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Thursday, June 20, 2002

Bubble Trouble X: Getting Hooked Again Feature Posted
11:23 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Bubble Trouble was first released for the Macintosh way back in 1996. Ancient in gaming terms. But recently Ambrosia Software released Bubble Trouble X, with new features such as the ability to play within a moveable window, InputSprocket support under OS 8/9, native code under OS X, a Carbonised editor, and some fun gameplay changes. Bubble Trouble authors Alex Metcalf and David Wareing have written an article for IMG entitled, Bubble Trouble X: Getting Hooked Again, to give game players an idea of some of the issues involved in breathing new life into an old game.

Here's a snippet from the article:

What To Do?
The first step was to work out exactly what needed to be done to get the game running under OS X. The process is similar to film restoration: finding the original elements, cleaning them up, replacing missing or unusable elements, and so on. The amount of work required is different for every game. Whether it's worth doing is a decision a game developer has to make on a game-by-game basis.

What Not To Do?
Working out what not to do was also very important! Just like film restoration, decisions had to be made as to the extent of the changes. Some changes are trivial, and some have far-reaching consequences. Should we just clean up the print and run off new copies, or should we add new action? Are we restoring, or are we making a Special Edition? Do we make Greedo shoot first?

With Bubble Trouble, the desired changes included new, high quality sounds, music and graphics, new enemies, new gameplay, etc. Very soon, the list resembled more of a sequel than a restoration! Since Alex would be doing almost all the programming while juggling other work, and time was limited, we had to be very careful. The list could only include those features we could achieve in a reasonable timeframe, with priority given to those that would be of most benefit to players.

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

Bubble Trouble X: Getting Hooked Again

JewelToy Updated to 1.2.1
11:17 AM | Daniel Meissner | Comment on this story has updated their Mac OS X freeware game,JewelToy, to 1.2.1. JewelToy is a simple, but mildly addictive puzzle game. It involves aligning rows of same colored jewels, either vertically, or horizontally, to get points against the clock. The game play should be instantly familiar to any puzzle enthusiast.

Among the major changes is the inclusion of new graphics, the ability to add your own custom graphics, and a bug fix involving saving high scores. Here is a version history.

Version 1.2.1
  • Fixed bug where High scores were not being saved.
  • Added Eric Cherry's original alternate graphics to the collection of alternate graphic files.

    Version 1.2.0

  • Revised the scoring system, cascades now score significantly more (inspired by Mike Wessler).
  • Allow import of custom gem graphics in preferences.
  • Colored background added to show off new gems (inspired by Mike Wessler).
  • And, much requested, gems that would make a line hang about to taunt you for a second after time runs out.
  • Score bubbles every time a row is made.
  • Freeplay (untimed play) now lets you accumulate bonuses.
  • Gems above a cleared line shiver before falling, and fall with small random delays.
  • As mentioned above JewelToy is freeware, but the program's authors are accepting donations through PayPal on their web site. So if you really like the game, do your part and support the programers.


    Click to enlarge
    Age of Empires II Networking Fix
    8:01 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Brad Oliver of Westlake Interactive recently posted a new fix for those having troubles with the networking in Age of Empires II. The problem is that during an online session with an opponent, the game will sometimes quit for seemingly no reason. Oliver explains in the IMG forums that this was due to a bug in OpenPlay, the networking layer used by the game, and he has posted a fix on his iDisk now.

    Follow the link below to download the small (102k) OpenPlay 2.1r1 file from his iDisk. Then follow these instructions to install:

    Unstuff this archive and copy the contents to your Age2 install. You might want to back up the OpenPlay files in your existing Age2 directory just in case these new ones make things worse. The new libraries should fix the crashes and no-warning quits during netplay. We shipped Galactic Battlegrounds with this new version of OpenPlay, so I'm fairly sure it'll drop in painlessly to an existing Age2 install, but I haven't specifically tested it there.
    This is a somewhat unofficial fix for the problem, so the standard warnings apply. If you're having trouble with the game, you're encouraged to try out the patch though and see how it works for you.

    Age of Empires 2 Problems Forum Thread
    Ensemble Studios
    Age of Empires II
    Download OpenPlay 2.1r1 Fix

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    IMG Giveaway: Altec Lansing 621
    6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    IMG and Altec Lansing have teamed up to give away two sets of their excellent 621 speaker system. Featuring 200 watts of total system power (50 watts for each satellite, 100 watts for the subwoofer), a wired remote, and stylish design, the 621 is perfect for the causal or hardcore gamer.

    Today is the last day of the giveaway, so enter now for your chance to win! The winners will be announced the next week. For more information on the 621, read Jason Sims' review.

    IMG Giveaway Page
    IMG Review: Altec Lansing 621
    Altec Lansing

    Game Salary Survey Posted
    6:00 AM | Daniel Bogan | Comment on this story

    The Adrenaline Vault has posted the results of a survey published in Game Developer Magazine, relating to the salaries of game developers. The results, given the slump in the economy at the moment, are somewhat encouraging.

    See for yourself:

    The average game programmer salary is $66,000. A technical director with six or more years experience earns an average of $104,000. Game artists earn an average of $61,000.
    Make sure you check out the rest of the article for yourself, and help save a wild game developer; keep on buying those games!

    The Adrenaline Value: Game Salary Survey Results

    Jedi Knight II Hits Alpha Status
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Mac gamers anticipating the release of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast should be pleased to hear that progress on the title is proceeding nicely. Aspyr recently sent us an e-mail letting us know that JK2 has officially hit Alpha status:

    Just thought I'd give everyone a quick update on where we are at with Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. As of today, we are at Alpha due to the incredible job Brad Oliver from Westlake Interactive is doing on the conversion.
    This is terrific news, especially considering the announcement for JK2 was made only a few weeks ago. Hats off to Brad Oliver and the team at Westlake for their superb efforts.

    For those unfamiliar with the title, Jedi Knight 2 is a 3rd-person action title that lets players jump in the shoes of Kyle Katarn, rogue Jedi knight, and act out various Star Wars fantasies such as swinging a lightsaber and wielding force powers. More information can be found in IMG's recent preview of this title.

    IMG Preview: Jedi Knight II
    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    Raven Software
    Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
    Buy Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

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    Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness Q&A
    6:00 AM | Daniel Krechmer | Comment on this story

    Lara Croft was the first new console-gaming icon of the 32 bit era. Now that things have moved on, Lara herself is finally moving onto bigger and hopefully better things. has a Q&A with Eidos Interactive's Mike Schmitt about Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, and Mike fills in some new details about the latest installment.

    Some of the biggest new features in Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness are: Lara's ability to converse with other characters, to upgrade her various abilities during the game, to play as another character (Kurtis), and to use new stealth moves as well as some interesting hand-to-hand moves. Also, the game is just much more in-depth than the previous titles, expressing a more mature and darker storyline.
    For those who want to know more about the game, the following is an excerpt from Eidos's web site.
    A series of grisly murders brings Lara into conflict with a sinister Alchemist from the past, and a secret alliance of powerful individuals shrouded in mystery. At the center of these mysteries are the Obscura Paintings - five 14th century pieces of art that the Alchemist is desperate to repossess. Accused of the murder of her one time mentor, Werner Von Croy, Lara becomes a fugitive on the run. Pursued by the police, she follows the Alchemist into a dark world of blood, betrayal and vengeance where it is up to her to defeat this unholy alliance, and stop them from unleashing their incredible powers on the world.
    Although it is still not known if Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is coming to the Mac platform, given past successes with the series we can all hope that we will be shooting, jumping, and now talking with Lara once more.

    Tomb Raider Q&A
    Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
    Core Design
    Buy Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

    Another Proposal to Regulate Video Games Introduced
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Yet another piece of legislation regarding the sale or rental of violent video games was introduced as a proposal by California congressman Joe Baca. Known as H.R. 4645, The Protect Children from Video Game Sex and Violence Act of 2002, the proposal seeks to create harsh penalties to retailers who sell or rent violent video games to minors.

    The proposal defines the following game content as taboo to minors:

    • Decapitation, amputation, dismemberment, or mutilation
    • The killing of human beings by the use of an object as a lethal weapon or hand to hand fighting
    • The car jacking of a vehicle
    • Rape or other sexual assault and prostitution
    • Aggravated assault or battery
    • Other violent felonies
    The proposed penalties are very aggressive, with fines ranging from $1000 to $5000 along with possible jail time for a third offense for those that fail to enforce the proposed ratings system.

    Legislation against violent video games is nothing new to most gamers, who have debated the situation copiously in the past. Several video game companies have stepped forward to add their own opinions as well., in a related article, got a statement from Nintendo regarding the current ESRB rating system used for video games:

    "We really feel that's doing the job," said Beth Llewelyn, director of corporate affairs at Nintendo of America. "The responsibility may lie with the parents to recognize what is out there. They have to make sure the content is appropriate."
    Baca, however, cites both the Columbine events and the recent incident in Germany as causes for alarm. He also makes note of his belief in the lack of enforcement regarding the ESRB system:
    "Some are doing it, and I commend those," he said. "But others have no policy in place. It's about profit, money. It's a $59 billion industry."
    Those interested in more information are encouraged to read both the article and the official press release for the proposal itself. Regardless of whether or not this proposal goes through, it almost certainly won't be the last of its kind.

    Press Release: H.R. 4645 - Explicit Video Games May Become Illegal

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    WarCraft III First Impressions at Actiontrip
    6:00 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story has posted a brief first impression article on Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming magnum opus, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. The preview, which features some interesting screenshots, gives a very favorable opinion of the game's strong story and character depth, which apparently make this game something of a milestone for Blizzard, and possibly the entire RTS genre.

    Some of the more interesting aspects of the single-player game are detailed in the preview.

    Let me tell you right off the bat that Warcraft III single-player is something special. Really special. I would consider the game's efforts as an advancement in the way that RTS stories are implemented into the basin RTS gameplay. Gone are the days of mission being the focal points of the RTS experience. Blizzard took this concept a step further by modeling the missions to fit the story and not vice-versa. The story is the key.
    The previewer also raves about the quality of the game's art and pays complements to Blizzard's art staff. And what Blizzard game would be complete without cinematic cutscenes?
    Cut scenes. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about those. Even though that most of the cinematic sequences are done with the in-game engine, some are (as you know) done with a TAD more polys. All of us at the AT offices have agreed that Blizzard should make a full-featured movie out of the Warcraft III CGI sequences and sell them to the fans. Make no mistake -- they would make a bundle.
    The previewer also makes a point to discuss the RPG aspects of Warcraft III. Some gamers may remember that Warcraft III was originally intended to be a hybrid RPG/RTS game, but was altered during development to be more of a traditional RTS game. Many were dissapointed by this change in course. The previewer notes, however, that more of the original concept was left in than many are anticipating.
    Luckily, from looking at the final product, it seems that Blizzard kept more of the original idea that many have expected. It turns out that our fears were unfounded, as Warcraft III in many ways represents a critical leap for Blizzard in terms of their design approach.
    To find out more, read the entire preview by clicking the link below.

    W3 First Impressions at Actiontrip
    Blizzard Entertainment
    WarCraft III
    Buy WarCraft III

    ER-Sim Lets You Play Doctor
    6:00 AM | Daniel Meissner | Comment on this story

    Ever wanted to be emergency room doctor and have people's lives be forever changed by your decisions? Well now you can. At least that is the experience that Legacy Interactive is hoping to give you through its shockwave based game .

    The online medical simulator has currently added a new case to its diverse collection. It involves the collapse of a runway super model:

    Choosing from 35 actual medical tools and instruments and referencing a real online medical database, players are challenged to diagnose and treat a fashion model who has collapsed on the runway. The unusually thin patient is delirious, has a rapid heart rate and appears malnourished. You must stabilize the patient, determine the cause of the collapse and administer the appropriate treatment. But, you'd better think fast - you are evaluated and scored based on the results of your actions.
    Legacy Interactive is known for its successful and award winning Series of Emergency Room games. In order to play on, you'll need register on the site and have both Macromedia Flash and Shockwave installed.
    New case added to
    Legacy Interactive

    Omni Group Adds Five Projects to Games Page
    6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    After a hiatus from the gaming scene, the Omni Group has returned with MacPlay contracting them to port five games to Mac OS X. They have updated their game ports page with mini-sites for Solider of Fortune II: Double Helix, Freedom Force, Fallout, and Incoming. As with their previous ports, Omni has added their own little touches to the games.

    Fallout Features
  • Rewritten for OS X. It's faster, more stable, and just plain cooler than the original Mac OS 7/8 version. For example, you can now use Cmd-H to hide the game if the boss drops by while you're busy wasting Raiders.
  • Based on Fallout 1.2. The old Mac port only made it to 1.1, so this version fixes several in-game issues.

  • Incoming Features
  • This is the first version of Incoming to use OpenGL and Hardware Transform & Lighting. It's fast.
  • Supports gamepads via the HID Manager.
  • The Freedom Force mini-site notes that it will be the first Mac game to use NDL's NetImmerse game engine, "paving the way for future games to follow." Among the list of AAA-games to use the NetImmerse engine are Bethesda's Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot, and Headfirst's Call of Cthulhu. You can find a complete list of titles in development on NDL's customer page.

    In addition, Omni is porting a MacPlay title that has yet to be announced. Check out Omni Group's games page for more information and let the speculation begin!

    Omni Group
    Omni Group Game Ports Page
    NDL Customer List

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    Unofficial Guide to Connecting to RTCW 1.33 Servers
    6:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Last week when id Software released the 1.33 patch for the PC version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, it created an incompatibiity problem for Macintosh users wanting to join "1.33 pure" servers (the Mac version is currently at version 1.32). However, a recent hack has been found to allow Mac users to play on 1.33 servers and a Mac gamer named Galen Wiley has written a short guide called "Connecting to v1.33 Servers" to help Mac gamers install the hack. It involves downloading a file that includes the required map files and placing them in your Return to Castle Wolfenstein folder.

    As with all unofficial hacks, this one comes with a stern warning:

    WARNING: This "patch", once installed, prevents you from connecting to 1.32 servers. If you have any favorite servers that are still running 1.32, I'd recommend sticking with 1.32. Remember, this is unofficial, and many things may not work properly. You have been warned.

    Also you may not be able to join servers if PunkBuster is not previously enabled.

    According to various posts in the IMG forum, the hack successfully allows Mac gamers to join 1.33 servers without any problems.

    There's no word yet on whether Aspyr Media will be releasing an official 1.33 patch for Return to Castle Wolfenstein. But we'll be sure to keep you posted.

    IMG Review: Return to Castle Wolfenstein
    Guide to Connecting to 1.33 Servers
    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    Return to Castle Wolfenstein
    Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

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    Fix for Stronghold Sound Drop Out
    6:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    If you own a dual processor Macintosh and have been experiencing sound drop outs with certain games such as Myst III and MacSoft's recently released castle sim, Stronghold, help is on the way. IMG forum reader "Wookie" has posted a brief guide in our forums that contain a workaround to the sound drop out problem. It basically involves disabling one of the processors on a dual processor machine:

    The sound drop outs are from the Bink Library not being thread-safe. Thus why dual processor machines show this problem. Myst III was the same. I have a work around, by disabling one of the processors. Open Terminal and do:

    sudo nvram boot-args="cpus=1"

    and then reboot. The machine will start with only one cpu enabled. To revert back to dual:

    sudo nvram boot-args=""

    and reboot.

    If you've been experiencing sound out problems, give it a try. Just remember that this is an unofficial hack and involves disabling one of the processors in your machine.

    IMG Review: Stronghold
    IMG Forum: Stronghold sound fix
    Firefly Studios
    Buy Stronghold

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, June 19, 2002

    Dog of Prey: Multiplayer Test Report and Screens11:11 AM
    Down Preps for Release11:10 AM
    Guide to Overclocking the Radeon 850010:02 AM
    Sims Online Trailer Released8:12 AM
    Shadowbane 'Rulers' Interviewed7:56 AM
    Apple Support Update on OSX and Graphics Accelerators7:53 AM
    Doom III Wins Best of Show6:18 AM
    High-Rez Dragon's Lair 3D Screenshots6:18 AM
    More Impressions of Neverwinter Nights6:18 AM
    Neverwinter Nights EULA Posted6:18 AM
    Neverwinter Nights Ships for PC6:18 AM
    Yet More WarCraft III Screenshots6:18 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, June 19, 2002 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

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    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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