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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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

Blizzard Entertainment has released the eighth BlizzCast, a series of podcasts created by Blizzard's Community Team and focusing on the company's current and future game offerings. Number eight features Q&As with Julian Love, Mike Nicholson, Tom Chilton, Jay Wilson, and Dustin Browder about Diablo III, Starcraft 2, and World of Warcraft.

Bornakk: Before Wrath of the Lich King came out there was talk of aerial combat in Wintergrasp and in the game in general with some goblin anti-air shredder being put in the game. Howling Fjord showed some footage of this as well. What happened with aerial combat and do we still plan to put it into the game?
Tom Chilton: Well the aerial combat that we had in Wintergrasp we just ended up feeling wasnít really polished enough for the final experience. We gave it a shot with the vehicle technology that we had but ultimately it was a little goofy that you could crash your airplane into the ground and nothing bad would really happen. Then also the kinda of sense of flying really wasnít there enough.
If you look at a lot of games that have done flight simulation, there is a lot of care that goes into giving you that sensation of flying by having the world tilt and stuff like that so it feels a little less mechanical, feels a little bit more alive or more natural. So one of the things that we have kind of tasked ourselves with doing is figuring out how to polish that, how to improve on our vehicle physics, thereís still a lot of vehicle physics tech that we want to get in that didnít make it into the first pass of Lich King.
So we have to make some tough decisions sometimes about what we are going to go forward with and what just isnít working out well enough to meet our quality standards and that was one of them. So itís still definitely on our list of things that we want to do, we have a lot of people here who are passionate about vehicle combat, passionate about making it more interesting, more fun, by increasing the number of things we can do with it Ė that would definitely include the possibility of doing aerial combat.

Bornakk: Will there be a diverse selection of items that are viable for the end-game or will it follow the WoW-type style where there is more like one end-all-be-all set for each class?
Jay Wilson: Itís definitely diverse and itís diverse on a lot of different fronts. When you think about Diablo 2, all the different ways you can build your character, we really expanded all the ways you can customize your character by adding in the rune system. Not only can you completely customize your skill set, much more so than you can in game like most MMOs like World of Warcraft, because of that, the items you want are based upon the skill set that youíve chosen or the type of build that you are trying to create.
And items, one of the things we are trying to do is focus on this even greater element of defining your build. So really it's up to the player on what kind of stats they want on their character, but we're definitely not shooting for a, "oh here's the barbarian armor", there is a set and when you get the full set you're done. That's just not very Diablo and it's not really the kind of gameplay we're going for. If anything weíd like the item set to be a lot more diverse than it was in Diablo 2.

Bornakk: . Can you give us some insight into the current air model, like what are the roles of the air unites, and what do you see working really well in-game?
Dustin Browder: Well obviously each of the races behaves differently with how they use their air units. The Zerg, obviously the mutalisk is still a powerful part of the Zerg air force and still used for a lot of fast raiding, a lot of sudden attacks from different directions to keep the enemy off balance and of course in mass in the end game you can obviously use mutalisks for mass air assaults.
The other races behave a little bit differently. The Terrans with their banshee, is very very powerful anti-ground unit. It can even sometimes just power right through base defenses which really the wraith couldnít have handled in the original game. So you see a lot of need for all the races to have some very powerful anti-air weapons to deal with these kinds of threats.
A similar threat on the Protoss side is the void ray. It is a very powerful bream that can really do a lot of damage to enemy buildings. So youíll see there are some very heavy hitters in the air in Starcraft 2 that really require you to get out there and use some of these more dedicated anti-air units like the corrupter, like the phoenix, to really fend off these powerful sort of air threats. Obviously there are some similarities players will see with the original game, at the same time there are these really powerful hitters really do make a pretty big difference.
You'll also seem some new authority for some of the bigger units in the game. Certainly the carriers have a much longer range than theyíve ever had before. It makes them a very powerful threat from the air in the end game. We should probably see more carriers used in higher level games but obviously will see how that goes in the beta. And of course the battlecruiser has three different options in terms of how he wants to sort of improve his battlecruiser, whether he wants to buy a yamato weapon for his battlecruiser, or the player wants to a buy a shield for his cruiser, sort of different choices for the player for the battlecruiser which again adds to the authority of these big end game units which makes them a little more practicle in different matchups. Where previously you would only see battlecruisers in certain matchups in Starcraft, now in Starcraft 2 youíll probably see them in more matchups sort of across the board.
To listen to the BlizzCast or read the transcript head over to the link below.

BlizzCast Episode 8
Blizzard Entertainment

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IMG Reviews Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble
6:56 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review for the adventure game Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble from one-man developer Mousechief. In the game, you play as a dangerous girl out to take over the town and learn its dark secrets. Using early twentieth century music and graphical stylings gives DHSGT a unique look and sound. Here's an excerpt from the review:

Each character in the game, both playable and non, has four attributes (glamor, rebellion, popularity, and savvy) which relate to four different types of challenges (fib, expose, taunt, and gambit respectively). The challenges, along with the flirtation game whereby you pick up boys, take place in mini-games, some of which are pure luck, others are pure logic, some in between. When a member of your team defeats a challenge, she gains experience. WIth enough experience, the team member will be able to level up and add a rank to one of her attributes. Because, with each encounter, only some members can perform specific challenge types, it is important to try to use all the girls equally. In many cases, when a challenge is failed, someone must be sacrificed, usually in the order of boyfriend, then girl taking the challenge (or, if the queen takes the challenge and does not have a boyfriend, one of the team is sacrificed). The sacrificed member can be re-acquired at the school, or you can pick someone else to take her place.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble
Dangerous High School Girls
Buy Dangerous High School Girls

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Midnight Mansion Updated
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Midnight Mansion 1.1.7, a free update to ActionSoft's action/exploration game, has been released. The latest version fixes a bug where Jack could sometimes climb two spaces above a ladder as if a ladder existed there, by using certain movement and keypress combinations. In Midnight Mansion players take the role of Jack Malone as they explore for hidden treasure in eight huge mansions filled with traps, puzzles, and secrets.

Midnight Mansion is an action/exploration platformer with 32-bit graphics, spine-tingling sound effects, and professional quality music. As Jack Malone, you will explore eight huge mansions, each filled with traps, puzzles, and secrets, as you search for legendary treasure. Ride on conveyor belts, avoid zapper beams, and dodge monsters as you collect keys that give you access to new areas of each mansion. Non-violent gameplay allows the whole family to enjoy the game. Features include multiple user accounts, online high scores, suspend game, a level editor, and much more.

System Requirements:
- Any Macintosh capable of running MacOS X (PowerPC or Intel)
- MacOS X 10.1.5 or higher (MacOS X 10.2 or higher recommended)
- Minimum 20 MB free RAM.
Head over to the links below for more information.

Midnight Mansion

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Kivi's Underworld: New Monsters Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Soldak Entertainment has added three new entries to the bestiary for Kivi's Underworld, the company's upcoming action RPG title. Described as a casual hack and slash game, Kivi allows players to adventure as one of 20 character classes against a variety of dangerous foes. The bestiary expands with entries for the Chaos Lord, Zombie, and Skeleton.

Chaos Lord
From the hot, volatile core of the world, chaos vents through evil things from another realm, like demons. The Chaos Lord is the largest, most hated and vastly feared demon to rise from places unknown and stalk the underworlds. It is bold and aggressive, never hesitating to attack, using its physicality as a weapon, stunning earthquakes resound with one stomp of its foot.
Click over to the site below to read more about the monsters in the game.

Kivi's Underworld Monster Page
Soldak Entertainment
Kivi's Underworld

Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel Discusses Game Piracy
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Jeff Vogel has released the tenth installment of his View From The Bottom developer column for IGN. This time Spiderweb Software's popular RPG creator offers his opinion on the hotly debated issue of game piracy and efforts to prevent piracy using a variety of copy protection methods.

I've had to come to a grim realization. I do have a donation section on my website. It's called the order form. I am in the same boat as everyone else selling single-player games for the PC - as opposed to those like World of Warcraft that charge a monthly fee. It is so easy to pirate our work now that we can only get paid by two types of people - those who don't know that BitTorrent exists (a rapidly dwindling group), and those honest souls who give us cash when they know they don't have to. In other words, donate.

...So I do everything I can to keep it from getting to me. I don't like rainy days either, but there's not much point in trying to prevent them. And there aren't yet any good ways to make real money developing single-player games beyond selling licenses. Ads can generate some revenues, but nowhere near enough to keep a business afloat.

So, I am working to adjust to the new reality. People will only pay us for single-player PC games to feel good about themselves, like they are committing a virtuous act. Now that stealing them has gone from just easy to painfully trivial, how do we stay in business in the new reality?

...give up on DRM. This is nothing new. The big corporations have been told for years that their anti-piracy measures are not only pointless, but counter-productive. But, while I'm being redundant, saying the truth one more time rarely hurts. Spore has some of the most restrictive DRM ever. It's also one of the most pirated games ever. If you care about, you know, making money, then make people feel good about buying your product, give them real rewards for buying it (limited editions with plastic figures, anyone?), or both. Then, maybe, 12 percent of the people playing your game will pay for it, instead of 10. A tiny percentage difference, but a huge increase in sales... and profits.
Read the full column at the site listed below.

View From The Bottom #11
Spiderweb Software

Mac Games News for Monday, March 30, 2009

City Of Heroes Mission Architect Examined6:00 AM
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince New Screens & Trailer6:00 AM
Jeff Kaplan Lists Problems With World Of Warcraft6:00 AM
No DRM For The Sims 36:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, March 30, 2009 on one page

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