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Tuesday, June 27, 2000

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Terminus Released
5:20 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Epic space sim Terminus has officially shipped to stores, after a slight delay caused by a manufacturing glitch. This cross-platform space combat sim is no simple shooter; it is a complex, 'living' simulation of the future of the Solar System. Set in a time when alien artifacts have allowed for rapid transport over huge distances, the player can choose from one of four career paths and pick their way among a deeply-woven plot of politics and intrigue. Become a mercenary and try to trade your way to the top, or join Earth or Mars forces in an attempt to either keep the peace or win an all-out war. Here is the announcement:

Terminus, the long-awaited and much-previewed epic space combat RPG, ships today after three and one-half years in development by Vicarious Visions, a leading developer of games for all major hardware platforms. Terminus is published by Vatical Entertainment, whose support has been critical to the development, marketing, and distribution of the game.

Terminus, a single- and multi-player (online) game, boasts three "firsts" in the games industry: The first space combat RPG to combine a persistent universe and a real-time economy; the first space combat RPG developed simultaneously on Windows, Linux, and Macintosh; and the first game with all three platforms in one box with one SKU. The game supports GameSpy to locate Terminus servers on the net so there are no subscription fees, unlike many other online gamesÉ

The game's "living universe," which spans the entire Solar System, is a world which never stops moving and interacting, independent of players' actions. The actions of human and non-human characters as well as the workings of 19 fully-equipped space stations proceed whether or not players participate, making gameplay more challenging and rewarding than with previous space combat RPG games.

Real-time economy has never before been an integral part of space combat RPG games until now. If the owner of a commercial space station, for example, has a load of torpedoes hijacked, the supply is diminished, and the prices go up in real time. Or, players can plan to buy weaponry from a far-distant merchant, and hope the prices don't change while en route. As battles rage throughout the persistent universe, players must constantly reassess their actions and asset management strategies because in Terminus, like the real world, prices and availability can change instantly through no action of their own.

Another exciting feature in Terminus is the ability of computer-controlled characters to express human emotions as they interact with other characters and react to events using advanced AI technology. Characters can become angry and impatient; they can even fall in love. These emotions affect their judgments, actions, and reactions to an ever-changing worldÉ

Unlike most other space combat simulation games in which players are assigned a single, unvarying role with pre-programmed responses and movements, Terminus players can choose among different characters (fighter pilot, mercenary, pirate, miner), each with a different set of behavior rules. Some professions are easy for the novice player, while others can provide a major challenge to the die-hard gamer.

Make sure you read our in-depth preview and guide to the demo of this game; the Mac demo has been updated with several bugfixes and will be available on MacgameFiles later today.

Vicarious Visions
Terminus Demo at MGF
Terminus Demo: In-Depth
Terminus Preview

Terminus Demo Patch Available
6:10 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Responding to user suggestions, Vicarious Visions has released a patch for both the demo and retail versions of their space-flight sim Terminus. This patch addresses problems with the Gauntlet, issues with Input Sprocket and adds GameRanger support to the full version. Here is a list of changes:

¥ MAC: Removed Info 122

* MAC: Better task switching

* MAC: Moved network code into multiplayer only areas to prevent modem dialing

* MAC: Keyboard support now language independent

* MAC: Fixed simultaneous joystick button pressing

* MAC: Support multiple mice

* MAC: Fixed multiple hat support

* MAC: Added support for up to 32 mouse buttons

* MAC: Force 3dfx cards to draw interface in 16bit color

Grab this patch from MacGameFiles if you have experienced crashes with the demo, and of course if you have managed to grab the retail version hot off the shelves.

Terminus Demo 1.2 (Full Download) at MGF
Terminus 1.2 Patch at MGF

Daria's Inferno Due This Fall
5:09 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Ever the producers of cross-platform multimedia, Simon and Schuster Interactive have announced that they will be releasing Daria's Inferno, a puzzle/adventure game based on the droll MTV cartoon with its deadpan voice talent. All of Daria's close friends and idiotic nemeses will be there, and you can be sure that the sardonic comments and excess verbiage will fly thick and fast. Here are details from the press release:

Simon & Schuster Interactive announced today the company has teamed with its sister Viacom unit MTV, to produce a CD-ROM game based on "Daria," the popular TV show seen Fridays at 10 PM on MTV. Scheduled to ship in October 2000, DARIA'S INFERNO, will take fans to the deepest depths of hell which looks a lot like Lawndale High.

About "Daria's Inferno" As if your nightmares weren't enough, now you can have Daria's! Our heroine falls asleep in history class and lands in hell. Not just any hell, mind you, but the hell which is also known as Daria's life.

Ms. Li, Lawndale High's tough-as-nails principal, reports a strange series of missing items including her cherished "Disciplinarian Award." This sets the stage for a series of challenging puzzles as Daria tries to make her way through five levels of the underworld. Your goal is to utilize those steely wits and the substantial time you have on your hands to help Daria find the missing items and wake up.

In this journey through Daria's netherworld you'll be meeting all the characters from "Daria" including vainglorious football players, misguided teachers, and supercilious fashion clubbers. You'll also hear more of Daria's hydrochloric acid wit, written and performed by the same fine people who do the show (not the usual frauds who ordinarily show up in nightmares).

Watch for this one later this Fall. We're just relieved it isn't Panty Raider 2: Beyond The Elastic.

Simon and Schuster Interactive

Strike Force Beta Released
4:20 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A new Beta of the Strike Force mod for Unreal Tournament has been released. This complex and highly realistic total conversion brings real-world weapons and body damage to this already amazing first-person shooter. Here are the details:

Xtreme Gaming is proud to announce the long awaited release of Strike Force Beta 1.26, a total conversion of Unreal Tournament for both PC and Mac platforms. Strike Force is a teamplay-based tactical simulation inspired by Rainbow 6, Rogue Spear, Counter-Strike and Starsiege: Tribes. Strike Force incorporates numerous all-new features into the Unreal engine, adding a whole new dimension to Unreal Tournament's already intense and immersive gameplay.


Real Life Weapons

Choose the tools of your trade, from the power of the Desert Eagle to the reliability of the MP5 Navy to the pinpoint accuracy of the Barrett Sniper Rifle. 9 guns to choose from in the initial release with over 25 coming in future betas.

Realistic Damage

Take a hit and you lose both health and speed. This allows your enemy time to hunt you down for the final kill. So realistic you can even hear your own heart beat.

New Voices

Hear the crackle of the radio as you order your team to breech the building and coordinate your attack to stop your enemy at all costs.

All New Maps

Play in all-new real life locations, everywhere from the claustrophobic back alleys of an urban sprawl to the ruins of an open battlefield.

New Character Skins

Camouflage yourself and use terrain to your advantage to complete your mission. 16 unique characters, all with their own aptitudes and shortcomings - choose the character that best suits your play style and taste!

Much More

Including 3 new gameplay modes (to be supported in future betas) and a slew of new features to keep players coming back again and again!

Stop by MacGameFiles to download this monstrous (33 MB) mod file. Be forewarned, this is a Beta version, and may be buggy; it is also extremely popular, and download times may be quite slow.

Strike Force Beta at MGF

Reznor on Macs, Next DOOM
12:41 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Apple has posted an interesting new discussion with the angst-filled Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame. The article details how he uses Macs exclusively to make his music (as well as play a few games). Reznor got into the gaming industry earlier on in his career when he produced the music for id Software's original Quake. He also notes this might not be his last foray into the game music biz:

Then he confides that he’s been talking to John Carmack about scoring the music for a new version of Doom. "I would do something like that mainly because it's a hobby of mine, I appreciate the technology, and it's fun to work outside Nine Inch Nails once in a while."

"Quake was fun because they didn't want hard-rock goofy music going through the game," explains Reznor, "it was all about atmosphere at the time."

Check out the rest of the article for more. Reznor has to be the most interesting AppleMaster yet! Carmack has repeatedly noted in the past that their next project would support OSX, though no official word on DOOM III for that OS has been announced as of yet.

Apple Reznor Interview

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Q3F Merges with TA
11:52 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The Quake 3 Fortress mod-making team has updated their news page with various announcements, the first being that they are merging with the members of Team Assault. This will cause the end of Team Assault, a UT assault-like mod for Quake 3, but will of course speed up Fortress development. Another release of Q3F is due this weekend. This new update will include some fixes to the Well6 map, several new features and of course a new map. Here is the official word:

We’ll be releasing Beta1e this coming weekend. In the forthcoming release, you can look forward to our latest beta map q3f_32smooth, and an updated version of q3f_well which should address some of the FPS issues people are experiencing. It will of course also include the latest versions of our VMs, which as always contain a whole stack of new features, whilst resolving a number of nasty bugs. Time permitting; we also hope to include some sample audio from Beta2 to give you a taste of things to come.
They have also mentioned in their update that once they have reached beta2 stage, 'bot' support will be added, which will be great for users who need a little practice or are doomed to slow Internet access.

Quake 3 Fortress

iConcentration 1.1 Released
11:43 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Shareware author Brian Kelley has released iConcentration 1.1, which fixes a few memory leaks found in the original version.

iConcentration is a simple (but endlessly diverting) game to test your memory. To play, match the pictures of the various flavors of iMacs, iBooks, and other Macs.

To download iConcentration 1.1, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

Download iConcentration 1.1 from MGF

Diablo Revealed
11:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSurge has a very interesting new in-depth article covering Blizzard's hit RPG, the original Diablo. With its sequel just around the corner, this piece takes a look back to see what was left out of the original Diablo. There are many quests, items and characters that didn't show up in Tristram. Some of these features did make it into Diablo II, though. Here's an example:

One of the most interesting things which I discovered about Blizzards original plans for Diablo, was that the Blizzard Skills System, used in Diablo 2, was originally going to be implemented in some minor form in Diablo 1. We all know that each character class in the finished version of Diablo has one unique skill (item repair, detect traps and recharge staffs). However the WarCraft II Diablo Preview, shows us that Diablo might have originally planned to place a much greater emphasis on skills.

The preview talks about acquiring new skills, when building up your character. This is very similar to the way in which you acquire skills in Diablo II. However the Diablo One preview makes special emphasis stating that skills, magic and fighting abilities are different aspects of character development. What constituted as an acquired skill in Diablo? Could some of the fabled Fifth Level Spells such as invisibility have been acquired skills? Or could the entire feature and skill list have been removed from Diablo.

There are a lot of other interesting tidbits in the article, so be sure to head over and give it a look. If nothing else, it'll fill up some of the time you'll spend waiting for Diablo II to be released.

GameSurge Diablo Revealed

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Red Faction Preview
11:08 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

PC Gamer has posted a new preview of Volition's revolutionary shooter Red Faction. Although the preview is fairly short, it is very precise and informative. They based their preview on a demo that was shown to them by Red Faction's publisher, THQ. They explain various features, but also some of the new problems that accompany the GeoMod engine. With this engine you can actually destroy map geometry, blowing holes in walls and perhaps even bringing down entire buildings; this presents serious challenges to level designers. As described below, you could actually sneak into a enemy base by numerous tactics:

As well as blowing holes in walls and tactically diverting flowing liquids, destructible scenery also applies to the ground. When a player meets reinforced metal barriers that cannot be destroyed, it's still possible to tunnel under by blasting deep holes in the earth or concrete beneath. Such pits can also be created to provide cover in open areas.

This preview explains that THQ is having some difficulties with multiplayer games - the arena could turn into a barren field in minutes, as deathmatch maps are usually loaded with powerful weapons. New tactics will have to be developed in multiplayer games, since you could literally block doors off by blowing the closest wall into a pile of rubble, among many other defenses:

It's yet to be decided how multiplayer arenas will work. CTF will be given an extra edge by having to guard possible entrance to bases by wall-boring, but deathmatch arenas are in danger of becoming wastelands within minutes, which could pose some problems.
Red Faction is currently being developed for various platforms including Mac, PC and Linux, and is expected to be finished by early 2001.

Red Faction
Volition web site
PCGamer preview
Red Faction

Tread 3D for Mac
10:04 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Tread 3D is a third-party multi-game level editing tool, which can edit Quake 1 and 2 and Soldier of Fortune levels as well as the levels of many other games. A private individual is currently in the process of porting Tread to the Mac platform, according to a recent Usenet post. Quake 3 Arena level editing has not been added yet, but may be in development for this editor as well. Tread 3D has a very long list of features, so it would be a very valuable tool for any Mac level creator, and perhaps our only chance at editing Quake 2 and 3 maps. Supposedly Id software is still currently working on a Mac OS X port of their Q3A level editor, Q3Radient, but it has been some time since this project was supposed to be released; we'll check with them about that. We are anxious to obtain more information and to see Tread 3D in action, and we're sure you are too. Keep watching for details.

Tread 3D Web Site

Rune Preview
9:38 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Gamers' Central has posted a preview of Human Head's upcoming action/adventure game, Rune. Set in 3rd-person perspective, you play Ragnar, a Viking with brutal strength and deadly weapons, hacking his way through RUNE is heavily influenced by Norse mythology and should provide a unique gaming experience. Here's a quote about the fighting in the game:

Pummelling your opponent to death with consecutive hits is a good and proven way to send them on a one-way trip to Valhalla, but there's more to the combat system. If you just press the attack button while standing still you will do a "neutral" attack. Ragnar will then just swing his hammer/axe/sword. But if you press attack while moving forward, the attack will have that extra gung-ho touch due to the increased aggressiveness. The opposite effect can be achieved while pressing the opposite -the backward- key. Sometimes it is better to back off and if you can manage to strike a few hits while doing so, then that's awfully nice and it can save your sturdy Viking neck.
There is a lot more in the preview, so head over and give it a read. Westlake Interactive has recently noted they are well underway with the Mac version of Rune. Thanks to their hard work, it should be released shortly after the PC version is out later this Fall.

Westlake Interactive
Gamers Central RUNE Preview

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Bart Farkas on Diablo II
9:31 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

DiabloII.net has recently talked with Bart Farkas, onetime editor of IMG, about his career writing game strategy guides. Of course, they focus mainly on his most recent work for the Bradygames guide to Blizzard's upcoming RPG Diablo II. Bart has worked on guides for many other games, including Starcraft, Half-Life and Myth II. Here's what he has to say about his time with Blizzard:

Roughly how long ago did you start working on the Diablo II guide? Can you explain the process of putting together a guide?

I made my first trip to Blizzard North back in January of 2000. Blizzard doesn't release its software so you must be 'on-site' to play the game and gather data. I also made three other trips to Blizzard in Irvine to continue the work on the book between early April and late May. All together I'd say I spent about 25 days at Blizzard's offices.

Blizzard is the best company in the business to work with. They supply you with whatever you need to get the job done, including data and personnel to help with anything that you may need. The QA department is excellent for this because those guys and gals have been playing the game for months and months, and no one on the planet knows Diablo II better than they do (from a gaming standpoint).

Be sure to have a look at the rest of the interview. Also sign up to win one of five copies of The Official Diablo II Strategy Guide in their giveaway. Diablo II should be out very soon for the PC and Quarter 3 for the Mac (though we can always pray it comes sooner).

DiabloII.net Web Site
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

New Ares/Hera Beta
9:25 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software's president Andrew Welch has recently made a post to their forums detailing a new build of Ares 1.2 and Hera, the mission editor. In 'semi-public' beta testing, this version offers many new features as well as bug fixes. Here is Andrew Welch on this new version:

As you folks know, we have been working on Ares 1.2.0 and Hera (a mission editor for Ares). We think that it's ready to go, but we'd like to do a semi-public beta test of it first. Thus, the reason I am posting this message here.

I'm assuming that if you are reading the Ares Engineering Dept. web board, you have an interest in developing scenarios for Ares -- we'd like you to try out what we think will be the release version of Ares 1.2.0 and Hera, before we release it to the public. We'd also like you to be able to take some of the new scenario-editing capabilities out for a test drive. Perhaps it'll inspire you to make a scenario for Ares.

Here's a list of features included in the beta:

  • New assignable hotkeys; short-cuts to selecting particular ships
  • Fixed long-range beam attack bug
  • Feedback when you’ve created too many ships
  • Open button in network setup screen for playing external net scenario files
  • Drag & drop single player scenarios onto Ares to play them

If you find any spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes, any bugs, any features that don't work as you'd expect (please do NOT ask for new features) -- please mail them to:


If you are a serious Ares player and want to give this new beta and the editor a try, the location of the beta can be found on the Ambrosia web board in an appropriate forum.

IMG's Ares Review
Ambrosia Web Board
Ares Web Site

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Elite Force Interviews, Screenshots
9:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Raven's upcoming Star Trek game is generating a lot of buzz around the net as it nears release. Voyager: Elite Force is based on id Software's Quake 3 engine, and should therefore have stunning visuals to spare, as well as being easily portable to other platforms. The team is working closely with Paramount to ensure accuracy, but they often note that the game has to be fun for non-Trekkies as well, in order to reach a broad market.

Several interviews with members of the Raven team have recently surfaced. Kenn Hoekstra has given a really good interview to the folks at Action Trip. He covers many aspects of the game, including this bit of interactivity with NPCs:

I read that players would be able to make some choices about saving certain friendly characters or leaving them to their fate. How much will this affect the game? Will it introduce certain non-linearity?

There is a certain degree of choice in the game. On several occasions you are faced with a challenge that can mean life or death for one of your fellow crewmen. These situations don't create non-linearity in the sense that it doesn't send the storyline off on a tangent, but it can affect whether or not the crewmen will show up later in the game to provide you with information on your mission. Dead men tell no tales...

The rest of the interview gives lots of juicy details, so be sure to check it out if you're interested. Another quick Q&A with Raven's Chris Foster has been posted by our CGA affiliate Stomped. Here's an excerpt:

Stomped: It is easier or harder to develop levels based on an already established setting and look?

Foster: Scale-wise and physics-wise, it is harder. I re-built the bridge many, many times as we progressed through the beginning stages of the game's development. We'd notice that the new player models were too small, or too short in relation to the back panels or that the doors were just a bit too tall. As you can see from some of our original screenshots of the bridge, it used to be cavernous. As of now, the bridge is a just a hair larger than it appears on the show (in most dimensions) to allow the player freedom of mvement while sacrificing a miniscule amount of realism. Overall, having an established look was a refreshing change of pace. Being able to e-mail Rick Sternbach and pester him from time to time for advice and questions didn't hurt either!

This is just the first of four Raven interviews coming up from Stomped. We'll keep an eye out for the others.

Finally, GA Source has scored 12 new screenshots of the game in action. These pics are from the multiplayer aspect of Elite Force, which will take place on a Holodeck to allow many different scenarios. It looks like a lot of fun, too!

Elite Force is currently in a beta testing state. Raven hopes to have it out late this Summer for PC. They have noted they are in negotiations with an unnamed publisher for the Mac version. We'll keep you posted as any new info becomes available.

Stomped Interview
Action Trip Interview
GA Source Screenshots
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Mac Games News for Monday, June 26, 2000

No Driver at MWNY4:11 PM
MacGamer on Oni4:02 PM
Combat Mission Sells Out1:57 PM
Vista Returns1:06 PM
4x4 Interview, Screenshots1:04 PM
Target Quake Released12:41 PM
Hoekstra Interviewed12:09 PM
New Rune Diary11:58 AM
Simon 3D Preview10:27 AM
The Sims Reaches Beta10:13 AM
Myst III Interview9:44 AM
New RealMyst and Myst III: Exile Shots9:33 AM
IMG Debuts Dynamic News System6:00 AM
MacSoft to Attend MWNY6:00 AM
The Mill Grinds On6:00 AM
Tropico Developer Interview6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, June 26, 2000 on one page

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