Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Power of the Mod

Over on Gamasutra they are reporting that a new program at the University of Gotland in Sweden is going to be focused on the modding aspect of gaming. From the site:

The University of Gotland in Sweden is opening a program in game development that focuses on user-created mods, such as Counter-Strike for Half-Life or the Duct Tape mod for Doom 3. Students in the interdisciplinary program will work with each other as well as remotely with students from other parts of the world. "We are excited to give all the talented MODders, artists, programmers and game enthusiast a platform to work together that will enable them to use professional methods to produce MODs for the worlds leading games," Said Troels Linde, Senior Lecturer and head of the new program for the University of Gotland.

I think that this is important for several reasons. Mainly, the mod community has just recently become mainstream and is now starting to really be recognized. Creating a game is a huge challenge now for designers, artists and programmers. If you are not a professional in the game industry you will likely never have the time, money or tools to create a main stream game. However, modders can take what the professionals do and build off of that. It gives students and hobbyists a chance to create fun and compelling games. We should see some very cool and interesting ideas coming out of this program.

Also the program is built to be distributed world wide and is fully "distance based". It is geared to help promote borderless projects and open communication lines among students and employers. Very exciting.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Backwards "Backwards Compatibility"?

There is just too much happening at E3 for me to follow all of it. I am not even going to try and be a news source for you, there are dozens of those available. The one thing I did do a little research on is the Xbox 360.

The 360 is going to have questionable backwards compatibility. This is a huge issue for me, and probably many other players. The essential run down is that because of the colossal changes in hardware between the original and the 360 games would need to be recompiled and then resold to users in order to be used on the 360. That is just insane. I plan on holding onto my Xbox but it will be a pain in the ass to set it up every time I want to play Halo.

The fact that these games will need to be recompiled means that we will see only the most popular titles available. I question this strategy, and I wish Micro$oft would take a page from Nintendo.

The Nintendo Revolution offers up these features (taken from the Nintendo Website):

  • Backward Compatibility. Revolution will play all of your favorite Nintendo GameCube games. An innovative self-loading media bay will play both 12-centimeter optical discs used for the new system as well as Nintendo GameCube discs. You can also equip a small, self-contained attachment to play movies and other DVD content.
  • Huge Historic Library. Revolution will have downloadable access to 20 years of fan-favorite titles originally released for Nintendo 64, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and even the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

What an idea! Instead of making hackers go through the trouble of building emulators and mod chips, Nintendo offers up all the old games to you as downloadable content! That is the selling point for me. The fact that I can play Goldeneye:007, The Ocarina of Time and Turok on the same console I can play the next generation Mario Cart ensures the fact that I will have one in my living room.


EDIT: Apparently this rumor is not true, or so says Major Nelson. Bottom line is that we will all need to wait and see. The Xbox 360 was not even running the game demos at E3; they were running on Apple PowerMac G5's.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

E3 Day One

I was not lucky enough to get to E3 this year but I have read a number of different articles on some of the things being shown off and I must say I am not all that impressed.

The specs for all the next generation consoles are very exciting, especially the feature for the Nintendo Revolution, and the fact that it will be able to play many old school NES, SNES and even N64 games. Also the new model for the Gameboy looks cool, but I think Nintendo needs to leave the Gameboy alone for a while. While I am a huge fan of hardware, I was really more interested in the games this year, especially any new MMORPG concepts.

Most people know that Day One at E3 is really just a jumping off point, but from what I have seen and read not many new games have shown many details. NCSoft has released some new stuff about their expansion for City of Heroes called City of Villains. If you ask me they should have given you a chance to play a villain from the start, but whatever. When looking through other developer/publisher playbooks it looks like EA has some strong sequels coming, Capcom has a decent lineup, Buena Vista seems to be kicking around some interesting movie properties, and Namco brings a huge lineup to show off.

EA is coming out with a sequel to Need for Speed and also to Burnout. They are both excellent game franchises, and I look forward to seeing more. Also the new Marvel game called: Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects looks like it might have something.

Capcom has a sequel to the Onimusha series coming out; it looks promising at this point for those gamers that like a good mystery based RPG. Also Capcom has the new Resident Evil game "Outbreak" and a Mega Man game. I am interested to see some more info about these games; it has been over a decade since I have seen a Mega Man game.

Buena Vista is toying with the Nightmare Before Christmas and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. All of these Disney titles will cater to a younger audience and might even be fun because Tim Burton is rumored to be involved in the Nightmare Before Christmas games.

Namco is packing the shop-stopping Soul Calibur 3. It is sure to be a smash hit, along with the sequel to the treasured Katamari Damacy. Namco is also sporting dozens of games for the mobile market and several arcade classics. But my favorite look so far is at the game I spoke of in another post call Hellgate: London by Flagship Studios. This game has an excellent group of very experience developers behind it and I truly can not wait to see it.

That is all for now.


GameTruth Update

We made a small update last night to GameTruth; adding some pictures for the A.R.E.S. Project and some random art we had kicking around.

I will make a bigger post later on today about some current stuff at E3. Looks like a lot happend yesterday.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

First Thoughts on the PS3

I have never really liked Playstation. They always had excellent games but I hated the fact that the controllers were so small and that the Playstation came only 2-Player as a standard. First news out of E3 has shown that Sony released some details on the Playstation 3. It seems to be very close to the Xbox 360 in features. The reason I bought an Xbox instead of a Playstation 2 was because the Xbox had better hardware (in my opinion). It will be interesting to see what will happen when both consoles have very similair capabilities and hardware. Consumers will choose based on the games.

Quick Highlights:
  • Up to 7 players via bluetooth (Why not 8?)
  • Fully Wireless for both 802.11b and 802.11g
  • Can hook up to 2 HDTVs
  • Media capabilities for video, pictures and music
  • Backwards Compatibility (plays all PS1 and PS2 games)
  • The PSP can be used as a controller with an extra screen (?)
Thats all for now on the PS3. While it looks good I still think I will buy the Xbox 360 when it comes out.


News Links:

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Sony PSP

I do not currently own a PSP, however I see news stories everyday that a new hack is out that will allow you to use your PSP in Linux or as a Gameboy Color or to surf the net, or this or that. The PSP seems to be a truly versatile machine. I will most likely buy one sooner or later because of all the cool things it can do. If you own a PSP and you want to learn how to do some of these things check out PSPHacks.

With all of these "hacks" available, I wonder if Sony is going to try and do anything to stop this trend of reverse engineering. I think that until these hackers find a way to steal games Sony will ignore the entire hacker community. This is good for several reasons.

"Power Users" as some call them, tend to only buy these hightech toys just to see what they can do with the technology. This is a big draw to everyone that loves to tinker with gadgets, and it seems that the PSP has some pretty awesome capabilities (regardless of the short battery life).

Also, there has been quite a bit of innovation involved with the hacking of the PSP. It gives developers a chance to see possible features they should have installed in the first place. Which gives them a chance to maybe improve on the product later on.

As long as "hackers" keep things legal and continue to display the capabilities of this powerful little nugget of technology I would assume Sony will stay hands off. Just beware if they cross the line...


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Casual Game Conference

With the massive growth in the mobile game market, people are starting to realize that casual gaming is in. In an effort to help move casual gaming forward the well known event organizers The Game Initiative have announced the Casual Games Conference.

From the Website:
"The new Casual Games Conference takes place July 19-20, 2005 in Seattle, Washington and provides insights to the business opportunities and design considerations required for developers, publishers and distributors to succeed in this rapidly-expanding game industry segment."

Casual gaming has huge potential. These short and addicting games are great for the mobile market and for people who have an extra 15 minutes before work. This is going to be very interesting and will hopefully produce some more terribly addictive games like Snood.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Hellgate: London

One of my favorite games of all time is Diablo II developed by Blizzard. Several of the designers behind Diablo II broke off and formed Flagship Studios. For a long time now they have been keeping a lid on their current project. Finally some news has surfaced and the upcoming title is called Hellgate: London.

The rumors are saying that this dark FPS game could possibly revolutionize the genre, I can't wait to get more information.



Hello All,

I have never done a blog before, so this is my first chance to unleash my thoughts and ideas onto the world. Anyway, this blog will be all about videogames and will run parallel to my website; gametruth.org. This blog will be used to post little things I find interesting in the video game world and also help keep people updated on what is going on at gametruth.