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Monday, March 4, 2002

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Sign up to Beta Test WWII Online
1:04 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

In a surprise announcement, associate producer Dana "Gophur" Baldwin informed IMG that the Mac version of World War II Online, the massively multiplayer online war game from Cornered Rat Software, is about to enter the next stage of closed beta testing, and they are looking to the Mac OS X gaming community for recruits to participate.

In the first phase, Playnet will need a hundred additional beta testers or so. In phase two, they will expand their beta test pool to about a thousand people. Here is the announcement we received from Playnet:

Cornered Rat Software's massively multiplayer online game World War II Online has been available on the PC for almost a year now. The highly anticipated Macintosh version has been in testing since the earliest release of our product and we are anxious to complete this process and bring it to market soon.

We're looking for a few good men (and women) to participate in the next phase of our beta testing for the Macintosh. We are currently accepting applications for our Mac Beta and would like to invite you to share the application URL with your readers.

The beta test sign-up will be open for two weeks and will close Monday, March 18. The non-disclosure agreements will be sent out via postal mail or e-mail (in PDF form) as soon as applications are approved. After filling out the NDA, you'll have to send it to an address Playnet will provide you.

Look for a hands-on preview of World War II Online coming up on IMG.

Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online
World War II Online: Macintosh Beta Application

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IMG Previews WarCraft III Multiplayer
12:25 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

In early February, Blizzard began sending out nearly 5,000 betas of their upcoming strategy game WarCraft III to PC users. Our own Andy Largent recently took it for a spin and has previewed the game based on this multiplayer beta.

Here's a snippet from the preview:

I'll be honest in saying that I wasn't too thrilled to hear WarCraft III was going to be making use of 3D technology. At the time of the announcement, hardware acceleration still seemed unnecessary in my mind. But more than the fears over needing to upgrade hardware, I also saw it as a genre that wouldn't really benefit from being in 3D. Like hardcore Mario platformer fans, it was hard to imagine breaking the RTS from the 2D isometric world of sprites and tiles.

Let me just say that after seeing it in action, I take it all completely back. WarCraft III initially feels much the same as a 2D RTS. The superb Blizzard artists have done an excellent job of giving the units in WarCraft III an amazing array of color and life, especially considering the few number of polygons they had to work with.

Unfortunately, it seems Blizzard is not planning a Mac multiplayer beta test. However, despite this bad news, our sources tell us that the Mac version of WarCraft III is neck-and-neck with the PC version, and if all goes well, the game will be released simultaneously sometime in June.

IMG Preview: WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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New Black & White Patch; Superstar Shepherd
12:03 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

The folks at Feral Interactive report that a new update is on the way for Black & White, their acclaimed god-game from Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios:

This will fix a few minor glitches that have been reported, and also include a few pre-flight system checks on that should be helpful to those folks who may not have the most up-to-date system software. This patch also includes the Village Banter add-in, additional secret creatures, and support for custom creature tattoos. We also hope to add support for additional monitor resolutions, however if this feature does not get through testing in time then it will be included in the upcoming multiplayer patch.
They're aiming to have the patch released this Friday, the 8th of March, although — as always with software development — that date is subject to change.

Speaking of Black & White multiplayer:

The multiplayer patch was originally planned for early March, however it is still in development — this feature is definitely on the way though, and should be available for download in the near future. We will post another update about this when we release the next patch.
In other news from Feral, the promised Superstar Shepherd cheat patch is now available for Sheep:
For the weak

We felt that because those Sheep are so darned tricky not as many people as we would like were getting to the later worlds. Which is a shame because they are a hoot. This patch lets you access all worlds except Mount Mouflon (we had to leave in something to challenge you) and also lets you win any level with a perfect score. However for the purists among you, the Superstar Shepherd patch will still let you play the hard way, but how long can you resist its lure?

For the strong

For those who don't even want to be tempted with cheating, but still want to have the most recent patch then download patch 1.02 which fixes all known problems has descended to us from the mighty Similis (Sheep's Mac developers) to whom we are eternally grateful.

Follow the links below for downloads and more information.

IMG Review: Black & White
Black & White
Feral: News
Feral: Sheep 1.0.2 Patch (261 KB)
Feral: Superstar Shepherd Cheat Patch (262 KB)

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GarageGames Newsletter Online
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GarageGames, developers of the Torque (formerly "V12") engine, have posted the March issue of their newsletter online. The newsletter covers several areas, including developer notes, the continued evolution of the Torque engine, and the use of cel-shading in some of today's games.

For those unfamiliar with Torque, it is the game engine from Tribes 2. Besides being powerful, it is also cross-platform and goes for the ridiculously low price of $100. This is of particular interest to Mac gamers, as GarageGames has taken care to fully develop the Mac version of Torque, making it easy for users of the engine to bridge the platform gap.

Of particular interest in this month's newsletter is a compilation of notes and articles on the Mac version of the Torque engine, including a screen shot of Crime Force, a game currently under development that uses Torque. The screen shot shows the game running in windowed mode on Mac OS X.

Those interested in more information can find the newsletter at GarageGames' web site.

GarageGames: March Newsletter

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Strange Flavour Joins Freeverse
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

In an announcement sure to please many a Mac gamer, shareware makers Strange Flavour have recently announced their intention to team up with fellow shareware makers Freeverse Software.

Strange Flavour burst onto the Mac shareware scene last year with Bushfire, one of the first Carbonized games for the Mac and a great game in its own right, and later followed up on their success with Airburst, one of the most popular Mac shareware games to date.

It is in the interest of Airburst that Strange Flavour and Freeverse are teaming up. A press release posted at Freeverse's site notes:

Freeverse Software, Mac software house and publishers of the recently released hit arcade game, WingNuts announced today that they will be distributing the immensely popular Airburst by Strange Flavour and teaming up on the development of Airburst Extreme.
Details on Airburst Extreme are still sketchy, but the press release notes that the sequel intends to improve upon Airburst by adding Internet play and mission modes. The Strange Flavour web site also notes that the current version of Airburst will receive at least one more update sometime in the future.

For more information on this latest partnership, be sure to check out both Strange Flavour's and Freeverse's web sites.

Freeverse: Freeverse and Strange Flavour Team Up
Strange Flavour

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EV Nova and pop-pop to Hit Tokyo
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software, makers of old-school role-playing games, shooters, and other Mac goodies, have declared their intention to show EV Nova and pop-pop at the upcoming Macworld Expo Tokyo:

Ambrosia Software, Inc. will have two machines set up in the Apple Mac OS X games pavilion at the Macworld Expo/Tokyo (March 21st-23rd), allowing folks to walk up and play EV Nova, pop-pop, and Deimos Rising.

Can't make it to Tokyo? That's OK. Deimos Rising is available now, and EV Nova and pop-pop should be released relatively soon.

For those unfamiliar with the titles, EV Nova is the third game in the popular Escape Velocity series that gives players the opportunity to adventure in space, while pop-pop is an Arkanoid-type game with cartoonish graphics and a crazy soundtrack.

For more information on these titles, be sure to check out Ambrosia's web site.

IMG Preview: Escape Velocity: Nova
Ambrosia: Newswire
Escape Velocity: Nova
Ambrosia: ev3 progress log
Ambrosia: pop-pop progress log

Mac Games News for Friday, March 1, 2002

IMG Reviews Myth II: Green Berets11:33 AM
EV Nova Movie Available10:02 AM
OS X USB Overdrive Beta 4 Update9:54 AM
Blizzard's Roper Talks Diablo II Dups9:27 AM
Bugdom Goes Shareware9:27 AM
Tropico II Unveiled9:27 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, March 1, 2002 on one page

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