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Thursday, February 28, 2002

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Second Civilization III Patch Coming Soon
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

While the recent version 1.17f patch for Civilization III addressed a huge list of issues with the game, it seems also to have caused instability on some users' machines.

In a recent post to the IMG Forums, Westlake Interactive's Brad Oliver explains there is a new bug in the PC code wrapped into version 1.17, and he hopes to have a second patch available soon to rectify the issue:

We identified a pretty major bug in the PC code today that is the cause of most of the new crashes in 1.17f. It should be fixed in the next Mac patch. And to stave off the inevitable next question, no I don't know exactly when it'll be ready but hopefully before the next PC patch.
Thanks are due to Oliver and all parties for determining the problem so quickly. We're sure MacSoft and Westlake will have a solution for Mac players as soon as possible.

IMG Review: Civilization III
Civilization III
IMG Forum: Civ III crashes
MGF: Civilization III 1.17f Update
Buy Civilization III

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EV: Nova Hits Final Candidate
3:08 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Thanks to the many readers who sent in word about Escape Velocity: Nova reaching Final Candidate status. This third in the extremely popular Escape Velocity series from Matt Burch and ATMOS could be heading your way soon, according to its progress log at publisher Ambrosia Software. Here's the official (albeit terse) word from Burch:

EV Nova 1.0.0fc1 released.
Final Candidate means that if no show-stopping issues are found in testing, the game is ready for release. Remember that although EV Nova has been in a lengthy beta testing process to hammer out gameplay issues, last-minute bugs could result in another final candidate being needed. Stay tuned to IMG for the latest as the game heads toward release.

IMG Preview: Escape Velocity: Nova
Escape Velocity: Nova
Escape Velocity: Nova Progress Log

Today Only: Radeon 8500 for $207
2:49 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

It's a strange world. The Gateway Accessory Store is accepting pre-orders for the ATI Radeon 8500 Mac Edition AGP video card, and for today only, the total price, including free ground shipping within the US, is just $206.95.

To get this price, you'll have to use instant rebate code "BA686" when you place your order (as noted at, taking $50 off Gateway's regular price of $256.95.

Thanks to "Rebel" for alerting users of the Accelerate Your Mac! Forums this morning.

For more information about the Radeon 8500, see IMG's detailed articles by Ben Boffey and Michael Eilers, linked below.

Why is a PC manufacturer selling Mac peripherals? We have no idea.

IMG Feature: ATI Radeon 8500 in the Flesh
IMG Preview: Radeon 8500 AGP
Radeon 8500 Computers & Software
Accelerate Your Mac: Mac Radeon 8500 for $206.95

NY Times on First Computer Game: Spacewar! (Updated)
11:21 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Today's New York Times has a feature article about the very first computer game, Spacewar! The two-player shooter was originally developed by Steve Russell at MIT's computer lab in 1962 for a DEC PDP-1. Though never a commercial success for its developers, Spacewar! went on to inspire hundreds with the possibilities that computers offered, including Apple Computer's founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The two Steves apparently used to bicycle to Stanford's artificial intelligence lab to play the game as teens.

The Times reports that computer gaming was as compelling in 1962 as now:

It became so addictive that at the M.I.T. laboratory where it was designed, play was soon banned except during lunchtime and after working hours.
The article provides an interesting look at the game's history and how games in general play an important role in influencing the development of personal computing as we know it.

Update: The first trackball was invented to control Spacewar, and Ken Thompson is said to have created his new operating system on a salvaged PDP so he could play the game — an operating system that became known as UNIX and that today serves as the modern heart of Mac OS X.

You can play the original Spacewar! today on your Mac, emulated by MESS, the Multi Emulator Super System. There is even a PDP-1 emulator written in Java 1.1 that will play Spacewar! in your web browser.

Spacewar! was the basis for the first coin-operated vector graphics arcade games: Galaxy Game, built in 1971 by Computer Recreations around a PDP-11 and installed at a Stanford University coffee shop, and Space Wars, designed and programmed by Larry Rosenthal and mass-manufactured by Cinematronics in 1978. Space Wars is perfectly emulated by MacMAME, the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.

[Sean Smith contributed to this story.]

New York Times: Spacewar (registration required)
Games of Fame: Spacewar
Monkeys with Wheels: Spacewar
[]: Space Wars Information
MIT: Play Spacewar! in your Web browser (requires Java)
FilePlanet: Spacewar binary for MESS (5 KB)
MGF: MacMAME 0.58 (3.9 MB)
MGF: MESS 0.56 (1.4 MB)

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Big Time Talks Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin
11:20 AM | John Rousselle | Comment on this story

MacGamer has posted an interview with the crew of Big Time Software regarding the upcoming sequel to their revolutionary World War II war game Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord. Slated for a summer release, Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin will shift the focus to the Eastern Front, dealing with the Germans' ill-fated thrust into the Russian steppes and their subsequent withdrawal and ultimate defeat:

MacGamer: What kind of research goes into a game like this to make the military look and gameplay "feel" right?

Big Time Software: Getting the overall "feel" right in a military and gameplay sense is achieved by paying a lot of attention to little details, and researching them as thoroughly as possible. And an incredible amount of time and effort goes into research. It took Steve weeks alone to research the various Army formations of all six nations, how they were structured and employed in combat (what is known as Tables of Organisation and Equipment, or short TO&E), and this is only one small part of the overall research required for a game of such vast scope as CMBB. Other areas include obtaining blueprints of tanks to model them in 3D in the game as closely as possible to their real-life counterparts, researching real-life ballistics and gunnery principles to achieve realistic combat results and and and... But we are considering CMBB as much a game as a serious simulation of tactical combat, so the research part and our intention to simulate battle as it was almost 60 years ago as accurately as possible is of paramount importance to us. Facing the decision of spending more time on graphics and visual "fluff" or on research and the implementation of realistic combat results, we have chosen realism over and over again in the past — something which has contributed without a doubt to the long living success and play depth of CM, and will be continued with CMBB. Being independent and not under the pressure of a marketing department or retail outlet schedules, we are able to afford "getting things right" before releasing the game. The relatively high percentage of former or current military personnel playing our games (and helping with the development) could be considered a proof to that.

The interview also includes five new screen shots and is well worth a look. Follow the link below for the full interview.

MacGamer: Big Time Software Interview
Combat Mission

GameSpot Examines Abandonware
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

In a a ten-page article by Marc Saltzman, GameSpot examines in some depth the response of guerilla "preservationists" to "abandonware," and some reactions to their activities from publishers, developers, and gamers.

Abandonware is a name often given to any piece of software that is no longer sold or supported by its publisher. Many of the classic computer games of the past 15 to 20 years fall in this category, and it is these titles that make up the bulk of the software distributed on abandonware sites.

Here's a brief excerpt from the article:

Most seasoned computer gamers will likely grin ear to ear when asked to recall their most memorable moments in PC gaming history, be it taking over the world in Civilization, going back in time in Day of the Tentacle, or rescuing the princess in Prince of Persia. But you can't find these "classic" computer games from the late '80s and early '90s, on store shelves — not even in those value-priced compilation packages.

You won't find this classic in stores. So, are you out of luck if you want to take Ultima IV for another spin? And how exactly do you plan on loading Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards from that floppy disk you snagged at a garage sale? Even though they were "abandoned" by their respective publishers years ago, thousands of computer games from yesteryear are still alive today — in cyberspace and for free.

If you know where to look, that is.

Welcome to the controversial topic known as "abandonware."

To archivists and distributors of abandonware, what they do is a service, performing for free the preservation of gaming history without which many of these works might be lost for ever due to the neglect of publishers.

To most publishers, however, the activities of these so-called preservationists are nothing more than a violation of the publisher's paramount legal right to control its intellectual property in whatever manner it sees fit — to do, or fail to do, whatever it likes with it.

Follow the link below for the full article.

[Richard Porcher contributed to this story.]

GameSpot: Flashbacks for Free

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F/A-18 Korea 1.2b1 Released
6:00 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

Graphic Simulations, stalwart makers of the venerable and popular fighter jet simulator F/A-18 Korea, have released a long-awaited update to version 1.2 beta 1.

The new patch introduces a host of graphics improvements targeted specifically to take advantage of the features of modern-day graphics cards, including:

  • Uses higher resolution textures for the clouds, terrain and bodies of water.
  • Includes volumetric clouds in addition to high-altitude cloud layers.
  • Improved lighting effects, including lens flare and water reflective glare.
  • Supports nVidia and ATI graphics using OpenGL 1.2.
  • Improved missiles and flare visuals and behavior.
  • Network play allows host to set game parameters, including a time limit and/or a kill limit.
  • Textures are now TARGA (.tga) format files, and so may easily be edited with an image editor.

These new graphics enhancements have upped the system requirements of the game; users should have at least a G3 running at 300 MHz and a modern video card with at least 8 MB of VRAM to enjoy the game's new features.

In addition to graphics enhancements, the new version adds additional control over network games, allowing game hosts to set kill or time limits. Version 1.2 is not networkable with earlier versions.

F/A-18 Korea allows players to fly F/A-18 Hornets out of carriers and airbases in the Korean peninsula. The Gold edition of the game comes with F/A-18 Hornet 3.0, an older version set in the Middle East.

IMG Review: F/A-18 Korea Gold
F/A-18 Korea Gold
MGF: F/A-18 Korea 1.2b1 Update (14 MB)

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UT X Progress Report
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As evidenced by recent IMG Forum activity, many Mac gamers have been waiting eagerly for a fully functional Mac OS X version of Unreal Tournament. On her own time, Glenda Adams of Westlake Interactive has been hard at work creating a Carbonized version of UT, and each update has put gamers closer to this goal.

Adams recently posted to the Usenet newsgroup details of the progress she's made since the last update:

I've been kinda busy with Undying lately, but I have fixed a few things in UT X (mouse buttons/mouse wheels mainly). I still need to roll the new sound code in and go through the bug reports to see what other things I can fix in a short order. I got stuck on the mouse sensitivity issue for a while (no luck fixing it yet :( ), but I'm putting that on the backburner for now.

I do plan to release another preview when I've got a reasonable amount of new stuff in it.

This is great news, as most of the complaints about the current preview build have centered around mouse control. We'll be able to look hopefully forward to an even better release sometime in the future.

Unreal Tournament
Westlake Interactive
Usenet: Re: UT X: any news?

Mac Games News for Wednesday, February 27, 2002

IMG Previews the ATI Radeon 850012:03 PM
Aspyr Newsletter11:21 AM
MacGamer Reviews the Power Mac G4 Dual 1 GHz10:04 AM
Links Golf Tournament Opens6:00 AM
Pop-pop Makes Progress6:00 AM
Replacement Myth II Server on the Way6:00 AM
Shadowbane Twelve-Step Program6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, February 27, 2002 on one page

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Tuesday, February 26, 2002
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