Archived News:

Friday, Aug 11, 2006

Windows Panorama?

Microsoft to Introduce Panorama; Live Arcade for Vista? on Shacknews plays up some rumors they've gotten wind of via some of those "reputable sources" of a project called Windows Panaorama, which they liken to an Xbox Live Arcade-type service for Windows Vista. They have gotten corroboration of the project's existence from Microsoft, but no verification of what it actually does, and they speculate that the facts may be unveiled at the Microsoft Gamefest conference in Seattle next week.

Maelstrom, Caesar IV Demos Next Week

FilePlanet has word that a playable demo for Maelstrom will debut there on Tuesday, and Frans says it will co-premiere on 3D Gamers as well. They don't offer details on the demo, just a description of the full game: "Developed by KDV Games, the team behind the critically acclaimed game Perimeter, Maelstrom allows unparalleled levels of destruction and terrain deformation. Blast away swaths of land with meteors from the sky, rip apart city-blocks with tornadoes, freeze rivers or flood enormous sections of the map -- the power is yours as you fight for survival on a devastated planet!" Frans also reveals that a demo for Caesar IV will co-premiere on both sites on Wednesday, allowing the chance to do as the Romans do in the upcoming strategy sequel from Tilted Mill.

Prey Patch, Content Plans

The Prey Weekly... Er... Monthly Update #24 on the 3D Realms Website written by Chris Rhinehart makes up for lost time in discussing the release of Human Head's first-person shooter, offering details on the coming first patch for the PC edition of the game, mentioning a 360 patch is also in the works, and taking the lid off plans to release more content for the game that includes some smaller maps and six new player characters. Here's a bit on the new stuff:
We're currently working on a 1.1 patch for Prey to fix several bugs and a couple of additions. Here is the (not final) list of changes:

    • Fixed a crash at startup on some machines
    • Fixed an occasional crash on the dedicated server
    • Fixed a crash when using image_usecache cvar with very big textures. Textures whose lowest mip map doesn't fit will be default texture.
    • This was causing a crash when a modified prey was loading "Mother's Embrace".
    • Fixed a crash on some machines when reading savegames.
    • Some timedemo features not appearing if you restart between record/playback
    • Added widescreen resolutions to menus
    • Updated multiplayer browser to fix servers not showing up due to DNS resolution
    • Updated multiplayer browser not keeping join button up to date when server summary wasn't the active tab.
    • Updated multiplayer browser so punkbuster icons show up in their column properly
    • Updated multiplayer browser so mod games' icons show up properly
    • Updated multiplayer browser so server scanning is more consistent on slower connections
    • Fixed multiplayer weapon exploit
    • Venom is working on a 360 patch for Prey which will address the network lag issues on the 360 as well as fix several bugs there as well.

No ETA yet on the release of either of these patches, other than we hope to have them resolved and out very, very soon.

New Content for Prey
There's also new content for Prey coming soon -- still in the process of finalizing the new maps. We've read online that some people have requested maps that function well as 1v1 maps. So, we've taken that to heart and have been working on four maps that work better with a smaller number of people 2-4 players. Of course, you can still play with more than four in the maps, but they can get pretty insane.

Also, we're adding in six new player characters:

- Four female characters: Jen, Elhuit, Mother, and Becky (the blond victim you see occasionally on slabs in the single player Prey)
- Two Hunter characters: Hunter and Elite Hunter

Similar to the 1.1 patch, no ETA on the release on this, other than soon. We're still working on finishing the maps and play balancing them. We'll announce the release date for this, once we're closer to final. Watch 3DR's page, or Prey.com for that info.

Yes, this additional content will be released on the 360 as well. Further details about possible points cost of the extra content for the 360 has yet to be determined.

The Late Show

The Runaway 2 Website (thanks Frans) offers a new teaser movie, saying: "Pendulo Studios and Focus Home Interactive have a treat in store for you to enjoy summer holidays even more: a video which invite you to follow Brian in Hawaiian’s shallow waters, one of the numerous exotic sites that Runaway to will offer you to discover."

Evening Q&As

  • Warhammer Online: Mark of Chaos
    Hooked on Games' Warhammer Online: Mark of Chaos Q&A talks with Namco Bandai's Chris Wren about their upcoming RTS game: "Most of the keeps and castles in the game are pre-built. Throughout the campaign you will have the experience of defending and attacking many different sizes and types of these. If an event occurs at one of these structures, there is no time to build a new tower while the siege is happening, your role here is to either defend the castle, capture the castle, or level it to the ground. To this end, we have borrowed from some of the tabletop rules for Warhammer with a capture and hold mechanic that involves you taking and defending multiple objectives within a castle to claim it as your own."
  • EVE Online: Kali
    The EVE Online: Kali Q&A on Eurogamer discusses the coming expansion for CCP's science fiction MMORPG: "Kali is something which was has been talked about for quite some time, growing to a size where we were of course going to conquer the world - and then some. We've now cut into more manageable and frequent releases. This not only prevents a lot of features from getting stagnant on our test servers, but also decreases risk for each of the deployments. The risk applies to both gameplay, where a feature can be too disruptive or simply not work, or in the worst case scenario, cause direct harm to the universe if it turns exploitable."
  • LucasArts
    EGTV 'Games industry business model does not work' - Ward on Eurogamer links to two parts of a video interview with LucasArts chief Jim Ward, who voices his criticism of the game industry's broken business model: "Right now this industry has a business model that does not work. This industry has been flat for the past six years; we've been selling games to the same people. Our revenue model is based on one shot at retail - we have no back-end revenue streams like a movie might in terms of DVD, TV, that type of thing."
  • The Witcher
    The artists are invading our blog on The Witcher's Blog offers a Q&A with Adam Badowski, CD Projekt Art Director, discussing their upcoming action/RPG. Within the Q&A is a buried contest seeking user-submitted artwork.
  • Africa
    RPG Vault's Africa Q&A - Part 1 discusses this upcoming persistent-state game from Rapid Reality: "Africa is a persistent medieval fantasy world that draws upon African and Arabian mythology, rather than the more familiar Norse and Celtic lore that has thus far defined the genre. Africa is a rich setting for an MMO - wild and beautiful landscapes, an untapped mythology and folklore, the splendors of ancient Egypt, Phoenician and Roman ruins, savannahs teeming with wildlife, and lost cities deep in the jungle."
  • Wild Hare
    The Wild Hare Q&A on FiringSquad talks with this new publisher about their plan to offer an outlet for independent developers.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Legal Briefs

Thanks Mike Martinez.

etc, etc.

Into the Black

Monday ain't a fun day, Tuesday's a blue day, Wednesday's a frenzy, Thursday's the worst day, Friday is great, 'cause I can hardly wait, until the weekend!

R.I.P.: Talk show host Mike Douglas dead.

Rockpile of Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Science: Scientists look at worms for electronic wine nose.
Media: Soap - new look on computer mouse.
Ocean Jump - GTA San Andreas (cheats).
Super-fast water drinker.

CES Gets Game?

Consumer Electronics Association Press Release (thanks FiringSquad) announces that the folks behind the annual Consumer Electronics Show have formed a Gaming Advisory Board "to solicit gaming industry feedback and explore the viability of a West Coast event in late spring 2007 focused on the gaming and entertainment marketplace." This is an admitted attempt to fill the void left by the downsizing of E3, but the feedback I would offer if asked would be to eschew the west coast part of the plan and play to one of the great strengths of the CES and hold their gaming event in Vegas.

ANSTOSS 2007 German demo

A new German language demo for ANSTOSS 2007 is now available, offering the chance for those who understand German (or the adventurous) to sample the coming installment in this soccer management series. The demo includes the full version of the game, except for the save function. The download is available on Gamona and mirrored on 3D Gamers, Gamer's Hell, VGPRO, and Worthplaying.

War Rock Patch

The War Rock Website (thanks Frans) now offers a new "Second Phase" patch for K2 Networks' freeware online FPS, saying "Despite a rocky start, the auto-patch servers are now working correctly and all user clients should update automatically." They offer downloads of a manual patch for those still having problems with cruise control, and the change log outlines what's new.

Battlezone II Patch

Battlezone II version 1.3pb3 is now available as a another user-created patch for Battlezone II, the action/strategy hybrid. This homebrew update (albeit created by a couple of ex-Pandemic developers) is an effort to advance the essentially abandoned project, but as such, is an unofficial, unsupported, as-is, don't come crying to me if you bust your game sort of a release. All dire warnings aside, word on the update is: "The new version includes enhanced modification support, Win2K/XP/DX8&9 compatibility, bug fixes, a new audio system, graphics tweaks, bots in deathmatch, and still more."

ProStroke Golf UK Gold

Oxygen Interactive announces ProStroke Golf is gold, at least in the UK, offering word that the aggravation simulator is due in the UK next week:
Oxygen Interactive today announced that ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007 has gone gold. The faithful video game adaptation of the world’s most challenging sport for PS2, Xbox, PC and PSP boasts a unique control system, competition from renowned golfing talent and commentary from the international voices of golf. ProStroke Golf is set to hit retail shelves August 18th - debuting for a suggested retail of £34.99.

With its unique control method, “ProStroke” - the most innovative golf swing system ever to be implemented in a golf video game - players are allowed for the first time ever to set up and take shots exactly as they would do in real life. Gone is the 3 click system for taking shots as well as the single analogue swing with after-touch. In ProStroke, you can change weight distribution for different trajectories, and open and close your stance and club face for fades or draws - just like in real golf. The title also boasts a host of other key features, including:

    • International Talent: Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Ben Curtis, Tomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Mark O'Meara , and Zhang Lian-Wei.
    • TV commentators : Sam Torrance, Ian Baker-Finch and Alan Green.
    • Courses from a range of spectacular locations across the globe, including The Brabazon at The Belfry and Lake Nona.
    • Game Modes range from Quick Match Play (3-18 holes) through multiplayer to a comprehensive career mode.
    • Caddy Feature offering Golf Pro training exercises, enabling you to add the advanced techniques of the pros.
    • Course and tournament creator, allowing you to design and develop your own courses.
    • Single Unit and Wireless multiplayer for PSP, and turn by turn multiplayer for PC (on and off line).

ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007 challenges you to be part of the international pro golfing action and put yourself to the ultimate test - challenge your skill, stamina and mental agility as you take on the best in the world. Control your nerves, feel the power of your drive, stare victory in the face and hear the crowd adore you.

Site Seeing

A new Battlefield 2142 Website is live (thanks Frans and Battlefield Nation). The site offers news, info, and media for the upcoming multiplayer shooter sequel.

The Early Show

A new FIFA 07 movie offers a low resolution look at the next installment in the soccer management series, showing off some of the games skill moves. The Official Melbourne Cup Challenge Website offers downloads of a trailer in your choice of two resolutions showing off the upcoming game based on the sport of kings (horse racing for you unfamiliar with the passions of royalty). Thanks Frans.

Morning Q&As

  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
    The Enemy Territory: Quake Wars PC Preview on 1Up includes a Q&A with Paul Wedgewood of Splash Damage about their upcoming multiplayer shooter: "One of the great things about QuakeCon is that we've finally gotten a chance to get fans to play the game and get a sense of what their feedback is going to be like [once it ships]. Coming out of E3 was really great because we got over 30 awards and nominations, so we came home in a really good mood. Following on from that, now we've announced the fact that there's going to be an external beta in the near future. We also now have about nine of the maps playable between id Software, Activision and Splash Damage, so we now have a whole bunch of maps that are -- like Valley, the one that everyone's been playing here and at E3 -- that we feel confident about and that people are going to have good fun with."
  • Cell Factor: Revolution
    IGN's Cell Factor: Revolution Q&A talks with Artificial Studio's Jeremy Steiglitz about their upcoming shooter that wants to get physical with AGEIA PhysX cards: "We're actually trying to develop two games at once and we're not a very large team. In addition to Cell Factor we're also developing a game called Monster Madness that you may have heard of for PC, 360 and PS3. It's running on all systems right now, but as you can imagine, we're stretched pretty thin trying to develop two games at once. We basically have two teams but there's cross over and it's pushing us to the limit, but even so I'm happy to say that the projects are going well."
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two
    The Half-Life 2: Episode Two Preview on 1Up is dated a couple of weeks ago (thanks Shacknews for the catch) talking with Valve about the next installment in their episodic shooter sequel expansion: "I can't imagine shipping a game without putting it through our playtesting process. So many of our scenarios, especially our puzzles, went through many rounds of catastrophic failure in playtests. In many cases, there was no way to foresee those failures, much less imagine possible solutions. Because we refine incrementally, we always try the most subtle solution that we think will work and test that before resorting to more heavy-handed solutions. So, yes, I'd say the process is very integral to our games' success."

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

  • German Street Racing on 3D Gamers.
  • Jagged Alliance 3D on the Official Website. Thanks Frans. Showing engine upgrades (second try, posted this without the link last night).

Game & Mod Development

Friday Game Reviews

Friday Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Had problems with the server last night and again this morning. We're looking into whether the problem is with the hamster or his treadmill, but regardless of the cause, apologies for the downtimes.

Down Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Play: Google Maps RTS (beta). Thanks Slashdot.
Link: Can You Tell The Time?
Science: It’s Not Hard to Use Fluids to Cause an Explosion on a Plane, Chemists Say (registration required).
Gesture Technology - technology from Minority Report in real life.
Image: Liquids on a Plane.
Media: 1970s commercial - Alka Seltzer - Spicy Meatball.
Traffic Pole vs Truck (Amazing!).
Sonic the Hedgehog Speed Run.
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