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Friday, September 29, 2000

EarthLink Issues $30,000 bill to Halo fan
1:18 PM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

You may remember the Halo/NVIDIA movie that was brought to light in the gaming community a few days ago. The initial post was about a camcorder-produced copy of the movie which was shown at the Bungie Fan Fest back in July, and which was hosted on the site of dedicated Halo fan Cannibal Harry. This movie was only known to a small group of Bungie fans until a major PC news site 'discovered' it and posted the information, which spread across the net like wildfire.

As a result, an estimated 100,000 people downloaded the movie, racking up a stunning 4500 gigabytes of bandwidth usage on Cannibal Harry's site. EarthLink, CH's ISP, has issued him a $30,000 bill for the excessive bandwidth usage.

He has summed up the situation in the following post on his website:

Well, my ISP wasn't feeling as charitable as I was. On Wednesday, September 27th, I was charged $5,800 for excess usage fees. No warning, just a nearly six grand bill. I called them to find out what the deal was, and they said that I had had something on the order of 62 gigs worth of traffic for the month of July, hence the huge bill. Now, it gets worse, they calculated the traffic for September, and they say my grand total for this month is running somewhere near $23,600. About an hour later after I came out of my coma, I asked if there was any way to defray the cost. They said I could if I paid them $4,500 dollars by today.

Cannibal Harry's main hang out, Rampancy.net has a thread in the forum following CH's plight against his ISP. He is currently talking to his ISP, trying to negotiate a reduction in the bandwidth bill (and appears to be succeding, although it is still a whopping sum), and a lot of dedicated fans are promising to send him money to help out.

CH's plea for help
Rampancy.net thread
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

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Tribes 2 for Linux Confirmed
4:30 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Of all the titles Mac users were anticipating this year, Tribes 2 from Dynamix and Sierra has been one of the most frustrating. Although the game was initially announced for the Mac as well as the PC, Dynamix has slowly backed away from that position, now claiming that they will look into a Mac version after the PC version is complete.

A recent Tribes 2 newsletter has confirmed that a Linux version of this teamplay-based shooter will be ported by Loki Entertainment, a company which has done Linux ports of such titles as Myth II: Soulblighter and Quake 3 Arena. There is no word on whether this port will be for Linux x86 only, or for Linux PPC as well -- many of Loki's ports support LinuxPPC, a version that can run on many Mac systems.

The implications of the Linux port for Mac users are many. Linux is certainly not the same thing as Unix, but many Unix applications can be made to run under Mac OS X with minor difficulty, if they use standard APIs. A well-designed Linux port could possibly be migrated to OS X via Unix, as they share the BSD kernel.

What is more interesting is the implication that Dynamix is open-minded to the idea of outsourcing ports to third-party developers. Previously the Mac version of Tribes 2 was expected to be developed in-house, but this opens the door to a possible port by another company. While this would mean a delay between the PC and Mac releases of Tribes 2, this was an expected occurrence under even the best of circumstances. While this is total speculation at this point, it is more food for thought as Mac users attempt to buoy their hopes of ever seeing this shooter on our platform. The Linux gaming market is extremely small, even in comparison to the Mac market, so arguments against a Mac port based on numbers of sales are weakened by this development.

In related news, Dynamix has also posted nine new screen shots of this game in action. Tribes 2 for PC was recently delayed, but by how much has yet to be announced.

Loki Entertainment
Tribes 2 Web Site
New Tribes 2 Screen Shots
Blue's News

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Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force in Beta
1:26 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Star Trek fans, rejoice! We can report that Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force for the Mac OS has reached beta. Duane Johnson, who is currently porting Elite Force to the Mac, sent us a lengthy note with loads of information on the progress he has made in the last two weeks. Here is an excerpt:

The beta CD's are being burned this very minute. The last two weeks I
been banging away at the code getting into shape. My alpha tester (14
year old son, Chase) has played through once & he's going to be
strapped in again for another go.

I've added a level of joystick support that Q3 did not have. Not the
full sprockets panel, since the plan is to carbonize EF once id has
done [so] with the Q3A engine. But since I like to mouselook with my right
hand & walk/straiff with my left, using a stick. I "had" to add
joystick support in somehow. So configuration is all done within the
EF UI. The walk/look speed is tied to stick deflection, which is nice
when crawling around in the Jeffries tubes. The standard mode is look
for left/right, walk for foward/back. You can configure a stick to
only look or only walk, however.

This is also one of the first (the first?) Mac games to use the Bink
video system, by RAD Game Tools. This made video pretty easy since the
cut scenes did not need any conversions & the code was nearly
identical. Raven was smart and built high & low quality versions of
each movie. There was some tuning required on deciding when to use

Performance is what you'd expect with the Q3 engine drawing stunning
visuals & MP3 streaming in your ears. I did tune up the load/save
screens a little, Raven was reading the screen shot from disk twice for
each savegame displayed. But other than that its not easy improving
Carmack's code, unless of course, you are John himself. And once he's done with
the Q3 1.25 tune-up, I'll be folding that into EF.

Having the voices of the real Voyager crew adds tons to the feeling
that you ARE a crewmember doing that Star Fleet thing. The music is
also pure Voyager & it ties in with the action wonderfully.
Although Aspyr Media hasn't published any release dates for Elite Force, reaching beta ensures that the title is on track for possibly a late October release. As always, stay tuned to IMG for further developments.

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

MacCentral on Oni Delay
11:06 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

After ECTS in London, several sources reported that Oni, Bungie's anime-inspired hand-to-hand combat game, will be delayed until next year; more recent reports have suggested that the game is due the second week of January for Mac, PC and PlayStation 2. MacCentral's gaming guru Peter Cohen has spoken to Bungie about this situation. Matt Soell confirms that Oni will indeed be delayed, although he emphasizes that the game will not be delayed more than a couple of months. A source from Gathering of Developers, the actual publishers of this title, confirms with Cohen that the title is due in January. Here's a clip from the article:

"Right now we're on Beta 2," said Soell. "The focus right now is on testing and tweaking the levels; this
build will get us roughly halfway through that process. When all the levels have been tweaked we'll
concentrate on engine bugs, optimization, basically banging out the last batch of dents in the sleek muscle
machine that is Oni."

News reports put forth following ECTS in London earlier this month indicated that Oni's would be
delayed until March of 2001, but Soell disputes the suggestion.

"The Oni team is really hammering on the game right now, and while I can imagine that the schedule
might slip a little -- nothing ever goes as planned -- I can't see it slipping another half-year. Too much
furious all-night work is happening ... I don't know how long that process will take but I really doubt it'll
be six more months," said Soell.

It seems this tale has still not been entirely told, however. Recently the list of titles set to ship for PlayStation 2 after the October launch of this next-generation console in Europe and the US was released. On the US list, Oni was featured among the titles scheduled for a December release. In any case it seems clear that Oni's US release will indeed be delayed from the once-projected target of October; read the rest of the report for more details.

Oni Delayed Until January 2001?
Oni Web Site
MacCentral on Oni Delay

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PCIGN Black & White Movies Part 2
10:48 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

Yesterday we mentioned news that PCIGN had posted the first 4 of 13 movies recorded at a showing of Black and White at the recent ECTS expo. Today, they have posted the next 5 installments.

Don't download them expecting pretty graphics, as they are of poor quality due to being filmed from some distance with a hand-held camcorder. But if you want to hear creator Peter Molyneux discussing and demonstrating actual game features, these movies are a great source of information.

Black and White is in production at Lionhead Studios, and is expected to be released for the PC in February next year. It is suspected but not confirmed that there will be a Macintosh port.

PC IGN - B&W Movies from ECTS
Lionhead Studios
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

An Update On Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey
10:41 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Since we ran the news that Empire Interactive's Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey has a Mac OS version, a feature that was not announced and received no mention in either the press nor upon the Empire web site, a surprisingly large amount of mail has poured in. Many eager fans of this series are looking for the Mac version all over the globe; sadly, it remains a rare find.

All three US copies purchased by IMG and two other readers are PC-only, not hybrid releases. However, we have confirmation (including screen shots of the application, folders, and game in progress) that the Mac/PC hybrid exists, and also word that two retailers stock the game as a Mac version: an unnamed Dutch distributor and German distributor Application Systems. It appears that the Mac release of this game was only in Europe, and there may have even been a Mac-only release or a specific Mac boxed version.

"Gero" from the German site MacinPlay submitted the following report on our comments thread:

You can buy this title regularly at least at a German Macintosh-Distributor (http://www.application-systems.de/propinball/), and I had it already running on the Macintosh for testing purposes for the German Mac gaming service http://www.macinplay.de. Right now, we are preparing a review (in German language). The game's got some Windows-thingies in it - like changing the flippers: pressing the Command-keys results in the game responding "left Windows key" and so on. ;-)
Application Systems appears to have been the actual developer for the title. We have contacted both them and Empire Interactive, but have received no reply as of yet, perhaps due to a language barrier. In any case, if anyone has found a reliable source for the Mac or hybrid version of this title that is willing to ship to the US, please let us know on the comments thread, over e-mail or in our forums.

Empire Interactive Pro Pinball Series
Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey a Hybrid?

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Cro-Mag Rally in Beta
10:09 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Pangea Software's president Brian Greenstone has informed IMG that their upcoming kart-style racer Cro-Mag Rally is now in beta testing! The game is akin to Nintendo's Mario Kart, but will be set in a prehistoric timeframe with many cool features and even a multiplayer mode. According to Greenstone, the game should be finished in a few weeks, possibly hitting stores in early November.

According to Greenstone, a new first-person camera mode as now been implemented. Previous versions of the game all had the camera set a certain distance behind the racer, so this is a cool new feature that should put you right in the action. With great graphics and fun physics, we're definitley looking forward to CMR's release.

The Pangea site will be taking preorders for the game a week or two before it's released, if you want to get your copy as soon as it is available. Cro-Mag Rally will be priced at $39.95. A demo of the game should also be available around the same time the full version is released. For more info, check out the official CMR web site or IMG's preview of the game.

IMG: Cro-Mag Rally Preview
Cro-Mag Rally Web Site
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

RockNES Released for Mac
10:03 AM | Ryan Niemann | Comment on this story

A port of the popular PC Nintendo 8-Bit emulator, RockNES , has been released for Mac. This emulator supports nearly every NES game, and is completely free. Here are details from the web site:

RockNES is a NES emulator for the Macintosh.

It is by far the most compatible NES emulator currently available for the Macintosh, given that it supports full PPU emulation, full sound emulation (including VRCVI sound, used by some Japanese games), battery backed RAM, Famicom DiskSystem, VS Unisystem, and some 69 different mappers. In addition, RockNES includes lots of different video modes, as well as the ability to load and save your game at any stage. You can even record movies of gameplay!

The author, Richard Bannister, has ported many emulators to the Mac. For more information check out IMG Network member Mac.EmuScene.com .

Official RockNES Website

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Avernum 2 Announced
9:58 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Jeff Vogel at Spiderweb Software has announced the sequel to the popular RPG, Avernum. Avernum 2 is an overhaul of an older game, Exile 2: Crystal Souls, just as Avernum was a remake of the classic title Exile. Sporting the usual characteristic "retro" graphics and deep story line, this shareware title should be another great experience for RPG-lovers everywhere. Here's the press release:

Avernum 2

An Upcoming Epic Fantasy Role-Playing Game for Windows and Macintosh

Avernum is a prison. It is an enormous warren of tunnels and caverns, far
below the surface world. You were banished there by the cruel Empire, to
spend the rest of your life in the underworld. At first, it seemed like you
and your many fellow prisoners might be able to form a nation and live in
peace, far from the sun.

Then a group of adventurers from Avernum assassinated Hawthorne, the emperor
of the Empire. Now the forces of the Empire are rampaging through your
underground home, killing everyone they find. As things stand, the nation of
Avernum, and all in it, are doomed.

But then you, lowly soldiers stationed at the most remote Avernite outpost,
get a chance to change things. A series of unexpected events gives you the
opportunity to explore unimagined realms, meet strange alien creatures, and
maybe, with luck and cunning, save your people from certain doom.

Avernum. It's a terrible place. But it's all you have.

Avernum 2 is the sequel to the hit retro-rpg Avernum. Avernum 2, like its
predecessor, is a classic fantasy role-playing game, designed for anyone who
wants a huge game with a fascinating plot and who longs for the good old
days of Ultima and Wizardry. It features beautiful 3-D, 16-bit graphics,
including drawings by well-known fantasy illustrator, Phil Foglio, a massive
storyline with three different game-winning quests (complete one or two of
them, or even all three), and addicting gameplay.

Experience with Avernum is completely unnecessary to enjoy Avernum 2.
Avernum is a complete rewrite of the classic game Exile 2: Crystal Souls.
Avernum is from Spiderweb Software, makers of Nethergate and the
award-winning Exile series. Estimated minimum system requirements: Windows
95/98/NT/2000 or PowerPC Macintosh, 12 MB free RAM, 20 MB hard drive space,
800x600 screen resolution. Highly recommended: 16 bit color, minimum 120 MhZ

More information about Avernum 2 can be found at the official web site for the game. If you have yet to try a Spiderweb RPG, Vogel's games are ideal for fans of turn-based combat and deep, interactive story lines. Avernum should be out this Winter and cost $25.

Avernum 2 Web Site
Spiderweb Software
Avernum 2
Buy Avernum 2

Apple Stock Plummets After Shortfall Announcement
8:24 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

In what could only be considered one of the darkest days in Apple's stock market performance, today Apple stock has taken an enormous hit, trading at one point at 27.88, down over 25 points from yesterday's close. This huge deflation in Apple Stock comes just a day after announcements that the company's 4th-Quarter Profits might only reach $110 million, down from $165 million from earlier projections. The stock's market value is down over $8 billion in just two short hours since the market opened this morning. A near 50% drop is almost unheard-of in any stock, especially Apple's.

From the Dow Jones Newswire:

Apple said it expects to report earnings for the September quarter of 30 cents to 33 cents a share, excluding investment gains, on revenue of $1.85 billion to $1.90 billion. The consensus view had been 45 cents.
Apple's stock has been remarkably resilient compared to other tech stocks since the 'dot.com correction' earlier this April that sent many such companies spiraling earthward. Apple's tremendous cash reserves in relation to other companies is likely to soften the blow of this stock value loss, and a few market analysts are already predicting a rebound.

DowJones Newswire Release

Mac Games News for Thursday, September 28, 2000

Status Update on Fantasoft Games5:59 PM
New Myst III : Exile preview4:55 PM
More 3dfx Q&A4:50 PM
Stupid Invaders Preview4:15 PM
FarSight for The Sims Released3:20 PM
Tim Gerritsen on Rune Perspective11:48 AM
New Rune, 4x4 Evo Shots11:43 AM
DS9: The Fallen Preview11:21 AM
Terminus Patched Again10:00 AM
New Team Arena Images9:55 AM
More Black and White Movies9:49 AM
Soldier of Fortune Post Mortem9:46 AM
3dfx Q&A9:42 AM
Oni Delayed Until January 2001?9:36 AM
Tomb Raider Level Editor FAQ, Mac Info9:25 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, September 28, 2000 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, September 27, 2000
Tuesday, September 26, 2000
Monday, September 25, 2000
Friday, September 22, 2000
Thursday, September 21, 2000

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