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Thursday, August 31, 2000

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Sin In Final Candidate Status
10:16 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

After speaking to Contraband Entertainment several days ago, we learned that their port of Ritual's Quake 2-engine-based shooter Sin has reached Final Candidate status. For those unfamiliar with this term, it means that the final version of the game is supposedly bug-free and nearly ready to be published -- all that remains is a run past the beta testers and the publisher.

Here is Contraband's Chris Jacobson on the status of the Mac Sin port:

Sin is actually Release Candidate now! After I got back from MWNY, I
handed the project off to Burger to finish, and he fixed up the remaining issues, as well as finding some
serious slowdown issues that were in the PC version itself! It's looking
great now!
Mac Sin will also come with the mission pack Wages of Sin. Wages of Sin include 17 new maps, 7 new kick-ass weapons, 10 new enemies with superior AI and of course the hoverbikes -- yes, you will be able to deathmatch riding on lightning-fast hoverbikes.

Sin and Wages of Sin both include a variety of multiplayer maps, which will give you endless online fun! Sin for Mac will be published by United Developers, their first foray onto the Mac gaming scene, but most certainly not their last. We should have an actual release date for this game for you shortly, as well as news as to whether their will be a demo release.

United Developers
Ritual web site
Contraband Entertainement
Sin Gold
Buy Sin Gold

4x4 EVO Public Test Released
8:38 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Ladies and Gentlemen: Start Your Engines!

Terminal Reality has released the public test for its groundbreaking offroad driving game 4x4 EVO. PC and Mac drivers are invited to duke it out across the desert sands of Arizona in Quick Race, Time Attack, and Online racing modes. Featuring the Nissan Xterra SUV, 4x4 Evo Public Test 1 allows players to choose their favorite showroom color and tweak their Xterra's performance to suit personal driving styles. Four times of day can be mixed with four weather conditions to simulate a wide array of racing situations.

The 4x4 EVO Public Test 1 weighs in at an easily manageable 23MB. To download the public test head over to Macgamefiles.com

Terminal Reality
Download 4x4 EVO Public Test 1

Bungie's Webmaster Awakes
7:02 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

If you just haven't had your weekly dose of sarcasm and need a few more sardonic comments to push you over your limit, then help has arrived. The Bungie Studios webmaster has once again updated the infamous Letters To the Webmaster page, with many an ill-tempered response to ill-asked questions.

As expected, many of the letters deal with the acquisition of Bungie Software by Microsoft, which occurred earlier this Summer. This event provoked some quite emotional reactions from dedicated Mac gamers and Bungie fans; the webmaster's derisive replies may not win them back any converts, as he prefers to pour salt in wounds rather than help to bind them.

In any case, if you would like to see a variety of anonymous chumps suffer the abuse and sarcasm that only a white-text-on-black page by the Bungie Webmaster can deliver, be sure and check it out. There is a lesson to be learned here, but we're sure those who need to learn the lesson most are already firing off more letters to the Bungie webmaster.

Bungie's Letters to the Webmaster

Apple Reviews Mac “Millionaire”
2:26 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The computer game version of ABC's famous -- and perhaps infamous, as well -- game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" was almost as big of a hit on the PC as it was on television. Now this title has come to the Mac OS, and Apple has posted a short review of the game on their web site. The game is praised for how accurately it reproduces the actual TV show, but they also note subtle changes that are made to make the game a bit more interesting for solo players. Here is an excerpt about the virtual Regis who MCs the game show:

The clever artificial intelligence built into the game makes playing extra realistic and fun. Select an answer quickly, and Regis will comment on your fast decisionmaking. Waffle a bit and he’ll note that, too. Mercifully, he’s been programmed to ask, “Is that your final answer?” only a few times each game. After you lose, (and prepare to lose often), Regis will tease you, commiserate with you, or give you encouragement depending on how well or how poorly you’ve done.
According to the review, the game is slightly tougher than the real show . Read the rest of the review for more information, and look for this title in a store near you.

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Review

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F.A.K.K. 2 Multiplayer Expansion, Mac Info
2:24 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The fan site FAKKYOU.com has received official word from Ritual Entertainment that a multiplayer modification for Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2 is in development. Apparently a free patch will be released for this third-person action/adventure that will allow players to compete online in an area-style environment. Here's the details:

Scott Alden just told me I could officially announce that Ritual is indeed working on a free multiplayer patch for FAKK2. FAKK2Arena as its dubbed for now will have clan arena style play with 1 on 1 as well (Rocket Arena style). There will most likely be a mix of new levels and modified single player levels. Other details are not available at this but we'll keep you posted. We can give you a rough estimate of the release date though, which would be late September / early October. Please note that is a developer estimate though, and we all know how good those usually are right? ;)
While not surprising, this is great news for those wanting to get more life out of their F.A.K.K. 2 game. When we spoke to Ritual at E3 this past Spring, they mentioned at the time that the multiplayer code of the Quake 3 Arena engine was intact, but not used, and that they were investigating the possibility of multiplayer support in the future. Now it appears this is a certainty -- but will it be compatible with the Mac version of this game, which is just around the corner?

We contacted Scott Alden ourselves to inquire if this expansion might be compatible the Mac version of the game when it is released. Here's what he had to say:

I don't see why not... They can merge the changes in and it should all be good. Yes we are working on new levels, and using parts of the single player as their own arenas.
This is good news for Mac users, as the Mac version and the multiplayer patch may be out around the same time. For more on the game itself, be sure to check out our brand-new F.A.K.K. 2 preview.

IMG F.A.K.K. 2 Preview
Contraband Entertainment Web Site
FAKKYou Web Site
Gathering of Developers
Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

Escape Velocity 3 Update
2:04 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Helpful IMG reader 'Jesse' pointed out that the developer log for Ambrosia Software''s upcoming title Escape Velocity 3 has received a large update. More than a mere sequel, this third title in the popular EV series of shareware space adventure games features an all-new graphics engine, advanced enemy/NPC AI and, as we have just learned, a story line which has been in development for over three years.

Programmer Matthew Burch updated the progress log earlier today with a list of all the changes he has made to the EV engine to date. It is quite an extensive list, as you shall see. We've excerpted part of it for you:

  • replaced old graphics engine with new system capable of 16-bit color and translucency effects
  • replaced all uses of mission bits with new mission bit scripting system
  • game can optionally be run in a window and allow background event processing
  • weapon particle effects
  • weapon submunitions
  • weapon ionization effects
  • game speed is automatically adjusted to remain constant on all systems
  • missions can be offered from anywhere in the spaceport
  • missions can advance the game clock
  • better beam graphics
  • outfit items can alter the max number of another item
  • each system can have its own unique background color
  • murky-system graphical effect
  • AI ships can fire guns at long range, if possible
  • AI ships are smarter about weapon selection
  • AI ships consider the odds before attacking
  • added big preview pict in shipyard info dialog
  • added optional still pictures to mission briefings
  • animated stellar objects
  • banking-ship graphics
  • animated parts on ships (alternating, cycling, or folding/unfolding)
This is just a sample of the extensive changes made to the game engine. You might note that, despite rampant rumors about this issue, there is no mention of adding multiplayer/netplay support to this title.

Jesse also informed us that the story line for this title will be based on Nova, a huge plug-in created for the original Escape Velocity but never released. Developed by Australian company Atmos Software, this plug-in was in development for over three years. Currently EV3 is still in Alpha stage, with no precise release date, but it is expected to be out before the end of the year.

Ambrosia Software
Escape Velocity 3 Progress Log

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Deus Ex SDK Details
11:40 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

In an interview posted at RPG-Vault, Harvey Smith and Scott Martin shed some light on the upcoming release of a Software Development Kit (SDK) for Deus Ex. While many are not aware of this fact, Deus Ex has actually inspired a 'mod' community much like Unreal and Unreal Tournament have, with many mods in the works -- including some that feature multiplayer action. The release of the SDK will open the door to complex solo and multiplayer mods and perhaps even allow future expansion packs for this RPG/shooter hybrid.

Here is a quote from the interview which details the decision to open Deus Ex up to the mod community:

Jonric: What were the major considerations that prompted the decision to release the Software Development Kit?

Harvey Smith: Many of us on the team have, at some time or another, been completely thrilled to have access to creativity tools. Self-expression through technology is a really powerful way to build up investment within a game or community. For instance, when I was heavily into MUD/MUSH (with Illuminati Online/Steve Jackson Games "MetaVerse") there was no cooler aspect of the technology than the power to create new content for the other players. Putting this power into the hands of players is a revolutionary aspect of modern computer games...something that currently the PC platform does well (that consoles fail at horribly). So, on some levels, there's a desire on our part to be involved with such a cool, noble thing. On the other hand, we hope that by putting the tools into the hands of players, the lifetime of Deus Ex will be extended. In this industry, it's hard to justify (financially) mini projects. So the advocates within the community, if they can provide such mods, can really do a lot to help a particular game.

The SDK itself would allow mod makers to add a greater degree of replayability to Deus Ex, thus enhancing the overall gaming experience. Other companies, most notably Bungie with their Fear and Loathing tools for Myth as well as their toolset for Marathon, have released the tools available for enhancing gameplay, with tremendous results. Read the rest of the interview for more details.

RPGVault Interview
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

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AvP Status Update
11:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Every few days a reader will post a question to our forum asking about the status of Logicware's final title, a port of PC shooter Aliens vs Predator. Despite the numerous delays, it seems there is still a strong interest in this unique first person shooter that allows you to play as a Marine, Alien or Predator. In the latest thread, Logicware's own Bill "Burger" Heineman gave a quick update on the game's status. Apparently things are still moving along, despite what the pessimists might say. Here's his post:

Well, Andrew did help on AvP but he wasn't the lead programmer.

Currently I am hanging around Fox with the playtest group making sure the game is ready for prime time.

Andrew refers to Andrew Meggs, also a member of the Logicware/Contraband Entertainment gang. It's great to hear AvP is in playtesting. Hopefully, this means that if no major bugs are found, it could be released "soon." AvP will be published by Fox, and will include cross-platform networking with the PC version, one of the major causes of the repeated delays in this port's development.

IMG Forum Thread on AvP
Logicware Web Site
Fox Interactive
Aliens vs. Predator: Gold

Mac Gorilla Announces BerryQuest
9:13 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Once upon a time, there was a game called Zork. It was the game that spawned all games. It had no graphics, only a command line prompt. But it inspired a whole plethora of games to follow, and defined a new genre of gaming that is surprisingly still thriving in an era of gigatextel 3D cards and games which brag about realistic blood splatters. The latest release in the text-adventure genre is planned very soon: a game called BerryQuest, created by Mac Gorilla. Here are details from the press release:

BerryQuest is an ambitious new text-only game from Mac Gorilla, Ltd. The game features an engaging story line, a varied and interesting quest, multiple endings for added replay value, side quests and much more. BerryQuest is currently in the vary early stages of development How much does all this text-only, retro 80's fun cost? Nothing. Thats right, Nothing. Free as beer. Free as in speech.
Even better, they're looking for beta testers! If you're willing to try an 80's-throwback style game, and are willing to deal with the beta nature of the software, jump to Mac Gorilla.

BerryQuest Announcement
Mac Gorilla

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Red Faction Backstory
8:38 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

PC IGN has posted another piece on the background story of Volition's upcoming FPS Red Faction. In this edition, we are introduced to the character of Hendrix, who has grown up on Mars and learned ways around evil corporation Ultor's systems. It's definitely interesing to see how much time is being put into each character for a genre (first-person shooter) that is generally absent of such intelligent forethought. Here's a clip about Hendrix's skills:

One of the first subsystems I looked for was Ultor's snooper/tracker programs. By watching them work, I figured out how to avoid detection on my nightly forays. They're not that smart, so it wasn't hard. I learned to mask my terminal's network ID and to slip in and out of nodes across the complex. I felt safer then and began to explore farther. I cracked hundreds of Ultor systems, never touching data or code, never leaving a trace (at least I hope not). Over the years, I've broken into almost every important system in the mining complex.
Read through the rest of the article for much more on Hendrix, and be sure to head on over to the Red Faction site for details on the game itself. Also look through the preview we mentioned yesterday for lots of great info. The game is set for release Q1 next year for Mac and PC.

IMG News: Red Faction Preview
Red Faction Web Site
Hendrix Story at PCIGN
Red Faction

GameSpy vs. Mac
8:26 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Here at IMG, we are usually reluctant to post news about polls, as they're often used as a gimmick to drive hits. But GameSpy, who often has a irreverent grudge poll pitting two things against each other, has a new one with a Mac versus a Styrofoam cup. Obviously a large slap in the face for Mac gamers, they neglect to mention all the A-titles available for the Mac (and even mistakenly note a couple that are likely on their way soon). Right now the Mac is trailing significantly, and while we're not suggesting any hate mail, you might head over there and let your mouse do the talking. As it stands, the Mac is barely past the 11% mark. Hopefully, not for much longer...

GameSpy Web Site

Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Dueling Diablo II Editors2:14 PM
Another Westlake Status Update11:56 AM
Second Half of Wolf 3D Q&A11:21 AM
Oni Beta 'Imminent'11:08 AM
Tribes 2 Preview8:36 AM
Quake Map Model Contest8:21 AM
Sims Livin' Large Review8:12 AM
New Rune Preview, Screen Shots6:00 AM
Red Faction Preview6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 30, 2000 on one page

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