Randy: Hey Gary, have you played with it yet?
Gary: Uh, dude! I don't think that's any of your business.
I'm not sure what you are talking about, and I don't really want to know, but I was referring to Ambrosia Software's brand spankin' new title, Pillars of Garendall.
Gary: Oh! What you must think of me.
Randy: Right now I'm trying not to.
Gary: Let's start over again.
Randy: Fair enough. Hey Gary!
Gary: Yes Randy.
Randy: Have you played the newest action adventure game from Ambrosia Software?
Gary: Why yes I have Randy. And may I say it kicks a gracious amount of buttocks?
Randy: You said it my friend. Once again Ambrosia has done themselves proud with another outstanding offering for Mac gamers everywhere.
Gary: But get this, Pillars of Garendall is soon coming to the world of Windows too.
Randy: Wow! Now I believe that is a first for Ambrosia. It was nice knowing that the great games from Ambrosia were for Macs only, but I suppose everybody has to grow sometime.
Gary: Except us good buddy. In fact my wife was just complimenting us yesterday. She said, "You two act just like children. I don't think you'll ever grow up!"
Randy: Hmmm, I don't think she meant that as a compliment, but boy is she right!
(Both laugh like little schoolgirls.)
Gary: Anyhoo, back to the new game, Pillars of Garendall. In addition to a Windows version of this game, Ambrosia is doing another first with this game. They are publishing it for another company!
Randy: The game's creators, Beenox developed the entire game in their own, very cool game engine. Gamers may have heard of Beenox before. They created the graphic content for Pangea Software's Cro-Mag Rally, but more about the game engine later. Let's talk about the game.
Hey what's in the garden to eat?
Gary: Pillars of Garendall is a new AD&D style action adventure game in the style of Diablo. It has a rich plot that takes players through a huge epic fantasy adventure.
Randy: The look of this game is absolutely top notch. Full 32 bit color and smooth animation really make PoG shine, while a full feature set keep the game intriguing for gamers of all ages.
Gary: I agree wholeheartedly. The artwork is beautiful. Even the inventory screens and quest logs look great. It's hard to believe this game is shareware.
Randy: You play the role of a royal horseman and last hope for your ruler, Queen Adriana. The game begins as her castle; Gidolan Keep is over run by huge humanoid creatures and their great war beasts. You are sent to bring help and save the keep from certain destruction.
Load up on armor and weapons or be prepared to get you butt whipped!
Gary: In the tradition of AD&D style adventures, PoD sends you on tons of side quests before you can fulfill your primary goal. You collect treasure and build up your inventory of magic and weapons.
Keep an eye on your quest log. It fills up quick.
Randy: The game has a world populated with NPCs, or Non Player Characters, and a full-featured real-time battle engine.
Gary: And while the graphics may not be quite as advanced as Diablo there is no gore factor so this game will appeal to even the younger adventures out there.
Randy: While I have only just begun my adventure with Pillars of Garendall, I can see this is going to be a major time waster for weeks to come.
Gary: That's a good thing, because my fascination with the lint in my navel was just starting to wear thin.
Randy: Just like my patience for you Gary. But do go on.
Gary: For gamers with a fast internet connection you can download this huge game right now. But when we say huge we mean HUGE. It weighs in around 150 MB. If you don't have a high-speed connection then PoG is available on CD-ROM from Ambrosia's web site. And a more digestible 30 MB demo is also available on the site.
Randy: And with the release of PoG, Ambrosia has entered a new era as a game company. They are now a game publisher for other developers. Not just their own games anymore.
Gary: True enough. But here is the REALLY big news. The creators of PoG, Beenox designed the whole game in their own powerful game engine called Cold Stone. And soon they will be releasing the Cold Stone engine for public use through Ambrosia.
Randy: The Cold Stone engine allows anyone with a game idea to create a really polished, commercial quality stand alone game for Mac and Windows machines with absolutely no programming knowledge. It has a plugin architecture to allow the engine to grow as people create new add-ons. It includes a full map editor, an animation editor, an item and spell editor, an NPC editor, a scripting editor and full control over the interface elements of the game. It even plays QuickTime video!
Gary: The engine is specifically designed to create Diablo style RGP games or MYST style graphical adventure games without any coding skills. So all you artist out there who have a great game idea can finally make it happen with Beenox's Cold Stone engine and distribute it as freeware.
Randy: And get this! If you want to sell your game, Ambrosia will market the games you create with the Cold Stone engine for you. Provided the game passes Ambrosia's approval, they will handle all the boring marketing stuff and bring your game to the public. And if you want to go it alone, the Cold Stone engine is available for licensing too.
Gary: Now that is big news! This could open up a whole new realm of possibilities for wannabe game designers and artists. The god-like power of game creation right in the palm of your hand, or at least on your Mac. And you don't have to have a programmer and a development team behind you with a ton of money to make a great game. Just use the Cold Stone engine.
Move over John Carrmack, there's a new game in town.
The Cold Stone Editor.
Randy: Talk about handing power to the masses. Hats off to Beenox and Ambrosia for this bold move. This could change everything!
Gary: Yes indeed. It could change many things. But I would be happy if you would just change your socks for starters.
Randy: Sorry dude, I was up all night playing Pillars of Garendall. I kind of forgot to change clothes this morning.
Gary: Understood. How about you just strap on some shoes on those skanky feet of yours and then we get back to the game.
Randy: You got a deal. Folks, be sure to check out Pillars of Garendall at Ambrosia's web site and get the low down on the Cold Stone engine while you are there.
Gary: And maybe in our next column, we'll be raving about your killer new game.