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Monday, September 25, 2000

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PC Q3A Update Released, Mac to Follow Soon
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

id Software has posted an updater for the PC version of Quake 3: Arena on its FTP servers. id usually releases Mac and Linux versions of the updater shortly after the PC version, so Mac gamers should get their own version of the point release very soon. The patch to point release 1.25 weighs in at a hefty 17.3 MB, and adds numerous features. id's resident Mac fan, Graeme Devine also updated his .plan file with this information:

I thought we'd never get this out the door!

The Win32 1.25 point release is now out. It fixes and adds many new features to Quake 3 Arena.

- global rankings support from www.globalrankings.com

- new awards

- new pure server support

- new protocol 45

- score plumes (these are cool)

- headmodel/model/team_model/team_headmodel support (orbbs head on sarge is funny)

- banning of weapons on servers

- dropped sound fixes

- new announcer sounds

- new smoothed client support for modem users

- MD4 skeletal model support

- new encryption

- new botlib version and area files

- and much much more (hint: read the readme this time)

Because we've added so much I think we're going to call this a "Public Beta". We'll put up
the Mac/Linux/OS X builds as they roll off the line.

You'll recall that early last week Devine promised a "noticeable speed increase" in the next Mac Quake 3 point release. The upcoming release will also have support for MacOS X. In related news, there is supposedly a way to 'hack' the PC patch so that you can play with the new weapons that will be added in the expansion pack Quake 3: Team Arena, due out soon. We'll bring you more information on this when the Mac patch is released.

Graeme Devine's .plan at Blue's News
Update on Q3A for OS X
id Software
Quake III Arena

Q3A on OS X Clarifications
2:30 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Earlier today we posted a response from Mark Adams on the possibility of Unreal Tournament being Carbonized to support Mac OS X. In the story, we noted id Software will soon release an OS X version of Quake 3: Arena compatible with the recent beta release of Apple's next-generation OS.

We had assumed this release was to be "Carbonized" version, which is a Mac OS 9 application modified to run under OS X. Carbonizing involves recompiling an application so that is uses the 'Carbon' toolbox libraries built into Mac OS X to provide compatibility with current applications. While the Carbon API is native to OS X, Carbon is not the 'base' API of Mac OS X -- instead, entirely native software uses Cocoa, Apple's low-level API.

It turns out that id Software is not working on the port of Q3A to Mac OS at all -- in fact, a third party called OmiGroup is creating the port. And this is indeed a true port, as parts of Q3A are being completely rewritten under Cocoa, the true foundation for OS X. Here's a clip from OmniGroup:

There is no Carbon code in Q3:A right now. Input and GL setup are done with Cocoa APIs. File access and networking are done with BSD APIs. The sound code uses CoreAudio (which is a layer beneath the Carbon SoundManager).
With Q3A rewritten for OS X at this 'low level,' there should be some definite improvements in speed (over a Carbon version of the game, at least). It will be interesting to see how developers in general react to working in the new environment of OS X.

OmniGroup also had this to say about the port, when we quizzed them about input issues:

MacOS X technologies are pretty easy to work with. Input used to be the weakest area, but it has improved a huge amount since DP4. In the MacOS X subdirectory of Quake3, there are currently only 3228 lines of source and headers (with a good percentage of that being comments), so it doesn't really require a ton of code to get games working on OSX.

We will have an initial release fairly soon (I can't say exactly when). There will probably be at least two releases of the MacOS X port (the latter releases mostly dealing with being a good citizen in windowed mode, I imagine). The basic fullscreen play works very well. The last remaining issues are getting completely synched up with id on source and data files and possibly addressing some mouse acceleration issues.

It is very exciting to hear that we will have a truly native game ready to roll very soon, an excellent way to benchmark OS X's true power and get a feel for the future of gaming on that OS. Imagine playing Q3A in a window while checking your mail at the same time -- we've done the same with DOOM and BeOS two years ago, so it was only a matter of time before this happened on the Mac. We certainly hope that other game porters and makers find it just as easy to port their games to Cocoa.

OmniGroup Web Site
Id Software Web Site

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NVIDIA/Halo Movie Not New
1:50 PM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

We suspected that the Halo footage mentioned today on nVNews and several other news outlets is not new, and a quick check of our IMG news archives has shown that this exact footage has been available since July 25th. However, all good things are worth viewing twice, so feel free to check this movie out if you missed it the first time.

Cannibal Harry of rampancy.net has posted a camcorder movie taken at the Macworld 2000 Bungie Fan Fest of a demo of Bungie's shooter Halo which some humorous plugs for NVIDIA's GeForce 2 series of graphics chips.

Among the comedy bits, there is footage of the much-anticipated flamethrower (including an excited Bungie fan crying "Woohoo! Flamethrower!") as well as several other weapons and vehicles in action.

nV news has posted 4 still images from the movie, to ease the pressure of downloading the 43meg file. If you have a fast connection, go and get it now. If you don't, find a friend who does and get them to download it for you. Halo for Mac and PC still has no release date, but the game is expected to appear on the next-generation X-Box console upon its debut late next year.

Bungie FanFest Movies
Surlyboi.net - nVidia Halo movie
nV News - NVIDIA Halo Movie Stills
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

First Impressions of New V5 Drivers
12:24 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Over the weekend 3dfx has released a new set of drivers for their Voodoo5 5500 PCI cards, updating to version 1.0.8. Among the enhancements listed were improved RAVE support, QuickDraw (2D) enhancements and greater stability. The drivers now support the Voodoo3 2000 and 3000 cards officially, although several users have reported problems with this configuration such as a loss of 2D acceleration.

The actual update and install was completely painless; it takes 2 reboots to complete the install, as the card firmware is not updated until you open the 3dfx MacTools control panel. There is no option given to save a backup of the old firmware. Upon reboot the card is configured to "Single Chip (Most Compatible)."

Benchmarks of Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament, using methods mentioned in our IMG V5 preview, reveal a 1 to 3 fps slowdown across the board, a minor variance that is within the margin of error. This is not surprising, as Bryan Speece mentioned several times that this update does not contain any speed optimizations, nor may the next.

RAVE support is a mixed bag. Dark Vengeance, a RAVE-only game from Reality Bytes, now works very well -- with minor depth-sorting errors (sky textures showing through walls, etc.); previously it only gave a black screen. However, both Bugdom and Nanosaur from Pangea Software no longer run. We contacted Brian Greenstone about this, and he was puzzled; he could not get them to run either, and has never been able to do so consistently, although 3dfx engineers claim the games should work. Other RAVE-only games such as Quake 1 and Tanaka still do not work, but Q1 support is planned for a future update.

There is no truly reliable way to benchmark 2D support on the G4/500; the old and unsupported MacBench produces unreliable results, and scrolling tests in word processors or Photoshop are too fast to measure accurately. 2D speed of this card seems as robust and blazingly fast as always. The only 2D compatibility issues we've seen mentioned are with older draw applications such as Freehand 3 and VectorWorks, but these were not available for testing.

Deep sleep mode for the G4/500 is still not possible; it results in the same error stating that a PCI card which does not support powering down the PCI bus is installed. This is a terrible shame, as the power-hungry G4 only consumes 4 watts in deep sleep mode, an engineering marvel. Removing the V5 solves this problem.

The addition of hardware MPEG support is mentioned, but I see no change in speed or visual quality; MPEG movies still run rock solid 30 fps at 1280x1024 with no glitches. The benefit of hardware support will most likely show up on slower machines. There is still no sign of DVD support, but this is a step in that direction.

Overall, this does not seem to be a must-have update. Speece indicates in several posts on the 3dfxgamers forums that 1.0.9 is testing internally, and they may have another release planned in the near future. In any case it seems that speed optimization of the driver has been shelved while bug fixes are completed. We'll keep testing these new drivers for bugs; watch for a full review of the V5 from IMG in the near future -- we may have some surprises for you. Make sure you leave your comments regarding your own experiences with this driver update here or on our forums.

Voodoo5 5500 Preview
IMG Forums

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An Elite Force Mystery, Solved
11:10 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Several extremely alert fans of porting house Westlake Interactive noted an alarming development over the weekend -- all mentions of their latest title in development, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, had vanished from their web site. Specifically, the blurb on the news page which announced their work on this game vanished, and on the Project Status page the game reverted to its former code name, "Hot" project.

Obviously this was cause for alarm for those anticipating the Mac OS version of this Trek-themed shooter, but a call to Mark Adams quickly solved the mystery. It seems the information disappeared at the request of Paramount, still in the final stages of securing the contract with Aspyr.

In any case, Mark assured us that Elite Force Mac is on-track and in active development, and mention of the project should be back on the News and Project Status pages quite soon. Official mention of the game on the Aspyr Media web site is expected in October, after the Aspyr World 2000 media event. Aspyr expects to publish Elite Force for Mac in late Fall/early Winter 2000.

Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive Project Status Page
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Bugdom 1.1.4 Updater Released
8:46 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Pangea Software has released a minor update to Bugdom, bringing it up to version 1.1.4. It includes the following fixes:

Version 1.1.4 - OS X helped discover a memory trashing bug which was probably causing problems for some people. Also recompiled with Codewarrior 6 which should fix some problems.
The patch weighs in at 276k and is available for download from Macgamefiles.com.

Pangea Software
Download Bugdom 1.1.4 Updater (276k)

New Voodoo5 Drivers Released
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

After a long period of silence, 3dfx Interactive has finally released updated drivers for their Voodoo5 5500 PCI video card that was released last month. This update is available through the auto-update feature in the 3dfx MacTools control panel. According to posts by Brian Speece in the XLR8YourMac and 3dfxgamers forums, improvements include enhanced Quickdraw support and enabling both VSA-100 chips in "most legacy Macs". He also had this to say:

Some sleep issues are fixed - but there are still others.

Not fully carbonized.

There are definitely some Quickdraw enhancements.

V3 is - for the first time - recognized by the 3dfx MacTools Control Panel. Therefore this is the first time the unified version recognizes V3's, V4's and/or V5's and presents the user with the appropriate options accordingly.

Frankly there's a lot more stuff we're working on but we didn't want to make you guys wait any longer for a release either. Figured you enjoy these enhancements while we work on the next rev.
This is the light at the end of the tunnel that Voodoo5 owners were looking for. The Mac 3dfx team had been keeping a low profile after several of Speece's posts were modified by hackers in the 3dfxgamers forum. No mention of speed enhancements was made, but presumably research in this direction is being pursued as well as future Mac OS X-native support.

Voodoo3 owners can rejoice as well, as driver support has been unified (ala nVidia) and they can now take advantage of some features (2D and QuickTime acceleration) that have been missing in the beta drivers. However, some have experienced problems installing the new drivers over existing Voodoo3 drivers, and caution is urged -- always keep a backup of your ROM file when 'flashing' (updating) your V3 card.

You can also download these drivers from the link below. Make sure that you follow the instructions completely; it takes 2 reboots to fully update your V3 or V5 card.

Update: While the above comments are a direct quote from Bryan Speece, he has asked us to note that the 3dfx drivers are not being 'carbonized' but in fact re-written to be Mac OS X native. He was using 'carbonized' to explain this move in terms that a previous poster would understand.

Download Mac V5 5500 Drivers 1.0.8 (1.8 MB)
Voodoo5 5500 PCI Preview
3dfxgamers Forum Thread
XLR8YourMac Forum Thread

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Tribes 2 Vehicle Details
6:00 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

DailyRadar has posted an article revealing the vehicles that you will be able to use in Dynamix's upcoming teamply-based shooter sequel, Tribes 2. Ranging from a small but speedy cycle to a massive "mobile point base," these vehicles can be driven solo, but usualy include multiple seats for other team members. It was previously stated that Dynamix is working on making the vehicles go under water as well, but there is no specific information that any of the vehicles revealed can go unde Tribes 2's realistic oceans. Here is an excerpt from the vehicle description list:

Wilcat Grav Cycle

A favorite of snipers and flag runners, the Wildcat is a ground-hugging
"Terragrav" built for blazing speed. Skilled Wildcat pilots build formidable
reputations as fearless daredevils... or absolute psychopaths.

Beowulf Assault Tank

Powerfully armed and heavily shielded, the Beowulf constitutes a
fearsome mobile assault fire platform. It carries a crew of a pilot and a
gunner and is armed with turret-mounted plasma cannons and a fusion

Jericho Mobile Point Base

Slow but heavily shielded, the Jericho carries a full inventory station and
permits a tribal force to establish a forward base anywhere on the map.
An onboard sensor jammer lets it slip past enemy sensors.

Shrike Fighter

The Shrike is often typecast as an anti-Turbograv vehicle. However, its
agility and heavy chainguns make it quite effective in a ground support
role. It also carries an advanced sensor suite that links into the
Command Circuit and provides detailed intelligence on enemy

Thundersword Bomber

The Thundersword delivers massive firepower to the battlefield and is
particularly effective against shielded targets. The three man crew
includes a pilot, bombardier, and tailgunner. The bombardier fires either
energy bombs or a belly turret.

Havoc Gunship Transport

The Havoc allows aerial transport of personnel across any terrain.
Though unarmed, the ship carries up to four heavy armors plus a
tailgunner, thus earning the appellation "gunship."

The Mac OS version of this title is on hold pending the completion of the PC version, which was recently delayed. Check out the DailyRadar report for more information.

Tribes 2
DailyRadar's Tribes 2 Vehicles Report

Gamesprockets 1.7.5 International
6:00 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

Following last month's release of the Apple Gamesprockets v1.7.5, a version has finally been released for the international English community. Apple's web site has this to say about this version of Sprockets:

  • DrawSprocket 1.7.5: Provides support for viewing game images, including setting screen resolution and color depth, choosing a monitor (on computers with multiple monitors), accelerating screen updates and delivers improvements for graphic intensive game applications.
  • InputSprocket 1.7.3: Provides support for a wide variety of input devices, including joysticks, gamepads, mice, and keyboards (for a complete list of Supported Devices, see below).
  • NetSprocket 1.7.1: Allows you to play games with other players over an AppleTalk or TCP/IP network.
  • SoundSprocket 1.7.1: Allows you to hear 3D sound effects in some applications with only two speakers connected to your computer.
It should be noted that these sprockets require OS 8.1 or later, except for InputSprocket which requires OS 8.6 or better when used on a Macintosh with USB. Apple also notes that the new Gamesprockets should NOT be installed on an iMac 233 rev A or B running System 8.1 through 8.5.1.

Apple - GameSprockets 1.7.5 update
Download GameSprockets 1.7.5 update

Mac.EmuScene.com Joins the IMG Network
6:00 AM | Ryan Niemann | Comment on this story

Mac.EmuScene.com has recently been added to Inside Mac Games Network. This site offers up-to-the-minute news on emulators and projects related to making your Mac mimic old consoles, arcade machines, home PCs and even calculators. MacEmuScene also hosts a handful of other Mac emulation-related sites.

There is
a collection of articles, reviews and interviews on the site, and it is constantly expanding. If you have ever wanted to see
your favorite Nintendo, Sega, Atari and other titles running on your Mac, check out Mac.EmuScene.com. And for all those new to Mac-based emulators, check out their Newbie's Guide to Mac Emulation.

Newbie's Guide to Emulation
Inside Mac Games Network

Mark Adams on UT Carbonization
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Last week we brought you word that id Software would be releasing a version of Quake 3: Arena which would be 'Carbonized' -- converted to native format -- for the Mac OS X Beta in the near future. This naturally leads one to wonder of there is a possibility of a carbonized version of Unreal Tournament, another extremely popular Mac shooter. Mark Adams at Westlake Interactive was nice enough to give us a quick reply about this matter:

Its certainly possible, but we aren't working on it right now. If
MacSoft decided is was a really important thing and contracted with us to
do it, obviously it would become a higher priority. Right now we're
still waiting for the gaming technologies to mature in OS X before
carbonizing anything though.
Westlake has some very valid concerns about gaming under OS X, as many pieces of OS X related to gaming seem to still be in a state of flux (InputSprockets, 3D support, etc). We'll keep you posted as the situation with OS X and Mac gaming evolves.

Westlake Interactive Web Site
IMG News: Update on Q3A for OS X

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

An interview with HumanHead's Dave Halsted has appeared at PC Monkey. They chat about his work designing the 'levels' for their upcoming Viking-based 3D melee combat game Rune. This 3rd-person title is using a heavily-modified version of the Unreal engine, and the levels look suitably impressive. Here's a clip from the Q&A:

What environmental features can gamers expect to see in Rune's levels that they will not have already seen in previous games?

I know one thing that people are really going to get a kick out of is our organic areas, in particular the DeepUnderground maps that Ragnar traverses early in the game.  We studied up on natural cave/rock formations and found a number of clever ways to make naturalistic formations that looked like they had worn by ancient rivers, etc.  And most of this stuff is _quite_ low-poly.  You can get to a vista that, with good texturing and lighting, looks to be as many as 150 polys when it's actually safely under 100. There's a lot of care put into maximizing beauty for framerate, and we think it paid off for creating a far more immersive world.

Fewer polygons per scene are generally a good thing for those who enjoy higher frame rates. Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams has told IMG that Rune will most likely have slightly higher system requirements that another Unreal-based game, Deus Ex, although Rune likely won't contain as many large, open areas which caused slow-downs in that game.

Westlake is reportedly making great progress with the Mac version of Rune and should have the game completed only a short while after the PC version is released.

Westlake Interactive Web Site
PC Monkey Rune Q&A
IMG News: Rune Requirements
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Tribes 2 Delayed?
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Tribes 2's Dave Georgeson has made a post recently to the TribalWar forums. In this post he notes that Dynamix is asking their publisher Sierra for more time to test this teamplay-based shooter. Here's his post in full:

Well...remember that Fall, 2000 thing I keep saying...?


Dates are funny things. We're currently working with Sierra to negotiate a longer beta period so we can polish this sucka up nice and bright for you. We're not slipping our beta date, but we don't want to ship buggy, so we're talking to them now about moving the date for shipping so we can have a longer, more thorough beta period.

We'll see.

Choosing between getting a game out "on time" and really polishing it to its full potential is a tough call, certainly.

Currently the once-promised Mac OS version of this game is on hold, pending completion of the PC version. Obviously this delay will also affect a possible future Mac release of this title, but now we can be certain our version will be less buggy if it does ship. For more information on Tribes 2 visit the game web site.

Tribes 2 Web Site
IMG News: Fate of Mac Tribes 2 In Limbo?
Tribal War Forum Post

Mac Games News for Friday, September 22, 2000

MacGamer previews F.A.K.K. 23:51 PM
Tanks of Terror Test Demo Released3:38 PM
Blizzard to Carbonize Several Current and Future Titles1:23 PM
Red Faction Preview10:05 AM
Radeon is Mac OS X-Compatible8:43 AM
Deus Ex SDK Released8:27 AM
Tropico Q&A8:26 AM
M&M's: The Lost Formulas Coming Soon6:00 AM
Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey a Hybrid?6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, September 22, 2000 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, September 21, 2000
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