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Thursday, May 27, 2004

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MacPlay: Tron 2.0 at Gold Master
7:16 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

MacPlay recently sent out a company newsletter announcing, among other things, that the Mac OS X version of TRON 2.0 is now considered Gold Master. This means the game has gone through the beta testing process and should be shipping out soon.

TRON 2.0 continues along the story originally developed by Disney's original TRON movie in the 80's. Players are taken into the computer, where they get to use some of the same cult-icons like light cycles and throwing discs.

Here's more of the backstory from MacPlay:

You're the star of the show in TRON 2.0. As computer programmer Jet Bradley, son of original Tron architect Alan Bradley, you travel into the digital world to find your father, who has vanished. The game updates TRON's world with current-day technology while retaining the unique look and feel of the classic film.

In the role of Jet, you soon uncover a sinister plot by Future Control Industries to corrupt the world's computer networks with digitized hackers called DataWraiths. Already the creatures are at work destroying the network at Alan's job, and it's up to Jet to stop them before the disease spreads. Unfortunately, the head security program, Kernel, blames Jet for the corruption and sends his ICPs after him, compounding the problems.

For more on TRON 2.0, check out IMG's preview of the title.

IMG Preview: TRON 2.0
Monolith Productions
TRON 2.0
Buy TRON 2.0

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IMG Reviews LOTR: The Return of the King
1:17 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Here's a clip from the review:

During the course of play, the game takes you through the major plot lines of the movie. After you finish a level, you can choose the path you want to conquer next. Playing as Gandalf, once you’ve helped vanquish the foes at Helm’s Deep, you must journey to Minas Tirith and defend it against Sauron’s armies. Playing as either Aragorn, Gimli, or Legolas, you must journey into the forgotten mountain and recruit the army of the dead who will eventually help at Minas Tirith. Finally, playing as either Frodo or Sam, you must escape from the clutches of men and then journey to Mount Doom in the heart of Mordor to destroy the ring of power.
To check out the entire review, please follow the link below.

IMG Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Aspyr Media
LOTR: The Return of the King
Buy LOTR: The Return of the King

Creepy Mines 2 v2.5 Adds 3D Glasses Support
8:24 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

DanLabGames has recently updated Creepy Mines 2 to version 2.5. The update brings with it a number of bug fixes as well as a few enhancements.

  • New level (10 stages)
  • Added 2 new ingame view,
  • using AGL instead GLUT screen bug resolved and game runs faster
  • Added 3d anaglyph view
Creepy Mines 2 is a 3D take on the classic bricks-and-paddle genre, offering a number of stages, bosses, and powerups. A free trial, which allows play in the first 3 stages of each level, can be downloaded from the DanLabGames site.

Creepy Mines 2.5

N - Flash-Made Ninja Platforming
8:24 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A freeware title recently brought to our attention goes by the name of N. Created by Metanet Software and described as a "Puzzle-Platformer with Physics and Style," N features a stick-figure ninja who must run and jump through various levels in order to collect all the gold before his lifespan of 15 minutes runs out.

Described as being somewhat similar to the venerable Lode Runner, N allows players to run up walls, bounce off of trampolines, and be subject to an interesting physics engine.

But in N, there's a twist: the ninja is driven not only by a thirst for gold, but also by a physics simulation.

Death, which happens often, is quite animated.

Those interested in giving it a shot can find screenshots and download links at its site.


Mac OS X 10.3.4 Update to Help Games
8:02 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gamers wondering if the latest update to OS X contains anything meaningful for games development may want to take a look at The Brad Hole, a blog maintained by Brad Oliver. One of his latest entries includes some information regarding a new OpenGL feature that seems to improve performance when used.

Apple released MacOS 10.3.4 today, and it includes a new OpenGL feature called "vertex buffer objects" or VBO for short. It's essentially a method of storing vertex data directly on the video card to eliminate CPU overhead. Apple had implemented a similar extension in the past, called "vertex array range" (VAR) that was essentially a reworking of the Nvidia extension of a similar name. The main difference between VBO and VAR (aside from the API looking fairly different) is that VBO is a cross-platform, ARB-approved way of achieving the same speed-up.
Also posted in the blog entry are the results of some tests with both Call of Duty and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Oliver adds that future game releases should see shorter development times when implementing VBO.

The Brad Hole

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World of Warcraft Adding In-Game Auctions
7:16 AM | Chris Stein | Comment on this story

Auction houses are one the latest features to be announced to the highly anticipated upcoming MMORPG World of Warcraft. According to a post on the World of Warcraft forums, auction houses will be placed in the 6 major cityies as a new addition for beta testers to use.

World of Warcraft is currently in beta stage, with Mac and PC users already testing it out online. Here's more from the post:

An Auction House will be placed in each major city (Stormwind, Ironforge, Darnassus, Ogrimmar, Thunderbluff and Undercity). These Auction Houses will be faction specific, allowing Alliance to trade with Alliance and Horde to trade with Horde. Additionally, there will be one non-faction based Auction House in Booty Bay. The Booty Bay Auction House will have the same functionality as the aforementioned faction based Auction Houses, with the additional capability of allowing trade between Horde and Alliance characters.
World of Warcraft is expected to be released later this year for both Mac and PC. The link to the post is below.

WoW Forums: Coming Soon: Auction Houses
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Warner Brothers Takes Unprecedented Step In Game Licensing
7:16 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

In a bold and unprecedented move, officials at Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, the prolific film studio's licensing arm, are fluctuating the licensing fees paid by game publishers for the studio's properties, based on how well the resultant games are received.

The new scheme, according to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, is based on how well the resultant games are received by game reviewers. According to senior VP Jason Hall, future Warner Brothers licensed games must achieve at least a 70% rating from such game review sites as, and Failure for a game to do so will incur scalable increases in royalty fees.

The move is a direct attempt by the studio to increase the quality of PC and console games. According to Hall -

The game industry has had its time to exploit movie studios all day long and to get away with producing inferior products. But, with Warner Brothers, no more. Those days are over. And we mean it. This isn't just lip service. Honestly, the bad games are over.
Reaction to the news was immediate and mixed. Bruno Bonnell, chairman and CEO of Atari:
I will never, ever sign this sort of agreement, which effectively insults our business.
Atari, publishers of the recently released Enter The Matrix, saw sales of over $250 million USD for the title, despite the game's sub 70% ratings. While Bonnell admitted that not all his company's games are hits, he maintains that Atari does its best to make games faithful to the licensed properties.
Are we proud of everything we do? In most cases, yes. Do we fail sometimes? Sometimes. Do we feel we have to pay because we fail and because the ratings reflect that? No, absolutely not.
While most studios agree with Hall that bad video games damage a studio's intellectual property, and that the move will likely force game publishers to take another look at the quality of their games, no other licensor are planning to follow the WB lead.

Hollywood Reporter

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Westlake Talks Apple Dev & Halo
7:16 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

An interesting new article on Halo: Combat Evolved has been posted not in Apple's games section, but rather in the company's developer connnection area. The piece takes a behind-the-scenes look at how Westlake Interactive's Phil Sulak and Ken Cobb went about using Apple's development tools to port and optimize this popular shooter.

While definitely targeted towards developers looking to do a project on the platform, the article also might be interesting for fans to see how the game was put together. Here's a clip with more:

Games today take advantage of very high-end graphics cards, using vertex and fragment programs to talk directly to the cards themselves, and allowing developers to create much richer looking special effects essentially by coding effects on an individual pixel level (thus sometimes referred to as “pixel shaders” or just “shaders”).

“A good example of this is the water in Halo,” explains Ken Cobb, Senior Developer and Vice President for Westlake. “It has a very realistic rippling effect, and reflects light like real water, changing color depending on what it’s reflecting and the angle it’s viewed at. This happens using shaders—we actually program each pixel to calculate how it has to look to get this overall reflection effect. The same thing happens with textures. When you apply a texture, each pixel within that texture is also programmed to reflect the texture appropriate to its position in the scene.”

For more about the porting process, head over and read through the rest of the article.

Apple Developer Connection: Westlake on Halo
Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 26, 2004

IMG Reviews Altec Lansing inMotion Speakers11:28 AM
Ryan Gordon Releases MojoPatch for OS X Game Dev9:52 AM
State of Shadowbane Posted9:52 AM
IMG Store: Worms 3D In Stock9:35 AM
Aspyr Ships Medal of Honor: Breakthrough9:19 AM
Aspyr Unleashes Adrenaline Sports Pack8:13 AM
Battlefield 1942 Screenshot Gallery Posted8:13 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 26, 2004 on one page

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