E3 2010: Gameloft demos assorted iPhone/iPad titles en route to market

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 16:19
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

3608.jpg

Over at E3, mobile publisher Gameloft introduced a slew of iPhone and iPad titles over the course of the week.

Per Macworld, Gameloft will release the following titles to the iPhone and iPad:

Hero of Sparta 2:
In the coming months, Gameloft will release Hero of Sparta 2, the sequel to the adventure title in which the player must follow avenge his homeland after finding everything he knows has been destroyed. Although no firm release date has been set, the title has been confirmed for both the iPhone and iPad.

Splinter Cell: Conviction for iPad:
The first Splinter Cell game for the iPad, Splinter Cell: Conviction places you in the middle of a plot where stealth means everything. A final release date has yet to be confirmed, though the game seems to be a better fit on the larger iPad than the iPhone.

Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem:
Set in the comic book style of the hero’s roots, Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem has you control Spiderman as he battles criminals and super villains while web swinging throughout the world of New York.

Expect to see this title within the App Store before too long and this proved promising.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
In addition to providing applications in the stealth and brawler genres, Gameloft is producing some new titles in the platformer genre as well. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was originally released on consoles in 2004 but is getting its own iPad version in July of this year.

Like the console version, expect to wall jump, backflip, dispose of several demonic guards, and then maybe slide down a banner for good measure. The current build looks on par with the 2004 release, which was still impressive and the title itself played pretty smoothly.

Let’s Golf 2:
Let’s Golf 2 will hit the iPhone this July and features eight characters with their own powers as well as over 108 holes of golf. Users will be able to travel to six exotic locations including Aztec ruins, African jungles, and Greenland.

Other new features Gameloft will add to Let’s Golf 2 include new leaderboards and ways to challenge your friends, a new career mode, and new achievements to unlock.



E3 2010: Nintendo 3DS impressions

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 10:25
Category: News

3608.jpg

By Joshua Simmons

Nintendo knows it has a hit on its hands when the line to just try the 3DS curls around half the expo in just minutes after opening the doors at 10 AM. The security did their best to quell the stampede of gamers to the Nintendo booth as shouts of “No running!” went largely ignored. However, despite the large crowd and after waiting in line for only an hour, I was finally able to get my hands on Nintendo’s new baby and try a few demos.

To start with Nintendo has provided a 3D effect slider on the device that allows the user to adjust the intensity of the feature, or completely turn it off. But even when turned off, the screen has a beautiful resolution and is worthy of the upgrade alone. So, after adjusting and trying various degrees of the 3D effect, I settled into a comfortable area of about 3/4 of the slider turned up. I also noticed that you really have to be looking at the device in it’s sweet spot, right in the center, to fully enjoy the 3D; looking at it even slightly to the right or left causes a slight double vision issue. Other noticeable additions to the 3DS include the addition of an analog stick, two front facing cameras for taking 3D photos, and the ability to play 3D movies. Finally the system itself was slightly smaller then the DSi, with smoother curves and a gloss finish instead of matte.

As for the demos, I was able to get hands on time with the device for about 20 minutes before being shuffled out for the next group. The first demo I got to play was a retro Star Fox level, remade in 3D. As I flew over the landscape, I was astounded by the sense of depth the 3D effect was creating as Fox’s ship seemed to hover out of the screen flying towards the mountains in the background. As I shot down enemy ships, the explosions would seem to burst in the space before me off the screen; it is something you just have to see for yourself. I am hoping this was more than just a tech demo, and we’ll be seeing a Star Fox 3D release in time for the launch.

Next I was treated to another playable demo, this time a brand new Pilotwings title made just for the 3DS. There were two modes available to try, stunt plane flying and jet pack flying. Both modes, similarly to Star Fox, really demonstrated the 3D feature with the the subjects popping out in the space before my eyes as I guided them over a city existing in varying depths of perception. Lastly, I was able to see a couple of trailers for future 3D titles such as Kid Icarus, Resident Evil, and Metal Gear Solid 3; all looking fantastic in 3D. Nintendo has really accomplished something unreal here, and I highly recommend everyone at least try it for yourselves the first chance you get.

2010 Mac mini teardown report posted, interesting discoveries found

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 06:13
Category: Mac mini, News

Apple’s slim new 2010 Mac mini received the royal treatment/acceptance into the tech world recently via a complete teardown by tech firm iFixit shows.

A teardown report by iFixit shows how Apple fit the slim system’s power supply inside the unibody aluminum case and reveals a variety of new innovations.

Rather than needing an external power supply, the new unit ships with simply an AC power cable (similar to Apple TV and Time Capsule), and Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter. The new model also includes a built in HDMI port for delivering audio and digital video to an HDTV display over one cable.

The new Mac Mini includes an SD Card slot just like recent MacBook Pros, and includes four USB 2.0 ports, along with the standard Gigabit Ethernet and a FireWire 800 port. After taking a new unit apart, iFixit discovered the following new changes:

- The Mac mini’s unibody top enclosure is machined from a single block of aluminum, with a twist off rubber base that exposes RAM components for easy access. “Removing the RAM is very simple this time around, requiring only the simple prying of two clips.” The bottom cover also provides a radio window in the metal case for WiFi and Bluetooth.

“There are two blind holes in the case of the Mini that are meant for the ends of Apple’s custom U-shaped logic board removal tool. We just used two Torx screwdrivers. We call them the ‘Mac mini logic board removal tool.’”

- The new Mac mini’s power supply provides “a minuscule 7 Amps at 12V. Compare that to the 25.8 Amps at 12V cranked out by the 27 inch iMac, and you can understand how they fit the power supply inside the Mini.”
“The fan doesn’t have too much work to do, since the new Mac Mini is the most energy-efficient desktop, running on less than 10 watts at idle! In keeping with its space saving design, the fins directing air toward the vent hole are slanted to allow for better fan placement.”

- The fan cools the CPU and CPU via a wraparound heat sink tube that wicks heat toward the fins and blows it out the wide slot on the back panel.

iFixit notes that the Mac mini’s 3/8 inch woofer dome “won’t be popping ear drums anytime soon” and may be a bit underpowered for some audiophiles.

iPad hacker faces multiple drug charges, spotty past following FBI arrest

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 05:16
Category: iPad, News

Some hackers just have no luck.

Per CNET, one of the hackers in the group that snatched more than 100,000 iPad owner email addresses from AT&T’s servers was arrested Tuesday on felony drug charges after the FBI searched his Arkansas, US home.

Andrew “Escher” Auernheimer was arrested by Fayetteville, Ark., police and was booked into the Washington County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon, where he is being held on bonds totaling US$3,160.

Auernheimer, 24, faces four felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor drug charge. During the raid, police reportedly found drugs that included cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and Schedule 2 and 3 pharmaceuticals when they searched his home.

Auernheimer, who also goes by the hacker nickname “weev,” is one of 10 members of Goatse Security, a hacking group that used an automated script to collect 114,000 iPad email addresses from AT&T through a public feature of the carrier’s Web site.

Goatse revealed its e-mail harvesting after AT&T closed the hole, then defended its actions as “responsible disclosure” (the term given to security revelations made public only after a vendor has patched a bug). In a letter to customers apologizing for the email address disclosure, however, AT&T said the group “maliciously exploited” its Web site and promised it would “prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law.”

In recent interview, Auernheimer argued that Goatse’s attack was “ethical” and denied that they did anything illegal . “We love America and did this in the public interest,” Auernheimer said at the time.

Wednesday, the Fayetteville Police Department declined to comment on the charges against Auernheimer, instead referring all questions to the FBI.

Special Agent Bryan Travers of the FBI’s Newark, N.J., division confirmed that the agency had served a search warrant at Auernheimer’s home, but declined to answer any other questions, including whether agents removed computers from Auernheimer’s residence. “This remains an open investigation,” Travers said in an email.

The FBI launched an investigation into the Goatse attack last week, saying then that it was trying to determine if the group broke any laws.

Auernheimer is no stranger to drugs, according to Brian Krebs, a former reporter for the Washington Post and now the author of the Krebs on Security blog. In 2006, said Krebs, Auernheimer started a talk at a security conference by telling the audience that he was tripping on acid.

He has also regularly posted anti-Semitic statements on his LiveJournal blog, where he has claimed that the FCC is “Jewish-run” and that Jews “have long made a sham of the nobel [sic] prize.”

Auernheimer was arrested last March, according to a report by Fayetteville television station KHBS-TV , which noted that city police said he had given them a false name when they responded to a parking complaint.

A court hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in Washington County Circuit Court.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

E3 2010: OnLive launch titles, June 17th release date revealed (updated 2x)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 03:18
Category: News

3608.jpg

You’re going to like this.

Even though it sounded like a bit of a pipe dream when it was described last year, the OnLive gaming service will launch on June 17th and allow Macs to play bestselling console titles such as Arkham Asylum or Assassin’s Creed II. Per Macworld, OnLive uses a cloud computing technology to process games and allow any Intel-based Mac to function as a high-end gaming machine.

Where the bottom line is concerned, the service gets a cut of every game downloaded, but also has secured funding through partnerships. The most pivotal of those is AT&T, which has teamed up to become an official partner of OnLive’s Founding Member Program. The program (available to qualified users for a limited time), includes a one-year free membership to the OnLive Game Service. Registration has begun at www.onlive.com/att today at 3:00 pm Eastern and ends on July 15. Members of the program can also sign up for an additional year for US$5 per month.

OnLive is currently offering a free trial in which users can download a 1MB client and can try out all the demos for free. You can “rent” a game for a small fee to try it out, or purchase the game directly from the service. The games range from casual to hardcore, and prices range from US$5 to US$59 for full purchases.

Launch titles will include Ubisoft titles Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction, and Price of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. From Square-Enix, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Just Cause 2. From Electronic Arts, Dragon Age: Origins. Finally, from Take Two Interactive Entertainment, Borderlands. That’s quite a lineup of games that are not only hugely popular, but fairly recent.

While the potential to play high-end games on any Intel Mac is enticing, there are also lots of less-graphically intensive, casual games as well. Perlman cited Mad Balls, Defense Grid, Brain Challenge, and World of Goo as casual games that will appear on the service for download.

Additional games coming down the pipeline with unannounced release dates include: Sega’s Aliens vs. Predator and Alpha Protocol; Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Driver San Francisco, and Shaun White Skateboarding; THQ’s Darksiders, Homefront, and Red Faction: Armageddon; Square-Enix’s Deus Ex 3, Kain and Lynch 2: Dog Days; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s F.E.A.R. 3 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4; and finally, 2K Sports MLB 2k10. The vast majority of these games have either come out in the last year or will be coming out in the next— and nearly all of them have never before appeared on the Mac.

Perlman is emphatic that his service will work on the Mac. “Every Intel Mac runs OnLive. We’ve tried them all,” he admits. That includes Mac minis, MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros. Unfortunately, PowerPC Macs will not be supported by the service.


What You've Been Waiting For...


The only problem his team has encountered, Perlman concedes, is that the original release MacBook Air has a tendency to overheat but “you’ll encounter those same problems running a Flash video.”

The OnLive service will be launching for the Mac and Windows PC platforms on June 17 and after that you can “expect all games going forward to be Mac and PC.” Simultaneously launches on the service should be music to all Mac gamers’ ears.

For those who can’t wait that long, there’s a chance to sign up for the beta on the OnLive website. Oh, and for those who enjoy using game controllers, like the XBox 360 controller, you can with OnLive’s service. “They’re normally not compatible,” Perlman explains, “But we bridge the gap.”

Perlman claims that OnLive has had successful demos with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. One demo included the high-end sci-fi first person shooter Borderlands running on the iPad. “It works beautifully,” said Perlman.

Update:
Dropping by the OnLive booth, I was able to learn the following tidbits as well:

- The booth itself featured OnLive running well on current generation MacBook notebooks that had been closed but attached to power, Ethernet cables and USB controller peripherals. Titles like Red Faction: Guerilla ran without any latency.

- The company is doing a staggered launch and bringing more and more players online. Representatives said that the service had been in beta for months with thousands of users online and no significant delays were expected.

- OnLive is currently recommending a five megabit per second Internet connection. A utility available on the company’s web site allows this to be tested. In cases where the connection is too slow, users might want to look into a better connection through their Internet service provider.

- The company is currently running three data centers throughout the country via the Bay area (west coast), Dallas (midwest region) and Washington, D.C. Representatives said they’d like their data centers to be within 1,000 miles of their users.

- The client requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

- Players can purchase a Full Playpass to buy a game and then have unlimited use for the game, the game itself staying on OnLive’s cloud service and not downloading directly to the hard drive.

- Users can look in on other players’ games to observe gameplay, tactics, etc.

Apple releases iTunes 9.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 13:26
Category: News, Software

blueituneslogo.jpg

On Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 9.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 102 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Sync with iPhone 4 to enjoy your favorite music, movies, TV shows, books and more on-the-go.
- Sync and read books with iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4 and iBooks 1.1.
- Organize and sync PDF documents as books. Read PDFs with iBooks 1.1 on iPad and any iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4.
- Organize your apps on your iOS 4 home screens into folders using iTunes.
- Faster back-ups while syncing an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4.
- Album artwork improvements make artwork appear more quickly when exploring your library.

iTunes 9.2 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

E3 2010: Microsoft press conference recap

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 08:57
Category: News

3608.jpg

The major press conferences are over, the facts are being discerned and there’s chatter as to what’s cool, what needs improvement and what we can’t wait for.

Per the mighty 1up.com, Microsoft’s press conference revealed that their camera/interaction technology, previously known as Project Natal, is now known as Kinect. The Kinect itself will arrive in time for the holiday season on November 4th and allow for video chat as well as voice commands. The Video Kinect feature will allow you to video chat with friends over Xbox Live or with people on Windows Live Messenger,

In an effort to get over a bulky image, Microsoft revealed a slim Xbox 360 design which also incorporates a 250GB hard drive and, at long last, will include an 802.11N wireless adapter. While the slim’s announcement wasn’t much of a surprise, given how heavily it had been rumored, what was surprising was that it’s shipping beginning today and will be available for US$299 later this week. Speaker Don Mattrick then pulled an Oprah move and announced that everyone at the press conference would be receiving a free slim Xbox 360 system.

While inclusion of Hulu on the Xbox was nowhere to be seen, almost certainly because Microsoft is still trying to work out the rights issues involved with it, ESPN filled the gap by being the newest service to be added to the Xbox Live suite. SportsCenter anchors Josh Elliott and Trey Wingo took to the stage to announce an ESPN video service that will allow Xbox Live Gold members to watch more than 3,500 live and on-demand sporting events over Xbox Live, with much of that content coming in HD. Among the sports it will carry are the NBA, MLB, college football, soccer, and college basketball. Once Kinect is released, users will be able to browse ESPN content with it, with Josh Elliott showing the ability to have it replay a clip over and over by simply saying, “Xbox: Replay.”

The bulk of the conference felt like it was a demonstration for the games you’ll be able to play with Kinect. Microsoft wasn’t especially specific when it came to announcing release dates and which titles will be available with Kinect on November 4th, but the most likely candidate is Kinect Sports. Among the featured activities in the game are bowling, track and field, soccer, javelin, long jump, table tennis, boxing and volleyball. Other games were demoed as well, including the EyePet competitor Kinectimals, an adorable game that had a young girl playing with a virtual tiger on stage.

After a demonstration of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which featured a segment from the single-player campaign where you hijack a helicopter and then blow up enemies (and bridges) with it, Microsoft announced an exclusivity agreement they’ve made with Activision involving the Call of Duty franchise. Future Call of Duty games, Black Ops included, will be released just as they normally would on all platforms, but just as with the first two map packs for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Xbox 360 gamers will get first dibs on all map packs for Call of Duty games in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

For the fans out there, Metal Gear Rising made its debut a year after it was announced at Microsoft’s E3 press conference in 2009. Described as a “sword action game unlike any you’ve seen before,” the trailer showed Raiden slice-and-dice through enemies and scenery alike with his sword. It was extremely violent — he sliced an enemy into multiple pieces in slow-motion while the enemy was suspended in the air — until the ending sequence, where we saw Raiden nicely carve up a watermelon.

Given that there will always be a drive for Halo, Halo: Reach looked incredible, Microsoft presenting the campaign mode for the very first time to the public. Though the demo looked slick, it didn’t look especially different from what we’ve come to expect from Halo. Then came the end of the trailer when we saw a Spartan enter a spaceship and engage in combat with another ship. It lasted just a few seconds, but the promise of space combat in the Reach campaign is exciting news.

Attendees got the first look at Gears of War 3′s 4-player campaign co-op, which appeared very much like Gears with female characters. Microsoft also offered an October 26th release date for Fable 3, which we’ll try to get a look at later.

E3 2010: Day 1 impressions from the floor

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 07:56
Category: News

3608.jpg

By Joshua Simmons:

Day 1 Impressions From the Show Floor :
After the Nintendo and Sony press conferences, I had the chance to roam the show floor. I decided to start with the West Hall, where I was immediately greeted by the Capcom booth. Although I wasn’t able to try out the Marvel vs Capcom 3 demo today, I did get a chance to get my hands on Dead Rising 2. They were demoing the single player campaign today, which little has been seen of until now. The controls were largely unchanged from the original with the main character able to pick up and use just about anything as a weapon. Not much was divulged in terms of plot other than that once again we found the hero trapped in a shopping center, presumably in Las Vegas, full of zombies. I did notice that the graphics, on the other hand, have seen a major face lift with a much larger number of zombies appearing on screen at once. Overall, the demo felt familiar and more of the same, but that’s certainly not a bad thing given the critical success of the first Dead Rising.

Making my way out of Capcom, I found myself at the Sony booth, and in line to try the much anticipated Killzone 3. Having frequently played Killzone 2, I was able to see what kind of changes Guerilla had made to this latest iteration. So, since already possessing a general sense of traditional FPS ground combat, I decided to jump into the jetpack demo level out of the three selectable. Immediately I noticed the controls had been tightened, and were more responsive than ever while still maintaining a realisitic sense of weight that was unique to Killzone 2. Of course, weight doesn’t matter when you have a jetpack.

Although it seems like everything has to have a jetpack these days, it really felt like Guerilla had made it their own in Killzone 3. The controls took a moment to get used to, but soon I was leaping and gliding from icebergs while gunning down Helghast with my mounted gatling gun. I really enjoy the unique design they have created for their jetpacks, and the fact that they almost change the design of the game to that of a platformer. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to playing the full game later this year.

Finally, having finished trying Killzone 3, I moved on to the Playstation Move booth. Playstation Move is Sony’s push into the motion controller market by using a combination of the Playstation eye camera and the glowing orb-adorned Move controllers. The Playstation eye tracks the glowing orb and constantly knows the location of the players arms, as well as track even the most subtle of movements.

At the booth, I was able to give the Move a try by playing the Archery level of Sony’s Sports Champions. Although initially awkward to get used to, the Move gradually became more familiar after every arrow I fired. The game works by holding one controller out like your bow then taking the other over your head, while holding the Move button down, as if to grab an arrow from a quiver on your back. I was amazed to find that the game tracked this motion fairly effortlessly. After grabbing your arrow, it’s as simple as mimicking the motion of stringing and pulling back your arrow, aiming, then releasing the Move button, as if the string itself, to fire. Needless to say, within moments I was firing volleys of arrows with ease and precision while greatly enjoying the experience. I walked away from the Move booth blown away, and salivating over the future possibilities of playing medievil action games with the Playstation Move.

The Playstation Move will be available September 19th in America, and I highly recommend picking it up to see for yourself. I didn’t have much time to see a whole lot else today, but I think I will attempt to brave the lines tomorrow and check out the new Nintendo 3DS, as well as play the new Zelda and post my impressions then.

Apple releases Security Update 2010-04 for Mac OS X 10.5.x users

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 07:05
Category: News, Software

applelogo_silver

Late Tuesday, Apple released Security Update 2010-04 for Mac OS X 10.5.x (“Snow Leopard”). The update, a 218.6 megabyte download, adds a slew of security fixes and changes, as summarized here.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new update and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

iPhone 4 preorders rescheduled to arrive on July 2nd

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 07:09
Category: iPhone, News

Following yesterday’s interesting events in which Apple sold out of launch day preorders for the upcoming iPhone 4 handset, new orders from the company’s website are now said to ship by July 2, more than a week after the handset’s launch date.

Per AppleInsider, the delay for those who didn’t get in on the first round of preorders applies to both the 16GB and 32GB capacities of iPhone 4. Customers can only preorder the black model, as the white iPhone 4 is currently unavailable for any reservation.

As this is happening, the iPhone 3GS is still marked for delivery on the June 24th launch date.

Apple’s update follows news on Tuesday from AT&T, the exclusive wireless provider of the iPhone in the U.S., which also sold out of its launch day allotment. New orders placed directly through AT&T will not arrive until June 25th or later, “depending on when the order is placed,” the company said.

AT&T revealed that the first day of preorders for iPhone 4 was the busiest online sales day in the company’s history. The company’s systems had difficulty authorizing existing customers for upgrades, and Apple also began rejecting callers from its 800-MY-APPLE number.