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Monday, October 13, 2008

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StarCraft II Single Player Campaign To Span Three Games
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Blizzard Entertainment has announced at its BlizzCon 2008 event that the eagerly anticipated StarCraft II storyline will be spread across the initial game release and two following expansions. The game will launch with the Terrans: Wings of Liberty campaign. The Zerg: Heart of the Swarm, and Protoss: Legacy of the Void campaigns will be released with the expansions.

From Shacknews:

"[The second and third games] will be like expansion packs, but we really want them to feel like standalone products," said Blizzard's Rob Pardo.

Each campaign will be very different, with Pardo announcing the Zerg campaign will contain RPG elements. The Protoss campaigin will likewise be differentiated by elements of diplomacy. In addition, the Terran campaign will feature a Protoss mini-campaign.

The campaigns are planned as concentrated, epic storylines, with enough content to justify a full release. As a result, the games will now feature more in-game cinematics and story content.

Blizzard added that the plans for the multiplayer component are unchanged by the splitting of the campaigns. However, some units will now be unique to the campaigns and will not be playable in multiplayer.
Following up on the announced Joystiq has posted the results of an interview with Chris Sigaty about the decision to split the single player campaigns into three products.
We learned earlier in the day from Rob Pardo that there will be units in the single player mode that are not usable in the multiplayer mode. Sigaty expanded upon this a little bit; Goliaths and those six-person Terran Bunkers will not be usable in multiplayer. By removing those units, and others like it, they will change significantly the way the multiplayer game is played compared to the single player.You can't just turtle your way through a multiplayer match with bunkers anymore.

When I asked Sigaty about the different parts of the trilogy and how each part would affect the multiplayer game, he said that each campaign will add something to the multiplayer game. Of course, one of the bigger questions today, we asked if multiplayer will be fully implemented with all the races when the first part of the SC2 trilogy is released? The answer is simple: "yes." Players will be able to play each and every race, setting them against each other in massive do-or-die battles.

If the game play, units, and graphics are all implemented at the release of the first part of the trilogy, and even multiplayer is there and finished, why make three games? Sigaty described the reason behind doing a trilogy as an issue of "scope." They want to do it all and don't want to cut things. They have "extremely grand plans" and want to see them through to the very end, and that end has to be the best it can be.

"We want the ability to tell the story the way we want to," he said. While nothing is set in stone, Sigaty said that each part of the trilogy would ideally be able to played as a stand alone game. And no matter if each part of the trilogy can be played stand alone, there will be an overarching story arc which they already have mapped out. Right now the three biggest things they're working on are the graphics engine, the tools, and the cinematics. According to Sigaty, the cinematics for SC2 will be quite amazing and quite immersive.
Read more at the links below.

Shacknews: StarCraft II A Trilogy
Shacknews: StarCraft II Cinematic Trailers
Joystiq: Chris Sigaty Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Platinum Arts Sandbox Update Adds Mac Build
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Platinum Arts has released version 2.2.4 of the Platinum Arts Sandbox, a game design tool based on the Cube 2 engine that allows users to create and edit their own worlds in game, even cooperatively. Among other things the update includes a Mac build of the Sandbox.

Updates in version 2.2.4 beta:

• Fixed entity editing in coop mode
• Rotoscope cartoon shader added, try /rotoscope 1 (thanks Eihrul!!)
• Fullscreen shader overhaul and now multile shaders can be active at one time (Thanks again Eihrul!!)
• Easy to add new textures, they don't require an extension anymore
• A Mac build thanks to Pbxor
• Many more "under the hood" fixes to Sandbox and MovieCube
More information about the Platinum Arts Sandbox:
Platinum Arts Sandbox is Educational Software that enables kids to design their own 3D worlds quickly and easily. Through the program kids can make their own mazes, castles, forts, cities, etc in minutes. Kids are also a part of the world when they are creating it, so they can watch the results of their changes as they are happening. The main mission of the project will be to add more features and ways for the children to add their own custom content and to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Also Platinum Arts will be providing custom content such as mazes, playgrounds, forts, jumping levels, forests and natural terrains to explore, etc.
The project is to remain open source and free so that developers and kids can help add new content and features to help make Platinum Arts Sandbox the most fun and easy world creation tool possible. Platinum Arts Sandbox will be easy enough for kids to use but also powerful enough for full game projects.

Main Feature List:
- The ability to map edit in game in real time and cooperatively with other people.
- The ability to immediately play with and interact with map editing changes
- Several custom maps that will feature slides, jumping levels, mazes, amusement park rides, etc
- The pursuit of making it as easy as possible to add map features and content. Also the addition of new entities to add even more features and capabilities
For the current features being worked on please check the forums .
Click over to the links below to read more.

Platinum Arts Sandbox Version 2.2.4
Platinum Arts Sandbox

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Overgrowth Preorder Now Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Wolfire Games has opened a preorder page for Overgrowth, the upcoming sequel to the martial arts action title, Lugaru. Those who preorder will also be given access to the Secret Preorder Forum (SPF), early beta testing opportunities, early mod tools, and the ability to create mods shipped in the release.

The game will pick up where Lugaru left off: in a world of anthropomorphic rabbits and wolves who use paws, claws and medieval weaponry to engage each other in battle.  With a brand new engine featuring next generation animation, physics, and rendering technology, Wolfire Games has promised to stay true to its "tradition of combining high-end graphics with innovative fighting mechanics."

Overgrowth is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2009 and can be preordered from the site below for $29.95.

Overgrowth Preorder
Wolfire Software

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Diablo III Wizard Class Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment's BlizzCon 2008 event revealed new information about the company's products including the unveiling of a new character class for the upcoming Diablo III. The Wizard joins the Barbarian and Witchdoctor on the roster of playable character classes for the action RPG. Gaming sites across the net have posted new screenshots, videos, and interviews related to revelations about Diablo III.

From the Diablo III website:

Owing to my lack of tolerance for those who would use magic towards their own nefarious ends, many have assumed that I am averse to the practice of the magical arts on a philosophical level. Nothing could be farther from the truth. My quarrel is with those sorcerers who dismiss the ancient traditions and teachings – teachings that have been honed over millennia in order to preserve respect for authority and the rule of law.

Recently the youth of Caldeum have fallen prey to the overblown stories of just such a delinquent wizard. That is correct: I used the uncouth term wizard , not sorcerer . It seems that even the title of a civilized magic wielder is too restrictive for this young upstart. Through my contacts at the Yshari Sanctum of the mage clans, I am one of the few who actually know the truth behind the rumors now sweeping our streets regarding this hellion who flaunts her magic irresponsibly.

This wizard was sent here to spend her formative years under the tutelage of the best mages in the world. Well, it seems they neglected to teach our wizard manners on her native island of Xiansai, for she was a rude and uncooperative student from the very beginning. Originally under the guidance of the Zann Esu mage clan, she was eventually handed over to the Vizjerei in the hopes that their strict and unbending discipline would break her anarchic spirit. Yet even the esteemed Vizjerei instructors were unable to rein her in. She was continually being caught seeking out dangerous and forbidden magics, heedless of the consequences to herself or anyone around her.
From GameSpot:
Playing as a level 10 barbarian the skills at our disposal included a few different melee attacks and a couple of buffs that could be activated anytime we amassed enough rage. One of the melee attacks was mapped to the left mouse button, which is used for movement anytime your cursor isn't hovering over an enemy. The remaining two mele attacks were mapped to the right button, and could be switched between either using the Tab key or the mouse wheel. Furthermore, keys 1 through 4 can have abilities mapped to them, and keys 5 and 6 are used for potions. It's certainly a more complex system than anything that was used in previous Diablo games, but it still looks very accessible by today's standards.
From Gamespy:
Combat and gathering loot are at the core of the Diablo III experience, and Blizzard has certainly come up with interesting ways to keep combat exciting, particularly in the unique approach to death animations. Abilities that you use to destroy enemies are generally tied to unique death animations. If you use a sweeping bladed strike against enemies, you can lop off their heads. Use a smashing hammer blow, and you can smash bodies to bits, making them explode into chunks of bloody body parts. The Wizard's disintegration ray literally melts faces (and everything else) while acid-based attacks will more slowly take creatures apart, breaking them down into a bubbly mess. Not only are there unique death animations for most attacks, but there are even secondary death animations for critical hits with these attacks. The idea is that even when you're killing swarms of similar enemies, you'll always see them dying in explosively entertaining ways.
From an IGN interview with Rob Pardo:
"One of the problems with the Diablo II system is that you kind of lock in with one or two skills. We really wanted to come up with a system that allows you to kind of experiment and try across different areas," he said. Runes are where the experimentation comes in. "You'll actually find drops that are runes out in the world that you can slot into a skill. That will not only augment a skill but it can change it complete... Depending on the type of rune that you got, you might take an ability and it might turn into a multi-shot ability, or it might turn into an area-of-effect ability."
Head over to the links provided below for more information about Diablo III.

Diablo III Wizard Class
Wizard Video
Shacknews: Diablo III Gameplay Video
Kotaku: Diablo III Gameplay Video
GameSpot: D3 Preview
GameSpy: D3 Preview
IGN: Rob Pardo D3 Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

Mac Games News for Friday, October 10, 2008

Cloud Girls Now Available For iPhone & iPod Touch6:00 AM
Freeverse Tops App Store, Releases New Titles6:00 AM
Spore: City Anthem Creator Tutorial Video6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Decorative Water, Visible Unit Upgrades6:00 AM
Uplink Update Restores Compatibility, Provides Enhancements6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, October 10, 2008 on one page

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