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Thursday, September 7, 2006

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Beta Testers Needed For Geneforge 4
7:38 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software is in need of dedicated beta testers for the Mac version of Geneforge 4: Rebellion. In the fourth in the popular Geneforge series players will face open warfare in the world of the Shapers and must choose which side to join.

General requirements to participate as a beta tester:

1. You must have a reliable internet account, capable of E-mail and of downloading large files. Updates can be over 20 MB and need to be downloaded reliably.
2. You must be able to write and converse coherently in English.
3. You must be able to actually spend time on testing, and, even if you don't find bugs, you need to be able to frequently give us reports on your progress in the game.
Those interested in participating in the beta test should head over to the site listed below and fill out the application form.

Geneforge 4
Spiderweb Software
Spiderweb Beta Test Sign Up Form

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iMod - Neverwinter Nights Feature Posted
11:07 AM | Blake Buck | 2 comments

Today IMG posted the first installment of a new feature, iMod - Neverwinter Nights. Every few months IMG will be examining a popular Mac Game and the user-created content and modding community behind it. This time IMG takes a look at Neverwinter Nights:

With the news that Atari is dropping support for the popular Role Playing Game (RPG) Neverwinter Nights and its two expansions (Shadow of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark) comes the sad fact that there will be no more Premium modules made for the game. However, all is not lost. Neverwinter Nights is one of the best games on the Mac for adding user-made content, and nearly all Neverwinter Nights add-ons are Mac compatible.
To read the entire article, click the link below.

iMod - Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Austin MMOG Rantfest Report
10:32 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A recent article by GameSpot covers an event that took place at the currently ongoing Austin Games Conference event. Manned by notables such as NCsoft's Scott Jennings, BioWare's Richard Vogel, and Sony Online Entertainment's Lorin Jameson, the focus of the panel was on MMOG rants, allowing industry folks some time to seriously preach about what they feel is wrong with the current MMOG industry.

Jennings kicked off the session by attacking World of Warcraft's patch system, which he mocked as "let's make something so frustrating people will just host the damn patches for us." Another one was by former Turbine Entertainment executive producer and creative director Jessica Mulligan, who beomaned the dearth of WoW clones inevitably inching their way through development, and parodied this through a sales pitch:

Mulligan than broke out a two-minute pitch session for a fictitious game that fits that mold, "DarkAge of the WarcraftStrike," touting incredible innovation in features and high-concept ideas that will yield a game exactly like existing successful MMO games. Key to the pitch were an unqualified team of unknowns with little or no experience, a daily milestone schedule, a six-month development span (plus or minus four years).
Other rants include the resources wasted on inferior games, the idea of quality before release schedules, and the lack of originality in today's games.

GameSpot - The trouble with MMOs; Austin rant gets heated

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Blizzard's Rob Pardo Discusses WoW's Success
7:38 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has posted a breakdown of a speech from Blizzard Entertainment's Vice President of Game Design, Rob Pardo. His keynote speech at the Austin Game Conference delves into the reasons for the overwhelming world wide success of World of Warcraft, focusing on key decisions and management techniques.

Pardo listed a number of specific trade-offs that World of Warcraft had been forced to make. One was in terms of system requirements, and an artistic style that was not in line with the hyper-realistic trend of games like Crysis, for instnace. "We would rather have lower system requirements to reach a broader market. This means having a stylized art style that is resistant to looking dated" even as hardware becomes more powerful.

"That generates lots of negative press," Pardo admitted. "Our screenshots are never going to compare to something like Crysis. Crysis-level graphics are easier to market, and developers like to make that kind of art. Plus the press likes it. But ultimately, I think we're proven that the gameplay is really what matters, and if you have cool stylized art, that's enough."
The full article can be read at the link below.

Gamasutra: Rob Pardo Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Blood Pong 1.5 Released
7:38 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Krappy Software has released version 1.5 of Blood Pong, a unique combination of the original Pong gameplay with a bit of "kung fu action." The game features 12 paddle characters, a two player mode, finishing moves for dispatching defeated opponents, and a variety of secrets to discover.

Not just another pong game. This is the future of pong sport. Blood Pong brings you a new concept of ball chasing fun. Not only can you smack the ball around, but you can kick your opponents butt with special combat moves.

Blood Pong adds Kombat action to a proven game. There are dozens of pong games, but not one that allows you to rip your opponent in half! Blood Pong takes the classic game of yesteryear and adds a whole new dimension of Kung-Fu Fighting action. Packed with power moves and fierce blows, Blood Pong is guaranteed to bring out the Bruce Lee in you!
Blood Pong is available for Macs with at least 64 MB RAM, running OS 9 and above. Click on the links below to find out more.

Blood Pong
Blood Pong Downloads
Krappy Software

New Chip Promises Improved Game AI
7:38 AM | Cord Kruse | 14 comments

New company AISeek has announced the Intia Processor, a chip designed solely for the purpose of handling artificial intelligence calculations in computer games. According to AISeek game titles optimized for the chip would see significant improvement in NPC AI and allow for more realistic behaviors.

From Ars Technica:

AIseek will offer an SDK for developers that will enable their titles to take advantage of the Intia AI accelerator. According to the company, Intia works by accelerating low-level AI tasks up to 200 times compared to a CPU doing the work on its own. With the acceleration, NPCs will be better at tasks like terrain analysis, line-of-sight sensory simulation, path finding, and even simple movement. In fact, AIseek guarantees that with its coprocessor NPCs will always be able to find the optimal path in any title using the processor.

Intia will enable developers to support much larger maps, including the possibility of dynamically changing maps that the NPCs could then adapt to. AIseek's hope is that use of Intia will result in the "creation of new game worlds that are based on large, rapidly changing environments."

AISeek's website provides a handful of demo movies, but as of yet offers no date for when Intia might be shipping or available to developers.

Check out the links below for more information.

Ars Technica: AI Chip Promises Better AI
AISeek: Intia Processor
Intia Demos

Mac Games News for Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Macgamestore: Europa Universalis II Digital Download3:25 PM
Apple Posts New Hot Deals11:43 AM
IMG Interviews MacSoft's Phil Sulak11:42 AM
Aspyr Seeks Mac Product Manager10:10 AM
Early CrossOver Feedback6:56 AM
Penny Arcade Creators Interviewed6:56 AM
World of Warcraft Conquers The World6:56 AM
Apple Updates iMac Line6:55 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, September 6, 2006 on one page

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