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Monday, July 1, 2002

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Ambrosia: Deimos Rising for Windows; More Mac Games Soon
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Some interesting news was posted on the Ambrosia Software web site over the weekend. First was the opening of a progress log for a Windows version of their hit arcade shooter Deimos Rising. This looks to be the second of the company's titles in recent history to be ported to the PC after the Mac. Though it has yet to be announced who is doing the actual port, Contraband Entertainment (currently working on a Windows version of Escape Velocity Nova) seems like a good guess.

While the progress log itself is still empty, a forum thread started up soon after its creation to discuss the event. Ambrosia president Andrew Welch responded to those wondering about the company's seeming lack of upcoming Mac titles. It should be remembered that the long-awaited pop-pop will debut at Macworld New York, but Welch assures Mac fans at least three more games are on their way:

We also have 3 Mac OpenGL games in the works, but they are quite ready for public viewing.
Hopefully after the expo later this month, Ambrosia will be able to reveal one or all of these upcoming projects. Stay tuned to IMG for any word on what they might be.

In related news, the Snapz Pro X log was also updated over the weekend with some very interesting news for fans of this acclaimed screen capture utility for OS X. Version 1.0.4 will be heading out soon to testers and looks to make a number of fixes and improvements over the current application. More prominent among the changes is a new ClearScale technology to make improve image quality when scaling down (and even up). Check out the full log for a detailed explanation as well as some impressive example images.

Deimos Rising For Windows Forum Thread
Snapz Pro X Progress Log
Deimos Rising for Windows Progress Log
Ambrosia Software
Deimos Rising

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IMG Reviews Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
12:57 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Aspyr's recently released strategy game, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds lets you lead the armies of Star Wars to victory in intense, real-time strategy clashes.

Here's a snippet from the review:

Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds is a definite RTS delight. It features six solid single-player campaigns, six civilizations (the Trade Federation, Gungans, Royal Naboo, Galactic Empire, Rebel Alliance and Wookies), one of the most diverse collections of units I’ve EVER seen in an RTS, a comprehensive in-game help system and INSANELY fun multiplayer action. All of these elements make for a grand RTS experience.

The campaigns are quite entertaining, especially for Star Wars fans. The first campaign is a tutorial for new comers and tells the story of Chewbacca’s father. This tutorial covers everything from resource gathering to diplomacy and combat, it’s a definite must for neophytes. The other campaigns deal with events from Episode I and IV, V & VI. For example, in the Trade Federation campaign, players control the Federation’s mighty droid army during their invasion of Naboo. Each campaign is story based, complete with in-engine scripted events. For instance, one Federation mission involves taking a small group of soldiers and a technician and infiltrating a Royal Naboo outpost for the purpose of recovering stolen data files. Campaign missions aren’t simply about resource gathering, army building and enemy annihilation. My personal favorite mission is the Galactic Empire’s attack on the icy planet of Hoth. Just like in the film, The Empire Strikes Back, players take control of a group of Imperial Walkers in order to take out the rebel shield generator at Echo Base. That mission really makes one feel like they’re in the movie. At the end of each campaign, players are treated to bonus missions. One such bonus mission is the Empire’s raid on Cloud City.

Be sure to check out the rest of Michael Phillips' review. Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds is available from the IMG Store for just $43.

IMG Review: Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds
Buy Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds

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MacGamer Reviews The Sims: Hot Date
12:29 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

MacGamer has posted a review of The Sims: Hot Date, the new expansion pack to The Sims. Here's a snippet from the review:

The interaction between Sims in Hot Date has evolved far beyond what has previously been seen. Gamers have much more control over the conversations and actions of their characters than ever before. Do you ever get tired of your Sims only being able to talk, but not about certain topics? Now, when you press the talk button you are given to options: to chat about interests or gossip about another Sim in the room. You can also flirt with another Sim by growling, using sweet talk or checking him/her out. There are also a wide array of kisses, hugs, greetings, and goodbyes to choose from now.
Be sure to head over to MacGamer to check out the review. IMG's very own Michael Phillips is working on our own review and should be posted in the next few days.

The Sims: Hot Date is available from the IMG Store for $28.

MacGamer Reviews The Sims: Hot Date
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims: Hot Date
Buy The Sims: Hot Date

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Deus Ex 2: The Invisible War Screenshots
12:28 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

Computer & has posted screenshots of the upcoming PC & XBox game, Deus Ex 2: The Invisible War. 'The Invisible War' is the sequel to the original Deus Ex game, which was a big hit on both the PC & Mac platforms.

The Invisible War is set 20 years after the original award winner of this bound-for-greatness title. You control Alex Denton, the brother or sister - you can decide to be either male or female - of previous hero J C Denton, exposing conspiracies and criminal plots involving the control of world information. If you've finished Metal Gear Solid 2, you'll know what we're talking about.

This time, the AI can read shadows and make decisions based on what it sees, meaning plenty of potential for stealthy game-play.

Deus Ex 2: The Invisible War has not yet been announced for the Mac. But we'll be sure to keep you posted.

CVG - Deus Ex 2: The Invisible War Screenshots
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

High-Rez Unreal II Screenshots
12:26 PM | Daniel Krechmer | Comment on this story

Recently, Well Rounded Entertainment posted six screenshots of Unreal II: The Awakening, the single player version of the new Unreal series, in development at Legend Entertainment. Over the weekend Blue's News reposted those screenshots at an even higher resolution. Besides showing off details which you might have missed, they also make great desktop backgrounds.

Unreal II: The Awakening has not yet been announced for the Macintosh but MacSoft has said they are "very interested in making a deal happen." We'll keep you posted.

High-Rez U2 Screenshots
Epic Games
Unreal II

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Soldier Of Fortune II: Double Helix Interview
6:00 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

Planet Soldier of Fortune has posted an interview with Bryan "Apoxol" Dube, a programmer for Raven Software regarding the upcoming game Soldier Of Fortune II: Double Helix. Here's an excerpt of the interview:

What characteristic of SoF2 enthralled you the most?

I'm always the most interested in gameplay when I work on a game. Give me a working engine and ill play around in there until something fun comes out.

A major part of SoF2's rating is because of its gore factor, unlike MOH:AA (which had NO gore). Did you plan to appeal to a higher age group audience, or was it simply for realism?

This isnt something I can really answer with authority, but I would say that SoF2 builds on the SoF1 franchise and part of that game was the Gore.

The Mac version of Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix is expected to be released in Q3 2002 by MacPlay.

Planet Soldier of Fortune - Developer Interview
Raven Software
Buy SoF II

House of Moves: Motion Capture Experts
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As the video game industry continues to mature, the goal of capturing complete realism in a game inches ever closer to completion. Focusing in one one of the aspects that has made great strides in recent days, HomeLan Fed conducted a recent interview with a motion capture company. Titled House of Moves, this company has done the motion capture for several top flight games, including the Soldier of Fortune series and Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, as well as other projects.

Having been in business over the past six years, Jarrod Phillips, VP of Marketing, shares some thoughts concerning the evolution of motion capture technology:

The basic idea of motion capture has not actually changed that much over the years, that is to say that we still use a series of markers to generate digital 3D character animation. We have developed amazing software (called Diva) that makes cleaning mocap data a breeze. Of course, things like more cameras, higher camera resolution, and more markers on a performer help as well, but the really amazing stuff has been on the software side. For example, things like taking motion captured from one performer and re-purposing it for multiple CG characters, or visa-versa, is much easier than it used to be. In addition, even the simplest mocap tasks are now becoming more automated and the data looks better than ever. Advances like these don't come easy or cheap, though. House of Moves has invested considerable amounts of time and money in getting the technology to the point it is today.
Also discussed is the process of selecting performers for the motion capture process. Phillips points out that, despite popular belief, not just anyone can be a credible motion capture actor. Some of the more famous actors used in the past include Shaquille O' Neal, Kobe Bryant, Andre Agassi, and Bruce Willis.

The rest of the interview covers topics such as the equpiment used during the process, the typical work schedule, and some of the more interesting assignments House of Moves has had to deal with. Those interested in learning a little more about this aspect of entertainment design are encouraged to check out the whole interview at HomeLan Fed.

HomeLan Fed - House of Moves Interview
House of Moves

Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel on The Gamesome Mac
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Tonight on The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Mac gaming radio show, Omaha Sternberg and I will be talking with Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software.

Spiderweb is one of the leading Mac-first shareware development houses, having won a name for themselves with such role-playing games as the Exile series, Nethergate, and the Avernum series, as well as strategy games like Galactic Core and Lost Souls. Last December, the company released Geneforge, an inventive new RPG, and just last week followed up with the release of Avernum 3.

As we do every week, Omaha and I will serve up news, reviews, and commentary, answer your questions along with our guest, and give away some great games in the show's live chat room.

The Gamesome Mac can be heard on Mondays from 6 to 8 pm Pacific Time (9 pm Eastern; Tuesday, 01:00 UTC) on the MacTV Network.

You can tune in live at The Gamesome Mac's web page, where you'll also find archives of past shows. QuickTime and a 28 kbps or faster Internet connection are required for listening (broadcasts are optimized for 56K modems).

Spiderweb Software

Matrox Q&A posted at Gamers Depot
6:00 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story has posted a Q&A with Kamran Ahmed , a senior representative of Matrox about their much hyped Parheilia Graphics Processor. Parheilia is designed for professionals and enthusiasts and offers phenomenal image quality. Priced similarly to the Nvidia GF4-ti4600 Parheilia boasts superior image quality and a system known as “Surround Gaming” where multiple monitors can be used to give a wider field of vision. Matrox’s emphasis on image quality has not surprisingly led to it having slower frame-rates than ATI and Nvidia cards. This has been criticised by many writers and its justification was the subject of a question in the GamersDepot interview.

Maximum fun is achieved when you are totally immersed in the game and the graphics contribute to that by making the experience as close to reality as possible. This means that the perfect graphics solution would be one that delivers smooth frame rates combined with the absolute highest rendering quality.
For technically minded readers, or just simply those who are interested in what is likely to be the third main competitor in the Graphics Card market feel free to read the six page Q&A by following the link below.

Matrox Q&A

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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Mac Bound
6:00 AM | Michael Phillips | Comment on this story

In case you missed the news posted late Friday afternoon, according to the latest issue of MacAddict magazine, Mac gamers will once again be eliminating terrorists in another Tom Clancy based series. Thanks to the crazy kids at Aspyr Media, Ghost Recon and its expansion pack, Desert Siege are said to be Mac bound this fall.

Here's the scoop on Ghost Recon:

Ghost Recon puts you in the deadly, realistic combat of tomorrow’s battlefields that only Tom Clancy and the makers of Rainbow Six can deliver.

Eastern Europe, 2008. War has broken out on the borders of Russia and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. That’s when the call goes out for the Ghosts – an elite handful of specially trained Green Berets, armed with the latest technology and trained to use the deadliest weapons. Their mission, spearhead the way for a NATO peacekeeping force, and keep the lid on the conflict before it mushrooms... literally! As the war escalates, casualties mount, hostages are taken and the Ghosts are sent in. Take command of the Ghosts through a series of missions that range from demolitions, to search and rescue, to all-out firefights for survival.

  • Squad-based tactical combat with next-generation military action in stunning 3D environments.
  • Mission-driven storyline with 15 different singleplayer maps (as big as 400m x 400m), and 6 dedicated multiplayer maps.
  • Up to 36 people can play online multiplayer games via internet (TCP/IP) or LAN.
  • Specialist characters that can join your team who add much needed firepower with their own, distinctive weapons.
  • Easy to use on-the-fly mission planning interface gives the player total, flexible control over their squads.
  • Simulates the latest military hardware including the OICW combat systems and the Land Warrior command and control system.
  • Aspyr informed us late Friday that an official announcement about Ghost Recon will be made on sometime today. In the meantime, check out the links below for more information on Ghost Recon.

    Aspyr Media
    Red Storm

    Mac Games News for Friday, June 28, 2002

    Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Mac Bound4:36 PM
    Want to Host IMG?2:32 PM
    IMG Previews Only Mortal 2.02:16 PM
    MacPlay Ships Bejeweled and Alchemy12:57 PM
    Tactical Ops Mac Support Announced12:55 PM
    Owari 1.0 Released11:09 AM
    Mac B&W Patch Status8:08 AM
    Look at Recent MOO3 Changes Posted7:59 AM
    Aspyr June Newsletter Released6:00 AM
    Burst 1.0.1 Released6:00 AM
    Carmack Talks Graphics6:00 AM
    Custer Eyes Neverwinter Nights6:00 AM
    Dog of Prey Release Soon6:00 AM
    First Impressions of Warcraft III6:00 AM
    nVIDIA Cg Interview6:00 AM
    Shadowbane Beta Report6:00 AM
    Warbirds 06.27.02 Released6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, June 28, 2002 on one page

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