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Friday, August 8, 2008

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GameTap Up For Sale
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Turner Broadcasting System recently revealed that it has made the decision to sell GameTap, its online game distrubution site. The choice came to light in the company's second quarter earnings report. Turner has not yet revealed if the service has a buyer.

From Gamasutra:

"There is considerable marketplace interest in the GameTap business and brand," said a Turner spokesperson of the pending sale. "We are considering various strategic options, but have reached no final agreement as yet. When there is a resolution, we will announce it."

GameTap also recently closed the doors on its editorial division to focus on its core business; just last month, it also shunted the popular but embattled Myst Online: Uru Live back to its creator, Cyan Worlds.
To read more visit the Gamasutra website linked below.

Gamasutra: Turner To Sell GameTap

Blood Ties Released For Mac OS X
2:09 PM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story today announced the release of Blood Ties for the Mac. The game, based on the popular Canadian television series, is published by Mersom.

Unearth hundreds of items in beautiful and unique locations throughout the city to discover the dark secrets behind this mysterious cabal. Inspired by the TV series, Blood Ties features immersive environments and hours of hidden object fun.

Help private detective Vicki Nelson solve a series of unexplained missing persons cases that appear to be connected to a secret society. Is the connection real? Vicki thinks so, and its up to you to help her, along with her friend Henry (a 450-year-old vampire) and assistant Coreen, to investigate the crime scenes and solve the mystery! Unearth hundreds of items in beautiful and unique locations throughout the city to discover the dark secrets behind this mysterious cabal.

• Immersive environments.
• Inspired by the TV series.
• Hours of Hidden Object fun!
Blood Ties for the Mac is available for $19.95 USD through as a digital download purchase. It requires an Intel Mac with Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later. A free 60 minute trial demo version of the game is available for download.

Buy Blood Ties

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Diablo III: Art Director Departs, Possible Cow Level
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

New articles from MTV Multiplayer have uncovered some more information about Diablo III, Blizzard Entertainment's long awaited continuation of the popular action RPG> This time MTV covers the recent departure of DIII art director Brian Morrisroe, and asks Jay Wilson about the chance of hidden cow level appearing in the next game.

On Brian Morrisroe's Departure:

"Regarding Brian, he recently resigned to form a startup technology company (outside the game industry), which is why we’ve posted about the open position. This change won’t impact the game…we’re really pleased with the look and feel that Brian helped create for Diablo III, and the new person we bring onboard will work with the other artists on the team to maintain the art style moving forward."

When I sat down with lead “Diablo III” designer Jay Wilson last week to talk about the team’s design choices and his thoughts on fan-altered screenshots, he told me that Morrisroe was the one who spearheaded the franchise’s design changes. Specifically, I asked who we should blame for the rainbows. Wilson said:

“If you want to blame anyone for the rainbows, you’d blame our art director Brian [Morrisroe]. Because Brian is more the person who drove the art style into where it is. But it didn’t really come directly from him. What he brought to the art team was concepts and ideas — the idea of contrast, the idea of using color more, the idea of going for a more stylized look. Because what we were looking at before was more photo-realistic. Really trying to get something that looks like a painting — that was his goal. But the actual result of that came from the art team. And a lot of the environment guys, and some of the texture artists, they’ve all kind of chipped in to try and get the feel of something that was very unique.”
The Fearful Moo Of Another Secret Level:
Will there be a cow level?
Wilson: [laughs] We don’t really know at this point. I really like the idea of secret stuff that ‘Diablo II’ put forward, but it’s not the kind of thing we would decide this early. But if we have something, I can assure people will be happy with it.

I will say the thing I liked about the cow level was that it wasn’t just fluff; there was stuff that you could do there that actually had purpose within the game. The thing I didn’t like about it was that it almost replaced part of the game. And so, if we looked to add something like that, we’d be a little smarter about it. We would want it to have a function within the game, but we wouldn’t want it to replace any core content, which is something that I think the cow level really did.

‘Diablo II’ had a lot of little oddities to it that made the experience not as usable. I certainly wouldn’t want things like, ‘Don’t kill the cow king because we’ve got to keep the level open!’ We would avoid scenarios like that. The secret of a cow level is a cool secret. The secret that you’re not supposed to kill the king because you’ll ruin the cow level forever — that’s a bad secret. So we would try to get rid of some of the bad ones.
Head over to the links provided below to read more.

MTV Multiplayer: D3 Art Director Leaves Blizzard
MTV Multiplayer: A Cow Level In Diablo III?
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

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Eschalon: Book I Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gaming Nexus has published a new review of Eschalon: Book I, the first in Basilisk Games' new "old school" focused RPG series. Inspired by classic role-playing games of the past Book I sends players on a quest to uncover the mystery of their character's identity. Gaming Nexus recommended the game for its compelling story.

From the review:

But as I logged into that first game, with the tumbling sound of six-sided dice dancing on my digitized character sheet, with the moonlit soundtrack coursing its way through the woods, with the taughtly-written character development details ... I was already being struck with a sense of nostalgia for a computer roleplaying game when I had no basis for nostalgia and computer roleplaying games. It made no sense.

That wouldn't have sealed the deal though. Not a misplaced sense of pseudo-nostalgia. I could have turned back at that moment and eventually convinced myself that I'd been completely unmoved. It might've taken a week, but I'd later describe my experience as "nonplussed." But then the story startled me from the very beginning. Not only did it open up with an overbaked amnesia cliche (something I'd railed against only one week prior), but I was being whirlpooled into this overused you-wake-up-and-have-no-idea-who-you-are convention, already sucked in beyond the event horizon. Somehow (!), I was falling for it. And it was from nothing less than the cleanly-penned authorial tone of the text. It sure wasn't the graphics luring me in. And it sure wasn't the off-handed turn-based movement scheme. But there was something about the writing...
Click over to the link below to read the rest of the review.

Gaming Nexus: Eschalon Book I
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
Buy Eschalon: Book I

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Depths Of Peril Creator Discusses Indie Gaming
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Tales of the Rampant Coyote has posted a new interview with Steven Peeler, founder of Soldak Entertainment and creator of the Depths of Peril action/strategy RPG. The interview covers Peeler's history in the gaming industry, struggles unique to to indie game developers, and the freedom of developing games independently.

Rampant Coyote: What have been your biggest struggles / challenges / disappointments as an indie?
Steven Peeler: The biggest struggle has simply been to get enough attention so that we can make enough sales to continue. We’ve already created an innovative, fun game, but getting the world to notice that is harder, possibly even harder than making the game in the first place.
Personally my biggest disappointment is how much piracy that goes on in the PC market. Since we are a small developer, that has a hard time getting attention, you would think we would have very little piracy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all. It’s depressing how many sites are pirating Depths of Peril. What’s even worse is that after working on the game for almost 3 years, some #$%^ posts a crack on some pirate site, and the forum users thank him. I even saw one pirate site that was getting donations. Sigh, ok, enough on piracy, it’s depressing even typing this.

Rampant Coyote: Any other comments you want to make about the difference between mainstream & indie development?
In the mainstream industry, no one would have let me create Depths of Peril or bring it to the Mac. This is the big difference between being an indie and working in the mainstream. As an indie, I have the freedom to try new things and I don’t have to have proof that it will be a financial success.
One of the other big differences is, as an indie, I work directly for the gamers. I sell directly to gamers through our website and I talk directly to gamers through our forums.
At a mainstream developer, you directly make games for publishers. Obviously, ultimately you want to please the gamers. However, you pitch your game idea or prototype to publishers. The publisher is the one that decides whether or not your game gets made. The publisher pays you. Most developers never make any money except what the publisher gives them. So like I said, at a mainstream developer, most of the time, you are making games for publishers, not the gamers.
The full Q&A is available at the site listed below.

Tales Of The Rampant Coyote: Steven Peeler Interview
Soldak Entertainment
Depths of Peril
Buy Depths of Peril

Mac Games News for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Apple Games Features AoE III: The Asian Dynasties6:00 AM
Bug Bounce Released For iPhone6:00 AM
Mystery Mansion Pinball Available For iPod6:00 AM
WoW: Achievement System, Recruit-a-Friend Program Launched6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 7, 2008 on one page

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