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Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Mac UT 425 Released
9:55 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has announced that the 425 patch for Mac Unreal Tournament has been released. This brings the Mac version of UT up to date with the PC version, which should help with compatibility with certain third-party modifications. Here's the news from Westlake:

This update includes all of the fixes from the PC version of UT, versions
420 and 425. It is not a required update for the Mac, as all previous
versions of UT Mac work fine with PC & Mac servers of any version.

PC changes for 425 that affect the Mac version:

Version 425 is completely network compatible with all previous public releases of UT (versions 400, 402, 405b, 413, and 420).

Note that with the new version, when you are connecting to a passworded server, you will see a "Connection Failed" message, and then successfully connect. The client first tries to connect
without using a password, and then tries again with the password.

  • fixed another mixed skin cheat
  • fixed creeping pings problem - especially prevalent with passworded servers
  • fixed problems with passwords with spaces
  • improved server CPU utilization
  • improved prioritization of network traffic for low bandwidth users
  • fixed ActorLineCheck() crash again - no really this time
  • fixed clearing base on client in netplay - thanks Mongo
  • fixed suicide spamming
  • Last Man Standing now can have time limit
  • fixed spriteballexplosion sounds playing client side
  • faster translocation effect in software mode
  • fixed collision bug which cropped up in 420 (overlord)

PC changes for 420 that affect the Mac version:

  • fixed actorlinecheck() crash
  • fixed findrandomdest()
  • fixed security holes with ServerRestartGame() SwitchLevel() and SwitchCoopLevel()
  • removed ability to use bad skins
  • fixed ADDINI for editing .ini files for patch and umod installation
Grab this update from the link below atMacgamefiles.com.

Westlake Interactive
Download UT 425 Patch (3.3 MB)

Hands On Deus Ex
4:49 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Billed as "one of the most lengthy game reviews ever seen on
MacCentral," this in-depth hands-on with Aspyr Media's Deus Ex is indeed thorough. Covering every conceivable aspect and angle of this shooter/RPG hybrid from Ion Storm, this preview by Jaap "jot" Tuinman presents a uniformly positive and enthusiastic picture of this game. If you haven't been able to grab the demo of this game due to bandwidth restrictions -- modem users, we feel your pain -- then this review should answer all of your questions about this engrossing title. Here is an excerpt discussing one of the strongest aspects of the game, the tactical approach to combat:

"Nobody's stopping you from running into situations with guns blazing
if you prefer, but the alternatives are interesting and worth
checking out. Why waltz into a room with a light anti-tank weapon
when you can haul out the sniper-rifle or tranquilizer-loaded
mini-crossbow to take care of those guards from a safe distance?
Doors can be blown up or locks can be picked, codes can be stolen or
security panels hacked, and guards can be tranquilized or rendered
ineffective with a gas grenade. Alternately, you could just
circumvent the works entirely, making like Die Hard's John McClane
and heading for the nearest air duct. You never have just one
solution to a problem available to you, and amazingly the game never
seems to let you get stuck.
The preview also features several screen shots. Stop by MacCentral and check it out today! If you haven't grabbed the demo yet, make sure and stop by Macgamefiles and download it -- over 6400 Mac users already have!

We would also like to mention that if you want to play this demo but can't manage the download, it will be on IMG's next CD-ROM issue, due in about a week.

Deus Ex Hands-on at MacCentral
Deux Ex Demo at MGF
Subscribe to IMG

3dfx Voodoo5 Driver Update
3:00 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The drivers for the just-released 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI for Mac OS have just been updated, to version 1.01. This update is currently only available through the auto-updating function built into the 3dfx MacTools control panel. This update addresses some bugs and resolution switching issues, but is not expected to address concerns about speed as of yet. Here are the details from the 3dfx message boards:

Yup, new drivers now available. Go into your 3dfx MacTools control panel and open the about box. There you will see a button to check for an upgrade. Press the button and it will automatically download the latest driver. Then, when you start back up again, go back into the Control panel, and you will see a message saying that there is a new ROM available, download it. Then, it will restart and you are all set to go. Make sure to read the readme file to see what's new in these drivers. Enjoy!
Mac product manager Bryan Speece followed up this news with a short post on what to expect from this update:
OK. I don't want to mislead anybody with this.
Don't be expecting big optimizations in 1.0.1. We were mainly trying to fix some bugs - including the slow resolution switching issues with some older monitors that didn't fully support DDC.
There'll be other updates to continually improve the product in various areas. Stay tuned...
You can be sure Mac 3dfx users will. For more information on this card and its abilities, check out our preview as well as our feature on Voodoo4/5 in-depth. Make sure you post your experiences with this driver update on the comments thread for this article or in our forums!

Voodoo 4/5 In Depth
Voodoo5 5500 Preview
3dfxgamers.com Message Thread

Click to enlarge
New Sims Object Available
1:53 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As part of Aspyr Media's quest to make the PC-format additions and plug-ins for Maxis' The Sims available to Mac users, they will be releasing yet another decorative object for the game -- a cuckoo clock. Sure to add that Swiss ale house ambiance to your household, this clock will have your Sims donning their lederhosen with glee. Here are the details from Aspyr:

Martha Stewart behold the latest Sims decorating gem, better known as

Yes, the next official Sims Mac object is a Cuckoo Clock. Pretty groovy.

Directly from an alpine village in the heart of Europe, this hand carved
beauty is fully functional, no winding necessary, and strikingly
annoying. Your Sims must have one to call their own. Every member of
your family will grow to love that little bird!

The Cuckoo Clock will be made available this afternoon, via our web
site's support page (serialization number is required).

The Cuckoo Clock is a 220K 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 Sims jewel case). Just download the CuckooClock Installer and
install. Once installed, the Cuckoo Clock will be available on your next
buy mode shopping spree (decorative of course).

Aspyr intends to make such objects available on a pretty regular basis, so keep watching their Support page for more. And to find out more about the Sims, read our preview and first look, and watch for our review of this title.

The Sims Preview
Aspyr Media
Search for Lowest Prices on The Sims
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims
Buy The Sims

Saitek's New Low-Cost Wheel
12:44 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

One genre of gaming that is experiencing a definite resurgence on the Mac platform is the driving game. With 4x4 Evolution,, Cro-Mag Racing and Driver on the way, Mac users are going to want a true wheel to play them with -- the keyboard just doesn't cut it. Peripheral manufacturer Saitek, makers of the Cyborg 3D joystick, have announced the R100 USB Racing Wheel, designed for both casual gamers and racing sim fans. With a low price tag and a small footprint, this wheel is attractive indeed:

Saitek Industries, a leader in PC gaming peripherals announces the R100 USB Racing Wheel. At the price point of just under $50, Saitek's new USB wheel provides superior engineering with a look and feel of most high-end priced racing wheels. The R100 has a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection and is styled to appeal to the serious PC and Macintosh gamer with a price easy on the pocketbook. Designed with Saitek's advance ball cam mechanism, the new wheel will provide gamers with a stability not usually found in wheels, even expensive ones, built with flimsy rubber bands. The wheel offers two fire buttons and two gear paddles fully equipped with gas and brake pedals. It also has an easy-to-use clamping mechanism with a very small desk footprint, about 1/3 the size of the norm.

One feature of the ergonomically-styled round racing wheel that gamers will appreciate is the hardiness of the gas and brake pedal unit. Many gaming wheels are often plagued with flimsy pedals, but the R100 USB was designed with stability in mind. "Good quality racing wheels are difficult to find with a small budget," said Nicholas Gibbons, chief operating officer of Saitek in the United States. "Once gamers get their hands on the R100 USB, they will be amazed with the styling and the handling."

This wheel is currently available; it is not known whether there are Macintosh-specific drivers, but considering the excellent driver support for the Cyborg joystick this seems likely.

Besides the titles mentioned above, IMG is aware of at least one professional racing simulation which will be coming to the Mac OS; there are also several other possibilities. While it is to early to name these games, those who are pining for a serious sim rather than the console-type driving games we mentioned are in for a treat.

Cro-Mag Racing Screen Shots
Driver Preivew

Click to enlarge
Elite Force Images, Interview
10:50 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Sci-fi Gaming has presented a spectacular gallery of 15 screen shots from Raven Software's upcoming shooter Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force; these shots appear to have been taken with with 4x Full Scene Anti-Aliasing enabled. The images, from a beta version of this game, feature both solo and multiplayer action, and levels from many areas of the game, including Borg and Klingon ships. With a mix of action and adventure designed to appeal to fans of first-person shooters as well as Trekkers, this game certainly makes full use of the Quake 3 Arena engine -- and no more rust-brown levels with skull lighting fixtures, thank goodness.

In related news for fans of this title, PlayNow recently posted an interview with Raven Software's Kenn Hoekstra, which covers many details about this title. Although Raven had id Software's Q3A engine as a base, they have had to develop many technologies for this title, as Elite Force is primarily a solo game -- an element Q3A did not have. Along with a new skeletal animation system, the ability to save your game in progress, and many other core elements, Raven also had to develop 'artificial intelligence' routines for your allies in the game as well as your enemies. Here is Kenn on the AI:

PN!: Can we expect different AI behaviour from different species of aliens? Beyond that, what improvements have Raven made to the AI of enemies in comparison to, say, Soldier of Fortune?

KH: Each enemy has unique behaviour patterns, yes. This is mostly due to the inherent special abilities present in each enemy race. Our AI system is completely new to the Quake III technology as their codebase didn't have any allocations for single player enemy AI. You can't really compare the AI in Elite Force to that of Soldier of Fortune because of the real-world, humanoid nature of 95% of Soldier's enemies. When you move into the sci-fi realm of unique aliens and special powers, you can be a lot more creative with the AI than you can in a real-world military game.

The Elite Force web site mentions that there will be "over 14" types of aliens in the game; many will be familiar to fans of the television show, but several are totally new additions to the Star Trek universe.

Elite Force is due for the PC in several weeks. We have recently learned that a Mac publisher has indeed been contracted to port this game to the Mac OS, which should be a rapid process, as Raven reported they had a Mac build up and running back in June. While we can't reveal the name of this publisher, we are very excited to know for certain that this game will be coming to the Mac OS.

Elite Force Image Gallery at Sci-fi Gaming
PlayNow! Talks to Kenn Hoekstra
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Click to enlarge
S&S to 'Unlock' The Fallen?
10:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Simon & Schuster, the company bringing the upcoming Star Trek title, Deep Space Nine: The Fallen to the Mac, have announced a new deal with Uniloc.com, Inc. Apparently, they want to offer The Fallen as a try-before-you-buy deal, which is a service Uniloc has provided for other games in the past. Here's more of an explanation:

Uniloc allows computer users to try full "unlocked" versions of games, software, music, video or e-books for a limited time without obligation. When they decide to buy the digital content, the fully secured e-commerce transaction is made directly with Uniloc's partnering retailers who also ship the off-the-shelf copy to consumers, complete with manuals and disks.
The game will be distributed for free for a limited time, in compuer stores and as magazine-cover CD-ROMs; this copy will be time-limited, with an option to unlock the game over the Internet. There was no word on whether the Mac version of this game will also have this service or not, though we'll keep digging for more info; typically S&S's releases are hybrid CDs. This sounds like an excellent concept, and something other companies may consider in the future. The Fallen is set to be released later this Fall for both Mac and PC.

DS9: The Fallen
S&S/Uniloc Press Release
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen

Click to enlarge
New RUNE Sketches
9:27 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

HumanHead has recently released a number of new character shots for their upcoming Viking 3D combat/adventure game RUNE. The fansite RuneNews has received two of the images, showing off Wolfgar and a Wood Dwarf. The Adrenaline Vault has two as well of the main character himself in slightly different poses. And VoodooExtreme has scored a pair of their own, though you need to scroll down the main page a bit to see them. Here's a clip from the Adrenaline Vault with welcome news on the game's status:

The game, which will be published through Gathering of Developers, is entering the final phases of production. Content and feature complete, Rune is about to enter beta testing and is slated to be released on the PC in October--though this date could be bumped up depending on how well beta testing goes.
Westlake Interactive is working very hard to keep RUNE a near-simultaneous release for Mac users. We'll be sure to keep you informed as the game moves to playtesting.

Adrenaline Vault RUNE Shots
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

Click to enlarge
The History of Neverwinter Nights
9:20 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

CheckOut Games has posted a preview of BioWare's upcoming 3D RPG, Neverwinter Nights. Along with many details on the game itself, they also outline the game's history, including the graphical MUD hosted for years on AOL with the same name. Rather than make a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG, they decided to go with the pen-and-paper AD&D approach and create thousands of small, intimate game worlds. Here's a clip:

Rather than vast servers supporting thousands of players, BioWare's multiplayer
design is based on classic Dungeons and Dragons. Single servers supporting
up to 64 players will be hosted by Dungeon Masters who "run" the game
-- taking over NPCs, introducing plot points and moving the story, which BioWare
hopes will make for a more interactive, creative game for everyone involved.
If the tremendous number of Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament user-made maps out there is any indication, the flexible dungeon creation tools of NWN are sure to spawn an endless supply of dungeons to conquer.

If you haven't already, make sure you read IMG's own first look at this game and our interview with BioWare's producer Trent Oster.

IMG First Look: Neverwinter Nights
IMG: Neverwinter Nights Interview with Trent Oster
CheckOut NWN Preview
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

The Core and the Casual
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has posted an article discussing the differences between core and casual gamers, and the different mindsets that drive each market. Because they are often less expensive and not so narrowly focused, 'value games' often sell far more copies that the big-name core games such Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. On any given week you will find The Sims and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire knocking the first-person shooters down a notch on the sales charts.

In our own part of the market, MacSoft has found that though Apple's sales numbers have been much better in the past several years, their game sales haven't increased proportionally. In an effort to appeal to a broader market, they are trying to capture the casual gamer's eye. MacSoft's recent move to publish more casual-gamer titles from companies such as Hasbro is an indication of their strategy.

The article has been written by a game developer who claims he is trying to find this balance between these two disparate worlds. Here's a clip from his opening paragraph:

I've been playing computer games for almost as long as they have existed. From Pong to the present day, I've played games just about every day of my life. You might think that makes me a hard-core gamer, but actually, I'm not. I'm a casual gamer. If that sounds like a damning admission from a professional game designer, think again; there are a lot more casual gamers out there than core gamers, and it behooves us to understand what they want from a game.
There are many games that offer different levels of depth for differing amounts of interest, though they seem to be mainly for consoles. The author offers GoldenEye64 as an example of a game which appealed to both types of gamer, core and casual. Mac and PC games are often seem to be targeted at strictly one group or the other; either Q3A or Deer Hunter.

Should games try to appeal to just core players or just casual gamers? Will more publishers shift toward the casual gamer market, in search of sales, or do casual gamers become core gamers over time? Read the article and then sound off in our forums if you have something to share with the rest of the class. Are you casual, or are you core -- or can you be somewhere in between?

Gamasutra Core/Casual Article

Mac Games News for Monday, August 7, 2000

Lieberman Anti-Game Politics?5:52 PM
Speece on V5 Drivers, V4 Release3:58 PM
PC Reactions to PCI V5 55003:46 PM
Where Is Oni?2:23 PM
GeForce MX 2 vs Q3A1:59 PM
IMG's Neverwinter Nights Preview12:22 PM
MacGameDesigner now iDevGames.com11:10 AM
Wolfenstien Sequel Preview10:30 AM
Carmack at QuakeCon9:47 AM
Mac Shogo Status9:42 AM
Myst III: Exile Preview9:32 AM
Marathon Resurrection Wants YOU9:26 AM
Bungie.net Fixes, Resets9:23 AM
Risk 2 Gone Beta6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 7, 2000 on one page

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