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Monday, March 10, 2003

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Virtual Grand Prix 2, Player Manager Demo
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

AlasSoft has recently updated the demo for their upcoming title Virtual Grand Prix 2 to version 1.1. The update includes full OS X compatibility and force-feedback support under OS X 10.2.3 or higher.

Virtual Grand Prix 2 is a racing title currently slated for publishing by Virtual Programming. It includes an OpenGL-based 3D engine, an advanced car dynamics model, and network support, as well as approval by real open-wheeled car racers.

In related news, VP has also released a demo for Player Manager 2003. The title is a football (soccer) management game that takes into account personality statistics as well as physical attributes of individual players:

The personality stats have a very visible effect on the performance of each player as you WATCH the action on the pitch. For example, you can see that a player, though he has excellent stats, tries to get rid of the ball as soon as he can. It is time for you to take ACTION. He is being hasseled by an agile opposition player, can be one of many reasons. He probably needs more support.
Both demos are currently available at MacGameFiles. The demos are also available for IMG Pro users through their Hot Downloads page, linked below.

Virtual Grand Prix 2
MGF - Virtual Grand Prix 2 Demo
MGF - Player Manager 2003 Demo
IMG Pro: Hot Downloads

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IMG Store: SimCity 4 Available for Pre-Order
1:05 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

SimCity 4, the latest game in the classic city-building series of games, is now available for Pre-Order from the IMG Store. SimCity 4 boasts a number of new features over the previous games in the series, including a brand new graphical-engine.

Here's a list of the new features:

  • Sculpt mountains, gouge valleys, seed forests, and bring forth animals to create a world all your own.
  • Summon volcanoes, release tornados, and call down meteors and lightning.
  • Build a world-class city with stadiums, airports, universities, and real-world landmarks.
  • Deploy emergency vehicles and join in the action as they battle blazes, mobs, and more.
  • Place your Sims in your city to get the inside scoop on what's going on around town.
  • Connect a massive region of SimCities, each sharing and competing for resources
  • The System Requirements are:
  • Mac OS X, version 10.2 or later
  • Power Mac G3/G4, iMac G4/eMac, PowerBook G4 (DVI model or better), iBook (32MB VRAM model only)
  • Processor speed 500 MHz or faster
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 1 GB of free hard disk space available
  • Hardware 3D acceleration required: ATI Radeon or NVidia GeForce card (32 MB VRAM or better)
  • To pre-order SimCity 4 for $48.99 (or $43.99 for IMG CD/Pro subscribers), Follow the provided link below.

    Aspyr Media
    Buy SimCity 4

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    IMG Posts SimsMania Feature
    1:03 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    Our latest IMG feature is a look at the phenomenon of The Sims. Entitled SimsMania, the article takes a look at the game and its expansions along with taking a look at the future of the series.

    Here's a preview:

    Like all great inventions, they thought it would never work, but Electronic Arts released it anyway, considering it more of a favor to its creator than a serious contender on the PC gaming scene. Two years later, Will Wright's The Sims is the best-selling computer game of all time, inspiring five subsequent expansion packs (a sixth one has just been announced for the PC), a user community of unprecedented scale and an online version of the game. This powerhouse franchise was brought to the Mac starting in July of 2000 thanks to the collective talents of Westlake Interactive and Aspyr Media, Inc.

    Like many other Will Wright creations, in theory The Sims is exactly the type of game no one should want to play, and in practice it is fiendishly addictive. At first glance, The Sims looks like a game of deceptive ease. The Sims, those marvelous little embodiments of human needs (eight in all, called "motives"), are guided (or not) throughout their environment by the player by way of interacting with their living space, the objects within that space and other Sims. Although gameplay is extremely open-ended (and various acts of sadism are curiously easy to perform), the general object of the game is to keep Sims happy enough to get by and advance in their social lives and careers. The challenge lies in finding enough in-game time to keep every Sim contented enough to function and the house running smoothly. Each subsequent expansion pack has features that both help and hinder Sim self-fulfillment, but this basic premise remains the same throughout the series.

    To read the full article, follow the link below.

    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    The Sims
    Buy The Sims

    Sorcery PDA Coming To Mac OS X
    8:21 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

    Sorcrey PDA, an RPG originally released for Pocket PC devices is making its way to both Windows and Mac OS X. Seen from a first person perspective, the game boosts promising features for players who like a good adventure:

    Sorcery is a new turn-based role playing adventure game. With a powerful interactive storyline, you make the decisions that control the adventure--unfolding the mystery--while solving the puzzles of the Orb of Power. In beautiful color graphic realism Part I Falcon's Quest contains 14 modules and over 30 quests and more than 60 hours of game play.
    Since the game is originally designed for Pocket PC devices, the requirements are pretty low:
  • Mac OS X
  • G3 or G4 300 MHz or greater
  • 190MB disk space
  • 64MB RAM
  • CD-ROM
  • There is no release date set yet for the Mac OS X version, but you can pre-order the game from the official site. If you want more information and see some screenshots as well as a trailer, follow the link below.

    Sorcery PDA

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    Freecraft Updated
    7:49 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    Freecraft, an open-source real-tome strategy game which allows you to use the data files from games such as Warcraft 2, recently received an update. For those who have not heard of Freecraft, here's the team's official description:

    FreeCraft is a free cross-platform real-time strategy gaming engine. It is possible to play against human opponents over LAN, Internet, or against the computer. The engine can be used to build C&C, WC2, SC and AOE-like real-time strategy (RTS) games. It successfully runs under Linux, BSD, BeOS, MacOS/X, MacOS/Darwin and MS Windows.
    The latest update(ver 1.18pre2) contains the following fixes:
  • Bug fixes since 1.18pre1:
  • Many saved game fixes
  • A number of obscure crashes were fixed
  • For more information on Freecraft, or to download the latest version, follow the link provided below. To run Freecraft you'll need either an Original Warcraft 2 cd, or you'll need to download the free media files provided by the Freecraft team.


    New ATI Graphics Cards for PC
    6:00 AM | Zack Lipowski | Comment on this story

    ATI Technologies recently unveiled three new Radeon video cards coming to the PC. At the top of the performace peak is the Radeon 9800 Pro, followed by the Radeon 9600. For the mainstream market there is the cost-effective Radeon 9200. Following ATI's press release, Gateway, Fujitsu Siemens, and NEC unveiled their respective desktop systems that would be powered by these next-generation video cards. Here's an overview of the 3 cards:

    RADEON 9800
    Targeting the ultra-high-end/enthusiast segment, the RADEON 9800 products deliver unequaled performance, features, image quality and stability, which are the key criteria for hardcore gamers everywhere. A 256-bit memory interface and eight powerful pixel pipelines provide the brute force and finesse to deliver real-time, Hollywood-caliber graphics – even for the most demanding next-generation games – and sets it apart from anything on the market. Programmable shader engines, full speed, full floating-point precision and support for the latest Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 and OpenGL® feature sets ensure games look great even at breakneck speeds. RADEON 9800 products illustrate an important point – you don’t have to sacrifice performance for image quality.

    RADEON 9600
    Delivering the best product in the enthusiast segment is also crucial to winning mind share in the performance and mainstream segments, which represent large portions of the graphics hardware market. The RADEON 9600 series brings cinematic realism and unprecedented power to the performance segment, where customers are looking for the most advanced features and performance, at a more affordable price. Driven by its full floating point architecture featuring quad pixel pipes and dual vertex engines, the RADEON 9600 series of visual processors deliver amazing performance, full support for the latest Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 and OpenGL® feature sets and advanced anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering technologies. The first of ATI’s products to be developed using an advanced 130 nanometer production process, the RADEON 9600 products offer an excellent entertainment value.

    RADEON 9200
    Powered by an advanced quad-pipe rendering architecture, the RADEON 9200 series delivers a dazzling visual experience with the highest performance in its class. With a full suite of performance and image quality-enhancing technologies including full support for the AGP 8X and Microsoft® DirectX® 8.1 standards, and streaming video de-blocking capabilities, features unique in this segment, RADEON 9200-based products deliver sharp, clear graphics and video imagery. RADEON 9200 products offer an unbeatable value, with prices right for the most price-conscious consumer.

    In the press release ATI did not specify if these Radeons were coming to Mac, nor the precise release date. Apple's newest PowerMac towers are shipping with the previous generation of Radeon 9700 cards, and ATI is expected to make a retail version of these available soon as well.

    ATI Radeon Press Release

    NVIDIA Unveils New GeForce FX Cards
    6:00 AM | Zack Lipowski | Comment on this story

    NVIDIA recently unveiled two new PC video cards, the GeForce FX 5600 aimed at the mainstream market and the GeForce 5200 for the more "value" customer. Both of these cards are the first DirectX 9.0 "Cinematic GPUs" made available, and both are supported by NVIDIA's Unified Driver Architecture. Unlike the GeForce FX 5800, these cards are meant for budget-minded consumers. The GeForce FX 5200 is aimed to be priced at $79, the GeForce FX 5600's price has not been made public at this time. Here's an overview of the two cards:

    The GeForce FX 5600 GPU-Delivering cinematic graphics for the mainstream market, the GeForce FX 5600 GPU incorporates the full GeForce FX feature set, including Intellisample 2.0 for stunning quality enthusiast gaming. The GeForce FX 5600 GPUs deliver 30% more performance at half the price of the GeForce4 Ti 4600.

    The GeForce FX 5200 GPU-The industry's first value DirectX 9.0-class GPU, the GeForce FX 5200 GPU delivers GeForce FX cinematic computing and market-leading performance with best-in-class features and reliability for as low as $79 USD MSRP.

    A specific date was not given, but NVIDIA stated that the video cards would be released 100 days after the release of the new DirectX 9.0 API. The announcement did not state whether either card would come to the Mac, but NVIDIA is expected to release a follow-up report with more detail about the new GeForce lineup soon.

    NVIDIA Press Release

    Master of Orion III Postmortem
    6:00 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

    Gamespy has posted an interview with Rantz Hoseley and Cory Nelson of Quicksilver Software, looking back at their work (as art director and producer, repectively) on the turn-based strategy game Master of Orion III. They discuss what went right and what went wrong during the development of the game. Among the things that went right with the project was that Infogrames, publisher for the PC version, didn't force the game out. From the article:

    Another aspect that went right stemmed from something that went wrong. "There were some game play and design issues we needed to solve about three-quarters of the way through the project," Nelson said. "Infogrames let us push the date out to rip out what was wrong and correct it."

    "Some publishers would have said 'just ship it,' but Infogrames let us work on the project to make it as tight as humanly possible," Hoseley said. "They were willing to forego Christmas sales to let us do that. We were flabbergasted."

    Master of Orion III will be released for the Mac on March 19th, published by MacSoft. If you want the game, IMG store is taking pre-prders for it, and you can also check out our preview of the game for more information.

    Master of Orion III Postmortem at GameSpy
    Quicksilver Software
    Master of Orion III
    IMG Preview: Master of Orion III
    Buy Master of Orion III

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    Deus Ex: Invisible War Impressions
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Gaming site HomeLan, which attended the recent Game Developer's Conference in San Jose, got the chance to see a recent build of the upcoming title Deus Ex: Invisible War in action. The sequel to the critically acclaimed Deus Ex, DX:IW takes place 15 years after the original and features both old and new characters.

    Some of the new features HomeLan witnessed include new methods of infiltration, including using a device to dissolve glass. They also make special note of the new sound engine, which makes use of physics to make audio cues particularly impressive:

    Simply put, you can pick up any object in the game and not only can you throw them around you can hear a realistic sound coming as they interact with things like walls, floors and other objects. We saw metal barrels being flung down a metal ladder and we could hear the barrel scraping the sides of the metal ladder as it proceeded down.
    Those interested in the rest of the impressions can find them at HomeLan's website. While we don't have word yet on the possibility of a Mac release for this title, rest assured we're keeping our eyes open for any confirmation.

    HomeLan - GDC 2003: Deux Ex: Invisible War Impressions
    Ion Storm
    Deus Ex 2: Invisible War

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    World War II Online Q&A
    6:00 AM | Scott Turner | Comment on this story

    Closing in on its second year since release and continued development, Cornered Rat Software's Massive Multiplayer game World War II Online continues to grow in the sophistication of the game mechanics, enlargement of the player base, and recognition as a one-of-a-kind simulation. HomeLAN has taken some time to sit down with notorious WWIIOnline figure Rodney Hodge (aka "Hatch") and get the lowdown on what CRS' PR man thinks of the progress that's been made on WWIIOnline over these past two years.

    HomeLAN - What's been some of the most surprising things that Cornered Rat and Playnet have encountered since the launch of the game?

    Rodney Hodge - This might be a long one... We have learned so much in so many areas regarding this production, its a little hard to figure out where to start. On the technical side of things, we have learned better ways to improve the games graphics and audio, as well as the upgrading process while continuing to improve performance. On a gameplay side of things we have distinguished and implemented new paradigms in so many areas. The way towns are captured, the way you control the forward bases, the way you mass forces for a successful attack, the way men and vehicles are deployed and attrited, the in game communications making it easier to talk to everyone working on the same target from different launch facilities, etc. This list goes on and on...

    Check out the full Q&A at the link below for more on Rodney's ideas about where WWIIOnline stands, and where it's going to run from here.

    HomeLAN Q&A
    World War II Online
    Cornered Rat Software
    Strategy First

    No One Lives Forever 2 Future Plans
    6:00 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

    Gamespy recently post an article looking at the future of the hit comedy first person shooter, No One Lives Forever 2. As some people may know, the multiplayer element of the title was vastly changed from the original, featuring only a single co-operative mode. Gamespy's article gives details on a multiplayer patch that will be released for the game, featuring more competitive gameplay modes and new maps, along with confirming a planned expansion.

    Here's a preview of the article:

    The 'first big release' (as Monolith put it) is a huge NOLF2 multiplayer patch which will be released within a week or two, adding deathmatch, team deathmatch, and a new gameplay mode called Doomsday. The patch should contain over 10 maps, many based on NOLF2 single-player levels (including Siberia, Japan, and Khios), but including large pieces of original architecture as well.

    In many ways, the Doomsday modification shares some similarities with games like Capture the Flag: there are three parts of a 'doomsday device,' and if your team can collect all three pieces and bring them back to their base, they win the level. In keeping with NOLF2's often lighthearted tone, the other team is annihilated in entertaining fashion, with an electrical pulse quickly rippling from the device across the entire level, eventually killing all the enemies in its path. We had a chance to playtest the mod for about an hour, and it was amusing to see enemies scramble around and try to hide once the device was set off (even though there's really no way to avoid destruction at that point).
    To read the full article, follow the link provided below. NOLF2 is currently being ported to the Mac, although there is no word specifically if the Mac version will contain the new multiplayer patch.

    NOLF2 Future Plans
    No One Lives Forever 2
    Buy No One Lives Forever 2

    Mac Games News for Friday, March 7, 2003

    March Madness Sale: MacGames DVD for $148:15 PM
    NASCAR Racing 2002 Updated To v1.0.18:10 PM
    New Myth II Carbon Beta Released; Myth III Update7:56 PM
    Custer's Desktops: The Sims: Vacation11:52 AM
    Mac EverQuest Public Beta Test Opens8:09 AM
    Aspyr Releases Ghost Recon 1.02 Beta Update6:00 AM
    CrossCards Receives Update6:00 AM
    pop-pop Tournament Mailing List Established6:00 AM
    SimCity 4 Q&A with Joseph Knight6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, March 7, 2003 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

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    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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