Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Heavenly Sword : A Bungers Investigates™ Feature

mmChronic and I were talking about next gen stuff the other day, so here's an ickle taster of what you can expect. If you read EDGE you'll know all about Just Add Monsters, they write a 'developer's diary' type article in the magazine. As you may know, all of the Argonaut Games PLC subsidiaries were forced into administration in October, which meant JAM was closed down too. Luckily...
Jez San and the former directors of JAM have bought back the business including all next-generation technologies; the Heavenly Sword intellectual property; and the entire JAM team.

They're now back as Ninja Theory Why?
Beacause Ninjas Make Better Games

Heavenly Sword..? I think you'll find it's a next gen title with lots of bloom...

...lots of ninjas...

...and lots of lovely environments...

Want to see it in action?

Day 21 Advent Calendar Ninja Action

(Heavenly Sword Trailer - 62.8 MB) Enjoy!


mmChronic said...

It looks cool - but will it be as good as Starglider?

When was the last time Jez San put out a good game?

Merg said...

mmm... FX Fighters on the SNES, circa 93? (it used Argonaut's FX chip that let the SNES do 3D at a half-decent speed...)

He's been involved in a few mediocre titles since then, but that's the last I remember that got any cricitcal acclaim... otherwise, Star Fox (again, SNES, used FX chip)? (of course, Star Fox was renamed Star Wing for the PAL market for some obscure reason I forget...)

mmChronic said...

I forgot about the FX chip. It's probably teh cash from that that has subsidised them to keep going this long.

My recent memories of them is they announce games then shelve them / go bust / whatever. They were doing a good looking platformer as an Xbox launch title. It looked mint. It got delayed / cancelled / forgotten about.

Did Argonaut have a hand in Carrier Command too?

Merg said...

I don't think so... Carrier Command was by Realtime Software (but both it and Starglider 1/2 were published by Rainbird, BT's "premium" label ... Firebird being the "cheapo" label).

mmChronic said...

That's maybe why I mentally linked them. That and the fact they were both excellent 3D games.

bungers said...

Wasn't it Jez San that did that game where the guy had a sniper rifle built in to his helmet (ooo-er) and there was a paracute level too, but he had these funny loops attached to his back instead of a parachute.

I think he also did Messiah...

I have Stunt Race FX for the SNES, another FX game, and one that was rather good too.. I think there was an odd transformers style game too, but I'm not sure if it ever made it off the drawing board. Let's go investigate...

SNES chip stuffI think it might've been Vortex.

Check out more alledged next gen screens here. Wow!

Merg said...

Nope, the first two games you mention are Dave Perry/Shiny Entertainment games.

Stunt Race FX used the chip but I don't think Jez San was involved.

I've seen those "next gen" pix before, they're "artists impressions".

It'll be v high polygon etc. though so it should look pretty damn' impressive -- especially to PS2 owners, who are used to everything looking like lego-land ;)

mmChronic said...

The video looks very pretty. Hopefully it'll get a release. ;)

Dogs said...

Greetings Earthlings

Recently I've been mostly p!553d. Are we out for a pint at some point over Crimbo?

That next gen stuff, it looks almost as good as my 25 trillion frames/second monster PC ;) now with extra PS2 pad converter goodness!!! One of these days wor lass will find out how much I spend on my PC and then castrate me.
Which reminds me that you can get a PS2 to XBox pad converter for £7 at www.play.com but the booger is never in stock.

mmChronic said...

Get back to work you skiving fop! ;)

Still I suppose it makes a change from quietly reading at work (even though it is verboten under the Geneva Convention or something) but not commenting. Ho Hum.

Have you got any more Live game for Xbox? Bunger has just subscribed to Live and we are discussing games to try.

Dogs said...

Tiger Woods 2004, Ninja Gaiden and PGR2 are the only ones I've got with Live facility but I am severely tempted by Burnout 3: Takedown wotsit.

Oh yes, I also upgraded to 1.5mb broadband. I guess this gives me 256 upstream. Can you run your own server on Xbox or does it rely on the Live service to host? Or summat?

mmChronic said...

Funnily enough Burnout 3 got mentioned! Lisa is it too late to add that to my present list please? ;)

You can either play using Live or if the game has System Link (ie home LAN capabilities) we can tunnel over the interweb and skip using Live altogether.

I'm jealous of your big fat pipe. Ooer!

Dogs said...

Have you got Live Headset on your list too?
Now that would be entertaining.

Just thought of another...Pro Evolution Soccer 4. Apparently the mutts nuts of footy games but I don't know for sure if it has Live.

mmChronic said...

I have indeed got the headset on my list. And PES4. And it works in Live. W00t! Looks like a footy challenge is on at the very least!

Dogs said...

A possiblity though I can't see myself subscribing to Live for very long. I'll see if I can find out if it has system link...

Merg said...

Yegods, even console-hating-Dogs has gone over to The Dark Side[tm].

Merg said...

btw... the PC version of PES4 is a) better than the Xbox version (esp with my PS2-ripoff pad, 6 quid for Aldi -- I broke the Logitech playing Flat Out... ) and b) allows you to play link-up without any dodgy services like "Live!"

mmChronic said...

That would be the definition of 'dodgy' that goes something like 'the incredibly stable and amazingly lag free considering the amount of users there are on at any one time - and that's before you consider the builtin scoreboards, infrastucture etc'. Live is v good. And as I said earlier any game that supports System Link (ie most of them) can be played across a network - be it a LAN or our good ol' interweb.

I'd rather have the console version as it's a console game. I'm not supporting Dogs' niche gaming platform except when it is the only platform for something I want - like R:TW.

Dogs: I have a 2 month trial of Live you ca have. You'll prob have to subscribe in your lass's name as I think the offers are 1 per person and you've already done one.

Dogs said...

On second thoughts...I do like the sound of PC PES but then I can't sit in front of a big TV and play two player...

decisions decisions

Merg said...

oooh, touchy!

Must be true love!

Xbox and mC Sittin' in a tree...

Merg said...


TV and PC in different rooms?

mmChronic said...

Console + TV win for me every day.

And I was just pointing out that Live is far from dodgy. It is technically very impressive.

If you want to jsut have a scoff at Microsoft for scoffings sake there's a much scoffier matter to erm... scoff at.

mmChronic said...

And that'll be:

Xbox and mC Sittin' in a tree

Dogs said...

Say what?

mmChronic said...

Fsck me - why do all the tards hang about here? ;)

Simplified version for the short of wit:

Xbox and mC sitting in a tree,

Dogs said...

That one passed me by when I was at school.

It was only for the girls and the tards :)

Merg said...

Most vehermently, and with some quite amusing claims that "it's a console game" despite the PC version being the best version out there.

Btw... Fragging, you? HAH!

(and if you're intending on fragging in PES, you'll end up with a team of 3...)

mmChronic said...

It is a console game. How many units did it shift on consoles compared to computers? I don't know either but I'm willing to bet which got the most - ergo it's a console game. Note this is pointless bicker/argument in retaliation for the pedantic decontruction of my FRAGGING joke. Cnut!

I do/have play/ed FRAGGY games too you know. It just fit with the KISSING thing - though for PES I could have had KICKING. Ho Hum. But twas a joke you mirthless gimp. :)

Dogs: If only for girls and tards - you should have understood it twice as fast as everyone else. ;)

Dogs said...

he he

Merg said...

It's a VIDEO game. It's available on all platforms. The sheer fact of its availability makes it so. Based on your logic, it's a PS2 game :p

(And as an aside, it's a damn good game if you can be arsed to learn it all -- it makes FIFA look like Match Day).

mmChronic said...

I said it was a pointless bicker didn't I? You surely didn't expect factual content? ;)

It does fit more easily as a console game though as the best footy games have always appeared on console - after SWOS and KO anyway. For years the PC only had shite footy games - unless you count Spreadsheet Manager et al.

I wanted the new FIFA as I haven't bought one for a couple of years - but PES4 sounds much better. It really is a shame about the licencing though. Hopefully you can at least edit names etc.

Merg said...

Well, speaking as someone who has played the PC version quite a bit, it "fits" beautifully on my PC. (and, as it happens, works just fine on my telly, too -- I've had my PC hooked up to the TV for years now).

I don't see much of a division, outside of controls -- as discussed at length elsewhere, I find keyboard/mouse hard to beat for some game-types. Otherwise, it's all just games ('cept for the PS2, where it's all just lego-land :> ).

I can't think of any really good console-only footy games offhand outside of some of the earlier versions of PES/Winning Eleven ... FIFA's always been on the PC in its 3D incarnations (and even some of the isometric versions -- which the Amiga also saw briefly!) and I've never been a huge fan of the 3D versions due to the way the computer cheats -- I can accurately predict about 30 seconds before the computer will score, it suddenly "gets better".

I don't think the console versions of the game offer name-editting. They've managed it on the PC by hacking the data files -- it's 5-600megs(!)

Here's what's in there:

The Wolf Furry Evolution Patch 3.0 - PES4 PC

OPTION FILE 3.0 (included in 'folder1') CONTENTS:
- 100% Correct player, team, stadium & league names.
- Corrected player call names (where available) for ALL club & national team.
- Up to date transfers.
- Over 60 additional new players created with FM2005/CM4 data and added to squads.
- Leeds United replace PES United.
- Fenerbahce replace WE United.
- Unreal players from PES & WE United teams edited over with real players.
- *** DUPLICATE PLAYERS REMOVED *** (In the edit section Konami always display the players
in the original teams when you use 'Edit Player' regardless of what changes/transfers you
have made. For this reason, you will still see the edited players in the original teams
although when you go to 'Edit Team' or play any other mode in the game, everything will
be updated.)
- Updated squads, starting line-ups & formations for many club & national teams.
- Squad numbers updated for English Premier League.
- Many thanks to all those who helped with squads, formations, starting lineups etc. &
apologies to those whose adjustments I didn't have time to implement.

- Kit Server 4.1.5 (by Juce)
- ALL Official Uniforms included with over 150 updates from the last patch (by kEL, Spark, OPM, Dr.X Ray, cfdh_edmundo,ibo, Javeplus
JuyLE, Yogui, Burgy, Tiptoe, Fabiano, Daikirai, youyou, Bensab, Biker_Jim_UK, Calenulma
__cOoL__ & any others I may have forgotten to thank.)
- The Wolf Howling Evolution Team Call Name Patch (instructions included in the folder).
- High Quality Badges & Flags (by Higgs & The Wolf)
- League & Cup logos (by Higgs)
- 2D Uniforms (by Higgs)
- Title Screen (by pep_sa)
- New balls (by kinimod including balls by Spark & forewordgate)
- New Backgrounds Patch (by FCH with amendments by The Wolf)
- High Quality Ad-Boards (by FCH)
- Many more new Supporters Flags (twice as many as before included) & Updated Others (by Asmo, Mazimo, cfdh_edmundo & Various)
- Referee Uniforms (by kEL)
- Shoes (by Chiztopher)
- 'CC-Patch AIO v3 PES4 PC' Chants & Environment Patch (by Solidus J2K)
- U2: Beautiful Day Main Menu Music (by Unknown)
- Form Guide
- Uniform Number Pack - 1=Puma, 2=Adidas, 3=Nike, 4=Umbro (by Spark)
- Stadium: St. James' Park (by crazyaxel21)
- Stadium: Parc des Princes (by crazyaxel21)
- Stadium: Nou Camp 2.0 (by Sin3-16)
- Stadium: San Siro Updated (by Sin3-16/Frenkie)
- Stadium: Dortmund Westfallen Stadion 1.0 (by crazyaxel21)
- Stadium: Djurgarden Rasunda Stadion (by crazyaxel21)
- Stadium: Highbury Updated (by Sin3-16/Frenkie)
- Stadium: Stamford Bridge Updated (by (by Sin3-16/Frenkie)
- Stadium: Anfield New (by Haukur Gudnason)
- Stadium: Old Trafford Updated (by Sin3-16/Frenkie)
- Stadium: Delle Alpi Updated (by Sin3-16/Frenkie)
- Stadium: Stadio Olimpico (by Sin3-16/Frenkie)
- Stadium: De Kuip (by crazyaxel21)

Rather nifty.

mmChronic said...

They should send lumps of poo instead. ILN (I think) linked a poo sending service a while back. It would be much funnier!

Merg said...

Wrong comment box? :)

mmChronic said...

Doh - previous comment was meant for coal post.

That patch looks good - it's even got Beautiful Day as a theme tune.

The early FIFAs were far and away better on the SNES than anything else. When the 3D ones started coming out I remember there was a lack of good footy games on the PC and a few on consoles - but I'm struggling to remember them now. Maybe I just imagined it? :)

By it fitting better on a console the controller comes into it as you sort of mentioned - a pad controlled game just sort of feels like a console game to me.

I've never used a TV off a computer since I bought my first monitor for my Amiga. :)

Merg said...

Aha, the isometric games -- I always much preferred SWOS/Kick Off, personally, but t'is subjective.

Joypads are definitely much better for some game-types, but I've had at least one joypad on my PC since '99.

I occasionally see in various forums arguments for not bringing a certain game-type to the PC because "it doesn't work well with a keyboard". It's an argument I don't understand, since there's about a zillion joypads out there for the PC, as well as adapters to allow console pads to work... I guess I don't get why someone who is a gamer would not buy one -- mine was a whopping six or seven quid from Aldi! (great pad - total bargain -- plus it comes with a PS2 connector as well as the USB plug).

I guess I don't get why anyone who plays games even occasionally wouldn't buy one...

Merg said...

Re TV/computer -- I use it for all sorts. But then, I've got two monitors AND a TV hooked up...

I prefer games on the monitor though. I prefer the sharper display to the bigger display.

bungers said...

Oh.. this mass debate...

I'll be all lived up soon, and I think PES4 and Burnout are the ones to go for...

just need to s-t-r-e-t-c-h cable across room....

I have the headset thing and Splinter Cell Pandora tomorrow, all free from BT. Happy Christmas BT!

(Now, about my fucked up router you sent me... )

mmChronic said...

Game on.

Of course if you were any sort of man you'd also buy Halo 2.

Dogs said...

Now if only I could get the Xbox to display on my PC monitor then I would have access to Live...

Any suggestions? I've tried plugging the Xbox into the ViVo ports on my PC but the picture quality is crud.

mmChronic said...

erm... an Xbox to VGA adapter perhaps. Try Game.

Or you could be all swanky and set up a wireless network like me - though I still need to buy an adapter for the Xbox that costs about 14 quid to access it. That way tyou can leave the Xbox under the TV but still have access to the network from it.

Dogs said...

Apparently those VGA adapters are all crap, that is if you believe www.X2VGA.com who claim to have the only good product. They also claim that the Pal XBox has had its high definition output disabled. No explanation of what difference that makes but I'm guessing that the X2VGA just doesn't work on PAL systems.

What's the range of your wireless system?

My PC is on a different floor and on the other side of the house to the XBox.

mmChronic said...

The high def stuff was for HDTVs which we won't see in this country for another 73 years or something. I don't know whether the HD output is the signal used for the 'to VGA' conversion so I don't know whether it's a problem.

TIP: As for the claims the rest don't work: Try comparative reviews rather than a manufacture saying 'ours is good, theirs is shite'. It may be true but I wouldn't take their word for it.

And the range is 30-50m apparently. I've used the laptop upstairs (the wireless access point is downstairs) and got top signal strength so...

Merg said...

The X2VGA adapter uses the HD output to convert to VGA because monitors look much better with a higher res input -- without it, the Xbox starts to look like a PS2 due to the much higher resolution of the display, and because HD signals are pretty close to VGA (by design), so it's easier to convert (and less mangling means better quality display).

Which is probably the reason X2VGA is considered to be about the best adapter.

Personally, I think I'd just go wireless -- the low res of the Xbox won't look great on a PC monitor anyway... (try running some PC games at 640x480 and you'll see what I mean... now add extra crud to the signal... ;) ).

Actually... the best way of doing conversion might be a PC TV card, and use the SVideo input -- the SVideo on my ancient 848-based card is pretty decent. It means having the PC switched on to play on the Xbox tho' so far from ideal...

bungers said...

I went into Game yesterday, and they don't have any xBox--->VGA adapters.

Might be worth ordering one off tinterweb. Otherwise it'll be a case of move router closer to TV everytime I wanna hook up the xbox. Bah humbug.

Merg said...

Wireless is the future :)

You could just get an extra-long cable and run it around the walls?

Dogs said...

Yup. Wireless it is but shame about the HD output. (wonder why micorsoft disabled it?)

But before I go wireless and buy Burnout+PES I shall be mostly being festive and mainly being skint due to crashing car.

Anyway, I must drop by mCs with a prezzie for the bairn. What time you in this afternoon mC?

mmChronic said...

It does seem strange - but I've never seen that mentioned elsewhere. As I mentioned before it's going to be years (if ever) before we get HDTV in this country but it would have been nice to have had the option of using the higer res on a monitor.

Crashed the car? Are you OK? And wouldn't you be better off sticking to TOCA? ;)

I'm not 100% sure when we'll be in as teh abairn and I are off shopping for Lisa's pressies soon and then going to see Lemony Snicket. After 3pm would be my best guess atm. Lisa will be in most of the day if you can't make it later but obviously you may not see the bairn then.