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Thursday, January 29, 2004

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WoW Beta Sign-Up Begins; Mac Reqs Posted
8:14 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

As reported earlier this week at IMG, Blizzard Entertainment has started a week-long sign-up program for gamers wanting to participate in the World Of Warcraft multi-platform beta test.

Late Wednesday, Blizzard started taking the names and details of players 18 years or older, living in either Canada or the United States, wanting to participate in the test. Over the next few months, several thousand lucky individuals picked from this list of hopefuls will dwelve deep into the fresh, new worlds of Blizzard's long-awaited, massively multiplayer online role playing game. Minors over the age of 13 can also sign up to participate in the beta, as long as they have a parent or guardian sign up on their behalf.

The beta test's preliminary system requirements have also been announced, though Blizzard specifically mentions in a related beta FAQ that these are simply for the unoptimized beta and not for the final game:

World of Warcraft has NOT yet been optimized for many hardware configurations. The system requirements are expected to be lower for the final shipping version of the game, specifically in regards to processor speed and video card memory requirements. The system specifications listed below are for the World of Warcraft® beta only.
Apart from asking for a 56K or faster modem with a valid email address, participation in the beta requires a mid-level Mac equipped with a hefty graphics card and a copy of Panther:
Mac® System/OS:
  • 1.0 GHz or higher, G4 or G5 processor.
  • 512 Megabytes RAM or higher. DDR RAM recommended.
  • ATI or NVIDIA video hardware with 64 MB VRAM or more.
  • 3 Gigabytes or more of available hard drive space.
  • MacOS X 10.3 ("Panther") or better
  • A notice on the sign-up page makes it clear that the lucky participants will be chosen on a random basis from the long list of hopefuls, and that Blizzard is not accepting names on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone having trouble accessing the extremely busy website over the next few days have until end of day next Tuesday to submit their application. They also note they've taken down their Battle.net site for now, to help try and ease the congestion of people signing up.

    Interested? Navigate over to Blizzard's sign-up sheet by clicking on the link below. If at first the link fails, try again, and again, and again and again and again and again and again.

    World Of Warcraft Beta Sign-up
    World of Warcraft Beta FAQ
    Blizzard Entertainment
    World of Warcraft
    Buy World of Warcraft

    IMG Store: Warcraft III Battle Chest In Stock
    1:12 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Due to popular demand, the IMG Store is now carrying the Warcraft III Battle Chest. The pack includes the 2002 Game of the Year, Warcraft III: The Reign of Chaos, the Warcraft III Expansion: The Frozen Throne and strategy guides from Brady Games for both titles.

    The Warcraft III Battle Chest is available for 44.95. For more information, please head over to the IMG Store.

    IMG Store: Warcraft III Battle Chest

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    IMG Reviews Burning Monkey Casino
    12:13 PM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    Apart from being known as a fun bunch of merry tricksters, multi-talented Mac publishers Freeverse Software are also reknown for their popular Burning Monkey games series. Freeverse's latest addition to the franchise, Burning Monkey Casino, is a collection of five casino-themed betting games, complete with Vegas-style themes, and even a singing lounge act featuring the series' famous mission of primates.

    IMG contributor Matt Diamond recently got the chance to play through the new game, and has posted a two-page review:

    Burning Monkey Casino is a collection of well-known casual betting games from Freeverse. As usual, Freeverse has mixed things up a bit with lots of silly jokes and visual tricks. If you are in the mood for quick, easily played games like slots or blackjack then this collection is worth a look. Fans of other Freeverse games will find much to like as well.
    Click on the link below to read more.

    IMG's Burning Monkey Casino Review
    Burning Monkey Casino
    Buy Burning Monkey Casino

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    Apple Posts Activision Anthology Feature
    10:03 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Apple has posted a feature on MacPlay's recently released Remix Edition of the Activision Anthology. The pack features more than 75 games from the Atari 2600 and classic 80's tunes to rock out while playing the games.

    Here's a clip from the feature:

    From Ice Hockey and Baseball to H.E.R.O. and Pitfall!, Anthology represents a wide range of genres and showcases many of the best-selling games from those years. In fact, many of the games in the collection were the first of their kind: Pitfall!, for example, created the action/adventure genre while Ice Hockey was as close to the real thing as the technology allowed.
    To check out the entire article, please follow the link below.

    Activision Anthology: Remix Edition
    Apple Feature: Activision Anthology: Remix Edition
    Buy Activision Anthology: Remix Edition

    SimCity 4, ToySight Updated
    9:35 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Aspyr has released a new patch for SimCity 4, bringing the game up to version 1.0.2. The new patch includes some important fixes realted to ATI cards. The patch can be found on Macgamefiles.com and for IMG Pro users through their Hot Downloads page. Here's a rundown of what's been fixed:

    • Fixed additional compatibility issues with various ATI video cards.

    • Fixed incorrectly colored buildings and other objects.

    • Fixed problems with terrain highlighting.

    • Changed game to alleviate problems related to the region screen showing incorrect city thumbnails or holes in the terrain. Users may need to revisit a city and re-save it in order for city thumbnail to be correctly displayed in region screen.

    In related news, Freeverse has also released a patch for one of their popular games, ToySight. The 1.01 patch fixes NTSC television compatibility, includes support for multiple video inputs, adds the ability to manipulate camera settings, and other bug fixes.

    To download these patches, please follow the links below.

    Aspyr Media
    SimCity 4
    MGF: SimCity 4 v1.0.2
    ToySight 1.0.1
    Buy SimCity 4
    Pre-Order ToySight

    Darwine - Run Windows Apps Without Running Windows
    9:10 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Readers looking into solutions for running Windows programs under OS X may be interested in a project being hosted at Sourceforge. Titled Darwine, the project goal is to port Wine, an open source implementation of the Windows API, to OS X.

    The project currently consist of two phases, with the first being to port Wine to Darwin/PowerPC with X11:

    While the basic compatibility is there as Darwin is largely FreeBSD, there is the hurdle of its Mach kernel which uses the Mach-O format rather than ELF. This part has been achived with success. It means that WineLib is now working on Mac OS X, and that developers should be able to recompile their Win32 Apps using WineLib and make them work in Mac OS X.
    Right now, one of the general listed goals is to increase community awareness and involvement in Darwine. Those interested in helping with development can find more information at the Darwine homepage.

    Wine HQ

    Sims 2, MOH: Pacific Assault Delayed
    8:14 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    Multi-platform game publishing moguls Electronic Arts announced on Tuesday that the release dates for the sequels of two of their most popular franchises have been delayed.

    In a financial conference call announcing Electronic Arts' Q4 2003 earnings, company executives declared that the release date for The Sims 2, the second generation of Will Wright's popular "life simulator", will be delayed until the later half of 2004. Calling the development of the highly-anticipate sequel "a huge undertaking", game developers Maxis confirmed that they will take advantage of the extra development time to further polish the game, and ensure that the title will fulfill the developer's vision. From the EA website:

    EA will ship The Sims 2 in the later half of Calendar Year '04. We have learned from past launches that a game is ready when it is ready. The extra time in the studio will ensure a great game – one that is consistent with the high standards set by EA’s Maxis studio. When games spend more time in the studio, it almost always results in a better experience for the people that play them.
    Also announced on Tuesday, the latest expansion for EA's popular World War II-based shooter, Medal Of Honour: Pacific Assault, is also being delayed until the second or third quarter of the company's 2005 fiscal year. Due to the timing of the company's financial year-end, that means the game will not be released until after June of this year.

    While the game was declared "on the cusp of being finished" over three months ago, EA's chief financial officer, Warren Jenson, assured stockholders that the delay is required only to finish polishing the game. According to Jenson, "...[the delay is] about the entertainment experience, critic meta-rating, and, ultimately, sales."

    While there has been no official word on OS X-friendly versions of either of the two games, strong sales of the original series on the Mac all but ensure their availability on our favorite platform. Stay tuned to IMG as the tales of these two titles unfolds.

    EA: The Sims 2 Delayed
    Electronic Arts

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    BloodRayne Panther Beta Update
    8:14 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Aspyr has released a beta update to BloodRayne that addresses compatibility problems with Panther. The patch, which is labeled as Beta 1, is not a finalized patch, and is also listed as being for Panther users only.

    Gamers who own a copy of BloodRayne and are interested in trying out the patch can download it from MacGameFiles. The file is sized at around 1.4MB.

    MGF - BloodRayne Panther Beta 1
    Aspyr Media

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, January 28, 2004

    GameHouse To Continue Mac Development11:13 AM
    Freeverse Updates Burning Monkey Mahjong10:56 AM
    IMG Reviews JBL Duet10:35 AM
    Blizzard Posts Six New World Of Warcraft Screenshots10:06 AM
    Freeverse New Years Sale, Monkey Mahjong Updated9:33 AM
    Updated Myth III Beta Released9:33 AM
    Blizzard Closes 'Griefers' Accounts8:37 AM
    Disney Buys American McGee's 'Oz' Movie; Q&A Posted8:08 AM
    Second Life Mac Developer Journal8:08 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, January 28, 2004 on one page

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