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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Echoes Of War Music Compilation Re-Release Coming June 16
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Eminence Symphony Orchestra has announced the re-release of Echoes of War: Standard Edition, a 2-disc compilation of orchestral themes from Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft, Diablo and Warcraft universes.

The album’s arrangements contain several pieces from yet-to-be released games including StarCraft II and Diablo III. Over 90 minutes of music will be featured, with bonus tracks arranged by special guests including the critically acclaimed composer Kow Otani whose work is featured in Sony’s Shadow of the Colossus.

All pre-orders made before the June 16th launch will receive a $5 USD discount, taking the $24.95 RRP to $19.95. Pre-orders may be made at the Eminence online store located at at the link below and will ship on May 26, 2009. Echoes of War: Standard Edition will also be available at retailers upon its re-release.

Eminence Online Store
Echoes Of War
Blizzard Entertainment

Youda Marina Released For Mac
11:33 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story today announced the release of Youda Marina for the Mac through its web site and digital download service, Mac Games Arcade. The game was created and published by Youda Games. It gives players the chance to build their own marina and features 4 different maps, multiple kinds of structures to build, a variety of watercraft, and milestones to achieve.

Tropical vibes and the sound of breaking waves! Create the Marina of your dreams. What, you don't dream about marinas? After playing Youda Marina, you will!

Youda Marina is a simulation and time management game all rolled into one. It offers you sun and fun each time you play! Be creative with your exotic harbor and have fun managing it is everyday problems - just the way you want to! You will be the harbor master, responsible for keeping all your marina visitors happy. And happy visitors mean lots of income as they pay their harbor fees and visit your bars and restaurants.

The more income you earn, the more facilities you can build. Make it possible for your visitors to stay longer by letting them stay in your hotels or holiday resorts. You can even and let them enjoy a day in one of your amusement parks, or join amazing tours. You can even start your own diving school or game fishing excursions! Youda Marina brings together all the creativity of landscape design with some great management action!
* 4 different maps
* Lots of buildings and facilities to construct
* All kinds of ships and boats
* Challenging milestones
* Creativity with your marina design
* Amazing graphics
* Reggae music for the real tropical vibe
* Breaking waves and sea-gull sound effects
* Many hours of great fun
* A fantastic tropical adventure!

System Requirements:
* Mac OS X 10.4.11 or laterYouda Marina is available immediately as a digital download purchase through and Mac Games Arcade. A free demo is available for download. The full version costs $19.95 (USD).

MGS: Buy Youda Marina
Mac Games Arcade

Epic Games' Founder Tim Sweeney Interviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

Gamasutra has posted a lengthy interview with the founder, CEO, and technical director of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney. The Q&A follows the developer's path from childhood game creations to Epic's current successes. Topics discussed include the early days of shareware, his fateful decision to challenge id Software's first person shooter dominance, and his views on the progression of graphics technology.

Did you ever think about doing a Doom-style first-person shooter with Epic instead of a full-3D game like Unreal?
TS: It took about two years to come around to the realization that we could be a competitive game company in that business. At first, the technical problems seemed so hard that it felt like I was out of my league at that point and that all of the Epic folks were out of our league.
What id had done -- let's put it that Wolfenstein and Doom were so far ahead of everybody else's wildest dreams, that it just seemed crazy to try to compete. But it was around 1994 when I started to see that, yeah, they're actually beatable.
There were a bunch of shortcomings in the game, and there were a lot of things you could do in addition to go way beyond what they were doing -- there were different stories you could do. It was really around 1994 that we felt we could actually try to compete in that area.
Even at that point, it was daunting. We typically developed games with between one and three people -- usually a programmer, an artist, and maybe a musician. But those games took much larger teams -- up to ten or twenty people. It was really scary scaling up to the size of the project on Unreal where we went to about 20 people by the time the project shipped.
We had no experience managing projects like that, and developing that game -- the cost of it just required that Epic and Digital Extremes -- we had to spend all of the profits we'd made on all of our previous games up to that point on that one single game.
We were betting everything on that -- including our credit card balances. Mark Rein got his American Express card taken away from funding Epic at that point. We bet everything on it, and it was a success.

Looking ahead, how long do you think it will be before real-time computer graphics are 100% realistic like a movie?
TS: There are two parts to the graphical problem. Number one, there are all those problems that are just a matter of brute force computing power: so completely realistic lighting with real-time radiosity, perfectly anti-aliased graphics, and movie-quality static scenes and motion.
We're only about a factor of a thousand off from achieving all that in real-time without sacrifices. So we'll certainly see that happen in our lifetimes; it's just a result of Moore's Law. Probably 10-15 years for that stuff, which isn't far at all. Which is scary -- we'll be able to saturate our visual systems with realistic graphics at that point.
But there's another problem in graphics that's not as easily solvable. It's anything that requires simulating human intelligence or behavior: animation, character movement, interaction with characters, and conversations with characters. They're really cheesy in games now.
A state-of-the-art game like the latest Half-Life expansion from Valve, Gears of War, or Bungie's stuff is extraordinarily unrealistic compared to a human actor in a human movie, just because of the really fine nuances of human behavior.
We simulate character facial animation using tens of bones and facial controls, but in the body, you have thousands. It turns out we've evolved to recognize those things with extraordinary detail, so we're far short of being able to simulate that.
And unfortunately, all of that's not just a matter of computational power, because if we had infinitely fast computers now, we still wouldn't be able to solve that, because we just don't have the algorithms; we don't know how the brain works or how to simulate it.
Click over to the link below to read the entire interview.

Gamasutra: Epic Games' Tim Sweeney Interview
Epic Games

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City Of Heroes Architect Badges To Be Removed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

In a recent post on the official City of Heroes forums, NCSoft offered explanation of upcoming changes to badge awards earned in relation to the newly implemented Mission Architect feature. In an effort to discourage players from "farming" for badges, or sabotaging the efforts of others to obtain such rewards, many of the badges will be removed from the game. Other badges will be modified to reflect a focus on 1 time accomplishments and achievements.

I wanted to fill you all in on our plans for the Mission Architect badges and also our plans for future badges as well. We really didn’t want the Mission Architect to be an environment that encourages farming for XP, Rewards or Badges, and we thought long and hard about the current Architect badge situation. Ultimately we’d like it to be a place where you go to play great player created content.

So, going forward—beginning with the Mission Architect badges—we’ve decided to move away from “count” badges that might encourage farming and/or aberrant game play. Instead, we’d like to encourage players to try all of our content by offering badges for completing 1 time accomplishments and achievements. What this means for the Mission Architect badges is that many of them are going to be removed in Issue 15. This is because they encouraged farming, because they encouraged aberrant behavior by doing one thing over and over again, they were unobtainable by a large portion of our players, or earning them was completely out of a player’s hands and in the hands of other players.
Head over to the link below to read more specifics about the changes.

City Of Heroes Forum: Changes To Badges
City of Heroes
Buy City of Heroes

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WoW: Updated Druid Forms Coming Soon
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has posted a collection of new artwork for its popular MMO, World of Warcraft. The art reflects the upcoming new druid forms, depicting five new textures for the tauren druid bear form. Images of the night elf druid bear forms will be released later in the week.

In our next major content patch, druids will find a host of new textures for two major forms, cat and bear. There will be five different designs for each of these forms for the Horde and Alliance. Night elves can choose to change their cat and bear look at any time by visiting the barber shop and changing their character's hair color, while tauren will be able to change which look they use by switching skin tones in the barber shop -- a new feature for tauren in the next major content patch. Given that there are more hair colors and skin tones than unique form looks, some colors and tones will overlap with these new textures. The hair and skin colors chosen will, in most cases, correspond with the color seen in the look of each form. Some similar colors that may share a particular cat texture will not necessarily share the same bear texture.

We'd like to share with you this new art for each form and faction in four installments. So without further ado, our first preview is for the five new textures of the tauren druid bear form. We'll also show the current form design so you can easily see the extra detail and textures of the new art. Work continues on new looks for the remaining druid forms and we hope to add them in future content patches.
Check out the new art at the page listed below.

WoW: Druid Forms Under Development
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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IMG Reviews Destination: Treasure Island
6:00 AM | Marcus Albers | 2 comments

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the latest adventure game from Coladia, Destination: Treasure Island. Picking up from where the classic book left off, you play as young Jim Hawkins, off to find the buried treasure of Long John Silver. Here's and excerpt from the review:

The Destination: Treasure Island story line takes place several years after the novel Treasure Island ended. Jim Hawkins has his own ship to master and the craggy old Long John Silver is believed to be enjoying his “earned” retirement on the mainland with his wife. As Jim sits in his cabin going over his books, his ship is attacked and a parrot arrives with the last will and testament of Long John Silver. It makes Jim the inheritor of Long John’s treasure, if only he can decipher a map and the enigmatic puzzle of words provided in the will. (It’s a pirate adventure, what else would you expect?)
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Destination: Treasure Island
Destination: Treasure Island
Buy Destination: Treasure Island

Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 26, 2009

City Of Heroes Architect Edition Review6:00 AM
Discussing EA's New Play Label6:00 AM
Fallout: Vintage Preview, Concept Art6:00 AM
Slide Colors Now Available6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 26, 2009 on one page

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