DUST 514 will be a Playstation 3 exclusive

Oliver Brown
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CCP have just announced DUST514 will be exclusive to the Playstation 3. Which is a shame (check out the EVE Online forums for some stronger opinions). Unfortunately it makes sense for a few reasons (well making it exclusive to one console makes sense - whether the 360 or the PS3 was the better choice is more debatable).

Developing for a single console is quicker and easier - especially important for a game that will probably have more updates than the average game.

There are suggestions that one or both of Sony and Microsoft aren’t happy about cross-platform multiplayer games.

Since the idea of the game (a console FPS interacting with a PC MMO) is quite revolutionary they could get a lot of support (both financially and in terms of marketing and other benefits) from the console manufacturer, but only if it’s exclusive.

That being said, it may not be the end for the Xbox 360 and DUST.  Sony have suffered recently and definitely have lower consumer confidence (will players have to give Sony any personal information to play DUST?) and this decision will have been made long before Sony’s hacking problems. If sales are lower than CCP hope they may rethink the plan. And remember, “exclusive” in the games industry can be a vague and rarely lasts for ever.

The game is scheduled for a Spring release so at least 360-only owners have a while to decided if they want to get a PS3 just for this game…

Cross platform games on the PS3 and the Xbox 360

Oliver Brown
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In case you didn’t know, the PS3 can run Linux. Not only that but it’s officially supported by Sony. You can download (for free) a utility to put a boot loader on to some media (most likely a hard-drive but memory cards, memory sticks and anything else the PS3 can read (and can hold 10Mb) are supported) and set it to boot “Other OS” (that’s what the menu says).

There are already videos on the Internet of it running Fedora. Zac Bowling already has one running Mono, a task simplified by the fact that the cell processor appears as a PPC. So where does the Xbox 360 come into this? Well Microsoft are releasing something called XNA, a modified/extended version of the the .NET 2.0 run-time with emphasis on Managed DirectX that is available for Windows and the Xbox 360. A version of XNA called Mono.Xna that is built on top of the Tao framework is in development. The end result is that in theory, games developed using XNA will run on Windows, Linux, Macs, PS3’s and Xbox 360’s. A few problems still exist. The processor that the PS3 uses is rather strictly an in-order processor so most stuff that isn’t written specifically for that will run slowly (although video playback will be pretty zippy) and so far there is no hardware 3D support for an “Other OS” so XNA (if it were available now) would run slowly.

A couple of PS2 gems?

Oliver Brown
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I did something I haven’t done for years recently: I bought Official PlayStation Magazine UK for the demo disk. No particular reason except now having a job I’m not so worried about the price of a magazine…

I was glad I did. It has two demos of games that look really cool (and they’re already out).

The first is Fahrenheit (although it was renamed before the launch - search GameSpot for Fahrenheit and it comes up). You control a guy who has just done a murder and you have to (basically) escape from the police. But it is so much more than that. Firstly, the genre is closest to point-and-click adventure à la Broken Sword, except it’s in 3D - you just move near objects and push the right analog stick in different directions to do different context-sensitive actions. Another point is the emphasis on story - you get to see things that are happening elsewhere that you wouldn’t normally know about (like the cop approaching the door of the men’s room where you committed the murder) if it is good for drama. Finally you get to control most of the important characters throughout the game (although not in the demo).

The second one is Shadow of the Colossus, a third person action adventure. All you have to do is go through the game killing these huge Colossi (they look like something out of Lord of the Rings - large walking bear type things. I mean large - they start out about the size of a house and get bigger). And that is literally all you have to do. No piddly bad guys in between, just the Colossi. The game gets away with this apparent simplicity with two (related) features: Firstly how you kill them is not that obvious. It generally involves climbing up them somehow and stabbing them but there’s usually more to it. Secondly the platform aspect of the game is amazing. The most important part is the “grip” feature. Basically you can hang on things (think Prince of Persia) and while hanging you can jump around and hang on other things. This is how you climb the Colossi. The physics engine for this is close to perfect. As the things move around trying to swipe at you your character swings around, ends up hanging with just one arm (so you have to wait for him to get his bearings and grab with both - all the while you’re grip strength lessens) and all sorts of cinematic type sequences occur. On the demo I managed to get all the way up to its head, got throw off and ended up hanging off its nose…

So go out and by them… I think I will.

Timesplitters Future Perfect

Oliver Brown
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I just got the new (well it’s not that new now) Timesplitters game for the PS2, and wow is it cool.

It’s sort of a cross between Timesplitters 2, Halo and the Goldeneye sequel on the N64 (Perfect Dark?). Think Timesplitters 2 but add the ability to get into vehicles and separate grenades and deployable guns. The graphics are improved and are less cartoony but the whacky sense of humour is still there - whenever you kill a monkey it shouts “Chimpicide!”.