E3 Weblog

HEY. E3 is this week. How’d that happen? The fact I’d no clue that it was this week means one of two things: 1) I’m don’t travel in in the right game geek circles or 2) there is nothing buzz worthy about the event this year.

Anyhow, anyone know of a weblog for someone who is actually attending? I see Gamespy’s coverage, but was looking for something a little more personal.

From Gamespy… reasons you should care about E3:

  • Half-Life 2 steals some wind out of DOOM 3’s bloody sail
  • The wave of multiplayer gaming finally washes over the console landscape
  • Starcraft: Ghost makes an impression like a tactical nuke
  • Thief 3, finally getting the graphical treatment it deserves, makes a lot of ironic noise
  • Soul Calibur 2 pierces the hearts of those who haven’t imported it yet
  • Star Trek: Elite Force II proves that the Quake 3 engine is still kickin’
  • The Sims 2 goes 3 (dimensions), causing money to start shooting out of Will Wright’s ears
  • Homeworld 2 gives Relic fans reason to rejoice

12 Responses

  1. Ryvar 21 years ago

    Thief 3. Thank God. Thief joins Planescape: Torment as the full list of games that I consider ‘art’ in a very real sense. Thief 2 was a mission pack and update devoid of any soul, and the departure of Warren Spector from LGS is entirely to blame. With the bulk of the LGS crew back together under Spector’s firm guidance in Ion Storm Austin, I’m crossing my fingers for lightning to strike twice here.

    I wasn’t very interested by Half Life, and I won’t be by Half Life 2 – can anybody still get excited over linear shooters these days? Follow path, get key, open door, kill more shit. BORING. Far more interesting, to me at least, are games that simulate a whole world – Morrowind, Grand Theft Auto 3, Deus Ex, Privateer – and let you run amok in it. Those kinds of games are incredibly hard to make well, however, and they don’t fit the designers’ desire to play God nor the audience’s television-and-movie-upbringing expectations.

    Personally the to-buy list looks like this:

    1. Grand Theft Auto 3: Vice City – comes out for the PC in two days.

    2. Planetside later this week – a game based off Tribes but done as an MMO service (you pay $13/month minus the first month which is included with the $50 box). Planetside is impossible to describe briefly, but think thousands of people fighting for continents in land and air with vehicles, mechs, stealth suits, etc. all at once and it WORKS REALLY WELL.

    3. Deus Ex 2 – scheduled for release Junish – if you are a gamer at all, you ought to know what this means, and you ought to be pissing yourself in excitement

    4. Thief 3 – a long while from now

    Half Life 2, Doom 3, etc. – meh. Maybe I’ll borrow a copy from a friend when they finish. I’m so sick of playing on rails set by developers I could scream – aren’t you by now?

  2. Ryvar 21 years ago

    Two quick addendums:

    1. The Elite Force II demo could best be described as ‘tepid shininess.’ Oh it’s EDGY and exciting to death, but nothing we haven’t seen before just with more polygons – FAIL.

    2. For all the games I just suggest buying, you will need a decent machine. I just ordered all the components for the machine I’ll use to play all of them on, and this should about cut it for all of them . . .

    1GB PC2700 RAM

    nForce 2 motherboard from Asus

    2600XP Athlon 333MHz front side bus

    I’m using my old GeForce4 TI 4400 until either ATI’s post-9800 product or nVidia’s NV35-based cards hit the market.


  4. Eli Sarver 21 years ago

    I think people should care about half-life 2 because of the way it is designed. It may be linear and all ‘plotty’, but that’s better than a one-page plot in a readme file or jewel case jacket.

    Also, half-life 2 has a very impressive character animation engine this time out, with muscles and eyeballs for all characters. They even worked it out so emotions on the character faces look real with some rather slick logic and heavy research.

    The AI for the aliens is a lot stronger now, and they now get distracted by easier targets and they also find their way around things better. Also, their feet actually touch the ground on rough terrain, and it affects their center of balance and everything. Very cool stuff. HURRR PHYSICS.

  5. Ryvar 21 years ago

    While I’m all for kinematics and facial free-form deformations – it’s becoming increasingly common as we speak, and truth be told that really doesn’t affect gameplay very much. I’ll certainly still play the game eventually, but promises about AI are like an MMORPG developer promising stability during launch . . .

    Now the enhanced physics of Deus Ex 2, for instance, /are/ the gameplay. You’re given a simulated world where you have objectives and have to accomplish them using any of a variety of ways – brute force, stealth, thorough exploration (which usually turns up well-hidden keycodes) or creative use of the physics engine (put explosives on push-cart, push it at enemies and shoot it at the last second).

    That excites me. That’s something I haven’t seen before and which fundamentally changes the experience of the game for me. As someone who has put in his hours as both developer and player of games, new technology is always “Oh, hey, that’s cool”, but new ways of thinking about and playing games are always where the real “HOLY SHIT” is.

  6. I posted a list of webloggers attending E3 on my site:


  7. t rands take off your fucking cover (re: current about page graphic)

  8. I would have to say that under Rands’ definition of a Holy Shit Moment, Morrowind would have to be the fastest, hardest-hitting, and most clear cut example of a gaming Holy Shit I have ever experienced. In fact, by those three criteria (rapid-realisation of Holy Shit value, deepest implications, ease of identification) I’d say the only other Holy Shit that is, well, a bigger Holy Shit is nanotechnology.

    That being said, I’d like to propose some sort of category in between the Holy Shit and “that’s cool” response, in order to cover the art of storyteliing. You know, those books, films, or games where afterwards you have thought “holy shit.” They’re not Holy Shit moments in that they’re not going to change your life, but you are just in awe of a story being told so well within the parameters of the medium. Examples: a book, Diaspora (Greg Egan); a movie, Apocalypse Now; a game, Half-Life.

    Half-Life isn’t half the game Morrowind is, and yeah, you’re on rails, but fuck, that’s a good story.

  9. Um, sorry, just something else I wanted to mention.

    Jagged Alliance 2 was one of the most awesome non-linear games I have ever played. Seeing as no-one ever mentioned it in their Holy Shits, I’m assuming you haven’t played it. Do yourself a favour and go dig it out of the bargain bin at EB.

  10. Ryvar 21 years ago

    Shrike: I understand what you mean about Morrowind – I spent two years living on grant money to write whitepapers about what MMORPGs would look like in 10 years (my university wanted to do a long dev-cycle MMORPG engine), and that direction was fairly obvious. I guess this kind of took the “Holy shit!” out of it for me, but at the same time Morrowind certainly deserves to be in the Holy Shit category more than any other CRPG I’ve yet played (I’d still say Planescape is a better game, but that’s strictly a subjective artistic judgement)

    I just got done playing JA2 from start to finish for the third or fourth time last weekend, actually. Excellent, excellent game – though I’m still not sure it exceeds X-Com 1, you know? I’m as much a fan of the realistic weaponry trend as anybody else is these days, but there was some ineffable quality to X-Com 1 that really has yet to be reproduced in a turn-based tactics game.

  11. Are all of these games sequels? Would it kill anyone to make a new game? I think Leisuretown covered this already.

    Let’s have more “Shit keeps falling” type of games. And only one “punchy and kicky” on that list?

  12. jspowell 21 years ago

    t anus reconstruction: Sequels to famous games are perennially near or at the top of gaming industry hype lists. It’s pretty much how things have always been in this business.

    The experimental design around the corner may or may not be half the game it claims to be, but if Epic Classic 2 sold a zillion copies and got >90% ratings in all the magazines, and the entire design team is onboard for Epic Classic 3, people are definitely going to be saving their pennies.

    Original titles that get huge hype and turn out to be awesome do exist (see: Half-Life 1), but ambitious and original titles almost always have to slip in at medium hype levels (if that) and prove themselves before people cream over the sequel (see: Deus Ex, Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, et cetera).

    Or, failing that, games can amass uber-hype level by being associated with a big-name development team (see: Quake). For logistical reasons, this doesn’t happen as much; most people who want to do a sequel will just *do a sequel* instead of coming up with a new rendering engine and backstory and design paradigm and blah blah blah blah blah.

    P.S.: As an unrelated side note, in my opinion, complaining that Half-Life is too linear is a bit like complaining that Citizen Kane wasn’t filmed in color.