Monday, December 31, 2007

Xbox 360: Live Coming Back Up and Gifting MS Points

Live has been having some issues for the past couple of days, but it seems that MS is trying to make sure they have the problem taken care of. As of a few hours ago, it seems that many people that were having problems have had them fixed.

Apparently, they claim to have most of the staff working on the issues (holidays or no). According to various employees, they did not expect such a large influx of users for the holiday season. Both subscribers and simultaneous online users are way up.

Also, it would seem that this issue affected several of MS's integrated services (such as the Zune stuff, etc.).

Major Nelson's site is getting quite a bit of traffic, but if you can manage to get through he is updating progress via his twitter on the left side bar. It would seem that they are not only fixing issues, but making improvements as well.

As an aside, it is now possible to gift MS points to another account. I really should have mentioned this before the holidays...

Live Getting Crowded
Live Issues
Work Being Completed on Live Issues
Gift MS Points

Monday, December 24, 2007

Other: Happy Holidays

I hope everyone is enjoying the time off they are probably getting, however long that may be.

It is said that there will be a special edition of the PSU Community Podcast later tonight, so look out for that one.

A few days ago, PSOBB users found that the 906 error that has plagued the servers for a few weeks was lifted. Hopefully we won't see any more problems as bad as that one in these last few months that the servers are open. I've been catching up on some various games, but I'll be back on there soon. I've been wanted to play again for awhile now, but projects and that error pretty much prevented me. I hope that I'll see some familiar faces come back to the game.

I'm currently preparing something interesting for the end of the year. I may be asking for some help soon enough, as I think it would put much more variety into it. More details will come when I'm a bit more organized. Until then, stay tuned. And play some more Sega games...okay?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast XVIII

The eighteenth episode is live and features a NiGHTS musical theme. Between Christmas, the NiGHTS statue delivery, and the launch of the new game, it just makes sense. It can be downloaded at Switchpod and iTunes.

Speaking of NiGHTS and soundtracks, check out the upcoming one in a link below.

Podcast at Switchpod
Discussion Thread
NiGHTS Mega Soundtrack

Xbox 360: Various Updates

First off, the NiGHTS statues went out to those people that played on the DEMO weekend. Check the common box and it should be there. If it's not, then try making space, leave your room, and come back.

Second, the Photon Gacha machines should be deactivated to outside users now. They'll be turned on once MS releases the patch to fix their price display.

Third, according to JP, the Recently Visited Rooms bug has been fixed.

JP 360 Bug Page

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Japan: PS 20th Anniversary Fan Art Winners

The winners of this contest are going to have their artwork posted in the lobbies of PSU and PSOBB as well as receive certain in game rewards. You can find the notable pieces at the page linked below. The order is as follows:

Grand Prize (Pictured above)
1st, 2nd, 3rd Prizes
Special Award (I thought this one was pretty cool)
Honorable Mentions

Update: You can find pictures of the winners' characters along with their art in the lobbies by clicking 'Winners Report'.

Awards Page
Other Entries
Winners Report

AotI: Shadow of the Arkguard Chapter 6

The final chapter of this web series is now available at the link below. JP version linked for reference.

SotA Chapter 6
PoA Chapter 6

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

General: Update for December 20th

We're getting an update this week and surprisingly it's not just progress on the Photon Gacha machine issue. By the way, just as a small reminder, this issue should be patched for PC/PS2 and it will be turned off for Xbox 360 users after this maintenance. To clarify, you can use your own for storage, but not be able to set the machine for other people to try their luck. For PC/PS2 this week (and for Xbox 360 at a future date), the machine will display pricing to other users.

Here's a short breakdown:

- New Year's lobby from January 1st to 11th
- A new party mission with the boss Mother Brain (the last non-secret 360 achievement) [AotI]
- New fragment PA skills at Moatoob's exchange mission [AotI]
- New weapons, armor, etc. [AotI]
- New room goods at the Variety Shop [AotI]
- New Casino room goods and music disks (some will disappear, but return later) [AotI]

I think that there may be portions of JP's November 8th and 22nd updates in here, but I can't really tell as some major things aren't listed. I guess we'll see what's up soon enough. It's so much easier when they're the same... Anyway, we should be around three updates behind at this point (about a month and a half).

EN Update Page
JP 360 Update Page
New Fragment PA Skill Information

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for December 20th

A few days ago, I almost lost a number of directories full of files that were fairly important. Performing various data recovery operations is why I haven't posted in awhile. This is exactly the type of thing that would happen as I'm trying to catch up. I can say that fortunately most of the files that were lost (even after recovering the majority of them) I have backups around the internet for. The other stuff...will require some time to rework. I'll do it...some other time...

Anyway, here's a short list of what's coming in Thursday's update to the JP server:

- The winners of the PS 20th Ann. Illustration Contest are going to have their work posted around the lobbies
- More items are added to the event item exchange mission
- New Year's lobby from January 1st until January 10th
- New clothes and parts (PSO costumes FOnewm, RAmarl, HUcast, and RAcaseal featured)
- More items added to the offertory box on Neudaiz
- Room goods and music disks put into and out of rotation at the Casino
- Level cap increased from 120 to 130

Update: FOmar and FOmarl outfits were also made available this week.

JP Update Page
MAG Rewards Page (new items in orange)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Other: NiGHTS Preorder Bonus

I'm going to take a minute here and mention something relatively relevant. As some of you well know, Sonic Team is finally (after 11 years) releasing a new NiGHTS game (Journey of Dreams) for the Wii on Tuesday (at least in the US). A few days ago, I got the linked email about a preorder bonus that isn't being offered online at EB Games and Gamestop.

I went in and picked it up today. Basically the DVD has a seven and a half minute video going over a bit of the history of NiGHTS as well as behind the scenes stuff about production on the new one. Not as cool as a tshirt or plush (or Christmas NiGHTS 2), but it was a nice surprise to see them put something out.

Anyway, I thought I would mention this since it didn't seem anyone else wanted to. Neither the NiGHTS site or Sega's site mentions it at all. Gamestop probably didn't put it on their page since it's only an instore offer.

I linked a picture of Japan's preorder gift. I would have put it above, but then it would probably just be confusing and disappointing. Yes, I'm a bit let down too.

Newsblast Email
Official Site
Japan's Freebie

Community: Phantasy Star: Dreams Forever

Jonathan_F has announced a rather hefty project to remix much of the music heard in the PS series over the past 20 years. The production time is estimated to last until sometime late next year, but I'm sure with enough support he can compile it sooner.

If you are interested in submitting tracks or just want to find out more, please visit the links below. Six discs is definately a task for a good sized team of dedicated fans.

Announcement Thread
Song List

Xbox 360: Santa Shadow on December 22nd

Nite Shadow (board name Matrixman3780) and The Tainted Horde are ho-ho-hosting (sorry...) an interesting Christmas event. Here are a couple details:

Date: December 22nd, 2007
Time: 10 AM - 12 PM PST, 1-3 PM EST, 6-8 PM UTC
Place: TBD
Prizes: Gifts from Santa Shadow

For current details (as well as monitoring for information updates) please visit the link below.

Announcement Thread

PS2/PC: PS 20th Anniv. Winter Festival on December 16th

Nei Fourth (board member ShadowDragon28) will be hosting an event celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Phantasy Star. Here's a few details:

Date: December 16th, 2007
Time: 2 PM PST, 5 PM EST, 10 PM UTC
Place: Universe 15 Guardian's Colony 1st Floor
Requirements: Dress as a classic PS character and/or know your PS trivia

Prizes for costume contest:
1st Prize : S-Rank Weapon (Lightning)& 3 Ortapolymers
2nd Prize : Weapon(new to AotI)(Light) & Present
3rd Prize : Durandal Repca(Lightning) & Present
4th Prize : Twin Saber (light) & Present

Prizes for trivia contest:
Various high star mats, Weapon (light), Weapon(Fire),and special decorations etc...

For the full details, please visit the thread below.

Announcement Thread

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast XVII

It seems that PSU_Castor has been hit by the extreme weather that has been affecting people in the US midwest. Iceman has picked up doing episode 17 along with Kakeru and Deco Bryl. The music theme for this week is anime (a toss up from the normal Sega theme). You can find this episode along with all the others at Switchpod and iTunes.

Expect episode 16 to be posted as soon as PSU_Castor's area recovers. Also, due to these various issues, entries for the commercial competition can be turned in as late as Wednesday December 19th.

Discussion Thread
Contest Thread
Podcast at Switchpod

General: Emergency Maintenance and Rollback

Alright, I know I've been out of it for a week or two, but it's going to be another day or so until I'm caught up with updating the site. However, this is another priority posting (albeit still a bit late).

A certain mission created for debugging purposes was mistakenly put up onto the actual PSU servers (both PC/PS2 and Xbox 360). Because of this, Sonic Team is taking down each set of servers, removing the mission, and then rolling back all of the data until 11 PM PST last night (when maintenance started).

The Xbox 360 version has just completed its maintenance and rollback and is now once again available.

Edit: The PC/PS2 servers are now up as well. Sega has not announced if or when they will compensate for the rollback, but I would expect something to be soon enough. The extra week of 1UP Cup rewards is due to a much shorter rollback time in fact (the recent 360 one).

Please visit the links below for updates on the situation.

Site Posting
Announcement Thread
Discussion Thread
JP Posting
JP Posting 2

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

AotI: Shadow of the Arkguard Chapter 5

The fifth in the six part series has been released on the official EN site. JP version linked for reference.

SotA Chapter 5
PoA Chapter 5

General: Update for December 14th

Apologies for not updating for awhile. I had loads of work to do over the past week or two and I've barely slept even. Anyway, on with the show.

The English PSU site has received a bit of a redesign. Announcements, Quests, and Events are divided up in a similar fashion to the JP page.

Here are a few details about the update (visit the official page for the full info):

- Christmas lobbies and holiday rappies
- 1UP Cup rewards are continuing until the 21st (even for PC/PS2 players)
- Two new Neudaiz missions and a new midway lobby [AotI]
- New weapons and armor [AotI]
- New clothes and parts (the Mikumiko and CAS-miko sets now available in from the offertory box) [AotI]
- New room items added to the Variety Shop and Casino [AotI]
- Some items will be removed from the Casino, but will reappear later [AotI]
- Lots of TECHNIC adjustments (some low level 'nerfs' and high level 'buffs')

EN Update Page
JP 360 Update Page

Thursday, December 6, 2007

General: No Maintenance Tonight

Neither the PC/PS2 or Xbox 360 servers will be going down tonight. I meant to post about the JP page earlier, it was just a bit low priority at the time.

EN Announcement
JP 360 Announcement

Other: Reminder for PSOBB

Just a reminder that PlaySEGA is said to no longer offer PSOBB subscriptions after today. If you wish to play before January 9th and don't have a subscription currently active, you'll have to do it now. Those that have a subscription that ends between Dec. 9th and then will still be able to play until that date.

After January 9th, anyone that has had a subscription in the past will be able to play for free until the servers close on March 31st. It's unconfirmed if people that only had 'beta' accounts will be able to play during the free time, but current speculation is saying no. If you are one of these people, $9 US is not a bad price to make sure you can put in some time over the next 4 months. Once again, they are planning increased droprates and experience during the free period. I think it'll be a pretty good send off. By that time we should have a good deal of the remade maps and costumes from PSO in PSU, so it won't be all bad. Otherwise, the JP servers haven't yet been announced to be closing and still seem to be doing alright. The Xbox servers for PSO are estimated to be closing sometime in the near future too, which will put an end to every version outside of PSOBBJP.


Xbox 360: NiGHTS DEMO Weekend

Another demo weekend has just been announced. If you play the PSU demo (requires a Gold account) during this weekend (8-9th) and then get or have a full account by the 14th, you will receive a NiGHTS room decoration in your common box at some date soon after.

They aren't cross promoting it, but it definately wasn't hard to predict that this statue would come out around the release of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams (Dec. 18th in the US).

Official DEMO Page

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

AotI: Shadow of the Arkguard Chapter 4

The fourth chapter in the six chapter series has been posted on the official page. JP version for reference.

SotA Chapter 4
PoA Chapter 4

AotI: Photon Gacha Update

A GM has posted that they have been informed a fix for the Photon Gacha room item is coming on December 21st. A patch will be implemented on PC/PS2 while the Xbox 360 version will have to wait until it passes Microsoft's certification. However, from Dec. 21st until that patch is applied, Sega will be disabling the machine for outside use. It can still be used for storage though.

chillaura also mentions that they are currently compiling all the scammer reports and sending them along to be checked by the team. Full post is linked below.

chillaura's Thread

Xbox 360: Fall Dashboard Update

The fall dashboard update has just arrived and it's a huge one! In the link below, you'll find a pretty comprehensive list, but here's some big ones:

Lots of changes to the dashboard
Download original Xbox games (ie yet another way to buy Psychonauts)
Play Divx movies (5.0 and above) and .avi files
Other video playback enhancements
Some more iPod support
Big performance enhancements and new transitions
User bios
See friends of friends (can still block users from seeing your friends)
Family timer
Power light syncs with opening animation (alright: not big, but still sorta cool)
Messaging with the chatpad works inside of games (unfortunately still no direct PSU support as a keyboard)
Added text for "in-game voice" complaint option (this is somewhat different than the prior ones)

The achievements for AotI have still not be added to, but the expansion is one of only four game items as part of the new Spotlight section (also as a Featured Game in the new Games Library). It should get a lot of attention there.

Also of note:

New Live Arcade Platinum line (cheaper prices basically)
They added some more free themes and picture packs for original Xbox titles
Recent BC update adding 83 games (lots of sports and licensed, but also a couple gems)
Video Marketplace coming Dec. 11 for some European countries and Canada
Free content only available to silver users after the first week (like the new Bioshock abilities)

Anyway, just look around. There's loads of neat things they added. Inside Xbox seems like a pretty cool new feature as well.

Edit: I've noticed original xbox games are now viewable on a user's game list. It has a default icon and they don't do it on the site yet, so it might be work in progress. This is probably due to the new availability of downloadable versions.

Detailed Change Log
Video Playback FAQ
BC Update
Notice for Silver Members

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Xbox 360: Update

Microsoft has made a small update to their PSU page. Links are available directly to the game forums as well as a page on the new AotI content. Doesn't seem like they lowered the listed retail price of the game though (which seems to be $30 right now). It also seems as if there may not be a complete downloadable manual. I suppose we'll have to see if one is posted in the future. There is still a chance it may appear on Sega's site too.

The major thing that hasn't been added is the achievements to the list (the one that appears in your profile). This is probably a clue as to why they aren't added to the total gamerscore correctly. Once they appear here, I'm sure they'll be working correctly. It would probably be best to deliver these concerns to Microsoft and not Sega.

PSU on

Xbox 360: Raging Rappies Revenge on December 2nd

A new player run event is going to be held tomorrow. The goal is hunting for the King Rappy by getting clues from players in Rappy suits. You can have up to five people in your group. Here's some details:

Date: December 2nd, 2007
Time: 4 PM PST, 7 PM EST, 12 AM UTC
Place: 1st Floor of the Guardian's Colony on Universe 23
Prizes: 1.8 million meseta for first, 1 million for second, 500k for third

Check the thread for full details.

VD0gamemaster's Announcement Thread

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast XV

The guys took a break during the week of the expansion's release (as well as the US Thanksgiving) and returned with a new episode.

Episode 15 is up and it weighs in the opinions of the hosts on the newly released expansion along with the usual content. The forum member Kakeru makes a guest appearance. There is also a new contest to make the best PSU related commercial to be heard on the podcast.

Podcast at Switchpod
Discussion Thread

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast XIV

I neglected to put up this episode in all of the excitement recently. It appears we might be skipping episode 13 after all. Also, I have put all of the podcasts under a new 'Community' section. I may or may not decide to just put them in a 'Podcast' section since the events will probably still be under their respective server category.

EspioKaos, DecoBryl, and Momonpso all return as guest hosts for this episode. This one covers a lot of material that has to do with AotI and was released the same night that the pre-expansion patch was for PC/PS2 (Nov. 15).

There was a mistake in this one. The 1UP rewards did not start after that maintenance, they started after this past one (Nov. 29th).

Podcast at Switchpod (also available at iTunes)
Discussion Thread