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Tuesday, September 17, 2002

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Mac WWIIOnline from Infogrames in November
11:34 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Strategy First and Cornered Rat have announced that after a successful beta test of their massively multilplayer war sim World War II Online for Mac OS X, they will be releasing the final, boxed version in November. Interestingly, Infogrames will be handling the publishing of the Mac version, presumably through their Mac label MacSoft.

The Mac version will have an up-front cost, as well as a recurring monthly fee similar to most massively multiplayer titles. It will also include a number of extras specifically for Mac gamers. Here's the press release with more:

"Our development team has worked to ensure that gameplay is identical across all platforms and we’re excited to welcome fresh recruits to the battle," says Al Corey, Executive Producer at Playnet. "The response by the Mac community to our beta tests showed us that the Mac community has been waiting a long time for a MMOG like WWII Online and we’re ready for them".

World War II Online Mac Editionalso contains special bonus items, such as a large foldout wall map of the game world, the official music track, and 20 original illustrations and wallpapers inspired by the game. 

World War II Online Mac Editionwill be distributed throughout North America exclusively by Infogrames and is set to ship in early November.

If you'd like to try out the OS X client now, a pre-release test is available with signups at the World War II Online web site. Stay tuned to IMG for more info as the final version nears release.

Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online
World War II Online Mac Pre-Release Page

MacGamer Checks Out Apple Expo 2002
9:14 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Our friends at MacGamer have posted a round-up of Apple Expo 2002, which was held in Paris, France from September 10 to the 14th. MacGamer correspondent, Ingmar Wenz, covers various topics in the article including chats with game developers Destineer Studios, Freeverse, MacPlay, and Feral Interactive.

Wenz talked with Destineer's Peter Tamte to get an update on Flight Simulator 2002:

As we made our way back to the hall, we arranged to talk with Bold Games front man and overall-nice-guy, Peter Tamte. We were told that Westlake Interactive is now working on a port of Dungeon Siege, which should be finished in the first half of 2003. Besides that important announcement, Peter made it clear that Flight Simulator is probably about a year from First Playable status. According to Peter, the biggest problem converting FS is that the title’s code has evolved over more than a dozen years during its different PC development phases. The porting of Flight Simulator will occur outside of Bold Games. He also hinted that it’s possible Flight Simulator add-ons will work with the final Mac version.
Be sure to head over to MacGamer for the rest of the article.

MacGamer: Apple Expo Paris 2002

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Degana Releases Ponere 1.0
8:55 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Shareware developer Degana has released Ponere 1.0, a new puzzle game for the Mac in which players arrange tiles to create closed rings, such as a circle or oval. Tiles are arranged using controls that move an entire column or row on the game board--so moving pieces usually involves moving more than one at

Ponere requires Mac OS 8.6 or later with CarbonLib 1.1, 14 MB free RAM, Thousands of Colors, QuickTime 4.0 or later, or Mac OS X 10.1 or 10.2. Ponere features 60 levels and is distributed as shareware for $18.95. A demo, screenshots, and system requirements are available from the Ponere web site.

Ponere Web Site

Apple Features Cosmic Encounter Online
8:29 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Apple Games web site has a new feature on the upcoming multiplayer game, Cosmic Encounter Online. Created by Future Pastimes, the online game is a strategy game adapted from the classic board game. In the game you are the leader of an alien race, and your goal is to establish four colonies on the planets of other players. Up to four players can compete against each other with each game taking an average of about 30 minutes to complete.

Here's a snippet from the article:

Cosmic Encounter Online features 21 alien races (see the races sidebar on page 2), each of which has a unique power that can change the outcome of battle. Some powers are automatic, while others are optional. Anti-Matter, for example, has the power of negation. This means that the player with the lower total will win the round. Virus, on the other hand, has the power to multiply. In each attack, the number of ships is multiplied by (instead of added to) the value of the encounter pod.

Olotka is upfront about his favorite alien. “I have always liked the Philanthropist,” he says. “It is unassuming and not feared by other aliens. All it does is present the other players with the gift of [encounter] pods.” Of course, this is just a clever way to get rid of low-powered pods so that the Philanthropist can replenish his console of pods much more quickly. “It uses the wheat and gives away the chaff,” chuckles Olotka.

Cosmic Encounter Online is scheduled to be released this month. All that is required to play is Macromedia's Flash and a browser. Future Pastimes is offering a free trial membership that allows you to play games using one of six randomly chosen aliens. Paid membership provides access to all 21 aliens and an extensive member ranking system.

For more information on Cosmic Encounter Online as well as to take a peek at a QuickTime trailer, be sure to check out Apple's feature.

Apple Feature: Cosmic Encounter Online

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Upcoming Lineage Server Move
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

NCSoft announced today that they will be moving their game and website servers for their popular MMORPG, Lineage: The Blood Pledge, this Wednesday, September 18th, to a new hosting location at

On Wednesday, September 18th, we will be relocating the US Lineage game and website servers to a new hosting location at We feel that this move will provide the best possible solution for our customers – giving them access to a diversified network that will, in many cases, improve the connectivity between customers and the Lineage servers.
NCSoft notes that customers will expect some downtimes during the move. Full times of expectancies are given in the official news post, but customers should be prepared for brief outages in both the game and website servers from Saturday, September 14th, 1:00PM to Wednesday, September 18th, noon, when the move is complete. For further details, check out NCSoft's full article.

NCsoft Server Move

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Heroes of Might & Magic IV Multiplayer Info
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Over the weekend IMG chatted with Chris Jacobson of Contraband Entertainment about a recent multiplayer patch for the PC version of Heroes of Might & Magic IV, and how it might affect the Mac client currently being ported by the company. Jacobson confirms the content of the patch will make it into the Mac version, but while they use the GameSpy interface, the game depends on Microsoft's proprietary DirectPlay technology and will therefore break Mac-to-PC compatibility

Here's his response:

They use GameSpy for game finding only; Mac/PC compatability won't happen as they still use DirectPlay (unless they changed it again since the last drop I saw; we're awaiting final code on the patch, which is highly unlikely). We will be going with GameRanger.
For an even more in-depth chat about the current status of Mac Heroes of Might & Magic IV, Rocco "rogue27" Carello has posted a Q&A with Jacobson on his fan site dedicated to the series, Mac Heroes. The interview covers difficulties with the port (which includes the game's editor), working with publisher 3DO, and the demands of the title's completely re-written engine. Here's a clip:
Rogue: The requirements, especially video RAM, were rather steep for the Windows version considering that it is a 2D turn-based game. Is this something that is being addressed in the Macintosh version of the game?

Chris: Being a 2D game doesn't necessarily mean it will have lower memory requirements than a 3D game. Having many frames of animation for a 2D sprite takes up more RAM than a skeletally animated 3D model with a single texture. The game is VERY graphically intensive. On top of that, graphics are not the only use of RAM; game data, music, sounds, etc. all have to be considered.

Be sure to head over now for the full scoop on the game's status. According to the Contraband site, Heroes of Might & Magic IV is due out late this year, but we'll keep you updated with any official changes in its status.

Mac Heroes: Interview with Chris Jacobson
Contraband Entertainment
Heroes of Might & Magic IV
Buy Heroes of Might & Magic IV

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More Unreal Tournament 2003 Impressions
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As most hardcore FPS players know, a demo of Unreal Tournament 2003 (UT2003) was released over the weekend and has no doubt found its way onto thousands of computers across the world. Following up on its release, several gaming sites have released previews based on their impressions, including MGON and PC Arena.

MGON, who notes that they actually tested the final preview code that developer Epic will be passing along to publisher Inforgrames, notes that the latest build is even more refined than its previous incarnations. Of particular interest to gamers may be their assessment of UT2003's system requirements - while they tested it on a top of the line machine, they note that it should still be able to run on lower-end machines with some of the graphical effects turned off.

Another factor that may interest fans of the original UT is the fact that a sequel to the infamous CTF map Facing Worlds will be included:

A few changes have been made to the map for the update, for instance it is no longer set at night and the structures have had some aesthetic changes made to them. It is also no longer a snipers paradise which will no doubt be music to some Unreal Tournament fans ears. A few of the new features for UT 2003 such as bounce pads have also been included into the map but doesn’t alter the majestic beauty of what will quite possibly become the most popular map in UT 2003.
Not to be outdone in the preview department, PC Arena extols the graphical prowess of UT2003, noting that the physics engine allows for various death effects such as rolling, crumpling, flying, and sliding bodies depending on the circumstances. They also note environmental effects such as tall swaying grass and convincing water surfaces.

Also commented on are the new all-powerful weapons:

The Redeemer is back, and it’s joined by another super weapon: the orbital cannon. On some maps players can pick up an ion “marking” rifle that is harmless in itself, but acts as a designator for the uber-weapon orbiting overhead. Several seconds after you fire the ion gun, the target point becomes ground zero for a massive blast that fries anyone to a crisp within a large radius. Shoot and scoot, muchacho.
As reported earlier, it has been confirmed that UT2003 is being developed for the Mac in-house by Epic. Though we don't have a solid release date yet, it's always good to know that it's actually being worked on. In the meantime, those eager for more screenshots or information can check out the previews noted above.

PC Arena - UT2003 Preview
MGON - UT2003 Hands-On Preview
Digital Extremes
Unreal Tournament 2003
Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

JeuxMac Interviews MacPlay
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Continuing their coverage from the recent Apple Expo in Paris, the folks at JeuxMac have posted the results of an interview with Henry Price of MacPlay, and have kindly posted an English translation of the results. The interview itself is quite varied, with little bits of information that may be of great interest to Mac gamers.

The release dates for several titles are mentioned throughout the interview. Freedom Force is currently slated for an October release. Global Ops should make it out by the end of the year, and the anticipated No One Lives Forever is scheduled to start shipping in about two weeks.

More MacPlay information, including their view of OS X and their future plans, can be found at JeuxMac's interview.

JeuxMac - MacPlay Interview
Omni Group
Freedom Force
No One Lives Forever
Buy Freedom Force
Buy No One Lives Forever

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Product Placement in The Sims Online
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

A recent article at the MSNBC website has revealed that popular video game publisher, Electronic Arts, has struck a multi-million dollar deal with fast food giant McDonalds Corp. and computer processor company Intel Corp., for product placement in their upcoming online edition of The Sims, The Sims Online. The deal will allow the companies to integrate their products into the game itself, producing quite possibly the first case of a corporation-side product placement in a video game. Here is some more information regarding the recent announcement:

Detailed terms of EA’s multimillion-dollar deal were not available but it will allow Intel’s familiar jingle, its product logo, and computers using its Pentium 4 processor to appear in the game.

Players in the game also will be able to buy a McDonald’s kiosk and sell the company’s branded food products, earning ”simoleans,” the game’s currency. Eating that food will also improve their standing within the game.

For more information, you can check out MSNBC's full article, "Happy Meals, Pentiums coming to video game world".

Happy Meals, Pentiums coming to video game world
The Sims Online

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Vendetta Test 3 Released
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Back in late August Guild Software announced they would be delaying the major 3.0 release of the Vendetta test to give them time for a last round of testing/bug fixing. True to their word, the Vendetta Test 3.0 was released yesterday, adding major features to this online space shooter.

While Guild Software hopes to eventually make the cross-platform application into a full massively multiplayer online space strategy game, for now they have a free beta test available for anyone running Mac OS X (as well as Windows or Linux). Milestone 3 of the test brings many features on top of the previous deathmatch and capture the flag gameplay modes. The universe of Vendetta is now made up of nine sectors, with players spawning as one of three nation colors. A basic trading system is now in place as well, adding a new dimension to the gameplay.

Here's an excerpt from the news page:

The game now features complete persistency. Red, Blue, and Gold "Nation" characters are spawned at their respective home stations, at the corners of a new 9-sector Universe. Many of the sectors contain space stations, with which you may dock, repair your vessel, purchase (or sell) ship addons, and trade in commodities. Each station has a commodity (currently called "widgets") in which it specializes, making long-range trade between stations a lucrative venture. Destroying enemy Robots or rival Nation pilots will also convert their bounties into credits for your use. Friendly Fire damage is not possible between members of the same Nation, giving gameplay a more team-oriented spin. Chat messages are now broadcast across all sectors. A very basic, temporary navigational aid is now present on the HUD, to help you find your way through the universe.

Graphically, some enhancements have been made for owners of recent videocards (Geforce4, Radeon 8500, Matrox Parhelia, etc). The game should still be playable for users on low-end systems, but some sectors may be slower than others. Some users of older videocards (TNT1, G3s with Rage128s) may wish to disable Environment Mapping (Video Settings menu) to increase performance in some sectors.

The team is still in the bug-fixing phase and has released a couple of Mac-specific fixes to help get OS X users up and running. Many Mac users have also noted their old Vendetta updater may no longer run, but re-downloading the client application from the Vendetta site seems to fix the problem.

Check out the Vendetta site for more on what is not yet in the game like improved sound, skyboxes, and many tweaks yet to come in the gameplay. If you haven't yet created a Vendetta account, do so on their site to also get access to the game's messageboards where many discussions about gameplay in version 3 are already underway.

Guild Software
Vendetta Online

Mac Games News for Monday, September 16, 2002

IMG Reviews The Feeble Files1:43 PM
New Mac Tenebrae Quake Available6:00 AM
November Release for MOO3?6:00 AM
Q&A With UT2003 Lead Designer6:00 AM
The Gamesome Mac Returns with id's Graeme Devine6:00 AM
Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness Preview6:00 AM
WWIIOnline Mac Playgate Updated6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, September 16, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, September 13, 2002
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Monday, September 9, 2002

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