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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Age Of Empires III: Asian Dynasties Now Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Destineer’s MacSoft unit announces today that Macintosh version of Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, the second expansion pack for Ensemble Studios’ award-winning strategy game, is now in stores. Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties features new playable Civilizations, new units, campaigns, game modes, and more.

More about the expansion:

Age of Empires III sets the bar for real-time strategy gaming, with amazing 3D graphics, Ageia® PhysX® technology, and an innovative Home City feature that lets players strengthen their economy, technology, and military. Developed by Big Huge Games, “Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties” further expands the depth of the game with a roster of new features, including:

Playable Asian Civilizations: Command one of three fierce Asian civilizations: the Indians, the Chinese or the Japanese. Each features its own unique armies led by special units like Monks, Daimyo, Mansabdars and more.

Exciting New Single Player Campaigns: Play through three new campaigns with original heroes and villains and relive both Asia's most pivotal historical events and all-new original stories.

New Ways to Play Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties adds a new layer of depth to the classic Age of Empires III gameplay with the addition of the new Expert resource and Wonders of the World! Challenge your opponents with new game modes like King of the Hill, Regicide, and Treaty No-Blockade.

An Immersive World: Featuring eleven new Random Maps and three new Home Cities, The Asian Dynasties immerses player in the exotic world of the Far East.
Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties is rated T for Teen and is available for an MSRP of $29.99.

Follow the links below for more information.

Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties

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IMG Reviews io
11:30 AM | Marcus Albers | 5 comments

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the indie side-scrolling shooter, io from Atman Software. The game boasts a real-time 3D engine with advanced lighting features and particle effects. Here's a clip from the review:

If you were to look up the game developer, Atman Software, you would learn that io was developed over the course of five years by one man. Only one. That's it. So after saying that you would probably expect me to say something along the lines of “if you take that into account, the graphics aren't bad”. But no, I'm going to say something else. Without taking into account the fact that io was completely designed by one man, including the graphics engine, characters, worlds, and effects, io's graphics are great. I've seen several games in recent memory whose graphics are not as well done. The engine takes virtually everything within the world and maps it for lighting, shadows, light reflectivity, and even for any light an object may be producing itself. The shadow of the player is an actual shadow, not a blob on the floor following a character. It is also well fitting depending on the light the type of light source and the distance from it; if you are moving away from a light source, the shadow becomes elongated and a lighter, where as standing right next to a light source makes a nice crisp shadow with the appropriate angle to the character and the light. Shadows also play an important part in the game itself, but we'll get into that later.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: io

Quake Live Videos Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments has released high definition videos from QuakeCon 2008 depicting the Quake Live 1v1 finals match as well as several other matches from the tournament. The videos include commentary on the action and showcase the upcoming browser based shooter's gameplay and visuals.

Quake Live is adapted from the Quake III engine and will be supported by in game advertising. Click over to the site below to check out the videos. Quake Live Finals
Quake Live
id Software

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SC II: Raynor's Voice, Graphics Requirements, New Screens
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Based on information gleaned from a technical paper released at this year's SIGGRPAH (an annual conference on computer graphics), has been able to reveal information about the graphics requirements of Blizzard's upcoming StarCraft II, as well as some never before seens screenshots featuring Jim Raynor.

Blizzard Quote:
For Starcraft II, we wanted to maximize compatibility with less capable systems to ensure hassle-free game play for as broad a player base as possible. Yet we also wanted to utilize the full potential of any available hardware to ensure the game’s looks were competitive. This meant supporting a wide range of hardware, from ATI Radeon 9800/NVIDIA GeForce FX’s to the ATI Radeon HD 4800s and NVIDIA GeForce G200s
Blizzplanet is also offering new information about Jim Raynor with confirmation that Robert Clotworthy, original voice of the character, will not be lending his voice to the game this time around.
Robert Clotworthy informed Blizzplanet the following:

"I just found out today that I will not be returning as the voice of Jim Raynor. The casting director of Starcraft 2 contacted Blizzard and was told that they appreciated my work, but were going in another direction. I am obviously disappointed by their decision. I was looking forward to returning as Raynor and was hoping that Blizzard would at the very least have given me the opportunity of auditioning.

It has been my privilege to have been the voice of Jim Raynor. I am disappointed by Blizzard's decision, but I must respect it. I wish Blizzard only the best with StarCraft 2, and I am certain the game will live up to everyone's expectations. Thank you to all the fans who have given me their support and enthusiasm, it means a lot to me.
Head over to the sites linked below to read more. SC2 Graphics Requirements Confirmed New SC2 Screens
BlizzPlanet: Voice Of Jim Raynor To Change
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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Bill Roper Discusses Diablo III's Art Direction
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment has published a new interview with Bill Roper about the demise of Flagship Studios, developer of Hellgate: London. The former Blizzard North VP also took time out from detailing the tribulations of the ill-fated Flagship to briefly discuss the controversy over Diablo III's art direction.

GFW: Have you followed the little minicontroversy about the art direction?
BR: Yeah, it's...not surprising. Only from the standpoint, as we touched on earlier, that the Internet is a place where people like to rail on everything. But it's the art direction they chose to go with. It's a whole different group of guys that worked on it when we were there. So it makes sense [that] they'd probably think about giving you some better visibility, make it easier to play, [and] get a broader audience.

GFW: What was your own gut reaction to the art direction?
BR: I just thought it was different. I think the thing I always liked about the Blizzard North and Blizzard HQ constructs is the fact that they were two very distinct groups. At Irvine, we had a way that we approached things -- game development, art style, from color to character shapes, everything -- that was very distinct from the guys at Blizzard North. I think that it made it pretty compelling when you bought the Diablo titles. You got something that was markedly different from what you got out of a WarCraft or StarCraft. I think now, because everything's down there, you're seeing the Irvine take on the Diablo universe. So it's just the direction they're going with the people they have and the mindset there. I always liked the fact that Diablo was very dark and Gothic and gritty and edgy, but I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with the direction they've gone. They just chose to go a different way.

I think the core Diablo fans are saying, "We really like the dark, edgy, gritty look of that game!" We had people impaled on spikes, for god's sake. And now it's kind of bright and airy and doesn't quite feel the same. But I dunno. I look at it, and it's got high production quality, and it looks like it's going to be really fun to play. I think that wall of zombies is the coolest concept for a spell maybe ever. It's not any different in terms of gameplay mechanics, but it's so cleverly thought-out. I'm gonna raise a wall of undead! Oh my god, why didn't we ever think of that! It's genius! So I look forward to that. Again, it's a take on something, even if it's different.
Visit the page below to read the rest of Roper's comments. Bill Roper Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jade Empire: Special Edition Comes To Intel Macs6:00 AM
Obscura Nomen To Be Showcased At This Year's GDC6:00 AM
Reel Deal Slots: Ghost Town Released6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Q&A Round 43, Zerg vs Zerg6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 19, 2008 on one page

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