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Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince Coming In 2009
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have confirmed that the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince video game will be released globally Summer 2009, alongside the Warner Bros. Pictures’ film based on JK Rowling’s sixth Harry Potter book.

In the game players will return to Hogwarts to help Harry survive his sixth year. They will also have a chance to engage in wizard duels, mix and brew magical ingredients in Potions class and take to the air to lead the Gryffindor Quidditch team to victory. Players may even get sidetracked by Ron’s romantic entanglements as they journey towards the conclusion and discover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince.

“We’re excited about the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince video game in development and its high level of authenticity and playability,” said Robert Nashak, Vice President EA Casual Studios. “We are creating an immersive game experience that Potter fans around the world will really enjoy playing as they fly and duel their way through the story of the film. The game will feature new Wii gestures and increased gameplay capabilities across all of the platforms.”

“The Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince game will be an excellent interactive extension of the film and all of the new action that comes with it,” said Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “EA is creating the Harry Potter video games that fans will love, and this game will deliver new gameplay elements and the magic players are looking forward to.

“We have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with EA in collaborating on the videogames for all of the Harry Potter films,” said Harry Potter film Producer David Heyman. “The visual look of the game for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is incredibly authentic to the film and will provide a truly compelling experience for everyone who plays.”
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was originally scheduled for a Fall 08 debut, but has been rescheduled due to the movie's delayed release.

Electronic Arts


Apple Introduces New iPod nano and iPod touch
5:21 PM | Eddie Park | 2 comments

At its publicized event on Sep 9th, Apple introduced several new pieces of hardware, including new iPod nanos and a revamped iPod touch. The iPod nanos in particular received a wealth of changes, including an updated interface, a thinner casing, and an accelerometer that allows for functions such as shaking for shuffle play and rotating for Cover Flow.

The new iPod touch, dubbed "the funnest iPod ever" by Steve Jobs, has also received a cosmetic makeover, making it look a little less like an iPhone:

The new iPod touch is smaller and lighter than the original, with a sleek new design that features a contoured metal enclosure with integrated volume control buttons and a brilliant 3.5-inch widescreen glass display. With its rounded edges, flush display and curved, more compact design, the new iPod touch is more comfortable to hold and more portable than ever.
It also boasts a longer battery life, and has access to hundreds of programs from the App Store. Interestingly enough, Apple is placing a particular emphasis on the gaming aspect of the iPod touch, including a features page touting the iPod touch's accelerometer/touch screen control scheme in relation to gaming.

Pricing for the iPod nano starts at $149 for the 8GB, and $199 for the 16GB. The iPod touch goes for $229 for the 8GB, $299 for the 16GB, and $399 for the hefty 32GB.

Apple - iPod touch
Apple - iPod nano



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StarCraft II: Q&A Round 44
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The 44th installment of Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft II Q&A batches is now available on the official forums. This time the Q&A includes a discussion of the Zerg Creep Tumor unit as well as a variety of other game related issues.

3) With the new high ground mechanic in place, an army can't fight units that are on higher ground anymore until they get a spotter up the ledge. Both Zerg and Terran have the possibility to spot units on high ground with Overlords and floating buildings right from the start of the game, but the first Protoss unit to fly up there would be the Phase Prism. Could it be that Protoss players have a significant disadvantage on some maps because of this?
In the latest builds of StarCraft II, the Protoss no longer need an Observatory to build Observers. Observers will be able to be built straight from the Robotics Facility, allowing earlier eyes on the battlefield.
We definitely saw that especially on certain maps, Terrans were able to block their choke point early, taking away much of the scouting portion of the game from Protoss, and are trying out this new solution for it. Additionally, we felt that Observers were too a crucial to the Protoss army to have them that far up the tech tree.

5) We all know how important it is that tier 1 units be effective at later tiers, which has prompted different unit abilities like the Zealots Charge. But it seems that the Protoss have a leg up in that they have Charge while the Zerglings have only their traditional speed boost without any AI enhancements. Is anything being planned for the Zergling?
Due to the new game engine, Zerglings have much better pathing in StarCraft II, meaning they move much more efficiently. Zerglings are able to both surround enemy units easier and are more easily selectable as well, being able to control more than 12 at a time. Furthermore, Zerglings are also slightly smaller than their original StarCraft counterparts, and able to be morphed into Banelings, which are extremely effective against Zealots. Lastly, Zealots have also had their shield hit points reduced by 10, as compared to the original StarCraft Zealots.
Check out the full Q&A at the link below.

StarCraft Forums: SC 2 Q&A Batch 44
StarCraft Forums: Ask Your SC 2 Questions Here
StarCraft Forums: Q&A Archive
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty



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DeathSpank Trailers Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Sir Arthur's Den has posted three game trailers for Ron Gilbert's upcoming DeathSpank episodic adventure game. In development at Hothead Games, DeathSpank will feature Gilbert's unique style of humor and storytelling.

“Everyone hated it - says Gilbert - But the weird thing is the more publishers that turned it down, the more convinced I became that this was a great idea. Every rejection fueled me with excitement and the knowledge that I was right. Nothing says innovation and creativity like armed security showing up to escort you out of the building while saying ‘Let’s not have any trouble’“. The turning-point for DeathSpank came when the designer met the small Canadian software house Hothead Games, for which Gilbert first acted as a consultant for the adventure On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness then becoming creative director of the entire ship.

Inspired by a comic clip of February 2005, DeathSpank is first of all the result of the creative efforts by Gilbert and his regular partner Clayton Kauzlaric. Designed with an episodic framework as like as the adventure games released in the last months (Bone and 3D Sam & Max above all), the game will rely on the “unique style of Gilbert’s humour and storytelling” and the compulsive pursuit for new objects, weapons and armors peculiar of the Diablo franchise.
Head over to the link below to view the trailers.

Sir Arthur's Den: DeathSpank Shows Off
DeathSpank
Hothead Games



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EVE Online: Economy, Politics, Player Avatars
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Strategy Informer and Eurogamer recently published articles about EVE Online, CCP Games' popular sci-fi MMO. SI's article features interviews with Dr. Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, the game's Lead Economist, and Arend Stührmann, EVE's Associate Producer. Eurogamer's Jim Rossignol offeres an examination of the game's political environment.

From Strategy Informer:

Strategy Informer: With the economy becoming more and more player driven, is there a danger that new players will find it hard to get a ‘foot in’ or make money in a world which is dominated by well established players?
Dr. Gudmundsson: Actually it is vice-versa, because it’s a very competitive market, so those that are producing they are trying to out-sell there competitors. So the prices have been declining over the past two years and because it is relatively easy to gain the manufacturing skills and trade skills, almost everyone can start trading and selling within a few weeks time. So from that perspective it is easier for a new player now to buy a more advanced space-ship than it was two, three or even four years ago when we started. On the other hand, there are certain items that are in very high demand, such as some technologies, that we’ve started to see a sort of ‘shortage’ appear for these items – thus increasing the prices.

Strategy Informer: There have been rumours going round that you plan to introduce a feature that allows you to walk around the stations. Can you confirm that?
Stührmann: Yes I can. We are working on it, and we even have a working prototype… [At this point, Stührmann shows us some early builds of the feature on his computer, showing a fully represented avatar standing in a corridor, with all the standard user interface options. Early days yet, but it still looks impressive.]… Unfortunately I can’t give you a screen shot to take away with you, but there it is, and this is in-game. So instead of just looking at your ship in the station, you can walk around and interact. It’s coming along in leaps and bounds, we’ve been working on making sure that, from the concept arts, and each of the four races has a unique visual identity. So you can say ‘Oh this is Mimitarr Station, or this is a Caldari station…’ We’ve also tried to make sure that even the clothes you can wear fit in with these principles, and with the style of EVE itself. We actually have fashion designers working on the clothes. We’re also working on lighting and textures, as well as the voice communication aspect so you’ll be able to join conversations just by going up close to people just like real life. We’re really putting a lot of work into the technical aspects of the game, but also making sure it feels like EVE. It’s a lot of work, I mean we’re pretty much creating a whole new game which will then merge with EVE, but I’m positive that it’s going to be a brilliant addition to the game.
From Eurogamer:
Once groups of players began to form, so we started to see the local politics emerging. Leaders became personalities, love and loathed, and people voted with their firepower: attacking this alliance, or supporting that one. Some people banded together over friendships, others over national bonds (there are Hungarian, Russian, and Finnish speaking corporations, as well as countless other nationalities). Over the years alliances have risen and fallen, but as time has progressed it's become clear that all roads in EVE lead to something like the Roman Empire. What the game supports leads inexorably to a kind of advanced feudal system. Even if the alliances are democratically led, they end up being big power blocs based on military might.

The most high-profile instance of this has been in the rivalries that defined the last two years of war in EVE, between Band of Brothers and The RedSwarm Federation. An early war between the Goons, who hearken from the Something Awful forums, and the Band Of Brothers (an old and grumpy power within EVE Online) led to an alliance between Something Awful's teeming hordes and the precise, patient empire building of the Russian-speaking Red Alliance. Both the Brothers and the RedSwarm began to capture vast amounts of space and - with that space being beyond the capacity of their armies to control or exploit directly - they began to install allies and vassals in the space. It's a model quite like that of the Roman Empire, which installed Roman governors over local governments in their vast, conquered regions. The Roman armies might have all been off in Germany, but there was no reason why the Empire couldn't enjoy the riches of occupying Gaul - and so it is in EVE.
Visit the sites listed below to learn more.

Strategy Informer: EVE Online Q&As
Eurogamer: EVE Online Politics
CCP Games
TransGaming
EVE Online


Mac Games News for Monday, September 8, 2008

Apple Games Features Spore6:00 AM
Blizzard Invades iTunes6:00 AM
Eschalon Book II: The Proper Application Of Explosives6:00 AM
Spore Now Available6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, September 8, 2008 on one page


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