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Monday, April 14, 2008

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BattleGround Europe Developer Chat Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A recent chat with developers of World War II Online: Battleground Europe is now available for download from the official website. During the discussion the developers answered a variety of player questions about the game's engine and damage model.

An improved version of the original WWII Online, Battleground Europe is an online multiplayer war game which features air, sea, and ground units engaged in massive real time battles. The game's environment contains over 600 cities.

Close to 100 people logged in to discuss the damage model. Players peppered DOC with so many meaty questions that the chat lasted nearly 2 hours!

Topics covered included:
• How rounds are tracked post penetration
• How fires and explosions work
• Why "overmatch" isn't modeled
• What is going to be changed or improved in the future regarding ATG models
• Bailing out and what it means within the vehicle spawning part of the game engine
• Visual damage models and how they work
Head over to the site below to download the MP3 file and listen to the full discussion.

Battleground Europe: Rat Chat #3
Battleground Europe
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

MacCentral and MacMintue Founder, Stan Flack, Passes Away
1:46 PM | Tuncer Deniz | 5 comments

It is with great sadness to report that one of our good friends from the Mac community, Stan Flack, has passed away due to complications to a pre-existing condition. Stan was 43.

Stan founded MacCentral in 1994 and later sold to Macworld in 1999. A few years later he went on to create MacMinute, another Mac news site.

While I never met Stan is person, I chatted with him over the phone and iChat several times and always found him to be extremely intelligent, helpful, and friendly.

We would like send our prayers and thoughts to Stan's family. May he rest in peace.

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Brock Beaubien Discusses Jack Keane
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Game Zone has posted a new interview with Strategy First's Brock Beaubien. The Q&A offers insights into Jack Keane, the company's adventure game which features a comical storyline and a variety of puzzles. Among other things Beaubien discusses the game's cast of colorful characters and the importance of storytelling in the adventure game genre.

“In the point-and-click adventure genre, you must have a solid, supportable storyline,” said Brock Beaubien, Producer at Strategy First. “You need characters with depth to develop on. The game must have a well-written script, with plenty of interesting dialogue and lots of options. Also, an easy to use game engine is important, leaving more room for enjoyment of the game, and not learning the controls. Everything can be operated with just the mouse. To make a point-and-click adventure game you really need to remember one thing – keep it fun.”

It’s that attitude toward game development that formed the building blocks of Jack Keane, the next adventure game from Strategy First. “We have likable characters, attractive scenarios and a humorous story,” Beaubien says. “On top of that we have witty and comical dialogue that branches out into many areas and fun puzzles to keep you thinking. You basically can’t go wrong! Jump into the game and try everything, it’s almost more fun to do something wrong so you can chuckle at everything the game offers. There is always another laugh around the corner.”
Click over to the site below to read the rest of the interview.

Game Zone: Jack Keane Interview
10tacle Studios
Jack Keane
Buy Jack Keane

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Myst Online's Demise And The Future Of Cyan Worlds
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Gamers With Jobs has posted a new interview with Cyan Worlds' Rand Miller. The discussion covers the demise of Myst Online: Uru Live, recenly shut down by GameTap. The interview also covers Rand's feelings about the MMO market and the developer's plans for the future.

Rand Miller is the co-creator of one of the most successful video game titles of all time: the Myst series. Until Will Wright decided to own the space with endless SimVariants, the franchises 12 million copies sold proved that serious games could sell. Myst remains one of the seminal titles of video games on any platform. It taught a legion of game designers how to make photorealistic settings and CD-quality sound design matter at a time (1993) when the world was just discovering how to use 3d textures in Doom. It exposed millions of gamers to the joys of unashamed exploration at a time when blowing things up was what the cool kids were doing.
The interview is available for download from the website below.

Gamers With Jobs: Interview With Rand Miller
Myst Online: Uru Live

StarCraft Bot Battle: Which Race Wins?
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

A recent addition to the Twenty Sided blog features an analysis of the artificial intelligence powering Terran, Zerg, and Protoss computer players in StarCraft. While none of the three races seem to offer an overwhelming advantage in the hands of a human player the blog post explores which race is the most powerful under computer control.

About a month ago I wrote a Starcraft scenario which allowed you to observe a game between AI players. I’ve been curious about the quirks in the Starcraft AI and I’ve wanted a chance to see them do their thing in a deterministic environment. I learned some surprising things about this ten-year-old gem. While the races themselves are very nearly balanced in the hands of humans, it turns out the AI is a lot better at using some races compared to others.

The setup is this: Seven AI players. Randomized start locations. Using the Broodwar expansion. The last “player” is the human observer, who controls no units but who can see the entire map. The script in question runs on the map “The Hunters”, although it could easily be exported to other maps. There are two Protoss players, two Zerg players, and three Terran Players. The computer players are all set to “insane” level difficulty, informed that all other players are their enemy, and told to go at it. Mayhem ensues.

I’d usually let the game run overnight and check on the results in the morning. (Yes! This was my solution for being too busy to play computer games, I programmed a game to play itself for me!) A game normally takes a couple of hours, although rarely one will end in an hour, and several became endless stalemates.
For the rest of the analysis click over to the site linked below.

Twenty Sided: StarCraft Bot Fight

Mac Games News for Friday, April 11, 2008

Burger Shop Served Up For Macs9:41 PM
IMG Reviews the Saitek Eclipse Keyboard12:27 PM
IMG Reviews the Rain Design mStand [Updated]9:54 AM
IMG Reviews Hordes of Orcs6:33 AM
Designing The Sims 36:00 AM
HermitWorks Hoping To Bring Space Trader To iPhone, iPod6:00 AM
Mountain Tanks Updated6:00 AM
Reynir Harđarson Discusses EVE Online6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Using the Reaper/Medivac Combo6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 11, 2008 on one page

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