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Monday, June 23, 2008

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Discussing The Empyrean Age
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

CCP Games recently revealed four new videos with developer commentary on EVE Online's expansion, The Empyrean Age. The videos feature commentary from Tony Gonzales, Noah Ward, Mathew Woodward, and Nathan Richardsson about the recently launched expansion and its effect on the sci-fi MMO. Based on a novel of the same name, Empyrean Age focuses on factional warfare and is designed to make PvP combat more accessible to all players.

Tony Gonzales
Tony Gonzales Lead Writer, explains that tensions built within the Empyrean Age novel were developed to entice both veteran EVE players and the “uninitiated” science fiction fan. Gonzales also toys with the idea of writing a sequel to the book.
Noah Ward
EVE's Lead Designer, Noah Ward discusses the new features in Trinity 1.1: Boost Patch. Learn all about the new improvements, deadlier ships and interface renovations now available.
Mathew Woodward
Mathew Woodward, Game Designer for Empyrean Age, tells us “These new missions give players the strength of narrative.” New missions within Factional Warfare alter the focus from isolated PvE, taking these objectives and tying them into the sweeping story found in The Empyrean Age novel.
Nathan Richardsson
Nathan Richardsson Executive Producer, discusses the origins of EVE Online while providing an overview of Empyrean Age’s features. All out war was the most brutal and obvious choice for this new expansion. Was this war inevitable? Yes. Richardsson also offers his view on what makes PvP exciting and worthwhile.
Check out the new video content at the page linked below.

The Empyrean Age Site
CCP Games
EVE Online

The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Mac|Life recently posted a new review of The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures. The side scrolling action adventure game features the voices of famous actors, with 50 percent of the game sales going to benefit the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation. Mac|Life gave the game a score of 4 out of 5.

From the review:

But this is no fly-by-night casual game. Developed by Legacy Interactive in conjunction with the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, The Tuttles is a first-time attempt at utilizing casual games to raise funds for a nonprofit. Fifty percent of the proceeds from game sales will go to help seriously ill children around the world. Some big-name voices contributed, including William Shatner, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Bob Saget, and the game was named the 2007 GameTunnel Kids Game of the Year, and won the 2008 Silver Honor Award from Parents’ Choice Foundation.

The 2D graphics are stunning. Between-level scenes are simple, animated, comic-book style cartoons. The objects and characters you interact with are vivid and colorful, and the lighting brings the whole game to life…especially underwater. Several layers of background imagery scroll at different rates, so you feel as though the environment is 3D, even though it’s not.
For the full review follow the link provided below.

Mac|Life: The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures Review

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Evolutionary Fun With The Spore Creature Creator
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Macworld's Peter Cohen has published his early experiences with the recently released Spore Creature Creator. Showcasing the creature creation tools from Will Wright's upcoming Spore god sim, the game allows users to craft their own unique creation using a variety of parts and tools.

What makes Spore Creature Creator so fun is the ability to create and quickly animate a creature from your own imagination. The software places a few basic limitations on you—creatures can only be a certain size; they need to have arms in multiples of two; and they can only have so many appendages, orifices and sensory organs. But within that framework the sky’s the limit.

Each time I fire it up—and I find myself drawn inexorably to Spore Creature Creator at least a few times a day—I immediately find myself surrounded by my kids, who offer observations or critiques of their own, offering to help me edit my designs, making suggestions for ways to improve my creature, make it look more intimidating or silly, suggesting different color schemes. (Some of my creations are featured in this article.)
Check out the rest of the article at the link below.

Macworld: Having Fun With The Spore Creature Creator
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

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PopCap's Casual Journey
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has published a lengthy new interview with PopCap Games' co-founder John Vechey, CEO David Roberts and PR director Garth Chouteau. The Q&A covers a variety of topics about the casual games developer including the success of Peggle, developing casual games for the iPhone, and the company's future projects.

You had an existing relationship with Apple, because you had games on iTunes already. Did that make it easier to transition into proper iPhone development stuff?
DR: Apple's pretty compartmentalized, so in some sense it probably made it easier, but we weren't really at a particular advantage with any of the iPhone stuff. As everybody knows, they're obsessively secretive and careful about that. Internally, PopCap had a bunch of ex-Apple people who were running the ranks here, and I still don't think we had any more of an advantage.
But we do have a soft spot for Apple, so we committed to the iPod stuff. We did start on that one really early. We did start on that one. It's been great. That's been good for us, but it was a lot of work, to do the iPod stuff.

JV: And we had the first iPhone game -- the browser-based game -- with Bejeweled. We just kind of whipped it out because we thought it would be cool.

DR: That wasn't because of a special relationship with Apple.

JV: Yeah. It was funny, though, because our special relationship with Apple is that... I think Bejeweled is now on every single... you go to and go to the iPhone page, you will see pictures of Bejeweled. It's completely ubiquitous in their marketing.
At some point, someone said, "Ooh, that little gem game looks interesting. We're going to put it out and market it."
Click on the link below to read the full Q&A

Gamasutra: PopCap, The Complexity Of Being Casual
PopCap Games

Mac Games News for Saturday, June 21, 2008

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