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Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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EV Nova Goes Gold
10:30 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Yesterday evening, programmer Matt Burch announced on the EV Nova progress log that after only one day of testing on the third final candidate, a golden master CD of the game has been sent off for duplication. EV Nova is the eagerly awaited third installment in the Mac-only Escape Velocity series of galactic exploration from Ambrosia Software.

Almost immediately, fans began posting to Ambrosia's EV Nova web board, demanding that the game be made available for download. The moderators made it clear, however, that EV Nova will not be posted to the servers until the CDs are ready and the game's web site is up.

Here are some samples of the mayhem going on over at the Ambrosia forum:

PLEASE PLEASE let us have it, 2 years man, TWO years, its easy for you to say you have been playing it since the Alpha give us what we want...PLEASE let us download it. PLEASE. *breaks down into tears*

PLEASE, please, please, please, etc. let us download EVN before the CD's are pressed!! How long will it take to press them, and how many are you making, anyways?

After an eternity... just a little bit longer...

Obviously, there are some people who are really looking forward to playing EV Nova. Eventually, Dafydd Williams of developer ATMOS Software had to step in to calm everyone down:
There are a few things that need to happen first, so let's just calm down.

We need to have a website up and running before we move on this. We'd also like the CDs to be in our hands before we start distribution via the net. That way everyone who can't get Nova via the net can be able to get Nova on the same day as everyone else.

We also have a variety of small things that need tidying before it all goes crazy around here.

Chill, everyone! The day will soon be at hand.

It seems that there will be at least several more days to wait before EV Nova is ready for download. In the meantime, be sure to check out IMG's preview.

IMG Preview of EV: Nova
Escape Velocity: Nova
Ambrosia: ev3 progress log
Ambrosia: EV Nova web board

IMG Shines a Spotlight on Aspyr Media
12:20 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media is one of the busiest and most successful publishers of games for the Macintosh, and today IMG's own AppleMaster, Michael Phillips, takes a look at this powerhouse of the Mac gaming industry.

As Phillips notes, Aspyr isn't just about making money. In this excerpt, he cites an example of the social conscience that has earned Aspyr the respect of the Mac gaming community:

Aside from publishing some the hottest games out there, Aspyr Media does a great deal of giving back to the community. At Macworld San Francisco 2001, Aspyr held the 1st annual Mac Bowl. Mac Bowl is a bowling tournament featuring such industry big names as Microsoft, nVidia, MacPlay and of course, Aspyr Media, for the purpose of raising funds for underprivileged Bay Area schools. Each year, Aspyr "adopts" a new school and then donates the Mac Bowl earnings for the purchasing of much needed technology (Macs, of course). It's nice to see such mega-companies step back from their hectic business to do some good for their fellow man (or woman ;-) ). This philanthropy alone is worth supporting Aspyr, in my book. Our world needs more of such things.
Follow the link below to read the full text of our "Spotlight on Aspyr Media."

IMG Feature: Spotlight on Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media

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Strike Force 1.75 Released for UT
12:03 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Strike Force, one of the most popular realism-based mods for Unreal Tournament, has been updated to version 1.75, and a Mac installer is now available.

Here's what's new:

Strike Force 1.75 has been recoded from the ground up to provide more action and intense squad based combat. We redesigned Strike Force for more fun, more action and a faster overall game play experience. Bugs were eliminated from our last version and a smaller, faster version was built. This new version is a FULL install and weighs in at only 110 MB. It includes ten maps with a full map pack following in two weeks. If you tried Strike Force before we suggest you try it again. 1.75 is an all new experience.

Key Features

  • Ten real world maps
  • Location damage
  • Muzzle flashes and tracer fire
  • Super fast server browser
  • Over 22 weapons
  • Four game types (TeamDM, DM, Escape, and Hostage Rescue)
  • Weight system (affects player speeds depending on amount carried)
  • Stamina system (affects speed, weapon accuracy, and heart rate)
  • Over 400 different character animations
  • Fast paced action for fun while keeping the realism feel
  • Whistle at your team mates for attention and use a wide variety of communication commands
  • Sprint speeds for faster running and quick attacks
  • Super balanced weapon specs tested by our 50+ team of beta testers
  • All new weapon sounds that pack a punch
  • Flashlight and Nightvision for Darkmatch
  • Inventory stations for quick access to weapons
  • Blood trails to follow wounded players and finish them off
  • Medals for the best overall players during rounds and matches
  • Map vote code to allow players to change game types and maps by voting. Also included kick feature to kick Tkers and problem players
  • Totally unique aim system which requires players to actually aim their weapons for better accuracy, making players think more and work as a team
For more information or to download the Mac installer, head over to the Strike Force Center at the links below. Unreal Tournament was converted by Westlake Interactive and published for the Mac by MacSoft.

Strike Force
Unreal Tournament
Strike Force 1.75 Mac Installer (114 MB)

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Bill Roper Talks RTS Design
10:40 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Computer and Video Games recently talked with Blizzard's Bill Roper. Though C&VG calls it a "Warcraft III Interview," its main focus seems to be on Roper's thoughts on real-time strategy design, which should be of interest to anyone wondering just how Blizzard does it.

Opening with an interesting salvo, Roper feels that true 3D strategy games have yet to be fully realized, partially due to the fact that some developers concentrate more on the 3D technology than on the actual mechanics of the game. This may have something to do with Blizzard's decision to fix the camera angle in WC3 betas — just because 3D allows one to manipulate the camera doesn't mean the feature has to be in there.

When asked about the amazing long-term success of such titles as Starcraft and Warcraft II, Roper points to several design factors:

We've managed to be very fortunate and have our games remain quite popular long after release. There are two key elements that come to mind. One is that the games are very, very simple to get into, but then we try and build a long-term difficulty curve so they take a while to master. We still see tactics that we haven't ever seen before come out of Korea with StarCraft, where they are very competitive in their play. I think the second element is that we continue to provide a lot of support for our games long after they ship — for example, we just released a patch for StarCraft. We have always tried to pay attention to our gamers and their needs and desires. We really want to make it something that is a community.
As for those still pining for a Starcraft sequel, when asked directly about it, Roper responds that if a sequel were to come out, it would definitely be a 3D title as well. He adds that the decision to continue the Warcraft series came mainly from the development teams, who wanted to explore the Warcraft universe some more.

The rest of the interview covers other RTS design topics and the work still being done on Warcraft III. Those interested in the details should definitely give the interview a look.

IMG Preview: WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
Computer and Video Games: Warcraft III Interview
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

Massive Microsoft Giveaway Begins!
10:30 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Today, Inside Mac Games kicks off the first day of a week-long Microsoft-sponsored hardware giveaway.

The first piece of hardware up for grabs is the SideWinder Game Pad USB. Priced at $24.95, this digital gamepad features eight buttons, two triggers, and an ergonomic design. It's perfect for games like Spider-Man and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.

Head on over to our contest page to enter for your chance to win. Only one entry per person is allowed; any duplicate entries will be deleted automatically. The first set of winners will be announced tomorrow.

IMG: Microsoft Hardware Giveaway
SideWinder Game Pad USB

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Blizzard Confirms Mac WarCraft III Collector's Edition
10:30 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Last week IMG brought you word on the Collector's Edition of Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming 3D real-time strategy and role-playing game WarCraft III.

As with the special edition of Diablo II, this package will include a number of extra goodies that dedicated fans will want to have. In the case of Diablo II, however, Blizzard chose not to wait for the Mac version of the game to be ready before releasing the limited collector's edition, and when, shortly thereafter, the regular Mac version shipped on a hybrid Mac/PC CD-ROM, Blizzard chose not to press any hybrid collector's edition CDs for Mac users.

With the initial release of the Diablo II expansion pack, Lord of Destruction, on hybrid CD-ROM, Blizzard signaled the move toward true simultaneous Mac and Windows releases in its product line.

IMG has now confirmed that Blizzard plans a simultaneous release for WarCraft III as well and that the Collector's Edition will be a Mac-friendly hybrid CD. Here's the word from Blizzard's Gil Shif:

Since Warcraft III will be a hybrid CD (for PC and Mac), the copy that comes in the Collector's Edition box will be Mac compatible.
Thanks to the excellent in-house Mac team at Blizzard for their work in keeping development on par with the PC version. WarCraft III will be Mac OS X native and, of course, will support Mac OS 9 as well. For the full scoop on what to expect, check out IMG's recent preview of WarCraft III and stayed tuned for news on its release in the coming months.

IMG News: WarCraft III Collector's Edition Revealed
IMG Preview: WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

New MMORPG Seeks Mac Testers
10:30 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The developers of a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in the works called Age of Darkness recently contacted IMG about their presence as well as their need for Mac beta testers. While the game is still in the early phases of development, its design has been in progress for a number of years, and the team is using the same Torque engine from GarageGames used in Tribes 2.

Like other MMORPGs, there will be a regular fee, though they expect it to be relatively low, in the range of $4 to $5 a month. Here's the scoop on the Mac version:

Well this doesn't happen very often, but all I have is good news for every one. First off TooKool just informed me that Both a Mac and Linux Ports of the game is in development. The Mac port will be entering Beta a Month after the Windows version...

For those of you that don't know, our forums have been opened and active, I recommend you check them out because TooKool posts a lot of neat stuff out there, and chances to become part of the game, after the release. Now for those of you that have joined the BETA you should have received an e-mail with some information. And if you didn't join yet THEN GO JOIN NOW. That's its for now we will keep you posted as new things come up.

The beta is open until April 8 or until 500 persons sign up, whichever comes first. If you're interested in helping test, head over to their sign-up page now.

Age of Darkness
Age of Darkness Beta Phase 1 Signup
Age of Darkness Interview

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Apple Examines Tabletop Gaming
10:30 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

For those who prefer the kind of game one can pick up, play, and put down rather than the kind that involves endless hours of mapping and micromanagement, Apple has recently posted a guide titled "Card, Casino, & Board Games" that examines many of the popular titles for the Mac that bring various tabletop games to the desktop.

The titles covered include iPuppet presents: Colin's Classic Cards, Monopoly, Burning Monkey Solitaire, and Scrabble. The article touts their impartiality, multiplayer items, and quick-play aspects:

One final — and perhaps mundane — advantage of the games is that you never need to worry about losing cards or game pieces, nor do you have to clean up the table after you're done. Simply quit the application, and everything magically disappears!
Also included with the article is a more complete listing of various related titles organized by publisher. Those interested in the whole article can find it at Apple's Games site.

Apple: Cards, Casino, & Board Games
iPuppet Classic Cards
Monopoly (2002)
Scrabble (MacSoft)
Buy Monopoly (2002)

Mac Games News for Monday, March 11, 2002

IMG Reviews 4x4 Evolution 21:22 PM
Paul Jaquays Parts from id1:17 PM
WWII Online OS X Beta Sign-ups Continue12:00 PM
Pre-Order Icewind Dale at the IMG Store10:31 AM
EV Nova at Final Candidate 310:22 AM
Game Doctor 1.3.3 Released10:14 AM
Age of Empires II Updated to 1.047:12 AM
All Things Unreal7:00 AM
Black & White Patch Delayed7:00 AM
Civilization III Updated to 1.17g7:00 AM
Shadowbane Beta Shots7:00 AM
WarBirds III Goes OS X-Compatible7:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, March 11, 2002 on one page

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Friday, March 8, 2002
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