World destruction comes in small shrink-wrapped packages...

2009/12/05

Digg Turns 5 Today

On a lighter note, many of you won’t care, but you know that service that you use every day, called Digg? Well, it turned 5 today.

The social bookmarking website was launched on December 5th, 2004, after a couple of months in development, and since then it’s gone on to become one of the most popular services of its kind.  It allows people to submit and promote popular stories by digging them, or burying them if they’re not so good. The articles with the most diggs get onto the front page.

I mean, on most sites, you always get a “Digg This” button, and maybe nothing else. Digg has been around for longer than a lot of other sites with similar features.

I just joined Digg this year, and I still have to get to grips with it, and have a lot of catching up to do. At the moment I mainly subscribe to a couple of the feeds for popular news pieces.

Interesting article I read after I wrote this:

Top 5 Digg Milestones in the Last 5 Years


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Mirror’s Edge Coming to iPhone, MIrror’s Edge Sequel

It’s been revealed lately that the parkour (free running) game of 2008 called Mirror’s Edge is coming to the iPhone.

Details of a sequel, Mirror’s Edge 2,  along with Battlefield 3, was leaked on a lighting artist’s profile the other day as well, and since then EA has decided to come out and talk about it openly, originally in an interview with Kotaku.

They’re saying that the game deserves a sequel. It’s just where they are taking it in terms of direction that is the main issue right now.

I didn’t mind Mirror’s Edge. I played it for a while, and at first it felt fresh, new – but after a few hours it became increasingly frustrating and difficult. The fact that Faith, the main protagonist, didn’t have a gun of any sort spoiled it, even though it was the intention of the developers to not focus on guns. It was originally planned that she would have a sidearm, but that was taken out in the final release. Of course you could snatch guns from enemies and such, if they didn’t kill you before you were able to get up close to them first.

Maybe in the sequel they should give you the option of whether or not you have a gun on you depending on the difficulty. I think FPS titles without guns are still far from being accepted. Proof of this was that Mirror’s Edge, although a bold concept, and despite doing well in reviews, still failed sales wise last year.

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Mirror's Edge announced... for iPhone

DICE lighting artist lists Mirror's Edge 2 on portfolio

EA CEO: Mirror's Edge "Deserves To Come Back," Design At Crossroads


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Yowl! Cat-Life: a Mod for Half-Life

catlife

I came across this on RPS. They seem to post about these mods. The last one was a cool mod for Crysis, called DeLorean Time Machine. This time it’s about Cat-Life, a mod for Half-Life which allows you to play as a cat.

“Cat-Life is an original concept for Half-Life and the GoldSource engine.Players will experience the Black Mesa incident from the view of a stranded pet cat.

Using claws and teeth and the natural prowess of a cat, players will travel through the bowels of Black Mesa.Xenian beasts roam the corridors and laboratories and... surprise... cats are conveniently bite-sized for those in-between-meal munchies.”

This is so weird, because it’s the game I’ve always thought about, but knew that nobody would ever venture there. I mean, making a game with a cat as the main protagonist! But, here it is, and strangely using HL1 instead of HL2 for the mod.

I have a cat, and I once attempted to make a point and click style game in AGS involving the cat. Hell, I once thought about how cool it would be to have Rainbow Six, except instead of counter terrorists, put dogs in there as they take down tangos, which be the cats.

Anyhow, back to Cat-Life, the demo for this mod is out now. Instead of using a crowbar, the main weapon is the cat’s paw with sharp claws and such.

The main consensus, or theory, is that the cat in this mod is the one who is mentioned in Half-Life 2 when Alyx was about to enter the teleporter in order to reach Black Mesa East.

Isaac Kleiner: Right you are. This is a red letter day, we'll inaugurate the new teleport with a double transmission.

Barney Calhoun: You mean it's working? For real this time? Because... I still have nightmares about that cat.

Alyx Vance: What cat?

Isaac Kleiner: Now, now, there is nothing to be worried about, we have made major strides since then, major strides.

Alyx Vance: [more anxiously] What cat?

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http://www.moddb.com/mods/cat-life

http://www.moddb.com/mods/cat-life/downloads/cat-life-demo

Gordon Feline: Cat-Life


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2009/12/04

Demo-lition: Darkest of Days

256px-Darkest_of_Days_cover I was inspired and perhaps a little curious by a feature on The Escapist called the “Demoman”, where a guy plays demos of games and reviews them. Why would you want to do this? I mean, these people mostly get free copies of a game for review upon request.

And besides, demos are going out of fashion according to some. Peter Molyneux says they ruin the gaming experience, and I’ve noticed how demos for high-profile games either come out after the full version is released, like in Wolfenstein’s case, or there’s no demo at all, like with Modern Warfare 2.

And not to mention that analysts now say that reviews generally are low on the priority list when it comes to a buyer’s decision on getting a game.

Now, I on the other hand like playing some demos, and for me it’s a good way to see what a game will be like before I go out and pay that terribly large sum of money. So I decided to play some demos I got off of the latest NAG DVD.

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I’ll start off with Darkest of Days. Darkest of Days is an anachronistic-type shooter which involves time travel and such, going back between the past and future, and lets you gun down some Native American Indians in the opening mission, who’ve surrounded you, Alexander Morris, and the rest of the company, at the battle of Little Big Horn, in Montana, 1876. Yes, the one with Custer. After dropping a number of “Injuns” with a pistol and being wounded two or three times, a dude comes out of some weird bubble-looking portal and with some bad voice acting, tells you you need to get the hell out of there. Well, I dived for the portal.

DoD1

After going through some “Where am I, why am I here” phase, you look around and your surroundings are vastly different from what they were moments ago. You start talking to another case of bad voice acting, some face on a screen named “Mother”, the brains behind the whole operation. After listening to an Australian or Kiwi accent for a while, you walk through another portal which takes you to a training mission, or tutorial with the best voice actor in the demo, a gruff American named Dexter. You are trained in the art of war, despite all ready being a soldier in the Union army during the Civil War ten minutes ago or so, although these weapons are from a different time period, the First World War. You learn to operate a pistol, the C96, and the Gewehr 98 rifle, as you take on some crimson-coloured German soldiers in trenches, who don’t shoot back, luckily. You also take the time to learn how to toss stick grenades at the Hun, as well as blowing them to pieces with some artillery in the form of a cannon. The last stop is learning to throw some green, glowing orbs called chasers at enemies that require a little bit of leniency. Enemies surrounded by a blue aura, as Dexter will tell you, must not be killed, otherwise it causes some nasty repercussions involving time and all that stuff. Characters who are killed who aren’t supposed to die will cause the future to be changed, and supposedly for the worst.

DoD2

After this you go back to the American Civil War, in a battle between the Union and the Confederates, naturally, and start off with some Civil War era weaponry, like a musket and rifle. There’s a good bit in here where you join the ranks of Union soldiers in a charge towards certain doom through the corn fields, where the Confederates await on the other side. This almost feels like a Medal of Honor moment, similar to the D-Day mission where you’re in that Higgins boat bearing down on Omaha beach, except less scary. You don’t get shot in this sequence, and for the most part, the player-position is fixed, besides being able to shoot.

Dod3

Okay, skip ahead through some more shooting of Confederates and you’re in a barn where you meet old Dexter again, this time in the past, who tells you that this is the battle of Antietam, in case you didn’t know, and the highlight of the demo is when he hands you a modern assault rifle from the future and tells you to kick @$$, in so many words. You run off and battle some more “rebs” in the corn fields, after hearing some more bad voice acting, and even up the score with your new toy.

dod5

Your whole objective this time is to rescue a guy named Welsh, a Union soldier who is one of these important-can’t-die characters who isn’t surrounded by a blue aura, but a fiery orange-red hue. If blue is bad, then it must be bloody hellacious if this guy gets killed. Toward the end, you’re going along your escape route with Welsh, and when things seem to be going smoothly, some guys similar to the one who came to get you earlier on at Little Big Horn, come out of another portal and begin attacking. Dexter says to get the hell out of there as your bullets do virtually nothing against their armour.

After jumping through another portal, you are treated to a Preview in an old movie type format (think one of those projector movies or reels) where you get to see some of the nice guns you get in the game, some of which you got to sample earlier on.

Okay, so you’ve had a nice story, as I just ran through what you’ll encounter in the demo of the game as far as story and gameplay go, so let’s look at what is good and what’s not.

- Bad AI

For most of the demo, I found that the enemies, and perhaps even your allies, weren’t particularly smart. You could be standing right in front of someone and they wouldn’t even be bothered to shoot you. Other times it’s not that bad.

- Bad Voice Acting

Yes, most of the voice acting and samples used in the game are pretty bad. The Australian sounding “Mother” is likely one of the worst you’ll come across. That accent just doesn’t fit, somehow. Dexter is the shining star in the game however. He seems to have at least some character. Most of the other people in the game, when they say things, sound out of place, like the sample is too loud. I don’t think the proper amount of time and effort went in to editing. It’s almost as bad as Operation Flashpoint, but not quite.

- Average Graphics

For the most part, the graphics, especially of the effects like smoke and that sort of thing, are quite good, but the character detail is average. This does mean, however, that you should be able to run it quite nicely on your PC.

- Framerate

You might notice a bit of a drop in framerate every now and again, and this might be the game, and not your hardware. I noticed this the most while using the cannon in the tutorial, and during some fights too…which is most of the demo.

- Bug upon starting a new game

In the demo, when you try to start a new game, it crashes. There is a workaround for this, and this is changing the date on your system’s calendar. Try 5 August 2009 – it works for me. In the updated demo, this problem is supposedly eliminated, but if not, then you’ll have to stick to trying this little fix.

- Price of the full version

I’ve read that the game is $40.00 to buy new. That’s quite ridiculous coming from an relatively unknown developer like 8monkey Labs, and this is the first title I’ve ever taken notice of from them. It seems now though that you can get this game for cheaper than what it initially was when brand new (see below).

- Good concept

This is a good idea for a game, no doubt. Anything involving time travel and that sort of thing usually sets up for a good experience. In fact, it makes me want to like this game despite its faults.

- At least it’s (mostly) not WW II

So many games takes place during this period, and it’s good to see a change. For this game, most of it seems to go from the American Civil War, World War I, and in the preview, I also see some battling going on against Roman soldiers. It’s a bold attempt to break away from this old, tired trend that’s become so common place over the years. In the full version, there is a however a mission based in a WWII POW camp, and it’s been said that this is one of the best levels in the game.

- Old weapons

I’m a weapons junkie, and I like to collect all the guns in a game and try them out. This is especially true when it comes to old weapons used in past wars, like WW II. Using the guns in this game, from the Civil War era reminds me of a mod for Half-Life, called Wanted. In fact quite a bit of this game reminds me of that mod, or even some other Half-Life mods for that matter. But trying out some of the old guns does feel kind of cool, and the reloading trick with the green area that allows you to reload faster was quite a nice touch, but if you get it wrong, it takes even longer to reload than normal.

Overall, I actually enjoyed this demo, and I’ve played it a few times, but it’s an average game, which does have faults. and the price makes me want to think twice about getting the full retail version, because it’s likely not matched up with this title. Perhaps if it were half the price. But it does look like it cold have its interesting moments, seeing as I think the story could be quite a good one.

You can pick up Darkest of Days for the PC and Xbox 360.

MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (PC):
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP (Service Pack 2)
Processor: 2.0 Ghz
Memory: 768 MB RAM
Hard Drive: 5 GB available hard drive space (784 MB for the Demo)
Video: nVIDIA® GeForce™ 6600 or ATI Radeon® 9800 with at least 128 MB of video memory

RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (PC):
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP (Service Pack 2)/Windows® Vista
Processor: 2.0 Ghz or better dual-core CPU
Memory: 2.0 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 5 GB available hard drive space (784 MB for the Demo)
Video: nVIDIA® GeForce™ 8800 or newer/ATI Radeon® 3000 or newer

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http://www.8monkeylabs.com/

http://www.darkestofdays.com

http://news.bigdownload.com/2009/08/11/download-darkest-of-days-demo/

http://news.bigdownload.com/2009/08/25/download-darkest-of-days-updated-demo/


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Amazon Holiday Deals: 18 Days, 18 Deals

Similar to Direct2Drive’s sale where they have 24 games in 24 days, except 6 less days, Amazon also has a Christmas promotion going from 1-18 December, where “Amazon Video Games will be featuring one new, terrific deal for your gaming pleasure. Quantities will be limited!”

http://www.amazon.com/b/?node=409566&tag=apocalypso-20 

You might also be interested in some of the following deals:

Windows 7 Netbooks Under Starting $350

Great savings on new cutting-edge HP Photosmart Premium TouchSmart Web All-in-One Printer

Movies & TV Gift and Boxed Set Sale

Amazon Kindle Wireless Reading Device: 6” E-ink® Display with Global Wireless

Bestselling AT&T Phones from $.01


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2009/12/03

Apocalypse Then: Duke Nukem II

250px-Duke_Nukem_II_Cover

On this day in gaming, December 3, 1993, Duke Nukem II was released for MS-DOS. It was a 2D platform game developed and published by Apogee Software, a major company back in the eighties and nineties and still alive today, albeit known as 3D Realms. The name Apogee Software is also still going, but under a separate company known as Apogee Software LLC.

Duke Nukem II is the second game in the series, preceded by Duke Nukem, and succeeded by Duke Nukem 3D, and the fourth game in the series, Duke Nukem Forever, which is  in limbo at the moment after a dozen years in development.

Duke Nukem II was not as popular as it’s sequel, Duke Nukem 3D, and wasn’t ported to any other consoles.

The game consisted of four episodes, the first one being available as shareware, with each episode containing 8 levels, making 32 in total. The story kicks off with Duke Nukem on talk show (supposedly Oprah, seeing as it was revealed in the first game that Duke like watching her show), promoting his autobiography Why I’m So Great in an interview. During this period, the Rigelatins, an alien force, kidnap Duke and aim to use his brain for nefarious purposes. Duke Nukem breaks free from his cell where he was being kept prisoner using an explosive molar hidden in his mouth.

Dn2grIt’s been said that Duke possessed more personality in this game than the first one, and instead of his purple shirt in the first game, he now wears the red wifebeater that people now associate him with, as well as blue jeans and boots. A couple of things about his appearance that changed in the sequel and thereafter was that in this game he wore silver bicep rings and didn’t have on his trademark sunglasses. Duke didn’t talk much either in this game, with the “I’m back!” line in the opening movie being one the only ones uttered in the game. Duke Talk and more adult themes became a mainstay in DN3D and every Duke Nukem game after that.

In the game’s levels you collect weapons, health, powerups, and Duke Nukem merchandise, often found in crates, while proceeding towards the exit. At the end of the level your score is added up. Health includes soda cans, which can also be shot in order to earn points, a six pack of soda, turkeys, and atomic health. This last health item reappeared in Duke Nukem 3D.

Collectable items include glass orbs, Letters spelling NUKEM, and the crystal ball.

I seem to recall other items as well, like sunglasses…

Monsters ranging from robotic spiders, to mutants, and Rigelatin guards as well as others populate the levels and Duke can dispatch them with weapons he finds along the way, like the Laser, Flamethrower, and the Rocker Launcher. You can’t switch between these weapons, and have to use each one up at least a little before collecting another one. If these weapons are used up entirely after several shots, then you will revert back to you normal weapon. The last level, level 8, squares you off against the boss enemy.

The player can jump, climb ladders, use elevators and climb on pipes and girders. If the player stopped while climbing on these, he could hang there with one arm while firing his gun with the other. Duke can also use a sky car of some sort in some levels, which was recreated in Duke Plus, a mod for Duke Nukem 3D.

Dn2sc

The music accompanying the game’s levels was composed by Bobby Prince and he once again was influenced by metal music like in Doom, using tracks like “Angry Again” and “Skin O' My Teeth” as the basis for the MIDI soundtrack.

The opening movie in the game has him in a shooting range firing a smiley face in to the target, a scene taken from Lethal Weapon. After that he says “I’m back!”, a line taken from The Terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger was an obvious influence on Duke’s character, and The Terminator movies as well as other Arnie films served as inspiration for the series as well. “Angry Again” appeared on the soundtrack to the film Last Action Hero, also a film starring Arnold.

The cover art of Duke Nukem II was also visible in the first level of Duke Nukem 3D, “Hollywood Holocaust”, as an arcade machine . If you try to use the machine, Duke says, "Hmmm, don't have time to play with myself."

Duke Nukem Manhattan Project, although more of a spin-off of the main series, paid tribute to the original two games by also incorporating more of a platform element in the game.

You can pick up Duke Nukem II here if you want to play a classic.


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New Medal of Honor Title Coming Next Year

mohboxart1202pc Yes, we all new this was happening. The rumours have been around for about a year now. But now it’s been officially unveiled by EA, and there are some more details to go on.

Okay, so it’s true that the series is finally leaving World War II, and moving in to new, or rather, modern territory. The title is just being called Medal of Honor - there doesn’t seem to be any subtitle or anything, seeing as this will be a reboot of the series. So don’t confuse it with the original Medal of Honor, released ten years ago, in 1999. And yes, it is Honor without the “u”, since it’s American.

Medal of Honor will take place in Afghanistan, no doubt during the Second Gulf War which has been going on for the last several years, and which the recently released Modern Warfare 2 only touched upon briefly in the beginning of the singleplayer campaign. In the game you will take on the role of a Tier One Operator, one of the most elite Special Ops units there is, ordered around directly by the NCA (National Command Authority, AKA Mr President, and the Secretary of Defence. EALA says they are working alongside these troops to create a realistic, believable gaming experience.

From the Official Press Release:

“When we first set out to reinvent Medal of Honor, we wanted to stay true to its roots of authenticity and respect for the soldier but bring it into today’s war. The Tier 1 Operator is the most disciplined, deliberate and prepared warrior on the battlefield.  He is a living, breathing, precision instrument of war.” said Greg Goodrich, Executive Producer, Medal of Honor. “We are honored to have the rare opportunity to work closely with these men to create a game that shares their experience.”

“EA has always been an advocate for telling the soldiers’ story. The new Medal of Honor follows that tradition. We felt it was important to tell the story of today’s war and today’s elite soldiers via today’s most relevant medium – videogames,” said Sean Decker, VP and General Manager of EALA. “We are so proud to bring together two powerhouse development teams to make this game a reality; EA Los Angeles and EA DICE. Medal of Honor promises to be an unforgettable entry in the modern shooter genre.”

The singleplayer is being developed by EA Los Angeles, and the multiplayer is being taken care of by DICE, the Battlefield guys. So, this should be one hell of a game, hopefully. Medal of Honor has always been known for its great SP campaigns, well perhaps not in the last few years, and it seems there will be no tacked on multiplayer in this one. Having separate developers on a game is nothing new, but of this calibre is quite impressive.

Medal of Honor will be released in 2010 on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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New Medal of Honor Revealed, Delivers Modern Afghanistan Warfare and DICE Multiplayer

http://www.medalofhonor.com/

http://www.medalofhonor.com/en_US/news/2009/12/press-release


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Direct2Drive Christmas Sale: 24 days, 24 Games

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This month, Direct2Drive is having a sale where each day from the 1-24 December, there will be one game on sale, for 50% off. The sale for each game only lasts for 24 hours, seeing as there is a timer there counting down.

So far Mirror’s Edge was on sale on the 1st, and The Witcher yesterday, on the 2nd. Today Need for Speed Shift is on sale for $24.95 – half off (usual price is $49.95)

The clue for tomorrow is obvious: it’s something to do with Red Alert 3.

If you want to have a look at the big list of games, Savygamer (or Edgygamer, as some call it) has a list of the possible games included in the sale for this month. Pay attention to the comments though, because one of the guys has a better idea of what’s going on than the post itself.

Oh, and if you correctly guess each game, you’ll be entered in to a draw to win all 24 titles, just like with their fifth anniversary sale.

D2D's 24 Days of Christmas Sale icon

Need For Speed SHIFT icon


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2009/12/02

Assassin’s Creed 2 DLC Packs Coming Next Year

The game Assassin’s Creed II only came out a couple of weeks ago or so on consoles, and now they’re talking about two DLC packs coming next year: "Battle of Forli" will hit in January, and "Bonfire of the Vanities" in February.

It hasn’t been confirmed as to whether these DLC packs will be available for PC. The PC version will only come out next year, about the same time. So there could be possibly a few eventualities: the PC doesn’t get the DLC packs, it does get the DLC packs, there will be free patches to upgrade the game’s content, or they are incorporated into the full PC version release.

I’m sorry to say this, but because of Patrice Desilet’s inability to say the phrase “PC”, I doubt we’ll get it.

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Assassin's Creed 2 DLC Packs Announced


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Meet the Cast of the Half-Life 2 Movie…*sigh*

cast

Well, this was on Digg, and it’s done the rounds elsewhere too, like on Kotaku. It’s meant to be an imagining of the cast of the HL2 movie. Please Gabe, if you have any sense, don’t let them make that movie, because as great as the game is, you just know the movie would suck. They always do.

It’s funny how people naturally search for lookalikes to be cast in a role. This makes some sense, but just because a person looks like someone doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll do the role any justice at all.

First off, Hugh Laurie is too old to be Gordon Freeman, and he’s balding.

Who the heck is Rosario Dawson again? I thought they would have picked Halle Berry.

I always thought that Ray Liotta or that other guy, Rob Lowe, would make a better G-man if we’re talking lookalikes. Walken’s got the creepy thing going on though.

Harold Ramis has too much hair to be Kleiner.

I hate Jeremy Piven.

Dennis Hopper isn’t bad as Dr. Breen.

Of course you’d pick Morgon Freeman to be Dr Vance. He ends up as every central black character. People worship that guy. I’ve got better ideas on who could play Vance.

Never heard of Julianna Marguiles.

Jean Reno was cool at one time. Not bad.

I think I know that guy at the end too. I saw him in that one Christmas movie with the Griswolds, recently, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.


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Apocalypse Then: Quake III Arena

250px-Quake3Title

10 Years of Quake III Arena

On this day, 2 December, 1999, Quake III Arena was released for Microsoft Windows on the PC. Developed by id Software and published originally by Activision, Quake III rose to become one of the biggest multiplayer FPS games of all time, alongside its competitor, Unreal Tournament and its sequels. It was later released on multiple other platforms, like Linux, IRIX, Mac OS, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, as well as Xbox Live Arcade and Steam.

The game is still alive and well today, and was once a favourite competitive play mainstay.

Unlike previous Quake games, and more like UT, this game’s singleplayer only really had one purpose: To introduce you to the gameplay, familiarize you with the maps, and to prepare you for the multiplayer, as you battled against bots. Bots can be scaled on five different levels of difficulty, and in the SP campaign you go through 7 tiers or levels, each with four maps except the last one where you face off against Xaero, the top bot.

There is a basic story behind the game, and that is that gods known as the Vadrigar had assembled all the greatest warriors in the universe to compete for their entertainment. There was a little continuity from previous titles with characters and weapons from previous games making an appearance. Notable characters included Doomguy (Doom series), Ranger (Quake), Bitterman (Quake II) and Grunt (multiplayer skin and NPC from Quake II). The only games in id’s back catalogue that seemed to get left out were the Commander Keen series, and Wolfenstein 3D.

The only real new weapon was the gauntlet which one could use for humiliation kills. Apart from that, most of the weapons made a return from Quake and Doom games before it, although most had some new design and functionality, like the BFG. Powerups like Quad damage along with its traditional sound effects from previous Quake titles also made an appearance.

There were several different modes of play like deathmatch, team deathmatch, tournament, and CTF, a few modes less than UT.

Quake 3 also introduced the id Tech 3 engine (otherwise known as the Quake 3 engine), which has been used by many other games, including some of those developed by studios who have worked on id games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Other notable games that used the engine are Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and Call of Duty. All of these were FPS titles set in WW II. RTCW was the least different from Quake 3. It still had a very Q3 feel to it. Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix also used the engine.

Quake 3 featured music from Sonic Mayhem, a one-man team who also worked on Quake II’s soundtrack, . Front Line Assembly also featured on the soundtrack. Unlike Quake II, I found that the music in Q3 was less loud foreground, and more background, sometimes even more atmospheric type stuff.

I remember getting Quake 3 back in 2000, and my friends and I would usually just play against bots or LAN against each other occasionally. I haven’t played the game in a while now seeing as years ago it was such an effort to install all the map packs and point release patches, and usually after all that I didn’t even feel like playing. I also didn’t like the fact that there is no real singleplayer campaign like other games. Some friends of mine preferred Quake or Quake II to Quake III seeing as it was too colourful, although the game was meant to be a bridge between the two games in other areas like weapon balance and player speed.

And of course there was the argument over which game was better: Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament.

Quake III Arena received an expansion pack in Team Arena, and the two of these were eventually bundled together in the Quake III: Gold pack. The source code to the game was released a few years ago, and since then the free OpenArena was released. Also numerous mods and TCs have been made for the game, and even a few movies made with it. I remember seeing one years ago, I think called Escape from the Bastille.

Quake 4 came out in 2005, and was more in line with Quake II as far as storyline, but never succeeded Quake III Arena in popularity, especially in multiplayer.

Quake Zero which became known as Quake Live is essentially an updated version of Quake III Arena, and is free to download and browser-based. Recently, IS (Internet Solutions) launched a local server for South African Quake Live players, who felt that there was too much lag playing internationally.

You can pick up Quake III Arena here if you want to play a classic

Quake III Arena at Amazon


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2009/12/01

Duke Nukem Forever D-Day Facebook Photo

It was reported the other day on Duke4.net that a photo was found on a Facebook page. This is one of possible future photos that will be posted on this page, under the album name “D-Day photos”.

At first people were sceptical, but it has been confirmed that Scott Miller is aware of this, and that he created the fan page.

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dday

The photo seems to detail an EDF soldier (you can make this out by looking at the helmet and visor) shooting at a Cycloid Emporer, with what looks like could be the Ripper. The setting looks like the infamous stadium which you’ll remember from the Demo Reel video as well as Duke Nukem 3D.

It’s also being said that Scott Miller shared a new DNF trailer with Jeron Moore, the guy who had that Demo Reel v2 video up on vimeo. So, another trailer on the way? And this may well be the announcement regarding Duke that Scott Miller promised at one stage recently.

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http://www.facebook.com/pages/Duke-Nukem/186028571601?v=info

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2893379&id=186028571601

http://www.duke4.net/news.php?item.322.2


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NAG December 2009 Issue Impressions, Highlights


So, it’s the last issue of the year, well, not technically, since there will be one last one belted out before Christmas, usually, just before the new year. Okay, so it’s the second last issue.
I purchased this one last Thursday, and I’ve since had a look at some of the stuff on there, played some of the demo, etc.
Anyhow, just a short note: I’ve been buying NAG, a local gaming magazine for over ten years now. It started up in 1998, about April, and I started buying it soon thereafter.
NAG is one of my sources for trailers, demos, patches and such that are way too large to download from the net all the time. The NAG DVD was once upon a CD which could only pack about 700 MB. Then it progressed to a 4.7 GB DVD, and later a 9 GB DVD (one of those dual sided ones, or whatever, except you don’t have to turn it over to access the other side, like PC Format DVDs).
So, this month, I’m going to give my thoughts on the DVD and the magazine. First off, I’ll write about the DVD, and the highlights on it, seeing as that’s the first thing I get out of the package and pop in my DVD-RAM drive.
We have demos, and these consist of Darkest of Days, an anachronistic-type shooter which involves time travel and such, going back between the past and future, and lets you use modern weapons in battles in the American Civil War.
Then there’s Painkiller Resurrection, a demo of a fan-made sequel to the original game, I’m led to believe. There’s also the Wolfenstein Demo. I’ve played the full game of this- not bad.
So, some pretty good demos this month. There were some others that I haven't really looked at.
The next folder on the disk reads “Drivers”, and contains ATI and nVidia drivers. I was disappointed here, seeing as there were only nVidia drivers for Vista- nothing for XP this month.
Then we have extras, with some other folders inside, which contains a free magazine…on cars. I should give that to my dad. The free full game of Death Rally is on there, so it would have saved me downloading it last month. There’s also Warsow, a game similar to Quake III Arena. I think it uses a derivative of the same engine.
No patches this month either.
As always, lots of trailers and such. This seems to be where most of where NAG’s effort goes as far as the DVD is concerned. It’s got a WarCraft retrospective series, seeing as I was just reading the other day that it’s been fifteen years since the first game in the Blizzard series was released. There’s the ScrewAttack videos as well. Some good videos on there include an AvP trailer, some Assassin’s Creed stuff, lots of BioShock 2 stuff, Borderlands, and of course the embarrassing Modern Warfare 2 Fight Against Grenade Spam movie that caused such a fuss because of its acronym. There’s a disturbing movie of the SAW videogame too.
Interestingly enough, on the cover it says the the printers that usually do the DVD went out of business, so this one had to be done overseas. I’m not sure if this is true, seeing as NAG usually likes to joke around sometimes, damn them.
As for the magazine, it’s still no where as large as it was years ago. At one stage it was brimming with content – sometimes 140 or so pages, but for the past while it’s been below 100 pages, and there are lots of ads. NAG claims this is because of the recession. I’ve noticed that instead of waiting until the next magazine is printed where there can be a proper review for a game, on their website they have posts about games and such, in order to keep up with other websites and blogs.
Magazines are slowly becoming obsolete.
So, highlights this month in the magazine include a review of Operation Flashpoint (I was disappointed with this game), Brutal Legend (The Soundtrack sounds like something I’d be more interested in), Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Borderlands (tough to love with its bugs, but good).
There’s also some previews of games like Metro 2033, a game that I’m quite keen on playing, seeing as it’s very STALKER-ish (by some of the guys who worked on STALKER), as well as quite a bit of stuff on Avatar, and Darksiders gets the cover story this month.
So, all in all, not bad. About a 7 out of 10.
star star star star star star star
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http://nag.tidemedia.co.za/
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The Verge Turns One Today

World Aids Day

verge

Yes, today is not only the 1st day of December, as well as World Aids day, but if you were watching The Verge last night, and happened to listen to Pippa, instead of ogling her and SMSing flirty messages, you would have heard her tell everyone that December 1st is the first anniversary of The Verge. The show originally started this time last year on what was Channel O, according to Pippa.

If you haven’t watched The Verge, it’s a local (South African) TV series about gaming, and related stuff, hosted by Pippa, and sometimes Mo. It appears live on Channel 123 (Vuzu), on DSTV at 21:30, with repeats the following morning and afternoon.

So, tonight is the 1 Year Anniversary show, and Pip remained tight-lipped about what would be showing tonight, so we’ll just have to see.

Happy Birthday to The Verge!


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2009/11/30

Video Game Deals on Amazon: Left 4 Dead 2, Uncharted 2, Samurai Warriors 2: Empires

I was looking at some good deals on these new games lately, so have a look if you’ve been thinking of picking one (or all) of them up.

Left 4 Dead 2 - $29.99 (New)- Save $10.00 - $29.45 (Best Price)

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - $40.00 (new) - Save $9.96

Samurai Warriors 2: Empires - $19.92 (new) - Save $20.07 - $6.39 (Best Price)


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Apocalypse Then: Unreal Tournament

250px-Unrealtournament

10 Years of Unreal Tournament

On this day in gaming, on November 30, 1999, Unreal Tournament, a title developed by Epic Games and Digital Extremes, was released. It was published by GT Interactive (now Atari) and appeared on numerous platforms like Windows, Mac, Mac OS X, PS2, Linux, and the Dreamcast.

Unreal Tournament, Despite being an FPS, was one of the first games geared more towards multiplayer, with a tacked-on singleplayer on the side, much like its chief competitor, Quake III Arena by id Software. Instead of a true sequel to Unreal, the Unreal Tournament franchise took off and there have been several sequels which pretty much all look the same to me.

Unreal II: The Awakening, although not a true sequel to Unreal, also featured a part early on in the game which pitted you against another guy in a fight. This is supposedly how the Unreal Tournament was formed, story wise.

Unreal Tournament received mainly positive reviews, especially on the PC. Console, particularly PS2, reviews were average to good. It was also featured twice as a deathmatch title at the World Cyber Games. Aspects of the game praised were the graphics (the water always looked inviting), AI, map or level design, and good weapon balance.

I remember back in school, a bunch of us would always argue over which one was better: Q3A or UT? I got the Game of the Year Edition back in 2001 or 2002, although I had played the game before this period, although probably just the demo though.

God knows why I stuck with the game for as long as I did though. I remember playing it on an old Windows 98, while friends were round, and we would take turns battling bots, or else battling each other, while listening to Linkin Park.

The singleplayer in UT featured a series of levels with different play-modes which put you against bots – AI controlled opponents.

These bots could also be used in multiplayer, while competing in different game types like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, CTF, Domination, Last Man Standing, and Assault. One of my favourite levels, although pretty basic, was the one called Overlord, basically the game’s version of a D-Day map.

Weapons in the game continued with the alt-fire feature that was seen in Unreal, and you could use a pistol (Enforcer), two pistols (guns Akimbo), the ASMD, minigun (my favourite), Pulse gun, and the Sniper Rifle. Some weapons also made a return from Unreal except they were renamed, like the Razorjack (renamed the Ripper), the Flak Cannon, and the Bio Rifle. Another weapon was the Impact hammer, which replaced the Dispersion pistol, and with it you could literally blow someone’s head off. You could also use it to do the equivalent of rocket jumps.

The game is known for having inspired many, many mods over the years, ranging from mutators to TCs. Also, other games have used the engine such as one incarnation of Duke Nukem Forever a long time ago. Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix also considered using the engine, but went with Q3A’s. Another game which used this engine was Rune, a game forgotten by time.

You can pick up Unreal Tournament here, if you want to play a classic.

Unreal Tournament at Amazon


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AAA Update: New Post Editor, Made the Switch to Live Writer

Well, I was looking at the settings in my blog account, and saw that there was a new, updated, post editor. So, I set it to use this instead of the old one, and checked it out by editing one my existing posts.

The interface is better. It matches more as far as themes go. The only thing is, it took away all my smilies that I was using with the old editor.

I figured I’d finally had enough of Blogger’s post editor, and that I would do what I seemingly should have done months ago. I decided to have a look at an alternative: Windows Live Writer. I’ve seen it recommended so many times, and the thing is, I had the install feature on my PC all ready. I’d downloaded the web install exe months ago, but I’d just put it off.

It was recommended I use it back then when I was copying and pasting from Word into my blog, because it was conflicting with the blogs styles, or whatever, and messing up my theme. But instead I would continue writing in Word, and after that, all my hard work of formatting and all was lost when I copied and pasted into Notepad, in order to paste into the post editor.

What a waste of time and effort that was.

So I used some of my data and selected Live Writer from the install prompt, ignoring all the other stuff, and downloaded everything I needed, and started using it.

This program makes me realize how basic and uncomfortable it is using the post editor on Blogger - at least the old one.

WL is more in line with what I use on Microsoft Word. And I can edit everything here, and once I’m finished, I can preview what it will look like, and it’s all offline, seeing as I downloaded my blog’s whole setup. Only the flash elements and HTML aren’t previewed, but that’s not a big deal. Then I can save it, and publish it to my blog without even having to go into my Blogger account from what I understand. I can just upload it. It should be a real time-saver.

And you can arrange your pictures any which way you want, as well as paste smilies and such in there without the need for any scripts or plug-ins and all that rubbish.

So, right now, even though I’ve only been using WL for about an hour now, I would say, go a get this program, and don’t look back.

I think the only time I would really need to go into my blog would likely be if I need to add more page elements or make modifications. So I would likely still access my blog, but as far as posting goes, I can do it all outside, from here.

I’m going to get back to blogging with this program now, so go and download it and leave me to carry on.

bye_thumb

See? The image above can be added to Blogger through the post editor, but it wouldn’t animate, from what I understand. Post editor sucks.

/\\/


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Video Games Coming out this Week - 11/29 - 12/5: Avatar and Rogue Warrior

image image

Picks of the Week: Avatar, Rogue Warrior

This week after Thanksgiving and Black Friday sees two major releases: James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game and Rogue Warrior.

Avatar is obviously based on the movie of the same name, written, directed, and produced  by James Cameron (Terminator, Terminator II). Besides mysteriously taking place in the same world as Borderlands (Pandora), I’ve been seeing quite a bit about this game lately. Whether it turns out to be any good, we’ll have to see. As you all know, most of these video game to movie adaptations and vice versa rarely turn out good. One of them has to suck.

The other title that seems to have snuck onto the scene this week is Rogue Warrior. I was just reading the other day that this game might suck, seeing as it has had virtually no marketing. Buy when you look at the main character, Richard “Demo Dick” Marcinko, a guy who is a former Navy Seal, and who commanded Seal Team 2 and 6, I can’t help but think of other games like Soldier of Fortune, which featured John Mullins. Yeah, granted, most of that series, especially the last one, was pretty bland, but you never know.

Black Friday& Cyber Monday Deals at Amazon

As always, the links below (the ones I could find) go to each game’s detail page at Amazon, D2D, Steam, etc.

PC

Altitude (Steam)
Avatar: The Game
DiRT 2
Elven Legacy - Magic (D2D)
GREED
Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate
Luxor Adventures
Playmobil 2 Pack   
Puzzle Chronicles
Rogue Warrior
Strike Force Red Cell
Zombie Driver (Steam)
The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood
The Seventh Dragon
World of Zoo

Mac

Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate

iPhone

Encroachment
iHack

PlayStation 2

Martial Arts: Capoeira Fighters

PlayStation 3

Avatar: The Game
Frogger Returns
MX vs. ATV Reflex
Puzzle Chronicles
Rogue Warrior
Street Fighter IV Round 2 Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition
Street Fighter IV Round 2 FightPads

Xbox 360

Avatar: The Game
MX vs. ATV Reflex
Puzzle Chronicles
Rogue Warrior
Street Fighter IV Round 2 Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition
Street Fighter IV Round 2 FightPads

Wii

Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Avatar: The Game
bittos+
Copter Crisis
La-Mulana
Las Vegas Casino Party
Reader Rabbit Kindergarten
Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil 0
Rec Room Games
Rogue Trooper: Quartz Zone Massacre
Storybook Workshop
th!nk Logic Trainer
Yoga

Nintendo DS

7 Wonders IIGame Download
Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Avatar: The Game
Dragon Master
Dreamer: Zoo Keeper
Learn Science
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
MX vs. ATV Reflex
Picture Perfect Hair Salon
Reader Rabbit Kindergarten
SafeCracker
th!nk Logic Trainer
th!nk Logic Trainer: Kids
World of Zoo

PSP

Avatar: The Game
Martial Arts: Capoeira Fighters
MX vs. ATV Reflex

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Shacknews
Gamespot
Gaming Bits


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2009/11/29

Apogee with More on ROTT Reboot Soon

Iwantyou 

I was just reading this on Apogee’s Twitter account:

“Some big news about Rise of the Triad, be posted in the upcoming weeks. Some exciting Stuff!”

That’s cool! Originally, Scott Miller revealed this in an interview, and it was picked up by Big Download, and later covered by yours truly in two or three posts: that he and Apogee Software LLC had plans for this excellent, addictive classic, Rise of the Triad.

So, as you can see, it looks like they will be revealing more about the project, which was said to be a reboot of the series, in the coming weeks.

One thing that made me laugh a little was that there was a grammar error in the above sentence. Can you spot it? It should have said “will be posted”, but instead it was “be posted”.

Funny, I don’t remember pirates being in Rise of the Triad.

Aargh! there be some news posted about ROTT in the near future, aargh!”

Then again, it might well be because of the 140 character limitation on Twitter, you know.

hahahahha_thumb

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http://twitter.com/ApogeeSoftware/

http://twitter.com/ApogeeSoftware/statuses/6134561347


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Alone in the Dark 2 Movie Available on DVD

Damn, this week it’s been all about Uwe Boll, the director/producer/thing we love to hate.

There was a great series of games known as Alone in the Dark, and Uwe Boll made a film of the same name. Now there’s a sequel, Alone in the Dark 2, which is produced by Boll, and it seems as though it’s also coming straight to DVD, just like the Far Cry movie in the US.

The film actually came out last year in Germany.


None of the stars from the previous film appear in this one, and speaking of stars, doesn't look like any A-list celebs. The main protagonist is Rick Yune. There are some familiar faces and washed up actors in there. The comments I've read suggest that the movie is better than the first, perhaps because Boll didn't direct the film, like the prequel.

I don’t know, perhaps Boll got tired of the critical slamming of his films, seeing as he has denied them access to premieres and such in the past, or he can’t afford actually putting films on the silver screen anymore. Perhaps it’s this whole recession business.
I've also been wondering why we've had such a resurgence in Uwe Boll-ness just lately. I've been reading about how it'll be a black Christmas because of the recession, and how Santa Claus has retired and all (article in the Cape Argus, you'd have to read it). Maybe Boll has decided to save Christmas in his own way.

"Ja, buy and watch my moviez, pleez!"

Dare to go There?



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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0913951/
Alone in the Dark 2 at Wikipedia
Alone In The Dark 2 movie sequel coming to DVD
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Some “new” Duke Nukem Forever Media

A guy on the Duke4.net forums known as NukemDave, probably Dave Nukem, a guy who’s seemingly infatuated with Duke, seeing as I’ve watched some of his YouTube videos, discovered some more DNF media that may have been “overlooked” as Yatta puts it.

Jeron Moore, a former 3DR employee who worked in the music department on games like Prey and DNF, uploaded a demo reel nearly two months ago onto vimeo.

This is not to be confused with the demo reel that was leaked earlier on in the year around May or June. That is a longer video, and can be found here. This other demo reel is Demo Reel V 2. Yes.

It’s been found that if you skip ahead to a specific point in the video, you’ll be able to see a very quick bit of new DNF stuff. And the three actual frames have been captured and taken out of the video for convenience.




Notice the neon sign in the screen with the ship that says "Proton Palace". It was always planned that in DNF, Dr. Proton, the chief enemy from Duke Nukem (1) would return. I've always wondered if he and the enemies from Duke Nukem 3D and DNF were in cahoots or something, seeing as we didn't see him in DN3D, or Duke Nukem II, for that matter, as far as I know.

I've done a Google search of this Demo Reel video, and it's also available on Jeron's YouTube account, along with the other DNF Demo Reel video. Not sure if this is the same one, since it doesn't read V2, like on Vimeo, but the icon that crops up in Google Search which displays the beginning of the video is the same. According to the comments on that page, the video is at least nine months old.

There are some other videos there too, like ones involving 3D modelling and such.

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What does AAA stand for?

It's not an abbreviation of anything. It just means the best of the best... 

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