Archive for September, 2008

28
Sep
08

Far Cry 2 Impressions: Part 3

So yesterday I was working on finishing the map editor section of the Far Cry 2 guide. But I had a very tough time staying focused. Why? Instead of writing, I found myself completely sucked into the map editor. At first I was just going to create a simple map to illustrate how all the tools worked. But then I got side tracked by carving out ponds and streams. My stream cut across a road I had placed earlier…so I just had to build a bridge. It kept going like that for a couple of hours. I just kept adding objects and tweaking the environment until I had a pretty awesome looking map set in a jungle clearing.

Although I’ve been playing shooters for more than a decade, I’ve only dabbled with map editors in the past. Largely because they were very difficult to use, meaning it would literally take days or weeks to create anything worthwhile. But with Far Cry 2’s powerful tools, creating an awesome map is shockingly simple. Considering what I accomplished in a couple of hours, I’m very excited to see what the community can come up with in the days and weeks following the game’s release. One really exciting feature is the ability to download and edit maps created by other users. So if you upload a map and get a three-star rating, someone else could download, edit it, and upload the updated version and possibly get a five-star rating. But the editor doesn’t get full credit; the original creator’s signature remains on the map for its lifetime. This could result in the formation of a very robust map-making community, with multiple users applying input to fine tune a single map. However, one thing I am concerned about is that the map editor is so much fun to use that there might be fewer and fewer gamers playing the actual maps. But one thing is certain. There will never be a shortage of Far Cry 2 maps to choose from.

22
Sep
08

Density

Following up on sothothyog’s rundown of his work on Fallout 3 I must add this:

Have you heard of white dwarf stars? They have the capability of squeezing an extraordinary amount of mass into a surprisingly small space. Imagine being able to fit the entire North American continent into a tupperware container the size of a thimble and you won’t even have begun to visualize what the gravitation of a white dwarf can do.

Fallout 3 has an extraordinary amount of content. Searching it all out and writing it all down would have driven Sothothyog completely mental if he weren’t already mad. Take all those words and squeeze them down into a book you can comfortably carry in two hands (large, strong hands) and you’ll have an idea of the white dwarf super-powers of our book designers.

Tome is the right word. As is “massive,” “giganormous,” and “for sale soon.”

You say you don’t want to miss anything in Fallout 3? (And trust me, you don’t.) Then you need this guide.

21
Sep
08

Fallout, then fall over

I started work on the Official Strategy Guide to Fallout 3 in earnest on May 24th, 2008. We’re currently tidying up the final pages, and cramming every last piece of tactical guidance into both the regular and special limited edition tomes in readiness for an October 28th on-sale date. Water-tight, pain-of-death non-disclosure agreements prevent me from speaking specifically about what went on during the last four months, but I can offer some rather vague information on why I halted an already-truncated social life for the chance of exploring a post-apocalyptic wasteland instead of writing, you know, three “regular” guides.

Firstly, this game is spectacularly big. How big? [CENSORED] Yeah, that big. Just in case that doesn’t get through, I will say our limited-edition strategy guide poster is larger than most coffee tables, that I spent at least a month constructing it, and that it has more locations than [SORRY, MUM’S THE WORD]. When you read interviews with other developers, and they say “there’s weeks of gameplay in this title”, they’re usually lying. But if you’re wanting to explore every nook, cranny, and small wasteland [SPECIFIC SETTLEMENT TITLE REMOVED] out in the middle of a blasted heath, you’ll need to free up a seriously large amount of time; more than mere weeks: [NOPE, CAN’T SAY], in fact. Fortunately, these expeditions can be performed in [A DIFFERENT, AND SUITABLY VAGUE MANNER], allowing you to savor the experience, as well as picking and choosing where you’d like to visit, and how savaged you’d like to get at the talons of a [REALLY RATHER COOL CREATURE I CAN’T MENTION].

I’ve personally spent more than [A SPECTACULARLY LARGE AMOUNT OF] man-hours on this project. I’ve worked directly with Bethesda to ensure [VARIOUS BITS AND BOBS] are presented in the easiest and most methodical manner possible. I’ve worked closely with professional cartographers so that [A RATHER IMPRESSIVE NUMBER OF] maps are created to the highest standard. And teasing just one element of the “meat and potatoes” of this effort, I have to make special mention of the [NOTHING TO SEE HERE] explorations: Well, let’s just say [ACTUALLY, LET’S NOT, SHALL WE?], an experience I’ll regard as one of the most [ENTHUSIASTIC ADJECTIVE] I’ve ever witnessed.

I hope I’ve suitably salivated your interest in the game and guide. Although I’m meeting the City Folk up at Nintendo for a while, I hope to be back soon, revealing [NOTHING SENSITIVE WHATSOEVER] about Fallout 3. Until then, I’ll send this to Prima’s ace legal department (they’re sure to perform only minor alterations to my blog entry), and let you feast your eyes on this single early rendered art piece, especially taken from already-available press release materials, and not any of the [LARGE NUMBER OF PRISTINE SCREENSHOTS] I took.

see more of David’s work at PrimaGames.com

21
Sep
08

Far Cry 2 Impressions: Part 2

It seems that most games on the market strive to provide a great single player experience or a deep and addictive multplayer mode. It’s uncommon you find both in the same title, but I think Far Cry 2 has pulled it off. This isn’t one of those games that will only take you 8-10 hours to complete and forget. Ubisoft is boasting anywhere from 25-50 hours of gameplay in the single player “campaign” alone. And since I recently completed the game, I can say that’s a very accuracte estimate. But it doesn’t end with single player.

The multiplayer mode has 14 maps, 4 different modes, and an addictive persistence system that’ll have you playing “one more round” for hours beyond your bedtime. Most exciting of all is the amazing map editor which will practically guarantee a fresh batch of maps everytime you login. We haven’t seen this kind of free-form user-created content in console gaming before, so it will be ineresting to see how it plays out. Of course, most of the maps will be complete garbage. But the team has already addressed that by implementing a ranking system. So in theory, the best maps will rise to the top. Still, we probably won’t see the really great maps until a few weeks after release. But until then, Ubisoft’s 14 maps should keep everyone plenty busy.

Overall, the amount of quality and content Ubisoft is giving us puts most other titles to shame. After Far Cry 2 it’ll be hard to play a 10 hour game and feel like you got your money’s worth.

Far Cry 2 Links:

  • Check out this awesome developer diary chronicling the development team’s trip to Kenya; it’s only part 1 with more to come.
  • Here’s another video of Clint showing off the map editor at the Leipzig a few weeks ago.
19
Sep
08

“May the Force Blow Your Mind”

I saw that tag line in a commercial for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed recently and it instantly brought back a flood of memories from my time with the game(s). I think I sometimes take it for granted that I get to play these games months before they come out and am often caught off-guard when a game actually releases. Given the fact that I’ve been living in a Star Wars worldas of late (yes, be jealous), it was easy to go on about my daily life thinking that everyone had already experienced the awesome that is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed… or SWTFU as we cool kids call it.

Anyhow, for those of you lucky enough to wield the Force for the first time, here are three quick tips to help you along the way.

1. Combo, Combo, Combo! This is not a button-masher, ladies and gents. The control system is complex and takes some practice to master, but once you do, nothing can stop you. Combos like Leaping Slam and Sith Saber Smash are extremely effective against tall enemies.

2. Combine your skills. What good is the ability to pick up and throw enemies with the Force if all you do is use your lightsaber? Combine your ‘saber skills and Force powers to formulate some awesome combos. Force Push and Saber Sling, for example, are a great one-two punch for dispatching enemies from afar.

3. Upgrade your abilities! Not only can you wield the Force, but you can also tailor it to suit your fighting style. If you find that you prefer one Force ability over another, then increase that power’s strength to become a better assassin.

Bonus Tip: Take advantage of your amazing destructive powers. You are, after all, Sith. Nearly all of the environments in the game are destructible! As you go, tear the environment apart. Remove wall panels, cut down trees (in-game tip only! plant them IRL), destroy sarlacc teeth until your heart’s content. etc. to find all of the hidden Holocrons throughout the games. Sometimes, the only way to find a Holocron is to destroy the environment, so have at it!

Enjoy the Force, friends. And yes, “May the Force Blow Your Mind!” It did mine.

19
Sep
08

Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Ahoy, lubbers! Today is a great day.  In preparation for the long awaited Ninjas Vs Pirates battle, the Pirates have come together in a single uniting event.  It is TLAPD, or for the uninitiated, Talk Like a Pirate Day! Yes, you too get to walk around with eyepatches and a hearty “Yarrr!” I have me trusty bandanna on with my eye patch and skull and crossbones shirt.

In honor of these great celebrations, Prima Games has 25% off all Pirate related Swag aka eGuides (well, we have 25% off all eGuides, but as Captain of this Blog, I decree that today, it is because of TLAPD!):

Pirates of the Burning Sea (with Parrot item)

Pirates of the Burning Sea Revised Edition (with Lizard item)

Sid Meier’s Pirates!

You should talk like a pirate, and play like one too!  If you need a little help with your piratese, here is a small dictionary to help you out and you can always get some “official” information over at the TLAPD blog.

Fair Winds!

16
Sep
08

Free Warhammer Online Loot Table

Click here to download the Free Loot Table!

Click here to download the Free Loot Table!

Get the excluisve Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Loot Table for Free by clicking the image above!