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Thursday, February 27, 2003

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Aspyr Announces SimCity 4
10:57 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

After months of speculation, Aspyr Media today has officially announced SimCity 4 for the Macintosh. Released in January for the PC, SimCity 4 is being coverted to the Macintosh by i5Works, the same company that ported Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon to the Macintosh for Aspyr.

The long-awaited 4th generation of SimCity, SimCity 4, features new simulation and graphics engines, an all new regional game play, and the ability to track the lives of individual Sims as they go about their daily routine. SimCity 4 is the most realistic, powerful, and personal SimCity experience ever.

Here's more from the official press release:

"In SimCity 4 a city comes to life like never before," said Lucy Bradshaw, Executive in Charge of Production at Maxis, developers of the #1 selling PC game of all time, The Sims. "This is the most responsive, personal, and satisfying SimCity yet."

Right from the start, players experience new God-like powers of creation as they lay the groundwork for their cities by molding mountains, carving valleys, seeding forests, and laying rivers. With these new landscape creation features, players can now construct the most realistic metropolis imaginable.

Unlike earlier games in the series, SimCity 4 cities do not live in isolation from the world, they are part of an entire region. Each city a player creates becomes part of an ever-growing tapestry of municipalities that, once connected by transportation networks, share and compete for resources. Depending upon the choices made by a player, this multi-city game play can result in a variety of outcomes within that region.

For the first time ever, players can follow a Sim as they go about their life in the city. Players can personalize their Sim and immediately move him or her into any area and watch them experience life in the city, first hand. Is he or she enjoying a happy existence in an urban utopia or enduring a futile fight for survival in the inner-city? A player's Sim provides valuable clues to improving the city.

SimCity 4 allows players to actually touch their handiwork and feel the pulse of their creation. Whether a metropolis is booming with expansion or decaying through neglect, the new SimCity 4 simulation engine gives players immediate feedback so they can react to its every need. Individual buildings and their lots now provide feedback to the player who lives there. Bigger, better, and more relevant disasters are also available along with the ability to dispatch the police or fire department to areas in the city where they are needed. Your every decision in this new SimCity has much more of an impact and gives you the ability to respond more effectively. Day and night, the movement in SimCity 4 is first-person, frenetic, palpable, and unpredictable.

There's no word yet on when SimCity 4 for the Macintosh will be released, but we've shot over an email to Aspyr to get some more answers. We'll be sure to keep you posted on any more news on this exciting new Macintosh title.

Update: Amity Lesko from Aspyr emailed IMG to let us know: "We are currently in early development and hope to ship in May."

Aspyr Media
Buy SimCity 4

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IMG Posts Elite Force II First Look
12:31 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a first look preview of Star Trek: Elite Force II. Due this summer, Elite Force II is being published on the Mac by Aspyr Media.

Here's more from the first look preview:

Over two years ago, Raven Software and Aspyr Media stunned a number of FPS fans by bringing Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force to the Mac. Unlike many titles based on the popular sci-fi license, Elite Force was considered a gem of a shooter by both Trekkies and non-fans alike; with the only major complaint seeming to be the game's length (or lack thereof). Now Ritual Entertainment is looking to pick up where the previous title left off with Star Trek: Elite Force II. They are hoping to keep the momentum of the original, while making it longer, better looking, and more strategy-filled.
Be sure to check out the rest of the preview. As the game gets closer to beta, we'll be posting an in-depth, hands-on preview of the Mac version.

IMG First Look: Star Trek: Elite Force II
Ritual Entertainment
Aspyr Media
Star Trek Elite Force II
Buy Star Trek Elite Force II

Terminus for Mac OS X Coming Soon
11:51 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

If you've never heard of Terminus, you're not alone. Released a few years ago, this promising space combat game by Vicarious Visions faded soon after its release due to poor marketing and an inordinate number of bugs that hampered its popularity. Still, the game ended up garnering a cult following and since its release, a group named TerminusPoint has released a number of updates to the Windows client. Recently the web site posted a note regarding development of the OS X version of Terminus.

And the winner is OSX support with a very close continue normal development. This means that the focus will be shifting to getting an OSX port running. Other development will continue, but at a slower pace while OSX gets priority.

Of course the first step is to get OSX installed. I'll be adding a larger hard drive to that Mac and have a Mac friend do the install for me. While I'm at it I'll have him configure it for Linux PPC boot as well.
This is great news for fans of the game. If you don't have it, well, you're out of luck. Online retailers such as EBgames no longer carry the product since has been discontinued. Some people, however, on Amazon are selling new and used copies (thanks MacGamer for the tip).

Terminus Point

GameRanger 3.2.1 Update Released
11:37 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

An update to GameRanger, the popular online game matching service, has been released. The latest version, 3.2.1, fixes a number of issues including a wordaround for LinkSys and Farallon that would cause network curruption problems. Below is a list of changes from the update:

  • Added a workaround for LinkSys and Farallon routers (possibly others) corrupting network traffic
  • Game open/close/host rename messages are now hidden while the game view is collapsed
  • Voice now stops immediately when you leave a hosted room, block a user, or close their message window
  • Blocking a user now blocks their voice chat in hosted rooms
  • Premium member account names can now be clicked to see their numeric account ID
  • You can now "delete" your profile image to clear it
  • Minor tweaks/improvements to the name dropshadow
  • Changing your profile image while you have a room open now updates the image there immediately

    GamerRanger is the premier online game matching service for the Mac. Players can connect directly to the GameRanger network and find other gamers who want to play one of the many GameRanger supported Mac games.

    In order to download the latest update, players simply need to run GameRanger to start its built-in auto update option. If you have not yet downloaded GameRanger, you can follow the link attached to the bottom of this article. Mac OS X 10.1 or higher is required.


    Tropico 2 Interview
    10:25 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    HomeLan recently got the chance to sit down and chat with Bill Spieth, the lead designer for the upcoming sequel to Tropico, Tropico 2: Pirate's Cove.Tropico 2 will feature a brand new theme obviously, along with numerous new gameplay features and a brand new game engine. The Interview goes into many of these features, along with the reasons for switching to a pirate theme.

    Here's a sample of the interview:

    HomeLAN - How will the player manage to create and nurture his pirate crew?

    Bill Spieth - The answer depends on the strategy the player pursues. One player might decide to obtain more pirates by forcing some of his captives to become new pirates. As you might guess, this produces inferior pirates. But for some strategies in which it doesn?t hurt to lose a crew in battle, this works fine. My own goals require that I push my pirates to higher levels, so I tend to obtain more pirates from ships that I plunder. These guys are always trained sailors and won?t be as likely to die on their first mission.

    I nurture my pirates with plenty of high-class food, gambling, wenches and grog. I also send them to school to become more skilled. But a player who is not encouraging his pirates to advance through the levels can spend a lot less effort here. With those strategies, pirates are expendable. Since the low level pirates have fewer demands, in some ways it is easier to keep things running if you have very few of the higher level pirates.

    HomeLAN - What sort of activities will your pirate crew be able to do in ?Tropico 2??

    Bill Spieth - On the island they visit brothels or courtesans. They go to taverns and smuggler?s dives. Basically, they live to party. At sea, they carry out player orders. Maybe they cruise for plunder, or kidnap a skilled gunsmith, or explore an unknown region of the Caribbean.

    HomeLAN - What resources and items will the player have to manage and control in the game?

    Bill Spieth - Well, there are a large number of commodities, from parrots to cutlasses, but most of them are optional. Players decide which ones to develop in any particular game.

    However, two resources are at the core of your economy: lumber and gold. You get gold by stealing it from other ships, and you get lumber by cutting down trees and sawing them into lumber. You need both to keep your island and your power growing. In particular, lots of gold and lumber are needed to obtain the larger pirate ships.

    Tropico 2 is currently being developed by Frog City under the supervision of the original developers of Tropico, PopTop. Although there are currently no plans for a Mac version of Tropico 2, given that the original game is out for the Mac and its expansion is on the way, it is always a possibility. To read the full interview, follow the link provided below.

    Tropico 2 Interview
    PopTop Software

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    WC3 Expansion Beta Info
    8:58 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    Blizzard Entertainment recently released some updated information on the beta test of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. This expansion to the 3D real-time strategy game features all-new single player campaigns, and new heroes and units for every race. The update to the Frozen Throne beta page states that the sign-ups are now closed, and those that have been accepted to the test will be notified via e-mail.

    Their update furthers states:

    Please note that we can neither accept any additional applications nor make any changes to the information on anyone’s current application. Also note that we are unable to comment on the status of any application prior to the email announcements going out, so please refrain from contacting us regarding your application.

    We’re looking forward to an extremely productive beta test. While we haven’t yet determined an end date for the test, we expect it to last at least 8 weeks, if not longer.

    For more information on The Frozen Throne and its beta test, please follow the links provided below.

    WC3 Exp Beta Info
    Blizzard Entertainment
    WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
    Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

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    New Master of Orion III Interview
    8:58 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    Gaming fan site Fragland has recently posted an exclusive interview with Bill Fisher, CEO of Quicksilver Software, the game development house responsible for the recently-released spacce strategy game Master Of Orion III.

    The interview takes a post-mortem approach, uncovering stories and anecdotes the game designers lived through during the game's development:

    Q:What was the funniest incident during development ?

    A:We played a gag on Rantz Hoseley, our creative director. He had a very strong mission to ensure that the aliens in our game were more than simply "humans in furry animal suits" or anything else resembling cheesy sci-fi. And, because of the wonders of 3D modeling technology, we were able to achieve that goal rather handily. I really like the extreme variety of aliens in the game.

    But Rantz was so strongly opposed to the concept of cheesy aliens in furry suits that we actually hired a person in a six foot animal costume for a party here about a year ago. We pulled a surprise on Rantz by bringing the character into the warehouse in the back of the office through a side door. The expression on his face was priceless, to say the least. We laughed for days!
    The space-strategy game, whose PC version enjoyed a simultaneous global release on Tuesday, is expected to be released by Macsoft in the near future. Stay tuned to IMG as more news develops.

    Update: Apologies to Bill Fisher for the incorrect spelling of his name. Thanks to reader Greg Meece for pointing out the error.

    Fragland: Interview with Quicksilver Software's Bill Fish
    Master of Orion III
    Quicksilver Software
    Buy Master of Orion III

    'Mysterium' Convention Info
    8:58 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    Myst lovers looking to hook up with fellow Cyan fans will have another chance to do so this summer. Mysterium, the annual Myst convention, has recently confirmed the dates for this year's game convention. Taking place in Spokane, Washington, from August 1st - 3rd, 2003.

    Jim Stephenson has updated his Myst fan site with booking, travel, and other information for fans who plan to attend. Although the itinerary for the event hasn't been confirmed yet, the convention's organisers expect a good turnout. They've also put out a request for help in designing their webpage and updating their logo, so click on the links below to access their pages and find out more.

    Mysterium 2003 Official Web Page
    Presto Studios
    Myst III: Exile
    Myst Online: Uru Live
    Buy Myst III: Exile

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, February 26, 2003

    IMG Reviews Jazz Speaker J99061:06 PM
    IMG Store: Free Game Offers Updated12:50 PM
    GameSpy Reviews Master of Orion III12:33 PM
    USB Overdrive 1.4 for Mac OS 9 Now Available12:08 PM
    By Design Ships Borodino11:54 AM
    Freeverse Updates GameSmith to v3.39:51 AM
    JARED: Butcher of Song Updated for OS X 10.29:51 AM
    Westlake Bowls for Kids9:51 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, February 26, 2003 on one page

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