Playnow review Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun - Firestorm GamePower review Deus Ex 3DGW review Diablo 2 WellRounded review Ground Control Gaming-Age review Icewind Dale
NetKills have an article on case cooling LittleWhiteDog have an article telling you how to go about Disk Duplicating Using Norton Ghost 6.0 TweakTown get down and dirty with the ASUS K7V - FSB Settings
have posted a fairly lengthy Q&A session with Morrowind Project Leader Todd Howard, in which he discusses many aspects of this upcoming single-player RPG. Morrowind is the third game in the Elder Scroll series which has included the classic RPGs Arena and Daggerfall, and uses a brand new 3D engine which, according to Howard, should bring RPGs (which have traditionally lagged behind action games in terms of graphics technology) right up to date with the latest shoot'em'up releases. Unlike the huge numbers of MMORPGS attempting to ape the success of EverQuest and Ultima Online, Bethesda have chosen to stick with the single-player RPG, instead concentrating on making the game world as large and freeform as possible. From the contents of this Q&A, it will be fascinating to see if this approach pays off.
Tribes 2 - which, you may recall, was actually initially scheduled to be released around now - has finally gone into Alpha-testing, according to Dave "QIX" Georgeson, Senior Producer on the project. Posting on the Tribalwar.com messageboards, Georgeson mentioned that like all Alpha versions, the current build is slow and contains many placeholders, but he seems confident that most issues can be dealt with quickly and that a Beta-test program will be announced within the next few weeks. The race to create the next generation of outdoors action-games always seemed to be a two-horse affair between Tribes2 and Halo, but with Halo developer Bungie recently being purchased by Microsoft, adding to the delay of the game which was previously being caused by shifting goalposts in their game design, the Tribes 2 dev team seemingly have a little more breathing space. The game is expected in shops in mid-Autumn; as for Halo, nobody even knows what year it will be released in, let alone what quarter.
The massively popular online resource strategy game Planetarion has restarted and moved from beta. The full game shows some changes from the massive beta, such as the ability to set yourself as being away, on Vaction mode. This means that your planet is on pause. While in vacation mode you cannot log into this account for the first 72 hours. You do not gather metal of move ships for that time, with the bonus that no one can attack you during that time either. Planetarion is the game where you take control of a planet and your goal is to make allies and avoid confrontation with enemies. You must gather resources and build your way up a tech tree, building bigger and stronger ships. Thousands of players from all over the world play from on their website, and pit their wit's against each other, and each others alliances. The game is great, bar its one fault of having an almost impossibly slow website. A read of the manual is well worth your time, to familiarise yourself will all the various types of ships and options open to players. There are hundreds of options and various tracks a player can follow, and decisions in the early days can affect that, and point you in the direction of success or failure.
It seem that every new title that we see these days is built on one of the big name 3rd party engines, be that Unreal, Quake 3 or LithTech. The name in that list that many people don't know about is the LithTech engine by Monolith. Jason Hall is the CEO of Lithtech owners, Monolith A core part of his job is making sure future games based on its Lithtech engine are titles that do the engine justice, "Monolith has learned many lessons from the past and has been working very hard to make sure that all of its products are completely bug free no matter what" Followers of Blood 2 will be interested at Hall addressing the big problems the game had, and the questions people had about Monolith support for it. Everyone who has played Blood 2 will be well aware of the buggy nature of the game, and the apparent lack of support and patches from the games publishers and developers. Blood 2 suffered with lack of support, Hall says, "It bothers us that Blood 2 happened the way it did, but the bottom line is that GT Interactive controlled whether additional work and support got done on Blood 2 or not. This concept is something that eludes most gamers." When further questioned about the Blood 2 fiasco, Hall gives the reasons for a bad end product as, "Over ambitious game design, unchecked team communication with end-users (i.e. a lot of promises got made by Blood 2 team members that shouldn't have been made), severe feature creep (GT wanted us to add stuff), etc." Read the full conversation with Monolith's CEO, Jason Hall and get the full scoop!
Diakatana was the most talked about game in PC games history. From the moment Quake co-founder John Romero got his hands on massive amounts of Venture Capital to form his new company, to the numerous times the game slipped and missed deadlines. There were few games spoken about more, be the reasons good or bad. When the game finally came earlier this year, the reviews were mixed to say the least. Planet Daikatana have gotten the first actual interview with Romero since the games release. Among the topic covered is one of the many reasons Daikatana has received criticism, its selection of weapons, and the balance of those weapons. The big weapons tend to do more damage to the person firing the weapon than anyone else, "This is a tried-and-true method to weapon balancing -- the tougher the weapon, the more ammo and time it should take to fire. If you change this formula, your game becomes too easy". Romero fans and critics alike should read the interview and get an insight into a much talked about community figure.
In what is looking like an Olympic 1500 meters race with all the jostling and maneuvering the race to buy Eidos looks set to have moved to another level. There are several big names in the race to sign the ailing games giant. Infogrames continues to look like the frontrunner in the race, despite its own reported financial troubles. The Financial Times reports the French software publisher is pressing ahead with plans to acquire the parent firm of Lara Croft and publishers of Championship Manager, saying a $1.06 billion dollar offer has reached the final stage of talks and could be completed within weeks (though talks could still fall through over several issues). It has been reported across the internet that UbiSoft has apparently entered the bidding, though that company's bid has not been discovered. The company refuses to confirm such a bit at this time. Should Infogrames' bid be accepted, there would more than likely be some big shake-ups in the Eidos front office, according to the Financial Times. Charles Cornwall, Eidos chief executive and founder, is not expected to stay with the merged company. Instead, Eidos' head of development, Jeremy Heath-Smith, would assume the office's top spot. Heath-Smith was awarded a $6 million bonus in December, despite a $47 million loss by the company.
Trenches preview Tribes 2 Gamespot US review Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord GameProWorld review Earth 2150 VoodooExtreme review Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption Gamespy preview Sanity - Aiken's Artifact Gamespy also preview The Time Machine Avault review Motocross Madness 2 PC Games Central review Deus Ex Head-2-Head review Dark Reign 2 Rpov review Daikatana
Exxtreme3D have a review of the weird Logitech Wingman Force Feedback Mouse XtremeNetwork have a review of the powerful looking Logitech SoundMan X2 Speakers NetKills have a review of the ASUS AGP-V7700 NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS 32mb DDR graphics monster. GotApex review Absolute MultiMedia Outrageous GeForce 2 GTS Display Adapter Anandtech have a roundup of the best of the best in NVIDIA GeForce 2 GTS cards. SystemLogic have updated their weekly their CPU Price watch TweakTown have posted a Athlon / Tbird Overclocking Guide
One of the hot topics in the world of on-line games in recient times surrounds Valve's desision to test the netcode for Team Fortress 2 with the latest Half Life patch. Half Life, and its various modifacications is by some way indeed the biggest game in the internet. Even on an average night the Team Fortress 1.5 and Counter Strike mods combined have more players playing than most other games combined. The fact that everyone knew this, and players generally play for several hours at a time, on every platform, with every type of net connection gives Valve a perfect testing platform for their next title. GameSurge have sat down with Yahn Bernier, senior software engineer, and mister netcode at Valve. There have been 100's of posts in bulletin boards, and several high profile editorals on big gaming sites on the subject of the netcode. Some people think that it has spoiled the fun, and just plain 'broke' Half Life. The industry and the community would not be what is is without the other people who think the netcode is the best thing since sliced bread. One of the most hotly contested debates is that the new netcode only caters to high-ping, slower players, while causing low-ping players to have a disadvantage, Yahn responds, "when a high pinger fires, lag compensation might move a low pinger backward in time and let that player be hit where he or she otherwise wouldn't have been hit. However, the much more likely scenario is that the low pinger will see the high pinger, press fire, and his or her fire message will get to the server well ahead of the high pinger." In a debate set to run and run, its well worth getting up to speed on the issues by checking out what valve have to say.
For all the talk of graphics cards and processors these days you tend to forget the dear old sound card. Its very easy to get thrown into a pile of talk about Full Screen Anti Aliasing and Texture mapping, and how many polygons it can process, or what its stats for floating point calculations are. A factor that can be easily forgotten in the games world is the place of sound. Its no mistake that when I see some get their head chopped off in the movie Gladiator I got this urge to shout 'Headshot!', like they do in Unreal Tournament. Just like in the movies, sound is something that can be forgotten, but if it is done badly it will have people staying away in droves. Today GameSpy have had a chat with Anvil Chorus about working for Weapons Factory Software and about the world of sound in games. Anvil began working with games by working in the MOD community. He did the sound for the popular Weapons Factory mod for Quake 2. Its an interesting insight into the world of making music, and indeed making music for games, and tells us interesting story's and interesting lessons, "Communicate with your peers[sic]. Find out what they think works best. It will always be "the other persons'" taste that you want to cater to. If it appeals to them and to you, then you have reached goal number 1"
It never ceases to amaze me how people become celebrities in this industry, just because they work on a high profile project, or for a high profile company. A project with good PR can both make the project a success, but ensure the success of the people working on it. Often the level of their skill is not a question. This train of thought can be tracked to people who work for iD software. I know who Robert Duffy is, I know what he does, only because he works for iD. I don't like most of the projects he has worked on, yet I still would see him as a big figure in the Games Industry. GameSpy have a chat with mister Duffy today that tackles all manner of subjects, none of which touching what Duffy or iD are up to these days, or the whole Paul Steed issue. Robert Duffy got a job in iD software mainly as a result of the QERadiant level editor he made for Quake 2. Everyone I know who has even a passing interest in level editing has no time for QERadiant, due mainly for the massive learning curve involved in doing anything with it, Duffy says, "It gets knocked around a bit because of the learning curve, but it quite simply provides the most functionality available for level design work". A large part of the rest of the interview is what games Duffy plays, and what Car he drives, but none the less it is an insight into a high profile figure in the industry.
IGN PC review Dark Reign 2 3DGameGear review Deus Ex FiringSquad review the Voyager: Elite Force Demo IGN PC review Icewind Dale XS Reality review Diablo 2 GameSpot (US) also have a review of Diablo 2 GameSpot UK preview Frogger 2 DailyRadar preview Black and White DailyRadar preview Arcanum BetaBites preview Shattered Galaxy
LittleWhiteDog review the mother of CD products the Creative Labs 5.2 GIG DVD RAM ClubOverclocker review a new contender for the title 'king of water cooling', the Blizzard CPU Intercooler AthlonOC review the Epox EP-7kxa Motherboard
Flight simulation games come in all types, from the 'fly about and do nothing' of MS Flight Sim to the Falcon 4's of this world. There never seems to be enough of the action oriented flight simulation games, where you get to enjoy the flying bit, but which also gives you big guns to boot!. Crimson Skies is one such title. Crimson Skies is a high-flying action adventure game in development by Zipper Interactive and Microsoft. GA-Source goes in-depth with Creative Director Jordan Weisman to find out more. The game is in the style of such classics as the original Wing Commander games and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffa. Its a roller coaster ride of a game which takes you all over the place in all more ways than one, "You start in the newly reformed Kingdom of Hawaii, then travel to the country of Pacifica near Seattle, then to the Nation of Hollywood, then up to the pirate town of Sky Haven up in the Rockies, and finally to the skyscrapers of Manhattan in the Empire State". If you have a thing for flight sims, its worth a read.
The UK's biggest broadcaster the BBC have recently announced its latest and greatest gameshow, 'Bleeding Thumbs'. Rumored to be in the planning stages some weeks ago the show will feature celebrities fighting it out in time honored gamer fashion -- in first-person shooter deathmatch. The new show will feature five rounds of competition, including new games and retro gaming sections besides the celebrity deathmatch finale. The BBC have previously stated that the deathmatch sections will not feature realistic weaponry, but they will probably feature realistic celebrity skins. The producer of the show, Jon Riley said : "Computer gaming has grown to be one of the UK's biggest leisure activities and makes for a brilliant spectator sport. This is the show for people who think with their thumbs".
At one stage or another we all have an idea for a hot new game, the next big thing. Most people who hang about on line have been part of a mod team, or have set about late at night talking about how they would make this game better, or going into minute detail about how a feature is crap, and ruins a games balance. Daily Radar have an article about how you go about taking it a step farther and getting your great idea made it into a game, and getting it published. They also go into how a producer will help you do this. The producer is the person who shapes the game, "The internal producer is much closer to the project, overseeing its day-to-day development, making sure schedules are on track and that all the different teams communicate with each other". Another good example is Jonathan Knight, an executive producer at Activision currently working on Return to Castle Wolfenstein who says, "I do everything from signing checks, to helping shape the design, to taking screenshots, to faxing and Xeroxing. Producers are asked to take responsibility for a project, soup to nuts, and they take that responsibility seriously. The buck stops here." The second part of the article deals with how to go about getting an game published, and will be of great interest to potential John Carmacks and the future Jim Molenieux's out there. The insights the article gives are very interesting, "Will Wright admitted that it wasn't easy getting The Sims made, despite the success of his previous games. He had to program an early version of the game to give publishers an idea of what it would be like." If you have even a vague interest in ogames you should check it out.
A couple of months ago the gaming world exploded with an apparent war inside id Software with one side trying to get control of the company, and the other resisting, and eventually failing. One of the casualties of that war was modeler and 3D artist Paul Steed. Stomped get hold of Paul and had a chat about what his plans are, his thoughts on id and Doom 3. Right now Paul is contracting, with another ex-id person, American McGee, on the warped third person shooter Alice, a title that has been turning heads for a few months now. Post Alice, Paul makes no secret that he plans to form his own games company, "Alice is my main focus because I'm very impressed with where American and Rogue have gone with it, but there are other things as well". Paul hits the nail on the head on the Doom 3 issue, "Can anything as huge as DOOM be ever re-created? I mean, I remember when people found out I made computer games for a living they'd invariably say something like, "You make computer games? Like DOOM?" So at one point computer games and 'DOOM' are synonymous in the majority of the public's eye" Paul also reveals some information about how he plans his company to work, "I think I have good ideas. I treat everything very artistically and very vision oriented so that focus and coherence is maintained on the project. I think a lot of game developers don't do that." Its a great interview, which ends with Paul answering the burning question about how he feels to be out of id, "it's their loss".
The game that came from nowhere to take over the world only gets bigger, fresh from his 1000+ person chat with Gameplay Counter Strike development team member Cliffe had a chat with the folks at GibMe. Its quite a concise interview, but ut still hits on some interesting subjects. Right into the thorny issue of Valves new net code, and the opinion of some people that it spoils the latest release of CS 6.6, "This was a *huge* overhaul of code, so much was changed. It's almost like starting over, like shipping the game anew. So there are bound to be bugs. And those bugs will be worked out." On the subject of a new release of the never ending beta test stage Cliffe says, "At this point the focus is just to fix bugs that have cropped up in 6.5 and 6.6. But I can say expect something pretty cool on the weapons front." That is indeed interesting, what could he be doing with the weapons, a shoulder mounted rocket launcher maybe, or even a much needed rail gun :)
It's interesting how a games company goes about making its money, the routes and angles it takes to make that few quid to get that new Ferrari you've been looking at. One of the big ways, that Joe Punter on the street would not realize, that letting someone else use, or licensing your game engine. The engine is the core code behind the game. Its interesting to hear that id Software make more money out of their engine licensing than they do from making actual games, licensing a game engine is by no means cheap! Some of the top games on the market use the engines from different games, Half Life uses a cross between the Quake 1 and Quake 2 engines, Soldier of Fortune uses the Quake 2 engine. 3D Action Planet have an article on the new kid on the block, and the various games using the Unreal/Unreal Tournament engine. The big name using the UT engine is Duke Nukem Forever, "People drool over Duke Nukem Forever for good reasons. As the screenshots show, the game will feature incredibly realistic player models, slick, creative and expansive locales, innovative enemies (what the hell do those tentacles do?), and near photo-realism". Little is known of this title, bar mere morsels that have been released, but Dukes pulling power ensures its star appeal none the less. Game developers proved to the world how serious they were by poaching Brandon Reinhart from Epic, original makers of the UT engine. Another of the much awaited games that shall be utilizing the Unreal Tournament engine is Clive Barker's The Undying, I wont waste too much of your time, suffice to say the game is being done by very good people, and it's got the modern day master of horror Clive Barkers name in the title, the story goes like this, "Undying will feature plenty of action and combat, but the folks creating it tell us that there will be a lot of sneaking and skulking around as well, often with the aid of the game's passive and defensive spells. Sometimes you just don't want to get into a fight, and that can often take more skill than you'd think (just ask any Thief player)." It's an interesting preview of the big name games that we will see over the next 12 months and well worth your time.
It is well documented about how much I loved the original Tribes , and indeed about how anxiously I await Tribes 2. It looks to be every bit a worthy successor to the original classic. The lucky lads over at Tribes 2 Players got to have a sit down with Mark Frohnmayer, Lead Programmer on the TRIBES 2 Dev Team. They speak about network code, one of the original tribes strongest features, and the making and breaking of a game like Tribes 2. The Tribes 2 network code has been rewritten from the ground up, Mark goes into some of the changes, "Most of the improvements deal with server-side performance issues - threw in some lookup tables here, a hash there, and maybe a linked list or two for good measure". He continues with some excellent news of them resolving one of Tribes 1's biggest problem, "Bandwidth-wise, probably the biggest change is the cut in client to server bandwidth. TRIBES 1 performed well in most cases, but could get into a nasty condition where (with high packet loss) the client could start to flood the connection, causing the game to become pretty unplayable. TRIBES 2's performance should be much better in those circumstances." Mark ends with, "Actually there are a number of games out now that have really great net code. Still I think our focus on multiplayer and experience in the genre will give us somewhat of an advantage", the article is essential reading for all you fans of team based games.
Processors come think and fast these days, every few months we can one that's faster, or bigger, or one with 'go faster stripes'. No sooner had AMD finished gloating about their 1ghz Athlon and we started hearing about this Duron, the chip that is supposed to knock the celery for six. Intel come back with the wonderfully titles Pentium 4, let alone the current battle for you wallet, raging as I type The folks at Gotapex are as confused as you and I about this processor battle and have posted a Guide to Deciding Which processor Solution is Right for You. Of course this is not as straight forward as it may seem. Both AMD and Intel are guilty of releasing a bundle of products that seem to be almost identical, with minor changes, lets take the Intel Pentium 3 for example, "You see there are three versions of the 550MHz Pentium 3. The first one out has 512KB of L2 Cache running at 1/2 the speed of the processor. The second out the gate was the 550E SECC2. SECC2 is an acronym for Singe Edge Contact Connector, and the 2 represents the use of the new style SECC packaging. This chip fits in Slot 1 motherboards, has 256KB of on die L2 cache running at the full speed of the processors core, and is based on the .18um Coppermine chip. The core die shrink from .25um on the original Pentium 3 550MHz to the .18um of the Coppermine based Pentium 550 chips, means that the Coppermine 550 will require less voltage, 1.65 compared to 2.0, thereby allowing the processor to run much cooler." Now, before you run out and get yourselves a P3, AMD have jargon to beat the band aswell, but AMD have a problem, "The speed of the Athlon's cache for processors in excess of 750MHz drops down to 2/5 of the processors core speed. While it is true that the robust 512KB may out pace a 256KB full speed cache in certain office applications, for gaming give me the full speed cache any day." At the end of the day, neither processor is perfect and each person should buy based on their own requirements, this article is more than a bit of help in that decision making process.
Hexus have updated their WinME review Anandtech have a guide to *gulp* Overclocking the GeForce2 MX 3D Spotlight have a 3dfx Voodoo 4/5 tweak guide SavageNews have a post talking about a new video card with 2 or 4 Savage4 chips
VoodooExtreme preview Echelon Full-On 3D review Daikatana CorpNews review StarLancer Electric Games review the wonderful MDK2 IGN PC preview the much awaited Icewind Dale RPG Planet give us their first impressions of Diablo II FiringSquad also give us their first impressions of Diablo II GameSpy reviews Dark Reign 2 JunkExtreme previews Return To Castle Wolfenstein FragPipe reviews Freespace 2 Telefragged reviews Vampire : The Masquerade
The Ultima Online 2 homepage posted
3DGN review the impressive looking Labtec LCS-2514 Surround Speakers Our friends at Flapchip review the IWILL VD 133PL Motherboard JSI Hardware review the Globalwin FKP32 Heatsink PC Stats review the ever popular Everglide Large Attack Mouse Pad IamNotAGeek have a AOpen HX08 Case Review Sharkyextreme review the much talked about 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 GameCentre roundup the best 1ghz systems
PC Games-Central have a Vampire The Masquerade: Redemption review Adrenaline Vault review Super Hornet F/A-18E Head-2-Head review Shogun: Total War FPS Centre have a preview of Serious Sam NeoSeeker review MDK2 IGN PC review 10 Six GameSpot USA posts its first impressions of Icewind Dale GamesExtreme review Ground Control CD Mag review the impressive Deus EX
The list of mergers and acquisions in the computer games world is never ending, every day I seem to be reporting someone bought or wants to buy someone else. Well today's story is that GameSpy is reporting that Infogrames Inc., formerly GT Interactive, is definitely in an acquisition mode, as the ever hungry Frenchmen have acquired Paradigm Entertainment, makers of popular Nintendo 64 titles. Infogrames officials said the company made the move because it is interested in acquiring a developer for the next generation console systems, specifically PS2, X-box, and Dolphin. For all their agressive buying, and moving and shakeing all is not well at Infogrames. Earlier this week they announced a one-for-five stock split that many analysts view as countermeasures and counter productive. As a direct result their stock price went up for a short while, then promptly dropped by almost 50% over two days. They are in very real danger of not meeting requirements set forth by Nasdaq to keep it listed on the exchange. GameSpy also report that Infogrames have had several meeting with the 'For Sale' developer Eidos. Word is that they are not officially out of the running, according to sources close to the talks, even though UbiSoft seems to have the inside track (as reported here on Eurogamer this week!). In yet more industry news, analysts are saying that Microsoft has been talking with Square and Capcom about the possibility of partnering in Japan. Insiders say that Microsoft could strike a deal with a few Japanese game publishers or acquire one of them outright.
If you ask many gamers what game currently in development they would love to get their hands on you are bound to get hundreds of answers, but I guarantee that one answer that will crop up again and again is Peter Molyneux's Black and White. Those lucky people at Gameplay have bagged a world first play test of the much awaited game. We now know more about the game than ever, such as the 'guides' that lead you through the early levels and help you, "I got going again, and as I started two little helpers turned up - an old bearded man and a mischievous little devil, my guides throughout the game.". They continue with more information about the game, "During the first level you're given the choice of an animal to train and keep throughout the game." The more I hear about this game the more I am certain that it will be a winner, take this for example, "I tried to balance my good acts with bad and thus create a fair and honest world. I soon realized that this is the essential crux of the game. I spent time being good and bad to the world and good and bad to my creature, because that is my nature. I like balance". I think you own it to yourself to check this game out!