The New Imagination

Whew! With all the craziness surrounding the holidays, things have been pretty busy around the PC Gamer offices. But never fear; our ears are always open for those tidbits and morsels hinting at the hottest upcoming titles. So here's the latest, and although most of these garners won't be ready before Christmas, they may be well worth the wait...

Before jumping into the on-field action, participants in Front Page Sports: Football Online agree on conditions.

Version 2.4 includes Front Page Sports: Football and plenty of changes!

The ImagiNation Network is now releasing its latest software update. With version 2.4 of INN, subscribers to this online community of gaming aficionados will have all kinds of new opportunities for head-to- head competition.

INN started in 1991 as The Sierra Network, the brainchild of Sierra On-Line founder Ken Williams. The service at first offered only card and board games, but gained dedicated followers partly because of the strong sense of community it fostered among subscribers. Key to this - and still a hallmark of the service - was the ability to create faces for yourself to go with your user profiles, allowing a lot more of the user's personality to come through than most services.

The Sierra Network didn't really take off for a couple years, though, and outside funding (most of it from AT&T) was secured to help keep the service afloat Along with AT&T's support came a new name -The ImagiNation Network - and the addition of new, more ambitious multi-player games to keep subscribers gaming for hours. In November of last year, AT&T purchased INN outright.

The new log-on screen is just the beginning of the changes you can expect in version 2.4 of The ImagiNation Network. [1]

With version 2.4 of the INN software, players can look forward to two major new games:

Front Page Sports: Football Online, and Free-For-A II Red Baron. Although Red Baron has been on INN for a while, the new version of INN's most popular game adds support for multiplayer, kill-anything-that-moves aviation against some top aces.

FPS: Football Online, a multiplayer version of the award-winning Dynamix series, holds the distinction of being the first and only online football sim on the market The game carries the full endorsement of the NFL players association, so all the player names and stats are straight out of the ‘94-'95 NFL season. Players first agree on a number of game conditions, such as weather, quarter length, and so on. Then the two meet on the gridiron, each calling the offensive and defensive plays and then watching as the resulting action unfolds. There's no arcade component to gameplay; it's coaching only.

Version 2.4 also marks the conversion of IN N's host software from a DOS-based system to UNIX, which will help the network accommodate more users simultaneously, provide increased overall speed, and make future software upgrades much easier.