Yesterday, I briefly heaped praise on the "new" Electronic Arts for its recent push towards creativity and employee practices that are actually legal. However, I know that many people chuck verbal darts at EA's target simply because they don't like big, "soulless" corporations. After all, each of us is the punchy underdog in our own lives, so rooting for the little guy only seems natural -- especially when the Man seems to be breathing down his neck.
But, as I'm sure you've all noticed, we're kind of running out of little guys to root for. "Consolidation" is one of those mean words we're not supposed to like, but in an industry that's expanding rapidly -- one where development costs regularly zip past $10 million -- consolidation is natural.
So, are you ready for our little hobby to become more like the big, bad movie industry, or are you of the opinion that we don't need "E" and "A" to spell BioWare?
This edition of the Roundup is gaming's "The Empire Strikes Back." Large independent devs are dropping like flies, and stalwart supporters are turning to the dark side. No Ewoks, though, so the Roundup isn't jumping the shark just yet. Jumping past the break, however, is highly encouraged.
We interviewed John Carmack back during this year's E3 when id first announced a partnership with EA to publish their next shooter, Rage. We had a chance to sit with Carmack again at this past weekend's Quakecon, where we followed up on our earlier discussion to squeeze more details out of the legendary game developer. Carmack dished out more details about their plans for Quake Live (including their high expenctations), the technology powering Rage and the next Doom, their cancelled Darkness project, and his thoughts about the current modding community.
Take a seat, grab a Mountain Dew, and click through for the full interview. You'll even find out which aspects of id Tech 5 may not be as powerful as id Tech 4!
Sporting almost the same configuration as the reference design we previewed last month, BFG’s GeForce GTX 280 delivers amazing performance with the second-generation DirectX 10 chipset from Nvidia. It soundly spanks ATI’s new 4870, as well as all but the dual-GPU graphics solutions from the previous generation—and even against those, the GTX 280 wins all but a few benchmarks. The real question we’re asking is, Do we need this much power?
As gamers, we love our hobby; and as people, we love company. QuakeCon, of course, made that fact ridiculously obvious. Sure, the convention's glitz and glamour were nice, but gamers trekked out into Dallas' sweltering heat for one real purpose: to hang-out with other like-minded people.
But I saw plenty of that over the frag-tacular weekend. So now I'm curious: how do you guys deal with non-gamers? I imagine you interact with them on a regular basis, but do you surround yourself with them? Would you describe yourself as a normal, average-Joe who just happens to enjoy playing games, but generally falls in with most any crowd? Or do you proudly sport an "I Pwn Noobs" T-Shirt and expect your buddies to do the same? Sound off in the comments section.
Today's Roundup takes a look at how the industry's pulse-pounding pursuit of the elusive non-gamer is changing our beloved hobby. From the fall of the current five-year console cycle to Steve Jobs' apparent failure to "get" gaming, the industry is in for a wild ride. The twist? The ride has already begun. You'd best click "Read More" to continue.
Gamers are pasty, white nerds who pop and sizzle when exposed to the sun's rays, say the old stereotypes. We're socially inept and maladjusted -- unable to carry on a normal human existence. Of course, that's an uninformed viewpoint at best, but neither would I say that all gamers are social butterflies.
As I write this, I'm sitting in QuakeCon's cavernous, dimly-lit BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area, where gamers from all walks of life gather to, well, do what they always do: play games. But even though the BYOC is populated by hundreds of people, the air is abuzz with a light hum of voices. The ear-annihilating roar that one would expect from such a colossal crowd is absent. Obviously, not all QuakeCon goers are into the talky-talky.
So, what kind of gamer are you? Do you live for events like QuakeCon? Do you thrive when jostling against the shoulders of others? Or do you mute your headset every time you hop online, preferring instead the subtle company of your own mind? Single-player? Multiplayer? Pick your poison.
Either way, today's Roundup has stories that pertain to your experience -- from some colorful language about Diablo III to Flagship Studios' stunning conclusion (for real this time!). Oh, and another Doom movie, but that story is for me.
We just got our hands on some gritty new screenshots from the next Wolfenstein game, which is being shown at this year's QuakeCon. Published by Activision and developed by Raven Software, Wolfenstein once again sends soldier BJ Blazkowicz to fight Nazis and supernatural demons in an alternate World War II. The screens show Nazi troops assembled in the dark, resistance fighters huddled in demolished buildings, and most interestingly, new map locations that have been transformed with a supernatural green tint of destruction. We don't know how these environmental shifts will occur, or how it ties with the story, but it sure looks cool!
Click through for our full gallery of full-resolution screens.
QuakeCon keynote liveblog is starting now! We're watching a video, and Todd Hollenshead is getting everyone all cranked up about the Corvette that Ventrilo is giving away.The real news starts momentarily. Click through the jump, and make sure you're logged in to get live as we post updates.
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.