Archived News:

Friday, Jul 23, 2004 Max Payne Release Anniversary (2001)

Battlefield Vietnam Patch Delayed

A Battlefield Vietnam sitrep offers a sneak peak at the upcoming World War II mod for BF Vietnam, showing off screenshots of some maps with comparisons to their BF1942 counterparts. They also offer a status report on the patch, which is SNAFU:
Last time in this space, we announced that the 1.1 Update had entered final candidate testing at EA headquarters. Since that time, it was decided to hold the update for an additional week of testing and polishing. We have since submitted a new build to the final candidate process.

So long story short, there was an unforeseen delay, but the1.1 Update should be ready for release quite soon. Stay tuned to this space for the pending release announcement.

Tabula Rasa Shake-up

Tabula Rasa dev team reorganized on GameSpot reports changes to the team at work on NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG:
After more than three years in development, massively multiplayer role-playing game Tabula Rasa is in “good hands” according to a spokesperson for its publisher, NCsoft North America. But, as of today, it's not in as many hands. Three of the higher-profile members of the TR team--lead designer Carly Staehlin, lead programmer Bill Randolph, and artist Scott Jones--have left the project and the company.

While he gave no reason for the trio's departure, NCsoft director of PR David Swofford confirmed to GameSpot that the three had made their exit. “Project development is a dynamic process,” Swofford said. “There is restructuring going on, and Carly Staehlin is no longer on the team or with NCsoft.” The cuts to staff occurred earlier this week, according to Swofford.

Staehlin spoke with GameSpot today, and, in effect, corroborated Swofford's "in good hands" assessment. "The role of lead designer will [now] be Richard Garriott's. Having him in this position means he will have tighter control over the game, which is a huge plus."

Game Movies

A new Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War movie is now online, demonstrating some of the upcoming Warhammer RTS game with some narration provided by the designers. The 18 MB movie is available on 3D Gamers and Worthplaying. Also, all five parts of the Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines video tour on Yahoo! Games Domain are now online. There's also a new Pirates of the Burning Sea gameplay movie on NVIDIA's nZone showing off the naval combat in Flying Labs Software's upcoming MMORPG. Finally, the XIII Century Sword & Honor E3 movie is now online, showing off this upcoming strategy game in the works at OSW Games. The 40 MB movie can be found on 3D Gamers.

Evening Q&As

Mashed Demo

A playable demo of Mashed is now available, offering a one-track test-drive of Supersonic Software's top-down arcade racer. The 55 MB demo is available on 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

Evening Previews

The Moon Project & Lost Souls Patches

The Earth 2150: Moon Project Website has news of a patch: "Patch 2.1 released! With this patch you could finish the ED mission 4 again and the BTD bug in the EARTHNET is fixed! The rebalancing ot [sic] the multiplayer is also finished. This version supports the english, french and polish language." Likewise, the Earth 2150: Lost Souls Website also features a new patch for the German and English versions of the game (although there is no English version of the page).

Evening Screenshots

New BF Pirates

BFPirates.com now features the promised version 3.1 update for the swashbuckling Battlefield Pirates modification for BF1942. The bad news is there was a problem with the full installer that may not be cleared up for a few hours yet. Meantime the patch version of the update is working for those who already have the mod installed. Thanks Ant.

New BF1918

A new version 1.45 of the Battlefield1918 World War I modification for Battlefield 1942 is now available. This page offers a complete list of mirrors. Thanks Ant.

Exarch on Hold

Word from NCsoft is that Exarch, the MMORPG previously known as Trade Wars: Dark Millennium, is "on hold." Noticing that www.exarchonline.com and www.realminteractive.com are both out of commission, Frans wrote to NCsoft's David Swofford asking about the game's status, receiving the following reply:
The current situation with Exarch is this. The Exarch project is currently on hold here at NCsoft.
At the present time, NCsoft is still determining how, when and if Exarch or any of its technology will be utilized in the future. For now the Exarch team, that was based in Phoenix, AZ under the company banner of Realm Interactive, has relocated to Austin, TX and is working on other projects at the NCsoft office.

DOOM 3 Vinyl

Waxploitation announces plans for a version of the DOOM 3 theme as a limited-edition vinyl record of all things:
(Los Angeles, California, July 22nd, 2004) – Waxploitation Records, a leading record company for hip hop and electronic music, announced today that it will release a limited edition vinyl 7" of the theme song to id Software's™ highly anticipated DOOM 3™.

Side A of the 7" will be the theme song, produced by noted producer-composers Chris Vrenna and Clint Walsh. Side B will be a previously unavailable Teargas & Plateglass remix of Tweaker "Crude Sunlight" featuring Jennifer Charles (of Elysian Fields fame). The first 500 copies will be signed by Chris Vrenna and Clint Walsh and will be available for pre-order at Noon PDT on Monday, July 26th at http://waxploitation.com/doom3/

Far Cry Unpatched

The recently released version 1.2 patch for Far Cry can be reclassified back to eagerly anticipated, as 3D Gamers has news that the update has been "recalled" by Ubisoft, apparently due to "unexpected behaviour on specific hardware configurations." No word on when a patched version of the patch will become available.

History of DOOM Video

Another G4/Tech TV feature on DOOM 3 is now online, offering a history of the DOOM franchise in the words of the folks at id Software. The clip can be found on the air on The DOOM Franchise, episode 310 of a series called "Icons." The piece offers clips from DOOM 3 and other games, interview footage, analysis and more, and for those without access to the program, three different online versions are now available, in different resolutions (and varying degrees of completeness). One or more of these clips can be found on 3D Gamers, Computer Games Online, Doom3.de, Doom3Maps.de, FilePlanet (registration required), Gameguru Mania, Gamer's Hell, GameStar Online, and Tiscali Games.

Crytek and EA

Hot off the success of Far Cry comes the announcement that developer Crytek is jumping into a strategic partnership with Electronic Arts:
Chertsey, UK. – July 23rd, 2004 - Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS), the world's leading interactive entertainment software company, today announced a worldwide strategic partnership to develop and publish a new game franchise with developer Crytek GmbH. The agreement builds on Crytek's success with its first title, the chart-leading first-person shooter, Far Cry, and brings together the creative talent of Crytek with the publishing expertise and unrivalled reach of Electronic Arts. The highly regarded German developer will create an exciting new game franchise for the PC based on original intellectual property. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Bringing original intellectual property to the interactive entertainment market is a key focus for EA," said Frank Sagnier, vice president, EA Partners Europe. "EAP's partnership agreement with Crytek is a testament to our commitment to nurturing creative development and we are delighted to be working with one of the brightest talents in Europe to create what we believe will be an innovative gaming experience."

Cevat Yerli, president of Crytek said, "We are looking forward to this partnership with EA. Our advanced technology and creativity, together with EA's production support, marketing and sales, means that we have a great opportunity to bring an original gaming experience to our consumers, as well as grow our business. We are thrilled to see this development get underway".

The Moment of Silence Announced

This Digital Jesters Product Page heralds the development of The Moment of Silence, an upcoming conspiracy laden thriller from German developer House of Tales. The first screenshots from the project are online, and here's a bit from the announcement of the project, which is due in stores in October 2004:
The game marries fully-rendered, animated backdrops with a traditional adventure interface, resulting in once of the best-looking examples in the genre. Full motion video – created by the team that has worked on countless other games, including Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader – depict moments of high drama, putting the game on par with some of cinema's greatest thrillers.

Ships Ahoy - Catwoman

EA's Catwoman Videogame Leaps onto Retail Shelves (thanks Frans) announces the release of the game tie-in with the new Halle Berry movie. Word is: "Boasting incredible acrobatic skills, players can leap across roofs, run up walls, pounce on prey, utilize unique "cat senses," and avoid enemy bullets with feline grace. In addition, players can use Catwoman's whip to swing through the air and utilize the fully interactive environments to trap or knock her foes unconscious."

Doomsday!

Doomsday on Fortune is an article on the fortunes of DOOM 3 (thanks Mike Martinez). Here's a bit revealing that a little Carmack is on the way:
In an even more troubling sign for id's future, Carmack has begun to give indications that he's getting bored. Married since 2000, he's expecting his first child in August. And he has spent the past three years devoting 40 hours a week to Armadillo Aerospace, his four-year-old company that is working to develop customized rocket ships. "If I wasn't doing what I'm doing in videogames, someone else would within a year or two," says Carmack. "In aerospace things are still being done the same as they were 50 years ago. I feel that I can really make an impact in that field."

Morning Q&As

  • The Matrix Online
    The Matrix Online Q&A on IGN has Monolith's William Westwater answering questions about their upcoming Matrix MMORPG: "That meant even if the Internet had no lag, we didn't want to make a game all about fast thumbs -- your character's skill is the biggest determining factor in what moves you can use and how much punishment you can take. However, against even opponents, strategic knowledge decides the victor."
  • EverQuest
    The Alan Crosby Q&A on EQ Vault talks with the EverQuest community manager about the EQ summit: "The summit was a great success. I had two goals for the summit. One was for the players and the developers to come together and see each other as people with passion for the game. The second was for open and candid dialogue. We spent many hours talking with each other not at each other. I think we all came away with a better understanding of both sides of EQ."
  • The Witcher
    HomeLAN Fed's The Witcher Q&A features Michal Kiciñski of CD Projekt discussing plans for The Witcher, their upcoming action/RPG: "We immensely enjoyed first Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and suggested Interplay that we could port the game into PC platform. We were discussing it for couple months, but there were some problems on Interplay side and we decided not to involve ourselves in the project. However the idea of game development stayed with us. So we decided to create a completely new action rpg, and started to fulfill the plan step by step."
  • Futurebrighter
    HomeLAN Fed's Alex Carver Futurebrighter Q&A discusses the upcoming project from HeavenX: "Futurebrighter will not be an ultra-real tactical shooter. We prefer dynamic action and the shooters that you can survive both by planning a tactical attack, or by acting spontaneously… IGI2 or Chrome gameplay fans, as well as Far Cry, Serious Sam or Painkiller fans, will definitely enjoy Futurebrighter."
  • Decisive Battles
    HomeLAN Fed's Decisive Battles Q&A chats with Margaret G. Kim of the History Channel about their Rome: Total War powered television series.

Xpand Rally Demo Plans

Techland sends word to expect the demo for Xpand Rally on August 12:
As Techland - the developer of Xpand Rally - has today informed, the official multiplayer demo of the game will be published on the Internet on August 12th.

The demo will feature one car model and two tracks and the players will have the choice of two different car handling models: simulation and arcade. Besides of normal rally (time attacks) and head-to-head (with collisions) races the version will also feature the Free Style mode allowing for competition on the whole terrain with no restrictions to one set up track.

Thanks to the possibility of adjusting main car's subsystems it will be possible to tune the car for track's conditions as well as for one's own preferences. Additionally the demo will allow for hosting players' own servers - both Internet and LAN.

The full version of Xpand Rally will also offer a comprehensive career mode with over 70 races and more than 700 tuning parts for the cars. It will also feature a Single Race mode. The players will be given 35 racing cars divided into 8 groups. Photorealistic graphics of the tracks placed on 5 varied landscapes, fully dynamic and interactive surrounding of the tracks, realistic car damage model and driver's injuries, finally a set of editing tools allowing for creating players' own tracks - all are main game's features.

Techland has today confirmed that the release date of the title set to 2004-09-24 has not been changed.

Dear Diaries

RPG Vault's Wish Developer Journal #3 is online, in which: "Head of Software Development Matthew Newhook on how Mutable Realms' skill system removes social barriers." There's a new Dragon Empires diary that offers a farewell to the community from former representative Peter Tyson.

RoN Scenarios

The Thrones & Patriots Website now offers downloads of a pair of new multiplayer scenarios for Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots (thanks Frans). Word is: "Two multiplayer scenarios from the Big Huge design team! In Skirmish, a 2v2 modern age battle, players create all units from Redoubts and can't build cities. In Missile, it's a four player free for all game of tactical strikes. Players can only train Elite Special Forces and Spies, which are capable of calling in cruise missile strikes. Destroy all of player's buildings, and he's defeated! In Thrones & Patriots, scenarios auto-transfer to other players!"

Morning Preview

  • Alpha Black Zero on IGN.

Counter-Strike Update

Steam News has details on a new update available via the online content system. The update improves the reaction when C-S and CZ users change their names to "spec_HELP_TEXT," and adds several additional Counter-Strike tweaks and changes. Thanks Frans.

Morning Screenshots

New MultiTheft Auto

A new version 0.4 of the Multi Theft Auto multiplayer modification for Grand Theft Auto is now available (the site is being crunched, so the equally crunched alternative may help). The new version offers support for GTA 3 and GTA 3: Vice City.

Consolidation

Game Guidance

There's a World War II Online Beginner's Guide on FiringSquad with tips for getting started in the massively multiplayer World War II game. Also, there's a Lineage 2 Information Database on L2 Lineage 2 Online. Finally, there's a City of Heroes beginners guide on Boomtown.

Competitions

MsQuakecon.org announces the MsQuakeCon competition, though there will be no swimsuit competition: "Ms. Quakecon combo tournament will be held at this year's Qcon, which will be held in Grapevine, Texas from August 12th - 14th. First, we'll have a regular Q3 FFA tournament to narrow down the contestants, then to finish things off we'll turn up the heat with 1vs1 Rocket Arena. Space is limited so be sure to register today." Also, NCsoft is holding a City of Heroes Bumper Sticker Competition. Finally, R-dot.org is accepting sign-ups for their upcoming LAN event this August in Regina Sask, Canada.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

On the day I will hopefully be returning my rented Pacifica I got to test the most vital aspect of any vehicle nominated for the role of the BlueMobile; the ability to make emergency stops. As I have noted before, I am like catnip for stupid drivers, and can produce a couple of witnesses who will confirm that they've never seen anyone have to deal with nearly so many folks going haywire in his path. This morning it was a Mercedes ML500 that decided that since there was time for the car before it to make it off the exit ramp into town (oh the joys of attracting commuters from the surrounding area to our train station), there must be enough time for them to make it too (not even close). Naturally enough this was right in my path, but the Pacifica stopped on a dime (crappy stock tires and all). To her credit (I guess), when the Mercedes driver heard my horn, she made a swerve that would have helped me out if I hadn't been able to stop that very nearly put her into the guard rail... but I really would have rathered she just had looked to see of the coast was clear.

R.I.P.: Oscar-winning composer Goldsmith dies. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Play Time: The Quest of the Golden Dragon. Thanks LoonyBomber.
Simon. Thanks Bradley Neumeister.
Link of the Day: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency. Thanks Scott Rudi.
Quote of the Day. Thanks ASLayerAODsk.
Stories of the Day: Army rations rehydrated by urine. Thanks Brian. MRP?
Personalized Plate Angers Moms. Thanks ImpUser.
Crowds Flock To See Jesus Image In Window.
Science!: Walking monkey apes humans.
New martian meteorite found in Antarctica.
Freak waves spotted from space.
Media of the Day: Is it 5 yet? Thanks ASLayerAODsk.
Root Beer Commercial. Thanks Jim Chaney.
Auction of the Day: Go-karts Jet-powered unique design. Thanks Brian.
Follow-up: Clear Channel sues Stern distributor. Thanks ASLayerAODsk.
Thanks Mike Martinez
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