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Friday - June 29, 2007   <1:50 AM CST>


Trailer #2 Screenshots
I dropped 42 screenshots from the second trailer on page two of the GTA4 movies.  I'm still missing a few key scenes that my screenshot software is refusing to capture, so I guess I should get off my ass and find a better program.   I'll work up some bullet points later, seeing that it's almost 2am and I have to work at 8am :)


Among other things I noticed that El Burro made it into GTA4, at least in the form of graffitii:


Thursday - June 28, 2007   <2:00 PM CST>


Trailer #2 Released
The second GTA4 trailer is out and available on the official GTA4 site.  Not only is the second trailer better than the first, it's also phenomenal. The game is already pretty to look at, but the story sounds very compelling and well written.  Not that I had any problem with previous GTA scripts, but this one looks like it could raise the bar for everything out there.  I think some of the best games out there are the ones that you don't want to stop playing because you want to see what happens next.  Anyway, I'm still stuck at work so I'll do some screen grabs and random bullet points when I get the hell out of here.

On a side note the music featured in this trailer is by The Boggs and song is "Arm In Arm (Shy Child Mix)".


Wednesday - June 27, 2007   <12:15 AM CST>


Trailer #2 Tomorrow
Unless you've been under a rock or in a coma, you probably already know that the second GTA4 trailer will be out tomorrow.  The first trailer's tag line was, "Things will be different" and second is "Looking for that special someone."  Other than the screen shot sent out in the original email showing a cop showing his badge to the protagonist, there isn't much to go on.



Friday - March 30, 2007   <10:15 PM CST>


Doodily Ding Dong Tick Tock
IGN and Gamespot have posted their reactions to the trailer.  Gamespot's article is pretty short and rehashes most of what's already been said, but they do mention that Rockstar commented on the trailer saying that it was captured directly from the game in their RAGE engine on next-gen gaming console at 720p.

"We can confirm that all footage in the trailer 'Things Will Be Different' was captured directly from 720p gameplay running real-time in RAGE [the game's engine] on a next-gen gaming console."

IGN's article features comments from many of their editors, but once again, mostly stuff that all us have already speculated on.

Check out other trailer commentary at CVG, Games Radar, GameSpy, Eurogamer, or check Game Rankings Xbox360 or PS3 for more links.

GI's May Issue To Feature GTA4
Game Informer has released their May cover and GTA IV is all over it.  That issue will feature 10 pages of exclusive screen shots and details.  If it goes anything like their SA preview, expect to see scans of that issue hit the web about 30 seconds after it hits news stands.


Rockstar has formed a partnership, which I guess means "licensed" NatualMotion's euphoria engine.

"Based on NaturalMotion’s DMS technology, euphoria uses the processing power of PLAYSTATION®3 and Xbox 360TM to simulate the human body and motor nervous system, thus creating fully interactive game characters that act differently every time. With euphoria, games move away from canned animation, towards a much richer, life-like experience that is unique to the player. “euphoria is about giving people an interactive experience they have never seen before. We now have the processing power to simulate humans, and the possibilities for games are endless,” said Torsten Reil, CEO of NaturalMotion.

“In Rockstar, we have found a partner that shares this vision, and is renowned for creating some of the most ground-breaking and immersive games in the industry. We are thrilled and honored to work with a partner of such high caliber, and look forward to helping create amazing titles.”

Check the press release for more information.

Trailer Trash
So, after watching and rewatching and rewatching the trailer I decided that it didn't really tell me that much, so why not make random shots in the dark and post what I hope to see.  Ok, so it's sort of degraded into a rant type wish list, but this stuff has been running through my head all day.

First off, I hope the "Things will be different" tag line they used is accurate, because I have to say that I'm hoping for a game that strays from the previous formula, or at least expands on it significantly.  So far every iteration of the GTA series has followed pretty much the same formula while adding new features, abilities, and various improvements to the game engine.  GTA has always been fun, but if there ever was a time for change, that time is now.  I'm also hoping the guy in the trailer isn't the main character.  Not that I have any problem with him, but he is starting from the same place in life most all other GTA characters start in, either down on their luck and looking for revenge or trying to do the right thing but forced into a life of crime.  I thought it would be cool to see each new trailer introduce a new character, how about a new playable character.  Hell, you could even do multiple playable characters.  Imagine being able to play the same game from different angles.  It would be difficult to put together, but definitely fun to play.  At the very least you could pick up the story line along they way with different characters.

Open Maps
It would nice to see a map that was wide open at the get-go.  It just gets a little hard to suspend disbelief when most of the city is cut off from you when every bridge off the island is under repair.  I really wouldn't even care if their were only missions in a small part of town that gradually expanded outward.

Out of everything, my main hope is pinned on improved AI.  I really would like to see intelligent henchmen, gang members, or whatever you want to call them.  It would be great to go into a fire fight with guys who were more than canon fodder and to go up against enemies that try and flank you, make better use of cover, call for backup, etc.  Just something more akin to a bot like intelligence that changes tactics and behavior based on the situation to the point that you sometimes feel like you're playing against another human.  The poor hapless peds are also in desperate need of a brain upgrade.

Speaking of other humans, how about multiplayer?  Rockstar's comment has always been that they will only do multiplayer if they can do something unique instead of just some generic CTF and DM modes.  I don't necessarily need an MMO, but a COOP mode would be great along with some unique multiplayer modes.  At least I'll finally see if there ever was anything to the whole GTA4: Crime Online thing.

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for the tie-ins they do with the other GTA games in the GTA series.  I really want to see some old characters make re-appearances.

Environment & Physics
I know a fully destructible environment is bit much to ask for, but how about a more destructible environment than the previous games or even a seamless movement form outdoors to indoors.  Game physics is gradually get better and better and I hope to see Rockstar putting a lot of effort into allowing more meaningful interaction with the environment.

I really have zero complaints in this department, maybe improved sound effects, but GTA has always done the voice acting, music, and in-game radio thing perfectly.  I'm sure it can be improved upon, but I've never had a problem with that aspect of the series.

Context sensitive control schemes are appearing left and right and it would be great to see Rockstar's take on buttons that alter their actions to fit the situation.

This is one of my gripes about most games.  Fluid, believable animation is great, but if you use the same animation for the same action over and over again, no matter how good it is, it gets boring.  I should not be able to jump the exact same way 800 times in a row.

Honestly, as long as the gameplay is there, I can deal with any graphical shortcomings.  Putting tons of peds and vehicles on screen at the same time in the middle of a rain storm and then blowing the whole lot up with a rocket launcher with zero slo
wdown is what I'm hoping for.  It doesn't have to look as pretty as Crysis so long as its fluid and doesn't distract from the game.  Of course the prettier the better, but I'll take gameplay over graphics any day.

I could go on and on, but in the end I hope Rockstar really does aim to reenergize the GTA series by applying an all new formula rather than updates to the the old one.  Overall I'm happy with the trailer even if it does leave lots of questions, but Rockstar is the master of the gradual hype buildup and you can't build up hype if you give away everything with the first trailer :)


Thursday - March 29, 2007   <9:30 PM CST>


Ok, I removed the flash because it was redirecting to a page that doesn't exist, at least not on my domain.  The flash countdown hit 0 and then redirects to http://www.rockstargames.com/IV/index2.html which asks for age verification, and that's about as far as I've gotten it to load.  No doubt it's being hit pretty hard so keep trying.

Christ, I forgot what a pain in the ass trying to get a decent screen capture is. Here is my first attempt.  After I track down a better program to do this I'll drop in some more.  


I ran through it a few times and I found something new each time, just a few things I spotted:

  • Obviously set in the present or pretty close to present day.
  • It looks like Liberty City's overhaul brings it even closer to NYC with some nice representations of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron building, Times Square among other locations.
  • Liberty Tree, Cluckin Bell and Burger Shot are making a return as are the fake ads.  I'm happy to see they aren't selling real world advertising in-game as so many others are.  Except for America's Next Top Hooker of course :).
  • The trailer shows off some very nice real-time lighting effects with day and night cycles.  Not that that is anything new, but their implementation of it is pretty damn good.
  • The only character we're introduced to is a recent immigrant trying to escape his past.
  • Graphics wise it looks like your view distance is pretty much unlimited and I would guess blissfully free of pop-in.  It looks more realistic, but that's to be expected considering you are looking at an all new graphics engine.
  • On the whole it does what Rockstar does best, which is to create a trailer that ends up answering very few questions while still looking pretty impressive and piquing everyone's interest.  As if anyone's interest needed piquing.

Anyway, I'll keep plugging away and see if I can get some better shots.  


Monday - March 25, 2007   <11:30 PM CST>


Where's the fucking money Lebowski?
Just a quick update. Rockstar sent out a reminder about the impending trailer release with the tag line, "Things will be different."  Anyone else notice The Big Lebowski reference in the source for the GTA IV page?  <script>theDudeAbides();</script>


Sunday - March 24, 2007   <11:00 PM CST>


Hey, finally something new.  Now that E3 is effectively dead, it will be interesting to see if Rockstar's typical hype schedule is different than in the past.

Well since I've been on the road more than at home I finally broke down and bought a PSP so I can finally play VCS.  Of course, the second I do that it's released on PS2, but I guess at least I can pretty much always have a PSP with me.  Now if I can find some other non-GTA related reasons to actually own a PSP :) .  Ok, so I bought Loco Roco also and I can finally use that comp copy of LCS also :) ...

My email account is overrun with spam so much so that I think I should sell it for research or at least see if the government will give me a grant to study it.  Since that's the case, for now I'm setting up a temporary account and I'm shutting down the old address.  Please send any correspondence to nuschu instead of schu@gouranga.com.  I'm refraining from typing the entire address in here in the hopes that it won't get flooded as quickly, HA, like anyone even comes here any more :)


Wednesday - September 27, 2006   <9:00 PM CST>

Vice City Stories
Rockstar has released trailer #2 for Vice City Stories.  If you haven't been to the VCS website yet, you should take a look, even if you don't have a PSP.  There is a constant looping flash video in the style of a TV show with clips from all the radio stations and commercials featured in-game.  That alone makes it worth the visit.  VCS is set to release on October 31st with a $50 price tag.  Here are some bullets for your enjoyment:
VCS Will Feature
  • Twice the number of polygons on screen when compared to LCS
  • Better environmental and material effects
  • Twice the view distance of LCS
  • Improved lighting and transparency effects
  • Longer story arc, dwarfing LCS' approximate 15 hours of playtime (although no one knows by how much).
  • Expanded vehicle selection including more cars, water craft (jet skis, sail boats, speed boats, etc.), and air craft (jets and planes).
  • Target lock on all weapons and manual aim when accuracy is a must.
  • Expanded multiplayer support with more modes of play
  • Greater variety of cars and pedestrians
  • Faster load times
  • Reworked graphics and streaming subsystem
  • Enhanced water and boat physics
  • Better looking water
  • Jet skis that turn on a dime and can dive below the water
  • More hand-to-hand moves including grappling and throwing
  • A soundtrack with over 100 tracks and support for adding your own music (100 tracks isn't enough for you ungrateful people?)
  • Box art seems to indicate the return of Umberto Robina and "Big" Mitch Baker.
VCS takes place in 1984 and centers around one Vic Vance.  Vic is a Marine and is waiting to be shipped out for duty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba when for reasons currently unknown, he lands on the wrong side of the law.  His life ruined and his future in doubt, he has nowhere to go but up.  Vice City in 1984 is a place of decadence thanks to the Columbian drug trade; the money and opportunities are ready and waiting for you to take them, preferably in a hail of gunfire.
We are just over a year away from the release of GTA IV and if history serves as any indicator, we should start getting at least a screenshot sometime soon (all the shots you might run into so far have been confirmed as fakes).  At least in the past, they seem to start by releasing the odd "leaked" screenshot about a year out and then ramping up the material and information slowly over time.  Full scale previews don't usually show up until just before E3 in May.  As you may have heard, E3 has been shrunk down into more of an industry only event so it remains to be seen if Rockstar will center the release of information on it like they used to.
So far Rockstar hasn't released any information, other than the fact that GTA IV exists and that it will be released on October 16th, 2007 on the XBox 360 and the PS3.  The logical move, other than the standard improvements (greatly improved graphics, better physics, improved ai, larger maps, etc) is an actual multiplayer component.  I guess the main question is, how robust will multiplayer support in GTA IV be or will GTA IV be an MMO with a subscription based model?  The title, GTA IV: Crime Online and The GTA Online Crime World have both surfaced in the past but other than the name, nothing else was known. Various higher-ups at Rockstar have all been quoted as saying that they will not do multiplayer unless they have something fresh to add to it, meaning something beyond the standard deathmatch and CTF type stuff. Whatever GTA IV is, you can bet that it will be good.  Almost every iteration in the series has pushed the boundaries of all the previous titles so there is no reason to think that GTA IV will be any different.

What The Fu*K?
Yeah, it's been awhile.