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Thursday, July 29, 2004

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Simcity 4: Rush Hour Goes Beta
9:42 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media's Amity Lesko dropped us a line this morning with the announcement that their upcoming Simcity 4: Rush Hour expansion pack has gone beta, and is expected to be released in early fall.

In Rush Hour, fans of the popular Simcity franchise will be able to take control of their city's transportation systems in previously unattainable manner. Drawing from a wide variety of transportation options, including bus, monorail, subway, and even a ferry service, players are left to their own ingenuity in the task of shuttling their Sims wherever they need to go.

Systems requirements are currently listed at a 500 MHz G3/G4 or faster, equipped with 256 MB RAM, 1 GB of hard drive space, an ATI Radeon or nVidia Geforce 3D accelerated graphics card, and OS X 10.2.3.

Assuming the Beta test goes well, the expansion pack is expected to be released in September of this year. Head over to the Aspyr webstore where, for $29.99 USD, you can pre-order your copy of this new title

SimCity 4: Rush Hour
Buy SimCity 4: Rush Hour

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IMG Previews CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
9:17 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a hands-on preview of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the upcoming murder-mystery adventure game from Aspyr Media. Here's a clip from the preview:

The tidal wave of Aspyr-released ports keeps on coming with the imminent arrival of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, developed by 369 Interactive, for the Macintosh. The seamy underbelly of Las Vegas lives on your very own computer, dope dealers, con men, dead hookers and all. Essentially replicating the hit CBS television show of the same name, CSI is a point-and-click puzzle-solver in which players are asked to examine crime scenes, gather and analyze evidence, and question suspects in an effort to bring the guilty to justice.
To check out the entire preview, please follow the link below.

IMG Preview: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Aspyr Media
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Buy CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

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European WoW Sign-ups Closed, Sites Launch
8:50 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Blizzard updated their website earlier this week with news of their upcoming massively multiplayer project World Of Warcraft.

First off, the sign ups for the WoW closed European Beta Test are now closed. Testers to be chosen from the long list of applicants should expect to be contact by the developers in the coming weeks. Blizzard expects the European test period to begin shortly.

The game developers have also announced the launching of their new, localized World Of Warcraft community websites. French and German versions of the websites are now online and can be reached through the links listed below.

Stay tuned to IMG as further news on this highly-anticipated MMORPG takes shape.

Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft French Site
World of Warcraft German Site
Buy World of Warcraft

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World of Warcraft Fansite Chat
8:03 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blizzard has posted the results of an online chat with various fan sites, answering reader-submitted questions regarding the upcoming MMORPG World of Warcraft. The chat was attended by several members of Blizzard, and the questions ranged widely, discussing everything from PvP to guild tabard designs.

Some of the topics discussed include the prevention of PvP griefers, whether or not transferring players between servers will be allowed, and the number of players required for a raid. Player housing is also brought up:

[GilS.PR] What are the plans for Housing in the World of Warcraft?

[Katricia] Player housing will not be available until after World of Warcraft has been released. Our plan is to add player housing in a future live update or expansion. Our current idea (which could change) is to extend the cities to have player housing neighborhoods. For example, in the canal area of Stormwind players can see a blue instance portal behind a large portcullis; this is the entrance to the player housing neighborhood in Stormwind.

Also discussed are the possible customization of player mounts, Hero Classes, and World Events. As for those waiting to get in on the beta test, Blizzard does plan on adding new phases as development continues. They also note that the European beta testing applications are being reviewed, and that candidates will be contacted by email if they are accepted.

Battle.net - World of Warcraft Fansite Chat
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Aki Mahjong v1.0.2 Update
7:58 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ambrosia has recently released an update to Aki Mahjong, bringing it up to version 1.0.2. The update includes several bug fixes, including some sound tweaks and game switching errors:

- fixes a bug where switching out of the game just after running out of moves would cause the timer to keep counting while you were in another app
- fixes another incarnation of the above, which caused you to lose the level if you ran out of moves and didn't reshuffle after a long period of time (whether you stayed in Aki or switched out)
- fixed a bug that caused the "tick-tick" sound effect to play if you paused between 15 - 30 seconds left in the game
- fixed an issue cause by clicking the pause button after you had run out of moves
- fixes a bug were switching out of the game while on the map screen would cause the ambient music not to play again
- sessionless version checking
The update can be downloaded directly from Ambrosia's site.

Ambrosia Software

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Apple Features Airburst Extreme, Wingnuts 2
7:58 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple has posted a games feature on Airburst Extreme and Wingnuts 2, two upcoming titles from the somewhat legendary folks at Freeverse. Both are sequels to popular past titles, and combine modern technologies with old school gameplay.

AE is offering some new twists, including a play by email system and story mode:

As you’ll see in “There’s More Than One Way to Pop a Balloon”, the Fothergills came up with game types that run the gamut from soccer to racing. They even created a variant that offers a new twist on the play-by-mail games of old. And if you’re in the mood for more than a five-minute match, you can enter Story mode and travel the solar system as each of the four original Airburst characters, trying to thwart the plans of the diabolical Mars Media Mega Corporation.
Wingnuts 2 will also offer upgrades over the original, including the ability to swap out a damaged plane for a new one via an aircraft carrier, new aerial maneuvers, and story cutscenes.

Also included in the Apple feature are system requirements for each title, tips on AE play, and screenshots of both titles.

Airburst Extreme and Wingnuts 2
Strange Flavour
Airburst Extreme
Buy WingNuts 2: Raina’s Revenge
Buy Airburst Extreme

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Ryan Gordon on OpenAL, Spider-Man 2, Unreal3 Engine
7:58 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Epic's genial in-house programmer Ryan Gordon updated his .plan website earlier this week with news on several of the projects under his stewardship, as well as with news on one of his personal pet projects.

First off, Ryan has announced that he's begun porting Epic's next generation gaming engine, currently known as UnrealEngine3, to the Mac and Linux platforms. The new engine, which is aimed at powering the next generation of console and computer gaming hardware, is not expected to be in the public's hands until 2006, however Ryan refuses to get caught with his guard down -

Obviously, there's a lot to be done at this point, but best to start now so I'm not scrambling to port a whole engine when UE3 games get closer to shipping.
Next, Ryan has announced that he will cease work on his Mac implementation of the OpenAL framework. The decision was made after Apple included their own implementation of the audio system software in their latest preview version of Mac OS X 10.4. While work on his version of the system library will cease, Ryan has decided to move the code over to the Linux platform, and devote his energies in helping Apple debug their open-source version of the code:
My version is apparently a little faster, but it's stereo only (but the subversion repository doesn't crash on M-Audio 5.1 and 7.1 cards anymore), so Apple's tech is probably more attractive for further development by default. All of the missing functionality in Apple's implementation could be fixed with some elbow grease, which I'm sure will show up one way or another in the near future. Overall, this is a very good step forward, and I applaud Apple for giving game developers something they really need.
And finally, as announced earlier this week here on IMG, Ryan reports that Aspyr Media's upcoming wall-crawling Spider-Man 2, to be released later this summer, is undergoing its final QA testing, and is considered "Darn Near Done".

Check out Ryan's .plan yourself by clicking on the links below -

Ryan Gordon's .plan Update
Digital Extremes
Epic Games
Unreal Tournament 2004
Aspyr Media
Spider-Man 2: The Game
Buy Unreal Tournament 2004
Buy Spider-Man 2: The Game

Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 28, 2004

OWC Offers SuperDrives For Most G3s, G4s, G5s1:08 PM
Shareware Puzzle Game tesl8 Updated12:36 PM
Jay Moore Speaks On Indie Game Production12:17 PM
Aspyr Announces MTX: Mototrax For Mac And PC8:30 AM
ActionSoft Seeks Beta Testers8:15 AM
Mac Version of The Sims 2 Coming7:57 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 28, 2004 on one page

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