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Wednesday, July 12, 2000

ATI OEM Rebuttal
10:29 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Recently rumors have surfaced alleging that NVIDIA might bump ATI out of the Apple OEM supplier position. ATI was quick to dismiss such rumors, and plans to make a big splash at MWNY with their new Radeon card.

However, the Mac market has recently been salivating over NVIDIA's GeForce MX2 chipset, which has the potential to be a low-cost chip for future Macs. In support of that possibility, CNET's Investor site is quoting analysts who claim the idea is very realistic. Here's a clip:

An Nvidia contract with Apple would be "small but significant, and Nvidia is looking for markets it can break into easily," said David Hodgson, an analyst at Dundee Securities Corp. in Toronto. He covers ATI and Nvidia.

Analysts expect Nvidia could supply Apple with chips for both notebook and desktop PCs. The loss of Apple contracts would extend a year-long slide in market share for ATI, the No. 1 supplier of graphics chips for PC's.

In a complete contradiction to these articles, ATI has released a press statement disputing the idea. Though there is no mention of a continuing OEM deal, they do note their continued support via the RADEON retail cards:
In reference to an article published in a prominent online journal yesterday, ATI stated that it is Apple's largest graphics product supplier. In addition, ATI is firmly committed to supporting the further development of the Apple platform. ATI's latest product, RADEON, will be the highest-performance graphics available for the Mac, and will further extend ATI's graphics and multimedia leadership for the Apple platform. ATI also announced that it will continue to innovate on the Mac platform, and will announce a RADEON-based retail sales add-in graphics board for the Apple platform at MacWorld in New York City, July 18-21, 2000.

While none of this is completely convincing, in either direction, it is interesting to see the various ideas slung back and forth. Either way, we get an extremely powerful graphics card for our Macs from a market leader - a luxurious position to be in. When was the last time three graphics card/chip makers fought over the Mac platform?

In somewhat-related news, VoodooExtreme caught sight of a preorder for ATI's PC RADEON cards at EBWorld starting in August.

Pre-Order, coming on 8/1/2000
Price: $279.99

Pre-Order, coming on 8/1/2000
Price: $349.99

We will be on the lookout for an ATI announcment at Macworld. With ATI and NVIDIA duking it out with 3dfx for an OEM , we have all kinds of competition coming to the Mac market. And competition is a good thing!

ATI Press Release
CNET Investor on ATI

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New Rune Music, Alpha Date
1:29 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

3D Action Planet's fan site Ragnarok has posted several exclusive new music tracks from Human Head's upcoming melee-style combat game, Rune. These tracks are in MP3 format. Previously Human Head mentioned their intentions for the genre of Music that will feature in Rune; they stated their desire to preserve the atmosphere of the Viking time period with a combination of very atmospheric sound and authentic music;. These tracks are a good example of what the music will be like for the final version of this third-person game. As we noted earlier today, if you are lucky enough to attend MWNY, you will be able to play Rune at the Gathering of Developers booth on 3dfx Voodoo5 hardware. You can be sure IMG will be among the first in line to lop off some heads (virtual ones, of course.)

In related news, Fastest Game News Online has noted that Rune is due to go 'alpha' (which of course means that development is well along and gameplay tweaking can begin) on August first. Westlake Interactive is handling the Mac port of Rune for Gathering of Developers, and we expect a delay of only one or two weeks between the release of the Mac and PC versions of this title later this Fall.

Download Rune Track #1 (MP3)
Human Head
FGN Online
Download Rune Track #2 (MP3)
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

Werewolf Ressurrected
1:15 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Late last year we began bringing you information regarding an interesting title in development called Werewolf: The Apocalypse by ASC Games. While a Mac version of this game was never explicitly promised, the fact that this game is based on the oh-so-portable Unreal engine caught our attention - after all, more Unreal/Unreal Tournament based games have come to the Mac OS than have not, and this trend seems likely to continue in the future.

ASC Games folded near the end of 1999, and we thought that was the end of the story. However a recent preview at 3D Action Planet notes that Dreamforge Entertainment has picked up where ASC left off, and this game is still in active development with a target release for late this year. This unusual title, a third-person action saga with a deep, gothic plot, centers on a long solo game that follows a battle between various 'tribes' of werewolves and an evil being called The Wyrm, who seeks to destroy the Earth (also known as Gaia.) One of the more unique aspects is the ability to transform your protagonist between three states: man, werewolf, and true wolf. Here are details from the preview on this transformative ability:

Utilizing the Unreal engine with various tweaks the game will allow the player to morph in and out of three different states seamlessly. One state will be Ryan's human form, nothing special but he will be able to avoid attacks by other humans. A second state will be Ryan's werewolf-like state in which he will be able to move on all fours with quickness. The third state is the most powerful state. In this third state Ryan becomes a large, bipedal, wolf man. Because human weapons are too small for the Crinos (the third state), Ryan wields a great sword known as a Klaive. In this third state Ryan also has the ability to cast Gifts (magical spells) and regenerate damage. All in all the available states and morphing technology sounds pretty damn sweet if Dreamforge can pull it off correctly.
Several movies of this game in action were released early in development, which revealed the remarkable morphing ability in action, and it was quite impressive. You can be sure this title is on our 'closely watched' list for a future Mac version. There is currently no mention of this game on the Dreamforge web site, and the ASC Games web site is listed as 'under construction.'

3D Action Planet on Werewolf: Apocalypse
Dreamforge Entertainment

Microsoft Nabs NetGames USA
12:57 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

After recently acquiring Bungie Software, Microsoft has bought yet another company, consolidating their aggressive move into the gaming market. This time around they have bought NetGames USA, the company behind the world ranking system ngWorldStats. Used by various games such as Unreal Tournament, Microsoft plans on incorporating ngStats into their MSN GameZone service. Of course this will mean that NetGamesUSA will also keep track of your stats when you're playing online games via Microsoft's upcoming console, the X-box. Here are the details of this acquisition:

Microsoft Corp. has increased its commitment to online gaming by acquiring Kansas-based NetGames USA, a leading developer of scoring, matchmaking and other enhancements for retail and Web-based games. The acquisition will enhance the competitiveness of games on Microsoft's Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/) and further solidify the site as the Internet's best location to play games with players from around the globe.

"NetGames USA is excited about this opportunity to bring these enhancements to Microsoft(r) games and Zone.com," said Craig Sparks, president and CEO of NetGames USA. "But the real winners will be gamers, who will be able to more easily find appropriate gaming partners and enjoy other advanced gaming features."

Microsoft plans to add technology developed by NetGames to select retail games currently in development, including the highly anticipated "MechWarrior(tm) 4: Vengeance," scheduled for release this holiday season. The company will also maintain support for multiplayer games currently utilizing NetGames' technology on Zone.com.

NetGames' ngStats(tm) technology enhances score-reporting features for retail games played online. These features include real-time reporting of scores and rankings, expanded tracking of statistics and automated organization of tournaments. In addition, this acquisition brings a team of seasoned NetGames developers to Microsoft where they will lead the effort to incorporate the new technologies into Microsoft's PC games, integrate ngStats technology into Microsoft's software development kit (SDK) for PC game developers, and work on evolving technology on a variety of platforms, including the Xbox game console, scheduled for release in fall 2001.

Currently, Mac users have an outdated version of ngWorldStats, with no word on when it might be updated. It will be very interesting to see what companies Microsoft will grab in the future, as they continue to make room in the gaming market for their future console.

NetGames USA

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On Elite Force Mac Demo
12:06 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Recently we brought you news that the PC demo of Raven Software's shooter Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force had been released, and was greeted with much praise. Although we have reported in the past numerous times that a deal for a Mac publisher is still in negotiation, Raven did note at one point that they had the Mac version of this title running well enough to play 'holomatch' (multiplayer deathmatch) between Mac and PC. Since the PC demo is premiering months before the actual title is due to ship - in much the same way as Quake 3 Arena's demo was presented - we were curious as to whether a Mac demo would be seen in the future. Here is Ken Hoekstra's response to our inquiry:

The deal for the Mac version of Elite Force is still being negotiated. As such, there are no plans for a Mac demo to be released any time soon. Sorry...
This is exactly the response we expected. However, it is nice to see that such negotiations are underway - for a short time we feared that the promised Mac version might never ship. Watch for more news about the Mac version of this title in the near future - we suspect MWNY may hold some surprises for Mac gaming in general.

Raven Software's STV: Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

3dfx Storms MWNY
11:56 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A month ago we brought you the disappointing news that there would be no official Gaming Zone at this month's Macworld Expo New York, nor would there be a gaming championship as there had been in previous years. However, 3dfx has decided to capitalize on this situation by dominating the show floor, putting its new Voodoo5 5500 behind many of the games that will debut at this expo. All the titles from Gathering of Developers, including Rune, Oni and 4x4 Evolution, will debut running on 3dfx hardware, and many more game companies will show their games in 3dfx's large booth. Here are details from the press release:

3dfx Interactive Inc. (NASDAQ:TDFX) today announced it is host to Macworld's (booth 1354) only Mac gaming zone featuring the industry's leading edge game developers running the hottest titles on the Voodoo5 5500 PCI, the only graphics accelerator for the Macintosh featuring true hardware full-scene anti-aliasing (FSAA). With the industry's highest performing and feature-rich graphics products for the Mac, 3dfx was the natural Mecca for the gaming community at Macworld.

"With our intent to dominate the Mac gaming market, we were only too eager to accommodate the tidal wave of developer requests to demonstrate their products in our booth," said Bryan Speece, director of marketing, Macintosh business development. "Their very presence at our booth sends the clear message that our product gives the kind of performance content creators crave on a Mac."

"We couldn't resist the opportunity to showcase our upcoming titles, Rune, Oni, Tropico, and 4 x 4 Evolution, on a Voodoo5, the most powerful and exciting graphics accelerator ever produced for the Mac," said Mike Wilson, CEO, Gathering of Developers. "We have been working side-by-side with 3dfx to provide titles with incredible performance on a platform made for high-end graphics acceleration. Mac gamers should definitely fasten their seat belts."

Game publishers featured in the 3dfx Macworld booth include Aspyr, MacSoft, Gathering of Developers, Blizzard and Graphic Simulations. Developers will graphically illustrate the power of Voodoo5 5500 PCI by demonstrating their latest design tools on a Power Mac G4 equipped with a Voodoo5 card. Among those featured include TGS, Hypercosm, NewTek and Nemetschek.

If anyone doubted that 3dfx is making a concerted, aggressive effort to be a success on the Mac platform, this all-out assault on MWNY should erase any such fears. Although NVIDIA is not expected to announce or show any products at the show, ATI will be there with their RADEON cards - a battle of titans, and over our humble platform. Who would have expected this, just a year ago? IMG will of course be there to cover all of the action, and to bring you an in-depth report on the official Mac Voodoo5 5500 PCI card in all of its glory. Amid all this hype, those of you not willing to dish out $329 for this cart might be wondering where the single-chip Voodoo4 5000 has disappeared to? By most accounts, this card is due this September for the PC, with Mac versions following soon afterwards.

Voodoo4/5 In-Depth
Voodoo5 Mac Screen Shots
3dfx Inc

CodeBook 4.0 Released
11:33 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Project leader Robert Edvardsson from the Codebook team has informed us that he has just released version 4.0 of his popular codes and cheats compendium. With a new engine and customizable interface, you will be able to view thousands of cheat codes for your favorite games. Besides cheats, you will also find a large collection of tips, hints, strategy guides and other game information. Here is the official PR:

The Codebook is the Macintosh gamers' most handy utility ever! It's
the largest collection of cheats, walkthroughs, internet URLs, patches, saved games, maps, images and info for Macintosh games that is available. You will find things in CB4 that you will not find anywhere else. The Codebook is a free-standing application which is about 1,5mb in size and easy to download and install. The Codebook uses a plug-in system which allows you to have the most recent information at your fingertips. There is no need download large updates or monthly patches. Plug-ins are updated daily and there will be new plug-ins frequently.


Improved structure!
Improved engine!
Easy to update!
Chat with other gamers!
Customized appearance!
Better Quality!
Pictures and Maps!
Internet compatible!
Plugins are constantly being updated.

Previous users can re-register for a $10 fee, $5 less than normal. Check the Codebook web site for details.

The Codebook

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Behind the Scenes of Myst III: Exile
11:30 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Presto Studios, the company that is developing the next installment in Cyan's MYST series, has recently posted a look behind the scenes of Myst III: Exile. In the piece, questions are posed to three of the five Presto designers on the team. Here's an excerpt:


Phil Saunders: I think simply the diversity of the worlds that we've created. There is some stuff in EXILE that is very unexpected, and there is a tremendous amount of variety. Around each corner is a new discovery, and some very memorable images that I think will stay in people's minds for a long time. I think people will feel that the gameplay is very intuitive also. We've spent a lot of effort making sure that the game flows naturally and that objectives are clear, but that you always have options of which path to follow.

There is also some new concept art at the end of the article, so be sure to check it out. You might remember Presto Studios from their previous Journeyman Project series, which were stunning games in their own right. Myst III: Exile is set to be released for Mac and PC next Spring.

Myst III: Exile Behind the Scenes
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Baldur's Gate Winner, New Contest Begins
10:52 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Well, our Baldur's Gate giveaway was such a raging success, we've decided to follow it up with another giveaway - this time we will be handing out free copies of Deus Ex, the RPG/shooter from Ion Storm brought to the Mac by Aspyr Media.

Our third and final Baldur's Gate winner is Carlo Jaunez-Silva of Toronto, Ontario. All winners should receive their copies soon after this game ships. If you weren't one of the lucky winners, you can always try your hand at our new contest...

Enter today to win one of 3 copies of Deus Ex, a hot new game that blends elements of role-playing and first-person shooter action, from Inside Mac Games and Aspyr Media.

Imagine yourself waking up in the not-too-distant future. Adjusting your nano-enhanced eye helps you see better in the darkness on the way to work. Crime and pollution abound as the world's economies approach total destruction. A nagging itch in the back of your mind makes you wonder if there really is a conspiracy behind all of this chaos.

Visit our contest page and sign up today!

IMG Deus Ex Giveaway

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Mac Simon 3D Clarification
10:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday we reported that Simon the Sorcerer 3D was not being made within Headfirst studios; instead it is being handed off to a German software developer named Epic. We were curious why they weren't taking advantage of the NetImmerse engine (which Headfirst used to create the game), since one of this engine's features is cross-platform compatibility. Headfirst was nice enough to provide a little clarification on the issue:

Epic are actually doing both games [Simon 3D and Simon the Sorcerer II], we've got some sort of licensing agreement going on which means they can release some of the StS games on the Mac (not sure of the fine details though).

There is indeed a Mac version of NetImmerse, but Epic decided to write their own rather than paying the licensing fee to use the engine - good for them I say!

Very interesting indeed. So we can expect to see both Simon II and Simon 3D in the future! Unfortunately for Mac users, since the ports are not being done in-house, it means the games will be delayed for some time after the PC version is released. We will keep in touch with both Headfirst and Epic and let you know once more information is available.

Simon 3D Web Site

Westlake Updates Projects
10:39 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The dedicated developers at Westlake Interactive have updated their Project page yet again. While they have not revealed any of their concealed projects, they have updated their page with new release dates and status of their secret ports. Door #1 and #2 have reached 'First playable' stage, in which means of course they can for the first time actually play the game. Door #3 is in 'Early Development,' which means the game is just starting to be ported. All of the 'Door' projects should be finished by Fall of this year, according to Westlake's new dates, an ambitious goal indeed.

While Westlake keeps their secrets concealed, many people have speculated about what games may be ported in our Forums; their guesses range from Baldur's Gate II to Duke Nukem Forever. Westlake has made it fairly clear that they won't be doing titles that take a year to port anymore, nor will they be porting 'old' titles (a year or more since PC publication) as the market does not seem to support this; simultaneous or near-simultaneous seems to be the future of porting, though it isn't their preferred method of working. We expect several of these hidden projects to be revealed at Macworld New York, just over a week away.

Westlake Interactive
IMG Forum: Westlake Wish list

Mac Games News for Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Silver for Mac Finished... In Europe4:43 PM
Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab Gold4:41 PM
UT HeadHunters 1.3 Update1:57 PM
Tribes 2 in Alpha1:54 PM
F.A.K.K. 2 Status Update1:50 PM
Bungie.Net Outage11:25 AM
Tribes 2 Details, Images11:19 AM
Mac Simon 3D Details11:13 AM
RUNE Dev Diary Updated10:58 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, July 11, 2000 on one page

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