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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

GameTap Lite Released For Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 10 comments

After a few delays, the GameTap Lite Player has finally been released for Intel Macs. The Lite client is the free ad supported version of the service providing access to a large variety of games. The Deluxe subscription based version of GameTap is scheduled to debut on Macs later this year.

Joystiq has posted a tour of the installation process for GameTap Lite, as well as an examination of performance for the emulated games.

We've tried out plenty of titles, including the underrated Neo-Geo shooter Blazing Star, the 32X tragedy otherwise known as Knuckle's Chaotix and much, much more. Thus far, the performance has been equal to our PC's running GameTap, which means that now, outside of illegal emulation, Mac owners have access to arcade perfection.

When it comes to PC perfection, however, the Mac client can't even be bothered. Finding a few DOS and Windows titles hiding in the library, we attempted to boot them up with a huge grain of salt. Said grain proved useful as the client downloaded our games, then immediately rejected them in a crashing blaze of glory. This was, of course, totally expected, but we were really looking forward to some Willy Beamish.

A few minor quirks aside, the first release of GameTap for Mac is solid. The titles that support online play perform just as well as they do on the PC, which means that now everyone can appreciate the multiplayer joy that is Twinkle Star Sprites.
Follow the links below to check out GameTap Lite and take the tour.

GameTap Lite Player
Joystiq: GameTap Mac Client Tour

Freeverse Renamed, New Titles On The Way
11:11 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Freeverse today announced that it has officially dropped "Software" from it's name and will henceforth be known simply as Freeverse, inc. The longtime Mac developer and publisher has additionally announced that it will be unveiling a new website later this week to coincide with new title announcements.

Ian Lynch Smith, Freeverse's President said: "As we've expanded into other realms such as console game development, the 'Software' part of our name has been feeling a little antiquated. With a new look and a new website, we felt the moment was right for a slightly new name as well. Plus, Apple dropped "Computer" from their name and everyone knows that we like to do everything that Apple does. It's how we roll."

Longtime Mac aficionados may also remember Freeverse's quirky foray into the hardware realm with the popular "iVase" flower holder for the original iMac.
For more information follow the link below.


Apple Posts New Hot Deals
7:26 AM | Tuncer Deniz

Apple Store For Education - College students, buy a Mac and get a free iPod nano. Finally, an equation you'll remember! Get all the details at the following URL:

B&H Photo Video - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Slingbox Po Internet TV broadcaster from Sling Media for only $248!; Logitech X-230 32-watt three-piece multimedia speaker system for only $34.95!; LaCie Mini 250GB external hard drive for Mac mini for only $109.95!; Logitech Cordless Desktop S530 wireless keyboard and laser mouse for only $69.95; G-RAID2 500GB FireWire 400/800 and USB 2.0 external hard drive from G-Technology for only $369!; Photoshop CS3 - Upgrade from Adobe for only $198.95!; Cybershot DSCW-90 8.1-megapixel compact digital camera from Sony for only $259.95!; Tango Sound System for iPod from XtremeMac for only $99!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

CDW Mac Warehouse - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Novatel Merline S720 mobile broadband card for MacBook Pro from Sprint for only $309.99!; Epson Stylus Photo 1400 photo printer makes prints up to 13"x19" for only $399.99!; Canon PowerShot G7 10.0-megapixel compact digital camera for only $529.99!; Creative TravelDock 900 portable speakers with digital player dock for only $89.99!; IOGEAR Personal Security Mouse with nano technology for only $89.99!; Targus Monogram Backpack designed for laptops with up to a 15.4" screen for only $84.99!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

J&R Computerworld - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Optoma EP1690 widescreen display WXGA projector w/DVI connector for only $1,199.99!; Samson C01U USB microphone Podcasting Pack from Samson Audio for only $154!; HD Stick USB HDTV tuner from Pinnacle for only $129.99!; NuLooq input device to streamline your workflow from Logitech for only $69.99!; Intuos3 6"x11" wide format USB pen tablet from Wacom for only $330.88!; EOS Digital Rebel XTi Kit from Canon w/18-55mm lens for only $759.88!; Bose Companion 3 2.1 multimedia speaker system for only $249!; 320GB Porsche Design external USB 2.0 hard drive from LaCie for only $124.99!; Canoscan LiDE 70 color flatbed scanner from Canon for only $79.99!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Publishing Perfection - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: HVC Color Composer plug-in for Adobe InDesign for only $249.95!; Artistic Screening Tools Photoshop plug-in from Andromeda for only $219.95; AutoFX Dreamsuite Bundle (Dreamsuite One, Two and Gel Series) Photoshop plug-ins for only $398.95!; nik Color Efex Pro! 2 Standard edition Photoshop plug-ins includes 19 filters for photographic enhancements from nik Software for only $94.95!; FontLab Studio 5 from FontLab for only $639.95!; The QuarkXpress Ideabook from LogicArts provides over 300 design templates on a CD-ROM for only $59.95!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Ramjet - has Hot Deals exclusive prices on RAM upgrades for your Mac including: 2GB Kit (2x 1GB modules) for Mac Pro now only $192!; 1GB module for MacBook Pro now only $47!; 1GB DIMM module for iMac G5 only $92!; 1GB Module for iMac G5 w/iSight only $56!; 1GB module for Intel-Based iMac only $47!; 2GB (2x 1GB modules) kit for Intel-based Mac mini for only $94!; 1GB upgrade kit for eMac 1.25GHz for only $108!; 512MB module for iMac DV only $94!; 2GB (2x 1GB modules) PowerMac G5 Dual Core only $112!; 2GB (2x 1GB modules) kit for MacBook only $94!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Sweetwater Sound - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Tracktion 3 Project Bundle easy to use DAW software from Mackie for only $99.99!; PocketPOD portable guitar effects processor with 300 presets and more from Line 6 for only $129.99!; East West Fab Four virtual instrument collection period-specific guitar, bass, drums and keyboards for only $355.97!; CME VX8 88-key MIDI controller with USB audio interface, teaching mode and 9 motorized faders for only $999.99!; USB Phono Plus V2 phono preamp with RIAA EQ and USB interface from ART for only $99.97!; Audio 8 DJ 24-bit/96kHz USB interface w/four high-gain stereo outputs from Native Instruments for only $399.97!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

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Inside Mac Games Reviews Pile & Pop
6:14 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the puzzle gaming title Pile & Pop. The game features color-matching gameplay reminiscent of the classic games Klax and Columns. Here's a clip from the review:

Just because a game has a simple premise doesn’t mean it has to be a simple title. Games like Qbeez2 and Super Collapse 3 manage to take very simplistic gaming (click on blocks to clear sections of matching colors) and turn them in dynamic, full-featured games with tons of variety and play modes.
Click below to read the full review.

IMG Review of Pile & Pop
Pile & Pop
Buy Pile & Pop

Unity 2.0 Coming This Summer
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 15 comments

OTEE has announced the upcoming release of Unity 2.0, the result of two years of effort on the part of the Unity development team. The updated version of the 3D game development platform will introduce 50 new features including a Terrain Engine, Real Time Dynamic Shadows, and a Network Layer for improved multiplayer games

Terrain Engine:

To support highly detailed and massively big worlds, we bring you a highly optimized terrain engine. Import a heightmap image, or create one yourself, using the built-in brushes and other terrain editing tools. Push, pull, or paint the height of the landscape. Draw and combine multiple terrain textures for hand-built roads or foot-worn wilderness paths.

Hundreds of thousands of trees can be rendered real-time with Soft Directional Ambient Occlusion shaders. Grass and detail objects in the billions are generated on the fly around the player. Hand-place trees, rocks, grass, flowers, or any other decoration with the new tools. The terrain can even be deformed and modified at runtime for dynamic gameplay mechanics.

Networked Multiplayer Games:

The easy to use yet highly optimized Networking layer makes it a breeze to create great networked multiplayer games. The Networking Layer is completely based on UDP, provides NAT punchthrough, and has support for sending packets reliably and unreliably. Unity's new Network Views support the two methods of network communication: State Synchronization and Remote Procedure Calls.

A library of re-usable networking scripts takes the hard work out of understanding networking concepts, so you can get started creating scalable multiplayer functionality quickly and easily.

To read more head over to the website listed below.

Unity 2.0 Page
Unity Technologies

Plant Tycoon Announced
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

Last Day of Work has announced work on Plant Tycoon, a virtual gardening sim game that will allow players to breed and crossbreed plants while they search for six magic plants. As the game progresses players will grow their tiny backyard garden into a lush vibrant nursery.

As with the company's other hit games, Fish Tycoon and Virtual Villagers, part of the fun and mystery of Plant Tycoon is that gameplay is in real-time, so plants grow and things happen even when you aren't at your computer playing.

"When you work so hard to nurture and grow something, it's exciting to come back again and again and see how it changes," said Arthur Humphrey, founder and CEO of LDW. "It's that element of surprise that makes our games unique and adds a little bit of reality to the simulation."
Some of Plant Tycoon's features:
- Dozens of seed varieties, plant species and gardening tools to work with.
- A wide variety of collectible insects.
- New ways to organize your budding business.
- Gorgeous, all new artwork with detailed dynamically-generated plants.
- Numerous purchasable items allow players to customize their nursery with fountains, statuettes, and more.
- A well-stocked gardening lab offers new chemicals for fun experimentation.
- Introducing pruning to customize the look of your creations.
- Original soundtracks and ambient sound effects.
Plant Tycoon is scheduled for a September release and will be available for both Mac OS X and Windows. It will sell for $19.95.

Head over to the site below for more information.

Last Day of Work
Worthplaying: Plant Tycoon Announcement

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StarCraft II: Protoss Warp Ray Web Page Unveiled
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has added another unit to the growing list of Protoss buildings and units featured on the official StarCraft II website. This time Blizzard unveils the new Warp Ray, a starship capable of unleashing a destructive energy beam that grows in power the longer it fires at a target. The site update features new visuals, animations, and sounds.

The reunification of the Aiur protoss and the dark templar has been a time of great trials for both peoples. Overcoming the centuries of fear and mistrust that built up after the exile of the dark templar is no easy task. Nonetheless, the melding of technologies that developed along separate paths for so long has heralded spectacular new developments for the protoss. One such creation is the warp ray, a new capital vessel that many believe will eventually replace the venerable protoss carrier as flagship of the protoss fleet.

A warp ray is a ship virtually built around a single gigantic power source: the prismatic core. This device seethes with energy drawn from two realms: the Void, which is truly understood only by the dark templar, and the psionic matrix, which underpins the technologies of the Aiur protoss. In combination these two energies form a self-sustaining reaction of terrifying potential.

As the prismatic beam is held on the target, more of the focusing array becomes aligned, and up to three individual power streams combine together. Over a few seconds the beam's intensity and power grow exponentially. Few enemies can withstand the awful power of the prismatic beam for long: even large and heavily armored targets like buildings or battlecruisers are incinerated in moments.
Click over to the site below to read more.

StarCraft II: Warp Ray
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

EA CEO Blasts Lack Of Innovation In Game Industry
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

In a recent interview Electronic Arts' CEO John Riccitello warned that game makers risk losing their audience if they fail to create innovative products and push beyond traditional game consumers to attract "casual" gamers. Riccitello cited the industry's reliance on old formulas and sequel releases as examples of game development stagnation.

"We're boring people to death and making games that are harder and harder to play," Mr. Riccitiello said in an interview.

The blunt comments by the 47-year-old Mr. Riccitiello -- a former top executive at EA who returned to the company after a stint in private equity -- are likely to cause a stir at the annual E3 games conference this week in Los Angeles. Many of his criticisms have been articulated by analysts and others, but rarely have they been made so publicly by the head of major videogame company. They are a departure for EA management, which in the past has played down its challenges.

Mr. Riccitiello praises some new games, including Activision Inc.'s Guitar Hero series and Vivendi SA's online World of Warcraft, as well as a music game by Viacom Inc.'s MTV called Rock Band, which EA will distribute. But he says there aren't enough titles that break new ground. He said he believes making sequels is still a sound strategy, as long as they are more innovative than in the recent past.

"For the most part, the industry has been rinse-and-repeat," he says. "There's been lots of product that looked like last year's product, that looked a lot like the year before."
Read the rest of the interview at the link below.

Wall Street Journal: EA Chief Cites Need For More Innovative Games
Electronic Arts

Mac Games News for Monday, July 9, 2007

New World of Warcraft Wallpaper Available6:00 AM
Pirates Of The Caribbean Online Delayed6:00 AM
Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel Interviewed6:00 AM
StarCraft II Q&A Round 56:00 AM
Wacky Mini-Golf Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, July 9, 2007 on one page

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Saturday, July 7, 2007
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