Doom is still THE game. QuakeWorld players, and indeed hardcore fans of every game will tell you they, and the game they play is the best. But Doom was the first, first person shooter to break into big markets. It is the game that made iD software what it is today, and without it, we would never have seen a Quake series. Doom was the first game with real, playable network code. I actually was playing doom 2 at a lan a few weeks ago, and it was more fun that most games that gets thrown at shelves these days. Doom has its hardcore fans, just like every game. People who played it, people who helped make TC's for it, or indeed people who still play with the source code. Doomworld has an interview with some of those people about what they think, Doom level designers, webmasters, and interestingly Doom co-creator and co-author John Romero. They speak about what pitfalls iD should avoid, what the game could be like and just handy hints that could be taken into account in making the game. I admit to being a cynic, but its funny reading Romero's comments as they are all basically to follow directly on from his Doom, and not to change much at all, for example on the subject of the music in the game, "I would stay away from rock and industrial. I would keep it very moody and more like a movie soundtrack, with a nice variety of mood types, just like the original DOOM". Its an interesting read on what will be a constant topic of conversation for the next year or so until we see the game.
In another big move today, CNET Networks has agreed to acquire Ziff-Davis (CNET) for $1.6 billion in stock, The Wall Street Journal reported in Wednesday's electronic edition. Under terms of the deal, CNET will exchange 0.59 of a share for each of Ziff-Davis' 85 million shares, the newspaper reported. Its weird that the world is getting more and more like the way people like Geroge Orwell predicted, with 3 or 4 big corporations doing everything from games to kitchen knives. Very soon there will only been 3 or 4 companies that own big entertainment outlets for people, from AOL/TimeWarner to everyone's favorite monopoly, Microsoft. Other industries seem to be following suit. Of big intrest to gamers is that the acquisition means that both GameSpot and Gamecenter, two of the largest gaming sites on the net, will be owned by the same parent. No word on how that will impact either gaming site, nor are there details yet on any other changes this may provoke.
I got this mail and wondered where to put it in the site. We get mails like this all the time and normally don't even cover them. But it so happened that I have been spending all my games playing time over the last while replaying old games that I loved, from the original Command and Conquer to Sensible Soccer. I am stuck in Command and Conquer for ages, and cannot finish a level no matter what I do. Low and behold this iste lands in my mailbox, and I blew up that pesky church at about 2 am this morning! I had a look around the site, and thought of games that I had played since Doom through Lemmings, to Counter Strike and the games of today. Every game I thought of is there. If there are no cheats for the game it tells you common sense tactics, or even has save game files for you to download so you can play the game from midgame. Simple fact is this, which is on the top of their site, "10982 files for 3811 PC games". Admit it or not, we all cheat now and again, and therefore we all should bookmark this site, which is the best of its kind I have seen in some time.
A lot of people like me use Linux a lot during the day, and see that the more you know about it the more you can earn, just based on being a sandal wearing geek! A lot of those same people have thought about using Linux at home, as their gaming platform. I know UT runs sweet as pie on Linux, and iD have ported their stuff for ages. The problem is that apart from a few exceptions like the above you seem to be stuck with games like GL Minesweeper and second rate tetris clones. There is of course a few other issues, like the way Linux is a pain to look after, with its steep learning curve. Those clever chappies at GameSpy have put Windows and Linux side by side and decided to have a look at which is better for Joe Average gamer. While by no means the definitive article, it is a good guideline by which to judge the two side by side. For example the article says that Windows is far simpler to use, but that the user-to-user support in Linux is far and away better than in Windows. An interesting read for the sandal wearer and normal people aswell.
Technical stuff like overclocking normally resides in the tech news here in Eurogamer, but given the popularity of this subject I thought the masses would be interested. These days it appears that gamers judge processors on a number of factors, how good it is at crunching numbers and all the normal things of course. It seems though the most important thing is the how easy the processor will be to overclock. If you have a Intel P3 600, chances are that by various ways and means you can get that to run like a P3 700, or faster. It's proven to work across the world, proven by hundreds of thousands of people and gamers. The process is called Over Clocking. It is risky, and you risk over heating your processor, and the damage that would cause. You have to take drastic measures to ensure total safety. As the article says, "CPU's normally generate a controllable amount of heat, but overclocking increases the heat generated by the CPU and it can get out of hand, eventually toasting the CPU". Some people go to great lengths to keep their CPU's as cool as possible, "There are allot of other ways you can cool your CPU (some of them are just plain crazy, like submerging your motherboard in a non-conductive liquid, or using liquid nitrogen)". If you want to read about how you can squeeze that last mhz out of your processor, read the article.
Game-GUru previews American McGee's Alice PlayNow review Microsoft's Allegiance 3D GamingDaily preview Airfix Dogfighter GameZone review Beach Head 2000 Gameraiders review Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun - Firestorm The Avault review Dark Reign 2 3D Gaming review Deus Ex MediaJunkies review Diablo 2 Daily Radar review IceWind Dale Well-Rounded review the wonderful MDK2 SportPlanet preview Nascar 4 3DActionPlanet preview Titanium Angels GamesFirst review StarLancer PlayNow review Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption
Hardcoreware have an intresting roundup of of whos hot and whos not in the world of DSL and Cable modems Exxtreme3D review the Logitech Wingman Extreme Gamepad NextDimensionHW review the 3DCOOL.COM Tornado 1000 case 3D GPU have a look at the process involved in benchmarking hardware, and how good or bad it can be The Register has confirmed that Intel is to drop its prices yet again. HardwareCentral review the Soyo SY-6BA+100 motherboard The Duke of URL review the 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500
As anticipated by MCV, Empire has announced its floatation on the Stock Exchange, achieving a capitalisation of £35.1m. The issue of some 8,333,333 ordinary shares at a price of 60p raised £5m, with trading in the firm¹s stock due to commence trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on July 25th. Cash from the listing will enable the firm to increase its licence portfolio which already includes England cricket captain Nasser Hussain and cult 70s cop pairing Starsky and Hutch. Chief executive Ian Higgins said the money from the investment would also help fund increasingly expensive development costs. He explained: "The lacing and admission to AIM will enhance our profile with customers and the proceeds will be used to invest in development to maximise the opportunities available to us in the games software market, particularly with the advent of next generation consoles."
As one of the first big time British game developers the Bitmap Brothers have had their hits and misses. Games like Z, The Chaos Engine and the mighty Speedball to name a few are to the forefront of any conversation about classic games. For the last while we have not seen or herd a shocking amount about them though, that was until we herd that they had been working on sequels to both Speedball and Z. The 3D real time strategy that shall be known as Z2 has been in development a massive 4 years. Z2 is a logical progression from Z and sticks to the original formula: a strategic arcade game that is immediate and accessible. The original game, Z was set within the Z universe, whereas Z2 defines that same universe. The territory model from the original is still used but has evolved into a resource model for the sequel. The Adrenaline Vault asked the Bitmap Brothers about the focus of Z2, weather it will be on the action or strategic aspects the game, "People will command units using an arcade approach, but will also need to use the correct strategies to ensure their infrastructure can support their campaign and allow them to monopolize the map. Z2 is a war game; real-time decisions generate real-time consequences."
I don't know about the rest of you but I like to change my computer as often as my outgoings allow me too. I change it as often as twice a year. For a long time I just bought Dell or Gateway, these days though I'm into buying the bits myself and doing a bit of over clocking. I always wonder what mega machine must the likes of John Carmack or Peter Molyneux use to make their masterpieces. Do they have the Quad Zeon action, or would they just have 4 of 5 computers of all different specs lying about the office. The Folks at GameSpy must have wondered about the same thing, as they have begun a massive series looking at top producers, programmers and other top people and asking them what system they use. Everyone from John Romero of ION to Gabe Newell, of Valve and several in between are put on the spot. The trend seems to be to upgrade as often as possible and to have two machines at least, one mega high spec one, and another as close to the recommended spec as you can get it.
It seems to me that almost every first person shooter player claims to have played Doom since the initial demo. Every single one of them played the Quake test. They are a strange breed indeed. The need to be the best, to hang around on IRC with the right crowd. For many people the games they obsess over are as strange as the people that play them. The best in modern day first person shooters either come from Epic Games, with its Unreal game or iD Software with the mighty Doom and these days Quake. First person shooters have changed a lot in the 10 years they have been about. In many ways they are the games that have been at the cutting edge of the games industry for many years, the technology behind them is moving at an incredible rate. There always seems to be a hot rivalry, be that Doom and Rise of the Triad, or Duke and Quake, and then Quake 2 and Unreal. It is these rivalrys that have driven people on to make better games. Today, 3D Action Planet have a look at the history of the FPS and the stuff that makes them go.
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BigKid has gotten their hands on a few new Myst 3: Exile shots JackBox has some new shots of the impressive Aquarius RPGGamer have new screenshots of Arcatera Ga-Arena have some amazing new shots of the FSAA enhanced Search & Rescue 2 GameSpy have posted some new shots of I'm Going In (better known as Project IGI outside of America)
The steady stream of roomers surrounding the Eidos acquisition continues. According to trade site CTW, Eidos has said it is not interested in selling out to any competitor. The people at CTW were told that the game publisher was forced to issue a statement to the London Exchange because of the extreme change in their share price. A spokesman for Eidos said, "Approaches to Eidos are common, and the latest does not indicate a sale is imminent". If an offer was made to Eidos, it would need to be presented to the shareholders for consent, CTW was told. The Financial Times has reported that Infogrames is pressing ahead with plans to acquire the UK-based computer games group and that discussions could be completed this month. Eidos announced on June 20 that it was in discussions that could lead to its sale following a series of profit warnings that indicate problems adapting to the next generation of gaming platforms.
ION Storm gets a lot of column inches across the net. For a long time they could do nothing right, every single step they took was the wrong one, Daikatana was late, then it was not and it was just a plain and simple not a good game at all. Then we all see the demo of Deus Ex and are stunned it was by the same company. The key factor is that the legendry John Romero, co-founder of ION was in charge of the first one, and not a single bit to do with the second one. Now credit where credit is due, mister Romero is credited as being the inventor of Deathmatch as we know it when he was back in his iD software days. But that was a long time ago, and these days his investors must wonder if their millions are wasted. EvilEd caught up with the hairy man and got a few questions in. The first question a lot of us would ask is that being John Romero must be fun, being one of the most talked about people on the web. The only thing being 90% of the things people say are bad, Romero answers this with a sly stab at a certain sector of the gaming community, "I'm just very disappointed in the negativity that exists in this GAME industry nowadays. I really believe Daikatana is a fun game and it's sad to see people jump all over it as if they were counting on it being the only game they were ever going to play". He continues with a comment that clearly comes from a frustrated and angry man, "but I'm hoping that someday I can get out of this tough creative position and start randomly tearing other people down because it's such a nice, easy job". The rest of the interview goes between dull and infantile, but its worth a quick read.
It is clear to everyone that Microsoft are serious about the XBox. It is also clear that they have aimed it squarely at the PC user, and indeed they want PC Game developers to develop for it, just buying them if necessary. John Carmack of iD Software has put a post up on Slashdot talking about how Microsoft are trying to get into his and his companies good books. It is also clear that Microsoft are trying to get Tim Sweeney and Epic onside, JC says, "At last years CGDC, Tim Sweeny and I had a meeting with Bill Gates about the X-Box. It was not handled well." It appears Microsoft want Tim and John to sit on a "formal advisory board". The purpose of which is to comment and talk about the hardware and OS software of the XBox. As an outsider, and a sceptic, I must say I'm glad that Microsoft are speaking and listening to the people that matter, and not trying to do everything in-house as they sometimes have done. Bill and friends in Redmond will be happy that JC has pinned his colours to the post in no uncertain terms on the issue of who looks to be the best in the console war when he says, "I'm all for the X-Box as a console platform. The graphics hardware is a lot cooler than PS2". There you have it!
Its amazing how successful online role playing games (RPG's) are. The two market leaders EverQuest and Asherons Call ask you to buy full priced software and then pay a monthly fee to play the game. I know of people who have lost actual marriages due to the sheer amount of time playing. You take on the role of a character, and you basically live that character's life. There is now a rush to copy the 2 main games, and various developers are copying the idea in every way they can. The latest in the line of on-line RPG's is Siege of Avalon. Siege of Avalon is more of a serial RPG/novel than a traditional game. The first chapter is free, and because it contains all the main game executable as well as the first chapter, is an 89 MB download. They assure us that the subsequent paid chapters will be smaller. When I asked about the chapter I was pointed to their website, which tells you, "Episodic Game Novels are about the immersion of a progressive story told over time through an engaging interactive gaming environment. Each game "Chapter" is a complete adventure full of story, quests, challenges, and character development. However, when the Chapters are combined they form a larger whole, a complete experience centred around an evolving plot, like Chapters in a Novel." One warning, be prepared as the website is a musical one!
For new people and those not in the know a lot of this talk in gaming these days must be a bit hard to follow. People like me speak of clock cycles and polygons and how great the NV15 is and the jargon continues. A lot of people playing games online are on the home computer, and would not be experts for all that is past, present and future in the world of games, computer and the bits that make up the computer. Daily Radar have spotted this, and done a very good guide to sound and video cards. The article goes through the most common questions about both sound and video cards. Questions like the difference between the 3 SB Live bundles, the difference between A3D and EAX. Given the state of the video card market, every gamer needs to read the video card FAQ, especially if you dont know the difference between DDR and GTS. Its on Daily Radar and worth a look.
Its weird how the games industry throws up its stars. The people it offers up, those that are to become famous. In some companies the lead programmer is the chosen one, others a great modeller or level maker. The extreme case being in ION Storm case, its was the one with the biggest boobs! One of the people who is well known for just plain great games is Peter Molyneux. I can honestly say I have played all his games from Populous on my 386 in 1991 all the way through the great Syndicate and the awe inspiring Magic Carpet. The latter a game 6 years old that looks better than a large amount of games still being made today. Happy Puppy interviews the great man, about his past and his future. There are some great questions, and some even better answers. A great example about how professional Molyneux is comes when he is asked what is the worst design decision he ever made, he comes back in a flash, "The worst design decision I have ever made was putting no fewer that 280 icons into Dungeon Keeper.". Its a good insight into a great man, and well worth a read.
These days there seems to be almost constant chatter about games engines. It seems more and more people spend time talking about the stuff that makes the games work, maybe giving that as much, if not more, attention than the nice graphics or the amazing net code. While this is the case now, it was not always the case, and small players and their engines did not have the success they now seem to be enjoying. The perfect example of this is Monolith, makes of the Lithtech engine. The engine has almost made the company its fortune and also lost the company a fortune on more than one occasion. We first saw Blood, an excellent PC first person shooter, and then for the next 3 years we have seen the odd sub-standard title come and go, but it has been a while since a true AAA title has had a monolith sticker on its box. Both Shogo: Mobile Armor Division and Blood 2 gathered more dust then acclaim. The financial outlook was not rosy, and it continued with the development of its Lithtech engine. The story of the Monolith is more than interesting, and Happy Puppy have an good article about the ups and downs of a high profile development company.
The inevitable first patch of Daikatana has arrived. Its not for the faint hearted, not only is it 43.5 megs in size, ION Storm say it could take about 30 minutes on a normal PC to apply. Those of you actually playing the game are going to loose your save games. The list of things being patched is quite long, in fact, it may have been quicker to list the files that were not being patched! It might be a good idea to read the whole readme first. When you are done you can get the patch from...
It seems every week these days another mega, must play demo gets released. Most of the time you will see that a demo is huge and just wait to get it on a magazine cover CD, or until the next LAN. The last top demo I spent ages downloading and playing was UT, I remember waiting up all night, and then getting the demo early and playing it for 2 days solid. The only other time that has happened was a couple of weeks back when the Deus Ex demo was released. I was a fan of System Shock 2, and by all accounts Deus Ex was System Shock 2 with more FPS and less RPG, which was right down my street. In my opinion Deus Ex has one feature, out of many top features, that makes it stand head and shoulders above all the competition. The feature in question is the ability to tackle problems using a multitude of solutions. In other words freedom of player action, now tie that into the fact that you have to suffer consequences for actions and choices you have the basis for a massive and amazing game. Deus Ex lead designer Harvey Smith said, "We had such a huge problem putting Deus Ex together because it was all on paper...just a concept. A lot of what we tried took a long time to make work as well as it does". Of course these days no one will ever rule out a sequel, the corporate will be getting their 'milk this for all its worth' hat on. It seems the folks at ION have gone a step further, Smith saying openly, "Definitely a Deus Ex 2, plus two or three other projects currently in a numinous stage of preconception". You would think ION are trying to make money quickly to cover a loss on another game or something!
One of the most innovative games of recent times has to be Alien versus Predator. Pitting two of 20th Century Fox's big movie franchises, the Alien from the alien movie series against the Predator of the Predator movie series and of course the customary amazing, virtually indestructible US marine. All this being done in a first person shooter environment. The first game was a sleeping success, it may not have the hype and pomp of Quake, but it has thousands of people playing for hours every night online across the world. Of course, this means that were going to get a sequel. Something that I wondered about with AVP was its total lack of support for mod makers. A game like that just screams mod, more than Half Life and UT and the likes. A good mod will boost sales of a game aswell, as Valve will tell you. The AVP2 people have chosen to use the popular LithTech engine, and support the mod community as much as it can "the Lithtech tools will be available and people will be able to get up to all SORTS of things with those when the game comes out". The game is still a while away yet, but its interesting to hear about their plans at the same time.
In a further step forward today for the 'evil' empire Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5.5. According to Microsoft web developers will be doing cartwheels today as IE 5.5 has made their job much easier, Microsoft say, "Internet Explorer 5.5 will make it faster and easier to create rich, Web-based applications and services". For you and me, the home and casual user, IE 5.5 is a joy because it will "make the Web easier to use, how they automate common tasks and how they provide the flexibility to use the Web any way one wants" Of particular interest to frequent web users Microsoft say, "Internet Explorer 5.5 boosts mean time between failures and fixes stress crashes". The news that IE will crash less is bound to make people want to dance in the streets this evening. I wont deprive to, you owe it to yourself to read this yourself.
If your interests cross space and games there is a very good chance that you played far too many hours of last year last year's strategy game of the year, Homeworld. Even if they don't, chances are that one or two of you played it anyway. You will then, more than likely, be aware that Homeworld: Cataclysm, a full price enhanced update to Homeworld is soon to be on its way to your local games store. Interestingly, Relic, the developers of the original Homeworld are not doing the 'update', Barking Dog Studios are the ones that have been chosen to bless us with that. While Relic are not doing this, word is that they are doing a massive RTS game, to be entitled 'Homeworld 2' (or words to that effect!), although they refuse to confirm this. Homeworld was great, and it made a nominal profit, but not a huge one. I think you can write a large part of that due to the fact that the engine and technology behind Homeworld was not up to scratch as far as a lot of people were concerned, and the control mechanism was simply awful. A large part of a update, with a 6 month development cycle would have to be sorting the engine, and having a look at the control system, Chris Stewart, one of the top dogs at Barking says, "We've added things like large shockwave explosions, holographic projection effects, polygonal accurate collisions, energy shielding effects, new repairing effects, new salvaging effects, external ship construction, lens flares, and dynamic Gouraud shading". All the features relate to 'eye candy', of which Homeworld is unquestionably amazing. But the fundamental game play problems appear to have remained untouched.