Archived News:

Tuesday, Oct 02, 2001

Evening Screenshots

  • Halo
    Halo.Bungie.org has posted a single new Halo screenshot, showing off Bungie's upcoming 3D action title for PC, Mac and Xbox in three resolutions, including a whopping 2664x2562 (good to cover about four average desktops at once).
  • Ghost Recon
    The official Ghost Recon site continues the recent stream of images from Red Storm's upcoming tactical shooter with another pair of new screenshots.
  • Battle Realms
    Likewise, Ubi Soft has also released two new Battle Realms screenshots of the 3D real-time strategy game nearing completion at Liquid Entertainment.
  • Black Knight
    GameSpyDaily has posted no fewer than 20 new screenshots of the Mechlab in MechWarrior 4: Black Knight, the 3D action expansion in the works at Cyberlore.
  • S.W.I.N.E.
    There is a brief but hands-on preview of S.W.I.N.E. on Games Domain, illustrated with nine new screenshots of this light-hearted 3D RTS by Channel 42 and Fishtank.
  • Might and Magic IX
    To The Game serves up eight new concept images of Might and Magic IX, the first-person role-playing game being crafted at 3DO.
  • Camelot
    Three new Dark Age of Camelot screenshots on Camelot Warcry show off the new rideable horses in the medieval MMORPG being beta tested at Mythic Entertainment, and GameSpot offers another batch of images on the same subject.
  • Patrician II Add-On
    While Patrician II is expected on US store shelves any day now, an expansion has already been in the works at German developer Ascaron for some time, and German site Daddelnews now has half a dozen new screenshots to show what it looks like.

Jumpgate Interview

There is an interview on Jumpgate at Markovia, talking to NetDevil's Bob Roland about the just-released massively multiplayer space sim. Bob talks about the features that make the game stand out from other MMOG offerings, the games that inspired them, the successful launch and the number of subscribers they're shooting for, the dynamic storyline, their stance on PvP, and lots more. Thanks John C. Lyden.

World War II Online Patch

As noted in this post on the official forums, Cornered Rat Software has released a version 1.26 patch for World War II Online. The patch is currently available only through the auto-updater (which may be a bit slow initially), and addresses a couple crashes and other bugs, while enhancing some trooper functions and adding a few other improvements and optimizations. Thanks Sniper342 for the tip.

City of Heroes Interview

City Of Heroes Interview talks with game designer Jack Emmert of Cryptic Studios in the first interview about City of Heroes, their just-announced superhero-themed MMORPG. Topics include a summary of the game's plot, a bit of background on the core team, the game's influences, lessons the team is taking from other MMORPGs, what will be involved in creating player characters, what sort of non-combat gameplay will be involved, and more.

Disciples II Diary

GameSpot's Disciples II: Dark Prophecy Designer Diary #11 is online, continuing their ongoing series of journals detailing the production of Strategy First's upcoming turn-based strategy game. This latest edition is penned by Erin Martel, one of the game's level designers, who takes the opportunity to reveal a bit of her craft, as she fills us in on her work at brining the Mountain Clans saga to life, which consists of seven game levels following the Clans' fate through the story she wrote. Along the way we also learn of how the game's art and other assets have evolved during production, and even over the past month, something that's demonstrated in the four new screenshots that the diary offers.

Real War Patch

Hot on the heels of the game's release this week, the first patch for Real War is now online at the official site, updating this isometric RTS by Rival Interactive to version 1.02 (thanks LoadedInc). The patch requires a 2.2 MB download and addresses three issues, fixing a game loop AI timer, the next mission button, and a save game problem.

Bridge Commander Q&A

Today's relative flood of interviews continues, as there's a Bridge Commander Q&A on Bridge Commander Headquarters talking with project lead David Litwin and programmer Erik Novales of Totally Games. The conversation covers various aspects of this upcoming Star Trek game including the differences between the various weapons in the game, the amount of debris a destroyed ship will leave, the offensive capabilities of the tractor beam, the difference between the warp core and the warp engines, the game's voice activation feature, the fact that they are currently alpha, and "hope to hit Beta soon," and more.

Black Isle Q&A

There's a Jason Manley Q&A on The Dragon's Breath Forge talking with this artist at Black Isle Studios. Topics at hand in the short Q&A include rumors of work on Icewind Dale 2, what Black Isle is working on since the cancellation of TORN, his thoughts on the reception of Icewind Dale, and a bit more.

More Future of Online Gaming

The Future of Online Gaming Part 2 on Slow News Day is the follow-up to part one (story) collecting the same cast of characters together for their opinions on stretching the boundaries of gaming, inquiring whether "the industry will ever create 'Rated R' type MMORPGs that have adult content and themes such as sexuality and graphic violence." Thanks Stomped.

Anarchy Online Interview

The Adrenaline Vault's Anarchy Online Post-Release Interview looks to put the folks at Funcom on the spot to find out what they have to say about the problems many customers have found with Anarchy Online. The Q&A includes their responses to reports that AO is unplayable ("Anarchy Online is fully playable"), a question about how many subscriptions have been cancelled ("We’ve had some people cancel their subscription to AO, but we also have new people signing up every day"), what they are doing to provide customer support, their new pricing plan, how much the game was play tested prior to release, remaining technical and gameplay issues, short- and long-term plans for the game, and the number of patches that have been released.

Fort Commander Interview

The Interview with Edin Razman on Blue Monday is the English version of a Q&A also available in Spanish with the project leader at Austrian developer Zenith Studios discussing progress on Fort Commander, their upcoming strategy game that pits players in a struggle against pirates (the seafaring kind, not the warezing kind). Topics covered include the game's inspiration, other games FC is similar to, what gameplay will entail besides combat, the goals of gameplay, the character system, the engine, and more.

On Pool of Radiance Woes

Though the Pool of Radiance Forums seem to be inaccessible at the moment, a post on RPGvault has reproduced a post made there yesterday by Ubi Soft vice president of product development, Bret Berry addressing some of the problems that have been reported in the game since it recently appeared in stores (story). Here is the lengthy post:

Ubi Soft wishes to extend our sincere apologies for all frustration and inconvenience encountered by some of you who have purchased Pool of Radiance. I will take some time here to personally address the problems and to let you know we are working diligently to correct them as soon as possible.
The first point I will address has been expressed on several forums. Ubi Soft did not knowingly release a product that would not install or safely uninstall on people’s hardware or that is "beta" code. As you can imagine, it would be senseless for a software publisher to do so. The most common bug - inability to install on drives other than drive C - is simply a major mistake on the part of our staff in final testing and verification of the masters. This will be fixed imminently.

Second, some of you with older CD-ROM drives are experiencing a problem associated with Safe Disc copy protection. There are older drives that are incompatible with Safe Disc and cannot read the disks when you attempt to install the program. For those that are affected by this, please contact our Tech Support as they have been able to help some people get around this.

Third, one problem we are still investigating is the uninstall issue reported by seven people. One of these people was the publisher of a major online site and as such his experience was posted to his own site and then re-posted almost everywhere relevant to Pool of Radiance. We are still investigating this issue; our work so far seems to indicate a problem with the install program and with certain types of utility programs in limited use. If you have programs that can interrupt the uninstall process (such as Clean Sweep or Norton Utilities) it appears that a problem can occur if one of these programs launches and interrupts the InstallShield uninstall program while it is in the uninstall process. To avoid this problem, make certain that before you uninstall Pool of Radiance that you turn off any of these programs that may be currently running in your task bar. As soon as we have any more information about this and any other key problem, we will let you know.

Also, there are a few video card incompatibility issues with certain video cards, namely GeForce 256 cards and some older ATI and Voodoo cards. Key point is to make sure you have installed the latest drivers for your video card from the manufacturer, and that you have the latest version of DirectX 8, if you didn’t install that when installing Pool. We are attempting to understand and fix these problems also.

We appreciate all the detailed feedback and information that you have been giving the customer support staff at Ubi Soft. We are true fans of Pool of Radiance here, and have labored for many years to deliver a worthy sequel to the many D&D products we created in the past. Pool of Radiance is a huge game. We had more QA personnel working on this title than any other product we have published.

Though this is certainly no consolation for those who have been unable to play successfully, Pool of Radiance is fully playable by the majority of the people who purchased it, and the good news from reading the forum is that the majority of people are enjoying the product.

Ubi Soft is committed to making this right. Please continue to give the Ubi Soft customer support staff as much detail on any other problems you encounter. Please be patient and we will have a patch available as quickly as possible to solve the problems listed above and the others that we are aware of. We want those of you that cannot enjoy the product right now to be able to do so soon.

Dark Majesty Site

Microsoft has opened the official Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty site for business, showcasing this upcoming expansion to Turbine's fantasy MMORPG. The site offers a list of features, a new screenshots gallery, a snazzy and comprehensive FAQ, and more.

Fighting Legends Q&A

WomenGamers has conducted an interview on Fighting Legends, chatting to Dale Lullo about the massively multiplayer role-playing strategy game nearing completion at Maximum Charisma Studios. Dale reveals they are "a week away from going gold and five weeks from launch," and talks about the challenges of marketing the game, the pros and cons of working in the game industry, as well as a bit on her personal interests.

Heli Heroes Preview

Gamers Pulse has posted a brief but hands-on preview of Heli Heroes, looking ahead to this top-down helicopter shooter in the works at Reality Pump and ZUXXEZ Entertainment. There is an overview of the backstory, the 3D engine that is employed in their 3D RTS games, the forward scrolling gameplay and other features, all accompanied by five new screenshots.

From Dusk Till Dawn Interview

There is a new interview with Hubert Chardot on Player of Games, talking to the GameSquad creative director about their third-person action adventure From Dusk Till Dawn. Hubert discusses his inspiration for the game's lead character and setting, its reception in Europe, how it differs from survival horror adventures, why there is no multiplayer in the game, and a few other topics.

Max Payne Q&A

Ferrago.co.uk interviews Petri Jarvilehto of Remedy Entertainment, discussing Max Payne, their recently released third-person shooter. Questions posed in the Q&A include their motivation "to push the genre to these new levels," Max's inspirations, the possibilities of a sequel or add-ons, how they created the game's immersive environment, what they would like to have done differently, the positive response the game has received, and more.

Renegade Chat Today

GameSpy Arcade will play host to a chat today with some of the folks at Westwood Studios currently at work on Command & Conquer Renegade, the upcoming action shooter installment in the C&C series. The festivities get underway at 8:00 PM EDT.

Starmageddon Interview

HomeLan Fed's Starmageddon Interview talks with Adrian Chmielarz, the project manager for Lemon Interactive on the upcoming space-based RTS game. Topics include how the game will be different from Homeworld, the storyline in the single-player game, features of Starmageddon's 3D engine, playable races, multiplayer modes, how far along they are in development (they should go alpha "in about a month"), and more.

The Future of Online Gaming

The Future of Online Gaming Part One on Slow News Day (formerly Lum the Mad's) is a freewheeling discussion of where the genre of online gaming is heading. The article features comments from many luminaries from the field, including Richard Garriott and Star Long of Destination Games; Scott "Lum the Mad" Jennings and Mark Jacobs of Mythic Entertainment; John Smedley, President/CEO of Verant Interactive; Bob "GBob" Roland of NetDevil; and more. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Camelot Beta Journal & Q&A

Gamers Uplink's Dark Age of Camelot Preview is online, discussing many aspects of the upcoming MMORPG, including quotes from Mythic Entertainment's Matt Firor. Also, a new Camelot Vault Dark Age of Camelot Beta Journal is up, discussing the author's first experiences with "Realm Wars," with a short, but detailed description of what this will entail. Here's a brief bit from the introduction:
The Realm Wars are finally here! Rather than an artificial battlefield for testing Realm v. Realm warfare, Mythic has now opened each Realms' frontier regions to the enemy and I could not resist being among the first to explore. The Realm Wars will be the highlight of the game, I am convinced. Goal-oriented, team-based conflict among consenting higher level players has all the right elements for success. And now that I have seen even a small portion of the true battle areas, I can honestly say your blood will be pumping!

Etherlords Diary

GameSpy.com Etherlords Developer Diary Volume 13 is written by Denis Borzenkov, the sound designer on Nival Interactive's upcoming strategy game. In today's installment Denis discusses his favorite aspect of his job, which is creating the sounds that aren't found in traditional sound libraries, which is a lot of them in a fantasy-oriented game like Etherlords. Among these sounds he describes are things like dragon sounds, the audible portion of spell effects, and the made-up languages of some of the game's features.

Alone in the Dark Movie Plans?

A story on Coming Attractions has details about a possible film adaptation of Alone in the Dark, saying it is in the "script stage," and that "Angry Films" is producing the film for Dimension Films. The brief synopsis they offer says: "it's about a pair of supernatural investigators who are stranded on an island haunted by ghoulish creatures that live in the shadows." Thanks Stomped.

Tech Bits

Consolation

New Sam & Max game confirmed on GameSpot and Sam and Max preview on xbox.ign.com offer good news for fans of the wacky pair (as long as those fans were planning on buying an Xbox). The bleem! website is now taking direct orders for Bleemcast! for MGS and Tekken 3 (thanks Schnapple). Editorial Deus Ex The Conspiracy on PS2.IGN.Com has Warren Spector discussing plans for the PS2 version of Deus Ex, and offers a few new PS2DX screenshots. Finally, The Gangs and Weapons in Grand Theft Auto III on PS2.IGN.Com features a Q&A with Adam Davidson of Rockstar Games.

On the UK Game Business

An article in The Sunday Times Business section discusses the significant downturn in the fortunes of several UK-based game companies over the past year, describing the circumstances that will be required to turn this situation around. Thanks FGN Online.

New QStat

A new version 2.4e of the QStat Quake and game server status utility is now available. The new version fixes a bug in TRIBES 2 support that became evident with the release of the latest patch, and also adds support for Descent 3. A final apologetic note adds: "Sorry, the real -noconsole support did not make it into this release."

TRIBES 2 GibMatch

Version 1.0 of GibMatch for TRIBES 2 is now available, calling itself "The Ultimate Tribes 2 MOD," the mod offers new weapons, new code, new textures and new game modes, all for the cost of a 4 MB download.

Competitions

The Savage Quake II CTF League is planning to get back underway next Sunday, which will be the final week of season 15.

Game Guidance

CG Online's Conquest Frontier Wars Tips are penned by Fever Pitch Studios producer/designer Eric Peterson and lead programmer Thomas Mauer. Planet Duke's Official Duke Nukem Forever FAQ has been updated. HQH's Resources' Unofficial Half-Life FAQ has been updated to version 10.1.2001.

The Mod Squads

TSO-Spkz interviews Chris "Autolycus" Bokitch of Valve Software discussing his role as the liaison between Valve and the community of folks that create maps and modifications for Half-Life. Thanks Shacknews.

Game Development and Modification

The QERadiant website has a new version 1.1.1 release candidate 3 of the Windows version of the GtkRadiant editor is now available. Thanks Roger LaMarca. Bohemia Interactive Studio has posted a new lip-synch editing tool for Operation Flashpoint. NeverWinter Haven's 3D Modeling tutorial part II is online (we should have so many editing guides for games that are actually available), offering tips on how to make a blade to import into this upcoming RPG.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Talk about well prepared, MrsBlue and I made a foray this weekend to prepare for Halloween, and we now have over 400 mini-sized candy bars stockpiled to hand out to all the little sugar-fuelled maniacs that will come to our door at the end of the month. Two rules-of-thumb I came up with after last year are 1) to make sure you have more than enough candy to hand out, and 2) to make sure it's something you like yourself for when there are left-overs (so you can expect me to be a sugar-fuelled maniac myself come November 1). Now the only thing left to do is to get the claymore mines to set out in front of the cars so we don't have a repeat of last year's shaving cream incidents, and preparations will be complete. MrsBlue has suggested we join those really indulgent homeowners and dress in costumes of our own to greet the kids, but I really do think the claymores will be scarier than a Dracula costume would ever be. Boo!

What a list of birthdays MoB Chris Morris sent along for today! Sting is 50, 80s pop icon Tiffany is 30(!), Sopranos shrink Lorraine Bracco is 47, and some classics: Walter Matthau would have been 81, George "Spanky" McFarland would be 73, and Bud Abbott would have been 106.

Link of the Day: Alcohol Warnings. Flash required. Thanks booty0bandit.
Story of the Day: E-Mail Celebrates Its 30th Birthday. Thanks Ant.
Auction of the Day: eBay item: I will kick your ass. Not really on eBay, but pretty funny. Thanks Grey580.
Wild Science: Inventing the Robotic Soldier. NY Times free registration required. Thanks Jonathan C. Forster.
Wilder Science: Fusion power 'within reach'. Thanks Ross Harper and Antony.

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