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Thursday, July 3, 2003

New Westlake Project: Booty Call
7:41 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Macintosh porting powerhouse Westlake Interactive quietly updated their Project Status website on Canada Day with news of several of the titles working their way through the facility.

As reported previously in IMG, Westlake's port of Sony Online Entertainment's Everquest has been completed; the game is now available on store shelves and through the IMG Store. More recently, Westlake's conversion of Zoo Tycoon has been completed; according to Aspyr Media's June monthletter, the zoo simulator is currently in duplication and is expected to be making its way through retail channels shortly. Readers can pre-order the game through the IMG Store by clicking on the links below.

And finally, way at the bottom of Westlake's project list, a new OS X-only title, code-named Booty Call, has made its apperance. The game is currently listed as being in Early Development, with low level foundation code being ported over to the platform, and getting graphics routines to throw something up on the screen.

Speculation about the real name of the title is sure to start running wild; check out the IMG Forums if you think you have an idea what the title will turn out to be. And, of course, stay tuned to IMG for further news on this new project as it becomes available.

Westlake Interactive
Booty Call Speculation Forum Thread

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Aspyr Posts Zoo Tycoon Trailer
5:06 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Aspyr has released a QuickTime trailer of Zoo Tycoon. In Zoo Tycoon, you'll be challenged to build the most healthy and vibrant zoo possible. With an easy to learn interface, you can begin planning your strategy and building your ultimate zoo the moment you start the game. Which is a good thing since you'll need to build, manage, and maintain a zoo with over 200 animals, exhibits, and zoo materials. Plan wisely, because your success depends on your ability to keep the animals happy!

To download the 11.5 MB trailer, head over to

Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Zoo Tycoon
MGF: Zoo Tycoon Trailer
Buy Zoo Tycoon

OWC Lowers Price on 1.4 Ghz Processor Upgrades
4:36 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Other World Computing has lowered their price on the company's own Mercury Extreme G4/1.4-1.467 Ghz processor upgrade to $589.99. That's $30 lower than the previous price.

The card comes with 2MB DDR L3 Cache and works in the PowerMac G4 AGP Graphics(Sawtooth), Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, & QuickSilver Power Macs. OWC offers a 3yr warranty and a 30 Day 100% Money-Back Guarantee. Shipping is free.

For more information, head over to the OWC web site linked below.

OWC: Mercury Extreme CPU Upgrades

IMG Interviews ATI at WWDC 2003
3:19 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

ATI had a major presence at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference last week. Not only did the Radeon 9600 Pro and Radeon 9800 Pro make their debut, they were used in demos and display machines throughout the show floor. Several members of the Mac development team were also present, gathering feedback and bug reports from other developers. Chris Bentley and Bruno Fernandes took a breather to answer IMG's questions about this year's WWDC, Panther, the Power Mac G5, and their new graphics cards. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

IMG: What does the ATI Mac team hope to accomplish at WWDC?

Chris Bentley: Well, my main reason is to meet with developers. We talk with these guys all year long, so it's nice to get some time to just hang out with the guys from Westlake, Omni, Blizzard, Coderus (MacDX), Feral etc, etc. The same is true for the people we work with at Apple. We've also spent some time back at the hotel room working with developers on fixing some bugs. And then there are the sessions: we've been going to all the graphics sessions, partly to check that the demos are running well on our hardware :-) Finally, on Friday we're demo'ing and presenting on our "Sushi 2.0" demos in the "Cutting Edge Graphics" session.

Read the rest of the interview to find out more about ATI's cutting edge hardware.

Interview: ATI at WWDC 2003

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Bungie Gives Status on Halo PC
12:26 PM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

The Halo section at has released a new development log for the soon to be released PC version of the hit Xbox shooter. The log covers many topics, including what's happening now, what's already happened, and what will happen in the coming weeks. Here's an excerpt from the article:

On the design side, you’ve seen it with Timberland – our new environments show an understanding of what game play elements are making the Halo multiplayer experience the insane fun it is. And it’s been our focus: create compelling environments that amplify these elements. For those who played the game at E3, think about all the opportunities to show off your driving skills, think about all the cool snipping spots or how well team-based game play will work on Timberland. We’ve been applying that same thought process and refinements to the other new multiplayer maps and they are coming along quite nicely.
Want more? Check out the development log for further details, and keep a look out for Halo for Mac later this year.

Halo PC Update
Halo: Combat Evolved

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Halo PC Interview at GameZone
11:56 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story recently got the chance to sit down with Randy Pitchford, President and Executive Producer of Gearbox Software and Michel Bastien, Producer at Bungie Studios to talk about the process of porting the hit Xbox title Halo, to the PC. In the exclusive interview, Bastien and Pitchford discuss some of the exciting new features Halo for PC will offer, as well as more universal topics, such as the game's advanced physics engine. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Question: Halo was one of the stunning debut titles of the Xbox. Now here we are more than a year later and the title is being ported to the PC. What differences will players see in this new incarnation?

Randy: "There are some obvious differences – such as super high resolution graphics that simply aren’t possible on your television, or being able to play the game on the internet using your mouse and keyboard and of course new MP maps, vehicles and weapons. Then there are some not-so-obvious differences – things where we’ve done a huge amount of work behind the scenes to make sure the experience is as high quality as possible on the personal computer."

For more, be sure to read the interview. Halo for PC is slated for release later this summer, the Mac version trailing close behind.

Halo Moves From the Xbox to the PC Interview
Halo: Combat Evolved

Click to enlarge Posts Diablo II 1.10 Info, Screenshots
11:46 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story has posted new information, including screenshots, of the upcoming 1.10 patch to Diablo II. The article revolves around the patch's thorough revision of character-related skills, including new mana costs, attack strengths, and more. Here's the article:

Many of the skills for each character class have been thoroughly revised. For example, the Paladin's Zeal gets an increasing damage bonus after level 5 and a synergy from Sacrifice. Holy Shock now has improved damage and an elemental damage synergy from both Resist Lightning and Salvation. The new Holy Bolt now heals more life, costs even less mana, and deals more damage to Undead, bypassing their resistances. In addition, synergies from Prayer, Blessed Hammer, and Fist of Heavens add even more to Holy Bolt's effectiveness.
For more information, including the two new screenshots, check out the links below. While Diablo II 1.10 has no announced release date, Blizzard ensures that it will be released as soon as possible.

Skill Rebalancing in Diablo II 1.10 (with Screenshots)
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

Contraband Posts Video Clip From Upcoming Title
11:46 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Game developer Contraband Entertainment has posted a quick 7 second video clip of a new, currently unannounced game they are working on. The clip illustrates a skeletal figure in armor holding a weapon of sorts, doing its best WWE impression towards the camera.

To see the clip for yourself, check out the official news article. One bit of warning: the movie is in .avi format and you may have problem viewing it in the QuickTime player. We'll keep you up to date on any new information regarding the title.

In-game Snippet From Upcoming Title
Contraband Entertainment

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Elixir Posts Republic Screenshots
10:11 AM | Alvaro Radigales | Comment on this story

British developer Elixir Studios recently updated their web site disclosing new screenshots of their long-awaited title Republic: The Revolution, a political uprising simulator based on an unprecedented engine and a ground-breaking concept.

In Republic, the player musts use whatever means are available to overthrow the rulership of dictator Karasov in the fictional, formerly-soviet republic of Novistrana. Such means range from the most cunning diplomatic moves to the lowliest mob hits, and all develop in an immersive and detailed three-dimensional environment.

The new screenshots offer stunning views of the latest characters, vehicles and props the final game will feature, and can be accessed through the link provided below. Fore more information on this upcoming political thriller, be sure to check the Republic official web site, to which a link is also provided.

A Mac version of Republic: The Revolution was announced by Feral Interactive on February 24 and is in development, though no solid release date has been revealed.

Feral Interactive
Republic: The Revolution
Republic: The Revolution Screenshots
Buy Republic: The Revolution

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America's Army for Mac Status Update
9:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A recent news post to the America's Army site gives a brief update on the status of the upcoming Mac version of this freeware shooter based on the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine. The game is getting very close to completion, and the post notes that version 1.7 should be available for Mac users later this month. Here's the full post:

This month, Mac gamers will be able to join the ranks of over 1.7 million registered players of America’s Army. This Mac release of America’s Army version 1.7 will be available for download via the Akamai premium download site hyperlink on our downloads page. Keep an eye out for a ‘Mac attack’ on America’s Army later this month.
Stay tuned for more info on the title from IMG as it nears release.

America's Army: Special Forces 2.4

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Activision Sues Viacom, Ends Star Trek License
7:41 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

In an interesting move in the high-tech entertainment biz, game publishing stalwart Activision has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against entertainment giant Viacom over their highly-popular Star Trek franchise.

In a complaint filed in the Superior Court of the State of California Monday, Activision has accused Viacom of breaching its fundamental promise to continue exploiting the Star Trek franchise consistent with its practice at the time the licensing agreement was signed in 1998. By letting the franchise "stagnate", Activision claims, Viacom has "significantly diminished the value of Star Trek licensing rights including the rights received by Activision".

Seeking to recover damages it claims to have suffered, as well as lost future revenue, Activision has terminated the license in the fifth year of the ten-year licensing agreement with Viacom. From Activision's court filings:

"Activision cannot successfully develop and sell Star Trek video games without the product exploitation and support promised by Viacom. A continuing pipeline of movie and television production, and related marketing, is absolutely crucial to the success of video games based on a property such as Star Trek."
"...through its actions and inactions, Viacom has let the once proud 'Star Trek' franchise stagnate and decay. Viacom has released only one 'Star Trek' movie since entering into agreement with Activision and has recently informed Activision it has no current plans for further 'Star Trek' films. Viacom also has allowed two 'Star Trek' television series to go off the air and the remaining series suffers from weak ratings. Viacom also frustrated Activision's efforts to coordinate the development and marketing of its games with Viacom's development and marketing of its new movies and television series."
In an official response released yesterday, Viacom has denied Activision's allegations, and is accusing Activision of using the courts "in an effort to renegotiate a deal it made in 1998 to secure the rights to the valued Star Trek franchise for interactive games." Pointing to fourteen Trek-themed products released since entering into the agreement with Activision, the media giant asserted that the popular franchise continues to enjoy widespread popularity. According to a Bloomberg financial report, Activision has alredy paid Viacom $11 million in licensing royalties of the $20 million scheduled over the ten years of the agreement. In addition, VIacom has earned an additional $10 million from Activision stock warrants that were part of the licensing deal.

While the entertainment giants play chess with their intellectual property, the sad result for gamers of all platforms is going to be the end of computer games based on the sci-fi franchise, unless a third party becomes invterested in picking up the license. Mac gamers eager to get their hands on the upcoming release of Ritual Entertainment's Star Trek: Elite Force II should have nothing to fear as the termination of the agreement does not affect existing Star Trek titles. Stay tuned to IMG for more news as the legal proceedings unfold.

Activision Sues Viacom
Star Trek Elite Force II
Aspyr Media
Ritual Entertainment
Buy Star Trek Elite Force II

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SimCity 4 Feature at Apple
7:41 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple has posted a new feature in their Games section that takes a look at the recently released SimCity 4. Originally developed by Maxis and brought to the Mac by Aspyr, SimCity 4 lets players once again assume the mantle of a mayor, governing all aspects of various cities in an eternal quest to keep constituents happy.

Maxis Producer Sean Decker proudly notes the level of detail players can see regarding the actions of their Sims in the cities:

'The details the player can now see make the game come alive,' he marvels. 'You can see individual Sims going about their daily lives: Sims sitting at a café, Sim children playing at the school playground, Sim parents watching their kids play soccer, and even Sims getting mugged in the seedy parts of town.'
The Apple feature also includes a short quicktime movie as well as various tips and tricks for beginning players.

Apple - SimCity 4
Aspyr Media
SimCity 4
Buy SimCity 4

Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 2, 2003

IMG Posts Ask Feral - Volume 22:32 PM
No One Lives Forever 2 Expansion Details1:57 PM
Help Test A New Mac Game Engine1:36 PM
GameSpy Reviews Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness1:23 PM
CodeBlender Releases Epsilon Tahari11:41 AM
Virtual Programming Releases EU II 1.02, Player Manager Demo11:02 AM
Dark Fall Headed to Mac8:44 AM
More from Roper on Blizzard Departure8:44 AM
Republic Nearly Done for PC?8:44 AM
X-Plane On a G5 Report8:44 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 2, 2003 on one page

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003
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