Category Archives: Games

Bungie Talks About The ‘640p’ Issue w/ Halo 3

halo 3 logo

The last couple of days there have been a bunch of complaints about the Halo3 resolution. You see, it appears that Halo isn’t running in 740p but rather 640p which isn’t even a standard. Welp, some folks figure they’re being ripped off of their ’80p’ they think they’re due.

You can read Bungies response in the snippet below or go read the entire Bungie Weekly Update: 09/28/07:

One item making the interwebs rounds this week was the scandalous revelation that Halo 3 runs at ?640p? which isn?t even technically a resolution. However, the interweb detectives did notice that Halo 3?s vertical resolution, when captured from a frame buffer, is indeed 640 pixels. So what gives? Did we short change you 80 pixels?

Naturally it?s more complicated than that. In fact, you could argue we gave you 1280 pixels of vertical resolution, since Halo 3 uses not one, but two frame buffers ? both of which render at 1152×640 pixels. The reason we chose this slightly unorthodox resolution and this very complex use of two buffers is simple enough to see ? lighting. We wanted to preserve as much dynamic range as possible ? so we use one for the high dynamic range and one for the low dynamic range values. Both are combined to create the finished on screen image.

This ability to display a full range of HDR, combined with our advanced lighting, material and postprocessing engine, gives our scenes, large and small, a compelling, convincing and ultimately ?real? feeling, and at a steady and smooth frame rate, which in the end was far more important to us than the ability to display a few extra pixels. Making this decision simpler still is the fact that the 360 scales the ?almost-720p? image effortlessly all the way up to 1080p if you so desire.

In fact, if you do a comparison shot between the native 1152×640 image and the scaled 1280×720, it?s practically impossible to discern the difference. We would ignore it entirely were it not for the internet?s propensity for drama where none exists. In fact the reason we haven?t mentioned this before in weekly updates, is the simple fact that it would have distracted conversation away from more important aspects of the game, and given tinfoil hats some new gristle to chew on as they catalogued their toenail clippings.

Here’s a lot of comments on the Kotaku post on the subject which is worth checking out.

d20 Soap – Just What The Stinky Gamer Needs

D20 Soap

Paizo.com is offering scented soap with an actual d20 embedded in it, click the pic for a better view.

These are handcrafted soaps so each one is slightly different, not that factory made crap you’re using today. ūüėÄ

Come on now, don’t you agree that this needs to be on your holiday shopping list?

It looks like they’re on backorder now, and when you can get them you have various scents to choose from. What gamer wouldn’t want to show up for his RPG night smelling like Cucumber Melon or Sandalwood?

Free Games That Don’t Suck.

I’m always on the search for good games to play that are decent, and not just a side-scrolling clone from some flash scripting noob.  There are lots of free game web sites full of flash games that look like random scrawlings from a two year old.  I’m talking about games that can be had for nothing that have some substance, and a credible following of players.

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Here is a comprehensive list of games that deserve a gander and some play time, if you so desire.  My fave in this list is F.E.A.R. ūüėČ

Fall Games Galore

I don’t know about you guys, but I think this summer was pretty dry (hehe) for new games.¬† Yeah there were a few releases, but nothing to go nuts over ;P¬† However, titles like Shadowrun, Crysis, Quake Wars, and Unreal Tournament III are eagerly anticipated for putting the smack-down on our systems.

I thought I’d bust out a few links to the game sites, so you can drool over your near future in time wasting!

Bioshock¬†has been the hotness ever since it released last month and¬†it’s packing the digits and numbers to prove it.¬† Combine 50’s horror and sci-fi with genetic engineering; pack it all into an expansive city on the sea floor and you have the latest in advanced fps gaming.¬† This is not a game you want to pass up.

Unreal Tournament III¬†– Hang onto your flak cannons. The Unreal Tournament series is gearing up for its next appearance, and it’s bringing the powerful new Unreal¬†engine along for the ride.¬† New weapons, vehicles and maps recharge this offering along with all new multiplayer technology.¬† I hear it’s going to be optimized for DX10 for added sweetness!

Jericho¬†is based on Clive Barker’s background in horror and thrill-packed novel writing.¬† You take command of a military tactical unit called the “Jericho Squad” that specializes in confronting paranormal threats.¬† Block by block, you lead your team through a city under supernatural siege and drive off other-dimensional forces that stand in your way.

Stranglehold¬†brings a fresh look to the John Woo style of gunplay, just like in the movie “Hard Boiled”.¬† You take the role of Inspector Tequila¬†who is¬†forced to cross the line from sworn duty to bloody revenge.¬† Engage your enemies with intense cinematic gun battles and cause massive environmental damage in real-time or revolutionary slow-motion Tequila Time.

There’s more to come, but this should whet your appetite for the time being.¬†¬† Look out next time for some info on games like Hellgate: London, Crysis, Frontlines: Fuel Of War and Heroes Of Might¬†& Magic V.

Drop a comment if you’d like to see a particular game¬†mentioned.¬† Game on!¬†

Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse Returns On Steroids

Sidewinder Mouse

What we have here is the Performance Gaming Mouse System. You heard me, it’s a ‘System’, a gaming system with performance handling and custom tuning capabilities for that finicky gamer. Get the details and overview on the MS hardware site here.

Welcome to a revolution in gaming mouse performance, handling, and custom tuning. Microsoft SideWinder Mouse introduces one-of-a-kind features like veritcal side buttons, an LCD display, and a unique shape designed for quick and super-precise action.

On Gaming System features we have:

  • The first LCD on a gaming mouse
  • Cable anchor and accessories storage box. Adjust the length of the cable
  • Quick launch button

On Performance Handling features there are:

  • Vertical metal side buttons
  • Wide Metal Scroll Wheel
  • Engineered for Speed, Shape designed for quick, balance, precision gaming action.

On Custom Tuning:

  • On-the-Fly DPI Switching
  • Adjustable Mouse Weights, select your preference for mouse weight.
  • Changeable Mouse Feet, choice of three different materials for glide preference.
  • Macro Recording, record in-game macros using a dedicated macro record button.
  • Quick Turn, check your perimeter with the click of a button.
  • 5 Programmable Main Buttons

You can pre-order on Amazon for US$79.99

Game & Game World Championship Is On

Joshua Shim from AVING, is reporting from Seoul on the first global e-sports league for massively multiplayer online games kicked off with the European match start.

GNGWC (Game&Game World Championship) is an international game competition which began in 2006 by Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA) in order to promote Korean online games throughout the World.

Last year, 1,070,000 gamers from 5 regions including Korea, Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, and America participated in this competition of three official games. This year it’s expected to be even bigger!

gngw

Who’s The Real King of ‘Kong?’

Donkey Kong

A new documentary tells the tale of two video-game champions and rivals.

Steve Wiebe’s efforts to topple Mitchell’s high score and his struggle to be recognized by his video-gaming peers is chronicled in the new film ‘The King of Kong’. which is set to release on August 17.

The film has more twists than a bag of pretzels, but the salient plot points are thus:

Wiebe started playing Donkey Kong like a madman, the audience is treated to a funny/sad scene of him ignoring his kid’s anguished cries to “Stop playing Donkey Kooooooong!!” But if you’ve seen any sports films, you know the drill: Sometimes our hero has to put his family second to achieve video-game glory.

Read the article on MSNBC.

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Dragon’s Lair On HD-DVD For Xbox

Dragons Lair
Dragon’s Lair is available today, August 15th, for HD DVD players and the XBox 360 HD DVD Add-On.

Remastered from the original film, this all new 1080p High Definition transfer is the first HD game for your HD DVD player and is is packed full of extras in full HD. Also available in Blu-ray for your PS3.

To see this video is full 1080p High Definition visit www.digitalleisure.com.

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Crayon Physics

Games

[Update: it appears Petri’s site is probably being slammed with requests and periodically offline]

Crayon Physics is a game by Petri Purho, a student attending Helsinki Polytechnic. He’s a very prolific game developer, cranking out his tenth game, each game developed in under 7 days to force him to be productive and to learn something new.

He’s looking for criticism to improve his coding skills at developing games, so help a brother geek out. Download it (5 MB), test it, give him constructive feedback.

Here’s a demo of the game via youtube.

[youtube hDwAAckxOkc]

China To Limit Teens’ Online Gaming In Favor Of Exercise

Questionable

The Chinese government has launched a campaign to limit the number of hours teenagers spend online playing games.

From MSNBC:

Under new rules that took effect Monday, Chinese Internet gaming companies must install a program that requires users to enter their ID card numbers. After three hours, players under 18 are prompted to stop and “do suitable physical exercise.

If they continue, the software slashes by half any points earned in the game. All points are wiped out if players stay on more than five hours.

PRC Cuts Skeletons From Local Version Of WoW

WoW

The operators of “World of Warcraft” in China have replaced skeletons with healthy human bodies in the local version of the online game. This is due to a recent government campaign to clean up Internet content. The PRC gov’t says this supposedly promotes a ‘healthy online culture” to protect the government’s stability.

WTF? Hacking and slashing players and other monsters is OK, but rendering some skeletons on screen is bad? Sheesh!

Link to the AP article on Wired.

Gleemax Is MySpace For Tabletop Gamers

Wizards of the Coast is in the process of creating its own social networking site dedicated to gamers of all kings. It’s called Gleemax and while it isn’t open yet, they’re answering some basic questions about the direction and scope of the portal.

Appears it’ll be geared towards gamers ranging from RPGs, TCGs, board games, turn-based, miniature war games, just about any type of tabletop game you can imagine.

Below I’ve summarized most of what’s up there to be gleaned, but if you want to check for yourself here’s direct reference links:

SUMMARY-

About the Community:

We want to give all gamers their own personal pages with tons of features that make it convenient to talk about games, find people to play games with, and get more out of the games they choose to play. We’re not just talking about Wizards of the Coast games either. We see this project as an investment in growing the entire strategy gamer culture.

About the Content:

…You can expect a ton of blogs from Wizards insiders and a real dialog between us and our fans (that would be you). And like I said before, this isn’t just about our games. It’s about all games, so you’ll be able to talk about anything you want.

About Games:

I don’t want to give too much away yet, but imagine an Indie Strategy Games Portal filled with the coolest independent games, vetted by us, and given the Wizards Seal-of-Approval for fun, strategic game-play. Then think about a Board Game Portal featuring classics from our Avalon Hill catalog, as well as new games we don’t even know about yet! Plus Magic Online and our original computer game Uncivilized: The Goblin Game (take a peek: www.wizards.com/goblinz). And that’s just a start.

 

[Found via Treasure Tables]

Monster Manual V

Monster_Manual

Monster Manual V is the most recent volume in the best-selling Monster Manual line.

It’s a 224-page D&D supplement with a fully illustrated horde of new monsters, as well as ready-to-play variations of previously existing monsters.

Also, it appears this supplement features maps of monster lairs, sample encounters, and a tactics sections to help Dungeon Masters run the more complex creatures. And many entries contain information about where monsters are likely to appear in the Forgotten Realms and Eberron campaign settings.

The Amazon price at the time of this writing is about US$23, the release date is going to be next month- July 17 2007.  

Developing Game Coders At USC

For EA and its industry brethren, USC is looking more and more like it will be an invaluable source of talent and ideas.

That’s because the university is in the process of forming what it calls the USC Games Institute, an “umbrella of activity” surrounding the research, development and design of video games that is set to encompass the various programs of study currently being held at the university’s engineering school, its School of Cinematic Arts, its Annenberg School for Communication, its Institute for Creative Technologies and its Roski School of Fine Arts.

Link to C|Net article