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Monday, April 11, 2005

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World of Warcraft Test Realms Go Public
7:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The main World of Warcraft site has news concerning the test realms for their massively multiplayer online RPG. It seems any player with a valid account can now take a copy of one of their characters onto the test servers to try out the newest content.

Included in this latest content is the honor system, a number of tweaks to character classes, and the normal round of bug fixes. Blizzard does remind players that anything earned on the test server stays on the test server:

experience earned, items obtained, or any changes to your test character will in no way affect your original character on our retail realms, as your test realm character is just a copy of the original. Also, the experience, items, and gold your character gains on the test realm will not be transferred to your character on the retail realms.
For more information on getting a character transferred, head over to the main World of Warcraft site now.

Test Server Patch Notes
World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment
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IMG Reviews X-Plane 8
11:56 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of X-Plane 8, the latest version of the venerable flight simulator by author Austin Meyer. Here's a clip from the review by IMG's own Tim Morgan:

The first and foremost feature of version 8 is its new scenery engine. X-Plane's global scenery has always been based on the GIS land-use database. This database contains information on the general types of land use (green vegetation, sparse city, arid desert) around the world. X-Plane draws textures for all these kinds of land, and viola: we have a fairly accurate representation of the world
To check out the entire review, please follow the link below.

IMG Review: X-Plane 8
Laminar Research
X-Plane 8
Buy X-Plane 8 Apple Creating A Gaming Division?
10:51 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

According to an anonymous tip provided to rumor site, Apple and graphics chip manufacturer, ATI, have been in discussions about creating or purchasing a game development unit. Here's the report from the web site:

The purpose of such a division would presumably be to create compelling games for the Mac platform to help attract more PC users to switch to the Mac platform.

Such a move would not be uncharateristic for Apple, as their decision to create Safari as well as many of their iApps were in part to fill a void not provided by 3rd party developers on the Mac platform.

Apple does appear serious about improving gaming performance on the Mac. Recent reports noted that Apple, ATI and NVidia are actively recruiting developers to improve OpenGL performance.

Could this mean that Apple will be creating an in-house porting team to compete with the likes of Aspyr and MacSoft? As with any rumor, this story should be taken with a grain of salt.

Apple Apple Creating a Gaming Division?

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Geneforge 3 Patched
10:08 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software has released a small patch for the Mac version of their RPG Geneforge 3. Now sitting at version 1.0.1, the upgrade includes a few graphical updates as well as a rare bug fix:

This new version contains a few improved graphics and a fix for the rare problem of the floor being drawn incorrectly on some machines. If you haven't been having any problems with v1.0, it probably isn't worth the trouble to upgrade.
The upgraded version can be downloaded directly from Spiderweb's Geneforge 3 site.

Spiderweb Software
Geneforge 3

Lego Star Wars Ships for PC
7:59 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Eidos and Giant Interactive have announced the release of LEGO Star Wars for the PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Gameboy Advance.

LEGO Star Wars combines the worlds of the children's bricks and the universe George Lucas made into an action-packed adventure that spans the time periods of the three prequel movies.

Gamers can play as more than 40 of their favorite Star Wars characters through more than 18 levels, experiencing the complete storyline of the first three movies in the Star Wars saga with plenty of action, puzzles, and unique LEGO Star Wars humor. Additionally, players can enjoy a two-player cooperative play mode that lets a second player drop in and out of the action without interrupting gameplay.
LEGO Star Wars has been announced to be in development with Aspyr and i5works for the Macintosh, with a projected released date of August of this year. Stay with IMG for further information as this project nears completion.

Eidos and Giant Announce LEGO(R) Star Wars(TM): The Video Game Now Available in North America

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Marketing 101 Meets World of Warcraft
7:59 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Gaming industry site Terra Nova has posted an article discussing the new economy of the MMORPG, specifically the popular World of Warcraft gaming world.

The article talks about a group that recently bought the entire trade goods contents of an auction house in the game world of Ironforge. They then turned around and sold the items to other players for a higher price, thus making a tidy profit.

This action, and others like it, bring up some very interesting ideas about a MMORPG economy:

But I'm also curious about what this says about World of Warcraft's economy, and whether the overall picture is now clear enough to begin giving a systematic account about the particular character of WoW in this respect. There are obvious entrepreneurial responses to the buying out of the auction house: hold onto trade goods, wait for the would-be monopolists to reprice trade goods and put them back up, and then marginally undersell that new price. This is pretty much already the dynamic for trade good sales on most WoW servers.
The article goes on to examine some of the finer points of this type of entrepreneurship, as opposed to trade skills. Head over to Terra Nova to check out the full article.

Terra Nova: Cornering the Market
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
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Eidos Buy-out One Step Closer
7:59 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

After announcing the nearing of a deal with the Elevation investment group, troubled software house Eidos has since undertaken further discussions with SCi Entertainment, after the group made a counter offer.

The Eidos shareholders have some points to consider in accepting one deal or the other, including:

the requirement for scale to compete effectively in the computer games industry - on the basis that the combination of Eidos and SCi will not result in a significantly larger business;
the successful integration of the Eidos and SCi businesses - recognising that Eidos is much larger than SCi, operates internationally and pursues a different approach to the development of its games;
the retention and motivation of key employees of the Eidos business.
Eidos and UBS Investment Bank will continue to consider SCi's count-offer. Stay with IMG for further developments in Eidos' financial struggles.

WorthPlaying: Eidos Recommends That Shareholders Accept SCi Offer

Mac Games News for Friday, April 8, 2005

Aspyr Updates The Sims 2 Developer Journal2:20 PM
IMG Posts Final Close Combat Friday11:56 AM Crackdown on Cheats9:22 AM
Custer Returns Leading Some Commandos9:22 AM
Honor System, More in New WoW Patch9:22 AM
Multi-lingual Warcraft III Tournament Coverage9:22 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 8, 2005 on one page

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Thursday, April 7, 2005
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