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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spirited Heart Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Winter Wolves Software has announced the release of Spirited Heart, which it describes as a fantasy life simulation game. In the new title players choose one of three female protagonists (a human, an elf, and a demoness) and help their chosen character find success and happiness during a ten year span of time. Spirited Heart features 20 jobs from which to choose, six potential marriage partners, 26 possible endings, and a variety of random events and encounters.

Create your fantasy alter ego choosing between an apparently normal human, a cute elf and a wicked demoness. Every character has different starting attributes that will greatly influence the gameplay. They also behave differently in the various dialogue choices you'll encounter during the game.

Once the game start you'll be able to run your life in a virtual fantasy world: choose a job from the 20 different ones available, but carefully check the minimum requirements.

Each starting job will improve some of your basic character skills, giving you the possibility to unlock more advanced jobs once you have trained your character long enough.

From time to time, random events will occur and you'll also make random encounters: there are six potential partner for your character in the game, two for each one of the three races. Each partner will have his own personality and will react differently depending on which race you're playing, offering over 100 different dialogue combinations!

Can you win their hearts and maybe, one day, marry one of them?

Play with your character for 10 in-game years in which you have to do your best! The full game has 20 normal endings plus 6 special marriage endings, providing hours of gameplay and lots of replayability.

Can you see all the different endings?
Spirited Heart requires Mac OS 10.4 or higher, a 1.2 Ghz CPU, and 256 MB RAM. The full version costs $19.99. A demo is available at the link below.

Spirited Heart
Winter Wolves

Spiderweb's Vogel Discusses Underpricing Of Indie Games
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

On his blog, The Bottom Feeder, Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel has chosen to tackle the topic of independent game pricing, suggesting that the current trend of declining prices is bad for developers and gamers. The first part of the discussion details his reasons for concern over price drops, identifying prices on portals such as Apple's iPhone App Store as key reasons why some developers feel compelled to lower prices.

The difference between an amateur and a professional is that the professional knows how much to charge for his or her work. When people argue about how much an Indie game should sell for, they tend to ignore several important factors that should go into the decision:
How Big is the Game? - Braid lasts about 6 hours, or about $2.50 an hour. A little on the pricey side, but the game gets away with it by being so fun. Our newest game, Geneforge 5: Overthrow, lasts about 30 hours, or less than a buck an hour (not counting considerable replay value). $28 seems very fair.
How Niche Is the Game? - Economics says that scarcer things should sell for more. A Bejeweled clone is common and thus should be cheap. Good single-player RPGs are scarce. They should sell for more.
How Much Do I Need To Earn To Live? - Suppose your game takes a year to write and thus, counting salaries, needs to earn about $100K to break even. If you sell it on iTunes for $.99, after Apple's cut, you need to sell around 130000 copies to break even. That is a LOT of copies. A spiffy and addictive puzzle game (which is harder to write than you think) might sell that many. A plot-heavy niche RPG? No.
When you price your game, you take the factors into account and you come up with a number. Then you try to sell the game. And if the number you need to charge is too high for what the portals will let you charge? You have a real problem. And, when good games get squeezed out of the market because of penny pinching, we all have a problem.

Indie developers are harmed by a blanket idea of what their games "should" cost. Everyone who allows this bargain basement attitude is part of the problem.
Read Vogel's full commentary at the link below.

The Bottom Feeder: Indie Games Should Cost More, Pt. 1
Spiderweb Software

Challenging Turn-Based Fun In Elven Legacy
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

That VideoGame Blog has published a new review of Elven Legacy, a turn-based strategy title set in a fantasy world. The game features more than 100 units, five heroes, five playable factions, multiplayer combat, multiple game endings, and a game editor for players who want to create their own missions.

From the review:

What makes it so hard? For starters, if you aren’t a strategy game regular, I wouldn’t recommend this being the first one you play. The game never explains the details of how combat works. That will be covered later though. Also, each level awards you with a gold, silver, or bronze trophy based on how few turns you were able to beat the level in. At the start of each turn, a message pops up reminding you how many turns you have left in order to get each trophy. For me at least, this really makes you want to beat each level to get that gold trophy as the reward for doing such grant you troops and gold that are vital. Herein lies yet another problem. Getting that gold trophy means you have to dart straight across the map with your seven troops (each with varying amount of spaces they can move) and pray that enough enemies don’t attack (and massacre) you before you even get there.

Earlier, I mentioned that second level that almost made me quit the game. I am convinced that no person can get the gold trophy on that level in the amount of turns the game dictates. Before you even have a chance to get to your target location, you’ll be swallowed up by all the enemy units you tried to pass. This leaves you surrounded and with zero chance to complete your mission. So how do you deal with this? The only way around getting massacred is by taking your army to each part of the map and wiping out the enemy units one by one so that none of them can sneak up behind you once you are about to reach your final destination.
Virtual Programming recently announced it would be bringing the game to Mac users sometime this year. To read the review and more about the game click over to the links below.

That VideoGame Blog: Elven Legacy Review
Elven Legacy
Virtual Programming

Click to enlarge
World Of Warcraft 3.1 Update Now Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has released a new update for its popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. In addition to the usual bug fixes, balance changes, and content additions the 3.1.0 patch paves the way for the Ulduar raid dungeon, a new area which features 14 new bosses, 11 of which offer an optional hard mode for veteran players.

Some of the changes in 3.1:

• All Ground Mounts may now swim without dismounting the rider. Flying Mounts still may NOT, and will dismount the rider upon entering water.
• Ulduar is now available for limited testing. Please visit the Public Test Realms for more details.
• Players at maximum level will now be able to visit their trainer to pay a one-time fee and access the dual talent specialization feature.
• A new Gear Manager feature has been added. Players will now be able to save gear sets for easy gear switching

• Players will now be able to queue for battlegrounds from any location.
• Seaforium Barrels can now be looted while mounted, seen from anywhere in the zone, and found at the Central Graveyard.
• Teleporters can now be used while mounted and can now be seen from anywhere in the zone

User Interface:
• New Advanced features for quest tracking are now available. Players will need to activate this option within the Interface panel.
• A new Color Blind option is available under the Interface panel.
For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.
Click over to the link below to read the full update list.

WoW Patch 3.1 Notes
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Elven Legacy Reviewed6:00 AM
Hollenshead Discusses Rage, id Tech 5, Doom 46:00 AM
Playing Chess With The Terminal6:00 AM
Spore Galactic Adventures Hands-On Preview6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, April 14, 2009 on one page

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