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Friday, March 15, 2002

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Black & White 1.1.3 Patch Released
8:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

As promised early in the week, Feral has released a new 1.1.3 patch for Black & White. This update adds a number of features to the game, as well as a healthy list of improvements from the initial version. Along with the patch is a separate add-on to let you hear your villagers banter. Here's the complete scoop from the Feral site:

New features added:

  • Support for additional screen resolutions
  • Additional creatures
  • Support for custom player symbols/tattoos
  • Support for ATI's FSAA (Full Screen Anti Aliasing)
  • System checks

Bugs Fixed:

  • Creature home page
  • Tattooing the cow
  • Path separators in volume name
  • Game saving

The Villager Banter patch is also available. This add-on allows players to zoom in on villagers and hear their conversations. It is only available in English and is a largish download, so is here separately to spare non-English speakers the download should they not want it.

"Largish download" is about 1.6 MB, and the 1.1.3 Update is only 6.7 MB itself. B&W fans will definitely want to give both a download now.

Word on the upcoming multiplayer patch is also good, so stay tuned for more information on that in the near future. No exact release date is known yet, but Feral expects it to be ready within a month or so.

IMG Review: Black & White
Black & White
MGF: Black & White 1.1.3 Update (4.8 MB)
MGF: Villager Banter for Black & White (1.5 MB)

New Mac Hall Comic Posted
11:08 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The kids from Mac Hall are back with another new comic. Today's comic, entitled "Digital Blue Bill," deals with the dreaded topic of hardware obsolescence. Still running on a beige G3? Or are you still trying to play games on an LC 475? Be sure to check out the new Mac Hall comic.

Mac Hall: Digital Blue Pill

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Massive Microsoft Giveaway, Day 4
10:03 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

The third day of our Microsoft giveaway has ended and the three lucky winners of the Internet Keyboard Pro have been chosen. They'll be contacted via e-mail to verify their personal information. So without further ado:

Christer Johansson
Stephan Uzzell
Larry Cheong
The next item up for grabs is the IntelliMouse Optical. Priced at $44.95, this mouse features a 1500 dpi optical sensor, five buttons (plus a scroll wheel), and a symmetrical shape, making it perfect for right or left handed users.

Head on over to our contest page to enter for your chance to win. The fourth set of winners will be announced on Monday.

IMG: Microsoft Hardware Giveaway
IntelliMouse Optical

Creative's Souder on 5.1 Audio, 3D Audio and OpenAL
9:58 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Creative Labs' resident Mac guru Brian Souder was recently asked by Accelerate Your Mac! to comment on the details of 5.1 audio, 3D gaming audio, and OpenAL for the Mac. This topic has been a source of confusion for both Mac and PC gamers, and Souder does a fine job of clearing things up in his response.

Souder, who is an ardent supporter of the Mac platform within Creative Labs, has been very outspoken about his desire to see their SoundBlaster Live card fully supported on the Mac, and frequently corresponds with Mac users via various web forums. Currently, there is a new set of Mac OS 9 drivers for the card nearing release, a fact that Souder has reported in the forums over at MacGamer. The status of Creative Labs' support of Mac OS X, however, is unclear. At this time, no OS X drivers for the card have been announced.

Here is some of what Souder had to say:

AC3 or movie surround sound (there are other formats too, but let's keep it simple), is audio that has been encoded on a disc that needs a decoding device like a 5.1 Live/Audigy to decode, or a set of speakers that has a decoder built in to play back. Game 3D audio is generated by a set of mathematical equations in real time to make an event happen from a certain direction. (OpenAL and EAX 3.0 [PC]) are examples of 3D APIs that will position audio.)

On the PC, we use the digital out (2 pin digital on DVD-ROM) to pass the digital audio to the sound card. This includes the AC3 signal if the DVD-ROM driver allows for the signal to be transmitted. On the Macintosh platform, Apple sends the AC3 signal down the IDE cable.

The rest of Souder's response contains much that should be of interest to Mac gamers and audiophiles. In addition, several readers have written responses of their own. Follow the link below to read more.

Accelerate Your Mac: Brian Souder's Mac audio comments

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NCsoft announces Lineage 2
8:36 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Thanks to the tremendous success of Lineage, the massively multiplayer RPG recently unveiled for Mac OS X, NCsoft announced plans to release Lineage 2 in 2003. The new game, entitled Lineage 2: The Chaotic Chronicle, expands the Lineage universe to 3D technology with the introduction of a huge and diverse world six times the size of the current Lineage world. The new game will also incorporate the siege system of the original Lineage with the ability to conduct large-scale battles and will expand the social system of blood pledges.

A short FAQ has been posted on NCsoft's web site describing Lineage 2:

Q: Besides being a 3D world, what other differences are there between Lineage 1 and Lineage 2?

A: Lineage 2 is a separate, 3D world based on the background fiction and gameplay of the original Lineage game. Lineage 2 takes place 150 years before Lineage, during a time when the world was in much more turmoil. The concepts of city states and feudal systems have just begun to take hold in Aden and the world is very different from the one in which gamers play today. Lineage 2 will also seek to combine the free-form game world with an in-game quest system to appeal to gamers of all types.

Q: What will happen to Lineage 1 once Lineage 2 is released?

A: NCsoft is continuing to develop the world of Lineage and currently we have no plans to stop that development.

Q: When will Lineage 2 be released?

A: Lineage 2 is tentatively scheduled for release in Asia in early 2003 and the overseas release (including North America) is scheduled for approximately 6 months later.

A trailer of Lineage 2, in AVI format, is available at the NCsoft web site.

Lineage 2 Press Release

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Tranquility 5 Released for OS X
8:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

TQworld has announced that version 5.0 of their online tranquility title is available strictly for Mac OS X. While the company will continue to support previous OS users with Tranquility 4.5, this new version adds a number of features to the game not found before. Included in the improvements is a particle system for new effects, an updated soundtrack, and level saving for offline play. Here's the full press release with much more information:

TQworld is announcing the immediate availability of tranquility 5.0 for Mac OS X.

More than an upgrade, every aspect of tranquility has been redesigned for higher performance and we've added deeper support for OS X including clipboard capturing and printing of screen shots, exploration of game features and setting preferences through an Aqua dialog, and a totally new high-performance graphics and music engine. We're now OS X to the bone.

For those who haven't kept in touch with TQworld, in January we restructured our pricing model. A subscription to tranquility is now $24 for lifetime support including all future tranquility upgrades. Our previous one-year subscribers have been all upgraded automatically to a lifetime subscription for free.

This is also a departure for TQworld in that version 5.0 is only available for OS X, we'll no longer be producing tranquility for previous versions of Mac OS (but we'll still support OS 9 users with version 4.5).

There's lot's of exciting new features in 5.0:

  • A new particle system including a waterfall!
  • A new soundtrack engine with 200 voices and 8 music arrangements.
  • Eight levels of motion blur, from a light blur to deep
  • You can now save up to 100 local levels for hours of play offline.
  • New preference panel where you can change game settings.
  • tranquility can now remember your login settings between sessions.
  • A choice of three background grids and four color modes.
  • New chroma generator with deeper, more intense color.
  • Support for saving screen shots to the clipboard.
  • You can also print screen shots from within the program.
  • The ability to set the depth buffer, allowing tq to run on more video cards.
  • and much more...
If you've never tried out this colorful 3D title, you're strongly encouraged to head over to the TQworld site for a demo.

MGF: tranquility (13.1 MB)

MacGamer Abducted
8:15 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacGamer has posted a short but sweet preview of Contraband Entertainment's upcoming horror sci-fi game, Abducted, and offers two new screenshots from the game. Although Contraband is mainly known for ports such as Aliens vs Predator and Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, the company has also begun working on original titles.

Here's a clip from MacGamer's preview:

Though a work of art always suffers somewhat in comparison, one can't help recall images of id Software's Doom 3, which were shown at last year's Macworld Tokyo event. Abducted not only has a similar tone of sci-fi ruin and claustrophobia (though the game will be played in third person), but it also approaches the visual excellence that made the gaming world's collective jaw drop. Abducted's engine is completely new and utilizes all the key features of a bleeding edge 3D game in 2002: Real time lighting that flickers, fades and moves and shadows that swing and undulate. Are comparisons between the visuals of Abducted and Doom 3 unfounded? Only time will tell, but the development team seems pretty confident about it.
For more on Abducted, be sure to check to check out the rest of the preview at MacGamer.

Contraband Entertainment
MacGamer: Abducted Preview

New Napoleonic Wargame for Macintosh
8:15 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

By Design, Inc. today announced that they have completed a new Napoleonic wargame only for the Macintosh. The new game, entitled Friedland, is based on the Waterloo Campaign engine and covers the battle between Napoleon and the Russian armies in June of 1807.

Friedland features:

  • Battalion level conflict, command hundreds of units!
  • Great new graphics, see hedge rows, streams, chateaux, and smoke clouds hang over the battlefield.
  • Skirmishers!
  • All the commanders down to the Division level are present.
  • Command your units as groups. You can move hundreds of units with a click of the mouse.
  • Capture enemies' flags. Increase the pride of your troops when they carry back enemy flags from a melee.
  • Move units in formation by simply clicking where you want them to move to.
  • Multiple units per square.
  • Play either side and even switch sides in the middle of a battle.
  • The units are fully editable. Add or remove any unit from any battle. Change the characteristics of any unit.
  • Elegant, effortless interface. Lots of new interface features to help you understand your army and how to win.
  • Rich historical content.
  • Outstanding sound, hear the charge, cannons roar, and cavalry pound past your position.

The game is available for $24.95. For more information on Friedland, head over to the By Design web site.


Mac Games News for Thursday, March 14, 2002

IMG Previews pop-pop1:44 PM
Lineage Changes1:33 PM
Massive Microsoft Giveaway, Day 310:35 AM
Medal of Honor Coming to Mac8:22 AM
Neverwinter Nights Interview with Greg Zeschuk of BioWare8:22 AM
New Carbon Releases from e.p.i.c. Appear8:22 AM
Updated Look at WarCraft III Beta8:22 AM
WarBirds III Updated to 03.13.028:22 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, March 14, 2002 on one page

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