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Thursday, January 24, 2008

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Apple Games Features Stunts & Effects
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games latest feature offers a look at the explosive new Stunts & Effects expansion for The Movies. Developed by Lionhead Studios and brought to the Mac by Feral Interactive, Stunts & Effects integrates into the original game adding new sets, costumes, props, vehicles, stuntmen, backdrops, and special effects for players to include in their virtual productions. Apple Games' feature also includes a list of hints and tips for using the expansion's offerings.

You add stunt performers to your studio the same way you groom cast, crew, directors, and screenwriters: Build a stunt school and choose from the wannabes who line up outside it. You can direct your scribes to craft scripts that include stunts, which come with varying degrees of difficulty. Don’t put an inexperienced stuntman in a film with really tough stunts, or he could fail to pull them off, leading to poor reviews and a miserable showing at the box office.

You’ll find plenty of new sets where your stunt performers can show off their skills, from a lush jungle to a bustling city street. Blue and green screen sets let you add special effects later, thanks to the expansion pack’s new miniatures, which include a devastated urban landscape and an alien mother ship. And don’t forget to add scenes featuring cars, trucks, and helicopters.

Any time something explodes or suffers an impact, Stunts & Effects comes through with advanced particle effects that give a realistic touch to fireballs, shattering glass, steam, and other dangerous situations. When you’re in Advanced Moviemaking mode, you can use the new free cam to set up dramatic angles for your shots, while the new plot construction stages give you fresh ways to tell your stories.
To read the full article click over to the website linked below.

Apple Games: The Movies Stunts & Effects
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
The Movies: Stunts & Effects

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Inside Mac Games Reviews Peggle
7:27 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Peggle, the latest game from PopCap Games. Here's a clip from the review:

Peggle Deluxe is a new variety of the aim and shoot arcade genre. However, instead of matching shapes, you launch balls through a field of "peggles" and try to get as large a combo as possible while destroying the orange peggles. Once all the orange peggles are destroyed, you enter "Fever" mode and watch as your last shot racks up points before finally falling through the bonus cups on the bottom of the screen. This is expanded with special abilities, a multiplayer mode, and dozens of challenges.
To check out the full review, please follow the link below.

Inside Mac Games Review: Peggle
PopCap Games
Buy Peggle

Weaving Spiderweb: Jeff Vogel Discusses RPGs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamebanshee has posted a new interview with Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel, the man behind the popular Geneforge and Avernum role playing game series. The interview covers the company's origins, focus on gameplay rather than graphics, and includes Vogel's advice for other independent developers hoping to find their own niche.

GB: Do you still enjoy making RPGs as much as you did when you started?
Jeff: Heh ... I never really enjoyed it. I thought I would. When I wrote the engine for our first game, all those years ago, I was really looking forward to making the world. That, I thought, would be the fun.

Then, fifteen minutes into designing the first town, I thought, "Wow. This sucks." And it hasn't improved much since then.

It's work. But, fortunately, it's work I have a knack for.

GB: Do you worry about the people who do not play your games due to the graphics or are you not that interested in their market potential?
Jeff: Don't get me wrong. I love nice graphics as much as the next guy. I make our games as pretty as I can. I'm not ideologically attached to low-budget games. It's just all I can do.

But if someone wants a pretty game, I will not be able to please that person. And if I spend a bunch of money and an extra year making a game as pretty as I possibly can, I still will not please that person. The big companies use cutting edge engines and art departments with dozens of talented people, and they spend years working on one title. I will never ever, ever, ever be able to compete with that in the slightest way. So I don't.

There is one thing I can do: Make a cool adventure in a cool world. So I do that.
Read the rest of the Q&A at the link provided below.

Gamebanshee: Jeff Vogel Interview
Spiderweb Software

Block Breaker Deluxe Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

iLounge has posted a new review of Gameloft's Block Breaker Deluxe for Apple's iPod multimedia devices. The game features classic arcade brick bashing action in a variety of jet-set nightlife settings. iLounge gave the game a letter grade of B.

From the review:

So Gameloft added that something in the form of a light role playing game: transition screens tell you that you’re a cool young dude out to win a yacht from a gambling playboy, and the way to get it is to play this Block Breaker game. Just like Vortex and earlier, non-iPod clones of Breakout such as Arkanoid, the standard “break blocks” game is enhanced considerably through multiballs, stronger balls, paddle power-ups such as lasers and width-expanders, and power-downs such as paddle shrinkers and invisible paddles.

The twist is that money and gifts also drop down from broken blocks, boosting your ability to win the yacht and ply the game’s characters with luxury items that will make them tell you level-unlocking passwords. In fact, the game lets so many items appear on screen at once that you’re sometimes challenged just to scoop them all up—it’s not uncommon to have more multiball, shield, or paddle bonuses fall at once than the game can actually process, so collecting more than one sometimes doesn’t help.

We’ll give Block Breaker Deluxe’s incentive system some credit for revitalizing a classic game. In truth, the combination of unlockables—beat 10 stages and a boss to unlock a new level/backdrop, partially beat the levels to reach the big boss, and completely beat the levels to unlock a special level—works well, and the game’s option to use cash to buy items you can’t find in the levels is a smart move. There are also surprises along the way, such as levels where an on-screen slot machine influences the bonuses you earn, and a shop that gets populated with new items from a girl on a jetski. The cartoony art looks dated and second-rate, especially as a contrast with some of the digitized graphics found in Gameloft’s earlier Lost, but it’s not bad, and the music is pretty good.
Head over to the site below to read the rest of the review.

iLounge: Block Breaker Deluxe Review
Block Breaker Deluxe

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Penny Arcade Adventures Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story recently posted a preview of Hothead Games' Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. Based on the characters from the Penny Arcade comic strip, the episodic adventure game will allow players to create a character and step into an adventure with Tycho and Gabe.

From the preview:

The combat U.I. resembles comic book panels, with each character in your party represented in their own individual cell. A fist inter-splices the panel to show that a character is attacking. Even the special attack minigames appear in a comic-like fashion.

The active turn-based system -- with you pressing space bar at the right time to block or counter-attack enemy shots -- keeps combat lively and quick-paced. At the start, you're alone in the party, so the attack meter may seem to fill up a bit slowly -- something you'll appreciate once you eventually team up with Gabe and Tycho. Juggling three characters' attacks while blocking enemies can get pretty hectic, especially when you factor in specials. The special attack meters fill in much slower than a regular attack, but have the opportunity to do a lot more damage. Your success at completing the corresponding quick minigame, like rapidly pressing the Space Bar to fill a meter, determines the amount of bonus damage you do. If you're great at blocking hits, and don't mind waiting, once two or more characters have their special attacks available, you can do team attacks à la Chrono Trigger
Check out the full preview as well as a collection of screenshots at the link provided below. Penny Arcade Adventures Preview
Hothead Games
Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade Adventures

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Azkend Available For Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has announced the release of Azkend for the Mac as a digital download on its web site. The matching game set in the Far East is published by Real Arcade and features two game modes, a variety of power-ups, and full screen graphics.

Puzzle your way across the scenic landscapes of the Far East in this stimulating matching game that's full of mystery and wonder. The relic your archaeological team uncovered is more powerful than originally thought. For starters, it's cursed! Now it's up to you to solve brain-bending puzzles on your quest to reach the Temple of Time and lift the curse. Use your matching skills to unlock 8 mighty talismans and unleash their powerful help as you make your way to the mysterious temple. Featuring loads of challenging levels, stunning scenery, and two game modes, Azkend is a magical adventure of puzzling fun.
Azkend is available for $19.95 through A free Universal Binary demo version of the game is available for download on the web page.

Buy Azkend

Mac Games News for Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MWSF: Final Mac Games Report7:21 AM
Penny Arcade Game Nears Release6:21 AM
TUAW: Sampling of Mac Games From MWSF6:21 AM
A Look Back At Stubbs The Zombie6:00 AM
Pokie Magic Releases Three New Games6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Q&A Round 266:00 AM
The Sims Castaway Stories Coming To Macs6:00 AM
World Of Warcraft Reaches 10 Million Subscribers6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, January 23, 2008 on one page

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