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Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Deimos Rising Progress
11:19 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Over the weekend Ambrosia Software updated their web site with information and images from Deimos Rising, a top-down shooter and sequel to the original Mars Rising. This project has faced several delays, but has now reached Alpha status, and has been handed over to testers for preliminary work.

Along with a status update, author David Wareing released several new images of the game in progress, including the first full-size screen shot revealing the gorgeous 16-bit graphics. This new title is no mere sequel -- it is a redesign from the ground up. Unlike the original title, Deimos Rising is designed to be modular and expandible, so third-party maps and sprites may be possible. Here is a list of features to come:

  • 2 player action! Compete against your best friend and humiliate him!
  • Many new war-mongering enemies, with new weapons and devastating abilities.
  • New player weapons and the ability to buy weapons as needed. Capitalism in space!
  • 16 bit color - all graphics and visual effects are displayed in thousands of colors!
  • Beautifully rendered and varying landscapes, with no tiling.
  • Smooth, 30 FPS vertical and horizontal scrolling action.
  • Translucent animation, particle effects and scaling. Eye candy galore!

The final version of this game is due this Winter. Due to the file size of the 16-bit artwork, this game is expected to be released on CD-ROM. Jump to the Ambrosia Upcoming page for more details on this upcoming release as well as other titles in development.

Deimos Rising Project Log
Deimos Rising Screen Shots
Ambrosia Upcoming Projects

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Black and White Preview
5:35 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Checkout.com has posted a preview of Lionhead's upcoming 'god game' Black and White, the latest title from Peter Molyneux, the quirky creator of such unique (and popular) titles as Syndicate, Populous and Dungeon Keeper. Molyneux's current creation has been raising eyebrows all over the web since its showing at E3 this year. While it was recently delayed by several months, it is supposedly on track for a December release.

Checkout.com's preview discusses many aspects of this complex god game, from the creatures you raise to be your 'muscle' in the world to the villagers you must persuade -- or intimidate -- into worshipping you. Along the way you must learn spells, complete mini-quests and deal with a formidable AI, and then take your creation online to compete against or just socialize with other creatures. And unlike the mindless slaughter of shooters or the endless capitalism of sim games, Black and White features a game of moral choices. You can literally shape the world around you with your behavior and decisions. And as this quote reveals, your creature will follow your example, good or bad:

Not only will your creature learn from your rewards and punishment, it will also learn from
watching your actions as a God. As your creature evolves and adopts some of your beliefs, it will
gain some of your spell abilities and venture off on its own, acting in your name. For instance,
the creature could travel to a village while you're off somewhere else and support a tribe of
starving villagers by using magic to create food. Just about every single action you perform in the
game has the potential to alter your creature in subtle ways, so much so that even Peter
Molyneux is constantly surprised at what the creatures do on their own. If the creator is surprised
by his own invention, then we as players must be in for a real treat.
Supposedly the complex engine that powers this title simulates an entire world at once, from the weather in the sky to the tree in the field to the apples that tree grows to the worm in a fallen apple. This game is coming to the PC at the end of this year. Peter Molyneux has discussed a Mac OS version of this title several times, and a port to the Mac OS may in fact be in progress at this time. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

Black and White Preview at Checkout.com
Lionhead Studios
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

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First Diablo II Giveaway Winner
5:03 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The first of three winners has been chosen in our Diablo II giveaway. Dennis Arvig of Perham, Minnesota wins a copy of this top-selling real-time RPG from Blizzard Entertainment!

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

War in Sword Lands Released
4:03 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Author Pierre Vacon has notified us that his scenario for Fantasoft's extensible RPG Realmz, entitled War in the Sword Lands, has been released for posting at the Fantasoft web site. WISL is the second part of a trilogy; the first installment, Trouble in the Sword Lands, was released in late 1999.

Realmz is a Mac-first RPG which has undergone a long, complex history of updates and transformations. There are dozens of shareware and freeware scenarios available for this title, created with the scenario editor Divinity.

Here are more details on WISL, from Pierre's web site:

War in the Sword Lands (WiSL for short) is an official Realmz scenario for characters begining at 12th level. This second installment of the Sword Lands Trilogy was released in August 2000. The main features of WiSL are the following:

  • The scenario is a huge scenario, even bigger than TiSL. Indeed, it includes 4 complete regular land levels, 3 island/sea levels, 1 desert level, 1 snow level, 1 volcanic level, 1 sewer level, 6 indoor levels (castles, inns, shops, taverns, ruins, etc.), 3 underground levels (including 1 shadow elf undercity!), and 2 dungeon levels;
  • Some 330 monsters (most of which are new) for about 500 possible battles, along with 95-odd new items, 20 available special characters (NPC's), around 50 major villainous personages/beings to contend with, and countless other characters (from fishermen and bartenders to Great Kings and Queens) for the players to interact with;
  • The scenario can adjust itself (in terms of story, NPC's, and dialogs) whether you have played TiSL previously or not (note that the synopsis presented above is from the context of the characters having already gone through TiSL);
  • The scenario has all the features which made TiSL popular (i.e. complex plot and rich story, no skimming on the details and dialogs, good drama, great battles, extended freedom of choice for the players, numerous land levels, buildings and dungeons to explore, riddles and puzzles to solve, etc.);
  • The scenario allows the players to make actual strategic decisions before entering some of the major battles, and thus influencing the outcome (i.e. easy, normal, or difficult) whether the decision was right, inconsequent, or dead wrong;
  • Water and food are required to be carried: otherwise, your party members will suffer from dehydration or hunger!
  • The large majority of shops, temples and buildings are opened only throughout the usual period of the day, so don't try to go shopping at three in the morning, or attempt to visit a king around midnight!

  • While there are obviously bigger and more battles in WiSL than in TiSL, the motus operandi remains the same: "Durn good brains AND a good sword required; otherwise, ye need not apply"!

  • And plenty more neat things to do and explore ... many of which are likely to surprise ya aside from a far-reaching, main plot!
For more information on this scenario and many others, visit the Realmz web site.

Psion's Sanctum Sanctorum

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No Silver for U.S.
3:11 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The console-style RPG Silver has long been dangled before the grasping fingers of Mac gamers. Again and again the schedule for the Mac port slipped, delaying the title an entire year and several months. It was shown in the GT/MacSoft booth at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in May, running on an iMac, and seemed to be complete at that point, but still it did not ship.

Early in July we began to receive messages from French readers of IMG saying that the Mac OS version of Silver was now available on the Continent. Earlier today, we received confirmation that Mac Silver is available in the UK and Germany as well. However, a US version of this title has yet to ship, and there are currently no plans for such a release.

We contacted Al Schilling of GT Interactive/MacSoft, and he confirmed that there are currently no plans for MacSoft to publish a US version of this title. He also left the possibility open that another publisher might create a US version of this title.

Of course, there is always the possibility of purchasing the game from an overseas retailer and shipping it to the US, but this is surprisingly difficult; the UK retailer we found that is stocking the game, MacGold, no longer ships to the US. We'll keep investigating this issue and see if we can find a way to get Silver into the hands of US gamers. In the meantime, if you have managed to get a copy of Silver in any country, post how you obtained it and your thoughts on the game in general on the comments thread of this article.

MacGold Direct (UK)

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More from Matt on Halo
2:53 PM | Charles George | Comment on this story

One of the more pleasant side effects of the recent Microsoft buyout of Bungie Software (now Bungie Studios) is that this seems to have given Bungie more time to stay in touch with the community of fans surrounding their much-hyped title Halo. Matt Soell demonstrates this by continuosly posting new Halo information to the halo.bungie.org forums. He recently answered questions about the human jeeps, machine guns, and made this comment about the amazing dropships featured in the 'E3' trailer:

"> 3. About the human drop ship. How does one enter enter the
> cockpit? Can it entered from any direction or do you have to go
> through the passenger area? Also on the drop ship, the passenger
> area have an an armored area to protect soldiers from the rear?
> Are there side firing ports on the passenger area?

The real question you seem to be asking is how much control players are going to have over the drop ship or their actions within it. The answer, right now, is "not a lot." You probably won't have to fly it anywhere; there will almost always be vehicles better suited to the tasks you'll have as a player. Thought has been given to letting players control turrets on the ship, but that's not definite yet.

He also had this to say about how much of the Halo the player be able to see and travel upon:
You're not gonna be able to run around the whole ring, mathematically-generated or not. Too many ways that could go wrong, especially in net play.

All the environments in Halo will be human-generated, but we still need to figure out how players will get from place to place on the Halo.


One can interpret this information as a positive or negative; when initially announced, Halo was supposed to be an 'endless' space with levels that load on the fly, but perhaps reality has dampened these expectations. Either way thanks go out to Matt for keeping us informed and the web masters at Halo.bungie.org for their well-kept forums. Halo was recently re-announced for Mac OS at Macworld Expo New York. It is in development by Bungie studios and should be released some time after the X-Box, Microsoft's future console platform, which is due late next year.

Matt Soell on Halo ringworld
Matt Soell on Halo Vehicles
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

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Sims: Livin Large Details
11:42 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

In an interview posted at Game-Interviews.com, Chris Baena, Associate Producer of the expansion pack The Sims: Livin' Large, discusses the future of this project and some of the nifty new features that will be a part of the first expansion pack to the popular family simulation game.

The new objects that are included in Livin' Large fall into two categories: mimic objects and new gameplay objects. The mimic objects include more sofas, chairs, tables, counters, toilets, etc. We made sure that these objects are part of large sets that have a central theme. For instance, there is an entire Vegas line of furniture that one would consider gaudy and somewhat cheesy if you will. Within the Vegas line of furniture there are chairs, tables, beds, etc., so the player can decorate his/her Sim house and all of the furniture matches. No more problems with color coordination. All of you interior decorators out there can now be very proud of your Sims' houses. The new gameplay objects on the other hand add exciting new twists to the world of The Sims. You can now make potions with the Concoctanation Station Chemistry Set. You can torture your friends and enemies with the Little Voodoo Dolly. You can even try to resurrect your dead Sims when the Grim Reaper visits your house!
Baena also discusses how thoroughly addictive and amusing The Sims: Livin' Large can be:
During development of the expansion Pack, Sean Baity, one of the Assistant Producers, and myself would play the game late at night and all of a sudden we would hear each other start howling because we were so amazed at how funny the game was with the incorporation of all these new objects. I would go over to his cubicle and ask him what was so funny and he would explain what his Sims were doing and we wouldn't be able to stop laughing. Livin' Large is A LOT of fun, period.
The Sims: Livin' Large is currently in development and a release date has yet to be given. No Mac version has been announced, but we are sure Aspyr Media has their eye on this one, as reportedly sales of The Sims are exceeding expectations.

The Sims
Game-Interviews.com Interview with Chris Baena
Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims: Livin' Large

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Diablo II Realms Selector Released
11:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

For those Diablo II players that would like to try out some of the other Realms of the Battle.net servers, Blizzard has released a new selector program just for you. It's a small download which will allow players to choose which specific area they would like to connect to when playing Diablo II online via Battle.net. Currently, the Realms are localized servers for geographical areas, and the Realm you connect to is determined (on the Mac) by your settings in the Date & Time control panel, but there may be some advantage to trying another area if the Realm in your neck of the woods is too crowded. Grab this utility now and give it a try to play against some opponents from different regions of the world.

Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II Realms Selector (75k)
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

Star Trek Interviews
10:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Two interviews have appeared for two very different Star Trek-themed titles which should both be out very soon. While these games may seem similar in subject matter, they are based on different licenses (Deep Space Nine and Voyager), different 3D engines (Unreal Tournament and Quake 3), and they even use different perspectives (3rd versus 1st person).

The DS9: The Fallen team at The Collective has answered a few questions from PlanetUnreal in the first of a two-part interview. They answer question about using the Unreal Tournament engine, and the help they received from Paramount with the Star Trek license. Here's a clip:

Tomasz: 5) What was the deciding factor for The Collective to do a Star Trek game? Did the Curse of the Bad Star Trek Games scare anybody?

[Tony] I took the "Curse" as a challenge more than anything frightening. Making a fun game out of such strong subject matter seemed like a no-brainer. I think many people lately don't put enough effort into the core gameplay of their products. People have forgotten, that the reason people play games is to have fun. Now, with that said, we at The Collective fully understand that raw-uncooked gameplay alone cannot satisfy the modern gamer (Pong anyone?), so graphics, audio, and storyline have all been worked on in unison to create the best Star Trek game yet.

We're excited to see what the team can do. The Fallen should be out lin mid-September for both Mac and PC.

The other Trek game in the works is from Raven Software and is called Voyager: Elite Force. A new interview with Kenn Hoekstra at PlayNOW! discusses some of the more interactive aspects of the game:

PN!: That seems to be mainly AI stuff. What's a more "interactive" environment example?

KH: Okay, on way to engineering, there is an explosion in the hallway ahead of you. A crewman in the hall is knocked down by the explosion and tells you to use the control panel to erect a containment field. Four things can happen:

1. You use the panel, erect the containment field and leave the crewman trapped inside. The explosion coming down the hallway will kill him.

2. You can wait for the crewman to get to you and then use the panel to erect the force field, stopping the explosion, and saving his life in the process. He then gives you useful information about the rest of your mission.

3. Don't use the control panel in time and the explosion will kill you. The crewman and the men in the hallway will also die.

4. Don't use the panel. You can run down the hallway to the left and escape the path of the explosion. This creates a radioactive leak that spreads through the deck and you slowly die of radiation poisoning. So do your teammates.

This high level of interactivity sounds amazing, in a shooter. A publishing deal for the Mac version of this title has yet to be announced officially, but should happen soon; a port should follow the PC version very closely, as Raven has done much of the work in-house already. Read both of these interviews for details on these titles. Looks like it will be a very nice Fall for Trek fans and fans of action games as well.

PlanetUnreal The Fallen Q&A
PlayNOW! Elite Force Q&A

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Three New Sim Theme Park Screenshots
10:20 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Feral Interactive has sent IMG some new screen shots from their upcoming port, Sim Theme Park.

In Maxis' Sim Theme Park you get to create and operate the most exciting, attractive and feature-packed amusement parks your imagination can conjure. You and you alone are the boss, so you get to have all the wild ideas and make all the important decisions, from where and how the rides are built to who cleans the toilets!

Sim Theme Park is due out this Fall and will be published in the U.S. by Aspyr Media. In the meantime, check out these three screen shots from this 3D-accelerated title.

Sim Theme Park Screenshot 2
Sim Theme Park Screenshot 3
Sim Theme Park Screenshot 1
Feral Interactive
Feral Interactive
Bullfrog Productions
Sim Theme Park

Weird Al's Great Adventure Beta Released
9:47 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Tom Rockwell has released a beta of Weird Al's Great Adventure. This title is a parody of another video game, "Adventure", which debuted on the Atari 2600.

The goal in Weird Al's Great Adventure is to find the lost accordion and return it to Al's house. To do so you must find the key to Al's house, and possibly the keys to any or all of Al's band members' houses, all while avoiding the radioactive hamster, slime creature, and Pac-Man. Explore two towns, the sewers, the cemetary, Al's band members' houses, Dr. Demento's huge warehouse of records, and a forest.

The beta's requirements are a PowerMac with 16 MB of RAM, although they do recommend a PowerMac G3 (iMac) with 32 MB of RAM.

Download Weird Al's Great Adventure (37MB)
Weird Al's Great Adventure

SkyFighters 1945 Hosted at MGF
9:23 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Due to excessive bandwidth usage, Bullseye Software recently had to remove the recently released SkyFighters 1945 preview from their web site. Our sister site Macgamefiles.com, in cooperation with Bullseye Software, is now hosting the preview for download.

SkyFighters 1945 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.

To download the demo preview, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

Download SkyFighters 1945 (2.8 MB)
Bullseye Software

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Red Faction Details
8:32 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A host of new information regarding the impressive upcoming FPS Red Faction from Volitionhas been posted on the web recently. Yesterday we brought you word of some very nice new screen shots of the game in action. Now, in their preview of the game, GameSpy does their usual excellent job of explaining what Red Faction is all about. Here's a clip describing the unique Geo-Mod engine:

While playing Red Faction, utilizing the Geo-Mod engine, players will be able to destroy buildings, walls, platforms, and bridges with their weapons.

Imagine being chased by a horde of enemies down a corridor. You reach a dead end with only one rocket left. What do you do? Sit back and hopefully place a money shot to knock out all the enemies? Fat chance. Or how about stepping back from the wall, aiming your rocket at the wall and blowing a hole big enough for you to escape through. You catch our drift? Wipe that smile off your face, this is only the beginning.

Read through the rest of the article for more on the impressive features of this title.

A new Q&A with the makers of Red Faction has also been posted at GA-Source. The quick interview with Asam Ahmad of THQ, the publisher for Volition, covers the basics of this upcoming FPS:

Will Red Faction be similar in terms of gameplay to any games currently out on the market? What were your influences for this game?

Many FPS games tend to get thrown together in the same basket, but where many FPS are getting more multiplayer focused, Volition is re-invigorating an in-depth storyline. Of course multiplayer elements will still be there, and with some new neat tricks....

Mac users tend to be suckers for a game with a good storyline... We're keeping a close eye on Volition as they come closer to releasing Red Faction simultaneously for both Mac and PC early next year.

GameSpy Red Faction Preview
Red Faction Images
GA-Source Red Faction Q&A
Red Faction

Mac Games News for Monday, August 14, 2000

3dfx Voodoo5 Driver Update6:07 PM
Barrage of Baldur's Gate3:22 PM
New Red Faction Images2:46 PM
IMG/Aspyr Giveaway Winners11:58 AM
Diablo II Giveaway Begins11:48 AM
Elite Force Designer Diary10:29 AM
Diablo II 1.03b Released8:41 AM
Combat Mission Post-Mortem6:00 AM
More Cro-Mag Rally Images6:00 AM
OceanWorlds On Horizon6:00 AM
Volition Q&A6:00 AM
Warcraft III Interview6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 14, 2000 on one page

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Friday, August 11, 2000
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