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Tuesday, August 20, 2002

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WWIIOnline Development Plans
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The World War II Online headquarters site spotted a recent forum post by Cornered Rat member "Gophur," announcing the future development plans for this massively multiplayer online war simulation. An open beta for the Mac client of World War II Online was recently released, allowing Mac fans to join in the multiplayer action. The game allows players to fight either as Allies or Axis in any number of vehicles of the second World War, and the update discusses the new 1941 theater and new vehicles it will bring. Those who like to play as infantry will also see changes later in the year:

We are implementing new, more powerful and more flexible tools to deliver a full replacement of the 3rd person animation system for WWIIOL’s troops. This revamp will enhance the look and feel of the troops you see on the field and allow us to add new features as time permits such as: climbing, jumping, and more realistic interaction with vehicles and buildings. A full re-work of the WWIIOL Rank and Privilege systems will begin by integrating the High Command structures with the game and web interface. After that there are big plans to focus the entire gameplay experience on persona development with lots more features and functionality, not only in-game, but also in player services as well.
For the full update, be sure to check out the full forum thread. If you want to try out the World War II Online beta, head over and sign up now. [Update]: It appears signups for the beta have been closed due to overwhelming demand. If you didn't get in on this round, be sure to look for more info on any re-openings soon.

World War II Online: Dev Roadmap Fall / Winter 2002
IMG News: World War II Online Mac Beta Opens
Mac Pre-Release Testing Sign-Up
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

USB Overdrive Beta 5 Released
12:00 PM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

USB Overdrive author Alessandro Levi Montalcini has announced that beta 5 of USB Overdrive X for USB devices is now available for download.

USB Overdrive X is a Mac OS X driver that handles all USB mouse and trackball devices from any manufacturer (with support coming soon for joysticks and gamepads) and lets you configure them either globally or on an application-specific basis. It reads all kinds of wheels, buttons, switches and controls and supports scrolling, keyboard emulation, launching and all the usual stuff like clicking, control-clicking and so forth. USB Overdrive can easily handle several USB devices at once.

Montalcini posted on his site:

The Mac OS X version is fully functional with mouse and trackball devices, but still lacks support for joysticks and gamepads. I am working on gaming devices to make them work properly in Mac OS X 10.2. This is the only reason why I'm calling it a beta, since the mouse part is complete and stable as far as I can tell.
USB Overdrive will also have all the features of the Mac OS X version when used in Mac OS 9 or in Classic. It will be offered as shareware upon completion and can be downloaded at their website.

Download USB Overdrive

Mac Games to be Represented at Paris Expo
9:52 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Macworld UK has noted that a number of U.S.-based Mac game developers are currently planning the upcoming Paris Apple Expo, which takes place September 10-14. Game publishers planning to attend include MacPlay, Aspyr, Feral Interactive, Freeverse, and France-based Apacabar.

The Expo will also feature an entire section devoted to Mac gaming:

The Entertainment Solutions Centre area of the show will host a games pavilion, similar to those seen at Macworld Expo events in the US. It will include a large seminar theatre, offering presentations and sneak product previews from major games developers.
Apple also plans on demoing related technologies such as OpenGL and AirPort.

More information on this event, including MacPlay's new £19.99 Value Series, can be found at the Macworld UK article.

Macworld UK - Games firms plot Expo assault
Feral Interactive
Aspyr Media

Punkbuster Q&A
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Tony Ray, creator of the popular anti-cheating program/service, PunkBuster, sat down to have a little chat with the folks at HomeLAN Fed, to discuss PunkBuster's future in internet gaming. Such topics include new, upcoming features, future games to be supported, the status of Even Balance, the company responsible for PunkBuster, and more.

Here is a sneak peak of the full article:

However, the program got enough attention to warrant creating a company to help license Punkbuster to other programs and as Even Balance, Punkbuster got a huge break when id Software selected the program to be used to combat cheaters in their recent first person shooter Return to Castle Wolfenstein. “There was a mutual friend who knew some guys at id,” Ray said, “We’ve known id for more than a year now and the whole integration scheme into Wolfenstein was basically to see if it would really work. “ After the development of the Wolfenstein support was completed, Ray said that the publisher of the game Activision was happy with the way it turned out which allowed for plans to intergrate Punkbuster into Quake III Arena and Soldier of Fortune II in the near future. “It opened up a lot of doors to have us talk to a lot of developers and publishers,” Ray said, “and I think there is nowhere to go than up.”
Be sure to check out the full article for more information about PunkBuster and the company behind it.

A Chat With Punkbuster's Tony Ray

New Mac Vampire Club Announced
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Fans of Activision's Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption may be interested to know that IMG forum member Diablofett has started a small Mac Vampire club for Mac gamers who enjoy playing the game. He had this to say about the new club:

Okay, now the main topic for my post is, I'm starting a Vampire club for mac, along with a friend. If you wish to join, message me on AIM at Grissom CBLADE. The first comers get to choose if they want to be a high position in the club, so join now! That's all for now...
If you are interested, you can check out the related forum thread (a link is provided at the bottom of this article), or contact Diablofett with your questions.

Mac Vampire Club
Vampire: The Masquerade
Buy Vampire: The Masquerade

Radeon 9700 PC Reviews Posted
6:00 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

Perhaps as a result of nVidia's dominance of the graphics card market throughout the year, there has been a lot of speculation and anticipation over ATI's new high-end card, the Radeon 9700. A number of very positive reviews were recently posted, including articles at Beyond3D, Tom's Hardware, and AnandTech, which give detailed technical information about the card as well as a number of benchmarks with various games.

While all tests were run on PCs, the Mac version of the Radeon 9700 is planned to be released later in the year. Due to the board's increased complexity, ATI needs time to update the Mac drivers to work in OS X. Here's a clip from the Beyond3D conclusion:

I think we can say that is certainly has been interesting seeing what ATI has in store for us, for what started with Radeon and started to show a little more with Radeon 8500 really has pushed to the fore with Radeon 9700. The performance of the board is reasonably staggering in some cases in comparison to their previous generation and they have done this whilst introducing the most complex and feature rich chip on the market place today.
All of the articles provide a cracking good read for anyone interested in the technical side of computer graphics. Stay tuned to IMG for any new information on the Mac edition of the 9700.

Radeon 9700 Review at Beyond3D
AnandTech: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro - Delivering as Promised
Tom's Hardware: ATI Radeon 9700 PRO

BetaLock to Stop Game Leaks
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Programmer and avid game beta tester Brad Lees wrote IMG recently with word on an interesting new product designed to make the distribution of early game betas more difficult. BetaLock is the product which, when integrated into a game's code, can help identify less scrupulous testers who might be illegally leaking game titles before they are released. Here's more of a description from Lees' site:

BetaLock uses an innovative method for controlling the distribution of betas. It is not as much copy protection as it is a copy deterrent. Each user is given a key; a file containing encrypted information about the tester and the game being tested. The encryption of the key is done in such as way that no two keys will ever be the same. Even if two keys are created for the same tester and the same game, the resulting key will be different. Each key also includes a checksum to make sure the key has not been modified.
BetaLock has already been used by MacSoft for their action title Max Payne and seems to have been received warmly. If you're a developer looking for more information on BetaLock, check out their web site.


BongoBoogie Demo Soon
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Phelios contacted IMG recently with news on a new web site for their monkey-filled arcade game Bongo Boogie. The game is a fun take on the classic Breakout/Arkanoid arcade classics with very stylized graphics and music. Here's a quick description from the site:

A dazzling game with beautiful graphics and music, featuring monkeys that have gone...bananas! More than 200 fun levels to entertain you for hours!
Currently Bongo Boogie's system requirements include a 350MHz G3 with a video card with at least 16MB of VRAM. Stay tuned for word on a demo soon.


Mac Games News for Monday, August 19, 2002

IMG Reviews Links Championship Edition1:42 PM
uDevGame 2002 Competition Announced11:08 AM
Mac Gaming Sites Unveil Redesigns11:00 AM
GameRanger 3.0 Released8:56 AM
IMG Posts QuakeCon 2002 Gallery8:17 AM
The Gamesome Mac Talks With Ben Haller7:59 AM
More GenCon Shadowbane Reports6:00 AM
Mystery Game Screens6:00 AM
Radeon 8500 Price Drop6:00 AM
Return to Castle Wolfenstein 1.33 Beta6:00 AM
The Sims: Vacation in Duplication6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 19, 2002 on one page

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