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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Aspyr Newsletter & Lego Star Wars Reqs
8:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media's latest email newsletter has been released, providing its regular list of status updates about company's games to customers. Included was also some development news about hotly anticipated releases of Stubbs the Zombie and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005.

Zombie fans will be glad to hear that Aspyr is on top of the Mac port of Stubbs, keeping it very close to the Xbox version being developed at Wideload. They still plan to ship this fall for Mac, PC, and Xbox.

For the first time in the series' history, Aspyr has decided to ship a course installer with Tiger Woods 2005. This should enable players to download the many courses available on the web to extend their gameplay. Here's the scoop:

Our internal team whipped up a very nice OS X Cocoa application with XCode 2.1 to streamline the course install process, and this added feature will give the game even more replayability than before, even with the numerous courses included out of the box.
The newsletter also mentions a pending Battlefield 1942 patch which should allow better support for modifications like Desert Combat Final and adding GameRanger support as well. Macologist has the info on how they helped with this one, so check out the link below if you're curious.

Lastly, Aspyr has also sent word this morning with the final system requirements for Lego Star Wars, expected to ship next month. Here's the rundown of the system you'll need to experience this mashup of these two childhood favorites:

OS - Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later
CPU - PowerPC G4/G5
CPU Speed - 1.2 GHz or faster
Memory - 512MB
Hard Drive - 2 GB free disk space
Video - ATI Radeon 9000 or better, NVIDIA GeForce FX5200 or better
Video RAM - 32MB
Disc Drive - DVD Drive required to install and play

Recommended System Requirements
LEGO Star Wars runs best on a iMac G5 or Power Mac G5
Video RAM - 64MB

For details on the game, check out Aspyr's mini-site.

Aspyr Media
Battlefield 1942: Deluxe Edition
Macologist Report on Battlefield 1942 Patch
LEGO Star Wars
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005
Stubbs the Zombie
Buy Battlefield 1942: Deluxe Edition
Buy LEGO Star Wars
Buy Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005
Buy Stubbs the Zombie

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IMG Interviews X-Plane's Austin Meyer
11:17 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted an interview with X-Plane's Austin Meyer, the creator of the popular general aviation game. Here's a clip from Tim Morgan's interview:

IMG: Probably the biggest news in X-Plane's recent history has been its FAA certification as a training aid. The certification has meant numerous changes to X-Plane to make it more viable as a tool for training student pilots. How does this affect the future of X-Plane? Are there goals you have in mind for X-Plane as a training device?

AM:This does affect X-Plane, but not as much as you might expect. My goal for X-Plane has always been realism, and with me being a pilot and engineer, I have never needed FAA-certification to tell me whether or not the sim is realistic. In fact, the FAA-certified version of X-Plane is not any "more realistic" than the retail version. All I did was remove the cool stuff like Mars flight (which is, by the way, every bit as realistic as the Earth flight) and the Space Shuttle (which is, by the way, as realistic as any other supersonic flying in X-Plane), so, the FAA-certified version of X-Plane is no more realistic or powerful then the retail version. In fact, it's the other way around: I de-feature the FAA versions so there is no non-certified content in the sim.

Now, there has been some benefit to certification. Working with experts in specific jets and turboprops for certification has caused me to improve the engine modeling in the sim, and there is a trickle-down effect (which is actually a shower, not a trickle, because 100% of this engine-modeling code is used in both the FAA and retail versions of the sim). So the FAA-cert has allowed certain areas of the sim to flesh out, and this will continue though what the FA wants is more systems modeling, not a better flight model. The flight model for X-Plane is already fine, and is being used clear up to FTD-level six right now. That lets pilots train at a very high level of certification; we're talking about rescue pilots flying the EC-135 medivac helos on X-Plane here to keep up their skills.

To check out the entire interview, please follow the link below.

IMG Feature: Interview With X-Plane's Austin Meyer
Laminar Research
X-Plane 8
Buy X-Plane 8

Battlefield 1942 Patch to be Released Thursday
11:10 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

Today Aspyr Media announced it will be releasing a major patch to their popular game, Battlefield 1942. For those new to the game, Battlefield 1942 is a online first person shooter set in WWII with support for up to 64 players simultaniously.

The patch brings the current version to 1.6.1 Rev D, and addresses the problem of running mods such as Desert Combat Final and Galactic Combat. The patch also brings built-in support for Gameranger for finding Mac-specific multiplayer games.

This patch is great news for the Battlefield modding community, as now many more mods will be coming to the Mac. Macologist recently posted an article about the patch as well, detailing how the mod problem was fixed.

"Tim Fuller, Aspyr's new guy, took the code, analysed it and after a week or so informed us of his break through. The Mac Battlefield 1942 application was originally ported to read a 255 character open file limit which is common practice, however, a lot of modifications were going way over this limit resulting in the application to either crash or not function correctly."
The patch can be found tomorrow over at Mac Game Files, and several popular Battlefield 1942 mods, such as Desert Combat Final, can be found at the Macologist website.

Aspyr Media
Battlefield 1942: Deluxe Edition
Mac Game Files Website
Macologist Website
Gameranger Website
Macologist Article
Buy Battlefield 1942: Deluxe Edition

Click to enlarge
Wing Commander - Recollections to Remakes
8:18 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

"Best. Game. Evar."

Every gamer has a list of all-time favorite games. The games that they've played for hours and hours and never get tired of. Centipede, Super Mario Brothers, Marathon, Kitty Spangles Solitaire - the choices are unlimited. But the reason a game is so great to one gamer might be very different from another.

To many gamers, particularly those of us old enough to remember games coming on six floppy diskettes, Origin's Wing Commander still stands as one of the greatest games of all time. 1990 was a time devoid of polygons and pixel-shaded bump mapping, and to experience an open-ended space combat and exploration game in three dimensions was unheard of. The series was so popular that it not only spawned a slew of sequels and spin-offs, but even today continues to be remade on new platforms.

Several months ago a group of open-source programmers collaborated to create the Wing Commander Privateer Remake. This Remake takes the classic Wing Commander Privateer game and updates it with 3D graphics and Mac OSX support.

While one would like to think this remake solidified Wing Commander's place in the history books, not all gamers agreed with this modification of their beloved classic. In the aftermath of the Privateer Remake, users and developers began modifying and creating their own vision of what the Wing Commander universe was, and how it should be.

Wing Commander Privateer: Gemini Gold is a remake of the classic Privateer game that more closely resembles the original game. Known to some as the "purist" version, Gemini Gold removes the fan-made content of the original Privateer Remake. The gameplay and physics were also tweaked to more closely resemble the original.

Wing Commander Universe by contrast, is a more open-ended take on the Wing Commander series. Universe adds a plethora of star systems to navigate and many new starships. You can also choose your character as male Human, female Human, Kilrathi, or Firekkan.

While all three of these remakes are based on the same Wing Commander series, their nuances have created three very different games, reflecting the different memories and perceptions of the developer. The fact that balancing gameplay in remakes of a game over 10 years old shows how differently a game can be percieved by different players, as well as the great impact Wing Commander has had on the gaming industry.

All three Wing Commander remakes are available to download for free from the developer's website. To visit the websites, click the links below.

Privateer Gemini Gold
Wing Commander: Privateer Gemini Gold
Wing Commander: Universe

World of Warcraft Duping Exploit Found
8:18 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

Slashdot recently posted an article about a newly found exploit for World of Warcraft, a online roleplaying game by Blizzard Entertainment. Yesterday morning, rumors began to crop up surrounding a duping (item duplication) exploit in World of Warcraft. The trick seems to involve trading items before entering certain instanced areas on certain servers during laggy times of gameplay. After getting disconnected, one could log back in and still have the item he or she traded away. While the chance for success is supposedly very small, the payoff could potentially be very large.

While Blizzard has not commented on the exploit, it is logical to assume this problem will be dealt with in the very immediate future. IMG will have more news on the next Blizzard patch as it develops.

Slashdot Article
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Factor Software Adds Tiger Support for Games
8:18 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

Factor Software recently updated two of their games, Boom and Germs, with optimization for OSX 10.4 Tiger. Boom is a combination of Bomberman and Doom featuring single and 2-player modes, while Germs is a quick-thinking puzzle game centered around the creation patterns of germs pieces.

The Boom 1.5.4 Update List:

- Worked around a problem that caused the “BOOM Help” menu command to fail to launch the Help Viewer on Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger).
- Updated the Kagi Registration Module.
The Germs Update List:
-Worked around a problem that caused the "Germs Help" menu command to fail to launch the Help Viewer on Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger).
-Updated Help (also fixed a few typos).
-Updated the Kagi Registration Module.
-Other minor refinements.
To download the updates, or the demos of each game, click the links below.

Factor Software Website
Boom Website
Germs Website

Norbyte Updates Downfall
8:18 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

Norbyte recently released an update to Downfall, bringing the current version to 2.4.9. Downfall is a Tetris inspired puzzle game with real-time 3D graphics and over 30 different boards. The 2.4.9 update adds the following changes:

-Due to popular demand, the Mac OS X version of Downfall is now using a more Tiger-friendly distribution, with a single application icon inside a disk image (instead of a StuffIt archive).
-Importing/exporting highscores can now be switched on/off (off is default), and any files/folders created by this function will be stored in the user's Documents folder.
-Misc. optimizations and minor changes.
-A potential bug has been fixed.
To download the latest version of Downfall, click the link below.

Download Downfall
Norbyte Website

Brickshooter Updated
8:18 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Terminal Studio has updated Brickshooter to version 1.7.

BrickShooter is a uniquely addictive challenging game for strategists of all levels from children to grand masters. BrickShooter is not just for people who can think and move fast. It’s for anyone who enjoys solving puzzles and taking their own sweet time doing them.
There is also a variation of Brickshooter, named Brickshooter Junior. It is in no way Brickshooter designed specifically for children, however it does add vividly colorful additions, new game bricks, and new features.

To learn more information or to download Brickshooter, follow the links below.

Brickshooter Junior
Terminal Studio
MGF: Brickshooter 1.7

Marbol Released
8:18 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

New to the Mac Gaming scene,Cryptic Alluson has released Marbol, its first game for the Macintosh platform.

About Marbol:

Marbol is a fast-action puzzle game of skill, where you must place marbles according to color and destroy as many as possible before you are disrupted by random marbles being pushed from the bottom. Match blocks of 3+ of the same color, or blocks of 4+ clear marbles, and they disappear from the board. Remove too many supporting marbles, and your pile will fall to equilibrium again.
System Requirements:

Mac OS X 10.3.9

For more information or to download Marbol, follow the links below.

Cryptic Allusion
Download Marbol

Unreal Tournament 2007 Interview
8:18 AM | Blake Buck | Comment on this story

Unreal Fans recently posted and interview with Jeff Morris, producer on Unreal Tournament 2007. After a two year hiatus, Unreal Tournament 2007 plans to continue the "sports-like" first person shooter series with new experiences along with classic gameplay. Here's a snippet of the interview:

Q. What is going to bring new people to UT2007? Most die hard fans will buy the game for the sake of a collection but may go right back and keep playing UT.

A. To answer your first question, Onslaught was easily the most popular gametype in UT2004 by measure of player count. It clearly introduced a huge number of new players to Unreal Tournament with it’s fast paced vehicular combat and action focusing node system. We want to continue that tradition by bringing in even more fresh blood with Conquest, which further expands the vehicle/node/objective systems introduced in Onslaught and Assault. With regards to the folks who think FPS design peaked in 1999, Unreal Tournament 2007 is bringing back virtually all the “classic” game types. The old school DM, TDM and CTF hardcore will have plenty of maps to play and lots to enjoy in UT2007.

Q. Why the removal of Game types? I’ve had many a great Double Domination game in the past as well as some interesting assault games.

A. We want to focus our efforts on the gametypes that people actually play. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to have brilliant, gripping Bombing Run matches in UT2004, just that not many people did. Rather than spending resources on gametypes statistically only a fraction of our customers play, we want to create content that the most people possible will experience and enjoy. It reminds me of the “interactive” movie crazy of the mid 1990s. You’d shoot all this video for plot branches that by design only 20% of your audience ever views. That’s a pretty bad return on investment and not a very efficient way to make a game.

Unreal Tournament 2007 is slated for a 2006 PC release, with a likely Mac release soon after. IMG will have more information as it becomes available. To read the entire interview, click the link below.

Unreal Fans Interview
Unreal Fans Website

Gamespot Previews Civilization IV
8:18 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In a recent Gamespot preview the developers of Firaxis' upcoming Civilization IV, the next in the iconic series, answered some questions about what the game will offer and some of the changes they are making in core gameplay. With the goal of encouraging decision making rather than following established play patterns, Firaxis has changed many of the underlying rules of the game.

To give an example of just how serious Firaxis is, consider that you will no longer be able to transfer production from one project to another, a major exploit since time immemorial. Johnson admits he's a bit nervous about such a bold step, because it will certainly force Civ veterans to rethink their basic strategies, but it's something that needed to be addressed. Here's how the exploit worked. In earlier Civ games, let's say you had been building a great wonder for 39 turns. But before you could finish it on the 40th turn, another civilization finished it before you. No problem, because you could simply transfer all that production to a different project and pick up as if you had been building it for 39 turns. In Civ IV, when you lose a race to finish a wonder, you lose all the production made on it, and you can no longer transfer it to another project, though you will be refunded an amount of gold.
The combat system, as well, has received an update, including some modifications to unit rating mechanics to avoid situations like spearmen killing tank units. Such quirks in the engine are one of the areas on which the team is working.
Killer stacks, or having dozens of units in a single square, are a perfect example. "This is one of those things that we sort of overcorrected for in Civ III," Johnson explained. "In Civ I and Civ II there was this crazy rule where if you attacked a stack and it lost, the stack was entirely wiped out, and it'd be like, 'Wow, that's crazy.' So we got rid of that in Civ III, but, of course, the natural side effect of that was, 'Well, I'll just build this gigantic stack.'" To counter the killer-stack problem, Firaxis has upped the effect of siege weapons, such as cannons, catapults, and artillery, by modifying them into stack killers. "They have a collateral damage effect, [so] that when you attack a stack, you will also hurt up to six other units in the stack. So you can build stacks if you want, but the correct counter for that will be, 'OK, I'll build a bunch of catapults and cannons, and I'll attack your stack. And all your guys will be hurt, and you'll be in my territory, and you won't be able to heal, and I'll just mop you up.'"
A new addition to the series is Religion. In the past Firaxis has been reluctant to delve into such a sensitive subject in a computer game.
"Now you can choose religion, but the religions are pretty vanilla. We don't say that Christianity is better than Islam, or Islam is better than Hinduism. It's just a way to spread culture and another way to win the game. And through religion, we can add a lot more color to the game in terms of historical texture."
Other areas to receive a new look include the tech tree and multiplayer game play, the latter being a main focus of the game from the beginning of development. The game itself may have more than a passing resemblance to the recently released Pirates! as it uses the same graphics engine.

Although there has been no word on a Mac version of Civilization IV, it seems a likely possibility. Keep an eye on IMG for any updates. For the full preview click on the link below.

Gamespot Preview
Firaxis Games

Clinton Targets Game Content
8:18 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

As detailed in a recent IDG News article, Senator Hillary Clinton has announced plans to introduce legislation to prevent children from gaining access to video games with violent and pornographic content. This decision results from controversy surrounding the recent "Hot Coffee" modification for the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game which allows players to access pornographic content.

Clinton said such material makes it tough on parents to keep pornographic material away from children. The New York senator plans to push for tougher enforcement of existing video game ratings as well as a US$5,000 penalty on retailers that fail to prohibit sale of violent and sexually explicit games to minors, she said in a statement on her Web site.
The repercussions of legislative action in this case could have a significant impact on the choices available to gamers on all platforms, and are likely to draw a great deal of interest in the days ahead.

For the original article click the link below.

Clinton takes aim at sex, violence in video games

Dungeon Siege 2 Goes Gold for PC
8:18 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Microsoft and Gas Powered Games have announced that Dungeon Siege 2 has reached Gold status and will be available for purchase on August 16th. There is, as of yet, no word on the possibility of a Mac port.

The sequel to the 2002 RPG of the near-same name, Dungeon Siege II once again drops players into the magical realm of Aranna. However, this fantastical land is not doing especially fantastic, as it's been laid waste by a wandering horde of malevolent brigands and years of civil war. It will be up to players to assembly a group of stalwart adventurers to vanquish the heartless bandits and restore peace to Aranna.

Besides the new storyline and a new extensive quest system, Dungeon Siege II will sport enhanced artificial intelligence and a new 3D graphics engine that will power the game's real-time combat. The game will also support online cooperative multiplayer action.

For the full article click the link below.

Gamespot: Dungeon Siege 2
Dungeon Siege 2

MacSudoku Updated To 1.31
8:18 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Rosborough Tech's MacSudoku has been updated to version 1.31. The game is based on SuDoku puzzles, "deceptively simple and addictive logical puzzles that originated in Japan but have recently become popular around the world."

Here is a list of the updates in 1.31:

• Added timer to measure elapsed time in solving a puzzle
• Selected square now shown with the system selection color
• No longer begins a new puzzle immediately after completing a puzzle, allowing time to review the solution.
• “Copy” now copies the puzzle correctly as either an image or text
• Fixed various compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.2.x
Check out Rosborough Tech's site at the link below and surf over to Mac Game Files to download the demo.

Rosborough Tech Co.
MacSudoku 1.31

Mac Games News for Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Macgamestore: Football Manager 2005, Zoo Vet In Stock2:49 PM
Aspyr Ships Star Wars Battlefront8:40 AM
World of Warcraft Expansion Confirmed7:30 AM
Exploring the ESRB7:29 AM
PegIt Updated to 1.027:29 AM
Fable: The Lost Chapters Interview7:28 AM
Gish 1.42 Released Along With New Website7:27 AM
SteamTRAIN updated to 1.37:26 AM
Two New Rand Miller Video Interviews7:26 AM
Arcade Engine Released For Runtime Revolution7:25 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, July 19, 2005 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Monday, July 18, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Tuesday, July 12, 2005

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