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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Apple Games Features Naval Battle: Mission Commander
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A new feature article is now available from Apple Games, offering an examination of Naval Battle: Mission Commander. The game updates the familiar Battleship concept with five game modes, an 18 mission campaign mode, and a variety of ships and special weapons. The article includes a review of the game's features and a history of the Battleship concept.

Naval Battle: Mission Commander takes the classic board game Battleship to a new level, placing you in the role of an American, Scottish, Russian, or German skipper with eight different ships under your control as you take on a computer-controlled opponent or another player on the same iPod. Play through an 18-mission solo campaign or try one of three game modes: Original (one shot per turn; you get to shoot again if you hit the enemy); Salvo (one shot per turn for each ship still alive in your fleet); and Advanced (immediate access to all of the special attacks for the ships still alive in your fleet). Or select Instant Battle to play a random mission from the campaign.

Special attacks apply to every game mode but Salvo and Original. Each time you fire at the enemy, your special attack meter fills, more so if you’re successful. When it tops out, you can access the special attacks menu, which includes a missile barrage from your battleship, your minelayer’s ability to unleash magnetic mines, a submarine torpedo strike, and more. Not all of the eight special attacks are available during campaign missions, where the scenarios vary.

During a campaign, you also get the opportunity to hit bonus squares that improve your chances of victory. One might give you three turns in a row, while another lets you intercept an enemy transmission coming from a specific square, telling you where a ship sits. In addition, each mission awards you medals for performing specific deeds, such as sinking two boats in a row or firing 10 consecutive successful shots.
Head over to the site provided below to read the rest of the article.

Apple Games: Naval Battle Mission Commander

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Tiger Woods 08 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Applelinks has posted a new review of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008, the latest Mac incarnation of the popular golf sim. The game gives golfing enthusiasts a wide range of play and customization options, and offers the chance to go head to head against PGA legends. Applelinks gave Tiger Woods 2008 a score of 4 out of 5.

To start, you can pick a golfer from among the many professionals or make your own. You have extensive control over nearly every aspect of how your golfer looks ,from the size of his nose to how big his feet are to him being tall and skinny or short and fat. If you aren't particular about how you look, you can use the default model or the random generator to make one for you. Having such precise control is a bit overwhelming, but being able to make your computer golfer like you in real life is pretty nifty.

The different game modes are what makes Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 so fun. You can jump right into playing with Play Now, which takes you to a random course with random course conditions. For more precise control, you use the Practice Mode which lets you pick the course, weather conditions, time of day, and more. The Custom Game mode lets you pick the course, how many people you play against, and you can even set up side bets. You can play any of these with one of the professional golfers provided or the ones you create.

If you want something a bit more involved, you can go on the PGA Tour, which starts you out as a hack golfer and takes you all the way through amateur events to professional games, and finally to the PGA Tour which puts you against professional golfers. In this mode, you have to use your custom golfer and watch your money since events have entry fees and it costs money to travel to them, as well as upgrading the clubs you use and the clothes you wear. You have tasks you need to accomplish before you can get into events, and there are tutorials and challenges that you can take to get better at various aspects of golf. By succeeding at the events and challenges, you get points that you can put into four attributes of your custom golfer (power, long game, short game, putting) to get better at them.
Check out the rest of the review at the link below.

Applelinks: Tiger Woods 08 Review
Electronic Arts
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008
Buy Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008

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Developers Discuss The Need For Indie RPGs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Tales of the Rampant Coyote recently asked several independent developers of RPGs why gamers enjoy indie titles. Participants included Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel, Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker, Planewalker Games' Jason Compton, and Prairie Games' Josh Engebretson.

Question: Why Indie RPGs?The last eighteen months or so have brought gamers plenty of role-playing games and expansions for computer and console from mainstream developers. And there are tons of Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs (MMORPGs) that are 'scratching the itch' for RPG fans and formerly non-gamers alike. And then there are literally thousands of fan-made modules for the Neverwinter Nights games. In this kind of environment, what does a comparatively low-budget indie computer RPG have to offer the player?

Jeff Vogel, Spiderweb Software ("Avernum V"... amongst many others):
I would certainly dispute that "plenty" of quality single-player RPGs have been released lately. There haven't been many at all. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is almost two years old. Neverwinter Nights 2 is only a few months newer than that. Outside of Mass Effect (XBox 360 only) or the Witcher (PC only), it's really been thin pickings.
As for user-made scenarios, while some of them are of a quality comparable to stand-alone full length RPGs, it's not a large number, and they frequently run on older (and sometimes no longer available) engines.
Or, to put it another way, we are selling more copies of our Indie RPGs now than at any time in the fourteen years we've been in business. So offering quality games still counts for a lot.

Josh Engebretson, Prairie Games ("Minions of Mirth"):
The recent offerings from mainstream developers all have one very frustrating thing in common: the system requirements verge on the ridiculous. These games simply run like crap on anything other than the absolute latest and greatest. Furthermore, these titles don't always get released for Mac OSX or if they do arrive late. The Mac platform accounted for 47% of our sales last year. Indies really need to cover as wide range of hardware and platforms as they possibly can. This is a far larger 'niche' than technophiles with the budget for SLI rigs and an unsatiable thirst for pixel shaders!

To read the rest of the comments click over to the site below.

Tales Of The Rampant Coyote: Indies Roundtable 1

Apple Trademark Extension Renews Gaming Speculation
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple recently filed to update its trademark in relation to gaming, leading to renewed speculation about the company's future plans. The trademark filing relates to "Toys, games and playthings, namely, hand-held units for playing electronic games; hand-held units for playing video games; stand alone video game machines; electronic games other than those adapted for use with television receivers only; LCD game machines; electronic educational game machines; toys, namely battery-powered computer games."

From Joystiq:

The revised trademark will associate "Apple" with a number of gaming-related categories, including "hand-held units for playing video games", and "stand alone video game machines". Of interest here is the specificity of these categories; the iPod may be a device which allows game playing, but it is arguably not a device "for" playing games, leading us to believe the trademark extension may reference an entirely new product dedicated to gaming.

On a possibly related note, Apple posted a job listing in September of last year for a "Game Producer/Designer." The position may be related to game development on the iPod series, however, and not to any new product.
For more information follow the links provided below.

Joystiq: Apple Revises Trademark
Ars Technica: Apple Trademark Extension

Mac Games News for Monday, February 11, 2008

Macgamestore: Penumbra: Overture, The Nightshift Code2:13 PM
Inside Mac Games Previews Tomb Raider: Anniversary2:09 PM
EVE Online Reviewed6:00 AM
Lich King Bestiary Update6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Q&A Round 296:00 AM
Wrath Of The Lich King Preview Part 36:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, February 11, 2008 on one page

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