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Monday, May 3, 2010

Sensational World Cup In Development
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

New Star Games, developer of titles such as New Star Soccer, New Star Tennis, and Super Laser Racer, has announced work on Sensational World Cup. The new soccer game will feature 2D graphics, a top down view, a World Cup campaign mode, and one or two player action.

So what is this new football game that I hope to release before the worlds greatest players fly out to South Africa? It's only a flippin' World Cup themed, 2D, top-down, all new follow-up to the awesome Sensational Soccer, that's what! Yes, I'm going back to my roots with the sole aim of creating the best sprite-based football game ever made. Development has been very smooth so far with the match engine coming together at an alarming pace and is now approximately 80% complete. The main areas that still need work are the goalkeeping AI and the tournament system, but with 42 days until the show kicks off (and the tons of re-usable programming code from my previous footy games) I'm confident that it can be done. The game will be quite light in terms of features, but rest assured that there will be a full World Cup campaign mode, along with your basic 1 or 2 player quick matches. I'll hopefully have time to squeeze a tactics editor and a few other goodies in there before release, but the bite-sized nature of the game will be reflected in it's price (quite unlike the official FIFA World Cup game then!) What I can tell you is that I have decided to simplify the controls and in a throw-back to those classics of the 8-bit era, all actions will be performed with just one button. Now before you panic let me just say that the new system falls somewhere between Sensible Soccer and Sensational Soccer, and you can pretty much do all that you could in my previous football games only with a layer of complexity removed. In my opinion it gives the game a refreshing, instant appeal (and will be especially welcomed by keyboard players I'm sure.) Screenshots will be appearing via my blog and Twitter, but here's a small one to whet your appetite...
Read more at the links below.

New Star Games Blog
New Star Games Twitter
New Star Games

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Din's Curse Beta Patch Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Soldak Entertainment has released beta patch 1.001 for the Mac version of the action RPG, Din's Curse. The update includes a variety of changes and bug fixes. In the game players take the role of an adventurer cursed to walk the lands in a quest for redemption. The game features 141 possible class combinations, an infinite number of dynamically generated towns, and a game world directly impacted by player choices.

Here's a partial list of changes in version 1.001:

  • updated some credits
  • now have to have more of an attribute than the curse on an item to equip it (iligiann)
  • fixed mana regen from an item doesn't change mana regen stat (TheRani/Kruztee)
  • added Please Start a Server to No Servers Found message
  • can now pause in a multiplayer game if only person in the game (graffen69)
  • fixed masteries not working with shockbolt & flaming arrow (Magitek)
  • no longer get experience for destroying cave-ins
  • gas leaks no longer get destroyed from frost novas (Valgor)
  • fixed PerceptionTrapText (Valgor)
  • rearranged character damage numbers slightly (Valgor)
  • fixed if you like 'em blunt typo (Valgor)
  • fixed has been built to serve missing word (Aet)
  • fixed suspicious typo (Valgor)
  • fixed wars modifier description (Annalisa)
  • rewrote shatter description a bit to make when different damages happen more clear (elsol69)

Check out the page below to read more.

Din's Curse Patches
Din's Curse Patch Change List
Soldak Entertainment
Din's Curse
Buy Din's Curse

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Valve's Mark Laidlaw Discusses Game Writing
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Mac Gamer recently posted the results of in interview with Valve Software's Mark Laidlaw. In the interview the game writer discusses working on Half Life 2, the challenges of developing an engaging storyline, and integrating story with gameplay and art.

TMG: How often does the writing dictate level design, particularly with thematic tone? I assume that a dialog is created between the writing and the other aspects of a game. They, perhaps, feed into and off each other. Can you elaborate on this?
Marc: Yes, usually the exigencies of game design dictate the writing rather than the other way around. But because Valve has writers involved in every stage of a gameís design, we do get to have input all the way through the creation process. So often a story idea will drive initial decisions about levels, art, etc.; and all of these shape the gameplay. Thereís a good feedback process when things are going well. When things are not going well, then the story or the gameplay or the level can be so fixed that everything has to work around them, and things feel brittle; story is just as blameworthy as anything else in this regard. Itís possible to get so attached to a story idea that you become inflexible, and this can become a liability if it hobbles the best possible gameplay.

TMG: Game narrative is usually so trite that itís almost an accepted characteristic of video gameís persona. When not able to write setting and intent into scenes, when limited to dialog and when limiting the narrative voice to a first-person present tense (which removes the option for an interpretive narrator who is chocked full of opinion), how likely is it that game narratives redeem themselves while being so hog-tied?
Marc: Every game offers unique narrative challenges, which can be addressed in an infinite variety of ways. Redemption of narrative will always depend on the creativity you bring to solving those problems. Trite narrative is partly just a failure of imagination and commitment to doing better. Every game can solve its story problems by doing the first and most obvious thing that comes to mind. I see very small indy games taking wildly creative approaches to story, even when they really donít have to, for the sheer joy of making something unexpected. I hope this sort of fearless inventiveness trickles up into more mainstream titles
Visit the page below to read the full Q&A.

The Mac Gamer: Valve's Mark Laidlaw Q&A
Valve Software

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

Blizzard Entertainment has posted the results of a Twitter chat with members of the StarCraft II development team about the upcoming RTS sequel. The question and answer session focused on StarCraft II's art and gameplay and covered a variety of topics including release information about the European Mac beta client.

Q: Which unit was the hardest/most time consuming to work on aesthetically? Are you proud of certain unit? Does one still haunt you?
A: Thor is still difficult. We want to make him big and bad ass but then there are issues with him clipping or hiding units. We're still polishing the God of Thunder. Favorite unit would be the Stalker, Reaper and Baneling. Simple design-wise but they add a cool newness to there armies. None haunt me. Though zergling with wings and certain dark templar have haunted our fans. :)

Q: How does the dev team accomplish making StarCraft II units and maps "blend" together, despite three distinct races?
A: The races are pretty simple as we follow basic guidlines. Terrans are grey, bulky and grimy. Protoss are gold, smooth surfaced and regal. Zerg are brown, purple and spiny. With maps we usually try to make the textures more simplistic to help the units pop out. Sometimes when the texture gets too busy or dark (i.e. Creep) we lose units on them. We are still working on that issue.

Q: Please please please let us, excited mac users, know when we can expect the client to be available on the EU realm.
A: We're targeting next Monday to release the European English, French, and German versions of the StarCraft II Mac beta. :)

Head over to the link below for more information.

StarCraft II Twitter Chat April 30
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Mac Games News for Friday, April 30, 2010

StarCraft II Twitter Q&A Today6:00 AM
Steam Coming To Macs May 126:00 AM
The Sims 3 Ambitions: New Screens & Trailer6:00 AM
Wiz Solitiare 1.47 Released6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 30, 2010 on one page

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