E3Expo 2003 Friday’s Report Page 3

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Sierra

Sierra had a first look showing of their new FPS, Men of Valor: Vietnam. The opening of the promotional video starts with a Huey door gunner working over an enemy village. The chopper has to crash land due to the ground fire. It then shows the survivors working their way to a pick-up zone. When the Vietcong get too close, a napalm strike is called in. If the actual sim is as exciting as the eye candy video, Sierra will have a hit in the crowded FPS market.

The new Men of Valor: VietnamTake a look at these product features from the Sierra Facts Sheet:

  • Many missions are based on actual events.
  • All uniforms, weapons, and vehicles look and play accurately.
  • Similar to MOH: AA, Men Of Valor will be full of scripted events — adding even more realism.
  • Target rich scripting environment — sky-filling helicopter raids, intense jungle fighting, harrowing assaults against fanatically defended enemy emplacements.
  • Gameplay types include manning the door gun on a Huey helicopter, steering a riverboat along enemy-infested shores, battling your way through enemy tunnel complexes, and calling down fire as a forward observer.
  • Mission types include pilot rescues, recon patrols, POW rescue, and search-and-destroy ops.
  • The rugged jungle terrain of Vietnam is one of the most foreboding landscapes in which war has been fought. Gaming technology (Unreal Warfare engine) has now evolved enough to showcase this in striking detail.
  • With their unique weapons, extreme dedication, and unconventional tactics, the VC fighters will contribute to a unique gameplay experience.
  • 4 person Co-Op play for the entire single player campaign, via the Internet or LAN, or via Xbox Live!
  • Competitive multiplayer will be based around historically accurate scenarios. Compete in squads to take a bunker, lay in ambush on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, etc.
  • Play as either the VC or the US in multiplayer mode.
  • Responsive squad/enemy AI that assesses your actions and responds with tactical intelligence.

Take a look at these new screenshots from Men of Valor: Vietnam.

Men Of Valor: Vietnam Men Of Valor: Vietnam Men Of Valor: Vietnam
Men Of Valor: Vietnam Men Of Valor: Vietnam Men Of Valor: Vietnam

Another FPS being shown by Sierra was titled SWAT – Global Strike Team. The new shooter will be for the console. It has a feature that may show significance for the console and the FPS world. Read this from the Sierra Press CD…”Voice Recognition Technology. Using the voice recognition control system to command a squad immerses the player in the game environment as the team listens, responds, and replies to the player’s orders as if the player was actually there.” Wow!

NVIDIA

The new NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900We did not spend a great deal of time at NVIDIA’sbooth at the show. They were showing off Doom III which also looks very good. Many developers were in fact using GeForceFX 5900 Ultra cards. We were surprised at the actual number of folks using the NVIDIA cards and not Radeon’s. Certainly, ATI needs better Developer Relations because you would never know that ATI has been dominating the 3D wars given the situation with developer support for NVIDIA at E3.

NVIDIA’s 5900 board looks like a powerful unit. During the show an article broke on possible driver irregularities that may inflate NVIDIA benchmarks over at ExtremeTech that created quite a stir so NVIDIA had other things on their mind. They were kind enough to let AMD use their booth for meetings but when our meeting came up, we had to move elsewhere.

NVIDIA certainly has many pots on the cooker at the moment with GeForceFX, nForce3, a new mobile chip and whatever else they might be cooking. One thing is for certain however, they have a dogfight on their hands now for the 3D arena. Things are getting quite interesting.

Motif around the America's Army boothAmerica’s Army

We visited America’s Army and spent some quality time with them Friday morning. They have fully implemented the code from Unreal Tournament 2 now and say the extra effects are coming along in numerous updates. Expect to see vehicles coming in the game soon along with many more weapons. Rail points are also being addressed so you can add different load outs on your weapon depending on what you are doing and which part of the US Army is your current employer be it Ranger, Delta or other.

The menu system is being totally reworked and looks clean. It’s apparent they planned to do some serious upgrading within the game because the menu system is so flexible now. The characters are being completely redesigned and look a great deal more realistic. The difference between the “old” and “new” was quite remarkable.

America's Army expands.

We talked about some future vehicles for add-on’s but tanks and helicopters are not being discussed for implementation at this point but certainly a possibility in the future.

Combat Flight Sims

There’s a new group in flight simulations that we should all watch: Combat Fight Sims. Based in Nevada, they have just arrived on the scene with Hart’s War.

Two flight sims which we wanted to see weren’t presenting at E3 — F/A-18 Operation Iraqi Freedom and the WWI Knights Over Europe.


In Retrospect: SimHQ’s view of the 2003 E3 Expo.

Not sims, but our show favorites worth watching if you’re into other forms of gaming:

  • Trinity from Activision. Set in near future New Orleans, it’s complete with all the atmosphere. Possibly the sleeper title of the year.
  • Doom 3 from ID. Just amazing effects and lighting.
  • Half Life 2. A breakthrough product just as the original Half Life. HL2 may even prove to be better than the original. Go Gordon!

Not sims or on PC, but worth watching just because they looked that good:

  • Metal Gear Solid 3. Snake never looked better (Konami)
  • Gran Turismo 4. Can we get this for the PC? Please….!? (Polyphony Digital)

Console Sims (a new market?) that were worth their weight in Gold:

  • Full Spectrum Warrior. We’ve already raved enough about this one. (Pandemic and THQ) Okay, we’ll rave some more. As we mentioned in our Wednesday E3 report, Full Spectrum Warrior has the potential to totally change the military FPS world.

Speculation and trends worth watching from this year’s E3 Expo:

  • For the first year, there was more emphasis on the console platform than the PC platform. The PC titles that were presented looked very good. Also see Hornit’s comments here in the forums.
  • Watch for a possible renaissance in Naval, Armor and possibly Air Combat Sims. It always goes in cycles and we maybe at the bottom and starting to climb back out. We will always be in a niche area, but more activity is sensed on the radar.
  • The racing sim market saturation of NASCAR and F1 has development teams looking around for other genre to try out. Storylines and “careers” seem to be the next big thing in motorsports sims.
  • Watch for a real promotional battle with the first person shooters. It’s not just that there’s so many new ones, it’s that there are so many good one’s coming out.
  • The same excellence that is a hallmark of IL-2 Sturmovik is now being applied to other genre in the 1C lineup.
  • Thanks to a highly competitive video card market, we saw significant increases in detail on textured surfaces. You don’t just see the crumpled newspaper rustling down the street; you see the words on it.
  • Same as the previous comment, we saw a dramatically improved character appearance especially in FPS. No more slab-sided facets and blob polygonals. Characters have a unique look to them down to the subtle expressions on the face and the length of their beard stubble.
  • Remember the “Janes F-15 and Longbow 2 made for 3DFX” days? Expect to see more of the current video card players taking this approach for upcoming titles. Two were prominent at the show: Half-Life 2 aligned with ATI and Doom 3 aligned with NVIDIA.
  • The “Buy and Download on the Internet” PC games/sim market will get bigger and bigger.

So that’s it for this year’s report. We plan more details on the sims discussed here and some special surprises during the next couple weeks.


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