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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

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Eschalon Book II: Distribution, Torches, Shields
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Basilisk Games has released a new Q&A entry for its series featuring answers to fan questions about the upcoming Eschalon: Book II, the second in the company's "old school" RPG series. The latest installment covers possible distribution methods for the game as well as discussion of the mechanics of shields and torches.

Question #12:
[Xixao] Are you going to be using multiple distributors? If so will the steam version be available at the same time as the others? Will you be fixing torches and shields? The whole not being able to use one while wearing a shield seems very unrealistic. Also how to I view previous developer questions that may have answered my many questions?

- Yes, we will use multiple distributors, but for the first 3-4 weeks it will probably only be available on our site. As for Steam, we would love to have them distribute Book II, but it is up to them to offer to do so. Just because they took Book I (more than a year after we released it) doesn't mean they'll accept Book II onto their service.
- Fixing Torches and Shields? I didn't know it was broken. In Book II, shields will offer better protection and even "bashing" abilities at higher skill levels. I could see how it might be possible to hold a small buckler and a torch at the same time, but how is someone supposed to hold a large steel shield and a torch simultaneously? Don't worry- there will be an additional light-producing option in Book II that will specifically help people who want to use a shield and weapon together in the dark.
- Looking here, or through some of the links at the top of this thread are the best ways to see if your question may already have been answered.
Click over to the link below to read more.

Eschalon Book II Q&A
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena Coming To Mac
1:22 PM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Virtual Programming and Atari announced today that the latest chapter in the Riddick franchise, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, is coming to the Mac.

The Chronicles of Riddick Assault on Dark Athena contains a brand new full-length Riddick campaign in addition to a high-definition pixel-by-pixel remake of the universally acclaimed title Escape from Butcher Bay. In addition to the thrilling, visceral single player action, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena brings Riddick into the multiplayer arena for the first time, with six intense online multiplayer combat modes including the unique Pitch Black mode.

Reprising his role as Riddick, Vin Diesel brings his unique vocal talent to The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, creating a powerful anti-hero with a talent for chilling one-liners. Diesel is joined by a high calibre cast of actors including Lance Henriksen, Wade Williams, William Morgan Sheppard, and Michelle Forbes who brings depth and weary malevolence to Riddick’s chief adversary on the Dark Athena, Captain Revas. Starbreeze Studios’ proprietary ‘vo-cap’ technology ensures that every nuance of the actors’ vocal and physical performance ends up in the game, creating a uniquely absorbing experience.

In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena the player takes the role of Riddick, as played by Diesel, using stealth and action to overcome the merciless crew of the predatory Merc-ship Dark Athena which awaits its prey in the dark reaches of space. Cheating death through a series of spectacular battles and events, Riddick will fight for his life amid a storm of malevolence and horror. The Chronicles of Riddick series of games takes the player deeper into the universe of Universal Pictures’ films The Chronicles of Riddick and cult classic Pitch Black, which first introduced Diesel as enigmatic anti-hero.
For more information about Virtual Programming and its game offerings follow the link below.

Virtual Programming

Science Girls! Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Game Tunnel has posted a review of Science Girls!. In the game players meet and recruit a variety of characters to help them as they explore the area around a school and engage in turn-based combat with a variety of alien invaders. Game Tunnel gave the game a buy recommendation calling it "accessible for just about anyone."

Science Girls is an RPG that is a little different from the rest. For starters, it's in a modern setting with a bunch of schoolgirls as the characters. They all are experts in different scientific fields (chemistry, technology, psychology, etc.), which influences their attacks in battle. And the main character (who you name) wears a weird mask/sunglasses hybrid thing at all times, which I didn't understand.

The RPG battles aren't your typical battles: all six girls can be in battle at once, but only the three in the front of the formation can attack or be attacked (with some exceptions). You can switch a girl in the front with a girl in the back whenever you want during her turn, as many times as you want., until they attack. Also, every attack costs SP, even the basic "punch" command. This means that you have to carefully gauge when to use attacks, and how often.

The game is reasonably challenging, too. On the standard difficulty level, my party members were still dying and it was a lot of work just to keep the girls alive. At least healing party members was convenient. In a lot of RPGs, when a character's HP goes to zero, the only way to revive a fallen character is by getting a special "resurrection" item or taking them to a shrine or some rubbish. In Science Girls, the characters are simply unable to fight when they run out of HP, and they can be healed whenever (no phoenix down necessary, thank God).
Read the full review at the link below.

Game Tunnel: Science Girls! Review
Science Girls!

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EVE Online Spectral Chronicle Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

CCP Games has released a new Chronicle set in the world of its sci-fi MMO, EVE Online. The Chronicles are stories which examine aspects of life in New Eden, each telling a unique tale of a person living in the game's world. The most recent story, Spectral, tells the tale of an old man's strange visual disturbances.

More and more, the people he passed were enveloped in halos. Oddly enough, even though the altered visuals gave them more color and filling in life, he could swear it was also making them more transparent. Someone passed him by, and he saw not merely the person but the ground, walls and sky behind their glowing corpus.

He suspected the implant, which had saved his sight for all these years, was incorrectly refracting the light it received from certain objects. It was a complex piece of machinery, installed for a complex and unpleasant visual disorder he had greatly suffered from, and had a mind of its own. Chances were it was having some minor defect in displaying people in motion, or clothing, or skin, and compensating for it by showing instead the cached backgrounds it knew were there. It had to be something like that, because otherwise he was going quite mad, and he did not intend to head down that colorful route just yet.

He tried not to think about it too much. He'd long since grown used to people fading into the background, eventually to fade away altogether.
Head over to the page below to read the rest of the story.

EVE Online Chronicles: Spectral
CCP Games
EVE Online

OnLive Broadband Gaming Service Discussed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Develop has published a new interview with OnLive CEO Mike McGarvey. The interview focuses on the company's promised broadband gaming distribution service, which will offer a variety of game choices to subscribers by handling each game's video and audio on remote servers and streaming the results to players. The service will be compatible with Mac and Windows based machines, or without a machine at all through the use of a "micro console" television attachment.

There’s a lot of scepticism about the video encoding and streaming – what can you tell us about the technology that makes OnLive work?
OnLive works by taking input from your controller, keyboard or mouse and connects the player to the OnLive service. Then, the service’s custom game servers render the game graphics. OnLive’s proprietary video compression technology streams back low-latency video to the player’s TV via the OnLive MicroConsole, or to a PC or Mac via a small browser plug-in. A proprietary compression algorithm and custom silicon make it possible for us to deliver games instantly over the Internet.
Our revolutionary video compression algorithm was designed specifically for video games and can encode and compress video into data in about one millisecond. A custom-built silicon chip does the actual encoding calculations at the server end, and that information is decompressed at the gamers end, inside the MicroConsole for those playing on their televisions, or if someone is playing on Mac or PC, the decompression is handled within a small software client downloaded into a Web browser.
The data delivered from the game server to the MicroConsole or to a PC or Mac is proprietary and highly tuned to not only produce low-latency HD video, but it is designed to tolerate packet corruption, and pass through consumer-grade firewalls, routers and switches.

The current demo shows established big brands that have debuted on console as well as PC – are you hoping to secure original exclusive IP for the OnLive platform?
In a way we have ‘exclusive’ games for people with Macs and low end PC’s. Crysis is a great example. The game isn’t currently developed for the Mac and doesn’t run on low end PC’s yet both of those user groups will be able to play the game on OnLive, because we do all the computing in our server centres in the cloud and it just runs on their hardware.
Also, the OnLive platform opens up several new avenues for game development and distribution – episodic games that update throughout the year, for example – and we expect games developed specifically for the OnLive platform to be available in the near term. Because we are the only platform that is wholly online, those games would – by necessity – be available only on our service.

Aside from the questions regarding the technology, there’s also a big question mark hanging over the cost of the whole operation. Is OnLive going to be affordable to the masses or more of a ‘core’ gaming luxury? Can you give us any indication of pricing?
We can’t say a lot about our pricing strategy quite yet, except to say that games will pay a basic monthly fee for access, and that the cost of the MicroConsole will be much less than competitive consoles. With respect to the games sold on the service, we expect them to be priced competitively.
Regardless, we’re confident that the economics of the OnLive system will be favorable for consumers. Essentially, we’ve removed the reliance on high-end hardware, so gamers will never need to upgrade their PC or buy another console. So OnLive is very cost-effective, particularly over time.
Visit the site below to read both parts of the inteview. Online Q&A 1 Online Q&A 2

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IMG Reviews Shaun White Snowboarding
6:00 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the new snowbarding game from Ubi Soft and Transgaming Techologies, Shaun White Snowboarding. Strap on your board and take on a number of wide-open worlds as you kick, flip, and grind your way to the finish. Here's and excerpt from the review:

You might notice an unusual number of dangerous objects on the way down the mountain, though. There are trees lying down, thin branches that can somehow hold your weight without bending, metal rails, fellow snowboarders (NPC-controlled or your friends), and a few buildings at some points. All of these can be used for grinding or jump tricks somehow, which can lead to interesting conversations with your kids when you bring them into snowboarding in real life.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Shaun White Snowboarding
Shaun White Snowboarding
Buy Shaun White Snowboarding

Mac Games News for Tuesday, June 16, 2009

EVE Online Soundtrack Available On iTunes6:00 AM
NWN 2008 Golden Dragon Award Winners Announced6:00 AM
The Sims 3 Reviewed6:00 AM
World Of Warcraft: Isle Of Conquest Revealed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, June 16, 2009 on one page

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