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Thursday, September 3, 2009

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Heroes Of Newerth Announced
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

Independent game developer S2 Games has officially announced its third game title, Heroes of Newerth. The session-based, multiplayer, Action-RPG, is described as "heavily inspired by the popular Warcraft 3 mod, Defense of the Ancients, but with vast improvements in graphics and gameplay." In the game two teams of up to five players take on the roles of heroes and work with AI controlled armies to destroy an enemy team's base. HoN features upgradeable skills, powerful items to purchase, VOIP controls, Clan Support, and dozens of playable Hero characters from which to choose.

In Heroes of Newerth, two teams of up to five players each take on the role of a special Hero unit. With the assistance of AI-controlled armies, each team sets out with the sole objective of destroying the other team’s base. As a match progresses, players can earn experience and gold which can be used to upgrade skills or purchase items to make their character more powerful. The team-oriented design of HoN coupled with unprecedented in-game Voice-Over-IP controls and Clan Support allow for an incredibly deep, tactical team-based experience.

S2 Games is best known for its critically acclaimed online multiplayer Savage franchise (Savage: The Battle for Newerth and Savage 2: A Tortured Soul), which created the RTSS (real-time strategy-shooter) genre. Heroes of Newerth is the vision of S2 Games CEO and Founder, Marc DeForest, who after years as a die-hard fan, set out to create a standalone version of Defense of the Ancients (DotA) that would incorporate all of the features he felt were lacking, while still remaining true to the frenetic, yet heavily team-reliant style of gameplay that had kept him hooked for so long. In the short three months of closed beta there have been over 1.3 million matches played. There are over 350,000 registered beta players and the game sees upwards of 25,000 concurrent players during peak hours.

“All of us at S2 are extremely excited and passionate about HoN and we know that this is going to be a breakthrough title for us,” said Marc DeForest, CEO and Founder, S2 Games. “We’ve been passionate about our games in the past, but we’ve always attempted innovative, groundbreaking, and unproven ideas. This time around we have proof in advance that people want to play this type of game, so we’re that much more excited about delivering it!”

Some of the unique features of HoN include the following:
• Dozens of playable Hero characters, over 100 items as well as regular content updates to ensure no two games of HoN will ever be the same.
• Client/Server Architecture eliminates lag, cheats and map hacking
• Quick reconnect feature allows players to jump right back into their game should they get disconnected
• In-game VOIP for fast and easy communication with teammates
• Game archives and replay support for all games played on official servers (players can rewind, slow down, fast forward, and otherwise pinpoint the exact part of a match that they wish to view)
• Built upon the proprietary K2 engine to deliver enhanced graphics while maintaining low system specs
• Powerful map editor and mod capabilities
• Available in six language translations: English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Russian.
• Available for PC, Mac, and Linux
Heroes of Newerth is currently in closed beta and will should be available to the public in Q4 2009 on Mac, Windows and Linux for $30.00 (USD). Learn more about the game at the sites below.

Heroes Of Newerth

Mystic Mine Updated
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Koonsolo has announced a free update for Mystic Mine, a family friendly action title for Mac, Linux and Windows. In Mystic Mine you guide a goldcar through a variety of Escher inspired levels. The game features over 200 levels, a variety of missions, single button gameplay, and up to six players playing on one keyboard.

The update includes the following:

• The multiplayer game now tracks the overall scores for all played levels. This means that you can organize a tournament with your friends, and at the end see who won the most games.
• Mystic Mine is now running faster, so slower machines are now better supported.
• The first levels of adventure mode are now even more fun.
Those who already own Mystic Mine, and want to receive the latest version, are asked to send an email to koen AT koonsolo DOT com to have their download reactivated.

For more information follow the links below.

Mystic Mine

CrossOver Games 8 Adds More Emulated Games, Improvements
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 11 comments

CodeWeavers has announced the release of version 8.0.0 of CrossOver Games, the entertainment focused edition of its CrossOver Windows emulation software. The update adds support for games such as Left4Dead, Tales of Monkey Island (Steam), and Perfect World, as well as improved visuals and frame rates. CrossOver Games 8 also supports Snow Leopard (OS 10.6).

CrossOver Games 8.0.0 change list:

- Improved behavior of the Steam game store
- Fixed several problems with memory management -- this
should fix TF2 crashes, among others.
- Enabled Shader Model 2.0 and 3.0 by default

- New supported games:
Dragon Sky
Last Chaos
Jade Empire
Ether Saga
Perfect World
Tales of Monkey Island (via Steam)
Shaiya (Though only in non-English versions, for DRM reasons)

- Fixed various regressions in:
Guild Wars
Civilization IV
LOTRO (unsupported)
EVE (unsupported)
Pharaoh (unsupported)
City of Heroes (unsupported)
Lego Starwars (unsupported)
Click over to the links below to learn more about CrossOver Games.

CrossOver Games 8

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DeathSpank Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

1UP has posted a new preview of Hothead Games' DeathSpank, an upcoming game title based on Ron Gilbert's unconventional hero. Described as "Monkey Island meets Diablo", the game will feature Gilbert's unique style of humor and storytelling.

When Gilbert takes the controls for our tour, he starts by talking about the game's story, but it's hard for me to focus for the first few moments. I'm distracted by the game's art style, which is equal parts British children's show and fantasy novel watercolor, presented from an angle that makes it look like you are perpetually on the side of a small hill. He says they devised this "forced rolling perspective" to make the world feel intimate, and it works in conjunction with art designed to look 2D in a 3D space, and limited left/right camera control to preserve the view. DeathSpank's world is flat, but it looks like a giant pop-up map wrapped around a horizontal tree trunk, where you control an ant-sized DeathSpank as you crawl around it...using outhouses as a teleportation subway system.

Throughout the story, you'll discover main and side quests, listed as Important and Unimportant tasks in your Quest Log. As you might imagine, some of these feel much like classic adventure game puzzles. In one situation, you run across a farmer who wants to grow top vegetables, and in order to help, you have to track down different types of exotic manure, one being Unicorn Poop. In another situation, you want to get a sword from recurring character Eubrick the Retired, who requests a taco in trade, so you have to go to a taco stand and ask for the ingredients he wants, but the taco stand isn't allowed to make an "extra spicy" one because of a lawsuit, so you have to track down a special plant and combine it with the taco in your inventory. (And yes, there will be a hint system -- "certainly a more robust one than what you'd have in a classic adventure game," says Gilbert.)

But now I'm playing cut and paste with Gilbert's demonstration, because in-between the adventure game detailed above, there's an action-RPG where you spend time killing enemies like orcs and chickens, leveling-up, and collecting loot. The design goals for this half of the game seem centered around two concepts: making sure the combat requires strategy, and offering enough items so everyone who plays can customize their character as they choose.

The base mechanics work very simply -- you have direct control over your character, with a mix of melee and ranged attacks, and can lock-on if you want to attack someone specific. And as you kill enemies and complete quests, you earn XP to level up, which increases your health and strength, and allows access to certain level-locked weapons and pieces of armor.

Combat relies pretty heavily on what the game calls "abilities," which, should you be playing the game on a control pad, you can assign as you wish to any of the face buttons. These include the ability to put larger enemies to sleep temporarily while you fight their friends, or the ability to send the Flock of Chickens towards enemies as a low-damage, high-range attack (the latter you earn by killing "something like 100" chickens while playing).
Head over to the page below to read the rest of the preview. DeathSpank Preview
Hothead Games

Mac Games News for Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Diablo III: D2 Cameos, Monk Class, Modding, No LAN Play6:00 AM
J. Allen Brack Discusses WoW: Cataclysm6:00 AM
New Blizzard MMO To Be 'Significantly Different' From WoW6:00 AM
The Role Of Physics In Horror Adventure Games6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, September 2, 2009 on one page

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