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Monday, April 10, 2006

Macologist Posts Intel Mac Benchmarks
8:08 AM | Evan Holt | 4 comments

Macologist has spent a considerable amount of time benchmarking the latest Intel Macs against the past generation of Macs.

Their tests were completed using the Universal Binaries of Unreal Tournament 2004, Doom 3 and Quake 3. Cinebench, Java Scimark (Computational test), Altivec Fractal, Distributed.net client, iTunes and XBench were also used.

In general, the new Intel-based Macs are very impressive rigs—the overall performance of Intel CD-based iMacs and the MacBook Pro are on par with mid level G5 PowerMacs. Certainly those users who have been putting off purchasing an Apple laptop because of a desire to avoid the G4 should now be congratulating themselves with a well-justified wait and readying themselves to purchase the MacBook Pro. It will certainly be interesting on the high end to see how Intel-based replacements for the PowerMacs will measure up, and the indications so far are are very promising indeed.
These tests are still in progress however follow the link below to Macologist to see how well each computer did.

Macologist: Intel Mac Benchmark Smorgasbord

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Macgamestore: Gem Shop Now Available
12:40 PM | Tuncer Deniz

Gem Shop is now available at Macgamestore.com as a digital download. It is available for $19.99. A free downloadable demo is available on the site.

Match colorful gems and keep your jewelry customers happy! Sell gems and jewelry to your smiling consumers, but watch out! Keep them waiting too long and they’ll start to grumble. You’ll need to give them marvelous treats to keep them happy (and get the sale)! Special tokens allow you to upgrade your shop with more jewelry and customer-appreciation treats. Remember, happy customers spend big bucks, and keep your gem shop open for business!

For more, head over to Macgamestore.com.

Macgamestore.com: Gem Shop

IMG Reviews QBeez 2
11:49 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of casual game maker Skunk Studios' latest game, QBeez 2. Here's a clip from the review:

The key element of QBeez 2 that makes it so much fun is that unlike such puzzle classic as Tetris or the more recent Bejeweled, the blocks in QBeez are the characters. They're the QBeez and they're as varied and filled with life as any marketable toy that you'll find in a Toys Backwards R Us. Plus, I'll bet they take a fraction of the time to draw. But drawn they are! The artwork in QBeez2 has a great hand-drawn (but still polished) look to it. It feels not unlike playing a cartoon and runs great on a dual processor G5 machine or a tired old Powerbook G4.
To check out the full review of QBeez 2, follow the link below.

IMG Review: QBeez 2

Phoenix Final Q&A
8:08 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Macaj has posted an interview with Neil Carter about Phoenix Final, a 3D space combat game crafted with the Unity game creation software. In Phoenix the player helps their squadron defend against "an onslaught of giant planet-destroying warships."

From the interview:

Macaj:How unity make it very easier than your previous games?

Neil:The main benefit is that I don't have to spend several months writing a game engine before I can start doing something interesting. I've been down that path several times, and it's really not something I want to spend all my time doing. With Unity, almost immediately I'm able to start shaping the gameplay and experimenting, and that's a lot more fun.

It's also very helpful to be able to drop 3D models and other things into the game and start work straight away. No import process, no need to convert everything into strange formats before they'll work, and everything automatically updates itself when you edit the original files.

Nothing's perfect, of course. Unity has some bugs and missing features which need to be worked around at the moment, although the OTEE team are clearly working hard to improve its (relatively few) shortcomings.

The other thing is that, in order to make a complex, worthwhile game, you still need to write a lot of code. Game entity behaviour is difficult no matter what language or tools you use. On the other hand, at least this is the interesting part of the programming!

On the whole, I'm very pleased with Unity.
To read the rest of the interview and learn more about the game check out the links provided below.

Macaj: Phoenix Final Interview
Bad Mac Code: Phoenix Final

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Wingnuts 2 Screenshots
8:08 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

A collection of screenshots from the eagerly awaited Wingnuts 2 are now available at Games4Mac. In development at Freeverse Software, Wingnuts 2 is a colorful arcade shooter in the tradition of the original.

Wingnuts 2 details:

The carrier is no longer limited to just being where you start and end the levels. Now it will provide cover fire, allow you to land and change planes mid-level, and travel across land and water. But the increased functionality also means you have to defend it from your opponents. If it takes too much damage, it will be destroyed - which means no more second chances for you!

Ground units in Wingnuts 2 are harder, better, faster, and stronger - you'd have to be daft to get stuck in the middle of a cluster of them like we see here! These particular ground units have three laser turrets each, and while they may not be too much trouble to deal with individually, a group of them can bring even the strongest pilots to their knees. Careful bombing runs are required to bring down these machines of destruction.

To check out the new screenshots click on the link below.

Games4Mac: Wingnuts 2 Screenshots
Buy WingNuts 2: Raina’s Revenge

Past, Present, and Future of Real Time Strategy Games
8:08 AM | Anthony Wang | 3 comments

IGN has posted a somewhat lenghty, but interesting feature on past, present, and future of the Real-Time Strategy genre of gaming. With commentary from industry developers, this feature delves into all the aspects of the RTS, from the first strategy games, to expansion of the genre into RTT and others, to innovation in graphics and gameplay in present day, and upcoming RTS game titles.

It's pretty apparent to that visuals and the technological advancements are very impressive indeed. Not only are models, textures, particle effects, and shaders getting more and more complex, but developers are also expanding their ability to put more and more units on screen at once. Take the real-time elements of Rome: Total War if you want to see an awe inspiring number of units or the detail of model, texture, and animation in games like Battle for Middle-earth II or Age of Empires III.

"A lot of hardcore players overlook the fact that cool visuals and audio equals fun," says Chaveleh. "Some good audio and a great explosion effect can convey more power and emotion than any amount of subtle gameplay options. But, if you spend all your time focusing on explosions, you wind up with nothing to play." New tricks like object physics are starting to show up more and more. Seeing pieces of buildings fly across screen and bounce correctly down a hill or off other objects only adds to the immersion. This isn't a completely new thing, Myth actually had bouncing heads and pooling blood back in 1999, but complexity of it all is increasing dramatically.

Click on the link below to continue reading and to learn more information.

IGN: State of the RTS

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Battle Themes From HoMM V
8:08 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Ubisoft's Might and Magic website is offering downloads of music tracks from the upcoming Heroes of Might and Magic V. The eight MP3s showcase some of the battle themes available in the game. HoMM V is the latest in the long running turn based strategy series.

Here's a list of the music offered:

Inferno Battle Theme
Inferno Battle Theme preview
Haven Battle Theme
Haven Battle Theme preview
Dungeon Battle Theme
Dungeon Battle Theme preview
Academy Battle Theme
Academy Battle Theme preview
Freeverse Software is working to deliver the Mac version of HoMM V sometime after the PC release.

To download the music head over to the site listed below.

HoMM V Website
Heroes of Might & Magic V
Buy Heroes of Might & Magic V

PCWorld Benchmarks PC Games Via Boot Camp
8:08 AM | Evan Holt | Comment on this story

Eric Dahl from PC World.com has benchmarked both Doom 3 and Far Cry benching an iMac Core Duo against various equivalent PCs.

The reviewer was impressed by the flawless install and found game performance "Most impressive".

The first graphics test results are in for the 20-inch iMac, and Windows XP under Boot Camp continues to impress. In our Doom 3 and Far Cry benchmarks, the iMac ran neck and neck with a pair of notebook systems equipped with Intel Core Duo processors and similar graphics hardware.
To see just how well the iMac fared in comparison to the leader, an Acer TravelMate 8200, follow the link below.

MacWorld: Boot Camp graphics tests

Mac Games News for Friday, April 7, 2006

Macgamestore: This Week's New Mac Games1:56 PM
Apple Updates Hot Deals1:50 PM
Gypsy King Software Releases Blackjack Gold 1.2.11:34 PM
Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space In Late Beta1:21 PM
Deliver2Mac Adds More Titles1:16 PM
WoW: Burning Crusade Screens, Zandalar Reputation8:03 AM
Custer Hits The Town Again8:02 AM
HoMM V Web Minigame Available8:00 AM
More from Oliver on Boot Camp7:59 AM
MS Buys Lionhead Studios7:58 AM
Shrapnel Games Announces Dominions 37:47 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 7, 2006 on one page

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