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Monday, April 21, 2003

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Vendetta 3.2 Update Released
8:56 AM | Alvaro Radigales | Comment on this story

Vendetta, the space MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) by Guild Software currently in a free testing mode, has reached a development milestone with the update to version 3.2.

While still largely incomplete, this update is the most impressive Vendetta build since the release of version 3.0, and features major gameplay changes and an expanded universe. Among others, Vendetta Central, the game's official home page, lists:

-The universe has been expanded to 13 charted sectors. Each Nation now has 2 sectors, their home sector and an outlying sector intended to become a "newbie zone". Uncharted sectors also exist (not marked on the map or the HUD), and a few more will be added. These locales may be more dangerous but potentially rewarding. NPCs may drop hints to their locations at some point down the line.

-The ships have been completely reconfigured. Each Nation has a single ship available only to that nation. All other ships are available to all nations.

-Weapons configurability has been greatly expanded. Weapons now exist either as "Small" or "Large" addons, which may be configured into "Small" or "Large" addon ports. Weapon firing group configuration allows any or all combinations of these weapons to be triggered simultaneously or grouped in a variety of ways.

Other tweaks include improved AI and the addition of new trade items.

Due to the major structure changes brought by this latest version, all player accounts were reset as soon as the update was released. All money previously owned by players disappeared, and scores were set back to zero.

Still, and as the development team themselves admit, several issues are yet to be addressed, as this update suffers from sound blackouts, unbalanced gameplay and an awkward station menu interface. These and other issues are already known by the development team and should be fixed in future updates.

Like all previous updates, Vendetta 3.2 is available for download through the Vendetta application's auto-update system.

Guild Software
Vendetta Online

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Europa Universalis II, Another War Declard Gold Master
4:15 PM | Alvaro Radigales | Comment on this story

Mac developer Virtual Programming recently updated the status of their two long-awaited projects, Europa Universalis II and Another War. Both games have reached gold master status and according to the Virtual Programming home page, will be released soon for the Macintosh platform.

Europa Universalis II is a historical empire-management game set in the Modern Ages. Through 300 years of campaign, from the discovery of America to the fall of the Ancien Régime, the player will take control of any of 90 kingdoms, managing every aspect of his rulership from the commissioning of privateers to royal marriages. Here are some of the features included in this complex strategy game:

• 90 different nations potentially player controlled. Powerful AI with human behavior controls non-player nations.

• 800+ named provinces, 550+ named sea zones and 100+ named rivers on a map covering the entire globe!

• Involve yourself in colonization, exploration, trade and infrastructure, war, religion and diplomacy against players and computer alike!

• Up to 8 players in multiplayer games over LAN or the internet!

Another War takes us to the Nazi-occupied Europe of the Second World War, where we will direct the fate of an adventurer trying to rescue his friend from the Third Reich, from the streets of a small town in France to the besieged city of Leningrad. The game is said to be inspired on the interface of classic RPG games such as Fallout or Baldur's gate, and will sport stunning graphical effects like dynamic lighting, smoke and atmospheric conditions to name a few.

Virtual Programming is known for having brought Legion and Virtual Grand Prix 2 to the Mac, and are now working on titles such as Hearts of Iron and Celtic Kings.

For more information on these and other titles, check the Virtual Programming web site through the link provided below.

Virtual Programming
Europa Universalis II
Another War
Buy Europa Universalis II
Buy Another War

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Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin Beta Patch
1:50 PM | Alvaro Radigales | Comment on this story, veteran wargame developers and publishers for the Mac platform, recently updated the public beta patch for Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, their award-winning 3D-based tactical simulation set in the infamous Eastern Front.

Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin is an extremely accurate WWII tactical simulation based on a detailed 3D engine and a revolutionary turn system. Its beautifully rendered graphics and thoroughly-researched historical data are favoured by many wargamers worldwide.

The new build addresses a few AI and feedback issues, as well as several small inaccuracies found by their strict historical research specialists, a team of notable authorities on WWII equipment and history helped by active and retired military personnel.

Here are some of the fixes included in the 1.03c public beta patch:

  • Ordnance aims better at soft targets just behind the crest of a ridge (i.e. on a reverse slope).
  • Simulate tendency of uncapped AP ammo to shatter on high-hardness Russian armor (plates of 60mm or less, generally). This reduces, for
    example, the ability of the German 37mm gun to penetrate the T-34.
  • TacAI is smarter about having a tank prioritize facing its front armor toward an enemy before opening fire on that enemy, if getting the front armor oriented is more helpful than shooting.
  • Chance of permanent immobilization after bogging is slightly lowered.
  • Very slight reduction to tungsten penetration values, and a slight increase in the TacAI willingness to use tungsten even if the weapon has a large amount of AP on hand.
Though still in beta status, the build is extremely stable and the final patch is expected to be released soon.

The patch is available for download in the's Combat Mission forums together with a complete list of the issues fixed.

CMBB 103c beta download and fix list
Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin

Finding Nemo Game to Ship in May
1:47 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

THQ announced today that they will publish a edutainment title based on the upcoming movie by Disney and Pixar, Finding Nemo. In Finding Nemo, you will take the role of several key characters and play through seven games and activities based on settings from the movie. Along the way, you will interact with characters from the film, including Bruce, Crush, and the Tank Gang. Included in the game box is also a free movie ticket to the movie, which opens on May 30.

Finding Nemo is designed for children ages 4 and older. The game requires Mac OS X, any Power Mac G3 or G4, iMac, iBook, or PowerBook with 128 MB RAM, 160 MB of free hard drive space, and QuickTime.

Finding Nemo

Apple Posts WWDC Session Schedule Grids
11:56 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Apple has posted the daily session grids for the company's upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference, which will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from June 23rd to the 27th.

The first event on Monday, June 23rd, will be a keynote address from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM., which will likely be addressed by Apple CEO Steve Jobs (although there's no confirmation yet).

There will also be dozen of sessions at this year's WWDC. Early bird registration is $1,295 through May 23. After that, the registration will be $1,595. Apple is also offering a "Getting Started" bundle that includes a WWDC ticket and an Apple Developer Connection (ADC) Select Membership. The cost is $1,695 until May 23 and $1,995 afterward.

For more information on WWDC, be sure to follow the link below.


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IMG Hands-On Preview of Dungeon Siege
11:17 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a hands-on preview of MacSoft's Dungeon Siege, based on a late beta of the game. Scheduled to ship this Friday, Dungeon Siege is a Fantasy Role-Playing game with an emphasis on combat and action. It is set in a gigantic, continuous, fully 3D world that truly extends in all directions. Players journey from secret underground lairs to towering mountains without ever stopping to watch a loading screen. Players can travel alone or assemble a party of up to eight cohorts.

To check out the preview, follow the link below. And don't forget that Dungeon Siege is available for pre-order through the IMG Store.

IMG Preview: Dungeon Siege
Westlake Interactive
Dungeon Siege
Buy Dungeon Siege

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Uplink Beta Makes Progress
8:56 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software recently mentioned on the progress log for the upcoming port of Uplink, that game has been updated to beta 5. For those who have yet to hear of the game, Uplink is a unique strategy title in which players take the role of hacker who makes money by doing hacking jobs for various organizations.

Here's some of Ambrosia's description of the game:

You use the money you earn to upgrade your computer systems, and to buy new software and tools. As your experience level increases you find more dangerous and profitable missions become available. You can speculate on a fully working stock market (and even influence its outcome). You can modify people?s academic or criminal records. You can divert money from bank transfers into your own accounts. You can even take part in the construction of the most deadly computer virus ever designed.
While the update doesn't say much more than that the game has reached beta 5, it is certainly still encouraging news for those eagerly awaiting the release of Uplink. For more information on Uplink, or for to read previous project log updates, follow the links below.

Uplink at Beta 5
Contraband Entertainment
Ambrosia Software

Sprite Animation Toolkit for OS X Reaches Alpha
8:56 AM | Alvaro Radigales | Comment on this story

After more than a year of development in carbonization, Sprite Animation Toolkit, a game programming library for the Macintosh platform, has reached first alpha status for OS X and is now available for public download.

The Sprite Animation Toolkit, commonly known as SAT, was developed by Ingemar Ragnemalm of Lysator, the Academic Computer Society of the Linköping University of Sweden.

In the late '90s, SAT became the tool of choice for many shareware developers because of its simplicity and free distribution, and it has helped the development of very popular games such as Pac the Man, Snood and even Escape Velocity. A comprehensive list of SAT-based titles can be found at the link provided below.

The carbonization of SAT does not only make a carbon developer's life easier, but also simplifies the port of old SAT-based games to Apple's OS X.

SAT Home Page at Lysator
SAT-based Games Links (list)

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Warcraft III: Frozen Throne Impressions Posted
8:56 AM | Alvaro Radigales | Comment on this story

The gaming network HomeLan Federation recently posted their impressions on the public beta test of The Frozen Throne, the upcoming expansion for Blizzard Entertainment's staggeringly popular game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

Since Blizzard started accepting beta applications two months ago, thousands of gamers have joined the internet battlefield to beat each other over the head with the wide range of new units and spells offered in the expansion that, months before its final release, already looks likely to become a blockbuster.

Here's an excerpt from the HomeLan preview:

The multiplayer elements in Warcraft III are fairly easy to check out thanks to the fairly open way Blizzard handled its beta tests but as usual, the single player elements in Frozen Throne are not a part of the beta that Blizzard is releasing to their testers. There will reportedly be two new single player campaigns in the expansion; one will be a more traditional campaign that follows up on the end of Warcraft III, but the second campaign may be the more interesting of the two. This campaign will reportedly feature more RPG like features (something which was promised for Warcraft III when it was originally announced) it will also showcase new features that will be included in the revamped mission editor for the game, including the abilities to add cut scenes and voice overs for your own single player campaigns.
Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne is expected to be released in the summer of 2003.

For more information on this expansion and HomeLan's impressions on the public beta, follow the links provided below.

Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
Frozen Throne Multiplayer Beta Impressions
Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

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Gamespy Interview on Mac Everquest
8:56 AM | Scott Turner | Comment on this story

Gamespy, in one of their occasional summaries or features on the state of Macintosh gaming, has posted an interview with Rich Lawrence of Sony Entertainment Online. He is one of the main personalities helping to bring EverQuest, the famous Massively Multiplayer Online RPG to the Mac.

Despite its age (EverQuest was first released 5 years ago), both Lawrence and Gamespy interviewer Raphael Liberatore make sure to comment on the incredible following that still exists, and the compelling gameplay experience that still awaits Mac users. From describing their porting challenges to revealing a revised in-game interface for the Mac, Lawrence dishes out the goods on this highly anticipated title.

GameSpy: Looking at the Mac, what kinds of development issues are the devs running into? Any OS X specific issues making porting difficult?

Rich Lawrence: EverQuest is a very unusual game, even for the PC side, and it has definitely produced some unique challenges to port. Because there is such a huge variety of races, armor, weapons and "looks" a character can have, EverQuest has always featured a large set of textures and geometry. All of this graphical richness consumes memory, and optimizing that memory usage, how to load it efficiently, and yet trying for the best frame possible is a big challenge. Add to that the differences in how DirectX (on the PC) and OpenGL (on the Macintosh) handle these tasks and it becomes all-the-more challenging.

EverQuest for the Mac is still set for a planned second quarter release this year, so keep checking with IMG as the title gets closer to its release date. Head on over to Gamespy to check out the rest of this interview.

Gamespy Mac EverQuest Interview
Sony Online
Buy EverQuest

Blizzard's Bill Roper on The Gamesome Mac
8:56 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

On tonight's broadcast of The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Mac gaming radio program, hosts Sean Smith and Omaha Sternberg talk about the worlds of Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft with Bill Roper of Blizzard Entertainment.

Sean and Omaha will also review Pangea Software's Enigmo and Freeverse Software's Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab, offer Mac gaming news and commentary, and take question from listeners in The Gamesome Mac's live chat room.

The Gamesome Mac can be heard live on MacRadio from 6 to 8 pm Pacific Time, 9 to 11 pm Eastern (Tuesday from 0100 to 0300 UTC), and on demand thereafter. You can tune in at The Gamesome Mac's web page, where you'll also find archives of past broadcasts. QuickTime 5 or 6 and a 28 kbps or faster Internet connection are required.

Blizzard Entertainment

Mac Games News for Friday, April 18, 2003

IMG Store: Myth III, Stronghold for $19.9511:50 AM
Aargon Deluxe Released for OS X9:45 AM
Freeverse Reveals Solace9:45 AM
Geneforge 2 Testers Needed9:45 AM
Pangea Releases Enigmo 1.0.19:45 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 18, 2003 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, April 17, 2003
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