In a short and to the point post on the official forums for the game, Tom Ebsworth of Crytek announced support of Direct X 11 is coming to the game:
We would like to announce that there will be a DX11 patch released for Crysis 2. We are working to get the best out of DX11, so we’ll wait to announce the features until a little closer to release.
That’s literally all the details included in the announcement so suffice to say there’s no release schedule for the patch available as of yet.
Previously, rumours of a patch containing DX 11 support were flatly denied by the developer. The most recent patch for the game was released on April 4 and targeted cheaters using exploits in the multiplayer version of the game.
After a huge amount of releases last week, it’s kind of slim pickings this week. One that might be interesting is Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops for the PC – a tactical action game set in conflict zones of the future. It’s developed by Black Lion and set for release on April 5.
Load up WoW today (April 1) and you’ll be greeted with the news that a new ‘feature’ called Crabby has been added to game, to pop up every second minute offering tips. According to Blizzard, Crabby is a great listener and a good friend, who you can trust with all your problems. He also knows every last detail about every boss and encounter in the game and will pop up at all times with helpful tips.
Even more handy, the ability to remove Crabby from your screen has been disabled so you’re never without his useful advice:
Crabby is able to tell you exactly what’s going on and what you should do. His many useful tips will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen, where he hangs out, ever patiently, waiting for you to need his help. Of course, whether you follow his advice or not is entirely up to you; Crabby may possess an advanced level of artificial intelligence, but we’re reasonably sure he doesn’t have any feelings you could hurt. Reasonably sure. But just in case, the ability to remove Crabby has been disabled for now.
On the 23rd of March, TF2 was patched with a set of Japan Charity Bundle Items which players could buy and the proceeds of which would go to the American Red Cross’s Japanese disaster relief fund.
Now in an update on the offical Team Fortress 2 blog, it’s been announced a massive $300,000 has been raised for the charity. The items are available until April the 6th so the final total raised for the charity will be even more:
Take a BOW, TF2 community — because that is an incredible, frankly astounding, amount of money from a dedicated number of gamers, to one heck of a lot of people in some real need right now. Anytime someone gives you guff about something negative in gaming, you go ahead and point them to this post, because here’s some late-breaking damn news: they are wrong and gamers are generous and awesome.
Among a slew of games released this week, some standouts include: WWE All Stars and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters for consoles and handhelds. Two pieces of DLC for Castlevania: Lord of Shadow are also set for release on Mar 29 and April 1. Mass Effect: Arrival, a new DLC for the original game, will also be released on Mar 29.
The latest version of Firefox was released yesterday and the BBC reports millions have downloaded or upgraded, although tellingly, its market share is going down.
As one of the early adopters of Mozilla’s browser, back when it was called Phoenix, I quickly jumped ship to Opera because it was plain to me the Mozilla browser was heavily overloaded and was a drain on my processor power. I stuck with Opera for many years until Google released their Chrome browser. I gave it a shot and, sorry to say, my loyalty to Opera went out the window. The Chrome browser is what the developers at Google use on a day to day basis. It’s designed to be lightweight and fast and that shines through when you use it.
Firefox increasingly seems like a relic of a bygone age, of an ‘open source’ alternative to Internet Explorer. But times have changed and it’s no longer stylish just to be open source for the sake of it. Google’s own browser can also claim that title.
I recently loaded up Firefox for some reason I can’t remember and it was like waiting for an operating system to load, it was that slow. As a user not interested in the under the hood mechanics of the different browsers, my feeling is the time has come and gone for the Firefox browser. It was basically based on an ‘anything but Internet Explorer’ ideology when it was launched, but the developers have stood still on the end user experience and I predict their share of the market will decline more and more.
What do you think? Am I wrong? Give me your honest opinion as an end user when you compare Firefox with the Chrome browser.
This week sees the U.S release of the Nintendo 3DS next Sunday, and a slew of release day titles are lined up, including The Sims 3, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D and a selection of Nintendogs titles.
Also released this week are Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars on all platforms, as well as Crysis 2 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on the 22nd. PC gamers can also pick up the PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood when it’s released on the 22nd.
Blizzard have announced a video contest to mark the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding. They’re asking their player base to submit their favourite memory of playing Blizzard’s games in the form of a video, and are offering an all-expenses trip to Blizzcon and other assorted goodies to whoever sends in the best one:
Unleash your creativity and capture your favorite Blizzard game-related memory on video.
How you do it is up to you; your favorite moment can be heartwarming, hilarious, or truly epic. Your video can be live action, animated, or something in-between — what’s important is the memory you share with us. If your video gets us misty-eyed or makes us stand up and cheer, it could be chosen as one of the winning entries. You can earn countless accolades, untold fame, universal admiration…and legendary prizes
The movies should be in either the .wmv, avi or mov formats, not exceed 100MB in size and should be 3 minutes long or less. Check out the full rules here.
Just before Dragon Age 2 was released, EA opened the Facebook tie-in game Dragon Age Legends to the public at large with a beta test, with 5 unlockable Dragon Age 2 items offered as an incentive to check it out.
The game has since been updated with exactly what to do to unlock the items:
Evra’s Might: Learn how to build your castle in the tutorial.
Evra’s Trophy Belt: Reach Freylen’s Peak and complete the quest Vantage Point.
Air of Confidence: Complete the quest Secure Fort Elim.
Ivo Family Crest: Defeat Raspin and complete the quest The Rascal Raspin.
Details on how to unlock the last item, Dura’s Blue Flame is listed as coming soon.
Obviously you need to link your EA account to DA: Legends to avail of the unlockables, it’s a straightforward enough process when you begin to play Legends. If you want to get all possible bonus items, BioWare have also posted up a handy list of all the unlockables available for the game here along with what you need to do to get them.
As a big fan of Dragon Age Origins I liked what I saw in the DA2 demo and plan to buy the game next week or so, but I’ve heard some bad things from a friend who has played. Likening the confined area maps to BioWare’s lukewarm RPG Jade Empire, he called it essentially a ‘hollow cash in’ of the first game. I was kind of disappointed to hear a bad review, and indeed I’ve heard nothing but good things since it was released, including a solid 84% rating on Metacritic.
If you’ve played DA2 yourself let me know what it’s like in the comments below.
This week sees the release of Total War: Shogun 2, over ten years after the original game was released. The PC strategy game hits the shelves on Tuesday the 15th and early reviews on Metacritic are unanimously glowing, with an aggregate score of 91%.
Also of note this week is the new first person shooter Homefront for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. The story for Homefront was written by the screenwriter behind Apocalypse Now and takes place in a near-future USA after an invasion by a United Korea under the rule of North Korea.
BioWare have compiled all the different bonus items for the newly released Dragon Age 2 into a handy list along with how to get them.
Check the list here, and also check BioWare’s registered game content page which will tell you which items you’re already entitled to, such as
the likes of the Blood Dragon Armour addon from Dragon Age: Origins which you can also use in DA2.
Not mentioned on the page for some reason is the five items up for grabs simply for playing the tie-in Facebook game Dragon Age Legends.
A lot of the other items on BioWare’s list will cease to be available sometime today because they were offered as incentives for preordering, and indeed a cursory check of the Amazon listing offers no bonus items with the purchase today.
Dragon Age 2 was released today for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. There’s a playable demo to check out if you want to try before you buy, and a glowing 89 out of 100 score on Metacritic if you still need to talk yourself into getting it.
This week sees the release of Dragon Age 2 on March the 8th for PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3. The first pieces of DLC for the game, The Black Emporium and The Exiled Prince, are also released on the same day.
Other major releases this week are Major League Baseball 2K11 for all platforms including the Playstation 2, and MLB 11: The Show, only released on Playstation platforms.
Technically released last week but worth a mention is also the release of Pokemon Black and White versions for Nintendo DS, which have sold record numbers since they were released in Japan last September.
BioWare are gearing up for the major launch of Dragon Age 2 on March the 8th and EA have made the availability of beta keys for the tie-in Facebook game a lot easier to come by.
To snag a key and start playing the game, head to Gamespot’s promo page here and register or sign in to claim a beta key. Then just sign into Dragon Age: Legends here with your EA account and enter the key to start playing. You can view detailed info about your exploits and manage aspects of the game from the EA site here as well.
I spent a pleasant half hour playing the tutorial and there’s a lot to to DA: Legends for a Facebook game. It follows a straight-forward turn-based combat system for battles but also includes recruiting members with different skills to your party, building a castle for your hero, crafting items like potions and so on to aid you in battle as well as an energy bar that ticks up every few minutes (you need energy to do battle).
Unlockable DA2 items in Dragon Age: Legends
One of the main draws of playing the Facebook game is unlocking items in Dragon Age 2 when it’s released and currently there are 5 items listed in the game to unlock, namely two rings, a trophy belt, and two amulets. The information on how exactly to unlock the items is said to be coming soon. To view detailed info on the items inside DA: Legends, click the options icon in the top right of the screen and the DA2 Unlocks option appears in the sidebar.
Dragon Age 2 is set to launch for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on March the 8th. Check out the playable demo if you haven’t already, completing it also unlocks some items for the full game.
More info about Dragon Age : Legends can be found at the official Facebook page and Twitter profile. There’s also a fan-submitted question and answer article from the game producer here.
Firaxis have posted another update on the status of alpha testing for the up and coming Civilization Facebook game. Alpha testing got underway on the 12th of January and they are letting in another wave of testers, so check your inbox for an invitation if you’ve signed up.
Firaxis announced back in November that the game is scheduled for a 2011 release and since then, the Facebook profile has gained over 125,000 fans. Originally named Civilization Network, the name was changed to Civilization World in January ‘to better reflect the main theme of the game’.
For more information about the game in general, check out the intro letter from Sid Meier on the official page here. You can also put your name on the list for the closed test here.
Half-Life 2 is on the shortlist of 80 games available for the public to vote on
For those of us who see video games as pieces of modern culture in themselves, The Smithsonian American Art Museum will be running an exhibit in 2012 charting The Art of Video Games.
The exhibit will cover the 40 year history of games and visitors will be able to play a few minutes of five era-defining games, namely Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and World of Warcraft.
More details on what the exhibit will entail from the press release:
The exhibition will feature some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe. It also will explore the many influences on game designers, and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video art, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training.
The curators of the exhibit are also asking for gamers to vote online for their favourite game – a shortlist of 80 games are available to vote on, and the winning titles from 5 distinct eras in the history of games will be included in the exhibit.
To vote, head to the official site here and register with your email address. The registration is quick and simple and you don’t even need to provide a password.
The exhibit opens on the 16th of March 2012 in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and is set to run for 6 months until September 30 2012.
More information can be found here.
This week sees the release of the second expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II and Trion Worlds’ Rift: Planes of Telara on March the first. The PC MMO has been in the works for over 4 years and cost over $50 million to develop.
Also released this week are DLC packs for Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fable III and Dead Space 2.
Nvidia have posted up an interesting article on their official blog about how their Quadro workstation graphics cards were used to create the memorable final scene in the Natalie Portman film Black Swan.
The 11,000 feathers LOOK created for the transformation scene were based on high-resolution scans of actual tundra swans, and Lipowski built detailed feather geometry for quills, as well as complicated rigs to form the feathers individually. “The wings are long—they come two to three feet off her arms, plus they flex and bend as she whips around,” said Lipowski.
“That’s a huge amount of geometry for a graphics card to process, and NVIDIA Quadro handled it perfectly. The other reason we use NVIDIA cards is because of the driver stability. It’s just better. At times, that reliability means more to me than speed, because to ever have a crash is a huge problem,” explained Michael Oliver, Director of Technology at LOOK Effects.
The University of Michigan have announced a prototype computer just over one cubic millimeter in size, believed to be the first complete millimeter-scale computing system. Designed as an implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients, the computer consists of a low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a thin-film battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio to transmit data to an external reader device.
The computer achieves ultra-low power consumption with a unique power gating architecture and an extreme sleep mode:
The newest system wakes every 15 minutes to take measurements and consumes an average of 5.3 nanowatts. To keep the battery charged, it requires exposure to 10 hours of indoor light each day or 1.5 hours of sunlight. It can store up to a week’s worth of information.
Other possible uses for the micro systems suggested by the researchers include tracking pollution, monitoring structural integrity, performing surveillance, or making any object you can think of smart and trackable.
Our work is unique in the sense that we’re thinking about complete systems in which all the components are low-power and fit on the chip. We can collect data, store it and transmit it. The applications for systems of this size are endless.
As promised, Bethesda have updated the site for Elder Scrolls V with the official trailer for the game. The 2 minute 54 second trailer features cinematics and gameplay. In addition to the trailer, the official website has also been given a major update, with new Skyrim features and legacy pages for all of the previous games in the Elder Scrolls series.
Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is set for release on 11/11/’11 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
BioWare have released the first playable demo for Dragon Age II and downloading and completing the 1.9GB demo will unlock in-game items for the full game, set for release early in March.
BioWare are running a ‘Call to Arms’ promotion for the demo, aiming to hit 1 million downloads by March 1. When the download count hits 1 million, two in-game books (Lothering’s Lament and The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall) will be unlocked which give an XP and money boost when read. At the time of this posting, 421105 copies of the demo have been downloaded.
To be eligible to have your download counted for the goodies, you need to be logged into your EA account while playing the demo.
In a further promo, completing the demo will also unlock an in-game blade for the full version of the game:
Hayder’s Razor, an ancient dwarven blade which increases health, mana, and combat abilities, in the full release of Dragon Age 2.
Hayder’s Razor will be available until May 31.
Dragon Age II is set for release on March 8 in the US and March 11 in the EU and follows the massive success of the original Dragon Age: Origins and its expansion, Awakening.
Microsoft have decided to go with the tide of unofficial Kinect hacks and release the software development kit for Windows 7 in Spring this year. The SDK will be released as a non-commercial starter kit, with a commercial version appearing at a later date.
In the press release, Microsoft hail the community that has sprung up since the launch of the Kinect back in November and they mention academic research as one of the possible uses they support for the technology:
This week sees the first DLC for Fallout: New Vegas released on the 22nd as well as the major releases Bulletstorm and Killzone 3. Also of note for old school gamers is the Dreamcast Collection, available on PC and Xbox 360 from the 22nd.
This week sees Fate of Two Worlds, the latest instalment of the Marvel Vs. Capcom franchise released exclusively for consoles on the 15th. Also of note is this week’s sole PSP release, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. The tactical RPG has been chosen as an Gamespot Editor’s Pick and received a glowing review ahead of its release on the 15th.
Blizzard announced in their last Blizzard Insider newsletter (details here) that 3 fun mods for SC2 are in beta test and available to play on Battlenet.
Left 2 Die – A nod to Valve’s Left 4 Dead, this is a mod of the classic Outbreak mission from the campaign that shifts between night and day.
Aiur Chef – Up to 8 players aim to outcook their opponents by scouting out ingredients across the map then preparing their culinary masterpieces in a kitchen located in the middle of the map.
StarJeweled – SC2 meets Bejeweled Blitz, which can be played in solo vs A.I., Co-op vs. A.I. or PvP modes.
I loaded up StarJeweled to check it out and ended up playing for 15 minutes; basically the classic Bejeweled pane is on the right and the more blocks you eliminate, the more StarCraft 2 units you can make to defend against your opponents.
Full details of the mods can be found on Blizzard’s blog here. To play the minigames, go to the multiplayer games tab in SC2 and they’re in the custom games window, just sort the list by Author to see the ones created by Blizzard.
SC2 was released back in July and tons of minigames and mods were created by fans using the powerful SC2 editor. I compiled a shortlist of mods back in September that can serve as an intro to what’s out there. Check it out here.
This week sees the first DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, both released on Feb 1. Also of note is Earthrise, a new futuristic sci-fi MMO set in the aftermath of the Third World War.
Of interest this week is the release of Dead Space 2, the sci-fi horror sequel hitting PC, Xbox and PS3 on Tuesday. This week also sees the release of World of Tanks, the MMO which features historically accurate fighting vehicles from the ’30s to the ’50s.