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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Sims 3 Is Best Selling Game Of 2009
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Electronic Arts recently announced that The Sims 3, the latest incarnation of its popular Sims franchise was the best selling game of 2009. The game, like previous titles in the series, allows players to create their own Sim character and help or hinder them in their quest to meet life goals. The game added customizable personalities, goal oriented gameplay, movie creation and editing, and an online community to the familiar lifesim formula.

The Sims franchise is able to top PC game charts even in its 10th year. The latest entry, June 2009's The Sims 3, was the number one selling PC game of last year, publisher Electronic Arts said Friday.

That means the game outsold other PC contenders like Blizzard's phenomenally popular World of Warcraft, although that game's last major expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, launched in November 2008. EA said this is the sixth time this decade that a Sims game was able to top annual PC charts.

With The Sims 3 (which is also available on Mac), EA placed a heavy emphasis on the game's online community. It maintains an official website that, according to the publisher, sees over 6 million unique monthly visitors. The digital sharing site The Sims 3 Exchange has hosted over 100 million downloads of user-created virtual items in the past seven months. The Sims 2 took "years" to reach the same milestone, the company said.
Click over to the Gamasutra website below for more information.

Gamasutra: The Sims 3 Best Seller
Electronic Arts
The Sims 3
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Jeff Vogel: Bushwhacking Players Is A Bad Idea
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

On his blog, The Bottom Feeder, Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel recently focused his thoughts on uneven game difficulty. The veteran indie RPG developer discussed his conclusion that sprinkling challenging monsters across the game, monsters which often are too difficult for players to defeat when they first encounter them, can be a bad idea for game development.

The basic idea behind this was that it gave the player a challenge. A place to stretch his or her abilities. Something to come back and try later to test your strength and see how much power you have gained. Sure, it'll slaughter you the first couple of times you run across it, but it will give you the motivation to work harder and prevail! It's a hardcore gamer way of thinking. This sort of thing is something I think is neat and has a place, if you're very, very careful about it.

But in Avernum 6, I went way, WAY too far with this. There were way too many encounters that were rough and meant to be returned to later. I actually had one bandit dungeon where the boss was super-tough. "Ah," I thought, in a moment of exhaustion and idiocy. "This will be cool. The player will kill the early bandits, get some lewt, and then see that the final boss is an entirely different sort of character and back off and come back later."

I just patched Avernum 6 and removed a bunch of those dumb encounters, but the structure of the game means there are a few that have to stay. That really aggravates me. But, at last, after fifteen years, I think I have finally learned the main lesson:

Difficulty In a Game Should Have a Curve With As Few Bumps As Possible
Read the rest of his post at the link below.

The Bottom Feeder: Why Bushwhacking Your Players Is A Bad Idea
Spiderweb Software

VVVVVV Creator Interviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Gamasutra recently posted a new interview with Terry Cavanagh, creator of the retro action platform game VVVVVV. The developer discussed his independent game development, the inspiration for VVVVVV, and future projects. In the game players take the role of a spaceship captain trying to save his crew and escape a strange new world.

Where did the inspiration for VVVVVV come from?
It started as a game for Glorious Trainwreck's Klik of the Month, called Sine Wave Ninja. It's a very simple action game that didn't really work out, but there was something about the basic movement I liked enough to want to explore a bit.

From there I got to thinking about a gravity flipping mechanic, and how it's usually handled in games, and about how I could do something different with it. I always find it fun, but anywhere I'd seen it in games it was never really the core mechanic; I basically just wanted to try doing something where it was. I never intended for it to be a very big project - I originally thought it would only take a few weeks.

Visually, I was really just responding to something Paul Eres said that annoyed me, where he accused developers on TIGSource of having a "retro fetish". I figured since I'd only planned to do this as a short side game anyway that it might be nice to indulge my own retro fetish, and make something that looked and felt like the C64 games I grew up with.

A lot of people make a Jet Set Willy connection, but I actually never played that growing up, and hadn't even heard of Jet Set Willy until I played Jet Set Willy Online a few years ago. Visually I was far more inspired by Monty on the Run and in particular the Dizzy games, with their big expressive sprites.
Visit the page below to read the rest of the review.

Gamasutra: VVVVVV Interview

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City Of Heroes Going Rogue Character Update
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Paragon Studios has released a new lore update for Going Rogue, the upcoming expansion for its comic book themed MMO, City of Heroes. The update features Marcus Cole, a character who rose to the position of Emperor of Praetoria. The expansion will feature a new alignment system which will allow heroes and villains the chance to switch sides, two new primary fictional characters, and the new threat of the parallel universe of Praetoria.

The line between heroism and villainy gets blurrier and blurrier as we near the apogee of Emperor Cole's reign. We have already introduced you to both Maelstrom, a soldier disavowed by the government he fought so hard for, and Desdemona, a sulfurous demon-summoning sorceress once bent on revenge. But it is now time to unveil the biography of the most prominent figure in Praetoria.

Marcus Cole came from the streets of Shroud City with nothing to his name and ascended to ultimate power. He pulled the planet back from nuclear annihilation, ended the Hamidon Wars with his own indomitable will, and created a perfect Utopian society for his followers. Cole has had many titles in his long life: soldier, hero, president, consul, and for the last 25 years, emperor of Earth. A few see behind the veil of his seemingly perfect world and know him by a different name: Tyrant.
To learn more follow the link below.

City of Heroes Going Rogue: Tyrant Profile
City of Heroes
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Mac Games News for Monday, January 25, 2010

Din's Curse Status Update6:00 AM
Eschalon Book II: New Screenshot Released6:00 AM
EVE Online: Capital Ship Updates Detailed6:00 AM
New City Of Heroes Lead Designer Interviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, January 25, 2010 on one page

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