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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

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Warcraft III: Reign Of Chaos Turns Five
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment yesterday announced the five year anniversary of Warcraft III, the third in the popular fantasy real time strategy series. Released in July, 2002, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos launched around the world and swiftly became the company's seventh number one seller, and one of the highest rated PC games of all time. Combined with its expansion, The Frozen Throne, Warcraft III is still a popular choice for RTS gamers.

In honor of the fifth anniversary Blizzard has posted a brief retrospective of the game and its reception by the press and the gaming public.

With the launch of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos five years ago this month, gamers worldwide first began to play out the story of the corruption of Arthas Menethil and the cataclysmic return of the Burning Legion to Azeroth. In addition to spotlighting the exploits of several heroic and villainous characters from Warcraft lore, including Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, Kel'Thuzad, and Illidan and Malfurion Stormrage, Warcraft III introduced a number of enhancements to the Warcraft real-time-strategy series. The broadest of these was the shift to 3D graphics and the addition of two more playable races for multiplayer competition -- the Undead and the Night Elves.

Of the many new elements that Warcraft III brought to Warcraft multiplayer battles, one of the most notable was the concept of legendary heroes which grew significantly in power as they gained experience and acquired magical items located throughout each map. Combined with substantial upgrades, such as anonymous matchmaking and an advanced ladder system complete with seasonal tournaments, Warcraft III quickly became a fixture in international competitive gaming. Countless players across the globe continue to play the game actively today -- for fun on and also professionally.

Another major feature of Warcraft III is its extensive set of mapmaking tools, dubbed the World Editor, which players use to create their own maps, ranging in complexity from basic to extremely elaborate. One of the most popular Warcraft III World Editor maps has been Defense of the Ancients, which has inspired multiple spinoffs (some of which have been featured in amateur and professional tournaments) as well as an entrancing Swedish dance song.
Follow the link below to read more.

Blizzard: Five Years Of Warcraft III
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
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iGame Radio Reviews the iPhone
6:11 AM | Marcus Albers | 1 comment

Omaha Sternberg, host of the Macintosh gaming radio program iGame Radio, takes a look at Apple's latest, the iPhone.

The iPhone has been hyped as the next stage in melding technology together to allow people to do what they want to do with one device…use a phone, use a PDA, surf the web, listen to their music, etc. But does the iPhone live up to all the hype? And where are all of the games for the iPhone? Omaha answers these questions and more on the podcast.
Omaha also has news from the Mac gaming world, as well as a selection of Mac game music. Click the link below to check out the July 9th podcast.

iGame Radio

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The Broken Hourglass: Galen, Monopolist & Magic User
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Planewalker Games' latest informational update for its upcoming RPG, The Broken Hourglass, showcases one of the NPCs living in the game world. Galen, a mage with a penchant for crafting and selling magical items, is a major power broker in the land of the Tolmiran Empire. He controls virtually all the mainland's production and distribution of magical weapons and devices.

Today his organization is large, well organized, and counts the Empire itself as one of its clients. He has trained a number of new mages to take over in the time-consuming production of magical weapons, who have in turn trained others to handle the mass production and controlled sale of lesser magical items.

Galen's operation is extremely profitable and even better guarded. No one can say for certain just how many adepts he has on his payroll, but most estimates place it at over one hundred. Most would be no match for even the greenest Argonian graduate, but his collective power and obvious readiness to apply it with calculated force causes some to see him as a threat both to Argonian and Imperial security. As with many individuals of money and power, it is believed that his ambitions extend beyond the simple acquisition of wealth. One report tells of a private army, bearing powerful arms never before seen, massing somewhere beyond the borders of the Empire.
For more information about Galen click over to the site below.

The Broken Hourglass: Galen, Power Broker With Powerful Artifacts
The Broken Hourglass

Scenario Poker 2.7 Released For iPhone
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Scenario Software yesterday released version 2.7 of its popular Scenario Poker Texas Hold 'em Tournament simulation. Version 2.7 runs as a Mac OS X Dashboard widget or on Apple's iPhone as a Web 2.0 application. iPhone users can choose from an 8-player Portrait mode or a 10-player Landscape mode via the company's website.

"The iPhone is a phenomenal device," said Todd Ouzts, Scenario Software's president. "But with no development guidelines published until days after the iPhone's launch, our preview version was a bit of a gamble. It turns out that you can't really just run a Dashboard Widget on the iPhone verbatim as you might have expected. Not, for example, if it relies on the AppleClasses for those fancy glass buttons and scrollbars. That UI had to be scrapped for the iPhone in favor of native browser controls, which are far more responsive anyway."

But perhaps the most shocking discovery is that developers don't have access to the full 320x480 touch screen as you might have expected. Safari on iPhone's top and bottom toolbars can't be hidden and they hog a lot of real estate. So everything had to be crammed into a smaller space. And because the bottom toolbar has controls in it, you can't place your own app's buttons too close to them. They have to be spread out to be usable and avoid mis-taps.

Another tricky issue is how Safari on iPhone handles scaling and rotation. Web 2.0 apps apparently don't get notified of rotation events, so they can't adjust their layout on the fly to optimize for the two aspect ratios, as with Scenario Poker's 8-player and 10- player poker table sizes. "Apple needs to give developers more control over this and quickly," adds Todd.
Scenario Poker can be registered and fully unlocked for only $10 US. All Version 2.x updates are free for existing customers. For a limited time, current Scenario Poker widget customers can use their current activation code for the iPhone version.

Head over to the site below for more information.

Scenario Poker
Scenario Software

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World of Warcraft Update, Mail System Change
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment recently updated its popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, to version 2.1.3. The update introduces a variety of bug fixes and additions to the game. The company has also made a small change to in-game mail transactions involving gold, in an effort to protect the game's economy. Now mail sent with gold will take around an hour to reach the recipient.

As part of our continued efforts to protect the game's economy and ultimately the game-play experience of each individual player, we've made a small change to how an aspect of our mail system works. Just like in-game mail transactions containing items, mail sent with gold, silver, and copper coins attached will in most cases now take one hour to reach the recipient. This change will help us to better ensure the legitimacy of such transactions and further prevent the unlawful influx of currency into each realm’s economy. Keep in mind that this delay will only affect the following mail transactions containing coins:

Regular mail with coins attached.
CoD payments received via the mail system.

Note: This will NOT affect mail sent from one character to another when under the same account.
Follow the links below to learn more about the changes.

WoW: Patch Notes
WoW Forums: Mail System Changes
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Global Conflicts: Palestine Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Strategy Informer has posted a Q&A with Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, CEO of Serious Games Interactive, about Global Conflicts: Palestine. In the game players assume the role of a freelance journalist who has just arrived in Jerusalem looking to write and publish an article about the conflict. The player fleshes out the news story with dialog quotes gathered as the game progresses.

Strategy Informer: What made you decide to build this kind of game?

Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen: It was really quite a mix. We wanted to make a serious games that appealed to both non-gamers, gamers and educators ­ something that had an agenda beyond entertainment and could show that games can do more that the mainstream game industry suggests. We thought global conflicts would work really well, and looking at the conflicts around the globe, one really stood out. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to go on and on, attracting a lot of people's attention. Many is interested but only get to the quick fixes from newspapers and television. We thought that through the game we could reach people in a different and engaging way that would give people a better understanding of the conflict while not being bored or overwhelmed by the complexity. Also, we really felt that the conflict had a lot of interesting and suitable conflicts that could work in the game environment and setup that we envisioned early on.

Strategy Informer: The news of Global Conflicts: Palestine game was recently published by global news networks such as CNN and BBC. How did the game development team received news of such extraordinary coverage?

Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen: Well, obviously we were very excited because this is exactly what we want to acheive - to broaden the perception of games and reach out to new groups of people. With such strong mainstream press it should really be possible, and it shows that games are no longer a mere niche.
To read more click on the link below.

Strategy Informer: Global Conflicts Palestine Q&A
Buy Global Conflicts: Palestine

Mac Games News for Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Freeverse Renamed, New Titles On The Way11:11 AM
Apple Posts New Hot Deals7:26 AM
Inside Mac Games Reviews Pile & Pop6:14 AM
EA CEO Blasts Lack Of Innovation In Game Industry6:00 AM
GameTap Lite Released For Macs6:00 AM
Plant Tycoon Announced6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Protoss Warp Ray Web Page Unveiled6:00 AM
Unity 2.0 Coming This Summer6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, July 10, 2007 on one page

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