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Tuesday, August 6, 2002

IMG Moves to Xserve & Mac OS X Server
7:43 AM | Jason Sims | Comment on this story

Thanks for your patience as we moved everything over to our new Xserve. We had a few little hurdles to clear, but everything should be working fine again. We've got a few more things to set up before the move is complete, but the IMG web site is now settled in its new home.

We're now hosted on a new, dedicated Xserve (dual 1 GHz G4), running Mac OS X Server, and hosted at Tilted Planet. We've been using Linux for the past few years, so it took some time to figure out how everything works in OS X Server, but now that it's up and running it seems to be working really well so far. We've found the machine and our new network connection to be very fast; let us know how it works for you.

Mac OS X Server
Tilted Planet

Combat Mission 2 Interview
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Computer and Video has posted another interview, this time with the creators of the upcoming WWII Real-time strategy game, Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin. Battlefront (developer) president Martin Turewicz and CDV (publisher) producer Achim Heidelauf sat down to answer some questions on their upcoming war sim.

Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin is the sequel to the popular Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord. Unlike most real-time strategy games, the Combat Mission engine works a bit differently:

You've described the title to us as a turn-based strategy combined with real-time elements. Could you go into this in more detail?

Turewicz/Heidelauf: The simulation is, in essence, true real-time. One second in the game equals one second in real life. The turn-based element comes from the fact that after each 60 seconds of real-time action, the game is paused and both players simultaneously issue their orders to their units. This is the Order phase, and it's needed to ensure that players have enough time to lay out their plans and execute proper military tactics. After each order phase, both players simultaneously watch the action phase again, and so on. One could call this "pausable" real-time action, but that is a confusing term, so we stick to "hybrid real-time/turn-based".

One of the main features CM2:BB will boast is the huge selection of different playable countries:
Which armies will we actually be getting to control?

Turewicz/Heidelauf: German, Soviet, Finnish, Italian, Hungarian, Romanian (from both sides, Allied and Axis, as the Romanians changed sides during the war) and Polish. Each nation is represented with their historical equipment and formations (called TO&Es in military jargon), which also changes over the years. So while only the early German Panzers are available in 1941, you get to play with the dreaded King Tiger later on. Additionally, a lot of largely unknown equipment is included in the game, like the Hungarian Turan tanks, or Italian equipment. No game out there has managed to encompass such a scope of warfare in such detail before.

For more exclusive tidbits and information, be sure to read the full interview.

Interview: Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin

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Freedom Force Update Interview
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Freedom Force, the popular super hero action-RPG (already out for Windows, coming soon to the Mac), has just received a new patch that not only fixes some bugs, but also adds a new mode of play, single player skirmish mode. The folks at HomeLAN wasted no time as they managed to get an exclusive interview with Irrational's Johnathan Chey, project manager and lead designer of the game. The interview includes questions of the game's overall progress, plans for the future, and of course, what this new update has to offer:

HomeLAN - The recent patch for Freedom Force finally adds a single player skirmish mode. Why did it take so long to put this feature into the game?

Jonathan Chey - Hmmm. Well, one answer is that we were working on the European localization for quite a long time after the initial US release (far too long actually, but that's another story). Since then, we've only had a very small team on the patch since we are doing it as a labor of love. All the work we are doing on the game now, patch, extra characters and so on, is funded by us and therefore only being attended to by quite a small team.

Freedom Force is coming soon for the Mac, courtesy of Macplay. For more information about this somewhat unique game, check out the full interview.

Freedom Force Update Interview
Freedom Force
Buy Freedom Force

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Marathon: Resurrection 1.2 Released
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Marathon: Resurrection, the popular Unreal Tournament modification, has been updated to version 1.2, and much has changed. This new patch offers a some fixes to the newly released playable demo (based on the original Marathon demo), as well as a new multiplayer map. Here is a complete list of changes, courtesy of MacGameFiles:

Changes from previous versions:

- Too many to enumerate them all. The highlights include the fusion pistol's alternate fire no longer being a single shot kill, minor HUD improvements, and weapon recoil tweaks.

New in this version:

- New multi-player map: DMMRK-Thrud - The same three single player levels as in the original Marathon demo complete with monsters and the original single player experience. Games can also be saved and loaded from the proper terminals in the levels.

Release Comments:

- Please be aware that the HTML manual has not been updated to include the new single player game yet. It will be made available as soon as it is ready. - Blaspheme Quarantine is hard. Hard as Hell. Bungie made it that way. We made it that way. We don't want hear any whining about it. We aren't the first to say, "Hard stuff rules."

Marathon: Resurrection is an independent project with the goal of bringing the popular FPS Marathon to the 3D realm. A copy of Unreal Tournament v436 is required in order to play. For more details, refer to MGF's detail page.

Marathon: Resurrection 1.2
Marathon: Resurrection

Blizzard Interviews
6:00 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

Two interviews have recently been posted relating to Blizzard Entertainment. The first interview is with Bill Roper the Vice-President of Blizzard and largely concerns all things Blizzard and Bill Roper without going much into specifics about games. This is actually quite a good read since it is very different from the vast number of Blizzard interviews we usually see. Here is an excerpt from the interview, concerning the question of how to increase mainstream respect for the gaming industry:

Roper’s prescription is simple: star power. “As we get more celebrities talking about games, that’s going to be great for us,” he says. He notes that Robin Williams is now an outed gamer, and that John Woo, Kid Rock, Pam Anderson, Trent Reznor and “that tall guy with the beard from ER who kind of looks like me” all showed up at this year’s E3 trade show. As people hear “cool” celebrities talking about gaming, Roper figures the cool factor will start to attach to gaming, as well.
The second interview is a video interview with Stewart Rose one of the graphics designers of World of Warcraft, talking about said title. This is a far more standard interview, but does have the nifty bonus of showing you pictures of the game in the background.

To check out these interviews please use the links below. Note that the video interview is in DivX.

Interview with Bill Roper
Video interview with Stewart Rose
Blizzard Entertainment

PunkBuster to Add Support for SOFII, Q3A
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

PunkBuster, the popular anti-cheating system used for online gaming, will soon be implemented into two new games, Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix and Quake III: Arena.

Activision, publisher of Soldier of Fortune II made an official announcement today regarding the future changes:

We are pleased to announce that Even Balance, Inc. is working on integrating PunkBuster into Soldier of Fortune® II: Double Helix © by Activision and Raven Software. We will release more details here as they become available. Any PB supporters who have specific knowledge of where to download hacks and cheats for multiplayer SOF2 should send information to
In other news, the popular first-person shooter, Quake III: Arena, will also be recieving PunkBuster support. In an exclusive interview, sat down with Tony Ray of Even Balance, the company responsible for PunkBuster, and talked a little bit about how PB will change the way gamers play Q3:
PlanetQuake3: Since the Punkbuster software is able to be turned on and off, it only works if the server admin enables it. What percent of RTCW servers usually do keep the software turned on?
Tony: Since day one, PunkBuster has been optional on a server by server and league by league basis. As far as we are concerned, it always will be - PunkBuster has always been about giving choices and power to honest players and admins. PunkBuster is not spyware nor is it any kind of trojan because what it does and how it works has been sufficiently documented to allow people to decide for themselves if they wish to subscribe to our methods. Players who, for any reason, do not want to install and/or enable PunkBuster don't have to - it's their choice. By the same token, Admins/Leagues also have the ability to decide about requiring PunkBuster for gameplay on their servers.

Right now, over 75% of decently populated (10+ players) RtCW Servers have PB enabled. As far as I know, all serious RtCW clan matches all over the world are played with PunkBuster enabled. I'm not aware of any RtCW league that currently allows play with PB disabled. PunkBuster was originally designed for league play and we have worked hard to keep good relationships in the organized clan-based communities.

As always, take a look at the full interview for further details.

Tony Ray (PunkBuster) Interview
Quake III Arena
Buy SoF II

Nvidia Technical Interview
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Computer gaming website, Voodoo Extreme, recently posted the responses to a great deal of questions fired off to Nvidia's Dr. David Kirk. Kirk, for those unfamiliar with the name, is the Chief Scientist at Nvidia and was recently recognized by ACM SIGGRAPH for his computer graphics achievements.

Given the level of Kirk's expertise, the nature of the questions asked and his subsequent replies are quite technical in nature, and may not be easily understood by those not versed in GPU functions and assembly languages. Nevertheless, several topics of interest to gamers are discussed, including discussions on Cg, Nvidia's current programming language offering:

I think that Cg and Cg-related tools will continue to evolve. The first thing to accomplish is to get developers working with Cg – starting to program GPUs with a higher-level language. Compatibility with the major APIs will help to speed this along. As we move forward to the next releases of Cg, we will begin to support higher and higher levels of abstraction for programming. We felt that it was important to start with a solid foundation, incorporating collaboration and support from Microsoft for DirectX, and from the OpenGL community. As Cg becomes pervasive, we can solve more problems with it.
Also discussed in detail are pixel and vertex shading programs, anti-aliasing, and the design philosophy behind GPUs. Those interested in seeing Kirk's answers can find the whole read at Voodoo Extreme.

Voodoo Extreme - Interview with Dr David Kirk of NVIDIA

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Unreal II, Elite Force II Movies Available
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Those interested in seeing some footage of either Unreal II or Elite Force 2 need look no further than Tiscali Games. Both movies, which are encoded in DivX, show off the graphics and gameplay of each respective title.

The Unreal II video, which is footage taken at the last E3 show, shows off an amazing variety of backgrounds, characters, and weapons. The environments shown range from mechanical cities to oddly-formed forests complete with rain and indigenous life. Players seem to have access to weapons that fire everything from gigantic lasers to spark-spitting bullets.

In contrast, the Elite Force II video looks like a true preview trailer. Proclaiming itself to be based off the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, most of the scenes show scenery that should be familiar to any Star Trek fan, including what appear to be the insides of a Borg vessel and some outdoor environments. A whole lot of Borg are also seen in combat, with one scene showing a squad of Borg sweeping a room with their ubiquitous laser sights.

Gamers interested in checking out the movies can find them at Tiscali Games. The Unreal II movie weighs in at 6.5 MB, while the Elite Force II movie is sized at around 4.5 MB. Mac users will need some form of DivX program in order to play them.

Tiscali Games - Unreal II Trailer
Tiscali Games - Elite Force II Trailer
Epic Games
Unreal II
Ritual Entertainment
Star Trek Elite Force II
Download DivX for Mac OS
Buy Star Trek Elite Force II

Slope Rider - Snowboarding for the Mac
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gamers looking for a little snowboarding action on their Mac may be interested in checking out a shareware offering by Monte Boyd Interactive. Titled Slope Rider, this game straps players to a snowboard and presents them with a variety of courses, complete with jumps, half-pipes, and rails. Players can pull of a number of trick combos or race against the computer.

Also included is a terrain editor for those that wish to build their own courses:

Once you've played the provided courses to death you can jump into Powder, the complete terrain editor for Slope Rider, to make your own tracks. Build the ultimate trick park and challenge your friends to taste the snow!
Slope Rider is a Carbonized app that asks no more than a 255MHz processor and an OpenGL video card. Interested gamers can download a demo and try out two of the ten available levels. Those who want access to the rest of the game can register a copy for $15.

Those interested in seeing screenshots or downloading the demo can find all at the Monte Boyd website.

Monte Boyd Interactive

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Jedi Knight II Goes Beta
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive today notes that one of the company's latest projects, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, has reached Beta status:

Star Wars® Jedi Knight® II: Jedi Outcast™ has reached Beta status. On the whole, JK2 is starting to come together really nicely.
Jedi Knight 2 is the critically-acclaimed sequel to Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, brought to you by the folks at LucasArts. You can pre-order Jedi Outcast from IMG's store for only $43 (MGCD subscriber price only).

Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Buy Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

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Feral Update: OS X Sheep, Warrior Kings
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The webmaster of UK-based Feral Interactive has been busy of late with new pages and updates across much of the Mac publisher's site. Foremost is a news report on their main page which notes the release of an OS X patch for Sheep, as well as Max Payne's shipping status, and the official announcement of Warrior Kings.

For fans of Sheep, the puzzle game will now run on any system between OS 8.6 and X, thanks to the new carbonized patch. If you're using OS X, you will need 10.1.3, but the download also includes the "Superstar Shepherd Cheat Patch" as well. The included ReadMe file has details on the cheats.

For real-time strategy fans, the official announcement of Warrior Kings (first revealed by IMG at Macworld New York) should be great news. Warrior Kings is a fully 3D strategy title with various races, religious sytems, arms, and formation strategies. The game now has a mini-site as well on the Feral site, and here are some of the prominent features listed:

    A true 3D game environment with terrain that matters - that is it allows for actual strategic advantage. You can exploit this realistic 3D terrain of rolling hills, deep forests and hidden valleys to out manoeuvre your enemy.
  • A highly developed game interface that enables intuitive play by using positive visual cues.
  • An evolving game path - that is the game becomes more complex as it develops.
  • Rich graphics rendered with historical accuracy.
  • A choice of 3 races to join - Imperial, Pagan and Renaissance - each with their own unique features, strengths and weaknesses.
  • A massive single-player campaign with three separate and distinct paths.
  • Over 35 building types and over 60 different types of unit (pikeman, peasant, etc).
  • Internet Play supports up to 8 simultaneous players to participate in on-line tournament matches, playing full-on multi-player games.
For much more on Warrior Kings, check out the Feral site, and stay tuned for the game to be released later this year.

Feral Interactive
Warrior Kings
Download Sheep Carbon Patch for OS X

Mac Games News for Friday, August 2, 2002

Hereos of Might & Magic 4 Interview2:22 PM
IMG Reviews the Altec Lansing 6411:15 PM
Medal of Honor Expansion Pack: Q&A Session1:02 PM
Maxis Talks Sim City 4 in Exclusive Interview11:06 AM
Links Golf Community Welcomes Mac Gamers7:22 AM
Lewis and Clark Game Head to Mac7:04 AM
Soldier of Fortune II Slightly Delayed [Updated]7:04 AM
Dark Castle, X-Plane Updated6:00 AM
Enemy Engaged Website Gets a Revamp6:00 AM
Pop Goes the Custer6:00 AM
Shadowbane War Journal6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, August 2, 2002 on one page

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