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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

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MWSF: Keynote Highlights
1:06 PM | Eddie Park | 1 comment

The Macworld 2006 Keynote has come and gone, and as always, Steve Jobs has managed to up the bar in several areas once again. Of chief interest to Mac gamers should be the new hardware announcements, including a new iMac and a new laptop. The new iMac sports the much-anticipated Intel Core Duo processor, meaning that all new iMacs from this point forward will be running dual-core processors. Rounding out the hardware specs are 512MB of RAM (expandable to 2GB), a HD capacity of up to 500GB, and an ATI Radeon X1600 PCI-E with 128MB GDDR3. Other features include a built-in iSight and FrontRow w/Remote. Current configurations include a 17-inch 1.83GHz model for $1299, and a 20-inch 2.0GHz model for $1699. Both models are available as of today.

The new laptop, dubbed the MacBook Pro, also runs on the new Intel Core Duo processor. Touted by Apple to deliver as much as 4 times the power of the PowerBook G4, the addition of a 667MHz front-side bus, 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 PCI-E GPU with either 128 or 256MB GDDR3 helps it keep that promise. The 15.4-inch screen is also improved, with a 67% improvement in brightness that brings it up to spec with Apple's Cinema displays. A new power cord, dubbed the MagSafe connector, attaches to the MacBook magnetically, which allows it to pop out safely the next time the dog runs over the power cord. Like the new iMac, the MacBook Pro sports a built-in iSight and FrontRow w/Remote. The current target date for the MacBook is February, though Apple is taking orders as of now.

Apple has also seen fit to create its own FM Tuner for the iPod, dubbed the iPod Radio Remote. Besides allowing iPod owners to tune into FM stations, the device also doubles as an attached remote.

On the software end, updates have been made to both iWork and the iLife suite. Now dubbed iLife '06, this latest version boasts some significant updates in addition to the usual tweaks and theme additions. iPhoto now boasts greatly improved speed and the capacity to hold 250,000 photos. In addition, Apple has introduced Photocasting, which allows for the direct sharing of photo albums via .Mac. A brand new app, iWeb, joins the suite, and gives iLife users the option to create good-looking web pages with minimal effort. iWeb is tightly integrated with the rest of iLife, allowing the importation of photos, movies, sounds, and even Podcasts. A simple drag-and-drop interface helps keep creation easy.

Highlights of the Keynote included Jobs rapidly cutting off a Faith Hill song with a muttered "thank you" when demoing the adding of iTunes store links via iWeb, Intel's CEO Paul Ottelini arriving on stage in a clean suit to confirm the pact between Apple and Intel, and the premiere showing of Apple's new Intel processor ad, which tells a mournful tale of the Intel chip having been trapped in "boring grey boxes, performing boring little tasks," now liberated by its arrival into the Mac lineup (of course). The ad was so well-received it had to be run twice.

MWSF 2006

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MWSF: Keynote Photo Gallery Posted
1:10 PM | Andy Largent | 1 comment

IMG has posted a photo gallery from day one of Macworld San Francisco 2006, featuring 30+ pictures of Steve Jobs' keynote address. Be sure to check it out for snaps of the Apple CEO in action, and also have a read through the keynote highlights, linked below.

IMG MWSF: Keynote Photo Gallery
IMG MWSF: Keynote Highlights
MWSF 2006

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Civizilation IV Status
12:24 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The latest newsletter from Aspyr Media contains an interesting bit of information regarding the status of Civilization IV, that latest creation in Sid Meier's famous series. Here's the scoop:

Civ 4 has been an interesting project; it uses several external code libraries ("middleware") on the PC, all of which we had to find or build Mac versions of. For everything from graphics & networking to sound, video, and user interface, we've had to work out licenses and in some cases port library code to OS X. The reviews for Civ 4 on the PC continue to be incredible, so we are very excited about bringing such a great game to the Mac.
For more info, check out the newsletter now and stay tuned to IMG for the latest word from Macworld this week.

Aspyr's December Newsletter
Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV

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Dark Horizons: Lore Invasion Q&A
12:18 PM | Evan Holt | Comment on this story

The Junkyard a site dedicated to various action games such as Halo, have posted an interview that they had with Adrian Wright, and the expansion that he is working on for Dark Horizons entitled Lore Invasion

DH: Lore Invasion puts the player into the very mind of the most lethal war machines ever to engage combat in the war-torn Earth of 2155. Connected by a remote neural link, you control your Mechanized Assault Vehicle (MAV) in a squad of allied warriors while seeking to claim soil for the faction to which youve pledged your allegiance. Can you lead your people to peace in a harsh universe where reflexes and nerves of steel are the touchstones of victory? Or will your enemy overpower you with superior resolve and unrelenting firepower? How will you write the Lore of the future?

The Junkyard - Dark Horizons: Lore Invasion Q & A
GarageGames - Dark Horizons:Lore Invasion
Dark Horizons: Lore

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Feral's Macworld Plans
12:18 PM | Evan Holt | Comment on this story

If you are attending Macworld, visit Feral Interactive at booth #2616. Team Feral will have hands-on experiences with all of their latest releases, complemented by the best force-feedback steering wheels and joypads Logitech has to offer.

There will also be Commandos 2 multiplayer tournaments in the games arcade throughout the show

Feral Interactive at Macworld
Feral Interactive

Sketchfighter, Redline Progress Updates
12:18 PM | Evan Holt | 1 comment

Ambrosia Software have updated the progress logs on both of their upcoming games.

Beta #2 of SketchFighter 4000 Alpha, an OpenGL space shooter on sketch paper is just wrapping up, while beta #8 of Redline an arcade racer, adds numerous bug fixes, a Porchce, a snow track and an iTunes controller.

Check out both progress logs for further updates.

Ambrosia's Sketchfighter progress log
Ambrosia's Redline progress log
Ambrosia Software
SketchFighter 4000 Alpha

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Battle for Wesnoth 1.0.2 Fixes Numerous Issues
7:55 AM | Evan Holt | 2 comments

Battle for Wesnoth was updated to version 1.0.2 today to fix numerous issues. Please consult the changelog for updates.

Battle for Wesnoth is a fantasy focused turn-based strategy game with units carrying over and gaining experience between scenarios. Both single player campaigns and multiplayer games are supported. This game is currently being actively developed, but is already at in a highly playable state. Although cross platform in nature, great effort is being put into making the application as Mac-like as possible on this platform.

Battle for Wesnoth 1.0.2 update
Battle for Wesnoth changelog
Battle For Wesnoth

Eurogamer Interviews John Carmack
7:55 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Eurogamer posted an interview with id Software's John Carmack about Doom RPG, for the mobile phone. After years of developing top tier titles for gamers with many bells and whistles, Carmack decided to go in a new direction by developing this Doom I spinoff for mobile phones. In addition, Carmack comments on the Doom movie and hints at possible future game developments.

Eurogamer: How much personal creative involvement did you have with DoomRPG, and what inspired you to do a mobile phone-only Doom in the first place?

John Carmack: Getting into this was really a sort of random event - a year ago, I rarely carried a cell phone, and it was just an old black and white clunker. When my wife gave me a new mid-range phone with a decent colour display and some bad game demos on it, I had my curiosity piqued a little about the platform. It turned out to be really easy to develop Java applications for the phone, so I played around a little bit and started thinking about what elements would make a good game for the platform.

I wrote a proof-of-concept demo of the basic rendering and play style, and then turned it over to Fountainhead Entertainment to develop into a full game. I did some additional programming work when we started on the BREW version, and I acted as the producer for the project.

Please follow the links below to read the interview.

Eurogamer: John Carmack Interview
id Software

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New Burning Crusade Screenshots
7:55 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has released three new screenshots from The Burning Crusade, the eagerly awaited first expansion for the overwhelmingly successful MMORPG World of Warcraft. Burning Crusade will raise the level limits, introduce two new player races, and add never before seen areas to the WoW world.

To check out the new screens and learn more about the expansion click on the links below.

The Burning Crusade Screenshots
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

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WoW: The Race To Open Ahn'Qiraj
7:55 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The latest patch for Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft added a generous amount of new content for gamers to enjoy. Perhaps most notable of the new additions are The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj, two massive new unique dungeon instances. In order to unlock the new dungeons players on each server must work together to gather enough supplies for the "war effort."

To honor the hard work of the players, and give everyone a chance to keep an eye on the competition, Blizzard has created an Ahn'Qiraj War Effort Rankings page devoted to tracking the progress of the various servers.

The race is on! Horde and Alliance players across all realms are diligently gathering supplies and contributing to the war effort. What realm will be first to turn in all the resources, craft the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, unlock the gates, and take the war to the Silithid?
Click on the link below to check on the progress of a server near you.

Ahn'Qiraj War Effort Rankings
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Monday, January 9, 2006

ATI At Macworld Expo12:45 PM
Chessmaster 9000 Updated12:41 PM
KavaSoft To Announce iConquer With Intel Support12:36 PM
Call of Duty 2 Officially Announced10:21 AM
Big Fish Games Acquires "Fairies" Developer6:52 AM
Ghost Master Reviewed6:52 AM
IMG Podcast Episode 11 Released6:52 AM
MacWorld Reviews The Sims 2: University6:52 AM
Second Life Reaches 100,000 Members6:52 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, January 9, 2006 on one page

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