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Real Time Strategy (Games)

StarCraft II Closed Beta Begins 268

Blizzard announced today that the multiplayer beta test for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is now underway. The client downloader is available through for people who have received invites, and the system requirements have been posted as well. A list of known issues is up on the official forums. StarCraft II and the revamped are planned for release "in the first half of 2010."

The Struggle For Private Game Servers 125

A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."

EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."

Comment Re:Mental maps... (Score 1) 289

On that note, my vision prevents me from reading most street signs far enough in advance to make traffic changes (change langes, slow down and turn, etc.) safely. So I cannot make out Elmendorf DR at 50 yards but the funny looking church, the large hill, the abandoned school are very easy to spot well off in the distance. Or maybe I just drive too fast, that's almost certainly true. I use maps whenever I can but mostly to find the landmarks I'll use to make the turn instead of the name of the street. Obviously, a good GPS would solve this problem too but I've gotten very good at this and google maps on my phone is good enough.

There are some places, like Utah, where most of the streets are named after their grid line. That changes things since I can guess that 1550 is shortly after (or before) 1500 which I just passed.

Comment Old news (Score 4, Interesting) 278

I purchased a Viao a few months back and was surprised to see Chrome appear on the desktop instead of IE. If Google wants to buy browser market share more power to them. I had not tried Chrome before and I'm glad I have, its a great browser.


Sam Raimi To Direct World of Warcraft Movie 298

Decado writes "Blizzard has just announced that Sam Raimi is to direct the new World of Warcraft movie. 'Raimi, acclaimed director of the blockbuster Spider-Man series, will bring the forces of the Horde and the Alliance to life in epic live-action film. Charles Roven's Atlas Entertainment will produce alongside Raimi's Stars Road Entertaiment.' While it's still early in the process, does this offer hope that someone might finally make a good movie based on a game IP?"

Comment "Casual" mechanics (Score 1) 241

Not exactly revolutionary but this is a great description of the game mechanics involved in playing to the casual audience. Like it or not any game that wants widespread adoption will not be targeting the hardcore players more willing to reroll when they fail. It's too bad really since those games were far more entertaining than end-game World of Warcraft is today.

Another good reason for games to reward players for their time is that it requires far less testing. if your Cow kills my level 99 Amazon because of a glitch then I may uninstall rather than rerolling. If I only lose the time it takes to run from the graveyard then I don't care as much about how well tuned the encounters are. Perhaps the article mentions this but I'm too lazy to read it.

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