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Tuesday, January 27, 2004



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WoW Beta Signups Tomorrow, Macs Confirmed
6:00 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that signups for the long awaited public beta test of their upcoming MMORPG, World of Warcraft, will start tomorrow, Wednesday, January 28th at 6 pm PST.

From Battle.net:

At 6:00 pm PST on Wednesday, January 28th, the signup period for the World of Warcraft Beta Test will officially begin. We will provide a link to the beta-test application right here in the news section at that time. Testers are not going to be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, so you will be able to submit an application and receive equal consideration anytime during the signup period, which will end on Wednesday, February 4th at 6:00 pm PST. Please note that multiple submissions from the same household will result in complete disqualification.

For this initial phase of the World of Warcraft beta test, we will only be able to accept applications from Canada, Korea, and the US. The test for Europe and other countries around the world will happen later this year. Please do not contact us for further information regarding the beta test; we will be posting a FAQ in the days ahead.

For those who want more information regarding the beta signups, keep a close eye on our news page since we will post any new information as soon as we get a hold of it (particularly any Mac-specific details regarding the test).

[Update] A forum thread in the official Battle.net messageboards has a Blizzard employee quickly confirming Macs will be included in the World of Warcraft beta test. See the link below for more information.

'Beta for Macs?' Battle.net Thread
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Battle.net: World of Warcraft Beta Signups This Week!
Buy World of Warcraft



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FroGames Readies MiniOne Racing For Mac
12:02 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

FroGames, a new game company developing Mac and PC games, is readying the release of their first game, MiniOne Racing. Due in the first quarter of 2004, the game allows players to drive colorful miniature cars over various landscapes such as beaches, schoolyards, and even other planets.

Here's a bit more info from the press release:

Spread over 20 tracks and arenas, you'll be racing fast and dangerously armed (cannon, lasers and more) vehicles, using any of 6 Power Ups to vanquish your AI or human opponents in any of the multiple gameplay modes such as Battle, Last Man Standing, as well as a League of Champions competition mode.

It will be possible for 2 players to play head to head on the same Mac or PC, or up to 4 players on LAN or Internet games. MiniOne Racing is being simultaneously developed for MacOS X and Windows.

FroGames has also released a trailer of the game. Be sure to check over to their website to check it out.

FroGames
MiniOne Racing


Hasbro Launches Online Games
11:22 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Toy manufacturer Hasbro has launched three online games that are Mac compatible to help promote a new line of action figures called Xevoz. Three games are now available including Descent, Xcellertor, and D_COD_R.

Here's a brief description of each:

Descent
Descent is built on a physics engine creating random paths for the balls to drop down through the play area. The user collects XEDs based on the journey each ball takes and on the final landing bucket. There are six levels, with three bonus rounds. One of the coolest features is the extra hidden panel that swings open to reveal additional point areas.

Xcellerator
Based on a slots machine, Xcellerator features reels that stop at the pay table in the center of the game. The XEDs won are based on the configuration of the reels. As the player wins XEDs, one of 6 different XEVOZ species is built.

D_COD_R
Based on the popular hangman game, D_COD_R teaches the player how to translate the XEVOZ language into English. Winning this game allows the player to download a PDF that helps the player win other games on the XEVOZ.com site. There are over 60 sentences in the game that use both letters and numbers.

Each arcade game contributes points to the overall players’ score with the player’s ultimate goal to acquire enough XEDs (on-line currency) to purchase a power part and build a Xevoz battle figure.

Hasbro promises that it will be launching two more games in the near future. For more information, and to check out the games, follow the link below.

Vevoz Website


RealNetworks New Home for GameHouse
8:25 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Several sources have reported that RealNetworks is moving to acquire GameHouse. In a deal that totals around $35.6 million in cash and stocks, RealNetworks is aiming to combine their distribution network with GameHouse's development and publication of games.

While the name GameHouse may not ring any bells with hardcore gamers, the company is well known among casual PC gamers for a slew of popular titles, including Super Collapse II and TextTwist:

GameHouse was founded in 1998 and is based in Seattle, also RealNetworks' home town. The company has sold more than a million copies of its games since its inception. In 2003 it earned $5.5 million on revenue of over $10 million, according to RealNetworks. It employs 26 people, all of whom will join RealNetworks, Jacobson says.
PCWorld.com also notes that the online PC gaming market is "booming," estimating that the industry will pull in a combined $648 million in 2004.

PCWorld.com - RealNetworks Acquires GameHouse
RealNewtorks to Acquire GameHouse
GameHouse



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On the Future of the Unreal Engine
8:11 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A user at the forums of BeyondUnreal has posted a short clip from an Australian publication by the name of Atomic. The clip, in which Tim Sweeney of Epic is interviewed, mentions the future plans for the Unreal engine, which include more realistic shadows and detailed pixels:

We're going to be focusing on per-pixel rendering and getting the quality of each pixel on screen as high as possible. So there's a bunch of different technologies there: dynamic shadowing technology, stencil buffer and shadow z-buffers. But the whole idea is that every object in the scene should cast realistic shadows with respect to every light source in the scene, and every pixel you see should illuminate properly that way.
Sweeney adds that he expects character models to become much more detailed in the future, along with more realistic physics models. He also hopes to improve environments with realistic fuzzy shadows and scenes.

BeyondUnreal - Tim Sweeney on new tech
Epic Games
Digital Extremes
MacSoft
Buy Unreal Tournament 2004



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Aspyr Rolls-out Massive Nascar 2003 Updates
8:07 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media, in a new round of patch-releasing, has updated their latest racer NASCAR Racing 2003 Season to version 1.2.7. In addition to this massive patch, which weighs in at 265MB, they have also provided Mac versions of popular Project Wildfire modifications for the game.

The 1.2.7 patch contains a large number of changes to the gameplay, bug fixes, as well as Mac-specific tweaks. One significant difference is that network compatibility has changed with the update, and you'll only be able to play or host games running "1.2.0.1" servers. The full list is included with the ReadMe, but here's a small sample of relevant Mac changes:

MACINTOSH:
  • Added "doubleSqrt" option to the config.ini file. This uses a full precision square root routine instead of the G4 square root estimator. If you set the option to zero the estimator will be used, which may cause stuttering in corners. Unless the game is running on a G5 in which case the very fast G5 fsqrt operator will be used.
  • Up/down arrow & return keys work in the in track dialog.
  • Additional OpenGl optimizations.
  • The multiplayer network time skew limit has been increased to 8 seconds to allow late data packets more time to arrive before the client clock is smashed (causing the scene to jump).
  • Head over to Macgamefiles now to start downloading the patch.

    Project Wildfire is a team dedicated to extending the live of NASCAR 2003 with things like their "Grand IROC mod," "Grand National Series mod," and "Craftsman Truck Series mod." All three of these now are compatible with the Mac version of the game and can be downloaded from Macgamefiles as well. While Aspyr can't officially support the modifications, you should be able to get them up-and-running after installing the 1.2.7 patch.

    For more on NASCAR 2003, be sure to read through IMG's review of the title.

    Download NASCAR 2003 1.2.7 Update (265MB)
    Download Project Wildfire Modifications to NASCAR 2003
    IMG Review: NASCAR Racing 2003 Season
    Project Wildfire
    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    Nascar Racing 2003
    Buy Nascar Racing 2003



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    Game Server Config for Jedi Academy
    7:43 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    The makers of dedicated server tools for the Mac, Mac Game Server Configulators have announced that a server tool for Jedi Academy is on the way, thanks to the recent release of the dedicated server for the game. Here's the full announcement :

    Today we are proud to announce a Mac OSX Game Server Configulator tool for Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.

    The tool will feature all of the options that JKJA supports, including the new gametypes and weapons settings. With GSC Jedi Academy you can fully configure and run a JKJA dedicated LAN or internet server.

    This tool uses the recently released "Star Wars Jedi Academy dedicated server v1.01" which supports the game.

    GSC Jedi Academy will have several additional features, such as server messages, direct text messaging to the players, instant map changing, and a console view (see screenshot).

    GSC Jedi Academy will be released around the first week of February

    For more info, or to check out their Medal of Honor dedicated server tools, follow the link provided below.

    Game Server Config for Jedi Academy
    LucasArts
    Aspyr Media
    Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
    Buy Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy



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    Shadowbane Patch to be Released Today
    6:00 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

    The software developer Wolfpack Studios will post a new patch to their PvP based MMORPG Shadowbane on their servers today. Because of this, the servers will be down between 9 am EST and 11 am EST for uploading of the patch.

    Some of the changes include:

  • Camera presets have been added which are saved camera locations that can be activated by the touch of a button. Functions keys 1-3 now let the user go to a camera preset or set a camera preset.
  • New debug data has been added to the server to log client crashes; this will not affect server performance
  • Fixed an exploit allowing players to use socials while moving which made them un-targettable.Socials can no longer be executed while running or walking.
  • The Scrollbar on the Server Selection Screen during Character Creation now works properly
  • The sky now moves in the proper direction no matter which way the character moves
  • You can no longer loot dead players (who have yet to respawn) on the Newbie Island
  • The Mouse Pointer for the Windows 98 and ME should be working properly
  • You can no longer 'spam' the Say or Shout Channels
  • A Server Crash bug has been fixed
  • Added a "Vorringia" Login Skin
  • To see the full list of changes, head over to the official announcement with help of the link below. Once the patch is up, you only have to log on to your game server to patch the client.

    Ubisoft
    Wolfpack Studios
    Shadowbane
    Chronicle of Strife: Shadowbane Release Notes v. 1.1.1.12


    Mac Games News for Monday, January 26, 2004

    IMG Feature: A Beginner's Guide To NWN Modules10:06 AM
    New GameRanger Updates10:03 AM
    Dark Horizons Preview8:06 AM
    New Mac Savage 2.0 Status8:06 AM
    The Gamesome Mac Talks with Skunk Studios8:06 AM
     
    View all of the Mac games news for Monday, January 26, 2004 on one page


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