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Friday, March 3, 2006

More On Universal Neverwinter Nights
7:15 AM | Cord Kruse | 8 comments

On Bioware's forums programmer Owen Borstad revealed that the 1.67 beta patch for Neverwinter Nights offers both PPC and x86 versions of the Mac dedicated server as an optional download. Borstad said the plan is to include a universal version of the server in the final 1.67 patch. He also mentioned that one of the roadblocks to the game becoming Universal is the lack of native versions of the Miles sound system and Bink video player.

I'm not sure on speed tests, but I thought I would mention that the Dedicated Server download now has 2 apps in it for 167 Beta 2, one for x86, one for PPC. The x86 Dedicated Server is not included in the standard 167 Beta 2 patches as of yet, but hopefully we'll have a universal build of that for the final patches. As for the main game, we'll have to wait on a x86 native build, since we rely on Miles and Bink (which we don't have native versions for as of yet).

I'll keep you posted.

To read more of the discussion head over to the Bioware forums at the link below.

Bioware Forums: Universal Binary?
Neverwinter Nights
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Macgamestore: Pre-Order Command & Conquer Generals Deluxe
2:40 PM | Tuncer Deniz has begun taking pre-orders for Command & Conquer Generals Deluxe Edition. The pack, which includes the original Command & Conquer: Generals plus the Zero Hour expansion pack, is due out next week. Pre-orders are available for $59.95.

To place your pre-order, head over to

Macgamestore: Command & Conquer Generals Deluxe Edition

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IMG Reviews 101 Bally Slots
2:05 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of 101 Bally Slots from Masque Publishing. Here's a clip from the review:

The graphics are simple but get the job done. All of the included machines are accurately represented, some with rolling jackpot counters. A few select machines feature animated bonus rounds, but the bonus animations don't appear very frequently. It's a shame, too, because they're lively and well drawn. The option to make the bonus rounds appear more often would have been a welcome addition for those of us who get a little impatient with the monotony of straight slots.
Be sure to check out the entire review by following the link below.

IMG Review: 101 Bally Slots
Masque Publishing
101 Bally Slots

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World of Warcraft 1.10 Patch Notes & Contests
1:36 PM | Evan Holt | 1 comment

Blizzard has posted the patch notes for the upcoming 1.10 Patch for World of Warcraft. Although the patch still has to go through testing (should be released to beta realms next week) you can read the entire list of updates including Weather following the link below.

Mac Specific changes:

• Fixed a bug which could cause the sky to be improperly rendered when the UI overlay was shut off in full screen.
• Improved the Mac sound engine to handle "multiple simultaneous buff" events without excessive audible distortion, such as the Warchief's Blessing in Orgrimmar.
• Fixed a bug which could cause doodads in the Dwarven District to be incorrectly fogged.
• Fixed a bug which could cause terrain to be improperly rendered if "Enable All Shader Effects" was on but "Terrain Highlights" was off.
• Fixed a bug which would sometimes cause a selection circle under a character to be drawn as a double image.
• Improved smoothness of mouse input for camera turns ("mouselook").
Blizzard has also noted that "Contest Test Realms" will be posted with the prize being a pass to test the upcoming expansion pack The Burning Crusade. The contest realms will be brought online and the contests will begin at 12:01 AM PST on Tuesday, March 7, and run until 11:59 PM PST on Monday, March 27.

For contest details visit Blizzard's site using the link below.

World of Warcraft 1.10 Patch Notes
WoW: Public Test Realm Contests
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Minions of Mirth Reviewed
7:18 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameVortex recently reviewed Prairie Games' Minions of Mirth. MoM is a fantasy RPG which offers both single and multiplayer adventuring. Players interested in online play can take advantage of Prairie Games' servers, or venture into a fan made world. The game offers a large variety of races, classes, and monsters. GameVortex gave Minions of Mirth an 85%

Foremost in the New and Improved department is the flexibility of the model that Prairie uses for character and party building. Points are distributed among characteristics, and there are a huge number of races, classes and professions to choose from. Once you form a party, there are still chances to align yourself with up to 36 other players online, the "massively multiplayer" part of the MMORPG equation. I like that there is a complete single player mode available, and two different multiplayer options. One multiplayer setting allows for player-vs-player, another sets the stage for battles against monsters. You can even beat monsters and play them as characters in the online world! Safe to say that few PC RPG gamers have had so many options for establishing parties and interacting with virtual worlds.
To view the entire review click on the link below.

GameVortex: Minions of Mirth Review
Prairie Games
Minions of Mirth

GameRanger 4.5 Released
7:18 AM | Evan Holt | 10 comments

GameRanger the Macintosh multiplayer online gaming service that allows you to host games, track them and chat has been updated to version 4.5. The biggest change in this release is the ability for bypassing of modems and routers so that no configuration or port forwarding is needed to host or join games.

Here's the list of changes:

• Added bypassing of modems and routers so that no configuration / port forwarding is needed to host or join games. Anyone can host or join now
• Added more new reliability features to in-game voice
• Added support for hosting games while hosting internet sharing to joiners on the same local network
• Joiner games terminate immediately when host aborts so no one is left in the game
• GameRanger no longer prevents screensavers activating or iChat going idle
• "Ghost" games no longer appear in the game list when only the demo was installed
• Doom 3 server list now shows v1.3 servers
• Worked around an OS bug that occasionally caused the Browse button to freeze
• Worked around an OS speech bug that was causing GameRanger to crash while in a game
• Improved the quality of most plug-in icons
• Green dot shows immediately before launching game
• Changed the "started a room" server message to "opened a room"
• Fixed a disconnection that happened when launching a game that you were already in
• Fixed expired Premium members leaving offline buddies still hidden
• Fixed some unreported crashes and other issues on OS X 10.0 and 10.1
• Fixed the Setup Assistant allowing long or invalid nicknames that the server would reject
GameRanger requires Mac OS 8.6 or later. Premium membership (which allows ladders, rankings in-game voice communication and more) costs $49.95 U.S. per year.

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King's Bounty: Inspiring Heroes Of Might And Magic
7:17 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

The Mac Centric: Heroes of Might and Magic V website has posted an examination of King's Bounty, a title which is widely regarded as the precursor to the Heroes of Might and Magic series. The article reveals the gameplay mechanics of KB and links them to the HoMM games. With the upcoming release of Heroes of Might and Magic V it is interesting to take a look at the series' beginnings.

I said earlier that in context of the time it was released, KB has to be interpreted as a work of invention rather than derivation. With turn-based strategy, economic and role-playing games like Warlords, Nobunaga’s Ambition and Final Fantasy already in existence, KB clearly attempted to innovate by remixing different elements together under the added pressure of a clock. In this sense, KB was clearly something of a brilliant experiment by its creator. Van Caneghem’s genius was in sensing the untapped entertainment potential of the strategy, adventure, puzzle, real-time and role-playing genres before they had become the established and distinct categories we bemoan today as moribund. The result is a rather curious hybrid of a game best described — and pause to take a breath here — as a squad-based real-time adventure puzzle game with linear RPG and economic production aspects. Whoa! And on top of that there are many strange and novel ideas tacked on to this meuilleux that aren’t seen anywhere else, such as the puzzle aspect and digging around for world artifacts. Van Caneghem clearly had some ideas in his head from somewhere (where that place is I’m not to keen to see).
To read the rest of the article click on the link below.

The Mac Centric: King's Bounty Article
Heroes of Might & Magic V
Buy Heroes of Might & Magic V

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WoW News: Caption Contest, Atlas For Sale, Guide Update
7:17 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

This week's news on Blizzard Entertainment's extremely successful World of Warcraft includes a contest, a new product, and a website update. First up is a caption contest. Participants are asked to create witty captions for a few winning screenshots from previous contests. Winners will receive a Sony PSP and a SanDisk Memory Stick Pro Duo.

Next on the list, Blizzard and Brady Games have announced that the World of Warcraft Atlas Map Gift Pack is now available for purchase from Blizzard's online store. The comprehensive hard cover resource includes maps of all the regions of Azeroth including major cities and detailed plans of notable locations such as Everlook and Ghostwalker Post. The pack also includes eight exclusive full-color bookmarks, one for each race in World of Warcraft. Each bookmark depicts a character image on the front and a coat of arms on the back.

Finally, the WoW Game Guide has been updated with an improved navigation menu intended to simplify navigation between pages. The interactive menu, placed at the top of each guide page, expands to reveal all subpages of the selected section up to four levels deep.

Follow the links below to learn more about the contest, atlas, and game guide improvements.

WoW: Caption Contest
Blizzard Online Store
WoW: Improved Game Guide
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Quake 4 Interview
7:16 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Planet Quake 4 chats with Donnie "SyncError" Domino, the community liason for id Software's games, particularly Quake 4. As the community liason, "SyncError" is responsible for collecting information on a game's problems, demand for new features, and community involvement through clans and mod teams. In this interview, "SyncError" discusses how he landed the job at id Software, community feedback, and other responsibilities of a community liason.

lanetQuake4: Since the release of the Quake4 1.1 Beta Patch, you have been bombarded with tons of comments and suggestions of what Quake4 should and should not be like. Have you found it hard to decide what ideas should be brought to the coder's desk?

SyncError: The feedback and participation from the community following the Quake 4 1.1 Beta Patch has been outstanding. With the vast majority of the suggestions being valid bug fixes there has been little need to do any sorting. Every suggestion that comes my way is organized into spreadsheets categorizing them as legacy bugs, new 1.1 beta bugs or community requested features. All items on the list are then discussed between myself, the company owners, designers and coders. Only recently this week have we began receiving large demands for features that are still often debated within the community itself. These features must be carefully considered by the community before we can seriously evaluate them.

Quake 4 is being published by Aspyr for Mac and will be released soon. Please click on the links below to read the interview and to learn more information.

Planet Quake 4: id Software's Community Liaison "SyncError"
Aspyr Media
Quake 4
Buy Quake 4

First Intel Mac Mini Benchmark Trickles In
7:16 AM | Evan Holt | 25 comments

XBench's web site shows a benchmark for a user's stock 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo Mac Mini in comparison to the previous generation. 1.5GHz. The most interesting result is the OpenGL Graphics Test.

The 1.5GHz G4 Mac Mini scored 75.94 while the 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo Mac Mini scored 185.87, more than double the G4's test result.

The Intel GMA950 is sure to be a hot subject in the coming months in Mac users minds as this is the first time that Apple has used a video card with shared memory (has no dedicated VRAM, uses system memory).

User reportings have said that HD movie trailers from playing at 1080P play full screen without dropping frames or losing audio sync.

XBench: 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo Mac Mini

Custer On The Mend
7:15 AM | IMG News | 3 comments

Brad Custer our resident desktop guru wanted everyone to know that Custer's Desktops will return next week after his new hard drive is installed into his Powerbook. So, be sure to keep those requests coming in.

Until then, stop by Custer's Desktops to check out the dozens and dozens of already available desktops.

Mac Games News for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Macgamestore: Orbz, Seven Seas Deluxe, Bejeweled Deluxe4:43 PM
Puzzle Game Red Cells Released7:55 AM
IMG Feature: Tuncer's Blog Debuts6:57 AM
Jeff Vogel Examines Innovation In Games6:51 AM
New Neverwinter Nights Beta Update6:51 AM
Quake 4 For Mac Previewed6:51 AM
Savage 2 Q&A6:51 AM
The Movies Expansion Coming To PC6:51 AM
World of WarCraft Q&A6:51 AM
WoW At 6 Million, Spanish version Coming6:51 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, March 2, 2006 on one page

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