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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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Steam Released Today
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 106 comments

Today is Valve Software's scheduled launch date for the Mac version of Steam. The gaming service will debut with games such as Valve's Portal, Runic Games' Torchlight, and Two Tribes' Toki Tori. Other Valve titles planned for eventual Steam release are Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal 2, and the Half-Life series. Valve will release new Mac offerings every Wednesday.

Here's the press release from the original announcement:

"As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients," said Gabe Newell, President of Valve. "The Mac is a great platform for entertainment services."

"Our Steam partners, who are delivering over a thousand games to 25 million Steam clients, are very excited about adding support for the Mac," said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve. "Steamworks for the Mac supports all of the Steamworks APIs, and we have added a new feature, called Steam Play, which allows customers who purchase the product for the Mac or Windows to play on the other platform free of charge. For example, Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac. We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."

"We looked at a variety of methods to get our games onto the Mac and in the end decided to go with native versions rather than emulation," said John Cook, Director of Steam Development. "The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward. We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360. Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates. Furthermore, Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer universe, sharing servers, lobbies, and so forth. We fully support a heterogeneous mix of servers and clients. The first Mac Steam client will be the new generation currently in beta testing on Windows."

Portal 2 will be Valve's first simultaneous release for Mac and Windows. "Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Josh Weier, Portal 2 Project Lead. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."
For more information head over to the site below.

Valve Software

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Captains Of DarkTide MMO Coming To Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Silverlode Interactive has revealed its latest project, Captains of DarkTide, which has been in "stealth development" for the last year. The game is a fantasy free-to-play naval strategy 3D MMORPG which takes place in the SAGA fantasy universe, complete with elven longboats, mighty flying fortresses and fantastic mythical beasts.

Beta signups have begun at, where players who register will be among the first to preview Silverlode's new fantasy world. By joining the Captains of DarkTide Facebook page, gamers will have first access to DarkTide news, exclusive screenshots and development notes, and frequent chances to win priority Beta codes. The CoDT facebook page will also give players waiting for Beta to influence game design by participating in polls and giving feedback on proposed features.

Unlike other pirate titles, Captains of DarkTide is set in a fantasy realm, combining magic and gunpowder, dragons and steamships, elves and orcs... Through questing and crafting, players will acquire fire-belching or lighting-spitting cannons, and can crew up with everything from orc snipers to dwarven bombardiers to dragon-summoning dark elves; and for all you undead fans, yes, even the lich and his minions are included.

Silverlode has not yet released how long Closed Beta will last or how many players will be admitted initially, but they have revealed that the game will be hosted on Amazon EC3 servers to scale quickly as Beta progresses. All players who sign up will be admitted at some point in Beta testing. Initially, only US-based realms will be accessible, but Silverlode has indicated that they will admit EU players to the US servers; EU servers will be launching soon for an EU Closed Beta.
Once browser testing is complete the company plans to release a Mac client of Captains of DarkTide. Check out the link below for more information.

Silverlode Interactive
Captains Of DarkTide

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Warhammer Online Upcoming 1.3.5 Patch Discussed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has posted a new interview with Warhammer Online producer Carrie Gouskos about Mythic Entertainment's fantasy themed MMO, Warhammer: Online. Gouskos discussed additions planned for the upcoming 1.3.4 patch as well as difficulties encountered with previous updates.

Warhammer Online features Realm vs Realm combat and allows players to enter a grim fantasy world where the armies of Order (Dwarves, High Elves, and Empire) and Destruction (Greenskins, Dark Elves, and Chaos) collide to determine the fate of nations.

1.3.5 also brings some important visual and design changes to WAR’s items. On the visual front, many of the game’s RvR items now have their own unique graphics, and the game’s dyes have also seen major improvements. Anyone who has played Dwarf or High Elf characters can probably think of a number of armor pieces they can’t dye, as the result can be absolutely hideous. 1.3.5 should alleviate many of these issues, though Carrie admits it will be an ongoing process and mostly the worst offenders are being addressed in 1.3.5.

Another key change to items in 1.3.5 is the decoupling of class restrictions from many of the game’s armor pieces, with the aim here being to help encourage more of an economy in the game. The changes will make a lot of the game’s gear a bit less exclusive so that players can give away or trade them with others instead of just pawning them off to the vendor since they can’t use it and can’t trade it. I was a bit confused when I initially read the patch notes on this, thinking that I’d be seeing Swordmasters running around in Knight of the Blazing Sun armor, but this is certainly not the case, as Carrie admitted that Games Workshop would “have our heads” for that. Instead, the now tradable armor would basically morph in appearance to fit the class of its wearer.
Read more at the page linked below. Warhammer Online Interview
Mythic Entertainment
Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning
Pre-Order Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning

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Star Wars The Force Unleashed Developer's Diary Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Game Agent NonBlog has posted a new developer diary focusing on Aspyr Media's Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition. Senior Software Developer Ken Cobb discussed the difficulties involved with porting the action game from its original console form to the Mac and PC versions.

Many times when we port a game to the PC or Mac, we have very limited contact with the original developer. Sometimes that’s even part of the contract — we get a small number of support calls we can make and that’s it. LucasArts, fortunately, works quite the opposite. I was able to fly out to their campus in San Francisco for a few days to talk to their engineers about Star Wars® The Force Unleashed™: Ultimate Sith Edition Mac and get up and running quickly on the development.

One of the main things we look at when bringing console titles to the PC/Mac is how threads are handled. Threads are pieces of code that run concurrently — at the same time — on multiple processors. On the consoles like Xbox 360 and PS3 you have a lot of processors (6-8) running at slightly slower speed, whereas on the PC/Mac you usually have fewer processors (2-4) running at faster speeds.
The cloth physics code, as originally written, was definitely designed for the consoles. It divided up the work into at least 5 threads and sent them off to the many waiting processors. But doing the same thing on a Core 2 Duo, for example, is counterproductive. You don’t have all those processors available, so you end up executing the threads mostly on a single processor. This negates a lot of the benefits of threading and can be slower than simply running non-threaded code.

Another thing to consider is that thread code designed for the console CPU’s can actually run too quickly on the faster PC/Mac processors. In general, you want threads to run quickly, but sometimes they can be so fast that the overhead associated with the thread becomes greater than thread time itself. So one of the changes we made was to consolidate the work of these threads into fewer, slightly longer threads, to work more efficiently on the faster PC/Mac CPU’s.
Visit the page below for more information.

The Game Agent NonBlog: Star Wars Dev Diary
Aspyr Media
Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
Buy Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition

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IMG Reviews Brothers In Arms: Double Time
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a new review of Feral Interactive's Brothers In Arms: Double Time. Developed by Gearbox Software, and released as part of the Feral Legends series, Brothers In Arms: Double Time comprises the first two games in the Brothers in Arms series: Road to Hill 30 and Earned in Blood.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

There are plenty of things to make up for the poor AI, however. The combat mechanics are quite a bit more compelling than the usual setup, which is having a ramboesque character with unstoppable endurance and the ability to shoot machine guns perfectly accurately. Having a character who can only take a couple shots before dying is surprisingly refreshing! The damage is cumulative over the entire level, so you can't just take cover for ten seconds and get hit again. It makes you actually use cover properly, take your shots carefully, and occasionally even forces you to use the situational awareness view. The view allows you to see all currently located German squads and rotate around them from above, which allows you to plan your next move a little more effectively. You'll hardly use it during most ordinary skirmishes, but it's quite useful in the larger ones.

On the graphics side, Brothers In Arms: Double Time is quite good-looking. There are plenty of dirt clouds, bullet tracers, and swaying pieces of scenery, the characters are human enough to believe from a distance, and the buildings are well-textured. There's a pretty significant markup from lowest quality to highest, so it would be a good idea to crank it up if you can. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's certainly good enough to support the gameplay.
Click on the link below to read more.

Brothers In Arms: Double Time Review
Brothers In Arms: Double Time
Feral Interactive
Buy Brothers In Arms: Double Time

Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Steam For Mac: Portal, Torchlight Among Initial Offerings3:55 PM
Frozen Synapse Mac Beta Launched6:00 AM
Heroes Of Newerth Will Be Released May 126:00 AM
Mark Morgan Releases Vault Archives Fallout Soundtrack6:00 AM
Toki Tori Coming To Macs May 126:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 11, 2010 on one page

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