One of my favorite zombie movies is Revenge Of The Zombies, made in 1943. It stars John Carradine as the mad scientist and Gale Storm as the female ingénue. It’s not a great movie, in fact it’s not even a very good one, but it has an ending that still disturbs me to this day. John Carradine has turned his beautiful wife into a zombie. He’s also trying to breed a race of zombies for Hitler. But his wife still has some free will. She takes control of the growing army of zombies (well, only four or five) and they take Carradine down to the spooky swamp, where she faces him, holds him by the shoulders so he can’t escape, and they both sink down into the quicksand. He struggles, she doesn’t. The rest of the zombies sink down with them. What’s disturbing about this ending is the thought that if zombies never die, then they’re all still down there, waiting, brooding…and maybe some night will come oozing and squelching out of the swamp…?
Gamers living in Germany are finally able to purchase (legally) Doom and Doom II, a pair of software titles previously placed in an index of banned titles by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (Bundesprufstelle), the same index reserved for pornography.
You could make a compelling argument that Doom is the most important game of all time. It's certainly right up there, at least in terms of its impact on the industry. But the Doom movie starring Dwayne Johnson? That one's a bit more forgettable, if only Hollywood would let you forget about it, that is. Instead, like everything else, it appears Doom is going 3D. Oh joy?
When you're at the forefront of an emerging trend, you're bound to have imitators. Such is the case with Fallout, a series that's been wandering wastelands and mutilating mutants since long before videogaming came down with an incurable case of post-apocalypse fever. Imitation's a sticky subject, though. Sometimes, it's just a sh**-eating grin away from outright flattery, but other times, it's a lawsuit and a career-in-tatters away from bold-faced plagiarism.
So, the question arises: where, exactly, does RAGE stand? Well, we saw the game in action at QuakeCon, and we decided to run a little DNA test on the post-apocalyptic shooter in order to find out how it stacks up against its closest living – and also Bethesda-published – relative. So, without further ado, let's see what makes RAGE tick.
There's one thing I think of when Daylight Savings Time hits: zombies. Seriously. All that extra time in the dark just fuels the undead flames for an eventual takeover by our semi-bulletproof, plant-hating masters. It only makes sense, then, that I use this weekly freeware roundup column to provide you with some kind of effective training for fending off the gruesome hordes. And beyond that, you'll also find a few more fun freeware games to busy yourself with as the angry, moaning masses slowly overwhelm your pitiful human defenses.
Now that we've established the plot, let's check out the titles. A hearty mix of retro throwbacks, MMOs, and crazy puzzle games await your attention after the jump!
Doom might arguably be the most memorable (or at least the most popular) PC game of all time, and with good reason. Prior to Doom's release, programmers found themselves in the stone age of game development. For the most part, building a game meant starting from scratch and compiling all new code, but like the invention of the wheel, the advent of the game engine forever changed the PC gaming landscape.
Now, we know what you're thinking, and we're well aware that game engines existed prior to Doom's release in 1993; we're even going to cover some. But it was id Software's now legendary first-person shooter that pushed reusable 3D game engines as a viable programming model, and videogame development has never been the same since then.
On the following pages, we look back at all the major PC game engines and what made each one special. As a prerequisite, be sure to check out our history of 3D graphics, which covers video cards from the Voodoo to the GeForce and everything in between. Once you've digested these two features, you're guaranteed to have a new-found respect for gaming on the PC!
For those that don’t know, coding your favorite games isn’t the only thing that John Carmack does well, turns out he’s not half bad at rocket science. He’s proved this most recently at the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, which is being held by the X Prize Foundation and sponsored by NASA. The goal of the challenge is to help in the development of a fleet of lunar ferries that could one day carry people and payloads between lunar orbit and the moon’s surface.
The challenge consists of several levels and Carmack’s team, Armadillo Aerospace, has passed the first one. Level one requires that a rocket take off from a launch area, climb to an altitude of 150 feet, hover for 90 seconds and then land safely at a landing pad 150 feet away. They were then required to repeat the flight in reverse within two and a half hours. Their ability to complete this goal before any other team has won them a cool $350,000.
Level two is a bit more difficult. It requires that team double the amount of time hovered, and then land on a simulated lunar surface that’s littered with craters and boulders. Armadillo Aerospace attempted the course, but was unable to complete the task. That means that there’s still $1.65 million up for grabs.
Mr. Carmack, we’re going to have to insist that you keep doing great things, but don’t forget about us!
Here's some shocking news just breaking from the Quakecon Keynote: Rage and Doom 4 will not be sold online via digital distribution. Rage, being published by EA, would be an obvious choice for EA's Downloader service, but apparently that won't be the case. The only way to buy the two games whenever they come out is in stores with boxed copies.
Additionally, Rage will most likely ship on multiple game discs for the Xbox 360. The DVD-only format for the Xbox 360 is its biggest limiting factor, since the Xbox 360-formatted discs actually hold 1GB less than standard 4.7GB DVDs (multiplied by two when dual-layered). And since the royalty charge per disc is actually surprisingly high, id hopes that Microsoft will make a concession for Rage, or else the company may actually have to sacrifice texture and asset quality to get the game to fit on fewer than THREE discs. The cost of the 3rd DVD alone would cost millions of dollars with the current royalty rate, says John Carmack.
When comparing the Xbox 360 to the PS3, the more spacious Blu-ray format is the only thing Carmack likes more about Sony's console. Everything else is better on the 360, he says.
John Carmack gave QuakeCon attendees a glimpse into his thoughts about the next-generation of gaming graphics. id Tech 6, for example, probably won't be coded in Java or any protected language. It also will be designed for hardware that doesn't excist right now. With new discrete graphics players entering the field (Larrabee, Fusion, etc), Carmack knows that the PC space is relavent, and that's where he'll be looking when thinking about coding his next engine.
When considering console technology and the next-generation of consoles (whether it's PS4 or Xbox 720), Carmack actually hopes that the console generation will last twice as long as the previous ones -- though he doesn't think it'll be a reality, as console makers will want to one-up competitors with early releases. Doom 4 will come out for this generation of hardware, but anything after that is up in the air. But one thing he's certain of: the practical approach for people who want to code games that look like today's games but better will be polygon-based.
With CUDA and General Purpose Computing, Carmack says he thinks it's interesting, but he's still waiting to see if there will be other real-application standards to drive graphics. There's no solid background for these new technologies like there was with OpenGL and Direct3D. He sees these technologies as toy research products, and not real applications. It's just like the mid 90s, when graphics were in a period of flux. Billions of dollars are being spent to make bets on the next big thing, but he's worried about years being wasted on speculative architectures.
More frag-related news coming out of QuakeCon's annual keynote. On the topic of Quake Live, John Carmark revealed that the project had to change its name from Quake Zero because of an enterprising domain squatter who bought up the related URLs immediately after the project's announcement last year. But since the game was still very early in development, the team had no problem changing the name to Quake Live.
We prodded Carmack during our E3 interview about mod support, and we finally have an answer. Because the game is web-browser based, with minimal installation, it will not officially support any in-game modifications. Instead, id is taking advice from gamers who've played Quake 3 for the past 9 years and trying to incorporate as many features into the release as possible. There will be no Quake Live SDK -- the free game is supposed to just be a gateway for gamers to enter the deathmatch scene. Id will, however, continue to integrate improvements with regular updates after the game is released. Officially approved user-generated maps that run on official servers is definitely a possibility, said Carmack.
Even though Quake Live is only being worked on by a team of 8 people, it sounds like id really wants and needs this experiment to succeed. For anyone who wants to see a true sequel to Quake III Arena (or as Carmack calls it, Quake Arena), that title will probably never be created if the Quake Live project doesn't pay off.
In other Rage and Doom 4 related news, Rage will be a fixed 60Hz game and Doom 4 will be 30 Hz (with 3 times the graphical horsepower of Rage) on consoles. On PCs, however, Carmack believes Doom 4 will be able to run at 60Hz if you have state of art hardware (who knows what that could mean by the time the game is released). Rage will definitely be out by the QuakeCon after next year.