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Friday, February 13, 2004

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New World of Warcraft FAQ, Shots, Q&A
7:48 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

Several bits of new information regarding Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming MMORPG World of Warcraft have been posted. First, Blizzard themselves updated the official FAQ for the game with several questions that popped up with the start of the closed public beta test. Besides the updated FAQ, Blizzard also updated the screenshot section with five new in-game shots.

And if that wasn't enough, HomeLan Fed posted an interview with producer Shane Dabiri, speaking about the upcoming beta and the future of World of Warcraft. On the question of what will happen content-wise after the game is finally released, Shane replies:

We are very familiar with not having finished everything we wanted to add to a shipped product. We continue to tweak and add content to many of our other products to this day (StarCraft or Diablo balance patches for example). These other games do not have a live team associated with them, yet we have managed to give players what they desire. With World of Warcraft, we are going beyond this extra step and will have a staff of almost 100 game masters that will support players around the clock (24 hours a day/7 days a week). We will also have a dedicated 'live team' of programmers, designers, artists, and sound engineers continually creating content for the game, as well as fixing any bugs that might pop up.
The full interview includes other interesting information and everybody curious about the game should head over to HomeLan Fed to read it.

Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft FAQ
World of Warcraft Screenshots
HomeLan Fed: World of Warcraft Interview
Buy World of Warcraft

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MacSoft Posts Halo Mac 1.04 [Update #3]
4:06 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Following close on the heels of a PC quick-fix patch for Halo, MacSoft and Westlake have provided a complimentary version of the 1.04 update for Mac users.

This patch is intended to close an exploit in the PC version, and Mac users will need to download and install the 865k update in order to play on any updated PC servers. Here are the install instructions from MacSoft:

This update synchronizes the Mac version with the PC version 1.04 allowing cross-platform multiplayer to again function. Choose one of the three links below to download the Halo update. Once downloaded, unstuff and run the installer.
NOTE: You should disable your anti-virus software before running the updater. If you are reinstalling Halo, you need to first download the 1.03 update and install it prior to installing the 1.04 update.
Head over to Macgamefiles now to grab the patch.

[Update]: It seems the patch may have affected in-game movement. Users are reporting troubles with key bindings, so you may want to hold off upgrading until a new version is available.

[Update #2]: Late Friday night, James Robrahn from MacSoft posted to the IMG forums, saying they were working over the weekend on trying to pin down the problems some users are experiencing:

James from MacSoft. It's 10PM here and I just got of the phone with Phil at Westlake. We are trying to determine the cause of this issue.

None of our testing machines in our office showed this issue. Also, none of our beta testers saw this issue either.

I will be heading into work tomorrow and try to solve the problem, with Phil's help.

Will keep you updated.

More info should be available soon, so stay tuned to IMG for the latest.

[Update #3]: Halo 1.041 is now available. Head over to MGF to download it.

Download Halo 1.04 Patch
MacSoft Halo Support
Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved

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IMG Posts XIII First Look
11:44 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a first-look preview of Feral's upcoming cell-shaded shooter, XIII. The preview includes some very first screenshots from the Mac version.

Here's a clip:

Fashioning the visual style of Jean Van Hamme’s dark, conspiracy-laden graphic novels, XIII marks the first triple-A title using cel-shaded 3D graphics to make it to the Mac. Powered by the Unreal engine, the effect is accomplished by rendering the game’s characters and weapons in 3D, but using a narrow colour palette to shade the objects, and adding thick, angular contour lines, as if the character had first been sketched by pencil, before being coloured in. The game’s backgrounds and set dressing aren’t rendered using the same technique, but are instead plastered with texture maps painted in a similar, comic book-style - a combination of heavy contour lines outlining monochromatic hues textured to look like watercolour brush strokes. The result of this visual trickery is stunning – players really get a sense of navigating through their favorite cartoon worlds.
To check out the entire first-look, please follow the link below.

IMG First Look: XIII
Feral Interactive

ATI Posts SMARTSHADER Demos, Screensavers
10:23 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

At the past several MacWorld expos, ATI has been using several technology demos and screen savers to show off the capabilities of SMARTSHADER (pixel and vertex shaders) on their Radeon graphics cards. Many attendees may remember the impressive bear, car paint, and natural light demos. ATI has posted four SMARTSHADER 1.0 screen savers and five SMARTSHADER 2.0 screensavers and demos for download on their developer website.

SMARTSHADER 2.0 is supported on the Mobility Radeon 9600 (Aluminum PowerBooks), Radeon 9600 Pro (Power Mac G5) and later, while SMARTSHADER 1.0 is supported on the Radeon 8500 and later. Before installing the demos and screen savers, be sure to read the system requirements on each page.

ATI SMARTSHADER 2.0 Screen Savers/Demos
ATI SMARTSHADER 1.0 Screen Savers

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Feral: XIII in Beta, New Site Posted
8:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Feral Interactive today celebrates Friday the 13th with the appropriately titled cell-shaded shooter XIII. The game has officially reached beta now, and the company has posted its mini-site for your viewing pleasure.

The XIII site features a few in-engine screenshots as well as desktops available to download. In addition to that they have put a teaser trailer up on their home page, so if you're curious be sure to check that out as well.

XIII is a highly stylized first-person shooter with innovative gameplay and interface, utilizing a wide variety of weapons. Here's an exceprt from the official site:

So Much Style It's Criminal
Graphic novel presentation, flashback graphics and pop-up windows create a groundbreaking entry into the genre. XIII marshals the power of Unreal II technology and unique comic-style visuals.

Groundbreaking Gameplay
Experience innovative gameplay based on comic-style effects (e.g. sound of footsteps graphically represented by the words "tap, tap, tap" on the screen to allow you to detect enemies around the corner) as well as a wide variety of more classic gameplay (e.g. cunning use of human shields, silent weapons, handy gadgets, etc.).To survive, you'll master techniques ranging from covert infiltration to heavy combat as you battle sinister conspiratorial forces.

The Ultimate Conspiracy
Unravel a whirlwind conspiracy plot that shrouds your identity, the president's assassination and the future of the United States in mystery.

A Deadly and Original Arsenal of Weapons
Handle a dizzying array of weapons that includes silent crossbows, precision sniper rifles and lethal automatic weapons as well as chairs, bottles, ashtrays and shovels… Every object is a potential weapon!!

Head over to Feral's site for more on XIII and stay tuned to IMG for the latest on the title.

Feral Interactive

Another UTterly Fine Custer's Desktop
7:48 AM | Brad Custer | Comment on this story

As if the game needed any more hype, this week's desktop, courtesy as always of Brad Custer, features Unreal Tournament 2004. This highly-anticipated first-person shooter includes features such as the return of the Skaarj as a playable class, land and air vehicle combat, an arsenal of new weaponary and new arenas.

Here's what the man himself, Brad, had to say:

So, hot on the heels of the demo release I am honored to bring you a great desktop for the game. It features the very playable Skaarj in celebration of their return. So, with the help of MacSoft and Epic Games, I was able to create this wallpaper. I simply entitled it, "Nefarious", and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. :)
As always, those interested in grabbing this classy desktop image will find it in a variety of sizes at Custer's Desktops.

IMG Desktop: Nefarious
Digital Extremes
Epic Games
Buy Unreal Tournament 2004

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Cliffy B Talks Unreal Tournament 2004
7:48 AM | Trevor Buchanan | Comment on this story

Lead designer Cliff "Cliffy B" Bleszinski recently took time out to speak to Gamespy concerning Unreal Tournament 2004, the highly anticipated sequel to the popular franchise. Notably, he talks of the old-school factors included in the franchise's newest incarnation:

We're also returning to some classic UT themes, such as the music. When you fire up the menu music, the music is reminiscent of the original Unreal Tournament's menu music. We also have the classic sniper rifle returning, Assault returning, so it's a little bit of the old mixed in with a lot of the new.
He also speaks a bit on the late stages of the game's development, and the challenges the team has had to overcome:
Unreal Tournament 2004 is literally in its last 2% of being completed. We're in a situation where we're just fixing those final last bugs and dotting the I's and crossing the T's -- you fix one bug and another pops up.
Check the links below for the full interview and other resources.

Gamespy: Cliffy B talks UT2K4
Digital Extremes
Epic Games
Buy Unreal Tournament 2004

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Ambrosia Updates Bubble Trouble X
7:48 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

The Macintosh dedicated software developer Ambrosia Software has released a minor update for the OS X native version of their arcade style action puzzler Bubble Trouble, upping its version number to 1.0.2.

The changes are few, but significant:

  • Fixed startup crash under MacOS X 10.3 (Panther)
  • Support for sharing a single license code with all users on a computer
  • Updated register program with shared license support, new contact info
  • You can find the download at The download is recommended for all users of previous versions of the game. For more information about this highly addictive game, head over to the official Bubble Trouble site.

    Ambrosia Software
    Bubble Trouble X
    MGF: Bubble Trouble X 1.0.2

    Mac Games News for Thursday, February 12, 2004

    Ryan Gordon Talks Unreal Tournament 2004 Fixes2:31 PM
    Aspyr's Delta Force: Black Hawk Down Mini-Site Live12:25 PM
    IMG Posts Hot New Nanosaur 2 Screenshots11:58 AM
    Head-to-Head: Radeon 9600 Pro vs. GeForce FX 5200 Ultra10:55 AM
    Unreal Engine History7:42 AM
    Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo Released7:42 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, February 12, 2004 on one page

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