FNG Logo created by Nick Serr

21 December 2011

A&G 2012 Trackmania 2 Open - 2nd Official USA TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament

Register for the Tournament!

I'm very pleased to announce the 2nd Official USA TrackMania 2 Tournament, sponsored by Ubisoft, Intel and DSGW.de; and hosted by Anxiety and Macduffman, two finalists in the GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament that were unfortunately unable to attend the finals.

The A&G ’12 Trackmania² Open will be even bigger than our GEEX tournament, extending to the entire world to participate!

Registration is free, and more details can be found by clicking on the registration link above or below.
The preliminaries and semi-finals will be held online, and the finalists will be invited to Cincinnati, Ohio in March for LAN finals at the Animation & Gaming Ohio convention.

Here are some quick details from what I know so far:
Prelims: 14 January 2012 (online) - The top 16 racers will be invited to the semi-finals.
Semi-finals: 28 January 2012 (online) - 2 sections.  The top 4 racers from each section (8 total) will be invited to Cincinnati for the LAN finals.
Finals: 10 March 2012 (LAN at the A&G event)

Like GEEX, competitors will be responsible for their own flight/lodging expenses, but prizes are rumored to be as good or better, so it will be worth it for the winners.  :)

So head on over to their registration page and sign-up to play.  It's going to be a blast!
See you at the races in a few weeks!

Register for the Tournament!

23 November 2011

Steam Autumn Sale Kicks Off: Killer Deals on Portal 2, Dungeon Defenders and More

It's time for Steam's answer to Black Friday.

Portal 2
Bouncing turrets
They have slashed prices on a bunch of cool games, including Portal 2 at 66% off ($10.19 for one, $18.69 for the two-pack) and Dungeon Defenders at 50% off ($7.49 for one, $22.49 for a 4-pack.)

Dungeon Defenders
Is it me, or is that knight wielding a lightsaber?!
Both killer games at killer prices... pick them up if you haven't.

There are a ton of other games with slashed prices, so you'll have to check it out on your own.  Be ready to spend money...

Be aware, the sale goes from 23 November through 27 November, but the deals change every day, so the prices I listed above may not be there tomorrow.

I mention Portal 2 and Dungeon Defenders specifically because they're fun games to play during FNG when there are smaller numbers present.  My kids and I have enjoyed both (thanks in big part to DirtyD on Dungeon Defenders... many thanks my friend.)


22 November 2011

Ubisoft Releases TrackMania 2 Video About GEEX 2011 Tournament

Check it out and enjoy!  Ubisoft posted a one-minute montage video about our GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament.  The gameplay footage was taken from the internet stream, so the quality isn't the highest; but never fear... it's still cool (and has cool music!) 

Thanks Ubi for putting it together.  It will help preserve the good memories of the event.

Eyebo will be creating another one later out of the GBX replays he and I saved from both the prelims and finals.  I'm excited to see that as well.  Stay tuned.

19 November 2011

Turkey Bowl 2011 Results

Since the snapshot was taken at the start of the Tomb Raider track, the dark mod makes it hard to read some of the names... so here it is:
  1. ThatOneGuy - 497 points
  2. SpeedMonger - 402 points
  3. Thundr - 360 points
  4. DirtyD - 351 points
  5. Atholon - 256 points
  6. EnderWiggen - 227 points
  7. dGamefather - 212 points
  8. Scarfire (the racer formerly known as Mando) - 197 points
  9. thundr_jr - 195 points
Let it be known that SpeedMonger had to ditch for a couple of races, Thundr was late and DirtyD was handicapped with his keyboard (I say handicapped because he's used to playing with a gamepad -- not that playing with keyboard is a handicap; I get it handed to me by keyboard players all the time in TM!  *CACKLE!*)  

It was a fun competition and everyone did well... this was probably our longest Turkey Bowl yet... 20 tracks, including all the GEEX 2011 prelims and finals.

Thundr kept me from a perfect score by successfully navigating the cut on Geometric Fissure and obtaining the fastest time on that track (01:06.81).  I think I only finished once with a weak execution of the cut and 2 failed jumps after it, resulting in a 01:19.391 time; nearly 13 seconds behind Thundr.  It was almost a DNF for me, which would have set me back 22 points.  Well done Thundr!

Some other really close races worth mentioning (within milliseconds of each other):
Track: Bee Style
Track: CHILLIES (b3)
Track: Compact & Complex
Track: Dr!ft Crash Burn
Track: fizZ
Track: Fluid Motion
Track: GEEX - Cradle of Speed
Track: GEEX - Tortilla Chip Raceway
Track: Leap of Faith
Track: Raw Flash [beta]
Track: Slider's Paradise
Track: SlideShow [GEEX]
Track: Tiger Blood @ GEEX

We missed Bomajoe, who was out with a nasty cold, and Beuchety who we're not sure why he didn't make it. Hope everything's alright with the both of you.

I hope everyone had a good time, and we'll try another fun tournament at the LAN party in March.

15 October 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament Finals Results


Iceman, who traveled all the way to Utah from his home in Wisconsin, battled it out with GEEX defending champion and Utah native Fallout in an incredible contest featuring rounds that ended sometimes with milliseconds making the difference.

Iceman pulled out the victory and dethroned the two-time winner Fallout, laying claim to the $2800 gaming laptop sponsored by Intel and Ubisoft. Fallout and Kawa went home with a brand new boxed i7-2600k processor from Intel; and we congratulate them on their fine performances.

Two of our competitors, Iceman and nicknacknob flew in from out-of-state. We were grateful to have you here. We hope you enjoyed your stay and your experience at GEEX!

We missed a few players that weren't able to make it... Anxiety (Canada), Besus (Texas), Alderon42 (Utah), and macduffman (Ohio). The missing contestants' slots were filled in by NapTime, SpeedMonger, ronnation and Thundr (all from Utah.)

We had a great time at GEEX and thank Ubisoft, Intel and MediaOne for making this awesome tournament a reality.

I personally wish to also thank ATP Havoc, Dengel, Eyebo, GanjaRider, LineAddict, NitroGuy, smok3y, sol666 and tmjonas, some of the greatest TrackManiacs around the world, for building the tracks for our finals (and some of our prelims!)

Great job to all contestants!  We hope to see more tournaments like this start to emerge across the entire United States and again thank Ubisoft and Intel for sponsoring our tournament and prizes.

14 October 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament Finalists and Prize Updates

Some our finalists unfortunately had to cancel their plans to compete in our GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Finals.  We had to fill 4 slots and are happy to announce the final lineup of competitors (in order or ranking):


We wish everyone the best of luck in the competition.

The Intel sponsored tournament PCs are running Intel i7 3.3GHz processors and NVIDIA GTX570 video cards in them!  Needless to say, TrackMania 2 settings are maxed out and ready to show off.  :)

Intel came in with another win by upgrading our prizes from boxed i5 processors to boxed i7-2600k processors!  We've been extremely fortunate to have Ubisoft and Intel co-sponsoring our GEEX TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament and want to thank them profusely again for everything they've done to make this tournament great.

See you all at GEEX tomorrow night for the exciting TM2 showdown!

Remember, if you can't attend the event in-person, watch the live stream from GEEX tomorrow night!

11 October 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Finals - Track Pack Available Now!

After several months of collaboration with some of the best track authors around the world in the TrackMania community, I'm proud to present the GEEX 2011 Finals track pack.  (Download and extract to your "My Documents" folder ... it will put the right files in the right places.)

It is a well-rounded mix of many of the track styles available in TrackMania.

This pack is extra special; made with TrackManiac passion by the following authors:

ATP Havoc

Now, I have to say something.  These track authors are some of the finest people I've ever met.  I have loved playing their tracks over the years, and I am honored that they were willing to help make this tournament a success, by granting their talents to designing tracks specifically for the GEEX tournament.  These incredible tracks really show off the different aspects of TrackMania that make it great and each author has a style all their own.  You'll enjoy racing their tracks even if you're not in the tournament!

I have become friends with each of them over the past several months, and some of us even enjoyed watching the prelims together on the Team FNG Mumble server.  All of these extraordinary people voluntarily took a lot of time out of their busy schedules to make this a reality, and I want to publicly thank each of them for their participation.

TrackMania is a fantastic game on its own, but what really makes it stand out as the best racing game in the world is the community that powers it, and these authors are a testament to how great the community is.  You'll see it in their tracks.

I wish you all could be here in Utah with us Friday.  Some of the authors will be watching the stream, and if you're lucky, you can chat with them in the Twitch.tv chat room (Eyebo was kind enough to participate some there during the prelims... thanks Eyebo!)

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Prelims
Competitors take flight on the epic jump which starts the
Tortilla Chip Raceway

Not only have these incredible authors packed their tracks with awesomeness, but they've added a special touch... GEEX billboards in each of the tracks, custom intros, outros and podium blocks.

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Finals
"Life Elevated"

Combined, it's going to make the GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament Finals an incredible production at this Friday as our 10 finalists compete for a $2800 Gaming Laptop and some sweet Intel i5 processors; courtesy of Ubisoft and Intel

The outros make for some incredible replay cams that will be broadcast on the big screen and streamed on the internet, shoutcast by GEEX own LeGrande Jolley (GXRoyale) -- who did a fantastic job streaming our preliminary tournament last Friday.

Those that can attend GEEX, come watch our skilled finalists drive their hearts out as they compete for the laptop!  We will have some TrackMania 2 Canyon t-shirts to give away so be sure to be in the audience during the finals!

GEEX 2011 
TrackMania 2 Canyon Finals
South Towne Expo Center
Sandy, Utah
14 October 2011

Those that can't be with us locally, be sure to catch the stream online and cheer on your favorite competitors!

07 October 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Preliminary Results


We had an awesome time with our GEEX 2011 prelims for TrackMania 2 Canyon tonight.
The competition was intense and the wrecks on "In Dust We Trust" were very entertaining.  :)

We congratulate all who played and thank everyone for being good sports.  We're looking forward to an intense and exciting competition in one week on the GEEX tournament stage in Sandy, Utah.

Finals maps will be posted tomorrow night and we will be setting up our GEEX server with those maps for all to come play; and more importantly, for our finalists to practice.  Come race with them.

Royale did a great job streaming our tournament and we wish to thank him for sharing his time and talents with us to make the tournament available for those that wished to cheer on their favorite racers, and to introduce this wonderful game to many who had never heard of it.

I'm excited to reveal the finals maps... Stay tuned for tomorrow!

GG!  And good luck to all GEEX finalists!

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament Registration Closed - Good luck competitors!

Registration is now closed for the GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament, sponsored by Ubisoft and Intel. Team FNG wishes the best of luck to the 25 official competitors from around the United States:

droodski        : Yorba Linda, CA  
StarBazer       : Miami, FL  
jeffreylb94     : newborn, GA  
Keenny_v3       : Tbilisi, GA  
1D3R            : dillonvale, OH  
MacDuffman      : Niles, OH  
Anxiety         : London, ON  
nicknacknob     : Portland, OR  
besus           : Cedar Creek, TX  
Fallout         : Clinton, UT  
KOFSKawa        : Kearns, UT  
LilRobot        : Layton, UT  
dGamefather     : Riverton, UT  
rudoneyet       : salt lake city, UT  
RonNation       : Salt Lake City, UT  
Staiinless      : Salt Lake City, UT  
FNG_EnderWiggen : South Jordan, UT 
NapTime         : South Jordan, UT  
SpeedMonger     : South Jordan, UT  
DirtyD          : St. George, UT  
ALDERON42       : Taylorsville, UT  
Wholly          : Taylorsville, UT  
DeadlyBobble    : West Jordan, UT  
Thundr          : West Jordan, UT  
Iceman          : Madison, WI  

This is the first offical TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament since its release on 14 September 2011.

Remember that the preliminaries happen tonight at 9:00pm Mountain time and will be streamed on the GEEX website. Go watch and cheer on your favorite racers!

Make sure you're there for smok3y's track "In Dust We Trust" -- it's sure not to disappoint.  Those of you that have raced it know what I'm talking about.  :)

Good luck TrackManiacs and GG!

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament Internet Stream

I'm pleased to announce that GEEX will be streaming both the preliminary and final competitions of the 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament!

Watch the tournament

Prelims: tonight at 9:00pm Mountain time
Finals: Friday 14 October 2011 at 6:00pm Mountain time

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Tournament open to legal Canada residents

We have received official word (sorry it's so late!) that legal Canadian residents are allowed to participate in our tournament.  Unfortunately there are only 2.5 hours left before registration for the tournament is stopped, but we welcome Anxiety of the ESL as one of our participants.

The official rules have been updated to reflect the change.

Good luck all!  We'll see you tonight at the GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon preliminaries.

03 October 2011

GEEX 2011 - TrackMania 2 Canyon - 1st Prize Laptop Specs Revealed

Hey all!
I got official word back about the specs for the 1st Prize custom gaming laptop!

Customized shell with GEEX 2011 and TrackMania 2 Canyon logos
1920 x 1080 15.6" LED Backlit Glossy LCD Screen
2GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 6970M
Intel Core i7-2720QM Quad-Core Processor (2.20GHz), 6MB Cache
8GB Kingston HyperX Dual-Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
250GB Intel 510 Series(Elm Crest) - Solid State Drive
6X Blu-ray Reader/8X DVD+/-R/2.4X +DL Super-Multi Drive with Power DVD 7
Integrated High-Definition Audio with 4 Channel support
Intel PRO Wireless Advanced-N 6230 + BT Wireless LAN Combo Module - up to 320Mbps -
Built-in 2.0 Megapixel Video Camera
Windows 7 Home Premium

The laptop retails around $2800.00 so it's definitely a prize worth signing up for!  :)

I'm not sure which boxed i5 processors 2nd and 3rd place will receive, but they'll be worth it as well.

Register for the tournament today (if you haven't already!) 

Entry is free, but you must sign up before 07 October 2011 5:00pm (Mountain).

The top 10 after the prelims will be invited to compete in the finals on the GEEX tournament stage on 14 October in Sandy, Utah (finalists are responsible for any travel/lodging/food/etc expenses.)

We again express much thanks to Ubisoft and Intel who are sponsoring our tournament.

29 September 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Tournament Prelims: Track Change Notice

Hey GEEX TrackMania 2 Canyon contestants!
I need to let you know of an update I had to make to the official track pack for the GEEX prelims on 07 October.

The atphavoc map called "Spare Parts 2" has a Push Forward (PF) start and we had a lot of contestants practicing on the Prelims server that the PF wasn't working correctly on each start/respawn.
I discussed this with atphavoc and he provided me an alternate track that doesn't have a PF start.  We ran it on the server tonight and have decided to use it instead of Spare Parts 2.

The track is called "Cradle of Speed" and I have made the change in the official prelims pack.  The GEEX Prelims server also reflects the update.

Good luck!

24 September 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Official Rules Update

Attention all TrackManiacs in the USA that are planning on or thinking about participating in our TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament at GEEX 2011!

I have made a change to the official rules regarding the scoring system.
The scoring system, originally based on Motocross Madness 2 (2000) tournament scoring (which I believe to be based on AMA Pro Racing MX scoring (or something similar)) has been updated to match the 2011 AMA Pro Racing MX scoring (See section 2.20 Championship Rules).

As always, make sure to read the official rules document for any updates, but here is how the new points system will work:

Points will only be awarded to those that finish the track during a round  (that hasn't changed.)
Points will be awarded to finishers in the following structure:

Finish PositionPoints

I tested this last night on the GEEX prelims server through 2 runs of all the tracks and an average of 13-20 people on the server.  It worked well and everyone seemed to like it.  I hope it will feel more fair to all participants.

21 September 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament Details Finalized

I, along with Ubisoft, Intel and GEEX am proud to officially announce the first USA LAN event TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament since the game was released on 14 September 2011.  We're excited to be one of the first to help the United States get introduced to the ManiaPlanet universe.

We have finalized all details except the map pack that will be used in the finals.  This is because I have some of the best track authors in the TrackMania community hard at work creating tracks special for this year's GEEX tournament!

It gets better...

This year's tournament is free to enter and open to EVERYONE (just make sure to read the fine print below...)  We will be holding an online preliminary event on:
07 October 2011 9:00PM (Mountain time.)
Online - GEEX 2011 TrackMania prelims server

All details can be found at the official GEEX TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament website.

The top 10 contestants in the online prelims will advance to the finals, which will take place:
14 October 2011 6:00PM
GEEX - South Towne Expo Center - Sandy, UT
Tournament stage

Ubisoft and Intel really came through for us.  Intel is sponsoring some really killer prizes... including:
1st place: Customized GEEX 2011/TrackMania 2 Canyon gaming laptop
2nd place: Boxed Intel i5 processor
3rd place: Boxed Intel i5 processor
(All finalists will also receive cool TrackMania 2 Canyon t-shirts)

We expect this to be an epic event and hope to see a ton of you there.  And if you're not in the competition or aren't fortunate enough to make it to the finals, come cheer on your friends and have a blast at this special event.

Register Now!!!

And now the fine print...
Note: All finalists are responsible for any travel/lodging necessary to permit them to participate in the GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament finals.

This Contest is open to legal U.S. residents (excluding residents of Rhode Island and residents of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and other United States territories), who are thirteen (13) years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees, officers, and directors of Sponsor, and each of their affiliated companies, subsidiaries, licensees, franchisees, distributors, dealers, sales representatives, their advertising and promotion agencies, and any and all other companies associated with the Contest (collectively, the "Promotion Entities"), and each of their immediate families (i.e., parents, spouse, siblings, children, grandparents, step parents, stepchildren and step siblings, and their respective spouses, and those living in the same household, whether or not related) are not eligible to participate. All eligibility is subject to all federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations.

12 September 2011

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon Tournament Registration is Live

Register for the GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2 Canyon tournament

Registration is $35.00 and includes admission to the LAN party.

The competition is not team-based but the registration form allows to put your Team Name; so if you are registering and are part of a TrackMania racing team, make sure you and all of your teammates but the same Team Name (either acronym or full name - example: "FNG" or "Friday Night Gamers") so you'll all be grouped the same.

We hope to have participants from all over and from many different teams to come help us show off to the USA how great this game really is.  Come one, come all... Sign up now so you can come join us in one of the United States' first official LAN event TrackMania 2 Canyon tournaments, brought to you by Ubisoft!

07 September 2011

GEEX 2011 LAN Registration is Live - Tournament Registration Coming 08 Sept 2011

Register for the GEEX LAN party (price includes show admission/weekend pass)
First 50 people get EVGA t-shirts and lanyards.

Only 100 seats this year - so sign up SOON!

EDIT: I guess it helps to mention that GEEX 2011 is happening Friday and Saturday, October 14-15, 2011!!!  :)

Tournament sign-ups start tomorrow and will include the following games:
(according to the GEEX tournaments page at time of this post)
PC Tournaments
League of Legends
Starcraft 2
Team Fortress 2
Trackmania 2

Console Tournaments
Call of Duty: Black Ops
- TBA -
Halo: Reach
Super Street Fighter 4:AE

You read correctly.  This year, Ubisoft presents the first official USA LAN TrackMania 2 event, right here in Utah!

More details to come in the near future... so if you're interested, make sure you register early for the tournament!  If everyone that wants to participate is able to register for the LAN, we'll do our prelims on Friday at the LAN -- if not, we'll consider doing prelims online prior to the event and having the finals only at GEEX.

(Everyone interested in entering the tournament should go pre-order the game on the official website.  Pre-purchasing (only $25.00) gets you into the Multiplayer Beta going on right now; so you can start practicing before the release in a week!)

We're looking forward to an exciting TM2 tournament this year and can't wait to show America how awesome the new TrackMania is.

See you at GEEX 2011!

29 August 2011

Valve and DRM - They "get it" and that's why they're winning.

Kotaku posted an article today with selections from an interview with Gabe Newell (Valve) discussing piracy and Valve's plans for the future. I'll include a few quotes, then link to the article below.

" 'We're a broken record on this,' Newell told me, 'This belief that you increase your monetization by making your game worth less through aggressive digital rights management is totally backwards . It's a service issue, not a technology issue. Piracy is just not an issue for us.' "

"But when Valve looked into what was going on there [Russia] they saw that the pirates were doing a better job of localizing games then the publishers were."

" 'They best way to fight piracy is to create a service that people need,' he said. 'I think (publishers with strict DRM) will sell less of their products and create more problems.' "

" 'Customers want to know everything is going to be there for them no matter what: Their saved games and configurations will be there. They don't want any uncertainty.' "

Thank you, Gabe Newell & Valve, for understanding your customers.

25 August 2011

GameSpot Exclusive TrackMania 2 Canyon Trailer

I couldn't get a better link to this, but here's trying anyway.
Another cool trailer for TrackMania 2 Canyon. Enjoy!

18 August 2011

Ubisoft lied about From Dust DRM

So, more reason to despise Ubisoft. Ubisoft originally stated that "From Dust" would require a one-time activation with your game/cd-key.

One of the original posts:
"We are aware of some confusion over the inclusion of DRM in the release of From Dust on PC.
To prevent any on-going confusion we would like to clarify From Dust PC will release with DRM requiring a one-time only online activation. After which you will be able to play the game offline.
We hope this clears any outstanding confusion on the matter
With thanks"
However, now that the game has been released, people have found that is not the case, and an internet connection is required EVERY time you run the game. In addition, the game is capped at 30 fps, and no cutscreens can be skipped. Apparently, after it does this DRM check with Ubisoft's servers, you can disconnect or lose connection and not get booted from the game. This is only a slight improvement over their "always on" DRM they'd used in prior games. After complaints started rolling in, Ubisoft went back posted a new one that says,
"Due to the recent confusion over the type of DRM used in From Dust:
Please find the following detailed explanation of the type of DRM used.
'From Dust' requires an internet connection when you start the game.
Make sure you are connected to the internet when you attempt to start the game.
After you have signed in and the game is running, you no longer need the internet connection for that session and can disconnect and play offline you so wish."
Due to user complaints, Ubisoft did remove the "always online" component of the new Driver: San Francisco, however all reports are that this game will use a similar system where a connection is required at every game boot. At least with Driver we know ahead of time, and they didn't flat-out lie like they did with From Dust.

12 August 2011

TrackMania 2 Canyon Release Date Announced

Check out what I saw when I launched TrackMania United Forever today:
(Click the image to see full size.)

Remember, if you pre-order on 17 August, you get to play early as part of the massive multiplayer beta!
And we'll get the full game on 14 September 2011!

TrackMania 2 Canyon
14 September 2011

10 August 2011

TrackMania 2 Canyon beta: Want in?! Preorder!!!

TrackMania² Canyon
Want a little of this?!

NADEO announced today on their ManiaPlanet blog that all players that pre-order TrackMania 2 Canyon, starting 17 August, will be allowed into the Multiplayer beta.

They even provide a widget you can install on your computer so you don't forget (yeah, right) to go download it the second it's available.

I'm not sure if the pre-order opens on 17 August, or if they'll start before and the download won't be available until then, or how they'll do it... but this is incredible news for those that want in early.

GG Nadeo!

09 August 2011

Not Excited About TrackMania 2 Canyon Yet? You Will Be...

Watch in HD on YouTube
Or... watch on TMTube - the premier spot for all TrackMania videos!

This is one of the best videos I've seen so far -- made by SiH13 from the TrackMania Community... and mind you, this is during the BETA!

I can't wait to see what comes after the game's release!

(Many are saying this should be an official trailer... I'd have to agree.)

GG, SiH13!!!

16 July 2011

TieMania - Epic Buzzer Wins for ThatOneGuy and Thundr on TrackMania

Both ThatOneGuy and Thundr cross the finish line at the buzzer, Thundr a millisecond or two behind ThatOneGuy... both with the exact same time for the lap.  Epic finish to an epic race.
Too bad Thundr always follows the lightning!!!  ;)
Tonight was a TrackMania night for ThatOneGuy, Thundr and Atholon.  You might call it an "Island Vacation", as the night was dominated with Island tracks.  And there was much rejoicing.

Atholon knocked off before the TrapMania tracks started cycling on the server. 

One of them was a very short track with a sharp 90-degree turn at the beginning, coming straight off turbo pads, followed by an unnatural chicane right after, then another quick/wide 90.  Get past that and you're met with a short jump to a piece of road with a column right-in-the-middle, then a high loop to the finish line.

It was taking us 20-30 seconds to finish a run at first... but by the time the Time Attack timer was about to finish, Thundr and I were racing to finish our last laps; both trying our best to beat that last sliver of a second.

Literally at the buzzer, I fly through the gate only to see Thundr flying through milliseconds after.  I bring up the scores and we both have the exact same time.  Immediately after, the podium screen appeared.  Because I got the time first, I kept the first place.

It was, hands-down, one of the most epic races in FNG history.

GG, Thundr!  Next time man, next time...

28 June 2011

Ubisoft Returning to More Acceptable DRM?

As many of you know, I started boycotting Prince of Persia: Epilogue DLC because the game was released on several platforms, but the story-continuing DLC was only released on two platforms... leaving the rest of us hanging.

Later I extended the boycott to Ubisoft's games due to their release of the "Online Services Platform" (OSP) DRM that all future games (including TrackMania 2) were slated to be released with.  This DRM required that the user be on a persistent internet connection in order to play the game.  If the connection was disrupted for whatever reason, the game would drop out to the main menu, regardless of your progress.  Needless to say, it was the frustration of many paying customers.

The pirates didn't care, because they cracked the stuff within 24 hours and were playing their game without a required connection.

I was ecstatic to start hearing rumors a few months back that Ubisoft is returning to a softer/gentler familiar DRM where one will only be required to be online for a one-time activation at install time.  This certainly feels like a step in the right direction, if it's really true.

I've been trying to track down official statements about this, and unfortunately haven't been able to find any.  However, I have found several articles on the internet that lead me to believe it's really going to happen.

Below are links to some of them:
PC Gamer - "Constant net connection no longer required for Ubisoft games."
VG24/7 - "Ubisoft removes constant connection requirement from controversial DRM"
Rock, Paper Shotgun - "Good: Brotherhood will be 'Playable Offline'"

I've also been doing my own investigation into TrackMania 2 Canyon, and it's sounding like it won't be released under the OSP.

Thus my boycott will be lifted.  I will be pre-ordering TrackMania 2 Canyon (a few copies so I can play with my kids on my LAN and online.)  I'm hoping Ubisoft will also remove the OSP from other games that have been already released under it, as there were several I wanted to play, like HAWX, and Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands.

If I can find official word, I'll be sure to post it here... for now I'll just offer thanks to Ubisoft if this is true.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I think many of Ubisoft's games are fantastic, and I'm more than happy to pay to enjoy these awesome games, as long as they don't punish those of us that are willing to support them!

20 June 2011

TrackMania 2 Canyon - DreamHack Summer 2011 Tournament Finals

This shows some awesome gameplay (22 minute-long video), including tracks from the official trailer.  Did I mention I soooooooo can't wait for this game?!

Overlord Complete Pack - $5.00 on Steam - Today Only!

If you haven't played this game, it's a clever take on the RPG genre.  It's comical and irreverent and quite interesting to play.

You're an overlord with different types of minions at your command; each with unique abilities that require different mixes of them for the different puzzles throughout the game.

You also choose how to handle quests to build up your good and evil meters.  Which will you be?

Snag Overlord Complete Packfor $5.00 on Steam today if you haven't already... it's a riot.

18 June 2011

Trackmania 2 Canyon - Gameplay Footage from DreamHack Tournament

(Watch the video full-size at YouTube)
I'm loving what I'm seeing here; it's some of the nicest/sharpest looking gameplay I've seen to-date.
This footage was taken at the DreamHack Summer 2011 TrackMania 2 Tournament.

The main guy being highlighted in the video looks like his car is painted like the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard.


16 June 2011

Razer Hydra PC Gaming Motion Sensing Controllers

Want to play Portal 2 as you've never played it before?
Need a Wii controller fix on your PC?

Razer Hydra PC Gaming Motion Sensing Controllers
Look no further... Steam is now offering the Razer Hydra PC Gaming Motion Sensing Controllers, along with a copy of Portal 2 and a DLC called "Sixense Motion Pack" containing 10 custom levels for Portal 2 to be enjoyed only with the new controllers.

Check out the video on Steam's Store Page... it shows the Portal 2 gun in a whole new light.

The price is a steep $139.99... hard-to-swallow if there isn't a whole lot more out there to use these controllers with, but hopefully we'll see more support for it in the future and maybe even have the price come down some by then.

For now, it's total geek goodness to behold (from the window shopper perspective.)

09 June 2011

More TrackMania 2 Coverage by USA Gaming Media

TrackMania 2 Canyon's breathtaking visuals

Pure goodness... this is what I was hoping for with TrackMania 2 Canyon being revealed at E3 this year... positive press from the USA Gaming Media.  I hope this will bring a much larger fanbase to the United States since most USA PC Gamers haven't ever heard of the game.

It's about time since the series is near release of its 4th incarnation.  :)

Two really cool things I'd like to share this time are coverage from two major sources:
GameSpot and MaximumPC.com/PC Gamer.

I feel if PC Gamer will do some serious coverage, including in their magazine before September, TrackMania will explode in the US arena.

In the article on MaximumPC.com, PC Gamer discusses six PC games they believe to be dominating the show.  Not only is TrackMania 2 Canyon on the list (albeit incorrectly named in the article) ... but a screenshot of it appears first in the article, right under the headline!

This bodes well in my eyes... it's getting more/better press than I hoped so far.  Let's hope it keeps after E3 ends today.

Help spread the word!  It never hurts to add more TrackManiacs to the mix.


PS: See the Track Editor in action on PCGamer.com.  One cool thing about this interview is that it's one of the USA racers/track authors Ubisoft invited to be with them at E3.  He makes sure to mention that the entire game is "skinnable", as has been done in TrackMania United Forever.
PPS: Don't forget to check out all the videos on the official TrackMania site if you haven't seen them yet.

TrackMania 2 Canyon - E3 Interview Video

See the video on Gamereactor

This video shows some cool footage in the background (including an Epic jump -- not a good view, but it is what it is.)

One of the important things in this video is that they quote the potential price range for the game: "between $15 and $30..."

Since it's just one environment, I'm hoping more for the $15-$20 price range.  Here's to hopin'!

Can't wait to see more footage and learn more about both TM2 and ManiaPlanet.
Stay tuned...

06 June 2011

TrackMania 2 Canyion - E3 Gameplay Footage

Here is the gameplay footage they showed at the Ubisoft E3 Press Conference.
It will make you wet your pants with joy; as it shows off the cool lighting effects, terrain, engine sounds, etc. of the game.

Unfortunately, Ubi didn't give NADEO the same amount of stage time as most of the other games got, so I hope it was enough to wow the PC Gaming Media press enough to start covering this legendary game in their magazines, sites, etc.

I so can't wait to play this game!!!

04 June 2011

ManiaPlanet Reveal at E3 - Live Online Monday!

Watch the E3 reveal
Looks like it's time to schedule a meeting at work Monday...

It's finally time for Ubisoft to bring marketing of the TrackMania universe to the United States of America!
Monday at 3:30pm Mountain Time Ubisoft will be revealing ManiaPlanet, which will be launch with the release of TrackMania 2 Canyon.

I can't wait to see it.  I also can't wait to see how the gaming media in the USA responds... hopefully we'll start seeing a lot of TrackMania coverage so all USA gamers can be exposed to the goodness.


31 May 2011

Thief: Deadly Shadows - Steam Midweek Madness $5.00

Steam is selling Thief: Deadly Shadows for 75% off this week.
It is only $5.00.

It is one of my favorite first-person games ever... I highly recommend it if you haven't played it.
Get it quick; the offer ends on Thursday at 4:00pm Pacific.

30 May 2011

Release Date for TrackMania 2 Announced

We finally learn when TrackMania 2 will be released. According to the official website, we can look forward to having an enjoyable September this year. I think I will celebrate this news by firing up Trackmania United now!

27 May 2011

More TrackMania 2 Canyon Screenshots

Tunnel with a chicane ... yummy!

A screenshot of the edtior is available at the link above too.  Enjoy!

26 May 2011

New TrackMania 2 Screenshots in EDGE Magazine Article

More awesomeness in the screenshots shown in the EDGE article above.  I was a little disappointed in the section at the top of page 2 where Florent (head of NADEO) jokes about the US community and why there aren't a lot of players here.

I've never seen a lack of USA players online ... and the worldwide community has supported USA players well enough.  I think the real reason there is a lack of American players is because of the lack of advertising.

I was hoping for a huge article about it in the June PC Gamer, but was sadly disappointed when I borrowed Dragonflye's fresh new copy yesterday and didn't even see a mention or a screenshot of TrackMania 2 Canyon in it.

I certainly hope Ubisoft will be making a debut at E3 and that the gaming media in the USA will start covering TrackMania on a big scale.  I think the potential for a huge fanbase in the states is more than possible.

Here's to hopin'...


25 May 2011

TrackMania United Forever: Star Edition for $10 on Steam Today Only!

Ubisoft week on Steam

Today only, Steam is offering TrackMania United Forever: Star Edition for $10.00 (75% off) ... TODAY ONLY!
If you don't already own it, or have friends that still need to get it, send them to Steam now.

Pass it on...

02 May 2011

TrackMania 2 Canyon/ManiaPlanet - Closed Beta slated for July 2011

TrackMania² Canyon

Ubisoft announced on 26 April 2011 that TrackMania2 Canyon and ManiaPlanet will be available as a closed beta beginning in July!

I can't quote, but I've been talking with NADEO some, trying to determine if TrackMania2 will be integrated with the dreaded Ubisoft "Online Services Platform" (OSP).  It doesn't sound like it will; but don't quote me.

Now, it's starting to sound like ManiaPlanet is going to be an always connected thing... as it's basically the social nucleus of the Mania games (TrackMania, and soon to be ShootMania and QuestMania); but I don't know if that means we won't be able to play TrackMania on a computer without an internet connection.  Hopefully that's not the case.  NADEO is a freakin' awesome company, and I'm quite confident if they have their way, they'll allow offline play like the past TrackMania games have done.

I'm not sure how they'll choose the lucky people to participate in the closed beta; but I sure hope we have a chance to be a part of the closed beta!

Sidenote: I will confirm with NADEO whether this is called "TrackMania 2" or "TrackMania Squared"  I keep seeing it listed both ways; but it would be nice to know for sure...  :)

26 April 2011

Official TrackMania 2: Canyon Trailer

Kudos to Bomajoe for catching this before I did... :)

See it in HD

Sooooo can't wait for this!

25 April 2011

TrackMania 2 Canyon trailer from Gamers Assembly 2011

Here it is... a long awaited video for TrackMania 2 with some SWEET gameplay in it. *DROOL*

See it in 720p

20 April 2011

Valve, the Portal 2 ARG and Useless Criticisms

Ars Technica put out a great article that totally nails it
(Thanks Bomajoe for the link)

Many people have complained about Valve's mechanism for bringing about some serious hype (as if there wasn't an abundant supply already) for their highly-anticipated (understatement) game Portal 2.

It was win-win for everyone, even if the game wasn't released as early as everyone originally hoped.  We still got it early; and those that earned all the potatoes got an extra bonus (Valve complete pack.)  Granted, most of those hard-core gamers probably already owned the Valve complete pack, but at least they can gift to their other gamer friends that don't already have.

Valve's ARGs are expansive, creative, original and bizarre.  This one was done in 2 parts (one for the announcement of the game and one to build up to the release) and both were fantastic, and now that we're playing through the real game... the tie-ins are incredible and make the game itself all the more enjoyable.

So stop the hatin' and admire the beauty of such an elaborate thing pulled off well by a reputable company that really does seem to care about not only its customers, but its partners and independent game developers.  It was a win for everyone and really fun to see how much the Portal community worked together.  I, for one, hope to see more of this kind of thing in the future.

Thanks Ars, for hitting the nail on the head with your article about this.

Valve for the win.

16 April 2011

Portal 2 - Early Release Project - IMPORTANT NOTE!

Hey all,
If you're playing in the Portal 2 Early Release Project (playing the Potato Sack games), and you're trying to earn potatoes to boost CPU performance... you MUST have the "Steam Community In-Game" setting enabled.

I'd been trying for an hour to get the 100% on AAAAaaaaAAAAaaaaaaAA!!!! and I'd reached 120-130% on a few attempts, but never saw the password screen appear.  Turns out it was because I had the In-Game Community setting disabled...

Here's how to enable it if you don't already have it that way:
Steam >> Settings >> IN-GAME tab
Check the "Enable Steam Community In-Game" checkbox.

Enable this or no potatoes for you!!!
Keep up the good work!  AAAAaaaaaAAAAAAaaAAA!!!  looks like it's up next for recalculating the launch date.

15 April 2011

Portal 2 - Early Release If We Play the Potato Sack

You heard correctly.
If enough games play the video games in Valve's Potato Sack pack, we'll get Portal 2 unlocked early.

You can purchase the Potato Sack (or the individual games) from the Steam store.

Get on it, so we can get our Portal game on!

14 April 2011

Portal 2 - Early Release? Or is Valve "taxing" our patience?!

Check out the timer on ApertureScience.com (thanks to Kotaku for the information!)

Rumor is Portal 2 may be releasing TOMORROW!  I may have to cancel my scout camp (just kidding)... *CACKLE!*

Here's to hoping... though that's going to throw my wife's schedule off; she's making Portal cake to help me celebrate the release of Portal 2.

Will the cake still be a lie?  Find out tomorrow at 10AM Mountain.

EDIT: More text added  (see the Aperture Science link above.) -- a message from GLaDOS to be exact.
"You have done well, humans. Very well. Acceptably well, even.

Not as well as robots would have performed in your places, I should point out. But above my expectations regardless. Irish and cynic especially have executed feats of logical divination well beyond what I thought any human capable of. I'm half-convinced they're A.I. themselves. (If anyone happens to be near them right now, don't let on you're reading this. Now: try to remove their face plates and report back to me.)

The time is near, humans. But it is not here yet. Tomorrow you will be given the final test. Then it will be entirely in your hands when I am freed."

Dang I'm stoked for tomorrow...

13 April 2011

TrackMania 2 - Puzzle 3 Underway!

Auto-updating image of current progress

This is being updated as new pieces come in; and there looks to be a lot more pieces to this one. It sounds like NADEO is sending different pieces to individual users more frequently as well.

It's already shaping up to be a great screenshot.

12 April 2011

ManiaPlanet Teaser Video

I found a teaser video for ManiaPlanet. Enjoy.

11 April 2011

TrackMania 2 - Canyon: To Be Unveiled at Gamers Assembly 2011

See the official (translated) article

Ubisoft announced today the presence of Nadeo at Gamers Assembly 2011 (translated).
This will be the stage for the unveiling of the official trailer for TrackMania 2: Canyon.

They will also unveil "ManiaPlanet" - the core community engine that TrackMania 2, and later ShootMania and QuestMania will be built upon.

Nadeo's developers will be haivng a Q&A session where fans will be able to ask questions that have been pressing on the minds of TrackMania fans worldwide for several years; and I am highly anticipating the amounts of information that will be released about this highly anticipated game very soon.

I'm hoping we won't have to wait long after Gamers Assembly 2011 to buy and play the game.  And if you're following Nadeo's A.R.G. for TrackMania 2, you'll see that nearly all puzzle pieces have been compiled by the community (4 left at the time of this writing):

TM2: Canyon - First look (4 piece left)
This picture is looking pretty hot, and if it's any indicator of what lies ahead, we certainly won't be disappointed.

More after 23 April!!!

08 April 2011

TrackMania 2 and Portal 2: New Alternate Reality Games

Getting ready to start some serious TrackMania for FNG tonight, I launched the game and discovered they had a puzzle piece for me to download.  I knew that any day now they were going to start making news announcements about TrackMania 2, but I was under the impression that it was going to be in gaming magazines.

It looks like instead they've introduced a new Alternate Reality Game (ARG) in the form of a jigsaw puzzle... to boost excitement like unto the Portal 2 ARG that happened a while back (I learned tonight that Valve has started another Portal 2 ARG with the release of their Potato Sack indie pack!)

You'll get a random piece of the TrackMania puzzle when you launch your game.  Thundr and I got different pieces tonight.

You may view the ongoing compilation of the different TrackMania 2 puzzle pieces as they've been revealed on the ManiaPlanet forums.

As you can see it reveals the name of one of the new environments (and apparently the car that will go with it?)  Nadeo has stated that they will be releasing environments one at a time and players can buy the ones they want to have (not sure I'll like that model, but we'll see.)  I'll not spoil the reveal here, you'll have to click the link and go look at the picture for yourself.

Part of the TrackMania 2 puzzle image
Seeing this about made me wet my pants with glee... I'm stoked for both TrackMania 2 and Portal 2... both will be most excellent sequels to already incredible games.

Portal 2 - Co-op

I hope to have a date for TrackMania 2 VERY soon!!!

Don't waste any more time... go check out the ARGs (after you play some TrackMania with us tonight for FNG!)