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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Aspyr: Turning 10, Quake 4, Universal Future
7:16 AM | Cord Kruse | 17 comments

Aspyr Media's recently released February newsletter celebrates the company's tenth year of bringing eagerly awaited to titles to Mac users everywhere.

It is amazing what has happened through all of these years, and we are all excited about what the future holds. When we started in 1996, the Macarena was the number one song in the world. So, in honor of 10 years, when you read this, stand up wherever you are and dance like Los Del Rio instructs you to.
The newsletter also announces the imminent release of Quake 4. The latest in the popular first person shooter franchise drops players into the combat boots of Matthew Kane as he and his fellow soldiers battle against the deadly Strogg. Quake 4 will be the first Aspyr game to ship ready to run natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. The company is very pleased with Quake 4's performance on Intel iMac test machines.

For those curious about the difficulties involved with converting PowerPC applications to Universal Binary form the newsletter offers some insight:

People often ask what kind of work it takes to convert a PowerPC Mac game to run on Intel Macs. It is generally a two-step process. First the game needs to be compiled under XCode, Apple's developer tool. This can either be a very easy process (Quake 4 and Doom 3 started life under XCode even on the PowerPC), or a fairly lengthy one (The Sims 2 has been in progress being moved to XCode for several months). XCode is more strict about the C++ code it will handle, so often code that worked fine in another compiler won't work without changes in XCode. In a very large project like The Sims 2, this can involve hundreds or thousands of changes to make the game XCode compatible. After we have a game compiling under XCode, then we need to go through the game and remove any code that was added to take care of byte ordering for the PowerPC. Since the Intel and PowerPC chips read numbers from memory in different order, we have to add code to every game to re-order much of the game's data to run on PowerPC. Now that we are going back to Intel, none of the byte re-ordering code needs to be there.
While we take care to mark those changes in the code in every project, there can always be a few hidden places that we don't catch until after we've built and tested an Intel version of a game. Once all of those changes are made, we do a thorough QA of the new Universal application, and it is ready to release as a patch or ship in a box.
Aspyr hopes to release "most, if not all" of its 2006 titles as Universal applications. The upcoming Call of Duty 2 and Civilization IV will be Universal. In addition to work on the new games, Aspyr will also be releasing updates for several of its older games.
We have patches in the works for Sims 2 (+university & nightlife), Doom 3, Star Wars KOTOR, and Jedi Academy that will make them Universal. These patches should be ready to release as free downloads very soon.
The newsletter concludes with a short Q&A with Cory Gere, Quality Assurance Lead Analyst, and a trivia contest for a shiny new copy of Quake 4.

To check out the newsletter for yourself follow the link below.

Aspyr February Newsletter
Aspyr Media
id Software
Call of Duty 2
Civilization IV
The Sims 2
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Buy Quake 4
Buy DOOM 3
Buy Call of Duty 2
Buy Civilization IV
Buy The Sims 2
Buy Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Buy Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Apple Posts Latest Hot Deals
4:26 PM | Tuncer Deniz

MacMallhas deals on a wide variety ofproducts for your Mac , including Wacom Intuos3 6"x8" USB Tablet with Pen for $307.99; IRIS Pen Express handheld scanner for $129.00; Adobe After Effects 7.0 Standardedition for $726.99; LaCie 500GB USB 2.0 Brick external hard drive for $379.99; Marshall Electronics Desktop Recording Kit for $129.99; SanDisk 1GB Ultra II high-speed compact flash card for $55.00; and much more.

ClubMachas deals on a wide variety of Mac products including; LaCie d2 triple interface (USB 2.0/FireWire 400/800) 500GB Big Disk Extreme external hard drive for $347.99 each; Wacom Graphire3 white 4"x5" Pen Tablet for $35.99; Epson Stylus CX4200 All-in-one photo printer for $79.00; Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 for $399.00; Logitech Z-2300 2.1 THX certified speaker system for $54.99; D-Link AirPlus G 802.11g wireless router for $19.99; and more.

Publishing Perfectionhas great deals on Mac products for your graphic design and publishing needs, including; Adobe Illustrator CS2 Upgrade for $175.95; Vector Studio 2 suite of Adobe Illustrator plug-ins from Virtual Mirror for $129.95; Painter Essentials 3 from Corel for $98.95; from Allume, Aquazone Seven Seas Deluxe virtual aquarium for $24.95; Wacom Graphire4 (blue) 4"x5" Pen Tablet and wireless mouse for $99.95; learn HTML with the Learning HTML CD from for $75.95; Epson Stylus Photo RX620 All-in-one photo printer for $199.95 after $100 mail-in rebate; and much more.

Smallware Releases Solavant Solitaire Game
2:40 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Smallware today announced the released of their Mac OS X version of Solavant, a solitaire game aimed at advanced solitaire players who enjoy mental challenges.

Solavant is hard and Smallware is proud of it! Tired of playing solitaire that basically solves itself? Did your last game of solitaire come with training wheels? Solavant players will fight tooth and nail through each game and those that can master Solavant solitaire will be able to truly claim mastery over their sport.

Solavant is designed specifically for Mac OS X, and OS X users will appreciate the performance, style, and design. With over 150 games that will give you
a mental workout, Solavant will keep the most avid card players busy for
Download the free trial at


Click to enlarge
IMG Posts Legion Arena First Look Preview
1:58 PM | Tuncer Deniz | 1 comment

IMG has posted a first look preview of Freeverse's upcoming strategy game, Legion Arena. Those not familiar with the game should definitely check it out. Here's a clip from the preview:

Legion Arena bills itself as an real time strategy game, but there are a number of elements in it that are missing from what we have grown accustomed to thinking of as integral to RTS games. There are no cities to build, resources to gather, or civilizations to manage. Instead, it is simply you and your legions.
To check out the entire first look preview, follow the link below.

IMG First Look: Legion Arena
Legion Arena
Buy Legion Arena

Spider-man 2, Shrek 2 Universal Patches Released
7:34 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 5 comments

Aspyr this morning rolled out two new universal binary patches for Spider-man 2 and Shrek 2. Both patches fix some graphics issues within the game and add native support for Intel Mac computers.

To download the patches, head over to our sister site,

MGF: Spider-man 2 1.1 Patch
MGF: Shrek 2 1.1 Patch

Bannister Emulator Intel Dev Update
7:16 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Richard Bannister recently announced he is in the process of converting his freeware emulator programs to Universal Binary form due to their "abysmal" performance running under Rosetta on the new Intel Macs.

As of this afternoon, seven of them (Arnold, Boycott Advance, BSNES, Genesis Plus, Nestopia, SimCoupe, and SMS Plus) are building in Xcode as Universal Binaries, though they all exhibit various endian problems ranging from distorted video to crash-on-launch on the Intel machines. My own MacBookPro is on order, which should hopefully accelerate the development process somewhat.
To learn more follow the link below. Software

Click to enlarge
WoW Battlegrounds Guide
7:16 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments is offering an useful guide to survival in World of Warcraft's PvP Battlegrounds. The guide includes basic battleground concepts, general strategies, and arena specific information. The guide also discourages players from deserting the field of battle when facing difficult opponents.

When you stop and think about it for a moment, the reaction demonstrated above pretty much defeats the whole purpose of the battlegrounds hardcore PvP action. /Afking out is, in no uncertain terms, saying I want to fight in the BGs, but not lose and get my face rubbed in it. Its weaksauce, plain and simple.

It also accomplishes little. Common belief is that if everyone on one side goes /afk, the battle will end, and that scary PvP guild on the other side will get no honor, no reputation, and basically make no progress. This is a myth. The fact is that, whether opposing players fight or /afk out, PvP guilds are still getting some serious honor and reputation just by entering the BG.

To view the entire guide follow the link below. Battlegrounds Guide
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Apple's Influence On Console Gaming
7:16 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

An interesting commentary from examines how Apple's success with the iPod and iTunes has influenced the videogame industry. The piece focuses on recent comments from Nintendo of America's Sales and Markting VP, which indicate the company is looking to succeed with its Revolution and DS by mimicking Apple's focus on usability, pricing, and broad appeal.

For Nintendo, that approach is exactly what it would like to do with the DS and the Revolution. The company has already said that it doesn't want to compete with Microsoft and Sony in technological terms; the DS is vastly underpowered compared to the PSP, and the Revolution will boast a basic specification which will be dwarfed by both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. The company is banking on the idea that mass market consumers won't care; that just like the iPod completely bypassed the question of technical specifications by sporting an intuitive and innovative interface and a brilliantly integrated system for syncing music with your PC, the Revolution will dodge all questions of 3D performance or HDTV support by virtue of its brand new control system and simple, powerful online functionality.
To read the entire commentary check out the link below.

GamesIndustry: Apple Inspires Nintendo

Mac Games News for Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Apple Unveils Mac Mini with Intel Core Duo11:10 AM
MacGames DVD 6 Goes Gold9:48 AM
Macgamestore: Gish, Alchemy Deluxe Now Available9:22 AM
Skunk Studios Interview7:33 AM
Spiderweb Avernum Trilogy CD, Lowers Prices7:33 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, February 28, 2006 on one page

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