By now you’ve probably heard that 3D Realms has unfortunately decided to shut its doors. Duke was getting ready to Kick Ass & chew bubble gum, but it seems he’s all outta gum 🙁
If you grew up with Secret Agent, Commander Keen, Wolf3D, Doom, Duke and moved onto Duke 3D (and quite possible Dark Forces) you’ll know why Duke Nukem had a huge fanbase. It was an epic engine that blew away the Doom’ers that was powered by The Build engine (written by Ken Silverman – who’s also born on 1st November – w00!).
So heres some images and videos from what would have been – as you will be able to see, one kick-ass games to come out (12 years in the making). Beats waiting for DrDre’s Detox comeback album.
The casino scene which looks insane.
A new book titled The Race for a New Game Machine: Creating the Chips Inside the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3 was released on the 1st of Jannuary this year that looks into the development of the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony Playstation 3 which, as it turned out in the end, were both developed by the IBM Corporation.
The authors of the book, David Shippy (who was the man behind the brains of the Cell) and his co-worker, Mickie Phipps goes into the depths of nerdisms to give an insight into the development of The Cell processor. From the Wall Street Journal review:
When the companies entered into their partnership in 2001, Sony, Toshiba and IBM committed themselves to spending $400 million over five years to design the Cell, not counting the millions of dollars it would take to build two production facilities for making the chip itself. IBM provided the bulk of the manpower, with the design team headquartered at its Austin, Texas, offices. Sony and Toshiba sent teams of engineers to Austin to live and work with their partners in an effort to have the Cell ready for the Playstation 3’s target launch, Christmas 2005.
But a funny thing happened along the way: A new “partner” entered the picture. In late 2002, Microsoft approached IBM about making the chip for Microsoft’s rival game console, the (as yet unnamed) Xbox 360. In 2003, IBM’s Adam Bennett showed Microsoft specs for the still-in-development Cell core. Microsoft was interested and contracted with IBM for their own chip, to be built around the core that IBM was still building with Sony.
All three of the original partners had agreed that IBM would eventually sell the Cell to other clients. But it does not seem to have occurred to Sony that IBM would sell key parts of the Cell before it was complete and to Sony’s primary videogame-console competitor. The result was that Sony’s R&D money was spent creating a component for Microsoft to use against it.
And here’s the real kicker.
Mr. Shippy and Ms. Phipps detail the resulting absurdity: IBM employees hiding their work from Sony and Toshiba engineers in the cubicles next to them; the Xbox chip being tested a few floors above the Cell design teams. Mr. Shippy says that he felt “contaminated” as he sat down with the Microsoft engineers, helping them to sketch out their architectural requirements with lessons learned from his earlier work on Playstation.
The deal only got worse for Sony. Both designs were delivered on time to IBM’s manufacturing division, but there was a problem with the first chip run. Microsoft had had the foresight to order backup manufacturing capacity from a third party. Sony did not and had to wait another six weeks to get their first chips. So Microsoft actually got the chip that Sony helped design before Sony did. In the end, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 hit its target launch in November 2005, becoming its own success. Because of various delays, the Playstation 3 was pushed back a full year.
The book (which arrived on Friday!) goes into all the juicy bits that lead up to the delivery of both processors, well worth the $14USD its listed for on Amazon. Whilst I havent finished the entire book yet, thus far its full of twists and corporate musings and tricks with an interesting look at the teams and people that made these two products possible in the end. You’ll be hooked from the first page – I guarantee it.
I have to admit, I haven’t actually played my 360 (oh crap!) for months, I just cant find the time these days – which is strange, considering I’m only working these days with no uni. After hearing about The New Xbox Experience I knew I had to update the Xbox 360 to check it out.
So what exactly is this new experience? Its a whole revamp of the 360 dashboard plugging in a more “social” entertainment focus. Gone are the old dashboard “Blade” look replaced by a sleeker user-interface:
You also create a more unique avatar, I spent a good 10 minutes just flicking through them and eventually settled one one, customised it to the way I look.
So if you’ve never seen what I look like, heres a rough guide – but no-where near as cool as this looks like.
Ofcourse I dont wear Timberlands everywhere but I definately where my shades and a jeans + polo shirt type of guy. Whats impressive is that the avatar is heavily customisable unlike the Wii, from face, skin color, eye-brows, smile, nose, hair, watches, jewelery, shoes, clothes heck even the ears.
Another classy feature is the preloading of games to the HDD, this means your loading times are significantly reduced (like Halo). You still need to verify the game media by inserting it everytime to avoid piracy, but thereafter its loaded from the HDD.
Unfortunately NetFlix isnt available in Australia so I wasn’t able to try it out, but if you _do_ have a 360, get the update… You’ll be tripping. An update will include (maybe?) a browser much like the Opera extension for the Wii dubbed IE360.
This weekend saw the 24-hour launch party for Call Of Duty 5: World At War at Swinburne University in Hawthorn (my old uni). With a scourge of ubber nerds and geeks gathering from all around town to come play CoD5 first.
Amongst the promoters were Alienware – who provided PCs, Sapphire Technologies – who’s graphic cards donned the Alienware boxes, Razer – Keyboard & Mice, V – to help keep the gamers on the ball and Microsoft who graciously provided a stack (100 or so) Xbox 360s to keep things moving.
Activision even went so far as to keep the troops entertained with several models representing Alienware, Razer and ATI for eye-candy (because you know some geek out there is going to want to get their picture taken with them) – which reminds me:
I didn’t a chance to take too many shots – far too busy playing CoD5, but everything that was taken is available in the Swinburne Call Of Duty 5 Launch set on Flickr. It was a night of (maybe too much) gaming – which was followed by a quick 4hr ‘break’ to play at a LAN Games at another venue not too far from uni, dinner at the good old Hong Kong Seafood Hut and an overload of caffeine (V, Mochas, Red Bulls). Aside from CoD5, inside the BA building, you could jam out to some Guitar Heroes if all this mindless, senseless killing is gotten to you.
Everyone attending got to take home a show-bag with some goodies – self-heating coffee mug, dog tag, CoD hat, t-shirt, CoD pen, lanyard and just to confuse you, a copy of Spider-Man 3 for PC. You could also buy a copy of the game and gear but if the price was any indication, I doubt many did.
Of course, Swinburne’s big promo of hosting the launch is to bring to light the awesome games oriented degree they offer. The double degree probably takes the cake for having the longest title for a university degree in the history of the world and competes directly with RMIT’s BIT: Games & Graphics Programming degree.
Take a looksy, who knows, you could be working on the next Call Of Duty!