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Thursday, July 19, 2007

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Apple Games Features Game Modding
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 12 comments

Apple Games' latest feature article offers an examination of the many mods available for Mac games. The article describes some of the major total conversion mods for the different game genres, includes a brief history of modding, and provides links to a variety of mod related websites.

Of the many Unreal Tournament 2004 mods available, which include one featuring Robin Hood, Red Orchestra is one of the most notable, turning the science-fiction first-person shooter into a World War II battle between the Soviets and the Germans. Eschewing the health packs and oodles of ammo found in a typical Unreal Tournament 2004 match, Red Orchestra puts the emphasis on realism: a shot in the leg will seriously slow you down, while one in the head means instant death. Teamwork is key to survival.

Many mods also exist for Battlefield 1942, including the aforementioned Battlefield Pirates and Battlefield 1861, which takes place during the Civil War. If youíd rather fight during the present day, take a look at Desert Combat, a mod focused on Middle Eastern conflicts that have taken place over the past decade. Or if youíd rather travel to a galaxy far, far away, download Galactic Conquest, which pits the Galactic Empire against the Rebel Alliance on Hoth, Tatooine, and Endor.

And if youíre really in the mood for some nostalgia, Team Unpfhorigven has recreated Bungieís classic game Marathon as an Unreal Tournament mod known as Marathon: Resurrection. It features 27 solo and 16 multi-player maps, new weapon and monsters, and more. While the mod aims to recreate the original Marathon experience, it also throws in some fresh changes designed to give the fans a reason to play through the game again.
Click over to Apple's site to read the rest of the article.

Apple Games: Customize Your Gameplay With Mods

Aspyr Publishing Big Fish Games Titles
6:00 AM | Anthony Wang | 1 comment

Aspyr Media announced they will publish two Big Fish Games tites', Virtual Villagers: A New Home and Travelogue 360: Paris. Both games are scheduled to begin shipping next month.

Virtual Villagers
These poor villagers washed up on shore after surviving a horrific volcaniceruption. You have to guide them in learning how to survive in thisreal-time simulation game. They learn by doing, but you might have to keepan eye on them to make sure they don't give up too easily. They need tobecome farmers, builders, scientists, parents and more in order to thrive onthis new island. How will you lead your tribe?

† †* Real-time, simulation gameplay.
† †* Hundreds of unique villagers.
† †* Uncover mysteries as you play.

Travelogue 360: Paris
Among its renowned landmarks and hidden gems waiting to be discovered, Parisholds something new for each of its visitors. Scour some of the world's mostfamous locations for souvenirs as you prepare to be interviewed for anupcoming article in Travelogue 360 magazine. Locate items hidden in3-Dimensional views of the Eiffel Tower, down the Champs Elysees, under theArc d'Triomphe, and others of Paris' most beloved landmarks. Find your ownParis in this incredible voyage.

† †* 22 eye-catching locales
† †* Explorer and Tourist modes
† †* Thousands of souvenirs to find
† †* Learn Fun Facts along the way

Virtual Villagers will be priced at $29.99. Travelogue 360: Paris will also be $29.99. More information about these two games can be found at the Aspyr website.

Big Fish Games
Virtual Villagers
Travelogue 360 Paris
Aspyr Media
Buy Virtual Villagers
Buy Travelogue 360 Paris

iPod Games: The Sims Bowling Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

iLounge has posted a new review of The Sims Bowling for iPod, the latest EA title to make it to Apple's fifth generation iPod multimedia device. The game allows players to create a Sim and take him or her to the bowling lane to compete for Simoleans. iLounge gave the game a score of B-.

The actual bowling mechanic is simple. You start by picking a 10-frame game, the Spare-O-Thon mode (remove all the remaining pins left after pre-determined imperfect first rolls), Strike-O-Thon mode (chain together as many strikes as you can muster), or practice mode. Next, you set your position on the lane, tap the button twice to specify the power of your roll, then aim, then then the ballís spin.

Three of the four settings require modest hand-eye coordination, and if you use too much power, your aim becomes more difficult, requiring you to correct for poor aim with a bit of spin. Manage to stand and aim straight, use average power, and donít spin much, and you can get strikes every time. Otherwise, youíll fail to knock down all or some of the pins, and your Sim competitors will beat you. You can also play against a friend by handing off the iPod during the game; prepare to share headphones if so.
Head over to the site below to read the rest of the review.

iLounge: The Sims Bowling Review
iTunes Store: iPod Games

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The History Of Civilization
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has posted another feature in its special series focusing on the ten classic games recently inducted into the Digital Game Canon. This latest article tackles Sid Meier's immensely succesful Civilization series with a lengthy examination of Meier's work on the game which would launch a legend. Gamasutra's feature also provides an in-depth interview with Meier.

Bill Stealey, the USAF pilot and academy graduate, understood flight simulators.† He had built his company (MicroProse) on the backs of titles like HellCat Ace, Solo Flight, F-15 Strike Eagle, AcroJet, Gunship, and F-19 Stealth Fighter.† The genre worked for Stealey in the past, so he saw no reason to change a winning strategy.† "He wanted a new [flight sim] every year," remembers Shelley.† But Meier grew restless and bored of churning out military sims at the behest of his partner, one after another, after another.† That's when Meier threw off his reigns and broke the company mold with Railroad Tycoon.† Meier's move made Stealey thoroughly uncomfortable.† The president had no interest in Tycoon as a game, and if it had not sold so well, future non-military games (even if they were Sid Meier games) would have had no chance of release at Stealey's company.

Like Railroad Tycoon, Civilization faced a similar uphill battle with MicroProse management.† "I recall that Civ was not a game that Bill was excited about or interested in," says Shelley, who believes that Civilization might have simply been canceled if Meier had been an employee.† In that case, MicroProse would have held absolute budgetary power over the project.

Despite his reservations, Stealey's faith in his original partner came through, as Shelley recalls: "I seem to remember hearing Bill say stuff like 'I don't get the game, but I trust Sid, so we're going with it'."† But before the A-team could complete Civilization, they had to compromise: Stealey wanted Covert Action completed first.† The two developers had previously put the action-packed spy game aside to focus on Meier's last capricious diversion, Railroad Tycoon.† "It was really frustrating to be told by management to stop working on [Civilization] in favor of something they wanted instead," says Shelley.† "I donít think management had much of a clue about what it was until it started selling."
To read the rest of the history click over to the link provided below.

Gamasutra: The History Of Civilization
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV

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"Casual" Becomes Gaming's New Buzzword
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

A recent PC Magazine article explores the game industry's current love affair with "casual games." A desire to expand their customer base coupled with growing development costs for the traditional hardware chewing flagship titles, has led many corporations to look toward casual gaming with new interest.

The surge of interest in casual games is partly the result of shifting economics that have pressured the bottom lines of many firms.

An A-list title for new gaming consoles from Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. can now take four years to make and cost $30 million, two to three times the cost of games for the previous generation of machines.

Yet retail prices have only risen 20 percent, to $60 for a newly released top title.

Moreover, publishers' hopes that gamers would rush to adopt new hardware were dashed by the high cost of the consoles. Fewer consoles in homes meant a smaller base of potential game buyers, and thus weaker sales of those costly new games.

By contrast, casual games, with their simpler graphics and controls, can cost well under $1 million and take just a few months to make. Although they might sell for as little as $5 to $30, they appeal to a broader audience.
The full article is available at the site listed below.

PC Magazine: "Casual" the New Video Game Buzzword
Buy Bejeweled 2

Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews Chocolatier6:58 AM
Garage Games Updates Torque Engine6:00 AM
StarCraft II Q&A Round 66:00 AM
StarCraft II Terran Units Revealed6:00 AM
The Sims Bowling Released For iPod6:00 AM
Uwe Boll Vs. The New York Post6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 18, 2007 on one page

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