Archived News:

Friday, Oct 21, 2005

Gold - Star Wars Battlefront II

The countdown on the Lucasarts Star Wars: Battlefront II Website is ticking down to November 1 when Pandemic's Star Wars shooter sequel will head into stores as word is it has gone gold:
LucasArts is excited to announced that Star Wars Battlefront II has officially gone gold on PS2, PC, and PSP and all versions are scheduled to blast their way onto store shelves on November 1, 2005 -- Day and date with the Star Wars Episode III DVD

Half-Life 2 Lost Coast Next Week

A new Steam Update (thanks Frans) has word that the Lost Coast level that shows off Valve's HDR technology is due next week, and a bit on what the future holds after that:
Our current plan is to release Half-Life 2: Lost Coast next week. Lost Coast is a free level for everyone who owns Half-Life 2, and serves as an HDR technology demo based in an unreleased section of the "Highway 17" chapter of Half-Life 2.

After Lost Coast is released, we'll be working on getting some new content for both Counter-Strike: Source and Day of Defeat: Source, along with an update to the SDK, out the door. More info coming on that next week.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent Demo

A Law & Order Criminal Intent demo is now available, offering the chance to test your criminology skills in the game sequel based on one of the four Law & Order TV shows. The 166 MB demo featuring the opening portion of one of the game's four cases can be found on the Official Website and mirrored on 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

TrackMania Original Upgrade

This French Page on the framed French Trackmania Sunrise Website offers downloads of a free engine patch for TrackMania Power Up! to upgrade it to TrackMania Original, which imbues the game with the advances of the TrackMania Sunrise engine. Here's word in English courtesy of 3D Gamers:
This file will upgrade the Power Up! edition of TrackMania to the Original edition.

TrackMania Original will take advantage of Trackmania Sunrise's fantastic looking graphics engine. All the great features that made TrackMania Sunrise famous will be added. This enhanced version will propose all of the tools included with TrackMania Sunrise (editor, painter, media tracker...) and the new multiplayer features (P2P, ...). Trackmania will even include "Platform" and Stunt", two brand new modes. That's not all!!! TrackMania Original includes the Power Up! expansion pack with more than 100 new construction blocks.

Digital Jesters Off the Brink?

Digital Jesters director slams insolvency rumours on GamesIndustry.biz features quotes from Digital Jesters marketing director Leo Zullo offering his "110 per cent" assurance that the publisher's financial woes are behind them. This assurance comes in a flurry of explanations: That they have been experiencing cash flow problems, but "every company does;" that restructuring after "a substantial investment a few months ago" is underway; that the company has changed names several times over the past few months is a part of that now-completed restructuring (the company now does business as DJ Incorporated); that while they did suffer one late payroll, reports that staff went unpaid on several occasions are just rumors, as are reports that their old offices were raided by bailiffs; and that while some staff were reimbursed late for expenses, this was the result of since-resolved accounting issues. The recent legal notice in the London Gazette mentioning insolvency hearings next month (story) goes unaddressed, though this may be part of all this renaming, as the notice refers to Digital Jesters Limited, not DJ Incorporated. We attempted to contact Mr. Zullo to see if this last point could be clarified, but have received no response.

The Late Show

The Digital Jesters Website now offers downloads of a TrackMania Sunrise eXtreme movie, showing off the upcoming free expansion for Nadeo's track construction and racing game. The download is mirrored on 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying. A new Shadowgrounds movie is online, showing off Frozenbyte's futuristic action game that's heading off to stores in some territories soon. The clip can be found on 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

Evening Q&As

  • Sid Meier
    Slashdot - Sid Meier Responds (thanks Siggi) is a Q&A with the famed designer subjecting himself to the questions of the masses of /. readers: "Believe it or not, I think the biggest thing PCs have going for them in the console war is the mouse/keyboard interface. So many game types are nearly unplayable without this simple mechanism. Real-time strategies, first-person shooters, point and click adventures, are all best suited to a mouse and keyboard. Another important factor is the innate upgradeability of PCs vs. consoles. The fact that you can still have a viable machine two years after it has been on the market, by simply adding RAM or a new video card is priceless. PCs also benefit from fairly cost effective high-resolution monitors. Finally, you can't ignore how easy it is to connect PCs to the internet (another mouse/keyboard must by the way). Being able to quickly, easily, and cheaply connect is a major plus, as it allows all sorts of flexibility - from finding opponents to downloading patches and content to browsing forums and FAQs."
  • Fallen Earth
    MMORPG.COM's Fallen Earth Q&A talks with James Hettinger of Icarus Studios about their upcoming MMORPG: "I would also contend that almost every great game has been original intellectual property and that it is the exception rather than the rule for branded content to be a break through product. There are tons of examples of break through products such as Doom, Half Life, Civilization, The Sims, Grand Theft Auto, Mario Brothers, EverQuest, Halo, Age Of Empires, and the list goes on and on. These were all smash hits and none of them were based off of branded content. We think of them as branded content now because they have been so successful but they all started as original games."
  • King Kong
    There's an audio interview with Michel Ancel on the Frag Dolls Website discussing the King Kong game during a launch of the film remake it ties-in with in London.
  • AEGIA
    SimHQ's Update On AEGIA is a Q&A with Manju Hegde, CEO and founder of AGEIA Technologies, on their hardware Physics Processing Unit: "Yes, we have signed up many developers who are planning to use the technology in exciting and inventive ways. Several AAA titles in the list of upcoming games that support the PhysX processor have the potential to be the killer app — we will only know after we see the reception by gamers. Hardware physics has the potential to affect game play in many different ways, making the situation even richer that that during the Voodoo days."

Evening Previews

  • Earth 2160 on RPG Vault. Unit Guide #4.
  • Pac-Man World Rally on IGN.

INCorporated Tech Demo

An INCorporated Tech Demo is now available to show off a preliminary version of Galahan Games' upcoming Reality Engine shooter. The tech demo is one small level, and is not feature complete, and version 2.0 of the .NET framework is required to get it to run. The download is available on Filecloud.

Evening Screenshots

German Gold - Shadowgrounds

DTP Entertainment announces that the German edition of Shadowgrounds is gold, and Frozenbyte's sci-fi action game due in stores October 27. Thanks Frans.

Evening Tech Bits

Thanks Mike Martinez.

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

They moved the Kansas City versus Miami NFL game up from Sunday to tonight to stay out of the path of the latest hurricane. So why didn't they put the game on national TV? Someone get Commissioner Tagliabue into my office... I need to have a talk with him.

R.I.P.: 'Little Rascals' Actor Gordon Lee Dies.

Untelevised Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Play: Which Fantasy-SciFi Character Are You? Captain Kirk here.
Wax on Wax HOFF. Creepiest "Play" evar?
Links: Pixilante T-Shirts.
Stories: Lost Numbers Lose Millions.
Science: Cleaner, crazier cars on show in Tokyo.
Out-of-this-world sex could jeopardise missions. Works for me, I mean Kirk.
Images: Flabby Road.
Sci Fi goes Sci Fi.
Baby Yoda. Thanks Heather and Zathrus.
Follow-ups: Clear skies for Virgin spaceliner.

World at War Demo

This BlackBean Games Announcement heralds the release of a demo for Gary Grigsby’s World at War, the World War II strategy game. Word is: "The demo offers two tutorial scenarios covering movement, combat, production and research, as well as a complete scenario on the whole year of 1941. The 1941 campaign includes the operation Barbarossa, the German Invasion of the Soviet Union, and the end of the war in the summer of 1942. Furthermore it's possible to download a full manual for gamers interested in knowing more about the game." The demo can be found on this downloads page.

Updated Dangerous Waters Demo

This Strategy First Downloads Page offers an updated version 1.2 demo for Dangerous Waters, as they say Sonalysts' naval combat game will be appearing in stores soon. Word is:
Montreal, Canada. October 21, 2005. With the retail release of “S.C.S - Dangerous Waters™” fast approaching, Strategy First and Sonalysts, Inc. have re-released an updated version of the single player demo that includes both technical and graphical enhancements.

The “S.C.S - Dangerous Waters™” demo features two playable platforms, the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and the Kilo class Diesel submarine, each with its own exciting demo mission. The full version will allow the player control of over 10 of the world's most potent naval units.

A separate Demo Media Pack is also available for download. It includes two walk through text descriptions of the two demo missions; two walk through videos with some strategies for completing the demo missions, as well as four of the in-game video tutorials (two videos demonstrating the basic usage of the two included platforms and two videos that provide general instructions on how to play “S.C.S. – Dangerous Waters”).

Download both the Demo and Media Pack today from the “S.C.S. – Dangerous Waters” game page on the Strategy First web site

Euro Ships Ahoy - Quake 4

Quake 4 PC To Hit European Retail Stores is the press release announcing that Raven's shooter sequel is heading to European stores:
Mesquite, TX - October 20, 2005 - id SoftwareTM, Raven Software and Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) have confirmed Earth's invasion of Stroggos with the announcement that QUAKE 4TM PC will be available at retail outlets in European territories beginning on Friday, October 21. The long awaited sequel to QUAKE II®, QUAKE 4 enlists gamers in the role of Matthew Kane, a member of the Earth Defense Force's legendary Rhino Squad, to penetrate deep into the heart of the Strogg war machine and engage in a series of heroic missions to destroy the barbaric alien race.

Site Seeing - US Europa 1400 Gold Edition Plans

A Europa 1400: The Guild - Gold Edition Product Section is live with publisher Aspyr's web presence for the Gold Edition of the Medieval life-simulation, offering the first indications that this bundle is headed to the U.S., as there's a USA preorder link. Also, an Empire Earth II The Art of Supremacy Product Section is online as publisher Sierra Entertainment's home to Mad Doc's upcoming RTS sequel expansion. There isn't much there that's new except the pack shot showing off the product's box. Thanks Frans.

Morning Q&As

  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    Elite Bastards' Oblivion Q&A talks with Gavin Carter of Bethesda about Oblivion, the upcoming installment in the Elder Scrolls RPG series: "Oblivion’s renderer is a mix of the Gamebryo renderer with a healthy dose of our own internally developed technology. The engine fully supports shader models up to and including 3.0. We employ a full HDR lighting solution throughout the game. Textures utilize all the latest shader technology including normal maps, specular maps, and parallax maps. We’re hammering away on our soft-shadow model. There shouldn’t be any technological buzzword out there that current games are using that we don’t have built into our renderer."
  • Ultimate Baseball Online
    The Ultimate Baseball Online Q&A on Houston Vehicles Online talks with Netamin producer Gabriel Law about their baseball MMORPG: "The thrill of MMORPG's comes from a team-based cooperation to achieve a common goal. The excitement is built through competition, rivalry, teamwork, and situational knowledge. Netamin saw an opportunity to break away from the traditional RPG genres by allowing gamers to become virtual athletes, switching the scenario from questing to teams competing in leagues and tournaments. The randomness of sport scenarios and the development of rivalries and alliances are just as intense in UBO as any other MMO and provide just as much customization."
  • SunAge
    The Wargamer's SunAge Q&A (thanks Frans) talks with Roman Pfneudl about SunAge, Vertex4's upcoming strategy game: "The story begins on Earth inside a huge dome that’s shielding the inhabitating [sic] humans from the Sun. There’s a lot of tension between this 'Dome Confederacy' and a bunch of outcasts living in the wasteland called 'Raak-Zun'. The Raak-Zun is essentially a religious cult following a doomsday prophecy. The story later takes place on an alien planet that could be mankind’s new place to live. But the snake in paradise is the vanguard of robots that defend the planet - 'The Sentinels'. There are other elements to the story, but I would rather not spoil the plot by giving away too much."

The Early Show

A new Vietcong 2 movie is online, showing off Pterodon's now-gold military shooter sequel. One or both of two different resolution versions of the clip can be found on 3D Gamers and Worthplaying. There's also a new Civilization IV movie offering a look at Firaxis' turn-based strategy sequel, this can be found on 3D Gamers, Boomtown (registration required), FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying. Finally, the EA Sports Theater (thanks Frans) now offers an NFL Head Coach movie promoting the recently announced game that puts the player in the stressful role of a head coach in the NFL. the movie does not feature any gameplay, just footage of real coaches on the sidelines doing coach stuff like drawing up plays and screaming uncontrollably.

Shadowgrounds Down Under Next Month

Auran's Shadowgrounds Product Page reveals November 16 as the Australian release date for the science fiction action game. Word is: "Shadowgrounds is an adrenaline-pumping action experience combining today’s technology with addictive gameplay. Shadowgrounds is set in the near future and pits the player against oncoming alien hordes who are invading a colony base on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. To counter the invading monsters, the player eventually acquires a devastating arsenal of upgradeable weaponry. The player’s best weapon might be his own flashlight - the aliens react to light in numerous ways. Intensive sound environment further adds to the atmosphere."

Morning Previews

Unofficial Vampire Patch

Another unofficial patch for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, updating the action/RPG from now-defunct Troika Games to version 1.8. The download is available on 3D Gamers and Worthplaying.

Morning Screenshots

German The Fall Patch

The Fall - Last Days of Gaia Website has a new patch bringing the German edition of Silver Style Entertainment's post-apocalyptic RPG too version 1.9. The new version improves facial animations, optimizes performance, tweaks enemies; items; and weapons, while fixing all known bugs. Thanks Frans.

Morning Consolidation

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Game Guidance

Pro Evolution Soccer 5 Top Tips on Boomtown offers hints on how to get your kicks in the latest installment in the soccer series.

Game & Mod Development

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Help Wanted

Pi Studios Jobs Page lists new openings for an Engineer, a Level Designer, and an Art Director.

Friday Game Reviews

Friday Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

The backlog of movies I would like to check out in the theaters keeps growing, and at this point the only thing knocking anything off the list is flicks that close. A couple more are coming out today, and I think I am going to be unable to resist pushing the Doom movie to the top of the list. I don't know that this means I will get out to see it, but I am quite curious about it, and I think I'll have regrets if it were to close before I got the chance to check it out.

Doomed! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Links: 100 oldest dot com domains. Thanks User Friendly.
TV Cream's Top 100 Toys.
Stories: Wife attacks hubby with chain saw, police say. Thanks Devicer. Game related violence?
Man Stops Carjacking With Hot Coffee.
Parking officer 'distressed' at dead man's fine. Thanks Voldo.
Science: The World's Smallest Car. The Crestonmobile?
Media: Internet Down.
Kung Fu Fight Over A Can Of Pepsi.
Be More Open Minded.
Auctions: Donald Trump, Carolyn Kepcher wigs on sale. The Donald only paid $30 for his too.
Follow-ups: Hubble Zooms In On Moon Minerals.
No Easy Victory Ensues in Legal Battle Over Evolution.
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