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09/16/2007 - 09/22/2007

The Latest from the Tokyo Game Show

September 21, 2007


Crysis: It's Not for the Weak. The show continues across the Pacific (see yesterday's blog for an introduction), but even once the show is over, I'm sure content will continue pouring in as editors finish writing up what all they've taken in. Hit the GameSpy Index and the IGN Index for the latest. Here are some highlights as of Friday morning:

Soul Calibur IV Preview (X360) - The incredible fighting franchise has a few new tricks up its sleeve.

Metal Gear Online Hands-On (PS3) - Multiplayer Metal Gear? Oh yes. GameSpy editors check it out firsthand and report back.

No More Heroes Preview (Wii) - This darkly comic fighting game has some crazy characters and even crazier combat game mechanics.

Soul Calibur 4 at the Tokyo Game Show
Soul Calibur IV is a real stunner.

Kingdom Hearts DS Preview (DS) - The Disney/Square crossover game goes portable and looks as compelling as ever.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Preview (PS3) - IGN spends some quality time with one of the PS3 headliners this year.

Assassin's Creed Preview (X360) - Forget what you think you know about this one. AC boasted some new stuff at the show.

Of course, for tons of high-res videos and other exclusives from the show, you can also Check out IGN Insider. Sayonara for now!

      -Fargo
Posted by at 11:04 AM PDT
Edited on: September 21, 2007 11:06 AM PDT
Permalink

Go Go, Tokyo Game Show!

September 20, 2007


Crysis: It's Not for the Weak. Although game development happens worldwide, there's no doubt that Japan is central to the gaming industry. And the Tokyo Game Show -- exploding right in Sony and Nintendo's back yard -- is now the most important gaming event on the calendar. This absolutely massive event showcases what's hot and happening on all the major systems just prior to the holiday season. Rivalry between the major manufacturers is intense, and the biggest and best games sometimes make their press debut.

For example: Check out the latest from Metal Gear Solid 4, over at GameSpy or IGN. Sony's keynote speech was a bit of a downer -- there will be no price drop this year -- but at least we're finally seeing a PS3 rumble controller and Little Big Planet looks like a blast.

Halo 3 at the Tokyo Game Show
Halo 3 drew big crowds in Tokyo just days before its release.

More importantly? There's a broom controller that you ride. I've always felt that more video game controllers needed to be placed between my legs.

The show officially starts today, which thanks to the time difference means that day one is over and our editors are frantically typing up content as we speak. It'll continue into the weekend, so stick around IGN and GameSpy for coverage. For the real premium stuff -- including lots of hi-def video -- Check out IGN Insider. Enjoy!

      -Fargo
Posted by at 11:42 AM PDT
Edited on: September 20, 2007 11:42 AM PDT
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Your Own Personal Virtual World

September 19, 2007


Crysis: It's Not for the Weak. Last year veteran MMO designer Raph Koster (LegendMUD, Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies) teamed up with production guru John Donham (EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, EverQuest II and others dating back as far as 14 years). Together they formed a company called Areae, with the ambitious mission of totally reinventing the MMO landscape. For months we all speculated what they were up to. Was it a game? A technology? A service company?

Turns out it's a little bit of everything. The secret project is called Metaplace (the website might be a little sluggish thanks to all the press coverage), and it was just unveiled at the TechCrunch 2007 conference. In short, here's what it is: it's an open platform for anyone to develop a virtual world and post it on the web. They view online worlds like web pages: the language should be public, anyone should be able to make and share them. From the website:
"Our goals are sort of idealistic. We think there are all kinds of things on the Internet that would be improved if anyone could have a virtual place of their own. Right now, there aren't enough good games, for example, and they all seem to be about elves in tights or soldiers in battle armor. Metaplace allows more diversity. Right now, there are lots of people who want to use virtual worlds for research, or education, or business, but it's just too darn hard to get one going. Now you can create a world in just a few minutes and start tailoring it to your needs. Basically, we wanted to democratize the process of making online spaces of all sorts."
Metaplace

Reading this reminds me of the old days where people would create MUDs -- you know, those text-based Multi-User Dungeons. It was easy for anyone (anyone relatively technical, at least) to create a MUD; you downloaded the source code, you compiled it, you posted it, and people could explore your world. Then you could go in and create your own locations or your own monsters or your own game systems. There were thousands and thousands of MUDs built, most of which were pretty bad, but the really good ones bubbled to the top and formed dedicated communities. Often they were wild and experimental ... more importantly, those old MUDs became the framework on which modern massively multiplayer games were built.

More from the Metaplace website:

"We knew it was all coming together when one of our team made a game in a day and a half. And then stuck that game on a private MySpace profile. You can inherit someone else's world (if they let you) and use it as a starting point. You can slurp whole directories of art and use them as building blocks. Cut and paste a movement system or a health bar from one world to another. Use an RSS feed for your NPCs. We made puzzle games, RPGs, action games... and set up doorways from one to the other. Basically, coming to work in the morning is a lot of fun."
In my estimation, this is one of the most interesting experiments going on in game development today. (It has some similarity to Three Rings' Whirled project, which I blogged about in April.) That said, I've got some lingering questions that temper my excitement. The website claims "We supply a suite of tools so you can make worlds, and we host servers for you so that anyone can connect and play..." If Aerea is hosting the servers, won't that be a massive expense as the project grows? Or will the server code also be made public so that anyone can run a server? And how does Aerea make money from this? Perhaps, once they develop some cool technology, they're looking to get purchased from a big portal -- Google would love something like this.

The mystery deepens. We'll be following this one closely!

      -Fargo
Posted by at 10:46 AM PDT
Permalink

Getting the Most from Crysis with Comrade

September 18, 2007


Crysis: It's Not for the Weak. As I type this, we're in the process of unleashing another batch of keys for the Crysis beta (See yesterday's post for details). Keys are limited and move fast, so make with the clicking and get yours before they're all gone for the day:

Click Here to See if You Can Get Into the Beta!

Many of you installed GameSpy's Comrade instant messenger recently to get an early heads-up as to when keys are being released. Comrade is deeply integrated with Crysis, so you and your buddies can use it to dominate the game. Here's a guide to some of the features:

Follow Your Buddies Into a Game:

GameSpy Comrade Join Message
Spiff's starting Crysis? It's time for a throwdown.

Comrade tries to integrate seamlessly in-game and out. So, if you're sitting there at your PC doing something else and one of your buddies jumps into a game of Crysis, you'll get a notification on the corner of your screen. Is it on? OH, IT'S ON. Just click on the notification and you'll join the same server as your buddy. You can also skim your buddy list to see what games are going on and join any game in progress this way.

Automatically Join the Best Crysis Servers

GameSpy Comrade Smartmatch
Comrade's SmartMatch finds the best servers fast.
Click to enlarge.

Browsing through giant server lists is for the dinosaurs. Comrade has a feature called 'SmartMatch,' which lets you set up your own criteria for the ideal server and it gives you a short list of the best eligible servers for your connection. Let's say you want to find a server playing the 'Power Struggle' game mode, with at least 12 players, and at least one empty spot. Boom! Smartmatch will do all the work for you, and remember your preferences for later. You'll see just the juiciest of servers. Easy.

Chat With Buddies on Your In-Game Buddy List:

GameSpy Comrade Chat
Comrade users can chat with people who are in the game.
Note the custom Crysis Comrade skin!

Crysis has a built-in buddy list -- Click on 'Multiplayer' and make sure you're logged in. Use the same username and password you use to sign in with Comrade. Then click on the 'Chat' tab... your Comrade buddies will all be listed in the chat room! All the work has already been done for you. You can send them a message whether or not they're in the game already. (Might I suggest sending: "Hey! Get your ass in here!" Straight and to the point.)

Likewise, while you're in the game, your buddies can send you a Comrade message from outside the game. The message will appear within the Crysis game interface -- not popping up as some weird overlay, but actually integrated into the game. Chat away!

Enjoy the beta and don't forget that all beta participants are under NDA (non-disclosure agreement), so be careful when you're bragging to your friends.

Click Here to See if You Can Join the Beta!


      -Fargo
Posted by at 2:16 PM PDT
Edited on: September 18, 2007 2:35 PM PDT
Permalink

The Crysis Beta is Here!

September 17, 2007


Can not wait for TF2. CAN NOT WAIT. Some games have a very public moment of truth, and for Crysis, that moment has arrived. The Crysis Beta Test has started! For a couple of years now, gamers and the gaming press have been in awe of the spectacular graphics of the Crytek engine (an evolution of the engine used to render 2004's impressive Far Cry). But screenshots and in-game videos are one thing ... what about the real thing?

FilePlanet Subscribers get the first crack at the new title in this week's closed multiplayer beta. You'll be able to jump in, tool around in the game world, and put on the hurt online while testing the game engine and multiplayer gameplay balance. KEYS ARE LIMITED, so you'll want to move fast and check back daily:

Click Here to See if You Can Get Into the Beta!

Crysis: BOOYAH. I said, Booyah. You know what I mean.

So, how exactly do these beta tests on FilePlanet work? It's like this: There are a limited number of beta keys available, rolled out in stages. Check the beta landing page to see what the status is and whether or not keys are currently available. Be sure to move fast!

Longtime veterans of FilePlanet betas will tell you that the best way to be ready is to have GameSpy Comrade running -- the Team FilePlanet ambassador (that's me!) sends out a note about fifteen minutes before each key release, so you'll be notified in real-time.

Some Things to Remember About the Crysis Beta:
1. Keep in mind that it's a beta -- the graphics won't yet be optimized for maximum performance and the gameplay might still be a little rough. But that gives you a big opportunity to shape the future of the game: your feedback on the beta forums will help make the final product that much sweeter.

2. All beta participants will be under an NDA, a "non-disclosure agreement." That means that -- as much as you'll want to -- you can't talk to your online friends about the game, post screenshots on forums, or anything like that. If you're caught posting details about the game you'll be kicked out of the beta (and worse).

3. Never leave mysterious crashed alien meteorites under North Korean control.

Enjoy the beta!!

Click Here to See the Current Crysis Beta Status


      -Fargo
Posted by at 10:32 AM PDT
Edited on: September 17, 2007 11:02 AM PDT
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