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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Hollenshead Discusses Rage, id Tech 5, Doom 4
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Gamespot has posted a new interview with id Software's Ted Hollenshead. In the interview id's CEO discussed developing games for multiple platforms, the upcoming Rage, the id Tech 5 game engine, Doom 4, and Quake Live.

GS: Is (Rage) going to be as totally open-world as Fallout 3? I've heard you've mentioned that it's going to be slightly different, but I'm kind of wondering exactly how open-world it will be.
TH: We don't really conceive Rage as an open world. It's more open environment. So, you're not just going to be going out and doing arbitrary things for however long you want to do them. There are some things that you can do within the game that you can do for an arbitrary amount of time, like racing circuits or whatever, to improve your time or to climb up leaderboards and things like that. It's kind of an activity that you can participate within the game. But the game does have a story, it does have a progression. You can deviate off of that, and there's some things that you can do that, again, don't follow this linear path, and you can go off the path and do different things

GS: So how vehicle-centric is the game?
TH: Well, there's racing, you can go out and fight in the wastelands and things like that. If you go out in the wastelands, there's always going to be bad guys that are out there that are kind of an impediment for you to get from A to B. There's stuff that you do to mod your car, build it up and do pit stuff and that. Those things obviously will get to a point of diminishing returns at some point.
I think there's going to be a limit of stuff that you can put in [Rage], but that isn't necessarily a limit to the amount of fun that you can have doing it. But it's not like "I'll just go out, and I'll do this," or whatever. There is actually a game with a story there that we're going to try to encourage the player to progress along, sort of, this line to completion.

GS: So Doom 4 is still way down the pike, right?
TH: Yeah, I mean, we're in--it's not preproduction, but we're still early on in that. The team is relatively new. We're still actually hiring people for the team as well, so it's not completely built out. But we really just started on that last year. It's very much deep in development. But everything I've seen on it is classic Doom, so I don't really have worries that people aren't going to like it and start talking about it.

GS: And is it a sequel? A reboot? A prequel?
TH: Gosh, that's actually an excellent question. It's not a sequel to Doom 3, but it's not a reboot either. Doom 3 was sort of a reboot. It's a little bit different than those, and if I told you why, I would get my ass kicked when I got back. So I'll just have to leave it at that.
Click on the link below to read the rest.

Gamespot: Ted Hollenshead Q&A
id Software


Playing Chess With The Terminal
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Macworld recently posted an article on Sjeng, an open source chess engine available through the Terminal in Mac OS X. The article explains how to get started with the ASCII based chess program and offers tips and tricks for getting the most out of the "old school" gaming experience.

Why would you want to do this? Honestly, I’m not sure—perhaps you’re a chess addict, playing for hours on end, and you’re tired of all the beautiful 3-D eye candy in the GUI version. Or maybe you’re a purist, and you prefer to enter your moves in algebraic chess notation, instead of dragging pieces around.

Below the board you’ll see the Sjeng: command prompt; this is where you interact with the program. Chess moves are entered in standard chess notation, using the row and column labels shown at the edges of the board. An opening move for white’s pawn, for instance, would be d2d4. After you move (press Return to execute your move), Sjeng will ponder for a bit, then make its move. Continue in this manner until someone wins, or you grow bored of chess and decide to quit. (Type quit to do so.)

Sjeng has a number of options to control things such as the time per move and how well the computer plays; you can read about these options by typing help at the Sjeng command prompt.
Head over to the link below to read more.

Macworld: Play Chess Old-School Style


Elven Legacy Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Out of Eight recently posted a new review of the PC version of Elven Legacy, a turn-based strategy title set in a fantasy world. The game more than 100 units, five heroes, five playable factions, multiplayer combat, multiple game endings, and a game editor for players who want to create their own missions. Out of Eight gave the game a score of 6 out of 8.

From the review.

Elven Legacy shows how to make a hex-based game look good (counter-example). The game features bright and colorful graphics that look great close up and far away. The environments are great and filled with details like trees, mountains, and towns. Only rarely do the hex-based layouts become obvious: Elven Legacy does a great job blending this mechanic naturally into the map. The high level of quality extends to the units, which look great at any angle. The well-over-100 units have detailed models and textures and they are easily identified thanks to using a single large representative unit for squads when viewed from a distant perspective. Elven Legacy adds full-screen anti-aliasing for an even-better visual experience. In terms of sound design, Elven Legacy delivers a solid package: appropriate if sporadic battle effects, fine background music, and voice acting that is certainly better than some other Russian imports. The background music is enjoyable, rounding out a solid-but-not-impressive sound package. Elven Legacy is a game that sheds the stigma associated with the “hex-based” moniker, though, as the game looks fantastic.

The five races in the game (elves, humans, orcs, dwarves, and new elves) each have the same basic assortment of units: heavy and light cavalry, heavy and light infantry, scouts, archers, war machines, air fighters, air bombers, and heroes (both ranger and mage varieties). Each of these units have appropriate strengths and weaknesses, but the setting doesn’t really provide for exotic, original units, so the combat in Elven Legacy is a typical affair. About the only remarkable aspect to the tactical game is placing ranged units behind front-line skirmishers: they will automatically attack enemy units, making a fragile unit that is protected much more deadly. But the game mechanics are streamlined and well-done as a whole, and Elven Legacy is certainly more approachable than most hex-based wargames. Elven Legacy focuses on low, fixed population caps: most scenarios only give you around seven units total. Purchased units, then, are more for replacement than as a compliment to existing units. The fact that units can be partially or fully healed by sitting still for a turn makes changing your starting roster even less of a probability. Making things more interesting is offering unit upgrades (such as peasants to scouts to rangers to elite rangers, reminiscent of Mount&Blade) and new abilities or spells through experience. The abilities are noteworthy, as you can tailor a unit for a specific role (defense) or terrain (mountainous) and then totally pwn the enemy. Your AI opponents usually have very scripted positions to increase the difficulty; they can occasionally exhibit some advanced moves, but the next turn they will send a low-level unit towards your powerful hero and meet instant death.
Virtual Programming recently announced it would be bringing the game to Mac users sometime this year. To read the review and more about the game click over to the links below.

Elven Legacy
Virtual Programming
Out Of Eight: Elven Legacy Review



Click to enlarge
Spore Galactic Adventures Hands-On Preview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameSpot has published a new hands-on preview of Spore Galactic Adventures. The expansion for Will Wright's evolution sim will offer the ability to beam down to planets, an equipment editor, and an Adventure Creator that will allow players to create their own missions and share them with others.

The collection mission let us choose a custom captain from our Sporepedia, and thankfully, many powerful heroes were available to play (heroes can advance to a maximum level of 10). We chose a tough customer with a jetpack to go on a treasure hunt for a golden llama idol (longtime fans of Maxis' other games, The Sims and SimCity, will get the reference and the joke), which was hidden in a ruined temple. In order to reveal the location of this wondrous treasure, our captain was required to collect several bundles of blue crystals scattered on the ground and guarded by enemies. These enemies included giant spiders and other creepy, crawly critters, as well as a gigantic (and invulnerable) boss monster guarding the llama itself. Fortunately, our hero was tough enough to soak up the attacks of lower-level enemies and make a mad dash for the crystals and the llama before hightailing it out of there with his jetpack. Just like in the original Spore, in Galactic Adventures you'll use the W, A, S, and D keys to move your character while using your mouse to rotate your view and aim, though you can lock on to individual enemies to target them should you decide to fight.

The combat adventure we watched was crafted to allow only that adventure's prebuilt captain character to play, and it required us to take a space-armor-wearing, jet-pack-flying alien captain through a teleporter to take out an alien mothership. This mission was described to us by a commanding officer character who stood right in front of us just as we began our mission and who debriefed us in a letterboxed cinematic sequence. We watched our alien hero fly behind enemy lines and do battle with alien boss monsters using various combat abilities that were hotkeyed to keyboard numbers 1 through 4 (you can also bind an ability to your mouse's left button, then left-click your mouse to repeatedly attack your targetted enemy for a more Diablo-like experience). After dispatching the guards and hopping through a teleporter, our heroic captain ended up on board the enemy mothership, dispatched the guards and final boss monster, blasted the reactor, and then scrambled to safety to beat the countdown clock before the mothership went up with him inside.

All these components--the enemies and their abilities and behavior, the layout of the maps, the size and shape and look of the buildings, the cinematic cutscenes, the countdown clock, and every last line of dialogue--were hand-built by a designer at Maxis, and the studio expects that enterprising users will do as good as or better than the Maxis designer once the expansion ships. We took an updated look at the adventure editor, which seems extremely powerful, packed to the gills with content, and also pretty easy to use. Maxis estimates that truly enterprising users may want to take a weekend or so to create polished content, but even younger users should be able to dive in and create adventures relatively quickly.
Visit the page below to read the full preview.

Gamespot: Spore Hands-On
Electronic Arts
Spore
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Mac Games News for Monday, April 13, 2009

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Reviewed6:00 AM
Diablo III: The New Look For Skill Trees6:00 AM
Spore Galactic Adventures Previewed6:00 AM
Tom Chilton Discusses Upcoming WoW Changes6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, April 13, 2009 on one page


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