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10241  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 28, 2008, 03:23:30 AM
A little box office update. It pulled in another $75.6 million over the weekend to top the $300 million mark in the shortest time ever (surpassing Pirates of the Carribean):

While some are now speculating about it matching Titanic's numbers ( and its legendary $600 million plus mark, that's a pretty tricky thing to compare it to. Titanic released just before Christmas to fairly modest box office expectations, but it did have the advantage of releasing at a fairly dead time without much competition. I remember it having pretty spectacular legs -- I seem to recall it making more in weeks in February and March than it did in December. Nowadays some movies see their DVD release happen in that span of time.

In a way, I feel bad for Hellboy II -- which seems like a solid film that got steamrolled by TDK's success, and may not even break even in terms of its fairly modest $85 million production cost. The X-Files movie seems to have flopped, but its stingy $30 million production cost means it doesn't need to do much to recoup costs.
10242  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 27, 2008, 02:09:55 PM
I went ahead and reactivated this morning. I got a lot of patches to install, so it might be a while.

This past week's update included some really extensive changes to the graphics engine to improve performance in some cases, and just the overall look in others. I like what I've seen in the last couple of updates. If they can keep pushing more new content (like the Veloh instance and its accompanying missions), that's one thing I was griping about at the time I deactivated in April.

I'll get some screenshots up of some of the new stuff (including the Looking for Squad system) once I've got it updated and ready to go. I've switched computers/video cards since I quit this, so I'm hoping I can run it high detail now.

While I'm not quitting AoC, I've found it getting a bit tedious in the low 70s for my tastes, and while they are working on new content, I'm a little tired of having to resort to Dungeon Runners style endless hunts there to level, much of the time. Maybe I'm actually hoping dabbling in something else for a while, or in between AoC bouts, will avoid burnout.  icon_neutral

And I want my darn PAU! (Personal Armored Unit). I don't think those will get out this year though.  tear

While I was predicting Auto Assault-style Doom for TR by about this point, I think maybe slipping out of the spotlight (with AoC and others getting all the buzz, hype or doom 'n gloom stuff in the months since TR's launch) was in a way good for it. It's had time to polish up, bug fix, and finally inject some new content and PVP clan control point stuff without the glare of over-hype. One look at the "known issues" list in the latest update tells you they still have a long way to go though.
10243  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: July 27, 2008, 02:12:08 AM
If ya hadn't heard, Cryptic's help wanted ad in a game developers magazine gave away what presumably is their big announcement coming up Monday (they've had this timer running on the Champions Online site about it). It's a "fall" issue so they probably just didn't know it would release as early as it has.

If you view the PDF link that the item mentions, the Cryptic ad is on Page 44. I haven't been able to save the image or otherwise capture it. It reads:
Cryptic Studios, a leading independent developer and publisher of massively multiplayer online games, including the upcoming Champions Online and Star Trek Online, is expanding into a global marketplace and launching publishing operations around the world. We need talented people to serve our customers and build a worldwide community of Cryptic Users - do you think you have what it takes to help shape the future of MMOGs?
That's been the rumor for months, but this seems to be the first concrete evidence of it.  icon_cool

The ad's image has one that's obviously from Champions, and then there's one of some asteroid field with a planet of the background. Then up top is some sort of base in a snowy region with a snow covered background (which I guess could be from either game, but it doesn't look like the cel-shaded Champions to me, fwiw).

Presumably this isn't based on whatever Perpetual was working on, nor on the "casual ST" game that was mentioned in passing after Perpetual's demise.
10244  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 26, 2008, 04:49:07 AM
I was sifting through search engines for some more interviews, and found a pretty neat site called "Slashfilm." I would though suggest their news posters learn the values of Returns between paragraphs and stop writing their interviews likeStreamOfConsciousnessTranscriptsThatBecomeSomewhatHardtoReadKnowWhatIMean?  icon_lol

Dark Knight Cast and Crew Tease Third Batman Film
Quote from: David Goyer
“We’re not gonna tell you… other than to say that Batman has been published for 70 years. In the first movie we use Ra’s Al Ghul and The Scarecrow, who had not been in the movies before, and had not been in the sixties TV show before. And there are dozens if not hundreds of other characters that fit that bill. Everyone says its gotta be The Penguin or Catwoman [the latter is a hope of the Batman on Film webmeister - bj] … well I completely disagree.”

“I think Warner Bros would like to do another one,” Goyer admitted. “But it wasn’t until three or four months after Batman Begins had opened that Chris and I sat down and talked about another one. It was a scary proposition trying to do Dark Knight, and it’s sort of a geometrically scary proposition to try to do another one.”
I had forgotten, but back in summer/fall 2006, the scuttlebutt was that C. Nolan was supposedly going through final negotiations to direct a movie version of The Prisoner:

U reloads 'Prisoner'; Nolan to helm Peoples script
He has sounded noncommittal about it in more recent interviews, so I don't know if that deal actually went through. The guy's gotta be exhausted from TDK and all these interviews of late. I hope he and his producer wife Emma can get a nice long vacation before they tackle something else.  icon_smile
10245  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Batman: The Animated Series on: July 25, 2008, 06:57:46 PM
I picked up the new Batman: Gotham Knight anthology (it's basically 6 different animated takes on Batman, each with its own writer, director and animation style), really out of curiosity. I think the 2-disc is worth it if only because disc #2 includes four of the more memorable episodes of the early 1990s animated series.

The discs include a preview (strictly just pencil sketches and interviews with voice actors/producers) of the upcoming Wonder Woman animated movie (I think my understanding is it's a direct-to-DVD release like Marvel's various animated flicks, and shooting for a PG-13 rating). While Joss Whedon's planned live Wonder Woman movie crashed a while back, at least Nathan Fillion (Firefly series/Serenity movie) plays Steve Trevor to Keri Russell's Wonder Woman. They seem to have a really bang-up voice cast lined up, including Virginia Madsen, and Alfred Molina (so good in Spider-Man 2) as the main villain.,27038.html
Russell and Fillion worked together on the comedy Waitress (which I gave my sister-in-law as a Christmas gift last year).

Anyway, I can't seem to get the official WB site for Gotham Knight to work (it crashes both IE and Firefox when I try it), so here's the Imdb page for it:

Batman: Gotham Knight

What's my take? Mixed, but I really liked the last of the 6 short films. That one worked best for me, and left me wishing for more stories by the crew that made it. Hate to be so vague -- I'll try to watch it again and take notes this time.  icon_razz

Overall, I'd say two of the short films didn't work for me, two did (esp. the last). The one in the middle, I just found a little too dense in the dialogue department, and I don't think I was patient enough to get through it.

Although Bruce Timm (who oversaw the beloved early-mid 1990s animated series) is a producer on this, it's mostly in an anime style that you'll probably either love or hate. I just found that for me the anime look worked for me in some cases, and in others just made it look, well, too much like some funky anime series (at times I was getting Marine Boy and Speed Racer flashbacks  icon_razz) and not enough like Batman.  icon_neutral
10246  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: July 25, 2008, 05:29:13 PM has a writeup of Emmert's comments at GDC, about equally on COH/COV as much as on Champions:

I cherry picked some stuff:
Q: How did you feel about developing Marvel Universe Online when you were essentially competing against yourself -- killing your own baby?
A: Champions Online is going to be better than City of Heroes in every way, shape, and form. It's sad, but it's evolution. We're not afraid to take up the challenge.

Q: Why are you working on Champions Online instead of continuing work on CoX?
A: NCsoft didn't want to do it. They wanted to own it.
[This was opposite of how I seemed to understand it some months ago -- that Cryptic was moving on to Champions, so NCSoft formed a new studio in order that CoX wouldn't be "orphaned" without a dev, and that all but one of the CoX devs chose to move to NCSoft's newly formed studio; I guess there really are two sides to every story - BJ]

Q: What do you think about game companies shipping games early and unfinished?
A: It's all about money. You've burned so many millions and can't simply wait to turn a profit. Waiting can also date your early content -- perhaps it was originally designed with bleeding edge technology, but if you push your launch date back a year, it won't be nearly as impressive. There's also a lot of pressure from your publisher -- they're like Uncle Scrooge. You're forced to release a game when it's "good enough" rather than "perfect."
[Devs are constantly pilloried for premature MMO-releases but I venture that most of them would keep their games in beta testing forever, if it wasn't for the Mighty Publisher and/or Investors brandishing their brass knuckles behind them at a certain date in the development timeline. I guess that won't ever change, but I think most players would argue that all the ill-will that premature releases build up isn't worth pulling in revenue some months early-BJ]

The Cryptic "Timer" only has a couple of days left on their other game announcement, which most folks are assuming is Star Trek Online (or something along those lines).
10247  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight - Child Friendly? on: July 24, 2008, 05:29:05 PM
My brother took my 11 year old nephew and 13 year old niece (my sister-in-law took a pass icon_razz) to see it. His thoughts have one spoiler, so I'll use the spoiler button stuff too:
Quote from: Blackjack's 47 year old brother
I actually saw TDK with the kids...  I concur that (as the local paper's review noted) while the movie fit the PG-13
designation, and it also always managed to turn the camera away from the most torturous acts of violence, its very grim presentation and repeated allusions to torture made it a much darker film than past Batmans, even the first Christian Bale one.

The kids were okay with it, I think, but I did go out of my way to talk to them about it after viewing---you know that as torturous as some of the Joker's acts were, this was truly comic book violence, etc. 
Spoiler for Hiden:
We also talked about how good a message it was that the civilians and the prisoners totally foiled the Joker's expected punch line in the boat detonators trick.
For my part, I loved the movie, and have to say that Heath Ledger's performance far exceeds Jack Nicholson's performances of either the same role, or his much more commended rendition of the (living) antagonist in The Shining.  I really do think it was Oscar material.
10248  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 24, 2008, 05:15:25 PM
Probably only the Nolan brothers (Chris and writer Jonathan) and David Goyer *really* know what the various motivations are. Then again, probably the best kind of movie or storyline is the kind that builds up so much of its own momentum and reasons that it takes on its own life, and we (the audience) forget someone was banging away at a keyboard to think it all up. I've seen lots of forgettable comic book character-based movies that don't get that kind of discussion going. So it's nice TDK does.  icon_cool

I would love to see this on IMAX at some point. In my region though it's only playing on IMAX screens in museums where I'd have to pay obscene fees for parking. There's one new IMAX screen at a regular theater in my area but inexplicably they are playing Kung Fun Panda  saywhat on it instead of TDK (which they are showing on several regular screens). Argh.

While I'd love to see them all do another go-round with Bats, I also hope C. Nolan gets to do at least one other film (as he did with The Prestige) before returning to the character. I think that's healthy for him as a director, and the cast would have time to tackle other roles (or just take a break) before returning to it too. Working on TDK, grieving over two deaths (Ledger, and stunt technician Conway Wickliffe), and doing all the massive publicity for it has to have been exhausting for Nolan and Bale in particular.
10249  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 24, 2008, 03:00:35 PM
Maybe Gordon really did die, and the post-death Gordon is really a clone insta-created from his DNA in a Gotham lab run by Lucius Fox.  saywhat

You laugh. I guarantee that's the plot of an upcoming Batman comic issue...  icon_razz
10250  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 24, 2008, 07:27:24 AM
I hadn't visited in a bit. They talked to the couple of Funcom reps at E3. Funcom isn't doing any sort of big presentation there (I think I read they have bigger plans for the upcoming Leipzig show in Germany):

Age of Conan - E3 Update
In the content update to come, players will enjoy a new 55+ zone, Ymir's pass in Cimmeria with new architecture and graphics, a new dungeon, Thunderfalls and a high level dungeon, House of Crom.  A major makeover for the UI is expected and of course many new quests.  Both Erling and Rick agreed that the 55 – 60 game needs more content. 

“Players constantly surprise us,” said Rick.  “We found that they were doing things in their 40s that we didn't expect them to tackle until their 50s, hence we have a need to concentrate development in the 55 – 60 content right now.”

The majority of players at this time also seem to be concentrated in the 55 – 60 spread.  Erling reiterated that the original AoC team has not been moved to other projects and they are busy focusing on implementing suggestions and fixing bugs and issues brought to their attention by the players. 
What's kinda tricky is most MMOs I've played, if you tackle stuff 5-7 levels above you it's generally Doooommm. Here, esp. with certain types of classes, it's commonplace, so you do end up burning through content they maybe anticipated you would do several levels later, and then it just becomes a vicious cycle of drying up in quests once you reach the level they *thought* you would be doing stuff at. I'm running into that even at 72, in spite of there seeming to be a huge number of quests to do at that point in two different zones.

There's a brief mention of the console version:
One last note to close this out this interview of current status and future plans in AoC, players can expect the Xbox360 version of the game to launch in late 2009.  Console players will be given a choice of whether to play on a co-mingled server or on a platform specific server.
10251  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 23, 2008, 06:39:14 PM
Brighthand (which more typicall reviews PDAs and smartphones) reviewed the Wind July 16:
All all of this seems to come with a small caveat right now: horrible battery life. MSI is only selling the 3-cell version of the Wind, which averages just a hair over 2 hours of mobile use. This is unacceptable for a travel companion device. Good news is sometime in the future: a configuration will be sold with an extended battery, and early adopters should wait for it.
That seems to be the general consensus, though if you're just going to shuttle around your house with it and other places where you'll have outlets handy, it may be less of a concern.

You can of course just buy it and upgrade it later (and I guess drag the 3 cell around for emergencies, in carry-on baggage).
Another review's up at
10252  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 23, 2008, 06:18:26 PM
If you're dying for some more Watchmen movie tie-in collectibles coverage, MTV's blog has some stuff:
10253  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 23, 2008, 06:08:56 PM had a nice interview with David Goyer on Friday:
Quote from: David Goyer
And, people come up to me all the time and say, “You know, I don't like these kinds of movies but I like Batman Begins.” And some people have said that about Dark Knight and frankly, in a sense these are the clients we are making the film for. I love it when people who aren't genre fans or comic book fans say they really enjoyed the movie.
I can't always convince people of that kind of thing. Most of my co-workers roll their eyes that I saw TDK twice, and I mentioned my sister-in-law walked out on Iron Man (and on my perplexed brother, niece, and nephew) during the Afghanistan sequences (which is a shame, I think she would've enjoyed the movie).

Goyer's apparently in post-production as director on a horror movie called The Unborn. The cast includes Gary Oldman.
10254  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 23, 2008, 05:52:23 PM
Thanks for the explanations, guys. Well, maybe I'm not as bright as the rest of the audience.  icon_lol

I guess what I had reasoned to myself (if I wasn't confusing the dialogue) was that Batman/Bruce Wayne had to choose between saving his true love or the man he felt could save Gotham City and make Batman redundant. And the movie's ending (which I love) makes it clear he's willing to make a supreme sacrifice to try to save the city and protect Dent's reputation/legend. I'm pretty sure my theory was bunk though.  icon_razz

I'm glad I avoided plot spoilers and that the actors themselves didn't give things away. So Gordon's apparent death really hit me in the gut at the midnight show, his return was "whew" and then Rachel's demise hit me in the gut again (though I knew from the vague things I had read, that *someone* in "the Batman family" wasn't surviving the movie).

While it all works well, it just pains me they had to write out Rachel's character now that they had a more interesting actress playing it. I think the funny thing about Maggie Glyenhall is that when I see her in TV interviews she actually comes across as ditzy as Katie Holmes sometimes did as Rachel -- but when she's on screen, she just seems so much more believable as a tough assistant DA.
10255  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 23, 2008, 05:21:24 PM
Batman on Film noted a brief David Goyer interview (he's helped write and iron out the story for BB and TDK, directed one of the Blade movies, and I believe was up to direct The Flash, before bowing out) at MTV:

Just vague talk about themes (I doubt C. Nolan would ever talk to him again if he gave any sort of meaningful details about their thoughts on a third Batman). I'm sure Nolan would like to do something else (as he did with The Prestige) before he gives any thought to a followup.

Well, if Fear is BB's theme, and Escalation is TDK's theme, then my guess on a third would perhaps be Redemption (presumably with a rebuilt Wayne Manor and a revamped bat cave).
* I had one question about some dialogue in TDK I didn't quite understand. When the Joker tips them off about Harvey Dent and Rachel being at the two locations, I thought Gordon asks Batman, "Which one are you going after?" and it sounded like Batman says, "I'm going after Rachel!" ... and as we know, he ends up saving Dent instead. Did I mis-hear the dialogue? (Maybe he says, "You go after Rachel!") Or did the Joker trick them by lying about which person (Dent or Rachel) was at each location?  icon_confused

The Monday show, while it seemed to be at the same screen/theater I attended for the Thursday midnight show, seemd to have its music turned way too high. I had a hard time hearing the dialogue at times. It really bothered me during the very end, because I could barely hear Gordon's "narration" over the final footage (I remember hearing it more clearly at the midnight show perhaps because I was down in the 3rd or4th row in front).
10256  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight - Child Friendly? on: July 23, 2008, 05:06:14 PM
I think most 12 year olds would be fine, if attending with their parents. Especially if they're used to the fairly edgey Batman comics of today. I wouldn't under any circumstances take an 8 year old to this.

Of course, I was 8 when my mom took my 12 year old brother and me to The Exorcist in 1973. That was a big mistake as well.  icon_razz When her head spun around, I had to cover my eyes, and I got scared whenever I heard The Exorcist theme.

The thing is, I've seen far more gorier movies that I wouldn't say would be as child-unfriendly. It's just, the violence in TDK really *hurts* and a lot of people get shot in a way that is shocking. I think a lot of that both makes it groundbreaking as a "comic book movie," but also a hard-sell as far as taking a kid to see it.
10257  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 23, 2008, 01:40:20 PM
The July 23 patch added quite a few welcome things (imho), including *finally* some new content (Plateau: Velon Hollow instance, along with the new missions Village of the Damned, Ancient Mysteries, Deadly Silence, These Old Bones, Mountain Spring Toxins, Holy Vengeance, and The Better Half, obtained at New Velon Village and Wedge Rock Outpost.)

There's also a helpful Looking for Squad "ad" system:
Looking for Squad - By typing /lfs or using the radial menu you can now bring up options for creating or searching ads. You can either press the generic button which will do all the work for you, or open up the advanced options to enter the specific criteria of the group you would like to be a part of. Once you match with ads like yours via the search option, you can right click to bring down a menu to whisper, join or invite that group leader in order to merge your squads. If you wish to see in depth details about that squad and their ad, just left click the person to get more details.
10258  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 23, 2008, 01:19:49 PM
They've opened up the Collector's Edition buddy keys to give out (there's a catch though, the download of the client isn't free disgust):

Buddy keys now available
We have now opened the first part of the Buddy key program for Age of Conan! Everybody who has purchased a Collector’s Edition can now invite up to five friends, who can try the game for seven days without purchasing a retail box.

The invitation process is easy. You need to log-in to your account pages (, and choose “Buddy program”. Follow the on-screen instructions, and then write a personal message to your friends if you so desire.

We recommend that you lend your install DVDs to your buddy to get him or her ready to play as fast as possible. Alternatively your buddy will be offered a $2.99/€2.99 client download with 3 additional days of playtime to cover the download time.
While this offer is only for Collector’s Edition accounts for now, we will soon open up for the Buddy key found in the standard retail box as well.
10259  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 23, 2008, 01:15:09 PM
Supposedly Namco Bandai is trying to at least salvage Hellgate out of Flagship's mess, or something. Anyway, the Hellgate forums and servers are supposed to remain up for now:
Hello Hellgaters,

I know everyone is looking for an announcement, and we'd love to make one -- but right now, many things are in flux and we don't have all the information yet. As soon as we do, we'll post here on the forums, on the website, and anywhere else we can find you.

In the short term, please do not worry. The game is up, the servers are not going away in the short term and any major changes to status will be communicated in advance.

I'd like to ask for your patience as we try to figure it all out and chart a new course. We value your community, your commitment, and your passion for Hellgate and we will make sure that any solution that we architect will support all of you as best as we are able.

Thanks again. We hope to have a real announcement shortly.
Zack "Ozuri" Karlsson
Sr. Director, Business Development
NAMCO BANDAI Games America, Inc.
10260  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note [Updates outlook] on: July 23, 2008, 01:41:00 AM
The senior community manager Tarib gave an informal "updates outlook":

*One thing worth noting is they're going to reset the "feat points reset" counter to zero, so should you care to respect, it will be for the minimal pocket change cost you're charged the first time you do it.

Outlook on the next updates
Quote from: Tarib, senior community manager
This week’s update will be a smaller maintenance one in order for us to tidy up a couple of the issues while we work on the next larger update which is currently being tested and hopefully will be ready for the live servers next week.

Our tech team is hard at work to investigate memory leaks (like for example the issue with your map going gray) and they have made inroads on those issues, and we have found and resolved a couple with this weeks update. This is of course a process that does not end now - on the contrary. The team will keep on working hard to find the leaks that are still there so we can expect more of them to be resolved in updates to come. Finding such memory leaks is quite a tricky thing but we are making progress and the tech team is keeping the focus on this issue.

Also fixed should be the issues from last week was the behavior of caster pets as some of them were in fact quite passive after they had been summoned. Our developers have found the source of that issue and the fix for this is getting tested by QA so this week's update should resolve this issue.

Updated Information:
Unfortunately the pet fix has slipped out due to an issue with the fix that requires it to be looked into a little more. So it should hopefully be in next weeks update.

Lastly with this week’s update we wanted to give you all the opportunity to revise your feat points given the recent changes to the abilities and feat trees. What we have done is that the counter of how many times a character has reset his feats will be set to zero so the next reset will be viewed as being the first one in terms of money it will cost, as if you had never reset any feats before.

As we mentioned at the top, the update planned for next week should include some additions and changes that our community has been looking forward to (beside the usual fixes and updates).

Instance Changes

There are for example changes to the Pyramid of the Ancients dungeon which include wide improvements of the encounters and dangers that can be found in the pyramid. We really think that this will make it an interesting dungeon and should provide a real challenge for solo players.

Next up is Toirdebach’s Tomb in The Fields of the Dead. This group instance has been tweaked so that the mob levels are more in keeping with the level of the Fields of the Dead. We have also been through and amended the placement of mobs in the dungeon so that the balance between ranged and melee opponents should be much fairer to groups trying to tackle this ancient evil!

Resource Zone Updates

The resource and building zones (Lacheish Plains, Purple Lotus Swamp and Poitain) have had a thorough repopulation based on player feedback as to what resources were problematic. New resource nodes and many new camps have been added to these zones to help the avid tradeskillers amongst you find what you need. Be warned though venturing too far off the beaten path may result in you finding yourself face to face with some dangerous foes who won’t take kindly to you trying to harvest from them!

These fixes will be made available on the Testlive server later this week. So if you are interested in checking out these changes beforehand make sure you connect to the Testlive servers.
10261  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: July 22, 2008, 06:57:02 AM
At the end, I had a bad feeling about the game when they suddenly decided to insert a third-person, "more typical MMORPG" style camera view into the game, along with other MMO conventions. Why? Because it probably reflected Flagship's schizophrenic approach to Hellgate with its turret sequences, bizarro semi-isometric RTS sequences, and other attempts to be all things to all gamers. Flagship would call it "responding to gamer feedback," but if you have so little confidence in your game design that you're turning it upside down in the beta crib constantly, then you probably don't have much faith in your game to begin with (see the massive opening day Hellgate patch that tried desperately to improve the game by pretty much turning it upside down).

The "good" thing about the game getting terminated before it ever got a release, is Mythos now can become better in legend than it probably ever could've as a released game. And Travis Baldtree will become this mythical game dev figure that got messsed up when he attached his sail to Flagship...

Think about what Hellgate's rep could be if Flagship had canceled it the way Blizzard canceled Starcraft: Ghost and Warcraft Adventures. You could have entire Web sites devoted to the legend of "what Hellgate could've been if only Flagship had completed it." Instead of Flagship-Hater sites like Flagshipped.  disgust

And then bitter former Hellgate players like me would not sit around in threads like this formenting cynicism and disappointment.  crybaby icon_razz
10262  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Silverfall crashing on start up? on: July 21, 2008, 11:21:51 PM
Earth Awakening is a "stand alone expansion." You don't need to install Silverfall to play it. That may explain why the Earth Awakening .exe file is "taking over."

Saw a little info in this forum thread:

So you may want to consider uninstalling the whole thing, and try installing just Earth Awakening, and see if it works.

I assume you're using the auto-update feature of Steam? I can't remember if Silverfall itself had some sort of auto-update feature.

An example of this would be the fun Frozenbyte game Shadowgrounds. They had to warn people *not* to try to update the Steam version of the game with the boxed retail game patches:
Please note that patches will only install if you have the full retail version of Shadowgrounds. The patches do not work with the Steam version or the Demo version. Steam users are advised to use the autoupdater feature of Steam.
But if you're using the Steam auto-update feature, than I'm on the wrong track there.  icon_confused

Monte Cristo doesn't have the greatest rep (Silverfall out of the box was a mess that they spent lots of time trying to fix and improve). So it wouldn't surprise me if they still had problems now.

Wow I never heard about the expansion (which isn't getting a North American retail release afik). I did buy Silverfall, and got some amount of enjoyment although I think the game's difficulty level is somewhere north of Masochistic at times).
10263  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 21, 2008, 03:47:30 AM
Speak of the devil, Entertainment Weekly has a big cover feature on the Watchmen movie. The Online version doesn't have as pretty a photo spread, but here 'tis:

'Watchmen': An Exclusive First Look,,20213273,00.html

Magazine cover over here:,,20213273_6,00.html

They are in fact shooting for an R-rating (though the trailers say "rating pending" I think). Apparently Snyder's current cut is 3 hours but they're planning to get it down to about 2 hrs 25 minutes.

March 6, 2009 is the planned release date. I think they're aware it's complicated, and not really mid-summer fare. Though actually when you look up Snyder's 300 and Dawn of the Dead remake, they both released in March too so perhaps it's just Snyder's designated time of the year.  icon_cool

Although David Hayter (perhaps better known as the voice of Snake in the Metal Gear Solid games, than as a screenwriter) gets a screenplay credit, Snyder apparently convinced them to throw out most of Hayter and once-in-line director Paul Greengrass's work in favor of hewing closer to the comic.
10264  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 21, 2008, 03:34:16 AM
Not really a Dev Posting, but product manager Erling Ellingsen did a Q&A w/ a week or so ago that I missed, from E3:
Quote It seems like you are working to address some content that just wasn't in the game when it went live. The new dungeons, the new quests, the new zones, what's the timeframe on that. Is that moving to test soon?

Ellingsen: There's definitely a lot, there's a lot that we really wanted to get into the game, but because of time we just weren't able to put it in. We held off, saying "it's not good enough." There are almost 60 new quests with voiceovers, the continuation of the important lore quest. There are 30 quests that were cut before launch that are back in. They're scattered around the game but many of them are in the Eiglophian Mountains. We know that the content at 55 and higher is a bit thinner than the rest of the game. [I think some of this went in with the last update, but not the added voiceovers -bj]

We're also adding a new zone called Ymir's pass. That's also plus-level 55. A lot of new content for the endgame now, several dungeons coming in. Which of these additions are going to be coming our way first?

I don't want to put a date on it, but I think we'll see Ymir's pass live in August. That new zone should be out next month. That's a huge new outdoor zone. It's in Cimmeria so there are lots of mountains and snow. Snow giants, lots of monsters, and Kiera - Conan's assassin. She's going to play a big role in the zone. She's going to be an important quest NPC in the area.
10265  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 20, 2008, 04:26:42 PM
EngineNo9 obviously needs medical help. Maybe Arkham Asylum?  icon_lol

I don't know how they estimate these things so early on Sunday, but AP reports estimated $155.3 million for TDK over the weekend, besting last summer's Spider-Man 3. I'd anticipate TDK won't have as steep a dropoff as Spidey 3 (I was really disappointed with S3, and I think a lot of fans found it a letdown from Spider-Man 2 in quality/fun, and bad word of mouth seemed to really drop its box office quickly, even if it still made a mint).

`The Dark Knight' Makes a Record $155.3 Million, AP Reports

It's fair to say it'll recoup its production/marketing costs, and help WB recover from its Speed Racer hangover (a $120 million movie that makes $85 million *worldwide* causes a major corporate hangover.  confused

Now might be a good time to re-watch that 2003 fan film, "Batman Dead End"

It actually came out two years before Batman Begins, and at a time when the franchise seemed so dead in the water. Andrew Koenig's pretty impressive as The Joker in it, though he seems more like a deranged zombie in a Sam Raimi Evil Dead flick at times.
10266  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 20, 2008, 04:18:45 PM
The latest Feedback Friday gave some promising details on the long-needed/promised crafting revamp. The senior game designer (Michael Moore) explaining it says to expect incremental changes in crafting over the next few updates (rather than one massive update way down the road):
We've had a Crafting revamp on the back burner for a few months, and now we're in a position to put some development resources behind it. At this point, our rough (and always subject to change) plans are to get an iteration on Crafting up on the Public Test Server with Deployment 12, and then add more incremental improvements in subsequent Deployments.

Our initial goals for the first Crafting iteration are simple:
    * Make the Crafting system easy to understand
    * Make the Crafting system more accessible to all players
    * Make Crafting into a key component of character specialization

And here's how we think we can reach those goals:
    * Eliminate the Crafting skills and leave Crafting without skill requirements
    * Remove the maximum item level limitation on module upgrade recipes
    * Remove the Crafting components required for upgrading modules
    * Introduce a new kind of crafting resource that is a new "currency" like Prestige
          o Change Disassembly to allow salvaging items to get the new currency
          o Crafting activities consume this currency
          o Make it so you can choose your own level of risk
    * Add in the ability to remove modules from existing items
    * Add in the ability to integrate the removed modules into other items

So, when it's all said and done, the Crafting system ends up being pretty simple and straightforward, while allowing full customization of your gear.

Currently, Crafting requires you to create a "mule" clone of a Level 30+ character, so you can buy all 4 Crafting skills up to Pump 5 in order to maximize your chances of success. You have to use your Lockbox to transfer gear, components, and recipes between characters. In order to upgrade modules on equipment, you have to manage a large number of upgrade recipes with fine-grained boundaries. You also have to manage a large variety of crafting components. When attempting the highest module upgrades, you run a huge risk of destroying the item. And to top it all off, there is very little documentation of the system, which isn't the easiest thing to figure out to begin with.

After the first iteration, the system will be tons better in all the basic ways.
* The list of upgrade recipes will be simplified to just the ones for sale on Prestige vendors, instead of the huge list of recipes with very restricted target equipment classes and restrictive level requirements. (Those will continue to drop as loot, but probably with a much-reduced frequency - less quantity but more quality.)
* Instead of managing a large list of components with technobabble names, you'll have a new type of currency specifically for crafting.
* You'll be able to have each character modify his or her own equipment instead of transferring it to and from a mule.
* You'll be able to easily remove an unwanted module from a piece of equipment and just as easily replace it with another. Instead of risking item destruction, you'll be able to spend extra Crafting Currency (its working name is "Mimeogel", but we're open to suggestions for a better name!) to guarantee success.

In other words, modifying equipment should become a simple and straightforward process, allowing all players to spec (and re-spec) their equipment as easily as they adjust skill levels and attributes.

So, where do we plan on going after that? Well, obviously we would like to build an elder Crafting game, allowing new options for equipment customization and benefits for characters who heavily invest and deeply specialize in it. But before we go there, we have to build a solid foundation. That foundation is what has been described here. We are evaluating designs for future iterations to this system, and at this point we are looking forward to seeing your feedback on this and your ideas for where we can go in the future!
I'm giving some thought to floating back to the game once I've hit the level cap in Age of Conan. Realistically that's probably a week or two away.

Or I might wait to see if TR has a "double XP" day or some sort of "reactivate your account" type event. I left the game more because of a drying up of 30s-40s level content more than anything else. And unlike AoC, there wasn't even a lot of hunts/reward poster thinges to do as a stopgap until more contacts unlocked.
10267  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 20, 2008, 05:30:49 AM
I think because Harvey/Two-Face (and really, Rachel Dawes) gets such relatively short screen time, some people - including me - would like to believe there's a half hour about the character lying around in a computer's recycle bin (except for Spielberg, who still edits with actual film stock, is there really a 'cutting room floor' anymore? biggrin), but yeah, it doesn't sound like from interviews there'll be much of that if any (perhaps a couple deleted scenes). The movie's 2 hour 32 minutes long. We're just not going to see a 3 hour Batman movie. It's still a summer movie, and WB's a business that wants to squeeze in as many showings in theaters as it can.  icon_neutral

fwiw (lots of mediocre-to-lousy movies are in the Hall of Fame of Opening Weekend Box Office), TDK topped Spider-Man 3 for biggest opening day at $66.4 million). Batman Begins did well in 2005 but nothing remotely like this.

You can look it up there even:
Riddled with the baggage of previous screen adaptations, the Dark Knight no longer amazes at the box office like Spider-Man.
Little did they know.  icon_razz

Batman Begins made about $48 million in almost as many theaters its entire opening weekend, which some labeled disappointing. But it enjoyed consistent business and made about $225 million, and had about a $150 million budget (TDK's estimated at $200M+ in production costs).

Although I went to a midnight show for that too, it wasn't mobbed like this past Thursday night. There wasn't this electricity running through the crowd, and this sort of immersed silence for most of the movie. But I did remember this excitement in 2005 of, "Oh please, don't screw up Batman again" and I walked out of the theater really pleased.  icon_smile

One of the networks had the gall to show Batman Forever the other day (Clooney and the Nipple Suit), and I watched some of it. It wasn't just dreadful, it was completely "inert." I think if a few of us comic book fans here scripted a Batman movie and filmed it ourselves, it would have more energy than Batman Forever did.

Batman Begins had some awful baggage to shed, and an image to try to repair. I think by doing that it really helped set up TDK for success. I guess that's "duh," but it's just my attempt at film business analysis.  icon_smile And even if WB is still "just a business," props to them for getting the franchise back on course and supporting the film so well. I have read complaints here and there about "over hype" and blah blah blah. But that's their job, and nobody can complain they weren't aware of The Dark Knight.  icon_cool
10268  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: July 20, 2008, 05:12:57 AM
What with the Flagship biz/legal mess and all, they closed the Mythos beta forums tonight, after Max Schaefer left an affectionate message calling the beta "in hiatus" at this point. From

And at the official forums:
We regretfully announce that on Friday, July 18, 2008 at 11:59 PST the world of Uld known as Mythos will be going on hiatus. On behalf of all of the Devs and Community team we want to say thank you to everyone for their support and assistance with Mythos Alpha and Beta testing and we will see you soon.
The Hellgate forums are still up at this point.
10269  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 20, 2008, 02:40:47 AM
I've seen a few articles breathlessly speculating about that same topic, for example:

I could maybe see Selina Kyle/Catwoman working if WB can wash out the bad taste from their mouth of the disastrous Catwoman movie, and if J. Nolan and David Goyer can find a fresh take on the character. Esp. since, well, Bats going into movie 3 has no love interest, and presumably will be perceived as a much nastier vigilante type that might appeal to a Catwoman type character.

There's a pretty cool "list of Batman Family enemies" page at Wikipedia:
The Joker of the comics is even nastier than in TDK -- writers had him cripple Gordon's daughter Barbara (In Alan Moore's The Killing Joke), murder the second Robin (Jason Todd) after Dick Grayson had become Nightwing, and Gordon's second wife (I think in the comics he gets divorced at some point, if I remember right).

If you scroll down there, "The Foes of Lesser Known" section is interesting.

One of my favorite storylines from the late '80s involved the KGBeast:
Don't know if you could update that though because it's very much a product of the Gorbachev era (1988), and they'd probably shy away from a Bats movie with any "real" politics involved (beyond Gotham City).

The tough part for any third movie would be following Ledger's performance. I would think maybe they'd want a different type of villain (someone quieter, or more subtle) rather than having another scenery-chewing role that would be invariably compared to his tremendous swansong (well, he'll be in that Terry Gilliam flick a little bit, but this is last "full role" performance I guess  tear)
10270  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 20, 2008, 01:38:17 AM
Not the greatest helm ever, but I was just glad to finally see a different kind of color scheme/texture on it. It's from about an L71 quest in Atzel involving a big Ape.  icon_cool While I'd like to see more variety in armor of all types, I think just varying the color schemes and textures a little bit more often would do a lot to help differentiate the look of players in the game. Maybe as a stopgap measure until an expansion does a more wholesale improvement in actual armor type variety.
10271  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 19, 2008, 10:37:38 PM
Oh, in case anyone missed these 'qualify of life' improvements in the notes:
-We have added more travel NPCs to the capital cities that allow travel to more locations in the game world. [NOTE: This is a great addition. It's *not* more "Wayfarers." What they mean is that if you click on a "Wagoneer" or a "Ship captain," you (at least in some areas) will now get a menu of various locations in that region (Stygia or Cimmeria), and the travel  NPC will zip you directly to the map (Field of Dead, Atzel's Approach, Eiglophian Mountains etc.) with a click. Definitely reduces a lot of unnecessary hoofing/horseback riding once you realize the feature is there. -BJ  icon_cool

-The price of the basic mounts has been reduced from 2 gold to 75 silver.
-The price of additional bags has been reduced by between 20% and 50%
-It should no longer be possible to accidentally sell your mount
-A teleport item, the Totem of Origins is now dropping from boss encounters in group instances. You will be able to acquire it from locations throughout the game starting in the Black Castle. This totem teleports y ou to your home city once a day (i.e., 24 hours cooldown time), and can be used in addition to your path of Asura.
This was the perk in the last issue of PC Gamer. So by popular demand, they're making it available as a loot drop.  icon_smile
10272  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 19, 2008, 05:06:24 PM
Ha. Now they say the forums aren't going down just yet afterall.  icon_confused
I am happy to announce that the forums will not be going down tonight.
10273  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 19, 2008, 05:04:38 PM
If she's squeamish about violence (even implied), then she may be like my sister-in-law who walked out during the Afghanistan "hot poker" sequence in Iron Man (even though she also loved Die Hard 2 almost 20 years, ago, which includes a scene of Bruce Williis driving an icicle though a bad guy's eyeball, graphically  icon_razz) There are a lot of tough-to-watch scenes in this but imho Nolan's pretty much a master about making you think you've seen more violence than was actually shown on screen.

My hope is she would get so ensconsced in the settings, characters and storylines, that she'll get wrapped up in it and won't ruin it for you at all. I hope she's able to enjoy it.  icon_smile

My retired mom wants to see it, based on the trailers. She had watched Batman Begins on cable a couple times recently, so I think she's "ready" for it.  icon_cool
10274  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 18, 2008, 07:00:30 PM
Here's a few pics of the "quality of life" improvements:

Emotes GUI

You can right click any of the icons for a list of emotes in that category, and then just choose one; or you can use a drop down menu at the bottom of it. You can leave the emotes GUI on in a corner somewhere or just enable it when you want it.

Tabbed contacts list.

I think maybe I'm running into the "dark color text" problem here. The new checkboxes for inventory seem to toggle on/off items you can't equip or use from the inventory list.

I'd still like the option LOTORO has to simply "lock" an item in inventory so you don't worry about accidentally selling it, and having to fetch it back from a merchant when you realize it.
10275  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 18, 2008, 05:06:42 PM
Flagship (well, a Ping0 employee I guess, technically) is closing The Hellgate (and Mythos) forums at midnight tonight, so presumably Hellgate's servers are also getting unplugged (if not tonight, at some point): [presumably this link won't work after midnight tonight, Friday]
Quote from: Tiggs, Ping0 rep
On Friday, July 18th at 11:59 PM(CST) the forums will be shutting down. We would like to thank everyone for being a part of this wonderful community and we hope to see you all again soon.
I always though a dev that did so many things wrong that an "anti-fan site" (Flagshipped) would never run out of material to write about, was a bad sign.  icon_razz
10276  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? - closing Hellgate/Mythos forums on: July 18, 2008, 04:56:19 PM
Flagship (what's left of it) is closing down both the Hellgate and Mythos official forums at the end of the day today (most of the forum sections have already been removed):
[referring to Blues News item since, well, there'll be no board links working after midnight tonight]
On Friday, July 18th at 11:59 PM(CST) the forums will be shutting down. We would like to thank everyone for being a part of this wonderful community and we hope to see you all again soon.
I don't know what the "soon" means other than that Travis (the Mythos/Fate designer) talked about trying to keep his team together, presumably to work on something else.

I gotta assume the Hellgate and Mythos servers will shut down shortly too, if they haven't already. Talk about a fast exit!  saywhat

I feel bad for the few "lifetime subscribers" in particular. The TOS spells out what you're getting into of course (I don't think players will have any case for a class action suit). But with LOTORO, lifetime was probably a fine deal and that game seems like it'll have a looong life ahead of this -- with this, well, it's really unfair.
10277  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Forget Diablo III, Dragon Age is coming. on: July 18, 2008, 03:54:37 PM
Penny Arcade mentioned Tiscali's video of that same-as-Shack's gameplay footage, but it is larger so I thought it was worth sharing:
10278  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 18, 2008, 03:45:27 PM
Now that I'm not delirious from lack of sleep:
-I think the ending is perfect and poetic.  icon_cool And dammit I wish I could say more but even if I used the Spoiler code, I would feel bad so I won't. It did keep reminding me of - not a Batman comic - but a novel I loved that ended almost, sort of in a similar way.

-They opened the theaters earlier than usual so people seemed to be getting seated a little after 11 p.m. or so. I got in around 11:20. The problem when you go to a flick that early by yourself is just what the hell to do with yourself? (I don't have a fancy cellphone). I brought the newspaper but the lights were too dim to read.

-There were quite a few men and women wearing Batman or Batgirl outfits. There was a guy in the front row who seemed to be struggling a bit with pulling his "Batman ears" on his costume low so they wouldn't obstruct audience views.  icon_lol

-Very quiet, absorbed audience. If I had concerns about people talking, or kicking my seat, there was none of that.  icon_cool

-I had a hot dog, a medium Diet Coke and a large bag of Twizzlers. That proved plenty to get me from about 11:20 to 2:45. Ohmigod, I haven't eaten Twizzlers in years. If I ever read the ingredients, I'll never eat them again.  icon_razz

-I hadn't seen the "Watchmen" trailer on yet. Visually very impressive. I don't think most of the Audience had heard of mid 1980s graphic novel.
-Audience was pretty gripped by the new trailer for the Keanu Reeves sci-fi movie remake, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Apparently he's Klaatu. Most of the special effects are, well, of some giant Alien spaceship obliterating the entire earth. I assume though he's just trying to "show" the planet what will happen to it if we don't change our violent ways.
10279  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 18, 2008, 03:30:44 PM
Apparently Alan Moore is also into "Duck Porn," which doesn't surprise me. Anyone who writes the kind of graphic novels he does must be seriously, wonderfully warped in general.  icon_lol
10280  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 18, 2008, 03:07:36 PM
The Watchmen trailer was the first one showed before The Dark Knight at the midnight show I went to last night. While I'm excited about it -- I was really into comics collecting in the mid-late 1980s, and Watchmen was all the buzz -- I think the challenge is getting non-comics aficionados to understand what the story is and movie is. The graphic novel's more than 20 years old and while it continues to sell (you can probably still find it at your local Borders today), younger folks today probably have little awareness today of what it was and the very adult themes Alan Moore was trying to tackle. I heard much "What's Watchmen? I never heard of it" while the trailer played.

The sad thing about Moore is he's basically now disgusted with the whole mainstream comics industry (and as folks said League was awful, and he's apparently still upset about that).

And while his resonating work is really helping drive today's comic book films (see his The Killing Joke's often nasty take on The Joker, and Watchmen, and the mostly terrible adaptation of his League of Extraorindary Gentlemen), he has sounded downright hostile in attemped interviews with him about Watchmen.

From what I could see in the trailer in theaters, Snyder's being true to Watchmen and isn't watering it down into a lame-brained Fantastic Four type flick. I'm sure Warners/Paramount (it's a joint production) want to see a PG-13 rating, but the source material is so adult in nature, that might be hard to pull off (even more so than The Dark Knight).

I think if TDK pushes the envelope of what audiences can expect from a comic book movie, Watchmen will push it even further, esp. if it end up getting an R-rating.

Don't know if anyone noticed, but the co-screenplay-writer is David Hayter, better known as the voice of Snake in the Metal Gear games. They should let him do some sort of voiceover for the movie. icon_razz
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