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Monday, July 13, 2009

GameRanger Turns Ten
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 12 comments

On Sunday July 12, GameRanger, the multiplayer matchmaking service for Mac and PC, celebrated its 10th birthday. At launch in 1999 the service provided matchmaking support for 11 Mac games. Today GameRanger supports 181 Mac games and 542 PC titles.

More information about GameRanger:

Trivia: The most consistently played game through each and every year of the last decade was Age of Empires II. Thousands of gamers continue to play it even today.

Trivia: Back in 1999, 70% of users played online using dial-up modems. Their typical gaming computer had 128MB of RAM and an 8GB hard disk.

Lifetimes of Other Related Services:
†- ImagiNation Network: 1991-1998
†- DWANGO: 1994-1998
†- Kali: 1995-2005 (on life-support)
†- TEN: 1996-1999
†- MPlayer: 1996-2000
†- HEAT.NET: 1996-2000
†- 1998-2004
†- 1997-2006
†- GameSpy Arcade: 2000 onwards (no longer updated as of 2006)
†- Xbox Live: 2002 onwards (Xbox Live 360: 2005 onwards)
†- Xfire: 2003 onwards
†- Steam: 2003 onwards (Steam Community: 2007 onwards)
†- Games for Windows Live: 2007 onwards
†- is really just a collective term for multiple separate game services only supporting individual Blizzard games. The earlier services have not been updated with features of later services.

GameRanger is the longest running multiplayer online gaming service, having originally opened to Mac gaming in 1999. In November 2008, GameRanger expanded to PC gaming with full lobby support for over 500 games -- significantly more than any other multiplayer service -- and is rapidly becoming the preferred choice of gamers for playing their friends online. GameRanger Technologies is located in Perth, Western Australia.
Follow the link below for more information.


Braid Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld has posted a new review of Braid. Developed by Jonathan Blow and distributed for Macs by Hothead Games, the unique puzzle title allows players to manipulate the flow of time as they quest to rescue the Princess. Macworld gave the game a score of 4.5 out of 5 mice.

From the review:

But donít mistake Braid for light fare. Despite the light classical music and dreamy surroundings, Braid is not a pleasant walk down memory lane, but more of a shroom-fueled trip through a David Lynch film. Each stage opens with text that explains a bit more about Tim and his relationship with The Princess, his stormy love interest. As you play throughout the game, you find that the truth is hard to discern. Did Tim lose his love or did he forsake it? Does the Princess even exist? Where does this game take place? Why can Tim manipulate time? Without revealing too much of the twists, Braid unravels into one of the most original, complex, and thought-provoking gaming titles ever.

But Braid doesnít throw you into the pits of neurosis immediately. The backgrounds, gameplay, and story are initially quite dreamlike. As you progress, in addition to getting used to the weird story and unique art that surround Tim, youíll also have to adjust to the difficult gameplay. Not since I Wanna Be the Guy: The Movie: The Game have I seen a more frustrating platformer. The margin for error between success and failure in any given puzzle is razor thin and measured in milliseconds.

Each stage gives Tim different abilities to manipulate time. Certain platforms, enemies, and objects are unaffected by Tim going back and forward through time. For example, you can jump into a pit, grab a key, and reverse time to get back out with the key in tow. Youíll learn to use Timís abilities to collect puzzle pieces throughout the levels. The levels themselves are relatively easy to navigateógetting from one start point to the other usually just requires some simple jumping and dodging of fireballs, pits, etc. But this will only take you so far in the game; youíll realize that the puzzle pieces are the real goal because they unlock the later stages and more of the story.
Read the full review at the link provided below.

Macworld: Braid Review
Hothead Games
Buy Braid

Click to enlarge
Vendetta Online: Station Bars, Dynamic Warfare, Economy
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Guild Software has posted an update on the news blog for its massively-multiplayer online space strategy game, Vendetta Online. Upcoming changes discussed in the entry include expanded options for station bars, additions to dynamic warfare, and upcoming modifications to the game's economy.

Our stations have had "Bars" for ages. Like many things in our game, they were intended to fulfill a specific purpose which was never fully realized (due to resources, or whatever). They've amounted to a private chat channel for the last several years, and beyond the occasional role-playing group, have not served much of a purpose.

This past week, Michael has been wiring up the Bar to work with Kourier-driven NPCs, so one can communicate with them via chat text. It has always been our intention to expand on the utilization of our NPCs, and broaden the level of activity in the galaxy. Persistent NPCs that move to and fro, less-persistent captains of convoys who might be befriended and relay interesting information they have seen (such as keeping an eye out for a particular character, or a special deal). Passengers and refugees in need of transport (some of which who may wish to "avoid governmental entanglements", or who are being hunted by another group or individual). Dark and seedy individuals with offers of under-the-table dealings and espionage. Rumors of treasure and ghost-ship derelicts, special time-dependent NPCs, and when and where they're rumored to appear.

The above cases can really be seen as another mechanism for mission interfaces, in this case being different missions that can be received from NPCs. The Bar will not be the only method by which this can occur (some will recall our Marshal interface for bounty hunters), but it will be one method.

Aside from this, bars may eventually offer other things, like gambling, virtual alcohol, and perhaps the occasional shootout (depending on the region). In any case, it's a long-planned area of the game that has lain fallow since release, and as finally receiving a little attention. We've made a lot of progress with the power of the Kourier system to which it will be attached, so hopefully this relatively small amount of development time will open up another window of gameplay opportunities.
Head over to the link below to read more.

Vendetta Online News
Guild Software
Strategy First
Vendetta Online

Ubisoft Seeking Lead Game Designer For New RPG
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A recent job listing ad on Gamasutra revealed that Ubisoft Entertainment Shanghai is looking for an experienced Lead Game Designer to work on an upcoming role playing game project. The game will be available for PS3, Xbox 360, Windows PCs, and Macs.

Ubisoft Entertainment Shanghai is looking for an experienced and talented Lead Game Designer to develop a brand new fantasy RPG title for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac.

If youíre dedicated to making innovative high quality games and have already collaborated to design complex systems for strategy games you could be the perfect candidate!

So what are you waiting for?

- At least 5 years of design experience in the games industry.
- Shipped at least two AAA RPG titles in a senior or lead game designer role.
- Excellent interpersonal skills.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Fluent in English (written and spoken).
- Able to quickly adapt to change, finding creative solutions and maintaining positive momentum in the face of adversity.
- Able to find the right balance between creativity and productivity in his proposals.
- Able to keep in mind the big picture while working on details.

- Collaborate with the Creative Director and the design team to develop core concepts, game systems, and game content.
- Conceptualize, create and maintain detailed game design documentation throughout the project cycle.
- Balance and adjust gameplay experiences to ensure the productís critical and commercial success.
- Manages the design team to successfully meet project objectives.
- Coordinates workflow, scheduling and assignments with other team leads and ensures the information flow between both the designers and to other disciplines.
- Provides training, guidance and feedback for other designers.
Visit the page below to check out the rest of the ad.

Gamasutra: Ubisoft Shanghai Job Listing

Mac Games News for Friday, July 10, 2009

Avernum 6: New Web Page, Screenshots6:00 AM
Eschalon Book I: Platinum Edition Possible After Book III6:00 AM
Essentials Of RPG Game Design: 20 Games Examined6:00 AM
New Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince Trailer, Featurette6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, July 10, 2009 on one page

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