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Friday, December 20, 2002

Immersion Brings Force Feedback to Mac OS X
9:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With the release of Mac OS X 10.2.3 comes many new goodies for Mac gamers, including a very exciting announcement from a company called Immersion, which has brought their force feedback technology to Mac OS X. "Haptics" is the technology of touch, and it has the potential for far more than just popular vibrating console "rumble packs."

Immersion's haptics for OS X will support true force feedback in USB peripherals such as racing wheels, gamepads, and other devices. The new touch technology will debut with three Mac titles to begin with, including Tony Hawk 3, NASCAR Racing 2002 and F1 Championship, though more are expected to follow soon.

Here's the full press release:

Immersion Corp. (NASDAQ: IMMR) today announced support for the new Mac OS, to bring haptics—the sense of touch—to Mac software and hardware developers. Also known as force-feedback technology, haptics adds realism to the virtual world by enabling users to feel shock waves, pings, thumps and other sensations while interacting with their computer. Immersion’s force-feedback capabilities are now Mac-ready and software developers can incorporate a world of effects into applications running on Apple’s latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.2.3.

“Haptics enables a better gaming experience for Apple's customers, and also means that Apple developers can create better games, peripherals, and education software” said Jeffrey Eid, Vice President of Computing and Consumer Business Group at Immersion. “Mac users are early adopters with high standards; it’s natural they will want to experience a more realistic environment with touch.”

The first use of force-feedback is expected to occur in the field of gaming, where Force-feedback technology for games and peripherals—such as joysticks, game pads, and steering wheels—has become ubiquitous in the PC market. Immersion anticipates similar adoption for the Mac as was seen in the PC gaming market where in six years, adoption jumped from 10 games with force feedback to more than 300 games today.

For more information on Immersion, IMG has posted a feature taking a look at the technology. The article also contains an interview with Immersion's CTO Dean Chang about how this implementation works on Mac OS X. Here's a clip:
IMG: Will Mac users be able to pick up any USB force feedback device and have
it work with the supported OS X game titles?

Dean Chang: Any standard USB force feedback product should work with Mac games that support force feedback, however it's always best to check the product specifications on the box as well.

IMG: How difficult will it be for Mac developers to add force feedback technology into existing and future games?

Dean Chang: The API was designed to make it very easy to port Windows games with force feedback to the Mac. Response from developers has been extremely positive in terms of its ease-of-use and broad functionality.

For much more, read through IMG's story linked below. And watch for more information on title's supporting Immersion in the near future.

Complete Immersion: Force Feedback on the Mac

Click to enlarge
Custer's Desktops: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3
11:25 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

It's Friday, and that can only mean one thing: a new desktop from IMG's very own Brad Custer. This week's desktop features Aspyr's upcoming skate-boarding sim, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.

Here's a word or two from Brad about his latest creation:

With Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 reaching final candidate recently, I've been getting a steady flow of requests for a desktop from the game. So with the help of art supplied by Chris Silman from Aspyr I was able to create this week's wallpaper. I simply entitled it, "No Limits", which was taken from the Aspyr web site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.
Head over to to Custer's Desktops to check out this and many other gaming desktops.

Custer's Desktops
Aspyr Media
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

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IMG Giveaway: EV SonicXS 2.1, Last Day!
10:50 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

In the spirit of the holiday season, Telex Communcations and Inside Mac Games have teamed up for a great giveaway. Telex has graciously donated two sets of their flagship speaker system, the EV SonicXS 2.1. If you've read our review, you'll know that it has no peer in it's class. Each speaker in this $200 system pumps out 60 watts (peak power) and 125 watts from the subwoofer. For more information on the EV SonicXS 2.1, read the review which is linked below.

Today is the last day of the giveaway and the two lucky winners will be announced next Monday. As per usual, only one entry per person is allowed. All duplicate entries will be deleted.

Note: Due to a technical problem, contest entries were not being recorded, but has since been fixed. If you entered the contest prior to December 16, 12 PM PST, please enter again.

IMG Giveaway: EV SonicXS 2.1
IMG Review: EV SonicXS 2.1
EV SonicXS 2.1

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Hands-on Preview of Master of Orion 3
10:20 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

Gamespot recently got a chance to take a look at the latest build of the upcoming space strategy game, Master of Orion III. For those unfamiliar with the Master of Orion Series, it is a series of turn-based space strategy games in which players expand their civilization in an attempt to control the universe. The latest title in the series features brand new graphics and a slew of new features. Gamespot's hands-on preview of the game goes into these features, along with some history of the series.

Here's a snippet:

Part of what has made the new Master of Orion game such an ambitious project is that it includes all the gameplay elements of the games that have come before it and has added extra layers of realism to nearly every part of the formula. Given the sheer number of planets that you're likely to control on a medium-sized map, some might theoretically expect that it's difficult to keep track of what's going on. However, after getting past the initial learning curve with the help of an in-game tutorial for each of the game's many screens, it's not hard to use a light hand to keep an empire running smoothly while the turns fly by.

One interface element that helps is the SitRep, or situation report, screen that opens at the start of every turn. Events that occurred during the turn are classified as being of red, yellow, or green importance, and if you want more detail on an event or want to act on it, there's usually a hyperlink embedded right there that takes you directly to the screen you need. Many turns won't require much player intervention at all, as the game often seems paced to make each turn like a baby step and keep you clicking through turns in rapid succession. What makes this possible is the automation that helps run your empire at many levels of the game, including planetary management, research, and combat. However, such important tasks as diplomacy, spying, designing ships, and creating new groups of starships are left completely up to you.

Master of Orion III is currently being developed by Quicksilver Software, with the PC version to be published by Infogrames and the Mac version by Macsoft. For more information, or to read the whole preview, follow the links below.

Hands-on Preview of MOO3
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

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F1 1.0.1 Patch Adds Force Feedback Support
9:41 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Want to try force feedback on the Mac? Right now? To coincide with Apple's release of Mac OS X 10.2.3, Feral Interactive has released a patch to F1 Championship Season 2000 that adds force feedback support. According to Feral, this is the first game ever to support force feedback on the Mac.

Here's more on the update from Feral's web site:

This fixes a number of small issues mostly relating to Steering wheels with the initial release, but most significantly it enables Force Feedback for F1 . This makes F1 the first ever Mac game to give the Force Feedback experience and it will give you a feel of the tarmac under your wheels and the metal of other cars when things go wrong.. You will need a wheel, which is Force Feedback compliant, but once you have one you are ready to rrrrumble.
To download the 1.7 MB patch, head over to our sister site, The game is available for purchase from MacPlay in North America.

Feral Interactive
Electronic Arts
F1 Championship Season 2000
MGF: F1 Championship Season 1.0.1
Buy F1 Championship Season 2000

Mac OS X 10.2.3 Released with Updates for Gamers
9:08 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Apple has released another update to Mac OS X 10.2 through the Software Update control panel. Besides the usual collection of bug fixes, the 10.2.3 update contains several enhancements that Mac gamers may find interesting. Here are the most notable items from the Apple Knowledge Base document:

• Enhances support for Force Feedback-based USB devices
• Improves compatibility for OpenGL-based software on some computers that use ATI Rage 128 graphic accelerator chips
• Includes OpenGL 1.4 which contains improvements for all systems
Of note is the fact that there is a kernel extension specifically for Logitech force feedback devices. OpenGL now supports S3TC texture compression, which is used in modern games like Jedi Knight II, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Everquest. The 51 MB update is expected to be available for download from Apple's website later in the day.

Apple KB Document: About the Mac OS X 10.2.3 Update

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Heroes of Might and Magic IV 2.2.1 Update
9:08 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

3DO has recently posted an update for the Mac version of Heroes of Might and Magic IV. The update brings the game up to version 2.2.1 and contains several bug fixes, including the following:

- High resolution battlefield crash fixed.
- Campaign win crash fixed.
- 'high_score.dat' now correctly located in the 'Data' folder.
The update is sized at 2.7 MB, and requires the full version of HOMM4 in order to use. Those interested in downloading the update can find it at 3DO's site, along with installation instructions.

3DO - Heroes of Might and Magic IV 2.2.1 Updater
Contraband Entertainment
Heroes of Might & Magic IV
Buy Heroes of Might & Magic IV

The Belt, MAFFia Postmortems Posted
9:08 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The string of uDevGame 2002 Finalist Postmortems continues, with the latest ones focusing on The Belt, a unique turret-based shooter, and MAFFia, a game that allows for the decimation of sheep.

Both postmortems focus on the development processes of each title, including what each developer thought went right and wrong. For example, the developer of MAAFia stresses the value of playtesting:

Playtesting the game was very helpful as well; I received many useful suggestions from many helpful people in the last week or so, especially here on iDevGames. Needless to say, I playtested MAFFia a great deal myself; I also did my best to stress-test it frequently, trying to induce problems in whatever code I had changed lately, and always fixing them as soon as possible. I can't quantify how much this policy helped me, but the general smoothness of development suggests it certainly did me no harm.
The rest of the reads cover other thoughts, including tools used and the future plans of each developer. Those interested in the full reads can find them at iDevGames.

iDevGames - MAFFia Postmortem
iDevGames - The Belt

Mac Games News for Thursday, December 19, 2002

ATI Releases Radeon 7000 Firmware Update2:45 PM
IMG Feature: OmniGroup and PopCap Team Up12:56 PM
Age of Empires II 1.0.5 Update9:44 AM
Apple Posts Sims Trailer9:44 AM
Harry Potter Returns to the Mac9:44 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, December 19, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, December 18, 2002
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Thursday, December 12, 2002

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