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Wednesday, August 7, 2002

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World War II Online Mac Beta Opens
9:20 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After a long wait, good news has been posted at the World War II Online site, announcing an open beta for the Mac version of this massively multiplayer online war simulator. Those Mac fans interested should head over now to the Playnet page, signup for an account, and begin making the large initial 98MB download. (For those users who don't have time to grab the client, rest assured it will be on the upcoming Mac Games CD.)

The Cornered Rat folk have set up a special Mac forum for users to post questions and comments on potential problems and bugs. The recommended system requirements for the Mac pre-release are also posted to see if your machine can make the cut:

OSX - G4 700mhz or better - 512Mb Memory
32Mb Video Card - 200Mb free disk space
56k or better net connection
*Joystick may be required for some vehicles*
In case you haven't been following World War II Online, the title features a persistent online world set in the heart of the World War II conflict. Players can choose to pilot planes, drive tanks or trucks, or just be an infantryman. The huge scope of the game resulted in some initial bumps for early PC adopters, but Cornered Rat and publisher Strategy First have made some marked improvements in the latest patch, including new optimizations and graphics enhancements.

If you've got the bandwidth and system to play the game, by all means head over to the site now and begin the login process. Be sure to check out our just-posted extensive preview of World War II Onlie.

IMG Preview: World War II Online
Mac World War II Online Pre-Release
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

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Tranquility Summer Nights Special
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

In commemoration of the summer season, TQWorld, makers of Tranquility, have announced their "Tranquility Summer Nights" special. For a limited time, The full version of Tranquility can be purchased for only $18, 25% off the usual price.

Tranquility is an incredibly unique game of hide and go seek, powered by the internet. From MacGameFiles's description:

Tranquility is a internet powered 3D computer game of hide and seek...

Tranquility has no weapons to acquire, no enemies to pursue you, no fuel supplies to monitor, no lives that are virtually won or lost. There are no complex series of mazes to commit to memory or puzzles to hold you back until solved. There are no time limits to tranquility.

Tranquility is a totally new gaming experience. It offers a world rich with sensory stimulation where everything moves, not just you.

Every tranquility player experiences personalized games created by the TQworld servers. Game levels consist of beautiful geometric shapes moving in intricate patterns. Game play involves floating around and through the patterns, and using them to locate the special spinners that take you to the next level and game.

For further details, be sure to check out Tranquility's official page and give the demo a try.

Download Tranquility 5.10

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Neverwinter Nights Q&A Session
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Following the much anticipated release of Bioware's Dungeon & Dragons RPG, Neverwinter Nights, the folks at HomeLAN Fed managed to get another exclusive interview with Bioware CEOs Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Dr. Ray Muzyka, to talk about how NWN is doing. Zeschuk and Muzyka cover a wide-array of important topics, how the game is selling, what the users are thinking, and even future plans for the game (new patches, expansion packs, and more). The interview even covers other future titles from Bioware, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Muzyka had this to say about the game's recent release:

HomeLAN - The game is now out and has gotten rave reviews for the most part. How does it feel to finally get the game out the door?

Dr. Ray Muzyka - It’s always a great feeling to see the product that you’ve worked on for many years see the light of day; it’s exciting to read reviews of Neverwinter Nights and to be able to go online and see fans playing the game multiplayer, and to be able to walk into a store and see consumers purchasing the game. The Neverwinter Nights team – like everyone else here at BioWare, all talented and creative folks - did a great job developing a huge game; NWN is really four games in one, what with the single player/multiplayer campaign, the multiplayer game, the dungeon master toolset, and the BioWare Aurora Toolset.

Mac gamers will be able to play NWN for themselves this Summer/Early Fall. As always, be sure to read the full interview for more information.

Neverwinter Nights Interview
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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Target Rabaul Development Update
6:00 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

The Target Rabaul Development Team has posted an update on their one and only project, Target Rabaul. This update comes in response to a promotion, leaving Jim "Gunner" Chalmers as the new Information Officer.

The update discusses some of the changes to the gaming engine over the past few months:

Since the last dev update, the Targetware engine has been updated to version 0.37. Everyone is hard at work updating their projects to work with the new features of the engine. Version .37 brings with it improved terrain rendering, a powerful new animation system, and the long-awaited automatic Level of Detail (auto LOD) manager.
Furthermore, many aircraft have been tweaked in response to the new engine:
All planes are being upgraded for the new animation system of .37. The B5N2 external model is getting close to completion. We'll get you a pic of it sometime soon. The Ki-45 now has a nearly completed cockpit, we'll get some snaps out of that soon as well. We had news from an old friend recently, and the news is good: Work has recommenced on the PBY! This baby can carry a lot of ordnance, it's going to be a great anti-shipping weapon. Not the fastest plane in the universe though... slow as a...
The update comes with a new sneak-look at Japan's J2M3 Raiden. Target Rabaul is a multiplayer strategic flight simulator set on the Pacific Front during World War II. No release date has been announced.

Target Rabaul
Target Rabaul
TR Development Update

More Shadowbane War Reports
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As many gamers know, Shadowbane, a MMORPG currently in development by Wolfpack Studios, promises to revolutionize the MMORPG world by offering solid guild-based play, the ability to lay siege to towns and cities with the participation of hundreds of players, and a world largely controlled by the players themselves. To give gamers a view of the events currently taking place in the closed beta, the official Shadowbane site has been publishing a series of War Reports that chronicle key events and workings that have taken place in the beta.

The more recent reports are quite interesting, and provide a look at the complex political and social dynamics that can occur in the world created by Shadowbane. One such event concerns a player who defected to a superior enemy, consequently gaining control of a city in the process. Denounced by his former allies, this player had a quick rebuttal in terms of his political game:

Some folks just don't seem to understand that Shadowbane isn't just about military might, it is also about economic might and political might.

I grow weary of people constantly slamming me for playing the political game. Which other ex-Council of Swords guild has a city owned in totality by them? C'mon, name one? You see, I only have 8 solid members from my guild, Redemption. We are not a large group, we are not a strong group, but we are a good group.

As the guild leader of Redemption I had a choice to make when entering this land:

Leave my guild behind and join Burning Legion (pre-existing offer)
Stay with my guild and become our own power
Find the best method of insuring the survival of my guild

Interestingly enough, in a later war report, a rebel faction later split from the Burning Legion itself to form their own society, aided by yet another backstabbing player:
Elghin the Mad, a long time supporter of the Burning Legion had also been placed on the Almecka Inner Council to ensure that the city remained under Burning Legion control. However, Elghin had been supposedly a former member of Vengeance Agenda, and when his former guild rebelled, he was placed in an awkward position. He could man the battle stations and prepare Almecka for the inevitable attack from his former comrades, or he could strike a quick blow and make good his escape so he wouldn’t have to fight his former friends on the battlefield. Using his position as a ruling member of the city, Elghin quickly robbed all vendors and building strong boxes of excess gold, then made a hasty exit out of the back gate of the city to join his brothers of Vengeance Agenda.
The play of politics, alliances, and betrayals is quite evident in recent events, and shows that Shadowbane may indeed reshape the way players think and act in the next generation of MMORPGs.

In related news, the Shadowbane team will be demoing their title at the upcoming RPG convention Gen Con on both Macs and PCs. Activities will include character creation, screenshots, and PvP tournaments with pre-buffed characters, with prizes to include free beta accounts and T-shirts.

Shadowbane - The Shackles of Conquest
Shadowbane - Breaking News: The Vengeance Uprising
Shadowbane - Shadowbane Lays Siege to Gen Con
Wolfpack Studios

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Ambrosia Updates Abound
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software has released updates to several of their titles, including Deimos Rising, Pillars of Garendall, and the Coldstone engine. Each update brings with it a wealth of enhancements, bug fixes, and OS X-related tweaks.

Deimos Rising, an arcade-style shooter, has been updated to 1.0.2 and includes the following fixes:

- improved window handling,
- fixed game drawing in windowed mode,
- application behaves properly when mimimised,
- windowed mode is centered on-screen,
- improved cursor handling,
- HID no longer crashes on controller configuration,
- added fades and dissolves when in windowed mode,
- video interlacing no longer conflicts with fades in Mac OS X,
- faster high scores display
Pillars of Garendall, an RPG based off the Coldstone creation engine, has also been updated to version 1.0.2 with the following
- Fix the dual processor sound bug
- Include the latest Ambrosia library with additional stability, speed, and new registration system
- Include latest registration application
- Updated to include the latest modifications, bug fixes, and features of Coldstone 1.0.1
- Improved overall stability under latest version of OSX
- The Windows and Macintosh version are now both at version 1.0.2
The Coldstone engine itself has also received an update, bringing it up to version 1.0.1. It comes with a huge list of fixes and updates, including the following:
- OSX: Overall polishing of the Coldstone editor interface to look better on OSX (font anti-aliasing) plus other interface tweaks as well
- OSX: Tips of the day now recognized
- OSX: Map tools now recognized properly
- Fixed a bug in the Windows compiler that was causing the default game (created with the wizard and the "Medieval" template) to crash sometimes
- Fixed several problems regarding pictures associated with dialogs (placement, memory leak, and others)
- The tool "Generate Map previews" is now a modal dialog as it should be
- Change Map Cell parameter dialog: Unexpected error when in plugin mode, when referencing a picture from the original game and pressing OK, fixed. The preview now also update correctly.
- Map position: coordinates fields now accept tag values, tag popup controls added
Those interested in downloading the updates can find them at Ambrosia's main site. Full versions of each title are also available for those who wish to try them out.

Ambrosia - Deimos Rising Downloads
Ambrosia - Pillars of Garendall Downloads
Ambrosia - Coldstone Downloads
Ambrosia Software
Pillars of Garendall
Deimos Rising

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Wolfenstein Expansion to Go Standalone
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, Activision has announced that the upcoming expansion pack for Return to Castle Wolfenstein will be a stand alone product; gamers will not need Return to Castle Wolfenstein in order to play it. What's more, Computer and Video has managed to have a little chat with Activision's Jonathan Moses and Todd Hollenshead about the expansion pack itself, and what gamers can look forward to at its release.

Hollenshead had this to say about the change in plans:

What were your reasons for making Enemy Territory stand-alone?

Hollenshead: Well, I think the big thing was that we didn't want to have ownership of Return To Castle Wolfenstein to be a factor in the purchase of it. If you really liked the things in Enemy Territory, or you really were a hardcore multiplayer fan and you wanted to do the cool stuff in the multiplayer, you didn't have to buy Return To Castle Wolfenstein first. And then from a content standpoint, I think that a lot of the stuff we wanted to do really lent itself to shipping an executable with the game.

The expansion, titled Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, will add many new features to the already award-winning Wolfenstein formula. Besides the usual addition of a singelplayer campaign and new multiplayer maps, many new features will be added to the gameplay: new and updated player classes, new weapons, bot support, and even squad-based solo play.
The game sees you reprise the role of Nazi-basher BJ Blazkowicz, thrown behind enemy lines and up against the toughest of the Reich's troops. However this time you're not alone: Wolfenstein has gone squad-based. "We're taking the team based/squad-based gameplay that you have in multiplayer and bringing it to single player game," says Activision's Jonathan Moses as he introduces us to Enemy Territory. "You have a squad of US Rangers and Special Forces guys to help you meet your objectives and [these bots] fill in the roles of the Engineer, the Lieutenant, the Medic and Soldiers, and play alongside you and follow your orders to help you meet your objectives and finish off the mission." The singleplayer missions play much like more complex versions of the multiplayer from the previous game, with you barking orders at your troops such as "Follow me" or "Medic!", rather than at a player thousands of miles away at the other end of a modem. They'll play as a team, follow your orders and once obstacles in your way have been taken care of, such as gaining entry into enemy bunkers or breaching enemy lines of defence, they'll go on to carry out the mission's primary objective.
Be sure to read the full interview/preview for more information regarding the new expansion. While no Mac version has been announced, you can still order the original Return to Castle Wolfenstein off of IMG's store for a special price of $44. You must be a MacGames CD subscriber in order to take advantage of this offer.

Face to Face: Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Return to Castle Wolfenstein Review
Westlake Interactive
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Bioware Developing New Original Games
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Developer Bioware, responsible for such games as Baldur's Gate, and the Neverwinter Nights, has announced today that they will be working on two, brand new games.

Today, Bioware has announced that they have signed a publishing partnership with Microsoft Game Studios, and will be developing a game for Microsoft's gaming console, the Xbox:

"The partnership with Microsoft Game Studios is a perfect fit. They clearly share BioWare's vision and commitment to quality. To be publishing BioWare's first intellectual property - an all-new, epic Xbox roleplaying game - is a great opportunity for us. Of course, we also intend to continue our existing publisher relationships developing selected licenses", said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Joint CEO of BioWare Corp.
Bioware's second game will be for the PC, and so far, no publishing deal has been signed.

Be sure to read the full press release for more information regarding Bioware's future plans.

Bioware Corp. to Develop Two New Original Games

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SonyOnline Posts Everquest Mac FAQ
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

After a recent announcement that the popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) Everquest will be coming to the Mac, SonyOnline has posted an official FAQ regarding questions many Mac gamers have been asking. Such questions include pricing, release dates, system requirements, what will be included in the finished product, and of course, PC compatability. SonyOnline has explained their reason(s) to exclude Mac users from PC servers:

Mac users will play on servers expressly created for the Mac community. There are several reasons for this, but the most compelling are game play related. Since most of the Mac users will be first-time customers of EQ, they will receive the best value and enjoyment out of the game by starting on an “even playing field”, and not having to compete with PC users who have a substantial head start in time.

Also, over time we have continually made refinements to the play characteristics of the game, the rarity or abundance of certain items, etc. In deference to players who may have legitimately obtained an item before we considered it fully tuned, we often leave these in play on existing servers, even if they are slightly unbalanced. A fresh server set with existing rules provides the most balanced environment we can establish; and we feel the gains in enjoyment of playability outweigh the potential negatives.

We do understand there are a few Mac owners who also own PCs and are currently playing EverQuest, who would like to keep their PC characters and move them to Mac servers. Unfortunately for the reasons discussed here that would not seem to be fair to new Mac users playing for the first time.

For more answers, make sure to read up on the official FAQ. EverQuest for the Mac is slated to be on shelves Spring 2003.

EverQuest for Mac FAQ
Sony Online
Buy EverQuest

Mac Jeep 4x4 EVO2 Release?
6:00 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

Fans of car racing sims, especially the 4x4 Evolution series may be pleased to hear that a posting on the forum has revealed that a Mac version of Jeep 4x4 EVO2 will be coming in the next few weeks. Here is the posting:

Hello. My apologies for the long delay in returning to the board. I chose not to post until I had more solid information from my sources. I can say with great certainty that the mac version is going to be posted to the website very soon (within the next 2 or 3 weeks). Please do not be angered if I am wrong because I want the game too. It all takes time and depends on how long it takes TR to get their final version to Jeep. Maybe someone here can start an email petition to TR to release it since it's already finished. ( ; jeepinsider
Jeep 4x4 EVO2 started out as a promotion for the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, where by racing in the game it was possible to win one. Sadly, the competition ended before the port ever came to the Mac. For more information, please use the links below. forum posting on Jeep 4x4 EVO2 release
Jeep 4x4 Evo Website
Aspyr Media
Terminal Reality
4x4 Evolution 2
Buy 4x4 Evolution 2

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id Talks PunkBuster in Interview
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

In a recent announcement that popular FPS Quake 3: Arena will include support for the anti-cheating system, PunkBuster in an upcoming patch, many fans have been pondering how this new system will affect the way they play the game. has posted an exclusive interview with Robert A. Duffy, programmer for id Software, regarding the upcoming release.

I think the community’s main concern for the new PR is to combat the cheating that’s taking place in Quake 3 and perhaps RTCW. Since PunkBuster has been mentioned as part of the new point release can you give us a little overview on how id is implementing this and how will it affect some of the settings players are accustomed to.

We are working with Even Balance ( Tony ) in almost the exactly same way we worked with Tony and his crew for RTCW. They are responsible for the primary work as far as PB integration. Timothee is handling things on our end for the most part and works with Tony, Graeme, myself, etc.. to get things integrated in. As far as the impact on players, I think the major impact will be there will not be any cheating. The implementation as stated by Tony in a recent interview is very similar to RTCW’s implementation.

As always, you can read up on the full interview for further details concerning the new patch.

Idsoftware's Robert Duffy - Cleaning Up!
id Software
Quake III Arena

Unreal II Impressions
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

In a recent Infogrames press event, the latest version of Unreal II: The Awakening was revealed, and GameSpot has posted its impressions on the most recent build.

Unreal II is the highly anticipated sequel to Unreal. Unlike the popular Unreal Tournament, Unreal II will feature a single-player only campaign, with a detailed story.

As many who've been following the game's development already know, the game will put you the role of a Terran Colony Authority marshal aboard the spaceship Atlantis. You and your crew are after seven relics that have been strewn across the galaxy. These mysterious artifacts hold a powerful secret, and many other forces and races are scrambling to possess them. You'll have to ensure that the artifacts don't fall into the wrong hands by getting to them first and fending off the armies of aliens in your way.
Be sure to check out the full article for more information and some new screenshots. Powers notes that Unreal II should be going into Alpha stage within two weeks, and that the game should be ready to ship sometime this Christmas for PC users. Currently, no Mac version has been announced.

Unreal II updated impressions
Epic Games
Unreal II

Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 6, 2002

IMG Moves to Xserve & Mac OS X Server7:43 AM
Blizzard Interviews6:00 AM
Combat Mission 2 Interview6:00 AM
Feral Update: OS X Sheep, Warrior Kings6:00 AM
Freedom Force Update Interview6:00 AM
Jedi Knight II Goes Beta6:00 AM
Marathon: Resurrection 1.2 Released6:00 AM
Nvidia Technical Interview6:00 AM
PunkBuster to Add Support for SOFII, Q3A6:00 AM
Slope Rider - Snowboarding for the Mac6:00 AM
Unreal II, Elite Force II Movies Available6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 6, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, August 2, 2002
Thursday, August 1, 2002
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Monday, July 29, 2002

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