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Wednesday, February 20, 2002

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Otto Matic Adds FSAA and Truform Support
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software, the developer of Otto Matic, the game of interstellar action and adventure inspired by classic sci-fi films and published by Aspyr Media, has updated the game to support new graphics features.

Version 1.1, released last night, adds support for Truform on the ATI Radeon 8500 and for full screen anti-aliasing (FSAA) on all Radeon cards, as well as for mip-mapping in Mac OS X.

Here is the list of changes:

  • Added ATI Truform support in the game's settings dialog (only supported by the new ATI Radeon 8500 and later cards). You can also press Ctrl-F9 to toggle it on and off without going to the settings dialog.
  • Added support for ATI's full screen anti-aliasing which works with any Radeon or later card. Activate in the Settings dialog, or press Ctrl-F10 to toggle it at any time.
  • Another new option in the game's settings dialog is the Use Mip-Maps option which is only available on OS X. This will create smoother looking graphics at the cost of VRAM and some performance, therefore, it should only be enabled if you're on a fast computer with at least 16 MB of VRAM.
  • Better control with analog joysticks and gamepads using InputSprocket.
  • Other misc bug fixes.

Truform is ATI's new technology for curving the polygonal surfaces of 3D models on the fly, making for more natural looking models in 3D games. FSAA is a feature that ATI promised for the original Radeon Mac Edition and is finally about to deliver in a driver update — 16 months later.

You can find more information about Otto Matic, the Radeon 8500, and Truform and FSAA in the IMG previews at the links below.

IMG Preview: Otto Matic
IMG Preview: Radeon 8500
Otto Matic
Radeon 8500
MGF: Otto Matic 1.1 Demo (24.8 MB)
MGF: Otto Matic 1.1 Update (536 KB)

IMG Reviews the FunStick Pro F-108
12:12 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review by Tim Morgan, our resident flight sim guru, of the FunStick Pro F-108 USB joystick by Macsense and its older sibling, the F-106 iFunStick.

Morgan begins his review by summing up the issues for casual flight simulator buffs in choosing a controller:

Flight simulators have traditionally appealed to a wide variety of customers. Hard-core players have always demanded the absolute in realism, fidelity, and technical accuracy. On the other end of the spectrum, however, reside the after-work aviators who are quite willing to devote the majority of their time to something other than following the tadpole across the HUD — things such as their families, careers, food, and other equally perplexing distractions. Gamers such as these will easily become overwhelmed with the complexity of high-end HOTAS systems, and even if they can swallow that, the prices will certainly induce the gag reflex.

To meet this demand, Macsense offers two joysticks as part of their "FunStick" line: the F-106 iFunStick and the F-108 FunStick Pro. There are only a few minor differences between the two sticks, but seeing as the F-106 is no longer shipping, emphasis will be placed on the F-108.

For the rest of our review of these joysticks, follow the link below.

IMG Review: FunStick Pro F-108
FunStick Pro F-108

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B&W Support FAQ Posted; Bundle Deal Continues
11:42 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GraphSim Entertainment recently updated their news page with information on the popular 3D god-game Black & White. With the title now shipping, the company has posted a list of answers to frequently asked questions to help those having trouble. The topics covered by the questions include memory allocation, OpenGL errors, and installer problems. If you're having any issues with the game, be sure to head over and give the FAQ a once-through.

It also seems the Black & White pre-order bundle has been so popular, GraphSim decided to extend its life. For those wanting some extra 3D RPG action, GraphSim will include Summoner with Black & White for $59. If you're interested, check out their web store for details. (If you're interested in only one of these these titles, remember that you can order them separately from the IMG Web Store: Summoner for $25 and Black & White for $39, although Black & White is available only to MacGames CD subscribers.)

IMG Review: Black & White
Black & White
Black & White Support FAQ

BlizzMac Site Opens
10:26 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Recently the administrator of wrote IMG to promote his new web site dedicated to everything from Blizzard Entertainment on the Mac. They are currently covering the beta of Warcraft III, but also have sections for other major Blizzard titles like StarCraft, Diablo II, and Worlds of Warcraft. Here's how founder Stevos describes his new site:

At BlizzMac, I am covering the WarCraft 3 Beta, with screenies and information about the beta. The site is Mac oriented, inasmuch as you can be with games that are the same on both platforms (but the Geek section is Mac OS only).
Head over and give the site a look if you're interested. It's sure to get even busier as Warcraft III gets closer to release.

Blizzard Entertainment
Buy WarCraft III

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Warcraft III Changes
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The recent round of beta testing for Blizzard's real-time strategy game Warcraft III seems to be paying off in the form of substantial gameplay changes, according to the folks at CG Online. In "The Transformation of the Horde," they outline several major changes that may be of interest to gamers eagerly anticipating this title.

Arguably the most substantial change is the removal of the much discussed Mana Stones. Originally used as a currency of sorts for the creation of Heroes, Mana Stones have been done away with altogether. Players need now amass only gold to recruit Heroes, and will receive a free one at the start of a game.

The Heroes themselves have also gone through some changes. Each one will now have the potential to cast some sort of "Ultimate Spell," which they can cast once per day (in game time) upon reaching Level 5. The inventory capacity of Heroes has also been expanded from four to six slots, allowing them a greater capacity for carrying useful items.

Other changes include the concept of Upkeep, which regulates the amount of food and gold available to players based on how much they have of each, and the ability for races to gain special abilities by allying with other races:

Upkeep comes in three flavors, None, Low, and High. In each mode, the AI takes a look at how much food you have, and bases the speed at which your little workers can mine gold on that amount. In other words, the more units you have, the more food you'll need, and the more food you produce, the less gold will be available. You begin at No Upkeep (where the gold flows freely), and as you expand your forces the Upkeep quotient rises. This makes it a difficult decision whether or not to try and amass that huge indestructible last-minute army — a good idea that will provide an organic unit cap.
For more information on these and other changes, be sure to check out the entire feature at CG Online.

CG Online: The Transformation of the Horde
WarCraft III
IMG Preview: WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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QuakeCon 2002 Announced
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The QuakeCon Team and id Software, building upon the success of last year, have announced the imminent arrival of QuakeCon 2002. Set in Mesquite, Texas, this giant LAN party promises even more action than the last.

Besides the usual Quake III, the highly popular Return to Castle Wolfenstein will be featured on the gaming roster, allowing teams to face each other in a variety of World War II settings.

Here's a clip describing the date and location of this upcoming event:

Set for Aug. 15 - 18, QuakeCon will be more intense than ever, as thousands of gamers descend on the Mesquite Convention Center and Exhibit Hall at the Hampton Inn, in Mesquite, Texas, to wage virtual war against 1,250 of their closest friends in the 35,000 square foot bring-your-own-computer (BYOC) LAN party, or compete in nerve-defying QuakeCon tournaments.
Interested gamers looking for more information on this event can find all they need at the QuakeCon 2002 web site.

IMG Review: Quake III Arena
IMG Preview: Return to Castle Wolfenstein
QuakeCon 2002
Quake III Arena
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Quake III Team Arena
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

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Baldur's Gate II Updated to Version 1.1
6:00 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Those Mac OS X users who have been reporting crashes and slow performance with Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn will be relieved to know that MacPlay has just made available the patch to version 1.1, which should address most, if not all, of the issues that were hampering OS X gameplay for some users.

The patch was created by Chris Jacobson of Contraband Entertainment, who tested it with his own team of testers before turning the patch over to MacPlay quality assurance. The lead programmer on the Mac port of Baldur's Gate II, Jacobson has maintained a presence in the IMG Forums, communicating with our readers since the game's release about the issues encountered under OS X.

Here's a rundown of what the 1.1 patch addresses:

  • Fixes the inventory screen crashing when switching characters or moving items.
  • Fixes random encounters that interrupt resting. Monsters and Guards now appear at proper times.
  • Fixes crashes from using containers and writing spells.
  • Includes support for scrolling with multiple monitors.
  • Includes non US/QWERTY keyboard support.
  • Minor bug fixes.
  • Load and Save times reduced.

    Multiplayer Notes: All systems in a multiplayer game must be running the same version of Baldur's Gate II. Version 1.0 is incompatible with version 1.1. Please ensure that all users are running version 1.1.

    OS X Notes: Due to current issues with all versions of OS X, turning on 3D acceleration will cause the game to run very slow. Please turn off 3D acceleration if you are running in OS X. If you are using 10.1.1 or earlier, use 16 bit color mode. Changes to OS X 10.1.2 allow 32 bit color to function properly.

Follow the link below to download the Baldur's Gate II 1.1 update from our sister site, MacGameFiles.

IMG Review: Baldur's Gate II
Baldur's Gate II
MGF: Baldur's Gate II 1.1 Update (4 MB)
Buy Baldur's Gate II

Mac Games News for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Custer Strikes Forcefully2:01 PM
One on One with Glenda Adams1:51 PM
Aspyr: Harry Potter Ships, Galactic Battlegrounds Soon11:27 AM
Surrender 1.1 Released9:04 AM
Apple's Puzzling Trivia6:00 AM
NPRQuake Beta 2 for Mac6:00 AM
Spider-Man Updated to Version 1.0.16:00 AM
USB Overdrive for OS X Reaches Beta 36:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, February 19, 2002 on one page

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