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Monday, November 5, 2001

Deimos Rising Nears Final Candidacy
9:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new Ambrosia Software progress update from David Wareing contains good news about Deimos Rising, the 2D scrolling shooter. This sequel to Mars Rising is nearing its sixth beta, which Wareing expects to be their last before going FC (Final Candidate). While a Carbonized version for Mac OS X is planned for future release, the initial release will be for classic Mac OS 8.6 and above. All that is left at this point is tweaking the difficulty curve and making some small script changes.

Wareing also makes note of some significant performance degradation in Apple's latest version of OS 9 for those running older G3 systems. Here's a clip from the full post:

If you're running an early iMac or equivalent machine, it is strongly recommended that you DO NOT upgrade to OS 9.2.1. For some reason, it appears that drawing performance in 9.2.1 is not at all what it should be. Profiling shows that, at least on my stock iMac rev B, Copybits performance in 9.2.1 is quite hopeless:

(offscreen sys memory buffer -> screen, using Apple sample code NewNewGWorld, VRAM copies not affected)

OS 9.1 - 171fps

OS 9.2.1 - 100fps

(That's not a typo!)

Some people have reported success in replacing their ATI and OpenGL 9.2.1 drivers with 9.1 drivers, but I found that this did not help. On reinstalling 9.1, performance was back to normal. Not a very elegant solution!

While frames per second (fps) are not nearly as important in a game like Deimos Rising as in Quake or Unreal Tournament, Wareing's findings still raise concern. Maybe someone at Apple can help Ambrosia out with some final optimizations before Deimos Rising ships. For the full post or more information on the game, be sure to have a look at Ambrosia's web site.

Ambrosia: Deimos Rising Beta Screenshots
Ambrosia: Deimos Rising Progress Log

ATI Mobility Radeon: Most Popular Mobile Chip
2:05 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

ATI Technologies, makers of the popular Radeon series of graphics cards, has announced that their Mobility Radeon is now the most popular mobile graphics chip in the industry, nine months after its introduction:

Introduced in February, 2001, Mobility Radeon is now shipping in 15 notebook designs by nine of the world's top notebook manufacturers.

"The sheer volume of design wins garnered by the ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processor in such a short time period is impressive," said Christine Arrington, Vice-President, Jon Peddie Associates.

The ATI Mobility Radeon is featured in Apple's recent revision of the Titanium PowerBook G4 and is the chief contributor to the greatly improved gaming performance of the new model.

(It is earnestly to be hoped that Apple will be able to get ATI's new and vastly more powerful Mobility Radeon 7500, announced shortly before last month's PowerBook revision, into their next PowerBook.)

For the full text of ATI's press release or for previous IMG coverage of ATI's Mobility Radeon line, follow the links below.

IMG: More Details on Mobility Radeon 7500
IMG: Apple "Speed Bumps" Portables
IMG: ATI Mobility Radeon Revealed
Business Wire: ATI Mobility Radeon Press Release
IMG: ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 Announced

IMG Reviews Warbirds III
1:02 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

One of the first and most successful online pay-for-play games ever released, Warbirds, recently went through a major upgrade. Warbirds III, from the iEntertainment Network, marks a fantastic upgrade to the genre, not only delivering graphical and gameplay enhancements, but also introducing an entire new level of strategy to the system. Here's a snippet from IMG's review:

Warbirds III introduces the ground warfare aspect to the online universe. Now players can hop in the driverís seat of anti-aircraft vehicles and tanks or man their guns. Although support for ground vehicles isnít as robust as that for airplanes, itís enough to make vehicles a very important part of the game. Along with the tanks and AA guns, bombers and a few fighters have room for more than one person. Players can send out requests for gunners and then select other players to fly with. Even if you canít put together a full compliment of gunners for your B-17, your fellow players can hop from station to station, following a bogie across the sky.
If you're into flight simulators, be sure to check out the full review of Warbirds III.

Warbirds III Review

Click to enlarge
Ambrosia Begins pop-pop Beta
12:49 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A post to the Ambrosia Software web boards slipped under our radar late last month announcing the start of beta testing for pop-pop. This is great news for this stylized version of the arcade classic Arkanoid because it means development for the game is back under way after apparently being becalmed since April, when its progress log was last updated.

Check out the beta screenshots at the link below, and stay tuned to the pages of IMG as more progress on the game is made in the near future. It is to be hoped we'll see pop-pop released fairly soon.

Ambrosia: Call for pop-pop Beta Test [Now Closed]
Ambrosia: pop-pop Beta Screenshots
Ambrosia Software

MouseMan Dual Optical Giveaway Continues
12:45 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Day three of our MouseMan Dual Optical giveaway continues! If you haven't already, head on over to our contest page and enter to win one of two MouseMan Dual Optical mice. Sporting two extremely accurate sensors, this mouse was designed to make your mousing experience more enjoyable. The giveaway will last until this Wednesday and the lucky winners will be announced Friday. For more information, read our review of Logitech's newest input device.

MouseMan Dual Optical Review
MouseMan Dual Optical Giveaway

Custer's Kabuto
12:09 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG's own resident giant, Brad Custer, has another desktop for us, this week bringing his impressive artistic talents to bear on Giants: Citizen Kabuto, the action/RTS game from the good folks at MacPlay:

With the recent announcement by MacPlay that Giants was shipping, I felt it was time to venture into this unique game and put a desktop together for it. "Incompatible" was a combination of box art, screenshots and game art provided by MacPlay and the internet. One interesting side note - the Sea Reaper art I found on the internet had to be fitted with a bikini top so this desktop could remain all-ages material. ;D I hope you'll enjoy this one as much as I did making it.
Head on over to Custer's Desktops and dress up your screen with this week's dose of eye candy.

MacPlay: Giants: Citizen Kabuto
IMG: Custer's Desktops

New Harpoon3 Carbon Patch Available
11:29 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Hot on the heels of SpearSoft's release last Friday of a patch to carbonize Harpoon3, their critically-acclaimed naval warfare simulation, comes a new patch to correct a crashing bug. Jesse Spears writes:

I said I'd only update the OS X version if someone found a crash bug, and sure enough, someone found one almost immediately. If you tried to save your game, it would crash. The AutoSave feature worked fine, but if you actually selected Save or Save As... from the File Menu, it would crash while building the info for the Save Dialog (which had to be reworked for the Carbon version). Guess I never actually tried to save a game under OS X (I wrote that code back in the spring, and only tested it under 9.1 using CarbonLib).

I've fixed it (and another crash bug that didn't show up until after I fixed the first crash bug).

The patch works on versions 3.3.5 and 3.3.5b1. The installer itself is a Classic application and weighs in at around 1.3 MB; it's available at the Harpoon3 web site. For those that wish to give Harpoon3 a spin, a demo is available at

SpearSoft: Harpoon3
MGF: Harpoon3 Demo

CH Introduces New USB Joysticks
11:05 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

CH Products, one of the best-known producers of joysticks for Macintosh, have released a new line of USB game controllers. Their newest additions are among the most flexible HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick) systems available to Mac users, but also the most expensive.

CH's Fighterstick USB is their high-end joystick, with four hats and three buttons; the Fighterstick retails for $149.95. Their mid-range joystick, the Combatstick 568 USB, offers two hats and six buttons for the price of $109.95. Their new Pro Throttle USB, priced at $149.95, offers a multitude of hats, a mode switch, and even a mini-joystick placed near the thumb for view control.

On the civilian side, the new Flight Sim Yoke USB offers an alternative to the traditional control column. Mounted atop the yoke is a throttle, mixture, and prop controls, as well as gear and flap switches, a hat, two rockers, and 4 buttons. The Flight Sim Yoke USB also retails for $149.95.

All controllers are fully compatible with USB- or InputSprocket-enabled games, and come with Control Manager software. They are available for purchase at CH's online store.

CH Products

Falcon 4 ACMI Patch Available
10:32 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

Users of Falcon 4 version 1.06c will be happy to know that a diligent Falcon player has released a patch that restores ACMI support to the game. With the release of version 1.06c from Westlake Interactive, support for ACMI, Falcon's recording and playback system, had mysteriously disappeared. This problem was fixed on Saturday, when the patch was announced on the MacFalcon4 Forum on Delphi.

Apparently, the problem lies in a failure of the 1.06c upgrader to properly install the upgraded files. Users discovered that incrementally upgrading from 1.06b to 1.06c fixed the problem, and this process is essentially what the patch simulates.

As of yet, Westlake has not issued any statements regarding the patch, so no support for it should be assumed. Falcon 4 is Microprose's highly realistic F-16 flight simulator.

MacSoft: Falcon 4
Westlake Interactive
Delphi: MacFalcon4 Forum
Download ACMI Patch

The Sims: Hot Date Interview
10:21 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Computer Games Online recently managed to hook up with Mike McCormick, a designer for the upcoming expansion pack for The Sims, the ever-popular people simulation. Titled Hot Date, this expansion pack will give Sims the ability to date, mingle, and actively pursue various romantic escapades. To aid in these relationships, a whole new downtown area is also being implemented, where players can build popular dating spots such as restaurants, shopping centers, and ice cream parlors.

According to McCormick, Hot Date is largely a compilation of ideas submitted by Sims fans asking for ways to leave the house. He notes that much of the design is a collaborative effort, spawning such ideas as old, prudish Miss Crumplebottom, who has a habit of nagging Sims on inappropriate behavior.

Hot Date also expands on the kissing and hugging currently present in The Sims:

In 1.0 there was pretty much just one sort of kiss. In Hot Date there are more than six. We wanted to provide a lot more depth and options. The kisses range from a simple peck on the cheek to a fiery dip kiss. We did similar expansions on many of the old social options. Hot Date provides four types of hugs of increasing intimacy that unlock as your relationship with another Sim progresses.
McCormick further adds that Sims won't actually make the first move regarding intimate actions, leaving it up to the player to "cross the line" first. Once initiated, Sims will start performing such behaviors on their own, given that conditions are right.

The PC version of Hot Date is scheduled to ship sometime this month. Though a Mac version has yet to be announced, the popularity of The Sims and strong support for current Mac versions bodes well for Hot Date on the Mac.

CG Online: Matchmaker, make me a match

Another Myth III Mac Update
9:53 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MumboJumbo's Mike Donges put out a lengthy new update that discusses an upcoming patch to the PC version of Myth III: The Wolf Age as well as the latest progress on the Mac version. In the .plan update, Donges said the company would be "releasing a patch within the week" and that the Mac version is "very close." Here's the full update:

Well, it's been an interesting week that has capped an interesting and rewarding year. More than anything else, the Irvine crew would like to thank the people out there in the community that have supported the franchise. Whether you agree with the direction that we have taken or not, you have kept Myth alive, made this third game possible and allowed us to bring together this team to bring it to you. To a person, we have taken an incredible amount of pride in our accomplishment. We have been a bit quiet over the last week, in order to capture feedback on the game. Believe me that we have been paying close attention to what we have seen and compiling a list of the issues and comments that have cropped up. MumboJumbo will be releasing a patch within the week to resolve a great number of these issues. This patch will focus mainly on fixing up issues that have plagued the MultiPlayer User Interface and some important compatibility issues. When it is ready for release, it will be available from Take 2's support website and we'll get the word out to you.

A word on the Mac version... it is very close, and MacSoft is gearing it up for the holiday season. They are as committed as us in getting it to the eager Mac users. The fact of the matter is that we ran into some unforeseen issues that have caused it to take us a bit longer to get it ready for release. I don't think that the few extra weeks of practice that the PC users have will do them any good once the Mac users start hitting GameSpy (this coming from an ex_Applite). Good luck, y'all.

All in all it looks like the Mac version is on schedule to ship around mid-November. Since the Mac version will include all the bug fixes that are being incorporated into the PC patch, the Mac version of Myth III should be more stable when released than its PC counterpart was. (Perhaps we should be grateful to publishers and developers for using their Windows customers for final game testing so they can deliver a more polished product to the Mac gaming community!)

A demo of Myth III will be released shortly after the Mac version goes gold.

The IMG web store is currently taking pre-orders for Myth III: The Wolf Age for $35. Keep in mind that this (and many other special offers) are available for MacGames CD subscribers only.

Myth III News Page
Myth III Preview

Mac Games News for Friday, November 2, 2001

Diablo II Fixes, StarCraft for OS X Due Soon3:54 PM
New Build of Marathon: Aleph One1:30 PM
"Survivor" Game Previewed12:01 PM
New Harpoon3 Carbon Beta Release11:43 AM
IMG Interviews ATI's Chris Bentley11:06 AM
Backyard Basketball, Backyard Football 2002 Debut10:50 AM
OS X Game Development Interview9:53 AM
New Westlake Recruit Takes "Morphine"9:27 AM
iPuppet Goes Gold, Spiderman First Playable8:51 AM
Civilization III Release Party Chat Log8:31 AM
Red Faction Golden Master Imminent8:24 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, November 2, 2001 on one page

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Thursday, November 1, 2001
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Monday, October 29, 2001
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