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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

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The Sims 2 Moves To The Mac (updated)
6:00 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

After months of speculation, Texas-based game publishers Aspyr Media have officially announced that they've licensed the award-winning god game The Sims 2, and are bringing it to a Mac-Near-You.

The sequel to Will Wright's record-breaking game, which developers Maxis have had in the works since 2001, pushes way beyond the limitations of the original title. Players are charged with stewarding their Sims from birth until old age, chaperoning entire generations of electronic avatars through their lives' daily routines.

The highly-anticipated sequel features an entirely new 3D graphics engine, new roles, new materials, new interactions, scores of new animations, plus the addition of entire lifespans, progeny, and genetics to the Sims gameplay. The new addition to the Sims franchise provides players the tools to customize the content of the game to their liking, from designing and creating their own buildings and furnishing options, to genetically altering the likeness of their electronic alter egos. The game even allows players to create their own movies -

The Sims 2 also opens up endless new creative possibilities. Make your own Sim films with the new movie-making feature. Create the cast, set the stage, take control of the camera and capture your own screenplay in action. Zoom in close with the new camera to see every last detail. Generate unique Sims with the new "Create-A-Sim" packed with a vast selection of facial features, hairstyles, and outfits.
The Mac port of The Sims 2 is being handled by Aspyr Studios, the publishing company's internal development team. Preliminary system requirements for the new title call for a 1GHz G4 (or better), running OS X 10.3.4 with 256MB of RAM. A 32MB VRAM-equipped graphics card - ATI Radeon 8500 or Nvidia GeForce2 MX or better. The game, which is currently listed as being in early development, is expected to be released in May of next year.

Press Release: Aspyr Media Publishing The Sims 2 For Mac
The Sims 2
Buy The Sims 2

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IMG Posts The Sims 2 First Look
1:12 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a brief first look preview of The Sims 2 for those unfamilar with the sequel. The preview covers topics such as the update graphics in the game plus the revamped gameplay found in the game.

To check out the first look, please follow the link below.

IMG First Look: The Sims 2
Aspyr Media
The Sims 2
Buy The Sims 2

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Apple Speeds Up iBook, Slows Down Prices
8:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

This morning Apple introduced an upgrade to their consumer line of notebook computers, the iBook G4. In what seems like a bid to counter arguments of being "too expensive," the company has dropped the 12" iBook's cost by $100 to put it at the magic price point of $999.

The main differences between these updated iBooks and what Apple previously offered is a CPU upgrade in the 12" line to 1.2GHz (previously 1GHz) and bumping the 14" iBooks from 1.2GHz to 1.33GHz. The entire line also now features built-in Airport Extreme for wireless networking, and the upper 14" model has a DVD-burning SuperDrive for the first time. The entire iBook line still features an ATI Radeon 9200 with 32MB of VRAM powering its graphics capability.

For those willing to sacrifice portability for expandability and power, Apple has also added a new Power Mac G5 tower to lineup -- effectively lowering the entry cost for these machines as well. Priced at $1,499, the Power Mac G5 1.8GHz features a single processor and a slightly slower frontside bus of 600Mhz rather than 900Mhz; otherwise, it's exactly as expandable as the other G5 towers.

For details on all of these upgraded machines, head over to Apple's site.

Apple Unveils Fastest, Most Affordable iBook G4 Ever
Apple Adds 1.8 GHz Model to Power Mac G5 Line at Just $1,499
iBook G4
Power Mac G5

Interview with Myst IV Producer
8:14 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Adventure Gamers has posted the results of an interview with Geneviève Lord, Second Producer for the recently released Myst IV. Developed in-house by Ubisoft Montreal, Myst IV adds newer elements, such as a hand interface and the A.L.I.V.E. system.

One of moves that has brought both praise and criticism was the decision to stick to a DVD medium. Lord notes that the decision was made for several reasons:

Less than a year ago we realized that we were already at 10 CD's and going up. Having played Exile, and hating the swapping of disks involved, I could not see anyone enjoying their Myst IV experience swapping between that number of CD's. From that point on, the decision to produce Myst on DVD's was evident.

We felt that more and more people have DVD's, and for those who don't the price is very reasonable. Furthermore, we all know that more and more games are going to come out on DVD's in a very near future. Hopefully, Myst IV will do for DVD's what Myst did for the CD format.

Lord also discusses working with music designers Peter Gabriel and Jack Wall. Other topics discussed include the puzzles, FMV creation, and the possibility of yet another Myst title.

Adventure Gamers - Genevieve Lord - Myst IV interview
Myst IV Revelation
Buy Myst IV Revelation

Activison and Nielsen Test In-Game Advertising
8:14 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

While official product placement in video games has been tried before, Activision, Nielsen Entertainment, and the Chrysler Group are taking it a bit further. Using the recently released Tony Hawk's Underground 2 title, they will be studying a selected group of gamers in order to develop a standardized measuring system for in-game advertising effectiveness.

The test will take place over late 2004 to early 2005, during which Nielsen Entertainment will collect and process the data on a daily basis. Nielsen Entertainment also will conduct pre- and post-test surveys to understand perceptions of in-game advertising, as well as the impact on brand awareness and recall.
The study is significant to game publishers in particular, as folks in the entertainment industry are well aware of how much money can be leveraged from advertising deals.

In addition to the current study, Nielsen and Activision have also released the results of another study that compares integrated ad effectiveness between TV and video games. The results of that can be read at the recently released PR statement.

Activision and Nielsen Entertainment Announce Pioneering Test to Measure How Consumers Interact With Ads in Video Games

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BF1942 Mod Desert Combat Final Released
6:00 AM | Conrad Quilty-Harper | Comment on this story

Desert Combat, the massive total conversion for Battlefield 1942, has reached final candidate status, and has been released to the public. This mod updates the World War 2 theme of Battlefield 1942 with modern day tanks, jeeps, helicopters and planes which can be played on larger and more complex maps, as well as the maps included with the full version of the game. Completion of the title has been a long time coming - the final version of the title, originally scheduled for 45 days after the release of the game's last version, came 210 days late.

Here's an section from a Q&A session with the mod developers at

bread: When .7 was released and everyone began counting the days until .8, what truly was going on behind the scenes?

SW: After the release of 0.7, the future of DC was very uncertain, so some of us decided to keep working on it just in case we were allowed to produce another build. We worked on it as we would have with any other DC build up until about 0.8b. When it became known that any release of 0.8 would not be official, several devs left development. A few of the devs stuck around to continue working on releasing a proper version to end production of the mod, and some testers contributed new material/fixed bugs/etc.

Unfortunately, a Mac version of the final release is currently unavailable; hopefully a version with a mac compatible installer will be made available soon. Until then, version 0.7 can be downloaded from through the link below. The full Q&A at is also available along with the PC/Linux version of the mod. Navigate your browser to the links below for more.

Battlefield 1942 Final
DC Final PC/Linux Download
Aspyr Media
Battlefield 1942: Deluxe Edition
Buy Battlefield 1942: Deluxe Edition

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The Fool And His Money Rounding The Corner
6:00 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

In an email to his long-time fans, legendary puzzle creator Cliff Johnson has announced that his upcoming sequel to one of the Mac's most loved puzzle game, The Fool's Errand, is unfortunately being delayed... again.

Entitled The Fool And His Money, the sequel picks up where the original left off, with players tasked with helping The Fool navigate puzzles, riddles, word games, and various other mind games. Gameplay for the new title will be similar in style to the previous version of the game, but with more elaborate puzzles, and a deeper and richer environment.

The overworked programmer, who has been labouring solo over the title for almost two years straight, has regrettably admitted that adding the final polish to the game will put its delivery past its October 31st deadline -

My dear long-suffering True Believer,

Another note from the Fool who cried “Game!” Defanged and declawed, I struggle tooth and nail to finish the modest sequel that no one more than me is waiting to see. Now things look like the end of November or beginning of December. I appreciate your continuing patience and support, and if misery loves company, remember, there’s no one suffering more than me.

Readers who may not remember the original game, or who would like to revisit the classic "metapuzzle", can download the first version of the game, along with Cliff's other Macintosh titles, At The Carnival and 3 In Three for free from his website. The Classic-friendly titles are available through the links below.

The Fool And His Money, which can be pre-ordered from Cliff's website for $39.99 US, is will be shipping on a Mac/PC hybrid disc when it's ready. Stay tuned to IMG for further news on the long-awaited title.

The Fool And His Money
Download Cliff's Previous Games

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New Warcraft III Free Map
6:00 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

The creative people at Blizzard Entertainment keep on feeding the fans of their popular real-time strategy game Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne with new game content. This time around, there's yet another, Blizzard-created multiplayer map at the game's Bonus Map web site page. The map, called Echo Isles, is suited for 1v1 duels:

Though these islands are surrounded by deep and treacherous waters, they have seen little peace. Many of the creatures dwelling here are refugees from the war. They have nothing left to lose. Don't expect a warm welcome.
To download this map, as well as all previously-released bonus maps, head over to the map page linked below.

Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
Warcraft III Bonus Maps
Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

French Version Of MacMAME Updated
6:00 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Brad Oliver, revered programmer, Star Wars fanatic, and all-around good guy has updated the French version of his MacMAME emulator.

MacMAME is the Mac-friendly version of the Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator. Maintained by the non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of arcade videogames, MacMAME allows players to emulate certain gaming hardware for the purpose of playing older arcade and console titles. The Mac version of the emulator, which celebrated its sixth birthday earlier this month, "...emulates the inner workings of arcade game machines (by) fooling the original program code, contained in ROM chips, into thinking they are running inside the real machine when in reality they are running on your Mac."

The new version of the emulator, 0.87B, brings the French application up to speed with its English cousin. Both the English and French versions of the emulator are available through the link below -


Championship Manager 5 Delayed
6:00 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Further to the rumors circulating earlier this summer, British publishing giants Eidos officially announced on Monday that the PC version of the next addition to their extremely popular soccer management sim franchise has been delayed.

Originally slated for October, the release date for the PC version of Championship Manager 5 has been pushed back at least until the holiday season. In their press release, the troubled game company warned that the game's release may be delayed even further:

Eidos is continuing to work towards release of the PC version of the game shortly before Christmas, although this may extend into the New Year. As previously stated, the much-anticipated XBox and PS2 versions of Championship Manager 5 remain firmly on track for release in Spring 2005 and the online version will be available through subscription shortly after the PC game's release.
The struggling publishing behemoth also confirmed reports that Eidos' Board of Executives are continuing discussions in regards to the company's sale. No offers have yet been made for the publishers, although officials are "currently in the process of selecting a preferred counterparty."

While there's been no official word on a Mac port of the new title, hopeful fans can look to publishing mavens Feral Interactive, who have published the last three versions of the soccer sim.

Eidos: Championship Manager 05 Delayed
Feral Interactive

Mac Games News for Monday, October 18, 2004

SwitchXS 1.6: Game Savvy Assistive Technology Released12:19 PM
Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons To Ship October 25th10:17 AM
A Tale in the Desert II Q&A9:34 AM
8th Wonder of the World Discovered on the Mac8:24 AM
Gamesome Mac Talks with Indie Games Con Devs8:24 AM
New Return to Dark Castle Beta Available8:24 AM
World of Warcraft Halloween Contests Underway8:24 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, October 18, 2004 on one page

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