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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

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Second Life Mac Developer Journal
8:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new article posted on the Second Life website goes into detail about the Mac version of this Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) which attempts to create a virtual world online, akin to The Sims: Online. The difference with this game is that your world is completely 3D and the user's content-creation plays a central role in the gameplay.

The developer journal goes specifies exactly how Linden Lab farmed out the Mac work to an outfit called Critical Path Software and proceeded with the work. As with many Mac ports, just doing the work resulted in finding bugs and optimizations in the Windows version. Here's a clip from the article:

Some of the work done by CPS on the Macintosh game port provided new insights into existing code, or even direct benefits to the Windows version. For example, the Mac-specific code CPS wrote for window creation and OpenGL setup had some new design features that inspired the Linden team to revisit and improve the code which performed the same function on Windows. In several other cases, the process of revisiting code which hadn't been looked at in some time shook out problems that had been there all along but never identified. Some of these problems, such as endian issues, were particular to the Mac port. Others, like a subtle problem with the use of posix timers, had caused some nagging problems with the backend servers that we were quite happy to finally solve. Intuition, insight and past experience with similar issues were all important factors in tracking these problems down.
The game was released late last month for OS X 10.3 in a v1.2 beta form, and comes with a 7-day free trial. They plan on releasing the final version of Second Life for OS X sometime this quarter. Head over to the official website to sign-up for a trial if you're interested.

Second Life Mac Developer Journal
IMG News: Second Life Born for Mac OS X
Linden Lab
Second Life
Critical Path Software

GameHouse To Continue Mac Development
11:13 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Further to yesterday's news that casual game developers GameHouse are in the process of being bought out by internet content providers RealNetworks, Derrick Morton, GameHouse's vice president of Marketing, has written IMG with good news for Mac gamers.

The news? Players concerned about the possibility of losing another developer to the Windows platform have little to worry about. Despite the upcoming move into the fray of Real's PC-only RealArcade content system, the creators of Super Collapse!, Collapse! II and Super MahJong! will continue to provide games for the Mac:

GameHouse will continue to support and develop new games for the Mac platform. Mac gamers purchase games at almost 3 times the rate of PC players and the share of revenue we receive from Mac players far exceeds their actual representation in the market.
Apart from the revenue Mac gamers provide the developers, Derrick also contributes his company's continued support of our favorite platform on GameHouse's internal development tools, as well as their continued relatiopnship with Apple:
...we've developed libraries that make the port to Mac a process that takes only several days so the effort is small and the rewards great. Not to mention the fact that we feel good about supporting the Mac and have a great relationship with the Apple Games team.
GameHouse's current roster of Mac games includes over thirty applications, from puzzle and word games to sports and casino titles. GameHouse also sports an impressive collection of over sixty multi-platform web games. Players interested in trying out some of their titles should head over to the developer's website through the link below:


Freeverse Updates Burning Monkey Mahjong
10:56 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Freeverse has released an update toBurning Monkey Mahjong. Version 1.1 adds new new tilesets and layouts, a layout browser, improved speed, and lots of bug fixes. Freeverse recommends that all users update to the latest version.

Freeverse also recently released a demo of Burning Monkey Mahjong. To download the patch or demo, head over to the Freeverse site.

Burning Monkey Mahjong
Burning Monkey Mahjong 1.1
Burning Monkey Mahjong Demo

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IMG Reviews JBL Duet
10:35 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Harman Kardon's JBL Duet is a two satellite system targeted for the extreme value market; where name brands are sparse and quality speakers are almost non-existent. Thanks to the Duets, now virtually anyone can afford a set speakers that bear the HK brand name.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

The Duet presents a fairly nice soundscape that suits music quite well, The lack of significant lows might bother hardcore gamers, but I was quite content playing Halo on them. I even connected them to my iPod and used the two as a stereo in my game room to provide background music for some heated matches of Foosball. While it wasnít the ideal solution, it served its purpose and was extremely fast to setup. Iíd be tempted to take my iPod with the Duets my next trip me.
To read more about the JBL Duet, follow the link below.

IMG Review: JBL Duet
Harman Multimedia
JBL Duet

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Blizzard Posts Six New World Of Warcraft Screenshots
10:06 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Further to yesterday's news that Blizzard Entertainment has started taking signups for their World Of Warcraft cross-platform beta, the developers have posted six new screenshots taken from the current version of the game.

The shots, depicting various races either posing or in battle, show off the current version of the game engine, and the game's newly-added special effects engine. Looking over the twelve pages of the screenshot archive gives readers a good sense of how the game's engine has evolved over the project's development period. Click on the link below to access the game's ongoing photo archives.

Blizzard's World of Warcraft brings the company's popular RPG franchise to the massively-multiplayer realm. Currently moving into its beta stage, the game is expected to be released simultaneously for both the Mac and PC platforms later this year. Stay tuned to IMG for further news on this highly anticipated title. RPG fans who haven't been able to partake in the award-winning games should head over to the IMG Store, where the franchise's latest incarnations - Warcraft III and the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne expansion pack - can be ordered for $35 and $34.95 USD respectively.

Word of Warcraft Photo Archive
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
Buy World of Warcraft

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Updated Myth III Beta Released
9:33 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story has released an updated beta for Myth III: The Wolf Age. Now listed at version 1.2b2, this particular update was provided by Contraband Entertainment and Take Two Interactive, who reportedly have taken over the project from the MythDev team.

This replaces all previous versions of Myth III, and incorporates all previous enhancements, plus some new fixes and tweaks. In the works for the next beta: gesture arrows and overhead map drawing.
Currently hosted are installers for both OS X and Windows. An OS 9 updater is not available at this time, but PlayMyth reports that they will consider adding one if they get enough requests.

PlayMyth - Myth III: The Wolf Age - New Beta!

Freeverse New Years Sale, Monkey Mahjong Updated
9:33 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, which also happens to be the Year of the Monkey, Freeverse is offering a sale on several of their titles. The listed titles include Burning Monkey Casino, Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab, Kickoff 2002, Payback!, and Wipeout 2097. All of the titles have been discounted anywhere from $5 to $25.

The sale only lasts until February 6th, so those wishing to take advantage of the offer should do so as soon as possible. Purchase information can be found at Freeverse's online store.

In related news, Burning Monkey Mahjong has received an update. Now at version 1.1, the update includes the following:

  • New Layout Browser
  • Show All Moves option added
  • All tilesets returned to Shareware version
  • New tilesets added
  • More layouts added. Now up to 40 Layouts.
  • Tilesets converted to new TIFF file format, 40% performance boost
  • Difficulty settings changed to allow for more balanced games on default layout (Which is the only layout some people play)
  • New streamlined generate random layout
  • Support for layouts up to 16 layers deep.
  • Music playing bug fixed under Panther.
  • Crash on register bug fixed.
  • Warning dialog if you are running lower than 1024x768. Please note that for proper display, BMMJ requires you be running at 1024x768 or greater.
  • Flower and tile matching fixed up for new tileset layout
  • Fixes to the animation system.
  • Expanded use of the sound effects preference
  • Cookie no longer cleared if you switch away from the game
Those looking to grab the update can download it from Freeverse's site.

Freeverse - Year of the Monkey Sale
Freeverse - Burning Monkey Mahjong 1.1 Released
Burning Monkey Mahjong
Burning Monkey Casino
Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab
Virtual Programming
KickOff 2002
Apex Designs
WipeOut 2097
Buy Burning Monkey Casino

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Blizzard Closes 'Griefers' Accounts
8:37 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Continuing their crusade to keep things as equitable as possible, Blizzard has posted a warning to players who seem to delight in causing problems for others. Commonly known as Griefers, some players have apparently been deliberately losing during team games in Warcraft III:

We have received reports and observed that certain Warcraft III players have deliberately caused their own teams to lose in team games. This goes against the spirit of fair play on, and as such, we will take action on a case-by-case basis. In each case, if we determine that griefing is in fact occurring, the grieferís account and access to ladder games will be subject to removal.
Most gamers know that this isn't the first time Blizzard has cracked down on such practices. While online gaming will probably never be completely rid of Griefers, many people in the related forum thread at have expressed their approval of Blizzard's new policy. - Griefing Prohibited in Ladder
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

Disney Buys American McGee's 'Oz' Movie; Q&A Posted
8:08 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

As reported earlier this week in industry trade paper The Hollywood Reporter, famed game designer American McGee's multimedia production company, Carbon 6, has struck a deal with one of Hollywood's biggest film studios to produce the motion picture properties of his current project, "American McGee's Oz".

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a three-picture deal was struck recently between Walt Disney Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and McGee's own company. The deal, brokered by talent agency ICM, will see a film trilogy emerge from McGee's twisted re-telling of the classic children's book The Wizard Of Oz.

Apart from the basic premise of the new work, which sees Oz as a dark and barren, war-torn land, little is known about the project, despite the fact that an Oz-based computer game was officially supposed to be released sometime this year for the PC and Xbox platforms. In a recent interview with gaming mega-site Gamespot, McGee sheds some light on the current status of the game, and offers insight into the increasing difficulties of developing new titles faced by game developers:

GS: It sounds like Oz is becoming a lot more than just a game.

AM: To date, we've developed the property across a wide range of markets. Series one of the toys have been at retail for the last year and have done very well. We're in the process of launching series two and three of the toys this year. The book is done, and as HR reported, we have a deal with Warner Books. The book should be released by Xmas of this year, but as usual, there's no promise that it will.

GS: That sounds like a bonanza, synergy-wise. But when is the game itself coming out?

AM: That's a little more complicated. We have a completed design, a running Xbox demo, and a lot of material to show but are still working on finding a publisher. For a while we put the publisher search on hold while we worked on getting the film set up. Now we're receiving interest from game publishers again and are working to get game development restarted.

With game development currently on hold, and a movie deal in the works, it's this reporter's opinion that the game will probably not hit the shelves until it can be tied-in with the release of the Disney pictures, sometime in the next two or three years. As for a Mac version, there likely won't be any word on the possibilities of a port until well into the game's development. Stay tuned to IMG, however, as we'll continue updating readers on the progress of this multi-media extravaganza.

Gamespot: Q&A with American McGee
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Rogue Entertainment
American McGee's Alice

Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 27, 2004

FroGames Readies MiniOne Racing For Mac12:02 PM
Hasbro Launches Online Games11:22 AM
RealNetworks New Home for GameHouse8:25 AM
On the Future of the Unreal Engine8:11 AM
Aspyr Rolls-out Massive Nascar 2003 Updates8:07 AM
Game Server Config for Jedi Academy7:43 AM
Shadowbane Patch to be Released Today6:00 AM
WoW Beta Signups Tomorrow, Macs Confirmed6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 27, 2004 on one page

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