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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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EVE Online: Apocrypha Launches Today
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Today is the release date for CCP Games' EVE Online: Apocrypha, the next free expansion for the company's sci-fi MMO. Apocrypha will feature new wormholes, the production of Tech 3 modular ships, NPC agents capable of assigning epic mission arcs, a reworked New Player Experience, and the arrival of Premium Graphics for Mac users. The expansion's release coincides with the release of a retail version of EVE Online, which includes the new Premium graphics client for Mac in the box.

The improvements for Apocrypha include:
• Explore and dominate more than 2,400 solar systems that exist on the other side of unstable wormholes opening up throughout New Eden. New scanning mechanics allow you to find and explore them in the first truly uncharted space in EVE.
• Wormholes aren't the only thing to discover. Booster sites, archeological digs, hacking sites, gas clouds and salvaging sites are some of the surprises in store for those pilots skilled in scanning exploration.
• The Sleepers, a new NPC race, protect an ancient technology within the wormhole-space. They exhibit intelligence unlike any enemy yet found in new Eden, requiring pilots to react to their deadly, shifting tactics.
• Tech 3 strategic cruisers are the first ship class to arise from reverse engineered technology gleaned from wormhole space fueling their production. Their modular nature allows for a broad level of customization of both ship appearance and performance.
• The New Player Experience has been rebuilt from the ground up with improved tutorials and an easier introduction to possible "career" paths. Rookie starship pilots will find it smoother than ever to become a force to be reckoned with in the limitless world of New Eden.
• The introduction of Epic Mission Arcs, huge branching mission sagas, are designed to give new pilots a tour across many regions of space and bring them out the other end, battle-hardened and knowledgeable about the EVE universe.
• Hundreds of visual aspects in the game have been renovated, including almost every effect in game. All new assets make up the massive wormhole spaces, such as new NPC structures and gorgeous nebulas. Space just keeps looking better with age.
• With further performance increases, optimizations and graphics upgrades, we bid farewell to our Classic Graphics Client as players across all platforms begin to enjoy the beauty of Premium Lite.
• Mac owners rejoice! EVE will now be available to you in all of its Premium graphics glory.
• Character attributes can now be rearranged in order to diversify or specialize skill training with Attribute Remapping, perfect for a veteran who needs to switch focus or a new player who's just discovered a different niche.
• Players can now schedule automatic training of multiple skills with an original skill queue planning interface designed for maximum efficiency.
• A redesigned Ship Fitting Panel screen allows for more information when kitting out your ship. The ability to export both ship fittings and overview settings means that you can share your best configurations with your friends or you can quickly re-fit a replacement ship to head back into battle.
• The Audio Engine allows more flexibility for our sound designers, meaning a complete revamp of a lot of audio effects including warping, jumpgates and cloaking. Brand new sounds will also grace Apocrypha's new visual effects.
• Our efforts to bring EVE closer to everyone's home continue with the localized Russian client coming out of beta testing to full support.
The website below contains a full feature list, links to blogs on specific features, interviews with developers, screenshots, and a teaser trailer for those interested in learning more about EVE Online: Apocrypha.

EVE Online: Apocrypha
CCP Games
EVE Online

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Discussing Apocrypha
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Eurogamer has posted a new interview withCCP Games' Noah Ward about the latest expansion for EVE Online, Apocrypha. The update to the company's sci-fi MMO features a variety of new updates and additions to the game including wormhole travel and the long awaited arrival of Premium Graphics for Mac users.

Eurogamer: Can you explain a little about how Tech 3 materials will be procured from wormhole space? How will industrialists make money from this process?
Noah Ward: There are many sorts of resources that players will find with judicious use of their new scanner. Harvestable gas clouds, archaeology sites and hacking sites are common, as well as plenty of salvage, so mixed groups are going to have an advantage. An interdictor or destroyer set up like a Swiss Army Knife would be a good ship to have in your fleet in order to maximize profits. Once all of those things are gathered up, they need to be transported back to a starbase or research outpost where they can be reverse-engineered into parts to actually create Tech 3.

Eurogamer: What other features does Tech 3 have? What should we expect from Tech 3 ships? Will they change the current balance of PVP?
Noah Ward: This is a really tough call to make, because the design goal for the new Strategic Cruisers is to empower the players. We're trying really hard to make each subsystem equally valuable so we don't see cookie-cutter setups. Every subsystem has its own flavour, benefits and skill bonus. The element of surprise will play a factor in PVP.

Eurogamer: What other features should older players be excited about? Can you talk about the refreshed UI and other changes?
Noah Ward: There is a lot to be excited about in this expansion. The new system scanner is really cool. It's much more interactive to use, almost like a puzzle game. I've already mentioned the skill queue but it's worth mentioning again because it's so cool. The new fitting screen with picture-in-picture is much improved and includes the ability to save and share fittings. Overview settings are also able to be exported and shared.
The effects have been revamped and look really cool. We've got a new sound engine with new sound effects. Mac users are finally getting Premium graphics and everyone has more options to optimize their graphic performance. I'm personally really excited about this expansion because we've done so many things that I think will please players. There are little things, like the improved agent dialogue, that are just nicer.
Read the full Q&A at the link listed below.

Eurogamer: EVE Online Apocrypha
CCP Games
EVE Online

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World Of Goo Wasn't Built In A Day, Part 1
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

2D Boy has posted a new screenshot depicting an early version of World of Goo, the company's unique puzzle game. The shot and included description is the first in a seven part series of posts covering the development of the game. In the game players guide balls of goo through the levels by constructing items like ladders and bridges to circumvent obstacles.

for a while now we’ve been meaning to post some early childhood snapshots of world of goo, to dig deep into our code repository and remember the good ol’ days. the early part of a game’s development is often very enjoyable because things evolve rapidly and there’s a great sense of accomplishment. it’s also a lot of fun to look back at those early days and laugh at what the game use to look and feel like. before all the levels, before all the polish, before the months of bug fixing, there was this:

the date is august 20, 2006. the game is about one week old. basic rendering, collision detection, and physics are in place. no music or animations. it feels like you’re dragging balls inside a jar of honey and the connection logic for the strands is non-intuitive and often results in odd, unstable structures. the player is also able to grab the structure itself and swing it around like the wet towel that it is. and there are intellectual property issues, to boot :)
Click over to the link below for more information.

2D Boy: World Of Goo Wasn't Built In A Day
2D Boy
World of Goo

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Warcraft III 2009 Tournament Begins
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that The Warcraft III 2009 Tournament is now live. The open Warcraft III ladder has been reset to even the playing field, and the top 100 players from each region will have the chance to join the fray on the invitational ladder. Winners from invitational ladders will have a chance to win a StarCraft II beta key.

We're pleased to announce the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne 2009 Tournament, the seventh edition of the Warcraft III ladder tournaments. The tournament will use a similar format to the previous tournaments, using the three invitational ladders hosted on the Kalimdor, Northrend, and Azeroth realms. Once again, these ladders will initially be populated on an invitation-only basis and feature the world's most established and successful Warcraft III players. Each will function as a standard solo ladder, with their own web interface displaying rankings, and their own map pools. Additionally, top performers from each invitational ladder will have a chance to win a StarCraft II beta key.
Check out the links below to read more.

Warcraft III 2009 Tournament
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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IMG Reviews Sid Meier's Pirates
6:00 AM | Marcus Albers | 7 comments

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Sid Meier's Pirates! from UK publisher Feral Interactive. The first release from their Legends series of budget remakes, Pirates lets you take on the role of a swashbuckling buccaneer and sail the seven seas! Here's an excerpt from the review:

I've read enough nautical fiction and true accounts of warfare in the Age of Sail to know that real ship-to-ship combat was incredibly complicated, sometimes incredibly drawn-out, and often inconclusive. One famous battle in the War of 1812 essentially involved two massive frigates being towed by rowboats in a dead calm, trying to get close enough to shoot each other, and it went on for at least two days. I would imagine that a true simulation of trying to get a couple of hundred semi-drunk, undernourished and demonstrably disobedient men (these ARE pirates, after all) to handle the absurdly complicated steering of a massive device held together with ropes and tar in completely undependable winds, while simultaneously trying to load, aim, and fire smooth-bored cannons hardly accurate beyond 500 feet would be something that would make even the most avid flight-simulator freak shake in his boots. After all, you never have to flog an F-18 to get it to do what you want. Pirates, perhaps wisely, has chosen to forego total realism here.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Sid Meier's Pirates!
Feral Interactive
Buy Pirates!

Mac Games News for Monday, March 9, 2009

Diablo III: Wizard Orb, Weapon Enhancements6:00 AM
Mac Mini Benchmarks Reveal Improved Game Performance6:00 AM
Noah Ward Discusses EVE Online Scandals6:00 AM
Understanding EVE Online Wormholes6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, March 9, 2009 on one page

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