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Thursday, August 3, 2000



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DS9: The Fallen Trailer
12:51 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

While visiting Simon and Schuster a few weeks back, they let us have this cool new, never-before-seen trailer of their upcoming third-person shooter Deep Space Nine - The Fallen. Due out this Fall, the game is an exhilarating adventure that uses an enhanced version of the Unreal Tournament engine.


In The Fallen, the Pah-wraiths - a race of exiled, all-powerful aliens - are on the verge of returning. The keys to unleashing and harnessing their power are three archaic Red Orbs.


The race to find the Orbs is on between you - playing as either Captain Sisko, Major Kira, or Lt. Commander Worf - and a host of opposing forces that would use the ultimate power to dominate the Alpha Quadrant and all of its inhabitants.


The movie is in QuickTime format, so be sure you have QuickTime 4.0 installed, and is about 5 MB in size. For more information about The Fallen, check out the official web site.

DS9: The Fallen Trailer
Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen



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Sims Add-ons Available
2:58 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

It has been a few weeks since the release of Maxis' The Sims, enough time, perhaps, for gamers to get a tiny bit bored with the selection of objects and characters that ship with the game. The official web site for this "people sim" is chock full of lovely objects, skins and houses to download, but there is a catch -- they are posted in a PC-only self-extracting compression format. So close, yet so far.

Aspyr Media, publisher of the Mac version of this title, has decided to remedy this affront to Mac gamers by creating their own mini-Sims site and stocking it with Mac-friendly downloads. Spokesperson Amy Torres dropped us a line to let us know that the first downloadable object -- a decorative moose head that would look great on any mantelpiece -- is now available. Here are details:

The first official Mac object will be made available this afternoon, via our web site's support page (serialization number is required).

The moosehead will bring pleasure to your Sims (nobody likes bare walls). Your Sims will be happier and its pretty entertaining to watch you Sims marvel at the latest addition to their home.

The moosehead is a 324K sea file. Go to www.aspyr.com, go to the support page and click on The Sims box shot. You will be asked to enter your serialization number (the long number on the sticker on front of your jewel case. Just download and install. Once installed, the moosehead will be available on your next buy mode shopping spree. Nice!

We will continue to release Sims objects and skins as they become available. We hope to have our next release ready Tuesday. Be sure to register your copy of the Sims to receive new Sims object/skins release information.

Aspyr also notes that Sims add-ons which are in ".zip" format should work just fine if unzipped properly with a utility such as Stuffit Expander or ZipIt and placed in the appropriate folder in the Sims folder. Watch Aspyr's Sims page for more stuff to clutter your Sims' homes with, and more skins for them to wear. And if you want to learn more about this game, be sure and check out our preview and first look.

Aspyr Media
First Look at The Sims
Sims Hands-on Preview
Aspyr Sims Support Page
Aspyr Media
Maxis
Westlake Interactive
The Sims
Buy The Sims


Mac Voodoo5 5500 Available?
2:35 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Online retailer Sparco.com has updated their commerce site with the information that the 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI Mac is shipping; they currently claim to have over 500 cards in stock, but they are going extremely fast!


The card lists at $298.00, below the projected retail cost of $330. As of yet we haven't been able to discover other retailers with this card in stock, but we're sure boards will be flooding into their warehouses soon -- for now, Sparco seems to have a big head start on the competition, if this is indeed the Mac OS version of this card. Outpost.com expects their cards August 8th, while EBworld is looking at the 7th.


For a look at this card and what it can do, make sure you check out our article on the Voodoo4/5 series in-depth and our preview of this card with preliminary benchmarks. If you just have to have one of these cards, jump to the Sparco site now -- in the five minutes it took us to post this article, they have sold 10 of them!



[NOTE] - Sparco confirmed to us over the telephone that these are Voodoo 5 PCI boards for Macintosh. However, it should be noted that just today 3dfx announced the worldwide availability of the Voodoo 5 PCI for the PC. Coincidence? It's possible that Sparco incorrectly entered the information wrong into their database, confusing the Mac version with the PC. If you do place an order, we urge you to confirm via telephone that it is the Mac version.

Voodoo4/5 In-Depth
Mac Voodoo5 5500 Preview
Sparco's Live Product Information for V5 5500
3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI at Sparco


Adams' Apple on State of Mac Gaming
2:00 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Mark and Suellen Adams of Westlake Interactive have submitted another installment of their column, entitled Adams' Apple, to MacCentral. In this installment they discuss the current state of Mac gaming, and the significant changes in the Mac gaming market that have occurred recently. Most prominent among those changes was a renewed enthusiasm for Mac gaming, as evinced by the big-name titles that were selling extremely well at last month's Macworld Expo New York, the columnists note:

Another positive trend in the Mac game market is the increase in the number of games that are coming to the Mac. Three years ago when Westlake Interactive was founded, people at Macworld Expo in San Francisco were seriously worried about the lack of game presence at the show. Just look back a few weeks to Macworld New York 2000 to see how that has changed: Baldur's Gate, The Sims, Diablo 2, and Deus Ex, all fresh from the duplicators, were shipping at show time and selling well. There was a selection of casual games like Scrabble and Asteroids as well.
No one knows the Mac gaming market quite like Westlake, the team which has brought the majority of blockbuster games to the Mac OS (Unreal, Unreal Tournament, The Sims, the Tomb Raider series, Alpha Centauri - the list goes on) and will most likely continue do to so in the future. For more of their thoughts on Mac gaming and the direction of the market, read the rest of this column.

Adams' Apple : Order out of Chaos


The Few, the Small, the Bizarre
11:42 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

With so many big-name titles coming to the Mac platform these days, it is easy to get caught up in the hype machine behind these games with million-dollar budgets, and forget about the little gems produced by those just starting out. Macgamefiles has recently served up a trio of games which some might consider primitive -- even crude -- yet nevertheless show the spark of creativity which may one day spawn the next Marathon, or the next Deer Avenger.


While DopeWars is unlikely to win approval from teachers or parents, this little shareware game certainly wins points for originality. Some may dream of saving the world, others of conquering a vast empire, but if you've ever wanted to be a common street thug, this game is for you:

You're a drug dealer on the streets of New York. You have 30 days to make as much money as possible in 6 different cities. It takes you one day to move from each city to the next. You start out in debt to Louie the Fish (the Loan Shark). You're first goal would be to repay your debt so it doesn't get out of hand (as it increases by 15% each day). If you never repay it, Louie will take it from your final cash when you are done with your 30 days, which could mean you'd be in the hole by a few bucks depending on how you did.
Ah, the agony of having your virtual knees broken -- perhaps this game is a cautionary tale in disguise.


Next in line is the diminutive Pizza Rush, a classic contest of memory, reaction time, and proper pre-planning. Deliver Moe's pies to the customers before you run out of gas:

As the only pizza joint in town, Moe's Pizza is often overrun with deliveries to make, and the job is solely on your shoulders to carry the load. Armed with only your car and a map, you must satisfy Doughville's pizza cravings. However, many a pizzaboy have been brought to their knees by this job. You'll have to avoid pushing your trusty car to the limit and running out of gas, as well as making sure all deliveries are made in a respectable amount of time. Who knows, with a little hard work, and a lot of luck, you may even find yourself being tipped generously by the folks of Doughville. Are you up to the task? Can you stake your claim to be one of the finest delivery boys ever?
A noble goal indeed. And finally, Donkey Punch Software, which certainly won't win any medals from PETA for their logo, has released Escape From Jason Whong 1.0, a truly odd little game which will most definitely test the theory that Mr. Whong has a well-developed sense of humor and can take a joke. Supposedly inspired by events which transpired at Macworld New York last month, this crude little gem-in-the-rough (which even includes abuse of copyrighted artwork and animation) proves that games don't have to be fun to be funny. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Escape From Jason Whong was developed from scratch in an astounding 6
days and its advanced 2D engine incorporates all the latest technoligies
such as creepy floating heads and bright red tiles. It also features
the most advanced Artificial Intelligence in any game on the market
today; yes, our AI is as smart as Jason Whong himself. Our AI
outperforms Jason in many tasks including tying sneakers and catching
elusive members of Donkey Punch Software when "borrowing" his wine.
If Jason Whong's name sounds familiar, you might remember that he is the former Ambrosia Software member who agreed to eat actual bugs if that shareware company shipped a buggy game on his watch, and in fact did indeed ingest a huge variety and quantity of crawly critters on all three days of the Macworld Expo. Jason now works for Green Dragon and is head of Bunch Media, and Donkey Punch better hope that he's too busy to call a lawyer.


There's a twisted little tour of what the independent Mac developers have to offer in the last few days. Sure, these games won't inspire 2 million preorders, but hey - we can't let the fat cats have all the fun. Stop by Macgamefiles to grab all three.

DopeWars 2.0
PizzaRush 2.0
Escape from Jason Whong 1.0



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Summoner Update
11:42 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Volition's web site for the 3D RPG Summoner has had its weekly update once again. This time around, there is a new screen shot available of the main character Joseph, going for a walk in the countryside. A new 3D model has also been posted, though you need the MetaStream plugin to be able to view it properly.


Summoner is an upcoming role-playing game that features impressive 3D graphics and a deep storyline. It will be released first for the PlayStation 2 in October, though without any multiplayer capabilities. Volition is hoping to have the full Mac and PC versions out this Winter, which will include support for online play.

Summoner Web Site
GraphSim
Volition
Summoner
Buy Summoner


UT RA Q&A
11:33 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpy has talked with Mongo, the lead programmer for the Unreal Tournament modification Rocket Arena, which is a very popular Macgamefiles download. In the chat, he discusses the plans for the mod beyond the bug fix which is due out soon. Here's a clip:

GameSpy: Mods very often outlive the games which they're based upon; how long do you see yourself developing Rocket Arena in the future?


Mongo: For now, I'll continue to work on 1.40/1 until I can get it stable and am satisfied with it. I'll probably take the final, bug-free version and call it 2.0.


Once that is accomplished, I'll be working on revising RA:UT to add new features like voting, a new GUI, mutators, extending the arena types to be available to mod makers, and adding many new features that the current release lacks. This will take some time, of course, so don't expect to see this utopian RA:UT next week or even next month. Contrary to popular belief, programmers do occasionally need sleep.

Sleep, what's that? Rocket Arena combines amazing map designs and no-holds-barred combat, a true test of skill against humans or bots -- definitely worth checking out for any fan of Unreal Tournament.

Rocket Arena 1.40 (15MB)
GameSpy RA Interview



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4x4 Interview
10:48 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

VGames has recently chatted with Terminal Reality's John O'Keefe, producer for 4x4 Evolution. It's a well-done interview which covers most aspects of this upcoming off-road racing game. Here's an excerpt:

VG: What is the main purpose in the game? Is there a story line, like in
“Driver”?


JO: The main purpose of the game is to build up a stock truck/SUV into an all
out race truck. Players will compete in races to earn cash. The player can
then use the cash to purchase parts that a person would typically buy in
real life to equip a vehicle for off-road competition. The game allows you
to do something that in the real world would be too expensive or dangerous.
Most people do not take part in motorsports because of the cost or the fear
of damaging their vehicle. 4x4 Evolution gives you the opportunity to tinker
and race with your favorite truck/SUV in a safe virtual environment.

4x4 Evo is due out later this year for Mac, PC and Dreamcast. The game should also be playable over the internet between all three. We'll keep you posted as it nears release; a demo is expected in the near future.

VGames 4x4 Evolution Interview
Terminal Reality
Gathering of Developers
4x4 Evolution



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New B&W Eye Candy
10:29 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Just when we think we can't be amazed by any more screen shots or footage of this title, Lionhead releases more promo material from their upcoming title Black & White and blows us away all over again. Black & White is not your typical run-of-the-mill game -- made by the creator of Populous, it is a completely new take on the god-game genre and has more features than can be listed here. Some of the more impressive aspects include a scalable graphics engine, impressive AI for creatures that grow and mimic your behavior, and a spells system that involves learning complex mouse movements.


GameStar, a German mag that seems to get all of the exclusives, has received some great video footage of the game in action. This movie is on their latest CD-ROM, but in case you can't obtain a copy, GamesWeb has the first of two movies available to download. It's a hefty download, at 45MB, and the voice-overs are in German. The characters in the game do speak English, though, and usually aren't hard to make out. If you have the bandwidth, we recommend viewing it, as this video really shows off much of the gameplay for Black & White.


GameSpot has also scored nine new screen shots of the game with some very interesting new creatures, well worth checking out.


Creator Peter Molyneux has said before that he wants to bring Black & White to the Mac OS; While nothing official has been announced yet, we're confident he will follow through. The game is set to be released for the PC in early November.

Black & White Movie (45MB)
GamesWeb B&W Zone
GameSpot B&W Screen Shots
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White



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Elite Force Dev Diary, Impressions
9:55 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameRush has wrangled Raven Software's Brian Pelletier into writing a developer diary about their upcoming title, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. In this first issue, he gives a rundown of how the project began, including the difficulty of justifying a first-person shooter set in the universe of Star Trek. Here's a clip:

The biggest problem with making a shooter in the Voyager universe was how do we explain or justify the action. The answer was the Hazard Team -- a group of specially trained security personnel, formed by Tuvok (one of the TV shows main characters and security officer), who can be called upon to do dangerous missions. I believe it was Steve Raffel’s (creative director) idea at first, which blossomed into a concept that just seemed to make sense. Everyone accepted it as a natural element of Star Trek and it fit perfectly in a FPS game.
For more of the 'inside scoop,' check out the rest of this developer diary.


As this game is quite close to release for the PC, GameSpot has posted their first impressions of the latest build of Elite Force. Here's an excerpt:

Before the start of each mission, you will be required to visit the equipment room, where you can select which weapons you want to take on the mission and test them out in the holodeck. The holodeck becomes a valuable tool for learning the primary and secondary firing mode of each weapon.
That's an interesting use for the Holodeck, and we're curious what else Raven has up their sleeve. GameSpot UK has scored some new screen shots of the game, so be sure to have a look at those, as well. Elite Force should be released fairly soon this Fall for the PC. A Mac version has been discussed by the development team, though no Mac publisher has been announced yet.

GameRush Elite Force Dev Diary
GameSpot Elite Force Impressions
GameSpot UK Screen Shots
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force



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FAKK2 Demo Info, First Review
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Stomped, one of our affiliate CGA sites, recently received word from Ritual's Mark Dochtermann concerning a demo of their just-gold third-person shooter, Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2. Mark notes a demo for the PC could be out within the next two weeks. Here's the official scoop:

We are trying to get the demo out as soon as possible. Either, the end of next week or the week after. We aren't sure yet what it will contain but it will most likely include the training level plus two additional levels.
We contacted Contraband Entertainment, the company working on the Mac version of FAKK2, about the possibility of a Mac OS version of the demo. According to them, the status of the demo is completely in the hands of the Gathering of Developers's marketing department, the company publishing the game for Mac and PC. We've contacted GoD and will try to clear up this issue quickly.

In related news, Stomped has also posted the first web review of FAKK2. Since the game hasn't shipped yet for the PC, it is based on a late Gold version of the game. They give the game very high marks, though they note some of its distinctly adult levels could make you "blush like a Catholic schoolgirl" -- which should be no surprise to anyone who has ever read the Heavy Metal magazine. Here's an excerpt from the review about the game's controls:

The controls in F.A.K.K.2 are what all future third person games should be modeled after. The only other third person game to have decent controls was Heretic II. I can only wonder how many more copies of Tomb Raider would have been sold had the game been done with the F.A.K.K.2 control setup. Using controls in a game should not be part of the challenge of beating it as it is in Tomb Raider. The weapons selection is similar to Half-Life's in that there are groups of weapons, swords, slings/shields, small arms, explosive, big guns, and quest items.
If you have yet to see FAKK2 in action, Telefragged has put together a video with the theme song, some footage from E3 and some new captures as well. This video runs just over 2 and a half minutes and comes in two sizes; the smaller version is a 24MB Quicktime movie, while the larger is over 60MB and is in AVI format. If you have the bandwidth, give them a download. UPDATE: The video track on these movies may not play correctly on your system, so beware.

Telefragged FAKK2 Video MOV version (24MB)
Telefragged FAKK2 Video AVI version (62MB)
Exclusive FAKK2 Screen Shots
Contraband Entertainment
Stomped FAKK2 Review
Gathering of Developers
Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2



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BioWare Bio, NWN Preview
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Those of you who are just now enjoying Baldur's Gate might be interested in an article posted at Daily Radar which features a short history of BioWare and bios of the founders. This Canadian company began making medical imaging software in 1993, and by 1996 had moved on to games, publishing the mech title Shattered Steel. Baldur's Gate was their next title, and they have since moved on to Baldur's Gate II, due to ship very soon for PC, and Neverwinter Nights, an ambitious 3D RPG due to ship next Summer. NWN is of special interest to Mac gamers, as BioWare has promised to produce a Mac OS version of this online RPG.


Lead developers Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeshuck are known for their attention to detail -- Baldur's Gate II is said to feature 200+ hours of gameplay. However, their focus does not mean that NWN will be forever stuck in development:

But could Ray and Greg's commitment to perfection lead to a bloated development schedule for NN, resulting in it becoming an E3 staple for the next few shows? Not likely. The game is already quite far along. According to Ray and Greg, "We follow a project management frame at Bioware. So a project starts up with the design phase, and then we do prototyping. Neverwinter Nights is now through those two phases and into the implementation phase, which is about a year in duration, and testing is implemented towards the end of that as well. It is coming along nicely. The graphics engine is complete now The editor's suite is being developed. We're putting all the third-edition rules into the game. We're making the final tile sets to lay out the terrain. So things are moving along."
This is excellent news, as the very prospect of playing this game leaves us drooling. NWN is an attempt to meld the latest in 3D and online technologies with the pen-and-paper origins of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, by adhering to a strict AD&D Third Edition rule set and bringing the Dungeon Master back to RPGs. Players will be able to adventure online, solo or in parties, with up to 64 characters per dungeon. You can also turn the tables and become the DM of your own dynamic dungeon, actively participating as players try to conquer your creation.


Sound intriguing? If you're eager for even more details and some screen shots of this game, GameSpot has posted a preview based on a recent visit to BioWare HQ. Along with details on gameplay and the magic system, the preview discusses NWN's powerful dungeon creation toolset, which uses a drag-and-drop system of pre-made tiles to ease the creation process. Here are details:

The game is tile-based, so the editor is as easy to use as any of those that have shipped with real-time strategy games, and it is considerably less intimidating than the editors that are used to craft first-person shooter levels. The editor displays the area being created, using the same vivid graphics that the players will ultimately see in the gaming world, which lets you constantly review the progress of your construction. It likely won't take long for gamers to craft impressive reproductions of some of D&D's most famous pen-and-paper modules, just as they did when SSI released its D&D Unlimited Adventures construction set.
As we reported on Monday, the BioWare team recently received a present from Apple, in the form of a loaded G4 with a Cinema display -- this should provide sufficient motivation to keep the Mac OS version on track. Although the prospect of a nine-month (or longer) wait is almost to painful to bear, this is one game we are going to be watching closely.

Neverwinter Nights
History of Bioware at Daily Radar
GameSpot Neverwinter Nights Preview
BioWare
MacPlay
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights



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Tropico Gallery
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Gamecenter has posted a short preview and screen shot gallery of Tropico, an upcoming sim from PopTop Software and Gathering of Developers. In this unique approach to the simulated-city genre, you will take the role as dictator of a Third World country which just happens to be an island in the Caribbean. Spare the rod and spoil your citizens, or weed out the capitalist pig-dogs and crush them under your iron heel -- it is your choice.


This game is built with a modified form of the engine from Railroad Tycoon II, a pseudo-3D overhead view with crisp detail. As shown in the screen shots, Tropico will feature a wide variety of architecture, from Spanish mission-style churches to the common gas station. Here's an excerpt from the preview with more details on gameplay:

Tropico will combine the strategic building and management you saw in Poptop's first game, Railroad Tycoon II, with a slightly tongue-in-cheek mix of Latin American politics. As ruler, you will have to appease various internal political factions. You may even have to worry about resistance fighters in the hills. You'll control an army to help fend off those rebels in the hills, but you need to keep your officers happy, or you might see them join up with the rebels. On the other hand, if you tilt too far towards the army, the Church will be unhappy with you and start spreading dissent through the people. And don't forget about your economy. Unemployment and low wages will cause the ranks of the rebels to swell. And, to top it off, you have both the U.S. and the Soviet Union interested in your internal affairs, and you can't make both happy.
The Soviet Union? Obviously the setting is before the fall of the Evil Empire. In any case, if you are interested in this curious take on the Sim genre, be sure and check out the preview and screen shots. Tropico is due for Mac and PC in early 2001.

Tropico Preview at Gamecenter
Review of Railroad Tycoon II: The Second Century
PopTop Software
MacSoft
Tropico
Buy Tropico


Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Baldur's Gate Patch for OS 8.17:19 PM
Big Game Giveaway at MacLotto5:52 PM
Nvidia, ATI Profiled3:07 PM
Can't Replace G4 Cube Video Card?2:13 PM
Cyan Fanfest Report11:27 AM
Hoekstra on Elite Force10:56 AM
Deer Avenger 3...D Coming to Mac10:38 AM
Deus Ex Demo in High Demand9:33 AM
RUNE Interview9:29 AM
Mac UT 425 Near Release9:22 AM
Red Faction Diary, Staff Change9:04 AM
Mac Diablo II Sells Out!6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 2, 2000 on one page


Recent Mac Games News

Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Monday, July 31, 2000
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