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Thursday, October 12, 2000

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Cro-Mag Rally Officially Gold
9:58 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

On Tuesday IMG reported Pangea's upcoming prehistoric racer Cro-Mag Rally was inches away from going Gold Master. We've again talked with president Brian Greenstone this morning, who says it is now GM and heading towards production. Here's what he had to say:

At exactly 8:03am this morning, Cro-Mag Rally went Gold! Now I'm burning CD's to send to manufacturing to get the game out there!

We estimate Nov 7th-15th as our target ship date. Free Next-Day shipping on all US pre-orders on our site. Our order page will be up by the end of next week.

Demo is done, but we're not releasing it until the game is closer to shipping. I don't want everyone to burn out on the demo waiting for the real thing.

Thanks to Brian and the rest of Pangea for all of their hard work to get this game out. Cro-Mag Rally looks very fun racing game indeed, with multiple vehicles and weapons, amazing graphics and great physics. You can be sure the demo will be hosted at Macgamefiles in a few weeks. And we'll let you know once pre-orders are being taken on Pangea's site, as the free next-day shipping is an awesome deal.

Pangea Software Web Site
IMG News: Cro-Mag Rally Nears Gold Master
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

M&M's: The Lost Formula Now Available at Retail
5:20 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Simon & Schuster Interactive recently announced that their new 3D title M&M's: The Lost Forumula has gone gold and will soon appear in retail stores. In this 3D action game which stars the M&M characters Red and Yellow from the recent ad campaigns, players must master fast-paced game play and improve their math skills to progress through the game. Here is how the story starts off:

Simon & Schuster Interactive and "M&M's"(R) Chocolate Candies have joined forces to cook-up "M&M's": The Lost Formulas, the first and sweetest CD-ROM game based on the "M&M's" Characters from the popular advertising campaign. This fast-moving 3-D action/education title, starring the "M&M's" Characters, allows players to master fast-paced game play and improve math skills all while enjoying the tantalizing graphics immersing them in a chocolate charged interactive world. Dripping with good fun, "M&M's": The Lost Formulas (PC/Mac Hybrid) is recommended for kids ages 5-10. It is now available at a suggested retail price of $19.95 (Rated "E" or "Everyone" by the ESRB).

The bittersweet story begins with Red and Yellow about to depart on much a needed vacation. Suddenly the phone rings and Red learns to his horror that Yellow has left the "M&M's" MINIs in charge of the candy factory. They've stolen the secret candy formulas and have hidden them throughout the factory. The future of chocolate candy is at stake! The Lost Formulas must be recovered and it is up to Yellow to save his fellow sweets.

M&M's: The Lost Formula retails for $19.95 and requires a 3D accelerator. Watch for it on a shelf near you.

Simon & Schuster Interactive

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Dragon's Lair 3D Details
12:32 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

One of this Winter's 'sleeper' hits for the Mac platform is Blue Byte's Dragon's Lair 3D, a full-3D replica of the arcade classic of almost twenty years ago. The original game was the first to use an interactive LaserDisc player as its medium, becoming the only game to feature full-screen high-quality cel animation at the time that Centipede was considered state of the art.

Checkout.com has posted an interview with Steve Parsons, president of Dragonstone (the company developing this title for Blue Byte). In this in-depth discussion of the game and its features, we learn that not only is this game a detailed replica of the arcade game -- complete with sound samples and textures taken from the original game animation -- but it will also have two modes of play. The 'arcade' style of play will work much like the original did: you will have up to four choices in dangerous situations, and only one of the three will save you. The second mode will be more interesting to 'hardcore' gamers:

How will Dragon's Lair 3Ds gameplay appeal both to fans of the original
and people used to the more interactive state of today's videogames?

The gameplay in Dragon's Lair 3D is addressed to a wide range of gamers:
both the original fans and today's gamers. Dragon's Lair 3D is actually
two games in the same box. Both use the original look and feel of the cartoon-based
Dragon's Lair, but it will be using Dragonstone's third-person perspective
3D engine. This 3D engine will project a fully 3D toon-based Dirk the Daring in
the foreground for the player to control throughout his adventure.

The first, easier, mode will have the same five controls as the original game.
It will allow the player to control a pre-scripted Dirk the Daring with the
same reactions as the original 2D game. Dirk will get into a fix by himself
or with the help of the player; the game will then pause and give a decision
indication to the player; and then the player will have only a single chance
to either save Dirk, get him killed or put him into another problem situation
in his quest to save Daphne.

Dragon's Lair 3D's second, harder game will allow the player to directly
control Dirk as precisely as they like in the search to rescue Daphne. These
more advanced controls will allow the player to act as Dirk as he explores the
entire castle, collects treasures, and battles the old favorite monsters as
well as a gang of new critters. The game's control system will be similar to the
latest versions of Tomb Raider or Zelda for example, but the overall
atmosphere and gameplay will be faithful to the original.

The interview also drops the hint that a 3D version of Space Ace, another arcade game from the creators of the coin-op Dragon's Lair, may be in the works as well.

Dragonstone's new 3D engine powering the game has a unique 'toon' shader which will render the 3D characters as flat-shaded cartoon-like artwork in real-time, an effect which has to be seen in motion to be fully appreciated. Make sure you check out the game's official web site as well, as it has a fresh crop of truly gorgeous screen shots. This game will be available for Mac and PC early next year, published by Blue Byte.

Checkout.com Interviews Steve Parsons of Dragonstone
Dragon's Lair 3D Web Site
Blue Byte

Planetary Conquest 1.0 Available
12:04 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Macgamefiles has just posted a link to Planetary Conquest 1.0, the release version of this remarkable shareware OpenGL title. The first true-3D real-time strategy game to appear on the Mac platform, this attractive and detailed game runs even on humble hardware and supports network play. Here are the notes from AvisNocturna's web site:

After two beta releases, six month of development and over 10000 downloads, the final version of the popular strategy game Planetary Conquest has been released.

With many new features like weather events, improved graphics and a better interface as well as full multiplayer support Planetary Conquest is as good as a strategy game can be. 14 new terrains had been added since the last release (18 terrains are included in this release) and many new units and technologies are available to you to explore. Even a terrain editor is included to edit existing or create new terrains.

Be sure and grab this demo right away, and post your comments about the game on MGF's user reviews or on the comments thread of this article.

Planetary Conquest 1.0 (3 MB)

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Warcraft III Chat Log
10:34 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Fan site Warcraft III.net has posted the chat log of the recent chat with Blizzard's Rob Pardo and Jay Patel, who answered questions about their upcoming gameWarcraft III. The chat reveals a lot of new info about the game such as details on new units like the Dwarf Gyrocopter, which is a spy unit for Humans. Blizzard also said they will reveal the fifth and finale race in the January edition of Computer Games Magazine, a nice exclusive for them. They also specify that they will support OpenGL and Direct 3D, but not Glide, with the game's 3D engine.

Here is a excerpt from the chat related to the Mac platform:

Do you plan to have a simultaneous Macintosh / PC release?

The launch of Diablo II on the Macintosh was our fastest to date and it is the goal of our Macintosh teams to keep the PC and Mac releases as close in time as possible.

The chat log is certainly something to read if you are a fan. They also mentioned that they will probably released a public beta of W3, but nothing will be released anytime soon. They are aiming at a Spring 2001 release.

Warcraft III
Warcraft III.net
Warcraft III's chat log
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

Platform-Independent Cipher Unveiled
10:08 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

In an interview over at Daily Radar, Synaptic Soup talks more about the upcoming game development engine, Cipher. The engine will have, much to Mac Gamers' delight, integrated Mac OS support as well as support for Linux and several set-top boxes. Here is an excerpt:

Daily Radar: What systems will Cipher support?

Rik Heywood: We have not announced specific console platforms yet, but we are working closely with all the major console manufacturers to make Cipher compatible with them. In addition to the consoles we will be supporting Windows 95, Windows 98, NT4, Windows 2000, Macs and Linux (for server and network support).

The Cipher engine will also include the source code, allowing individual designers to customize the code to include new technologies as well as updates to current technologies. Cipher will also decrease the development time necessary to make a port possible, bringing games made with this engine across the chip/OS barrier faster.
DR: What other benefits does Cipher bring to the developer, besides being able to port easily between systems?

RH: The most obvious advantage is that it gives the developer a huge head start. On day one of developing with Cipher, you will have the technology to deliver powerful shader-driven graphics, 3D audio processing, full multiplayer support, tools to export models and animations from 3D Studio Max, international font and text handling, compressed pak file support, a powerful virtual machine to run your game scripts on and the full source code for all of it. If you started from scratch it might take you a year to reach that point, assuming you had the in-house team that could do it.

technology will allow for simultaneous release without having to development
entirely separate processes for porting the game across the OS/Processor
barrier. Wonderful news indeed! Read on for more details.

New Cross-Platform Engine Announced
Daily Radar interview

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Mac Elite Force Update
10:03 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG's own Matt Diamond sent a couple of questions to Duane Johnson, the developer working on the port of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Raven's latest game. Johnson told us that currently he is only having one major problem with Elite Force, which comes from bugs in the game's complex scripting system:

The main hang-up at this point is, we are waiting for Raven to get us the script
changes to fix the few script bugs.
Of course this is not the only task remaining, but the major problems
seem to be script errors. Clearly the Mac version is in very good
He also asked Duane whether the new Elite Force multiplayer maps that Raven
released a few days ago were Mac-compatible, and he replied that since Elite
Force mods use Quake 3's virtual machine, they should work just fine. We expect Mac Elite Force by this November, so set your wallet on buy!

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

Low-End Mac Gaming
9:56 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Low End Mac, a web site dedicated to owners of old computers, have posted a new article discussing gaming in particular. They contacted various developers such as Ambrosia and A-Sharp LLC to ask them about gaming on lower-end computers and why they support them. Their article provides help on setting up your Mac for gaming, but also lists games you will find enjoyable regardless of your hardware. Here's a snip:

Ambrosia also places a fairly high priority on supporting older systems. As Welch says, "We try pretty hard to make sure that our games are well-optimized and run on lower-end machines. What takes up most of the processing power in games these days is the eye candy. Nothing wrong with candy, it's tasty, but it isn't everything. I'm a firm believer that what makes a game fun is separate from what makes it visually interesting. It is like looks and personality -- there is the initial attraction, and then there is what keeps you interested."
If you check certain web sites you will find tons of fun games to play that won't break your old Mac in two; MacGameFiles is a great place to start. Be sure and read the rest of the article for more details.

Low End Mac
Low End Mac Gaming

In-Depth Look at ATi Radeon
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Now that the release of ATi's Radeon is upon us, some of you may be wondering what makes it tick. SharkyExtreme takes a typically detailed (and complex) look at the underlying technologies of the ATi Radeon. One of the technologies explained is ATi's touted Hyper-Z, which consists of three different methods to reduce fillrate and memory requirements: Hierarchical Z, Z Compression and Fast Z Clear. This article is a bit heavy on the technical jargon, so be prepared to dust off your engineering dictionary. Here is a short explanation of how Fast Z-Buffer Clear functions:

Before rendering the next frame, the contents of the Z-buffer for the previous frame are erased. This process is called 'Z-buffer clear' and is typically achieved by overwriting the Z-buffer with zeroes. In the case of Radeon, a clever scheme has been devised to rapidly clear the Z-buffer contents.
The Z-Buffer in a 3D accelerator essentially stores the coordinates in the Z-plane (as opposed to the X and Y planes) of a 3D scene. This is where the graphics cards determines what can and cannot be seen, by sorting the polygons by 'depth.' Check out Sharky's article for more detailed information on the Radeon, including the information that current games aren't even taking advantage of the chip's high-end features at this time.

ATi Radeon In-Depth
Radeon AGP Retail: First Impressions

Mac Games News for Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Correction: RAVE Support in QT56:40 PM
VGS 1.4.1 Update Released3:47 PM
Tiger Woods PGA 2001 Preview1:46 PM
Oni to Have Separate SKUs12:55 PM
No RAVE Support in QuickTime 5 Preview12:45 PM
Rune's Tim Gerritsen Interviewed10:43 AM
Sin, FAKK2 Go Gold!10:12 AM
WaterRace On OS X?9:32 AM
Shadowbane Interview8:25 AM
Aleph One Net Games8:14 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, October 11, 2000 on one page

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