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Instant Action: Hey, Nice Tribes Clone

2008 is going to be the year when decent 3D action games are integrated directly into the web. That's the message from GarageGames Instant Action service. (Confirmed by that whole Quake Live thing too, eh?)

In a low key demonstration of their web-based gaming hub on the GDC expo floor, Tim Aste, the lead designer director of Tribes-like jetpack shooter Fallen Empire: Legions, revealed some compelling aspirations for the web service. Aste explained, as two impressively acrobatic jetpack combatants engaged in rocket-battles on screens either side of him, that their fast-paced 3D shooter operates entirely within a web browser, and as such can be updated instantly and dynamically, as well as downloaded and played on any PC with a 3D card and a broadband connection. System specs, said Aste, would be suitably low, and the price for play just a few dollars. Tribes for lunch? I think so.

With speedy loading times and the game not having any kind of static, boxed product, Aste's tiny five-man team can work with gamers to evolve the game continuously, a little like MMO developers have done with their subscription services, and it's already looking like a lot of fun. "We want the community to be involved in the process," said Aste. "We want gamers to feel like their comments will be heard and acted on the game we're making." Unlike an MMO, however, the shooter will only charge a one-off fee.

Given a choice of jetpacks, or no jetpacks, we'll always choose jetpacks.

Aste said that his team even had scope for mods of the game being made available through the web-service, so that creative gamers could contribute directly to the game they wanted to play.

The Instant Action website is currently in beta, and is beginning to show off a range of multiplayer puzzle and 3D action games which will run on low spec PCs and allow gamers to play pretty quickly, having installed nothing more than a browser plugin. It's an impressive example of how the PC is leaning away from the high end and delivering super-accessible web-skewed experiences. More on this sort of thing next week.

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Jim Rossignol