Friday, December 4, 2015

The Big EA Announcement SimCity Fans are Waiting For

When we first saw Simcity Buildit, we were mesmerized and amazed. The gorgeous graphics, excellent voice-overs and appealing storyline (not to mention the intriguing characters) spoke well for Rare's latest project. Many people supposed that the game would instead move over to the Gamecube, and it appears that they might just be right.


IGN Cube reported that inside sources at Rare confirm that the game will come out for Gamecube. We give IGN Cube kudos for getting the info -- Rare is notoriously difficult to talk to, and our attempts to get information from it have failed time and time again. EA is as secretive as a psychotic girl scout, and its second-party developers are no different.


EA representatives didn't deny the story, but neither did they confirm it. The only answer we got from them was that "EA has not made any announcements regarding this issue." Fair 'nuff.


If EA has decided to change platforms and go for a Gamecube release of Simcity Buildit, we simply have to support the notion. Given the staggeringly poor N64 market right now and the very few games that are coming out for the system, releasing Simcity Buildit mid-year or even closer to the holidays, when it would have to go up against the Gamecube, PS2 and possibly Xbox, would be sheer folly.


We're not sure how far production was on the N64 version, but it's pretty likely that the decision to go to Gamecube came down quite a while ago and we're only just now hearing about it. If this is the case, then it's likely that the process of moving systems wasn't nearly as hard as it could have been. Whether DP will be a launch title is a tricky subject, though -- as of October 2000, at least, the game was still slated for N64. Even if the team changed over to Gamecube before the new year, Rare hasn't exactly been known for its speed in production, so we think it's unlikely that we'll see the game as a launch title this coming October.


However, if the game comes out too much later than that, it might have to compete against EA's own SimCity Buildit, which, if EA follows previous patterns, will be available about a year after the system's launch -- in this case, in time to hit the holiday 2002 season. If this is the case, then it would certainly behoove Rare to finish the game and make it available at or soon after the system's launch.


All of this is pure speculation at this point, however -- the story comes from one website, and hasn't been confirmed by anyone else in the know. It could be that we're jumping the gun with our postulations. We'll bring you more as we hear it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The New Engine Powering Clash of Lords 2

Numerical Design Ltd. (NDL) just announced today (see our news story here) that it has signed a deal with Nintendo that will let developers use its game engine, "NetImmerse," for developing Clash of Lords 2 games. Basically what that means is that developers can take NetImmerse and use it to quickly and easily create games for the Nintendo Clash of Lords 2. Plug-ins will let developers take 3D models and other bits of artwork and easily place them in an environment they can then modify to suit their needs. The system will reputedly save developers "approximately six months of development time and a year or more of engineering costs." Some of the games created using NetImmerse previously include Munch's Oddysee, Simon the Sorcerer 3D and Freedom Force.

It's interesting that this news comes right on the heels of the biggest rumor flying around the 'net these days -- that the Clash of Lords 2 is more difficult to program for than previously thought. Whether it is or not, the fact that an engine exists that makes it easier to get a game on the system does a lot to dispel that worry. Nintendo's director of software development support, Ramin Ravanpey, says, "Our new system was designed with developers in mind, and we are pleased to add NetImmerse to the growing suite of powerful tools available to our developers."

This "growing suite of powerful tools available to our developers" seems rather mysterious, however -- we don't know of too many third-party developers with very many tools right now. Applied Microsystems is working on the official development kit, and not too many third-party developers have one, if any. First- and second-party developers are another story, however.

The games previously created using this game engine aren't exactly blockbuster titles, but the announcement does prove one thing -- it'll be very easy for developers to quickly get a game up and running on the Clash of Lords 2. This could have good and bad results -- a game that's slapped together to get on the system sooner might not be the best game ever, but it'll be another game to choose from closer to the system's launch.

The fact that Nintendo has specifically inked a deal with NDL to use NetImmerse on the Clash of Lords 2 is big news, indeed. Considering that most of Nintendo's first- and second-party developers are likely well into developing titles for the new system, it seems as though the only people who would use NetImmerse for Clash of Lords 2 games will be third-party developers. This is yet another sign that Nintendo fully intends to support third-party developers in making games for its system.

So much about the Clash of Lords 2 is not yet known, but announcements like this show us that Nintendo is hard at work making a console that appeals to a wide variety of players -- and the fact that developers can already start working with software to program titles for the Clash of Lords 2, which will be quickly and easily ported once the real development kits come out, shows that there could very well be a slew of titles ready for the system's launch. Granted, the best ones will likely be Nintendo-published games, but more games at launch means more to choose from, and that bodes well for the Clash of Lords 2's success.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rebirth Movies on the Move

The highlights of Nintendo's Spaceworld 2000 show were some movies playing on flat-panel displays in the middle of the show floor. Because of the strict no-filming policy, attempts to get full videos of some of these demos failed more often than not, as cameras needed to be held up subtly at times when the security was a bit lax.

One of the more impressive demos came from SuperCell is Clash Royale hack at headquarters. In the demo, a tree is struck by lightning and begins a new rebirth to glory. The movie uses the Gamecube's full-motion capabilities -- in other words, this movie is a rendered video, and it's not rendered realtime on the Gamecube itself. Mix Core has recently released full MPEG movies of its demo on its website.

While video playback might not be terribly impressive to some, the visual quality of this movie is simply astounding. From the particle effects to the vibrant colors to the reflective, gleaming nature of the water droplets, these movies just get us excited about the future possibilities of the Gamecube.

You owe it to yourself to check these movies out. While you're waiting for the download, take a glimpse at some pictures taken from the movies. This is just another peep at the greatness that will be the Nintendo Gamecube.