Archived News:

Friday, Jun 02, 2000 Lou Gehrig Day

Dogs of War Preview

Gamecenter has posted a preview of Dogs of War, the 3D action RTS by Silicon Dreams that is already out in Europe and is expected to be released in the US next month. Besides a description of the game's features and some screenshots, the article also features quotes by producer Darren Drabwell.

Alice Update

It's that time again: an update to the official American McGee's Alice site reveals a new area of Wonderland, the Queen's Domain, with the first stop in this final area of Alice' journey being the Queen's Garden.

Ground Control Patch

The game has just hit retail stores, but the first patch for Ground Control is already available for download from Sierra's ftp server (1.3 MB), as well as through the auto-update feature in the game. This brings the game to version 1008, and includes mostly minor fixes, such as configuration issues, map description changes, improved joystick support, and more (thanks Patches Scrolls for that info).

Jim Dosé Leaves Ritual, Joins id

Ritual's Mark Dochtermann updated his .plan with more surprising news. Ritual programmer Jim Dosé is leaving the company to join id Software. Here's what he has to say:
When we started Ritual Entertainment 4 years ago, the 6 of us made a pact with each other never to let business affect our personal lives. We have definitely had some tough times during that period and we've had to swallow our pride on more than one occasion. For the most part though, we have managed to stay good friends with each other and we hope that never changes.

It is with some sadness and a lot more jealousy that I must report that our friend and chief technologist, Jim Dose' is leaving the company to join Id Software. Jim has had a tremendous effect on how Ritual Entertainment has turned out and he will certainly be missed. We could be upset with Jim but consider these three facts:

1. Jim is leaving the company to join Id Software.
2. Jim is leaving the company to work on the next Doom.
3. Jim is leaving the company to work on the next Doom.

Everyone at Ritual wishes Jim the best and we thank him for everything he has done to make Ritual the company it is today. As we see it we aren't losing a part of Ritual, a piece of Ritual is joining Id Software.

I personally want to thank Jim for teaching me so much about software development over the last 4 years, it has been a pleasure working with you.

Maybe Jim will now get the chance to race his Z3 against Carmack's F50. :)

Mark D
Ritual Entertainment

Flash Point Unit

The official Flashpoint 1985: Status Quo site reveals a new unit in Bohemia's 3D tactical action wargame, the AH-1S Cobra helicopter. There is a description, a couple of screenshots, and a short movie clip showing it off. If you missed the previous unit, you can check out the M151 A2 Jeep here, offering the same treatment.

Obi-Wan Preview

As promised, the first part of GameSpot's preview of Star Wars: Obi-Wan is online, detailing LucasArts' upcoming third-person game of lightsabre action in words and three new movie clips in streaming Windows Media Player format.

Icewind Dale Preview

Hands-On Icewind Dale Preview at RPG Vault looks ahead to the isometric role-playing game set in the icy north of the Forgotten Realms of the AD&D universe. Black Isle's game is given a concise but thorough workout, covering storyline, gameplay, the engine, and more.

Elite Force Movie

Another movie filmed off a computer screen during E3 has been posted at GamesWeb.DE, and this mere 3MB download of their Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force Movie brings a minute and a half of game footage in streaming Windows Media Player format from Raven's upcoming Trekkie shooter.

Looking Glass Interview

Former Looking Glass programmer Marc Leblanc is interviewed on The Oxygen Tank. Marc talks about his days at the legendary studio, where he worked on System Shock, the Thief games, and the Ultima Underworld titles.

Deus Ex Interview

This week's edition of the streaming media show Lilith & Eve is online, featuring a chat with Deus Ex designer Harvey "Witchboy" Smith. In addition to the usual bunch of game-related questions, the show features brand new footage of the game, which was shot at E3. Naturally, a RealPlayer, or compatible is required.

Cataclysm Intro Shots

Six new shots from Homeworld: Cataclysm are up at Damage Gaming. The shots were taken from their beta build of the game, and feature a look at the opening cinematic.

Asheron's Call Interview

A new interview with Turbine producer Scott Herrington is up at Eurogamer.net, talking about the massively multiplayer RPG Asheron's Call. The game has been live for eight months now, and Scott talks about what they've learned during this time, with some interesting anecdotes, as well as some hints about their future plans.

FAKK2 Movie

Gathering of Developers has released a new trailer for Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2 for download. The movie contains exactly three minutes of footage, mixing some known cutscene sequences with lots of in-game action, bits of which could already be seen in the previous, shorter E3 movie (story).

Diablo II Movie

The German Diablo II Network has posted a new Diablo II trailer, uploaded from the Gamestar July issue CD-ROM, and mirrored on DiabloII.net. The movie was filmed during E3 off a computer monitor, and shows over two minutes of play in Act's II and III of Blizzard's upcoming isometric action RPG.

Cloud on Steed's Departure

id Software's Kevin Cloud updated his .plan with some more information on their recent decision to fire modeler Paul Steed (story). Here's the scoop:
It seems like every id game is marked with some great conflict. Paul Steed is one of the most vocal and controversial people in gaming. Therefore, it is not surprising that his departure from id would also be controversial.

John and I have strongly disagreed in the past. We have worked out our disagreements and we will do so again. In the end we are all excited about working on DOOM and committed to making a great game.

Although Adrian and I alone made the decision to fire Paul, it is the general opinion among the rest of id that we made the right decision. Paul was not fired as a result of his support for DOOM. Other people at id supported DOOM in the exact same manner. For several reasons it was time for id software and Paul Steed to part company.

This should have no reflection on Paul's talent as an artist. It goes without saying that he is one of the best modeler/animators in the gaming business.

As owners of this company, it is our responsibility to make these types of difficult decisions. Adrian and I made the decision we believe is in the best interest of the company.

John and I have agreed to disagree, put our differences behind us and move on to make DOOM the best game we can make it.

Ground Control Dedicated Server Released

WON.net has released the dedicated server for Ground Control, the 3D strategy game that should be arriving in stores today. This download does not require the full game, and the 16.5 MB download contains a manual for server operators.

NOD SDK Q&A

AVault has conducted a brief Q&A session with Nihilistic designer Rob Huebner, talking to him about the NOD SDK, the tools that will be released for Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption that will allow users to make mods for the RPG. Rob talks about the specific tools that will be included in the SDK package, as well as the learning curve that will be involved for would-be mod authors. Here's an excerpt with some details on the SDK:
The main tool is Embrace, which is based on the QERadiant tool used at id. It is similar in function, but we have added a few things specific to our game, such as our sector-based format, the idea of "sets" of objects in the same level and the essential tie-ins to our scripting. But it is still going to be real familiar to experienced QERadiant users. Additional tools include: the NOT Editor, a simple tool to design new objects for the game; the NOD Viewer, which loads .NOD object files and .NAD animation files and allows users to rotate and inspect them. We might also release our MAYA object export plugin, but we are still doing research to ensure we can do that.

Mac Tomb Raider 4 Gold

Westlake Interactive has updated their site with word that their Mac port of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, has gone gold, and is off to manufacturing. According to their news post, the game should be shipping within a week.

Mac UT 420 Update

Westlake has also posted an update on the status of the Mac Unreal Tournament 420 patch, which they say they will be releasing "in the next couple of months." Here's the update, complete with news about a Mac UnrealEd port:
Westlake has the source code for the latest 420 PC update to Unreal Tournament, although we have not actively started merging it into the Mac source. The vast majority of changes for 420 are PC-specific (fixes for the installer, Direct3D bugs, etc), so we are not rushing into another Mac update so soon after 413. We do plan to update the codebase to 420 in the next couple months, to gain any fixes that are useful on the Mac, and to keep the UT engine up to date. 420 is not needed to play on any existing UT servers (PC or Mac).

Many people have been emailing us and asking about plans to port UnEdit to the Mac (especially since a new C++ beta version was released with 420 on the PC). Westlake does not have any current or future plans to port UnEdit. It is a huge project (extremely Windows-specific), and there is no publisher willing to pay for it. There is one group of hobbyist programmers attempting to port UnEdit to the Mac, but that is about the only chance it will happen. Please do not email us asking/demanding UnEdit, it was never part of the original Unreal or UT Mac contracts and we have no plans to port it.

Linux Descent 3 Announced

Loki Entertainment, well-known for their work in publishing Quake III Arena for Linux, has announced that they will be porting Descent 3 to the Linux OS. The port will be released this July, and will feature the same 16 player multiplayer as its Windows counterpart.

Psycho Dreamcast Interview

Gathering of Developers' official KISS: Psycho Circus Site has posted an interview with several developers from Tremor Entertainment, the folk behind the Dreamcast version of the game. The interview deals with the console versions' multiplayer capabilities, as well as the general process of converting the game, complete with a number of tongue-in-cheek answers.

Deus Ex Preview

Mac gaming site IMG Magazine has written a new preview of Deus Ex, featuring 10 new screenshots from the game. The PC version is expected in stores on June 30th, but no date has been announced as of yet for the Mac port (which is being published by Aspyr Media).

Alice Media

GameSpot UK has all sorts of new media from American McGee's Alice up for your enjoyment: they have two screenshot galleries with new screenshots (here are links to the first and second one) as well as a gallery of character designs, and a gallery of concept artwork.

Cataclysm Shots

Also new on GameSpot UK today is are some new screenshots from Homeworld: Cataclysm, the upcoming sequel to the original Homeworld. In addition to the shots, they also have a detailed look at the new Kun-laan starship from the game.

Starfleet Command Interview

Strategy Gaming Online has posted an interview with Joshua Morris, senior designer on Starfleet Command and its sequel Starfleet Command: Volume II at Taldren. Joshua talks about both games, specifically talking about what fans liked in the first game and how they plan on building upon that in the sequel.

Troika Interview

Troika founders Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky and Jason Anderson are interviewed on Daily Radar, talking about their upcoming RPG Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. The interview deals with the game's quests, its multiplayer abilities, and how the game world resembles victorian England.

Giants Shots

Five new screenshots from Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Planet Moon's oddball action/strategy game, are up at PC.IGN. The shots are quite impressive, featuring a look at each of the game's three characters, but be warned, the page features the s-word ("screenies").

On Summoner Lighting

Also new on PC.IGN today, is an article by Volition programmer Brian Keron, explaining how their PC and Playstation 2 game Summoner uses radiosity lighting. Brian explains what radiosity lighting is, and why they chose this method over the others available.

Deus Ex Q&A

A brief Q&A with Deus Ex designer Harvey "Witchboy" Smith is up at DXDot. The questions deal more with his background than his work on the game, with Harvey talking about his days at Looking Glass, as well as FireTeam as well as his current gig at ION Storm.

Submarine Titans Preview

Daily Radar has posted a brief, hands-on preview of Submarine Titans, Ellipse Studios' upcoming RTS game. The preview is based on the author's experience with a build of the full game, and says that while it's not terribly revolutionary, it is a great deal of fun.

Team Fortress Interview

PlanetFortress interviews Robin Walker after catching up with the Valve Software programmer on IRC. The detailed Q&A discusses future tweaks to Team Fortress Classic, progress on Team Fortress 2, possibilities for upcoming versions of the SDK, and more.

More on Sony and Verant

An article titled Sony Thanks for Everything. Buh-Bye on the Standard announces the other shoe dropping portion of the announcement yesterday that the entertainment giant was acquiring Verant (story), saying: "Over 50 employees at the electronics giant's online-gaming unit in L.A. were fired after a 10-minute farewell." Thanks Gamerush.

More Vampire Shots

GA-RPG previews Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption looking ahead at Nihilistic's imminent game of blood sucking fun. In addition to the preview, there are nine more new high-resolution screenshots. While images of Vampires don't show up in mirrors or photos, I think it's safe to say that the countless previews have demonstrated they indeed show up in screenshots.

Tech Bits

Crimson Skies Info and Sceenshots

Weisman on Crimson Skies, New Screenshots on GA-Source talks with Jordan Weisman, a creative director at Microsoft, pumping him for details on gameplay and the weapons in Crimson Skies, their upcoming air combat game. The article is decorated with a dozen new shots from this upcoming alternate history game, which Jordan describes like this: "This is a game about the fantasy of being a fighter pilot, so you fly planes that are fantasies as well," Weisman says, adding, "The planes are faster, the guns are bigger, and the women are more beautiful." We can only assume the beer is colder, as well.

Vicious Cycle

The Vicious Cycle Software website is now online, new home to the team that was working on XCom Genesis for Microprose's Chapel Hill studios when the game was cancelled by Hasbro Interactive, along with members of the team that had been working on Atari Combat. Their new company is developing a new tactical game, and although it is still in pre-production, there are some screenshots from their technology demo on their website, and there is an interview with Eric Peterson on XCommand, talking with the president of Vicious Cycle about what's up with the new company.

StarLancer Strategies

A Lancerworld.Net Strategy Guide Chat log is online with a transcript of a session with Doug Radcliffe, author of Sybex' Official Strategy Guide for Starlancer. The chat goes into specific questions about tactics to use in beating Microsoft and Digital Anvil's space combat simulation.

Q3A FragAndFlagArena

The debut release of FragAndFlagArena for Quake III Arena is now available. This is a server configuration utility that offers a GUI to create games, featuring support for a bunch of mods, including Freeze Tag, Alchemy, Flagmatch, AquaLung, Voosh, Alive, Buy A BFG, and Excessive.

New JDoom & JHeretic

A new version 0.93 of JHeretic is now available, updating this "Doomsday-engine" version of Raven's Heretic, saying "Most of the changes are in the engine, and include stuff like mousewheel support." Also, the debut release of JDoom is now available, likewise offering Doom for the Doomsday Engine. Both releases are Win32 programs, offering support for OpenGL and Direct3D. Thanks Doomworld for both of those.

Competitions

Twin Galaxies Electronic Gamers League will include Rogue Spear and Counter Strike in the lineup of games in their debut season, to be played in various local regions throughout the US, culminating in a national championship for a prize of $25,000.

Editing Stuff

There's an updated version of the Crystal Space Terrain Engine on Linux Games. Word is "now is faster, more stable, and looks nicer," but has yet to be integrated into the main Crystal Space engine, a free (LGPL) portable 3D engine written in C++. Thanks AlKini.

Game Reviews

Hardware Review

D-Link DHN-910 Phoneline Network in a Box on PC Gaming Network.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Frans got through with his backlog yesterday, for the record he only found about 22 posts to make from the close to three weeks he was gone, I'm actually surprised it turns out to be just over one a day, that's how much we rely on Frans' nose for news here (you are correct if you assume his next vacation will be overlooking the scenic "my dead body").

A couple of alert readers have pointed out the small coincidence that yesterday's announcement of the firing of Paul Steed comes one year to the day from Brian Hook's announcement that he was leaving id (story).

We had what seems to be a breakthrough yesterday in terms of Blammo! database performance and reliability. For a couple of hours in the afternoon yesterday all the scripts here became pretty unusable, which has, unfortunately, been a fairly common occurrence here. The root of yesterday's problems seemed at first to simply be the Slashdot effect, as they linked to John Carmack's .plan file about the big Doom sequel/Paul Steed firing announcement (story). For a while there it really seemed like we were not going to be able to update the site, much less serve up things already here, like the messageboards and that .plan update. The good news is, we (if I say we in any programming sense, chances are I mean Furn) discovered that the number of SQL connections the system was allowing had not been adjusted from the default after the last time the server was rebuilt, so rather than being load related, it was a fairly simple configuration problem (which helps explain why the rest of the site remained so rapid while the scripts were failing). It's too early to say for sure, but it seems this has cleared up a ton of problems, because since limit was tweaked the .plan updates and messageboards now seem to crank out like there was never a problem (even after we were later /.ed a second time). In a further effort to clear up these things, yesterday we converted the BlueTracker .plan files to output static HTML, so in the future even if the database chokes on the backend, there should not be a problem continuing to serve .plans that have already been updated. As always, any patience you have had to spare for us as we've been working out these kinks is greatly appreciated, but I have my fingers crossed that we may have finally "broken the code" to paraphrase my dad.

Link of the Day: Emode.com Personality Tests and Quotes (includuing "Are You Loony"). Thanks Corey C. Lapeyrouse. Now you're set in case it's a quiet weekend.

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