I just figured I’d share this little tid bit that I happened across on NeoWin.

“Just before 5AM Eastern Standard Time this morning we shipped the release version of Unreal Tournament 2003 to manufacturing. It should be in production later today and in stores before the end of the month.”

That was from Mark Rein, Vice President of Epic Games. But the fun doesn’t stop there. They also announced that UT2k3 would be a 3 CD set (!!!) and include the following (besides the normal “tons of levels, characters, etc” stuff):

-Maya Personal Learning Edition with UT2k3 plugins.
-Karma Authoring Tool (for changing the physics engine).
-UPaint – a 3D paint app for painting directly onto game models.
-Unreal Editor 3.0 – for levels.
-Unreal Script Editor – for custom game play types, code development etc.
-A fully working Karma-enhanced vehicle for mod makers to develop from.
-Full Linux installer (both client and server).

Plus, for seperate download as the game is released, the server stand-alone so you can run a server without buying the game, the Unreal Development Enviroment to edit and compile Mods and 3D Studio Max plugins. That and they’re already working on a free addon pack. Some of those aren’t ready yet, but will be fairly soon.

I would like to tip my hat to Infogrames and Epic for being extremely nice to the Mod community. It’s nice to see that game developers are smart enough to realize that expansions, addons, MODs and new game play development are the only way to keep a game fresh and exciting. Before it was common to simply release a level editor and be done with it, but these folks have gone out of their way to make it easy for people to play with their game engine. Especially getting Alias Wavefront (makers of Maya) to help out with a personal learning edition and plugins, and then getting Discreet (makers of 3DMax) to develop plugins as well. This game will have more custom models and levels than you can shake a stick at. Mark my words, 2 weeks after its released I’ll have 100+ models in my collection.

Anyway, I’m just a little excited about this game (in case you couldn’t tell). I do however, have some concerns. First and formost… it’s the same game. It really is exactly like the original UT. That’s certainly NOT bad. They took a good thing, updated it and made it better. But, it is still the same old thing. The FPS (first person shooter) game catagory has gotten sadly uncreative. Sure, you can up the polygon count and show me new ways for blood to splatter across a room, but it’s still nothing new. That’s ok for the time being I guess. It’s entertaining to play but its going to get to a point where I’m tired of “blowing shit up.” That’s why I’m excited about some games for this winter and for the first half of next year. There’s some great looking RTS (real time strategy) and Adventure games that look to hold me interest. For example:

City of Heros – A massive online world of super heros and super villians.
Deus Ex 2 – follow up to a very popular action/rpg-ish/adventure game
Full Throttle 2 – Finally, something new out of LucasArts that ISN’T StarWars.
Rise of Nations – awesome looking RTS coming in March
Unreal 2 – not UT2k3, but an actual first person story.

Then there’s a few random ones I’m interested in, like Homeworld 2 or SimCity 4, but those will just be things to hold me over until bigger games come out. Anyway, as you can see, the PC game world isn’t as dead as everyone thinks it is. I think next year will be a big return to some serious gaming. Wait and see.

As for me, I’ve rambled on about this stuff for far too long, it’s time for lunch. Later.