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10801  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Panzer Tactics DS on: December 14, 2007, 02:04:21 PM
I completed the first campaign mission a while back. Been tied up with Holiday time stuff since, but I get some time off soon and hope to jump back in then.
10802  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Final Fantasy Tactics WotL? on: December 14, 2007, 01:55:41 PM
You can find a lot of places where people feel one way or the other (honestly, I found Jeanne' more "fun" and its camera/viewing controls less fiddle-dy -- it didn't matter to me how much deeper FFT:WoL is). Why PSP fans can't just appreciate having two such deep similar-but-very-different games on the same system, in the same year no less (nothing like them seems due on the system in 2008), instead of carping about which one has a bigger schlong, I have no idea.  Roll Eyes Tongue
10803  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Opera or Firefox? on: December 13, 2007, 07:12:47 PM
I have to use IE for one work related thing. I tried an ActiveX Plugin for Firefox, and the thing still didn't work. It's an online newsletter site, and if you try to use the "editing view" in Firefox, it does nothing. Other than that though, FF has been fine for everything.

At the time I used Opera, it had a fairly obnoxious animated ad window that you couldn't close or disable. That and various incompatibilities finally convinced me to ditch it. I don't think it's that way anymore, but Last Impressions sometimes last a long time.  Tongue
10804  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Opera suing Microsoft for antitrust violations on: December 13, 2007, 06:11:26 PM
I guess Opera is more worried about IE than Firefox, judging by their lawsuit...

Opera Files Antitrust Suit Against Microsoft,140528-c,microsoftantitrustcase/article.html
The complaint, which was filed with the European Commission on Wednesday, says Microsoft is abusing its dominant position in the desktop PC market by offering only Internet Explorer as a standard part of Windows, and hindering interoperability by not following accepted standards with IE.
I can understand the last part in particular. I've tried using Opera now and then. It works OK, but too many sites don't follow the various page standards, and I often ran into sites that didn't display or function properly (this was some time ago though), esp. dicey if you're purchasing stuff online.
10805  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: World of Warcraft II announced!!! Not really, but new Blizzard MMO confirmed on: December 12, 2007, 10:02:03 PM
I think "World of Worldcraft" would have a better ring to it.  unibrow

I don't really see the point of WoW with Starcraft skins ("Let's go farm zerglings!") -- but doing something more innovative than that would require Blizz to do something new (their rep is doing great things with ideas that other people already pioneered).

My SC dream is more of a Battlefield: Starcraft or Planetside: Starcraft game that is friendlier to a less hardcore FPS audience but lets you control all those wonderful SC units. I'm partial to driving a Goliath myself.  icon_cool

While I don't see a Diablo MMO doing much of anything fresh either, you could argue that would be a way for them to corner the more "casual" MMO market that doesn't want to pay $15 a month or participate in all-night raid events.

Dungeon Runners and maybe Hellgate: London are trying to do that, but I think Blizzard could do something more polished and more fun that would blow both those games (and Flagship's Mythos) out of the water. So that's officially what my bet is on. smile And I'm always wrong on these things, so consider the source.  icon_lol

As much as WoW seems to be some "just take a strategy game idea and turn it into an MMO" touchstone, Command & Conquer: Renegade should also be a warning totem to anyone thinking that's easy to pull off.  icon_neutral
10806  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Movies: Your Flix, Post here. on: December 12, 2007, 06:50:20 PM
btw, I'm really sorry I didn't know you guys had an active Movies thread back when I was playing/using it constantly. I would've so appreciated a positive place for getting feedback and trading tips on how to use the movie tools better. So let's keep discussing things. smile

Maybe I can even dig my copy out and start working on that Vietnam movie I was working on.

I did actually buy a screenwriter's book a while back. The idea was that I'd finally write a script and *THEN* film it with The Movies, and I have no doubt that would be so much easier. It's just, I have so much fun working with the movie creation tool, and so often my story inspirations just come from stitching a few scenes together (even if they're wearing the wrong costumes), and watching how they flow together. I've spent most of my life writing (as a reporter though, not fiction), but I just have a hard time imagining things in my mind enough to do a screenplay. It's like I need props to play with first.  icon_biggrin
10807  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Movies: Your Flix, Post here. on: December 12, 2007, 06:35:47 PM
I know what you mean. What I tended to do was record .wav files separately using the Windows Sound Recorder. Then I would import these into the game and use the "lip synch" ability (which automatically animates the actor's mouths in synch with the sound file).

Another advantage is that for something like my "The Rescue," I was able to ask a forum buddy to do some sound distortion techniques so the helicopter pilots sounded like they were talking over radio headset mics.

The caveat is usually the sound volume won't match that of voices recorded "in-game" using a mic. So if I used a mix of that technique, and recording voice files separately, I would have to take a lot of time trying to adjust the sound volumes.

I couldn't find a hotkey for the mic on/off either, and it was definitely frustrating when trying to record "in-game."

Certainly there were all sorts of nice features like frame-matching/-coordinating that would improve things. My pet peeve is I needed some ability to "attach" sound files to certain spots in my film -- so that if I added or deleted scenes, it wouldn't screw up the placement of every single sound file in it. I think they designed it instead with the idea that you'll make a film visually, everything will be perfect, you'll add sound files, and you won't given any thought to changing scenes (because if you do, all your sound file placements are kaput).  disgust I loved the editor tool, and working with my movies, but having to "re-adjust" every single sound file placement in even just a 5 minute movie because I took out or added one scene -- it was hellish.  Tongue

I think if their focus was on the machinima aspect to begin with (recall that originally the game was just supposed to focus on the studio "Rollercoaster Tycoon/Sims" wannabe aspect, and movie production was to be totally automated), they would've given more thought to all sorts of things like that. But, from interviews I read, the manual movie-making aspect happened almost accidentally, sort of a, "Hey, our game was supposed to be about *this,* but if we give them tools to create this, it's really fun).
10808  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 12, 2007, 01:45:24 PM
I should have this soon (either locally as one of my Xmas wish list things, or via the Amazons ale), fwiw.

ADDENDUM: I'll probably pick this out (maybe the Collector's Edition if I can find it) when me mum lets me pick a couple games for Xmas Saturday. This assumes we can find a parking spot at Best Buy, and that I don't collapse from claustrophobic suffocation while I'm in there.  icon_biggrin
10809  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Movies: Your Flix, Post here. on: December 12, 2007, 01:37:46 PM
Hey dave!  icon_cool (we know each other from another board and from City of Heroes smile). If you ever need voice acting help, let me know. Not that I'm any good -- I just have a deep voice and a willingness to help with this sort of thing.

Fun movie. For a while I tried to convince NCSoft to allow stuff created with The Movies for their City of Heroes fan film contest, but it would've required some sort of cross promotion/licensing stuff with Lionhead and Activision etc.
10810  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online to become...casual?!? on: December 12, 2007, 02:29:34 AM
Blue's News had a tidbit about a PR firm filing a lawsuit against Perpetual claiming this whole "casual games" sale fiasco is an attempt to liquidate Perpetual and avoid paying creditorss (including said PR firm, who probably was doing PR for the Star Trek mmo, ironically enough):

Between this and the Gods & Heroes fiasco, well, compared to Perpetual, Flagship Studio and the Hellgate launch has been smooth as a cow's udder!  drool Sorry, that metaphor just sort of crapped on my head out of nowhere.  icon_mrgreen If the lawsuit allegations are true, I would completely write off the Star Trek MMO at this point, along with anything else you might've expected Perpetual to churn out. It's sad to see promising IPs get in the hands of a truly financially screwed up publisher.  mad

I'm going on a business trip to Korea in March by the way. I'll report back if I see "Star Trek Video Pachinko!" at one of the Korean "bangs" (online gaming places where someone occasionally plays until they die, and then you read about them on the newswire  crybaby).

BTW, the yellow frog "this image removed due to excessive bandwidth" image is probably about what the Star Trek MMO would look like now, anyway.  icon_smile
10811  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online to become...casual?!? on: December 11, 2007, 03:54:57 PM
By "casual," I think they mean pants are optional, because clearly that's the one way to guarantee Internet sales.  eek Roll Eyes
10812  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Movies: Your Flix, Post here. on: December 10, 2007, 07:39:17 PM

Quote from: whiteboyskim on December 10, 2007, 02:42:02 PM

The thing that kept throwing me off was how the clothing I'd assign to actors would change per scene. It's not like different actors were in every scene either. It was an odd thing and I think that's what kept piling up for me the further and further I dug into the game. For every one thing it would do well, there'd be three other "odd" quirks that made me re-think how I had to approach it.
Amen. Gah. I can't tell you how many hours I wasted trying to fix costume continuity errors, or backgrounds sudenly resetting etc. If you watch my flick "Wars End" mentioned above, the German sniiper had the wrong rifle in his hands in probably three scenes, and then at one point he's wearing a civvy costume, and then another had him in a U.S. uniform.  saywhat

I can tell you that part of the problem was the game only remembered the costume I put on one of the main actors when you're in "pre-production." If I had to use a different actor mid-game, and then put a costume on him, if I tried to use him in another scene later on -- boom! I'd pull the actor in and he'd be wearing civvies, a duck suit (!) or something else ridiculous. If the game remembered, "Ah, you used Extra A in a soldier uniform in scene 4, so when you pull him into scene 7 he'll have the same uniform," that would've been really helpful. I'm sure any fan of the game can suggest 20 improvements like that. There's just no way to implement them now.  tear

The problem was, that was pre-Stunts/Effects, and I hadn't even used a cheat code for the studio-sim side, so trying to fix all those things at the time proved nearly impossible. The other problem I had then was my actors aging in the studio side. That became a problem in some scenes of The Rescue later on, because my 28 year old actor would be 58 by the time I finished certain scenes. I learned to try to edit around that...

While it had the unintentional effect of making me appreciate continuity in real movies, clearly they could've done something to make that sort of thing more user-friendly. I almost wish The Movies had turned into a monthly fee game. I would've gladly paid some modest fee ($5-$10) a month just for the game/sim to have gotten consistent updates, and UI improvements. Or maybe for the game to have become "open source" so some tech-knowledgeable fans could keep improving it.

I'm sure Lionhead/Microsoft is abandoning it at this point (The console version flopped - if it had been a hit, maybe it would at least have future life in that form), but it's cool that people still make things and upload their creations to this day. smile I still see it and the expansion on shelves (saw a bunch of Stunts & Effects boxes at Target the other day), so I guess it's still nowhere close to the time that Lionhead or Microsoft would sell off the title's rights or something like that.
10813  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 0.7 Patch Notes - only 3 more till release? on: December 10, 2007, 04:55:58 PM
Actually I've heard if you put Hellgate into it, along with a hair follicle from Steig Hedlund (Diablo II lead designer, and unemployed Gods & Heroes designer), and a few misbegotten magazine headlines such as  "Diablo II Killer!", along with some fingernail clippings from current Blizzard employees you get...

Kane & Lynch!  puke   Tongue
10814  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / City of Heroes Collectible Card Builder on: December 10, 2007, 02:29:05 PM
It's not near as cool as the WoW character model-creator, but thought I'd mention this:
There is a free "City of Heroes collectible card builder" (you just provide a screenshot a certain size, and it creates one in PDF form):

It's been around since late 2005, but is not really publicized by NCSoft or anybody really. There are a couple different variations (I prefer the ones that let you use a larger image (see below).

Here are a few of mine (though I no longer subscribe):

Metal Mandroid (Energy/Energy Blaster)

Dr. Barium (Empathy/Radiation Blast Defender)

Crusasder (Assault Rifle/Devices Blaster)
10815  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 0.7 Patch Notes - only 3 more till release? on: December 10, 2007, 02:21:35 PM
This mystic box transforms the junk you put in it into something new and wonderful.
Hmmm, does this mean if I put the original Hellgate DVD into it, it will "transmogrify" into a version 1.0 DVD?  bowdown

Maybe I'll put MOH: Airborne and perhaps SWAT: Target Liberty (PSP) into there, and they'll become something new and wonderful too!  nod
10816  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Movies: Your Flix, Post here. on: December 09, 2007, 05:02:57 PM
What was frustrating with fan-mods, is that the sites for them were very hardcore technical (I don't think I ever saw a mod that was easy to install, and the ones that were least difficult to put in wouldn't work with Stunts & Effects), and, imho, the forums there were just not friendly to more casual users looking to get into mods (thus it was a shame Lionhead didn't do something to ease that process).

I fished around and I guess I removed most of my old movies from The Movies Online. My other Stunts & Effects film was more of a "tech demo" for doing car chases and car stunts, called "The Chase," and it's still there at:

The Chase

If I learned anything in making my movies, the more ambitious I got, the more likely I would never finish the movie. smile

I think my biggest frustrations were how the editor tool handled things. Deleting a scene would result in all your voice files/subtitles jumping to the wrong locations. There was no way to "fix" the locations so they wouldn't be disturbed by adding/deleting scenes.

I tended to make my flicks backwards (I'd insert a bunch of scenes, whittle them down, and then try to add in subtitles, and in some cases voice files). Obviously, that's backwards of "real" movie directors (maybe more akin to a comic book artist drawing his panels, and then a writer  writes in the dialog), but I enjoyed thinking visually first (to some extent using The Movies as a storyboarding tool) and then "writing to the scene."
10817  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: December 09, 2007, 07:59:16 AM

Quote from: Zarkon on December 08, 2007, 11:33:34 PM

...which is a pain in the ass.
As a reporter, I'm skilled at digging up dirt. So that passage reminds me...

Quote from: Flagship Memo
Flagship November 2007 Memorandum:

Criteria for Game Features and Unintentional Bugs:
"Pain in the Ass."
Wherever and whenever this is true, make sure we get it into the game.

Then, when we remove all the Pain in the Ass stuff later on, all the fans will say how awesome we are!

P.S. Make sure nobody sees this memorandum until 2008!
I knew it! I just knew it! Fiends! disgust icon_lol
10818  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Movies: Your Flix, Post here. [two of Blackjach's movies] on: December 08, 2007, 09:31:17 PM
Hey, didn't realize there was a Movies thread here (albeit dead for almost 2 years). I read a recent interview with Peter Molyneaux, and he finally seemed to admit that they made The Movies "too busy, and too hard to play" (as far as the studio game part). Stunts and Effects made some terrific improvements, but I knew in my heart there would be nothing coming for us fans after that.

Although I loved tinkering with the movie-making part, I hated, hated, hated the "Sims/Rollercoaster Tycoon wannabe" and micromanaging of the studio part of the game (even when they added more of a "sandbox" mode, it still got in the way of movie-making). But I can understand them not thinking the public would pay simply for a simplified "machinima creation" tool. It's just, that's what made it special and unique. I received it for Xmas back in 2005 I think, and I would get so addicted to working on my creations that I could spend about 16 hours on a Saturday trying to perfect something (and I never came close to perfection).

I also got too wrapped up in it at times. People at the Movies comment threads, and even at YouTube (where I posted a couple of my movies, after using Windows Movie Maker to add credits and stuff) often loved to be harsh and insulting, and not at all helpful. War Movies were my specialties.

I don't play/use The Movies anymore, and I'm not sure I ever will. It's tough in that if you don't accept feedback and suggestions, you really can't improve your movies. But if you're sensitive and easily hurt by criticism (I often am), then eventually you just don't want to subject yourself to that kind of abuse anymore. I'm a wimp, yes.  Tongue

Well anyway, wanted to share the two war movies I made, that I jazzed up a bit before uploading to YouTube, including the original babbling descriptions I jotted down to use at YouTube. They are (be sure to crank up the sound!  icon_cool They're not very long though.):

The Rescue
A short (6+ minutes) modern war machinima movie made with Lionhead's "The Movies" and its "Stunts and Effects" expansion. I wanted to share a higher rez version on You Tube for friends. I used Windows Movie Maker to add an intro and some closing credits.

Obviously inspired by Black Hawk Down, but also by "Robert's Ridge" and some other chopper incidents in Afghanistan. Some equipment (Huey, no Blackhawk vehicle model available) and backdrop ("alien" landscape) inaccuracies were unavoidable due to limitations in the game and lack of "mods" to fix them. Hope nobody minds too much. smile (more)
I revised this sucker massively after The Movies Online comments complained about many, many things, and suggested others. I got extensive voice acting help from a buddy I knew at a games forum (he played the rescue chopper pilot), and a fairly popular voice actor at the Future Star network fan forum. Another buddy from a military games forum provided both voice acting help, and "modulation" so that I could have "radio style" distorted voices.

Even though this flick is still full of flaws, it was my proudest achievement. smile But it was exhausting, and I think I felt by the time I completed it, the "game" was becoming more work than fun. Also, just about every other comment I got on it either accused me of creating a "Bush propaganda movie" or of "insulting our troops with such derivative work." So I think in my efforts to salute our troops, I apparently insulted everybody.  Roll Eyes icon_biggrin

Wars End
A short (6 minute) WWII movie made with Lionhead's "The Movies," but before the release of the "Stunts and Effects" expansion. Set in Germany late in the war.
I was a bit depressed (would-be romance and all that rot frown) at the time I made this one, and I think you can probably sense my melancholy in the storyline. I only was able to get voice-acting help from two people at the Future Star Network forums (including a German guy who agreed to voice the sniper). The guy I got to play Sarge sounded more like W.C. Fields, than a sergeant, but I was desperate.  Tongue

Although there were some military-type mods available, I never could figure out how to install them. It's a shame Lionhead never looked into some way of easing implementation of mods.

Also, this movie was done *before* Stunts and Effects' improvements. I had some screwy discrepancies (wrong rifle, wrong uniform etc.), but I simply couldn't figure out a way to fix them without starting over (Stunts and Effects made revising/changing easier, though far from easy).

Although I'm prouder of "The Rescue," I have to some extent received more kind words about "Wars End." I guess the sadness comes across as a more honest emotion in it, even if it seems technically inferior.

Anyway, enjoy. smile I don't plan to do any more work on these. I started work on a Vietnam War era movie involving choppers yet again (this time Hueys would make sense), but I got bogged down.

I also did a couple interesting, unfinished movies, maybe I'll post links to those later (I didn't upload them to YouTube though).
10819  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: NCSoft buys City of Heroes on: December 08, 2007, 08:48:52 PM
Official site has some fun links recapping the recent Cox-focused Player-Developer meet 'n greet in California:

You can get some glimpses of CoX devs in the flesh (and there's a lot of flesh, Positron esp. is not a diet commercial-looking fella, but hey, they probably have to spend 18 hours a day in front of a computer, right?  icon_biggrin), esp. in the piece:

Sounds like they are finally going to create a Web page database system where each character will have a page. They said you'll be able to hide things like Statistics, Powers, Badges, and Friends from the character page, but most of your other info will be available for few and searchable. The options have actually been in the options menu for years (I recall 2-3 settings labeled "show on public Web page," etc.), but perhaps the NCSoft acquisition will finally give them the manpower/resources to implement it.

There are several photos of this new Web page data system (tabbed). Here's one:
Again, it seems like you can "turn off" certain tabs if you don't want other players prying too far into how you set up your enhancements and such (probably more of a concern for PvP players).

They have some funny captions. This one in particular points out an NCSoft marketing rep giving "Castle" (a CoX designer and frequent forum poster) the evil eye when he seems to give too much detail answering a fan's question:

Also of interest, this photo seemed to show 4 new/different servers than what is currently available:

And I just sent Scott Kurtz (PVPOnline comic) an e-mail cause his increasingly famous "Joss Whedon is my Master Now" T-Shirt has a cameo at the meet 'n greet:
I can't quite tell who the guy is though -- he has a blue ID tag so I assume he's one of the CoX devs.
10820  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? *dev chat* on: December 08, 2007, 08:34:12 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on December 08, 2007, 06:46:19 PM

Quote from: Destructor on December 08, 2007, 06:35:46 PM

Keep us on the sidelines informed, Blackjack, and eventually we'll all come back. I just don't know when.

+1.  I've still got the game installed but the will to play only to have it CTD after 10 minutes isn't there.
I feel for you Destructor, that's -- CTDs and general poor behavior on my system -- same reason I've uninstalled Gears of War PC and decline to comment on that game any further. I plan to hang onto it though in hopes that when I get/build a new PC in 2008, perhaps GoW PC will run on that.

Is the .6 Hellgate crashing on you as well? I had problems after launch, but now it's very stable (obviously I complain a lot, but technically it runs smoothly for me now and I've had no CTDS beyond the occasional server error - which also has become less common but maybe more people are staying away biggrin). It's just, having finished the game, and done a few Hell runs for experience, I just don't feel a burning desire to play HG anymore. But I like keeping track of news, combing through chat transcripts for meaningful info etc. and I'll keep doing that if people find it useful. smile

I still find it bizarre people ask (in the chat) if they can still get in on Founder's Pricing. What has Flagship offered in any way to justify subscribing, to this point? They might as well ask, "How can I give you more money for providing me virtually nothing because you're having to spend all your time fixing the game instead of adding content?" That would be more candid.  icon_neutral

And Roper's comments about pricing and comparing the game to MMOs just seemed to show they wanted the game to be a little bit of everything, as if they just couldn't figure out what they were trying to do. It's their first game as a new company, I understand that. But why not start off straightforward instead of trying to promise the world and not really delivering? icon_confused

A lot of the chat transcript is promising, but I realize it's just words, with little in the way of even vague release/update dates.

For some reason my gaming affection tends to wither in the holiday season. It's probably at its strongest in spring-early summer. Blackjack's Holiday Gaming Disaffection Disorder.  puke

I still feel like Hellgate can turn a corner. It may well be months before it hits 1.0, and adds some real content that gives some concrete reason to subscribe.  The question is whether anybody will still care when it reaches that point, and maybe whether they can convince EA/Namco to do a "Hellgate: London 1.0 Re-Release" in hopes of giving it a second chance at life on retail shelves.
10821  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? *dev chat* on: December 08, 2007, 03:41:12 PM
Official site posted a dev chat transcript (they don't do any posting on their message boards, so it's about the only chance to find out what they're thinking):

Thought I'd highlight some stuff (good, bad, amusing or indifferent  icon_neutral). I pulled some of the later answers up to the top that seemed esp. important:

*Respec of Character Skills
[Bill Roper]: We know that players want a chance to try out some different skill builds, especially with the blanace changes we’ve made and will be making in 0.7 and Stonehenge. So we’re going to do something we’ve never done before and provide a way for players to respec a character. I’m going to be all secretive on just what and how, but we’ll have details for you in the coming weeks.

*In-Game E-mail/Auction House
[Bill Roper]: We have started working on our in-game email system that is the technological foundation for the auction house. This should also address the desire for a shared stash between characters (or account stash) since you’ll be able to send items between characters. We don’t have a release date for this yet, but it is at the top of the list.

*Content Updates (starting with 1.0, it seems)
[Erich Schaefer]: Patch 1 has a lot. Most incredible to me in testing are the new backgrounds. Completely different from the base game. New monster to go in it, with new drops, or course. But below the surface is a cool new structure. In brief: it combines structured boss runs and some party-only content.

Improving Auto-Party/Searching for Co-Op Teammates
[Erich Schaefer]: Auto-party is due for a big improvement with the 0.7 patch. Now we search towns for auto-party-desiring players and group them together, instead of waiting until the jump into an instance.
[Erich Schaefer]: Much bigger improvements in Looking for Group type interfaces coming with patch 1.0

*PVP Options
[Erich Schaefer]: We are working on more formal dueling arenas right now, with some cool options. These will likely go into patch 1.0. They will still be one-on-one duels, however. Longer-term plans will include party-versus party battlefields, capture-the-flag type matches and more.

Founders/Subscribers stuff
[Bill Roper]: We are going to be introducing Veteran Rewards for long-term subscribers, and of course, Founders will get all of these automatically as they are created and rolled out. We’re also working on some special items that will help Founders stand out in the game so you’re instantly recognizable. I’d also like to see us have some special outside the game offers for our Founders, but we’ll have to work on that with our partners and publishers.

Unique items dropping in Nightmare with "Normal" skill quality stats
[Erich Schaefer]: Certain named unique items don't scale to nightmare level equivalents. We panicked and thought there would be balance problems. After looking at it more we think it is safe so we will be scaling them soon.

Scarcity of Nightmare-quality sword drops
[Erich Schaefer]: We are adding some really cool nightmare-level swords in patch 1 [Patch 1.0?-bj]. They will be subscriber-only. I was just playing with them and they are beautiful. Working on the blanace now...
[Erich Schaefer]: (acually cricket bats can drop in nightmare levels - they are very rare)

Option for higher rez player models [I have noted how players around me in the station look awfully low rez]:
[Phil Shenk]: The memory fixes coming in on the .7 patch should address this. We had to turn that option off to address the memory issues we were having as a quick solution.

Giving Melee More Variety/Fun Factor
[Phil Shenk]: We're looking at a two-stage solution. In patch one we'll be introducing some new animations that should make melee feel a lot smoother. After that, we may explore a more radical change, but that will depend a lot on how people like the first change. We totally want to make melee feel smoother and more impactful.

Cooler Engineer Drones
[Military]: any plans to redo the look of the engineer drone?
[Phil Shenk]: yes, we're working on some changes to the drones. We want to make them look cooler

Spammer Measures
[Erich Schaefer]: Well we are banning people pretty fast. I think better now.. I hope... But some tech improvements are on the way, like an account based /ignore... [Last should help a lot -- as w/ automated e-mail spammers, the ones in game seem to constantly create new login names, often just differing by one letter. If a particular spambot is working out of a single account that might help, or they may just automatically create new accounts - that's the trouble with a free online game imho just in terms of spammmers/spambots being able to delete and create new accounts frequently-bj]

Improving Artwork of Existing Areas/More Variety
[Dave Glenn]: Yes. We have a ton of ideas we're working on to add to existing areas. Some entirely new set-piece type of areas, think boss-fight rooms and quest areas. As well as new themes in regards to environment types, etc.

What does *blank* do?
[Erich Schaefer]: I'm not sure what it says +2... But evasion is a straight % chance to avoid any direct damage. So +2 should probably be considered 2% chance to evade an attack.

[Erich Schaefer]: Luck is a bit of a mystery even to me. It increases the chances that random drops will be of higher quality. I do know that, and it does work. But when we looked into the system it seems overly complex and scary. It’s due for an overhaul soon.
[Pretty scary when even the devs don't fully understand their own game's stats-bj  saywhat]

Here's my favorite fan question  icon_lol:
[dem0nicist]: Since I've read a lot in the forums about systems having performance issues, would you please send us a dxdiag.txt of a system that operates properly? or better yet, can we have ALL of the ones that work properly?
Roper reiterated Patch .7 should fix some memory leak problems, and a that a forthcoming DirectX patch might fix some other issues.

10822  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Gaming Trend Console Demographics (poll) on: December 08, 2007, 05:32:37 AM
PSP and DS.

I have no interest in a noisy, unreliable console designed by Microsoft (somehow, nobody holds it against one of the richest companies in the world that they can't design a console that doesn't fall apart like the fuel tank of a Ford Pinto) to break down at any minute (XBox360) nor an overhyped console known more for the mediocrity of most of its games that's only selling well now because of a desperate price cut that's probably rolling Sony in profit losses at the same time that it boosts sales (PS3).

I exaggerate a bit, but I feel all this console snobbiness and handheld "meh" commentary deserved a response.  headbang
10823  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Freelancer 2...Such Things That Never Was on: December 08, 2007, 01:39:23 AM
At the time I played Freelancer, I was on dialup, and voice comm stuff was still pretty rare. Text chat in the game during combat was well night impossible. We still had fun with it and enjoyed just chatting about stuff, and talking about where to go next, when not in combat. smile

Has anybody played Ascaron's (better known for Sacred) Dark Star One? Reviews were decidedly mixed, but I noticed it's now sort of a "jewel-case" game that you can find in the bargain racks at Target for $9.99. I might finally try it sometime.

That reminds me, the only PC game I ever played where there was no text chat option whatsoever (insane imho) was EIDOS' Rogue Trooper. It was actually quite a fun third person shooter, esp. in co-op multiplayer, but the bizarre decision to offer no text chat whatsoever (it supported voice comm, and it made sense on XBox360/XBox Live! to be only voice-comm but no sense on PC at all). I found myself playing with non-headset users who had no way at all to communicate with me in-game.

Am I far enough off topic yet?  drool

Well on Freelancer I found it more fun with buddies. You could protect each other (wingmen and all that), and it made the game a lot more fun (whether you communicated by voice, keyboard or not at all).  For a while we did find one reliable server that remained up for quite some time.
10824  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Frelancer 2...Such Things That Never Was on: December 07, 2007, 08:48:21 PM
I enjoyed Freelancer quite a bit, often teaming with a couple buds from another forum, who both had a fondness for ship-type games or space combat stuff. We were just exasperated with Microsoft's decision to not make it an MMO type game (or at least set up their own reliable, dedicated servers for it). There were a handful of servers we liked to play on, but the lack of anything reliable that you knew would always be there made it tough to really progress or feel "attached" to your spacecraft.
10825  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: December 07, 2007, 08:44:49 PM
I think I received a notice to join the open beta a while back but I've lost interest in MMOs for the time being.

The POBSA Vault has an interesting "tour" article (reps provided "guided tours" of areas, some not currently available in the beta or quite completed yet):

The actual ship to ship combat seems quite refreshing. The "avatar combat" not quite so much. I hope to give it a go at some point though.

10826  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo III announced!!! on: December 07, 2007, 04:36:30 PM
If you're dying for even ignoring the possibility of the game, try this page (the interviewer asked how development of Diablo 3 was going, tongue in cheek) in the Incgamer interview with Blizz's prez/CEO about the Activision merger:
I'm going to slide this question in here. How will this impact the development of Diablo III?

*cough* That's very funny

Well it was worth a shot slywink

*Laughs* seemed to indicate one of their staffers conducted the interview. smile

10827  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [WoW] Create a minuture of your characters with Figureprints. on: December 06, 2007, 08:53:26 PM
It's cool (coming from a non-WoWer even).  icon_cool

The manufacturing tech might be like a 3-D "laser sculptor" I got to see and write about a bit while touring a prototyping company in Virginia some years ago (albeit more mundane stuff in their case):

It was pretty amazing the things it could create from plastic, wax and other malleable materials. Just about anything they created in the software, the laser would etch into solid 3-D form.

I would've loved something like this for City of Heroes myself. Maybe they can branch into other games (if the demand supports it). smile
10828  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: December 06, 2007, 07:57:57 PM
Internode (?) has a Hellgate related interview:
It seems to illustrate that there's waaaaay too much fixation on review rating numbers/scores (How dare they knock our scores down because the game is "a little buggy" Roll Eyes), and that if Flagship really thinks their launch day patch "fixed" the game, they needed to play the early incarnation a little more.  icon_confused

I'm pleased with the latest patch, I'm eager to see what "magic" patches .8 and .9 deliver.  icon_biggrin
10829  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Jeff Gerstmann fired from Gamespot for a review a publisher didn't like on: December 06, 2007, 02:42:28 AM
Just got around to reading it. I found these excerpts most frightening... (I underlined some things):
Jeff's supervisors and select members of the edit team felt the review's negativity did not match its "fair" 6.0 rating. The copy was adjusted several days after its publication so that it better meshed with its score, which remained unchanged.
Eh? Did anyone ask him if maybe his rating was Too High and didn't in fact match what his review was trying to say? If they're saying their policy is to always say "if the review's kind of negative, and the number rating is semi-positive, we're going to make your review happier," that's just plain unprofessional, if not a little warped.  disgust

At the very least, if their editorial team is going to do this sort of flim-flammery, they should do it before *every* review ever "goes to press" (sorry, i'm an old newspaperman and I talk like that  Tongue). Maybe that's not realistic on a frequently updated site, but they oughta at least be uniform about what they do (however questionable it may be).

For a special report on Jeff Gerstmann's dismissal and a tribute to his legacy tune in tomorrow to GameSpot's weekly live webcast, On the Spot.
What kind of madness is that? If you're firing someone over his performance (or whatever other mysterious mumbling they can't reveal), how do you turn around and run a "tribute to his legacy."  saywhat

All this reminds me that more and more often I read reviews in all kinds of magazines and on sites that will give a game a fairly positive rating, but spend most if not the entire review complaining about the game. Most prominent of late was one of the few negative -- in terms of the actual review copy -- print reviews of Bioshock in the UK EDGE magazine. But the rating remained 8/10. If you read the review and didn't see a number, you would probably guess 5, maybe 6. I thought it kind of funny that next issue a reader complained about the 8/10. Sort of, "How DARE you *only* give Bioshock an 8/10! How dare you!" The review had probably a page of complaints and disappointments in the game, and yet the # was the only thing that meant anything. icon_neutral

I regularly read negative reviews in PC Gamer (yeah, I know this is the console area, sorry) that seem foaming at the mouth about how awful something is, and then somehow the game gets 60%, 65%. It's almost like the rating # is an "out," so that they can write about how awful the game is without hurting the publisher's feelings (because they still got a passing grade afterall).

So who knows? Maybe in this case the guy was actually trying to be nice ("I despise this game, but I'll give them a 6/10 rating at least so they won't feel bad.") And his reward was... well...  thumbsdown
10830  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate: London (skills chat) on: December 06, 2007, 02:20:07 AM

I wasn't crazy about Phase Grenades for a while. I finally learned to embrace their "stickiness" (it's too bad you can't set them up like trip mines in Duke Nukem 3D icon_twisted), and appreciate that they don't need to hit a target and you don't have to worry about them bouncing around. Just toss them at your enemies' feet, or against the wall, the floor etc.
10831  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate: London (skills chat) on: December 06, 2007, 02:12:46 AM
Oops, I forgot about this. OK, here's another grenade. smile

Napalm's fun in terms of rapid damage on multiple targets. Not so fun is it takes so long to fall after the little blinking beacon is dropped. And the little beacon sometimes bounces further away than you'd like. So try experimenting with aiming where you toss it (allow for the bounce), and don't really rely on it if you're running for your life all the time.

On some later quests where you have lots of friendly AI battling beside you, you'll have many good opportunities to drop this on monster-bunches. It does no friendly-fire damage (none of the grenades do) so have at it. smile
10832  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 05, 2007, 08:03:13 PM
Gamasutra had an item (saw it mentioned at Blue's News) on Garriott's thoughts on letting too many players into beta when it wasn't quite fun yet (that was my experience):
I actually think the biggest mistake was made not by the marketing department, but by the development team. We invited too many people into the beta when the game was still too broken.”

“We burned out some quantity of our beta-testers when the game wasn’t yet fun," he said, adding, "As we’ve begun to sell the game, the people who hadn’t participated in the beta became our fast early-adopters.”

He continued, “And the people who did participate in the beta, we’ve had to go back to and say ‘look, look, we promise: we know it wasn’t fun two months ago, but we fixed all that. Really, come try it again.’ We’ve had to go out and develop free programs to invite those people back for free before they go buy it. So the beta process, which we used to think of as a QA process, is really a marketing process.”
Well, dang, they sure haven't invited *me* to come back. Wah.  crybaby icon_biggrin

I think this confirms my belief I'm better off staying away from high profile betas until just before release (which is how I fell into City of Heroes in spring 2004, on literally the last couple days of the beta).
10833  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 0.6 Patch (God I wish I was kidding with that version #) on: December 05, 2007, 05:10:03 PM
I still always mistakenly think Starcraft released in late 1997. But it actually released in April 1998, and I seem to recall that gamers for months were griping about it being delayed and delayed (even though Blizz never gave an official release date -- I think it was more EB and the like posting "guess dates").

And I remember Medal of Honor: Allied Assault got roughly a 1-2 month delay from EA (!), which was supposedly because they realized they had something special and wanted to give 2015 (the late, deceased 2015  tear) a few more precious weeks to polish the game. You could probably dig up all sorts of stories like that where something really came together in the final weeks/months before release (but might well have been half baked without that precious bit of extra time).

I'm not saying Hellgate deserved a 6 month reprieve, but I can't help thinking even just pushing it to a holiday release might've given them more time to catch the more obvious bugs/memory leaks etc., clean up some UI things, maybe give the initial subscribers some more content etc. I just don't think "It's got to release on Halloween because it's a horror-themed game" makes any business sense at all in the long term.

My other theory is they wanted to treat this like an MMO, and most MMOs are updated in furious fashion constantly. I still see this as more of a Diablo II style game though. D2 was updated frequently to try to outwit hackers, and to fix balancing problems, but you didn't see them trying to do really major fixes (well, it's 7 years ago, forgive me if I've forgotten something major biggrin). Well, OK, when they moved Duriel away from the entrance so you could actually get in his tomb w/o dying, that was kind of major.  icon_wink
10834  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Anyone trying Mythos? on: December 05, 2007, 03:38:17 AM
Mythos will never hold a candle to the polished, deep, artfully designed, full of really interesting quests, Hellgate: London. There is no comparison!... Wait for it.... keep waiting.... just a bit longer...

Kidding!  smirk

Seriously, Hellgate: London is what the Diablo creators came up with when they were (according to Bill Roper) shocked that Vivendi Universal accepted their resignations instead of communicating better with them. It's their baby. It's their pride and joy. They built the company around it. OK, basically they dumped it overboard (the game, not a baby!  eek) and are now desperately trying to resuscitate it.

My own brief Mythos experience was that it felt like a more constricted Titan Quest, or a slightly jazzier Fate (Fate's lead designer is behind Mythos). It's OK. I think the juxtaposition next to Hellgate (in its launch form, it gradually improves, but so far at a glacial pace) makes Mythos look more mythic than it really is, imho. smile

I say, leave it be, and let it enjoy modest expectations and an absence of frantic over-hyping from Bill Roper.  nod
10835  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 0.6 Patch (God I wish I was kidding with that version #) on: December 05, 2007, 01:47:58 AM
That's cool, but I believe that paragraph in the middle of the patch notes was actually intended to read (just a dramatization...):
Quote from: What they really meant to say is
As always, we’re randomly tossing fly swatters at the various bugs crawling around Hellgate in the hopes of perhaps hitting some. The biggest issue we’re currently working on is getting our engine to stop doing things we should've caught in the Alpha, much less the Beta. Hell, we should've caught the memory leaks when the game ending was a tech demo! Ha.

This is very complex and involved, and we don't really know what we're doing, nor do we actually have any staff to test the game before we send it to test or servers, nor did we spend any time or thought on our UI, our chat interface or anything else in the game for that matter (well, OK we did spend months on destructible barrels!) and we also know that it’s a major issue for users. However, as an independent studio, we don't have time for such luxuries. Who do you think we are? Blizzard? We're sorry, we mean "Activision Blizzard"? Give us a break.

We’re pouring all of our energies right now into working on the game when we're not busy pouring ales and sharing our misery over the condition the game launched in, the harsh reviews, the terrible word-of-mouth, the ticked off subscribers (aren't those big stashes looking like they're worth 10 bucks a month! Ha.) and so forth, so if you don’t see us reply to your posts it doesn’t mean we aren’t listening, it just means we're depressed, we're curled in a corner of the local pub in a fetal position clicking our heels and saying, "There's no place like Blizzard North! There's no place like Blizzard North!"

All of this means we’re working hard to make Hellgate: London the experience it should have been when it launched on a reasonable date, like maybe Feb. 1, 2008.
True, no? And I'm probably the biggest fan of the game here. No matter how much I enjoy much of the game, it's difficult for me to get gamer buds excited about a game whose launch and whose dull demo have generated so much negative buzz on the game.  icon_razz I guess my little parody just contributes to that. I would feel bad, but, it makes me feel good so I did it. smile
10836  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: December 04, 2007, 10:10:44 PM
I thought the point of being an independent studio was being free of Publisher-imposed "release the game on this date or die" proclamations. I get the impression now that it's more that if you're a Heavy Hitter with a good track record (say, Blizzard or Infinity Ward), then your parent company/publisher has less leeway to force you to release a half-baked game. You could argue WoW was not exactly peachy at launch but I got the impression that was more a serious under-estimation on Blizzard's part of demand for the game (although any game that shipped as many pre-orders as they did, the dev should know what they're in for) and the amount of servers/capacity they would need, than it was a half-baked game.

Then again, maybe Flagship got stuck in Sigil's situation with Vanguard where'd they burned through so much development money that they needed user-revenue if they were ever going to recoupe. I still say the harm they do through a botched and/or premature launch/release (and all the bad word-of-mouth with it in the long run) far outweighs any scrawny revenue you might gather initially.

Oh well, who knows? Perhaps the Borg-like Activision Blizzard will absorb poor little Flagship some day...

I do hope Hellgate gets a version 1.0 "re-release" at some point (at the rate patches are going, I'm guessing maybe February 2008).
10837  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Bill Roper interview on: December 04, 2007, 06:35:45 PM
The UK site Computer & Video Games has a lengthy interview with Bill Roper:

It's kind of interesting with the news about Blizzard-Activision, that the guys who formed Flagship had actually tendered their resignations from Blizzard in 2003 in an effort to get Vivendi in France to better communicate about the possible sale of their games division (including Blizzard). Instead, Vivendi just said, "So long!" At least that's how it sounds from the interview. So that should be a lesson to anyone who thinks offering to resign is a way to get company big-wigs to communicate better.  icon_biggrin

As far as Hellgate:
If we had the ability, we would have taken longer on polishing Hellgate: London, but that is the difficult balance an independent developer has to strike.
Oops.  Roll Eyes
10838  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SOCOM: Tactical Strike (PSP) impressions on: December 04, 2007, 06:02:58 PM
Sorry, I haven't felt up to wrestling with my mothballed Buffalo router yet. There isn't any co-op alas (there are some team vs. team variants).

I really think the deliberately paced single player campaign is the meat of this game. There are certainly many PSP games that are the opposite (where the single player is too short, or just sort of a simplified training grounds for a more interesting online game mode), esp. the PSP Star Wars Battlefront games. I see this as the exception to that rule. smile

While I'd love some co-op, it seems pretty clear there are some limitations to what the PSP CPU can handle, and co-op seems beyond what it can do at this point. The PS2 Syphon Filter games had some interesting co-op modes, for example (one let you boost up other players to reach weapons, tops of vehicles etc.), but it's nowhere in sight on PSP.
10839  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: December 04, 2007, 05:48:13 PM
I really do play MMOs for the social aspect (I find little interest in co-op in Hellgate because it's almost all solo-able, but I still appreciate having chat channels to babble in). Other than CoX for some years (it felt like it was more and more difficult to find anyone interested in teaming the last year or so I played) I haven't found an MMO that dances well along the line between being solo-friendly and having enough group-focused content to be sociable without making you feel unable to progress when teammates aren't available. Most of what I've tried is one way or the other.

Other problem I've run into (other than CoX with its Mentoring/Sidekick stuff) is constricting players to playing with people at their same level. A lot of these games have people who can put in 12 times more time into the game, and they'll long have outleveled me (and thus any interest in playing with anymore from an Exp standpoint), thus rendering the social stuff moot. As in, "I"ll play with you while you're +/-2 levels from me, but once we're beyond that, you are dead to me."  Tongue

That was my problem in WoW for the brief time I played (though to be fair, that was shortly after launch and everybody but me was playing it something like 14 hours a day biggrin).

Anyway, certainly I like some ability to solo but if there's no compelling reason to ever team up at all, and everyone's too busy solo-grinding to notice, I tend to migrate back to offline games or single player RPGs, hack 'n slashes etc.
10840  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: December 04, 2007, 02:09:33 PM
I canceled a while back (bye, bye founder's pricing). I thoroughly enjoyed taking a couple characters through the game, but it was just feeling stale on my 3rd run through. Although different character types start off with some unique things, you eventually just get funneled through mostly identical content after a while.

While I enjoyed the emphasis on co-op to an extent, there is so much "forced grouping" in the game that it can get really frustrating towards the high end if you don't have luck finding other players. I guess my other observation is people forced themselves to team to get past something, but I saw little interest in teaming up again later (CoX seemed friendlier in that regard) in most people. It was sort of a lot of "one quest stands" like one night stands.  icon_razz Some of the high level group content (not raids per se, but other things) seemed impossible if you didn't have exactly the right combination of character types, and played it perfect -- I got a little tired of spending hours trying to complete things, to come up with a group face full of mud.  disgust

It's still the only more-traditional mmorpg that I've stuck with past the free month (I played from about late beta in April through a couple months ago regularly). I can't really say there was a certain moment when I lost interest in it, or that some other MMO attracted me (none did, and I'm out of MMOs altogether now), I just know on my third run-through (as a burglar hobbit) that despite some fresh Shire content, I just gradually lost interest. Still, in retrospect, it was quite a pleasant surprise I liked the game at all (traditional MMOs just don't hook me usually), much less that I stuck around 6 months. And I'd still give anything for Hellgate's chat interface to be half as configurable as LOTORO's.
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