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Monday, July 24, 2000

MW Video: Bungie CEO on Halo
8:46 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Ever since Microsoft bought out Bungie Software, there's been rampant speculation that the PC and Mac versions of Halo had been cancelled. Indeed the company line of "we have no idea" added fuel to the fire.

On Wednesday during the Macworld Expo keynote the speculation finally ended when Bungie CEO Alexander Seropian announced that they would indeed be publishing PC and Mac versions of Halo.

After the keynote IMG cornered Seropian and taped a short interview on this special announcement. In the video Seropian talks about how the decision to bring Halo to the PC and Mac came to fruition.

Video: Bungie CEO on Halo (QuickTime, 3.8 MB)
Bungie Studios

Macops: Rainbow Six Updated
7:17 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

This Mac fan site and information resource for Rainbow Six has recently been redesigned and now includes information from Rogue Spear, the R6 sequel which we recently learned at Macworld Expo will be coming to the Mac OS this Winter. Here is the update on this site's changes:

Macops: Rainbow Six (http://gamesiege.com/macops-r6/) has been entirely
rebuilt from the ground up- with a stunning new design and inclusion of
Rogue Spear/Urban Ops info. Along with the redesign here are all of the
site's features (old and new):

- Completely redesigned from the ground up

- Back Stories to Rogue Spear/Urban Ops

- Info on Operatives and Weapons in Rogue Spear/Urban Ops

- 21 total mods, including BF Arsenal, ITF, and Nato2v1; most recent new
mods are Operation Urgent Fury and the Euro Mod

- Cheat Codes

- Information on all Items & Weapons in Rainbow Six and Eagle Watch

- Rosters for Rainbow Six and Eagle Watch

- FAQ and tech help

- Clans: now listing over 40 Clans

- Information on how to create mods and weapons

- Complete Walkthroughs for Rainbow Six and Eagle Watch

- A user-submitted screenshot section

- Multiplayer Introduction & Tactics

- Multiplayer Strategies for each map

- And of course, forums.

Also, in the upcoming months I will be posting special previews of Rogue
Spear and Urban Ops.

If you're a fan of this tactical shooter, make sure you visit this site.

Macops: Rainbow Six

Secrets of the Mind Released
7:14 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

French publisher Montparnasse Multimedia has just informed us of the release of their new CD-ROM title, Secrets of the Mind. This educational reference collects scientific thought and theory from some of the world's luminaries in the fields of the mind, psychology and neuroscience. Here are more details, from the press release:

Montparnasse multimedia has just released its new program Secrets of the Mind (SRP $39.95 - RRP 19,99): a PC/Mac CD-ROM, unraveling the mysteries of the mind and intelligence.

"This ambitious, double CD-ROM set will at last give everyone the opportunity to fully grasp complex and often inaccessible scientific phenomena in a user-friendly way, with interactive experiments and talks from the very best of today's and tomorrow's scientific league. A must for all the family and everyone with an open eye for Science." declared Stphane Grand-Chavin, International Manager of Montparnasse multimedia, during the official launch in Paris.

Secrets of the Mind brings together 11 pioneering psychologists and neuroscientists, including Nobel prize winner Herbert Simon; and covers all aspects of the brain: consciousness, memory, learning, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, the unconscious, attention, brain evolution, free-will, vision.

Their 100% multimedia talks are illustrated by interactive, first-person psychological experiments, virtual roundtable discussions and provocative, original artwork.

While not a game per se, ambitious works of multimedia of this type have become rare enough that we found this worth noting. No word on the US publisher of this title or its availability was given, but we'll let you know a source when we find one.

Montparnasse Multimedia (in French)

Click to enlarge
More FAKK2 Goodies
12:01 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The somewhat questionably-named Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 fan site FAKKYou.com has posted a new preview of the 3rd-person action/adventure game after a recent visit to Ritual HQ to beta test this title. Here's a short clip about the control system of the game, which allows you to use two weapons at once in various combinations:

The control scheme takes a bit to get used to, and the tutorial helps, but once you do figure it out, it's easy to use and allows for about twice as much gameplay combination as UT/HL's simple dual-fire modes. Pretty much every weapon has a secondary-type fire or combo, and combining two weapons will produce different combos and attacks.
Check out the rest of the preview for more from the boys at Ritual, including some great exclusive new screenshots of the game in action. The author is pretty excited, and from what we saw of FAKK2 at Macworld New York, you should be too.

In related news, the official FAKK2 web site has been updated with a few new screenshots. It's heavily Flash-based, so be warned. The Mac version of FAKK2 is currently underway by Contraband Entertainment and should follow the PC version's release very closely; the PC version is due in September.

FAKK2 Beta Preview
Official FAKK2 Web Site
Gathering of Developers
Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

Click to enlarge
Take-Two Acquires PopTop
11:54 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In a merging of alliteration with rhyme, Take-Two has announced they have acquired PopTop. If these names seem only vaguely familiar to you, Take-Two Interactive is the company that now has the rights to Bungie's Myth and Oni games while PopTop Software is responsible for Railroad Tycoon II and the upcoming game, Tropico. Here is a clip from the press release:

"We are pleased to add PopTop to our Company," said Barry Rutcofsky, Co-Chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. "PopTop is an extremely well-run
development shop, with the ability to create compelling games in an efficient, timely manner. We look forward to continuing the teamwork between the Gathering of
Developers and PopTop Software, which previously resulted in the highly successful, Railroad Tycoon II."

Philip Steinmeyer, President of PopTop Software, Inc., said: "This deal allows us to continue supporting our business plan of continuing our role as a first-rate
development team. Take-Two's strength as a publisher is matched by its leadership in the worldwide distribution of computer software. We will get the best of both

This should be good news for all concerned parties. Tropico is looking to be an excellent take on the god-game genre that will be out early next year for both Mac and PC.

Take-Two Press Release
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

Click to enlarge
Baldur's Gate Fixes on the Way
11:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Now that Baldur's Gate has officially shipped for the Mac, a few gamers have noticed several problems with the game. Today we spoke to GraphSim, the company who ported the game, and they have promised that a patch is on the way. Specifically, those running Baldur's Gate under System 8.1 seem to get a "ControlsLib" error. GraphSim has said a patch could be out as early as tomorrow to address this issue.

A few other more minor bugs are also in need of squishing; however, they're not critical, and another patch to fix them should be out later in the week. All who have pre-ordered this title should have recieved their copies by now, or will get them early this week, and it should be on store shelves by the end of the week at the latest. BG was a huge success at MWNY, selling out all copies on the show floor.

GraphSim Web Site
Baldur's Gate Preview
Baldur's Gate

Graeme Raves over Macworld
9:43 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Id Software's Graeme Devine attended the recent Macworld and has updated his .plan with nothing but good things to say about it. Obviously a Mac fan, Devine even throws out some of Apple's recent impressive selling stats. Here is his update in full:

Back from MacWorld, and quite the MacWorld is was too. Gotta love the cube!

Walking around the show floor and talking to the various Mac developers and publishers
it's clear that the level of support Apple is providing across the game community is making
a huge and positive difference. I've worked with Apple on and off for 12 years or so (since
7th Guest days, and before that when I was at Virgin), and within the last year have felt their
presence as more and more of a partner in my endeavors to make this platform rock. My
thanks go out to Mike, Heather, Wallace and Geoff for their efforts above and beyond the
call of duty, and I know a lot of other developers are there with me. Apple is really
there for game developers right now.

I'll be adding the SMP support into Q3A and shipping a build off to Apple today. We've
already got that stubbed in there.

The platform is exceptional. In the last 2 years Apple has sold 3.7 million iMacs (not
including G4 and G3 towers). That's one every 18 seconds. Out of that, over 80% of
those machines are on the Internet. When Apple launched iMovie, the digital video editing
software for the iMac, they found that over 45% of those with iMacs capable of using
iMovie were using it. These are incredible figures.

So we might soon see the first Mac game able to take advantage of multiprocessors in Quake 3: Arena. Keep in mind though that Id's John Carmack has noted this only speeds up the game 10-15% on the PC side, so don't expect huge jumps in framerates. It's always good to hear a developer rave about Apple's progress, especially from one at the heart of the gaming industry.

Graeme Devine .plan Update

Warcraft III Chat Transcript
9:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Now that the Mac version of Warcraft III has been officially announced by Blizzard we are even more excited to scour the web for you in search of related news. Like their sister-site, Diabloii.net, Warcraftiii.net seems to be one of the premier fansites dedicated to everything about the upcoming 3D strategy game. They have recently posted a transcript from a chat with Blizzard's Jay Patel and Andrea Pessino at VoodooExtreme. They answer questions on a variety of topics about this strategy game with RPG influences. Here's an excerpt about the editor to be included with the game:

What will the editor for Warcraft 3 be like?

 It will much more integrated and flexible than what we did for StarCraft but it will be similarly easy to get into but we'd like to offer more customization and the ability add artwork and such.

There are many other good tidbits about the game in the chat, so be sure to head over and read though it. Warcraft III is set to be released sometime in the first half of next year for Mac and PC.

MW: Warcraft III Coming to the Mac
Blizzard Web Site
Warcraft III Chat Transcript

More from Mark Adams
8:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In case you missed it, we posted a quick video interview over the weekend with Westlake Interactive's president, Mark Adams. In the QuickTime clip taken at last week's Macworld Expo, he explains their decision to move into the realm of developing games for consoles as well as the Mac. Now it looks as though Adams is back home, as there have been a number of Usenet posts from him about various topics that might interest you.

Speaking about the new Dual-G4 PowerMacs, he notes the impact of the second processor for games is rather minimal:

MP is nearly a complete non-factor for games. Ports
are extremely unlikely to take advantage of it, and even an original
developer like Carmack isn't going to spend a lot of time on MP code
just for the Mac version (since MP is not a big presence on the PC).
Writing MP code for best speed gains is a completely non-trivial task,
and not something that can be thrown into an existing game quickly.

What small speed up could help game is the OS automatically offloading
sound processing (making the extra G4 an equivalent of a $40 PC 3D Sound
card) and/or GL transforms (having the G4 do the equivalent of a
GeForce2 or Radeon for T&L). Better than not having the second G4, but
I'd still rather have 3D sound hardware, a GeForce2/Radeon, and a few
hundred MHz more CPU speed.

So don't buy that high-end dual 500 and expect Quake 3 to run a double the FPS (unless you're still running on that Performa 6214CD).

In another thread, Adams quickly gets the question of Mac-PC multiplayer in their upcoming Risk II title out of the way:

Unfortunately Risk II will only be Mac to Mac.
On the topic of neverending Unreal Tournament updates, he notes they should have something available in the next couple of weeks. Right now, the PC version is at 4.20, though Epic has announced they are working on newer patches. Here's a clip from Adams:
We were kind of on hold, since Epic said they were doing a 421 then a
422, and I hoped they'd come out quickly so we could just jump to the
latest version. If it looks like Epic will take another few
weeks/months to get a post-420 update out, we'll just finish up 420 Mac.
The only real reason to even upgrade UT (since all of the versions can play with eachother on the net) is for modifications, whose authors often require the very latest patch in order to play.

And with the buzz around the net being Deus Ex, Adams responded to a fan having problems with memory and the game:

My guess is its something QuickTime is allocating, since DX uses
QuickTime to decompress MP3's. The game doesn't intentionally allocate
any system heap memory, so it must be a side effect of one of the OS

We have found one very small leak in the application itself, which we
will fix, but it has more to do with the application memory getting
fragmented after a long time, not the system memory.

Memory leaks can be nasty things, and we're sure Westlake will have a patch out soon to fix it. As the team gets back from Macworld and into their routine of amazing work, we should see more news on a Deus Ex demo and many of their other games in progress very soon.

IMG Video with Westlake's Mark Adams
Westlake Interactive

Mac Games News for Saturday, July 22, 2000

MW: 4x4 Evolution Video12:28 PM
MW: MacWorld Roundup12:11 PM
Mark Adams Talks Diversification9:19 AM
MW: Macworld Expo Pictures8:58 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Saturday, July 22, 2000 on one page

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Friday, July 21, 2000
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