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Friday, January 13, 2006

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MWSF: Freeverse To Publish Legion Arena
10:44 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 13 comments

Freeverse today announced they will be bringing Slitherine Software's Legion Arena to the Mac in the spring. The game is a role-playing strategy game on a massive scale where you take control of a small band of warriors and train them to become the mightiest army in the world. Legion Arena was designed to maximize fun and minimize micro-management.

Here's more from the press release:

Legion Arena was designed to maximize fun and minimize micro-management. The player can jump right in and start training legions to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. With a shallow learning-curve and deep strategy and tactics, Legion Arena is the ideal game for novice or experienced wargamers.

Buy equipment and choose from over 100 skills, personalize the appearance of your squads, earn experience and denari for your victories, Legion Arena takes the best elements of Role-Playing games and puts it in the context of an epic strategic struggle.

Play as either the Romans or the Gauls in over 100 scenarios and with over 20 unique units including Praetorians, Elephants, and Naked Fanatics. That's right, Naked Fanatics!

Ian Lynch Smith, President of Freeverse has said, "Slitherine's dedication to finding the proper balance between historical accuracy and sheer martial fun is unsurpassed. We're thrilled to be able to bring their latest and greatest effort to Mac gamers around the world."

"We are really pleased that Freeverse will be helping us to bring Legion Arena to our MAC fans said JD McNeil Business Manager at Slitherine Software. "We are sure that players will enjoy the unique mix of Role-Play, Tactics and Strategy, and the ability to beat up their friends from all around the World in Multi Player Mode."

Loaded Inc recently posted a review of the game and scored a lofty 9 out of 10. To learn more about this upcoming Mac game, be sure to check out the review.

Legion Arena
Loaded Inc Review
Buy Legion Arena

MWSF: Original Mac Game Cup Winners Announced
10:56 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Freeverse has announced that Escort Wing, by William Hogben and Stephen Johnson has won the first OMG Cup. Second prize goes to Matt Diamond for Pawns and third place is awarded to Will Thimbleby for Tracktor Beam.

The OMG Cup is a new game programming contest established by iDevGames, in connection with Freeverse, to encourage unique Mac game development. The challenge of the contest was to create innovative Mac OS X games that emphasize engaging gameplay˜in only six weeks. A distinguished panel of industry-leading professional game developers, artists, and software engineers, selected the three winners based on a combination of gameplay, originality, and overall presentation

Ian Lynch Smith, President of Freeverse has said, "Working with to sponsor the Original Mac Games contest has been a fantasic experience.  Encouraging original Mac game development is the only way to keep the Mac a vital entertainment platform. I have been overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of games submitted during the furious six week contest.  It's an exciting time to be in Mac Games."

"The OMG Cup was created to recognize the need for original Mac games as well as to highlight the bright future of Mac gaming," said Carlos Camacho, Editor-in-Chief of iDevGames. "They, along with many talented independent game developers in our community, are advancing the state of Mac gaming at a grass-roots level."

To play the three winning OMG Cup 2005 games, and the many great 30-plus other entrants, visit the OMG Cup downloads page, linked below.

OMG Cup 2005 Downloads Page

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MWSF Photo Diary: Days Two and Three
8:02 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | 2 comments

Days two and three of the 2006 MacWorld Expo saw a flurry of activity for the hard working writers of IMG. Check out the photographic coverage of the second and third days of the Expo by clicking on the link below.

IMG MWSF 2006 Photo Diary - Days Two And Three
MWSF 2006

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Custer's Out Of This World Return
7:57 AM | Brad Custer | Comment on this story

IMG's resident desktop artist Brad Custer is back with an image inspired by Aspyr Media's upcoming title, QUAKE 4:

It's another year here at my section and the requests have not stopped while I was celebrating the holidays. Since the announcement a month ago that QUAKE 4 from Aspyr Media would be coming to the Mac my inbox has had a steady theme. All your letters have wanted a desktop for QUAKE 4. I was anxious to honor these requests since the Quake series is a personal favorite. This week's feature was created with the help of Aspyr Media and my trusty cable modem.
Head over to Custer's Desktops to check out his latest creation

IMG Desktops: Battle
Aspyr Media
Buy Quake 4

GarageGames Releases TubeTwist
7:55 AM | Evan Holt | Comment on this story

GarageGames and 21-6 Productions Inc. released a new game today entitled TubeTwist which is a puzzle game similar to The Incredible Machine or Mouse Trap. This game has five worlds, more than 80 levels and more than 30 types of tubes at your disposal to construct a machine to solve the mystery of a missing scientist.

This game is already a winner of three awards including the IndieGamesCon 2005 - Best Overall Game.

System requirements: OS X 10.3 or greater, G4 recommended, 64MB of RAM and an OpenGL compatible graphics card.

Tube Twist costs $19.95 U.S. Visit GarageGames' web site for more information and a demo.


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World of WarCraft 1.9.2 Patch Released
7:55 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Blizzard has released the 1.9.2 patch for World of WarCraft. This patch fixes a player stuttering bug in the game. As with previous updates, the new patch can be applied automatically in-game or manually downloaded.

The 1.9.2 patch will not support Mactels as previously reported. Instead, World of WarCraft will receive Mactel support in the 1.9.3 patch to be released later this month.

Had to make an adjustment here. It came to my attention today that another minor patch release for WoW is likely in the next few days or week, and that release will occupy the "1.9.2" name. In order to avoid disrupting the tight schedule for that patch, it is likely that the Mac universal binary release will be called "1.9.3" instead of "1.9.2". In more concrete terms we are aiming to have this patch available for Mac by the end of January.

Apologies for any confusion based on my post from this morning - as I am presently here at Macworld and away from the Blizzard mothership, I wasn't fully up to date on the plan.

Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Avernum 2.0 for OS X Released
7:55 AM | Evan Holt | 2 comments

Avernum 2.0 was released today from SpiderWeb Software which is fully OS X native. Avernum is a RPG with 16-bit graphics, 80 towns and dungeon levels, enormous outdoors areas, and an in-depth storyline.

Avernum 2.0 is a 9MB download, and only requires 10 MB free RAM, 20 MB hard drive space and an 800x600 screen resolution (16 bit color strongly recommended).

There is also a 2.0 patch that will bring your copy from version 1.0, 1.0.1 or 1.0.2 to version 2.0.

Spiderweb Software

New Maps From Mac Gaming Mods
7:55 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Mac Gaming Mods today released four new maps for Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield. Three of the four maps were designed for close quarter combat, while the fourth map focuses on sniping and stealth.

Break out the rush with these maps. Arcs Meatpacking, Hexed, and Over-Under were designed for quick firefights. Arcs Meatpacking is a modified version of the stock Meatpacking to encourage firefights. Hexed and Over-Under are small maps made for close quarter battling. Helius is a large map. This map is made for the long range battles.
In addition to Raven Shield maps, so far this month Mac Gaming Mods has released mods, tools, and maps for Ghost Recon, Call of Duty, Command & Conquer: Generals and its expansion.

Add more to your gaming experience by clicking on the link below to download the Mac gaming mods or to learn more information.

Mac Gaming Mods

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A Look Inside The Tower of Kharazhan
7:55 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzplanet has been granted an exclusive screenshot from Blizzard Entertainment's The Burning Crusade, the first expansion for the successful World of Warcraft. The screenshot displays one of the chambers inside the Tower of Kharazhan. Although the name has changed this tower is a link to the past. In the original Warcraft: Orcs and Humans it was known as the Tower of Medivh.

We recommend reading the book Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb before The Burning Crusade expansion to appreciate the depth of this fabulous Tower's history and lore. The quests in this instance will be mind-blowing with such rich lore.
To view the screenshot for yourself, and check out an excerpt from The Last Guardian, follow the link below.

Blizzplanet: Burning Crusade Screenshot
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

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Cosmic Encounter Interview
7:55 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Recently Gamecloud posted an interview with Peter Olotka, co-creator of Cosmic Encounter online, and designer of the original 1972 board game. Cosmic Encounter is a sci-fi themed card game which allows four players to battle for the right to colonize planets. The interview covers the game's origin and its modern revitalization as a online multiplayer title.

Gamecloud - How hard was it to adapt the board game to become an online title?

Peter Olotka - It was not as hard as we thought it would be. But conceptually -when you think about it, if we had had an internet in the 1970's, we would have made Cosmic Encounter as an online game. It is fussier to play as a board game then as an online game. The real breakthrough for Cosmic Online technically was FLASH. With Flash, we can update the game instantly, have a minimal download for players, make the whole game browser based.

Player ranking is another online feature that can't be done in the board game world. Members get instant rank by DAY, MONTH and YEAR. The Rank shows players thier top 10 best aliens, it shows Which alines were best as played by player and which players plaed each alien the best and it shows which BOTS played best. Bot rank is a good measure of the AI for each Alien bot.
To read the entire interview click on the following link.

Gamecloud: Cosmic Encounter Interview
Future Pastimes, LLC
Cosmic Encounter Online

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Dofus Reviewed
7:55 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has reviewed Dofus, the flash based MMORPG from French developer Ankama Studio. Using bright 2D graphics Dofus offers both hardcore and casual gamers a low cost heroic fantasy world. The majority of the game operates in real-time, but combat action unfolds in turn based fashion to allow for more strategic planning. gave Dofus an overall score of 7.1 out of 10.

From the review:

The Dofus world is undoubtedly beautiful in its own way. If you are looking for a game with cutting edge graphics, stay far away from this game. Everything is done with simple 2-dimensional sprites, which are animated well enough. The environments have a beautiful, hand-drawn look to them, and the game certainly has an anime theme and inspiration behind it. Some may enjoy this simplicity, while others may be put off by it, but there is no denying it all looks great.
The full review can be found at the link below. Dofus Review
Dofus Official Site
Ankama Studio

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MWSF: IMG Chats With Aspyr Media's Glenda Adams
7:55 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | 11 comments

As part of IMG’s MacWorld Expo coverage, we got a chance to sit down with Aspyr Media’s Glenda Adams and chat about the fresh Apple announcements, and how things are going for the revered publishers.

MacIntels were the first topic of conversation, with Glenda’s prediction being that the new machines will have a positive influence on Mac games. For the first time, Apple’s boxes will finally have matching hardware specs with PCs, eliminating any reason for the current game performance discrepancy between the Windows and Mac platforms. The move to Intel sets the bar higher for Apple technicians and for developers to really push the boxes to get the same frame rates as PC users. The new Macs are also garnering a lot of attention from PC users, and if speculation of Apple’s market share growing past the 10% prove correct, Glenda expects to see many more gaming titles coming to the platform.

Further, Glenda is very excited about the new, Intel-powered iMacs and MacBook Pros that were announced on Tuesday, noting that she ordered a new machine for herself only a few hours after the keynote. Impressed with the speed and price of the new machines, she noted that the powerful new ATI Radeon X1600 graphics cards installed in all the new machines, combined with the huge performance jump of the Intel chips will make really powerful rigs for gamers.

Aspyr has been preparing for the move to Intel since it was first announced by moving their development to Xcode, and creating universal binaries for most of Aspyr’s upcoming games. Aspyr will soon be releasing universal binary patches for their most popular games – Doom 3, Sims 2, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, to name a few – when the new machines hit the streets. While Glenda expects that most of Aspyr’s less demanding games will play great under the Rosetta emulation system, her staff plans on testing all their current games for performance, and release updates as necessary.

We also touched briefly on the dual boot issue, which has been of great concern for game developers. Although it will remain a hazy unknown until the boxes get in user’s hands, Glenda doesn’t expect many users will resort to dual boot if it becomes possible. Her prediction is that it’ll take a lot of work to partition, install, and maintain two separate operating systems, only to have to deal with the large number of worms and viruses floating around the PC world.

Over the past two years, Aspyr has expanded into multiple game markets, a move that has proven successful, according to Glenda. Apart from the Xbox, PC, and Game Boy Advance markets, the company is making inroads into the PocketPC platform with projects like the highly regarded port of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. In order to accommodate the new markets, the Aspyr staff has expanded from 30 to over 70 in the last two and a half years, with Glenda’s department ballooning with a total of 14 programmers.

Releasing Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without A Pulse, Aspyr’s first original triple-A game, was a great experience for the veteran game publishers. Aspyr is on the lookout for more original titles to help develop and release for both the Mac and PC, and are also looking at picking up PC and Mac projects currently in development in Europe and bringing them to the US. As an aside, readers who haven’t yet tried Stubbs should download the recently-released demo to see if the highly original and inventive game – not the kind of game you’d expect to see from the big PC game publishers - suits their liking.

As for their current projects, Glenda noted that the ports of Call of Duty 2 and Civilization 4 are progressing well, while the release of Quake 4, currently listed as being at Alpha, may hinge on openGL optimizations expected in an upcoming operating system update. Glenda expects that Sid Meier's Civilization® III: Complete and The Sims 2 University will sell well at the Expo, and was excited to have gotten the Stubbs demo out the door in time for the show.

We ended our conversation by asking Glenda if there were any other new markets on the horizon for the publishers. Given the number of iPod vendors on the Expo show floor, the iPod accessories market is one market Aspyr will definitely NOT be getting into in the new future. We’d like to thank Glenda for her time at the show.

MWSF 2006
Aspyr Media
Stubbs the Zombie
Download Stubbs The Zombie Demo
Buy Stubbs the Zombie

Mac Games News for Thursday, January 12, 2006

MWSF: Tabula Digita's Dimenxion1:54 PM
OMG Cup winners to be announced Friday1:54 PM
SF Chronicle Examines Intel Mac Game Potential1:53 PM
Macgamestore: Civilization III: Complete Now Shipping9:05 AM
Apple Offering Intel iMacs to Developers7:43 AM
Eschalon: Book 1 Coming Soon7:43 AM
Heroes Of Might And Magic V For Mac7:43 AM
PopCap Games Interview7:43 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, January 12, 2006 on one page

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006
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