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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King Soundtrack Available At iTunes Store
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

The Blizzard iTunes page has been updated to include the official World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Soundtrack. The iTunes edition of the soundtrack contains a total of 21 tracks, including three exclusives: "Path of the Lifewarden," "Shadow Web Caverns," and "Obsidian Sanctum." The three tracks are different from the three exclusives found on the Collector's Edition soundtrack CD.

Individual tracks are available on iTunes for 99 cents each, the entire album can be purchased for $9.99.

Visit the links below to check out the soundtrack on iTunes, or head to the Blizzard iTunes page for more information.e.

iTunes Store: Wrath Of The Lich King Soundtrack
iTunes Store: Blizzard Entertainment Page
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

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IMG Reviews PlayDetective: Heartbreakers
10:58 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of PlayDetective: Heartbreakers, a new casual title from developer Kayo Games. In the game, you play the role of a private detective assigned to a variety of cases. Here's an excerpt from the review:

Conceptually, this is a great idea. Playing detective does indeed sound like a recipe for a great game. Sneaking, romance, surveillance, good stuff all. However, in actual practice, you don’t really do any of these things. Following someone to work in the game involves watching as their little tiny isometric car drives to work. You can speed up their movement, but all you do is watch, which is instantly boring (look at the screenshots, that’s all it is). The best part about this view is that it doesn’t even bother to center itself on the action. Sometimes you’ll be watching as the tiny little figures walk behind buildings in the corner of the screen and you’re left staring at nothing at all.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: PlayDetective: Heartbreakers
PlayDetective: Heartbreakers
Kayo Games
Buy PlayDetective: Heartbreakers

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Apple Games Features The Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games has released a new feature article examining the recently released Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack. The pack includes 72 new creature parts, 48 new paint options, 24 new animations - including the robot, hoe-down, moonwalk dances, and 2 new editor backgrounds.

Tens of millions of creatures have been uploaded to the official SPOREpedia since the game’s launch, but there’s always room for more. Perhaps you’d like to create something with big batting eyelashes — drawing unsuspecting creatures to their doom when they encounter its gaping mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. Or maybe you’d prefer to take your creativity in one direction or the other, taking advantage of the Parts Pack’s adorable paws, vicious thorny plates, floppy ears, piercing claws, and more.

When you’re done with the design work, apply one of the new paint styles, such as patchwork skin or a pastel color scheme. Watch your creature in action with the new test-drive animations, such as flirting, doing the robot dance, stumbling around like a zombie, or laughing like an evil genius. The two new backgrounds are split, of course, between creepy and cute.
Head over to the link below to read the full article.

Apple Games: Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

BlizzCast 6 Now Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has released the sixth BlizzCast, a series of podcasts created by Blizzard's Community Team and focusing on the company's current and future game offerings. The sixth BlizzCast includes interviews with Senior Art Director Sam Didier and Lead Designer Dustin Browder about Starcraft II unit design, and Senior Character Artist Anthony Rivero about creating characters for the Diablo series.

Karune: Can you guys guide us through one of the units you guys created and maybe the process on how that unit was created? Any challenges you guys faced while also creating that unit?
Sam Didier: One example was for the Terran side was the Thor: big giant, earthshaking robot. Great, cool, cool, sounds awesome. We ended up doing the concept then we started the modeling and we always tweak when we’re in modeling nothing ever really follows a concept a hundred percent. And then after that we animate it, texture, animation and all that. The problem with it we had in the concept is we had these giant guns on his shoulders. ‘Real cool! Yeah that looks awesome!’ Well anytime we have something cool in the art like that we have to justify it in gameplay. So it had these giant guns, what’s it do? Well we already have a siege tank that rains death upon the battlefield so what do these big guns do? Rain bigger death? That makes the siege tank obsolete. So we couldn’t do that. So one of the problems with this unit is we went with the art first and because it had the big cool guns now were trying to figure out what to do with it design wise. At the end of the day it will be perfect mind you. But you know we’re still working on that sort of thing.

Dustin Browder: I’m not too worried about the Thor these days. The Thor using his cannons in the back for long range anti air has been pretty successful and that’s a great example there of a unit that started with art first, we all got behind, that everybody was really geeked up to see a giant battle robot on the Terrans, it really fit in the sci design really well and it looked awesome on the battlefield. And then we’ve been really working on the mechanics to make them as tight as we possibly can. And so far that’s done really well. It’s been a very successful example of how we sort of marry these two things together.

Bashiok: When you were working on the Diablo II units, what was design and creation process start to finish more or less, and how has that changed for Diablo III?
Anthony: Well the creation process was fairly different, like I said before, a lot of the artists did everything from the ground up. Then there was the sprite rendering part of it, you would have to pre-render your assets, and so basically you’d wait forever for all the stuff to render out, and with the heroes you’d have to render out all of their body parts separately. Things like the gloves and the boots, things that would change on the character. Then you would have to composite those together, for every direction he was rendered in for every frame of animation. So if he’s rendered in sixteen different directions and he has a … whatever, an eight frame animation, well you have to go through all that and composite all those separate elements in the right order for it to look correct on the screen. So you don’t have an arm that’s supposed to be behind the body in front of the body. And… that was a real tedious process.
So thankfully with real time 3D we don’t have to worry about that, and that’s kind of what I was getting at, with things being a lot easier. Also your animation frame count is not an issue any more. We can have nice fluid, smooth animations now whereas before they were really choppy because, you know, we were only given six or seven frames for a walk cycle. You need a lot more than that to make a convincing walk cycle, but you had to make it look its best within the limitations. So the technical part of it was very different, the creation part of it… I think back then things were a bit more tight-knit and collaborative I guess. You know because the team was smaller, you know when you came up with ideas or designs, there was just a lot more back and forth with designers and artists and programmers. It really felt like everybody was more cohesive in that sense, whereas now the department is bigger, there’s more people on the team, it’s more specialized. There still is that collaboration, I mean I can get up and go talk to anybody on the team that I want to, but when they’re way down the hall you start to get lazy and you don’t want to go chit-chat with somebody. You want to get your tasks done. The design process is a little different, but we still, when we come up with an asset now, there’s a particular monster needed for an act for instance, before we really start working on the asset we’ll get together with a designer, a technical artist, character artist, and producer, anybody that needs to be involved and we’ll talk about it and spin ideas around and make sure we can troubleshoot anything we can in the beginning stages. Come up with ideas for how it may die, what else can it do that would be really cool, and we didn’t have that kind of organized meeting when we were working on Diablo II or the expansion pack.

Click on the link below to check out the new BlizzCast.

BlizzCast Episode 6
Blizzard Entertainment

National Geographic Games Launches
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

National Geographic has entered the gaming market with the formation of National Geographic Games, a division that will publish and develop games across a variety of platforms including Macs and iPhones. NGG will work with game publishers and developers to create game titles intended to continue the company's "mission of inspiring people to care about the planet and reach a new generation of consumers and families."

"The launch of our games division furthers National Geographic Venture's cross-platform strategy of creating and distributing unique consumer experiences and content on multiple platforms and devices," said Prince. "Paul's strong background in cross-platform media, interactive entertainment and business building and development combined with Chris' expertise in the video game industry and product development will ensure that National Geographic Games extends our mission globally and makes the National Geographic brand more meaningful to a broader audience."

"National Geographic Games has brought authenticity to the kind of family gaming we're developing with them," said Andrew Lelchuk, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Namco Bandai Games America Inc. "Our collaboration is enabling us to tailor the content, so we can offer games to our customers that are relevant, entertaining and that bring a unique experience only the National Geographic brand can deliver."

To further celebrate the launch of NGG, National Geographic is introducing "Herod's Lost Tomb," its first game produced in-house, which highlights content from the December 2008 issue of National Geographic magazine as well as its National Geographic Channel feature broadcast on the biblical figure King Herod, architect of the ancient world. The game will be available online in both a flash version for free at and a downloadable game for PC, Mac and iPhone that includes full features and high production content.

"By leveraging National Geographic's leading family brand, core themes and franchises, and its unique content that drives our mission-forward strategy, NGG will create fun games that allow gamers of all ages to experience and explore their world through play," said Levine. "Our global audiences love to play games, and we plan on creating games in-house as well as working with leading global publishers to develop entertaining games that engage those audiences in a relevant way."
Upcoming NGG Releases:
November 2008
• "National Geographic: Panda"
• "National Geographic: Africa"

December 2008
• "Sudoku Traveler: China"

• "Rain Forests"
• "Greencity"
• "From the Bottom Up"
Follow the link below for more information.

National Geographic Channel Website

Mac Games News for Wednesday, November 19, 2008

IMG Reviews World of Goo10:53 AM
Dessert Dilemma Now Available For iPhone6:00 AM
Kivi's Underworld Beta Patch Released6:00 AM
Mystic Mine: Up To 6 Players On 1 Keyboard6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Q&A Round 466:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, November 19, 2008 on one page

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