BBC prepares to release Doctor Who adventure games

James DocThis is a guest post by James Doc. James is a Web Technologies student in Lincoln, UK and is a freelance PHP & ASP.NET web designer in his spare time! He gets excited over new gadgets, sci-fi and a wide variety of music. You can read more of Doc’s thoughts on his blog or follow him on Twitter

I reckon that at one point or another we’ve all said; ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’ whilst watching a TV show.  And this is something that the lead writer of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat, agrees with – “Children don’t just watch Doctor Who – they join in. They make up games, invent their monsters, create their own stories.

Children don’t just watch Doctor Who – they join in. They make up games, invent their monsters, create their own stories.
Steven Moffat – Executive Producer

Soon we’ll be able to do just that. Through the Doctor Who website in June, the BBC will be releasing four interactive computer games to allow the viewers to control how the Doctor Who story unfolds.  Piers Wenger, one of the Executive Producers for Doctor Who says this about the new games: “There aren’t 13 episodes of Doctor Who this year, there are 17 – four of which are interactive. Everything you see and experience within the game is part of the Doctor Who universe: we’ll be taking you to places you’ve only ever dreamed about seeing – including locations impossible to create on television.

These four new stories will be an extension to the existing series, following the Doctor and Amy as they travel through time and space, moving from a desolate burning London to an ice world or a dark space ship.  In these episodes the Doctor and Amy will meet the Daleks and Cybermen, alongside a several completely new aliens.  The question is; will they be friend or foe?

The Doctor and Amy Pond have been recreated in 3D digital form, and Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have been in the recording studio to provide a voice over for their characters, alongside a full cast to provide voices for both the new and old characters.  Murray Gold, who has written the music for the Eccleston, Tennant and Smith eras of Doctor Who has been commissioned to add a sound track and sound effects for the games.

At the moment the plot and titles of these new interactive stories are being kept secret, but with the pen of Steven Moffat (Blink, The Empty Child), Phil Ford (The Waters of Mars) and James Moran (Fires of Pompeii) you can guarantee a gripping and scary ride!

More screenshots from the games are currently on the Doctor Who website .  All four of the interactive episodes will be completely free for both Mac and PC, with the first episode being made available from the Doctor Who website in June 2010. For a taste of what’s to come, enjoy the teaser trailer that was shown after Saturday’s episode:

Thoughts? Opinions? Hopes and fears for how the games will pan out? Let us know what you think in the comments.

New Doctor Who Series 5 Trailer Out

The new series of Doctor Who starts this Easter and, as a lifelong Who fan, I’ve been looking forward to seeing some new stories.

The BBC have released a new trailer for the series, featuring Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond. Have a look:

I really, really want to like the news series but this trailer just isn’t doing anything for me. I will, of course, reserve judgment until the series actually starts but, based on this, I’m not so sure I’ll like it. Still, we’ll see – I was pleasantly surprised by Mr Tennant! Here’s to seeing what the Beeb has in store at Easter :)

Oh, and finally, am I the only one that thinks it’s odd that this is called “Series 5” when there’s been over forty years of Doctor Who? I know it’s not important, but I just think it’s strange!

Bring back the Time Lords! [Doctor Who]

Warning: This post contains spoilers concerning the Doctor Who Christmas and New Year specials – if you haven’t seen them and don’t want to know anything about them, STOP READING!

Christmas Day usually brings an extra treat here in the UK (aside from the usual presents, I mean). For a few years now there’s been a Doctor Who Christmas special to look forward to, but this year we also got a New Year’s Day one.

The Christmas Day one was pretty strange, with my dad and I sitting there wondering what on earth was going on. Part two, on New Year’s Day, was much better and introduced us to the new Doctor, played by Matt Smith. Something else really excited me about the story, though, the return of Gallifrey and the Time Lords!

If you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about here’s the summary: The Time Lords are a race of people from the planet Gallifrey. They harnessed the power of a black hole (the Eye of Harmony) and used the energy from that to develop time travel technology. The Doctor is a Time Lord, dotting around the universe in a stolen TARDIS. The Time Lords are no more, however, after a devastating war that left them sealed within a time bubble… only the Doctor and the Master survived.

The Time Lords make a return in this Christmas and New Year’s specials, but the Doctor is horrified by the thought. While Doctor Who fans might remember them as benevolent overseers of time, avoiding interference in the affairs of other species and trying to track down renegade members of their species (the Doctor included) they’ve changed into warmongering people, determined to destroy everything that has ever existed simply to win their war. So… they don’t get to stay around very long.

I had really hoped they’d come back though, because they were among the only people the Doctor couldn’t just wow with his tricks: they knew most of them.

Psychic paper? “Yeh, you probably just nicked that from stores.” TARDIS bigger on the inside than outside? “They’re all like that – we designed them that way, and don’t think of running off ‘cos we’ve changed your TARDIS’ locks.”

Ok, so I’m being a bit silly, but I loved the idea of the Doctor being on the run, a hero to many but a renegade to his own people. I loved there being someone genuinely more powerful than the Doctor, and I loved the idea that another Time Lord could come along in any story and we’d discover a bit more about the race’s background. But it looks like that’s all behind us now.

I have to say, the new series’ of Doctor Who have been fantastic… I’ve just never really liked the “last Time Lord” thing and thought this year’s specials were a great chance to bring them back. It’s a shame that didn’t happen.

Am I the only one to think that? What did you think of the episodes, if you saw them? And what of the Time Lords? Have your say in the comments!

Chris Moyles Parody Island Game [Friday Fun]

Thanks to Dan for sending this one in!

The Chris Moyles game is a classic platform game… collect notes, jump on the heads of your enemies, you’ll soon get the hang of it. Keep the volume up to enjoy the music too, if you’re able :)

[Flash Embedded]

True photo-realism coming to gaming?

A while back I asked the question, “are realistic games too realistic?“, wondering whether the slightly unreal look to games is perhaps because there’s too much effort to make them perfect. Well, a new technology has come along that might mean photorealism is closer than we think, and it brings some exciting possibilities along with it.

Real Time Race have been developing a system that takes thousands of images, GPS and laser readings to recreate a race track in stunning detail. The outcome is a simulated track that looks just like the real thing. The really clever bit, though, is what they can do with that simulated track.

RTR believe they can insert you into any physical race, using live telemetry and their simulation. So you could be sitting down to watch the Formula 1 or Touring Cars, but when the lights go out and the race begins you don’t just watch… you actually participate in the race at home.

Obviously this has some issues to be worked around, not least the fact that you’re not actually there so you can’t properly interact with the other cars (crashing, for instance, wouldn’t affect anyone else) but the potential for this is immense. Even if it were just for a bit of fun, it would be great to be able to race alongside the likes of Jensen Button or Colin Turkington.

For more information check out the BBC’s report, and let us know what you think in the comments! All I can say is, “I want to try this!”