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Thursday, July 10, 2008

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Apple Games Features OOTP Baseball 9
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Apple Games latest feature takes a swing at Out of the Park Baseball 9, the latest incarnation in the sports series. The article includes a sample game season showcasing the game's features, a list of what's new in the latest version, and a rundown of historical seasons players might want to try.

Out of the Park Baseball 9 allows you to easily import leagues from OOTP 8, 2007, 2006, and version 6. Improvements made for the latest edition include a revamped scouting system thatís more realistic and requires less micromanagement, with the ability to view past scouting reports any time so you can track playersí progress. The game also now features suspensions for bench-clearing brawls and drug-related offenses; the latter is optional.

In addition, the play-by-play descriptions have been improved, and for the first time you can hear the crowd roar and view simple ball animations, so you can see what happens each time a batter makes contact. The crowd noises vary depending on the situation, so the fans will work themselves into a frenzy for the playoffs. OOTP 9 also introduces game replays that you can save and watch anytime.

Behind the scenes, OOTP 9 sports improved artificial intelligence when negotiating contracts with players or offering trades to other team managers. In the front office, youíll be able to peruse more financial detail, and two new revenue-sharing options allow you to choose between a Major League Baseball-style luxury tax and a system that distributes a percentage of a teamís income among small-market clubs.

Other changes include more customization options for the playoffs, faster simulation speed, and refinements to playersí development and aging, with the option for them to become coaches when they retire. Thereís even more to discover, so dive in and explore the wealth of features for baseball simulation fans.
Click over to the site below to read the rest.

Apple Games: OOTP Baseball 9
OOTP Developments
Out of the Park Baseball 9

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Diablo III: Talent Trees, Health Globes & Multiplayer Action
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In several recent posts on Blizzard Entertainment's official forums Diablo III Community Manager Bashiok offered some insight into the game mechanics of the upcoming action RPG sequel. His comments include discussion of Talent Treees, Player vs Player, Griefing, and the new Health Globes.

Health Globes:
Bashiok: The health globes are actually, in my opinion, really cool. Playing the game and actually seeing what types of strategy they encourage, you can start to see what they add and how they make the combat more interesting.

I'll set the scene. You're a barbarian, you're in the wilderness and after fighting wave after wave of ghouls, skeletons, demons, what have you, you're low on health. You're out of potions, and after using a strategic leap out of the fray you turn around and seismic slam the skeletons charging you. Two of them drop health globes, but the globes dropped behind the skeletons that are still advancing. If they reach you, you're not going to survive. Are you able to leap safely to snag the globes before they can tear into you? Can you throw out another slam and try to remove the remaining enemies? How can you survive? You have a fraction of a second to decide.

Bashiok: We're - in general - not big fans of griefing for any game. It's really only "fun" for one person, and that definition of fun isn't generally something we're going to want to encourage. It's far more positive to encourage and support meaningful and skillful options and systems within a game, than a mechanic for people to instantly turn against one another for no meaningful gameplay reasons.

I definitely remember running with my friends, and someone toggles it, and bam everyone is dead and your one friend is laughing. Ok, ok, good joke I guess, and then you run back and *bam*, you've toggled it to get them back. After a while everyone usually agrees to a truce because it's just a waste of time. But I also remember running with random players and losing extremely nice items because of it, not cool. I'm sure that it was a feature that was right up some people's alleys, I won't deny there are some that would enjoy nothing more than to see others frustrated, but is that truly something that should be encouraged through design - if not directly opposed?
Head over to the Blizzplanet page below to read more of his comments.

Blizzplanet: Diablo III Comments
Blizzard Forums: PvP & Griefing In Diablo III
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

Winter Wolves Considers Online-Only Option To Combat Piracy
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted the results of an interview with Celso Riva of Winter Wolves Software. The developer is responsible for titles such as The Goalkeeper, Magic Stones, and Supernova 2. In the interview Riva discusses the history of the shareware developer, upcoming projects, and the possibility of making some future games online only to help combat piracy.

RPS: Obvious question. What are your current and future plans? Whatís next, sir?
Celso: Well at the moment I have 4 projects running. Planet Stronghold is a sort of Simcity meets Tower Defense that will use same wargame engine as Supernova 2, then I have Tower of Destiny (classic dungeon crawler RPG), a Princess Maker game and another card-rpg game.
Those last 2 could be made to be played online-only. While I donít like that idea very much, is actually one step I think many indies and non-indies will be forced to take in the short future. It means savegame will be stored on game server, so player could resume playing the game anywhere and anytime without worrying about backups, and more importantly would eliminate the piracy that is seriously damaging the pc scene nowadays. If I can implement such system I think I would even be able to reduce my games prices, since there wouldnít be the piracy problem anymore.

RPS: Actually, thatís really interesting. Whatís people response been like to it? Why did you decide to try the route?
Celso: Well to be honest right now is just an idea, an experiment I want to try. Worse case I can revert back to normal offline savegame. I decided to try this route in one of my future games (probably later this year) because honestly Iím a bit tired of seeing some honest people paying, and others getting away with the same game for free. I lose money everyday because of this, and also all the freeloaders consume server bandwidth just to download the demo to use their cracks, which damages me even more. Itís a matter of survival, really: I donít like particularly the idea, but probably will need to implement it soon, if I want to keep making this job to live.
Peopleís response (of honest customers) I think could be good actually. I often talk with other devs which are skeptical about this. But if you think about it, who doesnít have a permanent internet connection nowadays? everyone has it, and those who donít, arenít probably likely to know about your game or buy it either! Another argumentation was that if my company goes bankrupt and the server taken offline, players wouldnít be able to play my games anymore. That can be easily solved releasing an offline version for free in the remote case I should go bankrupt (but I have no intentions).
Also big companies like Steam are going to use that in the near future (have their games even the single-player ones going online only). I see nothing weird or problematic for the end user, and actually only advantages since a reduction/elimination of piracy could bring back more companies making games again for the PC, making continuous updates to the games, and so on.

Read the full Q&A by following the link provided below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Winter Wolves Interview

Pangea's Brian Greenstone Discusses iPhone Gaming
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

TheDigitalLifestyle has published a new interview with Pangea Software's Brian Greenstone. In the Q&A, Greenstone discussed Pangea's upcoming iPhone projects, Apple's iPhone App Store, and the current state of gaming on desktop and laptop Macs. Pangea's current plans for the iPhone include versions of Enigmo and Cro-Mag Racer.

What advantages do you have from a development standpoint given your history of Apple software creation?
Brian Greenstone, Pangea Software: I think any Mac programmer has a great advantage since the iPhone is basically running OS X. I haven't clouded my brain with Microsoft API's, so the iPhone is really not much different than what I've been used to doing for the last 15 years. I ran into a similar thing many years ago when I got into doing Super Nintendo games back in 1991. The Super Nintendo ran on the 65816 processor... the same processor that was in the Apple ][gs. There were probably only a dozen game programmers who knew the 65816 at the time, so that made getting a job doing SNES work a breeze!

What's the overall state of app development for the Mac right now? Do you think there will be a "halo effect" from iPhone programmers creating Mac OS X titles as well?
That's the theory, but we'll see. Right now, game development on the Mac is dead, and has been for some time, but this has the potential to revitalize it. Causal gaming on the Mac is pretty big, but nothing of any real importance is being done any more - just ports of the AAA titles from the PC. 10-15 years ago the Mac was the premiere game development platform because of it's graphics capabilities, but the market moved to consoles and the PC some time ago.
Check out the rest of the interview at the page link provided below. Pangea Software Interview
Pangea Software

Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 9, 2008

IMG Reviews Heat of Fusion9:26 AM
Freeverse Announces Plans For Over A Dozen iPhone Titles6:00 AM
Home Sweet Home Comes To Macs6:00 AM
id's Todd Hollenshead Discusses Apple's History With Games6:00 AM
Square Enix's Song Summoner Released For iPod6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 9, 2008 on one page

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