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Wednesday, March 24, 2004



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Major WWIIOnline Dev Changes Coming
8:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Like other massively multiplayer online titles, the Cornered Rat development team has been revamping their World War II Online game engine to take advantage of new advances in 3D hardware cards. As well as renovating the look of the environments and models, this will hopefully allow for improvements in gameplay through the more realistic setting.

They are calling this their "Unity II" engine upgrade, which now allows for things like waving flags, but will soon be used to replace all foliage with more realistic 3D-rendered trees and shrubs:

Brush lines will now have berms to add cover for infantry as well as increased concealment. Tree lines will have voluminous, beautifully rendered 3-D leaves and branches that sway in the wind. We are even working to make all of the vast forests of the game world fully enterable, opening huge areas of the map to tactical gameplay. We plan to complete our implementation by adding new grass and clutter objects, improving both the immerssivness of our game world and the amount of cover for our ground warfare. Our goal is to provide a visually stunning world that is also superior for gameplay.

Unity II does not however stop there. Now in the development pipeline are several new graphics technologies that we will be adding to the world. Bump mapping and improved multi-layer multi-texture are being added. These will give players improved ground textures from the air as well as on the ground. These effects are also used to make moving water and hit effects and combined with environmental effects will give us incredibly realistic playing environments. As Unity II progresses you'll see this effect work continue with sun glare and ground cover effects. Hand in hand with continued improvements to the render pipeline of the game engine, Unity II will offer a better looking and better playing world.

While the team is hoping to keep World War II Online playable for those with lower-end system, the new improvements will have increased RAM and video card requirements as a result. For more information or to check out a number of new screenshots and movies, head over to WWIIOnline HQ and read through the full post.

WWIIOnline HQ: Unity II Changes
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online



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IMG Store: Nanosaur 2 CD Now Shipping
1:49 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The IMG Store has begun shipping the CD version of Nanosaur 2. It is available for $34.95. If you are a MacGames DVD or IMG Pro subscriber, you can pick it up for $32.95.

Nanosaur 2: Hatching is the continuation of the original Nanosaur storyline, yet this time you get to fly a pteradactyl who's loaded with hi-tech weaponry, and the game is much larger than the original 1998 game. In addition to the adventure mode where you blast enemy dinos and save eggs, there are also six two-player levels including racing, capture-the-flag, and battle.

Nanosaur II is the only game available for Mac OS X which supports both anaglyph and LCD shutter glasses for a totally immersive 3D experience. The Nanosaur 2 CD comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses! and includes a lot of extras such as demos and unregistered versions of our other games.

Pangea Software
Nanosaur 2: Hatchling
Buy Nanosaur 2: Hatchling


IMG Posts Dual G4 Duel
11:15 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

IMG's hardware editor, Lucian Fong, has tested the latest Dual G4 accelerators from Giga Designs and PowerLogix against each other. The whole test tries to determine what upgrade gives the best card for your money, the Giga Designs G-celerator Duo 1.33 or the PowerLogix PowerForce Dual G4 Series 133. It also describes the installation for the cards, which is quite different from most "standard" hardware products.

From the article:

Installation begins by removing the stock heatsink and processor and replacing it with the dual processor card. The finned copper HSF (heatsink and fan) is aligned with the processors' contact patch, on which thermal paste has already been applied, and secured by two latches. A 3-pin fan lead, located conveniently on the PCB, is used to power the fan. The fan included with the review unit developed a constant rattling sound that was quite annoying. Optionally for Digital Audio Power Macs is a dual fan assembly that is placed adjacent to the input/output ports on the rear of the case. The fans added an unacceptable amount of noise and did not lower the ambient case temperature by an amount significant enough to leave them installed.
To read the full shootout between these two cards, complete with benchmarks and everything else you could wish for, follow the link provided below.

Giga Designs
G-celerator Duo 1.33 GHz
PowerLogix
PowerForce Dual G4 Series 133 (7457)
IMG Feature: Dual G4 Duel



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Nanosaur 2 1.0.4 Patch Released
8:55 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Our friends at Pangea Software have released another new patch for their latest release, Nanosaur 2. The new patch fixes a major memory leak and includes other minor bug fixes and tweaks.

The patch, along with new versions of the full version and the demo are available for download from Macgamefiles.com.

Pangea Software
Nanosaur 2: Hatchling
Macgamefiles.com
Buy Nanosaur 2: Hatchling



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Next Generation Unreal Engine Q&A
8:25 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Following in the wake of the recently released Unreal Tournament 2004, HomeLan Fed has posted an interview with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. Rather than focusing on games, the questions center on the upcoming UnrealEngine 3, which Epic plans on showing off at the upcoming Game Developers Conference.

Unsurprisingly, the next gen engine contains a host of new features, including a complex physics system and a new lighting system. Sweeney adds that the new engine was built from the ground up, and the current timeframe for the first games that use the engine is 2006.

There is a new 100% dynamic, 64-bit-per-pixel high definition rendering engine focus on per-pixel lighting and dynamic shadowing. This includes all of the logical features you would expect in an HDR rendering pipeline, such as lenticular halos and light blooms, dynamically shadowed lights and projectors, normal mapping, displacement mapping, and raytracing effects such as volumetric lighting and refraction. But it goes further than that with entirely new things that haven't been done in real-time before, such as holographic texture mapping, spherical harmonic lighting, and dynamic soft shadows.
To support his forward-thinking mentality, Sweeney also states that the sweet spot for GPU hardware is about 18 months away, and that the engine's performance on current hardware is only "decent."

The interview also covers topics such as other iterations of the UnrealEngine, more of its specifications, and its current stage of development.

HomeLan Fed - UnrealEngine3 Interview
Digital Extremes
MacSoft
Epic Games
Unreal Tournament 2004
Buy Unreal Tournament 2004



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Torque Shader Engine Info
8:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GarageGames' have revealed they are showing their Torque Shader Engine at this year's Game Developer's Conference (GDC) going on this week. The shader engine is an extension to their 3D Torque engine which provides full, ground-up support for hardware shaders.
The engine currently supports DirectX 9 shaders, but they have kept OpenGL in the picture as it developers towards version 2.0 as well.

In addition to the engine, the team has also made the ability to implement the shaders without knowledge of the underlying assembly code:

The shaders are incorporated in the engine from the ground up. No tacked on shaders just to say we have them. It´s the real deal. In addition, Brian and Mark designed it so many commonly used shaders are a snap to incorporate, i.e. no shader assembly knowledge required. Just mix and match using our material language, but of course, you can get down to the "metal" and do it the hard way if you want.
In keeping with their low-cost approach to licensing, GarageGames has priced the shader engine at under $300 for new customers and even lower if you're a current Torque developer.

Head over to the news post at GarageGames now for screenshots and more information.

GarageGames
Torque Shader Engine at GDC


Phelios Releases KaiJin
8:14 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Phelios, maker of shareware titles such as Swap and Helix, has recently released a new title. Named KaiJin, this latest effort is a vertically-scrolling arcade shooter that, like most shooters, features one lone ship against hordes of enemies.

The insects and ocean dwellers mutated in wildly unusual ways and became stronger and more intelligent. Some began to develop brain abnormalities, which resulted in an increased aptitude of 5000% in their IQ’s. As their new intellect grew, so did their appetite for planet domination. They now feel that Terrians are their Public Enemy Number One. So, they developed a secret army and are now ready to eradicate the Terrians with all of their mutant force.
KaiJin features 3 different scenarios, 3 difficulty settings, and over 60 levels. Those interested in trying it out can download a free trial at Phelios's site.

MGF: KaiJin
Phelios


Mac Games News for Tuesday, March 23, 2004

IMG Reviews Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness9:54 AM
Epic Cracks Down on Unreal Tournament 2004 Cheaters8:45 AM
Shadowbane to Utilize GPU More8:45 AM
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Price Drop7:24 AM
World of Warcraft Beta Journal7:24 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, March 23, 2004 on one page


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