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Monday, December 18, 2000


More on 3dfx's Demise
9:39 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

On Friday it was announced that 3D graphics card maker 3dfx will be closing their doors and selling their assets to their competitor NVIDIA. Obviously, this will have tremendous repercussions for the PC (and Mac) 3D card market, and the game industry as well. The Gamer's Depot jumped on the occasion and interviewed NVIDIA's PR man Brian Burke -- who used to be a PR man for 3dfx, incidentally. They asked quite a lot of questions about what will happen to the employees, the technology and what will be the overall effect of the buyout. Here is a sample:

GD:  What exactly have you bought from 3dfx, and do you now own Gigapixel? 


Brian: Their core assets, which includes their patents, patent pending applications, trademarks, branding, and inventory related to the graphics business. Gigapixel was a company who was purchased by 3dfx. We have purchased 3dfx's core assets, so that means we have access to whatever technology might've been developed by either company. The two transactions were different in that the 3dfx/Gigapixel transaction was a complete buyout of the company. Today's announcement is that nVIDIA has only purchased the core assets of 3dfx, so I want to make it clear that it's not a complete buyout. 

Furthermore, Thresh's Firing Squad also conducted an interview with NVIDIA about the acquisition. The interview is focused on the technology NVIDIA gained, and what this means for the 3D card market:
FiringSquad: How will this change your market strategy now that there really is only one major competitor?


We are definitely a formidable foe for ATI especially with the combined technology base we now have. We are well positioned to leverage our graphics expertise into new and exciting markets.

If you missed 3dfx announcement, check out news article to get more details. As you might expect, many of the details of this decision by 3dfx are still being worked out; at this point the future of such things as 3dfx Mac OS support and driver development is unclear. We'll continue to bring you updates on the repercussion of this development for Mac gamers, but the initial outlook seems to be poor. 3dfx Mac software engineer Ray Swartz indicated on Usenet that the engineering department has already been shut down.

IMG 3dfx closes shop
3dfx web site
NVIDIA interview at Firing Squad
NVIDIA interview at Gamer's Depot


Avernum 2 Available
4:49 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With just a week to go before Christmas, another great Mac title has been released in Spiderweb Software's RPG sequel (and remake), Avernum 2. As with most all of the games from Jeff Vogel, Avernum 2 is Mac-first, with a Windows version due out in a few months. The story is a deeper version of the Exile II game, though it uses the same modified engine as the original Avernum. Here's a clip from the site with more info:

Avernum 2 is the sequel to the hit retro-rpg Avernum. Avernum 2, like its predecessor, is a classic fantasy role-playing game, designed for anyone who wants a huge game with a fascinating plot and who longs for the good old days of Ultima and Wizardry. It features beautiful 3-D, 16-bit graphics, including drawings by well-known fantasy illustrator, Phil Foglio, a massive storyline with three different game-winning quests (complete one or two of them, or even all three), and addicting gameplay.


Experience with Avernum is completely unnecessary to enjoy Avernum 2. Minimum system requirements: Windows 95 or later or PowerPC Macintosh, 12 MB free RAM, 20 MB hard drive space, 800x600 screen resolution. Highly recommended: 16 bit color, minimum 120 MhZ Processor. Avernum 2 is$25, or $32 with the hint book.

For those without the latest-and-greatest hardware, Avernum 2 should run very well on most PPC setups. Head over to Macgamefiles now to download the demo.

Download Avernum 2 Demo
Avernum 2 Web Site


SIN Demo Known Issues
4:18 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Jason Whong of United Developers/MacPlay made the following post to Usenet discussing some known issues with the recently-released demo of Sin, a classic first-person shooter. Here is the post in full:

The following are problems we've been made aware of regarding the Sin demo
(as well as the shipping version of Sin):


* Non - English Mac OS:

Many international customers are reporting that they can't control
the game. Our engineers are investigating the issue, and I'll report back
to this forum when I learn more.


* 3DFX cards:

Users of 3DFX cards are experiencing weird video-related bugs when
attempting to run in 800x600 or higher.. The problem is with the 3DFX OpenGL
renderer, as far a s we can tell. To fix the problem, run the game in
640x480 mode ONLY. Or, try a video card from another manufacturer, or
using your Mac's built-in video capabilities.


Summary: If you're not using an English Mac OS system, save yourself a
download until we come up with a fix. If you've got a 3DFX card, stick to
640x480.

We're sure a patch will me made available as soon as they address these issues. Thanks to UD for keeping the gamers informed.

Sin Mac Demo
United Developers
SiN Preview



Click to enlarge
Majesty Demo Released
4:16 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

MacPlay has released a demo of their latest strategy title, Majesty. In this game you 'influence' your minions to do your bidding in 19 scenarios of fun. The maps for each quest are dynamicly generated, though, so expect a deal of replayability in each. The game also features multiplayer between Macs, so get set to play your friends via LAN or the Internet. Here's a bit about the system requirements for Majesty:


  • PPC at 233 Mhz or faster
  • Mac OS 8.6 or later
  • Game Sprockets 1.7.5 or later (included)
  • 48 MB of Ram (with an addition 48 of Virtual Memory)
  • 800 x 600 display
  • Thousands of colors.

For much more information on Majesty, be sure to read through IMG's preview of the game. Look for the game itself to be hitting store shelves very soon.

Download Majesty Demo (32MB)
MacPlay Web Site
IMG Preview of Majesty
MacPlay
Majesty


3dfx Mac Team Disbanded
4:07 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Former 3dfxemployee Ray Swartz, one of the members of the Mac driver development team, has seemingly confirmed that Mac development has already ceased at 3dfx following their acquisition by NVIDIA. In a post on MacCentral's forums, Ray responded to a thread discussing any future Mac OS X support for the Voodoo4 4500 and Voodoo5 5500 2D/3D cards. His reply was to the point, and heartbreaking for many Mac gamers:

Yes, I was one of five engineers on the Mac Team. We are now unemployed.
We also spoke to Duane Johnson, a Mac programmer (you might know him as the author behind Mac Elite Force and many other key projects) who was just hired by 3dfx mere weeks before this development. In his reply he noted that 3dfx's decision to sell their assets and dissolve was a shock, and seemed to confirm that his job had also been terminated. Here's an excerpt:
First, this was a total shock, we (the grunt level employees) know that
the finances were not rosy, but had no idea they were that bad. And I
have to say they were quite irresponsible in their hiring practices,
they brought on two new people in Austin just two weeks ago & most of
the Mac team were in some stage of relocating to Austin.


They showed a keen interest in acquiring my debugging skills at Aspyr
world. And had some fantastic products in works that were going to be
great to work on. The Austin location was also a big plus.


There is a new driver that is basically ready to go, Stephane has some
speed improvements, Ray has some RAVE bug fixes, & I have fixed the
screen shot bug. We'd like to make it available, but don't know who has
control of such things.


There has been no new news out of NVIDIA about their Mac plans. In the
financial conference call this morning they mentioned picking up around
100 engineers from 3dfx. But there is no info about what that make up
is.

Hopefully, more information will be made public soon. If the Mac drivers are indeed frozen in development, it seems unlikely the V4 and V5 cards will ever have Mac OS X compatibility, a serious blow to gamers who were looking forward to that platform. We'll keep you informed of other developments, but as of now the future of 3dfx cards on the Mac OS seems grim.

MacCentral Forum Post by Ray Swartz


NVIDIA Conference Call Notes
3:45 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Derek Perez of NVIDIA hosted a conference call this morning to address the questions and concerns of the media regarding their acquisition of 3dfx' core assets. Here is a snip from the Q&A session:

3dfx was about two months away from releasing its next generation product before the asset sale. Will NVIDIA release 3dfx's product?


In general, we do not comment on unannounced products. Currently, it has no weight or bearing on our plans since we already have a planned release schedule.


Hiring? Is 100 new employees enough?


We're always looking for talented people. One-hundred people is a godsend for our company, but it will not alter our plans for hiring next year.


Do you have any plans or the legal capability to do Glide support?


We will get the Glide technology, but it's not clear at this time if or how we're going to use it.

While it is unclear at this time how these developments will affect Mac gaming, it is obviously going to have a profound effect on the industry itself. Read on for more excerpts from this press conference.

NVIDIA Conference Call Notes at FiringSquad


Westlake's Year 2000 In Review
10:38 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has written a small article reviewing their busy year. They have ported many of the A-list PC games, and certainly are one of the main "movers and shakers" of the Mac gaming community. They have ported 14 games this year, including Deux Ex, Rune and The Sims, while expanding their staff to eight full-time employees. Here are some highlights:

September saw the release of two more consumer titles, Risk 2 and Wheel
of Fortune. Also in September, another programmer was added to Westlake's
staff when we hired Jesse Spears, a long time Mac game programmer who
worked on several of the Harpoon series.


What is October? That is the question answered by the release of
Jeopardy, the Mac version of the wildly popular game show. This month
also saw us finish up two hybrid simultaneous-release games for Hypnotix
(creators of Deer Avenger), when we shipped Bass Avenger and Daria's
Inferno.


In November, we gave action fans another treat with Star Trek: Voyager -
Elite Force. And just to keep the Sims players busy, we also released the
expansion pack Livin' Large.


To round out the year in December, our final game of 2000 was Rune, the
Viking hack & slash game based on the Unreal Tournament engine.


Westlake shipped fourteen games in 2000 (with a staff of eight!),
breaking our previous record of twelve games in 1999. Over the last three
years, Westlake has developed 31 Mac games, and we are looking forward to
continuing to bring the best games to the Mac.


2001 is already shaping up to be another banner year, as work has begun
on several new games - Escape From Monkey Island, Monopoly Casino, and
Tomb Raider: Chronicles, plus some unannounced secret projects!

Read the rest of this article for more details on Westlake's amazing year. Be sure and enjoy the fruits of their labor!

Westlake Interactive's Year 2000 Review
Westlake Interactive



Click to enlarge
Halo to Feature All-New Effects
10:05 AM | Jay Swartzfeger | Comment on this story

Matt Soell is reporting in his latest update that Halo will feature some never-before-seen effects. Here's a quick excerpt:

- Bernie has been furiously adding graphical sexiness. There's so much great stuff in Halo now that it was hard for him to remember all of it and impossible for me to scribble it all down while he rattled off graphical effect after graphical effect. Remember when Chucky said "per-pixel everything"? He meant EVERYTHING. And Bernie can list everything. Some of the effects he mentioned had names you would not recognize because they have not appeared in any other game, ever. We invented them. He also mentioned that the performance of our unoptimized code is greatly exceeding the programmers' expectations.
Halo is arguably one of the most ambitious video games to date, combining jaw-dropping graphics, hyper-realistic physics and a persistent multiplayer online world. Halo was slated for a 2000 release on the Macintosh, but it now seems more reasonable that the Mac version won't be released until after game launches with Microsoft's X-Box in Fall 2001.



Visit Mac Halo to read Matt's full report and other Halo news.

Mac Halo
Microsoft
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved



Click to enlarge
Sharky's Interviews ATi's Dave Orton
10:01 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Sharky's Extreme has posted an interview recently with Dave Orton, President of ATi, makers of the Radeon and Rage128 3D graphics cards. Dave reveals some of his background and gives us a peek at what's ahead from ATi, which should be more interesting than ever to Mac gamers, as this company may once again become the sole supplier of Mac 3D cards. Here is an excerpt:

Sharky Extreme: The graphics market is so competitive, with price wars and companies dropping into and out of the game. How do you see things unfolding, both for the industry and for ATI?


Dave Orton: The graphics market moves at light speed today. And the gamers out there, as you know, are a pretty demanding and savvy bunch. They play a big role in driving our efforts to keep moving ahead with faster and more feature-packed technology. ATI's goal is to always be first out of the starting blocks, with amazing new products that you just can't ignore. But unlike some of the one-hit wonders in the industry, ATI is in the race for the long haul . . . the race is fast, for sure, but it is long. ATI has the speed and sex appeal of a sprinter, and the endurance of a marathon runner. ATI has what it takes to stay ahead of the pack and win the race, however long it is.


Sharky Extreme: Various ATI roadmaps have popped up on the Net forecasting a RADEON II with "2x RADEON performance" sometime before the year-end. Since this obviously isn't going to happen, when can we expect to see ATI's next generation card?


Dave Orton: ATI is committed to having a product in the performance category. The Radeon was a good first step for ATI to gain a presence there. Since the Radeon, we have doubled our resources in that sector. Expect some incredible products coming from ATI that will make 2001 one of the most exciting years yet for 3D.

You can read the rest of the interview over at Sharky's. Obviously it was conducted before the latest developments in the 3D card market, but it is still an interesting discussion.

ATi Web Site
Sharky's Extreme - ATi Interview
ATI
Radeon AGP



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PC Oni Demo Released, Mac Demo Soon
9:54 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

Late Sunday Gathering of Developers and Bungie Studios released a demo of their hotly anticipated game of martial arts combat, Oni. Unfortunately, the demo is for the Windows version only. Since most Mac gamers were anticipating the release of this game just as much as the PC crowd, we decided to go straight to the source and learn how soon we till we can expect a Mac OS demo. Matt Soell told us the following:

I know the Mac demo was lagging behind the PC version a bit, but I don't think it was by much; the code changes between the full game's app and the demo app are not major.
Matt went on to say that we can expect more concrete details tomorrow. Judging from Bungie's history we can expect a very short turnaround on the Mac version of the demo. When Bungie does release the full version you can expect it to appear on Macgamefiles.com.

Gathering of Developers
10 Oni screenshots at IMG
Bungie Studios
Gathering of Developers
Oni
Buy Oni



Click to enlarge
The Sims 1.1.3 Update Released
9:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has announced the release of an update to the extremely popular title The Sims from Aspyr Media. Being the great programmers they are, Westlake actually fixed a number of bugs from the PC version in this patch, along with some OpenGL and memory issues on the Mac side. Here's a list of changes:

The Sims 1.1.3 Updater is now available. This application is for the U.S. Retail (ie, boxed) version of The Sims only. It will NOT update Livin' Large or OEM versions of the software. The program is currently available through FTP at Aspyr.com, and will update The Sims versions 1.1 and 1.1.1 to version 1.1.3. Here's a rundown of the latest changes:

  • Under OpenGL 1.2 and later, texture maps are uploaded in 16-bit (rather than 32-bit) format in order to reduce memory usage.

  • Fixed a PC memory leak when Ghosts showed up.

  • Fixed a PC bug where families could become corrupted if the game crashed while bulldozing a house in the Neighborhood screen.

  • Fixed minor bugs when setting file attributes (ie, locking/unlocking files) and folder copying.

  • Freed up approximately 512 KB of global memory usage.

  • Fixed a bug with music volumes.

  • Fixed a few minor translation problems in French and German versions.

  • Added a cheat to play the game in any language. To access it, hold down the "L" key immediately after launching the application. Please note that this cheat is completely unsupported; use it at your own risk!
  • So, there you have it -- a must-download for fans of Mac Sims. Grab it from the link below.

    Westlake Update on The Sims
    Download The Sims 1.1.3 Update
    IMG Review of The Sims
    Aspyr Media
    Maxis
    Westlake Interactive
    The Sims
    Buy The Sims


    More Mac realMYST Reassurances
    9:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Another update to the Riven Unofficial Home Page run by Jim Stephenson notes that the Mac version of realMYST is getting very near to release. He points to a page on Cyan's site, showing a few pictures of the game running on a B&W G3 and a quick movie of the company's founder playing realMYST on his PowerBook. It's a fun look, and great to see progress on the game is still being made. In case you're wondering, realMYST is a remake of the original title, but instead uses a real-time 3D engine like Quake or Unreal. This will allow you to look freely around the world, though your movement will still be mostly predictated (so you can't fall in the water).


    In other Myst-related news, Stephenson has found out the third in the traditional Myst-Riven series will be multi-lingual. Last week it was noted the Mac and PC versions will be released simultaneously for Myst III: Exile, and now it seems other countries will get to play it at the same time as well. Here's a clip:

    A producer at Mattel told me that the the Exile CDs will be in a multi-language format. Players will be able to play the game in their choice of English, French, German, or Dutch. Players will be able to switch languages mid-game, and will even be able to view subtitles for the entire game in the language of their choice.

    The CDs sold in the U.S. will be identical to those sold overseas; only the box and printed materials will differ.

    A separate, Japanese-only version is also in the works, but the ship date hasn't been determined yet. It's possible that versions in other languages (Spanish, Italian, etc.) might be produced in the future, but no decision has been made yet.

    More good info there. Be sure to check out the Riven Unofficial site for more, and have a look at that Cyan page as well. We'll keep you posted as we hear anything on realMYST being completed for the Mac.

    IMG News: Myst 3: Exile Set for Simultaneous Release
    Riven Unofficial Home Page
    Cyan realMYST Mac Page



    Click to enlarge
    Jet Ski and Sin Demos Released
    8:55 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    Can't get enough of demos? This weekend demos of MacPlay's Sin and Monkey Byte's Kawasaki Jet Ski Racing were released.



    Sin is a first-person 3D shooter features a character-driven story and revolutionary multiplayer gameplay powered by an enhanced version of id software’s Quake II engine. The demo checks in at a hefty 60 MB and is available for download from Macgamefiles.com.



    Monkey Byte's Kawasaki Jet Ski Racing allows you to compete against up to 5 computer opponents in ten different environments located throughout the globe. Race in such places like Hong Kong, Egypt, Venice, and more. The demo weighs in at 18 MB and is also available at Macgamefiles.com.

    Kawasaki Jet Ski Racing Demo
    Sin Demo
    IMG's Sin Preview
    MacPlay
    Sin Gold
    Buy Sin Gold


    Ground Zero Releases Temple Tantrum
    8:47 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Ground Zero Software, the people bringing Frozen Squid Ice Hockey to the Mac, have released another shareware title called Temple Tantrum. It's an interesting concept for a game, featuring exploration with arcade-style gameplay, and it even has its own level editor. Here's an excerpt from an email sent to us from Ground Zero's Jeff Hester:

    Your task is simple...retrieve the Phoenix Eye, an extremely rare and priceless gem from the Temple ruins. As you move within the Temple, along the treacherous journey lies great riches but also grave danger. The Temple will not willingly give you its treasures. Not only must you fight against the Temple denizens that seek your death, you must also be wary of traps laid by previous explorers. You have the map, your instructions are clear; do you have what it takes...do you have the skill to capture the Phoenix Eye??

    Welcome to Temple Tantrum. 'Temple' is an exploration, arcade-type game for the Macintosh, and is the latest shareware game developed by Ground Zero Software (makers of Bedlam 2.) Your ultimate goal is to complete all levels in the game, gathering as many gems, treasures and other goodies as you go, eventually retrieving the Phoenix Eye. 'Temple' contains over 100 different levels, consisting of several different divisions. Your journey begins in the courtyard but will take you through the garden, fire, maze, dungeon, tower, and treasure levels. There are also plenty of bonus levels along the way through which you can gather plenty of extra goodies. And if that's not enough, use the Temple level editor (which is available for free) to make your own custom levels.
     


    Requirements

  • iMac, Power Mac, iBook, or PowerBook ('Temple' is PPC only)
  • Mac OS 8.1 (higher versions are recommended)
  • QuickTime (for the cool background music)
  • A monitor with 640 x 480 resolution supporting at least 256 colors
  • 12 MB RAM
  • 15.3 MB hard drive space
  • At under 10MB, the download shouldn't be too taxing on anyone's connection either. Head on over to Macgamefiles to grab the game now.

    Temple Tantrum Web Site
    Download Temple Tantrum


    Bushido Single-Player Released
    8:36 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    One of the massive 3rd-party works for Bungie's popular title Myth II has been release, called Bushido: The Way of the Warrior. More than just a simple Myth II plug-in, this official solo scenario features five levels, along with a couple of new multiplayer maps. The cost? Unfortunately, the file weighs in at almost 55MB, so you better start that download now. Here's a clip from the website with much more information on what is included:

    Some of the five long, intricate, and unique solo levels combine traditional elements of offensive attacks and defensive strategies. Others have elements of stealth. One level even provides a totally new style of gameplay, based on quests in which you must outmatch or outwit your opponents.


    Add to all this the great new artwork, music, and voice narrations you have come to expect from Creation, and you have a quality campaign that will remain in your plugins folder for a long time to come.


    BUT WAIT! That's not all! Along with the download, you get two all-new Bushido multiplayer maps from Creation for renewed Bushido fun on bungie.net. Play with your friends and ordermates. AND - You get a plugin called "Shidoblighter" that lets you play six of your favorite Myth2: Soulblighter levels with the Bushido tagset. These levels were previously either unplayable with the Bushido tagset, or impossibly hard. They are "Gonen's Bridge," "Landing at White Falls," "The Stair of Grief," "Walls of Muirthemne," "The Wall," and "Shiver."


    You also get a set of films for the solo, completed on Legendary, and a set of optional custom formations for those who use the default Bungie ones.

    Bushido is from the amazing folks at Creation Games, so give their site a look for more info on this and other excellent add-ons. Be sure to download the solo scenario from The Mill if you're interested.

    Bushido at The Mill
    Bushido Web Site


    Mac Games News for Friday, December 15, 2000

    3DFX closes Shop5:38 PM
    Mac DS9: The Fallen Update11:50 AM
    Sidrial for Mac OS?11:21 AM
    Gorky 17 Delayed9:41 AM
    Devine on Mac Team Arena9:20 AM
    Rockstar Oni Web Site Launched8:59 AM
    MacNN on Oni Violence8:09 AM
    No Mac Fallout: Tactics -- Yet7:53 AM
    Contraband Disbans?7:52 AM
    Mac Baldur Spins a Tale7:50 AM
    GameRanger to host SiNDay this Saturday7:36 AM
    Rogue Spear Demo Released7:29 AM
     
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, December 15, 2000 on one page


    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, December 14, 2000
    Wednesday, December 13, 2000
    Tuesday, December 12, 2000
    Monday, December 11, 2000
    Friday, December 8, 2000


    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.



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