June 11, 2009

Prey Invasion is Live!

In case you missed it, Prey Invasion is now live in the App store and the reviews and buzz so far are outstanding.

Here is official PR Line:

Prey Invasion, the follow-up to the innovative "masterpiece" (Game Informer--9.5/10 rating) console hit, finds Tommy in an all-new adventure on your iPhone and iPod Touch! Tommy takes no prisoners as he plows through new level after level of alien mutations and horrors in search of his girlfriend.

All of the original Prey's innovations are here, including Spirit Walk, Wall Walk and Death Walk. Two fully customizable control schemes are on-board to make your mobile gaming experience a snap, in addition to Prey Invasion's high-performance, super-smooth 3D engine and TapShoot(tm), which allows you to quickly and easily aim and shoot without the frustration of trying to line up your weapon perfectly (a fixed-fire option is available for hardcore players).

Seriously, the TapShoot feature changes the way 3D shooters are played on touch screen devices, removing the frustration of precise aiming, and adding the visceral feel of tapping the screen to mow down enemy targets. Almost assuredly, most future 3D shooters released on the iPhone will copy this feature.

"This is cheap alien-killing fun. No, make that, this is good-looking, cheap alien-killing fun." -- IGN (rated 8/10)

Take a look at these screens -- and yes, this is the iPhone!

Posted by Bryan Turner at 11:11 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


February 10, 2009

Prey for the iPhone Due soon

If you're an iPhone user, there's something coming up that you're going to be interested in. It's a port of Prey to the iPhone. As we're sure you remember, Prey was a big hit when it was released back in 2006, and shortly, you'll be able to play it on your iPhone.

Available now is a preview of the game from IGN. You can check it out here. Here's a bit of what they had to say about it...

But definitely put Prey on your radar if you're a hardcore gamer.

Much like previous editions of Prey, the iPhone version has a good time with architecture.

MachineWorks has done a remarkable job with Prey thus far. The texture work is excellent, especially inside the alien ship where you can see an incredible level of detail in the metal panels.

They go into some detail on how the control mechanism transfers from the original PC version to the iPhone. We do not have a release date for it yet, but it's supposed to be shortly. You can check out our archive of screenshots by clicking on the one shot below.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:27 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


December 9, 2008

Linux Client for Prey Released!

Those of you who use Linux as your client now have a reason to run out and buy a copy of Prey, if you don't already have one. There is finally a client for the retail version of Prey available! It was released this past Sunday over at icculus.org.

While 3D Realms or 2K Games do not support it, there is a Linux client available. It does require that you buy the full game, either the 3 CD set, the DVD Collector's Edition, or a copy downloaded via Steam. Click here to get a listing of the places you can buy the the game.

The full single player game is supported and Ryan at Icculus says that network play is also supported cross-platform with the original PC version.

So if you're a fan of Linux, you have a new game to play - go check it out!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:22 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 15, 2008

Prey Overture Cover Version

Today we were made aware of a rather cool fan created item for Prey. It's a cover of the Prey Theme, also known as the "Prey Overture". It's not a straight cover, it's a "metal" version of the theme, something which lends a different feel to the song. Here's a few words from the creators of the song, which they posted on our forums yesterday:

Greetings, players and creators of the Prey game! I'm here to tell you that our work over the metal version of Jeremy Soule's Prey Overture is finished and we are interested in your opinions. It was hard but pleasant work - to find the thoughts of this awesome and talented composer, turn them into metal and return them back. We tried and hope that we were successful. You're welcomed to listen the tune in high quality at our website and share your thoughts with us here or on our site. Good luck!

P.S. I want to say that this track is made without any plans of profit-making and only for Internet free distribution. Mr. Soule knows about it and we have his personal permission for this work. This is the pure fan project, that was made only to express our admiration of this beautiful music and remind you that great hours spent inside the world of Prey.

We rather enjoyed it, and thought you would like to check it out as well.

Don't forget, the original Prey soundtrack is still available for purchase over at DirectSong. Once you get to the Prey page, you can check out an audio sample of the Prey Overture to compare the work done by Epinikion on the cover version.

Finally, if you register (for free) at their site, you can download an mp3 of this track. If you do not register, you can just listen to the streaming version.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:59 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


March 18, 2008

Scott Miller on Radar Group, Prey 2, and more

Some pretty exciting news broke yesterday that will be of interest to 3D Realms fans. Formally announced yesterday are two new ventures that 3D Realms is involved in, those being the Radar Group, and Depth Interactive. What are these? Well, to answer that, we'll go straight to Scott Miller, the founder of Apogee / 3D Realms, and the Chief Creative Officer of the Radar Group:

Q: First, the obvious question: What is Radar Group?

Scott Miller: Radar Group is neither a publisher nor a development studio. We're something new. We believe that the best ideas in the game industry are original ideas, and so we will incubate, nurture, co-design and co-produce ideas that are tailor-made for the game industry, versus using existing licenses from other media. Think of us as the anti-Brash. lol!

Not only are we something new, we're something our industry desperately needs. Radar will team up with many of the industry's top independent studios to help them create original IP in which they own a substantial ownership stake. Why is this important? Because in today's industry it's nearly impossible, unless you're Epic or Valve, to create original games and not give away full IP ownership to the publisher. Radar believes that creators should share ownership, and all of the long-term benefits that come from that.

Another key part of the Radar plan is that all of our projects are built around a rich storyverse. Think about properties like Star Wars, Harry Potty and Lord of the Rings. All of these fictional creations have a vast and deep storyverse that can support numerous stories, with numerous compelling characters. Quite simply, a storyverse is the possibility space for stories, and all of our projects are being developed as a storyverse that can then support not only games, but linear media, too, like film, comics, TV, novels, webisodes, and so on.

Radar has every intention of leveraging our games in these other media, through our sister company based in Los Angeles, Depth Entertainment. The Max Payne film, currently filming in Toronto, is Depth's first production, by the way. Depth will specialize in respectful, high-quality game-to-film adaptations.

Q: Is there anything that you wanted to tell our readers about Radar Group or any of its titles that we hadn't hit on yet?

Miller: In part, Radar is an extension of 3D Realms' long history of working with external teams to co-create hit games, going back to 1990 when we teamed with Id Software on Commander Keen and then birthed the FPS category with Wolfenstein 3-D. It's not as well known that we were also involved with the inception of Descent, funding that game and giving design guidance for its first 16-months, before selling the publishing rights to Interplay. And then of course we played a huge role in Max Payne, working with Remedy, and also Prey, working with Human Head. If you include Duke Nukem into the mix, all of these franchises have sold over $1.1 billion at retail.

Scott also spoke in some detail about Prey 2, giving some previous unknown detail about that title.

IGN: Prey is obviously the most well-known franchise of the bunch. Since the original's release, we've also played a little game called Portal. Has said title's use of portals influenced how the technology is being used in Prey 2?

Miller: Absolutely! While Prey pioneered the portal concept, Valve's Portal took it to an all-new level. It really shows what you can do when you focus on a single core cool gameplay concept. So, while Portal impressed the heck out of us, it has also inspired us to return the favor to Valve and hopefully leap frog them as they did us. We believe we have new ideas for portals that will keep the portal race interesting.

In the original Prey, the lead character, Tommy, was too reluctant, and didn't realize his hero status until late in the game. So, in the new game we're making him a hardened, take-charge character who's learned fast from his previous experience, and ready to accept his status as a galactic savior. We're definitely beefing up the combat—expect more enemies onscreen simultaneously versus 3-4 in the original—as well as the spirit powers. And while the original was too much of a corridor shooter, Prey 2 will have much more variety and wide-open areas: think CoD4 to get a good idea of what we're shooting for in terms of open-world look and feel.

Scott also talks about the other previously announced title, Earth No More, in addition to a new title that had not been mentioned before, "Incarnate".

The quotes above are taken from a lengthy interview over at IGN where Scott talks more about Prey 2, the Radar Group, and other things you will definitely want to read. Head over to IGN and check out the full interview. For further details, make sure and check out Scott's blog at the Radar Group website here.

One final note about this announcement. It does now mean that Prey 2 & Earth No More, which had previously been announced as 3D Realms titles, are now no longer so. These are Radar Group titles. Before anyone asks, this won't affect Duke Nukem Forever. Duke Nukem Forever remains a 3D Realms title, and all this Radar stuff will not affect DNF in any way, as none of the internal DNF 3D Realms staff is working on any Radar titles, other than Scott Miller in an advisory fashion.

These titles look and sound quite exciting, you'll want to keep your eyes on the Radar Group website for all the latest!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:30 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


January 10, 2008

Prey v1.4 Patch Released

Here's a quick note to let everyone know that we've released a new patch for Prey, v1.4. It's available now, and here's a summary of what's changed in this new update from the readme:

Prey v1.4 Readme

  1. Compatibility files for the Japanese release of Prey.
  2. The disc check is removed from the game.

There are no bug fixes or new content in this release. The release is backwards compatible with Prey v1.2 and v1.3 in multiplayer.

Also included with the patch is updated Windows based dedicated server files. Updated dedicated server files for Linux are available over at icculus.org.

Click here to get to our Prey downloads page, which contains links where you can download the patch. Please note that this patch is only for the standalone PC game - If your copy of Prey was through Steam, do not use this patch, Steam users will be handled through that system. There is no update for the Xbox 360 game necessary. Additionally, there is no patch available for the Macintosh version of Prey. There is however a Mac patch forthcoming, and it is expected to be released around the end of the month.

Please note that this is planned to be the final patch release for Prey.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:56 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


October 22, 2007

Prey Mobile Preview

Things have been quiet lately news wise, but we're here to bring you something new to check out. If you enjoyed Prey, then you will want to check this out. It's a preview of "Prey Mobile", a new game coming soon from Machineworks Northwest and 3D Realms.

As the name implies, it's Prey for mobile phones. If you're a fan of mobile phone games, you're going to want to check this out, as it's one of the better mobile phone games to come down the pike. Check out these quotes from IGN from their preview:

"This is, on a pure technical level, the most visually spectacular mobile game I have ever seen since I first started covering wireless in 2002.

But it's not just the texture work that makes Prey such a stunner. The attention to detail on little things underscores the pride MachineWorks takes with developing their games.

...you simply will not believe how far mobile gaming has come."

The preview also has a ton of screenshots from the game, so you'll want to check it all out.

We will have our own information page available for the game soon.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:16 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 5, 2007

Prey's a Top Download on Xbox 360

The Official Xbox Magazine's current issue (April 2007) has Prey listed as one of their top downloads! They apparently are into Prey multiplayer, as they have Prey listed as one of their top downloads, over such items as the "Gears of War Map Pack", and some South Park episodes available on Xbox Live. Here's what they had to say about this:

The developers for Prey released a host of new multiplayer content.. for free. How did we get this lucky? The goodies include five new character skins, and four new maps, with names like Gravity Labs, Space Oddity, Topillogical, and Tunnel Rat. Did we mention it's free?

If you have an Xbox 360, and haven't checked out Prey, you should do so. There is a free demo for the game available in the Xbox Live Marketplace, and the game has also had a price drop, so you can pick up a copy cheaper now. Check out the Prey ordering page for some links.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:56 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


February 19, 2007

Prey is Best of 2006

According to two recent gaming magazines, Prey has come out on top in their "Best of 2006" categories.

First up is the "Official Xbox Magazine" award for "Shooter of the Year". They actually awarded a tie in this category; they had Prey tied with GRAW 2. They did have several nice things to say about Prey, however:

Prey, literally turned the shooter world upside-down. By reinventing the concepts of both 3D space and how death is handled in an aciton game, Human Head's summer spectacular was easily the freshest FPS we played all year. The gravity flipping game play also translated into an original multiplayer experience. Prey's online action- in which foes could be attacking you from the floor, ceiling, or walls - dominated the OXM office for some time.

Second up is PC Gamer Magazine who awarded Prey not only one, but two best of awards, spanning a full two pages in their magazine - a nice extra touch, most awards lists don't give that much space to a single title. The two awards Prey won were "Best Action Game", and "Best Multiplayer Game". Here's a bit of what PC Gamer had to say..

The best action and multiplayer experience we've had all year is with a title that you're probably not playing... but should be. Prey's topsy-turvy environments and creepy - yet fun - gameplay literally brought a new dimension to shooters in 2006, giving you the power to walk, run, and frag through portals nad on ceilings and walls. Imagine running across the surface of a globe, aiming at somebody sprinting upside down and above you on another globe, then shooting through a nearby energy portal to finish him off. Brilliant! Prey was the first game this year to draw the entire PC Gamer staff into repeated LAN matches, as our shrieks of surprise, joy, and pain reverberated down the hall.

Check out the February 2007 issue of Xbox Magazine, as well as the March issue of PC Gamer to check out the complete lists of both magazines.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:47 AM


February 14, 2007

Prey v1.3 PC Patch Released

Here's a quick note to let everyone know that we've released a new patch for Prey, v1.3. It's available now, and here's a summary of what's changed in this new update from the readme:

Prey v1.3 Readme

  1. This update includes compatibility files for the Mac port of Prey (meaning PC users can play against Mac users and vice versa).
  2. There are no bug fixes or new content in this release.
  3. This release is backwards compatible with Prey 1.2 multiplayer.
  4. There are new server files available. Windows versions come with the patch, Linux versions are available separately.
  5. In order for a Mac user to play on a PC pure server, the server they are on must have the v1.3 server files.

In short, the only thing changed in this patch is that PC players can now play against Mac players, although the PC side has to be running v1.3 to do this. Additionally, the dedicated server files need to be at the v1.3 revision for Mac users to "see" a PC server.

Unlike the last patch, PC v1.2 users can play PC v1.3 servers. If your existing copy of Prey works, and playing against Macintosh users is not a concern to you, then you do not need the upgrade. If you run a dedicated server, or you wish to see the widest number of available servers, though you should upgrade.

Click here to get to our Prey downloads page, which contains links where you can download the patch. Please note that this patch is only for the standalone PC game - If your copy of Prey was through Steam, do not use this patch, Steam users will be handled through that system. There is no update needed for the Macintosh version or the Xbox 360 versions, as these are unaffected by the changes in the v1.3 PC patch.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:05 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


January 14, 2007

Macintosh Prey Demo now available!

If you have a Mac, and can't wait for the retail version of Prey to hit soon, then you'll want to head over to the Apple Inc website. In their games section, there is a demo available for MacPrey.

Macworld SF 2007 Best Of Show winner. A groundbreaking first-person shooter that turns the genre upside-down with new gameplay features and next generation graphics. Breaking the traditional first-person shooter format, Prey introduces innovative gameplay elements including wall-walking, portals, spirit-walking and gravity flipping, which allows for insane eight player deathmatches.

Go check out the demo page now and download your copy of the demo for free!

Finally, here are the system requirements for MacPrey:

  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
  • Mac OS X 10.4.8 recommended
  • 1.8GHz PowerPC G5 or Intel processor (2GHz or higher recommended)
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 64MB video RAM (ATI Radeon 9600/NVidia Geforce 6600 or higher); 128MB recommended
  • DVD drive; Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported (requires a broadband connection)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


January 12, 2007

Macintosh Prey

If you're a Macintosh user, then you know what it's like in terms of "attention" from publishers as a gaming platform. We're glad to say for our Macintosh fans that the Macintosh version of Prey will be hitting stores shortly. Featuring all the same fun that the PC & Xbox 360 platforms have already experienced, if you're a Macintosh owner, you're going to want to check this out.

MacPrey even won the "Best of Show" award at the recent 2007 Macworld Expo. Here's what they had to say about it:

The first-person shooter puts you in the shoes of a Cherokee garage mechanic fighting off an alien menace. Prey's innovative "deathwalking" gameplay and basis in Cherokee mythology add unique twists to an intricately detailed first-person shooter that looks and plays great on MacBook Pros, Intel iMacs, and Mac Pros alike.

We will have further details on MacPrey next week. In the meantime, if you wish to pre-order a copy, you can do so via some links at our Prey ordering page. You can also check out the press release announcing MacPrey's having gone gold here. Make sure and check back here next week for the latest!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:13 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


January 4, 2007

Prey Amongst Best Games of 2006

Prey was a big hit this past summer when it was first released, and some folks have not forgotten about it when it came time to making their "Best of" Lists for 2006. First up is the news magazine Time, which has Prey listed as #6 in their best games of 2006. Here's what Time had to say about Prey:

It's rare that we get any genuinely innovative takes on the shoot-'em-up genre, but Prey has some really smart ideas about how to use the dangerously realistic Doom 3 engine - watch for fun with teleportation portals and some gnarly firefights in variable gravity. The alien ship blends the organic and the technological in really disturbing ways, and unlike in Doom 3 they don't go overboard with the shadows - you can actually see the full horror before you kill it.

Prey also won "Best First Person Shooter of 2006" from the gaming site Voodoo Extreme. Here's a bit from what VE3D wrote about Prey:

Yup, it took almost a decade, but 3D Realms finally released Prey with Human Head Studios' talented development skills. Anyone who has played the demo can immediately appreciate why Prey won. The weapons were enjoyable, and the portal technology and other tricks kept the levels fresh and fun.

If you've never tried Prey before, why not grab the free demo, and check it out yourself? You can get to the Prey downloads page here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:38 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


November 30, 2006

Prey now available on Steam

As you are probably aware, when Prey launched, it was with a digital distribution method called Triton. Back in October, the Triton service shut down, and there has been no digital distribution method available for Prey since then.

That changes today with the news that starting right now, Prey is available via Steam! As you probably know, Steam is Valve software's digital distribution method of games, both their own and others. 2K Games has recently signed on to publish games through Steam digitally, and Prey is the latest in that line. So if you are looking to buy a copy of Prey, you can do that at the Steam website. If you are an existing Prey customer (either through Triton or through a retail box copy), then there are options available for you, too. Here's some details about Prey on Steam:

  1. If you have a registered copy of Prey (either downloaded from the former Triton service or a box copy) you can optionally use your CD-Key to validate the game on Steam, and download it there if you wish.
  2. If you have a box copy of Prey, there is no need to connect to Steam for any reason, unless you choose to do so. That is completely optional.
  3. If you don't have ANY registered copy of Prey, and never did, Steam is the option now for digital delivery (or you can still buy a retail box copy).
  4. Prey on Steam is for the full version only. The Prey demo is not on Steam at this time. If you wish to check out the Prey demo, you need to go through standard download channels.

So go check out Steam for your digital copy of Prey starting today! In addition to the game, you can view a free Prey trailer through Steam as well.

If you are a former Triton customer and cannot access your key, please see this post on our forums (it is from a former Triton employee who can look up keys) - 3DR cannot assist in Triton key retrieval, we do not have access to the information.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:01 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


November 10, 2006

Prey up for VGA awards

We've been told that Prey has been nominated for some awards at the 2006 Spike TV videogame awards. If you head to Spike's VGA site, you can vote on several categories. Prey's up for these categories:

  • Best Shooter of the Year
  • Cyber Vixen of the Year (for Jen)

They did not nominate the soundtrack for Prey unfortunately, but the Elder Scrolls IV soundtrack was nominated, and that was the same guy. So head over to the Spike's VGA site and vote for Prey. The awards will be announced December 13th when the show airs.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:46 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


October 14, 2006

Prey SDK Released

Something else people have been asking about for awhile is also being released this week. That's the Prey SDK. If you don't know what an SDK is, it's code and materials to allow folks to create their own mods for Prey. Here's what Human Head had to say about the SDK release..

The Prey SDK includes all of the game code (for building your own Game DLL), as well as some code examples/tutorials which will explain a few of the basic things you should know before diving into the code-base. This SDK distribution also compiles without issue in the free version of MSVC++ 2005 (Express Edition). Check out the included ReadMe for more information on that, as well as other modding and development resources. We're all looking forward to seeing what kind of new modifications the community comes up with, so good luck! :)

This is available for free from the links in our Prey downloads page, so if you're interested in modding games, this will be of interest to you. If you'd like to check out the readme before downloading the whole SDK, you can do that here. Please note that the SDK was re-released on Sat Oct 14th, you can grab the newer revision at the same download page.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:21 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


October 10, 2006

Prey Update for Triton Customers

As those of you who purchased Prey through Triton are by now aware, the service is no longer functioning. This is an unfortunate happening, but we do have some good news for all of those who bought Prey through the Triton service.

2K has set up a replacement program for customers who purchased Prey via the Triton download service. A new boxed copy of Prey will be shipped to each customer who purchased the game via Triton, DiStream or www.playtriton.com, as Triton is undergoing a reorganization process and copies downloaded from the service may not function properly. There is no action required on the part of the purchaser. Boxed copies will be mailed automatically to the credit card address on file. Thank you for your patience during this interim period; we look forward to getting affected customers back up and playing Prey as soon as possible.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:01 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


October 10, 2006

Prey v1.2 PC Patch Released

Today we're bringing you the latest Prey patch for the PC. This is the "additional content" patch you've been hearing about. This new content came out earlier today for the Xbox 360, and now we're releasing it for the PC as well. Here's a short listing of what is new in this patch:

Five new multiplayer characters/skins: Becky, Elhuit, Hunter, Elite Hunter, & Jen
Four new multplayer maps: Gravity Labs, Space Oddity, Topillogical, Tunnel Rat

There's a few notes about the patch:

  • This will work on either v1.0 or v1.1 of Prey.
  • This is only for customers who bought the CD or DVD version. We will have an announcement very shortly on how Triton customers will be handled.
  • There are no new game play modes in this patch.
  • An updated version of the Windows server files are included with the patch.
  • An updated version of the Linux server files are available seperately (see downloads page)

In addition to the new content, there are a couple of bug fixes in this version, too:

  • Network protocol version bump (will no longer be able to see 1.1 or 1.0 servers)
  • Installer will now update uninstaller. This fixes the missing installer problem.
  • Game DLL interface bump for upcoming mod SDK release (so mods will only work with v1.2)
  • Fix for a weapon switch exploit

You can download this patch right now by visiting the Prey download page here on the 3D Realms website. If you'd like to read more about the new levels and characters, then continue to read more of this story here:

PREY v1.2 README:

This add-on includes new maps and multiplayer models as well as a number of bug fixes from previous versions. Please note that this version is network incompatible with previous versions, so by installing this version you will not be able to join any 1.0 or 1.1 multiplayer servers.

This add-on includes four new multiplayer maps and six new multiplayer characters.


New DeathMatch Maps:

The original DM maps in Prey were best suited for 4-8 players. The maps in this add-on were designed for smaller number of players, especially for 1v1 or 2v2 play.

DM Gravity Lab: DMGravityLab takes place on board a floating extension of the Sphere's main Spindle. Players will find themselves running along wallwalk and hanging catwalks all throughout the map. Snipers get to have fun this time around with a large outdoor section complete with wallwalk platforms and portals. Designed for 6 players.

DM Topillogical: The first Prey DM map to feature Outward Gravity. Run 360 degrees around the inside of a giant Sphere to get the best firing position on your enemies. Intriguing side-rooms offer gravity-warping corridors and devious wall-walk ammo depots. Fast-paced action for 4 players.

DM Tunnel Rat: Danger lurks in all directions but down in this maze-running map designed for 6 players. Sharp twists and turns conceal danger at every corner, but eyes up! A mirrored version of the maze forms the ceiling above you.

DM Space Oddity: DM Space Oddity is designed for 4 players and features a large central crossover room with perpendicular gravity pathways. Rack up the kills by dominating the crossover with a rocket launcher!


New Multiplayer Models:

Several new character models are available in DM, three female characters and two alien characters:

Jen: Jen is Tommy's girlfriend, and the owner of the Roadhouse bar. Don't let her dainty looks fool you: all those years of serving drinks to random travelers have toughened her up and made her quite the ass-kicker.

Becky: This young blonde is an unfortunate victim of the Sphere. First aliens abduct her and now she finds herself fighting for her life in a deathmatch arena!

Elhuit: The leader of a race of humans who managed to hide and survive living on the Sphere for centuries.

Mother: Mother is a tough, enigmatic character. All you need do is prove your worth.

Alien Hunter: The Hunter is part of a race taken by the Sphere long ago. Now the Hunter serves as one of the chief minions of the Sphere, acting as an enforcer force for any humans who try to escape.

Elite Alien Hunter: Same badass Hunter, cooler-looking armor.


Bug Fixes:

This update also includes a number of bug fixes:

* Network protocol version bump (will no longer be able to see 1.1 or 1.0 servers)
* Installer will now update uninstaller. This fixes the missing installer problem.
* Game DLL interface bump for upcoming mod SDK release (so mods will only work with v1.2)
* Fix for a weapon switch exploit

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:35 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


October 10, 2006

Prey 360 Additional Content Now Available

If you're a fan of Prey for the Xbox 360, then this story is for you.

Available right now on the Xbox Live Marketplace is the "additional content" that has been promised. It's all free, and this is what you can download:

Becky-Multi-player character
Elhuit-Multi-player character
Elite-Multi-player character
Hunter-Multi-player character
Jen-Multi-player character
Gravity Labs-Multi-player map
Space Oddity-Multi-player map
Topillogical-Multi-player map
Tunnel Rat-Multi-player map

So fire up your Xbox 360 and head over to the marketplace to download these maps and multiplayer skins.

This content will be released on the PC side shortly. We'll have more info on that as soon as it's available.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:58 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


September 15, 2006

Prey Additional Content to be Free

A little while back, we announced that additional content was being worked on for Prey. It is still being worked on, but we have a small (but important) update to bring you on this.

This new content will be free of charge. This goes for both the PC side and the Xbox 360 side.

Just to remind folks, we're working on some new multiplayer skins (play as Jen, Elhuit, etc), and some new multiplayer maps. Both are coming along nicely, but the exact number of both is as of yet not finalized, so I can't tell you exactly what will be in the content pack.

As usual, there's no date for this, the materials will be out "when they're done" (although sooner than later I'd imagine ). Given that we received the "official" word this afternoon, we didn't want to wait to bring you this update, which many people have been asking us about.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:10 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


September 1, 2006

Canadian Prey LCE Coupon Info

This morning we have received an email from 2K Games about a minor problem with the versions of Prey distributed in Canada. They were missing the download voucher for the Prey Soundtrack in the box. We are here to bring you information on how to obtain said coupon if you were one of the affected customers. Here is the text from 2K Games on this issue:


2K has identified that certain units of the Prey PC and Xbox 360 Limited Collector's Edition distributed in Canada did not include the DirectSong free soundtrack download voucher in the package. 2K has established a redemption program to provide soundtrack download vouchers to Canadian customers who purchased the bilingual Limited Collector's Edition and did not receive the voucher.

Affected customers should mail the bilingual Prey Limited Collector's Edition sleeve (o-card) that fits over the metal case, along with their name and complete mailing address to:

Prey LCE Redemption Program
c/o Interlinc Direct
1-65 Superior Blvd
Mississauga ON L5T 2X9

The sleeve will be returned along with the voucher. In the event the sleeve has been discarded, customers can mail their original receipt with the Edition circled. Receipts will not be returned. This program is only valid for customers who purchased affected copies of the bilingual Canadian Prey Limited Collector's Edition.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:49 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


August 30, 2006

Prey v1.1 PC Patch Released

Today 3D Realms & Human Head have announced the release of the v1.1 patch for the PC version of Prey. You can download the patch for free from our Prey downloads page here.

Here is a list of what's changed/fixed in the patch, from the changelog provided by Human Head:

  • Multiplayer bandwidth optimization to allow better play on higher latency connections
  • Fixed projectile effects not showing up on dedicated servers
  • Fixed crash at startup due to time/date validation on some systems
  • Fixed crash at startup due to querying old OpenAL drivers
  • Fixed an occasional crash on the dedicated server
  • Fixed a crash when using image_usecache cvar with very big textures. Textures whose lowest mip map doesn't fit will be default texture. This was causing a crash when a modified prey was loading "Mother's Embrace".
  • Fixed a crash on some machines when reading savegames.
  • Some timedemo features not appearing if you restart prey between record/playback
  • Added widescreen resolutions to menus
  • Updated multiplayer browser to fix servers not showing up due to DNS resolution
  • Updated multiplayer browser not keeping join button up to date when server summary wasn't the active tab.
  • Updated multiplayer browser so punkbuster icons show up in their column properly
  • Updated multiplayer browser so mod games' icons show up properly updated multiplayer browser so server scanning is more consistent on slower connections
  • Fixed multiplayer weapon exploit
  • Bumped network protocol version. Unpatched games will not be able to play online with patched games. This means that if you are playing v1.0, you can not play against or on servers running v1.1 (and vice versa).

This is a tech/bug fix patch, there are no new game play elements in this update. Please note that the previously announced "new content" (maps, multiplayer skins) is not part of this update, and will be made available at a later date.

Customers who have purchased Prey through Triton should NOT use this patch. Triton customers will be updated through the Triton system. You will be notified that an update is available when you run the game, and will be asked at that time to update; Triton will handle the rest.

Please note that if you use this patch, the dedicated server files will also need to be updated if you are already using them. The Windows based version of the files are included with this patch. The updated Linux server files can be obtained here. The existing server files that were released in mid July are for v1.0 of the game, and will still work for that version, but the v1.1 patch requires updated server files.

Special Thanks to ZeTortue for bug testing.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:00 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


August 14, 2006

3D Realms is in the toilets

At least according to men's magazine Maxim, we are.

They recently ran a story entitled "The 12 Greatest Videogame Toilets of All Time", focusing on, of all things, the best toilet usage in videogames. It's quite silly, and of course, 3D Realms placed pretty well in the list. In fact, we had three entries in the article, a full 1/4 of the entire list! :) Anyway, here's what they had to say about games we were involved in:

Prey: Ranked #12

This toilet looks like Kirstie Alley and Bruce "Hollywood Squares" Vilanch were trying to spell out the words STAR JONES on it with their rectums after a midnight Arby's run. Forget trying to clean this place: Just scatter some jet fuel, light a match, and move to the next-closest state.

Max Payne: Ranked #9

Ask Elvis: There's no shame whatsoever in dying on a toilet. None. But dying while wearing silly underpants? Let's just say that this just-shotgunned guy has brought much shame on his house. Much shame.

Duke Nukem 3D: Ranked #1 Best Toilet!

Duke was the first game to dive headfirst into the murky, log-filled virtual septic tank. We were thrilled when we popped open stalls and found random aliens dropping a load of gravel. Maxim Tip: Pop the alien in the head, bust up his toilet bowl, and then take a big hearty drink of toilet water for a health boost.

Head on over to Maxim's site now and read up on all the greatest toilet action!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:57 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


August 11, 2006

Prey Weekly... Er... Monthly Update #24

Hi all -- Welcome to the latest edition of the Prey Weekly update. Er, hasn't really been weekly for the past few weeks, though.

Things around here have been busy, but not nearly as busy as when we finished Prey. What have we been up to this past month?

Well, we've still been settling into our new offices; preparing the Prey patch and additional content; we had a fantastic Prey release party; many people have been taking vacations and sabbaticals (after you've been with Human Head for six years, you're granted an extra month off vacation. A lot of people are exercising that vacation now that Prey is done); and we're preparing for future projects (training, rethinking the design process, etc).

Prey Release Party

On July 20th, we threw a rockin' Prey release party in downtown Madison at the historic Orpheum Theater. More than two hundred of our closest friends and business associates attended, socialized, drank a lot and generally had a great time. There was an eight-player Xbox360 set-up for people to play deathmatch that was constantly busy throughout the night. Music was provided by Kid Beyond who was amazing! The things that guy can do with his voice were simply insane.

Overall, it was a damn fun night. Huge thanks for the group here who set the whole thing up, and a huge thanks to everyone who attended and helped us celebrate this monumental occasion.

Big thanks to Scott and George for attending as well. Although George's camera should be banned from all future parties where there's booze involved! :) We'll try and get some pictures online if we can pry them from George's hands. :)

Prey v1.1 Patch

We're currently working on a 1.1 patch for Prey to fix several bugs and a couple of additions. Here is the (not final) list of changes:

  • Fixed a crash at startup on some machines
  • Fixed an occasional crash on the dedicated server
  • Fixed a crash when using image_usecache cvar with very big textures. Textures whose lowest mip map doesn't fit will be default texture.
  • This was causing a crash when a modified prey was loading "Mother's Embrace".
  • Fixed a crash on some machines when reading savegames.
  • Some timedemo features not appearing if you restart between record/playback
  • Added widescreen resolutions to menus
  • Updated multiplayer browser to fix servers not showing up due to DNS resolution
  • Updated multiplayer browser not keeping join button up to date when server summary wasn't the active tab.
  • Updated multiplayer browser so punkbuster icons show up in their column properly
  • Updated multiplayer browser so mod games' icons show up properly
  • Updated multiplayer browser so server scanning is more consistent on slower connections
  • Fixed multiplayer weapon exploit

Venom is working on a 360 patch for Prey which will address the network lag issues on the 360 as well as fix several bugs there as well.

No ETA yet on the release of either of these patches, other than we hope to have them resolved and out very, very soon.

New Content for Prey

There's also new content for Prey coming soon -- still in the process of finalizing the new maps. We've read online that some people have requested maps that function well as 1v1 maps. So, we've taken that to heart and have been working on four maps that work better with a smaller number of people 2-4 players. Of course, you can still play with more than four in the maps, but they can get pretty insane.

Also, we're adding in six new player characters:

- Four female characters: Jen, Elhuit, Mother, and Becky (the blond victim you see occasionally on slabs in the single player Prey)
- Two Hunter characters: Hunter and Elite Hunter

Similar to the 1.1 patch, no ETA on the release on this, other than soon. We're still working on finishing the maps and play balancing them. We'll announce the release date for this, once we're closer to final. Watch 3DR's page, or Prey.com for that info.

Yes, this additional content will be released on the 360 as well. Further details about possible points cost of the extra content for the 360 has yet to be determined.

Well, that's all for now. We'll definitely keep everyone posted on the status of the patch and of the new content.

Until next time, stay out of trouble.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios



Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!

Visit our Prey Downloads Page to get the PC Demo!
Visit Xbox Live Marketplace to download the Prey 360 demo!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:47 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


August 10, 2006

A Retelling of Prey

There's a really cool Sims style of game out called "The Movies", in which you can direct your characters and make a movie out of the actions in the game. The game allows you to export the videos/films you make in the game, and share them with others. That is what we're bringing you here.

Prey fan Urafaerie has posted this video on our forums. It's entitled "A Retelling of Prey Part 1" done in "The Movies". It's quite funny, although if you haven't played the game, you might not understand some of the jokes in it. But if you have, it's most definitely worth checking out!

You can watch via the embedded video below, or head to Youtube's page for the video.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:40 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


August 5, 2006

Prey's Music Composer Nominated for MTV VMA

Here's your chance to make video game history! GameTrailers.com and MTV are proud to announce two new MTV Video Music Awards to be presented on MTV's Overdrive during the world famous VMAs - "Best Video Game Soundtrack" and "Best Video Game Score." GameTrailers has selected five nominees for each category, and you decide who wins by casting your vote now! So what are you waiting for? This is your chance to participate in the first ever video game related VMAs!

Why are we telling you this? Well, it's because Prey composers Jeremy & Julian Soule have been nominated in the first ever videogame category for the MTV video music awards show. Now they're not nominated for Prey, but they are nominated for the music they did for another AAA title; that being The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

If you are a fan of either Prey or Oblivion, head on over to this link and vote for Jeremy & Julian Soule. The winner of this award is directly chosen by you - that's right, it's a popularity contest, so head on over to gametrailers now and vote! Voting ends on August 28th, and the show airs on August 31st.

Additionally, if you're a fan of Prey and haven't checked out their soundtrack, you can get your own copy right now over at DirectSong's Prey site.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:33 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


August 1, 2006

Official Prey Wiki Launched

Available now is an information wiki from Human Head, Venom, & 3D Realms. It's available here. This is a non editable wiki (which means it's only editable by us).

It's purpose for existing is to disseminate information about the game to the public from the developers. Not a general Wiki like Wikipedia where everyone can edit pages.

The first batch of information from Human Head is available now. This consists of some tutorials on how to use Preditor to do various things. There is also some general information about the gamee, plus a copy of Lon Matero's excellent "History of Prey".

Future updates will include information about patches, more tutorials, and other relevant information from the developers. Check it out today!

preywiki.png

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:54 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 28, 2006

Prey Burning up the Sales Charts!

That's right, Prey is the #1 game on the Xbox 360 in the UK as per this chart info over at chart-track.co.uk.

Prey is beating out such current heavy hitters on the console such as Chromehounds, Moto GP 06, Table Tennis, & Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion!

If you haven't checked out Prey on your Xbox 360, the demo is available for free right now in the Marketplace, or you can check out the purchase info here on our site!

Prey is #1 on the UK PC sales charts too - besting the Sims 2 (as well as one of its expansion packs), and World of Warcraft, and other titles like Half Life 2: Episode 1. Check out the full UK PC sales chart here.

Prey is also up at the top of the US PC sales charts, too. Gaming site Voodoo Extreme is reporting that for the week ending July 20th, Prey was #2 in the overall sales chartes, behind only perennial powerhouse World of Warcraft. Check out the complete list over at Voodoo Extreme!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:17 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 27, 2006

Prey Strategy Guide now available!

Having a problem getting by a certain level in Prey? Want to find out all you can about the secret areas in Prey? Then we have something for you. It's the Official Prey Strategy guide book. Available now, this guide is a comprehensive guide to Tommy's world of Prey.

BradyGames' Prey Official Strategy Guide includes the following:

  • A comprehensive walkthrough that guides you through every twist and turn of this epic adventure
  • Multiprey coverage: crush the opposition in multiplayer with weapon locations, item locations, and strategy for every map
  • A full bestiary with tips and tactics to help you obliterate the gruesome foes that threaten your existence
  • A complete list of Xbox 360 game achievements to help you go for the best Game Card score

This guide is enhanced with bonus online content! Look inside for the BradyGames Connected icon and follow the URL to access these exclusive features:

  • Boss fight, strategy, and puzzle videos in three formats for PC, iPod, and PlayStation Portable (PSP)
  • Downloadable wallpapers featuring Prey artwork for your PC desktop, in four sizes

This guide covers both the PC & Xbox 360 versions, so whichever platform is your choosing, this guide has something for you! You can order your own copy right now by clicking on the cover art shown here.

You can also check out other books about our games on our books page.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:56 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 27, 2006

Prey Music LIVE!

This story came to us very late, but it's still something cool, and we wanted to pass it on. Tonight in Philadelphia some of the game music from Prey will be played LIVE in concert! This story is brought to us by our friends over at Joystiq.com. Check out what they had to say:

Philly is racking up the video game concerts this summer. First, the Video Games Live concert at the Merriam Theater in June*, and now rival production PLAY! at the Mann Center tonight, 8:30.

Just to make the evening super special, the promoters added some music from the (better than you'd think) Prey soundtrack to the already impressive program. Other titles on the RPG-heavy lineup include Final Fantasy, Chrono Cross and Trigger, Morrowind, Kingdom Hearts, Shenmue, and more. Tickets are still available so if this is the first you've heard about it, get buying.

This is very cool news to hear. If anyone reading this attended the show, please write in, we'd love to hear from you. Thanks again to Joystiq.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:51 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 20, 2006

Prey Windows Dedicated Server Binaries Available

A couple of days ago, we released the Prey dedicated server binaries for Linux. At that time, we said that the Windows ones were still being worked on. We're here now to tell you that they've been completed, and are being released now.

Available on our Prey downloads page, the Windows server files are ready for downlod for free right now. There is a readme available online which you can check out before downloading. That file is available here.

The file is about 1.5Mb in size, and is a zip archive. You will need some files from your original Prey registered CD (or DVD). Details as to what you will need are in the readme file.

Officially, these files are unsupported. They have been tested, and do work, but if you run into problems getting them to run, our official support channels cannot help you. Having said all that, we're aware that folks have been clamoring for the files, so go download today!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:20 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 19, 2006

Prey Party Wallpaper Image

On Friday when we posted the news that Prey was out in Europe we included a "Prey Party Image". Since then we've gotten several requests to release that in wallpaper sized versions. So that's what we're here to do now. Available now are signficantly larger versions of that image - click on the resolution you wish via the choices below.

We also had a few queries about the origins of the image. It was created Human Head as part of an invitation to a private industry function to celebrate the Prey launch.

Enjoy - and thanks to James Sumwalt of Human Head with providing the larger versions.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:55 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 17, 2006

Prey Linux Dedicated Server Binaries Available

Human Head Studios, Incorporated is proud to announce the availability of a dedicated multiplayer server for Prey running on the Linux platform. Instructions for setup are included in the package, which may be downloaded for free from any of the locations on our Prey downloads page.

There is a readme available online which you can check out before downloading. That file is available here.

The file is about 5.2Mb in size, and is a Linux archive (bz2). You will need some files from your original Prey registered CD (or DVD). Details as to what you will need are in the readme file.

Officially, these files are unsupported. They have been tested, and do work, but if you run into problems getting them to run, our official support channels cannot help you. Having said all that, we're aware that folks have been clamoring for the files, so go download today! Thaks to Ryan over at Icculus for all the hard work on this.

One final note - the Windows based dedicated server files are still being worked on. They should be available shortly; we'll have more word on that when we have news to report.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:47 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 14, 2006

It's European Prey Day!

A couple of days ago, Prey was released in North America. Now Europe gets to join in the fun, as Prey is now out beyond the North American borders. If you haven't already done so, head to your shops and pick up a copy.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:58 PM


July 11, 2006

Prey is out!

It's Prey Day! It's been a long time coming, but the full retail version of Prey has been released!

It's out in retail today in North America, and on the 14th elsewhere around the world in both PC & Xbox 360 formats. Run to your local retailer to get a copy. If you don't want to run, you can SpritWalk over there. :)

If you haven't checked it out at all, there's a demo available for the PC version as well as the 360 version (on Xbox Live Marketplace). You can try them for free now.

But the game is available in retail now. You can also download the full game over at Triton if you don't want to stand in line at a store, or save some gasoline. :) And speaking of Triton, here's a news flash they sent over to us:

Triton, the world's fastest online game streaming service, is providing uncapped bandwidth for the launch of Prey! Customers will enjoy over 30 gigabits of bandwidth and 48 terabytes of caching across thousands of servers around the globe for the delivery of Prey, with no cap on download speed per connection! The more bandwidth you have, the quicker you get up and playing, and the faster the game streams to your PC!

Once you've gotten the game, make sure and join in the discussions on our Prey forums by clicking here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:30 PM


July 11, 2006

Interview with Ed Lima on Prey Audio

Out today is a new interview with sound man Ed Lima (formerly) of Human Head on Prey related sound. Here's a few quotes from the full interview:

"Q: Prey has had an interesting development cycle, was there any old content you inherited from the old "Prey" that was being developed by 3D Realms? Or any direction from back then for sound design?

A: As with most other elements of "Prey", 3D Realms very generously gave Human Head free reign to do what was required. Since the monsters, weapons and settings were all newly created for the game, all of the audio content was similarly built from the ground up. We did use some original Grandfather voiceover in our first E3 2005 trailer for "Prey", but beyond that, every audio asset is brand new.

Q: What was your role on Prey and what other games have you worked on in the past?

A: I was Audio Lead on "Prey", which means I was responsible for everything you hear in the game, including sound effects, music and voiceover. I also directed the voiceover actors, and contributed some additional writing to the game. My previous titles include "DOOM 3", "007 Nightfire", and Empire Earth."

Check out the full interview over here at soundblaster.com.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:15 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


July 3, 2006

Prey now available for preload!

Prey is now available for preload on the Triton download system. If you pre-order the game through Triton, you can begin pre-loading the game on your system. If you pre-load the game this way, you will be able to play immediately upon the game's release. Here's some details from Triton:

Pre-ordering is now available through the Triton Player for $49.95 by clicking the "Preload Prey" box. By pre-ordering you will be able to start playing Prey within minutes of the release at 12:01 a.m. on 7/11/2006. In a little over a week you will be able to start pre-loading Prey so that there will be no wait once the clock strikes midnight.

You can also check out the Prey demo via the Triton system as well, so check out all the digital distribution goodness for Prey at Triton's Website.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:34 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 30, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #23: GOLD Edition

Welcome to an edition of the Weekly Update that I've been dying to write for a long time. Prey is officially GOLD!!

After five years of development, Prey is done and on its way to manufacturing.

It's a good feeling. No, it's a great feeling. Of course, like any project, there are a hundred little things I wanted to fix. But there comes a time when you have to stop and agree that it's time for the game to escape into the world.

Understandably, spirits are really high here at Human Head. We just went gold, and last week the PC demo was released to an amazing amount of praise (a huge thanks to everyone who emailed us to say congrats -- we all truly appreciate the letters of encouragement).

And other good news today -- the Xbox 360 demo has finally been released! If you have a 360, go grab it! See what that kid up the hall with the PC has been raving about lately.

The demo was, in a way, an interesting experiment that's paying off very well. I mean, think about it: how many games these days release a demo before the full version is released? We noticed that trend that felt that we could get a demo out before the full version. Nothing markets a game better than the game itself.

Not only that, but I've heard a lot of people are happy that the demo contains so much content. Why did we choose to release a fairly large five-level demo? Well, we've always wanted to release the demo from the start of the game. At the same time, we knew it was important for people to experience SpiritWalking and DeathWalk. But neither of those features come into play until the fifth level of the game. So, it was pretty obvious that we needed to include all of those levels in the demo. And, of course, we needed to show off MP. So that added on an additional two levels. End result: A pretty big demo.

A few people have mentioned that we've shown off all the tricks in the game already in the demo. Not by a long shot. There are still a lot of things that we held back: the shuttle vehicle, a lot of other cool portal and gravity puzzles, more creatures, and different environments. But, this is starting to sound like a marketing pitch...

So what's going on here at HH now? Well, many people here at HH are taking well-deserved breaks, before we dive into our next project. But, we're committed to supporting Prey. We're also working on additional content for both PC and the 360 -- nothing concrete that we can announce right now, other than some new DM maps (especially some maps designed specifically for one-on-one matches!). No estimate on when this content will be released, but we hope to start internal testing of at least one of the new DM maps next week.

We've also been spending some time online deathmatching in the demo. So if you see a Human Head person online, you know, take it easy on them. :-)

Until next week, stay out of trouble and enjoy the Prey demos!

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios

P.S. Sorry there was no update last week, in the aftermath of the PC demo release, we totally forgot to do one last Friday!


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!

Visit our Prey Downloads Page to get the PC Demo!
Visit Xbox Live Marketplace to download the Prey 360 demo!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 6:19 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 30, 2006

Prey 360 Demo Now Available on Xbox Live Marketplace

We've just gotten word that the Demo for Prey is up and live on Xbox Live Marketplace. Go get it! Here's the official Press Release from 2K about the demo's availability:

Xbox Live(r) Marketplace is now featuring a playable demo of PREY(tm), the heavily anticipated first person shooter for Xbox 360(tm) and PC. PREY literally turns the FPS genre upside-down by introducing innovative gameplay elements such as wall-walking, gravity flipping, and portals that allow enemies to appear out of thin air.

Special thanks to the Prey community and fans for being as patient as they were when we missed the date for the demo.

I'd also like to offer BIG thanks to Microsoft for making an exception and posting the demo on a Friday. Eager gamers will now have the demo in their hands for the long Holiday weekend. Stop giving Major Nelson a hard time! :)

Enjoy the demo! Look for Prey in retail stores soon. You can pre-order here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:20 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 28, 2006

Prey Has Gone Gold!

It's gold!

Prey has gone gold. The game will be released publically in North America on July 11th, and in Europe on July 14th. If you haven't pre-ordered your copy already, there's still time! Check out the preorder page for full details on the different versions available, and how to get them.

If you want to read the full press release from 2K Games and 3D Realms, you can do so here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:56 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 26, 2006

Prey: Videogame Music Finally Grows Up

Now that the PC version of the Prey demo is out, those of you who have played it have had a chance to sample the brilliant musical score in the game. There's lots LOTS more in the full version, but the demo does give you a taste. If you enjoyed the music, then you'll want to check out a new article over at soundtracks.net entitled, "Prey: Videogame Music Finally Grows Up". This article goes into detail on several aspects of the music in Prey, which was authored by Jeremy & Julian Soule. Here's some tidbits from the article, which is definitely written for someone who is heavily into music, and in particular soundtracks.

"Prey is destined to effect industry-wide change: from defining a new standard by which music commissions for flagship interactive titles can be judged, to sounding a welcome death knell for the use of through-composed material. It is a key milestone and one that is the culmination of a decade's work spent to bring the true sound of Hollywood into the home."

Scott Miller, 3D Realms' CEO, acknowledges that the importance of Jeremy's contribution to Prey is a testament to their shared vision, "It was a fantastic stroke of luck that Jeremy was coming off of the back of another project and was able to sit-down with us and bring to the game that level of Hollywood excellence he's renowned for. We had felt that it'd be very difficult to get him, but he was so enthused about the project from the moment we approached him, so in-tune with our needs that he ended up coming on-board straight away."

In this latter vein, the game owes much to Julian's co-composing sensibilities, who points out that "working on Prey was very much like scoring a whole season of a network drama in a few weeks. Thankfully, though, we didn't have to deal with constantly moving goalposts because everyone involved had a clear sense of direction from the start."

Finally, don't forget that you can purchase the soundtracks to Prey right now over at Direct Song's Website. You don't have to wait for the full game to come out to hear all the music. Here's what the article above says about the soundtrack:

"With ardent PC and Xbox 360 gamers chomping at the byte for Prey's arrival, two volumes of music featuring Jeremy and Julian's soundtrack have been released in advance of the game's summer debut. Prey - Volume 1 and, unsurprisingly, Volume 2 showcase almost 145 minutes of courageous and thrilling music.

The albums are available exclusively for download at DirectSong.com, the gaming industry's leading music portal. Whilst you'll require Windows Media Player (version 7.1 upwards) to play the music and transfer it between devices (the tracks have built-in DRM), DirectSong must be applauded for offering their content at 320kbps - as close to the rawness of CD quality audio available today via digital distribution and surely a kick in the teeth for their competition."

And finally, for reading through this story, you get another chance to win a free copy of Prey. The soundtrack.net website is giving away five copies of Prey. Head over to their contest page to enter!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:10 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 26, 2006

Official Prey Servers

On Friday, we told you about several official Prey Demo Deathmatch servers available. Well there's more now, and we wanted to tell you about them.

"Official Prey Server 1 [NSI Hosting]".
"Official Prey Server 2 [NSI Hosting]".

There are also some official servers at Human Head. They can be found with this nomenclature:

"Official Human Head Server #1"
"Official Human Head Server #2"
"Official Human Head Server #3"
"Official Human Head Server #4"

There was a server up over the weekend called "Human Head Demo Server" - this server has been removed.

If you'd like to read it, here is the original notification remark from Human Head last Thursday:

The response to the Prey release last night has been phenomenal. We are glad that y'all seem to like the game so much. We have had requests for Official Human Head & 3D Realms servers. While we're looking into it at 3DR, Human Head does have some servers set up now. We got a message from Tim G at Human Head about this situation:

"The server is up at 8.15.1.15:27719, and also in the main server list as "Official Prey Server 1 [NSI Hosting]".

Since that email, there is an Official Prey Server to go with this, as well as a server at Human Head HQ named surprisingly enough "Human Head Demo Server". :)

If/when we get more Official HH/3DR servers online, we'll be sure to bring you that information as well. A special thanks goes out to Kirt Senser at NSI Hosting who has helped out in getting all this going.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:15 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 23, 2006

Prey Collector's Edition Box Art & A Dedication

A few days back we posted the final box art for both the PC & Xbox 360 versions of Prey. Today we're here to bring you what the final version of the Limited Collector's Edition box arts look like. As you may remember, the LCE comes with not just the game, but some extra goodies. A couple of pewter figures, a booklet on the Art of Prey, and other cool stuff. This all comes in a cool metal box, so here's what you'll see when you get your copy.

If you haven't pre-ordered yours, we've recently expanded the pre-order program that is available in North America & Canada with additional outlets to pre-order from. Remember, if you pre-order you get the third pewter figure (Mutate) as well, so if you're interested in all the figures, pre-ordering the LCE is something you're going to want to do. You can check out the full details of the pre-order program on our site here.

Finally, now that Prey is out, we wanted to take this moment to remember a fallen comrade, William Scarboro. William was one of the orginal Prey team back in 1995, he worked here on Rise of the Triad as well. Unfortunately, and quite sadly, William died in August of 2002 of an asthma attack. It is to my great pleasure that he is remembered 11 years later upon the release of Prey, as the entire game has been dedicated to William, Prey's original lead programmer. If you've run through the credits of the demo already, you will have seen the dedication already, but if you haven't, here's what it looks like.

William Scarboro

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:00 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 23, 2006

New Tim Gerritsen Interview

Now that Prey is out, the interviews about it can change slightly, since Human Head and 3DR don't have to be so guarded in what they say. The website Eurogamer has a new interview up today with Tim Gerritsen of Human Head. Tim talks about several things, including the origins of certain game ideas, why only Deathmatch & Team DM in the game, and other issues along these lines. Here's a few quotes from the article:

Eurogamer: Why are there only deathmatch and team deathmatch modes? Why not capture the flag, or something more original?

Tim Gerritson: Prey is predominantly a single player game, and we didn't want to divide our focus by trying to add on a ton of half-baked modes to multiplay. Instead we decided to focus on making Deathmatch and doing it right. We reasoned that if we did a good deathmatch mode and got it right, and released the editor and SDK, we'd be in a far better position to create or support new modes down the road.

Eurogamer: How does the anti-gravity element of the gameplay affect the way multiplayer matches play out?

Tim Gerritson: It's not really anti-gravity so much as different gravity, and it's the key to why our multiplayer is fun. By throwing out the typical rules of gravity, we created multiplayer situations where you really have to be thinking and reacting at all times.

Eurogamer: The PC demo has just been released? What can players expect from it?

Tim Gerritson: It's a fairly large demo. Not necessarily in terms of size, since it clocks in at about what most demos do these days, but in terms of how much content. We've shipped with two multiplayer maps and the first five levels of the game. You get to see a fair bit of the game in action to get a feel for it.

If you buy the full game, though, the demo save games work with the final version of the game (at least on PC) so that you don't have to replay sections if you don't like.

There's a lot more Tim has to say, so head over to Eurogamer today and read the full interview.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:49 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 22, 2006

Prey Demo is available!

Short. Sweet. The Prey demo for the PC is out! Go get it!

Our downloads page will be updated through the day with more links as we get them. You can get to our downloads page here:

http://www.3drealms.com/prey/download.html

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:10 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 21, 2006

Update on Prey Demo for Xbox 360

Here's a quick message from our forums, posted by 3DR president George Broussard about availability of the Prey 360 Demo.

We do not want 360 people waiting up for the demo or having false expectations. The 360 demo will not appear on Marketplace tonight.

I'm still waiting for specifcs, but I'm being told that it's still in testing at Microsoft. From what I understand this isn't Microsoft's fault, and is more likely just an issue of timing.

I'm hesitant to give any estimates for a release, but I've been told it should be reasonably soon after the PC release, but could be as long as a few days.

We will post an update as soon as we have more solid information.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:22 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 21, 2006

Exclusive Gamespot Demo Preview Video Available

As we count down the hours till the Prey release later tonight, we wanted to make you aware of an exclusive new video just posted over at the Gamespot site. Available here now, this video, totaling 10 minutes and 48 seconds is an interview with Chris Rhinehart of Human Head.

In it, Chris talks about various aspects of the Prey Demo, and the thoughts that went behind various aspects of designing the demo. Chris shows off some of the game play in the demo itself, running through a few parts of it. Chris goes into some of the weapons in the demo, and how Tommy acclimates himself to the Alien environment. Chris also talks about how the authentic Cherokee nature of the character impacts the game.

This is a new video, it hasn't been posted before, and is only available at Gamespot. So head on over there to check it out right now. Although, some of the stuff Chris talks about is spoilerish for the demo, too - so be warned. :) But Chris does go into detail on various modes of the game, and it's nice to hear from the game's developer the thoughts behind some of the various modes.

Come back later tonight for the long awaited Prey demo!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:20 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 20, 2006

Prey Demo Almost Here!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Prey demo will be available this coming Thursday. It's a moment that is both exciting for us, as it's a major point in the completion of the game. It's also scary as it's that moment where you always wonder "will they like it?" Anyway, the demo will world premiere at Gamespot on Thursday the 22nd at 12:01AM EST. (That's -5 GMT for those of us not in the US).

Gamespot will have the demo first, so if you want it the fastest, you should check out the Gamespot Prey demo page by clicking on the graphic below.

Now Gamespot won't be the only place to get the demo, but they will be the first, and will be ready immediately upon the game's release Thursday morning. We will have a list of alternate download sites available once the game is out, please check back after the Gamespot premiere for further details.

While you wait these last few hours for the Prey demo, we have a review of the Prey Demo for you to read. The site Firing Squad has posted a preview of the Prey Demo. Here's a quote from them about their preview:

This article will give you some impressions of the single player demo along with what is contained in the multiplayer portion as well (two deathmatch-team deathmatch levels will also be included). Since everyone else will get to play this demo very soon I will not be giving away everything I saw or did in the demo version, and the screenshots of the demo that accompany this preview only show the first two of the five levels in the demo. We'd rather not spoil all the fun.

Their preview does give away bits of what you see in the demo, so at this point with less than two days to go until you can check out the demo yourself, if you want to remain totally unspoiled, you may wish to skip the preview. For those who don't care about that, then by all means check it out. They do have this to say about the demo overall, though:

If the rest of Prey's single player campaign is as entertaining and unique as the demo's first five levels, the long, long wait for this title may be worth it.

And finally, you'll want to check out these images. They're the final revision of the box art for Prey for the PC (standard version) & the Xbox 360. These will differ a little from what you see in the stores, as the one on your store shelf will have quotes from reviews of the games, but those have not been included here. Otherwise, these are what you'll see in the store.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:24 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 19, 2006

Prey Demo Poll

Short story. There's a poll up on Voodoo Extreme this week about Prey. In short it asks this:

Will you be checking out the Prey demo this week?

Head on over there and vote!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:58 PM


June 19, 2006

Xbox 360 Achievement List for Prey Posted

If you have an Xbox 360, then you are familiar with the concept of achievements. On the 360, the achievement system is a way to gain points for your gamerscore. Each game has them and you can get either 200 or 1000 total points, depending on what kind of game it is (regular vs. XBLA). If you'd like to read more about achievements, you can do so over on this page at Xbox.com.

With the Prey release right around the corner, we thought we'd bring you some information about the achievements in the Xbox 360 version of Prey. Here's a breakdown of some of the points for the game:

  • 44 total achievements
  • Single player points total: 655
  • Multiplayer points total: 250
  • Secret points total: 30
  • Hard mode points total: 65
  • 1000 total gamertag points possible

There are three secrets that are not on the list, though. These three are a secret, you'll have to find out what those are on your own by playing the game.

Please note that this achievement list is for the full version of Prey. As such, some things are in this chart that are most definitely spoilers for the full game. If you do not want the game spoiled for you, you probably should not read through this list until after you've played the full version of Prey.

Having said that, if you're interested in checking out the list of achievements, you can do so on this page here on our website.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:32 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 16, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #22

And we're back. Apologies for missing last week. Things were pretty busy leading up to Friday and I wasn't going to be able to write the update on time.

But I'm back this week and writing this early. Very early. Right now, it's 2:30 in the morning and I just woke up. Admittedly, I'm still rather tired, so apologies in advance if this update is a bit rambly. No, I'm not in some crazy crunch mode right now. I just have to be up early to catch a plane to Dallas.

So what has been going on lately in the world of Prey and at Human Head? A ton of stuff. Mainly, we've been playing the PC and 360 versions, as well as tweaking the 360 demo (the PC demo was wrapped up a bit ago). Time is getting tight with this, since the demo will be released next week.

That's right. The Prey demo is going to be released in less than a week. Are we nervous here at Human Head? Yeah, admittedly a bit. But mostly we're excited to finally unleash the game we've been working on for the past five years.

Although a bit of history about those five years: Technically, yes it's been five years as we signed the project in May of 2001. But, we didn't actually get the Doom 3 code until fall of that year, so the first few months were all design work. When we received the Doom 3 code, there was a huge shift in learning the new tech.

Then there a pretty big Design Apocalypse around 2003 where we threw out a lot of stuff and started from scratch. Not the most efficient way to develop (and I would prefer to avoid so much wasted work in the future) but in the end it was a huge learning experience that paid off as the game turned out great. Of course, I'm just the slightest bit biased.

Anyway, back to the present: Things are starting to slow down a bit at Human Head. We're still busy, but a few people are done with their Prey tasks and have been taking their end-of-project vacations, and others have started some research/learning projects in between testing Prey.

Some of the level designers have been creating new DeathMatch levels for the game. They've been working on some new looks as well as creating some levels that are better designed for one-on-one battles (most of the levels in Prey are designed to work well with 4-8 people, although a some also function pretty well with fewer than four players). We don't have an ETA when these maps will be available. They've just started on them and aren't at the testing phase yet.

Next week, I'm headed out to San Francisco and Los Angeles for a Prey PR tour. The demo we'll show during the tour consists of about 40 minutes of gameplay from various parts of Prey (showing both PC and 360 versions). I'm looking forward to it -- especially since I'll be showing off some areas never before shown to the press. Should be a pretty interesting trip.

Speaking of trips, I see now that I need to get ready as my flight leaves in only a couple of hours.

Remember: Next week the Prey demo is released. Grab it, play it, and comment on it. I'm very much looking forward to what everyone has to say.

Until next week...stay out of trouble.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:56 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 9, 2006

Prey Weekly Update Update

Just a short note about this week's Prey Weekly Update. There isn't going to be one this week. Chris sent over an ICQ message saying they're just too busy to take the time to write one today for the update.

This is understandable, as they're incredibly busy at this point as they race toward finishing the game and the gold announcement that we're sure people are waiting for. Chris wanted to pass along his apologies for not doing an update this week, but we're sure you'll understand.

In the meantime, if you haven't seen it, make sure to check out our Camera Captioning Contest, where you can win a free copy of Prey!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:33 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 8, 2006

Prey.com website relaunched

The Official website for Prey has been redesigned. Sporting the best of the old design, and a bunch of totally new content, you can check it out now over at http://www.prey.com.

There's quite a few new pieces in the site, here's a list of some of them:

  • The features section now shows small example videos of styles of gameplay such as Gravity Flipping, Wall Walking, etc..
  • Several game videos available in streaming or downloadable formats (E3 2006 Trailer, gameplay trailers, etc)
  • All new "Characters" section where you can see some of the characters and read about them. An example of this is shown in the screen capture to the right.
  • Downloadable AIM & MSN Prey Icons
  • Downloadable Wallpapers for your computer

That's not all, either. There is a "Music" section in the site which currently does not have anything in it, but will shortly - info on what will be there is forthcoming.

Special thanks go out to the crew at 2K for putting all this together, it looks really good, guys! Head on over and check out all the changes, and download yourself a few Prey items for free!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:21 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 8, 2006

Prey is "Worth Your While"

Gaming news site ign.com is running a story now entitled, "The Games of Summer 2006". In it, they talk about how most games are released towards the end of the year and hardly anything is released during the summer months. The focus here is how 2006 is not like the norm and there are a lot of good games for the Xbox 360 coming out. They even go so far as to say "Generally, however, summer is the kiss of death for games. We're happy to say that between now and the end of August a handful of original, worthwhile Xbox 360 games will hit retail stands."

Of course Prey is in this article; here's what they had to say about Prey:

"Human Head has taken a game that started eight years ago (the first tech demo was shown in 1995), was put on the back burner, and was then reignited and made something genuinely awesome. That's one hell of a story in itself. But the real story is how beautiful the game looks and how well it plays on the Doom 3 engine. Starting with the initial story based around alien abduction and Native American mythology, gamers soon learn they haven't just been brought onto a space ship. They've been transported to an organic, living alien universe, replete with portals, anti-gravity gameplay, and spiritual weapons. The game runs smoothly in both single- and multi-player modes (the latter of which we witnessed at E3), and the mixture of high tech alien and low-tech Native American weapons gives the game a real unique spin. The demos we played enabled eight people in multiplayer, and we'll find out more if that's the final number or not. Still, this should give your summer a real boost."

Head on over to IGN to check out the full article and see what else you can play when you're done with Prey. :)

UPDATE @ Noon: Turns out they have a similar article on Summer games for the PC as well. Prey is listed there too. Prey is actually the only game that IGN has listed on both their 360 & PC articles. Here's what they said about the PC version:

"Well, first impressions of Prey were underwhelming -- it looked like a Doom 3 knock-off. Then came the E3 video, and everything was different. Prey was brightly colored, appeared to contain a solid storyline featuring an unconventional hero, and made us dizzy. Literally. We're still impressed by the idea of changing the direction of gravity (or maybe it's just the room rotating around us, who knows), and those portals look both fun and fascinating, especially when they're set up in a circle as we saw in one recent clip -- so you can see yourself walking through the portal before you walk through the portal. Also, choosing a Dyson sphere of sorts for its setting is also intriguing. Futuristic cities and glowing nebulas are great, but how about a living ship the size of a small moon? We look forward to it, although we may need to get some airline sickness bags."

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:27 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


June 5, 2006

Vote for Prey

Short and sweet. Voodoo Extreme is running a poll now asking the question "Coolest upcoming PC action game?". Head on over there and vote for Prey!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:13 AM


June 2, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #21

Well, it's June 2nd, and we're twenty days away from the demo launch on the PC & Xbox 360. The game is closer to release, and as such, Chris Rhinehart has had to ask for backup for this week's weekly Prey update. This is again not Chris, this is Joe Siegler of 3D Realms. Chris asked me this in an email.. "Would YOU like to do the weekly update this week? Give 3DR's perspective on what you've been working on over the past couple of weeks or so?"

While my personal involvement outside the forums is mostly deathmatch testing, I said I'd take a stab at it. So without further ado, here goes the Prey Update for this week.


Recently at 3D Realms, we've spent a bunch of time on MultiPrey both in the full version as well as in the demo. It's a real hard job being forced to play deathmatch at work, but hey. Someone's got to do it. Because of the repetitive nature of testing games close to completion, you tend to know the source material pretty well. Since most of what I do in testing now is MultiPrey, I'll give a few of my own insights into that.

The MultiPrey Server Creation Screen

The "Prey stuff" that is in deathmatch definitely brings a whole new world to the concept. I started playing Deathmatch in videogames with most other people, back in 1993 with Doom. To most of us that were around back then, it's still held up as a great game with great deathmatch. Sure, there's been plenty others over the years (Dukematch and WangBang come to mind). Online play has expanded over the years into all kinds of various modes, but Prey Deathmatch is a really cool mix of old school deathmatch feel, as well as being more up to date with the gravity flipping and portals in the current technology.

It's all pretty darn cool. The first few times you play, if you play against someone else who knows the concepts introduced with Prey Deathmatch, they'll school your ass, as you're not used to looking in every direction for incoming fire generally. Back in the old days with Doom, ROTT, and the like you had just left and right to contend with. Quake introduced up and down to the mix, and it's pretty much stayed that way until now. While Quake allows for incoming fire to come from almost every direction, the base play remained the same, as you had to be "on" something - up and down were constants for the most part, despite the Z axis now being brought into play. Prey changes that with gravity flipping and wall walking. Quite frequently I play one of the levels with a bunch of wallwalks, and as I'm being shot, it's sometimes hard to tell where the shooting is coming from when the guy is above your head shooting straight up at you. It's quite interesting to be in a map looking straight up, and seeing another character doing the same thing to you - up and down are quite different concepts here, and seriously impact how you play deathmatch.

Portals also bring an interesting twist to the party. I was playing MultiPrey in one level, and kept shooting myself, but I didn't realize it at the time. You see, there was one bit where the level designer constructed the layout of the portals such that when you came out of one portal, you saw what you think is someone else going into another one. This being deathmatch, you shoot at everyting, so you fire at it - and it ends up being yourself! What's brilliant about this particular bit of level design is that you get to see just enough to let you know someone is there, but not enough to know who it is. So if you're heavy into deathmatch and aren't paying attention to what you're shooting at, you're likely to be shooting yourself. It's quite funny.

The maps that come in the Prey demo for deathmatch most definitely show off the cool wallwalking and gravity flipping aspects of Prey. There's a couple of screenshots below showing a few of these things from MultiPrey. Prepare for something new to the genre of good old fashioned deathmatch.


Some other things we've done at 3DR recently have been design issues like approving the box art. It might not seem like a lot - just put a picture up there, but there's a million small fiddly bits regarding box art, placement of logos, names, images, etc. I've been here a long time and have seen a lot of games come out, and box art design has always been an issue where the smallest most minute detail gets a lot of discussion.

The game manuals are also underway - there will be a print manual both with the PC & 360 versions. They all have to be read over many times for accuracy as well as other things again like placement of images, things of that nature.

One other section that has been tested a lot is the Triton delivery system. Sure, you can go to the store and buy a box, but you will also be able to buy the full game over Triton, and this needs testing. The last few beta builds we got at 3DR have come through Triton, which is kind of cool. What's nice about the Triton system is that you don't have to wait for the entire title to come down to play. After a certain percentage of the game has been downloaded, you are asked if you want to start playing right away. You can choose to start playing (depending on your download speed) after a short while, and the remainder of the game will be streamed to your computer in the background while you play.

We're also testing the Xbox 360 version, too. In previous updates, others have mentioned testing going on. At 3D Realms we get the builds from Venom in the UK - they get copied to the dev kit 360's, and away we go. While I personally haven't played it, I've watched others, and I have to say it looks as smooth as the PC games do - Venom has done a great job here. You can't really tell the difference, and the hitching that seems to plague Quake IV on the 360 is not in evidence here. It's a smooth title. Looks good and feels good on the 360.

Builds have been coming pretty frequently the last few weeks (in some instances multiples in one day), it ends up being a lot of work. Yeah, it is work at a game company. Yeah, it's fun, but when you're told "OK, you have to focus on such and such a level in this mode", and you want to play another level... Yeah - I know what you're thinking. Shut your whining, you work for a game company. You get to play games. :)


Venom has been crunching hardcore over the past few weeks to get the 360 version of Prey together. Some of the highlights they've done recently:

  • Tons and tons of bug fixes
  • Overall gameplay tweaks based upon feedback from HH and 3DR. Some creatures were designed for the fast movement of the mouse, so we had to rework some of the gameplay values for those creatures
  • Greatly improved texture resolution (there were some memory issues for a while, and as a test, Venom reduced the overall texture resolution on the game.) But, they found the memory issues, fixed them, and now have bumped the resolution back up higher.
  • Tweaks to the feel of the controls
  • A few tweaks to the default gamma/brightness
  • Tweaks to the autoaim system to make it fair and useful
  • Overall, they are kicking ass on the 360 version of Prey. Visually, it looks identical to the PC version.

Prey is close, my friends. You're gonna want to visit back in 20 days when the demo is released, and you can check out all this stuff on your own.

Until next week,
Joe Siegler - Webmaster
3D Realms (aka not Chris Rhinehart)

P.S. Just because he didn't think I'd actually post this, here's a picture of myself getting totally schooled by someone else up here. Check out this score. There, I did it Bryan - you happy now? :)







A couple of shots during loading from MultiPrey showing some of Wallwalks and gravity differences.


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:20 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 26, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #20

I'm writing this amidst the dust and piles of unopened boxes of our new offices. That's right, Human Head has moved offices -- not to a new city, just across town. We're still here in Madison, Wisconsin.

Why did we decide to move now? Well, there were these stalkers... no, just kidding. We decided to move office space about a year-and-a-half ago, because we wanted a larger space and a better layout for our workflow. That, and we were just getting sick of the old place and wanted a change. We tried to schedule the move until after Prey was complete, but due to various timing issues as the place was built, the move was eventually scheduled for this week.

Overall, it's going smoothly -- we packed everything on Monday, the movers moved everything on Tuesday, and then we started the process of unpacking. There's still a ton of stuff to do, but we finally have the server back up, and we all have internet access again.

Only a few annoying moments so far -- they didn't have the air conditioning up until late yesterday, so the movers had to move everything in the sweltering heat. Glad that none of them collapsed from heat exhaustion -- it was pretty rough.

Two nights ago it rained horribly -- turns out they hadn't completed everything with the roof yet so we were getting leaks in about seven places here in the office, including directly onto my desk. So now I'm typing this with a very large bucket sitting on my desk to catch anything should it rain again today.

Still, the new offices are considerably better. Our old space wasn't optimal, because it was divided in half (the reception area was in the center of the space, so the team was split up). Interestingly enough, we divided into artists/animators on one side and programmers/level designers on the other side. So, Human Head was unconsciously split into a right brain/left brain arrangement. Weird.

The new space has no more cubicles. We have decent-sized offices, in which we have 2-3 people per office. Sliding doors adjoin many of the offices to facilitate cross-discipline communication.

And, of course, there are the nice amenities such as a large breakroom, multiple conference rooms, showers, and a theater room (of which the inaugural movie we watched was BloodRayne.)

Once the space is finished and we're all moved in, I'll post up a bunch of pictures of the place.


Anyway, on to stuff about Prey: The move ate into our development time, of course, but we are doing our best to not let it sidetrack us too much.

Venom is cranking on 360 bugs and tweaks -- they fixed a couple of pretty heinous bugs relating to memory management, and they are working their way through their bug database, eliminating bugs or throwing them our way should the bug turn out to be in the PC version of the game as well.

We're also still working on the PC demo. Nearly everything is together for it, we're working on the intro and exit screens for the demo. Once we have everything together, all the text in the demo has to be sent out for translation, and the demo itself has to go through QA.

Venom will be working on the 360 demo, which should be pretty much identical to the PC version.

And, let me say, it's a pretty big demo. It's not exactly like the shareware days of old -- we aren't giving away a third of the game, but there's still a ton of content there. I estimate it should take the average person an hour or two to get through it.

I'm very much looking forward to everyone's reactions to the demo. Not that much longer now!

Anyway, I need to get back to unpacking and going through my mountain of email. Until next time, stay out of trouble!

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:22 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 22, 2006

Prey Wins Best FPS of E3 Award

Over the weekend, Voodoo Extreme handed out their best of E3 awards, and they gave Prey their "Best First-Person Shooter" award. Here's what they had to say about Prey:

If there was an award for "most fun playable game" at E3, Prey would get it. Since Prey happens to be a first person shooter I'm afraid we'll have to settle with that. What can I say? Prey is fun to play! The gameplay is polished to a high sheen and it makes me appreciate the finer points of deathmatch. Something I haven't enjoyed in quite a while.

You can check out all their awards over at VE3D here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:52 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 19, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #19

Well here we are. Update #19. Since E3 was last week, seems about right that I update on the big show.

Before that, though, I first want to extend a huge thanks for Jason Blair and Eli Quinn for writing excellent updates over the past two weeks.

As usual E3 went by very fast. Always feels like I never have enough time to see everything I want to see, talk to all the people I haven't seen in person in a while, and still spend a lot of time showing off the game.

Last year at E3 we showed a 12-minute video showcasing some of the new gameplay elements we've created in Prey. It mainly focused on the single-player. This year, we focused on the multiplayer, with systems set-up for people to actually play the game.

Prey was featured in four places at E3:

  • The 2K booth, of course, had eight-player PC multiplayer set-up, with a major tournament scheduled throughout the show (more on that later).
  • Creative had a very nice eight-player PC set-up as well. They were running tournaments and giving away t-shirts and other prizes to the champions of each round.
  • Logitech had a four-player PC set-up of the game in a good location where people could very easily stroll up and play the game. They also had an announcer there who publicly called the matches and taunted the player. It was also conveniently located close to the Sin girls, so I imagine that helped, too.
  • Lastly, Microsoft had a four-player Xbox360 set-up, where people could frag each other in the console version of the game.

We took along enough Human Head people so we could make the rounds and ensure that there was a Human Head employee at each of these four places at all times. Turned out, though, that each location did such a great job showcasing the game, that our job basically turned into a constant wander around from location to location just making sure that nothing was going wrong.

We did spend a lot of time at the 2K booth, helping people and showing them some of the less obvious features of multiplayer. As mentioned in previous updates, I was still impressed with how quickly people acclimated to the wallwalking and gravity changes in the game. No one puked on their keyboards, so that's a good sign!

Here's a brief rundown of each day:


Tuesday, May 9th:

Our flight left at the crazy early hour of 7:40. I didn't get any sleep the night before, so I literally slept the entire flight. Fell asleep when we took off, woke up when we landed. I tell you, it's like a portal opened up in front of the plane.

When we arrived, we first had a panicked call from 2K asking when we were showing up, as the machine needed to be tested. We headed straight to the convention center to start setting up the game.

Of course, something went wrong right away. The map cycle script wasn't working. In fact, it appeared to not be included in the build at all! A bit more investigation and I realized that we had brought along the wrong build. See, we generated two builds for E3, the recent one and one from a week before (as a backup stability build in case there was anything wrong with the newest one). We brought along that older build, but neglected to grab the newest one. Oops.

No big deal. 2K had internet access so we quickly snagged the proper build and installed that instead. Problem solved.

We tested all the machines, dealt with minor issues with drivers, plasma tv setups, etc. All was in working order.

That night we had a great dinner at Fogo de Chao, then had a few drinks at the hotel bar before crashing.


Wednesday, May 10th:

Morning came way too fast. I still think I was sleep deprived from the lack of sleep the night before. Oh well.

We arrived at the show a bit late, so had to scramble a bit to set-up on all the various places throughout the show. But, we made it about on time as journalists started to pour into the convention center.

The first day was mainly us walking around and watching for any crashes or freezes or anything. No major problems, other than a few issues over at Creative, which we fixed by tweaking a few things in the audio settings.

The first day of the show is always more chaotic than the others. People are getting into the groove of explaining stuff about the game, kinks are worked out in the setups, and so forth. Overall, it went really well, though. The dedicated servers ran all day without any problems.

At 5 PM, James Sumwalt (co-owner of Human Head) and I were scheduled to be featured on G4's E3 special, showing off Prey on the 360.

We had to arrive at the G4 location around 1:30 for a tech check. Glad we did. See, Prey is a mature rated game, so there is a bit of swearing in there. There's a profanity filter in the PC version, but not in the 360 version we had with us, so we had to tech check the swearing for approval. Some of it was okayed, but a few lines were not approved.

Unfortunately, we had no control over some of the line (as they are randomly played when the player is damaged). So, to fix this, G4 had us on a seven second delay so they could bleep out any swearing that inadvertently gets into the broadcast.

If you've seen it, you know they didn't have to bleep us. Still, damn cool that they had to delay us just in case. :-)

At the end of the show, we removed the game from all the various machines at 2K, Logitech, and Creative, just as an additional step of security. This would mean that we would have to reinstall the game again the next day, but luckily the show didn't start until an hour later on Thursday.

Wednesday night, we had a fantastic dinner with some friends at Katana in Hollywood. Many good stories were told, many good drinks consumed. I'm not a tequila fan, but one of the shots we did was absolutely fantastic.

Didn't get to bed until late.


Thursday, May 11th:

Again, morning came way too fast. Seems that's another staple of E3: Not quite getting enough sleep.

This time, we got to the show very late -- turned out that we thought the show didn't start until an hour later than we originally thought. So, again it was a scramble to get everything set up on each machine. We got things done roughly on time, though.

Thursday was very similar to Wednesday, walking around, making sure that everything was in order. Again, the dedicated servers were totally solid, and no major problems occurred.

That night went to dinner with Scott Miller and few people he knows. It was an odd dinner -- the place was way too loud, and it was hard to hear people even sitting right next to me. Note to self: In the future for dinners like this, we definitely need a private room.

Thursday night, ended up hanging at the hotel bar again. And, once again, didn't get to sleep until late.


Friday, May 12th:

I was starting to get used to waking up without enough sleep.

Friday was the day of the big finale to the 2K tournament (the grand prize was a $5000 Prey-skinned VoodooPC decked out with tons of great shit).

The tournament was fantastic -- the final game came down to the wire. The top two players had 25 kills to 24 kills. Literally at the last second, right before the scoreboard pops up, there was the loud splat of the Acid Sprayer. On the final scoreboard: 25 to 25.

There was a stunned pause then the crowd erupted in cheers. It was a tie! So the top two guys would have to face-off against each other. Unfortunately, the maps we brought along were all designed for 6-8 players, so they would have been rather empty for just 1-v-1.

As a compromise, we threw in two Human Head people (James and me), and Luna from 2K. After a harrowing battle, one of the guys emerged victorious to win the Prey PC.

How did we do? Yeah, I came in dead last. Embarrassing, but these guys were damn good at the game. I was impressed!

After the tournament, there were a few on-camera interviews with various magazines, and then the show was over. We did our final install of the game, ensured that we had all the CDs with us (wouldn't want that getting out!), and left the convention center.


Overall, the show went very well for us. The feedback I received in person and online has been extremely positive. Plus, we've received two nominations and an award thus far:

That about wraps up the details of the E3 trip. It was tiring, but very much worth it.

So, until next week. Stay out of trouble.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios

P.S. Oh, and here are a few pictures taken during the actual trip!





Tuesday: Setting up the game in the 2K Prey booth.





Standing under the giant Prey display. This is on Friday, near the end of the show (can you tell we look tired?). The people are, left-to-right:

Chris Rhinehart (Project Lead), Tim Gerritsen, (co-founder & CEO), Nick Taylor (Animator), Jason O'Connell (Level Designer and LevelMaster), James Sumwalt, (co-founder and Senior Artist)



Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:33 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 19, 2006

Prey for June 22nd!

June 22nd is a date that an awful lot of gamers will be waiting for. On that day, the Prey Demo will be released.

Available that day on the PC as well as in the Xbox Live Marketplace will be a 5 level demo containing both single player and multiplayer modes of the game. The size of the demo, which levels, what time it is to be released has yet to be determined, but June 22nd is Prey Day - you're going to want to keep an eye out for that!

Don't forget about the Prey Pre-Order Program which is ongoing - you can get further details about that on our Pre-Order Page here. Finally, here's a few more resources for Prey news on our site:

Mark your calendars for June 22nd, 2006.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:40 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 18, 2006

Prey Wins Best Shooter of E3 from Gametap

Well, the annual sensory overload in Los Angeles known as E3 is over. Now come all the game websites giving out their awards for best of show in various categories. Today we bring you the news that Prey has won in the "Best Shooter" category from Gametap. Here's some of the text from the press release:

LOS ANGELES - (May 18, 2006) - GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.) today announced the winners of its first annual "E3 2006 GameTap Picks" awards. While scouring the vast Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) show floor at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 10th - May 12th, GameTap created its nominee list. And now, after careful deliberation, GameTap editors have selected the best of the best in 20 categories.

Some of the other categories they listed were Best Simulation Game (Spore), Best Sports (Wii Sports), Best Action Game (Assassin's Creed), Best Platform Game (Super Mario Galaxy), and even Best Swag!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:17 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 18, 2006

New Prey Ad in Magazines

There's a cool new Prey advertisement now hitting magazines, and we thought we'd bring you a peek at it. This ad is currently running in the July 2006 edition of PC Gamer, but should be turning up elsewhere soon. There's some cool copy in the advertisement, here's some of it:

  • "Imagine a place where gravity isn't always down! it can be controlled, twisted, flipped, and even wrap around small planetoids. Imagine walking on walls and ceilings. Can you handle this new challenge?"
  • "Multiple gameplay innovations from the developer that brought you Bullet-time, including Deathwalk (dying is no longer annoying, it's fun) and Spirit Walk (leave your body to explore, ambush, and solve mind bending puzzles)."
  • "Portals change everything. Experience for the first time the reality bending effects of a portal world. Prey sets a new standard that will completely mess with your mind."
  • "Living Weapons, a faithful sidekick, vehicles, giant environments, jaw-dropping memorable moments, a story of redemption and destiny, and a 3-hour epic soundtrack by Jeremy Soule (Oblivion, Guild Wars). The FPS of the year is coming."

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:10 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 16, 2006

Prey Booth at E3

While 3D Realms as a company did not attend E3 2006, Scott Miller did go. Likewise some of the guys from Human Head went to E3, as well as some other folks connected with Prey. Jeron Moore, who is Prey's music producer was there, and sent along a few pictures of the Prey booth in the 2K area at E3. You can check 'em out in our photo gallery here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:45 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 16, 2006

Vote for Prey

A quick story. Voodoo Extreme is currently running a poll asking folks what they thought the "Best of Show 06" was. Head on over there and vote for Prey!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:42 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 12, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #18

Hi everyone, welcome to another Prey Weekly Update. I'll have you know that this is not Project Lead Chris Rhinehart speaking (or typing) to you right now, he is currently a bit swamped at E3 showing off the madness and mayhem of Prey. This here's Eli Quinn, I am an artist at Human Head Studios. I worked mainly on the environmental textures in the game, along with various skins, GUI's, etcetera.

The art tasks for Prey are pretty much wrapped up so the art staff is focused on playtesting right now. We have a number of XBox 360 development kits in the office so we're banging on Venom's version of the game. It looks and sounds great. Although I'm a PC gamer at heart it is a refreshing change. Speaking of the PC version, we are certainly still tearing into it as well. With a portion of our staff gone at E3, Prey Art Lead Rowan Atalla has taken on the not-so-glamorous burden of compiling the list of bugs and fixes. I'm sure that his nigh-legendary coffee intake has only increased in light of that!

The single-player version of Prey has truly come together. I've worked on the game ever since 3D Realms decided to relaunch it with us as the development team in 2001, which feels like roughly a billion years ago. The learning curve with the Doom3 engine was pretty fierce for all departments. You see, back then us texture artists had to paint all the highlights and shading onto one layer, like a photograph. We had to walk twelve miles to school in a blizzard and it was uphill both ways. We had dirt for breakfast. Lead paint scrapings for lunch.

Where was I? Oh yeah...

All of a sudden this new technology came along and we were able to model normal maps and paint diffuse, specular and height maps. Needless to say, it took a while to perfect the look we wanted. It was both intriguing and frustrating much of the time but all that toil has certainly paid off.

Multiplayer Prey (or MultiPrey, as it has been so coyly coined) is one hell of a good time. I can't say I'm the greatest at it compared to others on the team but I still have fun. I don't really sweat when I'm sitting still but I've found that after a good deathmatch round I am covered with a sparkling sheen, like a nerdy James Brown. It's intense, man! A really fun trick that I haven't mastered yet is to hide your body and spirit walk out to the battle, you can't be harmed by a physical body in that mode so you can essentially chase everybody around. Until someone finds your body of course, then you get violently pulled back into the physical realm and you're probably toast. I look forward to getting my ass handed to me by all you deathmatch experts out there once the game is released! Or "pwned" or whatever the hell you kids say these days. Learn to speak English! Pull up your pants! Put that visor right-side-up and turn it around! Pardon me, I have misplaced my cane...

Congratulations are in order for Human Head Concept Artist/Level Designer Ashley Welch, whose dazzling rendition of the sphere in Prey was chosen for the "Into The Pixel" show at E3 this year. What is that, you say? Well, from their site, "Into the Pixel is a juried exhibition of the art of the video game, curated by experts from world-renowned art museums, cutting edge galleries and interactive industry veterans." You can read about it and see Ash's art at this site: http://www.intothepixel.com/view-art.php?year=2006

Well, that's about all the rambling I am capable of. I'm not a writer really, I just draw the purty pitchers. Chris will be back next week to fill everyone in on the happenings at E3. So far it sounds like the reception is amazing so he should have some good news for us.

Take it easy y'all, I'll see you on the Prey Forums where I can rid myself of this dastardly punctuation.

Eli Quinn
Texture Artist
Human Head Studios
(still not Chris Rhinehart)


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:44 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 10, 2006

E3 2006 Prey Trailer

If you have an Xbox 360, you should go to it right now. In the Xbox Live Marketplace is a new Prey Trailer. It is under the name of "E3 06: Prey Trailer". This is a new trailer, not having been seen anywhere else. Once we get more information on availability of said trailer outside of the Xbox 360 Marketplace, we'll have more information on that.

But for now, head to your Xbox 360 and download this new E3 trailer. This is part of Microsoft's "Xbox Live: E3 Bringing it Home" program. They have tons of other trailers avialable now on your 360 besides Prey. But you should go download the Prey trailer first. :)

The trailer offers these quotes about the game..

  • "Doom 3 hiked the bar.. Prey may transform the bar altogether." - 1up.com
  • "Prey looks like one of the best first person shooters of the year." - IGN

UPDATE MAY 12: The video is starting to show up elsewhere on the net after originally being on the Xbox Live 360 Marketplate. Here's some links you can grab it from. Unfortunately, most of the people who would post this on their sites are at E3, and aren't as quick to respond to video requests at the moment. :)

UPDATE MAY 13: You can now view the video streaming on our site through Google Video below.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:26 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 9, 2006

Prey Soundtrack Released

DirectSong, the world's first official game music expansion service offers a musical experience you won't forget! Spanning across two full volumes, Jeremy Soule's monumental score from 3D Realms' and Human Head Studios' Prey is now available. Long awaited and highly anticipated, Prey sets the stage for the ultimate gaming experience. With Prey, DirectSong's British Academy Award-winning team explode out of the Fantasy genre and into the world of Sci-Fi Action-Adventure. The game's beautifully developed orchestral score turns FPS conventions upside down - the likes of which you'll only find in Hollywood's biggest blockbuster hits!

DirectSong is proud to present the Prey original soundtracks at a sample rate of 320kbps. This is in response to an overwhelming demand by fans for the highest possible fidelity delivery of Jeremy Soule's symphonic scores. This exceeds the sample rate found at iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster ensuring an unparalleled listening experience!

Scott Miller of 3D Realms has this to say about the soundtrack.. "The three-hours of original scoring in Prey elevates it to a Hollywood blockbuster level. I couldn't be happier with the final result, as Prey has become a far more enriched, emotional experienced from start to finish. We will definitely be working with DirectSong in the future."

You can get your copy of the Soundtrack right now, by heading over to the DirectSong website.

Jeron Moore, who was the producer of the material, chimed in on our forums with some details about the soundtrack and it's production. You can view that post here, where he talks about various aspects of the soundtrack's release. Here's a quote from Jeron talking about the music:

Personally, I think the music in Prey eclipses all music to-date in the FPS genre. In fact, the classification "First Person Shooter" does Prey no favors. Prey is a First Class, Cinematic First Person-Action Game. Those who decide to take the leap and explore the music of the game in its full glory will experience this impression first hand.

And as an added bonus, we have some images for you - they're small versions of CD art for the two Prey soundtrack CD's on DirectSong. When you buy these CD's, you will receive a pdf with higher quality images from DirectSong pre-formatted for you to print the art and create a CD insert.


Prey Soundtrack Volume #1:


Prey Soundtrack Volume #2:



Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:06 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 6, 2006

Prey "Portals and Gravity Flipping" Video Trailer Released

Available now on IGN is the second "Countdown to Release" Gameplay trailer. This new trailer (dated 05/05) is a new trailer which is being released as part of the "Prey Countdown to Release" video series. This new video totals 2:30 in length, and is has plenty of gameplay footage, focusing this time on 'portals & gravity flipping'.

Of course, if you don't want any of this spoiled for you; wanting to experience the gameplay for yourself when you buy the game, then you'll want to skip this video.

UPDATE SAT MAY 6: This file is now available at other sites besides IGN. Links:

Posted by Joe Siegler at 7:45 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 5, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #17

I'm not Chris Rhinehart. That's my usual greeting when meeting people, not just the opening of this weekly update. I just like to make sure there's no confusion. My name is Jason L Blair, though, and I'm the Director of the Adventure Game Division here at Human Head Studios.

Chris asked me to write this weekly update because, as you can imagine, everyone here is going through a hardcore crunch right now--not only with finishing the game, but preparing for next week's computer and video game extravaganza, E3.

Prey will have a strong presence at this year's E3. It will be shown not only at 2K Games' booth but Creative Labs' and Microsoft's booth as well. All three spots are amazing traffic centers and I'm confident folks will be blown away by what they see.

Both the PC and Xbox 360 versions will be shown at E3. A MultiPrey tournament will be going, showing off Prey's mind-bending Death Match experience. As you're reading this, you are probably fully aware that Prey plays hell with gravity, wall-walking, and even allowing your spirit to leave your body during game play. Not only is that an amazing part of the single-player game but it opens up entirely new dimensions in MultiPrey. You'll have enemies coming at you in true three-dimensional space. The potential to frag and be fragged by people behind you, in front of you, above you, and underneath you cranks up the tension and anxiety that make Death Matches so much fun. And be sure you stash your body someplace safe if you decide to let your spirit roam.

The Xbox 360s that will be running the game will also be sporting a snazzy Prey faceplate, made exclusively for the show. There is a picture of what this faceplate looks like at the bottom of the update. Future public availaibility of this item has yet to be determined (in other words, we don't know if you can buy them or not), so there's your answer before you ask it. :)

If you're a person who is not going to E3, like me *ahem*, you needn't worry about missing out. Prey will be receiving full coverage by the major video game news outlets and I'm sure Chris will be back next week with a full summary of everything that happened.

As part of finalizing Prey, we've had some beta testers from 2K Games in the office the past six weeks. This is an official shout-out to Larry and Darren who did phenomenal jobs in working first-hand with the development staff to knock bugs out of the game. While, yes, this made more work for the poor developers, it also helps make Prey that much more of a great gaming experience.

My main job is creating and overseeing the development of board, card, and roleplaying games for Human Head, and I am a writer at heart - that's my passion - so I felt very fortunate to be brought in on some of the writing of Prey. With a script already in hand, the task of the in-house team was to focus on bringing together the artistic "big vision" of Prey's story with the technical realities of creating the game.

The core story of Prey is a classic hero's tale so the work that needed to be done was punching up the dialogue and making Tommy's transition from reluctant hero to possible savior smooth, gripping, and dramatic. Tommy is a guy with a lot on his plate and, working with the original script, the in-house team was able to fully meld the narrative with the game aspect of Prey.

Of course, Prey is also a love story and it is Tommy's love for Jen that propels him into the world of Prey and, once in, even more starts to unfold as he encounters obstacle after obstacle and even becomes embroiled in another, overarching plot that truly puts the weight of the world on Tommy's shoulders.

As a gamer and a writer, I find Prey fully satisfying. Folks may think I'm biased but this isn't my game. This is just a game I was fortunate enough to assist with - from helping with dialogue, to writing ad copy, to writing the manual. But the game play experience is what I'm talking about here, and Prey delivers. I'm excited to read and hear the reactions from E3 and, later, from gamers and reviewers who get a chance to play the final game.

This is going to be an exciting time for Prey, from E3 on through gold, now is the time where Prey truly gets to shine. I can't wait for you guys to see it.

I'd be remiss not to talk about what I do here at Human Head. As stated above, I'm the Adventure Games Director and it's my job to produce our company's traditional games. This spans from the latest entry in our GOTHICA line of horror-themed board games, released last year, to VILLAINY - The Supervillainous Card Game, coming in July, to our upcoming pen-and-paper roleplaying game, NORMAL, TEXAS. You can read more about what I do at http://www.humanheadgames.com.

So, that's the update; the outside-insider's view of Prey. Thanks to Chris for asking me to write this and thanks to me for giving Chris this update off to get back to the grind.

Thanks to you for reading. Chris will be back next week, exhausted from all the debauchery at E3. If he doesn't have pictures, I'll kick him for you.

Jason L Blair
Adventure Games Director
Human Head Studios
(aka Not Chris Rhinehart)





The Xbox 360 Prey Faceplate created exclusively for E3 2006


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 6:41 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 4, 2006

Prey goes Into the Pixel

Some of the art from Prey has been chosen as a winner in the "Into the Pixel" exhibition to be shown at the E3 show in Los Angeles next week (May 10-12). What is Into the Pixel? Well, from their own site..

Into the Pixel is a juried exhibition of the art of the video game, curated by experts from world-renowned art museums, cutting edge galleries and interactive industry veterans. Now in its third year, Into the Pixel is videogame artists' one annual opportunity to receive recognition for their creative achievements by peers in both the digital and fine art worlds.

If you are attending E3, you will be able to see the artwork in the Los Angeles Convention Center Concourse Foyer.

Back on April 27th, a ceremony was held, in which the pieces of art for the E3 exhibition were selected. Being selected for this exhibition is prestigious, as it allows an artist to get their name out there and have people see the artwork in a different kind of format than they normally would (inside the game). Ashley Welch from Human Head Studios was selected for a piece called "The Sphere".

You can check out all the winners (which include art from such other games as Metal Gear Solid 3, Turok, The Godfather Game, Guildwars, as well as Ashley's entry for Prey. You can also download a hi-res version of the Sphere artwork for yourself there.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:38 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 4, 2006

The Music of Prey

A lot has been made of the atmosphere and environments of Prey. A large part of that atmosphere is the music in the game, and we're here to draw your attention to a great article published last night over at IGN. This is an article by Jeremy Soule entitled "The Music of Prey". In this article, Jeremy talks about writing the music, and how he feels it adds so much to the overall game experience.

If that wasn't enough, the entire six minute Prey Overture as well as a full song from the Prey Soundtrack are also available over at IGN. The song is "Take Me Home" by the band "After Midnight Project".

This is a great read which will give you some insight into a part of game design that you might not otherwise be aware of. Definitely go check it out over at IGN today! But before you do that, here's a few quotes from the article:

Much like in Half Life 2, there are scripted and epic events in Prey. The game is just loaded with content. Tommy (the main character) has a very simple objective but his struggle is very complex. The landscape shifts, the storyline makes hidden twists and turns. Music was needed to help make sense of everything because of the emotional impact of the game's visuals and story.

There's just something about having the senses be fully embraced when you're playing a game. After all, our brains want stimulation and we will often logically pay good money to have a great gaming experience. Music is just one component but it's an often overlooked and very important part of a game's experience.

People want a whole experience, not just a fancy rendering engine and a $50 price tag. As the bar continues to be raised, the main questions in game development will be more directly connected to entertainment value ideals rather than obscure mathematical achievements.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:08 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


May 1, 2006

New Prey Gameplay Trailer Released

Available now on Gamespot is a new Prey trailer which is being released as part of the "Prey Countdown to Release" video series. This new video totals 3:23 in length, and is teeming with gameplay footage. Of course, if you don't want to see that, and want to experience the gameplay for yourself when you buy the game, then you'll want to skip this.

But it does look cool - and it sounds.. awww you don't want to listen to me. Go to Gamespot and check out the video. It is listed on their page as the "Official Prey Trailer #3". If you're a Gamespot Complete member, you can download a 133Mb HD version of the video, too! If you're not a member, you can still check out and download the video. Go! ;)

UPDATE MONDAY MAY 1: Here are some more links where you can download the video. If you are a gaming website and wish to be on this list, please [email protected]. Thanks. These links are all the 130Mb Super High Quality version unless otherwise specified.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:00 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 28, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #16

Hey all,

Welcome to the 16th edition of the Prey Weekly Update. Today, we're covering many of those great Ask Prey questions that people send to us. A huge thanks to everyone for writing in with your questions. A few things to mention first:

  • We received our shipment of the pewter figurines that will be included in the collector's edition of Prey. They're pretty kick-ass little figurines. Very nicely detailed. They look great sitting on my desk :)
  • We're gearing up for E3. It's coming at a really weird time, though, as we're deep in crunch. On a positive note, there isn't a special E3 crunch going on like last year. This year, it's as easy as making a special copy of the game to take along for demoing.
  • We're planning on releasing regular videos of Prey, as we count down to release. The videos will be anywhere from a minute to three minutes long, each showing off some cool sections of gameplay. The first one (which was released an hour ago) showcases a number of things, including wallwalking, portals and planetoid gravity. You definitely have to check it out.
  • Hey, VoodooExtreme has had a Prey poll going on this whole week. Quick swing over there and vote!

Anyway, on to the questions:


Question:

Hi, may you can tell us what inside the collectors edition?

Thanks,
Markus Beier (Germany)
PS.: good luck - for a fast release!!!

Answer From Chris:

Hi Markus,

It just so happens we announced the contents of the collectors edition yesterday. The quick version is that the collectors edition is in a kick-ass metal box, comes on DVD, contains two pewter figurines (Tommy and the Hunter) and also had an "Art of Prey" book which contains some of the concept art from the game.

Check out http://www.3drealms.com/prey/preorder.html for more details and the longer version. :)


Question:

just wanted to ask the simple question:

Do dead bodies stay forever in the level or does they soon disappear? Is there a Cheat Code or can i modify a file to let them stay on ground forever?

Thank you very much!

Greetings from Germany!
Roman Masic

Answe From Chris:

This is something we experimented with for a while throughout Prey's development. We originally wanted the bodies to stay around forever, but realized that we would run into framerate issues (especially in combat heavy areas where the player is assaulted by waves of enemies).

In the early parts of the game, the bodies stay around forever. In later level (after the player has obtained the ability to SpiritWalk) the body will dissolve after the player retrieves the creature's lifeforce.

Amusing story about this -- a couple of years ago, a few of us were having an impromptu design meeting over dinner. Just discussing the game and some lingering issues that hadn't been resolved. One of them was the body dissolving. We knew we needed it, but we wanted a rational explanation for it.

We came up with all sorts of ideas, things like: alien tentacles that came up from the ground and sucked the body down, little creatures that would scurry out and consume the bodies, dark spirits that would come out and pull the body away (much like the unfortunate end of the bad guy Carl in the movie Ghost). But, all of those ideas had reasons why we couldn't use them (plus, I really wanted something that could be easily explained).

Someone suggested simply dissolving the body -- but only when the spirit was picked up. Simple, elegant, and easily done. Forgetting that we were in a crowded restaurant, I loudly exclaimed "Finally, a way to get rid of the bodies!" Which of course, caused the neighboring tables to give us some pretty freaky looks. :)

Such is the world of game development.


Question:

Dear Madam/Sir,

I have quick question regarding spirit-walking in Prey. I havent been able to find much information on it, but can spirit-walking be done anywhere in the game (like in Soul Reaver for example when you shift to the spectral realm) or can it only be done in specific places?

I hope you get time to answer my question, and I look forward to finally (!) getting to play this game. I remember reading the cover feature of it on an old Ultra Game Players mag in 1997!

And I'm still looking forward to it.

Regards,
Patrick.

Answer From Chris:

Hi Patrick,

SpiritWalking is one of the key features of the game -- so you can do it anywhere you want (well, after you've actually obtained the ability to SpiritWalk, of course).

We experimented with a lot of different ideas for the SpiritWalk mechanic, but finally ended at making it something the player can do all the time for as long as they want. There's no time limit to SpiritWalking, as there are some puzzles you have to solve while only in Spirit mode. It was confusing and frustrating for testers to be almost about to solve a puzzle when the time runs out and they are kicked back to their body.

Because of this, it sets up an interesting mechanic, where you can explore for quite a distance in Spirit mode I've seen some testers go into Spirit mode before every single room of the game. They drop their body in a safe location, and scout ahead -- trying to dispatch any enemies they encounter using the Cherokee Bow.

This doesn't mean that you can just run thorough the whole game in Spirit, though. The player is limited in other ways -- doors won't open for Spirit players (because the proximity detection for opening doors is based upon the proximity of a living entity).

Similarly, the Cherokee Bow is limited -- the Bow is only available if the player has Spirit power (obtained from the lifeforces of fallen enemies). Spirit power is depleted by using the Bow, or by taking damage from enemies.


Question:

Christopher Wilson writes:

Will Prey be able to make full use of the Creative SoundBlasterX-Fi? I mean, will it be able to utilise both the on-board RAM and EAX 5?

Answer From Chris:

Hi Christopher,

Yes, definitely. We support the X-Fi through OpenAL, so we have pretty cool EAX support in the game. Interestingly enough, Liam Byrne from Creative Labs is here at Human Head today, working with us on level-specific EAX implementation issues.


Question:

Hey,
Is there going to be a pre-release demo of Prey? If so, when will it be released?

Thanks,
Meharry

Answer From Chris:

Hi Meharry,

There will definitely be a demo for Prey. The timing of it has yet to be fully determined, as it may be shortly before the game is released or it might be shortly after. Regardless, it will definitely be around the time the game is released.

I've never understood the idea of releasing a demo so much later than the game -- by that I mean like two months later. Seems that you should get the demo out at least around the time that the game comes out. I can understand that a lot of people might be on the fence about a given game, and a kick-ass demo might be just the thing to convince them to buy that game.

That said, as a developer I can understand how difficult it is to try to create a demo at the same time that you are crunching to finish the game in the first place.


Question:

Hi again

Thanks for answering my questions.

I got a bit old PC, like over 3 years old: 2000+ cpu, 512 mb ram and a geforce ti 4200 128 mb ram graphic card. I've played DOOM 3 to the end with this PC, so I'm hoping that I can play Prey on it too.

I'll admit that I did experience some lag with DOOM 3, but I managed it anyways.

So my question is: Will Prey run on my pc ?

I'm thinking about buying more ram and a better graphic card. As a real 3D Realms fan, I don't care that much for the graphics, as long as the game has some cool gameplay. And it sure sounds like Prey has some fun gameplay!

Keep up the good work.

Kreg

uhm...yeah...hoping to see duke on E3 or a trailer of duke nukem forever on the Prey dvd.

Answer From Chris:

Hey Kreg,

Your PC should be able to handle the game, although parts of it are getting outdated. If Doom 3 was a bit laggy on your system, then Prey will be even more so. Our system requirements are higher than Doom 3's were.

What you identified there are too good places to target: More RAM is always a good thing, and getting a better video card will definitely help, too.

I certainly hope you like the gameplay in Prey. We've spent a lot of time developing it, and tuning it to be unique and fun. But, you'll have to be the final judge of that yourself!

DNF at E3: Not this year -- 3DR wants to concentrate on hyping Prey at this point.


Question:

Hi.

I'm webmaster from czech web site about pc games and I made game section Prey. I like your game very match, becouse has someting different, then other. I have a few questions to next weekly update.

Quaestions:

- You said. We can meet creatures, who won't be always enemys and helps us in game. How it will be make? How we can recognize on the first meet up who is enemy and who isnt(?

- Doom 3 was disapproved to small arenas in Multipaer Maps with small variability to play and have a fun. In Quake 4 it was be better, but not incomplete. You promise fights in arenas with changing gravitation and teleports. But, do you thing about Quake 3 Arena(Q3A)? It is steel one of the best multiplayer game, and fans stay playing Q3A although Qauke 4 more modern and have newes technical processing. Are you shure, you will not do same mistake?

- When do you publish official hardware requirements?

- How long will game takes in hours for a play?

- When do you make new screenshots for fans? Because there are only few places of whole game which we can in screens saw.

- And last qauestion. Are you preparing some mapeditor, or modding material for community?

Thaks you for answers.

Vokr

Answer From Chris:

Hi Vokr,

Whoa...quite a few questions here. Let's see if I can answer all these decently:

- Friendly characters in the game: We haven't really been talking about these friendly NPCs, primarily because we don't want to give away too much of the story. Suffice it to say that you will most definitely know which characters are friendly or not. Mainly because the friendly characters actually help you through the game. :)

- Prey's Multiplayer: I'm a huge fan of Q3A's MP. That was damn fun and highly polished and balanced. It still has some of my all-time favorite MP maps. I can understand why it is still the favorite of so many people out there.

But, we didn't try to model Prey's MP after Q3A, so you really can't compare them. They're both DM and Team DM based, but they definitely have a different feel to them while playing. We've taken all of the single-player core elements and carried them over to MP: SpiritWalk, WallWalk, Gravity Flipping, Portals, etc. All of these show up in DM, so it really gives the game a different feel and gives us a lot of opportunities for unique situations.

- Hardware requirements: We'll be putting this out very soon. Up until now we've essentially said that if you can run Doom 3 or Quake 4 decently, you should be able to run Prey. Our requirements are slightly higher than theirs. Of course, you could also get the 360 version (which is running very smoothly -- Venom is doing a kick-ass job).

- Gameplay hours? Depends upon the player. I think the average player will be in the 12-15 hour range. Some people who crank through the game will get through in less than that. Other people who really take their time will go over that.

- Screenshots: Man, we have something much cooler coming -- we're planning to release regular gameplay videos of Prey. So many things in the game just have to be seen in motion. A single screenshot just doesn't convey the experience of walking around on a mini-asteroid while sniping enemies.

- Map editor/mod stuff: Yes, absolutely. We plan to release all of our tools with the PC version of the game. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what people do with portals and gravity. There'll be some pretty wild mods out there!


Question:

Hey Chris,

First time writer, long time reader (sorry had to write that hah). Just a quick question.. when you guys first started Prey in late 2001 did you expect the end result (or near end result of course) to look like what Prey currently looks like now? Are there things that you guys have had to drop because current tech wouldn't allow?

If so any that you can mention?

Regards,
ADM

Answer From Chris:

Hey ADM,

Great question. The game looks better and plays better than we originally conceived. There was a long learning curve to the tech, and a lot of experimenting. In fact, I recently looked at a build of the game from late 2002. It's remarkable how much it has changed (maybe someday we'll release some screenshots from that old version for a laugh).

As far as things that were cut along the way -- many of the ideas cut were due to overreaching and inappropriate planning. We tried to do too much too soon right away (the original plan called for some 40 levels or so). We quickly realized that was way too much for the scope of this game.

One of the big things we dropped that I really wished could have been in the game is multiplayer co-op. The original design called for it -- and in fact, we have most of the puzzles and battles planned around what would happen with multiple players in them. But, there were some tech issues we ran into -- issues that would have required some significant changes to the code. At that point, we decided to shelve co-op in favor of putting our resources towards making stronger single-player and competitive multiplayer experiences.


Question:

Shival Sheran Sooknanan writes:

Really excited about the game, but is there going to be a "making of" video documentary as an unlocakbale or feature??

Answer From Chris:

Great question -- but, no, there will not be a making of video included in the game. There will be the "Art of Prey" book included in the collectors edition, though.


Question:

Alexander writes:

Since Prey has lot's of dialogs and oneliners, will there be an option to turn on english subtitles? To lighten the understanding of the speech itself for non-english speaking gamers.

Answer From Chris:

Yes, there definitely will be this ability. The game doesn't actually have foreign language voices, it's always English, but with the option for subtitles for each language. And, of course, English subtitles will be available.

On a similar note, one of the people who tested the game for us is deaf, so we received some invaluable feedback from him on the subtitles about ways to make them less confusing for someone who is deaf or who doesn't speak English.


Question:

Adam Konrad writes:

Can you tell us a little more about the multiplayer component? How many player models will the game contain? Is there an autodownload (from http or game server) and punkbuster support? What about server scripts and configuration? Do you plan to make some guide for these things?

Answer From Chris:

This answer is actually from Rich Whitehouse, network programmer on Prey:

We have a total of 13 multiplayer models to choose from. We have retained the autodownload functionality from Doom 3, which allows downloading via HTTP and directly from the game server. We've also worked with Even Balance in getting PunkBuster fully integrated, and it will be right there and ready out-of-the-box. As for scripts and configuration, we still have the custom map cycle script (among other things), so all of those surprisingly robust things that were in Doom 3 will be ready for tinkering. :) Generally, Doom 3 and Quake 4 server guides will answer all of your questions about setting up a Prey server, but we'll certainly be making sure we get info out there on anything that is Prey-specific.


Again, a huge thanks to everyone who wrote in with questions. I very much enjoy reading these and talking to people interested Prey. It so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day issues with game development, so it's nice to be reminded what this is all about: You, the game player.

Next week, we'll have something new and interesting, I'm sure. Scott Miller had a few ideas for a weekly update, so we'll see if next week is a good time to unveil those.

Make sure you watch GameSpot tonight, too! :)

Until then, stay out of trouble....

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:17 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 28, 2006

Prey Pewter Figure Update

The pre-order page has been updated with versions of the pewter figures that were taken at 3DR HQ today. These are the actual figures you'll receive when you buy the game. The ones that appeared in the 2K press release last night were some sort of prototype figure. The telltale sign is the 2K pictures have no "base" on them - pewter figures always have a base. Anyway, check out the Prey Pre-Order page for larger versions of the images below.


Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:47 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 28, 2006

Prey Pre-Order Details Released

Early on Friday morning, 2K Games issued a press release with all the details on how to pre-order Prey and what will be included in the Limited Collector's Edition version. Here's a summary:

Prey will come in both a standard and "Limited Collector's Edition" version for both the PC & Xbox 360. If you pre-order any version, you'll get the Mutate pewter figure. If you pre-order the LCE edition, you'll get a lot more stuff - full details are in the press release. The PC LCE version will be DVD only. The standard PC version will be CD.

The full press release, including details of what is in the Collector's Edition Package is available online right here. We will have some good pictures of all three figurines (Mutate, Tommy & Hunter) at some point on Friday afternoon the 28th.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:00 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 24, 2006

Prey "Super Trailer" High Quality Video File Released

Following up on Friday evening's news, we're here to bring you a high quality downloadable video file of the new "Prey Super Trailer" by Jeron Moore. This is a 40 Meg Quicktime 7 (H.264) high quality file that Jeron sent us over the weekend.

Here's a list of places where you can get the file from, which we'll be updating during the day as more links come in. If you're a gaming news site and have a link for folks to download the file, please email us and we'll get you added to the list.

In addition, make sure to check out IGN.com, where they also have a story by Jeron Moore on the making of the video, which you're sure to find interesting as well.

UPDATE @ 8:45PM: Now that the file is available on Google Video, it can be streamed via a web browser. You can click play on the Google Video player below to watch the video direct on this website, and then you can download the file above for a greater quality video to keep on your computer.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 8:47 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 21, 2006

Prey "Super Trailer" Released

You've asked for more Prey footage, and we're here to deliver. Available right now on IGN.com is an exclusive brand spanking new trailer for Prey. Weighing in at about 3 minutes 45 seconds, this new trailer contains a lot of footage that you haven't seen before. We don't want to spoil it all here in this announcement for you, so we'll just let you check it out.


The video was produced and directed by Jeron Moore for 3D Realms. In addition to the video, there is an article by Jeron entitled, "The Making of the Prey Super Trailer" in which Jeron goes into detail on the creation of the video, and shows some of what goes into making one of these things. The full article is over at IGN, but here's one small clip from it you might find amusing:

"The live action footage was shot at the end of May 2005. My location of choice? Vasquez Rocks State Park - about 45 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles. Star Trek fans, this is the same exact location Captain James T. Kirk did battle with the Gorn captain (ST:TOS - Arena, - 1966). I thought it appropriate we bring Tommy to this location - he and Kirk would have either hit it off really well, or ended up kicking each other’s asses."

This new stuff is hot, so make sure and head on over to IGN and check it out the trailer, as well as the making of article right away. We think you'll really enjoy this.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 8:00 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 21, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #15

Welcome to the fifteenth Weekly Prey Update. I apologize for being so late today, but I think this picture pretty much sums up this week:



Script Manager Mike Flynn annoyed at having his brief sleep disturbed ....

Make sure you read to the bottom of this update for some cool Prey news later tonight!


We have a guest update from Nick Murray of Artistry Entertainment. The band MXPX specially recorded a song for inclusion in Prey. The song is called "The Setting Sun", and here's a brief update from Nick about the recording session earlier this week:

Recording `The Setting Sun' with MxPx.
By Nick Murray, Producer "Bite Me! Music inspired by Prey," DirectSong.com

I, like many people have been a big fan of the popular punk rock band MxPx for years. Quite familiar with their song "Move to Bremerton" I was excited to spend a day with the band in their hometown - Bremerton, Washington. But first I had to find out where in the world Bremerton was.

On a beautiful day in Seattle, I made my way to the ferry pier and drove my car onto one of Seattle's famous ferries. During the 60 minute ferry ride across the Puget Sound, I saw 2 sea lions and 1 bald eagle. This was going to be a good day!

When I arrived in Bremerton I noticed some US Navy ships. In 1891 a German immigrant named William Bremer sold some of his land to the US Navy and founded Bremerton. The US Navy still has a base there.

I followed my map to MxPx's studio and they were just beginning to record the drum track for their new song "The Setting Sun." When recording rock songs, bands will always record one part at a time (drums, vocals, guitars, etc.) in order to get the highest quality sound. With Yuri playing the drums, Mike recording the session, and Tom practicing his guitar parts, I knew these guys were professionals.

After only 3 or 4 takes, Yuri nailed the drums, yet stayed the rest of the day to support the band and help out with recording the other band members.

Besides listening to my own free punk rock show all day, I was impressed with their speed that they were able to fly through the recording session. They moved from drums to rhythm guitars, to bass guitar, to vocals, and then to lead guitar and they did it all like clockwork, without any cutting remarks, squabbles, or wasted time.

One thing was evident, amidst their professionalism and ability to write, play, and record a song, they were obviously friends as well. They are a true rock band from their roots in Bremerton, Washington to their sell out crowds in Chile, Japan, Europe, and across the globe.

Be sure to check out their new original song "The Setting Sun" only in `Prey' and on `Prey''s compilation album "Bite Me! Music inspired by Prey" available for download only at http://www.directsong.com.

Find out more about MxPx including their latest album and tour dates at http://www.mxpx.com

MxPx is:
Mike Herrera - Vocals, Bass Guitar
Tom Wisniewski - Guitar
Yuri Ruley - Drums


And of course, the ever-popular changelog:

  • SpiritArrows can go through forcefields, spiritbridges, chaff
  • Bullets now hit spirit secrets instead of going through
  • made shuttle headlight smaller/faster
  • deny invalid punkbuster joins with dialog box
  • new shuttle crosshairs
  • added auto weapon switch to mp menu
  • made crosshairs not highlight consoles.
  • Made the blood splats on the rifle and auto-cannon bigger.
  • fixed health and spirit pulses happening when they shouldn't on client
  • added more randomness to the spawn logic, since apparently spawning from the most distant point is being counter-productive and making people think they're spawning near their killer just because it's repeatedly picking the same point. spawning from a random point (still tries to pick > 128 distance though) will probably feel better.
  • fixed lowhealth sound not playing properly on the client in mp
  • Fixed gasbag damage material problem.
  • Fixed wallwalk traces to prevent players from falling off in some situations.
  • Added code to crush movables blocking harvester passageways.
  • long wait idles for rifle and crawler going in
  • Finally received the last music update from Jeremy
  • New Tommy dialog added in all maps
  • salvage: added hound doors script support for ted
  • changed fade time for music coming back from deathwalk
  • salvage: added dialog for abducted in wallwalk puzzle room
  • fixed talon model so he actually looks like a hawk
  • talon attack code is fixed, and talon properly banks as he flies around
  • slowdown when close to portals fixed
  • lots and lots and lots of bugs fixed

I apologize for not getting to those Ask Prey Questions -- they will definitely be posted next week. Things have been completely insane around here. The good kind of insane.

Also, huge news! Later tonight, a new Prey Trailer will be released through IGN. Watch for it to be released around 8 PM CST. More info will be posted soon on the 3D Realms site. You won't want to miss that.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:31 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 19, 2006

Prey Pre-Order Info & Pewter Figures

Pre-order plans for Prey will be announced soon. There will be a collector's edition (both PC and 360) as well as the standard versions. Until then, here's a sneak peek at three pewter figures we will be including with the game (details coming soon).

The figures were done by "Reaper Miniatures", and what you see here are the early prototype Greens that are used to make the actual pewter figures.

We have three video files for you; all are Quicktime video, and on all of them you can grab the picture and rotate the figures' view 360 degrees. If you wish to download the files, you can do so with the following links. Both require the use of the Quicktime video player from Apple.

Download Links: [ Tommy | Hunter | Mutate ]

Keep your eyes peeled here for pre-order information soon. We will provide information on how and where to pre-order the game, plus information on how to get the various figures.

Here are some inlined versions of the videos above. These require you have the Quicktime plugin active in your browser to view them. You can use the shift and ctrl keys to zoom in and out, and use your mouse to click and drag the video to spin the figures around.

Tommy


Hunter


Mutate

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:41 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 14, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #14

Hey all -- welcome to the fourteenth edition of the Prey Weekly Web Update.

This week is a bit different in that I've enlisted the help of other Human Heads. I asked several people to write up a typical day for them to post in this update. Well maybe not entirely a typical day, I suppose, since the company is deep in crunch mode. But a day in their lives nonetheless.

The responses were all interesting, some of them rather hilarious stream of consciousness type of ramblings. I hope you find this to be a fascinating insight into the minds of people in crunch mode who apparently are slowly going insane. :-)

I should warn you that there are a couple of minor spoilers in here, but nothing that will ruin the game -- just some references to some level names and characters we haven't really discussed before.


Tim Gerritsen, Business Director

My days are a blur at this point as I'm juggling lots of constantly moving balls all at once. After seven years in the same office park, we're moving to a brand new office space across town. It's a old railroad roundhouse that was renovated for office use. It's a really unique office space and much better suited to our style of development than our current space. There's even a huge caboose in the front foyer since the builder left that in place when they renovated the building. The space is being custom fitted for our use so there's a million things to keep track of and make decisions on. It's like building a house, only worse since you'll have dozens of people working there when you're done. In addition, I've been managing the 360 efforts on our end, and we're putting the latest 360 build through its paces. I'm very happy to report that the 360 build is looking fantastic at this point. The frame rate is looking great, and the controls are being honed down to a fine pitch. The Venom guys are doing a great job on their end and I think people are going to have a hard time deciding which version to buy. Of course they could just buy both! :) Then there's juggling all the last minute details on the PC side, and that's just my three most important tasks right now.


Eli Quinn, Artist

Wednesday 4/12: The art tasks are slowing down so we've been trying out new software such as ZBrush 2. It utilizes a unique sort of terminology that's difficult to wrap your head around at first but it's very interesting once you get into it. The art team is also playtesting various sections of the game, as well as participating in deathmatch brawls. Of particular note was our deathmatch today where we had to test for a bug using the wrench weapon on an asteroid, so we were just sprinting around like fools and bashing each other's brains out with the wrench. Fun stuff. Occasionally people would whip out their guns again and wreak some havoc, until finally programmer Rich Whitehouse had to page the testers and remind us that this test was "WRENCHES ONLY, ON THE ASTEROID."


Brian Shubat, Animator

Don't really have time for this, due to our crunching deadline, and Leath Furniture having an inopportune moment to auction of the remainder of their "going out of business" crap at low low prices has taken it's toll. I'm finishing with all the rest of the maddening details on Grandfather's LotaD dialogs and finessing and fixing Talon. Also in progress is finishing off the hider bombing sequence in FeedingA, I think it's the single most longest sustained animation that is playing in the game. I've slept here two nights in a row on the floor already, brought in a bed roll and blankets. I woke up this morning but my leg didn't, it was the strangest "fell asleep" feeling I've ever had in an extremity before. It didn't tingle and it turned on and off like a switch, at first it was paralyzed, then it functioned, then when I stood up from my chair it gave out totally laying me out on the floor. I laughed it off and made coffee. Oh, shit! it was garbage day today! And did I forget to feed the cats?! I'm not even sure I know where they are.


Jeff DeWitt, Lead Animator

Now that all the Motion Capture clean up is done we're finally able to get back to the fun stuff.the stuff that adds personality to the game. This week I've worked with Jimmy on the Hunters (tweaking speeds, adding knock backs and pains), worked with Brian on some rifle anims (adding more personality to the weapons), implemented new models and fixed anim bugs on both creatures and weapons.tweak tweak tweak. We're getting closer and closer.which seems a bit surreal.

More on the Studios side - Ben G hurt his back again this week - poor guy. Crunch mode is hard enough without having to work through something like that. He's doing better, but as active and energetic as he normally is; to see him walking around like and old man was kinda funny (in a sick way I guess). Ed L is under the gun. That guy has really been a champ on this project.tons of behind the scene's stuff.

Let's see, what else. Ryan R cut his own hair the other day. People people.please.leave the hair cutting to a stylist.we're not in college anymore! J (I hope he doesn't read this.he's twice my size and he's been known to knock animators on their cans.just ask Shubat). AND speaking of Shubat!!! He's becoming an auction addict.seriously folks.he's developing a problem. Leath furniture (just down the road) is going out of business and they had the final day of their sale on Monday.since then every night they've been auctioning off the rest of the stuff in the store and Brian has been front and center. All I hear all day long is, YOU SHOULD SEE THE DEALS!?!? He's a crazy little man.

There have been more and more "schinc door" jokes circulating the office lately.OH.and Rich W had the "page of the year" the other day. He's running a lot of multiplayer tests and yesterday he had a bunch of guys testing "wrench only battles". So he does a company wide page and says, "Could all of you testing multiplayer go to the center sphere room and beat each other with wrenches only please". We all laughed out loud and I thought to myself. who's got a better job than me?

Chris seems to be holding up pretty well too.which is impressive. That guy is pulled in 10 different directions a day.no way I could do his job. Scott and George want this thing.but Take Two wants this OTHER thing.and then he's got all of us in the studio asking, "Well what are we doing? Huh? Huh? What about this? And this?!?!" Yea, if Chris has a full head of hair at 35 I'll be impressed. But all in all we're wrapping up.lists are getting shorter and shorter. We still have a handful of things that we want to tighten up but really.the game is very close to finished. That's it.oh, congratulations to the Badger's Men AND Women for wining National Titles in Hockey this year. Beauty eh!


Mike Flynn, Script Manager

I overslept today due to late night crunching. I got in late, checked my e-mail and grabbed some food and coffee. I ate my food and updated everything to the latest version of the game while checking the latest news and going over my tasks for the day. I got most of my direct tasks done over the weekend so all that is left is the pickier more difficult stuff. Before getting into those, I entered some new internal bugs and tasks into our wiki for myself and the other scripters. There are only a few and they are thankfully minor; this week is crazy enough with crunch mode.

Coffee. Need more coffee. Hopefully I won't get screwed with the pot having only a half a cup left and have to make more. Ah, the coffee gods smile upon me with a freshly brewed pot. I cue up some Captain Beefheart, Arcade Fire, and Daft Punk, hit random and get to work. Man, Neighborhood #1 is a great track. The day goes well into the next morning, with many bugs found and fixed, dialog added, and various game play tweaks implemented, tested, reimplemented, and tested again. In between map builds, which are needed for a conclusive test of most changed or added elements, I geek out on netside attractions or check my task list to see what needs to be done next. Sometimes building a map will take 15 minutes. If a BSP isn't needed, the turnaround time is more like 15 seconds. Amidst the more mechanical and repetitive tasks are the many gems that make it all worth while : each sweated over detail and change being instantly playable in a real time engine and finally finishing up scenes that are composed of dozens of people's work and input.


Nick Taylor, Animator

This week I am working on the main characters third person / multi player animations. This is a challenge unto itself as they must look good when the player is standing still as well as when he is running, strafing, etc... At the same time I am working on the lower body movement animations so that all of these approximately 220 upper and lower body animations all work well together.


Rich Whitehouse, Programmer

"Started the day at 8:45am when my alarm went off. Hit the snooze button. Woke up again at 8:53 upon the next alarm trigger, then hit snooze again. Somehow managed to hit snooze while in a sleep state until 10, at which point I finally got up. I stumbled through several accumulating piles of trash at my bed side, checked my e-mail on my desktop machine, browsed around for a while, then took a shower. I got to work at 11am. Upon arrival, I began re-evaluating some optimizations on a render volume tree function, and after observing through disassembly that the compiler was using stack-relative offsets to access some memory already, I proceeded with planned changes. This worked out happily. After that, I worked on some clipping performance issues on our giant sphere deathmatch map, and then began working closely with our in-house QA tester to coordinate some internet multiplayer testing, and work out issues with our Master Server. I then went home, and played Prey until 2am while noting new bugs and issues. This concludes the glorious day in the life of Rich Whitehouse."


Well that was certainly different, wasn't it?

If you enjoyed this, let me know -- post something to the 3DR forums. If people liked it, we'll see about doing more of these for future updates. I'm sure I could coerce more people from HH into writing up a day in their lives on this project.

Speaking of future updates. The deadline for the next round of the Ask Prey questions was today. So, I'll be tackling them next week for next Friday's update. We've received some pretty damn good questions, so it should make for an interesting update.

Until then, stay frosty.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:00 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


April 7, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #13

Hello again -- welcome to the thirteenth installment of the Weekly Prey Update.

This week, we have the usual weekly status, an update on in-game dialog, some talk about the 360 version, and something a bit special: pictures of the Human Head visit to Art Bell's house to record his voice for the game.


We're in full-on crunch mode here at Human Head Studios. Many people are burning the midnight oil as they work to finish their tasks before our next major deadline.

I read the last few Weekly Updates, and it seems that my mantra lately has been "bug fixing and tweaking". Well, this week is no different -- there's been a ton of bug fixes and a lot of tweaks.

We're pretty much over the feature hump, as all of the major features we wanted are now implemented. From here to end, it will mainly be bug fixing, tweaking, and any remaining minor features as needed.


A few weeks ago I mentioned that Michael Greyeyes was here recording new lines for Tommy. This week most of those lines have been processed and are being added to the game. Probably half of the new lines are now in the game with the rest planned to be implemented next week.

Today we're recording a few new lines for the epilogue of the game -- and probably getting a few more screams out of the voice actors. Can never have enough screams in a game.

Of course, this time we'll inform our neighbors of the voice recording session so they don't call the cops.


Speaking of voice recording: Several months ago, Ed Lima (Audio Director at Human Head) and Tim Gerritsen (Business Development Manager at Human Head) flew out to Las Vegas to meet with Art Bell to record specific dialog for Prey.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Art Bell, he's the infamous host of "Coast to Coast". "Coast to Coast" is a radio show where people call in with tales of the fantastic -- they cover things ranging from Bigfoot to werewolves to alien invasions. The show is regularly hosted by George Noory, but Art Bell still occasionally hosts on weekends.

Now how does this fit in with Prey? Well, when designing the game we realized we needed some way for Tommy to connect with Earth even though he's trapped on an alien ship orbiting many miles above the planet. What better way to get information about Earth than to have Tommy come across places where the aliens are intercepting Earth's transmissions?

When we discussed this idea, someone mentioned how awesome it would be to have those transmissions actually be Art Bell broadcasts. We contacted Art's people and he thought the idea was great and agreed to provide his voice for Prey.

After a few months of playing phone tag to set things up, we finally nailed down a date to record the lines. Ed and Tim visited Art at his home -- where he actually broadcasts his show. Since Art already had high quality recording equipment set-up in his studio, they literally recorded the Prey lines by having Tim call into Art's studio from a separate phone.

Art was a total professional. Without even looking at the script in advance, he nailed the whole thing in almost literally one take. There were only two times that he stopped to re-record a few lines. The whole process took about 45 minutes.

In the end, the new lines turned out great -- they convey at some information of what is happening back on Earth. Some of them even manage to inject a bit of humor into the game.



Art Bell and Ed Lima



Art Bell and Tim Gerritsen


A number of people here (and at 3DR) have been testing the Xbox360 version of Prey -- we both have several test kits throughout the office, so people can play when they have time. Ted Halsted, lead level designer on Prey, has been going through the 360 version looking for any really slow areas. I watched him play through a particularly complex level, and the 360 appeared to be handling it just fine.


Time for the weekly changelog:

  • Portaling is considerably smoother. It's pretty much impossible to detect when you go through a portal now.
  • Fixed some bugs with the functionality to retain the ammo type in dropped leechguns in MP.
  • Fixed Prey window sometimes getting resized when using the menu options to go to driver pages and possibly other things.
  • Now checking Creative driver version, and disabling on old versions so that we don't cause bluescreens.
  • Tracked down and fixed a crash bug in AI navigation
  • Cleaned up some client prediction misses with the acid sprayer.
  • Globalizing remainder of Tommy's v/o.
  • Extracting additional Tommy pickup v/o
  • Selecting more licensed music to round out in-game jukebox song selection
  • Writing/prepping epilogue dialog for recording
  • auto detection revamp texture quality setting and removed global video quality setting.
  • Changed proxdoors so they no longer snap shut when a monster dies inside one.
  • Fixed IK while crouching in players in multiplayer.
  • Some save / load fixes.
  • Added code to prevent Harvesters from getting stuck in passageways.
  • Fixed a rare crash bug related to reactions that would show up on save.
  • Fixed Gasbag death time.
  • made shuttles show crosshair even when no tractor target.
  • plaque under "Game Saved." messages
  • made normal projectiles hit spirit secrets
  • made spirit arrows pass through chaff
  • Misc art tweaks
  • Finalizing cinematic animation cleanup
  • Fixed a bug with the Spiritwalk overlay not working well with other overlays
  • Bug fix so Talon properly lands on moving targets
  • System in place for Tommy making comments to Talon
  • Removed redundant ammo types from the levels


Well, that's it for this week --

We decided to extend the Ask Prey submission time by another week. The original deadline was today, but if you still have any questions or anything you'd like to see covered in these weekly updates, feel free to email them to [email protected].

Until next time, stay out of trouble.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:31 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


March 31, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #12

Wow... Friday already. And time for the Weekly Prey Update. Let's get right to it...

The animators are working hard on cleaning up the motion capture data, and tweaking the cinematic animations to blend together smoothly. It's been a hell of a lot of work, and they're doing a great job.

Well, I use the term cinematic loosely -- as Prey doesn't actually have any cutscenes. The game is always from Tommy's point of view, and the story unfolds around the player as they progress through the game.

So, I use the term cinematic animation to apply to any animation for a specific NPC. An example of this would be if a character has to point in a certain direction, or run over and kneel by another character. That type of stuff.


As mentioned in a previous update, we recorded around 250 new lines for Tommy. A good chunk of those were re-recording old lines to either fit the story better, or because we were unhappy with the previous takes, as opposed to totally "new" dialogue.

And of those 250 lines, we recorded multiple takes of each. Depending upon the line, there were anywhere from two to six takes of each. Ed, our audio director, will go through and choose the best take of each and add them into the game.

However, the level designers were ready now to start adding in the dialog. To multitask, we set up temporary sound shaders for each of Tommy's lines, which the designers can then incorporate immediately.

The end result is that there are a lot of default beeps throughout the game now -- but in less than a week, all of Tommy's new lines should be in the game.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing how the game feels like with all this additional dialog.


We've also been incorporating all the latest music from Jeremy Soule. There's still about a quarter of the music yet to come, but they are cranking away on it, and we should be getting it very soon.

If all goes as planned, we should have all music implemented in the game by next week as well.


Talking to 3DR, we discussed reviving the Ask Prey email address, and answer questions again in an up-coming Weekly Update.

I still have all of the unanswered questions from last time, so I'll look through them again. However, if you have any other questions, or anything you'd like to see discussed in these updates (that hasn't been discussed before), feel free to email us: [email protected] (Make sure to remove the NPSPAM. before sending)

Please have your questions in by next Friday, April 6th. We will answer as many as possible in a future Weekly Update.


The changelog for this week is pretty sizable, as we didn't send a new build to 3DR last week. Here it is:

  • New music system implemented for fading and crossfading
  • Grenade throw button - bind a key to _impulse25, should default to G
  • New directional damage indicator
  • tips for zooming in on the HUD
  • low-health (< 25%) HUD effect
  • Fixed problem with harvester gibs being nonsolid in some cases.
  • Reduced grace period for ragdolls to resolve being stuck in solid.
  • Fixed problem with wrench showing up in roadhouse mirror.
  • All levels end with a portal fade now
  • Door system: * Unlocked doors are light blue * Locked doors are red and play a locked sound when you approach * Doors that never open are dark and play a locked sound when you approach
  • GUI pass throughout the level, new guis added
  • Tommy Voices in progress--putting in placeholders; sound not yet ready
  • SpiritWalk symbols being added throughout the levels
  • All leech nodes now have a screen tip
  • Adjustments of items/characters/geometry to accommodate level fades
  • All music we have so far implemented (volumes need tweaking)
  • FTA crouch portals can be walked around now.
  • three fodders are now in the lighting training hallway
  • new exit from FTA to FTB
  • Item cabinet moved away from the forcefield
  • The door with the raving guy banging on it is now locked
  • First pod puzzle no longer has a pod right near the gak
  • Vomiter removed from first wallwalk area
  • Multiple Hunters now after the player wallwalks after the hologram
  • Moved the autosave in the mutilated human room, so you don't fall into it.
  • Art Bell gui moved to a new place
  • New Tri-flip combat room w/portal crates
  • Optimizations in several rooms and corridors
  • Hunters on vent in breakaway room
  • New airlock with keypad GUI
  • Portal Crate in Catwalk Hunter Combat room
  • combat chains increased in several levels
  • Added in additional security mounted guns.
  • Dimmed the lights in the BonusCloset area to give more broken/emergency feel.
  • Added in Thin-Thing (tm)
  • Lighting adjustments in Big Asteroid room to allow for smoother enemy lighting
  • Additional deathwalk map added

And that wraps up another Weekly Prey Update. Next week will be a bit of a detour from the usual updates. And, the week after that, will be the next Ask Prey questions. So, if you have any questions, make sure you email them to [email protected].

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:47 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


March 29, 2006

Inside Prey with Computer Games Magazine

As you can see by the image to your right, Computer Games Magazine has a cover article on Prey. This is the May 2006 edition of the magazine, and is now hitting subscribers' mailboxes, and should be on stands now.

Computer Games Magazine author Tom Chick has written a piece entitled "Ghost World" about Prey. He has a somewhat lengthy subtitle for the article which does a nice job of summing up the game. That is..

"Aliens and Natives
Organic & Steel
Upside Down, Inside Out, and Dead-Alive
The Many Paradoxes of Prey".

In all, it's an eight page spread including several screenshots not released before. It's got gobs of information on the game. Here's a few choice quotes:

  • "The first thing you see when Prey starts is a view of someone talking to you about what a loser you are. Wait - that's you, looking at yourself in the mirror. It's a sort of teaser for the way Human Head plays with perspective throughout the game."
  • "The aliens suck up bits of the bar, while the jukebox plays Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper". You can bet the jukebox will be back - 3D Realms didn't license music from Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, & Heart for nothing."
  • "Human Head has taken this concept (portals) to some brain twisting lengths. In addition to glowing dimensional portals floating in midair, there are boxes that tip over to reveal new rooms inside."
  • "We want to avoid that shelf moment, when the game goes back on the shelf and you leave it there."
  • "Combat should be filler between memorable bits. No one remembers a game as 'So I turned the corner and fought these guys'."

There's plenty of other goodness for you to check out. Some you've heard about, some you have not, including a few screenshots never seen before. If you're not a subscriber to Computer Games Magazine, then you'll definitely want to head to your local newsstand and grab a copy of the May 2006 edition of Computer Games Magazine today!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:53 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


March 24, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #11

Hey all; welcome to the eleventh edition of the Prey Weekly Web Update. As usual, this week has been rather busy here at Human Head. We've been splitting out time between implementing new feature requests from 3DR and fixing bugs.

At this point, though, many of the feature requests are fairly simple tweaks, things like adding in screen tips in sniper mode so you know how to zoom in and out, changing the HUD damage feedback system to something more intuitive, etc.

Check the changelog at the end of this update for even more info on what's happening with the game.


Typically (at least on nearly all the projects I've worked on), there comes a point where staff members start wrapping up their normal duties and transition over to game testing. We're nearly at this stage with the art staff. Oh, there's still a number of art tasks remaining and things will still crop up as we're headed towards gold, but many of the artists have been transitioning over to bug-finding.

Rather than have them try to play through the entire game over and over, we've split the maps up into groups and are having each artist concentrate on a group of maps for a short period of time. We'll then rotate them into different groups of maps to keep putting new eyes on each set of maps.

Next week, we're planning a more hardcore test of deathmatch. We have been regularly testing deathmatch both for bugs and balance, of course, but next week we want to get into it hardcore. There are a couple of bugs that QA is able to reproduce that we have yet to see in-house. Next week's hardcore test should flush out those issues.


2K has sent a tester on-site to work with the team directly for the next few weeks. So far, he's been working out well, and has been diving in and showing us bugs that we've had difficulty reproducing, as well as helping out with regression testing bugs after we've fixed them.

In case you aren't aware of how the process of QA works, here's a quick outline:

  • QA reports a bug, and enters it into a centralized database
  • We look at the bug, and determine if it really is a bug, or if there is a mix-up. If it's not a bug, we mark it the very obvious: "Not a Bug"
  • We then determine if we will be able to fix the bug. Occasionally a bug cannot be fixed due to engine limitations and so forth. We mark it "Will Not Fix"
  • We then try to reproduce the bug. If we are unable to reproduce it, or don't have enough information to recreate the bug, we mark it "Need More Info", and wait until we hear back from QA with the additional information
  • Finally we fix the bug. And mark it "Fixed."
  • Even though we fixed it, it's not closed out and considered final until QA has retested the bug. They retest it, and either mark it "Fix Verified", or if they still can reproduce the bug, then they mark it "Fix Denied"
  • If the bug is kicked back to us, then we swear repeatedly and the process starts over.

We received more music from Jeremy Soule last week, and are expecting more music from him early next week. We're close to having all music for the game in our hands for implementation. All told, we should have close to 2 hours of music in Prey.


A few Human Heads attended GDC this week, shmoozing with other developers and attending talks. As mentioned last week, our very own Ed Lima is giving a talk today (the 24th) on sound in the Doom 3 engine and on many of the enhancements that have been added both by us and by Creative Labs.

Yes, Ed will be showing some sound stuff in-engine. Don't expect a huge Prey demonstration, though -- it's tailored towards the sound, so he's just showing off a couple of rooms as he's demoing the sound enhancements. But, we did choose two pretty cool rooms. :-) One of them has one of my favorite portal effects.


Speaking of GDC. Every year, when I realize that GDC is upon us, I always start thinking about E3, since it's a bit less than two months away. We've already started discussing what we'll be showing of Prey at E3.

No final plans as of yet, so I can't mention anything in this update -- but we will be showing off Prey in some form at E3.


Okay, arguably the most popular feature of the weekly updates: the changelog. As we've been working on a number of things near the end of the game, quite a few spoilers had to be removed this week:

  • hunters have new projectile effects so the projectile stands out better
  • XXXXXXXXXX at the start of the map has a new texture on it
  • Tons of tweaks in the Harvester maps, in terms of creature placement and bug fixes
  • New combat room added to Salvage: a cool room involving multiple portals and many enemies
  • New animation for Tommy's intro
  • Preparation for a door color unification pass across all levels
  • New damage HUD, giving better directional feedback during combat
  • Lots of great AI tweaks and fixes to the Hunters
  • Animation work on various cinematics and to XXXXXXXXX-X scene
  • Removal of a poster in the Roadhouse that contained unlicensed images
  • New graphic effect on the health spore: much cheaper, and pretty much looks the same
  • New GUIs throughout the levels, providing more information about the ship and the inhabitants
  • New creature placements, providing more locations for wallwalk combat
  • HUD tips for sniper zoom

As always, thanks much for reading our Prey update. We have some pretty exciting Prey related things happening over the next few weeks -- can't talk about them just yet, but just keep your eyes peeled! Until next week....

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios





And for no good reason at all, Joe Siegler insisted upon another picture of Crystle Lightning. ;)


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:26 PM | Discuss this story on our forums


March 24, 2006

Prey Q&A with Tim Gerritsen

In addition to today's latest editon of the Prey Weekly Update series, we also have a short interview with Tim Gerritsen of Human Head. He talks about the overall game concept, multiplayer features, weapons, downloadable content plans and more. Here's a few morsels:

"Absolutely we'll have downloadable content (on Xbox Live). The extent of it really depends on how the game does, but we have plans to support the game with new characters, maps, skins and more. If the game does well, we definitely want to add new multiplayer modes."

"We're releasing the sdk and editor (Preditor) for Prey PC and will be actively supporting the mod community. However, to really make mod materials, you'd need a full keyboard and mouse set up, so the majority of the mods are developed for PC."

"There will be a demo on PC and 360, though dates have not yet been confirmed. We've not announced our next game yet, but the reaction to Prey had led to some very unique opportunities for us. We would love to see Xbox Live Tournaments for Prey and support them in general. I'd like to have a nice spectator lounge, though, with cocktails. :)"

Tim tells more in the full interview, available here over at totally360.com. Check it out!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:48 AM | Discuss this story on our forums


March 17, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #10

Hello again and welcome to this week's edition of the Prey weekly update!

First off a huge thanks to Peter Johnson at Venom for taking the time out of his schedule to write the great update last week on the Xbox360 version of Prey.

Wow, so what's been going on here? It's been a crazy busy week:


In terms of production, we've been focusing on:

  • bug fixes from 3DR and Take 2 QA
  • map optimizations: Over the past couple of weeks, there's been some pretty large optimizations done to the maps. Visually they are essentially the same -- most of the optimizations have been ensuring that entities in other rooms cease thinking as necessary, additional corridors or doors added as needed for vis purposes, removing redundant geometry where found, etc.
  • feature tweaks: a number of game feature tweaks as requested by 3DR to polish the experience. For example, things like tweaks to how some of the weapons function, a screen effect when you are very low on health, some AI tweaks, etc.
  • level tweaks: similar to the feature tweaks above, the level designers have been adding in sections as needed to expand the gameplay in levels, and also moving elements around so they are properly introduced and utilized.
  • animation tweaks: The animators have been crunching hardcore to clean up the motion capture data. A lot of work has gone into cleaning up the motion capture data. The data had a lot of hitching, and issues when blending between different animations. So far the animators work has fixed things up pretty well -- only downside is that it's very time-consuming for them. Once the cinematic animations are complete, the animators have a good-sized list of things to tweak throughout the rest of the game, from weapon animations to creature animations.

A new contract animator has joined us to help finish Prey. Eric Weiss has a background in both film and computer game animation, having worked on such movies as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Godzilla, and most recently, Superman Returns.

On Prey, he's been focusing first on learning the animation pipeline from Maya into Prey, and has been doing work on one of our boss creatures. Very cool having him aboard and helping make the animation rock.

Check out his IMDb page here.


Michael Greyeyes, the voice of Tommy, was here at Human Head on Monday and Tuesday recording new lines for the game, and re-recording some older lines. It was a busy couple of days, but we managed to record around 250 lines. Will we use all of those? Probably not -- our goal is that Tommy comment mainly about critical things. While it's very cool to hear his voice as you're playing, you obviously wouldn't want to hear him comment every 5 feet - you'd likely be saying "Shut up Tommy!" :)

As always, Michael was ever the professional who clearly enjoys his job. He nailed most of the lines in only a few takes, and had fun joking around a bit and ad-libbing a few lines.


Ed Lima, Audio Director at Human Head, along with some folks from Creative Labs will be giving a presentation at the Game Developers Conference next week on audio in Doom 3 engine games. Ed will be discussing some of the audio features added to the game to not only make things sound more realistic, but also features added to make the game more enjoyable. An example of this is voice ducking technology which lowers surrounding sounds when an NPC is talking, so their voice stands out above ambient sounds.

If you are at GDC, make sure you stop by and check out the presentation by Ed and Creative Labs. Additionally, Ed's talk at GDC will be next Friday the 24th at noon EST, so if you happen to be there, check it out to hear Ed's insight into Prey.


From the "No TV and no beer make Homer go something-something" department:

Of course, during all this hardcore crunching, we still have to take the time to blow off some steam. Now that the Guitar Hero craze seems to have all but died down here at the office, it's been replaced by some new sounds: The clang of swords and howls as heads are lopped off. A few of the guys here have taking up playing Rune Deathmatch again. Brings back such memories to hear those sounds once again echo through our offices.


We received some great feedback on the changelog from two weeks ago, so here's this last week's changelog as sent to 3DR. Warning, some spoilers might be in here -- but any major spoilers have been removed:

  • Leech node hints now give you an icon of the gun itself
  • Glowing blood sprays are visible when sniping an enemy
  • SpindleB: Turbine Room has gotten major optimizations
  • "Thin thing" portal trick added to Salvage (still requires some cleanup).
  • Pretty large optimization pass across most of the maps. Still more optimization to be done.
  • Key default changes:
    - Lighter defaults to F key
    - SpiritWalk defaults to MMB and E
    - Crouch defaults to C and SHIFT
    - Leech gun is now on key #4
  • Leech gun auto switches when out of ammo
  • Hunters can lean around corners to attack now. They occasionally decide to do the lean attack during normal attacks, too, to mix things up.
  • tweaks to hud tip system
  • added tips when entering a shuttle
  • made spectators show up on scoreboards
  • allowed spectators to go through forcefields
  • added "Resume Game" to out-of-game menu
  • put player portraits on scoreboard
  • added gametime played to loadgame screen
  • added "ready" tip to MP hud
  • made shuttle not thrust until transitioned in
  • tweaks to the motion capture animations for Grandfather and Jen.
  • added music volume control
  • tweaks to help screen
  • new negative feedback sound when shooting teammates in team dm, got rid of colored flash on teammates as well
  • New recorded lines for Tommy yelling at Grandfather as he is XXXXX XX XXX.
  • More save/load fixes
  • Playtime now displayed for savegames
  • Made vacuum robot explosion do radius damage
  • Spirit bridge updates throughout the levels
  • Ambience passes to newly added areas, thin thing, XXXXX XXXXXXXXX, etc.
  • Low health screen effect added

Thanks as usual for reading, and make sure to check in again next week.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios





Here's level designer, artist, and prolific toy collector Ash Welch testing Prey DM.



Jimmy Shin, programmer takes a break from working on
creature AI to read a recent forum about Prey. You'll also notice that he's not a prolific toy collector.


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:39 PM


March 10, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #9

Welcome to the latest edition of the Prey Weekly Update series. A few weeks ago you were told you'd get an update from Venom games in the UK on the Xbox 360 version of Prey. That's what we're bringing you today. This week's update is not from Chris at Human Head, but it's by Peter Johnson at Venom Games in the UK.

Chris will return next week with the next Prey Weekly Update. There's plenty to read in Peter's update, so let's get right to it....

We started work in earnest on bringing Prey to the 360 in late June 2005, although we had been looking at the code a little before that to ready ourselves and plan our attack. It was amusing to see on some gaming forums that some posters seemed to think that the announcement about it last month meant that we had just started work on it, this is far from the case.

As our aim was to keep everything as faithful to the PC original as possible, we knew it would be mainly a coding job, with relatively little work needed on the art side. It broke down into a number of tasks - converting the engine itself to get it running on the 360 platform, and the areas where we needed to make changes to better suit the platform - such as the control system, the front end and the integration of Xbox Live.

Peter Johnson, Venom Games
Peter Johnson of Venom Games

THE ENGINE

As I am sure regular readers of Chris’ column will know, “Prey” is based on an enhanced version of the Doom3 engine. It was initially suggested to us that we would use the conversion of this engine that was being done over at Raven to bring “Quake 4” to the 360, but after waiting nearly 3 months for sight of that code, and it being apparent when we saw it that those guys were very much still in the process of development, shall we say, at the time- we felt that we had little choice but to do it ourselves rather than spend the next six months simply merging their code with Human Head’s without any forward progression ourselves. Taking this approach meant it was then much more likely that we would be in a position to resolve any problems we encountered.

In the last week of June 2005 Kevin Franklin, our lead coder here, and Ben Cosh rolled up their sleeves and started to convert the Prey code base from scratch. Their first move was to get the engine running on the PC in Direct X rather than Open GL, and then port that code across onto 360. The approach of hitting the PC first had the advantage that the turnaround time for compilation and execution could be much shorter than it currently was on 360 at the time. The guys did a great job- getting it running on 360, albeit at a low framerates, in around 8 or 9 weeks. There were still plenty of effects and graphical tricks to add at this point, but already it had the distinctive look of “Prey” and now we could let the rest of the programming team loose on it.

Prey really stretches the Doom3 engine, sometimes in ways it wasn’t designed for. It aims to create a convincingly organic-looking alien world full of curves and natural shapes from an engine designed around box-shaped rooms, and features many additional shaders and special effects that take the visuals far beyond the original Doom3 engine. This extra load meant the coding team had to work hard on optimising the code, removing bottlenecks and spreading the load across the three cores at the heart of the 360 to hit our target of a constant 30fps framerate. We have also had one coder, Mick, working for the best part of 6 months using the 360 performance analysis tools to identify the slower areas of code and rewrite, or in many cases replace routines with low-level machine code to squeeze the best from the machine.

I feel confident in saying that we are now graphically pixel-perfect with the PC version.

MULTIPLAYER

After the departure of our network programmer in the last week of November 2005, we had a difficult choice to make - whether to take his code and complete it, fixing any bugs we found and hoping we could patch around any problems we uncovered, or throw it all away and start again. This was a difficult call, as time was running short for an area of the game which is always known to be a challenging one to implement.

We took the option we all felt was right, which was the braver/more foolish one of replacing it all. Steve Sharp, the coder we tasked with it has done a great job in a short time in a coding area he was previously unfamiliar with, and we now have all of the Live support in place and working well. The recent addition of speech to the online game over the past few weeks has also added greatly to the player experience.

Screenshot showing controller layout

CONTROL SYSTEM

Over to Mark Sample, normally our game designer/ producer here, for a little on the controller code.

Our task for Xbox 360 was to make sure the game played right with the console controller. This is harder than most think as many gamers take the highly responsive keyboard and mouse feel of the home PC for granted and we knew from the outset that we wanted to be as faithful as possible to the way the game plays on PC rather than changing the experience for the gamer.

Assigning the action buttons to the pad was easy, however the fun started with getting the feel of the player movement and looking around right with the sticks. Using a vast array of tweakable values we set about tuning the turn-rate and acceleration. From the get-go we knew it was vitally important that the player felt completely in control at all times. They need to have enough low-down sensitivity to make small delicate moves, as well as fast response for sweeping, super-quick 180’s – as you never know who might pop up behind you =). After much testing and tuning, the stick controls now feel robust and razor-sharp; we’re really pleased with the results and think the gamer will be ready in no time to take out a hunter or two with what we have delivered.

Our QA team in LA recently suggested that the game could also benefit from a facility for user-assignable weapon switching on the D-pad, and we added this into the game. We designed a method which allows the player to assign and re-assign weapons to those buttons quickly at any time as they play, as simply as programming stations in on a car radio. It works great, and we confidently expect to see other games following suit soon.

FRONT END

Over to Phil Nixon, the artist redesigning the front end for 360.

“We had to replace the existing front end to allow for input via gamepad rather than mouse-driven “point and click” of the PC, and the idea behind the user interface we chose to adopt for 360 was to try and get as far away as possible from the established look of PC FPS’s.

I like the idea that the user interface should relate to the theme of the game itself as much as possible. I'll try and explain a little better what I'm on about...Tommy is aided throughout the game by Talon, his hawk, and we thought it would be cool to use this idea as a concept for the user interface. We focused on a super close-up of the eye, making the pupil dilate and contract in response to flashing lights around it (representing gunfire, or perhaps a smashed up computer). Occasionally the eye looks around too, adding movement in the background. The deeper you get into the interface, the deeper you zoom into Talon’s eye.

Stylistically, as far as the menu graphics, framing graphics and fonts are concerned, I tried to draw cues from the GUIs and designs that are featured in the game, again trying hard to ensure that our front end matched the 'look' that Human Head already had in place. Overall it works well, and I like to think it ties the game elements together a little better than some titles out there manage to do.”

XBOX LIVE ACHIEVEMENTS

Achievements are becoming a big thing within the Xbox 360 community, with websites springing up to cover the topic and gamers competing for bragging rights based on which achievements they have unlocked in the games they are playing, so we wanted to make sure we included a very full implementation of achievements in Prey. Over to Bruce Brodie who helped design this part of the game.

“The achievements have been a lot of fun to create! Currently there are 33 achievements in “Prey” which will be worth a total of 1000 points to a player’s Gamer Score. These achievements are spread out between single and multiplayer modes. Major achievements such as game completion and death match kills are all present and correct, level-specific awards have also been included for players that attempt the game on the “Wicked” difficulty – we want people to explore the world of Prey and really master it in order to unlock some of the harder achievements – be warned, some of the multiplayer ones will take a lot of skill to unlock!

There are also a number of secret achievements that players will have to look harder to find, which will be worth a good haul of points when discovered.

Our artists have created some great icons for the achievements, and they are looking good (I hate it when a game uses the same icon for everything). The final number of points to be awarded for each is still in discussion and tends to change depending on how evil the designer is feeling that day.

Here are some of the achievements that we have created, one from the single player, one from multiplayer and a secret achievement that we will leave to you to discover for yourself!

Young Blood
Unlock this achievement by killing 25 rival players on Xbox Live in a deathmatch game.
Scrap Yard Master
This achievement is won by completing the Salvage levels on wicked difficulty!
Grease Monkey
Can you guess what this achievement is for? Discuss it in our forums!

And finally...

THANKS

Doing “Prey” has necessitated putting progress on our other, unannounced, next-gen title on hold for over 6 months, and I’d like to acknowledge the patience of our art team assigned to that project for soldering on with their work on it whilst almost all of our programming resources were diverted to bringing “Prey” to 360. Thanks Guys!

Peter Johnson - Studio Head
Venom Games - Newcastle upon Tyne, UK





The Venom Games gang gathers for a company picture.




Screenshot from Xbox 360 version of Prey


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:01 PM


March 10, 2006

Prey is "Worth Playing"

Another day, another Prey preview. This time we have one from the gaming site "Worth Playing". This one talks about the usual suspects, single player, the Cherokee influence on the title, Wallwalking, all the cool stuff you've been reading about. Check out what Worth Playing has to say about Prey:

"Prey strives to deliver the rise of a hero through the conduit of a fantastic voyage aboard a ship that's a living entity."

"Beginning with the engine and environment, Prey pulls some smooth moves and some fast tricks to create the user experience. Conceiving the environment as a living ship allows Prey to have a very organic look, which not only allows for a different appearance, but also enables a great deal more creativity in the design, threats, assets, and functions throughout the game."

"The Spirit Walk is truly something to behold. Tommy takes ethereal form, just like Talon, leaving his body behind to venture forth only with a Spirit Bow as a weapon."

"Taking Wall Walking into multiplayer action is where the sweet spot of Prey truly lies. One level we got our hands on was like being in the midst of an M.C. Escher drawing, with almost all of the walls turned on."

"The day of a 3D compartmentalized structure is attacked by Prey, as gamers will be forced to grasp both space and gravity in an environment where "top" and "bottom" will be difficult, if not impossible, to identify."

Make sure and check out the full preview over at worthplaying.com today!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:40 AM


March 7, 2006

The Art of Prey

If you're a subscriber to the Official Xbox Magazine, then you have a treat headed towards your mailbox. The newest issue of that magazine is hitting subscribers' mailboxes now (the April 2006 issue), and there are two Prey segments on the disc.

The first is a photo gallery called "The Art of Prey". This is a screenshot collection which has about 30 shots which are a mix of screenshots as well as concept art. In addition to that is a video feature on Prey. It's a a video interview with Chris Rhinehart of Human Head in which he talks about Prey. The interview is also intermixed with plenty of game footage, too!

Here's what the magazine has to say about the interview...

Take a look at the gravity bending upcming Xbox 360 shooter Prey in a special video feature where we take you inside developer Human Head's studio in frosty Madison, Wisconsin. The game is much hotter than the weather!

If you're not a subscriber to the magazine, then you should head out to your local newsstand and pick up a copy of the April 2006 edition of the Official Xbox Magazine to get plenty of Prey 360 goodness!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:50 PM


March 3, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #8

Hey all -- welcome to the latest Prey Weekly Update. Originally, Peter Johnson from Venom was going to update this week on the status and progress of the Xbox 360 version, but due to their crunch his update will have to wait until a future update (possibly next week).

Like Venom, we're in crunch here at Human Head as the game is in late beta. We're getting tons of feedback from 3D Realms, Take2 QA, and other beta testers. Every day the game improves pretty noticeably.

I'm going to update with little snippets of thoughts on various things that have happened around here. Like I said, we're incredibly busy, so there's way more than this happening, but here are just a few:


Last week I was in Dallas visiting 3D Realms. Tom Chick from CGM flew in for the first single-player hands-on demo of the game. We showed him the first two hours of Prey, and then jumped around and showed him a few cool areas later in the game.

The game pretty much shows itself off now. In the past, it was 80% talking and 20% showing -- as we discussed the story and what we planned to do in certain sections. But now, those numbers have flipped. Most of the demo was just seeing the game and experiencing the story -- the 20% was us talking about what we had yet to fix and tweak, and talking about the history of the game and its development.


Recently I speed-ran through the entire game, taking stock of the following items:

  • Action/Puzzles: Any long stretches of the game without any action or puzzles? (not many!)
  • Tommy comments: Making notes of additional comments needed and which current comments could use reworking.
  • Combat frequency: Is there not enough combat in areas, or too much? Do certain creatures show up too much?
  • Death frequency: Did I die too many times in a given area before I was able to get through?
  • Animation tweaks: Which animations could use reworking
  • Sound tweaks: Any sounds that could use tweaking, or any places where the volume mix is off.
  • General bugs: Just anything that seems wrong or is broken.

Michael Greyeyes (the voice of Tommy) will be visiting us in a couple of weeks to record new lines and re-record some previous lines that didn't work well, or had to change due to story tweaks. I'm compiling a (pretty large) list of comments culled from suggestions here and from suggestions from 3D Realms. I doubt we'll have the in-game Tommy say everything from that list, but we're going to record all these lines just in case.


More voice recording fun:

We brought in a local actress/singer named CJ Schellback to provide additional female voices and screams for the game. She did a fantastic job, with some excellent screams of pain and yelling such things as "Help me!", "Where am I?!", "What's going on?!"

Our recording booth is apparently not entirely soundproof as her AMAZINGLY LOUD screams of pain heard by one of the offices directly below us.

After several minutes of her screams -- someone from the office finally came up stairs and asked "Is someone being raped up here?"

Seriously. They didn't ask if someone was hurt or needed help. They go straight to raped.

In the future, we'll be sure to inform our neighbors of our voice recording sessions.


We're reworking the final sequence of the game. The previous version was a bit abrupt and didn't properly convey the story in the way we wanted to wrap things up -- the new version is longer, better explains things, and is damn swanky-looking, too.

Can't mention more of this, though -- as it would be spoilers. I will say, however, that the end sequence has the coolest Earth model I've seen in a game yet!


Music: We're incorporating the latest Jeremy Soule music into the game. Very nice stuff. It's amazing how the mood of an area changes radically when music is added. There's still quite a bit more music from him coming soon -- all in all, Prey will have about 2 hours of music from Jeremy.

We're also looking at getting more bands for the jukebox (which is in the Roadhouse near the start of the game, and also makes an appearance a few times on the alien ship). We already have some major label stuff in the jukebox and Ed is looking at some more indie-bands as well. Also, music related and interesting: Killer music from development materializes.


Later today, we're having a multiplayer stress test here at Human Head. We have weekly multiplayer tests to check for bugs and generally playtest the levels. Typically it ranges from 4-6 people playing (whomever is free at the moment to test). Today, we're focusing on all 8 players in the game, and are looking for bugs and any places in the maps where the flow chugs down.


Each week, 3D Realms receives a new build from us. Typically, I include a changelog of some of the more interesting things that changed (based up their feedback of what they wanted changed/fixed). George mentioned that it would be a cool thing to include in this update. So here it is:

  • New weapon selection menu
  • Multiple quick save slots
  • New wrench alt-fire raise animation
  • DeathWraiths now have a probability of 50% blue, 50% red
  • Many more mutilated humans working on stuff and shuffling around throughout the game
  • You have three seconds of invincibility when you return from death walk
  • New initial load screen
  • Beer bottles no longer float in Roadhouse
  • Jenny properly holds and throws the sponge now
  • JukeBox should always have a mouse cursor
  • Roadhouse: Timing is different on the dialog now, so you can play with the games all you want, going back down by the bar will continue the dialog scripting
  • Drunks have fight animations -- still need stagger around animations, though.
  • FTC: New Hider sighting -- dialog is temp, though
  • Art Bell radio sequences now start and end with music snippets. Recognize it? :-)
  • Hunters are toned down slightly -- bigger pauses between their shots. Maybe toned down too much right now, though?
  • Spirit Arrows are much more dangerous now. Also, more spirit power is given from enemies. This seems to be creating a positive feedback loop that we don't necessarily want, though.
  • Leech Gun: The tips are in, but we are going to add a picture of the leech gun itself to make it more clear.
  • Swipe animations are in for using things (especially in Roadhouse). Anims will be tweaked further.
  • Many more leech nodes added throughout the game. Pass isn't final, though...will still be more added.
  • You can shoot the robot vacuums (done especially for George)
  • Laser beam eye stalks can not longer be shot. You have to avoid the beams, trigger them, or spiritwalk through them now.
  • LOTA D: In progress, but new set-up for Grandfather. Play it to see where he's located now.
  • Cilia are triggered by spiritwalking players (so you can't walk through them)
  • Jetpacks rockets are slower
  • Four-legged Harvesters have been debuffed slightly
  • Head shots from the sniper rifle decapitate the mutilated humans
  • Poker/blackjack rules fixes in Roadhouse
  • Lots and lots of bugfixes

Well, that's all for this week. Next week (hopefully, if he can tear himself away from crunch time), Peter from Venom will update on the 360 version and anything he feels like talking about with that. In the meantime, stay out of trouble.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:40 PM


February 28, 2006

Three new Prey Magazine Previews

Today we bring you some more Prey previews, this time coming from three print magazines that are available now. They're PC Gamer (Apr 2006), The Official Xbox Magazine (Mar 2006), & X360 Magazine (Apr 2006). All three of them really love the game, here's a bit of what they all had to say:

X360 Magazine:

"Literally, a gut wrenching experience"

"Prey surprised, shocked, and greatly excited us with its complexity, inventiveness, and sheer gorgeousness - this is a truly next-generation game."

"Prey merges elements from different FPS sub-generes to create an involving experience that is often quite disturbing."

"Prey certainly impressed us. Ten years of development has meant that the teams at 3D Realms & Human Head have had more than enough time to cram every last good idea into the game and make them all work together cohesively."

In addition to their preview, they have a prediction of the Top 10 games on the Xbox 360 for the year 2006. X360 Magazine lists Prey fourth on that list, behind Halo 3, and in front of Gears of War.

Official Xbox Magazine:

"It's the weaponry and the whacked-out room puzzles that got our shooter-loving blood pumping."

"All of the weapons in Prey are acquired on the ship, lending a definite air of alien wierdness to each one."

"But hands down, the enemy that wins the "Most Likely to Give you Nightmares" award are the Wraiths, a race of spectral beings that float around and possess beings. In one of the most distrubing scenes we've ever seen in a videogame, a Wraith files into the body of a little girl then then, possessed by evil, gleefully trips her brother to shreds."

"The game already looks very polished; the engaging mix of sci-fi and Native American themes intrigues us, not to mention all the cool gravity tricks where are available in multiplay, too."

PC Gamer:

"Invest in Milk of Magnesia - this shooter's not for the faint of stomach."

"Looks like 3D Realms has a real winner on their hands!"

"Both effects (portals & gravity shifts) are pretty disorienting, but extremely cool."

"Kudos to Human Head - I haven't had a multiplayer shooter experience this impressive in ages!"

You'll want to check all of these previews - they're not online, you have to go check out the magazines at your local newsstand!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:15 PM


February 24, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #7

Welcome to this edition of the Weekly Prey Update. This week, we're focusing on some of the questions we've received recently from you in our "Ask Prey" question a few weeks ago.

We received some really great ones -- far too many to be able to answer all of them in this one update. I'll save the other questions and try to answer many of them in a future Prey Update.

Without further ado, here are the questions and answers:

Travis asks:

Prey's caught my eye for a lot of its original and forward-thinking ideas. But there's a couple in particular that I'd like to hear more about. I hear that the game has a self-adjusting difficulty level. This worries me, because it supposes that there is a set degree of challenge that all gamers enjoy. Some less skilled players may want to play the game at a higher level because they enjoy a better fight, and some experienced gamers might just want a cakewalk on the first time through. Will there be a way to "bias" to difficulty adjustment to skew it higher or lower?

Also, I was wondering how the game is being balanced to preserve challenge with the Deathwalking element? Will enemies heal or respawn while the player is deathwalking so that when he returns he still has a real fight?"

The Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (DDA) system has several different layers to it, the main one of which is based around combat. As you fight the various enemies the DDA system constantly monitors your progress: how quickly you kill each enemy, how much damage each enemy inflicted upon you before you killed it, and if the enemy managed to kill you. After the battle is over, the game uses that information to calculate how skilled you are against that particular enemy and slowly adjusts that enemy’s difficulty.

The DDA system also has the ability to do "spot fixes" where it detects if you are dying repeatedly in a given section. In that case, the system will slightly adjust the game to help nudge you past the section. Again, just a slight adjustment. The key to the whole system is to never make any dramatic adjustments, as that would be obvious to the player and break the immersion of the game.

You will be able to turn the DDA system off if you so desire.

DeathWalk: Enemies do not heal or respawn, but we are building in systems so that the player has a few seconds to get their bearings before the battle resumes -- for example, enemies are more likely to ignore you until you attack again after you resurrect.

Hayden asks:

"Of all the features of your game, the spirit walking interests me the most. How does it work? Is it an automatic trigger or manual trigger? Does it time out? Do you need some form of item to support it? If it's a manual trigger, how to you keep it from overpowering the gameplay? It seems overuse of that feature could make the gameplay too easy, making the game rather boring."

Once the player has obtained the ability to SpiritWalk (you cannot do this from the start of the game), they can SpiritWalk at any time, whenever they want.

We decided to not restrict the player from SpiritWalking, because so many puzzles rely upon leaving your body behind and venturing ahead in Spirit form to unlock areas or transport your body.

However, to balance this, you do not always have the ability to attack when in Spirit form. Only if you have enough Spirit Power can you use the Cherokee bow to attack enemies. Without that power you can still SpiritWalk, but you cannot attack.

We are pretty generous with Spirit Power, though as it turns out that it’s really fun and useful to leave your body behind and kill enemies with the Bow. And, it all depends upon how you want to play the game. Some of our internal testers like to leave their body and use the Bow often, whereas others prefer killing enemies with the more conventional weaponry.

Super_CK writes:

"I'm really looking forward to Prey, it's gonna be one of the best FPS' to come out in awhile. One thing that really has me curious though is the music. Most FPS games aren't really known for great music, but with Prey, it seems like there's a great opportunity to really have some good stuff going, considering the story and the main character. It kinda seems like the kind of score Jerry Goldsmith might write, if Prey were a big sci-fi action movie. Anyway, who's doing the music for the game? I really hope y'all got someone good."

We have about two hours worth of level music composed by Jeremy Soule and his brother Julian Soule, which is used both for ambient environmental music, as well as specific music (for boss battles and level stingers).

In addition, we have licensed various popular tunes for the bar scene in the game. I mean, what better way to get the feel of a roadhouse bar than having Judas Priest or Ted Nugent blaring out of the jukebox?

Spooger writes:

"I've read that Human Head is trying to make Prey as emotionally-charged as possible. Without giving away much story, what exactly is Human Head doing to ensure that Prey establishes itself as more than just a shoot-'em-up in terms of the story, character development, and how those elements will be presented."

Great question. As you mention, I can't say much without giving away too much of the story -- especially about the emotional moments. But, in terms of character development, very early in the game we deal with the theme of Tommy rejecting his heritage as he's talking to his grandfather and his girlfriend.

In terms of fleshing out the character of Tommy -- in true 3DR fashion the main character talks throughout the game. However, he's not just spouting out one-liners (Tommy does, however, have a number of amusing comments). Tommy's dialog is intended to reflect how a real person would react if put into this horrible situation.

Also, dude, you need a new handle. :)

Kreg asks these three questions:

"Will Duke Nukem get a special appearance in Prey ?
Will there be puzzles in Prey ?
Will there be space war (dog fight) in Prey ?"

1) Probably not. There are some fun secrets in the game, though.

2) Yes, definitely. The gameplay mechanics of SpiritWalking, WallWalking, Gravity Flipping and Portals all lend themselves to making some really mind-bending puzzles. We'll definitely be releasing more videos showing some of these puzzles in more detail.

3) Oh yes. The main vehicle in the game is a flying shuttlecraft (it's shown briefly in the E3 video). In that ship, you engage in space battles against flying enemy creatures as well as enemies piloting other shuttlecrafts.

Lionel asks:

"I was wondering what kind of (new) tools/features are included with prey for the mod community?"

We will be releasing all of the primary built-in tools for the game. We've made a number of minor changes to the Doom3 level editor (now dubbed Preditor). But, overall, if you're familiar with Doom3 level editing, you'll have no problem making Prey levels. Although, it will take a bit of a paradigm shift to think about ways to structure your levels around gravity flipping, wallwalking and portals.

Jouni had this great question:

"I'd love to know how much of the original 3D Realms design can we actually see in the final game? I mean, are some monsters / weapons / settings based on the original designs, or was the entire game "re-imagined" (as Hollywood likes to say it)? And if so; Was it hard to improve something as solid and innovative as 3DR's original Prey concept?"

Not much. When Human Head started on Prey, we worked from the core concept of a Native American reluctant hero who is abducted by aliens, and must fight his way back home. This was the core element that 3DR required carry across from the original design (well this, and of course portal technology).

While working with Scott and George, these elements were the ones they required. A few times we started to stray from these core elements, but they ensured that we stayed on track.

Everything else in the game, we were given free reign to design as we wanted. So, all the creatures, weapons, and other gameplay elements (such as wallwalking and gravity flipping) were designed here at Human Head. Of course, 3DR gave feedback and suggested enhancements to all these gameplay elements as we they were designed and implemented.

Kevin asks:

"How many vehicles will be in the game? Will vehicles be featured in any of the multiplayer maps?"
The primary vehicle in the game is the Shuttle, which is a one-man hovercraft which has a rapid projectile attack and short-range tractor beam as a secondary ability. The Shuttle is featured heavily in several maps, as the player pilots across enormous outdoor spaces in the game, fighting flying creatures and using the tractor beam to clear away obstacles.

The Shuttle is also available in multiplayer -- two of the DM maps are based around Shuttle combat.

Daniel asks:

"I was wondering what the difference will be between the PC and Xbox 360 versions of Prey. The best example I can think of was in Doom 3, the levels were "shortened" but you wouldn't know it without a side by side comparison. Quake 4 had something similar, but nothing really that noticable."

The content between the two are identical. No drastic changes were needed for the levels to get them to run on the 360. When 360 development was just starting, we did split several of the levels in half for memory reasons, but that was done to the PC version as well.

That said, we aren't opposed to making changes to the levels if necessary. Ideally, though, we'd simply do those changes to both versions to keep them identical (and to reduce the headaches of maintaining multiple versions of content).

Doom 3 was on the original Xbox, so I can see why those levels were shortened and altered. If Prey had to fix on the original Xbox, we would have had to do some pretty radical changes to the levels to get them to fix and to run at a decent framerate.


Well, that wraps it up for these questions. Again a huge thanks to everyone who wrote in with such great questions.

Next week's update should be damn cool as we talk more about Prey on the Xbox 360, with an update by the Studio Head of Venom Games, Peter Johnson.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:00 PM


February 17, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #6

Prey is the first product in which Human Head has used motion capture. In the past, we've always hand-animated our characters for a few different reasons - we know the time and effort it takes to animate a given character, we know what the results will look like, and because we needed the ability to easily tweak the animations. In Rune, the attack animations required a lot of tuning and tweaking throughout development. Now, in Prey - we decided during development to try using motion capture on our human characters, Tommy, Jen, Tommy's Grandfather, and various human NPCs that Tommy encounters on the Sphere.

Since we had never done motion capture before, honestly, we flew a bit blind at first. We first developed a comprehensive list of all animations in the game that would benefit from motion capture, this included such things as:

  • Player animations (carrying each weapon, running, crouching, etc)
  • Human NPC animations (idles, walks, runs, attacks, etc)
  • Humanoid Creature animations (idles, attacks, runs, pains, etc)
  • Experimental animations - ones that we felt might be better to hand animate, but wanted to try motion capture to see how that would work (a character floating inside of a tank is an example)
  • All cinematic animations of characters walking from a specific point to a point, body language and gestures, etc.

Jeff DeWitt, Lead Animator on Prey, developed this comprehensive list from the creature AI list and from the script.

A small group of us then sat down and went over this list, expanding it as necessary by discussing what was needed, and even acting out parts of the script to get a better feel for what we would need.

Finally, with list in hand, Jeff and I headed down to Red Eye Studios, in Chicago for the actual mocap session.




Here's a shot of the overall mocap studio. We're reviewing a previous animation at this point, so Geno (the actor who plays all the male character roles) is standing in the center waiting for direction. You'll notice that his suit contains a lot of reflective balls, each of these are recorded by the motion capture system to translate his body position into animation data.

The motion capture only lasted two days - the first day consisted of all of the female motion capture, and a few scenes where we needed multiple actors interacting with each other.

Grace McPhillips performed the role of all the female characters in the game - she did a great job despite the abuse she took (at one point, we hoisted her up in the air - for the floating in tank section I mentioned before) and then motion captured her while she was dropped to the ground. Yes, there was a mat there to protect her.

The next day, Geno Kett showed up to perform the male character roles. Like Grace, he did a great job acting out what we wanted and he took his abuse really well. One of the more interesting parts was getting the runs for multiplayer - in MP the player actually runs at an unrealistically high rate (the MP is designed for fun action, not 100% realism). We marked out the run speed on the floor in chalk and did take after take until Geno got as close as possible to the speed we wanted.

Speaking of chalk: We learned a pretty valuable lesson (one that other people who have done mocap before will say sounds like common sense): plan out your animations around foot placement and make sure you chalk the foot placement right away. A few times we would be a few animations into a sequence and realize that the foot placement had moved - and then would have to go back and reshoot the previous animations again to guarantee that the actor’s feet had not moved.




Here Geno is acting out the role of a scared human trapped on the Sphere cowering for his life. Jeff DeWitt of Human Head stands in the background directing him.

If we use motion capture again, we’ll definitely plan things a bit more around foot placement, so that we record a series of animations in a row before the actor has to move their feet.

For cinematic purposes, we brought along the entire dialog to play for the motion capture actors. In directing these sequences, we explained the situation, and the general mood of the scene. Then, we played the audio of the dialog a few times so they were comfortable with it, then they simply acted along with the dialog. Typically it took a few takes but eventually we hit upon something that worked.

In the end, the motion capture has been a mixed issue - some sequences worked out really great when motion captured and definitely saved some time. Other sequences turned out okay and are currently undergoing in-house tweaking to get rid of some motion capture artifacts. A few animations probably shouldn’t have been motion captured in the first place, so they’ve been thrown out and replaced with hand animation.

Will we use motion capture in the future? Yes, we will - but, like most aspects of development, it’s a tool that can be used in certain places for certain things. Now having a better knowledge of the overall system and the planning required for it, we certainly will be more efficient next time.

Next week on the weekly update, we’ll be answering some of the questions that were emailed over this past week on Prey. And in a couple of weeks, we’ll have a special update focusing on the Xbox 360 version, written by the studio head of Venom Games. Venom are responsible for the 360 version of Prey. Should be great stuff!

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios



At one point the motion capture system's hard drive was full. So we had a few minutes while they cleared out some space. I talked Jeff into Max Payne'ing onto one of the stunt mats. Six jumps (and a bruised shoulder) later, we snapped this fine shot.


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:53 PM


February 10, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #5

Hello again. Welcome back to the Prey Weekly Development Update.

Last week, we talked about the voice recording in the game. This week, it's back to the usual status update - with something at the end of this update talking about the plans for next week. In the immortal words of Mills Lane: Let's get it on...

First big thing to update on is the huge number of Prey previews hitting the net. These are all the results of the press tour from a few weeks ago, both when I was in Los Angeles/San Francisco and when Tim Gerritsen was touring through Europe. Joe from 3DR has set up a great page linking all the previews (as well as other Prey news).

Check them out - the response has been very positive, and each preview has different skews on the game. Some talk more on the single-player experience, while others focus on multiplayer or 360. And, if you haven’t seen the newly released single player and multiplayer videos -- well, dammit, go check them out. Here’s a link. They're also in the videos section of the Official Prey Site.

Speaking of Europe: Prey’s lead programmer, Paul MacArthur, spent some time last week in England visiting Venom. Venom, you may recall, is working on the Xbox 360 version of Prey. Paul was out there to meet with them face-to-face to discuss a host of issues, ranging from recent bugs to optimizations.

Meanwhile, back in Madison, Wisconsin. We’ve been receiving a large amount of feedback from 3DR on the game - listing bugs, tweaks, and game balance issues. In addition, 2K Games' QA department has been steadily adding bugs to the database.

Overall, it’s been business as usual around here. Everyone is cranking on the game, fixing bugs, optimizing code and levels, and tweaking things based upon 3DR’s feedback.

A number of new portal puzzles have been added to Prey, especially at the beginning. We felt that the portal usage could get even more intense earlier in the game, so we’ve been adding in even more puzzles and mind-warping portal coolness. I’d go more into the puzzles themselves, but I honestly don’t want to spoil these.

We’ve also been focusing on the combat in the game. The combat is definitely fun as it currently is, but we’re working with 3DR to tweak it to be super-fun. We aren’t doing anything radical to the monsters - the main things that we’re doing to beef them up is based around feedback and around sustained intensity.

AI Feedback relates to the information the player receives during combat:

  • Pain noises from the creatures
  • AI chatter: The creatures yelling taunts at the player and issuing commands to each other
  • Louder and more dramatic damage noises (sticky thuds when striking something with the wrench, or a great sizzle when hitting something with the Acid Sprayer)
  • More visible and satisfying effects such as blood spurts and weapon damage effects
  • More visible pain animations on the creatures

Sustained intensity in a fight relates to keeping the battle going for a longer period of time. Now there are a few ways this can be done, but for simplicity think of it like this: CreatureLifeTime * CreatureCount. You could fight one creature that lives a long time during the battle, or four creatures that live only 25% of the time of that one creature.

Which battle do you think would be more fun? Both can be fun, but in my opinion, the second one - you get the reward of killing four creatures instead of the one. Of course, the issue is way more complex as this doesn’t address the number you are fighting at once (is it all four at once or do they chain in one at a time? Or do they chain in two-by-two?), nor does it address how you fight those creatures. A single boss with multiple attacks and stages is a vastly different battle from a hoard of melee grunt creatures even though both may take the same amount of time.

Bottom line of sustained intensity, though: We’re adding in more creatures for you to kill.

Getting a fresh perspective from 3DR has been extremely helpful. They’ve pointed out some areas of improvement, such as the portals and combat mentioned above. I would imagine that Max Payne 1 & 2 went through very similar phases near the end of their development, too.

So, we’re still in the cycle of bug fix, optimize, and tweak. Speaking of which, I need to get back to this.

That about wraps up this week’s edition of the update. Next week, I have something planned similar to the voice recording update from last week.

And, what I’d like to do in the future is answer questions that people might have about the game. How about we do this: If you have a question, email it to 3D Realms here: [email protected] (don't forget to remove the nospam and fix the email address before sending). We will read through them and pick the top few questions and will answer them in an upcoming update. Let’s pick a deadline, too. Say, one week from today. Have your questions emailed in by February 17th and we’ll go through and answer a number of them.

Until then, stay warm. It snowed last night here in Madison (not too terribly - been a mild winter this year). Still, it’s cold enough outside. I suppose that’s a good thing, though. It keeps us inside, working on Prey. :)

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Studios


Nick Taylor, one of the animators on Prey, works on Tommy's pose while holding the Hunter Rifle.


Here Shane Gurno, Human Head co-founder and modeler, taking a break from working on a model in Prey.


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:07 PM


February 8, 2006

Pretty Please, More Prey Previews!

Another day, another batch of Prey previews. Today we're bringing you some more previews, bringing the total batch we've posted in the last 3 days to 15, and that doesn't even include the series from last week by 1up. Anyway, today's batch includes Voodoo Extreme, Games Radar, Totally 360, Next Generation, and a series followup by 1up. I'm sure you don't want to hear me jabber on with more bad puns or phrases with the letter "P" in them, so we'll just get to the picked pack of plentiful Prey previews.... ;)

1) Games Radar Preview

Prey is stuffed with crazy ideas, from the living world you're in to the supernatural powers of your characters.

Our time romping through the game's astonishing sci-fi environments reveals a shooter of considerable promise.

The levels themselves are striking in their organic, pulsing nature - the ship is not only alive but sentient, paying you more attention as you progress.

The modified Doom III engine, the best thing around at Prey's 2001 inception but since surpassed, does not hold Prey back. It looks astonishing.

2) Totally 360 Preview

The first thing that struck us was when you get your hands on Prey's single player and multiprey is that they are both pretty amazing! You must experience Prey in full to really appreciate and get a real understanding of the sophisticated game play mechanics that are put to use.

Prey's Multiprey introduces you to dynamic and well thought-out multiplayer experience encapsulating multiplayer fun as gamers around the world will really experience what it's like to hang from ceilings stalking your opponents as they run around anxiously on the ground below you.

During the presentation we played a number of gravity defying levels and we noticed in Prey's Multiprey it will be near-enough impossible to camp, great news for gamers anxious to really engage in Multiplayer battles online.

To give you an idea of what you’ll be facing in Prey in the months to come let us make the following example: What do you get if you blend a highly modified Doom 3 Engine, with the remarkable Unreal Engine 2? Something pretty close to Prey… The wait is going to be well worth it, of course when it’s done…

3) Voodoo Extreme Preview

You can never completely die. Even if you opt to be a total lazy bastard during the Death Walk, you'll pop back into the real world with enough health to get by. Enemies will typically move away from your body or turn their back on you after killing you to give you a little breathing room when you return.

The Leech gun is the BFG9000 of Prey. You get it, use it, things die in fun and exciting ways.

The developers were very adamant about their removal of reloading. Partly because it's one less key to bind, and partly because it streamlines the game a little more.

The developers wanted to focus on the single player aspect of the game, so instead of stretching themselves thin on too many crappy gameplay types for multi player, they stuck to the basics. You like deathmatch? Good. Team deathmatch? Better. Capture the Flag, Assault, etc? Too bad.

Prey looks like it could be a big hit when it's released sometime mid year for both PC and Xbox 360.

4) Next Generation Q&A with Chris Rhinehart

Q: Do you think the pretty screenshots may lead some gamers to think this game is all looks?

A: Actually, when we first put up screenshots, we had a lot of people commenting that it looked like Doom 3. I don't know why that has a bad connotation, because I thought Doom 3 was a fantastic-looking game. When we brought out the E3 video, we wanted to show all the sorts of gameplay that showed what makes us different, that we have all this unique stuff and are really pushing things. Of course, there is some concern, because it is a really crowded market. But, the main thing that we knew we had was 3D Realms' muscle.

Q: What about the Revolution? Would Human Head be interested in developing for that system?

A: I'm not going to rule that out. It is pretty interesting. I'm really, really curious to see what they do when they unveil it and actually start showing off a lot more games and let people get hands-on with it. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out, especially with the weird little first-person-shooter controller gizmo that they have.

Q: What's up with the Cherokee in space storyline?

A: The story is one of those things that really evolved throughout the game's design. From the original version of Prey to the Human Head version, really the only main thing that came across in terms of story are the fact that the main character is Native American who is abducted by aliens and wants to rescue his girlfriend.

5) 1up's Prey Post Portem

This one isn't really a Prey Preview, it's a followup to the series 1up ran last week. Garnet Lee from 1up.com sent me this link and said, "It's our Production Artist's blog and she goes through the evolution of the Prey cover and all the prototypes we worked up.". Check this one out too, if you didn't see it, you definitely want to check out Prey's Week of Prey Coverage.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:30 AM


February 7, 2006

Plenty More Prey Previews

Yes, the floodgates have most definitely opened. In addition to the 7 Prey previews we posted last night, this morning brings three more of them. You'll want to check them out, too. This time the previews are from Boomtown, Total Videogames, and Yahoo! Gaming.

Check 'em out:

1) Boomtown

The weapons on offer are biological in nature rather than simply being mechanical. For example little starfish like crawlers are explosive, pull off their legs and throw them like grenades. Or leave a few legs on them and they become sticky bombs.

Prey starts well, we watch through Tommy’s eyes as he, his girlfriend and grandfather are transported through the alien spaceship on a monorail conveyer. It’s reminiscent of the train ride at the beginning of Half-Life, albeit this time we’ve much more gore.

Now onto the multiplayer and I can report that it’s really good fun.

So far Prey is looking like it's going to be a solid first-person shooter with a few novel twists.

2) Total Videogames

Prey is shaping up to offer a first-person-shooter experience quite unlike any other.

Additionally Tommy can also make use of Spirit mode, which promises to be the game's biggest innovation along with Wall-Walking when it comes to puzzles and level designs.

Prey continues to distance itself from other first-person-shooters when it comes to health pick-up's; instead of the traditional first-aid kit or the increasingly popular wait and heal system, Prey features certain spots on the ground which replenish health when Tommy is near. The crucial difference comes from the fact that the enemy can make use of these as well, and as such there's a new dynamic on the action whereby you'll want to make sure the enemy don't steal health away from you and make the encounter much more difficult.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is just how much they've thought about level designs, a skill seemingly forgot in some modern first-person-shooters.

3) Yahoo! Videogames

Prey takes the traditional multiplayer deathmatch and turns it on its ear.

By putting the walls and ceilings into play, the developers can take a standard-sized deathmatch map and make it feel a lot larger.

Perhaps the craziest [multiplayer] level we played featured the spherical gravity at work. This level takes place on a huge spheroid divided up by rooms and hallways. If you could run in a straight line, you would eventually return to where you began, so it's essentially a small planetoid.

Prey should also sound pretty good (at least, to older gamers) thanks to a soundtrack filled with Blue Oyster Cult, Judas Priest, and Heart.

The production values are first-rate and the multiplayer is fast and furious. This is definitely the game to keep an eye on if you're a shooter fan.

More previews as they come in...

Posted by Joe Siegler at 7:47 AM


February 6, 2006

Plenty of Prey Previews Popping up

Well, it appears that some floodgates have opened in regards to Prey previews today coming from the press tour a couple of weeks ago. Last week we had the excellent 5 day series from 1up.com, and now we have half a dozen more Prey Previews available online.

We've got previews from Shacknews, two previews from IGN, as well as the sites Kotaku, Computer & Video Games, EuroGamer, & and Hexus. Make sure to check 'em all out. Let's get right to them, with some quotes from each.

1) Shacknews' Preview:

To some extent, Prey's protagonist was born out of a desire to create a strong contrast to Duke Nukem, the archetypal gung-ho buck-stops-here video game character. Tommy Tawodi is indeed an archetypal antihero.

This really wouldn't be Prey without crazy interspatial portals, the technology featured prominently in the original E3 videos. It's possible not only to see yourself in the interconnected portals (from varying angles) but to follow yourself, and even shoot yourself through the portals as well.

In a particularly inspired turn, the team actually hired Coast to Coast radio host and nationally known UFO theorist Art Bell. At various points throughout the game, Bell and his notoriously fanatical call in guests can be heard discussing the invasion.

The Escher-esque architectural design, the arbitrary gravity, and the spirit walking mechanics are very unique and seem well implemented. If the whole game delivers the constantly changing experience that's been promised, Prey should be one hell of a ride.

2) IGN's PC Preview:

Far from wanting to be humanity's greatest hero, Tommy just wants to find his lady and hightail it back to the planet one way or another. So begins the violent tale of young Tommy, an angry young man with a mission and a wrench.

We've seen this game before, but only in video form. What was shown at E3 last year was very impressive, especially since we weren't expecting anything so grand. Seeing it again only confirmed the fact that this game should be something special.

The Sphere is a disgusting place. It's alive and the game is played out inside of it. Therefore, you can probably imagine all of the slimy wet runny textures spread across the levels. Doors are like nasty sphincters (in fact, Chris called them sphincdoors), pimple like mounds on the ground vomit up juices and waste, health looks like misty spores out of smaller pimples, and some of the Sphere's creatures serve as anti-bodies towards potentially harmful invaders like Tommy.

Multiplayer is just plain wacky. Levels are specifically designed to take advantage of Prey's uniqueness. It's a bit disorienting at first. The act of simply getting from place to place can be an adventure on its own before getting a handle on which direction is up.

Prey is looking very good at this point. If the whole game is as jam packed full of odd little goodies as the demo was, first-person shooter fans are in for a treat.

3) IGN's Xbox 360 Preview:

As some of you might already know, the story of Prey centers around Tommy, a Cherokee garage mechanic who loves his girlfriend Jen. Unfortunately for both of them, something about their town really pisses off some aliens, so Tommy and Jen get beamed to their bizarre craft.

Human Head showed off little bits and pieces of the single-player campaign on a PC, and it's obvious that they're making use of their "living ship" concept. Enemies often sprout right out of the floor, you'll find some doors ("sphincdoors") bear an uncomfortable resemblance to a certain portion of the body, and many of the floors and walls will actually bleed when shot.

What's really cool is that the portals are not visible from behind. So if you walk around to the other side of the temporal door, it will seem as though nothing is there. You can even walk through the back of it to no effect, yet when you turn around it's still there.

We played several DM matches across three maps. Human Head is expecting to have between eight to 10 maps in the game, and those we got to try out seemed like an excellent variety of the game's unique environmental elements.

To prepare for its release, you might want to start getting used to the idea of checking the ceiling every time you enter a room.

4) Kotaku's Preview:

We told you last week that 22 first-person shooters would be released this year. By any measure, that’s a lot of games for one genre. Any developer brave enough to compete in this field better have a novel premise. Judging by one hour of play time, I think Prey has enough going for it to stand out in the crowded field.

As the game progresses, the hero, Tommy, gets more in touch with his ancestory and spirituality. By doing so, he gets help from the spirit of his grandfather who gives him crucial clues.

It’s been a long time since playing a shooter made me nauseous, but having your perspective constantly flip 90, 180, or 360 degrees really messes up your sense of balance (those of you who bought a big-screen HDTV along with the Xbox 360 better keep barf bags handy).

I also have to give props to the game designers for avoiding FPS cliches. When you die, you don’t just restart as if nothing happened. You enter a spirit world where you have to fight to get your spirit back into your body. It’s a neat concept. And I didn’t see any crates or exploding barrels, at least not in the demo.

5) Computer & Videogames' Preview:

A cursory glance in the direction of Prey would probably have you, understandably, dismissing the game as just another first-person shooter - after all, it's not like there's a drought of them on PC at the moment. However, five minutes with the game will change all that.

After your abrupt removal from the Earth, you're introduced to Prey's Dyson Sphere, which proves to be more of a dynamic, organic entity than your conventional spaceship - a frankly ingenious concept which offers up all manner of possibilities for the development team, in terms of unique gameplay features and puzzles.

As any FPS veteran knows however, a shooter's only as good as its guns and, thankfully, this is where Prey really excels.

Some of the coolest things we sampled: a flyable space shuttle section complete with lasers and tractor beam, low-gravity asteroid gunfights, an insanely interactive public toilet (complete with intergalactic condom dispenser), playable arcade machines and a jukebox featuring fully-licensed music. All of which are merely impressive embellishments on an already extremely solid and well-rounded shooter.

Combine Prey's excellent multiplayer features with its impressive looking single-player game and you've got yourself the ingredients for one of the biggest games of the year.

6) Eurogamer's Preview:

We're initally intrigued by the title screen, which reveals there are two difficulty settings: "Normal" and "Wicked".

Like all the cut-scenes in the game, the opening FMV is presented from Tommy's perspective - so you see through his eyes as he watches his loved ones being hauled around.

But much more interesting are the weapons which, like the ship, combine plain old technology with all sorts of organic weirdness. Take the Leech Gun, for example, which has four different fire modes. By attaching it to the various "leech nodes" you'll find dotted around, you can suck power out of the ship and charge it up.

These elements (portals) really come into play in multiplayer mode, as we found out when we got to go head-to-head in a deathmatch (the only other MP mode is team deathmatch; there's no point trying to capture silly old flags when the laws of gravity can change at any moment).

Who would have thought that a game about a garage mechanic trapped on a spaceship with only a dead Grandad and a talking hawk for company could turn out to be so intriguing?

7) Hexus Gaming's Preview:

Walking us through the as yet unfinished opening level, the first thing that strikes you about Prey is not the graphics (after all, these will be dependant on your machine to some extent) but the huge amount of interactivity built into the game. Simply put, everything can be fiddled with.

The thought put into the level design and mechanics of the game becomes apparent with the spirit walking when you see some of the later levels. Not only are there barriers such as force fields that can be crossed, but there are also bridges and gangways that just aren’t there in the real world.

This whole ‘alternate reality’ thing that Human Head have developed lends a superbly original puzzle element to Prey which, from what we’ve seen, lifts it way above a bog standard FPS.

Prey is shaping up to be something rather cool and refreshingly different. The storyline, though a little clichéd to start with soon pans out into something far more involving than the ‘loner saves the world’ stuff we’re used to and from what we’ve seen, Prey is going to have been well worth the wait.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:10 PM


February 3, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #4

Welcome back, everyone. This week is going to be another divergence from the usual updates. Instead of talking about specifics this week at Human Head, I'm going to talk about something that happened a few months ago - namely, the voice recording sessions.

After spending a few months listening to audition tapes for the various characters in the game, we nailed down the final list of actors in Prey.

Of course, many of the characters interact with each other in-game, so we wanted to record them at the same time. Luckily, their schedules coincided so we were able to fly all the actors out to the recording studio during the same week.

That studio we chose was one that 2K Games had used in the past - Rick Fox Studios in Cincinnati. So, last year Ed Lima (Human Head's Sound Director) and I flew out to Cincinnati to meet with the actors and go through the process of the initial sound recording session. There are several pictures in this article, and you can click on any of them for a larger image.


Rick Fox Sound Studios

Recording went very smoothly - all the actors were total professionals and usually nailed their lines after only a few takes. In fact, we were ahead of schedule the entire trip.

The process went like this: The actors were given the script to read through the day before. Then, at the actual session, they were given shooting scripts (which is variation of the full script, which contains each line, numbered and broken down by scene). Before recording each scene, Ed and I explained the situation and the character's motivation as well as the general reaction we'd like out of them (anger, fear, sorrow, etc). We'd then have the actors run through their lines three times. If we were happy with them, we would move on. Otherwise, we'd explain the changes we want and the process starts over again until we were happy.

Of course, the real test for the voice acting is actually getting it in game - if the recordings don't work out, then that calls for a pick-up session where we fly the actors out again (typically for a day or two) to re-record the lines and any new lines we may need.

The first evening there we met with Michael Greyeyes, who plays our hero Tommy. Over dinner we discussed the game with him (since due to secrecy, we only gave the actors small amounts of character information during their auditions) and explained how the week would play out. Since he's the main character, we'll need him to be there the whole week to interact with all the other characters.


Michael Greyeyes mentally preparing for his next line
Wav File: [ Something bad is about to go down in front of Tommy ]

The next actor to arrive was Crystle Lightning - who plays Jen in the game. We wanted her and Tommy in right away so we had plenty of time to record their lines both apart and together. When she first showed up, we had her record some of her lines in which no other actors were needed - general comments, pain sounds, screams, etc.

In hindsight, we should have recorded her screams last, as we became worried she might blow out her voice right away. But, she has a damn good voice and was careful not to overdo it with the screams.


Crystle Lightning acting out the part of Jen
Wav File: [ Jen talking to the player in the bar ]

Next, John William Galt showed up to record the voice of Grandfather. You may remember John as the voice of Lo Wang in Shadow Warrior, plus he was the original voice of Grandfather in the E3 Prey video from 1998. We searched around for other voices for Grandfather, but honestly, none were as expressive and unique as John's rendition of Grandfather.


John William Galt posing with me (with Rick the sound engineer in the background). My shirt, of course, refers to convertible cars.
Wav File: [ Grandfather admonishing the player. ]

Over the next couple of days, things went pretty fast, as we quickly recorded the other characters in the game (which tie in heavily into the narrative, so I'm not going to reveal them just yet). But those characters were played by Tyne Turner, Eleni Valasis, and Lee Ernst (who you may remember as the voice of both Odin and Loki in Rune). They all did an amazing job as they nailed their lines.


Ed instructing Michael on the next scene

At the end of the week, the recording session was over. We had all the lines we needed to do a first-pass implementation in the game (up until that point we had speech synthesized robot voices and various voices of people around the office in the game!). But, before going home had to explore the fine city of Cincinnati. We wandered into a nearby bar and relaxed with a few drinks and played some pool.


Crystle Lightning posing while we played pool

Until next time - stay out of trouble.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Software


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:56 AM


February 3, 2006

Final day of 1up's Prey Coverage

Today is Friday, and 1up has posted the fifth and final entry in their Week of Prey Coverage. This one is entitled "Come Out and Play", and focuses on the multiplayer aspects of the game. Yesterday's article was about the single player side of things, so it makes sense that today's article would be about multiplayer. Let's get to a bit of what they had to say:

it feels like the designers have hit on a good balance of manic disorientation and playability. You can imagine that their first inclination might have been to see just how insane a level you could create. From playing in these three levels it seems pretty clear that going that route would have just created an infuriating mess. But to help soothe any concerns that they held back, the last word that will come to your mind in describing them is restrained.

With live opponents, Prey quickly becomes one of the most seriously intense games of cat-and-mouse around. In a way, multiplayer may live up to the title of "Prey" better than single-player.

That could be the most fitting vindication for the return of Prey a decade after its inception -- rediscovering the simple pleasure of a good online frag fest.

In addition, there's a little side article in this about the Xbox 360 version of Prey and how it will be released at the same time as the PC version. Venom Games in the UK are handling the 360 port, and a little of the work that is going into the 360 version is covered here as well. As has been the case with the other days in the series, there has been a video with the article. This one (shockingly :)) is about multiplayer, and shows some multiplayer Prey being played. You'll definitely want to check that out.

This is the final day of this series, and as such, there is a little extra article called "Parting Shots", which talks about (in their words) "two dudes reminiscing about what once was, and what could be". It's Dan Harnett and James Mielke talking about Prey's past and future, as well as a bit about Duke Nukem Forever.

This was an absolutely wonderful series covering all aspects of Prey from top to bottom, and if you haven't been keeping up with all of it, you should go back and start reading all of it from the top. You can reach the main page of this article at 1up's site here: http://prey.1up.com. Thanks to 1up for giving the fans such a good week.

We expect to see more Prey goodness appearing online soon from other gaming news sites, too. ;)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:38 AM


February 2, 2006

Day 4 of 1up's Prey Coverage

Today is Thursday, time to bring you the next installment in 1up's Week of Prey coverage. Today's article is entitled "Better Man", and it focuses on the single player aspect of Prey. There's plenty of detail as to how the story is intertwined with the action, how various parts of the game are introduced to you, and just tons of detail. Let's get to the quotes:

From what was on display here, there is every reason to hope that its one-two punch of design and story will deliver a knockout.

[Tim] Gerritsen says it was important not to, "throw it in your face all the time that he's Cherokee. That would cheapen the experience; that would cheapen the character." It also allows Tommy to be more of a real person than simply an icon in a game.

Before you get too concerned that this devolves into a standard, sappy love story or some sort of preachy, philosophical thing, don't be. "This is still a first-person shooter," Gerritsen makes sure to emphasize, "All of that is completely secondary to the fact that this is an action first-person shooter."

One of the most interesting weapons is a leech gun that draws power from nodes around the ship. Depending on the node, you get different projectiles/effects. For instance, a bright white node turned out to be a freeze power-up whereas a bright red one provided a rapid-fire machine gun.

In addition to the really meaty single player stuff, there's also a secondary video interview with Chris Rhinehart in which he talks about single player gameplay. You'll definitely want to check all of this out over at http://prey.1up.com.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:58 PM


February 1, 2006

Day 3 of 1up's Prey Coverage

It's Wednesday, the third day of the week, which means that it's time for Day 3 of 1up's week of Prey coverage.

Today's article is entitled "Use Your Illusion". The focus of this article is on various aspects of the game's technology. Based on the Doom 3 engine, Prey makes several improvements over Doom 3's tech, some of which are detailed in the article. There's a lot said about the famed "Portal Technology" in Prey, even going back to giving some props to the late original Prey programmer, William Scarboro; showing how the concept is now vs its original incarnation.

Here's some tidbits from the full article for you to check out:

"Our target minimum spec machine at the moment is a 2GHz P4, 384MB RAM, and a DirectX 9 graphics card, and the game will scale to trade off quality for [playability on] lower-end systems quite well. For the extremely high resolution and quality settings, however, you'll need the usual monster." (To said monster-owning crowd, yes, Prey will proudly support dual-core setups and more.)

"It's [Prey's Tech] allowed us to use compressed normal maps even at high settings that look as good as the uncompressed normal maps," says McArthur. "Because of this, our medium-quality settings will look like Doom 3's high-quality textures, and our high-quality normal maps can have twice the resolution. It's been a huge gain for us."

Couple gravity with juggling orientations and you get another of Prey's curious gameplay variants: wall walking. "Wall walking is the ability to walk on marked surfaces within the game regardless of their orientation," explains McArthur. "We use curved surfaces to great extent, allowing you to travel in directions that would normally require an elevator or ladder, as well as spaces you'd simply be moving through in another game.

You'll want to check this out not only for the article on the game's tech, but for the fact that there are some new screenshots as well. You can check those out over here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:39 PM


January 31, 2006

Day 2 of 1up's Prey Coverage

Today is Day 2 of 1up.com's Week of Prey Coverage and they've published their latest piece. Today's piece is entitled "Say it Ain't So". This is an interview with 3D Realms' George Broussard talking about Prey.

The interview is wide ranging running from the early days of the project in 1995, through the change in development teams, up until now, how the tech has evolved, and lots of Prey specific questions. The interview also talks about a few things that aren't Prey specific such as what happened to the shareware game concept of distribution. Of course, since it's an interview with George, there's a few tidbits in there about Duke Nukem Forever, as well. Here's a few samples from the interview:

1UP: So I can start off: Just kind of take us back to 95 and just kind of tell us what was it like at Apogee/3D Realms back then. What was going on?

GB: Well, in 95 we were still working on Duke Nukem 3D, and so it was pretty hectic, just trying to get that game finished and basically trying to move from being a shareware developer doing smaller games to doing more large-scale games to try to get into the retail space. And then obviously, Duke went out and did really, really well in 96, and we were all really happy with the results from that. We started looking at wanting to expand a little bit and start another team, and that's kind of how we started building the Prey team.

1UP: So when you see what Human Head's doing with it now, does it really capture what you guys envisioned back then [in 1995]? What it's like comparing today's portals to 10 years ago's portals?

GB: It's pretty close; it's fundamentally the same stuff. We're all surprised that no one else really took that direction, because they're not really technically that hard to do. I know they got a lot of press from being like a whiz-bang cool thing back then, but technically, they just weren't too difficult to do, and there are some neat gameplay things you can do with it. But really, Human Head is pretty much just carrying on the torch and doing almost exactly what we were doing back then, and then expanding it into other areas with wall-walking and spirit walk and those kind of new things.

1UP: What kind of - so tell me about, like, what kind of feelings were you guys having when it actually started to come together, you're like: "Wow, we're going to bring Prey back"?

GB: It was a pretty fun time. We also were really close with the id guys through our past relationships, and that let us get the Doom 3 engine really, really early. I think we got it just a couple or three weeks after Raven did.

This interview also has an audio file of George, so you can listen to the interview and hear George speak it in addition to reading it on the page. All of this goodness is available on the 1up site here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:54 PM


January 30, 2006

The Future is Now: 5 Days of Prey Coverage

Prey coverage is starting to kick into high gear now, and with it comes this excellent series from Gaming news site 1Up. They will be having a Prey update daily this week, starting on January 30th and running through February 3rd. Each day will feature a different topic; the list of topics they're covering are:

  • Monday: Backtracking through a decade of development.
  • Tuesday: Straight from our George Broussard interview.
  • Wednesday: Portal tech in the Doom 3 engine.
  • Thursday: In-depth with the story of a reluctant hero.
  • Friday: Exclusive hands-on with multiplayer Prey.

Today, the series kicks off with Part I, entitled Fell on Black Days: Backtracking through a decade of development. This first part deals with the history of the project, going all the way back to its earliest incarnation in 1995. It talks a lot about the start of the project, both with Tom Hall & Paul Schuytema's time as project leads, and the brief attempt at the project when Corinne Yu was here, leading up the the shelving of the project for a long time before Human Head came into the picture.

Additionally, each day they're including some sort of media to go with the day's article. The media with today's article is the Prey trailer from back in 1997. You're definitely going to want to keep an eye out on this series all week, you can do so at http://prey.1up.com.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:27 PM


January 27, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #3

Hi and welcome to the third entry in the Prey Weekly Update series. This entry will be a little different than the ones that preceeded it. This will detail some of my experiences on the press trip for Prey this past week via a couple of journal entries I made during the week - it got pretty hectic there, so there isn't a report every day, but I think most everything got covered. Enjoy!

Jan 23rd, 11 PM

Well, I arrived in Los Angeles this morning to a very welcome climate change. It's damn cold in Wisconsin (although, it has been an unseasonably warm winter. Still, it was like 20 degrees when I left). A lot of driving today. LA is too damn huge. I'd assume lots more driving tomorrow, too.

Today was a fairly busy day of demoing. The first few demos are always the most chaotic as it takes a couple of demos to get into the groove. I usually elicit enough feedback from the first few demos to shape the demos for the rest of the trip.

Today was also the first time that someone not working on the game (or testing for us) has played the multiplayer. Very cool to see people’s reactions to the gameplay in MultiPrey. They picked up the mechanics of the game very quickly - I had expected them to take longer to understand wallwalk and gravity flipping, but they were running around the levels like champs within just a few minutes.

Jan 24th, 11:30 PM

Another long day today. Didn’t have as many demos today (although I looked at the schedule and the next two days are going to be action-packed when I get to San Francisco).

Two demos this morning, which went very smoothly. The game pretty much shows it self off now. The levels are so packed full of stuff that it’s really easy to simply walk through the game and point out all the features that set Prey apart.

I was a guest on Attack of the Show today. While I haven’t yet seen the footage of the episode, it felt like it went well. We showed some live footage of the game being played as well as some footage of multiplayer in action. If I had to complain, I would only say that the segment went really fast - I wish I had more time to talk about the game!

Overall, a good experience. Big thanks to everyone involved in the show. I look forward to seeing the footage of the episode.

Flew into San Francisco today. This part of the tour is slightly different in that the journalists will be visiting us in our hotel suite. So, tomorrow morning we need to set up the machines and get everything ready.

Jan 27th, 7 AM

Set-up yesterday morning took a bit longer than we expected as we ran into some issues with a couple of the machines. Unfortunate, but that meant that we had fewer systems for the multiplayer demo than previously expected.

The demo consisted of three parts: We showed a portion of the single-player game, showed a short bit of the 360 version in action, and then a hand-on demo of Prey multiplayer deathmatch.

Nearly all the features in singleplayer (wallwalking, gravity flipping, spiritwalking, the vehicle, etc) show up in multiplayer. When designing the maps, we ran into issues where the levels became really dense and chaotic due to all of these gameplay elements. Eventually, we decided to selectively emphasis elements in each map. So, for instance, we have maps that focus on wallwalking and other maps that focus on flying around in vehicles.

We showed the journalists three of the multiplayer maps, each based around different Prey gameplay: wallwalking, gravity flipping, and spherical gravity (where the combat takes place on giant spheres). Lots of swearing and smack-talk around the table. Again, very interesting to see how quickly they picked up on the design of the maps and the mechanics of the gameplay.

Overall it was a great time, and we managed to pack in a lot of demos in a short period of time.

Now, I’m looking forward to going home and getting back to work!

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Software




Level Designer Dave Halsted hard at work with the Preditor.



Sound Lead Ed Lima working on the copious amounts of audio for the game.


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:58 AM


January 23, 2006

Prey to be on G4's Attack of the Show

As was mentioned in last Friday's Prey Weekly Update, Chris Rhinehart will be on G4's "Attack of the Show" with Prey. Well, as promised, we have some scheduling information for that. According to the G4 website, the episode will air tomorrow, January 24th at 7PMET/PT here in the US. Here's some info from G4's website on this specific episode (which also gives some repeat episode times as well).

Filmmaker Cory Welles, director of The Story of the Original Cannonball Run, drives in, and Chris Rhinehart from Human Head Studios swings by to demo the game Prey on the PC. Plus, Chris Gore's got DVDuesday, Wil O'Neal's bringd the Homeboy Network, and don't forget It Came from eBay!

Make sure and tune in to catch Chris on the show. We do not have specific information as to what time he will be on, but make sure and check it out to see some new Prey goodness.

Attack of the Show

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:10 PM


January 20, 2006

Prey Weekly Development Update #2

Welcome to the second edition of the Prey Weekly Development Update. Last week, we talked about the history of the game. This week we're talking about some cool stuff going on with the game and here at Human Head. Lots to discuss, so let's get to it:

Head Trips: Prey Press Tour

Next week, a whirlwind press tour is planned for Prey. It's divided into two phases: American press and European Press. I'm headed to Los Angeles and San Francisco next week for the American press, and Tim Gerritsen is flying to Europe for the (surprise) European side of things. Both print and online press will be there - too many to list here (plus I wouldn't want to miss anyone and have them punch me in the neck when they see me in person).

The press will have the chance to see about 30 minutes of single-player action. For this demo, we're focusing on the earlier portions of the game - letting them see how the game ramps up in combat, puzzles, and the player's abilities.


After the single-player portion, we're going to play some MultiPrey deathmatch to give them a feel for that side of the game. We've picked out three maps for them to play - one that focuses on wallwalking, one that focuses on gravity flipping, and one that is all about spherical gravity (fighting on small planetoids). I'm looking forward to their reactions as those elements can be confusing at first, but most of our in-house testers have picked them up quickly.

The multiplayer has really come together - the weapons feel very balanced and nearly all the gameplay from the single player is available in multiplayer: spiritwalking, gravity flip, vehicles, and so forth. The only major gameplay element not in multiplayer is DeathWalk - and that was removed because it was more fun to simply respawn quickly so you can exact revenge upon the chump who killed you.

Also, I'm going to be a guest on Attack of the Show (airing on G4) next week. We'll be discussing Prey and will also probably show off some brief clips of the single player in action. Watch for it!

Deep Inside the Human Head:

This has been an especially busy week here at Human Head. Here's a brief peek into each department's recent tasks:

Programming: The programmers have been cranking on bug fixing, optimization, and working with things such as the installer and localization files (which are essentially a large file containing all the text in the game which is then translated into other languages).

Also, AMD was here helping out with game optimization for a few days this week. Big thanks to them for their help.

Here is this week's NASTY BUG OF THE WEEK*: Occasionally while playtesting multiplayer, the whole game would grind down to a halt for a few seconds before going back to normal. Crack programmer Rich Whitehouse tracked this down to an issue where one of our weapons (the three-legged crawler grenade) was causing some serious issues when it was thrown onto a switch that controls the direction of gravity.

* note that nasty bug of the week is not actually a weekly feature.

Level Designers and Level Scripters: The level designers and the scripters have also been very busy fixing bugs and tweaking parts of the levels. The tweaks range from simple lighting/texture tweaks to larger script tasks such as an ammo respawn system for boss battles.

The level designers were also charged with the task of taking single-player screenshots for the press tour next week. Screenshots are a difficult beast, because it's very tough to convey how cool the environment and creatures feel in motion just from a single static shot. As such, the designers spend hours in the game taking tons of shots - of which maybe 2 or 3 are up to the quality we want. Even though it seems like it should be simple, it's actually a very difficult job (and probably the bane of their existence).

Sound: The sound department has been working on last minute sound integrations and tweaks. Sound in games is similar to sound in movies; many sounds simply can't be done until really late in the project. Now that things such as animations and scripted sequences are getting finalized, the sound designers can go through and tweak everything without fear of having to redo work if the puzzle changes.

We've also received music from Jeremy Soule and we're integrating it into the game. We may show some progress of this sometime soon as it's very interesting to see how music changes the feel of the game and really brings out the mood in certain sequences.

Artists: The artists are still transitioning from art creation to playtesting. There's still a good chunk of art being finalized and tweaked. Despite that, many of the artists are spending their time playing through the game, looking for bugs, and giving feedback on the game balance.

Animation: The animators are reviewing all of the motion capture data we received from Red Eye, and are implementing it into the game and critiquing it and sending back the files we want updated.

So, to summarize: Tweak, polish, bug fix, repeat until When it's Done.

Well, that's it for now. Next week I'll be updating from the road (as I'll still be in San Francisco). I'll definitely be talking about my experiences on the press tour, maybe talking a bit more about the music in Prey, and a few other interesting things we haven't mentioned here yet.

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Software




Here is scripter Mike Flynn showing level designer Jason O'Connell a bug with one of the maps.


Click the screenshot to watch Prey in action on the videos page!


Additionally, if you are a gaming news website, and wish to be updated directly with notification of these updates, please email us with a link to your website and a request to be added, and we'll email you with the next update.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:11 PM


January 13, 2006

Prey Weekly Update #1

Welcome to the first installment of the Prey Weekly Update! We'll be updating this every week with juicy information about Prey and about the development behind the game. We'll be talking about anything interesting that's happened over the past week -- whether it is some new cool feature we've put into the game, or a milestone that has been reached. We're also planning some cool special features, talking about some cool highlights during the game's development. Hey, and you might even hear some interesting news about DNF from me, but probably not. :)

First, a brief history of the game since Human Head has been working on it. For a full history of Prey, check out Lon Matero's excellent Prey history page here.

Human Head started working on Prey in May 2001. We had recently finished Rune and were looking for our next project. George and Scott from 3D Realms enjoyed Rune quite a bit, and wanted to work with us on something. Prey seemed like an interesting project to resurrect.

3DR was interested in maintaining a few key elements from the original Prey design, specifically the main character (although he underwent a name change) and some elements of the plot. They gave us the freedom to rework the weapons, creatures, and levels. So our initial tasks were working with 3DR on the story and brainstorming the various features of the game.

For years, we worked on implementing our design. We went through a lot of visual iterations on creatures and levels, reworking things and throwing things out until we achieved a look and level of quality that we were happy with.

The design underwent many changes as well - mostly being streamlined into simpler systems. For example, originally Tommy had seven different spirit powers that he would gain through the game. We were concerned that the powers wouldn't be fully used, so we simplified the design to a single power: SpiritWalk. Eliminating the other powers allowed us to concentrate more heavily on SpiritWalk, and also simplified the control of the game (since a single button is needed for SpiritWalk instead of an inventory system for multiple powers).

Fast forward to May of 2005. E3. Our first public unveiling of the game. PC Gamer released an exclusive story announcing Prey. The rumors flying around were finally validated.

At E3, we showed off a 12-minute video highlighting the new gameplay we implemented in Prey. Gearing up for E3 was quite an ordeal. We knew which areas we wanted to show and roughly how to show them. It was an incredible crunch getting things ready for the first public showing -- so many things needed visual and audio polish. The programmers were crunching to get the demo playback robust and optimized.

The demo worked by recording our control input, which was then used during a real-time playback of the game. As such, we had to have perfect recordings -- Mike Flynn and I spent hours upon hours recording sequences of the game. One of the sequences was recorded over 200 times before we finally got the one we wanted. It was worth it -- response from the E3 video was overwhelmingly positive.

Expect to see much more press and previews on Prey over the next few months, as we finally start to unveil more details about the game, including information on MultiPrey, and information about the Xbox 360 version.

So just what the hell has been going on lately at Human Head? Prey is completely playable from start to finish. The team has been crunching on bug fixing and optimization. The testers have been finding tons of little bugs here and there -- ranging from clipping issues to creatures not behaving correctly, to an incorrect piece of art. Those bugs are typical for this stage in the project and we're diving in to fix these problems.

We have a major press event coming up at the end of this month. I'll be flying out to L.A. and San Francisco to demo the game for several different magazines (both print and online). Some of them will probably even get some hands-on time with the game. Tim Gerritsen (Human Head Biz Guy and internal Prey Producer) is flying out to Europe to cover the press there. More information about whom we'll be seeing will be released in the next couple of weeks.

Despite this crunch, we found the time to wander out into the snowy wasteland here in Wisconsin a few weeks ago to snap this Prey team photo. Ladies, some of these guys are single, if you find any of these guys overly handsome just drop me a line and I'll set you up with them.

And, here are a few of the topics I'll be covering over the next few weeks in this weekly update series:

  • Voice Recording: Several months ago we recorded all the voice acting in the game. I'll be talking about the process of voice acting, how it went for Prey and put up a bunch of behind-the-scenes pictures of the session, and maybe even put up a few audio samples of the session.
  • Motion Capture: Prey uses motion capture for many of the humans in the game, but not the monsters (If anyone knows how to motion-capture a giant four-legged half-alien monster, please let me know). This was the first time that Human Head had used motion capture in our projects, so I'll talk about that process, and a few of the things that went right and wrong.
  • Focus Testing: I'll take you behind the scenes on how we do our internal focus testing for both single and multiplayer.

Anyway. My Prey to-do list is still huge, so I need to get back to it. Until next week....

Chris Rhinehart - Prey Project Lead
Human Head Software

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:00 PM


January 12, 2006

Prey 360 Video on Xbox Magazine Disc

Official Xbox MagazineBack in mid november we brought you the news (here and here) of the appearance of the Prey for the Xbox 360 teaser trailer. That video has been available online for awhile now, but if you were one of the folks who missed it for one reason or another, you have a new medium to check it out in.

Hitting subscribers shelves now is the February 2006 issue of "The Official Xbox Magazine". Each month this magazine comes with a disc that contains playable demos, videos, and more for various Xbox games. Now that the 360 is out this disc is dual purposed, it contains Xbox 1 & Xbox 360 content. The February 2006 edition of the disc (which calls the video "gorgeous") has the trailer video for Prey 360 on it. If you already subscribe to this magazine, then you'll want to check it out when it hits your mailbox. If you don't subscribe, and you want to check it out, it should be on newsstands as well.

Or you can visit this link at Fileshack to downlad a copy for yourself.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:30 PM


January 12, 2006

Prey.com has been updated!

Short and sweet update about the Prey website.

http://www.prey.com has been updated. Previously it was a teaser site, but now it has a lot more to offer. It's got a great new look, so head on over and check it out!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 6:01 PM


January 10, 2006

Prey grinds those Gears

Prey is better than Gears of War? That's what IGN seems to think in their "2006 Predictions". IGN is referring of course to CliffyB's "Gears of War" due later this year for the Xbox 360, saying "Prey will steal Gears of War's glory in the end." Here's what IGN has to say about Prey in this article:

We've all seen the Gears of War coverage so far. It's almost impossible not to have, considering it has been shown at almost every major Microsoft event in the last year. In it, you guide Marcus Fenix across the planet Sera as he battles ferocious Locust swarms. While the game has proven to be visually stunning so far, we're not really sure about its gameplay mechanics. It's been frequently described as "stop and pop" gameplay, but what that precisely means or how it will prove unique is unclear. Basically each level seems to proceed with players advancing to a hostile area and taking cover behind cars and ruined structure while occasionally popping out and unleashing a few bullets. Does that really sound revolutionary?

While you're thinking about that, consider Human Head Studios and 3D Realms' Prey, a first person shooter with a few very interesting features. Prey lets you control Tommy, a Cherokee who's had his girlfriend stolen by a mysterious alien force. From what we've seen so far, the game takes place aboard the alien craft with a distinct biomechanical flavor. Much like in Gears of War, you'll face off against freakish alien creatures. Unlike Gears of War, you'll have a variety of unique ways to dispatch them. In many of the game's environments you'll have to grapple with changes in gravity, as well as an entire Spirit dimension you can enter to perform stealth kills and access otherwise blocked areas. Though it's a first-person shooter, Prey is far from mindless, and may in fact prove to be more entertaining and more innovative than Gears of War hopes to be.

That's pretty high praise, as Gears of War has been getting some good press. Head over to the IGN site to check out their entire 2006 predictions article today where they talk about other game possibilities such as Grand Theft Auto 4, Knights of the Old Republic 3, and more.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:09 PM


January 5, 2006

Prey to use PunkBuster Software

Today we're announcing that we've contracted with Even Balance to include PunkBuster software into Prey. Here's a short press release from the Even Balance website..

2K Games has contracted with Even Balance, Inc. to integrate PunkBuster Anti-Cheat software into the highly anticipated PREY, currently being developed by Human Head Studios and executive produced by 3D Realms. PunkBuster Anti-Cheat features will be available "out-of-the-box" with the retail release of the game.

PunkBuster is an anti-cheat software package which has many kinds of features. Here's some of the features of the software as shown on Even Balance's info page:


  • Real-time scanning of memory by PB Client on players' computers searching for known hacks/cheats
  • Throttled two-tiered background auto-update system using multiple Internet Master Servers to provide end-user security ensuring that no false or corrupted updates can be installed on players' computers
  • Frequent status reports (highly encrypted) are sent to the PB Server by all players and the PB Server raises a violation when necessary which causes the offending player to be removed from the game and all other players are informed of the violation
  • PB Admins can also manually remove players from the game for a specified number of minutes or permanently ban if desired
  • PB Servers can optionally be configured to randomly check player settings looking for known exploits of the game engine
  • PB Admins can request actual screenshot samples from specific players and/or can configure the PB Server to randomly grab screenshot samples from players during gameplay
  • An optional "bad name" facility is provided so that PB Admins can prevent players from using offensive player names containing unwanted profanity or racial slurs
  • Search functions are provided for PB Admins who wish to search player's keybindings and scripts for anything that may be known to exploit the game
  • The PunkBusterâ„¢ Player Power facility can be configured to allow players to self-administer game servers when the Server Administrator is not present entirely without the need for passwords
  • PB Servers have an optional built-in mini http web server interface that allows the game server to be remotely administered via a web browser from anywhere over the Internet

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:10 PM


December 23, 2005

Prey 360 Preview

We were just made aware of another Prey preview available online. This one is for the Xbox 360 version of Prey, and it's at the Game Daily website. Their review has a lot of nice things to say about the game, here's a couple of them:


  • It's the approach that'll grab a lot of gamers, and its presentation and features should very well keep them.
  • Humanhead Studios is making sure that the AI is at the top of its game when it comes to out-thinking and out-maneuvering you
  • It looks rather impressive, with detailed characters that seem to breathe all their own and stunning graphic detail throughout the levels.
  • Prey is looking to be a nice surprise for the 2006 Xbox 360 line-up.

If you're looking forward to Prey (or even if you're not), go check out the full preview today and read some of what awaits you.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 3:30 PM


November 29, 2005

Official Prey 360 Trailer Released

To follow up from the unofficial trailer we mentioned the other day we now have an official Prey trailer from 2K Games for you to download. Click on the screenshot below to head on over to Fileshack where you can download the official Prey for the Xbox 360 trailer.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:49 AM


November 18, 2005

Xbox 360 Prey Trailer out Monday

As most of you know, the Microsoft Xbox 360 console is being released in the United States on Tuesday. As has been previously announced, Prey will be released on that console (as well as on the PC). While the release date is still "When it's done", we do have something to look forward to that's a bit more concrete than "When it's done". :)

This coming Monday, the TV network G4 will be airing a 3.6 hour special about the release of the Xbox 360. They will be having live coverage from several locations around the US with several of their personalities such as Adam Sessler, Morgan Webb, Sarah Lane, and our old friend Geoff Keighley, as well as many others.

As part of their coverage, they will be having the world exclusive first look at Prey for the Xbox 360 in the form of an all new trailer.

Here's some text from G4 about the event:

It's an epic event: The launch of Xbox 360, Microsoft's next-generation video game system. G4 celebrates this milestone like no other network can with "Countdown to Xbox 360," a groundbreaking 3.6 hours of wall-to-wall coverage with live, up-to-the minute reports from Xbox 360 launch events across the country. Premiering Monday, November 21 at 9:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM PT, this unprecedented night of programming, hosted by G4's Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb, also delivers the ultimate buyer's guide with an in-depth look at the making of the 360 as well as reviews, tips and tricks for the first Xbox 360 games.

We're told that the Prey trailer is supposed to air between 10:45 and 11:15 PM Eastern / 7:45 and 8:15 PM Pacific. However, since this is a live special we can't guarantee a specific time, so you might want to tune into the whole program to make sure to catch it.

Click on the logo below to head to the G4 site for further information on this program, and make sure and look for the latest footage from Prey then!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:27 PM


November 14, 2005

Play Prey

We just today got final confirmation of an appearance of Prey on another game magazine. This one is Play Magazine, and is their December 2005 issue, which is due to hit subscribers' mailboxes this week, and newsstands the week after. They have much to say in this eight page cover spread, including more info about the game, some never before seen screenshots, concept art, and lots of other Prey goodness.

Here's a few quotes from the article.

"Prey's not just a first person shooter where you put the typical generic solider into a role, give him a gun and have him blast everything there is. There is progression to you as the character and you get to deeply play that part."

Regarding online maps, "You have to be aware of what's going on all around you," says Chris Rhinehart (project lead). "A guy could be running above you, could be right next to you on the wall, or you could be on the ceiling and drop in. We have some that focus more on spherical gravity stuff."

Dying doesn't really exist in Prey. "We're kind of sick of the whole save-crawl mentality. We just wanted to get rid of the whole dying thing. It totally takes you out of the immersion of the game."

The game is absolutely incredible to look at, packed with all kinds of scintillating effects, moody shadows, detailed shading, and giant chunks of all sorts of fascinating anachronistic technology.

The peek I've gotten so far would make any first person shooter fan wide-eyed with anticipation.

You're definitely going to want to check this one out when it hits newsstands in the next week or so. Hit your newsstand and look for the December 2005 issue of Play magazine!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:31 PM


August 10, 2005

I want my PreyTV!

Prey previews are turning up all over the place. Today's preview comes from MTV.com of all places, which tells you to "Start Preyin". Prey is currently the featured game in their "Peep Show" preview section, which leads off with this text:

Native American mysticism meets alien-abduction horror in Prey, the best looking first-person shooter to grace your Xbox 360 screen since, well, ever. Slip on the moccasins of Cherokee auto mechanic, Tommy, board an oozing, pulsing alien mothership, and give the evil scum a taste of the same medicine your brethren served Custer.

Their preview includes an exclusive trailer to the MTV site, as well as three other Prey videos. There's also some screenshots and concept art, as well as some text about the game.

Head on over to the MTV.com games site and check it out. It's currently the featured game on their Peep Show Section, if you read this after the story has been posted for a few days, you might need to manually select the game, look in the lower right hand corner of the screen for their "All Peep Shows" directory.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:49 PM


August 9, 2005

New Prey Preview at Gamespot

This morning brings us a very cool preview of Prey over at Gamespot. In their three page preview, they cover a lot of the game, from the various powers that lead character Tommy can achieve, to the world the game is played in, to how things seen in the E3 2005 video tie into the overall game. It's a very detailed preview, and definitely worth your time to read, even if you've checked out all the other Prey previews that have been posted online.

Here's some bits from the preview...

You'll also encounter alien technology that creates gravity fields on walls and ceilings, so you can expect to be running sideways and upside down while fighting off hostile alien life-forms so that you can rescue the girl and get back home (or whatever is left of home).

Considering that the game is being developed with production assistance from Duke Nukem creator 3D Realms, you may not be surprised to hear that it will have fully interactive environments.

You'll find yourself in situations that recall artist M.C. Escher's infamous painting Relativity (a study in geometry that depicts people walking up and down stairways on the walls and ceilings of a house), just with more upside-down aliens shooting at you.

Tommy will need just about every tool at his disposal to make his way through the ship safely, since he'll be up against a great variety of alien enemies, and not just possessed 8-year-olds, but also gun-toting grunts, cowardly soldier aliens that carry energy shields, and even huge, humanoid monstrosities that cause the ground to shake with a single step.

Prey's single-player game should offer innovative gameplay, a comprehensive story and characters, and cutting-edge Doom III engine graphics.

Gamespot also has five new screenshots scattered throughout the pages of the preview. But one of the bigger bonuses here is a video interview with both Tim Gerritsen & Chris Rhinehart of Human Head where they talk about Prey directly - so you can hear it straight from the developer's mouths!

This is an extremely good preview, and definitely worth your time. You can check it out over at Gamespot here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:15 AM


August 5, 2005

New Prey Stuff Available

We've got links for you to some new Prey materials.

First up, 2K Games has released three new Prey Screenshots, check 'em out here.

Second is an interview with Chris Rhinehart (project lead on Prey) over at 'Next Generation'. Chris talks about things as the legacy of the early development of the title back in the mid-late 90's, as well as current design elements. He also talks about current development tools, and some specific issues relating to how Tommy interacts with the environment. Check out the full interview here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:55 AM


August 1, 2005

New Prey Preview Available

This afternoon brings us the news of a new Prey preview that's available now. If you check out the September 2005 issue of Computer Gaming World, they have a big 4 page spread on Prey. There's plenty of goodness in this article, including tidbits from our own Scott Miller & George Broussard, as well as from Chris Rhinehart & Tim Gerritson of HumanHead.

There's plenty of text to read about the game, there's some screenshots as well as conceptual art, and a breaktown of the gameplay when you die in the game (the Spirit Realm). There's a description of some action in the game which gives you some insight into the bar scene at the start of the recent E3 Prey floor video. There's even some quotes from CGW about their preview of Prey back in the June 1997 issue of their magazine. :) But the focus here is the gameplay, how it looks... awww, let's just get to the quotes..

"The jaded cynic inside has ben quieted." -- CGW

"The script certainly shows lots of promise for what lies ahead, but there are a number of innovations that are equally, if not more, important to Prey." -- CGW

"I think we've mostly achieved our goal of making a tragic love story within the FP genre, one that players will care about. This was not a part of the original design for Prey." -- Scott Miller

"Evertyhing has a very biomechanical feel. Items are grated onto each other -- organic membranes serve as "sphinc-doors", and alien monsters sprout firearms" -- CGW

You're going to want to go to your newsstands to check out this preview, as it isn't online. You want the September 2005 issue of Computer Gaming World, the cover of which can be shown here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:58 PM


June 6, 2005

Prey Wins Awards!

The reception to the Prey footage that's been making the rounds recently has been fantastic. Folks are loving it! But that's not all - people who are handing out E3 awards have been loving Prey, too. We've got two awards Prey has won from the recent E3 show.

First is Game Revolutions' "Best Comeback" award. GR had this to say about Prey..

"Prey somehow managed to escape its vaporware destiny thanks to the crew at Human Head studios, who managed to bring it back to life and dress it in all kinds of new, groovy effects. Frankly, it was the coolest first-person shooter at the show."

Second we have the "Best Shooter" award from Games Domain. Here's what GD had to say about Prey..

Back (quite literally) from the dead, this 3D Realms shooter was cancelled in the '90s. What we saw at E3, though, was most definitely a game of 2005. Or possibly 2006. Shooters with realistic physics are ten a penny these days, but Prey deliberately twists and subverts the law of gravity to produce environments that aren't like anything else we've ever seen.

If you haven't already done so, check out the Official Prey video footage released last Friday to catch your glimpse of this award winning title!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:28 PM


June 3, 2005

Official Prey Video Now Available!

The past week or so has brought plenty of Prey coverage, and one thing people have asked for is an official release of the video that was shown at E3. Well, today we're here to bring you that. Available now for your download is the 11.5 minute video that was shown at the 2005 E3 show. It's available in a couple of formats. First is the traditional downloadable file. This 184Mb video download is available from these places right now.

* Fileshack
* Fileplanet
* 3D Gamers
* Filefront
* Worth Downloading

Are you tired of waiting in line at some download sites for your file? Then you might want to check this option out - you can also get the video from Game xStream. This system which was recently announced as being the official online distribution system for Prey also has the video available for you to watch in a streaming format, and no waiting in line. :) If you sign up now, you'll get the files for free. You'll definitely want to check that out if you haven't done so already.



Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:00 PM


May 23, 2005

Prey Video Footage Available

While Human Head or 3D Realms has not released official Prey video, there is some out there for you guys to check out over at preyhq.com. First is a copy of the Fileshack HD Prey video, which clocks in at 1:21.

Second, and is the video you definitely don't want to miss is their "Shaky Cam" version of Prey. This one is about eleven minutes long, and contains much Prey goodness, including lots of gameplay footage.



You definitely want to check 'em both out over at preyhq.com right now if you haven't already done so.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:45 AM


May 23, 2005

Monday Morning Prey

We have another good Prey E3 review to bring you this morning. This time it's from Gamecloud, and they had this to say about the game...

"Prey was a pleasant surprise; a first person shooter that trying to do some different things such as the portal features, a strong story and some great looking graphics. 3D Realms and Human Head presented an E3 demo that was much more than a tech showcase and we hope that means we will see Prey in stores soon"

Make sure and check out all of what they have to say here.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 10:43 AM


May 20, 2005

More Prey E3 Coverage

We have another Prey E3 preview this afternoon. Today's comes from Games Radar, who say "sitting in a confined space with sweating men has never been so pleasurable.." Here's some of what they said about the actual game.. :)

The game is Prey, and watching the trailer is a genuinely mind-blowing experience - it looks unbelievably potent both in terms of technical ability and tantalising game play mechanics.

It's hard to describe just how staggering Prey looks, so we're not even going to bother trying - just believe us when we say that it's so far out if this world that it's cosmic.

Prey looks absolutely awesome.


Posted by Joe Siegler at 4:08 PM


May 19, 2005

More Prey E3 Coverage

More folks have seen the Prey demo running at E3, and have chimed in with some comments. This afternoon's batch comes from:

Shacknews: In their review, Shacknews says that Prey "..appears poised to be an impressive and successful PC and Xbox 360 title." Here's some more of what they had to say:

Those worried about the loss of Portal Technology need to fear not. During the demo, a door-shaped structure rose from out of the floor. It showed a completely another room with a huge beast walking past. Jumping through it, you drop in front of the goliath and are quickly under fire. The entire transition was seamless and incredibly slick.

The demo also showed what happens when killed in combat. The character's body becomes suspended in a sort of spirit world in a setting very similar to that of World of Warcraft when dead; the environment is dark and foggy with other threatening spirits running about. While in this world, killing creatures with the bow and arrow rejuvenates your corpse and after a few kills, you're back in the think of the action.

Gamespy: Gamespy had this to say about Prey in their review.. "Prey seems to have the potential to distinguish itself from the crowd of other shooters." Here's some more...

The portals also served as gateways to various parts of the game world, with creatures able to run back and forth between them, with gravity and perspective sometimes switching drastically from one side to another.

The highlight of the gravity tech demo was a tiny spherical planetoid floating inside a massive chamber. The player ran around the surface of the planetoid, the curved surface of which defined the ground.

IGN Impressions: IGN had a glowing review of the E3 demo they saw. Here's a bunch of what they said...

The biggest surprise of the day, which might be the only real surprise considering how this show is going so far, is that Prey was a whole lot cooler than I had anticipated. It makes awesome use of the DOOM 3 engine and creates some truly unique environments.

The demo was really just full of moments that made me say "wow"

Perhaps the moment where Tommy walked past a portal in space only to see a gigantic creature on the other side, entered and angered the beast only to have it freak out and shoot two high powered machine guns at him also deserves some recognition. Not only was the monster pretty freaking big and detailed, but it also seemed to have some pretty decent AI, dodging and attacking the entire time. AI in general seemed more complex than DOOM 3 as well.

Finally we have this image. It's part of a gigantic banner that's hanging in the lobby of the show (aka the LA Convention Center). Anyone wanting to enter E3 will see this, and if you click on this small thumbnail, you'll see a larger image. This same poster was also featured on the Tuesday night edition of G4TV's E3 coverage.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 2:03 PM


May 18, 2005

Prey E3 Coverage

The annual sensory overload that is E3 is in full swing. There's some good Prey news coming out of Los Angeles, so let's get right to it.

Hi-Res Screenshots: Voodoo Extreme@IGN has some hi-res screenshots available. Some appeared in the PC Gamer article, some haven't. Either way, there's some screenshot goodness over there at VE. Check it out.

Concept Art: If concept art is your thing, then you definitely want to check out this link over at IGN. They have some tasty concept sketches and art for you, as well as some more screenshots!

E3 Live Videocast: Gamespot has some good info on Prey, as well as Remedy's new title, Alan Wake in their E3 coverage. Check it out - it's the 11AM Wednesday videocast.

Gamespot E3 Review: Gamespot also has a really good review of the game after having seen the Prey demo at the ATI booth. Here's a few samples from the full review, which has plenty of detail on the game.

The weapons are just part of Prey's unusual design. What's really wild about the game is how it uses direction, gravity, and portals to surprise you, disorient you, and impress you.

Some other really crazy levels featured sensors that could be shot to cause the level to literally turn upside down.

We came away from the Prey demo quite impressed with what was shown.

We'll have more as we get it.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 8:40 PM


May 12, 2005

Prey Q&A

The reaction to the Prey announcement in late April has been really good! Of course, when you announce something, the first thing people want is more information, so we're here to let you know about some. Over at Gamespot is a Prey article that is part of their E3 coverage. They talk three guys behind the scenes of Prey. They are our own Scott Miller, and Chris Rhinehart (project lead), and Timothy Gerritsen (CEO) of Human Head. They talk about a number of topics. Some of them include why Prey was revived, why 3D Realms chose to work with Human Head on the title, what some of the game character elements are, and of course, "portals" (amongst other topics). Here's a sample:

GS: What can you tell us about the plans for Prey's multiplayer, if any? Could you discuss what modes, or any other unique features, are planned for multiplayer?

TG and CR: The focus of the game is on the single-player experience. However, we've included a multiplayer component that focuses on showcasing the environmental and gameplay features introduced in the single-player game. We'll be introducing these features and how they are used in multiplayer as we get closer to release.

GS: And hopefully this next question isn't too presumptuous. But why was Human Head Studios chosen as the developer for Prey?

SM: George [Broussard] and I met the Human Head crew when we were both making games for Gathering of Developers in the late '90s. We were impressed by their game Rune, and we developed a friendship with several of their key people. The second coming of Prey actually began at the very tail end of Gathering's existence, just after Human Head had wrapped up Rune and was looking for a new project. George and I were convinced they were the best team for this project because of their own creative capabilities.

If you're interested in Prey, it's a good interview, so head over to Gamespot and check it out! As an added bonus, there's a couple of screenshots in the article, too. :)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:02 AM


April 26, 2005

Prey Announced

Rumors and teaser sites have been up for awhile, but today 2K Games published a press release for the game; here's a few quotes from the full press release:

"The initial concept for Prey had been incubating for a while, waiting for the right opportunity to come along," said George Broussard, President of 3D Realms. "We jumped at the chance to create this game with a talented developer like Human Head Studios and next-generation technology like the Doom 3 engine." Scott Miller, CEO of 3D Realms, added, "Prey is special for many reasons, including several new and original gameplay features and a tightly integrated story that packs an emotional punch, unlike other first person shooters."

"Our collaboration with 3D Realms has been enormously rewarding," added Timothy Gerritsen, CEO of Human Head Studios. With their help, Prey is sure to breathe new life into the first person shooter genre with a compelling story, innovative gameplay mechanics and dazzling imagery, which is powered by our significantly enhanced version of id Software's original Doom 3 engine."

There's a new area set aside for Prey talk on our forums, you can visit that area here and chat about the game with 3D Realms & Human Head staff. We'll have more details on the game later, but if you want to learn about the game, make sure and head to your newsstands and check out the June 2005 copy of PC Gamer magazine!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 5:20 PM


April 29, 1999

Rumor Control on Duke Nukem Forever & Prey

Several rumours have popped up today in regards to Duke Nukem Forever & Prey. Here is some text taken from George Broussard's .plan file about these issues. Have a read...

I'll make this brief because we're busy working and don't have time for silly rumor distractions.

FACT: Duke Nukem Forever will NOT be shown at E3 in any capacity, by OUR choice. We have decided to stay focused and work through E3, and not let the distractions of a trade show dictate "when it's done". GT fully supports our decision and should be applauded for it. Duke Nukem: Zero Hour (N64) will be the Duke Nukem focus and man, let me tell you what, it rocks! We've been testing and tweaking it for 2 months and I see a million seller there.

FACT: GT has not "dropped, cancelled, pulled support, or poo-poo'ed" any part of Prey. They have always been supportive of our products.

FACT: Prey has had it's problems, but this is not news to anyone. We're designing a new engine (announced late last year when we hired Corrinne Yu). We parted ways with two key Prey developers last November (lead coder and project leader). These moves were made because we weren't happy with the tech in Prey. This is all old news. While new tech is being developed all content developers in the company are busy on Duke Nukem Forever. We didn't think this was such big news, but apparently we should have called 60 Minutes? ; )

NOTE TO OUR FANS: We'll update everyone on Prey when the time is right. But, if anyone is anticipating Prey anytime soon, you shouldn't be. We thought it was obvious that this game was a long way off, since we're creating a new engine. We probably should have been a little more clear about that and we apologize. Meanwhile, our sleeves are rolled up and we're all busy making one of the coolest games you've ever seen (DNF).

COMMUNITY NOTE: Seems to me that today's rumors were fairly inaccurate and something to take into account in the future. It'd sure be nice if "respectable" web sites would email us for clarification FIRST before posting wild claims from known rumor sites.

Jason "loonyboi" Bergman (http://www.loonygames.com)
Billy "wicked" Wilson (http://www.voodooextreme.com)
David Laprad (http://www.avault.com)
Jason Bates (http://pc.ign.com/)

Kudos to kick ass web guys above for emailing us about the facts BEFORE posting anything. Responsible journalism at it's finest.

We're going back to work now.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


November 12, 1998

3D Realms Makes Gamecenter's Top 10 List - 6 Times!

GameCenter has been around for two years and decided to rank their top ten feature stories of more than 2000 total. Six of those features included 3D Realms!

* Best Feature #9: Prey was one of the games ranked in a feature titled, "The Magnificent 7."
* Best Feature #8: Wolfenstein 3-D is ranked number three is a feature titled, "The Hall of Game Innovation."
* Best Feature #6: Duke Nukem 3D was matched against Quake in another major feature, with Duke winning in the areas of weapons, deathmatching and interface.
* Best Feature #4: The original Duke Nukem ranked number five in a feature titled, "The Top 10 Downloads of All Time."
* Best Feature #2: In a feature titled "Separated at Birth," Duke Nukem and Tom Jones are compared with shocking results. GameCenter rates this feature as maybe "the funniest story GameCenter has ever published."
* Best Feature #1: This probing feature on "Sex in Games" also references Duke Nukem a time or two!

This is a really fun set of stories, some of which you might have missed. You can also vote for your favorite feature. At the time of this writing the top four features leading the voting all include Apogee/3D Realms games.
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Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


September 8, 1998

3D Realms at ECTS

A lot has happened over the US Labor Day Weekend, and we're back in gear to let you know what's going on. First up is coverage of the 1998 ECTS Show (That's the UK equivalent of E3). There's been several previews and comments about our titles there, so here's what we've found...

1. Max Payne Preview - Set in contemporary New York, the game will not draw upon science-fiction elements for its weapons array. Instead, each gun has a real-world equivalent. While this may not be so revolutionary, the modeling of the weapons is. Max Payne will feature a 3D particle-based system, so that muzzle flashes are both randomized and ultrarealistic.
2. Duke Nukem: Time to Kill Preview - Move over Lara Croft, Duke's coming to get a piece of your third person action.
3. Duke Nukem Forever Preview - The two chaps charged with keeping the laughs � John St John and George Broussard - have plenty of source material. Ideas being kicked around include a visit out in the desert to a place called Slick Willy's - where rooms will be called Paula Jones or Monika Lewinsky. Vocal jokes will abound too as the ever cynical Duke "Borrows some guy's ass..." to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
4. Prey Preview - Prey is widely touted as the true next generation in first-person shoot 'em-ups, with a powerful, original engine, advanced geometry and mind-bending potential for interactivity. Its 3D engine adopts a new system known as Portal Technology, which allows a full six degrees of freedom in a very, very smooth environment.

Also, the Max Payne Preview has a couple of screenshots, make sure to check them out, too. All four of these links come from Gamespot UK, a European Gaming News site. Thanks to 3D Portal for the link info.
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Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


August 27, 1998

Quake II Killers

The premier issue of PC Accelerator (http://pcxl.ign.com/) just arrived, with a feature story titled, "Quake II Killers." Five Q2 Killers were chosen and scored (in parenthesis): Duke Nukem Forever (51), Prey (50), Half-Life (47), Daikatana (47), and Sin (46).

For Prey, PCXL wrote: "Portal technology is the hot, upcoming technology, and Prey kicked that off. From what we've seen [it's] truly the next step in 3D gaming. The realistic environments and complete interaction with them create a virtual world unlike any other we've seen."

Just missing the the cut for the top 5 "Q2 Killers" was Max Payne. PCXL commented: "A high action quotient working within the story-powered framework. Max has a real purpose. A murdered boss and slaughtered family provide a backbone for many twists and turns."

Also in this issue we find a fun, original article called, "The 25 Greatest Guy Games." What's the greatest manly game of all time? Need we state the obvious?! Hail to the king, baby! Duke Nukem scores another victory. Says PCXL, "No game can even come close to this near-flawless combination of all things we cherish...Drinking, sex, violence, and expletive-loaded one-liners."

This issue is out on the newsstands now - make sure to pick up a copy of it today!

UPDATE: More from the premiere issue of PC Accelerator: On page 121, in their "X-TRA" department, there's a top 10 list entitled The Power Meter, which shows the editor's choices for the most notable companies in the PC game industry. We're surprised and pleased that 3D Realms tops the list! The issue states: "With Prey, Duke Nukem Forever, and Max Payne stealing the show at this year's E3, 3D Realms established itself as the one to beat in 3D gaming."

Also on the list, Epic MegaGames takes #2, GT Interactive grabs #4, and id Software nails down #9.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


August 21, 1998

CNN-gines

CNN's web site has an article online entitled The Game Engines of the Not Too Distant Future. In this article, they talk about our Duke Nukem Forever game using the Unreal engine as well as our Prey Technology and game (However, they seem to have missed Remedy and Max Payne). A quote from the article:

Despite using the Unreal engine for Duke Nukem Forever (see below), 3D Realms has different plans for Prey, the story of a 27-year-old Apache who�s abducted to a massive alien mothership and must fight his way home. The Portal Engine is 3D Realms� bet on the future (excepting Duke Forever, it�ll encompass the next four games beyond Prey) and is scalable to take advantage of the next two upgrades in CPUs from Intel: Katmai and IA-64.

Thanks to Blue for the link as well as the total shameless rip-off of his rather funny news headline. :)

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


August 18, 1998

PC Games Spooges

The September 1998 issue of PC Games Magazine is on the stands. There is some spooging going on over there about our games, and what we have planned. Here's a sample of what they have to say (make sure to go get the magazine yourself on the newsstands):

1. "The Engines of 99" Article (Pg. 29) - They speak highly of both our Prey technology, as well as the switch from Quake II tech to Unreal tech for Duke Nukem Forever.
2. "State of the Game" Article (Pg. 62) - They talk about Duke Nukem Forever, Max Payne, & Prey (incorrectly listing it as a game done by another company).
3. "Stunners & Bummers" Article (Pg. 77) - They spooge about Duke Nukem Forever and what they saw at E3 '98.

Here's some quotes from the various articles they have about us:

1. (About Prey) - The wait's been long, but it looks like it will be worth it.
2. (About Max Payne) - This game doesn't have aliens; it has bad mobsters, crooked cops, grungy NY alleys and sparkling high-rises, modeled guns that behave and sound as they should, excellent lighting effects, and cool comic book style cut scenes.
3. Party on, 3D Realms. I'll admit that the DNF I saw at E3 won't exactly be what I see out of the box, thanks to an engine change from the Quake II engine to the Unreal engine. But I believe. I'm a sucker for big bosses, big weapons, and big hooters. What stunned me was the new stuff, like any character/player being able to pick up and use any weapon and interact with any model, and face animations with true lip-syncing. Oh, and the amazing built-in mods such as "spread the disease" and a variation on "kill the guy with the ball".

Plus much more. Make sure to check out the magazine at your newsstands. They also have our E3 floor video for Duke Nukem Forever on the companion CD-ROM with the magazine. You can also download the video (as well as the Max Payne and Prey videos) from our master download page.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


July 13, 1998

More E3 Commentary

The August issue of Next Generation magazine has an E3 wrap-up report, and they list what they consider to be the 15 most promising games (across all platforms, not just PC games). Two 3D Realms' games made the list: Max Payne and Prey.

For Max Payne, they say: "Hard-hitting action, a fast engine, and tons of 3D Realms' trademark attitude." (Note: Remedy Entertainment is the game's primary developer, with 3D Realms acting as a secondary co-developer.)

For Prey, they wrote: "Prey has come out on top. Featuring 3D Realms' new portal-based engine, spectacular lighting effects, and a story that actually matters."

Duke Nukem Forever didn't get mentioned. Duke is not happy.
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Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


June 26, 1998

3D Realms Makes CGW's BEST 20 E3 GAMES - TWICE!

Computer Gaming World, in their just-out August issue, lists the 20 best games their editors saw at the recent E3 show in Atlanta. Both of 3D Realms' in-house games made their list. CGW wrote for Duke Nukem Forever, "The trademark interactivity and attitude are in evidence, along with James Bond-style action sequences and a female companion--aptly named Bombshell." For Prey, CGW wrote, "Prey seems to have it all: a cool character, a great story, and an amazing 3D engine capable of creating mind-bending environments." Be sure to check out this great new issue of CGW.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


June 9, 1998

The E3D Realms Report

3D Realms has been nominated in several categories of the UGO Best of E3 Show awards. These awards are given out on June 22nd, but in the meantime, here's a list of what we're nominated for..

1. Most Promising New Game - Prey (Awarded to a title not part of an existing franchise)
2. Best PC Game - Duke Nukem Forever
3. Best Action Game - Duke Nukem Forever
4. Best Action Game - Prey

In other awards news, The All Games Network has handed out their awards from E3, and this is what we won:

1. Best Action Game - Prey
2. Most Anticipated Game - Duke Nukem Forever
3. Titles to Watch - Max Payne

In Photo Archive news, I've placed 20 more pictures online. That brings it to a total of 80 regular shots, and 70 Booth Babe shots. I'm probably about halfway done with the regular shots - I hope to have them all online before the end of the week.

UPDATE @ 7PM: 20 more pictures put online! That's a total of 100 now. I've got about 40 left to go.
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Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


June 5, 1998

The E3D Realms Report

PC Gaming.com has placed two reviews of our games online. The two games covered by them are Max Payne and Prey. Make sure to check out what they have to say about our games. PC Gaming had this to say about Prey:

* This game (Prey) is so awesome that it�s not a Quake Killer, it�s not an Unreal Killer, but an industry killer. Nothing even comes close.

They had this to say about Max Payne:

* They'll get my money when it comes out, as they make a great game.
* Max Payne was one of the top titles at E3. Nuff Said.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


June 4, 1998

The E3D Realms Report

UPDATE (5:00PM): OGR has given out their E3 "Best of Show" awards. Among the awards were:

1. Game of Show (Runner Up): Max Payne
2. Most Promising First Person Shooter - Prey
3. Most Promising Action Game - Max Payne
4. Most Promising Software Technology (Runner Up): Prey

They also ran a separate "Best 25 Games of the show", and all three 3D Realms PC Games (Duke Nukem Forever, Max Payne, & Prey) all placed. Click on any of the links here to see what OGR had to say about the games.

Also, we have more shots of Lara Croft! That's right, more Booth Babe shots! (I thought I was done). The first two were given to me by Onethumb from Ritual Software (shots #64 and #65) - Thanks Don! The remainder (#66-70) come from our own Keith Schuler. The Babe Shots Return! :)
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Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


March 25, 1998

When It's Done

The UK version of PC Gamer has a monthly chart tracking the readers' most wanted coming games. The April '98 issue shows that Duke Nukem Forever is their readers' most wanted game, with a 35% rating. Prey also scores well on this list, at position number five. The article states, "Duke Nukem Forever has leapt straight into your hearts, got the bivouac out and settled down for a very long stay, leaping, as they say, light years ahead of Tiberian Sun, who sits and sulks at number two (15.5% share)." Click on the image to the right to see a large version of this article.

In all, there are six first-person shooters on the list, showing quite clearly the popularity of this style of game.

There hasn't been a lot shown of Duke Nukem Forever (or Prey), but we just got finished sending a bunch of screen shots to several top magazines. These magazines should appear around the time of E3, late May. Don't expect the hype machine to crank into full gear for either Prey or Duke until a few months before each game's release. With all the surprises we have in place for each of these games, the last thing we want to do is spoil them early.

When will they be released? All together now.. When it's done..

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM


January 6, 1998

Prey & Duke Nukem Forever Most Wanted

There an interesting Reader Picks "Top 10 Most Anticipated Games" list in the Feb/Mar OGR magazine. It lists Prey at number 2 and Duke Nukem Forever at number 3. Also interesting to note that Duke Nukem Forever is Number 3 with virtually no information out about the game. Imagine what will happen when we start hyping the thing ;) A big thanks to the readers that ranked us that high. We don't think you will be disappointed.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 1:00 PM