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Thursday, May 22, 2008

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Howling Moon Software Releases ScribBall For Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Howling Moon Software has announced the release of ScribBall, its first game for the Mac. The puzzle title attempts to add a new spin to the color matching genre by introducing realistic physics to the mix. In the game players must match four or more balls of the same color.

From the website:

ScribBall is an easy to pick-up puzzle game thatís packed full of exciting and addictive gameplay. Players of all skill levels will enjoy the addictive gameplay and fun hand-drawn graphics as they vie to achieve ever greater scores and awards. The game uses realistic physics, so things roll around and tumble just how youíd expect. To keep things interesting, there are a number of special balls that may explode, call in a storm to mix things up, or jump. Driven by a simple point-and-click interface, itís easy to learn for any player.

Co-founder and developer Scott Lembcke said, "We started out making a physics based board game, but wanted to make it more interactive. By using real physics, we were able to offer strategy that is impossible for other games in the falling block genre.". Scott is also the developer of the popular Chipmunk Physics library, which is used in Scribball to provide realistic and intuitive gameplay. "Having Scott's physics modeling expertise was a great boon to this project. It allowed us to do things with the gameplay that look great and really improve the user experience.", said co-founder Andy Korth. "Our goal was to create a accessible game that also provides depth, and I think we really succeeded."
Scribball is available for $15 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11, and a G4 or better processor. It does not support the Rage 128 video card. A demo of Scribball may be downloaded at the website below.

Howling Moon Software

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Jan Klose Discusses Ankh: Heart Of Osiris
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Adventure Classic Gaming has published a new interview with Jan Klose of Deck13 Interactive about Ankh: Heart of Osiris. The Q&A covers a variety of topics specific to the game as well as some general questions about crafting a successful adventure title. Ankh: Heart of Osiris gives players the task of once again aiding young prince Assil, this time in recovering his stolen Ankh.

What do you think are the most common mistakes developers make when trying to design graphical adventure games?
Some adventures seem to focus too much on a story and neglect the actual gameplay, e.g. the reason why people play a game instead of watching a movie. Also, in my personal opinion, many people try to incorporate inappropriate minigames that do not add anything good to the gameplay experience.
Another important point is that many current adventure games do not make enough effort to meet the optical quality standards that people are used to from TV and cinema experiences. Of course this is not only a matter of experience but simply the money available for the development of the game.

What are your general strategies for integrating puzzles into the storyline of an adventure game? Do you think the puzzles should always relate somehow to the story?
We try to make all puzzles directly relate to the story line. Both elements have to tie in together. The storyís purpose is to bring the puzzles to life! And there are other annoying aspects that can be avoided. For example, we try to do without any box shifting or code cracking puzzles as they donít do anything good to the story.
Click over to the site below to read the rest of the interview.

Adventure Classic Gaming: Jan Klose Interview
Ankh: Heart Of Osiris

SheepShaver Brings Classic Apps To Intel Macs & Leopard
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 8 comments

Low End Mac has posted a new article examining SheepShaver. The open source project allows those with Intel Macs, OS X Leopard, Windows, or Linux machines to emulate Power Mac hardware. The article offers a look at the software's features and a step by step guide on how to make it function properly.

SheepShaver is an open source project designed to emulate Power Mac hardware with versions for Mac OS†X, Linux, Windows, and more. In order to make it work, you need to download a copy appropriate for your hardware and operating system, have handy a copy of the Mac operating system (versions 7.5.2 through 9.0.4 - and not a copy that's tied to a specific piece of hardware), and access to a Mac ROM image. You need the ROM image in order to allow your emulated Mac to start the boot process - where standard Windows-style PCs have fairly simple ROM BIOSes, PowerPC Macs need access to a hunk of Apple-written (and Apple copyright) code before they start to load the operating system.

Performance on my Intel iMac is pretty good, but performance on my older (PowerPC) 12" PowerBook (running 10.5) is spectacular - far and away the fastest classic Mac I've ever used. That's because on an Intel Mac, SheepShaver has to emulate PowerPC instructions, translating them into Intel code; on a PowerPC Mac, no translation is necessary. As an example, it takes about 45 seconds to boot the virtual Mac on my 2†GHz Intel iMac. On my 1.5 GHz G4 PowerBook, the same thing takes 16 seconds.
Head over to the link below to read the rest.

Low End Mac: Sheepshaver Review/How-To

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Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Stars and Stripes recently posted a new interview with id Software's Kevin Cloud and Splash Damage's Edward Stern. Cloud and Stern discussed the design decisions that went into Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and offered their own personal favorite Human and Strogg weapons.

Q: "Enemy Territory: Quake Wars" is set in the relatively near future. Why the switch from the last few Quakes?
KC: "Enemy Territory: Quake Wars" tells the story of the initial invasion of Earth in 2065. Later in the "Quake" series, through years of combat with the alien Strogg, humans develop advanced technology like plasma energy weapons. But in 2065, the Earth Defense Force is equipped with advanced versions of current day weaponry.
We chose this time to give players choices between two very different armies. The level of variety, with rail guns against sniper rifles and mechanized walkers against tanks with their own strengths and weaknesses gives players more weapons to have fun with and more game play depth and strategy to explore.

ES: We love "Quake." We grew up playing "Quake." We got our start in the industry as a mod team working with the "Quake III" engine. We wanted to know and show what had happened back on Earth before you got to strike back at the Strogg in "Quake II" and "Quake IV." So thatís why "ETQW" is really a prequel to the previous games. This meant we got to reverse-engineer the classic "Quake" weapons, so you get to use their ancestor prototypes: if youíre familiar with the rail gun, hyperblaster and rocket launcher, youíll see what we mean.

The full article is available at the link provided below.

Stars and Stripes: ETQW Interview
Aspyr Media
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Buy Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

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IMG Reviews Electropy
6:00 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the indie arcade game Electropy from Team Phobic. Here's a clip from the review:

There seems to be a resurgent interest in games featuring wire swinging, as evinced by Capcom's recently announced eponymous sequel to the 1988 NES title Bionic Commando, as well as the graphical update of the original, Bionic Commando Rearmed. Although Electropy does not share these titles' scope nor their production values, it does have a similar physics-driven swinging mechanic at its core. Perhaps a more precise, though more obscure, analog is the Japanese game Umihara Kawase, which first appeared on the Super Famicom. This title featured a female protagonist who used a fishing line with surprisingly accurate physics to navigate 2D geometric levels. Electropy shares with this game a similar sparse level design and a mostly non-violent focus on using physics-driven swinging to reach exit points.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Electropy
Buy Electropy

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Aki Mahjong Solitaire Goes Universal6:00 AM
EMotion FX Middleware Comes To Macs6:00 AM
First Episode Of Penny Arcade Adventures Released6:00 AM
Midnight Mansion Updated6:00 AM
New Spore Movie & Screenshots Available6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 21, 2008 on one page

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