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Thursday, September 5, 2002

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WWIIOnline 1.67 Patch Info, Videos
8:23 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

World War II Online HQ caught a forum post from Cornered Rat Software about the upcoming 1.67 patch for this massively multiplayer online war simulation. There have been some minor delays while the team works to upgrade the Windows version of the game for DirectX 8.1, but they expect the update to be released in the near future.

In the mean time, the company has released new videos of the patch in action, meant to show off the new textures being used in version 1.67. One video is in Windows Media format, while the other is an AVI (playable by QuickTime player), and they weigh in at 19.6MB and 47.6MB, respectively. Since this obviously excludes those without broadband connections, they have also started up a forum thread with screen shots from the videos for those on slower connections.

Head over and give the movies a look now, if you're interested. The free Mac OS X beta test of World War II Online recently re-opened for users to sign up and play. The beta requires a very large download, so those wanting to play on modems might consider grabbing the latest MacGames CD, which includes this hefty file.

World War II Online HQ News
World War II Online 1.67 Screen Shots
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online
Download World War II Online OS X Pre-Release

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IMG Reviews Microsoft's IntelliMouse Optical
12:40 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical. Written by IMG's Hardware Editor, Lucian Fong, the mouse gets high marks for its style and extensive features.

Here's a clip from the review:

The appearance and ergonomics of the refreshed IntelliMouse Optical are identical to its predecessor. The symmetrical shell is a creamy white color with metallic gray accents on the side buttons and scroll wheel recess. Translucent red plastics cover the bottom of the mouse with oval teflon pads on each of the four "corners". And like all of Microsoft's optical mice, it emits a red glow while in use.

The overall shape of the IntelliMouse Optical is not as ergonomic as Logitech's MouseMan Dual Optical (my current favorite mouse), but sloped gently on the ends. Although my hands are relatively small, I prefer the larger Dual Optical in this case because it provides better palm support.

If you've been looking for a new optical mouse, be sure to check out the review.

IMG Review: IntilleMouse Optical
IntelliMouse Optical

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WingNuts Updated to 1.2.1
9:53 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Freeverse Software has released an update to their popular arcade shooter, WingNuts. The game features dozens of cool aircraft to pursue, including bi-planes, blimps and helicopter gunships.

Version 1.2.1 includes the following fixes:

This patch includes improved Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) support as well as support for Force Feedback controllers and other numerous tweeks.
To download the update, head over to our sister site, Be sure to also check out our review of WingNuts.

IMG Review: WingNuts
MGF: WingNuts 1.2.1 Patch

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SimCity 4 Progress Update
8:55 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new report on SimCity 4 has been posted at PC.IGN, based on their findings from a recent showing of the game at the Electronic Computer Trade Show (ECTS) by Maxis and publisher Electronic Arts. The article details a number of features which have been updated or improved in the game over previous titles like SimCity 3000. It discusses the methods of controlling unhappy citizens, providing defense for cities, and major improvements in the way superhighways are implemented. Here's a clip:

One of the biggest highlights of the recent demonstration was the superhighways. Unlike SimCity 3000, you won't have to deal with the irritation of connecting city streets to highways. To save time and frustration, once you lay down a superhighway, you're automatically prompted as to where you want the on and off ramps at any intersections, and will also ask you whether you want to add ramps to both sides for easy highway access. And the superhighways won't just be able to carry more traffic, but the traffic will also go faster, so you'll see commuters using these superhighways heavily in the mornings and evenings as people make their way to and from work.
Seven new QuickTime movies of the game have also been posted from their ECTS visit, which show many parts of the demonstration not covered in the article. For more on farms, trains, rioters, and much more, visit the game's media page.

SimCity 4 is currently in alpha for PC. While there is yet no official announcement about a Mac version, the history of Maxis games on the Mac make it a strong candidate for porting.

SimCity 4 ECTS Videos
SimCity 4 Progress Report
Buy SimCity 4

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Unreal Interview
8:23 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Unreal Legacy, an Unreal fansite, has posted an exclusive interview with 3D modeler Mario Vazquez of Digital Extremes, the modeling company responsible for Unreal and Unreal Tournament. Interviewers Lighthawk and MstrEditor sat down with Vazquez to talk about Digital Extreme's upcoming projects, Unreal II, Unreal Tournament 2K3, and Unreal Championship, in a chat-based tÍte ŗ tÍte. Some of the topics covered include what its like to work at Digital Extremes, the technological advancements in video games today, and of course, some information on the three upcoming Unreal games.

Here's an excerpt from the full interview (note that Vazquez is called "Strangefate"):

Lighthawk: ok, for mod people out there, Do you know the suggested amount of polygons in a player model/number of texture maps and the number of polygons in average map object/number of textures/size?
StrangeFate: The ingame characters are around 2500-3000polys. Like in any game you can raise the bar after a while, i personally would try to stick to 3000 and when it's worth go up to 4000. That doesn't means that you shouldn't optimize a mesh and start cranking out 4000poly models with smooth surfaces that could be done with half the poly count. Use the polys only if it really helps the overall look of the model. Prefabs could be around 300-700 polys but it depends of how you're going to use them in the map of course, it's more about balancing the whole thing. Prefab skins are usually 1024x1024 and whenever possible 512x512 (for small prefabs anyways).
You can check out the full interview for more information.

Interview Extravaganza: Part Three (With Mario Vazquez)
Unreal Tournament 2003
Unreal II
Digital Extremes
Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

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Tranquility Updated for Jaguar
8:23 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Fans of the hard-to-describe title known as Tranquility will be happy to hear that it has recently been updated to be compatible with Apple's recently released OS 10.2. The update, which brings Tranquility up to version 5.20 and is sized at around 13.2 MB, is readily available for download at TQworld's site.

For those unfamiliar with the title, Tranquility can be loosely described as a puzzle/graphic/music experience that sucks players into a game where the score doesn't matter and the play never ends. More information can be found at both TQworld's site and at IMG's review of this title.

IMG - Tranquility Review

nVidia Interview
8:23 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gaming site HomeLan recently sat down with Tony Tamasi, General Manager of Desktop Graphics for graphics chip maker nVidia, to conduct a general interview regarding the current market and nVidia's place in it. The various topics discussed include the lag between card abilities and games, the current state of the market, and current competition.

The lag time between a newly introduced graphics card rife with new features and games that take advantage of those features is a roadblock well known to computer gamers. Tamasi lists the difficulty of changing low-level assembly programming and the development time of a typical game as reasons for that lag time, and points to nVidia's Cg language as a solution. He adds that Cg is designed to let programmers work in a high level C-like language, which allows them to cut time and difficulty when developing or changing code.

Tamasi also talks about nVidia's CineFX architecture, noting that it may be the next big thing:

Some developers have characterized the combination of CineFX and Cg and the biggest revolution to the graphics industry in the last ten years, and forms the foundation for the next ten. For the first time, true procedural shading becomes a possibility in real time, and the wealth of effects and capabilities previously available only to the off-line, non-real-time render farms has become available to the GPU and gaming industry. Itís an incredibly exciting time to be in graphics!
The rest of the interview covers such topics as the MX line of nVidia cards, thoughts on ATI and Matrox, and the implementation of games such as Doom 3 and Everquest 2. Those who wish to check out all the details can find the interview at HomeLan.

HomeLan - Nvidia Interview

Halo Sequel Trailer Released
8:23 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

While the original game is still making its way to the Mac and PC, Bungie fans have written in with word that the first trailer for Halo 2 is now available. If you haven't played the first game in the series, you might want to hold off watching it for fear of spoilers, but others might be interested to see hints of where the storyline is headed. While the original version of the trailer was released as a Microsoft Windows Media Player 9 file, quickly scored various quality versions in a more Mac-friendly QuickTime format. A number of mirrors are now listed on their page in two resolutions at 27MB and 17MB.

For those interested in a behind-the-scenes look at how the trailer was made, has posted the first of a two-part series, talking with Joseph Staten about making the video. He discusses their strategy for moving forward with the trailer, the number of revisions needed, and the process for putting it all together. For the full scoop give the interview a read, and also watch for the second part to be posted soon and discuss the trailer's audio.

The original Halo is still on its way to the Mac via porting house Westlake Interactive and should be available some time next summer.

Halo 2 Trailer Making-Of Interview
Download Halo 2 Trailer

Mac Games News for Wednesday, September 4, 2002

IMG Interviews Pangea's Greenstone12:17 PM
Soldier of Fortune II Officially Ships11:53 AM
Lineage Changes, Deathmatch Arenas8:58 AM
GameRanger Adds MacPlay's Soldier of Fortune II8:21 AM
Microsoft Announces Seven New Desktop Peripherals8:03 AM
PowerLogix Announces PowerForce Dual G4 Upgrades8:03 AM
illumineX Releases Mnemonix6:00 AM
Mac Wolf 1.4 Patch in Testing6:00 AM
Unreal II Intelligence Report Available6:00 AM
X-Plane Adds Jaguar Support, More6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, September 4, 2002 on one page

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