ShackCast 23: Activision vs. Harmonix, NPD Sales Data, Unreal Tournament 3, Burnout Paradise

By Chris Remo, Dec 14, 2007 5:02pm PST ShackCast 23 features Chris Remo, Chris Faylor, and Nick Breckon--but where's the ever-scatalogical Steve Gibson? This web 2.0 broadcast contains a twist worthy of M. Night Shamalamadingdong! You will just have to listen yourself!

In the news, we touch on Activision and Harmonix squaring off over Guitar Hero and Rock Band controllers, the NPD industry sales data for November, Killzone 2's doctored screenshots and the practice of altering screenshots, and the arrest made through Call of Duty 4 on Live.

Those current events are followed up with discussion of Unreal Tournament 3, the Burnout Paradise demo, GripShift, and, of course, reader mail from good old Pendergrass.

Don't forget to send in your questions and comments about video games, the Shack, or the ShackCast to! Even if your name isn't Pendergrass!

Play or download the podcast now, or browse the episodes through iTunes, RSS, or Digg. (iTunes or Digg experts: if you have any idea why our podcast isn't updating properly through those services, please contact us! You're our only remaining hope!)

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15 Threads | 35 Comments

  • Speaking to mods...

    I miss the old days. I first started playing a lot of mods for Half-Life.

    To a degree, I think that the reason we don't think as many mods are being released, is because there are so many more games that mods are being made for.

    Sadly I think there is another reason. Game engines these days do most of the things we all thought were so cool for mods back in the half-life days.

    Think about it? The Half-Life engine, or depending how you want to look at it, a heavily modified Quake 1 engine. All it really did was standard FPS gameplay for the day. Shooting stuff, jumping, crouching, and crouch jumping. Take out the entire amazing story of Half-Life, and the quality of that first person shooter gameplay, and what your left with is a basic formula that was pretty standard for FPS games at the time.

    Half-Life mods did all kinds of things. Bullet time, parachuting, driveable vehicles, a massive selection of weapons. Not only that, but the mods did such vastly different things. From Snark Wars to Science & Industry to Firearms to Digital Paintball.

    Even with a different game, totally different sort of gameplay. Tribes 2. Tribes 2 mods added anything and everything to the game. Mods added an insane amount of weapons. Tools that did random things that the engine was not even designed to do by the developers. Mods added the ability to fortify your base and flag with a vast amount of construction prefabs in the game in real time. Mods allowed you to use those same construction prefabs, emitters, and objects, to build anything your mind could think of, there was an entire mod dedicated to construction.

    Alot of these mods never made it that big, but they were doing things that we not standard to games yet. These days things like bullet time and chopper jumps are played out, driveable vehicles are in alot of games also. A lot of ideas that I first saw done in Half-Life and Tribes 2 mods is now pretty standard.

    Also, game engines are harder to mod these days, with the exception of the Source engine, and maybe CryEngine2. Physics, high quality, high polygon art assets, large highly detailed maps. When making a mod for Half-Life or something similar, the quality still had to be there, but models consisted of vastly less polygons and detailed animations, textures were much smaller, coding assets into the engine was somewhat easy.

    Just my two cents guys. Great shackcast guys, I've been locked out of my place on a few occasions, sucks mate. Keep up the good work guys.

  • I think you guys actually were too nice on Burnout Paradise. They took everything organized and fun about Burnout, and made it disorganized and tedious. I'm not looking forward to it at all. I'm sure there will be some queer achievements like "drove a total of 1000 miles, which everyone will get anyway because we have to drive back to the racing start lines everytime we fuck up and watch our 10 second slomo crash during our 300 events. Also, lol pointless gta shops. and :( no crash mode, thats the most fun part about Burnout.

  • I think the other problem with UT3 is they renamed their most popular gameplay type, Onslaught, for no apparent reason and they only released one demo without was was the biggest draw of the previous game in the series. As I recall Epic said this was a beta demo and they'd release another with an Onslaught or whatever the current name is but I suppose they didn't choose to do that.

    The horrible over the type glow of HDR didn't help things as well, in addition to the things you guys mentioned. Things could have been a lot more subtle in how it was applied. What's sad is the PC might be losing another one of it's best developers but this time it's because they didn't seem to put as much effort into it as Gears of War on the 360.