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Monday, June 4, 2007



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Penumbra: Overture, Survival Horror Title Coming To Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 10 comments

Independent developer Frictional Games has announced the June release of Penumbra: Overture for Mac OS X users. The first person survival horror title was released in March for the Windows platform, in May the Linux version was finalized, and now in June Mac users will get a chance to experience the game.

Penumbra: Overture is a first person adventure game which focuses on story, immersion and puzzles. Instead of using violence to progress the player has to use his/her wits to guide the protagonist Philip on his quest to unravel the past. Played from a first person viewpoint, Penumbra: Overture is powered by a 3D engine and features an advanced physics system which allows for "never before seen" environment interaction. The player can open drawers, pull levers, pick up objects, and more using natural mouse movements creating a highly interactive and immersive game world.

The Mac and Linux port can be credited Edward Rudd who has been working together with us during almost the entire development to keep the game and engine up-to-date and running on all platforms.

Frictional Games is co-owned by Thomas Grip and Jens Nilsson. Jens has for almost a decade worked on games, the majority for the Mac. Previous work on Mac games includes audio for titles like Nanosaur, Captain Bumper, Tactical Ops and DeepTrouble 2.

The music in Penumbra: Overture is written by freelance musician Mikko Tarmia, another Mac oriented fellow that has previously done the music for all CodeBlender games such as DeepTrouble 1 & 2 and Rally Shift as well as work for other Mac developers.

It's been a long running passion within Frictional Games to see Penumbra: Overture on the Mac and it's great for us to finally be able to announce it as a reality. For those eager to try the game before the final release, you can help out by downloading the current beta release of the demo.
Penumbra: Overture is currently a Universal Binary running on Mac OS X 10.4. Preliminary requirements are: 1.5Ghz CPU, 512MB RAM, Radeon 9600/GeForce 4(MX not supported) and 800MB of free disc-space.

The game runs on the internally developed HPL engine, featuring the latest graphics technologies using OpenGL, a solid implementation of the Newton Game Dynamics to power the physics and utilizing OpenAL for the audio.

This is the first release of a series of games, the second episode planned for a release this fall. Follow the links below for more information.

Penumbra: Overture Beta Info
Frictional Games
Penumbra: Overture



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Aquaria For OS X Sneak Peek
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Ambrosia Software released a sneak peek at the upcoming Aquaria for Mac in a recent Ambrosia Times article. Created by Bit Blot, the side-scrolling underwater action adventure game follows the adventures of Naija as she embarks on a quest to reveal the history of the the underwater land of Aquaria.

I have to be honest, having this job is good, especially when I get to test out all the games before the public release. The job is only the better when this 2D scrolling fanatic got his hands on the underwater adventure game Aquaria. 
 
Like Ulysses, in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, you too might have to be tied to the mast when you hear of Ambrosia's newest singing aquatic heroine. Because this game is amazing, addictive, and unfortunately not available. 
 
Like the sirens from that great tale, this little character uses songs to get what she wants. It's no surprise that this is the Winner of the Independent Games Festival's Seumas McNally Grand Prize. From the moment you start the game, you are swallowed up by the sea, the sounds, and the stunning visuals. 
 
Aquaria is a non-linear side-scrolling game that is extremely easy to pick up and learn. The game progresses gradually, so you don't have to worry about combat until you're prepared. You play as Naija, a lonely sea creature who has led a simple, feral life - never questioning the strange world around her. That is until one fateful day, when a mysterious figure appears - inspiring Naija to begin a journey to undercover the history of Aquaria.
The sneak peek also includes several screenshots from the game. Click on the links below to read the rest.

The Ambrosia Times: Aquaria Preview
Ambrosia Software
Aquaria



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StarCraft II Cinematic Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment's official StarCraft II website is now offering a new interview with Nick Carter, Blizzard's cinematic creative director, about the cinematic teaser trailer for the upcoming sequel to the popular sci-fi RTS title. The Q&A covers the different stages involved in creating the trailer and reveals the genesis of the NPC character, Tychus Findlay.

What technologies did you use to create the cinematic teaser?

Traditionally, we've used off-the-shelf software to create our cinematics, but as I said previously, we're reaching the outer limits of what that is capable of. For example, the 3D models used in the cinematic teaser are the most complex and detailed models we've ever done. I think the polygon count on the marine ended up being well above five million. So when we tried to render the cinematic teaser, we actually broke our renderer. It refused to render the scene; it was just too much. In the end, we had to do separate passes to render the cinematic, but this experience showed us that we're approaching a point where our current software might not be able to help us in all rendering tasks.

Now we're looking at other solutions, and one solution is to switch over to RenderMan, a renderer that was developed by Pixar. Doing so means a lot of in-house development, which is fairly unusual for a computer games company, but it's really just the next logical step for us. We have a lot of extremely talented people on the cinematics team, and all that skill and professionalism is being put toward making sure that the cinematics of StarCraft II will meet the players' expectations..
Head over to the site below to read the rest of the interview.

StarCraft II: Cinematic Feature
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty



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Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword Discussion
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Apolyton Civilization Site recently released a new podcast focusing on the upcoming Beyond The Sword expansion for the PC version of Civilization IV. The expansion is designed to expand the late game in Civ IV's turn based strategy with a variety of new options.

There is no word yet on the possibility of a Mac version. Keep an eye on IMG for any updates.

The Apolyton discussion is available for download in MP3 format and runs just under an hour in length. Click on the link below for more information.

Apolyton: Civ IV Beyond The Sword Discussion
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV



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The Broken Hourglass: Another NPC Companion Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

This week's Broken Hourglass update from Planewalker Games' website features a glimpse at Halima Phaenon, one of the nine joinable NPCs in the upcoming RPG title. The character preview of the young wizardess Halima is shown through the eyes of her last mentor, one of Argoniss' most powerful air mages. The article explains why Halima is leaving the magical island fortress for Mal Nassrin -- and why her stay could be a short one.

Yes. Halima is gone, leaving tomorrow for Mal Nassrin, wherever that is. Never to return? I doubt that. The same easily-given affection and near-depthless capacity for sentiment which urges her to her birth family will bring her back to us in time. Probably far less than is average for those on Tour.

They all have it difficult, these young men and women. No matter what they recall, or what word their correspondences bring from the mainland, they invariably have an impossible, distorted view of what Tour means for them. Halima, I suspect, will find it more trying than most. She will seek anyone and everyone who was a part of her life before her training here, and whether they find her over- or underwhelming, they will not, and cannot, be what she expected. And oh, how Halima hates unmet expectations, most of all her own failure to meet them. As many years as she has worked under my tutelage, it never ceases to amaze me how she can project such a calm air of rationality one moment and the next, explode, a ball of nerves and emotion. As if, unsure what the best response to a given problem would be, she decides to try them all, to show how earnestly engaged she is in the situation.

Read more about the character at the site below.

The Broken Hourglass: Halima Phaenon Revealed
The Broken Hourglass


Mac Games News for Friday, June 1, 2007

The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff Now In Stores For Mac5:58 PM
Inside Mac Games Reviews Virtual Villagers 22:56 PM
Apple Games Features The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff6:00 AM
Custer In Enemy Territory6:00 AM
John Carmack Developing New Game Engine6:00 AM
Myth World Cup 2007 Site Launches6:00 AM
Nexuiz 2.3 Released6:00 AM
Parallels Adds 3D Graphics Support6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, June 1, 2007 on one page


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Thursday, May 31, 2007
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