Archived News:

Thursday, Jan 20, 2005

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Add-on Revealed, Beta Sign-ups

Atari's (thanks Frans) is now offering sign-ups for potential beta testers for an upcoming expansion for RollerCoaster Tycoon III, Frontier Developments' theme park simulator, saying testing is to begin sometime this spring. This post may cause some distress for Atari PR, as the RCT3 add-on has not yet been announced, officially or otherwise, though it's no surprise such a successful game would get the add-on treatment.

On Tribes: Vengeance Patch Delays

A post to the Vivendi Universal Games Forums (thanks Worthplaying) by Guy Welch of VUG offers an unusual explanation for why the version 1.2 patch for Tribes: Vengeance is overdue:
The patch has been delayed from our initial December release date due to an outstanding agreement between two third parties. They need to come to terms before we can proceed.

Warcraft III Accounts Closed

Saying the move is in keeping with their aggressive stance against cheating, the Warcraft III Website (thanks Frans) has word that Blizzard has once again busted out the whacking stick and laid down the law on some 12,000 accounts, permanently banning them for the use of hacks or cheats while playing online. Half of the CD keys from those accounts will be banned from ladder play for six months, while 1000 more of those associated CD keys will suffer a permanent ban from ladder play.

Evening Q&As

  • DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil
    Back to Hell: Resurrection of Evil Exposed on Computer and Video Games is a Q&A with id Software lead designer Tim Willits about the upcoming DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil expansion and beyond: "Well, there's the Xbox version which should be out soon. Then of course there's Quake 4. When we have more information on that very soon, but it's going to be a very different experience to Doom 3 - there's tanks and Walkers and all kinds of guys running around in this huge war. But as far as the Doom franchise goes you'll have to wait for the movie to come out, and then we'll see where we go from there." There's also a hands-off DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil Preview on ActionTrip with a couple of quotes from Tim and Matt Hooper (and even more from Ed -Ed).
  • Pariah
    The Pariah Q&A on Gamesradar talks with James Schmalz of Digital Extremes about Pariah, their upcoming stealthy shooter: "We are spending a month or so adapting the PC version. We'll adjust the AI to suit each platform and polish the PC version for mouse and keyboard, and the Xbox version for the controller. Overall they will be similar in story and gameplay modes; it will be the polish that makes them differ."
  • Auto Assault
    The Auto Assault Q&A on GameSpot talks with NetDevil's Scott Brown about their upcoming MMORPG of Auto Assault and 12V battery: "Currently we are focusing on getting started with our beta. We have done our first external tests now and are adding to the game based on the first play-through. We are a few weeks from getting the features in we really wanted for shipping and can then move to 'polish-and-optimize mode' while continuing to add content like crazy."
  • City of Heroes
    JIVEMagazine's Letters to Statesman (Part 1 of 2) features Cryptic Studios Jack Emmert answering player's questions about City of Heroes, their superhero MMORPG: "I’m proud to announce there’s a whole new line up of costume options coming in the game's next expansion. That way you can have a costume to meet any crime-busting occasion, while doing it in style!"

Second Sight in February

Included in their (ironically belated in light of the game's psychic theme) announcement of yesterday's Second Sight trailer (story), Codemasters reveals next month as the release date for the project:
New York (January 20, 2005) – Prepare for a psychic blast on PC as Second Sight, the first PC title from Free Radical Design, the creators of the TimeSplitters series, ships in February.

Glimpse the future of stealth action adventure gaming in the new PC video now at (in Downloads).

Delivering a gripping playing experience, Second Sight combines an atmospheric, thriller narrative with paranormal psychic abilities, stealthy exploration and intense shooter action.

Lead John Vattic, a former researcher, as he attempts to unravel a mystery that led to his imprisonment in a maximum security Medical Research Facility. As he makes his escape, Vattic discovers that he is empowered with amazing psychic abilities, capable of manipulating people and the surrounding environment.

Providing a totally fresh play dynamic, gameplay offers multiple approaches to completing levels either via stealth, dramatic gunplay, psychic powers or a combination of all three.

Thanks to an incredibly realistic freeform physics engine, Vattic’s psychic powers enable him to perform supernatural moves. Levitate an unconscious guard, using telekinesis to send him flying across the room or use Psi Pulse to send a ball of psychic energy hurtling towards opponents.

For a subtler approach there, are abilities such as Projection: send an ethereal version of Vattic, invisible to enemies, ahead to scout areas. Use Possession to take control of a guard’s body and make him do the hard work for you!

Vattic can even Charm opponents, tricking their mind into believing he’s not there. Throughout, however, keep a careful eye on the balance of Vattic’s health and psychic power – the more you do, the more it dissipates.

Evening Previews

CoD: United Offensive Server Patch

A new server-only patch is now available for Call of Duty: United Offensive, updating the World War II shooter expansion to version 1.51b. The update addresses an exploit and a non-working machine gun bug. The small patch can be found on 3D Gamers, FileFront, and Worthplaying.

Evening Screenshots

Shedding Light on Dark Sector

A brief Dark Sector Update on Computer and Video Games (thanks Frans) describes how we must remain mostly in the dark about Dark Sector until the hunt for a publisher for Digital Extremes' upcoming project bears fruit, but does offer some new details. Interestingly, while Dark Sector has previously always been referred to as a first-person shooter in an online persistent-state world, this mini-update, which says that DE now has a playable prototype running, describes a third-person stealthy action game, with no mention of an online component:
For one, the game is set in space, in the mysterious realms at the edge of the solar system, where you play a high-tech stealth agent with a host of supernatural powers. The tagline for the game is "every generation a few are born with the power to control," which is not only a sly hint as to the developer's intentions, but a key to the gameplay itself. Using a combination of cyber-implants and psychic skills, you'll be able to manipulate time, the environment and computer systems in a variety of cool ways, giving you a huge amount of control over a highly reactive world.

Expanding the Perimeter

There's a Perimeter: Emperor's Testament Page on the K-D LAB Website (thanks HomeLAN Fed) with screenshots and details on plans for an expansion for their terraforming RTS game:
The story of "Perimeter: Emperor's Testament" (add-on for "Perimeter") opens new pages in the Exodus history. Whereas the Spirits are on the way to their destination and the Harkbacks are seeking the mythical Earth, the Emperor builds up his Sponge Empire using automatic bases - his Vice Frames. He creates the Mechanical Spirit to help him discover new Worlds. One of the Vice frames starts the testing of this mechanism, this leads to appearance of the super mind - Mechanical Messiah and the discovery of the parallel Chain of the Psycho-sphere Worlds. We also meet the "lost" Exodus Frames and find traces of the mysterious alien race. The sides are in the middle of the deadly battle - who wins? The player will find out the answer during 25 missions of the Single Player campaign.

Aside from the extraordinary story, "Perimeter: Emperor's Testament" features new graphics, new buildings and units and a brand new soundtrack. The game also features 3 brand new multiplayer maps.

UEFA Champions League 2004-2005 Demo

A UEFA Champions League 2004-2005 Demo is now available, offering the chance to kick around EA Sports' football/soccer game. The 165 MB download offers the opportunity to pit Chelsea against Bayern Munich. The demo can be found on the EA Sports Website and mirrored on 3D Gamers, Boomtown (registration required),, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

More Site Seeing

A new Codename Panzers: Phase Two Section has opened on the Codename Panzers Website for the follow-up to Stormregion's World War II armored combat strategy game. The site boasts a previously published interview along with an updated gallery that includes a pair of new screenshots. Also, a new TimeShift Product Page offers publisher Atari's home for Saber Interactive's upcoming back to the future shooter. There is some info on the game along with some familiar screenshots. Thanks Frans.

Mac BF1942 MP Demo

A multiplayer demo of the Mac edition of Battlefield 1942 is now available, offering a sample of the OS X edition of the World War II shooter. While the full Mac edition can play online on any server alongside PC users, the demo is limited to competing on demo servers only. The 282 MB download can be found on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, and Mac Game Files.

SpellForce Gold Patches

Quickly following up on the recent version 1.52 update, the SpellForce Website now offers new version 1.52a patches for SpellForce: The Order of Dawn, updating either the Gold edition or the Gold edition with the Shadow of the Phoenix expansion also installed. This update is to address an issue that could provoke the Gold edition to prompt the user for a non-existent CD key.

Activision and Vicarious Visions

Activision Acquires Game Developer Vicarious Visions (thanks Frans) announces that Activision has acquired Vicarious Visions, the primarily console developer. Word is: "Vicarious Visions has developed five games that have sold more than one million-units each and is currently co-developing the highly anticipated DOOM 3(TM) for the Xbox with id Software, as well as Spider-Man 2, which will be a launch title for the upcoming PSP platform. In addition, they have developed such popular titles for the Game Boy Advance as Shrek 2(TM), Shrek 2: Beg for Mercy(TM), DreamWorks' Shark Tale(TM) and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 and Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro(TM) for the PlayStation game console."

Dear Diaries

There's a new Stolen diary #3 on Computer and Video Games (thanks Frans) where Rudolf Kremers from Blue52 discusses their upcoming stealth game as development comes to a close: "We have tried to avoid limiting the gameplay areas as much as possible which, although tempting, would severely cheapen the experience. Why give the player all these things to use only to put artificial constraints on the area of play?" Also, there's a new Mr. Robot Dev Diary on DIY Games recapping the development on their upcoming puzzle game. Accompanying the new diary is word that development of Battlescape is on hold pending the completion of (domo arigoto) Mr. Robot.

Source SDK Update

Steam News has news that an updated version of the Source SDK for mod authors is now available through the broadband content delivery system. The new version adds simple bot sample code, source files for six Half-Life 2 single player maps, an interface plug-in to add bots to mods, and more. Thanks Frans.

Morning Q&As

  • Spoils Of War
    HomeLAN Fed's Spoils Of War Q&A talks with Matt Andrews of East Coast Games about Spoils of War, their upcoming strategy/shooter hybrid: "The main point of difference with Spoils from any other game is an equal combination of the two genres; we stayed away from being one genre with some of another mixed in. We’ve accomplished this with our character structure in that the player has the ability to decide how they want to play the game – in FPS mode only, in RTS mode only, or by combining the two. We simply afford users the opportunity to play it their way and give them the options of how, without a lot of clutter and confusion. When a person plays Spoils of War they might find that the Battlefield Commander position is one they’d like to try because of the ability to control resources and manage AI’s or they may be perfectly happy going off on their own and wreaking havoc as an overwhelming FPS. Others may enjoy RTS, but every once in a while wish they could drop down and help their fellow warrior(s) on the battlefield – we made sure that could happen and with equal capabilities as the other FPS characters. The transfer between RTS and FPS is done with the click of a button providing instant gratification that will allow for exceptional speed, strategic advantage and enjoyment."
  • Trash
    DIY Games' 3rd Annual Mark Currie Sitdown offers their yearly conversation about the indie RTS game Trash: "Well, if you are burned out working in a large, mainstream studio, don't expect to work any less on your own project. For me, working on an indie project is a lot more stressful. You have to do more roles, and you are taking all the risk. I'm not sure why there are so making people making their own games, it doesn't appear to be because there's a ton of money in it. I guess it's because it is so fun to do so. I can't think of many things I prefer doing more than making games."
  • Music
    There's a Splinter Cell: Chaos theory Q&A on Computer and Video Games talking with composer Amon Tobin about the music in the next installment in the stealthy Tom Clancy shooter series.

PC Area 51?

Area 51 invading PCs? on GameSpot is a story reporting that the PD-CD logo made a mysterious appearance on the website for Area 51, the upcoming mysterious appearance game. The logo no longer appears there, leaving us to wonder whether the UFO-like sighting was a harbinger that the truth of a PC port is out there, or if this was just an optical illusion (perhaps a weather balloon).

Site Seeing

The Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Website, though there's not much to see there for the moment, though it offers another confirmation of development of a PC edition. Thanks Frans.

EQ2 Character Tool

The UK EverQuest II Website now offers downloads of an offline EverQuest II character creation tool. Naturally, to use characters created with this utility, the full version of the MMORPG sequel is required. Thanks Worthplaying and Frans.

Hidden Stroke II Announced

CDV Software Entertainment announces development of Hidden Stroke II (thanks Frans). As far as can be told, this is a stand-alone project based on Sudden Strike II, their World War II isometric RTS. Like the original, it sounds like Hidden Stroke II will only be available in Germany, and the announcement says to expect a release in March.

Morning Previews


The Challenge Pro Mode League is now accepting sign-ups for their next season. Registration is open until February 7.

Help Wanted

The Remedy Entertainment Recruitment Page has details on a few artist positions the Finland-based developer. There are openings listed for an animator, a technical artist, and an environmental artist/3D modeler.

Thursday Game Reviews

Thursday Hardware Reviews


Thanks Mike Martinez.

Out of the Blue

One of the tests I had at the doctor a couple of weeks ago needs redoing, so I am being forced to go without coffee for the second morning in too short a time. Just shows where my dumb head is at that I am more concerned about my caffeine withdrawal than the possibility that this test is over something serious. That's what I get for being an eternal optimist, albeit a coffee-addicted one.

Play Time: Loser Quiz. I'm 82% loser, but the quiz is skewed (skydiving?).
Link of the Day: Breast Milk Makes My Tummy Yummy. Thanks Thomas.
Stories of the Day: Thai elephants get potty training report.
When devil dogs ruled the world. I'm a Ring-Dings man myself.
Mystery compound in beer fights cancer.
Science!: Air Force may spread wings in near space.
Untidy beds may keep us healthy.
Researchers: Quahogs Can Neutralize Toxin.
Media of the Day: Mine is smaller. Thanks David.
Auction of the Day: D2 Live Journal Community Moderator Ear. Thanks Asparagon.
Follow-up: Judge: Lee Entitled to Some Marvel Profits. Excelsior!
Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
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