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Wednesday, April 23, 2003

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Enigmo Custom Game Contest Announced
10:02 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Pangea Software today announced the Enigmo Custom Game Contest. Enigmo is the company's new 3D puzzle game for the Macintosh that was released just last week. One of the unique features of the game is that users can create their own levels that other people can play.

To enter the contest, contestants must submit their own Custom Game Files to Pangea Software to be judged. The person who submits the best Custom Game File will win a brand new Apple iPod.

The Enigmo Custom Game Contest will run from April 23rd to July 1st, and the winner will be chosen by officials at Pangea Software on July 4th.

A demo of Enigmo is available at our sister site, Be sure to check it out if you haven't already. And be sure to visit the official Enigmo Contest page for official rules.

Pangea Software
Enigmo Contest Rules
MGF: Enigmo 1.0.1

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IMG Reviews Enigmo
11:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Today IMG has posted a review of Pangea Software's newest puzzler hit, Enigmo. This addictive game forces players to divert streams of liquid using a variety of tools. In the review, IMG's Zack Lipowski looks at Enigmo's gameplay, graphics, and sound.

Here's a clip from the review:

Enigmo is quite abnormal when it comes to graphics. Featuring options that are reminiscent of a retail FPS, Enigmo can and will stress low-mid range machines if the effects are not toned down. This is thanks to one of the game's graphical highlights, the real-time liquid effects. Water and oil act as they should, but I can’t vouch for the lava for obvious reasons. You begin to see the simple beauty of the water after you have an elaborate contraption going, filled with water bouncing all over the place, oil zipping down a slider and lava being boosted by a laser gun. The “real-time” part comes in when you rotate an object, say a bumper, and the water will react accordingly. Therefore, if you were to madly rotate a bumper left and right, water would be sprayed all over. Very cool indeed. You can further admire the game's eye-candy with the ability to zoom in and out, or from left to right.
Check out the rest of the review for much more on Enigmo, and be sure to download the game's demo now from Macgamefiles if you haven't already.

IMG Review: Enigmo
Pangea Software
Download Enigmo Demo

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IMG Store: Pre-Order Europa Universalis II
10:05 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The IMG Store is now taking pre-orders for Virtual Programming's Europa Universalis II, which is scheduled to ship on May 1st. It's available for $24.95 for IMG Pro/MacGames CD subscribers. Non-subscribers can pick it up for $29.95.

Europa Universalis II is a historical strategy game simulating all aspects of world history from 1492 to 1792. Each player takes on the role of one of the major nations of the era, controlling diplomacy, economy, warfare, exploration and colonization. A number of unique features ensure historical accuracy, including period monarchs, military leaders, and technological gains.

Virtual Programming
Europa Universalis II
Buy Europa Universalis II

Orbz 2.0 Interview
9:39 AM | Scott Turner | Comment on this story

21-6 Productions' president Justin Mette recently gave HomeLAN an inside look at the development, production, and packaging of Orbz 2. The title features new maps, or "courses", gameplay modes, bots, and more. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

HomeLAN - What can you tell us about the new single player mode for Orbz 2.0?

Justin Mette - In the new "solo" mode of Orbz 2.0, the player completes a series of progressively difficult challenges that focus on scoring the most points in different scenarios. Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals are awarded for scoring performance and high scores for each challenge are tracked world-wide against all other Orbz players. For every 5 gold medals achieved, the player will also unlock a fancy new Orb to use in Solo or Online mode. Finally, there is a tutorial that will teach the player basics controls and scoring strategies of the game.

Under development for the Mac, PC and Linux, Orbz 2 will be $19.95 when released simultaneously for all platforms later this week, and already has a demo out for those who are unsure of how the game will play. Check out the rest of the interview at the link below, and if this game piques your interest, head on over to MacGameFiles to download the demo.

HomeLAN Orbz 2.0 Q&A
Orbz 2.0 Demo, 12mb
21-6 Productions
Garage Games

Cyan Changing Directions with Uru
9:39 AM | Scott Turner | Comment on this story

The Riven Unofficial Homepage recently reported a large shift apparently occuring with the developers and publishers of the latest Myst incarnation, Myst Online, or Uru. Originally slated to be a Massive Multiplayer Online game, there was an unusually high requirement that the developer Cyan and publisher Ubi Soft had slapped on the title; the online portion would be available to broadband users only.

The majority of people who access the internet still use dial-up however, and there is speculation that Ubi Soft felt it was not economically feasable to release a MMO game that was available to broadband users only. According to the Riven Unofficial Homepage, the game has been relabled, and here is the new summary of the game directly from Ubi Soft:

"Uru: Ages Beyond MYST: Ubi Soft's forward-looking strategy for its Myst franchise will be visible with this game, a single-player experience that can be enriched with online content."
A relief for dial-up users to be sure, this is likely to have incredible ramifications on Uru's final concept and development. Also, keep in mind that the Mac version has also not been confirmed by Cyan due to lack of funding, but keep your fingers crossed, and keep checking back with IMG as this story develops.

Visit the Unofficial Riven Homepage at the link below for more speculation over this game-wide change.

The Riven Unofficial Homepage Uru Speculation
Myst Online: Uru Live
Cyan Worlds

ATI, Nvidia Demand Outweighs Supply
9:39 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

MacUser has noted a recent article by DigiTimes regarding supply problems with both ATI and Nvidia graphics chips. Due to the high demand on their high end GPUs, including ATI's 9800 series and Nvidia's FX series, both companies have been unable to provide a matching supply.

In addition, both companies are giving more priority to OEM orders:

Sources said that with ATI shipping products first to OEM customers like IBM, NEC, Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard (HP), its more own-brand-oriented add-in board (AIB) clients, such as Gigabyte Technology, CP Technology and Info-Tek Corporation (ITC) (selling under the brand name GigaCube), are able to obtain only 50% of the chips they ordered.
In a related note, the article adds that Nvidia's ability to meet the demand seems to have customers shifting their focus to ATI, though their own supply problem may make it difficult for them to fill the gap.

MacUser - ATI, nVidia supply not meeting demand

Click to enlarge Interviews Bill Roper
9:39 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story recently caught up with Blizzard's own Bill Roper in Stockholm and managed to conduct a small interview with him. The interview focus is largely on the Warcraft III expansion The Frozen Throne, which has been undergoing large-scale beta testing for a while now.

Roper stresses early on that Blizzard pays as much attention as possible to all the comments and issues brought up by players in the beta testing forums. Feedback seems to play a large part in balancing issues, as Roper cites an example where an initial complaint regarding a balance issue may be initially disagreed upon by Blizzard, only to be addressed when players send replays of games that show the issue in action.

Roper also comments on Blizzard's aggressive stance on hacks and cheaters:

We take hacking, cheating and abuse very seriously. Not long ago we denied access to about 150.000 users. We try to figure out not only who are responsible, but also the best method for defeating it. Sometimes turning it off may not be the best solution, since this can lead to the people responsible going underground. This can consequently lead to us being unable to locate the abuse any more. These things will always happen, but we will keep looking for better ways to secure the game. After that we can take action against the troublemakers.
Also covered in the interview are the possibilities for more than one expansion per game, official competitions involving Blizzard titles, and naming conventions in World of Warcraft. - meets Bill Roper in Stockholm
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

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Shadowbane First Impressions Posted
9:39 AM | Alvaro Radigales | Comment on this story

The popular entertainment and gaming network recently posted its first impressions on Shadowbane, the highly-anticipated MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) by Wolfpack Studios.

Shadowbane offers a rich universe with which the player can interact to his heart's desire, performing actions that range from individual combat to city management. Here's a clip from the IGN article:

Grouping plays a major role in Shadowbane. When grouping, you receive a significant experience bonus. A full group of 10 members will gain an approximate 900% bonus to experience - making each kill yield nearly full experience to every group member. This results in extremely rapid leveling. For example, I went from level 1 to 14 as a total newbie, in one playing session. Of course this slows down, but even casual players can gain a level or two per playing session all the way to the soft cap of level 60. Another advantage of the grouping system is maximum size of groups. Since you can invite 10 players per group, it's extremely easy to find a group often in a matter of seconds.
Shadowbane was released by Ubi Soft on March 24 for both Mac OS X and Windows, and is available for order at the IMG Store.

Wolfpack Studios
Shadowbane First Impressions at IGN

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Minor Vendetta Test Update
9:39 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

Guild Software has released a minor update to their Massive Multiplayer Online Space Shooter/RPG, Vendetta Test. The new update had version number 3.2.1 and fixes some issues introduced with the major update to 3.2 that was released recently.

From the Vendetta page:

Bugfix and game balancing release. The "re-buying ship" crash has been fixed. The blue Valkyrie has had its hull reduced from 18000 to 12000. The railgun now requires 200 energy per shot. Upper docking bays on the Nation stations fixed. Wireframe mode disabled. Cargo prices have been tweaked, the lower-value items are now more profitable on short distance trading runs. The NPC ships have been improved, with 3 levels of difficulty now appearing throughout the universe. NPC bounties are now more worthwhile. Some NPC ships are limited to particular regions in certain sectors (such as Nation sectors, for newbie hunting purposes). Other sectors are now much more dangerous. Server-side load has been reduced and further optimized. Some other minor fixes and changes.
To download the update, just start up Vendetta and the built-in updater does the rest. If you haven't updated to 3.2 yet, the auto-updater will do this as well. To get more information about the latest updates of Vendetta, head over to the Vendetta site.

Guild Software
Vendetta Online

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Apple Boosts iBook Lineup
9:39 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday Apple quietly upgraded their popular line of consumer-level iBook computers, making them even more enticing for gamers on the go. The new computers feature 800MHz and 900MHz G3 processors, while still starting at under $1000.

The new iBooks also herald the coming of a revamped Apple online store, so be sure to give their new retail web presense a look. Here are the three new standard model configurations available for the iBook line:

12.1" Screen
800MHz PowerPC G3
512K L2 cache @800MHz
128MB SDRAM memory
30GB Ultra ATA drive
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500
32MB DDR video memory

12.1" Screen
900MHz PowerPC G3
512K L2 cache @900MHz
128MB SDRAM memory
40GB Ultra ATA drive
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500
32MB DDR video memory
Combo Drive

14.1" Screen
900MHz PowerPC G3
512K L2 cache @900MHz
256MB SDRAM memory
40GB Ultra ATA drive
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500
32MB DDR video memory
Combo Drive

Gamers should be pleased with the 32MB of memory on the Radeon 7500 chip, but do note that like all portables, this isn't upgradable feature. The new line can also now be configured build-to-order (BTO) with a 60GB hard drive and 640MB of system RAM.

Apple iBook
Apple Store

Mac Games News for Tuesday, April 22, 2003

GarageGames Releases Orbz 2.03:21 PM
Bubble Trouble X 1.0.1 Released3:15 PM
IMG Previews ThinkTanks11:26 AM
New Master of Orion III Data Patch Released11:02 AM
Aspyr Project Updates9:06 AM
Black Shades Coming to OS X9:06 AM
Hyperion to Bring Midnight Racing to Mac9:06 AM
Redline Status Check9:06 AM
ThinkTanks Q&A9:06 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, April 22, 2003 on one page

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