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Wednesday, March 6, 2002

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Escape Velocity: Nova Reaches FC2
9:40 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

This morning, programmer Matt Burch posted the following words to Ambrosia Software's EV Nova progress log:

EV Nova 1.0.0fc2 released (to the beta testers).
These short, sweet words are great news to the legions of fans who have been eagerly awaiting the release of EV Nova, the third installment in the super-popular Escape Velocity series. With the game in its second "final candidate," its release should be near.

Final Candidate status means that a program has reached the last stage in its development and is ready for release, pending last minute bug fixes.

The original Escape Velocity and its sequel, Escape Velocity: Override, were written by Burch and published by Ambrosia, the legendary Mac shareware company also responsible for such hallmark Mac titles as Mars Rising, Deimos Rising, and Pillars of Garendall, to name just a few. EV Nova was originally conceived by the ATMOS group as a mod for EV: Override, but was later adapted to be the next Escape Velocity sequel.

Check out Ambrosia's EV Nova developer log and beta screen shots yourself, then check out IMG's sneak preview of Escape Velocity: Nova.

IMG Preview: Escape Velocity: Nova
Escape Velocity: Nova
Ambrosia: ev3 progress log

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IMG Previews Icewind Dale
11:59 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a new preview by AppleMaster Michael Phillips of MacPlay's upcoming Icewind Dale, a fantasy role-playing game set in the Forgotten Realms and developed by Black Isle using BioWare's Infinity engine and the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rule set.

Here's a sample:

Unlike both incarnations of Baldur's Gate that centered around a single protagonist's journey, Icewind Dale focuses on the adventuring party as a whole. When the game begins, players can either create their entire party from scratch or import as many pre-created characters as they wish, but there are no NPCs to be picked up along the way. Furthermore, if a character isn't coping well, such as my poor half-elf Enchanter, they may be dropped from the party and replaced at any time. The new character always starts at level 1 with no gear save a trusty quarterstaff, but gear is easy enough to come by and leveling occurs quickly provided that the newcomer is guarded by his chums for a bit.

I love being able to form my whole party; it allows one to become attached to the entire group rather than just a single member. In Baldur's Gate, there was always at least one NPC that absolutely unnerved me to no end (Ajantis: Worst Paladin EVER!), but such annoyances aren't an issue in Icewind Dale. Players will also be able to export their favorite characters and partake in multiplayer action via GameRanger.

For the full text of our new preview and a gallery of screenshots, follow the link below.

IMG Preview: Icewind Dale
Icewind Dale
Buy Icewind Dale
Buy Icewind Dale

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WarCraft III: Collector's Edition Revealed
11:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Keeping with the growing practice of offering extra goodies for devoted fans, it seems Blizzard Entertainment is planning on offering a Collector's Edition of WarCraft III upon the game's release, according to IGN.

This was also done with Diablo II, though Mac users were out of luck since the first production release was PC-only. With all indications from Blizzard that WarCraft III will be a simultaneous release for Mac and PC on a hybrid CD-ROM, we hope Mac users can get in on the Collector's Edition as well.

The special limited edition run will include an Art of WarCraft coffee table book, a cinematic DVD of special content and commentaries from the development team, and a WarCraft III Soundtrack CD. IGN also notes some special artwork will be in the package:

Also included is a commemorative Collector's Edition manual signed by the Warcraft III development team and four limited edition 8x10 prints featuring rich artwork portraying battle-hardened veterans from each of Warcraft III's races.
While no price is given yet, most special editions like this are between $10 and $20 over the normal game price. Stay tuned for more details on the game as Blizzard moves through the current beta and on to release. For more details on WarCraft III, check out IMG's recent preview of the multiplayer beta.

IMG Preview: WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
IGN: Warcraft III Collector's Edition Unveiled
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

3D Displays in Gaming's Near Future?
11:04 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

It was 53 years ago that Ray Bradbury wrote "The Veldt," that seminal story describing what later came to be known as "virtual reality." Although the immersive technology described in his classic (perhaps better known to younger readers from the holodecks in the later Star Trek series) is still far off, could gaming on 3D displays be around the corner?

MacCentral is reporting this morning that one company, Deep Video Imaging, is offering true 3D display technology today. While not holography, Deep Video's ActualDepth technology goes beyond stereoscopy, a technique often used today to produce the illusion of depth on a single image plane, by using two separate image planes layered one atop the other:

They accomplish this by "layering" a translucent LCD atop another, giving the illusion of three dimensions. In other words, the system works by incorporating two separate image planes to give the impression that the unit is displaying images with physical depth. The monitors work with existing hardware and software, and are Mac compatible.
While Deep Video says that its ActualDepth monitors are available now, don't expect to be able to rush out and add that extra dimension to your Quake III or Unreal Tournament gaming any time soon. It's highly likely that support for the 3D display technology will have to be added by developers to their applications, and such support is not likely to be widespread without the interest and support of video chipset and driver developers ATI, nVidia, and Apple, and of the OpenGL Architecture Review Board, none of which will be forthcoming until the price of a 13-inch ActualDepth monitor drops well below the current $3,600.

Deep Video: ActualDepth
MacCentral: Multidimesional monitors for the Mac

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WolfMP Discussion Forums Launched
9:40 AM | David Finley | Comment on this story

For online gamers awaiting Return to Castle Wolfenstein, there is now a forum devoted to the multiplayer component of Aspyr Media's upcoming shooter. WolfMP promises to offer a community for expert and novice players alike.

Here is what Alex Wicketts, the founder of WolfMP, has to say about what sets this site apart from all the other Wolfenstein sites:

Over the past months many sites have sprung up preaching the good, bad and ugly news about the new version of Wolfenstein. We've found the new sites very helpful in our wait for this years best game. As most of us receive the game in the mail, or go to the mall and buy our copy, we have found over and over again have found two types of users. One the ulitmate user, who seems to know it all, or at least claims to, and then the lost user the one who leaves their username as WolfPlayer! No matter what type of user you are, never once did we find a community that welcomes them both. Welcome to, split up into player type, makes it easier to discuss the type of player you feel you want to become.
Head over to WolfMP to check it out for yourself.

IMG Preview: Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
WolfMP: Press Release
MGF: Wolfenstein MP Test 2 for OS X (64.7 MB)
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

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Freeverse Lists OS X Titles
9:40 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

In what appears to be a fit of productivity, Freeverse Software, makers of quality shareware titles for the Mac, recently decided to answer what appears to be the question they most receive: Which games run natively on Mac OS X?

To this end, they have posted a chart listing 22 titles, from well-known games like WingNuts and Airburst to lesser-known freebies such as Virtual Viagra and SimStapler. Each product is described as being Classic only, Mac OS X native, or a candidate for going native.

Readers interested in checking out the full list can do so at Freeverse's web site.

Freeverse: Frequently Asked OS X Questions

Mac Games News for Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Ambrosia to Host Coldstone Chat11:45 AM
Mac Hall Brainstorm Warning: Seek Shelter10:57 AM
Wolfenstein Xtreme Interviews Nerve10:30 AM
Apple Examines 4x4 Evolution 29:38 AM
Shadowbane Beta Tester of the Week9:31 AM
Lineage Test Server Receives Mac Updates9:26 AM
Radeon 8500 Comparison Tests Available9:26 AM
WWII Online Beta Sign-up Issues Addressed9:26 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, March 5, 2002 on one page

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