Another new Developer Journal has popped up over at Cheyenne Mountain Entertianment, the company responsible for the development of the new MMORPG, Stargate Worlds:
"Well, I'm Mike Whiting, and I am one of the game artists for Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment. I'm 25 years old, and my wife just had our second baby in December of 2005. I have been playing video games since I was in Kindergarten, when my best friend got an NES console for his birthday, and I haven't stopped since really. I just started the online gaming scene last year with Diablo II (battlenet) and then I jumped into MMORPG's last year with World of Warcraft.
"I am a really big sports fan, and also an avid follower of the Phoenix Suns. I played varsity volleyball for my high school for 2 years, which is also my favorite sport. I had a few opportunities to play some college ball, but chose to go on a service mission for my church, and ended up living in Spain for 2 years. When I got back from Europe in 2002, I dated a girl I knew from high school and we ended up getting married in 2003. She basically couldn't resist me.
"I also really enjoy music, and I started playing the guitar my sophomore year in high school - I have a black Epiphone Les Paul that I try and play as often as I can. My favorite music is punk rock, and my favorite band is probably Lagwagon. I have a million close 2nd places though.
"I also absolutely love movies. Several summers ago, I had a record 42 rentals from Blockbuster in one month. My wife also really enjoys movies and we watch them whenever we can. We also like to watch Friends together, and we are on our 3rd time through all 10 season.
"As an artist, I have been drawing my whole life. I got into computer art about 3 years ago, and I enjoy it just as much as traditional art. I really love being a game artist here at Cheyenne Mountain, it is an awesome company!"
~ Mike Whiting
For more on Stargate Worlds, click here.
There's a new Devlog up over at Pirates of the Burning Sea. This one comes from developer, Brendan Walker. Brendan tells us about himself, his projects, and more! For more Pirates of the Burning Sea, click here.
My name is Brendan Walker and I just joined Flying Lab in the beginning of Feburary. It's been an exciting month or so getting familiar with the game, the code base, the company, and the community.
Before coming to Flying Lab I worked at Oberon Games and before that Ares Interactive (I'm willing to bet you've heard of neither of those companies). Oberon does puzzle and other "casual" games. While there I worked on subcontract to remake all of the inbox games (Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc) as well as a new game for Windows Vista. Ares Interactive was a small game company a few friends and myself started after college. We completed one game ("Barnyard Invasion") and then went bankrupt.
Since I've started here I've been fortunate enough to work on some cool projects. One of the first was to add flags to the ships. I was excited to add flags because they add some character to the ships AND more importantly they show what the current wind direction is (which is very important when in the middle of a battle). Originally, I thought this was going to be a trivial task that would only have minor implications in the game. I soon discovered this was not the case. Everytime I thought I had the flags working perfectly I discovered I had forgotten something: flags not falling with the masts, main mast flag not matching player nationality, flag scale not appropriate on all ships, etc. Most of the bugs are fixed now, but I'll be doing small tweaks here and there over the next couple of weeks. I also look forward to setting up a content import system that will let the community import new flag patterns into the game. I'm excited to see what people come up with.
The second big task I was given was to setup up interaction indicators over NPCs who had something to talk to you about. For example, in World of Warcraft if an NPC has a mission for you a golden exlcamation mark appears over their head, which gets replaced with a question mark once you start a mission. Previously in PotBS there was no way to tell what NPC has a mission (or other service) for you unless you talked to them directly, which gets tedious. The solution is to query an NPC when they come into view for available interactions (missions or services) and if so, display the indicator associated with service. In order to make this happen, Joe and I did a major refactoring of the way the interaction menu system works. After an initial wave of bugs the systems seems to be working well. Currently we only have icons for when an NPC has a mission for you or of the NPC wants you to complete a quest with them (though the art for these still needs some iteration). Once the final art is ready we'll also have indicators for other services (stores, garages, etc).
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, has announced that they are currently running a 7 day free trial. Also on the DDO site, is a trailer for the first module, Dragon's Vault, so check out the link below!
Battle the evil lurking below the dangerous city of Stormreach™ when you DOWNLOAD THE 7 DAY FREE TRIAL! Begin your journey into the online world of a roleplaying classic, joining a community of adventurers to explore the exciting mysteries of Eberron® for seven days at no cost!
Read more about the 7 day free trial
For more DDO, click here.
Guild Wars has announced a new way to get characters into the game. It seems as though this summer, you will be able to purchase a new character slot for the game that will allow you to have an extra, alternate character:
We are happy to announce that you will be able purchase additional character slots for your Guild Wars account beginning this summer for $9.99 U.S. (or equivalent). Each new slot will enable you to add a new character to your account with full access to all of the content your current characters enjoy. We'll have more details to share soon!
For more on Guild Wars, click here.
Blizzard has updated its World of WarCraft site with brand new updates to their Profession Guide page. Enjoy!
We've updated the Profession Guides page with links to new player-made guides. This page features direct links to guides created by World of Warcraft players. Click here to check them out! If you have a profession guide that you want to submit for review, click here.
For more on WoW, click here.
Earlier today, we reported a story regarding The Myth of Soma. Obviously, that article was an error. Their official website remains: www.mythofsoma.net.
We appologise for any inconvenience or confusion that this may have caused.
It seems as though our friends over at Guild Wars Factions have partnered with Ideazon Inc to bring a special Guild Wars Factions version of their Zboard keyboards:
VAUGHAN, ONTARIO--(MARKET WIRE)--Apr 20, 2006 -- Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset Available Now
Ideazon Inc., designer and developer of the Zboard(TM), the world's first keyboard designed for PC gamers, today announced its new Guild Wars Factions(TM) Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard. Designed specifically for the highly-anticipated ArenaNet® title Guild Wars Factions, slated for release April 28, 2006, clans, communities and gamers from around the world will be able to enjoy the ultimate experience in custom gaming.
The partnership with online game developer and publisher NCsoft® has enabled Ideazon to take gamers to a whole different level of game customization and will enhance the Guild Wars Factions gaming experience. Ideazon's Guild Wars Factions keyset lets players choose sides in the battle and master the game's playing environment using a dedicated control layout that is simple to learn and easy to use.
"The Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset is tailored to meet every player's needs within the stunning and visually immersive world that ArenaNet has created," says Chris Rathgeber, president of Ideazon Inc. "We worked closely with NCsoft and our ZCommunity members to create the gaming weapon of choice."
"This Keyset is an exciting development for Guild Wars® fans and will help new players master the game quickly," says Dorothy Ferguson, vice president of sales and marketing for NCsoft's North American business. "From incorporating the game's visuals to the thoughtfully laid out command keys, Ideazon takes the Guild Wars Factions experience to new heights."
The Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard gives gamers:
The Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard, retails for $19.99 US and is currently available online at e-tailers, including bestbuy.com. The Zboard retails for $49.99 and is also available online.
The Zboard Gaming Keyboard also comes equipped with gaming terrain and tactical features, including:
SEED: The Human Condition is due for online release on May 2nd, 2006. Recently, Staff Writer Garrett Fuller spent a lot of time in their world and filed this hands-on preview of the game. Check back after launch for a complete review.
| “Seed: The Human Condition” is set for release in May. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the game and spend some time running around in Da Vinci to get a feel for the environment. Seed is a very different MMO indeed. There is no hack and slash speed style like Warcraft. There is no long level grinding like Everquest. Seed is a science fiction game that allows players to work together, hold elections, explore, engineer, and most of all solve the problems of living in a very rough environment. The game functions on many different intellectual levels. The most striking feature of Seed is the game makes you think and work towards a better community.
The game is set in an off world colony. A ship has crash landed into a hostile planet and sustained some damages. The ship’s computer Tau has woken up the crew to make repairs and maintain the stable environment. Players who are part of the Da Vinci colony need to begin their journey by boosting skill sets to help repair and maintain parts of the tower (or ship). Not only do players have the chance to simply fix things, they also have the ability to develop blue prints, build new systems, and begin exploring the planet for the possibility to terra form the surface making it livable for colony members. The story of the colony and the efforts made to keep Da Vinci stable will be the central part of the game. Developers have stated that the game content will be player driven. If you want to build a better life support system, work out the blue prints and begin the process.
To read the full preview, click here.
Jeremy Starley took on the latest creation from ZBoard, "The MERC", and filed this report based on how he found it in his MMORPG experiences.
| The right side of the Merc is a combination number pad/arrow key area. Ideazon took the Home key and all of its friends and put them directly on the number pad, so switching between using the numerical and using the functions requires a simple push of the Num Lock key. The arrow keys are at the bottom of the number pad now, and they only function as arrow keys, which is quite convenient. Ideazon also added some common windows functions to some of the other keys, like the + and * key, so you can cut, paste, copy, and minimize with ease now.
The whole keyboard is done in an attractive black plastic, with a stylized silver strip along the top that contains a large Zboard icon. All of the keys are grey or black, labeled with easy to see white letters, except for the number keys which are labeled in an easy to read light blue. The butterfly movement keys are the only color exception, being the same deep red color that they were on other Zboard keysets. The whole thing is slightly longer than your average keyboard, even with the combined keys on the left hand side, so be aware of this if desk/tray space is an issue for you. Overall, the whole Merc Gaming Keyboard is a rather attractive addition to your gaming peripherals.
You can read the review here.
NCSoft, the people behind such games as Auto Assault, City of Heroes / Villains, Guild Wars and Lineage II, are having a meet and greet in Orange County on May 13th:
NCsoft Meet & Greet in Orange County May 13
Come out to our second ever player gathering in Orange County to meet your favorite NCsoft Community Relations representatives, try out various NCsoft games, get a free Monster drink, and maybe even win a door prize! Join the fun at Orange County’s Howie’s Game Shack on Saturday, May 13th.
There will be plenty of games, a live DJ, drinks, and a few surprises. Check out all our games including City of Heroes, City of Villains, Guild Wars, and Lineage II. Give Auto Assault and some of our other brand new games a spin!
Anyone can come and best of all, if you are on the VIP list, attendance is free! Here are some further details:
Space on the VIP list is limited, so RSVP by sending an email with your name and the names of accompanying attendees to firstname.lastname@example.org. Come on down after 10pm to enjoy great games with great company! Please note: if you arrive before 10pm you will need to purchase the special NCsoft pass for admittance.
We’ll have further updates on this event over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
The Matrix Online has given their official website a new look. Gone are the bright greens that had the look of the computer code from The Matrix movies, to be replaced by a sleek new, darker website with easy navigation.
Dark Age of Camelot has announced that their servers will be down today, April 20th, until 5:00 PM to fix some issues.
Sorry, everyone. We're going to have to take the servers down at 11:00 to fix some issues, the most important of which is the Consignment Merchant item issue we posted about last night. We expect to be back up by 5:00 PM. Thanks so much for your patience, and watch this space for updates.
For more on DAoC, click here.
There's lots going on over at the official webpage for the recently released MMORPG, Auto Assault. Hotfixes, articles and clans abound. Have a look by clicking the link below:
We published a small hotfix today to the game servers, which among other things - you can check out all the fixes in our Patch Notes page. Due to a couple of corruption issues characters have been rolled back prior to application of the hotfix (to 2PM EST).
For more on AA, click here.
Guild Wars has done something interesting. They have gathered about a half a dozen freelance game reporters and have them covering the game from the perspective of the competitive play in the game. The first couple are "battle reports" from the recent GW Factions Championship Playoffs:
We have brought on about half a dozen freelance "game reporters" to help cover Guild Wars from the viewpoint of competitive play. The first two of their articles describe matches that took place during last weekend's Guild Wars Factions Championship Seasonal Playoffs. Catch the battle reports linked from this page.
For more on Guild Wars, click here.
World of WarCraft has announced that the public test realms are now live with patch 1.10.2. They have also released a brand new WarCraft Weekly for your viewing pleasure. They have also announced the availability of a new World of WarCraft "Behind the Scenes" DVD.
The public test realms (PTRs) are now live featuring the changes coming in patch 1.10.2, which you can read about in the patch notes. We have seen a profound benefit with offering major patches on the PTRs, and although this is a minor patch, we believe the benefits will apply to it as well. You can copy your character and help us test the upcoming changes by visiting the Public Test Realm Page. Character transfers to the test realm are available from 3:00 AM to 3:00 PM Pacific Time Monday through Friday, for accounts that were active as of 12:01 PM Pacific Time on Monday, April 17. The test realm game client, which can be downloaded at the same Public Test Realm Page, is available for both PC and Mac.
Please be aware that the test realms are designed to allow us to test patches before they go public. Therefore, some changes may be introduced to the public test realms during the testing phase, before a patch goes live, and some changes may be introduced to the patch after the test realms have closed. To read more about the test realms, please review the Test Realm FAQ. We truly appreciate our players taking the time to help us test the latest changes to the game; thank you!
For more on WoW, click here.
Our Friends at MGame USA have provided us with more exciting content from The Legend of Ares. They have given us the backstory of their MMORPG!
The game, which goes into closed beta on 4/24/06, can be found at http://www.legendofares.com/.
Ares' domain, Olympus
Even in the lofty heights of Mount Olympus, nothing was deeper than Ares' anger and spite towards his godly colleagues. Always scheming and manipulating against him, how else should he feel towards his oppressors? If only he had more power, he could show those arrogant fools the extent of his rage and vengeance! But how? As it stands, all the Greek city-states are already at war, and all avenues of worship are at their maximum. Nothing save creating new nations to go into war would increase his power; but if he were to even attempt that, the other gods would, of course, rally together to thwart him. There is also the option of expanding his influence to other nations, but the problem of encountering and fighting other gods still exists, which could be troublesome. The ideal situation to increase his power would be to infiltrate a land where the gods are weak, and the people are strong. But where would such a place exist?
Imperial Chamber, The Holy Empire of Arabic
With eyebrows furrowed, and fist to his face, the young emperor, Damion, darkly brooded on his imperial throne. The people of the empire expected great things from the son of the Drakor the Great, but what was there to give them? The borders of the empire are set due to tentative peace treaties with the Alliance, and the soldiers are well equipped to contain the monster threat. The treasury coffers are full, and all roads are well-kept. Times are at their best, but the people are still getting restless. Will his reign be one of complacency and peace? No, something must be done¡¦soon, but beyond killing a few nefarious beasts, what avenue of glory could there be?
Chamber of the Council, The Religious Alliance of Arabic
Emanating strength of spirit and will, Abner looked at the other members of The Council. It is he who first proposed peace with the Empire five years ago, and it is he who upholds it to this day. Nothing is more important than the safety and security of his people, especially Aleria, and he'll be damned if anyone, be it Empire or Alliance, jeopardizes it. It's rumored that this young emperor, Damion, is eager to make a name for himself, which is fine by Abner as long as he keeps to his own borders. But if this Damion character steps out of line¡¦or rather¡¦over the line even once, he better be prepared for a fight! He'll take that boy of an emperor by the throat and gut him like every other nefarious beast he's defeated. Even if it means taking over the entire continent, nothing will endanger the future of his people, nothing!
Somewhere in the heavens above Arabic
Things are getting out of hand amongst the Arabic nations. Shaking his head, Kulam paced back and forth, occasionally peering into the minds of his waning worshippers. More and more the people of Arabic were forsaking their gods for more "modern" paganistic views. Where is the gratitude for their prosperity and safety? Why is it that they turn so quickly away from the beliefs of their forefathers, whom he has nurtured generation by generation? What will the future hold for the people of Arabic as his power wanes?
Sitting upon his throne with a resolute thud, Damion peered over the heads of his courtiers out the window. Would his fate as an Emperor of the Holy Empire be confined to mundane matters of state? If only the gods would send a calamity, or perhaps even war, to stir up the blood of his people; then he'd be able to show his people how great an emperor he really is.
In the midst of his ruminations, Damion noticed a black raven from afar fly and perch on his window. Oddly, the raven neither crowed nor moved on the window, to the point where Damion began to wonder if the bird was alive. The raven continued to remain immobile while his courtiers droned on about their concerns. Even after their departure, the raven continued to stare at Damion until at last it hopped into the room.
"Your duties as a ruler are quite dull, emperor."
Shocked, Damion drew closer to the bird, "How is it that you can speak, bird? Are you a messenger from the gods relaying that they've heard my prayers?"
Transforming himself from the form of a bird Ares replied, "I am no messenger, boy, and I am no god you've heard of. Yet I have heard your pathetic prayers. I have the power to grant you the fame, glory, and immortality that you desire, but you must first obey and follow my demands. Your people must worship me, but not in the ways of your former gods. Worship me through the blood, battle, and strife of war! Gather your people and prepare for conquest, so that you may be the first emperor of Arabic. As unifier of the people of this land, your name will be remembered for all eternity!"
Overwhelmed and excited by Ares' words, Damion rushed to his council chamber to call on his generals and priests. Preparations for war must be made! Weapons must be sharpened, armor burnished, and soldiers equipped. But first, a nation-wide religious conversion must be organized! Ares, the mysterious foreign god, must be worshipped and honored; for it he who will bring our people honor and victory.
"Wake up, godling! Your people are being snatched from under you, and here I find you slumbering. The time for your intervention is at hand."
Drowsily, Kulam, the native god of providence lifted his head to peer at the intruder, "And who might you be, to treat a god with such disregard? Leave now, and I will forget your intrusion" "My apologies godling, my name is Athena, Greek God of Wisdom, and your people are being snatched from under your nose. My brother Ares, Greek God of war, is, even now, planning to plunge the continent of Arabic into war by influencing the people of the Holy Empire towards continental conquest. You must thwart him, lest he succeed and further augment his power."
Fully aroused, Kulam scrutinized the Greek goddess. "Why are Greek gods involving themselves in the affairs of Arabic? And whatever the reason may be, what am I supposed to do against the power of the Olympian gods? As it stands, my power wanes as people become godless. And if what you're saying is true, Ares' action only act to weaken me further. What would you have me do goddess?"
Moved by Kulam's despair, Athena embraced him, "Worry not, god of providence. As you provide your people with sustenance and prosperity, I will provide you with wisdom."
"There is a legend that tells of how Ares was entrapped by giants for over a year. According to this legend, Ares was so distraught with his confinement that he was willing to acquiesce to any of the giant's demands including relinquishing his position as god of war. Unfortunately, Ares was rescued by another Olympian before any vows could be made. The legend also speaks of the item that the giants used to confine Ares, the Circle of Confinement. Any immortal who touches this item will be forever bound unless released by its owner. I have arranged for this item to be placed in the tower of your holy land. Find a worthy candidate to retrieve this item and entrap Ares so that you may stop his nefarious scheme."
Bolstered by Athena's advice, Kulam rushed to the council chambers of the Religious Alliance. There, he approached the ruler, Abner, with all that Athena had revealed. While it was Kulam's intention to send Abner and his men on a quest for the Circle of Confinement, Abner had other plans.
"God of providence, I do not doubt your words nor the words of the foreign goddess. But if what you say is true, I have much work to do with regards to the defense of my nation. This mystical item will only be useful to my people if Ares presents himself on the battlefield. Until then, we must hold our defense and prevail. For this reason, I can neither go nor send my best men. Go and find a devout zealot to complete your quest, and we will use the item when the time is ripe."
Furious and distraught with Abner's denial, Kulam searched the Alliance for any who would heed his call. As fate would have it, Abner's daughter, Aleria, was praying in the nation's high temple, and heard Kulam's summons. After hearing Kulam's plea, Aleria agreed to the quest and ventured to retrieve The Circle of Confinement!
(to be continued in Episode 1: Prelude of Ruin)
In their latest developer journal, FlyingLab Software Lead Artist Bruce Sharp pens an article on the evolution of their MMORPG's art. The game's graphics are compared between last year and this year, both in pictures and words. You can also see just the new images here.
|When I started my first day at Flying Lab Software, I’d seen the game in screenshots on the web and once during my interview. The course was clear in terms of what was missing from the game’s artistic direction: Romance! The game looked antiseptic in its art style, as if a lot of technical issues had been solved but few artistic issues had yet been explored, at least not the big, sweeping broad strokes that ultimately define the style or “voice” of the game’s imagery. As an artist I’m a true believer in the idea that the simple but abstract parts of an image, like the color palette (derived in our 3d space from the color of the ocean, sky, ship textures, direct light, ambient light, and distance fog), are where the image’s true power is; once established in an appropriate (and hopefully exciting) way, the image can then be populated with detail and content successfully. At the school where I’ve been teaching art since the early 90’s, I’ve noticed that a lot of students have this notion exactly backwards – most think that an image’s power comes from the details, which is where they put almost all of their energy, while ignoring the larger strokes like color, contrast, soft and hard edges, etc. Sadly a lot of game companies practice this same philosophy.|
To read the full log, with before/after images, click here.
MMORPG.com is pleased to announce another phase in our site's changes and upgrades. Many of you have noticed that the new servers are doing their jobs and the site is easier to navigate than ever. Also, our forums have been updated to get rid of those pesky double post issues that people had been having.
Today, MMORPG.com launched our new "Rules of Conduct". Please take a moment to review the new rules, which can be found by clicking the "Rules of Conduct" tab at the bottom of your screen.
We hope that these new rules will make MMORPG.com an even more entertaining and enjoyable place to visit!
Horizons has released a brand new lore series. The new series is slated to run on their website every tuesday. This week, they give us the story's prologue. To read the whole thing, click the link below:
Book the First - Storm Rise
There is a Hall of Mirrors at Heart's Ease, Sonea Finder's plot, in Mia's Edge. Where did the Hall come from? From Sonea's building, mayhap. Or mayhap it is always with us, in this place or in that, in many places and it may be in no place at all save our hearts…
Whence came TaleSpinner? From the mountains, as draku do… from the Hall, or the Hall from her… who knows? Mayhap not Spinner herself.
And the Tale? Ah, the Tale…
Tales do not begin. Tales do not end. They wake, they sleep, they…. dance. And those who hear are as much a part as those who dance within. And now ye that gather these words… ye too are part of the Tale. The Long Tale of the Long Road.
What was Thunder? Who was Lightning? Why care?
There was a storm… and it rose.
To read the whole prologue, click here.