Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A new way of looking at piracy

Last week, game dev and blogger Lars Doucet sounded off on his blog on the hot-button and ever-developing issue of piracy.

It wasn't another thinly-veiled rant a la TorrentFreak, mind you, but a open examination of the way content piracy is currently viewed.

Doucet's "four currencies" theory, which plans to differentiate the "cost" of pirated material from actual monetary cost caused quite a hullabaloo. As such, he's decided to expand a bit upon his little theory and turn it into a series of posts.

Read on and let us know if you agree with this new "model" of piracy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

[OMG] Is the Baldur's Gate series getting an HD reboot?

Strange rumblings out of the PCRPG realms today...

Kotaku reported that after 11 years of inactivity, the official Baldur's Gate series site has creaked and moaned back to life. It now sports a cryptic message:
"The Lord of Murder shall perish, but in his doom he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny, chaos will be sown by their passage.
So sayeth the wise Alaundo" 
Trent Oster, former BioWare developer and founder of Beamdog has accepted responsibility for this shameless fanboy-pandering. The line is an obvious reference to the BGII expansion pack, "Throne of Bhaal." What's even more curious is the hidden message inside the source code of the BG site. 

Hit the jump to read what it says and engage the Speculatron-9000.

Uematsu's music takes Benedum Center to Distant Worlds

The Distant Worlds Philharmonic tune their strings and set their keys in preparation of Saturday's Distant Worlds concert at Pittsburgh's Benedum Center.
On Saturday evening, Pittsburgh got a rare taste of choice pieces from Nobuo Uematsu's beloved Final Fantasy compositions - The Benedum Center along Liberty Avenue played host to Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. 

The Distant Worlds Philharmonic Orchestra brought in dozens of local musicians and Grammy award-winning conductor Arnie Roth, who's traveled with the show since its inception in 2007, lovingly led the packed hall through a gamut of the most memorable FF tracks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[RUMOR] iPad3 resolution higher than 1080p

 More leaked photos of rumored iPad 3 guts are making their rounds on the intarwebs. Among the speculation and rumor mongering going on right now, there's enticing details about Apple's new tablet - chief among them is a native resolution that makes 1080p look like a LeapFrog.

To put it in perspective - that's a crisper display than the TV you use to watch Dancing with the Stars.

[HOW-TO] Stop Google from tracking you

As per Google's new privacy policy, beginning March 1, all Google product users will be subject to some semi-alarming changes in the search habits data Google can collect on you and distribute to its other services.

This new umbrella policy means Google can treat you as one user across all its services, where collected data was previously withheld.

"This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more," says the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a web rights watchdog group that has a simple, four-step process that removes your search history and keeps Google from tracking it ever again.

After March 1, Google will have unhindered access to all that info so click here to see how you can protect yourself.

SOURCE: Boing Boing via Electronic Frontier Foundation

[SALE] Dungeons & Dragons titles Buy 1 Get 1 at Good Old Games

Roll for savings! is running a BOGO sale on PC D&D classics. Until February 27, when you buy one of a handful of some of the best CRPGs ever made, you'll get another role-playing gem for free!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anonymous goes after Canadian MP Vic Toews

The hacker collective known as Anonymous has set its sights on Canadian MP and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews over a piece of proposed legislation that will require Canadian ISPs to report users' online activity to authorities, sans warrant.

They released a "communiqué" with all the Anon trappings (text-to-voice speech and a nerd movie score - this one's from The Dark Knight) to threaten Toews with "Operation White North," a large dump of incriminating documents that could spoil Toews' moral platform.

Anonymous' video and details inside...

Did Sony patent a Kinect-style controller?

The picture above is a diagram from a patent filed in October by Sony's Richard Marks (you may remember him as the "genius" behind the PlayStation Eye.)

It was published by the U.S. Patent Office on February 16 as a "User-Driven Three-Dimensional Interactive Gaming Environment" - the word "environment" being the interesting one.

Sony's caught hell before for developing controllers that feature pre-patented tech and this sounds dangerously close to Microsoft's Kinect.

But is it?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Microsoft: Google tricks IE into tracking users through cookies

Talk about companies with their hands in the cookie(s) jar...

Microsoft is accusing Google of circumventing default privacy settings in certain browsers. Last week, Ars Technica reported that only Safari was affected by this. Now, Microsoft's realized the same exploit script Google is using on Apple's browser also works in Internet Explorer.

Google has since fired back, claiming that Microsoft's privacy policies are "outdated."

Read on... this is an interesting one...

Humble Bundle Mojam puts up almost $500k for charity

On Sunday, the "Humble Bundle Mojam" wrapped up. The Mojam was a fast-paced, 60-hour indie game development marathon headed up by Minecraft's Mojang.

Wolfire Games and Oxeye Game Studio also participated in the Mojam (which, judging by the video, was more of a big kid sleepover than anything.)

Three new indie titles were made in that two-and-a-half day timeframe and over 81,000 purchases were made under the Humble Bundle's "pay what you want" model.

When all the numbers were tallied, the event raised $458,243.95 for four charities: Penny Arcade's Child's Play, Electronic Frontier Foundation, charity: water and the American Red Cross.

Read more to see in-game footage of the indie devs' labors...

[WATCH] New Mass Effect 3 trailer brings the fight home

Don't watch AMC's Walking Dead?

That's OK. Neither do I.   :-/

But we probably should. Last night, a brand-new trailer for the final installment in Bioware's Mass Effect trilogy made the surrounding commercials that much crappier.

Read more to watch the Reapers (in true Covenant fashion) give our blue planet a loud, glassy "hello."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

iPhone users: Who has your contacts' info?

The wholesale auction of our personal information on the Internet is nothing new. 

Ever used one of those charming little Facebook apps to chart birthdays, answer inane questions about your friends or seed digital corn rows? The first time you use it, you're greeted with a confirmation page that says the app developer gets to summarily de-pants your profile. 

Click 'Allow' and that information is just... out there. Who knows where it eventually ends up or how it's stored?

Last week, the developer of social networking app Path was caught with its hand in the contacts jar. Literally, they were taking the contact books of users and storing them, unencrypted, without user consent or even a pleasant little note: "Hey u, just takn all ur stuffz lol!!!1"

How many more app developers would engage in such an insidious practice? The answer might be surprising/stomach-churning...

Europe starts to tip against ACTA

Source: Nexus404
Just recently, digital demonstrators in the States hammered out a definitive victory against the Stop Online Piracy Act. Far-flung pockets of the Internet were gimped or blacked out entirely in protest of the censorship implications of SOPA.

This caused dozens of lawmakers - mostly bandwagon-jumpers to be sure - to think twice before supporting a bill that might make potential voters mad.

This won't stop those same lawmakers from pushing similar legislation on other countries - where anti-piracy proponents claim thieves are stealing the content of "hard-working" Americans on a daily basis.

Read on to see how the SOPA victory may not have meant a damn thing against the might of a pincer attack from foreign governments.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Double Fine's Kickstarter is well on its way to $2M

There's a great Tim Schafer interview over at Giant Bomb. He talks to Patrick Klepek about the now infamous "Double Fine Adventure" Kickstarter page.

Schafer made some happy waves not more than a week ago when a Kickstarter page went up when Tim was at the annual DICE summit at the Red Rock Resort and Casino in Vegas.

Kickstarter, for the un-Internet, is a website where folks can pledge to donate towards a special project - ideas that normally wouldn't see the light of day due to underfunding.

The pitch promised a new Double Fine adventure title, in the vein of the Monkey Island series which endeared Schafer and an era of point-and-click magic to the gaming community. Double Fine hit their goal in a short eight hours.

But the money kept rolling in.

In fact, on launch day, the activity on Double Fine's page crashed Kickstarter's servers. A good sign, methinks.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

LG Miracle materializes with Mango
Here are some newer leaked photos of LG's next incarnation of the Fantasy Windows Phone, and you shall now call it the Miracle. It uses Microsoft's new 7.5 Mango update. Neat.

Concrete details have been scant thus far, but I can now confirm what appears to be a wood grain palm rest. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Johnstown's 1st science-fiction convention to take War Memorial by storm(troopers)

For a city whose early summer is drowned in a cacophony of engine revving and Ted Nugent, Johnstown might be the last place anyone would expect to find a Stormtrooper.

But in May, the Cambria County War Memorial Arena will play host to undead, wizards, superheroes and space marines at “Sci-Fi in the Valley Con,” the area’s first-ever science-fiction convention.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Electronic Arts CFO Eric Brown moves to Polycom

Another story about someone leaving EA.

This time, it's not a customer - it's upper management. Maybe ex-EA CFO Eric Brown is also having problems with his Origin account?

Skyrim patch 1.4 makes its way to XBL, (maybe) PSN

This is quickly turning into a Skyrim blog. Not my intention, really...

But with the release of the Creation Kit on Tuesday and now the 1.4 patch going live on XBL and how its release on PSN "looks good" for release today, there's a whole lot going on in Tamriel.

Quests fixes, mannequin fixes, rendering fixes and much, much more - except for backwards-flying dragons.

Sad to see that go... :[
Read on to see a full list of tweaks and bugfixes in patch 1.4.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WHOA: Notch funding Schafer's Psychonauts sequel?

Double Fine's Tim Schafer has always wanted a sequel to 2005's sleeper hit Psychonauts.
He told Digital Spy that he's pitched the title around "several times..." 

But cold, unfeeling game publishing companies don't care about quirky, original worlds or characters. Their world is profit margins and cash cow franchise opportunity. 

Psychonauts, while met with critical success, flew under the collective radar. Despite the cult following, sales were abysmal, leaving little to no chance for a sequel. Schafer has mentioned he would still need a couple million to make Psychonauts 2 a reality.

Enter Notch. Yes, THAT Notch

Skyrim Creation Kit drops with Steam sale on Elder Scrolls series

FUS ROOOO YYEAAAHH - Yeah, that's "Macho Man" Randy Savage, in one of the more ridiculous Skyrim mods to-date

The Skyrim Creation Kit came today, as promised, and I was waayyy off...

The special "surprise" Bethesda Marketing VP Pete Hines tweeted about was a set of high-res textures that will replace the console-friendly world graphics that the game shipped with.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Skyrim Creation Kit coming Tuesday, with special "surprise"

After numerous delays and much tarrying from Bethesda staff, it looks like, according to a tweet from Marketing VP Pete Hines (@DCDeacon), the Skyrim Creation Kit will drop on Steam on TuesdayAlong with it, a "surprise"... Details inside.