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Monday, Jun 27, 2005

  

Dear Diaries

The Star Wars Battlefront II: Dev Diary #1 on GameSpy kicks off a series on Pandemic's upcoming Star Wars shooter sequel offering thoughts on the project from producer Phillip Hong. Also, Black & White 2, Miracle-tastic, Part 3 on IGN continues this sequence of diaries, as Lionhead Studios producer Adam Langridge who shocks us with his explanation of the miracle of lightning in the upcoming god game sequel.

Game Movies

A Ghost Recon: Advance Warfighter movie is now available, showing off the upcoming third installment in the tactical series of Tom Clancy shooters. The 90 second clip includes new footage as well as scenes familiar from the E3 trailer for a 12 MB download. The movie is available on 3D Gamers, Fragland.net, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying. Also, a new trailer from City of Villains is now available, showing off the upcoming evil expansion for City of Heroes. The three-and-a-half minute clip is a whopping 442 MB download, suggesting that Lex Luthor may have stolen Cryptic's and NCsoft's compression software. The movie is available on 3D Gamers and Worthplaying.

Site Seeing

NHL 06 Website is online, actually, this was mentioned the other day in the report of a possible exclusive NHL license for EA (story). The site offers a Q&A with producer David Littman, some new screenshots, and a pair of gameplay movies. Thanks Frans.

Evening Q&As

  • Codename Panzers: Phase Two
    Is Panzers Stuck in the Mud? on The Wargamer was listed among this morning's Op Ed articles, but it's really an article based on a Q&A with CDV's Mario Kroll on the disappointing North American sales of Codename Panzers: Phase One, and the hopes that Phase Two will fare better.
  • Star Wars: Empire at War
    The Star Wars: Empire at War Q&A on GameSpot is a conversation with Joe Bostic about Petroglyph's upcoming Star Wars RTS game: "Darth Vader makes quite an impression. The Dark Side of the Force is powerful on the battlefield. He is not alone, but other than him and Obi-Wan Kenobi, we're still not ready to divulge just who else will be out there. All heroes are powerful in their own way, but not so powerful that the battle necessarily revolves around them. The wise player will use them in conjunction with traditional combat units in order to achieve victory, although there are missions where the hero can single-handedly battle the enemy. Heroes are difficult to kill. More often than not, when the hero is about to 'die,' he escapes to recuperate and fight another day. Star Wars heroes have an uncanny ability to survive difficult situations, and Empire at War remains faithful to that characteristic."
  • Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows
    The Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows Q&A on TotalVideoGames.com talks with Josh Sawyer, lead designer on the upcoming continuation of the classic series: "I think the last two titles in the franchise didn’t help some gamers’ perceptions of Gauntlet. The console market has evolved beyond the simplicity of the original Gauntlet titles, but Legends and Dark Legacy didn’t keep pace that well. Our hope is to evolve the gameplay in Seven Sorrows, but keep the great fun and co-op that all the games have had."
  • Music
    Video Games Live Dares to Redefine Interactive Entertainment, Part 2 on GameZone continues the Q&A with composer Tommy Tallarico "explaining how Video Games Live will redefine and revolutionize interactive entertainment."

Evening Previews

IGF Announced

The 8th Annual Independent Games Festival has been announced. Included in this years competitions will be game modifications, and there is a poll online asking reader's opinions about which games to consider for the mod category.

Evening Screenshots

Updated Trash Beta

As noted on the Trash Forums, a new Trash Beta Patch is now available, along with a new Trash Game Server offering a number of updates to the beta of Inhuman Games' upcoming RTS offering. Thanks Frans.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

You say you want some more? Well here's some more. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Ghost Recon 3 Title Official

Ubisoft has issued a press release with hew details on the next installment in the Ghost Recon series of Tom Clancy-inspired tactical shooters, confirming the game's title to be Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, as was recently more-or-less confirmed by GRIN (story), though their recent announcement that they are developers of the PC edition of the game (unmentioned in this release) was silenced by some ghosts shortly after it appeared. Here's the announcement:

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – June 27, 2005 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest videogame publishers, announced that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® 3 (working title), the next installment in the smash-hit squad-based action franchise, will officially be known as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™. Scheduled to ship for Holiday 2005, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™ focuses on the deployment of the Soldier of the Future – the ‘warfighter,’ in military parlance, into the chaos of urban warfare.

The year is 2013. The U.S. Army has been developing – and can now deploy – the Integrated Warfighter System (IWS), a complex combination of cutting-edge technologies that transforms an individual soldier into the ultimate fighting force. IWS combines advanced weapons systems, satellite communication devices and enhanced survivability into one fully integrated combat system that is finally ready for the true test of the battlefield. Combining the advantages of next-generation console technology with future military technologies, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™ includes a wealth of groundbreaking features, including the Cross-Com, a communication device attached to the soldier’s monocle and powered by satellite technology, which will deliver constant and complete battlefield awareness seamlessly within the action.

In Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™, players will embody Captain Scott Mitchell as he commands the Ghosts and Special Forces allies equipped with the IWS in the quest to save the president of the United States, recover stolen nuclear codes and eliminate a vicious band of renegade soldiers hell-bent on unleashing catastrophe. The game unfolds entirely in Mexico City, where numerous, meticulously researched and detailed environments will deliver complete immersion into the future of urban warfare. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™ will also include multiplayer and cooperative gameplay with exciting new elements, continuing the Ghost Recon tradition of setting the bar for multiplayer action.

About Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™

The face of war has changed. Enemy lines blur and there is no longer a clear opponent. New enemies and new threats require a new type of warfare - a new type of soldier. Enter the Ghosts.

In 2013, the U.S. Army will implement the Integrated Warfighter System evolving what we know as the modern soldier. IWS combines advanced weapon systems, satellite communication devices and enhanced survivability into one fully integrated combat system. The IWS program has been developed to meet these new threats head on. Now, it can be tested on the battlefield.

Following an insurgence in the heart of Mexico City, the U.S. Army’s most elite Special Forces team is deployed to the center of the conflict to regain control of the city. Greatly outnumbered but fully equipped with the IWS, this elite team is the first and last line of defense on the battlefield. They are the “quiet” professionals. They are the Ghosts.
Key Features

    • Next-generation gaming technology: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™ is built from the ground up for next-generation consoles, maximizing increased power to deliver phenomenal graphics and a host of innovative features. Current-generation versions will be custom-tailored for each platform.
    • Become the soldier of the future: Gain access to the future of military technology. Using a fully integrated combat system with cutting-edge weapons and communication systems, gamers will embody the soldier of the future. Based on actual military research, the Ghosts give gamers a realistic view of how war will be fought in the next decade.
    • Revolutionary feature: Use the revolutionary Cross-Com, a communication device powered by satellite technology. Attached to the soldier’s monocle, the Cross-Com provides full situational awareness and command of the battlefield. Command the Ghost squad and remote allied forces and drones, and direct artillery and air strikes. See what the squad sees and receive visual and auditory intelligence from allied forces and unmanned drones.
    • Stunning urban environment: One capital, multiple locations. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™ takes place entirely in Mexico City, one of the world’s largest cities. A stunning, meticulously detailed universe will provide complete immersion in the urban war of the future.
    • Top-notch multiplayer experience: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Advanced Warfighter™ returns to deliver industry-leading multiplayer and cooperative gameplay for one of the hottest online franchises.

Grokster Setback

US Supreme Court rules against Grokster (thanks Mike Martinez) has word that the p2p file-sharing service has been handed a legal setback by the United States Supreme Court:

The issue before the Supreme Court in the case focused on a relatively narrow question: whether movie and music companies should be able to sue the P-to-P distributors for the copyright violations of their users.

The Supreme Court ruling thus gives movie and music companies the ability to sue P-to-P distributors and sends the case back to a lower court.

Those who supported Grokster argued the case has broader implication, saying if copyright owners are able to sue inventors of new technologies for the sins of their users, few technology companies would be safe.

The case centers around the Supreme Court’s 1984 Sony Betamax ruling, in which judges rejected claims of a movie studio brought against Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news)., maker of the Betamax VCR. The court ruled against Universal City Studios, saying that makers of technologies with significant uses other than infringing copyrights were not liable for their users’ copyright violations.

The entertainment industry had lost its previous attempts to sue Grokster and StreamCast Networks. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, citing the 1984 Betamax decision, ruled in August that the P-to-P vendors were not liable for their users’ copyright violations.

BF2 Stats Viewer

Battlefield Nation now offers downloads of a proof-of-concept CGI script to allow Battlefield 2 players to view their stats from ranked servers bypassing the BFHQ interface. The source code for the script is available publicly under the MIT license.

Game Movies

A new RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! movie (direct link) is now available, showing off the upcoming wet-and-wild expansion for Frontier's theme park game (thanks Frans). Also, a new X³ Reunion movie shows off the latest installment in Egosoft's upcoming space combat series in three different resolutions. The movies are available on the Egosoft Website, and one or more versions of the clip can be found on 3D Gamers and FileFront.

Max Payne Movie Plans

Fox feels game 'Payne' (thanks Mike Martinez) and Max Payne Heads To Film on Dark Horizons (thanks Ant) have details on plans to make a movie based on Max Payne, a project that was first mentioned years ago (story) in rumors that proved to be false at the time. The film is to be produced by Scott Faye (The Reaper, Oblivion 2: Backlash, Blonde Heaven, and Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000), and here's a bit:

"I think this is a real actor's part because although the story will have action and intrigue, at its core it's a story about a man who loses everything in life that's dear to him," said Scott Faye, who will produce with Julie Yorn.

"Max Payne," which was the first video game to employ cinematic techniques like slow-motion "bullet time" (popularized in "The Matrix") into its game play, was an instant hit for Finnish game developer Remedy Entertainment and game publisher Gather of Developers.

According to video game tracking firm the NPD Group, "Max Payne" sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. alone. Its sequel, "Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne," which shipped for PC, Xbox and PS2 in fall 2003 from Rockstar Games, sold more than 950,000 copies in the U.S.

Faye said the "Max Payne" movie will focus on the origin of the vigilante character. He said he has wanted to make his own "Dirty Harry"-like movie since he first saw Remedy's game at E3 in 1998. Remedy began creating the game back in 1996.

With "Max Payne," the filmmakers have the luxury of a narrative structure that lends itself to a feature film adaptation, Faye said. "Unlike a novel, video games by nature leave gaps in the story, which allows filmmakers an opportunity to flesh out the story and fill those holes in a meaningful way," he said.

Morning Q&As

  • Guild Wars
    Gamecloud's Guild Wars Update Q&A and Guild Wars Fansite Friday #48 on The Outfitter (thanks Guild Wars Slovenija) each talk with Gaile Gray of ArenaNet about their MMORPG: "Right now one of our most clear objectives is the development of Observer Mode. We feel that Observer Mode will give the game extra depth, and we know that many players are looking forward to it a great deal. Observer Mode will be coming in the future months. Another objective is to improve the game in fan-suggested and fan-supportive ways. Next week's update, with its focus on the PvP elements of Guild Wars, will provide players with yet another solid demonstration of the resolve of the team to continue to develop Guild Wars and to pursue, always, the possibilities of improvements, evolution of content, and much more."
  • Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
    ToTheGame's Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Q&A chats up Jorgen Tharaldsen of Funcom about their adventure game: "In Dreamfall you will once again be able to travel between Stark and Arcadia, the two worlds from the first game, while we have also added a third world we call ‘the winter’, or the world of dreams. This allows us to play with all kinds of themes, ranging from the futuristic to magic, fantasy and even spiritual and dreamlike aspects. The players can expect a rare, and extremely varied, gaming experience."
  • Darkspace
    Gamecloud's Darkspace Q&A talks with Richard Lyle of Palestar about their MMO space game: "We have a very awesome community of players, most likely the friendliest group of people you will ever meet online. Game play wise, nobody else does tactical star ship combat as well, we tried to keep the game fun, and not a leveling tread-mill."
  • War Front: Turning Point
    The War Front: Turning Point Q&A on Strategy Informer talks with Elmar Grunenberg about the upcoming World War II/science fiction RTS game: "We plan to have about 100 units. On the one hand we have Heroes which each has its special feature to use on the battlefield. On the other hand we have WW2 standard weapons like the Sherman tank. But the most fun will be the prototypes to play e. g. German super-zeppelin, Russian ice-cannon tanks, US earth-quake bombers and bio suits. So we will have ground and air forces as well as soldiers and rockets. Besides this there will be bridge builder units, digger units which are able to make tunnels leading to the enemy base. I'm personally tensed to see the planned jet-pack soldiers and see how they will fly like a balloon with opened valve when they got shot in the gas bottle."

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

The Mod Squads - New ETF

Beta 2 of ETF version 1.50 is now available, addressing some bugs that were discovered in beta one.

Help Wanted

Irrational Games is looking to fill several openings in their Boston Offices and their Australian Offices. Also, Games Testers Needed at SEGA (UK) (thanks Mike Martinez) mentions more than 100 openings listed on the SEGA Europe Website.

Game & Mod Development

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Competitions

Op Ed

Monday Game Reviews

Monday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Out of the Blue

We completed the second half of my double-daddy weekend by meeting up with my step-dad last night to collect on my now quite-belated Christmas present, which was dinner at Peter Luger's, America's finest steakhouse. We had a fine old time, as well as a couple of brushes with celebrity. At least one was for sure, MrsBlue spotted someone we were pretty sure is the guy who played Mickey, Uncle June's right hand, in the first season of The Sopranos, but we're not positive about that. The one we are sure about is that shortly after we were seated, a group entered that included actor Benicio Del Toro ("You know what I'm gonna tell God when I see him? I'm gonna tell him I was framed."). That guy is the king of cool... right down to eating in that scruffy two-tone adjustable-band baseball hat he's always wearing.

The Usual Links! Thanks Mike Martinez, Ant, and EvilToast.
Link of the Day: The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection. Thanks noiseunit9.
Story of the Day: Star Wars creator launches new HQ.
On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Crime Dog (registration required).
Science! U.S. Has Plans to Again Make Own Plutonium (registration required). WMD found!
Image of the Day: LEGO Gordon Freeman - Half Life 2.
Media of the Day: All Your Base Rhapsody. Thanks Seth.
Auctions of the Day: DOOM Movie Preproduction Monster Sculptures.
Buffett lunch auction eBay bid hits $250K.
Teh Funny: FoxTrot.

Sunday, Jun 26, 2005

EA NHL Exclusive?

EA Nabs NHL License on 1UP (thanks PiTiFUL) is a story based some brief happenings on the EA Sports Website that may have tipped off a future announcement. According to the story, several graphics appeared for a while on the site with the words "exclusive license," indicating the possibility that a deal has been signed for pro hockey rights, along the lines of the exclusive deal EA inked last year with the NFL (story). The article quotes both EA and NHL2K publisher 2K Sports as calling the apparent revelation a mistake, though attempts to contact the NHL about this (in spite of all the time on their hands) were unsuccessful.

BF2 Stats Updated

A forum post on Total Battlefield 2 (thanks Battlefield Nation) from EA's Ben Smith indicates that the lag before stats register for play on ranked server has been cut down to five minutes, and that they have caught up on all backlogged stats. There is no indication that any stats were lost (though I personally can find stats for only about three minutes out of the hours I've played on ranked servers). Here's the post:

Just FYI, we've been able to catch up on stats processing. It should now take no more than five minutes for score and rank updates to be reflected in each player's BFHQ!

Dear Diaries

RPG Vault's Area 51 Wrap Report is a postmortem on Midway's conspiracy-laden shooter authored by producer Zach Wood and art director Peter Franco. Also, a new X-Men Legends II Rise of Apocalypse developer update (thanks Frans) from Raven designer Damien Foletto discusses his approach to the upcoming superhero game sequel.

Site Seeing

The Call of Cthulhu: Destiny's End Product Page (thanks Frans) is online, dedicated to the second upcoming Lovecraft game from Headfirst Productions.

Street Legal Racing: Redline Patches

Invictus Games (thanks The Patches Scrolls) now offers downloads of new patches for Street Legal Racing: Redline, updating the racing game to version 2.2.1. There are separate patches to update either version 2.1.8 or any other prior version, and both patches are mirrored on 3D Gamers and FileFront.

Sunday Screenshots

Sunday Consolidation

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Tech Bits

The Mod Squads

The Samurai Legends Homepage now offers a new gameplay movie showing off more of the upcoming third-person, team based, tactical action modification for Half-Life 2. Also, the Project Update June 2005 on the Clancore Forums has the latest on Starsiege: 2845, and there's also news on their main page about design contests and job openings.

Competitions

  • AO Stratics is giving away 10 AO accounts, though like a free razor and blades, you will have to pay after the first month.

Op Ed

Sunday Game Reviews

  • Boiling Point: Road to Hell on Gameguru Mania.
  • Risk Your Life (A.K.A. RYL: Path of the Emperor) on 1Up.

Sunday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Well, it turned out to indeed be a deceased opossum in the yard... it's amazing how quickly something like that gets gross in the summer heat (if he was "playing possum" he deserves an Oscar). There's little doubt that Hudson the wonder dog is responsible for his demise, though it occurs to me that rather than a tourist, this little guy may have been a fairly regular visitor to our yard, as Huddy has certainly had enough occasions where her desire to get out in the nighttime was indicative of something to hunt, rather than a bathroom run, so it may just be the culmination of a couple of years of playing cat-and-mouse with this guy.

Working the Links out! Thanks Mike Martinez, Ant, and EvilToast.
Play Time: Stuck Monitor.
Story of the Day: States Bar Teen Drivers Using Cell Phones.
Science! The Race to Alaska Before It Melts.
Students Learning Clues to Forensic Science (registration required).
Image of the Day: It's cloud's illusions I recall. I really don't know clouds at all.
Follow-up" Experts: Mad Cow 'Minor' Health Concern. Moo-haha.
Teh Funny: Dilbert.



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