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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

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Vendetta's Guild Software In Financial Trouble
8:15 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

In a new update posted on Monday, John Bergman, of independent game development company Guild Software, Inc., has announced the latest round of news regarding his company's space-based computer game, Vendetta.

For readers who may have missed it, Guild Software's managing director posted a dire letter on his company's website shortly before Christmas, forecasting the closure of his company in the weeks following. The closure would be due to a severe and continuing lack of operating funds, as explained in this quote from his statement:

As many of you have noticed, we haven't been terribly forthcoming with our plans for the future, of late. This has been, in large part, because we haven't been sure if there was going to *be* much of a future for our company or our game. Some of you are aware that I personally have funded the company from its inception. I didn't have a huge amount of money to begin with, so we've learned to stretch our finances pretty far. We've survived for several years, building the game you've seen and looking for a publisher to fund us to completion. As of the beginning of this month, however, I am beyond broke. Ray and Waylon ceased to be paid their minimal-survival salaries at the beginning of the month. Ray has been looking for jobs, Waylon moved his computer home to save on gas and food costs. We've scrounged enough to keep the office for a short period of time, but our outlook is somewhat grim. There have been hopeful possibilities with publishers and the like, but none have panned out, and things have gotten to a pretty bad state for us.
Late Monday, a new project status report was posted on his company's website, detailing the latest state of affairs. Despite devoting a lot of time trying to secure a publisher, the Vendetta team has still managed to find some time to tweak and update the game software. While most of the forthcoming changes focus on improving the game's network code, gameplay issues are being revised, such as the creation of the first-generation mission set, and the beefing up of the Capital ship's defences. Further, the team is working at strengthening the game's artificial intelligence, as well as improving its administrative code.

Upon further investigation, IMG managed to get a quick reply from John, updating us on his company's current situation -

Well, we're still clinging to life, although things have gotten a bit more difficult. We've managed to cover rent for the moment, but two of the four of us are still actively seeking employment, which doesn't help our current productivity levels. We've had some interest crop up since we made that newspost. I'm talking to one publisher with tentative interest, but we have nothing definite. We all want to finish the game, but some people have pressing financial needs, of course.
Readers, publishers, or venture capitalists interested in helping the struggling development company see its way through the current dire situation should navigate to the Guild Software website, and click on the "Donations" button on the left side of the page.

Vendetta Online
Guild Software

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IMG Reviews Belkin Nostromo Speedpad n52
9:23 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Belkin's Nostromo SpeedPad n52 is a unique game controller that aims to replace your keyboard for first and third person shooters by placing 14 programmable keys, a directional pad, scroll wheel. and thumb buttons, at the tips of your left hand. Rather than fumbling across the keys of your keyboard, the n52 is an ergonomic and innovative solution to the problem.

An excerpt from Greg Gant's review follows:

The most unique feature the n50 and n52 share is its ability use “shift states.” Shift states can act like profiles within a profile and function like a modifier key so multiple commands can be attached to any key. The n52 has a total of four shift states that each corresponds with the LED light in the bottom left hand corner of the pad — no state, red, blue and green. Shift states are perfect for games that use multiple classes of characters that have unique commands. I have one complaint about the shift states still hasn’t been addressed in the n52. The drivers still do not have the ability to cycle between shift states. Instead each shift state must be assigned to a separate key. Luckily with the n52, the sheer amount of buttons makes up for the lack of a shift state cycle function.
For more information on the Nostromo SpeedPad n52, read the rest of the review.

IMG Review: Belkin Nostromo SpeedPad n52
Nostromo SpeedPad n52

OpenRPG for Mac, Install Help
9:07 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gamers longing for the days of tabletop RPG gaming may be interested in an app known as OpenRPG. Described as an "online virtual desktop," OpenRPG provides a host of features to facilitate RPG gaming over the net, including a die engine, map and chat systems, and the ability to run a personal dedicated game server.

While Mac installations are not supported technically by the development team, the site Dryth Usler has graciously posted Mac installation instructions for those who wish to try OpenRPG out. It involves a little bit of coding as well as terminal work, but the instructions are clearly laid out to make things earlier.

Many thanks to Pugio il Audacio at Dryth Usler for posting the instructions.

OpenRPG User Guide: Macintosh Installations
OpenRPG - Installation Instructions

Apple Posts MindRover Trailer
8:26 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple has posted a trailer of MindRover in action. Brought to the Mac by Virtual Programming and published by MacPlay, this title allows players to create small robotic rovers, challenging them to program AIs as well as construct bodies for the bots.

The trailer itself shows off some bot construction as well as bots competing in a variety of tasks and environments. Various weapons and effects are also displayed.

Those interested in more information on MindRover are encouraged to check out IMG's review of the title. MindRover is also available through the IMG store.

Apple - MindRover Trailer
Virtual Programming
MindRover - The Europa Project
Buy MindRover - The Europa Project

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Cliff Bleszinski UT2004 Q&A
8:15 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Epic Software's Cliff Bleszinski, co-creator of the original first person shooter Unreal and its sequels and multi-player counterparts, is the subject of a quick question and answer session over at gaming website

The short two-page interview, complete with fresh screenshots from Epic's upcoming triquel Unreal Tournament 2004, focuses mainly on NVIDIA's Make Something Unreal contest, in which a one million dollar (USD) reward will go to the team that can come up with the best mod for the Unreal Tournament series. In the article, Cliff does manage to give readers a hint at his company's progress on the upcoming multiplayer shooter:

FiringSquad: How's work on UT2004 progressing?

Cliffy B: The last 5% of a game is the hardest and that rule is holding true for UT2004. The game is all there, it's intact, it's fun, but chasing down and squashing all of those annoying bugs is truly a difficult task. There's so much in this game; it really is an enormous toy chest of gaming fun. We want to make sure it is a solid, stable, balanced gaming delight.

Be sure to check out the article by navigating through the links listed below. While waiting for UT2K4 to get finished, eager players are encouraged to head over to the IMG Store, where copies of the game can be pre-ordered for $39.95 USD, and $37.95 for IMG subscribers.

Cliff Bleszinski UT 2004 Q&A
Digital Extremes
Epic Games
Buy Unreal Tournament 2004

Mac Games News for Monday, January 12, 2004

IMG Store: Pre-Order Unreal Tournament 20043:11 PM
IMG Reviews Shadowbane: The Rise of Chaos1:05 PM
Dominions II Updated12:27 PM
New Frozen Throne Bonus Map Released8:48 AM
Mac Savage Development Update8:03 AM
The Gamesome Mac at Macworld Expo8:03 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, January 12, 2004 on one page

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