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Tuesday, August 13, 2002

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Apple Updates PowerMacs, iMac Price Drop
8:44 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Early this morning, Apple's website was updated with faster PowerMac G4s, cheaper flat panel iMacs, and a new eMac model, all of which will ship with Mac OS X 10.2, or Jaguar.

Sporting an updated case and enhanced system architecture, the new PowerMac G4 is a big step up from it's predecessor. Mac gamers will be pleased to know that dual processors span the entire lineup, perfect for gaming in Mac OS X. The fastest model tops out with two 1.25 Ghz G4s, each with 2 MB of DDR L3 cache. All three models utilize fast double data rate (DDR) memory and 167 MHz system bus, while to two high end towers come standard with ATI's Radeon 9000 Pro. The new PowerMacs support up to 2 GB of DDR SDRAM and four internal ATA devices (two ATA-100, two ATA-66).

The external appearance of the PowerMac has also been updated. The speaker has now been moved to the top and two full size (5.25") drive bays are mounted under it. Additionally, what appears to be four cooling vents line the bottom of the case. The rear of the new case has a slew of holes, most likely to improve airflow. Also, the PCI slots have been moved to the top. Below are the complete specifications:

Dual 867MHz PowerPC G4
256K L2 cache
& 1MB L3 cache/processor
133MHz System Bus
60GB Ultra ATA drive
Combo drive (DVD/CD-RW)
56K internal modem

Dual 1GHz PowerPC G4
256K L2 cache
& 1MB L3 cache/processor
167MHz System Bus
80GB Ultra ATA drive
SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
ATI Radeon 9000 Pro
56K internal modem

Dual 1.25GHz PowerPC G4
256K L2 cache
& 2MB L3 cache/processor
167MHz System Bus
120GB Ultra ATA drive
SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
ATI Radeon 9000 Pro
56K internal modem

Apple's even focusing a bit on games, as the updated PowerMac pages show a few Quake III: Arena benchmarks. At 1024x768 with 32-bit color, the high-end 1.25GHz tower hits 169FPS with the GeForce4 Ti and 145 with the Radeon 9000, while the Dual 1GHz is clocked only with the Radeon 9000 at 128FPS.

The two low end flat panel iMacs have also been reduced in price, while the eMac received a noticeable upgrade. A $1499 model now sports an 800 MHz G4 processor, 256 MB of RAM, 60 GB hard disk, and a SuperDrive.

Apple PowerMac G4
Apple iMac
Apple eMac
Apple Store
IMG Forum: New PowerMacs

Subscribe to MacGames CD, Get Links for $35!
12:39 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Subscribe today to the MacGames CD and get a copy of Bold's just-released Links Championship Edition for just $35! That's nearly $14 off the regular price of $49.95. The $13.95 will be deducted from your total bill after we have received your order. If you're already a MacGames CD subscription, you can order Links for just $42.95.

The MacGames CD is a CD-ROM subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters and much more. Get 8 issues per year (delivered every 6 weeks) and save big bucks! For a limited time, when you subscribe to MacGames CD, you can get a full version of one of eight games; all you pay is the shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada, $12 International). Each subscription or renewal also includes free registration of the shareware game guide Game Doctor, plus great discounts from Mac game stores and publishers.

For more information, be sure to visit the IMG web store.

IMG Preview: Links Championship Edition
Links Championship Edition
Buy Links Championship Edition

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IMG Reviews Beach Head 2002
12:38 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of MacSoft's Beach Head 2002. Picking up where its predecessor left off, Beach Head 2002 once again puts players in the position of a lone solider, now charged with defending a vital inland command post against an imminent airborne assault.

Here's a snippet from the review:

In order to defend your little command post, your mercenary character brandishes a collection of heavy weapons. The m60 is a general-purpose weapon, and the most used. It is most useful in mowing down soldiers and paratroopers. The anti-aircraft (AA) gun is a twin barrel beast designed for, you guessed it, taking down aircraft. It can also pretty effective against ground troops. The best option for destroying armored vehicles is the anti-tank gun (AT), and it can take a plane right out of the sky. However, it is more suited for slow moving targets since it is single shot. The Vulcan gun blows through ammo very quickly, and is a special weapon for when speed is of the essence. In extreme desperation you can whip out your .45 cal side arm. The last of the main weapons is the flare gun, used for lighting the night sky allowing you to see what’s approaching through the darkness.
Be sure to check out the rest of the review by clicking on the link below.

IMG Review: Beach Head 2002
Beach Head 2002

MGD Interviews Freeverse, Part Two
8:44 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

A few weeks ago, Mac Game Database interviewed popular mac gaming company, Freeverse. Now, nearly two weeks later, Ian Lynch Smith and Colin Lynch Smith are back, and ready to talk about even more. This second part to MGD's Freeverse interviews includes such hot topics as GameSmith, Virtual Programming, Strange Flavor, and the new Apple Store.

Here is an excerpt from Freeverse Interview, Part 2:

Marc: What's GameSmith, and how did it come about? I know you had your own HMS Freeverse did you get involved with working with Lane, who's doing the programming?

Colin: We built the HMS server to handle our own games' Internet play, and we realized, all of a sudden, "Hey, this is great, and it works!" So we decided we'd add more cool features, and open it up to other developers, so they can add it to their games, without doing all the work we had to do. And then, Lane was really into it. As you know, Lane's one of the grand old men (although he'll hate me for saying that) of the Mac programming field who has like contributed to every single game you've ever played.

Ian: It's worthwhile going to Ideas from the Deep and looking at his resume. He's been actively programming games since like '85. And you look at it, and there's gotta be like 50 or 60 titles there that he's been involved with, and you're like, "I played that when I was like 13!"

Colin: I was having a drink with him and one of the girls who worked the Ambrosia booth last week, and she freaked out when she found out that he was one of the creators of [Commander] Keen, which was like the game she played non-stop when she was 11.

For even more details on Freeverse's future, past, and present, you can read the full interview. A link to Part 1 of the interview is also provided at the bottom of the article.

Freeverse Interview, Part 2
Freeverse Interview, Part 1

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Airburst Updated
8:44 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Airbust, the popular shareware hit, has been updated to version 1.041. Below is a list of changes:


• Fixed intermittent crash on quitting bug.

You can download Airburst right now from MacGameFiles.

Airburst 1.041
Strange Flavour

Civilization III, Play The World Preview
8:44 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

GameSpy has published a preview of Play the World, the much anticipated expansion to Sid Meier’s Civilization III. Play the World extends the game in three ways, it adds eight new civilizations, a scenario editor, and most importantly, multiplayer. This preview goes into detail on all three. Here is an excerpt:

The multiplayer mode will support a number of scenario types, including Elimination, Domination, and "Regicide", which actually gets the king onto the playing field as you attempt to assassinate him. Depending on how the scenario is set up, players can alternate turns or take them simultaneously, or even use the new "Turnless" mode, which should prove useful in larger multiplayer games.
This preview does not really cover much territory that hasn’t already been explored in previews on other sites, but if you haven’t seen them it is certainly worth a look. It is fairly clear from this preview that Play the World is progressing well and is likely to be a very good expansion, sadly there has not yet been an announcement of when to expect a Mac version.

Play The World Preview
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

D&D Creator Q&A
8:44 AM | Tristan Kane | Comment on this story

As part of their coverage of GenCon 2002 the RPG conference, GameSpy has published an interview with Dave Arneson, the self confessed father of role-playing. This article deals mainly with how Dungeons and Dragons was originally developed, but then goes onto issues such as the D&D movie, and a Computer Game Programming course that Dave Arnason teaches at Full Sail University in Florida. Here is an excerpt:

GameSpy: You were involved in the D&D movie, weren't you?
Dave Arneson: I was in the movie as an actor. I was there standing in the background throwing a fireball at a dragon. GameSpy: I don't remember you…
Dave Arneson: (Laughs) Well when you're standing in a 300 foot tower and there's twelve of you throwing fireballs at dragons, I think it's really stupid. But it was all in the movie. Y'know I didn't find out they were making the movie until about halfway through the filming. And then they found out I was alive, instead of the rumor that I was dead, which was why they hadn't tried to contact me. They were nice. They sent me to Prague for a week and since it was a crowd scene they put me in.
This is a very cool interview with one of the founding fathers of modern gaming. It will be of particular interest to anyone who has ever enjoyed a game based on D&D such as the Baldur’s Gate series and Neverwinter Nights. To check it out please use the link below.

Interview with Dave Arneson

Apple Looks At Online Gaming
8:44 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Mac gamers may be interested to know that Apple has posted a concise guide to online gaming on their website. This exclusive feature, titled Virtual Fun: Multiplayer Online Gaming, covers three major Mac multiplayer services: Scott Kevil's GameRanger, Freeverse's GameSmith, and Blizzard's The article then discusses how each system works. A complete list of supported games for each service is included.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

And look for highly anticipated new releases, such as Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, to be available on the service as well. “GameRanger is the de facto standard,” Kevill explains, “and just as nearly all existing [Mac] games support it, pretty much every new game will as well.”
If you are new to the internet gaming scene, or are further interested, be sure to check out this exclusive feature found only at Apple. A link is provided at the bottom of the article.

Virtual Fun: Multiplayer Online Gaming

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Saitek X45 Giveaway
8:44 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gaming site OverClocked Vanilla is currently sponsoring a giveaway contest. The prize is a brand-new Saitek X45 Throttle and Joystick, tailored specifically for flight sims.

Entering the contest simply involves registering and posting some comments:

We're currently at roughly 100 registered users with approximately 100 comments. Help us reach 250 registered users and 250 comments and bang, you're in the drawing. This means you must register (obviously) and post at least one comment to be eligible. 'Bump' comments like "you sux0r" don't count in this thing. Let's be original and say something in our comment posts, mmkay?
OCV notes that user information will not be resold to ad companies and the like.

Those interested in entering can find everything they need at OCV's website. A review of the X45 can also be found in IMG's archives.

IMG - X45 HOTAS Review
OCR - X45 Giveaway

ATI's R300 vs. Nvidia's NV30
8:44 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As many computer gamers know, the war between rival graphics chip makers ATI and Nvdia continues to be a contest of lightning-fast one-upsmanship. The current weapons being used are ATI's R300 chip, used in their upcoming Radeon 9700, and Nvidia's NV30 chip. Taking a critical look at the competition, The Tech Report has recently released its thoughts and obsevations in an article entitled ATI's Radeon 9700 versus NVIDIA's NV30 that examines both chips, the market, and the future prognosis in detail.

The beginning of the article, rather than compare the two chips, gives readers a history lesson in the expectations of GPUs. The ongoing goal of a card capable of cinematic rendering is introduced, and a brief history of API development involving both Direct X and Open GL is also examined.

As far as the current generation goes, the goal of cinematic rendering hasn't quite been reached yet, but is getting pretty darn close:

So ATI's R300 and NVIDIA's NV30 will comprise the first generation of dedicated graphics chips capable of cinematic quality shading. They won't be capable of rendering all of the best effects seen in recent movies with all of the detail in each scene in real time, but they should be able to deliver some exceptionally compelling graphics in real time. Gamers had better hold on to their seats once games that use these chips arrive. And these chips will challenge entire banks of servers by rendering production-quality frames at near-real-time speeds.
The idea of a single card doing the work of a rendering farm is a huge one, but one that seems more and more possible with each new GPU iteration we see.

The rest of the article critically examines the differences between ATI and Nvidia's latest, speculates on standard features, and comments on the future of computer graphics. Those interested in the full read can find it at The Tech Report.

The Tech Report - ATI's Radeon 9700 versus NVIDIA's NV30

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WWIIOnline Art Interviews
8:44 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

World War II Online HQ has spent the past few days talking with artists from Cornered Rat working on the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) war simluation World War II Online. Four employees have been interviewed so far, talking about a variety of topics including skinning for the game, increasing the graphic quality, and balancing these upgrades with players' systems.

In case you're unfamiliar with the game, World War II Online features a massive battlefield emcompassing much of the European conflict between Allied and Axis powers. Players can fly planes, drives tanks or trucks, or play as infantrymen.

Here's a clip from one of the interviews with more:

HQ – It has been mentioned on several occasions that there is a pixel budget for each town and vehicle. Can you break this down in plain English for our readers and how it affects us now and in the future?

Frying Tiger – It’s actually a “Triangle Budget” and a “Texture Memory” budget. Every object on your screen is made up of a number of triangles, and your graphics card can only display them so fast. So the more triangles we have, the slower the game runs. Actually, up to a point it’s not an issue, then, when you pass that point, performance takes a nosedive! The Art Department designs the objects and terrain as efficiently as possible. The terrain building team then places them so it is unlikely you will reach the maximum number in any particular area, with the base computer system we suggest… but occasionally we’ll decide game play and looks require us to push the envelope a bit. Also, large numbers of players add large numbers of triangles, which is why we have lower detail “LOD” objects (Level Of Detail) that you will see at a distance.As far as the texture memory budget goes, each object that has a texture needs to have that texture placed in your graphics card’s memory. If we use more textures in an area than you have graphic card memory, your game will slow down horribly, as the card swaps the textures in and out. So we try to make sure we use as little texture memory as possible. It’s a balancing act… what can we get away with that won’t ruin the game play experience for the low end system guys, but what is required to make the average and high-end people happy?

Publisher Strategy First recently announced a Mac OS X open beta for those wanting to try it out for free. Those unable to make the large download should also be aware the newest Mac Games CD will include the latest version of the OS X client.

Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online
WWIIOnline Artist Interviews

Mac Games News for Monday, August 12, 2002

IMG Previews The Sims: Vacation1:00 PM
Shadowbane GenCon Reports9:16 AM
pop-pop Editor Released8:07 AM
The Gamesome Mac Talks with Freeverse7:57 AM
Alien vs. Predator 2 Interview6:00 AM
Doom III Q&A6:00 AM
Freeverse OS X Betas Released6:00 AM
Galactica A.D. Tourney Prepares for Launch6:00 AM
GarageGames Interview6:00 AM
Harpoon 3 Update6:00 AM
Vengeance: Myth III Editor for Mac 'Soon'6:00 AM
Westlake Project Updates6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 12, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, August 9, 2002
Thursday, August 8, 2002
Wednesday, August 7, 2002
Tuesday, August 6, 2002
Friday, August 2, 2002

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