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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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World Of Warcraft Updated
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Blizzard Entertainment recently released a new update for its popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. In addition to the usual bug fixes, balance changes, and content additions the 2.2.0 patch introduces in-game video capture for Mac owners. The latest patch also begins the integration of voice chat on a realm by realm basis.

Some of the updates in the latest version:

- Voice Chat: The new Voice Chat feature is now available. Players will need to go into the Options menu under Sound & Voice to activate it. The new feature will be activated on the various realms in stages. For the Voice Chat launch schedule please visit the forums.
- Mac Movie Capture: the Mac client can now capture in-game video to QuickTime movie files using a configurable choice of codec, resolution, and frame rate. New keybindings have been added to the Key Bindings dialog. For more detailed configuration options please see the Mac Options panel in game. Mac OS X 10.4.9 and QuickTime 7.1.6 or better are required. Not all machines have enough performance to smoothly capture video at high frame rates; end user experimentation will be required to find appropriate settings for each system.
- Additional graphic optimization utilizing AltiVec for PowerPC-Mac and SSE for Intel-Mac. This provides some performance benefit on systems where vertex animation shaders are either unavailable or disabled (recommended on systems with Intel integrated video).
Check out the full list of updates at the link below.

WoW: Patch Notes
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Inside Mac Games Reviews the XTracMats Fat Pad
6:00 AM | Bryan Clodfelter | Comment on this story

This week in the hardware review department, Inside Mac Games takes a closer look at the venerable mouse pad for the first time in more years than we care to recount. Once the loyal sidekick of the mouse (icon of the computer revolution), the mouse pad slowly became associated with the evils inherent to mechanical "ball" mice of the eighties and nineties. At the turn of the millennium, the advent of highly accurate optical mice seemed to spell imminent doom for the mouse pad. However, rather than surrender to the ever-changing tide of innovation and become a relic of a bygone era, the mouse pad has evolved, and indeed experienced a resurgence in the past few years. To learn more about this phenomenon and see one of the latest mouse pads in action, check out our quite abusive evaluation of the XTracPads Fat Mat by way of the link below.

IMG Reviews the XTracPads "Fat Mat"
Fat Mat

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Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Soaked Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Mac|Life has posted a new review of Soaked!, an expansion for Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. The expansion for the coaster building sim introduces more than 50 new rides and coasters as well as a large variety of water attractions. Mac|Life gave the game a score of 3 out of 5.

From the review:

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Soaked adds buckets and buckets of aquatic-themed attractions to the core RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 game, where you manage a theme park. Since itís an expansion pack, Soaked requires the original RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 game, which will set you back $49.99. Soaked gives you many more scenarios and options, including dolphin shows (who doesnít love a good dolphin show?), water slides, more intricate laser shows, and even basic changes to the original game, such as the ability to build roller coasters with tunnels. Soaked doesnít fundamentally change RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 - the game interface is as waterlogged as ever - but fans of the first game will easily appreciate the additions.

While expansion packs for other games sometimes only add new levels to a game, Soaked adds an entire theme. We liked building water slides that twist and tumble through parks, although the construction tools are unintuitive and slow to respond - instead of just drawing the path of a ride, users tediously click between sections of track, choosing from different angles and shapes. We also like Soakedís sandbox mode, with unlimited funds and no pressure to make a profit or satisfy your virtual visitors. In this mode, simulation micromanagers can try eight new scenarios to build up a park from humble roots, controlling everything from employee wages to the pool cleaner of choice.
To read the rest of the review head over to the links below.

Mac|Life: Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Soaked! Review
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked!

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The Broken Hourglass: Abusing The Engine
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

This week Planewalker Games' Inside the Engine column explores the unexpected uses and abuses of a CRPG game through clever manipulation of the underyling engine. The article examines how the engine powering the still in-progress RPG, The Broken Hourglass, was used to make a match three puzzle game.

Other types of tweaking focus not on improving a primary function, but on turning those preconceived notions upside-down and doing something completely different. Like using a motorcycle to power a merry-go-round. (not recommended.) Or programming a text adventure game engine to play Tetris (recommended!)

Unlike some of the popular game engines in use today, WeiNGINE was designed from the ground up for a very singular purpose-to deliver a CRPG. That doesn't make it immune to tweaks and abuses-after all, a popular spreadsheet once shipped with an embedded flight simulator. It just makes them slightly less likely.

With a powerful and flexible scripting language, it turns out that a surprising range of abuses are possible. We thought we were pretty clever when we created an NPC who could play a credible game of cards with the player. We were recently taken to school by engine creator Westley Weimer himself, who decided to spend a few hours this past weekend taking our game engine in a slightly unexpected direction...
Check out the rest of the article at the link below.

The Broken Hourglass: Inside the Engine - Abuses
The Broken Hourglass

Mac Games News for Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Celebrating Fallout's 10th Anniversary6:00 AM
Gears Of War Q&A6:00 AM
Heroes of Might and Magic V Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, September 25, 2007 on one page

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