Archive

Ten Ton Hammer

  • A Vanguard Interview with April Jones

    Vanguard is one of the most anticipated titles of the year, and as beta progresses the Vanguard HR team wants to keep us outsiders in the know. We ask April Jones, HR Lead for Sigil / Microsoft, about the Vanguard beta, and hoped to clarify some rumors circulating about Vanguard's features.

    At a young age, April Jones is already a veteran in public relations. When in 2001 Anarchy Online suffered the worst launch of any game in recent memory, April, then Funcom's US PR lead, fought public perception as Funcom fixed the game. Later that year she succeeded in getting the game in front of a highly skeptical media, a move destined to be the turning point for the now classic sci fi MMORPG. After a bittersweet stint with SOE, April found her way to Sigil: developers of the upcoming high fantasy MMORPG Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

    Check out our Vanguard interview with Sigil's April Jones as we begin to wrap up our live coverage from GDC 2006.

    Sat, Mar 25, 2006
    Ethec
  • Will Xbox 360 spell the end of online gaming on the PC?

    No one would say it, even if they thought it. But Microsoft's Scott Henson is upbeat about the future of gaming on any platform, especially in light of the new XNA build tool from Microsoft. XNA makes ports a relative cinch, and the feeling we got: the tools and technology associated with the 360 revolution will give PC gaming a boost as well.

    We spoke with Scott Henson of Microsoft about the future of online gaming. If you haven’t had a chance to play on Xbox Live with the Xbox 360, it’s quite an experience. All Xbox 360 games are live enabled, and additionally the 360 offers surprisingly compelling, MSN Games-style arcade games downloadable from the marketplace for a few dollars. Real time, high-quality voicechat with friends in the same game or elsewhere online is another major selling point as players and relatives can chat without incurring VoIP charges or a phone bill.

    Read more on Online Gaming and the Xbox 360 as TenTonHammer's GDC '06 coverage continues!

    Sat, Mar 25, 2006
    Ethec
  • The "Journey" continues

    Simutronics took a break from Hero's Journey to show their new dev tools at GDC this year. HeroEngine is the most robust suite of MMO development tools we saw at the show, but thanks to Erik Slick we got the skinny on the present state of Hero's Journey as well.

    What's new for GDC: we got a first glimpse at the Hero's Journey character design wizard. Aside from the ability to tweak the hair, face, and body in just about any conceivable way (including sliders for aging and masculinity / feminity apart from gender selection), you needn't feel limited to any one of the elven, dwarven, and human races. A slider adds any level of humanity to your dwarf or elf character. HeroEngine even allows players to create a face from their own photograph, though this feature may or may not be released with Hero's Journey.

    Check out this interview with Simutronics' Erik Slick to see how Hero's Journey is progressing.

    Sat, Mar 25, 2006
    Ethec
  • Vox Gamerista!

    This one was an eye-opener. Vivox makes custom voice solutions for MMO game developers, in fact they're working with CCP and EVE Online at present. Think you don't need it? Think Teamspeak or Ventrilo are good enough? You haven't seen Vivox at work, my friend. Imagine, if you will, professionally done voice morphs for different races (or perhaps a little more oomph in your voice as you increase in level)? What if your spellcasting efficiency wasn't a random roll, but was based on how clearly you say the words? The capability is coming!

    Sharma demoed the service through EVE Online (which will integrate Vivox later this year) with a colleague in Boston, and it sounded as clear as I've ever heard voice, recorded or live (64kb, which degrades to a more than adequate 20kb depending on network conditions). But the real value of Vivox is in the functionality. Other solutions talk in the 5-20 user range, Vivox is infinitely scalable; it can do whatever kind of voice integration the developer wants for the game.

    Read the Vivox Interview for more cool ideas!

    Sat, Mar 25, 2006
    Ethec
  • NCSoft gets Shanghai'd.
    NCSoft announced today that they are opening up shop in China.

    "SEOUL, South Korea, March 24, 200— NCsoft® Corporation (KSE:036570.KS), the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, today announced the opening of NCsoft China, a wholly owned subsidiary in Shanghai, China.

    The new company is a result of NCsoft’s acquisition of a 51 percent equity stake in NC Sina, a joint venture formed by NCsoft and Sina.com in 2003. NCsoft China now becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of NCsoft and will strengthen the company’s content development and publishing power in the ever-growing Chinese game market.

    NCsoft China will not only provide services for existing games created by NCsoft’s global network to the Chinese market but also will develop and publish new games that will appeal to Chinese gamers’ interests.

    NCsoft currently has branch offices in the United States, Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan and Thailand for overseas services. It also has established NCRC (NCsoft Research and Development Center) in Beijing, China and NCsoft Japan in Osaka, Japan to reinforce the company’s global network for content development under its commitment to “global infrastructure, local content.” "

    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Boomjack
  • Hallo from beautiful San Jose, California! Have you missed me?

    We're wrapping up our visit from GDC today. What can you expect? Well let me tell you...

    Today we're visiting Microsoft, Simuntronics and Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment. As always good stuff will come from it.

    I haven't had the chance to get my chat with the Star Trek Online's Daron Stinnett online yet. Red tape. However, I can say that it was good. I learned alot of great new information on what the game is about. What isn't this game going to be? This game isn't a Star Trek Sim. If you're expecting to go in and be a Doctor Crusher or a Captain Picard you're in for a disapointment. If you're expecting to go in and explore the Star Trek Universe and it's rich content...ding ding ding you get the prize! The main focus of this game? To have fun! Anyway, more to come when I get that baby approved.

    Thanks for joining us on our trip this year. We've had a great time and while I'm glad to be here, I'll be glad to get back to the normal routine of talking to all of our visitors. *sniff* I've missed you soo much. LOL

    Have any questions for us? Send me an email

    News
    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • Now tastes even better, EQ2 gets an update.
    The update notes for the March 23rd push of EverQuest 2 are public.

    "** Gameplay ***
    - Characters should no longer become stuck when reviving.
    - Two Halfling beards have been appropriately named after much deliberation within the Halfling community.

    *** Achievements ***
    - Warrior: Gladiator's Revenge now has the correct block chance.
    - Bard: Turnstrike's range has been adjusted to be in-line with normal melee arts.
    - Rogue: Avast Ye's proc effect is instead a melee attack that cannot be resisted.
    - Rogue: Lunge Reversal will no longer break stealth when it refreshes.

    *** Player-versus-Player ***
    - You will no longer receive faction for killing someone on your recent kills list.
    - Neutral kills no longer grant faction gains or losses. Faction gained and lost from Honorable kills has received a slight boost.

    *** Items ***
    - Some of the items that can be found within Ascent of the Awakened have been improved.
    - The Dirk of Nightfall's stats have been distributed more logically.
    - The Warden's Aegis should now function correctly.

    *** Zones and Population ***
    - The Sage of Ages instance that starts the "To Speak as a Dragon" quest is now more specifically known as "Maiden's Gulch: Rescue of the Sage".
    - The requirements to open the library doors in Nektropos Castle have been changed. Now, having the library door key gained at the end of "The Red Marble" will allow you to open the doors.

    *** Quests ***
    - Writs and Heritage quests above level 55 should be giving their correct status amounts once again.

    *** Combat ***
    - Pets that were previously expiring early should again last for the appropriate duration.
    Cleric changes:
    - Soothe no longer triggers effects as a result of casting this spell.
    Templar changes:
    - Sanctuary: will now show its tier when examined."

    News
    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Boomjack
  • Mobile VoIP. Now you can VoIP while you jog.
    Bigworld has announced the integration of DiamondWare's 3D VoIP client into the BigWorld MMO Suite.

    "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    March 24th, 2006
     
    BigWorld Announces MMO VOIP Solution
     
    (San José, CALIFORNIA) – BigWorld, the leading provider of Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) technology today announced the integration of DiamondWare’s 3D VOIP client into the BigWorld Technology Suite.

    The BigWorld Technology Suite is an integrated set of tools, software and systems that provides all of the underlying technology and content development tools required to produce an MMOG. “The next generation of MMO and persistently casual games invite new methods of communication between players and the worlds they inhabit. We have enabled 3D positional voice communication in our platform to further extend the options for our Developers,” commented Gavin Longhurst, Director of Business Development for BigWorld, “Developers and gamers alike are looking for more immersive and transparent gaming experiences – this is what DiamondWare’s technology offers when integrated into a game”.
     
    “DiamondWare is excited to bring its real world, military proven technology to the BigWorld MMOG space. The importance of 3D voice is that it provides a tactical awareness and control, enabling greater cohesion and coordination in complex team play,” said Keith Weiner, CEO of DiamondWare. “For the first time, voice can be used to create new social relationships between people meeting in an online game,” he added.
     
    BigWorld Technology Suite provides operators and studios with a lower total time-to-release and cost of ownership through several innovations. The BigWorld Server architecture allows operators to run several games on a single server cluster, dramatically reducing the cost of running the game, while the enhanced content creation pipeline reduces the time and cost of building and filling out the complex worlds required in next-generation games. "

    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Boomjack
  • Mobile MMO, that would be MMMO wouldn't it?
    Bigworld has announced the launch of BigWorld Mobile, a platform of development tools that allow MMOs to be played on mobile devices. Imagine, a 40 person raid, lots of text communication, and all on your 2"X2" screen!

    "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    March 24th, 2006
     
    BigWorld Announces Mobile MMO Technology

    (San José, CALIFORNIA) – BigWorld, the leading provider of Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) platform, today launched ‘BigWorld Mobile’, providing developers the tools required to bring MMOs and persistent casual games to mobile devices (handheld gaming devices and cellphones).

    The BigWorld Technology Suite is an integrated set of tools, software and systems that provides all of the underlying technology and content development tools required to produce an MMOG or persistent casual game. BigWorld Mobile is the latest integrated module that enables wireless connectivity to BigWorld powered games. BigWorld Mobile is available as: an adjunct to the BigWorld Technology Suite, a standalone mobile MMO or a persistent casual game platform.
     
    “Developers are looking to offer a more connected experience to Gamers”, noted CEO John De Margheriti, “BigWorld Mobile offers the flexibility of direct communication between players, including direct interaction in established online MMOs, and even the development of a mobile only MMO or multiplayer casual game. I look forward to seeing how developers apply this technology to new and innovative game spaces”.
     
    “Persistent worlds have been well received,” said Robert Spencer, Strategic Business Manager of BigWorld, “We are now taking this to the next level with pervasive availability of online games. Gamers are now able to participate in their favorite IP, anywhere they have a wireless or mobile connection”.
     
    BigWorld Technology Suite provides operators and studios with a lower total time-to-build and cost of ownership through several innovations. The BigWorld Server architecture allows operators to run several games on a single server cluster, dramatically reducing the cost of running the game, while the enhanced Content Creation Pipeline reduces the time and cost of building and filling out the complex worlds required in next-generation games. "

    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Boomjack
  • LFG - Have C.E.O. still need janitors.
    According to the Inquirer, employers or in this case one employer, Yahoo is looking to hire World of Warcraft players.

    "According to him the reason he was hired was he played WoW. Apparently if you are an effective World of Warcraft guild master you get a crash course in leadership."

    Read the entire article at The Inquirer.

    News
    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Boomjack
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