Archive for May, 2011
I’ve been a fan of flash animation (I highly recommend checking out anything by Adam Phillips as he produces some awesomely animated flash products that are both interesting and original: http://chluaid.newgrounds.com/) and games for many years, now. I believe that flash is greatly significant to game development in a number of ways. For one, Flash games have helped popularize various game genres and have gotten them significantly more attention. They also give indie game developers a great opportunity to flesh out their game ideas without over committing their resources (time and money) to development.
The Tower Defense Genre
Old StarCraft Turret Defense games were always fun.
Speaking of popularizing game genres, I think flash (along with StarCraft, due to its many user-created maps) has been very instrumental with the tower defense line of games. Tower defense games have been done and re-done to death in the world of flash, making it harder to sift through the trash and find quality entries. The fact that Square Enix has published their own takes on the genre (Crystals Guardians, Crystal Defenders, etc) is proof of just how popular these games have become. I myself have been quite a fan of these games since the days of StarCraft, where it seems there were new mini-games coming out daily that were somehow slightly different from the offerings of the day before.(more…)
Today Amazon launched a brand new Mac Download Store, “a one-stop shop where customers can get the most popular games andsoftware products for Mac like Call of Duty and Microsoft Office on the site.”
Included in Amazon’s selection of downloadable Mac software are a handful of Aspyr games, such as:
- Civilization V
- Civilization IV
- Civilization IV: Warlords expansion
- Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword expansion
- Civilization IV: Colonization
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- Call of Duty 2
- Call of Duty: Deluxe Edition
So, for all the Civilization fans out there, should you buy this? Heck yeah! The core gameplay remains the same, combat is more interesting than ever before, culture provides a large number of major new options, and it’s easily the best Civilization release to date.You can check out the full review over at the Inside Mac Games website.
Good news, everyone! Today we’re releasing not one, but TWO new pieces of DLC for Civilization V Mac, plus a brand new patch!
Starting today, Civilization V Mac players will be able to download and play two new pieces of DLC:
Civilization and Scenario Pack: Denmark and the Vikings - The Denmark Civilization and Scenario Pack brings you both the Denmark Civilization and the new Scenario, 1066: Year of Viking Destiny, to further enhance your Civilization V experience. Rule the world as Harald Bluetooth, with your powerful Berserker warriors and Ski Infantry!
In 1066: Year of Viking Destiny, the throne of England is up for grabs. Take the role of one of four leaders and seize control of the British Isles! Special rules for the scenario ensure that the only way to win is by the cunning use of force. Can you complete the Domesday Book and secure legal rule before your rivals? Use unique units for each faction in the scenario to claim the throne and stand the test of time!
Harald Bluetooth (920 – 986 AD) was King of Denmark for nearly 30 years. During his reign, he united the earls of Denmark and Norway and defended his people from invasion from Sweden and Germany. Today he is viewed as a just and wise king of Denmark.
Explorer’s Map Pack - Ten fantastic single-player maps make up the Explorer’s Map Pack designed by Firaxis Games. Five of the maps are based on real-world locations, chosen for their historical interest and gameplay possibilities. The remaining five are scripted map environments. These maps will change from game to game, but will focus on an exciting gameplay theme. From the arid Sandstorm to the lush Amazon, and from the Caribbean to the Bering Strait, these maps will give skillful Civilization V players new lands to conquer!
The latest patch (126.96.36.1995a) is also now available and should automatically download and install through Steam. The patch brings some changes to the AI, gameplay, and UI, as well as fixes some crashing issues. A full rundown of the patch notes can be found after the jump.
Update 5/31: Currently Steam is facing technical issues that are impeding purchases of the DLC through the Steam platform. However, we have gotten reports that purchasing a DLC code from a third party store, like the GameAgent Store, helps in side-stepping the issue. If you purchase a DLC code from GameAgent.com and still have issues accessing the DLC, please contact our support team–they can help guide you through the code redemption process and troubleshoot any problems you may be having.
Update 6/1: Latest reports indicate that both pieces of DLC are (finally) available for purchase through Steam. We hope everyone enjoys them!
Part 3: Terrain, Diplomacy and Spies
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. -Sun Tzu, The Art of War
TerrainIn combat the terrain in which the battle is fought is of utmost importance. In modern warfare the soldier is taught to be able to successfully battle in many terrains, switching from urban warfare to mountain combat in days or sometimes hours. Selecting the terrain in which to strike your foe or defend against the blow of the same is a vital tactic for the commander in the field. We touched on the nature of defensive fortifications in a previous column, and the information comes back here, except nature is providing our defense for us. In the real world, high ground with limited access and either good dirt to dig into or rocky terrain that can provide natural fortification and force the enemy into tight locations can make it easier for them to be engaged by your troops. This is similar to the tactics used by King Leonidas of Sparta during the famous battle of the 300. Obviously the tactical advantages and disadvantages are a little simplified in Civilization V, but it’s a video game and a high level strategy game, not a lower level tactics game where the exact placement of individual troops can affect your outcome. You move whole units instead. Choose your battlegrounds so that your troops are attacking from terrain that gives them a defensive bonus, or if the troops in question are veteran troops, try to tailor the terrain to the upgrades they have, such as rough or clear terrain bonuses. Use every bit of combat power to your advantage to give yourself a decisive victory in the field.
DiplomacyOne can never have enough friends, especially friends who help you get rid of more powerful enemies. Diplomacy is a vital tool in your box as a general and leader. You might covet the land, resources and cities of your neighbor, but why not wait to engage them in open warfare until you’re ready? Indeed, lulling the enemy in to a false sense of safety, letting them get complacent, or focusing on other things while you position your forces to strike with blinding speed and ferocity is just the kind of deception that results in you taking the momentum and never having to give it back. In Civilization V, of course, diplomacy can also allow you to gain strategic resources such as horses and iron without the need to engage in military combat with your neighbors. It will also give you a strategic advantage over your closer neighbors if they happen to be in the same boat as you with regards to certain strategic resources. For example, in the open parts of the last Civ V round I played, I was near Germany. Neither of our states had horses, but I had a good supply of luxury goods. My relationship with the Germans was already strained, so I arranged to trade gemstones for horses with the Egyptians, who I had a good relationship with. When it finally came time do deal with the problem directly and attack the Germans, I had the advantage of a mobile, well-armed force of cavalry and infantry instead of just the basic infantry units possessed by my foe. The route of the enemy was quick and clean, thanks to proper use of diplomacy.
SpiesAs I said in the section on scouting, there’s no such thing as too much intelligence–the more you can see and the more you know about the conditions of the enemy, the better you can attack him and derail his own strategy. As the game progresses and you gain the use of actual spies, a whole number of tactics opens up to you that will allow you to sow chaos in the cities of the enemy you seek to attack. Poison, propaganda, dissent and out right rebellion all work in your favor as your army begins to march across the lands of your foe. With proper preparation and propaganda sown by your faithful spies, not only will you know where and how to attack, but when you do, the enemy’s own people will welcome you with open arms for casting down the tyrant who once ruled them. I hope you’ve all enjoyed this special set of articles on strategy tactics for Civilization V. Glory to your allies and a pox on your foe!
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. -Sun Tzu, The Art of War
- The competition starts today and runs through Monday, May 30.
- All contestants must play on the Mac version and use the provided save game file as their starting point. You can download the save game file HERE. (Update 5/18: A new save game file has been uploaded. Any played games that do not use the new save game file as a starting point will not be counted. We apologize for the initial mistake that required all DLC to be installed.)
- Here are the parameters of the game:
- Leader/Civilization: America
- Map: Earth
- Map size: Small
- Difficulty: Emperor
- Game pace: Standard
- Victory Conditions: Conquest only
- Barbarians enabled
- Saving and reloading mid-game in order to try for a better outcome from a certain action is highly discouraged and not allowed.
- However, contestants may play through a game multiple times (from start to finish) and submit multiple entries. Only the top entry will be considered.
- Important: To submit an entry, email a copy of your completed save game file to email@example.com with the subject header “GOTM: Civilization V Competition Submission.” In the email, please include your name, the number of turns you took, and your score. You may provide a screenshot of your Hall of Fame screen if you wish, but it is not required. It is essential that you follow these directions–any entries that are missing any piece of required information WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. (Update 5/24: Hoo, boy. It has come to our attention that the game actually does not end after capturing all cities and that a Conquest victory may actually be technically impossible. To compensate, please save your game just before the final city on the map is taken and submit that file for our review. We apologize (again) for the mix-up. We promise the next competition will run much more smoothly!).
Along with going to E3 last year, the 2008 GDC has been one of my favorite memories of the video game industry. Before I went to the GDC, I wasn’t incredibly familiar with what it was or all the opportunities and events centered around it. One of my professors had mentioned it and noted that anyone who has the ability to attend should definitely do so since it’s a good experience. Taking his word for it (he was one of my favorite professors, after all), I went ahead and spent the ~$1,500 on the all access pass for the conference, and promptly purchased my plane ticket to San Francisco.
The trip all together ended up being quite costly, and was the only real downside. By the time I had purchased my conference pass, most of the hotels around the area had also been booked. Luckily, there were rooms available at the Palomar hotel, which was just a few blocks from the Moscone Center, where the conference is held. Not so luckily, this hotel was exorbitantly expensive, fitting with the trend of seemingly everything in San Fran. Protip for attending conferences: plan far in advance. The first two days of the conference were designated as “tutorial sessions,” while the following three were filled with various speakers and presentations on a plethora of subjects.(more…)
Part 2: Basic Offensive and Defensive tactics
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. -Sun Tzu, The Art of War