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.
One of the big themes to this year's QuakeCon is the idea that id Software wants to put a new emphasis on making games that are fun. The creaters of Quake and Doom are well-known for the technical prowess and graphical achivement in their games, but it sounds like they realized that a few of their most recent games were missing a key ingredient: Fun.
At this year's keynote, John Carmack used the "F" word (fun, of course) when describing id Software's upcoming projects: Quake Live, Rage, and Doom 2 RPG. For Quake Live, they are tweaking the matchmaking to ensure that players of all skill levels can have fun. With Rage, the only word they'll give about a release date is that it'll ship "when it's fun and when it's done."
In his QuakeCon 2008 keynote today, John Carmack stated that he thinks the iPhone developer's kit is much better than the ones for Java or Brew-based phones. In terms of pure graphics, the iPhone is roughly the equivalent of a Dreamcast, said Carmack. It's feature set and horsepower can deliver what gamers saw on the PS2 or original Xbox, especially since it has a lot of RAM.
Originally, Carmack contemplated porting Orcs and Elves for the iPhone, but he didn't want to devote 3 man-months to make it happen, when he wasn't sure the company could make the money back (Carmack estimated that only about 15% of the QuakeCon audience had iPhones). Instead, id has plans for two new iPhone games. One will be an RPG syle game, and the other a "graphical tour de force." This second game will be beyond anything you've seen on the PSP or Nintendo DS. No release date was announced for these tiles, only that they were in early development.
Carmack's enthusiasm for for mobile gaming was readily apparent in his keynote. He's excited by the success of iPhone game sales, and hopes that the iPhone will drive other providers into making better hardware.
I hate it when people, speaking of a game review, say, "Well, they wouldn't have scored it so high if it weren't for the graphics." Like it or not, humans interpret the world around them predominately through sight, so graphics are an integral part of any gaming experience -- just as special effects, lighting, and set pieces are to film.
That does not, however, mean I'll contemptuously scoff at any game without eye-popping bump maps or heroes lacking meticulously detailed stubble, however. In fact, with the advent of gaming's current generation, I have to wonder: is game development so focused on pleasuring our eyes that it's neglecting our gray matter?
What ever happened to promises of emergent worlds and truly life-like A.I.? Sure, games like Rainbow Six: Vegas draw us into their worlds like never before, but the moment we see an A.I. partner attempt to take cover on the wrong side of a bullet-ridden pillar, the illusion is blown into bloody chunks. For once, I'd like to see a dev team throw themselves headlong into crafting a believable world -- even if that means serving up graphical sloppy seconds. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear what you think.
Today's Roundup features one title that gives me some hope for a more balanced, less graphics-intensive future, yet by virtue of its existence, in a way, proves my earlier point. Speaking of hope, Nintendo fans might have reason to strip out of their mourning garb, although it's kind of a long shot. And we also have Aerosmith! See it all after the break.
What are you playing right now? FPS? RTS? Peggle? Who developed it? Do you even care?
I imagine you do; as a presumably-hardcore gamer, you've likely cultivated a few brand alliances here and there. But what happens when we change the question up a little? Do you think your favorite developer cares about you?
No, I don't mean on an individual, person-to-person basis. What I'm asking is: do you think those oh-so-dreamy devs slave over games for their fans, or for themselves? Yes, yes, gaming is a business, and there's certainly money involved. But at the end of the day, do you think the aforementioned designers look at themselves in the mirror and nod in satisfaction because they created a game for you, or because they calmed the cries of their wild inner artist? Sound off in the comments section. Let's start a discussion that doesn't involve sarcasm and commas (though both are certainly allowed)!
Anyway, today's Roundup shines the spotlight on developers of both breeds, though some trumpet their allegiance louder than others. If you'd like to find out who's who, what's what, and which of them might soon end up in the pit of Microsoft's belly, read on.
Last week, we showed you which parts you would want to buy to construct a killer $2500 PC. The purpose of that machine was power computing – serious audio/video editing and high-bitrate media transcoding. We got a lot of flak about a few of our choices (most noticeably the CPU), but we stand by our picks. That PC configuration was meant for Power Users, and not hardcore gamers (though we recognize that those aren’t mutually-exclusive groups). For someone who primarily uses their PC for gaming, and won’t accept framerate dips in 120Hz games, we have different recommendations. The following components make up our ideal $2500 hardcore gaming rig (prices as listed on Newegg). If it’s not what you’d buy, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
Last month Nvidia said it planned to tweak its 9800GTX videocard with a die shrink and faster clockspeeds resulting in the 9800GTX+, and today the release becomes official with immediate availability. Along with the 9800GTX+, Nvidia fleshes out its GeForce 9-series line with two other videocards, the 9800GT and 9500GT.
All three cards are available now, and each one brings support for Nvidia's PhysX and CUDA technologies, two areas currently exclusive to Nvidia.
"The addition of the new 9800GTX+, 9800GT, and the 9500GT GPUs brings a new level of visual computing capability to additional mainstream market segments," said Ujesh Desai, general manger of desktop GPUs at Nvidia. "Nvidia GPUs deliver the best bang for the buck in each price category, and with support for CUDA, PhysX, and 3D stereoscopic technology, consumers can now experience the unique, innovative, and immersive computing experience that only Nvidia can deliver."
Claiming victory in the bang-for-buck war would have been a tough sell just weeks ago, but such claims become easier to swallow with the 9500GT taking residence in the sub-$70 pricing tier. Both the 9800GT and GTX+ can be bought for under $200, with the latter going head to head against ATI's HD 4850 videocard. For you old schoolers, it hasn't been this fun to shop for a GPU since the TI4200 days.
Why are you a PC gamer? Why did you choose to support a less convenient, less unified machine even in the face of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo's pickup-and-play offerings? Do you like the customizability the PC affords? The constantly evolving technology -- to gaze down from a heap of cast-aside PC parts and proclaim the superiority of your uber-machine? Or is the community? Do you relish being a member of a tightly-knit underdog pack, a group that's not afraid to bellow "We'll prove you wrong" to the gaming community at large?
How would you react if everyone suddenly acknowledged PC gaming's strength? If people turned around and realized that PC gaming isn't dying, would you still be so gung-ho about it?
Well, today, we have -- among other things -- one more outlet prostrating itself before the PC. How long before the unwashed masses follow suit?
Additionally, we have a treat for Trekkies, EA's Riccitiello admitting to another one of his company's screw-ups, and the longest hypothetical game title evar. Please insert disc titled "Read more" to continue.
Microsoft made headlines recently by proudly proclaiming it would support Netflix streaming video to Gold members starting this fall at no additional cost. They have also announced plans to open a community application store whose concept very much mirrors the approach taken by Apple with the iPhone app store. Anyone can apply to join the XNA Creators Club, as long as you have the $99 application fee and a unique idea to work with. Microsoft will distribute content at prices ranging from $2.50 to $10.00 taking a mere 30% cut of the profits. Most readers know this approach is about as creative as the mii2 avatar’s but is still a step in the right direction. With community application support and streaming video now coming to the Xbox, it speaks to a larger trend. Consumers are increasingly looking for a one box solution to their entertainment needs. And the battle for the living room is just starting to heat up.
Click the jump to see to see why the future of all in one entertainment devices is bright.
Yesterday, I discussed, in brief, gaming's trend toward the future -- generally at the expense of the past and even the present. Coincidentally, I think that trend ties in well with another point of discussion yesterday's Roundup shoved into the limelight: PC gaming's "death." A good many of you seemed to think I'd love nothing more than to drag the ol' PC out back, aim down the sights, and end its miserable existence.
You couldn't have been more wrong.
PC gaming is, in my mind, thriving. Oh sure, consoles may rake in more mullah, but PC gaming never stops blazing trails into the future. Do I think we should grind to a halt and take a look around every once in a while? Sure. But never should we stagnate, or else our industry really could slump into a lifeless heap. PC gaming, whether it be through MMOs, services like Steam, or even its colossal casual market, is console gaming's crystal ball. "That's what I want to be when I grow up!" I can almost hear Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo's petite blocks of plastic excitedly screech.
With that said, however, progress is a series of trials and errors. Today's Roundup casts its gaze upon a few recent missteps, from MMOs' lack of true emotion, to E3 2008, to, er, the iPhone. Oh, I didn't just go there; I rented a room, saw the sights, and brought back a refrigerator magnet. Read more for all of that -- and more.