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General : SOE Founds Scholarship For Female Dev

Posted Feb 21, 2008 by Jon Wood

On Tuesday night of the Game Developer's Conference, the team from Sony Online Entertainment announced that they would be providing money for a scholarship that will see one potential female developer awarded $10,000 toward their education at The Art Institutes.

On Tuesday evening, attended an SOE gathering at the Game Developer's Conference. There, the company announced a new initiative that will see a $10,000 scholarship for The Art Institutes awarded to a deserving female candidate. On top of the tuition money, the winning candidate will receive a paid internship at one of SOE's numerous studios.

The purpose of the scholarship program is to try to draw more women into the gaming industry, an industry that is currently male dominated. It is the hope that the scholarship, named G.I.R.L. (Gamers in Real Life) will eventually help to close the gender gap that currently exists on the development side of the industry.

According to a press release, Torrie Dorrell (VP of Global Sales and Marketing for SOE) had this to say:

Read it all here.

General : Cryptic Announces Champions Online

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

After much speculation on what Cryptic Studios have been working on since the Marvel MMO was officially canceled, they have officially announced that they are remaining in the super hero business with an MMO based on the pen an paper RPG Champions.

LOS GATOS, CA – February 20, 2008 – Cryptic Studios™, one of the leading independent developers of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), announced today Champions Online™, their first ever self-developed and self-published MMORPG. Champions Online, based on the popular pen-and-paper Champions RPG, will give players the power of total customization of their hero experience while they explore a vast universe of richly detailed 3D environments. Champions Online is slated for release in Spring 2009.

Cryptic Studios also announced today that it has acquired the Champions intellectual property (IP) from Hero Games. First published in 1981, the Champions role-playing game is one of the first RPGs to forgo the traditional dice-rolling system of character generation in favor of a point-based system. Cryptic Studios has licensed back to Hero Games the rights to produce Champions RPG books, and the sixth edition of the HERO System and Champions, set to release in 2009, will include rules on how to recreate Champions Online characters and scenarios.

"We thought carefully about which IP to select for our next game,"said Jack Emmert, chief creative officer of Cryptic Studios. "I've been playing the Champions RPG since it first came out and I love both the rich history and wide array of compelling characters which made this an obvious choice for Cryptic Studios."

Read more here.

Visit the Champions Online Official site here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lord of the Rings IP Rights Extended

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

Turbine has announced that they have come to an agreement with Tolkien Enterprises to extend the license to develop MMORPGs based on the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to 2014.

WESTWOOD, MA – February 20, 2008 - Turbine, Inc. announced today that in the wake of the global success of The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, named the 2007 PC Game of the Year*, it has reached an agreement with Tolkien Enterprises to extend it’s license to develop Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPG) based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien to 2014 with additional options to extend the rights until 2017.  

“We’re thrilled with the global success of The Lord of the Rings Online since its launch in 2007,” said Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc.   “With the recent announcement of what are sure to be two blockbuster films based on The Hobbit and a sequel, we expect the success of the license and our relationship with Tolkien Enterprises to grow for years to come.”

“We have had a wonderful working relationship with Turbine over the past several years,” said Albert M. Bendich, Executive Vice President of The Saul Zaentz Company, and its merchandising division Tolkien Enterprises. “We look forward to our continuing success with Turbine as it pushes the envelope for compelling online entertainment and gameplay to bring the compelling characters of Middle-earth to life for Tolkien fans around the world.”

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : New Devlog, New Producer

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

Yet another dev log has been posted on the Pirates of the Burning Sea official site. This one introduces a new programmer, reveals what's on the horizon in the 1.2 patch, and helps players get to know the game's new producer. 

Although I’ve been on Pirates of the Burning Sea since before it had a name, and have posted lots of dev logs and many replies in the forums, I don’t think most of you have heard of me. John Scott Tynes (aka “Rev”) is going to work on other things, and I’m stepping into the role of Producer on Pirates, so I wanted to re-introduce myself and talk a little about what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

To start things off, we have a new hire! John Zipperer joins us as a new client and tools programmer. His years as a programmer on Guild Wars at ArenaNet will be a real asset to the Pirates of the Burning Sea team. John will be working on a new art pipeline in order to greatly increase the rate at which our artists can get new environments into the game, and I’m excited to have him here.

The other big news is the 1.2 patch. This is our first major content patch and it is so chock full of good stuff that we have to spread it out across a series of Devlogs that you’ll see throughout the next week. To kick things off I wanted to give you an overview of what’s coming up.

Read more here.

General : SOE, Vivox Partnership

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

Sony Online Entertainment has announced a deal with Vivox to provide voice communication tools for SOE's roster games.

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, is poised to revolutionize the way gamers stay connected with sophisticated new voice services where fellow gamers and guild mates are never more than a shout away.

Need standard chat for groups and raids? Check. Don't want to tie up your own bandwidth? Roger that. Want your voice to sound completely different? Done. Late for your raid but want to take part in the group setup by cell phone? Can do. Dream of having in-game voicemail? There ya go. Playing a non-SOE game but want to use this service, free of charge? Aye.

These powerful community building features and tools are coming to SOE games at no additional cost to players and go far beyond basic real-time chat with the usual headset and microphone setup that is commonly used today.

In an agreement announced Wednesday at the Game Developers Conference between SOE and Vivox, Inc., an established provider of high quality voice communications, players will be able to access a suite of voice communication tools including voice mail, voice fonts to synthesize player voices into in-game character voices, and the ability to receive external calls in SOE games.

Read more here.

Spellborn : Slywood Video

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at The Chronicles of Spellborn have produced a video trailer of Slywood to complement their many dev journals on the game region.

In the past months, you've came to be quite acquainted with the Slywood area, as our devs presented you with many aspects of the creation process for the zone.

It's now time for a glimpse of the final result with this trailer of an upcoming video presentation of Slywood:

Slywood Impressions Video Trailer

Enjoy, and don't forget to check out the site and forums for more very soon ! :)

Read more here.

D&D Online : DDO Soundtrack: 5 New Tracks

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

Turbine has released the next batch of tracks from the Dungeons & Dragons Online Official Soundtrack.

It's time for more DDO music! To help celebrate DDO month, during the month of February, and the 2nd birthday of our favorite game, we're releasing 5 more tracks from the Official Soundtrack!

6.Tavern Rock Volume 2
7. Tavern Rock Volume 3
8. DDO Theme - Part 4
9. Lets Go To The Market
10. Tavern Rock Volume 4

Click here to check out all of the music we've released so far!

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Children of the AFS

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Tabula Rasa have posted a short story dealing with the fate of children who managed to survive the Bane's invasion of Earth.

They’ve been in my care since… well, since the war began for us really. I was as shell shocked and fractured as everyone else when they called me in to headquarters that fateful day that I was reassigned to Project C.A.F.S. Everything I had known was destroyed, my home, my classroom, my daughter. I was one of the “lucky ones” that survived. After a few weeks being treated in a field hospital for laser burns and a very disorienting trip through one of those wormholes, I ended up on Foreas. They stuck a gun in my hand and sent me off for basic training. I just couldn’t cut it. I was physically fit enough to make it through the endurance tests, but that’s about all I did well in. My aim was terrible… the sounds of the gun firing made me yelp a little each time. I froze during the field exercises. It was clear after my first week in training that I wasn’t cut out for the front lines. To be honest, that was quite fine with me. But I still wanted to help the war effort. Luckily, it seems there were other ways I could contribute, though at the time, I never would have imagined what it was.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Unrest Missions Cause Unrest in PotBS

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab has become aware of a new tactic players have been using to take a port from peaceful to a port battle in no time flat by turning in a number of unrest missions all at once.  FLS have produce a short term fix and and say they will be working on a longer term solution for the near future.

A tactic arose recently in regards to port contention. Players (and their alts) would take unrest missions and hold onto them. Once they all had unrest missions, they would turn them all in at the same time, and push a port all the way from peaceful to having a port battle scheduled.

The reason we have these missions in the first place is to allow rich players to spend their money in ways that directly impact the game world. As secondary goals, missions create markets for items that dont necessarily fit into ship production, and create a demand for those items. Also, the missions drain money out of the economy in a purely voluntary way. These things are all basically Good.

The problem is that we clearly never intended for players to be able to take a port from 0 to 5k or even 10k unrest instantly. While were biased towards attackers (we like PvP!) this goes well beyond bias and into the realm of insanity. Defenders should be able to draw a line in the sand, declare a port off-limits, and enforce that with doubloons. Thats not currently possible. Worst of all, this tactic can be used on new player ports just as easily as on ports in the Antilles. New player ports are intended to be harder to attack, and this process circumvents all the tuning we did to make that the case.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Technically the Arts

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with a new dev log which explains the role of a technical artist, the the art of bringing a game world to life.

Well, I do not even really know how to begin this. I never thought I would write a Devlog about my job because, well, I seem to be the only crazy fool who actually thinks it is fun! At least that is what people around the office are thinking. Have you ever been walking down the street and thought to yourself “wouldn’t it be cool if there were these two guys dressed like pirates sword fighting on top of a bus?” Well, that is pretty much what I get to imagine and bring to life in POTBS!

In short, I am a Technical Artist, what that actually means can vary a lot between companies. Within FLS that pretty much means that I am the go-between for different departments, and where things get sent that no one else wants to do! Ha ha! I work closely with the Animation, Environment, and Concept departments. I think the best way to illustrate the inner workings of my job, calls for an example!

Read more here.

EVE Online : Incompatible (Protocol) Error Fixed

Posted Feb 20, 2008 by Keith Cross

CCP has announced the implementation of the Trinity 1.0.3 Patch, which fixes an issue caused by the previous Trinity 1.0.2 Patch back in January.

Tranquility will undergo an extended downtime on Wednesday, 20 February. The start time is 11:00 GMT and the length of the downtime is expected to be three hours. During this time, a patch will be applied to Trinity consisting of one fix to correct the problems caused by the Trinity 1.0.2 patch.

Read more here.

Earthrise: First Impact : Question of the Week: Skills

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Keith Cross

In there Question of the Week column on the Earthrise forums, Masthead Studios answers a question on the game's skill system and the game's lack of classes.

What do you have planned to make sure characters differ? If everyone can get every skill then wont people find "the best" skills and equipment and all end up being the same?
Many MMOs have problems with balancing skills and try to separate players in alternative development paths - classes is the best example - so achieving powerful combinations is limited to one path only, a fighter, a warrior, a thief and so on. Each class has its powerful abilities and developers try to balance them to their best knowledge. Characters in Earthrise will not have classes or take exclusive character development paths. Players will have the same choice of skills and abilities. That alone will not lead to ultimate builds because many skills will not provide players with passive bonuses that directly affect their success in various actions, but instead unlock wide array of carefully balanced abilities they can use in different situations. These abilities will be customizable action templates that can be further enhanced using special system we will announce in detail soon. This system will allow players to modify their abilities to a certain extent. They will be able to create new abilities builds and receive a slight boost but there will always be some disadvantage that they have to live with and take into consideration in almost every situation the ability comes in play. Think of this as the paper/rock/scissors game, where “the best” character template will be beatable by another “best” character template.

Read more here.

CABAL Online : GDC vehicle Screens

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Jon Wood

Today, the team met up with David Hoffman from OG Planet, the company behind Cabal Online. While there, he was kind enough to provide us with these new screenshots.



Check them out here.

World of Warcraft : Arena Tournament Information Page

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has launched the Arena Tournament Information page.  As the name implies, the page features information on the upcoming 2008 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament, including registration details, character creation, tournament structure, and more.

We invite the most dedicated and skilled Arena combatants around the world to enter the new World of Warcraft Arena Tournament. Your glorious victories in the tournament will not only grant recognition and renown for your prowess, but they'll earn your team a chance to win cash prizes as well.

Within a structured format comprising two six-week-long qualifying rounds, players will battle on special tournament realms purely dedicated to the competitive format of 3v3 Arena matches. The characters used on these realms are new level 70s that you create, decked to the brim with PvP armor and weapons. The top teams from each qualifier will battle in regional live events, culminating in the global finals, which will feature a total prize pool of $120,000 -- $75,000 of which will go to the grand-prize-winning team!

Tournament registration is open to any active World of Warcraft account. Registration costs one payment of $20.00, which grants one World of Warcraft account access to the tournament realms for the duration of the six-week tourney. Players will be able to create up to three new characters on these realms, instantly level them to 70, and deck them out with a full set of PvP gear. Then form your new 3v3 team and enter the Arenas, where a whole new level of competitive play awaits you. Good luck!

Read more here.

Stargate Worlds : Questions for Klug: Ask CME

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Keith Cross

Stargate Worlds Creative Director Chris Klug wants to answer your SGW questions.  They've started an Ask Cheyenne Mountain thread on the SGW forums, and any question is fair game in the 'no b.s.' zone.

The creative director behind our upcoming MMO has pitched a tent in the "Ask Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment" forum. Ask him a question and he just might answer back!

"Ask me anything, really," invites Klug. "Personal, game-related, whatever you want. If I know and can tell you, I will. If I know and I can't tell you yet, I'll tell you that. I'll tell you why we did stuff. Like Khatie said, you may not like the answer, but this is a 'no b.s.' zone."

This thread is filled with various nuggets of previously unanswered information about the game, as well as Klug himself. Despite his busy schedule, Chris has already found time to make an incredible number of responses! The community staff thanks him immensely and invites you to participate if you haven't already.

Read more here.

Zu Online : Clan Guide

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has released a strategy guide and overview for the Clans of Zu Online.

Since some beginners and some players wanting to play Zu Online are still confused about the game contents, we have been preparing a strategy guide for their players. Today we are going to talk a little bit about teamwork, the classes and the clans.

A team spirit plays a significant role in the Zu world, especially when you need to kill certain monsters to level up. Plus some quests can only be completed by a team. Bead Fairies will contribute a lot to your team, because they have powerful range attacks in their early stages, but after level 120, PK is not suitable for them. Although they have many talent skills, their limited skill points really restrain their performance in battle.

Swordsmen : The Swordsman Clan is the oldest and most influential among the clans. Whitebrow, the Chief of the Swordsman clan, experienced five disasters in his dreams and was awakened by the Tai Chi General before establishing the clan. Having witnessed Blood Demon’s treachery firsthand, Whitebrow went to another dimension to find a way to stop Blood Demon. Before long, he carved the Heaven Scripture on Magic Stone, describing a way to defeat Blood Demon. A battle between Gods and Demons to obtain the Heaven Scripture broke out. From then on, to fight against Blood Demon has become the responsibility of every Swordsman.

Clan Features: As the most influential clan, this clan is the spirit pillar of the other 4 clans. They are famous for their powerful holy swords which can attack enemies within a large range, furthermore they can shake off their enemies instantly, and cast spells that can slow their enemies.

Read more here.

Angels Online : Territory for Leagues Available

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that leagues that performed well during the Totem Skirmish will be rewarded with territory and resources.

With the Totem Skirmish ended and the Totem Battle just around the corner, the Angels Online team is going to give you some hints about key points during the Totem Battle.

At the end of the scheduled maintenance this week, those leagues which had good performances during the Totem Skirmish will be rewarded with territory and resources. These players will be able to redeem an Angel's Gift Box from the NPC everyday, and open it to upgrade their totems so as to lay a solid foundation for the upcoming Totem Battle. Players should remember that they are supposed to fight for their league and glory, not themselves, so they’d better try every means to improve their leagues reputation.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lorebook Update: Rhunendin

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at the town of Rhunendin in Angmar, one of the many Tolkien inspired locations in Turbine's incarnation of Middle Earth.

When Eärnur and Glorfindel drove the hosts of Angmar from the fallen North-kingdom, they eradicated the Angmarim west of the Misty Mountains. A short time later, however, the ancestors of the Rohirrim pressed northward on the far side of the mountains and drove the remaining Angmarim back into their former realm, though they were now scattered and few. Over the long years, the remnants of Angmar began to multiply and grow strong again, and built towns and villages once more.

Rhunendin is one such town, guarding the western approach to the Witch-king’s former capital of Carn Dûm. The Angmarim remain faithful to their banished lord and serve his Steward, Mordirith, called the False King by the Hill-men who also dwell in Angmar. Rhunendin is a mighty bastion against those who would overthrow Angmar once more.

Read more here.

General : Silly Fluid, MMOs Are For Kids

Posted Feb 19, 2008 by Jon Wood

Fluid Entertainment has announced intentions to launch a new, children's MMORPG.

SAN FRANCISCO — February 19, 2008 — Today, veteran interactive games company Fluid Entertainment announces the upcoming launch of its children’s MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). With software development experience spanning key children’s entertainment properties, including Harry Potter, Pokémon™, Disney, and The Powerpuff Girls, Fluid brings a decade of development expertise to the burgeoning children’s online game field. Developing an entirely original game, Fluid Entertainment is creating an online world that encourages kids to explore their creativity, initiative and imagination, within an ecologically themed narrative. More details regarding this “green” game will be revealed in the coming months.

The Executive Team
Fluid Entertainment was founded in 1998 by Scott Mathews with a clear mission to create quality children’s media that enrich lives and entertain. Since then, the company has grown its talent including the recent addition of executive team members. With development led by Scott Mathews, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Fluid Entertainment, the team has collectively worked on acclaimed entertainment properties for children, launching games worldwide across seven languages, from brands including Harry Potter, Pokémon, Disney Princess, Arthur the Ardvark™, the Powerpuff Girls, and Mickey Mouse. CEO and Founder Greg Jones brings a wealth of experience in leading consumer internet companies. Greg served as CEO and Founder of WorldRes,  pioneer of the now massive online hotel reservation sector, Since then, he’s offered his expertise as an Angel investor, board member and active advisor to technology companies in the sports, games, and travel industries. Jennifer Chapin, Vice President of Marketing and Founder, completes the executive staff. Jennifer served as Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of USAOPOLY, Inc., the most successful Hasbro licensee, which customizes the classic MONOPOLY game with globally recognized brands. Brokering licensing deals with high profile organizations including Hasbro, Paramount, NFL?, Warner Bros., NASCAR?, and Disney, among others.  Jennifer also formed strategic relations with these and other licensors, developing cross-promotional and merchandising programs that elevated the USAPOLY and Hasbro brands, and presence in the retail space.

“Scott and his team’s game development expertise is matched only by their passion and commitment to the children’s interactive entertainment category,” said Greg Jones, CEO of Fluid Entertainment. “With this game, we’re tapping our collective experience, taking children’s MMO’s to the next level by creating an exceptionally interactive environment, where kids truly participate in the world around them. We’re eager for kids to experience an original, purposeful, fun way to play.

Fluid Entertainment has a long history of creating educational, engaging and entertaining media for children. The company emphasizes maintaining long term client relationships and boasts partnerships spanning a decade with such publishers as Hasbro, Berkeley Systems, Disney, Mattel and The Learning Company. They enjoy working towards a common goal: to create interactive content for children that enriches lives.

More on Fluid Entertainment here.

General : Cryptic Making Champions Online

Posted Feb 18, 2008 by Jon Wood

Game Informer has reported that Cryptic Studios is working on a new superhero MMO called Champions Online. The print magazine's most recent issue carries a story, but the publication's website had this to say:

If that’s not enough, we have the first look at Cryptic Studios’ latest superhero MMO, Champions Online. The City of Heroes developers are taking on PCs and consoles, too, letting us all unleash our inner heroes.

Check out the original story here.

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