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Thursday, December 19, 2002

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Harry Potter Returns to the Mac
9:44 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media just sent word they will be bringing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to the Mac. This game is based on the second novel by J.K. Rowlings and coincides with the recently released movie. While Aspyr's mini-site is now yet available, porting house Westlake Interactive has the news as well, noting the game is already in beta testing for both Mac OS 9 and OS X.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is again based on the Unreal Tournament engine and features (slightly older) characters, more settings, and even more powerful spells from the second book. Here's the announcement:

Dare to return to Hogwarts™.

Be Harry Potter™ in a new adventure with more magic, friendship and danger. Learn new spells, undertake new quests, make new friends and challenge new adversaries to confront the powers at the heart of the Chamber of Secrets™. Do you dare take the chance that you might face You-Know-Who again?

Harry's second year at Hogwarts™ begins soon, coming to Macintosh.

For a glimpse of the game, also be sure to check out EA's official site and stay tuned for more from Aspyr on the project as well.

Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Buy Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

ATI Releases Radeon 7000 Firmware Update
2:45 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

ATI has released a firmware update for the Radeon 7000 Mac Edition, which brings it to v208. This update improves support for displays and increases the available resolutions. Here is an excerpt from the release notes:

• Enhanced resolution/mode support for newer monitors with DDC (Display Data Channel) information
• Expanded NON-DDC mode lists
• Digital Flat Panel Extended Support
• 10 Bit Gamma & Color Look Up Table (CLUT) Improvements
• Support for Mac OS X's "Detect Displays" Feature
The readme also mentions one issue with the firmware update:
With this update, however, simulscan resolutions will not appear labeled as "Simulscan" in the Mac OS X Displays preferences or in the Display menu as they were before. Furthermore, each of the available NTSC resolutions will be listed twice.
More details about this update is available in the readme, which you should read before installation. For more information on the Radeon 7000 Mac Edition, please read IMG's review.

ATI Radeon 7000 Firmware Update
IMG Review: ATI Radeon 7000
Radeon 7000

IMG Feature: OmniGroup and PopCap Team Up
12:56 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG recently had the chance to swing by the OmniGroup offices for a visit. We chatted with Wil Shipley, vice president of the company about their new relationship with popular online game maker PopCap. He explains how their ports work, how they differ from concurrent boxed versions of games from MacPlay, and future plans for releases, including the now-finished Big Money.  

Here's a clip from the feature:

While Omni is responsible for big-name ports like Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, PopCap games are particularly popular with the arguably more abundant 'casual gaming' crowd. Titles like Bejeweled and Alchemy are hits thanks to their online Java versions, but now Mac gamers are able to play them anytime, anywhere, and with more features thanks to these ports from Omni. The downloadable OS X versions of PopCap games are just right for stocking stuffers with low prices, good graphics, and addictive gameplay.
To check out the whole feature, click on the link below.

IMG Feature: OmniGroup and PopCap Team Up
Omni Group

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Apple Posts Sims Trailer
9:44 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

A new trailer is now up on Apple's Games section, this time around its a trailer of Aspyr Media's hit, The Sims. For those unfamiliar with the Sims, it is a sort of people simulator, where players take control of a group of people or "Sims" as they go about day-to-day life.

Here's Aspyr's full description of the game:

Personality and good looks give each Sim a unique appearance and lifestyle. Keep Sims happy as swinging singles or loving parents. Choose careers, make friends, fall in love, argue with the neighbors, or shoot hoops in the backyard. Build the home of your dreams, buy over 150 different items to add and enhance your Sim's life. Create an endless variety of character and family. Exchange photo albums and family stories with gamers from around the world. Take care of your Sims or they'll fend for themselves.
For more information on the Sims, or to watch the trailer, follow the appropriate links below.

Sims Trailer on
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims
Buy The Sims

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Age of Empires II 1.0.5 Update
9:44 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Bold by Destineer has recently released an update to Age of Empires II, its medieval strategy title. The update, which brings the game up to version 1.0.5, adds some new features as well as various bug fixes, many of which are related to OS X.

Here's a list of some of the new features and fixes:

  • Added a confirmation dialog for the Command-Q keystroke. This prevents inadvertent quitting of a game.
  • Added Pause mode (Cmd-P) which pauses the game and allows you to switch to other running applications.
  • Under OSX, you can now choose to run the game in 256-color mode. Previously, Thousands of Colors was automatically used. The difference between the two settings is subtle. The game can only display 256 colors, regardless of your monitor settings.
  • Under OSX, if you hosted a multiplayer game, your name might have appeared twice as a player.
  • Fixed a Jaguar problem on multiple monitor systems where the game would run but the graphics would not be displayed. If you have this problem, you may need to reselect your preferred monitor in the Age of Empires II setup window. Press the Command key when launching the game to display this dialog.
Those interested in grabbing this download can find it at VersionTracker, along with a complete list of the fixes and changes that accompany this update.

VersionTracker - Age of Empires II 1.0.5
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires II

Mac Games News for Wednesday, December 18, 2002

IMG Reviews Logitech Freedom 2.4 Cordless Joystick10:37 AM
Free Game Incentive for .mac Users10:22 AM
MacGamer Reviews Jedi Knight II10:22 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, December 18, 2002 on one page

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