Battlefield 3: TV Launch Trailer
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Launch Trailer
Modern Warfare 3 dedicated servers farce
Infinity Ward won itself some kudos after revealing that dedicated servers would be returning for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 but it seems that the praise may have been pre-emptive. In the name of "control," Infinity Ward is restricting dedicated server support to unranked matches only.

"It's the same on consoles," said Robert Bowling, as if that would make PC fans happy. "They can't rank up in private or custom games. Public is about progression, private is about control."

If you want to have any sort of progress in MW3's multiplayer, it appears that you will have to go public with your games, rather than use the dedicated servers so kindly provided. After Modern Warfare 2's alleged P2P problems, a number of PC gamers are already disliking this new development greatly.
Battlefield 3: Launch Trailer
Battlefield 3 Xbox 360 looks 'standard-def' without install - DICE
Battlefield 3's executive producer, Patrick Bach, has gone into more detail on the optional high-res texture installation for the Xbox 360 version.

Click to view larger image
Gamerzines caught up with Bach and asked for more information.

"There's nothing magic about it," said Bach. "It's the same thing we do for PC and PS3, so there's nothing extra.

"I think the controversy about this is that we actually let you do it on 360 for once. So what it does is it gives you the same abilities, kind of, as the PC and PS3. You can actually stream information from the hard drive.

"That's new for Xbox 360, but it's not a new idea for the gaming industry as a whole. No one has really tried to do it properly, so us doing it will create question marks."

Bach assures us that installing the high-res texture pack will actually make a noticeable difference.

"It does make a difference, yes, absolutely. The whole engine is based around streaming textures, streaming terrain and a lot of other content.

"The thing with the 360 is that you need to be able to give consumers a game where you don't have to install it on a hard drive, because there are 360s without a hard drive. So we need to give you the option of installing it, rather than just demanding it. You could call it a 'standard-def' version for the 360 if you don't have a hard-drive."

It's not the Frostbite engine that's demanding the use of streaming tech though, Bach informs.

"It's not the engine that demands it, but that it has the ability to create a more detailed experience. We can't use more memory of the actual machine itself, we need to flush that memory with new information depending on where you are in the game.

"What we let you do is let you have high-res information that gets streamed in and out of memory at all times, and that gives you a more detailed, varied and vivid experience on all platforms. We don't want to take that away from 360 players.

"We're really trying to push the limits of what we can do on the consoles and the PC. Our goal is to see how we can utilise as many of the systems that you actually have in your machine that some people haven't utilised before. Some (developers) just do it like, if it doesn't fit into memory we just make a lesser game. We don't do that. For us, it's about how we can give you the most game ever even though the hardware is over five years old."

Bach didn't say how much space the high-res textures will take up on the hard drive though, but it definitely sounds like it's worth installing if you want your Battlefield 3 to look the best it can.

[ Source: CVG]
Battlefield 3: Multiplayer Gameplay Trailer
Battlefield 3 TV Spot Trailer
BF3 Multiplayer map reveal (pt2)
Caspian Border

WORKING TITLE> FOREST
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP007
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> VEHICLE WARFARE IN LARGE VALLEY

FICTION> A RECON RUSSIAN FORCE HAS SET UP CAMP ON THE TURKMENISTAN SIDE OF THE IRANIAN BORDER AND PROCEEDED TO TAKE OVER THE HEAVILY BUILT UP BORDER CHECKPOINT.

DESIGN THOUGHTS> Caspian Border was meant to encapsulate the classic Battlefield all-out vehicle warfare gameplay, and also to be a lush and green contrast to the more urban and desert maps in Battlefield 3. The border control splitting the map in two was introduced to add an interesting break both visually and gameplay wise in the otherwise beautiful and open landscape. Caspian Border is one of the obvious map choices if you are after the full vehicle experience, as base distances are generally too long to cover by foot. Pretty much every type of vehicle is available in this map.


Grand Bazaar

WORKING TITLE> BAZAAR
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP001
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> TIGHT URBAN COMBAT

FICTION> THE BATTLE FOR CENTRAL TEHRAN HAS REACHED ITS SECOND WEEK, AND WHAT WAS EXPECTED TO BE OVER WITHIN DAYS NOW CONTINUES AS RUSSIAN AND U.S. FORCES CLASH FOR CONTROL OVER THIS ANCIENT CITY.

DESIGN THOUGHTS> We knew we wanted to do something very urban in the city center of Tehran. The fiction has you coming in two weeks after fighting started, so the tight and narrowly built city has a great deal of destruction already when you spawn into the game. Grand Bazaar is a classically mirrored map where both sides have very similar pathways, sideways, and possibilities to traverse heights to get a better view of the action. It’s a very short range close quarter combat map where shotguns tend to be favoured.


Seine Crossing

WORKING TITLE> PARIS
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP011
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> VEHICLE/INFANTRY COMBAT IN DOWNTOWN PARIS

FICTION> THE AMERICAN INVASION OF RUSSIAN OCCUPIED PARIS IS IN FULL MOTION. THE UPSCALE AREA IN THE 7TH DISTRICT OF PARIS SERVES AS THE BATTLEGROUND.

DESIGN THOUGHTS> Seine Crossing has two sections of Paris split in the middle by the river Seine. Seine Crossing has a number of larger roads for vehicles to patrol, while infantry can sneak through tight alleyways and climb staircases to reach second or third levels inside buildings to reach a better tactical position – unless the enemy takes down the building facades. The final M-COM stations in Rush are placed inside a bank building, which is the largest indoor environments of this map and forces the attackers to slightly change tactics.


Noshahr Canals

WORKING TITLE> CANALS
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP017
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> MIXED COMBAT IN INDUSTRIAL SETTING

FICTION> U.S. MARINES LAUNCH A STRIKE ON A MAJOR HARBOR BY THE NOSHAHR CANALS ON THE IRANIAN COAST. THE STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT PORT ALLOWS FOR DEEP WATER VESSELS TO OFFLOAD ESSENTIAL MATERIALS.

DESIGN THOUGHTS> When we set out to do Noshahr Canals, we wanted to contrast the urban and rural with something more industrial. So we set Noshahr Canals up as an industrial harbor, featuring a mix of infantry, land vehicle, and boat gameplay. The attackers in Rush start out on an carrier ship and can reach the beachhead by amphibious vehicles, boats, and helicopters. All of the bases on the map have an industrial theme but still have different styles, like a train yard, dry dock, or airfield. Compared with the larger vehicle maps in the game, this allows for tighter infantry combat.


Kharg Island

WORKING TITLE> KHARG
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP018
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT

FICTION> KHARG ISLAND IS IRAN’S BIGGEST OIL EXPORT TERMINAL. IF THE U.S. CAN STAKE CONTROL OVER THIS ISLAND, IT WILL DENY THE RUSSIANS CRITICAL ACCESS TO IRANIAN OIL RESERVES.

DESIGN THOUGHTS> Kharg Island is our second map with boat gameplay. Thematically it’s representing an assault against Kharg island in the Persian sea, an industrialized island not far from the Iranian coast. The map is slightly more focused on vehicles with longer distance between flags than for example Noshahar Canals. In the Rush game mode, the beach assault begins on the coastline with a well-defended beach you need to break through to create a beachhead for further attacks on the island, before it opens up wider in the later part of the map.

This is how we do it
Creating levels at DICE is a democratic affair, and a process that is ruled in equal amounts by art and gameplay design. This in order to not only get a balanced mix of gameplay variations in the game, but also a variety of visual impressions.

At the start of the design process, the artists mocked up a number of creative briefs together with level designers Inge Jøran Holberg, Diego Jimenez and Niklas Åstrand. These briefs explain the gameplay type and idea, story and visual theme. Everyone on the Battlefield 3 development team was encouraged to vote for their favorites among the briefs and also add ideas of their own. From there, prototypes of the favorite levels were produced in so called “pods” -- pairs with a level designer and artist per map -- so the team could play them to see which ones were the most promising.

Then, the team as a whole weighed the maps against one another to see which ones would make the most compelling and diverse package to ship the game with. We finally ended up with the 9 cherry-picked multiplayer maps you can read all about here today and in yesterday’s blog post. They’re the best of the best, the maps that shone the brightest in our playtests, and the ones that combined bring out everything we want both veteran and new Battlefield players to experience in Battlefield 3 multiplayer.

Oh, and did you know there's a sand castle on one of our maps in Battlefield 3? This classic easter egg has been present in many Battlefield maps through the years. See if you can find it!

The complete BF3 multiplayer map list
Caspian Border / Level Designer: Diego Jimenez
Damavand Peak / Level Designer: Niklas Åstrand
Grand Bazaar / Level Designer: Niklas Åstrand
Kharg Island / Level Designer: Inge Jøran Holberg
Noshahar Canals / Level Designer: Niklas Åstrand
Operation Firestorm / Level Designer: Inge Jøran Holberg
Operation Métro / Level Designer: Inge Jøran Holberg
Seine Crossing / Level Designer: Diego Jimenez
Tehran Highway / Level Designer: Niklas Åstrand

[ Source: Battlefiled Blog ]
Battlefield 3 online pass confirmed
If you buy a used copy of Battlefield 3, you'll need to purchase an online pass to access the game's multiplayer features.

The confirmation comes from the Twitter feed DICE designer lan Kertz (via MP1st) who was asked by a follower, "do you need to buy a new battlefield 3 to play xbox live?"

His response? "You can also purchase an online pass for a used copy."

When asked by another follower to justify the system, Kertz replied, "Because servers cost money, and used games don't make developers any money."

The inclusion of an online pass was strongly hinted at by the game's executive producer Patrick Bach earlier this year.

"The whole idea is that we're paying for servers and if you create a new account there is a big process on how that is being handled in the backend," he explained.

"We would rather have you buy a new game than a used game because buying a used game is only a cost to us; we don't get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you.

"We want people to at least pay us something to create this because we're paying for it. It was actually a loss for us to have new players. Hopefully people understand why. It's not to punish people. To us it's compensation."

[ Source: Eurogamer ]
BF3 Multiplayer map reveal (pt1)
The 9 multiplayer maps in Battlefield 3 offer every style of gameplay from dense urban combat to all-out vehicle warfare on vast landscapes. Read on for the design ideas behind the multiplayer maps in Battlefield 3, straight from the level designers at DICE.

Operation Firestorm

WORKING TITLE> OILFIELDS
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP012
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> ALL-OUT DESERT WARFARE

FICTION> U.S. AND RUSSIA LAUNCH LARGE-SCALE ASSAULTS TO CONTROL IRAN’S BIGGEST SOURCE OF OIL. SECURING THIS AREA WILL OFFER FULL CONTROL OF THE SECTOR AND ITS KEY FACILITIES.

DESIGN THOUGHTS: One of our largest and most vehicle-friendly map, Operation Firestorm is the classic Battlefield gameplay taken to the extremes. Size-wise, and with some puzzle skills, you could actually place three Atacama Deserts -- one of the largest maps from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 -- within the playable area of Operation Firestorm. This is a wide-open desert map where the burning oil fields in one direction are contrasted by clear blue sky in the other direction. Construction sites dotting the area bring interesting possibilities for infantry to hide in elevated positions, spot vehicles, and take them down by mortar or RPG.

Operation Metro

WORKING TITLE> METRO
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP015
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> INFANTRY FOCUSED COMBAT IN SUBWAY

FICTION> HEAVY FIGHTING IS EXPECTED AS U.S. FORCES PUSH TO SECURE THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT IN CENTRAL PARIS. RUSSIAN ANTI-AIR EMPLACEMENTS IN CHARDONNAY PARK ARE LIKELY TO BE THE FIRST TARGET.

DESIGN THOUGHTS: Operation Métro is the map from E3 and the Open Beta, so some of you are familiar with it already. It is a map that perfectly illustrates that we want to take our players on a journey. Especially in Rush, you can see how Operation Métro is almost three maps within one: You start out in a lush park, then move into a bombed-out section of the subway tunnels, to finally emerge in a dense urban environment outside the Paris stock exchange. It’s a map that asks you to constantly adapt your class and load out for the diverse situations you will find yourself in.

Tehran Highway

WORKING TITLE> HIGHWAY
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP003
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> INFANTRY FIGHTING IN TIGHT CITY STREETS

FICTION> A FIGHT FOR CONTROL OF ACCESS ROUTES NEAR TEHRAN. U.S. FORCES MAKE A PUSH FROM THE HILLS UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS WHILE RUSSIANS HAVE SET UP DEFENSIVE POSITIONS ALONG THE MAIN ENTRANCE POINTS.

DESIGN THOUGHTS: One of the inspirations for this map was a photo of a night time skyline of Tehran which now is basically the same vista that is available in the game. You start up on the hills above the city outskirts and eventually work your way into town. This atmospheric night-time map, where you can see rockets lighting up the sky, has a balanced mix between vehicle and infantry focus. It plays length-wise and starts semi-open with plenty of room for vehicles, but ends on a much more urban and tight note with less focus on vehicles and more on infantry.

Damavand Peak

WORKING TITLE> BASEJUMP
DICE INTERNAL DESIGNATION> MP013
SUPPORTED GAME MODES> ALL
BRIEF> FIGHTING IN WINTER MOUNTAINS

FICTION> A RUGGED MOUNTAIN AREA PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE IN DECIDING WHETHER RUSSIAN OR U.S. TROOPS ARE SUCCESSFUL IN COMBAT OPERATIONS IN THE SECTOR, AS THE AREA IS HOME TO KEY RADAR INSTALLATIONS.

DESIGN THOUGHTS: Damavand Peak, internally known as Base Jump, is built on the idea that we want players to be able to base jump, and features our most extreme height differences ever in a Battlefield map. Attackers in Rush and Squad Rush will start high up on a mountain ridge above a mining facility. The only way down into the valley is to somehow make the 500 meter descent. The further the attackers progress in the map, the more vehicle warfare will be present. There is also a large tunnel section dug into the mountain side at the bottom of the map, and the view when you look up at the starting location is spectacular.

[ Source: Battlefield Blog ]
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