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Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Apple: OS X 10.1.5, eMacs for Everyone, QT6
9:39 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday brought a host of announcements from Apple spanning quite a product range from OS X to their formerly edu-only eMac, to a preview version of QuickTime 6. While all are very cool and great for the company, there are a few significant things that gamers might want to pay attention to as well.

OS X 10.1.5 has been released, and Apple has made quite a few very interesting changes in the update. First and foremost for many G3 owners is the addition of 2D and QuickTime acceleration support for ATI's Rage Pro chipset. This very popular hardware accelerator was used in many early Beige G3's, iMacs, iBooks, and even PowerBooks. Many petitions (and even legal threats) went out asking Apple to support it under OS X.

Early reports say the update is quite an improvement in both gaming and movie playback quality. The 10.1.5 update also brings Quartz anti-aliasing to Carbonized applications (formerly available only to native Cocoa programs), so look for new updates to your favorite Carbon apps to look even better.

Also of news in the update are new drivers for other ATI and Nvidia chipsets. One very significant fix confirmed to be in 10.1.5 is a bug which wouldn't let Beige G3 owners operate a Radeon 7000 under OS X. This startup issue has now been taken care of and the card works very well under the new OS. One potential problem remaining may be not waking from sleep, but we'll do more digging to see if that's common across other machines as well. Stay tuned for an updated review of the Radeon 7000 soon.

Other IMG readers are reporting in the forums that some games (specifically StarCraft) may be experiencing issues under OS X 10.1.5. These aren't happening to everyone, but if you're having problems with a title, a post in the OS X forum is a good place to try and find out if you're not alone. To download and install the 10.1.5 update, use the Software Update in OS X.

For the gamer on a tight budget, the new eMac being made available into retail channels is great news. This machine features a full 17" display and a 32MB GeForce 2MX, just like its more flexible flat-paneled iMac cousin. A 700MHz G4 is nothing to scoff at either. For the full specs on the machine (which starts at only $1099) have a look at Apple's site.

Apple Store eMac Section
QuickTime 6 Preview

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Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds Ships
3:05 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media today announced that it has begun shipping Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds. A real-time strategy game, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds was built using Ensemble's popular Age of Empires engine. Players command the great armies of the Star Wars universe in various single player campaigns and multiplayer battles.

Here's more from the official press release:

Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds allows players to deploy armies of up to 200 units per side, which can include almost any of your favorite Star Wars characters such as bounty hunters, Wookiees, droids, Sith, and much more. Players also can manage resources and upgradeable technology such as superior Gungan biotechnology and Jedi stamina.

Another feature made available in both single and multiplayer modes is the Scenario Editor. This allows campaigns to be custom made featuring virtually any Star Wars units and settings.

"Being able to create your own adventure is incredible, especially in the Star Wars universe!" says Ted Staloch, VP of Sales for Aspyr.

We'll be posting a review of Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out our preview.

Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds is available for order from Aspyr as well as the IMG Store.

Preview: Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds
Buy Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds

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The Slacker's Guide to Shareware Part 3
2:44 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Slacker's Guide to Shareware, authored by the wild and often wacky Chris Barylick, is back with another installment. In this feature the Slacker looks at four cool shareware games including Native Assault and Bubble Trouble for OS X.

Here's a snippet from the article:

Summer is officially here and despite the fact that the season does its very best to kill the Slacker on an annual basis, some terrific shareware games have glanced his way with “come hither” looks in their binary eyes. With that in mind and the fact that gaming is appropriate even while performing open-heart surgery, the Slacker is happy to present four titles that have earned their proverbial stripes. No, your couple of bucks won’t allow a game’s creators to frivolously throw their money away on the Segway units of the future, but it might just allow them to buy food, pay the rent and afford the flamethrowers that would make all the difference in reaching a more amicable agreement with their apartment’s cockroach population…
Be sure to check out the rest of the article today!

The Slacker's Guide to Shareware - Part 3

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Lineage Chat with NCSoft
12:50 PM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

Stratics, the massively multiplayer network coverage website has just posted a new chat transcript with the folk over at NCSoft Austin (the US division of NCSoft). Jeremy Gaffner, Executive Producer of 3rd Party Products, was on hand along with a few other representatives from NCSoft Austin. This was an opportunity for players to ask questions about upcoming Lineage changes and games.

Here's a little about what went on:

EcKs: A hot question amongst all Lineage and past Lineage players: are there plans to release beta (open or closed) versions of Lineage II or Lineage 3D, whichever comes first? If so, what is a tentative date for starting of beta service?

Gaffer: Lineage 2 will definitely go through an open beta process - you'll see this for most of our upcoming games. We like to test as much as possible internally, but you just can't get a good chance to test things like high-level play without a lot of people.

Gaffer: Lineage 3D...hmmm, I can neither confirm nor deny...:)

If your interested, be sure to check out the full details of the trancript over at Stratics.

Chat with NCSoft

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World of Warcraft Preview at
11:34 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

If you're a fan of the fantasy RTS game Warcraft and have ever wondered what it would be like to play one of your units in an RPG, the wait may soon be over. A recent feature at previews Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft. An adaptation of its popular Warcraft series into a massively multiplayer online role playing game, the preview mainly talks about the blending of the best features of Warcraft with the ease of interface and playability of Blizzard's Diablo:

You can think of World of WarCraft as an online version of Diablo. Just as in the Diablo Action/RPG series, you control one character with an easy to use interface, skill system, and simple but addicting combat.
The preview is overwhelmingly positive, with references to new features like mini-maps, a 'stellar' new graphics engine, seamless 'zoning' into buildings and more. The article also has several screenshots. Although no mention is made of a Mac version in the piece, on WoW's FAQ page Blizzard states that 'the game will initially be available for PCs.' Although not a guarantee of a Mac version, the company has traditionally made its major titles for both platforms. WoW Preview
World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment
Buy World of Warcraft

Happy Gear Updated
11:17 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

AustinSoft has updated their game utility Happy Gear to version 2.5.1, reorganizing and adding features to the application. HappyGear is a OS 9 utility which allows players to use newer USB devices with older games that don't support Apple's InputSprocket. Version 2.5 adds a Quick Device Creator to ease the process of getting a device started. Here's a list of changes made recently:

Version 2.5.1

* Fixed a corrupt resource which prevented editing a device element name.

Version 2.5

* New Quick Device Creator assistant to simplify the process of creating device elements.
* Reorganized and simplified user interface.
* Settings-specific video and sound configurations.
* Added call to notify the OS that something is happening while HappyGear is providing data so that screen savers and sleep don't automatically start.
* Fixed a problem saving calibration settings.

Head over to Macgamefiles to download HappyGear, or check out the web site for more information on the program itself.

Download HappyGear

Westlake Project Updates, Adds 'Track 1'
10:14 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Mac porting house Westlake Interactive updated its news page today with updates on several titles. Games reaching Golden Master status include The Sims Hot Date, Star Wars Battlegrounds, and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The web site also mentions that Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is in the early development stage.

Westlake has also added a new project that is currently code named "Track 1" and is also in the early development stage. If you'd like to take a guess as to what "Track 1" is, be sure to share your thoughts in our forum.

More information on the current status of these games can be found at Westlake's news site.

Westlake Interactive
Westlake project status page
IMG Forum: Track 1

Nanosaur Comic Released Free on Web
9:57 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Nearly a year ago, IMG reported on the progress of a comic book based on Pangea Software's popular 3D dinosaur game Nanosaur. The comic book itself, titled Nanosaur #1 Countdown to Extinction, was delayed indefinitely due to publisher issues. Therefore, the creators have decided to make it available for free on the web. This is great news for those who might not have had the chance to see the finished version, as the comic contains very high quality art and color work. Here's a clip from the site about the story of Nanosaur:

Nanosaur is based on the exciting Macintosh Video Game of the same name. Like the game, the Nanosaur in the story is sent back in time to collect Dinosaur eggs of all the species, and send them through a space-time continuum before the meteor hits. He must succeed, or the Dinosaurs may be wiped out again. He’s equipped with a fitted detachable gun in order to defend himself and even the odds of his survival. The Nanosaur’s mission is simple enough, until he is faced with the conflict of having to kill his own kind, in order to save them in the future. As the story unfolds, he realizes that’s just the beginning of his problems.

Nanosaur features the talents of seasoned artists Kevin Conrad and Todd Broeker, as well as the gifted newcomer, Rich Bonk. Rich has studied under the top artists in the industry and inked for some of the top publishers, preparing him for his debut as penciller/co-inker on Nanosaur, creating Dinosaur art that’s nothing short of stunning. A veteran of many top-selling comics, Kevin gives definition and character to the art through his incredible inking style. Todd, whose known for his color work on numerous titles over the past ten years, not only brings his realistic, earthy colors to complete the look of the art, but makes his writing debut for the story of Nanosaur.

Head to now to check out the full version of the first (and possibly only) episode of the Nanosaur comic.

IMG News: Nanosaur-Based Comic Book Underway
Nanosaur #1 Countdown to Extinction
Download Nanosaur Demo

Hight Voltage 2 for OS X Released
9:47 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Antell Software has released a Mac OS X compatible version of High Voltage 2, a fast-paced arcade game featuring pre-rendered 3D objects. 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.

Here's more from the author on High Voltage 2:

A new version of High Voltage 2 is ready for download. It's now fully MacOS X compatible thanks to a talanted java-programmer, Bob Barnes. The X-version requires a 450 Mhz or faster processor for reasonable good performance.
The download is sized around 5 MB and is available at MacGameFiles for those that wish to try it out.

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

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Shadowbane E3 Movie and Details
9:39 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Shadowbane Portal, fansite for the currently in development MMORPG Shadowbane, recently made available a video taken of publisher Ubi Soft's E3 Shadowbane booth. The bulk of the video shows SB in action, following a character through two different environments.

One point shown off in the movie that gamers may not be aware of is the fact that SB will feature underwater environments. A character is actually shown swimming through the water, eventually climbing onto a nearby embankment. During the showing, the SB reps point out that underwater combat is completely possible, though it may cause characters to slow down as well as limit their spell-casting options.

The second environment shows what appears to be a city under siege. The city itself is on fire, and characters are shown casting spells and entering combat with one another. Also shown is what appears to be the city's Tree of Life, an entity integral to any cities created within the SB universe.

More information on the Tree of Life can be found at the official Shadowbane site, which has recently posted a tale concerning their origins:

According to the most ancient Elvish epic poems, the All-Father found one withered sprig of wood emerging from the broken, barren face of Aerynth. He breathed his essence and Spirit onto it, and the plant came to life, and took root. The All-Father rested, and when he awakened, the twig had become Yglandir, the World Tree, and Braialla was sitting in its boughs.
Those interested in SB who haven't actually seen the game in action are encouraged to download the video, in QT format, at the Shadowbane Portal. In addition, the Portal also has some information about SB's leveling up mechanics, particularly in terms of the PvP nature of SB's gameplay.

Shadowbane Portal - E3 2002 Journal
Shadowbane Portal - E3 Video Transcript
Shadowbane - Meridian Discusses the World Tree and Goddess Braialla
Wolfpack Studios

In-depth Doom III Preview
9:39 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Daily Telefrag recently posted an article detailing impressions concerning the recent showing of id Software's upcoming FPS Doom III at E3. The piece mainly focuses on a behind closed doors showing that was only made available to a small number of journalists, and goes into great detail regarding impressions on graphics, gameplay, and future prognosis.

The story itself, rather than being a true sequel, is actually described as a recreation of the Doom series itself:

Although id Software employees were unwilling to reveal the twists and turns of the plot, we managed to clear up some bits of it. DOOM III is set entirely on Mars, somewhere around the times when events of the Doom I took place. So here's another question: is DOOM III a rehash of the older story, a remake? "Well, actually yes it is", - Jim Dose had to confess. "Imagine there were no Dooms before. Our new game is not about retelling the same story (there was not much of a story, actually). This is Doom at its best: fearful as hell, mystic, and breathtaking immersive". I also managed to find out that DOOM III player will be opposed by Evil itself.
Also noted is the fact that Doom III will sport both indoor and outdoor levels, with around 30 levels total currently being planned. The levels are described as huge, with a realistic physics engine being implemented that will allow for interactive environments and accurate enemy reactions.

As for multiplayer plans, Dose stresses that Doom III is mainly about the single player experience, and that currently only deathmatching is planned for multiplayer support. However, he adds that new gameplay modes are likely to surface after the game's release.

The rest of the article goes into more depth concerning impressions on the artwork and atmosphere of Doom III as well as AI implementation and the use of NPC characters.

Daily Telefrag - E3: Doom III preview
id Software
Buy DOOM 3

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Bugdom 2 Development Update
9:39 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

A few weeks ago, Pangea Software announced that it was working on a sequel to the popular action game, Bugdom. Entitled Bugdom 2, the new game is well under way and is scheduled to be released this fall.

We recently got in touch with Pangea's Brian Greenstone to get a development update on the game:

We're almost half way done with Bugdom 2 now. We're working on the Playroom level now which is turning out to be really awesome! You get to drive a slot car on a slot car track, build a puzzle, and do battle with several toys including a wind-up "Otto" robot. The next level we'll be working on is "The Closet".
Bugdom 2 is Pangea's eighth game for the Mac and their 15th for an Apple platform. For more information on Bugdom 2, be sure to read our first look by Michael Eilers, linked below.

In related news, Greenstone said the Nanosaur comic book is now viewable online. Unfortunately the paper version of the comic book was never printed, so the authors decided to put the comic book online for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check it out.

IMG First Look: Bugdom 2
Pangea Software
Bugdom 2
Nanosaur Comic Book
Buy Bugdom 2

Mac Games News for Tuesday, June 4, 2002

The Sims: Hot Date Goes Gold4:15 PM
US Army Games for Free4:01 PM
MacGames CD Free Game Offers Updated2:06 PM
Mac Hall Returns With New Comic1:39 PM
IMG Previews Clive Barker's Undying12:59 PM
Bejeweled and Alchemy Go Gold12:05 PM
Escape Velocity Nova 1.0.1 Released11:50 AM
Lineage Episode 11 Media11:50 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, June 4, 2002 on one page

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Monday, June 3, 2002
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