun, Nintendo are offering a free classic NES game remastered in 3D. Excitebike 3D will be free to download until July 7th.

In other news, the 3DS’s little brother will be getting a nice price drop on June 5th, bringing the DS Lite down to a tempting $99 retail.

Related:
Amazon offering $150 off Intel and PNY Nvidia Quadro bundles
Players ready for Free Black Ops weekend
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web
Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now
Nintendo DS Lite price falls to $99 next week

Microsoft demos Windows 8 interface, RIP icons

In the first of what’s promised to be a series of videos, Microsoft are showing off some GUI details of Windows 8, the logical progression from Windows 7. The new interface is built upon javascript and HTML 5 and is primarily designed for touch screen, but will work perfectly fine with the standard mouse/keyboard setup.

There’s not a whole lot to say; it pretty much looks like Windows 7, minus the fancy UI for launching apps and looking at photos. We’ll have to wait for the next few videos to get a more in-depth look at Microsoft’s next flagship OS. In the meantime check out the embedded video above.

Related:
Players ready for Free Black Ops weekend
Crysis 2 patch 1.8 goes live, still no DX11 support
Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web
Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now
Nintendo DS Lite price falls to $99 next week

 

Metro: Last Light teaser trailer hits web

So we know 2010′s darkly, gruesome, nerve jangling Metro 2033 is getting a sequel. Now THQ have released a brand new teaser trailer clocking in at just under 1 minute long. As with the majority of teaser trailers it’s less about gameplay footage than it is whipping up excitement in fans by revealing very little.

Admitting to the previous game’s shortcomings, Danny Bilson, EVP Core Games said “We believe that Metro 2033 was a flawed masterpiece”, It was a beautiful, original game that didn’t get the marketing support it needed. We won’t make that mistake with Metro: Last Light. This game improves on the original in every way – it will have more polish, deeper and more sophisticated gameplay, and satisfyingly visceral combat, without losing what our fans loved about the original. Metro: Last Light is another artful piece of game development from an Eastern European studio that will thrill and terrify anyone looking for a more cerebral experience than your typical first person shooter.”

Last Light is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 sometime in 2012. No other details are available. The only thing we know of the story line is that it’s based around a civil war in Moscow, where 2 factions are fighting for control over a doomsday device.

Related:
Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now
Nintendo DS Lite price falls to $99 next week

 

Stunning Deus Ex: Human Revolution trailer hits the web

Over on the official Deus Ex YouTube channel a video was posted today showing a kick-ass trailer for the upcoming shooter, that frankly smacks of a big-budget action/thriller movie more than it does a video game. It’s only 2 minutes long but they’ve sure enough crammed every moscel of awesome into it. Given the fact that Eidos have been hard at work for 4 years, there’s certainly plenty to show off.

Human Revolution has an August 23rd release date in North America, with Europe and Australia getting it on the 26th and 25th respectively. You can pre-order a retail copy now for PCXbox and PS3.

Related:
Deus Ex: Human Revolution releasing digitally through Steam
Deus Ex: Human Revolution system requirements revealed
Human Revolution will support DirectX 11 and Eyefinity
WHQL-Certified GeForce R275 Drivers Out Now

Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper goes beta

Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper Beta

If you’re trying to fix a PC so badly infected with malware that you can’t even get it to boot, Microsoft has announced a new program that might be a life-saver for PC repair.

Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper is a new tool weighing in at 500kb; with this app you can create a bootable disc or thumb drive that will perform an offline scan and get rid of any malware or rootkits installed preventing your PC from booting up. It can also work in conjunction with your current antivirus software, if that program is having trouble getting rid of a virus or rootkit.

Microsoft does stress however, that this app is not a replacement for a full anitivirus suite, rather it’s for those occasions where you can’t boot your system because of malware. The company already has a full antivirus suite free of charge in the form of Microsoft Security Essentials.

Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit.

Related:
Adobe patches Flash Player, again
How often do you build a PC?

Nvidia announce $99 3D Vision glasses

New 3D Vision Wired Glasses Only $993D gaming on the PC has quite a way to go before it reaches widespread adoption, but Nvidia hope to entice the budget conscious gamer in with new, cheaper 3D Vision glasses coming in June.

The company made the announcement over on the Nvidia blog. The new 3D glasses will be wired, connecting to the PC via USB 2.0. There’s not a whole lot of detail available about the specifics, only the focus on bringing a cheaper 3D experience for gamers on a budget.

Nvidia’s Andrew Fear:

There’s a brand new product coming to the 3D Vision lineup this June – 3D Vision wired glasses. These glasses will deliver the same great 3D Vision features and quality you have come to know and love, at a more affordable price of $99 US MSRP.

A bit more about the glasses: They connect via USB 2.0 to a PC or notebook, and work with all the existing 3D Vision content, displays and other devices.  A notch in the USB connector enables you to use a standard cable lock system too – like those from Kensington – to secure the glasses to a PC or table.  It’s a great feature for LAN parties and iCafé gaming centers.

Related:
New game releases for the coming week May 30 – June 6
Gabe Newell: charge players based on how fun they are to play with

Nvidia confirms new GTX 560 for May 17th

Nvidia confirms new GTX 560 for May 17thNvidia today confirmed May 17th as the official release date of their upcoming GTX 560 graphics card.

Sandwiched somewhere in between last Summer’s GTX 460 and the current Nvidia mid-range Kingpin, the GTX 560 Ti; the GTX 560 will be hoping to win the hearts and minds of budget gamers looking to have a reasonable DX11 experience at a 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Nvidia uploaded a few videos of the card running (as of now) unreleased PC games; Duke Nukem Forever, Alice: Madness Returns and Dungeon Siege III. According to their benchmarks the upcoming GTX 560 should have enough graphical grunt to keep most of today’s modern titles at bay. Basically the idea of the article is to show gamers they don’t need to re-mortgage their house in order to get a decent high-definition experience on their gaming rigs.

In their article Nvidia draws parrallels between the GTX 560 and 2008′s 9800GT, in terms of price-to-performance ratio. According to Steam statistics the 3-year old 9800 GT is the most popular card right now. Nvidia hope to repeat the success of the 9800 GT, with the same bang-for-buck marketing attributed to the GTX 560.

The advent of GPU technologies like NVIDIA 3D Vision, Surround, and advances in PhysX coupled with the emerging popularity of high-resolution monitors have provided exciting, new GPU-intensive features. This, however, does not mean that high-end PC gaming needs to cost gamers an arm and a leg. The GeForce GTX 560 delivers high-quality 1080p visuals with rock-solid gaming performance at a sweet-spot price point.

Amazon has the card listed from a few different GPU makers; MSI ($249.99), PNY (239.99) and a few others.

Related:
How often do you build a PC?
PCMark 7 available now
Civilization for Facebook featured on CNN
Hitman Absolution on track for 2012
StarCraft II patch goes live (1.3.3)
Portal 2 map makers rejoice
Crysis 2 ‘Retaliation’ trailer hits the web
Duke Nukem Forever hits Steam for pre-purchase
Total War: Shogun 2 gets DX11 support, plus new maps

Taliban goes all 21st century, uses Twitter

iPhoneWhen they’re not forcing women into cloth-bags or publicly flogging the fairer sex, the Taliban are more than a little keen on technology.

Despite their previous rejection of such technological marvels as the television or PC, the Islamist militia are beginning to warm to internet-based social networks.

@alemarahweb on Twitter has been broadcasting tweets in Pashto, the native Taliban tongue; mostly glorifying the deaths of American and British forces fighting in the Afghan region, and linking back to the The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website. One tweet from yesterday writes:

Mujahideen from Khak-e-Safid district say that at least 6 puppet police were killed and 3 others wounded late yesterday afternoon in an ambush in Diwali Surkh area. A Mujahid was also injured in the 1 hour firefight.

At the time of writing this the account has 3,147 followers.

Related:
Adobe patches Flash Player, again
Nvidia confirms new GTX 560 for May 17th
How often do you build a PC?
PCMark 7 available now
Civilization for Facebook featured on CNN
Hitman Absolution on track for 2012
StarCraft II patch goes live (1.3.3)
Portal 2 map makers rejoice
Crysis 2 ‘Retaliation’ trailer hits the web

How often do you build a PC?

Upgrading RAM.For most avid PC types, it’s less about re-building than it is upgrading along the way. But what about everyone else?

Crucial, makers of SSDs and RAM conducted their own survey of PC users in the US, UK and France earlier this year. They have been spitting out the results over the course of the day; and these are their findings so far:

  • 53% of people think their PCs should last much longer than 3 years.
  • Nearly half of Brits surveyed said “slow-speed” was their number 1 pet peeve with their PC.
  • 49% of Brits believe a RAM upgrade would inject some performance into thier current rig.
  • Meanwhile 39% of Brits fear even opening up their PC, let alone upgrading parts.

Personally, I feel a decent investment in a $1,000 PC should see you through at least a few years of gaming, without having to be thinking about upgrades. But then of course there are a plethora of different desires and expectations out there, particularly when it comes to PC gaming.

What about you. Do you upgrade every time Intel blows their horn with the announcement of a new CPU, or whenever Nvidia or AMD announce a relatively beefier graphics card? Or are you more realistic and conservative with your PC buying budget?

Related:
AlienBEware: Why You SHOULD build Your Own Gaming PC
8 of the best SSDs for your gaming rig
PCMark 7 available now

Only 5 days left to pre-order The Witcher 2

The Witcher 2Over on GOG.com comes news that you have only 5 days left to pre-order and pre-download The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Digital Premium Edition.

You can also download 95% of the game right now, to save on time for the May 17th release. To incentivise people into making the purchase on GOG.com they advertise the digital version as “DRM-free”. It’s ironic that this is used as a selling-point; but alas it is a bonus.

Pre-ordering now will get you the following:

a virtual version of the collector’s edition artbook, the whole soundtrack with 4 unreleased tracks exclusive to GOG.com, wallpapers, avatars and a photo tour showing the behind the scenes work of your favorite CDProjekt Red team. Last (but not least!) you get one of five epic RPGs for free.

Will your PC have the grunt needed to play The Witcher 2? I should bloody well thing so; check out the system requirements below:

Recommended specs:
Processor: Intel Quad Core or AMD equivalent
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 260, 1 GB memory / Radeon HD 4850 with 1 GB memory
Memory: 3 GB for Windows XP / 4 GB for Windows Vista and Windows 7
Hard Disk: At least 16 GB of free space

Minimum specs:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz or AMD 2.5 GHz equivalent
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 8800, 512 MB memory or ATI HD3850 512 MB
Memory: 1 GB for Windows XP / 2 GB for Windows Vista and Windows 7
Hard Disk: 8 GB for the game installation and 8 GB for bonus materials

Related:
The Witcher 2 hardware specs revealed
Hitman Absolution on track for 2012
StarCraft II patch goes live (1.3.3)
Portal 2 map makers rejoice
Crysis 2 ‘Retaliation’ trailer hits the web
Duke Nukem Forever hits Steam for pre-purchase
Total War: Shogun 2 gets DX11 support, plus new maps
Dice: Battlefield 3 will be a stunning looking game on the console
Game urges players to kill Bin Laden
Deus Ex: Human Revolution releasing digitally through Steam

Portal 2 map makers rejoice

Portal 2 for $29.99 on Amazon.Already bored with the maps in Portal 2? Want to create your own?

Valve today announced the beta release of Portal 2′s authoring tools. With this release map makers can create their own custom singleplayer or co-op maps, new character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music. In fact these are the same tools Valve themselves used to create the game.

The authoring tools are free to download for any owner of Portal 2 on the PC. If you own the game you can find the authoring tools under the ‘Tools’ tab in Steam.

Here’s what you get:

  • Updated version of Hammer, the Source level editor
  • Updated Faceposer
  • Example maps and instances to help build new maps
  • Updated suite of command-line compiling utilities

Related:
Portal 2 for $29.99
Crysis 2 ‘Retaliation’ trailer hits the web
Portal 2 DLC coming this Summer; free of charge
Duke Nukem Forever hits Steam for pre-purchase
Total War: Shogun 2 gets DX11 support, plus new maps
Dice: Battlefield 3 will be a stunning looking game on the console
Game urges players to kill Bin Laden
Deus Ex: Human Revolution releasing digitally through Steam

Microsoft confirms Skype takeover

Microsoft confirms Skype takeoverMicrosoft confirmed the news today that it has agreed to buy internet phone service Skype.

This will be the the company’s largest acquisition, costing the Windows maker a massive $8.5bn (£5.2bn).

Skype is one of the world’s most popular software applications for making voice calls and chat over the Internet. With a staggering 663 million users globally, the potential for advertising revenue is enormous; although it’s still unclear as to what Microsoft has planned after the takeover.

Skype CEO Tony Bates announced the news today over on the Skype blog:

The combination of Skype and Microsoft will directly benefit all of you who use Skype by ushering in a new era of generative ways for everyone to communicate.

Once the acquisition is complete, Skype will operate as a new business division of Microsoft, and I look forward to working with the team as president of Microsoft Skype to write the next chapter of the Skype story. Onwards!

Related:
Duke Nukem Forever hits Steam for pre-purchase
Total War: Shogun 2 gets DX11 support, plus new maps
Dice: Battlefield 3 will be a stunning looking game on the console
Game urges players to kill Bin Laden
Deus Ex: Human Revolution releasing digitally through Steam

Duke Nukem Forever hits Steam for pre-purchase

Duke is ready for pre-order on SteamDuke Nukem won’t be downing steak dinners, slapping women’s asses or setting off countless explosions until June 10th, but you can cast your vote now by pre-purchasing on Steam.

Valve just gave the word, and are offering a 10% discount on Duke Nukem Forever if you pre-purchase now.

You can also pre-order a retail copy for PCXbox 360 and PS3 from Amazon.

Related:
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
Total War: Shogun 2 gets DX11 support, plus new maps
Dice: Battlefield 3 will be a stunning looking game on the console
Game urges players to kill Bin Laden
Deus Ex: Human Revolution releasing digitally through Steam
Human Revolution will support DirectX 11 and Eyefinity
id’s RAGE to ship with full level editor

Game urges players to kill Bin Laden

Fancy taking out the world’s most wanted (ex)terrorist? Now you can courtesy of a new level in KumaWar 2. KumaWar 2 is a free tactical first and third-person shooter game that creates new levels based on current news happening around the world.

The episodic game has a solid 20million players and the latest episode focuses on the US Special Forces’ raid of Bin Laden’s bunker in Abbottabad, Pakistan one week ago. While Bin Laden is enjoying his 72 virgins in paradise (or was that 48?) you can relive the tense moments of one week ago that saw the former Al Qaeda financier kick the bucket, and even be the trigger man yourself.

Sound like fun? Head on over to download the free client here.

This game actually makes me flash back and think about the war and the aftermath….But that’s not necessarily bad. Being that I will be going back to Iraq for a 3RD tour, I’ll say that it’s much better fighting from my PC behind a desk then actually slinging lead at each other.”

SGT from HHC 1/64 Armor,
3rd Infantry Division(M)

Related:
KumaWar official website
Deus Ex: Human Revolution releasing digitally through Steam
Human Revolution will support DirectX 11 and Eyefinity
id’s RAGE to ship with full level editor
Valve rolls out massive TF2 update, starts directorial competition
RAGE trailer ‘The Shrouded’ hits YouTube
id brings RAGE to unsuspecting Texans
Mass Effect 3, no Christmas for thee

Valve rolls out massive TF2 update, starts directorial competition

The Replay UpdateValve have added the ability to record yourself in Team Fortress 2 via the new ‘Replay Update‘.

When you connect to a server that supports replays (you will see a camera icon next to any server that does), all you need to do is press F6 before you leave the spawn and your gameplay will be recorded until you die; you’ll then get a notification at the top left corner of your screen letting you know when the download is complete. Then if you want to edit it simply click on ‘Replays’ from the main menu.

1,000 YouTube views will net you this epic hatMeanwhile Valve have also started a new competition, the ‘First Annual Saxxy Awards.’ After recording and editing your masterpiece you can enter your videos in specific Oscar-like categories.; like Best Original Soundtrack, Most Pwnage, Most Inventive Kill and many others. You can upload the clips to YouTube from within the game and if you get enough hits, win a hat. Other achievements will unlock special taunts.

You need to keep the video under 1 minute in length and at 720p; Valve are taking submissions up to May 19th.

It’s all very straight forward, head on over to Valve’s FAQ for further instructions to hone your film-making skills.

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Mass Effect 3, no Christmas for thee

Mass Effect 3 won't be under the tree this year.Games developer BioWare has confirmed that Mass Effect 3, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2010′s Game of the Year will not be in Santa’s bag of tricks this year.

The sad news was confirmed by BioWare’s Chris Priestly over on the company’s social network forum.

Today we have confirmed that Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations.”  said Casey Hudson, Executive Producer Mass Effect series.

We’ll have more details about specific dates as we get closer to release.

Mass Effect 3 was originally slated for an Xmas release, but now fans will have to wait until some time in the first quarter of next year. There is no concrete release date confirmed as of yet.

In other news BioWare’s massively multiplayer RPG Star Wars: The Old Republic might also be hit with a delay; previously expected out by September the game now has EA representatives casting doubt on the RPG seeing the light of day in 2011:

“While we fully anticipate launching Star Wars: The Old Republic in Q2 or Q3, the low end of our guidance range assumes the outside possibility of a January launch,” said Frank Gibeau, president of the EA Games label.

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Apple rolls out iOS 4.3.3

Apple rolls out iOS 4.3.3.Although much earlier than previously expected, Apple has updated its iOS software to version 4.3.3.

There have been calls for the company to fix the location tracking bug for the last few weeks. The controversy started when it was discovered that iPhones were storing unencrypted data of a person’s movements; data that could easily be read by anyone, giving details of an iPhone user’s whereabouts for up to one year, with timestamps to boot.

The company claims the information was never meant to be stored on the iPhone (let alone unencrypted) and the only purpose it serves is logging of WiFi hotspots and cell tower data, which in turn enables faster GPS triangulation. But with 4.3.3 a number of changes have been made to reduce the size of this cache, which will also be deleted when ‘location services’ are turned off.

Below are some of the changes made in iOS 4.3.3:

  • The update will no longer back up the location database to iTunes.
  • The size of the location database will be reduced.
  • The location database will be deleted entirely when Location Services are turned off.
  • Battery life improvements.
  • iPod bug fixes.

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