PC gaming’s anti-piracy measures seem to be proceeding along a path not unlike the one the games they’re sworn to protect once traveled. First, games (and anti-piracy) were merciless and cruel – prone to punishing players whether they succeeded or tattooed the underside of a tire with their pixilated frog’s surprisingly red guts. But now, times are a changin’. Today’s games are nice and gentle, giving players a gentle pat on the shoulder if they fail, and a big ol’ lie cake if they finish the fight.
Ok, enough with the overwrought metaphor.
See, with companies like Valve – and now Relic – in the picture, anti-piracy measures no longer have to punish gamers. As explained by Dawn of War II lead designer Jonny Ebbert:
“We want to give out steady doses of free downloadable content because we believe in rewarding people who buy the game and the reason we don’t like DRM solutions is because they punish the innocent and they have to jump through all these hoops.”
“We don’t want to do that so we’re going with the approach that Valve pioneered to just reward the people who actually bought the game with cool stuff,” he added. “Free downloadable, regularly accessible stuff that enhances the game and then that’s an incentive for the people who didn’t buy the game to buy it. So we’ve got a really bold, robust strategy for that and we’re going to be revealing more details in about a month, but I think players are going to like it.”
A robust open beta? No DRM? Free goodies on a regular basis? We're only nine days into 2009, and Relic may already have snatched the "Best Developer of 2009" award right out of our hearts. Bravo, guys and gals.
A bit of good news for those forced into a Twilight Zone-esque loop of reliving the Fallout 3 main quest’s final, anticlimactic seconds ad nauseam: the game’s upcoming “Broken Steel” DLC pack will remove its game-halting point-of-no-return.
And, as if the opportunity to spend eternity wandering an irradiated hell weren’t enough, Bethesda also intends to sow some growing room into your character’s jammies. Ten levels of growing room, to be exact.
"We plan on raising [the level cap] to level 30 - but it will be a long, hard climb to get there," Bethesda lead DLC producer Jeff Gardiner told Eurogamer.
The apparent increased leveling time should have many players sighing with relief, as ascending mountains of fallen foes to an absolute peak of level 20 wasn’t exactly difficult in a game of Fallout 3’s scale.
However, we have to ask: Why release the Broken Steel content pack – or at least a few of its features -- in March, after the other two content packs, titled “Operation: Anchorage” and “The Pitt,” have already come and gone? After all, many players have characters mired in save points near the game’s currently inescapable ending, while others hit the level cap long ago. Will they now be forced to resist the DLC’s allure until March if they wish to enjoy it to its fullest?
Palm is trying its best to revive its glory days of yore. To this end, the company is planning to launch the multitouch Palm Pre smartphone. It offered the first glimpse of the Palm Pre at the Consumer Electronics Show. The smartphone features an entirely new operating system called Web OS. It has a 3.1-inch, 480 by 320 pixel display that conceals a keyboard.
The Web OS has been designed to literally keep a low profile while a user is at work. For instance, new alerts don’t impede any ongoing activity. Furthermore, there is a separate gesture area below the screen for you to navigate between applications
It lists all your contact, including email and Facebook contacts, in a single list and, more importantly, ensures that there is no redundancy in the list – a person’s name is listed along with all his available contact details.
The phone offers all the generic connectivity features, including 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth. It has in-built GPS as well. The phone will debut during the first half of 2009 on the Sprint Network. The exact release date and its price are still unknown.
Google’s Chrome has made an impressive showing on the web browser market, and has even been named the “Speed King.” And it wouldn’t be like Google to leave it alone, either. With the announcement of their beta for Chrome 2, they’re looking to add some simple things that they hope will make a big difference.
First up, is form autocomplete. Something that Google considers “one of the most obvious missing features from the initial release,” will finally make a debut. Also added will be a full-page zoom, autoscroll, and profiles. Profiles will be “a great way to separate Chrome’s settings in different categories: you could create a work profile with its own homepage, boomarks and browsing history and a profile for your personal projects.”
While the first few features will be nice, the profiles sound like a great addition. Being able to manage a few different sets of information easily will be mighty substantial.
Internet shenanigans are keeping abreast with the latest developments around the world and using it to their advantage. An email doing the rounds around the internet hoodwinks the recipient into believing that it is from CNN. The clandestine email ostensibly contains a link to a “graphic” video of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. However, it leads to a fake website that contains a Trojan that betrays the user’s sensitive data, according to the RSA.
The author of the phishing attack has tried to make the website as plausible as possible. Upon visiting the link, the user is greeted with a message asking him to update his Adobe Flash Player. If the user lends his countenance to the download, a Trojan is downloaded instead of the latest version of Flash
It may be 2009, but the GeForce 9M series, just introduced last summer, is already last year's news: yesterday, Nvidia announced the new GeForce 100M series at CES.
Engadgetreports that the GeForce 100M series' first three members exceed the performance of comparable GeForce 9M series GPUs by 17 to 35 percent. To learn more about the GeForce 100M family, join us after the jump.
We came, we saw, we set up a meeting via twitter (true story!) and we met with AMD's Ian McNaughton and Steve Howard at CES to check out the new "ultra thin" HP DV2, featuring AMD's new 64-bit Athlon Neo mobile processor, which we've heard so much about.
Initial impressions: it's surprisingly cool! Boasting the 1.6GHz Athlon Neo processor, 4GB of RAM, a 13" screen, and the comfortable keyboard that HP's getting increasingly good at (see the HP Mini 1001xx review in our February issue), the DV2 stakes out a spot somewhere just north of the netbook range. The DV2 carries a netbook-worthy price tag ($599), but comes with a whole host of things that netbooks don't: an HDMI port, slimline external Blu-ray drive, and optional discrete Radeon 3000 Mobility-series graphics. AMD says it'll get about 4 hours of battery life, thanks to a CPU and chipset that only draw 25W of power total.
AMD thinks the "ultra thin" notebook genre they're trying to create passes the "mom test," citing a 30% return rate on netbooks last year. They hope to snag some market share from people who like the portability and price of netbooks but are frustrated by their cramped quarters and lack of power.
We look forward to putting the DV2 and another, as yet unannounced Athlon Neo-based notebook through their paces when we can get our hands on them.
AMD, still in heavy competition with Nvidia, has been looking for ways to gain ground on the graphics giant for some time. Now, it looks like they’re taking the fight to the mobile front with the announcement of their Mobility Radeon HD 4000 series.
The Mobility Radeon HD 4000 series is based off of the RV770 architecture. It will feature up to 800 stream processors, support for GDDR5 and GDDR3 memory, a 256-bit memory interface and CrossFire support (with the choice of switching back and forth between discrete and integrated GPUs without restarting).
Notebooks from Asus and MSI will reportedly be offering the chipset as soon as March.
As you may or may not remember, it wasn’t too long ago that rumors were swirling heavily about just what Dell’s Adamo would be. Many expected that it would be a MacBook Air rival, and today we know that’s just the case.
The boys over at Engadget finally got some face time with the machine, and it’s looking pretty hot. It’s nearly an inch thick, sports a 13-inch screen… and that’s all the information they could get (they weren’t allowed to start it up or anything, but plenty of pictures were taken!)
The machine itself looks really slick, and is very reminiscent of Voodoo’s Envy 133. Let’s just hope that Dell is able to release some specifics about just what’s under the hood, until then, ogle to your heart’s content.
Asus is here in full force at CES, showing off their vast selection of netbooks and notebooks. We darted straight to the systems that featured the most updates to existing lineups, including the 1000HE, S121, and 101H tablet. We also got our hands on Asus's newly announced W90Vp gigantic gaming laptop. 18.4 inches comes close to Dell and HP's record of 20.1 inches in their previous lap crushers, and is still too unwieldy, in our opinion. Still, we admire the effort and can't help but be awed by the alleged 15000+ 3DMark 2006 score in this "portable" beast.