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Friday, August 15, 2008

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Spore Goes Gold
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Electronic Arts and Maxis have announced that Spore, the anticipated new godsim from the creator of The Sims, has gone gold and will be available for the Mac and PC at retailers September 5 in Europe and September 7 in North America and Asia Pacific.

"We are so excited to finally get Spore into the hands of fans and players," said Lucy Bradshaw, executive producer of Spore at Maxis. "The Maxis studio has had an absolute blast creating Spore, but the fun is just beginning. The most engaging stories are truly the ones people create themselves, and we can't wait to see how players not only craft and explore the Spore universe, but hear what stories they have to tell as a result."

Spore gives players their own personal universe in a box, allowing fans to create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even spaceships. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world via the Sporepedia™ and explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers.
Players who preorder Spore or Spore Galactic Edition from participating retailers will receive a coupon good for $10 off their next purchase of custom merchandise at the Spore Store linked below. The limited Galactic Edition will contain the 'Making of Spore' DVD, 'How to Build a Better Being' DVD (a 50 minute National Geographic Channel documentary DVD hosted by Spore mastermind, Will Wright), 'The Art of Spore' hardback book, an exclusive Spore poster, and a premium 100-page Galactic Handbook.

For all the latest Spore news, screens, videos community content, and to try out the trial version of the Spore Creature Creator, visit the page below.

Spore Store
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

New Puzzle Games Available For Mac
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Everett Kaser Software has announced the Mac OS X debut of its logic and puzzle game products, previously only available for Windows users. Thanks in part to work by Brad Oliver all 24 titles are now available for Mac. The games include Solitile (a solitaire Mahjong type game), Sherlock (graphical logic puzzles), Knarly Mazes (Minefield inspired, with a few new twists), and Descartes Enigma & Descartes Rainbow (Nonograms, or Paint-By-Number puzzles).

Starting about six years ago, I wrote all of my new games in an "interpreted language" of my own devising, and also began rewriting all of my old games into that language.  The environment (the interpreter program) expects very little of the OS, just very basic output of a "screen bitmap" to the program's window, the input of various events (mouse, keyboard, timers), and file I/O.  Everything else (menus, dialogs, help, and of course, the game itself) are written in the interpreted language.  The interpreter program is a relatively simple C program, the source code to which I've been making available on my website since the beginning.  The point of this seemingly long paragraph :-) is that this past year, Brad Oliver ported the interpreter for me to the Mac platform.  I've spent the past couple of months "polishing it up" and making Mac builds of all of the games, and both the demo and licensed versions of the games are now available.  All 24 games are available for the Mac, and all future games of mine will be simultaneously released in PC and Mac versions.  Because the UI itself is written IN the interpreted language, the games' dialogs and menus will have a decidedly MS Windows 'flavor' to them, but that is a minor point of the games, and shouldn't interfere at all with Mac users enjoying the games.
The titles sell for $19.95 each and require Mac OS X 10.4 or greater. Head over to the website below to learn more about all of Everett Kaser's products.

Everett Kaser Software

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Diablo III: Appealing To Wide Range Of Gamers, New Visuals
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

MTV Multiplayer's latest Diablo III article once again offers comments from the action RPG's lead designer, Jay Wilson. In this installment the developer answers questions about fan expectations, specifically addressing the difficult task of appealing to both casual players and hardcore Diablo fanatics.

in “Diablo III,” players will have to pick up health orbs after they’ve killed enemies, which will restore their health upon contact. Wilson saw on the forums that people were worried that this might make the game “ridiculously hard.” He said that fans shouldn’t worry.

“That’s only if we tuned it like ‘Diablo II,’” he said. “When the player has similar downsides, it means we can make a lot more interesting monsters. We don’t have to kill you to challenge you. We can make a monster that affects your mobility, we can make a monster that has different kinds of attacks that are dangerous to you and that you actually have to avoid. And so it makes the combat a lot more interesting.”

While Wilson said they’ll keep the game accessible, he knows “Diablo III” has to ultimately appease their hardcore fans. He assured me that the team has kept this in mind, and is making the game progressively harder.

“A lot of the choices we make are styled towards knowing the long term,” he said. “I think that hardcore players, long-term, will find a game that has lot more depth for them but we distinctly made the choice that in the first stage of difficulty, the game’s really easy. So it’s easy to get through, it’s fun to play and you can kind of spam with one skill. But as you get further and further into the game, you start having to go, ‘Okay now I’ve really got to use this ground stomp thing to stun some monsters and get some distance from them to recover.’ That’s something that we focus on more later in the game.”
Blizzard Entertainment has also released two new screenshots, three new pieces of concept art, and a new wallpaper for fans to enjoy.

Visit the sites below to read the rest of Wilson's comments and view the new media offerings.

MTV Multiplayer: Diablo III, Appealing To Fans & Others
Diablo III Screenshots
Diablo III Artwork
Diablo III Wallpaper
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

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Eschalon Book II: Building A Better Manual
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A new forum topic on Basilisk Games site asks players to offer their suggestions for the content of the manual for Eschalon: Book II, the next installment in the company's RPG series. Book II will pick up the storyline where it ended in the previous game and feature more than 60 gameplay enhancements.

Okay, so the User's Manual for Book I just contained some essential info needed to get started. Given that this is an old-school RPG series we don't intend to fill the user's manual up with all the game's secrets (such as a complete monster guide) because we want some things to be discovered by the player during the course of the game. However, we admit there is room for improvement...

So the question is: what are some topics or information you would like to see added to Book II's manual that you felt were missing from Book I's manual?
Click over to the link below to read more and offer your own suggestions.

Basilisk Forum: Book II User's Manual
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

Mac Games News for Thursday, August 14, 2008

IMG Previews Battlestations: Midway7:36 AM
Apple Games Features Jack Keane6:00 AM
Blizzard: Hardware Delayed SC II, New Partnership With AMD6:00 AM
Carmack Ponders The Future Of Quake Live6:00 AM
Diablo III: Returning Characters, Diablo Story Not Over6:00 AM
EVE Online Alliance Warfare Explained6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 14, 2008 on one page

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