Gadling's resident pilot explains what life in the cockpit is like
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X3F Live: Halo 3 Tonight @ 9:30PM EST [Update]


Update: X3F Live has ended for the night. Thank you for joining us and stay tuned for more X3F Live events in the future!

In order to make up for yesterday's failed attempt to play Team Fortress 2 due to game crashes, we're throwing down in a little Halo 3 action tonight starting at 9:30PM EST! Unfortunately not everyone will be available to play but those of us that bring you the news you crave (and some you don't) will be partying up for some custom game action.

As usual add X3FLIVE to your friends list and use the Friends of Friends feature to track down Richard (SenseiRam), Dustin (SuperDunners), Alexander (Sli Xander) and/or Xav (Snypz) and try to jump into an open session. Anyone start a "Save Terrence's Internets" petition yet?

If you can't get X3FLIVE on your friends list and really want to jump in with us, send Xav (Gamertag: Snypz) a message over Xbox Live requesting an invite and we'll send one your way sometime throughout the night.

Rockstar's Social Club is Live!


In anticipation for some time now, and even pushed back a bit, the Rockstar Games Social Club is now open for pre-registration. For those not in the know, the Social Club will allow registered players to view leaderboards, track stats, and generally be connected to Rockstar's community. We're glad to see that more developers are giving their community better tools to provide them with content, as well as keeping interest for their game high. If you're going to be playing a lot of GTA IV (who isn't?) you could do worse than heading over there and setting up a profile. Hell, we did that very thing before you even read this!

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Another COD4 Double XP Weekend: April 25-27


These things are certainly becoming popular, we guess devs discovered that people like getting twice the reward for normal "work." Last time the event was the release of COD4's first map pack. This time it's the same thing, only for PS3, and since the maps are already out on 360, we get the Double XP Weekend too. The specific start and stop times for North America are from 12:01 AM on Friday, April 25 to 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 27. And for those European gamers the Double XP Weekend is completely different, beginning at 12:01 AM GMT on Friday, May 2 and concluding at 11:59 PM GMT on Sunday, May 4. Mark your calenders gamers!

Halo 3 Double EXP (kind of) Weekend: Living Dead

As the weekend rolls around again, the folks over at Bungie are bringing their flavor playlist of the week into rotation again. Now, usually that would mean that there would be Double EXP in every game played in the playlist, but it seems that those crazy engineers had a technical glitch, and while there is a new playlist, folks playing games within only receive a single point of EXP. Bungie assured us that they know of the issue and that everything should be ok by tomorrow (Friday) morning. This week's Double EXP playlist is "Living Dead"

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

COD4 LIVE Fire Weekend 2008: April 18-20


Heads up to all the COD4 players out there! Remember back when the game launched last fall and there was a weekend event to celebrate? Sure you do. Well it's happening again next weekend. Thanks to a press release from Microsoft, we can report that next weekend you'll have the opportunity to play against the COD4 devs as well as an MMA fighter named Jens "Lil Evil" Pulver (though we honestly have no idea what significance being an MMA fighter has in the land of FPS). Not only that, but just playing during the weekend will enter you for all sorts of prizes. The times for the prizes and sweepstakes are Friday, April 18 at 12:01am through Sunday, April 20 at 11:59pm. The time that the MMA fighter and devs will be online is Friday, April 18 from 6-9pm. If you're at all interested register here. Good luck! (Note: All times are Eastern Daylight, EDT)

New Gears 2 Info in latest Game Informer [Update]


As is often the case with video game news, a sharp-eyed forum-goer brings us this story. Over at NeoGAF, a poster with the latest issue of Game Informer has been relating some of the Gears 2 info contained within. There's a ton of information, most of which is new (and from the sound of it) awesome. There's only part of the story online at NeoGAF, and we'll only list some of the better sounding stuff here, so be sure to buy the magazine if you want the full scoop.
  • "We have creatures that make the Brumak look like a baby panda bear." -Cliff Bleszinski
  • "We hear hints of all sorts of new multiplayer features, from dramatically expanded co-op modes to multiplayer content that takes advantage of Unreal's new ability to deliver huge numbers of the Locust horde at one time, but confirmed details will have to wait until a later date."
  • Different difficulty settings for each player in co-op. One person can play on Hardcore, one on Casual.
  • COG Centaur Tank (Monster Truck + Tank) There's a dedicated level where you get to pilot one.
  • Drop in/drop out co-op, with a fourth, easier, difficulty.
  • Forced walking scenes replaced with a dynamic conversation camera system (which is skippable).
  • Hundreds of Locust troops, all acting independently.
  • "Gorgon burst pistol and poison grenades, both of which can become part of your arsenal if you play your cards right"
If you're interested in a few more tidbits, they're after the break, otherwise buy the magazine for all the details.

Continue reading New Gears 2 Info in latest Game Informer [Update]

Bungie WWU: Legendary Forge Filters, Items


When the Heroic map pack was being touted by Bungie, their biggest talking point was the Forge possibilities with the map Foundry. With the Legendary map pack Bungie has been rather quiet regarding any sort of new Forge features. Until now. This week Bungie went all out, revealing the specialized Forge items for each of the three Legendary maps. Avalanche has walls, corners, ramps and watchtowers. Blackout has ramps and doors to block off room interiors. And Ghost Town has ramps, bridges and scaffolding.

The real star of the show however, are Forge Filters (see above for a preview of a few). Forge Filters are: "forge objects that change the camera settings to create a variety of effects." Have you ever placed your camera in a very specific location to achieve a precise image effect? Say inside of an explosion or something? Now with Forge Filters, you can CHOOSE the image effect you want applied to you image. And from ANY camera position, even during gameplay!

Wow. Do want.

COD4 has its own Double EXP Weekend


Considering that their game is the most-played game on Live, it seems a bit strange that Call of Duty 4 would be taking cues from its defeated opponent. Yet to celebrate the release of the Variety Map pack, Infinity Ward is doing just that, taking a leaf out of Bungie's book and creating their very own version of the Double EXP Weekend. The COD4 weekend is a bit different than the Halo 3 system however. In Halo 3 the boosted EXP is limited to a specific playlist: Grifball. In Hal- er, we mean COD4, the EXP is doubled any time a match is played on the Variety DLC maps. So while you're effectively paying for the new EXP, it is good to see Infinity Ward taking preemptive steps to match anything that could lead to Halo 3 coming back to the top. Competition breeds excellence right?

We have no info on whether or not the Double EXP Weekend will be a recurring thing with COD4, but the current one ends on Sunday at midnight.

Halo 3 Double EXP Weekend: Grifball

The Halo 3 Double EXP Weekends continue on (in spite of whatever day the calender insists it is) with the very latest playlist addition: Grifball. The Grav Hammer based fan-favorite gametype is firmly grounded in Foundry and is loosely based on soccer. For those who are arriving late to the Grifball party, the game is very simple: get the ball in the goal without dying. But you'll have to try to get your playing in before 2am Monday morning, as that's when the "Double EXP Weekend" ends. The Grifball playlist is live now.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Microsoft: Online behavior reducing sales


So dear reader, when was the last time you were on Live? Now, when was the last time you were on Live and did not encounter some form of asshat? However long ago it was, it was definitely too recent, and word is starting to really get around. In an article at Gamasutra, Fulton, a Microsoft employee who worked on Shadowrun, writes that: "the online behavior of our customers is dramatically reducing our sales."

And that's just the beginning of an excellent four page article on social design and the future of online gaming with regard to social interaction. The assertion that Live is generally filled with annoying idiots has been widely held among the more hardcore gaming community since the inception of the service, but this is the first that we've ever heard anything out of Microsoft about it affecting them in any manner. In the article Fulton posits that we know and love games so we're willing to work around it or put up with it, but for newcomers to the medium, the fun/annoyance ratio could just be too high. Readers, what do you think?

Bungie: More Team SWAT after Double XP wknd


Given that the first Double XP Weekend playlist was very popular and got cut short, it was a bit obvious that Bungie would be bringing back the Team SWAT goodness for this weekend. The fan-favorite Team SWAT playlist that saw so much play in Halo 2 isn't in the "default" set of Halo 3 playlists, and in the Bungie Weekly What's Update the issue of Team SWAT's permanence was teased at a little, saying that : "As for SWAT's long term future, don't worry, this isn't the last you'll be seeing of it."
So that's vague but good.

The rest of the update concerns various Halo 3 current events, mainly the Heroic maps becoming free, and the upcoming MLG playlist. The fun stuff comes in the form of the new Blackout content, which consists of a mouse-over image of the map's overhead view showing the weapon placement (almost identical), as well as another mouse-over image of the Lockout/Blackout sniper tower comparison, which we have handily converted to the animated GIF accompanying this post!

Battlefield: Bad Company beta announced (again)

Even though we already received information about its existence last week, this time it's official with both EA and DICE announcing that a Battlefield: Bad Company multiplayer beta will be kicking off next Tuesday, March 25th on Xbox Live. Beta access is open to North American and UK residents with access keys being handed out via IGN's Founder's Club, Club IGN, File Planet and other IGN owned websites including TeamXbox. Also, North Americans can obtain a Bad Company beta code by being one of the first 5,000 to head to GameStop and plop down a Bad Company pre-order.

As far as multiplayer specifics go, the Bad Company beta will feature two multiplayer maps (Ascension and Oasis) and the multiplayer mode "Gold Rush". And just like betas before it, DICE will use all the data they mine from their Bad Company beta to further tweak and improve upon the game before its release. Remember, the multiplayer fun kicks off on March 25th and will run through April 25th with access being made available through various IGN websites as well as Gamestop pre-orders. Now go, run forth and obtain a beta code soldier!

One handed 360 controller redux


That crazy Ben Heckendorn is at it again. No he's not shoving an Xbox 360 into an even tinier laptop (360book Air, anyone?), but instead making some refinements to his one-handed controller. The new controller is much smaller, and also a little bit easier on the eyes than his previous model. With the right stick on the top, and face buttons, triggers, and bumpers on the bottom, it's got everything you need for some one handed fragging. The right stick, in case you're wondering, is meant to be placed on a leg or available surface, thus manipulating the stick by moving the controller itself. Pretty ingenious if you ask us. Don't go crazy trying to procure one for yourself though, as it wasn't intended for mass consumption. Ben's other one handed controller, called the Access, on the other hand, is soon to be made available to the masses.

[Via Engadget]

More Dark Sector mutliplayer screens


Fresh from releasing the details on the included multiplayer modes within Dark Sector, D3 Publisher has released nine new images of the competitive modes in action. Fans might remember Dark Sector as one of the first next-generation titles to ever be showcased way back in April 2004. After a massive shift from their original space-opera vision, developer Digital Extremes has transformed Dark Sector into a more mainstream action-shooter. The game has had its share of ups-and-downs but if these images do anything, they give us hope that the project is back on track to a Spring 08 release.

[Edited: Wording in this article to include developer Digital Extremes]

Gallery: Dark Sector, Multiplayer

Battlefield: Bad Company multiplayer preview


Since being bit by the delay bug, Battlefield: Bad Company has been flying under the radar, but recently developer DICE felt confident enough to show off the game's multiplayer and it actually impresses.

IGN posted a nice writeup of their first Bad Company multiplayer experience and are pleased to report that the framerate, textures and overall look of the game has drastically improved since their single player play session last year. The extra polish looks to have paid off. Their hands on time consisted of a 16 player versus multiplayer match in a map called "Ascension" (no, not that Ascension) where the goal was to lay waste to the other team all while destroying their heavily secured gold stash. The graphics are sharp, the gameplay was solid enough, the destructible environments lived up to their name and IGN walked away satisfied and hopeful. And from their positive praise (and videos like the one above) we're, oddly enough, impressed as well. Make the jump to read their complete multiplayer writeup as well as their preview of a yet to be played campaign mission. B-company out.

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