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Monday, November 13, 2000

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Cro-Mag Rally Released, Demo Available
8:17 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Pangea Software has announced the availability of Cro-Mag Rally, their ground-breaking 3-D racing game for the Mac. In addition, Macgamefiles.com is now hosting the Cro-Mag Rally demo. This whacky console-style racer features blazing-fast 3D action, split-screen competition and power-ups to spice up the gameplay. Here's a snippet from the official press release:

“Cro-Mag Rally is an incredibly entertaining racing game, suitable for all
ages, and there is nothing else like it for the Mac,” said Brian Greenstone,
President and CEO of Pangea Software. “We are proud to be developing games exclusively for the Mac, and excited that Cro-Mag Rally, with its dazzling visuals and adrenaline pumping action, will be one of the first games available for Mac OS X.”

“Macs are the ultimate consumer gaming computers, with blazing ATI graphics now standard on all iMacs and iBooks,” said Clent Richardson, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “We’re thrilled that Mac users can enjoy the exciting new Cro-Mag Rally right now, and enjoy an upgrade to even more enhanced graphics performance with the Mac OS X version early next year.”

In Cro-Mag Rally the user simulates a speed-hungry caveman named Brog who races through the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages in primitive vehicles such as the Geode Cruiser, Bone Buggy, Logmobile, and Trojan Horse. Brog has at his disposal an arsenal of primitive weaponry ranging from Bone Bombs to Chinese Bottle Rockets and Heat Seeking Homing Pigeons.

Cro-Mag Rally includes single-player racing, where a single player races
against the computer, as well as several multi-player modes including Tag, Capture the Flag, and Survival. Two players can play on a single computer in split-screen mode, or up to 6 players can play over a network.
The press release also notes that a free upgrade for Mac OS X, Apple’s next-generation operating system, will be available early next year.

The demo weighs in at 40 MB and contains two single-player courses from the full game. It requires a 233 Mhz G3, 64 MB of RAM, and 6MB of VRAM (4MB with an AGP-equipped Mac).

Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally Demo (40 MB)
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

NVIDIA's New Portable Chip is Mac-ready
2:18 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

CNET has posted details on NVIDIA's new graphics chip for notebook computers, known as the GeForce2go. This low-power, 0.18-micron chip is specially designed for high performance and very low power requirements, making it perfect for battery-powered systems.

As you might recall, there have been many rumors of NVIDIA's entry into the Mac OS market through a third party. Over the Summer, NVIDIA released the GeForce2 MX, a low-cost 2D/3D acceleration chipset with impressive performance which was explicitly stated to be "Mac-compatible"; however, NVIDIA does not make graphics cards, just the chips and drivers -- it would be up to a third party to actually make compatible cards for Mac systems.

However, there have also been rumors that NVIDIA is angling to take over ATI's position as the OEM supplier for Apple 3D hardware, which would eliminate the need for a third party. With the introduction of the GeForce2go, NVIDIA has a complete lineup of chips -- high end, mid-range, and portable -- which may make them more attractive to Apple in the future. Here are some details on the new portable chip, from CNET's coverage:

The Geforce2go offers much of the performance of Nvidia's desktop PC chips while consuming a fraction of the power, Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang told CNET News.com. Some of the gains in power usage come from production of the chip using thinner, 0.18-micron wiring, but Nvidia got additional gains by allowing parts of the chip to power down when a particular function, such as video playback, is not being used.

As previously reported, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia is attacking the laptop market following a successful conquest of the desktop market once dominated by Canadian rival ATI Technologies. Although the laptop market is about one-quarter of the overall PC market, it is growing far faster, Huang noted...

Like the Geforce2 MX from which it is derived, the Geforce2go is Macintosh-compatible. Nvidia has said that it plans to enter the Mac market--another ATI stronghold--but has offered few details.

Huang said the next news that people hear about Nvidia in the Mac market will likely come from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. Rival ATI raised Jobs' rancor earlier this year when it prematurely said that its chips would be part of iMacs and PowerMacs that had not yet been introduced.

The next news about Apple to come from Steve Jobs will most likely be at next year's Macworld Expo San Francisco, in the first week of January 2001. It remains to be seen if NVIDIA can unseat ATI from their five-year reign as the sole OEM provider for Apple; while ATI's relationship with the Mac platform has been declared on shaky ground several times, the recent release of the Radeon and the strong performance of that card on Mac systems indicates that their ties with Apple are still quite strong. In any case, it is clear the future will hold even more choices for Mac gamers when it comes to 3D acceleration, and that can only be a good thing.

NVIDIA Introduces GeForce2go at CNET
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX In-depth

ATI Radeon, 3dfx Voodoo5 Comparison
1:42 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

In a recent article, MacNN pits ATI and 3dfx's latest video card offerings against each other. The AGP Radeon Mac Edition and Voodoo5 5500 PCI were run through the usual batch of benchmarks, including Quake 2, Quake 3: Arena and Unreal Tournament. Also included are 16 and 32-bit FSAA benchmarks (for the Voodoo5 only) and image quality comparisons. While this comparison is not a perfect one, as comparing an AGP card to a PCI one isn't a level playing field, it is an interesting read. Here is an excerpt:

While Quake II and Quake III: Arena are two of very few Mac games that are reliable enough to use as a 3D benchmarking tool, we also tested each card on a variety of other games including, but not limited to: 4x4 Evolution, Aliens vs. Predator, Carmageddon II, Descent 3, Deus Ex, Diablo II, Driver, FLY!, Madden NFL 2000, Rainbow Six, Sin, and Unreal Tournament. All of the aforementioned games performed more than adequately on both cards, although the Voodoo5 is still tops in 16-bit graphics quality while the Radeon did best at maintaining frame rates as graphic detail and resolutions increased in each of these games.
The Radeon AGP has been leaking into retail channel since the beginning of the month, while the Voodoo5 PCI has been on sale for several months now. Read on to find out the pros and cons of each card and which might be for you.

3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI Review
ATI Radeon Mac Edition Review
ATi Radeon vs. 3dfx Voodoo5 at Games.MacNN

New Oni Images, Update
12:40 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The Adrenaline Vault has obtained fifteen new screen shots of Gathering of Developers' upcoming anime-inspired full contact fighting game, Oni . The screen shots reveal the new interface, as well as some in-game cinematics, many battles and some of the sharp architectural design. These are well worth checking out, and show dramatic progress from the much older screen shots many sites still feature.

Matt Soell of Bungie has recently posted another of his weekly progress updates on Oni Central's forums. He reveals that the PC version is already in final candidate, but the Mac version remains in beta. Here's his update:

The Oni team is currently working to bring the Mac version of the game up to speed with the PC version. Only a little more bug-stomping and tweaking to go, and then we'll hand this game over to the Gathering of Developers folks and begin the process of moving the Oni guys up north (they'll actually be the first Bungie team in our new building) and getting them situated so they can start work on their next project.
Oni is set to be released January 29th, 2001 for Mac, PC and PlayStation 2.

Oni Central
Oni Images at Adrenaline Vault

IMG at Capitol Mac
11:51 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to pop on down to Richmond for
Capitol Mac's Gaming Day. Along with demos of many new Mac games and the latest hardware, the event starred Jason Whong of the newly-created
MacPlay, who brought demonstration copies of Sin and Majesty, both due in stores very soon.

Jason demoed Majesty, and we were immediately addicted. This game features a twist on the RTS genre in that you don't directly
control your units, but you do provide them with incentives to do things
for you. A very interesting idea indeed.

Capitol Mac was a very
gracious host, providing free stuff if you entered into a drawing. Also worthy of mention was Unreal
Tournament being played on both Radeon and Voodoo5 enabled machines, very
spectacular indeed. These cards really showcased this beautiful game, although the 3D card did no good for my
roommate who was fragged into very small bits on a regular basis.

Here's what the curious site Skewed Perspective had to say about Majesty, in their post-visit report:

Majesty lends itself to much of that labelling... The amusing thing is, each
person gives the exact same five things. Now my question is, why don't we
just start the game with those five things done? Why waste time fooling me
into thinking personal style will get me anywhere when one of the three
uninspired races comes a-knocking? Majesty throws those games off their
horses...the options in even the most basic beginner game leave a lot to
personal choice, and make it a joy to pay attention. So how do you list this
in our acronym-flavored game industry? Well, it's a Real Time Strategy game,
so RTS right there....and it has Multiplayer, so add an M...then an F for
Fantasy....So far we have RTSMF. Would it be that hard for people to come up
with some descriptions that start with vowels? Keep in mind that those
categories are only as useful as the people who need the limits
We have posted some video taken at the event, which features Jason Whong talking
about Majesty, due to ship sometime in the "next few weeks and
definitely before Christmas." Much thanks to Jason and MacPlay for also
providing pizza for the event. Check out the movie for more details, and our Majesty and Sin previews as well.

Skewed Perspective
Capitol Mac
IMG at Capitol Mac Event Video (6.8 MB)
Majesty Preview

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Mac Halo Launches
11:15 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games is proud to announce the debut of Mac Halo, an IMG affiliate dedicated to delivering the latest news on Bungie's upcoming award-winning game. They're striving to make this a community-oriented page, so feel free to drop by the forum, post a message and make yourself comfortable.

Currently, Mac Halo is a little light on content -- we encourage you to stop by often as they grow and build this site in the upcoming weeks.

Stay tuned for upcoming interviews and much more at Mac Halo!

Mac Halo
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

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Amazing Deal on 4x4 Evolution
11:13 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

We don't usually cover individual online stores, but this deal was just too sweet to ignore. Terminal Reality's off-road SUV racing game 4x4 Evolution has just hit stores, and yet Compuexpert is offering this cross-platform title for just $19.90!

This gorgeous, fast and addictive racer has been receiving rave reviews on all three platforms, and was the most popular beta/demo on our own Macgamefiles.com in that site's history. Remarkable not only for the graphics and physics, this racer is also cross-platform between Mac, PC and Sega Dreamcast, and is playable over a 56k modem connection.

There is no word on how long this deal will last, so grab your copy today -- limit one per customer. For more information on this game, see our preview or watch for our review coming soon; download the demo to see how well it will run on your system.

4x4 Evolution Web Site
4x4 Evolution Demo (32 MB)
4x4 Evolution Preview
4x4 Evolution Deal at Compuexpert
Terminal Reality
Gathering of Developers
4x4 Evolution

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Blizzard: Behind the Scenes
9:19 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpot has posted a 6-part, 24-page story covering everything you might want to know about Blizzard. This article starts with the company's humble beginnings and moves through their history of successes up to their current peak. They even have a contest at the end, which offers a chance to play-test the upcoming Diablo II Expansion Pack in San Francisco. One of the most interesting aspects of the article is the discussion of Blizzard's near-failures -- yes, that have had a few misses -- and the times when they've either pulled the plug on a project or drastically changed its direction. The latest instance of a change such as this was with Warcraft III, though they emphasize this was in the best interest of the game:

Those who keep an eye on Blizzard shouldn't have been surprised by the redesign of Warcraft III, given that every two years the company has had to make dramatic changes to its product lineup. (1996 was the Starcraft redo, 1998 brought the cancellation of Warcraft Adventures, and now 2000 brings the Warcraft III overhaul). While the Warcraft III changes were perhaps more highly publicized, Pardo says design decisions always stem from one goal: to make the best game possible. "We're working on the game every single day - people need to trust us," he says when asked about the negative online reaction to the changes.
If you have a minute (or 30), head over to GameSpot and read through the piece. And be sure to answer the trivia questions at the end for a chance to play the D2 expansion pack.

In related news, Blizzard has recently announced a Diablo Gift Set, just in time for the holiday season. It includes hybrid Mac/PC versions of Diablo and Diablo II, as well as the official strategy guides for both. If you have a friend who has yet to be introduced to the Diablo series, this sounds like a fantastic present. Also, be sure to read our review of Diablo II if you are wondering whether the game is worth your time and money.

IMG Review of Diablo II
GameSpot Blizzard Article
Diablo II Gift Set
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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MacBGEditor v1.0.1 and Source Code Released
9:01 AM | Jay Swartzfeger | Comment on this story

Barry Waid has just released MacBGEditor v1.0.1, an update to his popular Java-based character editor for the RPG Baldur's Gate. Version 1.0.1 fixes a few minor bugs and refines the interface with new graphics. MacBGEditorLite was also released-- it's very similar feature-wise to the full editor, but has a plain interface and doesn't require Sun's JFC/Swing 1.1.1. library.

More importantly, the source code for both projects has been released -- if you're interested in writing a game editor, this would be a great place to start.

Head to Mac Baldur to read more about these just-released editors and how to download them.

Mac Baldur
Baldur's Gate

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Links LS 2000 Finished, Demo Soon!
8:48 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

With all the new big-name game releases and announcements Mac gamers might overlook the smaller companies, such Green Dragon Creations. Green Dragon is one of the more interesting Mac-friendly companies in that they both port games to the Mac and create original content as well.

Their next two projects, a port of Links LS 2000 and a unique "real time puzzle game" called "The Trouble With Toolbots," represent this duality. Links LS 2000 is considered one of the best golf games on the PC, and while few details about The Trouble with Toolbots are known at this point, it should be entertaining based on their track record. IMG recently contacted Green dragon Green Dragon to check on the status of these two games. Representative Howard Shere had this news to offer:

We've been working hard on Links LS 2000 and
we've just finished the demo (which will be available soon). We're now
resting and then we're going to go back to work on ToolBots. We may have something to show at MacWorld. We plan to be there with a booth...
Howard went on to say,
The game [Links 2000] is finished and will be on store shelves real soon now.

Well, it is official -- Links LS 2000 is finished and will be reaching store shelves soon. MacSoft will be publishing this critically-acclaimed golf game. When the Links demo is released, be sure to keep on eye on Macgamefiles.com as we're sure it will show up there, ready for downloading.

Links LS 2000 at MacSoft
Green Dragon Site
Links LS 2000

Matrix Mod for Deus Ex
8:47 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Mac Deus Ex, a member of the IMG Network, has released The Matrix Mod, the first "mod" for the Macintosh version of Deus Ex. Based on the hit movie The Matrix, the mod allows you to run faster, jump higher and even dodge bullets. Here's more information about the mod from Deus Ex webmaster Robert Baird:

I've completed my work on "The Matrix" Mod for Macintosh. This mod mimics the movie with the same name, by increasing your mental capacity you can slow down the world around you. By simply turning on an augmentation you can run fast, jump across rooftops, and dodge bullets.

This mod was originally created for the PC version of Deus Ex by James Keeble. My part in the mod didn't involve much, just changing one file reference and a filename. I re-wrote the instructions to be Mac-friendly, I hope you understand them.
Be sure to head over to Mac Deus Ex to download the Matrix Mod.

Mac Deus Ex

Unreal Fortress Released
8:20 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After nearly a year of waiting, fans of the team fortress game type can finally try out the modification for UT called Unreal Fortress. While not an exact duplicate of any previous team fortress mod, UnF shares much in common with its predecessors. Here's a bit from the manual explaining more:

In this first public release of UnF, you get a new game mode, "Fortress", plus new skins, weapons, sounds, maps, and more. UnF is primarily designed for online play, although the bot AI has been partially modified to take advantage of the new features of UnF. Fortress mode is an extensively modified version of capture-the-flag. Your team's goal is to grab the enemy flag and bring it back to the drop-off point in your base while preventing the enemy from stealing your flag. The basic goal is simple, but the tactics are as complex as you want them to be.

In future releases, we plan to include full bot support, many more game modes, more maps, new player models, and other exciting features. One of our highest priorities is the implementation of full clan match-oriented features.

Keep in mind this is the first public beta release of the game, though, so there are a few issues to deal with. One problem that seems to be affecting the Mac version is at the end of installation. It throws an error about not being able to open the license agreement. With a bit of testing, the mod still seemed playable, so it looks like this can be ignored for now.

After unzipping the file (always remember turn off convert text files to the Mac format if you're using Stuffit Expander), simply drag the file onto the UMOD installer to begin. If you're looking for help, there's always IMG's troubleshooting forum, or you can check out the UnF site for more info. Head on over to Macgamefiles to download the modification now.

Unreal Fortress Web Site
Download Unreal Fortress PR1 (26.3MB)
IMG Troubleshooting Forum

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Mac Summoner Update
8:12 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With the U.S. launch of the PlayStation 2 several weeks ago, lucky owners of this console have a chance to play Volition's 3D RPG Summoner. The plan for this game from the outset was to release the PS2 version at this console's launch date, then add multiplayer support to the PC and Mac versions and release them later in the year. We contacted Volition's Mark Allender to get a quick update about the progress of the Mac version. Here is his reply:

Multiplayer work is proceeding nicely. The Macintosh version is nearly up
to speed with the PC version, minus multiplayer, which I am currently
working on integrating.

We are still shooting for this winter, although I cannot be more
specific. I'm not sure what else to say other than things are going great.

Sounds great to us, as well. Perhaps you have seen those thrilling Summoner ads on television -- this is one game worth waiting for! The specifics regarding the multiplayer features haven't been announced yet, but we expect both co-op and competitive modes to be available. We'll be sure to bring you any new information we might receive on the title. Head over to our sister site Inside PS2 Games for information on that powerful console; we're suspicious information about Summoner might arrive there soon.

Summoner Web Site
Inside PS2 Games Web Site
Buy Summoner

Mac Games News for Friday, November 10, 2000

Heavy Metal FAKK 2 Bug Fix12:03 PM
3dfx FSAA Demos11:37 AM
MacMAME 0.37b9 Released10:48 AM
Worms Armageddon Axed10:26 AM
Rune Chat Transcript10:19 AM
Mac Monopoly Casino in Beta10:15 AM
AvP Update from Fox10:11 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, November 10, 2000 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, November 8, 2000
Tuesday, November 7, 2000
Monday, November 6, 2000
Friday, November 3, 2000
Thursday, November 2, 2000

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