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Monday, August 28, 2006

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The Sims 2: Open for Business on Mac OS X
9:29 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

According to an announcement from Aspyr Media, The Sims 2: Open for Business is now shipping for OS X on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. The newest expansion pack for the overwhelmingly popular series lets players take their Sims into the world of business: learning trades, creating stores, and much more.

You'll need the full version of The Sims 2 in order to play, and here are the rest of the system requirements for the game:

# Operating System: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
# CPU Processor: PowerPC G4/G5 or Intel chipset
# CPU Speed: 1.2GHz or faster
# Memory: 256 MB or higher (512 MB recommended)
# Hard Disk Space: 2GB free disk space
# Video Card (ATI): Radeon 9000
# Video Card (NVidia): GeForce FX5200
# Video Memory (VRam): 32 MB or higher (64 MB recommended)
# Media Required: DVD Drive

SUPPORTED VIDEO CHIPSETS - ATI Radeon: 9000, 9200, 9550, 9600, 9700, 9800, X600, X850, X1600 nVidia Geforce: FX 5200, 6600, 6800, 7800

For more information, check out Aspyr's mini-site, and get your order in today at the MacGameStore.

The Sims 2: Open for Business
Buy The Sims 2: Open for Business

Aspyr: More Universal Patches On The Way, New Products
1:39 PM | Tuncer Deniz | 21 comments

Aspyr Media today released their August newsletter and it contains a few interesting tidbits. The company reveals that it is currently working on a number of Universal Binary patches including Civilization III: Complete, Command & Conquer: Generals and Zero Hour, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, SimCity 4, and Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.

Aspyr also mentions they are working on a number of unannounced Mac titles:

Work internally at Aspyr Studios has wrapped up on Sims 2 Open for
Business Mac, which should be shipping any day. Much of our internal
development is on unannounced projects, including two large PC games. In
addition, we have several exciting Mac titles in the works for Christmas
2006 and early 2007. One of our goals for Mac development in the new
world of Intel Macs is to ship more of our Mac games close to the release
of the Windows versions, and we hope to have a couple good examples of
this in the coming months.
Interested in reading more? Check out Aspyr's August newsletter, linked below.

Aspyr August Newsletter

Louisiana Violent Game Ban Halted
12:59 PM | Eddie Park | 4 comments

According to Slashdot, a federal judge in Louisiana recently issued a preliminary injunction against a law written as a statewide ban on violent video games. Postings at GamePolitics note that Federal District Court Judge James Brady holds that "depictions of violence are entitled to full constitutional protection," adding that the state overlooked the fact that games are protected by free speech.

The law, which was apparently championed by the infamous Jack Thompson, was taken apart on a number of levels, including lack of solid evidence concerning violent games and violent behavior:

Defendants (Louisiana) contend that the legislative record contains social science evidence demonstrating that violent video games are harmful. It appears that much of the same evidence has been considered by numerous courts and in each case the connection was found to be tenuous and speculative...
Interestingly enough, GamePolitics also acquired a few emails from Thompson concerning reactions to the injunction by those supporting the law, which included some harsh words concerning the issue:
I'll help if there is a real commitment to win this thing. But the Governor is obviously not interested, as her office has ignored all my warnings that the preliminary injunction was going to be entered and that Foti's office as acting as if it couldn't care less. I don't put my shoulder to the wheel with people who don't care. Lives are at stake here, and it looks like the executive branch of the Louisiana government thinks this is one big joke.
Those interested in reading the judge's ruling, various other observances, and more of Thompson's reactions can find it in various GamePolitics blog postings.

Slashdot - Federal Judge Strikes Down Ban on Violent Games
GamePolitics - Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Against Louisiana Law
GamePolitics - E-mails Show Louisiana Court Defeat Reaction

Interview with IGE
12:58 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Whether they love it or hate it, many MMO gamers are familiar with the name IGE. Typically held up as the poster child for the selling of virtual goods for real currency, including in-game items and what is commonly known as real money trade (RMT), IGE is one of the largest and most successful companies of its type. Though typically low profile, Gamasutra recently managed an interview with James Clarke, IGE's chief operating officer in Asia, concerning the company's views, tactics, and future plans.

One of the most controversial points concerns the various EULAs of MMOS, which typically forbid the selling of in-game property for real money. The reasoning behind this is that everything in the game is owned by the parent company, though IGE believes differently:

However, it's obvious that IGE does not share that belief, with COO Clarke commenting pointedly: "We very much stand behind the concept of in-game property being owned by the players", and expressing "exceptionally high confidence" that this belief is true. Of course, U.S. and international courts have not ruled absolutely definitively on the matter, and indeed, Clarke claims that no companies have ever tried to challenge IGE legally over their behavior. But it's clear that IGE continues to find enough suppliers to allow its business to grow, despite multiple MMOs banning users for 'gold farming'.
Other issues discussed in the interview are professional currency farmers, which hold the reputation of muscling territories away from actual players, paid powerleveling, and IGE's acquisitions of popular community sites such as Allakhazam, Thottbot, and OGaming.

Gamasutra - IGE: Inside The MMO Trading Machine

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Frank Pearce Discusses World of Warcraft
9:29 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

A new interview with a World of Warcraft developer is available from Blizzard Entertainment. Frank Pearce, Senior Vice President of Blizzard Entertainment and Executive Producer of The Burning Crusade, discusses the current state of the popular MMORPG and offers some insight into the changes coming with the game's first expansion.

Q: What was the biggest obstacle you had to face while working on The Burning Crusade?

A: The fact is that when we launched World of Warcraft, we still had a lot of content backlog which we wanted to deliver to the players. So, we spent a lot of time after the launch of the game working on live content updates. If you look at the content updates all the way to the most recent patch, it's a lot of content. You could easily package that up and potentially argue that it is as much content as you would expect to see in a separate expansion set.
We had to tackle this content backlog first, and that's the reason why we could not focus all our energies on The Burning Crusade right away. Also, we have not really had a chance to take a step back and see where we could streamline our processes. Increasing our speed and efficiency in delivering high-quality content is one of our most challenging goals for the near future.

Q: You mentioned past content updates - will you be putting content patches live for people who are not planning to upgrade to the expansion? Can they expect the same kind of frequency to content patches as in the past or will this change?

A: We will probably see the frequency of content patches drop off a little bit as we go forward. Earlier, we had backlog of content that we wanted to deliver to our customers. Now that we have taken care of that, assuming that The Burning Crusade is well received, we want to evaluate the possibility of future expansion sets. At the same time, we still want to make sure that we make content updates that will be relevant for subscribers that have not upgraded.

Read the rest at the site listed below.

WoW: Burning Crusade Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

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Fallout Revisited: Three Days Of Post-Apocalyptic Nostalgia
9:29 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Last week Gamebanshee devoted three days of coverage to Fallout, the classic sci fi RPG set in a war ravaged future. The features include interviews with designers of Fallout 2 and Wasteland (the "spiritual" predecessor to the Fallout series), a history of the game series which offers a look at the never released Fallout 3, and a complete item list and item location guide for the Fallout games.

From Fallout History:

Black Isle's version of Fallout 3 was to take place about ten years after the events of Fallout 2 in the sunny wastelands of the American Midwest. The player would begin the game in a prison cell, and as he is puzzling a way out, an explosion rocks the facility that knocks the player unconscious. When he awakes, he finds that a hole in his cell wall offers escape to the outside world. From what we're told by the game's original developers, the player would have been forced to elude groups of robots seeking to return him to the facility while attempting to uncover the true reason for his abduction and the mysteries surrounding it.

According to a previous interview we conducted with Black Isle's John Deiley, development of Fallout 3 was moving along at a quick pace before it was canceled. The engine was 95% done and featured fully 3D environments with both turn-based and real-time combat modes. With the engine so far into development, character creation, combat, skills, and the ability to save/load games were all functional. Some of the areas had already been fully designed, and we now know that famous pre-war locales such as the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam were going to make it into the game. With dialogue, maps, and other aspects of the game progressing rapidly, it was generally expected that the game would have been completed on time.

To check out the rest of the Fallout coverage head over to the links listed below.

Gamebanshee: Wasteland Developer Interview
Gamebanshee: Fallout 2 Developer Interview
Gamebanshee: History Of Fallout
Gamebanshee: Fallout Equipment Guide
Buy Fallout 2

Mac Games News for Friday, August 25, 2006

Macgamestore: Halo UB Box, Shell Whirl, Crusader Kings3:58 PM
Penny Arcade Game Coming to OS X1:09 PM
Pangea Software Hints At New Arcade Game8:15 AM
Apple Posts New Hot Deals8:07 AM
D2X-XL Adds Network Support To Mac Version7:52 AM
Jedi Academy Universal Patch Released7:52 AM
Return to the Red Square with Custer7:52 AM
Swarm Racer For OS X7:52 AM
WoW: An Expansion Every Year7:52 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, August 25, 2006 on one page

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