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Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Oni Release Date
6:00 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

Recently Matt Soell of Bungie Studios mentioned that the highly anticipated third-person action title Oni had reached Final Candidate build 12 on the PC, but only Beta 2 for the Mac OS. He also mentioned that the PC versions were a good deal ahead of the Playstation 2 version, in development by Rockstar. For some time this separation of development stages made for some very confusing and conflicting reports over when this game will actually be released.

In order to clear up this mess, we contacted Oni's publisher Gathering of Developers to discern whether the release would be simultaneous on all three platforms, and what that date would be. A representative told us the following:

Simultaneous release for all 3 platforms on January 29th, 2001.
As we suspected, it appears that the PC and Mac versions will be held from release until the Playstation 2 port of the game is complete. It has been a very, very long time coming, but it finally looks like the long delayed Oni will finally see the light of day early next year. Stay tuned to IMG for more info on this game of hand-to-hand combat and gunplay.

Gathering of Developers
Oni Status Update
IMG Oni preview
Oni Web Site

Oni Fan Art Contest
1:20 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

While we still have some time to wait before the arrival of third-person action/shooter Oni (see related article), publisher Gathering of Developers is already cranking up the hype machine. In a savvy move, they have decided to reach out to the dedicated and amazingly loyal Oni fan base by sponsoring a fan art contest. Announced on the forums of Oni Central, this contest is sure to inspire some impressive efforts. Here are the details:

Shane, a member of Gathering of Developer's "Internet Street Team" has announced their Oni fan art contest on the forum.

First prize is a copy of Oni and your choice of two other Gathering of Developers titles, second prize is a copy Oni and "all other entrants will receive the warm fuzzy feeling of having participated."

The rules are:

  • No tracing
  • No use of Photoshop filters on already published art
  • Must be 600dpi
  • No nudity

      All entries and/or questions go to shane@godgames.com or ben@godgames.com

      The deadline is January 8th, winners will be announced January 12th. Keep checking the forum to see updates on rules or other interesting items.

Warm up that Wacom tablet and be sure to get your entry in on time! Watch for more details on the game itself as the PC and Mac versions approach Final Candidate status.

Firm Oni Release Date
Oni Fan Art Contest Details at Oni Central

Asterioids Revisited
1:08 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

At the end of the Summer, MacSoft quietly released Asteroids, Hasbro/Atari's 3D retrofit of the arcade classic; so quietly, in fact, that few gamers were even aware it was available. MacCentral's Jaap Tuinman blew the dust off his copy and took it for a spin, and has posted his review of the game. This in-depth look not only covers the innovations and new technologies added to the title, but also closely inspects it to make sure they haven't marred the classic 'feel' of the original. Here is an excerpt about some of the new additions:

It's not just about rocks anymore, though. The classic asteroids
are still around, but we've also now got Mined Asteroids (high
explosives give these a dangerous blast radius), Crystal Asteroids
(the small shards will re-grow into full-size crystals if you don't
get'em quick), Ancient Energy Asteroids (they'll absorb your laser's
energy and fire back), and Alien Egg Asteroids (which will release
space worms when you blow them open). Then there's the fast-moving
flaming fireball comets, assorted bits of space debris, and the
mighty indestructible asteroid. And rather than a flying saucer or
two, there's 12 different kinds of ships that will shoot at you,
pollute your sector with deadly exhaust, try to ram your vessel, and
otherwise attempt to bring about your untimely end.
The game also supports cooperative Internet play, and takes advantage of 3D hardware for special effects. Check out the rest of the review for more details and screen shots.

Asteroids Review at MacCentral

MacGamer Visits Ambrosia
9:20 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Corey Tamas of MacGamer recently had the chance to visit Ambrosia Software, arguably the most popular shareware authors for the Macintosh. In addition to taking at peek at Ambrosia's offices, Tamas got a chance to preview one of Ambrosia's latest games, Ragnarok. Here's a little snippet from the preview:

No description of Ragnarok would be complete without taking time to talk about Ben's terrain engine. Ragnarok takes place on an expanse of forested, mountainous ground that stretches out in every direction. Speckled with grassy hills and clear ponds, the environment belies the pulse-pounding violence that is the pre-requisite to victory. More than just a hilly up and down range of scenery, this terrain actually buckles and wears scars where your artillery and rockets land. After a heated battle the earth is torn up by holes and craters that are left behind by your shells (some holes deep enough to fall into). The technical term for this kind of thing is "deformable terrain"... and it can really change the way you play the game.
For the rest of the preview, be sure to visit Macgamer.

Ambrosia & Ragnarok at MacGamer

Click to enlarge
Another Look at DS9: The Fallen
8:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Computer Games Online has played through a significant chunk of Simon & Schuster's upcoming Star Trek title Deep Space Nine: The Fallen and posted their impressions of the game. There are some comparisons and contrasts made with Raven's Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, but they note that the largest difference between the two is the ability to play as three of the main characters from the TV series. They go into detail about playing this solo game as Worf, Sisko, and Kira, so be sure to give it a read. Here's a clip with details:

Depending on which character you choose, you'll have a different game experience. Choose Captain Benjamin Sisko, for instance, and your first mission is to board a damaged Bajoran ship and rescue its surviving crewmembers from an alien menace. Play Major Kira Nerys, though, and you'll maneuver your shapely form through a Bajoran temple and environs, battling invaders and dodging air strikes. If you choose Lt. Commander Worf, though, your first task will be to defend USS Defiant, your ship, against an alien boarding party.
The differing storylines should greatly increase The Fallen's replayability, and this is just one of the reasons we're looking forward to this game later in the year. We hope to see the game actually released within the next month or so, but as gamers all know, "it's done when it's done."

CGO Preview of Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen

Blizzard Under Attack
8:39 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

DiabloII.net has received disturbing word from Blizzard that their Battle.net servers are currently under attack from an unknown source. This is making it difficult to view the Battle.net web site or log on to the game servers for Diablo II. Here's the word from Blizzard themselves:

We have recently become aware of the fact that an individual, group or entity has instituted a server attack on both Battle.net and Blizzard's web pages. The result of this illegal activity has been that many of our customers are having difficulty logging on to the Battle.net game service and accessing Blizzard web pages. We are in the midst of implementing a solution, but we wanted to let you know that the situation is a direct result of attacks on our servers, not Battle.net stability.

The FBI and certain European law enforcement agencies have been notified, and we are working in conjunction with them to identify the individual. Attacks on our servers will not be tolerated, and Blizzard fully intends to prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law.
If you have any information about the individual, group or entity involved in this activity, please email hacks@blizzard.com.

Thank you for your patience. We will post updates on the status of the servers as more information is available.

This is very disheartening news, and we hope the cuprit is found soon.

Battle.net Web Site
DiabloII.net Web Site

Westlake Releases UT 436 Patch
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Mark Adams, president of Westlake Interactive, informed us that the 436 patch for Unreal Tournament has been released for both Mac OS and PC versions of this first-person shooter. This version contains all the bug fixes and changes from the previous PC-only patches, and allows us to 'catch up' to the PC version with just one update. Mark commends Epic Games for their cooperative efforts, which enabled the Macintosh and PC patches to be released simultaneously for the first time:

A new version of Unreal Tournament (436) is being released simultaneously
tonight on the Mac, Linux, and Windows platforms. Many thanks to Epic
Games for great project coordination, helping all developers involved get
their versions ready at once. Most of the bug fixes apply to all
platforms, although there are a few Mac specific changes.
The biggest changes in the new patch are the removal of the CD check, faster pinging of servers, and drastic memory reductions in the OpenGL renderer. Here are the Mac-specific fixes from the readme included with the patch:
  • Added changes to the OpenGL driver to support much lower memory requirements. UT should now run in GL with only an extra 20-30MB of RAM (135M recommended partition). The "OpenGLDriver.ini" settings are now part of the main UT.ini file. See the Troubleshooting section above for tips on using OpenGL. Support for 16-bit textures will require Apple's OpenGL 1.2 or later.

  • Fixed problems with downloading compressed maps/mods automatically when joining a server.
  • For a complete list of bug fixes and instructions on how to enable OpenGL, please refer to the readme file that accompanies the patch.

    Westlake Interactive
    Download Unreal Tournament 436 Patch (3.4 MB)

    Click to enlarge
    NWN Chat Reveals Mac Details
    6:00 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

    Last night, developer BioWare and a group of Neverwinter Nights fans took some time to chat about this upcoming Advanced Dungeons and Dragon- based online RPG. The chat provided a great deal of information about the game itself, and some reassurance for Mac gamers looking forward to this title. While they would not commit to a Mac public Beta (one is planned for the PC) they did confirm that the Mac and PC versions are in lockstep, and a simultaneous release is expected. Here is an excerpt from the chat transcript:

    Xander: How close is the Macintosh version keeping up with the code at this point, and are you expecting to provide a public beta for Mac at the same time as the Windows beta?

    Don_Bioware: Howard is keeping the code up to date on a weekly basis. No plans yet for beta.

    Rob_Bartel2: The Mac port is coming along nicely, as are the BeOs and Linux versions. We're aiming for a simultaneous, single-box release. Can't promise a beta of any sort at this point, though.

    When the chat ended, fansite Planet Neverwinter posted a complete and very clean transcript. If this is the first you've heard of this innovative online RPG, be sure and read our First Look at this title and our interview with Trent Oster of BioWare.

    NWN Chat Log at Planet Neverwinter
    Neverwinter Nights Web Site
    Interview with Trent Oster
    Neverwinter Nights Preview
    Neverwinter Nights
    Buy Neverwinter Nights

    Mac Games News for Tuesday, November 7, 2000

    ATI Driver Update Solves Diablo II Issue12:55 PM
    Whither Radeon PCI?12:41 PM
    First Look at Giants12:22 PM
    Deux Ex Mods? Yes!11:48 AM
    Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 Demo Released9:59 AM
    Shadows of Reality Intro Movie9:59 AM
    Diablo II Expansion FAQ9:21 AM
    Icewind Dale Screenshots Posted9:14 AM
    More Starfleet Command II Previews9:10 AM
    Cro-Mag Rally Update8:44 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, November 7, 2000 on one page

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