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Thursday, Jan 06, 2000

  

Amen Cancelled

Cavedog has announced that their first person shooter Amen: The Awakening has been cancelled. While no reasons are named in the press release, it does say that the game had "fallen significantly behind schedule" and that the company plans to shift its focus towards their Total Annihilation franchise and their Boneyards online service. This news comes after months of speculation, where several members of the Amen team had left the company.

Picassio Screenshots

More screenshot mania, as GameSpot has also posted a set of new Picassio screenshots (from both PC and Dreamcast). Picassio is the upcoming sneak-'m-up by Promethean Designs, in which the player becomes a hired thief specializing in stealing art.

Halo, Oni Screenshots

Coinciding with Bungie's presence on the MacWorld event in San Francisco, incitegames.com has posted a single new high-res screenshot of Halo, depicting a scene from Bungie's upcoming action game (the second image on the page is already known from the official Halo screenshots page). Similarly, GameSpot has posted one new screenshot of Halo and one of Oni too, mixed in with known images from the official sites, as well as the aforementioned Halo image.

10Six Preview

There is a new preview of 10Six up on GameSpot, looking at SegaSoft's upcoming action/strategy game which, as the name implies, aims to be the first million-player game. The article examines the interface, gameplay and combat in the game, which recently went into open beta (story), and is illustrated with several screenshots.

Graeme Devine Q&A

ModScene.com has posted a brief interview with id's Graeme Devine (thanks ShugaShack). The talk reflects the post-release lull that id Software apparently is in now, as this quote shows:

MS: Do you have any future project in consideration at Id you can speak about, and if so, are efforts going to be made to insure end-user modification will continue?

GD: Right now we're working hard on the point release and getting the source out the door for the game. It's a quiet time here really.

On Hexen 2 Source Code

Raven's Rick Johnson updated his .plan with the reasons why the Hexen II source code won't be released just yet. Here's the scoop:

With the release of the Quake 1 source code, it has been asked about the possibility of Hexen2 / Hexenworld source code being released. Since a version of Hexen2 was just recently released to some Asian markets a month ago, at this time we cannot release the source code. This is not saying that we will never release the source code, but currently, the timing is not appropriate for us to do so.

Mac Quake III Arena Ships

Activision has announced that the Mac version of Quake III Arena will be going into retail distribution this week. It's a strange press release, as today is the 6th, and it says, "the week of January 3rd", but it's a fair assumption that the game should be going on sale this week (if not already). Mac Quake III Arena will have a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Mac Voodoo 4, 5 Announced

IMG Magazine has posted word they received from the floor of the MacWorld San Francisco show, that 3dfx will be fully supporting the MacOS with their Voodoo 4 and 5 products (which they say were made with Macs in mind). Full MacOS retail boxes will be shipping shortly after their PC counterparts.

Soldier of Fortune Shots

The Soldier of Fortune WCHQ has posted 24 new screenshots from the multiplayer OEM version of Soldier of Fortune, as well as 12 new shots of the different characters in the game. This is a different version of the OEM than the one available, as that version is single player only.

Loose Cannon Update

Hitherto unnoticed, at least up here in the Blue Tower, Digital Anvil made two updates to their official Loose Cannon site last month: in Developer's Journal art director Bruce Lemons talks about the err.. state of the art in this upcoming 3D shooting and driving game, detailing the progress of the creation of textures for the urban cityscapes and open countryside settings, as well as other aspects of the design. Additionally, the screenshots page has four new high-res images of the game.

Dominion Wars Interview

Adrenaline Vault has posted an interview with Ken Gordon, producer of Dominion Wars, an upcoming 3D real-time strategy game set in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine universe. The game, which is due for a Fall release, emphasizes space tactical combat, and allows you to play on the Federation, Klingon and the Dominion Alliance sides. The article includes a couple of pieces of concept art. Here is a bit more about the context of the game:

I am reluctant to associate the game with something else, though some have drawn comparisons to Homeworld. But one of the great things about this universe is that even non-fans are so well informed because of the cultural saturation of the shows and movies, they will go in comprehending the mechanics of space combat. People understand what shields, phasers, photon torpedoes, tractor beams, and distortion clouds are, so there is a natural accessibility component that we are going to leverage. It is such a well-defined universe, and what we found when it comes to space combat is that everything is provided; we do not feel constrained and it will be simple to educate people since they are coming in with a wealth of understanding.

Q3A Tune-Up Guide

nV News has posted a tune-up guide for Quake III Arena. The guide presents a plethora of options for tweaking the game to run its best on GeForce 256 cards, and features benchmark numbers using Creative Labs' Annihilator and Annihilator Pro cards.

Final Fantasy VIII Preview

Vault Network has posted their preview of Final Fantasy VIII, the upcoming 3D role-playing game by SquareSoft that is due for release later this month. The article goes into great detail about the various aspects of the game, including the all-important Guardian Forces, and comes with a bunch of new screenshots.

Black & White Screenshots

PC.IGN points the way to four new screenshots of Black & White on the Dutch site Infolder. The images show off B&W: Gathering Area, a demo version of the game that allows your Titan (creature) to communicate and interact with other Titans in the game, which should be out by the middle of this year.

Legend of the Blademasters Preview

There is a new preview of Legend of the Blademasters up on Computer Games Online, taking a look at Ronin's upcoming 3D action/RPG. The article examines story and gameplay, the game's interface and weapons, and more, though most of the screenshots have already appeared elsewhere.

UT Mutators Fix

The Digital Extremes site has word of problems with the .umod installer with the Unreal Tournament mutators they released (story). Here's the update:

Hmmm... it seems that the .umod installer is not working as expected. I was playing online and the ammo pickups were invisible which means that the dedicated server is missing a line in it's UnrealTournament.ini file in the /UT/System directory. This problem will occur on dedicated servers for the Volatile Ammo and also the Team Beacon mutators.

To fix this, the following entry should go under the [Engine.GameEngine] heading:

ServerPackages=DE

This change should have been made by the .umod file, but instead it creates a new UnrealTournament.ini file in the /UT directory. Weird. Anyway, making this change should fix this problem for dedicated servers, which is the only place it will occur. In the meantime, Steve is working on making a new .umod file (by hand... ugh) that will install correctly. I guess it slipped by us here 'cause we had the line in our .ini already.

WoT Update

The Wheel of Time page has a gigantic update (thanks Unreal Universe), including the hysterical tale of their Y2K problems (it still could have been saved until the brain eating mutants showed up). There is also word in there on a new addition (baby), an international WoT launch party, several user-made maps, some community resources, some positive reviews (did I mention it was a gigantic update?), word of a cool key binding utility called THUMB on Shadar Logoth that I meant to mention the other day, and also includes a list of planned changes in the upcoming WoT 310 patch. Here's the list:

New Features:

+ Player ID (point cursor at someone and see their name) with Disguise support.
+ Voting (RestartServer, Kick, KickBan, Open).
+ Added log statements for join team/leave team/restartgame to clear to log info to console for server admins.
+ NetSpeed menu additions.
+ KickBan.
+ Allow non-English installers (UMasterCommandlet).

Fixes:

+ Fix for "too many seals" bug.
+ Added IsBattlefieldClear() to test citadel game state
+ Fix for "bad server config" bug (check for no players when !IsBattlefieldClear() in Timer()).
+ Fix for "spectators can affect game play" -- spectators are forced onto one of the teams one the game has started.
+ Fix color character icons on Scoreboard.
+ Tracer fixes.
+ MachinShin replication fixes.
+ Button input fixes.
+ Remove spaces from names on SetName.
+ Seeker replication optimization.
+ LightGlobe fixes.
+ SwapPlacesEffect - make spirit shield effective.
+ Changed TCHAR_TO_OEM to TCHAR_TO_ANSI to fix problems with localized versions.
+ Include patch to fix copy-protection bug that breaks MP server startup.
+ Include patch with all D3D enhancements
+ ini changes (SetupWoTfrench.ini, SetupWoT2french.ini,SetupWoTgerman.ini, SetupWoT2german.ini, SetupWoTother.ini, SetupWoT2other.ini).
+ ini changes (remove unreal.epicgames.com etc.).
+ Localization (WoT.det, WOT.est, Angreal.det, wotbrowser.est, SetupWoTother.est).
+ Fix for FString::Parse / appStrfind crash.
+ Fix for shift while walking (could leave players floating in air)..
+ Fix for high Illum times -- use Home or Grey "+" to flush caches.
+ Fix for Legion projectiles hunting down respawned targets.
+ Fix for NPCs maintaining targets after they die and respawn.
+ Can no longer freeze corpses (fixes floating corpses and possibly a crash related to this).

SWAT 3 Interview

The SWAT 3 Retreat interviews Rod Fung, talking with the producer for the SWAT series of games at Sierra On-Line about SWAT 3: Close Quarter Battle about how and why certain aspects of this tactical police simulation turned out as they did. The Q&A also discusses future plans for the franchise which at the moment consists of work on a SWAT 3 multiplayer add-on pack that "should be available in early Spring 2000."

Tech Bits

AnachroChat

As always, the first Thursday of the month marks the regularly scheduled AnachroChat, an online IRC session with the folks at ION Storm hard at work developing Anachronox, their upcoming Quake II-engine RPG. The chat kicks off tonight at 9:00 PM EST (8:00 PM CST), and you can join using a Java-enabled browser by visiting the ION Storm site and using the "Online" link, or with an ordinary IRC client using www.ionstorm.com as the server, and #ion as the channel.

Quake II Rail Shooter

The folks at Act Labs send word of a Quake II mod on Glitterstream that turns Quake II into a rail shooter (where you travel a predefined route instead of freely walking), an exciting development for them, since it can make use of their hand-held gun system, which is not as useful as a controller if you need to govern your own movement.

Mech TRIBES

In what would seem to be a resurgence in Starsiege TRIBES news comes word of hvMechWarrior, an homage to the giant robot combat of the MW series using TRIBES. In addition to downloads of the mod and accompanying skins, is word of one of their servers running the mod.

On Q3A Mapping

A post called Zoid, could you take a look at my CTF map please on the Quake3World.com Forums inspired a lengthy response from the id Software contract programmer on the art of making maps for Quake III arena that includes screenshots and diagrams. Thanks Shugashack.

Window Decorating

Nogbad's Black Castle has a new Q3A Windows desktop theme. Also, there is now an Official Rune Wallpaper page with some Rune images in various wallpaper-friendly resolutions, and the Rune fan site Ragnarok has some new concept art as well as those wallpapers from Human Head Studios' upcoming Viking game.

Reviews

etc.

  • The Vault Network has posted the announcement of Ultima Online: Renaissance, the upcoming relaunch of their online RPG where you get to work for a living...
  • A Riding the Rocket Tutorial Section is now open, offering a complete set of tutorials on all aspects of "trick" jumping in Quake II, from doublejumps to circlejumps to bunnyhops, including full explanations and demos...
  • Fans of the co-op style of play might want to bookmark The Co-op Certification Laboratory where they have a listing of mods for Doom II and Quake II that support co-op play, with plans for the addition of an Unreal section soon...
  • There's a Crimson Skies Preview on GameSpot UK with a look ahead at this game described as "an all-out action flyer" rather than a flight sim...
  • Machinima.com interviews Joe Goss, founder of Tritin Films, creators of the Quad God Q3A movie...
  • Running Stats on Demos is a quick explanation on how to get stats from your deathmatches from recorded demos in Quake III Arena...
  • A new version 4.4 of DeuTex, the old school wad composer for Doom, Heretic, Hexen and Strife, is now available. Thanks Jacek Fedoryński...
  • The 20 top-selling entertainment software titles (by unit sales) are up on GameDAILY for the week of December 19-25, 1999 (Who wants to be a Millionaire is #1, Q3A #6, and the year-old Half-Life, of all things, at #20)...

Out of the Blue

Wow, it turned out that there are more potential problems and solutions involving Windows failing to ask for a login upon booting than I ever could have imagined, I tried about every combination of these suggestions, but so far nothing. To make me feel better, I've gotten a couple of notes from folks like myself, who can't seem to cure this no matter what they try (it seems using Win98 Internet Connection Sharing may be a common culprit). I see I have a few more new mails on this to try now, if I solve it, I'll pass along what the cause was here. I'm also developing a healthy collection of traceroutes to the site, if you are having unusual problems accessing the site, feel free to send along a trace of your own, and we'll continue to look for the gremlins in the wire.

Link of the Day: Customers Suck. Thanks Jason.
Story of the Day: Lawsuit: Universal Studios' haunted house too scary, caused emotional distress. Thanks Maverick.
Bonus Story: Shoppers get $400 break in fine print (at Microsoft's expense, no less). Thanks HiDDeN.
Image of the Day: Astronomy Picture of the Day 2000 January 1 - The Millennium that Defines Universe. Thanks ZDim.



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