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Thursday, December 13, 2001

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Radeon 8500 at Macworld Expo?
9:53 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

One of the most frequent questions we get around here at IMG is "Where's the Radeon 8500?" The usual answer: we have no idea! The speedy new card from ATI Technologies was released a few months ago on the PC, and since then ATI has been completely silent about the Mac Edition of the new board.

Could the Radeon 8500 finally be coming out? According to the Macworld Expo web site, ATI Technologies will be demonstrating the Radeon 8500 and 7000 at Macworld Expo in January:

ATI Technologies Inc. is a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions for the Mac platform. The pioneer, innovator and market leader in the graphics industry, ATI will be demonstrating the high performance Radeon 8500 and Radeon 7000 Mac Edition graphics cards and the Xclaim TV USB external TV tuner at its booth.
IMG posted a preview of the Radeon 8500 back in August. Be sure to check it out if you haven't read it yet. As soon as there are any further developments, we'll be sure to let you know.

IMG Preview: Radeon 8500
IMG Feature: ATI Radeon 8500 in the Flesh
Macworld Expo: ATI Technologies

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IMG Reviews Elite Force Expansion
1:03 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Today IMG brings you a review of Aspyr Media's recently released Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force Expansion Pack:

A year after Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force made its way onto the Mac, its expansion pack has arrived. The original Elite Force was a fantastic game, and gained a lot of fans on both the PC and Mac, but it left many players wanting more. For a start, the single player game seemed quite short, and players wished that they could explore the decks of Voyager at their leisure, rather than being able to go only where the game happened to send them. And there were a few other niggles, like the fact that Seven of Nine's voice was recorded by a sound-alike rather than the real actress.

The Elite Force Expansion Pack seeks to address these and other shortcomings and to give players a more rounded experience in general.

For the rest of IMG's review by Richard Hallas, follow the link below.

IMG Review: Star Trek Voyager Elite Force Expansion
STV: Elite Force Expansion

Egg Files is Independent Games Festival Finalist
12:41 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Mac developer Flying Mikros Interactive has won Finalist standing for The Egg Files in the continuing Independent Games Festival Competition.

According to the IGF, these are the criteria it uses to select the Competition's finalists:

The jury for the Competition analyzes and rates each title based on the quality of its visual art, game design, audio (music and sound effects), programming (which includes bonuses for advanced features like multiplayer capabilities, and subtractions for bugs that show themselves during play), and the overall "gestalt" of the game (whether the game taken as a whole is fun, and how the visual art, game design, audio and programming fuse together into an enjoyable experience).

The jury looks for games that stretch the boundaries of current game genres or invent new genres, rather than copying games already out on the market.

The jury looks for games that use technology creatively.

The jury looks for games that exhibit innovative game design.

IMG congratulates Flying Mikros on excelling at these qualities. The winners of the IGF Competition will be announced at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose next March.

We can't tell you much about The Egg Files other than to point you to a screenshot on the Flying Mikros web site, where a download and more info are promised soon.

Flying Mikros Interactive
Independent Games Festival

BusinessWeek's Haddad on Games and the Mac
11:37 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Charles Haddad, in his latest "Byte of the Apple" column for BusinessWeek Online, makes some incisive observations about the crucial role games play in forming the platform preferences of children, and about how a strategic blunder made by Apple Computer over a decade ago is haunting the company now:

"Macs? Dude, they suck."

Thus spat a teenage friend of my son. The Mac had earned this boy's condemnation through one unforgivable weakness. Few hot new games are released for Macs at the same time as for PCs.... That's simply insufferable to this boy.

I'd like to dismiss this snotty teen out of hand, but I dare not. For I know his comment speaks to why Apple struggles today to keep schools loyal to the Mac. In the classroom, Apple's greatest foe isn't Dell or any other PC maker. It's kids. They expect - no, demand - to learn on the same computer they've played games on since toddlerhood. And that computer is a PC....

It's a demand schools - even those long wired with Macs - find hard to resist. In today's schools, teachers and administrators are no longer in control. It's parents and their children who set the agenda, especially in the well-off suburban districts that buy the most computers. Every week, I read or hear of a new school dumping Macs at the demand of angry parents who want their children to learn on PCs "like everyone else."

Haddad describes how the Apple of the late '80s and early '90s, in its eagerness to be taken seriously by the business world, shunned game developers, thus sowing the seeds of discontent in the home and in schools, where it then reigned supreme.

But Haddad also sees hope for Apple's battle for the classroom, calling Mac OS X "the greatest operating system ever designed for gaming," and hearkening back to Myst, he calls on Apple to inspire more game developers to release killer titles for the Mac first, or at least simultaneously.

I have a dream. Someday, a game on the Mac will hook kids like a sticky lollypop. Then, they'll return from the first day of school and complain that there were no Macs in their classroom. And a group of angry parents will browbeat a school into dumping PCs for Macs.
For the full text of Haddad's column, follow the link below to BusinessWeek Online. You might also want to check out Peter Cohen's thought-provoking response at MacCentral, and tell us what you think via the comment link above.

(Michael Phillips contributed to this story.)

BusinessWeek: Byte of the Apple
MacCentral: Cohen responds

Braving the Elements Coming Next Week
10:09 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Blackdot's Dan Ferguson sent us a quick note to let us know that their upcoming arcade game, Braving the Elements, will be shipping next Wednesday. The game hearkens back to the Atari side-scrolling games of the past. A QuickTime trailer showing off some of the game's graphics are available on the web site:

Preview this animation featuring Sally, Bob, and their dog Charlie in our newest game, called Braving the Elements. This animated short will get you ready for this yet to be released game. The soundtrack keeps the action pounding and takes you back to a time when Atari was king.
If you're in the mood for a fun side-scrolling game that will take you back a few years, be sure to check out the trailer.


Harpoon3 Update
10:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Programmer Jesse Spears has written in with new word on Harpoon3, his highly-acclaimed naval warfare simulation. Some recent efforts on the PC side have affected the Mac version as well, both with optimizations and slight directory modifications. An update is now available for both the Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 builds of the game.

Here's a quick excerpt from his update with more of an explanation of what has changed in version 3.3.7:

One very important change for both platforms is the addition of a new "options" folder. It's a folder at the same level as the Harpoon3 Application (or, at the same level as the Resource folder, if that makes more sense to some of you). I needed a cross-platform and easy-to-implement way to let the user turn on certain game related options. To turn on a particular option, you just need to have a properly named file in the options folder. If you don't have an options folder, or you don't have the right file for a particular option, nothing bad happens... you just don't enable that option.
Check out the Harpoon3 site for more information or to grab the latest version of the game for your particular system.

Harpoon3 Update

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Follow-Up Update to WarBirds III
9:53 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

Following shortly after an optional 12.05.01 update, iEntertainment has released version 12.12.01 of WarBirds III, the online multiplayer flight sim.

iEntertainment is quick to point out that this update is mandatory for all players. Along with the fixes introduced in yesterday's 12.05.01, the new version includes additional aircraft updates for the P-40B, Hawker Hurricane II, B-25H, and A36M Zero.

The following bugs are also among those that have been fixed, according to the WarBirds web site:

  • F4U4 engine now centered. Will fix the need for trim with engine off.
  • New effects system back in place.
  • Panther hole in front armor fixed.
  • Floating craters fixed.
  • Grunts can now be hit with weapons. Flower children can still employ humane capture method if they are so inclined.
  • Grunts deactivating when player who launched them is killed or exits fixed.
  • Grunts squirming around under the tower at F40 fixed.
  • Reduced target area of grunts.
  • Water effect altered to make viewing from carrier deck more convincing.
  • Malta terrain now loads correctly on a Mac.
  • Increased ground drag for planes on dirt to deal with people using aircraft as ground vehicles.
  • Skip bomb crash-bug fixed.
  • Guns are now calculated into weight of aircraft when empty.

WarBirds III is iEntertainment's massively-multiplayer online dogfighting simulation. For a monthly fee, players can engage each other in WWII aircraft in a simulated war over Europe.

IMG Review: WarBirds III
WarBirds III
WarBirds III 12.12.01 Update (14.4 MB)

Alien Nations Pre-Orders, Shogo Price Drop
9:53 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Titan Computer sent us an e-mail to let us know that they are now taking pre-orders for Alien Nations. The game is an exciting mixture of "God game" and real-time strategy game. The player selects one nation and begins with a small main building. Around this building, he constructs houses and specialist buildings. Gradually, a booming microcosm develops, growing into a town. Raw materials have to be found. Newly-arrived inhabitants are trained in the schools as masons, wood-cutters, researchers, etc. They are then able to play their part in the growth and expansion of their nation.

You can pre-order Aliens Nations from Titan for $34.99. There is, however, no indication when the game will ship. A demo of Alien Nations is available at our sister site,

Titan has also dropped the price of the previously released Shogo: M.A.D. to $19.99.

Alien Nations
Shogo: MAD
Titan Computer
Alien Nations Demo 1.0 (30 MB)

Mac Games News for Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Mac Hall Reveals the Frenzied Life of a Game Developer1:48 PM
Fantasoft Releases New Centurions11:37 AM
Myth III Beta Tester Praises Mac Version's Polish10:38 AM
Harvey Smith Discusses Deus Ex 210:04 AM
Geneforge Released8:33 AM
Disappointing UT X News6:00 AM
Macworld's 2001 Game Hall of Fame6:00 AM
Optional WarBirds III Update Released6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, December 12, 2001 on one page

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Tuesday, December 11, 2001
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