Thứ Ba, 19 tháng 7, 2011

Microsoft tailors Windows Azure for social game developers

Microsoft said today it is tailoring its Windows Azure cloud development platform for social game developers, making it much easier for them to develop, launch, and support online games.
The company will release a new Windows Azure tool kit for social game developers by the end of the week. The announcement shows that Microsoft wants to win over the allegiance of the developers that are making cutting edge social games that live or die based on the quality of interaction between users and cloud-based data centers.
Nate Totten, technical evangelist for the Windows Azure team said in an interview that Microsoft is releasing source code that makes it easy for developers to create games with built-in features such as authentication, gamer achievements, leaderboards, in-app purchases, monetization and other common requirements for social games. The platform is based on the HTML5 format for making cross-platform games.
“You just deploy it and it runs and it scales up as you add millions of users,” Totten (pictured right) said.
Microsoft also released a simple game, Tankster, that illustrates how to use the tools to create a two-dimensional game with a small amount of interaction. The platform is aimed at small developers who don’t have time to deal with a lot of the server-based code that has to support online games such as Facebook titles. Rival platforms includes Amazon’s web services platform, which offloads the server side of the business so developers can concentrate on their game code.
“If you just want to concentrate on the game and don’t want to deal with hosting or rebuilding your game for a lot of formats, then this is for you,” said David Appel (pictured left), director marketing for Azure. “We’ve got a platform that is cost-effective for startups.”
Some companies that have developed games using Azure include Three Melons, which made a soccer game last year for the world cup. That game reached as many as 5 million users a month. The benefit of using HTML5 is that it can be used to make cross-platform games, but its disadvantage is slow performance and an inability to easily use platform-specific features such as a camera in smartphone games.
Coincidentally, Dave Roberts, chief executive of PopCap, said that the promises of writing a game once and running it anywhere haven’t been fulfilled, even in the age of HTML5. But that’s not stopping companies from making that sales pitch to developers, and Microsoft is one of those delivering that pitch.

First Trailer for 'Zen Wars' – New Strategy Game with Online Multiplayer

posted July 19th, 2011 9:00 PM EDT by Jared Nelson in iPad Games, iPhone games, iPod touch games, News, Strategy, Upcoming Games
Earlier this year, angrt birth made a nice sized splash on the App Store with Legendary Wars [99¢/Lite/HD], their unique take on castle defense games that featured fantastic art, humor, and gameplay. Now they are teaming up with developer software to publish a new iOS game called Zen Wars.
Zen Wars is an arcade strategy title where you’re tasked with building up a base with both offense and defense in mind. Once finished, you’ll take on incoming attacks during the game’s multi-level campaign. When a battle is finished and you’ve come out on top, you’ll need to quickly repair the damage to your base and add any necessary offensive upgrades before the next attack hits.
It’s this rebuilding aspect in Zen Wars that sounds really interesting to me. Rather than just building up an epic base in preparation for a single battle, you’ll need to think on your toes in order to make the correct preparations for multiple attacks, adding an extra layer of strategy and planning over other similar games. You can see much of this in action, as well as the cool art style, in the following trailer for Zen Wars:
One of the most promising parts of Zen Wars is that beyond its single player campaign, you’ll also be able to engage in up to 3 player online multiplayer over Game Center. This type of gameplay definitely seems well-suited to some online play, and I’ll be interested to see how that turns out in the final version. The developers are hoping to submit Zen Wars in the next couple of days, and are shooting for a release at the end of July or the first week in August. It will be launching for an introductory price of 99¢ with a regular price of $1.99.
We’ll keep our eyes out for Zen Wars and will take a closer look at the game when it hits the App Store in the coming weeks.

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ALT1 Games USA Starting Troy Online Closed Beta

ALT1 Games USA is starting the closed beta test of Troy Online, a free massive multiplayer online roleplaying game(MMORPG) based heavily on the Trojan War mythos. In Troy Online, players pick one of three classes depending on their desired play style and use their character to defeat monsters. As each character grows, he or she will learn the reasons and mysteries surrounding their affiliation (Greece or Troy) and the greater reasons for their existence. As the player gains power, they will learn there is far more to the continent of Autis than what originally meets the eye. The closed beta test will be running from July 15th, 10am PDT to July 19th, 12 AM PT.
  • Troy Online Closed Beta Keys Giveaway Event
    Troy Online
    Troy Online currently supports three classes: the melee damage-doing and meat shield warriors, the long distance hunters, and the glass cannon mages. Players must learn to work together and figure out the strengths and weakness of their class to be successful. Along the way, players will be able to take advantage of features that are still in development. Some additional features include the cash shop where players can purchase additional equipment and abilities for their characters with real money and a socket system for items to improve their weapons. Troy Online is also adding in additional content including three new dungeons for players team up and conquer and five new battlefields for players to battle against one another. The balance of the three classes has also been worked on, as well as more informative and intuitive notifications.
    Troy Online
    ALT1 Games USA is calling all players to sign up for free at their website and download the Troy Online game.  The test will feature game masters keeping a close eye both inside the game, on the game’s official forums, and on social media services.  For a limited time, ALT1 Games will be giving out free currency (2500 ALT1 Coins) to test the technical back-end of the cash shop to two parties: players who registered accounts during the first closed beta or in between the first and second closed beta tests until July 8th 2011, and users who acquire beta keys from a number of websites including MMOsite, MMORPG, and MMOReviews. These two offers cannot be combined. ALT1 Games USA is looking to refine their game balance, latency, and item issues in this test.  For more information, visit the official Troy Online website. 
    Troy Online

  • Live Gamer acquires Brandport and GamerDNA as it moves into games ads

    Live  Gamer, a game e-commerce infrastructure firm, has acquired Brandport and GamerDNA as part of a move into the game advertising business.
    With these acquisitions, Live Gamer will have more ways to help game publishers make money from their online games. Not only will the company enable publishers to take advantage of virtual goods and micro-transaction business models, it will also help them make money from creative advertising inside their games.
    “We want to provide the total revenue solution for our game publishers,” said Andrew Schneider, president of New York-based Live Gamer, in an interview.
    With Brandport (pictured at top), for instance, game publishers can offer virtual goods to gamers who agree to watch video ads. IMVU, a fashion-oriented online world, uses Brandport to let users earn virtual currency. The users can watch up to 10 ads per day in order to earn virtual currency that they can use to pay for goods inside the game.
    The acquisition of GamerDNA  (pictured right) will give Live Gamer publishers accesss to a hardcore game advertising network that reaches 49 million gamers a month.
    Live Gamer now offers a one-stop shop for game publishers in the online web-based world. Schneider said that game publishers have a bunch of challenges to deal with these days. They have to acquire large numbers of users, since not every user pays for virtual goods in the free-to-play business model. They also have to convince a greater percentage of users to cross from free play to paid play. They must also try to increase the average amount collected from each paying user, and they must try to retain users for a longer period of time.
    By adding the new businesses, Schneider said that Live Gamer will be able to help publishers monetize their users. To date, Live Gamer’s customers have more than 95 million users.
    “We now enable content owners to optimize their entire revenue value chain end-to-end while giving advertisers direct access to Live Gamer’s 95 million users across the globe,” he said.
    GamerDNA is the fifth-largest gamer ad network in the U.S. and Europe, according to comScore. Advertisers include Blizzard, Best Buy, KFC, Ubisoft, Sony Online and Namco. Brandport will be re-branded as Live Gamer Ad Elements.
    Schneider said Brandport will let publishers monetize as many as 40 percent of free-to-play users, compared to only 10 percent for typical monetization.
    Live Gamer has seen 96 percent of users view all daily ads offered to them, resulting in $1 in incremental revenue per viewing user per month. That’s a five-fold increase in total revenue. A dollar per month is a lot of money, considering the average revenue per paying user in a month for a social game is typically around $5 to $7.
    GamerDNA was once a gamer social network, but it pivoted into the gamer ad network business more than a year ago. The company still operates web sites such as, Crispy Gamer, and
    Rivals include WildTangent, GamePro, and IGN. The purchase prices for the companies were not disclosed.

    Hunger Games Motion Poster Online

    Though the team behind The Hunger Games has apparently opted not to make a big splash at Comic-Con (there’s always the chance for a surprise or two), the promotion for the film is not slowing down. The latest element to escape into the wild wide web? A fancy motion poster, which you can see over at Yahoo.

    Yes, Lionsgate seem to like their motion posters, given that there’s been at least two for Conan. And with web technology the way it is, you can actually make them look fairly decent.

    The Games poster makes use of the story’s iconic Mockingjay image and that well-used phase as the tagline.

    Just in case it slipped your mind, The Hunger Games is adapted from Suzanne Collins' book trilogy about a devastated future world where kids and teens are forced to fight to the death in a brutal series of gladiatorial games designed to keep the population in order.

    Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, a young woman who agrees to enter the games in the place of her sister and discovers that she’ll need all her wit and cunning to survive. The cast also includes Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and many more.

    Gary Ross is busy directing the movie, which will be out on March 23 next year.

    Game of Thrones Season 2 Cast Grows by a Pair

    July 19, 2011
    Two major roles for Games of Thrones season 2 have been filled just ahead of when the new episodes are scheduled to begin production across the pond. Per Entertainment Weekly, British actor Stephen Dillane is on board to portray Stannis Baratheon, the eldest younger brother of the late King Robert who has his sights set on the Iron Throne. Dillane appeared in HBO's John Adams miniseries as Thomas Jefferson and also had a bit role in Tony Scott's Spy Game.
    The other role cast is for the character of Melisandre, a seductive sorceress who serves as a counsel for Stannis. She will be played by Carice van Houten who you may recognize from Repo Men and Valkyrie with Tom Cruise.
    Melisandre is the role Eva Green probably wish she had a shot at instead of playing a similar character on Starz' ill-fated Camelot.

    Unfortunately season 2 of Games of Thrones is not due to hit the small screen until spring, 2012. It seems so far away.

    10 things PopCap boss hates about casual games

    A week after orchestrating the sale of PopCap Games for up to $1.3 billion, the company's chief executive, Dave Roberts, unloaded on the casual games industry.
    Roberts was an opening speaker at the Casual Connect industry conference that's running today through Thursday at Benaroya Hall.
    Roberts took the opportunity to let loose a string of rants, urging game companies and developers to take the high road.
    His speech was titled "10 things I hate about casual games." They include:
    1. Gamification. He suggested it's a trend enriching conference organizers trying to get corporate money into their pockets by promising to make anyone an "engagement expert." "Really? Is everything a game?"
    2. Portals. "I am sick to death of portals," he said, specifically the commissions they charge game developers. "How can you charge developers 60 or 70 percent? I've been predicting for years that this would end ... and it continues to mystify me." Even with competition from Apple, Facebook and others, the portal rates haven't come down. Roberts said he makes more money selling a copy of "Bejeweled" at Wal-Mart - with physical stores and greeters - than at Yahoo's portal.
    3. Get rich quick. "More than any other business I've ever worked in it seems to attract people who think it's going to be really easy," he said, noting that "Angry Birds" was something like the 52nd game made by Rovio.
    4. Commoditization. "We have to figure out how to stop making shovelware ... it really cheapens the whole industry." Distributors need to be more selective and developers need to focus on quality, he said.
    5. Money over fun. This was a reference to "evil social games" that trick people, lead to people pressuring friends on social networks and let players pay their way to the top of leaderboards. "Really those games make you feel like a beggar," he said. PopCap is also making social games "but we don't start in the dark underbelly" and the company doesn't "want to ruin the environment for everybody."
    6. Simple games are easy to make. "This notion has been bugging me for years ... making simple products is way more difficult than making complicated products," he said. "Simple is more complicated, simple is elegant, simple is harder."

    7. Attack of the clones. Roberts showed a slide for a mock game called "VilleVille," then lambasted developers who look at the top-selling game charts and then copy the leaders. "Really do you think you can out Farmville Zynga? What's the point." This is "a blight on the industry that drives me crazy."
    8. Stupid venture money. A lot of investors Roberts talked to over the years "look at our business as if it's a manufacturing business" and expect it to be able to speed up production of its widgets. Money from these investors can "disrupt the entire ecosystem" putting in money "that makes it harder for people making great games."
    9. Middleware mania. Roberts called out "snake oil" vendors with tools promising to magically and instantly convert a PC game into a mobile and social title by pressing a single button. It never works, he said. "Usually the stupid venture money funds the stupid middleware companies," he added.
    10. Independent game companies. This was a self reference - PopCap was a standout independent, until last week's sale to EA.
    Roberts also added one thing that he likes about casual games:
    "We sell fun for a living. How awesome is that?"
    He didn't say anything about the awesomeness of the $25 million-plus bonus that he received last week.
    During a question session, Roberts touched on "frothy IPO" prices and said he doesn't envy chief executives running companies such as LinkedIn with high valuations based on expectations of their markets three to five years in the future.
    Zynga's going to have to "grow into" the valuation set by its offering, he said.
    "I don't think you can read into the frothy IPO market as a gauge of how the market will look three or four or five years from now," he said.
    Roberts said he's restricted in what he can say about the sale to Electronic Arts until the deal closes, but mentioned briefly at the end that "we did prety well with the deal with EA and we're excited about it."
    Even though he put up a slide showing EA as the Death Star

    Deepak Chopra is making a video game about your chakra

    Deepak Chopra wants to accelerate biological evolution through video games.
    Many different kinds of stars have had video games made about them. Sports stars like Tiger Woods, exercise gurus like Jillian Michaels, and even the Black Eyed Peas have all had video games created around who they are and what they do.
    And now Deepak Chopra — controversial spiritualist, alternative-medicine guru and self-help author — is getting in on the video game action too.
    And no, he isn't making a first-person shooter.
    Chopra has joined forces (both metaphysical and real) with THQ to create the game "Leela" — which means "play" in Sanskrit and is due to launch Nov. 8 on the Xbox 360 and Wii. The game will use the Xbox 360 Kinect motion sensor or, in its Wii version, will have players hold a Wii Remote controller as it guides players through meditation exercises.

    According to the Associated Press, which got an advance look at "Leela," it is "less of a game and more of an experience."
    Seven different interactive exercises based on the seven "chakras," the points along the body that Chopra says serve as energy centers, task players with moving their bodies to control graphics onscreen set to a soothing soundtrack. The mini-games increase in difficulty, but "Leela" places no importance on a final score or even finishing the exercises.
    Peter Armstrong, director of product development at THQ, said the company created more than 500 different prototypes in an attempt to properly encompass Chopra's teachings into video game format.
    THQ/Associated Press
    "Leela" is more of an experience than a game. An experience that has your seven chakras in its sights.
    So why would Chopra — author of books such as "Synchrodestiny: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles," " The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams" and "The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore" — want to make a video game?
    "I personally believe that you can accelerate neural development and biological evolution through video games," Chopra told the Associated Press. "Unfortunately, that's not what we're doing right now. What we're doing is creating addictions to violence, adrenaline and mindlessness, rather than mindfulness. That was my personal motivation to get involved in this medium."
    Soooo, he's making his own video game because all of today's video games are violence-soaked, mindless wastes of time? Hmmm. I'm guessing he hasn't played "Flower," "flOw," "PixelJunk Eden," or any of the many many other games that eschew violence over ... oh never mind. Why do I even bother sometimes?
    If I want to meditate, I'll fire up "Bejeweled 3's" Zen mode. And if I want to accelerate my neural development, I'll dust off "Brain Age," "Professor Layton" or maybe some "Portal 2." If you don't mind, please leave my chakras out of it. Nuff said.
    The Associated Press contributed to this story.
    view all in : free Angry Birds game

    Chủ Nhật, 17 tháng 7, 2011

    Season Four of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Begins Online in Clone Wars Adventures

    While season four of the popular Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars officially kicks off this fall, players of Sony Online Entertainment's free-to-play online game Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures will be able to play through an epic storyline leading directly to the first episode's opening act.
    In an unprecedented collaboration between television project and online game, Sony Online Entertainment, the Cartoon Network, and Lucas Arts have worked together to create Campaign for Iceberg 3, an epic story told within the confines of the online game that bridges the gap between the previous season of The Clone Wars and the next.
    Dave Filoni, supervising producer of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures senior producer Todd Carlson spoke to Kotaku about the landmark cooperation and what fans can expect to see in Campaign for Iceberg 3.
    The campaign marks the first storyline for Clone Wars Adventures, a family-friendly free-to-play online multiplayer game. Based mainly around a series of Star Wars themed mini-games, crafting a cohesive tale within such loose confines was quite the task, but when you're approached by some of the biggest names in the Force, you make do.
    "It's really exciting for us to have been approached by Dave Filoni and George Lucas," said SOE's Carlson. "They're icons of ours"
    As one would imagine the Clone Wars Adventures team are big Star Wars fans, which works out nicely as Dave Filoni is a big fan of the game. "Working in the Star Wars universe I'm always interested in what the other guys are doing," Filoni said. The online game has proven an inspiration to him. He recalls seeing clones running around online with little hats on. "I took that idea and put them in the show as officers."
    So a mutual admiration existed on both sides of the Clone Wars, and the desire to work together strong, but how do you mix a narrative rich television series with a mini-game powered virtual world? Filoni says it was all a matter of "finding a story to base it on that made sense and what the capabilities of the game are.
    Filoni worked closely with Clone Wars Adventures designer Jason Good, and what they came up with was Campaign for Iceberg 3.
    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
    At the beginning of Campaign for Iceberg 3 the player finds themselves en route to the Calamari system, home of the famous Admiral Ackbar. Separatist forces have arrived on the scene, and the King of all Calamari is rightly concerned.
    Upon arriving in the system players are ambushed by the Separatist fleet in an encounter that plays out using Clone Wars Adventures' Fleet Battle mini-game. Players then take a ship to the surface of the planet Iceberg 3, a journey that takes place within the Starfighters mini-game. On the planet you meet up with Commander Wolf and must defend a city from Separatist invasion by participating in a round of Republic Defender. You'll even battle General Grievous in the Lightsaber Duel mini-game. It's an inventive way to inject story into a game that isn't quite structured to support it.
    Eventually the storyline will lead players up to the very beginning of The Clone Wars season four, where things will happen that I can't talk about. I can say that along the way players will run into one Captain Ackbar, a Mon Calamari due for a promotion somewhere down the line. This of course led me to ask the question, "So is it a trap?" "In some ways it is," laughed Carlson. "As the storyline goes you're getting in a ship and heading out to the system, but you don't really know what's going on."
    You will know exactly what's going on in season four of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as long as you make it through Campaign for Iceberg 3, launching today in Clone Wars Adventures.

    Online games, social networks drive virtual goods


    Asia and Europe leading way in growing virtual goods market due to more users subscribing to social networking sites and accessing online games via mobile devices, industry insiders note.

    The virtual goods market continues on an upward growth curve as more revenue is generated from new subscribers on social networking sites and online games that can be accessed on the go from mobile devices, industry insiders said.
    Leslie Lin, marketing communications manager at Asiasoft Online, for one, said the virtual goods revenue globally is growing, powered by the increasing popularity of online games and social networking. Citing figures from research firm In-Stat, he said the virtual goods revenue from online games and social networking exceeded US$7 billion in 2010 and will more than double by 2014.
    Asia accounted for about 70 percent of the 2010 revenue, or about US$4.9 billion, he added in his e-mail.
    Explaining this growth, Lin said the emergence of social and casual games on social networking sites and more advanced mobile phones that can access these games have helped create "a new virtual goods market with rapid growth".
    "Users buy virtual goods in different types of online games such as massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), first-person shooters (FPSs) and casual games for three main reasons: status, socializing and winning," he said. "And because virtual goods are a core part of the overall product and social experience, [the] demand will remain high."
    Another industry watcher, PopCap's Bart Barden, agreed with Lin, pointing to social games on Facebook or other social networks and mobile platforms as the "biggest channels" for virtual goods consumption over the next 24 months. The director of online business for the social games publisher also noted that Europe and Asia-Pacific are "higher growth candidates", driven primarily by the increasing user base on Facebook and other social networks in these regions.
    While PopCap has not conducted specific studies on the virtual goods market as a whole, Barden told ZDNet Asia in his e-mail that several of his sources have quoted the industry size to be somewhere between US$2.2 billion and US$2.5 billion in 2011, an increase of almost 40 percent from 2010.
    Asia's ardor for online games
    Zooming in on Asia, Allison Luong, managing director of Pearl Research, said China and South Korea are the biggest markets for virtual goods in Asia.
    In an e-mail, the executive pointed out that less than 5 to 10 percent of gamers in these two countries pay for virtual goods. However, these paying gamers tend to be high-spenders and their devotion to the games mean they will help support the other 90 percent of gamers that play for free, she added.
    "The market is driven by players who often want to decorate their avatars, gain an advantage in the game or unlock certain levels," Luong noted.
    She also identified the ease of using and accessing the payment systems associated with purchasing virtual goods as a key determinant for success in selling virtual goods.
    For instance, Korean gamers have latched on to mobile payments as their preferred mode while Chinese players tend to use physical or virtual prepaid game cards to buy their virtual goods, she said.
    Subscription-based MMOs encourage illegal activities
    With regard to people hired or forced to build up online game credits to trade for real money, Lin of Asiasoft Online said such illegal activities are usually "more prevalent" in subscription-based massive multiplayer online games (MMO) because most game operators do not allow trading of most forms of virtual products and services with real currency. This, he noted, creates a large demand waiting to be fulfilled by other third-party game service vendors.
    Free-to-play MMOs, on the other hand, leverage their in-game marketplace to provide players with the option to buy their virtual currency or gear at rates pegged to real currency, he explained.
    "This free-to-play model addresses the problems of gold-selling spam during the game, potential overseas human decency issues and efforts in curbing third-party gaming services," Lin said.
    The executive was responding to a May report by U.K. broadsheet Guardian which revealed how Chinese prisoners were forced to play online games to build up credits by prison guards, who would then trade these credits for real money. This practice is known as "gold farming", according to the report.
    Guardian quoted a former inmate, Liu Dali, who lamented that when he was serving his sentence, he would spend his day breaking rocks and digging trenches in China's coal mines. When it came to night, he was given no respite as he, and "scores" of other inmates, would be ordered to play online games.
    "Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labor," he said in the report. "There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp."
    Liu added: "I heard them say they could earn 5,000 yuan (US$773) to 6,000 yuan (US$973) a day. We didn't see any of the money. The computers were never turned off."
    The value Chinese gamers place on their virtual goods is not going unnoticed by other industries, too. Last week, Chinese insurance firm Sunshine Insurance Group, in collaboration with online games operator Gamebar, launched a "virtual property" insurance aimed specifically at the Chinese online gaming community.
    The new service was introduced against a backdrop of an increasing number of disputes between online games operators and their customers, which are often related to the loss or theft of gamers' virtual property such as "land" or "currency", according to the insurance firm.

    Relic Ready and Willing to Help Out With Dark Millennium Online

    With a bevy of Warhammer 40,000 games currently in development, it may come as no surprise that the teams behind them occasionally get together to help each other out - and that's exactly what Relic and Vigil have been doing when it comes to Dark Millennium Online, according to Relic's Marketing Manager James McDermott. "They (Vigil) are definitely interacting with us a lot," he says, "because we have a pedigree and an understanding of the IP, which they’re trying to develop."

    It seems like the two studios are, in fact, quite chummy. "In terms of some of the core mechanics, they were looking at our combat system quite carefully at one point to see if they could try and make it – not the same – but just have some level of consistency. That’s definitely been a consideration."

    “We just, on the whole, try to work as collaboratively as possible, and with Space Marine wrapping up, we may become more involved in just helping them on a day to day basis with some things as we move forward. We kind of do that on all of the products." Relic's stewardship of the 40K franchise has been generally well-accepted by fans of the tabletop game, so this may come as good news to many currently wary of the a 40K MMO - myself included.

    Game Review: Brink

    Cover for Brink. Photo / Supplied

    Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
    Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
    Stars: 3/5

    With what seems like every other game being a first-person shooter, Brink tries its best to step out of the crowd with a fresh visual style and an emphasis on teamwork, yet still packs a body count that would make an 80s action star blush.

    If you're a shooting fan who loves the tactics and competition you can only get online, then this game is simply awesome.

    With four different classes available (soldier, medic, engineer and operative) with their respective skills being key to completing missions, this is a thinking person's shooter.

    But - and it's a pretty big "but" - if you're not the type of person who thinks of games in flanking patterns and sweeping strategic moves, you're more likely to find Brink to be a cavalcade of noise, destruction and repeated deaths that will have you hurling your controller in frustration as you repeatedly get taken down.

    Online, single and multiplayer have been seamlessly combined so all your achievements and characters are easy to access regardless of the format you choose.

    Graphically, the characters have a unique visual style, and stylish free-running moves make for some very cool fire fights.

    Although a bit hardcore for the casual gamer to really sink their teeth into, seasoned shooting fans will find Brink like filet mignon.

    Ubisoft buys free online game startup Owlient

    SAN FRANCISCO — Videogame publishing titan Ubisoft announced Tuesday that it is buying a French developer specializing in games played free on the Internet.
    The purchase of Owlient comes as part of a strategy by Ubisoft to follow players onto the Internet, social networks, smartphones, tablet computers and other venues while still serving up blockbuster titles for consoles.
    "We are thrilled to welcome the talented team at Owlient to Ubisoft," said Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot.
    "Over the last five years they have developed an architecture dedicated to delivering and monetizing games as a service, as well as the skills of attracting and retaining online communities," he added.
    The acquisition follows the recent launch of a free-to-play online version of Ubisoft's "Tom Clancy" military action videogames.
    The list of Ubisoft games available for free play on the Internet includes "CSI Crime City" and "Heroes Kingdoms" as well as "Settlers Online," which has reportedly become a hit in Germany.
    Owlient was created five years ago by Olivier Issaly and Vincent Guth, who met at an IT high school in Paris, according to the startup's website.
    Owlient boasts nearly two million monthly users in an array of languages and countries.
    "Joining the Ubisoft team will allow us to accelerate our international business and to expand our expertise and our games to new platforms," said Issaly, Owlient's chief executive.
    "We are proud of what our team has accomplished and confident that joining Ubisoft will allow us to continue that success."
    Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed and the acquisition was expected to close by the middle of next year.

    Commonwealth Games 2014 gratuities published online

    Following chief executive John Scott having to resign from the organising committee for the 2014 Commonwealth Games for accepting ‘a gift’ from a potential supplier, a register of gratuities offered to the organisers has been published online.
    The list shows all declared gifts offered to the organising committee for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – although the gift that Scott took is not listed, because it was not declared.  Event organisers say the principle of having the register would be undermined if the offer was included retrospectively.
    Details of 73 approaches made since 2009 by newspapers, hotel chains, professional services firms, sports bodies, IT companies, banks and charities are listed in the register. Most of the offers were for hospitality such as invitations to dinner, events or sports matches, and about half of the offers were accepted.
    The Glasgow 2014 gifts and gratuities policy says an offer must be declined if it is inappropriately lavish or disproportionate, or intended to influence procurement or sponsorship decisions.
    According to the Press Association, the Scottish Rugby Union treated Glasgow 2014 executives and guests to hospitality at four rugby matches, three of which were attended by Mr Scott.  Three approaches by News International Newspapers to a spa day at Stobo Castle and, via The Scottish Sun newspaper, to attend a Miss Scotland tiara ball and a "saints and sinners" evening at Ayr Racecourse were all declined.
    Multiple offers were also made by IT firms Atos Origin and Dog Digital, Event Scotland, Sports Marketing and Management, Hilton Hotels, Glasgow Life, the Daily Record newspaper and G4S Security, according to the register.

    Mafia 2 - Xbox 360

    Written by Jedclark

    Mafia 2 is a game based on the mafia, obviously. You play as Vito Scaletta, a boy brought to America in search of a better life, but only finding poverty. It borrows a lot of elements from Scarface (Joe calls someone a "****ing cockroach"), The Godfather, The Goodfellas (the bit where they are in jail and they spend time in a decent cell) and The Shawshank Redemption (he almost gets raped), and those are just what I noticed, so there could be a lot more. This does spoil it a bit, as you realise it isn't that original, but it is still a very good game.

    The gameplay is like that of any classic sandbox game. You can drive cars and use weapons. You drive through the "mean streets" of Empire Bay, the games location. It isn't a very inspiring place, but it'll do. The police are simply awful, but chase you for anything. It is awfully realistic in that sense. (But then you can rob a shop, and not have 1 star on you.) You nudge a car, they're after you. You go too fast, they are after you. The game is let down on its shooting, which is just awful. A lot of the guns crosshairs are just too big. Also, you'll only ever need the pistol as it mostly one shot kills everyone once you have the magnum, so the other guns are made to feel useless and you just won't need/use them. You can rob shops by holding a gun to the person at the till. You can also crush cars for money.

    The game is a great take on the mafia, one notable thing it does this is the characters. There are great characters, from Vito himself to Joe, and then Leo Galante. They are accompanied by very funny dialogue. Some parts of the speech will have you in stitches. There is also a good feel to some sentences, such as the last line of the game.

    The story of the game is excellent, and it is one of the best games I've played story wise. You go through Vito Scaletta's life as he quickly gets into more and more **** (quite literally at one point). I really enjoyed the story, it kept you wanting to play more and more, until the excellent ending. The game has been criticised, I can't see why. It was excellent in almost every way.

    The graphics are very good. The cars are well animated, and actually feel like they come from the time – the 40s and 50s. Also, a great thing graphically is the change in clothes as the time goes on. They change from beach shirts to more... normal clothing. Vito slept in the same vest and pants for about 7 years, though. A bad point is the crappy framerate at certain sections.

    The controls are good. They are memorable and simple. The game has a few bugs, and shoddy civilians. (I was fighting a guy, and his twin brother walked past.) It's lasting appeal, however, isn't very large. It has a decent 10-15 hour storyline, and quite decent sized DLC but after that, nothing is luring you back. There are Wanted Posters and Playboy Magazines to collect, but that is just tedious and not really fun.

    The soundtrack is amazing. Filled with classic songs from the 40s and 50s, it makes any car trip on the journey awesome. You'll find yourself sitting around doing nothing, just listening to the radio. It is that good. It also brings a great atmosphere to the game.

    The voice acting is laughable. Well, the voices themselves are good. They are classic... Mafia-style voices. Especially Joe's. And the old bosses have great voices, too – but voices are majorly out of sync with the lips that it just ruins it.

    In my opinion, Mafia 2 is an excellent game with even more excellent characters and dialogue, let down only by its annoying shooting. It is a game you'll really enjoy if you're a fan of GTA.

    +Very good story

    -A few bugs

    Thứ Năm, 14 tháng 7, 2011

    NCAA Football 12 Tackling 101

    NCAA Football 12EA SportsDefenders no longer warp in for the tackle in "NCAA 12." Now you need to be in proper position.
    Learning the proper technique to tackle is practiced day in and day out at every level of football over the summer. That's because the best coaches know that good tackling can turn an average defense into a great one. In "NCAA Football 12," gamers have many options when bringing down the ball carrier, here are the best ways to lock up your opponent.
    Tackle Button: With the new collision system in NCAA Football 12, the tackle does not start until the two players collide. You know have a tackle button that lets your defender lunge at the ball carrier and drag him down. This is the most consistently used tackle but it does take some time to get used to. Gamers used to simply run into the ball carrier to bring him down, but using the new tackle button allows you further range to tackle and wraps up more consistently.
    Hit Stick: By using the right stick, gamers have the ability to lay the hit that might land them on Sportscenter. However, a mistimed hit stick may land you on the wrong side of the highlight.
    The hit stick is something that should only be used with safeties and linebackers. Cornerbacks simply don't have the hit power worth going for the knockout blow while defensive ends are usually are not running downhill enough to get momentum to drive through the ball.
    And whatever you do, avoid the common mistake of going for the hit stick on every play, while at the same time making sure you have backup in case you do whiff on the hit. If you need a turnover late in the game, get ready to unleash it as a well-timed move can jar the ball loose.
    Strip Button: The strip button is the least common way to tackle in "NCAA Football 12," but can be a valuable tool to use in the right situation.
    If a ball carrier is heading into traffic, press the strip button to try and rip the ball loose. But watch out. Since the running back will break tackles easier when you go for the strip, only use this move if you have backup on the play.
    CPU Tackle: The computer is a sure tackler, so one way to bring your opponent down is to let them do the dirty work. If you run your player in the area of the ball carrier but are afraid of a big cut, simply click off the defender and allow the computer to wrap him up. This is a great move when you are one-on-one in the open field. Simply get your player in position and switch to another defender as you watch the computer make the play. Make sure to run your new player towards the play as well, though, just in case the CPU needs help.
    Defensive Assist: By holding down the defensive assist button, your player will properly play his assignment like the computer. This is a great way to play man coverage or to follow a shifty running back that catches the ball in space. By holding the button, you can get yourself into good position and then simply make the tackle on your own.
    Need more tips? Then make sure to pick up "NCAA Football 12: The Official Player's Guide," now available online and in stores everywhere.
    About the Authors -- Zfarls and SGibs are professional gamers and regular attendees at EA Sports events like Madden Community Day and NCAA Community Day. They wrote the official players guide and have already been breaking down "NCAA Football 12" for months.

    Games very X-Men

    What better way to enjoy the upcoming Spider-man and X-Men video games by Activision than to be able to dress your characters up in cheesy, not-so-great-looking costumes, right?
    Those interested in pre-ordering either Spider-man: Edge of Time or X-Men Destiny from retailer Gamestop will be able to play dress up with their in-game characters. The gallery below shows just how…interesting the costumes will be.
    Spider-Man: Edge of Time: Pre-order today and get a code to unlock the exclusive Identity Crisis Suits!
    In the Identity Crisis storyline, Peter Parker gave up being Spider-Man to try and become a new kind of Hero, adopting four alternate heroic identities . Players will be able to equip the four distinct suits from this storyline – Dusk, Prodigy, Ricochet and Hornet – that will grant increases to health, damage, health regeneration, or shield regeneration, depending on which suit is selected.
    X-Men Destiny:Pre-order today and get a code to unlock exclusive Havok X-Gene Powers and Costumes!
    Harness the power of Havok! Players will receive a unique, Havok-inspired suit for each playable character and be able to equip the exclusive Havok X-gene, granting plasma-based power enhancement to their attacks, the ability to stun enemies through energy absorption and increase their damage output over time.
    Will these outfits be worthy of playing either games? Who knows. One thing is for sure, Activision seems to be taking a little inspiration with the X-Men costumes from Tron, don’t you think?

    Review: No Shortage of Addictive New iPad Games

    Everyone is looking for the next "Angry Birds."


    Since the avian menaces invaded Apple's iPhone in December 2009, the game and its spinoffs have been downloaded more than 250 million times. Since the iPad debuted last April, "Angry Birds HD" has been at or near the top of its Top Paid Apps chart. The characters have moved on to T-shirts, plush toys and board games, and there's even been talk of a movie or TV show.
    There's no way to duplicate such success, although there are enough critter-flinging rip-offs in the App Store to populate a good-sized zoo. But if any company has a shot, it would be Chillingo, the U.K.-based publisher that picked up "Angry Birds" from Finnish developer Rovio Mobile.
    — "Feed Me Oil" ($1.99 for iPad, 99 cents for iPhone) is Chillingo's latest brain-bender. Like "Angry Birds," it's a "physics puzzler" — to solve each level, you have to work around the somewhat unrealistic physics of the game's universe. In this case, you have a monster that is thirsty for the oil spewing from an inconveniently placed spout. You're given a limited assortment of simple tools, like rotating platforms, fans and magnets, to direct the oil flow into the monster's mouth.
    Your score depends on how many tools you have to use, and since there's never just one correct solution, you'll be tempted to retry levels to find more elegant solutions. Easy to grasp yet increasingly devious, "Feed Me Oil" is slick stuff. Three stars out of four.
    — "Tiny Tower" (NimbleBit, free for iPad and iPhone) is closer in spirit to another phenomenon, the Facebook-based time-killer "FarmVille." Instead of growing crops and breeding livestock, though, you're building an urban skyscraper. As the clock ticks, you earn coins to invest in your tower, adding residential and business floors; you need some of each, since the "bitizens" who work in your stores need apartments to live in.
    You can also earn "Towerbux" by completing simple tasks, like finding a particular bitizen, and you can use Towerbux to speed up construction or inventory restocking. If you want to rush things along, you can spend actual cash to buy Towerbux, but you can erect a perfectly good building without spending real money. Ultimately, "Tiny Tower" is pointless — the only goal is to keep going higher — but it is endearing and addictive. Two-and-a-half stars.
    — "Puzzle Agent 2" ($6.99 for iPad, $4.99 for iPhone) is the latest from Telltale Games, which has built its reputation on the kind of point-and-click adventures that have seen a major revival on the iPad. In this sequel, FBI agent Nelson Tethers returns to Scoggins, Minn., home to an eraser factory, a tribe of forest gnomes and the most eccentric locals east of Twin Peaks. Several of those locals have disappeared, and Nelson has to follow a trail of puzzles to find them.
    The brainteasers in "Puzzle Agent 2" are solid, with a good mix of visual, mathematical and logical challenges. The scratchy line art by Graham Annable fits the quirky nature of the story, and Telltale finally delivers answers to some of the questions left hanging in the original. It's a fascinating four-hour journey that left me craving the next installment. Three stars.

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