Irrational No More
An anonymous reader writes "Cory Banks at Gamers With Jobs has an interesting look at Irrational Games becoming '2K Boston'/'2K Australia' on the eve of the Bioshock release. It's not just about 2K and Irrational, publishers re-naming independents to generic studio names has obviously been going on for a long time. 'Rockstar Games is often credited with the Grand Theft Auto series, but the games were developed by Scottish developer DMA Designs, who were bought by Rockstar in 2002, shortly after GTA III came out, and quickly renamed Rockstar North to build up the brand recognition associated with the mega-blockbuster. Rockstar isn't even a development company at all, but a collection of development studios owned by Take-Two, sharing one brand name. The general public hardly knows the difference.'"Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Big Business Loves the Computer Gaming Industry
David Greenspan writes "Video games are no longer exclusive to a consumer market. Business Week has an article on the new trend of big business willing to pay millions for custom-made games. The casual market has inspired folks in business to realize the broad appeal of games, and some of the possibilities inherent to the medium. As a result, business games are now big business. From the article: 'To reach the billion-dollar mark, the market will have to overcome the common wisdom that games are inherently not serious. A serious games market will also require game developers to shift from the traditional business-to-consumer model to a business-to-business one. Today when major studios and publishers are approached by companies interested in commissioning, say, an employee-training game based on a successful commercial title, more often than not those studios and publishers decline. Even if the interested company is offering $5 million, it's not worth the gamemakers' time to divert
Crowther's Original Adventure Source Code Found
drxenos writes "I don't know how many of you are fans of old-school text adventures (interactive fiction), but Will Crowther's original Fortran source code has been located in a backup of Don Woods's old student account. For fans like me, this is like finding the Holy Grail."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Postal Movie is Really Bad
Chris Kohler and Chris Baker of Wired had the deeply unfortunate task of watching Uwe Boll's latest affront to cinema and gaming: Postal. Kohler has a rundown on the exceedingly strange movie and its premiere. "Boll seems out to shock his audience into stunned disbelief rather than actually entertain them. Early in the movie, we get a long, leisurely shot of a fully nude Foley scratching his reproductive organs. I don't want to sound like I personally was offended or shocked by anything. In fact, the only time I laughed was during the movie's opening sequence, a comedy skit in the cockpit of one of the September 11 airplanes (they're fighting over the number of virgins they get in Paradise). It was legitimately well-paced and funny. But it was followed by 90 minutes of flat jokes." Baker has a much more in-depth look at Boll and the film's background ... if that's something you really want to hear about.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
In-Game Ads Make Products More Appealing
Opposable Thumbs has the gist of a report indicating that in-game ads really are successful at increasing consumer interest in a product. "In a study that began in 2004 and included 600 gamers, gaming-advertisement firm Massive Inc.--a subsidiary of Microsoft--found that in-game advertising increased average brand familiarity as much as 64 percent. The study included two groups: a control group and a test group. Both played Need for Speed: Carbon, but only the test group was exposed to ads from Massive Inc. The study showed a 69 percent increase in automotive purchase consideration between the test and control groups made up of men between 18 and 24. The respondents also indicated that 'quick service restaurant' brands were 'cool' because they were advertised in games ('cool' is left undefined)."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Schwarzenegger's Appeal of CA Games Bill Under Fire
The CA games bill struck down last week to cheers is currently in a holding pattern as Governor Schwarzenegger works on an appeal. His decision to fight the judiciary is coming under fire from several sources. The ESA has mounted a campaign against the initiative through its Videogame Voters Network. Even the media is objecting, with an opinion in the LA Times telling the governor not to bother. "Having made a career off fantasy violence, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an odd advocate for the regulation of violent video games. After all, his face (and, sometimes, his voice) helps to sell a number of electronic kill-fests. Yet there he was last week, pledging to appeal a federal judge's decision against a state law banning the sale of such games to minors."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Shock That Almost Wasn't
According to a senior designer on the 2K Boston (formerly Irrational) game Bioshock a number of publishers turned them down when the company brought the title to their doorstep. "Ken (Levine) spent years pitching the game to publishers but no one was interested, incredible as that seems now. I joined Irrational in December 2004 and my first job was to get a publishing deal for the game (I worked as the Business Development Director for the first six months). I remember pitching the game to one publisher who later told a friend of mine that it was 'just another f-ing PC FPS that's going to sell 250,000 units." Just in case you didn't catch it over the weekend, there's a demo for the game up on Xbox Live. PC owners hold tight: a PC demo is coming, and hopefully before the game launches on the 21st.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
PSP Wi-Fi Impairs Processor Speed
GameDaily reports that the PlayStation Portable has an interesting restriction: its full processor power cannot be utilized at the same time as its WiFi functionality. Therefore, games that are played online cannot make use of the chip's 333mhz processor speed. The original finding from Beyond 3D was confirmed to GameDaily by Sony. Dave Karraker, Sr. Director, Corporate Communications: "The recent firmware upgrade (3.50) that removed the restriction on the PSP's CPU speed enables developers to utilize speeds either lower or higher than the default 222MHz, up to the full 333MHz clock speed. The article is correct that increased CPU speed cannot be used with the PSP's wireless feature." Though speculation is that this is a power-saving decision, there has been no official announcement as to the root cause.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The State of Play - Violence and Videogames
mozen writes "The BBC has an article up discussing the effects of videogames on the mind and how the media are reluctant to talk more openly about violent games. From the article: 'People who've grown up with Mario see him keeping pace, running and jumping along the building tops that streak by on a train journey. At best, it's a pleasant daydream — a happy reminder of a pastime you enjoy, and at worst, it's a mild distraction. Until, that is, you swap the games around. What if my screen dreams aren't of something so patently harmless as Puzzle Quest? What if they're of the stealth kills in Manhunt?'"Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Warhawk PS3 Server Clusters
News for nerds writes "The official Sony Playstation blog posted the game server details of the upcoming online shooter game Warhawk. Interestingly the game's Ranked Dedicated servers, available in addition to user-hosted PS3 servers, are hosted in rack-mounted PS3 clusters."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
DirectX 10 Hardware Is Now Obsolete
ela_gervaise writes "SIGGRAPH 2007 was the stage where Microsoft dropped the bomb, informing gamers that the currently available DirectX 10 hardware will not support the upcoming DirectX 10.1 in Vista SP1. In essence, all current DX10 hardware is now obsolete. But don't get too upset just yet: 'Gamers shouldn't fret too much - 10.1 adds virtually nothing that they will care about and, more to the point, adds almost nothing that developers are likely to care about. The spec revision basically makes a number of things that are optional in DX10 compulsory under the new standard - such as 32-bit floating point filtering, as opposed to the 16-bit current. 4xAA is a compulsory standard to support in 10.1, whereas graphics vendors can pick and choose their anti-aliasing support currently. We suspect that the spec is likely to be ill-received. Not only does it require brand new hardware, immediately creating a minuscule sub-set of DX10 owners, but it also requires Vista SP1, and also requir
Circuit City Subpoenas CheapAss Gamer and DVDTalk
An anonymous reader writes "A poster on DVDTalk and CheapAssGamer has posted the weekly ads for Circuit City, Best Buy, and Target ahead of time for the last few years. A few weeks ago he confirmed that there was an intended price break on the PS3 and stole Sony's thunder from E3. A Circuit City ad was used for confirmation. Circuit City has threatened DVDTalk and CheapAssGamer.com to give them personal information about the poster. CheapAssGamer has hired a lawyer and is going to fight. The story is similar to the Black Friday ads being posted early and FatWallet fighting back."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Epic Opens Counterclaim Against Silicon Knights
You may recall the recent announcement of Silicon Knights' suit against Epic over the Unreal engine. The Escapist reports that Epic is firing back, launching a countersuit against SK and claiming this is all just a ploy to renegotiate their licensing deal. "In its counter-suit, however, Epic says that Silicon Knights was aware that the Unreal Engine 3 was still under development when the licensing deal was signed, and that new features would continue to be added as part of Epic's development of Gears of War. 'SK's lawsuit is a pretense,' [Epic's Mark] Rein said in his statement. 'SK does not have any valid claims against Epic. SK filed suit in a bid to renegotiate the License Agreement, in the hope that Epic will prefer that to the burden of responding to discovery and associated adverse publicity.' Epic is seeking minimum compensatory damages in excess of $650,000, as well as other injunctive relief."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Carmack Shows Off the id Tech 5 Engine
MojoKid writes "id's keynote address from this past week's Quakecon featured John Carmack revealing details of the id tech 5 engine. For more on the subject, GamesIndustry.biz has an interview with id developer Steve Nix about the project. 'I know that when we started working with Splash Damage on Enemy Territory they wanted large, detailed outdoor terrains, and they had some ideas on how to dynamically load the textures and everything, and John [Carmack] said, 'Why don't we try this new approach and make the entire terrain one massive texture, and then just load blocks of texture in dynamically that you can see at any one given time?' So John did the initial work on it, got it up and running, and it just so happened that that work was the basis for what we have in id Tech 5.'"Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Halo 3 Preorders Top 1 Million, Marketing Begins
Gamespot reports that Halo 3 has broken the all-time record for videogame preorders in North America. There are now more than 1 million copies of the title reserved across the continent. "The figure means that the Halo 3 launch could potentially be bigger than that of Halo 2. The then-Xbox-exclusive sold 2.38 million units in the US and Canada in the 24 hours after went on sale on November 16, 2004, generating an estimated $125 million. Halo 3 preorder customers' passion for the game is such that cost is apparently no object. As part of today's announcement, Microsoft warned that, despite its premium price point, the collectible Halo 3: Legendary Edition is on track to sell out before the game launches. The bundle, which includes a miniaturized version of the Master Chief's helmet, retails for $129.99 in the US, but is already sold out at several online retailers in the UK."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
E3 Previews - Lego Star Wars Complete Saga and LittleBigPlanet
Nintendo's success has marked a refocus on games for the sake of fun, and nothing exemplifies this trend better than the Lego Star Wars series. Coming to Wii with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga , the game will be the first to offer the functionality gamers have wanted since they first saw a wiimote: motion-controlled lightsaber battles. It's not dueling, but it is a lot of fun. In the same vein, with even more creativity added in, is Sony's imaginative LittleBigPlanet . With Media Molecule finally opening up a bit of the user based content-creation process to journalists, 1up offers one of the first hands-on with the game's core mechanic: "Fusing various pieces together can forge entirely new objects. Place hinges and wheels on a pile of wooden blocks and suddenly you have a makeshift jalopy rolling through the stage. With a tad more work, you can transform that car into a massive (yet ridiculous) rolling wooden dragon. We didn't have quite enough time (or experience) to bust o
Konami's E3 Event Shows off Silent Hill 5
Konami's press conference was short and sweet, but the focus was on the unveiling of Silent Hill V . There's almost no information about it out yet, though there is a singularly unhelpful trailer available online. From the press release: "Building upon the series trademark foundations of atmosphere, adventure and storytelling, Silent Hill 5 introduces players to a frightening new experience. When confronted by the perverse incarnations of evil that roam Silent Hill and Shepherds Glen, players will be able to utilize an enhanced combat system and execute a number of offensive and defensive maneuvers as they experience every terrifying encounter with the games numerous nightmarish creatures. Players will also have to solve a variety of puzzles as they progress through the highly atmospheric game world, using cues from the environment to unlock Silent Hills darkest secrets. Continuing the series tradition of standout music and sound design, Silent Hill 5 features an original soundtrack
Live GTAIV Demo Dominates Take Two E3 Event
The Take Two event was dominated by a live demonstration of Grand Theft Auto IV . Though little more than jacking a car and a bit of driving was shown, it seemed to make an impression on journalists at the event. Other titles shown at the conference include Civilization Revolutions, Bioshock, and All-Pro Football 2K8. From Joystiq's take on the GTA demo: "Two Rockstar devs take the stage. The music is a placeholder, so they ask that we not mention it. They've never shown a game to an audience this large before it's release. They remind us that it's a work in progress, so we'll be nice. Something tells us it will impress regardless. The titles shares all key players from earlier GTA games. This consistency should ensure that the title meets expectations. With GTAIV, they're looking to "create the defining next generation action adventure." They show Niko starting in Star Juntion (Times Square). This is not a rags to riches story, 'it's a rags to slightly better rags story.'"Rea
Bad Jokes, Good Games At 3rd Party Press Conferences
The big three hardware makers aren't the only ones to offer events with uncomfortable seating this week. Activision was probably the winner of the 'most confusingly run event' award, as their welcome demonstrations of Call of Duty 4, Guitar Hero III, and Tony Hawk's Proving Ground were interspersed with walk-ons by folks like Stan Lee, Slash, and Tony Hawk himself. Jamie Kennedy apparently MC'd, with lackluster results. THQ's event, meanwhile, offered several kinds of sweaty men and uninterested female models, while also showing off new products like Conan, Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon, and De Blob. Throughout, the company pledged heavy support for the Wii. Midway's event was much more to the point, with news of a downloadable Stranglehold demo coming in August, the title Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Prom announced, and a bit about Blacksite Area 51. There will be a demo for that game too.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
SIXAXIS Rumble Version Strongly Suggested
Next Generation is reporting that a rumble-enabled version of the PlayStation 3 SIXAXIS controller may be on the way. At the moment its existence is still theory, but there are some facts to back it up. Immersion has entered into a partnership with a 3rd party company to make accessories for the PS3. Additionally: "Sony reportedly informed Kotaku that rumble is definitely coming to PS3, it's just a matter of when, and this latest press release from Immersion certainly raises the possibility that it could be in September. 'Under the terms of the license, these products will now bear Immersion's Feel The Game TouchSense Technology logo,' reads the press release from which the news emanated."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Questioning the New E3
This year's E3 is substantially different than events of the past, with an easily navigated show floor just one of the signs of the changing times. There are a number of questions up in the air as to what the new face of E3 means. Hideo Kojima (creator of the Metal Gear series) went on record at the Konami conference saying that he considers the new format a waste of time. Game|Life's Chris Kohler has a piece up on this subject, and he says that the new E3 is all about the status quo: "Yes, there were press conferences. But when Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony all decide to only show their 2007 games (for the most part) and hold back on announcing huge news (entirely), you know something's up with the venue. At any rate, gamers hoping for some kind of shift in momentum, no matter which direction, didn't get their wish. This year's E3 is all about maintaining the status quo. Typically, it's been the 'battle of the press conferences' to see who 'wins E3.' This year, everybody sur
The History of Videogame Genres
TobyToadstool writes "Over the last few months, CNET have been quietly running a series of free video documentaries that take a look back at the history of different videogame genres. The Space Bubble show has covered everything from the history of Platformers to the origins of the Beat em up. The gaming sections are interspersed with other tech-related information, but almost every show covers one of the major genres. There's loads of footage from ancient arcade machines, and bizarre trivia, like the fact that some schools are using the Dance Dance Revolution videogame in place of traditional physical education. It's presented by an eccentric British guy floating in a little bubbleship in Space — odd but good."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Rock Band, Casual Games Headline EA's E3 Offering
The EA focus on family-oriented content, casual games, and expanding the gaming audience echoed the statements made at the Nintendo press conference earlier today. Next Generation has an overview of the EA press conference, which highlighted titles like Boogie and EA Playground. The company's cellphone game lineup also received some attention, and will feature properties such as Madden, Harry Potter, and Bejeweled. EA's ultimate goal is to 'lock up the 200 million casual gamers'. The presentation ended with a long Rock Band session; it was revealed that Metallica will play a heavy hand in the game's lineup. Other tracks shipping with the game at launch include: The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," David Bowie's "Suffragette City," Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive," Rush's "Tom Sawyer," Nirvana's "In Bloom," Stone Temple Pilots' "Vaseline," and Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Sony Displays New PSP, Polished Games At E3
Sony had a lot to prove coming into this event, and kicked off on a high note. The PlayStation 2 is still selling units, and the PSP's numbers are apparently up as well. They followed that with the news of a new version of the PlayStation Portable. It's slimmer, lighter, has a longer battery life, and the ability to connect directly to your television to display video and games. There was a good deal of discussion about upcoming PSP titles, some of which are connected to a PSP bundle. Pushing out the PS3, they show several PlayStation Store titles, included the fascinating-looking Echochrome . Moving onto the Home service they discussed cellphone and website tie-ins to the Home service, as well as the ability to launch games from directly within the Home environment. Referencing the price cut, they reveal sales have already gone up. NCSoft, Epic, and Ubisoft are all referenced as heavy backers of the PlayStation, with a tantalizing statement suggesting that user-created mods for Unre
Games Workshop Forbids Warhammer Fan Films
EikeHein writes "Made by dozens of fans over a period of several years and featuring impressive special effects, the feature-length Warhammer 40.000 epic DAMNATUS ranks among the most elaborate fan productions ever made — and yet may never see the light of day. Despite initially giving a go-ahead to the project, UK-based Warhammer franchise owner Games Workshop has come around to forbid distribution of the film just as it was being readied for release. What's more, they've amended their IP Policy to forbid any such projects in the future. At the heart of the matter appears to be Continental European copyright law, which grants the German film makers certain irrevocable rights to their creation which they cannot sign away. Given that the owners of the other two SF mega-franchises, Star Trek and Star Wars, have been able to come to terms with such issues and arguably benefit greatly from the media attention paid to popular fan productions, it would seem that Games Workshop still
Nintendo - "Everyone is a Gamer"
There's nothing that excites gamers like statistics; pie charts and graphs dominated the opening of Nintendo's E3 conference. Fortunately, the event had more than just business to discuss. They unveiled a 'Wii Zapper' housing that allows the Wiimote and Nunchuck to combine into a light gun, which will retail for about twenty bucks. They showed off a number of third party titles to prove the outside-the-company commitment, such as a Soul Calbur and Medal of Honor (which will be playable online) designed specifically for the console. Hardcore gamers were the focus of the early portion of the conference: Smash Brothers Brawl has a launch date of December 3rd in the US. They heavily hyped online play, with several EA titles and a Pokemon-like Dragon Quest title. Mario Kart for Wii will be launching early next year, will be playable online, and will have a Wiimote driving wheel housing packaged with the game. With the hardcore discussed, the attention shifted to mass market games. A new
Microsoft's Conference AfterParty and Call of Duty 4
In the wake of yesterday's Microsoft conference, there are further details and updates on what was discussed. Moore dropped the statistic that there are 7 million users on Xbox Live, and mentioned an August 24th release date for the Elite SKU in Canada and Europe. Call of Duty 4 seemed to be the most popular game of the event, with the single-player demo going over very well and news of a multiplayer Beta coming soon raising the eyebrows of FPS gamers. There was, of course, a party afterwards; Dean Takahashi gives us a sense of the event, while Kotaku has some beer-fueled comments from Peter Moore and Shane Kim. N'Gai Croal has the final word, with a point-by-point breakdown of the event.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft Sued Over Scratched Xbox 360 Discs
Xbm360 writes "Microsoft has been sued by Jorge Brouwer from the US who claims that Xbox 360s scratched his game discs, making them unusable. 'Some gamers speculate that moving the console between vertical and horizontal positions while a disc is spinning inside could cause the scratching. Microsoft warns against such actions with a sticker placed on new consoles, and Brouwer said in the lawsuit that Microsoft's customer service representatives asked him if he had tilted the console. He said he had not. The lawsuit also cites investigations of similar consumer complaints conducted by a Dutch television program, which found that one of nine consoles tested scratched a disc after five hours of play.'"Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Killzone 2 Back in Action
After a bout of radio silence, yesterday Sony unveiled Killzone 2 as it stands today. Those attending the event seem duly impressed. Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell points out that the level of cynicism has been set quite high, after the pre-rendered 2005 trailer prompted a lot of hard feelings among journalists. Just the same, Susan Arendt of Game|Life is of the opinion that the wait was worth it: "Most of the action we saw was basic run-and gun--working your way up and down, through the buildings of the city to reach various checkpoints. We saw a fight with a mini-boss that was relatively unremarkable, but it did at least end with a fairly satisfying 'boom.' The level culminated with the destruction of an arc weapon--basically an antenna that draws electricity from lightning and releases it to destroy troops ... Killzone 2 is loud, dirty, and violently elegant. If you have a PS3, you're going to want this game. If you don't have a PS3 you might have to figure out how you're going to g
Microsoft's E3 Conference Displays Company Confidence
The tone from Microsoft tonight was one of celebration and anticipation, as they ran down their successes since the 360 launched and hyped their lineup between now and the end of the year. Peter Moore framed the discussing by recalling the blockbuster holiday season of 2004, which was driven by the Grand Theft Auto, Madden, and Halo franchises. Moore stated that 'the only place to play all three games' this year is the 360. In addition to showing off other heavyweight titles like Mass Effect (which is due in November), the company had a few new announcements: They'll be releasing a version of the movie trivia game Scene-It with a quartet of special controllers, for a standard game price. They've partnered with Walt Disney and its associated companies to bring their family of movies to the Xbox Live service, with many titles already available tonight. CliffyB officially revealed Gears of War for the PC; it'll have additional content as well as co-op gaming via Live for Windows. Res
Halo, Nothing But Halo
The Halo 3 Beta has been in the news just a bit lately, and with it the Halo franchise is again looming large in other formats. Director Peter Jackson is speculating that the release of the game this September may refocus attention on the movie, stalled as it has been since October of last year. Jackson still wants to make it, but only with Neill Blomkamp directing. The Halo comic, meanwhile, has been confirmed as an ongoing series. The comic will consist of several mini-series runs, with future adventures possibly featuring the return of Brian Michael Bendis (the mind behind the first series). As for the game itself, Beta code has uncovered several game achievements that will be earnable after launch. Trying to calm fans somehow disappointed with the Beta's graphics, Bungie's Frank O'Connor assures us the shipped game will look better. And finally for a broader view of the game N'Gai Croal and Stephen Totilo are at it again, dissecting the Beta experience with witty correspondence
Wii's Longevity, Competition Questioned
Gamasutra reports that, despite the Wii's breakaway sales success, some analysts are skeptical of the Wii's staying power. Other analysts are, of course, pointing out that many of the 'hardcore' titles are expected later this year. "[They] not[ed] that 31% of Wii owners surveyed in March said they expected to play the Wii more often a year from now, compared to 21% of Xbox 360 owners." At the same time, Nintendo of America's George Harrison is questioning the staying power of Sony and Microsoft. According to Harrison, the two larger companies 'lack the DNA' to move with the industry, and keep with the the demand for casual, more family-friendly titles. "'They're really good at reaching a certain customer, and have a real difficulty understanding how we succeed with the customers that we have,' said the senior vice president of marketing and communications. With the sales of Wii and DS hardware crushing the competition in the US, Harrison is confident that Nintendo could take
Microsoft's Multitouch Coffee Table Display
longacre writes "Popular Mechanics takes the Microsoft Surface system for a hands-on video test drive. To be announced at today's D5 conference, the coffee-table-esqe device allows manipulation from multiple touch points, while infrared, WiFi and Bluetooth team up to allow wireless transfers between devices placed on top of it, such as cameras and cell phones. Expected to launch before the end of the year in the $5,000-$10,000 range, the devices might not make their way under many Christmas trees, but will find the insides of Starwood hotels, Harrah's casinos and T-Mobile shops."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
EVE Online Scandal Deliberate Frame-Job?
Last Friday, we discussed serious allegations leveled against CCP by players of the game. The comments on the discussion were lively, and pointed. Perhaps a bit too pointed, as CCP's internal affairs investigation claims that a plot to smear the company with false accusations over the long holiday weekend was behind the flurry of online activity. "The objective of this scheme was to permanently paint CCP as a biased and corrupt company that favors a select group of players over the rest of our community. In this particular case, instead of receiving notification of a possible problem and sufficient time to examine and address it, we faced a coordinated and hostile attack executed on our forums, Digg, Wikipedia, Slashdot, and other outlets at the beginning of a three-day weekend. We believe this speaks volumes of the intention of the person(s) responsible for orchestrating this scheme. Verification of this can be readily found on the forums of the people responsible--or at least could,
RPG Devs Should Beware MMOGs
CVG is reporting on comments made by Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart. In an interview with the site, he points out that traditional PC RPG developers are in danger of permanently losing out to the developers of Massively Multiplayer Online Games. "He believes it's key that developers of non-MMO RPGs look closely at what the genre offers over MMORPGs to ensure the RPG genre doesn't lose out to the increasingly popular massively multiplayer online world. 'I think those of us that make non-MMO RPGs need to look at what a single-player/small multiplayer RPG can do that MMOs can't and spend our time and effort on those things', Urquhart said. "Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Ask Turbine's Jeff Anderson About LOTRO
Last month, Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar went live in what was arguably the most well-received launch for a Massively Multiplayer game since World of Warcraft. The game soared to the top of the retail charts, and has been a breath of fresh air for gamers looking to get a taste of something just a little bit different and a little bit hobbity. Today, you have the chance to ask Turbine's CEO Jeff Anderson questions about the process of creating the game, the Tolkien license, and new content we'll see in Middle Earth in the coming weeks and months. One question per comment, please. We'll take the best of the lot and put them to Mr. Anderson in a phone interview later this week. We'll post his responses as soon as we can, so make sure to get your question in today if you want it to show up in his response.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Illinois Raids Welfare for Videogame Legislation
jcgam69 writes "Recent hearings revealed that the State of Illinois spent $1 million defending their unconstitutional video games legislation. The story gets even worse when you learn where the money came from. 'Some of the areas money was taken from included the public health department, the state's welfare agency and even the economic development department. A state representative who attended recent hearings on the issue said that Gov. Blagojevich's staff simply spread the legal bills around by sticking them to agencies which had funds left in their budgets--even if the agencies had nothing to do with the issue or the litigation.'"Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Open Source vs Affordable Indie 3D Game Engines?
TBBScorpion asks: "Lately I have been investigating 3D game engines. I was mostly paying attention to open source engines like Ogre3d, Irrlicht, Crystal Space 3D, and the like. Then I found out about cheap Indie licenses for commercial game engines like Torque Game Engine ($150), Torque Game Engine Advanced ($295) and the C4 Engine ($200 + free upgrades). I found a list of top commercial and open source game engines at devmaster.net in case anyone is interested (I didn't want to take the time to list all the engines, but there are more good ones that I did not list on this page). Now for my questions. Now, here's my dilemma. Which of the engines are worth investing in? Should I buy an indie license or hold out for open source? Or should I start with an indie engine and switch later if open source catches up?"Read more of this story at Slashdot.
OLPC Game Jam for an XO Laptop
An anonymous reader writes "The OLPC project has announced a three-day game development jam session is scheduled to begin June 8 on the campus of Olin College, an engineering school in Needham, Massachusetts. 'The game jam is an opportunity for developers to create new types of games that rely on features of the XO's design such as mesh networking between nearby users, an integrated still or video camera, and a tablet mode for mobile gaming. Beyond creating games that teach specific tasks like counting or reading, OLPC hopes the contest will produce templates that allow kids to build their own games, according to OLPC's development guidelines.' The grand prize is a free OLPC laptop. All games created at the weekend-long event will be licensed under the GNU General Public License, and posted on the SourceForge site."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Blizard Sues Virtual Gold Seller
DaphneDiane writes "Blizzard announced that they are suing one of the heavily spamming gold sellers, Peons4hire. Peons4hire had recently been spamming players in World of Warcraft with multi-line messages advertising their power leveling and gold selling business. With the advent of the recently released 2.1.0 patch Blizzard made it easier to report and block these spammers. I've noticed a large decrease in spam while playing since the patch. It used to be that I would get nearly a dozen spams a night but I barely have seen any since."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Yet Another EVE Online Scandal?
Ariastis writes "An open letter, posted by former EVE Players, levels some new and serious accusations against CCP, the makers of the EVE Online MMOG. In the letter, chat logs & event timelines, along with description of in-game events from CCP-Approved reporting users, describe how most of the big role-playing events are rigged to favor specific alliances & players by CCP. More disturbingly, these users also appear to have CCP employees 'on call', ready to step in on behalf of the favoured players and alliances within the game. CCP reaction is member-only, but a forum thread has been left open to discuss about it." It should be pointed out at the moment all of the evidence put forward is circumstantial; take with a grain of salt. The issue of corruption in EVE was addressed in our interview with Magnus Bergsson at GDC.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Twenty Five Years of Tron
the_quiet_angeleno writes "I have an article in today's Summer Film Preview issue of Los Angeles CityBeat on Disney's sci-fi classic Tron, which is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year. The piece includes a discussion with Richard Taylor, one of Tron's visual effects supervisors on the film's groundbreaking effects, as well as director Steven Lisberger, on how the narrative incorporates the Jungian concept of individuation. Here's a sample: 'Visual Effects Society member Gene Kozicki, of the L.A.-based visual effects house Rhythm & Hues, believes Tron's legacy was in moving computer-generated visuals into the realm of storytelling. "Research into this type of imagery had been going on for over 15 years, but it was more scientific in nature," Kozicki says, "Once artists began to share their ideas and treat the computer as a tool, it moved away from strict research and towards an art form."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Games Are No Cause For Murder
An anonymous reader writes "At Gamers With Jobs, Shawn Andrich speaks out against pointing the finger at videogames as a causative factor in a murder cases. He makes the excellent point that, though we may enjoy the metaphor, life is not a game. There is no simple connection between event A and event B. Our actions are dictated by experiences from a lifetime, and they should be addressed that way for good or ill. 'Life can't be framed up like a game of billiards. There is no easy eight ball, corner pocket shot to be made when trying to draw a line between cause and action ... Lasting, positive change will only come when we stop reaching for causes and start creating conditions that will support kids and teenagers who need it. We can't make anyone put the pin back in the grenade, but by supporting active, caring people who want to help, we might be able to influence some of those fateful decisions before it gets that far.'" GamePolitics on Joystiq has an editorial up looking at a si
Games, Movies, Comics Collide
Three unrelated pieces of news floating around today all point to the ongoing collision of older medias and gaming. Most Exciting: Joystiq reports that the rights to make a Sin City game have been picked up by Red Mile entertainment. Despite their role as the creators of the Jackass game, that seems like good news. Less Exciting: The two Lego Star Wars games sold really, really well, and so it's not terribly surprising that Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga has been announced by the folks at LucasArts. Next Generation has the details, saying the game will be released on the PS3, 360, DS, and Wii. The Wii/DS games will be redesigned for their unique control schemes, and the high-end consoles will feature online co-op play. Truly Confusing: Fox has picked up the movie rights for a The Sims movie. Given the way many people play The Sims, I can only assume it will be rated NC-17 and released straight to DVD.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Nintendo Confirms Mario, Smash Bros. Coming This Year
Some excellent news for Nintendo fans: two of the 'big three' games are coming out this year. At an event held in Washington state Reggie Fils-Aime was able to confirm that Smash Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy will be released before the end of the year. Excellent to hear such news, of course ... but other people had different priorities. For Metroid fans, it does indeed look like Samus will have to wait until 2008. Other than that, the company was all good news in general: "Typically, about half of home consoles in Japan are placed in the living room -- with Wii that figure is 75%. In France, 15 of the top 15 games recently were Nintendo. In the US, Fils-Aime says they are seeing 'early signs of significant market change.' The number of female purchasers of hardware are up 42%. The number of people over age of 30 purchasing Nintendo DS is up 127%. Tighten that age range to people over 35, and the number is up 212%. 40% of Wii owners have connected to the internet. 3.3 million plus V