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Friday, September 1, 2000

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4x4 Public Test , Patch Released
9:37 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Terminal Reality has released the public test for its cross-platform off-road driving game 4x4 Evolution. 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.

Unfortunately, the Mac version seems to have some networking issues. Mac users can't join a PC-hosted game or successfully start one of their own. Terminal Reality knows this is a problem, and promises a quick fix. According to the company late Thursday night, an update should be out sometime today:

It is because the tracks are different [between] the different beta versions. The Mac [version] should be going out tomorrow.
There are several other minor issues to be fixed, but that's why this game has been released as a public beta -- to uncover such problems. The single-player mode seems to be working well, so it's still very much worth a download. Featuring the Nissan Xterra SUV, 4x4 Evolution 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 We will definitely keep on this one, and let you know as soon as any updates are available to fixing the networking issues.

Update: A 4x4 EVO Patch has been released that fixes the networking issues. Please visit Macgamefiles.com to download the 4X4 EVO beta patch

Download 4x4 EVO Beta Patch
Terminal Reality Web Site
Download 4x4 EVO Public Test 1
Terminal Reality
Gathering of Developers
4x4 Evolution

Diablo II Expansion Coming to Mac
8:14 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Mac users are sharing the glory that is Blizzard's Diablo II with that 'other' platform, the release of this game for Mac having followed quite close behind the PC version. Now Blizzard has announced an expansion pack for this amazing realtime RPG, and they mention the Mac OS version of this pack without the blink of an eye -- unlike their previous 'policy,' which often resulted in the Mac OS release of a title being announced months later than the PC version, for no apparent reason.

With two new character classes, "thousands" of new items and a new Act to explore, this pack will thrill dedicated players and charm those who have not yet purchased a copy of this title. It is assumed that you will have to own the original to use the expansion pack, although this is not explicitly stated in the press release.

Here is an excerpt from the announcement made at the European Consumer Trade Show:

Blizzard Entertainment announced plans for the Diablo II Expansion Set for its number-one selling game, Diablo II.

Diablo II has sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide since shipping just two months ago, making it the biggest PC game this year. In the Diablo II Expansion Set, players return to follow the path of Baal, the last of the Prime Evils, into the Barbarian Highlands of the north. Traveling with hordes of demonic minions, Baal intends to corrupt the powerful Worldstone that protects the whole of the mortal plane from the forces of Hell. Players will face a new series of quests and challenges to prevent the vile minions of the underworld from destroying the world of Sanctuary.

Key features include:

Two new character classes (the Assassin and the Druid) each with 30 unique skills/spells

One new act set in the Barbarian Highlands

Ability to play the new character classes through the original four acts of Diablo II

Many new monster types, including bosses and uniques

Interactive environments such as siege towers and fortified battlements

Thousands of new weapons, armor and magical items, including class-specific quest items

New recipes for the Horadric Cube

Increased storage space in the stash

"The success of Diablo II has been overwhelming," said Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment president and co-founder, "we look forward to increasing the game play and depth of Diablo II through the introduction of new character classes and areas to explore."


Diablo II Expansion Set is being developed by the Blizzard North design team and is expected to be released in the first half of 2001 in Windows95/98/2000/NT and Macintosh formats. The expansion set will be available at most computer and software retail chains worldwide, and will also be offered directly from Blizzard at (800) 953-SNOW and www.blizzard.com.

System Requirements The minimum system requirements for the Diablo II expansion set are Windows 2000/95/98/NT, Pentium 233 or equivalent, 32 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive and DirectX compatible video card. Additional multiplayer system requirements include 64 MB RAM (for the PC) and a 28.8 Kbps or faster modem.

The Macintosh will require a G3 processor, Mac OS 8.1 or higher, 64 MB RAM plus virtual memory, 4X CD-ROM drive and video support for 256 color display at 800x600.

Close behind this announcement, Gamecenter has posted some preliminary images from this expansion set; these include design sketches as well as some shots of the new Barbarian landscape. The also include in-depth information about the new character classes, scoring quite an exclusive on this new Blizzard title. Check out their article as well as Blizzard's web site for more details.

Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II Expansion Unveiled at Gamecenter

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Red Faction Gallery Update
5:01 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

It may be slightly annoying to read about a game that is still eight or more months away from completion, but we feel that annoyance will be well compensated by the amazing eye candy at the end of the link below. Red Faction is a thrilling new shooter in development by Volition, creators of the Descent and Freespace series of games. They have updated the screen shot gallery for RF with nineteen images, of which nine of them appear to be new.

Red Faction's new graphics engine isn't just amazingly gorgeous and detailed; it also allows you to actually destroy and deform terrain, objects and walls. You will be able to destroy entire buildings, drive vehicles and pilot ships, and commandeer machine gun turrets -- but you will also have to be adept at stealth and deception, on those levels where the large-caliber weapons are scarce.

For more information on this game, and to check out those gorgeous new screen shots, visit the Red Faction web site. Volition is also bringing their RPG Summoner to the Mac OS later this Winter.

Red Faction Image Gallery
Red Faction Web Site
Red Faction

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Baldur's Gate Patch Due Soon
4:11 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

MacBaldur has managed to procure some information from GraphSim regarding their port of the RPG Baldur's Gate. It seems there will be a bug-fix patch out next week, although which issues it will resolve is not known at this time. Mac players of this game have noticed several behavioral differences between the Mac and PC versions, and as the goal of most ports is to replicate the source game identically, these issues will most likely be at the top of the list for Rosetta (the company which is actually working on the port) to fix. Also in the works is a patch to include multiplayer support for this title; it is still not known at this time whether that support will be Mac-only or include networking with the PC version.

Here is the update MacBaldur received from Graphsim:

We hope to have a patch out next week. I haven't heard back from Rosetta on what it will fix yet.

Tales of the Sword Coast is coming along. It's not to the beta testing stage yet, so estimating on when it will be released is impossible.

We are waiting for the multi-player version of BG is out until we release a DVD version. This also, is not in the beta testing stage, so again, a estimated release date is impossible.

Also, I might have hit on something that is causing BG to crash. I'm still waiting on Rosetta to get back to me, so I'm not sure how valid this information is. Anyhow, I was using GameSprockets 1.7.2 and had no problems with BG crashing. I had to update to 1.7.4 to test Descent, and noticed when playing BG, it would crash at least once an hour. So I updated to 1.7.5. No more crashes. Rosetta is looking into this, and hopefully they will find the same. I will post something on the newsgroup when I know for sure. But feel free to pass this information along...

Thanks to MacBaldur for their investigation. Be sure and check out their site for hints, downloads and news about this RPG.

Baldur's Gate

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Tomb Raider Chronicles Images
12:52 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

GameSpot UK has presented nine new screen shots from the upcoming Tomb Raider Chronicles, the fifth in this series of third-person adventures from Eidos. These shots feature Lara's new moves and uniforms, as well as the 16-year-old Lara in action.

Here's an excerpt from the article with details:

Lara is now capable of performing several new moves, including tightrope walking, parallel-bar swinging and melee fighting. The first of these techniques is noteworthy because you'll have to constantly maintain Lara's balance as she slowly makes her way across a narrow ledge or rope. She'll teeter from one side to the other, which forces you to constantly adjust by moving the directional arrows in the opposite direction without causing her to lose her balance.
Tomb Raider Chronicles is due for PC and Playstation at the end of the year. Considering that this title uses the same base engine as previous incarnations of the series, the odds are quite good that Aspyr Media will port this title to the Mac OS.

Tomb Raider Chronicles Details
Tomb Raider Chronicles Screen Shots at GameSpot UK
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Core Design
Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Buy Tomb Raider: Chronicles

German MMORPG In Development
12:30 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

For those of you who speak German, this will be excellent news: a post on Usenet alerted us to the development of Alchera, a German massively-multiplayer role playing game comparable to Delta Tao's Clan Lord. Featuring hand-illustrated 2D graphics and a German-language environment, this game is currently Mac OS only, but will also arrive on the Windows and Linux platforms in the future.

Predictably, the game's web site is also in German, but a run through the Babelfish translator provided by AltaVista produced these details from the FAQ:

Why I should play Alchera?

Alchera is generally based on the play idea and the engine of clan lord . The advantages of Alchera are: - completely translated into German - German-speaking fellow players - German-language GameMaster - server is located in Germany - simple payment of the fees (no credit card necessarily)
We contacted the creators of this title, and received word that there are no plans for an English-language version of this game. This game is currently in beta testing, and a new version of the client is available to download for beta testers.


Mac Gamer's Ledge Sold to MacGamer
12:10 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Yesterday Mac Gamer's Ledge released the news that this gaming web site has been sold to Hexsoft Studios, the owners of Macgamer.com. Later this year the two sites will be merged under the Macgamer.com name following a content redesign.

This marks the departure of MGL creator Mike Dixon, our colleague in the field of Mac games news and reviews for five years. Here's an excerpt from a FAQ which explains the issues behind this merger, as well as what might come of it:

Is MGL Founder/Editor-In-Chief Mike Dixon gone?

Not entirely, but he is stepping back from his more time-intensive duties with the site to spend more time doing other stuff that interests him. To quote Mike himself: "I need to free up some time to spend with my wife and family, start writing music again, and stop these nights where I only get 4-5 hours of sleep." I, on the other hand, thrive on 4-5 hours of sleep a night, so I suppose that makes me a decent candidate to take over some of his duties. Mike also hinted that he and his wife are looking to start a family soon, and as a father of two I can assure you that having kids allows for a lot less multitasking than you might think!

So does this mean the end of MacGamer's Ledge?

Absolutely not. The name will be changed in time, that is true... but all the things you go to MacGamer's Ledge for will still be there in spades: News, reviews, interviews, editorials, interviews, contests, forums and more. In fact, what you will see is a cleaning up and tightening of the various areas of the site. Departments will be updated, re-organized, pruned and polished up. In addition, many of the faces you're used to from MGL will be continuing on with Macgamer.com and will contribute more excellent work on a regular basis.

The FAQ is the work of Corey Tamas, Macgamer editor and future editor of the Macgamer site following completion of the merger. Ryan Adams will remain the senior news editor, as will many of MGL's staff writers. We wish them the best of luck in their new venture, and offer sincere thanks to Mike Dixon for his contributions to Mac gaming over the years.

MGL/Macgamer Press Release
MGL/Macgamer FAQ

Parsec Update
10:14 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The official Parsec web site has been updated with information about the long-promised release of this 3D space game. According to the update, they will be releasing a test version of Parsec four to six weeks from now. Parsec is a fast-paced multiplayer cross-platform space combat game, with impressive 3D-accelerated visuals and original music. Parsec.org released a self-running demo in the past, which is still available for download at MacGameFiles.

In the forthcoming test release you will be allowed to actually fly in space combat arenas and network with opponents. Here is the update:

The first public release of a playable Parsec version is coming up. It will be called
"Parsec LAN-Test" and allow up to four players to play on a LAN. It will be ready for
release in 4-6 weeks and the Linux version will also be included on the European
version of Red Hat Linux 7. The Parsec LAN-Test for Red Hat 7 contains more than 50
minutes of music by Stefan Poiss.
You might be thinking this game will cost you $40 or more, but Parsec is a totally freeware project. In development since 1996, this game still looks impressive, and the release of a test version is a clear sign the game is finally nearing completion.

Parsec Self-Running Demo (17.8 MB)

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Official Rune Site Launched
10:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

As their 3rd-person Viking adventure game nears release, Human Head Studios has opened an official site for Rune under the domain RuneGame.com. It's an impressive site with some great graphics and enough content and links to get even the novice Viking acquainted with the game. To celebrate the site's opening, they have also added three new screen shots to their gallery, and an interview with audio man Mike Larson has also been posted. Here's an excerpt explaining just how much time the audio effects in this game take to create:

RuneGame: What about the sounds we'll hear in the game?

Mike Larson: Music seems to get considerably more attention than sound effects because songs are instantly gratifying. However, significantly MORE time has been spent on the creation of the sound effects for Rune. The game covers a diverse range of creatures and environments that all require sounds. So far, Rune has more than 2400 original sound effects!!!

All of the creature sounds in Rune were created from scratch. The challenge was to create a distinct language for each of the main character types that speak. These include Goblins, Dwarfs, Zombies and Vikings. NO sound effect libraries were used in the creation of these sounds.

The rest of the Q&A covers Larson's philosophy about music, his approach to creating sounds for Rune, and some other interesting tidbits. You can also download some of Larson's work in the form of MP3's from this upcoming game, so grab a couple to get a sense of what the mood of Rune will be like.

Rune is currently in early Beta status. The Mac OS version of this game is being developed by Westlake Interactive, and will be published by Gathering of Developers; a near-simultaneous late October release is expected.

Rune Interview with Mike Larson
Official Rune Web Site
Rune Images Gallery
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Marathon Moving to OS X
9:43 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The latest update to the Marathon: Aleph One web site brings news that there are plans to bring the open-sourced version of Marathon 2/Infinity to Mac OS X. It is in the 'carbonization' process now, and there is a page dedicated to this port's progress. Here's a clip from the Aleph One site:

Steven Bytnar has been Carbonizing Aleph One, a process that will allow the game to take advantage of Mac OS X's protected memory. He has set up a web page at SourceForge to cover the development process. This comes at a good time; the public beta of Mac OS X is right around the corner!
This is great timing, as Steve Jobs recently announced the public beta for OS X will be released later in the month. Along with the OS X port, a FreeBSD version is also now being created. We reported last week that a Linux build of Aleph One was out, and apparently the BSD build is based upon this code.

It's amazing how many platforms will now get to have a Marathon experience. Head over to the Aleph One site for more information on all of the ports, as well as the latest news regarding the project.

Marathon OS X Web Site
Marathon Open Source Web Site

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Terminus Tips
8:43 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

CGO has posted an excellent guide to get you up-and-running in Vicarious Visions' multi-platform space game Terminus. This guide covers the good and bad points about speed, inertial compensators, the targeting system and more. If you're having trouble with the game, definitely head over and read through the tips. Here's a quick clip:

One of Terminus' best features is its incorporation of a Newtonian physics flight model. Sure, you can set up an "arcade" version of the game if you really want to, but doing so removes much of the challenge (not to mention the fun) from the game. One of the pluses of the Newtonian model is your ally, momentum. Ships require significant amounts of both time and thrust to change course. Typical "turn and burn" space sim tactics just don't work in this kind of environment-a ship flying at max speed has a very large turning radius.
If you're looking for more info on Terminus, IMG has posted several articles about the game as well. Also, make sure you have the latest patch for this frequently-updated game from Macgamefiles.

Download Terminus 1.7 Patch
Terminus Preview
Terminus Demo In-Depth
CGO Terminus Tips

3dfx and RAVE Support
8:06 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

3dfx's Ray Swartz has made a number of posts to Usenet recently regarding the company's support for Apple's now-defunct 3D API, Quickdraw 3D RAVE. While not many games use this standard any more, there are a few popular RAVE-only titles such as Nanosaur, Bugdom and Combat Mission which gamers are still interested in playing. In this post regarding Combat Mission, Swartz notes the differing support between the Voodoo 3 and the Voodoo 5 cards:

Hi. I'm the RAVE guy at 3dfx. Combat Mission works very well on the Voodoo5.

Currently, I'm working on providing the same level of support to CM on the
Voodoo3. In fact, I spent all day yesterday on it. Looks like a bitmap bug.
I think I'll fix it today, but hey...

[And in a later post]

I found the bitmap bug yesterday. But now there's a new bug which hoses a
inch-wide vertical strip along the left edge of the draw context. Still

This is great that Voodoo 3 users can still get support for these supposedly 'unsupported' cards. In a different thread, Swartz replies to a user about Unreal Tournament running in Glide (3dfx's own 3D mode) versus RAVE. Here's the post:
Our approach to RAVE support for the Voodoo 5 is to work hard to support
those games that are RAVE-only. If a game gives you the OpenGL or Glide
option, that would be the preferred way to run.

I understand that UT won't give access to 32-bit Glide, and that's
unfortunate. We are thinking about a way to force 32-bit Glide, but I don't
know if that's going to work -- probably not. Game developers can choose to
support the Glide3 library. But still, 32-bit color is really 24 bits and
Glide is 22 bits dithered rather well to 16 bits.

Are there other games for which you want better RAVE support?

Again, thanks should go out to 3dfx for their continued support of the 'unsupported' Voodoo3 cards. Hopefully they will also be able to get a new revision of the Voodoo5 5500 drivers released in the near future to improve speed and stability issues as well. If you have other RAVE games you want to see work with 3dfx board, now seems like a good time to let 3dfx know your concerns.

3dfx Mac Gaming Web Site

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Myst III: Exile Preview
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

PC IGN has taken a 'first look' at Myst III: Exile, the upcoming title from Cyan (makers of the original Myst and Riven games) and Presto Studios (creators of the Journeyman Project series). IGN covers the few basics known so far about this adventure game and offer a little background information on the previous two titles in this series. In this excerpt, they explain how Exile will stand out :

Fans have been clamoring for a new adventure in the Ages of Myst, and now it seems that Mattel is finally responding with Myst III: Exile, which takes the same interface of the first two titles, and adds 360° of visibility by allowing you to pan around yourself completely in any location. You can expect similar puzzles to the first two titles, but with even more integration, thanks to advances in technology. Atrus and Catherine return in movie form as well (they recently finished filming the video scenes in the Bay Area), with Rand playing Atrus once again, despite the fact that he's not directly involved with the third game's development.
Be sure to head over and read though the rest of the preview for more. Also check out the official Myst III web site for lots of good content. Myst III: Exile is set to be released for Mac and PC early next year.

Myst III: Exile Web Site
PC IGN Myst III: Exile Preview
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Mac Games News for Thursday, August 31, 2000

4x4 EVO Public Test Released8:38 PM
Bungie's Webmaster Awakes7:02 PM
Apple Reviews Mac “Millionaire”2:26 PM
F.A.K.K. 2 Multiplayer Expansion, Mac Info2:24 PM
Escape Velocity 3 Update2:04 PM
Deus Ex SDK Details11:40 AM
AvP Status Update11:00 AM
Sin In Final Candidate Status10:16 AM
Mac Gorilla Announces BerryQuest9:13 AM
Red Faction Backstory8:38 AM
GameSpy vs. Mac8:26 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 31, 2000 on one page

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