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Monday, May 16, 2005

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America's Army Update, Mac Version Soon
9:40 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The U.S. Army today announced the release of America's Army: Special Forces (Q-Course). Version 2.4 of the free online shooter includes the first-ever combination of random spawns with random and dynamic objectives, together with carryable objectives and random extraction points. Q-Course also contains four new Special Forces missions and two new weapons - the Door Breacher and the Bunker Defeat Munitions (BDM).

IMG contacted Epic's Ryan Gordon, who maintains the Mac version of America's Army, about the Mac version of 2.4. Gordon says that he is currently working on the new update and should be available shortly.

Here's a list of new features:

Random Player Starts:
In America's Army players have always started at the same location when
beginning a round in a multiplayer map. In Q-Course players will start
randomly between predetermined locations on the new levels. This allows
for a more realistic game experience, increases replayability and helps to
limit the predictability of enemy placement and routes. Random Player
Starts will also enhance the current game by putting more emphasis on
strategy rather than the memorization of map geometry. It will also reduce
the negative impact of exploits such as grenade spamming.

Random Objective Locations:
In Q-Course the location of objectives will change for each round, and can
move around between any number of possible positions. With the addition
of random objectives, the locations change from one round to the next,
forcing the need for both Assault and Defense teams to search for the
objective. This new feature promotes replayablilty and helps to enhance
strategy in game play.

Inventory Objective Type:
Q-Course features an all new objective type in which objectives can be
transportable in maps (via a player's inventory), requiring their delivery to
specified locations. These Œinventory objectives' can be picked up,
dropped (upon death), and passed on to other teammates. Inventory
objectives provide a new style of objective-based gameplay by adding
another dimension to objective completion. These objectives must be
picked up and taken to a specific location in order to be considered
complete. If a player dies while carrying one of these objectives, it drops,
and must be retrieved by another teammate to continue the mission. These
objective types also take advantage of random objectives, by moving the
drop point/pickup point of the inventory objective to different locations
from one round to another.

NPC Conversation Objective Type:
This feature allows a qualified player to help their team by speaking with
NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) placed randomly around the level in
order to gain intelligence about the whereabouts of the mission's main
objectives. Talking with the NPCs will help the team locate the randomly
placed objectives in the level. Once a qualified player speaks to an NPC in
the level, the mission's main objective location will show up on their
team's HUD compass as normal.

Special Forces A-Team Videos:
Included with this release of America's Army are all new Special Forces
informational videos. These 7 videos describe each SF MOS (Military
Occupational Specialty) in detail as well as show some exclusive footage
of the Special Forces A-Team members in action. There is one video for
each member in the standard Special Forces ODA (Operational
Detachment Alpha - or 'A-Team'). These 7 SF MOS team members are as
follows: 18A - Detachment Commander, 18B - Weapons Sergeant, 18C -
Engineering Sergeant, 18D - Medical Sergeant, 18E - Communications
Sergeant, 18F - Intel Sergeant, and 18Z - Team Sergeant,

These videos are included in the v2.4.0 Full Install and can be accessed
using the desktop shortcut created or by navigating to the 'America's
Army\System' directory and double clicking the 'SF_MOS_Videos.exe'

Multiplayer Missions
Q-Course includes four Special Forces multiplayer missions. Two of these
missions, SF Courtyard and SF Precious Cargo Recovery, contain both the
Special Forces playable Soldier class, as well as the Indigenous Forces
playable class. The other two missions, SF Blizzard and SF Water
Treatment, are 'SF Exclusive' containing only the Special Forces playable
Soldier class.

SF Courtyard: In this daytime rural village mission players must
interrogate informants to find the location of a laptop computer containing
information about terrorist operatives. Once secured, the Assault team
must then reach the extraction point with this laptop. The Defense team is
trying to prevent the other team from securing and extracting with the
laptop. This mission's spawn points, NPC objectives, laptop objective, and
extraction points - are all randomly selected each round.

SF PCR (Precious Cargo Recovery): In this night urban mission both
teams must race to retrieve a briefcase containing sensitive information
about terrorist operatives. Each team must locate and secure this briefcase
and then carry it to their extraction point successfully. The team that
successfully extracts with the briefcase in-hand wins. This mission's
spawn points, briefcase objective, and extraction points (1 per team) - are
all randomly selected each round.

SF Blizzard: Soldiers must gain entry and assault a remote enemy
compound in this night mission set in a snowy Alpine forest environment.
This map has 2 different objective scenarios which are randomly selected
each round. In one scenario the Soldiers must either destroy or protect the
electrical power station. The alternate scenario requires the Soldiers to
either deactivate or protect the radio communications equipment.

SF Water Treatment: A night urban mission where players must either
protect or secure containers of radiological material stored in various
locations within an urban complex. The Assaulting team must gain entry
to the building, locate and secure the radioactive material container, and
then reach the extraction point successfully with the container. The
Defending team must protect and prevent extraction of this sensitive

New Weapons
M141 Bunker Defeat Munitions (BDM): The M141 BDM, or Bunker
Defeat Munitions, is a shoulder-fired rocket designed to defeat fortified
positions, bunkers, and light armor. The BDM is given to the 18C SF
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) Soldier (Engineering Sgt.) but can
be used by any member of the SF A-Team. The BDM can be used
anywhere, but will have specific targets designed as objectives or
obstacles. These specific targets will be identified by a HUD message that
will appear when the player's crosshair moves over the object. The BDM
can be an advantageous tool to use in order to tactically and efficiently
gain entry into the enemy's compound.

AGP-DB14 Door Breacher: The Door Breacher is an explosive device
designed to achieve entry on locked or un-operable doors. Another MOS-
specific weapon, the Door Breacher will be issued only to the 18C SF
MOS Soldier (Engineering Sgt.). The Door Breacher will be usable on
designated locked doors in the new missions. The player will be able to
identify valid targets by a ŒBreachable' message that will appear on the
player's HUD. The Door Breaching can be an advantageous tool to use in
order to tactically and efficiently gain entry into enemy restricted areas.

More Features
Updated Game Engine:
The entire America's Army game is now running on an updated version of
the Unreal Engine - Unreal Engine 2.5. This updated engine code base
provides several enhancements to the game engine in several areas
including efficiency (optimizations), security, stability, bug fixes, new
gameplay feature infrastructure, etc.

Updated User Interface:
As part of the new engine code base update, many new user interface
specific enhancements were implemented. The v2.4 User Interface has
been overhauled Œunder the hood' to take advantage of these new engine
optimizations and functionality. The game's new UI will look very
similar; however it will run much more efficiently and utilize some of the
new features of the new engine.

For more information on America's Army, please follow the link below.

U.S Army
Epic Games
America's Army: Special Forces 2.4

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IMG Reviews The Logitech MX1000 Laser Mouse
1:10 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of the Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse, the world's first laser mouse. This rechargeable mouse boasts to have 20x more sensitivity to surface detail—or tracking power—than optical. To check out our review, please follow the link below.

IMG Review: MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse

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MacSoft And IMG Team Up For Treasure Hunt!
9:55 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacSoft and IMG are teaming up for a super cool treasure hunt to celebrate the upcoming release of Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, scheduled for May 19th. On each day of this week, IMG will be posting a clue. Each clue will lead you to a particular game page on the MacSoft website. On the game page, you’ll have to hunt for a hidden item. It might be some odd text, maybe a picture, or something else altogether. When you find the hidden item-click on it. You’ll receive a piece of a word puzzle. On Friday, we’ll tell you how to solve the puzzle.

The first person to solve the puzzle and complete the hunt will win a treasure trove of MacSoft games including Rise of Nations, Railroad Tycoon 3, Close Combat: First to Fight and, of course, Tropico 2: Pirate Cove.

Here's today's clue:

Ahoy landlubbers! Bring a spring upon yer browser's cables and set yer sails for the gold road. Bring this letter of Marque to MacSoft's Tropico 2 page and have a wheel about. No hornswagglin'
One prize package will be awarded. Any information collected will be used solely for the purpose of awarding the prize. Prize winner will be determined by the editors of Inside Mac Games. Anyone caught cheating will be forced to walk the plank!

When you're ready, head over to the MacSoft site to find the first clue!

Tropico 2: Pirate Cove
Buy Tropico 2: Pirate Cove

Warcraft III Bonus Map Released
9:53 AM | Franklin Pride | Comment on this story

Blizzard has released another Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne bonus map called Hurricane Isle. This new map features dozens of small islands with goblin shops everywhere. It is recommended for 3v3, 4v4, or FFA.

New Warcraft III Bonus Map - Hurricane Isle
In one of the most tumultuous and dangerous parts of the ocean lies an isle run by goblins. Their whole lot in life is to sell zeppelins to wayward seafarers whose ships were destroyed by perilous hurricanes common to these waters.
To download Hurricane Isle, just head on over to the links section.

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

Torque Shooter Legends Seeks Mac Developer
9:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

News at the newly designed GarageGames website includes information on a freeware shooter called Legends: The Game. While the team behind Legends currently supports Windows and Linux executables, they are looking for a Mac developer to help get an OS X version up-to-speed.

Having just entered a public beta phase, Legends it looking to round off the hard edges as well as include Mac users before its final release. Here's more on the gameplay itself:

Gameplay is not the strafe-strafe-jump-strafe-shoot-strafe-run-like-hell style a lot of games espouse; the addition of a jetpack adds a third dimension of mobility that makes skill, forethought, and restraint necessities to winning.

Team sizes are ideal between 10 and 15 on each side, and the network code allows 56k upwards to play smoothly. Game type offerings range from the classic Capture the Flag, Deathmatch and Duel to our own new types, e.g.. 'War'.

If you think you're up to the task of helping the team out with some Mac programming know-how, check out the Legends site now. With the Torque engine the game is based on already cross-platform, hopefully the task should be already greatly underway.

Legends: The Game
GarageGames News: Legends in Beta

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World of Warcraft Battleground Revealed: Warsong Gulch
9:44 AM | Franklin Pride | Comment on this story

The World of Warcraft team has posted a preview of Warsong Gulch.. Warsong Gulch is designed for small, balanced teams, and a game of Warsong will not start without the requisite 10 members per side. The goal is to take the other team's flag and bring it back to your own base while your flag remains intact. A capture wins the round, and three captures wins the battle.

The development team is hard at work putting the finishing touches on this, the second battleground. Alterac Valley is designed to be the epic battle, with teams of 40 fighting each other for domination, while Warsong Gulch is meant to be the 10-man-team mini-campaign. A maximum of 20 people, 10 per side, may enter into a game of Warsong Gulch.

By releasing Warsong Gulch with Alterac Valley, we want to demonstrate that a battleground's core focus is fun and engaging team gameplay. Everything else is flexible.

To view the complete preview, visit the links section.

Warsong Gulch Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

GarageGames Site Redesign, WarZone Demo Available
9:40 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GarageGames has recently released a WarZone demo for their Torque engine. Using version 1.4 of the TGE, the demo uses and showcases a number of third-party toolsets and packs, such as the Ragdoll Animation Pack and the Bravetree: Tank Pack.

The demo's apocalyptic journey through a war-torn future showcases the robust Torque cross-platform development environment. The Torque Game Engine confirms its premiere position as the most powerful and liberally licensed AAA game engine technology with this richly imagined production.
Showing off the cross-platform nature of Torque, demos for both Windows and OS X are available for download. Those interested can find links to both at GG's site.

In other news, GG has also recently redesigned their main site, giving the overall scheme a new look as well as adding a Google search engine for easier navigation.

GarageGames - WarZone Explodes Out of the Garage

El Ballo Release Candidate Today?
9:40 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

According to its progress log at Ambrosia Software, El Ballo is quickly heading towards release candidate status. Currently being polished and refined, El Ballo's RC date was last set for today, though this has yet to be officially confirmed.

Still not ready to ship the release candidate, we're shooting for Monday now. The reason is that we're still polishing off some aspects of the levels, experimenting with a few things - mostly the boss levels, trying to find a perfect balance between too hard and too easy.
An action-platformer skewed towards the adult crowd, El Ballo mixes action and puzzles in 21 different levels, and features hand-drawn animation and a CD quality soundtrack. More information can be found at Ambrosia's upcoming section.

Ambrosia - El Ballo Progress Log
Ambrosia - Upcoming Titles

Mac Games News for Friday, May 13, 2005 Free Game Offer Extended2:55 PM
IMG Posts One on One With Glenda Adams2:42 PM
WarZone Demo Shows Off Torque Game Engine 1.412:27 PM
Postal 2 Expansion Coming Soon10:59 AM
Aspyr To Preview Star Wars Battlefront In Austin, TX10:16 AM
World of Warcraft Upcoming Features Page Updated9:57 AM
MacCentral Checks Out The Xbox 3608:49 AM
Custer Is Doomed Again8:41 AM
Rise of Legends Revealed, Mac Version?8:33 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, May 13, 2005 on one page

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