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Monday, October 31, 2005

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MMORPG Dofus Now Free
7:51 AM | Blake Buck | 1 comment

Friday, Ankama Studios announced that it's popular MMORPG Dofus will no longer require a subsription fee, and will be available to all user for free. Dofus is a flash based online roleplaying game with a huge following of over 250,000 players. The game features a fantasy setting, unique art style, and tactical style combat.

For more information, or to sign up for a free account, visit the Dofus website by clicking the link below.

Dofus Website

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IMG Reviews El Ballo
12:23 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of El Ballo, the side-scroller from developer ProRatta Software. Here's a clip from the review:

As previously mentioned, El Ballo is a tried-and-true 2D side-scroller, which means you should expect to spend the vast majority of your time jumping to and from platforms and cliffs while fending off enemies with an assortment of weapons. This genre has been around for so long that it is difficult to make mistakes when developing new titles, but surprisingly, El Ballo turns out to be a mixed bag when it comes to the quality of its gameplay.
To check out the full review, follow the link below.

IMG Review: El Ballo
Ambrosia Software
El Ballo

Apple Store Special Deals
11:37 AM | Tuncer Deniz

The Apple Store Special Deals page has unbelievable deals on the hottest refurbished and new, unopened Apple products. Current offerings include the15-inch Power Book G4 with 1.67GHz processor and SuperDrive for only $1,899! Other great deals includeApple Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at only $379 along with iPods,iMac G5's, and much more all at unbelievably low prices. But hurry; supplies are limited and sure to go fast.

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Wolfire Software Interview
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

GameRoobie recently interviewed independent game developer David Rosen, founder of Wolfire Software and the man behind Lugaru: The Rabbits Foot, the hit 3rd person fighting game. Before the interview begins, there is a brief background information about independent developers and the founding of Wolfire Software. This interview discusses the development of the original Lugaru game, future plans, and insight on the independent gaming industry. In addition, David talks more about the upcoming Lugaru 2, the sequel to Lugaru: The Rabbits Foot.

An excerpt from the interview:

Roobie: What are your plans for the future?

Rosen: I am planning to continue developing computer games, and to start supporting console platforms as well. Once Lugaru 2 is done, the Phoenix engine will be fully functional, and I will have more team leadership experience, so we should be able to work more quickly and efficiently. Then when I am done with college and have more time, we can really get started!

There is a demo of Lugaru: The Rabbits Foot available via MacGameFiles, while the full version of the game costs $19.95. Lugaru 2 is still in development with a possible release next year.

Gameroobie: Interview with David Rosen
Wolfire Software
Buy Lugaru

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WoW Expansion Preview
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Right on the heels of the announcment, IGN has a preview of Blizzard's recently unveiled World of WarCraft: The Burning Crusade expansion pack. The preview highlights include aspects of the Blood Elf race, new raid zones, and level cap increase. In addition, there is more information about the upcoming 1.9 patch for World of WarCraft.

The Blood Elves also get a pair of active racial traits, consisting of two spells. One is Mana Tap, an instant cast which pulls 50 mana from an enemy, if they have a mana pool, with a ten second cooldown. (Keep in mind that the stats might change -- this is just what I observed from this build). This can be stacked up to three times. The other is Arcane Torrent, which silences spellcasters within 8 yards for 2 seconds, and will convert 12-140 mana per stacked Mana Tap. Arcane Torrent is also instant cast but has a two minute cooldown. Like I said, these guys like their magic. All that lore isn't just there for show.
Please follow the links below to read the entire preview.

IGN: World of WarCraft Burning Crusade Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Gold Farming On Life's Values
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | 2 comments

BBC has posted an article about the aspects of gold farming. In the article, a news journalist visited Asia to document the daily life of a gold farmer. There are photos and quotes that illustrate real life gamers to their online counterparts, in addition to gold farmers' conditions and meager pay. In a larger picture, the article also discusses the culture of online gaming and its consequences.

The photos captured the fascinating and largely unseen world of workers in China and Korea who earn their keep by looking after people's characters in games while they are at work, or asleep...
One shot shows what, at first glance, might be mistaken for a virtual room from within a game. With newspapers as wallpaper, posters of fantasy figures, and scruffy bedding, it is in fact a room in a net cafe in Tianjin, China. It is used by employees who work for a dollar a day levelling up player's characters. Up to 30 will work for 16 hours, using the room to sleep in shifts.
Please follow the links below to read the entire article.

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Walk of Game Voting Ends Today
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Walk of Game voting ends today! Be sure to cast your ballot for your favorite game nominee and character in addition to a famed developer. There are over 20 games and characters to choose from, including such classics as Civilization, Doom, and Lara Croft(Tomb Raider). Not to leave out the gaming minds that made those games a reality, John Carmack, Sid Mier and others round out the Lifetime Achievement list.

Currently, in the Games/Characters category, StarCraft has a slim lead over Everquest, followed by a distant third, Final Fantasy. In the Lifetime Achievement category, John Carmack of has a commanding lead over the other four nominees.

Final Results will become available later in November. Please follow the links below to vote and to learn more information.

Walk of Game

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Fairies Released
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

French developer Funpause recently released Fairies, a color matching puzzle game with 3D graphics and hand drawn illustrations. Players must slide rows of fairies imprisoned in jars to create a match of 3 or more fairies of the same color to set the creatures free and score points. The game spans more than 200 levels within 5 whimsical worlds and features 4 different play modes from which to choose.

The game modes include: "Adventure," which takes the player on a journey through 100 levels and 5 worlds, working against the clock while freeing a certain amount of fairies within the set time allowed; With "Classic" mode, players make the matches of fairies and play through a fast-paced 100 levels; When playing in "Relaxed" mode, players do not have any time constraints, but rather, have an unlimited amount of time and the level continues leisurely until the player wishes to end game play; "Playback" mode is a test for players' memory by showing patterns and playing sounds that are to be repeated correctly.

Additionally, there are stunning images of fairies imbedded in each world of "Adventure" mode. After solving a level, the player removes a partial fragment of a covered image. Once all fragments are removed, the entire image is revealed. There are a total of 10 images, and when the player reveals these images, he can then view them in a "photo album of fairies" included in the game.

Funpause is also the developer of the puzzle game Atlantis. Fairies requires Mac OS X, a G4 667Mhz (1 Ghz recommended) processor, 128 MB of RAM, and 40 MB of hard disk space.

A free demo version of Fairies is available for download at the Funpause website. The full version costs $19.95. Follow the links below for more information.


Games that Scared Developers
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Gamecloud has posted a special Halloween Feature, What Game Scared You? Developers Speak Out. The list of developers asked this question ranged from Todd Hollenshead of id Software to Steve Wik of Running With Scissors. Their answers included the original Doom to even Civilization. A few even remembered not just the game, but the exact mission and place.

Randy Pitchford - Gearbox Software

Quake 1, Episode 1, Mission 2.

Walk into the last room with the two blocks that float out of the floor and into the wall (like keys).

Those things make you just stand in place and watch perfect misdirection.

As you watch the door in front of you open, BAM a fiend is jumping all over your back (he got silently let loose when the door behind you also opened).

That fiend makes me jump, every time.

Please follow the links below to read their answers and please feel free to comment on the game that scared you most.

Gamecloud: What Game Scared You? Developers Speka Out

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Halloween WarCraft III Bonus Map
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

To get into the Halloween spirit, Blizzard recently released Extreme Candy War 2005, a bonus map for WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne. Extreme Candy War 2005 is a medium sized map that uses the Outland tileset and is recommened for 4vs4 or 5vs5 competition. This year's version features enhanced unit abilities, new items, gameplay tweaks, and much more.

Extreme Candy War 2005 is the latest version of Blizzard's Halloween map where Alliance and Horde fight it out on the battlefield. Fans of World of Warcraft will undoubtedly feel at home as ECW '05's heroes are based off their respective classes. The object is to crush your opponent's Candy Mages who channel an invulnerable shield around their Candy Vault. Once the Candy Mages are down, destroy their Candy Vault to win! This year's version features updated hero abilities, new items, and faster paced gameplay.
There are numerous of bonus maps available for download, some of which correspond with the four seasons.

Blizzard: Bonus Maps
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

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Interviews with Sid Meier, Civ IV Team
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In late September Slashdot provided their readers with the opportunity to pose questions to legendary game designer Sid Meier and members of the Civilization IV design team. The answers to those questions are now available on the Slashdot website. Meier's questions cover a range of topics about his career and the future of gaming in general, while questions directed toward the Civ IV team, not surprisingly, center around the game.

From the Sid Meier Q&A:

What factors do you think help keep PC gaming alive when competing with consoles, and do you foresee that PC gaming will continue to survive when confronted with the next generation of consoles? From the reverse perspective, what prevents consoles from finally killing off PC gaming?

Believe it or not, I think the biggest thing PCs have going for them in the console war is the mouse/keyboard interface. So many game types are nearly unplayable without this simple mechanism. Real-time strategies, first-person shooters, point and click adventures, are all best suited to a mouse and keyboard. Another important factor is the innate upgradeability of PCs vs. consoles. The fact that you can still have a viable machine two years after it has been on the market, by simply adding RAM or a new video card is priceless. PCs also benefit from fairly cost effective high-resolution monitors. Finally, you can't ignore how easy it is to connect PCs to the internet (another mouse/keyboard must by the way). Being able to quickly, easily, and cheaply connect is a major plus, as it allows all sorts of flexibility - from finding opponents to downloading patches and content to browsing forums and FAQs.
From the Civ IV Team Q&A:
As a long time Civ player, I would have to say that I really didn't understand why it moved to 3D graphics. Will having the engine be entirely 3D in Civ IV actually add to the gameplay in any way, other than have objects occlude one another? When I say 'add to the gameplay' I mean, add to the game experience in a way 2D sprites couldn't. For example: Physics, multipls views, wind, etc.. (I have only really seen the 3D globe, and like the idea).

Soren Johnson: Graphics succeed in a Civilization game when they provide a good representation of the world's state. Simply put, what-you-see-is-what-you-get is a lot easier with 3D than with 2D. Wonders and buildings now appear on the map, so the player doesn't need to reference an advisor screen to see which city has the Pyramids. Improvements like farms and mines animate differently depending on whether a city is working them or not. Multiple units can now be used to signify hit-points, instead of the old red/green bars. Now, most of these ideas could have been executed in 2D, but certainly with more difficulty as everything displayed in 2D requires an algorithmic system which must be built from scratch. From a pure design perspective, 3D provides an incredible amount of flexibility for free.

The hard working folks at Aspyr recently announced they are working on a Mac port of Civilization IV. To read all the questions and answers follow the links below.

Slashdot: Sid Meier Responds
Slashdot: Answers From The Civ IV Team
Civilization IV
Aspyr Media
Firaxis Games
Buy Civilization IV

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IGN Reviews Civ IV
7:51 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

IGN recently posted a review of Civilization IV developed by Firaxis games. Freshly announced for the Mac last Thursday by Aspyr Media, Civilization IV emphasizes user-created content, multiplayer, and features full 3D graphics. From the IGN review:

The original Civilization is among the most enjoyable, influential games of all time. Its sequels have sought to build upon the basic model by adding greater levels of complexity and streamlining the interface. And though the sequels were definitely great games, they were still rooted in an interface and gameplay style that had changed very little since the original was released in 1991.

That's not the case with Civilization IV. It reenergizes the core concepts of the series, staying faithful to what fans expect while also creating a wholly original game.

While no Civilization IV release date has been set, early 2006 seems likely. To view the entire IGN review, click the link below.

Civilization IV
IGN Revew - Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV

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Stubbs the Zombie Commercials
7:51 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

The official Stubbs the Zombie website recently posted several commercials of the game. Developed by Wideload Games and published by Aspyr Media, Stubbs could be described as Resident Evil in reverse, where players control flesh eating zombies on a gorey quest for brains.

The commercials, which encourage you to "Be the Zombie", have recently been airing late night on the Sci-Fi network. To view the commercials, click the link below, then click the trailers tab at the top.

Aspyr Media
Stubbs the Zombie
Stubbs the Zombie Website - Gallery
Buy Stubbs the Zombie

Mac Games News for Friday, October 28, 2005

America's Army 2.5 Mac Released11:03 PM
World of Warcraft Expansion Announced2:16 PM
Apple Posts CompUSA Hot Deals8:21 AM
BlizzCon Opening Today7:50 AM
Civilization IV Review7:50 AM
Custer Needs an Antihero7:50 AM
Lego Digital Designer Updated7:50 AM
Luxtoberfest 2005 Charges to an End7:50 AM
New Avernum 4 Screenshot7:50 AM
Peter Jackson Unhappy with Lord of the Rings Games7:50 AM
Q&A With Cyan's Tim Larkin7:50 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, October 28, 2005 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005

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