STALKER is actually shipping in less than 3 months?

I saw the new trailer over at, it actually looks pretty decent still. What surprised me is that the trailer concludes ‘March 2007’. I thought this game was gonna be pushed back closer to 2008… So either I heard wrong or they cranked up the production or cut corners. Hope its the first.

I think you mean gametrailers

There’s a good-sized and pretty interesting preview in the new Gee Eff DoubleYou Colon Tee Oh Emm. Oh, and it says January 2007.

I don’t believe it for six seconds, let alone one minute.

March is reasonable. They’re starting to advertise.

Well, I think a game called STALKER will be released early 2007. I think it will even use a lot of the same art assets as the original. However, will it really be the STALKER we saw previewed years ago? That I doubt. I’ve already heard bad things like universal ammo and load screens.

Eh, with a game like STALKER you really need to see anything before you believe it.

STALKER totally dropped off the map for a minute, then BAM! around the next corner …

Do you have a subscription?
I got an e-mail from EA about C&C 3 and they said “read all about it in GFW:TOM on sale 12-19-06”
Of course that is tomorrow, but I doubt I’ll be able to find an issue on the newstand the day it’s supposed to be out.

No, I bought it in Borders on Friday.

I got my GFW in the mail this weekend. Record speed I must say


(is a four-letter word)

Damn. I thought for SURE Duke was going to beat this to shelves.

What do you mean by “universal” ammo?

Well, since Stalker is going to ship, maybe this’ll inspire them to get off their asses and ship Duke…

I can’t be sure, but I think that was a Deus Ex 2 joke. Unless he really has heard about STALKER having universal ammo, because in that case: weird!

Universal ammo was one of the many piss poor cop-out design decisions made in Deus Ex 2.

See, the problem with having multiple types of ammo- like armor piercing, normal, incindiary and explosive, is that it’s tough to balance the game design by staggering out placement of many types of ammo throughout a level. Say, for instance, someone has a gun that shoots the previously listed four types of ammo. Some of it is good against robots, while some of it is good against humans, while others may be good against armored humans. Compound that with different types of guns that take different types of ammo- like a pistol that only takes .45 caliber, and an uzi that only takes 9mm… you’re looking at a pretty tough logistical puzzle to balance out how much ammo is available to the player at any one time.

Deus Ex did a brilliant job of doing this, and it made for very compelling gameplay. Having to decide when to use your uzi instead of your pistol added great tension. Not to mention the fact that it forced you to use many different weapons and tactics.

The designer on Deus Ex 2, on the otherhand, figured he’d just throw all that complicated design stuff out the door completely, and have a system where one ammo fits all. It was a lot easier for him to design. So, an ammo box you find can be used in a pistol, a machine gun, a shotgun, an RPG or a laser. It’s all the same. What happens then is you just use the biggest gun you have, as all the ammo you find can be used for anything. A pistol would use less of the ammo per shot than a rocket launcher, but the entire system was so poorly implemented that it took 10 shots from a pistol to take down an enemy, or one shot from a rocket launcher which expended the equivalent ammo of 10 pistol shots. So why ever use a pistol? All the awesome nuance and variety of Deus Ex was lost completely.

In other words, the designer on Deus Ex 2 sucked.

Damn, universal ammo is almost enough to make me not buy. I agree with flyinj, it just takes too much of the tactics out of the game. Ammo conservation is an element I enjoy in FPS’s. Hope it’s not true.

I remember reading an interview with Spector where he was like “you know I wasn’t really convinced on universal ammo, but at the end of the day I let the Witchboy make the call”.

Which at the end of the day turned out to be what Sir Humphrey Appleby might say was a “courageous” decision. But that said there were more fundamental issues with Deus Ex 2 than unified ammo anyway. Like contextual AI that didn’t work.

Anyway a UK mag (PC Zone) just published a review of Stalker where the only real negative features they listed were poorish storytelling (mainly because: 1. there is a lot of text to read 2. not all of the text has voicework to it, and 3. the script is not particularly well written in places.

I suspect something might have been lost in the Russian to Engrish translation but I also suspect that the original material might have been lacking. This game never struck me as one where they had storyboarded a really cool story to begin with, just a really cool setting.

Awkward side missions were also mentioned as a bit of a negative but hey 99% of RPG’s (even the really good ones) have a few of these.

More importantly they said the game genuinely did “new” stuff and the 'life" AI stuff was implemented well. That was my biggest worry about the whole concept, whether they could actually get that to work.

There’s no universal ammo in Stalker, in case people are getting confused by someone’s DX2 gag upthread*.

Just reviewed this for someone. People may be surprised.


*Though, in passing, I think any argument which posits that Harvey Smith was “Lazy” by choosing universal ammo is really hard. Whether you think it works or not, the idea was clearly trying to chase the Deus Ex is Choice thing. Er… I’m trying to avoid turning it into a DX2 debate, but what may be argued is an unwise decision isn’t the same thing as a lazy one, and saying so is actually just a bit rude.

I could never understand why people are constantly obsessing over this unified ammo thing. It was about the least important design element in DX2.

However, I can see a positive effect of unified ammo: it forces the designer to make guns that are actually different in usage and effect, as opposed to making essentially equivalent guns of which the player would only ever use one, if the dedicated ammo wasn’t so scarce.

In that view, it’s the specialized ammo that’s the lazy design decision!