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Thursday, September 7, 2000



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

The official Myst III: Exile web site has been updated with new artwork from the upcoming title by Presto Studios and Cyan. The gallery contains four new pieces of concept art and eight very nice in-game screen shots. Their links page has also been updated with links to the many recently-published previews of this game.


If you're looking for more information on this next title in the popular series, CGO has produced a detailed preview of the game. Here's a quick clip:

"The title of the project is Exile," says Mattel's producer Dan Irish, when asked about the storyline, "Everybody can understand the need to go home. That's really what it's all about." Isn't that also the dilemma of the player in the previous games, in which you're a bystander sucked into another dimension where you don't necessarily belong, trying to set things right so you can go home? "Right," says Irish, "and that's kind of left ambiguous in the other games, in terms of what actually happens. How does the player actually get home? Well, this product doesn't answer that question, but it gives you more information to form an opinion."
The rest of the preview is very in-depth and contains many quotes from Presto and Cyan, a must read for fans of the series. Myst III: Exile should be released next Spring for both Mac and PC.

Myst III: Exile Gallery
CGO Myst III: Exile Preview
Presto Studios
Ubisoft
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile


No Oni Until 2001?
5:55 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A report from ECTS published by GameSpot UK suggests that Take Two Interactive's title Oni -- a third-person action/adventure developed by Bungie -- may not hit the Mac and PC platforms until early next year. The status report, based on a demo of this game at the ECTS expo, gives a rough description of the game and its plot, as well as 25 images which appear to be a mixture of old -- very old -- screen shots, as well as several new images.


Here's an excerpt:

Bungie has been engaging in some serious hand-to-hand combat at ECTS, showing off the latest build of its impressive third-person action adventure, Oni. Heavily influenced by the Japanese anime tradition, Oni follows the adventures of Konoko, a member of the Tech Crimes Task Force, as she battles both hordes of futuristic villains and the ghosts from her own past.


The developers have brought in some top architects to give each futuristic level an ultra-realistic feel, and it shows, in some of the biggest and most impressive levels we've seen to date. The latest build featured Oni's excellent intro movie, which is worthy of its anime; heritage, but also showcases some classic fighting sequences with a winning combination of both hand-to-hand and ranged combat, with enough special moves and heavy weaponry to keep even the most hardened action addicts satisfied.

There is certainly no new information here, for fans who have been following this game for the last two years, but it is a refresher course for those new to this title. It is the last sentence of the report that bears the bad news: "Oni will appear on the PC until just after the new year." That's a little nonsensical, and no other news source has confirmed this, so take it with the standard grain of salt. We have contacted Bungie, and we'll get back to you with their reply.

Oni Web Site
Oni Image Gallery at GameSpot UK
Oni ECTS Report on GameSpot UK


4x4 Track Editor Details
4:45 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

In a press release issued today, Terminal Reality unveiled more features and gameplay aspects of their upcoming off-road game, 4x4 Evolution. In addition to fast gameplay, cross-platform multiplayer gaming, the use of real vehicles with real physics, Terminal Reality will offer a free downloadable track editor for both PC and Mac gamers.



Gamers on all three platforms will be able to easily download and play custom-built "Lite" levels, and use the Chat System to converse with other drivers. In "Time Trial" mode, players on all platforms can download the best lap that another driver has submitted, then race against the image of that person's truck, which shows exactly how that person drove to achieve such a great lap time.



The game will be released for all three platforms this October by Gathering of Developers, and will be distributed by Take Two Interactive's Jack of All Games.


Download 4x4 Evolution Public Test (21 MB)
4x4 Evolution web page


MacMAME 0.37b7 Updated
2:54 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacMAME 0.37b7 has been released. MacMAME is an incredibly diverse emulator, emulating almost every popular classic arcade game known--and many newer titles as well! By accepting contributions from outside developers, it has extended to support the emulation of over 2000 arcade titles. It even emulates Neo-Geo games.



To download MacMAME, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

Download MacMAME 0.37b7 (2.7 MB)
MacMAME web page


Hoyle Kids Games Released
2:46 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Sierra Attractions has announced the release of Hoyle Kids Games, a new collection of 12 games targeted specifically at kids 5-12 years old. While many hardcore gamers may scoff at Sierra's position with Half Life and Pharaoh, a good number of their 'value' games have made it to the Mac. Here's a list of features for Hoyle Kids Games:


  •  12 captivating games, tailor-made for kids, fun for everyone!
  •  A talkative cast of eight animated players is always ready for a challenge.
  •  Facemaker™ allows you to create characters. Create a wacky figure from out of this world, or one that looks just like you.
  •  Adjustable skill levels make every game a blast for kids of all ages!
  •  Help is only a mouse click away. The Hoyle Genie knows all the ins and outs of game play, providing rules and helpful hints.
  •  Everyone can get in on the action with 10 multiplayer games that host up to four players on the same computer.
  •  Easy to install and start playing right away.
  •  Automatically saves games so you can finish later.
  •  Laptop compatible - play with or without your CD.

For more info on the title, check out the Sierra web site. It's priced at just under $30, which shouldn't put too big of a dent in anyone's wallet.


In related news, MacCentral noted that Sierra Sports has released Maximum Pool, the sequel to the PC-only game Cool Pool. Nothing on the web site says it's out yet, but keep looking for them to update it soon. Maximum Pool has recreated many gametypes and has five characters opponents to play against.

Maximum Pool Web Site
MacCentral Report on Maximum Pool
Hoyle Kids Games Web Site


LucasArts President Says No Mac Games
1:53 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The hopes of seeing more new Macintosh games from Lucas Arts are dimming fast. In a recent chat at Star Wars Gamer, Simon Jeffery, the President of Lucas Arts, explained that the Macintosh market doesn't "warrant" them to make games for the platform. Games like Obi Wan and Escape from Monkey Island will probably never see the light of day on the Mac. Here's an excerpt from the chat:

PhilosopherDC> Is there ever going to be a Macintosh version of Obi-wan?



Simon_Jeffery> It's extremely unlikely unfortunately. The Macintosh gaming market does not seem to warrant us making games for it.
Although LucasArts may not be developing games for the Mac, its sister publisher, LucasLearning continues to develop edutainment titles for the Mac. Among the titles in development is Super Bombad Racing, a game that lets players race on various tracks throughout the Star Wars galaxy as way-out versions of their favorite character. Super Bombad Racing is due out in the first quarter of 2001.

Forum Topic: LucasArts President Says No Mac Games
Star Wars Gamers Chat
LucasArts



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4x4 Evolution Beta Tops 10k Downloads
12:48 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

When the demo for Deus Ex appeared on Macgamefiles, we thought we wouldn't see such a huge number of downloads again for quite some time. However, the astounding popularity of the public beta test for Terminal Reality's off-road racer 4x4 Evolution has put Deus Ex to shame, with over 10,700 downloads in just five days!


Clearly the smaller size of this beta and the more broad appeal of a racing title vs a dark sci-fi shooter account for some of the popularity of this download, but we think it is also an indication of the huge pent-up demand for driving sims on the Mac platform. Luckily that demand will be more than satisfied in the coming months, with the final version of this game as well as Driver, Formula One Racing and even more racing titles coming to the Mac OS -- some we can't reveal just yet.


If you haven't grabbed the 4x4 beta and taken it for a spin, be sure and do so -- it is a blast, even on hardware that Deus Ex would snap in two like a twig. We have noticed that the number of downloads of the update patch is far smaller than the number of actual beta downloads; if you were one of those that grabbed the demo in its first three days online, be sure you have the patch as well, as it fixes many problems and will allow you to join games hosted by PC players. Be sure and add your comments and experiences with this beta to our Forums and the player ratings on Macgamefiles, but remember -- this is a beta version of the game, only a tiny glimpse of what the final product will be like. Expect another beta update for this game in the near future.

4x4 Evolution Ratings/Reviews at MGF
4x4 EVO Public Test Comments
4x4 Evolution Beta Patch
4x4 Evolution Demo (23 MB)
Terminal Reality
Gathering of Developers
4x4 Evolution



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Terminus Updated to 1.8
12:37 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The seemingly endless stream of updates for Vicarious Vision's space sim Terminus is becoming a saga almost as engrossing as the game itself. Thankfully, this series of patches seems to be nearing the end, but VV is still adding features and tweaking gameplay now that the major bugs have been eliminated. This latest update tweaks the AI, addresses issues with saving and loading games, and adds several console commands for those running servers.


The console commands that have been added are quite powerful, and demonstrate clearly how interconnected and functional the economy that underlies this sim really is. One command allows you to adjust the amount of a particular 'gadget' (resource or purchasable object) at a given starbase, allowing you to drive up or suppress demand for any piece of equipment or material at will.


Here are details on this update:

Changes in version 1.8

  • COMMON: Fixed a crash when saving a game in some situations.
  • COMMON: Fixed a crash when loading a game after changing number of player saves in terminus.cfg
  • COMMON: Several script fixes.
  • COMMON: Added code to prevent AI for waiting around and doing nothing.
  • COMMON: Added support for entering the port number of a server in the Join Game dialog. Simply enter the server address in ip:port format.


    Notes:
    New Server Commands
    There are several new console server commands. The first set deals with the max player saves situation. The command "setmaxplayersaves" allows you to adjust the number of player saves on the fly. If you decrease the number of player saves some player saves may have to be dropped. The command "getplayersavestats" displays how many player save slots are being used currently.


    The next set of console commands does basic economy management. By using "displaygadget," a server admin can display the price and quantity of a gadget at a base. For example:


    displaygadget "flare" "belt station"


    The "addgadget" and "removegadget" commands take the same parameters but perform opposite functions. For example:


    addgadget "flare" 10 "belt station"


    The above command will add 10 flares to Belt Station.


    In a story mode game, adding PVGs to the economy could break some scripts. Additionally, if you remove critical gadgets from bases, such as iron or water, the base may cease producing some products. This, in turn, could lead to shortages that prevent ships from leaving the base.


    Eventually the base should recover, but beware of the impact of your actions.


    Additionally, you can only add and remove gadgets. You cannot add/remove ship hulls, armor, or fuel and energy.

If you would like to learn more about Terminus, be sure and check our our preview and guide to the demo for this game, and grab the demo itself.

Terminus Demo 1.2
Terminus Demo In-Depth
Terminus Preview
Terminus 1.8 Patches
Vicarious Visions Terminus Downloads


Games for Sale at the Apple Store
11:43 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

According to the latest Apple eNews dispatch, our favorite computing company has added almost thirty new titles to the Software section of the Apple Store, and all of them are games. While this move has been anticipated for some time, it is very nice to see Apple finally putting their purported 'love' of games into action, supporting both developers and the concept of the Mac as a gaming machine.


Among the titles listed are Myst Masterpiece Edition, Unreal Tournament, Rainbow Six and Alpha Centauri, as well as classics such as Myth: Total Codex, Falcon 4.0 and StarCraft. Prices vary from competitive to outlandish, compared to other online retailers, but regardless it is excellent to see serious gaming featured so prominently at the Apple Store.

Apple's Mac Games Page
Apple eNews September 7th


Kmart To Card Game Buyers
11:31 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Earlier this Summer several US movie theater chains began to enforce a policy of checking the ID of moviegoers who wanted to attend R-rated movies, bowing to parental and political pressure. Now it seems that the pressure to enforce previously voluntary regulations has reached video game merchandising as well, as retailer Kmart is expected to announce a policy of verifying the age of those who wish to purchase games rated Mature by the ESRB.


Our partner Stomped pointed us to a report on CNN (with an amusingly ambiguous headline) which details this policy shift. The report reveals that there are some extremely big names and political heavy hitters behind this move, and Kmart -- which doesn't sell Mac games -- is only the first of many big retail chains being pressured. General Jim Ryan, a self-appointed pundit who pops up endlessly in the violent video games and youth debate, is also among those calling for enforcement of the ESRB video game rating system.


Here's an excerpt from the article:

Kmart will ask for proof of age to make sure no one underage is purchasing any video games with an "M" or "Mature" rating, which the industry intends for those 17 and older. Officials said "M" rated games constitute about three percent of Kmart's video game sales, but will not disclose the profits from or exact volume of those sales.


There are six video games ratings voluntarily set by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which was created by the industry itself. "EC" for early childhood, "E" for 6 and older, "T" for thirteen and older, "M" for 17 and older, "AO" for adult only and "RP" for rating pending. Kmart does not sell video games with an "AO" rating.


Atley said it will take a few weeks to get the registers and computers set up to identify all "M" rated video games and to have signs made and displayed in the video game section to explain the store's new policy.


Kmart also intends to use its Sunday circular, which a spokesman says reaches 72 million homes, to better educate the public on the ratings system.

Many Democratic Senators are among those putting pressure on the industy, including Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.


While neither Kmart nor the other two retailers mentioned (Toys R Us, Target) sell Mac versions of video games, the decision of large chains to implement these policies may have a trickle-down effect to smaller retailers and chains such as CompUSA.


Overall, this might be seen as a healthy move for the industry as a whole, protecting developers from actual lawsuits over their content and violent video games from becoming a political football this election year. However, there is a shadow cast by this development -- several retailers have opted to simply drop "M" rated games altogether, rather than carry the cost of training employees to regulate game purchases. Read the CNN report for more details.

Kmart to card violent video game buyers


Games Partnership Manager Leaves Apple
10:53 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has learned that Mike Donges, one of two remaining Apple Games Partnership Managers, has left Apple. Acting as a liaison between Apple and game publishers and developers, Donges managed various accounts including developer relations with Graphic Simulations, id Software, and Blizzard Entertainment. Donges' departure follows a long string of Games Partnership Managers who have left, including Jim Black, who now works at NVIDIA, and Kathy Tafel (who remains at Apple but is not involved in games).



As you might expect, a new job listing has now appeared on Apple's web site. Here's a brief description of the position:

The Games Partnership Manager, reporting into the Consumer & Games team in Apple's Worldwide Developer Relations Group, is responsible for
developing and maintaining strong relationships with key, strategic games developers. You will work both independently and in close collaboration with WW Product Marketing, WW Markets, Technology Partnership Management, Engineering, and Senior Management to effectively deliver Apple's Mac OS X and product messages to developers and to champion developer needs, issues, and opportunities within Apple.
If you're interested in the position, check out Apple's web site.



In closing, we'd like to wish Mike Donges the best of luck in his new endeavours, whatever they may be. I was lucky enough to have met Donges at various Macworld Expo's during his tenure and I can say that Apple has lost a champion of Mac gaming. Best of luck Mike!

Apple
Games Partnership Manager Job Opening


Unreal Tournament UTilities 2.5.1 Released
9:51 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

UTilities is a set of tools designed to help Mac users with common installation tasks for Unreal Tournament. Included in the tool set is the Cache Cleaner, which allows you to move Unreal Tournament maps downloaded from a UT server to the Maps folder, so they can be played in bot matches or when you run your own server. It also includes the Install Manager, which is designed to allow for easy installation and removal of 3rd party Unreal Tournament packages.



UTilities 2.5.1 includes the following bug fixes:

  • Fixed nil object exception error that occurred if certain folders didn't exist
  • Fixed bug where selecting "Get Info" from the "Edit" menu brought up an empty Info Window
  • Added "Remove Entry" menu item that removes an entry from the database without removing any files (handy if you updated an installation and you have multiple entries)
  • Tweaked the installation progress window a bit
  • UTilities 2.5.1 weighs in at 444k and is available for download from Macgamefiles.com.

    Unreal Tournament UTilities 2.5.1 (444k)



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    Tropico Developer Diary
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    GameSpot has posted the second installment of their designer diary series by PopTop regarding their upcoming dictator-sim game Tropico. In this off-the-wall entry, Franz Felsl humorously explains the naming of the game and details their preparations for this year's E3 Expo, a crucial event for those who wish to promote their game to the media. Here's a clip about their rush to get ready for this event:

    We knew the denizens of E3 were a wild pack of rabble-rousers with sharp eyes who were quick to party. Our benefactors at the port of G.O.D. are also well aware of this, and they arranged a spectacle of divine proportions on their and Tropico's behalf. Entertainers from the exotic world of Los Angeles were employed by the score in all manner of shapely shapes and sizes. Beverages of all types were to be provided to heighten the senses of those who would come to hear our tales and view the glimpses of the game that would be ours.
    Tropico is set to be released sometime next year for both Mac and PC. PopTop is working on the Mac port themselves and are using the Railroad Tycoon II engine.

    Tropico Web Site
    Tropico Designer Diary
    PopTop Software
    MacSoft
    Tropico
    Buy Tropico



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

    An enormous interview with BioWare's Trent Oster, producer of 3D RPG Neverwinter Nights, has been posted at FourBelowZero. The Q&A was conducted at the recent ECTS expo and covers many different aspects of the game. Neverwinter Nights is an RPG which will recreate pen-and-paper D&D using the just-released Third Edition rules. Here's a clip about the 'character vault' they are planning on creating, which will help to prevent boosting your character by conquering lots of very easy dungeons, or your own created dungeons:

    The Character Vault : there's a bit of confusion as to how exactly it will work. For example: I drop into your game with my vault character and I play for a few hours getting some experience, a nice sword, shield suit of armour - how does that get balanced for the vault to say that's a "fair" amount of experience?


    Trent Oster: The Vaults isn't really good at assessing. When you're playing out of the vault you're playing by a VERY specific set of rules. You're allowed within 24 hours of real-world time to acquire so much experience. SO if I was first level I could gain 2000 experience, so I go up to second level . Second level 3000, third level 4000 and so on. My level also dictates what is essentially the "value" of items I can have.


    SO as a first level character I can have say a thousand gold of equipment. That's a suit of plate-mail, (non magical) and a long sword. Whereas a higher level character may be able to have 20-30,000 gold and a +3 sword .. and so on.


    So there will never be a first level character with a +5 weapon.

    There is much more information in the interview, so be sure to check it out of you are anticipating this gorgeous game. Neverwinter Nights should be out next Summer for Mac and PC.

    Trent Oster Interview at FourBelowZero
    Neverwinter Nights
    BioWare
    MacPlay
    Neverwinter Nights
    Buy Neverwinter Nights


    Sony and Connectix Set Court Date
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The battle between Sony and Connectix over the PlayStation emulator Virtual GameStation continues, and once again they will meet before a judge. MacCentral is reporting that the two will meet again in court next March to attempt to resolve the issues surrounding this emulator. In case you're wondering what the fuss is about, here's a clip:

    Connectix first unveiled VGS to crowds at Macworld Expo in San Francisco in January of 1999. The software makes Macintoshes able to play a variety of popular games designed to work on the Sony PlayStation, a popular home video game console. At the time, Connectix was the first company to release a commercial Sony PlayStation emulator for personal computers.
    Check out the article for more of the history behind this legal battle. March of 2001 is quite some time away, but we are sure the entire emulation community is watching this case closely, as it may have implications for the future of console and platform emulation.

    Connectix Web Site
    MacCentral Report on Sony and Connectix


    Mac Games News for Wednesday, September 6, 2000

    Deep Space Nine: The Fallen Update5:38 PM
    Dragon's Lair 3D Shots12:50 PM
    French Touch in at MacWorld Paris10:19 AM
    Bungie News Returns, Job Openings10:14 AM
    More Warcraft III from ECTS10:09 AM
    Fate of Mac Tribes 2 In Limbo?10:06 AM
     
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, September 6, 2000 on one page


    Recent Mac Games News

    Tuesday, September 5, 2000
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    Tuesday, August 29, 2000


    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.



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