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Friday, April 19, 2002



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Harry Potter Patched
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Amy Torres of Aspyr Media recently sent word of a patch for their popular third-person adventure game, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. This title based on the best-selling series of children's novels by J. K. Rowling uses the Unreal Tournament engine, and the version 1.0.1 update fixes a few video issues in the game. Here's a quick list of the major changes:

This patch covers several items, the most important of which addresses the loss of video that happened in certain areas of the game. Here is a complete list of the fixes:

  • Places in the game where the screen would go black if you jumped the wrong way are now fixed.

  • Mouse control under OS X is smoother. You may need to re-adjust the mouse sensitivity in the Options screen.

  • On video cards with 16 MB or less of VRAM, the game will reset Texture Detail to medium if you try to set it to "high." High texture detail on those video cards can led to crashes in the game or poor game performance.
The version 1.0.1 patch weighs in at around 2 MB and is available at Aspyr's FTP site now.

IMG Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter
Download Harry Potter 1.0.1 Patch
Buy Harry Potter



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IMG Reviews the Nostromo n45 GamePad
3:10 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review by Ricardo Chavarria of the Nostromo n45 GamePad, a dual analog USB gamepad from Belkin Components.

Here's an excerpt:

Belkin's pad is a modern twist on the old Sony Dual Shock Controller. It has a digital pad on the left, two analog sticks centered down, seven face buttons (four on the right, diamond shape, and three on the center) and four shoulder buttons. All the buttons feel comfortable enough, but the shoulder buttons could have a little more "spring-reaction" because they are somewhat slow when returning to their original position.

The form factor of the controller, to the eye, appears to be really awkward. But when held down, the n45 is really comfy. The handles are smooth and the buttons and sticks have are slightly textured so your fingers won't slip.

Follow the link below for the full text of our review.

IMG Review: Nostromo n45 GamePad
Nostromo n45 GamePad


Galactic Patrol Released for OS X
11:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After an efficient round of beta testing, MonkeyByte has announced that the Mac OS X version of Galactic Patrol, a 3D take on the arcade classics of old, is now ready for public consumption. The game sports relatively low RAM requirements and takes only 3 MB of hard disk space. Here's a description in case you're new to the title:

Galactic Patrol is a new 3D homage to the classic arcade hits of the early '80s. The look and spirit of such legendary games as Space Invaders, Galaga, Phoenix, and Galaxian pulse through Galactic Patrol's 25 levels in over 300 waves of shoot 'em up fun. Reflex-burning top view action, frenzied side scrolling , and comin' right at ya' rear views are all here in this retro-styled alien invasion.
Head over to MonkeyByte now to grab a demo for OS X. The full game costs $20, but owners of the classic application can upgrade to OS X for only $5. See their site for details.

Galactic Patrol
Monkey Byte


Software Tycoon Announced
11:09 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Thomas Steiding of e.p.i.c. interactive today announced a new title coming soon to the Mac called Software Tycoon. The game promises to be a fun look at the early '80s personal computer market. Software Tycoon should be available in June for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Here's the full description from the press release with a nice rundown of features:

It's 1982. Small computer games companies are springing up in the bedrooms around the world. A new business beckons, where everything is in your hands.

You have total control, from creating the original concept, through hiring staff and packaging design, to the development of massive marketing campaigns.

Do you have the skills to create and use new technologies and become a Software Tycoon? Software Tycoon immerses the player through the implementation of different scenarios, tutorials and a truly satirical background that simulates the software business. But don't forget your opponents will stop at nothing to ruin your business!

FEATURES:

  • Real-time gameplay.
  • Two intelligent and unusual computer computer controlled opponents.
  • Satiric simulation of the software business.
  • Interact with real living and acting characters.
  • Multiple missions and tutorial scenarios.
  • Adventure-like inventory.
  • Hi-Res graphics in 800x600.
  • Employ the best staff and implement massive marketing campaigns for your products.
  • Sabotage your ruthless opponents.
  • Different buildings in horizontal scrolling Location.
  • Easy development of original game concepts.
Stay tuned for more information on Software Tycoon as the game gets closer to release in a couple months. Also check out the game's web site for many screen shots of the game in action.

Software Tycoon
Runesoft


IMG Debuts New Forum
8:29 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The popular Inside Mac Games Forum has gone through a major overhaul. In addition to a brand new and slicker interface, the new IMG Forum includes some great new features including:

  • Auto-login: no more typing in your username and password every time you want to use the forum
  • Announcements and stickies
  • Polls
  • User ranks and avatars (an avatar is a little image that identifies you next to your messages)

Be sure to check out the new forum by clicking on the link below. Don't forget to register in order to post!

IMG Forum


Dragon's Lair 3D Previewed
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gamers waiting for Dragonstone to finish their work on the upcoming title Dragon's Lair 3D should be happy to hear that a preview has been posted revealing plenty of details about this revamp of the classic laserdisc title. Written by GameSpot, the preview goes over the basic mechanics of the game as well as the huge wealth of improvements over the original.

The main departure from the original is the fact that the game no longer adheres to set animations and paths. Dragon's Lair 3D, as the title implies, is set in a full 3D environment that allows players to maneuver Dirk the Daring around at will. In fact, Dirk can now jump, run, slash, and tumble as he sees fit. The one-hit kills from the original have been replaced by a health bar and a mana bar that allows Dirk to make use of magical abilities.

Dirk also comes with a crossbow with which he can fire a variety of arrows. These arrows reportedly can be used for both attacking enemies and solving puzzles. To facilitate combat, a first-person sniping mode and strafing moves are available.

One of the things staying true to the original, however, is the overall look of the game. Using cel-shaded graphics, Dragon's Lair 3D looks extremely faithful to the Don Bluth animation from the original. Fans of the original should be able to recognize many of the castle's denizens.

The previously mentioned magical abilities Dirk will come to possess take the form of dragon pieces:

The dragon's eye gives Dirk the ability to see through false walls, giving them a translucent effect that proves invaluable for finding secret areas. The dragon's scale changes Dirk's trademark chain-mail jerkin into a suit of green dragon scale mail that protects him from fire and heat. The dragon's wing gives Dirk the ability to embark on short flights, although his lack of balance and fear of heights make these trips a laughable event at best, although they are well suited for crossing otherwise impassible pits or traps. One of the dragon pieces also allows for healing, while the last coats his sword in arcane fire, which is useful for defeating particular enemies or activating certain flame-sensitive puzzles.
All in all, it sounds like Dragon's Lair 3D is shaping up to be quite a title. The GameSpot preview fails to mention that a Mac version is in the works, but the Dragonstone site firmly displays that a Mac version is indeed on the way, with an estimated release date of spring 2002.

Blue Byte
Dragonstone Software: Projects
GameSpot: Dragon's Lair 3D Preview



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BioWare Visit Divulges Neverwinter Nights Details
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The lucky folks at IGN's RPG Vault recently tooled up to Edmonton, Alberta, home of BioWare, for the express purpose of checking out the latest developments on Neverwinter Nights. The title has been the subject of much scrutiny in the fantasy role-playing world, with high hopes that it will be the Next Big Thing.

Though the main bulk of the single-player story is being kept tightly under wraps, sheets outlining the introduction were passed out at the presentation. Simply put, the city of Neverwinter is suffering from a mysterious plague nicknamed the Wailing Death. To make matters worse, a caravan of rare and magical creatures has been loosed from their confinement by a group of unknowns, allowing them to run rampant in the area. It is these situations that bring the hero (the player) to Neverwinter.

In an interesting departure from the previous Dungeons & Dragons-based titles released by BioWare, Neverwinter Nights features a tutorial at the beginning of the included campaign that walks players through things such as mouse controls, camera modes, and the quickbar. Neverwinter Nights also features a revamped inventory scheme:

It's based on a square grid, with different types of items occupying different numbers of squares. What's notable is that there are six grids that you access via tabs. This means you have a substantial amount of room in inventory; while carrying capacity is also dependent on weight, you can carry a large number of items before their combined volume becomes an issue.
When playing around with the game itself, the RPG Vault reps also got a chance to fool around with the Dungeon Master client, which allowed them to perform various functions:
Next up was the part I was probably most eager to see, the Dungeon Master client. My interest stemmed from I had not having seen it al all before, from Ray and Greg having been enthusiastic about it a few weeks ago at GDC, and perhaps most of all from its potential to become a landmark of innovation within the CRPG genre. Here again, I came away with a very favourably impression. This part started with a demonstration that involved a couple of writers in an are set up in advance by a couple of non-technical staff, Community Manager Jay Watamaniuk and Communications Associate Tom Ohle. Jay handled the commentary while Tom showed the main sections of the DM client then demonstrated a number of functions such as how to drop in monsters, take over a monster or NPC, give rewards, adjust the difficulty, warp around to anywhere on the map screen, warp players to his location, and more. After this, we were given some time to play with the client. Once again, I was surprised at the level of user friendliness in light of what you can do.
As far as a release date goes, the current target is still a couple of months away. However, according to the report, BioWare seems confident that Neverwinter Nights will be their best title ever. In the meantime, those starving for more information should check out the full report at IGN's RPG Vault, which has some new screenshots (as we noted yesterday) as well as plenty of related links.

IMG News: Neverwinter Nights Press Event Gallery
IMG Preview: Neverwinter Nights
BioWare
Neverwinter Nights
RPG Vault: Neverwinter Nights Visit Report
Buy Neverwinter Nights



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Deus Ex Bible Available
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

For Deus Ex fans who just can't get enough futuristic black-ops conspiracy material, GameSpy recently released part II of their DX1 Continuity Bible. The bible covers the history, storyline, and complex interactions of the Deus Ex universe in painstaking detail, taking into account story that takes place before JC Denton ever dons his first pair of sunglasses.

The guide also covers random bits of trivia, including why some side characters saw so little action during the latter half of the game:

So much in the game design process (ours, at least) is haphazard. Paul vanished because no one ever asked what role he might play toward the end. For the same reason, Page is absent toward the beginning of the game. The repetitions we do have (Gunther, Simons, Jaime) we inserted largely at the last minute, when we realized that our main NPCs needed more stage time. The writers are usually sensitive to this issue from the beginning of the design process, but the truth is that map building is often centered around mid-level gameplay rather than story. Making the drama add up on Deus Ex was kind of a seat-of-the-pants affair. Some of these anomalies people see are more the result of chance than volition, sorry to say.
Those who either wish to know or think they know everything there is to know about Deus Ex may want to give this bible a look. It definitely provides a fascinating look into the complex backstory that helped make Deus Ex such a memorable title.

IMG Review: Deus Ex
Deus Ex
GameSpy: DX1 Continuity Bible, Part II


Harpoon3 OS X Fix
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Harpoon3 developer Jesse Spears recently emailed IMG with word on a new update for the Mac OS X version of the title. Apparently there were a few show-stopping bugs in the last version which didn't affect either the classic or Windows versions, but did necessitate a new version 3.4.8.2 for OS X. Details on the fixes follow:

It fixes two fairly serious bugs, both side effects of fixing the "game not pausing" problem fixed in 3.4.8:

1. If you were playing without "Enforce Real Time" turned on, and you paused the game, you couldn't unpause it (fixed in 3.4.8.1).

2. If you had movies playing, once one played the game would never start running again (the Game clock pauses while videos are being played because no other screen updates can happen while a movie is playing). This was fixed in 3.4.8.2 (the current version).

Head to the Harpoon3 site now to grab the latest update for Mac OS X.

Harpoon3
Download Harpoon3 3.4.8.2 for OS X


Mac Games News for Thursday, April 18, 2002

Neverwinter Nights Press Event Gallery12:59 PM
Lead Designer Leaves Master of Orion III Team10:15 AM
Myth II Rank Testers Sought10:15 AM
New WarCraft III Shots, Beta Info10:15 AM
Shadowbane Audio Q&As Available10:15 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, April 18, 2002 on one page


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