Todd's Foolery

NCAA Football ’12: The Coach Carousel


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Yesterday, NCAA Football 12 designer Jordan Petereson posted to the game’s blog about the game’s new Coach Carousel feature (as part of an ongoing week-long series of posts on the game). This mode, which they say is one of the community’s “top requested features” adds coaches and contracts to the game. Granted, their usage here is greatly expanded, but coaches and contracts were there before were they not? (You could make a coach in the game, get fired, and go to a new school in prior editions.)

Regardless, there is new stuff here. As the player, it’s no longer just the head coach you can create or take over. You can also choose to be an offensive or defensive coordinator that only worries about one side of the ball. There’s a new system for taking on contracts and rising through the “coaching ladder.” Coordinators can be promoted to head coaches. Coaches have an alma mater that, as you progress into your career, may affect job offers. Think Rich Rodriguez, back when he had credibility, taking over West Virginia’s program. You also take your playbook with you as you go from school to school and that playbook could also affect which schools are interested in you. (Granted, Rich Rod’s playbook couldn’t have been a worse fit for Michigan’s personnel at the time, yet there he went. Big win, that move. Sigh.) Most importantly of all, though, you get to select your coach’s apparel…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #70


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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re kicking it old school on this week’s Jumping the Shark. No guest interviews. No friends of the show (though we want you all coming back for as long as we keep doing this). Just Me, Bill, Brandon, and Danielle waxing philosophic about games. Specifically, I talk a bit of The Witcher 2, Danielle tries to gamify the process of apartment hunting, and Bill and Brandon leave no stone unturned in discussing LA Noire. That’s the bulk of the show right there, but we also do a short bit on how we have (or haven’t) changed how we handle putting our personal information online in the wake of the Sony trainwreck. Join us…

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The Witcher 2: Mid-game Impressions


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This weekend, when I wasn’t attending three soccer games for my two kids or watching High Fidelity*, I was dumping a good 12 hours or so into The Witcher 2. Not that much if you’re a real gamer, but when you’re me and can’t keep your eyes open past 11:00 or so, that’s not too shabby. At this point I’m into the meat of Chapter 2 of what, I’m told, is a 4-chapter game (counting the prologue). The game is good. Really frigg’n good.

I talk about some of this on Jumping the Shark this week, but it’s worth reiterating: After a horde of crashes on the preview build, the game plays rock-solid stable. I had one instance of getting locked into a loading screen, but that’s been it. I’m impressed a game that taxes my PC this hard has this level of stability since it’s been my experience that games that push the envelope technologically are often most brutal on the hardware at the tail end of the spectrum. Speaking of which, I’m writing up another post to talk about system specs and performance with Witcher 2. I started to write it here, but it turned into a bigger conversation than I first had in mind and I’m sure many of you would like to talk more about the game than how it performs. I’ll link this to the specs post once it’s up in a day or two. For now, on to the game…

Sony Losses Staggering

Joystiq has a story on Sony’s updated earnings report which um, isn’t good.

Not only has the PSN security shenanigans currently cost the company roughly $171 million but Sony is also estimating loses of $3.2 billion for the fiscal year ending in March which falls outside the date of the hack attack but does fall within the time frame of the disastrous earthquake.

That is a staggering amount of money for any company. No spin required. That’s brutal.

However, remember that the Red Ring of Death issues with the Xbox 360 cost Microsoft and its cost cutting ways a heaping helping of over $1 billion so it’s not like Sony is closing its doors anytime soon.

Jumping the Shark Podcast #69

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week’s Jumping the Shark features another new guest, Good Old Games PR and Marketing Manager Lukasz Kukawski. With Danielle and I unable to attend this part of the Thursday afternoon recording (silly day jobs), which featured talk of GoG, Witcher 2, and a lengthy discussion on DRM, Bill and Brandon conducted another very solid interview. Before that, through the magic of out of sequence editing, the full gang is together again to talk up Witcher 2 (my preview build), Portal 2 Co-op, Sly Collection, Lume, and a little more With Fire and Sword.

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Sony Thinks They Can. They Think They Can. They Think They Can.

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If a picture of the Little Engine That Could and the post title mean nothing to you then, sorry as I am to be the one that breaks it to you, your parents were delinquent in your upbringing.

Anyway, I woke up this morning to not one, not two, but three new posts on the US Playstation Blog announcing that the new software update for the PS3 is available and that many PSN services are coming back online. Here are the details…

The update (v3.61) is mandatory and is available now.

If using a PS3, your password can only be changed on your own PS3 (or a PS3 on which your PSN account was activated), as an added layer of security. If you have never downloaded any content using your account on the system, an email will be sent to the registered sign-in ID (email address) associated with your account when you first attempt to sign-in to PSN. This e-mail will contain a link that will enable you to change your password. In this email, click on the link and follow the instructions to change your password. Once you have changed your password you can sign-in to your account using your new password.

and

Kazuo Hirai just announced that we have begun the phased restoration by region of some of the services, starting with online multiplayer functionality.

Please note that these services will take a bit of time to be turned on and rolled out to the whole country. The process has begun and some states are being turned on now, so please be patient as we reach your city and state. We’ll be updating the map below as service comes online in individual states. It will take several hours to restore PSN throughout the entire country, so please keep checking back for the latest updates. In the meantime, now’s a great time to get your PS3’s firmware updated, which is required to get online.

Here’s the link to the video announcement from Kazuo Hirai (a man with so many titles on the intro graphic I don’t know what to call him) apologizing again for the failure and explaining the restored service rollout.

Mass Effect 3 Details Continue to Emerge

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Apparently new Mass Effect 3 details have been making the rounds in multiple dead tree magazines and a few helpful online sites/forums have gone about summarizing the details for those of us who only read on the Internet. Eurogamer has gone one further by summarizing the summaries (with links) with some of the most noteworthy information, although they do venture into spoiler territory (they mark it off): some of the available companions, romances, Shepard’s new relationship to Cerberus, etc. The non spoilery details include information on skill changes and combat balancing. There’s some promising stuff there, but we’ll see how it goes. And now I’ve summarized the summary of the summary for you. You’re welcome.

Also, Ashley is gonna kill me. Guess I’ll need to do some real smooth talking.

The Witcher 2 and the Fine Art of Previews

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I just shipped off my preview of The Witcher 2 to Bill. I’d say it should be up at The Mothership in the next day or two, but it’ll probably be rejected… for the awful writing I mean. You see, I was pretty excited when Bill forwarded me the email granting access to the game’s preview code. I mean it’s The Witcher 2 for the love of Pete. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to get an early look at that? And from the moment I finally got it installed (Sony should contact these guys about security) I was having a grand old time. So good a time in fact that, in accepting the assignment, I forgot one important fact: I suck at writing previews. That particular issue didn’t occur to me until this morning when I sat down to actually do some writing.

Oops…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #68

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I missed this week’s Jumping the Shark in order to play a little Witcher 2 preview build (post coming soon), but somehow the gang manages to carry on without me. (Perish the thought.) This week, courtesy of some more legwork from Brandon (who also edited), brings you an interview with Mark Yetter from Timegate Studios, makers of Section 8: Prejudice. From there the gang goes on to chat about Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword, Portal 2, Zelda, and Mario. Enjoy!

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(Embedded feed included after the break.)