Monday, June 30, 2008

New PVP Maps in World of Warcraft

Yes, it bothers me that raiders in World of Warcraft get new content every few months while pvpers get new content every few years. An admin of the MMO Champion BBS made a post yesterday about panels hosted by Blizzard staff at the World of Warcraft Invitational. Seems that there will be a new map with lots of siege engines (no word on whether or not they're engineers only), and it looks like the shredder will be back, as well as active versions of the inactive decorative ones we see scattered around the game world.

If they're going back to day-long battlegrounds, why don't they restore Alterac Valley to its former glory? If it doesn't take a day to play this new map (the ONLY new map in 2 years), how much time will players actually have to get and use these new toys? Will it be worth it to get them, or is it easier/faster to win the battle without them?

A long, detailed list of developer notes (the blue section) is included in the BBS thread, so go have a look-see. It covers not just the new battleground but also arenas and some general questions.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Freebie Friday Music

I'm going to do something a little different this Freebie Friday--variety being the spice of life and such. Here's some video game music that was made freely available to me at one time or another, mostly from demos or as downloads from the developers. I don't think video game music is appreciated very much on its own, but good music is good music no matter the source. So, yeah, this week, I'm not sharing something I made, but something I really like that I want to share with you. I'll only be keeping this download available this week, so grab it while you can.

You can download this week's Freebie part 1 here THIS WEEK ONLY! And part 2 here.

Peace out!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

$80 Spore Galactic Edition from Gamestop

Via Ars Technica and Shack News, Gamestop will feature a special Galactic Edition of Spore for $80 that comes with the following additional material:


  • 'Making of Spore' DVD video
  • 'How to Build a Better Being' DVD video, by National Geographic Channel
  • 'The Art of Spore' hardback mini-book
  • Fold-out Spore poster
  • Premium 100-page Galactic Handbook
Personally, I am more worried about getting the game as soon as it's available. That means within a day of release. For certain games, for me, it's important I have them right away or I feel like everyone else is having fun but me.

I ordered Spore Creature Creator (CC) through Amazon and it's not going to arrive until Friday. It got delayed (by Maxis, if I understand it right) and now it's sitting in the delivery hub. Waiting. Biding it's time. Plotting unspeakable evil. I'm not going to order anything important through Amazon again.

I ended up getting the CC from the direct download with EA. I don't think saving the $5 on the actual game is worth it at this point. Not only is it taking forever to get to me, but a gallon of gas is $5. I'm saving a lot of gas in shipping or driving out searching for it just by using the direct download. Is the $80 Galactic Edition worth it? You tell me.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

A Hero Is Gone

RIP George Carlin. As versatile as they come, George even hosted Shining Time Station (Thomas the Train Engine in the US) in the 80's, as you can see here.

You're right, George. We don't need anyone to tell us who our heroes are. But you were one of mine.

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Spore Creature Creator Tips

I hope everyone is having fun making creatures with the Spore Creature Creator! Even if you can't/won't get the priced one, the free one is very worthwhile. You'll have hours of fun, I guarantee it. Be aware that it contains SecuROM, however.

To help with building complex creatures, I'd like to link you to a great creature creation tips forum--the Spore Hints and Strategy Forum at the EA BBS! It's given me some great advice and taught me a few things, and may be able to help you, too.

Update: There's also an advance video on You Tube by Theresa Duringer of the Spore Team.

I'm posting up an excerpt from the CC read me file in case someone lost theirs or can't find it. It's got great information on how to build amazing creatures. Keep building some wonderful creatures! Post links to them if you feel like it.

Readme for SPORE™ Creature Creator
©2008 Electronic Arts Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MAXIS™ 6/01/08
Version 1.0
Controls and Shortcuts

- Editing -

Left Click to select and move parts.

Left Click to move the arrow-shaped handles on the currently
selected part, which changes its shape.

Left Click and drag parts off the creature to sell them back.

Mouse over a part or a spine segment and use the mousewheel to
scale the size. Or, select the part, and use the up and down
arrow keys.

Hold Alt while clicking and dragging a part to copy it. On
Mac systems, use Option instead of Alt.

Left Click and drag directly on the spine to change the spine
shape. Use the arrows to length or shorten the spine.

Left Click on the torso skin (not the spine) to move it.

Hold Control while dragging a limb segment to attach it to
another limb.

Hold Tab when a part is selected to reveal additional rotation

- Camera -

Left Click on the background moves the camera around.

In test drive, mousewheel zooms the camera in and out.

In build and paint modes, shift and mousewheel zooms the
camera in and out.

<> Rotates the camera
+ and - Zooms in or out

- General -

Control-N Start New Creature
Control-Y Redo
Control-Z Undo
Control-S Save Creature
Control-H Toggle whether the UI is hidden
H or ? Bring up or close the Spore Guide
B Bring up the Sporepedia™

Mac OS X:
This game contains features that require a right mouse button.
If you have an Apple Mighty Mouse, you can enable the Right Mouse Button
in System Preferences->Keyboard and Mouse. Change the
"Right Click" drop down to Secondary Button.

As well, most PC USB mice are supported on the Macintosh.
The Left and Right mouse buttons are detected and work
correctly on these mice when first plugged in.

If you have an Apple legacy single button mouse, or a Mac Book Pro
with only a Track Pad, you can emulate a right mouse button by
holding down the Command key while clicking the Mouse Button.


To enter cheats in the game, first open the command console by
simultaneously pressing ctrl-shift-c. Press the enter button
to close the command console. Some of the cheats that can be
used here are as follows:

help: lists all the cheats in the game.
help [cheatname]: displays specific information about the cheat.
quit: quit game.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Freebie Friday - Spore

Today I have 28 freebies for you! Though you probably won't be able to use them fully for a few months. Since the whole point of the Freebie Friday is to share with you what I use in my own game, here's what I've been working on off-and-on all week--my Sporepedia!

I hope you find something you like. Summer's getting underway, so whatever you do this weekend, spend some time outside! See you next week.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spore Creature Dance Contest

The YouTube Spore channel announced a dance contest for your creature to enter! You can register until August 1st, and voting on the finalists ends August 18th. Check out this video for details. The prizes look awesome. Best of luck!

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Meet and Greet Will Wright in San Francisco

If you're in the San Francisco area, tells us that Will Wright will be there at 7pm on June 21 visiting the Apple store at One Stockton Street. Check out this page on the Apple Retail Store site for more information.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Contest for UK Spore Fans

The European Spore site announces a special contest to play Spore early!

"We are offering one lucky winner the chance to receive the Harvey Ross Experience! One winner will be picked to demo Spore some time in August before release and at no cost."

Go to the UK Spore Forum to enter! Good luck!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spore Creature Creator Full Version Delayed

I'm sure you all know by now, but since I've had my head in the sand making creatures on the free version, I didn't get to post about it. But from Kotaku (and other places) comes the news that the creature creator full version will be delayed by at least a day. I guess the Maxis email was right after all!

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Spore Creature Creator Released

Today's the big day! Go to and download your free Creature Creator! Don't forget to register once you open the game to share your creatures.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Download the Spore Creature Creator (free)!

Hooked on Spore reports that the Creature Creator (free version) is already available for download! You can beat the rush and get it at Filefront (which I myself am using right now!), Worthplaying, and Internode.

Maxis sent out some crazy email this weekend that confused a lot of people, but the Creature Creator will be shipped on time (Amazon still hasn't shipped mine yet). I'm just going to use the free download until the full version arrives.


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Friday, June 13, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Painting

It's been a crazy week! So here's a short-but-sweet recolor I did this week that I've been wanting to make for my game for a long time.
The Sim and the Sea
This is a recolor of Rainy Day Main Street, so if you have that picture and the CEP installed in your game, you can select this picture instead of the Maxis one. Just choose the picture as you normally would but select this design instead of Rainy Day Main Street.

Download The Sim and the Sea here.
See you next week!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spore, SimCity Societies, & LOTRO Free Deals

There's a few freebies floating around the internet I thought you might like to know about, as well as a great interview with Lucy Bradshaw, one of the developers of Spore.


"EA’s UK PR manager, Jonathan Goddard, was at hand to inform us that the cost of the Creature Creator will be taken off the full retail price of the Spore game, due in September.

This incentive offer is only for UK customers and only those that made the initial pre-order for Spore, at selected incentive stores."
Lord of the Rings Online
  • Turbine updated the LOTRO download manager so players can download the LOTRO soundtrack for free! I've already done it, and have really enjoyed the music. My favorites are probably "East of the Sea" and "Far Ahead the Road Has Gone," which is the song that plays when you create your character.
  • Of course, they still offer their 14 day free trial which gives you something fun to do while you wait for the Creature Creator to arrive.
SimCity Societies
  • I don't blog about SimCity Societies because I don't play it. But I found out through Urban Online Entertainment that there is now a free demo of SimCity Societies. I was reluctant to buy SimCity Societies because I've read mixed reviews. I'll be sure to play the demo and see what it's like.
Some jokes to get you through the rest of the week

What can a shadow priest add to your raid? This video shows you!

'Warcraft' Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing 'Warcraft'(Note: The Onion website is for those over 18.)

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King Achievement System in Beta

Make no mistake, developers of MMOs have a habit of copying each other. Ars Technica reports that Blizzard is taking a page from Lord of the Rings Online for the upcoming expansion Wrath of the Lich King:

"A beta-tester for WotLK has uncovered a new achievement system currently in testing. Much like the system in Lord of the Rings Online, it appears that players will be able to complete specific in-game objectives, including rudimentary accomplishments, like getting a certain number of kills in PVP or getting to level 15 without dying."

Not sure if the rewards will be retroactive or not. My level 70s have been past level 15 for years now and I'm not sure how often they died, but I've no doubt someone on my server will find a way to mock me for my game acheivements (or lack of them)! Please forgive me, dear readers, it's hard to keep the snark monster at bay all the time. Anyway, browsing through the content at has proven very interesting. Have a look for yourself and see what you think!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spore Tutorials on You Tube

The official channel for Spore on You Tube is brimming with new videos!
Learn how to build your creature.
Learn how to paint your creature.
Take your creature for a test drive!

There's also a new Inner Feelings From Outer Space, though my favorites are probably Pro-Floaty and Speed of Cake.

The Creature Creator will be out in less than 7 days! Remember that there will also be a free one available, but it will not have all of the content of the priced one. I'll try to get a link up to the free one as soon as it's available. Looks like you'll be able to download it at on June 17, 2008. How exciting!

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Will Wright Video - The Science Behind Spore

Will Wright covers the science in Spore in a new video on

"That's really the story of Spore: What does a lifeless galaxy look like? Then you drop life in. What does that life do within the galaxy?"
Lots of great new footage of gameplay in this video. Every time I see new videos of Spore, I see things that I never expected to see, like the pens of animals for the alien farmers (Of course, I guess they're not really aliens if they're on their own planet). I don't know why I expect the game to be less complex than it is. I guess I just don't want to be disappointed, so I expect less. Anyone else do that? Anyway, enjoy this recent video!

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

New The Sims 3 Screenshots

The Sims 3 Screenshot

I saw a couple of new screenshots while browsing around yesterday.

The Sims 3 Screenshot

The graphics really look great. Up close, some of the sims look a bit "plasticy," but from a distance like the picnic shot, they look eerily real.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - 1 Little Doggie Trail Country Style Home

1 Little Doggie Trail
Good day, simadores!

I'm in a hurry today because it's another vet trip day. Please think of Mister Kitty (aka Medicine Man) today because he really needs to get better.

Anyway, today I've got a starter home lot for you with so much potential, furnished and ready-to-go.
1 Little Doggie Trail (1st floor inside)

1 Little Doggie Trail (2nd floor inside)

Use it as a vacation home lot for Eira Summit or Three Lakes. Or as a quaint shop with an apartment above for Open For Business. Or as an elderly couple's home, as I did.
1 Little Doggie Trail

These kind folks in my game--where everyone has everything they need and sims live forever!--take care of some neighborhood strays. See how nice it looks with just a little yard and a couple of trees? You'll be able to add on or decorate WONDERFULLY once your new sims get a little cash together.
1 Little Doggie Trail

This lot will work with just the base game installed. You DO NOT need any expansions for this lot! But, you will need the CEP Color Enable Package installed for some of the recolors to work. The recolors included are:

  • sofarecolor

  • WhiteMarbletopCounterTOP

  • WhiteMarbletopCounterBASE

  • StainlessSteelStove

  • Purple Roses and Gingham with Molding

  • Berry Roses and Gingham with Molding

  • Cezanne-apples

  • Maxis Pine Flooring

  • Highlands Flooring

These are all recolors I did and are included free, as usual!
Get the 1 Little Doggie Trail download here.

This lot ends the Eira Summit Vacation Destination series that I created. May your sims create cherished memories at Eira Summit!

Special thanks to everyone who dropped me a note about my kitty and I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Community Interview with Natasha Bedingfield

Here's a link to the Sims 2 Community Interview with Natasha Bedingfield.

Q: (International member) - What do you do in your FreeTime?

A: Natasha Bedingfield - Adventures!

A woman after my own heart!

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Sims 2 Apartment Life Preorder Available

The Sims 2: Apartment Life

Apartment Life for The Sims 2 is on its way! You can preorder Apartment Life at Amazon for a whopping $49.99. Ouch! The Sims 2 website sells the digital download for $39.95 $29.95 (But, if you don't have XP installed, you can't use the download).

Here are some details from Amazon & The Sims 2 sites:

  • Move into the perfect apartment: a spacious loft, a cozy place for a young couple, or a multi-bedroom flat-share with friends

  • Mingle with Sims from all-new social groups: stylish socialites, artsy bohemians, sports jocks, gadget-collecting techies, or edgy gearheads

  • Take advantage of apartment life: form social networks to make new friends, advance their careers, or look for love

  • Build your Sim’s new reputation meter: with a good reputation, your Sim can find the right friends to help them achieve their goals

  • Control multiple households: will you make your Sims live in happy harmony or comical conflict

You can check out some screenshots for Apartment Life in my flickr photostream. I really like the expansion packs for The Sims 2, way more than The Sims expansions. But with Medicine Man's bills and this pack being released on August 26th, I don't see how I'll be able to get it. Spore will be out September 7th and that will cost $50. Fifty here and fifty there adds up. I'd like to be slick and say I'm going to get it and report on it for you, but the reality is that this is just a site about my hobbies and things I find interesting, not a pro review site. I'm just not a big consumer and my household has a very low budget. Writing takes a long time to create and sell, and the money just isn't there.

If there's a major change for me between now and then I might get it. Each of the expansions added a new level of play to my game which I enjoy. But I don't remember any of them being $50. I actually started my expansion collection with The Sims 2 Pets and then got the others mostly because they were kind of cheap. I filled out my The Sims collection of expansions by buying them only last year when they were ten bucks for a couple. And The Sims 3 will be coming out next year.

Plus there's a few things I find odd about this expansion. Do we really need to be dividing people up into more groups? Bohemian (Whatever that is. Artist? I don't know too many "bohemians" in this day and age.), jocks--are there any jocks outside of high school? Isn't it hard enough to get out of bed if you're not a pro football player or pro basketball player? I don't know of any people my age really doing sports. Watching sports, sure. But watching sports doesn't make you a jock. Adults have to get jobs and they don't have time to play sports. Exercise is important and we all do it, but organized sports take time most people don't have. Does anyone really call people gearheads any more? That means they work on cars, right? They have to be working on older cars I guess because new cars won't let just anyone mess with them, they have to talk to computers or something to regulate themselves or whatever. Don't all people do little bits of these things? Why do we have to label people anyway?

Social networking was introduced with Nightlife. I don't know why they're rehashing it again. Your sim makes new contacts through other sims, and sometimes they get phonecalls from them. Done. If you want a deeper system, they put that in when they put in the secondary aspirations in FreeTime, and also in Open For Business as your businesses advance and you gain abilities. The reputation meter sounds interesting, but it's just one more meter to keep track of in a game full of meters. There's already meters for needs, for aspirations, for businesses, and for hobbies. Pets and kids have meters. I think even the garden vegetables have meters. And as for the last bullet point, can't you merge two households in the game already and control them both on the same lot?

I was kind of critical of this expansion in the first place because it has things that players have already made or just don't need, like spiral staircases and ceilings. But none of those bullet points or screenshots have convinced me that it's worth dropping $50 on. The economy's pretty tight right now. I say save your money for bread instead!

Update: After I wrote this post, I delved into The Sims 2 BBS to see what others had to say about Apartment Life. MaxoidDrea has a stickied post explaining that EA Games invited 7 of the most popular fansite webmasters to visit them in California and review this expansion. Here's a very nice review posted by The Sims Resource. There's a number of surprises in this expansion, including heating and cooling (if you have Seasons installed) and witches as the player creature. Still not enough to convince me to get it instead of Spore. The holidays aren't that far past September, though, and it's not like tons of great sim games come out on a regular basis, so I'll probably get it then, especially if it's cheaper.

Update Deux: A video of the witches!

Update Three: MaxoidDrea's thread was deleted due to "the flame war going on" in it, aka complaints about SecuROM. Maxoid_Hydra created a new one.

Update Four: Looks like the price on the digital download dropped by $10 in less than 24 hours?! Maybe the Amazon hard copy price will drop, too. One can only hope!

Update Five: Amazon now lists Apartment Life for $29.99. Hooray!

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

SciFi Channel MMO Makes You the Star

This isn't related to any game that currently exists, but Slashdot links us to an interesting article from Console Patrol about a new idea from the SciFi Channel--a reality TV show about an MMO. CP quotes CEO of the Sci-Fi Channel Dave Howe as saying:

"A television show that is on once a week isn't enough. The fans today want the experience to go beyond that. For example, we can tell them that there will be an alien invasion at a certain place in the game, at a certain time, and to be there with all their friends and be ready. The outcome depends on them. And then that battle will be part of the universe in the show."
I hope they like writing scripts about lag!

Seriously, the biggest problem facing them is that it's very hard to get even good players to purposefully create something in a game. Most people want to sit back and be entertained, not make the entertainment. They kill bosses to get the loot, they don't make up stories (or care what stories already exist--lolore!) about the bosses they kill. What most likely will happen is the producers will take cut scenes of game battles and put something together that has nothing to do with what actually happened, which is what they do on most reality shows today.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Will Wright at KRAZYTALK!

From the message board at Gaming Steve--on Wednedsay, June 4 (only a couple days away), Will Wright will be speaking live for the Vancouver Art Gallery's KRAZY TALK! event (Vancouver, BC, Canada). From the Art Gallery's site:

The Vancouver Art Gallery presents KRAZY!Talk, an exclusive series of four discussions with world leaders in the visual arts, comics, animation and computer games in conjunction with the Gallery’s groundbreaking exhibition KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art, on view from May 17 – September 7, 2008.
The talk will be at 7pm, and it does cost admission. You can call 604 662 4717 for tickets or more info.

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