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News for Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Posted by Silencer - at 21:58

MIB88 sent us the Update 3, which expands his compilation of Fallout 2 mods, called The Megamod (probably as a reference to Megademos of old). Refer to the description for details and be sure to try it out with your Fallout 2.

Link: Fallout 2 Megamod, Megamod Update 3

Posted by Silencer - at 21:50

The site Firing Squad posted a tiny bit about Fallout 3, reiterating what fans already know, and the casual reader might want to glance over:

Fallout 3: Speaking of Elder Scrolls IV, the folks at Bethesda Softworks had a posted about this long awaited post apocalypse RPG at their E3 2006 exhibit..and nothing else. Bethsoft first announced a deal with Interplay to license the Fallout property to make the third game in the series (as a side note, can you believe Interplay is still technically an operating company even though they have released no games for the past several years?). However there has been little to no info on the game since the initial announcement. With its E3 no show, we have to assume that we will have to wait a while longer before more info is revealed.
Still waiting for someone to walk out into a room full of Fallout 3 sketches with a camera prepared, per chance.

Link: Missing at E3 @ Firing Squad

Thnks Briosafreak!

News for Saturday, May 27, 2006

Posted by Brother None - at 4:05

Another tidbit from Todd Howard surfaced. Sources give us this from Computer Gaming World's latest issue:

CGW: While we can understand the need to be sensitive to social issues involving the portrayal and treatment of children in free-form environments, it seems very strange not to see children in Oblivion at all...

TH: That's something we're dealing with right now in Fallout 3. So we'll see how that issue turns out.
Dealing with, ok. Let us wonder what the solution will be. If I was the speculating kind of guy, I'd be positive because of the fact that they're working on it and at least understand that you can't just factor out children from Fallout like in Oblivion. We shall see.

Thanks Keith.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:00

The Wastes, a PA modgroup of HL and HL2, has stopped working now that they've, uhm, found jobs:

Well it has happened, The Wastes will be closing its doors for the final time. A long and storied mod, with roots in Wasteland Half-Life, The Wastes was a fun project that all of us on the team will be reminiscing about for quite some time. Wasteland was wrought with periods of hard productivity and hard instability. Our love of the genre and our love of game design made it all worthwhile. The Wastes has hit its final chapter, and at this point it is akin to saving the Titanic with rusty buckets. Slowing down the death only put a burden on myself and the rest of the team. Our focuses have shifted a great deal especially when you consider this mod started in the late nineties!
Having found jobs in the gaming world, let us hope they get to work on quality PA games.

Link: Wastes eulogy

Spotted on DaC, by Briosafreak

News for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Posted by Silencer - at 1:35

Stephen "SNorth" North, whom you might remember as a writer for a large Fallout mod Mutants Rising, and a forum member of ours, has been fortunate (and obstinate) enough to publish a post-apocalyptic novel. For the cover and the blurb:



Sergeant Alexander Cray built his life around a code that set limits to what he would and would not do. This code provided a framework that gave value to a promise or meaning to a commitment. Of course, sometimes people don't hold up their end of the deal or something else intervenes. Sometimes forgiveness comes far too late...

Is MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa really just a glowing crater? Rumours claim the whole earth is under siege. Is it an alien invasion or terrorist attacks? All that is sure is that Tampa, Florida is quarantined and Cray's Military Police unit is called up for the crisis. Follow him on a patrol that begins with a deadly encounter at an interstate truck stop to a trek across a panic-stricken, lawless metropolis.
So, will you peer beneath the mask for $15.99? Congratulations SNorth, and I'm waiting for the reviews!

Link: Beneath The Mask at Author House

Thanks Wild_qwerty!

Posted by Silencer - at 1:28

The Afterfall team, following the IGK 2006 gaming fair, have released a trailer, which lasts a 1 min 27 secs, weighs in at 16 MiB and shows a train yard rendered with Unigine.



The locations are all hazy, rusty, scorched and postapocalyptic. Of course, it's to early to see any actual gameplay, but...

Link: Afterfall Trailer @ NMA, Afterfall Forum @ NMA

Posted by Silencer - at 1:26

We've been mailed about a post-apocalyptic, or so, game called After The End.

Your patrol cruiser received mayday signal from a research base on a suburban planet (sic!) "Rydon 7". The dropship directed to investigate the situation was hit and damaged, and you are the only survivor. Do you dare to go out of the ship and see what's outside?


Kind of reeks of an action-game version of Metalheart, but you can see for yourself by downloading the demo.

Link: After The End website

Posted by Silencer - at 0:39

We've gotten hold of a few new files here at NMA. Check out the Fallout 2 mods section to find the Last Hope mod for Fallout 2 by DeJan & Alexander, and our German visitors will be elated to find a German language addon for the Survivor Mod. Translation done by Chewie.

Links: Last Hope Fallout 2 Mod, Survivor Fallout 2 Mod, German language addon for Survivor Mod

News for Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Posted by Tagaziel - at 20:34

The Hearts of Iron 2 mod, announced in April by doomtrader, is developing steadily, and the aforementioned modder was kind enough to supply us with these splendid screenshots to drool over, while we wait for the release of this modification.





Keep it up, modders!

Link: The Fallout Mod for Hearts of Iron 2 subforum

News for Sunday, May 21, 2006

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:08

Despite the uncertain status of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a demo of the game made a closed-doors appearance at E3. Atomic has an article on the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. demo and the changes that have been made to the game over the last year.

Behind these changes is Dean Sharpe, who THQ brought in to "transform the game from an undefined mess of potential to a sprawling masterpiece."

The scripted sequence that followed came as a bit of a shock.

'This is an example of a little bit of how the game has changed over the year,' said Sharpe. 'You wouldn't have [this] type of thing in the game before - it was completely open-ended. So now we've added scripted events to make sure you can actually follow the story.' We had to ask at this point about STALKER's much publicised 'A-Life' AI system.

'It's still there, but with scripting elements as well that make sure that you can make it through the game ... It's still very, very open-ended. The only difference is that there are now scripted events throughout the world that will let you progress. But once that scripted event happens that area then opens up to the entire world again,' explained Sharpe.
Besides introducing scripted sequences to keep the player on track, Sharpe summarized other changes he has made to the game:
So, what has changed in the game? Sharpe was able to enlighten us.

'There isn't that much that's been cut I've made some minor changes. There were some types of mutants that I pulled out. I took out sleeping and eating - a couple of the minor RPG elements. I also shortened the amount of dialog in the dialog trees - there [was a lot] of back and forth that wasn't needed.'
The game has a more definite future now, at the cost of these features.

Link: E3 2006: The truth behind STALKER at Atomic.

There are a few other articles on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. E3 demo:
PC Games in German.
GRY OnLine in Polish, and an English translation of the GRY article.

Spotted at Oblivion-Lost.

News for Saturday, May 20, 2006

Posted by Brother None - at 16:02

E3 of course show-cased a mass of games that we only follow with half an eye; Hard Truck, Hellgate: London, Bioshock. Not to skip on the news, here's a list of interviews, previews and screenshots as covered by RPGDot from the start of E3 'till now. Screenshots may overlap a bit.

Bioshock:

Hellgate: London (site redone):
Hard Truck Apocalypse: Rise of Clans

Posted by Brother None - at 15:24

The Escapist has done an article called "Left Behind", about old school and new school gamers, and the decline and fall (or rise) of video gaming. Some excerpts:

I know I'm not alone. I've seen entire tribes of refugees during my travels, people fixated on one dead game or another. There are die-hard Ultima Online fans, SubSpace freaks and Fallout geeks. As the Great City of Gaming builds itself on top of its history, an undercurrent of homeless gamers wander between high-poly games, in search of their previous gaming peak. Rarely do they find it. The tribes converge from time to time, occasionally trading stories, their artifacts from ages past. The common theme is always the same: Where's home?
And something some people might not agree on, especially on the Bard's Tale thing:
Finding a game to love is definitely not hopeless for anyone. Companies are beginning to realize people had good ideas beyond, "Hey! Let's add polygons to that!" and are re-envisioning old classics in some form or another. Bethesda Softworks owns the rights to the Fallout license, which should elicit a collective deafening cry of joy from every fan community in the world. The Bard's Tale remake sent a wave of jubilation through many circles, rippling from deep within central communities. And while many of my fellow hobos might not want to admit it, good games

have been made since the late '90s. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines by the now-defunct developer Troika is guaranteed to bring some new refugees into the mix. Katamari Damacy has brought jaded gamers out in droves, all tittering over how much fun they're having.
Link: article on The Escapist

Posted by Brother None - at 15:18

Silver Style has released the final version of The Fall's patch v1.10.

According to the English patch notes on GamersHell, version 1.10 requires version 1.9, which requires version 1.8 and so on and so forth. That'd be a pain when re-installing the game.

Link: The Fall patches

Spotted at RPGDot

Posted by Brother None - at 15:12

J.E. Sawyer has done an interview at Neverwinter Nights 2 News. It is interesting as Sawyer talks about and compares cRPGs with small, but vocal and dedicated fanbases (like Planescape and Fallout) with cRPGs that are simply massive hits (Neverwinter Nights, TES):

On the topic Planescape; it is a very highly regarded title even by today's gamers. However, on a commercial level if faired poorly for the most part. How to you rectify that in your mind, a game loved by most all who speak of it yet total opposite results on the balance sheet?

Though Torment fans are little in number, they have mighty voices. Games that appeal to casual gamers often do not elicit such passionate and enthusiastic responses -- certainly not so long after a game has been released. Some argue that Torment isn't really an RPG because it doesn't let you select your own character or that it's not D&D because it kind of treats a lot of D&D rules like an afterthought. But there is no arguing that it is a game made with a very strong vision and a unique direction. I believe that's what people tap into when they become such zealous fans of the game.

Is there something from developers to learn from the example of Planescape? Is the deep, story driven CRPG dead in your view or was Plancescape ahead of its time?

I don't think the deep, story-driven CRPG is dead but I certainly don't see those games being developed as what most publishers would consider "triple-A" titles. If or when they do, I think it's because the publisher has a great deal of faith in the developer. Witness Fable and Jade Empire, two relatively story-heavy RPGs with original IPs. Without Lionhead and BioWare creating those titles, I highly doubt they ever would have been developed.

(...)


When do you feel we will ever see another Fallout, Planescape or BG2 type epic, deep story driven game?

I really believe that developing games with stories like Fallout and Planescape, where the player has a lot of freedom, requires designers to re-focus their attention. You can't build a linear RPG for twelve months and just decide, out of the blue, to transform it into a non-linear, "do what you want" RPG. That has to be the focus from the beginning. Plot critical characters have to be rare in the extreme, plot critical events also have to be rare in the extreme. It requires planning and it requires focus, but I don't honestly believe it's tremendously difficult. It's only hard because designers often want to have it both ways - telling a super tight, super controlled story and allowing some sort of lip-service to non-linearity. Something's got to give, guys.

When will designers decide to do that in an RPG again? Beats me.
Link: interview on NWN 2 News

Spotted at RPGDot.

News for Friday, May 19, 2006

Posted by welsh - at 16:23

Background:


We always thought we were alone in the Universe. But in the summer of 1947 all of that changed forever. An alien craft crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico and inside were found corpses the likes of which, had never been seen before...



Due to inept handling by the military, information about the craft and its contents were leaked to the press and hysterical reports duly appeared in newspapers around the world.

To prevent a repeat of the Roswell fiasco, it was decided that a single government entity should be responsible for the interception and "erasure" of all future incursions using all means necessary. In 1948 a deep level government agency called The Majority Group, was created for just this purpose...
Interested?
Check the website or this forum thread
In a few weeks the scripting tutorials will be complete and I'll be starting work on a new area for The Omega Syndrome. This area will either be a new underground zone for Omega Labs, or a refugee camp on the edge of town. The art for these areas is complete, so the work will involve the design of the peoples and creatures, their dialogues and the scripting. The interesting part of this announcement is I'm extending an invitation to all Omega Syndrome players and hard-core CRPG gamers to contribute to the creation of this area.

So if you've ever wanted to create an interesting character, or have a great idea for a plot or side quest, this is your chance to get it into a game! All work no matter how big or small that makes the cut will be fully credited, so you can tell your Mum you're famous! You dont have to be a programmer to take part, you can be good with dialogue or have great ideas for quests and plots. All comers will be welcome.

If you want to join in, send an email to david_moffatt@ausgamedev.com and Ill let you know when we're ready to start.

Regards
David Moffatt
Also look at the screen shots.

Like-





Thanks Davaris for the news.

News for Saturday, May 13, 2006

Posted by Silencer - at 17:26

Nepsa let us know of a laconic post by Carsten Strehse at the Silver Style fora:

:) The release of the Polish version will be in around 2 weeks. English build still needs some time.
So there you have it.

Link: Thread at Silver Style forum

News for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Posted by Brother None - at 20:32

Amongst all the E3 buzz, silence once again is the only thing surrounding Fallout 3. Except for, like last year, a poster. This one is niftier, though, and CVG optimistically states:

Somewhat quelling the fears of FallOut (sic!) fans that Bethesda might overlook the humour, charm and fifties stylings of the series, PipBoy's (sic!) return seems to promise this won't be the case - and that's certainly great, great news for FallOut obsessives everywhere.




Link: article on CVG

Thanks Hunam!

News for Monday, May 8, 2006

Posted by Tannhauser - at 6:27

Michael McCarthy, an ex-Troika developer, has unveiled his new project in an interview with RPGCodex. Utilizing the Source Engine and relying on Steam to distribute the game; McCarthy is creating an isometric, turn-based action-RPG catering to fans of X-Com and Fallout.

McCarthy explains the setting and some of the RPG elements:

Oh it's going to be dark....

The game is set in the year 2109 and takes place entirely around the moons of Saturn. Most of solar system is colonized and space travel is common, but still very dangerous. You are the commander of a powerful Dropship that houses a 4 man team You are charged with the responsibility of system security. You are like an extreme military enforced S.W.A.T. team in space. You are concealed in the control room of your Dropship and issue commands to your units in the field.

In this game, space is dangerous. Forget warp drives and beaming up anything. For instance, if one of your team members is in space and gets his suit damaged, he may only have 60 seconds to reach the airlock before his temperature control system fails and he freezes to death instantly. Same thing goes for someone you might be supposed to rescue. If you bust into a room on a spacecraft and start firing your cannon off, you might crack a window and suck little Timmy out into the void of space. A lot of this plays into equipping your team; big firepower can certainly be effective, but might not always be the best choice given the environment you are in.

On the RPG end, all communication with people you encounter comes from you. Any member of your team can fire up the communicator and you can speak through it to NPC's in the field. What you say, who you kill or who you let live, how you handle the mission, etc., all play into what missions you receive, what kind of help you have during your missions, available equipment, and a number of other factors that will reveal themselves as the game progresses.

There are two things you manage and upgrade during the game, your team and your Dropship. For your team stat wise, you can expect all the standards like strength and dex and intelligence and such. There are skills as well. Raising your skills and stats gives you the ability to use technology like forced entry devices (lock picks) and field med scanners (health packs). Your Dropship has many areas that can be upgraded as well. Of course your weaponry, but also things like your landing gear. Better landing gear will give you more advantageous landing locations around the level.
The interview is fascinating and multifaceted; explaining McCarthy's history with Troika, Troika's philosophy towards creating games, developer/publisher relations, and McCarthy's decision to use Steam.

This project is most intriguing, even at this early stage. It will also be interesting to watch how the independent RPG developer/Steam dynamic works out.

Link: RPGCodex interview with Michael McCarthy.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 4:32

If your secret desire was a review of the Fallout games focusing on their socialist aspects, the Maoist Internationalist Movement is here to deliver! With their 'revolutionary communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism,' they bravely analyze the social commentary and the harsh message about capitalism that the Fallout games bring us.

The New California Republic [based on Shady Sands from FO1] is a prototype police state and the player can judge whether its existence is a good thing compared to the elitist Vault City and loosely-run Broken Hills. Given the post-nuclear survival situation, NCR guarantees survival rights bettar than other areas and the level of repression may be justified. In NCR, police patrol the streets to prevent any violent acts from occuring. The locals are relatively friendly to mutants, tribals, etc... compared to other cities. A Maoist state might be able to form here given some social progression amongst the locals.
The review is mainly positive, pointing to Fallout as a 'Maoist Role Playing Game.' Though there are also various criticisms against the Fallout games, a notable one being that they are too individualistic, as there is little 'observable mass action.' This review is a must read for any budding revolutionary.

Link: MIM reviews Fallout 1 and 2.

Thanks Briosafreak.

News for Saturday, May 6, 2006

Posted by Silencer - at 17:22

Sethergal let us know they've done an interview for cRPG.ru, a Russian gaming site. You can read up on the interview on their home page.

Alexander Kulyaev: Tell us, please, about New Dawn in general, so we can get acquainted with the project and prepare for further discussion.

Sławomir Szynkowski: New Dawn is a cRPG game which is set in the future. The world is recovering after a comet hit the Earth in 2029. As the plot is set a couple of hundred years after the disaster, the world has already had the chance to diversify significantly. In the game you can see elements from both post-apocalyptic and fantasy games. Along with new civilizations and ideologies a new history is being born and you won't find any old world's cities. All the settlements were started after the cataclysm when people started to set up new societies.

Main character's name is Seth. He lost his memory and is trying to discover his true identity. In his quest a player can gather a group of up to 6 characters. Combat can be either turn-based or real-time with a so-called active pause. So far we have been working on a PC Windows single player version both in Polish and English. We use TrueVision3D engine.
Also, the first rendered character from the game's been made public. I won't comment, but go have a look if you are interested.

Link: New Dawn website
Link: interview on CRPG.ru

Posted by Silencer - at 1:41

Piotr "Struś" Koczewski sent us the intro for his post-apocalyptical music album, Wasteland Themes. He's got one more surprise up his sleeve, but wouldn't tell me what.




Links: Flight of the Angel of Doom (Intro), Wasteland Themes at 3ddownloads

News for Friday, May 5, 2006

Posted by Bradylama - at 8:26

The fansite Bioshock Nation has announced that Game Informer has done an exclusive on Irrational Games's Bioshock, which is the spiritual successor to System Shock 2, if the naming convention didn't give it away already. Smile

Details from someone who has flipped through the magazine:

"- Core gameplay centered on player choice and customization

- Game takes place in the early 60s

- Developer's main goal is total immersion in the story

- You wake up in the ocean surrounded by debris and your first goal is survival

- Something about creatures in the ocean discovered by scientists

- "We're creating a world for to be in. What you do is up to you, and you have to live with your choices."

- One of your skills is agility and it makes you run faster

- Most upgrades will affect weapons

- You can create weapons and items

- You can hack stuff by being an engineer

- A walkthrough is useless - you take the game where you want it to go (Sounds really open ended)

- BioShock holds many mysteries

- Xbox 360 and PC - O N L Y"
A long time ago Bioshock was supposed to take place in an abandoned Nazi research facility that was discovered in the present day, which was overrun by mutant creatures. That was scrapped, however, in favor of the new setting.

Intended to be a Capitalistic utopia, the genetic research that went on there ended up causing more harm than its initial good, and everything besides the diving suit-like robots has been turned into genetic freaks by a substance referred to as Adam. Survivors from the founding of the city wear masks to hide their disfigurements, and one of the choices the player character has to make throughout the game is whether or not to augment himself with Adam in order to survive.

Bioshock will feature a fittingly depressing and bleak game world, filled with art direction resembling a type of 50's future vision coupled with early nuclear age architectural motifs. It's scheduled for an early release in 2007 with the PC release following shortly behind the Xbox.

Also on Bioshock Nation's current update is a list of recently released Bioshock screenshots.

Links: Bioshock Nation, Bioshock on the cover of Game Informer Online, Bioshock gallery @ Tiscali Games

News for Thursday, May 4, 2006

Posted by Silencer - at 3:10

mvBarracuda posted this at our forum:

A new experimental SVN build is available for Win32. I guess this will be the last build for the next 2 months as we're currently reworking the engine design and there won't be new useful features for the users (although the whole code structure will change a lot).

New features:
- Taking screenshots (using "p"-key)
- Ingame console (based on guichan; different to the one in 2006.0)
- Transparency for: roof tiles, objects, windows (see Navarro)
- New XML maps
- Scriptable LUA gui (see examples in the content/scripts folder)
- A first experimental version of the FIFEdit tool (not really usable!)
- A bunch of fixes
Link: http://members.fifengine.de/bin/FIFE_r526_win32.exe

News for Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Posted by Brother None - at 2:47

mvBarracuda of FIFE fame sent us this press release:

'''Fallout Zero'''

Fallout Zero is a non-commercial product, created by the German Fallout community based on the FIFE 2D engine. Our aim is to create a Fallout-like game that features all important elements and the gameplay of the classic Fallout games but plays on the stage in a post-nuclear Germany.

The team works very close together with the FIFE developers. The Zero teams creates the basic ruleset with a scripting language and designs the graphical user interface to resemble the Fallout GUI.

Although the current status of FIFE does not allow to recreate Fallout in all aspects yet, we have begun to create the first graphics, write ruleset scripts and work out the storyline.

'''Features'''
* Classical Fallout gameplay considering the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. ruleset
* Increased value of formely unpopular skills and perks
* Complete new graphics and sounds to capture the feeling the of a postnuclear Germany
* New weapons and perks
* The decisions of the player character will influence the wasteland and the storyline much more compared to the orginal Fallout games
* Locations and groups you've never seen before in any Fallout game or mod

'''Engine'''
* Fallout:Zero is build on the FIFE 2D RPG engine
* This will allow us to support higher resolutions, 32bit PNG images and quality ogg sounds

'''Work flow and contribution'''
* The team communicates over weekly irc meetings, instant messengers and email
* The heart of the team is a mediawiki that makes the current content, new ideas and raw drafts easily accessable by all team members
* You can contribute as steady member or freelancer
* Everybody who is willing to honestly sacrifice some time is welcome to participate

'''What is imporant to the design team:'''
* Typical Fallout style featuring everything from the pip-boy to the 50's retro look
* A story that stays true to the background of the Fallout RPGs and the Fallout bible
* A German wasteland that will be pretty different compared to the American desert
* To establish Fallout on a new stage and to enhance the Fallout series from the perspective of hardcore Fallout fans

== Graphics ==
* Ingame screenshot, (XML-Map, Zero gfx)] The shown screenshot was created with the current FIFE XML map format and features the first new graphics that were created by the Zero team. It is meant to be a pure test map as the FIFE format is likely to change in the next months.

A few graphics were also in the release:



Link: FIFE engine website