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Tuesday, November 13, 2001

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Aspyr's iPuppet Now Shipping
9:39 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Fans of Freeverse Software's many card games will be pleased to know that iPuppet presents: Colin's Classic Cards is now shipping. A joint effort between Freeverse and Aspyr Media, iPuppet includes the popular card games Hearts, Spades, Euchre, and Pitch.

Besides including both single-player and online multiplayer modes, iPuppet gives players the option to customize the appearance of their online personae, thus giving it its name.

Freeverse's Colin Lynch Smith explained one of the chief ideas behind the game's design:

Playing a game of cards is as much about human interaction as it is
about following suit. We worked very hard to re-create that social
experience in both solo and online play and I think we nailed it.
For more information on iPuppet including system requirements and purchasing information, be sure to check out the iPuppet site at Aspyr.

MacGamer: iPuppet Review
Aspyr: iPuppet Classic Cards
Freeverse Software

Otto Matic Sci-Fi Movie Quiz
2:58 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

This week's Otto Matic Sci-Fi Movie Quiz from Aspyr Media tests your knowledge of Buck Rogers, one of the ten films listed by Otto Matic creator Brian Greenstone as most influential on the development of this upcoming game of intergalactic exploration:

1. In what year did the original Buck Rogers wake up?

2. Who was hotter than Erin Gray?

3. What connection does Bugs Bunny have with Buck Rogers?
Submit your answers to The first person to answer all three questions correctly by Friday will receive an Otto Matic prize (nature and value to be determined).

The winner of last week's Otto Matic quiz was Lucas Mathis, now the proud owner of an Otto Matic t-shirt, who correctly answered these questions about the sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Stool Still:

Q: On which short story was The Day the Earth Stood Still based?

A: "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates.

Q: Who played Gort, and how tall was he?

A: Lock Martin, 7'-7".

Q: What color was the UFO?

A: White, silver, whatever. It was a black and white movie, so you
could say almost anything. Almost.

Check back next Tuesday for the next installment of the Otto Matic Sci-Fi Movie Quiz; Aspyr will be running this contest until Otto Matic's release.

Aspyr: Submit Answers to Otto Matic Movie Quiz
Aspyr: Otto Matic
IMG Preview: Otto Matic
Pangea Software
Otto Matic

MacGamer Reviews Fly! II, Age of Empires II
12:52 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Our friends at have posted reviews of two new sequels: Bold's real-time strategy game, Age of Empires II, and MacSoft's civilian flight simulator, Fly! II.

Setting the scene for Age of Empires II, William Lemmon writes:

The fifth century AD - after two hundred years of constant incursions by barbarian peoples from the north and east, the Western Roman Empire has finally fallen. Although the legacy of Rome lives on in Byzantium in the east, Europe has descended into darkness....

Flash forward to the fifteenth century.... Constantinople has fallen to the Turks, and the Byzantine Empire is no more. Gunpowder has been discovered by the west, and has begun to be used in warfare. Imposing castles and towering cathedrals of breathtaking beauty and architectural intricacy have been constructed across Europe. The feudal system has risen and declined, beginning now to be replaced by supreme monarchs, banks, guilds and a middle class of bourgeois merchants. Classical learning, preserved for hundreds of years in monasteries, is being revived and studied. The Renaissance and the Reformation are just around the corner.

Between these two centuries lie a thousand years of chaos, upheaval, change and warfare. An epoch marked by learning and barbarism, chivalry and cruelty, piety and bloodshed; an epoch dominated by bishops, nobles and powerful, crowned kings.

In an altogether different vein, Christian Franz preps us for his review of Fly! II:
General aviation flight simulators have always been a very special breed of games. Unlike most games, there is no real objective. There are no targets to bomb, no damsels in distress to rescue, there isn't even a time limit to beat. All you can do is fly your simulated plane from A to B. And yet, one of the most successful games of all time is a GA flight simulator.
For the full reviews of these hot new games, head on over to MacGamer via the links below.

MacSoft: Fly! II
Bold: Age of Empires II
IMG Review: Fly! II
IMG Preview: Age of Empires II
MacGamer: Fly! II Review
MacGamer: Age of Empires II Review
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires II

Mac Hall Takes the Bait
12:00 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

On Usenet, it's known as "trolling" or "flame-baiting." At Salon, it's called "journalism."

Salon recently ran an article purporting to describe the prevalence of drug use at LAN parties, a phenomenon largely unheard of before Salon's investigative legerdemain - even among gamers.

While we make some effort at IMG to avoid sensationalism and unduly biased opinion on our News pages, our comic satirists over at Mac Hall have free reign to treat this subject with the attention it deserves:

We swore this week we were going to do a comic that could not possibly be construed as "poking fun" at any person, place, or thing, but then Salon painted a bulls-eye on its forehead and started talking smack about our mothers.
Head on over to Mac Hall for this week's fix of comic wit.

IMG: Mac Hall Comic

New Shadowbane Screenshots
9:15 AM | Sean Carton | Comment on this story

Shadowbane is an upcoming massively-multiplayer game from WolfPack Studios. Combining both strategy and role-playing aspects (users will be able to fight separately or combine forces into armies and kingdoms), Shadowbane has been in development since the launch of WolfPack in April of 1999. Since then, new information has been regular but skimpy, with WolfPack releasing tantalizing tidbits about game development as they reach each new milestone.

Most recently, testing began on phase three of the European beta, and the US beta is coming soon. So what's new to report? Mainly some pretty cool screen shots from the European beta that show off the capabilities of Shadowbane's Arcane3D engine. Even though there are only three shots (and two nifty new wallpapers), they do show two intriguing player characters:

In the first one, behold a deadly Crossbow Woman taking care of a Grobold Camp... In the other two, admire the impressive flight of an Aracoix through a City...
The developers promise new screen shots soon as the beta progresses. We'll be looking forward to seeing them as the promised released date (the end of 2001) approaches.

Shadowbane Screen Shots

Saitek Introduces Cyborg 3D Force Stick
9:07 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Saitek today introduced a follow-up to their popular Cyborg 3D Gold joystick dubbed the Cyborg 3D Force Stick. The new joystick has four thumb buttons, four base buttons, a rapid response trigger, 8-way POV hat switch, lever throttle, and 3-D twist. (The Cyborg 3D Force Stick also offers PC users force feedback, support for which is currently missing from Mac OS 9 and X.)

Here's more on the new joystick:

Thanks to the most advanced force technology available, PC players receive the most realistic and varied force experiences; they can actually feel the action on the screen with the new Cyborg 3D Force Stick. Whether it's the recoil of the laser blaster or the shock of hitting an asteroid, the experience of touch takes the game to another dimension. The new processor delivers up to ten force experiences simultaneously.

Like the original, award-winning Cyborg joystick, the Cyborg 3D Force Stick is equally comfortable for left- or right-handers, with dual left/right hand throttle. The 3D Rudder Twist on the handle increases the realism in flight sim games but the stick is also great for racing games where force effects are prominent.

A USB connector allows for simple "plug and play" on Windows or Macintosh.

Although Mac users won't be able to take advantage of the force feedback, the rest of the joystick is fully functional. For more information, check out the Saitek USA web site.

IMG Review: Cyborg 3D Gold
Saitek USA

New Warren Spector Interview
8:52 AM | Sean Carton | Comment on this story

If you thought the tech that made Deus Ex possible was amazing, be prepared to be blown away by Deus Ex 2, or so says the ever-quotable Warren Spector: "We're taking an approach to technology that's so radical that Tim Sweeney [founder of Epic] thinks we're insane."

That's just one of many pronouncements made in a recent interview on IGN. Lobbing quips around like so-many candy-coated grenades, Spector digs deep and reveals many of the core philosophies that guide his game development:

As good as the gameplay was, Warren is committed to pushing it into new directions. The team's goal is to craft a "much more robust simulation on all levels." This means creating a wider range of natural reactions on the part of the NPCs to the player's actions. The ability of the player to feel like he or she is in control of his or her own destiny is paramount. There were far too many pre-scripted events in Deus Ex -- moments where the game took over and forced the player into or out of particular situations. But although the goal is to make "the game world work the way the real world works" the team ardently follows the rule of all good game designers: "Anytime reality gets in the way of fun, fun wins."
If you're an avid Deus Ex fan and are looking for some inside info on what's in store for you in Deus Ex 2, this brief interview's definitely worth checking out. Even if you're not, its a fascinating read; Warren's got enough to say about gaming to start many a discussion board flame-war!

IGN: Warren Spector Interview

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Apple Swings with Spider-Man
8:39 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new preview has been posted in the Games section of Apple's web site, looking at the upcoming release of Spider-Man from Aspyr Media. The title is expected in the next month or so, preceding the new movie with the same name.

The game makes use of the Tony Hawk 2 engine, and Mark Krenek of Westlake Interactive (who also worked on TH2) is already well under way with the game, now in the alpha stage of development and playable under Mac OS 9 and X.

Aspyr president Michael Rogers notes performance under Mac OS X 10.1 is already astounding:

Itís a compelling story to me as a gamer that I can see better game performance with my existing set-up, just by running Mac OS X version 10.1.
The preview contains a quick history of the series, some tips and cheats, as well as the system requirements for the game. While these could change before release, the requirements seem consistent with TH2:

  • 266 MHz PowerPC G3 processor or better
  • Mac OS X or Mac OS 8.6 or higher
  • 64 MB of RAM
  • OpenGL 1.1.2 or higher
  • CarbonLib 1.0.4 or higher
  • ATI Rage Pro Card with 6 MB of Video RAM or better
  • QuickTime 4.1.2 or higher

Check out the rest of the Apple preview now, and be sure to read through our own coverage of the game for more information.

Aspyr: Spider-Man Web Site
IMG Preview: Spider-Man
IMG Interview: Spider-Man
Apple: Spider-Man Preview

First Spaceward Ho! 5 Screen Shot
8:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Delta Tao have released the first beta screen shot of Spaceward Ho! 5 on their web site. Fans of earlier games in the series will see how similar they are keeping the interface, though some changes are already apparent. While the screen shot was taken in Mac OS 9, Spaceward Ho! 5 will be carbonized to run natively on Mac OS X.

Play over the Internet is the big feature Ho! fans will be eager to try out. As we reported yesterday, while there is no official release date, Delta Tao have mentioned the possibility of a public beta to test this new feature. Stay tuned to IMG, as we'll keep you updated with any new information on this game.

Delta Tao
MGF: Download Spaceward Ho! 4
Delta Tao: Spaceward Ho! 5 Screen Shot

Mac Games News for Monday, November 12, 2001

Custer Goes "Intergalactic"4:00 PM
ATI, Nvidia Introduce New Mobile GPUs3:23 PM
IMG Reviews Simon the Sorcerer II12:58 PM
Rampancy Review at Renovated Modsquad, New Map12:28 PM
Warren Spector Interview, Part 311:01 AM
Civilization III Post-Release Interview10:40 AM
Update on Red Faction Mac9:50 AM
Halo Launch Party Coverage9:40 AM
Wolfenstein Dev Diary Posted at IGN9:19 AM
Spiderman Alpha,9:06 AM
New Moon Lander Demo Available8:48 AM
Winners of MouseMan Giveaway Announced8:38 AM
Spaceward Ho! 5 Public Beta?8:29 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, November 12, 2001 on one page

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