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Wednesday, February 4, 2004



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Blizzard Preps European World of Warcraft Team
7:46 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

VE3D caught a press release from Blizzard Entertainment regarding the formation of a European team to help manage the upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online RPG World of Warcraft. Their jobs will be to help localize the game for French and German-speaking players, as well as deal with in-game issues once the title is released.

Here's more from the press release about this France-based team:

In this role, they will help manage both text and voice localization, assist in the synchronization of development schedules, and communicate player feedback directly to the World of Warcraft development team. Furthermore, having a team located in Europe will provide gamers with faster response times, direct game master (GM) support, and personal communication with local call-center representatives dedicated to helping players with questions regarding gameplay and/or technical issues in their native languages.
It's also noted they hope to have a European beta test available shortly after the North American beta is underway. Stay tuned for more on this as information becomes available.

Blizzard Announces European WoW Team
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft



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Codeblender Announces Rally Shift
10:13 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

CodeBlender Software today announced that their newest game, Rally Shift, is currently under development. In the game you'll get to drive high performance rally cars on a variety of rally courses.

Here's more from the official press release:

Compete against hard to beat computer drivers on both dirt roads and paved roads through forests, windy mountain passes and desert. Two players can also compete against each other on the same computer.

Rally Shift features very realistic physics where you can put your driving skills to the test. Slide through turns on dirt roads, brake and accelerate at the right moment to keep your car on the road or you will see your competitors speed away.

CodeBlender didn't provide any release date expect to mention that it will be available "soon". For more information, be sure to check out the CodeBlender website.

CodeBlender
Rally Shift



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IMG Reviews Logitech Z-3 Speakers
10:07 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

The Logitech Z-3 is a unique two-speaker, one-subwoofer system featuring a wood and aluminum appearance and a remote volume knob. The forty-watt system promises clear, impressive sound and booming bass. But with competitors often having years to master computer audio design, could Logitechís 2.1 system match up in sound quality?

Here is an excerpt from the review:

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Given the great presence the speakers have at normal volumes, I expected them to be able to really dish out the decibels as the volume knob is turned upward. Such is unfortunately not the case. As volume is increased, the sound becomes uncomfortably harsh and often clips. This distortion is immediately noticeable, even after an ample break-in period for the system, and it limits the range of volume notably. Thus, the large, amplifier-style volume knob invites the user to experience the systemís forty watts of power, but clipping, distortion, and a large drop-off in clarity and kill the sound quality at such volumes. Thus, the actual range of the Z-3ís volume is about half of that of the knobís range.
For more information on the Z-3, follow the link below to the full review.

IMG Review: Logitech Z-3
Z-3
Logitech


ATI Radeon 9700 Mobility Previewed
8:22 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Hardware tech site AnandTech has posted a preview of ATI's latest mobility graphics chip, the Mobility Radeon 9700. Code named M11, the 9700 uses ATI's R360 architecture and looks to springboard off of the popular Mobility 9600.

ATI tells us that their customers are going to implement the Mobility Radeon 9700 with core clocks in the range of 390MHz to 450MHz, while the memory clocks will run in the range of 200MHz to 260MHz. One of the big design wins for ATI runs slightly above the memory range, which ATI is more or less mandating to their customers. This suggests that the aim for ATI in core clock will remain 450MHz, while the memory clock is something like 275MHz, since ATI and NVIDIA traditionally announce "official" clocks that are in 25MHz derivatives.
Besides breaking down the naming choice of the 9700 in exhaustive detail, the preview also provides a variety of benchmark tests, using titles such as Halo and Call of Duty to measure performance differences between the 9700 and the 9600. In comparison, Nvidia's current laptop market share is also briefly discussed.

Though several laptop manufacturers were named as being carriers of the 9700, Apple was not listed among them. However, given the fact that the 9600 is a current option for Apple's PowerBooks, we're pretty confident that the 9700 will eventually make its way over as well.

AnandTech - ATI's Mobility Radeon 9700 - What's in a name?
ATI



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Shadowbane 1.5 Patch Preview
7:56 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

More information about the upcoming 1.5 patch for Ubisoft's MMORPG Shadowbane has recently been posted to the official site. Among the updates are additional Runegates being added to the Dalgoth quest, a redesigned Aerynth map, and the addition of the Forbidden Isle to the map.

Also listed are a host of bug fixes, including the following:

  • The Safemode Bug where you appeared to stay permanent invisible has been fixed
  • The offhand Weapon Attack Spam has been fixed.
  • Many issues that caused the Error #2 problem have been fixed.
  • All 100% bows should now reach fliers no matter how high they go as long as they have Line of Sight
  • We have added in a feature that will verify your characters Skills and Powers so if anything was trained past what it should be, it will be removed and the points refunded
The article adds that the current listing of fixes given is not complete, and that all of the items are subject to change during testing and development.

Ubisoft - Shadowbane Patch Preview (v. 1.5)
Wolfpack Studios
Ubisoft
Shadowbane: The Rise of Chaos


Freeverse Updates Word Games
7:55 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Prolific shareware developer/publisher Freeverse Software has announced updates to two of their popular word games, X-Words Deluxe and CrossCards.

Both games are now at version 3.0.4 and have received numerous tweaks and bug fixes. X-Words Deluxe, the ulitmate crossword/Scrabble game, now features new opening music, as well as a hefty amount of minor fixes. Here are a few:

  • Fixed error that appeared when auto-updating GameSmith.
  • Included latest GameSmith release.
  • Fixed a Panther bug when displaying player names.
  • Fixed a bug that could mistakenly end game after a forced pass.
  • Fixed a challenge bug that could occur after a player left.
  • Fixed a bug in the handling of bonus words when you joined a
    network game and the host was using a different scenario.
  • The correct word list is displayed when joining a network game.
CrossCards takes the idea of a X-Words and replaces the tiles with a hand of poker. It has also received a number of fixes in this upgrade, so head over to Freeverse now to download the 3.0.4 patch.

X-Words and CrossCards Updated to 3.0.4
X-Words Deluxe
CrossCards
Freeverse



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Marble Blast Community Maps Reach 100
7:46 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Earlier this week, GarageGames front man Jay Moore announced that the list of community-built levels for his company's family-oriented arcade game Marble Blast Gold recently reached 100, with more maps on the way.

Marble Blast, the first game built using GarageGames' modular Torque Engine to be released on the Mac platform, puts players in charge of a single marble. Using a combination of keyboard and mouse, players navigate the marble through level after level of fun and ingenious obstacle courses in an attempt to complete the level's objectives, all within a pre-determined time limit.

With names like Dive To Eternity, Suicide Slide, and Matrix: Rampolutions, the maps, created by fifteen of the most active members of the dedicated Marble Blast community, cover the gamut of gameplay styles and difficulty. The maps require the Gold edition of the game, and are not compatible with the original version of Marble Blast, including the version given away under the recent .Mac promotion.

Marble fans wishing to get their hands on the levels should navigate over to GarageGames' website, where the 100 maps can be downloaded either individually, or in a single eight meg archive. Players will also want to download the MarbleBlast AppleScript Tools, a series of scripts for properly installing custom marble textures and level components in the right location. Also on the same page, players interested in creating their own levels should get their hands on JQT, the Mac-compatible, Java-based map editor, as well as Kenneth Mair's Blank Mission Template.

Marble Blast Gold can be purchased online for $19.95 USD from the GarageGames website, while owners who paid for the original version can upgrade for $5 USD. Click on the links below to grab the maps.

User Generated Marble Blast Content
GarageGames
Marble Blast Gold
Buy Marble Blast Gold



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Call of Duty Audio Interview Posted
7:46 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

PC audio specialists Creative Labs have posted a quick, one-page Q&A session with Call Of Duty game designer and audio specialist Steve Fukuda.

Call Of Duty, the first effort from game developers Infinity Ward, is a highly-acclaimed WWII-based first person shooter. Created by 22 former members of the Medal Of Honor development team, the game captures the war from multiple perspectives, through the eyes of American, British, and Russian soldiers. The game, heralded by many for its authenticity and attention to detail, features 24 missions spanning four interconnected historical campaigns, and intense, Axis versus Allies team-based online multiplayer maps.

In the interview, Steve touches on the inspiration for the game's audio, the effect sound has on the game's impact , and the occasionally gruesome methods by which the production team recorded the game's original sound effects -

The sounds for the weapons were recorded using real vintage weapons with live ammunition. Miscellaneous effects such as clip ejects, reloads, slide movement were also recorded during the same session. Impact sounds were recorded on a variety of materials at the firing range; flesh impacts were recorded using a large cow carcass from a butcher shop.
Sound designers will do anything for realism. Thank goodness I'm not a sound designer.

The Call Of Duty Mac port, led by famed Mac programmer and OpenGL expert Duane Johnson, is currently underway over at Aspyr Media's Mac & PC development department, and is expected to ship in March of this year. Players anxious to get their hands on the new title can pre-order the game from the IMG Store for $48.99; $44.99 for MacGames CD/IMG Pro subscribers.

Call Of Duty Audio Interview
Aspyr Media
Call of Duty
Buy Call of Duty


Mac Games News for Tuesday, February 3, 2004

IMG Store: Activision Anthology, Law & Order In Stock1:27 PM
Blizzard Opens WoW Guild Recruitment Forum11:16 AM
Ambrosia Releases Snapz Pro 2.010:06 AM
New Dark Horizons Beta Released9:34 AM
Freedom Force Sequel to be Self-Published8:57 AM
State of Shadowbane Posted8:05 AM
Ultima V: Lazarus Revived as DS Mod8:05 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, February 3, 2004 on one page


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