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Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Age of Empires II Ships!
9:19 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

Bold Games has announced that Age of Empires II: Gold Edition is now shipping. In a press release issued today, the company said the game would ship today and tomorrow to retailers, and to those who pre-ordered directly from Bold. Here's the full press release:

Minneapolis, MN -- Destineer's Macintosh label, Bold, announces today that it is now shipping Age of Empires II: Gold Edition for Macintosh in North America. The game will be shipped throughout the day today and tomorrow to resellers, as well as to individuals who pre-ordered the product directly from Bold.

Age of Empires II: Gold Edition for Macintosh includes both Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings and Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion. Age of Empires II is one of the most award-winning games ever created and has received awards from Time Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today and others.

Age of Empires II is an action-packed real-time strategy game in which you lead one of the most powerful civilizations of the Middle Ages to greatness. You grow its economy, raise its armies, forge alliances, and build wonders to stand the test of time. The Windows version is already one of the best selling and most critically acclaimed games ever created.

Age of Empires II works with Mac OS 8.6 or higher, including Mac OS X. The
game requires any Macintosh with at least 64MB of RAM and a 233Mhz, or
faster, microprocessor.

There's no indication on whether a demo will be available, but we've contacted Bold about the possibility. Update: Peter Tamte has emailed to tell us that there will be no demo.

Orders for Age of Empires II are available at the Bold Games web site. If you're a MacGames CD subscribers, don't forget that you can pre-order Age of Empires II: Gold for just $39.

MacSlash: AofE II Ships
IMG Preview: Age of Empires II
Bold Games
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires II

IMG Reviews MouseMan Dual Optical, Giveaway
12:58 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

It's Hardware Wednesday again and today we take a gander at Logitech's newest mouse, the MouseMan Dual Optical. Sound gimmicky? Well, if Logitech's reputation for making excellent input devices is any indication, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that the Dual Optical lived up to my expectations. Sporting two extremely accurate sensors, this mouse was designed to make your mousing experience more enjoyable. Here is a bit on the real-world performance of the mouse:

While the MouseMan Dual Optical wasn't a enormous improvement over the older Intellimouse Optical in terms of tracking, it was definitely noticeable. I use the Finder and other non-entertainment applications (so sue me) most of the time and I noticed immediately that the Logitech mouse provided smoother and more precise movement. (Granted, Microsoft has since updated the optical sensor on all it's mice too.)

To test how well the dual sensors worked, I unearthed an old mousepad that had a history of making my Intellimouse Optical go crazy. The text and complex photo was just too much for the Microsoft sensor, it caused the cursor to hop around the screen uncontrollably. The Dual Optical worked on that surface perfectly, no skipping, no wackiness.

After reading the review, head on over to our contest page and enter to win one of two MouseMan Dual Optical mice! The giveaway will last for one week and the lucky winners will be announced next Friday. Many thanks to Logitech for donating the contest prizes.

MouseMan Dual Optical Giveaway
Logitech MouseMan Dual Optical Review

Giants Multiplayer Patch Soon
10:25 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Following up on the recent release of Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Macplay
has recently put up a support page devoted to this title. Of particular interest to most
players is the full extent of Multiplayer support, which apparently does not come with
the current shipping version. According to the support page, Macplay does have plans
to release a patch sometime in the future:

At the time that Giants: Citizen Kabuto went to production, Multiplayer support had not been
fully implemented and tested. Rather than delay the release of the product, we chose to ship the
product and deliver a patch for Multiplayer support via download.

We have been working diligently to provide you with this feature and know that you will enjoy the
enhanced game-play. To download the Multiplayer patch, please visit the MacPlay support page at

There's no specific word on when this patch will be released, though rest assured that IMG will be keeping tabs on the situation.
For those taking on the single-player aspect of Giants, the support page covers plenty of other topics,
including improving game performance, clarification of various in-game controls, and issues with sleep mode.

Macplay - Giants: Citizen Kabuto Support Page
Planet Moon Studios
Omni Group
Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Buy Giants: Citizen Kabuto

Three Stooges Remastered for the Mac
9:44 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In September IMG reported on the classic gaming company Cinemaware bringing back a number of their old titles to the Mac and PC. Defender of the Crown was the first major title announced, as it is being remastered with improved graphics and audio by Amiga developers clickBOOM. Now Cinemaware has released new info on their second major remastering for The Three Stooges. This slapstick title is planned for a release around the same timeframe as Defender of the Crown in Q1 of 2002. Here's a clip from their news page:

Nyuk, Nyuk! Hey Moe!

Cinemaware has kicked off development on a digital remastered edition of the classic Cinemaware game, The Three Stooges. With updated graphics and sound, this timeless franchise will once again capture the hearts of Stooges fans worldwide! Itís like starring in your own Stooges movie!

Join those zany masters of mirth as they quest to save an old lady and her three beautiful daughters from the clutches of an evil banker! With 30 days to collect $5,000 smackers, the Stooges will have to work together to save the orphans through pie throwing, prizefighting, and medical madness, all performed in classic Stooges style.

For the Digitally Remastered series, players can expect the same classic gameplay of the originals, but featuring enhanced graphics and sounds effects that take advantage of todayís technology. Players can also expect never-before-seen screens and material that were cut from the original titles.

Although enhanced, both graphics and sound will remain true to the style of the original productsBoth the PC and Macintosh versions will be available in Q1 2002

Keep checking the Cinemaware Stooges page for more information and screen shots. They have posted some impressive improvement screens in their Defender of the Crown section if you haven't checked them out already. We'll keep you posted as both of these titles head towards completion.

IMG News: Classic Cinemaware Titles for Mac OS?
Defender of the Crown Page
The Three Stooges Remastered Page

New Undead Units & Abilities For Warcraft III
9:42 AM | Sean Carton | Comment on this story

"Twisted, mutilated bodies...comprised of multiple dead limbs and body parts from various corpses." "Lumbering, rotting" bodies that "have made the final transition into true undeath." Grotesque creatures that "consume fleshy corpses" for sustenance and healing...

Goth party? Parent/teacher night? Windows user conference? Halloween nightmare?'s the latest new character ability revealed for Warcraft III!

Warcraft III creators Blizzard Entertainment have continued their recent revelations about the upcoming game by divulging more information about Undead Ghoul and Abomination units:

Ghouls are the basic warriors of the Undead Scourge. These lumbering, rotting corpses were once Zombies that have made the final transition into true 'undeath'. Ghouls have great stamina and revel in combat with living beings. Ghouls are ravenous cannibals who can regenerate their wounds by eating the flesh of fallen warriors.

The twisted, mutilated bodies of the Abominations are comprised of multiple dead limbs and body parts from various corpses. These enormous warriors love to carve flesh and tear their enemies apart. The slow moving and slow-witted Abominations constantly drip blood behind them and smell like a disease ridden slaughterhouse. They carry large cleavers into combat and wield various sickle-bladed hooks on their disproportionate limbs.

Both units will be able to employ a special "Cannibalize" ability to "consume fleshy corpses to heal hitpoints."

This tasty new feature should make for some interesting battles as each unit you kill provides more healing fodder for your undead enemies. As if Halloween wasn't scary enough!

Warcraft III is slated for release in early 2002. Now there's one more gruesome feature to look forward to.

Warcraft III Preview
Warcraft III Abomination
Warcraft III Ghoul

Myth III preview at
8:56 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

A new preview of Myth III: The Wolf Age appears at GameSpy today with a nice overall description of the game from Mumbo Jumbo. The preview does not go into any plot spoiling details about the story, but does detail some interesting changes in the way the story is told.

"In the previous two games the between-mission narrative was told by one of the members of your company . . . In Myth III it's more like a documentary as the important historical events are recreated for us through a series of missions."
Although it isn't clear whether the previewer thinks this is a bad thing or a good thing, it definately shows at least one difference between the previous Bungie produced Myth stories.

As first reported on Inside Mac Games, Mumbo Jumbo expects Myth III for the Mac to be finished sometime in the next few weeks.

Myth III Mac In "2-3 weeks" - Preview: Myth III: The Wolf Age

Click to enlarge
Porting Details for The Sims Online
8:54 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A recent post at Slashdot by Don Hopkins, a Maxis programmer who worked on The Sims and now the Sims Online, gives a number of details about his efforts to port the title to Linux and other OS's (including the Mac). While it's a very long post and a little on the technical side, Hopkins does make some good points which may reflect the situation of a possible Mac port of the Sims Online. In the beginning, he talks about how he worked to keep his code as portable as possible. He refers to the SDL, which is an open-source gaming API similar to Microsoft's closed DirectX APIs (which give Mac programmers such headaches). SDL is available for many platforms, including Windows, Linux, and the Mac. Here's a clip:

I worked full time at Maxis on The Sims for three years, and all that time I kept the idea of porting The Sims to other platforms in mind. So I wrote code as portably as I had time to, and thought a lot about what would need to be done.

I evangelised to my co-workers and managers at Maxis about how I thought Loki would be the ideal company to port The Sims to Linux. Since there really isn't much demand for a Linux port, I proposed doing a Mac port in a way that would facilitate them both. Before The Sims was ever released, I wrote and sent a proposal around Maxis, outlining how to port The Sims to the Mac and Linux, using SDL and Open GL.

His efforts may have helped out Westlake Interactive in their port of The Sims to the Mac, even though they didn't use SDL directly.

Later in the post, he makes a comment which may cast some doubt on the feasibility of a Mac port of the Sims Online. Because the game's client will be constantly changing and needing updates, Hopkins thinks any ports will have to be done by Maxis in-house:

So the server simulation and protocol must be *EXACTLY* the same as the clients, or all hell will break loose. Any online game, no matter what the architecture, requires that the client and the servers be in sync. That's not so hard if the game is trivial like Othello or Quake, but The Sims network protocol is much more complex and quite sensitive to incompatibilities.

So there is absolutely no way to support any more than one client executable, because the clients and servers must be updated together in real time by downloading patches, just like Ultima Online and other games.

In order for there to be a Linux port (or a Mac port), it would necessarily have to be done in-house at Maxis, built off of the same code tree, developed in parallel.

While no Mac port of the Sims Online has been announced yet, we're hopeful that Aspyr and Westlake can push to get this sure-hit on the Mac as well.

One other bit of good news from the post is that the servers from the game will be running on Linux. This is much better news for the Mac port than if they had gone with a closed system like Microsoft's DirectPlay, which has blocked many Mac-PC network games in the past. We're looking into this and will bring you any new word on the Sims Online that we might come across.

Slashdot Post about Sims Online Ports

New Shadowbane Screenshots
8:51 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

UbiSoft, the publisher for the upcoming online RPG Shadowbane, has released three new screenshots from the game. The screenshots show off some of the neat character creation options that will be featured in Shadowbane. Also featured in the new screenshots is the long awaited and much anticipated first look at Aracroix.

There's also a gigantic thread at discussing the new screenshots. If you're interested in talking about the screenshots or learning more about game, be sure to check it out.

We also sent an email to Wolfpack recently, who assured us that a Mac version is still going strong. Be on the look out for more Shadowbane Mac news in the next few days.

Shadowbane Screenshot 2
Shadowbane Screenshot 3
Shadowbane Screenshot 1
Shadowbane Forum Thread
Wolfpack Studios

Mac Games News for Tuesday, October 30, 2001

First PC Civilization III Review11:28 PM
Monsters Inc. games coming to Mac11:02 AM
Max Payne Special Report Available10:50 AM
Master of Orion III Development Team Interview10:46 AM
Civilization III Ships for PC9:44 AM
Rogue Spear: Black Thorn Demo for Mac9:41 AM
MacWarcraft III Q&A9:35 AM
MacPlay on Baldur's Gate II Issues8:46 AM
Games Galore at the Apple Store8:23 AM
Custer Has a House Party7:53 AM
Mac Torque Beta Begins7:53 AM
Fly II Patch for OS X 10.1 Released7:52 AM
Voodoo Extreme Goes Ga-Ga Over Halo7:52 AM
Halloween Contest at Mac-O-Rama7:32 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, October 30, 2001 on one page

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Monday, October 29, 2001
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