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Thursday, May 16, 2002

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Pangea Announces Bugdom 2
6:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

As IMG reported last night, Pangea Software has officially announced that it is developing Bugdom 2, a sequel to the popular arcade game released a few years back. Taking the technology and gameplay lessons he learned while creating Otto Matic and returning to the game that put him on the map, Pangea's Brian Greenstone is well along in the development of Bugdom 2:

I was not sure if we would ever do sequel to Bugdom since we had so many other game ideas we wanted to explore, but we received a tremendous number of requests from our fans, and we had a really good concept for the game, so we’re finally doing it!
IMG's Michael Eilers has written a first look at the game based on an early alpha. Here's a snippet:
This time around the protagonist is a grasshopper named Skip, with a jaunty little hat and a shiny carapace. While Rollie the pillbug could roll into an indestructible ball to bop his enemies, Skip has the ability to actually fly (or more accurately, glide) for a limited distance. This ability becomes extremely useful at many points in the game, either for fleeing from enemies, avoiding obstacles on the ground or just getting an overview of the landscape. As you might expect of a grasshopper, Skip can also leap quite high into the air, an element that gives this game a faster pace than the original.

The gameplay itself will be instantly familiar and yet refreshingly different for those who have already played Bugdom and Otto Matic. It is the same 3/4 view third-person style of engine, with similar large, colorful landscapes and cinematic camera moves. Yet it is also apparent immediately that Skip moves and acts in a much different fashion than Rollie, and the overall pace of the game is almost frantic in comparison.

Be sure to check out the rest of the article by clicking on the link below.

IMG First Look: Bugdom 2
Bugdom 2
Buy Bugdom 2

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X-Plane Updated to 6.15
12:47 PM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

After a week of beta testing, Laminar Research has released version 6.15 of its popular general-aviation simulator, X-Plane. The new version includes many fixes:


  • Video RAM reduction of 40% at moderate to high texture res!
  • Load-time speedup of 15%!

New Features:

  • Visible speedbrakes on the wings! Pop the speedbrakes on the airliners and see them visually, as requested.
  • Briefer can now print the weather report to a text file so you may print it, etc, for viewing during flight.
  • More joysticks are now supported and more thoroughly. Also More PFC support.
  • Landing gear warning horn silencer, as requested.
  • Mixture and ignition status avail for data output.
  • Engine failure by separation from aircraft. Yes, this is "interesting." VERY "interesting." sometimes FATALY "interesting."
  • Load and save flight plans in your FMS system, as requested. Share them with your friends if you like! They are ".FMS" files in your "output/FMS plans" folder.

Bug Fixes:

  • Tire smoke OK, even on the replay and even if you blow a tire.
  • Refined realweather interpretation... X-Plane and Briefer cannot be fooled by erroneous or contradictory remarks.
  • All navaid data avail for udp output even if the cockpit is not up.
X-Plane is a modular flight simulator allowing pilots to fly almost anywhere on the planet in a variety of airplanes, from the typical to the exotic. X-Plane also simulates outer space and Mars flight.

IMG Review: X-Plane
X-Plane 6
Download X-Plane 6.15 Update (2 MB)

MacPlay Announces Value Series
12:12 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacPlay announced today its plans to bring value-priced games to market, officially titled the MacPlay Value Series. The initial configuration includes 12 titles in a freestanding display, offering the Macintosh consumer a selection of classic favorites along with some completely new titles for the platform.

Titles scheduled for the initial launch include Bejeweled, Zork Grand Inquisitor, Birdie Shoot, Jinni Zeala Pinball, HeXen II, and Majesty. Additional titles will be announced shortly, and MacPlay expects to update the assortment every 90 days as new titles become available.

Here's more from MacPlay's press release:

"The MacPlay Value Series was created with the sole purpose of providing a steady flow of great product to the Macintosh market," said Mark Cottam, President of MacPlay. "Over the years, the Mac gamer has enjoyed access to some of the best 'AAA' games from the Windows platform, but there has been a complete lack of quality games at the $20 price point." Cottam added, "Our goal at MacPlay is to deliver the best content at the fairest price. Based on the success of the MacPlay Value Series, I think you will see even more games on the Mac, and perhaps the development of some original gaming content."

MacPlay's Value Series is the newest vehicle for highly acclaimed games for both OS X and the classic platform. Some titles will be new to the Mac gaming community and others will be classic favorites. The MacPlay Value Series covers several different genres and provides compelling content for both the casual and serious gamer. The initial product assortment includes Puzzles, 3D Action, Adventure, Role Playing and First Person Shooters.

"We want to bring our consumers more dynamic products that really add value to their collection," said Henry Price, Director of Sales and Marketing for MacPlay. "Through the value series we will be able to offer great titles that everyone can enjoy without draining their wallets."

The MacPlay Value Series will start appearing at participating retail stores beginning in mid-June, as well as through MacPlay's online store.


MacPlay to Publish Bejeweled and Alchemy
12:03 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacPlay today announced that it will be publishing the Mac versions of PopCap’s popular puzzle games, Bejeweled andAlchemy. The games will ship as a bundle to retail in early June for about $20 and are currently available for preorder at MacPlay's web site.

Here's a description of both games from the MacPlay press release:

Bejeweled and Alchemy have been enjoyed by millions of online players, and soon they will be available on the Mac. The Macintosh version is even more enjoyable than the online version and includes new features, sound effects and music, completely new game modes and spectacular high-resolution graphics. Gamers from around the world who have played the game on various gaming platforms have enthusiastically praised the titles with glowing reviews.

Bejeweled, enjoyed over 12 million times online, is a fast paced gem-matching puzzle that will keep players coming back again and again. Players swap gems on the board to align at least three gems in a row, either horizontally or vertically, to collect points and make the collection disappear while more gems fall into place. In Alchemy, the player must transform the ordinary into the invaluable in an addictive, brain-tickling puzzle. The ancient art of alchemy involves the transformation of worthless metals into glittering gold. Throughout history, most have failed, but stories have materialized of mystical wizards who discovered the secrets of this ancient art.
Be on lookout for reviews of these titles in the weeks to come on Inside Mac Games. For more information, be sure to visit the MacPlay web site.


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New Dragon's Lair 3D Shots, Site Available
10:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

New screen shots of Dragon's Lair 3D, the 3D remake of the classic laserdisc arcade game, have been released. Both Blue's News and XGR received a pair of shots showing off the game's latest eye candy. A new web site has also been unveiled by publishers Encore and Ubi Soft that gives a good overview of the game if you haven't yet heard about it. Here's a list of features:

  • Take full control over Dirk the Daring for the first time. Make him jump, run, roll, climb, swing, and somersault.
  • Explore 43 huge areas and over 250 rooms.
  • Battle over 30 kinds of enemies, including over a dozen new creatures designed by Don Bluth.
  • Choose and collect new items, weapons, and potions along the way.
  • Brand-new intro and ending movies.
  • Technically innovative and amazingly fluid animation with a unique, cel-shaded look.
  • Original 90-minute musical score.
  • Dolby Surround Sound (Pro Logic).

For the full scoop, check out the new screen shots and web site now. Dragon's Lair 3D should be available from Ubi Soft for the Mac this fall.

Dragon's Lair 3D
Blue's News: Dragon's Lair 3D Screen Shots
XGR: Dragon's Lair 3D Screen Shots

First Mac GeForce4 Ti Impressions
10:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Accelerate Your Mac! has posted some first impressions from the now-shipping Mac GeForce4 Titanium cards based on Nvidia's powerful chipset. While Apple doesn't name the version of the GeForce4 Ti chipset in its card, the 128 MB of DDR RAM and other specs released by Apple suggest that it is equivalent to the PC's high-end 4600 version.

While the Quake III benchmark at Accelerate Your Mac! doesn't compare the GeForce4 Ti directly with the ATI Radeon 8500, it is telling to see more than 200 frames per second. A number of 2D observations are also made. Here's an excerpt:

If you're ordering a new G4, I'd probably spring for the $250 extra for the GF4 Ti card, rather than the GF4 MX card or the 7500. You get 128 MB of RAM and I'm sure better performance with Quartz Extreme when OS X 10.2 ships. If running dual monitors, having 64 MB of VRAM for each is also a nice plus. (Some will think of Doom III as a reason to buy a GeForce4 Ti or Radeon 8500, but by the time that game ships Nvidia and ATI are likely to have even faster graphics cards available. Nvidia's next design is expected in August for instance.) And for those that ordered a G4 with the Ti card early this year and got it for free - hats off to Apple for that offer (what a bargain).

I wish the Nvidia GF 3 and GF4 Ti cards had Mac driver support for features like pixel/vertex shaders, FSAA, etc. as they do on the PC. (I hear rumors that shader support will be added in a future update to Mac OpenGL.) The Radeon cards now have drivers that support FSAA (in certain games that have that option, although the net effect is often overhyped I think). And the Radeon 8500 has support for Truform, which I've noted previously in the 8500 review has a lot more benefit (IMHO) than FSAA. But the retail 8500 card has no ADC port - requiring the $149 DVI->ADC adapter to use the Apple ADC displays.

Head over to Accelerate Your Mac! for more of this first look at this powerful new video card.

Accelerate Your Mac: GeForce4 Ti First Impressions

Historical Analysis of Nvidia
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Computer gamers are quite familiar with the name Nvidia, a name that invariably comes up whenever a conversation involving hardware graphics cards takes place. Salon recently published the first part of an article titled Age of Nvidia that should appeal to those interested in the history of the company.

Though the name of the article implies a focus only on Nvidia, this first part actually covers much ground concerning the late 3dfx Interactive, which was indisputably the graphics king only a few short years ago. The feature examines the start of both 3dfx and Nvidia, the different approaches they took in tackling the market, and the genesis of the wildly popular 3D gaming trend:

Together, the contrasting fortunes of Nvidia and 3dfx help fill in the background to an explosive period during which computer gaming rose steadily in cultural and economic prominence. The story of Nvidia's rise, and rise, demonstrates how great the rewards can be for feeding the voracious maw of gamers who are always desperate for what's better and faster and flat-out cooler. But the moral of 3dfx's decline, and fall, is that in this world of bleeding-edge technology the mighty can self-immolate at any moment. All it takes is another frame per second for another itchy trigger finger.
The rest of the article covers topics such as Nvidia's dealings with Microsoft and the subsequent API war. Those interested in the full read can find it at Salon. Age of Nvidia

Bubble Trouble X Released
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Shareware makers Ambrosia have recently announced the release of Bubble Trouble X, an OS X version of their classic arcade title Bubble Trouble. In addition to the game itself, Ambrosia has also added a level editor as well as the ability to play the game in "multi-tasking friendly" windowed mode.

Here's a blurb from Ambrosia describing the title itself:

Bubble Trouble is a classic arcade game in which cutthroat fishies are playing hardball in a squabble over some very wet turf. Think of it as splatball for insufferably cute seafaring critters (hey, they need their fun too).

Bubble Trouble's world is filled with lusciously-drawn cartoony critters who give that cranky crab from "The Little Mermaid" a run for his money. But money isn't what you'll be running from: an otherwise peaceful fish bowl has been filled with bubbles that are being tossed around in an enthralling game of "Squish the Fish!"

Those interested in checking out this title can find more information, screenshots, and links for downloading at Ambrosia's Bubble Trouble X page.

Ambrosia - Bubble Trouble X
Ambrosia Software

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Combat Ranger Matching Service Announced
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

David Janik-Jones sent IMG an intriguing announcement yesterday afternoon of a new cross-platform matching service called Combat Ranger for the popular 3D war strategy Combat Mission. The program will run on Mac OS X, Mac OS 8.5, and Windows and will have full chat and game matching features.

Here's a description of the $5 shareware title:

Combat Ranger for Combat Mission is a fully cross-platform program that gives PC and Mac Combat Mission players a single place to gather in real-time. Combat Ranger provides a live 24/7 online forum to meet and arrange two-player TCP/IP or PBEM games, gives players the ability to email their PBEM files from within the application, chat about Combat Mission and the upcoming Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, and provides an extensive list of where to find scenarios and mods for Combat Mission.
While Combat Ranger isn't officially endorsed by Combat Mission creator Battlefront, the authors are working to strengthen ties to the company. No official release date is set, but the application should be available "very, very soon," according to the web site FAQ.

Combat Ranger
Combat Mission

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Mac Version of Diablo II Middle-Earth Mod Available1:31 PM
Pangea to Announce New Game Tonight10:12 AM
New Apple Xserve Promise of Future Offerings?9:34 AM
Tranquility Updated to 5.19:34 AM
Young's Modulus Updated for Mac OS X9:34 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 15, 2002 on one page

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