Archived News:

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2001

Star Wars Galaxies Interview

The Star Wars Universe Expands Online on ie Magazine is a new look ahead at Verant and LucasArts' upcoming sci-fi MMORPG, Star Wars Galaxies. After a brief introduction, producer Haden Blackman is quizzed about their goals for the game, the goal for the players, the challenges of creating a massively multiplayer online game based on such a popular movie license, their plans for supporting and expanding the game after its initial release, and much more. Thanks HomeLan Fed. Here is an excerpt:
While Star Wars Galaxies is still in the development stages, with beta testing slated to begin late this year, Blackman is extremely excited about some of the game play features that have already been incorporated into the game. “We’re taking the idea of customizable avatars to a whole new level. The game engine and animation system, for example, have been written from scratch to incorporate our ideas. I’m particularly excited about how we’ve been able to integrate the player versus player combat. This was a difficult system to design and proved to be our biggest challenge thus far. In Galaxies, characters can die, however, we’re not supporting what’s commonly known as perma-death. If a character is killed, it can re-spawn at fixed locations. There will also be ways to keeping a character’s equipment after its death by purchasing insurance. By eliminating down time, such as recovering after a battle, we’re making Galaxies more appealing to non-hard core gamers,” said Blackman.

WarCraft III Preview

GameSpot has posted a brief but hands-on preview of WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos, looking ahead to the 3D role-playing RTS in the works at Blizzard. The article is based on attending a demonstration of the game at the Tokyo Game Show this weekend, and offers some detailed impressions of the gameplay they witnessed, in particular the Undead, Night Elves and Human races, and comes with seven new screenshots.

Atma Unveiled

Also on GameSpot is a brief look at Atma, a Myst-style 3D adventure game that is being developed by Vinayak 4Dgames upon the Unreal engine. More information on the game and some early screenshots can be found at the official site, while GameSpot has a handful of additional screenshots online.

Warlords Battlecry II Q&A

Interview with Steve Fawkner on Warlords Battlecry Elite corners the SSG lead programmer about their recently announced isometric fantasy RTS. As fansite interviews go, the Q&A dives right into a variety of detailed topics, including possible changes to the game's races, human heroes, dragons, buildings, and more, all taken in comparison to the first Warlords Battlecry game.

Freedom Force Movie serves up a new Freedom Force movie, revealing more from this 3D tactical combat RPG being crafted at Irrational Games. This clip comes as a 11.2 MB download in QuickTime format and introduces the El Diablo character, his background and the origin of his superpowers in nearly two minutes of cartoon-based footage.

Tuesday Screenshots

  • Deadly Dozen
    Like yesterday, two sites offer sets of five new Deadly Dozen screenshots each, so you can head over to AVault and GameSpot for more imagery of this budget-priced shooter by nFusion, and the latter also reports that the game "has reached gold candidate stage."
  • Condition Zero serves up a mix of new and a few familiar, low-res Counter-Strike: Condition Zero screenshots and some concept art, illustrating this single-player installment of the popular Half-Life based shooter.
  • Armada II
    Half a dozen new Star Trek: Armada II screenshots are online at Armada Universe, showing new galactic scenes in this space-based RTS under construction at Mad Doc Software.
  • S.W.I.N.E.
    Similarly, half a dozen new S.W.I.N.E. screenshots have been appended to's gallery for this light-hearted 3D real-time strategy game by Channel 42.
    Magic Lantern has recently opened their official COMBAT page with screenshots of this upcoming remake of the classic Atari 2600 tank shooter.
  • Midgard
    The official Midgard site has been updated with three new concept images taken from the ECTS video of this Norse MMORPG in the works at Funcom.

Black Moon Chronicles Beta II

Vircom Interactive has released a new beta client for Black Moon Chronicles, their isometric cartoon-like MMORPG. The update lists the many improvements in this beta phase II, for which a new client is available for download from FilePlanet (registration required) at a whopping 400 MB. Word is that players who already have the first beta client can upgrade to phase II with a 130 MB patch, but that file doesn't appear to be available yet. The Beta News page has further updates on the beta test. Thanks Nyl for the tip.

Soldier of Fortune II Preview

GameSpot Previews Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix after getting their third opportunity to check out Raven's upcoming Quake III-engine follow-up to their mercenary shooter. The preview offers background on the setting, describing where it picks up after the first Soldier of Fortune game, and goes on to describe gameplay, giving a feel for the semblance of squad-based combat that's been added, going into the three types of AI this entails, and goes into detail about the various weapons you will find in your arsenal. Included along the way are quotes from Raven's project administrator Kenn Hoekstra, as well as four new screenshots.

Dark Majesty Trailer

GameSpot PC Media Index for Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty now offers a trailer from Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty that "shows about a minute of gameplay footage with an audio commentary on the new features" in the upcoming AC add-on. The trailer is available for download as an mpg as well as in streaming formats.

Stronghold Site

Take Two, by way of their GodGames label, has opened its official Stronghold site, showcasing this upcoming castle building and defense game by Firefly Studios. The site offers information on the game's features, enemies and more, some familiar downloads, and ten new screenshots.

Frank Herbert's Dune Movie

Games Domain has posted a new movie trailer of Frank Herbert's Dune, the third-person action adventure being developed for PC and PS2 by Widescreen Games that casts you into the role of "Paul, the son of the Duke Leto, House Atreides and heir to the throne." The movie requires a 26.9 MB download in high-res (720x540) AVI format and offers some two and half minutes of cinematic and in-game footage from the game.

Goretest2 Announcement

The Gore First Website has a post by 4D Rulers' Joel Huenink announcing that "After a long hard summer, Goretest2 is almost ready." Joel goes on to describe the changes they've implemented into Gore, their upcoming first-person shooter, based on feedback from the first multiplayer test release, which includes the following: "Levels have been enlarged, effects turned up, textures brightened, artwork improved, chrome and pulsing dynamic lights added, sound effects improved, gave weapons more “oomph”, fixed the dry feel the players had..." He goes on to describe the difficulties employing dynamic lighting provided, the detailed new characters, the several new gameplay modes they've implemented, and changes to the game's editor. Getting to the subject at hand, he outlines what's to be included in the second Gore test release: "Goretest2 will have 3 levels (only one from the original demo and 2 brand new levels), 4 characters (2 UMC characters and 2 MOB characters), all the weaponry from the first demo and half a dozen new weapons," goes on to offer the plan for its release: "As long as everything goes well, it will come out this week," and caps things off by pointing out there are three new screenshots of Goretest2 on the screenshots page.

KuF Gold Demo

Spanish site Blue Monday has posted a new demo of Kingdom Under Fire Gold, the upcoming new edition of Phantagram's isometric role-playing RTS. Billed as a "KUF Save Feature Demo," the obvious "main new feature here is the option to save anytime during the game" and it includes a tutorial and two missions, all for the price of a massive 167.8 MB download. Update: The file has been removed due to bandwidth problems but there is a mirror on BonusWeb.

Rally Trophy Demo

The JoWooD Productions Software Website has downloads of a demo version of Rally Trophy, a 70.2 MB playable sample of Bugbear Entertainment's upcoming game that celebrates the mud-strewn joys of vintage rally cup racing. Thanks Salvia.

On Pool of Radiance Woes

When good elves go bad on CG Online is an article that discusses the disappointing debut of Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor. The article features quotes from Garrett Graham, Ubi Soft's producer on the game, discussing the reasons behind the problems with the launch of the RPG sequel, including the installer bug (which everyone experienced) that didn't permit the game to be installed in any but the default directory, and the uninstaller bug (far less common) which could result in serious data loss. The article also covers the patch roadmap for the game, which includes the already released installer patch (story) as well as plans for a version 1.2 patch "due around October 19" to address save game problems, and a 1.3 version "due sometime in November" which will address "mostly stuff we're reading about on the forums." The article goes into an analysis of the troubles they had switching gears to the 3rd edition D&D rules, discusses the possibility that the die rolls behind the scenes are "fudged" in favor of the game's monsters, issues with the navigation and view system, and more, capping off with the possibility that a third party will tackle the version 1.4 update:
While it's a "remote possibility," Graham points to the possibility of a 1.4 patch farmed out to an outside group, to make significant changes in the game. He also wants to reassure people that Ubi Soft is listening to your comments. "We take everything at face value. If we see a lot of something on the forums, we just assume it's something that's happening and look into it." Graham feels that it was too many cooks, not bad cooks that resulted in an underdone Pool. Too many people were making too many decisions, without enough supervision, he feels, and the final game shows that.

Civilization III Preview

CG Online's Civilization III Preview is online with a look at the upcoming sequel to the Civilization sequel. The article is based on hands-on play with a preview build of Civ III, including the role Sid Meier played in the game's development, discussing contrasts to its civilized predecessors, some aspects borrowed from Alpha Centauri (including new victory conditions and borders/culture), the new way resources and trading are handled, civilization-specific units, the wonders, and more. Included are a bunch of new screenshots (including a Lego catapult).

Kreed Q&A

The Q&As just keep on coming: There's an Interview with Vladimir Nikolaev on Blue Monday, a Q&A also posted in Spanish discussing progress on Kreed, the upcoming first-person shooter with the CEO of Burut, the game's Russian developer. Topics include the game's storyline, whether the levels will be mostly indoors or outdoors, the dynamic of team combat, what sort of video card will be required by the game's X-Tend engine, plans for licensing the X-Tend engine, multiplayer support, plans to release editing tools, and more.

Neverwinter Nights Q&A

There's a Neverwinter Nights Q&A on talking with Trent Oster, Scott Grieg, and Brent Knowles of BioWare where the trio discusses Neverwinter Nights, describing their roles on the team, the game's inspiration, the interface in the upcoming RPG, whether characters can be transferred between single-player and multiplayer modes, the role of the Dungeon Master, voice communication, and more.

Battle Realms Interview Interviews Ed Del Castillo of Liquid Entertainment during a recent visit to Liquid's offices to check out progress on Battle Realms, including the opportunity to check out a little multiplayer action in the upcoming RTS game. In addition to brief impressions of this gameplay, they also chat up Ed on several subjects, including the game's inspiration, challenges encountered during development, problems with the RTS genre, their unique approach to resource management, the game's Asian flavor, what didn't make it into the game, and more. Over a dozen new screenshots are illustrating the proceedings.

Soldier of Fortune II Q&A

The Armchair Empire's Kenn Hoekstra Interview talks with the Raven Software developer about progress on Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix. Subjects they cover include the GHOUL rendering system, whether your sidekick will assume a bigger role in the sequel, what new weapons and equipment will be in your arsenal in the follow-up, what "Double Helix" refers to, John Mullins' involvement, what will set SoF2 apart from other shooters, and more.

Garage Games Q&A

HomeLan Fed's Garage Games Interview talks with Tim Gift, one of the programmers currently charged with the care and feeding of the Torque engine, the licensable version of the 3D engine that powers TRIBES 2. Topics include the unusual licensing scheme for the engine, the difficulties in preparing the TRIBES 2 technology for release to other developers, Garage Games' participation in the development community, their plans to produce games of their own with the Torque engine, when Torque-powered games will begin appearing, and more.

Yuri's Revenge Q&A

Westwood Infiltration Interviews Chris "Delphi" Rubyor discussing Yuri's Revenge, Westwood's just-released Red Alert 2 add-on. Topics include balance issues in making Yuri's faction playable; his favorite side, units, and mission; plans for official map pack releases; plans to support the Yuri community; the future of the franchise; and more.

Morning Q&As

Serious Sam 2nd Encounter Preview

There is a new preview of Serious Sam: the Second Encounter on Adrenaline Vault, looking ahead to the new episode in this fast 'n furious shooter series that is in the works at Croteam. The article makes the not unreasonable assumption that the first game is familiar, and jumps right into gameplay impressions from a pre-release build, describing the new Aztec setting and maps, new weapons and enemies, and more along the way. Ten new screenshots are also included.

Unreal Forums

The BeyondUnreal Forums have opened, and moved, sort of. Here's the deal: "We moved the forums to another server when it became apparent that GSI was going to fracture the community by imposing ForumPlanet on PlanetUnreal. ForumPlanet is slower, less robust, has less functionality, has fewer administrative features, and the community at large has indicated to us that they'd rather stay with vBulletin."

Tech Bits

Newer Wolfenstein Admin Bot

An updated version 0.91 of the Wolfenstein Admin Bot is already available, the new release of this Perl script that can help police teamkillers and otherwise maintain order on a Return to Castle Wolfenstein Multiplayer Test server adds "many bug fixes, more useful error reporting, an easy to use installer, a new 'admin' flag for users, added kick messages, Perl < 5.6.0 compatibility, better logging on bans, and more."


There are some new James Bond In... Agent Under Fire screenshots on GameSpot UK showing off 007's upcoming PS2 game. Also, Galleon Officially Sails to 2002 on Cube.IGN.Com has word from Interplay "that the Confounding Factor developed Galleon: Islands of Mystery has been rescheduled from its tentatively set 2001 debut to March 2002. The game will appear on GameCube before any other console and remain exclusive for two-to-three months before an Xbox version is released. No PS2 incarnation is currently planned."

New PrBoom

A new version 2.2.2 of the merged source for Linux and Windows of the PrBoom port of the Doom source code is now available. The new version adds double-buffering, a full screen/window toggle while adding a couple of other features and addressing a couple of bugs.


The WCG Qualifiers have been announced for the World Cyber Games Age of Kings and StarCraft competitions. "This event will produce 3 finalists for each game (AOK and SC) who will get free plane fare to the USA finals in California. The winners in California will receive a free trip to Korea and the chance to compete in the live finals for a share of the $300,000 prize money." Also, sign-ups for the Savage Leagues Q2CTF Season 16 are now underway.

The Mod Squads

There's a Generations Arena interview on talking with several members of the team on this upcoming Quake III Arena modification.

Game Reviews

Hands-off Previews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Thanks to Ant and an anonymous messageboard poster who provided the requested alt-text for the logo. We also got a couple of criticisms for using the alt-text for what's technically not its intended purpose, but hey, we're talking about the alt-text on the right part of an image that's cut in two, and we're actually still Lynx compatible of all things, so hopefully we'll be forgiven here.

I threw another 400 lbs of dirt in the hole in my backyard, and I really think it can't really be considered a hole anymore, though I'm guessing it could take another 400 lbs or more of soil and still not be considered a pile, so I guess I've entered a new gray area as far as this goes. I keep doing 'net searches for philosophers and gardening, but keep drawing blanks. Apparently Socrates ate hemlock, but didn't plant it.

Finally, happy birthday to Robs (LAN Party! LAN Party! LAN Party!).

Link of the Day: The Outsider Plush Cthulhu Doll (thanks EvilToast). The cuddly side of the Necronomicon.
Story of the Day: Jet Blue installing bulletproof cockpit doors. Hell the napkins on the BlueJet are bulletproof! Thanks Paul Schubert and Jim Strider.
Bonus Story: RIAA Wants to Hack Your PC (thanks [MP] Wolverine [MP]). To look for mp3s. Coincidentally, I plan on asking for the right to break into their garage to look for my missing lawnmower.

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