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Friday, June 15, 2007

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Hands On With Eschalon: Book 1
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Basilisk Games recently allowed one of their forum members to post observations on the "look and feel" of a demo version of the upcoming Eschalon: Book 1 RPG. The post offers a glimpse of the graphics and gameplay players can expect from the release version of the game.

First off, the screenshots don't do the game true justice, it looks great. I'd say it's just slightly ahead of the game Arcanum in it's general graphic presentation, but with some really beautiful effects (eg from explosions, smoke, lighting).

Traveling through the game is quite lovely. The background music is the right balance of ambience and actual style and detail, which gives great character to one's travels. This added with very nice environmental effects light torchlight in the dark and fireflies floating about at night, just breathes life into the game. So this is not some half-realised project, it's very full and atmospheric. Setting up camp at night really feels like you're camping.

The music is superb, from the opening cinematic to the background music throughout the game, it's clear a lot of attention went into putting it together. The background music is nice balance of ambience and detail, so it's not just "noise" nor is it distractingly overwrought. Light fantasy classical would describe it, I'd think.
To check out the rest of the preview follow the link below.

Basilisk Forum: A Beta Tester's Observations
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
Buy Eschalon: Book I

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IMG Podcast Episode 23 Released
6:32 PM | Michael Yaroshinsky | Comment on this story

Welcome to the 23rd edition of the Inside Mac Games Podcast, the official podcast of Mac gaming. Each week we'll be covering all the news in Mac gaming in one tight package. This week features Mike Yaroshinsky, Mike Burgess and Stefan Langford.

This Weeks News

  • New MacBook Pros!!
  • Parallels 3 released with 3D support
  • giving away free games
  • Aquaria sneak peek
  • HOMM V patch in the works
  • Aspyr shipping Sims 2 Seasons

    To listen to the Inside Mac Games Podcast, select your podcast flavor by clicking a button below.


    Escape From Paradise Released
    7:36 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story today announced the release of Escape From Paradise for Mac OS X. The game was developed by Toybox Games/Gogii Games and published by Big Fish Games.

    A luxury cruise ship crashes on an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. The survivors of the shipwreck are very different from one another and decide to set up their own camps all over the island. Six islands surround the main island. On each of the island, a mini game is available to the player your goal is to find the pieces, and build one of the three rescue objects to hoist it on the top of the volcano located in the center of the main island. While exploring the main island, you can find items; participate in activities like fishing, gathering wood, and look for hidden treasures. Alliance can be made with other castaways to help you in your quest.

    Escape From Paradise is available for $19.95 through A free demo version of the game is available for download on the web page.

    Macgamestore: Escape From Paradise

    Did Apple Lie To Mac Gamers?
    6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 22 comments

    Another editorial focusing on the implications of Electronic Arts' recent announcement of new Ciderized games on the way to Macs has appeared, this one from ExtremeTech. The article's author explores the potential for harmful impact on companies that port games to the Mac platform, questions whether Cider based games will perform well for the majority of Mac owners, and speculates on EA's level of commitment to the platform.

    Curiously enough, none of these questions was raised at WWDC 2007. Jobs, cunning rascal that he is, never brought any of it up and never even took any steps to publicly reassure Aspyr and other Mac gaming companies (and their customers) that their future wasn't in danger. Nor did he directly confront the possibility that EA and other Cider-gaming mills might withdraw again from the Mac market if sales figures aren't what they want. Surely the chairman of Apple should have at least broached this touchy and nettlesome topic?

    Or perhaps he deliberately omitted these details? Some would say that a lie of omission is still a lie and some would consider Jobs' omission to be just that: a lie. Steve Jobs would do well to remember that and Mac gamers would do well to view any further statements from Jobs or EA with a major grain of salt until the questions about the performance of Cider-based games are answered and until the true nature and depth of EA's commitment to the Mac gaming market is clear to everyone.
    To read the rest of the article head over to the site listed below.

    Extreme Tech: Did Apple Lie To Mac Gamers?

    Game Music Composer Jeremy Soule Interviewed
    6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

    Music 4 Games has posted a lengthy interview with famed game music composer Jeremy Soule about his award winning musical compositions for games such as Total Annihilation, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Neverwinter Nights. The interview covers a broad range of topics including the difficulties peculiar to composing music for games, his musical background, and his plans for the future.

    M4G:  Secret of Evermore was on the Super Nintendo, and Total Annihilation, which I believe was your next project…
    JS:  Yeah, I named that game too. Chris wanted to call it "Partial Annihilation," and I wrote total on the board. (laughs)

    M4G:  So that was on PC.  So how was that transition going from the limitations to being wide open?
    JS:  It was awesome.  The thing is, we were like a UFO that year because I went to Ron  Gilbert, Chris Taylor and  I said guys, we have 35 RTS games and they’re all doing techno music, and the only way we’re really going to differentiate ourselves, as I see it on the music, is by doing an orchestral score.  We need to hire a live orchestra, because even at the time, I was only able to run two MIDI systems at that point.  Now we run hundreds of MIDI systems. 

    So there was no way I was going to do a "Star Wars"-like, orchestral type score.  "Star Wars" was a model for me because there was really nothing in recent memory that was like it.  And people in 1997 thought fondly of "Star Wars," but people (for the most part) thought, are those movies even really relevant anymore?  They’re so old.  I said look, what they did back then, John Williams was putting all that energy into orchestra, still works now. 

    And so I said I will work for free for a year if this fails, and they looked at me and kinda laughed and said okay Jeremy, we’re going to do it.  So we spent the money and got the thing recorded, and Ron Gilbert was in his office and I remember hearing him laughing really loudly and then I walked in his office and said what?  He said, “The first review I saw, the first sentence was about the music.”   And of course Chris Taylor made an incredible game and so it was a big boom in the orchestral music scene.  So I appreciated their compliments.

    The full interview is available at the link below.

    Music 4 Games: Jeremy Soule Q&A

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    The Sims Life Stories Reviewed
    6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

    Gameguru Mania has posted a review of the PC version of The Sims Life Stories, the first in a new series of laptop computer friendly Sims titles developed by Aspyr Media. The game offers a new storyline mode complete with romance, dramatic twists, and unlockable content, as well as more traditional open ended play. Gameguru gave the game a score of 72%.

    The Sims Life Stories introduces an all-new Story Mode with two stories that follow the lives of Riley Harlow and Vincent Moore, two very different characters who have reached similar crossroads in their love lives. Each story has 12 chapters, with certain objectives to be met in each before you can move the tale forwards. Riley Harlow, the protagonist of the first story, is a feisty young female from SimCity who moves back to the suburbs for a fresh start. Soon, Riley finds herself confused by love... that's where you come in. Full of sitcom twists, and rivalries brewing in the mix, Riley's story is the easier of the two. The goals are very simple and most of them does not have to take too much time to complete. I've completed the game in just over a week, however you can probably finish it ten times faster if you play the game more consistently.

    I would say the biggest reason this game was made was for people who travel a lot. The game is laptop friendly, so you can do almost anything and everything in one click. There are also loads of key shortcuts that make life a lot easier, especially for users playing on the go. WSAD keys move the camera up down, left and right, while keys on the other side of the keyboard pan the camera around. The real stroke of genius comes in the form of pressing T to talk on your mobile phone, pressing B for bladder to make your character go to the loo - or H for hunger to make your character eat. Besides, the game can be switched between full screen and windowed mode so you can chat with their mates on IM, check their emails and pursue other tasks whenever they wish which is quite convenient.
    Check out the rest of the review at the site below.

    Gameguru Mania: The Sims Life Stories Review
    Aspyr Media
    The Sims Life Stories
    Buy The Sims Life Stories

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    Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Preview, Interview
    6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments recently had the chance to preview the upcoming Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and interview id CEO Todd Hollenshead and Splash Damage owner Paul Wedgewood. The preview covers several topics including the new mega-texture technology used in ET:QW, rumors about a Quake movie, and new accessibility options designed to help those new to the FPS genre.

    “The vehicles are really easy to control, we have a newbie driving mode so that if you lose contact with the ground whilst trying to turn left then the wheels won’t lock up and the car will carry on trying to go the way you obviously want to go. But turn on the advanced vehicle controls and it’s like turning off digital stabilisation in a car and you can do a lot more stuff with it.”

    I quizzed (Paul Wedgwood) further about these features and he admitted that it’s a reoccurring aspect of the game design.

    “I’m really proud of the accessibility of the game. There are people I want to play with who never play things like this and we’ve made it simple for those people to play, but complex enough for hardcore gamers at the same time.”

    ...“The mega-textures in the game are now about twice the size as they were in that (E3 2006) trailer. Todd Hollenshead said proudly as he sat down to play a game with us. “The technology renders the entire battlefield un-tiled and unbroken to the horizon, representing terrain with inch-level detail.”

    “Levels are about a mile across diagonally,” Paul told us as he no-clipped around the mountains, looking for a good place to deploy an artillery turret, “There’s no fog in the levels now. So, if you get into a dogfight with people then they don’t keep disappearing and if you’re in a good spot you can snipe across the whole map.”
    The Mac version of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is in progress at Aspyr Media. Head over to the site below to read the rest of the preview and check out a few screenshots of the game. Enemy Territory Quake Wars Preview
    Aspyr Media
    Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (don't use)

    Mac Games News for Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Inside Mac Games Reviews X3: Reunion1:09 PM
    Apple Games Features X3: Reunion6:00 AM
    BlizzCon Tickets Now Available6:00 AM
    Brass Hats Enters Public Beta6:00 AM
    Examining EA's Return To Macs6:00 AM
    Marathon on Xbox?6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, June 14, 2007 on one page

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