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Wednesday, May 8, 2002

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The Sims Online Update
6:00 AM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

Electronic Arts has updated its web site with some exciting information about The Sims Online.

The Sims Online is a massively multiplayer online version of the tremendously popular virtual-life game, The Sims. The Sims Online will let players create and control virtual sims in a neighborhood just like the single-player game, but the main attraction will be interaction with other players' sims.

Features include:

  • The ability to create up to three different virtual persons, each living in a different city, and the ability to dress them for different situations.

  • Access to almost all the hairstyles, faces, and clothing from the original game and its expansion packs.

  • Opportunities to pursue a wide variety of different careers in order to make money.

These Sims can also work for other players' Sims as entertainers, handymen, housekeepers, etc. Sims can also start their own business, either alone or with other players.

The Sims Online is in development at Maxis and is scheduled for release on the PC this fall. No Mac version has been announced, but we'll keep our ears open for any news of one.

To find out more about The Sims Online, hop on over to the Maxis site.

The Sims Online

IMG Talks with Ian Smith about GameSmith
1:20 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted an interview by Carter Sample with Freeverse Software's Ian Smith in which they discuss the euphoniously-named GameSmith online game-matching service, announced this week by Freeverse and Ideas from the Deep at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Here's an excerpt:

IMG: Can you tell us a bit about what you do and about GameSmith?

Ian: GameSmith is going to be a next-generation game matching service. It's starting out with the powerful HMS technology developed by us (Freeverse), which means before it's even left the gate it's an OS X-native, Windows-supporting, really elegant system. Additionally, it's low-level networking is built on the open source OpenPlay libraries (which were originally developed by Apple and Bungie), and we think we have something special. We've joined with who will be transforming our private HMS Freeverse and AspyrWorld communities into a free game service that any game can choose to support.

IMG: How do you plan on branching out with GameSmith? Do you plan to support games such as Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament?

Ian: We plan to provide game matching services for any net game that wants to support us.

IMG: So are you planning on creating a GameRanger-like OS X app?

Ian: We already have a GameRanger-like OS X app. It's been OS X for almost a year and we've had a Windows client for months in our iPuppet games published by Aspyr Media. No vaporware here. Just opening up our private API and rolling in tons of new features.

Smith goes on to say that GameSmith will launch at Macworld Expo New York in July of this year. Follow the link below for the full text of our interview.

IMG Feature: Ian Smith Talks GameSmith

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Pre-Order Stronghold at the IMG Store
1:08 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The upcoming strategy game Stronghold from MacSoft is now available for pre-order at the IMG Web Store for $39. If you're a MacGames CD subscriber, can pre-order for just $34. Stronghold is scheduled to ship on May 21st!

Stronghold is a unique cross between city builders such as Caesar III or Sim City and a RTS in the tradition of Command & Conquer and Age of Empires. Set in medieval Europe, you'll establish settlements, build and manage castles and engage in siege warfare. The game incorporates much more building and "community managing" than a traditional RTS, yet allows for a more intense combat experience than city builders have featured in the past.

Set in Medieval Europe, Stronghold challenges your strategic building, resource management and RTS combat skills. Become the ruler of a virtual medieval world with each decision and policy they implement. Decide how to regulate taxes and rations, when to offer free ale or hold fairs, as well as many other policies that will have an impact on your citizenís lives. Work to build and protect your castle and ultimately mount an invasion to dominate the enemyís fortress. A campaign-style storyline develops through narrative and in-game interaction.

System Requirements:

  • G3/350MHz or faster processor (500Mhz or faster for on-line play)
  • Mac OS 8.6 or higher (Carbonized for OSX)
  • Rage 128 or better video card
  • 128MB RAM, and 750MB free hard disk space
  • Internet or LAN connection required for on-line play

    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.

    Buy Stronghold

    Bungie Store Reopens
    12:57 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

    The Bungie Store has reopened for business, and it features such Mac gaming goodness as Oni for $20 and the classic Mac Action Sack (containing Minotaur, Pathways into Darkness, Abuse, Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, and Marathon Infinity) for a ludicrously low $15.

    Also, while supplies last, each order at the Bungie Store will include a free copy of the "Making of Halo" DVD. If you're new to Mac gaming and haven't yet discovered the timeless gameplay of the Marathon series, which foreshadowed many elements of Bungie's upcoming Mac shooter, Halo, on no account whatsoever should you pass up this great deal.

    The Bungie Store is also offering some impressive discounts for organized Bungie fans:

    Once a month, chapters of the Seventh Column (a mysterious and powerful organization of Bungie fans) receive a whopping 40% discount on one order of $100 or more. If you're a member of the Seventh Column and are ready to place an order for yourself and your chaptermates, click the Redeem button. To learn more about the Seventh Column, including how you can join a chapter or start one of your own, click the button.
    For more information, to place your order, or to click the above-mentioned buttons, head over to the Bungie Store now.

    Bungie Studios

    Galactica A.D. Online Open Beta
    12:28 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story today announced an open beta of a new online version of Galactica Anno Dominari, their game of galactic colonization and warfare. President Nicolas Murphy said:

    We've been looking forward to this release for a long time. The ability to play against other strategists opens a totally new era for Galactica and it's players. Monkey Byte has been developing a web portal specifically for this new version in hopes of attracting more gamers. We even plan to host multi-level tournaments with cash prizes for the victors.
    In Galactica A.D., players build starships and and use them to colonize the galaxy, protect territory, and defeat other players in combat.

    For more information or to download the open beta, visit the Galactica A.D. web pages, linked below.

    Galactica A.D.
    Galactica A.D. Open Beta

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    Civilization III Expansion Pack Announced
    11:27 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Infogrames and Firaxis Games today announced a new expansion pack for Sid Meier's Civilization III. Titled Civilization III: Play the World, the expansion will include full multiplayer support, eight additional civilizations, and new map and terrain features:

    We're thrilled with the reception our fans around the world have given Civilization III," said Sid Meier, co-founder of Firaxis Games. "They love Civ III and they are telling us they want more -- more interesting civilizations to play, the ability to play with their friends, and a chance to create their own unique Civilization worlds. We've listened and we're giving them all of that, plus much more.
    Sid Meier's Civilization III: Play the World will include three different Internet and LAN game styles, including turn-based, simultaneous, and for the first time in a Civilization game, a turnless mode. Civilization fans around the world can now face off in short, fast-paced games like Elimination, Regicide, and Capture the Flag, or play a more traditional Civilization-style game. In addition, the expansion will support "Play by Email" and Hotseat games and will include multiplayer scenario support.

    Play the World will also expand the Civilization experience by adding eight new "Great Leaders"; eight new civilizations with specialized units for each; new map features including airfields, outposts, and radar towers; two new terrain sets that allow players to customize their maps; additional interface enhancements like unit stacking and auto-bombard; and complete game editor and scenario support, including feudal Japan and World War II unit packs, that will allow players to create scenarios from any time period.

    Civilization III: Play the World will be unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles later this month.

    The Macintosh version of Civilization III was published by MacSoft. There's no word yet on if the expansion pack will the coming to the Mac. But we'll be sure to keep you posted.

    Firaxis Games
    Civilization III
    IMG Review: Civilization III
    Buy Civilization III

    MacGamer Interviews Sid Meier
    11:15 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story has posted an interview with Firaxis Games' Sid Meier, one of the industry's most hailed and widely respected game designers. The interview with Meier covers several topics, from his thoughts on the general state of Mac gaming to his company's tried-and-true philosophy of game design.

    Here's a clip from the interview:

    Q: What are you thoughts toward Mac gaming and, in particular, OS X?

    A: Well, there's obviously a strong Mac gaming community out there which is why our publishers have ported several of our games to the Mac (for example, Civ III and Alpha Centauri). I want our games to be accessible to as many people as possible, so we encourage and support our publishers in making our games Mac friendly.

    Be sure and check out the rest of the interview at

    Firaxis Games
    MacGamer: Sid Meier Interview

    Interview with Richard Bannister
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    French gaming site Mac4Gamer recently conducted an interview with longtime Mac programmer Richard Bannister. Though his name may not be familiar to some Mac gamers, his slew of emulation titles, such as Boycott Advance, RockNES, and SMS Plus should be quite well known.

    The interview itself is quite comprehensive, covering everything from Bannister's beginnings to Mac programming and emulator creation, as well as his views regarding the often-touchy subject of emulation software and intellectual property rights:

    Mac4Gamer: Some people or societies, like Nintendo, threaten sites who make old games, such as the NES games, avalaible. What is your opinion about this?

    Bannister: I see both sides of the argument.

    Nintendo (and the like) has to protect their intellectual property rights. Sites distributing ROMs for emulators are fundamentally distributing pirated software.

    However, the difficulty is that there is no legal way to obtain these games, for the most part. You can't just go out to your local store and buy a specific NES game now. If your original cartridge fails, that's the end of the game for you.

    It's a difficult problem.

    The rest of the interview is available at Mac4Gamer's site and is an interesting read for those seeking more insight into the emulator area. For more information on Bannister's own works, be sure to check out his own site at

    Mac4Gamer: Richard Bannister Interview
    Richard Bannister

    High Voltage 2 Available
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Don-Martin Antell of Antell Software recently released High Voltage 2 for the Mac. Described as a fast-paced arcade game featuring pre-rendered 3D objects, its name comes from the fact that players get to wrestle with an electric current:

    In the game you play as an electrical current trying to stay alive by avoiding resistors and taking power-ups. You steer the current with the mouse. The game is suitable for people of all ages.
    High Voltage 2 is a shareware title with modest system requirements. There is currently only a Mac OS 9 version, though a Mac OS X version is in progress. The download is sized around 5 MB and is available at MacGameFiles for those that wish to try it out.

    High Voltage 2
    MGF: High Voltage 2 (5.3 MB)

    Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 7, 2002

    Sugar Cube Releases Cocoa Sprite Kit1:40 PM
    IMG Reviews the Flat-Panel iMac11:39 AM
    Two Giveaways: Hot Date and Radeon 8500!11:38 AM
    GameSmith Game-Matching Service Announced10:42 AM
    Apple Previews Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds6:00 AM
    ATI Installer, Radeon 8500 Firmware Updated6:00 AM
    Glider Pro X Updated to 3.0.16:00 AM
    Legislation Seeks to Censor Violent Video Games6:00 AM
    More Details on Upcoming Civilization III Expansion6:00 AM
    Sound Blaster 1.1 RC Drivers Available6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 7, 2002 on one page

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