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Monday, October 9, 2000

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Aspyr Adds Three Titles
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As part of the first Aspyr World 2000, Mac game publisher Aspyr Media has announced they are adding three more titles to their already impressive end-of-2000 catalog: Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 2001, Eidos Interactive's Tomb Raider: Chronicles and LucasArts' Escape from Monkey Island. The most surprising of the three titles to be ported is Monkey Island, a 3D adventure game nearing release on the PC side; it is highly unusual for a LucasArts title to be ported and published by someone else, for any platform.

Tomb Raider: Chronicles was an obvious choice for Aspyr, as they have published all of the previous Tomb Raider titles for the Mac (with the exception of Tomb Raider III Gold). Chronicles, an unusual approach to this revered series which features four separate episodes from different points in Lara Croft's 'career,' is thrilling PC fans of the series because it will include the editing tools used to make Tomb Raider maps. However, a conversation conducted on Usenet over the weekend by Westlake Interactive staff indicates that the editor is not a sure thing for the Mac platform, and will only be included if there is time and resources available.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 2001 is the second in a series, and is still in development. While there is little official information available, this game will feature other PGA pros such as Justin Leonard and Jim Furyk. The game includes many official PGA tour courses, online play, tournament modes and a new international competition mode. GameSpot has posted some screen shots and information recently, so fans of this golf wunderkind should check them out.

Escape From Monkey Island is the fourth title in this famous adventure series and the first to be rendered in realtime 3D. Mac gamers have long bemoaned LucasArts' flighty attitude towards the Mac platform, as the company ported select titles on an 'evaluation' basis and refused to commit to any future development on the platform; recent comments made during an online chat with LucasArts (see related article) seemed to throw cold water on the entire idea of releasing any future LucasArts titles for Mac OS. Aspyr Media managed a Jedi mind trick of staggering proportions when they convinced LucasArts to allow EFMI to be ported to our platform, that is for certain.

The game itself is a mix of 2D prerendered backgrounds and OpenGL-accelerated 3D models, and features all the zany characters, complex puzzles and unlikely plotlines of the famous series. Here is an excerpt from the web site describing the story line and features:

Aye, there be intrigue and monkeys aplenty! When perennial pirate-wannabe Guybrush Threepwood and his new bride, Governor Elaine Marley-Threepwood, return to Melee Island™, they find out Elaine has been declared dead, the Governor's mansion is to be torn down and a slick-yet-hauntingly-familiar politician is about to take Elaine's job. So begins the next hilarious chapter in the award-winning Monkey Island series of adventures.

  • Fourth in the legendary Monkey Island™ series of graphic adventures.

  • Guybrush and his swashbuckling friends now appear in scurvy-inducing 3D!

  • Dozens of lusciously rendered backgrounds!

  • Hundreds of puzzles to challenge novice and veteran pirates... er, adventurers

  • An original, cinematic story full of drama, sociopathic parrots and a villain with a sinister agenda!

  • New jokes! New puns! New insults! And more monkeys than the three previous Monkey games combined!
But what is most interesting about this development isn't the game itself -- it is the precedent it sets. If LucasArts will allow this title to be ported, they must be open to the idea of other ports as well. While ports of past titles such as Grim Fandango seem extremely unlikely, future titles may indeed be a possibility. When IMG spoke to LucasArts at E3 last May, we discovered (after much badgering of LA staff) that the upcoming title Star Wars Epsiode One: Obi-Wan has a lead programmer who is a big fan of the Mac platform and who was making moves behind the scenes to make the game conform to Mac platform standards, even though LucasArts had absolutely no plans for a Mac release. While this is piling speculation on top of speculation, if LucasArts is indeed friendly to the idea of having their titles ported to the Mac OS, Obi-Wan seems a likely prospect.

In any case, these three titles are an impressive addition to Aspyr's growing catalog of 2000/2001 releases, which includes Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, the expansion pack The Sims: Livin' Large, Sim Theme Park and Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed. No release dates for these new additions are available, but it seems certain that Aspyr will try and hit the window of the upcoming Holiday season, traditionally the peak buying season of the gaming market. For more information on these titles be sure and check their official web sites.

Escape From Monkey Island
Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 2001
Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media's New Titles
GameSpot's Look At PGA Tour Golf 2001
LucasArts President Says No Mac Games
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island

[osX] Site Undergoes Redesign
3:56 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Mac Unreal Tournament clan [osX], has completed a redesign of their web site at Planet Unreal. Their "new" site is now displayed identically across all platfoms (even UNIX!) and is easier to navigate. Also, links to various UT skin authors have been added. You are encouraged to visit [osX]'s website and report and bugs or broken links.

Clan [osX]'s website is the one-stop shop for all your Mac UT needs. Anything from aliases to guides on how to edit the dreaded .ini files can be found here.

Mac Only Game Fan Sites
[osX] at PlanetUnreal

Mark Adams on Unreal Tournament Patch
3:15 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Mark Adams, president of Westlake Interactive, has contacted IMG regarding the Unreal Tournament patch that was released last week for the PC. He also mentions that they will be working on the OpenGL portion of UT. Here is Mark's update:

We have received the 432 code, and plan to do this update for the Mac.
There isn't a timetable though, so I don't know when it will be ready.

We're also trying to clean up the OpenGL drivers inside UT with this next
version, so that they won't have quite as much memory overhead.
The 432 patch fixes many things, one of which is the somewhat annoying requirement that the CD must be inserted to play. Here is a partial list:
  • faster server browser initial pinging of servers

  • faster server ping response for servers with mutators

  • fixed bug causing player team choice to be overriden

  • fixed thrown weapons sinking into ground in net play

  • improved map decompression time

  • limit translocator firing rate (max 2/sec) to prevent translocator spamming bind cheats

  • suicides are counted as deaths
  • Thankfully, this new patch doesn't break network compatibility with older versions of Unreal Tournament, so you will still be able to play on servers who have updated to version 432.

    Mac gamers have a lot to be thankful for, since Westlake Interactive is not receiving any compensation for patches after the initial release of the game.

    Complete List of Fixes in UT 432

    New Cross-Platform Engine Announced
    11:36 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    FGN Online has just posted a characteristically short blurb about Cipher, a cross-platform engine in development by the team that made the PC-only title Evolva. While no games using this engine were announced, this is yet another in an increasingly large list of game engines that are cross-compatible between Mac, PC and select consoles. Here is an excerpt from the report on FGN:

    Multi: It might not be a game, but Synaptic Soup, formed from the Evolva team and ex-Bullfrog members, has revealed the first of it’s ongoing projects, Cipher.

    Cipher is a complete solution for creating games on next generation consoles, PC, Mac and Linux. The technology allows simple cross-platform development and the ability for cross-platform multiplayer gaming.

    Besides extensive rendering and multiplayer support, Cipher offers audio, animation, localisation, customisation, debugging and server based technologies. The engine is due for a Q1 2001 release and will ship to key developers and publishers.

    Now we just have to sit back and see if developers take advantage of this engine and its cross-platform features.

    New Game Engine Report on FGNOnline

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    Rune Reaches 'Gold' Status
    10:58 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    The official site for this third-person melee combat title has been updated with the news that Rune has 'gone gold' for the PC and will be in stores very soon. Golden Master status of course means that the final version of the game is complete and only awaits duplication and boxing before distribution.

    This highly-anticipated Viking-inspired title has made many a gamer's fingers twitch with the desire to wield a great big axe. The Mac version of this title is being ported by Westlake Interactive, and will also be published by Gathering of Developers; at last word the Mac version was very near Beta status, and we expect it to follow the PC version by a month or less.

    Here's an excerpt from the press release:

    Human Head Studios today announced that Rune, its upcoming 3D game of intense action and adventure steeped in a blend of Norse mythology and high-fantasy, has gone gold. The PC version will be available at the end of October with a Mac version shipping to stores in November. Rune is being published by developer-driven computer and video game publisher Gathering of Developers.

    Rune transports gamers into the Dark Ages, when the Vikings were the conquerors of a cold, dismal world, and stark religion ruled all of the northern lands. Taking on the role of Ragnar, a rugged young Viking warrior, players are challenged to fight off creatures from Nordic mythology and uncover an evil perpetrator who is annihilating the Viking population. Rune utilizes an enhanced version of Epic Games' Unreal Tournament game engine and features amazingly life-like animations, in-game cinema sequences, a detailed weapon system, custom Artificial Intelligence and a unique combat system.

    Rune's features include:

    • 43 Single Player Levels
    • 15 unique weapons including swords, axes and bashing weapons each with their own unique magic power that can be unlocked in play
    • Multiplayer DeathMatch and Team DeathMatch modes
    • 21 different multiplayer characters to choose from
    • Seven custom-built multiplayer levels
    • Five multiplayer mutator modes, including Low Gravity, No PowerUps, Fatboy, reduced Damage, and Left-Handed
    • Customizable maplists and rule settings
    • 12 Classes of enemies with multiple variations for over 30 different enemy types in the game
    • Five Distinctly different settings from a Mountain Fortress, to the Deepest Cavern to the pits of Hel's domain
    • Combat system lets players take weapons from their defeated opponents.
    • Visual inventory that allows the character to see available weapons at a glance.
    We'll keep you updated on the status of the Mac version of this title. Be sure and visit the Rune web site for more details and screen shots.

    Rune Web Site
    Human Head
    Rune Goes Gold Press Release
    Westlake Interactive
    Gathering of Developers
    Human Head Studios
    Westlake Interactive

    HoMM3 Interview Continued
    9:47 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The fan site run by "rogue27" has posted the rest of his interview with John K. Morris, a programmer who worked on the Mac version of 3DO's Heroes of Might and Magic 3. In the last three pages of the interview, Morris discusses porting issues such as cross-platform networking and OS X, the reason there was no HoMM3 demo, and details about the editor for the game. Here's a clip:

    RJC: While porting the game, had you looked at or worked with the map editor code at all? If so, how much work do you think it would take to do a Macintosh port of the editor?

    JKM: I did go over the code for the Map Editor. Getting it over to the Mac would involve an almost complete rewrite due to it's reliance on some Windows-only technology. If someone really knew what they were doing, they could pull it off in a couple of months.

    RJC: Too bad I can't afford to hire you for a couple months.

    JKM: Yeah, I'm pretty expensive. ;) I wouldn't give up hope on the editor just yet.

    As Mac users often find, editors of PC titles are often built as prototypes that rely heavily on technologies such as Visual Basic and Microsoft Foundation Classes to run rather than being a 'complete' program, which makes them very tough to port. Be sure to head over and check out the rest of the interview for much more from Morris about this engrossing turn-based strategy game and how it came to the Mac.

    Heroes of Might and Magic III Review
    HoMM3 John K. Morris Interview

    SNES9X Updated For Mac OS X PB
    9:39 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    Emulation.net has released version 1.3.0a of the popular Super Nintendo emulator SNES9X. This version adds Carbon compatibility with MacOS X Public Beta. There are several features that have been removed or disabled, because they are not accessible in the Public Beta as of yet. Here is a list of what was removed in this update, to allow Carbonization:

  • RAVE — Removed from OS X. To be replaced with OpenGL, in a future version of SNES9X.

  • InputSprocket — Removed from OS X. To be replaced when HID Manager is available, in a future version of Mac OS X.

  • NetPlay — Disabled because NetSprocket is not yet working in OS X. To be fixed when NetSprocket is available, in a future version of Mac OS X.

  • Switch to Full Screen - Disabled because DrawSprocket is not yet working in OS X. To be fixed when DrawSprocket is available, in a future version of OS X. (Until this is fixed, you can switch resolutions using the Monitors panel inside System Preferences.)

  • Low Quality Video - Disabled because 8-bit video is not yet working in OS X. To be fixed when DrawSprocket is available, in a future version of OS X.

  • Arrow keys don't work - Bug in OS X. To be fixed in a future version of OS X.
  • You can rest assured that future releases of SNES9X will include these features, as soon as Apple releases more documentation on those issues. Hopefully, Apple is giving proper support to Mac game developers in regards to the aforementioned issues.

    Download SNES9X 1.3.0a (794 K)
    SNES9X at emulation.net

    Marathon/UT Mod in the Works
    9:37 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    We recently received an email from makers of yet another mod for Unreal Tournament centered around the Marathon universe. This project is known as Marathon Rampancy, and has a similar but distinct goal from the other project Marathon Resurrection. Where Resurrection is looking to be a complete recreation of the Marathon experience, Rampancy is just trying to give multiplayer UT a Marathon-ish feel. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

    Back at the start of the summer when Bungie had been bought by
    Microsoft and the future of Mac Halo was in doubt, two
    Marathon-lovers teamed up and started learning how to mod-make in
    order to revive Marathon's multiplayer experience. Three months and
    a heck of a lot of caffeine later, the mod is almost ready for prime

    Announcing Marathon|Rampancy for UT.

    Marathon|Rampancy combines Bungie's incredible multiplayer game
    design with all new John Woo inspired visuals. Marathon|Rampancy
    features new looks for the weapons and the HUD while retaining
    Marathon's awesome weapon balance, gametypes, sounds, and physics.
    Marathon|Rampancy changes the basic way that UT plays so that it
    feels like Marathon without attempting a total Marathon conversion
    including maps and player models.

    Stop by and take a sneak peak at www.marathonrampancy.com. An alpha
    version (stable, but not feature complete) will be released this
    coming Friday the 13th for everyone who is curious.

    It should be interesting to see how the mod "feels," if it is in fact released as an alpha build late this week. You can never have too much Marathon or UT, so the more people working on a conversion project, the merrier.

    Marathon Rampancy Web Site

    Reckless Drivin' Updated
    8:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The impressive shareware driving game Reckless Drivin' has been updated to version 1.1 recently. This version fixes a number of small bugs in the game, so be sure to give it a download. Here's a list of changes in this version:

  • Created a workaround for a bug in older versions of Sound Manager which would cause the game to crash when the player car crashes. However, this workaround may result in stuttering engine sounds and worse performance, so upgrading to a newer version of Sound Manager is *highly* recommended.
  • Fixed a memory leak bug which would cause the game to crash when playing through all levels several times.
  • Added the ability to load add-on level files created by RDEdit (registered users only).
  • Fixed a few misspellings in the game and documentation (and probably introduced new ones).
  • Pressing the esc key on the game finished screen will no longer abort the game, just close the screen.
  • If you're having issues, make sure you update QuickTime so that you are running the latest version of the SoundManager available.

    Reckless Drivin Web Site
    Download Reckless Drivin 1.1 Update from 1.0 (560k)
    Download Reckless Drivin 1.1 (5.3 MB)

    New Voodoo 5 Drivers Available
    6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    3dfx delivered the second Voodoo 3/4/5 driver update in less than two weeks, this version listed at 1.1.0. Where was 1.0.9 you ask? According to 3dfx's Bryan Speece, it was scheduled for release this week, but issues with the Voodoo3 portion of the drivers prevented it. They decided to delay the release and roll everything into the 1.1.0 driver package.

    As usual, the driver update is available through the auto-update feature in the 3dfx MacTools control panel. No documentation was included with this release, but "Rich" of 3dfx pointed out the following in the 3dfxgamers.com forum:

    These 1.1.0 drivers will be posted to the web site soon.
    The fixes in the drop include:

  • Voodoo 3 2D fix
  • Lock up issues in some games while playing videos
  • 32bit Bugdom/RAVE fix
  • Stay tuned to IMG for more details on these drivers.

    3dfxgamers.com Forum Thread

    New realMyst Trailer, Information
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The excellent Cyan fan site run by Jim Stephenson has been updated recently with a number of items related to the company's upcoming products. One of these products in development is realMyst, a recreation of the original Myst using a real-time 3D engine (such as those featured in Quake or Unreal) as opposed to the pre-rendered, static scenes used in the original. Early screen shots from the game look quite amazing, and a new trailer has just become available which shows these detailed scenes in motion. This trailer was apparently shown at the E3 expo last Spring, but has since been edited and spruced up a bit for fans. It is available at two other Myst fan sites as well, so be sure to give the 5MB movie a download -- your eyes will thank you.

    In other realMyst news, it looks like the game could be available as early as next month. Here's a clip from Stephenson's news section:

    Cyan has been busy debugging the PC version of realMyst and sending "golden master candidates" to Mattel for testing. Once it's approved, it goes golden master and Mattel can send it to the duplicators. This week a source at Mattel told me they hope to release the PC version in early November (but keep in mind that release dates often slip).

    Cyan is still finishing up the Mac version, but hopes to release it as close to the PC version as they can.

    This is great news, and we'll see if we can pin down any more specifics regarding the status of the Mac version. For now, check out the trailer and look for the official realMyst site to be posted very soon.

    realMyst Trailer at Myst Haven
    Riven Fan Site

    Interview With a Vampire
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Won.net's site dedicated to Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption has just posted an interview with the lead level designer for this adventure game, Steve Thoms. In the Q&A, he discusses his connections to the company behind Vampire, Nihilistic Software, as well as future projects. Here's a quick clip:

    What was it like working on Vampire: the Masquerade — Redemption?

    Thoms: Vampire was my first experience working within an established license. That was both great and challenging at the same time. We didn't have to work hard to create and establish years and years of background for things we wanted to do in the levels, but we had to make sure things didn't get too crazy for the general public. Overall, the experience was great. We got to "know" many of our fans through our message board and I think it helped us during development by making a connection between the game, the company, and a small fan base early on.

    In case you didn't hear, MacSoft will be bringing Vampire to a Mac near you sometime next year. The title has garnered much attention on the PC, and will be a welcome addition to the Mac game catalog.

    Nihilistic Software Web Site
    Won.net Vampire Interview

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

    An interview posted at RPG Planet talks with Todd Coleman, VP of sales and marketing for Wolfpack Studios. The Q&A discusses his work on the upcoming massively-multiplayer online RPG Shadowbane. They cover a number of topics, so even if you're a jaded fan it will be worth a read. Here's an excerpt about "feature characters" in the game:

    RPGPlanet: In all Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGS), customer service and in-game support can either make or break the game. How will these work in Shadowbane? Will we be seeing god-like Game Masters (GMs) running about the world?

    Todd: We haven't actually made any of our support plans public yet, but we have drawn a big dividing line between our "Feature Characters, " which deal primarily with ongoing plotline and game content, and "Technical Support," which will serve a role more similar to other online games.

    Our Feature Character program exists for one primary purpose: to enhance the immersiveness of the game by providing quests, plots, and political involvement for our playerbase. They're going to consist of actors and actresses hired by Wolfpack to take on interesting roles within the game world and further the background story by interacting with players at the guild and nation level. We're treating this process much like an ongoing television show, only with an interesting twist - we can't be sure exactly how the players will act, so the plotlines have to be open enough to allow for a number of different outcomes.

    The great thing about our Feature Character system is that no one has ever attempted something like this on such a grand scale before, so it's going to be really, really interesting to see how it unfolds over time.

    There are many other great features in Shadowbane which distinguish it from other MMORPGs such as Everquest or Ultima Online. Of course, the most important feature for us in particular is compatibility with the Mac platform -- always a plus. For more information, check out the interview, peruse the official Shadowbane web site and stay tuned to IMG.

    RPG Planet Shadowbane Q&A
    Shadowbane Web Site
    Wolfpack Studios

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    More Interviews on The Fallen
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Over the weekend, our CGA partner site Stomped has posted the last two of their interviews with The Collective regarding that company's upcoming Star Trek shooter Deep Space Nine: The Fallen. Tony Barnes is the person interviewed in both articles. Though the first discussion concentrated more on level designing aspects of the game, he second is concerned with the general features of The Fallen, including this clip about why they chose the third- over first-person perspective for this title:

    Stomped:Why was the decision made to make the game in the third person perspective, rather than the popular first person viewpoint?

    Barnes: In DS9: The Fallen we allow you to take on the role of one of your favorite key members of the DS9 crew. We felt that with such strong characters, it would be a shame to reduce them down to a hand and a bobbing gun. In addition, the third-person perspective allows our characters to perform more tasks than move and shoot. Many of the navigational hazards simply wouldn't be possible in first-person. We've taken every effort to redefine the third-person genre, through automated environmental navigation, adjustable auto-aim and intuitive FPS-style controls. Those at home with first-person shooters will find the transition rather seamless.

    The classic 'tastes great/ less filling' debate in the gaming world always seems to surround third-person games, mainly because so many have been poorly implemented in the past. We're sure The Collective can pull this one off, and we look forward to the game's release for Mac and PC later this Fall. Both versions will be published by Simon and Schuster.

    Stomped Interview #3 on The Fallen
    Stomped Interview #4 on The Fallen
    Simon & Schuster
    The Collective
    DS9: The Fallen
    Buy DS9: The Fallen

    Bungie.net Status Update
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Yereon, Webmaster of Bungie.net, was nice enough to post a quick update on the status of this site and service, including explanations regarding recent server outages. It sounds like things are coming together for the web-half of the Bungie team, and many of the features you love about this official Bungie news site could be back online soon. Here's part of the post:

    First off, exciting news from the hiring front, though I can't confirm (nor deny) anything until the deal is done. If you're interested in working at Bungie, however, it's not too late: check out our jobs page. Next, we're knee-deep in the mire of support documentation, moving on from FAQs to a series of interesting and evocative articles that will keep you as sleepless as I've been these last few nights. Then there's our plans for the next FanFest, which have taken a back seat to support but certainly haven't been forgotten. All I can say is: hot damn! Finally, there's all that other stuff. You know, planning the future of multiplayer Bungie gaming and our online community, reviving the not-so-long dead Bungie Store, mapping our conquest of the known universe using push pins, figuring out the fewest number of simple shapes that can be used to represent Ling-ling's head... the fun stuff.
    It should be interesting to see where Bungie.net will go in the future, and we'll be sure to keep you informed as it happens.

    Bungie.net Web Site

    Mac Games News for Friday, October 6, 2000

    Temporary Baldur's Gate Patch Available5:12 PM
    New WWII Online Screens4:04 PM
    Interview With Ron Dimant of UD3:35 PM
    United Developers Giveaway Begins!11:58 AM
    Volition on Mac Red Faction Editor10:07 AM
    Tribes 2 Reaches Beta9:45 AM
    UnF Map Preview, Screen Shots8:44 AM
    Shadowbane Feedback Contest8:34 AM
    DS9 Deluge8:19 AM
    Another Red Faction Interview8:08 AM
    FAKK2 CTF Shots6:00 AM
    HoMM3 Interview6:00 AM
    Raven Chat Transcript6:00 AM
    Update on Oni Tools, Beta6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, October 6, 2000 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, October 5, 2000
    Wednesday, October 4, 2000
    Tuesday, October 3, 2000
    Monday, October 2, 2000
    Friday, September 29, 2000

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

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