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Tuesday, July 25, 2000

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Georgeson on Mac Tribes 2
7:55 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Considering Sierra's checkered history on the Mac platform, Dynamix's shooter Tribes 2 is a title which has long given us alternating goose-bumps of anticipation and chills of trepidation. Will this first-person shooter, so highly anticipated on the PC side, ever make it to our platform? Or will it be axed cruelly, the way Sierra handled Mac Half-life?

The recent departure of Rick Overman from the staff of Dynamix made several of IMG's readers worried, as Overman has said many good things about the Mac version in the past and at one time claimed to be the sole Mac and Linux programmer at the company. We contacted Dave Georgeson of Dynamix for an update on how the recent change in staff might affect the chances of a Mac version of this title. Here is his reply:

Losing Rick and Tim does nothing to reduce the chances of a Mac version of
Tribes 2. They are exactly the same chances as before. In otherwords, if we
can get time to do it, we will do it. But we have to get the game done
That's understandable. Tribes 2 recently gained Alpha status, putting the team on track for a November release of this title for PC. It seems the Mac and Linux fans of this title may now resume holding their breath for this one to come out...

Tribes 2

An Interview With GoD
3:31 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

After this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, publishing house Gathering of Developers suddenly became a major player on the Mac scene, with five very big titles due for Mac as well as PC (and Dreamcast.) Not only will GoD be bringing Oni to the Mac platform, they will also publish Rune, 4x4 Evolution, Tropico and Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 - all but Tropico will be in stores before the holiday season. Needless to say, this has become a company to watch closely for Mac gamers.

Our Gamecenter Alliance partner Gamer's Depot has posted an interview with Mike Wilson, former id Software employee and head of Gathering of Developers. While the interview doesn't reflect directly upon GoD's Mac OS leanings, it does provide some insight into how this publisher works, and what makes them different from conglomerates such as Sierra or Infogrames. Here's Wilson on GoD's modus operandi:

GD:  What do you feel is the most unique feature about your company that sets you apart from other game publishers?

Mike Wilson:  We believe that our value as a company is in the relationships we maintain w/developers, not in any ‘marketing prowess’ or expertise of management.  We want to work w/the best talent, and we try to be the path of least resistance for them to look at when the time comes.  And, like I said before… we keep it FUN.

GD:  Due to the overwhelming response that your games got at this years E3, do you feel an even greater amount of pressure to make sure these games are done to a higher standard of quality, and ship on time?

Mike Wilson:  All we do is sign great teams, and stay out of the way.  The rest will take care of itself.  We stay focused on our side of the project… making sure that everyone is aware of the title and that it has every chance to succeed.  To think that we as a publisher (i.e. people who have never actually MADE a game) can have a realistic impact on a project that a team of experts is slaving away on full time for 2 years is a bit arrogant.  We help by providing whatever services that a team needs to succeed, but that’s it.  Other than that, we really try to shut up and stay out of the way.

The first title we are likely to see from GoD will be 4x4 Evolution, an off-road driving sim featuring ultra-realistic vehicles and lots of dirt-thrashin' fun. Following in October should be Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 and Rune, followed closely by Oni. Tropico is due in 2001. Read the rest of this interview for more behind the philosophy and methods of this major Mac gaming player.

Gathering of Developers
Gamer's Depot Interviews Mike Wilson

MacGaming on Apple's Pro Mouse
2:11 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Our friends at Macgaming.com have posted an article on Apple's hot new optical mouse, the Pro Mouse. But is it suitable for gaming? That's the question Peter Cohen of Macgaming tries to answer. Here's a little snippet from the article:

There's no question that Apple's new Pro Mouse is an elegantly designed and aesthetically pleasing Macintosh peripheral. The
transparent casing and illuminated componentry make it a beautiful
addition to most USB-equipped Macs. The most frequent question we've
been asked by our readers asks about the suitability of the new Pro
Mouse for gaming, and we're afraid that this mouse just comes up
short as a serious gamer's peripheral.
For the rest of the article, head over to Macgaming.com.

Macgaming.com's Apple Pro Mouse article

Diablo II 1.03 Info
2:05 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Can't get Diablo II for the Macintosh to work? You're not alone. In the past few days IMG has been getting a slew of bug reports. The reports stem from the game not working with Power Mac G3 (B&W models) and older legacy machines with upgraded G3 processors to failures to run with Apple's Cinema Display (Diablo II refuses to run on my Cinema Display).

John Stiles and Tony Tribelli, two of the Mac programmers who worked on the Macintosh port of Diablo II, recently posted some information in the newsgroups about some of the incompatibilties people have encountered with Diablo II.

"Diablo II's incompatibility with NuBus machines equipped with G3 upgrade cards will be fixed in the 1.03 patch," said Stiles.

"There are some bugs in the ATI drivers, in particular PCI cards. When ATI has new drivers 3d hardware will be made available on the 'troublesome' cards. This should happen in the near future, no specific date is available," said Tribelli.
According to email reports we've received, Blizzard will soon be emailing betas of Diablo II 1.03 to people who have sent in bug reports.


Westlake's Cobb on Apple
11:49 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday we ran two news items that seemed to conflict with each other. The first was word from id Software's' Grame Devine, praising Apple's developer support, and the other was a video of Westlake Interactive's president Mark Adams, talking about how his company is moving into other areas of development to compensate for a lack of revenue.

Posts in our forum and email from readers were curious about what was causing this discrepancy in developer opinions about Apple. Is it favoritism on Apple's part? Is Westlake just whining, or do they have legitimate concerns?

Westlake programmer Ken Cobb made a post to our forum, offering an explanation as to why Westalke feels snubbed by Apple:

There are a lot of issues, but here's the main problem in a nutshell: At Apple, they firmly believe that the best way to help Mac gaming is for games to be simultaneously developed on the PC and Mac. And they believe the PC publisher should do the Mac version also. True simultaneous release by the same publisher, that's the ideal. In other words, they don't like ports. Original development on Mac--great, simultaneous release--good, ports--bad.

This is a nice idea, and it would make the Mac look as important as the PC (which is what Apple is really after), but it ignores reality. The Mac game market is tiny ( Does Apple play favorites?

Absolutely. Why do you think id and Bungie are always shown at Macworlds? They fit Apple's vision (well, Bungie did). We do not.

Look at The Sims. You would think Apple would get behind this game in a big way. It's hugely popular on the PC, has a wide demographic appeal, runs well on iMacs, is non-violent. To me it seems like the ideal Mac game. But it's a port. Look on Apple's game page--it's not even a featured title.

At Macworld, one the Apple game evangelists heard that Deus Ex was selling well, and came up to Mark and said something like, "See, simultaneous releases work." Then Mark said, "But The Sims has sold twice as many at the show." No comment from the Apple guy.

Another concern of Westlake's which IMG's Matt Diamond brought up in the forums (and Mark Adams has noted before) is about the transition from OS 9 to OS X. id has already said their next project would be OS X only. Westlake, on the other hand, must worry about supporting both operating systems in order to keep customers happy. Apple's secretive nature doesn't help when they're trying to guess how to make this difficult transition with many elements still up in the air (GameSprockets, graphic API support, etc).

How will this feud between Apple and Westlake play out? Only time will tell. Stay tuned!

Westlake Interactive
Id Software
Ken Cobb Forum Post

Little Wing Pinball Games Re-Released
11:44 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

LittleWing, the company famous for its outstanding Solid State series of pinball games, has re-released Crystal Caliburn and Loony Labyrinth as shareware.

Crystal Caliburn is an authentic pinball simulator that takes place in the Golden Age of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. It has colorful features, ultra-realistic ball movement, superb sound effects and beautiful graphics. It also features three-level playfield, super-real 3D ramps, and three ball multiball.

Loony Labyrinth is the fourth game in their Solid State Pinball Series. Its design, graphics, and sounds are completely original. Loony Labyrinth combines science-fiction, adventure and mythology as you strive to enter the mysterious Labyrinth of Knossos, defeat the Minotaur, and rescue the nine human sacrifices.

To download playable demo versions of Crystal Caliburn and Loony Labyrinth, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

Little Wing
Download Loony Labyrinth (2.2 MB)
Download Crystal Caliburn (1.1 MB)

Rocket Arena Updates
9:30 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Recently, the official Rocket Arena modification for Quake 3 was released for PC and Linux versions of the game. The author has updated the website with a quick Q&A which includes his thoughts about a Macintosh version of the mod. Here's a clip:

1. Will there be Mac support?

I looked into this a while ago and didn't see any way to do native mods on the Mac. I'll try to get this done if at all possible. Mac OSX should definitely be possible once it's released.

2. Will there be bot support?

I plan to add bot support in the future, but it will take a bit of time (to teach them how RA3 works) and I didn't want to delay the initial release for bot support since most users don't need it.

In case you're wondering, Rocket Arena is based on a Quake mod of the same name. Battles are usually 1 on 1 or clan versus clan. Each player starts with full ammo, armor and weapons. This makes the game a true matter of weapon skill, as opposed to having to search for powerups.

Fans of Unreal Tournament know that a Rocket Arena mod is also underway for that engine. Unfortunately, this version had a very buggy release a number of months ago that was subsequently pulled. One of the original contributor's of the project, former Epic employee Brandon Reinhart, has updated his .plan with a little more info:

Speaking of Rocket Arena 3...wouldn't it be nice if Cliffy said something about what Epic was doing with Rocket Arena UT? I sure would like to know. I had to hand over the reigns on the project to Mike Lambert when I left Epic and I believe Epic is helping direct the project and has some plans for it. Nonetheless, the maps were great and I really want to play it. (Doh! I reread this and it sounds like I'm saying Epic made me hand over the project or something which isn't the case. I passed on RAUT because I didn't have the spare time to work on it. As it is, I'm pretty much working on Duke 24/7, except for some spots of gaming on the weekends.)
As you can deduce, Reinhart is now working for 3D Realms on Duke Nukem Forever. We're hoping to hear something more about RA UT soon, as many anxious Mac fans would love to try the mod out. We'll let you know if anything new becomes available.

Rocket Arena UT Web Site
Rocket Arena 3 Web Site
Brandon Reinhart .plan Update

MW Video: Ron Dimant on United Developers
8:59 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

At Macworld Expo last week a new company called United Developers was formed, headed by Ritual CEO Ron Dimant, to publish titles for the Mac OS. Joined by Contraband Entertainment and Logicware, United Developers will bring four games to the Mac OS within the next eight weeks - the first-person shooter SiN, its expansion pack Wages of SiN, the WW II flight sim Fighter Squadron and a spectacular RTS by Hasbro Interactive known as Majesty.

In this video interview with Ron Dimant, the CEO talks about what United Developers is all about and what we can expect from this new Mac publishing venture.

IMG Video: Ron Dimant on United Developers

MW Video: Rune at Macworld Expo
8:48 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

If there was one game that "wowed" us at Macworld Expo last week, it was Rune, the Viking-inspired action game being developed by Humanhead Studios and ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive. The Mac version looked rock solid and there were huge crowds in front of the Rune kiosk at the 3dfx booth.

We video interviewed Humanhead's Timothy Gerritsen about Rune and asked him to give us an update on the Mac version.

Westlake Interactive
Humanhead Studios
IMG Video: Rune at Macworld Expo

Tactical Ops Beta 1.2
6:00 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The Unreal Tournament mod Tactical Ops has been updated with many new features. This realistic Anti-terrorist mod had undergone some major changes in this update, with remodeled weapons, recreated maps, tweaked gameplay and fixes of various issues. It has been recommended by the Tactical Ops team that you uninstall previous Tactical Ops files in order to successfully install beta 1.2. The following changes are only found in version 1.2:

- Core gameplay rewritten. Nice performance increase.
- UT gametypes supported, you can now play DM, LMS, TDM, Assault, CTF and DOM with Tactical Ops weapons! :)
- New Player model skins: Krazy Ivan and Walker (Terrorists), Carter (Special Forces) and Hostage thanks to Butcher.
- You can now only carry a grenade at a time.
- Dead players can only talk to dead players.
- Changing team always kill the player, except during Briefing.
- Money awarded: Each round each team is given $1000 instead of $500. Loosing team is now awarded $1000 instead if $800. Rescuing a hostage: $700 for player, $300 for team. Evidence award: $250
- Messages color: green = all, blue = special forces, red = terrorists, grey = spectating
- Player Dodging removed.
- Added UT 'Last man standing' gametype support.
- buy aliases, thanks to Michael "IvanTT" Sanders, read README-s_kAmmoAuto-Aliases.txt
- weight system. Slows player down depending on the current weapon's weight, special items carried (such as cocaine) and armor. (Disabled with UT gametypes).
- Blood trails. When wounded you will leave bloodtrails depending on your health.
For those who missed it the first time around, Tactical Ops was formerly known as SWAT; they changed their name for legal reasons. As usual, we have tested this new version and can confirm that it works perfectly with Mac Unreal Tournament.

Tactical Ops
Download TacOps Beta 1.2 (list of mirrors)

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Bungie Fanfest Movies
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Were you one of those Bungie fans that always knew they would come through with a Mac version of Halo, but just couldn't scrape together enough cash to make it to the Bungie Fanfest at Macworld New York last week? Well, don't be too bummed, because a few of the movies from the festivities are now available for download.

While the movies are actually video footage of a monitor, the quality is still surprisingly good. A member of the gaming group Pax Nimbus named Cannibal Harry has taken, digitized and is graciously hosting the files on his site. The first movie is a large 640x480 version of a hilarious commercial for some nVidia hardware, with the whole Halo cast giving the pitch. It's a beast of a download at almost 43MB, so only those with fast connections need apply.

The other movies are of the (almost inevitable) Budweiser "Wazzup" parody variety. This time around, the 'wazzup' is done with the Halo troopers, as you might have guessed. The parody also comes in two sizes, so if you can't grab the full 35MB file at 640x480, try the much smaller 320x240 version which is under 4MB.

Wazzup Video 640x480 (35MB)
Pax Nimbus Web Site
Wazzup Video 320x240 (3.6MB)
Bungie nVidia Video (43MB)
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

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Elite Force FAQ on Mac
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Raven Software's Ken Hoekstra has recently updated his .plan file with word that the official Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force FAQ has been updated with a number of items. The question that should be of most interest to Mac gamers is the one regarding 'alternate' versions of this highly-anticipated Star Trek game:

Will Elite Force be released for other platforms? Mac? Linux? PSX II? DreamCast?

At this time, nothing has been officially announced. The Macintosh port is in the contract stages right now. We have every intention of outsourcing a Mac port because of the portability of the Quake III engine. Expect an announcement when the deal is finalized.

We will bring you word as soon as anything final regarding the Mac port is announced; we know of several possibilities for a Mac porting house and publisher for this title.

Ken Hoekstra .plan File
Elite Force FAQ
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

CitrusV Needs Programmers
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A while back we reported on CitrusV, an ambitious attempt to create the largest freeware game ever, based on the Myst-like adventure genre. With a collection of artists, musicians and programmers from across the globe, they hope to create an engrossing, visually impressive adventure as a purely volunteer project.

We have received word from Ryan Niemann of Split Pine Software, the team behind this project, that CitrusV is short of programmers - in fact, they currently have only one. Two or three able programmers are needed to help design and program a 'Myst-like' interface.

Currently CitrusV is still in the concept stages; however this team is moving forward, and gaining new members as well. If you are interested in helping out on this project in any way, visit the web sites below for more information.

Split Pine Software
CitrusV Project

Mac Games News for Monday, July 24, 2000

Macops: Rainbow Six Updated7:17 PM
Secrets of the Mind Released7:14 PM
More FAKK2 Goodies12:01 PM
Take-Two Acquires PopTop11:54 AM
Baldur's Gate Fixes on the Way11:35 AM
Graeme Raves over Macworld9:43 AM
Warcraft III Chat Transcript9:21 AM
MW Video: Bungie CEO on Halo8:46 AM
More from Mark Adams8:45 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, July 24, 2000 on one page

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Saturday, July 22, 2000
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