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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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FlatOut 2 Coming To Macs In September
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

Virtual Programming will soon be releasing the Mac version of FlatOut 2, a racing title from Bugbear Entertainment. The game focuses on reckless driving and destruction, allowing players to ram enemy vehicles, smash objects in the environment, and engage in a variety mini-game stunts.

From Macworld:

If you’ve wanted a game that’s the spiritual successor to the legendary “Carmageddon” series, FlatOut 2 may fit the bill. You get behind the wheels of cars as you take to the streets in a series of progressively more difficult races against computer-controlled foes (there’s also online multiplayer support for up to eight players). You can try to take your biggest computer-controlled rivals out of the race — slamming them headfirst into a bridge, stealing the race by using a shortcut or using a nitro pack to get ahead.

You can smash into objects around the track — fences, walls, debris, other vehicles and much more — as you try to come in first in each race. You’ll also get rewarded for being the most destructive, performing stunts and more. there are also a series of “Stunt” minigames which will keep you entertained for hours.

As you win races, you can turn your race winnings over into new vehicles and customizations. The game features “ragdoll” physics that will throw your driver out of the car if slammed into a wall at high speeds; some of the minigames also emphasize this ragdoll physics capabilities, with objectives like using your driver to score a field goal through a series of upright pylons.
The game's release is planned for September. It will cost $39.95.

Virtual Programming
FlatOut 2
Macworld: FlatOut 2 Coming To Macs

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Will Wright Discusses Spore's Origins
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

CNET has posted a new interview with Maxis' Will Wright about the upcoming release of Spore, his latest sim game. The interview covers the origins of the evolution based god sim, the long development process, and the potential future for the game.

What were the origins of Spore ?
Will Wright: The earliest evolution of it had to do with the SETI Project. The original concept was sort of a toy galaxy you could fly around and explore. As we thought about, it became apparent that evolution was a very important component. Some of the very first prototypes involved how you would move around and visualize the galaxy. And then on procedurally generated creatures. Could we actually generate creatures through evolution so there was a vast variety of creatures rather than just the 20 or 30 fixed things that games typically include

In the recent Electronic Arts quarterly earnings call, CEO John Riccitiello suggested Spore might one day become a label of its own. Are some of these directions you're talking about the basis for the expansion packs an ongoing label requires?
Wright: When a game is released, we have a good sense of how we can expand it in different directions. But you do first have to get it out to the public and see what they do with it. As we see the fans doing various things with it, it will become pretty clear to us that, Oh, yeah, this would be probably the best direction and we already have an expansion map, so we know how to navigate that terrain. But we're also exploring entire other forms of media and starting to think, what does this brand mean. We want Spore in a very general sense to become this intersection between science and creativity.
To read the rest of Wright's comments click over to the link below.

CNET: Spore Interview
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

Multithreading In id Tech 5
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has posted a new article examining comments made by John Carmack at the recent Intel Developer Forum. The legendary game designer discussed multi-core and multi-thread support used in the upcoming Rage game built with the the company's id Tech 5 engine.

While the demo was playing, Carmack spent some time talking about multi-threaded aspects of id Tech 5, where the entire rendering system is offloaded onto one core. he said this was a “ natural progression ” from the multi-core support it had included in previous generation titles. “ That balances pretty nicely for most games, where you can run your game logic and simulation in one thread, and your rendering system in another thread, ” he explained.

He explained that there was much more than just this going on in id Tech 5 though. He said that there’s a separate thread devoted entirely to “ running analysis over what’s being rendered, managing the streaming of information from DVDs and hard drives, decompressing all of it, transcoding the formats that are useful for GPUs, and so on. ”

“That sucks up a pretty good amount of processing power just to do that, but that's one of the key things that lets us do this level of detail that really is beyond anything that you've seen before, ” he added.

“We also have additional threads running. The high-level AI determinations that go on in the game logic runs asynchronously with the sort of tick-based stuff that handles the moving and bouncing into things on the game logic. Collision detection is also pulled off into a more fine-grain system that can handle offline contingent stuff going on separate from the main game frames analysis. ”
Visit the page below to read the rest. Carmack On Multi-Threading
id Software
Rage: Campaign Edition
Buy Rage: Campaign Edition

Blizzard's Successful Business Empire
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

BusinessWeek recently published a new article exploring the success of Blizzard Entertainment. The article examines the company's successful Craft franchises, it's efforts to keep in touch with gamers' wants, and its willingness to discard games before release if they aren't "fun enough."

Indeed, the 250-person outfit has become one the games industry's leading innovators, creating games that players crave and profitable new businesses that rival executives envy. "[They're] essentially design geniuses, making games easy enough for casual players and deep enough to attract and hook hard-core players," says Jeff Green, editor-in-chief of online gaming magazine "Simple to learn, difficult to master is the holy grail of game design," he adds. "Blizzard does this every single time."

As Wilson suggests, Blizzard's purpose is simple: to make fun games. Sounds easy enough, but the task is complicated by the nature of modern video games, which can require development budgets rivaling those of blockbuster Hollywood releases or major corporate product rollouts. As the games industry has emerged as a serious business, Blizzard's hallmark has been its effective and persistent effort to remain in touch with players.

It's also learned to feed on criticism. Betas of future expansions to World of Warcraft include reporting software that allows players to offer instant feedback from within the game. Employees endlessly play and replay games both on and off the clock, constantly looking to make improvements. At lunch, "strike teams" play concentrated sessions of games in development to provide feedback. "You know a game is ready when management has to send e-mails out after lunch begging people to get back to work," jokes Wilson. Some designers even plan vacations to coincide with major release dates in order to play alongside regular consumers.
Head over to the site below to read more.

BusinessWeek: Inside The World Of Blizzard
Blizzard Entertainment

Mac Games News for Monday, August 25, 2008

IMG Reviews Europa Universalis: Rome9:00 AM
Diablo III: Official FAQ, Interviews, Deckard Cain Speaks6:00 AM
Do Hardware Manufacturers Secretly Love Software Piracy?6:00 AM
Myst Online To Return This Year6:00 AM
PlayFirst CEO Discusses Mac Gaming6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 25, 2008 on one page

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