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Tuesday, July 26, 2005



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Widget Monkeys Releases Monkey Marbles
9:03 AM | Anthony Wang | 5 comments

Today, Widget Monkeys released its second game widget named Monkey Marbles. Monkey Marbles was created using Unity, the game features 3D gameplay, complete physics engine, and colorful graphics. The object of Monkey Marbles is to place all five marbles firmly in their holes. You use the arrow keys to tilt the board and the spacebar to reset the marbles to their original starting location. If you were wondering, Monkey Marbles is free.

You may also want to check out their first game widget creation, Widget Monkey. With over 12,000 downloads already, it is one of the most popular free widgets available. For those of you who aren't familiar, WidgetMonkey is a 3D Monkey ragdoll which you can make it do crazy things.

Besides that, Widget Monkeys seems to have something up its sleeve. They have announced upcoming shareware versions of their game widgets for $1.99. The shareware versions will include more levels, options, and the WidgetMonkey theme song.

Monkey Marbles requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. For more information on WidgetMonkeys or to download their game widgets, follow the links below.

WidgetMonkeys
Download: Monkey Marbles
Download: WidgetMonkey
Apple



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Apple Store Mac Gaming Event in Phoenix
9:10 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

The Apple Store Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona will be a hosting a Mac Gaming Event tomorrow night from 6 to 7pm. Brad Oliver of Aspyr will be there giving a presentation on Mac games.

I'll be demoing upcoming Aspyr games like Tiger Woods 2005, Star Wars Battlefront, Lego Star Wars as well as current games like Sims 2. I'll also be doing Q and A about Mac gaming as well.
For more information, follow the links below.

Apple Store: Biltmore
Apple
Aspyr Media


TV-Like Ads In Video Games?
9:09 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Massive Inc. has been experimenting with advertisments that resemble TV commercials with full motion video and sound in a game called Anarchy Online. The way it works is that when a player moves near the advertisment, it will begin playing. However, the advertisment will stop when the player moves away.

Here is a glance at the article:

Massive's move comes less than a year after it created a stir in the videogame-advertising industry by offering advertisers the chance to insert still ads into videogames played on Internet-connected computers. Massive uses the Internet to insert ads into spaces in the games. The ads can also be changed and withdrawn whenever the advertisers want. The technique was a big step forward for videogame advertising, which previously was restricted to ads inserted into games while the games were made. Because games can take up to a couple of years to be designed, this required advertisers to put their ads into games well before the games' release.
This evolution of advertising in games will surely change the way games are for better or worse. The plus is that game companies could have continuous revenue with these advertisments. Unfortunetly, this could also lead to in-game advertisments that could distract players and alter game design. Also, movie companies have shown interest in running short film trailers in online games.
The introduction of full-motion ads on games gives advertisers more options. Massive's Mr. Davis says Hollywood movie studios have shown particular interest in running 15-second movie trailers in online games. Mr. Rich says Paramount may be interested in such ads, but emphasized that the content of any such ads shouldn't turn off gamers.
Expect to start seeing these advertisments in games more and more in the near future. Furthermore, the advertisments will most likely expand to the gaming consoles. To read the entire article, follow the link below.

Wall Street Journal: Article


Walker Games Releases RockSlide
9:09 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Walker Games has released RockSlide, an arcade/puzzle shareware game for Mac OS X. Rocks come in from the left side continuously and must be removed by clicking on rocks with the same color before it slides to the right. Furthermore, RockSlide has many other features such as multiple themes and an Internet Highscore board.

RockSlide requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, 800mhz G3 or faster, and Java which is included with the operating system. Since RockSlide is shareware, once the 10 day trail period ends, you will have to pay $10 for a license key to continue playing the game.

To download Rockslide or to learn more information, follow the links below.

Walker Games
RockSlide
Download: RockSlide


Power Game Factory Updated To 1.0.4
9:08 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Sawblade Software has updated its game creation tool, Power Game Factory, to version 1.0.4. The program allows users to create sidescrolling action games for the Mac without having to know anything about programming.

The update adds the following:

1. The correct transitional frames are now displayed when a player with mirrored frames jumps and turns to the right in mid-air.
The effects of the Falling Damage property have changed; damage is no longer sustained when the character is falling at less than half of his maximum downward speed.

2. If the player can fly and has a Gravitational Acceleration Rate of 0, he now re-spawns properly instead of hovering in the air indefinitely after dying.

3. Stomping an enemy can now trigger a Being Hit character routine. Previously, only projectile impacts could trigger Being Hit routines.

4. If the No Attack Sequence When Running While Firing checkbox is not checked in the Player Sets Window or Character Sets Window, the character's leg turnover animation will no longer be reset when the Attacking while Running frame is displayed.

5. Contextual menus have been enabled for editing weapon icon masks in the Weapons Window.

6. When a character releases a child character, the parent is no longer assigned the child's dying related properties.

7. When a character tilts his weapon up or down, his animation sequence is no longer reset to the first frame. This allows for more fluid running animation sequences.

To learn more about Power Game Factory check out the Sawblade Website at the link below. If you're ready to dive into game creation try out the demo at Mac Game Files.

Sawblade Software
Power Game Factory 1.0.4


House Backs FTC Investigation Of Take Two, Rockstar
9:08 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamespot reports that in a vote of 355-21 the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Monday to back a Federal Trade Commission investigation into Take Two Interactive and Rockstar Games. The investigation will seek to uncover whether or not Take Two and its subsidiary attempted to deceive the ESRB ratings board about the content of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Today's vote advanced House Resolution 376, introduced by Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI). In Upton's words, he is "leading the Congressional effort to determine if a best selling video game maker intentionally deceived the industry’s ratings board to avoid an 'Adults-Only' rating."

In a statement, Upton recently said he was "outraged by the brazenness of Rockstar Games in their effort to do an end-run around the ratings system.... Rockstar Games’ deceit has severely undermined the integrity of the ratings system."

Although submitting a game to the ESRB is a voluntary decision, an investigation may open the possibility of penalties if it reveals subterfuge on Take Two's part. With rumors that the Securities and Exchange Commission might decide to investigate high level officials for recent stock transactions, it looks as if the company's woes might continue for some time. For the entire Gamespot article click the link below.

Gamespot: House Backs Federal Investigation


Illinois To Fine Retailers For Selling Mature Games To Kids
9:07 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameDailybiz reported Monday that the Governor of Illinois signed a bill into law which will allow the state to levy fines against any retailer caught selling Mature rated games to anyone under the age of 18. Retailers would be charged with a petty offense and subject to a $1000 fine. In addition the bill requires retailers to label violent and sexually explicit video games and post signs explaining the ratings system. A failure to properly label will lead to a $500 fine for the first three violations and a $1,000 fine for each subsequent violation.

Making a direct link between this bill and the Hot Coffee controversy the Governor, in a press release, blasted the gaming industry in general:

"Unlike the motion picture industry, the video game industry has not developed an effective self-regulation system that keeps adult material out of the hands of minors." The recent events surrounding the "Hot Coffee" mod and the ESRB's rating change of Rockstar's GTA: San Andreas are cited by the release as a prime example.

"Parents today are up against a multi-billion dollar industry -- that peddles violent and sexually explicit video games to children. And when a kid plays the video game, he's not a spectator -- he's a participant. He's the one who uses the joystick and the keyboard. He's the one who takes crack cocaine and feels the video controller simulate what it's like to be on drugs. He's the one who engages in simulated sex. He cuts someone's head off and makes blood spurt from the neck. He's the killer who laughs at the victim and makes crude sexual comments after being with a prostitute. And, incidentally, he gets extra credit for doing it," the Governor said.

"For the same reason we don't allow kids to buy pornography, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy cigarettes, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy alcohol, we shouldn't allow them to go to stores and buy violent and sexually explicit video games -- games that teach them to do the very things we put people in jail for," he continued.

Alarmed by the bill the Entertainment Software Association, the Video Software Dealers Association, and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association plan to file a lawsuit to prevent the bill from going into effect.
"This law will have a chilling effect on free speech. It will limit First Amendment rights not only for Illinois' residents, but for game developers and publishers, and for retailers who won't know what games can and cannot be sold or rented under this vague new statute," said ESA president Douglas Lowenstein. "I'm confident the court will affirm our position. There is already a precedent-setting ruling from the Seventh Circuit, which includes Illinois, establishing the unconstitutionality of this type of statute -- and the facts, the science, the law, and the U.S. Constitution have not changed since that decision."
Whether or not other states will follow suit with similar legislation in the wake of the Hot Coffee scandal remains to be seen. For the full article head over to the GameDailybiz link below.

GameDailybiz: Illinois Game Bill


U.S. Navy Launches Free Game
9:07 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

As reported by Gamerfeed last week, the U.S. Navy has followed in the footsteps of the Army and created a free downloadable computer game. Navy Training Exercises: Strike and Retrieve enlists players in a search for a downed spy plane in the Atlantic Ocean. During the mission to retrieve top secret information from the ill fated plane, players must test their skills with a remote controlled underwater vehicle while avoiding enemy units and marine wildlife.

When playing the game, you will have many puzzles to challenge you mentally. Some even require going to the Navy's website (Navy.com) to get certain codes to proceed. Obviously, since the game is a modern day recruiting tool, the level of difficulty present in the game might be a tad too much for younger games. Also, the game is single player, much unlike the Army's foray into games.
There is no word on whether a Mac version of the game is planned. For more information click the links below.

Navy Training Exercises Home
GamerFeed: U.S. Navy Launches Free Game


More Rand Miller Video Interviews
9:05 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

Myst Worlds recently posted a video interview with Rand Miller, creator of the Myst series. Rand Miller founded Cyan Worlds, and was the lead designer on several Myst games. Miller even stars as Atrus, the "lead character" in all 4 Myst games, making him king of all nerds.

To check out the interview, follow the link below.

Rand Miller Interview


Word Of Mouse Games Releases Snood Solitaire
9:05 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Word of Mouse Games, publisher of such titles as Candy Crisis and Snood, has released Snood Solitaire. The game features Snood specific art as well as over 30 solitaire card games including Spider, FreeCell, Yukon and Klondike.

Designed from the "ground up" to work with Mac OS X, the game will run on any Mac with version 10.1 or higher installed.

Snood Solitaire for Mac OS X is easy to play, letting you use its "Smart-dragging" feature which scans the board for openings and allows you to nudge the card to move it. This is especially useful with notebook/laptop computers.

Snood Solitaire for Mac OS X lets you undo every single move and redo them again if you like.

Maybe best of all, Snood Solitaire for Mac OS X features the Unique Snood Card Set! We've created amazing Snood Card fronts and backs that make playing Solitaire even more enjoyable!,

For more information about the game check out the Word of Mouse Games website. You can pick up the demo of Snood Solitaire at Mac Game Files.

Word Of Mouse Games
Snood 1.0


Starcraft Map Contest
9:05 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Entaro Adun, map builders. Blizzard has announced a Starcraft map contest as part of its upcoming BlizzCon event. The winners' maps will be used at the BlizzCon invitational tournament in Anaheim, California on October 28 and 29.

In addition to having their maps featured in the tournament, winners will receive the following prizes:

Prizes:
1. Map authors will be published on the BlizzCon website.
2. Each map author will also receive a set of three World of Warcraft action figures (StarCraft action figures are out of stock), a set of three StarCraft novels, and a t-shirt.
If you would like to participate, click on over to the Blizzard site below for all the contest details.

BlizzCon Map Contest
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft


Hellgate: London Development Diary
9:04 AM | Tony Jones | Comment on this story

IGN.com posted a feature last Friday, July 22, on the development stage of the upcoming PC game Hellgate: London. The feature was a developer's diary and explained the process of giving in-game characters animations. The animators can make or break a good game, so it is key that they have little or no flaws. This particular animator talks about what it is like to work on the project. The feature also tells about the race to stabilize a working version of the game before E3 arrives and the pressures to meet a deadline after.

As any game developer will tell you, the ramp up to showing a an early version of a game at E3 is a mad scramble to get in as many features as possible, making them feel and look as good as possible, all while maintaining the game's stability while all this grotesque pushing and pulling and prodding of the engine continues. That last item, the stability, I'm told is very difficult.
For the full feature check out IGN.com or follow the links below. No word on whether Hellgate: London will make its way to the Mac.

IGN.com Feature
IGN.com


Mac Games News for Monday, July 25, 2005

Macgamestore: Star Wars Battlefront In Stock1:12 PM
IMG Reviews Railroad Tycoon 312:58 PM
FunPause Releases Atlantis for OS X10:03 AM
So You Wanna Be A Game Designer?9:54 AM
Delicious Monster Co-Founder Joins Apple9:16 AM
DOOM 3 Movie Interview9:16 AM
World of Warcraft Launches in Singapore9:16 AM
FreeCiv Updated to 2.0.39:15 AM
More on Civilization IV Religions9:15 AM
Department of Defense Creates Games Developers' Community9:14 AM
The Sims 2 Content Similar To Hot Coffee?9:14 AM
Mercenaries Cash For Art Program9:13 AM
BF 1942: Desert Combat Realism 1.0 for Mac Soon9:12 AM
Last Man Standing Mod For Doom 3 Available9:12 AM
Wing Commander Privateer Now Available9:12 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, July 25, 2005 on one page


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