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Thursday, September 14, 2000

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Aspyr Media's New Titles [Updated]
10:05 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media, publishers of such fine Mac titles as Deus Ex and The Sims, announced at the Paris Expo that they are adding three new titles to their release schedule: the expansion pack The Sims: Livin' Large, the racing title Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed and first-person shooter Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. All three titles are due before the end of the year, and will expand the already amazing catalog of games available from Aspyr.

Aspyr has sent out their newsletter with details on these three titles. Here are some excerpts from their announcement:

Everyone has been wondering, what's next from Aspyr? Well it's time to
let a few cats out of the bag. Here we go.... These titles are
currently in conversion (by Westlake Interactive): The Sims: Livin'
Large Expansion Pack, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Need For
Speed: Porsche Unleashed.

-1-Mac gamers have been wanting to know if it would be coming to the
Mac and the answer is YES! The Sims: Livin' Large Expansion Pack was
released a few weeks ago for the PC and has gotten some great praise
from the gaming industry. Maxis has taken the monster hit The Sims and
given gamers the opportunity to more than double their gameplay with
new objects and architecture, custom skins, new characters and a few
new "interesting" situations. Mac gamers rejoice, the Livin' Large
Expansion Pack will receive a warm welcome from the Sims in your

-2-Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is the upcoming release from Raven
Software and Activision. It is the first game based on the Star Trek
Voyager universe. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force pits players against a
multitude of Star Trek enemies, including the relentless Borg and
never-before-seen aliens in intense single-player and multiplayer
combat missions. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is the ultimate in
sci-fi 3-D first-person shooter action, using the Quake III Arena(TM)
engine. Mac gamers prepare to join the Elite Force!

-3-Get ready for a racing game that will rev your Mac's engine. True
to the award-winning Need For Speed heritage, Need For Speed: Porsche
Unleashed delivers mind-numbing open road racing experiences with an
extensive collection of cars from the 50-year history of the most
storied performance car manufacturer in the world ?Porsche. Push every
boundary to unleash the potential of these incredible vehicles while
weaving through traffic, against fierce competition, and escaping the
police to ultimately discover your own limits. Experience the thrill of
piloting the historic and future line-up of road and racecars in ways
only you could dream of. Dare to unleash Porsche's potential.

No official release date has been announced for The Sims: Livin' Large
but with Phil Sulak and the Westlake Interactive team working
double-time, I'd get your preorder in SOON, as in today soon. That's
right, place your preorder today for The Sims: Livin' Large Expansion
Pack, via our web site ( We'll also keep you posted on
updates of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Need For Speed: Porsche
Unleashed. Preorders for these two upcoming games will be taken soon.
If we keep this up, you'll never leave the house again.

Of the three, the only real surprise is Need for Speed. Livin' Large is a no-brainer, considering the success of the Mac port of The Sims, and Elite Force for Mac has been in development for quite some time, begun internally at Raven Software -- it was only a matter of where it would finally pop up. There is an interesting story behind Elite Force, however; originally the Mac OS version was being bid on by several Mac publishers at once, and Aspyr snapped it up at the eleventh hour.

IMG has posted three in-depth 'first looks' at these titles for your edification, complete with screen shots and links to the official sites. Expect Livin' Large and Elite Force within the next several months; Aspyr notes that preorders for all three titles will begin in the near future, indicating they plan to ship all three before the end of the Holiday season.

First Look: Need for Speed: Porsche
Aspyr Media
First Look: The Sims: Living Large
First Look: Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Adams' Apple: GameRanger Appealing, Appalling
4:13 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

It has been well over a year since the currently freeware chat and game-finding service GameRanger has been available to the public, and yet this creation of Scott Kevill is still the topic of conversation. If you have tried this service recently, you may have noticed a charming person named Suellen who stands apart from the rest of the crowd through sheer niceness and wholesomeness alone. That persona belongs to Suellen Adams of Westlake Interactive, who has made GameRanger the subject of her semi-weekly column Adams' Apple.

Calling GameRanger "both appealing and appalling," Suellen cites both the Mac-only, functional and fun aspects of the service as well as the inevitable dark side that seems to haunt all forms of live online chat. Here is an excerpt from the column:

So what is the appeal of this service? Well, first and foremost it is a wonderful way to meet people with whom to play your favorite game. Suellen often goes there to find a game of Scrabble. Mark has played a variety of games there as well. It is easy to start a game there and usually not difficult to find someone to share the game with you...

But we said appealing and appalling, so what's appalling about it? One of the most appalling things is the addictive nature of GameRanger. Suellen tends to pop in for a minute and stay about a week. It seems as though whenever she tries to leave, either someone invites her to yet another game of Scrabble or asks her an interesting question.

Another unfortunate thing about GR is that it has the same drawbacks as any chat service. Most of the people there are okay most of the time, though sometimes the arguments and insults get out of hand. There are also a select few who come in strictly for the purpose of getting a rise out of one particular person or the whole group (that's why the "ignore" feature is so appealing). And there are the people who come in to exercise their four-letter vocabularies (hurray for client side filters).

If you want to discuss the latest news and rumors from the Mac community, make new friends or just read someone's description of their most recent belch, GameRanger is the place to be. Check out the rest of the column for details.

Adams' Apple: GameRanger Tonight!

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Mirrors Added For Shogo Demo
3:47 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Macgamefiles' hosting of the demo of Shogo: Mobile Armor Division has been a resounding success, with nearly 3,000 downloads in the first 24 hours -- but this level of demand puts extreme pressure on the server, resulting in slow downloads for some users. In response, MGF has added two mirror sites to decrease the demand on individual servers; they hope to add a European mirror to help those overseas and 'down under' to grab this file faster.

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division is an anime-inspired first-person shooter that features the much-hyped Monolith’s LithTech engine. In the game you play the role of Sanjuro Makabe, a young security officer at the United Corporate Authority Security Force, who is caught in the middle of a war that costs Sanjuro his family and friends. Now he’s bent on revenge against ‘The Fallen’, a mercenary terrorist group led by Gabriel.

The purpose of the demo of Monolith’s Shogo: M.A.D is to give you a general idea of the basic concept of the game. While the demo remains limited to 2 levels of single player and 2 levels of multiplayer, you can still get a good idea of both types of situations, the first being the M.C.A (Mobile Combat Armor) mission and the second being the Human mission. Certain features can only be accessed when in the M.C.A mode. Both game types have different weapons, although not all are included in this demo, you can still enjoy both side of the game.

Be sure and post your reaction and experiences with the Shogo demo in MGF's user reviews and in the IMG forums!

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division Demo (41.3 MB)
Shogo: Mobile Armor Division Preview
Hyperion Entertainment
Shogo: MAD

GraphSim Signing Baldur's Gate II?
1:53 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fansite MacBaldur has directed us to a report published in the Mac section of Gamesmania which states that Mac Baldur's Gate publisher GraphSim is meeting with Interplay next week to discuss producing a Mac version of Baldur's Gate II, due later this month for the PC. While it has been common knowledge for some time that GraphSim is interested in publishing Mac versions of other titles in this series (The expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast, a new game with the same engine entitled Icewind Dale, and the sequel Baldur's Gate II) due to the fact that they are based on the same engine, this is the first evidence that GraphSim is in actual talks to acquire the title.

Here's an excerpt from the report on Gamesmania:

While nothing is finalized, Graphic Simulations is definitely hoping to produce a Mac version of Baldur’s Gate II.

"We haven’t signed anything yet, but we’re definitely trying," said GraphSim’s product manager, Amy Lorance. The company is waiting to sign a deal with Interplay to produce the game. Talks for that should resume next week.

There were some delays in the Mac version of Baldur’s Gate. The game was originally supposed to be released in November 1999. Lorance said if GraphSim produces Baldur’s Gate II for Mac, the company hopes there won’t be a similar delay.

"It was just a bigger project than we anticipated," said Lorance of the first Baldur’s Gate. "That’s one problem we hope we don’t have again."

Watch for an update to the single-player version of Baldur's Gate in the next few days.

Baldur's Gate Expansion Pack in Beta
Graphic Simulations
Gamesmania on Mac Baldur's Gate II

More Debate On Oni Publishing Date
1:42 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Several days ago IMG ran a story reporting on a Eurogamer report from the ECTS expo which claimed that Bungie Software's title Oni -- soon to be the property of Take Two Interactive -- may not be released in Europe until March of 2001. Bungie staff members as well as fan sites responded quickly to this allegation, claiming the report was a work of fiction and that the projected October ship date of Oni was still sound.

John Bye, the Editor-in-Chief of, posted to the comments thread of our article defending his report and relating exactly how he came by this information. Now John has posted to the Oni Central forum with more details behind their report and substantiations to the information presented. Here is John's post in full:

Hi folks

I'm the editor of the site which posted the preview mentioned in the IMG story. I just found this thread and thought
I should respond to what I've read here...

Our assistant editor was shown the PS2 version of the game at ECTS, and was told by the demonstrator (Jen) that it
would come out in March 2001. I saw the PC version of the game (with a different demonstrator), and the first level
we were shown was mostly using placeholder textures, which was rather worrying for a start. Very little effort
seemed to have gone into preparing the game for ECTS (hence the comments about Bungie perhaps not caring), and
the demonstrator who showed me the PC version looked bored stiff by the third day.

As Bungie are now saying that the game has gone beta, I can only assume that we were being shown an old build of
the game at ECTS for some reason - it looked deeply underwhelming, and the levels were clearly not finished.

Since then I've received a new release date list from publisher Take 2, which lists *both* the PC and PS2 versions
of Oni for a "first quarter 2001" release in the UK (the PC version was previously down for November 2000).

Oni Central decided to call our report "utter crap", saying that "Bungie would not tell anybody a release date, so
why should we believe some gaming site when they say Oni will be out in a random month next year?"
Unfortunately at the end of the day it is the publisher who decides when a game is released, and Oni's publisher has
told us (both at ECTS, and now again in the new release schedule we received from them just this morning) that the
game isn't going to be out this year, or at least not in the UK.

Now, it's possible that the game will come out in the USA much earlier for some reason. After all, another Take 2
game called FAKK2 has been out for weeks in the US but won't arrive in the UK for a couple more weeks yet. It's
odd, but it does happen sometimes. But either way, I can tell you that Oni WILL NOT be released in Europe this
year, as we reported in our ECTS diary and Oni preview.

Those are the facts, and to the best of my knowledge they are correct. It isn't just rumour or idle speculation, it is
based on reliable information received direct from the publisher. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but this is
what we have been told - please don't shoot the messenger!

Thanks for your attention,

John "Gestalt" Bye

According to several reports, the Playstation 2 version of Oni may be significantly behind the other versions, due to the difficulty of squeezing that games's extremely large levels into the PS2's limited amount of RAM. It is unknown at this time if Take Two Interactive and Gathering of Developers will hold the publication of the Mac and PC versions of Oni until the PS2 version is ready, or release them as they are completed. In any case, that might be one factor behind this alleged delay.

No Oni Until March 2001?
New Oni Tidbits, Contradictions
John Bye's Post at Oni Central

Strike Force Mod for UT Updated
11:45 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Strike Force, the Unreal Tournament total conversion, has been updated to version 1.40 Part 2. It includes 15 maps and a new game type, last man standing.

The mod pits members of the United Nations' elite group of counter-terrorist mercenaries, known as the Strike Force, versus a powerful terrorist collective that has wiped out most of the United States' government. In this multiplayer, squad-based game, players join the ranks of either the Strike Force or the terrorists and participate in various types of gameplay, including Assault mode (in which each team has an objective it must complete faster than the other team), standard Deathmatch mode, and Team Deathmatch.

Strike Force 1.40 Part 2 weighs in at 36.8 MB, and is available for download through

Download Strike Force 1.40 Part 2 (36.8 MB)
Strike Force web site

Baldur's Gate Expansion Pack in Beta
11:19 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Graphic Simulations told IMG today that the Baldur's Gate expansion pack, Tales of the Sword Coast, has entered Beta testing. Duane Johnson, who recently ported Descent 3 to the Mac for Graphic Simulations, is working on the expansion pack, as well as the multiplayer patch for Baldur's Gate.

GraphSim declined to offer any release dates, but promised that the patch and the expansion pack will be available simultaneously. The multiplayer patch will be included on the Tales of the Sword Coast CD and will also be available as a free download.

The company also revealed that a Baldur's Gate patch, which contains various single-player mode bug fixes, will be released in the next few days.

Graphic Simulations

MGL interviews Westlake's Jesse Spears
11:04 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacGamer's Ledge has posted an interview with Westlake Interactive's newest employee, Jesse Spears. The interview covers Spears' past and present as well as his work on the "Unimaginable" project, the remaining secret Westlake project on the calendar.

Here's a little snippet from the interview:

MGL: I hear you are already working on a project for Westlake. Care to divulge? :)

Spears: Oh, you know I can't tell you the real name ;)

...but the Codename is "Unimaginable". The only other thing I can tell you is that it should be announced the first week of October.
For the rest of the interview, head to MacGamer's Ledge.

MGL Interview with Jesse Spears

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Massive Summoner Details
10:54 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Daily Radar is running a special feature this week on Volition's 3D role-playing game Summoner. They have posted tons of great content about this 3D RPG, starting with a quick interview with producer Anoop Shekar. The Q&A mostly covers the Playstation 2 version of the game, though the Mac and PC versions are identical, and in addition will support multiplayer features.

A bio of each of the four main characters in Summoner has also been posted. You play Joseph, a young summoner attempting to control his powers. Here's a clip from the article:

Yago gave Joseph a ring carved from black obsidian. With this ring, the boy learned to summon otherworldly beings. Yago warned him never to summon with all his strength, or else these creatures would slip from his control.

This is how Joseph destroyed Ciran. Marauders attacked the village, and to save his friends and his family, Joseph used his ring. But the demon he summoned was too powerful for him. The demon razed Ciran, killing the very people Joseph had tried to protect.

Most recently, Daily Radar posted two pages giving a rundown of the other characters and monsters in the game. Check out the Summoner web site for even more information.

Daily Radar Summoner Week Feature
Summoner Web Site
Buy Summoner

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The Fallen Cast Revealed, New Screenshots
10:52 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Simon & Schuster today announced that several stars from the show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will be lending their voices to the forthcoming game entitled Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen. The game, which is scheduled to ship in October for the PC and Mac, will be the first opportunity for fans of the Deep Space Nine series to see and hear their favorite characters in an original story in quite some time, as the show ended its run in 1999.

The following actors have lent their voices to the game. They include:

  • Michael Dorn as "Worf"
  • Nana Visitor as "Kira"
  • Alexander Siddig as "Bashir"
  • Rene Auberjonois as "Odo"
  • Armin Shimerman as "Quark"
  • Andrew Robinson as "Garak"
  • Terry Farrell as "Jadzia Dax"
  • The Fallen will be using a new technology to sync the character's mouth, eyes, nose and eyebrows in real time, avoiding the "flapping" mouth effect that gamers have seen in other titles.

    Simon and Schuster also sent us four new screenshots of the game. Be sure to check them out! IMG will be previewing this game in the near future.

    The Fallen - Screenshot 2
    The Fallen - Screenshot 3
    The Fallen - Screenshot 4
    The Fallen - Screenshot 1
    Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster
    The Collective
    DS9: The Fallen
    Buy DS9: The Fallen

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    Elite Force First Impressions
    8:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Our partner site Gamecenter has taken a quick look at Raven Software's upcoming Star Trek title, Voyager: Elite Force. As you might remember, Westlake Interactive and Aspyr Media announced yesterday that they would be porting and publishing this game for the Mac OS. Gamecenter has posted a few first impressions of the game after playing it for a short time. Here's a clip:

    The story for Elite Force is textbook Star Trek. The Voyager crew is attacked by a strange vessel, and when the Voyager destroys the alien vessel, a wormhole is created that sucks the craft and its crew into a weird ship graveyard. The Elite Force team springs into action, intent on getting to the bottom of this mess and freeing Voyager.
    They also have several new screen shots posted. Be sure to check out IMG's first look at the game for more even more information on this much-anticipated shooter. Elite Force will likely be finished for the Mac before the end of the year.

    IMG: Aspyr Media Announced Three New Titles
    GameCenter Elite Force First Look
    IMG First Look: Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
    Aspyr Media
    Raven Software
    Westlake Interactive
    Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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    New Simon 3D Shots
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Fragland has posted twenty new screen shots of Simon the Sorcerer 3D, the upcoming adventure game from HeadFirst. Simon 3D is the third in a series of quirky adventure games, and the first to be rendered in real-time 3-dimensional splendor. The screen shots show off a number of new characters and environments, as well as the cartoony imagery this series is famous for. Be sure to head over and check them out.

    The German company Epic Interactive is porting Simon 3D to the Mac; it should be released next year. In the meantime, they are also working on porting the earlier adventure Simon the Sorcerer II, which should be completed later this Fall.

    Fragland Simon 3D Screen Shots
    Simon 3D Web Site

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    Red Faction Info
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    A fourth installment of fiction/backstory for Volition's upcoming FPS Red Faction has been posted at PCIGN, and new screen shots have arrived as well. Developed by the creators of the Descent series, this first-person shooter will attempt to take the genre one step further with a deep storyline, great graphics, and an amazing Geo-Mod engine which allows players to destroy actual map elements such as walls, floors and windows -- even entire buildings.

    VoodooExtreme has posted 23 screen shots from the game, which is still in development. While some of them look familiar, they are all very high resolution and worth a look.

    PCIGN has posted the fourth of their character sketches inspired by the storyline of Red Faction. This latest post is an excerpt from the diary of the dangerous mercenary leader Colonel Masako. She and her troops are on Mars at the request of the evil Ultor corporation, though she's not exactly happy about it. Here's a clip:

    When Ultor called us to Mars three months ago, I thought the execs had panicked. Now I don't know. It's going to get ugly down here. There's a tide rising that just might sweep Ultor's ass right off this planet. The security guards have held it back so far, but they won't last long when it breaks. We'll weather it though; we always have. Those miners are tough. With the right leadership they'll flatten the guards. But they don't stand a chance against my mercs.
    We're betting you'll get to the chance to lead the miners to revolt, as you play Parker in the solo game, a miner involved in some sort of conspiracy that spurs him to take matters into his own hands. For more on his background, check the previous character sketches based on the game posed at IGN.

    Red Faction is set to be released early next year. Mac, PC, and Playstation 2 versions are underway by Volition and should be completed at the same time.

    Red Faction Web Site
    Voodoo Extreme Red Faction Screen Shots, Part 2
    Voodoo Extreme Red Faction Screen Shots, Part 1
    PC IGN Masako Story
    Red Faction

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    Diablo II Expansion Preview
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    ZDNet has posted an excellent preview of the newly-announced expansion pack for Diablo II. Not merely an excuse to keep the soda cooler stocked at Blizzard, the add-on pack will add to the engrossing story with a new Act comprised of six quests. Two new character classes (the Druid and Assassin) will also be added to the mix, though you will need to play through the original game with them first in order to use them in the new Act, which picks up after the end of Diablo II. Here's a clip from the preview with more on why this expansion will be worth your hard-earned cash:

    A lot more thought has gone into the creation of this expansion pack than the one published for the original Diablo game. Defunct development house Synergistic Software produced the expansion pack for the original Diablo; as a result, the additional areas and creatures didn't integrate well with those in the original game. That won't be a problem this time around, as Blizzard is internally developing the add-on for the sequel. While some expansion packs are hastily assembled to capitalize on the commercial success of a title, Blizzard contemporaneously plotted the expansion pack while developing Diablo II and always intended to use the add-on to complete the tale.
    Check out the rest of the preview for more on the new monsters, items and character classes in the pack. The expansion is set for release in the first half of next year for Mac and PC, although we know by experience that a Blizzard "ship date" is a moving target at best.

    Diablo II Expansion Web Site
    ZDNet Diablo II Expansion Pack Preview
    Blizzard Entertainment
    Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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    Warcraft III Interview, Info
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story has been busy lately, gathering information about the game that is the focus of their obsession from a trip to the recent ECTS 2000 expo. They've talked to Blizzard's Bill Roper extensively, and have posted a long interview with him about the game. If you've been looking for more information on Warcraft III, definitely check out this Q&A, as it covers just about everything. Here's a clip about the storyline behind this title:

    WarCraftIII.Net: Can you give us any more information the storyline?

    Bill: The biggest thing with the storyline I think is we really want to focus on it, similar to how we told the story in Brood War where it's one big epic storyline that gets told as you go through the different races. For anyone that's a fan of the WarCraft universe you're going to see some familiar faces, some characters are going to pop up that are not only in WarCraft II but all the way back to the original WarCraft. Our goal is to make it a very fun experience for no one who's played before but for those real core WarCraft fans they're going to see some stuff in the story that they're going to think we have forgotten about. They'll be like "Oh wow, I can't believe they remembered about that character!" It's going to be really neat, it's going to be really exciting. Chris Metzen who wrote the story for WarCraft II and its expansion is working on that. From a storyline stand point it's going to be the best we've done so far.

    After you read through the interview, check out their description of the demo Roper gave them of the game in action. As is expected, they go into great detail about each step he walked them through, and there are even a few images available to illustrate their points.

    Warcraft III is set to be released late next year, though Blizzard has been known to push back a release date or two... The game will be their first full-3D title, though they are working hard on a software renderer so that a 3D card won't be required. Bill Roper Interview Demo Write-up
    Blizzard Entertainment
    WarCraft III
    Buy WarCraft III

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    SimShow Available7:52 PM
    Mac Gaming Championship at Expo5:03 PM
    MacAlly Shows Airstick4:27 PM
    Feral On Future Releases4:24 PM
    French Touch Demos WaterRace4:23 PM
    Westlake's Secrets Unveiled3:08 PM
    New WaterRace Info2:55 PM
    Elite Force Opponents2:52 PM
    New Oni Tidbits, Contradictions10:21 AM
    Shogo Demo Available!10:02 AM
    Epic Interactive Refocuses on Mac9:32 AM
    Gaming News from Paris Expo9:27 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, September 13, 2000 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Tuesday, September 12, 2000
    Monday, September 11, 2000
    Friday, September 8, 2000
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    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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