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Monday, May 21, 2007

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Blizzard Announces StarCraft II
9:48 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 27 comments

Blizzard Entertainment on Saturday announced StarCraft II, the sequel to the award-winning real-time strategy game originally released in 1998, StarCraft and the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational event in Seoul, South Korea. The game, when released, will be available simultaneously for the Mac and PC.

Here's more from the press release:

Designed to be the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game, StarCraft II will feature the return of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg races, overhauled and re-imagined with Blizzard’s signature approach to game balance. Each race will be further distinguished from the others, with several new units and new gameplay mechanics, as well as new abilities for some of the classic StarCraft units that will be making a reappearance in the game. StarCraft II will also feature a custom 3D-graphics engine with realistic physics and the ability to render several large, highly detailed units and massive armies on-screen simultaneously.
“With StarCraft II, we’ll be able to do everything we wanted to do with the original StarCraft and more,” stated Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We recognize that expectations are high following the long-running popularity of the original game, but we plan to meet those expectations and deliver an engaging, action-packed, competitive experience that StarCraft players and strategy gamers worldwide will enjoy.”
StarCraft II will include a unique single-player campaign, as well as fast-paced online play through an upgraded version of Blizzard’s renowned online gaming service,®. In addition, the game will come with a powerful, full-featured map editor that will put the same tools used by Blizzard’s designers into the hands of players.
Further information about the game, including details on the single-player, multiplayer, and map-editor features, as well as system requirements, pricing, and availability, will be announced in the months ahead. To learn more about StarCraft II, visit the official website at

StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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Inside Mac Games Reviews the Wireless Laser Mouse 8000
3:33 PM | Bryan Clodfelter | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review for Microsoft's Wireless Laser Mouse 8000 Bluetooth-powered mouse. Here's a clip from the review:

With its sleek, multi-tone silver shell and ambidextrous shape, the Wireless Laser Mouse 8000 looks impressive. It’s also the most solidly built mouse to come out of Redmond; the staunchly unyielding plastic practically begs for a Mythbusters-esque trial of durability, but I couldn’t bring myself to put such a pretty (and expensive) piece of electronics to the test. Featuring Microsoft’s trademark tilting scroll wheel, breezing through documents is a trivial matter, and what’s better, you can do it all day without worrying about burning through batteries thanks to the included rechargeable battery and straightforward docking base. When the battery does run low, a multi-color LED built into the top of the shell glows bright red, letting you know that it’s time to park the mouse. Unfortunately, as Calvin (from Calvin & Hobbes fame) wisely said, “a good compromise leaves nobody happy,” which is more often than not the case with ambidextrous mice.
To check out the review, follow the link below.

IMG Review of the Wireless Laser Mouse 8000
Wireless Laser Mouse 8000

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Aspyr Officially Announces Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
11:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 13 comments

Aspyr Media today officially announced it will be publishing id Software’s Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars for the Mac with an expected release later this year. The game is licensed by Activision and is being developed by Splash Damage for Windows PC with the Mac version in development at Aspyr Studios.

Built using id Software’s revolutionary MegaTexture rendering technology, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars features strategic team play, persistent character promotions, and the universe’s most powerful weapons and vehicles in heroic objective-based battles as the Global Defense Force faces off against the alien Strogg invasion. Battles rage on stunning battlefields inspired by tropical, arctic, temperate, urban and desert locations both online and offline against lethal A.I. combatants. With unmatched graphics, physics, networking, and story-driven military missions, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars transports players to the front lines of the ultimate war for Earth.

As the invasion begins, players choose to battle as one of five unique classes in either the human Global Defense Force (GDF) or the barbaric Strogg armies, each augmented with specialist weapons and combat hardware. Troops utilize more than 40 conventional and futuristic vehicles, deployable structures, and defense systems like quad-bikes, tanks, and alien walkers for intense ground assaults; or helicopters and anti-gravity ships to lend firepower from the air. Throughout each battle, teams establish bases, deploy defense structures, artillery, radar, and advanced forward-command systems into enemy territory while constructing and demolishing obstacles to speed progress and gain a tactical advantage over the enemy.

For more information on the game, visit the official site at

Aspyr Media
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (don't use)

Animated Tomb Raider Series Coming to GameTap
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A new saga in the Tomb Raider series will soon debut on the GameTap game download service. The company plans to release two video series focusing on adventurer Lara Croft. The first is a documentary entitled 10 Years of Tomb Raider - A GameTap Retrospective. The second is Re-Visioned: Tomb Raider, an all new Tomb Raider animated series which will span 10 episodes.

To create “Re-Visioned: Tomb Raider” GameTap commissioned Peter Chung, Jim Lee, Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner, Gail Simone, David Alvarez, Michael Stackpole, Brian Pulido, and Christos Gage, among others, to provide their ‘Re-Visioned’ view of the famous video game heroine. The first episode in this original animation series will debut on July 10th with new episodes running through August 23rd. There are 10 episodes in total and they will be available to view for free at
Follow the link below to learn more.

GameTap: Tomb Raider

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Deus Ex Sequel In The Works
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 13 comments

In a recent interview the director of Eidos France, Patrick Melchior, revealed work on a new Deus Ex game. The new game will revive the first person action RPG franchise and is the "first mission" for Eidos' new Montreal studio.

Deus Ex is an action RPG series created by Warren Spector and Ion Storm and originally released by Eidos in 2000. The game received a sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, in 2003, but since then the series has been dormant. Ion Storm shut its doors in 2005, and Warren Spector is working on a game with his new Junction Point Studios. Details on this revival are not clear at this time, but Melchior says we can expect to hear more about the next Deus Ex game in a few months.
Whether or not this chapter in the Deus Ex saga will make it to the Mac remains to be seen. Head over to the IGN site below to read more.

IGN: Eidos Confirms Next Deus Ex

Barefeats: Racing Shootout Xbox 360 Elite vs PS3 vs Mac
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Barefeats has posted a new comparison shootout to determine whether the Xbox 360 Elite or Playstation 3 reigns supreme as platform of choice for electronic racing enthusiasts. In addition to the review of what the latest consoles have to offer the article also examines racing titles on the Mac.

You might be surprised to know that there are at least 12 car racing games that run under Mac OS X. Most date back to 2004 or earlier and are far from being state-of-the-art in their use of the full CPU and GPU processing power of the Mac, making it a very weak alternative to the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.

That may seem odd since the Mac has state-of-the-art Shooter games like Quake 4 that are every bit the equal of the Xbox 360 version of Quake 4. But there are at least two reasons why racing games languish on the Mac. First, Microsoft's policy of "Xbox 360 only" for titles like PGR 3 and Forza 2 will prevent the porting of those titles to Macs (or PCs). And one game developer told us that it's hard to build a business case when resellers have a tendency NOT to stock Mac racing games in their inventory.

Yet, there are still occasions where we will want to get a "racing fix" from our Mac -- like when we are traveling with our MacBook Pros to a MacWorld Expo. And thankfully there are game developers working to provide better car racing for Mac owners. The soon-to-be-released Colin McRae Rally Mac is a good example.
Check out the full article at the link below.

Barefeats: Racing Shootout

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The Broken Hourglass: Equipment Properties
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Planewalker Games latest weekly update for The Broken Hourglass, the company's upcoming fantasy RPG, examines the unique properties that give distinctive qualities to weapons and armor in the game. The Broken Hourglass will feature a multi-character party, strong storyline, and a variety of character building options.

What sets one piece of gear apart from another? Sheer offensive (base damage) or defensive (damage resistance) potential is an easy measure, sure. But there are more nuances to equipment in The Broken Hourglass than that. Two weapons may have the same base damage potential, but their distinctive capabilities may make one better suited to a particular opponent or scenario than another.
Head over to the site below to read more about item properties in The Broken Hourglass.

The Broken Hourglass: Special Equipment Properties
The Broken Hourglass

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StarCraft 2: Distinctive Art & Fast Gameplay
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 13 comments

Gamespot recently posted two articles examining panel discussions at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2007, both focusing on aspects of the recently announced StarCraft 2. The eagerly awaited continuation of the successful sci-fi RTS series will feature a distinctive art style designed to please the eye and make units readily identifiable, and quick gameplay with enough depth to satisfy power gamers.

On Art Design:

Senior art director Samwise Didier explains that within the core philosophies of Blizzard art design, "nothing is subtle--every character is over-the-top; every environment is either beautiful or battle-scarred." According to the art director, Blizzard's characters come to life by means of strong silhouettes, exaggerated proportions, distinctive animations, and "bold, saturated colors" so that they not only look memorable, but are easy to distinguish at a glance--an important quality for real-time strategy units that must often be viewed from a zoomed-out view. Didier adds that at Blizzard, art is something that "isn't finished until the game is shipped"--artists typically work on continued passes right until games are complete...

Starcraft II's units will have multiple "move cycle" animations so they don't all move in unison with the exact same frames of animation; the crowd of zerglings looks especially creepy because none of them seems to be running about in the same way or in the same direction, like a swarm of hyperactive fire ants. Dilling explains that because Starcraft II is being developed with professional competition in mind, the sequel's special effects will be "tight, fast, and quick" such that they don't obscure the action or slow down your computer. However, "landmark events" like the summoning of the top-level Protoss mothership unit will be accompanied by sufficient graphical fanfare to point out their importance.
On Gameplay:
Vice president of game design Rob Pardo begins the discussion by revisiting several of the studio's previous games, going back as far as Warcraft II, which the vice president cites as the first Blizzard game to garner a significant following as a competitive multiplayer game. Pardo explains that the original Starcraft arose from the team's desire to create a fast-paced real-time strategy game like Warcraft II, but in a different universe, then describes how Blizzard's subsequent RTS project, 2002's Warcraft III, took a very different approach by offering slower-paced gameplay with smaller armies, hero units, and many units with activatable abilities to appeal to "the average gamer." Pardo suggests that the units in both the original Starcraft, and in the sequel, will instead act as "movers and shooters"--mostly autonomous forces that generally lack special abilties, but will instead be used in large control groups to "do their own thing" in battle, rather than requiring the micromanagement of high-level Warcraft III play.

Pardo continues to contrast Warcraft III against Starcraft II, explaining that Warcraft III had less of an emphasis on economic buildup to allow more focus on battles. The 2002 game also, suggests the VP, was much less about early-game victories. While that game did introduce "creeps"--neutral creatures that could be fought to gain experience points for your hero units, early armies in Warcraft III were generally capable of only harrassing your enemies, not defeating them outright. Pardo suggests that "with Starcraft II, [Blizzard is] really going back to its roots to make a true sequel to Starcraft"--a sequel where resource management will be much more central to gameplay, with less micromanagement of different units with special abilities, and in which full-on early-game "rushing" (making an all-out assault at or near the beginning of a new game session) will be much more viable.
To read the rest of the articles head over to the sites listed below.

GameSpot: Starcraft 2 Art Design
GameSpot: Starcraft 2 Gameplay Details
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Turret Wars Updated
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Sector3 Games has announced the release of version 1.2 of Turret Wars, the 3D arcade action title focusing on trajectory and physics. The new update includes 2 new environments, improved visuals, and a revised scoring system.

Here's a list of the changes in version 1.2:

- 2 fantastic new environments
- Armour power-up bunkers
- Mega Blast power-up bunkers
- Communications tower bonus points bunker
- Overhead bomber runs that drops bombs on the playing field
- Revised and expanded scoring system
- Improved visuals and effects
- Redesigned interfaces
- Enhanced highscores ladder
Head over to the site below to learn more about the game.

Turret Wars
Sector3 Games

Mac Games News for Friday, May 18, 2007

Apple Posts New Hot Deals3:39 PM
Inside Mac Games Interviews Jeff Vogel12:32 PM
American McGee's Grimm Revealed6:00 AM
Burning Crusade Boosts Vivendi's Profits6:00 AM
Eschalon: Book 1 Updates6:00 AM
International Game Summit Wrap Up6:00 AM
iQuiz for iPod Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, May 18, 2007 on one page

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