FNG Logo created by Nick Serr

29 November 2009

Turkey Bowl 2009 Results

Final Standings

  1. ThatOneGuy (Jeff Litster) - 300 pts
  2. DirtyDan (Dan Wetzel) - 221 pts
  3. d6Amefath3r (Brennan Litster) - 193 pts
  4. angus4ever (Roger Douglass) - 149 pts
  5. SpeedMonger (Chance Allen) - 145 pts
  6. bomajoe (Joe Hargadon) - 144 pts
  7. thundr (Jarin Blackham) - 117 pts
  8. beuchety (Tyler Beuchert) - 80 pts
  9. BigBadMrT (Mark Thompson) - 55 pts
  10. Mando (Mandi Litster) - 41 pts
  11. atholon (Walt Weidner) - 39 pts


Recap

Without a doubt, this year's Turkey Bowl was our biggest and most successful Turkey Bowl ever. I really hope it will set a precedence for future Turkey Bowls.

This year, sadly, we had to shelf Motocross Madness 2 (MCM2) due to incompatibilities with Vista and Windows 7 for many FNGers. Fortunately we had TrackMania United Forever as an excellent alternate. We raced 15 of the highest ranked tracks on TM Exchange (TMX); 2 from each environment (except Island which had 3.)

Bomajoe said the tracks were "challenging, yet doable"; and FNGers found it necessary to practice the track pack before the tournament in order to do well.

We had 11 gamers in the tournament, and the only glitch we ran into was when Atholon's internet connection failed just before the tournament began. I ended up hosting the server on my measly 6Mbit/700k internet connection, hosting 4 of the players in my own home and the rest online. No one lagged and everyone stayed connected (well, with the exception of Chance who kept tweaking his control settings, heh.)

We welcomed many newer FNGers this time around... angus4ever, bomajoe, and SpeedMonger; who proved forces to be reckoned with, taking 4th, 5th and 6th places. My daughter, Mando, also made her first official FNG appearance. We hope to see more of them in the future!

The competition was exciting; especially with 4th, 5th and 6th place being within 8 points of each other. SpeedMonger barely claimed 5th place from bomajoe besting him by a single point. I was fortunate enough to "bowl a perfect game", despite a few close calls on a couple of the tracks.

Atholon gets special mention for "keyboard powa" and "paired driving" as he was assisted by his beautiful fiancee, Kris10. The two will be married next month... congratulations y'all!

Congrats to the FNGers on the podium after the tourament: ThatOneGuy brought home the Gold, DirtyDan the Silver and my son, d6Amefath3r won Bronze.

I hope everyone had a great time, and again, I appreciate all the support everyone has given me over the past seven years of Turkey Bowls... they've certainly seen their share of problems! But the number seven must really be lucky, because this one went off without a hitch. Here's to the next seven Turkey Bowls!

For detailed race results, see the recap on the Official FNG website.

27 November 2009

Thanksgiving gift from Nadeo - StarTrack Campaign for TrackMania Forever

See the official announcement.
Download the update from links in the official forums' thread.

Today, Nadeo deployed a ~20MB patch for TrackMania Forever (both United and Nations) that fixes some defects and crash issues, as well as treats us to 140 more tracks in a campaign (United only.)

Those of you that installed the DVD or Digital Download version from Focus/Metaboli will be prompted to get this update the next time you launch TrackMania and get the settings dialog. Those on Steam will have to d/l manually, then point the install directory to the Steam installation path for TrackMania
(something like C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\trackmania united)

NOTE: Vista (and potentially Windows 7) users may have problems installing this update.
If so, Slig has offered alternate file links as workarounds on the forums. Please try those and come here and share your experience to help others get this cool update.

It looks to be a fun campaign... I'm already finishing up the greens in Stadium... going to work those first so I can open the Black track and get the ability to see the author medal times/ghosts.

Happy Thanksgiving... thanks Nadeo for making it even better! GG

22 November 2009

FNG Turkey Bowl 2009 - TrackMania United Forever

It brings a tear to my eye to even have to say this... but since many of the FNGers are having problems getting Motocross Madness 2 to correctly detect their video card so they can have 3D-Hardware rendering instead of Software rendering, we need to change the game for the Turkey Bowl to TrackMania United Forever.

That said, I'm pleased to announce the first ever TrackMania Turkey Bowl for FNG. DirtyDan and I decided we should kick this one off by taking the two highest rated tracks on TMX from each environment (three for Island) to present a total of 15 tracks. We will run tracks at 6:00 minutes per round in Time Attack mode, and points will be awarded according to the same structure used in past MCM2 Turkey Bowls:

1st: 20 pts
2nd: 17 pts
3rd: 15 pts
4th: 12 pts
5th: 10 pts
6th: 7 pts
7th: 5 pts
8th: 2 pts

Download the track pack from the FNG mirror on Xmission. This spot is temporary. You can also download the track pack from the FNG website; where it will permanently reside, but won't guarantee as fast of bandwidth.

The pack is a self-extracting EXE. When it asks where you want to extract it, choose:
{MyDocuments}\TrackMania
(... where {MyDocuments} is the path to your My Documents folder... usually
"C:\Documents and Settings\{YourUserName}\My Documents")

All the files will be put in their proper places... this track pack includes all mod/media pack files for tracks that require them, like "Eye in the Sky" and "The Golden Scarlet"

Trust me when I say this, especially those of you that consistently come to Turkey Bowl without practicing beforehand... PRACTICE!!! If you don't, you're going to end up with a lot of frustration come game night. This isn't your grandpa's TrackMania... :)

Let me give a run-down of the Track Pack and you'll see why:

You'll notice that there are many repeat track authors in this pack... the community obviously loves these guys... and incidentally, the ones highest ranked on TMX happen to be the ones that are some of my favorite track authors too. Great minds...

Make sure when you're practicing that you watch the Intro and Outro movies... most of them are quite fun; and you won't have time to watch them during the tourney.)

========

Tracks are listed by:
Environment - Track Name (Author Name)

Bay - [GR] Poco Loco (ganjarider)
I raced it 4 times and still haven't won the bronze. :) ganja does provide a GPS on this one, so use it during practice for help on where to go.

Bay - AntiBoost (buchi)
Bronze on the first try, but it's funky use of the Bay track pieces that I haven't seen done before (pretty impressive, but will be easily frustrating come tourney night if you haven't practiced this one.)

Coast - Dream Coast (smok3y)
Barely missed the silver on the first try of this one, and that was after making a mistake at the beginning which sets off a friendly trigger that shows you how to really do it. The beginning is well crafted... interesting use of a particular "hole in the road" track piece.

Coast - The Golden Scarlet (Crusard and Andree)
What can I say?! It's got Crusard's name on it... he's like a demigod of track authoring; well respected in the community, and easily one of the most creative track/mission creators out there. This particular one has a desert-like mod to it, and is accompanied by some music from the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. How can you go wrong, really? (Well, if you don't follow the map, I guess you can.)

Desert - Creative (pitstep)
Wow, keep your speed on the first jump or your screwed. If you can keep your speed the entire race, this track has killer flow, like unto that of Mosquito Hill in Motocross Madness 2. If you can't... there are alternate routes, but they aren't near as fun as taking the full speed path.

Desert - Eye in the Sky (Crusard)
Another fun mission map from Crusard. Multiple paths at the end, depending on how you want to finish the mission. The mod on this one is "out of this world."

Island - Old School (smok3y)
Fell short of a jump on my first try, but nailed Gold on the second. This track is FAST and fun, and excellent MediaTracker on the replay. Enjoy.

Island - Mad w0rLd (smok3y)
Wow, the beginning of this is mad if you don't have enough speed for the first big jump... but when you get used to this track... it's insanely fast and fun too. I barely missed Gold on my 2nd complete run of this one.

Island - Etherlight (hawk_ger)
This will be the one that makes everyone mess their pants and break their controllers. It requires some serious precision, but has massive payoffs if you can pull that precision. There is a jump in the middle that is like hopping stairs that is quite epic... either in the win category or the fail... it all depends on how much speed you have when it's time to angle-up for the jump. You'll see what I mean when you get there... it took me several tries, and I've found ways to still make it if you get stuck at the checkpoint... if anyone needs help with that, I'll try to post a video before Turkey Bowl day.

Rally - Lunacy (iquere)
This track lives up to its name... especially the jump where you have to land on track above a house that is directly in front of you as you fly off the jump... it's not far from the beginning; you'll recognize it when you get there. I have a feeling most of us will spend our time running that small stretch of the track; especially those that don't practice this track pack before game night. I highly recommend you do... and focus on jumping that freaking house. Once you get past that, fails that deserve facepalms are actually fun and forgiving. Most of them I've come across after passing the house I've been able to recover from; and triggers in the track give you funny messages on how to do so in most cases. It will be interesting to see how many finish this one.

Rally - Celt!c Sp!r!t (smok3y)
This one is fun, and not too difficult. And best of all, it probably has the best directional guides of any of the tracks in the pack. Arrow signs everywhere make it easy to always know where you're going. This one is most likely to be enjoyed by FNGers everywhere.

Snow - Snow Park (tmjonas)
Fascinating transfers... this one is fairly easy to learn and quite enjoyable to play. I look forward to more of tmjonas' work.

Snow - Stuntman Mountains (tmjonas)
Dang this guy has some fun ideas. You'll know what I mean when you play this track. Booya!

Stadium - [GR] Night Hawk (ganjarider)
I love ganjarider tracks. For those that count on directional arrows, he's not necessarily the guy for you... but his tracks have a fun flow and feel as you get used to them, and where there is a lack of direction... it's not hard to figure out after a couple of errors. Some interesting use of the Stadium track pieces in this one.

Stadium - Artemis' Arrow I (pepperjack)
This track also has interesting use of the Stadium pieces... and some fun transitions. There was a jump I couldn't make on the first run; but thankfully there was a forgivness path underneath. This track has a fun flow to it.

========

Again, make sure you practice!!! I know everyone's week will be busy, but even if you have to practice the night before the Tourney (who can't make time Thanksgiving night?!) do it... you'll be glad you did.

I look forward to racing with everyone there. After the tourney, for whoever can still stick around, we'll be playing some classic tracks that made us fall in love with TrackMania in the first place... like Dutch Delight, Flushed, etc.

If anyone needs help before the tourney on a particular track... those of us that have succeeded in getting a good run on that track will be happy to provide replays.

Please come back to this post and leave comments on what you think of this year's track pack after you've tried it. Be specific about individual tracks, please.

Good Game!

07 November 2009

GEEX is on for 2010

Booya! Good news...

Back in 2008, DirtyDan (Tsam back then) and ThatOneGuy took the 2nd and 3rd place podium spots after an extremely close volley between the two in the first-ever GEEX show TrackMania Tournament. The point spread between the two after the competition was 1 point. They were awarded super-sweet nVidia 9800GX2 video cards for prizes, and there was much rejoicing.

Tsam and I were stoked to return in 2009 and compete again, but were disappointed to find it cancelled, due to epic recession.

We discovered this morning that as of 16 October 2009, GEEX is on again for 2010!!!

GEEX stands for the Gamers and Electronics EXpo

The GEEX site says: "Mark your calendars! On July 16-17, 2010 GEEX will be coming to the SouthTowne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah."

All we need to know now is if the TrackMania tournament will return (and use United Forever instead of Nations Forever.) Either way, if TrackMania is there, you'll find Team FNG there. And with an array of new racers (jgappm, angus4ever, SpeedMonger, durichards and craing) we're hoping to have a larger representation at the 2010 show.

So... hone your TM skills and get ready to hit the road with Team FNG in 2010.

-------------------

Also remember, FNGers, that we're still having fun with the TrackMania Solo competition; so if you want to have double the fun honing your skills, race the stock tracks for official times and claim your throne as the best in FNG.

22 September 2009

TrackMania Driving School

Thanks to Bomajoe for this find...
TM-Creative hosts many tutorials for the phenomenon that is TrackMania. Among it is a "Driving School" that teaches the techniques the Pros use to get their official times that leave the rest of us in the dust.

The videos there are awesome, as they show what actions the driver is performing and when.

Check 'em out! Then go oust the other Friday Night Gamers from their record positions... :)

(See the "Driving School" link in the TrackMania Links section on the right.)

21 September 2009

TrackMania 2 Announced Last Weekend!!!

TrackMania 2 screnshot from user video taken at Paris Gaming Festival
Thanks to my friend McKay for pointing me to this information.

Kotaku posted a TrackMania 2 Announcement article on their site! (Would you look at the incredible lighting in the pic above? Granted, it's from a low-quality user-created video from the event, but if it looks that good in this low-quality, imagine how excellent it will be in the real thing! I wish I could have been there.)

Rumor is that the game will be released in late 2010 (I'm betting it'll be in November like TrackMania United was.)

I'm so stoked for this. If it's even close to being as enjoyable as TrackMania has been over the last several years, I'll either be pre-ordering or purchasing three licenses for release day.

Hop on over to their site... they have some user-made videos from the Paris Game Festival. There is also a section on the official forums devoted to TrackMania 2. Oddly enough, there is no mention of it on the official TrackMania site yet.

Rumors on the forum include three new environments... one being a collaboration of all of the previous TrackMania environments, except Snow; another that mixes Desert and Rally, and a final one that will mix Snow and something else.

Kotaku mentioned four new splitscreen modes, including: cup, regular championship, team and cooperative.

I wonder what cooperative will be like... that sounds fun. It would be interesting to see if that gets integrated in the multiplayer experience.

I can't shout out enough kudos to the team at Nadeo; they've made a truly unique and marvelous game that just keeps on giving. I highly anticipate much more high-flying, wall-riding, crazy delicious enjoyment for many more years to come. Je vous remercie Nadeo!

Here's to next year!

14 September 2009

That One Guy Steals Island C2 From Dirty Dan by 0.02 Seconds

That's right, folks! Nearly 3 years after the release of one of the greatest video games ever made, TrackMania United Forever, I finally earned an epic victory over Dirty Dan.

When TrackMania United was first released, we raced Island C2 for hours at a time, whilst on the phone with each other seeing who could score a world record first.

I did, then he worked tirelessly to take it from me and has since, for nearly 3 years, sat with a 0.04 second lead on me; and it vexxed me so.

Tonight I was determined to steal it away, and I FINALLY succeeded. Who cares that it cost nearly 1000 coppers, and who cares that I nearly wet my pants when I finally saw my car sail past his ghost through the finish line... I freakin' DID IT!

So, the gauntlet is thrown, Dirty Dan. I now have a 0.02 second lead on you, and I'm hoping it stays that way for the next 3 years. :)

Take that, Dirty Dan!

GG, my friend.... GG.

(This was extra awesome, because it finally pushed me past 200,000 in Skill Points on the Solo Ladder too, which is a milestone I've been looking forward to. It also put me at #4 in the USA and #123 in the World for that track; though it stinks... Dan and I used to be in the Top 10 when the game was first released. Looks like we still have a lot of work to do.)

Download the replay if you'd like to see it. I still need to learn how to take those dang banked curves better... that's why I'm still 2-3 seconds behind the #1 in the world... :)

Biggest FNG Night in a Long Time - TrackMania Rides Again!

Lots of TrackMania United going on! There's nothing in the world like seeing the sight to the right. 3 gamers besides myself in TrackMania United Forever.

And that was just the beginning. This past Friday we had 8 TrackManiacs show up, including 4 new FNGers that we'd like to introduce:
Kristen Yates - FNG_Kris10
Chance Allen - SpeedMonger
Johannes Gappmaier - jgappm
Roger Douglass - angus4ever

Added to the mix were:
Jarin Blackham - FNG_Thundr
Jeff Litster - FNG_ThatOneGuy
Walt Weidner - FNG_atholon
Dan Wetzel - FNG_DirtyDan

It was a ton of fun, and we look forward to lots more of the same in the future.

What is even better, is that the fun doesn't stop online, there has been more competition happening on the Solo front, with those above and other friends, including Duane Richards (durichards) and Joe Hargadon (bomajoe).

Not only are they contending for highest medals and skill points against each other, but they're knocking me out of my top records for FNG in Solo mode; my work is cut out for me.

I'm getting stoked for the next LAN party, as it will be focusing on TrackMania United Forever. I'm not sure yet when it will be as life is mega-crazy right now, but we'll have FNG to tide us over til then.

Welcome to all the new FNGers, we're glad you're been bitten by the TrackMania craze! :)

29 August 2009

That One Guy finally conquers Toxic's Machkeu Basin fastest lap record!

After more than a year of trying to conquer Toxic's (Dave Holland) fastest lap on Machkeu Basin, my day of glory hath finally arrived!



This is quite a funny story, actually. Thundr and I had been playing TrackMania Nations Forever with a couple of new FNGers, "Shartke" and "angus4ever". We had a ball, but the time came for the two to head out.

Thundr and I decided to change games to Motocross Madness 2 (MCM2) for a while before retiring to bed as well.

We raced a warm-up lap on Mosquito Hill and could definitely feel the rust factor (it probably didn't help that we'd just come from TrackMania and had to compensate for that.)

Anyway, Thundr and I decided to race Machkeu Basin, an FNG favorite. It started as a very casual race, with us chatting about various things going on in our lives, and me starting to nod off due to much sleep deprivation.

Despite that, my second lap on Machkeu felt really fast and very smooth. Out of curiosity I told Thundr I wondered if I had beaten Toxic's old record.

Now, try as I might for over a year, I couldn't touch his record... trying intently with all resources intact; so you can imagine how I almost wet myself when I looked up our site and saw that I really DID beat Toxic's record! And not just by .02 or .01 seconds, but 0.5 seconds! That's right, a half-second faster.

Toxic's old record was: 55.58 seconds
My new record is: 55.08 seconds

The proof is in the images below. So Toxic, my friend, consider the gauntlet thrown. I'm back in the saddle for Machkeu; are you up to the challenge?!!? muhahahaha! (Click the images to see the time in the top-left corner of the image.)

(Below: My 55.08 time)

That One Machkeu Basin Champ




(Below: Toxic's 55.58 time)
Toxic getting 55.58

So Toxic, time for you to bring it. I triple-dog-dare you to beat that record. :)

15 August 2009

TrackMania United Forever - $19.99 through Focus Home Interactive

http://www.trackmania.com/index.php?id=223&lang=en&rub=news_info Steam recently had a TrackMania United sale that I didn't get a chance to get on here and announce. The time for that has past, but Focus/Metaboli are still allowing their digital download for $19.99!

Before, this used Starforce for activation and you were limited to 3 activations; after that you were required to contact Metaboli for a new serial key (or to reset your serial key.) For some it proved to be a hassle, but I ended up having to do it and I had a reply within a couple of days, and they got me hooked up with more activations fine... It wasn't the most convenient mechanism, but it worked.

So if you're interested in obtaining a copy through this channel, feel free... It's an incredible game!

24 May 2009

Remembering When - 2002-2003 - FNG Glory Days

I was flipping through some old images on my hard drive (getting ready for a reinstall of Windows) and I came across these four screenshots from 6-7 years ago when FNG was in its glory days with lots of people showing up every week. Some good times in the old-school Motocross Madness (the original.)

The first comes with a shot of me running over Jarin (Thundr) with my motorcycle as he's in the middle of a wreck.

I wish I could say this was candid, but he happened to do a freeze-cam during his wreck... giving me opportunity to kick up some roost and run him over, doing a freeze-cam myself so I could move the camera and capture the moment. *CACKLE!*

An unfortunate accident

Remember Motocross Madness tag?! Remember the crazy-wild user-created quarries we'd play tag in? And how we'd have to use the bike hack to get 500/1000cc bikes to reach the tops of some of those mountains? :) Good times...

Last Ride - MCM user-created quarry for Tag

This was one of the funnest moments in FNG freeze-cam history. Playing for hours on the Widowmaker stunt track and trying to get a cool shot of all of us in the air off the first jump.

FNG Air Male

And finally, my staple move in MCM1... the Cliffhanger. Using the stock 250cc bike, I was able to keep up with those using 500cc bikes when playing in Microsoft's Zone... the matchmaking site everyone used for the original Motocross Madness.

Cliffhanger - That One Guy's favorite stunt in MCM

While the graphics look mega-outdated now, we got years of mileage out of that game... and still get good mileage out of MCM2. It's such a shame Rainbow went over to THQ and sold out to the console market... and even more a shame that Robb Rinard hasn't made a PC Motocross game since going to 2XL games. *sigh*

27 March 2009

So Long, FileFront, and Thanks For All the Fish... er... Game Files!

FileFront is closing up shop. FileFront has been an excellent site, providng Friday Night Gamers many a mod/skin for games like: TrackMania, Jedi Knight 2, Jedi Academy, and more.

We salute you and thank you for the good things you've done for the gaming community. We wish you well on future endeavors and are sorry to see you go.

Best wishes...

20 March 2009

Why I Seriously Hope DLC Will Go Away; Make the Gaming World a Better Place Again

I know, I know... I got excited yesterday about Steam's news about DLC content being made available for games even if you didn't initially buy it on Steam... but this whole concept is starting to really drive me nuts; which is now popping my excitement balloon.

DLC... which stands for DownLoadable Content, seems to be the big rage for game publishers nowadays; in order to extend the life of an existing game engine and make it more profitable. While seeming like a good business idea to start, it's quickly growing into an absolute annoyance to gamers.

See, from my limited understanding of DLC's history, it started with exclusive packs on certain platforms a game was released on, providing extra character skins, weapons and other things not necessarily relevant to the main game's story, but a fun gimmick to perhaps entice gamers to choose one platform over another for that particular game.

But now, DLC is turning into something like unto a "middle-road" between the skin/weapon packs and full-blown expansion packs (which have been popular on the PC platform for many years) which not only provide extra goodies/units, but provide extra missions/campaigns that extend the main game and its storyline.

Recent DLC's like Prince of Persia: Epilogue, and Tomb Raider: Underworld's two DLC packs (which I understand to be named "Beneath the Ashes" and "Lara's Shadow") have opted to extend their respective games' stories with an extra mission (or set of missions) that provide a short stint of extra gameplay (around 3 hours or so) but aren't quite like full-blown Expansion Packs that provide about as much extra gameplay/story as the original game did; just using the same game engine.

Fans of these series have been dying to get their hands on these continuations of the story.

The problem is, the companies providing the DLC haven't changed the original formula to allow all platforms the game was initially released on to enjoy the new parts of the story. Instead they follow the same pattern originally set forth when DLCs were testing the waters; keeping it exclusive on one/more, but not all, of the game's platforms.

Needless to say, this causes quite a stir with the portions of the game's fan-base that play on a platform that is excluded from getting the content.

Many get angry that they won't be able to continue the story on the platform they bought the game on. Others are upset because they feel this extra gameplay was really part of the original game's ending and should have been included to begin with; leaving them feeling like said company is trying to exploit them and just make a quick extra buck (or $10.)

I wasn't sucked into this mess until I bought the 2008 release of Prince of Persia (PoP) from Ubisoft. The game instantly sucked me in, and I couldn't put it down. I had so much fun with it, hitting all the right chords for me, that when I reached the end (after gathering all 1001 light seeds to get the full game experience and story); I was left hungering for more.

When I found out it was getting some DLC to expand the story, I about wet my pants... that is until I found out the PC platform was falling victim to the exclusion game that seems to run rampant in this new found niche of the industry.

Of course, the PC fans were appalled, especially because the only reason we found out was from a volunteer moderator on the official Ubisoft PoP forums posting (no official announcement) that the DLC wouldn't be coming to the PC for "business reasons."

The PC gamers were extra confused for a couple of reasons:
1. Just a few months prior, Ubisoft announced (also in their forums) that the retail DVD version of the game would be completely DRM-Free. This was incredible news to PC Gamers and a display of faith in the PC community that they would be honest and buy the game.
We couldn't understand why now Ubisoft would turn around and say, "... oh, but sorry guys, you don't get the rest of the game." It really didn't make much sense.

2. Ubisoft never offered a more detailed explanation as to what the "business reasons" were; despite pages of pleas from gamers from multiple platforms that thought it was a shady deal. All kinds of speculations arose, none of which were confirmed and none of which really held enough clout to be assumed true. Many still did assume, which I can't totally blame them since they were never given any concrete information from Ubisoft to solidify anything.

Let's stop and analyze some of this for a bit. Things to consider:
1. Ubisoft set up the PC platform to fall miserably lower than other platforms because the game was released on other platforms before the PC. Naturally, fans of the series that own multiple platforms would go purchase it for the console first, not wanting to wait for the PC release. So it was left to those who have made PC their platform of choice, or simply didn't have another platform option to buy the game to wait for the PC release and buy it then.

Still, many of us purchased the PC version in many different forms... Retail DVD (most that purchased this way did it because they wanted to support the No-DRM movement, despite preferring a digital distribution option.) I personally would've bought it through Steam, and Ubisoft offers the download through their own digital download store.

So, was Ubi setting the PC gamers up for a failure by holding off the release, so low sales could be blamed on piracy, and thus put an end to a No-DRM movement?

The numbers that were thrown out had comment placed on them saying they didn't account for digitial distribution sales... so comparisons were skewed anyway. But let's talk about low sales, since that was one of the speculations as to why they wouldn't release Epilogue on the PC...

2. Even if the 200,000 (give or take) sales number was accurate... if 75% of the gamers bought the DLC as well at $10/gamer, that would be $1.5Million the company would make by selling the DLC on the PC platform.

One of the Ubisoft level designers mentioned in a Steam forum that the conversion of the DLC for PC wouldn't take that much, certainly not $1.5Million, so it's not hard to conceive that the DLC on PC would be profitable.

Prince of Persia in the Top Seller List
I'm quite confident the number of sales for Prince of Persia on PC were higher than 200,000... but of course, Ubi wasn't willing to reply to requests for solid numbers that included the digital distribution sales. They have, however, posted for weeks on their digital distribution store, that Prince of Persia has been in the Top Seller list... at #2 from what I've seen every time I've been on there over the past several weeks. (So either it really is kicking butt in PC sales through their store, or all of their games are selling like crap!)

3. Some speculated piracy, but we all know by now that piracy was lost revenue to begin with. I'm not condoning it; in fact, quite contrary, those that know me get annoyed at how much I advocate against it. But the fact is, it happens. It sucks, but it happens. And that was money Ubi never stood to make, because the pirates do what they do and aren't paying customers to begin with.

But money WAS made on the PC version and hopefully enough to cover their expenses of porting it to the PC to begin with... if not, shame on them for not releasing sooner on PC (unless they couldn't finish the port in-time, which is understandable, and then we can't look at Ubisoft purposely setting up the PC sales for a failure.) But the timing still logically explains why the PC sales were bad, regardless.

But I digress...

I speculated that perhaps with the economy being in the state it's in and large companies having to do layoffs, etc... that perhaps the developer resources are slim a Ubisoft right now and they had to allocate those that would port the DLC to PC to other projects set to make them more money sooner (like HAWX, etc.) While this theory hasn't been officially confirmed either, it's a little more substantiated by a response from "Furyo" on a Steam forum thread about Prince of Persia DLC:
"The entire DLC team is now hard at work on Assassin's Creed 2, just like me, and while we've all followed the release of the DLC with interest, working on any other game or release is the last of our concern, team-wise. We could not possibly make them raise their eyebrows with anything else than what we were tasked to do."

If that's the case, fantastic... why couldn't that have been explained to us months ago when we first asked? We could support that. We'd still beg for a future release of the Epilogue on PC, but would understand why it didn't happen when the consoles did.

But again, Ubisoft was completely unwilling to make any effort to offer reasons more meaningful; and despite what, at the time of this writing, 63 pages of pleas for the DLC to be released on PC or at least a better explanation why... we're only being met by sarcastic and not-so-PR-friendly responses from the mods to get over it and move on with our lives.

Which brings me back to my point... DLC needs to just go away. And soon.

We gamers of any platform (many of us on multiple platforms) have enough to worry about when trying to decide which game our money goes to. We don't need to be plagued with having to then gamble with which platform we should purchase a given game on, since we'll have no clue which one(s) will get excluded from story-relevant extra content when it is released.

And what about the gamers I mentioned before that feel the companies are only trying to make an extra fast buck? Combine all of these angry gamers together and I have a feeling the gaming industry will see sharp drops in its future if they continue with the DLC madness using the same formula of exclusion.

I don't mind the idea of companies doing DLC, if it's done right... meaning story-relevant content is made available to ALL platforms the game is released on. If a company knows they're going to do DLC, they need to analyze ahead of time which platforms they'll be able to support and only release the game on those platforms.

And to those that complain that it should come free... I don't know that I agree. I think it's fan-freaking-tastic when companies are willing to do so (Valve and Team Fortress 2 is a wonderful example.) but I look at a 3-hour-long DLC like I do a movie... except better because I get to interact with it instead of just sitting down to watch. And most of us end up paying around $10 (or more) to watch a movie of lesser or equal length, so why not for 3-hours of interactive goodness? It's all about perspective there... and I'm ok to support the creative talent that bring us these excellent games with a little extra cash for expansions...

That said, I also want to say I understand the other side of the pricing argument... some argue that they shouldn't have to pay 20% of a full-price of a game when they're not getting 20% more game. That's a fair perspective too... and I'm not sure where the compromise can be made. Maybe DLCs need to follow the Expansion Pack formula instead?

Regardless, at this point in time... We gamers would be better off if DLC just dropped off the face of the Earth. Let's go back to the time when we could purchase a game without fear that any extension to the game would be out-of-our-reach because we happened to pick the wrong platform to buy it on.

And no one is immune... as mentioned before, Tomb Raider: Underworld was released on six platforms (according to the official site): Xbox 360, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PC. 5 platforms are excluded from the 2 story-continuing expansions there.

So it's time for DLC to die... or for DLC to be available to all platforms a game is released on. We need to send the message loud with our money. Only purchase games from companies that fully support all platforms they release a game on. Don't purchase games from companies that don't.

Doing so will either stop the DLC exclusion madness, or it will fix it. This isn't a time to be passive, but to make your voice heard. Feel free to share your thoughts.

17 March 2009

Steam offers gamers in-game downloadable content (DLC) with claim that it doesn't matter where the original game was purchased!

See the official Steam news article...

On 16 Mar 2009, Valve announced that they will be offering DLC for games through Steam; beginning with "The Maw" (which looks like a really fun Indie game; I highly recommend you take a look at it.)

The most important paragraph in this announcement is:
"DLC can now be added to any game on Steam, regardless of whether it was originally purchased via Steam, at retail, or via other digital outlets. It is also a feature of Steamworks, the suite of free tools and services available to game developers and publishers."

While nothing official has been announced, I hope this means we will soon see the Mirror's Edge DLC as well as a changed Ubisoft that will decide to release the Prince of Persia: Epilogue via Steam.

Thanks Valve! You continue to rock hard!

06 March 2009

World of Goo only $4.99 this weekend on Steam

Steam is offering World of Goo as their weekend sale this week for only $4.99!
The game is incredibly fun. Simple to learn, hard to master. Get it. Play it. Love it.

Then go buy it for the Wii, where you can play multi-player co-op with the wii-motes... very enjoyable. :)

Thanks to Toxic for letting me know about this from his IM byline.

04 March 2009

GEEX 2009

This morning p0wd3r posted some very sad news to the P42 site:

http://forums.protocol42.com/showthread.php?tid=272

GEEX 2009 has been officially cancelled. It sounds as though MediaOne has directed some of the blame toward the slumping economy, but they do want to have a GEEX show in 2010. P0wd3r does say he hopes they can direct some of the sponsorship they had gotten for GEEX 2009 to the P42 LAN this October.

19 February 2009

SecuROM officially removed from Red Alert 3 on Steam

I had been interested in the game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, as I loved the original Red Alert, and the original Command & Conquer. I kept hoping that they would be able to make a game that would be comparable to those original games when Westwood Studios was making the games.

Upon Red Alert 3's retail release, I discovered that the game included SecuROM DRM. I decided at that time to avoid it, even though I wanted to see the game. Some time later, Red Alert 3 became available on Steam. I figured, as many people did, that this distribution would not include SecuROM, and would rely on Steam's vastly more acceptable DRM system.

However, it became clear from forum posts (discussed in this earlier post by ThatOneGuy) that was not the case. Even on Steam, Red Alert 3 had SecuROM DRM.

I was very happy to log into Steam today and see that a special update had been released for C&C : RA3. This update removes SecuROM from all C&C : RA3 Steam installs. This is terrific news for gamers, even those who are not interested in this particular game. This means that our complaints about the inclusion of SecuROM were heard.

Here's the link to the Steam news story:
http://store.steampowered.com/news/2258/


In addition, a little off topic, but not much, I'd like to voice my support for the Prince of Persia DLC being made available to PC gamers, too. Come on, Ubisoft, you made a good decision not including DRM in the retail boxed versions for PC, then you deny us a continuation of the story line?

10 February 2009

Calling All Gamers (especially console gamers)! Join the Prince of Persia: Epilogue DLC for PC Revolution!



Attention ALL Gamers (especially console gamers!!!)

We need your help. We have seen your support in our frustration at Ubisoft's heinous call to exclude PC Gamers from finding out what happens next with the Prince and Elika. We all know it is unfair to release the game on three platforms, but restrict the release of story-critical content to a portion of those platforms.

We are sending Ubisoft an ultimatum and need your help to make it succeed. We hope it won't come to this.

If Ubisoft will release an announcement before 26 February 2009 stating that Prince of Persia: Epilogue DLC will be available for PC (even if the PC version comes AFTER the consoles' release) then all will be well...

... if not ...

We ask that all gamers boycott Prince of Persia: Epilogue until Ubisoft makes it available for all of the game's platforms.

I know, this will be a difficult task. We all are dying to see what happens next. But please, don't let Ubisoft leave the PC Gamers hanging... help us make a concerted effort to let them know we want Epilogue distributed to all platforms.

We can't make this happen without everyone's commitment and support.

We appreciate all who are doing our best to help make this happen.

Remember, we don't hate the creative talent that brought us such a masterpiece of a game. In fact we applaud it. We thank Ubisoft Montreal developers, level designers and all other creative talent involved. We also thank Ubisoft for making such a bold move as to release Prince of Persia PC DVD with NO DRM!!!

What we don't understand is, why Ubisoft would make such a bold move which gained much favor in the eyes of the dedicated PC Gamer fans of the Prince of Persia series (among other gamers who also expressed their gratitude.) We are displeased by the actions of those in power to make business decisions that affect us with the mere explanation of: "business reasons." Why on Earth would Ubisoft make such a bold move with the no-DRM release; only to turn around and make an equally large move in the opposite direction?

Some of the developers have admitted they don't understand the reasoning behind it, and wish the DLC to go out to all their devoted fans. We don't want to hurt them; in fact, we want to reward them for their efforts. But we want to reward them by purchasing the Epilogue on the gaming platform of our choice.

So, please, Ubisoft, if you're listening... change your minds before we take drastic measures. We'd rather this be settled nicely. But if our hand is forced and we get our support, prepare to see repercussions like unto the EA boycott that led to the games we craved being moved to the Steam platform the way we want them.

Gamers of all platforms... unite to make gaming history and help prevent atrocities like this from ever happening again.

(Please come discuss your feelings about this matter on the Ubisoft forum thread; then pass the word on to your other gaming friends to help rally support for the cause! We can turn this thing around, but only with everyone's help.)

04 February 2009

PC Gamers Denied "Prince of Persia Epilogue" Downloadable Content

Two days ago, I expressed my glee to discover Ubisoft is releasing 3 more hours of downloadable content for Prince of Persia on 26 February 2009.

I was ecstatic; but now am an angered. I found out today from several friends (all sending different links to all sorts of gaming sites around the net) that the content WILL NOT be available to PC Gamers. UbiRazz, who also let us know that the PC DVD version would be DRM-Free was the bearer of the bad news, when he said:

"Sort of an unfair poll to prove a point really - if you're on this forum then you're likely a PoP fan, you clearly have a PC and you probably played PoP on PC, so therefore it's very likely you'll want the DLC. Therefore the number of 'no's should be 0.

Unfortunately for business reasons we won't be seeing any PoP DLC appear. Sorry guys!"

I have a few things to say in response to this:
1. How is it an unfair poll? The whole point of it was to show Ubisoft that there is a demand for Epilogue on the PC; we want to spend more time with Elika!!! Otherwise, why would we have made "the choice" at the end of the game?!

2. "Business reasons" - I fear that this comes back to the whole piracy thing again. I wish Ubisoft would release reports of the Prince of Persia sales. I certainly hope they've hit the numbers they were looking for... Heaven knows we've been trying to get the word out that we paying PC gamer customers support Ubi's move with trusting us with no DRM.

I speculate that Ubi fears they would lose all console sales of the downloadable content (DLC) if they released for the PC at the same time the console version was released; due to the same rhetoric I saw on the Ubi forums during the DRM-free discussion.

It seems the attitude is: "If we release for the PC in tandem with the console release, no one will buy the console one, because they'll just go pirate the game (if they haven't already) and then also pirate the downloadable content."

I can understand the thought behind it, but again, judging us as guilty before given a chance to prove our merit. Though I'll concede, if the goal is to milk the console sales first, THEN release to the PC. If that's the game plan, I'll suffer the wait... but if the plan is to NEVER release for the PC, Ubi's going to have a lot of satisfied PC Prince fans blowing a gasket; myself included.

I'll gladly pay for the Epilogue as gladly as (or more than) I was when I purchased the game itself.

Ubisoft, whatever your "business reasons" are, (which, for reasons beyond me, UbiRazz is always so elusive about) please reconsider offering the Epilogue to your devoted PC fan-base.

I shout kudos to Ubisoft on such an excellent game. I haven't been this immersed and engrossed in a single-player video game in a REALLY REALLY long time and I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent in the jaw-dropping-gorgeous world the Prince of Persia allowed me to escape to.

Needless to say, I can't wait for the next release of the game; but I also don't want to miss storyline if Epilogue is offering more. There is no technological reason you can't offer this to the PC gamers; so please figure out a way to do so... please don't pull an EA and have many of your PC fan base boycott/desert you because of a silly decision like this.

Here's to hoping that in a few days/weeks I'll be able to post again with opposite news.

I'll Have a Super-Sized Combo With a Side of Elika... To Go.



Prince of Persia allows you to chain attack moves together so you can more quickly eradicate your enemy.

This shows an eight-move combo that involves the following moves:
Elika, Acrobatic, Elika, Elika, Gauntlet, Acrobatic, Elika, Elika.

See a pattern here? Yeah, she kicks trash.

03 February 2009

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (The Movie)

IMDB is listing a Prince of Persia: Sands of Time movie slated for release 28 May 2010; and is listed as in post-production.

It lists that Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Walt Disney Pictures; which rocks because they made the Pirates of the Carribean trilogy and National Treasure movies, which I love... I can't wait to see what they do with the Sands of Time.

Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia is one of the screenplay writers; so we can bet it will stay true to the Sands of Time we love so well.

I also hope, if this movie is successful, that they'll also make a movie out of the 2008 Prince of Persia game. That storyline is well worth a movie too.

Stay tuned... I know I will be.

02 February 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy! - Prince of Persia Downloadable Content Coming at End of February

Gamespot announced today that Ubisoft will be unleashing more time for me to spend with the Prince and Elika come 26 February 2009; as they offer 3 hours more gameplay with downloadable content.

This news couldn't have come at a better time. I finished Prince of Persia today and was sad to see it end. I was completely immersed in the game and have loved every moment of it. I didn't know if it could beat Sands of Time for me, but it did.

Now I'll have to hurry and finish Mirror's Edge before the 26th so I can get back to more Corruption Cleansing and gathering of the Light Seeds. Out of the 1001 I collected, the last one was the most sweet. I can't wait to see what's in store next.

If you haven't purchased your copy yet, get to your favorite merchant immediately and purchase the boxed PC DVD version, and help support the War on DRM! With the game's stunning visuals, fun game mechanics and witty dialogue, you won't go wrong.

29 January 2009

GEEX Show 2009; Postponed?!

Yesterday on the Protocol 42 forums, p0wd3r announced that GEEX will be postponed and he's not sure when it will be rescheduled.

The GEEX site (at the time of this writing) hasn't mentioned it yet. We'll continue to provide information as we get it.

I sure hope one still happend this year. I was looking forward to another TrackMania tourney! Stay tuned...

26 January 2009

New nVidia Driver to Give Best PhysX Performance for Mirror's Edge

Download the version 182 WHQL driver from nVidia

The new driver is supposed to give the best PhysX GPU performance for Mirror's Edge; which is good news for my 9800GX2, since I can have one GPU doing PhysX and the other doing 3D.

With the 181 driver, I found SLI to be a better performer for me and wasn't noticing much of a difference between the physics with/without PhysX being handled by the GPU. I'll try it again now and see what happens.

If you haven't tried Mirror's Edge out, you should. It's a fun concept and a pretty game.

24 January 2009

Gamers Find SecuROM Installed with Red Alert 3 Purchased Through Steam

We all got excited when we found out that EA was going to offer their games on Steam with the hope of lacking the third-party SecuROM DRM that we honest paying gamers have so come to loathe.

We rejoiced more when we actually bought some games on Steam (myself getting Mirror's Edge for my first SecuROM-free purchase).

In my entry about EA offering their games on Steam, I thought I'd confirmed that the EA games wouldn't have SecuROM (or would at least that Steam would list it if it had it) by finding the GTA IV page on Steam's store and finding that it listed SecuROM and its terms; where Spore's page on Steam didn't mention any third-party DRM.

Spore, like Mirror's Edge, has been confirmed DRM-free; and thus most fans that have been excited about EA's move to Steam started assuming that any EA game on Steam that DOESN'T list third-party DRM must be DRM-free (aside from Steam's own DRM; which the majority of us don't mind or we wouldn't buy games through it.)

Well, some purchased Red Alert 3 through Steam and got SecuROM with it. It seemed to be inactive until some of said gamers tried to launch it while also running Microsoft/SysInternals' Process Explorer, a popular tool that is like Windows' "Task Manager" on steroids. Being a developer myself, I use this program frequently, and it rocks... highly recommended if you're not fully satisfied with the limited information Windows' "Task Manager" provides. But I digress...

Go to the Steam forums to read the entire thread (well, at least until the ridiculous flame-war takes over the thread.) Two gamers confirmed it and made sure to test with systems that had were already SecuROM-free/had been cleansed of SecuROM prior to the Red Alert 3 install.

Both ended up with SecuROM after and neither could run the game if Process Explorer was running.

I love Steam, by-the-way... and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt (since the Steam thread only started on 16 January.) For all we know, Steam thought it was SecuROM free as well. I hope they'll rectify it by updating their store page for Red Alert 3; or, better yet, put the pressure on EA to get it removed from the game. I have faith that Steam will handle this responsibly... Time will tell. If you're one of the poor unfortunate souls that are affected by this, please comment here and tell us about how your sitch played out.

Now the flame-wars can continue all over cyber-space and elsewhere all they want, but I'll repeat the resounding theme of why this whole DRM mess has exploded out-of-control and needs to be rectified permanently:

No software distributor has the right to install any third-party software on a customer's machine that does not have to do with the product's functionality that the customer purchased, without:
1. Informing the customer that said third-party software will be installed (and when I say "inform" I mean spelling out exactly what said third-party software will be doing, why it's necessary and what, if any, known side-effects it may cause to their system.
2. Allowing the customer to authorize installation of said third-party software.

The fact of the matter is, this SecuROM was installed without said consumers knowing it was going to be; and that is wrong. That is what is referred to as spyware/malware and I have to assume (someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that such activity isn't legal. It doesn't provide functionality to the software the consumer purchased; rather it supposedly provides "protection" to the distributor for their property.

Protection. Pfffft.

We all know that the criminal pirates crack that crap within a week or so (if not earlier) to a given software release, and those that don't wish to pay for it are already stealing it regardless... so all that happens is the honest paying customers are left holding the bag.

Holding a bag they don't deserve, nor asked for... but have put up with for years, since taking time to write one's own DRM or even to integrate one's software with a third-party DRM takes a lot of time and resources to make happen (trust me, I know ... I'm integrating with some for an enterprise product at work right now and it's very frustrating. But our customers know when their licensing is explained to them what will be happening.) The point is, that cost isn't eaten by the developer/publisher... it's passed on to the paying customers which kicks the cost up a few notches.

So we've dealt with this for years, paying for criminal behavior that we haven't exhibited; and lived with it because we still love the games and want to support the game makers.

But enough is enough when we can't go buy a game without it jacking up other parts of our system; and Google around, there are plenty of reports of hardware and software getting messed up by different implementations of DRM.

People draw analogies left-and-right for and against DRM... one in the Steam thread mentioned metal-detectors in courthouses and cops on the side of the road making sure he's not drunk. These obviously are not fair comparisons, because the metal-detector doesn't hamper the courthouse's functionality or your ability to use its features or other non-related aspects of the courthouse; nor does the police officer stop your car from working after doing his tests.

The bottom line is: Paying customers are sick and tired of holding the bag... and now we're taking it from multiple angles, since we get to pay to have our systems tampered without knowledge of it and with said software makers taking access liberties that don't seem legal to take.

So who wins in this current envrionment?! Only the pirates...

So again, stop the madness... If you're a developer/publisher that really still feels you have to go to all this extra effort and work just to make your honest paying clients suffer (since the pirates still end up with their copies anyway.) then by-all-means, go ahead... but you'd better make dang sure you let them know what they're getting when they license your product!!!

If not, you'll continue to feel it in the wallet, as EA has been... because those that want to pay you for a good game, are done paying you to break their systems and live in fear that the next game they purchase will be installing software they don't want/need on their system that has nothing to do with the game itself.

Oh, and for the record, I've bought several DRMed videos and music from online stores in my day, and never once has any of them ever done naughty things to non-related hardware/software in the device(s) I use them in.

I'll draw my own counter-analogy to the ones from the Steam thread. I don't remember using a copy-protected DVD movie or music CD with the extra copy protection that has made my fridge stop working, my toilet stop flushing, or my surround-sound system stop producing sound. Nor will it ever.

One last point to address that I don't think I have in other DRM rants. There is the issue of game publishers wanting to product resell of their games because they think they deserve a piece of the action if that's done... and some have rumored that this may be another reason why the over-the-top DRM has appeared in newer games.

I've got news for those companies that are that greedy... No one else in the world in any other industry gets a chunk of the revenue when their products are resold. You don't see auto-makers whining when a car is resold time and time again over its lifetime, for example. Get over yourselves and move on.

DRM - It's gotta go... Keep your paying customers happy and they'll keep paying you. Piss them off like you're doing with these way-overboard and too costly DRM schemes and you can kiss the paying customers goodbye.

I'll stop... for now... but be warned Red Alert 3 fans... If you were waiting to purchase from Steam so you could get it sans-SecuROM; you'd better wait til you get POSITIVE confirmation from Steam that it's truly gone.

In the famous words of the classic video game "Smash TV":
"Good luck!!! Yooooou'll NEED it!"

15 January 2009

Mirror's Edge FINALLY Available on Steam (and WITHOUT DRM!)

At least they didn't wait until the END of January.

I'm downloading my Steam-purchased copy of Mirror's Edge right now and will be trying it out today. I've been dying to play this since I found EA was releasing their games on Steam without the SecuROM that we all loathe so much.

I just wanted to make everyone aware as soon as possible so you could also go get it if you're interested. I'll review it later (if I can take myself away from it and Prince of Persia long enough to blog about it...) :)

For now, enjoy!

14 January 2009

Prince of Persia: Reviewed (and confirmed Non-DRM for all Retail DVDs!!!)

Three words. Fan-freaking-tastic.



Prince of Persia (the fourth in the new series that started with Sands Of Time) is everything I was hoping for and more.

First off, lemme get the DRM crap out-of-the-way; because we all know how much we loathe being plagued by it as paying customers.

I bought my copy of the game from NothingButSoftware.com and ended up receiving a Canadian print DVD (had English and French manuals and a "T" rating that said Adolescent instead of Teen.)

I was nervous at first, because something in-the-back-of-my-head remembered only USA DVDs being non-DRM. I'm not sure what my damage was, because I couldn't find any information to back that up. I did read about others getting the DVDs (all of which have copy protection warnings on them) but have reported installing and playing without being connected to the internet.

One friend bought from GoGamer.com and received a CD from Australia or somewhere off this continent. His also installed and played fine with no internet connection.

So I gave mine a go, and sure enough... no DRM on mine either! It's SOOOOOO nice to be able to just launch the game and not be required to have the DVD in.

After installing, I saw a pop-up for a split second that made me think the DRM was really there, but it turns out it's an auto-patch app to make sure your game is up-to-date before playing. Some might argue this is a form of DRM because it's attempting to "phone-home", but again, the game will play without a network connection, so the auto-patcher times out and moves on. No big.

What IS big is the fact that the game is truly non-DRM AND a wonderful experience in one.

I'm not even 1/4 the way through yet, and I'm just craving more and more each time I sit down with it. I don't want to stop playing; I just want to find out what cool moves/powers we'll have next... what kind of crazy level design the next challenge has and to see Elika's and the Prince's chemistry build.

The banter between the two is enough fun to have players sit and continue pressing "T" (talk) until they're recycling dialogue. Some information is pertinent and some is just fun chat with each character giving the other attitude.

The artwork is classic gorgeous Prince of Persia, with some sweet, fluid cell-shader rendering of the characters and enemies. The cinematics use the same engine and are smoothly integrated with the gameplay to make a seamless experience.

The premise of the game is to take the Prince and Elika through corrupted lands to reach the "Fertile Grounds", fight a mini-boss, have Elika heal the grounds; then commence in the 2nd phase of gathering Light Seeds.

Gathering enough Light Seeds will grant new powers and open new areas, in your quest to keep the dark god Ahriman from escaping his prison and ending civilization as we know it.

I highly recommend Prince of Persia; not only because it's an incredible game, but because we can really send the word out that we want to stop the DRM madness.

I like the game enough I may buy another copy in the near future.

Kudos Ubisoft Montreal! You all did it right on this one! I'll be replaying this like I do Sands of Time.

See more HD screenshots of Prince of Persia (1920x1200 @ 2xAA) Each screenshot is approximately 6.6MB

GEEX Show 2009: Scheduled and Website Updated

It's official.

The Gamers and Electronics EXpo (GEEX) 2.0 is scheduled for April 17-18th, 2009 at the SouthTowne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah.

We're stoked because it's
1. Closer to home
2. Less expensive (and girls get in free)
3. Another chance to win cool gaming hardware in this year's TrackMania Tournament.

GEEX 2008 - LAN Party


If you missed last year's show, you missed a killer lan party and fun tournaments. Of course, it took FNG winners an extra 6 months to get our video card prizes for taking 2nd and 3rd place, but Palit finally came through and gave us nVidia 9800GX2's (that I might add run Prince of Persia in SLI mode at 1920x1200 2xAA and looks scha-WEET!)

Anyway, the GEEX site has some video and photos from last year's event; and if the rumors are true that Intel and nVidia will be sponsors at this year's event; we could be in for one incredible show.

Stay tuned... we'll update as they update.

TRACKMANIA FOREVER!!!

03 January 2009

"Chell's Playground" - A Sweet Custom Portal Map for Teaching Concepts/Tricks

MyApertureLabs is home to some sweet custom maps for Portal.

RigorMortis has created two custom maps (part of what will eventually be an entire pack called "Spigot 37"); which include a special map called "Chell's Playground" that teaches you advanced Portal concepts/tricks for solving the puzzles in RigorMortis' main maps.

The maps are called:
Training Ground
Street Level

I've been having a lot of fun in it, as it has confirmed some things I thought were the case in Portal, but I couldn't consistently prove. This "Chell's Playground" teaches you how to pull off the concepts.

I'm excited to see the levels after I learn how to pull off all of the puzzles in Chell's Playground (I think I'm a little over 1/2 way.)

Check it out to enhance your thinking with portals.

Games on Amazon