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Thursday, July 11, 2002

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NCsoft Publishing Trade Wars; Mac Possibility?
8:13 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

An interesting new press release was sent to IMG recently, announcing Trade Wars: Dark Millenium, the massively multiplayer online remake of the BBS classic from Realm Interactive, is going to be published by Korean-based NCsoft. While the publisher is most famous for its own 2D MMORPG Lineage: the Blood Pledge, NCsoft isn't afraid to go after other online titles, such as their recent hosting of Asian servers for Everquest.

The company has also shown an interest in the Mac, with their release of a Lineage client for OS X at last winter's Macworld expo. Since Trade Wars was originally planned for a Windows release, followed soon after by Mac and Linux clients, this seems like an excellent fit for the two firms. IMG contacted NCsoft's David Swofford for more information on the possibility of still seeing a Mac version of Trade Wars:

Now that we've signed the deal, we're currently working with Realm to determine a new dev schedule. These topics have certainly been discussed, but until we have that schedule out, we won't be able to comment on other platforms (besides PC/Windows). Hopefully we'll have more details in the coming weeks.
While this is far from a Mac announcement, it's good to see the company isn't ruling out a possible Mac version either.

For those that aren't familiar with Trade Wars, here's a description from the press release:

Trade Wars(tm) features a fast-paced action RPG combat experience set in an enormous virtual world where players are able to explore the vastness of space as well as mysterious uncharted planets, a first for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) genre.

"Trade Wars: Dark Millennium is set on both planetary and space
environments that look as if they came straight out of a science fiction movie," said NCsoft President Kim Taek-Jin. "Gamers who are used to fantasy online games will soon be able to experience a new form of entertainment with Trade Wars. With its unique action oriented role-playing style and heavy emphasis on player questing, we believe it will significantly grow the online game market."

The Trade Wars site has new screen shots available now to commemorate the occasion. If you want more information, be sure to head over and check out the game. Also stay tuned to IMG for any other news on the possibility of a Mac client for Trade Wars.

NCsoft to Publish Trade Wars
Trade Wars: Dark Millenium

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Shadowbane Beta Monster Shots
4:06 PM | Daniel Krechmer | Comment on this story

Shadowbane, the MMORPG from Wolfpack Studios and soon-to-be published by Ubisoft, is pushing forward in its closed beta testing. Wolfpack just posted three new screenshots, and here's the details:

These screenshots come from our latest build inside the Shadowbane Closed Beta test. Two screenshots feature a Minotaur locked into combat with a pack of Moorlocks and a Gargoyle! The third screenshot shows a once sleeping Red Drake, who is now extremely irritated at being disturbed - whoops!
Also check out the first official print ad now available on their web site. Shadowbane does not yet have a firm release date, but they do expect it to release for Mac and PC in 2002.

Shadowbane Beta Screenshots
Shadowbane Beta Information
Wolfpack Studios

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Subscribe to MGCD, Get WarCraft III for $47.99!
12:56 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Subscribe today to the MacGames CD and get a copy of Blizzard's just-released WarCraft III for just $47.99! That's $12 off the regular price of $59.99. The $12 will be deducted from your total bill after you submit your order.

The MacGames CD is a CD-ROM subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters and much more. Get 8 issues per year (delivered every 6 weeks) and save big bucks! For a limited time, when you subscribe to MacGames CD, you can get a full version of one of eight games; all you pay is the shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada, $12 International). Each subscription or renewal also includes free registration of the shareware game guide Game Doctor, plus great discounts from Mac game stores and publishers.

For more information, be sure to visit the IMG web store.

Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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IMG Posts The Sims: Hot Date Review
10:53 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Those swingin’ kids at Aspyr Media have released another expansion pack for the insanely popular Sims series aptly named, The Sims: Hot Date. Now, Mac gamers everywhere can take their little Sims out on the town for a spot of dance & romance.

Here's a snippet from the IMG review:

In Hot Date the Sims are finally able to leave home and head Downtown for mirth and merriment. The player simply directs their Sim to pick up the phone and call a cab. If said Sim doesn’t live alone, they can invite a fellow housemate to tag along. Upon entering a cab, time stops for any Sims remaining at home, so there’s no need to worry about them while out on the town. The Downtown area consists of 9 pre-built locations; each complete with various shops, eateries and entertainment spots. Players can also choose to build their own Downtown areas. Building Downtown attractions, such as bars & clubs is free of charge, allowing wannabe architects to construct the hottest spots in town.
Be sure to check out the rest of the review by following the link below.

IMG Review: The Sims: Hot Date
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims: Hot Date
Buy The Sims: Hot Date

Mac T&L Explained
8:13 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As many gamers know, the various hardware features of video cards in relation to games that may or may not take advantage of said features has been a long-standing issue in the computer gaming world. Digging a bit more into the subject, an IMG reader recently posed a question in our forums as to whether or not Mac video cards are utilizing the Transformation and Lighting (T&L) features available in the higher end cards.

Shedding some light on the subject, Ken Cobb, VP of Westlake Interactive, replied with some specifics regarding the features:

Most Mac drivers only support the "T" and not the "L". This is because they're optimized for Quake, and even the Q3 engine still uses software lighting. NVidia drivers under OS 9 do actually support both T and L, but that's the exception.

This is not as big a liability as it might sound at first, since the PC games out today are still not high-poly enough to really require hardware T&L. If you're drawing 5 or 6K polys a scene, hardware T&L is not going to make much of a difference. What T&L enables you to do is start drawing 100K polys every scene, and we don't really see that too much right now. Things will be different when upcoming games like Doom III and UT 2003 and a few others come out.

Also adding his two cents to the mix is a forum goer by the alias of ATI Driver Guy, who offers this bit concerning the ATI line of cards:
The original Radeon, the Radeon 7500, and the Radeon 8500 currently fully support hardware T&L, and have done so since they have shipped in OS9 and OSX. There are actually very few games that do not get the benefits of hardware T&L. T&L stands for transform and lighting. The fact that Quake 3 does its own software lighting does not mean it doesn't get the benefits of hardware transform, or that other games don't fully take advantage of hardware T&L.
The thread is currently ongoing in our forums. Those interested in seeing the full posts as well as adding their own questions and thoughts are encouraged to browse through the thread.

IMG Forums - Do recent Mac videocards even use T&L?

Mars Patrol Announced
8:13 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A programmer by the name of Drew Pauley recently sent us an announcement regarding a Flash-based game currently in development. Titled Mars Patrol, this space-themed action game charges players with the defense of human colonies situated on Mars.

Here's a clip from the announcement itself:

Mars Patrol is a fast-paced arcade game currently under development.
Borrowing elements from classics such as Space Invaders, OIDS, and
Asteroids, Mars Patrol charges the player with the task of defending the
human colonies on Mars from wave after wave of attack by slug-like alien
Though the Flash-based nature of Mars Patrol makes it cross-platform, Pauley notes that the title itself is being developed exclusively on a Mac. In a further nod to the Mac, he also provides an icon that can be dragged into the Mac OS X version of Internet Explorer for use with keeping tabs on Mars Patrol's development.

Those interested in pictures of the title as well as the icon can find both at the Mars Patrol site. Mars Patrol is currently set as a freeware title available sometime in the late Fall.

Mars Patrol

Commentary on Rising Game Prices
8:13 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

Have you been sitting around wondering why you just don’t seem to have enough money to buy games anymore? Well, Chris Morris may have just pinpointed the reason behind your dilemma. In an article posted on CNNMoney yesterday he commented on the sudden escalation of prices in the PC (as opposed to console) market. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Right now, the increases are contained to the sword and sorcery corner of the gaming world. Infogrames (IFGM: Research, Estimates) kicked the trend off, putting a retail price of $55 (roughly $5 more than the typical PC game) on the game "Neverwinter Nights." Blizzard Entertainment recently upped the ante, asking $60 for its wildly anticipated "Warcraft III."
Beyond merely quoting the statistics of the price rise, the article also looks at the reasons behind it. These include the increasing quality and therefore cost of manufacturing games as well the expense of maintaining online multiplayer systems.

Commentary on Game Prices at CNNMoney

MacSoft Passes on MWNY
8:13 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Those heading out to the Macworld New York expo next week will surely notice the absense of long-time gaming company MacSoft from the show floor. According to a quick PR release passed on by Al Schilling, the reasoning is simply that they didn't have enough games to justify the expense when the commitment needed to be made. Here's the full scoop:

When MacWorld New York commitments were due Macsoft did not have the breadth of titles to make it feasible to attend. Since then MacSoft has added a key title to its lineup with the much anticipated announcement of Neverwinter Nights and, is working toward the fall release of Master of Orion. MacSoft does plan on attending MacWorld in San Francisco in January 2003.
The company is not the only big name to pass on the show, as others like Adobe and Macromedia will also not have a booth next week. We will greatly miss the MacSoft folks at the show and look forward to their return next January in San Francisco.


Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Yexi - The Interstellar Adventure Released8:15 AM
Dark Castle 1.0b9 Released8:01 AM
Mac Game Programming Book Released6:00 AM
OpenGL Meeting Notes: MS IP Claims, OpenGL 2.0 Info6:00 AM
Sega/Infogrames Rumors; Mac Titles in Question?6:00 AM
Unreal Tournament 2003 Preview6:00 AM
WWII Online Updates Graphics at a Cost6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 10, 2002 on one page

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