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Wednesday, August 16, 2000



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Rune Two Weeks from Beta
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

According to a preview posted on PCIGN, this third-person game of Viking melee combat is a mere two weeks from the Beta stage, and is on track for an October release. Human Head's upcoming title wowed spectators and press alike at last month's Macworld New York Expo with spectacular visuals and animation -- and more than a few rolling heads and lopped-off limbs, truth be told.


The preview itself is fairly short, and does not reveal much new information, but it does describe the story line and gameplay of this title. Building upon the foundation of the Unreal Tournament engine, Human Head has added skeletal animation, interactive traps and puzzles, an intelligent third-person camera and robust enemy AI. And when you have finished the long, complex solo quest which will take you all over the frozen North of Europe, you can take your axe online and sharpen it on a few deathmatch opponents.


Here's an excerpt from the preview, describing the combat system and interactivity of the game:

All of this fighting is done through a combat system that should make you feel a little more like you are actually in the middle of a fight. This is accomplished through the addition of intelligent AI that has no intention of dying either. Adversaries in the game will be a bit tougher and will team up with a buddy to surround you and have at it. But this also works another way. Various enemies in the game don't really like each other any more than they like you. This allows for many-sided fights to happen if both goblins and dwarves attack you. It's kinda fun to watch the little guys whack away on each other while you sit back and relax a little bit.


Each level that you are fighting and exploring in will also feature fairly interactive environments. Stuff can be smashed, climbed on and all that sort of stuff, but the biggest and neatest part of some of the levels is the extra objects that are scattered throughout. Almost all of the objects in Rune will be based on a skeletal animation system that will allow for more immersive levels. This means that if you are running along and brush by a plant, it will actually react to your body and you'll see it sway and move about. Itís a very nice touch and shows that Human Head is really going to lengths to make a quality immersive game.

We've been eager to get our hands on this title since we saw it in action at E3, and the news that the PC version is nearing beta is welcome indeed. The port of this game to the Mac OS is of course being handled by Westlake Interactive, which is close behind the PC team -- their considerable experience with the Unreal Tournament engine should warrant a swift and solid port. Read the preview for more details on the game, and watch the Westlake Projects page for the status of the port.

Westlake Interactive Projects Page
Rune Preview at PCIGN
Rune Screen Shot Gallery
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive
Rune



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IMG Interviews Blizzard's Tony Tribelli
2:53 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

We thought we would mention this for those who might have missed it on our home page. Diablo II for the Mac came out just a few weeks after the PC version was
released thanks, in part, to the absorption of Future Point, a Mac porting
company. Blizzard programmer Tony Tribelli recently took some time to talk
to IMG about the new move and the groupís new role as part of the Blizzard
team.


For those of you that visit Usenet groups, Mr. Tribelli's name might be familiar -- he often answers questions related to Diablo II and other titles. Read this interview for much more about his role in bringing this amazingly popular RPG to the Mac OS.

Interview with Blizzard's Tony Tribelli
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II


MacCentral on Diablo II Extras
2:48 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

MacCentral has posted a roundup of various resources and information for fans of Mac Diablo II from Blizzard. While many of these items have been mentioned individually in the news over the past week, fans will find this a handy collection of links.


Mentioned in the roundup are the latest version of this title, music MP3s offered by Blizzard, a tool for switching between 'Realms' (localized Battle.net servers) and The Chaos Sanctuary, a powerful resource for serious players of this game who really want to play by the numbers, so to speak. Detailed statistics on nearly every weapon, spell and monster are available here. Check out the MacCentral article for more information.

Blizzard offers up myriad Diablo II goodies
The Chaos Sanctuary


Second Diablo II Giveaway Winner
2:40 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The second of three winners has been chosen in our Diablo II giveaway. Jon Ruppart of Somerville, MA 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!

Diablo II Giveaway



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DS9 Interview, Part 2
12:43 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

PlanetUnreal has posted the second half of their in-depth interview with members of The Collective, the team developing Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen. This third-person shooter, to be published for Mac and PC by Simon and Schuster, combines authentic Trek characters and settings with the gorgeous visuals and fast-paced action we have come to expect from the Unreal engine upon which it is based.


This second half of the interview deals with specific design issues, the artificial intelligence behind the 'monsters' in the game and whether there will be a 'mod' community surrounding this title. They also discuss one of the more controversial aspects of any third-person action title: the use of that perspective, versus the more traditional 'shooter' point of view. Here's an excerpt:

[Tony] In a FPS, the player takes on this nameless/faceless hand/gun. We have such amazing characters that we allow you to play as, it seemed a travesty to reduce them to a hand and a gun. In addition to seeing one of your favorite Star Trek characters on-screen, the amount of interaction given the 3rd-person view is far greater than 1st person. By their nature, FPS are driven by simple movement and shooting. In a 3rd-person game, the character can have far more diverse interactions with the environment. Have you ever seen a character hang from a ledge or shimmy along a pipe in 1st person? Given the wide array of gameplay-styles implemented in The Fallen, 3rd-person was the logical choice.
The actors from the actual series contributed dialog and cut-scene footage, and Paramount has provided authentic Trek sound effects, so this should be an immersive experience for any fan of the TV show. And for those who are worried about the third-person perspective, we have tried the demo version of this game (for the PC) and can report that aiming and maneuvering is quite intuitive and excellent; there is no auto-aiming whatsoever, and targeting opponents is actually quite similar to the aiming method in Bungie's Oni -- mouse to aim the weapon, keyboard to run/jump/duck. DS9: The Fallen is on track for a mid-September release.

Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
DS9: The Fallen Quicktime Trailer
The Collective
The Collective Inteview Part 2 at PlanetUnreal
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen


Mia 2: Romaine's New Hat Ships
12:18 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

French edutainment software maker Kutoka Interactive has announced that their latest title, Mia 2: Romaine's New Hat is now shipping. This multimedia adventure is aimed at children 5 to 11, and teaches science knowledge as well as problem-solving. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

Young scientists rejoice! Mia, the skateboarding mouse who first burst on the edutainment scene last year in a lively learning adventure, today returns in Mia 2: Romaine's New Hat. With all the fun activities along the way in Mia 2, children won't believe that they're "learning" all about science.


Designed for children 5 to 11, Mia 2 mixes an engaging storyline with a variety of science activities addressing subject matter ranging from the solar system, the human body and the weather to the classification, habitats and eating habits of animals. The two-CD title also features over a dozen endearing characters rendered in feature film-quality animation, an outstanding sound track and vivid scenery seen magically from the perspective of a mouse. Mia also has the unusual ability to move anywhere on the computer screen where the child points the computer mouse, giving players complete control over the main character.


The story begins when, without permission, Mia wears her mother's fancy new hat and goes to play on the roof of the house where she lives. An unexpected rainstorm washes Mia down the drainpipe. She escapes, but the hat is swept into the sewer, where it is grabbed by the evil rat Romaine and his cousins. Mia must pick herself up, retrieve the lost hat, and then find her way home.

This game is a hybrid release, and will run on any iMac or greater system. Visit the Kutoka web site for more details.

Kutoka Interactive


Cyborg Gold from Saitek
11:57 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Peripheral maker Saitek has announce the availability of the Cyborg Gold Stick, a value-priced version of their popular Cyborg game controller. This unique line of joysticks allows you to customize the size and "handedness" of the controller to fit your needs. Here are details on this release:

Based on the widespread popularity of the Cyborg 3D Digital Stick, the first joystick to convert for left-handed gamers and adjust for any hand size, Saitek Industries has unveiled the Cyborg 3D Digital Stick Gold. This new joystick features dual connections: USB and Gameport. The Cyborg 3D Digital Stick Gold comes packed with the proprietary Saitek Gaming Extensions (SGE), the world's most powerful game controller programming software. Personal computer gamers who loved the look and feel of the original Cyborg 3D will be awestruck by the classy gold tones of the Cyborg 3D Digital Stick Gold. Ergonomically designed for prolonged game play, the Cyborg 3D Digital Stick Gold features eight fire buttons, two shift buttons, a lever throttle, an eight-way hat switch and a 3D rudder twist function.


"Saitek's new joystick truly sets the standard in gold," said Nicholas Gibbons, chief operating officer of Saitek in the United States. "The kids will love the hand size adjustability and the expert gamers will be doing handstands over how easily they can program with Saitek's software," he said. The Cyborg 3D Digital Stick Gold carries a suggested retail price of $39.95.

Look for this item at retailers and in online stores soon. For more on Saitek's products, visit their web site or read our review of the original Cyborg stick.

Saitek
Cyborg 3D USB Review



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B&W FAQ Update
10:47 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Edenic.net has updated their list of Frequently Asked Questions for Lionhead's upcoming god-game Black & White. It's a large FAQ, and has many tidbits of information about the game, including this snippet about a Mac version:

Can I play it on my Macintosh?


Unfortunately, B&W will not be released for the Macintosh platform at the same time as the PC, however, it may be ported soon after.

This confirms what IMG has learned, that a porting house may be working on the game but will probably not have the port completed in synch with the PC version. We'll keep you posted, as official announcements are forthcoming.

Edenic B&W FAQ
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White


Terminus Patch to 1.7
10:44 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Continuing their steady stream of patches to this space flight sim, Vicarious Visions has released yet another update, bringing this title to version 1.7. This most recent patch addresses scripting problems, fixes AI bugs and adds a joystick calibrator for Mac users.


Terminus is a space sim which features realistic physics, a complex real-time economy and a complex story line as well as fierce zero-gravity combat. One of the many unique features of this game was its simultaneous debut on Mac, PC and Linux platforms, all in the same box.


Here is a list of changes in this update:

Changes in version 1.7

  • COMMON: Fixed ship manager, ship cost calculation
  • COMMON: Fixed Razor avionics bay properties
  • COMMON: Prevent negative bounties from being posted
  • COMMON: Fixed AI infinite loop hanging bug
  • COMMON: Prevent AI from attempting to dock with corvettes
  • COMMON: Fixed reload button in parts/cargo
  • COMMON: Fixed save game crash with defense pods
  • COMMON: Fixed PVG AI crash
  • COMMON: Numerous scripting fixes
  • COMMON: Valuable ore is less likely to be mined
  • COMMON: Pressing an aux key gives feedback
  • COMMON: Fixed a "Memory not already allocated crash"
  • COMMON: Fixed UEL assault on Callisto script
  • COMMON: Fixed pirate Darkheart and Eulogy script
  • LINUX: Add snd_buffer_chunk config parameter (see config.txt)
  • MAC: Added a joystick calibrator
  • MAC: Fixed file list bug
If you would like to know more about this title, read our preview and guide to the demo version; download the demo itself to take this game for a test drive. As always, Macgamefiles is the first place to look for the latest game updates.

Terminus 1.7 Patch
Terminus Preview
Terminus Demo In-Depth



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Shadowbane First Look
10:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Corporation has taken a quick first look at Shadowbane, an upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online RPG from Wolfpack Studios. News on Shadowbane has been relatively quiet as of late, though trust us that noone at IMG has forgotten about this intriguing title. It will be the first Everquest-like MMORPG to make it to the Mac, a development awaited eagerly by Mac RPG fans. It will also feature many improvements over the current titles in that genre. Here's an excerpt on guilds, an integral part of the game:

As a part of the guild system, players will be able to join or form their own guilds, build cities complete with taverns and weapon halls, conquer nations through sieges that will last real-time days, fall to the hand of their enemies or beg for mercy, and run lemonade stands on all the major roads. Due to being guild-oriented, Wolfpack feels that there will be a lot more accountability and consequence for one's actions because no longer is it "some guy randomly PKed me and ran off". Now it's "some guy from the Lords of Chaos guild PKed me and ran off--let's declare war!"
Shadowbane is still in development, but they are hoping for an early 2001 release. Check out the official web page for more on the game.

Shadowbane
Shadowbane Preview at The Corporation
Wolfpack Studios
Shadowbane



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Diablo II Balance Changes
9:56 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Blizzard has explained their decision to change the balance of Diablo II in their latest 1.03 patch. According to the company, it was necessary because a couple of the spells were very out of line with the rest of the game. Here's an excerpt:

The primary reason for changing the Whirlwind and Corpse Explode
skills was that they were simply broken in comparison to the
other skills in the game. The huge imbalance these skills granted
was only found after the game was widely released. Although we
thoroughly tested every skill before the game shipped, it was
only after thousands of players using the bugged behavior
associated with these skills was it apparent that they required
fixing.
While Necromancers and Barbarians may be a little upset, it does make sense to keep the game in-check and fair for the other character classes. Read through the rest of the lengthy post, as they do address most arguments against the change. Corpse Explode in particular has been cited by many reviewers of this title as an overly-powerful spell in the solo game as well.

Diablo II Gameplay Changes
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II



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4x4 Evolution Preview
8:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GA-Sports has put together a preview of Terminal Reality's upcoming racing title, 4x4 Evolution. The game will be published later this year for both Mac and PC by Gathering of Developers and is looking to be quite an impressive title. 4x4 will feature off-road racing action, allowing you to drive a number of popular trucks and SUVs all over the map, not just on the track. Here's a clip from the preview:

Control of each vehicle must be mastered before you start winning any tournaments, and each vehicle has it's own sets of attributes - strengths and weaknesses both. It's up to you to learn them, and exploit them to your advantage, or you're going to be the last rotten egg in each race. Some cars can go around mudslides better than others, while some can accelerate much better. Strategy is key here, as you must know what each track possesses, and which car would be best suited.
Read the rest of the article for much more on this upcoming racing game. One of the most impressive features will be transparent multiplayer play between Mac, PC, and even the Dreamcast console simultaneously. We have heard that this game is very near completion, and a demo release may be coming soon.

GA-Sports 4x4 Preview
Terminal Reality
Gathering of Developers
4x4 Evolution



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Tribes 2 Bonanza
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

This first-person shooter hasn't even reached Beta stage, and it still generates more hype and headlines than most completed titles. And yet when we look at the screen shots of Tribes 2 from Dynamix and read the numerous previews, we can't say we're surprised.


Our GCA affiliate Stomped pointed us to a preview of this shooter posted on a newly-revamped GameSpot. Featuring a tremendous gallery of sixty-three screen shots (many seen before) this in-depth preview covers all aspects of the game, especially how Dynamix plans to focus the combat on team-based cooperative action rather than simple free-for-all deathmatch. Learning from their experiences with the original Tribes and player input on message boards, they have designed many features into the game to help teams organize themselves and behave as a cohesive unit. Here's an excerpt on how this will be accomplished:

For unorganized public games, it can be tough to get a team to coordinate even simple tasks efficiently. To help this, Tribes 2 introduces a queued task list that will give waypoint updates to all players on the team so that they're kept informed - for example, updates of which parts of the base's defenses need repairs or updates of the location of the injured flag carrier calling for escort. In a similar step toward structured organization, Tribes 2's integrated voice chat has smart features that should help alleviate some of the potential for unnecessary radio chatter. Only two voice channels are ever active at once, and players can mute and unmute teammates from a list.
Tribes 2 will also be quite extensible, with a built-in terrain and map editor and room for plenty of third-party modifications.


If your thirst for more Tribes 2 eye candy hasn't been sated, GameSpy has posted some new screen shots, which unfortunately suffer from some brutal JPEG compression. And if you want more details on the game from producer Dave Georgeson, Euro-Tribesplayers has posted an in-depth interview which covers many aspects of gameplay.


Despite the game's Alpha status, this title is supposedly on track for an October release for the PC. While a Mac OS version of this title was discussed from the very beginning, we learned recently that the team's priorities have shifted as the release date has slipped, and now they will look into a Mac OS release after the PC version has shipped.

Stomped
Dave Georgeson Interview at Euro-Tribesplayers
Tribes 2 Screen Shots at GameSpy
Tribes 2 Preview at GameSpot


Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Black and White Preview5:35 PM
First Diablo II Giveaway Winner5:03 PM
War in Sword Lands Released4:03 PM
No Silver for U.S.3:11 PM
More from Matt on Halo2:53 PM
Sims: Livin Large Details11:42 AM
Diablo II Realms Selector Released11:21 AM
Deimos Rising Progress11:19 AM
Star Trek Interviews10:41 AM
Three New Sim Theme Park Screenshots10:20 AM
Weird Al's Great Adventure Beta Released9:47 AM
SkyFighters 1945 Hosted at MGF9:23 AM
Red Faction Details8:32 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 15, 2000 on one page


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