New Giga Wing enters beta

Takumi begins beta testing of its next Giga Wing arcade game, which runs on a new board developed by Taito and Toshiba.

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TOKYO--Arcade game developer Takumi opened a beta test for another game in its series of Giga Wing action games in Japan over the weekend. Titled Giga Wing Generations, the game is a vertically scrolling shooter, like the previous two games in the series, which were released for the Dreamcast.

Reports from the beta test say that Giga Wing Generations plays a bit differently from Giga Wing 2, since the "item volcanon" system, where the screen fills up with numerous score medallions, either has been taken out of the game or hasn't been implemented during the current stage of beta testing. Also not included in the beta test is the reflect laser, which in the previous game allowed the player to absorb enemy shots and to counter with a homing laser. On the other hand, the "reflect force" system has been carried over into the new version. Though the Giga Wing series is also known for its character artwork and worldview, the beta-test version of Giga Wing Generations does not feature any illustrations or stage demos.

Giga Wing Generations runs on a Windows-compatible arcade board named Type-X, which was codeveloped by Taito and Toshiba PC Systems. According to a press release, Type-X will mostly consist of normal computer parts, which will cut production costs of the board 10 to 15 percent in comparison to traditional arcade boards that use specialized parts. The arcade board will run on an Intel 865G chipset with a 2.5GHz Intel Celeron and an ATI Radeon 9200SE graphics card. Like with a PC, components such as graphics card can be added on or replaced to update the arcade machine.

Type-X operates on a specialized version of Windows XP, allowing game developers to cut both development time and costs in creating titles for the arcade board by using normal Windows development software. Developers will have no need to learn specific details about new hardware because the board is based on standard PC architecture. Taito and Toshiba are also planning to release a utility to easily port games from the Type-X to the PlayStation 2.

Since Taito previously announced that it plans to debut the Type-X in Japanese arcades in October, Giga Wing Generations most likely won't be making its commercial debut until then. But considering the large number of beta testers reporting frame skipping and graphical glitches, which seem to be caused by hardware limitations, Takumi will undoubtedly require the additional development time to complete the game before its release.

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