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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena Announced
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Virtual Programming and Atari have announced that the latest chapter in the Riddick franchise, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, is coming to the Mac. The game includes both the new Assault on Dark Athena campaign and an enhanced version of the original Escape from Butcher Bay.

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 the game click over to the links below.

Virtual Programming
The Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena

Apple Games Features The Path
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games' latest article examines The Path, a unique artistic horror title which takes place within a world crafted from the well known Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Apple's article includes an overview of the gameplay, comments from designers Michaël Samyn and Auriea Harvey, and a brief history of the enduring Red Riding hood story.

Of course, the game’s wolves are not necessarily of the lupine variety, notes Samyn: “We wanted to think about growing up, about exploring, about changing. We wanted to think about relationships, and how they are never as simple as we may wish. We wanted to ask the question if the moral that Charles Perrault attached to the story in the 17th century — that, as a young girl, you should watch out for seductive men because they may have bad intentions — was as straightforward as it seems.”

Harvey muses: “It’s an interesting question whether the six girls could be seen as different stages of a single person’s life. That is an intriguing way to look at the story and will certainly lead to some poignant ideas in the player. The Path is not only about a girl growing into a woman, but also about growing into men, or growth in general.”

She adds: “It could be seen as a reassurance to know that one keeps going, on to the next phase of life, on to the next experience that helps you shed another layer of your innocence. The loss of innocence is tragic but essential to life. So if these bittersweet moments when we change are universal, then the six girls represent man and woman alike.”
Visit the page listed below to read the full article.

Apple Games: The Path
Buy The Path
Tale Of Tales

Will Wright Discusses Future Of Spore
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

IndustryGamers has posted a new interview with veteran game developer Will Wright. The interview covers Wright's new Stupid Fun Club think tank, his continued involvement with the Spore franchise, and his views on the future of artificial intelligence in game design.

IG: Concerning the future of Spore, obviously there are a lot of talented folks at Maxis still working on it, but are you planning on any return to that franchise or your other franchises even though you're not with EA now?
WW: I don't think it was widely reported, but alongside this whole [Stupid Fun Club] thing, I also entered into a consulting agreement with EA. I'm spending a certain amount of time every month actually working with the Spore team on future versions of Spore and expansions. So I will [still] be involved with EA on developing the Spore franchise as well.

IG: Well, fans will be happy to hear that. With that in mind, considering a theoretical Spore 2, what about the first Spore would you like to change or improve upon for a sequel?
WW: As soon as we released it, because we're giving so much involvement to the players, we ended up learning a lot from seeing what the players do; we've already seen a lot of unexpected stuff happening in the player community that we're learning from. We're finding out cool areas the fans want to bring the game in, what direction they want the tools to go, what experiences they're enjoying in the game the most, which levels they enjoy the most. So I think now we're at a maximum learning where the fans are going to be steering the franchise as much as we will – they have their hands on the steering wheel too. We're listening to criticisms of parts of the game, we're looking at parts that were unexpected successes and we're going to go in other directions with Spore.
I think part of it is stuff we wish we had done, but it's more what we see the fans wanting us to do. We're going to probably add more depth to different areas of the game – and we're certainly already doing that with the Galactic Adventures expansion pack – and we're also taking output from the tools in different directions, so you can take your creatures you made in the creature creator and bring them into different experiences.

IG: Working with games like Sims and Spore, AI is obviously a very important part of the design, but AI in general seems to perhaps lag behind others areas in gaming (graphics, sound, etc.). What kind of advancement do you think we'll see when it comes to AI in video games?
WW: Well AI is a funny term because it means so many different things to different people. For some people it's route planning, for some people it's conversational ability, for others it's strategic goal planning. AI is really just a bunch of tricks... One thing I think we've found in general, especially with the net and things like Google, is that computers are much, much better at kind of collecting and distilling human intelligence than they are at fundamentally recreating it. If you think about Google's search results, that's what they are – a distillation of thousands of people's decisions of what pages they've decided to link to. But it gives this impression of this search engine that's very smart at figuring out places you might find useful.
And in Spore it's almost a distillation of human creativity. Spore as a program is not creative at all, but it does a very good job of distilling the creativity of millions of individuals and presenting them back to you. I think you can get a lot more traction using that approach, and I think reversing that we're also starting to look at how we can analyze human metrics inside of a game or any kind of computer experience, and then change that experience to customize it to that person. Using the intelligence of other people is kind of the base data set for that. So I think we're going to see a lot more progress in what we think of as AI from that approach. For the future, there are still people out there fundamentally trying to recreate human intelligence... but they're still on this very slow, linear slope, whereas the other approach is really taking off exponentially.
Click over to the link below to read more.

Gamedaily: Will Wright Interview
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

Plants Vs. Zombies Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gameplay Monthly has published a new review of Plants Vs. Zombies, a recent PopCap Games entry in the casual games market. The tower defense title challenges players to make use of a variety of plants to defend their home, and their brain, from a horde of hungry zombies. Gameplay Monthly gave the game a letter grade of B+.

From the review:

Plants vs. Zombies is the latest game from Popcap games, and it entails fighting off hordes of zombies with your army of plants. It’s essentially a tower defense game in which you construct an army of plants to help fight off the zombie invasion. Popcap is known for their past casual games, and Plants vs. Zombies is no different. It’s a rather easy game, and you can plow through the main game in a few sittings, but it does offer some additional modes and mini-games for those looking for more zombie killing action.
The game is more on the humorous side, and it might be the cutest zombie game ever created. I can say that I was confounded by the initial offering, and the game did keep me playing all the way to the end, but the main game is over before you know it, and even though Popcap claims that there are 50 levels in the game, you will rip through them incredibly fast. The touted 50 levels becomes more of a pretense since a slew of mini-games are included as levels. Despite the casual game style, I was able to discern a little bit of reverence for Popcap, since they made such a fun and unique game.
The gameplay style changes from level to level. Some will be standard tower defense levels, others will have unlimited resources and be governed by a conveyor belt that drops off plants you need to place, and others will consist of mini-games like whack-a-mole that will test your reflexes and speed things up a bit.
To read the full review click over to the page linked below.

Gameplay Monthly: Plants Vs. Zombies Review
Plants Vs. Zombies
PopCap Games

Mac Games News for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena Coming To Mac1:22 PM
Eschalon Book II: Distribution, Torches, Shields6:00 AM
EVE Online Spectral Chronicle Released6:00 AM
IMG Reviews Shaun White Snowboarding6:00 AM
OnLive Broadband Gaming Service Discussed6:00 AM
Science Girls! Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, June 17, 2009 on one page

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