Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 02, 2003 World UFO Day

Activision vs. Star Trek, Round 2

Viacom Consumer Products Statement on Activision Lawsuit (thanks Dr. Del) offers a response to the just-announced lawsuit filed by Activision over the Star Trek license (story). Here's a bit where they say that Trek will indeed live long, and prosper:
Viacom Consumer Products is disappointed by Activision's filing of a lawsuit yesterday in light of the fruitful collaboration the parties have enjoyed for the last nearly 5 years. During their collaboration, Activision has produced 14 Star Trek themed products, including a tie-in to the release of the 10th Star Trek film, Nemesis, just last year. Activision's allegations are without merit; indeed, Activision appears to be trying to use the courts in an effort to renegotiate a deal it made in 1998 to secure the rights to the valued Star Trek franchise for interactive games.

Star Trek continues to enjoy widespread popularity and success throughout the world. Activision's assertions and claims in its filing are manifestly unfounded as one can learn by simply turning on a television set or walking into a book, game or video store.

Painkiller Q&A, Ragdoll Demo

The Painkiller Q&A on GameShark.Com catches up with Brian Gladman of DreamCatcher Games, publishers of Painkiller, People Can Fly's upcoming first-person shooter. Topics include the story, planned horror elements, weapons, their proprietary PAIN engine, and the use of the Havok 2.0 engine for the game's physics. In a note specifically related to that last point, this webpage offers a Shockwave demonstration of the ragdoll physics offered by the Havok engine.

Surreal Testing Clarification

Surreal Software sends a note clarifying the news posted earlier (story) about their testing needs. Word is that they are not actually looking for beta testers as much as focus group testers, which, among other things, will likely require proximity to their offices in Seattle, WA.

AoM & HoI Patches

The Age of Mythology Website now offers downloads of a new version 1.06 patch for Ensemble Studios' legendary RTS game. Word is: "This manual patch is only necessary if you are having trouble autopatching the game," and "This v1.06 update fixes a crash, a few Ensemble Studios Online issues and some balance concerns." Also, the Paradox Entertainment Downloads Area now offers new patches for the various language versions of Hearts of Iron, updating the game to version 1.05. Thanks Frans.

Endless Ages Retail

Endless Ages Takes Online Gaming to the Next Level (thanks Frans) is the press release announcing the North American retail release of this MMOG previously only available online. Here's the word: "This unique mixture of genres is the first massively multiplayer online game to boast no invisible load walls and virtually zero lag common among other massively multiplayer games. Endless Ages is also the first game of this type to add player vs. player arenas popular among first person shooter fanatics."

Afternoon Screenshots

Thanks Frans.

Savage Release Date

Although Savage: The Battle for Newerth has not yet hit open beta testing (word is this will begin at the end of this month), S2 Games sends word of the planned release date for their upcoming game, repeatedly touted as the "First-Ever Real-Time-Strategy-Shooter." Here's the deal: "Savage will ship to retail on August 25th, but can be pre-ordered online at Electronics Boutique or Gamestop. As a bonus for their loyal fans, S2 Games has offered a guaranteed slot in the current beta test for anyone that pre-orders the game. To find out how to take advantage of this offer, gamers can visit the S2 Games site."

New IGI 2 MP Map

The IGI 2: Covert Strike Website now offers downloads of the final official multiplayer map for IGI 2: Covert Strike. "Called Winterland it sets the Conspiracy team up as attackers, trying to inevitably launce a couple of missiles from mobile launchers. Boasting new models and the first snow based map, this new map will require the new 1.2 upgrade released last week." There is also a fixed version of the Linux server for the game.

Late Q&As

War of the Ring Trailer, Date

A trailer for The Lord of the Rings: the War of the Ring has been released, offering a token view of the Tolkien RTS action in the works at Liquid Entertainment. The trailer can be downloaded from Black Label Games. Also, a note from Sierra announces the release date for this game has actually moved up to Christmas 2003, after originally being scheduled for first quarter 2004.

MotoGP 2 Demo

A demo version of MotoGP 2 is now available, offering a sample of Climax's motorcycle racing game on the Sepang Circuit. The 87 MB file can be found on 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, Happy Puppy (registration required), and Worthplaying. Leathers and helmet are optional.

Ships Ahoy: Midnight Club II

Rockstar Games sends news they have started shipping Midnight Club II for the PC, which is due in North American stores as early as today, and on July 11 in Europe. Here's the word on the game: "Midnight Club II moves racing games from tracks to the city streets. The most notorious street racers meet each night in three of the world's greatest cities - LA, Paris, and Tokyo, driving the latest performance enhanced cars and bikes and competing head-to-head to make a name for themselves. Now it's your turn. There are no rules. Drive anywhere in the city. Find the fastest route, and win your opponent's car."

Late Previews

Surreal Beta Testing

The Surreal Software Website has word they are seeking some beta testers, ages 18 and up. Here's the deal: "We need players of all skill levels and gaming preferences, so please help us out by sending an e-mail to with the subject line "Sure, I'll play". We'll send you a short questionnaire to fill out so we can contact you based on our current test needs. Thanks in advance!"

Starsky & Hutch Patch

A new version 1.32 patch for Starsky & Hutch has been released, and is now available from Empire Interactive. No details are available about what the 3.1 MB patch does.

Cassandra Project for Deus Ex

The Cassandra Project Episode 1 is now available, culminating two years of work on this modification for Deus Ex. Here's word on what's in the 24 MB download: "cutscene sequences, 25,000 words or so of Dialogue, 95% new player skins, completely reskinned weapons, five newly-modelled and animated weapons, new music, voiced elements, assorted new decorated models including everything from a ZX spectrum to a frying pan, a new lockpicking and electronic systems, a fully customised HUD and a car that thinks its a Jerry-Springer extra." Update: One of the participants in this project sends the warning that a lot of this mod's content is adult in nature.

Q3A Brainworks

Art of War now offers downloads of public beta version 0.91 of the Brainworks mod for Quake III Arena. As the name implies, this mod is to add more "I" to the AI for the bots in id's shooter.

Game Development & Mods - IC SDK

The Relic Developers Network is now offering downloads of the SDK to create modifications for Impossible Creatures. The site offers varying levels of support for such projects depending on the level of registration interested parties sign up for. A story on Game Helper has further details on all this.

The Mod Squads

Sven Co-op announces Sven Co-op for Half-Life 2 with word that they will be receiving cooperation from Valve in adding cooperation to the Half-Life sequel.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Sigh. I went against the old adage about not fixing something that was not broken yesterday, and tried to uninstall one of the multiple versions of Java installed on my computer and, naturally enough, broke something really badly. Now the odd behavior I am not able to shake is a memory leak with FrontPage (which I have used for years as an easy HTML editor). It's a little spooky... even saving a blank page immediately triggers the leak, which continues straight on until the system crashes. Sorry about the late update and over-aged news. This has been a real nightmare, I've transferred everything to a different machine now, and I'm really beginning to suspect my aging hardware may just need to be put out to pasture at this point (hey, this may be turn into a sponsorship opportunity for some hardware type!).

Links of the Day: Beer For The Homeless.
Symantec Offering Virus Sponsorship. Thanks Ant.
Stories of the Day: Protecting Its Proprietary Pork.
Japan's 'digital shoplifting' plague.
CDs in soft drink cup caps. Thanks Tony!!!
Weird Science: Giant sea creature baffles Chilean scientists.
British troops try out 'James Bond' style X-ray specs.
Wild Science: Kraft Plans to Rethink Some Products to Fight Obesity (registration required). Hell 3/5s of their name spells fat!
U.S. Is Urged by Panel to Tell Women About Dioxins (registration required).
Image of the Day: The making of the Falcon. Thanks John W. Simms.
Follow-ups: Why the Do Not Call Registry May Not Work.
Blood, gore Video game ratings updated. Thanks Jim Hendrickson.
Auction of the Day: AIR GUITAR.... Excellent Condition!. Thanks Dave Claycomb.
Thanks Mike Martinez.
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