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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

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The Broken Hourglass: Creating Areas
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

This week, Planewalker Games takes readers through an overview of the area creation process used in its upcoming RPG, The Broken Hourglass. The article includes illustrations of the steps needed to take an image and turn it into a useable game environment.

2D environment maps are usually shrouded in mysterious data files, but we demonstrate how areas can be created simply by using a few tricks to create silhouette and surface renders of the same map players will see in-game. This should open up area creation to a wide range of modders who are more interested in staging and rendering intriguing environments than they are in manually describing polygons or editing coordinate files.
Head over to the site below to read more.

The Broken Hourglass: Inside The Engine, Area Creation
The Broken Hourglass

Electronic Arts Ships Tiger Woods 08, Mac Version Delayed
10:55 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 3 comments

Electronic Arts today announced it has begun shipping Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 for all platforms including the Mac. Unfortunately, it isn't true. The Mac version of both Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 and Madden NFL 2008 have been delayed until late September or early October.

As previously noted on IMG, EA has just begun shipping its first four Mac titles including Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Need for Speed Carbon, Command & Conquer 3, and Battlefield 2142. Due to development issues, the first four games began shipping in August and not in July, as originally intended, pushing the releases of Tiger Woods and Madden a bit further.

When they become available, we'll be sure to let you know.

Electronic Arts

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Bringing Games To The iPod
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Playlist has posted a new interview with EA Mobile's Managing Producer of Emerging Platforms, James Holloway, about the company's successful creation of games for the iPod. The interview includes discussion of EA's design philosophy, depth in casual games, and the unique challenges presented by the iPod hardware.

When Apple first revealed plans to publish games for the iPod, some industry watchers scoffed—limited processor performance, a small display and the device’s Click Wheel interface seemed like serious limitations, compared to modern handheld game systems like the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). However, Holloway says that developing games for the iPod is no different than designing them to run on a mobile phone; in some ways, he adds, it’s better.

“The Click Wheel interface is a good thing,” Holloway said. “It keeps the gameplay simple and keeps the game mechanics simple. We’re really good at developing games for devices that weren’t originally meant to play games.”

What’s more, the iPod’s homogeneity as a platform makes it an easier target than mobile phones, which are made by many different manufacturers. “With the iPod there’s once device, with mobile phones you have to develop for varying capabilities,” he explained.

That’s not to say that there aren’t challenges creating iPod games, however.

“We have to support multiple languages,” said Holloway. “When you buy our games, they have Japanese, French, German and Spanish support built into them. And if you change your language settings on the iPod, the game will automatically detect and dynamically change what language it’s using.”
Click over to the site below to read the rest of the interview.

Playlist: EA Also Pushes iPod Games
iTunes Store: iPod Games

A Look Back At Escape Velocity
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 15 comments

Apple Matters has served up a nostalgic review of Ambrosia Software's legendary Mac shareware classic, Escape Velocity. The game gives players the chance to take the helm of their own starships and seek their fortunes in a vast galaxy. Apple Matters recommended the game and its sequels to anyone seeking an enjoyable gaming experience.

Basically, this game is a 2D, top-down viewing, non-linear space adventure. You command a ship (or small fleet of ships), you travel to different worlds, you buy/sell/trade goods, and you destroy other ships. You start off life in a tiny shuttle with a full tank of gas and a bit of spare change in your pockets. From these humble beginnings, you will buy larger ships, bigger guns, betters shields (and other such awesome add-ons) all in the name of your chosen cause. Speaking of causes, this brings me up to point number two. You, the player, can determine how things turn out in your little universe. Because the galaxy in which you’re dropped is currently engaged in a civil war. You may choose to help the Confederates or the Rebels, but choose you must. Both story lines are interesting and definitely worth playing. Though in the end you’ll probably end up starting over and just hunting pirates the whole time, but that’s your business I suppose.

Now I realize the graphics are dated. And I realize you can get video that looks a zillion times better on your freaking cellphone, or calculator, or watch for that matter, but that isn’t the point. You aren’t going to play this game for the stunning visuals, or for the amazingly intricate game-play. The reason you should play this game is because it’s FUN! Yeah, crazy huh? It really is fun. Even after all these years I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this game. It has an amazing replay value.
For the full review follow the link provided below.

Apple Matters: Escape Velocity Review
Ambrosia Software
Escape Velocity

Penny Arcade Adventures Developer Discussion & Game Footage
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Joystiq has posted a new article describing a Hothead Games developer discussion held at the recent PAX 07. The posting includes a description of what was shown during the Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness trailer and a run down of the highlights from the Q&A session. Joystiq is also offering a demo trailer of the game's character creation system in action.

During the Q&A session, Hothead said that their target gameplay length was 5 to 6 hours, and they plan to release new episodes every 3 to 4 months, and even discussed this as part of the first "season". They are using the Torque engine, which help, with the cross-platform approach. In terms of system requirements, they haven't started optimization yet, but expect those with a decent amount of RAM, and reasonable processors and graphics cards from the last four years should be able to run the game. The want it to work on laptops, and don't want consumers to have to upgrade to play it if possible.
To learn more follow the links below.

Joystiq: Penny Arcade Adventures Dev Panel
Joystiq: Penny Arcade Adventures Demo Trailer
Penny Arcade Adventures

Mac Games News for Monday, August 27, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews Pop-A-Tronic6:20 AM
BlizzCon Photo Galleries6:08 AM
Penny Arcade Adventures Website Opens6:08 AM
StarCraft II Q&A Round 106:08 AM
VMWare Vs Parallels6:08 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 27, 2007 on one page

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