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Thursday, October 19, 2006

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WoW: Anatomy Of A City
7:11 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment's latest World of Warcraft Insider offers a glimpse of the design process involved in crafting a new city for the upcoming Burning Crusade expansion pack. The article examines the creation of Silvermoon, the capital city of the Blood Elves.

The dev team closely examined the original cities from World of Warcraft when designing Silvermoon, and the lessons they've learned since the launch of the original game informed its creation at every level. One key lesson learned from the current cities is that many players tend to gather around a few points of interest: mailboxes, auction houses, banks, flight paths, and inns. This can result in a noticeable slowdown for those entering one of these hotspots; and falling into the infamous trench in Ironforge has been the unfortunate fate of many a hero. The way the dev team approached this challenge while designing Silvermoon was to spread out the traditional crowd magnets. Silvermoon City features two auction houses, two banks, two inns, and eleven mailboxes. Also, the flight master resides outside the city, so new arrivals won't be dropped into a huge crowd of players upon their arrival.

Another approach to crowd control involved taking a closer look at how the general "flow" of a virtual city could be improved. Take the Undercity, for example. This city was designed around a circular layout, and for the most part this works well. However, there more obvious visual clues would be helpful to let players know immediately what part of the city they are in. So for Silvermoon, the dev team worked extra hard to make sure that players would always know where they were and where to go. The warlock district ,for example, has a very distinct, dark color scheme, while the hunter trainers are marked with an impressive gold statue of an elven huntress outside their building. Also, the Sunfury Spire is a prominent landmark in Silvermoon that should help players find their way around the city. No matter where a player is, the silhouette of this impressive structure will always be visible in the distance.

You can check out the full article at the link provided below.

WoW: Burning Crusade Silvermoon Creation
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Apple Posts New Hot Deals
9:38 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

CDW Macwarehouse has deals on a variety of Mac compatible products including: Epson PowerLite S3 ultra-bright, ultra-light LCD projector for only $599.99!; Oki C3200n Color LED Printer from Okidata for only $299.99!; Pentax Optio T10 6-megapixel compact digital camera for only $299.99!; Spyder2PRO complete professional monitor calibration system from ColorVision for only $259.00!; Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT Kit w/18-55mm Lens and free 256MB Sandisk Compact Flash (CF) Card for only $999.00; Sony DCR-DVD405 surround sound Handycam Camcorder w/high capacity battery and free Sony case for only $782.99!; SimpleTech 400GB SimpleDrive external USB 2.0 hard drive w/free 512MB USB 2.0 Flash Drive for only $232.99!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

J&R Computerworld has deals on a variety of Mac compatible products including: Sony ECM-CS10 Tie Clip style omni-directional stereo microphone for only $39.99!; Kensington PilotMouse Laser Wireless Mini USB mouse for only $29.99!; Samsung 940W Widescreen analog/digital LCD Monitor for only $189.99 after $50.00 exclusive J&R rebate!; 2GB Kingston DTI-2GB USB Flash Drive for only $34.99!; Canon Canoscan 8400F Color Flatbed Scanner (w/film guides for negatives, mounted slides and roll film strip) for only $99.99!; Pro Tools M-Powered w/integrated MIDI sequencing and supports many popular interfaces from M-Audio for only $214.99!; Final Draft 7 the word processor for movie, TV scripts & stage plays from Final Draft for only $169.99!; Bluetooth enabled HP Photosmart C3310 Multi-function All-In-One Printer - print, copy, scan, fax - for only $399.99!; JBL Duet Multimedia Stereo Speakers (Aluminum) from Harman Multimedia for only $39.99!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a variety of Mac compatible products including: Mbox 2 Pro Factory 6-in, 8-out 24bit FireWire Audio/MIDI interface with Pro Tools LE and additional plug-ins from Digidesign for only $799.97!; TASCAM US-144 USB Audio Interface w/2 mic preamps, 2 line inputs, MIDI I/O & 24-bit converters for only $199.97!; Pro Tools Clinic book and CD-ROM demystifying LE by Mitch Gallagher from Music Sales for only $24.95!; ReMOTE ZeRO SL keyless USB MIDI control surface that automaps to Reason 3, Cubase SL/SX3, Logic 7 and more from Novation for only $299.99!; Korg Legacy Collection - Digital Edition for only $149.97!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Tuncer's Blog: Mac Gaming's Drought Is Almost Over
9:34 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Tuncer Deniz, the founder and publisher of Inside Mac Games, has updated his blog with his thoughts on Mac gaming current drought and what we can look forward to in 2007.

Here's a clip from the blog:

Mac gaming is in a drought...and frankly, I'm dying of thirst. Since I started Inside Mac Games back in 1993, I've never seen things this bad. New commercial releases are not only down to a trickle...they're down to a measly drop. I can safely say that 2006 is the worst year from Mac gaming (in terms of commercial releases) since Apple began making Macs in 1984.

The saddest part about all this is that Apple is doing so well these days. Just look at the company's earnings posted yesterday for the last quarter. Apple shipped more than 1.6 millions Macs, the Macs best quarterly showing ever. So what's the problem here? Is Mac gaming in a rut? And more importantly, will it get out of it?

To check out the blog entry, follow the link below.

Tuncer's Blog: Mac Gaming's Drought Is Almost Over

Diner Dash 2 Now Serving to the Mac
9:31 AM | Anthony Wang | 1 comment

Play First has released Diner Dash 2 for the Mac. Diner Dash 2 follows Flo, a waitress who returns to save the restaurant from evil tycoon Mr. Big by expanding the business, paying rent, and serving the multitude of customers pouring in.

5 new restaurants
4 new customer types – Family, Cell Phone Addict, and more!
4 new powerups, even a hostess and mariachi band!
2 modes of play: Story & Endless Shift
Change the dιcor of each restaurant - expert scores earn more choices!
New tasks to juggle – highchairs, spills, dessert orders, and more!
New seating challenges – watch where you seat your customers!
Bonus screensaver mode lets you see your latest progress
All-new music, art, and animation
New level variations for the true Diner Dash expert!
Diner Dash 2 is available for purchase from the MGS as a digital download product. There is also a demo (11.7MB) available at MGF. Please follow the links below to learn more information.

MGF: Diner Dash 2 Demo
MGS: Diner Dash 2

Solavant 2.0 for Mac OS X
7:11 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Smallware has released Solavant 2 for Mac OS X. Solavant 2 is a collection of over 200 solitaire games with statistics, timers, for the serious solitaire gamer to hints and undo options for beginners.

• Have fun with 223 different solitaire games.
• Participate in the Winnable Deals online community project.
• Measure your skill with statistics, timer and scoring.
• Play easily with auto play, undo and in-game rules.
• Get the satisfaction of beating solitaire without any help!
Work your mind. Play your Solavant!
Challenge yourself with Solavant. Download 100 free deals and have fun working your mind with Solavant solitaire for Mac.
Please click on the links below to learn more information.

MGF: Solavant 2.0
Solavant 2.0 for Mac

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The Sims 2: Pets Reviewed
7:11 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamespot has posted a review of the recently released PC version of The Sims 2: Pets, an animal filled expansion pack for the popular virtual life simulator. The expansion gives players the chance to add pets to their Sim's family, create a unique pet from a variety of customization options, and even send their pets off to work on new pet career paths. Gamespot gave The Sims 2: Pets a score of 7.1 out of 10.

From the review:

Pets act as brand-new family members, although hamsters and birds generally stay put in their cages. For these smaller pets, you can feed them; play with them to give your sims some social contact; and in the case of birds, teach them to talk to improve your charisma. Dogs and cats can be much more interesting. You can create canines and felines from a great number of different breeds and are given tons of different customization options that let you choose size, age, different ear types, fur color patterns, and even some minor pet accoutrements, like collars. You can also determine your pet's personality, such as whether your pet is friendly or aloof, neat or messy, and quick to learn new tricks or a bit slower on the draw. If those last sentences got you excited, there's a good chance that The Sims 2: Pets is for you.

That's because pets--dogs and cats, anyway--function like limited people in the game. You can't take direct control of dogs or cats, but you can teach them new skills (pet tricks) by spending virtual hours (which equates to several minutes of real time) of your day training them until they learn how to sit, shake hands, and roll over. This system is similar to how you can improve your sims' marketability by spending virtual hours repeatedly training at skills like charisma, repair, and cleaning. You can use interactions with them to fulfill your sims' social needs (so yes, you can play as a "crazy cat lady" who associates only with her house cats), just like you can with live-in family members. And you can even send your pets off on different career paths. If you care to, you can have Fido pursue an exciting career in show biz, for instance, and just like in the original Sims games, in Pets an increasingly nice car will pull up to your sims' house to pick them up as they climb the professional ladder and whisk them away for hours on end, until they return home later that day with an honest-to-goodness paycheck. These new options open up a slightly different avenue for gameplay than having just another roommate.

Aspyr Media is hard at work on bringing the Mac version of The Sims 2: Pets to a computer near you in November.

To read the full review click on the link below.

Gamespot: The Sims 2 Pets Review
Aspyr Media
Buy The Sims 2: Pets

Mac Games News for Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Macgamestore: Diner Dash 2 Now Available2:43 PM
Blood Elves Preview in WoW Expansion6:42 AM
Jeff Vogel Talks Genforge 46:42 AM
Pangea Arcade Reviewed6:42 AM
Quinn Updated6:42 AM
The Sims 2: Pets Screenshots6:42 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, October 18, 2006 on one page

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