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Thursday, May 22, 2003

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Feral Updates Championship Manager 4
6:30 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

British Mac publisher Feral Interactive just released an update to their highly-rated soccer management simulator Championship Manager 4.

Weighing at forty megs, the file, officially labeled Enhancement Pack 3, updates the program to version 4.0.5. The update, described by the publishers as an "Essential download for CM4 users", adds a number of enhancements and refinements to the game. The update includes all language packs.

The publishers note that fan-created third party skins will not work on the tactics screen once the Ehancement Pack 3 has been installed.

Click on the links below to grab yourself a copy of the update.

Feral Interactive

IMG Reviews Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
1:14 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of Aspyr's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets manages to be both a good computer game and worthy addition to the Harry Potter franchise. It is suitable for a wide range of ages, and the developers clearly were trying to improve on the first, already-successful Harry Potter game.

Here's a clip from the review:

Harry Potter 2 is a third-person adventure, distantly related to the Tomb Raider series. The player moves Harry Potter in, around, and under the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, casting spells and solving puzzles. It is intended to be enjoyed by casual gamers, including children, so the game is not overly difficult. As a grown-up gamer I found the game fairly relaxing and enjoyable, with a few difficult bits toward the end. It is quite replayable, with many secrets and optional goals to pursue.
To check out the rest of the review, follow the link below.

IMG Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Buy Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

WWDC Early Registration Ends Tomorrow
1:02 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Early Bird Registration for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2003 comes to an end tomorrow. Early Bird Registration is $1,295 through May 23. After that day, it will be $1,595. The developers conference will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, June 23-27 and will include a complete preview release of "Panther," the next major overhaul of Mac OS X.

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.


Free Child's Movie Pass Inside 'Finding Nemo' Game
12:57 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

With the upcoming release of the Disney/Pixar motion picture Finding Nemo, now is a great time to buy the Finding Nemo game for your Mac. For a limited time, when you buy the Finding Nemo game, you'll receive a FREE child's movie pass to see Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo movie.

Here's more about the game:

The Academy Award-winning creators of Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Monsters, Inc. take the art and technology of computer animation to a whole new level in a stunning underwater adventure with memorable characters, humor, and heartfelt emotion.
Complete details available on Apple's Macintosh Products Guide homepage.

Apple's Macintosh Products Guide

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World of Warcraft Mac/PC To Ship Simultaneously
12:41 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Blizzard recently updated their World of Warcraft FAQ section with some new information regarding the Mac version. According to the FAQ, the game is being developed simultaneously for the PC and Mac and will ship simultaneously, just like Warcraft III.

For what platforms will the game be available?

The game will be available on PCs and the Macs. We are developing both versions simultaneously and will be shipping them at the same time, as with our other recent games.

In other news, forum readers have been asking if there will be a public beta of World of Warcraft Mac. A Blizzard representative chimed in to say it was too early to be asking questions about beta testing.

World of Warcraft for the Mac was announced at last week's E3. We'll be sure to keep you posted on any further developments.

Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft FAQ
World of Warcraft Forum
Buy World of Warcraft

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Heroes of Might and Magic IV Interview
12:21 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

Celestial Heavens, a Heroes of Might and Magic fan site, recently got a chance to interview former New World Computing programmer Gus Smedstad. The interview goes into his work in the Heroes series, as well as info on his current endeavors. The interview also serves to explain some of the problems that occurred in the development of Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
Here's a snippet:

CH: The main problem with Heroes IV is definitely the erratic behavior of the computer player on the adventure map. What happened there exactly? Why does the AI have some success on the battlefield (despite various changes with spells, range combat, special abilities and damage calculation), but keep making major blunders on the adventure map?

GS: The adventure AI is a touchy subject. We were under enormous time pressure with Heroes IV, and really the game was released 3, maybe 6 months before it was really done. As a result, I delegated some programming tasks that I probably should not have.

I did write the battlefield AI, which is why it has a substantially similar feel to the Heroes III battlefield AI. The programmer who did the adventure AI was an excellent programmer, but didn't have that much experience with AI or the Heroes series, and didn't get the polish time he needed to bring it up to the level of the Heroes III adventure AI.

CH: If one thing could have made HoMM IV a better game, what would that be?

GS: From a design standpoint, the single best thing I could have done to improve Heroes IV would have been to keep the "unconscious" state for heroes. The idea was that heroes on the winning side of a battle who fell in combat weren't dead, they were just badly hurt. Because we dropped the idea, we opened all sorts of unpleasant loopholes in scenario victory and defeat conditions which relied on hero deaths. The "potion of immortality" was a last minute stopgap to try and fix half the problem, the defeat conditions, but we really should have gone back to the original model.

To read the full interview, head over to Celestial Heavens, linked below. If you'd like to pick up some of Smedstad's work yourself, you can head over to the IMG Store and pick up a copy of HOMMIV.

Heroes of Might and Magic IV Interview
Contraband Entertainment
Heroes of Might & Magic IV
Buy Heroes of Might & Magic IV

IMG Launches Matrix Theme
12:18 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has launched a cool new Matrix-based theme. The new theme is part of IMG Pro, a subscriber version of the Inside Mac Games web site that allows users turn off ads, select different themes, customize the home page, get discounts on new games and more.

Since we think the new theme is so cool (although I'm sure some of you may not like it), we've decided to let all IMG readers check out the new theme. It'll be the default theme for about one week. After that, the regular default theme will return and the Matrix theme will be available only for IMG Pro subscribers.

If you're interested in learning more about IMG Pro, be sure to follow the link below. Subscriptions to IMG Pro are just $19.95 per year. Current MacGames CD subscribers can get it for just $14.95.

The crew at IMG would like to give a big thanks to Chris McVeigh for creating the new theme.

Inside Mac Games

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Gamasutra Posts Peter Molyneux Video
6:49 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

PC Gaming resource site Gamasutra has recently posted a speech by Lionhead Studio's legendary game designer Peter Molyneux.

In this 65-minute video, one of the keynote addresses from the 2000 Game Developers Conference, Peter talks the audience through his company's ambition to produce the ground-breaking god sim game Black & White, a game that was "innovative in every way".

In this session, Molyneux talks about the design processes needed to fulfill these ambitions and illustrates them with examples of Black & White in every stage of its development, from the test bed right through to near completion.
The keynote, replete with still images, 3D technology demos and amusing video clips from the TV series The Outer Limits, offers viewers a unique insight into the mind of the celebrated designer. Budding game designers will be especially pleased with the knowledge and experience Peter shares about the game designing process.

The video, which can be accessed through the Gamasutra website (free subscription required), requires the Realvideo player. Technical note: the first few minutes of the streaming video were recorded at extremely low volume. The audio levels improve at the three minute mark.

Gamasutra: Peter Molyneux Black & White Keynote Address
Black & White
Black & White: Creature Isle
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios

Slope Rider Updated
6:34 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Monte Boyd Interactive's shareware title Slope Rider has recently received an update. The version bump, which brings Slope Rider to 1.04, addresses a minor bug concerning gamers with Quicktime 6.1 installed. As quoted from the fix list:

Fixes a bug which would sometimes fill a best score name with gibberish and fixes bugs for users with Quicktime 6.1 installed.
Slope Rider is a snowboarding game that features combo trick possibilities, 10 courses, and an editor that allows the creation of custom courses. Both the update and a free demo can be found at MacGameFiles.

Slope Rider 1.04
Monte Boyd Interactive

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Master of Orion III Patch Screens Posted
6:30 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A member of the Atari -former Infogrames- forum nicknamed torwes recently posted a wealth of screenshots that appear to be from an upcoming patch for Master of Orion III. The screenshots show everything from Point Defense in action to UI improvements, with some posters commenting on the new "clear queues" functionality:

What the Clear Queued button does? Did you read the nice, little help-text pop-up I also captured on the same screenshot?

To rephrase; any ship/starbase which construction has not yet started (been given some level of cash), will be removed from the Military Build Queues. Any half-finished ships will be completed.
Released earlier this year for the Mac, MOO3, which challenges players to make intergalactic conquests, has been well-received by the general community, though it has been referred to by some as a "could have been" title. The upcoming patch seems to be addressing a good amount of player feedback, as evidenced by the positive comments left in the forum thread. Those interested in the screenshots and discussion can find them at Atari's forums.

Atari Forums - Post codepatch screenies released
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

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World of Warcraft Hands-on Impressions
6:30 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Mac users interested in more information on Blizzard's upcoming MMORPG World of Warcraft may want to take a look at a recent piece done by Stratics Central. The preview, which gleans its information from both a hands-on demo and an interview at the recent E3 show, provides some juicy details that should be of interest to most players.

One of the discussions revolves around level caps and skill progression. Though level caps have yet to be decided on, Blizzard noted that not only are skill points acquired through practice, but that skill caps will most likely be level based. An example used is that a level 5 Orc may have a skill cap of 70 points in sword use, but that the cap could rise to 80 once the Orc reached a higher level. Blizzard intends to use this functionality to keep players from maxing out their characters too early.

Another interesting facet is the idea of rituals, which involve group spellcasting:

Rituals allow multiple players to cast spells together. How they work currently, although this may be changed, is a ritual is made up of a number of scrolls, for this example three. Then three players take a scroll each and have to cast them in order. So player one casts part one, then using the visual stimulus, player two casts part two, and then player three does his part. As each player casts their part of the ritual the spell changes accordingly. Also, players two and three can't cast their part of the ritual until the previous part is cast.
World of Warcraft, which takes its lore from Blizzard's popular RTS series Warcraft, was recently announced for the Mac. Though a solid release date is yet to be confirmed, Blizzard does expect to begin beta testing sometime in the third quarter of the current year.

Stratics Central - View From E3: World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Black and White 2 Preview at GamersEurope3:33 PM
Europa Universalis II Shipping from MacPlay3:19 PM
Diablo II Patch Interview Posted1:18 PM
First State Law Restricting Game Sales Passes1:18 PM
Frostbite Mod for Ghost Recon Released1:15 PM
Apple Looks At Unreal Tournament 20039:06 AM
UT2K3 Mod Jungle Warfare Mac Bound9:06 AM
Westlake Unveils New Secret Project9:06 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 21, 2003 on one page

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