What we’re playing: OK, Now it’s raining

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Looks like my admission that last weekend’s weather was going to be nice (and it was!) brought a curse to the area this weekend. Yeah, that’s it…a Halloween Curse. Anyhow, it’s been raining non-stop for about three days and signs indicate that it won’t be getting better over the weekend. So now everyone has an excuse to play plenty of games, as if we wouldn’t anyways!

Have a good weekend everyone…rain or shine!

Ricardo Gonzalez, PipBoy Polisher: Fallout 2, Puzzle Quest, and Psychonauts ( finally! Best B-Day present ever! )

Ryan Lea QA: Z-Dub and Phantom Hourglass

Orin Tresnjak, Graphics Programmer: Quake Wars—which, by the way, is a phenomenal game that is not getting the attention it deserves! Go play it! Also Warhammer Fantasy vs. my roommate, my orcs against his dwarves.

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MMO Gamer interviews Matt Firor

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Steve Crews from MMO Gamer informed us his interview with our pal Matt Firor of ZeniMax Online is live on their site. No, you’re not going to find out the details of what game Matt is scheming up over in Hunt Valley, but it’s still a pretty interesting read. In the interview, you’ll learn a little more about Matt’s background, his thoughts on current trends within the MMO genre, as well as addressing some of the goals he’s setting for the studio.

Here’s a sample of interview, where Matt discusses the challenge of creating an MMO that offers something unique to the genre:

The MMO Gamer: Alright, no hypotheticals, let’s stick to the real basics: Will ZeniMax Online be up to the challenge of producing something gamers have never experienced before?

Matt Firor: Sure. I wouldn’t be in this position if I wasn’t ready to give something new to gamers. But our philosophy is to incrementally build on what gamers expect – to ease them into the game, make it feel comfortable, etc. before introducing too many new concepts to them. Introducing too many new concepts too quickly is a great way to drive your user base away before they get accustomed to the game.

See Conquest in Action

GameVideos.com has uploaded two videos for our upcoming PS2/Wii release, Star Trek: Conquest. The trailer above, entitled “Empire,” gives fans their first chance to see how the game’s arcade-style space combat and turn-based strategy play out. The site is also also hosting a 15-second clip that focuses soley on the game’s arcade combat.

Expect to see Conquest hitting shelves next month on both PS2 and Wii. For more of our coverage on the game, click here.

On the Road…again

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So I’m back out on the road for the first of two trips over the next three weeks following up with folks who didn’t get a chance to see Fallout 3 at E3 or Leipzig. We really aren’t doing it for more coverage, but to make sure folks at different sites and publications have had a chance to see it. Often times a given publication may only have one or two folks come by to see the demo during a trade show like E3, which is fine for the purpose of a particular preview or article. However, as you go forward you work with a variety of folks on feature articles, stories, and so forth, and it’s important for them to have seen the game for themselves. So this week I’m in San Fran to see a number of folks.

James Mielke over at 1Up put up a post on his blog talking about seeing the Fallout demo for the first time. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

Being the busy bee that I am, I don’t usually get to play too many games at E3, and that being the case, I definitely didn’t get to see Bethesda‘s stunning Fallout 3 in action. Well, today Bethesda’s VP of PR came through the offices and gave us a very articulate walkthrough of the new game’s features and mechanics. I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of answers, and as someone who has had a hard time getting into Oblivion, I have to say, Fallout 3 really blew me away.

Read the rest of James’ thoughts at his blog at 1Up. In addition, I did a podcast session with the boys at IGN this afternoon that is now available should you have any desire to listen to that sort of thing. You can find it here.

New Diary on Fallout site: Meet the Pip-Boy 3000

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Over at the official Fallout site, we’ve just added the second in our series of Fallout Diaries. In the latest edition, Lead Artist Istvan Pely reveals how we went about creating a new Pip-Boy Interface for Fallout 3. Within the diary, he discusses the early stages, inspirations, and progress made on the latest iteration of this iconic Fallout device.

Below is a sample of Istvan’s Pip-Boy diary.

Technology in the world of Fallout 3 is somewhat paradoxical in that it’s incredibly advanced in some ways, and downright primitive in others. Certain technological advancements that we take for granted in our own history either did not occur, or developed along a very different path. Miniaturization is one example; yes, the fact that a device with the capabilities of the Pip-Boy could be made at all is amazing, but it’s still a rather bulky and heavy lump of hardware. It uses a monochrome cathode ray tube, there are no flat LCD/Plasma/OLED screens. Its housing is cast out of a metal alloy, not plastic. And it’s an ergonomic nightmare. But all these qualities give it character, and this was an important aspect of the design, as the Pip-Boy is almost a character itself.

We’ll have more diaries from folks working on Fallout 3 as we get closer to its release next fall. To read the first diary from Todd, visit here. Also worthy of mention that the Fallout site now has localized versions in French, Italian, German, and Spanish, including today’s diary. You’ll have the option of choosing your language when you visit for the first time, or can change it at any time using the icons at the bottom of the site.

The Sausage Factory: Getting Schooled

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Welcome to The Sausage Factory, a new series on breaking into the games industry. These are, of course, purely my opinion. You may have a different one, but hey, that’s what is great about America, am I right?

Getting Schooled

I often get asked, Hey! You make video games right? You know, I love games. I play them all the time! My parents can’t believe how much I play them. Its my dream to make them someday. Do you hire high school kids as interns? What college should I go to? A regular college/university? A specialty school all about video games?

My answer is always the same: not Duke. I hate Duke. (Haha. I kid, I kid.) Then I tell them to get Mr. Howard his tall sugar free vanilla latte stat.

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Retail Disc for Shivering Isles is OFFICIAL

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Two weeks ago, Pete discussed that that we’ve been working hard to bring Shivering Isles to the PS3 either by way of PSN or a standalone disc. Well today we’ve got some good news. To make the game accessible to everyone, we’ve officially announced that we’re releasing the game as a standalone disc. Just as with the Xbox 360 version, you’ll still be required to already have a full version of Oblivion to play Shivering Isles.

Shivering Isles is scheduled to ship in North America on November 20th for $29.99. To read the press release, click here.

Scruggsywuggsy, a Modding Sensei

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This week’s modder interview is with Paul Connelly, who is better known within the BGS forums as scruggsywuggsy the ferret (perhaps the longest name in the forums). Connelly, who lives on a farm outside of Allentown, PA, is currently working as a college student, though he claims he’s too old to still be there. Since I don’t have a picture, I gather he’s probably an icon for the younger college kids (a la Jeremy Piven in PCU or John Belushi in Animal House…pick whichever generation you prefer). If he’s not, well he should be, because members are our forums are big fans of his mod work and his tendency to lend a helping hand.

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October Hall of Famers

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Well, the end of the month is nearing, so that means a couple things. You can expect Todd to be dressed up for Halloween as Notre Dame’s mascot (truly scary this year), our Fallout Anniversary Contest will be wrapping up in just over a week, and last but not least, Planet Elder Scrolls has inducted its October Hall of Fame entries for mod work on Oblivion.

This month’s honorees are Multitude of Magecraft by Cid88, At Home Alchemy by Syclonix, and Bob’s Armory: Oblivion by Mr. Dave.

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Fighter’s Stronghold Reviews

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If you didn’t have chance to get Fighter’s Stronghold for free last week, the download is now available for sale for PC here for $1.89 and on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 150 points. It’s your decision if it’s worth downloading or not, but I noticed a couple of reviews from fans who downloaded the content last week that you can check out. You can read the reviews at Video Game Generation and BRnR (warning: the reviews have some content spoilers).

Already download Fighter’s Stronghold? Let us know what you think over in our forums…