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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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Chopper 1.1 Update Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Chopper 1.1 was recently released by developer Majic Jungle Software. The game is an action packed side-scrolling helicopter game in which players complete missions, and return to base, while avoiding enemy fire from tanks, bazooka wielding mad men, and jets. Chopper 1.1 adds new levels and boasts a complete overhaul of graphics and sound, amongst many other improvements.

The graphics have received the largest improvement in this update. All graphics have now been optimized for display on monitors with a resolution of 1920x1200. Depth of field has been added, and the quality of particle effects and animations has been increased.

Four new levels have been added, bringing the total number of levels up to sixty across the three difficulty settings. These levels range from 'Suburbia' where the player must fly over miles of hostile territory to rescue families in the suburbs, to 'No Room To Move' where the player is flying in a cramped space above tall skyscrapers where enemy bazookas are firing from the roof tops.

List Of Changes in Chopper 1.1:
* Major graphical improvements, most textures have been replaced with
new higher resolution images, with many other graphical enhancements.
* New sounds added and many others replaced with better quality
* Four new levels added to each difficulty level bringing the total
number of levels up to sixty.
* Optimizations made to reduce toll on system resources.
* Stability improvements and Leopard compatibility improved.
With version 1.1 Chopper becomes shareware, selling for a price of $15. There is a 30 day, no limitation trial period after which the game must be registered.

Chopper is a Universal Binary, and has been tested on a range of machines from a PPC eMac running 10.4.9 to an Intel 24 inch iMac running 10.5.1. The minimum requirements to play are a 16MB graphics card and OS X 10.3.9.

Click on the links below for more information.

MGF: Chopper 1.1
Majic Jungle Software

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Madden NFL 08 Patch Released
1:31 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

A patch for EA's Madden NFL 08 has been released. The new patch includes roster updates, allows PC vs Mac online play, and more. Here's the complete list of fixes:

- Roster Update 3, allows PC vs Mac online play
- MadCatz controller fix, where d-pad would malfunction on this controller
- Fix for dock icons not showing up properly on Leopard
- Workaround for R600 graphics issue where game was not playable on these systems
To download the patch, please follow the link below.

Macgamefiles: Madden NFL 08 Patch
Electronic Arts
Madden NFL 08
Buy Madden NFL 08

Deliver2Mac Releases Pet Doc
12:43 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Pet Doc, ported to the Mac by RuneSoft, has been released as a digital download on Virtual Programming's digital download service.

Did you ever dream of being a pet doctor? With "Pet Doc" this dream
might come true. Start up your own practice and treat all those four-
legged and feathered pets. Each day people will come to you with their
pets: guinea pigs, rabbits, budgerigars, cats, dogs and even horses.
Soon you will learn more about treating and healing animals and you
will decide when to build which building.

Sometimes it might become necessary to accommodate the animals and
take care of them for a couple of days, so that they get well again.
You can build extra stables and accomodations for them. Playing with
the pets and bear company are among your daily duties as well as
feeding them, cleaning up and the daily treatment of your little
patients. But although working with these lovely pets is a lot of fun,
even the best pet doc needs some time out. You can go to town and buy
yourself a new outfit. Or you can saddle one of your horses and go for
a long ride at the beach or through the nearby forest.

Pet Doc is available for $29.95 from Deliver2Mac.

Pet Doc

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Noble Master Games Releases Royal AO API
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Noble Master Games has released an open application programming interface (API) to allow third party developers to connect to their multiplayer strategy game Royal AO (also known as Aevum Obscurm).

The game API provides functionality to poll live player and game statistics. The API includes an administrative interface to allow developers to create and manage multiplayer games and leagues, and offers access to player signatures and live game maps. A reference implementation in the PHP programming language has been provided with the source code available for download.

Royal AO is a turn-based interactive multiplayer strategy game with the objective to world domination in a 14th century setting. In one game you form alliances with other reigning or budding and struggling regions then one by one take control of it until the world is yours.

You will have to take control of an empire at the beginning of the 14th century, Earth. Your strategy is to have absolut control within the next years to come. Your empires to choose from are among England, France, Ireland, Rome and other 50+ all over Europe. Interact with other empires by means of diplomacy. Manage your economy and population.

A turn is usally 24h in length. Within that time period, it is up to you to login to the game, see the current events and stats. You adjust your tax and spending. You input your orders. Your orders and how they turned out will be visible at the next turn to come. It will take you approximatly 5-20 minutes to do your moves everyday.

Royal AO is available for PC and Macintosh computers. Free demo and free turn-based multiplayer mode are available for a try out. Full access membership with unlimited single player and real-time multiplayer can be obtained for $19.99 per year.

For more information follow the links provided below.

Royal AO
Game API

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Myst Online: Uru Live Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Adventure Classic Gaming is currently offering an interview with Cyan Worlds' Mark Dobratz, producer and product manager of Myst Online: Uru Live. The interview covers a variety of topics ranging from Dobratz's history with Cyan Worlds, the company's financial struggles, and the possibility of allowing player created content in the unique MMORPG.

If the state of an Age is frozen whenever the player logs off, how will persistence be maintained within the game world that fundamentally defines the unique experience of playing a Massive Multiplayer Online Game?
If you’ve spent hours working your way through an Age (by yourself or with friends) but have to stop before you’ve gotten all the way through, you’ll want to find things the way you left them when you come back to that Age, unless the nature of the Age itself reverts or changes things. You don’t want to have to regain the ground you’ve already won just because you had to stop before the finish line. You especially don’t want to find that a stranger has come along while you were away and confused or ruined things.

To prevent those kinds of frustrations, we’ve relied heavily on instancing in Myst Online. Instancing is where we create as many instances of an Age as players who visit that Age. So, essentially, every player gets their own Age instance of every Age they visit, with only a few exceptions (public areas such as the City and some of the Neighborhoods). Then we put the power of access to those owned instances into the hands of the owners themselves. The only way another player can get to your (instance of an) Age is if you invite them. And we’ve created several ways and levels of invitation to give players even more flexibility and control. So, even though it’s been a huge development headache, we’ve got a system that works really well.

Rand Miller has announced that players will be able to add user generated contents to the Uru universe. To what extent can a player create new contents for the game? How will such contents be shared online? What are the differences between the tools that will be made available to the community and the tools that are used internally by the company to create these contents?
We absolutely want to empower players to create their own content - content that can be shared with the community, from simple T-shirt designs to full-blown Ages. That’s our plan, and we’re as excited about that as any of our own content plans. But the reality is, the tools to make that possible need to be made more accessible, and are not trivial to produce. However, we’re working toward that with baby steps, as time allows, and we will get there some day, hopefully sooner than later.

Read the rest of the Q&A at the site listed below.

Adventure Classic Gaming: Mark Dobratz Interview
Myst Online: Uru Live

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Unreal Tournament 3 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamespy recently posted a preview of Epic Games' recently released PC version of Unreal Tournament 3, the latest entry in the first person shooter series. The game will feature fast paced multiplayer, a campaign mode for single player fans, as well as new game modes, vehicles, and weapons. Gamespy gave the game a score of 4 out of 5.

For both Warfare and the new Vehicle CTF mode, a number of new vehicles -- based on the Necris race -- join the group that was introduced in UT 2004. They're a pretty cool bunch, including the nimble Viper hovercraft, the Nemesis tank, the cloak-enabled Nightshade ground vehicle and the Fury one-man airship. The best is the ridiculously awesome DarkWalker, which is like driving one of the tripods from War of the Worlds or a Half-Life 2 Strider, with devastating energy blasts and the ability to navigate odd terrain and duck under obstacles. There's also the loopy Scavenger, which is a clear ball with tentacles that you can either crawl around with or retract the tentacles and roll around like an escaped refugee from Super Monkey Ball.

Maybe the most important new "vehicle" added for Warfare and Vehicle CTF is the hoverboard, which you always have access to and which allows you to move much quicker even while carrying an orb or enemy flag. You're extremely vulnerable on the hoverboard -- even the smallest bit of damage will knock you down for a few seconds -- but it's a great way to get around when there aren't any faster vehicles available (you can even latch onto friendly vehicles for a ride).

It's worth noting that the returning vehicles like the Scorpion and Hellbender have gotten some tweaks as well. In addition to cosmetic makeovers, they also have new abilities, like a turbo boost and eject for the Scorpion. And there's still something extremely satisfying about flattening an opponent in a Manta and hearing the game yell "PANCAKE!"
Head over to the site below to read the rest of the review.

Gamespy: Unreal Tournament 3 Review
Epic Games
Unreal Tournament 3

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Is World Of Warcraft Bad For Society?
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 18 comments

In a lengthy discussion at the Montreal Games Summit Jonathan Blow, creator of the 2006 IGF Design Innovation award winner - Braid, discussed the use of familiar concepts and simplistic rewards systems to keep players coming back to games. Among other things he asserts that many of the tools developers use to interest gamers in their products are ultimately harmful to individuals and even society as a whole. One of the titles he cites as an example is Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft.

"The game industry is chasing bigger player base, and we’re exploiting them in an unethical way," Blow asserted. "We don’t see it as unethical because we refuse to stop and think about the magnitude of what we are doing. You can smoke, have fast food, and play World of Warcraft sometimes – when you talk about these things at a societal level, it becomes a societal problem."

"The thing I want to get at is – I’m not trying to blame players here – what I am saying is, if you’re the CEO of McDonald's, you should not feel good about your job, you should feel ashamed. We don’t have that in the games business -- we don’t have that sense, because we feel like they’re 'just entertainment.' We don’t feel like we can do things we can be ashamed of yet," he added.

Blow believes that according to WoW, the game's rules are its meaning of life. "The meaning of life in WoW is you’re some schmo that doesn’t have anything better to do than sit around pressing a button and killing imaginary monsters," he explained. "It doesn’t matter if you’re smart or how adept you are, it’s just how much time you sink in. You don’t need to do anything exceptional, you just need to run the treadmill like everyone else."

"You don’t come away from WoW with that in your head, but that comes through subtly and subconsciously," Blow added. "It’s like advertising and brand identity. People identify with their activities – same thing with games, people are products of their origins and their environments. We’re giving them these environments and helping to determine what they’re going to be."
To read more of his comments head over to the Gamasutra article linked below.

Gamasutra: Jonathan Blow On The 'WoW Drug'

Mac Games News for Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews Madden NFL 081:20 PM
Guitar Hero III For Mac Goes Gold12:48 PM
ScummVM Hits iPhone, iPod Touch12:47 PM
Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker Discusses Eschalon: Book 16:00 AM
Carmack: World Of Warcraft And The State Of PC Gaming6:00 AM
SkyFighters 1918 With Mission Builder Released6:00 AM
Travelogue 360: Paris Reviewed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, November 27, 2007 on one page

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