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Monday, April 29, 2002

Apple Releases Gamer's Dream PowerBook
12:16 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Apple Computer today answered the fervent hopes of many gamers by releasing a new 800 MHz Titanium PowerBook G4 powered by an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics processing unit with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM, promising a dramatic improvement in the framerates of 3D-accelerated games.

Apple's previous top-of-the-line PowerBook (reviewed today on IMG) featured an ATI Mobility Radeon, which, while a substantial improvement for 3D gaming over the ATI Rage 128 Mobility, lacked the hardware transform and lighting unit of the Mobility Radeon 7500, which was announced by ATI shortly before the PowerBook's revision late last year.

The Mobility Radeon 7500 also differs from the Mobility Radeon in last year's PowerBook in boasting twice the VRAM — 32 MB, up from 16 — and a 230 MHz clock. Like the Mobility Radeon in the older model, the new chip communicates with the system via a 4X AGP bus.

Other notable improvements in Apple's newest PowerBook include:

  • 800 MHz PowerPC G4
  • 1 MB DDR L3 Cache
  • 1280x854 Hi-res Display
  • DVI Out

The addition of DVI output means that PowerBook users can now connect Apple's own digital displays, such as the 23-inch Cinema HD Display, to the laptop for use as a second monitor. The PowerBook's internal display, while remaining at the 15.2-inch widescreen format familiar from previous Titanium PowerBooks, has had its resolution increased to 1280x854, offering 23% more workspace and even better-looking anti-aliased text.

The 1 MB of level 3 cache, which is in addition to the 256 KB of fast level 2 cache on the G4 processor itself, brings to the new PowerBook a performance boost previously found only in Apple's Power Mac line.

The new PowerBook features a 133 MHz system bus, a slot-loading Combo Drive for playing DVDs and for playing or recording CDs, 512 MB of RAM in the 800 MHz model, and, of course, Mac OS X 10.1 pre-installed.

Apple is also offering a new 667 MHz model with 256 MB of RAM, complete with the Mobility Radeon 7500, Combo Drive, 133 MHz system bus, and 1 MB L3 Cache of its more powerful sibling.

The 800 MHz model retails for US$3199, and the 667 MHz model for US$2499.

Titanium PowerBook G4/800

No One Lives Forever Pre-Order at IMG Store
1:35 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The upcoming epic first-person game No One Lives Forever from MacPlay is now available for pre-order at the IMG Web Store. If you're a MacGames CD subscriber, you can pre-order No One Lives Forever for just $39.

No One Lives Forever is a first-person action-adventure title that takes players around the world in a captivating game of espionage set in the sexy, stylish and sophisticated '60s:

Assume the role of Agent Cate Archer, a beautiful but deadly operative working for UNITY, a secret international anti-terrorist organization. From tense subterfuge to in-your-face combat, No One Lives Forever ups the ante for plot-driven spy action with more than 30 killer weapons, vivid international locales and deadly arch villains.

Enter the colorful, cloak and dagger world of villains and super spies, circa 1967. As The Operative, Cate Archer, you must rely on cunning, stealth, superior firepower and ingenious gadgetry to protect humanity from twisted madmen bent upon world domination.

  • 60 assignments in exotic locales around the world
  • Multiplay for up to 16 players
  • A variety of weapons and ingenious gadgets
  • Ride motorcycles and snowmobiles through huge outdoor environments
  • Premiering the Lithtech 2.5 Game Operating System
  • The MacGames CD is a CD-ROM subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters and much more. Get eight issues per year (delivered every six weeks) and save big bucks!

    For a limited time, when you subscribe to the MacGames CD, you can get a full version of Aliens vs Predator, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, Deus Ex, or Escape From Monkey Island; all you pay is the shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada, $12 international).

    Each subscription or renewal also includes free registration of the shareware game guide Game Doctor plus great discounts from Mac game stores and publishers. For more information, please visit the IMG Web Store.

    No One Lives Forever
    Buy No One Lives Forever

    Apple Unveils the eMac
    1:05 PM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs today unveiled the eMac, an all-in-one system with a 17-inch CRT and a 700 MHz PowerPC G4 processor. The eMac is shaped like its iMac cousin, and answers the education market's call for an education-specific Mac.

    According to Jobs:

    Our education customers asked us to design a desktop computer specifically for them. The new eMac features a 17-inch flat CRT and a powerful G4 processor, while preserving the all-in-one compact enclosure that educators love.
    The eMac will come loaded with five USB ports, two FireWire ports, and a bundle of software: iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, WorldBook Mac OS X Edition, QuickTime, AppleWorks, and more.

    Inside, it comes equipped with a choice of a tray-loading CD-ROM drive or DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive for watching DVDs and burning CDs; a 40 GB ATA Hard Drive; built-in 10/100base-T Ethernet; support for optional AirPort wireless networking; a viewable image size of 16 inches on the 17-inch flat CRT; an audio-in port, headphone jack, and integrated 16-watt digital amplifier and stereo speakers for great stereo sound; GeForce2 MX 3D AGP 2X graphics with 32 MB of Double Date Rate video memory; and Apple's optical Pro mouse and full-size Apple Pro Keyboard.

    The eMac will come in two forms: a $999 base version will have just the CD-ROM drive while the $1199 version will come equipped with the DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo Drive and also a 56K V.90 modem.


    MacGamer Interviews Aspyr's Rogers
    12:43 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

    Today is Michael Rogers day in the world of Mac gaming: MacGamer's Corey Támas has posted an interview with the president of famed Mac games publisher Aspyr Media. Here's an excerpt:

    Támas: Since I've known you Aspyr has gone from an "also ran" company to being one of the biggest names in Mac gaming. Tell us a story about your humble roots.

    Rogers: We started Aspyr in early 1996, just when everyone thought it was crazy to do something like that in the Mac market. Companies were leaving the Mac market, but I was still using a Mac, and knew that there was still a market there. Mostly the whole idea was that we wanted to play some the best games on our Macs, and thought there were other people out there that felt the same way.

    We were also frustrated about the state of Mac gaming at the time. It seemed that finding good games was pretty tough, and when you did get what you were looking for many times the games didn't work the way a Mac program should. Using a Mac is supposed to be easy, and games in particular should show that off....

    For the rest of MacGamer's interview, follow the link below.

    (For a full hour of chat with Michael Rogers, and to ask him your own questions, be sure to listen to The Gamesome Mac tonight from 6 to 8 pm Pacific Time, 9 to 11 pm Eastern Time.)

    IMG News: Aspyr's Michael Rogers on The Gamesome Mac
    Aspyr Media
    The Gamesome Mac
    MacGamer: Mike Rogers Interview

    IMG Reviews the PowerBook G4/667
    11:05 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    IMG has posted a review by Patrick Leyden of the 667 MHz PowerBook G4 from Apple Computer:

    Ever since their introduction in January 2001, the PowerBook G4 Titanium has been one of the most envy-enduing computer systems on the market. Its sleek styling, respectable performance and 15.2 inch widescreen LCD display were among the factors in making the PowerBook G4 a hit. Soon after its release, Inside Mac Games published a review of the then-new PowerBook, giving it high marks for both its technical capabilities and the design of its case.

    In late October 2001, Apple revised the Titanium PowerBook line. System clock speeds were increased to 550 MHz on the low end and 667 MHz on the high-end model. For gamers, the big announcement was the upgrading of the computer’s Graphics Processing Unit to ATI’s Radeon Mobility chip. Hardware-savvy gamers knew that this upgrade was significant since it promised a new level in performance for mobile gamers, especially in the area of 3D gaming....

    For the rest of our review, complete with Quake III and Unreal Tournament performance benchmarks, follow the link below.

    IMG Review: Titanium PowerBook G4/667
    Titanium PowerBook G4/667

    Click to enlarge
    Unreal Tournament 2003 Hack Protection Details
    6:00 AM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

    Unreal Tournament recently spoke with "Dr. Sin" of Epic Games about their implementation of hack protection in Unreal Tournament 2003.

    Dr. Sin is the author of the ubiquitous CSHP (Client-Side Hack Protection) mod for Unreal Tournament, a Mac-compatible mod (like almost all Unreal Tournament mods) that server admins can run to guard against virtually any hack running on any connected clients.

    Dr. Sin explained that Unreal Tournament 2003 will attempt to insure a level playing field right out of the box:

    Out of the box, UT2003 will be well protected. We took a good look at all of the attacks used to bypass protection in UT and have addressed them. We have created a method that allows server admins to dictate what can and can't be run on the client as well as knowing if what's running there has been modified.

    We also made sure that community has the tools needed to defend themselves. This is important as it has to be a dual effort. This is why it's so important for the community to be involved. After the game is released, it has to be the community that responds to hacks. They can react faster than Epic/DE could ever react. So the protection in UT2003 is designed to make sure they can.

    Head over to Unreal Tournament for the full text of their interview with Dr. Sin.

    Unreal Tournament Dr. Sin Interview
    Digital Extremes
    Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

    Click to enlarge
    Installation Guide for Retail Tac Ops
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    As fans of Tactical Ops are aware, the retail version of the Unreal Tournament mod, dubbed Tac Ops: Assault on Terror, was recently released for the PC. Though a retail Mac version was never officially released, clan mTo recently converted the free version so that Mac users with Unreal Tournament could enjoy the latest Tactical Ops upgrade, version 3.1.5.

    However, those who have been ollowing the news of this mod on IMG know that the retail version contains features that the free download does not, including more than 20 maps. Despite the lack of a Mac installer, it is possible to use the retail version with Macs. An enterprising gamer by the name of Wim Tubbax recently informed us that he's put up an in-depth installation guide for Mac users of Tac Ops: Assault on Terror.

    The guide contains all the links and instructions needed for installing both the free version and the retail version of Tac Ops, and should streamline the process for those attempting to install. Those interested in seeing the setup instructions can find the guide at the link below.

    IMG News: Tactical Ops 3.1.5 Mac Patch Released
    Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror
    Tactical Ops 3: Mac Installation Guide
    Unreal Tournament

    Click to enlarge
    Sid Meier Interviewed Yet Again
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    As game designer Sid Meier continues on his Get Civilized Tour, more and more interviews with him seem to be popping up on the web. Not that he doesn't deserve the attention, what with several best-selling strategy titles under his belt, Civilization III being his latest and greatest. He recently took the time to chat with Gameplex about everything from his beginnings with Micropose to the demise of his Dinosaur project.

    This particular interview focuses more on Meier's personal history than on his current projects, and covers such topics as his start with Atari, Micropose, and his current stint with Firaxis. He also comments on why he tends to stay with strategy and simulation games:

    I write games that I would like to play and I have an interest in history. When I was young I read a lot about airplanes and the Civil War. So all the topics that come up in my games, it was something when I was young I got interested in. So they're all things I think are fun. You get the chance to become a pirate, or you get the chance to become a airplane pilot or a general, all things you can never do in your real life. But I thought it would be fun to do in the fantasy place.
    Also of interest is Sid Meier's Dinosaurs, a name that many gamers have probably never heard. According to Meier, the project is all but dead:
    Last month I gave a talk in Las Vegas at the Game Developers Conference about the dinosaur game. I showed three different versions of it: one was a real-time version, one was a turn-based version, one was a card game version and the talk was about how they were so close to being fun, but they just were not quite fun enough. So right now it's kind of extinct, it's dead but some day we will try to bring it back to life.
    The rest of the interview provides a peek into the rest of Meier's history, including the very first game he ever programmed and what his thoughts are on console gaming. Those interested in learning more about Meier are encouraged to check it out at Gameplex.

    Gameplex: Sid Meier Interview
    Civilization III
    Buy Civilization III

    Shadowbane Site Revamped
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    The folks who maintain the official Shadowbane web site recently redesigned it with a fresh new look. The redesign makes news bits easier to read and provides easier access to other parts of the site as well. A second phase of the redesign is also planned and should take place sometime after the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May but before the extended phase of Shadowbane's testing begins. The second phase will include more functionality, features, and graphical elements.

    The next chapter to the story behind Shadowbane was also recently added to the site. Subtitled "The War for Divine Intervention," the news clip describes it thus:

    In our last update, Nandramiel the Archon of Judgement, also known as the Tribune of the Isles of Dawn, and the Herald of Pandarrion, descended down to the world of Aerynth and asked all races to decide one question that was nearly causing a War in Heaven.

    Shall the Archons interfere with the politics and conflict of Aerynth, to ease the massive pain and suffering by all it's people? But if the All-Father doesn't give the orders for action... who then, will issue them?

    Shadowbane fans are encouraged to check out the new site and submit comments to the webmasters on the new look and feel.


    Aspyr's Michael Rogers on The Gamesome Mac
    6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    Tonight on The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Mac gaming radio show, host Sean Smith and producer Andy Largent will be talking with Michael Rogers, President of that giant of Mac game publishing, Aspyr Media.

    Aspyr is renowned for bringing us such blockbuster games as the Tomb Raider series, The Sims, Deus Ex, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, in addition to over a dozen other games, such as the Mac-only Otto Matic.

    They'll talk about the history of Aspyr, it's success as a Mac-only games publisher, the future of Mac gaming, and, of course, Aspyr's current and upcoming games, several of which will be given away to listeners in the show's chat room.

    And, as they do every week, Sean and Andy will serve up news, reviews, and commentary in their inimitable style and, along with their guest, answer questions from listeners.

    The Gamesome Mac can be heard on Mondays from 8 to 10 pm Central Time (6 pm Pacific; 9 pm Eastern; and Tuesday, 01:00 UTC) on the MacTV Network. To listen, head over to The Gamesome Mac's web page via the link below (where you'll also find an archive of past shows, including last week's with IMG's own Tuncer Deniz).

    The Gamesome Mac
    Aspyr Media

    Galactic Patrol Special Assignment Announced
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Over the weekend, MonkeyByte sent word they are working on an expansion to their popular shareware space shooter, Galactic Patrol. The game is a 3D take on many early arcade classics, and now fans of the title will have a chance to play through more levels in Galactic Patrol Special Assignment. While no new game styles will be added, the overall difficulty is sure to increase along with the number of enemies and levels. Here's an except from the press release:

    You have asked for it and we are bringing it on! Number 2 in the series, Galactic Patrol Special Assignment hits the net with new aliens and all new levels.

    "We heard from more than a few people that Galactic Patrol was too easy, well we fixed that," said President/Designer Nicolas Murphy. "It's much more of a challenge." Also different in this offering are the views. GPSA is top-down only. "This view selection also satisfies numerous requests from our fans, but don't think it's going to be like this for GPII."

    So it seems that there will be a full-fledged sequel to be released some time after Special Assignment. For more on both games, stay tuned to IMG. And if you haven't yet tried the original Galactic Patrol, download the demo at

    Galactic Patrol
    Monkey Byte
    MGF: Galactic Patrol Demo

    Mac Games News for Friday, April 26, 2002

    Freeverse to Distribute WipeOut 2097 in US1:53 PM Launched1:52 PM
    IMG Previews The Sims: Hot Date12:45 PM
    X-Plane Updated to 6.1312:10 PM
    Tactical Ops 3.1.5 Mac Patch Released11:11 AM
    Birdie Shoot Demo Available10:38 AM
    Diablo II 1.10, 'Ladder' Characters Coming6:00 AM
    New WarCraft III Singleplayer Info6:00 AM
    Samurai Rune Mod Released6:00 AM
    The VATZ, Goliath Q&A6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 26, 2002 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, April 25, 2002
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    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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