Friday, August 31, 2007

AotI: Phantom of Arkguard Chapter 1 Translation

EspioKaos over at PSOW has created an English script for the recently released first episode of the 'Phantom of Arkguard' moving comic. I also give him credit for correcting me from calling it the 'Prologue of Arkguard', which is actually the trailer for the moving comic that was posted earlier. The names were so similar I didn't even notice the difference when typing it up. Anyway, he plans to create a frame edited picture comic with English translations in the appropriate areas. I'll post again when this is done.

If you aren't familiar with him, he just happens to be the guy that translates many of the articles about AotI that pop up in various Japanese magazines. Much of the information we get now about the game comes through him. You'll probably see his name more when more articles come out.

Phantom of Arkguard
EspioKaos's PoA 1 Translation

PS2/PC: Today's Time Attack Event Updated

RubyEclipse will now be supporting a bracket for those leveled below the current 75+ limit. For those that haven't heard any details about the event so far or wish to see any updated details, please check the event thread.

Original Posting
Lil' Zael's Event Thread

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast Episode III



The third of the new weekly PSU podcast has been released. Once again you can find it at Switchpod and iTunes. From now on, it would seem that they plan to release a new episode during each scheduled maintenance period. Depending where you are, this is either late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

Podcast Discussion Thread
Episode III on Switchpod

AotI: Phantom of Arkguard Premiere

The weekly update on Japan's AotI page just went out. This time it's the first of what appears to be a 6 part 'moving comic' series called the Phantom of Arkguard. It takes place between Episode 1 and 2 during an investigation of terrorism.

I would say that this is a must see, even if you don't know Japanese. The art style is interesting and there are quite surprising scenes in it.

Phantom of Arkguard Comic Page
AotI Site Weekly Update Thread

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

PS2/PC: XP and Vista Service Packs

Both operating systems will be getting service packs early next year.

XP's was meant to be released last year, but was delayed. Many of the noticable changes are apparently going to be to Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Windows Live Messenger. I find this odd since they are updated on their own usually. Anyway, this will be the last major update for XP. Microsoft is supposed to stop selling and licensing XP on January 31st, 2008. Main support for it stops 4/14/2009 and extended support stops 4/8/2014. This is actually far longer than normal, but then again XP lasted alot longer than usual. Mostly because it took so long for Microsoft to release Vista.

Vista's addresses a number of issues, alot of which are listed at the link below. The thing is running in a somewhat closed beta right now. The download is about a gigabyte and it needs seven to install. Most of that space clears up after installation though.

PSU related:

- Includes application programming interfaces (APIs) by which third-party security and malicious software detection applications can work with kernel patch protection on x64 versions of Windows Vista. These APIs help ISVs develop software that extends the functionality of the Windows kernel on x64 computers without disabling or weakening the protection offered by kernel patch protection. [Basically what this means is that stuff like Norton and McAffe will work better.]

- Improved reliability and compatibility of Windows Vista when used with newer graphics cards in several specific scenarios and configurations.

- Improved reliability when working with external displays on a laptop.

- Improved Windows Vista reliability in networking configuration scenarios.

- Improved reliability of systems that were upgraded from Windows XP to Windows Vista.

- Improves the speed of copying and extracting files.

- The service pack will add support for Direct3D 10.1, adding application programming interfaces (APIs) and features that enable 3-D applications, so game developers can better take advantage of a new generation of Direct3D graphics hardware.

For those of you waiting for the 'bugfix' release of Vista, I think this Service Pack covers most of the outstanding issues.

Vista Improvements

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

General: Content Update for August 31st

Sonic Team has announced the incoming updates for this Friday. This includes the last couple of S2 rank missions (Dark Satellite, Seed Awakened) as well as a new party mission (Duel in the Ruins). There are also many new S rank board drops (at least ten). Check the official page for full details. Some of the new S ranks have already been listed in the linked discussion thread on the forums.

Official Update Page
Discussion Thread

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Xbox 360: Messenger Kit Hands On

Announced along with the spring dashboard update this year was the messenger kit. It was meant to make it easier to use the new live messenger capabilities, but I think the real draw is for games like PSU. The current release date is going to be September 6th and the price is $30. It comes with a mini blackberry-type keyboard that attaches to the controller and a headset (with the on/off switch along the wire). The current headsets won't fit as the connector is incompatible. But older Xbox and mobile headsets will work. You can find a preview of the kit at Gamespot's site. It's a bit old, but I never got the chance to post it here and the release date is quite soon.

The advantage I see here is not having to put down the controller to type (or even readjusting your hands). It also is more intuitive than the Texter for obvious reasons. The only complaint that I can come up with right now is that it doesn't seem to have function keys (which PSU uses for shortcuts). It's too bad since they could have probably assigned them as secondary/tertiary options on the 1-10 keys. Otherwise, I think this is a great alternative to using a usb keyboard. That is as long as you don't mind the extra cost. It also currently is only announced in white.

While I don't think it's quite the thing for extended lobby conversations, it's perfect for shop searching and finding games. Generally anything you can't use voice chat for.

Gamespot's Messenger Kit Hands On

PS2/PC: Train Rescue Event on September 1st

Deja is hosting a rather interesting event. There will be time attacks, gambling, and more. Some details:

Date: September 1st
Time: 3 PM EST, 12 PM PST, 8 PM UTC
Requirements: 50+ minimum for the lowest level time attack. Everyone can gamble.
Prizes: Details coming later
For alot more information, please visit the link below.

Deja's Announcement Thread

Friday, August 24, 2007

AotI: Just Attack/Counter and New Collision Report



The fourth Hal report has gone up and it has some new footage. Shown is the just attack, just counter, and new and improved collision. You can find this movie at the link below (ie not above).

Also now available is the download page. It looks like all that is available right now is the ability to integrate an AotI movie into your own blog. It would look something like that ^^^.

Fourth Hal Report
Download Page
AotI Site Weekly Update Thread

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast Episodes I&II





Episode II of the recently formed PSU Community Podcast has just gone up. You can now find both episodes on iTunes and on Switchpod at the link below.

PSU_Castor's Podcast Thread
PSU Podcast on Switchpod

PS2/PC: Tails Sidekick Saturday

Sonic Team has announced a new program for the PC/PS2 servers. On Saturdays they are going to encourage help from the experienced players to newer ones. Details as follows:

We're calling on veteran GUARDIANS to take this opportunity to help train the
next generation of heroes by seeking out beginning players and teaching them
some tips and tricks for running missions and fighting monsters. Although we
encourage this level of commitment, all players who enter the game anytime
Saturday September 1st will be rewarded with a Tails Statue room decoration
later in the month for their participation in this event.
It looks like this is their answer to the complaints of the Xbox 360's demo weekends. I can imagine they will be running these fairly often and may even try to catch up in terms of promotional items. Don't let their goodwill go to waste: help a newbie!

Sidekick Saturdays Announcement

Xbox 360: Real Hand Spear Demo Weekend

Sonic Team is running another Demo weekend promotion. Details taken from official page:

Starting on Saturday, September 1st, to Sunday, September 2nd, we will have our
REAL HANDSPEAR Demo Weekend! Play the demo, and join the PSU Xbox Live
community, and you will receive a limited edition REAL HANDSPEAR weapon with
your account! Users must play the PSU Demo September 1st-2nd and purchase a
GUARDIANS License for the PSU XBL Marketplace by September 7th to be eligible.
Only one REAL HANDSPEAR will be awarded per Gamertag and GUARDIANS license.


This is the other NetCafe exclusive item from JP's version of the Firebreak event.

Xbox 360's Demo Event Page
PSOW's Real Hand Spear Page

PS2/PC: Time Attack Event on August 31st

Lil' Zael is holding a time attack event with the help of the GU. Abridged details follow:

Time: 6PM Eastern, 3PM Pacific, 4PM Mountain, 5PM Central, and 11PM GMT.
Place: Universe 9 near the fountain in the Guardian's Colony.
Preparations: Team of up to six, S2 rank capable character, level 75+
Prizes: 1.8 mil for first, 1.2 mil for second, 600k for third.
Everyone else gets 120k for entering.
For the full writeup, click the link below.

Lil' Zael's Announcement Thread

Monday, August 20, 2007

General: Blue Orb Texter Commercials

If you aren't familiar with the Blue Orb Texter, it is a simple device that allows you to type using your analog sticks. Both PS2 and Xbox 360 versions are available and both work with PC. When you get used to it, it's much faster than using the on-screen keyboard.

Some of you might already be familiar with the PSU Special Edition Texter as introduced by ST and it's accompanied commercial. If not, the link to it is below. I've also linked to a useful review by Lee_yoshi over at psuniverse.net.

But wait! There's more! Blue Orb has put out several other commercials for it's Texter device. You'll recognize the same guy from the PSU one. They range from hilariously bad to painfully awful. If you need more Texter catchphrases to fill up your forum signatures...give it a go!

Blue Orb Texter Official Site
PSU Texter Information and Commercial
Blue Orb Texter Commercials on YouTube
Lee_yoshi's Texter Review

General: PSU's Monthly Fee Will Remain

I wouldn't even say that this is news, but Clumsyorchid felt the need to post an announcement about it. Some people think that PSU is going to become free in the near future. This is an incredibly false rumor that has primarily been floating around the Xbox 360 servers (mainly the demo one). Here's a bite from ST themselves:

The online fees cover a long list of expenses, one of which is the development costs for future content creation and implementation. Server and bandwidth costs come into consideration, as well as funding customer service, GMs, web, and marketing. There's a good amount of things that go on behind the scenes of any game that you may take for granted, but they all usually have a price tag attached. While we would love to open up the game to everyone, we still have many expenses that prevent this from becoming a reality.
The push here from him is to try and stop many of the messages they get on the forums and otherwise. I think that the main hope that created this rumor is that almost every other online 360 game (excluding FFXI) is included under the Xbox Live Gold fee. What people need to remember is that Microsoft hosts many of these games and they usually do not get updates. Even then, a charge is usually assigned to them. Square and Sega are responsible for their own servers and content and need their fees so that they can provide almost everything that their respective playerbases hope for in terms of updates and customer service. I'd hate to think about what PSU would be like if Sonic Team put no additional work into it.

Clumsyorchid on Recent Rumors

Xbox 360: European Price Cut and New Packages

Microsoft has reduced prices now in Europe too. A slide taken from a presentation also shows new contents of a couple models.

Arcade: £180/€ 279 (White color, 256 meg memory card, 5 live arcade games)
Premium: £250/€ 349 (Silver color, 20 gig hard drive)
Elite: £300/€ 450 (Black color, 120 gig hard drive, hdmi cable)

The arcade is basically the core model. But it also comes with a wireless controller now too. Keep in mind though that AotI needs a harddrive to store itself on.

Update: Kotaku is reporting that the 'arcade' package is likely to make it to the US as well.

New Packages - Care of Kotaku
Price Cuts - Care of Kotaku [Press release from MS included]

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Japan: First Anniversary Event

The Japanese PC/PS2 server is currently holding an event to celebrate PSU's 1st Anniversary. From August 10th through August 30th they are accepting fan art under this theme. Around the middle of September they are going to announce winners. There will be one first place winner getting a gold trophy room decoration. Three second place winners will get a silver one and five third place winners get a bronze one. It looks like the first place winner will have their work on display in the Guardian's Colony (at the Club no less) and the three second place winners will have their works on the respective three planets. At least go check out ST's header picture on the page. It's extremely busy and very AotI based.

Japan's First Anniversary Event Page

AotI: Slow News Week

Sonic Team (of Japan at least) has been taking a break for this past week. This is probably why there was no update on the AotI page on Friday. Next week there is at least another Hal [Gurhal Channel 5] Report. I'm sure there will be some other tidbits too. This would be a good time to catch up on the updates if you haven't already. The past few weeks I've been updating a thread over at the official forums as they've been going up. When the next one comes out, I'll parallel the information here.

Sonic Team's Summer Break Announcement
AotI Site Weekly Update Thread

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Xbox 360: Real Hand Gun on August 24th

Clumsyorchid has mentioned that the Real Hand Gun will be delivered next week to the common boxes of players that played the demo on the recent event weekend. I'm fairly sure this was given out as part of a NetCafe promotion for the Japanese version of the Firebreak event (along with the Real Spear).

Xbox 360 Demo Event Page
Clumsyorchid's Announcement
JP Firebreak NetCafe Page
PSOW's Real Hand Gun Information Page

PS2/PC: No Maintenance Tonight

The PC/PS2 server will join the Xbox 360 server this week in its lack of downtime. Let's hope this trend of less downtime continues.

Official Announcement

Xbox 360: Gurhalian Decathlon on August 18th

Hitori X and Fates Hand will be hosting the 'Gurhalian Decathlon' event for the Xbox 360 server. Details are as follows (abridged - please view the link for full details):

The Missions:
Unsafe Passage, Fight for Food, Mad Creatures, Train Rescue, Mizaruki Defense, Forested Islands, System Defense, Valley of Carnage, Dark Satellite, SEED Awakened, (Mystery 11th Mission)

The Date and Time:
Saturday, August 18, 2007. Beginning at 10:00 AM Pacific/GMT -8

The Location:
Both Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held in Universe 30, at the Clyez Fountain. The Universes for the two Divisions will remained unnamed until the Opening Ceremony.

The Rewards:
Unlike our previous competitions, with staggered prizes for each tier of victory (1st, 2nd, 3rd), we will instead be handing out the same value of cash to each of the top three teams. This value is estimated at 1.2 Million Meseta per team. That means a grand total of 7.2 Million Meseta between the two Divisions. The real difference between 1st and 2nd place will be who among the winners can take home the Sega prizes?
10 AM PST = 1 PM EST = 6 PM UTC. This event will feature real life prizes from Sega for the winners. Make it if you can!

Hitori X's Announcement Thread

Other: A Word on Time Zones

Currently, I will take the time for a player event and convert it into PST, EST, and GMT (whichever are needed). These are what I assume to be the most populated regions for people playing the 'Non-Japanese' version of PSU. If you feel that your time zone is underrepresented, post a comment.

Also, I'll now be referring to the 'zero' timezone as UTC instead of GMT. This is more current. It's also a bit more accurate. Once again, make a comment if you have one.

Xbox 360: Lottery

Rated from the UPPA has been holding a Lottery for a little over a week now. Details are as follows:

PSU Lottery Rules:

1) Players can purchase up to 10 tickets each drawing period for 10,000 meseta each.

2) Any 4 digit number consisting of the numbers 1-6 is purchasable as long as it has not already been purchased.

3) 10 Lotto numbers are drawn in public using the dice command on every other weekend.

4) Tickets are rolled over from prior drawings when a winning number is not drawn.

5) There will be an online spreadsheet available at the U.P.P.A. website to view drawing times, dates, ticket #'s, and ticket holder names.
As this event continues from week to week, I won't report on it each time. I may decide on announcing winners though. Those could double as reminders that it's still going on.

Update: This post is outdated. The lottery has ended pretty much as the UPPA have gotten a new site and figurehead.

Rated's Announcement Thread
UPPA Website

Other: Common Terms, People, Things

I figured I should make a list of names, abbreviations, etc. that I may be using in this blog (to make sure we're all on the same page). Here goes:

GU: Guardians United - PC/PS2 and Xbox 360 community group
UPPA: United PSU Players Association - Xbox 360 community group (Current Thread and Site)

Game Masters (Also forum administrators):
chillaura, RubyEclipse

Other Forum Administrators:
Momonpso, Kef

Forum Moderators:
Samurai Silhouette, Ironfox, Silver19, Lucente, VD0GameMaster, S-T-H

PSU_Castor (RubyEclipse), Lucente (Iceman): Run the PSU Community Podcast

AotI/AoI: Ambition of the Illuminus - First PSU expansion

ST: Sonic Team

MS: Microsoft

Live: Now used for most all of MS's online services, but I will be using it for Xbox Live specifically. I may also use XBL.

Marketplace: Xbox Live Marketplace

XBLA: Xbox Live Arcade - I probably won't use this one, but just in case.

XP/Vista: Versions of Windows - I hope you know these at least.

PSU: Penn State University - Just to make sure you got down here.

PSOW: PSO-World - Great item database and other information.

PSUP: PSUPedia - English PSU wiki. Great data charts.

EN/JP: English and Japanese accordingly. Refers either to the fact that there may be two versions of a webpage or just as a shorthand to say what language a page is in or which servers it applies to.

Other terms and people I'll give a short description of when the time comes. Although I may edit this if I forgot anything important.

Update: There is a new forum thread as well as site for the UPPA. The old one is out of date. The expansion is now out. I also added the forum names of the podcast guys.

Update: RubyEclipse has a GM position now and was upped to forum admin. Several others were given mod positions.

Update: There is a new UPPA site.  I've also reorganized the GMs, admins, and mods.  These aren't all of them, just the ones that most frequent the official PSU forums.

PS2/PC: Race of the Past Event on August 17th

Felix and the Masters of Gyai/Magic are hosting the 'PSU Tour a Race of the Past' event for the PC/PS2 server. Details are as follows (with small spelling corrections):

This event is a race of PSU worlds. Starting in the Guardians Colony 5th Floor and ending in parts unknown! This race will use every planet avaliable to us players. There are checkpoints along the way that will not only test your knowledge of the world you play in, but also lead you through the event.

There will be puzzles to be solved and questions to be answered!

To win simply be the first one to the hidden finish line and answer the big question! Do so as the first person at the finish line and win 10 million Meseta!!!

It will be held in Universe 8 at 9pm EST.

All this will happen on Aug.17th.
9 PM EST = 6 PM PST = 2 AM GMT August 18th. Certain details will only be available at that time.

Felix's Announcement Thread

PS2/PC: Time Attack Event on August 16th

RubyEclipse and the GU are hosting the 'Time Attack Grand Cup Event' for the PC/PS2 server. Details are as follows:

This time we're going to be giving prizes to everyone who shows up, provided you survive until the awards ceremony. The biggest change this time is that we will be dividing all players 70+ into the top tier, and all players below that into a separate tier. This means that you can enter no matter what level, but the highest levels will still be facing quite a challenge.

The Rules:
As with all time attack events, you will be racing against the clock and against your fellow Guardians. Parties can have up to 6 people, and can be any race/class combination.

There will be a total of four rounds, and the teams with the best overall ranks will be our top winners. The scoring system will follow the outline posted on our previous TA threads. (1st = 10, 2nd = 8, etc)

Where to meet:
Players under level 70 need to meet at the Universe 7 fountain, where we'll get things rolling at 8 PM CST. Level 70+ players will meet at the Neudaiz Pavilion of air, also in Universe 7.

Consider showing up 10-15 minutes early, so that we can register your team beforehand and prevent any last minute bottlenecking.

The Prizes:
The top three teams in each category will take home 1.2 million meseta each. Every other party that competes will be given 100k just for making it to the end. There may also be additional prizes given out at the event that are not mentioned here.

We will have staff on hand to prevent any cheating - as always, if we catch you trying, your entire team is disqualified, no ifs, ands, or buts. We will then feed you to the pack of ravenous lapuchas that has eaten entire teams of previous TA parties.
8 PM CST = 6 PM PST = 9 PM EST = 2 AM GMT August 17th

RubyEclipse's Announcement Thread

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Xbox 360: General Maintenance Cancelled Again

According to PSU's JP homepage, the Xbox 360 servers will stay online this week during the normal maintenance time. There will still be maintenance next week, however, when the next content update goes out. PC/PS2 will be down at the normal time.

This is the second [non-update] week in a row that the 360 servers have not been down for it. Whatever might be the case, I'm sure that the playerbase appreciates it. It makes up for the couple of times recently that the Live authentication servers were down.

I'd expect a post from an administrator over on the Announcements forum at the English homepage to confirm this tomorrow.

Official JP Cancellation Notice

Other: Welcome

I've decided that a piece of our community that hasn't quite been implemented yet is a fully active and informative blog. Sonic Team's English PSU blog was given up on after awhile (but didn't feature much outside of a few gameplay bits). I had found two or three others, but they were outdated. Even then they weren't updated much. Some posts were a bit low on the grammar as well.

What you will find here is practically anything of interest to current and prospective PSU players. Once the ball is rolling, I will be updating on everything from official news updates from the US PSU homepage to major player run events. The convenience here is that informative news items won't be buried under other things that usually clog the official forums. You can also receive news updates from here automatically through an RSS reader. Many people I know use Google Reader, but I have them posted to my iGoogle. It's a customizable Google homepage.

I intend to keep this blog clean and unbiased. There will be posts relating to each server (360 or PC/PS2), but everything will be categorized appropriately. I'm not going to resort to putting down a server and I'm not going to tolerate comment posts to that respect either. I have the same general rules about posts as the official forum and I will enforce them.

In the coming days there will most likely be changes going on. I haven't settled on a final template and I still need some graphical things (primarily a banner). If you would like to make suggestions, you can PM me on the official forums (username S-T-H) or just leave a comment under this post. Also PM me if you have a 'press release' for an upcoming player run event. I'll be happy to post it.