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Friday, April 18, 2008

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StarCraft II: Q&A Round 35 & History Update
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Another StarCraft II Q&A batch is now available on Blizzard Entertainment's official forums. The 35th batch offers insights from the developers and answers the usual set of five fan questions. StarCraft II will continue the storyline of the popular franchise and give multiplayer fans new challenges to enjoy.

Chat with the Devs:
The Dev team has been working hard to find the best defense mechanic that works for the Zerg. The latest builds have brought back Sunken and Spore Colonies, with a new twist. Sunken and Spore Colonies can now uproot and crawl to a more advantageous position. Incidentally, Protoss Phase Cannons no longer have the ability to change positions.

Giving the Zerg mobile defensive structures feels a lot more right as this ability opens up many more aggressive strategies in both Zerg mirrors as well as combined with Overlords generating creep to push these defenses up towards the front lines. Furthermore, there definitely is something about watching defenses crawling around that just seems very Zerg-like. Its worth noting that Zerg defenses while in mobile form have fewer hit points and are more vulnerable to attack.

1. Do Banelings damage nearby friendly units when they explode onto an enemy target?
No, in the current build the Banelings do not damage friendly units caught in the splash. The splash damage does cover its area of effect range evenly, doing the same damage to enemy units throughout the whole area.

2. When a Nydus Worm is detected, is it possible to shoot it down while it is traveling?
Yes, having detectors in strategic places will keep you from being surprised by an unexpected Nydus Worm showing up in your base.

The official StarCraft II website has also been updated, this time with a continuation of The Story So Far, a run down of the main storyline of the game. This time the lore includes discussion of what some of the main characters have been doing since the end of Brood War.
Memories of Raszagal have plagued Zeratul, who was further disturbed by his encounter with Samir Duran and the zerg-protoss hybrid Duran had apparently been creating. Shortly after bidding Raynor farewell on Shakuras, Zeratul departed the planet, and he has not been heard from in years. To this day he seeks to understand what Duran and the hybrid he was creating might portend. Lately he has uncovered something that may be related to the xel'naga, creators of both protoss and zerg, and he seeks new clues to unravel the mystery.
Click over to the the links below to read all the new StarCraft II information.

StarCraft Forums: SC 2 Q&A Batch 35
StarCraft Forums: Ask Your SC 2 Questions Here
StarCraft Forums: Q&A Archive
SC2: The Story So Far
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

CrossOver Games Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Unofficial Apple Weblog recently posted a hands on review of CodeWeaver's emulation software, CrossOver Games. Through virtualization the software allows users to play some Windows games on their Intel Macs. The review includes screenshots of CrossOver Games in action.

So I'd already installed and played Guild Wars, and yet when I started up CrossOver Games a second time and went to see my installed games (where Guild Wars should had been), it wasn't there. The app said I had nothing installed, despite the fact that I'd been killing monsters just minutes beforehand. Eventually I had to go back to the install screen, select Guild Wars to install, and once it got back into the Windows environment, the game said it had already been installed and asked me if I'd like to play. Which works -- I was able to eventually get back into the game by trying to reinstall it -- but that's hardly easy or simple. And I had the same problems on shutting down and restarting the game. In short, the game is perfectly playable. But using the app to actually get to the game caused me many more problems.

So: Guild Wars installed and was playable, but the CrossOver app itself had problems installing and recognizing the client. Civilization 4 installed just fine, but didn't run for me at all, and the app didn't recognize the installation of that one either, even though I was able to find it in Finder. And F.E.A.R., an unsupported program, didn't work at all -- expected, but a little disappointing. In short, if you want to use CrossOver Games, it's best to use it with an application that's supported directly with the client (fortunately, this includes all the Steam games, so you've got a nice selection there). If you want to play a game that's not included with the client, or is completely unsupported by CrossOver, you're better off switching over to Boot Camp or just playing on a PC or console.

Head over to the site below to read the rest of the review.

TUAW: Hands On With CrossOver Games

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EVE Online's Fifth Birthday, Expansion Info Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

WarCry Network has published a new interview with CCP Games' Valerie Massey. In the interview Massey discusses EVE Online's upcoming fifth birthday on May 6th, and the effort to maintain a successful MMO in a crowded marketplace. She also revealed the name of the next expansion, The Empyrean Age, which will focus on factional warfare between the races in the game.

With five years under their belt, most MMOs would be getting into old age. Not EVE, they still have aggressive plans to grow their game. This summer, they plan to launch yet another free expansion and that's where the aforementioned scoop comes in.

The title of the next expansion - revealed here for the first time - will be "The Empyrean Age," the same as the EVE novel by Tony Gonzalez also slated for the summer. The reason is simple, this is the first EVE Online expansion where the story of the game and its universe will play a key role, a lot of it based off the novel.

"The universe of Eve has always had this fragile peace between the races and now that's going to end," Massey said. This means war and that is the core new feature: factional warfare. "People can actually take an active role and choose sides for who they want to fight for and who they want to fight against."

More details on this expansion are going to trickle out over the coming months, but it marks - at long wait - the culmination of the plan that was once upon a time called Kali and has now turned into not one, but four epic expansions: Revelations I, Revelations II, Trinity and now The Empyrean Age.
For the full interview follow the link provided below.

WarCry Network: EVE Online Five Years And Counting
CCP Games
EVE Online

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From Single Cell To Galactic Empire In Spore
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Play has posted an interview with game developer Thomas Vu about Maxis and EA's upcoming god sim, Spore. The Q&A covers a variety of topics including specifics about gameplay and the mysterious ending dedicated players may eventually reach.

The new god sim will allow players to build single celled organisms and guide them out of the primordial ooze and eventually to the expansive reaches of outer space. At each stage of evolution the game will open up new options for play, eventually leading from simple survival to city building and galactic conquest.

Does Spore have an ending, and if so, how long will the experience last?
This may surprise Maxis fans, but Spore does have an ending, though it is probably not what you’d expect. Players can continue playing past the end if they choose to and continue to explore the hundreds of thousands of planets that populate the Spore galaxy. We are not ready to announce what the end of the game will be, but trust that it will take a dedicated player some time to complete the game. Additionally, each of the individual phases can be played in isolation for players who may prefer some phases over others along with all of the editing and creation tools for those who may just want to create things like creatures or buildings for others to play with.

We also included an achievement system layered on top of the game that will give players special reward badges to share on the community website depending on the way they played their game for bragging rights. Some of these achievements can only be accomplished through playing on hard mode which is an expert version of the game. Along with pollinated content from other players, all of the different ways that players can approach Spore help add replay to the game and extends its life and value.
Check out the full article at the link below.

Play: Thomas Vu Spore Interview
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

Mac Games News for Thursday, April 17, 2008

Big Bang Brain Games Reviewed6:00 AM
CCP Discusses EVE Online Source Code Leak6:00 AM
IMG Reviews Return to Dark Castle6:00 AM
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Now Available For First Gen Mac Pros6:00 AM
Penumbra: Requiem Announced6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, April 17, 2008 on one page

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