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Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Shadows of Luclin Interview

Lum the Mad has conducted an interview with Gordon Wrinn, the assistant producer at Verant Interactive on EverQuest and its soon to be released add-on Shadows of Luclin. The interview is quite lengthy, and Gordon comments on a wide range of topics about the upcoming add-on pack, from the system requirements to specific gameplay issues. Thanks GameSpy Daily for the tip.

Late Evening Screenshots

  • Red Faction
    A new Red Faction Tuesday on the official site of Volition's destroy everything shooter brings a new screenshot of the week as well as a new weapon, introducing the Submachine Gun.
  • Bridge Commander
    Likewise, the official Star Trek: Bridge Commander site offers their usual screenshot of the week from Totally Games' capitol ship space combat sim.
  • Operation Flashpoint
    Fansite OpFlash.com has posted another ten new Operation Flashpoint screenshots, and they threaten to squeeze more images out of their preview build of Bohemia's soldier sim most every evening.

Warcraft III Site

Blizzard sends word that their official Warcraft III site has been revamped and in addition to a new look now offers five new screenshots, some new character animations, a new wallpaper, and the previously released cinematic trailer (story) that is now available in wide-screen QuickTime format.

It Came From E3, Part 12

Zero-G Marines Preview

GameSpot has posted a new Zero-G Marines preview looking ahead to the space-based first-person shooter under construction at Strategy First. The preview is based on a visit to their Montreal offices and describes the game's premise and features in some detail, offers impressions from the current build as well as quotes from producer Jamie McNeely and product manager Adam Phillips, and comes illustrated with 11 new screenshots.

More on Midgard

GameSpot has posted their own report on Midgard, the new fantasy MMORPG that was unveiled by Funcom at E3 (story). There are a few more details on the roles players can take up, the political and economic systems, and the use of an improved Anarchy Online engine, as well as one new concept image.

Lord of Destruction Trailer

Blizzard has released the E3 teaser trailer of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction as a 30.5 MB download. The movie offers a round two minutes of cinematic footage from their upcoming isometric RPG expansion in appropriately wide-screen (640x292) QuickTime format.

Early Evening Screenshots

  • Neverwinter Nights
    RPGDot has posted a Neverwinter Nights gallery featuring some 40 new spell screenshots of the 3D role-playing game being crafted at BioWare.
  • Throne of Bhaal
    Also on RPGDot is a massive Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal gallery, showing off BioWare's isometric RPG expansion in a whopping 72 new (and some familiar) screenshots.
  • Etherlords
    There are three new Etherlords screenshots on Freelancer, offering some new scenes in the 3D turn-based strategy game under construction at Nival Interactive.
  • Sudden Strike Add-on
    EuroGamer has posted another ten new screenshots of Sudden Strike Forever, the isometric RTS expansion pack by Fireglow Studios and CDV.
  • TechnoMage
    Russian site GamePort offers up a new TechnoMage: Return of Eternity gallery, sporting nearly 30 new screenshots of the top-down 3D action RPG by Sunflowers that is already available in Germany.
  • Dark Ages
    The first screenshots inside the walls of Camelot, the eponymous castle in Mythic's MMORPG Dark Ages of Camelot, are online at VoodooExtreme.

World War II Online Gold

Developer Cornered Rat Software has updated their news page with a press release announcing that their massively multiplayer title World War II Online has gone gold (thanks kill-9). The press release doesn't contain a specific release date, but instead says that the game will be released some time in June.

Star Wars Galaxies Preview

A new preview of Star Wars Galaxies is up at Well-Rounded Entertainment this evening, based on what they saw at this year's E3 expo. The preview contains the same screenshots that were released during the show, but it makes up for it by containing a pretty in-depth look at the gameplay demonstration they were given.

Shadowbane Movie

GameSpot has posted the Shadowbane trailer that was shown at E3. The movie is available in both MPEG and Windows Media Player format, and contains a whopping nine minutes of gameplay footage.

Tropico Demo

PopTop Software has released the playable demo of Tropico, previously available on magazine cover disks, for download at GameSpot. The demo weighs in at a massive 172.6 MB and allows you to become a dictator on a Caribbean island (only for the duration of the game, of course).

Aliens Versus Predator Gold Tools

As promised, AvPNews has released the official (but unsupported) Aliens Versus Predator Gold tools and source for download as a 10.3 MB package, containing all the level editing tools, bonus tools, source code, documentation and more that aspiring modders should need to create new maps and modifications of the three-way first-person shooter by Rebellion and Fox Interactive.

Steel Soldiers, Gangsters 2 Gold

A news update on the official Steel Soldiers site (Flash-only) gives word that this 3D action RTS by UK developers The Bitmap Brothers has apparently been completed, and "is set for global release on 8 June 2001." (A later announcement adjusts this to June 15 for the US release.) Similarly, a news update on the official Gangsters 2: Vendetta site (Flash required) announces that the European edition(s) of the mobster management strategy game by Hothouse Creations is finished, and will be released on June 1. There is no date for the US release yet.

Cyan Q&A

Changing Our Worlds: Cyan Interview, Part I on Adrenaline Vault is a talk with Rand Miller, CEO of Cyan Worlds, about their graphics-intensive games. The Q&A covers their efforts to tell stories through their games, their most recent release realMYST, and their next project MudPie, a massively multiplayer, real-time game. A new MudPie screenshot is also included.

LucasArts Interview

The International House of Mojo has an interview with LucasArts president Simon Jeffery up today. The interview talks in general terms about LucasArts' current and upcoming projects, and Simon says they do have a couple of Episode II games in development, but that they won't be repeating the onslaught of titles like they did with Episode I. He also says that most of their Star Wars games are being outsourced, and that this allows them to devote their internal resources to original projects.

PlanetSide Interview

The Caster's Realm interviews Trammel Isaac, talking with the art director at Verant Interactive about their upcoming massively multiplayer FPS PlanetSide. Trammel provides some details about their plans for the game, and he comments on the massive size of the maps on every server, what they would do in the unlikely event that one team manages to win the war against the other two, how the in-game economy functions and more. Thanks gamenarc for the tip.

Warren Spector on Deus Ex 2 Controversy

PlanetDeusEx has updated their news page with a letter from Warren Spector, where the designer comments on the controversial revelation that Thief 3 and Deus Ex 2 will appear first on Microsoft's Xbox console (story). Despite the many statements that have been made to the contrary, Warren says the two games will not be appearing first on consoles, and he reassures fans that ION Storm Austin is working hard to please fans of both games. Here's what he has to say:
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly rumors spread in this business and how willing people are to accept rumor as fact.

Right now, there are rumors circulating on the net that Deus Ex 2 and Thief 3 will ship on console first, with PC "ports" coming later. That is simply not true. Let me assure you that we have no plans to release a console version of DX2 or T3 before a PC version or to compromise one version to accomodate the needs of any other version we might develop.

Both DX2 and T3 are a ways off -- making immersive simulations takes time! -- and official announcements regarding these projects will be made in the future. Until then, let me just say that the members of the DX2 and T3 teams, many of whom helped create the original Thief and Deus Ex, are determined to meet and surpass your justifiably high expectations.

Everyone in this studio is as committed to making games like Underworld, System Shock, Thief and Deus Ex as you are committed to playing them. The vehemence with which you've expressed your concern is ample evidence that you love these games as much as we do. All I ask is that you trust us now as you always have in the past. You won't be disappointed...

American Conquest Announced

GSC Gameworld, the developers of Cossacks: European Wars and the tactical shooter Venom, have announced American Conquest, a new real-time strategy game (thanks AVault). The game covers the period of American expansion beginning with Columbus' arrival, and features a 3D landscape (which runs in 1024x768), up to 16,000 units per map, 12 different nations and lots more.

Linux Quake III Arena Update

Linux Games has posted a letter they received from Timothee Besset, the project lead on GtkRadiant who is now in charge of maintaining the Linux version of Quake III Arena. According to Timothee's letter the different versions of Q3A all share the same source tree, and there will still be a Linux version of the upcoming Q3A and Team Arena point release, which will follow shortly after the release of the Win32 version.

Escape from Alcatraz Interview

Russian gaming site Gameport.ru has conducted an interview with Antal Ruttmayer, the lead designer at Philos Laboratories on their upcoming title Escape from Alcatraz. Antal talks about his background in the industry, why the game takes place in the near future, the various characters in the game and more. Naturally, the interview is available in both English and the site's native Russian.

It Came From E3, Part 11

Neocron Q&A

Fan page Neocron Central has a Q&A with Jens "Nemesis" Bremmekamp of Reakktor Media online, talking with him about their upcoming massively multiplayer title Neocron. Jens recently jumped from fan to developer, and he talks about this transition, as well as what will separate Neocron from other massively multiplayer games, his average work day and more.

Art of Magic Preview

Notwithstanding the fact that its completion is in jeopardy due to the demise of Charybdis (story), this Magic & Mayhem: Art Of Magic preview on PC Zone UK takes a new look at this fantasy 3D real-time strategy sequel. They take a beta build of the game for a spin and describe the 3D engine, the gameplay, the similarities and differences to the first game, and more. A handful of new screenshots are also on display.

Ground Control Maps

Massive Entertainment has released a new map pack for Ground Control, once again expanding their 3D real-time strategy game that was released last year. This fifth pack offers three new multiplayer maps, entitled SO1_TheAtoll, ES3_NoneShallPass and SK3_HillOfDeath.

Europa Universalis Patch

There's a new Europa Universalis Patch on the Paradox Entertainment downloads page available for several different localized versions of the game for the cost of a two or three MB download (depending on the version). Thanks The Patches Scrolls.

Dark Conspiracy Update

There is now a Ground Control Dark Conspiracy page on Sierra's online store. This is to ease the process of ordering the expansion CD, but it is still free, and the offer of the add-on (which was to expire last month) has now been extended indefinitely. In addition, proof of purchase of Ground Control is no longer required to order the CD.

Tech Bits

Consolation-Mania

If it wasn't obvious before E3, loonyboi is the real console expert here, and with him at the show, consolation suffered. Meanwhile, E3 means that there has been as much news in this area, as there ever will be, which makes this catch-up time. Sorry about the overload/backlog, let's just see if we can organize this in a somewhat manageable way:

Competitions

The CPL Europe and Where itís Heading on Turtled.com discusses what went right and wrong at this year's CPL Holland event, contemplating the future of such events in an article that includes commentary from the two heads of the CPL Europe. Meanwhile, word from The CPL is that Recon 2000 (June 29-July 2, Washington, D.C.) will be the first third party LAN event recognized as a Qualifier Tournament for the upcoming CPL World Championship Event planned for Dallas, TX, December 6-9, 2001.

Editing Stuff

XENTAX.COM has the release of a new beta version 3.2b of the MultiEx commander utility. The new version 3.2 is basically the same as the old version 3.2 released last week (story), but the installer program has been fixed to operate properly under Windows ME and Windows 2000. Also, the Valve Editing Resource Center (formerly the Half-Life ERC) has re-opened for all your editing needs, obviously the focus is still Half-Life for the moment.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

  • There's an eRacer demo on AVault offering single-player auto racing, or multiplayer play over the Internet...
  • This Shadowbane Press Release announces plans for phase 2 of beta testing for this upcoming MMORPG, and gives some details on what it will involve, though there doesn't seem to be a hint of how to participate if you are interested...
  • The Action Vault's Danny Pelfrey Interview talking about the music he's composed for Star Trek titles like Elite Force, Away Team, Armada, and upcoming games like Bridge Commander and Borg Assimilator...

Out of the Blue

Do you ever have one of those occasions where you find yourself almost immediately embroiled in a situation so related to something you just commented on, it really makes you worry it's possible to "jinx" yourself? Yesterday not a couple of hours after a conversation with a friend about what a great thing it is to have road-side assistance, I actually managed to run out of gas (while my car presumes a stupid American will be driving it and goes 90 miles after the fuel gage reaches empty, I was in MrsBlue's car, which seems to presume a more precise approach, and once the fuel gauge hits zero you can continue on as far as you can roll with a dead engine). Anyway, I called roadside assistance (who will remain nameless, because I don't want to embarrass VW of America), who told me it would take an hour to get someone to me with a gas can (which they would try to expedite because I wasn't stopped on a proper shoulder), only to call back after an hour saying they couldn't find anyone in my area at all, and if I could find help myself, I would be reimbursed. When I asked how I was supposed to do this from the car (to me, this seemed to be their job), she offered to find me some phone numbers to try. So I did what any right thinking person did and hung up on her. I managed to get a local guy after another hour or so, and from now on I know I'll have a slightly more cynical approach to the miracle of road-side assistance... or at least that's all I'll have to say on the subject if asked... it's not that I really believe in jinxes, but who needs to take that kind of chance again?

Link of the Day: The stupid sausage. Actually, this is the smartest sausage I've ever encountered. Thanks Ligur.
Story of the Day: Couple stuck 'like Siamese twins' during sex (Ananova). No word if neighborhood dogs tried to separate them by spraying them with a garden hose. Thanks Hooligan.
Auction of the Day: Gwot Man Glasses. That's right, don't forget your stuff at trade shows. Thanks Polycount.
Media of the Day: DemoMan does the BeeGees (Flash required). Thanks Ant.