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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Apple Posts Game Building Tools Feature
9:33 AM | Eddie Park | 4 comments

Aspiring indie game developers may be interested in a recent feature by Apple, which focuses on game building tools. Covered in the feature are four of the most well-known tools for the Mac, including Sawblade Software's Power Game Factory, OverTheEdge's Unity, GarageGames' Torque Engine series, and Phelios' PTK.

Power Game Factory slants towards the non-programming crowd, allowing users to create 2D side scrollers with a mix and match interface. Unity, used to create the title GooBall, features a full-on production environment that allows users to test their games on the fly. PTK, used by Phelios to make a variety of titles, offers a 2D engine that caters to OpenGL-accelerated hardware. The Torque Engine, responsible for titles such as Dark Horizons: Lore and Marble Blast, is known for its flexibility when dealing with multiple platforms.

Just as iMovie and Final Cut Pro brought movie creation to the masses, so have four tools enabled anyone with a vision to create their own video games: Sawblade Software’s Power Game Factory, GarageGames’ 2D and 3D Torque Engines, OverTheEdge’s Unity and Phelios’ PTK. As the budgets for large-scale, complex games reach multi-million dollar levels, those four tools are enabling an indie revolution akin to the film one raging outside the Hollywood mainstream.
The article features quotes from the various developers of the tools, links to each, and access to some titles that have been developed using each tool.

Apple - Game Building Tools
Sawblade Software
Unity Technologies

Macgamestore: Zuma Deluxe, Bejeweled 2 In Stock
11:11 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 1 comment

MacPlay has begun shipping MacPlay's Zuma Deluxe and Bejeweled 2. Both games are available for $19.95 each.

In Zuma Deluxe you control the stone frog idol of the ancient Zuma in this thrilling action puzzler. Fire balls to make sets of three, but don't let them reach the golden skull or you're history!

Bejeweled 2 is the long - awaited sequal to Computer Gaming World's 2001 Puzzle Game of the Year. Now more beguiling than ever! Experience the excitement of Bejeweled in gorgeous hi-res 1024x768, complete with 3d-accelerated special effects and stunning planetary vistas.

For more information on these titles, follow their respective links below.

MGS: Zuma Deluxe
MGS: Bejeweled 2

Click to enlarge
IMG Reviews Vendetta Online
11:08 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 2 comments

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Vendetta Online, the massively multi-player online role-playing game set in the far future. Here's a clip from the review:

As a player, you pilot a spacecraft on a variety of missions. You select each mission from a list at whichever space station you are docked at. You can choose between mining, trading, and various combat missions. You gain access to better missions and equipment as your license levels increase. You gain experience to change your license as you perform missions or kill other ships. This is a nice way to level up, and in certain pirate systems, you can even purchase equipment beyond your license levels, helping establish feeling of lawlessness.
To check out the entire review, follow the link below.

IMG Review: Vendetta Online
Guild Software
Strategy First
Vendetta Online

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New Starcraft Ghost Screenshots
9:36 AM | Blake Buck | 21 comments

Blizzard Entertainment recently posted several several new screenshots for Starcraft Ghost on the Blizzard website. Starcraft Ghost takes the Starcraft universe from the familiar real-time strategy to a third-person stealth-action game. From the Starcraft Ghost website:

StarCraft®: Ghost™, Blizzard Entertainment’s upcoming stealth-action console game, refines the epic experience of StarCraft to the level of the individual soldier. Engage the StarCraft universe face-to-face as a deadly Ghost operative in the service of the Dominion. With the help of determined allies, follow story-driven missions that take you from massive planetary battles through dangerous solo operations to an unexpected turn of events that leaves the fate of the universe in your hands.
Any updates in Ghost's development are a good sign, as the game has been delayed several times and has changed development teams. While currently only announced for next-generation consoles, Blizzard has always heavily supported Mac gaming, and a future Mac release is always a possibility.

To view the new screenshots, or visit the StarCraft Ghost website, click the links below.

Blizzard Entertainment
Starcraft Ghost Website - Screenshots

The Widget Monkeys Release Banana Warehouse
9:36 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

The Widget Monkeys recently announced the release of a new widget titled Banana Warehouse. The widget game challenges players to move crates of bananas to their proper location with a forklift before the time runs out. Created using the Unity game development software, Banana Warehouse is one of many entries in the Unity DashBoard Widget Contest.

You're gonna love Banana Warehouse! The goal is to move all of the yellow
crates of bananas into the yellow area of the warehouse, and all the green
crates of bananas to the green area using a forklift within the time limit
(a generous 75 seconds we might add). Be careful not to block yourself in
wheeling the crates around, but if you do, the spacebar will reset
everything back to their original position ... except the timer!
To try out the widget for yourself follow the link below.

The Widget Monkeys

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Avernum 4 Revealed
9:35 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software, makers of such award winning titles as the Avernum and Geneforge series, recently announced the upcoming release of a new chapter in the Avernum RPG saga. Avernum 4 will return players to the enormous underworld nation of Avernum in the first completely new game for the series in years. Players will once again rescue the shadowy lands from dire peril.

The game will feature a gigantic world filled with multitudes of characters to meet and hundreds of sidequests to explore. Spiderweb Software promises players weeks of entertainment in this latest addition to the series.Life in Avernum just became a lot more dangerous. All at once, everything has gone wrong. The savages and dark creatures of the lower tunnels, once beaten into submission, have returned. Gigantic beasts, shielded by powerful magic, have taken up residence in the cities, wandering and killing at random. And normally peaceful citizens have been afflicted by a strange, overwhelming paranoia, making even regular townsfolk unpredictable and dangerous.

Nobody knows why these disasters occur. But you, through good luck (or bad), have stumbled upon a clue. And thus, you become involved in a shadowy war and a deadly struggle, which will take you through strange lands, bandit cities, and the darkest depths of the underworld. Your mission: discover who has attacked your homeland, and stop them. Before everything falls apart.The Avernum titles leading up to Avernum 4 were recreations of the classic Exile series of gaming yesteryear, improving on the originals with new graphics and content. Scheduled for release in early 2006, Avernum 4 will sell for $25 or $32 with a hintbook. No prior experience with the series will be necessary to play.

For more information about the game and a selection of screenshots follow the links below.

Avernum 4
Avernum 4 Screenshots
Spiderweb Software

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Bungie Talks Halo Movie
9:35 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Fox and Universal recently closed their deal to make a movie based on Bungie's popular first person shooter,Halo. Now that the contractual details have been ironed out, Master Chief may be coming to a theater near you in 2007. Bungie's Joseph Staten explains how the movie deal came about in an article on Bungie.net titled "The Great (Hollywood) Journey, Part One."

Going back to 2002, shortly after the initial release of Halo, Staten explains why the company never felt comfortable with the idea of handing their idea over to a movie company without retaining any say in the crafting of the project.

Back then the plan was to license the Halo universe lock, stock and barrel with no guaranteed Bungie collaboration. Sure, Halo was a hit, but Hollywood has its own way of doing things. In the case of video-game properties that way is usually "throw me the idol, I'll throw you the whip" – an all-or-nothing proposition in which game-developers accept a whack of cash in exchange for a "we know how to make movies, you don't" assurance of quality.

Cashing-in was much less important to us than securing a seat at the creative table, but that wasn't the only reason why we baulked. Parsons and I knew that any time we spent listening to Hollywood's siren call would be time not spent thinking about Halo2, and that loss of focus could be very, very dangerous. After some sincere "thanks but no thanks," we put the movie project on hold.

Knowing fans are understandably concerned with how any movie adaptation might modify their beloved storyline, Staten promises not to let them down.
In all seriousness, let me give two good reasons to have faith that Bungie's not gonna drop the ball on the Halo movie - let it turn into something we don't want to see let alone make you suffer through.

First, our community team (along with some great folks in Microsoft's Franchise Development Group) assembled an exhaustive "companion" that will accompany the script during the film's production. We built this universe bible/style-guide to inspire and inform the filmmakers as well as serve as a point-of-reference for all parties in the event of creative disagreements.

Second, over the next month or so Peter Schlessel (who's signed on as Producer), Parsons and I will be meeting with potential directors, and picking the best person for the job. I recently saw a list of "available and interested" candidates, and trust me: it's an embarrassment of riches.

The article also explains how Alex Garland, of 28 Days Later fame, was chosen to write the Halo screenplay. For the entire article follow the link listed below.

Bungie.net: The Great Hollywood Journey Part One
Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved

Bubblomania X 1.2 Released
9:35 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Dark Moon Software announced yesterday the release of Bubblomania X 1.2. The fast paced arcade game tasks players with popping a myriad of colorful bubbles floating up the screen. To accomplish this task players control a pin at the top of the play field, avoiding killer bubbles while trying to pop the bubbles containing various powerup items.

Here's a list of the games features and the latest updates in 1.2:


- Colorful and flashy background graphics, and 6 sets of bubbles.
- Several difficulty settings, including 'Always Shaking', 'Difficult Game'
and 'Fast As Lightning', which can even be combined!
- The 'Extreme Action Mode', for when you just want to go wild and throw
your ammo at those poor fragile bubbles!
- Cool soundtrack.

What is new in version 1.2?

- Greatly improved all graphics
- Show pin type progress indicator in score bar
- Improved help screens
- New hint system
- Added lots of cheat codes!

Bubblomania X is a shareware title priced at $15. It requires a Mac running at least OS X 10.1 and equipped with a G3 processor. For more information about the game check out the Dark Moon website at the link below. The game can be downloaded from Macgamefiles.com.

Dark Moon Software
MGF: Bubblomania 1.2

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Fable: The Lost Chapters Love Feature
9:34 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

IGN recently posted a feature on the 'love gameplay' in Fable: The Lost Chapters, developed by Lionhead Studios. In this action roleplaying game with sandbox sidequests, players can seek out the mate of their choice to take a break from the rigors of adventuring. From the IGN article:

The hero can utilise a number of expressions to… express his feelings. Flirt, Sexy Hero Pose, and Manly Arm Pump are always a good bet, indicating your confidence and status in the community and leaving little room for uncertainty in their minds. For the brave of heart, more exotic expressions will also produce results; a Flamenco dance, for example, will certainly impress onlookers. We do advise our clients to steer clear of more vulgar expressions such as Fart or Belch, as they are unlikely to produce a positive result.

There is nothing a potential mate likes more than feeling appreciated, and as we all know, there's one true way to show your appreciation, and that's to spend money. Giving the apple of your eye chocolates, perfume, flowers and gems will almost certainly win you a place in their heart! We don't use the word "shallow" at the agency, we prefer the term "materially focused."

Fable: The Lost Chapters will be released for the PC on September 20th, and Feral Interactive has already licensed a Mac version for release soon after. To view the entire interview, click the link below.

Feral Interactive
Fable: The Lost Chapters
IGN Article - Fable: Lost Chapters Love Feature
Buy Fable: The Lost Chapters

The Escapist Examines Marathon/Halo Link
9:33 AM | Eddie Park | 2 comments

In a cover story virtually guaranteed to make any Mac gaming fan's chest swell with pride, online gaming mag The Escapist has published a lengthy article examining what it considers to be one of the firm roots of the Halo franchise: the Marathon series. Titled "From '94 to Infinity: Before Halo, the article takes a detailed look at Marathon's beginnings, influences on current FPSes, and tight-knit community that continues to thrive to this day.

Imagine, if you will, a first-person shooter game. Imagine it set in a science fiction world where humanity is on the verge of extinction from mysterious alien forces; imagine that it is beautifully rendered in the level design and complemented by a compelling storyline, and imagine that it is loaded with exotic alien weaponry that you can unleash on your friends and enemies in adversarial and cooperative multiplayer games alike. Not too hard to picture, right? Now - and here's the tricky part - imagine this game as having been released eleven years ago.
The article is fairly exhaustive in its detail, noting Marathon's inclusion of features such as secondary fire modes, missions, and definite plot lines that have become the staple of modern FPS games. It also notes various links between Marathon and Bungie's current Halo series, including use of smart A.I.s as main characters and a war between humans and aliens.

The Escapist is a free magazine that is available in PDF format.

The Escapist - From '94 to Infinity
Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved

Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Sims 2 University Headed To Mac8:37 AM
Bonez Adventures Coming to Mac8:09 AM
Fable: The Lost Chapters Interview8:09 AM
Grizzly Adventures Update to 1.38:09 AM
Starcraft Updated To 1.13c8:09 AM
Unity Update Offers Windows Game Creation8:09 AM
World of WarCraft Card Game Coming Soon8:09 AM
World Of Warcraft: New Realms, Guide Update8:09 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 24, 2005 on one page

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
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