Archived News:

Tuesday, Aug 22, 2006

Boundless Planet Beta

The Boundless Planet Homepage is live, dedicated to an MMORTS game. The game is still undergoing beta testing, which is open to all. Word is:
Welcome to BoundlessPlanet, the world's first fully 3D Persistent Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy Game (MMORTS) which pits you against hundreds of other players simultaneously in a planet-wide struggle to claim natural resources and expand an empire using the limitless power of an army, navy, and air force of your own creation.

Ship Sim 2006 Patch

As noted here, a new patch is now available for ShipSim 2006, this "New York Patch" is a whopping 200 MB update that adds a good deal of additional content to this seafaring sim (thanks Frans). Word is: "By installing this amazing update, great looking scenery of the harbour of New York will be added to the ever growing list of playable locations in the game. In addition to the new harbour and its missions, a ton of other cool features has been added: New AI ships, helicopters and airplanes, new static vessels (the big three-master 'Flying Cloud' and the traditional Dutch vessel 'Klipper') and much, much more." The patch is available on the Shipsim 2006 Downloads Page.

EA Gets Phenomic?

Report: EA acquires Phenomic on GameSpot has new based on an online story from the future (dated tomorrow) on a German site announcing that Electronic Arts has acquired the developer of the SpellForce series. Word is:
In an online story dated August 23, Die Welt reports that the publisher will keep the studio management in place, and that it will continue to operate in Ingelheim under the new name EA Phenomic. According to the story, EA won't say how much it paid for the developer, but that it would have no material impact on its earnings. It also reports that Phenomic announced multiple new games but gives no details on those.

Vampire Patch

A new user-created patch for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodline is now available, continuing the remarkable community-generated support for this Source-engine action/RPG following the demise of its developer, Troika Games. The version 2.8 patch, as always, addresses bugs found in the game, the download can be found on 3D Gamers, Boomtown (registration required), FileFront, and Worthplaying.

The Late Show

A high resolution version of the new Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars movie is now available, this can be found on 3D Gamers. Also, a new Pac-Man World Rally movie shows off the upcoming game where you drive instead of wokka wokka wokka. The high-rez clip is available on 3D Gamers. Finally, a new Reprobates movie is online, but I already checked: neither I nor any of my reprobate friends are caught on film here. The clip showing off Future Games' upcoming adventure game is available on 3D Gamers.

Site Seeing

The official Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn Website is up as a teaser for the upcoming graphical upgrade for the MMORPG (thanks Frans and FiringSquad). The site offers a trio of screenshots showing off the game's new look.

Evening Q&As

  • BioShock
    The BioShock Q&A on GameSpot talks with Irrational Games' Ken Levine about the game being called the spiritual successor to the System Shock series: "We're also really working on the artificial intelligence to get it to 'think,' because one of the coolest, and most challenging, things about this game is all the interactions that AI [characters] can have, because of all the relationships they have with each other. The more complex you make your AI, and the more things you enable it to do, the more you have to make sure it does those things well. And because it's so emergent, things happen all the time that make us say, 'Whoa!' It's sometimes what we want, and sometimes we end up in the Land of Weird Bugs. So, we're putting in a huge amount of work into our AI...much more than on any other game we've ever done. But it's definitely going to be worth it. "
  • American McGee
    The American McGee Q&A part one and part two on Computer and Video Games talks with the producer/designer about Bad Day L.A. and the state of gaming: "Puritanism related to sexual issues is as rampant in the US as it's ever been. As for violence, the response is as usual, lopsided and nonsensical. We have US politicians wasting time on the non-issue of video game violence, while in the real world bombs are dropped, villages are flattened, and entire countries are being destroyed. I think the only way the situation will be improved is by the passage of time. Politicians are generally a geriatric, old lot. Hence their retarded views on the modern world. We just need to wait around a while and nature will do its thing. Current politicians die, new generation of politicians come into office. These new guys will focus on whatever happens to be the 'entertainment is evil' topic."
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance
    The Marvel Ultimate Alliance Q&A on FiringSquad talks with Activision producer Matthew Paul about Raven's upcoming superhero action game: "X-Men Legends is a great franchise, but we wanted to do something fresh…hence Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Taking on the entire Marvel universe opened up a bunch of possibilities that we hadn’t been able to do with previous games. There’s just something so cool about teaming up your favorite Super Heroes from all the different Marvel comics and setting off to fight evil. Plus, just because we’ve created Marvel: Ultimate Alliance doesn’t mean that there’s not a chance to revisit the X-Men Legends franchise some day."
  • Red vs. Blue
    Burnie Burns of Red Vs Blue fame talks Machinima on HEXUS.gaming pulls some Rooster Teeth: "Literally 2 Xboxs, 2 copies of whatever game it may be and enough controllers for every cast member. We use letterboxing in Red Vs Blue to cut out the radar that normally appears on the bottom left of the screen and to hide the scores that appear at the top, giving the animation a movie feel."

Evening Previews

  • Caesar IV on GameSpot.
  • FIFA 07 on IGN. Developer blog.
  • Freestyle Street Basketball on GameSpot.
  • Heroes of Annihilated Empires on RPG Vault. Peek #6.
  • Joint Task Force on GameSpy.
  • Just Cause on IGN.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II - The Rise of the Witch-king on GameSpy and IGN.
  • Phantasy Star Universe on IGN.
  • TimeShift on IGN.
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos on GameSpot. Designer Diary #4 - Introducing the Siege Mode.

Evening Screenshots

Evening Tech Bits

Thanks Mike Martinez.

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Man, every now and then I put too much pressure on my recently repaired molar and a stabbing pain reminds me that I thought yesterday's dental appointment was to be minor. Yeesh.

Stabbing Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Play: Ikaruga. Thanks Bernard.
GROW nano vol.1.
Links: First Person Shooter Glasses.
Microsoft Releases OS Developer Tycoon.
Stories: Sci Fi closes 'Stargate SG-1'.
Live Rattlesnakes Released In 'Snakes On A Plane' Theater. Thanks nin.
Robber nabbed after taking same flight as victim.
Science!: Team finds 'proof' of dark matter.
Hurricane chief foresees 'mega-disaster'.
Scientists use nanowires to create `paper`. Books to eventually replace the Internet.
Follow-ups: Astronomers lean toward eight planets.
JCB car beats diesel speed record.

Ships Ahoy - Madden NFL 07

This press release declares today's Maddenoliday (a slogan worthy of Darren Stevens), announcing the North American availability of Madden NFL 07 for (deep breath), PC, Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, DS, PSP, and GBA. Device-specific features are mentioned for several platforms, though not the PC. Meanwhile, in Europe, Madden NFL 07 will launches on August 25 for PC, PS2, Xbox, and DS, and on September 8 for Xbox 360 and PSP. In addition to a retail boxed version, the PC edition of the game may be purchased digitally via downloader.ea.com. Here's a bit:
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – August 22, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced that Madden NFL 07, the newest iteration of the EA SPORTS™ best-selling football franchise with the exclusive videogame license of the NFL and PLAYERS INC, is in stores everywhere today. Madden NFL 07 continues to lead with innovation and gameplay by reinventing the running game with the all-new Lead Blocker Control and the new highlight stick so you can run like the real players run. NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode comes to Madden NFL 07 this year, where you can live the life of an NFL Superstar.

Madden NFL 06¸ since its launch, has sold more than 6.5 million copies*, and was the #1 selling videogame of 2005 in North America. Madden NFL Football has become a cultural phenomenon, with more than 51 million copies sold (LTD), and the launch day becoming a holiday for many avid fans.

Barrow Hill: Curse of the Ancient Circle Ships

Got Game Entertainment announces the North American release of Barrow Hill: Curse of the Ancient Circle, the first person adventure game. A playable demo for Barrow Hill can be found here, and here's word:
Weston, CT – August 22, 2006 – The myths and mysteries of ancient Cornwall now haunt North America as Got Game Entertainment LLC today announced that "Barrow Hill: Curse of the Ancient Circle" has shipped to game retailers. Adventure meets archaeology against the backdrop of an eerie Cornish landscape in this unique first person adventure game for the PC which also comes bundled with bonus features on the real Cornwall, a land rich in folklore, magic, and danger.

Joint Task Force Demo

The Joint Task Force demo is now available, offering the promised sample of this modern combat real-time strategy game from Most Wanted Entertainment. The demo premieres on Gamespot (registration required), where word is: "In this single-player demo, you'll be faced with two challenging missions: to neutralize a Somalian port with a small force of infantry specialists and to head deep into the Columbian jungle to smash a heavily armed cartel. As part of your arsenal, you'll have officially licensed military tech, including the Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopter and the General Dynamics M1A2 Abrams tank." The download is mirrored on 3D Gamers, Computer Games, FileFront, Gameguru Mania, Gamer's Hell, Strategy Informer, VGPRO, and Worthplaying.

Company of Heroes Demo

A beta demo for Company of Heroes is now available, offering a pair of single-player missions and a tutorial from Relic's now-gold World War II real-time strategy game. The demo was plucked from the cover-mounted disk on the September issuer of PC Gamer magazine, making for a rather large 1557 MB download, available on FileFront, Gameguru Mania, and Worthplaying.

Just Cause Demo Plans

GameSpot's Just Cause Demo Page offers another of their signature countdowns to an upcoming demo they will debut (and we do appreciate the inclusion of math tests in our gaming news), ticking off the seconds until they release the demo for Just Cause on Thursday at 9:00 am Eastern time. Here's word on the sample of Avalanche Studios' upcoming action game: "GameSpot is proud to present the Just Cause single-player demo! Tackle top secret missions as a Latin field operative and specialist in regime change to help overthrow the corrupt government of San Esperito. In this rogue South American state, you'll have the freedom to take on assignments however you want: playing the island's factions against one another, inciting a rebellion among the masses, and building alliances with rebel forces and drug cartels. Steer San Esperito towards world peace and fund the liberation! Viva la revolucion!"

World of Warcraft Updated

A new update for World of Warcraft is now automatically available, bringing Blizzard's MMORPG to version 1.12.0 in adding cross-realm PvP Battlegrounds, objective-based PvP battles, the Rogue talent review, bug fixes, and more. There are also manual patches for either the previous version or any version prior to that, also divided by region. Some or all of the various international patches can be found on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, GameSpot (registration required), VGPRO, and Worthplaying.

Call of Juarez MP Demo Next Week

Techland announces they will release a multiplayer demo for Call of Juarez next week to accompany the recently released single-player demo for the wild western first-person shooter (story). Here's word:
Poland, Wroclaw 22.08.2006. Techland announced today that just in the next week the MP demo of its upcoming FPP Wild West themed shooter – “Call of Juarez”™ will be available on the net.

The demo will contain two game modes – Skirmish and Robbery located in typical Old West’s towns and players will be able to impersonate both outlaws and sheriffs and play in two available classes for each team, as a Gunslinger or a Rifleman.

In the full version of the game :

    • 4 multiplayer modes: Deathmatch, Skirmish, Goldrush and Robbery.
    • 4 player classes with individual characteristics and weaponry: Gunslinger, Rifleman, Miner, Sniper.
    • Maps with diversified gameplay characteristics requiring: smart tactics, team cooperation, fast draw and sharp eye.

Move yourself to The Wild West, times of duels in the high noon, bank robberies and gold rush. Face the legendary gunslingers and professional killers, take part in spectacular gunfights and horseback chases. In single player campaign the player will play the role of two opposing heroes, with different weaponry and fighting styles. Billy is a rebel and a brawler who was accused of murder and now tries to escape the punishing hand of law. Reverend Ray is a former gunslinger, who deserts the church and takes an oath to deliver the justice to Billy, and all the criminals he stumbles upon, by a gun bullet. During the game, player will have to make decisions in the blink of an eye to get away as Billy or to catch him as Ray.

Call of Juarez is made of authentic western situations such as: trek through vast and wild North American territories, teaming up with Native Americans, brawls in saloons, gunfights and some fun in a local brothel. Game allows players to use world’s objects as melee weapons or tools to solve logic puzzles.

In multiplayer mode, gamers will take part in typical western situations, such as: train and bank robberies, ambushing criminals, chases, liberating prisoners and town gunfights. Call of Juarez uses third installment of the Chrome Engine. Graphics, AI and multiplayer mode will immerse you in the Wild West as never before.

Please visit www.callofjuarez.com for more info about Call of Juarez and for the official forum of the game.

Hospital Tycoon Announced

Codemasters' Hospital Tycoon Product Section reveals this upcoming medical mogul game in the works at Deep Red Games offering the chance to play doctor in Spring 2007. Got a bad case of Monkey Nuts? Help is on the way:
Giving everyone the chance to play doctors and nurses, Codemasters today announces signing Hospital Tycoon, an original PC title from development studio Deep Red Games (Monopoly Tycoon, Vega$: Make It Big!, Tycoon City: New York).

Set for a spring 2007 launch, Hospital Tycoon is a medical-themed God game in which players are put in charge of hectic hospital facilities that are constantly on the verge of crisis and collapse. Players are challenged to run, maintain, enhance and expand the hospitals while turning any chaotic situation around using ingenious management techniques.

The most infectious thing about Hospital Tycoon is its humour as players experience how the game’s characters – the doctors, nurses and patients –interact with each other and react to how well the player is running each hospital. The game’s high level of character interaction will create a living hospital that’s part soap opera and part comedy.

A move away from micro-management life-simulation games, Hospital Tycoon will create emerging situations that are as entertaining as they are challenging. The manic medical teams have to deal with patients suffering from the most peculiar ailments, such as the man afflicted with ‘Monkey Nuts’ and the office worker diagnosed with 'Stress Zombosis', and set about curing them with equally odd treatments.

Battlefield: Bad Company for PC, PSP

This DICE press release (thanks Tiscali Games) has word, albeit in Swedish, on PC plans for Battlefield: Bad Company, the continuation of the Battlefield franchise recently announced for consoles (story). Neither I, nor Babel Fish speak Swedish, but the part that promises more info on PC and PSP editions of the game is pretty easy to grok: "Mer information om PC- och PSP-versionerna kommer att presenteras vid ett senare tillfälle."

Gold - Bad Day L.A.

Aspyr announces Bad Day L.A. is gold, and that this offbeat action game from American McGee and Enlight is expected to ship on August 28. The recently released playable demo (story) offers a sample of the game, and here's word:
AUSTIN, TX (August 22, 2006) - Aspyr Media today announced that American McGee Presents: Bad Day L.A for the PC has gone gold and will beginning shipping to North American stores nationwide next week. This third-person action/adventure game, developed by acclaimed designer American McGee, is a cinematic satire that plays off the “fear culture” of modern America by plunging players into a storyline where the city of Los Angeles is barraged with disasters. The game combines comedy, chaos management gameplay, a unique art style created by Kozyndan, an over-the-top ironic story and a cast of characters that find themselves in goofy, often surreal missions.

“Bad Day L.A. has been designed for every player over age 18 to pick up and enjoy instantly," said American McGee. “Our goal is pure fast action and fun. Players will have a blast grabbing their weapons and ammo; running around and shooting things and interacting with a crazy cast of support characters, all while trying to save LA during what has got to be the city’s worst day ever."

Playing as Anthony Williams, a homeless man by choice whose homeless status renders him fearless, the player must defend himself, and ultimately humanity, as the city of Los Angeles comes under attack from zombies, terrorists, earthquakes, riots, meteor showers, and other disasters. Fortunately, the player is armed with a unique and eclectic mix of weapons, including mundane firearms to spray paint can flamethrowers and those now infamous nail clippers. He also has the choice of 4 sidekicks that each comes with their own special abilities.

The ten expansive game levels are all based on ten real-world, recognizable Los Angeles locations, such as Venice Beach, Beverly Hills and Hollywood Boulevard. The game’s spectacular scripted events, unique Kozyndan art, intelligent NPCs (more than 100), engaging storyline, and compelling sound and music create a truly memorable experience.

Minions of Mirth Subscription Free

The Prairie Games Website has news that Minions of Mirth is now permanently subscription-free. Here's word on the change to the MMORPG: "Originally conceived as a promotional device to help Minions of Mirth attract customers and gain market share, the “pay once and play as long as you like” subscription model has proven to be very effective. The use of this approach helped Minions of Mirth practically quadruple its numbers from 4,000 subscribers to 15,000 subscribers in a matter of weeks."

Site Seeing

The Ninja Loves Pirate Website is live, dedicated to the upcoming side-scrolling action game from Muskedunder Interactive. The site includes media and info on the game, as well as downloads of the demo that got this whole thing started by winning the Four Elements competitions at gamedev.net.

The Early Show

GameTrailers (thanks Ant) offers an HD trailer from Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars that debuted on Spike TV. Also, a new Test Drive Unlimited movie shows off some of the multiplayer racing from Eden Studios' upcoming motorsports game, the clip can be found on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, and Worthplaying. Finally, Prototyping CivIV Part 2 on Apolyton Civilization Forums continues this five-part series covering a presentation by Firaxis Games' Soren Johnson and Dorian Newcomb on the creation of their turn-based strategy sequel.

Morning Q&As

  • WoW: The Burning Crusade
    GamePro's Q&A with Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan on The Burning Crusade discusses the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion: "Balance is a really touchy and delicate subject. We don't have anything I feel that's completely egregious. We are aware of issues regarding PvP as a whole, like for example the honor system but we plan on addressing those with the expansion. For now, we're more focused on case by case, very finite examples of imbalance or broken spells and abilities, not just on players but on creatures as well. There's no broad, sweeping thing I could give as an answer."
  • Kane and Lynch: Dead Men
    The Kane and Lynch: Dead Men Preview on 1Up offers a Q&A about IO Interactive's upcoming action game with Jens-Peter Kurup: "Wow. I'd completely forgotten about Lucky & Wild. Shame on me. We're not deliberately working to differentiate Kane & Lynch from other 'two character games.' We feel it's conceptually 'born' differently. Gameplay wise we use our intuitive squad/crew controls extensively in the game, and as such the core gameplay is different. On the levels where it's just Kane and Lynch we still differ in the way that we're not dealing with soldiers fighting somebody else's war, but we're dealing with two anti-heroes doing only what's good for themselves. It allows us to do things that normal good-guy-heroes, who we have to like at some stage, wouldn't do, and to visit locations where army clad soldiers wouldn't blend in very well."
  • Perimeter: Emperor's Testament
    The Perimeter: Emperor's Testement [sic] Q&A on FiringSquad talks with Michail Piskounov about KDV's imminent standalone RTS expansion: "The main goal of our team for the stand-alone expansion was to develop the game play concept of Perimeter and its World in depth. The ideas of land wars and terraforming were both innovative and comprehensive in scope. Thus the original 'Perimeter' did only contained the basics of the game play process, or in other words, it was merely an introductory course into the concept. The ideas required further development, and this development resulted in the stand-alone expansion creation. I guess you can see it as the advance course but still very accessible for beginners. "

Morning Previews

Morning Metaverse

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Tuesday Game Review

Yup, just one!

Tuesday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Apparently some pop-up ads here are still a bit out of control... I am in the midst of pitching a fit about this, hopefully all it will take to straighten this out is a good tantrum.

Cranky Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Links: Blanks on a Blank Filmmaking Challenge.
Guitar Hero Broke My Knee - A True and Tragic Story.
Stories: Pirate scene hooks recruits. "Wait, there's a guy on our team who dresses like a pirate?"
Snakes squeaks in to top spot at box office.
Hopes high for diesel speed bid.
Science!: Perpetual Motion Claim Probed. Alchemy next.
Ferocious ants bite like a bullet.
Geologists Angry About New 'Pluton' Definition.
Media: How NOT to Drift in a Car. The ultimate Darwin machine.
La Linea 1.
Auction: EBay Sellers Seek Management Change.
Follow-up: Bones are human, not 'hobbit'. Stop the presses.
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