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Monday, November 11, 2002

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Ghost Recon Demo Released
10:16 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media has released a demo of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, the action-packed first-person shooter. The demo weighs in at a healthy 72 MB and is being hosted by our sister site, The demo contains both single-player as well as multi-player missions.

Here's more about the demo from the read me:

The demo allows you to play Quick Missions on one map (the Castle). There are three types of single-player game: Mission (accomplish a specific task), FireFight (eliminate the enemy), and Recon (move your team from one point to another without any casualties). You can select your team from a variety of specialists. If you chose the Mission game, you must take at least one Demolition specialist.

The demo also allows you to play multiplayer games against other Macintosh demo users using TCP/IP (over LAN or the Internet). You will need to share the IP number of the server among the players before the game starts. The multiplayer game uses the same map, with the following categories: Solo, Team, and Co-op. Co-op is cooperative play of the same three game types as single-player. Solo is played as every person for themselves, with three game types: Sharpshooter (player with the most kills wins), Hamburger Hill (player spending the most time in the center wins), and Last Man Standing (last one left alive wins). Team is played as two or more teams, with up to 9 players in a team, and has three game types: Hamburger Hill (same as solo), Last Man Standing (last team with live members wins), and SAR (search and rescue - there are three invulnerable hostages on the map, the team that escorts them to extraction wins).

To download the demo, head over to

Aspyr Media
Red Storm
MGF: Ghost Recon Demo

Payback Demo Released
2:25 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

A helpful forum poster pointed out that German publisher Playmax has released a demo of their upcoming game, Payback. Payback was inspired by the older 2d-based Grand Theft Auto games, and plays somewhat like them. The Game is being brought to the Mac by Virtual Programming.

Here's a description of the game from Virtual Programming's Website:

If you'd always wondered what it would be like to be a master criminal, then Payback is the game for you. It's entirely non-linear - to complete a level you simply have to obtain a certain number of points - how you get those points is entirely up to you; you can do what the local kingpin tells you, uncover secret missions or just go on a mad killing spree. There are lots of hidden surprises to discover, so you'll have to play the game through several times to find all the extras. As you'll have probably guessed, the game is inspired by Grand Theft Auto, but every effort is being put in to make sure that Payback beats GTA in every way. The game engine supports perspective correct texture mapping, environment mapping (reflections), bump mapping, realistic shadows, alpha-channelling (lens flares, explosions and shockwaves), 12 channel 3D sound and realistic physics.
No system requirements are listed on the game's website, but the game is not considered too hardware-intensive. For more information on the game, or to download the demo, follow the links below.

Payback Demo
Virtual Programming

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Ghost Recon 1.4 Mac Patch Coming
2:23 PM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Mac game publisher Aspyr Media has quietly updated their web support page announcing the upcoming 1.4 patch for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon.

This announcement will be welcome news to Mac players who've found that the recently-released game couldn't connect to PC servers:

The PC version of the game was recently updated, first to 1.3, then to 1.4. These versions are not backwards-compatible. The Macintosh version is 1.2 currently.

These updates showed up with no advance warning, and we decided not to delay the launch of our game to incorporate them. We are currently working on the 1.4 code to make a Macintosh update for it, and once we have an estimate on how long it will take, we will update this FAQ with that information.

For now, you can play multiplayer games with other Macintosh players.

Players of the Mac version wanting to get into some multiplayer action will need to use the free, Mac-only internet gaming service GameRanger to find Ghost Recon servers. Click on the links below to grab your copy.

Aspyr Media
Red Storm
Aspyr Media: Ghost Recon Support Q&A
MGF: Download GameRanger

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X-Plane 6.40 Arrives
10:13 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

Laminar Research today unveiled version 6.40 of its flagship product, X-Plane. The new version adds a number of new features to the very versatile flight simulator, detailed in an extensive list on the web site:

New Airport/Nav/Fix Data

  • New airports, navaids, and fixes from Robin Peel's huge new global nav database!

Plane-Maker New Stuff

  • You can now set the SCALES and OFFSET for most every instrument! These new screens in Plane-Maker let you decide where each instrument starts and stops it's travel, and lets you enter any conversion constants to get the output in different units! Want to measure airspeed in feet per day going counter-clockwise from 6 o-clock? OK!
  • Combat version getting closer... Cockpit instruments noww availabel in Plane-Maker to really getting those weapon firing modes right... Fire mode (single, pairs, ripple, salvo) and ripple speed in drops/second are now controllable.
  • Numerical input of cross-sections in plane-maker now possible for those that want to get those sections perfect.

World-Maker New Stuff

  • Now you can start your airplane anywhere, not just on the runway! This good for starting at the ramp and putting the tower viewpoint in your cool control-tower custom object. AND you can put the tower viewpoint anywhere! In World-Maker, just set the starting-point of the craft up, and then in X-Plane you have a new option in addition to the VFR and IFR finals and Takeoff option: RAMP START, on which case you will use your special ramp startup location selected in World-Maker! Type 14 and 15 in the apt.dat file to edit for yourself.
  • Custom object "footprints" are now shown! You can use this to position objects perfectly adjacent to each other, etc. Add new road, railroad, trail, and powerline segments now to get your roads and stuff perfect! Add taxiway lines for the runway as you like! Better yet, you can just quickly put the lines in place without worrying about making the turns smooth... in fact you may simply turn at a 90 degree angle with only 2 line segments... X-Plane will smooth the curves for you so the taxilines in X-Plane are perfectly rounded and smooth!
  • Better airport editing in WM, with no more runways turning out a little different in X-Plane than in World-Maker.

X-Plane New Visual Stuff

  • The new auto-gen takes us to the next level. It is totally customizeable. Right now, if you look in the bitmaps/terrain/city folder, you will see 4 different city types. Now, starting with X-Plane 6.40, you can simply do a TEXT FILE for each of these bitmaps that contains the locations and orientations of all the object you like... and any time that texture shows up in the sim, the objects you specify will appear on it! The result? You need only design ONE CITY POLYGON, and then that city design will be used every time that texture shows up anywhere on Earth! Now you can get cusomtized cities for the entire planet by only designing a few city blocks. Obviously, I have already done a good job designing the cities for you, but you are ready to improve or customize those cities however you like, adding all the buildings, trees, lights, parked and moving cars you like! Various randomization options are available in the file format (random building selection, random building and tree location) so that things do not get too repetive! No two polygons need be exactly the same!
  • Runways are quite simply awesome, with new multi-textured skidmarks from Sergio. Runway lites look more realistic (dirty) whether or not you have texturted lites, and textured lites make all the obstacle lighting look better as well. Runways even follow the curvature of the Earth now! On Mars, with a big runway, and a hi-res monitor, you can even SEE it!!
  • Water is nice.. it "waves".
  • OK, it has happened: custom object light color 97 97 97 cycles through red, green, and yellow in an orderly fashion. Yes you can do custom object traffic lights now. And yes they keep time in the replay, so you can rewind and see if you ran the red.
  • Afterburner glows goes inside the engine now as well, as seen from behind.

X-Plane New Flight Model Tech Stuff

  • New engine type: tip rocket! These are the rockets on the tips of helo rotors that turn the rotors without any need for a tail-rotor! They look pretty funky at night with the rotor spinning round and round with flame shooting out of the tips!
  • New VTOL control option: Differential collective with pitch input: This is used in VTOLs with engines fore and aft of the CG to control the atitude of the aircraft in hover. Design your own heavy-lift 4-engine Osprey now with very precise pitch control by increasing or decreasing collective pitch on the front or aft rotors in hover. No more need for cyclic control!
  • New VTOL option: LIFT FAN! Here is how it works: A drive-shaft is connected from the JET ENGINE to the FAN. When engaged, the jet engine sacrifices some part of it's thrust to drive this driveshaft which is connected to the fan. In this mode, you get less thrust from the JET engine (because it is turning the driveshaft hooked to it's turbine), but the shaft is turning the lift fan, which uses up the power to produce thrust itself! This is how the (real) F-35 works!
  • Reverse-flow over wings, and props improved. This helps in those backslides, helos, and high-sped autogyros.
  • New blown flap improvement: Blowing speed foud for you based on the throttle reduction you decide... and also you can blow air over ALL the control surfaces to keep flight control effectiveness at low speed.
  • Flap-deflection with pitch and roll for high-lift manuevering.
  • Engine idle thrust and tire rolling friction coefficient tweaked to get that taxiing just right in the heavies. Improved wing-tilt modelling: All element locations now found when the wing tilts for steering.
  • Transmission drag now taken out of helos and VTOLs.
  • Thrust-reverser lockout on the props if props not full forwards, as in reality.
  • Auto thrust-reverse on touchdown, as used by Swedish Viggen fighter.
  • Lateral cyclic with heading input, for helos like the CH-46 Chinook, and other new prop and rotor control in Plane-Maker.

X-Plane New Tech Stuff

  • UDP data input smarter: When you send stuff in that takes control of various functions (like ADF or GPS or flight director) X-Plane is a bit more careful about only handing over control of the exact features you sent data in on, not any other features.
  • New UDP mesaage you can send: CHAR, followed by a single char 0->255... will act as a keypress.
  • Better weather handling: Real-Weather gives high cirrus clouds for high thin clouds, and turbulence from thunderstorms is appropriate to your altitude in the clouds.
  • More joystick button options as always... This time a button for landing lights is thrown in.
  • 2 different aural warning systems selectable in Plane-Maker: One for airliners, one for fighters.
  • More data output including map range and GPS mode.
  • New instruments including AOA gauge for the military jets.

Optimizations for Frame Rate

  • Even with all the new stuff, thanks to heavy optimizations, we have a frame-rate IMPROVEMENT in almost every area! General-case frame-rate improvement: 1% With roads and cars frame-rate improvement: 12% Runway-intensive (big airport) frame-rate improvement: 14%

Bug Fixes

  • VOR to/from correct.
  • Thermals work properly.
  • No more "slamming" from runway changing elevationd underneath you at the env-file-switch.
  • FMS advances past lat/lon fixes when you use those as waypoints, and GPS indicates you are using a lat/lon fix. No more problems blowing the tires from jetting back and forth on the replay, and nosewheel steering right even on moving surfaces like the carriers and frigates.
  • Hardware throttle on your joystick now works for all planes including VTOLS.
  • No more manifold pressure going above ambient in normally-aspirated recips when the prop is pulled back.
  • Scale is perfectly accurate on the round radar alt now.
  • Yes spoilers now work in replay.

Whew. X-Plane is a very extensive flight simulation platform, allowing players to design aircraft and fly them in almost any circumstance they can think of. It comes with a large number of predesigned aircraft and terrain covering most of Earth and Mars.

Laminar Research
X-Plane 6
Download 6.40 Update/Demo (100 MB)

Virtual Programming Upcoming Release Updates
10:13 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

U.K. based porting company, Virtual Programming made a number of changes to their release dates recently. The comany recently brought us such games as Wipeout 2097 and Kickoff 2002.
Here's a list of the new release dates and current status of their projects:

  • Payback - Q4/2002 - Goldmaster
  • Tzar - Burden of the Crown - Q1/2003 Early - Early Testing Stage
  • Europa Universalis II - Q1/2003 Late development stage Pre-Order
  • MindRover - The Europa Project Q1/2003 In development
  • Legion - Q1/2003 Initial development stage
  • For more info on Virtual Programming and their ports, follow the below links. Be sure to stay tuned to IMG for more info on these ports as they move farther into development.

    Virtual Programming Release Date Changes
    Virtual Programming

    iDevGames's Camacho on The Gamesome Mac
    10:13 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

    On tonight's broadcast of The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Mac gaming radio program, hosts Sean Smith and Omaha Sternberg talk with Carlos Camacho, editor-in-chief of iDevGames, the Mac game development web site.

    Topics covered will include the state of Mac game development, tips and resources for Mac game developers, the Japanese Mac gaming scene, and the uDevGame contest.

    Sean and Omaha will offer Mac gaming news, commentary, and reviews, and together with their guest will take questions from listeners and give away one or two books on Mac programming in The Gamesome Mac's live chat room.

    The Gamesome Mac can be heard on Mondays from 6 to 8 pm Pacific Time, 9 to 11 pm Eastern (Tuesdays at 0200 UTC) on You can tune in live at The Gamesome Mac's web page, where you'll also find complete archives of past broadcasts. QuickTime 5 or 6 and a 28 kbps or faster Internet connection are required.


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    Xenquin Software Releases 'Elasticity'
    10:13 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    As reported on MacWorld/MacCentral this weekend, shareware group Xenquin Software released their newest game, Elasticity for Mac OS X last Friday.

    Similar to other recently-released puzzle games, Elasticity features simple yet engaging gameplay:

    Elasticity is a game of tactics and good luck. When three or more bubbles of same color form a vertical or horizontal line, they disappear, allowing bubbles above them to fall down. You get score from each row you remove, and when the bonus bar on right side of the playfield overflows, you advance to the next level. You should try to get as high score as possible. (Chain reactions give a lot of score).

    You move a bubble by swapping it with the one above, below, left or right to it. If the move does not form any rows, it is not valid. When you run out of moves (e.g. cannot swap any two bubbles to form any row), the game ends.

    The game also includes simple yet elegant graphics, and a funky and calming techno soundtrack that doesn't distract the gameplay. The game requires only OS X and plays on even the oldest OS X-friendly systems. A ten dollar registration fee allows players access to the game after the game's 30-day free trial period.

    Elasticity is the latest addition to Xenquin Software's roster, which includes Blockforge, a tetris knockoff, Cave Bombers, and the classic Reversi Unlimited, which have all been released in the last two weeks.

    Click on the links below to find out to download Xenquin's software.

    Xenquin Software

    Mac Games News for Friday, November 8, 2002

    IMG Posts New Shadowbane Screenshots1:09 PM
    Ghost Recon Shipping From IMG Store, Demo Today12:13 PM
    Fantasoft Releases Realmz 8.0.79:37 AM
    Arcane Arena iPod Contest9:36 AM
    Backyard Hockey Mac-bound9:36 AM
    Bugdom 2 on CD Ships9:36 AM
    Custer Lives Forever9:36 AM
    New Urban Terror Beta Release Tomorrow9:36 AM
    NWN 'Witchwork' Add-on Interview9:36 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, November 8, 2002 on one page

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