Archived News:

Thursday, Oct 23, 2003

Dear Diaries

City of Heroes Character Creation on IGN details the creation of a character in City of Heroes, Cryptic Studios' upcoming MMORPG, from choosing a power archetype to selecting some snazzy matching threads. Also, the Celtic Kings: The Punic Wars Developer Diary Part Two on Gamer's Hell is written by Haemimont Games CEO Gabriel Dobrev who describes the process of creating the Iberian Nation in Celtic Kings: The Punic Wars, their upcoming RTS follow-up. Finally, The Sims 2 Designer Diary #4 on GameSpot is a group effort as the developers describe the process of creating the perfect SimToilet for The Sims 2.

Game Movies

Mac Jedi Outcast Patch

The Aspyr Website now offers downloads of a new version 1.0.1 patch for the Macintosh version of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (thanks Frans). The update addresses some bugs in the port of Raven's shooter, while adding more tolerance for buggy third-party modifications.

Evening Q&As

  • Call of Duty
    The Infinity Ward Q&A on Gamers Depot chats with Vince Zampella and Grant Collier of Infinity Ward about Call of Duty, their upcoming World War II first-person shooter. Along the way they confirm that the game is gold (it's expected on October 29 - story) and say of a 64-bit version: "if it makes sense we’ll do it."
  • Battle for Middle-Earth
    The Battle for Middle-Earth Q&A on Computer and Video Games talks with Mike Verdu and Mark Skaggs about the upcoming RTS game based on the Tolkien-inspired Lord of the Rings movies. The conversation goes into a good bit of detail about game play.
  • Condition Zero
    The Counter-Strike Condition Zero Q&A on 1UP talks with Valve Software's Jess Cliffe about Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.
  • Dungeon Siege
    The Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna Q&A on 1UP talks with Gas Powered Games about the expansion for their RPG as well as what can be discussed of Dungeon Siege 2. Thanks Frans.
  • Ultima X Odyssey
    The Ultima X Odyssey Q&A on ToTheGame chats with Rick "Stellerex" Hall as some length about the upcoming MMO Ultima game.
  • NFS: Underground
    There's another Q&A on the Need for Speed Underground Website where EA Games interviews itself about the upcoming racing game sequel. Today's interrogation is with Rick Stringfellow, art director on the game. Thanks Frans.
  • Silent Storm
    RPG Vault's Silent Storm Q&A #2 is online, in which "Project Leader Dmitry Zakharov covers a range of topics to bring us up to date on Nival's World War II hybrid."

Site Seeing - Railroad Tycoon 3

The official Railroad Tycoon 3 Website has relaunched as a Flash-only multilanguage affair. Thanks Frans.

Evening Previews

  • Dead to Rights on GameZone.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War on IGN.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost on IGN.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 on GameSpot.
  • Wars and Warriors: Joan of Arc on GameSpot.

New Red Orchestra

A new beta version 1.1 of the Red Orchestra modification for Unreal Tournament 2003 is now available. There may be a bit of a lag before there are many mirrors available for the updated version of this World War II mod.

Evening Screenshots

Ships Ahoy: Battle Engine Aquila

Encore Ships Battle Engine Aquila is the press release announcing that the PC version of this "mech combat game with land and air engagement" is on its way to North American stores. Here's a bit more on the game, which is expected to start showing up "later this week," not that there's isn't much more than "later" left in this week anyway: "The battle begins on the planet Allium, where rising sea levels have resulted in a significant reduction in habitable land and rising tensions between two major planetary factions. As the game's central character Hawk Winter, players are thrust into this rapidly escalating conflict as the pilot of the most powerful weapon in the war. To win the conflict, players can take advantage of the game's key features..."

Steam & CZ Update

The Steam News Page has an update concerning "Condition Zero, and Other Steam News" (thanks Frans). The update describes additions and changes to the network, progress on offline play, the status of transitioning the WON authentication user-base, and more. Here is the portion concerning the imminent release of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero:
Valve is about to ship Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, and the game will soon be available through Steam. The in-store date and the Steam release date will be the same day. Watch this space (or your Steam Games list) for details.

TrackMania Demo

A playable beta/demo for TrackMania is now available, offering a sample of this puzzle/construction/driving game. The file is a 33 MB download, available from 3D Gamers, FileFront, Filerush, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying. Here's the description of the game from 3D Gamers: "For the first time ever in a game, the player has to build his track before racing on it. Working out the best route, short cuts and cheeky manoeuvres is the task ahead. Will he find the right way to do the best time?? The name of the game is to collect all the blocks available within the TrackMania set, a truly virtual construction game enabling the creation of increasingly larger and higher tracks, including jumps, loops, and high octane corners, allowing the construction of courses up to an amazing 2000 blocks!"

Project Freedom Announced

CITY interactive sends word that the RTS game "with RPG elements" being crafted under the working title "P2" has changed directions to become more of an action game, and has been officially titled Project Freedom. Here's the deal:
"P2" (working title), being developed by creators of Project Earth, morphed it's genre to action space game. The new official name is "Project Freedom". Becomming [sic] pilot of latest space fighter your task is to infiltrate enemy moves and fuffill [sic] missions given by generals of your army in the second cold war crisis in late 21st century. The action take place in our solar system and promise to deliver realistic environment across Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Io - the Jupiter's moon and planetoid Ida. The game features never seen break through graphics and solid, 100% adrenaline pumping gameplay.

"Project Freedom" is scheduled to be released in January 2004.

Ships Ahoy: H&D2 Confirmed

Gathering Announces Hidden & Dangerous 2 Has Shipped is the press release confirming yesterday's indications that Illusions Softworks' World War II tactical strategy sequel has shipped in North America. Here's a bit on the game: "Hidden & Dangerous 2 puts you in charge of a squad of lethal SAS troopers. Set over European, African and Asian continents and reflecting the theaters of war where the SAS operated, Hidden & Dangerous 2 will be every bit as groundbreaking as the original game. In more than 20 missions, from the desolate winter of the Arctic to the searing heat of the Libyan Desert, Hidden & Dangerous 2 will immerse the player through both single and multi-play in the ranks of the SAS as you battle the armed forces of Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese Empire."

New (Renamed) NVIDIA Drivers

NVIDIA Introduces ForceWare Release 50 Graphics Driver (thanks Malachii) announces the availability of new reference drivers for NVIDIA accelerators, the drivers carrying a new "ForceWare" moniker to replace the Detonator designation. Word is: "The ForceWare release 50 graphics drivers include the NVIDIA unified compiler technology that translates shader programs so that they are optimized for the NVIDIA GPU architecture, substantially improving the performance of next-generation DirectX 9.0 titles such as HalfLife™ 2, XIII, and more. Performance in the DirectX 9.0 application HaloPC™ improves by up to 58% and DirectX 9.0-based Microsoft Flight Simulator™ 9 improves by 33% ." Currently available only for Win2K/XP, downloads can be found on their Driver Page.

More BREED Delays

Following-up on the most recent revised BREED release schedule (story) comes word of a further delay for the upcoming first-person shooter (thanks Frans). The BREED Website offers news (in German), translatable via Babel Fish, on the delay, attributed to compatibility issues identified during testing. The current plan is to release a new multiplayer demo before the end of this year, a new single-player demo at the beginning of next year, and release the game simultaneously for all markets on February 6, 2004. If this game's development history is any indication, this is all still subject to change.

Ships Ahoy - UFO & Massive Assault

"Matrix Games is pleased to announce that Massive Assault by Wargaming.Net has completed production, is shipping and will be available in the next few days through major software retailers and online stores." Word is: "Massive Assault utilizes Wargaming.net’s high-performance 3D engine giving revolutionary look and feel to a turn based global-scale game. Gameplay is smooth and easy-to-learn, while set in a dynamic strategic environment where the tide can turn time and again...Units include a variety of ground forces, ranging from reconnaissance to heavy mechs; air forces, including fighters and bombers; and naval forces, including carriers and battleships. When liberating new continents, you will learn to coordinate huge naval landing operations, involving carrier battle groups, naval bombardments and air power. These and other challenges await you in Massive Assault!" Also, "Matrix Games is pleased to announce that Eric Young’s Squad Assault: West Front by Freedom Games has completed production, is shipping and will be available for purchase in the next few days through major software retailers and online stores." Finally, the North American version of UFO: Aftermath has shipped. Here's a bit:
UFO: Aftermath is a 3D-tactical/strategy title with a rich and compelling sci-fi story. The title Combines global strategy with small squad based tactical combat against an alien invasion. Featuring run time generated tactical missions with innovative simultaneous combat action; the genre is also enhanced with strong RPG elements, offering quite a unique mix of strategic ideas.

The cleverly devised RPG element allows the player to develop their soldier’s abilities as they gain more experience. Their skills are derived from certain statistics, and each point that is delegated to the following attributes will have a noticeable effect on that soldier’s skills: strength, agility, dexterity, willpower, intelligence, and perception. The strategy feature of this game is essentially how you decide to manage your bases, interceptions, and squads. Territory is power in the game - the more you control, the better your interceptor coverage. The faster you research, the better your chances. The tactical aspect of the game comes into play during the ground based assaults against aliens and mutants for the control of territories. Once you succeed, you can decide what type of base you want: research, military, manufacture or biomass repulsion.

Phase: Exodus Revealed

This Phase: Exodus Announcement (thanks Frans) reveals plans for a 3D RPG from Russobit-M "with strong strategy element, which takes the player to the possible future of the Earth, to the world which went through the catastrophe of the global scale." No release date is projected. Here's a bit more:
The action in Phase: Exodus will take place at the territory of Western Syberia, near Baikal lake - in the nearest future. The post-apocalyptic setting has to take us in the middle of the conflict between groups of people, which were separated when the great catastrophe took place. In 2014, the civilization was destroyed, and the cataclysm had buried all what human's hands were creating for five thousands years of history. In dozens of years, people populated the lands again and had organized the structures - the Foundation, which was the main trade power, Station 12/5 - separate unit where thousand of people could live for hundred years, and others. They sent the Mutants (Mutes), who were born after the catastrophe, to the Zone and quite forgot about them. But, the new danger was near...

Morning Q&As

  • Call of Duty
    The Call of Duty Q&A on IGN talks with Hollywood screenwriter Michael Schiffer about his story for Infinity Ward's imminent World War II first-person shooter.
  • Flagship Studios
    The Flagship Studios Q&A on IGN talks with Bill Roper, formerly of Blizzard, about Flagship Studios, their just announced start-up development studio.
  • Massive Assault
    Pregaming.com's Massive Assault Q&A is a chat with Wargaming.net PR manager Nick Katselapov, "about the how the entire game of 'Massive Assault' really is."
  • Lords of EQ
    GameZone.com's Lords of EverQuest Q&A talks with James Parker, producer on the upcoming EQ RTS game, learning some general info about the game engine, the story, multiplayer support, and more.
  • Hordes of the Underdark
    The Neverwinter Nights Hordes of the Underdark Q&A on GameSpot chats with assistant producer Darcy Pajak and producer Trent Oster about the upcoming NWN expansion that "will vastly increase the high-level character support, allowing players to take characters further than ever before with the addition of epic level support."
  • Dark Horizons: Lore
    HomeLAN Fed's Dark Horizons: Lore Q&A is a conversation with Adrian Wright of Max Gaming discussing their upcoming Torque-engine mecha action game.
  • Gamebryo
    The Next Generation of Gamebryo on The Adrenaline Vault converses with NDL about the future of this developer and their game engine and game development tools.

Morning Previews

BF1942 GI Joe Patch

BF42.com now offers a new patch for the GI Joe mini-mod for Battlefield 1942, mainly addressing issues identified with co-operative play. Thanks Ant.

Competitions

There's a Computer Game Conference this weekend at the University of Dallas. The three day event is free to attend, and will feature talks by Eidos Interactive's Doug Church and Ritual Entertainment's Levelord. Also, the LEVEL UP press release announces "the first large-scale international games conference will take place in Utrecht, The Netherlands on 4-6 November."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

  • Though last word on Adam Blaster: Atomic Enforcer is that the third-person shooter had been cancelled by its publisher, GotGame Entertainment announces that they've picked up publishing rights to the game, which has been re-titled Atomic Enforcer, due in the first quarter 2004...
  • The WWII Online Events Page offers "tickets" to free events allowing the chance to try out the MMO WW2 game for free...
  • Worthplaying has posted first details of Riot Police, an upcoming game from Zono that will allow you to beat on some rioters...
  • Lawsuit filed against Sony, Wal-Mart over game linked to shootings. Thanks Mike Martinez...
  • Second Life version 1.1 is now available...

Out of the Blue

I am celebrating the young cold and flu season, as I am suffering from a cold and/or flu already. It came on startlingly quickly following seeing my buddy Devicer, who has been suffering himself, so at least I'm pretty sure I know who to blame. Anyway, thank goodness for Cold-Eeze (you know you're sick if you can't taste the zinc) and Tylenol Cold... for the next few days I'm gonna be an over-the-counter drug fiend.

R.I.P.: Actor Fred Berry dies at 52. But he lives on in re-runs. Also, Wild-eyed movie villain Jack Elam dies. The Once Upon a Time in the West curse continues... watch out Claudia Cardinale!

Link of the Day: Draft Wesley Crusher For President.
The Gematriculator. Blue's News is 38% Evil. Thanks yonderboy.
Stories of the Day: X10 files for Chapter 11.
See you later, anti-Gators? Doesn't make me any less anti-gator, myself.
In feathers and paint, Amazonians sue U.S. oil giant.
Science!: Industrial robot sales surge in West.
Media of the Day: GI Joe Video Room -- Episode 4.
Auction of the Day: 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4.
Thanks Mike Martinez.
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