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    Archive for March 2001

    Saturday, March 31, 2001

    Bill Gates officially unveiled the Japanese Xbox Controller during his TGS keynote speech on Friday in Tokyo. This marks the first time that a console company has made two different controllers to fit different markets. Here is a pic of the controller.

    Japanese Xbox Controller

    Click to enlarge the controller image. You'll notice that is it significantly smaller and the buttons have been moved around slightly. The question is, will Microsoft sell this controller in the United States as well for local Japanese gamers and kids with smaller hands? Most likely, but there is no official word yet.

    Source: PlanetXbox

    GameSpot has up a new update/preview of Warcraft III, Blizzard's game-to-be-released after the Diablo II Expansion Pack. According to the preview, Warcraft II is about 6 months from release. Check out the update/preview here, and here's a snippet:
    Work has been progressing normally on the rest of the game, however, and the other races are being balanced daily. Multiplayer functionality has allowed Lead Designer Rob Pardo and the rest of the team to test many aspects of the game, and only a few days ago the team played its first four-player match. The first campaign-style mission was also recently played, revealing that Warcraft III's development is well on its way to completion. Blizzard still maintains that the game is about six months from releasing, and the build we saw showed no signs of crashing, although quite a few elements, such as unit graphics and animation, were simply shown with placeholder art.

    There's a downloadable trailer of Half-Life: Blue Shift, which was recently named a game in production for the PC by Sierra. In Blue Shift, you play the role of a security guard at Black Mesa. Unlike Opposing Force, this game is stand alone - you don't need to have Half-Life to play it. It looks like it'll be a pretty interesting game, so go check out the trailer and start getting excited.

    PC.IGN has interviewed Craig Maitlen, the Art Director for Tribes 2. The interview with Craig is all about the graphical features behind the game.

    Pivotal Games have launched their new website showcasing their upcoming 3D squad-based tactical action game based on the Gulf War of 1991, Conflict: Desert Storm. The site offers a mix of new and familiar screenshots, new character and model renders, wallpapers, and a pair of brief development diaries on the game's creation.

    EuroGamer has up a preview of the soon-to-be-released sea adventure, Aquanox, which happens to be published by FishTank Interactive (haha). You can read the preview here. Here's a snippet:
    "Mankind is always messing things up, and this time we’ve really done it. Rendering the surface of the fragile blue planet “Aqua” completely uninhabitable, our species is forced to descend into the deep blue and form a new civilisation. A good thing too, because the surface of the ocean is now sealed by a forty foot thick layer of dead organic matter, separating the murky depths from a nuclear winter."

    Friday, March 30, 2001

    Staff Needed

    - Falcon @ 10:35 pm PST

    We are currently looking for active and enthusiastic staff members to help out at Gamesurge as news posters, reviewers, and previewers. We may be able to provide certain bonuses, send me an email with your information, including past experience to find out more. Also, come drop by our forums and say hi :)

    Montreal, Quebec. March 30th, 2001 - Strategy First Inc. and TimeGate Studios announced today that key members of the Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns development team will participate in a Developer's Chat Tuesday April 3rd at 4 pm (PST) on GameSpy Arcade.

    "Since the game's release, we have been inundated with feedback from players and the press, " says Adel Chaveleh, Managing Director of TimeGate Studios. "We wanted to take this opportunity to address players' questions and concerns and to talk with our fans on a more personal level. By hosting this chat on GameSpy Arcade, we make it possible for a large number of people to interact with us directly."

    Members of the Kohan development team that will be participating in the chat will be Alan Chaveleh, Executive Producer and Game Concept; Adel Chaveleh, Producer; and Denis Papp, Lead Programmer. Fans will be able to log onto GameSpy Arcade and chat with the team for up to one hour about gaming issues, such as what inspired them to make Kohan, what obstacles they overcame during development, and tips on how to get into the industry.

    GameSpy Arcade is the industry leading, next-generation, gaming environment for fans of all game genres. Supporting more than 190 of the hottest multiplayer games, GameSpy Arcade makes it easier than ever for players to locate, connect to and join live games, download demos and files, keep track of their buddies, chat and more.

    About Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns:

    Praised as "potentially Game of the Year", this real-time fantasy strategy game is sure to appeal to a large market of gamers because of its unique blending of different game play styles. While adhering to some of the basics of traditional RTS style games, Kohan's distinctive economy model eliminates the need for micro management of resources, leaving the player with more time for strategic combat. Kohan will also appeal to the tactical wargamer with its company based combat system and use of military concepts such as formations, visual range, supply range and even morale. Not only will the more strategic and tactical players enjoy the game, but RPG gamers will also feel at home with the game's gripping storyline and role-playing elements, such as leaders and units gaining experience, leaders being carried over from one quest to another, and of course, the lush and visually stunning fantasy land of Khaldun, where dragons, spells and swords are common place.

    Immersed into a fantasy setting, players take on the role of an immortal being known as the Kohan. The Kohan were once the ruling power of the world, but were wiped out in a series of massive cataclysms. They did not die an eternal death though, and have since been reborn and reawakened in a new world, unlike the one they once knew. They must come to grips with their past glory, their present hardship, and their future destiny. The player must try to solve the mystery of his race’s destruction and attempt to return the Kohan to their rightful glory.

    About TimeGate Studios

    TimeGate Studios,, is committed to being a premier content provider for all popular gaming platforms. Founded in 1998 in Houston, Texas, TimeGate offers a unique environment for talented game developers. TimeGate’s founders and management, with backgrounds in a number of industries, provide for a strong infrastructure that ensures success in current and future projects. TimeGate Studios is preparing for the future with plans to continue to expand its existing line of strategy titles and enter the online multiplayer market.


    Founded in 1995, GameSpy Industries, Inc., is the leading online consumer and business services company focused on the expanding games market. GameSpy’s Consumer Division creates superior game and editorial experiences for the enjoyment of more than eight million gamers located in over 100 countries worldwide. GameSpy’s Business Services Division operates under the brand and is the premiere provider of online gaming infrastructure and technologies to the PC, Mac, and console games industry. It is the official online infrastructure provider for leading game publishers such as Activision, Eidos, WizardWorks, Interplay and Gathering of Developers. GameSpy's technologies have become the industry standard in multiplayer gaming, back-end systems/infrastructure and cross-platform developer tools for the $8-billion interactive entertainment industry. GameSpy Industries is the manager of the gaming world’s data – tracking over 20,000 servers and millions of gamers and game installations. GameSpy's advertising network, The Mplayer Entertainment Network, reaches over 16 million unique monthly visitors, making it one of the largest advertising properties on the Internet. The network offers advertisers access to a technology-savvy, affluent, receptive and responsive audience through attention-grabbing rich media and traditional online advertising products that typically garner higher response rates than the average rate for standard banner products. GameSpy Industries is headquartered in Irvine, California. Intel servers power the GameSpy Network of Web sites.

    The latest "TZAR:The Burden of the Crown" version is now available for download at (case sensitive):

    This version has many balance issues addresed as well as added gameSpy Arcade support. Some game features (such as Crusades, Magic Workshop, Asian Markets, Siege units, AI scripts) are also re-created for better gaming experience. Now the AI players will (or will not - this is optional) resign when they "feel da heat". Thank you for your patience!

    Another issue - Haemimont Multimedia is about to reveal it's upcoming titles in the next two weeks. There will be a great opening party in occasion of launching the official site dedicated to one of these titles - "The Druid King".

    Fileplanet is mirroring the patch, which can also be downloaded from ,a href="">

    Thanks to Strategy First's Christina Ginger, we find ourselves in the midst of a messy conflict between two races that cohabitate a solar system in a distant galaxy (and that's a good thing really). Check out Actiontrip's exclusive interview, plus four new hi-res shots from the game at:

    The EverGlide Attack Pad V-1 was $16.95 is Now $12.99!
    The EverGlide GIGANTA V-1 was $18.95 is Now $14.99!
    Purchase them from

    All Game Branded Clan Pads Are ON SALE for as low as $6.95!

    Evil Island is classic fantasy style, Role Playing/Strategy game, that has just hit the computer market. This game, put players into a situation where they must command small parties, and develop new skills as they search through three unique islands, gathering magical weapons and items, in a bit to uncover their past and restore their lost memory. Overall, Evil Island has continuously received good press; and is shaping up to be one of those games that scores very well with fantasy fans.

    Eurogamers in a recent feature, have reviewed Evil Island, and gave it it 8 out of 10 stars. The review goes for two pages and covers lots of different aspects, including controls, enemy AI, gameplay, graphics and movement. Overall a good review, which you can read by going to Here. A quote from the article.

    ”Luckily you are not alone for most of your quest. You can recruit two other characters to join you, and most of the time you will have a choice of three possible companions - usually a warrior, a magician and an archer or thief - giving you plenty of variety even before they start earning experience points for you to spend on tweaking their skills and attributes.
    The characters can be controlled either individually or en masse through a simple point and click interface, with additional buttons arranged around the edges of the screen to adjust your stance (run, walk, sneak or crawl), cast spells, switch weapons, follow someone, try to pick an enemy's pocket or use an object. If this is still too complicated for you, you can pause the action and give out orders to your characters in your own sweet time. It's all very easy, and there's even a handy little tutorial mission at the beginning to get you used to the basic controls and concepts of the game.”
    For more information on this exciting game, you can either visit the official Evil Islands website, or go and visits, Nival (The Developers) website.

    There has been lots of news recently published on the internet, involving Bioware's upcoming Role Playing expansion, Baldurs Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal. This addition to the Forgotten Realm universe contains one new class kit, over 40 hours worth of solid gameplay, and allows players to reach the sub-godly character level of 40. Throne of Bhaal is the concluding chapter in the Baldurs Gate series.

    Interplay over the last few days, has officially launched their Baldurs Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal website. The website doesn't contain much information, but it does have afew sneak peaks sure to entice die-hard RPG fans.

    In correlation to this launch, a number of websites have posted up previews on Throne of Bhaal. Today Gamespot has a short article up, detailing some of the features that will be included in this new game. The article also gives away some more storyline details, and has some VERY VERY interesting information that I am sure all Baldurs Gate fans will want to hear about. Don't believe me then read this quote:

    "Fans of the Baldur's Gate series will be in for some big surprises with Throne of Bhaal. Not only will the expansion let your characters reach near-godlike status in terms of experience levels, but it'll also feature the return of Sarevok, the villain of the original Baldur's Gate, who also happens to be the protagonist's brother. BioWare announced that Sarevok will in fact be a new, playable character who'll offer to join your party early on in the expansion, within your abyssal stronghold. You'll actually be able to form a pact with Sarevok: In exchange for part of your soul, Sarevok will be restored to life and put in your servitude. He is an extremely powerful fighter, and voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson, who did the voice of Sarevok and also the narrator in the original Baldur's Gate, will provide the voiceover for the character."
    IGN have also posted up a feature for Throne of Bhaal. Their article is around 1000 words, and contains more screenshots and lots more general details then Gamespot's. To read the article head here, or otherwise check out this quote:
    "Throne of Bhaal will include 100 new items, and you'll also have the ability to create and modify your own items and artifacts with the help of Cespenar, an imp weapon smith would will build you special creations and modify your existing weapons if you have specific components in your inventory when you visit him in your stronghold. Speaking of your stronghold, there will also be plenty of containers that you can use to store your items when you don't want to take them out adventuring. Think of them as fixed Bags of Holding where you can store your Boots of Seven Leagues when you're only five leagues away from home."
    The only other preview that I found on the Internet was written up by Daily Radar. Compared to other two previews, this one doesn't have very much to offer and to be honest isn't of a very high standard. But if any Baldurs Gate fans really want more details then they might as well turn to this link.

    Finally, a new Throne of Bhaal Development Diary has gone up on RPG Planet. Unlike the last preview, this article is well written and gives an interesting look at the creative problems that can occur when making a game as huge as Baldurs Gate 2. The article even includes afew new teasers. Overall a good read you can get it from here.

    Although it still hasn't been formally announced yet, this month's issue of PC Gamer (which should be widely available next week) will feature a preview of Soldier of Fortune 2. A scan of the cover artwork can be found at 3D Realms' site. More information to come as news is released.

    EuroGamer has up an interview with Blizzard's Bill Roper. In the interview, they discuss the Diablo II expansion set and the future of You can read the interview here. Here's a snippet:
    "Although the Diablo II expansion set adds a whole new act for the solo player to fight his way through, a lot of the massive success of the Diablo series (particularly amongst hardcore gamers) can be put down to its multiplayer support. Unsurprisingly then the company's plans for online play were the main topic of the Q&A session with Blizzard's Bill Roper when he dropped by London as part of his recent European press tour..."


    Maximum Charisma Studios Seeks Gamers To Test Online RPS Title Fighting Legendstm

    ARVADA, CO – March 29, 2001 – Maximum Charisma Studios needs Beta Testers. Twenty-Five Thousand Beta Testers, to be exact. Testing for their upcoming title, Fighting Legendstm begins in June 2001. The game is currently in Alpha and scheduled for release in November of this year. Gamers interested in participating in the beta test can sign up at

    Sean Kennedy, President/CEO comments on the key roll of beta testers, “We want to provide the best possible gaming experience. Who knows what gamers want in a game better than gamers themselves? When Fighting Legendstm launches in November, it will be a robust product with minimal bugs; however, in our minds, it will only be half complete. The other half of the game will be added on a monthly basis after launch. We believe that if you pay $9.95 a month, you should get $9.95 a month of new game play – not bug fixes. The things we learn during beta, including game’s suggestions, will help provide the direction of these monthly additions.”

    Fighting Legendstm is a role-play strategy title with action elements. The unique look of the anime style characters is set in a myriad of color and bazaar landscapes. Players can choose from 81 potential avatars. Community is a strong focus, as players must trade characters to diversify their squad, of 16 characters, in order to triumph in battle. In addition to fighting, there is an assortment of quests to choose from, ranging from mini scenarios to uber quests that require a group of allied player’s to complete. GM hosted events will be a prominent element with rewards such as; relics, monuments erected in-game, cash prizes and more.

    For more information about the game or screenshots contact Dale Lullo at 303.432.0286 or

    GameSpyDaily recently got the chance to interview Crave Entertainment's Mike Arkin and Jeff Barnhart about the new team play terrorism FPS - Global Operations - which is being co-developed by Barking Dog Studios. Check out the full scoop right here:

    New Fragmaster 2000 Game Controller Review
    Yes folks, it's that game controller they announced awhile ago that we all know and love. (Okay, so you don't know jack about it, screw me). Anyways today at G3D:Gaming In 3D they have reviewed the Frag Master 2000, a controller that was made out of an keyboard with a dremel? Sound funky? Check it out. Their not reinventing the controller, just modifying it. *wink*
    "The games used for testing will be Half Life Counter Strike 1.1, Unreal Tournament, and Red Alert 2. Half Life: CS1.1 it works as any other keyboard, just map the buttons and you are set. One complaint I had with it was the buttons were too soft and didn't feel like my MS Keyboard. Other then that it worked flawlessly. Typing messages was easier then attempting to type with the keyboard slanted and having lots of typos."

    Members of the Austin game development community held a "wake" tonight for Origin Systems following last week's announcement of large-scale layoffs there. We've just posted a brief special report by Deus Ex Lead Designer and former Origin staffer Harvey Smith on their front page.

    A few days ago, 3DActionPlanet featured an editorial by Hellchick that discusses the effect of violent games on children. It also discussed how it was the responsibility of the parents + retail stores to control the violent games. Joel Smith, a reader of 3DActionPlanet, wrote in to tell us that violent games are NOT the cause of violent behaviour. Read on for more!

    SoF News

    - Falcon @ 12:55 am PST

    SoF's only mod hosted at PlanetSoldier has just released a new version. The version includes many bug fixes, new game mods, maps and weapons (Which will be added in a bonus pak soon)

    Check out the site here!

    And get the mod here!!!!

    -New Episode for "The Greatest Action Game of All Time" To Ship in June

    BELLEVUE, WA (March 29, 2001) - Sierra On-Line and Gearbox Software announce today Half-Life(r): Blue Shift, the newest episode in the award-winning Half-Life franchise, will ship to retail outlets around the world in June.
    Half-Life: Blue Shift allows fans of the franchise to interact with new characters and explore restricted areas of the Black Mesa Research Facility. The game's website, featuring a trailer for the game, went live today at the following URL,

    Blue Shift is an all-new single player episode surrounding the Black Mesa security guard introduced in Valve's classic action thriller, Half-Life. In development by Gearbox Software, creators of the critically acclaimed Half-Life(r): Opposing Force(tm), Blueshift also contains the Half-Life HD Pack, which automatically upgrades the weapons and characters of all the games in the Half-Life saga with new high definition content.

    "Blue Shift was created for Half-Life fans everywhere and we're very pleased to be able to bring it to the PC," said Randy Pitchford, Director of Gearbox Software. "In addition to the entirely new Blue Shift episode, the package also includes support for online play and the Half-Life HD Pack, which brings all Half-Life games to the next generation of graphics technology."

    Half-Life: Blue Shift allows fans of the franchise to explore areas of the Black Mesa Research Facility where even Gordon Freeman never gained access. Half-Life: Blue Shift is a stand-alone product that does not require Half-Life to play. And in North America, Blue Shift will be sold with a full version of Half-Life: Opposing Force, winner of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Action Game of the Year Award.

    Half-Life combines great storytelling with intense action and advanced technology to create an impressive, realistic world where players need to
    think smart to survive. Created by Valve LLC, Half-Life has won more than 50 Game of the Year awards from publications around the world, was named "Best PC Game Ever" by Imagine Media's PC Gamer magazine (November 1999), and has sold over two million copies worldwide on the PC.

    Founded in January 1999, Gearbox Software is a team of veteran 3D game developers collected in Dallas, Texas. Half-Life: Opposing Force was the company's first offering to the gaming community and is the recipient of the prestigious 2000 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' PC Action Game of the Year. More information about Gearbox Software can be found at

    Sierra On-Line, Inc. , a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal Publishing and part of the Vivendi Universal Games division, is one of the original developers and largest worldwide publishers of interactive entertainment and productivity software. Sierra is renowned for releasing critically acclaimed and award winning titles that represent a wide variety of computer entertainment on both next generation console and PC platforms.

    Vivendi Universal Games (VUG) is a division of Vivendi Universal Publishing, a world leader in mass-market multimedia communications. A leading publisher of online, PC and console-based interactive content, VUG's portfolio of entertainment software brands includes Blizzard Entertainment(r),, Sierra(tm) and Universal Interactive Studios. Games are one of parent company Vivendi Universal's key content areas, along with movies, music and other publishing activities. Vivendi Universal aims to be the world's preferred creator and provider of personalized information, entertainment and services to consumers everywhere, and across all distribution platforms.

    For Release 2 p.m. Tokyo Time

    Bill Gates Outlines Strategic Plan for Xbox in Japan

    Keynote at Tokyo Game Show Reveals Major Xbox Details, Including Support From Sega and Vision for Broadband Online Gaming on Xbox

    TOKYO - March 30, 2001 - In his keynote address today at 2001 Spring Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates revealed the company's plans to bring the Xbox™ video game system to Japan.
    During the keynote, Gates underscored Microsoft's commitment to the Japanese market and announced that more than 70 Japanese game companies, including Sega Corp., have declared their support for Microsoft® Xbox.

    "With Xbox, our goal is to create the future of video gaming, and our work in Japan will play a key role in achieving that," Gates said. "We're extremely excited to be working with Japanese games artists on Xbox to pioneer new dimensions of creativity in video games."

    Microsoft and Sega Team Up on Xbox
    Gates revealed that Microsoft and Sega have struck a long-term, strategic alliance to bring future versions of great Sega® games to Xbox. Sega will premiere 11 of its future titles on Xbox, including "Jet Grind Radio Future(tm)" (tentative title), the latest version of "Panzer Dragoon(tm)," "GUNVALKYRIE(tm)" and the latest version of "Sega GT(tm)." Sega will also explore opportunities to harness the Ethernet port and hard disk drive inside every Xbox console to create new online game experiences.

    Xbox Games Without Frontiers
    On the heels of Microsoft's announcement yesterday of a strategic alliance with NTT Communications Corp. to build a broadband online gaming service for Japan, Gates also outlined a vision for online video games, in which Xbox gamers can connect to a high-speed, high-bandwidth, always-on game network.

    "Broadband online video gaming is on the verge of becoming as revolutionary as 3-D gaming was just a few years ago," Gates said. "The broadband connection in every Xbox is the key that unlocks new worlds of play, where friends and opponents are everywhere."

    Gates discussed many scenarios for Xbox online gameplay in the future, including these:

    · Boundless gaming. Xbox video game players will have the potential to instantly connect with online gaming communities to compete in social environments. Another scenario Gates discussed was one in which Xbox video game players will be able to participate in episodic and dynamic games that extend their game experiences beyond what comes on the game DVD.
    · Simple, fast and predictable experiences. Online video gaming will be mmade easy on Xbox because of the broadband connection on the console.

    Microsoft Announces Xbox Japan Division
    Microsoft today also announced details on its Xbox Japan Division in Tokyo. The division is responsible for managing third-party relationships with Japanese games companies, and for managing Xbox operations, marketing, research, sales and support in Japan. The division also houses the Xbox Games Production Group, dedicated to developing and publishing exclusive Xbox games under the Microsoft label.

    Toshiyuki Miyata, senior group manager of the Xbox Games Production Group, formerly managed the Development Department at Sony Computer Entertainment
    Inc. (SCEI) in Tokyo, where he directed the creation of Sony's PlayStation games. During the keynote, Miyata demonstrated his team's latest creation,
    currently code-named "Project K-X," an Xbox fighting game.

    New Xbox Game Controller for Japan Unveiled
    In addition, Gates showed the custom Xbox game controller, which will come with every Xbox in Japan. Based on feedback from Japanese gamers, the controller is slightly smaller than the North American and European controller, and the buttons have been positioned to best accommodate the styles of gameplay popular in Japan.
    The Japanese Xbox game controller is built for maximum control and comfort. It features an eight-way directional pad (D-pad), left and right analog sticks, left and right shoulder triggers, six pressure- sensitive multicolored analog buttons, dual slots for memory cards and other peripherals, and a built-in "rumble" feature to increase gaming realism. The controller also features a cord more than 9.5 feet long to give gamers the freedom to sit nearly anywhere they want during gameplay.

    About Xbox
    Xbox () is Microsoft's future-generation video game system that delivers new and unforeseen gameplay experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance of the newest generation of game systems, Xbox unleashes game designers' creativity to produce games that are challenging, exhilarating, surprising and fun.

    About Sega Corp.
    Sega Corp. is a nearly $2.5 billion company recognized as the industry leader in interactive digital entertainment media, offering interactive entertainment experiences both inside and outside the home. Sega's World Wide Web site is located at

    About Sega of America
    Sega of America is the American arm of Tokyo-based Sega Corp., and is responsible for the development, marketing and distribution of Sega video game systems and video games in the Americas. Sega of America's World Wide Web site is located at

    About Microsoft
    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

    For Immediate Release 11:30 a.m. Tokyo Time

    Sega and Microsoft Team Up for Strategic Xbox Alliance

    Sega to Create 11 New Games for Xbox and Plans to Support Xbox Broadband Online Gaming In First Stage of Relationship

    TOKYO - March 30, 2001 - Today at the 2001 Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft Corp. and video game powerhouse Sega Corp. announced a long-term, strategic alliance to bring future versions of Sega's great games to Microsoft's future-generation Xbox™ video game system. The companies kicked off their relationship by announcing an 11-title publishing agreement to premiere many of Sega's upcoming games on the Microsoft® Xbox console. The first games to premiere on Xbox will be "Jet Grind Radio Future(tm)" (tentative title), "Panzer Dragoon(tm)" (latest version), "GUNVALKYRIE(tm)", and "Sega GT(tm)" (latest version). In addition, Sega plans to utilize the Xbox video game system's broadband online gaming capabilities.

    "Having Sega on board with Xbox is a huge win for gamers around the world," said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer (CXO) at Microsoft. "The creative artists at Sega not only are going to deliver great Xbox games, they will help us establish the benchmark for great Xbox gaming experiences both on and offline."

    "We believe that Microsoft will be very successful with Xbox, which is why we have such a close, strategic relationship with them," said Peter Moore, president and COO, Sega of America. "Our world-renowned development studios have been very impressed with the Xbox hardware, and they are excited to bring new gaming experiences to consumers by utilizing the platform's power and network capabilities. We share Microsoft's commitment to broadband online gaming and will work with it to deliver the best content possible to gamers."

    The games announced for Xbox today include the following:

    · "Jet Grind Radio Future" (tentative title). Gamers should get ready to skate, grind and trick to a new beat. "Jet Grind Radio Future" is a next-generation street action game for Xbox that delivers fast-paced action, new awesome tunes and an artistic look that's truly groundbreaking.

    · "Sega GT" (latest version). The most recent version of "Sega GT" delivers adrenaline-filled, full-contact auto racing that allows gamers to design, build and customize the world's hottest cars and capture all the heated thrills found in high-performance driving.

    · "GUNVALKYRIE." "GUNVALKYRIE," the next-generation shooter for Xbox, takes players to war to ignite the battlefields by joining an elite force of
    mercenaries to battle it out for control of the universe.

    · "Panzer Dragoon" (latest version). Xbox owners will be the first to return to the stunning world of Panzer Dragoon. They can take flight once again to explore the lush beauty, fierce technology and mysterious dragon-breeding culture of one of Sega's most sought-after franchises.

    Thursday, March 29, 2001

    Sierra Studios has announced a PC version of Half-Life: Blue Shift, the single-player episode in the Half-Life series originally developed for the Dreamcast console by Gearbox Software. The game is scheduled for a release in June this year, will also include a High-Definition Pack for all previous games, and the official site is online sporting the first screenshots and a movie trailer. Here is an excerpt from the full press release:
    "Blue Shift is an all-new single player episode surrounding the Black Mesa security guard introduced in Valve's classic action thriller, Half-Life. In development by Gearbox Software, creators of the critically acclaimed Half-Life(r): Opposing Force(tm), Blueshift also contains the Half-Life HD Pack, which automatically upgrades the weapons and characters of all the games in the Half-Life saga with new high definition content."

    LITTLEWHITEDOG.COM just released a very comprehensive review of the D-Link DI-713 Wireless Home DSL/Cable Router + Switch.
    "I started receiving timeouts when the distance was about 30 yards and while I thought this to be a little shy of the claimed 50-100m, the 30 yards wasn't in a straight line in complete open space. Basically, it wasn't perfect conditions which I'm sure the specs are geared towards. It went around 2 corners so therefore it had quite a few walls to travel through. The documentation of the DWL-650 states that walls will decrease distance by anywhere from 1m to 30m per wall. Within those 30 yards, I was able to wander from desk to desk in the office and never lose network connection at all. At home I was able to surf the Internet with no problems while sitting on the couch watching TV about 50 feet away from the DI-713. It was at that moment when I realized just how much I was starting to love it...."

    3D Spotlight has just updated their High-end PC Buying Guide. Take a look here:
    "...I´m sorry Intel, but the only pick for this month comes from AMD, their recently released Athlon running at 1.33GHz is selling for a very low price offering the best performance you can get out there from a single processor rig. This 1.33GHz processor makes good use of DDR memory and newer chipsets that also use a faster 133mhz DDR FSB (266mhz). Just in case you were wondering, an Intel Pentium 4 1.5Ghz is currently selling for about $550, that's two times the cost of the TBird that runs at a slower frequency (the fastest speed available for that specific processor) but offers a comparable performance, in fact it's been proven that the Tbird can easily beat a P4 in most tasks."

    The original Unreal was the epitome of game developers and graphics-hogs everywhere and, at the time, was the future of 3D. Now, more than two years later, the Unreal mission pack and Unreal Tournament have been released, and Unreal II is well under way! Get the skinny right here.

    Microsoft and NTT Communications Form Strategic Alliance To Deliver Online Gaming Service for Xbox in Japan

    The Service Will Deliver the Best Online Gaming Experience, Taking Advantage of the Broadband Capability Built Into Every Xbox System

    TOKYO - March 29, 2001 - Microsoft Corp. and NTT Communications Corp. (NTT Com) today announced a strategic alliance to establish a dedicated high- uality, high-speed broadband online gaming service in Japan for use of the Microsoft® Xbox™ video game system. This new service, expected to launch in 2002, will offer gamers in Japan a new way to experience gameplay and propel the idea of connected gaming from a novelty into a necessity.

    "Every Xbox console has built-in broadband capability, the technology of the future for online video gaming. This alliance with NTT Com will enable gamers to enjoy the best online game content and gaming experience available," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft, who will deliver the keynote address at the Tokyo Games Show tomorrow.

    NTT Com, Japan's leading telecommunications company, will provide Microsoft with access to ADSL through OCN's broadband services. Microsoft's Xbox Division in Japan will co-manage the build-out of the online gaming service. This division will also provide support for the game developers creating online-enabled Xbox games.

    "With broadband entering a new phase, as evidenced by the rapid proliferation of ADSL, we consider 2001 to be the inaugural year for broadband services," said Masanobu Suzuki, president and CEO of NTT Com. "NTT Com has been striving to expand its IP-based broadband communications infrastructure. I truly believe that the Xbox service will contribute greatly to the proliferation of broadband services among Japanese

    Xbox is the only video game system designed from the beginning to be a great platform for online gaming. The Ethernet port and hard disk drive inside every Xbox system let game developers create new online-enabled games that take the video game experience beyond the walls of the gamer's home and connect them to other gamers throughout the country.

    Microsoft and NTT Com are also collaborating to explore the future use of enhanced fiber-optic connections, with speeds up to 100 Mbit, to create more compelling online video game experiences.

    About NTT Communications

    NTT Communications (NTT Com), a Tokyo-based subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., provides long-distance and international telecommunications reaching over 200 countries worldwide. In conjunction with Verio Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary wholly owned by NTT Com, the NTT Com group ranks among the top IP service providers globally. The group provides customers of all sizes in the United States, Japan, and throughout Asia with a complete range of Internet-based business services - from high-quality IP network services including global connectivity, network management and IP-VPN to advanced Web-based business solutions. NTT Com's Arcstar global services operating in about 50 countries also provide managed data, multimedia and other services to some of the largest companies in the world. More information about NTT Com can be found at the company's Web site at

    Despite reports to the contrary, Microsoft is mounting a broadside assault in its campaign to establish broadband online gaming for Xbox for its fall 2001 release. The company yesterday announced a strategic alliance with Japanese telecom giant, NTT Communications to provide high-speed Internet access, as well as direct support to game developers in implementing the technology.

    For all of you guys freaking out over this spyware nonsense, here's what it's all about. As Lionhead's Georg Backer e-mailed and said:

    About Black & White and Spyware.

    There has been the rumour that Black & White has so called spyware, which sends information about your computer (registry details, hardware info etc.) to Lionhead/EA.

    This is wrong.

    Black & White uses a mechanism for its built in messaging system to tell the server if you're online or not and ready for receiving messages from other friends online. The information sent is even too small to fit my full name into it.

    We are not spying on your system!

    For the people who are concerned about their privacy and security: If you connect with a normal web browser to a web site, much, much more information (your IP, your operating oystem, your web browser, the site you came from, etc.) is stored on every web server on the Internet.

    So, be more concerned that if you have downloaded illegal software from web sites, the site operator has stored far more information about who you are and where you came from, than Black & White ever does. Suffice to say, if you playing an illegal copy of Black & White, the program is self-aware, so if you encounter problems with it, then maybe you should buy a proper version.

    So those of you who have disabled the feature which sends out the information are actually disabling the game's messaging feature.

    Yes, it seems so. Tribes 2 is arriving in stores today, and the first time you start up the game, you will have to update both the game itself and the Sierra update system. For those that want to get a jump on things, you can grab the update patch from Sierra's site, and Blue's New has posted a local copy of the first game patch, complete with a list of mirrors. Fortunately the patches are very small, as you cannot play Tribes 2 online until you have installed both of them (either manually or through the auto-update system).

    Eurogamer has up a review for the Russian-developed 3D game Evil Islands. You can read it here. Here's a snippet:
    " Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. Zak, hero of Evil Islands, very much falls into this third category. Waking up amongst the ancient ruins of a strange island with no memory of who he is or how he got there, he is declared The Chosen by the local villagers and promptly co-opted into carrying out a series of menial tasks for them. When you're not killing goblins or wolves you are recovering stolen goods from brigands and filching magical items from the orcs. It's certainly humble beginnings for a would-be messiah." has up a demo for Star Trek: Away Team. If you’re a Star Trek Fan then what are ya waiting for go grab this one from here.

    Star Trek: Away Team is the first squad based strategy game based in the Star Trek Next Generation universe. In Away Team, you'll have the opportunity to form your own strike teams from seventeen different characters, all with their own special skills and weapons.

    Fallen Age is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, that has been in development for the past three years. This game is set to blow a new hole into the current market, with its bold combination of science fiction and fantasy, plus unique real time features currently not available in RPG's. I personally rate this game very high, and am looking forward to it far more then other titles such as Dark Age of Camelot ect.

    Over on the official website, I just noticed that a date has finally been set for the first Fallen Angels Beta. The beta is currently in 23 days time and starts on April 21, 2001. This beta will be closed and limited to a certain number of participants. It is basically designed to act as a stress test. For more details or to sign up head over here.

    Also posted up on the site is information on an upcoming chat event. This quote contains most of the details:

    "Fallen Age House of Commons chat, hosted by Fallen Age Stratics, tomorrow, Wednesday, March 28th, at 7pm CST in the channel #fahoc on Both Savant and Drysart will be on hand to answer questions in preparation for the upcoming beta release of Fallen Age in April."
    Head over here for more information, or to read up on this exciting game.

    Well, the Beta is now out and plenty of people have alot to say about this Futuristic Role Playing Game.

    One for example; Edge Online, in a recent review, after playing Anarchy Online, walked away with quite afew negative comments, including this one:

    "Edge cannot help to still feel the initial disappointment that Anarchy-Online isn't all that was promised. Certainly, as it is it's engrossing, charming, and a fiercely impressive experience, but its basis in a combat-based system that limits that experience by definition leaves the player feeling slightly cheated. Edge-Online will continue reporting as the beta progresses."

    Speedy 3D also played the beta, but thankfully they were abit more positive and actually were fairly impressed with Anarchy Online:

    "So, Anarchy Online with its futuristic take on the MMORPG, simple character creation and excellent mission system is looking very much like a good buy, but don't expect to have much free time - the bane of every MMORPG gamer. Anarchy Online is currently in the third stage of beta and there are plenty of fan sites out there with beta journals, previews and screenshots to keep you interested. Expect the full game sometime in the first half of this year."

    Since the release of the first beta form, a number of different sites have been posting their opinions. Overall it has been a mixed bag, but quite afew people have been disappointed with Anarchy Online. One of the main reasons for this is probably due to all the hype and media attention the game received. The same thing happened to Diablo II, and System Shock II. Whilst people do believe that Anarchy Online is a good game, they don't believe that is is the great game that all its hype hype had build it up to be.

    Gamespot has put up a new preview for the exciting Dungeons and Dragon style Role Playing Game, Never Winter Nights. Created by Bioware Studio's, NWN in first online Role Playing Game to include the revolutionary Dungeon Master structure.

    Basically the Dungeon Master is a life action player, given the ability to act as a computer and control enemy AI, NPC's, game rules, new and existing quests, and ultimately impact on the entire environment, though the use of in game tools. Gamespot gave high praise to this structure and to the overall product in their preview. Here's a quote:

    "’It's the largest project we've ever undertaken,’ admitted Trent Oster, the producer of Neverwinter Nights. BioWare's next big project has actually been in development for more than four years now--two years in full force--and it represents a culmination of many of the best ideas of BioWare's designers. Essentially, the game is designed to be the closest thing to pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons for the PC. It's a set of extremely robust tools, which are tied together with powerful multiplayer capabilities that will be best suited for closely knit player communities--or groups of such communities. Much like a real-life Dungeons & Dragons campaign you might play with your friends, Neverwinter Nights--which takes place in the same rich Forgotten Realms setting from the Baldur's Gate series--will allow you the same level of creative freedom and flexibility within its exciting, beautifully rendered environments. Of course, it has a number of significant differences compared with traditional D&D, not the least of which is the game's ability to save your character on remote servers, giving your character the same sense of permanence that you'd get from a more-conventional massively multiplayer game like EverQuest."
    Hopefully Never Winter Nights will be appearing in stores later on this year. Head over to,10869,2701736,00.html to read the story.

    The Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, Shadowbane, has just been given some more press, in the form of an official web update. This update includes one new in game video, and the launch of a new poll section. The video is well detailed and definitely shows off some of the better aspects of Shadowbane. While the poll section is a great way for interested fans to give their opinions and help out Shadowbane's creators Wolfpack Studios. Heres a quote from the site detailing the update:
    "This week's updated is the next in our series of in-game movies. This one entails two stalwart adventurers lost in the Swamps of Irydni. For a larger version of this same footage, be sure to check out our community fan sites.

    We are also unveiling our official Polls section. Participation in these polls will give us feedback on the types of features you
    think we should concentrate on in the future.  The topic of our first poll is What Specialty Class are you most interested in playing

    To visit the official website, jump on this link.

    Looks like Adrenaline Vault got the scoop on this story; that is if their article is to be believed. In a recent update, the staff over at Adrenaline Vault, were informed by a GOD Games representative that Rune: Halls of Valhalla was now completed and would be hitting store shelves by April 24. Halls of Valhalla is a Role Playing/Action Adventure expansion that offers two additional modes -- Headball and Arena -- maps and a multitude of new personalities, including three female characters.

    In recent updates over on the Official Rune website, it appeared as if the development team was near completion on Halls of Valhalla; so for all intensive purposes I am assuming that this article is valid and that the new Rune add on will be out soon (Even though there is no confirmation on the Rune website at this moment.) Heres a quote from Avaults article for anyone who hasn't heard about this expansion:

    "Teams have one goal in HeadBall: tossing the heads of their opponents through goals to score points. HeadBall begins with each team hitting a switch placed in the map for their squad. Once all the teams have entered the arena, a countdown begins during which each participant moves to the best starting point -- no damage can be imposed at this stage of the match. However, once the starting gong has sounded, the melee begins. Participants can use defensive maneuvers to slow the progress of their opponents or go for decapitations. A severed head can be grabbed and run through goals placed around the map. Some maps have goals that all the participants can use while others have team-specific goals. Some maps have multiple goals that score a different number of points per head, with difficult goals earning more points. People who set up HeadBall servers can also select whether or not to throw “limb scoring” into the mix. In this modification, each limb tossed into a goal scores one point.

    Also included will be original in-game music, 33 new maps available across all game modes, improved Internet code, and new defensive options such as stronger shields and stopping thrown weapons."

    Head over to the Official site for more information.

    Starting this coming Wednesday on the 4th of April and continuing through until the 11th of April, Blizzard Entertainment will be selecting applicants for a closed beta test, of their highly anticipated Role Playing expansion pack, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. The beta is only available for fans living in the US and Canada, who currently own a registered copy of Diablo II. Successful beta testers will be chosen randomly from the pool of applicants. The Beta itself is around 550mgs and includes everything from the expansion except for the final cinematic seen. Heres a quote from Blizzards official site:
    "Applicants must own a copy of Diablo II and must be U.S. or Canadian residents 17 and over. System requirements for the expansion set remain the same, but those wanting to run the program in the new 800 x 600 resolution will need higher-end machines. The focus of the test will be on improving game server stability and capacity. Please be advised that the beta test server will experience frequent periods of instability during the testing period.
    Currently few details have been posted online, and fans are still unable to submit their applications. For more information, head over to Blizzard's website. New details on this beta will be posted up as they come to light.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2001

    1. ENSEMBLE STUDIOS: RTS III First Online ScreenShot from ENSEMBLE STUDIOS (Code Name ) RTS III
    Screen shot as seen in the May Issue of Computer Gaming World. Look for a Multi Page Feature Preview in Computer Gaming World's June Issue.

    2. GDC Article: Guidelines for Developing Successful Games by Bruce Shelley
    The title for this presentation includes two words that need defining at the start. I use the word "guidelines" in the sense of suggestions or check boxes, but not as a recipe. I use "successful" here to mean the commercial success of a game: sales and profits. The goal of this presentation is to suggest policies, methods, and features that can lead to commercial success. The more of these guidelines that you follow or incorporate into your development, the greater the probability of success from the resulting game.

    3. GDC Article: 1,500 Archers on a 28.8: Network Programming in Age of Empires and Beyond by Mark Terrano and Paul Bettner
    Moving a few units around in your multiplayer game is an easy concept to grasp, but the challenge of tracking thousands of units over a modem connection is an entirely different matter. This session opens the hood on the Genie engine, the technological foundation of the Age of Empires series. We further delve into the multiplayer implementation of the next-generation BANG! engine. We discuss some of the lessons learned and the evolution of the networking code throughout development of the Age of Empires titles. The presentation covers useful tools, testing methods, and a few horror stories from the network code development of both engines

    5. Content Designer
    Content Designers have a variety of responsibilities at Ensemble Studios but, above all, they conceive good concepts for scenarios, perform the scenario editor work required to get these ideas into our games, and continually improve their scenarios as a result of testing and feedback. Additional duties are numerous and diverse, but include supervising internal playtesting sessions, designing game systems, and collecting source material for our artists. As members of the design team, this position demands the ability to work closely with other designers, artists, programmers and other elements of Ensemble Studios.

    6. New Random Map for Age of Empires II: The Conquerors
    The Paradise Island Random Map creates a large island with a broad beach. In the center of the island is a small lake, and in the center of that lake is a tiny island with a mountain, some Relics, and some Jaguar guardians. Silent stone heads lie buried in the undergrowth--remnants of some past civilization that couldn't resolve their differences with their neighbors either. There is abundant food in paradise--plenty of berry bushes, boar and a sea full of fish. The food on the map creates one of the most striking changes in gameplay, because going up through the first few ages is easy, but gold starts to become limiting later on (then again, there are all those Relics in the middle...).

    Fresh today on EuroGamer is a preview of the Diablo II add-on pack, Lord of Destruction, based on what we saw of the latest build during Blizzard's recent European press tour.
    Baal is trying to reach the World Stone to corrupt it, which will result in only evil creatures being brought into the world, and as Blizzard's Bill Roper helpfully pointed out this is "obviously not a good thing". And so you find ourself in the middle of a full-scale war - the monsters aren't just standing around waiting to be killed anymore, they are battling barbarians, tending siege artillery, and patrolling their fortifications as they fight their way towards the mountain top where the World Stone is.

    If you've never heard of Conquest: Frontier Wars then where have you been? If you thought Conquest: Frontier Wars was dead, think again!

    It's alive and kicking at the newly launched and only months from full release!

    Eric Peterson from Fever Pitch Studios talks with StrategyPlanet about Conquest: Frontier Wars. Check out the interview here.

    Stomped chats with Ben "Dasjuden" Jones, the team leader and spokesman for the Day of Defeat mod team as he talks about their popular World War II based mod for Half-Life. Check out the exclusive interview at

    Here at Speedy 3D has just kicked up their 2001 games preview guide. In this guide they a look at some of the games to watch for 2001 including (with screenshots!):

    Anarchy Online
    Black and White
    Commandos 2
    Operation Flashpoint
    Return To Castle Wolfenstein
    Serious Sam
    Republic: Revolution

    Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle ships, hitting store shelves nationwide in days…

    Montreal, Quebec. March 26th, 2001 - Strategy First Inc. and BreakAway Games are pleased to announce that Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle has shipped.

    "War gamers, strategy gamers and history buffs alike are in for a real treat," says Don McFatridge, President of Strategy First. "BreakAway Games has done a great job putting this title together and it has been a pleasure working with them."

    "Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle represents the passion and hard work of the BreakAway Games' staff and we are thrilled to finally get it into the hands of the consumers," states Doug Whatley, President of BreakAway Games. "We think that the game combines the best of both worlds -- lush graphics and music that capture the mood of the time period, along with AI that will give gamers a run for their money."

    For a full list of retail stores that will carry the game, please log onto for details. The game will be hitting store shelves nationwide in the next few days.

    Sennheiser HD570 Headphone Review
    How many times have you boys and girls tried to crank up the volume when your playing Day Of Defeat, Unreal Tourney, or Homeworld? Those booms that echoes from your woofers cause the people around you a lot of grief huh? While most gamers would merely scream and claw their family to shut up, others are more practical. The solution? Headphones! Today at G3D:Gaming In 3D, they have reviewed one of Sennheiser's better known headphones, the HD570. Check it out.
    "First of all, we have to acknowledge the fact that these are full cup headphones folks. There's a big word that goes with this for you audiophile people, but I don't remember it well enough to trust my spelling =). We'll just leave it at: They fit all the way over your ears. Mine have some room to spare, and when I took them to a LAN Party with me, none of the people I had try them on complained about them being too small. They're extremely light for their size and quality. It's basically like wearing a baseball cap when you wearing these babies."

    While the war between the music industry and companies like napster rages on, a new technology designed to create CD's that cannot be ripped into mp3's has been developed. The problems faced in the past with CD protection schemes, is that some "rip proof" CDs were actually rendered unplayable in some CD players, as described in the article. There are a lot of future implications if this technology succeds and becomes common, read the full article here.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2001

    Over on their official website Interplay has just released a new patch for their futuristic Role Playing Game, Fallout Tactics, that I assume, will address most of the faults noted in earlier versions (Consider this patch is a huge 76mg!!!!!!). Unfortunately there are no details on the fixes and updates addressed by this patch, but here are the installation instructions:
    "Implements 'spr-sprites_0.bos' file, in cases where certain users have reported missing images in their inventory. To use this patch, Fallout Tactics must first be installed. After downloading the FOT_3CDPatch_032301.exe, double click on the FOT_3CDPatch_032301.exe to begin the installation process. Once initiated, follow the onscreen instructions. The installer will automatically place this single file in the correct Fallout Tactics installed folder location (default path - C:\Program Files\14 Degrees East\Fallout Tactics\core\). The correct size of the installed file should indicate 86,937,840 bytes."
    You can download the file from here.

    Also in other post war news, have recently put up a review for Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. In their review IGN give this expansion pack a good working over and come away with a good impression. Heres a quote from the article:

    "I was pleased to see that, with all the emphasis on strategy and action, Brotherhood of Steel is completely in touch with Fallout's RPG roots. In fact, although this game is being classified as a strategy game, it's just as much an RPG as the previous games, at least in terms of the player characters. A few simplifications have been made in the area of story and NPC interaction. But as far as the character system goes, this game offers remarkable levels of customization. Sadly, you won't know enough about the game at first to create a really kick ass character, but since you're given other squad mates to fill in your deficiencies, this isn't too much of a problem."
    Read the full article here.

    Shiny Entertainment has certainly been busy working on their critically acclaimed Role Playing/Strategy hybrid Sacrifice. As of today, the third Sacrifice patch is now available to download. This patch touches on everything including balance issues, game modes, network and ladder upgrades, new keyboard and player options, additional triggers and map fixes. Overall all the patch weights in at 6.2mgs and can be plucked off 3dfiles, fileplanet. For a list of all the current changes includes in this patch, head over to VoodooExtreme and read their article.

    3DGF Contest

    - Falcon @ 1:44 am PST

    The Latest content at 3D GameForce......

    Grand Reopening Contest:
    3D GameForce wanted to kick off the spring season with a bang! That's why they are holding a special contest to celebrate the Grand Reopening of thier Forums. All you have to do to enter is register. Each registered member with over 10 posts will be entered into a drawing for one of three great prize packages. Please DO NOT post spam, they will be watching and any posts that are not meaningful will be void and deleted, and you will not be entered or have a chance too win! Good luck!"

    GameSpyDaily has some interesting new comments from ORIGIN's David Swofford related to the UO2 cancellation and layoffs from last week. He addresses the future of ORIGIN as well as the staff members that moved off the project:

    Quake III: Team Arena -- the add-on pack for Quake III Arena which was supposed to make the ultimate deathmatch game the ultimate team play game. And, for the most part, it did -- Team Arena got great reviews all over the web. So why did nobody buy it? Why isn't anybody playing it? In essense, why did it bomb so bad? CitizenC has a few theories.


    Microsoft today announced that Bill Gates' keynote at the upcoming Spring Tokyo Game Show (TGS) will be webcast on the official Xbox Web site, at The keynote (and live webcast) will take place on March 29, 2001 at 8pm PST. Now everyone can attend the event without even getting on an airplane. Join Bill Gates as he reveals more information about Microsoft's commitment to gaming in Japan.

    To view the webcast, gamers are encouraged to visit shortly before 8pm PST, click the link for the webcast, sit back and enjoy the show! To watch the webcast, users will need the latest version of Windows Media Player.

    Xbox is Microsoft's future-generation video game system that delivers new and unforeseen gameplay experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance of the newest generation of game systems, Xbox unleashes game designers' creativity to produce games that are challenging, exhilarating, surprising and fun.

    Monday, March 26, 2001

    Today at 3D Spotlight they've updated one of their most highly regarded guides, the Windows 2000 Services Tweak guide.
    Take a look at the full guide here:
    Protected Storage. Provides protected storage for sensitive data, such as private keys, to prevent access by unauthorized services, processes, or users. If your system contains such sensitive data, or programs with multiple Identities then you should set this to Automatic. If when set to Manual you may find this causes problems with certain programs, e.g. Outlook Express, if so then set it back to Automatic.

    Thoranko's recent editorial, "Women in Games," was, in Asspennies' opinion, an "entirely wrong-headed and uneducated view of what is alleged to be an industry-wide problem - the proclivity of developers to include female characters in games that do not meet her approval." Asspennies offers a very good rebuttal; read on for more, or check out the original article at

    Making a welcome change from the recent bad publicity the gaming industry has been getting over school shootings, the British newspaper The Guardian today reported that new studies suggest that gamers "may actually be more intelligent than the average". Read the article here:

    Sunday, March 25, 2001

    Disciples II Development Report
    Disciples II: Dark Prophecy is Strategy First's upcoming sequel to its 1998 hit, Disciples: Sacred Lands. The second game will feature many improvements including stronger RPG elements. In his new Disciples II Development Report, Producer Pro Sotos offer his insights into one of the most critical of these, the experience system.

    RiderzNews has posted an interview with Stainless Steel Studios founder and Lead Designer in Empire Earth (as well as Age of Empires), Rick Goodman.

    XS Underground has just posted a review of the Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox.
    The Nomad Jukebox is a portable MP3 player with an integrated 6GB hard drive and USB connectivity.
    The Nomad Jukebox is small, weighs very little, and looks great - just as a PDA should (smooth, rounded and organic - rather than square and bulky). The Nomad Jukebox uses an 8 MB DRAM buffer, in permanent physical contact, to load the next section to be played thus providing jog-protection for up to 8 mins. This functions amazingly, I have had no problems listening in the car, jogging, or running down stairs. Not even the slightest skip!

    Another editorial on video game violence. Has our industry seen enough of these? Oh, you bet. Are we getting tired of reading them? Absolutely. So is another one rehashing the subject warranted? Hellchick thinks it's warranted until someone makes John Ashcroft realize he's completely misplacing the blame in his recent statements on video game violence.
    "So before we continue, let's go ahead and give John Ashcroft the benefit of the doubt and actually say it:
    Violent games help breed violent behavior in children.
    There. Let's work from this premise for the remainder of the column, because I believe there's a small grain of truth to that statement Surprised? Read on and you'll find out why I'm still incensed at Mr. Ashcroft's finger-pointing."

    Saturday, March 24, 2001

    Computer Chaos has a download link to a site offering a preview build for IE 6.0 for Win 2000. I've been using it on Win2k and so far it's pretty slick.

    There are some more Warcraft III movies on WarcraftIII.Net continuing their recent large influx of footage they shot at Blizzard's London press event. Two of these are gameplay movies in MPEG format, one showing off camera angles and the other character dialogue, while the third flick in an AVI that features Blizzard's Bill Roper talking about how cinematics will work in the game.

    The official Counter-Strike page has been updated with an updated Counter-Strike mod 1.0 to 1.1 patch. The new and updated patch contains a the correct de_vegas map. And in case you're like us, and you've downloaded the patch already, you can just download this fix. has posted a big, new Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction preview based on what they're seeing at this week's GDC. They explain all kinds of new details about this expansion pack to the hugely popular action/RPG. There are lots of new screenshots, albeit taken with a camera; this preview is a must read if you're interested in Diablo 2.

    Peripheral manufacturer Thrustmaster has signed a global licensing agreement with Microsoft to create and distribute third-party Xbox controllers and peripherals. The company is known for a full line of racing wheels, joysticks and control pads, and is considering bringing other peripherals, such as snowboarding/skateboarding controllers, memory cards, light guns and other game specific devices like dance pads, to Xbox as well. The first wave of Thrustmaster Xbox devices is scheduled for the console's fall launch.

    Friday, March 23, 2001

    GSD caught up with Lord British at the GDC (as well as a few of the UO2 dev team) to get thoughts and feelings about the recent cancellation of UO2:


    Networkleague takes pride in introducing a unique online gaming system enabling online gamers to play their favourite computer game facing opponents matching their own skills and giving them the opportunity to cash in if they're good.

    It's the shortest way to entertainment for those looking for an occasional break or serious competition for the pros.

    Once a gamer have played the first couple of games, the NWL-system will be able to rate the gamer, and from then on he or she will be able to battle players on their own level.

    Networkleague will also be comparing the player's technical differences, making it even and more entertaining for everyone. Besides that, Networkleague offers complete game statistics of player skills and game history.

    Networkleague is free to join and play, and with the first ever 'one-click-play' button it will be to-the-point and easy configurable. No technical skills required.

    As an appetizer Networkleague arranges thefirst worldwide, open and free online Quake-tournament ever, with prizes of more than 20.000 US$, including a grand finale in London the 2nd June. The final will be between the winners of four regional tournaments: US, French, UK and German battle. This tournament will be the dawning of pro-league computer gaming, and leagues with higher cash prizes in 6-10 other popular computer games will follow. pre-premieres the 19th of March, making it possible to download the special made Networkleague-map for Quake - called the "Colosseum" - together with a short video-teaser. Mid April the site will be fully functional for gaming and signing for the tournament.

    In conjunction with the opening of the site, they are presenting - as mentioned below - a Quake 3 "music video" showing off our map called the "Colosseum".

    The highly praised fantasy RTS, Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns has a downloadable demo

    Montreal, Quebec. March 23rd, 2001 - Strategy First and TimeGate Studios are pleased to announce that the Kohan demo is now available for download.

    "Making a demo was important for us," says Adel Chaveleh, Managing Director of TimeGate Studios. "We understand the need for players to get a feel for a game prior to purchasing it. We're confident that they will enjoy Kohan and the true innovation we're bringing to the RTS genre."

    The demo is available in two sizes to accommodate all users. The larger version requires 105MB and includes all sound, music and voice-overs. The smaller version only requires 36MB but excludes voice-overs.

    · Kohan’s basic tutorial
    · One single player campaign mission
    · Two available factions
    · Multiplayer map for 2 players, human or AI, and up to 6 observers

    In addition to those features found on the demo, the full retail version of Kohan includes:

    · Kohan’s advanced tutorial
    · Full single player campaign
    · Four factions
    · Three more playable races
    · Map and scenario editor
    · Very configurable Random Map Generator
    · Over 75 additional Unit/Monster Types
    · Over 40 additional Heroes
    · Over 35 additional spells
    · All Component Upgrades
    · 16 different AI players
    · Cheat codes
    · Over 25 multiplayer maps and scenarios

    This week's interview on EuroGamer is the first half of a big two parter with Blizzard's Bill Roper, based on the London leg of his recent European press tour. In this week's installment mwe cover Warcraft III.
    "One of the big ideas, and I think one of the largest differences between Starcraft and Warcraft III, is that we want to focus people's attentions on to very specific units, as opposed to Starcraft where you might build 50 or 75 marines and just throw them in waves at the zerg, and he's got all these zerglings and hydralisks coming at you. That's very much a war of attrition, and it becomes who can out-resource the other player. With Warcraft III we want to focus on more refined strategies, on using smaller groups and better tactics to defeat the other player."


    Ralf Reichert has issued the following press release:

    Stevie Case attends CPL Holland - March 21st 2001

    At the upcomming CPL Holland Event in may, we will all be graced with the appearance of Stevie "Killcreek" Case who will certainly "hot" up the event. One of the most spicey personalities from the gamesworld visits Holland. Stevie "Killcreek" Case will attend our CPL Holland Event as representative from CPL World. The former level designer from ION Storm, one very interesting ambassador from Cyberathlete Professional League, will be present at the event in Loosdrecht, where you will have the chance to meet her live!

    The appearance of Miss Stevie Case is thanks to the sponsoring from and for their trusty readers they will also organize some very special surprises.

    Novalogic just dropped Eurogamer the first batch of new concept art from their undead action-adventure game "Necrocide", in the shape of four gorgeous paintings by the renowned fantasy artist Brom.

    Jar0d takes a look at another Strategy classic this week in his article on SimTower. Check it out here.

    This morning at the Game Developers Conference, Black Isle Studios unveiled its latest game, Black Isle Studios: TORN. Gamespy has got 6 new images from the game (different to ones currently up on the official site:

    Black Isle Studios: TORN Interview
    RPGplanet was fortunate to obtain this informative Black Isle Studios: TORN Interview with Lead Designer Dave Maldonado and Senior Producer Ken Rosman.

    Stomped chats to Ron Moravek of Relic Entertainment as he give us the first hints about their Relic Development Network, which is scheduled to be launched in September. Check out the exclusive story at Review: You've got a huge monitor, a screaming PC with the latest video card, and every peripheral known to man. You've got force feedback (wheels and sticks, of course), voice command and a slew of the latest and greatest sims. And a standard office chair that feels much less like a Recaro racing seat or a F-16 cockpit than it feels like, well, an office chair. James "GEEZER" Leasure reviews the BattleChair and gives us a look at the next level in office furniture.

    When asked to review the GORE demo, Vesto thought "Why can't developers come up with something original? This is just going to be another game where I run about shooting people, dying, getting back up and killing some more." Well after hooking up the lowest ping server he could find, he was pleasantly surprised. Read on.

    Tribes 2 Preview:
    "Tribes was one of the first multiplayer only games released but over the years we've seen some other great multiplayer only games like Unreal Tournament and Quake III which stole the spotlight from Tribes. Now Sierra and Dynamix are back with Tribes 2 in the attempts to recapture that spotlight once again. Read 3D GameForce's latest quick look and find out what there is to look forward to when the game is released later this month."

    Today, Planetdiablo has a long and detailed analysis of the recent Diablo II: Lord of Destruction-themed fan site chat held by Blizzard Entertainment, on this Tuesday, March 20. The article covers every single question asked during this chat with the Diablo II development team, explaining the answers as well as the topics being discussed.

    The most exciting new bit of information from this fan site chat with Blizzard was that the Expansion Set will now feature an 800x600 screen resolution. Additionally, a lot of new information about items, characters, skill changes, and multiplayer enhancements was revealed. The analysis expands upon what was said, to provide the real meaning behind some of the more cryptic answers.

    The analysis can be found here:

    Thursday, March 22, 2001

    THQ have gone and given N64 fans somthing to smile about. As of today they are beginning to distibute their new, highly anticipated Role Playing Game title Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage. The First Mage is hailed as the only traditional RPG title currently avaliable on the Nintendo 64 System. So far this game has received high praise from the game community at large and is expected to do well on the charts. For a quick little summary of some of the games features and storyline check below:
    Aidyn Chronicles takes place in a fully 3D environment. What does this mean? Well, most RPGs are either 2D games, which appear flat with a top-down view, or else they use 3D characters on prendered backgrounds. Both of these methods have their advantages, but both lack the realistic feel of a world that is true 3D. With Aidyn Chronicles, you can go anywhere you can see, with no loading, black screens or transitions. If you see a cave or path, you can explore it fully - there's no artificial restrictions. The world itself is huge, with towering cliffs and sandy beaches, gloomy swamps and deep forests, arid deserts and snowy mountains.

    Of course, this vast expanse is filled with creatures, both friendly and hostile. Human towns dot the landscape, and the cities of the mystical Mirari and fabled Jundar await the more determined adventurer. These places are havens from the dangers of the road, where fierce monsters - some not seen in a hundred years - wander, waiting for unwary travelers. In a town, you'll often find a weaponsmith skilled in the production of swords or bows, a master of arms to hone your fighting skills, or a sorcerer to teach you more spells in one of the four schools of magic. But more valuable even than these things is the information you'll receive. Depending on your attitude, townspeople may be glad to help you or become angry and insult you. But all have some information that is valuable to your cause.

    The world of Aidyn is a dangerous world, and you will need to overcome many enemies to achieve your goals. When you get attacked by an enemy force in Aidyn Chronicles, you go into combat mode. Rather than just see your main character on screen, you now see your whole party. Facing you across the battlefield are the forces of the enemy. But this isn't one of those games where everybody just stays nicely on their own side and jump back and forth to trade blows.

    In Aidyn Chronicles, during each character's turn, you can choose to move them around within a certain radius (determined by that character's abilities). If you have a heavily-armored knight in your party, he's not going to move very fast, but he doesn't have to - he can wade right in with a frontal assault. Your thief, on the other hand, can dash around a slower foe and go for a deadly backstab attack. Got a spellcaster with an arsenal of magic? Move them to catch the enemy in a crossfire. And that's just the tip of the iceberg - you can gain the high ground and get a bonus to attack, you can use a bow to strike from long range and then hide behind a have total control!

    Aidyn Chronicles shipped today and should be available in stores by the end of the week. For more information check out the official site.

    During a London meeting, and were lucky enough to pick up a heap of media information and commentry on Blizzard upcoming titles. For their part has just updated their page with a bunch of new game treasers including:

  • A lovely Cinematic Shot - Tolling Bells
  • A new bit of Unit art - the Crypt Fiend
  • And, finally, three (3!) In-Game Screenshots to die for! - more new things than you can shake a stick at, plus things about which we can speculate for a loong time. Also of interest their unit sections for the Night Elves and The Humans have also been updated.

    You can find a full report right here which includes all kinds of new info, everything from resources to items and maps.

    In other news Eurogamers have just posted up a new preview for Warcraft III. No new information in the preview but it is a nice little stepping stone for people who haven't heard much about this game. Heres a quote:

    "Originally the demonic Burning Legion (which forms the centerpiece of the game's storyline) was going to be fully playable, but this just didn't work out as trying to fit them into the game detracted from their individuality. Somehow having little demons that ran around digging gold and building huts didn't quite fit with the whole all-powerful evil from beyond the stars feel Blizzard seem to have been aiming at. Instead they will pop up throughout the single player campaigns of the other races to raise mayhem and generally look threatening."
    Read the full article by playing click the coloured text.

    Press from over at Squaresoft has been a little quiet lately, but I did manage to find this small article over at concerning Final Fantasy 10. The article is in responce to information obtained by Core Magazine when they talked to Square's CG director Satoshi Tsukamoto. Heres a quote that sums up most of the article:
    "Disclosed was information pinpointing Final Fantasy 10's next large-scale appearance at the Tokyo Games Show. Unknown, though, is the content that will be on hand. The overly-worked merchandise team may divulge propoganda like Yuna dolls or Tidus water guns, while the media guru's flash eye candy on large screens. But that may not be the case as it was quoted as only being a "formal showing." Oh those sneaksters at Square. Expected to be another major event, the Tokyo Games Show will last from March 30th to April 1st.

    What is known so far about Final Fantasy 10 is the characters. The story is heavily based in or around the water and the two main characters, Tida and Yuna. Voice actors will be a new implementation to the series along with PlayStation 2's graphical enhancements. Keep it here for more Final Fantasy 10 content coverage."

    As the article says Square has remained very tight lipped on details concerning this new game. Looks like we'll have to wait a while for specs and details on this highly anticipated addition to the Final Fantasy, Role Playing Universe.

    NWN Wallpaper

    - Raven @ 1:16 am PST

    Found this one on GA-Source,

    New Media for Bioware's upcoming RPG title Never Winter Nights, has surfaced in the form of two brand new wallpapers sure to keep the masses at bay... atleast for the next few days. These two new wallpapers depict firstly; a female warrior and a drawf attacking with a sword and hammer; and secondly a parchment style image with appears to depict an old man in a coat.

    I couldn't find the wallpapers on the Interplay website, or the Never Winter Nights site, so just take this link to go view GA-Source's article and download the wallpapers from there.

    Wizards of the Coast, Fluid Entertainment, and Troika Games have just announced plans to release the Dungeons & Dragons Master Tools software in early August. This new software is designed to "streamline tabletop roleplaying adventure creation, giving gamers more control over their own campaigns." Basically people who create RPG sub campaigns, have just been given a brand new tool to help with world creation, and the creation of interested and exciting plots and storylines for their creation. For the official buzz, read this quote:
    "Wizards Of The Coast Plans Q3 Release Of Master Tools Software Designed To Enhance Roleplaying Adventures
    Wizards of the Coast, Fluid Entertainment and Troika Games Team Up to Produce D&D Master Tools
    March 20, 2001 (Renton, Wash.) -- Wizards of the Coast Inc., a developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products, and Fluid Entertainment, a leading computer game development company, along with Troika Games, developers of the Arcanum® computer roleplaying game, today announced plans to release the Dungeons & Dragons® (D&D®) Master Tools software in early August. D&D Master Tools, in conjunction with the Arcanum World Editor, will streamline tabletop roleplaying adventure creation, giving game enthusiasts more control over their own campaigns.

    The D&D Master Tools is an essential tool for Dungeon Masters to generate characters, monsters, treasures, encounters, and maps which can be cataloged for easy and quick reference. The Arcanum World Editor adds a powerful, tile-based map editor to the D&D Master Tools program. Together, this suite of tools will enable Dungeon Masters to author adventures in the classic D&D module style. Additionally, the initial print run will include a unique Blackguard pewter miniature.

    The D&D Master Tools software offers players a customizable database that allows new data, "house" rules, a top-down map and prekeyed encounter areas to be entered easily into existing campaigns.

    "The Master Tools Character Generator demonstration CD-ROM received nearly one million impressions from its inclusion in the Player's Handbook and from Web downloads. We fully anticipate the D&D Master Tools software suite to continue to build on this popularity," said Bill Dugan, vice president of electronic publishing at Wizards of the Coast. "Our partnership with Fluid helps to put the Master Tools adventure authoring program at the technological forefront of tabletop roleplaying."

    It appears that Wizards and Arcanum are trying to create a similar environment to Starcraft and the SCM explosion that occured soon after Blizzard released this title. I guess we'll know soon enough if it works. If you are interested in learning more about this product head over to

    To celebrate the release of the upcoming God RPG, Black and White, IGN have come up with a new feature called Black and White Week. Included in this report are daily features and hands on tips and tricks. In todays addition of Black and White week, IGN have a look at some of the rules required to be a successful evil god. IGN decribe todays feature as simple outline to how to start out as creepy, destructive, and malevolent being... Snagged your interest, Make sure you head over here to view todays addition or otherwise head over here, to see the index for this week.

    For anyone who is interested, Black and White is Role Playing Game/ Simulations Hybrid recently developed by Lionhead Studios. The game took three years to complete and has only just gone gold. In the world of Black and White players are forced to take on the unlikely role of Gods, competing against other gods, in a bid to gain prayers, worshipers and creatures, so they can destroy their enemies and take over the world. Another important aspects of this project, is the real world ability to play as both good (white) or evil (bad), and have the entire gaming experience alter depending on your actions.

    Sunstorm Interactive have recently annouced their intentions to take Duke Nukem into the Episodic world with the development, of the up coming title Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. This new addition to the gun carry Nukem family, will be distributed over the internet in individual episodes by Arush Entertainment.

    In his new adventure Duke must protect the Big Apple from his original archrival, the nefarious scientist Dr. Proton who is hell-bent on world domination. The third-person game uses a totally new 3D approach and retains the traditional Duke Nukem over-the-top attitude. In this new game, our star takes on the worst mutants New York can muster before a final showdown against the wily doctor.

    For a quick look at the overview and highlights on this upcoming blockbuster, I decided to pinch this quote:

    When we last saw our hero, he was dishing out smoking barrel justice to some well deserving alien bastards. Meanwhile, Duke Nukem’s archrival Proton has been working with elementary particles to develop a new radioactive power source. There’s one unfortunate side effect of this substance; it mutates living creatures that it comes into contact with, often with hideous results. After an entire subway car of rush-hour commuters is mutated into a pen of half-human, half-pigeon victims, the government decides to call in Duke Nukem to ‘take out the trash’, and stop Proton once and for all.Help Duke Nukem blast his way through New York City to stop Proton and his evil henchmen.

    As Duke Nukem, the new ass-kicking Mayor of New York, explore the underworld as you blow up bad guys, find and collect power-ups and amass ammo and new weapons.
    8 huge all new battle missions in the Big Apple deliver fun and fast action game play.
    Control the most powerful weapons ever created including new "organic" weaponry that unleashes terrifying results upon its enemies.
    Easy to learn - fun for both new and experienced Duke players.
    Fast 3D action platform gaming is taken to a new level - a totally new and exciting 3D approach with astounding graphics!

    Looks pretty good for more information be sure to go view Arush Entertainment's website.

    Follow on from the announcement that Ultima Online 2 has just been cancelled (check the news post below if you didn't know), have decided to interview leading project manager David Swofford, for the information behind this shock decision. Heres a quote from the interview.
    "David Swofford: It's pretty much what you would expect when a product like that goes away. The good thing is, if there's a silver lining to this, and there is, it's that EA and OSI are really making an effort to upgrade and concentrate on Ultima Online.

    I think for UO players there's something good that came out of this, especially if they plan on playing it for a while. We're putting more resources into UO now, so we're dedicated to making sure that Ultima Online is on top of the persistent world genre. We want to reclaim that title and we're trying to get our numbers up higher than they are. We're already up to about 230,000 subscribers and UO has grown about 80% in the past year. I think that's one of the reasons that EA and Origin are saying, "Hey, why toy with success?" Rather than going forth with something that could be construed as a competitive product we're going to put more of our resources on UO and make it even more of a success."

    Follow this link to read the full article.

    What might also be of interest to UO fans is the recent annoucement that Ultima Online: Third Dawn has gone gold and is ready for production. Whilst this annoucment is almost a month old, it is a good idea to keep this in consideration if you wondering why UO2 was cancelled. Both Third Dawn and Origin would be released within a year of eachother and would be competing for the same market share.

    Thursday, March 22, 2001 Feature: As simulations get more realistic, graphics get better and immersion becomes more attainable, many forget the importance of sound.
    Dan "CRASH" Crenshaw takes a look at 3 quality surround sound speaker systems to see which ones give us the most impressive audio experience. Read the whole story here.

    Diablo 2 Media

    - Raven @ 11:55 pm PST

    The staff from over at were lucky to go and meet with Blizzard's Bill Roper in London this week. As a parting give from their meeting, received a number of amazing pieces of media including:
    • Cinematic Shot - An absolutely incredible look at Baal from the D2X intro cinematic. The quality of this shot is better than any cinematic shot we've ever before seen.
    • Baal Concept Art Sketch - An awesome black and white sketch of Baal in near-human form, looking quite similar to how he does in the cinematic. Love the huge water-buffalo style horns. Click the link on the page for the huge, full quality version of the shot.
    • Death Mauler Concept Art Sketch - A pencil sketch of the Death Mauler, a spiky member of the new Act Five menagerie.
    • Druid Screenie #1 - Here we see the Druid battling some Yeti in the Act Five ice caverns.
    • Druid Screenie #2 - The Druid in werewolf form, working his way through some Goatmen in Act Two.
    • Assassin Screenie #1 - The Assassin in Act Five, dealing out a massive Finishing Move kick, the best shot we've seen of this sort of action yet.
    • Assassin Screenie #2 - Another great Charge Up/Finishing Move combo, this one dealing fire and lightning damage.
    • Assassin Screenie #3 - The Assassin in Act One, just heading off to visit Griswold and Wirt.
    • And a little something else you might be intested in... Click this link to download the first ever good-quality gameplay movie from the Diablo II Expansion. It is 8meg in size, Bink format, and shows the Druid using a variety of skills in various parts of Act Five. Yes, there are Succubi sightings.

    To be completely honest I hadn't actually been all that excited about the Diablo 2 expansion, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, up until now. When I looked over this and other media I realised that this game should be quite different from the original Diablo II title. From a media standpoint alone, this new game looks... well... brilliant.

    However Diablo II also looked amazing in media, but sadly, it looked a little less so in actual gameplay. Still it was a pretty good game, and I will keep hoping that the expansion will be an even better game.

    There have been popular movies like Saving Private Ryan and Enemy at the Gates, both based (with debateable degrees of accuracy) on the Second World War. Computer games, on the other hand, have plots like "go and kill the big alien thing." There are an amazing amount of historical game plots available; why doesn't anybody use them? Read the article here:

    Dungeon Siege Gamestock Report
    Recently, Gas Powered Games' Dungeon Siege made its second appearance at Microsoft's Gamestock media event. We were there as well, and got some hands-on time with the game. This led to our Dungeon Siege Gamestock Report which includes comments from Lead Designer Chris Taylor.

    3dGF reviews Carnivores: Ice Age:
    "The popularity of hunting games has grown over the years which resulted in the release of a huge number of games with the same style but how much hunting can a gamer handle if there is the same old thing we've seen before? Read 3D GameForce's review of Action Forms Ltd. and WizardWorks Carnivores: Ice Age to find out!"

    GameSpy and RealNetworks to Create Multiplayer Network for Digitally Distributed Games.
    Check out all the juicy details right here:


    Microsoft today announced that is expanding its offerings by hosting the first tournament for players outside North America. Gamers in Germany will be able to participate in an Age of Empires II: The Conquerors tournament on March 24, 2001. Based on feedback from the German tournament, the Zone plans to roll out tournaments on an international scale. Age of Empires is one of Germany's most successful PC game franchises ever.

    The Age tournament will consist of single-elimination rounds among two-player teams. The schedule is as follows:

    Registration : NOW UNDERWAY!
    Registration Closes : 3/24/01 at 2:00 PM (GMT)
    Tournament Check-In (required) : 3/24/01 at 2:01 PM (GMT)
    Round 1 Begins 3/24/01 at 3:00 PM (GMT) :

    To sign up, please follow this link:

    (Note that only German players are eligible to compete.) is the largest multiplayer gaming site on the Internet, with more than 18 million registered members around the world, more than 115,000 concurrent users at peak times, and more than 150 games available for play. offers free* membership and a wide variety of games, including free* card, board and puzzle games, free* matchmaking for popular CD-ROM games and premium games.

    With Volition's PC version of its 3D fantasy RPG Summoner showing up in stores today in the U.S., Stomped chats with three members of the game's development team (Anoop Shekar, Adam Pletcher, and Mitri Van) to find out more about the game in general and the differences between the PC version and the original Playstation 2 game. Check out the exclusive interviews at

    RiderzNews has posted an interview with the producer of the upcoming Wizardry 8.

    What skills and character attributes are in the game? What affect do they have?

    Well, there are a lot of character skills that can be developed. They are divided into categories (e.g. Weapon, Physical, Academic, and Expert) and not all classes will learn all skills. There are really too many of them to go into detail on, for instance there are 11 weapon skills alone. But just to mention a few, there's the Engineering skill that is unique to the Gadgeteer class. Basically, this skill determines a Gadgeteer's ability to build new items, merge existing items and operate a variety of devices. Critical Strike is a skill that can be learned by some of the unique fighting classes, like Ninja and Samurai and is the skill that allows the character to strike a critical blow that results in instant death. And then there's Iron Skin, one of the expert skills. This skill allows a character to absorb damage, reducing the actual physical damage done to him. Though it doesn't affect magical damage, it's a really helpful skill for the front line fighters.

    There is a new patch out for Microsoft's futuristic Sim title, Mech Warrior 4: Vengence. Heres the press straight from the Microsoft website
    "The MechWarrior 4 Update v1.0 addresses numerous gameplay issues while also introducing several new features. For a complete list of all of these updates and additions, please read the readme.
    Note: This update is for the English version of MechWarrior 4 only. Subsequent language updates are forthcoming.

    Directions: MechWarrior 4: Vengeance must be installed on the system before installing the update. To install the update, download and run the file below. Once the file is unzipped, double-click on the file PatchApply.exe located in the folder where the update files were extracted."

    I actually thoughts that Mech Warrior 4 was pretty stable, but whenever a developer brings out a new patch, it has to be considered a good thing. Head over here to download it.

    UO2 Cancelled

    - Raven @ 11:27 pm PST

    In a surprising and disappointing announcement Origin Systems and Electronic Arts have decided to cancel development on their upcoming title Ultima Online 2: Ultima World Origin. After a huge amount of community support and development, time it appears that the company would much rather work on their already build Ultima Online world, rather then trying to create a new one.
    " Electronic Arts and Origin Systems have announced a plan that will increase their focus on Ultima Online and halt production of UWO: ORIGIN (UO2). The reason is simple, rather than creating UWO: ORIGIN (UO2) as a parallel world competing with UO, we've decided to put those resources into growing and improving the core offering for Ultima Online's 230,000 loyal subscribers. In the near future and with the release next week of Ultima Online: Third Dawn, players will see new lands, new creatures, and a world that is continually evolving within Ultima Online."
    I'm personally very disappointed by this move. I was looking forward to playing in a new Ultima Online world and I believe that the storyline for UO2 was far more interested and immersive then the original. However Origins reason for cancelling this title are valid, and it appears as if they will just convert most of their material for this game into Ultima Online: Third Dawn. Stills it sad when a title with this much potential is cancelled. Head over to the official site to view the announcement.

    Homeworld 2

    - Raven @ 11:16 pm PST

    News and rumours are flying all over the internet this evening, as the first Homeworld 2 game teaser, has just emmerged on the brand new Homeworld 2 website. The beta website, is only armed with a logo for the new game. This logo depicts the classic Homeworld font, with a new navy blue background and a red glow "2". Currently no other details are up on the website, except for a large image in the bottom corner which says "transmition in 56 days".

    Reliable news and details on this new development are still very scarce and Sierra is yet to issue an official press release confirming, however afew likely points on the game have emmerged. Namely,

    • Homeworld 2 will debut at the electronic Entertainment Expo in May
    • Homeworld 2 follows on from the parallel of the original storyline.
    All interested Homeworld fans will most likely want to go over to the homeworld site at and sign up for the Homeworld Universe Newsletter.

    I received this news is an email:
    "The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported this past weekend, that Sega Corporation has announced Tetsu Kayama, 40, a special adviser to the company, as successor to late President Isao Ohkawa who died last Friday.

    After being appointed to the board of directors last June, Kayama will take over as President, while Ohkawa's Chairman role is most likely to be filled by Yoshiji Fukushima, 67, Chairman of CSK Corp, occupying his current role at CSK and Sega concurrently."

    If you are interested in knowing more about this new appointment or any other changes currently going on over at Sega, go and check the official Sega US site at

    Wednesday, March 21, 2001

    BeCooling's Aqua Stealth II Water-Cooling Kit Review
    While heatsinks have come a long way since the golden orbs first came out with new features like copper bases, and vaporization chambers, water-cooling still kicks the crap out of it. Period. Check out G3D:Gaming In 3D today where they take a look at one of the few "complete" water-cooling kits being retailed today. Whether your a novice who's looking to get in on the water-cooling scene or a professional guru, it might be worth a look. Check it out.
    "Remember all those long nights when you left your computer on downloading some demo file with the Delta "Black Label" fan whirling away like its' high on crack? Well, now with the Aqua Stealth II folks, you can actually sleep! With no fan on the cpu and the silence of water or coolant being transfered around the tubes all you really have to worry about is the tiny whirl of the Panaflow. Ahh....sleep. ;-0)"

    BioWare has created two new wallpapers for Neverwinter Nights, which you can download from PlanetNeverwinter.

    Eurofighter Typhoon Interview (03-20-01)
    Dogfighter speaks with Steve Hunt, Lead Designer and Programmer for Rage's Eurofighter Typhoon, published under the Digital Image Design Label. Hunt answers questions about the features and design of the successor to EF2000.

    Sport to Scale: An Introduction to Radio Controlled Flight (03-16-01)
    So, you like flight sims, but want to take your hobby one notch further? Bob Bryenton, an experienced pilot of radio controlled scale aircraft, guides Dogfighter's readers in the first steps towards this exciting past time.

    Robert Goebel Interview (03-12-01)
    In the continuing series of interviews with military aviation veterans, Dogfighter's John "Wily" Mollison speaks with Bob Goebel, who scored eleven victories during WWII with the 31st Fighter Group and is author of Mustang Ace.

    WarBirds III Beta Interview (03-09-01)
    Dogfighter speaks with Dan "Hotseat" Neault, Lead Designer of iEN's online sim WarBirds about changes that are expected in the upcoming limited Beta release of version III, expected next week.


    Microsoft today announced that Xbox gameplay footage from the Gamestock demonstration of Halo is now available at Bungie's Jason Jones and Joseph Staten demonstrated the game in front of a crowded auditorium of eager press at Gamestock, and the release of this nine-minute movie will give everyone a chance to see the complete demonstration.

    Halo is a sci-fi shooter that takes place on a mysterious alien ring-world. Packed with combat, Halo will have you battling on foot, and in vehicles, inside and outdoors with Alien and Human weaponry. Your objective: to uncover Halo's horrible secrets and destroy mankind's sworn enemy, the Covenant.

    Xbox is Microsoft's future-generation video game console that delivers new and unforeseen gameplay experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance of the newest generation of game consoles, Xbox unleashes game designers' creativity to produce games that are challenging, exhilarating, surprising and fun.

    Part 3 of Camelot Vault's Beta Journal is now online, showing the experience of one of our characters in the Dark Age of Camelot beta test. Today we look at death and it's possible consequences in this 3D massively multiplayer RPG being developed by Mythic Entertainment. Seven new screenshots accompany this instalment.
    Part 3 of the Beta Journal, entitled Death and Consequences, can be found here.

    Ralf Reichert has issued the following press release:

    CPL Europe Announce Registration for Their Event in Holland

    The Registration for the upcoming CPL Europe event in Holland will start on the 2nd April 2001. There will be 800 BYOC spots, 128 free spots for the Quake 3 tournament and 64 reserved Auto-Berth (including Top 16 from the Mplayer-Europe CPL and Babbages CPL) and 32 free Counter-Strike spots with 16 Auto-Berth (including the Top 3 Teams of Mplayer-Europe CPL). Beside this there will be a female
    Quake 3 duel tourney with 26 open spots available, the top 6 from Mplayer-Europe will get an Autoberth here.

    This means the CPL Europe will hold a 192 players Quake 3 duel competition, female with 32 players and a 48 teams Counter Strike competition.

    The pre-registration webpage will go online on the 24th of March under where you can pre-register your information and then just subscribe on the 2nd April with one click.

    All players who earned a Auto-Berth for the Mplayer-Europe CPL in Cologne and couldn't attend due to age restrictions, please drop them an e-mail under

    Get a taste of combat in this demo version of Operation Flashpoint. It integrates command of large squads and use of any available vehicles with total immersion. You'll experience the best cold war military equipment - infantry, mobile, armor and aircraft - in large and detailed 3D environment.

    The commotion GeForce3 created in the past couple of months elevated even further with Massive Development's new submarine action-game, AquaNox. Learn more about the game's flashy eye candy stuff in Actiontrip's preview at:

    Stomped previews the upcoming sim game Tropico, where you control the fate of a third world tropical island. They have four new screenshots from the game as well and an interview with Phil Steinmeyer, the president of Tropico's developer PopTop Software. Check out the preview and interview at Review Conker's Bad Fur Day

    Brad and Dale of tackle one of the most controversial video games to hit the industry in Nintendo's Conker's Bad Fur Day. Despite industry-wide accolades, neither critic found much to praise in Rare's latest platform adventure. Here's an excerpt from Brad's review:

    "While thinking about the accepted standards and roles of games, I had originally envisioned doing a short series of selected reviews exploring this issue. It seemed rather appropriate, given that at the time there were a few games on the horizon which appeared to be pushing the envelope of content. It's definitely something which needs to be addressed in the current climate of a society which hasn't made up its collective mind whether to embrace videogames as a dynamic new medium or condemn them as the cause of social degradation and school-yard shootings nationwide."

    With only a few days before the Northern Expansion for Majesty hits store shelves, StrategyPlanet thought it would be appropriate to give you a preview of what you would be getting for your 20 bucks. Included in this somewhat biased preview are details on the expansion plus 7 exclusive new screen captures. Check it out here.

    GameSpot has posted the first ever screenshots of Conflict: Desert Storm, an upcoming 3D action-strategy game based on Operation: Desert Storm in Kuwait back in 1991. It is being developed by a UK gaming company called Pivotal Games. Right now, the release date is set for early 2002. Check out the screenshots here.

    THQ has announced the release of Summoner for the PC. Developed at Volition, the creators of the acclaimed Freespace franchise, Summoner for the PC boasts beautiful graphics, detailed 3D environments and a rich plot. In Summoner, the gamer is Joseph, a farmer who has inherited the power of summoning. Using magical rings, a Summoner calls forth powerful demons, dragons and elementals to aid him on his quest. The game begins with the invasion of Joseph's homeland at the hand of the Emperor of Orenia. Having learned of the Summoner's power, the Emperor has dispatched his soldiers to slaughter Joseph, who must learn to master his power or face certain death. Searching for the rings, Joseph and his companions travel through a number of fantastic locales. Summoner features a world filled with unique characters, spells and monsters. Summoner will also feature a group-based online mode.

    Activision announced their first batch of games for the upcoming Game Boy Advance, and as expected they are working on a new Tony Hawk game, as well as new titles using the X-Men and Spider-Man licenses from Marvel Comics. This biggest surprise is that they intend to create the original Doom game for the handheld platform. This new Doom marks the second id title in development for a handheld system.

    FiringSquad has a preview of a soon to be released game, entitled Tropico. In this game, you are the dictator of your very own island, commanding your people in any way you please. Check out the preview here. Here's a snippet:
    "Tropico is... well, SimCity: The Banana Republic. You take your typical, everyday builder sim and then give it the theme of a small, tropical island nation. Throw in some RTS-like aspects, and you have Tropico."

    EuroGamer has written a review first ever online console-based RPG, Phantasy Star Online. It is for the Dreamcast (those who have the online add-on chip, which can be purchased seperately). Check out the review here.

    Blizzard was a little late on this one, skipping the month of February, but they had their attention on the Diablo II X-Pack, so they had good reason.

    The Starcraft Trigger Map of the Month is entitled "Last One Standing."

    • 192x192 Desert
    • Designed for 3-6 Players
    • Use Map Settings
    • Requires Brood War to Play

    Downloads the map here. [Windows Only]

    "Through most of the war we fought as nobles might. Never betraying, never deceitful. But there came a point where tripping the soldier next to you might mean another day of life..."

    -Colonel Fenius Hassad

    Joe McDonagh has issued the following press release:

    Enter Republic

    March 20th 2001 – Elixir Studios invites curious tourists to take a trip inside their highly touted game Republic: The Revolution at its first ever public showing at the forthcoming Games Developer Conference in San Jose on the 22nd of March.

    Demis Hassabis, CEO and Lead Designer will be giving a talk entitled Level of Detail AI at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday 22nd of March. This will also include a demonstration of the game’s groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence, which features innovative level of detail techniques allowing for AI on an unprecedented scale.

    The game, described as “one of the most ambitious games ever conceived” by games industry bible Edge magazine, features many thousands of unique people in every city, each of whom has a range of opinions on issues as diverse as class, religion, poverty and morality causing them to respond to the dramatic events unfolding around them. Combined agent interactions creates emergent and realistic behaviour such as jubilant crowds and rioting students.

    Hassabis, who first made his name co-creating Theme Park with Peter Molyneux at the tender age of 16, will also be giving attendees the chance to examine Elixir’s Totality Engineä at first hand. The game features cities and towns rendered in full 3D with buildings of up to half a million polygons each.

    Immediately after the demonstration Hassabis will be taking part in what promises to be lively round table discussion entitled “Consoles vs. PCs: Is the PC Dead?” featuring industry heavyweights Ed Fries (Head of Games, Microsoft), Trip Hawkins (Founder EA), Bruce Shelley (Civilization, Age of Empires) and Phil Harrison (Sony).

    Monday, March 19, 2001

    New today is Actiontrip's review of Evil Islands. Nival's crackishly addictive action RPG with some extra cool sneaking action. Yeah, the voice overs sound like B action on LSD, but the rest of the game is excellent.

    Today's feature on EuroGamer is a write-up of what went on at the recent launch of TIGA, the UK's new independent games developers trade association. The launch event took place at the Department of Trade and Industry in central London, with the "e-Minister" Patricia Hewitt giving the keynote speech, as well as contributions from Sandy Duncan of Microsoft and others.
    "It's become something of a cliché through sheer repetition, but the fact of the matter is that the gaming industry is now bigger than Hollywood. Closer to home, last year more than £1bn worth of computer games were sold in the UK, which is more money than our cinemas and video rental chains made in the same period. And although very few British publishers have managed to survive the last decade intact, the other side of the gaming industry is still going strong here."

    GameSpy3D V2.51 is now available. Check out all the new features and fixes right here:

    The British Columbia Attorney General has now officially proposed legislation for a government sponsored classification system for video and PC games. Stomped spoke with a spokesperson with the Attorney General's office today for more infomation about the proposed regulations. Check out their report at

    - Interview: poses questions from the flight sim community to the Targetware: Target Korea staff. Find our about everything from graphics and sounds to flight models and more. Also take a look at the first ever published screen shots of the terrain.

    - Downloads: The downloads page has been updated with a very extensive add-on pack for USAF from the USAF Development Team. A little over 5 megs, it seems to include a lot of improvements.
    Read about it here.

    A new website for the game, Operation Flashpoint has just opened and is featuring a Q+A with Marek Spanel (producer of Operation Flashpoint).
    You can read it here:

    3DGF Reviews

    - Falcon @ 10:21 pm PST

    The Latest content at 3D GameForce......

    Starship Troopers:
    "Today we take a look at a game where you will be able to play in the Starship Troopers world. Starship Troopers is a squad based action game, based on the award winning film and novel. The game places you in charge of a platoon of Mobile Infantry soldiers as they wage war against an evil bug like creatures. Read 3DGF's review of Blue Tongue Software latest action game entitled Starship Troopers and find out if its any worth your time to play!"

    Rocco 5.1 Digital Audio System:
    "Dolby Digital 5.1 is the current industry standard for speakers, and with the recent release of the PlayStation 2 many companies are flooding the market with PS2 compliant 5.1 systems. For PC users this means a large selection of speaker systems to choose from, unfortunately it also means a load of sub-par systems to go along with the good ones. Jazz Speakers' Rocco 5.1 Digital Audio System is one of the new systems on the market. Read 3DGF's review to see if it is worth your money."

    Each year, numerous members of the industry attend the Game Developers Conference, which runs for most of this week in San Jose, California. With the event almost upon us, today seemed an appropriate time to catch up with our development friends. Several shared their thoughts which ActionVaultcollected in these Action Developers' GDC Plans.

    PC Hardware has just posted a review of Abit VP6. The board was tested under Windows 2000 SP1 and Linux Redhat 7.0 using Ziff Davis Content Creation Winstone 2001, Ziff Davis Business Winstone 2001, BAPco SYSmark 2000 and PS5bench 1.11 50 Mb Image Test + Adobe Photoshop 6.0. Although there are a lot of reviews of this motherboard on the web, none tried to see how VP6 performs with PHP and MySQL.
    “These applications are closer to professional user because they suck all the power from the system CPU. Another plus for Content Creation is the use of multitasking and background operation which is more than positive due to power requirements and very good for a SMP system.
    BAPco SYSmark 2000 is definitely not a benchmark to measure SMP performance because the script uses just one application on the time, the system being not very stressed meanwhile.”


    For more information:
    Marie Cloutier
    Proksim Software Inc.
    +1-514-940-9090 x202

    LIGHTCUBE Technologies Partners with Proksim Software to Advance the Development of Virtual Reality Applications

    LIGHTCUBE Enhances its Cutting-Edge Realtime 3D Enabling Technology with the Integration of Net-ZTM, Proksim’s Distributed Networking Engine

    Hannover, Germany – March 21st, 2001 – Proksim Software Inc., the leading developer of advanced Internet communication infrastructure software for distributed, embedded and pervasive computing applications, today announces a partnership with LIGHTCUBE Technologies to advance the development of Virtual Reality applications. LIGHTCUBE’s RealityGX technology enables the rapid development of next-generation real-time 3D applications pushing the frontiers of simulation beyond visualizing and into dynamic social interaction expressed with body language and facial animation. The first fruit of the partnership is RealityGX’s gxEngine version 2.0 product which integrates Net-ZTM , Proksim’s cell-based Duplicated ObjectsTM networking technology for scalable distributed systems. gxEngine will debut at the CeBIT 2001 Trade Fair taking place this week in Hannover, Germany , from March 22nd to March 28th. The gxEngine prototype, which gives a taste for LIGHTCUBE’ s revolutionary immersive Internet look and feel experience, will be demonstrated in Proksim’s booth which is situated in the Canadian Software, E-Commerce & Internet Pavilion in Hall 6, Stand G17.

    "There's an excellent fit between Proksim Software and LIGHTCUBE Technologies", said Jean-Guy Lacombe, president of Proksim Software. "We both develop products with very similar philosophies -- with the primary goal being to produce technology with the highest possible performance and availability. This relationship enables the rapid development of large-scale Internet-based Virtual Reality applications ranging from retail, online shopping, to entertainment and online gaming which will integrate our respective technologies more effectively."

    "We are delighted to be working so closely with Proksim Software," said Adrian Dalecki, Technical Director at LIGHTCUBE Technologies. "The Net-Z layer will be used for communication and synchronization of 3D objects over a network. Our 3D system is based on a multithreaded kernel where objects need to communicate with each other over a network. Therefore Net-Z is the perfect choice for us to network enable our realtime 3D development and runtime environments. The development of Net-Z-enabled RealityGX applications will benefit from highly reduced development time and ease of use."

    About LIGHTCUBE Technologies
    LIGHTCUBE Technologies GmbH, based in Hamburg Germany, designs, develops and markets leading-edge software technologies used in the creation of Virtual Reality applications. LIGHTCUBE’ s innovative 3Dimensional objects technology allows developers to quickly and profitably produce sophisticated realtime 3D applications for the Internet and stand alone for the computer desktop. LIGHTCUBE’s RealityGX family of products enables the development of realtime 3D content with social interaction as opposed to existing visualization, thus allowing consumers to conveniently access 3D content with standard PC hardware and software. More information can be found at

    This press release announces that Dimension Films (makers of the Scream movies, among others) has acquired the rights to make a Duke Nukem movie from Threshold Entertainment. There is no release date set for the film yet, but its rating has already been decided: PG-13.

    Source: Stomped

    Game-Guru has up an article entitled "AD&D vs. Diablo." Which game follows the true rules of the RPG genre? Is Diablo a pseudo-RPG, or is AD&D too complex? Click here to find out. Here's a snippet:
    "I'm growing tired of it, but the debate must continue. Whether it is an angry comment *****ing about the unholy leveling up system most RPGs are currently using, or some guy sending me flame mail because he claims Diablo I & II are action oriented RPGs, I have been witnessing this ongoing discussion for too long to keep my mouth shut."

    Gaming Age Online has up 20 screenshots from three of the Game Boy Advance. The three titles are: Final Fight Advance, Super Street Fighter 2 Advance, and Breath of Fire.. Check them out here.

    Tribes 2 Gold

    - Falcon @ 12:35 pm PST

    The Most Anticipated Team-Based Action Game to Ship March 29th

    BELLEVUE, WA (March 19, 2001) - Sierra today announced that TRIBES(tm) 2, Dynamix's eagerly awaited sequel to the 1999 Online Action/Strategy Game of the Year* StarSiege(r) TRIBES(tm), has gone gold.
    Offering PC gamers massive and breathtaking worlds for exploration and battle, as well as unprecedented innovations in team-based, tactical gameplay, TRIBES 2 is set to take over store shelves around the world first week of April.

    "TRIBES 2 is revolutionary not only for its gameplay, but for its community-building features, such as forums, e-mail, IRC, news, tribes/player pages and in-game voice," said Lee Rossini, marketing director at Sierra. "Now gamers can start their own tribe, recruit members, communicate with them, make MODs and participate in the Tribes 2 community without ever having to leave the game."

    "We're looking forward to seeing how players tear into this game," said Dave Georgeson, senior producer/director at Dynamix. "There's an amazing amount of features in TRIBES 2 and I can't wait to see all the combinations of strategies and tactics that players develop. I think we have something here that can really create a whole new attitude towards gaming once folks are able to get involved with serious teams of 60+ people in a game."

    The most innovative first person action franchise takes team-based warfare to new heights with TRIBES 2, where only superior teamwork and cunning tactics will ensure a Tribe's survival. With unprecedented innovations to team-based play and in-game communications, massive multiplayer support and
    new vehicles and weapons, TRIBES 2 is the ultimate team-based action experience.

    Sierra On-Line, Inc. , a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal Publishing and part of the Vivendi Universal Games division, is one of the original developers and largest worldwide publishers of interactive entertainment and productivity software. Sierra is renowned for releasing critically acclaimed and award winning titles that represent wide variety of computer entertainment on both next generation console and PC platforms.

    Vivendi Universal Games (VUG) is a division of Vivendi Universal Publishing, a world leader in mass-market multimedia communications. A leading publisher of online, PC and console-based interactive content, VUG's portfolio of entertainment software brands includes Blizzard Entertainment,, Sierra and Universal Interactive Studios. Interactive entertainment is one of parent company Vivendi Universal's key content areas, along with movies, music and other publishing activities. Vivendi Universal aims to be the world's preferred creator and provider of personalized information, entertainment and services to consumers everywhere, and across all distribution platforms.

    *Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, an Italian gaming site, got an interview with Bill Roper, which they made into an article. Along with this article came several new D2 and War3 screenshots. You can see the article and the screenshots here.

    Eurogamer takes a look at the upcoming Playstation game, Panzer Front, from Enterbrain. If you know your World War II history, it is a tank game. You can check it out here. Here's a snippet:

    "Tanks are quite persuasive aren’t they? I mean, generally speaking, if someone tells you to do something and then points a tank at you, you don’t argue! Tactically, you're at something of a disadvantage! With that said though, what happens if you also have a tank? And perhaps of your friends, a few of them have tanks as well? What then? And then this chap who's ordering you about lets out a whistle and along rumble his mates. Things could get quite messy without some serious, quick-thinking direction from your good self."

    Sunday, March 18, 2001

    Travel Inc in a new preview, have had a look at the highly anticipated RPG title, Wizardry 8. Like most of the up and coming Role Playing Games, such as Shadowbane, Dark Age of Camalot, Ultima Online 2 ect; Wizardry 8 is a 3D, High Scale product aimed at the Multiplayer Market. Alot of people have already given this game good press and quite afew think that Wizardry 8 will be one of the best RPG's released this year. Whilst I'm not in that boat at the moment, I still belive, that Wizardry 8 will be a good title for RPG fans on the net.

    In their preview, Travel.Inc talk about a number of different problems faced by modern RPG's and show have Wizardry 8 aims to surpass these problems. All in all they give the game very high praise and even go as far as saying, "Wizardry 8 is a likely game of the year". Heres a quote to snag your interest.

    "I swear the last RPG I've played to the very end with same great interest level was Baldur's Gate. Maybe old gamer died in me with the final titles of this game... Since then the process of similar game search is like trying on the new clothes.

    Well, every cloud has a silver lining. I've got press demo of Wizardry 8 in my hands. If someone can imagine something like I described above, be sure it exists today! Two weeks spent playing a sole level of this game speak for themselves. I've played Wizardry 8 over and over, noticing more and more interesting details in each new game.

    First, the game world looks beautifully. Let's forget the cynical way to measure everything with number of polygons, frames and volume of HDD space. Do gamers remember why are they playing? Every now and then people saying: "The game's just cool - my P4 1000 MHz is not enough to play it with good speed! Can you imagine?!" Wizardry 8 has no such stuff. Instead, there is thoroughly designed and drawn, colorful and inspired world. Plesant palette, handsome textures, fine music fitting each situation. Staying at the top of the hill, you'll be charmed by landscape around. It is hard to believe there are no sublevels in this world. You can have the bird's-eye view to the huge mountain and be only able to guess how long and deep the catacombs hidden inside."

    Whilst this preview seems like more of an RPG rant at times, its still a moderate read, and good for anyone who doesn't know about Wizardry 8. Caugh it be heading here.

    Speedy 3D is giving away a Duron 700, which has been made into a key chain, and you don't have to do anything crazy to win it.

    Rune Expansion

    - Raven @ 10:17 pm PST

    Details on the up and coming action/adventure, expansion, Rune: The Halls of Valhalla are beginning to surface all over the Internet. In the original Rune, you the player were forced to take on the role of a lone viking, who has just lost his entire crew, due to some rather cheap magic. Alone and stranded, you literally take on an entire country in your quest for blood, guts, gore, food and the Viking Way of life. Now in the expansion you must follow on and continue your journey.

    PC.IGN, in a recent article have put together a quick little summary on details concerning this title currently being Developed by G.O.D. Games. Whilst there isn't very much in this article, its a nice little starting place for people who haven't heard anything about this title. You can view the article by taking this link.

    Also more details have begun to surface over on the official Rune website. In a recent update the following new information was posted up:

    "The melee combat of Rune is back in Human Head Studios’ Rune: The Halls of Valhalla, the new add-on we've been telling you Warriors about for weeks. It expands the original or stands alone as its own game for fierce multiplayer battles via LAN or the Internet. Among the host of new features, maps, and games are two all-new multiplayer modes: Arena and HeadBall. Take a peek at the box art!

    Think Fight Club…only instead of Ed Norton or Brad Pitt, you’re a Viking— or maybe a Mongol warrior, a Snake Berserker, or a Valkyrie. While Basic Arena is geared towards one-on-one combat, some maps and servers will allow for larger teams (2-on-2, 3-on-3, etc.). Begin by equipping yourself with weapons and shields, then wait in the queue to enter the arena. A number floating above your head will signify your turn, and completion of the countdown will transport you into the arena. Once there, it’s up to you to be the last man standing. Walk away alive, and you’ll have full health and all equipment you brought into the arena restored to you for your next battle.

    In HeadBall, teams have only one goal: to score points by tossing the heads of their opponents through the arena’s goals. HeadBall begins with each team announcing that they are ready by using a switch placed in the map for each team. Once all teams have checked in, a countdown beings, during which the players may move to wherever they believe will allow them the best starting advantage—though they cannot do damage to each other. However, once the starting gong has sounded, the melee begins! Use defensive to slow the progress of your opponents, or turn to offense, and go for the killing blow of decapitation. When a head is severed, any player can pick it up and make a run for goals placed around the map. Some maps have goals that can be used by any player to score, while others have team-specific goals. Some maps have multiple goals where each scores a different number of points per head, with difficult goals (distant, or those requiring trick shots) worth more points. Those who set up HeadBall servers can also select whether or not to throw ‘limb scoring’ into the mix, where each limb tossed into a goal scores one point."

    Whilst only afew details have been given thus far, this title is already shapign up nicely and should become a worthwhile addition for slash and hack fans all over the community.

    Biohazard Maps have just posted two new Opposing Force Deathmatch map reviews. Maps include op4_City which scored an above average 6/10, and op4_Peruskoulu 1.1 which was rated at a pleasing 7/10.

    SIMHQ Updates

    - Falcon @ 10:02 pm PST

    - Review: Ken "KC23" Cook takes a look at Sea Dogs by Akella and published by Bethesda Software. Is it an RPG? A Strategy title? A simulation? Or all three? Find out what KC thought of it and get more details.

    - Preview: TK from Third Wire Productions sent some more screen shots of "Project 1" including 6 shots exclusive to Check them out, this game keeps looking better and better.

    - Racing Page Update: James "GEEZER" Leasure wonders why a critically acclaimed racing sim can do everything right, but still fail to please. Read all about it here.

    Like it or not, game patches are here to stay. 3DAP looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of game patches.
    This comes up little. Most people seem to have an inherent dislike of patches, and the advantages they give gamers don't get addressed. Patches are one of the many, many advantages PC's have over consoles at this point.

    Over the last three years, EA GAMES and Lionhead Studios have been working hard to complete the highly anticipated RP/Strat hybrid, Black and White. Lionhead Studios today, has issued a press release confirming that Black and White has finally gone gold and will soon be ready for shipment, and the greedy hands of gamers world wide. Whilst its taken a long time and gone through an in depth pre-alpha and beta phase, the game is finally ready and should begin shipping to North America on March 27th, with a world wide release beginning later that week.

    The game itself, is described as a "revolutionary product, that delivers an exciting marriage of unique elements within both the Role Playing and Strategy genres". In the world of Black and White players are forced to take on the unlikely role of Gods, competing against other gods, in a bid to gain prayers, worshipers and creatures, so they can destroy their enemies and take over the world. Another important aspects of this project, is the real world ability to play as both good (white) or evil (bad), and have the entire gaming experience alter depending on your actions.

    Ultimately, considered by many to be the most ambitious game in the interactive realm to date, Black & White is hyped as re-defining gaming and is already expected to be a game of year in a multitude of categories. Simply put, lots of people believe that THIS GAME IS GOING TO ROCK!

    To view the press release or just to learn more about the game head over to

    Coming this spring, on March 28, Pokemon Stadium 2, has recieved a full rap up over on the Official Pokemon Website. The article is about 700 words long and also includes 6 Brand New Screenshots.

    To summarise the Article, Pokemon Stadium 2, for the Nintendo 64, comes complete with 249 Pokemon, an additional four new tournaments, 12 new minigames, tilesets and exclusive TM's. Coupled with this is a serious and much needed improvement to graphic detail and the addition of far more fluid and realistic movement. The game now allows players to transport pokemon from gameboy titles, Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold and Silver, but will not incorperate the soon to be released Pokemon Crystal.

    Also of interest, it appears from screenshots that Nintendo have chosen to revamp a number of attack and have allowed for different coloured (super rare) pokemon to appear in battle. Here are some more details from a quote in the preview:

    "Pokémon newcomers and pros alike can learn lots by attending Earl's Pokémon Academy, then putting their new knowledge to the test by battling fellow students for badges. The comprehensive Academy Library includes stats, strengths, moves, and battle charts for all 249 Pokémon.

    In the Free Battle Mode, as many as four trainers can choose from several sets of rules or set up their own. Solo players can fight their way past the 21 clever trainers in the all-new Gym Leader Castle. Just as in Pokémon Gold and Silver, your Pokémon can carry items into battle."

    All in all a good read for Pokemon fans, to view the full article head over to here.

    Up until afew weeks ago, most fans of the Futuristic Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, Anarchy Online, expected the game to be released this month. Now it looks like these fans will have to wait until atleast summer before they get a chance to play the full product. In a recent interview developer Tommy Strand explained to AO Vault the reason behind the release date changes and gave them some details on when the beta will be completed and thus the code can finally be set.

    As he explains in the Article, Tommy said, the only thing fans can be sure about is "it's not done yet. There are still elements we have to finalize and data that needs to be included. We are now rounding off the last of new functionality and playfield data... Currently, Anarchy Online is in the third phase of the beta with several thousand testers in game. As it moves closer to completion, there will be one more stage of the beta test. "

    To read the full article head over to

    Saturday, March 17, 2001

    I have written a review for Day of Defeat, the World War II mod for Half-Life. You can check it out here.

    Day of Defeat is the newest and best World War II mod for Half-Life. It has very realistic gameplay, and is a lot like TFC except in a WWII environment. You can download it here.

    PlanetXbox has up some very intriguing screenshots of various Xbox games from GameStock 2001. Please select a game:

    In the world of Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), few if any have done better then Everquest. Since its release this product has set a precedence for all other community based games. To celebrate Everquest's second birthday Verant and Sony Online, have uploaded a new webpage featuring lots of never before seen pre-alpha media, and some great articles talking about the "early days" of Everquest. Here is a quick quote from the site:

    "We've dug up some pre-release screenshots and some concept art for you to peruse, some of which makes great desktop wallpaper! We’ve also got some great sketches that renowned fantasy artist Keith Parkinson did for the original EverQuest box. See how that now famous scene evolved and eventually turned into the beautiful painting we all know today.

    In addition to offering you a peek into EverQuest during its infancy, we’ve also lined up a series of three half-hour chats for you to participate in! The first was held on Wednesday when EQ Community Relations Manager Alan "Absor" VanCouvering was kind enough to spend some time with us. On Thursday, we spoke with John Capozzi from the EQ Live team. On Friday, we were treated not only to Brad McQuaid in the chat room, but we were also joined by Jeff Butler, Gordon Wrinn, Bill Trost, and Bill Coyle. We hope to have the transcript for you by Monday in addition to the second half of the EQ Roundtable discussion."

    The Movie's and screenshots look great, and just by quickly glancing at them you can tell that Everquest has had more a few face lifts in its time. To check out the rest of this Birthday present head over to

    Up until now, I hadn't even heard of this game. However, Aidyn Chronicles: the First Mage looks like its going to impress quite afew people in the coming months, and is definately a product to watch out for. The staff over at Role Playing Gamer in a quick 600-700 world article have previews this up and coming N64 title, and have given it a big wrap. They describe the game as "anything but traditional, breaking out of many of the standard RPG's cliches to become an instant classic and a must-have for Nintendo 64 owners".

    Those of you interested in some game history will appreciate this quote also from the article:

    "Here's a quick history lesson. Over two and a half years ago, THQ announced a partnership with Canadian developer H20 to develop an RPG for Nintendo 64. The game at the time was called NomenQuest. The game then simply seemed to drop off the face of the earth. Then, Aidyn Chronicles: the First Mage started appearing, and while at first there was some speculation over it being a new game, it was then revealed to be same title.

    Aidyn Chronicles: the First Mage is hailed as a more traditional RPG for Nintendo 64. While that might be true when compared to other RPGs for Nintendo, like Zelda 64, Ogre Battle 64, or Quest 64, it is by far more ambitious as far as gameplay is concerned when compared to what most RPGamers would call traditional RPGs. What makes the game even more interesting is that Chris Klug, the designer for TSR's pen-and-paper RPG "DragonQuest" is the lead designer. Bottom line, this game is much more than just the typical traditional RPG."

    All in all this preview is a good read with some media screenshots and lots of condensed details. Caugh it by heading over here.

    The Official Website has just been updated with four new in game graphical teasers, sure to wet any fans appetite. Go here to view them.

    Interplay are doing an interesting thing, with regard to media information, involving their up and coming RPG Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter. The company is filming Question and Answer sessions with employee's, and then posting these sessions up as media clips.

    In the latest clip, Interplay buzzes Danien Chee, one of their programming and asks him the question, "How is programming for games different from programming for other types of apps?". To view this clip on either high or low definition, or alternatively to view one of the older updates head over to

    Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, optimistically slated for release later this year, is receiving plenty of attention at the moment. Over on their website, Diablo developers Blizzard have released two new screenshots, in the past few days. You can view this screenshots by heading here and here.

    Also in the news, a German run site, The Diablo II Network have interviewed Bill Roper -one of the driving forces behind the Diablo series. Lucky for us they have an English Translation of the interview which you can read by heading over to here.

    ARCANUM:Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, is a game being developed by Trokia Games and published by Sierra Studios. This exciting Role Playing games put players into a world where science and magic collide head on, and are placed in a constant struggle for survival.

    Over the past few weeks Sierra and Trokia have been running a contest entitled "Get in the Game". The contest forced fans to solve a series of five riddles in order to get the correct code, and then submit their answers. The first person to correctly answer all five riddles would have his name and information added to the game, and become one of the characters to feature in the Arcanum world. Matt de Cesare was the winner of this inivative contest. To see how the riddle was solved, or to simply learn more about the contest and this great up and coming game head over to

    I found this article over at

    Mr Isao Okawa, President of Sega died of Heart failure at Tokyo hostipal late yesterday. Heres a quote that includes all of the main information from the article:

    "Isao Okawa, president of Sega and chairman of CSK group, died Friday of a heart failure at a Tokyo hospital. He was 74 years old. Okawa assumed the role of Sega president last year when Shoichiro Irimajiri stepped down from the position after assuming responsibility for the poor sales of the Dreamcast in Japan. Okawa spearheaded Sega's exit from the hardware market, envisioning a company strategy focused on the network and software development business.

    Sega of America released the following statement: 'Sega of America regretfully announces that Isao Okawa, chairman and president of Sega Corporation, passed away on March 16, 2001, at 3:47pm due to heart failure at the Tokyo University Medical Hospital. A private vigil is scheduled for [his] family, and company funeral services are being planned.'"

    Sega seems to heading from bad to worse lately, with losses in the past few quarters and increasing corperate pressures. Will we see this gaint go down... for the small remainder of the article you can head over to here.

    PC.IGN has been previewing the "good" side of Black & White all week, and they have wrapped it all up in this excellent hands-on preview. The preview contains a general look at the game, with the author's initial impressions of the interface and overall gameplay. Check it out here.

    For those of you who don't know what Black & White, it is a new PC game coming out the first week of April. This game is the apex of computer graphics, with highly detailed models and special effects. The basic idea behind the game is you "play god" and control your people. You can teach them to worship you out of fear, or out of love, depending all on how you treat them.

    Friday, March 16, 2001

    After a period of inactivity and downtime we are now back online. We will be focusing on bringing in up to date news as well as frequent content updates. Our primary focus will remain on PC gaming and a shift to include hardware. Other sections will be deleted or left as an archive but will no longer be updated unless taken on by a volunteer staff member.

    If you would like to join us please send me an email with your name, email, icq#, past experience, and reasons why you want to join Gamesurge. We have positions open for news posters and reviewers, as well as section webmasters.

    We are also looking for quality sites to host, check out our hosting page to find out more.

    Additionally Hobbes is the new co-webmaster and will be helping with various duties on the site.

    Feel free to post any comments on our forum at

    Thursday, March 15, 2001

    The Unreal 2 official site from Legend Entertainment has been opened. There are lots of new screenies on there to see, so go check it out here:

    EuroGamer has up a review of Aerowings 2, a flight sim game for Dreamcast. Check out the review here. Here's a snippet:
    "The original Aerowings was a bit of a non-starter. I’m not even sure it was released over here. It was low on action, despite selling itself as a dogfighting flight sim, and its sales suffered heavily as a result. Aerowings 2 makes up for this by focusing almost entirely on dogfighting, filling the skies with enemy jets and creating a profound and embracing game to wrap it up in."

    GameSpot has up a nice preview of Unreal II. It includes and in-depth preview, some game images, and concept art. Go see what all the rave is about; check it out here. has up a review of the new game Starship Troopers. You can read it here. Here's a snippet:
    "Ok…so does this game totally suck? In a word, no, it doesn’t. I have definitely played worse games (thinks Dogs of War). But to be honest, the game is simply just plain vanilla, using an established universe/license."

    Opposing Force, the official Half-Life expansion, now has a patch. It has a variety of new options and features. Also, you may know the new Counter-Strike 1.1 is out. For some reason, this patch is required to play Counter-Striker 1.1 due to Valve updating the netcode. Please select a download language below:

  • " "

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