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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July updates

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There's been a few interesting updates this week on some of the games in development that I'm following at the moment, so here's a run down along with a few videos to waste your lunchtime watching.

First up SOE have released the first detailed information about their new FPS-MMO Planetside 2. The original game was flawed but a lot of fun, and even though it was released back in 2003 there hasn't really been another MMO shooter that's made any impact in the last 8 years. As the only real FPS-MMO on the horizon I'm going to be keeping an eye on this.

Anyway, amongst the information revealed at the recent SOE Fan Faire is that it will use the new Forge Light engine that Everquest Next is also using and that the game will use the same basic model as the original, i.e. three factions vying for territorial control of a persistent world. There will be no instancing at all, and almost the whole world will be capture-able by the factions, with thousands of players fighting in the same battles at once. Sounds both interesting and ambitious.


Onto The Secret World next, Funcom's new sandbox MMO based in the modern world where all the conspiracies are true. Funcom released a long and detailed developer walkthrough of the Savage Coast area and it looks quite interesting. They seem to be using the Bioware style cinematic conversations for quests, but without the choice/consequence system that Bioware uses. It looks alright, but the character models don't stand up too well in close-up cinematics are are a little static. Still, it looks like an improvement over most MMOs and if they can bring the same level of detail to the whole game that they applied to the first 20 levels of Age of Conan it could be great.

The combat/raid itself is nothing spectacular, but some of the ideas, such as the integration of alternate-reality gaming sound interesting. Could go either way.


The first downloadable content for Dragon Age 2 has been announced and will launch on July 26th. I enjoyed Dragon Age 2, a fun and involving, if slightly flawed RPG, and will probably pick up the DLC (new baby arrival allowing). The content pack offers a whole new adventure focusing on the secret heritage of Hawke's family. Should be good for a few hours darkspawn bashing! I'll probably post up a brief review once I've played it.


Batman: Arkham City has a new trailer based on The Riddler. Not much gameplay in here but it's an atmospheric and intriguing trailer. Looking forwards to this game a lot and I intend to buy it, though whether it will be on the release date (18th October) will largely depend on when The Old Republic launches and how much sleep I'm getting with the new arrival!


Finally Bioware's Friday update for The Old Republic this week was an in depth look at how the in-game map is created and designed. At first glance it doesn't look that interesting, but I found it a very interesting read indeed as it discusses both the theory and practicalities of making in-game maps. It's interesting that their Skynet metrics system (which I've written about before) showed that the most opened game window in testing was not the character sheet or inventory, but the world map. That's allowed them to spend a lot of time getting it just right, and I really like some of the features such as the transparency effect when running and the fact it tracks not only your own quests but those of your group members as well.

Check out the article here.

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