Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2004 World Nature Conservation Day

Half-Life 2 Imminent?

HalflifeSource (thanks HomeLAN Fed) is reporting news from Valve's Doug Lombardi, saying: "Half-Life 2 will be passed on to publisher Vivendi for final mastering and duplication within days for it's early August target. The official appearance will make store shelves sometime in mid to late September."

Midway Gets Unreal

Midway Games announces that they have secured publishing rights for a pair of upcoming Unreal Tournament games as well as the upcoming Xbox exclusive Unreal Championship:
CHICAGO – JUNE 28, 2004 - Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced a multi-year, multi-product agreement with Epic Games to publish three new videogames based on the popular Unreal® franchise. The agreement marks Midway's entrance into the premium PC games sector with a property that has sold more than seven million units worldwide and generated nearly $200 million in revenue at retail since the introduction of Unreal Tournament in 1999.

Under terms of the agreement, Midway obtains worldwide publishing rights for the three Unreal titles from Epic, including Unreal Championship® 2, an Xbox® exclusive title scheduled to ship in 2005, and two future installments of Unreal Tournament® on PC and upcoming next generation consoles. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Only Korean PC rights were excluded from the deal.

"This relationship with Epic further bolsters the strength of our portfolio of top-rated games and allows us to leverage the marketing capabilities of our organization to take the Unreal franchise to an even broader audience of gamers," said David Zucker, president and chief executive officer of Midway. "It immediately establishes Midway as a leader in the PC games sector. Additionally, Unreal Championship 2, scheduled for introduction in February, should further extend Midway's growing track record for distributing top quality games. We are delighted that Epic chose Midway over other publishers and we look forward to working closely with the Epic team to carefully manage this valuable franchise."

"Midway gets it. They hit right at the heart of gamers. Not only did they create many classics including Defender, NFL Blitz and Mortal Kombat, but they're making great new games such as Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, The Suffering, NBA Ballers, NARC and Area 51. They make awesome games and don't apologize for it, so we think games like Unreal Tournament will fit in perfectly here," said Mark Rein, vice president and co-founder, Epic Games. "In our opinion Midway is doing the industry's best marketing and promotional campaigns and they will contribute strongly to the ongoing success of the Unreal franchise."

Evening Q&As

  • Men of Valor
    The Men of Valor Q&A on Shacknews talks with John Whitmore of 2015 about their upcoming Vietnam War first-person shooter: "Gameplay in Men of Valor focuses on the decisions a player needs to make in a firefight. Moving around prevents the player from firing accurately, so he will need to balance fire and maneuver and decide when to hold up and aim precisely and when to dash to the next piece of cover. Wounds will bleed, and the player will need to decide when to take cover and bandage and when to press the attack. "
  • Cold War
    Gamers Saga's Cold War Q&A talks with Rudolf Matousek, designer on the upcoming Iron Curtain adventure: "The amount of stealth and shooting depends on the choices you make. If you like stealthy play, you can do it. Nearly the whole game can be completed without anyone being killed. Yet, if you are more of a direct and action player, you can shoot your way through the story. But you must still think of one thing - you are not a superhero, you are just an experienced journalist. So the direct encounters with the heavily armed Spetsnaz soldiers will be real hell."

Dear Diaries

RPG Vault's The Fall - Last Days of Gaia Diary #6 is online, as "Development Director Ronny Knauth on designing the levels comprising Silver Style's post-apocalyptic gameworld." Likewise, RPG Vault's Mourning Peek #36 has been posted, offering: "More opinions on to the historical background of the PvP aspect in the online offering from Newrosoft and Quad." Finally, The Sims 2 Designer Diary #9 on GameSpot offers thoughts from Lucy Bradshaw on crunch time as the wee people sim nears completion.

BF Vietnam Patch

As noted in this Battlefield Vietnam Community Update, the new patch for Battlefield Vietnam is now available, updating the military first-person shooter to version 1.1. The 135 MB Windows patch is available on the Battlefield Vietnam Website, mirrored on 3D Gamers, ActionTrip, BFVFiles, Boomtown (registration required), Computer Games Online, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), GameSpot DLX (registration required), and Worthplaying. The 130 MB dedicated Windows server patch can be downloaded from the Battlefield Vietnam Website, or one of these mirrors: 3D Gamers, ActionTrip, BFVFiles, Computer Games Online, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), GameSpot DLX (registration required), and Worthplaying. As usual, the accompanying updated Linux dedicated server is available on the Battlefield Dedicated Server Forum, and mirrors are available on 3D Gamers, BFVFiles, and FilePlanet (registration required).

Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow Patches

New patches are now available for Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, updating the stealthy Sam Fisher sequel to version 1.31. The North American patch can be found on 3D Gamers, ActionTrip, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying; the French Canadian version is available on 3D Gamers, ActionTrip, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying; while the European/Asian edition can be found on 3D Gamers, ActionTrip, FileFront, FilePlanet (registration required), Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying. The update fixes the "spy teleportation problem" as well as a Punkbuster bug.

More on Creative and DOOM 3

A post to the Beyond3D Forums (thanks ASLayerAODsk) follows-up on news that id Software has made a deal for shadow technology that will be used in DOOM 3 (story). The article offers the site's disapproval of patents in general and expresses some skepticism about the legitimacy of Creative's claims, but the accompany quote from John Carmack positions this all as a matter of practicality:
The patent situation well and truly sucks.

We were prepared to use a two-pass algorithm that gave equivalent results at a speed hit, but we negotiated the deal with Creative so that we were able to use the zfail method without having to actually pay any cash. It was tempting to take a stand and say that our products were never going to use any advanced Creative/3dlabs products because of their position on patenting gaming software algorithms, but that would only have hurt the users.

Half-Life Hitbox Follow-up

A post to the Natural Selection Forums follows-up on the news of a hitbox bug that impacts Half-Life modifications (story). The follow-up post states:
A fix has been identified by Valve, and they will push the update via Steam when they can (obviously, the recent/current DDoS attacks against Steam have been making things very hectic for them).

EA Buys Criterion

EA to Acquire Criterion Software Group from CANON EUROPE has word that EA has acquired the developer of the popular RenderWare middleware program:
"This is a great fit," said EA Chairman and CEO Larry Probst. "Criterion offers us studio talent and a proven management team, globally recognized intellectual property and technology infrastructure that will accelerate our readiness on the next generation of consoles."

EA places a strategic priority on creating games with a set of tools and libraries that are shared among its studios. RenderWare and RenderWare4 - currently under development for next generation consoles - will be combined with EA's technology to create a common framework for development. EA also plans to continue licensing the middleware technology to other developers.

Morning Q&As

  • Dungeon Siege II
    The Dungeon Siege II Q&A on GameBanshee talks with Kevin Lambert, lead designer on Gas Powered Games, about the upcoming RPG sequel: "Rather than create new character classes, we've taken the original four character classes from the first Dungeon Siege and added considerable depth to each of them in the form of skills and powers. This allows players to choose not only their character class, but also what 'type' of fighter, ranger, or mage they'd like to be. For example, players may choose to be a ranger specializing in bows and crossbows or thrown weapons by spending skill points in the appropriate skills."
  • America's Army
    HomeLAN Fed's America's Army Q&A talks with Phillip Bossant about what the future holds for the freeware America's Army game: "We are seriously interested in making a single player and cooperative mode part of the America’s Army game. We have always felt that this would be a very natural and desirable addition to the game. They would certainly lend themselves well to communicating Army Values and provide players with a greater variation of game play objectives and styles. First we would have to implement a decent AI system of course but we are exploring this and would like to see these playing modes in future iterations of the game. The Overmatch release will feature our first advances in this area."
  • Painkiller
    HomeLAN Fed's Painkiller: Battle Out Of Hell Q&A talks with Adrian Chmielarz of People Can Fly about the upcoming Battle Out of Hell add-on for Painkiller, their first-person shooter: "Our goal is to make sicker, scarier and even more atmospheric levels than the original. An example level is a partially burnt down orphanage, with not only evil nuns as your enemies, but also the children themselves. Generally speaking one idea is left intact: that every level will be very different from the others."
  • EQ II
    The EverQuest II Q&A Part 3 on Computer And Video Games continues their ongoing conversation with Andy Sites about the upcoming MMORPG sequel: "We're working really closely with nVidia, you'll see their logos in our games already. They provide us with all the latest hardware before it becomes available on the market and we work closely with their engineers to request special modifications for our game. We're very on top of the technology. We're also working closely with ATi. We like to make sure that the two hardware kings are both in our corner."
  • Port Royale 2
    Esprit-str's Port Royale 2 Q&A offers an English version of their conversation with Daniel Dumont about the upcoming swashbuckling RTS sequel.
  • Arena Wars
    Esprit-str's Arena Wars Q&A is the English version of the French site's Q&A with Boje Holz about Arena Wars, exDream entertainment's action/real-time strategy game.

Sherlock Holmes Demo

The Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring Website now offers a demo version of the mystery game. Here's word on the 334 MB download: "The demo allows you to play as both Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson taking them to 10 different locations as well as including 10 minutes of movies to go along with the 3 hours worth of gameplay."

Monster Garage Demo

There's a Monster Garage: The Game demo, allowing the chance to sample the automotive construction and driving game based on the Discovery Channel series. The 583 MB demo allow free play on a pair of levels, and also includes the full game, which can be unlocked via a key purchased online. The demo can be downloaded from 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

Episode III Game Plans

This LucasArts Press Release announces plans for an upcoming Star Wars game based on Episode III. There aren't many details about things like target platforms, but word is there will be a preview of the game on the upcoming Star Wars DVD Trilogy (due in September), and that the game will provide a sneak peak of the upcoming Episode III: "Working closely with famed Star Wars stunt coordinator Nick Gillard, the development team is creating the most authentic lightsaber combat ever with choreography taken directly from the films as well as many new stunts created exclusively for the game under the auspices of Gillard. Expanding on the upcoming movie, the game will take place in never-before-seen locations that will give fans a sneak peek into the highly anticipated Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith film, releasing worldwide on May 19, 2005."

Dear Diaries

A new Atriarch Development Update discusses the plan to add a bit more intelligence to the AI in World Fusion's upcoming MMORPG. Also, a pair of new Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault diaries are online, this one features software engineer Luis Sempe discussing the technology behind the water in the upcoming shooter sequel, while this one by software engineer Jason Gregory offers: "A Day In The Life Of An Engineer: Part 2." Thanks Frans.

Morning Previews

Linux CoD Server Patch

IcculusFinger offers news that a new version 1.4 of the Linux version of Call of Duty. Word is: "This is a 1.4 server with an exploit closed. Admins should all upgrade." Thanks Frans.

Morning Screenshots

Children of the Nile Movie

There's a new Children of the Nile movie briefly showing off the upcoming city construction game in high resolution. The clip is an 8 MB download, available on the Children of the Nile Website.

Pacific Heroes == Fighter Pilot

Here's a follow-up to clarify yesterday's news on WWII Fighter Pilot (story). It turns out this is not a new game at all, but actually the game also known as WWII Pacific Heroes with a new name for its North American release (thanks Frans). Apparently the game will still be known by its original title in Europe.

DOOM RTC-3057

The RTC-3057 Website now offers the release of 3057: Blue, hub1 for the original DOOM. This Doomworld Forums Post discusses the project.

Competitions

The Unreal Tournament Website now lists the Make Something Unreal Contest Phase 3 Finalists for the Voice Pack/Audio Mod category.

Help Wanted

This Blizzard Entertainment Employment Opportunities Page calls out for a Senior Programmer, as they seek "a self-motivated and savvy programmer who can efficiently develop and coordinate technology for our Development Teams."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I want to offer best wishes to one of our beloved regulars here, as today is Ray Marden's birthday. Here's hoping it's a good one Ray... Was Beyond Good & Evil your present? In honor of the occasion, I will quote a recent post from Ray:

"Let's all be pro-human or pro-Earth; screw fighting over race, sex, location, etc."

Werd! (Thanks Enahs.)

Stories of the Day: Movie drama starts with phone. Thanks Devicer.
Trial examines role of dashboard electronics.
Now for Sequel A Movie-Viewing Record.
Science!: Freak Waves Are No Tall Tale.
Panel Sees No Unique Risk From Genetic Engineering (registration required).
Feds take shot at unleaded ammo.
Image of the Day: The Case That Must Not Be Named.
Thanks Mike Martinez
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