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Friday, October 30, 2009

Unity Indie Now Free
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Unity Technologies has announced that version 2.6 of its Unity Platform has been released, and that Unity (formerly known as Unity Indie and priced at $199) is now available at no cost. The company made the change to make it possible for all developers to get access to the popular development platform. Unity Pro will continue to be priced at $1,499 per license.

“Unity Technologies has always believed that the best technology and products should be made available to all developers. We want to accelerate the availability of high quality interactive content,“ said David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies. “With the explosive growth in new platforms and performance improvement in our Unity suite of products, we believe that there are no technical hurdles remaining for high quality interactive content everywhere. Now we are removing financial hurdles as well. Unity is mature enough and easy enough to use that it can be the entry point for those developers taking their first steps with the technology.”

Since 2005, Unity Technologies has provided the most powerful and easiest to use multi-platform game development suite of products used by more than 10,000 developers worldwide. The Unity platform is currently used in world class games such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online by Electronic Arts, the Quest for R2D2 by LEGO® and FusionFall by Cartoon Networks. Earlier this year, Unity for iPhone was released and to date, more than 325 games are using the Unity engine to power their iPhone games, including Zombieville USA, one of the top 10 iPhone games measured by units sold.

With the newest release of the Unity Platform, Unity has taken further steps towards fitting into large-scale production environments. Unity now has full support for external versioning tools such as Subversion, Perforce or any other VCS out there. Full integration with Visual Studio has also been added — Unity can automatically sync a VS project to source code so that all of the scripts are in the solution and IntelliSense is configured.

In order to cement Unity Pro’s position as a high-end development environment, Unity Technologies has also added a number of upgrades to the graphics system; offscreen effects supports full anti aliasing and has added a built-in screen space ambient occlusion effect.

A key focus of Unity Technologies is to enable its customers to make better online games, so the company has added a number of performance optimizations as well as fully threaded background streaming of assets. This allows Unity games to launch faster and run smoother – something that is used to full potential in Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online.
For more information about Unity click over to the links below.

Unity Technologies
Unity Download

Braid Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Mac|Life has posted a new review of Braid. Developed by Jonathan Blow and distributed for Macs by Hothead Games, the unique puzzle title allows players to manipulate the flow of time as they quest to rescue the Princess. Mac|Life gave the game a score of 5 out of 5.

From the review:

Designed by Jonathan Blow with artwork by David Hellman, Braid took Xbox Live by storm in 2008, winning numerous awards from gaming magazines. It was later ported to Windows, and Hothead Games brought it to the Mac. The puzzles and story are the same, and the Mac’s keyboard controls couldn’t be simpler: arrow keys to move, the space bar to jump, and the Shift key to rewind time.

That rewinding-time mechanism is the game’s foundation. Each world starts by introducing a time-manipulation ability that you use in the world’s levels to collect inconveniently located puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces are hard to get to, and figuring out how to access them can keep you confused for hours. Luckily, you don’t have to restart a level if you die or just screw it up somehow--thanks to the time-manipulation tricks, just rewind to a point before disaster and try again. The soothing music and the sense of satisfaction you get when a particularly tricky problem finally presents its solution kept our blood pressure low enough to keep playing--for the most part, anyway.

You can continue on to the next level without collecting every puzzle piece, and return later on to a level that’s got you stuck. But you do have to find all 60 puzzle pieces in Worlds 2 through 6 to unlock the final level, World 1. Why are they out of order? That has to do with the game’s enigmatic story line, which deals with love and loss, forgiveness and redemption, and possibly the creation of the atom bomb (seriously)
Head over to the page below to read the full review.

Mac|Life: Braid Review
Hothead Games
Buy Braid

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WoW Dungeon Update To Add Cross Realm Dungeon Instancing
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has announced a new dungeon system for World of Warcraft, scheduled to be released in the next content patch for the popular MMO. The new system will replace the Looking For Group feature with a variety of options including cross realm instances, instance teleporting, and smarter group matching.

Highlights of the dungeon system:

  • Join as a Group or Solo
  • Cross-Realm Instances/Grouping
  • Instance Teleporting
  • Smarter Group Matching
  • Daily Random Dungeons
  • Repeat Random Dungeons
  • Choose Multiple Dungeons
  • Vote Kick system
  • Lovin’ the PUG Bonuses
  • Looking For Raid
  • Need Before Greed Updated
  • Group Disenchanting

Check out the latest information about the dungeon system at the page listed below.

World of Warcraft: New Dungeon System
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Diablo III: Act Size, 2.0, High Level Content
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Diablo-Source recently published a new interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo III Lead Technical Artist Julian Love about the upcoming action RPG. In the interview the developer discussed a variety of topics including the new 2.0, high level content, and the size of the game's Acts.

DS: Expansions and download-able content, are you guys - I know it's really really early in the development cycle to talk much about this, but can you talk a little bit about the plans for the higher level content and how you're going to keep players coming back? I think Jay hinted during Blizzcon that there might be updated quests to keep higher level content exciting to keep people coming back and playing again.
JL: It's not so much actually high level versus low level. I think we have a plan that facilitates high level content. What I think you're really getting at there is replayability, and what that gets down to is the way we're exercising randomness within the game. We've put a lot of focus towards what kinds of randomness are really beneficial in supporting replayability and what things are just, heh, not all that important or not all that awesome. One of the things that we have in the system that we have is something that we call - well, we have a really technical name for it - sub scenes

What it comes down to is we can sort of like create a hole in the world that's like a socket that we can fill with just about anything that we want. It could be empty ground with a bunch of monsters on it, it could be a giant canyon that a really elaborate scripted event happens, it could turn into a caravan walking across the desert that you have an escort quest on. The point being is that this hole in the earth can randomly, at any time become something totally different. It could even be a doorway to a whole new dungeon that you've never seen before. So, the fact that the world is able to change things up and actually deliver different events, stories and quests is what's really going to make the game a lot more replayable at the both the low and high ends.

DS: Have you decided on the size of an act, like compared to an act in Diablo 2?
JL: Yeah, well, what we did do is we looked at act size in general as an issue. We looked at ones that we felt were good in Diablo 2 and ones that we felt maybe went a little too far and maybe got a little stale. At this point we don't have an ideal act size. Act 1 must be this big and Act 2 must be this big and whatever. What it really comes down to is given the content that we plan to build for each act, how often can we keep that content changing for the player. The big problem will be that if the content doesn't keep changing, that's when it gets really boring. We've got to keep throwing new stuff at the player every so often in order to keep them engaged. As soon as you run out of your ability to do that, that's when it gets old. That in itself tends to dictate the act size more than say, an arbitrary decision that we might make to say "well, it must be 2 miles..." - it doesn't work like that. Really it's kind of more of the case of the tail wagging the dog.
Visit the site below to read the full interview.

Diablo-Source: Diablo III Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

Mac Games News for Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Games Features Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning6:00 AM
Chests, Traps, And Locks In Din's Curse6:00 AM
Fluttr Available For iPhone And Mac6:00 AM
New Star Soccer 2010 Coming November 66:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, October 29, 2009 on one page

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