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Fallen Earth Enters Closed Beta
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 06:16

Starting now, Fallen Earth has entered into closed beta testing. Fallen Earth is a post-Apocolyptic MMO set in the Grand Canyon area. Recent updates that come with this announcement are a new user tutorial and some balancing made to the in-game crafting system.

Beta keys will be handed out indiscriminately and on a first come first serve basis- provided NDA rules are accepted. There haven't been any announced caps to the key handouts, should they reach one, periodic key distributions will be conducted as needed. In any case, if you have been anxious to get in the game- now's your chance. So hurry up and get in line!   

Read the official press release below:  

CARY, N.C. – February 4, 2009 – Fallen Earth, LLC, developer of the self-titled post-Apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth, is excited to announce that the game has now transitioned into closed beta testing. Interested testers can sign up for the opportunity to receive a closed beta key at www.fallenearth.com and join thousands of fellow Fallen Earth players each week as the online community expands to accommodate more closed beta testers.

“This is a critical milestone for our team and an opportunity to showcase updated content and features,” said Colin Dwan, project manager for Fallen Earth. “We are excited to see how players progress through all three sectors without any interference, and anxious to see where we can improve the overall experience.”

 The Fallen Earth team has been working very hard to improve and polish all aspects of the game. Recent updates include the creation of a comprehensive user tutorial and continued enhancements to balance the in-game crafting system.  With the move to closed beta, players will have the opportunity to piece together aspects of the storyline, play freely through all three sectors, and gain a better understanding of how the game will look and feel at launch. Closed beta testing also allows the development team to better observe overall game play, perform system stress tests, and ultimately perfect the Fallen Earth game experience.

Set in the Grand Canyon in 2156 after a lethal disease destroyed most of mankind, the game features a classless advancement system, six factions and a unique crafting feature in which players can make 95 percent of game items. With 70 towns, real-time settings and interesting character modifications, all taking place within a post-Apocalyptic plot, Fallen Earth provides the ultimate player experience.

Fallen Earth will be released in Q2 2009. An exact launch date is forthcoming.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 February 2009 17:11
 
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Global Agenda Exclusive Q&A
Thursday, 29 January 2009 04:01

We've recently been given the opportunity to conduct an exclusive Q&A on the spy themed and fast paced MMO-shooter Global Agenda, with some of its developers out of Hi-Rez Studios. Here, we get some insight from Todd Harris (Executive Producer), and Nathan Knaak (Writer and Level Designer) on game-play features, player agencies, sweet weaponry, and much more:


MassiveFPS: Hello, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. For starters, you’ve just announced closed beta openings and a release time frame of late 2009- how have things been around the office? Busy?
Todd: Yes. It has been great to see the very enthusiastic response to our beta announcement. And things are certainly busy around the studio but, for MassiveFPS we’re happy to take time out to answer some Q&A.

MassiveFPS: So we hear that Global Agenda is fluid and fast paced just like any other shooter. During development have you made any large sacrifices in graphics to get better frame rates – for a “lagless” environment?
Nathan: Luckily for us, Unreal boasts a wide range of tools to help deliver strong performance without sacrificing aesthetics.

MassiveFPS: How well emulated would you say the “shooting” mechanics are in the game? Are there head shots?
Nathan: From the beginning, we intended for Global Agenda to be more than just a twitchy shooter deathmatch arena. If you were laboriously hunting for head shots, you probably would not be paying attention to the invisible recon agent sneaking up on you, the flying robotic drone hovering overhead, or the barrage of incendiary charges being hurled from a rotary grenade launcher.
Todd: We’ve taken inspiration from all the modern shooters, but teamwork is a huge part of Global Agenda, so it's much more important to work together in taking an objective than trying to rack up a huge kill count. Tactics are more important than twitch.

EXCLUSIVE SHOT

click image to expand

MassiveFPS: As with any MMO, skill is important, but Global Agenda is different from your standard MMO in that skill is much more action oriented. With that said, what kind of chances do you think a new player has up against a more leveled player?
Nathan: One of the elements that our design team focused on is the ability for new or lower leveled players to jump in and play with their friends who may have more time to earn experience. As Todd said, Global Agenda is largely team-based, so players really have to work together to succeed in a mission.
Todd: The main difference between the player ranks is the diversity of the weapons and tools that are available. A higher level player has many more options on how to specialize for each mission. A newer player can enter a match and be competitive and useful to the team, he just needs to know how to use his more limited set of equipment.

MassiveFPS: Will there be anything in the game that is “macro”able?
Todd: We do not have anything in game currently that is designed to be macro-able.

MassiveFPS: We’ve heard rumors about player caps- what is the max amount of players you can fit in one battle?
Nathan: Global Agenda takes place in the near future after a worldwide disaster that wiped the slate clean, so to speak. Wars are no longer fought with massive armies, tanks, and fighter planes. Instead, elite teams of special agents are outfitted with the most advanced technology available and shuttled around the world on sub-orbital dropships. What this means is the player population in most maps is 10v10, but even that gets a little hectic with everything going on, between the deployed turrets, trigger-detonated explosives, tracking rockets, spider grenades, poison dart sniper rifles, and remote control drones.
Todd: When it comes to AvA (alliance vs. alliance) campaigns, one battle, or “raid operation,” can actually involve up to 60 players on a side, but each side is divided into multiple strike teams of 8 to 12 players. These strike teams fight in separate maps, but played simultaneously and linked to one another in real-time.
Nathan: So, if my strike team is doing well holding objective one, that might be benefiting Todd’s strike team on objective two, even if it is in a different map.
Todd: We have found this to be a great way to deliver epic conflicts that involve many, many player agents, but at the same time not letting the game devolve into a zerg-fest or, at the opposite extreme, have some player sitting around bored out of his mind defending an objective on a large map with no enemies in sight. Each of our maps is designed around specific objectives, with map size tuned to the player population, so you'll rarely be very far from the action.

MassiveFPS: One of the main traits of an MMO is a persistent environment, which kind of leads players into an endless circle of gaming. While avoiding complete closure, would you say it is still possible for gamers to feel they have “beaten” the game with accomplishments such as level caps and defeating a boss or common nemesis?
Nathan: Without revealing too much, what we can tell you is that there are specific systems in place to make Global Agenda an evolving, competitive world. But we also have some very clear win conditions.
Todd: The best comparison is that of organized sports: You can be ahead one moment, behind the next. You might actually emerge victorious one season, with the championship banner and prestige items to prove it, but the next season, everybody else is out to take you down.
Nathan: Through it all, though, you understand that you're working to continually improve yourself and your team. This goes far beyond the scope of a single mission, as you'll be working with your agency towards future victories on a larger scale.

MassiveFPS: Another pattern consistent with MMO’s is loot. Can players loot from the rotting corpses of their slain enemy? Can they get rare loot from PvE missions?
Nathan: We have a few inventive systems for upgrading your gear but none of them involve looting corpses or slaying rats. There will be rare items in the world but, without getting too much into the details, I think of our system as more inspired by a Mission Impossible movie than Everquest.

MassiveFPS: Last MMO comparison… will there be grinding?
Nathan: The only thing we expect our players to do over and over again to improve their characters, which is the definition of grinding, is undertake fast-paced, objective-based missions against rivals. When the thing you need to do to level up is also the fun part of the game, is it still technically grinding?

MassiveFPS: With players given the option to create or align themselves with an “agency,” how does the recruitment process work in all of this?
Todd: Agencies are the guilds of Global Agenda, so players will absolutely be able to create and join them as they like, and we offer sophisticated recruitment support within the game.
Nathan: However, our agencies are much more than just a shared chat channel and name tag; members partake in episodic campaigns, work together in PvE missions, coordinate resources, and meet in a customizable headquarters.

MassiveFPS: Let’s say players don’t want to join a player created agency, are there NPC “bigwig” agencies they can join?
Todd: Yes. It will be possible to play “lone wolf” agents that only work for money on a mercenary basis.

MassiveFPS: We see that each agency is also allowed to have its own HQ –upgradeable at a certain point in the game. What types of upgrades do head quarters have and how customizable are they? Are there personal living spaces for each member (billets, rooms, anything)?
Nathan: Agencies will be able to visually customize their agencies with items such as banners.
Todd: And, if time allows for it, we hope to add functional module upgrades including rooms like virtual reality training arenas and shooting ranges. But in general we will introduce HQ features and upgrades that benefit the team rather than living spaces for individual members.

MassiveFPS: From your site, it says that Global Agenda has a territorial control aspect to it. Are player controlled territories large bordered areas outside, or small inside areas? How do you emulate the tangibility of these agency accomplishments?
Nathan: When an agency decides to partake in the strategic end game campaigns of Global Agenda, they enter a conflict zone and fight to expand their territory while launching attacks against rivals to prevent their progress. Strike team missions take place in instances, but their outcomes affect the grand strategy and overall progress of your agency.
Todd: Most of the player-controlled territory types have an outside terrain aspect as well as indoor spaces, but each agency actually gets to choose from multiple facility types and size when constructing on territory they own – bringing in the strategy element. Agency progress in the campaign is very tangible and visible via a map that shows what facilities have been constructed and where.

MassiveFPS: From a previous interview, it was mentioned that players “hop” around the globe. Is transportation in the game as simple as a mission terminal and a loading screen, or is it something more complex?
Nathan: Elite special agents in the future do not walk to work. They strap on power armor and jetpacks, then load into high-tech dropships and scream around the globe at Mach 10 before leaping out into hostile territory under a hail of enemy weapons fire. Global Agenda focuses on action-packed battles, not the dreary logistics involved with getting from one to the next.
Todd: It just didn’t fit to make our agents trudge across empty fields on a horse or introduce any other open-world travel system that MMOs traditionally impose on players. That said, we do have transition videos when globe-hopping, plus social spaces, vendors, mission contacts, and many other MMO conventions that give players a strong sense of place – just without the travel headaches.

MassiveFPS: We keep hearing things about covert activities, espionage, and hiding your secret identity. Of course these would be things to expect from a spy game- but could you elaborate on the details?
Nathan: Beyond the existence of stealth suits and holographic decoys you can use during fights, an important part of Global Agenda will be with what agency you join and with what alliance you align. If the situation presents itself, you can become a double agent, selling out your faction and changing sides.
Todd: Given our player-driven group structure and the emphasis on meaningful PvP within our episodic campaigns, we anticipate politics and “cold war” activity emerging quite naturally from the player community.

EXCLUSIVE SHOT

click image to expand

MassiveFPS: One difficult thing about creating a science fiction world is they require much more innovative ideas. What do you think is the most innovative idea emulated in Global Agenda (flying cars, laser beam toasters etc..)?
Nathan: As they say, the world is filled with opportunities disguised as problems, so we'd like to think that creating a science fiction game offers us much more freedom than the fantasy genre that most MMOs are stuck with these days. Our most innovative idea? Well, you'd probably get a different answer from every team member here at Hi Rez, but one of my personal favorites is the spider grenade. You toss three of these little things at a time, and when they hit the ground, they sprout legs and chase enemy targets, leaping into the air and exploding on contact. When is the last time you played a game that had a weapon that was so much fun to use, but also fun to have it used against you?
Todd: For me, you know it is the future because you finally get that promised jetpack! Jetpacks have been done in other games but within Global Agenda they provide very fluid movement and work well with our other devices to support rooftop battles which are an absolute blast. There is nothing like flying and fighting from one rooftop to another, or jetting behind a sniping Recon before using melee to knock him off the ledge, or flying up to a water tower from which to lob grenades on your tiny victims below.

MassiveFPS: Once again, thank you for taking your time to answer our questions, is there anything you want to add?
Todd: We’d like to remind folks that they can apply for Closed Beta at www.globalagendagame.com. Thanks to MassiveFPS for your interest. And, we'll see you in the game.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 February 2009 19:03
 
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Parabellum - Free to Play Online FPS
Tuesday, 09 December 2008 14:47

Parabellum, the online FPS developed by ACONY is set for release early 2009 (circulated rumors point towards March) and is currently in the middle of its beta stages. Parabellum is a first person shooter that combines in depth character customization and game modes that consists of 5 vs 5 in "unique" match based games.

According to ACONY, players will be able to enter different game modes that can last anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour where team members will try to finish certain mission objectives common to the FPS genre such as disarming or detonating bombs. Instead of a single map area for gamers to duke it out, Parabellum game modes each consist of a cluster of interconnected maps or areas where the decisions made by team members will result in the final outcome of their mission objective. As an example, in a recent interview with IGN, ACONY said players might pass by a subway and choose to use it (they did not say whether it was simply a loading step into another instanced area, or you actually get to ride it) instead of hoofing it on foot to disarming a nuclear bomb.

Across several gaming sites the term "MMOFPS" seems to be floating around when the game is mentioned. It is even described as such on the games homepage. The developers believe that what sets this shooter apart from other games in the genre is a larger focus on character customization and development. Parabellum does have goals above par when it comes to throwing that cosmetic splash on customization options. Yet the game still lacks what all MMO games have- and that is a persistently connected player environment. So don't be fooled by the claims. Players may be able to wear the same pink leopard skinned Kevlar helmet they wore the game before, but when your mission is accomplished get back in line to play the same thing over again or choose a different game mode. Point is, not an MMO.

Characters will level up and are able to be matched up according to their skill level or rank. While leveling up they will gain extra "styles" and "weapon skins" to give that extra tilt towards having your own unique character. ACONY has stated that these perks will not come with special attributes such as extra health points or more accurate aiming, it seems they believe it will come with gamer experience. This is something many FPS gamers can appreciate though. Nothing more frustrating than getting fragged every corner you turn the moment you log into a game. Though you may possess the skills of a Bosnian sniper; what is that going to do when you start with a pistol - and your opponent has a satellite laser beam mod attached to the side of his golden rocket launcher?

ACONY has also stated that in order to maintain free-to-play gaming, they will be funded through in-game advertisements and pay items. Again, these are just items to give you that "cosmetic splash"- not super human powers.

All in all, though the game does have a strong scent of independent development, it still appears to be promising and will be something for first person shooter fans to watch- especially because its free.

DISCLAIMER: It has not been confirmed from the developers that pink leopard skinned Kevlar helmets will be available. 

Last Updated on Sunday, 14 December 2008 10:01
 
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Site Update
Friday, 28 November 2008 14:41

It's been a long time since I've given a site update. With a pregnant wife and two children my hands have been practically tied up. Things are starting to fall into place now and I'm finding more time to do the things I enjoy, like managing this site!

The site was built from scratch and into a niche that most thought had no promise, but we've come a very long way. Our site now gets three times more visitors than we did a year ago, and the numbers continue to grow. More and more developers are still trying to make a better MMOFPS and I stand by my earlier statements in saying that this genre is the next stepping stone in the gaming industry.

I plan to continually update this site with improved features and hope that this turns into a place that you will frequently visit. If you would like to contribute to our site, please check out the volunteer guidelines.

Thank you,

Taiko!

 
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Call of Duty MMOFPS
Friday, 07 March 2008 12:58

Call of duty MMOFPS

Recent comments following a merger deal between Activision and Blizzard has lead a stir in the MMO world. Vivendi's CEO, Robert Kotick has been melding a conglomerate of experiences between the existing strategy approach they have with Starcraft and the popular MMO blueprint of World of Warcraft- and filling a gap that has existed in the MMO market since its birth: A successful MMOFPS, or lack thereof.

Kotick feels that the future expansion of World of Warcraft holds meek interest in the market. Seriously now, it's been milked! Games like World of Warcraft are destined to be cultgaming products. Blizzards Starcraft already is.

The NoS is running low and it's time to move onto something bigger, better, and most importantly- more innovative. With an arsenal of talented developers and a resume that puts others to shame there is practically nothing these folks can't tackle.

 There's nowhere else to aim but the skies. Kotick has stated that the only natural evolution of a series like Call of Duty is into a massively multiplayer environment. Maybe they’ll use their existing naming schema and pop out a Soldiercraft, or maybe Armscraft.

The name is the least of their worries. They have stated one of many objectives to examine first is how they will monetize something like this. Well, with Blizzards existing track record it would be safe to say that this won't be a problem. The real question is, how will you?

We'll save you the trouble.

ATVI Stock

Last Updated on Monday, 06 October 2008 19:25
 
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The Planetside Challenge
Saturday, 26 January 2008 04:20

 In cooperation with SOE, we are offering you and your clan the opportunity of a unique experience that you have been missing out on since ’03. We are currently providing batch key-giveaways to clans interested in playing the acclaimed MMOFPS, Planetside.

Haven’t heard of Planetside?

Take a look at your standard RTS game like Command and Conquer, or Star Craft. You’ll realize that these games have a heavy emphasis on strategy- but you’ll also realize that one of the inherent flaws with these games is that they leave it up to the imagination for what the battle looks like from a first person perspective. Remembering the first time playing Planetside can best be described as an incomparable gaming experience. Planetside compiles this same emphasis on strategy, but provides the first person perspective, and even goes one step further by allowing an endless amount of targets available at your whim… each of which are controlled by players like yourself.

 

 Planetside has been around for years. Through the thick and thin, from weapon balancing to game expansion packs, it has stuck its chest out and even still remains a contender in today’s gaming world. The reason for this can be summed up into one sentence: In Planetside you can battle alongside hundreds (potentially thousands) of gamers in an ongoing massive battle of a scale that you cannot experience in any other game.

Don’t just sit around, you’ve waited long enough. Apply your clan today!

Just fill out the simple application below! Our team will do the legitimacy checks and get back with you. Need download instructions?

 

 


   

SORRY, NO MORE KEYS AVAILABLE!!

YOU CAN STILL PLAY PLANETSIDE FOR A FREE 15 DAYS THROUGH SONY. ENJOY!  

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 October 2008 20:22
 
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Easy as Advanced Algorithms
Thursday, 20 December 2007 10:47

As a kid, I used to dream of making my own video game. I remember at one point I grabbed my tiny notebook and started writing down my ideas. When I was finished, I kicked back on my beanbag with a satisfied grin on my face thinking that somehow, one day, it would actually all come together. I suppose as a kid I had a problem with mixing reality with wishful thinking and delusions of grandeur. 10 years later, here I am sitting behind my computer typing about my lethargic pursuit. My dusty notebook lost, probably tucked away somewhere underneath an old cartridge of Duck Hunt. I think it all abruptly stopped when I found out I wasn’t smart enough to figure out what the hell a preprocessor was.

I’ve realized that talking about game development is much less dry than actually DOING game development. I’ve found a new respect for game developers after researching the struggles they go through in finalizing a product. Just hearing about the multitude of problems they are faced with and overcome on a daily basis makes me wonder, “maybe they were born with computer chips in their brains…”

Just to skim the surface and show the community some of these problems game developers run into, I’ve spoke with two independent developers working with the rare MMOFPS genre and asked them a single question:

"As an independent game developer, what has been the most notable struggle towards a solid product?"



Marko Diekman - Producer, Face of Mankind "Rebirth":

 "Well, we started development back in 2001 and "finished" in 2006 when we
released Face of Mankind commercially. I'd also like to add that an MMO is never really
finished, and at that point FoM definitely wasn't. The biggest struggle was to survive this
long development period without any income whatsoever. The financial
struggle has always been the worst. It hung like a sword above our heads,
always ready to fall down and destroy everything we've built up.

It's also very difficult to find the right compromise between the time and
resources you have available and the quality of your work. You just can't do
everything as professionally as Blizzard can. Once you understand this,
there's actually a good chance you might bring your development to an end,
what we luckily achieved. Many independent MMO developers don't even reach
beta, not to speak of retail. That would be my tip for other studios. Be aware
of your limitations.

Besides the organizational and financial struggles, there are, of course,
technical difficulties as well. An MMO is the most complex, hard to craft,
painful piece of game software. Where normal games end, problems just begin
with MMOs. Technically it was very difficult to implement the rather unique
game design of Face of Mankind. It had to be extremely "free" when it comes to
player choices, promote true ongoing role-play. To boot, the fighting part was
never supposed to become minor.

 The most often revised feature was our mission system, which was a real pain
to get right. And to be honest, it never did. It started as a very
open, completely player-made system where players even reviewed and
evaluated the mission result. The problem with that system was that there
were no game mechanics in place to evaluate the actions of the mission team,
and for a game to be fun you need such mechanics. There must be some
features for players to see how well they are doing.

The mission system went through some revisions and ended in a completely
modular mission objective type design. Players were able to put together the
mission they wanted by adding freely editable objectives based on measurable
mission events. To bring this story to an end, it ended with a compromise we
had to do for balancing reasons.

Anyway, we've learned from our mistakes and are now trying to do it right
with Face of Mankind: Rebirth. It won't be perfect, but an evolutionary step
in the right direction. :-) "




"StateofShock" - Developer, Lost Colony

"When you have a company, such as Microsoft, that basically runs the desktop industry, our schedule can face setbacks based on that one single company. For instance, we were all set for Vista and with DirectX 10 support, but that changed when most of our gamers made the switch
back to XP using DirectX 9.0c due to Vista problems.

 The future is DirectX 10, but this recent setback isn't good for the
industry. We have to rely on what Microsoft and/or Apple does. Support
for Mac has been easy, especially with the new Leopard OS X. We haven't
seen the amount of problems with Mac as we do with Microsoft.

Another problem we faced was game engine support. We usually find the
bugs first and report them to the company that made the game engine.
Unfortunately, they are slow on resolving these critical bugs. They are
proactive, but very slow on updates. This is frustrating because our
game relies on the engine as much as it relies on the OS maker (Microsoft).

On average, it usually takes 3 to 6 months for the game engine company
to roll out an update that might fix 2 problems. By then, we already
fixed and developed a solution ourselves and have moved on to new bugs.

So far to date (for the past year), we found and fixed 48 bugs with the
game engine. This is frustrating because it put us one year behind
schedule for "Lost Colony."

While this is all a struggle, we as developers try to view as "challenges" so we can overlook the frustrations. It's very important for us to keep our motivation topped at all times. If we view these struggles as "challenges", then we are actually making a better game with better bug-fixing solutions."

 

 



I guess if we were to sum it all up, juggling between compromise and keeping a game current seem to be some of the top problems in independent development. As I mentioned, this is only skimming the surface of a few problems these guys face on a daily basis. So the next time you feel like pursuing game development take a second to think "Am I able to spend countless hours without income, just to fall into a pit of bugs, troubleshooting , and endless development?". If the answer is yes, than my next question is "Are you a sentient being, or a cyborg?"

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 November 2008 13:50
 
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