|Thursday, August 10, 2000|
Sims Livin' Large Images
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Our partner Gamecenter has posted five exclusive screen shots from The Sims: Livin' Large, an expansion pack for the Maxis title that continues to rule the sales charts on both Mac and PC platforms. While there are no firm plans to bring this pack to the Mac OS as of yet, we are sure Aspyr Media, publishers of the Mac port of The Sims, is scheming towards that goal right now.
This expansion pack recently went "gold," and these are the first images of the new objects, textures and Sims available. The '50s Deco collection is superb -- all it needs is a sound track by Esquivel -- and the Gothic Mansion, complete with mad scientist lab, has to be seen to be believed. Here are details from Gamecenter:
The Sims is easily the biggest gaming phenomenon of 2000. In addition to being the highest-selling game of the year so far, it's also a game that appeals to the entire gaming audience, young and old, male and female. Knowing they have a smash hit on their hands, Maxis and Electronic Arts will throw more fuel on the fire when they release the now-finished The Sims: Livin' Large expansion pack in early September. Of course we will let you know if Aspyr decides to make the port of this pack official; in the meantime check out the shots at Gamecenter, or read our Preview of The Sims if you are new to this title.
Because Livin' Large is an expansion pack to The Sims, you'll need the original game to play it. In turn, you'll get a lot of fun new features and objects to play with, including a chemistry set, a voodoo doll, and even a telescope that can get you abducted by aliens. Then there are the new furnishing styles, from kitschy Vegas-style wallpaper to Gothic-style thrones.
Search for Lowest Prices on The Sims
The Sims Preview
The Sims: Livin' Large Screen Shots
The Sims: Livin' Large
X Plane Update Available
9:56 PM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story
Laminar Research recently announced that a new version of their X-Plane flight simulator is now available. Version 5.32 adds several new planes, including Airbus and Lancair models, to this extremely flexible simulator. Also included in the update is a 22% frame-rate boost from version 5.31 and before. Laminar also patched a large number of bugs as well, and included a space shuttle re-entry simulation to their panoply of simulation options.
X-Plane Updater Download (61.7 MB)
Also included on their website is a feature list for version 5.33, which is now in development. They are adding thrust-vectoring as a maneuvering option for some of the more modern aircraft in the simulation -- so you can fly cutting-edge machines such as the F-22!
X-Plane Demo (60 MB)
SkyFighters 1945 Demo Available
1:09 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story
A demo of SkyFighters 1945 from Bullseye Software is now available. SF 1945, formerly known as SkyFighters 2000, is a WWII era flight sim featuring both single user missions and multi-user Internet play. Highlights include:
Excellent computer AI for competitive dogfights, up to 8 players in the multi-player mode, ground targets, bombing, carrier operations, multiple worlds, realistic flight characteristics, create your own custom paint jobs, and many other features.Requirements
If you are looking for a WWII era flight sim for your Mac, SkyFighters 1945 is the one for you. Not super complex, like some other flight sims, but full-featured and a lot of fun.
SkyFighters 1945 is a great flight sim for experienced flight simers, AND beginning flight sim pilots as well.
- iMacs, G3s and G4s
- Works on PowerMacs (603/180 or faster)
- 16 megs RAM free
- 3D hardware accelerator (works best with ATI chips)
- 4 megs VRAM minimum (When viewed at 640x480)
- Currently, WILL NOT WORK ON MOST POWERBOOKS
Bullseye is selling a 'preview release' of this title for a limited time; buyers will be able to obtain the entire game later by downloading additional levels and planes from the net. Grab the demo at Macgamefiles, and visit the Bullseye site for more details.
SkyFighters 1945 Information
SkyFighters 1945 Demo
Return To Dark Castle Teaser
12:56 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Delta Tao software has released a small 'teaser' for their upcoming release Return to Dark Castle, another sequel in this venerable series that reaches back to the very beginnings of Mac gaming.
This title will have all new levels, a bigger playing area, and the same great gameplay that you became addicted to in Dark Castle and Beyond Dark Castle.
Note: This is only a teaser and doesn't actual game play except for one small area that you can run/jump around in and throw rocks.
Return to Dark Castle Teaser (2.7 MB)
This teaser will run on any color Mac, and will be a great nostalgia trip for those who remember the original -- and fun for those new to the series as well. Stop by Macgamefiles to grab the download.
Apple on The Sims, Will Wright
12:07 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
In an article posted at Apple’s website, Brad Cook takes a look at Maxis' hit title The Sims, recently brough to the Mac OS by Aspyr Media. In this detailed review of the game, the author ponders, why bother with Survivor and The Real World, when you can control your own reality show? Here's an excerpt:
As the internet and reality TV shows have proven, we’re a bunch of nosy people who are oftentimes more interested in others’ affairs than our own. So it’s probably not a surprise that Sim City creator Will Wright’s latest computer game, The Sims, is wildly popular. Now available for Macintosh through Aspyr Media, The Sims allows you to take control of computer generated people and meddle in their lives, deciding everything from career tracks to friends to when to eat meals.An interview with Will Wright, creator of The Sims and the Sim City titles, follows the review, giving insight into the driving force behind the creation of the game.
“Failure in games is not only okay but crucial to a game being fun,” Wright explains. “What’s very important, though, is that the failure needs to be understandable (‘Why did I fail? How can I avoid it next time?’) as well as interesting. An NPC (non-player character) argument or fight is much more interesting than a wrong buzzer sound.Cook’s discussion with Wright also reveals some future plans, as well as ideas for a multiplayer online version of The Sims. Read on for more details.
Apple's Review of The Sims
Buy The Sims
Blizzard Promises Better Battle.net
12:01 PM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story
In a FAQ posted yesterday by Blizzard Entertainment on the Battle.net forums, they address some of the questions gamers may have regarding recent performance problems with online game server Battle.net under heavy stress. This FAQ had been previously posted, but has now been updated and re-posted in response to some recent problems. Here are some excerpts:
Q: Will the Realms be prepared for the Mac Gamers about to Battle.net has faltered some in recent days, trying to bear the strain of the 2,000,000 copies available to the greater consumer market. Here is there response to customer complaints:
assault the servers?
A: The work we are doing on the Diablo II Realms and Battle.net
will benefit Macintosh players as well, so we are looking forward
to making our entire community as happy as we can. We are very
excited to be welcoming Macintosh gamers to Diablo II so quickly
after launching the game on the PC and we hope that our Macintosh
fans will be as excited as we are to bring them the world of
Diablo II far quicker than any game in our company’s history.
Q: Why weren’t more of these problems discovered during the While unwilling to cement a date for further hardware and software fixes on Blizzard's end, they are willing to commit to a time frame:
A: While we had more than 100,000 people testing the Diablo II
Realms, having more than 1 million customers in just three weeks
proves to be very different than beta testing. The beta test was
very successful in uncovering many stability issues that were
addressed before launch. We are now facing bugs that only appear
at much higher usage rates.
We are continuing to work on the game and the Realms not only So, if you have been struggling with online Diablo II games, don't give up hope -- Blizzard is catching up to the tremendous demand. The best way to avoid connection drops and 'lag' is to stay in games with four players or less, and make sure the player 'serving' the game has a robust Internet connection.
Battle Net FAQ
from a programming standpoint, but from a hardware perspective,
as well. We are dedicated to spending hours and dollars to
improve our service to our customers, and we expect to see
continued improvement over the coming weeks.
Buy Diablo II
Apple Wraps Up MWNY Games
11:54 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Apple has posted a very nice wrap-up from Macworld Expo New York with extensive coverage of all the game and entertainment titles on display at the show. This was certainly the best Expo ever for Mac gaming, in our memory, and Apple's round-up covers them all, even titles that were not showing on the floor. Here's an excerpt:
Simultaneous—or nearly simultaneous—release of games on both of the major computing platforms is an important development in the videogame industry. Macworld offered plenty of evidence of this new trend and gamers are thrilled about it.Read the rest of the article for more details, although most of this is old news to those who followed our Expo coverage.
Mac Gaming Titles Proliferate
Blizzard Entertainment showcased its major new release Diablo II, which arrived for the Mac less than a month after the PC version hit store shelves. An intense fantasy role-playing game, it's the sequel to the best-selling Diablo, which was published for the Mac in 1997. The company also announced that Warcraft III, the third installment of the popular fantasy battle game series, will hit the Mac and the PC at the same time in late 2001.
Meanwhile, copies of The Sims, Aspyr Media's new game (released for the Mac just in time for the Expo), sold prodigiously at the show, as did copies of the highly anticipated Deus Ex, which was published nearly simultaneously on Mac and Windows by ION Storm.
Aspyr will also bring Sim Theme Park to the Mac in September. In this variation on the Sim theme, player create an amusement park and try to manage every aspect of its existence—from setting ticket prices to hiring employees.
Another best release selling at the show was GraphSim's Baldur's Gate. A fantasy role-playing game, Baldur's Gate is set in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons world Forgotten Realms.
Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year
11:34 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Infogrames has announced the not-so-humble Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year, a re-release of this first-person shooter accompanied by three gameplay 'mods' and twenty additional maps. While all of the additions to this game are available online, the re-release is obviously targeted towards those new to the game, not veteran players. Here are the details:
How do you improve the Game of the Year? You make it bigger! Coming to retail shelves this fall, Infogrames' ``Unreal Tournament: Game Of The Year'' edition features the original game, three map pack add-ons, giving UT players an additional 20 maps, plus three all new modes of play, also known as mods. There is no mention in the press release of a Mac OS version of this re-release; we immediately inquired about this possibility, of course. Here is the swift reply of Infogrames spokesperson Braun Meridith:
Created to enhance the online experience of ``Unreal Tournament,'' mods are episodic content that extend the gameplay experience of the original product and have typically been found online by savvy gaming enthusiasts for some time. Now with ``Unreal Tournament: Game Of The Year'' casual gamers who might not have previously found this content will be able to get in on the action!
``We are ecstatic about the rousing reception 'Unreal Tournament' has received since its release,'' said Mark Rein, president of Epic Games. ``In developing the 'Game of the Year' edition our aim is to broaden the scope of our fan base even further. By implementing the mods and new map packs we are providing all consumers a chance to sample the same great gaming experience that the hardcore community has been enjoying and thrives on.''
The three new mods in ``Unreal Tournament: Game Of The Year'' are enhanced versions of mods previously released online to the hardcore gaming community and they include: Tactical Ops, Rocket Arena and Chaos UT. Tactical Ops is set in real world military surroundings and is focused on tactical team-based combat. Players can join either the Special Forces or the Terrorists to defeat one another through strategic objective-based combat.
Currently I don't have any information on a Mac version of this game. Right now it is for PC only. But I'm sure that there will be discussions about a Mac version.Excellent news for those of you that haven't taken the plunge and bought this amazing title. Watch for more news on Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year coming soon, and of course a great place to look for Unreal Tournament mods and maps is our sister site Macgamefiles.
Unreal Tournament Review
Infogrames Announcement for UT: Game of the Year
3dfx Voodoo5 Official Announcement
10:42 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Though the 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI card has been available to the gaming public for several days, 3dfx has just made their official announcement that this next-generation card is available for purchase. Although the press release is more focused on hype than actual features, the details of this card should be familiar to anyone who has been following the gaming news these past few weeks: dual VSA-100 chips, 64 MB of texture memory, the ability to do 2 and 4-sample Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing, and megatexel performance. Here's an excerpt from the announcement:
3dfx Interactive Inc. (Nasdaq: TDFX - news) today announced that the Voodoo5(TM) 5500 PCI for Macintosh is in full volume production and available immediately at leading retail outlets. Voodoo5 5500 PCI for Macintosh is the first 3D accelerator for the Mac platform to offer full-scene anti-aliasing (FSAA) in hardware, and offers substantial performance advantages over competitive offerings.If you have purchased one of these cards, be sure and grab the latest driver update. For more details on this hardware and what to expect, read our 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI preview, and our feature on the Voodoo4/5 in-depth.
3dfx Voodoo5 Driver Update
``This marks an important step in reaching our goal of revolutionizing the Mac graphics market,'' said Alex Leupp, President and CEO of 3dfx Interactive. ``As the glowing reviews of the product validate, we believe the Voodoo5 is superior to any other graphics card for the Mac. We are excited about becoming the market leader for Mac graphics solutions.''
``This product launch marks our official entry into a market that we knew was in desperate need of a superior graphics solution,'' said Bryan Speece, director of Macintosh business development at 3dfx Interactive. ``No other graphics accelerator offers the kind of high visual fidelity and incredible 2D and 3D performance that Voodoo5 for Macintosh delivers.''
After awarding the Voodoo5 5500 PCI the coveted ``Best of Show'' award at Macworld Expo, MacWEEK Magazine's (www.macweek.com) David Read wrote in a July 27, 2000 article, ``The release of 3dfx's Voodoo5 5500 graphics accelerator marks a fundamental change in how we view 3-D graphics on the Mac. MacWEEK's tests show it to be fast, but more importantly, it renders larger, higher-quality images than any currently shipping Mac graphics board. It also provides impressive features, such as full-screen anti-aliasing. Voodoo5 provides the best image quality we've seen in a Mac graphics card without sacrificing performance.''
3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI Mac Press Release
10:19 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story
Once again Corey Tamas has spent his nights feverishly writing articles for MacGamer, the onetime daily news site that has switched to a 'magazine' format. There are five new articles available, including a Baldur's Gate strategy guide with many tips and tricks to guide you through this complex game. He also drops his two cents about Diablo 2, interviews Marty O'Donell, the man behind the audio side of Myth 2, Oni and Halo, and much more. Here is O'Donell on Halo:
You've done some great work with Bungie (for whom you are now employed)...and you're one of the very lucky few to have access to the current build of Halo. What are your impressions? What stands out for you?Although MacGamer doesn't update often, we can't wait to see what Corey will come up with next.
The first time I drove that jeep and then flew the hover craft around I laughed out loud. It was so much fun. You don't need force feedback to "feel" the terrain because it responds so realistically. I remember when Myst and Doom were both on the market and people were saying "wouldn't be great to have a game that played like Doom but looked as good as Myst?" Well, I think Halo surpasses that wish in several ways. The graphics and animations look so good that I really don't see any reason to leave the game engine for cut scenes.
Gray Matter Interview on Wolfenstein
10:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
One of our affiliate CGA sites Stomped spoke with Mike Denny of Gray Matter Studios at the recent QuakeCON event. If the company name doesn't sound familiar, it will soon; this team is working on a sequel to id Software's classic shooter Wolfenstein 3D, which will be called Return to Castle Wolfenstein. The original Wolfenstein introduced gamers to the genre of first-person shooter, and the team is well aware of the original's fame and status as a classic. Using the Quake 3 Arena engine, Gray Matter will attempt to preserve the classic ambiance of that title (remember those blue brick walls?) and combine it with the robust visuals and blazing action we've come to expect from more recent shooters. Here is an excerpt describing the artificial intelligence of your opponents in the game:
Stomped: What other kinds of things will the AI characters in the game be able to do? Id is actually helping Gray Matter out with the port, so it's good to know they are going watch over this sequel closely. Since Return to Castle Wolfenstein is using the Quake 3 engine, a Mac version of the title is likely, although nothing official has been announced as of yet. With Wolfenstein on the horizon and a Doom sequel on the way, 2000/2001 is going to seem a lot like the early '90s for fans of id Software.
Stomped Talks to Gray Matter
Denny: The AI is the most tactical AI I have ever seen. If they are taking hits, they know they are taking hits and they will go hide behind a corner and look for cover. A table, a pole, a post, a wall, whatever, they will try to hide behind it and then they attack you in short bursts. They creep outside the alcove and go back inside the alcove.
Hands-on Elite Force Previews
9:58 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story
A new hands-on preview of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Raven Software's upcoming first-person shooter, has been posted by GameSpot. Delving into the history of the game as well as its current status, the preview includes a large image gallery from the latest build of this title. Here are more details about the game itself:
Elite Force is split up into roughly 30-plus single-player levels, and it's clear that the developers at Raven took cues from Half-Life in its design. Limited supplies of ammunition and health are dispensed by wall-mounted stations, which are found throughout the game's alien ships (while you're aboard Voyager, the holographic doctor administers medical aid to you). Level transitions also occur in a manner reminiscent of Half-Life in that you don't realize that you're about to enter a new area until the "now loading" text appears across your screen. To preserve suspension of disbelief, the progress meter of the level load time is displayed as a transporter icon going through the motions of locking onto your position and energizing.Trek Web, one of the many Star Trek fan sites, has also posted a preview of this game, also from a recent build. This long preview also includes new images which reveal some of the impressive modifications that Raven has made to the Quake 3 engine in order to enhance the experience. We have recently learned that a Mac publisher for this title has been secured, although it is too early for them to make an announcement, so rest assured that this is one more title you will be able to play on your Mac in the near future.
Elite Force Preview at GameSpot
Elite Force Preview at Trek Web
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Human Head Interviewed
9:42 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story
The German PC gaming web site Gamers.de has posted an interview with one of Human Head's talented artists, Greg Marshall. Human Head is currently polishing Rune, a third-person adventure/action title set in a world of Viking mythology.
Although the site is in German, they have translated the interview into English. While fairly short, the interview does provide some information about the multiplayer aspect of Rune, which according to Human Head will be quite different from typical 'shooter' deathmatch. As with its 'parent' title Unreal Tournament, Rune will support new models and skins, as well as third-party modifications. Here is an excerpt concerning how melee combat in third-person will work:
Gamers.de: Melee-Combat in a 3rd person game (e.g. Heretic 2,The Mac version is nearing 'alpha' status very soon; Westlake Interactive and Human Head are working closely in order to make sure the game is released for Mac and PC simultaneously, and it looks like they will accomplish this goal.
Drakan) always brings in the problem for the player estimating the
distance to the opponent. How will this be handled in RUNE.
Greg: Yes, this is definitely an important consideration; without delving
into the complex language of the programming team, all I can say is
that we currently have been experimenting with Z-targeting with
promising results. Also, this system seems to be more forgiving in that
you have a greater recovery time after each attack/swipe.
Interview with Greg Marshall
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
27 New Tribes 2 Screenshots
8:20 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story
PC.IGN.COM and GameSpot have both posted numerous screen shots (17 and 10 respectively) from an early alpha build of the first-person shooter Tribes 2. These images show off Tribes 2's amazing graphics, weapons, buildings, character animation and the game's recently revamped terrain system. GameSpot had this to say about what was missing in the alpha:
"Some remaining issues with the current build is that it doesn't let you fiddle with any of the control or graphics options, and the game runs at a very low frame rate even on a high-end Pentium III with a GeForce 2 GTS card. Naturally, Dynamix hasn't yet optimized the game's graphics, so some performance issues are to be expected. Also missing from the build is a number of vehicles"How about the Mac version? In a recent email to IMG, Dave Georgeson of Dynamix assured us that "if we can get time to do it, we will do it. But we have to get the game done first." Not a resounding yes, but at least Dynamix is keeping the Mac platform in mind. Tribes 2 is due late this Fall for PC.
Gamespot Tribes 2 shots
PC.IGN.COM Tribes shots
Connectix on Piracy
7:51 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story
The fan page VGS heaven has posted an interview with Connectix, makers of the popular PlayStation emulator, Virtual Game Station. The Connectix spokesman assures gamers that Virtual Game Station is not a dead product, and that it will receive bug fixes to make newer PlayStation games compatible with the emulator. The spokesman was also asked if the company was working a Dreamcast emulator, to which he replied:
"C: No, we're not working on Dreamcast emulation. Putting aside the technical difficulties, the Dreamcast market is even smaller than the PlayStation market. And the PlayStation emulation market has not been a wildly successful market for us. Given the number of discussion boards, VGS web sites, etc. on the internet, you might be led to believe that we had sold a lot of copies of VGS. But in reality, the rampant piracy has really made it a mediocre-to-disappointing product from a business standpoint. It really makes us think long and hard about doing any future game emulation projects. Sorry for "venting" - I know you and many of your readers are legitimate VGS users. But it has been frustrating to first get attacked by Sony's lawyers and then have so many users illegally obtain the software. This double whammy makes it pretty difficult for us to recoup our investment."Piracy has long been an industry-wide problem for many years. With the advent of high-speed Internet connections, the problem will only grow. For more on this interview, head over to VGS Heaven.
VGS Heaven interview
Gaming on a Low-End Mac
6:00 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story
Macinstruct's Teach Different Tutorial Contest has yielded an excellent article on how to make a 'legacy' Macintosh into a usable gaming machine. The author doesn't claim to be able to turn an older Mac into a Diablo II or Unreal Tournament screamer, but Mr. Shelton has presented the reader with some options that are better than just playing Tetris and solitaire. Here's an excerpt from the introduction:
Here is a common new Mac user's scenario. You find a used PowerMac 6100 at a garage sale. You have heard a lot about Macs, and you want to give it a try. You bring it home, boot it up, and see the System 7.5.5 startup screen. You immediately load up the copy of Descent for Macintosh that you have just purchased, and you start it up. You get into the game and say, "Why the heck is this so slow?" You have no idea what to do about it. You think to yourself, "Why did I waste my $100 on this?"Learn how to take those old legacy Macs you might find at a garage sale or an eBay auction and turn them into gaming consoles without too much difficulty, given of course that you not try anything too demanding. Even humbler Macs make a perfect platform for older commercial and shareware games you'd thought you'd never play again -- but are still as addictive as always.
MacInstruct: Gaming on a Low End Mac
Developers Seek Help for 3D Title
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
The curiously-named Seemingly Empty of Thought Studios dropped us a line with the following request for help. They are embarking on an ambitious project indeed, and are in need of experienced programmers with some free time and dedication to move the project forwards. Here is their plea for assistance:
A group of developers and I are working on a new title code named PSM. It is a futuristic game full of action and mystery; it is a cross between Riven and UT. A Quake 3 with a story, puzzles, and engaging but original gameplay. A souped-up Marathon. Contact the SETS team by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you have the skills to assist in this ambitious project.
E-mail Ben Kamprath of SETS
We are in need of programmers to help us develop our 3D game engine, our AI system, and our physics engine. This game is our first attempt into the game market. We plan to release this game as either a retail product or at least as a high-quality shareware game. Also, if you aren't a programmer, but are an artist, writer, are good at designing puzzles, have 3D modeling experience, can do cool stuff on a mac (like design cool weapons, effects, stuff like that.), or just don't suck, drop us a line! Feel free to send us examples of your work.
We are not able to pay for help at this moment, this is purely asking for people in the market for a fun time and a great learning experience. But if the title is finished and makes a profit, whosoever helps shall be rewarded.
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