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Monday, August 14, 2000

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Combat Mission Post-Mortem
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpot has posted an interesting interview with Big Time Software's president Charles Moylan about their detailed wargame Combat Mission. The Mac version of this game is cited as one of the reasons behind this game's success. The interview is part of an in-depth look back on how this much-acclaimed game was put together. Here's a clip from the huge ten-page feature talking about the factors behind the game's success:

Gamers want more for their money. To this end we did four things:

(1) Combat Mission is open and extensible so that new graphics and sounds can easily be substituted by artists who want to make "mods." One of the coolest things to do is to provide your favorite winter camouflage for vehicles. "Mods" for Combat Mission are already appearing on the Web.

(2) The work we did to research the game really paid off. Attention to detail makes for a much deeper and rewarding game experience, which brings people back to the game again and again to always find something new.

(3) Combat Mission includes a full-featured scenario editor, which allows gamers to make their own battles. New scenario packs are on the Net already, ready for free download.

(4) Combat Mission's random battle generator means you'll never run out of battles. Sometimes you want something unpredictable, and this is it.

A Macintosh version: Having a Mac version ready to ship on the same day as the Windows version has increased our sales by 20 percent, for only a small amount of additional (and reusable) development effort.

It's great to hear the Mac community has increased sales of this impressive effort. Combat Mission is available for purchase over the web now, and there is a demo available if you have yet to try this WWII sim.

Combat Mission Demo
GameSpot Combat Mission Post-Mortem
Combat Mission
Combat Mission

3dfx Voodoo5 Driver Update
6:07 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Recently 3dfx updated the drivers that ship with their Voodoo5 5500 PCI 3D card to version 1.01, accessible through the auto-update feature of 3dfx MacTools control panel. Now that update has been posted as an archive, in case that method of updating didn't work for you.

This minor update fixes resolution switching issues with older monitors, as well as eliminating several bugs. It also addresses some issues with texturing in RAVE mode. If you haven't updated via your control panel, grab this download now. We have received word from 3dfx that the next driver revision will concentrate on speed optimizations, and it is due soon.

3dfx V5 5500 PCI Preview
Download V5 5500 Drivers 1.01

Barrage of Baldur's Gate
3:22 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

While Diablo II may steal the headline space, the recent release of Baldur's Gate by GraphSim has not gone unnoticed. Mac Gamer's Ledge has posted a review of this game, and seemed to enjoy it, awarding it a 4.5 out of 5. Here's an excerpt:

Too many computer role-playing games have forced players down a single path with little room for choice. Baldur's Gate is different in that there are dozens of people to talk to and just as many quests for you to undertake as you travel up and down The Sword Coast in the Forgotten Realms. Based on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules, does Baldur's Gate measure up to the table-top version of Dungeons and Dragons?
Read on to find the answer to this burning question.

Meanwhile, in the depths of MacGamer, Corey Tamas has HTML-ized the Official Baldur's Gate Strategy Guide for those who have already purchased this game. Here is an excerpt:

Q: How big can my party be?

A: When you start Baldur's Gate you create one character of your choice. Throughout the adventure you meet many different people who can join your party. The maximum number in your party at any given time is six. You can get rid of PC's and get other NPCs to join you whenever you like. We'll be releasing some interesting party combinations of NPCs that you may want to mix to see what happens, soon after the release date for the game. Some may not get along very well - you'll see.

Q: Do you have to manage things like eating (rations) and such?

A: No, there is no ration management. We thought this was kind of mundane - Baldur's Gate is epic and heroic. You don't have to worry about going to the bathroom either (your characters are smart enough to do that when you aren't looking.)

Thank goodness for that. In any case, if you want to learn more about this RPG, check out these articles. Currently, Mac Baldur's Gate is a solo game only; the multiplayer aspect is currently being developed and will be available as a free download. There are also indications that a version of the game on DVD will be made available at that time, but this plan has not yet been set in stone. The expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast is also in development by GraphSim, and rumors abound of possible future ports of Baldur's Gate 2 or Icewind Dale, other RPGs in this series.

Baldur's Gate Review at MGL
Baldur's Gate Strategy Guide at MacGamer

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New Red Faction Images
2:46 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Volition has updated the image gallery for their revolutionary upcoming shooter, Red Faction. What's so special about yet another first-person shooter? Well, thanks to the powerful (and gorgeous) Geo-Mod engine that powers it, you will be able to blow holes in walls, drive numerous vehicles, destroy entire buildings and wreak some serious havoc on your foes. No more pesky invulnerable locked doors -- let your rocket launcher do the talking.

An even more revolutionary aspect of this shooter is the fact that it will be a simultaneous Mac/PC release. Volition is also bringing their RPG Summoner to the Mac OS as well. For more information about Red Faction, visit the web site. Both games are due "the first half of 2001" for Mac, PC, and Playstation 2. Also, check out the recent Q&A with two Volition developers.

Red Faction
Red Faction Image Gallery
Volition Q&A
Red Faction

IMG/Aspyr Giveaway Winners
11:58 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The five winners for our IMG Subscription giveaway, sponsored by Mac games publisher Aspyr Media, have been chosen. Congratulations to the winners, who will each reciveve a one-year subscription to the IMG CD-ROM. Here are the winners:

Chris Asta, Roselle, Il

Martin Fuhrer, Radium Hot Springs, BC

Jass Susha, Minsk, BLR

Jon Merriman, Spokane, WA

Jeff Conlon, Guelph, ON

Delivered 10 times a year, IMG is packed with exclusive previews of the latest soon-to-be released games and in-depth game reviews of what's hot and what's not. IMG also gives you stunning color screen shots, QuickTime movies, insightful interviews, industry news, feature columns, hints, tips and tricks, and special reports from the Macworld Expo and E3 shows. All in an easy to use magazine-like interactive interface that allows you to lauch slide shows, demos, QuickTime movies, and live interviews with a simple click of the mouse. Each CD-ROM issue of IMG is also filled with the latest shareware games, commercial game demos, walkthroughs, bug fixes, updaters, and cheater programs. Get it all!

Watch for more giveaways soon, or sign up for your own subscription today.

Subscribe to IMG
Aspyr Media

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Diablo II Giveaway Begins
11:48 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Once again IMG is offering you the chance to win one of the hottest Mac titles available, just by filling out a contest entry form. Enter today to win one of 3 copies of Diablo II, the highly-anticipated sequel to the bestselling blend of action and role-playing in a world of dark fantasy, from Blizzard Entertainment.

After possessing the body of the hero who defeated him, Diablo resumes his nefarious scheme to shackle humanity into unholy slavery by joining forces with the other Prime Evils, Mephisto and Baal. Only you will be able to determine the outcome of this final encounter... For more information about Diablo II, check out our in-depth preview of this title. The contest runs through this Thursday, so hurry up and toss your name into the hat!

IMG Diablo II Giveaway
Diablo II Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

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Elite Force Designer Diary
10:29 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

With the recent confirmation of a Mac port of Raven Software's upcoming shooter Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, information about this game online suddenly becomes much more pertinent. The latest Designer Diary at Computer Games Online provides a look at the history and development of this title, and is peppered with quotes from The Princess Bride for no particular reason.

One of the challenges faced by the team from the very beginning was how to turn the bloodless, often combat-free environment of the TV show into something resembling an exciting shooter -- after all, a game based on a holographic doctor malfunction would probably not draw sales. Here's an excerpt from this diary installment, penned by level designer Chris Foster:

Trying to work out a rationale for more than the average amount of combat actions in a Trek episode taxed us for a while. We toyed with the idea of making the game more like a role-playing experience with multiple characters but dismissed it as not allowing the player to get into the head of a main character. We toyed with the idea of a replenishable supply of red-shirts to take with you on missions, but dismissed this when we discovered we were going to be doing a Voyager game. With such a small crew, losing too many people would mean the end of the ship’s journey very quickly. We even toyed with the idea of a section-31 type operative. It was dismissed since we knew nothing about the division at that point.
The solution they ended up with, of course, was the creation of the Hazard Team, a group of combat-ready commandos which must storm a series of alien vessels (including a Borg Cube) to find a way to free the Voyager from a 'Sargasso Sea' in space. A demo version of this game is currently available on the PC side, and has received wide acclaim. The release date of the Mac OS version is unknown at this time, but as this game is based on the Quake 3 Arena engine, and Raven has already completed much of the Mac development in-house, we expect the Mac version to follow the PC final release closely.

Raven Software
Elite Force Developer Diary #2
Raven Confirms Mac Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Diablo II 1.03b Released
8:41 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Blizzard quitely released a new update to Diablo II late Friday, bringing it to version 1.03b. The new patch fixes a bug that would cause crashes when playing in RAVE or OpenGL as well as fixing a rare bug that would cause the game to lock up in low-memory situations. This patch is for the Mac OS version only, and will be downloaded automatically if you log in to Battle.net.

The Diablo II 1.03b patch weighs in at 3.7 MB and is available at Macgamefiles.com

Download Diablo II 1.03b (3.7 MB)

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Volition Q&A
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameWeek has recently posted an interview with Mike Kulas and Philip Holt of Volition. While the Q&A mostly covers their experiences with the Playstation 2, there is a bit about both titles that they currently have in progress, Summoner and Red Faction. These games will be coming to the Mac, though the PS2 version of the 3D RPG Summoner will be released first as it won't contain any multiplayer capabilities.

Red Faction won't be available till early 2001. Here's a clip about this FPS's amazing Geo-Mod technology that will enable players to break through structures:

Unlike scripted sequences, it is completely arbitrary. For example, if there is some guy running across a bridge, you can blast a hole through it and he will fall through if you time it right. It offers the player a new kind of gameplay, and it offers so much flexibility. One thing we find here is that when we show Red Faction to someone, they just start blowing everything up. It is like they are a kid destroying their LEGO creation. The engine also allows players to use strategy elements throughout gameplay. If you see enemies coming at you, you can blow up the bridge they coming in on, or if you are cornered somewhere, you can blast a hole through the wall. We also have an infrared scope, and the cool thing is that if you have it on and blast a hole through the wall, you can see the enemies react to the chaos. Them you can shoot them with your sniper gun. The AI will react to the hole that you create, leading to your allies and enemies using the hole to either enter or leave the building.
In related news, PS2.IGN has put Summoner second on their list of anticipated titles. In the quick paragraph they outline the game's gameplay:
A Baldur's Gate-style combat system with arcade interaction in the style of Vagrant Story is in place now, and it blew us away. A small icon appears over the head of whichever character the player is controlling (everybody in the party, including summoned creatures, is controllable at any time) right at the moment of attack. Pressing any of the directions on the digital pad (movement is done with the analog sticks) exactly at the moment the icon appears results in a special attack that can be turned into a continuing chain.
Be sure to check out both articles for more on Volition's impressive upcoming releases.

PS2.IGN Summoner Article
GameWeek Volition Interview
Red Faction

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Warcraft III Interview
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Fansite Craft of War posted a short chat with Warcraft III's producer Rob Pardo. The man from Blizzard answers questions about the game's 3D engine, special effects and characters. Here's a quick sample:

Using a 3D engine, I would assume that you have much greater variety in height and slope of the terrain then in Starcraft. If a group is traveling through a narrow canyon, will it be nigh impossible for them to attack those on top?

Pardo: Because we still have a fixed camera angle that looks down at the map, we still have to keep somewhat shallow cliffs. Not to the same as extent as StarCraft but not so high that units could not fire upwards at units above them.

The shift of this game from a flexible to a fixed camera angle was one of the more controversial changes it has faced since its inception; the game also recently lost a 'race,' dropping from a proposed six races to only five. We saw Warcraft III in action at E3 this year, and the camera movement was indeed fixed, and very similar to the previous two Warcraft titles; in fact, there was no way to rotate the camera or zoom in and out.

Warcraft III was announced as coming to the Mac as well as PC at Macworld Expo New York last month. The final release of this RTS game is not expected until late next year; judging by the steady decrease in delay between PC and Mac releases of Blizzard titles, we expect this to be a nearly simultaneous release.

Craft of War Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

OceanWorlds On Horizon
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A very curious site called Netbabyworld has announced OceanWorlds, a 3D realtime game to be played with your web browser. Featuring a downloadable 3D engine and realtime netplay, this game will be free, and judging by the Netbaby site, quite adorable as well. Although this game isn't due until October, there is plenty at the NetBaby web site to keep you entertained, from Shockwave games to an entire virtual world.

Here are details from the press release:

OceanWorlds is the first in a series of 3-D games that will be released by
Netbabyworld. The game is launched in October and will be based on the
Netbabyworld 3-D game engine, which keeps the download time for complicated
games on the Internet down to a minimum.

OceanWorlds takes place in an island world that is part of the Netbabyworld.
The game is a 3-D multiplayer game, and is more extensive than the previous
Shockwave game versions by Netbabyworld.

- OceanWorlds can be described as an action and a strategy game. It is a
multiplayer game on the Internet that makes it possible for our users to
play advanced 3-D games against each other, says Mattias Karlgren, Head of
Game Programming and Development at OceanWorlds.

The player will, in a team or alone, conquer islands, build houses,
airfields and factories to manufacture units and travel around the world.
The main goal is to capture all competitors and to control the entire
OceanWorlds. The game is based on the Netbaby characters Ninjagirl, Slacker
and Digger. OceanWorlds is used for free, just as any other game from

- OceanWorlds fills a void, since the supply of free 3-D games on the
Internet is limited, continues Mattias Karlgren.

Thanks to a new game engine, Netbabyworld can now offer their users 3-D
games, such as OceanWorlds, with console quality on the Internet. The new
3-D engine is manufactured by Netbabyworld and as easy to download as

OceanWorlds is released in October and will be followed by a 3-D racing
game, and furthermore an entire virtual reality world. The exact dates for
the launches will be presented as they come up on www.netbabyworld.com.

There is plenty to explore at this unique web site, which can only be described as Hello Kitty goes to Sweden. It will be interesting to see how they handle the common network gaming problems of finding opponents and handling Internet latency.

Netbaby World

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More Cro-Mag Rally Images
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software has posted a new group of screen shots from their upcoming kart-style racing title Cro-Mag Rally. The fourteen new shots are from a variety of race tracks; there is also a sporty new logo.

Cro-Mag Rally is a racing game in the spirit of console titles such as Mario Kart. With split-screen modes, powerups, and different racing modes, this looks to be more fast, fluid and frantic 3D fun from the creators of Nanosaur and Bugdom. Here are more details on the game:

Cro-Mag Rally is a 3D racing game where you drive primitive cars in primitive lands and do battle using primitive weapons. In addition to the standard 1-player racing where it's you against the computer, there are also several multiplayer battle modes. You can play 2 person split-screen on the same computer, or you can play up to 6 people in a network game. Multiplayer modes include Tag, Capture the Flag, Survival, and more!

Cro-Mag Rally's system requirements are still in flux. But it is safe to say that it will require at least 64Megs of RAM, 4MB VRAM, and 233mhz. It will run on OS 8.6 and up. The game uses OpenGL, so it should run on any 3D accelerator card which supports Apple's OpenGL and which has enough VRAM. The game will likely not run on old Rage II chips since it is simply too slow and lacks too many features the game needs.

There is no word as to whether there will be Internet play, currently, but we can always hope. We can't wait for this one! If you haven't tried Pangea's other great titles, make sure you grab the demos and take them for a spin; Nanosaur is a shareware title, while Bugdom is a commercial release.

Cro-Mag Rally Screen Shots
Nanosaur Demo
Bugdom Demo
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

Mac Games News for Friday, August 11, 2000

Information on Mac FAKK2, Sin5:47 PM
On Sims Objects and Add-Ons3:45 PM
A Curious Conversion1:54 PM
Avernum Review12:16 PM
Bungie Nixes Apple's Info, More12:10 PM
Mac FAKK2 in Beta11:44 AM
ZD Reveals iBook Speed Bump11:41 AM
Halo to be Simultaneous Mac, X-Box11:27 AM
Tropico Interview11:15 AM
Raven Speaks, Elite Force Screens11:07 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, August 11, 2000 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, August 10, 2000
Wednesday, August 9, 2000
Tuesday, August 8, 2000
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