Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

As promised, your Gamerscore will now be worth something. Members of the free Xbox Live Rewards service will have monetary incentive to go after those blip-bloop Achievements in order to earn bonuses. "Contenders" will now earn "a special gift" during their birthday month as long as they have earned 3,000G. But there are other, better gifts for members that reach higher Gamerscore thresholds.

At 10,000G, you'll earn "Champion" status and earn a 1% rebate on your Xbox Live Marketplace purchases every month--in addition to the special birthday gift. 25,000G unlocks "Legend" status and a 2% rebate.

While the amounts are rather paltry, they should add up over time. And remember, Rewards members earn 20MSP every month for taking a survey. Over a year, the percentage point rebate coupled with the surveys should add up to at least one DLC track in Dance Central...

To check out all the bonuses (and sign up), you can visit Xbox Live Rewards.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Blizzard recently revamped Legendary items in Diablo 3, but that doesn't do too much good if they're still super-hard to find. So, as part of the ongoing public beta testing of patch 1.0.5, Blizzard is now experimenting with doubling the drop rates of Legendary and Set items.

Yesterday's update to the Public Test Realm brought the drop-o-change along with more balance tweaks, skill changes and a handful of bug fixes.

Of course, this being a test patch, the change might not stick or, who knows, the drop rate could even raised higher yet. So, would it please you to see Legendaries become more common, or is the scarcity part of the allure?

Shacknews - Steve Watts

For such a high-profile series, Halo has been fairly consistent in sticking in the first-person shooter genre. The one exception was Halo Wars, and Ensemble founder Tony Goodman says the project's departure from the norm created some strife with Bungie.

Goodman told Games Industry International that Microsoft was risk-averse to putting a strategy game on a console, and attached the Halo name to make it more marketable. "They just said, 'Why don't you just paint over what you have with Halo stuff?' But things aren't quite that simple," he said.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. "Bungie was kind of sore about the idea," he said. "What they called it was 'the whoring out of our franchise' or something. Yeah, that didn't create a great relationship between us and Bungie; they viewed us as someone infringing [on their franchise]."

Bungie has made more positive comments about Halo Wars in the past, like AI specialist Damian Isla calling it a "very faithful adaptation" in 2008. It could be that the grumblings Ensemble heard were from different staff members, or that Bungie simply didn't want to speak publicly about its concerns. Either way, the series is back in solidly FPS territory for the foreseeable future.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Thursday evening beckons, but not before we let you out of here after reading Late Night Computing for September 27, 2012.

Finally! After having an episode of rage quit over Borderlands 2, I returned to my go-to game lately in FTL: Faster than Light. Although it's been a bit of a chore, since I keep coming up with brilliant ways to kill myself, I finally made it to the end successfully. I promptly gave each of my crew a promotion to captain after my virtual slaughter concluded.

Now, to unlock the rest of the ships.

News bits:

  • Have you played Telltale's The Walking Dead episodes and were upset you couldn't make a particular decision? Or just embarassed by your own thoughts? Post them to The Walking Dead Confessions. [via Tumblr]

  • How realistic can artificial intelligence be in a video game? Turns out, pretty intelligent, as bots pass the Turing test. [via Eureka Alert]

  • Get an indepth look at the impressive design of the Firefox operating system from MozCamp Warsaw. [via BGR News]

  • Google merges Trends and Insights, hopefully giving you a better idea what the world is currently infatuated with. [via CNet]

  • Our long national memory has ended, as the NFL and its referees reach an agreement. Never forget with this memorial video. [via Youtube]

Chatty posts of the moment.

Make sure you log-in and check your filters if you can't see the following:

  • "Let's make the most informative thread ever! Let's talk about the things we know and the things we want to know. I'll start with some stuff about other communities here on the internet. Please don't consider that as a guideline! I want to share everything you know, from politics to humor to technology and beyond!" [by ConfusedUs]

  • "I am going through this love/hate thing with Borderlands 2. I love the game, I have put a lot of hours into it mostly solo but I am having a lot of fun. I've done co-op too and that is a blast. I started off bored with the game, then once I hit Sanctuary and the game opened up a bit, I loved it. But this whole limited golden key code crap is starting to irritate me again." [by grendel]

Nightly file.

  • Complex 2.8.4 mod for Homeworld 2. "Complex is a free advanced game modification based on Relic Entertainment's Homeworld 2 game engine, free of any business directive, developed with passion and hard work, for experienced Homeworld players only. In a world of simplified games often under pressure to do well commercially, our challenge has been to create this ambitious project, for those who want more from a modern videogame." Download the free mod for Windows.


Halo 4 Promethean weaponry trailer:

Wreck havoc on the battlefield with extremely powerful Promethean technology in weaponized form.

New trailers hit the media for Crosswords Plugs, an artsy trailer for Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone!, a developer diary featuring the wonderful world of shoes for NBA 2K13, and a location video for RaiderZ.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Microsoft is taking another step towards making Xbox a general entertainment unit, with a newly announced deal to offer a digital series first on its online service. SyFy Digital has produced a show called Nuclear Family, which will premiere on the 360's SyFy App two weeks before it hits any other video-on-demand services.

IGN reports that the series is about a family searching for their missing child in a post-apocalyptic setting. The family has to contend with a group led by "The Man," and will no doubt learn the cause of the mysterious explosion that led to their kid's disappearance.

Yes, it sounds kind of awful, but the cast is decent. It stars Corin Nemec (Stargate SG-1), Kinsey Packard (Sleeper Cell), Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Mad Men, and Sharon Lawrence (Desperate Housewives). You could marathon through all 20 episodes on October 1 through Xbox Live, or wait until October 15 to check it out on SyFy, Hulu, VOD, and Roku. And whatever the quality of the series, it's certainly another telling sign of Microsoft's goals to turn the Xbox into a less game-centric brand.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

As promised, Carmaggedon today screeched onto the GOG store at $10, leaving bloody treadmarks and a light shower of viscera. With Carmageddon Reincarnation coming thanks to a successful Kickstarter, now's a fine time to revisit Stainless Games' open world-ish splatty race 'em up, or see what all the fuss is about for the first time.

GOG's selling it complete with the Splat Pack expansion, for all your splatting needs. If you put at least $25 into the Carmageddon Reincarnation Kickstarter, you should have a coupon to redeem the original on GOG sitting in your inbox now or soon-ish.

The gang at GOG are so excited about this release, they've whipped up a curious video with everyone baying for blood. And why not? Relive a little of the old 'video game nasties' controversy:

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Earth Defense Force Portable 2017, a Vita version of the Xbox 360's EDF 2017, has been confirmed for North American release. The game is vaguely set for "winter 2013," which probably means sometime in the first quarter of next year.

D3Publisher tweeted the news (via IGN) with a lone screenshot. The game was first announced a few weeks ago at the Tokyo Games Show, but D3 hadn't confirmed a domestic release until today.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

EA has snatched up ESN, the developer behind the recent Battlelog app for web and mobile devices. With the new corporate backing, the studio says it will focus its energy on Battlefield, Battlelog, and other projects with fellow Swedish studio DICE.

Gamasutra reports that the terms of the acquisition deal were not disclosed. Like Autolog for racing games, Battlelog has become its own brand to be used across various EA properties. It will be used in Medal of Honor: Warfighter this fall. The Battlelog app is free, and keeps track of your friends' activity, leaderboards, and news.

Shacknews - Ryan Calavano

You get a double dose of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 multiplayer coverage, first with the return of wager matches and traditional modes, but some new modes as well. Then, get all the information on the quest for Prestige. Finally, we take a look at just a bit of the 17 minutes of pretty freaky footage released for Dead Space 3.

You can also watch this episode on YouTube. And, don't forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes as they go up.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The head-mounted VR display Oculus Rift has opened pre-orders for developer kits, and expects to ship the kits starting in January. US developers can order a kit for $300, while international customers will have that bumped up to $345 for shipping.

Polygon reports that those who backed the project on Kickstarter will get their dev kits at the end of this year, slightly earlier than pre-orders. The company has been aggressive in seeking third-party support, already announcing compatibility with Hawken and Doom 3 BFG Edition. Check out our own hands-on for more details.