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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

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Blizzard Counters WoW Expansion Delay Rumors
8:03 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Countering rumors that the company will delay the release of the highly anticipated World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion pack, Blizzard has announced the title is now considered gold master. Blizzard is planning to release the MMORPG expansion on January 16, 2007.

According to a forum post:

The expansion has already gone gold. We see no reason why the game isn't going to be on the shelves at the planned date.

January 16th, in case you forgot.

Be sure to stay tuned as this highly anticipated add-on makes its debut in the coming weeks.

Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Blizzard Forum Topic
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Parallels, VMware, CodeWeavers Release Virtualization Betas
4:50 PM | IMG News | 5 comments

Parallels has released a new beta of Parallels Desktop, a virtualization software enabling Windows to run on a Mac without rebooting. The new version (Build 3106) provides more functionality such as tabbing out, multiple monitor support, and USB 2.0 support.

Additionally, VMware has released its own virtualization software codenamed Fusion. This is the first beta release from VMware and features the ability to use Windows applications without rebooting, access to disc media, and more.

At this time, 3D gaming is not possible with these two offerings. However, they are said to be working towards gaming compatibility.

A third option called CrossOver from CodeWeavers also has new betas available. The company has released two release candidates over the holiday break, fixing several application issues, including instances of Half Life 2 crashing. For more information, check out the announcements in their forums.

VMware: Fusion
Parallels Desktop
CodeWeavers - CrossOver Mac Forums

Alky Project Announced, Promising Windows Games in OS X
4:50 PM | Anthony Wang | 17 comments

Fallen Leaf has announced Project Alky promising to bring high quality Windows games to Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. Project Alky uses "Alky converters" to convert binaries of games from one operating system to another. The technology behind this program at this time is vague, but clarifications by IMG members and the lead engineer of Project Alky determined the technology used Project Alky is not based on WINE, as previously stated in this news article.

While Wine, at this point, is certainly a far more mature offering than Alky in certain regards, it falls well short in crucial areas including speed, overhead, and the inability to support the coming age of 64 bit computing.

Each Alky Converter will solve these issues by converting a specific Windows game into a fully native OSX or Linux executable. Alky is fully 64 bit capable and has no Wine-like server architecture to provide unnecessary overhead and speed degradation.

Project Alky appears to be concentrating on Mac gaming, unlike other offerings which have had little to no success with games.
-Exclusive sneak peak access to development builds of Alky Converters.
-When you signup now, you will immediately receive access to the first ever alpha release of Alky which will convert the Prey Demo to run natively on OSX with full surround sound support! (Intel-based Macs only. Linux support coming soon)
-Free access to all future Alky Converters. Current titles being worked on are Prey, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Neverwinter Nights 2
While we can't guarantee which gaming titles we will finish and release, we can guarantee that every converter for every title that we do finish and release will be provided free of charge to all Sapling members. The ESRP for these converters will be initially set at $20 each.
-Exclusive voting rights in the Polling Station (Coming Soon)
-Wanting to see a particular title converted? Vote for it!
-Discounts on games for Windows, OSX, and Linux provided by our partners (50+ titles coming soon)
-This gaming membership alone will begin being sold for $20 per year beginning in 2007. As a Sapling member, you receive lifetime access!
-Members only Forum access to interact with fellow Sapling members, Alky engineers, and Falling Leaf Systems management.
-Let your voice be heard! Drop in to interact with fellow Sapling members or post questions or concerns for us here at Falling Leaf. We will do our best to be as responsive as possible.
-Members only scheduled chats with Falling Leaf Systems staff
-The first chat will be held in January with Alky lead Engineer Cody Brocious
-Access to staff member blogs (Coming Soon)
-Access to our events calendar (Coming Soon)
Interested users will have to pay $50 to join the project to receive the benefits above. Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Alky Project featuring Prey
Falling Leaf
Video: Alky Project

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IMG Reviews Championship Manager 2006
11:21 AM | Michael Phillips | Comment on this story

Today IMG has posted a review of Virtual Programing's latest European football simulator, Championship Manager 2006. Written by IMG's Franklin Pride, the review examines many aspects of Championship Manager 2006 such as visual elements, the dynamics of running a European football team, game stability and more.

Here's a clip:

It doesn't matter how good your tactics are if you fail at management, though. You'll need to constantly be searching for new players for your team, keeping your current players happy, adjusting the training schedules for injuries and fatigue, hiring competent staff, picking players for the matches, and keeping the club board happy. It's a lot to do, and any one area can spell doom for your success. If you don't keep upgrading your squad, you'll start losing games as your old players move on to better things. If you don't have good coaches, scouts, and physios, your team won't be in good fighting shape. It all takes time to learn, but it can be quite enjoyable to see a long season's worth of management lead your team to victory.
For the rest on Championship Manager 2006, just mouse on down to the link below.

Virtual Programming
Championship Manager 2006
IMG Review: Championship Manager 2006

Blizzard Closes Over 100,000 WoW accounts
8:03 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Blizzard reinforced their stance on cheaters and preventing illegal activities by closing over 100,000 accounts this past holiday. Furthermore, millions of illegally obtained WoW currency was removed from servers throughout the world.

In our continued efforts to combat cheating in World of Warcraft, more than 105,000 accounts were closed and over 12 million gold was removed from the game economies in Europe, Korea, and the US in the month of November. The closed accounts were associated with activities that violate World of Warcraft's Terms of Use, such as using third-party programs that allow cheating, and farming gold and items. These types of activities can severely impact the economy of a realm and the overall game enjoyment for all players.
Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Planewalker Games' Jason Compton Interviewed
8:03 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Clan DLAN has posted an interview with Planewalker Games' Jason Compton about the company's upcoming fantasy RPG, The Broken Hourglass. Among other things the article offers insight into Planewalker's history, Hourglass' story driven campaign, and the game's unique magic system.

You don't "level up" in magic in quite the same way you would in a D&D-type game. Instead, you buy up points in Precision for each of the elemental magic disciplines (Water Precision, for instance, to become a stronger Water mage.) Precision makes your spells more effective--more likely to hit and harm your enemies, harder to resist, more beneficial to your party members, etc. Then you may also buy mana points, which give you a larger "budget" or "more water in the garden hose" to spend on magical enchantments.

The upshot of all this is that a caster can "use up" all of his magical potential maintaining a shield on himself and the party, but unlike other systems where that caster would be useless for the rest of the day, in our system he can drop the shield and then switch that energy to some other type of enchantment. That's what we mean by the "garden hose" example--when your hose is on, you'll always get water out of it. The question is, how are you going to direct that water?

Our system means you basically never have to feel bashful about casting a spell--you won't "ruin" the mage for the day. There are some types of enchantments which do tie up mana over the long term, such as until the target dies or until the party rests. But most enchantments are either instantaneous and have no standing mana cost, or can be dropped interactively.

To read the entire interview head over to the site listed below.

Clan DLAN: Broken Hourglass Interview
The Broken Hourglass

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Inside The Hourglass: Creating Creatures
8:03 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Planewalker Games recently released another informational update on the behind the scenes workings of their upcoming RPG, The Broken Hourglass. This time the article covers the XML files used to create creatures, offering a glimpse of the kinds of variables which define beings encountered in the game.

Broadly speaking, any living being on the screen is a "creature", whether it is the player character, a joinable NPC, a shopkeeper, or a bloodthirsty beast. Like most other WeiNGINE resources, creatures are defined by one or more XML data files.

There are more than 100 legal attributes in a character, creature or creaturetemplate file, and we will not list them all here. They include values for all WRPG statistics and skills, sprite coloration, equipment and inventory, as well as special designations for creatures who have special meaning or behave differently than other creatures.
To read the rest of the article click on the link below.

Inside The Engine: Creatures
The Broken Hourglass

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Discussing Eschalon: Book 1
8:03 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

WithinGames has released a new interview with Thomas Riegsecker of Basilisk Games which offers information about the company and its upcoming first project, an RPG titled Eschalon: Book 1. The interview covers a range of topics including the definition of "old school" RPGs, the role of combat in Eschalon, and the possibility of offering a toolset.

"Eschalon: Book 1" will be a so-called old school RPG. But what exactly does that mean? Can you give us an overview about the gameplay?

Old school to us means pretty much any RPG that is pre-Diablo. Diablo (which I do admit I enjoyed) really ushered in the modern action-RPG and power gaming era. For example, compare Ultima`s open game model, where you are dropped onto a continent and can go in any direction from the very start of the game, to Dungeon Siege which has essentially a railroad, linear map design. Compare Wizardy`s attribute and skill system with most contemporary RPGs, which (for the most part) have significantly reduced the usefulness of character stats and skills. It is assumed that the casual gamer today doesn`t want to micromanage their character, and perhaps they don’t, but back in the day you had to if you wanted to be successful. That was playing a RPG...

Do you plan to release your toolset to the community at some time, so that they can build modifications and their own games with your engine?

Not for Book I or Book II. But if all our plans come together like we hope, we`d love to release a "Book III Deluxe Edition" that includes all the games plus the tools we used to make them. Of course this won`t happen for a few years probably.

Check out the rest of the interview at the site listed below.

WithinGames: Eschalon Book 1 Interview
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
Buy Eschalon: Book I

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Nexuiz Update
8:03 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Over the holidays, Alientrap quietly released Nexuiz(v2.2.2). The update features new weapons and item models, new HUD graphics, support for multiple campaigns, and numerous bug fixes. Nexuiz is an action shooter built on a heavily modded Quake 1 engine and its goal is to go back to the days of classic death match game play.

Furthermore, a community map pack and campaign has been released simultaneously with Nexuiz(v2.2.2). The map pack and campaign contains past Quake 3 community maps, Nexuiz community creations, and even maps by Alientrap themselves.

Nexuiz Updated to 2.2.2

Ten Years Of Diablo &
8:03 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The last week of December 2006 marked the tenth anniversaries of both Diablo and from Blizzard Entertainment. To commemorate the occasion Blizzard released a retrospective of the action RPG and the online service which helped to turn the company into a household name for gamers.

During the last week of 1996, Blizzard released Diablo, a groundbreaking action role-playing game (RPG) set in the dark fantasy-themed world of Sanctuary. As a lone hero attempting to save the town of Tristram from the Lord of Terror, the player (in the role of a warrior, rogue, or sorcerer) must venture underneath the town in search of Diablo’s lair. However, the journey proves to be a dark and dangerous one, as Diablo and his minions are bent on far more than the destruction of just one town...

Completely free to use, the version of that shipped with Diablo allowed gamers to create and join multiplayer games from a central hub. Diablo players created accounts and then were assigned to a channel, in which they could chat with other users as well as set up and join multiplayer games. In Diablo, the mix of compelling gameplay and well-implemented and well-supported multiplayer aspects resulted in a dedicated and passionate player base. This formula for success, the roots of which could be seen in Blizzard’s first two games – Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness – would continue to be a hallmark of Blizzard game design in the years to come.
Click on the links below to learn more.

10th Anniversary For Diablo And Bnet
Blizzard Entertainment

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Lugaru 2 Blog Update
8:03 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

The Wolfire blog has been updated to reveal initial development of multiplayer in the upcoming action game, Lugaru 2. For months, fans of the first Lugaru have been discussing and speculating on the official Wolfire forums on the state of multiplayer in the forthcoming sequel, as the original Lugaru was only single player.

Henry just got initial multiplayer support working; we can now connect and chat and jump around! There is no fighting yet, but this is a great first step.
The blog update has two screenshots as well. Follow the links below to learn more information.

Lugaru 2 Multiplayer
Wolfire Software
Lugaru 2

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Celebrating The New Year With An Hourglass Of Lore
8:03 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In their first update of 2007 Planewalker Games offers a look at the new year celebration traditions of the Tolmiran Empire, a nation which features prominently in the company's upcoming RPG, The Broken Hourglass. TBH will feature a 2D isometric viewpoint, a deep storyline, and a rich character development system.

- "Freeing the Old Year." In order to purge the old year and welcome in the new, Tolmirans often leave all of their doors and windows open all night, and employ pots, pans, and crude fireworks in order to shoo the demons and spirits of the old year on their way. Lighting streets and homes as brightly as possible is a newer tradition accompanying many New Year celebrations. Overnight illumination was originally reserved for a minor state holiday and had nothing to do with the change of the calendar, but as burglars began taking greater advantage of the "open-door" policy, larger cities subtly shifted the bright night to New Year's.

- "Prosperous New Year." Many look to the New Year to improve their fortunes, so throwing anything away on New Year's Day is widely considered to be bad luck. As the superstition goes, making oneself poorer on New Year's Day invites further destitution the rest of the year. Taken to extremes, in many areas trash and even dead bodies are not collected or hauled away, and kitchen and privy wastes have even been known to accumulate in the most orthodox homes. Many Tolmirans arrive to have something delivered to their home during the day as a spur to New Year's prosperity, ranging from a card or letter to a morsel of food to a floral arrangement.
You can learn more about the Tolmiran New Year at the link below.

Ringing In the New Year, Tolmiran-Style
The Broken Hourglass

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Armado Reviewed
8:03 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Slacker's Guide recently posted a new review of Tricky Software's Armado, a third person action adventure title which puts players in the role of Armado the armadillo. The game gives players the task of fighting an army of ants to save the queen of the eagles and bring peace to the land.

Armado functions as a standard run-and-jump action game, much in the vein of Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog. Like these titles, the player must jump over obstacles, pick up power-ups and use powers such as dropping onto enemies and rolling into a ball to their advantage. Such abilities are available in limited quantities and the player will have to recharge their powers by grabbing up power-ups along the way.

This isn't the most original idea, but it works well. The genre is familiar, the game is easy to learn, and a precise set of controls lends to a realistic feel. Load the game and within moments the player feels as if they're the galosh-wearing armadillo hero jumping over boulders and getting the drop on enemies to the best of their ability in an arcade fashion (never a bad thing).

Even if Armado's gameplay feels recycled, it wins in polish and style. Beautiful OpenGL graphics greet the player and nice touches like splashing rivers compliment the title. This is by no means marquee level, but they stand on par with what can be done on an OpenGL kit and a starter shareware game company. The overall look is solid, detailed and effective, connecting the player with the character. Sound and music, while not sweeping and orchestral, capture the feel of the game and a good theme song, though repeated, doesn't feel repetitive or irritating and blends into the background after a while. The title doesn't break completely new ground, but feels like a good, solid entry from a team of former Electronic Arts programmers that split off to start their own company.
Check out the full review at the link below.

The Slacker's Guide: Armado Review

Mac Games News for Tuesday, December 26, 2006

IMG Podcast Episode 5 released6:45 AM
IMG Wishes All Our Readers Happy Holidays6:40 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, December 26, 2006 on one page

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Friday, December 22, 2006
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