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Friday, December 18, 2009

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Zephyr Exploratory Vessel EVE Online Holiday Offer
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

CCP Games has announced a special holiday gift for players of its sci-fi MMO, EVE Online. Starting on December 18th active subscribers will be given the option to assign the Zephyr, a unique class of starship designed for exploration, to one of their characters. The ship will only be available through January 6th.

The Zephyr is a unique starship design, relying almost entirely on solar winds for sublight propulsion. Super-light sails allow it to ride the torrents of photons streaming through space, and its barebones construction gives it a tiny sensor footprint and almost negligible mass. Originally conceived by the ascetic Intaki polymath Valsas en Dilat as a demonstration of minimalist starship design, it was never intended as a commercial venture. The recent discovery of the uncharted Sleeper Territories and their myriad wormholes has brought the Zephyr new attention - its mass makes it an ideal exploration vessel. Valsas remains adamant that the Zephyr never sees mass production, but at the close of YC111 he authorized the Intaki Syndicate to distribute a single hull, paired to a specialized Prototype Iris Probe Launcher, to every registered capsuleer.

And here‘s what makes it unique: It has it‘s own special probe launcher (for wormholes) and Sleeper NPC‘s won‘t shoot it in the same way that all NPCs won‘t shoot pods. While flying the Zephyr is as easy as a shuttle, using the launcher will require some core probes and training of the skill Astrometrics to level 1. You can find both on the market or get the Astrometrics skill book by doing EVE Online: Dominion‘s new exploration tutorial.

Beginning Dec 18th 2009, you will find the ability to redeem it on your account login screen. You can then assign it to a particular character and the Intaki Syndicate will deliver it to your hangar bay. You will be able to redeem the holiday ship once per active (not trial) account and will no longer be available after Jan 6th 2010, so make sure you log in to receive yours.
Click over to the page linked below to learn more.

EVE Online: Zephyr Holiday Gift
CCP Games
EVE Online

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IMG Reviews Youda Sushi Chef
9:39 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the restaurant time-management sim Youda Sushi Chef by prolific developers Youda Games. In it, you play an up-and-coming sushi chef trying to make it in the fast-paced world of Sushi bars. Here's an excerpt from the review:

Before each day of work, you're presented with an income target that you must meet in order to stay in business. The catch is, of course, that purchasing additional ingredients will detract from this fund. And if you want those ingredients delivered quickly, you'll pay a premium. On the other hand, the quicker you serve customers, the more money they'll throw your way. These kinds of trade-offs require the player to perform speedy cost benefit analysis - and really ramp up the difficulty of the game.

As you start to make your way through the levels additional challenges present themselves. Takeout orders will pay better, but they keep counter customers waiting and are often comprised of many ingredients. Reservations are sure-fire money houses, but again require a significant amount of time and ingredients to prove profitable.

Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Youda Sushi Chef
Youda Sushi Chef
Youda Games
Buy Youda Sushi Chef

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Three New Din's Curse Creatures Unveiled
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Soldak Entertainment, developer of Depths of Peril and Kivi's Underworld, has released more new information about the upcoming action RPG, Din's Curse. The latest update features three new additions to the creature list with the unveiling of the Undead Herald, the Chaos Lord, and the Lich.

Undead Herald
Once a slave race to the dark elves, these sneaky monsters escaped with the aid of other slaves using their unique ability bred into them by their former masters, being able to boost the morale of others, even in the most dire of situations.

Chaos Lord
From the hot, volatile core of the world, chaos vents through evil things from another realm, like demons. The Chaos Lord is the largest, most hated and vastly feared demon to rise from places unknown and stalk the underworlds. It is bold and aggressive, never hesitating to attack, using its physicality as a weapon, stunning earthquakes resound with one stomp of its foot.
Learn more about Din's Curse at the links below.

Din's Curse Monsters
Soldak Entertainment
Din's Curse
Buy Din's Curse

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Scott Cromie Discusses Two Worlds II
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Strategy Informer has published a new interview with Two Worlds II producer Scott Cromie. The upcoming game from TopWare Interactive and Reality Pump will send players to the unexplored land of Eastern Antaloor and will feature detailed graphics, an active combat system, and a promised complex storyline.

Strategy Informer: Will the faction dynamic still exist in the second game? If so, how have you improved on it since last time?
Scott Cromie: Faction dynamics is an extremely important aspect of Two Worlds 2. In the first Two Worlds, faction affiliations were present but their existence was limited. As the player gained ranks in a faction they were given several rewards in the form of discounted items and additional quests. In Two Worlds 2, the player’s choices in faction affiliated quests have a direct outcome with other opposing and allying factions as well as the rest of the world. The player will have to choose carefully the quests they choose to accept from different factions because alienating opposing factions will lead to closure of alternative quest arcs. In addition to the benefits of the discounted items and quests, allied factions will offer the player skills and items that cannot be accessed anywhere else.

Strategy Informer: I hear you ousted the old writing team and brought in a new one - were they really that bad?
Scott Cromie: The fact is that the original writing team wasn’t that bad. In fact, they are responsible for creating the entire Antaloor universe, laying the ground work for what we’re doing now. The problem was with presentation. We found that the original writing team, although talented, lacked the ability to effectively convey their great ideas to the player through game play scenarios. As we all know this is the trick to making a compelling title. Writing a novel or script is one thing, but finding a way to communicate a deep and enthralling narrative through an intricate web of quests in a non-linear, open world RPG is a completely different animal. The new team has come up with some ground breaking approaches to storytelling that, up to now, haven’t been seen in the genre or, for that matter, very prevalent in the industry.
Read the full interview at the site below.

Strategy Informer: Two Worlds II Interview
Two Worlds II
Buy Two Worlds II

The Origins Of The Pandaren Race
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

As part of its continuing Warcraft anniversary celebration Blizzard Entertainment has published a new interview with Samwise Didier about the how the Pandaren race ended up in the Warcraft universe. The senior art director discussed how the panda has become a signature of sorts for his artwork as well as his brother's role in giving the Pandaren life.

A lot of people may not know the illustrious history of the pandaren race and their introduction in the Warcraft III expansion. Can you give a brief recap of how you got the idea for an anthropomorphic panda race and how they eventually came to be included in the expansion?
I might never have had the idea if it weren't for my brother's fantastic skill at mangling up words and phrases. "A flash in the pants" or "at the end of my wit" are some of the classics in my brother's repertoire of manglings and mash-ups.

We were all off on a weekend desert trip and come evening everyone was grouped up around the fire. I was off doing something and my bro, who already had a few Stormstouts in him, said something like
"Dude, you're like one of those panda bears -- you're never cold."
I said "Do you mean a polar bear?"
He muttered something like "I said polar bear"
or whatever, but from that moment on, I was judged and labeled as: The Panda.

Some years later I did a Christmas picture for my family of a panda bear with a cub sitting on his shoulder in tribute to the new daughter who had joined our clan. That was the first panda picture I did.
For some reason, one of our webmasters asked if it could be made into a Blizzard wallpaper. People seemed to like it well enough so that when April Fools came around we announced that the pandaren were going to be the fifth race for Warcraft III. People got excited by the announcement, and seemed to be let down when they found out it was just a joke.

In your personal work you'll literally represent yourself quite often as a Pandaren, and in other pieces you use them as easter eggs. Do you think of them as an icon or calling card for your work now?
It all started when we were working on the art books. In the Art of Warcraft book they had highlighted a picture I did that had some hidden names, faces, and such in it.

I've always done things like that, but this was the first time we blatantly pointed it out.

From then on people started looking for hidden faces or pandas in my pictures. It is pretty funny now because people are seeing things in everything.
Even on art that I didn't work on people are saying, "Look! There's a panda face!"
Visit the page below to read the rest.

Pandaren Past, Present, And Future
Blizzard Entertainment

Mac Games News for Thursday, December 17, 2009

Apple Games Features Brain Challenge8:50 AM
Diablo III: Difficulty, Magic Find, Monk Duelling8:50 AM
Eschalon Book II Q&A Updated8:50 AM
StarCraft II: Q&A Round 568:50 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, December 17, 2009 on one page

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