Geomerics Technology to Light AoC, Secret World

Funcom has signed a deal with Geomerics to use the company's Enlighten lighting techology in both The Secret World and Rise of the Godslayer, the first Age of Conan expansion. According to Geomerics' Web site, "Enlighten is the only truly real-time radiosity lighting product for games. It allows you the freedom to create dramatic and interactive worlds with fully dynamic lighting."

A demo was shown at GamesCom last month demonstrating how Enlighten will be used in Rise of the Godslayer. "It’s truly exciting to use Enlighten and keep on pushing the envelope of graphical immersion in MMO-gaming by creating heart-pounding and stunningly realistic experiences for our gamers," Funcom CTO Rui Caisas said. You can read the full announcement after the jump.

Star Trek Online @ GamesCom

Back in 2004, when I first heard the rumors that Perpetual Entertainment was working on a Star Trek MMO, I wasn't all that excited on a personal level, but my MMO centric occupation kept me interested. You see, I wasn't a Star Trek fan back then. Sure I knew plenty about it. I'd even sat through an episode or two; however, I failed to grasp the appeal that brought so many die hard fans to the franchise. It wasn't until I saw The Wrath of Khan followed by First Contact that I understood the appeal. I was now a Star Trek fan eagerly anticipating the MMO. When Cryptic Studios acquired the license and art assets following the bankruptcy of Perpetual Entertainment in 2008, I thought that surely the MMO space was going to get its first taste of what I like to call, the "Duke Nukem Forever paradigm" (a game with massive amounts of hype, with no release in the foreseeable future). Fortunately for Trekkers everywhere -- that's not that case.

In the fall of 2008, I began learning about the direction that Cryptic was taking the game. Total Customization was the underlying theme and when Cryptic says customization, it's safe to believe that you'll have more options than you can shake a stick at. It wasn't until we saw the gameplay demonstration at GamesCom, in Cologne, Germany last week, that I realized how much customization Cryptic is giving the players with Star Trek Online. The game looks absolutely amazing and is exactly what Star Trek gamers have been waiting for. Keep reading for our gameplay impressions.

Dragonica Online "M1" Interview

While at GamesCom last week we took some time to meet with Gala Networks in an attempt to squeeze some information out of the Dragonica Online European Producer, Max Stolberg about the upcoming "M1" update. Fortunately for our European readers, we received some great information and confirmation that the update is set to go live on European servers around the end of September.

ZAM: The Dragonica M1 update is conceptually planned for the end of September to early October. What all does that entail?

Max Stolberg: The M1 update entails the majority of the new Van Cliff dungeon. The new Van Cliff dungeon is a high end dungeon for groups of four level 60 players and it will be really, really tough. The other slight modifications are the interface and the mission map system and other small things as well.

ZAM: There's going to be four bosses; the Gargoyle, Rahnoff, Dracula and a Bone Dragon. Can you tell us a little bit about those individually?

Gamescom 2009 FFXIV Roundup

Gamescom 2009 turned out to be a massive source of information about Square Enix's highly anticipated next generation MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, currently set for release some time in 2010. Not only was an alpha demo available for attendees to play, but numerous interviews with Lead Developer Hiromichi Tanaka and Global Online Producer Sage Sundi were provided.

ZAM Interviews Hiromichi Tanaka - Tanaka mentions the ability to have surnames in FFXIV and squashes players hopes of a playable male Miqo'te.
4Gamer Interviews Tanaka & Sundi - Tanaka discusses what they learned from FFXI and goes into more detail about the Guildleve system.
Famitsu Interviews Sage Sundi - Sundi confirms that there will be no regional servers.
Famitsu Interviews Hiromichi Tanaka - Tanaka walks Famitsu through a Guildleve.
One Last Continue talks to Tanaka & Sundi - Tanaka talks about the thought process behind a paid subscription Eorzea.
FFXIV Core Interview with Tanaka - Confirmation that FFXIers still won't be able to jump. Also, no zoning!

Dev Gameplay Walkthrough Shows In-Game Footage

The Star Wars: The Old Republic team showcased a developer gameplay walkthrough video at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany, and it shows almost 20 minutes of gameplay footage. IGN has the video up in four parts, and it's a must-see for any fan looking forward to this new Star Wars MMO.

Senior Content Producer Dallas Dickinson starts things off by explaining that the walkthrough shows the game's cinematic conversation system and combat. He emphasizes that SW:TOR is the world's first fully voiced MMO as we get to see a cutscene full of dialogue between a bounty hunter and NPCs on the planet Hutta. You have to make decisions during these in-game conversations that will affect gameplay for your character. In the video, the bounty hunter had to make three choices in the first conversation alone. We then get to see some ranged combat as the bounty hunter uses his blaster and rockets to fight a number of enemies.

Producer Blaine Christine then gives us a look at the smuggler, which is a class similar to Han Solo. This adventure begins on Ord Mantell, and we get to see the first-ever cover mechanic in an MMO as the character hides behind a rock and shoots over it at enemies. Dickinson then jumps to Korriban to give a first look at the sith warrior class. Keep reading after the jump for more details on the video.

Guild Wars Wings Offered; Aion Earns Top Prize

If you're ever wished your Guild Wars characters could have wings, you're in luck. NCsoft just announced a cross-game promotion between Guild Wars and Aion that will give you an emote to summon wings for your Guild Wars character. All you need to do is purchase either the Aion SteelBook edition or the Aion Limited Collector's Edition to obtain the emote code. The wings become available when Aion launches in North America on Sept. 22. You can read the FAQ regarding the promotion after the jump.

In other news, Aion was named "best online game" at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany. The category was voted on by six game experts, including representatives from magazines, retailers and Web sites.

ZAM Interviews Hiromichi Tanaka

By now you've seen dozens of interviews out of GamesCom that ask questions about how Final Fantasy XIV differs from XI. We had our fair share of those questions, but ultimately we wanted to know, "why was the decision made to make FFXIV so similar to FFXI?". During the interview we asked Hiromichi Tanaka that very question and the answer was intriguing. "FFXI has been out for about eight years now; the graphical engine we used is very old. In that sense, we wanted to have something that the FFXI players can smoothly move on to" said Tanaka.

Make sure to check out our round table style interview with Q&As from our friend Chris Morell from the PlayStation Blog.

Discuss this interview on the ZAM forums!

PlayStation Blog: You guys recently talked at E3 about how the game kind of closely relates to Final Fantasy XI. I was kind of wondering how the monsters and races have changed from XI to XIV.

Hiromichi Tanaka:
Because we're using a new graphic engine, the graphics are really different from FFXI and you can see more details on both monsters and races. Regarding the races, to encourage people to shift smoothly from FFXI, you will see very similar types of classes. But if you actually make your own character, you'll be able to select your own colour of hair, skin, eye color, shape of your face, etc. There will be a wide range of variety to customize.

ZAM: Why would you stick so rigidly to the class / race balance in FFXI, and are there more races we haven't seen in XI?

Gamescom - 4Gamers Interviews Tanaka & Sundi

As Gamescom comes to a close, 4Gamer was able to secure a block of time with Final Fantasy XIV producers Hiromichi Tanaka and Sage Sundi. Previously, Tanaka took staff from Famitsu through a tour of the demo provided to attendees at the convention. 4Gamer, however, spent their time prying out details regarding the game itself.

Read on full the full interview and discuss this in the ZAM forums.

IGN's Star Trek Online Preview From GamesCom

In a preview post up on IGN, the guys over there managed to get a preview of Star Trek Online and record down some of their observations. The demo itself follows the trials and tribulations of a Federation Ship that's escorting a Vulcan ambassador to a Vulcan monastery. Along the way, however, the team is ambushed by Klingons who claim that the Federation Ship is harbouring a shape shifter. Of course, the Federation Ship refuses to stop, and so combat ensues. What was interesting to hear about ship combat was when IGN noted that "an energy management slider allows players to divert power to their shields, weapons, or engines depending on the tactical needs of the moment. Each ship has four shield facings --front, back, left and right -- and learning how to manoeuvre within your firing arcs to strike your opponent's weak side is key to success here." To me, this sounds like there is a great deal of potential for some very tactical forms of ship to ship combat.

Additionally, IGN previewed some of the more traditional combat, and they noted that a lot of it seemed to be "relying more on long range weapons and the support of your AI-led crew. You can give them specific orders if you like, or just set general rules of engagement and let the AI handle the specific actions." While I'm not a very big fan of AI controlled party units, this does suggest that Star Trek Online will be great for people who enjoy doing solo missions as well. Either way, it sounds as though Star Trek Online is definitely shaping up to have some potential for fans, although they will certainly have a difficult time competing with Aion, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars: The Old Republic and World of Warcraft.

Tanaka P - The Puk Hunter

At Gamescom, Hiromichi Tanaka held and interview with staff from Famitsu.  We posted translations of his and Sage Sundi's interviews earlier today, but now footage of the discussion is available on

While the information is the same, we now can see everything Tanaka was doing while explaining the battle and Guildleve systems, plus get a demonstration of how adjustable the interface will be.  Read on to see the key points revealed in each video!