I love the coast of Europe from the sky. From here you can really see differences between the places (and the shocking similarities between most places.) Holland is like something from the mid-atlantic, some newly formed land with its rough fresh sands pouring into the channel and the north sea, and soft, flat clouds scudding quickly over. France and Germany are curiously similar in their make-up, patchwork countries, land stitched together artificially, like the countries themselves with their arbitrary boundaries crystallised after the wars. It’s hard for me, and even more so for the many of my generation who weren’t born with their nose in a book, to conceive of France and Germany being one continuous entity, or rather, one endless stretch of thousands of independent entities, counties, cities towns and villages, reducing right down to the households and the individuals inside. That’s probably why it’s so easy for me to accept a unified Europe; I know that the world used to be this way, but can’t conceive of this so find it easy to fail to conceive of how it might be once Europe is united again. All these people moaning about their cultural exceptions and unique cultures; from up here they’re all just white-limned coastlines and green-quilted fields.

That said, Denmark from above is fantastic, Roke come to life from A Wizard Of Earthsea. Great fluted swinging mills, satanism fled, no grist to them, pumping power to Copenhagen, massive trading ships low beneath cargo containers but close enough to touch, a boy and a snowman floating above the clouds, the diaspora of islands with cute silly roads running in ludicrous lines on the smallest promontary. There’s even one that, threatened with erosion I presume has been surrounded with a sea wall… Ah, to sleep there for a while.

Good website idea – interesting suicides. Get people to make webcam movies of themselves dying. sky-diving without opening your parachute, deliberating lengthening your bungie cord, slow drowning, snow-bound death, etc, etc.

(Waits for applause – doesn’t get it)

Well, okay then. I thought it was a good idea!

Horror the hrorror. Man kills man. Fact of life. And no matter the technology, no matter how developed and refined our blunt killing machines get, it’s still a man to blame, behind the barrel, pulling the trigger. Like Red Alert, Ground Control recognizes this and rebalances its world towards human content, towards

Of course, GCII tries to escape its heritage, taking man into space, far out into the cosmos where he develops and grows cut off from his earthly heritage, creating futuristic items like left-handed toilets and clockwork sheep. In the first game two large amoral entities, the Crayven corporation and the religious Order of the New Dawn battled it out for possession

The best levels are the city maps

Units

Positioning – like Rome: total war (oh, why, oh, why isn’t that out yet)

Mano a mano.

Multiplayer

Ground Control

Ground Control 2

“Geeettt ooorrrfff myyyy laaand”

structure

intro – anecdote, theme of review- know what opinion of game is by end of it.

Lack of resource management

Virons

terrans



Dear Mr Cobbett,

I call you ‘Mister’ cos I respect you. That’s what our relationship is based on, respect. I respect you, you respect Adam, I am ground beneath the heel of long-term contempt by all. Mutually appropriate respect, right?

So this commission presupposes that respect, and assumes that you, as a consummately professional writer, the apex of your breed, Journalist of the year and all, will produce a piece entirely in line with the following commission. No missed bits. No dropped elements. If you want to bitch, do it now. Problems with code, now. Start complaining… now!…

…bitching time up.

Here’s the commission. Remember – r.e.s.p.e.c.t., find out what it means to me.

To quote Dr Johnson, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”, and to quote Boris Yeltsin “A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he cannot sit on it.” We want you to review

Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots

1/2 Page.

For £40

By Wednesday 5th May

Copy and grabs to – dan.griliopoulos@futurenet.co.uk and libby.pagett@futurenet.co.uk

And here’s the details. As we’ve redesigned the mag, this is all-new, so please read it closely and get back to us straight away if anything’s unclear.

Firstly, it’s ESSENTIAL you try to install the game as soon as you get it – your deadline might be some time off, but it takes time to sort out replacement code, so we need to know as soon as possible if there are any problems with the discs you’ve got.

***New bit – please read closely***

Each review of a page or more must have some accompanying material for the DVD. That’s why we’ve pushed up our page rates a little. So, please provide at least 20 screenshots on top of whatever’s going in the review itself, and use a program called FRAPS (we can talk you through using this) to record a few minutes of film footage of yourself playing an exciting segment of the game. You can upload this footage to our FTP site (see below). Chances are, this footage will come out on the large size – talk to us if there’s problems, or it may be easier to burn it to CD and post it to us. If you can find anything else worthwhile that could go on the disc (such as demos, soundtracks, developer interviews, etc) let us know and get it over to us.***

Style

You should be fairly familiar with the PCF style guide already – if you’re not, ask us for a copy. The crux of the matter is, however, that we’re a grown-up magazine for serious gamers, not agoraphobic 15 year olds or luddite geriatrics still learning what a mouse is. Be humorous, inventive, clever and analytical, and refer to other games and gaming concepts. We’re not going to reel off a list of all the magazines we’re not, but instead simply state that we’re better than all of them. We want our reviews to be the most outspoken, the most knowledgeable and the most memorable around, and because of this, if you hand in something that’s clearly been written as an afterthought to whatever enormous pile of other freelance you’re doing, you won’t be asked to write for us again. We mean it. As a magazine and a brand with a 13-year pedigree, it’s a privilege to write for PCF, and we’re going to be very exacting in who we give work to.

Remember that PCF generally speaking writes in the third person, though we do allow exceptions; if you think you’ve got a cast-iron reason to write in the first-person, please bounce if off one of us before you do it.

A special note – don’t treat multiplayer as a postscript in your review. In this day and age, it’s an enormous part of almost every PC game, hence we need to give it due attention.

Lateness

Yup, we’re quite prepared to fine yo’ass 10% of your fee for every day your copy is late. If you’ve requested an extension up-front and given a convincing excuse, we won’t do this, but simply not handing your writing in and not mentioning it is rude and unprofessional. We’ve got a magazine to make each month, hence deadlines make our world go around. Repeat offenders won’t be asked to write for us again, basically.

Grabs

If the hardware is available to you, please provide screenshots at a resolution of 1280×1024 or higher – lower than that is basically sub-print quality. Please also save them in .TIF or .BMP formats – JPGs suffer from a loss of quality, which is all-too-visible on our super-glossy paper. Additionally, if the game offers an option to hide the interface, please use it when taking grabs. And don’t take images from Gamespress or anywhere else on the web – if you’re having trouble sorting out your own, please speak to the PR.

If your grabs are too big to email, put them on ftp://ftp2.futurenet.co.uk/pub/mags/pc_format. You can’t create a new folder in there, so please zip them all up into a single file.

Please remember that each grab needs a caption – if you don’t provide them, we’ll only have to bother you about them, and it won’t put you in our good books.

Structure

Title – Exactly as it appears on the game’s packaging or official website. Don’t abbreviate or leave out punctuation.

Genre – Common ones are FPS, action-adventure, RPG, management, RTS, turn-based strategy, MMO, racing, sports. If you think the game you’re reviewing needs a batshit genre, bounce it off us first, please.

Strap – 15 to 20 words, humorous and explanatory.

Detail 1 – Price (and also monthly charges for online games), Publisher, Developer

Body copy (see below)

Boxouts (see below)

See this if you like (not applicable in 1/2 page reviews)– Three related games, the issue of PCF they were reviewed in and their score. We can provide a list of all PCF game reviews if you don’t have one.

Detail 2 – Min. system requirements (in the format xxxMhz or Ghz CPU, xxxMb RAM, xxxMb 3D card, anything else essential, such as the original game if the review is of an expansion pack), recommended system requirements (if you disagree with the publisher’s specs, state your own), net gaming options (number of players, modes offered), URL of the game’s official website, and a short list of all supporting materials for this game provided on the disc

Percentage score – under 50% is bad, 60 is above-average, 70 is good, 80 is exceptional (and a silver award winner), 90 is groundbreaking (and a gold award winner). Don’t give quite good games 80% by default – we do mark a tad harder than most.

Conclusion – 10 words summing up your opinion of the game.

Body copy word counts

1/2 page review – 280

1 page review – 450

2 page review – 900

3 page review – 1350.

Boxouts

None for a half page review or smaller

One for a one-page review.

One to two for a two page review

Four for a three page review – Ideally, one of these will be a large annotated illustration. For the annotations, don’t bother with noddy stuff like ‘this is your gun’ – point out interesting and unique things in this game, such as graphical effects, innovative features, facts about its development history, etc.

Standard boxouts can be of whatever structure and content you think you need, but generally picking from formats such as 100 words + one grab, 3 x 40 words + three grabs, etcetera. Don’t do generic noddy boxouts on how many weapons there are.

For two page reviews, if you’re having more than one boxout, the second of these should be just 50-70 words without an image. Each boxout needs a 3-5 word title.

Images

We need about 8 decent screenshots per page of the review. For a half page review, give us half a dozen exciting-looking, high-quality grabs. If the game in question doesn’t have its own screenshot button, try downloading the demo of Paint Shop Pro, and using the file – import – screen capture function.

EACH GRAB NEEDS A CAPTION. 10-20 words for each.



Dan Griliopoulos

Games Editor | PCFormat / Gamemaker | Future Publishing

Units 1&2, Cottrell Court, Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2NP, UK

+44(0)1225442244 Ext. 2502



Dan Griliopoulos

Games Editor | PCFormat / Gamemaker | Future Publishing

Units 1&2, Cottrell Court, Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2NP, UK

+44(0)1225442244 Ext. 2502

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Grill Gripes

I manned the fort and the fort won.

You’ll see Adam and Slec’s smug mugs besmirching the pages of our magazine, but look around the offices. .A Autocratic Adam has swanned off to . On top of that it’s hotter in teh office than L.A., but IU’m not allowed