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Friday, July 4, 2008

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Europa Universalis: Rome Digital Download Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Virtual Programming has announced that Europa Universalis: Rome for the Macintosh platform is now available as a digital download. The boxed version of the product will be available soon. Paradox Interactive's EU:R is a stand alone game that utilizes the Europa Universalis 3 engine and covers the time period from the first Punic War to the start of the true Empire. Players have thousands of gameplay choices ranging from country, culture, provincial and character options.

Key Features:

• Fully 3D map with integrated graphics and detailed topography.
• Start at any date between 280 B.C. and 27 B.C.
• Choose between 10 different cultures, including the Roman, Celtic, Greek and Egyptian civilizations, with more than 53 playable factions on a map spanning hundreds of provinces.
• Watch your characters develop new traits through political intrigue and various interactions with thousands of other characters.
• Trade, negotiate or fight with your neighbors and advance your technologies to unite the Mediterranean World.
• Robust multiplayer allows you to challenge up to 32 players either competitively or in co-op mode.
System Requirements:
• OS X 10.3.9 or higher
• Intel or PPC G5
• GeForce 5200, Radeon 9600 (not GMA950)
• 64 MB VRAM
• 512 MB RAM
• 700 MB hard disk space
• Broadband connection for Internet play & Product Registration
Europa Universalis: Rome costs $39.95 and is available for download at the site below. Multiplayer for EU: Rome is managed through Paradox Interactive's Metaserver.

Virtual Programming
Europa Universalis: Rome
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Maverick Software Announces iPhone Lineup
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Maverick Software, a developer of Mac casual games, has announced a lineup of original games and toys for the iPhone and iPod Touch.  All native iPhone OS applications developed from the ground up for the new devices, they will be available on the iPhone App Store. 

The new products include:

Comet Cowboy - A unique action game that uses the multi-touch display to let you zip around space, mining comets by lassoing them with your laser.  With sharp graphics, multiple levels, and automatic quick save when you get a call or switch to another app, it's the perfect game to play when you have a few minutes to kill.  Comet Cowboy will be available for $4.99 on the App Store at launch. 

Yulan Mahjong Solitaire - The classic tile matching game, specifically redesigned for the iPhone.  Zoom in and out on the tile board with a pinch, select tiles with a tap, and even ask for a hint if you get stuck.  Includes 8 board layouts and infinite levels of undo if you work yourself into a corner.  Yulan Mahjong Solitaire will be available for $4.99 on the App Store at launch.

Snowglobe - Turn your phone into a snowglobe!  Shake the phone to make the flakes swirl around, or tilt the phone to watch them fall whichever way is down.  You can even pick any picture from your photo library to be inside the globe, and customize the size, speed, and number of snowflakes.  Available for only 99 cents on the App Store at launch.  

Blip Solitaire - A fun variation of the classic Pong game, played solo.  Simply tap to move your paddle around a circle, keeping the ball bouncing from side to side. Simple to play but addictive.  Available for free on the App Store at launch.
For more information about Maverick's titles head over to the website at the link below.

Maverick Software

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StarCraft II Karune Q&A Part 2
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has posted the second part of a discussion with Blizzard's Kevin Yu (Karune) about the upcoming StarCraft II. The discussion touches on a variety of topics including ongoing balance changes, the map editor, when the game might be released, and SC II's new 3D engine.

Blizzard Forums - A Mess
The natural continuation of Community responses to changes is of course, and its sub-par quality compared to the WoW-boards. It seems apparent that the reason why no revamp has been made recently is because they are working on some huge changes. The info we got from the Diablo 3 panels as well as Karune seems to indicate this as well: There will be a whole new system for the site, and all the boards will be moderated on a standard equal to WoW. Some of the reasons why this has been delayed are the intense work on the Diablo 3 site as well as content pages for StarCraft. By content pages, he meant things like character bios and unit lor

Map Editor
In addition to, the new and improved StarEdit will get a great enhance. One of the features that has been mentioned before is that it seems we will be able to create custom races in StarCraft II. It was hinted on by Sigaty, and Karune went all the way, saying that with the new editor, it's possible for players to create "every single race for every single RTS game ever released". If this is just a manner of showing how easy it is to change association and stats, or if it actually might mean that the editor will come with some simple 3D model editor or texture editor is hard to say. It does indeed not seem unlikely.
To read the rest of the interview click on the link below. WWI 2008 StarCraft Fansite Event Part 2
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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Midnight Mansion Update Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

ActionSoft has announced the release of Midnight Mansion 1.1.4, a free update to its popular action/exploration game. The new version fixes a couple of bugs and adds a new option for game registration. In Midnight Mansion players take the role of Jack Malone as they explore for hidden treasure in eight huge mansions filled with traps, puzzles, and secrets.

Updates in 1.1.4:

- Turned off an output log option that was accidentally left on in version 1.1.0 and later, that may have caused occasional brief pauses in the game while playing.
- Fixed a bug in Castle Doom Hard, room 16703 where Jack could get stuck if he fell to his death in the wrong spot.
- You can now register the game from any admin account to register it on all user accounts on the computer at once. Just make sure the admin account you use to register the game was not already registered. If it was, follow the instructions in the FAQ.
Midnight Mansion is shareware and is free to try, and costs $20 to register. Learn more at the link below.

Midnight Mansion

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Wrath Of The Lich King Beta Test Opt-In Now Open
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment is now inviting players to sign up for the chance to beta test Wrath of the Lich King, the upcoming expansion for the ever popular World of Warcraft MMO. Unlike the Burning Crusade beta test participants, who were chosen randomly from the entire WoW community, Lich King's testers will be an all volunteer group.

Today we opened the Wrath of the Lich King Beta Opt-In program, which gives players a chance to win an invitation to the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King beta. For The Burning Crusade beta, we randomly invited players from the entire World of Warcraft community. With the Opt-In, our goal is to strengthen the beta-testing process by inviting only those players who have expressed active interest in participating.

Keep in mind that opting in doesn’t guarantee you’ll be selected for the beta. And players who’ve previously been promised beta access through a promotion or contest (such as by purchasing the Dell XPS M1730 World of Warcraft Edition notebook) don’t need to worry -- you’ll still be entered into the beta automatically when the time comes.
To opt in to the Wrath of the Lich King beta, visit the link below.

Wrath Of The Lich King Beta Opt-In
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

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Diablo III News Roundup
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The flood of Diablo III related articles continues to rush in from gaming sites all over the net. IGN, Gamespot, GameSpy, and many other game websites have released interviews, previews, screenshots, and even a discussion of negative reactions to the action RPG's art style.

From MTV Multiplayer:

When I asked lead producer Keith Lee about “Diablo III’”s new art style at the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, he explained why Blizzard went in that direction.

Some context first, if you’re not familiar with the old “Diablo” titles: they featured dark, shadowy landscapes and dungeons (in which the player-characters needed a radius of light to see), and an overall realistic art style. With “Diablo III,” the environments and textures are noticeably more vibrant and colorful, both inside and outside dungeons. Blaming the influence of “World of Warcraft,” the petitioners complain that the game is too “cartoon’ish” with “unrealistic elements” and “outside scenarios with vivid colors, beautiful forests with colorful vegetation, shinny [sic] and beautiful waterfalls where even rainbows take place.” (The petitioners have a full laundry list of complaints and suggestions here.)

So this is what Lee had to say about the art direction when we spoke in Paris: “One of the things that we considered when we were working on the visuals for ‘Diablo III’ is the fact that color is your friend. We feel that color actually helps to create a lot of highlights in the game so that there is contrast. A great analogy is like in ‘Lord of the Rings’ — not everything is dark. It allows you to see what a creepy dungeon can be like but if everything is dark it doesn’t allow you to have a lot of contrast.”
From Kotaku:
Kotaku: So, Jay, what can you tell us about the storyline of Diablo III?

Jay Wilson: In the previous two games, Diablo and his two brothers, Mephisto and Baal, were the three Prime Evils of a world called Sanctuary. Where we start off in Diablo III, it’s twenty years later (after Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) and the brothers are gone, they’ve been vanquished. Essentially everyone was kind of geared for Hell to actually invade. At the end of Lord of Destruction, the Worldstone was destroyed, it left a giant crater and everyone was expecting the hordes to come pouring out of it and nothing happened. So, Deckard Cain is one of our main characters from the first two games, he’s spent the last two decades trying to find out where the last two Evils are, what they’re doing and why the invasion didn’t happen. A lot of the rest of the story focuses on Tyrael, the Angel of Justice, and what’s happened to him since that event as he was actually the angel who destroyed the world.
Check out the rest of the articles at the links listed below.

MTV Multiplayer: Keith Lee Responds To D3 Art Criticism Video Games Live Orchestra Playing D3 Music
Kotaku: Jay Wilson D3 Interview
GameSpy: Leonard Boyarsky D3 Interview Rob Pardo D3 Interview
The Guardian: D3 Interview D3 Preview
GameSpy: D3 Preview
GamesRadar: D3 Preview
IncGamers: D3 Preview
Gaming Age: D3 Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

Mac Games News for Thursday, July 3, 2008

IMG Reviews Penumbra: Black Plague10:25 AM
2009 IGF Announces Call For Submissions6:00 AM
Apple Games Features Battlestations: Midway6:00 AM
Blizzard's Karune Offers StarCraft II Details6:00 AM
Myst Online Returns From The Grave Once More6:00 AM
Rob Pardo Confirms Blizzard 'Next Gen MMO' Title6:00 AM
Vendetta Online Gets Voice Chat Support For All Platforms6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, July 3, 2008 on one page

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