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Friday, January 25, 2008



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Penumbra: Black Plague Dev Diary, Screenshots
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 12 comments

A new developer diary for Penumbra: Black Plague is now available at Worthplaying. The sequel to Penumbra: Overture, the game will wrap up the storyline to the horror themed adventure series. The diary focuses on Frictional Games' efforts in implementing the game's physics engine.

The best and worse thing with physics puzzles is that you can never plan for every event. There are endless of ways in which the physics can be used and this means that you can never be sure that you have tested every single way in which the player can approach a puzzle. The good thing with this is that the player can solve puzzles in ways, we as designers, never planned. The bad thing is that the puzzle might be broken in unexpected ways too. For example if you need to cross a rift using boards, it is hard to prevent the player from simply throwing down all the boards into the rift, making the puzzle unsolvable. During the development of the game we tried hard to minimize these sorts of things, however we also didn't want to be overprotective either. Because of this we made the decision to leave a way to destroy the puzzle, if it made the way to solve it the more open. As long as it was very obvious when the player destroyed a puzzle we figured this approach would be a lot better than holding a playerís hand every step of the way, making the game much more linear.

Another grim feature of a physics system is its chaotic nature. By chaotic we mean that the slightest change in starting conditions might lead to vast changes in the result. For example, at one point in the game we wanted a corpse to fall down, but the physics would never behave the way we wanted it to. Every time we thought we had it in the right starting pose, it would still fall completely wrong on a later occasion. This forced us to add several correctional forces to make sure the corpses landed where it should and a task we at first thought would be simple, turned out to consume over a dayís worth of job.
Click over to the site below to read the rest of the diary and check out some new screenshots from the upcoming game.

Worthplaying: Penumbra Black Plague Dev Diary
Penumbra: Black Plague
Penumbra: Overture
Frictional Games



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Inside Mac Games Posts Call of Duty 4 First Look
3:10 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media recently announced it will be bringing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to the Mac platform this Spring. IMG has posted a first look preview of the game. Here's a clip from the first look:

CoD4 takes an established set of gameplay ideas about how one can fit into an attacking group of soldiers all working together toward a common mission and brings it into the modern era. Instead of reliving old battles that took place more than half a century ago, CoD4 is all about a potential war that could take place in the near future. The story revolves around a group of Russian zealots who gain access to nuclear weapons. They arm elements of a Middle Eastern radical group and take over the government of Iran and fight a proxy war against the West. That's not really far fetched, if you ask me.
To check out the first look, please follow the link below.

Inside Mac Games First Look: Call of Duty 4
Aspyr Media
Call of Duty 4
Buy Call of Duty 4


Custer Heads Off To Battle
6:00 AM | IMG News | 3 comments

IMG's Brad Custer is back with another Mac gaming desktop today. This week's wallpaper features Aspyr's upcoming shooter, Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which is scheduled to ship in May 2008.

Here's a little detail on the latest creation:

It was announced last week at MWSF that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare would be coming to the Mac courtesy of Aspyr Media and you're definitely interested by the amount of email in my inbox. So, I'm re-enlisting and heading back to the battlefront of this popular title. I was able to make this week's wallpaper with the help of Activision and my trusty cable modem. I simply entitled this selection, "Warfare", and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. :)
Head on over to Custer's Desktops for the latest in Mac fashion, available in a wide variety of sizes.

Custer's Corner


Pole Position Remix Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

iLounge has posted a new review of Pole Position: Remix one of several new titles recently released for Apple's iPod. The game gives players the chance to experience the arcade racing action of the original. iLounge gave the game a letter grade of C+.

From the review:

Pole Position: Remix is another one of those games that feels too old and underoptimized for the iPod, with art that has barely progressed from 25-year-old standards and controls that donít do justice to the original experience. Namco has tried to simplify the art of driving by creating a combination accelerator and steering wheel; you build speed just by holding your finger on the Click Wheel, and steer by rotating your finger left and right. In automatic mode, the gear shifts automatically into high mode from low whenever youíre in the 160mph range; in manual mode you hit the center Action button to do the same. Trivia fans may also note that thereís no brake, a control that was present in the sit-down versions of Pole Position and Pole Position II, but not in the standup ones.

Shifting gears, the key to passing other cars on the track, is relatively easy. But steering with the iPod is not. Pole Position is a game of fast turns and precise movements to avoid competing traffic. To say that this experience is completely wrecked by the Click Wheel is perhaps too harsh, but once again, this controller takes an experience anyone with a dollar and a dream could almost master two decades ago, and too often transforms it into an exercise in frustration. The turns are as sharp and sudden as they were back in 1982 and 1983, which is to say that theyíre modestly telegraphed and sometimes hard to make even with a steering wheel controller. With the iPodís Click Wheel, youíre at a disadvantage, and since all you are doing in this game is making turns, when thatís not fun or exciting, thereís a problem.
Read the rest of the review at the website linked below.

iLounge: Pole Position Remix Review
Pole Position Remix



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Real Time Strategy Games, A Look At The Future
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Gamasutra has posted a new article examining real time strategy games and their weaknesses. The author discusses the narrow "fight to the death" focus of the majority of RTS titles and offers some suggestions for introducing political and strategic depth to future RTS offerings.

Take, for example, StarCraft, one of the most popular -- and, in my opinion, most fun -- RTS games of all time. The player directs drone-like units to collect resources, turns those resources into buildings and combat units, and then directs those units to seek out and destroy the enemy.

If the player chooses, he can simply wait for the enemy to come to him, trusting in the power of defense to wear his opponent down. But he cannot win unless he finds the enemy base and destroys it. In other words, StarCraft models total war, or war in which a combatant uses all available resources to the very bitter end. In total war, though, there is no second place, so a strictly defensive stance is a recipe for defeat.

StarCraft is fun; it's just not as politically compelling as it could be. The problem with the StarCraft model of who gets what, when, and how is that there is really only one core value under dispute: the opponent's destruction.2 Rarely is it more valuable to a player to leave his opponent alive and well, but compliant, than to destroy him.

In other words, there are few political options when dealing with external opponents. On the other side of the same coin, a player's control over "his" units is never in question: he can collect and allocate resources as he sees fit, without ever worrying about being thrown out of power for managin his resources unwisely. In other words, there are no internal political opponents to deal with, opponents that could add a fascinating level of strategy to the game.
The full article is available at the link provided below.

Gamasutra: The Future Of Real Time Strategy Games


Playing Imagine Poker 3
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Out of Eight recently posted a new review of Candywriter's Imagine Poker 3. The Texas Hold 'Em Poker game allows players to pit their wits against 20 infamous characters from history. Out of Eight gave the game a score of 5 out of 8.

From the review:

Imagine Poker 3 is generally your average Texas hold-em poker game. Its unique feature is that it has historical figures as your opponents: Napoleon, the Tooth Fairy, Dracula, Stalin, and Neptune, to name a few. This is a little gimmicky, but the great character design makes it more palatable. This alone wonít make for a distinctive title, and the remainder of the game doesnít feature enough to make Imagine Poker 3 stand out from the crowd. The first thing youíll do is create a character for yourself; while you can set your country of origin, you cannot pick a character form, so you will be a blank space during gameplay. Games come in tournament and custom form. Tournaments are done as a series of custom games at a set sequence of levels against different opponents; there isnít a reason to play tournaments instead of single-round custom games, as you will eventually lose and offset any experience gained.

Unlike real poker games that have winners from various tables come together, tournaments in Imagine Poker 3 are simply a series of matches that donít feel like you are part of a larger event. Custom games allow you to set the specific opponents, room, chip color, and total chips at the table. All games are limited to no more than five players: while this reduces the number of bad hands, itís less fun to play with an unrealistically low number of people. Imagine Poker 3 only features Texas hold-em, as other version of poker are not included. You can customize the betting rules (limit or no limit) and blinds (from 10/20 to 40/80, and automatic increasing), but having just one type of poker is yet another limitation. The game keeps track of everyoneís progress (human and AI players) and assigns a letter grade; this is a pretty cool feature that adds a bit of RPG flavor to the game. It almost makes up for the lack of multiplayer. Almost.
Check out the rest of the review at the link below.

Out Of Eight: Imagine Poker 3 Review
Imagine Poker 3


Mac Games News for Thursday, January 24, 2008

Inside Mac Games Reviews Peggle7:27 AM
Apple Games Features Stunts & Effects6:00 AM
Azkend Available For Macs6:00 AM
Block Breaker Deluxe Reviewed6:00 AM
Penny Arcade Adventures Previewed6:00 AM
Weaving Spiderweb: Jeff Vogel Discusses RPGs6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, January 24, 2008 on one page


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