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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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Battlestations: Pacific Coming To Macs October 8
1:51 PM | IMG News | 2 comments

Feral Interactive has announced the October 8 release of Battlestations: Pacific, the sequel to Battlestations: Midway. Developed by Square Enix London Studios, Battlestations: Pacific expands upon the game play offered in Battlestations: Midway with two large campaigns: one based on the actual events of the War in the Pacific, and the other a ‘what-if?’ scenario based on the premise of Japanese victory.

“Battlestations: Pacific is massive and beautifully balanced,” said Feral Interactive’s David Stephen. “The compelling mix of action and strategy inherited from Battlestations Midway remains as good as ever, but the expansion of the game to encompass a ’what-if?’ Japanese campaign adds a whole new dimension to the experience.”

“Battlestations Pacific was a labor of love,” said Square Enix London Studios’ Jonathan Eardley. “We are delighted to see it so well replicated on the Mac.”

The historically accurate U.S. campaign invites players to relive some of the key naval battles of World War II, by leading the U.S. forces from the battle of Midway all the way to Okinawa. The Japanese campaign lets players take command of the Imperial forces and change the outcome of the war by defeating the US forces in the Pacific and expanding the Empire of the Sun all the way to Hawaii.

Both campaigns comprise 14 separate missions, with players in command and control of over 100 different types of planes, warships and submarines. Battlestations: Pacific boasts a much-improved graphics engine and ups Midway’s much-praised online experience with an enhanced multiplayer offering, containing five new and innovative co-op and team-based modes.


  • Intel Mac with at least 2 GB RAM
  • 256MB or better graphics card
  • DVD drive
  • Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later.
Battlestations: Pacific will retail in North America for US $39.95, £34.95 (inc VAT) in the UK and €39.95 (inc VAT) throughout Europe. It is currently available to pre-order.

Feral Interactive
Battlestations: Pacific
Buy Battlestations: Pacific

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IMG Reviews Avernum 6, Interviews Jeff Vogel
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Inside Mac Games has posted a new review of Avernum 6 from Spiderweb Software. The final game in the award-winning RPG series wraps up loose plot threads from previous games, and reveals the final fate of the underground realm and its popular characters.

IMG has also released an interview with Avernum creator, and Spiderweb founder, Jeff Vogel, about the end of the series and the beginning of work on a new title, Avadon: The Black Fortress.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

Avernum 6 (A6) is a step above. In the previous games in the series, the plots have continued, but they haven't really resolved much of the Empire vs. Avernum tension that the first three games set up nicely. As a result, it's been more of a straightforward "we know the enemy, kill them!" than the original trilogy. Thankfully, this entry focuses entirely on the conclusion of the series, and ends a lot of the plot threads that hadn't yet been resolved. For example, X, one of the overpowered wizards of the series, had been developing the ultimate magic spell for ages. In Avernum 6, you can aid him in completing it.
A snippet from the interview:
FP: What does it feel like to move into creating a new world? After spending so much time on Exile/Avernum, it's got to be at least a little daunting.

JV: It's been a huge amount of work. Creating a new world, the nations, the history, the culture, all that stuff take a lot of thought. Add to that the new game engine, the new system, redoing all the graphics, and Avadon: The Black Fortress has been a big job. Fun, but draining.
Read the full article at the link below.

Spiderweb Software
Avernum 6
IMG Reviews Avernum 6
IMG: From Avernum To Avadon

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Good And Evil In City Of Heroes
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

NCSoft and Paragon Studios have updated the website for Going Rogue, the recently released expansion for the super hero themed MMO, City of Heroes. The new addition to the site is a dev diary from Shawn Pitman explaining the design and implementation of the game's alignment system.

From the very beginning, we knew that we didn't want to offer an 'Im naow teh evilz' button. Many well known comic book characters go through a moral journey at a certain point in their development, so why shouldn't our players get to do the same with their own characters? So with that in mind, Joe "Hero1" Morrissey and I would begin crafting a system where players were presented a choice on how they wished to approach a mission. An example of this is a mission where the player finds information leading to the location of an illegal drug lab. A hero would choose to take that opportunity and swoop in, arresting all of the culprits involved with creating and selling the dangerous narcotics. A vigilante, however, would instead choose to plant bombs around the lab, blowing the place sky high with all dealers still inside... fixing the problem once and for all.

The story was always the most important thing that we kept in mind when writing these missions. Each mission had to be the character's story, not the game's story. One of the biggest challenges in an MMO is making the player feel like they're the stars. Since morality is a personal thing, we wrote these new missions in such a way that kept the player's character the main focus rather than the assistant to the mission granter. This is why signature characters such as Statesman and Lord Recluse now take a backseat to lesser-known characters during these missions. Instead, you'll interact with people such as Flambeaux, the attention-craving brat, or Frostfire, the punk who whupped a lot of lower-leveled hero butt... but always just wanted to be a cop. This Rogue's Gallery of characters drawn from earlier missions would be the ones to revolve around the character's story, rather than the other way around.
Check out the full article at the page below.

Crossing the Lines Between Good and Evil
City of Heroes
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Torturing Students With Ultima IV
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 16 comments

The Brainy Gamer recently published an article about the growing generation gap between gamers. The article focuses on the reaction of students to the classic RPG, Ultima IV. Considering the gameplay, interface, and storyline to be both confusing and boring, the students found the game to be "pretty much unplayable."

They had five days to play U4, and I asked them to make as much progress as they could in that time. When we gathered to debrief in class, a few students explained how they'd overcome some of their difficulties, but the vast majority was utterly flummoxed by the game. As one of them put it, "I'd say for gamers of our generation, an RPG like Ultima IV is boring and pretty much unplayable." After removing the arrow from my chest, I asked them to explain why.

It mostly came down to issues of user-interface, navigation, combat, and a general lack of clarity about what to do and how to do it. I had supplied them with the Book of Mystic Wisdom and the History of Britannia, both in PDF form, but not a single student bothered to read them. "I thought that was just stuff they put in the box with the game," said one student. "Yes," I replied, "They put it in there because they expected you to read it." "Wow," he responded.

And as much as I hate to say it - even after they learn to craft potions, speak to every villager, and take notes on what they say - it isn't much fun for them. They want a radar in the corner of the screen. They want mission logs. They want fun combat. They want an in-game tutorial. They want a game that doesn't feel like so much work.
Visit the site below to read more.

The Brainy Gamer: Unplayable

Valve's Erik Wolpaw Discusses Portal 2
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has posted a new interview with Portal 2 writer Erik Wolpaw about Valve Software's upcoming puzzler. In the interview Wolpaw discussed the storyline for the sequel, building upon the game's established mechanics, and the challenge of implementing the multiplayer experience.

How did you end up with (the premise for Portal 2)? Did it just seem sort of an elegant thing to do, mirroring it in that way?
EW: Yeah. It seemed like it would be an interesting way to show Aperture Science. We wanted you to see the effects of what you’d done in the first Portal.

And part of what we always envisioned in Portal, but really didn’t have the manpower to do, was to imagine the facility as this living, breathing place. We always had this idea, in our heads, that the test chambers were modularly assembled and can be reassembled, but we didn’t have the manpower to actually create any of that, and now we do this time.

Having her rebuild the facility before your eyes gave us an opportunity to show off some of that stuff. And then once she rebuilds the facility this time, there’s a lot more. Besides being the voice of the facility, you can really feel that she’s in control, because she can manipulate the environment in real time as you’re doing things.
Head over to the site below to read more.

Gamasutra: Synthesizing Portal 2
Valve Software
Portal 2
Buy Portal 2

Mac Games News for Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cataclysm's 'Immersion And Lore'6:00 AM
Chronicles Of Riddick: Assault On Dark Athena Reviewed6:00 AM
The Building Blocks Of LEGO Universe6:00 AM
Two Worlds II Delayed Until Early 2011 For North America6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, September 28, 2010 on one page

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