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New 60GB Xbox 360 announced, cheaper 20GB version in Gaming
Microsoft has announced that it willbe producing a new $349 60GB Xbox 360, and the 20 GB version that itwill slowly replace will be cut in price in the US to $299.
AlthoughUK price changes have not been published, the arrival of a new 60GBversion – giving users much more memory for things like movies,trailers and Xbox Live Arcade games – is in keeping with Microsoft'spush into downloadable content.
"We know consumers need moreand more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers,and we're giving it to them at no extra charge," said Albert Penello,Xbox director of product management at Microsoft.
"No onedevice offers the depth and breadth of entertainment that Xbox 360 candeliver, and now you'll have three times the storage to manage all thatgreat content."
What does it mean for UK?
The20GB version of the Xbox 360 – normally known as the Pro – currentsells for £199.99, and it seems likely that the news 60GB version willretail for the same price when it hits UK shelves.
This meansthat the older 20GB version will be given a price reduction, althoughit remains to be seen how close that will be to the Arcade version(with a much smaller storage capacity) which is currently priced at£159.99.
Microsoft's support of the now-failed HD DVD drive has meant a shift of focus onto downloadable HD (and SD) content.
Thesuccess of Xbox Live Marketplace has buoyed the console, and the offerof extra storage to boost these services makes a good deal of sense.


Prices for all other models remain unchanged, so that’s $279(£141/€176) for the Arcade (that’s the one with a 256MB memory card)and $449 (£226/€283) for the Elite – the flagship model with anintegrated 120GB HDD.
Although the leaked email said the new machine would be called thePro, Microsoft’s official announcement of the 60GB model didn’t use anysuch uplifting title.
The bad news is that – at least for the time being – the 60GB Xbox360 will only appear in the US and Canada when it goes on sale nextmonth.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:08 pm
Has the PC sports market has declined? in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have lured sports gamersaway from a PC market already moving towards a download model and underthreat from piracy, forcing developers to prioritise other formats.
That's the view of Peter Moore, boss of EA Sports, who outlined his views on Peter Moore's Official Blog this week.
Next-generation consoles "with their high definition graphicsand 5.1 sound capabilities have attracted millions of consumers toeschew the 'lean in' PC sports gaming experience for the 'lean back'full room console experience," Moore wrote.
                   
"Businesses have to make hard trade offs for where toinvest for the best return, thus creating capital to make even moregames," he explained. "I know this concept touches a nerve with some ofyou, but our industry is founded on publishers that have driven forfinancially-successful games and then re-invested the proceeds indevelopment of even more content for gamers to enjoy.
"It's a simple financial premise, and an obligation forpublically-traded companies who answer to their shareholders. We arenot making games in garages or bedrooms any more."
But Moore reserved his harshest criticism for the people who steal games off the Internet. "Piracy is an issue," he wrote.
"Sorry, I know many of you disagree with me on this, but thenumbers don't lie. Companies spend millions developing content, anddeserve to see a return on investment for their risk. The employeesdeveloping the game design, writing code and creating art deserve toget paid for their work. Period."
Moore's comments are particularly interesting as they come just days after Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime told Eurogamer.netthat suggestions the PC games market is in decline are "just completelydead wrong". "PC is the gaming platform with the largest installed basearound the world. It's also the platform with the best margins,"Morhaime had said.
Morhaime was reacting somewhat to similarsentiments from Valve boss Gabe Newell, whose company flew journaliststo Seattle in May from around the world to evangelise the PC as aplatform.
Quote:
"We think the number of connected PC gamers we areselling our products to dwarf the current generation of consoles puttogether," Newell had told the press on that occasion. "There aretremendous opportunities in figuring out how to reach out to thosecustomers."

For his part, Moore added that EA Sports is stillexploring options on the PC. "In order to make fundamental shifts in anecosystem, you sometimes have to hit the reset button. That's what wehave done this year at EA Sports as regards some of our franchises onthe PC," he wrote.
"That does not mean that we aren't coming backnext year with new, innovative, maybe even less-expensive ways to playall of our franchises on the PC, but for right now we are assessing allof the options open to us to shift the current paradigm for our gameson this platform," he wrote.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:52 am
Microsoft responds to Xbox 360 Elite rumours in Gaming
Microsoft has today responded to a number of misleading stories in the UK's mainstream pressearlier this week regarding alleged 'red ring' problems with the Xbox360 Elite console that have been experienced by numerous UK gamers.
Microsoft has now issued the following official response to these stories, which appeared in the Daily The Mirror and The Daily Telegraph:  
"Recentreports in the UK media regarding Xbox 360 contain inaccuracies andpure speculation, as well as news that is a year old.
"Promptedby what Microsoft viewed as an unacceptable number of repairs to Xbox360 consoles, a year ago Microsoft announced an expansion of its Xbox360 warranty. Effective 5 July, 2007, any original retail Xbox 360customer who experiences a general hardware failure indicated by threeflashing red lights is covered by a three year warranty from date ofpurchase, with all other issues remaining covered by the standardone-year warranty."
Why the red ring?
Microsoft'sofficial statement also reiterates the company's initial comments fromJuly 2007 that they had "conducted extensive investigations intopotential sources of general hardware failures," and that after"identifying a number of factors which can cause the general hardwarefailures, Microsoft has made improvements to the console."
Sowhat do those evil three red lights actually mean? Many reports seem tothink that they indicate a single overheating problem, but according toMicrosoft, this is not the case.
"The three flashing red lightserror message does not signal a single issue and can be caused by acombination of factors. For competitive reasons, we do not providespecifics about hardware components.
The statement adds: "Weencourage anyone who is experiencing issues with their Xbox 360 consoleto call the customer support centre. Our customer service team is wellequipped to ensure that all Xbox 360 repairs go smoothly."
No endemic problem
TechRadarhas contacted The Mirror, The Telegraph and a number of leading UKgames retailers to find out more on the alleged 'numerous problems'with the Xbox Elite.
Both stories quote a 16-year-old Jamie Kingfrom Sussex. If you happen to know or be that James King from Sussex,then please drop us a line to news@techradar.com and tell us more aboutthe problems you have had with your Xbox 360 Elite.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:39 am
The Independent Games Festival: A History In Press Clippings in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
So, we just launchedthe 11th Annual Independent Games Festival a few days back, as you mayrecall - with some of the topline additions including some neat newjudges and a new Innovation Award.
Anyhow, yesterday I spent much of my lazy Sunday, as Chairman of the Independent Games Festival, improving the official IGF website - and one of the neat things now fully fleshed out is a semi-canonical history of IGF press clippings on IGF.com, linking to the major press coverage of the show over the previous few years.
There's a surprisingly large amount of stuff in here, some of which you probably haven't seen - from this year's excellent 1UP.com video coverage, through Wired News covering the indies to watch, to Veronica Belmont (nowadays at Sony's Qore) chatting to IGF folks at the IGF Pavilion for Mahalo.
I also took some time to go through the Gamasutra 'Road To The IGF'features written by folks such as myself and Alistair Wallis inprevious years - there's a gigantic amount of interviews with IGFfinalists or just plain entrants to read through. And of non-associatedwebsites, GameDev.net's IGF interview coverage is the most canonical - it goes all the way back to 2002, blimey.
Anyhow, browse the giganto set of links at your pleasure, and final reminders, then - the deadline to enter the competition is November 2008, and the IGF Pavilion and Awards itself will be taking place in March 2009 at Game Developers Conference 2009 in San Francisco.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:39 am
Beijing 2008 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games in Gaming
SEGA Europe Ltd. proudly presents Beijing 2008™ - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games: Gymnastics events.
Appearing on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system fromMicrosoft®, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and PC,Beijing 2008™ delivers a host of Gymnastics events.
The Gymnastics events in Beijing 2008™ are split up into male andfemale events. One of the three female events is the Uneven Bars, wherethe player uses both analogue sticks to mimic the movement of theathlete. In the Floor Exercise, the player uses the four buttons of thecontroller to guide the player to the rhythm of the music. The last ofthe female events is the Balance Beam, in which the player needs tokeep the athlete on the beam while pressing the 4 buttons correspondingto the colour on the beam to make the athlete move.
The first of three Gymnastics Events are the Parallel Bars, in whichthe player uses the analogue sticks and buttons to complete theathlete’s routine. In the Vault, players need to build up speed withtheir lower buttons, and use the analogue trigger to launch them offthe board over the horse, while turning the analogue sticks willbalance the landing. The final male event is the Rings, in which youfollow the arm movement of the athlete with both your analogue sticks,while you make sure the landing is stable by pressing a buttoncombination that shows on-screen.
Beijing 2008™ was released globally last Friday for the Xbox 360,PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. The PC version will bereleased 11th July.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:51 am
Neopets Ambitious New MMO in Gaming
It's so early in development that it doesn'thave a name yet, but I'm already quite intrigued by the new MMO fromthe creators of Neopets.
Adam Powell and Donna Williams struck it rich with Neopets,an online virtual-pet site that grew so popular with kids and femalegamers that the pair sold their creation to Viacom in 2005 for $160million. Now, as founders of a startup called Meteor Games,they're working on something markedly different for an encore: A newMMO game that blurs the lines between traditional massively-multiplayergames, social networking, and casual gaming.
"We're World of Warcraft players ourselves," says Powell, "and wewouldn't want to compete with them. The game is really more casual --we want players to be able to play it for five, ten minutes at a time."
Imagine sitting down for a game of chess inside the 3-D virtualworld of the MMO. Your opponent is a real live person, but they'replaying the game in a simple Flash browser window, without all of thefluff around it. Or imagine playing a version of the classic cell phonegame Snake, but at the end of the game, the snake comes to life in theMMO and starts attacking enemies for you.
                                                      
Neopets,Williams and Powell readily admit, is often seen now as a child'spastime. But that game's original target audience was an older set --teens and young adults. But after the pair launched Neopetsin 1999, the game took on a life of its own and became so popular withthe younger audience that the twosome didn't want to sacrifice theintensely lucrative younger market.
The goal of their unnamed new project is to capture the traditionalgamers. The art style is going to be cartoonish, certainly, but unlike Neopets,it won't trade realism for saccharine sweetness. Instead, Williams andPowell are drawing inspiration from a litany of sources near and dearto children of the 1980's.
"It's sort of traditional high fantasy with a little bit of sci-fi,"says Powell. "It's like a lot of 80's films that we love, like Labyrinth or Legend."
"Or The Dark Crystal," adds Williams.
So then, is this game merely lifting ideas from the lucrative well of collective nostalgia to compete with World of Warcraft?Apparently not. The game itself seeks to target a demographic somewherein between the hardcore MMO fan and his 7-year-old younger sister. Theword "tween" was mentioned, though I picked up on an obvious distastefor the term.
Key to attracting this audience, say the designers, is the game'sreliance on a hybrid financing plan. Players will be required to payfor a subscription, though Powell was very quick to point out that itwon't be nearly as expensive as those of traditional MMOs, whichgenerally run in the neighborhood of $15 per month.
Instead, the stated goal is to offer players a monthly fee of under$10, making up the difference and more with the ability to buy in-gameitems with small microtransactions. But kids with more pocket moneywon't be able to power up for cash.
"We are strongly against letting players buy an advantage," saysPowell. All of the microtransactions, he says, will augment theplayer's looks, not powers: New houses, new clothes, new pets.
And yet neither subscriptions nor microtransactions are anything newin the world of online gaming, so what sets this unnamed MMO apart fromthe rest of the pack? Synergy. Don't worry, they didn't actually dropthat buzzword during our conversation, but after describing the way thegame would span several different platforms in real time, there simplyisn't a better word for it.
As an example, Powell detailed one possibility, involving a simplegame of chess. At launch, the game itself will span both a traditionalMMO client as well as a social-networking website, and that simple gameof chess can be accessed through either, he explained.
Let's say one player is sitting inside the MMO. He's at a table inhis own fully 3-D virtual house and in front of him is a chessboard. Hemoves a pawn, waits, and the opposing side moves against him. Onlyinstead of challenging another player within the MMO, he's playingagainst someone who is playing chess via a simple Flash applicationembedded into the website. Each of their moves is relayed to oneanother in real-time, and both receive certain levels of virtual rewardfor the activity.
To explain how the reward system would work for someone interactingwith the MMO from the outside, Powell offered another example the grouphas planned for the title.
Remember Snake? That game where you maneuver a squigglyline around a board to collect pellets in the hopes of extending yourline's length? If you don't recall, check your cell phone. I guaranteeit's on there. The new MMO's website will have a Flash game similar to Snakebuilt into it. Instead of simply hoping for a high score, playersmaneuver the snake around the board in a hunt for pellets with theultimate goal of making the snake come to life.
Once you've collected enough points in the Flash game, your snakewould spawn within the 3-D MMO world and start attacking foes on yourbehalf, earning experience points for you whenever it successfullykills something.
Besides the basic versions of the mini-games, the social networkingsite will also contain your standard sort of Facebook-styled features.It's unclear how in-depth the system will be, but expect messaging,friends lists and everything you've come to love and/or loathe from theMySpaces of the world.
At launch the game's technology blending will only stretch as far asthe MMO itself and its official site, but the duo also plans toeventually roll out cell phone software that works with the system.Powell and Williams said that they have not yet decided how the phoneswould be implemented into the overall world, but giving players thechance to interact with the game while away from a computer is the sortof idea that could result in unforeseen levels of MMO addiction anddevotion.
Normally I'd be very cynical about a game relying so heavily on thissort of technological confluence -- particularly given thehyper-adorable, kid-centric current state of Neopets -- but assuming that these creators can actually deliver on the ideas they have for this game, it could be huge.
Of course, since the game is extremely early in development, no oneoutside of the 40 people on the development team will be playing it anytime soon. Powell and Williams say that they hope to publicly demo thetitle for the first time at Penny Arcade Expoin Seattle this August. If things go well, they plan on releasingsomething playable, whether it be the final game or a public beta, inearly 2009.




Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:14 am
Nikon launches D700 - technology used in D3 in Film, Photography, Digital Animation, Broadcasting / Production
While there's been rumours surrounding the D700 for some time now, at a press event in London yesterday, with TechRadarpresent, Nikon finally confirmed it is to release the D700 andexplained how it fits into the company's expanding DSLR portfolio.
The D700 is a 12MP camera that uitlises the same image quality of its bedfellow, the Nokon D3.
The12MP images come courtesy of the cam's CMOS sensor, while othertechnology taken from the D3 include the EXPEED high-speedimage-processing system, 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit processingpipeline that helps with smoothing out images when they are reproducedon a large scale.

Lightweight design
TheNikon D700 is a lightweight and durable camera that builds on the workdone by the company with the D3, but achieves it with a smaller,lighter design.
Working in low-light conditions the D700 isimpressive, shooting up to ISO 6400 and delivering virtually noise-freeimages, according to its makers.
Continuous shooting can bedone 8fps with the appropriate battery pack, while autofocus is done toprecision with a 51-point AF system.
As Nikon has made its DSLRrange easier to carry, it has taken on board that people may want toshoot in less-than perfect conditions, so the company has added a sealto the camera that protects it from moisture, dust and evenelectromagnetic interference.
The sensor is also protected withan Integrated Dust Reduction System that stops the CMOPS chip fromcoming into contact with dust and humidity.
Recognition
Oneof the newer options is the ability for the camera to recognise peopleand places and to automatically configure the controls accordingly.Included is Nikon's Scene Recognition System, and the camera will alsorecognise certain colours that can aid in faster capturing of, say,individuals at a sports event.
As with most new cameras, the D700 houses Live View, but the company has made the mode more responsive this time around.
Accordingto Nikon, you can now focus the camera while in this mode, and you canalso zoom in, which can aid in setting up the focus for your shot.
The menu system is the same as that found on the D3 and D300 so regular Nikon users will feel right at home using the camera.
TheNikon D700 is an expansion of the companies FX range and has beendesignied to sit in between the D3 and D300 in terms of technology. Thecamera is out in July at a price of £1,999.99 (body only).

Nikon D700 Digital SLR Packs Powerful Punch PC World
Nikon debuts D700, full frame for the midrange CNET News
Nikon D700 goes official
T3, UK
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikond700/
Quote:

The introduction of Nikon's new D700 may been one ofthe worst kept secrets in an industry with more leaks than the Titanic,but it was still something of a surprise coming so hot on the heels ofthe D3 and D300. Essentially a D3 shrunk down and squeezed into a bodyroughly the same size as a D300, the D700 is Nikon's first 'compact'professional SLR, and seems designed to go head-to-head with whateverCanon has up its inscrutable sleeve to replace the EOS 5D.

Theimaging side of the D700 is pretty much the same as the D3; it sharesthe acclaimed 12.1MP full frame ('FX') sensor and has the sameprocessing engine, so we would presume output to be almost identical.The main differences (aside from being considerably smaller) arephysical; there's a different shutter (good for 150,000 exposuresrather than 300,000 on the D3), different viewfinder prism (with 95%coverage) and a slower burst rate. You also lose the rear LCD infopanel (there's no room for it) and one of the D3's two CF card slots,but you do get a couple of extra features to soften the blow slightly;most notably a self-cleaning sensor and a built-in flash. We'll look alittle more in-depth at the differences between the D3 and D700 in amoment.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:55 am
Top 10 most vital people-powered technologies - FEATURE in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Linux
Thedaddy of people power, this open source operating system owes prettymuch everything to the massive community of users and developers who'vebuilt it, broken it, put it back together again and added all sorts ofgoodies.
The penguin logo unites a truly incredible group oftalented people, from driver developers to desktop designers, advocatesto application builders.
Firefox
Even people who think that Linux is a character in the Peanutscartoon know about Firefox. What makes it special isn't the open sourcecommunity that created and maintain it, however; It's the efforts ofthe developer community whose extensions make Firefox the Swiss ArmyKnife of the internet.
Whether you want to block annoying ads,keep track of interesting sites or just stay up to date with footieresults from around the world, if you can imagine it, there's almostcertainly an extension that does it.
Half-Life 2
This month we've mostly been playing Minerva, Adam Foster's excellent mod for Half-Life 2 (http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/MINERVA). Modders have been creating new stories since the days of Doom, and a quick look around Moddb (www.moddb.com) uncovers stacks of mods for your favourite PC games.
Smartdevelopers - such as Half-Life's Valve - know that mods make theirgames even more attractive, so the firms make modding as easy andaccessible as possible.
Xbox
Is your original Xbox gathering dust in the loft? Why not dust it down and turn it into a fully-fledged media centre?
While Microsoft blabs about the 360's multimedia features, the talented team at the Xbox Media Center project (www.xboxmediacenter.com)can turn an ageing original Xbox into a multimedia marvel (although ifyou don't fancy modding your console, steer clear - XBMC only works onhacked machines).
Job done, they're turning their attention to other platforms: a Linux version of the software is in development.
TiVo
Thecommunity that's sprung up around the TiVo digital video recorder(www.tivocommunity.com) is a thing of wonder, with users offering eachother advice, commenting on the company and fiddling with its products- often in ways that would give film and TV studios heart attacks.


       
While TiVo claims not to encourageor discourage the hacking community, it's pretty obvious that thehacking community makes the product even more attractive to tech-heads- and hackers' ideas often turn up in the official product, such aswhen the community found and fixed a date problem in older TiVo boxes.
iPhone
iPhonehackers aren't just trying to free the phone for use on any network.They've found ways to turn your existing tunes into ringtones withoutpaying for them all over again, created all kinds of add-onapplications and best of all, found a way to change the truly horriblefont on the Notes screen.
PlayStation Portable
Sonydoesn't like it - recent firmware updates mean that unless you've gotan older PSP, your options are limited - but thanks to Homebrew (www.psp-homebrew.eu)you can add all kinds of goodies to the device. There are loads,including customisers, emulators, chat programs and GPS software.
Overclocking
Changingchips' clock speeds and hoping they wouldn't set your house on fireused to be a shadowy pursuit that tech firms frowned upon. Thenhardware firms realised that overclockers had money as well as PCs toburn.
Now, motherboard makers often provide everything a speeddemon needs, either in the motherboard BIOS or on the driver CD, andgraphics card firms are keen too. For example, ATI actively encouragesoverclockers to ramp up their Radeons.
Windows Media Center
Microsoft'smedia system is pretty nifty, but it's niftier still when you tweak ituntil it squeaks. Microsoft knows this, which is why it happily linksto two independent community sites: the Media Center-specific GreenButton (thegreenbutton.com), and the general audio-visual AVS Forum(www.avsforum.com/avs-vb).
The software giant also has its own community site (www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/communities/mediacenter.mspx), where media center experts share their top tips.
Web apps
Firms who make it easy to interact with their online apps have createda massive community of developers. Google Maps has been adapted toprovide maps of speed cameras (http://spod.cx/speedcameras.shtml) and to create flight simulators (http://www.isoma.net/games/goggles.html), while keen developers have created software for apps such as Google Mail and Flickr.
You'll also find useful and useless apps alike on social networks such as Facebook.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:31 am
[DEBATE] Should Rockstar's Sam & Dan Houser be Knighted? in The Great Debates!
There's a fascinating piece on Develop today.
Writer Owain Bennallack speculates whether Rockstar founders and Sam and Dan Houser might someday be knighted.
Whilethe Housers are pariahs to some for the GTA series' edgy content, theircultural and economic impact is undeniable. It certainly wouldn't bethe first time that the passing of the years transformed British badboys into royal honorees.
Here's Bennallack:

They’vefought the law, Jack Thompson, and the British tabloids. With theircomrades at Edinburgh’s Rockstar North they’ve upped the ante with eachsuccessive GTA, creating landmark games with ever more wit, élan,action and emotion...

...the establishment eventuallyco-opts any superstar bad boys who haven’t died in their own vomit,overdosed on narcotics, outlived their legends or crashed a lightaircraft into some Caribbean outcrop.
I mean the inevitable coming of Sir Sam Houser, or Dan Houser OBE..

GrandTheft Auto IV caps a body of work that is culturally and commerciallysignificant enough to warrant official recognition... The playfulnature of GTA IV is also why today’s rote moral outrage will eventuallybe no impediment to the Housers getting their high society dues. It’shard to appreciate now that rock music once shook society, but it did,and decades later Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney picked up theirknighthoods regardless...


Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:25 am
Official: Windows 7 date is confirmed (Windows Vienna) in Microsoft / Windows
Bill Gates may have only just saidhis goodbyes, but the Microsoft machine keeps on running with thecompany announcing information about the release of Windows 7.
Thepaint may not have even dried on the Windows that is Vista, but itseems that Microsoft is already looking to launch its successor withinthe next two years.
In a letter to enterprise and businesscustomers on Tuesday, vice president of Microsoft Bill Veghte announcedthat the approximate launch date for Windows 7 is January 2010.
Seventh heaven
Inthe letter, Veghte wrote: "Our plan is to deliver Windows 7approximately three years after the January 2007 general availabilitylaunch date of Windows Vista.
"You've also let us know you don'twant to face the kinds of incompatibility challenges with the nextversion of Windows you might have experienced early with Windows Vista.
"Our goal is to ensure that the migration process from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is straightforward."
Well,if Intel is anything to go by, it won't be the migration from Vista toWindows 7 that will be the problem, it will be the migration from XP toWindows 7 that most computer users will be worried about.
  
Milestone 1
The first known build of Windows 7 was identified as a "Milestone 1(M1) code drop" according to TG Daily with a version number of6.1.6519.1. It was sent to key Microsoft partners by January 2008 in both x86 and x86-64 versions. Though not yet commented on by Microsoft, reviews and screenshots have been published by various sources.The M1 code drop installation comes as either a standalone install or one which requires Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, and creates a dual-boot system.
On April 20, 2008,screenshots and videos of a second build of M1 were leaked with aversion number of 6.1.6574.1. This build included changes to WindowsExplorer as well as a new Windows Health Center.
A standalone copy of build 6519 was leaked initially to private FTPsby BETAArchive on June 10, 2008, which quickly spread to many torrenttrackers.


Later builds
According to TG Daily article of January 16, 2008, the Milestone 2(M2) code drop was at that time scheduled for April or May of 2008. User interface appearance changes are expected to appear in later builds of Windows 7.
Milestone 3 (M3) is listed as coming in the third quarter, with the release to manufacturing in the second half of 2009. The release dates of a beta version and a release candidate are "to be determined".
Bill Gates commented in a press conference in April 2008 that a new version [of Windows] would come "in the next year or so".According to additional clarification by Microsoft, he was onlyreferring to availability of alpha or beta versions of Windows 7.


Unveiling
The Windows 7 user interface was demonstrated for the first time at the D6 conference during which Steve Ballmer acknowledged a projected release date of late 2009.The build of Windows 7 that was on display had a different taskbar thanfound in Windows Vista, with, among other features, sections dividedinto different colors. The host declined to comment on it, stating "I'mnot supposed to talk about it now today".
Features
Windows 7 has reached the Milestone 1 (M1) stage and has been made available to key partners.According to reports sent to TG Daily, the build adds support forsystems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards and a new versionof Windows Media Center New features in Milestone 1 also reportedly include Gadgets being integrated into Windows Explorer, a Gadget for Windows Media Center, the ability to visually pin and unpin items from the Start Menu and Recycle Bin, improved media features, a new XPS Viewer, and the Calculator accessory is multi-line featuring Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion.
Reports indicate that a feedback tool included in Milestone 1 lists some coming features: the ability to store Internet Explorer settings on a Windows Live account, updated versions of Paint and WordPad, and a 10 minute install process. In addition, improved network connection tools might be included.
A new feature in build 6574, Windows Health Center, allows the user to monitor all of their PC's health problems, and concerns in one place. It allows turning User Account Control on and off, and monitoring 3rd party anti-virus programs, firewalls, etc.
In the demonstration of Windows 7 at D6, the operating systemfeatured multi-touch, including a virtual piano program, a directionsprogram and a more advanced paint program.
Windows Server 7
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:43 am
Jumpgate Beta taking orders now in Gaming
Codemasters Online has confirmed that the beta test for MMO Jumpgate Evolution is now taking submissions.


Developed by NetDevil, Jumpgate is asequel to Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative. It's a space combatonline game that sounds a little like Eve Online. Trading, raiding andexploration will play a massive part of life inside the world.

To sign-up, check out the official website and go to the beta section. Below are some screenshots from the game, too.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:35 am
First CoD: World at War screens in Gaming
Call of Duty: World at War is a first-person shooter video game under development by Treyarch and published by Activision for the Playstation 3, Wii, Windows, and Xbox 360. It is the fifth installment in the Call of Duty video game series, excluding expansion packs.It is scheduled to ship before the end of Activision's 2009 fiscal year.The game is set in the Pacific theater and Eastern front of World War II.

After various leaks and grubby magazine scans, we have here the first official screenshots of Call of Duty: World at War.

As you'd expect from the CoD series,there's plenty going on in them - buildings on fire, smoke and hazeeverywhere, and you even get a glimpse of the lethal-looking flamethrower in the WWII-set shooter.

And, running on the CoD 4 engine, it all looks very nice, too. Check out this huge preview for all the info, and take a look at this interviewwith senior producer Noah Heller and creative lead Rich Farrelly tofind out why Treyarch is confident it's latest effort will live up toCoD 4.

Oh, and there's a trailer right here too, in case you missed it.
It surprised precisely no one when Activision last month revealed plans for yet another game in the publisher's popular Call of Duty franchise, though until now details have been kept just beyond our line of sight. Now new scans lifted from the latest issue of the UK's Official Xbox Magazine have confirmed earlier rumors that the series' fifth installment, apparently dubbed Call of Duty: World at War,will be handled by developer Treyarch, and that the game's previouslyteased "new military theater" will again drop players behind enemylines in a battle for the Pacific during World War II.

Accordingto the article, Treyarch aims to "explore the darkest corners of WWII,"giving the military shooter more of a survival horror flavor by"tackling darker themes" and pitting players against a "new, seeminglyalien fighting force." Activision has yet to officially announce Call of Duty: World at War, though it seems clear that we'll be trading in our guided anti-tank missiles for submachine guns sooner than we'd like.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:29 am
Playboy girl pwns original Wii girl in new official videos in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
When Wii Fit girl did her 3 million hits thang, somehow I knew this was coming down the pike.

Everybody has seen the Wii Fit Girl video by now. The video went viraland 3 million viewers were hitting that …. Well, you could havepredicted that Playboy's Jo Garcia wasn't going to let that go withouta challenge. She's the Cyber Girl of the Year for 2008, after all.She's got a reputation to maintain. So she did her own Wii Fit video.



Because Playboy is the home of Jo Garcia, the Cyber Girl of the Year for 2008 and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable gamer herself.And not only does she have noooo problem wearing much less than naughtylibrarian glasses and panties, Playboy also has muuuuuch better videoequipment and editing.


The link is to a version that, while probably NSFW, is non-nude andwon't get you arrested. I can vouch for the fact there is a toplessversion out there too, and let's just say she sticks the landing in theski jump. I'm sure the intrepid amongst you can find that, I won't beproviding it here, aside from the screen shot above.
The Perfect Fit

http://videoarticles.playboy.com/?fr_story=ec49c46aa27df3061f2978
a400845021b089030a&rf=bm

2008 Cyber Girl of the Year Jo Garcia test-drives the Wii Fit in this sexy yoga workout video.          
          See Jo nude in the Cyber Club >>

Jo Garcia is an American adult model. She was Playboy's Cyber Girl of the Year for 2008. It was revealed to the public from an interview with Kotaku that she is also an avid gamer listing favorites such as the Radiata Stories, Xenosaga trilogy and up to "100 hours into FFXII"

Jo Garcia said she has a DS and a PSP, wow nice! She also said shelikes to bring those with her around just like ipod, and when peopleask her why she is still playing games, "whats wrong with playinggames?" was her answer. Nice! tell them about games girl!
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:05 pm
Need For Speed Undercover 2009: Based on 'The Transporter' in Gaming
The next Need for Speed game from EA will be titled Need for Speed Undercover, EA boss man John Riccitello has confirmed.

Little-to-nogameplay details were revealed when we contact EA, but Riccitello didreveal during a recent speech that the game would feature a "verystrong mission structure", and an embedded storyline, according tovarious reports.


The Transporter,  film (directed by DOA: Dead or Alivevisionary Corey Yuen) focused on an ex-Special Forces op played byactor Jason Statham. As a "transporter" for hire, Statham's characterwould accept cash to transport "goods," no questions asked. The resultwas a lot of fast action and s**t exploding, which would be a newdirection for EA's Need for Speed series.
No word on whatplatforms the game will land on, but you can pretty much guarantee thatif you own it, EA's making the game for it. Need for Speed: Undercover is said to be available in 2009.

Riccitello also admitted that the previous game, Pro Street, wasn't quite up to scratch (as this review will tell you),but to make sure that doesn't happen again, he went on to reveal thatthe series has been shifted over to a two-year development cycle, whichhas two separate teams working to release games biannually.
Just as Pro Street tried to take theseries in a new direction, Undercover is expected to try new thingswith the franchise too, but our EA contact declined to reveal anyfurther info, other than that more details will be revealed soon.Obviously.

No platforms were specified, so we'll assume it'll be on everything. Absolutely everything.



IGN Story



Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has stated Undercover has a considerably longer development cycle than its predecessors since the Need for Speeddevelopment team now is split up into two teams, both of which willwork on a 24 month development cycle with future titles, alternatingreleases between them. When this change was implemented in mid-summer 2007, one team started working on Undercover (giving it only a 16.5 month development cycle), while the other team finished ProStreet (the previous release) and then started working on the next title in the series (coming out in 2009),which will have a full 24 months. He also confessed to "torturing" thedevelopment team in the past, discouraging innovation and admitted thatProStreet "isn't good" and he is confident Undercover will be much better.
Riccitiello also stated Undercover is taking inspiration from action films such as The Transporter, with a large embedded narrative.

Official NFS franchise website
Posted by Editorial Team Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:00 pm
Age of Conan: iVirtua Review, Analysis and Videos in Gaming
Based on the books rather than the Schwarzenegger films, Age of Conanis a violent, massively multiplayer online game (MMO). Think World ofWarcraft with sharper swords and bigger breasts. The game leads yougently into the action and even allows you to learn the ropes in asingle-player environment before braving the multiplayer wilds. Andexperienced players get to build, or conquer, opponents' castles andkeeps. But the real innovation is the combat which, unlike most MMOs,involves reflexes and timing. The game looks mightily pretty; prepareto gawp at a sunset or distant mountain. But this graphical opulencecomes at a price, with loading screens a far-too-common annoyance.Worse, these breaks in play make the world feel less like a coherentwhole, lessening the feeling of immersion that games like WoW and Lordof the Rings Online engender so effectively. But assuming you have apowerful PC - which is essential for this game - Age of Conan is worthvisiting.

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is a fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by the Norwegian computer, video game developer company Funcom for PC and the Xbox 360. The game launched at 9 p.m. (GMT) on May 17, 2008in a limited way, being available to those who had pre-ordered the gameand registered for early access. The full release of the game for NorthAmerica was May 20, 2008 and for Europe May 23, 2008 for the PC version.The Xbox 360 version is scheduled to be released a year after the PC release.

After a long build up, including an eight-week delay to apply the finalpolish, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (AoC) has been launched.



is it finally a game that takes on WoW?

iVirtua Full coverage
Also
Guild Wars hits 2 million sales worldwide

DreamWorld Engine
The DreamWorld graphics engine was developed by Funcom circa 2000. Other computer games powered by DreamWorld technology include Anarchy Online and its various expansion packs. When Funcom began developing Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures,the company reviewed its existing technology base and decided to focuson the further evolution of their proprietary DreamWorld engine asopposed to licensing a third-party engine like many online RPGcompanies do. As such, Funcom began to retool their engine with theoverall design, pipeline and implementation process was taken intoaccount. In light of these changes, the DreamWorld engine has beenrebuilt for Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures with new features, special effects and optimizations.[30]

"Real Combat"
"Real Combat" is being touted by Funcom as a revolutionary approachto combat in online RPGs where the player is in direct control of thecharacter's weapon strikes in real time. This multi-point melee andranged combat system is purportedly easy-to-learn and is one of theprime attractions of the title. Allegedly, the "Real Combat" systemwill take the ritualized combat experience previously found in onlineRPGs in a new direction. For this system, Funcom has also added aspectssuch as formation combat, mounted combat, siege combat and hive combat.[31]

Cheetah
Cheetah is a shader-oriented proprietary render engine re-written from scratch by Funcom featuring a phong per pixel lighting system. This engine allows for improved graphics and ambience. This is coupled with a trapezoidal shadow system, an in-house system developed by Funcom that allows all objects to cast shadows onto everything.[32]

Perlin noise-based cloud generating system
Perlin noise-based cloud generating system is a five-layered procedural system that enables multiple layers of dynamic clouds; thus, visually-realistic cloud behavior.[33]

SpeedTree
SpeedTree is a programming package produced by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. (IDV) that aims to produce high-quality virtual foliage in real time, suitable especially for video gamesbut also aimed to a lesser extent at some other kinds of simulations.It has so far been licensed to a substantial number of video gamedevelopers, including developers of the Unreal engine series. SpeedTree is currently being used in several games, including (but not limited to) the MMO action game World War II Online and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.[34]

DirectX 10
"Funcom is proud to be one of the few developers who is tapping intothis technology, and we look forward to showing you even more of DirectX 10. Some of the improvements visible in the videos and the screenshots are improved parallax mapping, better lighting and more advanced shadows technology."[35]The game did not include support for DirectX 10 at the time of launch.DirectX 10 features are now slated to be premiered at the GamesConvention in Leipzig in August 2008.
Pre-Launch acclaim
During the past several years, Funcom has twice previewed Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3,and the product has received various critic awards for thesedemonstrations. The following information is a partial listing of thoseawards.
E3 2005

  1. GameSpot Editors' Choice Winner
  2. IGN.com Runner-Up Best of E3
  3. GamersInfo.Net Editors' Choice
  4. Gamezone Best of E3 Award


E3 2006

  1. GameSpot Editors' Choice Winner
  2. IGN.com Best of E3 Winner
  3. GameSpy: MMO Game of Show
  4. Yahoo! Games Best MMOG


E3 2007

  1. IGN.com Best of E3 Winner
  2. GameTrailers Best RPG Nominee
  3. WarCry MMO of the Show Nominee
  4. GC 2007: Best online game


2008

  1. MMORPG.com Most anticipated game of 2007

Posted by Editorial Team Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:22 pm
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