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It looks like Quake 4 is set to replace Quake 3 as the modders and mappers choice of game, especially after the 'failed' Doom 3 MP attempt. So in light of this a new page has gone up offering useful quick fire hints and tips to modders, mappers and all custom content creators befuddled by the simple things Quake 4 throws at everyone. If you don't see a tip listed send it in. Quake 4 mapping and modding hints and tips >>
We lucked out with Doom 3 but now with Quake 4 we've finally got ourselves a Quake 4 level design competition from those good folks at VIAcga and our good buddies at Doom3World.org. The prizes are a still to be confirmed - no doubt some n.i.c.e. hardware courtesy of nVidia - but the competition details and rules are posted to Doom3World.org here.
The Competition is yet to be 'officially' announced (due to the aforementioned prizes not being sorted out) but this is a heads up to get you going on the quest for the perfect Quake 4 custom map.
The competition starts November 1st and ends December 31st, not much time so it's a good idea to get cracking now if you want to take part. Pop over to D3W and sign on the dotted line, see links below. Quake 4 mapping contest sign-up thread >> Announcement page on VIAcga >> Official VIAcga website>>
For some reason ORB is difficult to find download locations for on the Internet, so, because it gets used a lot for renderbumping highres models for Doom 3 and Quake 4 editing it's only fair that the file should have a 'local' download mirror on Quake3Bits, so one's been added; you can now download ORB_v1.83 here.
A few people have had problems with Quake 4 when running on 'unsupported' ATI graphics cards - by unsupported it's meant graphics cards that are not listed on the 'supported hardware' specification list. The lowest support card listed is the ATI 9700.
The most common problem seems to be the 'green' bug where everything in game has a strong green tint to it, over and above what the game should be displaying.
The current fix is to drop the in game console and type 'gfxinfo' to check which rendering path is being used. If the console reports 'R200' then try changing to a different rendering path by doing the following; drop the console again and type -
This should force Quake 4 to use a different rendering path which should sort the problem out. Restart the game where necessary. There are three rendering paths so which ever one gets displayed when you type gfxinfo as per above, try one of the following;
If for some reason Quake 4 keeps defaulting back to the renderer it initially found then you'll most likely need to 'fix' the command to the quake 4 *.cfg file. This can be done in two ways; by typing 'seta' before the command variable in the console like this;
Or by hand editing the *.cfg file and typing in the command above.
Create a new Quake 4 shortcut
You can also edit or create a new desktop shortcut adding the following after the file path listed;
So the full shortcut file path would read similar to the following;
America's Army : Rise of the Soldier, an upcoming release for Playstation 2 and Xbox, has an interesting update for fans of the game in the form of a new online team [insert joke using the words 'Team' and 'America' in the same sentence] where members can get a tonne of 'exclusive' info on the game as well nifty prizes. See press release below then go sign up once you're done because you can be all you can be in America's Army! Official America's Army website >>
The official America's Army: Rise of a Soldier online team is open now! It's called The Net Force and membership is completely FREE! As a member of this elite group you'll get exclusive behind the scenes game news, access to hot gear & prizes like retail gift cards, Sony PSP, iPod players and More! And this is just the beginning! Get closer to the action than the average gamer!
As a Bonus - Register before November 6th and you'll be entered to win an iPod Shuffle!Join The Net Force: http://www.aanetforce.com
If you don't know by now Autodesk the owners of Discreet and 3DS Max has decided to call it a day on GMAX, which they have officially cancelled as of earlier this month. You can no longer download GMAX from Discreets website, nor can you get a licence key to activate any previously downloaded copies of the app.
With Autodesks recent purchase of Alias and Maya there's speculation that they may pour resources into MayaPLE instead, which is more up-to-date relative to Maya; GMAX was built on Max v4 so it's currently 4 versions behind (Max is at v8 currently).
Current GMAX is still available from Turbo Squid, who have been handling the distribution for some time now, but even they have said support for GMAX will be discontinued at some point towards the end of this month. So if you haven't got a copy yet you'd better go grab one from TurboSquid.
Official news from Discreet
As of October 6, 2005, Autodesk will no longer offer Gmax® software as a stand-alone product. If you are interested in other 3D animation, modeling, and rendering applications from Autodesk please check out Autodesk® 3ds Max® software. You can download a free 30-day trial, view product demonstrations, read customer success stories, and get more information about this powerful, versatile product.
Official confirmation from TurboSquid
Since Turbo Squid is a valuable partner for Autodesk and we've been managing the product and community on their behalf for the past year, they've allowed us to continue to offer the Gmax download until November 1st so that we can effectively manage the transition for this now defunct product. At that point, the ability to download Gmax from our site will be removed as will the ability for users to get authorization codes for the product.
There is a way around the problem, which some people have been using for a while as an 'accepted' way to get round the registration bug; it basically involves installing a copied registry key from a working install of GMax. See link below. Registry workaround for gmax >> Download GMAX from TurboSquid >> TurboSquid forum topic with news >>
A bit more Wolfenstein 360 news : Reports are coming in that Nerve Software will be joining Raven in the development of Wolf 360 by doing the multi-player part of the game. News item on GameCloud >>
During G4's G4TV.com program on Monday night, id Software co-owner Kevin Cloud revealed that Nerve Software will join Raven Software in developing Castle Wolfenstein, the upcoming next game in the WWII horror themed first person shooter series. Like they did for the previous game Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Nerve will be in charge of creating the game's multiplayer mode.
Finally, Quake 4 ships to retail in North America
THE WAR BEGINS QUAKE 4 PC DEPLOYED TO STORES NATIONWIDE
Santa Monica, CA October 18, 2005 The Global Defense Force has been given the green light to invade the Strogg home planet as id Software and Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that QUAKE 4 for the PC has shipped. The long-awaited sequel to QUAKE II®, QUAKE 4 enlists gamers in the role of Matthew Kane, a member of the legendary Rhino Squad, to penetrate deep into the heart of the Strogg war machine and engage in a series of heroic missions to destroy the barbaric alien race. QUAKE 4 for the PC is available at retail outlets nationwide for a suggested retail price of $49.99. Additionally, fans can purchase the QUAKE 4 Special DVD Edition for a suggested retail price of $59.99, which includes QUAKE II, the QUAKE II expansion packs, and exclusive behind-the-scenes content. Both versions carry an M (Mature) rating by the ESRB.
Fans can now buy QUAKE 4 and jump right into the epic battle between mankind and the Strogg, said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. The single-player campaign has the excitement and feel of a blockbuster action movie, complimented by an addicting multiplayer component featuring all the speed and excitement of QUAKE III Arena®.
Developed by Raven Software and executive produced by id Software, QUAKE 4 begins only moments after the events of QUAKE II, with the Earths fleet launching a massive offensive to the planet Stroggos. As Matthew Kane, gamers invade the alien stronghold, fighting alone, along side other Marines, and in mechanized walkers and hover tanks as they encounter the Strogg and their disturbing amalgamations of man and machine. Built on id Softwares revolutionary DOOM 3® technology, QUAKE 4 also features fast-paced multiplayer competition modeled after the speed, style, and feel of QUAKE III Arena®.
For more information on QUAKE 4, please visit www.quake4game.com.
Depending on where you are it may still be a couple of days or weeks before you can legitimately get hold of a copy of Quake 4. Right now the only way to do that is to buy from the likes of Amazon or other online retailers becasue they are able to sell and ship now.
A notice from PunksBusted about PunkBuster support in Quake 4. For more info visit PunksBusted.com >>
PunksBusted.com (PsB) is proud to announce gameserver support for Quake 4. PsB's goal, as always, is to offer game admins the best available support, so they may better configure and control their PB enabled server(s).
PsB is the largest Punkbuster support site and primary anti-cheating site using our groundbreaking AMBL system. PsB covers all online games using EvenBalance's punkbuster software. Along with new Q4 support. PsB has recently enhanced many important admin tools and services available on the website. As always, PsB is a free service for the community.
There have been a number of requests from people wanting to use some forms of MD5 character for personal projects based around Doom 3's MD5 format. Now the problem with this is that although the file format appears to be OK to use the assets which accompany the game aren't. Currently there's only one freely available MD5 character and that was the version of 'Bob' released in the cubemap demo myself, der_ton and rich_is_bored put together some time ago.
There's a problem with those files however, in that they were put together before Doom 3 had gone to retail so the final specifications of the MD5 format weren't fully know. The upshot of this is that the actual *.md5mesh and *.md5anim will return and error if used in anything directly or indirectly related to the retail version of Doom 3.
To solve this problem I've 'clean' up those old files and exported the character to a new set of *.md5mesh and *.md5anim files which will now open into 3DS Max with the current crop of MD5 importers (the bones are still orientated oddly - see the google faq for answers to that).
I've also uploaded the *.blend file of that old model for anyone interested in looking,using, fiddling with the file; although the model is pretty low poly by today's standards it should prove useful to anyone creating their own game engines based around the MD5 specifications.
NOTE : These MD5 files are only known to work for Doom 3. It is not yet known if Quake 4 uses the same format. Download 'Old Bobs' new MD5 files >> Download the *.blend Blender3D file >> Download the ORIGINAL cubemapdemo >>
[addendum] see below
Flying the flag for Britain
I've never really regarded myself as being particularly 'patriotic' but I have to say hearing the soldiers in Call of Duty 2 that form your squad use, erm, 'colourful' English ('English' English not 'American' English) curses is very comforting, surreal as that might sound in a war game, because you're acutely aware that they are your team mates, your English buddies instead of the usual third party abstract of you playing the role of some anonymous American GI (which is OK, if you're an American). It's like going on holiday to some far flung place and popping into the local shop only to find it's run by a Brit, "cor blimey mate, wot you doin' 'ere then?"
That's been one of my pet peeves in the past about W.W.II games; they're always played from the point of view of American GIs, not that I've got anything against that, but it's one of the reasons gamers get tired of W.W.II games; always playing a GI gets a tad boring. Playing as 'Limey' or a 'Frenchy' would make things more interesting (even if that meant using accents straight out of ''Allo, 'Allo').
They're clever people that Infinity Ward lot, they've done something which I've only ever seen in this demo - the graphics rendering system has a 'split' compatibility mode between DirectX 9 and DirectX 7. DirectX 9(x) allows for all the latest bumpmapping and shinny effects you'd expect from the latest of the current generation - it's not 'nextGen' in that sense but more along the lines of what Half Life 2 does - pinnacle of the 'older' generation with 'sparkly bits' added. DirectX7 compatibility on the other hand means the game running with special effects and graphics that are compatible with older generation DX7 compliant graphics cards, so although I didn't test this, it means in theory the demo will run on a GF2 or GF3. That is good thinking on Infinity Ward's behalf.
The core graphics looks the same in either mode; being in DX9 mode doesn't necessarily add more polygonal detail to the world but it does add a lot of DX9 compliant effects; bumpmapping being the most noticable, but also including specular highlights and 'volumetric' smoke and fire (which looks very nice).
The demo's runtime performance was good, in fact the only time the FPS got kicked in the goolies (to use British vernacular in keeping with the language used in game) was when I got caught too close to the 'flash-bang-smoke' of an explosion; I might add, this was whilst running in 1024x768 with 2xAA (activated via the in game graphics control panel). That's pretty good by anyone's reckoning. Overall the Call of Duty 2 demo should be playable on a pretty broad spectrum of PCs whilst still looking pretty good regardless. As a side note if anyone gets this demo running on a GF2 or an equivalent ATI card let me know.
Call of Duty 2 has a number of wide screen modes available but they didn't seem to do anything when I tried (although the screenshots are saved in the format), so I'm not sure if they may been locked out of the demo or it doesn't work on certain gfxcards or in full screen. More on this when it can be checked.
If the full retail game is anything like the demo then it'll be good; action is generally tight and tense, especially in the narrow streets and back allies with all the little nooks and crannies potentially hiding a grenade lobbing enemy alerting his mates! Fighting isn't confined to the ground floor either as you constantly have to keep a watchful eye out for the odd enemy hiding in some darkened window or balcony above, that makes clearing out buildings quite exhilarating.
I AIn't touching that
The AI handle themselves pretty good, as team mates they will follow what you do when it's appropriate, and act as 'guides' when necessary; they'll often 'prep' a doorway or alley entrance indicating that you should be going down there - good job too because in the narrow confines of this desert town it's easy to loose your sense of direction.
Although the AI appear to have prescribe paths to follow it doesn't seemto effect the game play experience to much, you're not really aware of them doing the same thing over and over again unless you specifically watch for them doing it, which you probably won't have time for when you're actually in game anyway.
One shot kills
There are only a couple of weapons in the demo, but they were pretty much the standard fair for your typical foot soldier on both sides. Accuracy seems more along the lines of what a real weapon would do, so one shot kills don't happen unless you get a clean headshot, so much so in fact that if you don't check your kills you can find yourself on the wrong end of a hand pistol from an enemy behind you that's mustering his last bit of strength together for one final shot into your back!.
When not looking at a crosshair in 'normal mode' (which does a couple of things depending on what you're looking at - highlights allies/enemies etc.) you look down the iron sight needle of the weapon you're carrying. Some may argue that using the iron sight like this isn't very accurate or particularly good but I found it was, especially when you're trying to do those aforementioned one shot kills; unless you line your shot up perfectly to the point of the sight pin you'll not get it, any slight movement on your part and the bullet will usually hit the mark but not get you the kill. And as above, you have to make sure you have killed the target esp the ones you can't then get to on the upper floors of buildings. Personally I found that more immersive, you really had to check what you were doing.
Ammo count isn't massive by the way, you carry approximately what you would in real life, so you have to be careful not too run out by being too trigger happy. You can pickup or drop weapons from fallen colleagues or foes alike though but you can only carry two weapons in the demo so it's best to have a 'distance and close range 'spray and prey' combination. The weapons you carry and which firing mode you're in also effects your movement speed, looking down the sight in 'Alt fire mode' means you move slowly because you're 'focused'.
Fast food is bad for your health [addendum]
There was one odd thing about the game that Myth from MapCenter reminded me over MSN to point out; the health bar, or rather the lack of there being one; if you get hit a couple of times and it's enough to 'wound' you, a message pops up on screen telling you to find cover so you can recover. It's a little off putting at first but you do get used to it and it does force you to think strategically instead of standing up in the midst of cross fire and letting rip because you can. Another "why did they do that" until you realise "oh, right, I see".
I like the sound of that
Audio was good, lots of ambient noise from all directions and weapons sounds were quite meaty. Voices were what you'd expect; 'Posh' for the CO's and 'rough' for the foot soldiers; pretty much the stereotypical setup in fact, even the Sergeant was Scottish! Testament to the skills of the voice actors though, you couldn't quite tell if they used British actors or America 'voice' actors playing British parts. Hats off to them if it was the latter.
My memories of the war?
It was good. Little touches like the Germans actually shouting and talking in German, the AI ducking for cover and 'probing' you for weaknesses; be warned on this point to choose your cover carefully as the wooden crates dotted about don't protect you much, if at all. You do become aware of the number of bodies lying around as well, which adds to the game experience and does make you think about the realities of war, it did with me anyway, these games always do.
My only gripe was that certain sections of the demo did come across as a little too orchestrated, if you died at certain points and went back the AI would do the same thing, there's one moment near the end where you turn a corner and are pursuing 3 enemy soldiers, if you get killed there on respawning and reaching that area again they'll do exactly the same thing. Fortunately this only seemed to happen when there were no alternative routes through, around or under items and places in the narrow streets and is no different from what happens in other games of this type so it's not really a big gripe or problem.
There's a lot more that could be talked about, even with just this demo, so to conclude after a fashion, over all the Call of Duty 2 demo is an enjoyable ride and if you've got the bandwidth, well worth the download. If not, look out for it appearing on you favourite gaming magazines CD covermount and get it installed as soon as you can. It'll really appeal to W.W.II fans but it'll also appeal to FPS'ers that aren't into SciFi but are looking for a change. If you've played any of the previous W.W.II games (included MoH : Pacific Assault) then you'll enjoy this one.
The gameplay is short though so be warned on that front; the one thing adding all these new 'nexGen' features does is double the file sizes without add much in the way of game play time relative to what you get. Demo is around 650MB. No problems installing and playing the game either. Main Call of Duty official web site >> PC demo download - click 'Download the Demo' image >> Click here to buy game from Amazon >>
ATI 9600XT 256MB GFXcard
Onboard AC97 sound
1GB PC3200 DDR
Screen res 1024x768, 2xAA (set ingame)
Score : 97%
10 'new' screengrabs from a slightly better 'shakycam' video of the recent X05 Wolfenstein 360 announcement - the vid shows exactly the same content as the lower quality one linked to below. You'll have to excuse the Nazi symbolism in one or two of the shots as I know that kind of thing doesn't go down well in certain countries.
As mentioned previously all the shots pretty much show concept work snippets, with the exception of the 'Bruiser' directly below which displays the different uniform types (uniforms assigned to different 'theatres of war') on what looks like the low poly character with bumpmaps applied. At a guess from that one shot probably around the 5000 polygons (tris) mark - to give you a comparison, the same soldier 'class' from RtCW (the one that usually carried the flame-thrower or the big chaingun) was around 2500. The 'Gerry Anderson' feel of the vehicles works well, really plays with the imagination in terms of size and mass.
As a lot of areas in RtCW were outdoors it should be interesting to see how that looks using the D3 lighting system, no doubt Raven have done a fair bit of tweaking!.
And... in case you didn't catch the news below, Wolfenstein 360 will be available on PC as well as XBox 360. Definitely good news. Watch this space for more news. Announcement video link >>
Well here's a nice surprise *surprised*!. Quake3Bits got a linkback from the official Quake4 websites community page (see highlight below), certainly wasn't expecting that. Whilst it may not seem such a 'big deal' it does show that developers don't cast a blind eye over the mod scene like some quarters would have us believe. Anyway, thanks to Raven and all the BrushMonkey(sock) modders that visit this site on a regular basis to see what's 'what'. Quake 4 official website >>
OK, here are the minimum system requirements (system specs) for Quake 4. It's grabbed from the official Quake4game website but you have to hunt around for it a bit; there's also one or two bits of new media so it's worth checking out the official website. Anyway, without further ado, Official Quake4Game.com website >> Click here to buy Quake 4 now, because you're worth it! >>
Minimum System Requirements:
[update] It's been announced officially that Wolfenstein 360 will be available on both the PC and XBox 360, so that's good news. It's not clear at this point whether that'll be a simultaneous launch or the more usual 'staggered' release; out on one platform before the other.
[update] video link added to the announcement made at the XBox 'X05' conference in Amsterdam.
Is this it?
Well this looks like the news we've been waiting for god knows how long. It's just been announced that Raven are already at work on what is currently being labelled as Wolfenstein 360, the reason? What ever it is will be out on the XBox 360 platform first apparently. No further details are available as of yet.
During Peter Moore's section of X05's keynote speech he introduced id Software's Todd Hollenshead to the stage. As soon as he got on he unexpectedly announced that id Software and Raven Software were already underway with the next installment of the Wolfenstein series. No special title or release date was specifically mentioned, but it was announced that the Xbox 360 would be the exclusive first platform to receive the title.
I don't know why but I'm not overly excited by hearing it'll be released on the XBox first. Anyway you can comment on this news on the Quake3Bits forums.
[update] A couple of stills from the linked to 'shakeyCam' vid below, taken at the 'X05' XBox conference in Amsterdam, credits to the author of that vid (anon). No in game footage but some interesting shots of concept artwork which certainly sets a nice mood for the locations in Wolfenstein 360.
There have also been tentative reports of the game allowing 'exploration' of the game world; whilst this may not be on the scale of MorroWind ([Homer]mmmm Moooorrowind[/Homer] ed.) it's certainly a welcome feature if it's implemented.
Well in case you *haven't heard or read about this already, Quake 4 has gone GOLD. That means it's been locked down, approved and sent off for reproduction and shipping. The date for when it hits the shelves? October 18th. So what you waiting for? Go grab a copy of Quake 4 now because you know you want to! Click here to buy Quake 4 now! >>