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Wednesday, August 9, 2000

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Dimant on Mac FAKK2, Sin
9:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Corporation has posted an interview with Ritual Entertainment's CEO Rob Dimant covering a variety of topics, including news on their recent release, Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2. A few other interesting tangents are followed in the Q&A , such as Dimant's opinion of Bungie/Microsoft, and the status of the Mac versions of FAKK2 and first-person shooter Sin. Here's a clip from Dimant about Sin:

What kind of reaction do you think the Mac community will have, seeing Sins age?

You know, Sin is a pretty good game. And my own background- I started a company in Texas called FASA - wed also written flight simulator games for the Mac. The guys I teamed up with had previously written Hellcats Over The Pacific and finally Fighter Squadron. When I came to Ritual two years ago, Ritual had Sin and Wages of Sin and we had Fighter Squadron and these were games that people had been asking us to put out on the Macintosh. Id like to say there were hundreds of thousands of people that were sending us emails to get it out onto the Macintosh, but there werent. But there were still enough people that we knew it would be worthwhile to do it. And the real reason we can do that is because we have daytime jobs as game developers.

Contraband Entertainment is currently working on both FAKK2 and Sin. According to the interview, the Mac version of FAKK2 is literally only a couple of days behind the PC version, codewise. But we've learned from Andrew Meggs that publishing issues will most likely delay the Mac port a few weeks; we expect to have Mac FAKK2 by the end of the month.

Sin is also doing well, having entered the beta testing phase now, and is due to be released later this Fall. Dimant is also head of United Developers, a group of publishers (currently only Logicware and Contraband) forming to publish Mac ports of current and older PC games. As Dimant indicated, he's doing this because he wants to -- while being on the receiving end of charity may be galling to some, we don't turn our noses up at anything that results in more Mac games. For more from Dimant, check out our video interview with him conducted at last month's Macworld Expo New York.

Video Interview with Ron Dimant
Contraband Entertainment Web Site
The Corporation Ritual Interview
Gathering of Developers
Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

Guide to Making Sims Faces
2:18 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacNN has pointed out a link to a guide to adding new faces to the cast of characters in Maxis' The Sims, recently released by Aspyr Media. While the game itself is quite flexible on the PC side, due to many available editing tools, these utilities did not make the platform jump along with the game. However, with some slightly arcane commands and an image editor capable of generating .BMP (bitmap) files, you should be in business.

This guide, created by 'Agrijag999,' is a step-by-step tutorial for adding new faces to the existing Sims models. The process seems slightly intimidating at first, but is straightforward. As a bonus, the author has included a pack of ready-made faces and one complete skin which will put Dana Scully (of the X-Files, of course) into your Sims game. Perhaps she can investigate those ghosts that keep tromping through your garden at midnight...

Check out the tutorial for more information. We have not heard of any plans to port the PC Sims editing tools to the Mac OS, but several of them are open-source, so this is a possibility for the future.

Aspyr Media
Guide to Making Sims Faces

Adventure at the Chateau d'Or Due Soon
1:50 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

CGOnline has mentioned that Adventure at the Chateau d'Or, a Myst-like adventure game from Karma Labs, is on track for a September release for Mac and PC. Set in an opulent "palace of gold," this adventure will send you on a quest for missing artifacts, as told on the game's web site:

he princess heir has chosen you as her hero and you lead the quest to unlock the secret of the fabulous Chateau dOr. Search for powerful magic artifacts and find hidden treasures. You must seek out and summon the spirit of the lost Duke. Answer his cryptic questions and unravel the mysteries of his palace.

Explore a luxurious palace and gather clues from tales of the people and places of Paris, old and new.

Death and deception are ever-present. You must call upon your intelligence, intuition and newfound knowledge to survive and bring the princess safely to her goal.

No publisher for this title was mentioned, but we're investigating the matter. There are several screen shots of this game as well as a movie trailer available on the web site.

Computer Games Online
Adventure at the Chateau d'Or

Sims - Livin' Large is Gold
1:19 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Our partner Gamecenter has reported that Maxis' expansion pack The Sims: Livin' Large has gone "gold" and will be in stores early next month. This pack adds tons of great stuff to the already addictive world of the Sims, a unique gaming experience which allows you to micromanage the lives of little Sim-tizens to your heart's content. Here are details on this expansion pack:

Livin' Large is the expansion pack to the best-selling The Sims, the game that allows you to control the inner workings of a modern family, from designing and furnishing their home to controlling their actions. Livin' Large includes new features and items, a number of which have a supernatural bent, such as a voodoo doll. Players will have new career paths, furnishings, and objects to choose from, as well as the ability to create up to 50 households.

Maxis spokesperson Patrick Buechner told Gamecenter that Maxis wants to have the game in stores by the first week of September, before Labor Day.

Buechner said that the three-week gap between the game going gold and it shipping is to accommodate the large number of retailer orders, including ones from overseas. A Mac version of The Sims was recently released by Aspyr, however Maxis said there was no word yet on a Mac version of Livin' Large.

Aspyr Media indicated to us at both E3 and Macworld New York that a port of Livin' Large to the Mac OS is clearly a no-brainer; we suspect they will announce something sooner rather than later. For more information, visit the Sims web site and check out our Sims preview.

The Sims Preview
The Sims
Sims: Livin Large is Gold on Gamecenter

Developers Stomp Lieberman
11:58 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Our Gamecenter Alliance partner Stomped has put together an interesting collection of developer reactions to Presidential candidate Al Gore's choice for VP, Senator Joseph Lieberman. Although politics and video games rarely mix, Lieberman is the exception -- a vocal critic of video game violence (and violence in all media), he inspired the voluntary rating system that exists today and has introduced legislation that directly addressed video game violence on several occasions.

As you will see from the responses, video game developers are a very conservative lot, in some cases creating a surprising contrast with the actual content of the video games they create. In any case the clear message is that they do not want the government placing any constraints whatsoever on what they create or produce, as an industry. Here's an excerpt from the introduction which outlines Lieberman's background:

Although a Democrat, Lieberman has often taken a conservative approach on a number of issues, particularly on his ideas on violence and morals depicted in the entertainment industry. Along with movies, television and music, Lieberman has also been outspoken with his thoughts on the content of video and computer games. During the early 1990's when games such as Mortal Kombat were gaining attention for their violent content, Lieberman expressed his outrage, saying at one point, "I really wish that we could ban them constitutionally." Pressure from Lieberman and other lawmakers were part of the reason why the industry created a voluntary rating system for games.
Many of the responses, especially those from the Ritual Entertainment team, are quite outspoken and harshly critical of government involvement in general. Some adopt a more wait-and-see tone, as this response from Lee Perry of Ion Storm reveals:
As far as what Lieberman actually wants to achieve... I don't really mind someone putting rating labels on games, I actually think it's a great idea to keep hardcore violence out of the hands of unsupervised 5 year olds. Movies have them, so should we. What I do have a problem with is people wanting to regulate it while trying to get "violent games" out of the marketplace. I am of age to purchase anything I choose. Having someone like Montgomery Wards pulling mature games from their shelves (even though you can purchase R-rated movies there) is a ridiculous display of ignorance trying to force a personal morality on someone. As long as he sticks to the labeling issue, I don't really mind the guy.
Many also joke that the best way to keep Lieberman from further moves on this issue is to make him Vice President. For more developer responses, read the rest of this article, and of course share your own opinion of the would-be VP on our Forums and the Comments page of this article.

Who Watches the Lieberman? on Stomped

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Second B&W Movie Appears
10:23 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Last Thursday we brought you word of a German magazine's exclusive video footage of Lionhead's ground-breaking game, Black & White. Now the second of the two movies has been posted to the web, so that those with enough bandwidth can enjoy them. This clip runs nearly three minutes and reveals details on the spells and creatures in the game. The voice-overs are in German, so if you don't speak the Teutonic tongue just let the spectacular graphics do the talking.

The creatures are probably one of the most talked-about features of B&W, as you actually choose an animal which you will raise to be either good or evil. The animal, which mutates into a super-beast as the result of your magic, is your familiar within the game, the interface between the world and you; they have a limited autonomy, which you can control by the old methods -- reward or punish. The movie shows how you can tattoo your creature to mark it as your own, and how you can either tickle or punish them.

Magic spells are another intrinsic part of the game; interestingly, you must have an steady mouse hand in order to invoke the spells correctly, as they are the result of "hand gestures" with your cursor. The video even shows how your creature can learn from you and cast spells themselves once you teach them how.

Black & White is set to be released for the PC early in November. The game's creator has mentioned many times he was looking to produce a Mac version, so we'll keep you posted. We are very certain that there will be a Mac version, and that the port is already in progress, but it is a bit early to name names.

IMG News: New B&W Eye Candy
B&W Second Movie (30MB)
B&W German Movies
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

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DS9 Image Gallery
10:09 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Simon and Schuster has presented us with twenty-eight screen shots from the upcoming third-person shooter Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen. This game is currently in the end-stages of development, and is slated for a Fall release on Mac and PC simultaneously.

The game is an exhilarating 3D adventure that uses an enhanced version of the Unreal Tournament engine. The Fallen stunningly recreates familiar locations within Deep Space Nine and the U.S.S. Defiant, as well as a wide variety of unique new locations - including a Bajoran monastery, a secret Cardassian military base, a hostile alien jungle and a Jem'Hadar internment camp.

Simon and Schuster says that some of these shots have been on the web, but that most of them are new. Enjoy!

DS9: The Fallen Image Gallery
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen

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Elite Force Preview, Diary Update
8:46 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

PlayNow has posted a preview of Raven Software's Star Trek title, Voyager: Elite Force. They begin with listing the previous licensed games like the ill-fated Klingon Honor Guard, which is a pretty dismal showing all told, but Elite Force is promising to be much more than another KHG. Here's an excerpt with information on how this game will play:

There are really two games here: single player and Holomatch (multiplayer and botmatch). The single player 'campaign' style game contains over forty maps spanning eight expansive missions (or scenes) - I'll come back to this in just a moment. Holomatch is the alternative, which is a series of Holographic combat simulation training programs that look, smell and taste exactly like Deathmatch and they're instantly familiar with veteran FPS gamers. Currently there are seventeen maps for regular Holomatch games, incorporating Team and Free for All (FFA) Holomatch. Capture the Flag (CTF) is also featured with five various sized maps (the available maps may well change for the final release).
Check out the rest of the preview if you're new to this title. GameRush has uncovered an inside angle on the game with an update to their Elite Force Designer Diary. In this issue, Chris Foster explains some of the behind-the-scenes goodies that occurred during the production of this game. A number of Princess Bride quotes are also thrown in, just for kicks (anybody wanna peanut?).

A Mac publisher for Elite Force has been chosen, but cannot be named as of yet. We will bring you any news on the status of the Mac version as soon as the publisher is willing to go public.

PlayNow Elite Force Preview
Elite Force Developer Diary
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

More MOO3 Mac Info
8:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story has posted a list of Frequently Asked Questions covering the upcoming game Masters of Orion 3. The questions cover a variety of topics about this next in the MOO series, including the all-important Mac port. Here's a clip you might find interesting:

Will there be a MAC version?

We want very much to make MOO3 for MAC. We're still working out a deal with a MAC publisher. We'll announce it if a deal is made.

And if they announce any deal, you can be sure we'll let you know. This turn-based game is still in its early stages of development on the PC side, and could be out late next year.

Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Hands On Deus Ex4:49 PM
3dfx Voodoo5 Driver Update3:00 PM
New Sims Object Available1:53 PM
Saitek's New Low-Cost Wheel12:44 PM
Elite Force Images, Interview10:50 AM
S&S to 'Unlock' The Fallen?10:08 AM
Mac UT 425 Released9:55 AM
New RUNE Sketches9:27 AM
The History of Neverwinter Nights9:20 AM
The Core and the Casual6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 8, 2000 on one page

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