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Friday, September 15, 2000

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Free AvP Levels to be Mac-compatible
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpot has a scored a few new screen shots of levels from Fox Interactive's popular FPS Aliens versus Predator, which should soon be available for the Mac platform. Recently we brought you news that AvP should be completed for the Mac in about a month's time. Many networking and graphics issues delayed the Mac version far behind the premiere of the PC version of this shooter, though this acclaimed thriller will still be a welcome addition to the Mac gaming catalog.

Fox is planning on releasing new levels for AvP free of charge on the Web. We contacted the man behind the Mac port of AvP, Bill "Burger" Heineman, to see if these levels would function on our side of the fence once the Mac version is released. Here's his reply:

Actually, the Mac version has support for the new levels already.

Installing them is simplicity itself. You simply drag the level files into
the Aliens vs. Predator "Levels" folder and then just run Avp, the game will
then automatically move the files where they need to go. (Performing any
PC->Mac translation while it does that.)

This is great news for Mac fans, who love a simple, elegant install. Congratulations to Bill for his progress on this title; we can't wait to run a news story declaring Mac AvP is "gold" and ready for the store shelves.

Logicware Web Site
GameSpot AvP Levels Info
Aliens vs Predator Due Oct 20th
Fox Interactive
Aliens vs. Predator: Gold

IMG Apple Expo Pictures Posted
1:29 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Our very own Toby Allen from Inside Mac Games, having just come back from Apple Expo in Paris, sent along two dozen or so pictures from the show. To check them out, click on the link below.

IMG Apple Expo Pictures

Deathground Special Sale
11:48 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Shareware mavens Freeverse have cooked up a little promotion in the form of a special sale price for Deathground, their Risk-like game of mafia warfare. Here are the details on this limited-time offer:

Until the end of the month, we're offering our award-winning gangster game,
Deathground, for only $10.00, ($3.20 priority S&H).

There's got to be a catch right?

Well, of course there is! By ordering Deathground at this special price,
you're also agreeing to join our announcement list so we can let you know
about new games as they're released. (As catch's go, that's not too bad,

Make sure you take advantage of this special deal, and if Deathground isn't your speed, check out Freeverse's extensive catalog of shareware goodies.

Deathground Special Sale

Another The Fallen Preview
11:15 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

GameSpot UK has posted a preview of Simon and Schuster's upcoming Star Trek game, The Fallen. The preview is based on a special demo that they received, allowing them to play most of the solo adventure featuring Commander Sisko. They have also posted new screen shots, and lots of information about the game for those just now learning of its existence. Here is an excerpt from the preview:

Perhaps most interesting about the enhanced Unreal
engine, however, is that developer The Collective has
opted for a third-person perspective, more Tomb Raider
or The Infernal Machine than Quake. But it works really
well. One of The Collective's main reasons behind it
was, "We wanted the player to see their cool character
on-screen. Who cares if you're playing Worf and you
only get to see his hand?", according the game's FAQ.
The biggest benefit is that The Fallen can lie
somewhere between Quake and Tomb Raider, so that
you have the action of the former, but the ledge
dangling and rock-face climbing of the latter. Certainly
initial impressions suggest that The Fallen will cleverly
meld adventuring and action, something that should
help the game reach a wider-than-Star-Trek audience
(which, admittedly, is quite wide in the first place).
Make sure to check our previous post about the improvements The Collective has made to the Unreal Tournament engine, and be sure and check out GameSpot's article for more details and those new images.

Official DS9: The Fallen Web Site
Info on DS9: the Fallen
DS9: The Fallen Preview at GameSpot UK

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Rune Requirements
10:39 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Rune is probably one of our most anticipated titles due this Fall. This 3rd-person Viking adventure game has amazing graphics, and who doesn't want to shorten a few opponents by about a head's length?

Recently, the official web site for this game posted the system requirements for the PC version of Rune. The recommended system is rather powerful, with a P3 450 Mhz machine indicated as the optimal setup for this game. Since the release of Deus Ex, we now know that not all Unreal-based games require the same hardware. We went ahead and asked Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams if he had any idea of what the Mac version of Rune might demand from your Mac, and what an optimal system configuation might be. Here's his reply:

No official requirements for the Mac yet, but they will be at least as
steep as Deus Ex, with a recommended CPU higher (similar to the P3/450
although maybe not quite that high).
Quite a few players felt burned by low frame rates in Deus Ex (though many admit the gameplay is still amazing), so hopefully Rune will be a bit better in that area. From what we've seen demoed at expos, the game looks amazing and runs very smoothly, and it doesn't have the large, flat outdoor areas that the UT engine is so poor at handling. A more accurate idea of the system requirement for the Mac version of this title should be announced as the title reaches Beta within the next month.

RuneGame Web Site
Westlake Interactive Web Site
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Info on DS9: The Fallen
10:24 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

VoodooExtreme has posted a mini-Q&A after asking The Collective's Tony Barnes about the changes they made to the base Unreal Tournament engine to create their upcoming Star Trek title, Deep Space 9: The Fallen. The game will allow you to play as one of three main characters from the series: Worf, Sisko, or Kira. With a third-person camera angle, many adventure elements and three separate solo adventures, The Collective made a large number of changes to the engine to maintain a cinematic look and feel. Here is an excerpt which describes just a few of the new systems they added to the engine:

-Character Dialog System . Characters have context-sensitive speech. This system allows automated complex interactions between in-game characters.

-Player Auto-Navigation. Much of the clumsy-navigation of previous 3rd-person games have been alleviated by automating/smoothing out player-navigation.

-Skeletal Animation System.

-Facial Animation System (including realistic lip-sync). Our automated lip-sync technology will automatically provide perfect lip-sync for any audio file played, including emotion provided through facial animation.

We're getting very excited to see The Fallen later this Fall. The game itself has recently reached Beta status for both platforms, and is on track for a simultaneous release from Simon and Schuster.

VoodooExtreme Info on The Fallen
Official DS9: The Fallen Web Site
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen

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Elite Force Mac Q&A
10:05 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

It seems like years since we first mentioned this Star Trek-themed shooter on the pages of IMG, each article accompanied by the guarded speculation that the chances were very good of this title coming to the Mac OS -- but always a hair short of absolute confirmation that this was the case. Now that we are certain that Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is coming to the Mac OS, we took some time to quiz the man behind the port about its status. Duane Johnson rose to fame as the man who created 3dfx-accelerated versions of Descent I and II after those games went open-source; soon afterwards he was hired by Graphic Simulations to work on the Mac OS port of Descent III, a gorgeous masterpiece marred only by high system requirements. Now Duane is shouldering an amazing workload, porting Tales of the Sword Coast and assisting with multiplayer networking for Baldur's Gate for GraphSim, while simultaneously working on porting Elite Force for Westlake and Aspyr Media.

Duane took time out from this punishing workload to answer a few questions about the port, and what we can expect. We think Star Trek fans and those who love shooters will be thrilled by the answers. Here is the Q&A:

IMG: Raven reported that at one point that they had the multiplayer version of the Mac build functioning in-house. Can you estimate how complete the code from Raven is? Is the game currently playable?

Duane Johnson: The HoloMatch code only took a day or two to get up to beta since it's mostly Q3 with new bots & effects, plus all that new content of course. So yes, it's quite playable.

The Single player is a completely separate game. This one has been a bit harder, but so far most of the issues have been endian byteswap ones. Either they are not in the "right" places or are missing, and in some of the harder-to-find-ones such as in the MP3 player there were double-swaps. [ed note: endian byteswaps are not a new Trek alien race.]

IMG: Do you anticipate the system requirements will be signifigantly different from those for Quake 3: Arena?

DJ: They should be the same. From what I've played there are more detailed models than in Q3A, but the Level of Detail code works great, keeping the polygon count manageable.

IMG: Do you plan to work on both TOSC and BG multiplayer as well as EF simultaneously, or work on EF after the others are complete?

DJ: Actually, they've been kinda one-at-a-time simultaneously. I've been working on one for a few days till I hit a "good" spot or "bad" spot, then switch to the another for a while. But I must admit that caffeine in all its forms has become a necessity.

IMG: What Mac-specific features do you plan to add -- InputSprocket Support? What about carbonization for Mac OS X?

DJ: Yep, Yep & Yep. I'd like to get multiprocessor support working as well.

IMG: When do you plan to sleep, during reboots?

DJ: As a matter of fac...t.. ZZzz...

Thanks very much to Duane for his precious time. We are sure Mac gamers are eager to get their hands on all three works in progress. As reported previously, Tales of the Sword Coast (an expansion pack for Baldur's Gate) is now Beta; there is no estimated release date for either BG multiplayer support or Mac Elite Force.

Aspyr Media
First Look: Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

SimShow Skin Tutorial Posted
8:55 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

SimsForMac has posted a quick new tutorial on how to use the SimShow utility, recently released by Aspyr, to make customized skins for The Sims. Keep in mind that you'll need an external graphics editor (like PhotoShop) to acutally make new skins. The tutorial is a quick, three-page process, though the author promises to flesh it out further in the future:

To start off, this tutorial is only designed as a resource to Sims users who just want to get into skinning, but have no idea how. I read a lot and experimented with some techniques and this is what I came up with. Hopefully this will show you the basics to making a skin and you can take it from there. I'm not going to try to go into explicit detail, yet I'll show you how to make some simple modifications to an existing skin and then get it to work in your game. Now that SimShow has been released, you'll be able to preview them and then import them into the game.
To download SimShow, head to the Aspyr web site and have your serial number ready to be able to log in.

Aspyr Media Web Site
SimsForMac Web Site
SimsForMac SimShow Tutorial

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Cro-Mag Rally Reaches Alpha
8:52 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Pangea Software sent IMG an email with news that Cro-Mag Rally, the colorful and action-packed racer, has reached the alpha stage in its development. The game is now 100% feature complete, meaning that all the artwork, levels, and cars have been built.

What's left to be done? In addition to general testing, the game is missing about 50% of the audio and most of the music.

Cro-Mag Rally is scheduled to ship sometime in the late October or Early November. Be sure to check out our sneak preview of Cro-Mag Rally.

Cro-Mag Rally Sneak Preview
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

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The Sims To Go Online Next Year
7:37 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

In an interview at Feed, Will Wright talks about his creation, The Sims, giving us all some insight into the mind that created our loveable little Sim-people as well as what's in store for The Sims come next year.

FEED: Playing the game, you don't mind the repetition as much, because it's not a script, you know? I mean, most games come to the point where you're like, "Oh, man, if I hear that character say that one line again, I'm going to just jump out the window."

WRIGHT: [laughs] Right. In fact we did a lot of experimentation to find a language that would be the hardest to discern repetition in. And, in fact, we were originally going to do real languages, and we experimented with like three or four of them and they were all too repeatable. So eventually the voice actors ended up inventing this language. Actually, this one guy invented it and had to train another voice actor, and then train another one. And they'd have these long conversations back and forth, kind of teaching each other the language. It was fascinating.
Wright also talks about his upcoming project, an Online Community of Sims that would be a seamless network of homes and houses allowing greater interaction amongst your Sims.
FEED: Tell me about what you're working on now?

WRIGHT: Well, the main project right now is a version of The Sims that's online. It's going to come out some time next year. It's going to be kind of a massive persistent world, you know, fifty to one hundred thousand people in a city -- kind of like Sim City from the top down except there'll be houses, real houses made by real people who are logged into the game.
To catch the rest of this interview, head over to The Feed.

Feed Interview
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims
Buy The Sims

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Baldur's Gate II Gold for PC
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

BioWare has announced that their latest title, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, is now 'gold master' and should be shipping for the PC before the end of the month. Yesterday we brought you news that GraphSim, the company who ported BioWare's original Baldur's Gate game to the Mac, was investigating porting this sequel to the Mac OS as well.

According to a report on Gamesmania, Graphsim is currently in talks with Interplay to discuss the licencing of this sequel for a port. Since BG II essentially uses the same engine as Baldur's Gate and the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion pack, the Mac port of this sequel should be significantly faster than the original port. Here's an excerpt from the BioWare press release with details about the features of the sequel:

Fifteen NPC’s are available to join players in their quest, along with hundreds of completely new creatures and access to over 130 new spells.  Hundreds of new items also add flavor to the game, including the legendary Holy Avenger and the venerated Staff of the Magi.  Higher-level character development and the exceptionally diverse combat proficiency system will allow for an expanded skill set including Two Weapon Fighting and single weapon mastery.  Over 20 new kits and classes have been added to the already extensive class list from Baldur's Gate to make Baldur's Gate II the most inclusive Advanced Dungeons & Dragons® 2nd edition CRPG ever created.
If you're looking for more info on the game, check out the preview posted at Hardnews and the screen shots available at VoodooExtreme. We'll be sure to bring you more information on GraphSim's attempt to obtain the rights to port this title to the Mac OS. The Tales of the Sword Coast add-on pack is currently in beta testing and will be released with the multiplayer code for Baldur's Gate later this Fall.

Baldur's Gate II Gold Press Release
IMG: GraphSim Signing Baldur's Gate II?
IMG: Baldur's Gate Expansion Pack in Beta
VoodooExtreme Baldur's Gate II Screen Shots
Hardnews Baldur's Gate II Preview
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II

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New Tropico Preview, Bovine Bio
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Some new information has been posted recently concerning PopTop's upcoming dictatorship sim Tropico. The always-tactful 3DGN has posted a new 'Quickie' look at the game, which uses the same engine as PopTop's successful Railroad Tycoon II. Expect this game to be quite different from that title, and any other sim out there. Here's a clip from the preview to give you an idea of why:

This contest of skill and chance charges you with the task of being the newly installed dictator of a fictional Caribbean island in the years spanning the 1950's to the 1970's. The almighty G.O.D. wants you to know just how hard it is to be the king of the mountain ... er, island. Maybe then you won't be so quick to give Stalin or Mussolini a hard time. Then again, maybe you will... who's to say?
Gathering of Developers will be publishing Tropico for the Mac and PC next year. The game will feature high resolution graphics and personalities for the many characters in the game that drive their actions.

On that note, PopTop recently added a new feature to their Character Highlight section, which lists biographies for the characters from the game. This latest bio is actually of a cow, which will also have personality and intelligence ratings. Head to the Tropico site for a look at the quirky, off-beat humor you can expect from this title, due the middle of next year.

Tropico Character Highlight
3DGN Tropico Preview
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

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Summoner Preview, Screen Shots
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Daily Radar has posted another feature concerning Summoner, as part of their week-long special coverage of this upcoming 3D RPG from Volition. This article is an in-depth look at the game after some hands-on experience playing a recent build. While they talk about the Playstation 2 version, keep in mind the Mac and PC builds should be no different except they will also have multiplayer code included, and will be able to be displayed at much higher resolution. Here's an excerpt from the preview which highlights the amount of detail behind the story and characters of the game:

There wasn't a moment when we were allowed to forget that there were sharp class distinctions in the world, either. Joseph's a plowman by birth, and while dockworkers and simple merchants feel right at home talking to him, the local goldsmith will barely spare him a glance no matter how much cash he's got on him. He's shooed away from important areas, glanced at suspiciously by rich merchants and warned away by bodyguards. It's not only Joseph getting kicked around either. Beggars and other farmers are also harassed on the streets by press gangs and thugs, giving a realistic feel to the city and heightening our desire to become huge heroes and show them all.
Be sure to check out the rest of the article for a description of what the gameplay should be like. Also take a look at the new screen shots included with the preview. For even more eye candy, GA-RPG has scored 16 screen shots for themselves, many of which are new. Summoner for the PS2 should be out for the console's North American launch on October 26, with Mac and PC versions following this Winter.

Summoner Web Site
Daily Radar Summoner Preview
GA-RPG Summoner Screen Shots
Buy Summoner

Mac Games News for Thursday, September 14, 2000

Adams' Apple: GameRanger Appealing, Appalling4:13 PM
Mirrors Added For Shogo Demo3:47 PM
GraphSim Signing Baldur's Gate II?1:53 PM
More Debate On Oni Publishing Date1:42 PM
Strike Force Mod for UT Updated11:45 AM
Baldur's Gate Expansion Pack in Beta11:19 AM
MGL interviews Westlake's Jesse Spears11:04 AM
Massive Summoner Details10:54 AM
The Fallen Cast Revealed, New Screenshots10:52 AM
Aspyr Media's New Titles [Updated]10:05 AM
Elite Force First Impressions8:21 AM
Diablo II Expansion Preview6:00 AM
New Simon 3D Shots6:00 AM
Red Faction Info6:00 AM
Warcraft III Interview, Info6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, September 14, 2000 on one page

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