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Monday, October 23, 2000

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MacPlay Returns, 5 New Mac Titles
9:29 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

In what's sure to be one of the most important developments of the Mac games market this year, United Developers has announced that they have licensed the MacPlay brand from Interplay. Longtime fans of Mac gaming will remember MacPlay fondly as one of the early Mac OS game publishers which cranked out dozens of memorable titles such as Castles: Siege and Conquest. Now United Developers is gambling that this name recognition will still have resonance with the Mac game community, by resurrecting not only the MacPlay name but Interplay's interest in the Mac market. The company plans on publishing five Interplay titles on the Mac, including Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate II. Here's the press release:

Interplay Entertainment Corp., announced today the exclusive, worldwide licensing of the MacPlay trademark and MacPlay.com domain to United Developers, LLC, of Dallas, Texas. The new MacPlay, a subsidiary of United Developers, also gains rights to publish five of Interplay's premium titles for the Macintosh platform, including the award winning role-playing games Icewind Dale(tm) and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn(tm), which have cumulatively sold more than a million copies worldwide.

Founded in the early nineties as the dedicated Macintosh division of
Interplay, the MacPlay label set revolutionary quality standards for
Macintosh games. This commitment to excellence quickly propelled the
MacPlay brand to the top of the sales charts. The new MacPlay is headed by Ron Dimant, also CEO of Ritual Entertainment, who brings together a team with extensive experience in the development, marketing, sales, and support of Macintosh games. MacPlay provides a turnkey solution for developers and publishers to bring premium content to the Macintosh platform.

MacPlay intends to debut three Macintosh titles this holiday season, and to release Icewind Dale(tm) and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn(tm) early next year. The five Interplay properties and other as yet unannounced third party titles position MacPlay to play a prominent role in the Macintosh gaming community. MacPlay's progressive strategy will make many popular computer games available to Mac users, and also promote greater collaboration within the Mac development and publishing community. MacPlay also intends to assert its technological leadership by providing full support for forthcoming Apple technologies such as QuickTime(tm) 5, the industry-leading software for creating, streaming and playing high-quality audio and video over the Internet, and Mac OS(tm) X, Apple‚s next-generation operating system.

"This agreement is a positive move for both companies," said Brian Fargo, Interplay's chairman and chief executive officer. "We recognize the
importance of the Macintosh gaming market and believe that MacPlay will have tremendous success with these products."

"The MacPlay name is legendary in the Macintosh community. No word better defines the concept of Macintosh entertainment than "MacPlay‚" said Dimant. "iMac is arguably the most compelling home entertainment appliance in existence. Everything is primed for MacPlay to be the industry leader."

"The Macintosh offers tremendous business opportunities for game developers who want to take advantage of the platform's high-performance graphics capabilities and ease-of-use," said Clent Richardson, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "Apple is happy to have another world class games publisher deliver award-winning game titles to Mac users and we are excited about MacPlay‚s commitment to Mac OS X which will provide our customers with the best gaming experience any platform has to offer."
The somewhat shocking aspect of this development comes from the fact that Icewind Dale (a parallel title to Baldur's Gate) and Baldur's Gate II were both being eyed by GraphSim, which published Baldur's Gate for the Mac OS. It appears that their involvement in the series will end after they publish the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion pack.

Anyone who doubted that Ron Dimant or United Developers was serious about the Mac platform is certainly silenced by this development. It seems we have yet another big Mac game publisher on the block, one with the power of the Interplay brand behind them -- and they even left the door open for more 'third-party' (non-Interplay) future releases as well. The three titles UD/MacPlay intends to bring to the Mac this Winter are Sin, the expansion pack Wages of Sin and (both of which should be out within the week) and Fighter Squadron; this leaves three future Interplay titles unaccounted for. Could one of those be Giants: Citizen Kabuto? We can only hope. Only good can come of the resurrection of the MacPlay name and concept.

Icewind Dale
Baldur's Gate II
Forum Topic: MacPlay Returns!
MacPlay (not updated)
United Developers
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II

TacOps Updated to Beta 1.6, Mac Crashing Fixed
3:37 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Tactical Ops, a popular teamplay-based modification for Unreal Tournament, has been updated to Beta 1.6. This version fixes several bugs that were causing repeated in-game crashes in the Mac version. Here are some of the major changes:

Bot AI
  • Bots are more aggressive.

  • Bots shouldn't be stuck anymore.

  • Hostage handling improved. Bots could only keep track of a single hostage.

  • Seems to fix as well the "Terrorists leading hostage to rescue zone" bug.

  • Skeletal Animation
  • Breathing animations are now slower.

  • Seal model missing links fixed. (Fixes MAC Crashing).

  • Player models getting 'underground' when crouched. fixed.
  • This update also fixes a bug that cripped the sniper rifle. If you are a fan of this modification, make sure you grab this update.

    Changes in Tactical Ops Beta 1.6
    Download Tactical Ops Beta 1.6 (1.7 MB)

    Red Faction Preview
    3:30 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    Eurogamer has posted a new preview of Volition's upcoming FPS Red Faction. The previews features what appear to be several new screen shots and discusses the story behind this 'revolutionary' shooter. Of course they explain in further details how the game's Geo-mod engine will work and will affect your gameplay. Here is an excerpt:

    The amount of damage you can cause is impressive. Blast away at the supports of a guard tower and eventually the whole structure will topple over and crash to the ground, killing anything inside it, not to mention anybody unlucky enough to be caught underneath it. Keep firing rockets at the walls of a room and eventually the whole area will start to look like a chunk of swiss cheese. Obviously there are limits to the damage you can cause - the levels are designed so that you can't blast your way out of them, and metal will usually bring a halt to your excavations. Steel doors and panels, hard igneous rock and reinforced concrete will all prevent your progress, so you can't just smash your way through the game with your rocket launcher.
    To all accounts, Red Faction is coming along very well. THQ and Volition are still on track and should attain their Q1 2001 release date for Mac, PC and PS2.

    Eurogamer's Red Faction Preview
    Red Faction
    Red Faction

    IMG Publishes BG II, Icewind First Looks
    11:08 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    Just in case you haven't visited the IMG home page today, we thought we'd mention that two new previews have been published: first looks at Baldur's Gate II and Icewind Dale, two RPGs being brought to the Mac OS by the newly-ressurrected MacPlay. Coincidence? Well, we might have had a little inside information.

    These previews will give you an in-depth look at the stories behind these games and what to expect when they are published on the Mac platform in early 2001. Both RPGs debuted to tremendous praise on the PC side, and BG II is being hailed as the RPG of the year mere weeks after its release. Mac gamers are already enjoying the first Baldur's Gate, and the addition of these two titles to the Mac catalog is sure to be pure bliss for D&D fans everywhere.

    If you haven't read the details on the rebirth of the MacPlay name and Interplay's presence on the Mac platform, be sure and check it out -- an amazing development. Enjoy the previews, there will be many more details to come.

    MacPlay Returns, 5 New Mac Titles
    Icewind Dale First Look
    Baldur's Gate II First Look

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    Q&A With Trent Oster on NWN
    9:48 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Daily Radar has talked with Trent Oster, producer for Bioware's upcoming 3D RPG Neverwinter Nights. The interview covers many specifics regarding the title, which is based on the newly-released Third Edition AD&D rules. In this online and solo RPG you will be able to play as DM (Dungeon Master) for a group over the Internet, as well as take your own character adventuring in countless dungeons. The dungeon servers will only support around 20 characters at a time, but the ability to link them together via portals means large areas could be created. A number of single-player campaigns (called modules) will also be included, so an Internet connection won't be necessary. Here's a clip from the Q&A:

    DR: Will characters from pen and paper be importable if the DM allows it? Will NWN characters be exportable for pen and paper, such as printing out character sheets from the game?

    TO: It will be possible to recreate a character from pen and paper in NWN, but it will require the use of the DM client if the character has attribute scores which are impossible with the point buy system. We are quite interested in offering support to print out character sheets from NWN, but we don't have anything working at this time.

    A print out system in which players could take their online characters back pen-and-paper games and vice versa would be quite a kick for serious fans of the genre. Neverwinter Nights is one of the most anticipated RPGs to be released late next year for Mac and PC. Now, if only we had a time machine...

    Neverwinter Nights Web Site
    Daily Radar Neverwinter Nights Interview
    Neverwinter Nights
    Buy Neverwinter Nights

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    Pirates Ruining Rune?
    8:37 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    HumanHead's Tim Gerritsen has made a post to the forums at the official RuneGame site about the unfortunate pirating of their Viking slasher Rune. Apparently a press copy was leaked to a Warez site recently, and this has been traded around the web even before the game itself has been released. Here's an excerpt from his post:

    When you steal, you are directly robbing money out of the pockets of these people. No matter how you justify it to yourself, you are stealing when you download a game. There are names and faces behind this game, and we are not some far off corporation of drones with lots of money who wouldn't mind a little copying here or there. Piracy definitely hurts us. We are a VERY small group working on this game, and whenever you steal, it makes it that much harder for us to make great games in the future. In a very real way, you are harming the industry as a whole, and our ability to put the games out that you enjoy so much.

    We are not so naive to think that no one will pirate our game. We know that piracy is a fact for every game out there. We've heard all the lame excuses. We know how and why it happens, but I wanted you to know who directly you are screwing, so that it is not so easy a thing as to think it hurts no one. You have stolen directly from the above hard working people who made this game.

    It is always sad to see piracy so prevalent, especially for such a small startup team as HumanHead. Be sure to read through the rest of Gerritson's message. And please remember that on the Mac platform, piracy hurts much, much more. If you enjoy having the number of games we do now, please encourage retailers and publishers by actually buying the games.

    If you're looking for more details on the game itself, GameSlice has a quick preview of Rune available, posted after flying out to HumanHead to look at the title. Here's an excerpt:

    Rune’s mythical Nordic setting makes great use of the Unreal Tournament engine.  The setting and characters have been well rendered to portray Norse mythology, a result of painstaking research on the part of the development team.  “We used historical source and mythological sources," explained Timothy Gerritsen, Human Head's business manager, "[but] Rune is an action game – it's not the Discovery Channel – so we have to keep it fun and interesting."
    Read through the rest of the preview for more details on Rune, and check out the RuneGame site. The Mac version of Rune should follow the PC by a few weeks and will be released in November by Gathering of Developers.

    Tim Gerritson on Rune Piracy
    RuneGame Web Site
    GameSlice Rune Preview
    Gathering of Developers
    Human Head Studios
    Westlake Interactive

    Weapons Factory Arena 2.0 Released
    8:30 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Weapons Factory Software has released an version 2.0 of Weapons Factory Arena, the popular modification for Quake 3. Weighing in at a whopping 85 MB, Weapons Factory Arena features the following:

  • 8 Unique Classes
  • 30 Weapons plus alternate-firing modes
  • 11 Special Abilities
  • 8 sets of radio voices with a built in user interface for easy communication with teammates
  • Sticky sentries, laser defenses, flying recons, loads of custom skins & textures and more

    To download Weapons Factory Arena, head over to Macgamefiles.com.

    Weapons Factory Software
    Download Weapons Factory Arena 2.0

    id Interview with Paul Jacquays
    8:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Digital Addiction has quickly talked with id Software's level designer Paul Jacquays about working at the famous company and some current projects they're working on, including the Team Arena expansion for Quake 3 Arena. He discusses the working environment at id -- a source of many ribald stories -- and his past before coming to the company. Here's a clip:

    How excited are you on seeing the community response for Q3TA?

    Jaquays: I'm looking forward to it being out there and seeing its features in the hands of mod-makers and mappers. We have some exciting surprises in there that no one has seen yet. I'll leave it at that ... but for mappers and mod-makers, it's gonna be like having Christmas twice in one year.

    If taken literally, does this mean Team Arena will be about before Christmas rolls around? We'll keep you posted if the expansion gets any closer to completion.

    Q&A with Paul Jacquays

    Oni Update
    6:00 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

    Matt Soell from Bungie Software was kind enough to update Harry Al-Shakarchi with the latest news about Bungie's up-and-coming third person action venture, Oni. The latest build purportedly includes many refinements, and Matt drops a few hints that we should expect jaw-dropping visuals in the cut-scenes. Here is an excerpt:

    - Gameplay got pretty solid in b20. It's hard to quantify in technical terms; the game is just more fun to play now. Things work properly and the little things that frustrate you are dropping out one by one. When three different guys are alternately trying to beat you down or blow you up, and you're running/jumping/punching/shooting/flinging them off a ledge like any other awesome anime heroine, it's just a lot of fun.

    - Some of the bad guys are now smart enough to shoulder roll over a weapon and come up holding it, rather than standing still and bending over to pick it up.

    - Four words: chaining eleven-hit combos. You have been warned.

    - Marty is down in San Jose again, getting the remainder of the sound together. After Marty showed off one of the fully-scored ending cutscenes, Michael Evans was heard to remark "It's just like watching an action movie."

    While Oni may remain long overdue, everything seems to point to an excellent game due to arrive sometime late this year or early 2001. Since they're already up to b25, one might ask how many more betas there will be; suffice to say the once-promised October release is clearly not going to happen.

    Oni Central Update
    IMG Oni Preview

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

    Bungie's resident webmaster Yereon has given the site a healthy update, noting the status of their many projects. He mentions their newest Bungie recruits, discusses life at Microsoft, details the revival of the Bungie Store and more. Here's an excerpt:

    Hiring for the online team is going well. We've hired a full-time interface designer who starts at the end of the month, but we still have an open position for a web engineer. We have some strong candidates, but if you're interested its not too late. Check out the jobs page on Bungie.com. When its all said and done we'll have six people on the team, which should be a lot of fun.

    Life at Microsoft is interesting. A few issues inherent to working at a giant corporation with a large target around its neck, but all in all we've had a very positive, very reassuring experience. Except that we haven't had a Shaft theme song sing-along in a bit, the atmosphere's too stuffy. When we move to our new digs we'll have to remedy that.

    Providing an easy way for Bungie players to get support is also coming along nicely. We have something tricky up our sleeves; part of it involves extensive FAQs and detailed articles. We've finished drafts of both. All considered a lot of work has gone into assuring you can find the answers to your problems, and I believe you'll be impressed with the results.

    We're still considering options for reviving the Bungie Store, but we're now very close to a solution.

    Our plans for the next FanFest are really turning out well. Just wait til you see what we have up our sleeves! I won't spoil the surprise, but I will say if you're sitting the fence go ahead and make plans to attend, you won't be disappointed.

    We've been giving a lot of thought to the future of this web portal site, and we've come up with some incredibly cool ideas. More details to come.

    Check out the Bungie.net site for more regular community info. We'll keep you posted if their store does make its way back online.


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    Baldur's Gate Issues, Crash Database
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Our affiliate site Mac Baldur has set up a new database for users to enter their feedback concerning the RPG Baldur's Gate. This may prove to be a good resource for sharing and resolving problems with this complex game. If you're experiencing instability with this game, check it out to see if someone with a similar setup is experiencing the same difficulty, and has found a solution. Though you need to create an account in order to enter your own info, it's not necessary just to view the current listings.

    One bug many people seem to be finding is with the latest 1.02d2 final version of the game. Apparently, the title occasionally freezes during the "rest" movie. This can be worked around by returning to the Finder with the Command-Tab combination, or by switching the game to Windowed mode temporarily. We'll get in touch with GraphSim and inquire as to whether this is a known bug that might be resolved soon.

    It should also be noted that there are 'two' versions of the 1.02 patch. The first, which many may have downloaded in the first hours of its announcement, was an installer program. A second, corrected version called 1.02d2 final is simply an application you place in the Baldur's Gate folder. This latter application should provide significant speed improvements for those who notice the game is a bit 'pokey' on their machines. Be sure you've grabbed the correct version at Macgamefiles GraphSim Web Site
    Mac Baldur Web Site
    Baldur's Gate 1.02d2 final (2MB)
    Mac Baldur Crash Database
    Baldur's Gate II
    Buy Baldur's Gate II

    id Update on Licenses, Q3A 1.25
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    id Software's Todd Hollenshead has made an update to his .plan file recently, noting that the status of the Quake 3: Arena 1.25 patch and the company's take on licensing their game engine for use by third parties. Many 'Quakers' will be interested to know that the final version of the Q3A 1.25 patch won't be out for several more weeks. Todd also points to a new page at id's site discussing the licensing of their Quake 1, 2 and 3 game engines. Many companies have successfully used one (or many) of these engines to create a number of hit games. Their current pricing scheme seems to be Quake 1 for $10,000, Quake 2 for $125,000, and a Quake 3 for no less that $300,000 plus royalties.

    The debate over whether a company like id or Epic should simply make 3D engines to license, or focus on making games themselves, is an interesting one.

    3D Action Planet has spoken with Hollenshead about the new licensing plan. He discusses the number of Q3A licenses allowed, the possibility of selling the technology being developed for their upcoming Doom 3 title, and more. Here's a clip:

    3DActionPlanet: Since Quake 2, id Software has been both praised and criticized by gamers who say that id is an engine developer more than a game developer. Can you compare how lucrative engine licensing is compared to id's game sales?

    Todd Hollenshead: Engine licensing is something we do because it makes sense to do it. It's certainly financially significant to us, but it's a long way behind game development.

    I doubt technology licensing will ever be the primary goal of id for a number of reasons. First of all, we all love game development (and we're pretty damn good at it, too). Secondly, so-called "middleware" providers have historically been unsuccessful. Developing game technology without the imposed discipline of having to make a game actually run on it has been the Achilles heel of companies that only write engines, but don't have to actually use them.

    For companies that have the artistic talent, but don't want to spend the time writing such a complex beast as a 3D engine, licensing is a definite benefit. Gamers also enjoy the spoils, as titles such as Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, Sin and Elite Force are set arrive on our platform very soon thanks to their being based upon portable engines.

    3D Action Planet Interview with Hollenshead
    id Licensing Page
    Todd Hollenshead .plan Update

    Mac Games News for Friday, October 20, 2000

    Raven Software Interviews4:13 PM
    Mac Radeon Screen Shot Gallery1:58 PM
    Review of 4x4 Evolution9:31 AM
    Q3A Dreamcast To Play Mac, PC9:27 AM
    Tim Gerritson on Rune9:19 AM
    Mac Rune Status Update9:14 AM
    Nanosaur 1.3.4 Released8:25 AM
    Diablo 2 Expansion Chat Transcript6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, October 20, 2000 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, October 19, 2000
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    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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