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Super id Software Pack
Blink over to GamersGate and you'll find a selection of Bethesda published and developed games, their prices magicked in half for this weekend by Baargan'an, Daedric lord of cheap stuff. From there you can... er... damn. I was going to crudely shoehorn in a Rage reference, but I can remember almost nothing about that game. Oh, it had John Goodman in it. Maybe there's something there?
Highlights include Dishonored and Skyrim at £7.49 each, and Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition (the one with the added DLC bits) for £7.48.
Strangely, even the earlier non-Steamworks parts of their discounted catalogue, like Morrowind and Oblivion, require a Steam account to activate. It's unlikely to be a big deal for most, but it's worth bearing in mind if you don't want Rogue Warrior to Sulley your account.
"Sulley," get it? Because that was John Goodman's character in Monsters, Inc? Honestly, I don't know why I bother.
Head here for the full sale list.
Apr 21, 2013
Omri mentioned a mod called gmDoom last month, which allows you to bring the Doom experience, including weapons, enemies, HUD, and entities, into Garry's Mod. After watching a few weeks pass as bugs were squashed and updates were released, I decided it was finally time to pull-start this particular chainsaw and take it for a spin. I also decided, instead of just playing around, to really play. Specifically, I wanted to play through the entirety of the Half-Life 2 campaign, using only the gmDoom HUD and weapons. Space Marine, welcome to City 17!
Hm? What? Who? Space Marine is skeptical.
After getting off the train in City 17, I realize how happy I am to be an angry, violent Space Marine instead of a befuddled, bespectacled scientist. Gordon Freeman didn't pick up a weapon until a good half-hour into Half-Life 2, but Doomguy is always packing a pistol, a chainsaw, and his fists. Rather than wandering through the beginning of the game, helplessly watching as citizens are abused at the hands of the Metrocops, I can immediately right some wrongs by applying a healthy dose of SPACE VIOLENCE.
So, when I see a Metrocop shove a citizen, I punch him to death (the Metrocop, to be clear). That annoying flying camera robot gets a taste from my pistol. What's this? Other cops, standing around doing nothing violent? Not on my watch! They die. I approach a couple citizens as well, just to see if weapons work on them too. (Weapons work on them too.) Oh, and that cop who tries to make me pick up a soda can and put it in the garbage? I saved the chainsaw for him.
Marines. Always. Recycle.
Before long, I'm in the canals, fighting enemies who can actually fight back. It mostly works well: the weapons are effective and feel natural after a few minutes of play, though you have to be pretty darn precise with your aim for long-distance kills. It's also a genuinely neat experience: the sights and sounds of the throwback Doom weapons mixed with the atmosphere and enemies of Half-Life 2. It's double-nostalgic. It's like combining two tastes I love, bacon and chocolate, into one violent, historic mouthful of video game.
Something else I notice: while it feels a little odd in this day and age to play a game where you're constantly staring at your own face, it does make your health quite a priority. Instead of a percentage or a colored bar, you get to look at your sad mug streaked with blood, a pretty visceral reminder that it's not your health meter taking damage: it's your own face. Finding medkits feels a lot more urgent when you're hurt so bad your hair is bleeding.
Space Marine needs food, badly.
Ammo for my Doom weapons, naturally, is not stocked in City 17, so I just spawn some for myself from the Garry's Mod menu when I run out. I try to also give myself new weapons when it feels appropriate. When Metrocops start using machine guns, for example, I give myself Doom's chaingun. When I remember that you don't get a shotgun until you get to Ravenholm, I give myself one anyway, because screw that.
After escaping City 17, I wind up deciding to skip the second half of the canal levels. Making a Space Marine drive a crummy boat powered by a fan just seems insulting. It's like making Willy Wonka eat a celery stick. He knows not of, and cares not for, such primitive tools. Fast-forward, then, to Ravenholm!
Plus a quick stop in Black Mesa East to kill a disgusting alien. You're welcome, Vance family!
In the zombie-patrolled streets of Ravenholm, our Space Marine seems quite comfy. Hideous shambling monsters, blood, gore, horror: these are what Doomguy was made for. I admit, I do pine for the Gravity Gun, because flinging giant circular blades into zombies is still awesome. The super shotgun works just fine, though.
These zombies don't shoot back? You got off easy this time, Earth.
After blasting my way through Ravenholm with kindred spirit Father Gregori, I decide to skip the driving sections of HL2 as well, mostly because the driving feels like 100% Half-Life 2 and 0% Doom, and the mix is what's really making this fun. I skip to the lighthouse at the end of the coastal maps, and dig in with the resistance as they fight off the Combine attack.
After defeating a few waves of drop-ship soldiers, I run into a little problem when the Synth Gunship arrives. I've given myself Doom 2's rocket launcher, but it only fires in a straight line, as opposed to HL2's laser-guided launcher. The Gunship doesn't shoot my rockets down, but there's no need: I keep missing because the Gunship keeps moving. Try as I might, I just can't hit the sucker. He, however, has no problem hitting me. It's time to call in reinforcements.
No shame in a Marine calling for backup. SPACE backup.
I use G-Mod to spawn a Doom Cyberdemon-- shut up, that is TOTALLY FAIR-- and the gunship and the Cyberdemon immediately decide they hate each other. (Isn't introducing one enemy to another enemy always awkward, like when your work friends meet your personal friends?) Unfortunately, the Cyberdemon is also unable to hit the gunship. Finally, exasperated, I just take out my G-Mod physics tool and hold the stupid gunship in place, letting the demon blast it to pieces. ALSO FAIR.
Hold still. This will only hurt a lot.
And, having used a physics tool from 2006 to help a cyborg demon from 1993 kill a biosynthetic airship from 2004... that's where my play-through of Half-Life2 abruptly comes to an end. It was a fun experiment, sure, but holding a three-dimensional gunship in the sky with my finger so a two-dimensional demon can whomp on it serves as a massive reminder: I don't just have two great games to play with here, I've got three, and I've all but forgotten about the Garry's Mod part of the experience. I've been eating bacon and chocolate, YES, but I've been completely neglecting the GLORIOUS BOTTLE OF BOURBON sitting right there to wash it all down with.
Time to switch from playing Half-Doom 2 and start playing a game I call Make Everything Fight Everything Else By The Lighthouse For Six Straight Hours!
Combine vs. Heavy Weapon Dudes!
The Combine win!
Pinky vs. Combine!
Arch-vile vs. Antlion Guard!
Antlion Guard wins -- but Arch-vile really does raise the dead Doom monsters! Awesome.
Antlion Guard vs. Spiderdemon!
Spiderdemon wins (eventually)!
Helicopter vs. Pain Elementals and Lost Souls!
Draw. Spawned helicopter doesn't seem to ever die, and Pain Elementals never seem run out of Lost Souls.
After making Everything fight Everything Else for six hours, I do, eventually, return to Half-Life 2 proper, mainly to see if I can take down a Strider with a Doom 2 rocket launcher (I can, and quite handily) and to try out the plasma cannon on the Combine (it works amazingly well). And, of course, to unleash the BFG on a store-front full of Combine soldiers.
Looks like the store... *sunglasses* ...is CLOSED.
Putting this mod into that other mod and putting both mods into Half-Life 2 is amazing. Do it! Do it now!
Installation: Mostly simple! However, you'll need a WAD file from one of the Doom games to import all the assets. If you don't own a Doom game, you can use a WAD file from the free shareware version of Doom and still get most of the weapons (I used Doom2.wad; full list of what the various WAD files give you access to here). Drop the WAD in the garrysmod/garrysmod folder in your Steam directory. Then, just subscribe to the mod on Steam Workshop and when you boot up Garry's Mod, it will be enabled. You can spawn all your weapons and monsters from the menu by pressing Q, and enable the HUD using the console code doom_cl_hud 1.
Also, and perhaps this is obvious, but you'll need Half-Life 2 installed for all the Half-Life 2 stuff.
It starts with a dizzying shot of barbed wire. Then we see a glimpse of an LP—The Moonbeam Trio, directed by George Shackley. A quick Googling reveals that the Library of Congress has recordings. Then we see sheet music from Bach’s Air on the G String, and it's back to barbed wire. It's a four second Vine video tweeted by Bethesda Softworks. What it means is for us to futilely wave speculation at, but we're suckers for a puzzle, so why don't we try?
Air on the G String comes from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, and gets its name from the violin and piano arrangement by August Wilhelmj, a German child prodigy. You can actually hear Wilhelmj—or a violinist suspected to be him—play a different song via the medium of wax recording.
Air on the G String is Wilhelmj's claim to fame, and one of Bach's most famous works. If it all sounds very Fallout-ey, Bethesda Softworks VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines says, "Guess again."
Alright, we will. If we take The Moonbeam Trio to be a nod to the 1930s and 1940s, Wolfenstein is a decent bet, but let's go even deeper. Air on the G String and the Moonbeam Trio have something in common: violins. Rearrange "Vine Violins" and you get "I involve sin," so clearly we're talking about Doo—wait, that's stretching too far, isn't it?
There's no way to know for sure what Bethesda is teasing, but conversation motivated by curiosity is fun, so we'll let you take it from here:
Apr 3, 2013
Doom 4 will eventually emerge from development hell, but exactly when is still uncertain. Bethesda Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Pete Hines tells Kotaku that id's Doom 4 team has started over on a "new version" of the game after being unhappy with the initial quality of the game.
"An earlier version of Doom 4 didn't exhibit the quality and excitement that id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect,” Hines explains. “As a result, id refocused its efforts on a new version of Doom 4 that promises to meet the very high expectations everyone has for this game and this franchise. When we’re ready to talk about the Doom 4 id is making, we will let folks know.”
A couple years ago, rumors swirled of an "indefinite" delay to Doom 4 over the tepid response to Rage's release, though Hines called the reports "bollocks" during that time. Hopefully id has settled on its final design direction for Doom 4's makeover. And hey, if it needs help, we've got plenty of ideas.
Apr 3, 2013
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Alec Meer)
The now Zenimax/Bethesda-owned id have been eerily quiet since Rage met a mixed reception and underwhelming sales. I quite liked it, non-ending aside – it might have nothing on BioShock Infinite’s visual majesty, but the people-filled non-combat hubs between its more tunnelish combat were more convincingly alive than Columbia’s Auton population. In any case, Rage wasn’t the combeback Carmack and co needed, leaving us hoping that the in theory forthcoming Doom 4 would be. Half a decade on, there’s neither hide nor hair of it to be seen, and alleged sources close to the project have told Kotaku why that could be. Clearly there’s something in it, as it prompted Bethesda’s Pete Hines to acknowledge that id had indeed switched to making “a new version” of Doom 4 after an earlier one “did not exhibit the quality and excitement that Id and Bethesda intend to deliver.” (more…)
You can't escape Doom. After tearing open a portal to Hell on the Source engine, it's aiming its slavering maw at the roguelike genre with DoomRL, where you'll have to escape a dark and infested facility of demonic horror while also worrying about the looming threat of permadeath. No pressure or anything.
All the roguelike trappings show up alongside sound effects and graphical sprites lifted directly from the FPS. You'll frag beasties in quick, turn-based battles while scrounging for ammo, health, armor, and keycards. Three classes—Marine, Scout, and Technician—determine your stat spread and passive traits, and there are over 30 randomized levels and mod support for extra user-made floors.
DoomRL already has a dedicated community talking shop and contributing content over on its official website, and the latest version, 0.9.9.7, released yesterday after a little over a year in development. You'll probably want to brush up on the game's wiki as well before jumping in.
Mar 19, 2013
As far as giving an older game the Source treatment, GhorsHammer's gmDoom port project is probably the quickest to elicit a "Holy %)#@" out of me since Black Mesa. It chainsaws out the UI, enemy, and weapon sprites from the proto-FPS and stitches them into Garry's Mod with astonishing smoothness. I can't imagine how downing a Strider with a blast from the BFG would work, but after seeing it in action in GhorsHammer's video, I can't imagine how it wouldn't work.
The mod is undergoing a final round of bug testing and tweaks, and it'll show up in Steam Workshop sometime this week for download. It looks like the Frankensteinian bridge between Doom and Source flows both ways, as you're seemingly able to set up fights against classic hellspawn such as the Cacodemon and Revenant while touting Half-Life 2's arsenal. That includes vehicles, and running over crowds of Imps in Episode Two's muscle car while blasting E1M1 sounds all kinds of awesome.
Mar 8, 2013
Article by Nathan Ditum
Apparently refusing to avail itself of the teleportation technology that kickstarted its earliest predecessor, Doom 4 has been creeping towards us slowly from the shadows since it was announced in May 2008. Since then it’s been teased, mentioned, and even glimpsed in a leaked selection of artwork that suggested anyone looking for finely detailed neo-classical balconies was in for one serious thrill ride when the game finally arrived.
We’re less focused on the neo-classical balconies, though, and more on the shooting and the hellspawn. Here are a few ideas we’d like to see propping up the big first-person shooter’s return.
This is a call for barrels in an emblematic sense, which is exciting as it’s something that might never have happened before. The thinking behind it is that the barrels in the original Doom and Doom II weren’t necessarily a sublime piece of game design, but did and do effectively recall the /style/ of play. They’re placed apparently at random, but also in places where an early shotgun blast will set off the exaggerated “ker-TUSH”explosion followed by the slick sound of entirely inside-out enemies capitulating to gravity. There is a cartoon kineticism to the original games, epitomised in the barrels, and in dodgeable fireballs, and the ability to strafe so quickly you can see the side of the rocket you’ve just fired. Translating this directly would be disastrous, obviously, but a sense of it is what was missing from the hollow horror of Doom 3, and will be crucial to Doom 4 (and if that leaked art is anything to go buy, it looks like we’re covered).
It’s very important that the game take us to Hell in a literal, lakes of fire, citadel of Pandemonium, walls of the agonised damned way. This is what gave the brash original its exploitation punch - you’re not popping your way through a familiarly demonic arcade metropolis, you’re in /actual/ Hell, a Roger Corman stakes raising that contributes significantly to Doom’s shotgun abandon. The leaked art shows New York torn apart by some kind of pan-dimensional event, the poor Public Library getting a very similar going over to the one it received in Ghostbusters II. It looks like an up-to-date-ing of Doom II’s Hell On Earth scenario, and Id Software has talked about gameplay involving post-civilisation survival. We’re fine with all of that, as long as the upshot is that we get to go back to Hell and shoot it in its face.
An unshakeable faith in the power of the shotgun...
...except when there’s a plasma weapon handy. Doom more or less defined the 1-2-3-4, fist-pistol-shotgun-chaingun notion of armoury escalation in first-person shooters. It is the standard from which Halo deviated with its potent handgun and two weapon limit, which many others have followed. How Doom 4 returns to and passes comment upon this is unclear, but by virtue of its lineage simply including guns in the style of any other shooter is not an option. It needs to either knowingly defy or satisfyingly play upon expectations - make the shotgun a death-packing standout maybe, or offer a chainsaw attachment to all weapons - and it must remember the direct feedback and deadly simplicity which made scaling Doom’s firearm pyramid such a thumping rush.
A hero generic to the point of invisibility
This sounds counter-intuitive if not deliberately askew. But! If ever there was a series to free us from the tyranny of shooters that bleed feelings and force character into action then it is surely Doom 4. Stop leaking emotion all over our loading screens. Stop sending us impassioned grunts recorded in downtown LA soundbooths that are intended to somehow make shooting demons more meaningful, as if there could be any meaning more powerful than them being demons and us having a gun. Doom is about purity of purpose and big expositional screens filled with small red text that tell all the story you need apart from a small angry face raising its eyebrows and occasionally becoming a bruise with a orifice in the middle. It would be excellent if it could stay this way - and happily, from the looks of the leaked art the character designs couldn’t get more generic without having their virtual features sanded down to a raw nub.
An engine that works
Rage was designed to show what id Tech 5 could really do. For months, marketing materials and developer diaries crooned about the new engine's "mega textures" that would give artists complete mastery over the surface detail of Rage's rust-coloured canyons. But come launch day, it just didn't work. The textures took long moments to load in every time you turned your head, offering smeary geometry where there should have been fine detail. Whether id decide to pursue the claustrophobic survival horror trappings of Doom 3 or joyously embrace the lurid slaughter of Doom 1 and 2, the engine needs to show us the treasures promised by Carmack and co. in the run up to Rage.
What would you like to see from Doom 4? Do you want to mow down the hordes of hell, or cower in the dark with a flashlight?
Sit back and watch two decades of video game graphics flash before your eyes. YouTube user drloser333 has uploaded a video from French site NoFrag that unfurls the graphics of more than a dozen first-person shooters, from 1992's Wolfenstein 3 to 2011's Battlefield 3.
Did the FPS get better-looking? They have at least become way more realistic, But maybe you're more of a fan of older, more abstract styles?
Graphic evolution of First Person Shooters: 1992-2012 [YouTube, uploaded by drloser333; more details (in French) at NoFrag.com]
Feb 26, 2013
Things guaranteed to happen each year: incrementally improved new versions of popular products, at least one earnestly predicted end of the world scenario, and QuakeCon, id Software's mega-LAN party/PC gaming celebration. This year the BYOC event will be held August 1st - 4th at its regular stomping ground, the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
Don't fancy lugging your rig across the country/world? Not to worry, Bethesda will also be showing off some of their upcoming titles for the first time in public. Chances are that means Elder Scrolls Online, but I've also got my fingers crossed for a possible Prey 2 revival.
As with previous years, attendance is free. The hotel is also offering a deal on rooms, details of which are available at the QuakeCon site.