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Thursday, September 13, 2007

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GL Golf Updated
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Nuclear Nova Software recently released version 2.0.5 of GL Golf. The 3D golf game with a realistic physics system offers 270 different holes, an internet high score list, and a driving range. Version 2.0.5 introduces a variety of bug fixes and additions to the game.

Here's a list of changes in the update:

- New water texture and animated reflections based off of the wind speed
- Added an option to select how many mulligans per game
- Added the highscores feature to the 6 demo holes
- The grass detail should no longer float in some spots
- Added lighting to the flag and flag pole
- Each tree remains the same size/color for different rounds of golf
- Fixed small bugs/glitches on 5 holes
- Three other small improvements/fixes
The demo of the game is available for download from at the link below.

MGF: GL Golf 2.0.5
GL Golf
Nuclear Nova Software

Forecasting The Social Future Of MMOs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Gamasutra has posted a new article that examines the social interactions which occur in Massively Multiplayer Online games and how those relationships will determine the World of Warcrafts of the future. The article features interviews with Dr. Ed Castronova, Dr. Aaron Delwiche, Dr. Henry Jenkins, and PhD. Candidates Jeff McNeill and Florence Chee.

What are the major reasons that gamers go from one game to another?
Ed Castronova: There’s a bunch of stuff going on, and a big part of it is this social network element. You want to be on the network your friend is on, whether it’s a guild, group, or whatever. But this kind of a network is going to cap out at one or two hundred people. The network effect will peter out at a certain size.
We’re going to see bigger worlds become more successful because of the production values. It’s kind of like a blockbuster movie, the ones that make the most are the ones that spend the most. So really expensive, high-quality virtual worlds are going to have an advantage here.
There’s a third thing that actually argues against size. I think there’s a broad distribution of taste about how you’re going to be heroic. Right now we’ve got space, and Tolkien, and not a whole lot else. There are a few different worlds, and its more than there were 4 or 5 years ago. But coming soon we’ll really see an explosion in the different types of Synthetic worlds out there: Star Trek, more Comic Book heroes, worlds that are tailored to the different fantasies that we have.

What’s in store for single player games?
EC: I think that pure single player is always going to be in the market, but I don’t think that it’s going to dominate the market. What we’re likely to see in the single player space are small towns where people meet and compare notes. You’ll play the game, and you’ll rarely encounter people, but there will be other players in the worlds that you’ll come across very occasionally.
Single player games are going to be quasi-public spaces, with the purity of a single player game, but the emotional significance that comes from multiplayer.
For the full article head over to the site below.

Gamasutra: Is There Life After WoW?

The Thousand Player Death Match?
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 9 comments

A recent Microsoft research paper analyzed the possibility of dramatically increasing the possible number of players in an FPS death match. Using a methodology dubbed "Donnybrook," the researchers suggested a variety of techinques to squeeze the most out of the bandwidth available, potentially allowing for a thousand players to wage war on the same map.

Donnybrook, which is also an Irish euphemism for a large brawl or fracas, seeks to enable massive simultaneous gaming through two techniques. Focus Sets devotes bandwidth to the things you're paying attention to (while draining it away from the things you aren't), and Guidable AI periodically replaces remote players that you aren't paying attention to with local bots.

All of Microsoft Research's testing so far has been conducted with Quake III on PCs with no mention of implementation on consoles. If the technology works as well as it seems to this early in its development, it may well be the beginning of a new standard in online gaming architecture for both PCs and consoles.

Microsoft Research claims that this technology should scale infinitely with the upload bandwidth of players (see picture) and should be relatively easy for game developers to implement.
The full research paper is available at the link below. Check out Ars Technica's article for an overview of the findings.

Scaling Peer-to-Peer Games in Low-Bandwidth Environments
Ars Technica: Thousand Player Deathmatch

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Introversion's Chris Delay Interviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted a new interview with Introversion Software's Chris Delay about the company's past and future projects. The discussion covers a variety of topics including the mysterious Subversion project, and the upcoming multiplayer return to Darwinia in Multiwinia.

So what can Delay tell us about the next games? “We’re actually working on two projects right now,” says Delay. “Multiwinia and Subversion. Multiwinia will be coming out next - it’s the most finished of the two. We’ve taken the world of Darwinia and ripped the play mechanics apart, and crafted a multiplayer game of massive Darwinian armies and carnage on a vast scale. It’s been a real challenge to find ways to make Darwinia work in a multiplayer context, most of its original mechanics work well in single player only. Multiwinia feels a lot like finishing the game we wanted to make first time around - we always planned multiplayer for Darwinia, but never had the time to make it.”

The other project has already caused a bit of a stir, without really being announced in any way. This video seemed to carry the trademark Introversion retro-look, but their purpose was unclear. Just what are Introversion making in there? “Subversion is a longer term project,” explains Delay, without giving too much away. “It’s still in an experimental prototype phase and a long way away from release. We’ve been writing fairly regular blog entries about its development. The game was originally intended to be our second - it was conceived towards the end of Uplink, but ultimately put on hold while we worked on Darwinia, and then Defcon. At this stage in development it really could go anywhere – I’m particularly enjoying having the freedom to try things and experiment, without the fear of bankrupting our company (as we nearly did with Darwinia). Working on a couple of games at once definitely has this big advantage - the whole company isn’t waiting for me to finish Subversion in a hurry, so I can take my time.”
Check out the full interview at the link provided below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Introversion Interview
Ambrosia Software
Introversion Software

Mac Games News for Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews Sweetopia7:46 AM
Apsyr Announces Guitar Hero III Mac7:10 AM
Aspyr Discusses Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock6:00 AM
Eschalon: Book 1 Enters Beta Testing6:00 AM
Online Games Revenue Set To Grab A Third Of The Action6:00 AM
The Broken Hourglass: Fetish, Chapter 26:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, September 12, 2007 on one page

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