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Monday, April 15, 2002



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Return to Castle Wolfenstein Goes Gold
10:56 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After a long wait, Aspyr Media was this morning finally able to announce that the Mac version Return to Castle Wolfenstein has been approved by id Software and Activision. The game is now in duplication and expected to be on store shelves by April 29.

This much-anticipated sequel to the legendary Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein 3D pushes the Quake III: Team Arena engine both in terms of graphics and gameplay. It features both a well-scripted single-player mode, developed by Gray Matter Interactive in collaboration with id Software, and an addictive team-based multiplayer game, developed by Nerve Software

Return to Castle Wolfenstein was converted to the Mac by Duane Johnson of Westlake Interactive; it runs natively on Mac OS X as well as on Mac OS 9.2.

Here are a few of the game's major features:

  • Multiplayer mode pits players in a team-based Axis versus Allies contest for front-line domination, where multiple player classes must mobilize and work together to accomplish mission objectives.
  • Enter a highly immersive storyline driven by ultra-realistic, mission-based action gameplay, believable AI and the unstoppable Quake III engine.
  • Arm yourself with an arsenal of brutal weapons, including: Luger 9mm, Mauser 7.92 mm, MP-40, SP-5 sniper, venom guns, grenades, rocket launchers and flamethrowers.
  • Face a league of nefarious foes, from Nazi operatives and SS guards, to zombies and Super Soldiers — eight-foot-tall genetic mutants with deadly built-in weapons for hands.

Like many modern first-person shooters, the game requires a fairly powerful machine in order to play well, so do keep the game's system requirements in mind. Here they are, in their final form:

  • Mac OS 9.2 or later with virtual memory active
  • Mac OS X, version 10.1 or later
  • Power Mac G3/G4/iMac (Flat-Panel or later)/PowerBook G4 (Gigabit Ethernet or later)
  • 500 MHz or faster processor
  • 128 MB of RAM
  • 3D Graphic Acceleration required (ATI Radeon, nVidia GeForce or later)

For more information on Return to Castle Wolfenstein, check out IMG's preview, linked below. Also, be sure to get your orders in at the IMG Store if you haven't already.

[Sean Smith contributed to this story.]

IMG Preview: Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Westlake Interactive
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein



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IMG Previews Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
12:26 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a preview by Michael Phillips of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, the upcoming real-time strategy game from Aspyr Media based on the Age of Empires II engine.

Here's an excerpt:

First, let's just get this out of the way right now Anything Star Wars, save Jar-Jar Binks and Ani "yippee" Skywalker is cool. Therefore, this game IS highly cool. Unit variety is absolutely astounding. There are Storm Troopers, Rebel Soldiers, Bowcaster toting Wookees, X-Wings, TIE-Bombers, Bounty Hunters, Battle Droids, Sith Lords, Gungan Catapults; this game has just about every staple the Star Wars universe has to offer. In Age of Empires II for example, most of the units from each civilization, from archers to knights look exactly the same. That is certainly not the case when playing Galactic Battlegrounds. Each civilization has a unique look and combat style.
While Ewoks are not, in fact, cool, readers who are nevertheless interested in the Star Wars universe can find more information by reading our full preview, linked below.

IMG Preview: Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds
Buy Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds



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Shadowbane Interview, Beta 'Event' Info
9:49 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

New developments on the Shadowbane front include a new interview with a producer of this MMORPG at GameSpy and info on a "beta event" on the main web site. The Q&A talks with executive producer Scott Harrington about this upcoming game from Wolfpack Studios and UbiSoft, as well as getting into the current status of the beta.

The private beta of the game has been officially active for a number of months, with nearly 600 players in the Shadowbane world now. Many more thousands are expected to be entered in testing this summer as they ramp up towards release. Here's an interesting clip from the interview about characters actually being allowed to build structures and cities in the game:

GameSpy: Can you build things in the game, like castles? How is this done?

Scott Herrington: Yup, building cities and castles is in the upper-level gameplay. We do this to get people off the traditional leveling treadmill and into the more social aspects of the game while still rewarding them for being aggressive and conquering other player's cities.

Building a city takes a group of people working together, as the wealth it would take to build and run a city is out of reach of any individual player. For most people, they'll start their city building with a seed for a tree of life. That tree of life will give the guild members a place to bind, and will also help the buildings that they build heal faster if they're damaged in an attack.

After that, the group will probably buy charters to build different structures that they think would be useful. Things like a metal smith's forge, for example, would be high on the list of necessities for a guild of warriors. A wizard's temple though, might be the first thing a guild based on schools of magic would build.

After that, it's really up to the members of the guild. They can continue to build shops, reinforcements like walls and turrets, or even siege weapons to defend their realm.

For more information on what Shadowbane is all about, head over and check out GameSpy's interview now.

In other Shadowbane news, the official web site has word on a beta event which took place last Wednesday night. It seems they are looking to start laying down the world's historical context for the players, as witnessed by the introduction. Here's a quick clip:

Last Wednesday, the Closed Beta testers had their first encounter with history. The mighty Nandramiel, the Archon of Judgment, descended down from the heavens to deliver a message to the adventurers of Aerynth.
For much more, read through the narrative provided.

Shadowbane Interview at GameSpy
The First Shadowbane Beta Event
Ubisoft
Wolfpack Studios
Shadowbane



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WW2 Online Planned Feature Details
9:46 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new article at Playnet's web site for World War II Online, the massively multiplayer war sim, looks at the massive changes in the upcoming version 1.60 patch. With a number of Mac beta testers likely to be entered in the next major round of testing, it seems likely 1.60 and the Mac version could be released around the same time.

Mac fans who have followed the game so far will recognize a number of issues being tweaked in the update. Foremost among them are user interface changes to help make the game easier for new players. Screen shots of both the new game browser and keymapping UI are available in the article. Movies are also available showing off new infantry moves, as that unit is scheduled for an overhaul as well.

Other things on their list are performance improvements, new vehicles, and terrain, as well as the addition of moonlight to help night play. For the full scoop, check out the 1.60 preview now. And stay tuned to IMG for more information as Mac testers begin entering the beta.

IMG News: WWII Online Beta Test Details
World War II Online
World War II Online 1.60 Preview


Bubble Trouble for OS X at Beta 6
9:45 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Programmer Alex Metcalf has updated the progress log for Bubble Trouble X, the Mac OS X version of the popular, light-hearted arcade game from Ambrosia Software.

In words not quite as terse as his programming peer, Matt Burch (but every bit as informative), Metcalf had this to say:

Beta 6 is out the door, sporting the final set of new feature changes: on-the-fly res switching, improved graphics, scoring support for custom levels, and more. There may be a quick Beta 7, or it will move to final candidate fairly soon now. On the home stretch!
So polish up your fish bowl and get out the tartar sauce. Looks like we'll soon be dodging bubbles and squishing sea-critters natively in Mac OS X!

Bubble Trouble X progress log
Ambrosia Software


Steve Jobs to Keynote WWDC
8:08 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Apple today announced that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote on Monday, May 6, 2002, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Said Jobs:

With Mac OS X taking center stage, it's a very exciting time to be a Mac developer. To get our developers even more excited, we'll be giving them a sneak peak at the next release of Mac OS X, code named Jaguar.
The five-day event, which runs from May 6-10 at the San Jose Convention Center, will feature more than 120 in-depth technical sessions on Mac OS X, Apple's next-generation operating system.

Other Activities at WWDC 2002 include:

  • technical sessions covering topics such as Cocoa, Carbon, Java, Darwin, Digital Media, QuickTime, WebObjects and Networking & Server;
  • hands-on labs to get the latest information on Mac OS X directly from Apple engineers and technology experts;
  • an Exhibitor Fair showcasing the latest development tools and products;
  • the Seventh Annual Apple Design Awards recognizing developers for innovation, advanced Mac OS X look and feel and the use of Apple technologies in their new product entries to the Mac OS X market; and
  • additional activities including a FireWire Plugfest, Birds of a Feather sessions and Stump the Experts.

For more information, be sure to visit the WWDC web site.


Worldwide Developers Conference



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Logitech OS X Beta Drivers Released
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Users of Logitech devices should be pleased to hear that beta Mac OS X software has recently been released for testing. Dubbed the Logitech Control Center 1.0b2, this program is labeled as a successor to the MouseWare M drivers and provides software support for mice and basic support for keyboards.

The current actions provided for mice are as follows:

  • Clicks: Simple, Double, and Triple Click, Click-Lock, Right-Click
  • Advanced Clicks: Same but you can simulate those clicks, plus any modifier, as happening on a different button
  • Keystrokes: One key with any modifier
  • Nothing: The key will just have no effect
  • Scroll: Can be assigned to the wheel, and you can adjust the scroll 'size'
  • Accelerated Scroll: Can be assigned to the wheel, and you can adjust how the size is automatically adapted when you scroll faster

Keyboards can be connected and used, but are not yet configurable through the software.

Those who wish to try out the software can find it at Logitech's site. Logitech adds that, as the software is still in beta, users proceed at their own risk when installing and running it. Those who do test it are asked to send feedback to the Logitech development team at lccDevTeam@logitech.com. They hope to release a full-featured version sometime around June of this year.

Logitech: Macintosh Mouse Software



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

Responding to the input of players around the world, Blizzard recently ramped up their beta testing of Warcraft III by patching the beta to version 1.20. Gaming site Loadedinc.com recently published their impressions of the patch, which brings with it a number of changes and new factors, most of which are aimed at improving the overall balance of gameplay.

One of the main changes is the ability to assign multiple units to the construction of a single building. This allows players to construct buildings more quickly and get a better foothold in the beginning of a game, which is helpful in fending off the rush tactics favored by testers of the earlier beta versions. This in turn allows for easier expansion and unit building, as players can now assign priority and speed to the construction of prerequisite structures.

Another new change that should be welcome to most players is the ability of sorts to rotate the map. Though players can't truly rotate the map at will, they can now hold down a key to rotate the map roughly 45 degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise. Releasing the key will return the map to its original position.

Other minor changes have also been made to enhance the overall presentation of the game:

New unit sounds have also been added along with a couple of new maps, one which includes the ability to recruit dragons who will fight along side your army and another with a completely new tileset. The new environmental effect of rain features on the new map called Legends really adding to the game's atmosphere. Blizzard have also added an idle unit button which allows you to flick through your build units that are slacking off, an addition that was sorely needed.
It sounds like Blizzard is putting their beta testing period to good use. Those interested in more details about the latest patch can follow up at Loadedinc.com.

IMG Preview: WarCraft III
IMG Preview: WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
Loadedinc.com: Warcraft III Beta v1.20 Impressions
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III



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Sid Speaks on Civilization III
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new interview at GameSpot UK talks with the famed Sid Meier about his most recent strategy hit, Civilization III from Infogrames and MacSoft. The interview goes into detail on the Civilization series in general and what it takes to make a turn-based game a success these days. Another interesting question concerns the idea of evolutionary versus revolutionary titles in a series:

GSUK: One of the few criticisms of the Civilization series is that you have refined rather reinvented it — what would your reaction be to that?

SM: I don't think we would agree. I think refining is a good thing in general, but it's always a decision when you revisit a game: how much do you change it and how much do you keep it the same? I think if we change it too much there's criticism that we've lost the spirit, lost the essence of the game, and then if we don't change it enough there are certain people who question, "oh, it's just the same game again." We think [Civilization III] has the correct balance, but it's open to interpretation. We certainly didn't feel that we needed to limit ourselves to only the ideas that were in the original Civilization games, but we also felt that there were some great ideas that we did want to keep, so we made what we felt were the best decisions.

The rest of the Q&A provides some good information from the creator of this popular series.

IMG Review: Civilization III
Civilization III
GameSpot UK: Sid Meier Interview
Buy Civilization III


Pangea's Greenstone on The Gamesome Mac
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Internet radio show hosted by IMG's own Sean Smith and produced by our own Andy Largent, returns tonight with special guest Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software, the creative mastermind behind such games as Bugdom, Cro-Mag Rally, and Otto Matic.

Hear about the latest developments in the Mac gaming industry, get your burning questions answered, and vie for some of the great Pangea games that will be given away on the show.

The Gamesome Mac serves up the latest news, reviews, interviews, and commentary from the world of Mac gaming every Monday from 6 to 8 pm Pacific Time, 9 to 11 pm Eastern Time (01:00 to 03:00 UTC).

Tune in live at The Gamesome Mac's web page, linked below, where you also can find archived the premiere broadcast with guest Glenda Adams of Westlake Interactive. (QuickTime is required for listening.)

Next Monday, April 22, The Gamesome Mac will feature as its guest Tuncer Deniz, publisher and editor-in-chief of Inside Mac Games.

The Gamesome Mac
Pangea Software


Custer Summons a New Desktop
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

IMG's Brad Custer has uploaded a new desktop for the week, looking back at last summer's 3D role-playing game, Summoner. Titled "Jekhar," the image is a tribute to the game from Volition and GraphSim. Here's the scoop from Custer:

Summoner was released last summer. However, this week when I was reviewing my cache of game art I came across all the great art I had for this game. Todd from Volition came through with all of it for me months ago so I felt it I owed it to him to make another one with it. Again I wanted to create one that would fit in with the desktops provided at Summoner.com almost seamlessly, which I feel I was able to do.
If you're a Summoner fan, be sure to head over now and grab this newest creation.

IMG: Custer's Desktops
Summoner
Buy Summoner


Galactic Patrol for OS X Gold
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The folks at MonkeyByte send word that the Mac OS X version of their popular 3D arcade re-creation Galactic Patrol is now Gold and set to be released this week. The game was ported to Apple's advanced operating system by Lane Roathe's Idea's From the Deep (IFD). Galactic Patrol is a very fun take on arcade classics like Space Invaders, Galaga, and more.

The game should start shipping by Wednesday and will be available on MonkeyByte's online store. Here's the full scoop:

A Macintosh OS X version of Galactic Patrol has gone Gold! Online sales and deliveries will begin this coming Wednesday and sales in our new Game Arena Store will begin this coming Friday.

"This is a special day for us here at MonkeyByte.com," said Jean A. Ames, creator of Galactic Patrol and CTO of MonkeyByte.com. "Galactic Patrol has been our most successful game to date. We have hundreds of thousands of downloads of this treasure and we have been blessed with excellent reviews and feedback from our customers and testers alike."

Look for a Mac OS X demo soon, and be sure to grab the Mac OS 9 version if you've never tried it before.

In related news, the game will also be available in a new store being opened by the company in their Northern California home of San Leandro. According to a press release, they will be selling all of their "eCommerce products through this new store and adding a whole range of peripheral products brought to us by new independent designers and developers." If you're in the area, be sure to drop by and give them your support.

Monkey Byte


Mac Games News for Friday, April 12, 2002

Save Big on WWDC Registration!4:27 PM
IMG Reviews OIDS 2.011:20 AM
IMG to Give Away realMYST10:44 AM
realMYST Demo Coming Soon10:11 AM
Arcane Arena Beta 12 Released9:52 AM
20,000 Diablo II Accounts Closed9:46 AM
Ask MacPlay Returns, Round Four9:46 AM
MacSoft Development Update9:46 AM
Master of Orion III Changes Explained9:46 AM
Simon 3D Back on Track9:46 AM
Yet Another Shadowbane Preview9:46 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 12, 2002 on one page


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Thursday, April 11, 2002
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