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TheRaider.net News Video Games Archives 2006
 

2006


Indy could be whipping the games industry forward
Thursday April 20 2006, 4:33pm EST

In May of last year it was announced that LucasArts began working on a new Indiana Jones video game to be released in 2007. What we know so far is that the new game will be an original story - not based on Indy IV - and that it will be made with the technology of the next-generation consoles. But two new articles about LucasArts appeared online this week and both shed some more light on the new Indy game project!

The first is a story by The New York Times about LucasArts' leaders - Peter Hirschmann and Jim Ward - and how they are going to bring LucasArts back to the absolute top 5 list of video game developers. An interesting article if you're a fan of the legendary game company. And there's one piece that is especially interesting for the Indiana Jones fans:

Mr. Hirschmann later demonstrated a test game, shouting and jumping each time a storm trooper tumbled onscreen, the character barely catching his fingers on the pixel ledge. And he gleefully explained how researchers had tracked down images of San Francisco buildings from 1915 for the future Indiana Jones game.

Will we get to see a young Indiana Jones visiting San Francisco in 1915? Very interesting! Especially when you know that 1915 is one of the few years in Indiana Jones' timeline that is completely empty of any events!

The second is an article by IGN in which LucasArts and NaturalMotion use the new Indiana Jones game to show how they define "next-generation". The article is not about the game graphics but about the innovative way all characters in the game will physically behave to their environments, friends and foes during combat. Here follow 2 excepts:

But with its upcoming Indiana Jones title, LucasArts may be onto something. Utilizing a run-time animation technology called euphoria, the game is poised to push the limits of what was previously possible. The company that developed the technology, NaturalMotion, has been working for years to hone euphoria to accurately replicate real-world physics such as strength, weight, and momentum with in-game character models. Whereas before, all animations had to be pre-programmed, euphoria allows for reactions and behaviors to occur in real-time -- allowing models to react realistically to whatever situation might arise...

LucasArts mentioned groups of several enemies would be able to work together to overcome obstacles and more effectively attack you, leading to unique battles every time. They said they were hoping players would want to reload areas over and over again solely to see the different ways they could take out foes and watch them work together. In terms of specific examples, it was said enemies could pass weapons between each other and help each other up and over obstacles.

Note: the images and video fragments shown in this article are not from the new Indiana Jones game but from NaturalMotion's site, to give us readers a sense of what they're talking about. And what they are talking about sounds like something extremely exciting!

A big thanks to AJ and Nelson for the article links!


LucasArts uses Euphoria for new Indy video game
Friday April 28 2006, 4:35pm EST

LucasArts has released a Press Release to announce that they will use the previously mentioned Euphoria behavioral-simulation engine from NaturalMotion Ltd. for their next Indiana Jones video game to be released in 2007.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Thursday, April 27, 2006 – LucasArts announced today that Indiana Jones’ first expedition on Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 will feature the revolutionary euphoria behavioral-simulation engine from NaturalMotion Ltd., creators of the award-winning Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS) technology. For the first time ever, euphoria enables interactive characters – from Indiana Jones himself to the foes he pulverizes – to move, act and even think like actual human beings without the limitations of traditional animation. Characters move and adapt realistically to their given situations on the fly, resulting in a series of experiences and payoffs that will never be the same twice. As one of only two publishers with early access to the technology, LucasArts is well advanced in integrating euphoria into Indiana Jones’ 2007 next-generation adventure.

Imagine a swaying rope bridge. With euphoria in action, characters visibly attempt to balance themselves, their feet stumbling, their arms flailing, and their hands reaching for security as the unpredictable movements of the bridge threaten to send them plummeting to their doom. Perhaps they all survive. Perhaps they all fall. The use of euphoria means the action isn’t scripted – it’s simulated – so you’ll never be able to predict exactly what will happen, no matter how many times you’ve experienced a certain scenario.

Click here to read the full press release.


LucasArts unveals exciting new lineup for E3 2006!
Tuesday May 9 2006, 4:50pm EST

With a new edition of E3 starting tomorrow, LucasArts has send me their official games lineup for E3 2006 Press Release. This press release also reveals new information on their new Indiana Jones video game for 2007!

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 8, 2006 – Hot off of its most successful year in company history, LucasArts today officially revealed its lineup of titles on display at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May 10-12 in Los Angeles, CA. From next-generation innovation in Indiana Jones 2007 [working title] to highly anticipated adventures in a galaxy far, far away (LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and Star Wars® Empire at War™: Forces of Corruption™) and completely new intellectual properties such as Thrillville™ and Traxion™, LucasArts has something for everyone at E3 2006. The company will also showcase cutting-edge next-generation technology, including euphoria from NaturalMotion Ltd. and Digital Molecular Matter (DMM) from Pixelux Entertainment Inc.

Last year was far and away the greatest of LucasArts’ nearly 25 years as a company,” said Jim Ward, president of LucasArts. “At E3 2006, we look to show the industry that 2005 was just a start – we’re only growing from there. With excellent games anchored by story and character, plus new intellectual properties and never-before-seen next-generation technology that will blow you away, this company’s future has never looked brighter.

Indiana Jones® 2007 (working title)
Indiana Jones returns in 2007 for his most incredible interactive expedition ever. Set in 1939, this epic, original story – written for the first time under the direction of George Lucas – puts you in the fedora of the legendary adventure hero as he unravels the clues found in ancient artifacts spanning the globe. From San Francisco’s Chinatown to the world’s most sacred ground, Indy must use his fists, whip and trusty revolver to fight through ruthless opposition and piece together a mystery of biblical proportions. Indiana Jones 2007 is LucasArts’ first internally developed project for PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and it also represents the first collaboration of talents and technology between LucasArts and Industrial Light & Magic, two companies now finally under one roof at the new Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco’s Presidio district.

Indiana Jones 2007 debuts the revolutionary new euphoria technology from NaturalMotion, which delivers never-before-seen lifelike action and awareness to every character in real time – so you’ll never see the same thing twice. For the first time ever, euphoria enables interactive characters to move, act and even think like actual human beings, adapting their behavior on the fly and resulting in a different payoff every single time. This next-gen technology imbues Indy and his opponents with unparalleled environmental awareness and survival instincts. They’ll stumble, then attempt to maintain their balance; brace themselves for falls, then get back up; and reach for nearby ledges when falling. Each action results in an authentic, varied performance every time.

Complementing euphoria will be Pixelux Entertainment’s Digital Molecular Matter (DMM) technology, which brings a level of realism to next-gen games never seen before by making completely interactive environments that react as they would in real life. From crumbling walls to shattering glass and even swaying organic plant life, in-game objects have material properties that behave realistically all in real time.

Indiana Jones 2007 also features completely interactive Hot Set™ environments, where every setting is open-ended and completely destructible in a way that only next-generation consoles can deliver. Use your wits and daring to make each spring-loaded environment a weapon as you dispense of foes in clever and unexpected ways. Also, embark upon thrilling chase sequences that remain true to the spirit established in scenes such as Indy’s pursuit of the motorcade in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the mine-cart scene in The Temple of Doom, and the free-for-all aboard the tank in The Last Crusade. Face Indy off against a devious longtime rival, reunite him with old friends, and meet more of his most trusted allies throughout the world.

Click here to read the full press release and to find out about LucasArts' completely new games Thrillville and Traxion.

 

Revolutionary DMM technology for the new Indy game
Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - Gilles V

LucasArts has spread a separate Press Release with more information on the Pixelux Entertainment’s Digital Molecular Matter (DMM) technology that will be used in the upcoming Indiana Jones 2007 video game.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 8, 2006 – LucasArts announced today that it has partnered with Pixelux Entertainment Inc. to include revolutionary Digital Molecular Matter (DMM) technology into all internal titles currently in development for next-generation video game consoles. DMM is exclusive to LucasArts beginning with Indiana Jones® 2007 (working title) and continuing with the next Star Wars® experience. This breakthrough in material physics will bring an unprecedented level of realism to next-gen projects by making completely interactive environments that react as they would in real life. From crumbling walls to shattering glass and even swaying organic plant life, in-game objects have material properties that behave realistically all in real time.

If a structure exists – big or small, dense or thin, floppy or rigid – DMM causes it to react in the same way dictated by reality. For example, unlike what you’d see in current-gen games, wood doesn’t simply break apart along a predetermined seam every time – rather, it splinters into countless pieces from the exact point of impact, also taking into account the amount of sheer force exerted. The same rules apply to any substance imaginable: Rubber bends and snaps back into place. Glass shatters. Crystal fractures. Stone crumbles. Carbonite (yes, the very alloy that encased Han Solo) dents.

With DMM in action, a Jedi unleashes the Force like never before. His violent Force push hurtles a helpless stormtrooper through a stone column, blasting it apart. Moments later, the sudden lack of support causes the building to smash to the ground, piece by piece. Meanwhile, a virtual Jabba the Hutt presides over his court, as rolls of gelatinous fat bounce and jiggle thanks to a body composed of DMM.

“Pixelux has been a fantastic partner in our effort to bring true next-generation gameplay to these new consoles,” said Peter Hirschmann, vice president of product development at LucasArts. “Digital Molecular Matter enables us to deliver game worlds that feel truly dynamic and alive – we can pack in dramatically more gameplay per square foot than was ever possible with earlier hardware generations.”

“When it comes to unlocking the potential of DMM – a technology that many engineers believe is still 10 to 15 years away – it’s hard to beat opportunities like next-gen Indiana Jones and Star Wars,” said Vik Sohal, chief operating officer at Pixelux. “Partnering with LucasArts is the perfect way to introduce DMM to the gaming public.”

LucasArts will demonstrate DMM during a behind-closed-doors tech demo set in a galaxy far, far away on May 10-12 at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, CA.

Click here to read the full press release.

A first look at the new Indiana Jones 2007 game!
Wednesday May 10 2006, 4:55pm EST

IGN.com is the first to publish an Indiana Jones 2007 preview including in-game screenshots. And they look damn good! Here follow some highlights:

Indy 2007 screenshotsBut first, a word on game basics. Or rather, the fact Lucasarts didn't really offer any. At this point, they've engineered the technology to make it run, and they've ironed out the story. But there's little in terms of specifics. And speaking of story, it does in fact tie into the upcoming movie. Developers said George Lucas gave them a chunk of the script for use in the game. But in terms of how many missions it'll have or exactly what kinds of puzzles and obstacles to expect, developers just aren't saying yet. What they have said is that it will include everything fans have come to expect, including plenty of brawling, lethal traps, artifacts and moments of death-defying coolness...

As such, developers have only finished a small portion of the actual game. As absurd as it sounds, though, the technology behind the game is what's truly exciting. And it's so for a very simple reason: it just hasn't been used before now. But after watching a 40-minute demonstration, it's abundantly clear it has the potential to change the way you play games. All of this may sound like obscene hype. It may be. But If Lucasarts winds up meeting its goals and delivers exactly what they want when Indiana Jones ships, then it's not hype; it's simple honesty...

Indy 2007 screenshotsLucasarts treated its guests to a live demonstration to prove how advanced Euphoria really is. The scene took place in 1939, inside of San Francisco's China Town. Indy appeared in the middle of the screen, with three enemies approaching from a nearby ally. They cautiously walked up and started throwing punches. Which, at first, wasn't too exciting at all. It looked great, like most next-generation titles, but it didn't seem innovative by any means.
Half an hour later, opinions had shifted in a major way. Throughout the entire demo, enemies reacted differently to every attack. Every time Indy grabbed someone and tossed him through a window or door, he'd react differently. And that's because there isn't a single canned animation in the entire game. Behavioral intelligence dictates every gesture, punch, kick and grapple...

Indy 2007 screenshotsDevelopers then commented that ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) worked on all the game's lighting at the same rendering farm as Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Poseidon and other high-profile flicks. Impressive, to say the least. Add this to the fact only 20% of the game is actually finished, including special effects, and there's plenty reason to get excited...

By the end of the demo, Lucasarts had everyone in the room convinced: it would deliver one of the first, true next-generation experiences. And it wouldn't be just a massive jump in visual prowess, but the logical next step in immersive technologies. This stuff will help make games play better. And that should be more important than cramming 90,000 characters on screen at once.

These few parts are not all the highlights of the Indiana Jones 2007 preview! If you really wanted me to add all interesting parts, I could have just posted the whole 3 page article here. The whole preview is just that exciting to read! So be sure to check it out at IGN.com!


LucasArts has released the Indy 2007 game trailer!
Wedensday May 10 2006, 4:57pm EST

LucasArts has released the first teaser trailer for their Indiana Jones 2007 next-generation video game! It's a fun game trailer made in the same style as those old 1930s' news flashes. Though the game trailer reveals nothing about the story, except that it is set in 1939. The main purpose of this fun trailer is to demonstrate the revolutionary Euphoria technology in action!

When viewing the Indiana Jones 2007 game trailer and screenshots you may notice a "Lao Che Cocktails" neon sign in the background. Does this mean villain Lao Che moved territories, from Shanghai to San Francisco's Chinatown, since his encounter with Dr. Jones in the Temple of Doom? It sure looks like that.

Click here to view the Indiana Jones 2007 game trailer online at the LucasArts site together with some extra game info and screenshots.


Fountain of Youth fan game demo released
Friday May 26 2006, 4:59pm EST

The much anticipated demo of Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth is finally available to download! It's taken a group of talented Indiana Jones fans over two years to release but it's now ready and should give you a tiny impression of just what is to come in the future. Here follows a word from the fan game developers:

Demo infoThe original demo, which almost surfaced in 2005 - had three programmers, and all was lost when the lead programmer disappeared without ever uploading the game files for the team to continue working from. After this, a new programmer was recruited - and the demo you will play today has been entirely built from scratch by Jan Simon - a keen programmer who has worked extremely hard on pulling our work together, using only the compiled original version for reference and adding every single bit of detail back in himself.

Don't let this fool you though - more time means more ideas, new looks and better gameplay. The team have been able to implement things like the fight engine which was only really being conceived back in 2005. However, Jan has made it possible and in this demo you will get a taster of some of the action sequences in the game. Unlike the original demo, this version features all the correct dialogue written superbly by Lorn Conner.

Demo infoThe demo itself features an array of features that will be included in the full-game. Bear in mind, this is just a demo & so a lot of what we hope to include in the full game to really bring the atmosphere together - has been left out. The demo features a separate storyline to the full-game but includes some structure that you can expect from the full game - including cut-scenes, inventory based puzzles, dialogue puzzles & action sequences. There's also over 25 minutes of original music especially composed for the demo, and over 15 unique interactive rooms to explore - all in beautiful 320x200 hand-drawn artwork by Misja van Laatum.

Did you know - we hope to release a talkie version of the demo in the near future! With your help, we can get Doug Lee on board as the voice of Indiana Jones! If you would like to hear him as Indy again in a brand new adventure, take a look at the donations page on our Fountain of Youth website.

It's time to finally see what we've been hiding all this time. You will find all the information and downloads you need on our demo page - which also includes technical information as there are still a couple of known bugs floating about in this version! (1.0).

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth is a freeware point & click by Screen 7, who are in no way affiliated with LucasArts, LucasFilm or George Lucas.

 

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