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Monday, October 2, 2000

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Mac Soldier of Fortune Update
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Earlier in the year, the German company Hyperion Software announced they were bringing Raven's gritty FPS Soldier of Fortune to the Mac. Since they originally said it was to be out before the end of the year, we decided to check up on them and see how things were going. Apparently, they're going to hold off a bit to avoid some of the Holiday competition, but their promises of other surprises towards the end of 2000 are tantalizing. Here's Hyperion's Ben Hermans with the scoop:

We don't think SOF will hit the market before the end of the year because it
seems everybody is cramming their top-titles in the last quarter.

This is nothing new of course but this year it appears to me more pronounced
than before.

We therefore think we don't want to join the melee and think it's best to
reschedule for late January or February 2001.

On the other hand we do expect some surprise announcements which we might
possibly squeeze in to the last quarter of 2000. Stay tuned!

A slight delay on Soldier of Fortune isn't a huge deal, as only a couple months will give us time to get through the games left by Santa. For more info on the SoF, head on over to Raven's web site.

Hyperion is also trying to get the Lithtech-based Shogo out soon. Check out the demo at Macgamefiles if you haven't tried it already.

IMG: Shogo Preview
Shogo Demo 1.01 (41.3MB)
Hyperion Software Web Site
Soldier of Fortune Web Site

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United Developers Week at IMG
1:04 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

United Developers is about to explode onto the Mac scene. Run by long-time Mac enthusiast Ron Dimant, United Developers has a string of new games coming out for the Mac soon including Majesty, Sin, and Fighter Squadron: Screaming Demons Over Europe. Dimant, who also happens to be the CEO of Ritual Entertainment, has assembled a crew of experienced Mac people who are working to have a strong presence in the Mac market for years to come. Among them is Jason Whong, formely of Green Dragon Creations and Ambrosia. Matthew Tremblay is the Operation Manager and David Joost, an old fellow ex-Bungie employee (of mine) is the Director of Sales at UD.

All week IMG will be bringing your previews of United Developers' titles as well as interviews, giveaways, and more. Today we bring you our preview of Majesty. Billed as “The Fantasy Kingdom Sim,” Majesty is all that and more, a sim with the fast pace and action of an RTS, but the structure and strategy of an empire-builder.

Check out our preview of Majesty and stay tuned to IMG all week as we feature United Developers.

United Developers
Majesty Preview

MacGamer Reviews SoundSticks
11:50 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Corey Tamas of MacGamer.com has reviewed Harman/Kardon's sleek new SoundSticks, the innovative set of speakers especially designed for use with Macs. Here's a little snippet from the review:

With the Sound Sticks, you'll find a picture is undeniably worth a thousand words. The visual identity of the system is so unique and so "Mac" that it really demands to be seen and not just heard. This is perhaps the first time I've really taken the visual identity of a set of speakers into account when recommending them to others; these babies are as sweet to look at as they are to listen to.
For the rest of the review, be sure to stop by Macgamer.com.

MacGamer's SoundSticks Review

Supreme Court Refuses Sony Lawsuit against VGS
11:34 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

One of our readers has pointed out a new press release stating that the Supreme Court has refused to even see the lawsuit that Sony has brought against Connectix regarding their PlayStation emulator Virtual Game Station. While Connectix has won this round by default, Sony still has one lawsuit that will be heard sometime in March 2001. Here's the Supreme Court's reply on the case:

WASHINGTON--Sony today lost a U.S. Supreme Court bid to limit rivals from using reverse engineering to create competing products.

The justices, without comment, refused to consider Sony's appeal of a decision rejecting its copyright claims against Connectix, whose Virtual Game Station competes with Sony's top-selling
PlayStation game console.

Sony contends that closely held Connectix designed its Virtual Game System only by pirating Tokyo-based Sony's software. Sony and other electronic game makers argued that the San
Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave short shrift to the copyright interests of companies that create innovative electronic products.

''The 9th Circuit rule permits free-riding competitors to siphon off the originator's fair return soon after the original is released," Sony argued in its appeal.

Sony drew support at the high court from fellow game makers Nintendo and Sega, as well as a software industry trade group.

Connectix, based in San Mateo, Calif., urged the Supreme Court not to get involved. The company called the 9th Circuit decision ''mainstream and unremarkable.''

Sony says it spent three years and $500 million to develop PlayStation and now faces direct competition from a company that spent only $150,000 in development costs. The Connectix Virtual
Game System lets personal computers run games designed for PlayStation.

Sony doesn't contend that Connectix's Virtual Game System itself infringes the Japanese company's copyright. Instead, Sony argues that Connectix developed its product only by copying crucial,
copyrighted PlayStation software, known as the basic input-output system, or BIOS.

Although Connectix eventually created its own version of the software, it couldn't have created the Virtual Game Station without first copying Sony's BIOS, the appeal stated.

The 9th Circuit said Connectix's activities were protected under the ''fair use doctrine,'' which permits copying of software when necessary to understand the way a program works.

Sony argued the lower court took that doctrine too far, permitting "wholesale copying of computer programs undertaken to produce software that simply emulates the copied program in order to
supplant it.''

Connectix said the 9th Circuit decision is consistent with rulings from other courts and a new federal law that endorses reverse engineering of software.

Make sure to give the demo a try, it is well worth it!

Download Virtual Game Station Demo (1.9 MB)
Virtual Game Station Demo Released
Supreme Court's decision

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WaterRace Feature Complete, GM Soon
9:50 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Pierre-Olivier Latour has given IMG a status udpate on French Touch's upcoming boat racing game, WaterRace. The game has gone through immense changes in development since it was last seen at MacWorld NewYork. Among other things, French Touch has improved the level of AI, added a new collision system, and added some great music,composed of many different styles.

Currently they are tweaking and play-balancing the gameplay. Here's the official word from Latour:

WaterRace is now feature complete: we've got everything up and running: physic engine, collision system, audio engine, 3D engine, AI, networking, and all the ships and levels!

We're now in the process of polishing everything, tweaking the difficulty
and gameplay and also translating the game into French, English and German.
We expect WaterRace to be GM very soon.

IMG recently received an updated beta and we'll be posting new screenshots of WaterRace later this afternoon. Don't forget to come back to check them out!

WaterRace web site
French Touch
French Touch

Virtual Game Station Demo Released
8:34 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Connectix has released a demo of their popular PlayStation emulator, Virtual Game Station. Virtual Game Station gives you the power to play many popular PlayStation games on your Mac. VGS is extremely easy to use. Simply install Virtual Game Station, insert your PlayStation game CD and the game starts. Here are the official system requirements:

  • G3 Macintosh
  • Mac OS 8.0 or higher
  • Minimum 10 MB RAM
  • Minimum 3.5 MB Hard Disk space
  • The demo is fully functional except that it doesn't allow you to save games in progress, doesn't include 2-player support, and does not include Game Pad support. A list of compatible PlayStation games is also available, look for the link below. To download the demo, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

    If you're interested in learning more about other emulators available for the Mac, check out IMG's Network partner, Mac EmuScene.

    Mac EmuScene
    Download Virtual Game Station Demo (1.9 MB)
    List of Compatible Games
    Virtual Game Station web page

    Q3A for OS X Released, Site Updated
    8:24 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The Omni Group has finally updated their web site, noting the release of the OS X version of Quake 3: Arena. This is just the application, of course; you'll still need the full Mac version to get it running. Omni has reported the game running up to 20% faster under OS X, though your milage may vary.

    Accompanying the beta documentation is a quick list of Frequently Asked Questions. There are some great answers if you're having trouble getting Q3A to work properly or test out your FPS. Here are a couple of relevant Q's:

    I thought this port was supposed to be 20% faster than under Mac OS 9! So why is it so dog slow?

    Good question! Perhaps your video card isn't supported for OpenGL hardware acceleration under Mac OS X? Send us mail with more details about your configuration (processor and video card) and about exactly what is slow (low number of frames per second, or lots of lag in net games, or what?) and let's see if we can figure out why it's slow for you. (And hey, that 20% number wasn't meant to be a promise, it was just the results we were seeing in our tests. I'm sure we'll see a bunch of more authoritative benchmarks from third parties soon.)

    Enough about performance already! Quake3 says it can't find its levels. What do I do?

    Press "Find...", and tell it where your top-level Quake3 folder is (not your baseq3 folder, but the folder which contains it).

    My screen turns orange or yellow, but nothing else happens! What's wrong?

    If you pull up the system console (you'll find the Console application in Applications:Utilities), you'll see more information that might help us determine what's going wrong. The most common problems are configuration problem such as trying to use a partial install, or data files which haven't been upgraded with the v1.17 patch, or a bad "q3config.cfg" configuration file which sets some option that isn't correct for this version.

    Be sure to check out the web page for much more info on the port. Grab the binary from Macgamefiles if you haven't already. Also check out our quick Q&A with OmniGroup posted earlier today, just in case you missed it.

    Quake 3 1.17 for Mac OS X Beta
    Q3A OmniGroup Q&A with IMG
    OmniGroup Q3A Page

    Parsec LAN-Test Coming Soon
    7:56 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    According to the official Parsec web site, a new LAN-Test of Parsec will be released in the next few days that will support up to four players to play on a LAN. Parsec is a fast-paced multiplayer cross-platform 3D Internet space combat sim featuring state-of-the-art graphics and full multiplayer cababilities. A Parsec demo was released back in April that showed off some of the basic elements of the game.

    On a related note. Parsec.org has also released a screenshot of the month for September. Stay tuned to IMG. We'll be posting the Parsec LAN-Test as soon as it becomes available.

    Parsec Demo (17.8)
    Parsec September Screenshot of the Month

    Roger Wilco Beta 2 Released
    7:39 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    HearMe has released a new version of their in-game voice chatting software, Roger Wilco. The small program allows gamers to chat while playing popular games such as Unreal Tournament and Quake 3. Beta 1 was released a few months ago with Beta 2 having been recently released. Beta 2 contains the following fixes and enhancements:

    - Removed some assertions which shouldn't have been there. If dialogs are suppressed, it
    will write the error to the log file instead.

    - Added a bit more debugging to sound input device setup. Non-critical errors will now only
    log the error

    - Fixed a bug causing the configuration wizard not to work if brought up by EasyBake

    Roger Wilco is now brought to the front if EasyBake starts the configuration wizard

    - Modal dialogs are supressed if RW is launched by EasyBake. Once RW is brought to the front by any means, model dialogs will be displayed again

    - Added an option to query Roger Wilco for connection status from Easy Bake
    Removed dependancy on DialogsLib (AppendDialogItemList changed to AppendDITL)
    Be sure to check all the supported games ( a list is available on the Roger Wilco web site, as Roger Wilco does not work with a few games. To download Roger Wilco, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

    Roger Wilco
    Download Roger Wilco (1.4MB)

    Neo Geo Pocket Emu to be Released
    6:00 AM | Ryan Niemann | Comment on this story

    NeoPocott, a Neo Geo Pocket emulator, will be released within days.  This handheld, a
    competitor with the GameBoy color, was originally emulated by Julien Frelat, and is now coming to the Mac.  Creator of the Mac port Richard Bannister
    had this to say:

    'I am currently developing a Mac port of NeoPocott, a Neo Geo Pocket Colour emulator written by
    the author of Boycott (Julien Frelat). This will be coming out in the next while...'
    Bannister is adding this, his 19th emulator, to his amazing list of emulators for the Mac. Check out
    Bannister.org for screen shots, or the new Mac.EmuScene Message Boards to post your opinion.

    MES Message Boards

    Omni Group Offer, Complications
    6:00 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    The Omni Groups's president Wil Shipley made an informal post to the MacNN forums which suggested that they were willing to port games to Mac OS X for free. Why? Because they love games! In the forums, a user asked about a Carbonized version of Unreal Tournament; Shipley replied that they would try and carbonize it. However, this issue is nowhere near as simple as it seems. Here is Shipley's post:

    We did use Obj-C for the platform code in Q3, but the vast majority of the code is unchanged -- eg, written in straight C by Carmack.

    He writes the easiest programs in the world to port: "Put sound output here." "Here's a framebuffer, show it." "Give me a key or something." That
    kind of thing.

    We don't know how much faster the OS X version is than OS 9, because we've been using various post-1.17 releases that have various speedups for
    both OS 9 and OS X, so while we know OS X is fast we haven't tried to compile under OS 9 and compare the two.

    But this is all in Graeme's hands now -- id has always said they are going to support OS X themselves, natively, so we probably won't have as much
    to do with future releases. Carmack and Graeme have both been programming NeXTs for almost as long as I have, so it's not like we have some
    magical knowledge of OS X that they don't.

    Anybody else want a game ported to OS X for free? Bungie? Anyone?


    -Wil Shipley

    President, The Omni Group

    However, despite Omni Group's generosity, carbonizing a game completed by another company is no simple matter. Porting companies do not own the source code or have rights to the games they port; these rights remain with the publisher and company which created the title. In order to gain access to the source and publish a Mac OS X-native version, OmniGroup would have to convince both companies it was a worthwhile project. Brad Oliver of Westlake Interactive (also known for his work on MacMAME) had this to say on Usenet:
    I suspect there would be a lot of complications with the publisher. In
    the case of id, Activision sells all the copies of Quake 3, so whether
    you buy the Mac or PC version is academic to both of them, as far as
    their bottom line is concerned. Obviously you'd need some version of Q3
    to supply the data files for the OSX version, and I understand it
    doesn't matter if it's Mac or PC.

    In the case of UT however, there is a different publisher on the Mac and
    PC side, so if a binary were made for OSX that ran using the PC data
    files, MacSoft would probably not be too thrilled to lose sales that way.

    What I'm trying to say is that in these cases where there are two
    different publishers for the Mac and PC versions of games, Omni (or
    whomever) would be best served by working out a deal with the original
    developer. In any event, Westlake couldn't grant anyone permission to do
    it. And since Westlake derives royalties from the sales of Mac copies
    (as does MacSoft), I don't see us rushing out to encourage that revenue
    stream to dry up while others do the same work for free. :-)

    Mind you, this isn't a company statement by any stretch (I'm not in any
    position to give one either), just my application of common sense to the
    issue. :-)

    But back to Omni. What I'd like to see is a Cocoa-ized version of
    MacMAME, one that runs faster than the OS 9 version or the prelim Carbon
    build I have. If they can pull that off, I'd be mighty impressed. Best
    of all, there are no licensing hassles for them to try such a project.
    :-) I'd love to see what kind of 2D performance they can pull out of OSX
    and if/how they get joysticks working.

    We'll see if Omni accepts that challenge; MacMAME's performance under OS X Public Beta (running in Classic) is already excellent. Stay tuned for more developments.

    The Omni Group
    OMNI's forum post

    Click to enlarge
    Q3A OmniGroup Q&A with IMG
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    OmniGroup, the company behind many great programs for OS X, has been making a lot of news lately because of their work on the port of Quake 3: Arena. With the release of the OS X executable over the weekend, we decided to ask them a few questions about their work with OS X and games. We wondered about issues with the lack of InputSprockets (and Apple's silence about its replacement, the HID), 3D support, and their informal offer to port other popular titles to OS X for free. Here's OmniGroup's Tim Wood with more:

    You've noted that Quake 3: Arena is being
    written in Cocoa. What kind of initial support will there be for input

    Well, "written in Cocoa" is a bit of a stretch since so little of the code is Mac OS X specific. The small amount of Mac OS X specific code uses Cocoa for some of the input tasks and a few other things (little panels and such).

    Currently any input device that would normally generate keyboard and mouse events should work (so, this will usually just mean keyboard, mouse, trackballs or whatever else Apple supports). This is certainly sufficient to support Q3, but flight simulators and other types of games may want joysticks (I don't know anyone that plays Q3 with a joystick so we haven't worried about that).

    Also, what sort of 3D support will Q3A have? Currently, only the native ATI
    chips seem to work under the OS X Beta. Have you heard from 3dfx on support
    for Voodoo 2, 3, or 5 cards?

    Q3:A will have whatever 3D support Apple or other vendors provide. That is, we just use the built in GL acceleration -- we don't care what driver or card is doing it. Right now this means ATI Rage 128 and friends. Later, once Apple releases drivers, Radeon support should magically start working. If 3dfx or NVidia or whoever integrates a GL driver into Apple's framework, it will start working too (although there may be additional GL extensions we'd want to take advantage of on different hardware).

    Any projects you have in mind for porting currently?

    We're certainly interested in porting other games to Mac OS X. Whether we will do them all for free is open to question. So far we've done the id games for free since it really hasn't taken all that much time and since we love them. You certainly won't see us porting 100s of games for free.

    How can you guys afford to do all this great work for free? Do you have
    a PayPal account we can publicize for donations? :)

    The easiest way to get $s to us would be to buy our Mac OS X products (OmniWeb, OmniPDF, OmniOutliner, etc) from http://www.omnigroup.com/.

    A huge thanks to Tim, the rest of OmniGroup, and Graeme Devine at id Software and Ken Dyke of Apple for all of their hard work. And if you haven't checked out any Omni's other programs, be sure to head over to their web site and do so now -- OmniWeb simply rocks. If you've got a copy of OS X beta and a full install of Q3A, download the OS X application from Macgamefiles now.

    IMG News: Q3A on OS X Clarifications
    OmniGroup Web Site
    Q3A Application for OS X Beta (600k)
    id Software
    Quake III Arena

    Click to enlarge
    Myst III Music Interviews
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The official Myst III: Exile site has been updated with two interviews withPresto's main audiophiles, Jack Wall and Jamey Scott. Wall is an independent composer, brought on board to pick up where Robyn Miller left off with the soundtracks for Myst and Riven. Scott is working on the sound effects for Myst III, adding his experience working on the scores for other games. Both discuss their inspirations and motivations behind the audio they are producing for the game. Here's a clip from Wall's interview:

    MIIIE > Do you watch/play/review the game FIRST
    before composing?

    Jack > Whenever possible, yes, that's always preferable. However, when you're composing
    for video games, the schedule doesn't always permit that luxury. Usually, you'll have plenty of time to write the music – just not with a playable version of the game. Composing for games, in my opinion, takes a lot of imagination. You have to
    sort of "get in the world" of the game before you compose your first note. That might mean staring at a piece of concept art for a while or reading as much as you can about what the designers intend for each area of the game. I like to steep
    myself in all that stuff for a few weeks before I write anything – then the music just seems to pour out fairly quickly.

    Check out both interviews for much more on the extremely important audio elements of Myst III. If you're looking for more information on the game itself, be sure to explore the web site. Myst III is due for Mac and PC in Spring of 2001.

    Myst III Interview with Jack Wall
    Myst III Interview with Jamey Scott
    Presto Studios
    Myst III: Exile
    Buy Myst III: Exile

    Mac Games News for Friday, September 29, 2000

    Tribes 2 for Linux Confirmed4:30 PM
    Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force in Beta1:26 PM
    EarthLink Issues $30,000 bill to Halo fan1:18 PM
    MacCentral on Oni Delay11:06 AM
    PCIGN Black & White Movies Part 210:48 AM
    An Update On Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey10:41 AM
    Cro-Mag Rally in Beta10:09 AM
    RockNES Released for Mac10:03 AM
    Avernum 2 Announced9:58 AM
    Apple Stock Plummets After Shortfall Announcement8:24 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, September 29, 2000 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, September 28, 2000
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    Friday, September 22, 2000

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

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