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Monday, August 3, 2009

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EVE Online: More COSMOS Details Emerge
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A new developer blog on CCP Games' website has revealed more information about the upcoming COSMOS community site for the company's sci-fi MMO, EVE Online. Planned for release with EVE's winter expansion COSMOS will feature integration with the game, allowing players to keep track of their game information and converse with other EVE enthusiasts.

This is a very unique project in that it aims to blur the line between the in-game environment, and out-of-game with not just communication features but expansive game related features. I'll leave it to some of my colleagues to get into the specific features planned in following dev blogs (yes you can call me a tease) but what I want to discuss today is the technical underpinnings of what is a typically ambitious CCP project.

As this is a site we expect to see heavy demand on, and which we intend to continually enhance over time we have some very serious challenges to tackle. COSMOS has to be able to handle a heavy load, we have to be able to scale it as the load changes, it has to be of extremely high quality, we need to be able to easily maintain and enhance it and it needs to handle full real time data flows with the EVE backend systems without inducing any lag or performance impacts for those in-game. Achieving this requires a totally new architecture using the best components that we can put in place.

As a general overview, the COSMOS system consists of a number of key elements. There is a web site which contains a content management system; a data service to retrieve data from EVE, databases or caches; integrated applications such as a new forum solution and a custom COSMOS.web application that integrates and controls all of it. We also have a robust distributed caching cluster to handle caching of sessions and back end data to maximize performance and reduce back end load. Finally we have a new application which we call "the Nexus" which resides on the SOL clusters that run EVE itself. This coordinates the flow of real time data between COSMOS and the virtual world and the back end TQ database keeping everything in synch.
Visit the page below to learn more.

EVE Online: COSMOS Dev Blog
CCP Games
EVE Online

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Tasty Static Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Leo Alterman has announced the release of Tasty Static, a freeware clone of an older DOS title, Skyroads. In the game players control a ship racing across and through a variety of platforms and tunnels. To succeed they must avoid obstacles and complete the course before their time runs out.

Tasty Static is a videogame where you go really fast and jump a lot. You'll probably get really annoyed along the way too.

It's a clone of an excellent PC oldie called Skyroads by BlueMoon Interactive, which is required playing if you like this kind of stuff.

Tasty Static is currently available in three fantastic flavors (Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux). There is also a Windows-only level editor.
For more information about Skyroads click over to the link below.

Tasty Static

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World of Warcraft: Patch 3.2 Information Round-Up
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment recently posted an informational update on its World of Warcraft website. The post details all the information currently available about the upcoming version 3.2 update for the game including info on Crusaders' Coliseum, Isle of Conquest, Argent Tournament updates, future Battlegrounds, new cat and bear druid forms, developer Q&As, emblem system changes, mount system revisions, epic gems, a new Shaman totem bar, and the latest patch notes.

From Isle of Conquest and Crusaders' Coliseum Q&A:

Q: For clarification purposes, what are the official names for each of the new dungeons coming in patch 3.2, Call of the Crusade, and what is the style and format of each dungeon?
Development Team: Right, so the Crusaders’ Coliseum is the name given to all different versions of the dungeon. Trial of the Champion is the name of the 5-player dungeon, both for normal and Heroic difficulties. Trial of the Crusader is the name of the 10- and 25-player normal raid dungeon, and Trial of the Grand Crusader is what we are calling the 10- and 25-player Heroic version.

For those familiar with the Ring of Blood and Amphitheatre of Anguish, the format and layout of each Crusaders’ Coliseum dungeon are similar in feel. Each vile creature or group of creatures will be introduced one at a time in a gladiator-style format. Players must best each encounter before beginning the next one. Of course, there are a few twists along the way to give a bit more of an epic feel.

Q: Given that average match lengths continue to fluctuate on the test realms as adjustments are made to specific mechanics, what do you feel would be a satisfactory length for the average Isle of Conquest battle and why?
Development Team: We’d like the average match to last around 20 minutes, with the occasional 30-minute match depending on the level of skill of the competing teams. This is roughly the length of time we’d like all of our Battleground matches to last. We want to provide players with an epic feel without making it feel as though they’re getting stuck in a never-ending match like the Alterac Valley days of old. We recognize that some players like very drawn-out battles and even miss the old Alterac Valley days, but a lot of players want the fun from Battlegrounds to come from competing in several different battle types over the course of a play session rather than feeling stuck in one match that continues to drag out with little reward for the extra time invested.

Community Team: Players active on the test realms report that, due to the relatively short length of the overall battle and losses rarely being due to reinforcement depletion, the Cobalt Mine and Oil Derrick are not highly sought after
Head over to the pages linked below to read more.

WoW: Patch 3.2 Information
WoW: Crusader's Coliseum, Isle of Conquest Q&A
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

The Sims 3 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has posted a new review of The Sims 3, the latest game in the popular series. The title adds customizable personalities, goal oriented gameplay, movie creation and editing, and an online community to the familiar lifesim formula. ComputerGames gave the game a score of 85 out of 100.

From the review:

The Lifetime Wish will soon find itself choked by unimportant hobbies and other knick knacks. You’ll struggle to learn new cooking recipes or to sell 30 popular books just because these all function like achievements. Each treat your Sim gets earns you additional points that you can spend on bonuses or new abilities. These range from improved sex-appeal to the possibility of living without food. The most expensive bonuses are real objects that can clone food or teleport you to the other side of town.

The game also has less obvious rewards for people who take up hobbies like gardening or tinkering. And if you ever get tired of that you can always get a job and struggle to reach the top of your career, making friends and enemies as you climb the hierarchy. Jobs can offer bonus objects too: I got a nifty PC when working as a hacker.

And the list of things to do doesn’t stop here. The game is full of collectibles, like meteorite rocks, butterflies, bugs, unique plants or fishes. And you can still visit the graveyard at night and the galaxy is still there to explore, if you don’t fear abductions.

Similarly to the previous titles, an important part of any Sims’ life is building a proper, comfy house. And the Sims 3 offers the most flexible building tools so far. Placing walls diagonally is no longer a problem, for example. No architect should complain of the game’s design capabilities, although their style is a bit too domestic for most tastes.

The Sims 3 also makes extending your living space much easier. Each time you modify your designs, the change will fit perfectly with the overall tone of the building. If you make the room bigger, the objects inside will move too, relative to their initial position. If you use a wall to split a room in two, it will copy the texture on the new walls. The same mechanism also applies to types of furniture, whose textures can be copied just as easily.
Read the full review at the link below. The Sims 3 Review
Electronic Arts
The Sims 3
Buy The Sims 3

Mac Games News for Friday, July 31, 2009

City Of Heroes Developers Discuss Power Customization6:00 AM
EVE³: The EVE Online Fanfest 2009 PvP Tournament Announced6:00 AM
IMG Reviews Luxor 36:00 AM
Spore Galactic Adventures Missions Top 100K6:00 AM
Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning Coming To Macs6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, July 31, 2009 on one page

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