Shacknews - Shack Staff

Shack's Top 10 is back this week with Greg Burke's personal best and worst things from E3. Please take a look.

For more, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews on YouTube.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Wolfenstein 3D. Doom. Quake. While none of the three connects narratively to the others, technological and gameplay through lines chain them together to form id Software's definitive trifecta of titles. Each established itself as the premiere first-person shooter of its day, and a technological tour de force that enticed players to upgrade their hardware so they could run and gun at blistering speeds.

But according to an interview I conducted with John Romero, id co-founder and jack-of-all-trades programmer and level designer, Quake, released 20 years ago this week, didn't start out as Doom's spiritual successor.

"For Wolfenstein and Doom, there was stuff we came up with, and we put it in and then took it out because it wasn't true to the essence of the game: run and gun, basically," Romero told me. "When we were doing Quake, we actually had a totally different design for it that was more like a medieval world. It wasn't even a shooter in the beginning. It was first-person, but not a shooter, and we were going to use other weapons."

Shaping quake as a quiet adventure set in a medieval world was an idea that predated Wolfenstein 3D. After wrapping up their Commander Keen trilogy of platformers for the PC, Romero and his teammates put together a design treatment for a fantasy game called Quake: The Fight for Justice. Quake would not only be the game's title, but the name of the protagonist, inspired by a character that John Carmack played in Dungeons & Dragons when the guys took a break from cranking out code and artwork for their games.

"Your main character would have had a big hammer, kind of like Thor," Romero explained to me. "Quake was almost like Thor, but he had a thing called the Hellgate Cube which was a companion that had its own personality. It would orbit you, and whenever you were fighting it would help suck the souls out of the enemies you were beating on. If you didn't kill stuff fast enough, or kill enough enemies, it would get upset and just leave, and you'd have to find it somewhere and get it back. That would have been an experiment to see how cool it would have been, and to see what kind of world we could have made around those types of combat concepts."

Quake: The Fight for Justice went through several design iterations as the id crew grew more experienced at making games. Seeking to change the world's perception of multiplayer gaming once again, they came up with a concept where players could sneak up behind opponents and knock them off of cliffs. From there, the player knocked from his or her perch would have to control his descent as he flailed and tumbled down the mountain.

Romero also outlined id's plans for view triggers, a mechanic best describe as a predecessor to scripted events like those seen in Valve's Half-Life in 1998. "If a view trigger was in your field of view, it would trigger just because you looked at it. Let's say you're going down a path through the woods. There's a cave off to your right. You look over and see red eyes peering out of the cave. Suddenly you hear growling, and the creature starts to come out of the cave just because you looked at it. That could have happened at any point, or it could never have happened because you never looked over there, or there could have been a second view trigger and walking through it would have triggered [the first]."

An image from an early build of Quake, courtesy of John Romero's blog. Click here to read his tribute to Quake's 20th anniversary.

Ultimately, technical difficulties and internal strife caused Romero, John Carmack, and the other principals at id to abandon Quake's design and get back to doing what their team did best. "It took so long to make the engine work at a good framerate, and the company was just too tired to innovate on the design and see if it would work. No one had the stamina to try and push through this possible new gameplay, so we went with the Doom-style shooter and finished it in seven months."

Not that that's a bad thing. Far more than just another FPS, Quake and its underlying tech were the seeds that led to a bountiful harvest of genre-defining technology, new game modes like capture-the-flag and Team Fortress, and online gameplay facilitated through QuakeWorld's graphical UI and methods of reducing latency.


All quotes come from an interview conducted by David L. Craddock for publication in Making Fun: Stories of Game Development, Volume 1, due out in paperback and electronic editions later this summer.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Quake is still one of the best run-and-gun FPS games on the planet, but the original version looks a little rough on modern systems. That's a shame, since Wolfenstein: The New Order developer MachineGames  rang in the shooter's 20th birthday by releasing a brand new episode for free.

You can bring Quake up to modern standards, and play mods like MachineGames' free campaign, by downloading source ports, modifications that give classic games a facelift and add extra features. Darkplaces is considered one of the best Quake ports available, so we wrote our guide with it in mind.

Purchasing and Installing Quake

You can't run a source port without the base game's data files. Fortunately, Quake is 20 years old, which means you can get it for cheap from most digital retailers like Steam and GOG.com

Downloading and Installing Darkplaces

Darkplaces is popular among Quake aficionados for its enhanced animations, high resolutions, and improved textures and character models that enhance the game's eerie atmosphere.

The port's authors designed it around technical and single-player enhancements such as mods—meaning, you'll need to look elsewhere if you want a port that will let you and your buddies bounce "pineapples" at each other until dawn.

You can find Darkplaces on the downloads page of the website belonging to Lord Havoc, the port's author. Look under "Latest stable/official release" and click the ink that applies to your operating system. Place the file in the folder where you installed Quake.

Go to the folder where you installed Quake and unpack Darkplaces. To run the game, double-click the darkplaces application. Once the game starts open the Options menu and crank the resolution and graphical features as high as your computer can take them.

Downloading and Installing

Bethesda hosts MachineGames' free Quake episode on its website; grab it here. As before, place the file in the same folder where you installed Quake and Darkplaces, but do not unload it just yet.

Running a mod through Darkplaces requires you to first unpack a mod's data files in a folder with the same name as the mod. In this case, we downloaded a file called dopa, so right-click in the Quake folder and create a new folder called dopa. Move the dopa file into its new folder and unpack its contents there.

Go back one subfolder to Quake's home on your hard drive. Right-click inside the folder and select Create New Shortcut. The shortcut's filename should consist of the path to the Quake directory, followed by darkplaces -game dopa, the folder where you placed the dopa episode's data. For example, I installed Quake to the Games folder of my F:\ drive.

To finish creating the shortcut, give it a unique name, such as DOPA Episode. Double-click your shortcut to run DOPA.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

The Pokemon Company has announced new details for Pokemon Sun & Moon will be revealed on July 1, 2016 at 6:00am PT / 9:00am ET.

The company previously announced new information would be revealed for its upcoming game twice in the past. The first announcement showcased the game’s region, starter Pokemon and the game’s release date, while the second announcement focused on its Legendaries and some of the main characters you’ll come across in your journeys.

What kind of information will The Pokemon Company announce next week? We’ll just have to wait an see, fellow Pokemon Trainers. Although let's just hope it's better than Nintendo's presentation at E3 2016. We couldn't but feel like a Snorlax while watching it.

Pokemon Sun and Moon is scheduled to be released on the Nintendo 3DS on November 18.

Shacknews - Cassidee Moser

Mighty No. 9 was supposed to be the chosen one. In an age where Mega Man fans have been haranguing Capcom for years to let the blue bomber appear in an all-new game for modern consoles, Mighty No. 9 appeared as both a Mega Man-esque adventure and a seeming middle finger to Capcom’s ambivalence toward its de facto mascot.

However, red flags gradually raised throughout the course of Mighty No. 9’s development, all culminating in what is arguably the worst result it could have seen. Mighty No. 9 released three years later as a completely sub-par, mediocre experience rather than the bombastic return of Mega Man so many hoped it would be.

What happened? How was it that the beloved Keiji Inafune could call so far from grace to ultimately fail on executing his dream for a new dawn of Mega Man?

Hero Worship

We within the gaming community have a knack for assigning all praise on one creative head. Kojima, Meier, Levine, Igarashi, and even Miyamoto all stand as legends in their own rights, creators of amazing games that have defined generations and remain standouts in history today.

While these people are the original minds behind a franchise, they’re not the only ones working tirelessly to bring it to fruition. Teams consisting of up to hundreds of people all work together to execute on an original design, but that design does not necessarily exist as law. Having people to produce, oversee, and even edit down projects and ideas are a necessary part of making a creative work into the most effective and comprehensive vision possible.

When we assign too much credit to one person, we begin to see them as infallible geniuses incapable of doing anyone wrong. No matter what shady thing a publisher might do, that one name will be the one to return us to our roots and save the day.

It's likely that this charitable attitude impacted the perception of Inafune's goals. Of course he helmed massive franchises like Mega Man and even Dead Rising. One of the biggest reasons why he was able to raise over three million dollars in Mighty No. 9’s Kickstarter campaign was on sheer name recognition alone. People knew him. People trusted him. People placed all of their faith squarely on his shoulders and expected nothing less than the return-to-form Mega Man game they had been craving for so long.

Creativity may be at its best when it’s limited. Endless resources actually serve as its bane, allowing for any and all ideas to work, which then negates any reason for a creator to become inventive or clever to work within their limitations. Give someone an inch of their own, and they’ll draw it out until it’s been stretched thin over a very long  mile.

Inafune has spoken about the amount of pressure he was under to make Mighty No. 9 and was very vocal about the fact he knew there was a lot riding on the success of it. But as it turns out, maybe there was something to having the oversight of Capcom to keep his vision in order, not to mention the structure of an established studio.

It’s also possible Inafune has simply run out of ideas. Games can have difficulty aging well, because the ideas older games introduce as wholly new or original are often co-opted by their successors to the point where the mechanics found in classic games are all too familiar and thus, don’t feel so special. The action platformer has been and continues to be one of the most important in gaming history. To set it apart and give fans the Mega Man game they wanted out of Mighty No. 9, making it into a 2D side-scrolling action platformer may not have been the best approach.

Development Hell

While the Kickstarter campaign was a wild success by any metric, it seems likely that Inafune's expectations and desires for Mighty No. 9 as a franchise spiraled out of control and began to stretch beyond reality and possibility given his budget and cache. From the very start, Mighty No. 9’s development was riddled with warning signals that very clearly spoke to the eventual state of the game.

To understand this, let’s look at the timeline:

  • Mighty No. 9 launches its Kickstarter campaign during PAX Prime 2013. It shattered its initial goal and eventually earned over $3 million in just under 48 hours thanks to the donations of 67,226 backers.  Console and handheld versions were also mentioned and continue to be in development to the time of this writing.
  • The success of Mighty No. 9 created a buzzing, palpable feeling of excitement in Capcom fans. So much so, in fact, that Inafune came out on February 7, 2014 to announce Mighty No. 9 would not just be a video game, but a multimedia enterprise. He voiced interest in spinning Mighty No. 9 into an anime series, comic book, manga, television show, and even a live action movie.
  • Additional crowdfunding options through PayPal become available. No budgeting issues were ever reported, but opening up a new portal for people to willingly dump money into your project is rarely a great sign of confidence on the part of the developer.  
  • A release date is finally announced for the West as September 2015. A release date for a live-action adaptation movie was then announced, along with Inafune’s partnership with Legendary Pictures to bring the film to digital platforms. Keep in mind, this is part of his “multimedia” approach to making Mighty No. 9 into the coolest kid on the block.
  • Inafune launches another Kickstarter campaign for Red Ash, another Mega Man-esque clone with multimedia potential. The campaign becomes almost an instant controversy, as Red Ash already had a publisher and any funds raised through Kickstarter would simply help the game reach its stretch goals. What were those stretch goals? As Kotaku pointed out, who knows. Even the page itself admitted they didn’t have any, exposing the Red Ash campaign as incompetent at best.
  • In August 2015, Mighty No. 9 was delayed into February 2016 due to bugs and technical reasons.
  • In September 2015, it was pushed back further into Spring 2016.
  • In January 2016, Mighty No. 9 was delayed a third time into June 2016. It eventually released on June 24th on PC, PS4, PS3, Wii U, and Xbox One, but remains in development for the 3DS, Vita, and Xbox 360.

When it finally released, Mighty No. 9 was ultimately not the game that was promised. It looked different, had significantly less style and personality, and ultimately was a completely mediocre video game whose history had done very little to maintain Inafune’s good standing with Mega Man fans.

He acknowledged the ways Mighty No. 9 was mishandled during development on a livestream, saying:

"'You know, I want to word this in a way to explain some of the issues that come with trying to make a game of this size on multiple platforms [...] I'm kind of loath to say this because it's going to sound like an excuse and I don't want to make any excuses. I own all the problems that came with this game and if you want to hurl insults at me, it's totally my fault. I'm the key creator. I will own that responsibility.'"

Too Big to Fail

So what happened to Mighty No. 9? As Inafune admits, the issue ultimately comes down to his own handling. He was aware of the pressure on him to make the Mega Man game fans had been seeking for so long. He was confident--maybe even overly so--in the project, to the point where he started thinking too big. Spinning out one basic game idea into a multimedia powerhouse is not something that happens all at once, especially not in a climate where Mega Man is not as commonly known as so many other video game characters today. If he was working with studios for a game, animated series, and live-action film simultaneously, how much input did he have in the actual creation of Mighty No. 9? It’s a matter of spreading oneself too thin and assuming success before having it proven. Hence, why he launched campaigns for Red Ash to also have a game and an adaptation series before even officially releasing his first “independent” project.

It’s also possible Inafune’s departure from Capcom meant he had to assemble a new team who did not have the same familiarity with the Mega Man series as him and his old co-workers. Thus, attempting to use a template of which one is not as familiar will yield a result that will not feel as integral to the original. And, when one considers the many ways in which Inafune was apparently spreading himself thin over multiple mediums and ideas, it becomes highly possible the man simply didn’t focus enough on the core concept that earned him millions of dollars in the first place.

This may be something we see more and more as the industry continues to evolve and famous creators set out to start their own projects. We saw this with Igarashi and his campaign for the Castlevania-like Bloodstained. Hideo Kojima has freed himself from Konami and is working on the Silent Hills-esque Death Stranding. Yu Suzuki is currently working on the long-awaited Shenmue 3.

But in a completely different market and climate, it’s difficult to know how well these veteran’s ideas will have aged and indeed, if they’ve learned how to adapt to the changing times and know how to stick to their vision.

Unfortunately, only time will tell.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

We’ve been keeping tabs on Koei Tecmo’s Attack on Titan game for several months now, and while we recently learned we could rampage as Eren’s Titan Form, we weren’t happy until we got to check the game out for ourselves at E3 2016.

During the show, we were able to get nearly 12 minutes of on-screen gameplay of Attack on Titan. The special E3 2016 build of the game includes Tutorial Mode, Battle Mode, and Titan Mode, although for the purpose of this demo, we were shown Battle Mode, which consists of the game’s main storyline.

Prior to the start of gameplay, we’re treated to a short cutscene which features a number of Garrison Soldiers attempting to corral an out of control Titan. Suddenly, one of the anime’s main characters Mikasa shows up and cuts down the Titan by focusing on its weak spot at the rear of its neck.

The gameplay then starts at Chapter 1 Episode 3 with Mikasa attempting to complete her current mission, which is to protect citizens from various Titans as they attempt to escape from the Trost District. Mikasa can be seen attacking various parts of the Titans body in order to disable them, to then finally take the Titan out.

Feel free to watch our full gameplay walkthrough of Attack on Titan from E3 2016:

Attack on Titan is releasing on PC and PlayStation 4 on August 30, 2016.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Following a referendum vote yesterday, 51.9 percent of the United Kingdom decided in favor of exiting the European Union. The result has yet to be ratified by parliament, but the fallout has already begun.

One of the most major ramifications of "Brexit" (a portmanteau of "Britain" and "exit") has been concern regarding the financial health of both the UK and the EU"When the pound dropped to 30-year lows as the results came in and British stocks got pounded, it was no surprise when Wall Street tumbled more than 500 points right after the opening bell Friday morning," per CNN's Doug Criss.

Other world economies will feel tremors as the pound continues to plummet, but families and businesses on the other side of the Atlantic will get hit the hardest—including game developers and publishers. Game Informer editor Mike Futter published a report on Brexit's high-level points and what they could mean for the games business.

"Should the non-binding referendum vote become fact, it will have profound negative impact on the UK's video game industry," he wrote. "The industry there supports more than 2,000 companies, supporting more than 18,000 jobs."

Futter got comments from Ukie, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making and publishing games in the UK. According to Ukie head of policy and public affairs Theo Blackwell, "Issues that will be particularly pertinent to the UK games industry in the coming months, and that Ukie will be working hard to fully represent our sector on, include securing access to overseas talent, ensuring we have the right investment in skilling up our homegrown talent, the continuation of the Video Games Tax Relief, and access to funding."

Other pundits and businesspeople in the UK are well aware that even the most thorough planning could be for naught. "It is too early to say with any detail at this very early stage, but we can say given the above that over time there are likely to be a wide number of legal changes affecting day to day business for digital entertainment and tech companies ranging from employment to intellectual property matters," said attorney Jas Purewal of Purewal & Partners. "This in turn is likely to mean changes to the business landscape."

You can read Futter's full report on Game Informer.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Following a referendum vote yesterday, 51.9 percent of the United Kingdom decided in favor of exiting the European Union. The result has yet to be ratified by parliament, but the fallout has already begun.

One of the most major ramifications of "Brexit" (a portmanteau of "Britain" and "exit") has been concern regarding the financial health of both the UK and the EU"When the pound dropped to 30-year lows as the results came in and British stocks got pounded, it was no surprise when Wall Street tumbled more than 500 points right after the opening bell Friday morning," per CNN's Doug Criss.

Other world economies will feel tremors as the pound continues to plummet, but families and businesses on the other side of the Atlantic will get hit the hardest—including game developers and publishers. Game Informer editor Mike Futter published a report on Brexit's high-level points and what they could mean for the games business.

"Should the non-binding referendum vote become fact, it will have profound negative impact on the UK's video game industry," he wrote. "The industry there supports more than 2,000 companies, supporting more than 18,000 jobs."

Futter got comments from Ukie, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making and publishing games in the UK. According to Ukie head of policy and public affairs Theo Blackwell, "Issues that will be particularly pertinent to the UK games industry in the coming months, and that Ukie will be working hard to fully represent our sector on, include securing access to overseas talent, ensuring we have the right investment in skilling up our homegrown talent, the continuation of the Video Games Tax Relief, and access to funding."

Other pundits and businesspeople in the UK are well aware that even the most thorough planning could be for naught. "It is too early to say with any detail at this very early stage, but we can say given the above that over time there are likely to be a wide number of legal changes affecting day to day business for digital entertainment and tech companies ranging from employment to intellectual property matters," said attorney Jas Purewal of Purewal & Partners. "This in turn is likely to mean changes to the business landscape."

You can read Futter's full report on Game Informer.

Shacknews - John Keefer

In what is probably a surprise to no one, it appears that L.A. Noire's spiritual successor, Whore of the Orient, will not be coming out.

In an interview with podcast GameHugs (transcribed by Finder), former Kennedy Miller Mitchell (KMM) Games producer Derek Proud said the he seriously doubted the game would ever be released. "I don’t think so," he said, but refused to say if the game was outright cancelled. Proud became producer on the game after developer Team Bondi's assets were acquired by KMM in 2011, including the Whore of the Orient IP. Team Bondi had shut down the previous month, and much of the team joined KMM.

The game was to be set in 1930s Shanghai, using the tech from L.A. Noire. "Shanghai was the only place in the world you could go to in the 1930s and 1940s if you didn’t have a passport," Proud said. "So everybody who was running from something went to Shanghai. The whole city was run by a gangster called Big-Eared Du and it’s just the most fascinating time, place and setting."

In the end, the game just never materialized, even though the team fought for it "to the bitter end," he said. "This was a team forged in blood and fire. They are incredibly talented developers, and while we lost a couple of them in that transition, I have amazing amounts of respect for everybody that put out L.A. Noire."

The KMM games division was shut down in 2013, followed by the release of some supposed footage from the game. 

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

There is a lot to do in Bethesda’s latest addition to the wasteland world, and Fallout 4’s many adventures are nothing to scoff at. But where do you start? In this special guide we take a look at five of the coolest, most amazing, and just downright awesome things to do in the Commonwealth’s wasteland as a bit of a celebratory dance for all the cool content that Bethesda has brought to Fallout fans everywhere.

Go on an Adventure

First things first, and the easiest thing to do on this list of ours, just go on an adventure. There is a lot of ground to cover in Fallout 4, so don’t be afraid to just set off on an adventure in any direction. Seriously, you think we’re kidding, but that’s how easy it is to find cool stuff in Fallout 4. Just choose a direction, point your Vault Dweller that direction, and go. There’s no telling what you’ll come across as you wander the Wasteland.

So stop sitting around lamenting about how there isn’t anything to do in Sanctuary Hills. Get up off your romp, grab your trusty Dogmeat, and get to moving, Wastelander!

Build a Settlement

The second thing on our list is actually one of the coolest things that Fallout 4 has to offer. Settlement building is something that Bethesda pushed heavily from the first time we saw any footage of the latest wasteland crawler, and it’s something that has clearly seen a lot of love from both the developers and fans (there are tons of mods out there that add new items and things to build). Head on up to Santuary Hills if you want, or if you’re looking for a more open area to build in, we like to use the Starlight Drive-In as a base of operations.

You can also build up really cool settlements around the Red Rocket and other places throughout the world. Just head to new areas on the map, clear them out, and then start building by activating the Workbench in that area. Of course, you’re still going to need supplies to get your settlement going, but those can easily be found by scavenging through the world around you. If you aren’t sure what to do next in your Wasteland adventure, just open up the crafting menu and see what comes of it. It can’t hurt, right?

Explore Far Harbor

The very first DLC for Fallout 4 was a bit of a letdown, it was. We know it, you know, and even Bethesda knows it (even if they don’t say it). That’s why Far Harbor was so freaking good. It added this whole new world to explore, a huge open island filled with new creatures, characters, and stories just waiting to be encountered. Of course, there is still the issue of the radiation fog that covers the locale, not to mention the three-way civil war you’re bound to find yourself in the middle of. But as far as open-world RPG expansion packs go, Far Harbor was the breath of fresh air that many Vault Dwellers needed to get their love for Fallout 4 brewing again. Don’t miss out on this tension-filled adventure.

Catch a DeathClaw

Oh, that sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? Just take a look around at all the creepy crawlies waiting to get their claws wrapped around your neck. Doesn’t the wasteland just seem so inviting? No? Well, who says you have to play by their rules! Thanks to the Wasteland Workshop DLC, you don’t have to sit around and wait for Deathclaws to come a chompin’. It’s time to show those creepy crawlies whose boss, so head on out there and capture you one. Once you’ve got it captured you can do a number of things. Let it loose in your settlement, build a massive arena for it and other creatures to fight in, and more. The sky is the limit!

Build Your Own Factory

The Commonwealth is littered with plenty of old factories and warehouses to explore, but there’s just something about building your own true-blue buildings from the ground up. Thanks to the additions made by the Contraptions DLC, building warehouses and factories is easier than ever. And, to top things off, you can even put in your own elevator! Nifty!

Of course, like anything else in this post-apocalyptic world, you’re going to have to work for what you want, so be ready to scavenge for the supplies you need to build your factory. Once you’ve got the base layout setup, why not go ahead and install an Ammunition Plant and get yourself a ton more ammo to go with that shiny Double Barreled Shotgun you keep waving around.

These are just some of the things we enjoy doing in Fallout 4, and it has led to us spending far more hours in-game than we care to acknowledge. There’s still a lot more to do out there in the Commonwealth, though, so why are you just sitting around here reading this thing? Get out there and do some exploring, Wastelander.

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