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Friday, August 29, 2008

BlizzCast 5 Now Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has released the fifth BlizzCast, a series of podcasts created by Blizzard's Community Team and focusing on the company's current and future game offerings. The second episode focuses on Diablo III, the upcoming continuation of the popular action RPG series, with an interview of lead designer Jay Wilson.

Bashiok: Cool. Changing gears onto the inventory, I think a lot of people noticed that the inventory management system is changing from the, I guess you call it the “Tetris” style grid system to a one-slot system where each item only takes up one slot. What were the reasons for changing the inventory system?
Jay Wilson: They're actually pretty simple. I know there is a contingent of players who absolutely love the grid system, but for the most part, it's pretty un-popular with players. With the team in general we have a lot more people who dislike it than like it. In general feedback we've gotten, there's a lot more people who are happy that it's gone than, you know, wish that it was still there. That being said, we recognize that the real purpose for the grid-based system, really one of the coolest things was that it made the items feel a little more real, because they were larger, when you were interacting with them in your inventory. So, we tried to keep that in mind and really change how the look of the items and look of the icons so when you open up your inventory the items feel more real. We're actually not even happy with that; like, some of the feedback we got on just what people saw and, the fact that there were people who were unhappy with it. It made us really go back and revisit that. Right now, we're actually trying to design a new inventory that has even larger-sized icons and, again, makes the items feel very real, and you know, that's a focus we're trying to get the best of both worlds, but ultimately we made the decision because it's not a very popular feature.

Bashiok: Could you comment the actually bag system? Some people saw the actual, small bags drop in the demo.
Jay Wilson: Currently, in the game we have a system where you have one inventory page and its got, I think, I can't remember exactly how many, sixteen slots I think or twelve, you know, that's how many you start with, and then you have four bag slots, and each one of those slots you can add items and as you do, it expands the number of items on that page. But we're actually; that's one of the things we are potentially going to revisit as well and we're kicking around a lot of ideas like, you know, bags that are item specific; they hold specific types of things but generally, we want people to kind of be able to upgrade their personal inventory in some way, either by removing things from their core inventory through these kind of additional bags or just expanding the inventory overall. But, none of that's final, we're actually right in the middle of a big redesign on that whole system.
Head over to the link below to listen to the latest BlizzCast or read the transcript.

BlizzCast Episode 5
Blizzard Entertainment

Custer's In Beta
12:12 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

This week's desktop, from IMG's own Brad Custer, focuses on the upcoming expansion pack World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King from Blizzard Entertainment, which is currently in beta, and greatly anticipated by many in the gaming community.

Here's what Brad had to say:

With the recent opening of beta testing for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King from Blizzard Entertainment I've been quite busy exploring the new lands of Northrend. I won't spoil it by revealing all the great things I've seen, but trust me the expansion is definitely worth the wait. So, I decided this week to honor all your requests for more desktops from the upcoming game by featuring a spot I really enjoyed. I was able to make this wallpaper with the help of Blizzard Entertainment. I simply entitled this selection, "Coldarra" after the large island off the coast of Borean Tundra, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.
Custer's latest is available in a variety of sizes at Custer's Desktops.

Custer's Desktops

Click to enlarge
Spore Space Stage Video Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

The official website for Spore, Will Wright's soon to be released evolution sim, has added a new behind-the-scenes video to the list of available preview movies. This latest video provides a preview of the Space Stage including comments from Kip Katsarelis who explains the spaceship tools collectible in the game's final phase.

More about Spore:

Begin your odyssey at the dawn of life as a simple microbe just trying to survive, then use the fun, intuitive Editors to evolve the creature from its microscopic origins into an intelligent, tool-using race. Guide your species as it builds (and the player designs) villages, buildings, cities, and vehicles. Along the way to becoming a global civilization you can choose whether to hunt or forage, attack or trade, be nice or play rough!

All the action takes place in a huge, lush world populated with creatures evolved by other players and shared over SPORE’s central servers. When it’s ready, your one-time pond scum launches into space in its UFO on a grand voyage of discovery, planet forming, or destruct-ion! As you explore and play in this limitless universe of unique worlds, your personal Sporepedia tracks all the creatures you’ve met and places you’ve visited.
Check out the new video at the page linked below.

Spore Videos
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

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Penumbra: Requiem Released For PC
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Paradox Interactive has announced the release of Penumbra: Requiem, an expansion to the Penumbra indie horror series. As with previous episodes in the atmospheric game world, independent team Frictional Games developed the expansion.

Requiem will tie up loose ends from previous installments and as Philip progresses he will encounter various characters from his past. The game delves deeper into the world of the Tuurngait infection and personalities from the previous two games, Overture and Black Plague. Long lost friends will return and aid Philip on his quest.

"Penumbra: Requiem is an expansion to Penumbra: Black Plague and is to be considered an epilogue to that game and not as a new episode in the Penumbra franchise. The main goal with Penumbra: Requiem has been to focus more on the physics puzzles and see how far the current engine could be taken. This has made Requiem into a game that focuses more on gameplay and puzzles than the previous Penumbra instalments and a game that is more experimental in nature.

Although having a strong emphasis on puzzles the game still features a dense atmosphere, a trade mark of the Penumbra series. In Overture the goal was to induce strong fears from isolation, in Black Plague a main theme was paranoia and Requiem does its best to deliver a nightmarish and feverish atmosphere. Penumbra: Requiem is an attempt to deliver a fresh and rewarding experience and not just some rehash of previous material."
IMG has received word from Frictional Games that the Mac version of the game is estimated to reach release in about a month's time. Follow the links below for more information.

Frictional Games
Penumbra: Requiem

Will Wright Discusses Spore Pornography
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A recent Associated Press interview with Will Wright offered the veteran game developer's thoughts about his latest god-sim, Spore. Among other things in the interview Wright offered his opinion of the x-rated creations, sometimes called Sporn, crafted using the Spore Creature Creator.

Will Wright is not offended by the explicit monsters some folks have created using his evolution simulator, no matter which private parts they may resemble. In fact, Wright said he's been impressed with the indecent beasts spawned by a slimmed-down edition of "Spore," his much-anticipated but difficult-to-describe game.

"When you give players creative control, you have to expect they're going to do the unexpected," the prolific video game designer said. "Some of it's really good for what they were shooting for. It's amazingly explicit, especially when those creations are animated. We just have to make sure those people aren't messing up the experience for others."

That means "Spore" -- due out Sept. 7 for Windows PC and Mac -- will allow players to ban such critters from inhabiting their user-generated universes. Of course, there's much more to Wright's eight-years-in-the-making game than "Spore"-nography made with the "Spore Creature Creator," a standalone character editor released in advance of the full game.
Spore should be available on September 7th. Click over to the link below to read the full Q&A.

Yahoo! Finance: Spore Designer Spills On Explicit Creatures
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

Mac Games News for Thursday, August 28, 2008

Apple Games Interviews Will Wright6:00 AM
Diablo III: Item Gambling, Character Death, New Screenshots6:00 AM
Geneforge 5 Beta Testers Needed6:00 AM
MindHabits Ships For Mac OS X6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 28, 2008 on one page

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