40 Articles


8 years Ago

Grinding GTA IV Missions

Published by marco on

This is an article I wrote many years ago, when GTA IV had just come out and I played the game almost to completion.[1] I never got around to publishing it, though. Now, with GTA V out for the PlayStation and X-Box, I dug up this post and figured I’d clean it up and post it anyway.

From 5 Reasons GTA IV Is The Worst Great Game Ever Made (Cracked):

“…there’s simply no way to accurately tell everybody that this is the most jaw dropping game you’ve ever played, and at the same time you fucking hate it so... [More]”

13 years Ago

Awesome Weaponry

Published by marco on

“[This gun] shoots shurikans and lightning; it could only be more awesome if it had tits and was on fire.”

14 years Ago

The Dark Side of GTA IV

Published by marco on

The game’s hyper-realism is its downfall; when something doesn’t work as expected, you’re not only disappointed, you’re screaming at the television. Case in point, the mission called “Final Destination” involves hunting down a dealer, then icing him. Several things get in the way of this being an easy mission, though.

The dealer has a friend when you confront him; this friend opens fire as soon as the cut-scene is done and the game helpfully auto-aims on the other guy, who’s running away from... [More]

Driving Drunk – Fakin’ It Edition

Published by marco on

 LollipopGTA lets you do a lot of naughty things: hire prostitutes, gamble, run rackets, kill people, commit vehicular manslaughter and on and on. The game is named after a crime and features thugs, gangsters and women of ill repute all over it. Yet, once again, the white knights of morality are assailing it as being bad for kids. No kidding; that’s why it’s rated M for mature. According to the ESRB, no one under 17 should be buying it or even playing it. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. There are plenty... [More]

Battlefield: BC, GTA IV, Metal Gear Solid IV and Valkyria

Published by marco on

 Broker Bridge Hill Escape on a Crotch RocketGTA IV hits the ground running with a rain of reviews preceding the official release date (just in time to fuel midnight lines around the Best Buy) which, according to GTA IV Reviews: An Exercise In Hyperbolism by Luke Plunkett (Kotaku) are unilaterally gushy. Welcome to the land of opportunity by Crispin Boyer ( is, apparently, one of the better ones. It gushes on some about the new multiplayer mode (which is apparently as good as advertised), then actually offers some criticism:

“I do wish that Rockstar had added checkpoints in the... [More]”

Zero Punctuation Crysis Review

Published by marco on

Of late, there’s been no better place to go for a quick review of the latest games than Yahtzee. His review of Crysis (Escapist Magazine) is a beauty.

The plot is summed as follows:

“Your task is to infiltrate some island in the South Pacific and slaughter Koreans. There’s probably more to it than that, but I found it hard to sympathize with the heroes when they’re using expensive, top-of-the-range hardware and are backed up by the entire armed forces of the entire United States while most of the enemy have to... [More]”

Fake Rock Hero

Published by marco on

Video Gaming has come full circle.

It began with kids feeding quarters into machines at the local arcade, honing their skills with an endless stream of silver. The occasional talent would rise above the rest and gain fame in the neighborhood for his (or her) mad skills. There were masters of Pac-man and Space Invaders. Then came the home versions of these games, which allowed you to train at home, for free. People got better, but they left the arcades, taking the show out of video gaming. In... [More]

15 years Ago

Approaching Crysis

Published by marco on

Another game that’s been in development for a long time is Crysis. Earlier this year there was a pretty good review of it, Crytek’s Jack Mamais on Crysis by Chris Remo (Shack News), where the reviewer noted that “running on a beefy DirectX 10-capable NVIDIA 8800, the game was never short of gorgeous.” Granted, an NVidia 8800 is no shrinking violet of a graphics card—with the top-of-the-line version weighing in at $600+ and 177 Watts—but still, it was running the game “at a fluctuating framerate in the 20-30fps range” at... [More]

Halo 3

Published by marco on

The first screenshots of Halo 3 are floating around, showing it to be a next-generation game ready to squeeze every drop of performance and visual effects out of the graphics horsepower found in the X-Box. One in particular (shown below), reveals an impressively cinematic quality, with good material detail, reflections and very natural depth-of-field effects. Notice how the focus is on the right knee, with everything else appropriately softened. It’s not clear how well this level of detail... [More]

Alan Wake

Published by marco on

Alan Wake is a psychological action thriller coming to the X-Box and PC in sometime in 2007. The game’s namesake is a writer, living in the woods somewhere, presumably along a coastline. It takes the realism of a Grand Theft Auto world to new heights, with forested lanscapes as well as small American towns rendered with an incredible level of detail. Throw in weather effects, a day/night cycle and realistic physics and this game has real-world environments like we’ve never seen before. The game... [More]

16 years Ago

Carmack on MegaTexture technology

Published by marco on

 Megatextured Pine ForestA recent article about Quake Wars: Enemy Territory mentioned that it was using the latest and greatest of rendering technologies from id Software, called Megatexturing. This Q&A with John Carmack includes more details on the development, timeline and features of this technology. He sees Megatexturing as a natural extension of texture memory management into the virtual space, as is already done for graphics memory and system memory. He’s quick to note that there is nothing groundbreaking about... [More]

Playing Soldier (in Hi-Def!)

Published by marco on

The Electronic Entertainment Expo—E3 for short—is taking place right now and is producing the expected wave of hype, “in-game” movies and “screenshots”. Check out the E3 insider or the IGN site for all the latest effusive marketing/reporting. Games that want to sell these days have to look good; to that end, publishers use high-quality screenshots and ridiculously good-looking in-game movies to draw in their audience. Recent years have seen an escalation in these types of tricks, with Sony... [More]

Quake Wars: Enemy Territory

Published by marco on

 Fighting Off the Strogg 'Bugs'The next installment in the Quake world is being designed not by id Software, but by Splash Damage[1]. It’s a multiplayer-only game set in massive outdoor environments using the Doom3 engine. Quake Wars: Enemy Territory Q&A (Shack News) is an interview with the lead developer. That’s right, you just read “massive outdoor environments” and “Doom3 engine” in the same sentence. How can this be?

Those familiar with game engines know that each has its strengths and weaknesses drawn from the type of game for which... [More]

Game Engine “Fists”

Published by marco on

In the days of the telegraph, human operators sent telecommunications by hand using morse code. Each person had their own cadence and style of sending messages; the styles were so unique that another operator could unfailingly distinguish which person sent a message simply by hearing the message arrive. This style was called the operator’s fist.

A careful perusal of screenshots from different upcoming games shows similar “fists” emerging for the game engine driving them. Over the last several... [More]

Natural Environments

Published by marco on

Neverwinter Nights 2 is a role-playing video game coming to the PC sometime in 2006. It hasn’t been that long since a “check out these awesome screenshots” article[1], but I like screenshots. The last batch[2] were of a hyper-realistic racing game set in real cities around the world—a very angular, metal and concrete world. Neverwinter Nights 2 takes place in a much more organic, open world with trees, grass and other bits of nature as the main backdrop to the adventure.

Using Those Pipelines

... [More]

Project Gotham Racing (Xbox 360)

Published by marco on

Project Gotham Racing 3 (Ars Technica) reviews the latest racing game from Bizarre Studios for the Xbox 360. The previous incarnations were known for their graphics. This one will be known for its photorealistic graphics. I’ve seen a couple of movies of the game in action and it is nothing short of breathtaking. Even when the action stops for a quarter of a beat as a Ferrari slews around in a 360º turn, the city backdrops are so perfect, you can’t tell you’re not watching a movie. The cars are perfectly... [More]

GTA San Andreas 100%

Published by marco on

The third edition of Grand Theft Auto, San Andreas, is chock full of dozens of different activities. There are three large, main cities, a whole countryside with several smaller towns and a number of rivers and bays to jet around on. There are naturally the story missions, but also jobs to be had around the city as well as more collection missions than ever. The number of things to do seems to have tripled since Vice City. The game is far from linear, but neither is everything available all at... [More]

17 years Ago

UT2007 − Just around the corner

Published by marco on

 The Next Unreal Tournament gives a preview of the engine and development process that will create UT2007, coming to a graphics workhorse near you in 2007. Epic is overhauling the gameplay in this version in order to address some of the issues affecting the previous two incarnations of UT. Namely, that they didn’t seem to be as much fun to play as Quake because of all the bouncing around, unbalanced weapons and medium- to long-range weapons play.

They’re taking a new approach, tweaking level... [More]

Half Life 2 Demo Impressions

Published by marco on

 Half Life 2 is a breakthrough game for one main reason: its physics engine. Don’t get me wrong, the Source engine looks nice, but its graphics don’t impart the same atmosphere as Doom 3, which has much more detail and immersiveness. The graphics and sounds are good, but not revolutionary. There is a lot of attention to real-world detail and architecture, which pays off; the screen shot to the left is one of the best available, but isn’t representative of average in-game graphics.

The physics... [More]

DOOM III: Resurrection of Evil

Published by marco on

 VulgarThat’s the name of the new expansion pack being created by Nerve Software using the Doom III engine and properties. DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil (PC) (GameSpy) includes lot of details about it.

On piece of good news is that the Soul Cube makes a comeback. This is a device that you obtain in Hell in the first game that destroys one enemy instantly when used. In doing so, it sucks out its life force and passes it to you. Since you have to kill five other enemies to charge it, it’s a very well-balanced... [More]

PC Soccer Games

Published by marco on

 So every year, EA Sports comes out with another soccer game for the PC and every year they make a new download just in time for the Christmas season. These downloads are always a catastrophe, in that you spend more time looking at ads for the game than actually playing it before it quits back to the desktop on you.

I stopped downloading these demos a couple of years ago, but couldn’t resist when a pretty nice-looking demo from CodeMasters showed up, touting club football with Real Madrid.... [More]

18 years Ago

Doom 3 Benchmarks/Demo/OS X/Linux

Published by marco on


The official benchmarks have been released by id. id Software’s Official DOOM3 Benchmarks (HardOCP) covers it in detail, showing you that if your card was purchased in the last year, you can probably play the game at high quality. Let’s get the recommendation out of the way:

“There is no way for a $500 [ATI] X800XT-PE to compete with a $400 [NVidia] 6800GT when the GT is simply going to outperform the more expensive card by a good margin. … for those of you that are in the high end video... [More]”

DOOM 3 Gone Gold

Published by marco on

 Todd Hollenshead’s .plan (Shack News) has the full announcement. It shows up in the US anywhere between the 3rd and 5th of August, Europe on Friday, August the 13th and … everywhere in Russia and Asia probably around August 1st or so.

PC Gamer has a review of one of the last few release candidates of Doom 3, and there are illegal copies of the text floating around, like this one: PCGamer Review − September 2004 Issue − 94% (NV News). id has stuck to their promise to make a better gaming experience and “those... [More]”

Half-Life 2 case homage

Published by marco on

There are two most amazing things about the Half-Life 2 case modification, Blackmesa HL² by piloux, documented here.

  1. This is the first modification that I would consider a work of art. The attention to detail is really amazing. The person who made it must have really had a blast making it. They’re also bound to get a lot of attention at LAN parties.
  2. This news was posted on Slashdot this morning. The page, including images, weighs in at 1.5MB. The server it’s on never faltered. Go to it now... [More]

Next, next, next generation Unreal Engine

Published by marco on

 Version 3 of the Unreal Engine is in development. Tim Sweeney on UE3 (Beyond Unreal) has the latest info on it, direct from the lead developer/architect. He’s been involved since the first version which ran Unreal; the second version ran Unreal Tournament and UT2003. Since this engine is aimed at the kind of machine that will be “mainstream in 2006”, some of the numbers being tossed around are pretty formidable.

Sweeney offered no answer when asked how much space a game that uses “2k by 2k” everywhere might take... [More]

Acronyms galore (NVidia 6800Ultra and Radeon X800 XT)

Published by marco on

If you dare step away from the video card world for more than a few months, you find, on returning, whole new vistas of acronyms, bandwidths, core-speeds, registers, pipelines and “technologies” waiting to eat you alive. The latest cards from the two top vendors, ATI and NVidia, are lining up to play tomorrow’s games at 1600x1200 with 8x Anti-aliasing and all effects on high. Quake 3 doesn’t even make a dent — assume it runs at 300FPS with everything on.

Radeon X800 XT

ATI’s latest card,... [More]

World’s smallest 3d shooter

Published by marco on

First Person Shooter − Under 100KBs of Code (SlashDot) delivers exactly that — including all textures and sounds. The screenshot below shows you that it’s a relatively normal looking 3d shooter, with a bit of a Quake2 feel to it, but with “Doom3-style graphics, that means full Phong lighting model with various light sources and normal mapping everywhere, and of course stencil based shadows”.

 .kkrieger Screenshot

How do they do it? There’s a comment Explanations! by one of the developers, where he explains.

“All content,... [More]”

Doom3 Screenie

Published by marco on

Is this seriously a screenshot?

Wow. Coming in April. Time to upgrade.

19 years Ago

Carmack on the NV30

Published by marco on

John Carmack, of id Software, has updated his .plan file (cached copy at with his impressions of the NV30 from NVidia. He compares it to the current king of the video card market, the ATI R300 part and describes how they handle his DOOM3 engine.

“At the moment, the NV30 is slightly faster on most scenes in Doom than the R300, but I can still find some scenes where the R300 pulls a little bit ahead.”

He mentions that there are several code-paths or renderers available for the DOOM... [More]

20 years Ago

Quakecon 2002

Published by marco on

 John Carmack gave a long presentation (almost 3 hours) at Quakecon 2002 which covered the current Doom technology and the future of gaming as he sees it. Gamespy has the complete coverage in QuakeCon 2002 − John Carmack Speaks. The future of graphics technology involves rendering effects like lens flares and specular highlighting in a more realistic manner; not that they look more realistic necessarily (though they will), but moving more rendering into the ‘standard’ pipeline instead of... [More]