Dec 28, 2010
Shacknews - Brian Leahy
Many of you may have seen this video, but there's nothing else going on today, so I'm posting this here because it is awesome. This is a stitched video of every level of Quake being completed at 100%, meaning all kills and all secrets on every level on Nightmare difficulty (via Reddit).
Now, each level was recorded separately and some hacking tools were used to start the next level with the previous level's inventory, but there was no hacking or cheating in the actual level runs. Ten players contributed runs to the project.
Oh, and you're going to hear the shotgun a lot.
Dec 28, 2010
Blazing your way through the original Quake from 1996 in less than 60 minutes might not impress hardened speed run enthusiasts, but what about doing so while also nailing 100% completion in Quake on its hardest difficulty?
That's what the Quake Done Quick team has done in this speed run that's almost too fast, burning through the first-person shooter in a little over 52 minutes. It's a blur of gibs, grunts and secret areas discovered and it's a great way to kill an hour during a slow week.
Sonderkommando Revolt, the video game mod that reimagines an Auschwitz uprising as a bloody, pixelated shooter, may never see release, according to the project's lead creator. He blames the "emotional trauma" of media attention for its demise.
Israeli mod enthusiast Maxim "Doomjedi" Genis says the attention Sonderkommando Revolt has received from those outside the Wolfenstein 3D modding community is responsible for its cancellation. In an interview with Heeb Magazine, Genis says "Despite having no anti-jewish elements or intentions in this free pixelated mod of an 18-year old game, the project is declared cancelled at this point."
"The project is cancelled because I cannot stand media exposure of any kind," a distressed Genis tells the Jewish magazine, saying that he's experienced "very deep" emotional trauma over the scrutiny of his team's game. "I have no internal emotional powers to deal with the press, the violation of my personal privacy and life," he adds.
Genis told Kotaku earlier this month that Sonderkommando Revolt was not designed as political or social commentary, but simply as a game meant to be enjoyed by a tight-knit group of Wolf3D mod enthusiasts. He later said he regretted using the word "fun" to describe the game.
Sonderkommando Revolt was originally planned to be released on January 1, 2011. Right now, it looks like that may not happen.
Dec 10, 2010
The developers of Sonderkommando Revolt, the video game set amidst a violent prisoner uprising in a Nazi concentration camp, reads like exploitative revenge fantasy. But its creator says the team behind the first-person shooter makes no political statement and has no agenda. It's "blast the Nazis fun," its maker says.
Sonderkommando Revolt project lead Maxim "Doomjedi" Genis says his team of artists, coders and writers is simply trying to make an action game only for the challenge, for the fun, to entertain a singularly focused community of homebrew game creators—even if others think its content should never be in a video game.
Genis and the rest of Team Raycast are "Wolf3D" modders, changing the graphics and scenarios of first-person shooter Wolfenstein 3D into an experience that's sometimes wholly different. Sonderkommando Revolt flips the real-world event its based upon, turning a Jewish prisoner into an unstoppable SS-killing machine.
"We didn't discuss among the team any other subjects and never brought our personal views into this mod," Genis tells Kotaku. "There was no need for it, as the mod was a plain 'blast the Nazis' fun, like so many other commercial games and mods. We all just made 'another [Wolfenstein 3D] mod', nothing more."
Genis says setting the game in the concentration camp Auschwitz was "an interesting creative challenge to partly recreate a world that was very different than our everyday life, [different] than anything we know." As "Doomjedi," he has been involved in other Wolfenstein 3D mods, including the more tame Femstein, the story of Russian secret agent Max Titov and his battle against an army of Amazonian women who take over the earth.
"[The] modding community in general has no political or other agendas, and those who know modding community well as I do, know that we make those mods first for the fun and creativity of making it," Genis says. "All the respectful modders I know would make mods even if no one would ever see or play them, as modding is a philosophy, is a way of life — life of creation, challenge, imagination."
Genis himself is a Ukrainian-born Jew living in Israel. He stresses that the rest of Team Raycast is comprised of "different people from different countries, ages and traditions whose only common ground is the love for Wolf3D modding."
"Team member's political, religious and other views, views of Holocaust," Genis says was "never discussed or leaked into the mod itself. We just didn't care about it, it's not part of Wolf3D modding."
The sensitive nature of Sonderkommando Revolt's setting has resulted in mixed reaction outside of Wolfenstein modding circles. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a museum focusing on the Holocaust, worries that games like Sonderkommando Revolt can be harmful to people's understanding of history.
"What happens if this is the only thing a young person gets to know about the holocaust or a concentration camp?" he told Kotaku.
"When you speak to survivors of the Holocaust, you quickly learn they have difficulty transmitting the horrors that they went through," Rabbi Cooper said when asked for comment about the game. "I don't think even the best combination of game developers would ever be successful [at doing so]. This is not an issue that should be reduced to a game."
Genis believes reception to the game was "totally blown out of proportion" and that Sonderkommando Revolt was—despite —never designed to "teach anyone [anything] regarding the real camp or the real events."
"We have many other resources to do that," he says.
"The mod, though based on some real events as an inspiration, has a plot of its own and shouldn't be linked to any particular real set of events or particular persons," Genis believes, in spite of Sonderkommando Revolt's clear ties to history. "I have nothing in this mod to show disrespect to my people and their suffering at the time. I didn't want to offend anyone in this mod. I'm not only a Jew myself, [and] not only believe I was a Jew in the Holocaust, but I'm also a spiritual person."
Genis wrote via e-mail that he was partly inspired to create Sonderkommando Revolt based on his spiritual convictions. The game maker believes that, in a previous incarnation of his life, he was imprisoned as a Jew by the Nazis, served as a Sonderkommando in a concentration camp and died before the events of 1944 that prompted the creation of the mod.
The project leader stresses that his personal religious beliefs are not shared by his team. He writes that he doesn't want the mod to be "provocative in that area either."
Genis says his only intention was to create a fun Wolfenstein 3D mod, to "change the outcome to [a] more optimistic one to the character I was there, not to court controversy.
"I'm going to give the person who made it the best intentions," Rabbi Cooper added, after learning of Genis' goals. "Let's respect what he's saying and what his motivations are, but I believe it's simply a topic that doesn't really belong in a game."
Regardless of the online reaction to Sonderkommando Revolt, the game will be released on January 1, 2011, according to its creators.
Dec 9, 2010
An Israeli modder has turned a 1992 first-person shooter into a bloody tale of revenge set in a Nazi concentration camp with Sonderkommando Revolt, putting players in the role of an Auschwitz death camp prisoner on a killing rampage.
Sonderkommando Revolt is based on the real-world uprising at Auschwitz in October 1944—with some obvious Nazi exploitation as entertainment—and built on the foundation of classic shooter Wolfenstein 3D. The actual event in Auschwitz resulted in the deaths of just three German Schutzstaffel soldiers and the murder of 451 Sonderkommandos, a "special unit" of primarily Jewish concentration camp workers who aided in the killing process during the Holocaust.
In the video game version of the Sonderkommando Revolt, the tables are clearly turned, with protagonist and actual Auschwitz prisoner Zalmen Gradowski tearing through Nazi soldiers.
"Graphically it'll feature many themes," write its creators, "including Crematoriums, Block 11, Gas Chambers, execution, interrogation and torture areas...most of which are ripped/based off real pic from the real site."
Video game modder "Doomjedi" has been working on Sonderkommando Revolt with the group Team Raycast since 2007. The developer describes the Nazi revenge tale as "very realistic, moody, challenging and detailed." The game is part one of a planned trilogy, with Sonder 2 - Warsaw Uprising and Sonder 3 - Mission: Treblinka currently in the works.
The makers of Sonderkommando Revolt say they will release their mod for Wolf4SDL, a Wolfenstein 3D port, on January 1, 2011.
Kotaku has reached out to the Anti-Defamation League seeking reaction to the game.
Sonderkommando Revolt [MODDB - thanks to Jukio for the tip]
Nov 12, 2010
A while back we talked about Hexen: Edge of Chaos, an unofficial sequel to Hexen made in the Doom 3 engine. After more than five years of working on the project, it's finally out, and all you'll need to play is a copy of Doom 3. Read on for more details, and the launch trailer.
First you'll need to install Doom 3 and make sure it's patched up to version 1.3.1. Once that's done, the mod can be downloaded from Fun Free Games. The team say that there are plans to extend the mod, adding more levels and areas in the future. They've put out a call for extra level designers and modellers to help make that happen. If you fancy getting involved, check out the Hexen mod site for more information, and some alternative download mirrors. Meanwhile, here's the launch trailer.
Nov 11, 2010
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Hexen fans who've been waiting faithfully for a new installment in Raven's fantasy shooter series have had their wish granted in a way by the Doom 3 mod Hexen: Edge of Chaos, which launched a demo version today. Grab it from FileShack.
The unofficial mod is a new adventure inspired by, and set in the world of, Hexen. The demo version contains the Cleric's first hub, with three maps and an estimated 1.5 to 2 hours of monster-slaying and puzzle-solving gameplay.
The original Hexen was released in 1995 as a sequel to 1994's Heretic, built upon id Software's Doom engine. Hexen 2 followed in 1997. The last entry in the series, 1998's Heretic 2, was something of a departure from the norm, set a thousand years after Hexen 2 and featuring a third-person perspective.
The studio behind Chronicles of Riddick is working on a new "AAA title for gamers" using the technology behind upcoming titles Rage, Doom 4 and Quake, Zenimax said today.
Why would the company behind Bethesda be telling us about MachineGames? Because they also confirmed this morning what we reported last week: it now owns the European development studio.
It makes a lot of sense for MachineGames to fold into Zenimax, which also owns Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Arkane Studios and Tango Gameworks. It puts the Swedish company with a group of developers that specialize in role-playing games and shooters. It also makes me wonder how much longer it's going to be until Zenimax becomes the next Ubisoft, THQ or Take-Two.
Oct 26, 2010
We are all over PC gaming this week , but what do we know about PC gaming? Each day, one Kotaku editor will reveal their PC gaming knowledge and share some memories. Yesterday you read about Crecente's experiences, and now?
Now you can read about mine.
Are you a PC gamer?
For several Texas summers between the ages of 11 to 15, I sure was. But as a kid, I didn't have a PC at home. We had a typewriter! (Oddly, we didn't have a microwave, either.) If I wanted to write something, that mean I could try to henpeck out a letter or get a pen. If I wanted to game, well, I had an array of video game consoles. The computer, a 1981 IBM, was at my dad's office. My parents never really made the connection between computers and kids. In fact, I didn't have my own computer until 1996 — right before I left for college. So, sadly, I don't have a strong PC gaming background. Blame my childhood! That doesn't mean I totally missed out on computer games as a wee lad. I didn't grow up in a cave.
What was your first PC game?
Like most children of the 1980s, my first computer game was Oregon Trail. But, the first computer game I played outside of school was probably 1987's Leisure Suit Larry. A friend's older brother had a copy, and a bunch of us loaded it up to, and I quote, "see things you'll never see in a Nintendo game". Besides fuschia graphics and conversations in bars, I actually don't remember much about the game itself, but rather, what really stuck out was how Larry was controlled by the keyboard. It was a revelation! Game characters manipulated by something other than a control pad or a joystick.
Did consoles ever get in the way of your PC gaming?
My consoles always got in the way of my PC gaming. When the Nintendo Entertainment System came out, I had one. When the Sega Genesis hit, I had one. When the Turbo Grafx-16 went on sale, I was there. Besides those consoles, my parents had Pong and an Odyssey. Yes, I was that kid. But there was never any impetus to get a computer until I went to college. And while in college, dormmates' computers held wonders like Grand Theft Auto and Quake. Good times. I felt what others had know for years: the computer can more than hold its own as a gaming machine. Late to the party, but hey, at least I arrived.
Best PC gaming memory?
My best friend growing up had Sim City, Civilization and later TIE Fighter, among other games. Often, I'd go over to his house and play for hours and hours. There isn't a specific memory per se, but those sunny afternoons, drinking Dr Pepper and taking turns playing seem to be from a different era. Kids today have their own PCs and play with each other online — which certainly is fine. But there's something to be said about being in the same room and learning from another player's mistakes.
Worst PC gaming memory?
Right before I left for college, I picked a Mac over a ThinkPad laptop. Since I, you know, GREW UP WITH AN ELECTRIC IBM TYPEWRITER, I honestly did not know you could not play PC games on a Mac. I was utterly crushed upon being told that by a sales clerk. I was even more crushed when I saw the number of titles in the games for Mac aisle. I felt like my Mac was nothing more than a fancy typewriter.
What PC-based game series should they bring back?
Hrm, Jazz Jackrabbit? Epic Games is known for their shooters Gears of War and Unreal Tournament. Why not release another Jazz Jackrabbit? And release it for the PC!
Oct 26, 2010
Hexen is back! A group of modders have resurrected the classic 1996 first person demon thrasher in the form of an unofficial sequel, made entirely in the Doom 3 engine. The project is called Hexen: Edge of Chaos, and it's taken the team over five years to make. Now, it's almost finished, and it's looking fantastic.
The three classes of the original game will all feature in the mod, letting you play as the melee obsessed Fighter, the mace wielding Cleric and the fragile fireball lobber, the Mage. Hexen broke from the norm in 1996 by having big levels tied together by hub locations, allowing for puzzles that could span wide areas. Hexen: Edge of Chaos will do the same, but will take advantage of Doom 3's advanced engine to recreate the hellish atmosphere of the original in even greater detail.
The game takes place after Hexen 2, and will have a story that ties in with both Hexen games and the Deathkings of the Dark Citadel expansion pack. Though the story and most of the areas are new, the mod will be revisiting some locations from the original game. Familiar enemies will also make a return, including the double headed Ettin demons and the ever irritating flying Afrit monsters. The pixelly old creatures of the original Hexen are now fully fleshed out 3D beasts, and have been superbly realised by the team's modelers and artists.
Most of the images released so far have concentrated on the Cleric, showing perfect recreations of the Serpent staff, his trusty mace and the devastating Wraithverge, which in the original game would summon ghosts to suck the life out of your enemies and then make them explode. It's weapons like the Wraithverge staff that makes us so excited about the prospect of a new Hexen game.
It's worth blowing the dust off your copy of Doom 3, because a demo release of the mod is imminent. It will focus on a single hub, with more planned for the future if the project is successful. Head over to the Hexen: Edge of Chaos site for more information.