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Tuesday, February 5, 2002

GeForce4 Titanium for Power Mac G4s
9:41 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Apple today announced that nVidia's new GeForce4 Titanium graphics processor will be available in the new Power Mac G4s starting next month. The GeForce4 Titanium, which nVidia will officially unveil later today in San Francisco, will be available as a build-to-order option through the Apple Store.

The GeForce4 Titanium option is an additional US $250 with the dual 1 GHz and the 933 MHz Power Mac G4 systems, and an additional $350 with the 800 MHz Power Mac G4. If you already have a Power Mac G4, Apple will make available an nVidia GeForce4 Titanium on its own for $399, expected to be available this Spring.

Here's more on the GeForce4 Titanium from Apple's press release:

Delivered on an AGP 4X card containing 128 MB of double data rate (DDR) SDRAM, the GeForce4 Titanium processor renders incredibly lifelike content and special effects such as real-time character animation and amazing surface details never before seen on a personal computer.

"The Power Mac G4 with Mac OS X and nVidia's new GeForce4 Titanium combine to provide an incredible visual workstation," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Creative professionals and gamers alike are going to enjoy the amazing leap in 3D realism."

The GeForce4 Titanium delivers incredible performance, processing 87 million triangles per second and 4.9 billion textured pixels per second to perform over 1.23 trillion operations per second. The GeForce4 Titanium delivers another first — the connection of two Apple flat-panel displays simultaneously in a single slot by providing both Apple Display Connector (ADC) and Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connector (requires DVI to ADC adapter). The card provides both extended desktop as well as video mirroring, and it enables standard VGA devices to attach via the included DVI to VGA adapter.

The ultimate digital powerhouse for creative professionals, the new Power Mac G4 line features systems with dual 1 GHz, 933 MHz and 800 MHz PowerPC G4 processors with Velocity Engine(TM). The 933 MHz and dual 1 GHz models include the nVidia GeForce4 MX with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM. Providing incredible performance, the dual 1 GHz Power Mac G4 delivers an amazing 15 gigaflops (15 billion floating point operations per second), running professional applications like Adobe Photoshop up to 72 percent faster and encoding DVD Video over 300 percent faster than a 2.0 GHz Pentium 4-based PC.

The addition of the GeForce4 Ti to the Power Mac G4 lineup marks another important step for Mac gamers who want to have top-of-the-line gaming hardware.

IMG's Patrick Leyden is in San Francisco today for the GeForce4 Titanium announcement and will be filing his report later.


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Devine on OpenGL in Apple's Wolfenstein Preview
12:30 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Apple's Games web site has posted a brief preview by Brad Cook of the imminent Return to Castle Wolfenstein, developed by Gray Matter Studios and Nerve Software and published by Aspyr Media:

You are B. J. Blazkowicz, highly decorated Army Ranger and leader of a squad tasked with a unique mission: enter Germany and infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein.

There, Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler is rumored to be conducting supernatural rituals. The locals whisper that he's trying to harness the powers of Henry the Fowler, a long dead dark prince with otherworldly abilities.

The article takes a quick look at the single-player story and at the multiplayer mode of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which introduces out of the box the class-based teamplay previously found only in third-party modifications to commercial titles.

Cook goes on to offer some interesting quotes from id Software programmer and Designer Graeme Devine, including this strong affirmation:

The two [Beach Invasion] builds we've made and released on Mac OS X have run much faster than the builds on [other operating systems] because of both the underlying OS and an extremely good implementation of OpenGL by Apple engineers.
This echoes the statement Devine made at Macworld Expo last month when he told IMG that both he and John Carmack think that of any implementation on any platform:
The best OpenGL is on Mac OS X.
For the full text of Apple's preview, head over to the Apple Games site. IMG will be publishing our own detailed preview soon, and subscribers to our MacGames CD can pre-order Return to Castle Wolfenstein now at the IMG Store.

Apple: Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

IMG Posts New Mac Hall Comic
12:09 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Microsoft Xbox is, of course, about as far from being a Mac-related product as you can get, but that doesn't prevent the kids at Mac Hall from poking some fun at the "super sized" console. Check out the latest Mac Hall comic by clicking on the link below.

Mac Hall: Super Sized

USB Overdrive for OS X Updated to Beta 2
10:41 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Following closely on the heels of a beta 1 release, programmer Alessandro Levi Montalcini has just released beta 2 for Mac OS X of his popular utility USB Overdrive, whose Mac OS 9 version has long been an essential tool among gamers who use unsupported USB controllers.

USB Overdrive for Mac OS 9 supports almost every USB controller on the market, often better than the drivers that come with the devices. With a Mac OS X version now in beta, OS X gamers can rejoice that their buttons, dials, and switches will soon work again.

Though this early beta does not offer support for joysticks or gamepads, it does bring advanced features to USB mice:

  • Added separate Speed and Acceleration settings for greater control over the mouse speed. I'm still working on this, so please send in your comments on how you would like it improved. Does the current speed control satisfy your needs? Do you have ideas for a better acceleration curve?
  • The format of the preferences file was changed to include acceleration settings, so you'll have to re-enter all your settings. Sorry about that.
  • Restored the functionality of the Enabled check box. When the Enable option is unchecked for a given application or for the Global Settings, the Overdrive behaves exactly like the standard Mac OS X mouse driver, including both the mouse speed and the buttons/wheel behavior.
  • Added Middle Click, Fourth Click and Fifth Click to the list of actions that can be performed. This is useful for applications that handle the extra buttons on their own. For such applications, you can either uncheck the Enabled option, or assign Middle Click to the middle button to have the middle button behave as expected.
  • Restored the ability to press modifier keys alone (without typing a keystroke or clicking a button) by checking one of the modifier keys when Do Nothing is selected. This is useful in applications like Timbuktu, where a modifier key alone is used to invoke a command.
  • Fixed a problem where the USBOverdriveHelper was not added to the Login Items, so that the USB Overdrive X application had to be launched manually after every login to enable to Overdrive. This caused many people to report that the Overdrive had no effect whatsoever on their system.
  • Fixed a problem with the Microsoft Wireless Explorer that caused the mouse buttons to be randomly released every 30 seconds or so.
Follow the link below to try out the USB Overdrive beta for Mac OS X, and be sure to send Montalcini your requests, suggestions, and detailed bug reports.

USB Overdrive

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Neverwinter Nights Set for Summer Release
10:25 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Game publisher Infogrames recently sent out a press release confirming its intention to publish the hotly anticipated Neverwinter Nights, a groundbreaking role-playing game from developer BioWare.

The publishing rights had been under some contention lately between BioWare and license holder Interplay, but matters appear to have been settled, and Neverwinter Nights is slated for a worldwide release in the summer of this year. This is excellent news for RPG fans, especially for fans of BioWare's previous Mac hits Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II and of Icewind Dale, coming soon to the Mac from MacPlay.

Bruno Bonnell, Chairman and CEO of Infogrames, had this to say:

We are thrilled to add a product like Neverwinter Nights to our global catalog. The Dungeons & Dragons franchise has been a major force in defining the RPG genre and with Neverwinter Nights, BioWare has created a new standard of excellence. Retailers around the world are already eagerly awaiting this game and we are putting our full worldwide distribution network of 50,000 retail outlets behind this title to meet the demand this summer.
Neverwinter Nights is highly regarded for its promise to be the closest possible experience to pen-and-paper role playing. With its modular nature, allowing players to design and play their own modules, and its "Dungeon Master" feature, which lets one player control the game while others play, Infogrames promises that Neverwinter Nights "will change everything you thought you knew about computer role playing games."

Follow the links below to find out more about Neverwinter Nights.

IMG Preview: Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
Infogrames: Neverwinter Nights Publishing Rights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Custer and Cate Get Cozy
10:07 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The lastest desktop from IMG's extraordinary in-house artist Brad Custer introduces The Operative: No One Lives Forever and its seductive heroine Cate Archer, coming to the Mac from MacPlay.

Here's a synopsis of NOLF from Custer himself:

Your mission is to assume the role of Cate Archer, a beautiful but deadly Operative working for UNITY — a super secret organization fighting to free the world from the clutches of H.A.R.M. From tense subterfuge to in-your-face combat, No One Lives Forever ups the ante for plot-driven, 1960s-influenced spy action with killer weapons, vivid international locales and deadly arch villains. Equipped with an arsenal of powerful weapons and ingenious gadgets, you must unravel a mystery that will lead you halfway around the world in a desperate search for answers.
Head over to Custer's Desktops now and grab this newest creation, and stay tuned to IMG for the latest on NOLF's progress from MacPlay.

IMG: Custer's Desktops

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Lineage Mac Beta Available on iDisk
9:57 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Yesterday NCsoft announced the Lineage Mac beta test for Mac OS X users. Some users have reported difficulty in downloading the nearly 400 MB file. Apple today made the file available for download through iDisk for Mac gamers looking for an alternate source.

To download the Lineage Mac beta, simply open your iDisk and go to the Mac OS X Applications folder, then Games, where you'll find a 385.8 MB file named Lineage Mac Beta.dmg. Just drag it to your desktop like any other Mac file and wait for the download to complete.

Beta testers will need to register for a Lineage account and agree to NCsoft's terms of service. If you choose to participate, you will not be required to pay the subscription fee for the duration of the beta test. Once the beta test is completed, however, you will be able to activate your account with any accepted method of payment and you'll receive 30 days of free playtime in addition to the free time you racked up during the beta.

To register for an account, head over to the Lineage web site. To learn more about Lineage, be sure to check out our in-depth preview of this massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

IMG Preview: Lineage: The Blood Pledge
Lineage Macintosh Beta Test

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Alternative Myth 3 Server Gets Green Light
9:50 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Folks over at the Myth fan site MythWolfAge have been in contact with both MacSoft and United Developers to try to provide an alternative server solution for the strategy title Myth III: The Wolf Age. There are a number of different options available, but the main point is that hardcore Myth fans feel the current GameSpy implementation is lacking in features like player ranking. If you share their sentiments, you might send them a note of encouragement or an offer of help.

Here's an explanation of what they're trying at this point:

We have decided to explore two different solutions. One is to add new functions to the existing GameSpy codebase, much as Marius and Conner did with The other solution would be to strip out GameSpy and go with the code. I believe this latter option may be the best thing to do, though proceeding would require us to get permission from Microsoft to use the Bungie net code or emulate it in a way that's similar to It is important to remember that Microsoft doesn't have to give us permission. But the person I know at Microsoft, whom I have contacted about our situation, is someone who genuinely cares about the Myth community in general. Hopefully that will help.
We'll be very interested to see how any fan-based solution works out. Don't underestimate the dedication of the online Myth fan base; projects like are proof they can work issues out for themselves if need be.

MythWolfAge: Alternate Server Progress Report

Skewered Perspective on MacPlay
9:41 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Skewered Perspective’s Dean Browell has reviewed the new MacPlay and the company’s current line of offerings, including Aliens vs Predator, Baldur’s Gate II, and Zork: Grand Inquisitor. Browell’s critique focuses on the games' relative merits, and he also has some positive observations about MacPlay’s present and future performance as a game publisher for the Mac:

MacPlay has bounced back from the dead with such a strong lineup, it's as if they were hardly gone at all. Granted there seemed to be a revolving door on the staff office for a while there this summer, but lately things have steadied. They started their return a year ago with Majesty and have been relatively prolific so far. Competition is good for gamers and good for the Mac industry in general, and MacPlay is certainly here to play hard. Just take a look at what MacPlay has announced for release in the next two quarters and see how fast the bar is being raised: Fighter Squadron, Icewind Dale, Heretic II, Hexen II, No One Lives Forever, Starfleet Command 2 and Aliens vs Predator 2.
On the other hand, Browell also offers his first impressions on the not-quite-multiplayer Giants:Citizen Kabuto and Sacrifice. Although the entire article is generally positive, Browell doesn’t mince words when expressing his disappointment over the weak MP features of these two games, and why he’s not reviewing them:
Let me be clear: These games are not alike except for one major factor. Both advertise multiplayer, and both don't deliver it out of the box. You get a promise in paper, and maybe even some flecks of information on current beta patches from your gaming resources, but nothing yet. As such, I have no intention of outright reviewing these games, which any reasonable reviewer would label incomplete, until these gaping holes are filled.
Still, he does award MacPlay an 8 out of 10 and his only real criticism of the publisher is their lack of a Freeverse-type board or card game.

Skewered Perspective: MacPlay Review Pack

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Radeon 7500 vs GeForce4 MX Shootout
9:41 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

In response to the confusion over nVidia's new GeForce4 MX, Mike Breeden of Accelerate Your Mac! pits the first two AGP graphics cards available for the new Power Mac G4s against each other in a no-holds-barred shootout. The article showcases the real differences in performance between the ATI Radeon 7500 and the GeForce4 MX. A variety of tests were conducted in both Mac OS 9.2.2 and Mac OS X 10.1.2 on a 1 GHz Dual Processor Power Mac G4 with all variables identical except for the graphics card:

2D Tests
  • MacBench 5 Graphics/Publishing Graphics test results (at 1600 x 1200/millions colors)
  • Scrolling Tests in Photoshop 5.5 (OS 9.2.2) at 1600% Zoom
  • Scrolling Tests in AppleWorks 6.2 (OS X) with 100 page newsletter (images+text)
  • Create/close 1000 windows in OS X
3D Tests
  • G4Timedemo
  • Cinebench 2000
  • RaveBench (Speed and Image Quality RAVE tests)
  • Walker 1.2 (QD3D Spin Test)
Game Tests
  • Quake 3 1.31 beta 4 (OS X) at 640x480 to 1600x1200 32-bit/HQ modes
  • Unreal Tournament (v436, OS 9) UTbench and Wicked400 demos (RAVE and OpenGL modes at 640x480 and 1024x768)
Other Tests
  • DVD playback Image Quality and CPU Load
So which card wins? Well, that depends upon what you mean by "win." Breeden gives each card a favorable review but lets readers draw their own conclusions:
From what I have seen so far with these two cards, both offer good performance in games and applications. The GeForce4 MX in my opinion has a higher GPU clock rate than the Radeon 7500, but similar memory bandwidth. Both cards deliver good framerates in games, with the GeForce4 MX a bit faster at 800x600 to 1280x1024 modes (nearly identical at 640x480 and 1600x1200) in Quake 3 with the current drivers. Both cards deliver similar performance in Unreal Tournament, which is usually CPU bound.
The contest is far from over, however: he promises to test more AGP graphics cards in the near future, including the original Radeon AGP and the GeForce3.

Accelerate Your Mac: Radeon 7500 vs GeForce4 MX

Mac Games News for Monday, February 4, 2002

Lineage Mac Beta Test Opens11:04 AM
New Unreal 2 Screen Shots10:47 AM
Liquid Destiny Update on Crimson Deep10:39 AM
IMG Posts Myth III Review10:38 AM
Dragon Alpha Price Drop, Update6:30 AM
John Carmack Profile on Red Herring6:08 AM
MacPlay: Mac Gaming Outlook Positive6:00 AM
Otto Matic Strategy Guide Available6:00 AM
Shadowbane Beta Widens6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, February 4, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, February 1, 2002
Thursday, January 31, 2002
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