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Wednesday, June 26, 2002

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Star Control II Coming to the Mac... For Free!
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

In an announcement that is sure to get retro computer gamers everywhere drooling in anticipation, Star Control fansite Pages of Now & Forever recently released information on Toys for Bob's intention to port Star Control II over to several platforms, including the Mac.

They plan on using the 3DO version as their basis, and list the following as their goals:

  • We plan to support Mac (both classic and OSX), Linux, and Windows.
  • The game will be available free of charge.
  • Players will be able to choose between text and voices.
  • We're looking into the possibility of allowing for independant creation of language plug-ins.
  • Data, such as graphics, fonts, music, voices, sound effects, and the script will be loaded from standard filetypes. This will allow fans to choose between classic music and 3DO music, or even import their own modifications into the game.
  • Improved support for modern gamepads.
  • We're looking into 2-player supermelee over the internet... Cross your fingers!
For those unfamiliar with the title, SC2 is a space exploration title that features 18 different races and an arcade-like ship vs. ship combat mode that was all the rage back in SC's heyday. Though neither this title nor its predecessor actually made it to the Mac platform, many a Mac gamer no doubt spent many hours with this title on a friend's PC. The announcement of a possible free port is welcome news, and IMG will be sure to keep tabs on this story as it develops.

The Pages of Now & Forever - All About StarControl
Star Control II

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IMG Reviews Medal of Honor
1:07 PM | Michael Phillips | Comment on this story

Today Inside Mac Games has posted a full review of Aspyr Media's latest offering, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. This review, written by Chris Paretti, discusses many of the game's elements, such as the overall mood and user-interface.

Here's a clip:

Medal of Honor plays like some intense and gritty war film. Even going through parts of basic training, consisting of weapon and movement exercises, made me want to leap into a battle. All of the authentic guns and grenades look and work as they would in reality. Your view also displays a very nice view-bob when walking, and has a feeling of weight when you jump.

One of the greatest features in the HUD is the compass. It not only shows you the direction you are heading, but it also has an arrow pointing toward your next objective. Surrounding the arrow are two ball bearings that get closer together as you approach your destination. Another nice function of the compass is the hit detector. Different chunks of the circle flash red dependant on where the shots are hitting you. Overall, the HUD is very small and effective, showing you all you need to know without any bloat.

Be sure read the rest of the review for the entire scoop on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.

IMG Review: Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Buy Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

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Shadowbane Interviews
1:01 PM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

The Shadowbane Warcry Network has interviewed Bernard Yee, vice president of publishing for En-Tranz Entertainment, publisher of Shadowbane for Asia and the Pacific region. They also had interviewed Joshua Galloway, Sr. Project Manager and Producer.

Shadowbane is a massively-multiplayer and the first Online RPG to allow players to actually control the virtual world. Players can join together to form guilds, armies and Kingdoms. Leaders can marshal their strength to build keeps, temples and fortifications and control vast sections of the virtual terrain.

Here is a little snippet from the interview with Joshua Galloway:

Warcry: What sort of person do you expect will enjoy it (Shadowbane) the most?

Joshua Galloway: I expect that a fairly diverse group of game players will enjoy Shadowbane. I have always been a big fan of strategy games. I have found the strategy element to Shadowbane to be a very unique and enjoyable aspect of the game. When I used to play EverQuest I never really got into the social aspect of the game too much. For me it was always more of a single player experience in a multiplayer world. Shadowbane is a much more social game, and should appeal to a broad range of players and player styles because of this.

To find out more about the game, be sure to check out the interviews at the Shadowbane Warcry Network.

Wolfpack Studios
Interview with Bernard Yee
Interview with Joshua Galloway

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Lineage CD Delivery Policy Change
12:27 PM | Daniel Krechmer | Comment on this story

NCsoft released the following information today for all Lineage players regarding the delivery of their Episode XI CD's. While also relaying the good news that final testing is being conducted - and apparently getting close to being done - they also have the following to say about a new policy regarding their CD distribution.

While we will continue to ship the CD free of charge with no shipping costs, we do require that Lineage customers opt-in for this service. If you wish to receive an Episode XI CD in the mail, you must visit the Account Management section of the Lineage website and complete the following five steps:

1. Log in to the Account Management section of the website using your account name and password.
2. Click the link marked “Update Addresses and Contact Info”
3. Check the box marked “Please send me updates on CD”
4. Confirm that the address listed in the shipping section is your correct shipping address.
5. Click the “Update” button.

Please note: you MUST complete these steps to receive your CD, even if you received CDs for previous episodes. CD opt-in’s and address updates must be completed prior to Tuesday, July 2nd to ensure delivery.

If you are a Lineage player be sure to hurry over there and make the changes necessary to ensure that you get your CD's on time.

Lineage CD Policy Change

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Payback, KickOff 2002, Other Status Updates
7:52 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

UK-based Virtual Programming made an update to their projects page this morning, giving new status updates for the many upcomign Mac games. Still the furthest along is the criminal Amiga title Payback (touted as being better than Grand Theft Auto) and one of the first football (soccer) games to hit the Mac in a good while, KickOff 2002. Both are listed as "Final testing to gold master" which presumably means they could be wrapped up in time for the Macworld New York expo. Of course no promises are being made, but we'll keep you posted.

The other Mac titles not quite so far along in development include Tzar - Burden of the Crown, an empire-building strategy title with multiplayer support and a map editor. It is listed as "Late Developement" so we're hoping to see more on it in Quarter 3 of this year. Also still on their plate in "Early Development" is Europa Universalis II, the critically-acclaimed historical strategy title from Paradox. No specific date other than Q3 is set yet on this title either.

For more information on these games, be sure to head over to Virtual Programming's site. In past talks with the company, they have informed IMG they also have plans to partner with a North American distributor for getting games across the Atlantic.

Virtual Programming
KickOff 2002

Carmack Tests Matrox Parhelia
6:26 AM | Daniel Krechmer | Comment on this story

id Software's John Carmack recently wrote about the new Matrox graphic card, the Matrox Parhelia. Matrox, in Montreal, Canada, has been building chips and boards for over twenty years and is carving a sector for itself in the marketplace. Carmack tested it, possibly on Doom III, and here's what he had to say:

The executive summary is that the Parhelia will run Doom, but it is not performance competitive with Nvidia or ATI.

Driver issue remain, so it is not perfect yet, but I am confident that Matrox will resolve them.

The .plan continues with a great deal more of a semi-technical nature with some of his feelings about boards and their technologies. The official description of Matrox Parhelia from the Matrox web-site follows:
Designed for discerning professionals and PC enthusiasts, Matrox Parhelia delivers unparalleled image quality, excellent performance and a wide range of innovative features for the ultimate visual experience. Based on the world's first 512-bit GPU, this card offers a multitude of new features, including a full 256-bit DDR memory interface and the most advanced multi-display computing capabilities.
Carmack's entire WebDog report is quite an interesting read and reveals details about upcoming support for Doom on multiple video cards.

Carmack Talks about Matrox
id Software

3Dlabs Counters Nvidia's Cg
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Readers may remember Nvidia's announcement regarding Cg, a new graphics programming language developed by Nvidia. Following up on the announcement, computing website ExtremeTech conducted an interview with various Nvidia employees concerning Cg, whereupon many claims were made concerning OpenGL 2.0's development, currently being spearheaded by 3Dlabs. For example:

ET: What about the apparent conflict between an OpenGL 2.0 shading language, 3DLabs' pushing their agenda, and Cg?

KA: 3DLabs is trying to push their technology, but the real goal of Creative/3DLabs is to advance OpenGL to the place it needs to be. Nvidia agrees strongly with advancing OpenGL, but thinks the Cg approach is better. We need to advance the existing OpenGL, not create a radical new OpenGL. The original model for OpenGL 2.0 was that it exposed only a high-level interface for programmability. There weren't any assembly language level interfaces. As things move right along with OpenGL 1.4, we (the ARB) are incorporating the ability to expose programmable vertex engines based on work done by Nvidia, ATI, and others. And OpenGL 1.5 will have some sort of pixel or fragment shading technology.

Shortly after posting the story, ExtremeTech received a letter from 3Dlabs that contradicted many of the points made in the Nvidia interview. For example, regarding the above quote:
Contrary to Nvidia's claim, developers WILL have access to low-level hardware features from the assembly level if they so desire. Each hardware vendor will have the choice of supporting their own hardware-specific assembly language or the more common ARB_vertex_program assembly language extension, as they desire. These assembly level interfaces will work seamlessly with the OpenGL 2.0 high level shading language.
The rest of the rebuttal goes along in a similar vein, countering points and extoling OpenGL 2.0.

For those that don't wish to wade through a sea of technical terms, ExtremeTech also offers a short analysis of their take on the situation, including compatibility with Microsoft's own Direct X as well as a look at backwards compatibility. Those interested in seeing both sides of the argument can find both articles ExtremeTech's site.

ExtremeTech - 3Dlabs Counters Nvidia Claims
ExtremeTech - New Language Revolutionizes 3D Graphics
Nvidia Announces 'Cg' - C for Graphics

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WWII Online Reader's Choice Edition
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Avault has word on a new version of World War II Online called the Readers Choice Edition. This new box retails for $30 and will feature the many changes made in version 1.60 of the massively multiplayer title. The Readers Choice Edition will be released at the end of July, which seems to be a good candidate for also including a Mac client (which is currently in beta). Here's a list of features in the new version:

  • New vehicles and weapons
  • All new terrain
  • New objects and tons of concealment for ground troops
  • A redesigned interface
  • New mission launch lobbies and a key mapper
  • Upgraded mission, rank and strategic systems
  • First-person shooter perspective
  • New animations and control systems
  • Increased performance and rock solid connects
We'll keep an eye on Strategy First and bring you any word on the status of the Mac client.

Avault News: World War II Online Readers Choice Edition
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Mac Games News for Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Logitech Intros Cordless Optical Trackman, Website Redesign2:24 PM
The Sims Vacation Announced For Mac9:38 AM
Civilization III Q&A at Apolyton8:02 AM
Lineage Mac Fixes Today7:59 AM
Apple Showcases Medal of Honor: Allied Assault7:51 AM
New WarCraft 3 Screenshots7:51 AM
Quake 3 Freeze Tag Updated7:51 AM
Unreal II, Tournament 2003 Interview7:51 AM
ATI June Retail Update Released7:44 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, June 25, 2002 on one page

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