What’s New in Silverlight 2 beta 2

Microsoft SilverlightThe Silverlight SDK blog has an overview of what new features to expect from the Silverlight 2 beta 2 release coming this week.

Highlights for me include:

  • DataGrid improvements: Autosize, Reorder, Sort, Performance increase, and more
  • Improved Templating Model: Visual State Manager
  • Including controls in the runtime instead of having them packaged in app package
  • Limited keyboard support in FullScreen mode (arrow, tab, enter, home, end, pageup/pagedown, space) – This opens up Silverlight 2 for gaming.
  • Cross Domain support in Sockets
  • Cross Domain security enhancements
  • BrowserHttpWebRequest and WebClient callable from BackGround Threads
  • Duplex communications (“push” from Server to Silverlight client)
  • Significantly improved SOAP interop
  • ADO.NET Data Services support
  • Changes in application model for multilingual apps (one xap per supported locale)
  • CurrentCulture and CurrentUICulture Isolation

This looks like its going to be an awesome new beta.

[tags]Silverlight,Silverlight 2,news[/tags]

Silverlight 2 beta 2 releasing this week

Microsoft SilverlightSome cool news coming out of Tech-Ed North America 2008 today from Bill Gates himself. Firstly Silverlight 2 beta 2 will be available this week including a commercial Go Live license and updated developer tools such as Microsoft Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview and Microsoft Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 beta 2.

This is great news for all Silverlight developers out there. From what I’ve read online this new release is going to break some compatibility with beta 1 but increase compatibility with Silverlight 1 and add a whole bunch of new and improved features as well as improved controls.

In addition we’ll see Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 out in August.

[tags]Silverlight,Silverlight 2,news,Tech-Ed 2008[/tags]

I’m the Rosetta@home user of the day

Rosetta@home I just got an email notification from the Rosetta@home project that I’ve been featured as the user of the day.

Congratulations!
You’ve been chosen as the Rosetta@home user of the day!
       Your profile will be featured on the Rosetta@home website for the next 24 hours.

Its just a pity that I haven’t really been able to commit CPU cycles to the project lately. Why? Well my work PC is suffering and needs a reinstall and my home PC is not running on ADSL and I’ve been too lazy to re-enable the BOINC to run while on 3G.

image

If you decide to join up I’d recommend joining team South Africa.

[tags]Rosetta@home[/tags]

Anyone else excited for Too Human?

Too Human

The Gamerscoreblog team are going to be having a chat with Denis Dyack about the upcoming Xbox 360 title Too Human. Here is what Chris Paladino has to say about it:

If you were to stop me on the street and ask what my favorite game of all time is, I’d reply “Diablo 2 with the Lord of Destruction expansion“.  You’d then ask “I never played that game, are you old?”

I’m pretty excited about our upcoming game Too Human which has been described as similar to Diablo 2, or Titan Quest.  The game has classes, random loot, and skill trees.  The older gamers out there may read this and think Moria, NetHack, or Rogue.

We will have the opportunity to speak with Denis Dyack about Too Human very soon.  Rather than ask questions that I think are interesting, we’d like to ask questions that you think are interesting.

So take a moment and drop some comments on his blog post over here.

In the meantime local community member Havok ZA has posted some IGN screenshots of the game over on the Xbox 360 South African forum here, I’ve linked them below for your viewing pleasure.

image image image image

[tags]Xbox 360,Too Human[/tags]

Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel to be released in June

Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel After months of waiting for the South African release date to be announced, I can finally confirm that the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel accessory should be appearing in retailers in June 2008, possibly even at the end of May 2008. The expected retail price is set at R1299 which may seem a bit steep considering the US price is $99 (roughly R745 at today’s rate), its going to be awesome to finally have access to the best racing wheel for the Xbox 360 console.

So if you are a fan of games like Forza Motorsport 2, DiRT, Project Gotham Racing 4, Need for Speed Carbon or Test Drive Unlimited then you could be racing like a pro with the awesome force feedback wheel.

[tags]Xbox 360,hardware,accessories,release[/tags]

Grand Theft Auto IV launch events

Grand Theft Auto IV For those in and around Johannesburg there are going to be some launch parties happening for one of the most anticipated sequels in the gaming industry. Yes I can only be talking about Grand Theft Auto IV. According to my sources the local distributor, Megarom, will be teaming up with local game store ZAPS at The Brightwater Commons. All are welcome to attend the launch event and I understand that Xbox 360 owners are invited to bring their consoles for some LAN action hosted by The Xbox Lounge.

From what I’ve read the event will be running from 18h00 until just after midnight when the game officially launches to the public. So don’t miss out, get your butt down to ZAPS and pick up your copy while you are at it for just R640 (Xbox 360) or R677 (PS3).

I first tried out Grand Theft Auto on the original Xbox console and I must say I wasn’t too excited about the genre in general. But I believe GTA IV is a break from the old formula with online multiplayer and some cool new concepts.

Grand Theft Auto fans can now get another glimpse of “Grand Theft Auto IV” before it hits shelves on April 29. The fourth official trailer, titled “Good Lord, What are You Doing?” AKA “Everyone’s a Rat,” is now available on Xbox.com.

Developed by Rockstar Games, “Grand Theft Auto IV” is a powerful crime epic set in modern-day Liberty City, a world with an unparalleled combination of scale, depth and detail.

For the first time ever, “Grand Theft Auto IV” will also include online multiplayer, enabling gamers to play with their friends.  Plus, only Xbox 360 players will have access to exclusive “Grand Theft Auto IV” content coming this fall.

I believe both AnimeWorX and  BT Games will also be hosting a midnight launch for gamers to be able to fetch their pre-orders at midnight.

[tags]GTA IV,Xbox 360,PS3,launch,South Africa,game[/tags]

Halo 3 Legendary Map Pack due out April 15th

For all the Halo 3 fans out there, there is good news. More downloadable content is on the way for just 800 Microsoft Points. The pack will consist of three new maps and some new Forge options. Bungie has some articles on two of the three new maps namely Ghost Town and Avalanche. For your viewing pleasure here are a few screenshots of the new maps.

Ghost Town:

Ghostly Exteriors Using the Back Door

   

Avalanche:

The Wraith Looks so Small Capture This Flag

Mancannon Into the Base Ominous Forerunner Spires

 

The press release follows:

The Fight Continues – Halo 3 Legendary Map Pack Arrives in April
The award-winning “Halo 3” multiplayer experience continues to evolve with three new maps available only on Xbox LIVE Marketplace

More than 7.3 million copies of “Halo 3” have flown off store shelves, upwards of 500 million hours of frag-tacular online gameplay have been logged on Xbox LIVE and the Heroic Map Pack has been downloaded by 1 million plus gamers and counting. But it’s not over yet…

Microsoft and Bungie today announced that April 15 will mark the release of the next wave of “Halo 3” downloadable content. Available exclusively on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points, the Legendary Map Pack will introduce three new maps to the title’s award-winning multiplayer experience, Ghost Town, Avalanche, and one map yet to be revealed. And with the addition of some exciting Forge options, fans can explore new ways to create and share their custom “Halo 3” content.

Ghost Town is a battle-scarred maze of narrow passages and dangerous ruins outside the once-prosperous city of Voi. Collapsed ceilings and shell-battered buildings provide both valuable cover and deadly traps, as catwalks and stairways take the fight from claustrophobic ground combat to dizzying rooftop battles. Ghost Town is a mid-sized map ideal for Team Slayer games and smaller, objective types.

The second map, Avalanche, is a tribute to Sidewinder, a “Halo: Combat Evolved” fan-favorite. This massive, vehicle-oriented objective map adds a twist to its classic predecessor with all new interiors, dramatically reshaped exteriors and brand new vehicle variants. Take a ride and admire the visual variety from the cockpit of the retuned Hornet.

The third map to be included in the Legendary Pack has yet to be announced, but stay tuned to Bungie.net for full details on another returning classic… fans of smaller Slayer maps, it’s time to get excited.

Be sure to check out www.xbox.com  and  www.bungie.net for all the latest information and screenshots of the new maps.

[tags]Halo 3,Xbox 360,DLC[/tags]

Xbox 360 price cut in South Africa

Xbox 360 price cut For those that haven’t heard the good news yet, there was a rather awesome bit of news out of Microsoft today. No Xbox LIVE isn’t officially available in South Africa yet, rather the Xbox 360 product range got a cool R600 to R700 price drop depending on the model. This finally brings the bottom of the range Xbox Arcade into under R2000 which will make a huge difference when the average consumer is in the store about to buy a new console.

This price drop follows the price drop announcement for Europe and is clearly going to boost the local sales. Hopefully the market will grow significantly so that Microsoft’s next major announcement will be Xbox LIVE available in South Africa. Well officially that is.

The official local press release follows:

SOUTH AFRICA – Monday 10th March, 2008– Microsoft today announced that it is lowering the estimated retail price (ERP) for its Xbox 360 family of consoles in Europe and South Africa.  Now with an entry-level ERP of R1999.00, Xbox 360 is a mass market entertainment proposition with something to offer for every interest and budget.

From Friday, 14th March, Xbox 360 Pro, which includes a 20GB hard drive and one wireless controller, will have an ERP of R2999.00, a saving of R700.00 on the current ERP.  The Xbox 360 Elite, which comes with a massive 120GB hard drive enabling consumers to store huge quantities of content, such as their own music, will have an ERP of R3999.00, a saving of R600.00.  The Xbox 360 Arcade console, perfect for those wishing to make their first foray into the gaming and entertainment world of Xbox, will have an ERP of R1999.00, a saving of R700.00.

Xbox 360 is the number one next-gen console in EMEA, owning 42% of the market in terms of life-to-date revenue.  Xbox 360 continues to enjoy the highest software attach rate of any game console in Europe with more than 7.0 games sold per console (PS3: 3.8; Wii 3.5) after 26 months on the market.

The new ERPs are part of Microsoft’s ongoing strategy to open up the ultimate in high-definition gaming and entertainment to an even wider audience, with an offering for everyone:

Best Choice for Families:

  • Xbox 360 grows as your family does, offering games and entertainment for every member of the family – from movies to games to music videos
  • With over 150 3+ rated games and unparalleled parental controls, parents can feel good about their kids playing Xbox 360

Most Diverse Entertainment:

  • Xbox 360 offers great choice in high-definition entertainment
  • It’s easy to view and enjoy video and photos on Xbox 360 as well as connect wirelessly to share content with a Windows Media Center PC

The Best Games:

  • There will be over 1,000 games available on Xbox 360 by the end of the year, with something for every skill level, interest and taste
  • Blockbuster franchises like Grand Theft Auto IV and Rock Band
  • Xbox 360 exclusives for 2008 include Fable 2, Gears of War 2 and Too Human, setting new standards for next-generation gaming

“Xbox 360 is now mass market in Europe and South Africa,” said Chris Lewis, Vice President, Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business in EMEA.  “We have reached and surpassed several key milestones that form part of our long term strategic plan to achieve critical mass in Europe and South Africa; and our portfolio now offers the kind of mainstream entertainment experiences that secure wider appeal for Xbox 360. These factors allow us to execute on our strategy to widen the market for Xbox 360, as planned. 

“We continue to offer intense, immersive gaming experiences for gamers – but now we’re priced in a way that will allow new consumers to find out for themselves why Xbox 360 is the ultimate in high-definition entertainment.” said Lewis.  “History shows that R1999.00 is the price point where a console’s audience begins to expand, and with these new ERPs in place we’re ready to bring more consumers into the Xbox 360 world.”

[tags]Xbox 360,South Africa,price cut,press release[/tags]

Lost hits the SA stores today

Lost the video game If you are a fan of the TV series Lost then you might be interested in picking up a copy of Lost the video game. The game has a Teen ESRB rating so it should be suitable for most of the family and apparently feels very much like the TV show although GameSpot says it struggles with some of the characters. According to Metacritic the game gets a metascore of 53 out of 100.

Fourways, South Africa – March 7th, 2008 – Today Megarom Interactive (Pty) Ltd. , one of South Africa’s leading video game importers and distributors, announced that Lost the video game releases today.

As a passenger of Oceanic flight 815, you survived the crash and find yourself on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. As you begin to unravel mysteries of the island, you begin to discover secrets of your own. You will have to understand your past mistakes in order to survive and find your way home…

Players will play as a survivor of Oceanic Flight 815, where they will have to confront their dark pasts, seek redemption and ultimately find a way home.

The game provides player with an authentic ‘Lost’ experience. Players get to explore familiar locations, unravel mysteries and interact with the main characters from the show.

Players will have to survive the challenges that the island throws their way by solving puzzles, outsmarting enemies, battling the smoke monster and outsmarting many other challenges in order to survive.

Lost the video game is available on Xbox360, PC and PS3.

[tags]press release,Lost,Megarom[/tags]

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 out now

Internet Explorer 8 Beta logo Just announced at MIX’08, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is available for download after the keynote completes. It looks like they’ve added some very cool new features with sites like Ebay and Facebook already taking advantage of them. I kinda like the idea of having my friend’s status updates available on my toolbar at the click of a button, apparently this is called a WebSlice. See the list of new features here.

One of the cool new features is finally the standard compliant rendering with a button to enable IE7-like emulation for older sites. HTML5 and CSS3 are all included. Oh and the speed is apparently greatly improved.

[tags]Internet Explorer 8[/tags]