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Tuesday, June 25, 2002

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The Sims Vacation Announced For Mac
9:38 AM | Daniel Bogan | Comment on this story

Dust off those Hawaiian shirts and wax your bikini line, 'cause The Sims Vacation is coming to a Macintosh near you. The expansion pack is being ported to Mac platform by the good folks at Westlake Interactive; this was in fact the secret "Track 1" project, a throwback to an early 80's Go Go's song.

Here's a snippet from the Aspyr press release:

Pack your bags because you're taking the Sims on the vacation of a lifetime. Better yet, the first Vacation of a lifetime. Enjoy beautiful, fully customizable destinations such as Vacation Island's serene tropical beach resort, rustic woodland hideaway or the cool winter wonderland. Whether they're embarking on a relaxing family adventure or hooking up on a romantic
getaway, your Sims will discover that dull moments are as scarce as frowning faces.

While on your vacation, the Sims can interact with over 125 new items including the Snowman and the Camping Tent. Along with fun things to do, meet new characters such as the Vacation Director, the Yeti, the Archer, and the Beach Shark! In case you thought you may get away with nothing but perfect memories, beware of prowling pickpockets, out-of-control children, a serious case of Montezuma's Revenge or some other unexpected surprises that can quickly ruin your dream vacation.

Note that while these may possibly change before the release of the game, the current system requirements are:
MacOS 8.6, 9, 10 or later
233 MHz or faster PowerPC G3 or G4
192 MB of built-in RAM (additional Virtual Memory may be necessary)
600 MB free disk space
ATI Rage Pro, NVidia GeForce 2
4 MB video memory
Big thanks to Aspyr and Westlake Interactive for continuing to bring us the latest and greatest games!

The Sims Vacation
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Buy The Sims: Vacation

Logitech Intros Cordless Optical Trackman, Website Redesign
2:24 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Today, Logitech announced a new addition to it's popular trackball lineup, the Cordless Optical Trackman. This new trackball combines a sleek design, the latest optical and wireless technology, and comfortable ergonomics (at least for right handers). Here is some more information from the press release:

The "space-age" design of Cordless Optical TrackMan is complemented by time-tested Logitech technologies -- Logitech's patented optical Marble® technology for smooth cursor movement and 27 MHz cordless digital radio technology for reliable cordless freedom. The product offers new advanced navigation features in a comfortable finger-operated, form-fitting, right-handed design. It features special drag-lock functions to move text and images with ease and introduces Cruise Control™ scrolling, which allows the user to scroll rapidly through web pages and documents by just depressing a button. With conveniently located thumb-operated forward and back buttons, users can navigate easily through applications and web pages without having to move the cursor to the browser's onscreen buttons.
The Cordless Optical Trackman will be available worldwide in late July for a retail price of $69.95 USD. Logitech was kind enough to send us a review unit beforehand, so look for a review on IMG in the near future.

In related news, Logitech also unveiled a redesigned website this week, with a slick Aqua-fied logo prominently displayed. The website is easier to navigate than before, with options to display products by category, feature, platform and user. There is plenty of hardware displayed in the Mac section, but one minor omission are the Logitech keyboards, which are all supported by the beta OS X drivers.

Cordless Optical Trackman

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Civilization III Q&A at Apolyton
8:02 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

Apolyton has published a Q&A with Jeff Briggs, a designer for Civilization III, about the upcoming expansion Play the World. The add-on brings multiplayer options to the already solid gameplay from this award-winning series of games. From all the interviews we have seen in recent weeks it sounds like it will be worth the wait:

As you'll soon see, we've put a tremendous amount of work into the multiplayer offerings for Civ III: PTW and it took the focus of many of the Civ III team members to make it happen. At its heart, Civilization has always been a single player game and we wanted those players that love single play to have the game as soon as we could. Also we wanted to make sure that the multiplayer mode got the focus it needed.
The interview is rather short, but also blissfully straight to the point (unlike many massive chat logs posted lately). No official word on a Mac version of Play the World has yet been announced, but we're hoping to hear something soon about the posssibility.

Civilization III Q&A at Apolyton
Civilization III
Firaxis Games
Buy Civilization III

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Lineage Mac Fixes Today
7:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Lineage web site has a list of new fixes for the MMORPG being made today. A few of these specifically target the Mac client, which is OS X only. Hints are also made at the next major (albeit free) release of Episode 11. Here's more from the news with specifics on what is changing:

The following updates will be published with the maintenance on Tuesday 10:00am US Central time on June 25th:

Macintosh client will now display creatures properly that are much lower level than the player.

A display problem with magic resist not appearing correctly on Macintosh clients has been fixed. The magic resistance was always being applied during gameplay, but was simply not displaying properly.

Paper maps for the new lands have been fixed for Macintosh clients, to properly display the player’s position.

Files in preparation for Episode 11 will be patched to player’s clients. These files will remain inactive until Episode 11 gets published fully.

If you're a Lineage player, you should notice these later on in the morning. If you haven't yet tried out Lineage, the game has a free trial period available as well.

Lineage Update News

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Unreal II, Tournament 2003 Interview
7:51 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gaming website Multi Player Zone recently released the results of an interview with several people involved with the current Unreal II and Unreal Tournament 2003 projects, including 3 from Infogrames and one from Epic. The interview, which is fairly extensive, covers both upcoming Unreal titles as well as other general questions and concerns regarding views and thoughts.

While not much information on the games themselves is uncovered, the questions and answers do go into various concepts and ideas. The Infogrames crew, when questioned about the lack of multiplayer in Unreal II, emphasize once again that the title is meant to be a fully amazing single-player experience. They add that they have no plans to release a multiplayer patch in the future, and point to Unreal Tournament 2003 as a logical choice for those that favor multiplayer experiences.

The team also seem excited at the possible prospect of online multiplayer gaming reaching televised status sometime in the future:

[Matt]: There are groups out there right now that are working to make multiplayer gaming a spectator sport. I think we will be seeing attempts at this in the near future. Will it be successful? This my crystal ball does not tell me.

[Richard]: Games are now at a level, both in terms of visuals and game play that they lend themselves very well to the spectator. Games like UT2003 require a level of skill that can be seen and appreciated by others – they look good, it’s exciting, ‘cameras’ can be positioned anywhere – what more could you want? There’s a lot of interest in TV land in the potential of games such as UT2003. The next few years should prove exciting.

The rest of the interview covers other random topics such as custom skin support, reduced map sizes, and the marketing strategy for both upcoming Unreal titles.

As of yet, we still have no concrete confirmation regarding a Mac port of either Unreal II or Unreal Tournament 2003, though several Mac publishing and porting houses have expressed more than a passing interest in the project. IMG will be sure to inform readers as soon as we hear any word on this one.

Multi Player Zone - Mammoth MPZ Unreal Interview
Epic Games
Unreal II
Digital Extremes
Unreal Tournament 2003
Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

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New WarCraft 3 Screenshots
7:51 AM | Daniel Krechmer | Comment on this story

For those who can't wait two more weeks, has posted an amazing 40 new screenshots of Blizzard's WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos. A large number of screenshots show the single-player game, and specifically plot elements. The screenshots also showcase the game's 3D engine and how that will be used during the in-game sequences. For those trying to remain spoiler-free these pages should be avoided.

WarCraft 3 will be a simultaneous release on Mac and PC on July 3rd. If you haven't pre-ordered yet, be sure to do so at the IMG store.

WorthPlaying's WarCraft 3 Screenshots
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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Apple Showcases Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
7:51 AM | Daniel Krechmer | Comment on this story

As part of their continued commitment to the gaming scene, Apple is showcasing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. While interviewing Aspyr's President Michael Rogers they also gleamed the following tidbit:

On a welcome note, Rogers also says that gamers may see “a couple games [from Aspyr] just for Mac OS X” sometime this year, but he has the specifics wrapped up tighter than a top secret OSS communiqué.
The article continues to discuss the games immersive single-player campaign, specifically the now reknowned Normandy Beach level, and also talks about the mutliplayer aspects, and about Gamespy.

Here's the description from the Apple web-site:

What difference can just one person make in a single battle and, in turn, the larger war?

That’s the question behind Aspyr Media’s new Mac OS X game Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Set between the years 1942 and 1945, Medal of Honor puts you in the role of Lt. Mike Powell, who serves in the 1st Ranger Battalion. Your goal is to survive 20 levels based on the real military campaigns of World War II as you help the Allied forces win the war and prove that a single person can make a difference.

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is out now and available through the IMG store.

IMG: MOHAA Preview
Apple and MOHAA
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Buy Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

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Quake 3 Freeze Tag Updated
7:51 AM | Daniel Bogan | Comment on this story

Freeze Tag, a mod for Quake 3 and Team Arena where your slain enemies are frozen, has been updated to version 1.51b and contains a healthy list of bug fixes.

* Team icon cannot be seen through walls again
* Falling into lava or the void will now only freeze you for 5 seconds
* Lowered time spent frozen & time-to-thaw in Freeze CTF (same as insta times)
* Cannot steal thaws (finally)
* Bodies no longer stop you when walked over (Thanks to haste!)
* Players no longer flash for a millisecond on spawn spots (Thanks to haste!)
* Lag bug when people join is fixed (Thanks to haste!)
* Changed it back to where you can follow anyone while frozen
* Using Force Player Models now makes everyone be player model (not Sarge) (This actually works now!)
Be sure to nab the mod and get to freezing your enemies.

id Software
Quake III Arena
Quake III Team Arena
Freeze Tag
Buy Quake III Team Arena

ATI June Retail Update Released
7:44 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A helpful ATI employee made a post to the IMG forums, letting us know about a new June retail update for many of the company's latest graphics cards. The update is for both OS 9 and OS X, and it fixes a number of game-related issues for those with ATI cards. Users should see both bug fixes as well as speedups in certain OpenGL games and new features like higher-resolution Full-Scene Anti Aliasing for those with Radeon 8500s. Here's an excerpt from the release notes:

Misc. Game Notes
This release of Radeon and Rage 128 drivers address some issues and provide performance improvements with some existing games, as well as new games just made available or about to be released. Please be aware that some games will require that these newest ATI drivers be installed if they are to be run at all.

* Max Payne - a number of issues identified in beta releases have been addressed.
* Sim Theme Park - fixed an instance of texture corruption.
* Warbirds III - improved projected textures & fixed intro screen corruption.
* Descent3 - dialog corruption and sky corruption fixed.
* Centepede - fixed texture corruption.
* Diablo II - OpenGL Performance improvements.
* Unreal Tournament - OpenGL performance imrpovements.

FSAA (Full Scene Anti Aliasing)
FSAA is now available at higher resolutions, up to 1280x1024, on the Radeon 8500. A control to enable this feature and its level (2x or 4x) should be available from within any specific game supporting this functionality.

The update also appears to fix sleeping problems for Radeon 7000 owners under OS X. Head over now to ATI's site to grab the new update and made sure to post in the forums about your experiences with it.

ATI June Driver Update Release Notes
ATI June Update Forum Thread
Download ATI June Driver Update

Mac Games News for Monday, June 24, 2002

Unreal Tournament 2003 Update Status2:39 PM
MacSoft's Schilling Talks Neverwinter Nights Mac11:12 AM
The Omega Stone For Mac Announced11:03 AM
Calling all CG Artists: Blizzard wants you.6:15 AM
LucasArts Turns 206:13 AM
Halo 2 in Development6:11 AM
Medal of Honor Patch Possibly Coming Soon6:07 AM
GameRanger 3.0 Preview 2 Released6:03 AM
Shadowbane War Report6:03 AM
The Gamesome Mac Talks with The Omni Group6:03 AM
Pop-Pop to Ship at MacWorld New York6:00 AM
X-Plane Updated to 6.206:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, June 24, 2002 on one page

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Friday, June 21, 2002
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