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Friday, Nov 07, 2003

  

Black Day at Black Isle

A post to the Interplay Entertainment Forums (thanks RPGDot and PC Games Online) has word from Black Isle Studios' lead designer J.E. Sawyer that he is resigning his position. Here's the post:

I figured I'd post this here before DAC and NMA got the scoop! I am resigning from my position as lead designer at Black Isle Studios. I will not discuss those reasons here, but I will state that they are my reasons. I apologize to those who may be disappointed by my decision and congratulate those who rejoice at it. My last day will be November 21st.

From this point forward, I will not be discussing any aspect of Black Isle Studios projects that may be currently in development.

Digitalo Closes

HomeLAN Fed is reporting having received confirmation that Digitalo closed its doors on Monday of this week, leaving the last eight employees of the Florida-based developer looking for work. The cancellation of a couple of projects and disappointing sales of Devastation, their Unreal-engine shooter, are among the factors mentioned contributing to the company's demise. Word is that the Devastation forums remain open, but there will be no other future support or patches for the game.

Ships Ahoy - Pax Romana

DreamCatcher games sends along an announcement that Pax Romana has shipped to stores. This news was actually first sent out yesterday, but some glitch prevented its arrival here among other places. Here's the deal: "Pax Romana is an historical strategy game set in ancient Rome, designed by the creator of Europa Universalis. There are two sides to this epic game political and strategic. The strategic side is very much a battle of cunning and well-planned military tactics, whereas the political side involves the manipulation of senators and generals alike, as politicians seek to gain military and financial power."

NFS: Underground Gold

EA sends word that the latest installment in the Need for Speed series is gold, and will be racing into North American stores on November 17. Here's the news:

EA today announced that Need for Speed Underground has gone gold. The game will begin to ship in North America on November 17 under the EA GAMES brand for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube and PC.

Need for Speed Underground thrusts players into the adrenaline-filled world of urban racing, challenging gamers to win cash, cars and respect as they put their driving skills to the test in their own fully-customizable urban exotic supercar. The game features 20 of the most sought-after tuner cars from manufactures including Nissan Motor Co., Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi Motors. Gamers will be able to customize their cars with hundreds of aftermarket parts from 52 manufacturers, including NOS, Sparco, HKS, and more.

The game also features online play for the PlayStation 2 (broadband connection and network adaptor required) and PC – and even allows the two platforms to seamlessly compete online for the ultimate in bragging rights.

A demo of the PC version of the game and more information is available at: www.needforspeed.com

Temple of Elemental Evil Demo

The promised Temple of Elemental Evil demo is now available via GameSpot's new DLX dealie (registration required). Word on the 233 MB demo is that it: "lets you explore the moathouse map with precreated characters and also includes a tutorial." The demo is also available on Atari's FTP server (direct link). Mirrors can be found on Gamer's Hell and Worthplaying.

TRON 2.0 DM Update

Also as part of their new DLX service, XP Extras on GameSpot DLX offers downloads for XP users of desktop themes and the like. Included is a TRON 2.0 update that includes three multiplayer maps. The update is described like this: "Get digitized into TRON 2.0 with new multiplayer deathmatch gameplay. Battle up to 16 rogue "users" inside the system in explosive multiplayer combat. Defrag your hard drive from the inside with an arsenal of powerful digital weapons, including the deadly disc. Do you measure up to the benchmark, or will you be blown to bytes?" In spite of the XP theme, there's no indication that this update is not compatible with other flavors of Windows. The 19 MB download is mirrored on 3D Gamers, FileFront, and Worthplaying.

RTCW Platinum Edition

Activision and id Software send word that Return to Castle Wolfenstein: The Platinum Edition is now available, bundling the original RTCW with Enemy Territory, the free Wolfenstein game. Here's the announcement:

Santa Monica, CA - Nov. 7, 2003 - id Software(tm) and Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today the release of Return to Castle Wolfenstein(tm): The Platinum Edition. The Platinum Edition is an all-new compilation of the award-winning Return to Castle Wolfenstein plus this summer's hit multiplayer follow-up, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory(tm). The title is currently available at retail outlets nationwide for a suggested retail price of $29.99 and is rated "M" (Mature) by the ESRB.

"If you haven't played Return to Castle Wolfenstein, now is your chance to experience the best of World War II single and multiplayer action," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. "By incorporating Enemy Territory, one of the most widely played online multiplayer games, with the critically acclaimed Return to Castle Wolfenstein, we're offering gamers an almost endless battle through the trenches of these not-to-be-missed games."

JA2: Wildfire Details

Strategy First announces new Jagged Alliance game for Q1 2004 is the official press release announcing the new Jagged Alliance 2 game that answers the question raised when the product page came online (story) clarifying that it is a stand-alone expansion in price ($19.99) and packaging (the original JA2 will be included). The release includes further details on the project's war on drugs theme, and indications that Strategy First plans to continue extending the JA franchise in spite of the demise of developer SirTech:

“Moving forward with the Jagged Alliance series is one of our major focuses for the next few years,” says Don McFatridge, President and CEO of Strategy First. “Teaming up with Serge ‘Wildfire’ Popov was an obvious move on our part as he is truly one of the best known modders in the JA community and we couldn’t be happier with our partnership.”

Jedi Audigy

Kenn Hoekstra's .plan file has word from the Raven Software Project Administrator of new Audigy drivers that address sound issues some are experiencing in Jedi Academy. Here's the deal:

Creative just released new sound drivers for its Audigy 2 cards last night and they resolve the issues that some people are having with the EAX/sound in Jedi Academy.

We've received reports of high pitched squealing while running the game on Audigy hardware. These new drivers (EAX enhancements, really) fix that problem and several other EAX problems found in many of the newer games out there. Sound performance, in general, seems to be greatly improved.

You can download the new drivers here:
http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/

New BF1942 Desert Combat

As noted on the Desert Combat Website, their Downloads Page now offers new beta version 0.5 of the popular modern warfare modification for Battlefield 1942. There is a new client, a new dedicated Windows server, and a new dedicated Linux server of the mod, with the update adding some new weapons and vehicles, including Harrier jump jets. The 542 MB client file is mirrored on 3D Downloads, Boomtown (registration required), FilePlanet (registration required), Filerush, and Gamer's Hell.

MMO Diaries

There's an Atriarch Development Update offering details on a number of aspects of gameplay in World fusion's upcoming MMORPG, including grouping, NPC pathing, NPC death, and more. Also, the November Letter from the Team on the Middle-Earth Online Website discusses the classes in the upcoming Tolkien MMOG. On a related note, there's also a new Middle-Earth Online Diary is written by "Keeper," who describes her role as a model/texture artist on the game. Thanks Frans. Finally, Game Director Updates Players on Game Status on the Anarchy Online website talks about the state of the Shadowlands expansion for Funcom's MMORPG.

Morning Q&As

  • Max Payne 2
    There's a Max Payne 2 Q&A on Beyond3D chatting with Remedy Entertainment's Markus Maki about the recently released third-person shooter sequel. They discuss the development cycle, the PoV, DirectX, changes from the first game, and more.
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea
    The Pirates of the Burning Sea Q&A on Warcry News Network chats with Taylor Daynes, the lead game designer at Flying Lab Software about their upcoming MMORPG set on the flaming high seas.
  • Leisure Suit Larry
    The Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude Q&A on GameSpot chats with Josh VanVeld of High Voltage and VU Games brand manager Alex Rodberg about the upcoming revival of the lecherous adventures of Larry Laffer.

Game Movies

The Falcon 4 Gold Website now features the first trailer from the upcoming jet flight simulator, a description can be found on 3D Gamers. There's also a new Celtic Kings: The Punic Wars movie in executable Bink format.

International Patches

This NOLF 2 FTP Directory features the patches to bring the international versions of Monolith's FPS sequel up to the latest version 1.3. Details can be found on 3D Gamers. Also, Microsoft Game Studios' Dungeon Siege Downloads Page now offers international versions of the version 1.11.1462 patch released last year for the English version of Gas Powered Games' RPG. Also, Nival Interactive's Silent Storm Website now features downloads of a new version 1.11 patch for the German version of this World War II turn-based strategy/role-playing game (thanks YiYas). Details are available in the translated read me on 3D Gamers.

Morning Previews

Chat-O-Rama

There's a chat log on Mythica Warcry recapping an IRC session with the folks at work on Microsoft's MMORPG. The chat is edited into an orderly Q&A format. In a related note, Mythica HQ Forums - Mythica the Movie? is a thread that speculates about the upcoming MMOG's upcoming cinematic potential. In further MMO chat news, Horizons Vault has details on an upcoming IRC session with Artifact Entertainment on Wednesday, November 12.

Morning Screenshots

Consolidation

"Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced that RoadKill(TM), a mission-based, post-apocalyptic combat driving game, has shipped for the Nintendo GameCube(TM). Set in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a plague and ruled by gangs, RoadKill allows players to unleash havoc in 40 vehicles with weapons such as machine guns, guided missiles and homing rockets. Assuming the role of the mercenary, players must build a gang following as they battle rival gangs, city guards and anyone else that gets in the way."

NOLF 2 Website Update

Sierra's No One Lives Forever Website (thanks Frans) has undergone a makeover, and now offers coverage of Contract J.A.C.K., the upcoming NOLF 2 prequel that takes the player out of H.A.R.M.'s way and onto its payroll.

The Joy of Techs

Game Development & Mods

This Warcraft III Files Page features new art tools for Warcraft III for those looking to import their own creativity into Blizzard's RTS sequel. The tools are a set of plug-ins for Discreet’s 3ds max 4.0, and thus require a licensed version of that program. A Warcraft III Art Tools Discussion Forum is online to chat about this. Also, the Digital Reality Homepage (thanks Frans) briefly offered the mod tools for Hegemonia/Haegemonia, but they've been yoinked due to a problem, so expect them to return at some point in the future.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Wristwatch phone turns your finger into an earpiece (thanks Mike Martinez) is my favorite techie story in a while, as all I can picture now is a guy walking down the street with his finger stuck in his ear while shouting 'Speak up, I can't hear you!!!" Also from the world of science is NightSky: Friday Coming Nov. 8 Second Total Lunar Eclipse of 2003, with word of a second chance for those of us rained out earlier this year. Unfortunately, the forecast is for wet weather around these parts again, but there's still hope, as the weatherman is off base far more often than once in a blue moon, much less a red one. Hey, I wonder why Mitsubishi didn't call the convertible version of their sporty car a Solar Eclipse? And the coupe with a moon roof could be the Lunar Eclipse! Oh well, if it rains maybe I'll find a dealership and ask them these burning questions.

Link of the Day: The Joy of Tech!
Innovation Futures.
Stories of the Day: Police Dog Drops Chase, Gulps Down Candy. Thanks Miguel Gonzalez.
Denmark to Accept Norse God Marriages. Thanks Halsy.
Hyper Cow adds caffeine to rev up teen market.
Science!: Approval sought to test brain implant.
Hermaphrodite worms still need males.
Thanks Mike Martinez.



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