Project Origin Info-Mart

Fans of the FEAR series have probably deemed the last console version of the game a silent failure. The title had received a sparse welcome at best but it was perhaps for other reasons why Vivendi, WB, and Monolith took the title to home bases. If and when it’s possible to have a descent port of an FPS, so rooted in the horror Japanese pop-culture on the PC, do better, Monolith and Vivendi have a lot of answering, and fixing to do. Enter Project Origin. Scratch that, Enter The Complaints.

When does this episode take place? The title takes place within the same world, but has no relation to Perseus Mandate, or the Extraction Point expansion packs.

Where’s the creepy looking girl? Alma, the supernatural power child, returns but she now focuses on Michael Becket, who is sent to arrest and capture Genevieve Aristiside, about 30 minutes before the ending of Episode 1: F.E.A.R. There for dramatic effect, Alma is a more oh you didn’t see me coming type.

Who’s Genenvieve Aristide? She’s the president of Armacham, and is the female voice heard speaking to an unknown Senator during F.E.A.R.’s intro and outro sequences. In the first game, she tried to have the secret Origin facility, where Alma was held, reopened despite resistance and warnings from other members of Armacham. She later regretted that decision when the first few teams sent in did not return. Her original intention was to start Origin over. That didn’t happen, as a nuclear reaction caused the detonation of the facility. It is during this time that she sent out Point Man to test his abilities against the elite mind controlled battalion led by Paxton Fettel. During the game you realize that she is no slouch, and is also an extremely manipulative and calculating character. At this point and time, she’s just trying to clean up her own mess.

What about Point Man, tell me more? Point’s your Player-Character. Silent type, and has insane reflex abilities. The origin of his abilities are up for debate but here’s what’s known. First off, it’s believed that he is the grandson of Arlan Wade, a top scientist at Armacham. Also, there’s a strong chance that he is Alma’s son, which would explain the strong psychosis he experiences throughout the games. Finally, no one knows what he looks like, and if you were to use the mirrors and reflections in the game, you’ll see that his face is completely covered. For Project Origin, you’ll play as a delta ops guy by the name of Michael Becket.

Who’s this Becket guy, where’s is Point Man, and how did this guy get powers like Point? More importantly, why doesn’t he have a cool code name? You start of as a standard foot soldier but will soon become a candidate, via surgery, to gain Point Man’s Super Reflexes. As for the code name, hell if I know.  A run-in with Point Man may be possible since the events that unfold take place during F.E.A.R.

Will we ever be able to aim down our gun sights in this series? Indeed, the first set of games never really took advantage of the aiming down the barrel feature but several trailers have revealed otherwise. It’s almost baffling, in this day and age why this feature was included already. It was a pleasure to see Michael, regardless of Point Man’s abilities, actually look down the barrel for a change.

What about the sound, I always found that I had to use audio mods to get a descent sounding machine gun fire out of this game? The environmental sound effects, voice actors, and equipment is on point, but the guns make the goats of Ireland sound melodic. It must be a curse, but the trailers seem to exhibit the same sound effects from the original game for your weaponry. Strong feedback from Vivendis’ and Monoliths blogs ensures viewers that the majority of footage shown is pre-beta and that they are taking in all the user comments to amp up various aspects of the game. PC gamers are also never satisfied with their titles. That’s mostly due to the fact that they can mod their games in the first place.

Perhaps Vivendi-Warner Brothers-Monolith took the right, or left, step with the franchise. Personally, we’ve always enjoyed F.E.A.R for its fast paced action and the use of the Point Man’s inhuman reflexes. A gamer once told me that the game was too easy, even on the higher settings once you took advantage of Point’s abilities. Regardless of how well the AI was designed. When asked, if he “ever tried clearing a room without using Point Man’s abilities”, this was his reply: “Are you f*(&*ing insane?”

What’s JupiterEX, I’ve heard about this thing, can I fly to outer space with it? JupiterEX is the fancy name given to the engine that game is developed, and runs under. While the full workings of any engine are ever disclosed, here’s what most fans know about it:

  • True Dynamic Lighting - JupiterEx supports full dynamic lighting, with realtime shadow generation, realistic occlusion, glow effects, and diffuse/specular behavior.
  • Complex Shader Networks - The engine supports multichannel, numeric constant/tex mapped shading effects with support for diffuse/specular behavior, glow, translucency, bump mapping, simulated refraction, and more.
  • Physics - JupiterEx supports the following physics features:
    • Blended Ragdoll Physics - Ragdoll physics will blend from keyframed animations for more realistic transitions.
    • Simplified Collision Objects
    • Environmental Dynamics - Support for a substantial number of interactive, physically responsive objects throughout a map, even in MP games.
    • Physics support for characters with any number of limbs, from bipeds to quadrupeds, and even characters with more than 4 limbs.
    • Robust Physics Toolset includes ragdoll set-up plug-ins for Max and Maya, collision response tools for tweaking physical responses, and a visual debugger to test and optimize physics for ideal performance.
  • Powerful Dynamics System - JupiterEx supports a number of powerful dynamic effects, including convincing fluid effects, light affected and occluding particle effects, realtime smoke and fog, dynamic lighting options, realistic breakable glass, sparks, tracers, and other effects.
  • Animation - Powerful animation system with support for animation blending/facial blendshapes, phoneme based lip animation, and integration with havok physics.
  • Vehicle Support - It appears that the engine WILL support vehicles, per the Havok vehicles kit, which, if memory serves, is very very similar to the vehicle setup in UT2k4.
  • Advanced Toolset - The JupiterEx toolset includes the WorldEdit mapping utility, the ModelEdit utility which contains tools to allow artists to tweak their models for engine optimization and functionality, the FXEdit utility to allow artists to create, preview, and tweak effects in real time without the need for recompile, and advanced support for both Maya and 3DStudioMax.

Huh, what’s all that BS, I don’t get it? Take a look at the video below. You can also checkout the website for more details, videos, and information about various upgraded features in the game. Most notable, the improvement on the blood splatter, the use of an armored-mech, that can tear down buildings, and much more.

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3 Responses to “Project Origin Info-Mart”

  1. DaveDaGamer on June 9th, 2008 4:11 pm

    Good post. The original put me off because of the title F.E.A.R. yeah i know it stands for “First Encounter Assault Recon”, but with the Ring Girl on the box, I wanted more creeps!

    Bullet time makes games not scary, i know you didn’t have to use it, but that’s not the point. When are we going to have a fully immersing fright fest on a console?

    I say its due time that I’m playing a game in the dark at night and I’m letting off shots at any and everything because I’m THAT nervous.

    Give me that and I’ll be ok.

  2. DW on June 9th, 2008 5:40 pm

    It’s tough love on this series … its hard to sell it to seasoned scare fans; especially when some of us have had the shit scared out of us so many times, or pushed to the edge in terms of reaction to game settings. It’s those forms of media that can still generate the tingle that make us love them. I still have faith in Monolith and guys at Vivendi and WB though, and that they can pull off something unique.

  3. Sir-G on June 9th, 2008 11:10 pm

    They should take a book out of the Fatal Frame series! Those games(especially part 2) managed to capture that sense of fear from the Ring movie. There was a part in the game where the ghost of a drowned woman came out the water scared the living sh!t out of me. This FEAR game seems to try and emulate Japanese horror( little girls with black hair covering their face is a trademark), but aside from just having the girl, it doesn’t invoke anything that the iconic symbol stands for. It almost feels like a gimmick.

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