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Monday, April 30, 2007

Avernum 5: Dialog, Battles, And Plots
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In a post on the Spiderweb Software forums Jeff Vogel recently offered a new update on the changes and additions fans can expect in the upcoming fifth game in the popular Avernum RPG series. The game will feature gameplay improvements, an intricate plot, and larger battles.

I'm having a bit more fun writing the dialogue, because the setup for this Avernum game is very different from the previous games. Your starting position is, it's safe to say, completely opposite from what it was before.

There are secret doors. But they work differently than they did before. (They'd really have to.) You will never have to find one to complete the game.

I am concentrating to cut down on the trash and have a smaller number of bigger fights. This will make the game more interesting for groups, but more punishing for single characters. I will do my best to make sure a singleton can still complete the game on the lower difficulty levels. One change ... smaller parties will get experience from creatures at higher levels than 4 person parties do.
Head over to the Spiderweb forums to read more.

Spiderweb Forums: April Avernum 5 Update
Spiderweb Software

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The Movies Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Applelinks has posted a review of The Movies, Lionhead's movie industry sim. Brought to the Mac by Feral Interactive, the game allows players to take charge of a movie studio and attempt to grow it into a thriving enterprise. Applelinks gave The Movies a score of 4 out of 5.

From the review:

Getting the right actor for a part is easy, but keeping said actor happy is not. As the movies start to make money, actors' demands increase. If their demands are met, they become unhappy, which translates to bad performances, which translates to poor box office. So, you give them makeovers, send them to rehab, whatever it takes. If they start to cost you more than they make you, you fire them and begin the search for the next young talent.

This part of the game is actually pretty fun, but perhaps only because of my malicious streak. In classic Sims-like fashion, I enjoyed watching my actors drive themselves to self destruction. I even fostered it at times, putting them in outfits they didn't like and assigning good roles to other actors. Bad for the studio, perhaps, but fun for me. What's a sim, after all, if you can't screw with the characters in it? I mean, there's a reason why you can destroy all you've done in Sim City with one giant robot attack, right? In fact, there should have been a giant robot in The Movies. Or even better, a bunch of sword fighting skeletons that break free from the special effects department and rampage across the studio lot. I've always said there's no movie ever made that couldn't benefit from a good sword fighting skeleton scene, and I can now safely apply that theory to computer games, as well.
Check out the full review at the link below.

Applelinks: The Movies Review
Feral Interactive
The Movies
Buy The Movies

The Strategist Comes To Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Swedish developer Oxeye Game Studio has released The Strategist, a new turn based strategy title. The game is set primarily during an alternative World War II era, although it also features a medieval campaign. The Strategist offers both single and multiplayer action, more than 30 missions, and five campaigns.

This is Oxeye Game Studio's first product based on their highly optimized "daisy" engine for the Mac OS X market. With this release Oxeye aims to get a foothold in the Mac community as a recognized developer of fun shareware games for both experienced and casual gamers.

In the game, the player takes on the role as the Union's youngest and most promising new Strategist, who is just about to complete his training when the camp is struck by poisonous gas missiles. The player's friend, "Strategist Ricks", is kidnapped and the whole base is shattered by the unexpected attack. To fight back the player has to build new command centers, harbours and industries, and gather information about who the enemies are and where they can be found. The task is not easy and filled with both treachery and deceit.

The gameplay offers strategic decisions and requires careful planning and troop movements in order to win. The game has a fresh way of handling turn actions, which are used for attacking, building new developments and for special commands such as "Chopper Transport", "Propaganda" and "Blitz". The game supports up to 10 players and offers computer-controlled opponents for single-player challenges.

The game is a Univeral Binary application and requires a G4 processor, and OS X 10.3 or later. It costs $19.95 to register.

For more information about the game head over to the sites listed below.

The Strategist
Oxeye Game Studio
IMG Forums: The Strategist For Mac

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Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Computer and Video Games has posted the second part of an interview with Splash Damage's Paul Wedgwood about the upcoming Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Among other things the Q&A discusses the inclusion of storylines to drive the action in some first person shooters.

A lot of games in this multiplayer shooter genre and stuff like Battlefield are branching out into more story-based gameplay. Is that something you're interested in?

Wedgwood: I actually think that Return to Castle Wofenstein multiplayer, which is the first in the series really of these games, was the originator of objective-oriented combat in a multiplayer shooter. So they were the first people to have an attacking team, a defending team, an assault force trying to complete a military objective and spawn waves.

When Enemy Territory was being developed by Splash Damage we added in the notion of command maps and character advancement that again hadn't existed in other multiplayer combat games. So when we went into developing Enemy Territory: Quake Wars we continued this idea of having a plot, a story to really drive the reason that the map exists and that's been our continued focus since the start.

So nothing's really happened as a direct result of what other developers are doing. It's not that we don't pay attention to them because we all play games like Battlefield, but they're just very different games and so the similarity doesn't really dilute what we're doing or what they're doing.

A Mac version of ET:QW is in progress at Aspyr Media. Check out the rest of the interview at the link below.

Computer and Video Games: ET:QW Interview Part 2

An Interview With SCUMM Creator Ron Gilbert
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

IGN recently posted an interview with Ron Gilbert, creator of the SCUMM engine. SCUMM, the script creation utility for Maniac Mansion, was the engine behind most of the classic Lucas Arts graphic adventures and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The interview covers the inspiration for Maniac Mansion, SCUMM's longevity, and the current state of adventure games.

IGN: What was your inspiration for Maniac Mansion?

Gilbert: A lot of different things. I had always really enjoyed playing adventure games. I had played in college on the big mainframe computers; the old Adventure, Infocom stuff… I really liked the gameplay, but I really wanted to see graphics. I had seen the early King's Quests that Sierra had done which added graphics, which I thought was a big improvement, but it had a parser. And that just bugged me. I thought, "You know, if I'm going to be playing and interacting with this game graphically, I should be interacting with the graphics. I should be clicking on the things I want to manipulate." So it came from that. I wanted to get rid of this parser. And the guy who designed Maniac Mansion with me, Gary Winnick, we were good friends and we had always loved bad horror movies. So we started coming up with this idea for Maniac Mansion
Read the rest of the article by following the link listed below.

IGN: SCUMM Of The Earth

Mac Games News for Sunday, April 29, 2007

IMG Podcast Episode 17 Released10:41 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Sunday, April 29, 2007 on one page

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