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John Romero, the veteran developer and id Software founder who helped create FPS touchstones like Quake, Doom and Wolfenstein, is planning a return to the genre in which he made his name.
Romero, who's currently CEO of social game studio Loot Drop, Inc., told Eurogamer that although he hasn't formally started work on the project he has the design nailed down.
"Yes, I'm definitely going to be making another shooter and it will be on PC first," he explained.
"I don't want to talk about the details but I already know what it is. I've already kind of designed the thing and it's pretty cool - though of course, I am going to say that. I think it's a neat design, I haven't seen the design anywhere else."
Romero didn't go into much more detail but added that it'll be "MMO-ish" and will offer a new twist on genre traditions.
"It's a persistent game, it has persistent player data, the character grows and gets better over time. I think most gamers expect that now anyway, but this was a design I'd done a while ago. I think it's pretty valid.
"You will be playing the game as you would expect a shooter to feel, but the specifics of your situation, narrative wrapper and reward system are all unique. I wouldn't want to give out any specifics until I'm close to shipping it. I've learned my lesson about talking too soon about specific game features and release dates."
He couldn't confirm when work will begin or if it'll be a Loot Drop production.
It's been a long time since Romero last brought out a shooter - the 2003 N-Gage version of Red Faction. We asked him whether he thinks the skills necessary to make a successful modern shooter have changed since then.
"I don't think it's changed other than that the 3D graphics have to be good and there are a tonne of basics in the design that have to be there for players to feel that it's a current game.
"But I already have a lot of that stuff designed and none of what I've done has become invalid over time based on today's shooters. So I don't think there's an issue with it feeling dated or feeling old. It's not going to be an old-school shooter - it won't be pixelated. But it will probably have some faster movement than most games have right now."
Romero also offered his take on how the genre has evolved since his time at id Software. While he appreciates that Gears of War is a quality product, he's not a fan of the shift towards slower, cover-based gameplay.
"I'm not a fan of cover systems or the player being a bullet sponge. I'm not that interested in the tank-like player; I like feeling that I have skill in the game," he explained, before theorising that the rise of the console game pad has pushed developers in that direction out of necessity.
"I do realise that a lot of the movement in new shooters is directly attributable to the console controller because you can't play well and fast with them so they had to come up with some design to make it so the player can do something else if they can't skillfully move quickly. They have to do something different.
"But I'm a PC mouse and keyboard type player," he countered.
"I love twitch 180s, fast targeting, fast firing, fast movement. So anything that's not like that - like current shooters that are basically a track going through a level to the exit and everything is closed off - is not interesting to me.
"I like to explore my levels, y'know? So I'm not a fan of on-rail shooting or slow-moving cover systems. That's not to say that Gears isn't a great game but as a player I'm more interested in speed and fast movement."
Loot Drop's only current confirmed project is Ghost Recon Commander - a social spin-off from Ubisoft's tactical shooter series due out on Facebook and mobile platforms some time this Summer.
Has John Romero - the abundantly-haired creator of games Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein - given up on making an old-school FPS?
"Definitely not!" retorted John Romero on Twitter. "I have plans..."
But those do not include Daikatana 2. As Romero succinctly put it: "There will be no DK2!"
Romero's best known for co-founding id Software and designing Doom and Quake and Wolfenstein. Romero also co-founded Ion Storm, where he worked on delayed and underwhelming FPS Daikatana.
Today, John Romero has a new company - Loot Drop (formed 2010). Romero and team specialise in mobile and social games.
Here's one for the history books. Jordan Mechner, the veteran game designer responsible for Prince of Persia, has dug up a fan letter he received nearly 30 years ago from a 17-year-old called John Romero - the very same guy who'd go on to create FPS touchstones Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake at id Software.
Dated 25th March 1985, the letter, published in full on Kotaku, sees Romero praising 21-year-old Broderbund employee Mechner for his work on one-on-one fighter Karateka.
"I was absolutely stunned by the graphics, shadows and all," he gushed.
"You did a tremendous job and have, I think, defined the state-of-the-art for future Apple games. The technology has been in the Apple all along to do those graphics, it just needed a programmer like you to use it."
Romero then admitted that he was a budding programmer himself, before asking Mechner to impart some of his wisdom.
"How did you make the scrolling background? Ever since Choplifter I have been stumped on what kind of data drawing algorithm would be used to draw a scrolling background like yours," he wrote.
"If you decide to write back I would be eternally grateful if you explained this to me."
Elsewhere in the letter, the young Romero invites Mechner to check out a few of his own games.
"Many people feel that it is better than Lode Runner," he wrote, referring to an early effort called The Pyramids of Egypt.
"Anyway, ask me for it and it is yours. I'm currently trying to sell it to anyone I can (Broderbund is first on my list). My next game is going to be totally awesome. I can't wait until I get an idea for my next game!"
He signs off "John Romero, Disciple of the Great Jordan, and worshiper of the Magnificent Mechner".
Five years later, Romero would meet John Carmack while working at Softdisk. The pair, along with Adrian Carmack and Tom Hall, left the company a year later to set up id Software. Its seminal FPS Wolfenstein 3D would follow in 1992.
Mechner has been fairly quiet in recent years - his last game credit was on Prince of Persia: Sands of Time back in 2003.
Next Wednesday Romero and Mechner will share a stage together at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, along with Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman, Minecraft man Markus 'Notch' Persson and Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney, for a talk titled "Back to the Garage: The Return of Indie Development".
See below for some vintage Karateka footage.
Say the word "railgun" around a PC gamer and they'll instantly start telling you stories about the Quake series, and how it's such an awesome weapon in a make-believe future universe.
They're right on the former, but on the latter, not so much, because railguns are real, and the US Navy has one. Here it is undergoing testing.
The project, which is being overseen by the Office of Naval Research, has been running for a few years now (indeed, experimental railguns have existed as crude prototypes for decades), but this is the first time it's been filmed looking like an actual gun.
Railguns don't work like normal firearms or cannons; they use rails and electricity to propel projectiles at speeds vastly greater than those possible with conventional explosive technology (modern weapons still use the centuries-old principle of an explosion to propel rounds).
Which is why the Naval Officer in the video loads not a shell but just a simple piece of metal into the weapon.
It's amazing footage. Next stop, handheld versions.
HTML is a markup language for structuring and presenting content on the web. Its latest and still-in-development incarnation adds a variety of elements and attributes that make it easier to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins.
Three elements and related APIs for media introduced by HTML5 are the <audio> element, which allows developers to add in-browser audio to a document or application, the <video> element for in-browser video without the messy <embed> and <object> tags, and the <canvas> element and API that provides a 2D drawing surface which can be used for everything from a simple animation to a complicated game.
Although there's still going to take some time until the HTML5 specification is final, it is already relatively stable and there are implementations that are close to completion. Recent versions of all major browsers support HTML5 to a large degree, and close to 80% of all videos on the web are encoded in H.264 according to the data from MeFeedia, which means they can be delivered within HTML5's <video> tag — although for business reasons (read: ads and copy protection) they aren't always delivered through HTML5 just yet.
As far as gaming is concerned, there are some really impressive examples that could easily rival some of the stuff that has been done on Flash over the past decade. We've compiled a small selection of old classics and modern titles built with HTML5 and other open web standards that will give you a taste of things to come.
Shankar took three and a half weeks to put the first build together, combing through the original game's files in order to get the sprites, sounds and unit specs right. The project is far from complete and there is still some polishing up to do, but nonetheless it's a great example of HTML5's potential for games. The game works best in Chrome or Firefox and the source code is available on github.
Other famous first-person shooters have also been ported to HTML, including Doom — which was taken down after a cease and desist notice from Id Software — and Quake II. The latter was actually ported by Google employees to show off what is possible with HTML5 in the browser. The game is playable with full HTML5 audio and WebGL rendering at up to 60 frames per second sans plug-ins. It's not hosted online, unfortunately, but installation instructions are available at its Google Code page. There's also a video of the game in action here.
Released as a homage on the 30th anniversary of the popular arcade game, Pac-Man, this was Google's first ever interactive, playable doodle and was so well received by users that the company decided to host it indefinitely instead of just for 48 hours as initially planned.
The game is based on HTML5 with a fall-back Flash option for browsers that don't support it yet. Much like the original Pac-Man, Google had programmed the game to glitch and end at the 256th screen, although it appears to have been cut down to a single level built around the Google logo. Still, a worthy example of HTML5 capabilities based on an icon of the 1980s popular culture.
Designed to help promote Internet Explorer 9 and the Beauty of the Web campaign, a desktop HTML5 version of the hugely popular Cut the Rope game was made available online for free out of a partnership between Microsoft and developer ZeptoLab. The game is playable on any compatible HTML 5 browser, not just IE.
For those unfamiliar, Cut the Rope features a green monster called Om Nom that you'll have to feed candy by cutting and manipulating ropes, airbags and bubbles.It's highly addictive and has been downloaded millions of times on mobile platforms. This port showcases HTML5 capabilities like canvas-rendered graphics, browser-based audio and video, CSS3 styling and WOFF fonts. Aspiring developers can check their Behind the Scenes page for inspiration.
Pirates Love Daisies is a tower defense game based off 'Plants vs Zombies' created by Grant Skinner's studio, which is better known for its work in Flash, and was funded by Microsoft also as part of their Beauty of the Web initiative.
WordSquared is a massive multiplayer crossword game written in HTML5. It's essentially a clone of the famous puzzle game "Scrabble" on steroids, where you'll have to create as long a chain of words as possible, scoring lots of points in the process. Users simply use the mouse to drag and drop the letter tiles onto the board.
The original game was created in under 48 hours for the Node.js Knockout competition, which required contestants to create a game or application using HTML5 and the Open Web Platform in a very short period of time. It has since received several modifications, including the addition of achievements and in-game purchases. Dragging the map around you cannot help but be impressed by the size of the board and the word chains already completed.
Have you discovered any awesome HTML5 games or apps? Any personal favorites? Share them with us in the comments.
Republished with permission from:
Jose Vilches is managing editor of TechSpot. TechSpot is a computer technology publication serving PC enthusiasts, gamers and IT pros since 1998.
So let's take a look!
The Star Wars game is actually Star Wars Kinect, which looks stupid in motion, but in terms of art, Brian's done wonders with what little he had to work with. The RAGE stuff is pretty great too.
You can see more of his work at his personal site.
Kim Dotcom, the imprisoned mastermind behind busted file-sharing site Megaupload and, bizarrely, also the top-scoring killer on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, wasn't always a showboating millionaire. He also ran a competitive video game league in the late-90s. And was by all accounts a rather sore loser.
How sore? Like, banning from his league everyone who beat him at a game of first-person shooter Quake 2. That kind of sore loser.
After our original report on Dotcom went up over the weekend, we heard from old-time Quake 2 players who had encountered the billionaire when he was known online as "Kimble". Using that handle, Dotcom - formerly Kim Schmitz - had become a relatively well-known personality among online PC gamers at the time, in part because he ran a Quake league called Liga.net.
In September 1998, PlanetQuake reported that Kimble, after losing a game against Immortal (at the time one of the world's top players), became so upset he banned his opponent from the league, accusing him of using bots, a form of automated cheating. There are then reports from gamers complaining about Immortal's banning were kicked to the curb right alongside him.
Those booted from Dotcom's Liga.net of course claimed it was Kimble himself that had been cheating, because the other thing he was well-known for, regardless of whether it was true or not, was being a high-profile and notorious users of bots.
Going into more detail was this commenter in the original Modern Warfare 3 story from the weekend:
Back in the days of Quake 2 and the Barrysworld free server network, Dotcom used to troll the Rocket Arena 2 duel arenas as 'www.kimble.org' with an aimbot on his 6ms T1 line, raging people to the point that the entire server would clear, rather than put up with him. Then one day he was faced down and beaten by a girl-gamer on a shitty BT ISDN line - one on one, rail only. He raged so hard that he then dc'ed, looked up the player's name up on Quake.net irc and DDoSed the b0rk.co.uk irc bouncer that she used offline. Having realised he'd accomplished nothing, he then proceeded to DDoS the entire Barrysworld server array for a week, out of petty vengeance for being made to look like a twat. He was a cheating shit now, so I'd very surprised if that #1 position is legit now, either. Take a browse through the PlanetQuake archives if you wanna see the other shit he pulled, like banning the people that beat him in the leagues he admined for liga.net. 100% twat material.
Then there's this gem from a forum thread where a bunch of old Quake 2 players are reminiscing:
I remember him. I played him once on barrysworld (Yeh I'm that old :<). Just about the most blatant cheater you'd ever play. .
I got so pissed off at one point that I focused all my attention and managed to kill him once. Which felt pretty good.
His actual nick was www.kimble.org. Which was some sort of huge ego website of him traveling around the world in luxury cars/jets etc squandering money he scammed of some idiots during the dot.com boom.
Needless to say he was arrested for fraud some time later.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that the personality in game isn't all that different outside the game.
While that "huge ego website" is long gone, if you're curious, it featured pictures like this.
A final note: with this stuff taking place over a decade ago, and Dotcom currently cooling in a cell, we can't get his side of the story.