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Blizzard Pays Generous Bounty for Original Starcraft "Gold Master" Source CD

It's never fun to be contacted by a legal department and be told that something you bought online is not rightfully yours. Still, this occasionally does happen in the case of intellectual property that has been misplaced and is not supposed to be resold. Example: The case of Reddit user Khemist49, who found himself in possession of a CD-ROM claiming to be the original source code for the game "StarCraft." Where did he get said disc? A box of "old Blizzard-related stuff" he bought on Ebay in April. Thinking he had something special, he posted on Reddit asking what to do with it.

StarCraft Available For Free From Blizzard, Nearly 20 Years After Launch

In 1998, I wasn't a StarCraft guy. My Packard Bell 486DX 8MB wonder that my parents refused to upgrade couldn't run it. That thing wouldn't do a merciful "fall-on-its-sword" act like all the other Packard Bells in the neighborhood either. The thing insisted on surviving until almost 2004 when my parents finally took it to the dump. I personally, got out of that hell in 2001 when I built my own system with an Athlon Thunderbird 1Ghz chip and a lofty 512MBs of ram, but StarCraft was never really my thing.

Now, the jokes on you, suckers, cause I can download it for free!

Unigine Announces the Superposition Benchmark - Coming Soon

Unigine has announced the impending release of a new benchmark suite, supposedly to be released at the end of 2016 (well, that ship has sailed, but the benchmark Is still coming). It features an interactive VR experience with support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The description, such as it is, reads as so:

"A lone professor performs dangerous experiments in an abandoned classroom, day in and day out. Obsessed with inventions and discoveries beyond the wildest dreams, he strives to prove his ideas.

Once you come to this place in the early morning, you would not meet him there. The eerie thing is a loud bang from the laboratory heard a few moments ago. What was that? You have the only chance to cast some light upon this incident by going deeply into the matter of quantum theory: thorough visual inspection of professor's records and instruments will help to lift the veil on the mystery."

You can check a 4K teaser of the benchmark, after the break.

Crytek's Woes Not Finished - Renowned Developer Not Paying Wages Again

Renowned games studio Crytek hasn't left the ropes yet - and the situation is again looking dire for the company. After a rough 2014 that saw multiple upcoming games being canceled (with a sequel to the graphical masterpiece Ryse being canned at this time) and employees not getting paid for months at a time, only the sale of franchises and assets (Homefront's IP to Deep Silver, for one), as well as a licensing deal with Amazon for their Crytek engine (worth $70 million), managed to save the company. At the time, employees put the blame on less than solid management decisions towards pushing the company as a free-to-play powerhouse, blaming the management for poor handling of the studio's transition towards that form of monetization. However, efforts to stay afloat seem to have been little more than a small lifeboat for the company.

Watch Dogs 2 Uses EasyAntiCheat - Monitors Systems, Potentially Prevents Modding

Watch Dogs 2 has recently made its debut, encountering both critical acclaim and inversely proportional sales - at least for now. The game features a living open world, achieving what the original promised but never delivered, with both single-player and multi-player modes being praised by their quality.

And when there is a semblance of multiplayer, there must also be an anti-cheating mechanism. Watch Dogs 2 makes use of EasyAntiCheat, which has, embedded in its TOS - and even on its features page - a field that claims "Client data analysis to identify anomalies in the game process runtime" is used to enforce it anti-cheat detection mechanisms. What it basically means is that EasyAntiCheat installs a driver in kernel mode and a service that monitors your systems' operating files (when Watch Dogs 2 is running). This mechanism is also running even when you're in single-player-only - and even offline - modes, meaning that you're not getting out of its crosshairs no matter how you are playing the game. The addition of file-integrity checks at the start of the game, so as to detect any changes to the games' files also precludes modding, with some injection-type modding also finding troubles in being able to access the game, due to it checking game memory and system memory as well. Popular applications such as Afterburner and OBS have their overlay and recording capabilities disabled, and Cheat Engine is also not working - though that just means EasyAntiCheat is doing its job.

Roccat Announces the Roccat Cross Headset

ROCCAT is proud to announce its newest multi-platform headset, the Cross. Equipped with large 50mm neodymium magnet drivers, the ROCCAT Cross packs studio-grade sound into an elegant lightweight package, coming in at just 200 g. The earcups are made of memory foam, which adapts uniquely to each wearer, and the drivers are perfectly aligned to the ear, providing maximum comfort and top notch immersive sound experiences everywhere you go. Cross delivers superior audio quality, not only in games, but also in music, film and voice communications.

The headset comes with two interchangeable cables that are optimized for PC gaming or mobile use, with an anti-tangle deployed in both. Designed with comfort in mind, it's truly a multi-platform headset that can be taken with you everywhere. The ROCCAT Cross hits stores on December 8th and will be available for €/$69.99.

NVIDIA Announces Watch_Dogs Bundle

Destructoid calls it one of the "most wanted games of 2014." CNET said it was "one of the most anticipated games in recent memory." MTV said it's one of the "Can't-Miss Video Games of 2014." This, all before anyone out there has even played it.

So, starting today, gamers who purchase select NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN, 780 Ti, 780, 770, 760, 690, 680, 670, 660 Ti and 660 desktop GPUs can get their chance to play Watch_Dogs, the new PC game taking the world by storm and latest masterpiece from Ubisoft.

AMD Energizes "Never Settle Forever"

AMD today announced a refresh of "Never Settle Forever", the popular game bundle program for AMD Radeon products. Starting today, the "Never Settle Forever" promotion will be available to a wider range of AMD Radeon graphics cards, spanning the R7 Series graphics to the ultra-enthusiast AMD Radeon R9 295X2 graphics card. For the first time ever, the "Never Settle Forever" program will be rolled out to AMD's entry-level graphics products: the AMD Radeon R7 250X, R7 250 and R7 240 GPUs.

AMD's "Never Settle Forever" is dedicated to letting gamers select from a strong line-up of in-demand games as a reward for choosing AMD Radeon graphics. Users will receive up to three choices of free games when they redeem their AMD Radeon Reward coupon. The actual number of available choices will vary by Rewards tier: Gold, Silver or Bronze.

NVIDIA Springs Ahead with New GeForce Game Bundles

Tired of shoveling snow? Want to beat the winter blahs? How about ushering in the start of spring with two new exciting game bundles from NVIDIA? Starting today, gamers who purchase select NVIDIA GeForce GTX desktop GPUs and GeForce GTX-powered notebooks can take advantage of two new bundle offerings, a redeemable code for DAYLIGHT or $150 of in-game currency for Heroes of Newerth, Path of Exile, and Warface.

DAYLIGHT, a procedurally-generated psychological thriller from Zombie Studios, is also the world's first game built on Unreal Engine 4. Featuring NVIDIA PhysX technology for an interactive, immersive nightmare, DAYLIGHT will scare the pants off you as you explore an abandoned hospital with only your cell phone for illumination. Purchasers of GeForce GTX TITAN graphics cards, as well as GTX 780 Ti, 780, 770, 760, 690, 680, 670, 660 Ti and 660, will receive a redemption code for DAYLIGHT, which will be activated on April 11, 2014, the day the game launches.

NVIDIA Teams Up With Warner Bros. on Batman: Arkham Origins

NVIDIA today announced it is working with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and WB Games Montréal to make Batman: Arkham Origins, the next installment in the blockbuster Batman: Arkham videogame franchise, a technically advanced and intensely realistic chapter in the award-winning saga for PC players.

Gamers who purchase a qualifying GPU from a participating partner will receive a free PC edition of Batman: Arkham Origins, which will be released worldwide on Oct. 25, 2013.

Razer's Crowdsourcing Approach is Back with Razer Comms

Razer, the world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, software and systems, announced today the first update to Razer Comms, its all-in-one communications solution for gamers, based on a public user poll. Following a large crowdsourcing initiative that drew feedback from more than 10,ooo users, Razer is introducing a new file transfer feature for Comms's burgeoning user base. At the same time, the company expanded the program's infrastructure with high-speed servers in eight different locations across the globe to reduce latency and improved the overall audio quality for the software, upgrading noise suppression, echo cancellation and voice volume normalization.

"We started working on Razer Comms in 2011 as a 10 percent side project of sorts, mostly during lunch breaks, for our own personal gaming use," said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director. "Razer Comms now has a dedicated team of experienced software engineers at its helm. The number of patches and feature additions that we've implemented according to gamer feedback speak to this software's relevance. It is definitely here to stay? and evolve."

ASUS ROG and Ubisoft Present Digital Download Bonus Game Promotion

Welcoming the busiest time of the year for gamers, ASUS ROG is proud to offer buyers of participating products a bonus game in collaboration with Ubisoft. Select ROG motherboards, desktops, audio cards, and headsets are taking part in the promotion, as well as specific ASUS graphics cards. All deliver the best gaming hardware in their respective segments, driven by exclusive innovation and careful attention to the needs of gamers. As the leading makers of performance PC gaming hardware, ROG and ASUS offer superior products now made even better with attractive bonus games from one of the largest video game publishers.
World's leading gaming gear now bundled with best-selling and innovative games

The exclusive campaign adds further incentive to invest in the best. Participating products include select ROG motherboards, desktops, audio cards, and headsets, plus several ASUS graphics cards. All bear the ROG and ASUS passion for top-echelon performance, aggressive design, and gamer-focused features. Customers receive an exclusive Ubisoft digital game download code, which can be used at the ASUS UBIShop promotion page to redeem one of the five games specified in this press release. The promotion and its dedicated page will go live October 31, 2012.

MSI Offering Free Assassin's Creed III Download with GeForce GTX 650 Ti Cards

Leading mainboard and graphics card maker MSI is now offering the full version of the latest "Assassin's Creed III" game for download with every GTX 650 Ti graphics card (N650TI PE 1GD5/OC and N650Ti-1GD5/OC). The new game from Ubisoft has been for three years in development. The new game engine delivers revolutionary visual effects, realistic character models and advanced computer AI to take the Assassin's Creed series to new and stunning heights. Assassin's Creed III is set against the American War of Independence. History takes a different turn here with all new heroes, a wide array of gaming elements and life like scenery.

When combined with the extraordinary performance of the GTX 650 TI, the player can take the role of a master assassin and fight their way through the revolutionary battlefields. Along the way, they will witness the truth behind the conspiracy of the American War of Independence, explore the realistic Colonial world within the game and experience the smooth combat effects.

Club 3D Introduces Sleeping Dogs Game Bundle

Club 3D, a worldwide supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, unveils today the latest addition to its already impressive game bundle line up, the action-adventure game Sleeping Dogs. Starting today Club 3D is bundling game vouchers of the Sleeping Dogs game for free with its Radeon HD 7800 Pokerseries and Radeon HD 7900 Pokerseries graphic cards, adding 50 Euro of great value to the already amazing bundle of the Club 3D Radeon HD 7000 Pokerseries.

About the Game
When the game begins, you're ready to strike down enemies within the Triad organization. Because you are serious about gaming. Because Club 3D is serious about graphics. And because we, like you, never settle for less than the best of the best.

Black Mesa Coming September 14

After eight years in limbo the complete fan remake of the original Half Life game using the Source engine will finally be released. The remake will come with all the bells and whistles you have come to expect from the Source engine, including new textures, lighting effects and yes even new sounds. The only thing missing from the remake will be the "Xen" section of the game. The project lead 'cman2k' said that they are going to be releasing it later this year. They are making the "Xen" section of the game into its own expansion with new dialog added. You can already download the soundtrack here and the rest of the remake on September 14.

Source: Shacknews

Day Z Mod To Go Stand-Alone This Year

The Day Z mod for ArmA 2 has been a runaway hit, boosting ArmA 2 sales and raising its profile among PC enthusiasts. The mod team has been open with its plans to spin off into its own stand-alone game, but it sounds like that's happening sooner than expected. Modder Dean Hall told VG247 that making it a stand-alone product could happen "certainly before Christmas," but that will rely on reaching an agreement first. Apparently he has entertained offers, but felt they were based on the mod's rocketing success rather than an understanding of the game.

"We're really on borrowed time," he said. "I want to see it become a standalone game, following the Minecraft model of a low price point, but that will only work if we say that everyone is going to pay, and in order for people to not feel ripped off we need to have a load of new content; so, things like base-building, tidying and cleaning up animations and add ragdoll physics as the like."

Source: Shacknews

AMD Gaming Exec Departs Chip Maker for Rival NVIDIA

The executive overseeing Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s (AMD) relationship with videogame-console makers has left the company to join rival NVIDIA, taking with him years of experience in the competitive field. Bob Feldstein, who joined AMD when the company acquired graphics-chip maker ATI in 2006, has taken on the role of vice president of technology licensing at NVIDIA. He most recently served as AMD's corporate vice president of business development and also led the company's Boston Design Center, which focuses on design engineering for AMD's various chips.Source: The Wall Street Journal

OUYA: A Hacker-Friendly Android Console

A new Kickstarter project is making waves, by proposing an open-source, hacker-friendly platform using Android as its backbone. "OUYA" merges the "satisfying" experience of a console with the developer-friendly nature of the Android marketplace. The project is seeking nearly a million dollars in funds, but it's already managed to reach more than half its lofty goal within just a day. The project's goal is $950,000, a figure it's likely to hit. It's been less than a day, and it's hit more than $590,000. That's no doubt because the higher dollar amounts, $95 and $99, offer the console itself as a reward. So far, the project hasn't outlined any stretch goals, but they seem likely. The funding will go towards converting the prototype to production models with approvals from regulatory agencies, development kits, production orders, and possibly some first-party game development. It also claims that games will be required to offer a free element, be it a demo or the full game with microtransactions. OUYA has already specified its technical specs, including a Tegra3 quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of flash storage, an HDMI connection, and Android 4.0. The controller looks fairly standard for consoles, with eight action buttons, two analog sticks, a D-pad, and the addition of a touch pad.

Source: Shacknews

Battlefield 3 Getting Arranged Matches

To give the Battlefield 3 competitive scene a helping hand, DICE is working on a new 'Matches' feature that lets players set up and schedule closed servers for their bouts. It'll all run through the Battlelog, but you'll need to be renting a dedicated server. "Players will be able to coordinate Matches for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 through the Battlelog," community manager Ian Tornay explains on the Battlefield blog. "To coordinate a Match a player must be actively renting a dedicated server. Once a dedicated server has been selected the Match host can set the Match name, start time, game mode, team size, and map rotations." You can also set rosters, so only certain players are allowed in. Then there are options to tweak and fiddle with settings from friendly fire and available unlocks to health regeneration and squad leader spawning.

There's no word yet on when the Matches feature will launch.

Source: Shacknews

EA Starts Medal of Honor Charity for Fallen Soldiers

EA has started a new program to generate awareness and charitable contributions to fallen Special Operations soldiers, titled "Project Honor." The program is a marketing tie-in with the upcoming Medal of Honor Warfighter, but it's also planning some smart ways to benefit military charities. Various weapon and gear manufacturers will donate to the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Their products will be featured in Warfighter, and they'll also be selling Medal of Honor merchandise with 100% of the proceeds going to one of the listed charities. In addition, EA and Danger Close will be selling a "Military Edition" of the game made exclusively for active, reserve, and former US military. It includes the Limited Edition with some exclusive unlocks. If you fit that bill, you can check out the GovX site for ordering details.

"This partnership with EA and Medal of Honor will raise awareness on the work we do to help the families of fallen Special Operations warriors and facilitate contributions that help provide college scholarships for surviving children and financial assistance to families of severely wounded special operations warriors," said Special Operations Warrior Foundation president John T. Carney, Jr., in the announcement. "This is a great way to give back to some of our country’s greatest warriors."

Max Payne 3 Multiplayer Pits Cheaters Against Cheaters

Playing against hackers and cheaters in multiplayer games is rarely fun, so now Rockstar is showing them just how it feels. It's hit upon a cruel and unusual punishment for cheaters in Max Payne 3's multiplayer: forcing them to play in a "Cheaters Pool" filled only with other hoodlums. "Anyone found to have used hacked saves, modded games, or other exploits to gain an unfair advantage in Max Payne 3 Multiplayer, or to circumvent the leaderboards will be quarantined from all other players into a 'Cheaters Pool', where they'll only be able to compete in multiplayer matches with other confirmed miscreants," Rockstar explains in a blog post. They'll also be cut from the leaderboards. Rockstar could deign to allow these rapscallions to rejoin civilised society, but will permaban them for a second infraction. Lets hope that one day all online games will adopt such measures.

Source: Shacknews

Human Head hasn't Worked on Prey 2 in Months, RUNE Sequel Possible

News that Prey 2 had not been cancelled, but rather delayed, was relieving to fans of the original. However, why has there been such secrecy surrounding the project over the last several months? According to a Shacknews source who asked not to be identified, Human Head was not happy with the terms of its contract with ZeniMax, and deliberately stopped work on the game in November so it could try to negotiate a more favorable deal. While doing that, many on the development team were laid off, with the hope they would be rehired if the contract issue was resolved favorably. The process seemed to be gathering some positive momentum until January when ZeniMax's responses all but stopped, causing some of the laid-off Prey 2 team to wonder if the game would ever see the light of day.

By March 1, the source said, things had progressed a bit, leaving the Prey 2 team hopeful that they would return to work soon. But that quickly soured the following day. The source could provide no further first-hand details after March 2. When contacted for a response, an official at ZeniMax responded that "we aren't commenting on the game's development beyond what was said in the statement that was released this morning." In light of the new information, the official stance that "the delay is due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards" seems to throw Human Head under the creative bus. With development stalled for months, it's no surprise that the game would be unable to meet so-called "quality standards."

KONGZHONG and NVIDIA Cooperate to Create PC+ Mobile Games Feast

China's leading mobile Internet company KONGZHONG Corporation and the world leader in visual computing technology industry NVIDIA officially announced the agreement on a strategic cooperation. The cooperation of the two sides in technology, channel and marketing will be implemented in PC online game and mobile online game areas.

After 10 years of development, online gaming in China has evolved into a dozen games available every day from the earlier resource-scarcity in the industry which produced dozens of games just annually. Nowadays, online game users have higher requirements on the game quality, particularly on the game's graphics and game play. They want visual effects of online games that can be compared with the graphic expressiveness of a console game.

Crysis 3 Pre-Orders Spotted with Leaked Banner

Rock, Paper, Shotgun stumbled across the German site Neogaf which leaked pre-order screens and a banner depicting the Crysis nanosuit with a bow and arrow. Which seems sort of incongruous to the nanosuit, but maybe the Strength mode will enable us to shoot arrows that fly for over 20 miles. The leaked screens show the game on Origin listed at $49.99. No other details are known at this time.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Borderlands 2 Developer Already Detailing DLC

According to Kotaku and Shack News, Borderlands 2 developer Gearbox Software is already working on DLC before the game is even released. What can you expect? A new character class. At a PAX East panel this past weekend, the developer showed conceptual images for a new Mechromancer class. The class will be available to everyone when the DLC hits 60-90 days after the game hits shelves, but it will be free to those that pre-order the game, according to Kotaku. Gearbox also detailed two special editions for the game. The first will be the "Deluxe Vault Hunters Edition" for $99, completed with a bobble-head doll of game narrator and weapons dealer Marcus Kincaid. The second will be the "Ultimate Loot Chest Edition," which offers a Borderlands 2-style loot chest, sans hydraulics. Finally, the Gearbox gang tossed out Easter eggs with codes inside, redeemable at a special website, that allowed attendees to compete to potentially insert their names into Borderlands 2 or Aliens: Colonial Marines as an Easter egg.

Source: ShackNewsKotaku
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