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Tuesday, August 31, 2004



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Apple Unveils iMac G5
7:20 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Apple today took the wraps off the new iMac G5, a completely redesigned iMac that features a high-performance G5 processor and a stunning new design that integrates the entire computer right into the flat panel display. The iMac G5, a mere two inches of depth, come in 17- or 20-inch widescreen LCDs and G5 processors running up to 1.8 GHz starting at just $1,299.

Here's more from the official press release:

The new iMac G5 makes the ultimate statement in design simplicity. The entire computer, including the power supply and slot-load optical drive, is built right into the display and rests on a sleek aluminum foot. All the I/O ports line up neatly along the rear right side for easy access, and with optional AirPort® Extreme and Bluetooth wireless modules, there’s no more cable clutter. With its elegantly thin profile, compact footprint and whisper-quiet operation (less than 25 dB), the new iMac G5 is the perfect fit for any room in the home or office.

The new iMac G5 features the breakthrough performance of the PowerPC G5 processor, as well as numerous system performance improvements designed to help consumers turbocharge their digital lifestyle applications. The 17-inch models come with either a 1.8 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a SuperDrive™ for burning professional-quality DVDs, or a 1.6 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a Combo drive for watching DVD movies and burning CDs. The 20-inch model has a 1.8 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a SuperDrive. With a completely redesigned system architecture, the new iMac G5 now offers up to a 600 MHz front-side bus, 400 MHz DDR memory expandable to 2GB, AGP 8X graphics and 7200 rpm Serial ATA drives up to 250GB. The new iMac G5 comes standard with high-performance NVIDIA graphics with dedicated video memory for outstanding graphics performance and realistic game play.

The new iMac G5 desktops offer a total of five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two FireWire® 400 ports for easy plug-and-play connections to popular peripherals such as Apple’s market-leading iPod® digital music player, digital video camcorders, digital still cameras and printers. Providing the latest in wireless communications, the new iMac G5 offers an optional internal Bluetooth module and includes a built-in antenna and card slot to support an optional AirPort Extreme Card for 54 Mbps 802.11g fast wireless networking*. The new iMac G5 also includes built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and a 56K V.92 modem for fast Internet access.

The new iMac G5, for a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US), includes:
• 17-inch widescreen LCD with 1440-by-900 pixels;
• 1.6 GHz 64-bit PowerPC G5 processor;
• 256MB of 400 MHz DDR SDRAM;
• Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive;
• NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics processor with 64MB video memory;
• Two FireWire 400, three USB 2.0, two USB 1.1 ports;
• 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet networking, 56K V.92 Modem;
• Internal support for AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth;
• 80GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm; and
• Built-in stereo speakers and microphone.
The new iMac G5, for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US), includes:
• 17-inch widescreen LCD with 1440-by-900 pixels;
• 1.8 GHz 64-bit PowerPC G5 processor;
• 256MB of 400 MHz DDR SDRAM;
• SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) optical drive;
• NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics processor with 64MB video memory;
• Two FireWire 400, three USB 2.0, two USB 1.1 ports;
• 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet networking, 56K V.92 Modem;
• Internal support for AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth;
• 80GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm; and
• Built-in stereo speakers and microphone.
The new iMac G5, for a suggested retail price of $1,899 (US), includes:
• 20-inch widescreen LCD with 1680-by-1050 pixels;
• 1.8 GHz 64-bit PowerPC G5 processor;
• 256MB of 400 MHz DDR SDRAM;
• SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) optical drive;
• NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics processor with 64MB video memory;
• Two FireWire 400, three USB 2.0, two USB 1.1 ports;
• 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet networking, 56K V.92 Modem;
• Internal support for AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth;
• 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm; and
• Built-in stereo speakers and microphone.
IMG has posted a new poll asking our readers if they love the new iMac or hate it. To place your vote, follow the link below. For more information on the new iMac G5, visit the Apple web site.

Apple
IMG Poll: What do you think of the new iMac?



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Feral Debuts Ford Racing 2 At Apple Expo
9:34 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Feral Interactive today began showing for the first time its upcoming racing game, Ford Racing 2 at the Apple booth at the Paris Apple Expo. Here's what Feral had to say on their web site about the first showing:

nd if the hot prospect of a new iMac is not enough to send you scuttling to Paris in sixth gear, come and check out our upcoming release, Ford Racing 2, making it’s debut at the Expo. The best of motown strutting its stuff on the cobbled streets of Paris. Well, almost - a late beta of the game will be available for playing in the Apple games arcade. And remember kids, when racing in Paris its "Priorite a gauche!".
If you happen to be at the Apple Expo, be sure to stop by the Feral station at the Apple booth to check out the game.

Feral Interactive
Ford Racing 2
Buy Ford Racing 2



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Dominions II Updated
8:32 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Shrapnel Games has released an update to Dominions II: The Ascension Wars. Labeled as version 2.13, this patch contains a large number of balance tweaks and bug fixes, including improved cheat detection, new monster modding commands, and the implementation of basic magic item modding.

Other additions are as follows:

  • Unit recruit lists are greyed out while besieged.
  • Main screen commander scrolling works in full rows only to make it easier to keep track of individual commanders when there are many in the same province.
  • Rehiring mercs will start bid at half the usual value.
  • Possible to combine more 50% fire/cold resistance items to gain full immunity.
  • Primal forest works (summon hamadryad).
  • Skratti and Great Warlock available once more.
Dominions II is a fantasy-themed turn-based strategy title. Both the 2.13 patch as well as demos for multiple platforms are available for download at Shrapnel Games' site.

Dominions II: The Ascension Wars Demos
Shrapnel Games
Dominions II
Buy Dominions II


Video Games Get Political
8:26 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

The BBC News website has posted an interesting look at the recent trend of politically-motivated video games.

From online protest marches to promotional soapbox propaganda, a new breed of media professionals are harnessing the power of video games to push their political agenda:

"It's because it's a many-to-many medium, whereas traditional politics is done one-to-many - from Gates to many, from Murdoch to many, from Berlusconi to many and so on," said Alex Foti, from political activist group ChainWorkers.

"It is a way of harnessing the wisdom and vitality of the crowds," he explained to BBC's Click Online programme.

"Social research has proved that groups, when confronted with well-defined problems, show a marked interest in them."

The news report takes a look at a handful of recent, politically-motivated video games, from the capitalism-critical, Tamagotchi-styled Tamatipico, in which players need to keep their workers happy by scheduling regular TV stops between work sessions, to the sombre title Madrid, a remembrance piece commemorating terrorist events in cities around the world.

BBC News: Politically-Motivated Games
Newsgaming.com
Play Madrid
Play Tamatipico (Italian only)


Gamespy Posts ClffyB Video Interview
7:59 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

In an interesting twist to video game journalism, GameSpy has posted a video interview with CliffyB, developer for Epic. Rather than focus on Unreal Tournament 2004 or any upcoming title, the interview features offbeat ramblings and questions by both the intervewer and the interviewee, which are probably facilitated by the fact that most of the interview takes place in the pool of a vacation spot.

Recently, Atari flew a bunch of us journalists out to Los Cabos, Mexico for a chance to get a peek at its upcoming line-up. Of course, we took the opportunity to spend some time sunning, swimming, and drinking; this all happened after we finished working of course. Anyway, we were lucky enough to spend a few hours with Epic's CliffyB.
Topics are many and varied, ranging from the hardworking folks at Epic to the sexual orientation of CliffyB's dogs. Those looking for something a little different can find the videos in QT and WMA formats, thought prudes be warned - the topics can get a little punchy.

The Cliff Show starring CliffyB


ATI Overclocking Utility Released
7:58 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A developer by the name of Thomas Perrier has released an interesting app for OS X users with ATI cards. Dubbed the ATIccelerator II, this app allows users to change their graphics card frequencies as they see fit, allowing for overclocking.

ATIccelerator II lists the following features:

  • no potentially dangerous flashing required
  • no cumbersome three-steps process (dump, modify, then reflash ROM)
  • no need to reboot for every frequency change
  • no OS 9 required (that's right, G5s and other recent OS 9-free Macs are now supported!)
This is offered as a free app, though users who enjoy the app can submit donations.

Warning: Perrier notes that this app does not come with a warranty, and that users assume all risks when trying it out. In other words, if you fry your card, it's nobody's fault but your own.

ATIccelerator II



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Ghost Recon 2 - The Game With Two Faces
6:00 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

In a recent article on GameSpot, the huge publishing house Ubisoft has revealed that the upcoming sequel to the highly acclaimed strategic shooter Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon will in fact be developed by two separate companies as two different games.

Ghost Recon 2 for the Nintendo Gamecube and the Sony Playstation 2 will be developed at Ubisoft Shanghai, and is being created as a prequel, set seven years earlier, to the PC and Xbox version of the game. This second version of the title, created by Red Storm Entertainment, will continue from the storyline of the Gamecube and Playstation version of the game.

According to Ubisoft, the reason for publishing two different versions of the same title is to allow the separate developers to maximize the potential of each platform. While a new concept in game development, the idea of releasing different versions of a game under the same title is gaining in popularity. Aspyr Media's recent release of Spider-Man 2: The Game was based on the PC version of the game, created by a different developer than the highly-acclaimed console version of the same game.

While no word is out on a Mac version of Ghost Recon 2 is out yet, most of the previous Tom Clancy games have made it to the Mac thanks to Aspyr Media. We can only hope that they will bring us this game as well... no matter which version of the game that would be.

UPDATE - Gaming website HomeLAN Fed has posted an interview with Heather Chandler, producer at Red Storm Entertainment, about their plans for the Xbox version of Ghost Recon 2. -ed

Aspyr Media
Red Storm
GameSpot: Ghost Recon 2 to be Two Different Games
HomeLAN Fed's Interview with Heather Chandler


Aspyr To Publish Wideload Games' First Title
6:00 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

On the first day of Apple Expo Paris, Mac publishing strongforce Aspyr Media has announced that they've signed a deal with Bungie Studios founder Alex Seropian to publish the first game from Seropian's new development company, Wideload Games.

The company's new, still untitled game is expected to be released in the fall of 2005 on the Mac, Windows, and Xbox platforms - a first for the revered game publishers. The title, despite relying on the Halo engine, is billed as a very different and unique gaming experience. Says Seropian, from an IGN interview:

It's a very different game. There are some things about the Halo engine that are really cool. We use a lot of the same systems and developed them in the same way. There's a certain quality to the way things are presented that you may recognize. But it's a very different game. You won't be playing it going, 'Dude, it's just like Halo!'
In 2002, Seropian, the lead producer behind Bungie's ground-breaking Marathon, Myth, and Halo franchises, left the company he founded after its greatly-publicized purchase by Microsoft. In April of this year, Seropian announced that he and a number of former senior Bungie programmers, designers, and artists had bonded to create a new game development company with a twist.

In an effort to reduce as many game production risks as possible, Wideload's business model sees the company's relatively small staff build a game prototype first, then use the prototype to secure a publishing deal, and the financing to hire the production staff to complete the project. While this is a new business model for game developers, similar staffing practices in the film industry have proven to be efficient and cost-effective. Seropian sees this new business practice gaining popularity in the gaming industry -

Everybody's gonna be doing this. The platform studios will have large teams -- Even those teams will be outsourcing stuff. I think it's a natural progression of gaming. Game ideas have to germinate somewhere. If you're gonna have 100 people working on it, you need a process that doesn't dilute that vision.
While little else is known about the new title, this announcement represents a major coup for Michael Rogers and the hard-working staff at Aspyr Media. Once a little Mac-only publishing house, Aspyr is slowly growing into a multimedia powerhouse, selling music, movies, and publishing games for the Mac, PC, and Gameboy Advance platforms.

Stay tuned to IMG as further news about the upcoming game and the new business alliance surfaces, and check out the official press release over on Aspyr's website:

Wideload
Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media: Aspyr To Publish Wideload Games' First Title
IGN: Bungie Founder Finds Publisher


Mac Games News for Monday, August 30, 2004

IMG Store: World of Warcraft Pre-Order1:57 PM
Halo 'Quagmire' Custom Edition Map Ported to Mac10:13 AM
Neverwinter Nights Beta Patch Coming Soon10:05 AM
Blizzard Tests World of Warcraft Downloads with Trailers8:54 AM
Free Signups For World of Warcraft Stress Test8:05 AM
Call of Duty Servers Added for Clans8:00 AM
Liberated Games Tracks Freebies8:00 AM
Red Orchestra 3.0 Released8:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 30, 2004 on one page


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Friday, August 27, 2004
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