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Friday, January 24, 2003

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Worms Blast Goes Gold
11:23 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

This morning Feral Interactive announced that Worms Blast for the Macintosh is has gone gold and is now off to duplication. According to Feral's Camille Thouvenin, the game is expected to be in stores on or around February 14th. Worms Blast is being published by Feral Interactive and will be distributed in North America by MacPlay.

Here's more from the official press release:

Our favourite Worms are back, and they are ready to blast!!! Worms Blast is based on shooting a coloured bazooka at various coloured blocks. If the colours match, the block is destroyed, along with all connecting blocks of the same colour. Hurrah! If the colours don't match, then the weapon colour splats all over the block you hit and those immediately surrounding it. Oops.

Worms Blast has:

  • 8 captivating multiplayer modes to pit your wits against either another human or the computer.
  • 10 highly addictive game modes.
  • An arsenal of over 20 special weapons, utilities and gadgets.
  • A bunch of outrageous characters to choose from, each with their own quirky set of skills and weaknesses.
  • A tutorial section to train up even the most gun-shy beginner.

    Minimum specification requirement are:

  • Mac OS 9.1 and above or Mac OS X 10.1.3 and above
  • G3 233Mhz and above
  • 64 MB RAM (Virtual Memory to 300 MB under Mac OS 9)
  • 300 MB of Free hard disk space
  • The IMG Store is now taking pre-orders for Worms Blast for $29. Be sure to place your pre-order today!

    Feral Interactive
    Worms Blast
    Buy Worms Blast

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    IMG Reviews Logitech's Marble Mouse
    1:36 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Logitech's Marble Mouse. Here's a clip from the review:

    The sleek look of this trackball makes it seem like it was designed to serve a prop in a big budget science fiction film rather than as an electronic desk accessory. The sculpted form of the plastic is only interrupted by the small trackball, which is cradled in the leading edge of the unit. It is almost as though the diminutive pointing sphere was placed in this position as an afterthought when the designer was reminded that they were making a pointing device and not a piece of modern sculpture.
    For more, be sure to check out the entire review.

    IMG Review: Logitech Marble Mouse
    Marble Mouse

    IMG's MacGames DVD Ships Monday
    11:52 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    The long-awaited MacGames DVD will finally be shipping this Monday. This special one-time DVD featuring the best of the MacGames CD from Volume 1 through Volume 10. The DVD will include over a year's worth of the best Macintosh game demos, shareware, updaters, trailers, add-ons, and more. In all, the MacGames DVD comes jam-packed with nearly 5 gigabytes worth of Macintosh gaming!

    You must have a Macintosh with a DVD drive to read the DVD. The MacGames DVD will ship on Monday and is available for pre-order for just $19. To pre-order your copy, visit the IMG Store.

    Inside Mac Games

    Custer Has A Blast
    11:42 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    IMG's desktop guru, Brad Custer, is back with another brand new desktop. This week's creation features Feral's just gone gold action-arcade game, Worms Blast.

    Here's what Brad had to say about his latest desktop:

    I've been asking for requests from you, the viewers, but it's always nice when someone from the game industry sends one in. The gang across the pond at Feral Interactive dropped me a line noting the lack of a Worms Blast desktop in my offerings. A few emails later we worked out the details so I could bring you one this week. With the help of the art supplied by them I was able to create my latest wallpaper. I simply entitled it "Explosive" and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.
    To check out the desktop, head over to Custer's Desktops.

    Custer's Desktops

    Master of Orion III Preview, Pt 3
    11:32 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    Apolyton, a fan site for turn-based strategy games recently posted the third part of their on-going preview of the upcoming space-strategy game, Master of Orion III. This latest preview covers many of the gameplay elements of MOO3, including the interface, and the situation report feature.

    Here's a sample of the preview:

    Whether or not you an experienced MoO player or a relative novice, one of the first tasks you will want to assign yourself is to get comfortable with the interface. This is true of any computer game for that matter. It provides for all key tools of the trade that one should be familiar with so as best to utilize them in the future. As your game progresses, it increases a strategy gamer's interest but also the intensity. You will want to be able to look at an icon or click on a menu and quickly gain the information that you need. It is true that, unless you choose to make use of the Timer Options? discussed in Part 2, you are in a strictly turn-based environment. You can sit in front of the screen as long as you desire to make your decisions for the current cycle. However, it will likely prolong a turn and unnecessarily distract you from more pressing matters if you do not adequately study the interface in the here and now. I would first like to begin with an open dialogue on the 'Main Screen'.

    I will say the layout of the 'Main Screen' is not necessarily how I would have conceived it, but that is not to say that I don't like it. Before we continue, I will say that dividing the screen with horizontal as opposed to vertical lines is my all-time preference and that is exactly what Quicksilver has done. Most of us prefer to read content from right to left, as opposed to up and down, and this has been taken into account. That said, as you can see in the various screenshots in this part of my preview, there is a lot of information spread over the surface of the screen. Don't expect to be instantly comfortable with what you see as I was not. I had convinced myself that I would be, and that was part of the problem. I am also not acquainted with the interface in previous Master of Orion incarnations, so this only contributed to my initial apprehension.

    Master of Orion III is currently being developed for both the Mac and PC by Quicksilver Software, with the Mac version to be published by MacSoft. MOO3 is currently in late beta stages, so stay tuned to IMG for more information as it nears release. To read the whole preview, follow the link provided below.

    Master of Orion III Preview, Pt 3
    Quicksilver Software
    Master of Orion III
    Buy Master of Orion III

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    Apple Profiles Bejewled and Alchemy
    9:33 AM | Scott Turner | Comment on this story has released a review and analysis of the puzzle pack containing both Bejewled and Alchemy from MacPlay. Both games contain interesting twists to tired and true formulae, such as the tetris like patterns of Bejewled, or the mah-jong tile matching skill required for Alchemy.

    Apple Games gives both of these puzzle programs a quick review, explaining the finer points of each game, followed by some tips for both beginners and experts alike. For those interested in buying the game, a link is also provided directly to the Apple Store. For those who would like a more hands-on experience before making a purchase, a link is also provided to download demos of both games.

    All of this can be grabbed at the link to the Apple site below.

    Apple Bejewled and Alchemy Profile
    Bejeweled & Alchemy
    Apple Games Page

    IMG Chats with Giga Designs
    9:33 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    Giga Designs quietly made their way into the CPU upgrade market by doing something that companies often have trouble with: delivering products. The moment they announced their arrival, they began shipping G4/800 MHz and G4/1 GHz CPU upgrades to customers. Giga Designs was formed by engineers from defunct Mac companies like Power Computing and Daystar. We spoke briefly with Tim Ericksen, Giga Designs' product manager. His primary role is to take the designs developed in engineering and turn them into products for end users.

    IMG: Giga Designs appeared out of the blue at Macworld San Francisco 2003. Can you tell us who you are and what your mission statement is?

    Tim Ericksen: Giga Designs is a company dedicated to enhancing the computing experience of the MAC OS user. Our goal is to provide performance and reliability, while exceeding our customer's expectation of value.

    IMG: Several CPU upgrade makers have gone out of business in the past few years and Sonnet and PowerLogix are in fierce competition. Why did Giga Designs decide to enter this market?

    Tim Ericksen: We believe there is always room for well engineered quality products in the marketplace; and we have confidence in our business model.

    IMG: Why should Mac users choose Giga Designs over your competitors?

    Tim Ericksen: By placing attention on practical engineering concerns, like power supply quality and thermal performance, we believe that we have created an upgrade that outpaces the competition. Further, we hope to inspire long-term loyalty from our customers by offering upgrade continuity, stability, and the utmost performance; while keeping in sight the overall value proposition. The products we offer are well tested, made of high quality materials, and are easy to install.

    IMG: What will Giga Designs do to differentiate their products from others?

    Tim Ericksen: We will design and manufacture them to the highest practical quality standards, while providing our customers with the freedom to choose a price point as well as a level of performance. We will also differentiate ourselves with unique products that offer solutions to system bottlenecks, and enhance overall performance.

    IMG: Can you tell us anything about your future products (dual CPU upgrades, 1.2 GHz and faster CPUs)?

    Tim Ericksen: Our philosophy on dual processor upgrades is simple. If we can supply them for less than $800, we will. Product announcements will be made as we release new designs to manufacturing; which is about 3 weeks prior to shipment. Our future products will continue to increase CPU performance, but we will spend much of our R&D budget and time on other areas of the system as well.

    Many thanks to Tim for taking the time to answer our questionnaire. IMG will be publishing a comparison article of Giga Designs' G4/800 MHz and G4/1 GHz CPU upgrades in the near future.

    Giga Designs

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    Falcon: OIR Release Date Announced
    9:06 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

    Developer G2 Interactive, which currently holds the rights to Falcon 4 (F:OIR), the ultra-realistic flight sim with a troubled history on the Macintosh, announced a release date for their midterm sequel to the F-16 simulator, Falcon: Operation Infinite Resolve. Designed as an expansion to Falcon 4 and a segway into the upcoming Falcon V, F:OIR draws from the work of the third-party developers of the Falcon 4 Unified Team.

    Although it is still unclear if this upgrade is coming for Macintosh, it has been confirmed to go gold in June of 2003 for the PC, as stated on the G2 Interactive website:

    Falcon: OIR will go gold in June 2003. Having overcome the huge obstacles that have fallen in front of us, we are happy to release this schedule.
    The feature set will be announced as we get closer to the gold date along with screen shots of our new aircraft, interface, theater and surprise features we think you will love.
    We know that you will be pleased with Falcon: OIR. Despite rumors to the contrary, the F4UT efforts are fully supported. The realism that makes Falcon the benchmark of combat flight sims is not diminished one iota and is enhanced in many areas.

    Falcon 4 was originally developed by Microprose and Hasbro, and ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive. As the PC version saw the fix of many of the worst bugs in versions 1.07 and 1.08 of the game, the Mac version remained stagnant at the unstable version 1.06. After Microprose folded, the source code was leaked to the Falcon 4 PC community, prompting the formation of the Unified Team and the birth of the SuperPak, which further extended Falcon 4's functionality on the PC. The code was later bought by G2 Interactive and is now being used to develop F:OIR and Falcon 5.

    Westlake Interactive
    G2i: Falcon 4 to go gold in June 2003
    Mac Falcon 4 Website

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    Neverwinter Nights Postmortem
    9:06 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    As Canadian software developer BioWare starts readying the Mac client of their 3D role playing game Neverwinter Nights for release, we thought it may interest fans of the game and all our readers expressing interest in game development to know that PC gaming resource center gamasutra has posted an in-depth postmortem with the creators of the game.

    BioWare co-producers Scott Grieg, Ray Muzyka, James Ohlen, Trent Oster, and Greg Zeschuk put their heads together and penned a critical analysis of the five year development cycle for the game, identifying both the high points and the low points of the game's creation:

    Early in BioWare's development of Baldur's Gate it became clear to us how the evolution of the role-playing game genre would unfold. We saw the explosion of fan-created content for first-person shooters and we rationalized that the role-playing genre was ready for a similar renaissance. It was going to take a lot of work to do it right, but even near the project's completion, we realized that at the start we had greatly underestimated the effort it would take to complete a project of this size.
    The Mac version of version of Neverwinter Nights, which will be published by MacSoft, is currently undergoing bug-squashing tests and is expected to be released soon. Neverwinter Nights Postmortem
    Mac NWN Update
    Neverwinter Nights
    Buy Neverwinter Nights

    Freeverse Releases Xpression!
    9:06 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    Freeverse Software, creators of such classic Mac games as Burning Monkey Solitaire, Deathground, and Wingnuts, have released Xpression!, a utility which began life as the brainchild of the company's PR-man, Jason Whong.

    Xpression! is an OS X-only icon customization utility, allowing users to customise the look of their OS X system. The utility also comes with its own themes that can be applied automatically:

    Themes can change any combination of folders, media, toolbar, trash, and application icons. Themes can also include desktop pictures, to allow designers to create more seamless environments. The Xpression! theme format is a simple folder structure, so designers that adopt the format will not be limiting their audience. Themes can be created with a drag-and-drop interface, and can be shared easily via e-mail or the web.
    The utility, which installs as a System Preference application, is a little beyond Freeverse's normal fare of low-priced and highly-polished quality games, however it still contains the sarcastic Freeverse sense of humour:
    It enables users to customize the look of Mac OS X or, with a few simple clicks, apply "Themes" to their whole system, removing about 160 steps from the process of giving your Mac a complete makeover.
    The application, which comes in a 8.5 meg download, requires Mac OS X 10.1.5 to run. Both the full version, listed at $24.95 US, and a free demo of the software are available from the Freeverse website. Click on the links below for access.

    Freeverse Xpression!

    More Clarification on Mac M-Audio
    9:06 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    M-Audio's Jason Ivan wrote to IMG to address questions and concerns that readers brought up in response to the recently published interview. Several readers noted that a handful of Mac games supported Creative Labs' environmental audio API, EAX, and were curious as to whether support for it could be added to the Revolution 7.1 and Sonica Theater. Here is his response:

    I don't believe so. Unfortunately, adding support for just these games may not be the best use of our resources.

    We'd have to use a lot of resources that would be better spent working on technologies that would benefit users
    in the future, too. We're still investigating how we could contribute to gaming audio, but my guess is it won't work with any previously-released games.

    Ivan also explained that; in games that support Dolby Surround audio, such as Warcraft III; both products can use Circle Surround II to decode the signal in Cinema mode. He also added that the Revolution 7.1 does support deep sleep mode.

    Lastly, congratulations to M-Audio for being awarded MacWorld's "Best of Show" for the Revolution 7.1 at Macworld San Francisco.

    IMG Interview: M-Audio's Jason Ivan
    Revolution 7.1
    Sonica Theater

    Mac Games News for Thursday, January 23, 2003

    IMG Reviews the Nostromo n50 Speedpad12:43 PM
    IMG Store: Pre-Order Medal of Honor: Spearhead10:29 AM
    Championship Manager 4 Delayed9:48 AM
    Dungeon Siege Postmortem At Gamasutra9:48 AM
    More Quicktime 6.1 Updates: Slope Rider, Mah Jong9:48 AM
    Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness Delayed9:48 AM
    WC3 Expansion Q&A, Mac Version Confirmed9:48 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, January 23, 2003 on one page

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