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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

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Celebrating Fallout's 10th Anniversary
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 11 comments

In the lead up to Fallout's 10th anniversary on October 7th No Mutants Allowed is offering some nostalgia related to the award winning post apocalyptic RPG. So far the site has posted Chris Taylor's Mr. Handy design doc and four pieces of Leonard Boyarsky concept art.

In early October, 1997, thousands of discs were being churned out by a nondescript factory. The discs were not quite as nondescript, as they contained a game that is still being hailed today as one of the greatest cRPGs of all time. Fallout.

Now, 10 years later, No Mutants Allowed (also around 9 years of age) and others are bringing you some stuff to reminisce over. Pictures, talks, docs. Everything short of Harold's head. Although today is just "announcement day", we'll start off good and proper anyway.

Chris Taylor brings you the Mr Handy design doc, a small little scribble from the days of Fallout GURPS. And yes, indeed, mr Taylor is not an artist.

To commemorate, NMA brings you 4 pieces of Leonard Boyarsky's original concept art, with thanks to Leonard himself.
Head over to the site below to return to the wasteland.

NMA: Fallout Anniversary

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Heroes of Might and Magic V Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld's Game Room has posted a review of Heroes of Might and Magic V, the latest title in the long running turn-based strategy game series. The game offers a new story-line, new units, and the addition of 3D graphics. The Game Room gave HoMM V a score of 3.5 out of 5 mice.

As a Cider game that operates only on Intel Macs, performance was acceptable on my 2.33GHz MacBook Pro (a late-2006 model), though there were occasional slowdowns. I haven’t had the chance to test the game out on a MacBook or Mac mini with integrated graphics, but Freeverse is proud of the fact that the game runs on those systems, where it doesn’t on comparable PC systems running Windows.

Single-player campaigns in the game first serve to familiarize you with game mechanics (as tutorial missions in the beginning), and you get to play alternately as Haven and Inferno forces (good guys and bad guys, respectively). As you travel the maps through each level, you discover a wealth of resources to exploit, from peasant farmers seeking greater glory as soldiers to fantastic creatures like griffins and demons. There are hundreds of units in all, each with unique abilities.

Along the way you’re tasked with capturing towns and fortifications which you can use to build up your forces, hire new heroes and send them with troops into battle, and create specialized units such as cavalry, bowmen and machines of war like ballistae (ancient catapults that launched huge stones at the brick walls of castles and forts).

The game features multiplayer capabilities, and, now that the 1.5 release is finally out in the world, you can play against PC players. That’s a relief: Previously, Mac users were relegated to playing against each other online, even though it would seem at first blush that the Cider technology used to make the game work on the Mac (by encapsulating a Windows binary with that code necessary to play on Mac OS X) wouldn’t have those sorts of compatibility issues. It’s perhaps worth considering that Heroes of Might & Magic V was TransGaming’s first public effort to “ciderize” a Windows game, so there has been a learning curve involved—it hasn’t helped that the earlier build of HOMM V was plagued by bugs that affected the Windows version, and that obviously affected the Mac version too.
For the full review head over to the link below.

Macworld's Game Room: HoMM V Review
Heroes of Might & Magic V
Buy Heroes of Might & Magic V

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Gears Of War Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A new interview from features comments from Epic's Cliff Bleszinski about the PC version of Gears of War. The Q&A covers a variety of topics related to the game including new content for the PC, the importance of pacing, and the challenge of introducing mouse and keyboard controls to the game.

Bit-tech: With the new chapters, have you added any gameplay elements specifically with the PC in mind?

CliffyB: No, what we did was try to remain very consistent with all of the design paradigms of what we did on the 360. What we actually wound up doing behind the scenes was having a lot of little tweaks to make sure that the player wasn't too empowered with the keyboard and mouse, playing with things such as accuracy and kick of the weapon and things like that, because we wanted to keep the Gears pacing. We didn't want the game to devolve into how quickly can I get one pixel on another pixel, because that's really not what the game is about, the game's about the pacing of taking cover and gauging your damage meter, knowing when to move, knowing how to blind fire and throw grenadesâ€|we didn't want to fundamentally f*** with the core loop of the game.

Bit-tech: Did you find it difficult to maintain the original feel and pace of the game when developing the PC version of the game?

CliffyB: Well, Gears was very much designed around establishing this core combat loop of take cover and take out your enemy, throwing grenades at them and the emergence holes, and then suddenly start playing with that formula. Then, what we did with the original was one was start introducing giant monsters, going underground and Wretches and different combat scenarios, such as suddenly it's dark out, the Kryll are there and you have to deal with that while you're dealing with the regular combat.

What we've wound up doing with this section [the new chapters] is having this great grinder of combat, but all book ended with this beast that's harassing you the entire time. So, there's one section where the player is underneath the bridge and The Brumak is above, beating on the bridge; there's another section where the player is trapped in a theatre while The Brumak is approaching on the bridge and you have no idea how you're going to stop it, and he just keeps on making these appearances, reminding you that he's there, reminding you that his presence is felt - which is what I like to call "Monster Foreplay" - and eventually culminating in this battle sequence where you have to deal with him and figure out how to take him out.

In July Epic announced that Gears of War would be coming to the Mac platform as well.

Check out the full article at the link below. Gears Of War Q&A
Gears of War

Mac Games News for Monday, September 24, 2007 Redesign Launched9:30 AM
Nethergate: Resurrection Reviewed6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Q&A Round 146:00 AM
The Origins Of Splash Damage6:00 AM
Warcraft III Patch Later This Year6:00 AM
WoW: New Gameplay Trailer, Lich King Screenshots6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, September 24, 2007 on one page

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