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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Havok Finally Comes To Mac
11:59 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 50 comments

Havok is finally on its way to the Mac. Thanks to a license agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, Havok 4.0 is now available for the Macintosh platform in both PPC and Intel Mac formats. Blizzard Entertainment will be using the popular Havok physics engine in company's upcoming products.

For those of you unfamiliar with Havok, it is a physics engine that has been used in the past by games such as Half-Life 2 on the PC, Halo 2 on the XBOX, and many others. Up until now companies such as Aspyr and MacSoft have refused to license Havok because the licensing fees are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So games such as Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault and a host of others never made it to the Mac platform because of the high licensing fees Havok demanded.

Here's more on the press release:

“Havok 4.0 will add power and flexibility to our development process,” said Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re looking forward to utilizing this technology with our upcoming games.”

Released in July this year, Havok 4.0 is a modular suite of artist tools and run-time technology that enhances Havok’s industry-leading game-play physics and animation products (Havok Physics™ and Havok Animation™). It also introduced two new products - Havok Behavior™ and Havok FX™.

With Havok 4.0, game developers can select from a modular suite of technologies and tools spanning game-play physics, character animation, behaviors and special effects, optimized for the widest range of platforms, including Sony Computer Entertainment Inc (SCEI) much-anticipated “PLAYSTATION®3” computer entertainment system, Microsoft’s 64bit Windows operating system, and now Apple Mac.

Jeff Yates, Havok’s Vice President, Product Management comments, “The Mac is an important piece of technology and because of the cross-platform nature of Havok’s technology, the port to Mac was easy to do. Furthermore, Blizzard Entertainment’s commitment to OS X and to the Mac community is a good indication of the growth potential of the Mac as a games platform. Blizzard has always put out great games on the Mac, and we look forward to Havok becoming a part of that tradition.”

It is important to note that Havok, according to one industry source, is still very expensive to license. Blizzard has deep pockets and is able to afford the high licensing costs for Havok. IMG has contacted Havok and we'll have more on this story soon.

Press Release: Blizzard Entertainment Licenses Havok Physics Technology

Apple Posts New Hot Deals
2:44 PM | Tuncer Deniz

J&R Computerworld has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: M-Audio Axiom 49 Advanced MIDI controller with 49-keys/velocity sensitive/8-MIDI assignable trigger pads/backlit LCD screen/sustain and expression pedal jacks for only $249.00!; Nova cardioid condenser microphone from M-Audio for only $89.00!; Bose Companion 2 stereo multimedia speakers for your computer or iPod for only $99.00!; Hannspree HW-191D 19" analog and digital widescreen LCD display for only $209.99!; Kaplan SAT/ACT/PSAT 2007 Platinum Edition test preparation software for only $34.99!; USB Uno 1-in/1-out bus-powered MIDI interface from M-Audio for only $39.00!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

PowerMax has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a number of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: eZGear UltraEars SX70 in-ear earphones for only $29.88!; RadTech BT600 Bluetooth full-sized mouse for only $45.88!; STM 17" Large Loop Backpack for PowerBook/MacBook Pro for only $69.88!; H20 SV-iMini waterproof house and headphones for iPod Mini for $74.88!; LaCie d2 16x USB 2.0/FireWire DVD+/-RW w/LightScribe external double layer drive for only $118.88!; EZQuest Monsoon 300GB FireWire/USB 2.0 external hard drive for only $143.88!; FrameForge 3D Studio 2 - digital film studio for pre-visualization and storyboarding - from Innovative Software for only $279.88!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Publishing Perfection has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a number of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: StockLayouts for Adobe InDesign Vol. 3 for only $385.95!; InDesign CS2 Upgrade from Adobe for only $177.95!; save time with DieLines - 70 EPS formated standard and custom die-lines for brochures, folders, stationary, CD labels and more - from Jenka for only $249.95!; Dfine 1.0 allows you to control and redefine details in you digital photos, from Nik Multimedia for only $94.95!; Knockout 2 from Corel - a plugin for Photoshop, Corel Photo Paint or Corel Painter 8 allows you to "knockout" the background around an image - for only $89.95!; Nikon D200 10.2-megapixel pro SLR body kit for only $1699.95!; Epson Stylus Photo R2400 9-cartridge archival quality photo printer for only $849.95!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

dim3 v2.1 Open-Source Game Engine Released
1:51 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

dim3 v2.1 an update to the free and open-source OS X 3D game development system, has been released. dim3 is designed for mod-ers with no programming experience (source code is not needed) but can also be used by experts who require the source code, all without restrictions or payment. Projects created in dim3 can run games on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Here's a list of changes in 2.1:

• Many new rapid development features in map/animation editors
• New weather and water effects
• Improved 3D sound
• Better scopes, homing projectiles, curved surfaces
• Additional customization for UI screens and game story elements
• Additional documentation
For more information on dim3, visit the official web site.


NWN Premium Module Released, 1.6.8 Patch
1:38 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Bioware has released a new premium module for Neverwinter Nights called Wyvern Crown of Cormyr, which features fully ride-able horses. Available for $11.99, the premium module features a rich, 18-20 hour single-player experience, the ability to compete in tournaments and joust against opponents, and is the first premium module to showcase flowing cloaks, tabards and long coats. Although a Mac installer is not available, several readers have emailed us to tell us that they have bought and installed the Linux version without any problems. You'll need to download the module, unzip it, and copy the contents to the appropriate folders within the game.

Bioware has also released the final version of the Neverwinter Nights 1.6.8. It is available for download from

Neverwinter Nights
MGF: Neverwinter Nights 1.6.8 Patch
Buy Neverwinter Nights

iPod Games Reviewed
12:01 PM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld has posted a First Look at Apple's recently released games for fifth generation iPods. Available for purchase from iTunes the list includes old favorites such as Tetris, Pac Man, and Mahjong. The article examines the installation process as well as the iPod's suitability as a gaming platform.

The iPod screen is smaller than what I’m accustomed to, playing games on a Sony PlayStation Portable or Nintendo DS, but the iPod’s screen is extremely bright and sharp, perfectly suitable for games. Some of the games strain my eyes a bit—Pac-Man, for example, renders the entire maze on the iPod screen with some other superfluous graphics, and the maze is really tiny. Others, like Vortex and Mini Golf, make good use of the available screen space.

Playing with the click wheel takes some getting used to, and it’s different for each game. Each game is simple enough in its control scheme that the limited input the click wheel allows works well enough, and some, like Vortex and Bejeweled, have done a good job of figuring out ways to use the click wheel’s rotation capability. While some games require lots of tapping, others, like Pac-Man, simply require you to apply a bit of thumb pressure to the spot on the click wheel you want Pac-Man to move. Some games take longer than others to figure out; others get frustrating when you accidentally hit the click wheel in the wrong spot. (I’ve already folded a few winning hands at Texas Hold’em that way.)

Sound quality in each of the games is excellent, with full stereo sound and rich sound effects. Each of the games has a basic structure that you’ll get to know pretty quickly—showing you time and battery level in upper corners of the screen, asking for your name (to record high scores) and asking you to save when you exit (presuming you’d like to continue a game in progress later).

Check out the rest of the review at the link below.

Macworld: First Look at iPod Games
Apple: iPod Games

Click to enlarge
SketchFighter 4000 Alpha at FC1
12:01 PM | Evan Holt | 1 comment

Ambrosia's SketchFighter 4000 Alpha has hit final candidate 1. SketchFighter 4000 Alpha is a shooter that is reminiscent of Asteroids but uses graph-paper and sketches for animation.

From the progress log:

Not much changed in this last build. A new version of the ambrosia libs was added, NAT warnings in the network lobby improved and a little screen explaining that only times that are better than your "personal best" will be submitted to the tracker. In other words mostly clarifications and interface polishing.

Hopefully it won't be long now...

To follow up on SketchFighter 4000 Alpha's progress, follow the link below to the progress log on Ambrosia's web site. You can also read Inside Mac Games' preview of this upcoming game.

SketchFighter 4000 Alpha at FC1
IMG: SketchFighter 4000 Alpha Preview
Ambrosia Software
SketchFighter 4000 Alpha

Click to enlarge
Apple Games Features Cold War
12:01 PM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The latest Apple Games feature examines Mindware Studios' Cold War, a unique stealth based action game. In Cold War players take the role of Matthew Carter, a journalist who uses stealth and trickery to complete his dangerous assignments in Moscow. A key feature of the game is Carter's ability to cobble together useful tools from items he finds during his adventures.

Carter’s basic tools include rubber bullets, ether-soaked rags that will knock out an enemy, ether mines that knock out anyone nearby when they explode, and a “box of tricks” that attracts enemies’ attention. From there, he can build more complex items, such as an expanded gun magazine made from cans or a camera zoom lens constructed of appliance parts.

His gun, which fires regular or rubber bullets, isn’t his only weapon, however. Carter can also assemble a makeshift sling that he uses to launch grenades, tracking devices, and darts that knock an enemy unconscious or cause confusion.

Of course, his greatest asset is his ability to sneak past enemies without alerting them to his presence. Gunshots and explosions will bring nearby guards running, so it’s typically better to slip past an immediate threat, or knock him unconscious. Anyone you knock out will wake up eventually, but you can give them anesthetics that prolong their sleep.

The rest of the feature can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Apple Games: Cold War Feature
Cold War
Buy Cold War

Mac Games News for Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Macgamestore: Atlantis Sky Patrol Mac Now Available5:25 PM
IMG Reviews Jewel Quest5:15 PM
Call of Duty 2 Patch Released9:38 AM
GarageGames Founder - Should You Make Games For Mac?9:38 AM
Sonnet Announces MDD CPU Upgrades9:38 AM
Anandtech on Mac Pro CPU Upgrades, WinXP Performance9:37 AM
Bare Feats: 20" iMac Core 2 Duo Shootout9:37 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, September 13, 2006 on one page

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