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Monday, July 21, 2008

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Eschalon Book II: Weapon Equipping Speeds
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Basilisk Games has released its fifth weekly Q&A update featuring answers to one or two questions from forum members about the upcoming Eschalon: Book II, the next title in the company's old school RPG series. This time the focus is on the penalty for switching weapons while in combat.

Question #5: The lack of a time penalty for switching between ranged and melee weapons seemed a bit like an exploit. Will that change for Book 2?
This was a bit of an exploit in Book I. For Book II, the planned fix is that every time you place something on your character, 1 round will pass. So yes, swapping weapons would take one round.

The equipment presets that are mentioned will take one round per item swapped, so if Set #1 and Set #2 differ by 4 pieces of equipment, it will take 4 rounds to swap. If you are alone, the swap happens instantly (though 4 rounds would still pass) but if there are others nearby, the rounds would pass more traditionally because the system would run everyone elses rounds too.

As you can guess, it would be foolish to swap sets in combat if there are many item changes. However, if the difference between set #1 and set #2 is just your weapon, then it is handled just like a one-round weapon swap.
To read the rest of the Q&A section head over to the page linked below.

Basilisk Forum: Eschalon Book II Question Of The Week
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
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Spore Hands-On Preview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Shacknews recently published a new hands-on preview of Will Wright's upcoming god sim, Spore. In the game players take single celled organisms from the primordial ooze to the lofty reaches of outer space, tinkering with the evolution of the creatures at every stage.

Immediately I noticed that the spaceship tools were incredibly extensive. Weapons, scanning, abduction--all of these tabs had dozens of empty ability slots just waiting to be unlocked. Gaining abilities is accomplished by abducting species and completing missions that are given out by the leader of your civilization.

Using a mix of a basic death ray and photon torpedoes, I managed to easily dispatch the antagonistic defenders. Combat in this phase seemed much more fun than I expected--burning down alien lifeforms with the death ray, like frying ants with a magnifying glass, was more fun than it should have been. Like the ICBMs in the civilization phase, the Death Star-like planet destroying weapon should serve as a fantastic incentive to complete missions for evil deviants such as myself.

More missions involved scanning the plant life on one planet, or making contact with an alien civilization. Missions are easily tracked with a World of Warcraft-style window in the upper left corner, check marks appearing on the quests you have recently completed. Each completed mission moved me slowly outward from my home planet, my warp drive being upgraded occasionally. The ultimate goal of the galactic stage is to reach the center of the universe, though what happens at that point is a mystery.
Click over to the site below to read the rest.

Shacknews: Spore Preview
Electronic Arts
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Neverwinter Nights 2 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Mac|Life has posted a new review of Neverwinter Nights 2. The RPG once again returns players to the Forgotten Realms setting using the Dungeons & Dragons rule set. Mac|Life gave the game a score of 3 out of 5.

From the review:

We initially spent an hour building up our main character, defining her appearance, skills, and even history. Dozens of choices assign a species, character class, and traits that influence how you interact with the world. A crafty rogue can pick pockets and locks. A burly fighter might just smash cabinets and heads. Magicians cast elaborate spells. NWN2 includes all of the usual fantasy characters, plus many nuanced alternatives.

Some gamers will spend hours customizing their characters, but we rushed into the story. The plot constantly gives choices on how to progress; dialogue options, for example, almost always allow you to double-cross your allies. Gamers talk to other characters by choosing from a handful of lines written for just that conversation. At one point, we allied with the misunderstood Lizardmen—it turns out they’re just like people, with families too—although we had been tasked to exterminate them. Whatever you do, they eventually leave the humans alone, but the distinct moral choices and ambiguity make the story your own.

Mouse-clicks guide the main character and party through the world. Action happens quickly in battles by tapping a spell to cast or an enemy to stab, but the results are governed by the Dungeons & Dragons statistics—the game rewards your characters’ experience, not your reflexes. But even though we weren’t directly controlling the fight’s outcome, the variety in weapons and quick action kept us engaged.
Head over to the link below to read the rest of the review.

Mac|Life: Neverwinter Nights 2
Aspyr Media
Neverwinter Nights 2
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SteamTRAIN On Sale Now
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has announced a mid year sale for its Mac-only steam locomotive and train simulator, SteamTRAIN 3. From now until the Fall the game will sell for $15 rather than the regular $22 price. The simulation puts players in the roles of engineer and crew of an 1800's era steam train.

More about the SteamTRAIN 3:

Your train will travel between stops, up and down grades, negotiate curves, switch tracks, and couple/uncouple cars. Controls include the throttle, boiler pressure, traction sand, two brake types, manual couplers, and track switches. New Weather Menu for Snow or clear skies. Beware the Phantom Express. Choice of Mail Train and Dispatcher Modes.At each Terminal, you may rotate your engine on the TurnTable or swap for a different loco in the RoundHouse.
For more information about SteamTRAIN 3 head over to the link listed below.

SteamTRAIN 3

Mac Games News for Friday, July 18, 2008

Jewel Quest III Now Available For Mac OS X2:27 PM
Aqua Forest For iPhone Reviewed6:00 AM
baKno Introduces Game Coin Pay-Per-Play Option6:00 AM
Diablo III: Vanishing Corpses, MMORPG Discussion6:00 AM
Spore Space Phase To Feature 15-20 Hours Play & An Ending6:00 AM
Wiz Solitaire 1.32 Released6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, July 18, 2008 on one page

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