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Friday, September 5, 2008

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Call Of Duty 4 Shipping September 15th
10:56 AM | Cord Kruse | 11 comments

Aspyr Media today announced Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the Macintosh will begin shipping September 15th to retail stores throughout North America. Developed by Infinity Ward and licensed by Activision, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was developed for Mac by Aspyr Studios, Aspyr's internal development team.

Featuring a tense storyline, filled with plot twists, the title thrusts players into battle like never before. With amazing special effects, including rim-lighting, depth of field, texture streaming and character self-shadowing, players are enlisted into one of the most photo-realistic gaming experiences imaginable.

The community-oriented Call of Duty 4 multiplayer gameplay features a robust leveling system, variety of unlockable perks, hot-join and matchmaking, as well as create a class and party capabilities to ensure that players of all skill levels can join in the fun. Additionally over 100 challenges and a host of new game environments and modes deliver unlimited possibilities. Infinity Ward has also included Kill-Cam, a fan favorite feature that they created in Call of Duty 2, which allows for spectator instant replays.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is available for preorder now for $54.99. It is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Intense Violence, Strong Language and Blood and Gore. For more information, fans can also visit the official Website at the link below.

Aspyr Media
Call of Duty 4
Call Of Duty Official Website
Buy Call of Duty 4

futureU SAT Prep Game Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media in collaboration with Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions has announced that futureUM, its new SAT prep video game, has shipped to retail stores nationwide for PC and Mac. futureU, the first game released under Aspyr and Kaplan¹s partnership, represents a new medium for supplemental SAT prep, adapting test preparation material into a collection of fun interactive games.

More about futureU:

futureU consists of six distinctive innovative mini-games that are divided into three main categories ­ Math, Reading and Writing. Designed as a complement to traditional SAT study methods, the game is grounded in Kaplan curriculum and features hundreds of questions and track-able player progress. In addition, players can engage in a section called Test Skills that teach the vital test-taking and time management skills necessary for taking the big exam.

futureU incorporates a wealth of in-game content that challenges and sharpens skills including:
- Reading: Focuses on refining players reading skills, vocabulary, main idea identification, themes and arguments, technique, and recognizing word meanings based on context.
- Writing: Concentrates on improving players writing skills by covering topics such as passive voice, run-on sentences, misplaced modifiers, parallelism, conjunctions, fragments, coordination and subordination, pronouns, subject-verb agreement, tenses, adverbs and adjectives, gerunds, idioms, wrong words, and double negatives.
- Math: Enable players to practice critical math areas such as algebra, geometry, data, statistics, probability, polynomials, and sequences.

futureU for the PC and Mac is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and available for an SRP of $39.99. For more information, please visit the site below.

Aspyr Media
Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions

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Diablo III: Timeline, Expanded RPG Elements, iTunes D3 Music
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

More information is now available about Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo III, the eagerly anticipated return to the action RPG franchise. Blizzard recently updated the game's official website with a timeline of pertinent events in the world of Sanctuary, GameBanshee has published a new interview with lead world designer Leonard Boyarsky, iTunes is now offering a free thirty second clip of the Diablo III Overture, and both Ten Ton Hammer and Gamereactor have posted video interviews with Jay Wilson.

From the Diablo III timeline:

The archangel Tyrael gathers together mortal heroes to create the Horadrim. He bestows the Soulstones upon them and tasks them with tracking down and imprisoning the Prime Evils.
Mephisto is captured near the jungles of Kehjistan and imprisoned under a Zakarum temple in what will eventually become Kurast.
Baal is tracked to the desert near Lut Gholein. Tal Rasha, the leader of the Horadrim, sacrifices himself to capture Baal in a damaged Soulstone.
Diablo is finally captured by a group of Horadrim monks led by Jered Cain. The monks bury Diablo's Soulstone near the river Talsande in Khanduras, and a Horadric monastery with a network of catacombs is built over the burial spot.
The town of Tristram is established around the Horadric monastery.
From GameBanshee:
GB: Tell us about a few of the more important ways you intend to expand Diablo III's RPG elements compared to the previous iterations. How do you ensure that expanding on the RPG aspect of Diablo III won't interfere with the core hack & slash experience?
Leonard: The RPG elements we're focusing on developing more this time around are in the areas of story and character development. We really want you to feel like you can have an effect on the world -- and that the world can affect your character in turn. In the past, action-RPGs have either come down on the side of action or RPG, and we don't think that's a choice that necessarily has to be made. Our goal is to make the RPG-style story elements more engaging than they previously have been in the action-RPG genre. The main way we do this without interfering with the hack-and-slash gameplay is by making it opt-in -- if you don't care about the story, or if you’re replaying the game and have already seen the story elements, the game will still be fun, but if you do care about it, the story will bring a whole extra level of involvement to the game experience.
A central feature of this philosophy is making as few quests as possible mandatory, but having a wide variety of interesting side quests and random quests to play through if you want to. We are also doing a lot with scripted sequences and books that you can read in the game, but once again, you can completely avoid these things if they don't interest you.

GB: You've talked about fleshing out the game's NPCs more than we've seen in the past. Does that also mean more interactivity with NPCs or does the game still utilize the one-sided monologue method of its predecessors? Can you expand further on the dialogue system for us?
Leonard: We're using dialogues instead of monologues for a few reasons. For one, compared to constant NPC monologues, dialogues are more interesting for players to hear and more interesting for us to write. It also allows us to have the player drive the action and not be a pawn at the mercy of the NPCs in the game. We really want to develop the player characters as distinct in their own right and show how they view and interact with the world differently from each other. Something else we're expanding on is how characters in the world, both player and non-player, change over the course of the story.

Head over to the links provided below to learn more.

Diablo III Timeline
GameBanshee: Leonard Boyarsky Interview
iTunes Store: Diablo III Overture Clip
Ten Ton Hammer: Jay Wilson Video Interview
Gamereactor: Jay Wilson Video Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

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StarCraft II: Mutas Nerfed, Interviews, Hand-On Preview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Several websites have recently posted new articles about StarCraft II, the next installment in Blizzard Entertainment's popular sci-fi real time strategy franchise. StarCraftWire has published an interview with community manager Karune and an examination of changes to the Zerg Mutalisk unit. Ars Technica is offering a hands-on preview of the game, based on time spent playing a beta version at the Penny Arcade Expo. Completing the information round up 4players.de has posted the results of an interview with Blizzard's Frank Pierce and Bob Colayco.

From StarCraftWire:

StarCraftWire.net: Will it be possible to play Starcraft II at LAN Parties?
Karune: While the idea is still there, the main focus right now is Battle.net and Multiplayer to determine whether or not LAN will be available.

StarCraftWire.net: When can we expect to see more updates to the Starcraft II official website, and what can we expect to see?
Karune: Not really sure when there will be an update to the site, although there may be misc. updates now and then for units, but otherwise waiting for closer to the Beta to really update the website.

StarCraftWire.net: Has there been a decision on what units will make it into the final game?
Karune: No real decision has been made really, we're still trying to decide what units will make the cut, as you've seen that we dropped a couple units, one of our goals may be to try to keep the unit number closer to to that of the original Starcraft as we don't want to have a unit be in the game and have it be useless to the battle.
From Ars Technica:
The Zerg, in particular, are nasty. Imagine, if you will, that you are in the woods after a summer rain. You flip over a large rock, and what you would see there—pulsing and writhing with disgusting life—that is a Zerg hive. "Creep" now moves and looks wet, and the new art makes the Zerg even more effective than before.

The new units witnessed in the demo fit that art style seamlessly, giving the impression that they were a logical evolution that occurred during the years between games. One new unit we witnessed was the Zerg queen. Now ground based, appropriately impressive looking, and centered around defensive powers (but still useful in a stand-up fight when leveled up), she'll introduce many new twists to the gameplay.

During one battle we sent one of the Terrans' new units, the Thor, up against a Queen, and the results were impressive. The Thor is a huge unit—imagine a siege tank with more assault capabilities that can also take down air units—and the battle showed off just how much more destruction and violence are visible with the game's facelift. I was also able to watch another player wipe out a Zerg hive... until burrowed Banelings showed up and completely dissolved the attacking units, grabbing quite the reaction from the watching crowd.
From 4players.de:
Karune told us at Paris about the single player- and multiplayer mode, that there are differences in animations and graphics because in the multiplayer mode things have to be faster. We want to know if there are any other changes between these two modes like costs or abilities for the units or so.
Frank Pierce: Sure. I think one thing to know is that in terms of different graphics between single player and multiplayer the higher fidelity graphics will normally be used for the purpose of storytelling. You wouldn’t necessarily see those same graphics in the actual missions where you are fighting against the AI in single player. The scourmish component of single player is going to use the same aspects as the multiplayer-version. There will just be real-time cinematic sequences that we do or interactive cinematic sequences or if we do any storytelling components in mission we will use higher fidelity graphics. As far as abilities and what not go the level designers that make the single player campaign always have the flexibility to do whatever they want to add flavor to the single player missions. So, you’ll see returning characters like from the original StarCraft story like Jim, Kerrigan and character Jim Raynor and Kerrigan and those units may be units that you use in missions or in single player and those might have unique abilities and so the level designs can do whatever they need to do to deliver the story and anything interesting.
Click over to the links provided below to check out all the articles.

StarCraftwire.net: Karune Interview
StarCraftwire.net: Mutalisk Stacking Nerfed
Ars Technica: SC 2 Hands-On Preview
4Players.de: SC 2 Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Will Wright Discusses Intelligent Design
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

GameInformer has published a new interview with Maxis' Will Wright, the mind behind the upcoming Spore evolution sim as well as well blockbuster titles like The Sims and Sim City. The interview covers a variety of topics related to Spore including development challenges and Wright's position on the evolution vs. intelligent design debate.

GI: Obviously, this game emulates the evolution of life on Earth. The theory of evolution has been under fire in recent years. Do you see this game as a commentary on that debate?
Wright: I actually just bought a book on [intelligent design]. It’s interesting to read what the arguments for intelligent design are. They totally leave out any numbers in terms of time, for example, the time between the Cambrian explosion and when other forms of life diverge. If you have a timeline of how long it took, you get a totally different sense of it. There are so many millions of generations that life has had to evolve to where it is. So, I think giving someone an overview of life on Earth up to where we are now frames the whole subject in a different way. For most people, a million years is about the same as a billion years, but they are vastly different. Most people can’t begin to comprehend those time scales. So, you look at something as complex as a human being and you wonder, “How could this have possibly evolved?” But when you take into account how many generations it’s been happening, it’s pretty remarkable.

GI: So do you see the game as promoting evolution?
Wright: I think people can take away different things. If you look at the game, you’re actually in the role of an intelligent designer – or not-so-intelligent, depending on the player. [Laughs] I’ve seen people on the Internet debating whether Spore was promoting intelligent design or evolution. Just getting people to have that discussion is worthwhile, but I personally fall very much on the evolution side of things.
The full interview is available at the site link listed below.

Game Informer: Will Wright Interview
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

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Redline Updated
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software has announced the release of Redline 1.0.5.  This update of the popular online racing game brings improvements and bug fixes. The update is free to all registered users, and there are two ways to download this new release. You can do so quickly using the auto updater from the game's main menu, or you can download the full archive.

Redline 1.0.5 features the following changes/enhancements:

• Integrated enhanced Ambrosia registration system
• Custom cars can specify RPMs for shifting up and engaging the clutch
• Redline can now list more then 64 different tracks
• Replays with missing plug-in cars will no longer crash the game
• Various other enhancements and bug fixes
• Can list more than 64 tracks
• Will now optionally look for Plug-Ins in ~/Application Support/ Redline/ and save redlogs there as well (it will still make use of Plug-Ins located at the same directory as the Redline.app)
• Switches over to incremental Sparkle for future updates
• Please note that clients older than 1.0.3 cannot join Redline 1.0.5 multiplayer games due to newer functionality, so Redline 1.0.5 is a highly recommended update

Gun the throttle, light up the tires, and hurtle down the track in any of the four racing modes Redline offers: the realistic Simulation mode, an aggressive Arcade mode, clean racing Strict mode, or kick it into high gear in the insanely intense Turbo Arcade mode.  No matter what your pleasure, take your pick from numerous cars, tracks, and jump into a racing game that delivers adrenaline via digital injection.
Redline costs $25, requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is a Universal Binary application. Follow the links below for more information.

Ambrosia Software

Mac Games News for Thursday, September 4, 2008

CrossOver Games Reviewed6:00 AM
IMG Reviews The Princess Bride Game6:00 AM
Kivi's Underworld Announced6:00 AM
Quake Live Preview6:00 AM
Secrets Of The Lost Cavern Coming In October6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, September 4, 2008 on one page

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