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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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Eschalon: Book II Officially Announced
2:09 PM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Basilisk Games, an independent computer game developer specializing in role-playing games, today announced that Eschalon: Book II has entered full production and is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2009 for Macintosh, Windows, and Linux-based computers.

The sequel to the award winning 2007 role-playing game Eschalon: Book I, Book II will continue the storyline from where it ended in the previous game and feature more than 60 gameplay enhancements.

"Basilisk Games is very excited to announce that we will be releasing Book II early next year. Classic, old-school computer role-playing is very much a viable market and we have been happy with the consumer response to Book I." commented Thomas Riegsecker, Lead Developer of the Eschalon series. "Book II will be an exciting step forward for the series."
More about the game:
Eschalon: Book II is the sequel to 2007's acclaimed independent RPG Eschalon: Book I. Built on an updated engine and the same design principals as its predecessor, Book II features a huge tile-built game world and a unique approach to turn-based gameplay. Thousands of items, creatures, NPCs, dungeons, traps, and puzzles await your discovery in this old-school role-playing game inspired by such classics as Ultima, Might & Magic and Wizardry.

• Book II continues Eschalon's world events where Book I ended, though no previous experience is needed to enjoy the game. Book II features a sprawling story spanning three regions with cause-and-effect outcomes to many quests.
• Book II uses an updated game engine running at 1024 x 768 native resolution. Hundreds of new graphic elements, tiles, sound effects and music means Book II is not just a remix of Book I.
• New weather effects including snow, rain, and thunderstorms which can affect gameplay stats and skills.
• New gender selection (play as a male or female), additional skills and enhanced skill development allows you to advance your character as high as level 30.
• Enhanced GUI includes additional save game slots, increased number of Inventory and Quick Slot spaces, new Key Ring and Potion Mixer, "Equipment configuration" presets for convenient swapping of entire armor and weapons sets, and more!
• New difficulty modes, challenges and tracked statistics add to replay value.
• ...and much, much more! Over 60 new or enhanced features are being integrated into Book II!
Check out a collection of pre-alpha screenshots at the official website linked below.

Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

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Inside Mac Games Reviews the Sennheiser PC 350 Headset
2:44 PM | Bryan Clodfelter | 1 comment

Inside Mac Games is pleased to announce that our review of the Sennheiser PC 350 headset is up and ready for your reading enjoyment. This headset represents the pointy end of Sennheiser's recent foray into the PC gaming market, and while it is expensive, the PC 350 delivers an aural experience that is almost impossible to match. If you're interested in learning more about what an audiophile-grade headset can do for your gaming life, we encourage you to read the review, or preview a portion of the article here:

While the PC 350 is advertised by Sennheiser as being a gaming headset, for MSRP $250, it had better be adept at delivering more than staccato gunfire and voluminous explosions to your ears. And deliver it does. After throwing a number of curve-balls at the PC 350, ranging from Franz Liszt's "Evening Harmony" to Daft Punk's "Robot Rock," the headset put up a brilliant performance. However, it was not without fault. Although the mid-to-high frequency audio output could be characterized as bright and very crisp, I detected a modest amount of overemphasis in the 10-16 KHz range (meaning that harmonics were slightly too strong relative to their fundamentals). While "harsh" is far too strong a term to describe this shortcoming (considering the fact that I had to crank up the volume on songs with crashing cymbals and high-pitched digital effects before listening became uncomfortable), on such an expensive headset, it was enough to merit the solitary one-point deduction that the PC 350 received during the evaluation.
To check out the rest of the review, follow the link below!

IMG Review of the Sennheiser PC 350 Headset
PC 350

TransGaming Launches GameTree Online
2:01 PM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

TransGaming has announced the launch of GameTree Online, the company’s digital distribution portal for Mac video games. The service will provide consumers worldwide with the ability to purchase and download game titles from leading publishers, plus obtain game news, participate in promotional opportunities, and write game reviews. Continual updates are planned for the portal, introducing new titles from leading publishers and developers, presenting Mac consumers with a mix of strategy, action, sports, and family games.

In addition to offering global distribution for new game releases, GameTree Online will offer publishers and developers a channel to distribute their back catalog of games. Through the use of Cider emulation TransGaming plans to release titles that haven't yet made it to Mac, as well as enter into digital distribution agreements with publishers and developers owning popular Mac titles only available in select countries.

"Our GameTree Online launch marks the new age of Mac gaming around the world, and will make it easier then ever for Mac consumers to enjoy the games they love. We are expanding our current relationships with leading publishers and developers beyond Mac enablement, with our Cider Portability Engine, to offer our partners a global distribution strategy that meets the rapidly expanding consumer demand. This allows greater revenue generation opportunities for all parties,” commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming Technologies. “Cider has quickly become the industry standard for Mac gaming and with GameTree Online we plan to release new titles regularly and establish our position as the leaders in Mac games digital distribution,"

Consumer access to video games through Internet download services has become a very popular strategy for both Windows-PC and console games in recent years. GameTree Online will now enable the Mac gaming community with comparable services, focusing on Mac games selection and global consumer access. The Mac user community has the highest broadband utilization of any desktop computer demographic, making the launch of GameTree Online a timely and logical step in the evolution of serving the Mac community.
Head over to the site below to learn more.

GameTree Online

An Early Look At Wingnuts Moto Racer
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Freeverse recently published an in-house preview of Wingnuts Moto Racer, one of several titles the company has in the works for Apple's iPhone. The preview gives a few hints at the 3D racing game's action, although some of the article was edited to avoid violating a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Apple.

I recently got a chance to play Moto Racer, and I must say that it was amazing. Now, I'm not normally a fan of racing games; I've just never been good at them. I'll constantly veer off the track, smash into obstacles, and generally have an unpleasant time. But Moto Racer, well, that was a completely different story. When I first held the developer iPod Touch to try the game out, I wasn't too sure what to expect.

As I piloted my craft through each quickly approaching checkpoint, I began to fear my ability to complete the race. No, I began to fear my ability to complete just half of the race. As I said, I'm terrible at racing games. This one, though, had a very arcade-like feel to it. You don't need know the complicated workings of a motorcycle gear system to have a blast with this. Just pick it up and go. That's the kind of attitude I like in a game. It's the kind of attitude I've come to expect from Freeverse.
Click over to the link below to read more.

Wingnuts Moto Racer First Look

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Speculating On The Future Of iPhone Gaming
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld's Peter Cohen recently penned a new editorial examining the iPhone's potential as a mobile gaming platform. Citing early efforts of game developers to make use of Apple's portable phone, Cohen sees a bright future for iPhone gaming in the mobile phone market.

Despite an enormous amount of energy in mobile gaming over the last several years, it’s really been a tag-along to the console gaming market, however. Most phones are still very limited in processing capability and storage capacity, which has really constrained how detailed and how good these games can get. They’re often very poor imitations of their console counterparts, or backwards games that remind players a lot more of 15-year-old Game Boy titles than they do of something you’d expect to play in 2008.

From all indications I’m seeing in the developer community, the iPhone is going to shake things up in the mobile gaming market very dramatically. Its support of OpenGL ES, a 3-D graphics API, OpenAL, a positional sound API, and its basis in Cocoa development make the iPhone a keen platform for developers who are accustomed to modern computers and consoles. Developers don’t have to jump through the same hoops they’d have to developing for other phones. That’s why EA was able to get Spore running on the iPhone, as it demonstrated a few months ago when Apple unveiled the iPhone SDK. Sega did the same thing with its Super Monkey Ball game. And that only scratches the surface—there’s a ton of original game development coming down the pipe for iPhone as well.
Read the full article at the link provided below.

Macworld: A Game Changer For Phone Games

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Wild West Online: A Quarter Million Gunfights And Counting
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Tenderfoot Games recently announced that the open beta version of Wild West Online: Gunfighter has been host to over 250,000 gunfights in its first month. In the game players take the role of a gunslinger in the 19th Century American West. As gun fighters, players engage in tactical duels, working their way across hundreds of towns and territories as they make a name for themselves.

“We’re gratified but not surprised that players have really gotten into Gunfighter,” said Ariel Butler, Executive Producer for Tenderfoot Games. “The amazing thing is how fast word is spreading. We haven’t even begun to build in the ties to social networking that will really spread this game to players around the world.” Butler added, “The game is very easy to learn. Players quickly find there are multiple paths to victory, allowing extreme play flexibility. It’s great mental exercise, because you must outthink your opponents to win. We’ve been playing this game throughout its development and even we keep discovering new, viable strategies!”

“WildWestOnline: Gunfighter’s ability to draw an audience has proven there’s a large, unfulfilled desire for Western-themed games,” Butler continued. “Our game gives fans of the genre a chance to immerse themselves in a time when conflicts were settled – sometimes famously – with determination and loaded six-guns. Best of all, it’s a game that does not require massive time commitment. If you have a few spare minutes or need a short mental break from work, you can drop in and blow off some stress with a quick gunfight.
Head over to the site below to learn more about the game.

Wild West Online: Gunfighter

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Colin McRae Rally Mac Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

The Apple Blog recently posted a new review of Colin McRae Rally Mac. The game features over 30 cars, more than 300 stages, nine different international locations, and realistic physics and car handling. The Apple Blog recommended the game for its realism in gameplay and graphics.

From the review:

The remarkable graphics of the game come in to play with those dirt roads. The trees, rocks, and fences you pass by are really well detailed, and the dust kicks up in clouds. Winter and rain driving reveals impressive weather effects (you can customize the weather when you play, and choose to play in rain or snow). If you can’t keep your car on the road for whatever reason, be careful about colliding with anything, as I discovered that damage does affect the performance of your car (like a real car would), and it accumulates when you’re playing in a campaign mode (you have to pay to have that damage repaired). The damage on the car visually matches the damage icon in the lower left, though I noticed in one case that my completely trashed Ford Focus, with chassis exposed, still had pristine-looking headlights and tail lights. Not a huge glitch, as the rest of the car and game have been fairly flawless.
Performance and System Requirements

My PowerMac G5 (Dual Proc, 1.8 GHz, 128 VRAM) looked fairly good on the minimum settings (it gave me “unsupported” warnings, but still worked), though later trying it on a MacBook Pro Core Duo 2.1 GHz with 128 MB of VRAM was even more impressive. Sadly, the game won’t even run on machines with the Intel GMA integrated graphics chips. That leaves out the low-end Macs, like the MacBook and Mac mini. Whatever machine you use, you’ll want to allocate 4 GB in your Applications folder for the game’s files.
The full review is available from the link below.

The Apple Blog: Colin McRae Rally Review
Feral Interactive
Colin McRae Rally

Mac Games News for Monday, June 9, 2008

Apple Unveils iPhone 2.0, iPhone 3G12:16 PM
A History Of Computer Role Playing Games6:00 AM
EVE Online: Empyrean Age Trailer & Screenshots6:00 AM
Neverwinter Nights Design Doc Released?6:00 AM
Penny Arcade Adventures Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, June 9, 2008 on one page

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