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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

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Hordes Of Orcs Update Adds Improved AI, New Maps
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Freeverse and MrJoy have announced a new update to Hordes of Orcs, their 3D tower defense game. Version 1.1.3 features new levels and an improved Artificial Intelligence and is a free update for all registered owners of the game.

What's New in version 1.1.3:

• Three new Maze Defense maps: Swirl, Back and Forth and Chip!
• Improved main menu interface.
• Fixes the Shiny! map.
• Walls are slightly larger so they don't look tiny compared to the Orcs when zoomed in.
• Orcs are now smarter when navigating maps at high speeds.
• Various graphical and bug fixes.
• Game now pulls balance changes from the +7systems Balance Engine.
• Auto-launch of new waves doesn't "stop" randomly anymore.
More information about the game, including a full demo, screenshots, and a game trailer, is available from Freeverse's website.

Hordes of Orcs

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GPU "Shoot 'em Up": Early 2008 MacBook Pros Vs Others
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Barefeats recently released a MacBook Pro GPU comparison test pitting two "early 2008" MacBook Pros against several previous MacBook Pro models. The tests evaluate performance in a variety of applications including games like Quake 4 and Unreal Tournament 2004.

Notice that the fastest MacBook Pro in the game comparison was the "mid 2007" 17" MacBook Pro with GeForce 8600M. Why? Because the core and memory clock of the graphics processor is allowed to ramp up higher in 17" MacBook Pros -- probably because they have a larger (and therefore more efficient) heat sink than the 15" MacBook Pros.

Just looking at 15" MacBook Pros, the "early 2008" Penryn based MacBook Pros have no advantage over the "2007" Santa Rosa based MacBook Pros with the same graphics processor (GeForce 8600M GT) when it comes to gaming.

We didn't bother to post the numbers, but trust us, you don't want to try running 3D accelerated games on the "Penryn" MacBook or the MacBook Air. They have the integrated GMA X3100 GPU which is a real "dog" when it comes to 3D OpenGL.
To check out all the results follow the link below.

Barefeats: MacBook Pro Graphics Benchmarks

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Discussing Ten Years Of StarCraft
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

IGN has published a new interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Chris Sigaty, Sam Didier, and Frank Pearce. The three discuss the StarCraft phenomenon on its tenth anniversary, and look ahead to the future of the sci-fi RTS franchise.

IGN: StarCraft has sold over 9.5 million copies worldwide. Everyone agrees it's a great game. But there has to be a reason it caught on as it did, worldwide. Because many great games don't sell anywhere as close to what StarCraft has done. Do you attribute to What do you think is the catalyst?

Frank Pearce: Definitely is a factor. The personality that we inject into the experience through the sounds; the personality that we inject through the portraits. Because the units are only so high. Looking at it from the top-down perspective, the units have a distinct look, but they don't have a lot of visual personality beyond their distinct look. But when you throw the portrait of the unit on the screen and you give it that voice, all of a sudden you've injected personality into this

Chris Sigaty: The thing that we've always done--not me personally, but the company--has ended up hitting on are these sort of common themes. Grabbing the right portions of these common themes so that it's more accessible, so it's the coolest aspects of those things. So the coolest parts of the Star Wars thing, and the coolest parts of the characters and the story, and they all end up adding to why those games, and why particularly Blizzard does well, or why StarCraft does well in a situation where another great game didn't necessarily, maybe that accessibility? Not always necessarily due to the actual user interface or that sort of thing, but really the big themes that are there.

Sam Didier: I kind of attribute the longevity of it, it all boils down for me to the gameplay. Because I look at the art now, and it's horrible. [laughter]. It's not the art that's keeping the game going. But the gameplay is super fun, everyone loves to play it. It's simple to play, but if you want to be a bad ass, it also has that component of the game. It's sort of like chess. The art is nothing really great to look at; it works, but it's still a fun game to play. You can play it against your friend; it doesn't take four hours to play a game, you can play a couple of games at lunch, and you're done. It has a good, timeless feel to it.Click on the link below to read the rest of the Q&A.

IGN: StarCraft 10th Anniversary Interview
Blizzard Entertainment

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Avernum 5 Version 1.04 Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software recently updated Avernum 5, the latest title in the long running Avernum RPG series. The update brings the game to version 1.04 and fixes several scripting errors including one rare problem with the Lysstak the Beast fight.

We have released Avernum 5 v1.0.1 for Windows and v1.0.4 for the Macintosh. This new version fixes several scripting errors, including a very rare but unpleasant problem with the Lysstak the Beast fight. Just download and install the full version and you will be upgraded. Your registration and saved games will be unaffected.
Head over to the site listed below for more information.

Spiderweb Software
Avernum 5
Buy Avernum 5

Mac Games News for Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Burning Crusade Raid Pages Unveiled6:00 AM
Eschalon: Book I Reviewed6:00 AM
Kudos Rock Legend Available For Macs6:00 AM
StarCraft Turns Ten6:00 AM
Unity Coming To iPhone6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, April 1, 2008 on one page

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