Hard Reset Demo Available Now

Hard Reset FPS

Hard Reset  is an upcoming single player first person shooter for PC. The game is stated to be a sci-fi/cyberpunk game with hoards of oncoming enemies and destruction.  According to their website the story takes place in the only remaining human city with the main character, Major Fletcher, fighting enemies and discovering the mysteries going on around him.  Best of all you can get your grubby sci-fi loving hands on it September 13th.  However, If you’re impatient the Hard Reset demo is available on Steam for the unforeseeable future!

Take a look at all the features listed on the Steampowered.com Store Page:

  • A haunting cyberpunk / dark sci-fi setting
  • Fast-paced, old-school shooter gameplay
  • Hordes of enemies to destroy
  • Epic boss fights
  • A deep, experience-based weapon upgrade system
  • High-fidelity graphics with full dynamic lighting
  • Extensive use of physics and dynamic environments
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Interview with the SW:TOR Senior Environment Artist

Star Wars The Old Republic

Bioware / Lucas Arts recently posted a news article interviewing Robby Lamb, senior environment artist behind Star Wars: The Old Republic.  The post goes through the process of how environments in the game evolve and transform into their final product. Mr. Lamb shows off downloadable screenshots of current environments within the game as he describes how the walls, materials, props & lighting are created and how they all come together to make this beautiful new sci-fi mmorpg.

In previous Bioware titles we have been treated to fantastically beautiful 3d environments.  However, what really sets them apart is the lighting and the grandiose rooms & levels throughout the games (see: Mass Effect & Dragon Age).  On the topic of walls & lighting he had this to say:

“As an Environment Artist, I love having time to polish the work that our team has put into the game. Quite often, assets and lighting may be completed months or years prior to the game’s release, so when we have time to polish this allows us to update and unify the game to the ever changing, growing, and evolving demands of development. This is especially true on an MMO like The Old Republic, where hundreds of different elements are interacting to make the multiplayer experience work correctly. When one element of the game changes, it can impact many others, so we may be required to polish the art in a certain part of the game, so that the story still works and the performance of the game is still optimal.”

“Apart from working on environment items like walls, another polish task is the re-lighting and adding of props to an area to help tell the visual story better. Appropriate lighting and props can quickly and visually tell you that an area is, for example, seedy as opposed to crime-free.”

Additionally, the props in any given 3D environment play a huge factor in the atmosphere created for the players.  Robby Lamb had this to say on that topic:

“Apart from working on environment items like walls, another polish task is the re-lighting and adding of props to an area to help tell the visual story better. Appropriate lighting and props can quickly and visually tell you that an area is, for example, seedy as opposed to crime-free.

This is important to the environment artists as well as the writers and designers whose story we are telling through art. Often we are given a description of an area that needs to be built out; let’s take a computer lab as an example. With a few NPCs placed inside, we might start with a computer lab in the simplest terms. However later in development a more detailed description may evolve – describing this area as a computer lab, locked from the outside, with a hacker trapped inside who is enslaved to the Empire. Based on this description we will go back into an area and address it by either building new or reusing more appropriate assets to fit the scene, relighting the area, as well as adjusting the environment settings such as fog depth or color.”

Mr. Lamb closed by giving some light on what they are trying to achieve with the final product and the focus they put on quality.

“Spending time to add polish to the game is extremely important, but it’s also a lot of fun as we see the game improve directly as a result of our work. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into what polish means from our perspective – and hopefully you have a better understanding of how important a simple wall can be in a game like The Old Republic!”

It’s a breath of fresh air that Bioware is taking the time to polish every aspect of how the game looks, unlike some of their competitors. With that said, even a premier developer like Bioware can make a mistake.  We will just have to see when Star Wars: The Old Republic releases.

For the full Q & A take a look at the source post: http://www.swtor.com/news/news-article/20110415

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Starcraft II: Open Beta Testing Starts in China

Starcraft II: China

Blizzard Entertainment & NetEase.com (who created the Chinese MMORPG Fantasy Westward Journey) announced that open beta testing for Starcraft II has officially begun in China. Finally, Chinese players will be able to experience Starcraft II’s wildly fun multiplayer & medicore single player after speculation of a Starcraft II ban in China.

If you live in Mainland China and haven’t already downloaded the Starcraft II client via a Battle.net account you can do so at the Chinese Battlenet site located at http://www.battlenet.com.cn.   After you’ve installed the client open the program file and automatically download the updates to the latest version to begin playing.

The beta will end in a hot minute (April 6th, 2011 to be exact) so get into the game now.  However, if you want to wait and get your hands on the commercial version the fun will begin directly after the end of the beta.  Customers will be able to purchase game time in 30-day increments at full retail for RMB20.

For more information check out this hype ridden press release from the PR Newswire – Asia (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/open-beta-testing-for-starcraft-ii-begins-in-mainland-china-118813734.html)

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Warhammer Online Fees Breaking the Bank

Warhammer Online

Earlier in this week, a bug in EA’s billing system for Warhammer Online decided to siphon a large amount of money from many of their subscribers, some accounts being hit for up to $2000 in additional fees straight from their bank account. Upon discovering their empty bank accounts with large overdraft fees, a swarm of players have went to the to their forums to vent their rage and fury.

Some people were left truly hurt besides money, with credit scores and loss of insurance added to the mix as well as apparently no real effort by Mythic to resolve the problem in a timely manner is angering the population of Warhammer Online.

One quote on the forums of Warhammer Online was a man who’s daughter’s birthday was ruined by this event..

also what do i tell my daughter since it is her bday? I had x amount of dollars aside for her party but due to your billing my account after i paid my monthly bills and had 500 paid for taxes yesterday there is nothing left in

pickles account.

what do i tell her?”

This event is truly tragic to all those affected, and I personally offer my sincere condolences. However I feel sorry to say that this may break an interesting MMORPG as well as Mythic might not be able to earn it’s customers trust back.

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Counter-Strike Causes Knife Attack

A game of Counter-Strike turns into “serious business” at an Internet Cafe in Jilin, China where a 17-year old was stabbed in the head with a kitchen knife. The victim was supposedly using wall hacks and several other players confronted the cheater about it. It quickly resulted with one of the angry players stabbing the hacking players in the head, clipping his skull.

Thankfully, the blade missed any major arteries and he’s currently in stable condition. While doctors believe the boy will have a full recovery, he’s currently under observation due to the knife having quite a bit of rust on it. While a bit crude, this may go a long way of reducing cheating used in online gaming. *Silver lining*

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