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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Shipping On October 26
9:30 AM | Eddie Park | 21 comments

Apple has officially announced a release date for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the next major iteration of its OS X operating system. Scheduled to go on sale at 6pm on Friday, October 26th at both Apple stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, Leopard will bring over 300 new features to users for the retail price of $129.

"Leopard, the sixth major release of Mac OS X, is the best upgrade we’ve ever released," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "And everyone gets the ‘Ultimate’ version, packed with all the new innovative features, for just $129."
Some of the major features in Leopard include a new 3D Dock, Stacks, which allows for a new form of file organization, and Time Machine, an integrated backup system. Also included are new versions of programs such as iChat and Mail as well as a full version of Boot Camp, which allows Intel Macs to run Windows natively.

The system requirements for Leopard are 512MB of RAM and either an Intel or PowerPC G4/G5 (867Mhz minimum) processor. Online preorders are being accepted as of today.

Apple - Apple to Ship Mac OS X Leopard on October 26

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IMG Reviews Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix
11:11 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mc Games has posted a review of EA's Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix. Here's a clip from the review:

Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. What is this game like? OOTP is basically Harry Potter: GTA, and as far as that is concerned, it works out great. Hogwarts is a fully realized 3D world for you to wander through. The detail and scope of the school is impressive, and was easily the high point of the game for me. You get a very accurate feel for the size and complexity of the campus, and that’s something that real fans will surely appreciate. There are sweeping vistas, grand courtyards, cramped stairwells, talking portraits, ghosts and students milling about everywhere. Hogwarts feels very alive.
To check out the full review, please follow the link below.

Inside Mac Games Review: Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix
Electronic Arts
Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix
Buy Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

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Starcraft II: Q&A Round 17
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The 17th Q&A focusing on answers to fan questions about StarCraft II, Blizzard Entertainment's long awaited sequel to the original StarCraft is now available. The game will pick up the storyline a few years after the time of Brood War and introduce fierce new multiplayer action for players to enjoy.

Chat with Devs: After bringing up much community feedback from the last Monthly Discussion, Dustin Browder filled me in on the latest role discussions about the current units in game. This is the thought that has lead to the introduction of the Firebat back into StarCraft II.
Furthermore, they have also changed the Terran Cobras abilities to take on what was previous known as the Protoss Stasis Orb (which is now removed from the game). The Terran Cobra now acts as a slowing unit, with an electrical attack. In addition, many of the units already seen in game are having their roles re-evaluated, to again make sure that every unit has a distinct role in StarCraft II.

5. An obvious goal (among many) for Starcraft2 is to maintain the profile of being an E-Sport. What facet do you consider more integral to the growth of that ideal: An extremely high skill ceiling that demands years upon years to achieve mastery, or an extraordinarily large base of interested players to provide the attention that such a sport needs in order to succeed and grow? Obviously both are important, but when it comes to design ideals, what has more pull? Accessibility or Longevity?
I think for e-sport we need the high skill ceiling. Though really as you say, both are very important. As designers we have spent years focusing on accessibility. Ideas must be accessible to even be put into the game. So we are just not as worried about making the game accessible. That will happen. What we are focused on, what is the more challenging problem is making the game last for years and years and years. So in our development cycle at the moment, longevity definitely has the larger pull. Longevity is the harder problem to solve, so we put way more effort into making the game as challenging as possible to master. Dustin Browder, Lead Designer of StarCraft II
Follow the links below to read the rest of the Q&A or submit questions of your own for an upcoming round.

StarCraft Forums: SC 2 Q&A Batch 17
StarCraft Forums: Ask Your SC2 Questions Here
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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Nethergate: Resurrection Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Applelinks has conjured up a new review of Spiderweb Software's Nethergate: Resurrection. The updated recreation of the original Nethergate RPG, Resurrection allows players to take the side of either Romans or Celts in a battle for control of the mystical Shadowvale. Applelinks gave N:R a score of 4 out of 5.

From the review:

One of the main weaknesses in most computer role-playing games is that you actually have very little control over your characters and where you can go and what you can do. You're led from one town to the next, and you can't really explore since all of the encounters are scripted to take place in a certain order. Nethergate: Resurrection is the complete opposite; almost from the beginning, you can go anywhere in the game you want.

Just be sure to save early and often! There's no sign out front saying "For levels 10 and up only," so usually finding out that the den of spiders was too tough happened when my party died. So, I'd reload, mark the location mentally as one to return to when I was tougher and wiser, and move on to somewhere else.

While there is a main story and main quests that you have to do to drive the story forward, there are a lot of side quests and locations to find and explore that don't have anything to do with the main story and can be completed in any order. The rewards from these quests are excellent and add to the environment and story of Shadowvale. However, they can be skipped entirely, and if you don't find them, you won't be penalized.
Click over to the site below to read the rest of the review.

Applelinks: Nethergate Resurrection
Spiderweb Software
Nethergate: Resurrection

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Examining The Return Of EA Sports To The Mac
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Gaming's Edge has posted a new review examining two of EA's Cider powered game offerings, Madden NFL 08 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008. The dual review examines the overall gameplay as well as the performance of the sports titles under Cider's emulation. The Gamer's Edge reviewer was "impressed with the performance and quality of these games versus the first four (EA games) that were released."

The good news is that (Madden 08) runs extremely well based on my initial experience with our testing system. Even at max resolution (1680x1050) with all but the "Texture Depth" and "Weather Effects" graphics settings cranked up, it runs almost perfectly smoothly and consistently. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it has one of the smoothest, most consistent frame rates I've seen in a while, with no noticeable slowdowns or frame dropping in the three matchups I've played through so far.

This is most-likely due to the fact the the Windows version of the Madden game engine hasn't seen a major update in a few years, aside from roster updates and gameplay tweaks, but I'm not about to complain given that the game still looks quite good in general and is still quite fun to play.

Sure, if you side-by-side the Mac version of "Madden 08" with the XBOX 360 version, you'd most-likely conclude that the 360 version looks more "modern," but the same could be said comparing the XBOX 360 and Windows versions. In other words, unlike some of the previous EA/Cider games, you really aren't losing anything appreciable in terms of visual quality and performance by playing "Madden 08" on a Mac verses "Madden 08" on Windows.
Read the full review at the link provided below.

Gaming's Edge: EA Sports' Return to the Mac
Electronic Arts
Buy Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008

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Darkwind War On Wheels: New Leagues Starting, Game Updates
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In a new email update Pyschic Software announced the beginning of a new year in its 3D cross platform massively multiplayer online wargame, Darkwind: War on Wheels. January 2043 in the game also marks the start of a new set of leagues, making it a good time for new players to join in the action. The update lists many new features for the game, the introduction of The Darkwind Gazette (a player written newsletter), and a new review of the game from New Age Gamer magazine.

Here's a list of recent updates to Darkwind:

- Lots of new types of vehicles have been added – we’re now up to 47
- Numerous new weapons and addons such as nitro boosters and rocket boosters have been added – we’re now up to 51. The new ballistic weapons such as mortars have added tactical variability to combats since they can fire over obstacles.
- Improvements have been made to the driving physics, including slipstreaming/drafting and handbrakes.
- Custom events have been added, so players can create their own race/deathrace/combat events and define their entry fees and prizes. ‘Pink slip’ challenges are also possible, allowing the winner to take the loser’s car.
- A number of additional wilderness maps and a number of new racetracks in Elmsfield and Gateway have been added.
- NPC Contract Attacks and Bounty Hunters have been added, spicing up the PvP intrigue and increasing trader-versus-pirate tensions.
- Specialist skills have been made available to high-skilled characters.
- Many environment objects (buildings, trees, etc.) are now destroyable – this is a precursor to the addition of player-owned camps, which is a feature currently under development.
- Integrated Browser – currently in prototype, we’re streamlining the gameplay process by embedding a web-browser within the game client, so you don’t need to switch applications when you want to do some gang management or set travel orders, etc.
Follow the links below to learn more about all the Darkwind related news.

The Darkwind Gazette: Issue 1
New Age Gaming: Darkwind Review
Darkwind: War On Wheels

Mac Games News for Monday, October 15, 2007

Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix Reviewed6:00 AM
Introducing Innovation To Casual Games6:00 AM
Macgamestore: Flyboys Squadron Now Available6:00 AM
StarCraft II Story Q&A6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, October 15, 2007 on one page

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Friday, October 12, 2007
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