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Thursday, November 16, 2000

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Huge Aspyr Update
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media has recently sent out their November newsletter, packed full of great information on the upcoming titles they are publishing for the Mac. The three big items of note are that Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Livin' Large, and Sim Theme Park should all be shipping out very soon! Here's the scoop on Elite Force, the Star Trek FPS from Raven Software:

Duane Johnson and the Westlake Interactive team have once again worked
their magic. The gold master of Star Trek:Voyager-Elite Force was sent
for duplication early last week and we are expecting to have the first
copies available in our offices soon, to send out to our preorder
customers. That's right, just a few days left until Star Trek:
Voyager-Elite Force ships!
Also, as we noted on the first of the month, the add-on pack for The Sims has already hit production and should be out very soon:
Philip Sulak and Westlake Interactive have been busy, as Livin' Large
went gold last week and is also days away from shipping.
Keep in mind that Livin' Large will require the full version of The Sims in order to play.

Sim Theme Park is being produced for the Mac by Feral Interactive, and they've teamed up with Aspyr to publish the title. This sim game is just about to head to production, according to the newsletter. They've also released the system requirements for the game, which sound quite reasonable:

We have word from Feral that the game has gone gold and will be going
into duplication. Word on the street is that Sim Theme Park should be
ready around Thanksgiving time. Which means, there is plenty of time
to get your preorder in.

System requirements for Sim Theme Park for the Mac are as follows:

  • Mac PowerPC G3 or G4 processor at 233 Mhz (333 Mhz recommended) or
  • MacOS 8.5 or later
  • Open GL 1.1.2 (included)
  • QuickTime 4.0 (included)
  • 64 MB RAM (128 MB recommended)-with virtual memory set to at least 128
  • 150 MB Free hard disk space
  • Supported Graphics Accelerator with 6 MB VRAM (16 MB VRAM recommended)
  • 4x CD-ROM drive


  • Online features require TCP/IP internet connection at 28.8Kbps or
    faster. Players are responsible for all applicable internet fees.
  • Aspyr has also offered a quick update on some of the titles we'll see from them a bit further down the road, so to speak. Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed is already in the hands of Westlake and should be moving towards a first-playable state soon. Escape from Monkey Island is also already underway, being ported by Jesse Spears of Westlake. And as we reported earlier, work on Tomb Raider: Chronicles should begin very soon. There is no official release date for any of these three, though Monkey Island 4 could be early next year, and TR: Chronicles shouldn't take Westlake too long considering their extensive experience with previous games in the series.

    Aspyr Web Site
    First Look: Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
    First Look: The Sims: Living Large
    Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Preview
    Aspyr Media
    Raven Software
    Westlake Interactive
    Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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    Mac Halo Survey
    11:45 PM | Jay Swartzfeger | Comment on this story

    Mac Halo, member of the IMG Network, has posted a survey that will bring out the system advocates in droves:

    What system do you plan to purchase Halo for: Mac, PC or X-Box?

    Bungie Software has stated that a Mac version of the game will be released. But when, we're still unsure. Some have speculated that it will be after the X-Box version debuts. In any case, if you plan to play on your Mac, then head to Mac Halo to make your voice heard.

    Mac Halo
    Bungie Studios
    Halo: Combat Evolved

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    The Gods of Sacrifice
    12:26 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    Several news sources have mentioned that fansite The Ambassador's Domain has updated their information on Sacrifice, the 3D RTS just about to be released for PC by Shiny Entertainment. Sacrifice is one of the titles being ported to the Mac OS by the newly-created MacPlay, and is expected sometime next year.

    The update on Ambassador's Domain deals primarily with the five gods of the world of Sacrifice and the creatures that they can summon. Persephone, Charnel, James, Stratos and Pyro are the all-powerful gods you must worship and serve if you wish to prevail in battle against wizards who worship rival gods. A mix of classical mythology, fantasy and outright strangeness, these gods each can summon various creatures to fight for you and provide powerful spells to devastate your enemies.

    While some of the aspects of this guide might be considered 'spoilers' for those anticipating the final game, overall the information is an excellent overview of what to expect. While the Mac version may be four or more months away, we're already excited about this unusual and gorgeous game coming to our platform.

    Sacrifice Web Site
    The Gods of Sacrifice at The Ambassador's Realm
    Shiny Entertainment
    Pre-Order Sacrifice

    MacYAME Released
    11:03 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    IMG Network partner MacEmuScene has noted the release of MacYAME 0.02, a multiple-game-device emulator. This small emulator can play PC-Engine, Nintendo Entertainment System and Gameboy games with backups of the cartridge ROM files for these systems.

    Not much is known about this emulator or its features, as the site and docs are written in Japanese. If anyone is willing to donate their translation skills, please visit MacEmuScene and lend a hand. Jump to MacEmuScene for more details and a screen shot of the emulator in action.

    MacYAME Web Site

    UT Tweak Guide
    10:46 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    Our CGA partner Stomped pointed out that 3D Spotlight has updated their excellent Unreal Tournament Tweak Guide for Epic's fantastic shooter. While this game has been out for some time, we thought we'd mention the guide for those of you who are 'rediscovering' this game due to the many excellent 'mods' that have recently been released.

    While the guide features simple tips such as reducing the World Texture setting to gain speed and instructions on how to turn off the 'City Intro' to improve launching speed, there are also detailed guides to all of the settings and their effects. This includes instructions on how to tweak all of the settings under the Advanced options dialog, an intimidating interface even for veteran users. Each setting and its effect on gameplay performance is explained in detail, and almost all of them are relevant to the Mac as well as PC versions.

    The good news is, this guide isn't just for UT -- many of the tips and tricks mentioned within will also be quite handy for games based on the UT engine, such as Deus Ex and the upcoming titles Rune and Deep Space Nine: The Fallen. If you've got an UT-based game that isn't running as smoothly as you would like, be sure and explore this guide to find out what might be slowing you down.

    Unreal Tournament Tweak Guide at 3D Spotlight

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    Cro-Mag Rally Update
    10:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    Pangea Software's new 'kart-style' racing game has just shipped to preorder customers, and a patch for Cro-Mag Rally has already been released, responding to user feedback on the demo version. There is also a patch (actually just a new version of the game application) available for the demo version of the game.

    According to the read me, the new application has been patched to fix two problems: Some unnecessary debug information was removed, and a problem with corrupted preferences files was corrected.

    Be sure and grab this update if you are playing the demo or have ordered the full version. Many users have commented on the sensitivity of the controls for the game; this problem seems to happen most often with 'analog' controllers such as older gamepads and joysticks. If enough users report problems of this sort, Pangea will most likely address this issue as well, but we'd recommend trying keyboard play to anyone having trouble, as the game is well-tuned for this input method.

    Cro-Mag Rally Update (Demo and Full) (292k)
    Download Cro-Mag Rally Demo (40 MB)
    Pangea Software
    Cro-Mag Rally

    Online Play Cheating
    9:03 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

    Matt Pritchard of Ensemble Studios (creators of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings) has written an amazing piece on the motivations of cheating in online gaming play, published on Gamasutra. Along with his views on the effects of cheating, he has come up with some advice for developers to try and make games more secure against the cheaters, or at least to try to combat the hacking of online play. Here's an excerpt:

    Cheating hit closer to home for me while I was working on the final stages of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. Cheating online became a widespread problem with the original Age of Empires. Tournaments had to be cancelled due to a lack of credibility, the number of online players fell, and the reputation of my company took a direct hit from frustrated users. Unable to spare the resources to fix the game properly until after Age of Kings was done, we just had to endure our users turning their anger upon us -- probably the most personally painful thing I've experienced as a developer.

    What about your next game? This is a good time to introduce my first two rules about online cheating:

    Rule #1: If you build it, they will come -- to hack and cheat.

    Rule #2: hacking attempts increase with the success of your game.

    This begs the question: Is cheating damaging to the online world? Or does it just breed a different variety of gamer/coder? After all, cheating could be seen as analogous to crime and graft in the real world. Has cheating affected your perception of or participation in an online game? Share your thoughts in our forums.

    Gamasutra Article on Cheating in Online Games

    So Much Oni
    6:00 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

    Until this week, new information on Bungie Studio's long-awaited shooter/combat title Oni was a rare find indeed, and many sites recycled the same screen shots and information over and over. Thankfully that drought has ended, with new screen shots posted on The Adrenaline Vault as well as IMG, and now ten new movies of Oni gameplay have been posted by Daily Radar. While the movies show an amazing amount of detail they are quite hefty in size, ranging between 3 and 14 MB. If the size of the download gives you pause, you might want to stop by Oni Ccentral for their in-depth descriptions of each movie to determine which ones are worth the download.

    Also at Oni Central is a very interesting article describing how to draw the main character Konoko, created by none other than artist Lorraine Reyes. Lorraine is one of the lead artists for the Oni project and is responsible for all of the hand-drawn art in Oni's ads and box art. These lessons should be useful for anyone who wants to participate in the Gathering Of Developers fan art contest, which will award a free copy of Oni and two other G.o.D. games to the winner.

    G.O.D. Fan Art Contest Details
    How to Draw Konoko
    Oni Gameplay Movies at Daily Radar

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    WWII Online Finds Publisher
    6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    We've been following the progress of this ambitious massively-multiplayer online game for some time, and are glad to report that World War II Online by Cornered Rat Software has finally found a publisher. This detailed, authentic simulation of the European theater of war will allow thousands to participate in massive battles on land, at sea and in the air. And, most importantly for us, it will be cross-platform for Mac and PC, as well has having reasonable system requirements.

    The game has been picked up by worldwide publisher Strategy First Inc, and is due in the Summer of 2001. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

    Strategy First Inc., a leading worldwide developer and publisher of PC CD-ROM games is pleased to announce that it has entered an agreement with Playnet Inc. to publish the highly anticipated World War II Online throughout retail channels in North America and selected regions of Europe and Asia.

    "Strategy First is very excited about this newfound partnership," says Steve Wall, V.P., Marketing/Business Development.  "World War 11 on-line is a visionary title that will set a new standard for online gaming. It is truly groundbreaking and we are excited to be part of it.”

    Playnet Inc.’s President & CEO Jim Mesteller remarked, "We were very careful in sorting through possible publishers for our first premium gaming title.  After meeting and working with the team from Strategy First, our decision was easy.  This is a good fit.  In terms of our need to reach a wide audience, the extra visibility from retail channel exposure…by having our game on the shelves of software stores across the country and around the world…will bring us a much larger audience than would be possible by only distributing the game online.  Unlike many games, the world we're building works better with lots of people in it.” 

    Playnet and Strategy First are eager to set a new trend in the industry by introducing the first truly cross-genre massively multiplayer online game.  The game offers players a combination of first person shooter, role-playing and strategy styled game-play in one title. 

    Set in the virtual battlefields of the Second World War, players choose to join the Army, Marines, Navy or Air Force for a variety of countries on both the Allied and Axis sides. 

    Unlike any game in its genre, players are able to tailor their game experience to a degree of detail never seen before.  Whether they choose to captain ships, command tanks, pilot aircraft or fight on the frontlines, they must gain experience by successfully strategizing their attacks and completing various mission objectives, before moving up the ranks.

    The game is nearing public Beta for both Mac and PC; we'll let you know when the Mac beta will be available. Visit the WWII Online web site for more information, screen shots and movies.

    Strategy First to Publish WWII Online
    World War II Online
    Strategy First
    Cornered Rat Software
    World War II Online

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, November 15, 2000

    3dfx, ATI Interviews3:54 PM
    Rune Reaches Final Candidate2:53 PM
    Cro-Mag Rally Ships Early1:50 PM
    'King of the Hill' Game Available9:57 AM
    Ambrosia Makes Games for Windows9:03 AM
    Starfleet Command II Q&A8:35 AM
    TR: Chronicles Gold for PC, Mac Dev Soon8:34 AM
    Shogo for Mac is Gold8:31 AM
    3dfx Leaves Graphics Card Business8:30 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, November 15, 2000 on one page

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