Archive for June, 2009



23
Jun
09

did you know?

U8lostvale

Ultima VIII: The Lost Vale

This expansion to Ultima VIII was planned from the outset, and was much anticipated, but never released; it was cancelled when the main game didn’t sell as well as had been expected, despite being all but finished and ready for duplication. Hints from texts in the main game suggested that the expansion pack would have added a new story regarding resistance to the Pagan gods and followers of the old religion known as Zealans.

Moreover, a unique Ultima VIII: The Lost Vale game box, whose authenticity was confirmed by former Origin Systems employee Denis Loubet, surfaced in September 2005. It was sold via eBay to a German collector for a final price of almost 2000 US$ shortly after. The game itself, however, seems to be lost forever. The developers at Origin Systems barely had a way to back up their machines at that time, so there is not much hope that a copy survived.

23
Jun
09

Journey Into the Cradle

Shalebridge Cradle

The Cradle is the penultimate level in 2004’s “Thief: Deadly Shadows”. “Journey Into the Cradle”, originally printed in Issue 146 of PC GAMER, is a ten-page dissection of the level. It is, as far as I’m aware, the longest article any major magazine has printed on a single level in a videogame. Lots of people seem to like it. Download

23
Jun
09

Polynomial

starfall

Polynomial

22
Jun
09

Anachronox – The Movie

anachronox

I have more than fond memories playing this stunning game. One of the smartest, funniest and involving storylines ever to grasp the ol’ PC platform, Anachronox was the swan song of the troubled Ion Storm Dallas studio.

It was shadowed by the “other” project being developed in the same studio, the infamous Daikatana and it never got the praises (or sales) that it deserved. Actually, right after finishing the game, the whole staff was let go, without seeing a dime out of the game’s profits. The developers remain the only people I know of in the industry that strongly and publicly suggested to potential buyers to download it off the internet, in order not to swell the pockets of the distributors (Eidos).

A while after the game was released, an award-wining Machinima mini-series was also released. It encompased all the cutscenes in the game and ran for 13 episodes. You can find it in episodic format or in one large file.

There’s also a 2 DVD version floating around the dark alleys of the internets, but with so few people still “in the know” it’s harder to get than a vote in Iran (bam!). The legend goes that it contains some extra material, artwork and never-before seen scenes, all at higher-than-original resolution.

If you didn’t play the game, do yourself a favor and go.get.it.now, then sit back and remember the good times by watching the movie again, and again, and again…

20
Jun
09

Did you know?

The Black Hound

Baldur’s Gate III: The Black Hound

Code named Jefferson and FR6, was mentioned in early 2001 as a new game in the Baldur’s Gate series to be made by Black Isle Studios using a completely new 3D engine. BG3 was originally going to be a departure from the high-powered epic of the Bhaalspawn saga to a low-key, roleplaying plot. With protagonists progressing to around level four at the end of BIS’ typically enormous campaign and a hard cap at level eight, gameplay was refocussed to a flat and wide adventure emphasizing quests over combat.

The game appeared to be canceled in 2003, just before its engine was re-purposed for Black Isle’s ill-fated Van Buren Fallout 3 project. The Black Hound is currently under development as a module for Neverwinter Nights 2, being developed by Josh Sawyer, one of the designers of the canceled game.

On 2 December 2008, Atari stated in a press conference that the Baldur’s Gate series (among others) would be revisited after 2009.

20
Jun
09

Fallout 3 Van Buren Design Documents

F3 van burren

This archive contains some of the original design documents for the canceled Fallout 3 game, codename “Van Buren“, that was being developed by the now defunct Black Isle Studios up until late 2003. The files describe the major playable areas of the game, the style, the different NPCs and quests available in said area. You have original designs by writers/designers such as Chris Avellone and John Deiley.

I estimate, from dates and interviews, that these documents represent the main game content/story at between 50%-75% completion. Note however that actual dialogue is not a principal part of these documents. If you’re into Fallout, or just generally into game design, this is an unique resource; a look into the creative minds of people who have brought us the best CRPGs ever designed.

Download links here and here (direct download: part 1 & part 2)

20
Jun
09

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2 design document

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2, also known as Vagrant Lands, was the canceled sequel to Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. The development started before the release of the first game, and it was canceled soon after because of the first title’s poor sales.
The plot incorporated some elements from Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios (Caesar’s Legion, the Jackals, Nursery), as well as the mutated G.E.C.K. from the canceled Fallout Tactics 2.
In March 2009, the design document for the game, written by Brian Freyermuth (one of the designers of the original Fallout), was leaked.

Download the PDF from here or read it online over here. (or from our box.net  folder)

20
Jun
09

Grim Fandango puzzle design document

grim fandango

Tim Schafer uploaded the entire Grim Fandango design document for the internet to pick to pieces.
The 72-page document dates back to 1996 and if you have even the least bit of interest in Grim Fandango or game design in general, we urge you to download yourself a copy.
People said the puzzles in Grim were super hard, and I’ve always maintained that this was due to a deep character flaw or mental illness on the part of the player” writes Schafer on the Double Fine website.

20
Jun
09

Planescape Torment Vision Statement

ps-logo

The original vision statement by Chris Avellone used to pitch Torment to the Interplay management for development back in 1997 (download PDF). Included is a first draft of the Ravel dialogue brief, as well as the final version for comparison. Thanks to RPGWatch – Tales of Torment interview part 1 and part 2 for this intriguing insight. Also here’s a nice Planescape Torment retrospective.

19
Jun
09

a dictionary of video game theory

A Dictionary of Video Game Theory

Game – an activity which is essentially: Free (voluntary), separate [in time and space], uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, make-believe.




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