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    Coverage of the Game Developers Conference continues with a special surprise, an interview with none other than Richard "Lord British" Garriott. Having been in this industry a good long time (since 1994), I have rarely met someone who can cause a room full of press to stop listening to their own voices and listen intently, quietly, to someone else. Richard Garriott has that rare, almost extinct ability. When Mr. Garriott speaks, people listen.
    Oblivion should arrive today. I promise I will play it a bit over the weekend and give a brief report on my experience. Please hold your hate-mail until at least Monday morning at 09:00.
    You can read all of our GDC coverage at our super, happy, fun GDC page.
    Questions for our GDC Team? Loving comments for me? Send them in.


    What's New On TenTonHammer.com?
    GDC Coverage
    03.24.2006

    • Interview With Richard Garriott
      "So as we were playing hide and go leave SOE with Raph Koster today, we had a big stroke of luck. Fresh from winning the GDC "Lifetime Achievement" award, Richard Garriott was available briefly to talk to the press! We quizzed him on Tabula Rasa and MMO trends. And just, you know, generally basked in the aura of greatness."
    • Codemasters Q&A
      "Codemasters, a UK-based developer / publisher, has been in the news quite a bit lately. In fact, Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach launches today in Europe under their purview. What else is this mysterious MMO mover and shaker up to?"
    • AGEIA Physx Demo
      "It's the next big thing in PC hardware. And no, we're not talking about your e-peen. It's the AGEIA physics accelerator, a nifty piece of hardware that works along with your graphics card to produce some wicked new effects - everything from cloth tearing to fluid dynamics to rotating orbs of high-gravity doom! The most exciting part - it's coming to an MMORPG near you this summer. No hardware? No problem. AGEIA enabled games can operate without hardware support, that is, for a slight performance penalty [/twirls mustache]. Nevertheless, I dream AGEIA, you can too!"

    03.23.2006

    • Unreal Engine Demo - Keeping It Unreal
      "This is Unreal! And for once, we're not exaggerating! TenTonHammer goes behind the walls of the fortress-like Epic Games booth to see what the latest version of the popular game development suite Unreal Engine 3 has to offer. And, as the folks designing the next-in-line fantasy MMO Vanguard: Saga of Heroes can tell you, it's not just a robust first-person shooter development platform."
    • City of Villains / City of Heroes Issue #7 Preview
      "City of Villains has issues, but in a good way! Cryptic Studios' next free expansion for City of Villains / City of Heroes, Issue 7, contains some of the hottest content we've seen come down the pipeline in at least a year or so! We've steadily shown you Issue 7 screens as Cryptic graciously released them to the press, but nothing could prepare us for what we saw in person. This snippet is just the tip of the iceberg. For those of you craving dynamic (malleable) content as opposed to the static worlds we're used to... well, check out the article! "
    • Battlestar Galactica and MMOs
      "A "Battlestar Galactica" MMO? Nope, but almost as good. Ron Moore, creative force behind the new "Battlestar Galactica" series, was on-hand to deliver some valuable insight into revitalizing older, perhaps worn-out themes. We don't have any tired, old themes in the MMO genre, do we? /cough Kidding aside, how cool is it that MMO developers might have something to learn from Battlestar Gallactica? Ahhh, two of my favorite pastimes in one fun-to-write article."
    • IGF Awards Ceremony
      "Lord British reigns! Few can deny that Richard Garriott is one of the true founding fathers of MMO gaming. He fittingly received the GDC's highest honor in the awards ceremony Wednesday night and received one heck of an ovation from the standing room-only crowd. But that's not all! Several MMOs were nominated for Independent Games Festival / Game Developers' Choice Awards, and one took home the prize. Who? Which? What category? For that, you'll have to check out the article! "



    Guilds and DKP are the topics of the day.
    Let us entertain you or at the very least waste some of your time at work.
    03.24.2006

    • World of Warcraft: Guide to DKP
      "Over the last year we have received questions about DKP more frequently asadditional players start raiding in WoW. We have therefore written a TenTonHammer guide to DKP. What is it, how is it used and much more."
    • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - A Look At Character Customization
      "Character customization is more than skin deep. Making one's character as unique as themselves has always been difficult in MMO's , AnomalousSilence takes a look at what Vanguard will be offering that might help make a difference."
    • Dungeons and Dragons Online: What's In A Guild?
      "There are plenty of Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) guilds looking for new members. Which one's the right one for you? And what makes a guild stick together for the long haul? Zed has some opinions on how to find a guild, and on how a good guild should be run."

    03.23.2006

    • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes: New Artwork - Bard
      "You need a description?"
    • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - A Touch of Class
      "The concept of classes in role-playing games originated with Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), MMOs inherited the concept. Explore what Vanguard will offer with thier class structure."
    • EverQuest 2: Language Guide
      "Need to hear that Aviak insult your mother in English instead of garbled gibberish?  Savanja has updated the TenTonHammer EverQuest 2 language guide to reflect the new Kingdom of Sky Aviak language."
    • EverQuest 2: An Interview With Death
      "Earlier this week we discussed death in-game and how it effects us all. In keeping with that, Coyote seeks out Death himself for an exclusive interview. Here is an article you've been DIEING to read. Sorry...."

    Vin Diesel Fact of the Day: Vin Diesel is the only person to literally kick somebody into the middle of last week.


    Now on to the real world. You can't make this stuff up.

    As always, thanks for visiting TenTonHammer.com,
    -- John "Boomjack" Hoskin

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    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Boomjack
  • Who are we to question a nobleman

    So as we were playing hide and go leave SOE with Raph Koster today, we had a big stroke of luck. Fresh from winning the GDC "Lifetime Achievement" award, Richard Garriott was available briefly to talk to the press! We quizzed him on Tabula Rasa and MMO trends. And just, you know, generally basked in the aura of greatness.

    Toward more present matters, Garriott was asked if he was happy with the new version of Tabula Rasa. "Oh, totally. We're confident we have a winner on our hands. What we're not confident in is how fast we can get it out. It's really the same game, it just looks totally different... more manly, for better or worse."

    Check out the Richard Garriott Interview for the "ultima" in cool, off the cuff interviews!

    Features, Interviews
    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Ethec
  • There's developers, and then there's Codemasters.

    Codemasters, a UK-based developer / publisher, has been in the news quite a bit lately. In fact, Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach launches today in Europe under their purview. What else is this mysterious MMO mover and shaker up to?

    With RF Online and Archlord, they have been able to take their expertise with development to shape the game into something that the Western world can really sink their teeth into. For instance, Archlord has a very robust story line. Anthony recalls going through the code and realizing that there were thousands of lines of text within the game. While RF Online is very PVP driven, Archlord is a game that is more in line with a traditional RPG. "-Very quest driven."

    Check out our interview with David Solari and Anthony Costoro of Codemasters as our live coverage from GDC '06 continues!

    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Ethec
  • The next big thing in PC hardware

    And no, we're not talking about your e-peen. It's the AGEIA physics accelerator, a nifty piece of hardware that works along with your graphics card to produce some wicked new effects - everything from cloth tearing to fluid dynamics to rotating orbs of high-gravity doom! The most exciting part - it's coming to an MMORPG near you this summer.

    His character just sucked a car towards an articial gravity sphere, then from 20 feet away bolts of... I dunno....telekinesis shooting out of its quavering hand. And no, the demostrator wasn't using cheat codes, he was using AGEIA; the new standard in physics acceleration.

    No hardware? No problem. AGEIA enabled games can operate without hardware support, that is, for a slight performance penalty. [/twirls mustache] Nevertheless, I dream AGEIA, you can too!

    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Ethec
  • Koster's last stand?
    It's official, Raph Koster, one of the main team members behind Star Wars Galaxies, and previously a team member working on Ultima Online has left Sony Online Entertainment (as reported earlier by TenTonHammer). GameSpot had this to say about that:

    "Koster's departure wasn't the only piece of scuttlebutt making the rounds today, but it was perhaps the most accurate. There was also a rumor circulating that SOE would soon lose the rights to the Star Wars license--and suffer the fate of having to delete or otherwise retire the "Star Wars" component of its Galaxies MMORPG title; SOE called that speculation "completely untrue.""

    GameSpot's take on the change can be read right here.

    News
    Fri, Mar 24, 2006
    Boomjack
  • Delaware!
    It's official, Dell has acquired Alienware. We reported this a while back, but Dell denied the acquisition. We deny their denial and raise them a retraction.

    "Rumors that PC hardware seller Dell were interested in buying gaming PC company Alienware have proven to be correct, with Dell officials confirming that the company has agreed to buy Alienware Corp. for an undisclosed sum said by Dell to be “financially immaterial”"

    GamaSutra has the full story.

    Thu, Mar 23, 2006
    Boomjack
  • Raph Koster leaving SoE?
    A little bird landed on my window this morning and told me that Raph Koster was leaving Sony Online Entertainment. At this point it is just an unsubstantiated rumour, but it appears that Kotaku also has the same bit of information.

    "A mole sends us word that Raph Koster has left the SOE to start up a new games studio. Cindy Armstrong, head of Business Development, has taken an offer to become the new USA honcho for Webzen. Moreover, Lucas Arts is not extending their Star Wars license. Yikes."

    I'll let you shoot on over to Kotaku to read what they have to say. At this point, it's just rumour.

    News
    Thu, Mar 23, 2006
    Boomjack
  • A Double Shot of Vanguard Pleasure

    First up, Niborea takes a good hard look at classes. From the first 3 basic classes in the original D&D to the many varieties that today's MMOs offer, Mercurie takes a look at these traditional classes compared to Vanguard's unique class structure.

    Naturally, if Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is to be successful, or if it is to be different from other MMOs, it would have to solve this problem of any given class being preferable over others. For that reason, the classes are somewhat interdependent on each other within Vanguard. This can be seen in the way that classes are set up in the game.

    And don't miss Niborea's latest Vanguard fanart! This week at Vanguard - TenTonHammer she presents a halfling bard complete with lute, rolling hills, and windmill!

    Thu, Mar 23, 2006
    Ethec
  • Coyote Meets Death!

    Earlier this week we discussed death in-game and how it effects us all. In keeping with that, Coyote seeks out Death himself for an exclusive interview. Here is an article you've been DIEING to read. Sorry....

    “An icy hand gripping your heart, robbing it of its warmth as you slowly die. Accident, murder…fate. Death. A name we all know – a name once both respected and feared. But who is the man behind the robes? What lays beneath the layers rotted skin and sun bleached bones, and what is he doing now that the very macabre trade he once pedaled is obsolete. This is Coyotee Sharptongue for Ten Ton Hammer news, bringing you this first ever LIVE interview with none other than DEATH – himself.” Coyotee towards a sinister looking skeletal figure dressed in black robes who towers silently beside him

    Read the rest of this great interview at at EQ2 - TenTonHammer.

    Thu, Mar 23, 2006
    Ethec
  • World to license trees.
    Bigworld, the MMO engine company has licensed Speedtree technology. Sometimes these stories just write themselves.

    "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    March 21st, 2006
     
    BigWorld Technology Suite to Incorporate SpeedTree
     
    (San José, CALIFORNIA) – BigWorld, producers of the industry-leading MMOG development platform today announced that they will be partnering with IDV to integrate the SpeedTree hardware independent foliage solution into the BigWorld Technology Suite.

    BigWorld licensees will now have access to SpeedTree’s advanced content creation options, enabling them to quickly and efficiently populate game environments with highly detailed trees and foliage. SpeedTreeRT delivers low-poly, highly detailed trees and plants, with adjustable wind effects, seamless LOD transitions and a library of hundreds of tree models from more than 100 species. SpeedTreeRT also includes SpeedTree CAD, which will enable BigWorld licensees to quickly and easily create and edit animated trees in real-time. Kevin Meredith, Director of Business Development at IDV said “our integration with BigWorld Technology Suite ensures that customers of this comprehensive game development platform now have the option of easily including real-time’s most advanced tree and plant solution. We look forward to partnering with BigWorld in delivering an outstanding look and feel to the greatest MMOGs of the next generation.”
     
    John De Margheriti, CEO of BigWorld, was excited about the development. “SpeedTree is easily the best of breed procedural foliage system. It makes MMO development faster while also helping game environments look richer and more immersive.”
     
    BigWorld Technology Suite provides operators and studios with a lower total cost of ownership through a seamless, integrated development pipeline that is optimized for the development of next-generation MMOGs. "

    Thu, Mar 23, 2006
    Boomjack
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