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Monday, August 18, 2003

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Apple Ships The Power Mac G5
10:31 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Apple today began shipping the two single processor models of the Power Mac G5. The dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac's will ship later this month. Apple also announced that it has received over 100,000 orders for the Power Mac G5's since its introduction on June 23rd.

Here's more from the official press release:

“The Power Mac G5 is a big hit with customers and developers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The two single processor Power Mac G5 models are available now, so we wanted to get those into customers hands as soon as possible, and we’re right on track to deliver the dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac G5 later this month.”

Powered by the revolutionary PowerPC G5 processor designed by IBM and Apple, the Power Mac G5 is the first personal computer to utilize 64-bit processing technology for unprecedented memory expansion and advanced 64-bit computation, while running existing 32-bit applications natively.

Delivering the industry’s highest system bandwidth, the Power Mac G5 line offers dual 2.0 GHz PowerPC G5 processors, each with an independent 1 GHz front-side bus, for an astounding 16 GBps of bandwidth. The line also features the industry’s highest bandwidth memory (400 MHz 128-bit DDR SDRAM with throughput up to 6.4 GBps); the industry’s fastest PCI interface available on a desktop (133 MHz PCI-X); and cutting-edge AGP 8X Pro graphics capabilities, all within a stunning new professional aluminum enclosure featuring innovative computer-controlled cooling for quiet operation.

The two single processor models of the Power Mac G5 are available through the Apple Store (, at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.


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IMG Posts Splinter Cell First Look
1:12 PM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a first look preview of one of the two new games Aspyr Media announced on Friday, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, as with all first looks, the preview relies heavily on already existing versions of the game or articles that discuss them, but still offers all the information you'll need, including basic plot and storyline, gameplay mechanics, the game's famous lighting system, and more. Here's an excerpt from the preview:

Sam can also arm himself with a silenced pistol, but by far the most useful weapon he can wield is the SC-20K M.A.W.S. (Modular Assault Weapon System). While this gun is capable of firing standard ammunition, its main use can be found in its multipurpose launcher, which can fire a variety of useful objects. When a mission requires a zero body count, Sam can use either ring airfoil projectiles or sticky shockers to incapacitate his targets. He can also fire sticky cameras that can be remotely operated to get a better view of difficult areas. A more inventive device is the distraction camera, which not only functions as a sticky camera, but can also whistle to attract nearby enemies. When they get close enough, the camera can discharge enough sleeping gas to knock out anyone nearby.
For more, be sure to check out the full preview, found at the link below, and keep a look out for Splinter Cell, coming to Mac this October.

IMG Preview: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Splinter Cell
Aspyr Media
Buy Splinter Cell

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Splinter Cell & Raven Shield Links
11:25 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Further to last Friday's IMG exclusive announcement that the highly rated Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield are Mac-bound, courtesy of gaming powerhouse Aspyr Media, we thought it might be a good idea to post a few links about the games for the benefit of the enquiring minds of our readers.

First off, gaming web resource has posted an excellent 2-page postmortem covering Ubi Soft Shanghai's office work on porting the game from the original Xbox version to the PS2. Although the article doesn't cover any Mac-specific issues, the article does cover a roster of unexpected project management issues that the development team had to wrestle with during production:

The most obvious barrier was language. Three different languages we spoken by our team: Chinese, French and Italian. We had to use English as the working language, but not everybody was fluent in the language, and some people didn't even speak it at all. The first time it became an issue was during staff training. Since all the technical documents were in English and the technical director for the graphics team spoke only Chinese and English, it was very difficult to train developers who didn't speak English.
PC Gaming website Game Nation is hosting a 2-page interview with Slinter Cell producer and project lead Mathieu Ferland, in which he discusses game development issues, including a research interview with author Tom Clancy:
As I've mentioned we had done a lot of research before meeting with Clancy, we knew from the rest of our expert ties, I have worked on Rainbow Six and Black Thorn before, so I knew a lot about the Tom Clancy universe -- what is good, what is bad, what he expects and what he will refuse. So when we proposed to him the concept, yes, he was surprised by the quality of research we had done.

He then gave us some hints, some guidelines about the story, about the justification of some of the gadgets, the justification of the clothing, and that sort of thing. For example he gave us some hints about the F2000, the main weapon in the game that is currently being tested in the US army. For the game we've decided to modify it a little bit, to push it a bit further, to add a launcher and all of the gadgets we had in mind. It was a good fit into our concept.
Xbox gaming website XboxAddict has an interview with Chaddi Lebbos, Ubi Soft's Raven Shield producer. In this clip, Chaddi discusses the team's decision to rely on Epic's Unreal software rather than continue using the old Rainbow Six game engine:
The biggest advantage Unreal brings to Rainbow Six 3 is a solid code base in miscellaneous fields. Instead of programming graphics primitives and rendering subroutines, it allowed programmers to focus on other features and special effects from the beginning of the project. It is allowing us to be able to create an awesome game in a relatively short period of time.

On the other hand, we needed to modify it heavily on many points. We added stuff to the renderer tools (combined with the Splinter Cell graphic features) and implemented the very specific AI needed in a game like Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3. For the sound, we plugged an internal sound engine. I really think that we'd modified at least 70% of the code. So basically, the engine is very powerful and it helped us a lot in creating the game... but of course, it required a lot of tweaking to make things possible.

Gaming Fansite Rainbow Six Retreat has also posted a detailed interview with the Ubi Soft Montreal's development team - check out the link below to find out about the other side of the story:
Unreal is a powerful engine that permitted us to do everything we planned and some not so planned things during production. Of course, some elements always have to be left out because of the constraints of minimum PC requirements and such. So basically, you have to make decisions based on the time you have to complete the game and how far you’re able go. In our case, we feel we included most of what we needed to have in the game based on the constraints stated above.
Also included in the links below are Ubi Soft's official web pages for both these blockbusters - click on the links to access screenshots, movies, and more information about these games.

And finally, IMG has a forthcoming Splinter Cell preview; check in shortly.

Gamasutra's Splinter Cell Postmortem
Game Nation: Mathieu Ferland Interview
XboxAddict: Raven Shield Interview
Rainbow Six Retreat: Development Team Interview
Splinter Cell
Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield
Ubi Soft: Official Splinter Cell Web Page
Ubi Soft: Official Raven Six - Raven Shield Website
Aspyr Media
Buy Splinter Cell
Buy Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield

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Splinter Cell and Raven Shield Announced on IMG Chat
10:35 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Macintosh gamers from all over Friday hurried into the IMG IRC channel for the news; an exclusive two game announcement from an unidentified company. The company turned out to be none other than Macintosh gaming publisher Aspyr Media, and the two new games are the popular ultra-realistic stealth-action game, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, and the squad-based tactical shooter Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield.

Both games are expected to ship this October, and due to similar game engines, come with identical system requirements:

Mac OS X, version 10.2 or later
Power Mac G4, iMac G4, eMac, PowerBook G4
733 MHz processor or faster
256 MB or RAM
1.7 GB hard drive space
3D Graphics Acceleration required (minimum of ATI Radeon or NVidia GeForce 2 series card)
As a special offer in celebration of the announcement, Aspyr has opened up the pre-ordering process for both games, and for this weekend only, $5 will be taken off of any of the two purchases.

We've provided a transcript from the chat session for those who might have missed it. Contained is more information about both games and answers to some reader questions. Expect more news and media to be revealed as the games near release. For more information about pre-ordering, you can check out the links below.

Aspyr Media Chat Transcript
Splinter Cell
Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield
Aspyr Media
Buy Splinter Cell
Buy Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield

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Halo PC Impressions, Screens
10:13 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

A member of the forums over at Modzone recently got a chance to visit Gearbox Software and check out the upcoming PC version of Halo. The author, who had no previous experience with Halo, posted his various experiences with the game, along with several photos. Here's a snippet:

• Gearbox is working hard at releasing a very solid game. They have explained that Microsoft is giving them a lot of time to strenuously test the game and make sure that the final gold version will have as little bugs and problems as possible.

• A non-beta toolkit will be released around the same time the game is released. The reason it is not being released inside the box is because Microsoft wants everything in the box to be completely QA tested, and officially supported (as in, you can call the help line to ask questions about it). Since the toolkit might have a few bugs and it is not being tech supported, it is being released separately, and might be around a 100mb-150mb download.

• The demo will be released shortly after the game release. While Randy would love to do it earlier, he really wants the team to concentrate on finishing the game. After the game is released, Randy hopes to relax a little bit, and at that time a demo will be completed.

• Randy is very committed to doing an online co-op mode, though it is not certain if it will be included in the box, or as a download later.

• Major bugs from the XBox version like crazy rockets when running fast and exploits have been fixed. Some fun things, like grenading your warthog into parts of levels you shouldn't be still exist in single player.

• The Gearbox team is working hard on making the game look great. DirectX 9 is fully used, with lots of bump mapping and pixel shader 2.0 effects. There was one scene when he lit the sand with the flashlight that looked amazing. Gearbox has worked directly with Nvidia and ATI, as well as people from the DirectX development team to make sure the game looks good. Minimum specs should be 733mhz/128mb/GeForce2MX. If you want all the effects, you'd want a GeforceFX or a Radeon 9800. The developers said both cards are pretty equal in terms of running the game. Overall, the game is probably not up to the level of Half-Life 2 or DOOM 3. It is comparable with Unreal Tournament 2003.

Along with this news, Microsoft recently updated their Halo PC website with some screenshots of the new multi-player levels to be included in the game. To check out either the full post, or the new screenshots, follow the links provided below. As you most likely already know, Westlake Interactive is hard at work keeping the Mac version of Halo up to snuff with the PC version.

Halo PC Impressions
Halo PC Screenshots
Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved

Feline's Rocco Bowling on The Gamesome Mac
9:31 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 welcome back Rocco Bowling of Feline Entertainment.

In 2001, Rocco was a finalist in the Independent Games Festival's Student Showcase with Vortex Next Generation, and the following year overall runner-up in uDevGame with The Belt (which also won Best Polish). Now, his strategy board game Solace has been published by Freeverse Software.

Sean and Omaha will also offer Mac gaming news, reviews, and commentary, and together with their guest will take questions live from listeners in The Gamesome Mac's 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.

The Gamesome Mac
Feline Entertainment
uDevGame 2003

Worms 3D Gameplay Movie Released
9:31 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

Team17 has released a short video, containing in-game footage of their upcoming 3D turn-based strategic ballistic shooter Worms 3D. The footage shows how many of the things we loved with the original worms have made their way into the world of 3D.

From the Worms 3D site:

The first Worms 3D in-game video footage is here!
The Sega approved full footage is 20MB (1min30 in length) And yes, the video shows the deformable landscape - you'll see holes left in the land afterwards - although we're not quite sure what the big hoo-ha there is with that... you shoot land, a hole/crater appears ;)
This 20MB video has been split into 5 clips - clip 1 is available from our FTP site and the other clips have been released to the games press. We'll link to the other clips as soon as they are available.
This means that besides the movie that is downloadable from the site right now, we've got 4 more clips to look forward to in the near future.

Worms 3D has been confirmed for Mac, although no word is said on who will publish it or when it will be released. Stay tuned to IMG for the latest news on this game.

Feral Interactive
Worms 3D
Worms 3D In-Game Footage
Buy Worms 3D

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id's Carmack, Willits Talk DOOM III
9:31 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

As the QuakeCon 2003 event wraps up, interviews with two of id Software's employees, co-founder John Carmack and lead designer Tim Willits, have been posted discussing the event's main attraction this year, DOOM III.

GameSpy managed to have a seat with Carmack, and in the interview, he goes into detail on the DOOM III engine itself, as well as talking about the future plans and what he hopes for games like Quake IV. Here's a clip from the article:

GameSpy: How long does it take to create an engine?

John Carmack: The DOOM rendering engine went surprisingly smoothly, I mean more so than almost any other thing that I have done before. I made absolutely the right calls at the early strategic level. It was good fortune.

I look back at that and see that the very real decisions about what the core rendering technology was going to be, how the architecture was going to be, and what the external interface was going to be did not change in over two years in a fundamental way. I had the core of it done two years. We could render a picture and it looks like what the DOOM engine does.

It took another year to add all of the features has as opposed to a technology demo, but fundamentally has not changed in a year. There have been a few changes, a few little optimizations, but mostly it's the rest of the game coming up to par-getting the game technology there, the game system and all of the characters, and the things that make it a real game.

HomeLan Fed scored the other Q&A with Willits, and he focuses mainly on specifics of DOOM III itself. He notes they are contracting out the game's multiplayer map design and also comments on the interactivity of the title. Be sure to head over and check out both interviews if you're interested in this upcoming title. There is no release date yet set for DOOM III, but the company has firmly said it won't be out this year.

GameSpy Interview with John Carmack
HomeLan Fed Talks with Tim Willits
id Software
Buy DOOM 3

Mac Games News for Friday, August 15, 2003

IMG Posts Aliens vs. Predator 2 Review2:04 PM
Aspyr Ships Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 412:04 PM
Custer Lives Forever10:21 AM
IMG Chat Tonight!10:01 AM
Myth III 1.1.1 RC2 Released10:01 AM
Shadowbane Guild DB Upgrade, Future Patch Notes10:01 AM
WWIIOnline Newsletter Signup Returns10:01 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, August 15, 2003 on one page

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Thursday, August 14, 2003
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