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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Software Update Feature Comes To Aspyr's Game Agent
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 20 comments

Aspyr Media has released a free update for the Game Agent application for Mac. The update will introduce the ability to notify users automatically when patches or updates are available for Aspyr games installed on their Macs. Through the new Software Update feature users will be able to define how often Game Agent will check for updates and when to install any patches.

Aspyr's Game Agent is free utility that allows you to easily match your computer hardware with the system requirements of Aspyr's game titles. Game Agent will automatically identify which games will run on your current system and determine necessary system upgrades for any other Aspyr games, if needed. It also lets you see what games will run on current Mac models Apple sells, in case you are looking to buy a new computer or want to check system requirements against a different machine.

With the newly updated Game Agent application, users will now be notified automatically when patches or updates are available for Aspyr games installed on their Mac.  The new Software Update feature is similar to the Software Update feature run through Mac OS X, and will periodically check your computer for any updates available for Aspyr games installed on your computer.

Users are able to change the frequency at which Game Agent checks for game updates through the Settings in Game Agent Preferences, or can check at any time on their own by clicking "Software Updates" on the sidebar.  Once updates are identified, users can select to implement those immediately or ignore them.

If you already have the Game Agent application, this update will occur automatically the next time the program is run.  
For more information follow the links below.

Game Agent
Aspyr Media

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Inside Mac Games Reviews the Rain Design mStand
2:20 PM | Bryan Clodfelter | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games is pleased to announce that our official review of Rain Design's mStand notebook stand is up and ready for your reading enjoyment. Here's a clip from the review:

Enter the Rain Design mStand. Carved out of a single block of aluminum, sand blasted, and then silver anodized, the mStand looks and feels like it came straight out of Jonathan Ive's secret workshop (or a futuristic, ream-sized paper clamp factory). Although the specifications of the mStand indicate that it was designed specifically to complement Apple's widescreen laptops, one glance at the stand's durable construction suggests that Rain Design is underestimating the capabilities of their own product. On the other hand, we can see why they're so enthusiastic about mating a Mac to the mStand. It matches the look and feel of Apple's "Pro" lineup perfectly, and the it's just the right height to raise the top of your MacBook or MacBook Pro's screen to eye level; the point at which your back and shoulders snap into alignment, the stress on your various muscles and joints falls into balance, and Steve Jobs boots into Windows to play an epic round of Supreme Commander against Steve Ballmer.
Believe it or not, we found that this stand acts as a rather large heatsink, allowing your MacBook or MacBook Pro to stay cooler longer. To put it bluntly, lower heat equals higher performance. As strange as it sounds, Mac performance enthusiasts may want to add the mStand to their lists of hardware upgrades, right alongside faster hard drives and additional RAM. To check out the rest of the review, follow the link below.

IMG Review of the Rain Design mStand
Rain Design

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Chopper 1.2 Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Developer Majic Jungle Software has released Chopper 1.2, their side-scrolling action helicopter game. The update is a major upgrade, adding ambient sound effects, new graphics, and a completely new sound engine. Version 1.2 also includes four new missions and 3D surround sound.

New desert and cave based missions have been added bringing the total number up to seventy-two across three difficulty levels.

In 'Beyond The Caves' you fly through tight gaps to rescue hostages on the other side. 'The Cliffs Have Eyes' plummets you multiple times into valleys surrounded by cliffs filled with bazooka wielding mad men.

New in This Version:
* Three new levels set in a new desert theme
* Now uses OpenAL to provide 3D surround sound
* Added ambient sound effects
* Uses smaller images on lower end computers for faster loading and frame rates
* One new level in a new cave theme
* Fixes rare bug where all sounds failed to play
* Controls are now displayed on loading screens
* 60 minute trial
* One new level in a new cave theme
* Can use 'ijkl' keys to control chopper
* Suburbia level is a little more interesting
* Fixes bug where Cmd-F did not work to switch to fullscreen from windowed
Click over to the links below for more information.

Majic Jungle Software

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Apple Games Features Fable The Lost Chapters
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 8 comments

The latest feature from Apple Games focuses on the long awaited Fable: The Lost Chapters. Created by Lionhead Studios and brought to the Mac by Feral Interactive, the game invites players to take the role of a legendary Hero and create his life story from child to old man. Apple's article includes an overview of the game with comments from Lionhead's Peter Molyneux and Dene Carter, an examination of the game's story, and a few tips and tricks for success.

As in a typical RPG, Hero earns experience points that allow him to improve his abilities in various ways. Rather than requiring you to choose a discipline, such as warrior or mage, however, the game simply lets you spend those points as you see fit. If you want to turn Hero into a powerful spellcaster, you can do that. Or perhaps he should be a skilled archer or swordsman. Or maybe his path lies along a jack-of-all-trades route, dabbling in both magic and weapons without focusing solely on one skill.

“Several team members were very keen pencil-and-paper role-players when they were younger, and they had very specific complaints about computer RPGs,” explains Carter. “For example, they force you to pick a character class with no foreknowledge of the game, leading you to wonder: ‘What the heck is a ShadowBlinger?’ And they insist you play a specific character, usually someone fairly irritating, rather than allowing you to express your own personality.”

He notes: “Fable has been balanced to be fun, rather than hard, so that it allows you to develop your own strategies and enjoy the world. As a result, our folks have a lot of favored strategies. We have people who slash their way through innocent villagers and return home to their loving wives. Others refuse to use a sword and only use a bow. Ultimately, we don’t punish a player for choosing to play a specific way — it’s their choice.”
The full article is available at the link below.

Apple Games: Fable The Lost Chapters
Feral Interactive
Fable: The Lost Chapters
Buy Fable: The Lost Chapters

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Avatars Planned For EVE Online
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has published a new interview with EVE Online’s senior technical producer, Torfi Frans Olafsson. The Q&A focuses on his work on the “walk-in stations” concept which will, for the first time, give players a physical avatar for their characters. The changes will allow players to visit space stations and participate in a variety of activities including gambling and hiring NPCs to staff player run offices.

There’s also a new interface for corp recruitment. Players are going to be able to rent NPC bots as staff within their offices, which we eventually intend to be programmable. Players will be able to set up dialogue trees, and give and receive items. We’ll be able to have players setting up their own missions using these dialogue tree systems. These bots can also be representative for the players, recruiters or a bar-tender bot. These station services that I mention are going to be player-owned. My vision is to have as little as NPC-driven stuff in there as possible. The avatar-services, bars, and offices are all going to be built by players, and will require rent. Running in bar in Yulai will cost a little more than running a bar in some abandoned low-sec station.

If you think about how certain other world-like MMO systems work, people come in, they build stuff, then they move on. Other people come in look around, go build their own stuff, and leave. It’s all empty, dead, but still there. So you have some kind of post-apocalypse where the structures are there and there are no people. I don’t like this because it doesn’t push people together, and that’s why I want upkeep and rent in our businesses. The business that are not people will just fade away, as in real life.

So also in stations people are going to be able to meet and play mini games. They’re going to be playing gambling games… you know you don’t call up your friends in real life and say “I know this great ten metre by ten metre hall in town, with nothing in it. Let’s go and stand in there and talk…” You don’t do that. You always have a mission: drink beer, shoot some pool. We translate that directly to games. In Eve people hang out and mine, or run mission gangs. They’re not just chatting. This is why we’re including these gambling games. We’re going to implement some very familiar strategic games, such as poker, and go. These games are all visible too, so they can become spectator sports. People can gamble away their fortunes and give people something to talk about.
Head over to the site below to read more.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: The Future Of EVE
CCP Games
EVE Online

Mac Games News for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Avernum 5 Version 1.04 Released6:00 AM
Discussing Ten Years Of StarCraft6:00 AM
GPU "Shoot 'em Up": Early 2008 MacBook Pros Vs Others6:00 AM
Hordes Of Orcs Update Adds Improved AI, New Maps6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, April 2, 2008 on one page

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