Archived News:

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2001

Condition Zero Interview

There is a new Randy Pitchford interview on Gamehelper, cornering the Gearbox Software front-man about Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, their upcoming single-player variant on the wildly popular team-based shooter. Randy talks about their plans (as indefinite as they currently are) for the game's release, the transfer of the project from Rogue Entertainment, some of the game's features like the new weapons, single-player missions, bot AI, and lots more. Here is a bit about how Condition Zero will mix-n-match with other versions of Counter-Strike:
Gamehelper: What’s the plan for cutting down on ‘Upgrade Confusion’ post Condition Zero? Will there be future patches for CZ separate from Counter-Strike or will we see community wide upgrades?

Randy Pitchford: I would expect a major patch for Counter-Strike when Condition Zero is launched to make them fully compatible with each other. Beyond that, there are likely to be continual upgrades and improvements to the on-line game.

GH: Will the patch for CS be required, or will it be an optional component?

RP: Condition Zero will have everything needed to play on or off line in the box. When Condition Zero is released and installed, there should be no need to worry about maintaining any other installations of the game.

GH: If someone has never owned CS, will they be able to play on CS servers with just the install of CZ?

RP: Yes. This will be the preferred way to play CS on-line after Condition Zero is released because CZ will include some technology enhancements and content upgrades beyond the current level of CS.

Comanche 4 Demo

NovaLogic has released the first playable demo of Comanche 4, their upcoming combat helicopter sim. This "first look" demo will expire by November 16, includes one single-player mission, and require a high-end graphics card, but if you're willing to hover your way around all those requirements and disclaimers, then you can download the demo for a reasonable 42.7 MB. Thanks Dogfighter. Update: The demo has been temporarily removed, but a mirror is online at 3D Gamers.

Myst III: Exile Patch

Ubi Soft has released a new patch for Myst III: Exile, updating the graphics-intensive adventure by Presto Studios to version 1.22. This is a minor upgrade, merely addressing a music bug and a video card problem in the PC version (8.2 MB) but a few more issues in the Mac version (6.2 MB).

Evening Screenshots

  • Global Operations
    The official Global Operations site sports a new pair of screenshots from this team-based tactical shooter in the works at Barking Dog.
  • Ghost Recon
    The trickle of single new Ghost Recon screenshots continues at the official site for this tactical shooter that is nearing completion at Red Storm Entertainment.
  • Deadly Dozen
    3DActionPlanet is the latest site to receive five new Deadly Dozen screenshots, offering more scenes from this first- and third-person budget-priced shooter by nFusion Interactive.
  • Sea Dogs II
    Three new Sea Dogs II screenshots have been added atop this gallery at Russian site Absolute Games, while Freelancer introduces the Brig as the first of the ships in Akella's sea-faring 3D RPG.
  • Empire Earth
    GamePro has posted some brief impressions of the ongoing Empire Earth beta test along with fifteen new, low-res screenshots, while Killjoy's serves up more impressions of their own.
  • DarkSpace
    There is a brief progress update on the official DarkSpace site along with three new screenshots of this massively multiplayer space sim being beta tested at Palestar.
  • Mimesis Online
    Half a dozen new Mimesis Online screenshots are online at Polish site Strefa, revealing the human race in the futuristic MMORPG by likewise Polish developers Tannhauser Gate.

Project Entropia Q&A

The official Project Entropia site points the way to this interview with Erik Johnels, the Community Representative for MindArk's upcoming MMORPG, on fansite Soldier of Fortune LTD. The Q&A dives right into a series of detailed topics, like the skill tree, stamina, character animations, the financial systems, and more.

AvP2 MultiPlayer Demo Soon

Sierra Studios sends along a teaser announcement for the imminent multiplayer demo of Aliens Vs. Predator II, the three-way first-person shooter that is nearing completion at Monolith. Here is the message, which does not specify the precise date and time of the demo's release:
Three species, one world - it is survival of the fittest and only one species will emerge victorious. Your chance is coming to be one of those species in the soon-to-be-released Aliens vs. Predator 2 multiplayer demo. Which species will you choose...

The odds are stacked against the marine as he faces these two deadly foes, but never underestimate the heart of a marine and his will to survive.

Challenged by human and Alien obstacles, the Predator must discover his will to survive must be greater than the lust for the hunt.

Striking from within the facility, the Alien seeks to save its queen stopping at nothing to ensure survival of the Alien race.

Stay tuned for more details...

Pool of Radiance Patch

Two days earlier than promised, Stormfront Studios has released a new patch for Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, available for download from Ubi Soft's ftp server, which upgrades their isometric role-playing game to version 1.2. The 2.2 MB patch can be applied to both previous versions of the game and according to the included readme.txt it "fixes various save games problems and a multiplayer connection problem."

Civilization III Interview

Civilization III Q&A on GameSpot is actually a fairly lengthy conversation on this eagerly-anticipated turn-based strategy sequel by Firaxis that recently went gold. Sid Meier and Jeff Briggs are at hand to discuss their goals for the game, the innovations and differences compared to Civilization II, the expansion of the combat and culture systems, the new victory paths, and the proverbial more. Nine new screenshots illustrate the proceedings.

Gothic Preview

GameSpot has posted a new Gothic preview, looking ahead to this third-person role-playing adventure by German developers Piranha Bytes that is already available in their home country and is expected in North America later this year. The article introduces the backstory, describes the early part of the game as well as features like the journal, inventory and combat, and comes with 15 new screenshots.

Stronghold Gold

More metalliferous news today, as GodGames sends along this press release announcing that Stronghold has gone gold, and this castle building and defense strategy game by Firefly Studios is expected on store shelves by the end of this month.

Fighting Legends Audio Interview

As is their way, XGR will be broadcasting a new interview on Fighting Legends tonight, talking to Steve Escalante at Maximum Charisma about their now-gold massively multiplayer role-playing strategy game. The chat kicks off at the new time of 9:30 PM EDT and naturally requires a SHOUTcast compatible player.

Afternoon Screenshots

Wolfenstein Video

There is a Return to Castle Wolfenstein video on FilePlanet (registration required), offering more insight into the development of Gray Matter's first-person shooter for the cost of a hefty 111.7 MB download. It is also available on the pre-order bonus CD for the game, if you happen to be bandwidth impaired. Word is: "This lengthy movie shows extensive new game footage, plus great video interviews with some of the folks at Gray Matter: Drew Markham (Creative Director), Maxx Kaufman (Art Director), Greg Goodrich (Executive Producer), and Corky Lehmkuhl (Character Designer)."

New Weapons Factory Arena

The Weapons Factory Arena site now offers a beta version 3.1 of this class-based Quake III Arena mod for download (thanks GameSpyDaily). This release comes as a 6.4 MB .PK3 file that includes the list of changes, and word is: "Remember that this is a beta version. There are likely to be bugs and game balance issues that will need to be addressed before version 3.1 becomes final."

DuelField Preview

3D Gaming Daily has posted a brief but hands-on preview of DuelField, the turn-based online strategy game under construction at French developers Sismoplay. The preview is based on their participation in the ongoing beta test, and describes the kind of gameplay you can expect, the user interface, some of the units, spells and more, while eight new screenshots are included as well.

Yuri's Revenge Chat Log

There's a Yuri's Revenge chat log on Red Alert 2 eXtreme taken from an official Westwood IRC session with several of the developers where fans got the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity about the Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 add-on, now that it's available. Topics in the short log cover some of the game's development, while trying mainly to get as many inside tips on strategy as possible.

Black Thorn Gold

Ubi Soft sends along a press release announcing that Black Thorn, their Rogue Spear expansion pack, has gone gold. Here's the short announcement:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - October 15, 2001 - Ubi Soft Entertainment is proud to announce that Tom Clancy's Rogue Spear Black Thorn has gone gold. The mission pack for the popular franchise will be in stores on November 1st priced $29.99

Rogue Spear Black Thorn contains nine new single-player missions, six new dedicated multi-player maps, 14 new weapons, and an all-new Lone Wolf multi-player mode.

Rogue Spear Black Thorn will also contain an additional bonus CD 'The Making of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon' which will give consumers an exclusive behind the scenes look at one of the most anticipated PC games of 2001 - Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. The CD features development interviews, gameplay videos, design art and gameplay tips from the team.

EVE Update

CCP sends word of an update to their EVE: The Second Genesis Website where they have a new Amarr "theme pack" showing off more of their upcoming massively multiplayer space combat game. The pack features: "An updated database of six Amarr ships with 24 new screenshots and a short story depicting incidents at the Inis-Ilix station. A brief political description of three of the Heirs that might succeed the ruling Emperor, few wallpapers and last but not least three excerpts from the Ammarian music score."

NOLF GotY Multiplayer Maps

As promised, Monolith has released the multiplayer maps from the Game of the Year edition of No One Lives Forever as a separate download, so that owners of the original game can play the new maps online as well. We have a local copy with mirrors of the 50.2 MB file online, which requires the version 1.004 patch to be installed first (story).

Medal of Honor Movie

In an earlier than usual update, the official Medal of Honor: Allied Assault site features a new movie trailer of the first-person shooter in the works at 2015. Likewise unusual is that, while billed as part 2 in the five part series covering Mission 5 Level 3 in the game, this clip actually contains the same gameplay action as last week's clip (story), with just half a minute of further footage appended (so it's more like clip 1b), but restoring events to some sort of normal order, it's again available in low-res and high-res QuickTime formats. Additionally, the briefing for Mission 5 is online.

New All-Seeing Eye

A new version 1.5 of The All-Seeing Eye server browser is now available. The new release offers support for the new version 1.26 Operation Flashpoint standalone server query protocol, will log all game connects to a database, and will log all buddy events to a text file. The new version is accompanied by the release of the complementary "Pinger" application for both Windows and Linux, which can be placed on another computer on your LAN or ISP to do the pinging for you.

Empire Earth Beta Patch

Although not yet noted on the official Empire Earth Beta Headquarters, Sierra Studios has released a new version beta patch for this 3D real-time strategy game nearing completion at Stainless Steel Studios. You can get either a patch to upgrade the previous version (3.8 MB) or patch for any previous version (30.7 MB) from their ftp server, and this release addresses a large number of multiplayer, graphics/video, user interface and AI, gameplay and other issues, all of which are listed in the included Readme.txt file.

Myth III Gold

Mumbo Jumbo Games' Mike Donges updated his .plan with an announcement that was hinted at in another recent update by Andrew Meggs (story), saying that Myth III: The Wolf Age, the upcoming prequel to the Myth series, has gone gold, and is headed off for duplication.

Shadowbane Q&A

There's an Interview with Jason Rubinstein of Ubi Soft on Shadowbane Warcry discussing what's up with this upcoming MMORPG now that Ubi Soft has picked up its publishing rights. The Q&A covers Jason's feelings about the game and MMORPGs in general, what needs to be accomplished between now and Shadowbane's release, Ubi Soft's role in beta testing the game, how the release of other online games has impacted their plans, how customer service will be handled, and more.

Wizardry 8 Release Date

After a lengthy saga surrounding a search for a publisher, a press release on GamePen has word to expect the North American release of Wizardry 8 on November 15. The release includes several quotes from project leader Linda Currie of Sirtech Canada, but does not offer any clarification about who is publishing the RPG.

On Scary Games

Games That Go Bump in the Night on CG Online is a look at scary computer games, examining several examples of games that offer significant fright factor, including DOOM, Thief, System Shock 2, and more, capping off with a look at the upcoming Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, featuring quotes from HeadFirst Productions' Simon Woodroffe and writer John Saul along the way. The article is accompanied by a complementary piece titled True Horror Stories that looks at horror games gone wrong, saying "a horror game that fails to be frightening is a bit like a comedy that fails to be funny," offering Phantasmagoria and Harvester as examples of horrible horror games.

Anarchy Online Q&As

AO Basher Interviews Savant, talking with the former Lum the Mad writer who is part of a five person team that's been hired by Funcom to help sort out their community relations situation, which is, well, a situation. Topics include his experiences playing AO, while pressing for details about the role this new community relations team will be taking on, though most of those questions get ducked, as they are waiting for an official press release about this before spilling any more beans. They have also posted an Interview with Enno talking with one of the game's developers from Funcom discussing his background, what he would change about AO if he were king, progress on specific issues like latency and connectivity issues, and more.

Fighting Legends Q&A's Fighting Legends Interview talks with Steve Escalante of Maximum Charisma Studios about Fighting Legends, their unusual upcoming massively multiplayer game that Steve describes as: "Serious action combined with serious genres, meeting up with our Dr. Seuss on acid look and feel creates a slapstick comedy, online game that has an entertainment value that lasts." Topics that inspire some lengthy answers include the game's concept, the future of online gaming, the time frame for the game's release, the biggest challenge they've encountered during development, and more.

City of Heroes Q&A

HomeLan Fed's City Of Heroes Interview catches up with Richard Dakan of Cryptic Studios to discuss City of Heroes, their upcoming MMORPG that will place players in the role of superheroes. Along the way Richard describes how Cryptic came together in the first place, the game's "secret origin" (mini in joke for comic book fans), the kinds of challenges encountered in realizing what seems like a "great idea on paper," what era of comics from which the game's art is derived, how the superhero creation process is handled, the reasons you can't play a super-villain (at least in the initial release), how super-teams will he handled, and more.

Second Encounter Q&A & Preview

3DActionPlanet's Second Encounter Interview chats with a few members of Croteam about their upcoming Serious Sam follow-up, discussing the engine, where they currently are in development, how the team has expanded since the First Encounter, their comfort level with their engine, as well as new enemies, weapons, and more. Meanwhile, Previews Serious Sam: The Second Encounter with a look ahead at the follow-up. The article discusses contrasts to the original, including improvements that have been made to the engine, the addition of things like jumping puzzles to the levels, the integration of the Seriously Warped mod, and other multiplayer enhancements.

Battle Realms Preview

The Adrenaline Vault Previews Battle Realms after taking a swim with Liquid Entertainment, the developers on the upcoming Asian-themed RTS game to check it out first-hand. The article offers impressions of the visit to Liquid's offices, discusses the game's resource management, its unique method for dealing with units, the yin & yang battle point system, impressions of single-player and multiplayer combat, and more. The article is accompanied by a batch of 10 new screenshots.

On the Anarchy Online Novel's Anarchy Online Interview chats with Ragnar Tørnquist of Funcom to discuss Prophet Without Honor, his upcoming novel that complements the Anarchy Online storyline. Topics include the inspiration for the story, his background, his influences, how many more books will be in the series, the possibilities of a novel to accompany Midgard, whether it stands alone, and more.

New WolfStat

A new version 0.70 of WolfStat is now available. In addition to the program's original functions, which includes the kicking of players too prone to shooting their teammates while playing the Return to Castle Wolfenstein Multiplayer Test, the new version also removes log file entries as it operates to keep log sizes reasonable, stores stats in a database, and supports multiple servers.

Tech Bits


Xbox Euro Price and Date Confirmed in Cannes on Computer and Video Games has word that the "European price for the machine has been set at £299 (479 euros). Launch date has been nailed at March 14, 2002." MGS2 Ship Date Finalized on ie Magazine has news that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, will ship to stores in the US on November 13, and "The game should be available in some locations that day, and in all stores at least one to two days following the ship date." The game's Japanese launch date is slated to be November 29, and it will ship to the rest of the world sometime in 2002. Sierra and Argonaut Games Announce SWAT Global Strike Team is the announcement of an upcoming SWAT game for the Xbox. GameSpot UK Grand Theft Auto III Preview is online, with 13 new screenshots.

Ships Ahoy-Mac BG2

At long last -- Baldur's Gate II ships is the press release announcing that the Macintosh version of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn is shipping. the only specific they offer about the game's availability is this: "Those who pre-ordered the game from MacPlay should be receiving their copies soon." Thanks RPG Vault.

Game Guidance

There's a new MechWarrior 4 Connectivity Support Page offering tips on fighting "Connectivity Lag, Server Lag, Client Lag, and Join Lag." Camelot Vault's Dark Age of Camelot Archer Guide is online. There's a basic Quake III Arena weapons guide on Multi Player Zone.

The Mod Squads's Dekard Interview talks about his work on the Threewave CTF Unification Project.

Game Development & Modification has word that their proprietary software and web-based technology that automatically converts a single two-dimensional facial image into a fully-developed 3D model in one second has gone gold, and now officially supports the Mac OS X platform.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

When posting something like the Cthulhu plush doll yesterday, I often find myself thinking that it's actually unique. How naive of me! I guess it's a sign of how bizarre the world is becoming that I end up getting as many notifications as I did that this was not the original, but that this Plush Cthulhu (thanks Nick Kartsioukas, the first to send this in) was actually first. Actually more bizarre were probably all the accompanying comments about how much cooler this one is... the only thing that scares me more than people buying these for themselves is the idea they are buying them for infants... eek!

Play Time: Ninja Dispatch. Christopher R. Wain.
Link of the Day: Gary Condit Novelty Masks. Happy Halloween. Thanks David Livingston.
Bonus Link: Alkulukuja Paskova Karhu. Home of the Prime Number Pooping Bear. Contains adult language and Real math. Thanks Blackforge. Is 569 a prime number? Does a bear crap in the woods?
Story of the Day: Men file suit against Osama bin Laden. Thanks Travis McPherson. If they had his email, they could've just dispatched a ninja!
Weird Science: Robo-cat is out of the bag. Thanks Chris Jones. Different, if not fewer capabilities as an Aibo at double the price. Interesting copycat.

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