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Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Alien Nations Shipping?
11:49 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

IMG reader Scott Leyes reports that Alien Nations, the long-awaited real-time strategy/god-game from Titan Computer, is finally shipping:

I pre-ordered Alien Nations from Titan Computer a while ago, and it just showed up (registered mail from Germany) today, April 15.
Alien Nations is one of a spate of recent games whose release was held up for months longer than anticipated. At one point, a release was expected in September of last year. (A PC version of the game was published in the US in late 2000 under the name "Amazons and Aliens.")

Here's a partial description of the game from the Titan web site:

Three Nations

One of the main features of "Alien Nations" is the interaction and confrontation of three completely different nations. The Pimmons are cute little fantasy creatures with magic powers. The Amazons are pretty humanoids and the Sajikis are ravenous insects.

Building a Civilization

Alien Nations is an exciting mixture of "God game" and real-time strategy game. The player selects one nation and begins with a small main building. Around this building, he constructs houses and specialist buildings. Gradually, a booming microcosm will develop, growing into a town. Raw materials have to be found. Newly-arrived inhabitants are trained in the schools as masons, wood-cutters, researchers, etc. They are then able to play their part in the growth and expansion of their nation.

Research is undertaken so that new knowledge and capabilities make life easier and more secure.

One decisive phase in the life of a new nation is its first contact to the other nations. Can they live in peace, allowing profitable trade to develop? Or will it come to war and have the right preparations been made? Diplomacy plays a decisive role in this....


  • Enormous 3-D terrain
  • Three different nations
  • 75 different buildings and 85 different professions
  • Unlimited zoom function
  • Diplomacy
  • Trade
  • Research with 100 technologies to be discovered
  • A living world — with wild animals and people that go about their daily work
  • A school system to train the inhabitants
  • Experience levels for military units
  • First-class, highly detailed graphics with entertaining animations
  • Lots of fun
  • Easy to use interface
  • Campaigns with 10 different missions per nation
  • Multi-player option
  • Supports English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian languages
Visit the Alien Nations web site for a more complete description of the game, screen shots, or to place an order.

A demo of Alien Nations is available for download from our sister site, MacGameFiles, and an IMG tutorial for the demo is linked below.

IMG: Alien Nations: A Short Tutorial
Alien Nations
MGF: Alien Nations 1.01 Demo (30 MB)

LittleWing Announces Jinni Zeala, Due May 1st
1:21 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

LittleWing, the legendary developer of some of the best pinball simulations around, has announced the imminent release of their latest title, Jinni Zeala:

Relive the excitement of pinball's Golden Age! After two years of dreaming and designing, LittleWing announces its newest and greatest pinball: Jinni Zeala.

  • Superb 3D playfield with authentic pinball art
  • Authentic ball-slamming physics
  • Cool animation and effects
  • Energetic soundtrack
  • New strategic challenges

It's psychedelic, pop... and of course, addictive!

LittleWing has a long and storied history in Mac gaming. The company developed their first pinball simulations, Tristan and Eight Ball Deluxe, for Amtex in the early '90s, and went on to develop Crystal Caliburn and Loony Labyrinth for Starplay and, more recently, Angel Egg and Golden Logres, distributed over the Internet directly by LittleWing.

LittleWing's games have earned a reputation among pinball fans for their graphical and aural polish, realistic physics, and engaging gameplay.

Jinni Zeala will be Carbonized to run natively on Mac OS X as well as on Mac OS 8.6 and 9. Here are the game's system requirements:

  • Power Macintosh (G3 of later model recommended)
  • Mac OS X 10.1 or Mac OS 8.6 or later
  • Free memory: 32 MB or more
  • Free hard disk space: 50 MB or more
  • Monitor: 800x600 or higher resolution, 32,000 or more colors

  • CarbonLib is required for Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9

LittleWing is accepting advance orders now and expects the game to be available for download on May 1st. For more information, screen shots, or to place an order, visit the LittleWing web site.

[Thanks to MacCentral for the heads-up.]

Jinni Zeala

Click to enlarge
Apple on WarBirds III and OS X
1:20 PM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Ellen Beeman has posted an overview of WarBirds III for Apple's Games site. The massively multiplayer WWII flight and ground combat simulation is now available for Mac OS X, which makes it just the kind of game that Apple loves.

Beeman focuses on the flexibility of the game, noting the availability of planes, customizable skins for the vehicles, and even the possibility of creating new 3D models. A further advantage noted by Beeman is the expandability of the game itself:

WarBirds III, by itself, could be an excellent standalone WWII combat simulator. But the creators envisioned something much more by adding the multiplayer aspect. They're dedicated to building a community of online players and have over 200 player-organized squadrons.
Jay Littman, WarBird III's executive producer, is on hand to shed some light about the direction that the WarBirds III franchise is taking. An upcoming expansion of the game will include WWI, Korea, and science fiction. According to Littman:
We want to integrate land and ground combat into the multiplayer experience... and for our upcoming "Shock Force" line we're also planning on futuristic battlefields, like hovertanks on Mars, Venus, and the Moon.
Littman also notes that future versions of WarBirds III will be released for Mac OS X only. The article boasts several informative sidebars on subjects like system requirements, a lineup of available craft, some tips on pre-flight preparation, a link to the downloadable demo version, and, of course, the advantages of playing the game on OS X.

Apart from the relentless OS X cheerleading, this article gives a good general introduction to the game's features. For a more comprehensive take on the game, be sure also to read the IMG review linked below.

IMG Review: WarBirds III
Apple: WarBirds III
WarBirds III

GamePad Companion 2.0 Released
10:41 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Carvware have released version 2.0 of GamePad Companion, their essential game controller configuration utility for Mac OS X.

GamePad Companion works with all HID-compatible game controllers (joysticks and gamepads) in both native and classic applications running in Mac OS X 10.1 or higher.

Here's what's new in version 2.0:

GamePad Companion is now a preference panel that is controlled using the OS X System Preferences application. You no longer have to launch GamePad Companion every time you want to use your gaming device. Just set it up once in the GamePad Companion preference panel, then turn it on, and from that point on anytime you plug in your gaming device it will just start working. Other new features since version 1.2 include help tips to improve ease of use, and a "test" feature that allows you to test your settings before turning them on for good. There are also a number of bug fixes in this release to address crashes that some users were experiencing.
A demo of version 2.0 is available from the Carvware web site.

GamePad Companion

Click to enlarge
DOWN Coming to the Mac
10:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new link on the Fantasoft web site leads to a very interesting site dedicated to a Mac-only game called DOWN. The title is currently in beta testing and looks to be a very interesting combination of 2D characters in a fully 3D world. You play a nanodwarf who must travel the fantastical three worlds of Karelia. Your task is to separate the three realities connected by pillars so that the races on each will stop fighting and be free to grow separately.

DOWN will be available for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, and requires 64 MB of RAM (and at least 256 MB of Virtual Memory) in order to run well. The screen shots look similar to Myth, and the action/adventure game will contain a number of levels.

Here's Fantasoft's description of the game:

DOWN is an exploration game with action and adventure elements. You will find yourself on the longest journey to the worlds core tied together by the three crimson pulsars. Here is what you will encounter on your journey:

  • 16 chapters.
  • 7 individual atmospheric regions.
  • 10 monster classes will cross your path. Some may aid you while others may try to slay you.
  • Fight for, find, buy, use and sell the following items:
    • Pulsars: Cause the ground to tremble and help find your way to remote locations.
    • Potions: Restore a portion of your health.
    • Shooters: Allow you to blast your enemies.
    • Keys: Make barriers disappear.
    • Bodyswappers: Possess nearby creatures. Acquire their looks, energy and strength.
    • Matter Melters: Can unite several items into something even more powerful.
    • Messages: Provide hints about the chapter you're in.
    • Maps: View the surroundings through an eagle's eye.
  • Can you survive?
We'll keep you posted on the status of DOWN as it heads towards release later in the year. It will be available from Fantasoft once it is ready for publishing.


OS X-Native PlayStation Emulator Available
10:04 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Readers who like to tinker with emulators may be pleased to know that a Mac OS X-native PlayStation emulator is currently in development. Titled FlareStorm, this PS emulator is being developed in Cocoa and claims to have faster CPU emulation than its Mac OS 9 counterparts.

Though actual details on the emulator itself are scarce, the FlareStorm site does have a usage chart showing such statistics as CPU, GPU, and Software Renderer. There are also some screenshots of it in action as well as a link for downloading and installation instructions. Those interested in checking it out for themselves can find a link to the FlareStorm page below. Some readers are reporting issues getting the app to run, so your milage may vary.

FlareStorm PSX Emulator
Download FlareStorm

Click to enlarge
PC Civilization III Patch Due Soon, Mac Version to Follow?
10:04 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A forum-goer in the IMG Forums recently posted the news that, according to the Civilization Fanatics' Center, a new patch for the turn-based strategy title Civilization III was due out by the end of this week, bringing Civilization III up to version 1.21f.

Brad Oliver, erstwhile Mac programmer, quickly responded to the post with some musings about a Mac patch quickly following the release of the PC one:

It may be slightly longer for the Mac patch this time as I have a bit more on my plate. We'll see once the patch arrives on the PC side - if it's very involved (like it adds the rumored multiplayer), then that'll obviously be a Big Deal in terms of getting a Mac patch put together.
Interestingly enough, a later news posting at the Civ Fanatics' site notes that a multiplayer patch is in fact on the way for Civilization III players, though the means of distributing that patch have yet to be decided. Readers looking for more information on that thread can find it at the Civilization Fanatics' site.

Civilization III
Civilization Fanatics' Center
IMG Forum: New Civ III patch coming soon...
Buy Civilization III

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Dr. Bott Offering Radeon 7000/8500 and DVIator Bundles
10:04 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Dr. Bott announced today that they have certified the ATI Radeon 7000 and 8500 with the use of the DVIator, their DVI to ADC adapter. They are announcing the availability of two special bundles which will include a DVIator and Radeon 7000 or 8500. The 7000 bundle will retail for $299, while the 8500 bundle will retail for $339. The latter is an excellent deal considering the DVIator and 8500 retail for $149 and $299, respectively.

Owners of older, non-ADC Power Macs who wish to use ATI's latest graphics accelerators and Apple's beautiful ADC monitors in tandem can now have their cake and eat it too. ADC Power Mac owners will be able to upgrade to the fastest video card available without losing ADC functionality.

For more information information on the DVIator and Radeon 7000, have a look at our reviews.

IMG Review: DVIator
IMG Review: Radeon 7000
Radeon 7000
Radeon 8500
Radeon 7000/DVIator Bundle
Radeon 8500/DVIator Bundle

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Colin's Classic Cards Updated to Version 1.1
10:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

News from the Freeverse web site via Ian Lynch Smith notes that Colin's Classic Cards has been updated to version 1.1. This update makes a number of improvements to this game from publisher Aspyr Media, fixing many small glitches and helping out performance for Mac OS X users greatly.

Here's a partial list of what things have changed:

    Performance Improvements:

  • Drawing performance of the game window is significantly improved. People with older machines should find the games much more playable, and Mac OS X users should find that the games use far fewer CPU cycles.

  • A delay between cards played in network games has been removed speeding up game play in network games.

  • The time to quit games is approximately 700% faster. This reduces the time it it takes to switch to a different game and get back on to AspyrWorld.

    New Features in 1.1:

  • Added support for Random Puppets in solo games, enabled with a checkbox in the Puppets dialog. On by default. Each new solo game gets three random puppets.

  • Many network play messages now include more information about who is dealing or who won the trick. For example, "Ian dealt, Colin is bidding."

  • The AspyrWorld window now uses Mac OS X's "Quartz" text drawing for the chat typer and chat history.

  • Hiding the desktop now attempts to switch screen resolutions to 800x600. Hold down the option key when the desktop is being hidden (at startup or when changing it via Preferences) to confirm the the switch. Once the desktop is hidden, if the resolution is switched to something other than 800x600, the games will remember that and use your preferred resolution the next time.

  • When the desktop is hidden, the game window is now larger if the monitor resolution is higher. This allows for a larger chat history area.

  • The Music menu has been removed. We were ahead of our time, but iTunes is just too good at this.

Head over and read through the full post for all of the changes. The updates are available on Freeverse's web site now for downloading.

IMG Review: iPuppet presents: Colin's Classic Cards
iPuppet Classic Cards
Freeverse: Colin's Classic Cards 1.1 Update
Colin's Classic Cards Update (for Mac)

Mac Games News for Monday, April 15, 2002

IMG Previews Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds12:26 PM
Return to Castle Wolfenstein Goes Gold10:56 AM
Shadowbane Interview, Beta 'Event' Info9:49 AM
WW2 Online Planned Feature Details9:46 AM
Bubble Trouble for OS X at Beta 69:45 AM
Steve Jobs to Keynote WWDC8:08 AM
Custer Summons a New Desktop6:00 AM
Galactic Patrol for OS X Gold6:00 AM
Logitech OS X Beta Drivers Released6:00 AM
Pangea's Greenstone on The Gamesome Mac6:00 AM
Sid Speaks on Civilization III6:00 AM
Warcraft III Beta Changes6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, April 15, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, April 12, 2002
Thursday, April 11, 2002
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Tuesday, April 9, 2002
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