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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quake Live Update Includes Mac Fixes
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 12 comments

id Software has announced a new update for Quake Live, the company's browser based first person shooter. Among other things the update includes a handful of Mac specific fixes. Based on the Quake III engine, the game challenges players to master their shooting and dodging skills as they battle with other players.

Here's a partial list of changes in the latest update:

Gameplay Changes:
• Fixed an issue that would cause one flag to go missing during a CTF match.
• Fixed issues with s_musicvolume and s_volume getting reset to pre-defined values rather than user settings.
• Fix for on-screen damage indicator. The effect was incorrect. Three new cvars have been added as well to modify the effect. (cg_screenDamage, cg_screenDamage_Self, cg_screenDamage_Team)
• Fix for spectator overhead name text popping during scaling.
• Console timestamps fixed when using the "echo" command.
• Changes to shotgun pellet spread. Inner ring now does more damage than outer ring, for a total of 110 damage.
• cg_hudfiles will now default back to ui/hud.txt when incorrectly set.

Platform Specific Changes:
• OSX: (10.6 specific) Sound issues resulting in extremely loud audio should be fixed.
• OSX: Sound mixing speed fixed.
• OSX: Right mouse button fixes.
• OSX: Game window now always on top.
For more information click over to the link below.

Quake Live Update Change List
Quake Live
id Software

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Diablo III: Map Design, Skill Caps, RPG Mechanics
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In new posts on the Diablo III forums community manager Bashiok has revealed new information about the game. This time the discussion covered topics such as exterior map design, skill caps, and RPG mechanics. Diablo III is Blizzard Entertainment's long awaited return to the popular action RPG franchise.

On a player-made map of Act II:
Although that isn't Act II, at least not all of it. Or most of it. The playable area in the demo is a portion of the second act, not the whole thing.

And to clarify, our exterior zones have static borders, roads, and town placements. Most of the area in-between is static too, but there are these chunks of the map in various shapes that are essentially cut out. We then create pieces to fit those shapes and sizes, a bunch of them for each, and the game randomly picks which ones to use. They could have quests, little events, mini-bosses, just different scenery, or whatever else we want to cook up in them. It keeps the exterior locations static, while still having some random bits in there to keep them fresh. We refer to it as the adventure system.

And to clarify on THAT in case anyone hasn't been following along much, we keep our exteriors static for the most part because following the edges of the map to find exits and find where the town/questgivers are just wasn't a fun use of randomization. You also couldn't easily or quickly meet a friend anywhere outside of town because nothing was ever in the same place. And lastly it helps us create a sense of a world that actually exists, the towns and cities and at least the important points of interest exist in stationary locations.

The dungeons, in addition to being random in design and flow, also use the adventure system to bring in random events and quests.

On the game's RPG mechanics:
Well I think it's kind of easy to look at changes and advancements in the RPG genre as a whole and narrow them down to any number of sources to fit each use.

To make a car analogy (my favorite!) it would be like having issues with the newest version of the mustang because its body styling takes into account things like passenger safety and aerodynamics, and being upset by this because these are features also found in the ford focus. A clearly inferior car in the eyes of the mustang enthusiast.
These types of ideas could never have been thought of or would ever be included in the mustang, of course, had not both cars been manufactured by ford.

It's just all a bit silly. What I do think is interesting is the differentiation between the hardcore Diablo II players (most of y'all) and the majority of the rest of the game buying public. From our showing at BlizzCon and PAX a lot of the articles and off-site (non fansite) discussions are saying that Diablo III may not be doing enough to change itself from Diablo II.

If those people read some of the posts here you'd think we were putting a Diablo sticker on a WoW box and calling it a day. So it's just an interesting difference between the audiences and how level of dedication changes perceptions and expectation.

And I don't mean to lump everyone together, I'd say aside from the trolls the majority of posters here are actually level headed and logical. At least able to take multiple things into consideration. Reasonable thought process and understanding that the game is a work in progress, and not someone that sees a character with a slight hunch and makes a leap of logic that we must be using model/animation assets from a different game.

That's still my favorite. Cause of it bein' so stupid 'n all.
Head over to the GameBanshee link below to read more.

GameBanshee: Bashiok Diablo III Comments
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

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Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker Discusses Eschalon Book II
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Linux Gaming News has released a new interview with Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker about the upcoming Eschalon: Book II, the second title in the company's "old school" fantasy RPG series. The interview covers several topics related to the game including changes to combat mechanics, new enemies players will encounter, and the importance of fan input in crafting the game.

7. Playing as a fighter in “Book 1″ was very boring as you only had one attack. On the other hand playing as offensive mage was very easy with all the powerful spells you had. What things have you changed and added in Book 2 regarding combat, spells and balance?
Game balancing is one part mathematics, one part talent, and one part luck. It turns out that Book I was very easy for seasoned RPG veterans, especially those who took advantage of a few minor exploits that made it through beta. The first step in balancing Book 2 was to patch up as many exploits as possible, so that everyone plays on the same level. Second, we are employing a more diverse group of beta-testers this time to get feedback not only from the casual RPGer but also the hardcore, so hopefully we can tune it to that sweet spot that both kinds of players find challenging but not impossible.

Spells are getting revamped for more variation- we’ll have new spells that aid or assist the player, and a wider selection of combative spells for different battle scenarios. Combat itself takes on a new level of strategy, if for no other reason than it will be more challenging. Enemies have been given new AI functions and abilities, and players will find themselves in situations dealing with multiple foes in varied environments. Rare is it that players can rely solely on toe-to-toe brawling to win big fights in Book II- strategy will involve how best to utilize skills, environmental advantages, spells and aids to win battles.

9. What kind of new enemies will there be at Book2 ? will there be some kind of Bosses or Dragons ?
We are are putting mostly new creatures in Book 2, with only a few returning enemies to support the story. Some will be similar, such as Black Mold- a slightly tougher version of Fungal Slimes from Book 1. There will be a few boss types creatures (no Dragons in Book 2…) and they will be larger and more diabolical than any boss we had in Book 1. We are giving enemies in Book 2 more intelligence and additional special abilities.

10. In Basilisk Games forums some people made many good suggestions regarding Book2 , you listen to them and try to implant those ideas in Book2, you also made several threads in which you asked people how they prefer things to be implanted – I really love the openness of the indies …
What ideas have you borrowed from the community in favor of Book2?

We got 95% of all our Book 2 ideas from the fans. They are our life blood and we will always try to give them what they ask for but we must balance this with a focus on our overall philosophy, and that is to design old-school RPGs. Some fans have requested support for online or MMO-style play, other people want us to gut the combat system and move to a strict action-point system. While these are all good suggestions, we must adhere to the fundamentals that made Eschalon popular in the first place. We will be moving on to new ideas after we wrap up the Eschalon trilogy, and that is when we can experiment with other modes of game play. Eschalon will always represent classic, old-school role-playing.

Some of the best ideas from our fans that have been included in Book 2 are the flexible rules system, the in-game challenges, the increase in game detail and resolution, new spells and skills, just to name a few.
Visit the site below to read the full Q&A.

Linux Gaming News: Eschalon Book II Q&A
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

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EVE Online: Dominion, COSMOS, Dust 514
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Massively has published a new interview with CCP Games' Nathan Richardsson about the company's sci-fi MMO EVE Online. The interview focused on the upcoming Dominion expansion, the COSMOS social networking tie-in for the game, and its Dust 514 console game.

And what exactly is going to make COSMOS better than using IM or Facebook?
We're exposing in-game features over time so you can manage a lot of the more asynchronous stuff that you're doing in game. Secondly, we're providing organizational and productivity tools, and we're providing a public front for the players, corporations, and alliances. Now players don't need to put these things up themselves, it's in their close environment and everything. All access rights are taken care of because you're in the corporation. It really is both a public and a private place for you to interact. The main thing there is that so many people don't have access to the various statuses of their groups so this ties into the other features in game.

What are your long term goals with COSMOS?
There are a lot of long term goals, but I think that our final goal is achieving a point where you can just transparently interact whether it's voice, or IM, or EVE Mail. To be able to go there and establish a voice connection to corporation chat. It really means that you can communicate and interact through any medium. Imagine somewhere down the road you can just pick up your iPhone and dial in to your corporation chat or you could simply manage your market orders. Having such a strong social network and that being a fundamental element of EVE, that simply expanding on that, empowering everybody, will allow them to experience EVE everywhere.
Check out the rest of the interview at the page listed below.

Massively: EVE Online Q&A
CCP Games
EVE Online

Mac Games News for Tuesday, September 22, 2009

City Of Heroes: Going Rogue Discussed6:00 AM
LEGO Batman Reviewed6:00 AM
The Making Of Diablo III6:00 AM
Torchlight Previewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, September 22, 2009 on one page

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