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Monday, July 3, 2000

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Full Halo E3 Movie Released
9:53 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Just as the cries over Bungie's purchase by Microsoft begin to subside, something new appears to raise the furor again... Those lucky enough to attend this year's E3 Expo in May have most likely already seen Bungie's full Halo movie. The rest of us now have a chance, thanks to the miracle of the world wide web.

On the downside, the movie is absolutely huge. It runs a full 9 minutes and weighs in at just over 160MB. If you've got a 56k modem and don't expect a phone call for a couple of days, go for it. It's worth it. And for anyone that can't cut the download, don't fret. The next issue of IMG (going out very soon now) will have the movie in full - so subscribe today, if you haven't already.

The status of a Mac OS version of Halo is still unknown. Who knows, the movie may even change the hearts of those X-box haters out there. And if you can pick out the voice of Jason Jones, you get an a free download from MacGameFiles.com. Oh wait, they are all free!

IMG's E3 Coverage of Halo
Halo E3 2000 Trailer at MGF
IMG Subscription Page
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

Developer's Thoughts on the X-box
1:55 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Recently Microsoft's upcoming next-generation console, known as the X-box, has stirred up some controversy among game developers. A lot of developers are commenting on the effect that X-box may have on the current and future gaming industry. Due to the Direct3D-only nature of the X-box, industry standard 3D API OpenGL is at risk of losing support among developers. Microsoft is currently putting some pressure and restrictions on developers in this area, since the X-box officially supports Direct X8. Developers like the actual features of the X-box; in some cases they prefer it over the Sega Dreamcast and Sony's Playstation 2, since it is much more powerful.

A variety of games are now destined to be released for the X-box, such as Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 Arena, Black & White and Microsoft's latest acquisition: Bungie's Halo.

Gaming industry guru John Carmack has been posting his opinions and views regarding this new platform all over the net. Here are some of his opinions from a X-box.IGN interview:

IGN Xbox: You're about as hardcore PC as they come. What about the Xbox has really captured your attention, technology-wise?

John Carmack: Xbox only sounds impressive because it is being talked about a year and a half before it's launch. With one exception, a hardcore PC gamer's system in that timeframe will be superior in every way (at a higher price point).

I do think that the unified memory architecture is a Good Thing. High end graphics cards have so much more memory bandwidth than the primary memory subsystem that it makes a lot of sense to just get rid of the main system and let the CPU leech off of the graphics memory. When the graphics system is busy, they will contend over the memory a bit, but in idle conditions the CPU should actually get more memory bandwidth than even the highest end server configuration with standard components.

The X-box is still over a year away from launch; this doesn't stop Carmack from discussing DirectX8 and OpenGL support on the X-box. Although Apple's support for games in OS X is uncertain, currently, Carmack mentions that Id Software will definitely release their future title for Mac OS X (Not OS 9), which is great news. Here is Carmack's view on DX8 and the future of OpenGL:
DX8 is good. Microsoft has a long history of shipping an initially crappy product (DX3), then aggressively improving it until it is competitive or superior to everything else. Many people underestimate the quality of microsoft's products by only forming opinions on early versions, and never revising them.

The crucial advances of DX8 are the vertex and pixel shaders. I think that the basic concepts are strong, and they will give real benefits.

I expect that functionality will be exposed through OpenGL extensions by the time I need it.

For one thing, DX8 is modeled pretty closely on Nvidia's hardware, and Nvidia's hardware is already fully exposed through their register combiner extension, even somewhat more so than under DX.

The issue will be finding consensus between the other hardware vendors.

The upside is that not all hardware designs are exactly in line with DX8, and some usefull and interesting features exist that DX8 doesn't expose. It is looking like several hardware vendors are making moves to expose ALL of their functionality through OpenGL extensions to be available when the product ships, rather than at the next DX cycle.

The other issue is still portability. I am 100% committed to delivering our next title on linux and MacOSX (NOT MaxOS-9), in an effectively simultanious timeframe. That would be more troublesome if I was gung-ho for DX8.

I'm happy that microsoft is doing a better job, but I don't feel that I will be in a disadvantaged position continuing to work with OpenGL.

In addition to Carmack's thoughts, Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor, who is currently working on the very impressive Dungeon Siege, shares his views on the Microsoft's console. He is quite optimistic, and confident that the X-box will be a new type of console and will certainly push the console industry further. Taylor comments on X-box:
DR: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to the success of the Xbox? Is it something internal, like Microsoft's corporate structure, or something external like Sony's enormous install base or Microsoft's image?

CT: Sony and every other big company has just as much corporate structure, so this is not really an issue. Market dominance could scare a few, but hey, what happened to every big video game company before Sony? As far as image goes, the MS games group has been making great games, and the hardware group has been producing the best gadgets. Software sells hardware, which means there will need to be great games for the Xbox... and that's all there is to it.

Needless to say, the X-box promises a lot; in about a year's time we will have a clearer view of it's future and specifically its affect on the gaming industry. Whether or not this console will negatively impact the Mac and PC games markets remains to be seen, but the PSX2 and Dreamcast have not caused the 'console flight' that doomsayers were declaring was a virtual certainty when those consoles were released. Make sure you check out our GameCenter Alliance partner MSXBox for more details on this console.

Chris Taylor's views on X-box
X-box web site
Carmack on X-box and DX8 on Slashdot
IGNXbox Talks to John Carmack

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Neverwinter Nights Concept Art
1:35 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Bioware's official Neverwinter Nights web site has been updated with four new concept art images. These big, high-quality illustrations show various monsters, elves, goblins and other types of demonic monsters that will be included in this upcoming online RPG. For those who haven't encountered NWN, this game is an online-based Dungeon & Dragons-based 3D RPG, which adheres to strict AD&D rules. Largely based on multiplayer, this gorgeous game will be released for Mac, PC and Linux, although you may have nearly a year to wait before it is finished.

NWN Art Gallery
Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

MGF Most-Wanted List
1:30 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

MacGameFiles has released their list of the most popular downloads for the last two weeks. Terminus, despite its size, remains a popular download - it is the first file to top 5,000 downloads in two weeks. The E3 Halo trailer, another monster download, is also rapidly climbing the ranks even though it has only been available for the last two days. Here's the full chart:

Terminus Demo 1.2


Bugdom Updater 1.1.3


Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation 1.0


Strike Force Beta 1.26


Nanosaur 1.3.2


S.W.A.T. Beta 1.1


Bugdom 1.1.1


Full Halo E3 2000 Movie


Firefall 2.0


Terminus 1.4


Make sure you check out MGF daily for the latest in Mac game-related downloads.


Mac Voodoo5 5500 SKU Release
1:14 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

3dfx has added the Mac Voodoo 5 5500 PCI to their official web site, announcing the card should be available towards the end of July. This is great news for Mac gaming enthusiasts that can't wait to get their hands on this powerful 3D accelerator with the somewhat hefty price.

They note the card will have 64MB of memory, 667 Megapixels per second fill rate, DVI outputs for flat-panel displays, as well as QuickTime, Glide, Rave and OpenGL support. There is no mention of DVD support at this time, though 3dfx assured us at E3 that they definitely have plans in this area.

3dfx has also assembled a list of Frequently Asked Questions specifically for their Mac cards. Here's an example:

Have you been speaking with Apple about getting 3dfx boards in every Mac?

During the normal course of day-to-day operations we communicate with Apple pretty consistently. Unfortunately we can't comment on the nature or content of our discussions. But, we believe, as with other platforms, that Mac end-user's have a big part to play in the definition of the standard Mac.

Check out the pages for more 3D excitement. We're betting the actual cards will start shipping around Macworld New York, and we'll be there to let you in on all the details.

Mac 3dfx FAQ
3dfx Mac Voodoo 5 Web Site

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New Tribes 2 Images, Interview
12:47 PM | Charles George | Comment on this story

Euro-Tribesplayers, a European Tribes/Tribes 2 fan site, managed to score a few new images of this first-person shooter from Dynamix in action. Accompanied by narrative text, these new shots tell a story of pain, suffering, fear and despair. Thinking about playing this game on your Mac ought to cheer you back up.

In related news, Tribes 2 Players managed to score a very cool interview with Mark Frohnmayer of Dynamix. The article focuses on network code, and how it will affect low-bandwidth gamers. Here's a sample:

T2P: How exactly will it perform on low-end connections compared to high-end connections and how will it affect gameplay?

Mark Frohnmayer: Like TRIBES 1, performance should be good across almost any connection (28.8 or better). Obviously high end connections with low latency and low packet loss will present a smoother game experience to the user, but we're working on minimizing the ways that affects gameplay - by weapon design and the generally longer range nature of TRIBES combat, as well as extensive use of client-side prediction and interpolation

Viva la HPBs! Tribes 2 is currently scheduled for release later this Fall for the PC, with a Mac version hopefully very close behind.

New Tribes 2 Images
Interview on Tribes 2 Net Code

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Q3F Updates to Beta E
12:20 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

This popular Quake 3 Arena mod, Quake 3 Fortress, has reached another Beta version. While fixing numerous bugs with their latest VM files, the team has also include some new features, such as a new map and a little taste of Beta 2 which (if all goes according to plan) should include bot support. IMG has tested the update on Mac Q3A and it works perfectly. Here is a list of the new additions made by this update:

  • Added 3 new beta maps - q3f_32smooth, q3f_r8duel1 and q3f_thepit.
  • Added an updated version of q3f_well, resolving previous FPS issues in Beta1d
    Completely rewritten bezier spline functions
  • Added 'g_execMapConfigs' so that servers can run map specific configurations (such as recuding max players when a vote for a smaller map occurs).
  • Added 'cg_atmosphericEffects'; setting to 0 disables all atmospheric effects (such as rain) which should improve FPS for lower spec systems
  • Added 'g_mapVoteIncludeList' and 'g_mapVoteExcludeList', with the exclude list having priority. This new CVAR enables server admins to include or exclude maps from the map voting screen ensuring for example, that a 20 player server wouldnt end up with a 4 player dueling map being voted for.
  • Added 'g_teamKillRules', setting to 0 disables tk banning, to 1 results in faster bans, 2 has the default settings
  • Added 'tell_teamtarget' command
  • Added a new q3f team credits menu

  • Recently the Q3F team merged with Team Arena, which should certainly speed up the development of Quake 3 Fortress. You can find this new beta at MacGameFiles, an excellent source for all the latest Q3A and UT mods.

    Download Q3F beta 1E
    Quake 3 Fortress

    PakRat 0.7 Released
    12:03 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    PakRat, currently the only Mac tool for Quake 3 Arena, has been updated yet again. This tool can already view 3D models from the game, but this time around the PakRat team have added a great new feature: a Quake 3 map viewer. You will be able to view all the maps you have downloaded without the hassle of starting a server in Q3, which is a great time saver. In addition to that, the team has improved the rendering and shaders engine, as well as made the source code available to the public. Here is the list of added features:

    - Quake 3 Map viewer.
    - Press TAB to jump to the next item.
    - Press CONTROL TAB to jump to the next weapon.
    - Press CONTROL SHIFT TAB to jump to the BFG.
    - Models now animate at the correct frame rate.
    - Press SPACE BAR to pause model animation.
    - Drag and drop image and skin files onto models.
    - Drag and drop to Finder to export raw resources.
    - Double click to open folders.
    - New text handling (now opens files bigger than 32K).
    - .wal support.
    - Miscellaneous bug fixes.
    We also recommend that you read the ReadMe file to learn how to use all of the new features. If you have any ambition to create Q3A skins for the existing models, PakRat is the tool to have.

    PakRat Web Site
    Download PakRat 0.7
    PakRat Source Code

    Sony Re-files Suit Against Connectix
    11:53 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    It seems the victory celebration that began on Thursday after Sony dropped its patent infringement lawsuit against Connectix was premature - the move turned out to be a mere feint, as Sony moved to protect their suit against a possible future appeal based on procedural grounds. Sony re-filed their suit against Connectix early Friday, again alleging that their Playstation emulator, which allows both Mac and PC users to enjoy the hundreds of titles available for this console on their home computers, infringes on Sony patents.

    Previously, Sony saw seven of nine of their charges against Connectix dismissed by a federal judge. However, Sony clearly intends to pursue the alleged patent violations; precisely which patents have been violated in Sony's view has not been revealed, but it may have to do with the BIOS (built-in operating system) that is used to load and run Playstation titles.

    CNET has several reports on this ongoing legal saga worth checking out. In the meantime, we are told to await a new version of CVGS at Macworld New York later this month which will feature better speed and compatibility, among other features.

    Initial Filing of Paten Suit Against Connectix
    CNET Coverage of Sony/Connectix Suit

    VGS Heaven Reborn
    11:02 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    This fansite for Connectix's Virtual Game Station has been relaunched with more content, a new interface and message board, and an updated compatibility page. VGS Heaven tracks compatibility for over 270 Playstation games, and includes an archive of saved memory cards for many of those titles; you will also find recommendations on controllers, reviews of individual titles and performance on various systems. Stop by and share your thoughts on the new message board.

    Connectix Virtual Game Station
    VGS Heaven

    UT Rocket Arena Update
    10:15 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    At the beginning of the year, former Epic member Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart released a much-anticipated Unreal Tourney mod, Rocket Arena. This mod was an update of a classic Quake style of combat in which two opponents went one on one with a full complement of weapons in specially designed arenas. Soon after it's release, the mod had to be pulled due to several bugs and interface problems that seemed to slip past the beta testers. After numerous delays, the team is finally ready to talk about their current work and the future of Rocket arena.

    Our CGA affiliate Stomped has an exclusive interview with the two main programmers behind this great mod, "GreenMarine" Reinhart and Mike "Mongo" Lambert. These interviews cover their feelings about the mod being pulled after release, the backlash from fans, and other various issues that occurred after they removed the mod from the public eye. Mongo also gives an update on the current development of UT Rocket Arena:

    Stomped: What is the current status of Rocket Arena UT? How much more work is needed before the mod is ready for release?

    Lambert: After the release of 1.25 was pulled, both GreenMarine and I agreed to work on a major revision of RA:UT, that was to fix many of the big issues for RA:UT in terms of the gui and general interface. However, we've found that many people do not wish to wait for such a release, and would rather get a fixed-up version of 1.25 to play. As such, I've decided to re-focus my efforts on fixing up 1.25 to give the community something to play while I work on the revised version.. Hopefully, we should be able to get a fixed-up version of 1.25 out the door quickly. :) Most of the 1.25 bugs have been fixed, and the beta testers should get their hands on it soon. The release date all depends upon how many bugs they find...

    Although Greenmarine is very busy at 3D Realms working on Duke Nukem Forever, he will certainly try and get RA out as soon as possible. If you search thoroughly around the net you might be able to find the older version of Rocket Arena, which actually isn't buggy enough to be unplayable, just confusing to use. And it features some of the finest map work we've seen so far in Unreal Tournament. Check out the Stomped interviews for more details.

    Stomped Interviews UT RA Team
    UT Rocket Arena Web Site

    3D Ultra Pinball Thrillride Demo Released
    8:50 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Sierra Attractions has released a demo of 3D Ultra Pinball Thrillride, a fun-filled pinball arcade romp through a fanciful amusement park for the whole family to enjoy. Due out in the Fall, the demo weighs in at 22 MB and requires a PowerMac 233 Mhz or better with Mac OS 8.5.1 and 32 MB of RAM.

    Thrillride offers the fun of a complete amusement park experience. 15 rides are all fun, easy, and colorful-- both stimulating to the eye and easy on the mind.

    To download the demo, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

    Download 3D Ultra Pinball Thrillride at MGF
    Sierra Attractions

    Mac Games News for Friday, June 30, 2000

    GameRanger Adds Terminus4:35 PM
    Human Head Talks, New Rune Image4:23 PM
    Voodoo5 5500 Review2:59 PM
    Summoner Dev Diary1:03 PM
    Tribes 2 Screen Shots1:00 PM
    Mac Deus Ex Site12:50 PM
    MacGameFiles Acquires The Mill12:47 PM
    MacNN Creates Games Forum11:35 AM
    Unreal Fortress Interview11:21 AM
    Tropico Update, Pics11:16 AM
    Black and White Hands-on10:58 AM
    On Deus Ex Level Design10:38 AM
    Sony Relents, Connectix Victorious10:18 AM
    Terminus 1.3 Patch Released9:49 AM
    Mac Deus Ex Release Date9:29 AM
    Clusterball Updates, Mac Info9:24 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, June 30, 2000 on one page

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    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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