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MacEdition Pro News : April 21, 2003

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Oh, let’s have a little fun

It makes my head hurt!

There’s never been any shortage of run-’n’-gun games on the Windows side of the computing universe and the same can be said of brain-ticklers in the Mac shareware galaxy.

If you’re one of those who enjoyed tracking down the three magic pages to complete the book of MYST, or got a kick out of using a bunch of odd bits to build a working Contraption, then taking a gander at Red Marble Games’ latest offering might just be worth your while.

The company, in conjunction with Twilight Games, released Aargon Deluxe – a 180-level puzzle game that involves using a myriad of hardware to direct a laser beam to its intended target.

Aargon Deluxe is a non-violent logic game in which the player uses a wide variety of tools – mirrors, beam splitters, refractors, prisms, color converters, and many more – to direct one or more laser beams to its goal. There is no time limit or other pressure, so you can take your time and think through the solution. The game starts simple, but stretches the player’s puzzle-solving abilities to the limits on the expert skill levels.

The US$14.95 Mac OS X game features a tutorial, level editor and a free hint site. There are three expansion packs available and the game’s developers plan to create a site where user contributed puzzles can be downloaded for more fun.

The demo features 30 levels of brain tickling activity.

New Harry Potter appears at retail

If you popped by your local retailer this past weekend you may have noted a new offering from Mac gaming giant Aspyr Media Inc.

The company shipped its port of Electronic Art’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the follow up to the tremendous smash hit Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Mac gamers will have a chance to attend a second term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In this new adventure, players learn second-year spells, undertake new quests, make new friends and challenge new adversaries to confront the powers at the heart of the Chamber of Secrets.

The Macintosh version will allow players to take the role of Harry Potter as he enrolls in Hogwarts and embarks on a journey to unlock the secrets of his own magical abilities. Along the way Harry will explore the halls of Hogwarts and its surrounding grounds, study to be a wizard, learn to fly a broomstick and play Quidditch, collect objects to solve puzzles, become skilled at spells and potions, discover secret passages and locations, and interact with other characters from the book.

The US$49.99 game, based on J.K. Rowling’s second book in the series, features puzzle and adventure gameplay mixed in with an arcade-style Quidditch game. The game runs on Mac OS 9.1 or OS X and requires a 350Mhz G3/G4 with a 16MB ATI Rage 128 video card at a minimum.

Creative fun for everyone

In keeping with the spirit of the season, the fine folks at GeBE Computer & Peripherie have hidden an Easter egg in their latest update to iStopMotion.

iStopMotion has sparked a renewed interest in the Stop Motion animation technique. More and more people use it to bring various objects to life!

The upcoming easter holidays present the next big opportunity to experiment with this fun and creative way of making movies. The latest preview version of iStopMotion is available just in time for the holidays.

Least anyone get the idea the update only includes the fun stuff, the gang in the coding corridor also spent a lot of time reworking the basic functionality of the program by dropping in support for Quartz Extreme and Open GL, adding a new animation timeline and gave the program voice control so the user only has to yell at their computer to snap a shot for their animation.

Stupendous slows time

Video buffs looking to add a new trick to their footage of the great family Easter egg hunt might want to swoop by the Stupendous Software site and take a gander at two new plugins the company is offering.

The new effects are:

Slow Motion, Interlaced Video:
This effect produces very smooth slow motion for clips which contain interlaced video and are to be played back on a TV.
This effect de-interlaces video clips, giving a slightly less smooth and more “film-like” feel to the video motion.

The new plugins are free to registered users of the Stupendous Time effects package and to those who purchased the comprehensive bundle of 11 plugin packs – which now features 283 different video effects.

Pricing on the plugins remains at US$25 per package, or US$200 for the whole kit ’n’ caboodle.

Parent approved products

Space Software pocketed two prestigious awards for the company’s Starry Night software from the Parents’ Choice Foundation.

The 25-year-old foundation is the oldest not-for-profit organization in the United States to evaluate products aimed at children. Their gold choice award is their highest designation for product worthiness for child education.

“We’re thrilled and honored to receive the Parents’ Choice Gold Award. It confirms our belief that we’ve developed the ultimate desktop planetarium software,” states Thom Ackerman Maslow, Space Holdings’ Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Products and Experiences. “The Parents’ Choice 2003 awards underscore Starry Night’s ease of use and its suitability for all ages to learn about the wonders of astronomy and the universe in both the home and in school.” he added.

The Starry Night Backyard is an entry level software aimed at first-time stargazers and amateur astronomers. It maps a virtual universe as seen from any point on earth at any point in time. The Pro edition allows the user to incorporate a telescope in viewing those heavenly bodies.

Both packages contain over two hours of multimedia content presented by 36 astronomy expects, a separate 200-page guide on using the software in making night sky observations and access to an internet site where additional resources can be obtained.

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