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Monday, September 10, 2007

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StarCraft II: Q&A Round 12, Mothership Info
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The latest StarCraft II Q&A batch from Blizzard Entertainment is now available, giving a few more tidbits of game information to fans eagerly awaiting the next game in the StarCraft saga. In addition to offering a compelling multiplayer experience, SC II will continue the single player storyline to reveal more about the continuing struggles of the Zerg, Terrans, and Protoss.

The StarCraft II Team is working hard on making Terran Medics 'smarter' so they do not run up to the enemy when you give a move order to a group of Marines and Medics. Medics, if given an attack move order, will scan the area on its path for injured infantry, then break off its limited path to heal those soldiers.

1. How useful will tier 1 units be in the late game? (
As a staple of the original StarCraft, which we intend to carry over to StarCraft II, is that every unit has a specific role in that factions army. Every unit will fulfill a unique role, which complements the other units, some better than others of course. In subscribing to that idea, tier 1 units will be quite useful in late game as well as early. Many of the tier 1 units will be able to be upgraded to keep up with the later game units as well.
For example, the Terran Marine currently has 3 upgrades available to it, as well as its standard attack and armor upgrades. New upgrades such as the combat shields, increasing the Marines health will be important in having the Marine deal with later game units.

4. Will there be a black player color? (
We have tried using black, but it was too difficult to differentiate units on the mini-map from the fog of war.

5. Will you be able to use custom army colors in the game? (
In custom maps created through the Map Editor, players will be able to select any color for their factions. In multiplayer games, players will be able to choose between approximately 12-18 colors.

Blizzard has also added another Protoss unit to its official website. The Protoss Mothership feature includes a brief description of the unit as well as animated examples of the unit in action.

Follow the links below for more information about the game.

StarCraft Forums: SC 2 Q&A Batch 12
StarCraft Forums: Ask Your SC2 Questions Here
SC II: Protoss Mothership
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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Inside Mac Games Reviews Little Shop of Treasures
7:04 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the seek-and-find game Little Shop of Treasures, published by casual-gaming masters GameHouse. Here's a clip from the review:

In playing this game with four of my kids (ranging in age from 10 to 21), I found that they really liked working in pairs. I sat for quite a few hours with my 10 year old identifying objects while she clicked them. In fact, she would have been hard pressed to find very many of them without my help because she had no idea what they might look like based on their descriptions. If you have never seen an antique coffee grinder or a bamboo rice steamer, you may appreciate some help identifying them. I used to have the same sort of fun years ago helping my kids find Waldo. In addition to being fun for kids, Little Shop would also be great fun for grandparents to play with their grandkids.
Check out the rest of the review by following the link below.

IMG Review of Little Shop of Treasures
Little Shop of Treasures
Buy Little Shop of Treasures

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The Making Of Dungeon Siege
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted an interview with Chris Taylor and Brian Reynolds about the making of the original Dungeon Siege. The article/postmortem examines the successes and failures of the process as well as the origins of the game's setting and style.

Technologically speaking, the most distinctive element of Dungeon Siege was how it streamed its levels. Throughout the huge world, there wasn’t a single loading pause. “When you’re in a fantasy game…” Chris reaches for a metaphor to explain why this is so important, “Well, imagine if it’s a movie, and if you have to change the film every ten minutes, you wouldn’t be able to immerse yourself into the Fantasy. By eliminating loading screens we were able to keep people in the game, and much more immersed in this world. You become one with the game. You could melt into the monitor and the keyboard and the mouse.”

This attention to detail lead to innovations across the game, from large scale elements like the streaming to detail like being able to resell items for full price and the ever-handy equipment-carrying mules. Not that attention to these places didn’t have a cost. “What we were unfortunately unable to do was working on the story, the characters backgrounds, the depth of the world… because we had built the technology and had to quickly build the game on top of the technology,” Chris elaborates, “These are very discrete stages. So it was hard to do, especially at a start-up company, building a new team from scratch with a crazy new technology and all of our tools”.

The full article is available at the link provided below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Dungeon Siege Interview
Westlake Interactive
Dungeon Siege
Buy Dungeon Siege

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GameTap, Myst Online Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A new interview with GameTap's VP of Marketing, David Reid, is now available from TenTonHammer. The Q&A covers a variety of topics including multiplayer options for the games, episodic content, pricing schemes, and future plans for Myst Online.

TTH: What do you have planned for Myst Online?
David: A lot of the excitement with Myst Online comes from the same reasons we were excited about Sam and Max. You have this property that’s legendary with gamers that has struggled in retail at some point. Lucasarts decided not to take Sam and Max to retail the same way Ubisoft decided not to bring Myst Online to retail. A lot of what we’ve done at gametap is look for these games that people are passionate about and that have existing communities that are keeping them alive. When we launched Myst Online: Uru in February, we had a ready fan-base that wanted to play.
We also have a Mac client for it now. Myst is a title that was born on the Mac. With the Mac universe, you’ve got a bunch of gamers who don’t always feel they have a lot of options—it’s a PC gamer’s universe. So, we felt really good about getting that game onto the Mac platform.
Another thing we decided to do with Myst online in the last few months is take the success of the episodic model we saw with Sam and Max and adapt it for Myst. If you have a game where the consumers know that on “date x” there’s going to be a batch of new content, it gives the people who play a little less the chance to catch up on the off weeks and then the faster players know right when to jump back in.
To read the rest of the interview follow the link offered below.

Ten Ton Hammer: GameTap Q&A
Myst Online: Uru Live

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The Music Of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The official community site for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars recently posted a new article from Splash Damage's Paul Wedgwood about the game's musical score. Wedgwood discusses the musical abilities of composer Bill Brown and why he was chosen to compose for ET: QW.

When we started on Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars, Kevin Cloud (Co-Owner of id Software and Executive Producer in ETQW), and I both knew that Bill Brown would be perfect for this game too. We started out initially with the goal of a haunting orchestral adagio soundtrack, predominantly strings (providing ambience for our vision of a haunting view of Earth under attack), with occasional use of a harmonic choir. Though lacking actual libretto at the Main Menu, the music would imply the misanthropy of the Strogg and the doom faced by mankind. I'd clearly been listening to too much of the orchestral introductions that Dimmu Borgir had composed (perhaps not the best reference when you're about to work with one of the best composers in the industry) but we still use elements of this theme in certain locations of the user interface where we want the player to avoid feeling rushed.

For the main theme however, we quickly realized that we needed something more rocky and industrial. Bill delivered something perfect again, expanding upon the motifs he'd composed for the alien and human races, and creating a vivid sense of tension with a more contemporary soundscape of instruments and effects, such as low metallic drums, and acidic synths. Of course Bill has also produced compositions that have been used in trailers for the game.

Head over to the site below to read the rest.

The Music Of Enemy Territory Quake Wars
Aspyr Media
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (don't use)

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DEFCON Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has posted a review of the PC version of DEFCON, Introversion Software's RTS that allows players to dabble in the world destroying fun of global thermonuclear war. CG gave the game a score of 85 out of 100.

From the review:

In short, Defcon is a real-time strategy game… actually, more of a “real-time tactics game”, as there’s no economic aspect. We only have access to the tools (nuclear vectors) that make the confrontation as total as it gets. As I said earlier, there is a world-map interface on which we have access to the most important regions in the world as playable factions: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the USSR.
A new game begins by taking control over one of these geographical zones, in which you will organize your armed forces and defenses. Take note that the real purpose of the game is not to decimate your enemy’s troops with nuclear strikes, but instead to destroy as many enemy cities as you can. You’ll have to start with the tutorial, which is a very well designed and will teach you everything you need to know in order to control the nuclear strikes over the enemy.
The action starts on a high note at Defcon 5 – this is where you have to place radar stations in strategic positions in order to be able to detect the enemy troops and the nukes that will come towards you later on. On Defcon 4 you have to build your aerial and naval bases. Defcon 3 will see you deal with reconnaissance for the air and naval forces. Defcon 2 continues with the reconnaissance from Defcon 3 and you can even engage enemy aircrafts or naval units, if you find them near your borders. Total chaos starts when Defcon 1 is triggered, in which nuclear devastation is imminent and all the nuclear vectors (bombers, silos and subs) are just waiting for the “Go” code. Defcon 1 lasts until a certain point, in which all the nuclear vectors from all sides have been unleashed and will finish with a pretty big death toll, on all sides.
Click over to the site below for the full review. DEFCON Review
Ambrosia Software

Mac Games News for Friday, September 7, 2007

Macintosh Beta Testers Needed For Avernum 55:43 PM
Age of Mythology Universal Binary Update6:00 AM
Aspyr: ET Quake Wars, Pet Stories, NWN 26:00 AM
Cubis 2 For iPod Reviewed6:00 AM
Custer Conjures Up A Desktop6:00 AM
Fairy Treasure Comes To Mac OS X6:00 AM
IMG Wishes Best of Luck to Peter Marks6:00 AM
Macgamestore: G.H.O.S.T. Hunters Game Now Available6:00 AM
Redline Update Adds Leopard Compatibility6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, September 7, 2007 on one page

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