Daily News Spin January 5, 2001 (Friday)
Driving Mr. Trevor
gets behind the wheel and no one is safe. Tom's weekly LAN party
tries its collective hand at driving games and goes all the way
The Total Annihilation game you never saw
Real-Time Strategy Innovation is the title of Brad Wardell's latest
column. Brad discusses how he and Stardock were very close to
licensing to TA engine to create a new and improved RTS, Mobilization,
and shares his design goals.
Mobilization was to introduce a few new concepts to the genre.
We wanted to simplify the actual game play while making the game
mechanics more complex. That is, less clicking, more thinking.
So the first thing we did was eliminate the entire unit creation
mechanism. Really, how do you build people? I bet Napoleon would
have loved to be able to conjure up 10,000 more soldiers after
Waterloo if he just had enough wood and gold.
to tell us if Mobilization would have been great or a dud.
Wow, it's not enough that the Internet is imploding (CNET crap,
UGO crap, IGN crap, Gamefan crapped out), but both of us are a bit
under the weather today. It may take us a little while to get anything
new up today. Check back later. We do have a new column from Brad
Wardell we'll get up and maybe one or two other things. Not any
game news of note so far today, but we're sure there will be some.
Surely there's another gaming network due to topple?
Stop by our forums in the meantime. We have some lively discussions
Daily News Spin January
4, 2001 (Thursday)
Top Stories: 3am, EQ Addict Sentenced,
2By3 and Matrix announce games, Myth
3 and Age of Wonders 2, Future Network (Daily Radar,
PC Gamer) stock price plummets
Slippery Xbox specs
IGN.XBOX posted an interview
with J. Allard, General Manager of the Xbox. Some of the system
specs have changed. To wit:
Graphics processor: From 300MHz to 250MHz
Polygon performance: From 300 M/sec to 125 M/sec
DVD movie playback: Now requires remote control accessory
When asked why they had changed specs after Seamus Blackley last
year said, ""The only changes that you'd ever possibly see
-- and I think that the probability of there being any changes is
extraordinarily low -- would be upgrades to system performance",
the answers got a bit evasive. About the polygon count dropping:
The funny thing about poly performance is that that's a theoretical
number, and it's a good number to talk about because competitors
talk about theoretical numbers, but we've long held that the most
important number is what game performance looks like. So the fact
that NV20s are in developers hands is great, and the final hardware
will be in their hands in a couple of months. I think we'll have
no problem making the 3x differentian in real game performance,
and maybe even more.
Then about the graphics processor change:
It's more of a spec refinement, not a change. Technically it's
a change -- that's the clock rate we're going to be able to achieve
and still maintain the 3x performance.
That's pretty cool. It's a refinement and not a change, unless
you want to get technical and then well, ok, it is a change. Heh.
The most surprising bit is that they're not going to include a
remote control device for DVD playback with the Xbox. If you want
to watch DVD movies, you have to buy your own remote. There will
be no other way to do it!
What is up with this crazy Xbox? Comment
Future Network stock price plunges
We saw this story at Gamers.com.
Future Network issued a second profit warning indicating that revenues
would be 3% lower for 2000 than projected. Their stock price then
dropped a whopping 44%. Future Network, which is based in the UK,
owns Imagine Media, which in turn owns Daily Radar, PC Gamer, and
Future cited the PS2 shortage as the primary reason that sales
were down. They're still waiting on the final word on their December
sales, but they're now expecting revenues for the year to be about
$381.1 million, with about $50.6 million of that being profits.
Myth 3, Age of Wonders 2 revealed
Saw this at Blue's News.
G.O.D. has sent out gold masters of Oni and tossed in a promo calendar
as well. The promotional calendar features some tidbits about all
of Gathering's games, including mention of a planned Age of Wonders
2 and Myth 3.
Myth 3: The Wolf Age is a prequel and takes place 1000 years before
Myth. It will be developed by Mumbo Jumbo. Here's the description
from the calendar (via Blues):
It takes place 1000 years before the start of Myth: The Fallen
Lords and follows the life of Connacht - the legendary hero who
saved humanity from the insidious Myrkindia and the oppressive
Trow, eventually becoming the emperor of all human lands. Myth
III explores the daunting past before the Great War and the destructive
clashes between the races.
In 1421 AE, the world is in sheer chaos. The nightmare, Myrkindia,
runs rampant over the lands. The Trow enslave the Ogre to build
titanic temples to their god. A new Leveler, claiming to be Moagim
reborn, has just risen and swears to smash the empire of Cath
Bruig. Most of humanity has been scattered for hundreds of years,
existing in war tribes who hide in fear of the evil creatures
who stalk the night. Myth III: The Wolf Age will live up to even
the most critical Myth fan's expectations, yet is immediately
engaging and easy-to-learn for the first time strategy player.
Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne is also mentioned in the
calendar. According to Blues, it will use a "top of the line Direct
3D graphics engine". It's being developed by Triumph Studios who
made the original and should be out in early 2002.
We had heard that both these games were in development, but this
is official confirmation. Has a calendar ever lied to us before?
We think not!
We're up for these games, or maybe we should say we're down with
them. We'll be their faithful dogs, or something like that. We're
sure they'll be the bomb, or at least a minor exploding device.
Hey, can someone lend us a teenager and teach us how to be cool?
Is it hopeless? Will we never be kewl? Do we want to be? At least
Myth 3 and Age of Wonders 2 sound cool, right? Tell
Three by 2By3 Games and Matrix
Those wargame developers are busy. Barking like an angry terrier
at the heels of the annoucement of the formation of 2By3 Games comes
the announcement that we're getting 3 games from 2By3 Games and
Matrix, their chosen publisher. From the press release:
Matrix Games and 2BY3
Games today announce they will team up to bring three new
computer wargames to market during the next three years. 2By3
Games, featuring the designs of award-winning game designer/programmers
Gary Grigsby and Keith Brors, will develop three games to be published
by Matrix Games. The first game, Uncommon Valor: Campaign for
the South Pacific will feature the New Guinea and Solomons air,
sea and land campaign that proved to be the turning point in the
war against Japan. The second game, War in the Pacific: Struggle
Against Japan 1941-1945, will feature the entire war against Japan
from Pearl Harbor to Japan�s surrender. The third game will feature
the struggle in the Mediterranean during the first half of WWII.
All three games will feature the historical detail and accuracy
that Grigsby designs have been known for during his career that
spans nearly twenty years. 2BY3 Games will also be assisted in
the development of the three titles by Matrix Games programmers
and artists. Several of these have worked on earlier Matrix Games
revisions and updates of Grigsby games, most notably Steel Panthers:
World at War.
Atten-hut! A new War in the Pacific from Grigsby? Unlike MacArthur,
we shall not return that one! What do you think? Post
Stories we hate: EverQuest addict sentenced for
death of infant
We hate hearing about stories like this one. This was spotted at
It's a story about a 25 year old man, Tony Bragg Sr.,who killed
his 9 month old son. He "assaulted" the child and left
him to die. At the time he was playing EverQuest and was upset at
being disturbed. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Both sides claimed that EverQuest had nothing to do with the crime
and claimed that it would have been something else that triggered
it, such as Bragg Sr. watching a football game and being interrupted.
We agree that you can't blame EverQuest, but this does highlight
just how addictive are games like EverQuest. There are stories of
people losing jobs because of EverQuest, marriages breaking up,
and so on.
What do you think? Is this just the beginning of a problem with
game addiction? As games get more realistic and life-like, will
we see more and more people shunning work and family for games?
here to comment.
The big news as far as gaming websites are concerned is the dissolution
of the CNET Gamecenter Alliance, which is hardly a secret anymore.
How does this affect Quarter to Three? Well, it cuts off our tiny
revenue stream at the end of January. While it's true that we've
just been getting started with this site and weren't really making
much from it, it's easy to live with that if we can look ahead and
see a brighter future. Right now things don't look so great.
So what does that mean for our future? We really don't know. We
both really enjoy running this site, but it takes a lot of time
and it really has to be more than a hobby for us to continue it,
at least as we currently do.
So we're fishing around right now to see what opportunities are
out there. Ideally we'd prefer an arrangement similar to the one
we had, one that paid us a set CPM based on our traffic. That would
allow us to focus on growing the site by doing what we know how
to do best create new and interesting content. We may look
into selling our own ads, but this presents new problems outside
the obvious difficulty everyone is having in selling ads now.
And of course our position isn't unique. There are a lot of sites
out there now looking for ways to be profitable not because
anyone at this point is convinced that websites are a way to easy
wealth, but simply because they love running a site and they just
want to get some kind of return from their effort. We hope that
the web scene doesn't devolve into two kinds of websites: the huge
sites like Gamespot and Gamecenter, and fan sites. We love fan sites,
but we hope that there's room for small, professional sites too.
So if anyone has any ideas, post them on our message
board or email us. We're
doing our own digging, but we're only two guys with about 1.5 brains
between us. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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