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Friday, October 20, 2000

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Mac Rune Status Update
9:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Mark Adams was kind enough to give us a quick update on the status of the Mac port of Human Head's game of Viking combat, Rune. It seems the game is on schedule for a November release, to be published by Gathering of Developers. If this is your first exposure to this title, you must have been living in a straw hut the past few weeks -- the barrage of industry hype is quite amazing. In any case, Westlake Interactive's extensive experience with porting games based on the Unreal engine should ensure the Mac version closely follows the PC debut in late October.

Here's the word from Mark:

We just started testing, and so far we've been getting the usual number
of bugs reported. There are always a few things that need to be fixed,
but so far no major problems. We're still on schedule for a November
If all goes well Mac Rune will go gold in late October and be distributed in early November. Watch for many more details specifically about the Mac version of this game from IMG in the near future.

Westlake Interactive Web Site
HumanHead Studios Web Site
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

Raven Software Interviews
4:13 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Games.MacNN sat down to chat with Brian Pelletier, Project Leader at Raven Software. He talks about many aspects of the game, including original ideas they had for the game, trips to the Paramount studios and their experience with the Voyager cast members. Here, Brian talks about the modifications Raven made to the Quake 3 engine:

B.P. We've enhanced the engine in many ways. The Quake III engine was designed to be primarily a multiplayer game, so we've added a lot of the single player code for enemy AI, level transitions, saved games and dozens of other things that weren't present in the original code base. We've added a new menu system based on the Trek LCARS look that is fully interactive and quite cool. We've also added a new visual effects system to handle and enhance the visual splendor of the weapons and one of our biggest additions is the dynamic scripting system called ICARUS. ICARUS allows our editors to bring the characters in the game to life. Make them move, talk, do things, and also gives us the freedom to create interactive events. A few other additions include the CARCASS skeletal animation system, that compresses all the thousands of frames of animation into a very small file. LOD models, high resolution/32 bit textures and a variety of other enhancements, were also done but mostly we changed things to create the single player game.
In related news, SharkyGames features Raven's Project Administrator, Kenn Hoekstra, in their new column Get Personal. In an attempt to debunk the "gaming god" myth, Kenn talks about the road leading to his current position at Raven Software.

Elite Force is currently in development at Westlake Interactive and is scheduled for a Fall 2000 release.

Get Peronsal with Kenn Hoekstra
Brian Pelletier Interview at Games.MacNN

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Mac Radeon Screen Shot Gallery
1:58 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

To accompany our review of the ATI Radeon Mac Edition AGP we've created a screen shot gallery of popular 3D titles. Since the purpose of this gallery is not to show off the games themselves but how well the card renders them, we have provided versions of the shots in PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format. PNG is a lossless 24-bit compression method which doesn't degrade the image quality the way JPEG does, so you can see every detail. The downside to this method is that the files are much larger, some over 600k. To view PNG files you just need a 4.5 or greater version browser (IE 5 is perfect) and Apple's QuickTime 4.0 installed.

As an addendum to the review itself, we have discovered that turning on 32-bit textures in RAVE fixes the image corruption problem we experienced with Unreal Tournament; as you will see from the screen shots, it also makes the game look pretty darn amazing, and with no frame rate penalty. Note that 32-bit textures WILL cause a speed drop on Rage 128 (not Pro) and below video cards, and only works in RAVE. The instructions on enabling this feature are in the ReadMe file for Unreal Tournament version 425a (required.)

Be sure and check out the screen shot gallery, and we definitely recommend looking at the PNG versions of the shots, even though the download time might be somewhat painful. The difference between the quality of these shots and the JPEG versions is quite obvious.

Radeon Mac Edition AGP Review
Radeon Mac Edition AGP Screen Shots
Radeon AGP

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Review of 4x4 Evolution
9:31 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Our network partner site Gamecenter has taken the time to review Terminal Reality's off-road racing game 4x4 Evolution. They've given it fairly high marks, noting that it's definitely unlike any other racing game on the market. It will be coming to Mac, PC and Dreamcast simultaneously at the end of this month. The different platforms will be able to play online against one another transparently, with up to eight vehicles per race. Here's a clip from the review:

Of particular note are the clarity and realism with which the Evolution world is rendered, right on down to the flocks of birds that rise magnificently to the sky as your rumbling truck pulls into view. Special effects such as time-of-day lighting, variable weather conditions, and churning mud chunks only add to the ambience, and an assortment of graphic overlays help keep you in touch with all pertinent information.
Check out the rest of the review for more on 4x4 Evolution. The game is expected to be released on October 30th for all platforms. System requirements for the Mac version of the game will be surprisingly mild; anyone with an 8 MB or better graphics card that supports OpenGL can play, and it runs extremely well on G3 machines and above.

GameCenter 4x4 Evolution Review
IMG News: Confirmation on Mac 4x4 EVO
Terminal Reality
Gathering of Developers
4x4 Evolution

Q3A Dreamcast To Play Mac, PC
9:27 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With Quake 3: Arena set to be released very soon for the Sega Dreamcast console, PC (and Mac) players are wondering if some of the new content for the DC version will be released for us as well. The ShugaShack has been following the story, and received a response from id Software's Todd Hollenshead. Here's a clip:

First Q3A DC will be released (in process now).   Once we've finished up Team Arena and finalized the 1.25 patch for Q3A, then we'll work on creating the DC map pack for PC users.  Exclusive DC content will not be included in the PC map pack (that's part of our deal with Sega).  What WILL be included in the PC map pack are the DC versions of the Q3A levels that are in the PC version.  This includes the DC textures, etc., so that PC players and DC players will be able to play one another. The PC map pack will probably come out some time after the first of next year.
So although none of the exclusive content will be released, we should expect new maps to be able to frag the DC players online at the beginning of next year. This means that we should see both the Team Arena expansion and the final 1.25 patch before the end of the year. We'll keep you updated as Id makes progress with both of these projects, which are of course headed to the Mac platform as well.

id Software
ShugaShack on Q3A Dreamcast Maps

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Tim Gerritson on Rune
9:19 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Tim Gerritson of Human Head Studios has been interviewed by Sharky Extreme about the upcoming Viking-inspired adventure game Rune. It's a nice long Q&A and covers many topics, including their inspirations behind the title and the reason why, if Vikings didn't really wear horned helmets, they still included them in the game. Here's a clip:

Sharky Games: How would you describe the look of the game and the art direction? Does it fit with traditional Norse mythology?

Timothy Gerritsen: : [The art] is sort of like a Frank Frazetta painting. He is a famous old fantasy artist and is still around. He did the old Molly Hatchet covers with these big rugged warriors with giant axes. So we decided to do the game something like that, within the Viking mythology. We are really excited about it; there is so much good stuff there. It is an exciting set of stories to dig into.

It is kind of a double edged sword, though. You have people for whom this is their life study based on some historical sources, so while the Vikings might not actually carry a horn or a weapon like that (they didn't wear horned helmets, we know that) but it is also an action/ video game. So we are trying to walk the tight rope between keeping it as true to the source as possible but at the same time keeping it fun and exciting for modern audiences.

Be sure to check out the rest of the interview for much more from Gerritson. The PC version of Rune should be out at the end of the month, with the Mac version following in November.

Sharky Extreme Rune Interview
IMG News: Rune Reaches 'Gold' Status
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

Nanosaur 1.3.4 Released
8:25 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Pangea Software has released a minor update to Nanosaur, bringing it up to version 1.3.4. The latest version contains the following little fix:

  • the rolling boulder doesn't knock people out of the "world" if they get hit by it
  • Nanosaur is of course the wildly-popular QuickDraw 3D RAVE adventure game featuring dinosaurs, prehistoric swamps, futuristic weapons and a race to beat the clock. The game recently became shareware, and is worth every penny.

    To download the new shareware version and updaters, follow the link to

    Pangea Software
    Nanosaur 1.3.4 Updater
    Nanosaur 1.3.4 (Shareware)

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    Diablo 2 Expansion Chat Transcript
    6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story has posted a transcript of last night's Fansite Chat that was hosted by Blizzard. Details of the upcoming Diablo 2 Expansion Set and the 1.0.4 patch for this realtime RPG were discussed in detail. Here are some tidbits from the question and answer session:

    Q: Will there be gemmed items with more than three sockets in the expansion set?

    A: Not only will there be more than three sockets per item, but we will also have socketable magic, rare, and unique items. There will also be some new, exciting socketing options that we will discuss in more detail at a later date.

    Q: Describe some of the new class specific items?

    A: We are really excited about all of the new class-specific items. The Barbarian will get new helms. The Paladin will get new shields. The Amazon will get new gloves. The Sorceress will get orbs to carry instead of a weapon. The Necromancer will get shrunken heads and other totems to carry instead of a shield. The Druid will get various animal pelts for helmets. Finally, the Assassin will get some hand-to-hand weapons for her martial arts.

    Q: When you take your Diablo II character into an expansion game, is your character permanently converted?

    Yes he is. Because they may pick up expansion-only items. You will have to convert your character prior to playing, however, so you'll know exactly what you're getting into.

    The Diablo 2 expansion set is currently being developed in-house at Blizzard Entertainment. It is scheduled for release in the first half of 2001 for Mac and PC.

    Diablo 2 Chat Transcript
    Blizzard Entertainment
    Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

    Mac Games News for Thursday, October 19, 2000

    Neverwinter Nights FAQ Posted4:52 PM
    First Impressions of Rune4:21 PM
    A Peek at 4x4 Evolution Gold Version12:33 PM
    Aliens vs Predator Mac Due Soon12:09 PM
    RealMYST is Gold (for PC)10:27 AM
    Aspyr: Elite Force, Livin' Large Final Candidate7:52 AM
    IMG Q&A with Andrew Meggs7:51 AM
    Neverwinter Nights Updates7:39 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, October 19, 2000 on one page

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