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Friday, March 21, 2008news@insidemacgames.com



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Spiderweb Adds New Blades Of Avernum Scenarios
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software has added two new Blades of Avernum scenarios, Adrift and Tales From the Tabard Inn, to its Untried page. The two scenarios are tailored for low level characters and are currently available for download and review.

Name: Adrift
Difficulty Rating: Low (Level 1-5)
Content Rating: Teen
Description: A rescue gone awry.

Name: Tales From the Tabard Inn
Difficulty Rating: Low (Level 1+)
Content Rating: Mature
Description: A package, an assassin, an execution, and a man named Sly.
Click on the link below for more information.

Untried Blades Of Avernum Scenarios
Spiderweb Software (add to watch list)
Blades of Avernum (add to watch list)



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IMG Reviews Penumbra: Overture
2:09 PM | Marcus Albers | 1 comment

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the first-person adventure game Penumbra: Overture from Frictional Games. Here's a clip from the review:

The game mechanism of moving the mouse to open things gives the game a nice feeling when exploring, but it becomes a double edged sword when it comes to fighting. Unlike a Myst style game, in Penumbra: Overture critters do attack and if attacked you must either run or fight back. But once into the game you might think your playing a First Person Shooter (FPS). Don't get fooled because there are no guns and except for very specific situations you'll be at a disadvantage fighting things especially THE AGGRESSIVE LARGER THAN AVERAGE SPIDERS! Primarily, the spiders are hard to whack. If you end up running for your life and wondering what's so hard about swinging a hammer, you picked the wrong technique.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review of Penumbra: Overture
Penumbra: Overture (add to watch list)
Frictional Games (add to watch list)


Custer Is Unreal
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

With our IMG first look of Unreal Tournament 3, in-house desktop artist Brad Custer has created a new piece to celebrate the game. Here's a little of what he had to say about the new desktop:

Our recent first look at Unreal Tournament 3 from MacSoft Games has generated a lot of buzz about the pending release of the game. And, as always, when you're excited about a title, my inbox sees a lot of email about a desktop for the game. It's great to be able to honor your requests especially when it comes to the series that started my adventure into desktop creation. This wallpaper features the cover art and was made possible with help from Epic Games and my cable modem. I simply entitled this selection, "Futuristic", and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. :)
To check out the latest desktop, along with many more, head over to Custer's Desktops.

Custer's Corner



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The iPhone: A Serious Contender In The Handheld Game Market?
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Roughly Drafted Magazine recently posted an article examining the iPhone and its potential as a gaming device. Apple's portable multimedia device is compared to the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP with a review of the hardware and software capabilities of each.

The iPhone is in a significantly different class of performance, has far more internal resources for games, and is equipped with a variety of other hardware–from its camera to its ubiquitous (if slow) mobile network to its multitouch high resolution display and accelerometers–all of which have to power to unlock entirely new classes of games and other more serious applications.

As a handheld console, this feature set makes the iPhone a bit like the Wii, with interactive new gameplay features, and a bit like the PS3, with higher performance gaming specs and additional online and media capabilities. Buyers won’t have to decide if they want a handheld game console; they’ll get it for free when they buy the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Further, because Apple is attaching game development as a sidecar dessert on top of a device that is primarily monetized as a hardware sale (boosted by retail and accessory sales, media sales, and carrier revenue sharing), developers will get more bang from their buck and will incur less risk developing games for the iPhone. The iPhone has also already proven itself as a very desirable smartphone, even before the arrival of any native games, ameliorating the worries of a whether games developers should invest in the platform.
Click over to the site below to read more.

Roughly Drafted: iPhone 2.0 SDK And Video Games
Apple (add to watch list)


Making A Game Out Of The Internet
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 9 comments

A new article from Technology Review offers a look at GameLayers' PMOG (Passively Multiplayer Online Game). The game, currently in beta testing, turns web surfing into a gaming experience by rewarding players for surfing to new websites and allowing them to offer "quests" to other internet surfers also playing PMOG.

To make surfing the Web a more social and lighthearted experience, Grace and the company's other designers are grafting a massively multiplayer online game on top of ordinary Web browsing. Players rack up points as they visit sites, devise themed missions that lead other players through sets of websites, and leave notes for one another--all of it invisible to nonplayers. GameLayers calls its game PMOG, for "passively multiplayer online game," because "we're layering games on top of things that are already there," says CEO and cofounder Justin Hall, known for his pioneering blog, Justin's Links from the Underground, and for his work as a freelance journalist. "The model for the game is that people can opt to play at any moment," he says. As in other massively multiplayer online games, PMOG brings each player into the experience of participating in a single vast game, taking place across the whole of the Internet, 24 hours a day. Players can gain tools and abilities as they progress, but there is no end to the game.

To get started, players download a toolbar. When they log in to PMOG, software tracks the sites that they visit, and gives them points for each unique URL they visit within a 24-hour period. Then they can create and take missions. For example, a PMOG player might visit the homepage for the forthcoming Batman movie, The Dark Knight, and find a pop-up from a fellow player inviting him to learn about the history of Batman. If the player elects to follow the mission, a series of pop-up windows would lead him through sites where he might, for example, view cover art from the Batman comic books, read trivia on the Batman TV series, and view information about the making of the new film. At each site, he'd find pop-up windows displaying notes written by the mission creator, perhaps giving additional background on the site, telling a story, or leaving clues to a puzzle.

Along the way, players can IM each other; leave gifts of links, points, and other game equipment; and even detonate little bombs that cause other players' browser windows to temporarily (and harmlessly) shrink. "It's like instant messaging meets [social bookmarking site] del.icio.us, meets Wikipedia," says Joichi Ito, a board member of the Mozilla Foundation and a venture capitalist who has invested in GameLayers. "I think more and more people are receptive to bringing play into things that are more mundane. There's this puritanical thing that we're all getting over now."
PMOG currently takes the form of a Firefox extension. For more information follow the links below.

Technology Review: All The Internet's A Game
PMOG
GameLayers



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StarCraft II First Impressions
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Eurogamer has posted a new preview of StarCraft II gameplay. Based on information gleaned during a recent visit to Blizzard Entertainment, the preview offers a glimpse of some of the frenetic multiplayer action players can expect from the game as well as commentary from some of StarCraft II's designers.

Firstly, the single-player campaign, of which there was a tantalising glimpse at BlizzCon last year, but which is still shrouded in mystery. An elaborate and gorgeous front-end was demonstrated, showing Terran characters aboard their flagship, and we were promised a non-linear storyline, dialogue trees, and flexible tech development. It seemed a fascinating introduction of elements from the likes of Bioware RPGs and even point-and-click adventures to this otherwise straight-down-the-line action RTS, but there's no word on how the non-linear storytelling will work, or how the Protoss and Zerg races will factor into it. Sigaty is tight-lipped, but says it's intended to satisfy those who are disappointed by the lack of change in the game's core mechanics.

"It's definitely a departure and it was a conscious decision to make single-player very different from what we'd done before. Really the main reason is, because of what we're deciding to do with the core multiplayer game, let's innovate and be different in the single-player campaign."

Yet more significant, and more secret, are the plans for the revamped Battle.net multiplayer portal that will launch alongside StarCraft II. Blizzard has been hinting from the start that it has big plans for this, centred on a push to bring the game's tremendous pro-gaming success in Korea to a wider, worldwide audience.

"We're not really prepared to talk about the specifics of Battle.net right now," stonewalls Sigaty - but then he relents a little. "Three things - the core multiplayer game and Battle.net ultimately being the glue of that, combined with our interest in the multiplayer community and general, and then eSports - those are the things that we'll be focusing on in Battle.net. In a few months you'll have specific information on what that means, but certainly you can start to draw conclusions about how we're going to bring eSports to people that aren't even aware that it exists." He specifically mentions "the new level of gamer" - the Guitar Hero-loving, semi-casual player.
The full article is available at the link below.

Eurogamer: StarCraft II First Impressions
Blizzard Entertainment (add to watch list)
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty (add to watch list)
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty


Mac Games News for Thursday, March 20, 2008

Apple Games Features Enemy Territory Quake Wars6:00 AM
Blizzard Previews Fury Of The Sunwell6:00 AM
The Sims 3 Announced For PC6:00 AM
The Sims Bowling Reviewed6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, March 20, 2008 on one page


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