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Thursday, August 12, 2004

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Apple Goes Homeworld
8:22 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Apple's Brad Cook has penned an in-depth look at Aspyr Media's upcoming, real-time strategy space epic Homeworld 2.

The preview, written in the first person from an in-game, fighter pilot's perspective, sets the stage for the visually-rich space strategy game. Building on the traditional resource-management, space exploration, and battle management aspects of the genre, the game's designers have imbued the game with stunning graphics, unprecedented camera control, and a rich and compelling storyline:

I hear the engines come alive, a muffled rumble that gently vibrates the floor beneath my feet and sends a thrill up my spine. I must leave now for the bridge and silently say farewell to The Pride of Hiigara as we move clear of the fleet and enter hyperspace. Something tells me, however, that I will see the mothership sooner than expected, for Iím certain that reports of minimal enemy activity around Hiigara must be a trap designed to lure us in. If SíJet and her people meet with trouble, I will return to lend a hand before continuing my mission, so honoring my pledge.
The preview, while detailing the different aspects of gameplay, also includes a full page of advice players should read before engaging in battle against the conquering Vaygr forces.

Homeworld 2, whose system requirements currently call for an 800MHz G4, equipped with a 32MB video card, 256MB of RAM, running OS X 10.2.8 or later, is currently in beta testing, and is expected to hit store shelves by the end of the month.

Players wanting to get their hands on the game as quickly as possible should head over to the IMG Store, where copies can be pre-ordered for $48.99 USD, or $44.99 USD for MacGames CD/IMG Pro Subscribers.

Apple Looks At Homeworld 2
Aspyr Media
Homeworld 2
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Mac-friendly RTCW Mod DeGeneration Released
8:50 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Game modifiers TRAM Design have released a Mac-friendly version of their Return To Castle Wolfenstein beta mod DeGeneration.

The multiplayer modification, which requires the full version of Return To Castle Wolfenstein, pits teams of six to eight players in a struggle to find, power up, and ultimately control the machinery required to complete Nicola Tesla's "Death Ray" project:

Nikola Tesla died on January 7th, 1943 in Manhattan. Immediately after his death his papers containing scientific data and information about "Death Rays" vanished. Up until that time it was known they existed, but neither the U.S. Goverment nor scientific community put much stock in the plans. It was now apparent someone did and Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a full investigation into Tesla's death with hopes of retrieving the missing papers to find out why.

Almost a full year later, just as Rome crumbled, British soldiers confirmed the Allies' greatest fear as they retrieved the missing papers from an overrun camp in Sicily. Frantically, Britain and the U.S. began pouring more resources into researching "Project Tesla" and after just a few short months found they were racing towards the final stages of its construction. Soon they would be on par with the Axis who, because of their early start, were also making great progress.

Regardless, one key element remained. The Death Ray plans called for a power source of great magnitude. They needed a generator stronger than anyone had ever built before. Unfortunately, after polling the surrounding areas, it was clear that the shortage of parts, due to war efforts, meant that the project would have to be moved. As the Allied scouts set out for parts, commanders get word that the Axis powers are already planning an offensive in their direction hoping to thwart their efforts.

While the 190MB modification, available in .ZIP format through the links below, includes over twenty gameplay and performance improvements, this new version of the mod is also the first to include full support for the Mac operating system.

Tram Design's DeGeneration Mod
Aspyr Media
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
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id Sound Designer Discusses Doom3 Audio
8:23 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Music 4 Games has posted an in-depth interview with Ed Lima, composer and sound designer for the recently released id juggernaut Doom 3. The focus of the interview is on the various aspects of work that went into the audio portion of the FPS, including initial stages, creative freedom, and philosophies behind choices made.

One point Lima makes is that one of his goals was to use sounds that were not easily recognizable to listeners:

In scoring both types of scenes, we came up with a set of rules. Specifically, recognizable instruments were to be avoided, opting instead for synthetic sounds or variations of known sounds, not easily or clearly identified as traditional instruments. Rhythmic passages were okay, as long as they contained nothing recognizable as contemporary percussion instruments. So my sound palette consisted of various evolving drones and pads, some punchy bass or stab sounds, lots of sweeps and swells for stinger-type uses, and percussion sounds, including some traditional bass drum samples, Taiko drum samples, tom-toms, as well as some junk percussion sounds like pipes, hammers, old filing cabinets, stuff like that.
Lima also discusses the ideas behind the minimal use of music in the game, the various challenges he faced during production, and the emphasis of specific sounds during cutscenes.

Music 4 Games - Interview with Ed Lima
id Software
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WoW European Beta Update
8:22 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blizzard's official World of Warcraft Europe site has recently been updated regarding news of their closed beta. They note that the selection process for the first wave of beta testers is close to finished, but that they still have a large number of applicants to go through before finalizing anything.

They also note that the first wave will not be localized, so that everything will be in English. They plan on adding French and German localization as the beta progresses.

Those who are selected will be notified by e-mail:

The first wave of authentication keys for the European Closed Beta Test will be sent out to beta testers by email as soon as the selection process is completed. With these keys, testers will be able to create their accounts for the Beta Test using a Web interface that will be hosted on the official European World of Warcraft Beta Test Web sites (www.wow-europe.com/de, /fr, and /en).
They also plan to post on their various European sites once the first beta test is officially underway.

World of Warcraft Europe - Official Site
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
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Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 11, 2004

IMG Store: NWN Expansion Packs, Republic Shipping11:39 AM
Airburst Extreme Goes Gold, Demo Released8:49 AM
Blizzard Released WC3 Map, Stone Cold Mountain7:38 AM
Indie Games Conference Registration Open7:38 AM
Puzzle Express Tours The Country7:38 AM
The Incredibles Game Coming to the Mac7:38 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 11, 2004 on one page

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