Archived News:

Friday, May 05, 2000 Cinco de Mayo - Happy Birthday Wolfenstein 3D

QuakeCon 2000 Registration Open

As promised, registration for QuakeCon 2000, the massive LAN party taking place later this summer, is now open (thanks Shugashack). This will most certainly be a huge show, with over 2,000 people expected to attend.

Lemmings Revolution Demo

Ok, it's not a hard-core shooter, but who didn't play a Lemmings game at one point or another? TalonSoft has released a new Lemmings Revolution demo for download on their ftp server (33.4 MB). The demo doesn't need to be installed via Setup (you may get a CD-ROM error), but can be started simply by running the Lemmin~1.exe application after unzipping, and offers a different level than the first demo (story).

MDK2 Preview

There is a brief preview of MDK2 on PC Zone UK, looking ahead to the hopefully imminent third-person action sequel by BioWare. While the article is rather general in nature, it includes a handful of new, high-res screenshots. MDK, as everyone knows, stands for Musical Dancing Kalisthenics.

Evening Screenshots

  • Volition's "FPS" teaser page has been updated again, this time with a concept image and the message "See it at E3!" (as if that wasn't obvious already =]).
  • Another Friday, another new Blade screenshot in the top-left corner of the screenshots page of Blade Universe, which is of course dedicated to the third-person melee combat game in development at Rebel Act.
  • A new update to the Legends of Might and Magic site reveals another character class, the Archer, and there are three new screenshots as well.
  • The official KISS Psycho Circus: the Nightmare Child site has posted the final logo for this first-person shooter by Third Law.
  • Stainless Steel has released a detailed features list for Empire Earth, nicely coinciding with this recent screenshots gallery on Empire Earth Trade Center.

TRIBES 2 Preview

Gamecenter has posted a preview of TRIBES 2, detailing the new features that have been developed by Dynamix for their team-based action shooter sequel. Featuring quotes from designer Mark Frohnmayer, who explains the improvements are being applied to three areas, namely enhanced community, improved graphics, and easier accessibility, the article also offers several new screenshots.

Team Fortress 1.5 Announced

Just when I was starting to think there wouldn't be one today, along comes today's Half-Life press release. Today's announcement features details regarding Team Fortress version 1.5, which will be part of the next update for Half-Life. Here is an excerpt from the full press release with some of the details:
Key Features:

* New Networking System. This release includes the TF2 networking system and is compatible with all Half-Life games and MODs. The new networking system improves play for all players regardless of their connection.

* VGUI Interface. The Valve GUI (VGUI) is a set of general purpose, extensible user interface APIs for displaying and manipulating user interface elements in-game. Available to mod authors in Half-Life SDK 2.0, the VGUI is exploited in this release via new in-game menus that allow players to change class, communicate with teammates and more by simply clicking through this customizable menu system-and subsequently eliminating the need to move your fingers off critical keys during the heat of battle. The new menu system is also designed to help new players get into the game, removing the need to know any extra keys beyond moving and firing.

* New Scenarios:
  • Dustbowl is a game of staged attack and defend played against the clock. The offense must advance their flag into the enemy base before the clock expires. The other team's objective is simply to play good defense. The map carries the teams through three successive bouts, each in new map locations.
  • Warpath places teams in a battle for control of five command centers, located in team bases as well as neutral ground. Victory requires simultaneous control of all five command centers, requiring teams to divide into defensive squads that hold captured territory and offensive squads attempting to take control of the next command point.
  • Epicenter is a new capture the flag style of play that requires each team to advance its flag from base to an APC in enemy territory. Loaded with strategic positions for snipers and sentry guns, Epicenter is very much a fast-paced scenario in which defensive and offensive maneuvers are somewhat interchangeable.

Tachyon Patch

Novalogic has released a new patch for Tachyon: The Fringe, available from several download servers as well as the auto-update feature in the game. At this moment the version number and changes aren't known, but that information will likely be available on the developer notes page later.

New Alice Site

The American McGee's Alice site has received its promised make-over, sporting a new look and a lot of new content for this third-person action game that is being built using the Quake III engine. Among the new stuff are the first in-game screenshots, a FAQ, the first weapon that Alice has at her disposal, and of course, the Cheshire Cat screensaver.

On Q3A Mission Pack

id Software's Graeme Devine made a brief .plan update about the operating systems for which their upcoming mission pack, Quake III: Team Arena, will be distributed. Here's the scoop:
The mission pack CD will actually have builds for Mac, Linux and Win32. We'll see if we can stick some OS/X action in there as well..

Independence War 2 Interview

Adrenaline Vault has conducted an interview on Independence War 2, talking to Particle Systems' Michael Powell and Steve Robertson about their recently announced space sim sequel. They explain the improvements over the original game that are being designed, such as an entirely new engine and overhauled game interface, and there are five new screenshots as well.

Shadowbane Interview

Hot on the heels of the official Shadowbane announcement (story) PC.IGN has posted an interview with Wolfpack Studios' president Josef Hall and VP Todd Coleman, discussing this upcoming massively multiplayer strategy RPG. They talk mostly about the gameplay, explaining how various things in the world will function, as well as examining the strategy elements, which can be ignored if the player doesn't want to use them.

Shogun Preview

Also new on PC.IGN this evening is a hands-on preview of Shogun: Total War, the strategy game that lets you control an army of hundreds of angry Japanese warriors. The preview is based on a 99.3% complete version of the game, and is remarkably enthusiastic.

Molyneux Article

The lord of game developers is the name of an article at Salon today that looks at the career of legendary game designer Peter Molyneux. The article features quotes from Sim City creator Will Wright and Blizzard's Rob Pardo, and examines his past games, as well as Black & White, the upcoming game that the article says, "has basically taken him a lifetime of design experience to create."

G.o.D. Takes Shadowbane

It was first hinted at in last night's website update (story), but Gathering of Developers has now officially announced that they will publish Shadowbane, the massively multiplayer game in development at Wolfpack Studios. Shadowbane will offer a persistent online world with role-playing and strategy elements, and is scheduled for a Summer 2001 release. In related news, the Shadowbane website has been updated with a whole bunch of info and media for the game.

More on Worldcraft 3

The Half-Life Editing Resource Center has posted a full list of all the new features in Worldcraft 3, which was apparently left out of the press release posted here yesterday (story). Here is the "highlights" section of the list, which shows some of the new features:
Worldcraft has been given a facelift, with a completely rewritten OpenGL renderer for the 3D views. This enables the addition of engine rendering code for previews of such things as sprites and glow effects. Texturing, normally the most time-consuming aspect of mapmaking, has also been streamlined. And, a number of other productivity-enhancing features have taken the most common hitches out of mapmaking.
  • OpenGL 3D Renderer. The real-time renderer is much faster, more robust, and allows for animating visuals in the 3D view.
  • Texture Locking. Texture alignment is now preserved through rotation, scaling, and flipping, allowing for the hassle-free construction of odd-angled geometry.
  • Powerful Texture Application Features. Automatic texture continuity is guaranteed when lifting and applying from one face to another. Textures can be fit across one face or multiple faces, or aligned to the left, right, top, bottom, and center of faces with a single button click. Textures can be projected onto faces from an arbitrary viewpoint, useful for texturing cliff faces or other irregular geometry. In addition, texture axes are now displayed in the 3D view.
  • Sprite Preview. Sprites are now automatically previewed in the 3D view, along with animation. Frame rate and scale key values are correctly reflected in the preview, eliminating the need to compile and run the map in the game engine when placing sprites.

Sacrifice Shots

Shiny's official Sacrifice site has been updated with 5 new shots from the game, featuring a look at the realm of "Charnel, God of Strife." The shots are available in either 800x600 or super high-res 1600x1200.

QuakeCon Registration Today

The QuakeCon Organization has announced that registration will open today for QuakeCon 2000, which will be open to over 2,000 people (making it the largest one yet). Here's an excerpt from the full press release:
QuakeCon 2000 weighs in as the largest to date, providing three days of round-the-clock networked mayhem for over 2,000 pre-registered gamers. This year's battle will feature a 512-player QUAKE III Arena tournament and a horde of other team, clan and celebrity competitions. It will also offer more than 1,250 slots for bring-your-own-computer (BYOC) fanatics -- double the size of last year's area.

The event will include four days of workshops and discussions on everything from gaming technology and design to programming, art and mod creation. Sessions will be led by members of the id Software development team and other prominent figures in the games industry.

Gamers can register online at http://www.quakecon.org beginning today, May 5. Attendance is free. Walk-ins will be allowed as space permits, but the only way to guarantee a spot is to register online. QuakeCon 2000 will be held at the Mesquite Convention Center and Exhibition Hall in Mesquite, Texas.

Legends of Might and Magic Shots

GameSpy has unearthed a whopping 42 new screenshots from Legends of Might and Magic, 3DO's upcoming LithTech 2.0 Powered action/adventure game. A few of the shots look familiar, but there are a whole bunch of new screenshots and concept art images in here, as well as renders of the character models.

UnrealEd Interview

Epic's Warren Marshall is interviewed at EuroGamer, talking to the level author about his current work redesigning UnrealEd, as well as his days at Legend (where he contributed to Wheel of Time). Old school community members may remember Warren the author of the Toe Tag editor for Quake, although he says, "nobody really used it except for me, so don't feel bad if you don't remember it!"

More FPS

Voodoo Extreme has another one of their "developer's desktop" images up, and this edition is a screen capture of Volition's Scott Blinn's desktop. The image features a look at the editor for "FPS" the still unannounced shooter from the company (the real name has been covered up in the shot), complete with a rendered image of the level used to make one of the screenshots released at the game's teaser site.

Homeworld Media

Sierra's official Homeworld: Cataclysm site is live, featuring new screenshots and a downloadable movie from this upcoming sequel to the original Homeworld. The movie is a 12 MB AVI file and contains a good deal of in-game footage.

New Nox Level

Westwood has released another new level for Nox on their official site. This week's map is called, "Shootout" and is, "a brand new Flagball game that requires both skill and extremely good accuracy."

Baldur's Gate II Interview

Game Over has conducted an interview on Baldur's Gate II, talking to BioWare's producer Ben Smedstad about their upcoming isometric role-playing sequel (thanks RPGVault). Ben goes into details on the 2nd edition AD&D rule set the game is using, the experience system, some specific improvements made over the original game, and lots more.

TWINE Preview

German magazine PC Player has posted a preview of The World Is Not Enough, which turns out to be a translation of the article that appeared in the May issue of their sister magazine PC Gamer UK. To read the preview you may need to stick a Babel Fish in your ear, but you can also just look at the included screenshots gallery, which offers a number of new images among previously published ones. Thanks Fanstage.de. Update: Conveniently, the original English article is now available at the PC Gamer UK site, without the screenshots though.

Shogun Preview

Hands-on with Creative Assembly's Japanese import, Part 2 is the second and final part of the Shogun: Total War preview on CGO. This installment continues the discussion of the turn-based strategy mode of the game, before diving into the 3D real-time battle section, which is illustrated by a bunch of new screenshots.

Ground Control Shots

There are nine high-res screenshots from Ground Control on Gamers Depot taken on a GeForce 2 GTS, so they show off Massive Entertainment's upcoming 3D action RTS better than most such galleries.

Vampire Collector's Edition Announced

Activision has announced a special collector's edition of Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption, which will be available upon the game's release later this summer (thanks PlanetVampire). Here are the details on the special set, which will only be available via pre-orders at Electronics Boutique and Software Etc. stores:
Santa Monica, CA — May 5, 2000 — To support its upcoming action-RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade—Redemption, Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) has teamed up with Electronics Boutique and Babbages Software Etc. on a nationwide pre-order program that offers consumers the opportunity to purchase a special collector’s edition of the game.

Gamers who pre-order the Vampire: The Masquerade—Redemption Collector’s Edition at any Electronics Boutique now through June 6 or Babbages Software Etc. stores before May 23 will receive a free game soundtrack featuring Type O Negative, Ministry, Gravity Kills, Primus, Darling Violetta, Cubanate, Youth Engine and Kevin Manthei.

The Vampire: The Masquerade -- Redemption Collector's Edition will include:
  • A copy of Vampire: The Masquerade—Redemption
  • The Limited Edition of White Wolf’s Book of Nod, a specially created hardbound edition of the legends and prophecies surrounding the early history of the first Vampire. Not available anywhere else.
  • A Camarilla Pendant (a metal pendant in the shape of the ankh of the Camarilla).
  • The Brady Games mini-strategy guide, containing hints and tips for completing the first quest of Vampire: The Masquerade-Redemption.
  • A special box sleeve to hold the game.
The Vampire: The Masquerade--Redemption Collector's Edition is expected be available in June and will carry a suggested retail price of $54.99.

Reach for the Stars Preview

A new preview of Reach for the Stars, an upcoming space-themed strategy game, is up at AVault. The preview contains some new images from the game, which will ship with a mission editor and random map generator for "infinite replayability."

Interviews Galore

"Everybody's Talkin'..."

Flying Heroes Movie

The game was released last week, but as there isn't a demo (yet?), you may want to check out the latest Flying Heroes movie for this 3D action flyer. This 12 MB movie shows a minute of in-game footage with an English narrator describing the game's features.

Q3A Shader Editor

A new version 0.5 of the Q3A Shader Editor is now available on Bert Peers' Homepage (thanks Jacek Fedoryński). This tool handles the fully-scripted texture entities of Q3A and presents them in a Windows GUI, and the latest release offers a lot of improvements and fixes, including support for every existing keyword, "realtime preview of deformVertexes," and more. There is also a new tutorial to help you get started.

New Mac Q3A

Robert Duffy updated his .plan with word that he's updated the Macintosh Quake III Arena 1.17 patch (here is a local copy with updated mirrors), as well as word to expect the new game source for mod authors to be released "sometime this weekend." Here's the update:
I've updated the Macintosh 1.17 point release. Two things happened with it.

1. The installer seemed to expire between when I started it ( about a week ago, been running since ) and when I built the Mac install. Some people had issues running it getting an unregistered installation. I'm not sure why everyone did not see the problem ( it worked fine on several Mac's here ;-) In any event, we re-registered it and anyone who had those problems should not see them anymore.

2. There was a frame rate drop on Macintoshes, again only on a percentage of them which has been addressed.

In other news, new game source for 1.17 should be out sometime this weekend, and I am hoping to get the tool source out at the same time.

New Qtracker

The newly-relocated Qtracker Homepage has a new beta 18 version 2.3 of the Qtracker server browser/front-end utility, described as the final 2.3 beta. Word is: "If you're a server admin, you're going to love this release. Just think... You can open up a window in Qtracker and type commands just like you were at the console... Half-Life engine games (OppForce, TFC, CounterStrike) will even dump all console messages to you!" Also, Qtracker can now generate HTML player and rule information in addition to general server information (for a sample, click here).

Tech Bits

New Firearms Half-Life

The Firearms Half-Life page has a new version 1.1 patch for Half-Life Firearms, that brings the gun-toting Half-Life modification up to version 1.1. The patch is described as a unified release, covering both Win32 and Linux systems. As usual, they are looking for those with problems using the patch or the mod to post feedback in their forums, and they have also posted the mapping specifications for level design types who are interested in creating Firearms maps.

UT Marked for Death

The debut beta release of the Marked For Death mod for Unreal Tournament is now available. Though it sounds like an unreleased Steven Segal film title, Marked for Death is actually a bounty-hunter game, where "you are always hunting someone, and any number of players can be hunting you at any time." You are penalized for shooting someone other than your target (more UT innocent bystanders!-see story), and "once you collect a bounty on a player, he is taken off the list of bounties you need to win the game."

Q3A Anargy

The Anargy Homepage (energy meets anarchy?) has the first release of the Anargy mod for Quake III Arena. Described as a "Domination style Mod for Quake3," Anargy features "user configurable classes, realistic environments, player experience system, a very cool HUD with 3D Elite-style radar, tweaked weapons, locational damage, all new textures and sounds and a lot more."

GameSpy2mIrc

A new version 2.2 of GameSpy2mIrc is now available, updating this script for mIRC users that will change their mIRC nick when GameSpy launches a game, and will offer other IRC users helpful info on what server they're on by typing a user definable command in the channel. The new release adds color/bold/underline support, customizable query info, support for nicks longer than nine characters, and more. Update: version 2.2.1 was released to include a few minor bugfixes.

Editing Stuff

SoF Operations has posted some new details and files sent to them by Raven's Gil Gribb on Soldier of Fortune modeling using 3DSMax 3. Included in the files are all the necessary Max3 plug-ins, and an example model of the shotgun to get you started.

Competitions

The BarrysWorld Quake 3 European Championship has been announced, "seeking to emulate the interest generated amongst the gaming community by events such as the EU v US series and the 4Nations event at the Rapture LAN, as well as the success of the European Clanbase tournaments for Quake and other multiplayer games." Also, the Clans listing on BarrysWorld now features a Counter-Strike clan list in addition to the myriad other games they cover. Finally, the Win a Real Rocket Launcher giveaway at Battle-fields.com ends today.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

  • The official Rocket Arena 3 website is online, which is really the "new and improved Rocket Arena site, official home of Rocket Arena, Clan Arena, Rocket Arena 2, and the anxiously awaited Rocket Arena 3." Included on the revamped site are the first ever RA3 screenshots (RA2 Inside and Out is shutting down in the process, and has posted a retrospective). In more news about a cult-favorite mod, teamevolve.com-news reports that the WireTap team will be assisting on the PainKeep Arena project for Q3A, there are PKA shots on Sgt. Hulka's Bootcamp...
  • Westlake Interactive has posted a version 1.5 patch for the Macintosh version of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, offering "numerous fixes"...
  • There's a Trent Reznor interview on incite that talks to the front-man for NiN (who did music and sounds for Quake) about gaming, among other things...

Out of the Blue

If it's not one thing, it's another: There was a problem with our mail server last night, so our apologies if you sent a mail to anyone here between about 6:00 PM EDT last night and around 2:00 AM this morning, since mails were bouncing during that period... I had my first (and hopefully last) experience at a Kinko's today--that place is like the DMV without eye tests (you have been warned)... The big pre-E3 activity is a family trip to Las Vegas, NV(!) of all places, to show one of the Blue Grandmas a good time in celebration of her 80th birthday. This should be interesting--it's not MrsBlue's and my normal idea of a vacation (well, besides the fact that I don't take them), but we are looking forward to giving the whole experience a whirl... we even have Seigfried and Roy tickets (you think I kid). This is weird timing though, and my brother also got married on E3 weekend four years ago, so I think I need to send my family a note with the date of next year's show in advance so they can plan these weekend-long family obligations a little clearer of the date. Finally, as noted in the ole date bar, today, like every Cinco de Mayo, marks the anniversary of the first release of Wolfenstein-3D, the seminal shooter (hmm) that helped launch the genre. Happy birthday to B.J. Blazkowicz, whose age is certainly showing (fire up Wolf-3D and deny it), but whose contributions are not forgotten (besides, how many WWII vets look very young these days?).

Link of the Day: Elves on Tricycles-Daikatana Dance. thanks, um... everybody?
Bonus Link: Tech-Junkie - Video Footage of R.I.P 2. Glorifying the destruction of hardware.

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