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Tuesday, December 19, 2000

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Elite Force Demo Released
7:55 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media has released the long-awaited demo of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is the ultimate, sci-fi first-person shooter using the Quake III Arena engine. The first game based on Star Trek Voyager universe, Elite Force pits players against a multitude of Star Trek enemies, including the relentless Borg and never-before-seen aliens, in intense single-player and multiplayer combat missions.

Here are the system requirements for the demo:

• Apple G3 266 mhz processor or higher or

• iMac (revision B) or higher

• 64 MB of Memory

• 3D-accelerated PCI or AGP video card w/at least 6MB VRAM and Apple OpenGL version 1.1.2 (or higher) support

• Virtual Memory required (at least 128 MB)

• MacOS

There are two demos available of Elite Force at The single-player demo contains just the single-player levels and weighs in at 115 MB while the multi-player demo clocks in at just under 30 MB.

And celebrate the release of the Elite Force demo, IMG today has published its own review of the game. Be sure to check it out while you download the demo.

Aspyr Media
IMG's Elite Force Review
Elite Force Demo at MGF
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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Team Arena Demo Released!
5:12 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Another day, another demo. That has been the motto of Mac gamers this past week. Fulfilling yet another promise of his, Graeme Devine over at id Software wrapped up the Quake 3: Team Arena demo and slipped it under our Christmas Trees. If you haven't heard yet, Team Arena is a team-play oriented incarnation of Quake 3. With new all new game types, powerups. and weapons, Team Arena is bound to keep you fragging right through the holidays. Here are the features that are included in the demo:

  • Single Player (with bots) and multiplayer functionality

  • 1 map (which is enabled for all of the Team Arena game types)

  • 1 female and 1 male model - including 2 character heads

  • 3 clan skins

  • 4 gametypes: Capture the Flag, One Flag CTF, Harvester, and Overload

  • 1 new weapon - Proximity Launcher

  • 3 Team Power-ups: Guard, Ammo-Regen, and Doubler

  • New in-game UI

  • 1 new useable item - Kamikaze

  • New main-menu UI (includes descriptions of all gametypes and power-ups
  • The weighs in at a whopping 120 MB, so be prepared to keep your modems and broadband connects working overtime.

    Download Quake 3:Team Arena Demo (120 MB)
    id Software
    Quake III Team Arena
    Buy Quake III Team Arena

    Deus Ex Multiplayer Update
    3:15 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    Mac Deus Ex, the Inside Mac Games Network site, just posted some information about a Macintosh port of the Multiplayer patch for Deus Ex. It's just a short message from Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive:

      Ion Storm finally completed their move, and Ken is going over there today or tomorrow to hopefully get the code.

    Also, Mac Deus Ex recently released the Multiplayer Maps for Deus Ex. They were ported over from the PC side using the PC SDK. The maps are bare empty, they contain no NPC's or objectives. You can download them to see what Multiplayer Deus Ex might look like if it is released for the Macintosh. Download locations can be found on Mac Deus Ex's website.

    Mac Deus Ex

    Quake 3 1.27 Point Release Available
    2:49 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    As promised last night by Graeme Devine, the 1.27 point release for Quake 3: Arena was made available to the public today. Graeme still considers the update beta quality though, as he still needs to add GameRanger support and iron out a few bugs. Here is a list of changes that are included in the new point release.

    - fixed setting "sv_maxclients 0" causes crash upon match restart when the server is full with clients

    - fixed sometimes getting spawned into others in tournament mode

    - fixed "sudden death" and "5 minute warning" sounds overlapping on server entry

    - optimized file system memory usage, can now easily load 100+ pk3 files

    - fixed icon heads when loading a map in teamplay

    - fixed several zone memory leaks causing Z_MALOC failure

    - fixed auto weapon switch when picking up the weapon held before a map restart

    - fixed falling off map due to old movement after map_restart

    - fixed chatting from dedicated server console

    - added better error handling to auto-downloading

    - added "noglobalsound" option for items

    - improved bot AI

    - fixed bots taking same path through enemy base in CTF

    - fixed bot gauntlet usage

    - cg_forceModel works without vid_restart

    - CD keys no longer overwritten

    - Typing % in chat text causes the client to be disconnected with an illegible server message

    - Removed Global Rankings support. We are currently investigating the best approach to properly integrate Global Rankings into Quake III Arena and Quake III: Team Arena

    - Various speed tweaks

    - VM Optimazation to bring vm speed closer to DLL speed
    Keep in mind that these changes were made to the 1.25 point release, which Mac users never recieved. For the full list of changes from version 1.17 to 1.27g, refer to the readme included with the point release.

    Overall, Quake 3 "seems" smoother, due probably to the optimizations Graeme has made to the Mac version. The timedemo function has changed; you now create benchmarks by typing "demo [demofilename]" with the name of the demo. Be sure and post your benchmarks in our fourms.

    Graeme also updated his .plan file today with news concerning the point release and the Mac version of Team Arena:

    This version is compatible with protocol 48 and Team Arena. I'll provide a second installer for taking a Windows Team Arena CD-ROM and copying the files into your Quake3 directory to enable Team Arena support on the Mac (well, basically, copy the pak0.pk3 file into a directory called missionpack under the application and you're good to go, but the installer will make this even easier).
    It appears now that any plans for a boxed version of Mac Team Arena have been canceled.

    Download Mac Quake 3: Arena 1.27 PR (8.4 MB)

    A History of Infocom
    12:25 PM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

    Well before graphics-based arcade games such as Dark Castle stole gamer's hearts, the text-based adventure game fascinated those who were first to treat the computer as an entertainment device. Infocom was the definitive master of these games, producing such wonders as the Zork series, Wishbringer (the first game I ever won!) and Planetfall. Recently, some students at MIT wrote their thesis paper on the rise and fall of Infocom, entitled "Down From the Top of Its Game: The Story of Infocom, Inc.". This well-written piece is an in-depth look at the origins of one of the very first game companies, their meteoric rise to popularity, and their descent into debt, gloom, and finally, death. Here is an excerpt:

    Even in 1985, many employees had hopes that the company would succeed. “It was clear that we had problems,” said Ilson. “It was not clear that we weren’t going to surmount them.” However, to make their financial situation even worse, in 1985 the Bank of Boston cut back on the credit line of every high-tech company in which they had invested and called in Infocom’s loan. Said Dornbrook, “They bounced checks to get our attention. They didn’t even give us a
    phone call!”

    To raise money, Infocom employees decided to buy stock options in their company, putting up their own houses as collateral. “The bank was so embarrassed…that they put up additional $500,000 credit,” said Dornbrook.

    Authors Hector Briceno, Wesley Chao, Andrew Glenn, Stanley Hu, Ashwin Krishnamurthy, and Bruce Tsuchida deserve nothing but the highest praise for their writing ability, depth of research and reasoning, and above all sentiment. As someone who did cry at Floyd's death in Planetfall, I can only say how thrilled I was to read such an insightful piece of work. Although many of Infocom's games we released long ago, we're sure some of you out there remember those black screens with lines of white text, and only your imagination to fill in the blanks. The thesis can be downloaded in PDF format, readable with Adobe Acrobat Reader. The games themselves are available as a collection called Lost Treasures of Infocom, which you might be able to find on E-bay, if you're lucky; they still run on current Macs, believe it or not.

    Infocom Thesis Mention on Slashdot
    Down From the Top of Its Game (pdf)

    Mark Adams on 3dfx's End
    12:18 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    Mark Adams is a name synonymous with Mac gaming; his company, Westlake Interactive, has ported many games to the Mac OS critical for our survival as a gaming platform, including Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Deus Ex, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and many others. We asked Mark for his candid opinion on the recent sale of 3dfx's core assets to rival NVIDIA, and the subsequent firing of the Mac driver team. Here are his thoughts on the issue:

    Its disappointing to me, not only personally (because I knew several
    great people at 3Dfx who are now out of jobs), but also from a game
    developer's standpoint. Whatever you thought of 3Dfx's hardware, they
    definitely were a good competition for ATI on the Mac, and were doing
    their part to try to push Apple to increase the capabilities of 3D
    hardware on the Mac. Until (or "if" I suppose) the rumors of nVidia
    coming to the Mac come true, we really will be at a place of having a
    sole vendor of 3D cards. ATI's Radeon is a great chip, but without one
    (or preferably a couple) other 3D card companies pushing them, ATI will
    likely not be as aggressive in bringing new 3D technology to the Mac.

    For gamers, its a real blow. A lot of hard core gamers had VooDoo3/5
    cards, and from what I can tell they are completely unsupported now. We
    are going to have a very hard time justifying even testing with those
    cards in future games, since we know no more will be sold and the drivers
    will never be updated. I'll feel a bit sad when I have to pull my V5
    out of my development machine, I really thought it was a good card. But
    I need to have the cards in my Mac that end users have, so I'll probably
    replace it with a Rage 128 or Radeon.

    As far as we have been able to ascertain, Mark is correct in surmising that all Mac driver development has ceased. We have received word that the latest Mac unified driver release (1.1.3) may indeed be released in the next few days, but we have also been told not to expect future driver updates. This isn't a reason to toss your existing card, of course, especially if it was working well for you; but if moving to Mac OS X is in your future plans, owners of 3dfx cards may be forced to move to another brand of 3D hardware.

    Our thanks to Mark for his thoughtful reply. Be sure to share your own thoughts on this issue in our forums.

    More on 3dfx's Demise
    IMG News: 3dfx Mac Team Disbanded
    Westlake Interactive

    3dfx RIP from Gamecenter
    10:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    GameCenter, our network affiliate, has posted a new article detailing the rise and fall of the 3D card giant 3dfx. The piece gives a detialed history of how the company got into its position of dominance, and of course how it then lost the lead to NVIDIA. The question of 'what will happen now' is pressing on everyone's minds (especially those recent Voodoo5 owners). Here's an excerpt from the article:

    Meanwhile, millions of Voodoo owners are wondering what, exactly, will happen to 3dfx. Scott Taylor, director of corporate marketing for 3dfx, indicated that the company probably won't be around much longer. "We're recommending to shareholders that the company be dissolved. If they don't approve that, then there'll be another course of action which I don't even know what that would be."

    Whether Nvidia will actually use the 3dfx or Voodoo names has yet to be decided, but Perez was quick to state that the Nvidia acquisition did not include 3dfx's board manufacturing or its tech support. Currently, 3dfx retains a tech support staff, but Taylor didn't leave much hope for continued support if 3dfx is dissolved. Pried to comment on this aspect of the company's future, he finally said, "If the company's dissolved, there's not a tech support department."

    The outlook for support of the Macintosh Voodoo boards looks grim. With the entire team dissolved, it's doubtful many (if any) driver updates will be released. The team isn't even sure of the legality of releasing such updates, since NVIDIA now effectively controls the Voodoo brand. This brings the question of OS X support to the forefront, though the outlook for Voodoo4/5 owners is very bleak. If we hear anything else on this subject (maybe NVIDIA will allow the former engineers to keep working on updates for free?), we'll be sure to let you know.

    IMG News: 3dfx Mac Team Disbanded
    GameCenter 3dfx Obituary

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    Game Developers Speak Out on 3dfx Buyout
    6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    As news of 3dfx' buyout by NVIDIA sweeps through the gaming community, several game developers spoke to VoodooExtreme about this shocking development. All of them agree that 3dfx was responsible for the revolution in 3D graphics, but their missed product cycle was mainly responsible for their demise. Here is id Software's John Carmack's take on the situation:

    John Carmack: I have been on 3dfx's technical advisory board for a long time now, and it has been pretty frustrating. We had been meeting quarterly since before Voodoo2 shipped, and the product features we had been discussing the entire time still haven't shipped in a product (rampage).

    It was painful to watch 3dfx slip from the archetypical kick-ass technology start up to where they wound up.

    I think I would have been happiest to have the PC market divided up between three strong players that all had their act together, but at this point, I'm not too unhappy with the market simplification resulting from 3dfx exiting.

    VoodooExtreme also has comments from 3DRealms' George Broussard (Duke Nukem Forever), Shiny Entertainment's Joby Otero (Sacrifice) and former 3dfx, id and Verant employee, Brian Hook.

    Evil Avatar has also posted the lengthy remarks of Epic Games' Tim Sweeny (Unreal Tournament). Sweeny brings up several good points concerning 3dfx' downfall and also has some harsh words for Gigapixel's tile-based rendering technology.

    NVidia needs to bury the whole Gigapixel chunking architecture they're inhereting. It was a horrible idea. Capturing all your geometry and buffering it up in RAM for later rendering in little chunks was a horrible idea when VideoLogic ran it into the ground; it was a horrible idea when Gigapixel ran it into the ground; and it was still a horrible idea when 3dfx ran it into the ground.
    IMG will report the reactions of Mac game developers as soon as we receive their responses.

    John Carmack on 3dfx (VE)
    Tim Sweeny on 3dfx (Evil Avatar)
    Brian Hook on 3dfx (VE)
    George Broussard on 3dfx (VE)
    Joby Otero on 3dfx (VE)
    Aspyr Media
    Raven Software
    Westlake Interactive
    Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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    More Details on Oni Demo
    6:00 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

    Yesterday we reported that Bungie Studios and Gathering of Developers had released a demo of their hotly anticipated Oni, sans mac version. Today we learned from Matt Soell of Bungie that they had held the Mac version back in order to fix a minor Open GL bug. He had this to say:

    We have a small problem with OpenGL that needs fixing before the Mac demo can go out. I can't guess at when it will be ready, but the wait shouldn't be long.
    It finally looks like all those waiting for anime action on the Mac shouldn't have to wait much longer. As soon as the full version is released be sure to check out for the download, or just subscribe to IMG and avoid the download. Gathering of Developers will released the full game january 29th for Mac, PC, and Playstation 2.

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

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    Mac Team Arena Today?
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    id Software's resident Mac-man Graeme Devine has made a few interesting posts to the Quake3World forums recently. It seems the testing on the Mac build of the game is going well, and a version of both the 1.27g for Quake 3 and the Team Arena application and demo could be available sometime today. Here is his original post:

    I posted a new beta mac build (1.27g and TA executable) up for testers to bash on, if this version looks good then I'll wrap it up in an installer and call it public beta!
    Then later in the day he responds to a tester's situation, noting a build and demo will be ready to go soon. Here's an excerpt from a number of small posts:
    Okay, it looks like we're good to go. I'll put up an installer for 1.27g in the morning

    This will still be a beta release, as I'm not done yet with the GameRanger support.

    I'll package up the demo tomorrow as well.

    The 1.27g is compatible with Team Arena. I'll write an installer that takes the PC CD-ROM and does an install from there using that.

    if you have the PC version, you'll be playing TA [Tuesday].

    Sounds like great news for Mac gamers itching to get their hands on the demo of the Team Arena add-on. Keep in mind that to play the full version you'll need both Quake 3: Arena and the full PC version of Team Arena. Look for the all of this to appear on Macgamefiles as soon as they're released.

    Quake3World Forum Thread
    id Software Web Site
    id Software
    Quake III Team Arena
    Buy Quake III Team Arena

    Mac Games News for Monday, December 18, 2000

    Avernum 2 Available4:49 PM
    SIN Demo Known Issues4:18 PM
    Majesty Demo Released4:16 PM
    3dfx Mac Team Disbanded4:07 PM
    NVIDIA Conference Call Notes3:45 PM
    Westlake's Year 2000 In Review10:38 AM
    Halo to Feature All-New Effects10:05 AM
    Sharky's Interviews ATi's Dave Orton10:01 AM
    PC Oni Demo Released, Mac Demo Soon9:54 AM
    The Sims 1.1.3 Update Released9:41 AM
    More on 3dfx's Demise9:39 AM
    More Mac realMYST Reassurances9:02 AM
    Jet Ski and Sin Demos Released8:55 AM
    Ground Zero Releases Temple Tantrum8:47 AM
    Bushido Single-Player Released8:36 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Monday, December 18, 2000 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

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