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Leaked Video about Fireburst

by Benjamin Nitschke 24. August 2009 21:44
It wasn't me, so I'm allowed to post a video someone recorded at the GamesCom, where our current game project Fireburst was presented. Fireburst is coming for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC at the end of 2009. For some strange reason everything is still very secret about this project, only a few pictures have been posted so far. But at least we got a leaked video now, hehe. Please note that this is a early beta build, lots of things have been fixed already and we still have some time for tweaking stuff. But the game looks already like a lot of fun (I hope), which is kinda important since so many other racing games are also coming this year. This way our game is at least a little different with all the burning and fire. Please note that the guys talking in the video are speaking German, but its hard to hear anything, mostly static.

Enjoy the video!

GamesCom 2009 Pictures

by Benjamin Nitschke 19. August 2009 23:33
Today our whole company went to the GamesCom 2009 in Cologne, a total of 18 people, uff ^^ The GamesCom is the successor of the Games Convention from Leipzig, which is no more. You can see many more Games Convention pictures from 2002-2008 on, more will be there about the GamesCom 2009 soon too!

We had to get up pretty early today because we don't have much time for the GamesCom, so we went there early in the morning (at 5) and drove back by train in the evening. It was a long day and I only slept 3-4 hours per day this week, but for some strange reason I'm not tired and writing this blog post instead of sleeping :)

Christoph and me started the day by making fun photographing each other. I was kinda bored after being unable to start any .NET apps on my laptop because of some mess-up due the Windows Vista to Windows 7 upgrade, which I could not fix without internet. So I tried to play some WarCraft3 mods, mostly tower defense maps, which were pretty boring after a while.

After a little over 3 hours in the train we arrived in Cologne.

The entrance of the GamesCom did not look very specular. The wheater was already pretty hot and it was very sunny.

WTF is this? Now "Gosu" is put on ads? Is there nothing sacred anymore?

First look at the Business Center. Sorry, I made no pictures of our meetings, our publisher RTL or anything interesting from our game Fireburst to avoid trouble. Dunno why everyone is trying to keep everything so secret. Not my fault ^^

After being in meetings for the first 5 hours I finally had some time to explore. As you can tell it doesn't look very crowded, but keep in mind this is the trade visitor day. Tomorrow and on the weekend this will be probably much more packed (and even hotter outside)!

First stop was obviously Blizzard in hall 6. Let's check out StarCraft 2 and see what changed since last time I played it. I also saw a lot of videos about StarCraft 2 on YouTube recently.

There were plenty of computers to try out StarCraft 2 for yourself.

You could not play multiplayer, but there were 2 singleplayer campaign missions and a skirmish mode. All races and all units are implemented. The problem with the campaigns was that you could not hear anything, the stupid World Of WarCraft trailer was louder than everything else. For my taste the campaign was also horribly boring and felt way too much like C&C (nothing against C&C, but I was expecting much better).

The Skirmish mode was also pretty useless because the AI is dumb as bread even in hard settings. I could expand 4-5 times with just a few cannons and then killed it with 10+ Colossus's. Graphics is nice, way-find sucks ass IMO, auto-mining sucks, game-speed is too slow and warcraft3 like, but overall still a great game and will definitely be the best RTS game since StarCraft BroodWar. Much more information will be out soon by great StarCraft community sites like and YouTube channels about the BlizCon 2009 starting this weekend (they will also have a nice internet stream)!

Next stop at Blizzard was Diablo 3, which had longer lines, but that's probably also because they had way less computers running Diablo 3 (40 instead of 60 maybe).

While I was kinda disappointed about StarCraft 2 (once again), I still liked it. There is still stuff that can get better, but I'm not so sure the game-speed and stupid way-find can still be fixed, probably not. Diablo 3 on the other hand looked very nice, but I suspected already this could be kinda boring after seeing almost the same on every single screen.

After playing Diablo 3 Multiplayer Coop for 3 minutes with a friend after the network code just crashed (seemed to happen to most other guys as well), I continued playing the same in singleplayer. In the demo you started at level 12 with either a Barbarian, a Mage or a Sorcerer. The game mechanics are actually quite different for each character, but killing the creeps was boring as hell. After just playing it for 10 minutes it seems to me that this is exactly the same bore-fest as Diablo 2, just Hack'n'Slay. The inventory just has gotten smaller and more confusing. Fonts are really tiny. But maybe you need more time and the game will make much more sense later on, but this Demo wasn't the best. Well, Diablo 3 is not coming out anytime soon anyway. When it comes out it will be a great game for RPG and Hack'n'Slay fans, but hopefully it will be also fun for people not liking repetitive beating 5000 rats to level up ^^

Other games like this MMO from Capcom (don't even care to remember its name) did not put as much effort as Blizzard into it. But this Guy looked kinda cool and he randomly attacked business people, which was very funny when those ran away.

There was also some green on the fair.

Ok, many cars, as usual. It seems to be that this year more racing games come out than ever before. And most of those like realism, which makes those games totally boring and uninteresting for me.

White cars, black cars, Xboxes, PlayStations, PSPs, all the same for those racing games.

But at least my colleague Felix is enjoying those games. Here he is playing the new Need for Speed Shift! We were discussing what kind of hardware they use for this because it looked better than an Xbox 360 version, which usually does not exceed 30fps. I argued that this is probably just a PC with an Xbox 360 attached to it.

Most racing games had some crazy chairs attached to it, which is kinda strange because no one will have something like this at home.

And here we have the proof that Need for Speed was actually presented on PCs instead of Xboxes with a nice bluescreen. The poor guy driving does not know what hit him.

I did not have enough time to check out every game I would have liked like Assassins Creed 2 because too many people were trying to get in. I heard not so good things about the game anyway (same as before, no innovation, etc.), but I will probably still like it and I want to know what with the other story happens from the prequel.

There were lots of WIIs, DSis and PSPs presented too, plus accessories like this. A bow? I like bows, but I cannot imagine that holding up some plastic and trying to pretend to shoot arrows is as much fun as actually spanning a bow.

The Little Big Planet guy sitting around at Sony. They had a huge area in the hall, but I could not find anything interesting there. PS3 Home is looking ok, but I'm still unsure if many people actually use it. Some might like it.

Some guys posing. I don't know what the deal was, but I quickly made a photo of this scene :)

Lots of red balloons. Still at Sony BTW.

Two worlds collide: EVE, a science fiction universe and dinosaurs.

Oh, I found a booth girl from Razor. Hmm, not too many babes around this year. Maybe they only come out at the weekend.

I played the new Operation Flashpoint game for a long time. I really liked it, finally a good PC game and depth missions, long range vision and fighting, etc. There are still bugs in it and I got stuck several times and the missions are kinda strange: first one was tutorial, second one was pretty fun and third one was very hard. But I give this game thumbs up (wasn't allowed to make any photos from the game).

Next I checked out League of Legends, which is kinda popular in our team with many people liking Dota. I don't really like those games and the graphics for League of Legends are horribly comic like and mega-colorful, but this game was actually a lot of fun to play. It is extremely complicated and has 10 million items and other stuff in it, but it also helps out the player a lot by keeping things simple. I would still guess that the game will not be picked up by normal players, only some hardcore Dota players might like it. I still with the game the best, it is currently in beta, it will be free to play and it sells some in-game items (like some browser games).

Warhammer Online was right around the corner, but except this character there wasn't much to see.

As usual there was a modding area.

It is hard work to build your custom gear. They apparently had a 24 hour competition right on the fair.

But you might end up with something ridiculous like this :)

I was hungry a little bit and those nice girls gave me some free vegetables, very nice girls, but kinda strange looking :)

Some games like Wolfenstein were hard to find. But I could not find anything about the Rage engine (or game).

The big esport area from Intel was pretty empty, the guy talked about some WarCraft 3 finals, but there were not many people around. Maybe there will be more going on in the next days here.

More booth girls. They look kinda bored, but at least they qualify as babes.

As opposed to this thing, that's not a babe. It looks too much like plastic ^^

Because I do not have any more booth babes (hopefully more will be on soon), here are some girls from the exit gate.

Felix even spotted a German TV star "Elton" and I made this quick picture of them side by side :)

Okay, thats it for this GamesCom, we gotta get back to work.

Overall the fair was smaller than the Games Convention in Leipzig and I don't think more people will visit, but only time will tell. The GDC Europe before the GamesCom is also a good thing (just very expensive as usual). I liked the fair overall. However some guys in our team said that the Games Convention was much better in Leipzig.

Windows 7 - Its all good!

by Benjamin Nitschke 8. August 2009 01:12
After downloading the final Windows 7 version yesterday evening on MSDN (called Windows 7 RTM), I installed it on all my PCs at work and home today. At work I had a busy day so I just installed Windows 7 at the end of the day and installed the most important software over remote all evening. On my laptop on the other hand I had Vista installed, which is a supported platform to do an upgrade. It took a long time (maybe 2 hours), but after that I still had everything installed, which is really cool.

Please note that there will be programs not surviving an upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 like Visual Studio 2010 Beta as reported by Scott Hanselman!

On my home and work PCs I had Windows 7 RC installed, which is not a supported platform to do an upgrade. The stupid installer does not even tell you that, so I tried it anyway. I knew this already since I read about this earlier, but this is really something not very hard to implement. An early check if the Windows version is even supported to upgrade. You only find this out by either knowing it yourself or starting the upgrade and then it fails after 5 minutes ..

Once installed (pretty quick on my Intel SSD, maybe 10 minutes) you will see the new background image, other than that it pretty much looks the same as the Windows 7 RC or beta versions:

Reinstalling all the software took a while and isn't the most fun experience anyways, but other than an old mouse driver everything installed and worked right out of the box. Sometimes Windows 7 tried to tell me that an installer failed even when it installed everything correctly (e.g. xunits xunit.installer.exe installer to make sure it can be used correctly with TestDriven.Net). Overall Windows 7 makes a very solid impression and I will certainly recommend it to everyone (programmers, parents, friends), its good and useful for both slow pcs, small pcs, or high end pcs.

As reported before I had some issues in Windows 7 Beta with the C# class HttpWebRequest, which was fixed in Windows 7 RC (and still is fixed in RTM). The other thing I more recently reported was a much bigger issue for me as a gamer: Old games like StarCraft, Age Of Empires, Worms, etc. could crash your PC on Windows 7 RC or Beta. Luckily this issue has also been fixed, no more crashes (tested it just with a few friends on ICCUP ^^), old stuff still works fine, puh :)

Overall lots of little issues have been improved and fixed, but even the RC and Beta versions of Windows 7 were already very useable. If you really want to stay with XP or Vista and have no reason to upgrade, stay with it, but for everyone considering a new PC or wanting to upgrade to the best Windows ever, go use Windows 7! Its faster and more useful than XP and Vista, especially if you have really low end hardware like netbooks or a high end gamer PC.

I'm also excited to see when DirectX 11 will finally come out, ATIs new graphic cards will be available soon, NVidias hopefully not much later and the DirectX 11 SDK should be around the corner (maybe Nov09?). DirectX 11 does not really require Windows 7, it still supports Vista, which is a good idea from Microsoft. I think the biggest reason for DirectX 10 failure (no one uses it) is besides more focus on console games the last few years is the fact that it only is available on Windows Vista while most people including gamers still run Windows XP. This forced game developers to either build DirectX 9 + 10 game versions forcing them to old use a very small set of DirectX 10 features or completely ignore DirectX 10, which wasn't really worth the effort because it just required you to build so much new stuff for such little reward. With DirectX 11 this will hopefully get much better, writing OOP code for shaders will be the win! Sadly for consoles this won't help because it seems the current generation of consoles will stay with us a very long time, which is not only boring, but will also limit the games more and more each year. Maybe this is a chance for PC games to make a comeback, if those games have more innovative engines, graphics and effects. For more stuff to read about DirectX 11 check out the DirectX 11 Forum at! Not much going on there, but once DirectX 11 hardware is out it will be much more crowded there.

BTW: Our current game project at exDream (called Fireburst, a racing game for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3) is coming to its end. I did not really like it that I could never speak about the project or post some interesting screenshots about it. This will change for the next project, then its time for some crappy programmers art with cool new graphic engine stuff again ^^ I'm currently writing a technical concept and just evaluated lots of engines and options, interesting stuff going on, especially with .NET and lots of new platforms.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are own personal opinions and do not represent the companies view.
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