[an error occurred while processing this directive] News :: May 01
Interviews with Peter Molyneux here.

01 May 01 Today in Black & White
Oh yes, I totally forgot to post this; Costco is giving out an exclusive bonus Creature if you buy the game there, does anyone have any idea which Creature it is?
Added a poll. Removed the expired contests links. I’ll be putting up some Land 3 tips to the Walkthru section later today or tommorow.
02 May 01 Today in Black & White
Straight, as it were, from the horse’s mouth –
This is Lasaril, and I have the displeasure of working at Costco, in the electronics department. The bonus CD comes with a Horse and Leopard. The Horse is quite noisy, so I chose the Leopard, who is learning by leaps and bounds! :-)
Though I bet my Unicorn can kick his Leopard’s butt.
03 May 01 Molyneux @ E3
GameSpot reports that Molyneux will be an E3 panelist in this news report.
04 May 01 Today in Black & White
Richard Evans, Head of Artificial Intelligence at Lionhead, made the following post to this thread over at the PlanetBlackandWhite forums. Thanks to Redeemer.
Moraelin has been writing some extraordinarily bitter stuff on these discussion boards. He has also been making false claims.

He says: “Personally, I’d say it’s not even worth the price of a CD blank, for burning a warezed copy. Yes, it’s THAT bad.”

I wouldn’t want to indulge that sort of remark with a reply.

But, more specifically, he says: “Creature Labs had the playing with a creature nailed long before PM. Sorry.”

This is false. The “Creatures” games have something in common with the Creatures in B&W, but the Creatures in B&W have a much richer set of opportunities for learning. Let me explain:

Creature Lab’s creatures learn by punishment/reward after the event. This is the Skinnerian carrot-and-stick approach to learning, and it is very, very limited. The Creatures in B&W use carrot-and-stick learning as well, but they augment it with a significant addition: learning via empathy. A Creature in B&W watches what actions his master is doing, tries to figure out what goals could underline such behaviour, and stores this information in a mental model of his master. The Creature then uses this mental model of his master in decision-making.

How does this extra type of learning help? It helps in two ways:
1) extra responsivity. In the carrot-and-stick approach to learning, you just sit around *waiting* for your creature to do something, and then provide feedback after the event. With empathetic learning, by contrast, you make sure your creature is watching, and then do something you want him to do.
2) escape from behavioural ruts. In the carrot-and-stick approach, there is no way to avoid the following disastrous situation: you wanted to teach your creature to only X in circumstance C, but by mistake you accidentally taught him to never X. Once your creature is in this state, there is no way to undo it. The only possible way would be if you waited for him to do X again in C, and then rewarded him, but this will never happen, because you punished him too much already. This sort of situation is inescapable unless you augment carrot-and-stick learning with something more direct: once you add learning-by-empathetic-response, you can encourage him to do X again by doing it yourself!

This is just one way, albeit a very, very significant way, in which the Creatures in B&W radically expand upon the design by CreatureLabs. Here are some others:
1) Creatures in B&W live in a considerably more complicated world (a world in which objects have more than one use).
2) Creatures in B&W perform hierarchical planning. They first work on an abstraction of the search-space, and then refine their plan. This is logarithmically more efficient.
3) Creatures in B&W have a much larger number of desires, desire-sources, and actions than the Creatures by CreatureLabs. This means that the number of personality types is enormously larger in B&W than in CreatureLab’s program. This is why there are so many more stories of interesting behaviour involving B&W’s creatures than those of CreatureLabs.
He also mentions the upcoming patch in a follow up post.
Patch info: all code for the patch has been finished. The patch goes into testing this week, and will be released when testing deem it stable. (Shouldn’t be more than two weeks). Features on the patch include: football, creatures dancing to mpegs and remembering which mpegs they like/dislike, fixed creature behavioural problems (getting overly keen on eating villages, becoming constipated if punished too much…). A number of other fixes have been included which i don’t know too much about.

sorry for the delay, but we all had to have time off after being exhausted, and there have been coordination problems since (with different people being away on different days)
Challenges section renamed Walkthru section, to help those who insist on emailing us questions when the answers are already here. If you happen to be one of them, that’s why you haven’t received a reply, and never will. Walkthru updated with Land 3 intro and the solutions for the two Land 3 Silver Challenges. Next up, Land 4.

For Bryan and ssmouse, the solution for the The Pied Piper Challenge has been added. Thayer, as I understand it, Mozart’s piece is based on “Twinkle, Twinkle”, he’s not responsible for the original, appreciate the contribution, of course. Tanya, I’ll put up the solution as soon as I’ve solved it. Okay, the mailbox is cleared.
05 May 01 Today in Black & White
On Magazine mentions B&W in passing in this long article on video games.
Narrative thrills, complex systems – the subtext here is that games are a sophisticated and profound form of entertainment. They’re Art. And no other art form is as vital, compelling and innovative as games are right now. In what other medium do the artists reinvent entire genres every six months? Will Wright’s The Sims upended the simulation game. The dark, delicious American McGee’s Alice reimagines both the first-person shooter and Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic in one fell swoop. Peter Molyneux’s Black & White casts the player as a god, complete with worshippers and divine powers, and then confronts that god with the moral choice between cosmic beneficence or omnipotent cruelty. When was the last time Hollywood gave somebody three years and millions of dollars to do something that crazy?
Land 4 updates in Walkthru section.
06 May 01 Today in Black & White
Land 4 solutions complete in Walkthru section. Yes, everything is there to finish Land 4. New Tips & Tricks section, covering Miracle Dispensers and Miracle Seeds.
07 May 01 Postmortem: Black & White
GameDeveloper, a deadtree magazine, has an article by Molyneux in the June 2001 issue.
Postmortem: Lionhead Studios’ Black & White
by Peter Molyneux

Black & White is the game that Peter Molyneux has always wanted to make. In our Postmortem, he takes account for how the development of the title was good, how it was evil, and how in the end the Lionhead team pulled together after three years of development to create one of the most ambitious games ever.
08 May 01 Today in Black & White
[ Downloads ] Eden Builder. Map Editor. The site and, I assume, the prog itself is in German.
Get your Nemesis symbol here.
09 May 01 English Language Pack
[ Downloads ] Due to a lot of non-English players wanting to play B&W in the original English form, Lionhead is releasing the English files. This 89.8Mb download contains the English audio and text files. After download run the exe file for installation.
09 May 01 Today in Black & White
New comic by In Your Dreams.
Some Land 5 solutions are now in the Walkthru section.
10 May 01 NPR News’ All Things Considered Radio Segment
NPR News’ All Things Considered has a segment on B&W, with a brief overview of the game, and a short radio interview with Molyneux. [ View Entire Program | Listen to the Entire Show | Listen to Segment ]
Black & White Robert Siegel speaks with Peter Molyneux, creator of a new computer game called Black and White. In Black and White, the player is a god who tries to get villagers to believe in him or her. The “god” has a terrestrial representative: A creature who must be trained to perform acts of good and evil. Black and White has been noted for its advanced 3-D and artificial intelligence capabilities. Molyneux has been developing computer games since the late 80’s. He says he finds inspiration in his childhood – and in his love of all types of games.
11 May 01 Today in Black & White
More mainstream coverage in the form of this article in the Chicago Tribune. Here’s a quote I can’t resist –
“In terms of its innovation and originality, there is nothing else like [Black & White],” Green says.
GameSpot has a list of titles to be shown at E3, with B&W PS by Midas, and B&W DC by Sega. That’s PlayStation and Dreamcast, for you PC-only people.
More Land 5 solutions in the Walkthru section. Added a Vortex page to the Tips & Tricks section. Thanks to WereCat.
12 May 01 Today in Black & White
New comic over at Angst Technology. MSN has a review, notable for getting Molyneux’s name wrong. Whatever happened to game writers keeping up with the game industry?
The EndgameCompleted the game last night. Had to turn evil to speed things up. I will finish the Land 5 Walkthru once I figure out how to complete the game without having to annihilate 200 people.
13 May 01 Today in Black & White
Quarter to Three has an article on multiplayer gaming, The Air-Speed Velocity of Unladen Gaming, B&W is mentioned on the second page –
When I got Black & White, I really liked it but knew pretty early on that if I tried to play it on-line, it would cause brain hemorrhaging from frustration. The multiplayer mechanics practically beg for very evil deeds of frustration.
Land 5 walkthru complete in the Walkthru section. Thanks to Redeemer, for spotting some typos. Yes, you can see your name in italics for correct our spelling. Good grammar is important.
14 May 01 Today in Black & White
Now this one is cool, a rant-style review. I think his main bitch is that his system can’t run it. It’s an amusing read.
15 May 01 Today in Black & White
The Breeder’s Tale
16 May 01 E3 in Black & White
the land of albion is a wild, beautiful place. there are bustling market towns where thieves lurk in every shadow. woodcutters’ encampments are nestled on the shores of forest lakes while strange sounds fill the night air. brave fishermen live out their austere existence in coastal villages wracked by storms. fur-hooded mountain children listen to tales of the demons that lurk in the darkness while wolves howl at the moon.

the people who live there are much like the people anywhere. they are thieves and gentlemen, assassins and clergymen, storekeepers and housewives.

one day, something comes along which changes their lives forever. you. you are born with the power of the will. albion will never be the same again.
Sound familiar? This has nothing to do with B&W, actually. Big Blue Box, a satellite studio of Lionhead, posted this introduction to their X-Box game, project – ego ((working title)), which they will be showing off at E3. Visit the link for some screenshots.
17 May 01 All Things Black & White
GameSpy’s E3 Report – All Things Black & White
Molyneux revealed that on Monday, May 21 they will release an update to Black & White that will add some interesting enhancement to the game including new code that allows villagers to play football, new spells and buildings, tweaks to existing buildings, and an enhanced “dancing creature controller” that provides more accurate choreography when playing music CDs while playing Black & White. Molyneux also revealed that they will release all of their design documents within the next week or two to the general public.

On future projects, Molyneux says that they are working on two expansion packs for Black & White: Creature Trials and The World Disc. The Creatures Trials Expansion will allow players to take their creatures to a brand new island and offer them extended training and give them access to new skills. Creatures will also have the luxury of finding and controlling a pet. Creature Trials will be ready sometime in September of this year. The World Disc is geared more towards villagers and the existing world in general. It will offer new spells, buildings and tweaks to the entire game world. Details on release to be determined.
It also mentions that Molyneux is working on project – ego and that B&W is coming to the XBox.
18 May 01 E3 in Black & White
Seems like Daily Radar is back from the dead. Check out this column, it’s pretty funny –
I quit, saved and went to bed with visions of my cute new Tiger avatar break-dancing in my head. The next day I was delighted that it only took me three tries (and three crashes) to get the game working (though the 90-second pause before eventual start-up was getting annoying). I set about training my creature, gathering sheep, rescuing villagers, slapping my creature silly for eating that child-stealing piper before I could rescue the kiddies, and tossing rocks. I quit to do some work and play with my one-year-old. At one point I tossed one of her blocks casually into her playpen (she was outside of it, in my lap). Maggie enthusiastically pointed at the block, just like my Tiger did in the game! Peter Mullyneux is a gaming genius!
Meanwhile, pcgames.de, which may or may not be related to Daily Radar ((pcgames.com)), reports, in German, on the patch, the Creature Trials add-on and the World Disc add-on.

Update :: ehrm, Daily Radar @ www.dailyradar.com seems to be dead. pcgames.com seems to be working. Who gets it?
Added Artifacts to Tips & Tricks. Some minor additions to the Walkthru and Tips pages.
19 May 01 Today in Black & White
LiteStep.net has a new Black & White theme. LiteStep is a shell replacement for Win9x and NT, modelled on the Linux AfterSTEP. Basically a new, supposedly better, GUI for Windows.
20 May 01 Today in Black & White
[ Downloads ] B&W Utilities by intel8088 (419Kb .zip). Three utilities, including Audio Speed-Up, .RAW viewer and Villager Name Editor.
Black & White Nation has an interview with Jamie Durant of Lionhead.
Don’t fret too much about catering for your villagers every need. They’ll just expect more and more from you and get lazier. Show them who’s the daddy. :)
ChipCenter has a column, bitching about games being imcomplete at shipping.
Almost every heavily hyped game that has reached production recently has needed to provide a patch within weeks. Some companies have been quick to respond; Blizzard and Sierra are both well known for shipping incomplete or buggy code, but having a fix fairly quickly. Some companies, like LionHead Studios, have just disappeared, refusing to answer email or phone calls.
Yes, I agree it’s a problem, though there are reasons for it ((the time it takes from final built to the store gives a dev team about a month to work on a patch)). As games move online, this is something, unfortunately, that we will be seeing more of, not less.
21 May 01 Black Mail & White Noise
Clearing the mailbox again. To reiterate, if you have performance issues, check our Fixes section, post gameplay issues in the Forum. I do not reply to mail covering either subject. On rare occassions, like now, I will post clarifications or further details on stuff already covered in the site. Of course, feel free to contribute.
From inspyre comes a really good essay, found in Tips & Tricks.
here’s the trick to using miracle balls. it is very very powerful and I’m suprised everyone seems to think it dosn’t work.
im on level 5 ive conquered the town that is guarded by the spirit sheild and nemisis destroyed the wonder…… my towns folk keep rebuilding the wonder… is this ok? and i also have another Q… does the curse go off and my creature comes back to normal size? or does he gotta grow again
After you conquer a village and Nemesis destroys the Wonder, the villagers will start to rebuild it. This is fine. Supply them with wood, even. Your Creature will return to normal size after you lift the curse.
For those who asked, the Plague is now in the Walkthru section. Several minor additions to other pages as well.
21 May 01 project – ego

“My very first game was Wizardry on the Apple IIe and it was the first time I sacrificed a girlfriend to play a computer game,” he said. “I always wanted to do an RPG that redefined the RPG genre.”

GameSpy has an interview with Molyneux covering project – ego. To clarify, project – ego is not by Lionhead, and is not by Molyneux. He has input on the game, but he plays more of an advisory role. The game will be for the XBox.
The game, tentatively called Project Ego (and being called Heroes by some closer to the project), has the creative backing of Molyneux, but is being spearheaded by Simon Carter, one of the design forces of Big Blue Box.
21 May 01 GameSpy E3 Preview
[ Reviews ] GameSpy.
22 May 01 Patch Day… or Not
This from Aaron Ludlow, Tester for Lionhead Studios, on the Official Boards
The sign off on the patch has been delayed due to the attendance of key personnel at E3 – we will have a further update on it’s status tomorrow afternoon.
Honestly, though, did you actually believe them when they said the patch will be released today?
Bad news for those waiting for B&W on the Dreamcast, IGNDC reports
SEGA has decided not to publish the game for the Dreamcast. Though this doesn’t mean the game is necessarily canceled, for the game to come out on the Dreamcast it needs a new publisher.
To make things worse, Sega has dropped the Dreamcast.
BBC News has a thing, where they let people review the game, sorta like our guestbook, except they pick and choose reviews and it’s a lot longer.
23 May 01 Patch Delay
Lionhead regrets that the patch which was expected to be released on the 21st May has been delayed for a further 10 days. This is because of one of the fixes which allowed online play to work over cable modems in the Netherlands was by chance at the last minute found not to work on certain other ISPs.

Lionhead regrets that it has not been able to make frequent annoucements about the patch until now but aims to keep the members of the Black & White Community better informed from this day onwards.
23 May 01 Interview with Gamehelper
Gamehelper has put up an interview with Molyneux about project – ego. Like B&W, it sounds totally ambitious. Unlike B&W, it will only come out on one platform. And from the looks of the industry right now, the XBox isn’t going to be too much of a hit. IGN XBox has just posted their preview.
24 May 01 News from Lionhead
We have fixed a number of installation related problems due to the SafeDisc protection scheme and some problems relating to cable modems. There is also the ability to play the game on LAN now without requiring multiple copies of the game to be purchased. This patch will be available for download on 31st May.
The Official Site has been updated with a list of fixes and improvements for Patch v1.01. If you’re interested, Lionhead has a job opening for a new scripter for B&W. Looks like they’ll continue supporting the game, great news for everyone.
B&W annoys the The Grumpy Gamer. Believe the Hype. Or not.
24 May 01 IGN E3 Awards
Republic cleans up at the IGN PC Best of E3 Awards, winning the PC Technological Excellence Award and getting runners-up spots for Best PC Game, Best PC Strategy Game and PC Innovative Design Award.
Level of detail artificial intelligence works on an algorithmic scale? Whatever the heck that means, it sure sounds impressive. There were a lot of major contenders for this crown, but the AI routines in Republic are the big winners here. Equal parts SimCity, the Sims and Tropico, Republic is almost good enough to convince you that it isn’t a game. And in the end, it’s the game that most effectively breaks down barriers that you remember. The intelligence of Republic promises to do just that.
25 May 01 Today in Black & White
Added NOCD to Downloads. If you’re using a warez copy, you still need a CD Key. Tough.
Dis Set I [ Symbols & Tattoos ] From the other games we cover here at network.noctalis. Set I contains Alice, BG2, Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter.
26 May 01 Today in Black & White
Replaced the Alice symbol with a nicer one. Added some Land 5 pics, minor additions to the walkthru.
27 May 01 Today in Black & White
Feral Tendencies – who’s really a nice guy, despise his handle – gives us some tips, which you can find in the walkthrough and tips sections.
28 May 01 Today in Black & White
Dis Set II [ Symbols & Tattoos ] From the other games we cover here at network.noctalis. Set II contains Diablo, Diablo II, the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom from the Ultima Collection and the Chaos symbol from Ultima Online.
29 May 01 Today in Black & White
Added The Slavers to the Land 2 walkthru. Will be redoing the forums. Don’t post in the meantime.

Forums up. Let me know if anything goes wrong.
30 May 01 Today in Black & White
The Stratos Group has a short recap of a conference held at E3, “Game Design Issues for the Next Millennia”, of which Molyneux was a panelist, along with Sid Meier and some guy from Microsoft.
31 May 01 News from Lionhead
Lionhead has completed programming the first Black and White patch. The patch also contains an additional feature – enhanced support for Pentium 4. It is currently still undergoing configuration testing with Electronic Arts and is awaiting QA approval before being released.

We are expecting to learn the QA completion date on Monday, at which point a notice will be posted on this site.

Lionhead regrets that it is not able to release a pre-QA version of the Patch as originally planned due to customer support concerns at EA.
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