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Wednesday, August 2, 2000

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Deus Ex Demo in High Demand
9:33 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

After a slight delay, the Mac demo of RPG/shooter hybrid Deus Ex has been released to an eager audience. This large (135 MB) download features the first level of this game, and is an excellent introduction to the variety of challenges and approaches this shooter offers.

Unfortunately, the audience is so eager, the servers are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand. As of early Wednesday morning, the demo has been downloaded from Macgamefiles over 1,300 times. We now have four file mirrors available, so this should help distribute the demand and give you a better chance of downloading successfully. Keep in mind that MGF will automatically rotate between mirrors, so if your download stalls, just try again. We appreciate your patience and understanding, as everyone is trying for their copy of this huge file at the same time, it seems.

Ported to the Mac OS by Westlake Interactive and published by Aspyr Media, Deus Ex has received rave reviews on the PC side, lauded for its developed story line and depth as well as the game's gorgeous visuals. Based on the Unreal Tournament engine, the game is slightly more demanding than even that memory- and processor-hogging shooter; this is due to level designs which incorporate large, open spaces and entire city blocks in full detail.

Those of you who remember Warren Spector's previous creation System Shock or are a fan of compelling solo adventures such as offered by the Marathon series will find much to like in Deus Ex. Set in a near-future world of cyberpunk technologies and age-old conspiracy theories, this game pits a posthuman against a cabal of elites obsessed with world domination, with plot twists galore. Thousands of lines of spoken dialog and integrated cut-scenes help move the story along at a frantic pace.

If you find the prospect of a 135 MB download intimidating, you can be certain that this demo will be included in the next issue of IMG's CD-ROM publication, due in the next few weeks. If you aren't a subscriber, now's an excellent time to sign up and leave the downloading to us.

For more information on this thrilling game, be sure and check out IMG's First Look at and Preview of this title. Deus Ex is currently shipping, and is available from the Aspyr online store as well as the shelves of your local Mac retailer.

Subscribe to IMG
First Look: Deus Ex
Deus Ex Preview
Aspyr Media
Download Deus Ex Demo
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

Baldur's Gate Patch for OS 8.1
7:19 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Players of GraphSim's recent release Baldur's Gate who also use OS 8.1 discovered that the game would not launch, due to a "ControlsLib" error. The company has released a patch that will fix this problem, for those still using that version of the Mac OS.

The patch is a small download, and it only fixes that particular problem. If you play BG and use 8.1, this is the patch for you.

Graphic Simulations
Baldur's Gate Preview
Baldur's Gate 1.01beta1 at MGF

Big Game Giveaway at MacLotto
5:52 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

In partnership with Mac Gamer's Ledge, MacLotto is currently sponsoring a Big Game Giveaway. Here are the details:

MacLotto.com, the Free Mac Sweepstakes, is holding another 'Big Game
Giveaway' Wednesday in conjunction with MacGamer's Ledge MacLotto.com will be giving away two MGL-select
games in an Instant Win promo throughout the day. MacLotto/MGL will be
giving away two copies of 'Baldur's Gate' from Graphic Simulations Corp. To
win, all a player must do is login and play the regular game.

If you are a winner, you will be instantly notified on the site! All players
also have the chance to win the iMac DV daily Grand Prize!

An iMac DV for free sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Stop by and sign up today.

Mac Gamer's Ledge
MacLotto Big Game Giveaway

Nvidia, ATI Profiled
3:07 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The Silicon Valley pundits at Mercury Center has written up a profile of up-and-comer graphics chip maker Nvidia, which has risen from obscurity to market dominance in a few short years. While ATI Technologies remains the overall sales leader due to their robust presence in the integrated chip (OEM) market, Nvidia is hot on their tail.

While the tone and content of the article is a bit arcane for those who don't follow the graphics card market, it is an interesting profile of a company which could very well have a large part in Apple's future. Nvidia's latest chip, the GeForce 2 MX, has been designed with the Macintosh hardware platform in mind, and Nvidia has hinted that it may announce products sometime this winter. Unlike most manufacturers, Nvidia likes to announce a product the same day it ships, so we may not know until the last minute exactly what they have in store for our platform. Here's an excerpt from the profile:

Nvidia, based in Santa Clara, is the No. 2 maker of graphics chips, and thanks to top-notch engineering and design, it's growing much faster than the leader, Toronto-based ATI Technologies Inc.

And unlike some of its peers in the $1.8 billion-a-year industry, Nvidia is making money. In the first quarter, net income surged 190 percent to $18.3 million on $148.5 million in sales. The company's stock price has exploded, rising from a split-adjusted $8.38 last September to a high of $88 in June before falling along with the rest of the chip sector in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Nvidia shares fell $1.19 to $58.81.

Personally we can't wait for Nvidia to throw their products in the ring against the best ATI and 3dfx have to offer the Mac platform -- the more, most definitely the merrier. Read the rest of this article for more details on Nvidia and their founder, and also about Nvidia and ATI's next battleground -- the console market. ATI is providing the graphics hardware for Nintendo's next console, while Nvidia is going to provide the eye candy for Microsoft's X-Box.

Nvidia GeForce 2 MX In-Depth
Mercury Center Profiles Nvidia

Can't Replace G4 Cube Video Card?
2:13 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A helpful reader pointed us towards a recent update on Apple's web site concerning the Customer Installable Parts of the new Power Mac G4 Cube and Power Mac G4 tower. This guide gives detailed instructions for replacing or installing the G4 Cube's Airport card, battery, hard drive (ATA only) and Memory; missing from that list is any mention of the video card.

The G4 Cube's ATI Rage 128 Pro video card has been the subject of much controversy since the Cube's initial announcement. Though our recent benchmarks of the Rage 128 Pro in comparison to the Voodoo3 and Voodoo5 series of cards show it to still be a worthy contender at low resolutions, many feel it is time for Apple to move on to faster technology, such as ATI's Radeon series. The G4 Cube has a single AGP slot, according to its listed specs, but photographs of the Cube's innards do not clearly show either the video card or how it is attached to the motherboard. The extremely short form factor of the card (less than 6 inches) seems to preclude the installation of any current third-party card, including the full-size Voodoo5 5500.

The video card may have been left off the list of user-serviceable parts for exactly that reason -- there are no cards you could replace the standard one with, at this time. When ATI ships their Radeon cards this September, it will be very interesting to see if these cards meet the Cube's strict heat, power and space requirements.

Many users and developers we have spoken to feel the Cube is just a few short steps away from being an ideal gaming machine; if Apple could find a way to include the Radeon card without increasing cost, it might tip many fence-sitters towards considering the Cube as their next system. Apple has a history of bumping up graphics hardware in later revisions of a system, as revealed by the rapid transition of the iMac series from Rage IIC to Rage 128 Pro over nine months, so a Cube with faster video hardware in the future seems inevitable. However, the question remains if this part will be user-serviceable or upgradable in the future.

For a detailed look at the Cube's interior, check out the other installation guides and their accompanying video.

Apple's CIP Data Sheet

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Cyan Fanfest Report
11:27 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Cyan, the company behind the ground-breaking titles Myst and Riven, recently held a festival for their fans in their Spokane offices which they called Mysterium. Over the weekend, lucky fans were able to playtest the upcoming sequel to Riven, Myst III: Exile and the realtime 3D remake of the original Myst entitled realMYST. Unfortunately, no one got a glimpse of the Mudpie demo, which is Cyan's mysterious new online adventure. Cyan has posted a page with a number of images from the event, so head over and check it out.

The Spokesman Review has also recently profiled one of Cyan's newest employees, former Disney engineer Susan Bonds. Her new position will be as chief design and production of their Mudpie project. Here are a couple of clips from the article:

The game is expected to involve multiple players, all connected via broadband Internet connections, moving as themselves through a world dense with sounds, people and mysterious challenges.

If most games are just colors and images on a screen, Cyan is hoping Mudpie erases a gameplayer's notion of looking at a computer screen.

ďThe best way to describe it, it will be like being in a movie," she said.

Sounds very ambitious, but we're betting the company has enough vision to pull it off. Mudpie is still shrouded in mystery right now, but we'll be sure to let you know if anything new about the game is released. Of course, the lack of generally-available broadband connections is not something Cyan can fix.

Spokesman Review Cyan Article
Mysterium Fan Page
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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Hoekstra on Elite Force
10:56 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GamersPulse has posted an interview with Raven Software's Kenn Hoekstra about their upcoming first-person shooter, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. The team has noted many times they are planning to release a Mac version of this anticipated game, though no official publisher has been announced as of yet. Here's a clip from the interview noting the extensive modifications Raven made to the Quake 3 Arena engine, upon which this game is based:

GP: How much did you have to tweak the Q3A engine to make it look so good?

KH: We had to tweak it quite a bit, actually. We added all of the single player code that was absent from its multiplayer-only code base and followed up with a new scripting language, a new AI system, a new visual effects system, LOD models and the CARCASS skeletal animation system.

That sounds like lot of work, but from first impressions around the web this game may just break the trend of awful games based on the Star Trek fictional universe. Be sure to check out the rest of this Q&A for more details. Raven is hoping to have the game finished soon this Fall; we will of course keep you posted on the status the Mac OS version.

GamersPulse Elite Force Interview
Raven Software Web Site
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Deer Avenger 3...D Coming to Mac
10:38 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Several days ago Simon and Schuster Interactive made three screen shots available from their upcoming title Deer Avenger 3...D, yet another installment in their successful series of parody titles. However, the accompanying press release did not contain one element that we often see in S&S press releases, besides off-the-wall humor -- it did not mention a Mac OS version of this game.

We were of course alarmed at the prospect of Mac users missing out on such a title, so we contacted Peter Binazeski at S&S immediately. He put our fears to rest , thankfully, with the following response:

indeed a DA3 is coming for the Mac. The reason why I didn't
include it in the release is because it will come out after the PC release.
The gaming engine for the PC version is custom built by Hypnotix... and they
will be porting it over pronto once the PC version is done. I would expect
it to be finished about a month after the PC version ships.
Well, that's a relief. If you are unfamiliar with this series, Deer Avenger is a parody of those lousy 2D deer hunting simulations that were topping the charts several years back. Those hunting sims have now moved into the 3D realm, so Deer Avenger is following suit with more zany humor, madcap antics, and deer flatus -- now in 3D. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Bambo, Deer Avenger's hero character, is trying to spend a little "quality time" with his amorous girlfriend when their interlude is interrupted by the frantic pleas of the forest animals. "Help us!" the animals cry. "The hunters are back!" Bambo easily dismisses their pathetic cries for help and turns back to Jane. Upset by the animals' cries, Jane explains to Bambo that she cannot "get in the mood" until the animals are safe. Angry and frustrated, Bambo sets out to find and eliminate the obstacles that are keeping him from his true love. He will make them pay_dearly.

Players hunt in four different hunting environments during the summer or winter seasons. Explore in rich 3D environments, complete with lakes, trees and other obstacles to hide behind, climb over or swim through. Players encounter over a dozen 3D characters with varying degrees of skill and intelligence, and have access to Bambo's arsenal of 10 weapons that are accumulated after each kill. Bambo's own extremely lethal particle farts can also locate, lure, scare or destroy the hunters.

Ah yes. One must not forget the particle farts. In any case, Deer Avenger 3...D is due this September for the PC, with the Mac version following in November or December -- just in time to make an excellent stocking stuffer.

Simon and Schuster Interactive

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RUNE Interview
9:29 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Corporation has posted another interview conducted at the recent Macworld Expo NY, this time with Tim Gerritsen of Human Head. This two-page Q&A covers HH's upcoming third-person melee combat game, Rune. As we observed at MWNY, Rune features amazing graphics, excellent camera control and a setting steeped in Norse mythology. Here's a clip from the Q&A about multiplayer features that might be included in the game:

Are there any planned multiplayer elements?

Yes. Itís going to have Deathmatch out of the box. Weíre trying to get as much cooperative in as we can. Weíre on a tight deadline in, so not everything is guaranteed. Weíll try to do what we can, but we are going to do it after release.

It will be very interesting to see how dethmatch plays with this third-person perspective and no ranged weapons. Rune thrilled the crowd at Macworld just as much as it impressed us at E3 last Spring, and we are very thankful Westlake Interactive is working on making it a near-simultaneous release. The PC version should be out in October, with the Mac version following later that month, both published by Gathering of Developers.

The Corporation RUNE Interview
HumanHead Web Site
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

Mac UT 425 Near Release
9:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday we brought you news that Epic had released a patch for Unreal Tournament, bringing the game to version 425 and making a number of minor fixes. As promised, we contacted Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams about the status of the Mac version of UT, which is currently at version 413. He replied with great news:

Good news on 425. We have the code, and I spent a late night last night
merging it all into the Mac code base. The game is up and running in 425
on the Mac today, and after sending it to a few of our testers to make
sure it all works right, we should be able to release it. No exact ETA
on release, but it should be soon (days not weeks).
This is great for Mac gamers who want to stay up to date with their PC UT counterparts.
While 425 didn't break network compatibility, many modifications require the very latest version of UT in order to play. We'll stay on this and let you know as soon as the update is released. Thanks to Mark and the rest of the Westlake team for all of their hard work.

Westlake Interactive

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Red Faction Diary, Staff Change
9:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

IGN has posted the first in a series of new behind-the-scenes looks at Volition's upcoming first-person shooter, Red Faction. In this game you play a character named Parker who's new job as a miner on Mars has taken a turn for the worse. The IGN 'diary' presents a sample of the background story of how Parker got to where he is, and discovered the need to shoot everyone. Here's an excerpt from his story:

I can't believe how stupid I was. Yeah, 'Come to Mars, Help Make a New World!' How could I have believed that crap? I remember laughing at that stuff with my friends. We'd drive up to Chicago and do the big city. We could always tell we were in the wrong parts of town when we started seeing prop-balloons floating over the streets, blaring out corporate BS. Youíd hear incredible lies from the Army, Merc Corps, PDNC, Ultor -- all the big orgs that wanted to put warm bodies in bad places. You wondered who'd buy those lines and sign up. Now I know.
Head over to read more on how Parker got into his unfortunate situation. Red Faction will feature some amazing features, which include interactivity with the game environment -- such as walls and buildings you can destroy, vehicles you can drive, and weapons that can level entire city blocks.

In related news, VoodooExtreme recently broke the story that one of the Red Faction designers, Scott Blinn, is leaving the team to join another company. Blinn confirms this in a thread on the game's message boards. Here's a clip:

Ok everyone, here it goes: Letís see if this helps keep rumors to a minimum. It is true that I will be leaving Volition to go work on the massive online RPG ďHorizonsĒ over at Artifact. The decision is purely personal and there is no bad blood between myself and Volition in any way. As you are all aware, Volition kicks a$$ and the talent here is phenomenal- and Iíll miss them all. The timing and opportunity were right for me to move on and I went for it.

Red Faction will still be the awesome game it is destined to be- my leaving will have little impact on that. We have just about all the groundwork laid for the project and now itís just a matter of doing the tasks. Also, the editor is pretty much feature complete now and only tweaking and bug fixing remain.

I had a great time at Volition and am glad to have been here to be a part of the birth of Red Faction. It was not to be missed. I thank you all for your support both now and in the past. It looks like now Iíll be joining your ranks as an RF fan awaiting for itís release. :-)

Good to hear the game's Winter release won't be too badly affected by his departure. Red Faction is set to be finished for Mac and PC early 2001.

Red Faction Forum Thread
IGN Red Faction Background
Red Faction

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Mac Diablo II Sells Out!
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

In a remarkable achievement for the Macintosh game market, a source has informed us that Mac Diablo II has sold out the entire first run of 25,000 copies in less than three weeks. While this is just a flash in the pan compared to PC sales -- with preorders, PC Diablo II sold 250,000 copies the first day, and has since sold more than a million worldwide -- nevertheless this is an enthusiastic vote of confidence by Mac gamers, and one that will be noticed by Blizzard as well as other developers.

According to our source, another pressing of Mac Diablo II has begun. Traditionally Blizzard transitions over to a hybrid Mac/PC product after some time, and in fact the CDs in the Mac OS boxes are indeed hybrid, although the reverse is not true as of yet.

If you're new to Diablo II, this action-oriented realtime RPG is perhaps one of the most anticipated sequels in video game history. Mixing plot and character development with endless streams of monsters to slaughter, Diablo II evolves beyond the somewhat simplistic original by adding more specialized character types, many more monsters, and a whole new weapons and magic system. For more on Diablo II read our extensive two-part preview, which features many screen shots. And if you're having any trouble finding Mac Diablo II on store shelves, that's a good thing! Just wait a few days, and we're sure it will be restocked.

Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Deus Ex Demo Released6:51 PM
Deus Ex Demo Coming Tonight3:44 PM
The Sims 1.1.1 Patch Released2:09 PM
Blizzard and Future Point1:51 PM
Unreal Tourney PC at 4251:35 PM
Graeme talks to MacCentral12:00 PM
Marathon InputSprockets11:56 AM
Update on id11:50 AM
Summoner Screen Shots11:10 AM
Hands-on Black & White11:05 AM
New Red Faction Movie10:58 AM
Bungie.net Update, Future10:13 AM
Mac FAKK2 Status10:08 AM
HappyGear Released9:44 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 1, 2000 on one page

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