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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

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WWIIOnline v197 to Speed Up Performance
6:24 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Today, PlayNet officials announced that version 1.097 of World War II Online, currently in beta stage, will feature an improved texture compression system that will speed up performance and loading times significantly on lower end machines. Here's the official news post:

We have gotten texture compression properly functioning under OpenGl, which in itself has helped reduce stutters in the engine. Initial load in lag is remarkably down for aircraft and vehicles. There remains post spawn in lag for infantry that we are working to address today. It is much improved over the current version and we plan to release it this week. We hope to squash the remaining lag before this goes out but what we don’t get in the next day or two will remain our top priority. Over all memory savings from this are about 40%.
In addition, the new update will introduce the new Destroyer vehicle and more. Be sure to check out the links below for more details.

WWIIOnline V197 Features
World War II Online

Ryan Gordon Update
3:40 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

Everyone's favorite Unreal Tournament 2003 Mac programmer Ryan Gordon recently made several updates to his programming diary. In the various updates, he makes notes on upcoming work on Duke 3D for OSX, Postal 2, along with progress on Unreal Tournamet for OSX, thanks to a donation of Codewarrior 7 from Metrowerks. Here's some snippets from the update:

We've got Bargle's joystick code in CVS. Haven't tried it myself (no sticks
here), but it should be good to go.

Stuff on the MacOS TODO list:
1) x86 compatibility for savegames
2) keeping Mac/PC networking in sync
3) Coming up with a server browser/matching service.
4) Add Cmd-Q as a quit key.
5) Make sure BUILD editor runs (it does, just needs sanity checks).
6) Race condition in audiolib causes occasional crash.

Please stop emailing me to ask if this is done yet.

Metrowerks has decided to aid this effort and made arrangements for me to use CodeWarrior 7 (much thanks!)...I've got the discs sitting here, and an OS9 version of UT compiling just to see where it stands. Next step is merging in the appropriate UTPG changes.

Rumor has it that AL_GAIN_LINEAR_LOKI is really what AL_GAIN is defined to be in the OpenAL spec, so the UTPG AL renderer might be right already. I love it when things Just Work.

To check out the full update, follow the link below.

Ryan Gordon Update

CH Products Announces The Virtual Pilot Pro USB
12:26 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

CH Products recently announced the Virtual Pilot Pro USB, a controller modeled after a general aviation yoke. It features an 8-way POV hat switch; an auto centering detent function; six single fire buttons and one 4-way hat switch; ultra-precise elevator and aileron trim controls; adjustable clamps; and a seven-foot cable.

The Virutal Pilot Pro USB is compatible with an iMac\Mac with OS 8.1 or above and Input sprocket 1.7x and will be available on September 1st exclusively through CH Products only. If you're interested in placing a pre-order, please follow the link below.

CH Products

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Help Beta Test Age of Mythology
11:26 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Visitors to GameRanger will find a new Topic of the Day message when they log on. The post is a call for beta testers for MacSoft's upcoming strategy game, Age of Mythology. Here's the post in full:

Are you an outstanding Age of Empires 2 player? Do you have what it takes to withstand the legendary battles in Age of Mythology? MacSoft is looking for Age of Mythology beta testers. If you are at least 18 years of age, live in the United States, have testing experience and are willing to spend a massive amount of time testing AoM, we would love to hear from you. Please email if you meet these basic requirements and to qualify for consideration. (Hint: a detailed email improves your chances).
If you're interested in beta testing Age of Mythlogy, be sure to email MacSoft at the address provided.

Ensemble Studios
Age of Mythology
Buy Age of Mythology

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IMG Reviews Logitech Click!
11:13 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

IMG has reviewed one of the latest additions to Logitech's line-up of mice, the Logitech Click!. While Logitech boost some mice that is aimed at the hardcore users, Click! is aimed at the masses with high simplicity and ease of use.

From the review:

Click! is not meant for a power user. You won't find an adjustable tracking switch on the bottom, or more buttons than you can count on your hands. Instead, the Click! offers just the vital features — two mouse buttons, a scroll wheel, and as an added goodie, the Quick Application Switcher, which can be customized via software.

While it doesn't boast Logitech's MX Optical Technology, the Click! still uses a fairly accurate optical sensor that left me satisfied. Optical technology is generally accurate, and the Click! was not an exception. If you're looking for a capable mouse for casual productivity and gaming with acceptable accuracy, then you need look no further.

To read the whole review, follow the link provided below.

IMG Review: Logitech Click!

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New Halo Q&A Posted
6:24 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

As the release of the PC version of Bungie Studio's Halo approaches, the marketing effort behind the game has been slowly ramping up, with adverts starting to appear and a number of insider previews and interviews making their way across the web.

British gaming site has just posted another of those interviews with Gearbox Software's president, Randy Pitchford. While the interview focuses mainly on the differences between the PC and Xbox versions of the game, a few of the topics discussed touch more than mere porting issues:

Since you will leave the Single player the same as the Xbox experience, do you think people will buy the PC version just for multiplayer and not care about the single player? Why this decision to not “add” to the singleplayer part of the game?

RP: The single player game is really good. It’s won awards and people love it. We wouldn’t dream of change it. We may dream of making more Halo single player content, but not change the story that started it all. While Halo is insanely successful on the Xbox, it may surprise you to learn that most PC gamers have not had a chance to play it all yet. Sure, we expect that tons of fans of the Xbox game are dying to get Halo PC so that they can play on the internet for the first time (especially with all of the new multiplayer features added this time around), but I think most people who get Halo PC will be experiencing it for the first time – we owe them a perfectly preserved yet enhanced treatment.
The PC version of Halo is expected to hit the shelves this fall. Three of the hardworking programmers at Westlake Interactive are busy converting the code to the Mac, and while the project is listed as being in "pre-alpha" in their project status page, there has been no official word from Bungie or publisher MacSoft on a possible release date.

Halo Q&A
Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved

Tony Hawk 4 Review Posted
6:24 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Internet gaming website Gamespot has just published their review of Beenox and Aspyr Media's recently released Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4.

While the article is overall positive, the reviewer touches a little on this, one of Aspyr's first attempts at branching out of the Mac market:

....the publishing has been left to Aspyr Media, a company better known for its Mac versions of popular PC games. It appears that the smaller publisher doesn't have quite as wide a distribution chain as Activision does, making this latest installment in the series a little more difficult to find than you'd expect with such a well-known series of games. The PC port may be on par with previous PC installments, adding higher resolution options while maintaining the gameplay that made the series great, but the narrow distribution and somewhat clunky external player-matching program make for a great game that's difficult to play online.
Click on the link below to check out the review. You may need to sign up for a Gamespot membership to access the site.

Tony Hawk 4 Review
Aspyr Media
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Buy Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

New Study Suggests Games Draw More Women Than Boys
6:24 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

An interesting study released on Tuesday by the Entertainment Software Association has revealed that gaming demographics have gone through a major shift recently.

The study suggests that more women over 18 years of age play video games than boys aged 6-17, the industry's traditional market group.

The largest groups of gamers, according to the study, are men aged 18 and up, accounting for 38% of all gamers. Next in line are women aged 18 and over, with 26%, followed by boys aged 6-17 at 21%, and girls aged between 6 and 17 represent 12% of the gaming population.

The study has also confirmed the trend that gamers, on a whole, are getting older. The average age for gamers is 29, with men and women aged over 50 accounting for 17% of all gamers. With the average age of gamers increasing, so has the number of titles aimed towards them. In 2002, 13.2 per cent of games released carried an "M" or "Mature" rating, compared to 9.9 per cent in 2001 and just under 8 per cent the previous year.

Also according to the study, the average gamer spends six and a half hours a week playing computer games, while boys aged 6-17 play an average of 7.3 hours a week. The study obviously did not include any of the hardworking IMG staff.

Finally, in a bit of news this reporter finds relieving, the study also suggests that female players are not particularily fond of games specifically targeted for them. From a news story on the same topic:

Hrody said she and her friends much prefer many of those mature games, like war titles, to the games specially designed and targeted by game companies at the female market, such as dancing themes or Barbie.

"They don't hear enough about what the market is. I think they just assume that it's boys that are playing these games," she said. "(Girls' games are) very boring, there's no story line, it's almost like they play it down for girls."

So much for Britney Spears' Dance Revolution. Click on the link below to read more about this study. Gamer age study released
Entertainment Software Association

Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 26, 2003

IMG Posts SpyHunter Review12:56 PM
IMG Store: Enigmo Down to $14.9512:47 PM
No One Lives Forever 2 Goes Gold12:31 PM
OWC: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro In Stock10:21 AM
Halo PC Weekly Update10:11 AM
America's Army 1.9 Now Available8:36 AM
More World of Warcraft Info8:36 AM
Neverwinter Nights Expansion Website Launched8:36 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 26, 2003 on one page

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