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Friday, May 18, 2007

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Eschalon: Book 1 Updates
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Over the past few days new information about Basilisk Games' Eschalon: Book 1 has been revealed on the company's forums. Some of the updates for the RPG include the addition of a new low graphics option to aid owners of slower machines, discussion of a level 10 cut off for a character's extra hit point gain, and a status update on the game's progress.

We're working to optimize the engine and getting a little more performance out of it every week. Also, we've just added a "low graphics" option that shrinks the play window a bit and helps the game run smoother on slower machines...

Most of the storyline critical content is in place and we're applying lotsa polish now. It's amazing to go back an play a section of the game that was created six months ago and find dozens of things wrong (broken scripts, temporary dungeon sections that were never updated, etc.). In fact, I just found an NPC that spoke completely in gibberish ("dhg djgfajkg jshfg jhghfgas") because his final dialog was never completed...

We made the bottom cutoff for gaining extra HP level 10. So at level 10 he gets +2 HP and then another +2 HP every five levels after that (i.e. 15, 20, 25 etc.) Why have the level 10 cutoff? Well, it encourages players to distribute points a little more evenly than just piling everything into 1 category and becoming some freakish god, even though you could still do that if you want. Example: what if a player decided to make the ultimate Wizard by putting EVERYTHING into Perception and leaving Endurance at, say, Level 5. Well, if we do that using our current system, you would create some crazy mana-producing mage, but you'd have to use all that magic to protect yourself because with such a blatant disregard for your physical health, you will never naturally gain any hit points.

The PC version of Eschalon: Book 1 is tentatively scheduled for a late Summer release, with the Mac version coming sometime after that.

Follow the links below for more information.

Basilisk Forum: Eschalon System Requirements
Basilisk Forum: Eschalon Q&A
Basilisk Forum: About Hit Points
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
Buy Eschalon: Book I

Apple Posts New Hot Deals
3:39 PM | Tuncer Deniz

PowerMax - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: BT600 full-size BlueTooth wireless mouse from RadTech for only $53.95!; iBook/PowerBook AC adapter APL-1110-G4 from Micro Accessories for only $48.88!; 18x internal DVD -/+ R/RW optical drive for PowerMac G4/G5 from MCE for only $63.88!; TrafficJamz FM Transmitter and charger for iPod from Monster Cable for only $25.88!; HL-2070N monochrome laser printer for home or office from Brother for only $149.88!; Full-resolution HD coverter for LCD computer monitors - HDL-DVI HDLink from BlackMagic for only $399!; 500GB LaCie d2 Quadra external eSATA hard drive with FireWire 800/400 & USB 2.0 for only $217.88!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

O'Reilly Media, Inc. - has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a variety of Mac publications including: iPod & iTunes Hacks, Tips & Tools for Ripping, Mixing and Burning by Hadley Stern for only $17.46!; Digital Photography Expert Techniques, 2nd Edition by Ken Milburn for only $31.49!; Photoshop CS2 RAW - Using Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge and Photoshop to Get the Most out of Your Digital Camera by Mikkel Aaland for only $24.49!; Adobe InDesign CS2 One-on-One by Deke McClelland is a unique hands-on book w/2-hrs. of video instruction on DVD for only $31.49!; Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual by David Sawyer McFarland for only $24.46; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Inside Mac Games Interviews Jeff Vogel
12:32 PM | Tuncer Deniz | 1 comment

Inside Mac Games has posted an interview with industry veteran and game maker, Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software. Here's a clip from the interview:

IMG - Everyone knows that Spiderweb Software is all about RPGs. How did you come to decide on developing for this particular gaming genre?

Jeff - I think that you can't really make it as a small Indie if you don't have a real passion for the games you write. I love role-playing games, and I have ever since I first played Wizardy in 1983. I love the genre, and it's that love that enables me to wade through all the grief of developing a whole, full-length game. Or, in my case, a dozen of them.

I still love RPGs, though I'm taking a break from them right now. 24 years is a long time. But I'm sure I'll be back someday. World of Warcraft always calls...

To check out the full interview, please follow the link below.

Inside Mac Games Interview: Jeff Vogel

iQuiz for iPod Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Pocket Gamer has posted a new review of iQuiz for iPod, Apple's latest game title released for the portable multimedia device. The game offers a variety of trivia puzzles to test a player's knowledge and the ability to create and add new quizzes.

From the review:

At its simplest, iQuiz is a slick trivia offering covering music, movies and TV shows. It offers a host of multiple-choice questions, testing your knowledge of how many members there are in Slipknot, what Jay and Silent Bob do for a living in Clerks, and who played BA Baracus in The A-Team...

That's just the start though. The Music Quiz 2 mode actually uses the songs stored on your iPod as the basis for questions. For example, it might play a snatch of a song and ask if it's on a certain album, or ask you if an album was released in 2002, or play a track and give four possible albums that it's from and get you to choose...

iQuiz's most innovative feature is the way you can actually create your own packs for the basic game, and then share them with friends and other internet users. To do it, you have to download the iQuiz Maker application from developer Aspyr's website. At the moment it's only available for Macs, but a PC version is on the way.

The application is easy to use, with you writing your own true/false and multiple choice questions, and tweaking the settings. Even if a relatively small number of iQuiz players download and use the app to create quizzes, many more will benefit by being able to download the results to their iPods.
Check out the full review at the link below.

Pocket Gamer: iQuiz For iPod Review
iTunes Store: iPod Games

International Game Summit Wrap Up
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Gamasutra has posted a wrap-up report covering events at the Vancouver International Game Summit held earlier this month in Vancouver, British Columbia. The summit covered the current state of the game industry and featured speeches from a variety of industry figures including Wideload Games' Alex Seropian.

“The business of game development has changed,” said Seropian. “The do-it-yourself, internal development model has become so bloated and risky that only giant publishers can afford it and they’re only willing to on a slam-dunk franchise.”

“Innovation and originality are the driving forces behind the game developer model of the future,” he continued. “It’s not outsourcing, it’s not a core-team model. It’s a new producer-driven culture that’s creatively focused, scalable, and replicable.”

“These days, it seems hard to do original stuff. A lot of publishers I talk to put ‘original’ in the ‘risk’ category,” Seropian elaborated. When he was first pitching Stubbs the Zombie, he described the game to a publisher as “a zombie game where you play the zombie.”

The publisher responded that they’d look it over with the marketing team and get back to him, and when they did, they said the idea would be great—but with the player as a hero killing a bunch of zombies.

“There is a lot of opportunity in the video game business to be original and creative. At the same time, trying to achieve that goal is risky to the people who are going to invest to achieve those goals,” he continued.
To read the full article follow the link below.

Gamasutra: IGS Report

American McGee's Grimm Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

In a recent blog post developer American McGee revealed work on American McGee's Grimm, a new episodic action adventure series coming to Gametap in 2008. The "spiritual sequel" to the unique American Mcgee's Alice, Grimm will feature at least 24 installments.

American McGee's Grimm will be a series of action/adventure episodes comprised of no fewer than 24 installments. American McGee's Grimm will be "a spiritual sequel of sorts" to the first game to bear the American McGee name, American McGee's Alice. Slated to head up writing and serve as executive producer on the project is R.J. Berg, reprising his development roles from American McGee's Alice. "I'm really happy to be once again working on twisted fairy tales," wrote McGee, "and I'm especially excited about having R.J. Berg involved with the project."
Having apparently revealed more than intended American McGee removed the original blog post, saying: "Uh, forget I said anything about the new game. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to let any cats out of any bags just yet. So… nothing to see here. Move along."

More information about the game will be revealed in an upcoming issue of PC Gamer magazine. A summary of the blog revelation is still available from the Shacknews page listed below.

Shacknews: American McGee's Grimm
American McGee Blog

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Burning Crusade Boosts Vivendi's Profits
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Vivendi's annual report revealed a first quarter income increase of 23% overall from last year and a 117% percent increase for the game division. The boost in profits was primarily attributed to the successful launch of The Burning Crusade, the first expansion for Blizzard Entertainment's extremely successful World of Warcraft.

Net income also shot up by 32 per cent to EUR 932 million.

The company's game division saw revenues surge by 117 per cent compared to the same period last year, to EUR 291 million.

"The strong increase is primarily driven by the successful January release of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade," said the company in it's annual report.
Follow the links below for more information.

GamesIndustry: Burning Crusade Boosts Profits
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Mac Games News for Thursday, May 17, 2007

Macgamestore: Two New Arrivals2:54 PM
Championship Manager 2007 Released6:00 AM
CrossOver Updates DirectX Game Support6:00 AM
Gabriel Knight II Director Interviewed6:00 AM
Is Episodic Gaming Here To Stay?6:00 AM
Virus Alert 3D Features Weird Al6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, May 17, 2007 on one page

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