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Tuesday, December 7, 2004

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GameSpy Dropping Mac Support?
9:04 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Macintosh version of America's Army is facing a major delay that could ultimately seal its doom. In a recent post to his web page, developer Ryan Gordon said that they no longer have a license to the GameSpy SDK. GameSpy, which is the most popular player matching service on the PC, allows gamers to join into thousands of games online. Unfortunately the GameSpy problem facing America's Army Mac will affect other Macintosh games such as Aspyr's Men of Valor as well.

Here is Gordon's post:

The Mac build is suffering from a serious problem...we don't have a license to use GameSpy's SDK on the Mac anymore, for reasons I won't get into here. For a purely-multiplayer game, this complicates things, to say the least. There are some minor contingency plans in place, but this means more delays. I know you all love waiting, sorry about this.
According to one industry source, GameSpy recently significantly increased the licensing fees for Mac gaming companies. According to the source, this may be a squeeze play on GameSpy part to "get out of the Mac business all together. This is basically GameSpy's way of dropping Mac support". The situation is so dire that one Mac game company we talked to recently is considering cancelling a port of a "major PC" title unless a workaround to GameSpy can be found. One option may be to provide Mac-to-Mac networking only. Another option would be to somehow circumvent the GameSpy license and get the required server list through an alternative "unofficial" method.

The impact of GameSpy's pricing tactics could be devastating to the Mac gaming market. A number of recent games on the Mac such as Battlefield 1942, Medal of Honor: Breakthrough, Neverwinter Nights, and others use GameSpy.

One upcoming game of note is Aspyr's Men of Valor, which is also being ported to the Mac for Aspyr by Ryan Gordon. According to Glenda Adams, because of GameSpy's tactics, the company is being forced to drop PC to Mac support via GameSpy:

We feel the game has a strong enough single player aspect that it will be a great Mac game, even though the primary multiplayer play will be Mac to Mac only. We're disappointed we can't secure a license from GameSpy for Men of Valor Mac, but we're going to do everything possible to build and foster a great Mac online community for Men of Valor. We're also researching options for mac to PC LAN play and direct IP connections without GameSpy.
So what will this mean to the Mac gaming market in the long run? Unless GameSpy changes its tune, Mac gaming companies will be forced to provide Mac to Mac networking only.

IMG is considering forming a formal protest against GameSpy. Stay tuned.

Ryan Gordon's web site
U.S Army
Epic Games
America's Army: Special Forces 2.4

Giga Designs, Sonnet Announce 1.7 GHz G4 Upgrades
12:12 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Long live the G4 processor! Giga Designs and Sonnet have both announced upgrades that utilize Motorola Freescale's fastest G4 processors. Giga Designs debuted six new G-celerator products, including two G4 Cube-compatible models and two dual processor models for AGP Power Macs. Sonnet introduced one upgrade each for G4 towers and the G4 Cube, each running at 1.7 GHz, while lowering prices on its other G4 upgrades by up to $100.

Both companies use the PowerPC 7447A processor, which does not have an L3 cache, but features 512 KB L2 cache. On Giga Designs' dual processor models, each processor is fitted with 512 KB L2 cache.

Giga Designs' single and dual processor upgrades start at $449 and $699, respectively. Sonnet's 1.7 GHz Encore/ST upgrades each has an MSRP of $499. Both companies list a December 2004 availability date for their products.

For more information and full compatibility listing, please visit Giga Designs' and Sonnet's website.

Giga Designs Press Release
Giga Designs
Sonnet Technologies Press Release

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True Crime: Streets of L.A. In Beta Testing
11:51 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

The upcoming action game, True Crime: Streets of L.A. from Aspyr, is now in beta testing. In True Crime, you play an Ex-Cop who's out to rid the streets of Gangs, any way possible. Featuring deep fighting, shooting, and driving, it should satisfy any action fan out there. Here's a full list of features in the game:

• MULTIPLAYER - Battle friends online in 5 multiplayer modes.
• MORE FIGHTING - Take on some of LA's toughest criminals with brutal martial arts brawls - punches, kicks, combos and vicious finishing moves.
• MORE FIREPOWER - New weapons like rocket launchers and crossbows, with double-fisted firepower, precision targeting, 360-degree shooting and ferocious run'n'gun.
• MORE MUSIC - The most extensive collection of hip-hop music ever in a game with 50 original songs from Snoop Dogg, Westside Connection and more, with an additional 30 hard rock, metal and alternative tracks.
• DRIVE- Through 420 square miles of LA and a branching storyline, you never have to repeat the same mission twice.
For more information, follow the provided links below.

Mac True Crime in Beta Testing
True Crime: Streets of L.A.
Aspyr Media
Buy True Crime: Streets of L.A.

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New Torque Engine Light Effects Pack
11:50 AM | Conrad Quilty-Harper | Comment on this story

GarageGames in collaboration with game programmer John Kabus, have released a new version of the lighting pack for the Torque Gaming Engine. The game engine behind Marble Blast and Orbz, Torque is designed to encourage indie game developers. This latest add-on puts enhanced lighting effects at the fingertips of these developers.

This add-on pack includes:

-Dynamic particle system light objects support flicker and flash effects.
-Light editor allows real-time editing of light object datablocks.
-Enhanced lighting model creates vibrant worlds, and allows special effects such as overexposure and ´false´ specular lighting.
-Filtered relighting increases lighting performance.
-Interior lighting scale entity adds complex lighting details to selected surfaces.
-Static DTS objects cast shadows onto interiors and terrain.
-Environmental lighting options include direct sunlight, interior/terrain light map, and custom illumination.
More information about this pack and a demo version are available at the link below.

Synapse Gaming: Lighting Pack for TGE

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Virtual Programming Ships Spartan
10:11 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Freeverse Software and Virtual Programming today announced that it has begun shipping Spartan, ancient warfare game. Here's more from the official press release:

No soldiers of the ancient world were more renowned for their bravery or battle skills than the warriors of the Greek city of Sparta. Trained from boyhood, the citizens of Sparta had but only one vocation... war! A winner at the 2004 Independent Games Festival, Spartan combines empire building, turn-based strategy and 3-D battle graphics to bring history to life. Conquer Thebes, Corinth, Macedonia, the great hosts of Persia, or any one of a hundred different nations. Dozens of different units from Parthian archers to the feared Immortals will be yours to command as you build your empire with diplomacy, planning, and the sword.
Spartan requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, 16MB of Video RAM, and 600MB of Hard Disk space. Spartan was developed by Slitherine Studios, is published for the Mac by Virtual Programming and distributed in North America by Freeverse.

Virtual Programming
Buy Spartan

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Men of Valor Moves to First Playable
8:21 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Aspyr's game project status page now shows Men of Valor to be in First Playable status. A title by the creators of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Men of Valor takes as its backdrop the Vietnam War, with battles taking place both in jungles and urban settings.

Some of its listed features are as follows:

  • Experience the Real Vietnam War- from Jungle-Based Ambushes to Intense Urban Firefights
  • Unique Battle Chatter Audio-Re-creates the Chaotic Nature of Combat
  • Exclusive Soundtrack From The Vietnam Era Including James Brown, The Mamas and the Papas and More!
  • 13 Action-Packed Combat Missions Spanning Four Authentic Operations
  • Rich Detailed Environments and Realistic Weaponry
  • Pick Your Tour of Duty-Single-Player Campaign or Multiplayer Online Combat for up to 24 Players
Men of Valor is currently set for a release date of February 2005. More information can be found at Aspyr's site.

Aspyr - Project Status
Aspyr Media
Men of Valor

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Gordon on Duke3D Expansion, Network Issues
8:21 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ryan Gordon has updated IcculusFinger with more information on the recently released OS X installer for Duke Nukem 3D. First off, he notes that there may be some installation problems with newer discs made by 3D Realms, and that he intends to attempt to reproduce and resolve the issue.

He also notes that the TCP/IP networking is flaky, and that it's a use-at-your-own-risk feature.

I might add a UI to start a game at some point, but I don't plan to make the protocol robust for internet play. Send patches, not questions.
He ends by acknowledging the requests for Duke it out in DC, and responds that he will attempt to get it working when he can spare the time.

Those interested in downloading the Duke Nukem 3D installer can get it directly from IcculusFinger.

Duke Nukem 3D

Mac Games News for Monday, December 6, 2004

IMG Store: Call of Duty: United Offensive, Athena Sword Ship11:37 AM
Halo Update Coming Soon11:28 AM
IMG Reviews World of Warcraft11:09 AM
Apple Posts BF1942: Secret Weapons Trailer10:24 AM
Rainbow Six 4 Announced10:23 AM
Aspyr Reports CSI Released to Stores9:12 AM
PuppyGames Releases Super Dudester7:53 AM
The Gamesome Mac Hosts the uDevGames Awards Show7:53 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, December 6, 2004 on one page

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