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Friday, September 30, 2005

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Cyan Worlds Back in Business?
6:00 AM | Anthony Wang | 30 comments

Earlier this month, IMG reported that Cyan Worlds had laid off nearly all of their employees and was barely afloat. In a new turn of events, Dean Takahashi of San Jose Mercury News is reporting in his blog that he received an e-mail from Rand Miller stating that nearly all of the former employees have been hired back and there was a revival of the company behind the acclaimed Myst saga.

I was about to prepare the company's obituary. But Cyan isn't dead yet. I sent an e-mail off to Rand and he answered, "We've had a reprieve. Managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat (that I can't give details about yet), so we rehired almost everybody. Crazy industry. It's giving me whiplash!"
Almost everyone believed Cyan Worlds was closing and it was the end of one of the greatest game developers ever. With this new report just unfolding, check back with IMG with further news regarding this shocking turnaround. Please follow the links below to read the entire article and to learn more information.

Cyan Worlds Still Alive?
Myst V: End of Ages
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Custer Needs A Hero
7:18 AM | Brad Custer | Comment on this story

Brad Custer has once again delivered a new game-related desktop. This week's image features the upcoming Fable: The Lost Chapters from Feral Interactive.

Here's more from Brad on the subject:

Since the announcemnet of Fable: The Lost Chapters coming to the Mac via Feral Interactive, my mailbox has had a steady flow of requests from PC and Mac users for a desktop from this title. As always, I enjoy meeting all your desktop needs. I'm really interested in this game since the premise of starting off a RPG as a child is a new twist to me. So, with the help of Lionhead Studios I was able to create this week's wallpaper.
Visit Custer's Desktops to grab this desktop in a large selection of sizes.

IMG Desktop: Hero
Feral Interactive
Fable: The Lost Chapters
Buy Fable: The Lost Chapters

More On Digital Distribution
6:00 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Next Generation recently posted the second and third parts of their Q&A with Digital Distribution of games. The second interview consists of gaming industry employees disccusing their views on the impact of digital distribution on their games, business, retail and much more. The third interview covers the digital distributors role and view in the growing market.

A clip from the second interview:

How will digital distribution impact the way games are made?

Putting a product on a shelf today - PC or console - is a very expensive proposition. Starting costs/budgets are roughly $7 to $15 million for a standard commercial game. Since most developers do not have that kind of money in the bank they must partner with a publisher or other party with access to capital and distribution. At the end of the day, this means the developer will most likely lose ownership of their intellectual property in exchange for the development advances and they must pitch a product that appeals to the publisher or money holder's tastes and opinion of what will sell.
Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Part 3 Digital Distribution
Part 2 Digital Distribution
Part 1 Digital Distribution

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Shadowbane Patch Testing
6:00 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Ubisoft has posted that they have begun implementing the October Content patch for the massively multiplayer online game Shadowbane by placing the update on the test server. Although this isn't the complete update, Ubisoft is looking for players to test out their latest patch. There is more information on their website on how to access the test server.

A few of the features being tested:

Added new directional arrows for Groups.
The Leader Arrow (gold) is always up for other members of the group.
Clicking on a Member in the Group Window will create a Groupmate Arrow (blue) for that individual; this arrow will remove if someone else is selected
When an enchantment that is cast on an item disappears, the mouse over for that enchantment will now expire.
Dynamic Lighting is now turned OFF by default for new installations.
Texture Compression is now turned OFF by default for new installations.
Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Shadowbane Patch Testing
Wolfpack Studios

Aspyr Lists Mac Stubbs at Alpha
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gamers eagerly awaiting the arrival of Stubbs the Zombie may want to take note of a recent update at Aspyr's Project Status page. It now lists the Mac and PC versions of Stubbs as being in Alpha status, while the Xbox version is currently in Beta.

Currently in development by Wideload Games and Aspyr, Stubbs should be a familiar name to most readers by now, having received a recent blitz of media attention from various sources. Nevertheless, for those that have yet to figure out what the fuss is about:

From the Executive Producer of Halo, comes Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse. You play as Stubbs, an undead antihero who takes on a futuristic city using nothing but his own carcass and the weapons of his possessed enemies. This third-person action game uses the Halo engine and integrates tongue-in-cheek humor and a strong storyline with innovative combat.
The Mac version of Stubbs is currently slated for a November release.

Aspyr Media
Stubbs the Zombie
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3rd State of Play Conference Upcoming
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Expanding on Tuesdays news concerning the upcoming Second Life Community Convention, a reader noted that the event that directly preceeds the SLCC, the State of Play Conference, may also be of interest to gamers. Now in its third incarnation, the upcoming conference, named "State of Play III: Social Revolutions," focuses on virtual worlds and examines their laws, social conventions, and political struggles.

Some of the features panels are as follows:

  • law and journalism in virtual worlds
  • the law of virtual worlds
  • the rise of stock markets
  • public space and architecture in virtual worlds
  • globalization and the metaverse
Other notable events include a Virtual Public Space Design Competition, which will be judged by a panel of architects and designers, and a keynote on cyberlaws and the governance of cyberspace.

The conference is scheduled to take place October 6-8, 2005, at the New York Law School in NYC. More information can be found at the official State of Play site.

State of Play

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Stoked Rider 3D Preview Screenshot Available
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The folks at Bongfish Interactive have recently posted a 3D preview shot of Stoked Rider, their upcoming snowboarding game. The screenshot allows viewers to rotate the pic, allowing for a 360-degree view of a snowboarder in the midst of a jump, complete with snow spray, a nearby helicopter, and a panoramic view of the slopes.

Bongfish Interactive Entertainment is proud to present a brand new 3d screenshot freshly grabbed from the upcoming snowboard-freeride game Stoked Rider ft. Tommy Brunner. You can find the 360° screen on the official
website (http://www.stokedrider.com). This shot reveals some of the recently added graphical features, such as volumetric clouds, new world meshes and the brand new rider model.
Stoked Rider includes input from freeride boarder Tommy Brunner, and features immense outdoor areas and 3D cellshaded graphics. It is currently slated for a Q1 2006 release for the Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Drop Point: Alaska
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Creatures Come To OS X
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Macworld's Game Room is reporting that Canadian developer Kutoka is offering two new games for the Mac. Creatures: Exodus and Creatures: Village are artificial life games allowing players to dabble with the creation of creatures called Norns. Each Norn has a unique bio chemistry, brain, and digital DNA. As the Norns grow and learn from the player's instruction they eventually become adults and pass on their genetic code to their offspring. Both games offer a variety of environments and situations to test the mettle of the Norns.

Creatures: Exodus is an open-ended game set on a spaceship called the Ark. This marks the game’s debut on the Mac platform — it was previously available for Windows, and was developed by a game maker based in the UK called Gameware. Featuring six large environments, each area on the Ark has its own ecology, food chain and dangers, according to Kutoka — you can construct machines to help you protect and defend your Norns from other creatures that would do them harm, like Ettins and Grendels.

Creatures: Village features fifteen play areas with myriad activities to participate in, ranging from parachuting to flying in an airship to baking a cake and more. Like Creatures: Exodus, the game introduces principles of biology, genetics and ecosystems.

Both games are scheduled to ship on October 1 and will sell for $19.99 in a hybrid CD-ROM format. The games require Mac OS X 10.2 or higher, and a G3 900MHz or faster or a G4 700MHz or faster. For more on the game follow the links below.

Kutoka Interactive
Macworld Game Room: Kutoka Titles Released

Ambrosia Updates WireTap Pro
6:00 AM | Blake Buck | 1 comment

Ambrosia Software recently updated their popular audio tool WireTap Pro to version 1.1.2. WireTap allows users to record audio and convert audio files to a variety of formats. The latest version adds the following enhancements:

  • Lowers WireTap Pro's encoding thread's priority to alleviate a problem with skipping playback in DVD player during recording.
  • Trimming could cause "Recording too short" errors in subsequent recordings. This has been fixed.
  • Resolves an outstanding incompatibility with Skype.
  • No longer mutes the audio on non-default output devices when recording.
  • Trimming now trims absolute silence as expected.
  • Fixes several 10.2.8 (Jaguar) issues.
  • Saving to iTunes now works as expected.

While not specifically Mac gaming, Ambrosia is one of the largest Mac game developers on the market. For more information, visit Ambrosia's website by clicking the links below.

Ambrosia Software
Ambrosia Website - Wiretap Pro Homepage

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World Of Warcraft: Four Dragons Preview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard is previewing yet more content for the future of World of Warcraft. This time players get a glimpse of the four new dragons soon to be haunting a nearby Great Tree. Those who march to their hidden groves and prove victorious in mortal combat will receive a variety of items only available from these new enemies.

There is a disturbance at the Great Trees. A new threat menaces these secluded areas found in Ashenvale, Duskwood, Feralas, and Hinterlands. Four great guardians of the Green Dragonflight have arrived from the Dream, but these once-proud protectors now seek only destruction and death. Take arms with your fellows and march to these hidden groves -- only you can defend Azeroth from the corruption they bring
For more information check out the page below.

WoW: Four Dragons Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Black and White 2 Review7:40 AM
IMG Posts Marathon Primer7:40 AM
New Publications From Apple Developer Connection7:40 AM
New World Of Warcaft Test Realms7:40 AM
Stubbs The Zombie Preview7:40 AM
Threat Assessment: X2 Examined7:40 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, September 29, 2005 on one page

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