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Thursday, August 8, 2002

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Three Original Games for OS X Announced
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

OS X users longing to play an original game on their computers need not wait any longer. In fact, EMB & Associates Inc. did two better by announcing the plans for three original games, designed for Mac OS X. But EMB needs your help:

If you think you might be interested in purchasing one or more of these games, send e-mail to We will not redistribute e-mail addresses or otherwise invade your privacy. We will use the e-mail to show publishers that a market for high quality Mac OS X games exists. We like PC ports as much as everybody else, but Mac OS X deserves some original titles too.
Sandkings, based on George R. R. Martin's Nebula Award winning novel with the same title, is described as a god sim, a strategy game, and a virtual pet game, all bundled into one:
Wealthy eccentric Simon Kress purchases four life-forms called Sandkings for his amusement. Sandkings are an intelligent hive-mind that consist of a queen (maw) and her drones (mobiles). The Sandkings exist inside a sandy terrarium and worship Simon as a god. They build elaborate sand castles to please Simon. Simon soon tires of tranquility and creates conflict within the terrarium. He withholds food, damages castles, and drops hostile life-forms into the terrarium. The Sandkings grow violent, fight amongst themselves and compete for scarce resources. The game, SANDKINGS, combines the god sim, strategy, and virtual pet genres.
EMB's second title, Simple Cocoa God Game, will provide very simple gameplay, but with unlimited possibilities:
In SCGG, players assume the role of a god from the pantheon of Greek mythology. Players look down from Olympus at detailed terrain rendered using state-of-the-art 3D graphics technology. Players compete for the worship of mortals by creating miracles. Mortals are the pawns in the great game of the gods.
Last but not least is EMB's third title, dubbed Fantasy Ball. FB is a "sports combat" game, with a little fantasy twist:
This title engages the player in a "true play" experience with simple rules and plenty of action. Familiar fairy-tale creatures are engaged in an absurd sport. The tone is light, but the challenge and action are real. Each player acts as the "coach" of a local shire team, and the rivalry between teams is ancient and fierce. Before a match, a player must spend gold coins to either conscript creatures from the local shire or hire mercenary "ringers" who wander the Fantasy Ball circuit looking for easy cash. Hire team members carefully; different creatures have different skills. For example, trolls are very effective ball pushers. Unicorns do not push very well, but they are very skilled at skewering trolls. Magic spells also play a role. A wizard or fairy might cast a magic spell in front of the goal to temporarily repel the ball or entangle opponents.
Be sure to let the developer's know of your feelings if you are interested in any of these games. You can go to the official game pages for more information and screenshots. Note that Fantasy Ball does not yet have a seperate game page.

Support Games for OS X
Simple Cocoa God Game

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IMG Posts Monsoon PlanarMedia 9 Review
2:00 PM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

IMG's very own Greg Gant has posted a review of Monsoon PlanarMedia 9, Moonsoon's latest addition to their popular flat/thin speaker collection.

Here's a sneak peak of what's inside:

The open sound best compliments games. The spaciousness creates a more immersive feel for games like Medal of Honor; it makes The Sims' everyday house sounds more interesting. Even classics like Maelstrom sound more "alive". The 9s kick out enough bass that you can feel heavy explosions, providing a nice level of "oomph" to battles in WarCraft III. All games tested sounded good but still slightly thin and tinny.
For more information and details, check out the full review. A link is provided at the bottom of this article.

IMG Review: Monsoon PlanarMedia 9
PlanarMedia 9

Aspyr Media at QuakeCon 2002
12:41 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

QuakeCon 2002, the annual convention/LAN party, kicks off next week at the Mesquite Convention Center in Mesquite, Texas. In addition to featuring a huge LAN party dedicated to id Software's games such as Quake III Arena and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, QuakeCon 2002 offers workshops and roundtables where id Software employees will discuss their games, technology, and their thoughts about the gaming industry.

QuakeCon 2002 will also feature a BYOC LAN Party, where you can bring your own computer and play games with thousands of other fellow attendes.

Aspyr Media, publisher of the Mac version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, is one of the official sponsors of this year's QuakeCon. Nearly 50 Power Macintosh Dual 1-Ghz G4's equiped with NVIDIA GeForce 4 Titanium's will be showing off the Mac version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Aspyr also plans to showcase the upcoming Mac version of Jedi Knight II on half a dozen machines.

Aspyr will be holding a tournament on Friday and will be offering great prizes to the winners such as 4 iPods for the first place winners (courtesy of NVIDIA), JBL speakers to the second place winners, Microsoft Wireless mice for the third place winners, and more.

Members of the id Software team will also host a special session, offering a guided tour of the DOOM III world and talking about the game’s development. The preview at QuakeCon 2002 will feature over 12 minutes of gameplay running completely in-engine. This exclusive opportunity for gamers is only available to registered attendees of QuakeCon 2002. Each attendee will receive an admission ticket for the preview upon registering at the event.

ATI's Quake III Arena Championships at QuakeCon 2002 will also be held at the convention with prizes ranging from $20,000 for first place to $2,000 for fifth place.

QuakeCon 2002 kicks of on August 15th and runs though August 18th. Admission to the convention is free. For more information on QuakeCon 2002, be sure to visit the official QuakeCon site.

Aspyr Media
QuakeCon 2002

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Warbirds III Updated Again
12:06 PM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

Once again, the massively-multiplayer flight-sim Warbirds III has been updated, this time by its new owner, Total Sims. Version 08.07.02, a mandatory update, brings new vehicles into the Warbirds III universe:

Aircraft & cockpits added:
Mosquito IV & VI
Spit XIV
Fubuki (Dest2)
CV6 Enterprise
Opel Truck (Note: cockpit has you sitting on the hood.)
In addition, an exhaustive list of updates accompanies the new version:
  • All shadows enabled
  • Roads enabled on Europe terrain (terr001)
  • Aircraft shaped button on the fields tab will bring you to a close up map of the field you're at where you can select individual spawn points. Pressing it again will bring you back to the normal map mode. (F3 also toggles this display)
  • Crosshair button on the fields tab will recenter and reset the zoom of the field map.
  • Players should now be able to see each other's external loadouts. Known bug: external artwork will not change after dropping ordnance
  • Lots of effects optimized and adjusted
  • All text input boxes now diasble key commands (meaning, if you have something bound to the 'a' key you won't cause that function to happen if you are typing 'iceman' in the Check Scores box in the UI, etc.)
  • Crash caused by road overlay object not being cleared from memory when switching terrains fixed
  • Numerical Scalars work in stick setup menu
  • "slow down" on carrier takeoff eliminated
  • Keyset issues fixed, there is now a controls04.cfg file created when you run the game.
  • Europe terrain-general smoothing, fixed coastlines, rivers, etc
  • Exposed terr001.tga in your WBIII directory. You may edit this to adjust what is displayed for your terr001 (default Europe) F1 map.
  • hi-med-low quality video settings now work
  • Plane list alphabetized
  • P38L weight fixed
  • toggle engine# commands now work properly
  • BF109E now has matching camo pattern on wings and fuse
  • Mission editor implemented. Mission Editor "How to" document included in this package (cmtool.rtf)
  • Drone wingmen now available for bomber sorties
  • Air Combat Maneuver (ACM) recording
  • Peer to peer uploading enabled
  • OSX have shadows.
  • Mission Editor offset problems fixed
  • .trimrepeatkey issues fixed-should work on joysticks as well as on the keyboard
  • Fuzzy cockpits problem fixed
  • Crash at end of loading terrain due to low mem allocation (OS9) fixed
  • iMac resolution/refresh rate/black border (OS9) fixed
WarBirds III is a massively-multiplayer, pay-for-play, online flight simulator allowing subscribers to battle in a persistent universe modelled after Western Europe, set in World War II. The game is currently being transformed into a total war simulator, with budding support for ground and sea vehicles.

iEntertainment Network
WarBirds III
Download 08.07.02 Update (37MB)

Q&A Session with Raven Software
12:03 PM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Raven Software is arguably one of the most established computer gaming companies today. Responsible for creating thrilling games as Soldier of Fortune, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force, Raven has a well-known reputation for bringing some of the most popular games available. Video gaming website Doupě.cz has managed to contact Raven's own Kenn Hoekstra and have a little chat about the company: past, present, and future.

Hoekstra even hints at the possibility of a fantasy game in Raven's future:

Doupe: Do you plan to make fantasy games again? Raven Software had a long line of fantasy projects (for example ShadowCaster or Heretic...)
K.H.: It's not out of the realm of possibility. We've certainly thought about it, but we currently have nothing Fantasy-based in development. A good number of people here would love to work on a fantasy game again…
For further information about Raven, and just what it's like to work in a video game company, be sure to read the full interview.

Raven Software - interview
Raven Software

X-Arcade Announces Mac Compatibility
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Do you remember the good old days when you would go to the local arcade with your friends and see who got the highest score on Pac Man? X-Arcade knows, and finally, old school gamers will get their wishes granted. They have announced that their own X Gaming Ultimate Arcade Controller is available to Mac users.

The Ultimate Arcade Controller offers a genuine, real-arcade feel control stick, perfect for playing arcade, sports, racing, or fighting games the way they were intended to be played:

This X-Arcade USB Kit includes all the hardware and software you need to turn your Home PC or Apple into a real arcade machine.
If you're interested in playing your games with the X Gaming Ultimate Arcade Controller, you can purchase it now for $180, which includes the controller, a PC Adapter and an Apple USB Adapter Kit. For more information and review regarding the controller, you can read up on the official information page.

X Gaming Ultimate Arcade Controller

Apple Previews Jedi Knight II
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple continues to show their support for the Mac games industry with their latest preview, which takes a look at the upcoming title Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (JK2). One of the more recent Star Wars-related games to see release, JK2 puts gamers in the shoes of Kyle Katarn, who resurrects his Jedi past in order to battle the remnants of the Galactic Empire.

Gamers interested in the details of JK2 will find plenty at Apple's preview. There are full listings and pictures of available weapons, Force powers, enemies, and even cheat codes. There are also some stunning screenshots showing JK2 in action that are sure to get any Star Wars fan salivating.

Michael Rogers of Aspyr seems particularly thrilled with the multiplayer aspect of JK2:

You can have multi-player battles with only the lightsaber and one or two Force powers. It really changes the pacing and strategies of deathmatch games, and it’s incredibly cool to see a big fight with all the lightsabers slashing and being thrown all over the room.
Westlake Interactive, the company currently handling the Mac port of this title, announced JK2's official beta status earlier this week. Though a solid release date has yet to be set, we're all hoping that we'll see this one sooner rather than later. In the meantime, check Apple's preview for more drool-worthy information on this title.

Apple - Jedi Knight II Preview
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Raven Software
Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Buy Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

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Civilization III: Play the World Preview
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gaming megasite, GameSpot recently posted their impressions of Play the World, an upcoming expansion set for the popular strategy title Civilization III. The Play the World expansion will bring with it the much-wanted multiplayer aspect to Civilization III as well as a wealth of new features for gamers to enjoy.

For starters, the single-player campaign has been beefed up with eight new civilizations, including the Koreans, the Spanish, the Mongols, the Ottomans, and the Celts. Various balances, such as the ability to stack units, auto-bombardment, and the ability to transform swordsmen into guerilla fighters are also being added.

The multiplayer aspect is also shaping up to be quite promising. Developer, Firaxis, looking to cut down on the vast time a typical multiplayer turn-based title can take, has added some game modes that favor quick play:

There's a new mode called regicide, where the only objective is to kill an opposing player's king, so you don't have to worry about wiping out an entire civilization. There's another mode where the civilization with the first city to fall will lose the game. But perhaps the most drastic addition is that of victory points. Whenever you perform a certain type of action in the game, such as controlling a certain part of the map for a particular time period or some other similar action, you'll be allotted victory points. If you set the multiplayer match to a one-hour time limit, then the player with the most victory points at the end of that period is declared the winner.
Firaxis also points out that different ages can affect the various multiplayer modes depending on the objectives. For example, sending a missile strike to attack a monarch will probably do the job quicker than a handful of swordsmen when playing Regicide.

The rest of the preview covers the play-by-email multiplayer feature, editor support, and more additions to the single-player campaign. Those interested can find the full read at GameSpot.

GameSpot - Civilization III: Play the World impressions
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

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Stronghold Expansion Interview
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Stronghold: Crusader, the upcoming expansion pack for the popular castle sim, Stronghold, is coming to store shelves soon, and HomeLAN Fed has managed to get another exclusive interview with the creators. This time, Eric Ouellette, executive producer of Firefly Studios (the company responsible for Stronghold), sat down to give readers the inside scoop on just what will be included in the new expansion.

One feature Crusader will boast is its elaborate skirmish mode:

HomeLAN - When you decided to create Stronghold: Crusader what were your main goals?

Eric Ouellette - When starting on Stronghold, we had two aims. One was to create a castle sim, which we focused on in Stronghold. We are now using that engine to create a very good SKIRMISH game. We have really enjoyed playing skirmish mode in games such as Age of Empires. No one has really seemed to push or improve that type of game recently. In most RTS style games, skirmish is almost an afterthought. Our goal in Crusader is to create the best skirmish game out there.

For further information about the upcoming expansion, check out the full interview. Those interested can order the original Stronghold from the IMG Store. Subscribers of the MacGames CD can purchase it for $34, while non-subscribers can pick it up for $39.

Stronghold: Crusader Interview
Firefly Studios
Buy Stronghold

Westlake Announces New Secret Project
6:00 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive the prolific porting house that has brought across many games including Civilization III, and The Sims series, has announced yet another title. In keeping with their usual cryptic style this one has been code-named Finest Hour.

As usual, we have a forum thread set up for the purposes of discussion on this topic. To check it out please use the links below.

Westlake Project Status Page
"Finest Hour" Identity discussion in IMG Forum
Westlake Interactive

Bioware's Newest Plans: Q&A Session
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Shortly after Bioware had announced the plans for two brand new and original games for the Xbox and the PC, fans from all over began to wonder what these new projects were all about. The Electronic Playground has managed to get an exclusive interview with Bioware CEOs Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, in high hopes of uncovering some information about these two new games.

While Zeschuk and Muzyka were very quiet about the new games, they did agree to reveal some basic information about their upcoming titles:

EP: The thing that caught our attention is that these are going to be original games. Not D&D licensed.

RM: Nope. Not for these two.

GZ: The plan is for us to create our own worlds.

RM: Two distinct worlds.

GZ: Yes. They're not two games based on the same property. One will be PC, one will be Xbox. What we're trying to do is give our developers a chance to really grow in different directions.

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

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka--Creativity and Vigor

Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 7, 2002

World War II Online Mac Beta Opens9:20 AM
Ambrosia Updates Abound6:00 AM
Bioware Developing New Original Games6:00 AM
id Talks PunkBuster in Interview6:00 AM
Mac Jeep 4x4 EVO2 Release?6:00 AM
More Shadowbane War Reports6:00 AM
Neverwinter Nights Q&A Session6:00 AM
SonyOnline Posts Everquest Mac FAQ6:00 AM
Target Rabaul Development Update6:00 AM
Tranquility Summer Nights Special6:00 AM
Unreal II Impressions6:00 AM
Wolfenstein Expansion to Go Standalone6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 7, 2002 on one page

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Tuesday, August 6, 2002
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