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Monday, Dec 08, 2003

  

DOOM 3 E3 Trailer

A high resolution version of the DOOM 3 trailer from E3 has been released, and is now available on FilePlanet (registration required). The 162 MB movie shows off gameplay from id's upcoming shooter remake. The download is mirrored on 3D Gamers.

Black Isle, Fallout 3 Dead

More bad news at Black Isle Studios, where lead designer J.E. Sawyer resigned just last month (story), as Farewell, but not goodbye on the Interplay Entertainment Forums (thanks Nels Nelson) is a post from Damien "Puuk" Foletto that indicates that the studio is now shut down, referring to today as his "last day at the (former) BIS." This follows suit with a note sent along by designer John Deiley:

Today marks the end of an era. Black Isle Studios is no more. In yet another sweeping layoff of employees, Interplay has officially let go the last of it's Black Isle employees (save two that I know of) and dissolved the division. Also, the non-announced title that the division was working on, Fallout 3, has been "shelved" to quote management.

XIII Map Editor

A map editor for XIII is now available on Ubisoft's FTP server (direct link), providing those interested in creating levels for the cel-shaded Unreal-engine shooter with the tool to do so. The editor is a 38 MB download, mirrored on 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

Video Game Report Card

MediaFamily.org's 8th Annual Video and Computer Game Report Card is online, the latest such evaluation from the "National Institute on Media and the Family, an independent, non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-profit organization." Here's a bit:

Video and computer games continue to grow in popularity among children and youth. We completed the largest student survey ever and found that 87% of youth in grades four through twelve now play video games with 96% of boys playing regularly. This bodes well for the continued growth of the industry, and a balanced diet of good games can certainly be a positive part of children's lives. Nevertheless, as games become more engaging and popular, concerns about their impact on youth become more urgent.

On a semi-related note, Major Retailers Announce New Campaign to Enforce Video Game Rating System describes a new initiative to achieve better enforcement of the ESRB video game rating system (thanks HomeLAN Fed). Here's a bit on that:

The nation's leading computer and video game retailers, in conjunction with the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), announced today a new initiative designed to prevent the sale of Mature- rated games to children under 17 years old and increase awareness of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) video game rating system. All merchants belonging to the association will now institute a national carding program and will implement an identification check process at the point of sale for games rated Mature by the ESRB.

Conflict 4 and Conflict: Vietnam Revealed

The SCi Corporate Website (thanks HomeLAN Fed) has some preliminary financial reports that offer scant reference to upcoming conflict games. There are no details, but simply word that: "Products for the 2004 and 2005 financial years, includes Richard Burns Rally, Conflict: Vietnam, Midway, and Conflict 4."

Mac Halo Gold

Halo.Bungie.Org (thanks Frans) has word that the Halo story has finally come full circle, and Bungie's shooter is now gold for the Macintosh. Word is the game: "went into duplication late Friday night, December 5th. It'll be hitting store shelves soon!"

Black & White 2 Diary

The Black & White 2: Dev Diary #2 on GameSpy features John McLean-Foreman describing how the pivotal character of the Creature is evolving for the upcoming Black & White sequel. He describes updated AI, new physics, new animations, differences between creatures, and more.

Heaven and Hell Patch

The Heaven and Hell Downloads Page now features downloads of a 3.5 MB bilingual patch for the god game that "Removes video- and multiplayer problems." Thanks Frans.

New Battlefield 1982 Interstate

A new version 1.6 of the Battlefield 1982 Interstate modification for Battlefield 1942 is now available. The full installer of the updated version is a whopping 310 MB, adding new weapons and new cars to this automotive combat mod loosely based on Interstate '76 and Interstate '82.

Star Wars KOTOR Patch

This LucasArts Entertainment Webpage has a patch for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, updating the Force-powered RPG to version 1.01. The update adds a couple of balance tweaks along with a number of bug fixes. The download is mirrored on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, Boomtown (registration required), Gamer's Hell, IGN, and Worthplaying.

Beyond Good & Evil Patch

A patch to update Beyond Good & Evil is now online, bringing the third-person action adventure game up to version 1.01. The 6 MB update adds anti-aliasing support, non-SEE CPU support, and more, available from 3D Gamers, GameCenter.cz, Gamer's Hell, IGN, and Worthplaying.

FireStarter Demo Patch Planned

A post to our forums has word of a glitch in the FireStarter demo that will be addressed by a patch that will probably become available tomorrow (thanks Enahs). Here's word:

Thanks for the heads-up. We have to admit that while compiling a demo there was a mistake made. We are preparing a patch to address the character speed issues, as well as clarify the RPG aspect of the game. The patch should be available tomorrow. Please, keep an eye on www.firestarter-game.com. And sorry for the inconvenience.

FireStarter team

Far Cry Beta Sign-ups

Ubisoft sends word that the promised (story) sign-ups for beta testing of Far Cry are getting underway today. Here's the story:

Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers announced FAR CRY PC Multiplayer Beta test. Commencing on Monday, December 8th at 20:00 GMT, 5,000 gamers worldwide will have the exclusive opportunity to take part in a multiplayer beta test for Ubisoft's cutting-edge First Person Shooter (FPS) Far Cry(tm).

Far Cry is a first-person shooter set in a lush tropical paradise that sets out to bring the first-person shooter to an entirely new level of entertainment and technical excellence. Far Cry's final multiplayer mode will utilize some of the key features of the Single Player game such as Long range gameplay, Vehicular gameplay and Beautiful tropical environments.

It will also include unique innovative features :

     -The "sniper flare" that allows other players in the game to pinpoint the position of other snipers by light reflecting from the sniper scope.

     -The support class which can build or even repair destructible structures such as bunkers, towers, roadblocks, mounted weapons and walls.

The beta test registration will run for several days from Monday, December 8th 2003. These individuals will be the first people outside of Ubisoft to experience this highly anticipated FPS, and they will also work with the team in order to help balance the game.

The initial beta signup will take place on December 8th 2003. Registration will be via links on the www.farcry-thegame.com.

Once registration is closed, Ubisoft will select 5,000 testers that will best reflect the widest variety of geographical locations.

FireStarter Demo

GSC Game World has released a playable demo for FireStarter, their still-gold action-packed first-person shooter. The demo offers solo and multiplayer action, as well as a benchmark, all for a 64 MB download. Mirrors are available on 3D Gamers, ActionTrip, Boomtown (registration required), Computer Games Online, Filerush, Gamer's Hell, Loadedinc (registration required), NWSGaming.Com, and Worthplaying.

ANNO War Declared

SUNFLOWERS sends news of plans for another installment in their ANNO series of strategy games. Here's the deal:

Heusenstamm. SUNFLOWERS has commissioned Mainz-based studio Related Designs with the development of an ANNO game. The ANNO empire-building games developed by Max Design are not affected by the new deal.

The emphasis in the new PC game with the working title "ANNO War" will focus more on combat than previous ANNO games and should become a strategy genre AAA top seller for Christmas 2005. To this end the Related Designs team is being increased from their previous 10 to at least 25 members, who can count on active support from SUNFLOWERS.

SUNFLOWERS president Adi Boiko is pleased about the cooperation. "In Related Designs we've found the perfect partner for the ambitious goals we've set for ANNO War. Related Designs has already had a great deal of experience in developing strategy games. Now, for the first time, they can enjoy a large budget and SUNFLOWERS' active support as they develop a AAA title."

Related Designs' manager Thomas Pottkamper "We're extremely happy to have found a partner in SUNFLOWERS, who have made it possible for us to truly fulfill our potential for the fist time ever. We are certain that the close cooperation with SUNFLOWERS will allow us to develop an international top seller."

Morning Q&As

  • Unreal II XMP
    The Adrenaline Vault's Unreal II XMP Q&A chats with Legend's Scott Dalton about the upcoming expanded multiplayer add-on for Unreal II. They discuss the origins of the project, game types, player classes, vehicles, weapons, maps and more.
  • Gaming in 2004
    HomeLAN Fed kicks off a series of Q&As on upcoming developments in the gaming industry, chatting with Zombie's John Williamson, Human Head's Tim Gerritsen, and 3000AD's Derek Smart.
  • Hordes of the Underdark
    The Jay Watamaniuk Q&A on JeuxOnline is the English version of their conversation (also available in French) with BioWare's community coordinator. They discuss the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, as well as general questions about the D&D RPG. Thanks Maximus.
  • FemDevs
    The FemDevs Roundtable #5 on Warcry News Network resumes their group discussion with female MMORPG developers, discussing the preposterous phenomenon of the chain-mail bikini.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

New Server Watch Plug-ins

The Server Watch Plug-ins Page now offers a few new plug-ins for version 3.4.2 of the Server Watch utility. The additions provide the server browsing utility with support for the new Unreal II XMP Demo as well as Call of Duty and Jedi Knight II: Jedi Academy. They have also issued a new version of their Halo plug-in with support for Windows 98 and ME.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

  • Zdim has posted a page devoted to OBLIVION: The Lost Secret Level, a Quake map he created as part of the design process for Anachronox. The page has the history of the project, and raises the possibility that the map will be released soon...

Out of the Blue

Unwashed heathens rejoice, the retro colors option has been added to the main news page here. The archive pages and most of the main static pages have now likewise been updated, though the forums and a couple of other areas generated by scripts still need to be worked on, so for now we have one retro colors option on the new format and a retro retro colors option on the old one. I am, of course, a monkey myself, and I have to express my extreme gratitude to Frans who has put in a yeoman volunteer effort at getting these pages updated, and thanks in advance, as he will be instrumental in updating the remaining pages over the coming days.

In the meantime, an issue has been raised about font sizes after the update, and how they scale larger and smaller across different pages, so I will be looking into creating a more consistent behavior in this area.

Play Time: The Hello World Project. Thanks nin and Wired.
Links of the Day: Paul Really Is Dead.
Stories of the Day: Doctors take action on flu shot shortage.
Gollum's state of mind stirs up medical debate
.
Science!: Lost forest fuels malaria. Conservation and medicine collide in the jungle.
Project to drill into Earth fault.
Thanks Mike Martinez.



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