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Thursday, January 10, 2002



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MWSF: IMG Talks with ATI
9:19 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

At Macworld Expo, IMG spoke with ATIís Senior Product Manager for Mac Products, Stanley Ossias, and Public Relations Manager Patricia MacDonald regarding the Radeon 7000 Mac Edition and Radeon 8500 Mac Edition.

The meeting started off with a presentation of the Radeon 7000. The 7000, which was formerly the Radeon VE, is being aimed at cost-conscious gamers who own older PCI Macs and users who need an inexpensive video card to drive a second (or third) monitor.

Although the core clock and memory speeds of the 7000 are faster than the original Radeon Mac Edition (183 MHz vs 166 MHz), the 7000 is a slower card due to the elimination of one rendering pipeline and the lack of a transform, clipping, and lightning (TCL) engine. It does retain the 32 MB of double data rate (DDR) memory, "Hyper Z" memory bandwidth-saving technology, and hardware DVD acceleration.

The 7000 features a DVI digital flat panel connector and an S-video output as well as a 15-pin VGA output. All the necessary adapters and cables are included in the retail box. A PCI Macintosh (with either 33 or 66 MHz PCI slots), QuickTime 5, and OpenGL 1.2.2 is required. The $129 Radeon 7000 is compatible with Mac OS 9 and X and is shipping now.

Hardcore gamers will be heartened by the news that ATIís flagship gaming product, the Radeon 8500, is finally coming to the Mac, with price and feature parity with its PC counterpart. It features 64 MB of DDR memory running at 275 MHz, the new Radeon 8500 graphics processing unit running at 250 MHz, four rendering pipelines, "Truform," and "Smoothvision."

A Truform-enabled version of Pangeaís Otto Matic was demonstrated, and the before and after images were stunning. Curved surfaces were smoother and rounder and the specular highlights appeared to be more realistic. Gamers who want to prepare for the next DOOM game will to happy to know the 8500 also supports "Smartshader" (programmable pixel and vertex shaders), "Charisma Engine II" (TCL), and "Pixel Tapestry II."

Unlike Nvidiaís GeForce3, the 8500 will be officially supported in Macs with 2x AGP but still take advantage of the 4x AGP slots of newer Power Macs. Of course, it will be Mac OS 9- and X-compatible. As with the 7000, the 8500 has dual monitor support, video output, and Mac OS 9 compatibility, all for the price for $299. It is expected to ship sometime in February.

Update: ATI surprised us with news that the driver set that will be released with the Radeon 8500 enables full-screen anti-aliasing (FSAA) in all their Radeon-based products in Mac OS 9 and X. This driver set will be available for download from ATI's web site when the 8500 is released. Unfortunately, gamers will not be able to enable anti-aliasing at will as was possible with 3dfx's Voodoo5. Instead, it will be up to developers to add support for FSAA in their games.

For more technical details on the Radeon 8500, check out our in-depth preview. Stay tuned to IMG for reviews of ATI's new hardware.

IMG Preview: Radeon 8500
IMG: ATI Radeon 8500 in the Flesh
Radeon 8500


Brian Hook Reveals Pyrogon Titles
1:40 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

In his first official "Developer Diary," Brian Hook of Pyrogon has outlined his company's strategy and philosophy and revealed their first two projects. IMG readers might recall that Hook founded Pyrogon in July of last year (see related article) and stated that the Mac platform was a major target for future development; he has since joined the Apple Mac Games Devlist and has certainly made his presence there known, to say the least.

The core of Hook's design philosophy is the axiom that technology has become an obstacle to gaming, rather than a benefit. So much time and money is spent on making a game technically impressive and pushing the limits of the latest hardware that the gameplay itself gets lost in the struggle, in his opinion. Thus Pyrogon was founded to develop "shoestring" titles with a broad appeal and generous hardware requirements, rather than expensive niche shooters that require the latest hardware to run.

In this dev diary Brian discusses Pyrogon's first two projects: a puzzle game known as Candy Cruncher and an online space RPG with a persistent world known as Stellar Deep. Introductory web sites for both games have been posted, if you would like more information. Candy Cruncher is already available for Windows in demo form, while Stellar Deep will begin shipping (in episodic form) at the end of 2002. The Stellar Deep web site notes that the game will require Mac OS X 10.1, but by the end of 2002 it is difficult to imagine that this OS won't be the default choice for gamers, regardless of their hardware.

For more information and details on Hook's projects, follow the links to the developer diary and Pyrogon's web site. The site also contains links for two other projects, code-named Coldstar and Archipelago; no details are available yet on these projects.

IMG News: Veteran PC Designer Forms New Company, Targets Mac
GamingGroove: Brian Hook's Pyrogon Dev Diary
Pyrogon: Candy Cruncher
Pyrogon: Stellar Deep


Satellite Simulator! Released
11:59 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

One of the more refreshingly innovative games released this week has to be Satellite Simulator! from Princeton Satellite Systems. The company has taken its experience and technology, acquired over the years in developing—with US Air Force and NASA funding—professional satellite control and simulation systems costing thousands of dollars, and applied it to an OpenGL-based networkable simulator costing $34.95.

Here's a description from Princeton's web site:

With Satellite Simulator! you can learn to manipulate spacecraft and satellites just like aerospace professionals. Using the powerful MultiSatSim engine, this new educational game includes sophisticated orbital dynamics and a network interface supporting up to eight spacecraft! Join your friends as you explore the solar system.

Satellite Simulator! comes with over ten spacecraft models ranging from the TechSat21 satellite scheduled for launch in 2004 to the International Space Station to models based on popular science fiction movies and literature. In addition, script-based CAD tools are included so that you can design your own spacecraft. Your design can include a complete array of mass, thermal, and optical qualities, or be a simple geometric model with constructed from primitives (boxes, prisms, cylinders, etc).

Highlights

  • Fly up to 8 spacecraft over local or wide area networks
  • Design your own spacecraft with the included CAD tools
  • Learn how spaceflight REALLY works, the way the pros do
  • Customize the Control Center with the included CodeWarrior project
  • Import other 3D models from formats such as DXF and 3DS
Satellite Simulator! uses a client-server architecture. Up to eight clients can connect to the server, and each client can access one spacecraft. TCP/IP is used for the network protocol, so both local and Internet play is possible.

Satellite Simulator! has been tested on Macintosh computers ranging from iMacs to G4s, including desktop and laptop models, all running Mac OS 9. Princeton says that a Carbon version for Mac OS X will be released shortly. For more information on this exciting new simulator, follow the link below.

Satellite Simulator!


MWSF: Glider Pro X Released
9:19 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Casady & Greene's flagship game Glider has arrived for the Mac OS X platform in the form of Glider Pro X. Around since the days of black and white Macs, Glider puts players in command of a paper airplane that has to be guided safely through a multitude of locales. These environments are often fraught with perils, including paper shredders, basketballs, and burning candles.

Here's a clip from C&G's web site:

Jump into your Glider and take off in the paper airplane ride of your life! Fly within a labyrinth of rooms or discover pathways outside to the skies above or caverns below the ground. Amazing graphics, eerie sound effects, and a complete musical score! Watch for the QuickTime movies that pop up when you least expect them.
Those interested in checking out this title can download the 2 MB demo available at MacGameFiles. If you're interested in purchasing the full version, you can find more information at C&G's web site.

Casady & Greene: Glider Pro X
MGF: Glider Pro X 3.0 Demo (2 MB)



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IMG Reviews Deimos Rising
9:19 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Deimos Rising, the sequel to the wildly popular Mars Rising from a few years ago by Ambrosia Software. Here's a snippet from the review:

Deimos Rising is the arcade experience all over again. The game is a simple, back-to-basics shooter in the style of Raiden, Galaga, and dozens of other standup arcade games you might have grown up with. The objective is clear: the player fights enemies, avoids enemy fire, and survives long enough to clean out each level. As the game progresses, players gain different weapons and power-ups that they can switch between at different times to suit the fighting conditions of each level.

Deimos Rising differs from the classic arcade shoot-em-up in the sense that the weapons arenít as conventional as they might appear. The game requires a balance between the primary aerial laser weapons (which change with each level, players gaining new primary weapons while still being able to switch back to older aerial weapons) and a ground-based secondary weapon that generally functions as a bomb.

Be sure to check out the rest of Chris Barylick's review by following the link below.

IMG Review: Deimos Rising
Deimos Rising


Mac Games News for Wednesday, January 9, 2002

MWSF: All New MacPlay Projects to Be OS X-Only4:00 PM
MWSF: MacPlay Unveils Aliens vs Predator 22:59 PM
Otto Matic Joins the iMac12:43 PM
MWSF: MacPlay Patches Giants Multiplayer, AvP11:02 AM
MWSF: Blizzard Announces Diablo II for OS X10:54 AM
MWSF: Contraband at Macworld7:02 AM
MWSF: Destineer on Links, Halo, & More6:00 AM
MWSF: Feral—Black & White Out; Worms Blast6:00 AM
MWSF: Sony Adds Mac Support to Station.com6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, January 9, 2002 on one page


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