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Wednesday, December 20, 2000

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Diablo 2 1.04 Available, Major Bugs Fixed
9:13 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Late last night, Blizzard released version 1.04 of the realtime RPG Diablo 2 through their Battle.net gaming service. It contains many bug fixes and gameplay improvements, proving that Blizzard does indeed listen closely to the feedback they get from end-users and fan sites. Here is a list of just some of the major gameplay fixes Blizzard included in this patch; the readme file included with the patch has a complete list.

  • The Prismatic amulet, Coral ring, and other Horadric Cube recipe items no longer change into other items upon starting a new game.

  • Lances, Holy Water Sprinklers, Grim Helms, War Clubs, and Stilettos can now be dropped by monsters and chests.

  • Using the Paladin Charge skill as a monster dies cannot generate a
    "zero hit-point" monster.

  • Barbarian's Whirlwind and Leap Attack and Paladin's Charge no longer keep all inventory items red and unusable after attack ends.
  • A "dead, but alive" bug has been fixed.

  • Equipping a barbarian with a two-handed sword or with a shield while
    holding two two-handed swords will no longer cause disconnection from
    the Realm.

  • Fixed a bug that prevented damage-enhancing magic properties from
    working properly on bows.

  • Closed a loophole that could allow a player to declare hostility on
    anyone regardless of where the declarer is.

  • Closed a loophole that could allow a player to run around too fast.

  • Closed a loophole that allowed a player to equip and use an item that
    was beyond the character's ability.
Be sure and post your experiences with the new version in our Troubleshooting forum.

Blizzard will post the patch for downloading without connecting to Battle.net in the near future, and supposedly the bug with Realm characters has been resolved.

Diablo II 1.0.4 Patch Information at Blizzard
Diablo II Review
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

Ask Maxis at SNG
3:29 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Fan site Sim Network Gaming is hosting an interview with Maxis employees in the future, and visitors to their site can submit their own questions for the event. Here are the details:

Through December 23rd, Sim Network Gaming (http://sngaming.com) will be
taking visitor questions regarding The Sims, SimCity, or SimCity.com to be
forwarded to participating Maxis employees Daniel Grove and Sean Baity.
Visitors can feel free to submit as many questions as they want through our
handy form, but due to the large number of questions we expect to receive,
all of them will not be able to be answered. We'll likely have the answers
online by early next year, as one of many features for our Kickoff 2001
Celebration at Sim Network Gaming.
So, if you have a burning question to ask of Maxis, be sure and submit it to SNG. If you've ever played any of these titles, this site is well worth the visit, as it is full of tips, tricks and other such items.

Submit Questions for Maxis
Sim Network Gaming

Mac Oni Demo Update
3:05 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

A helpful IMG reader posted in our forums with news of an update from Bungie's Mat Soell on the status of the Mac demo of Oni, the third-person action title due this January. According to Matt, we should be seeing this demo in the near future, after some last-minute testing. Here is his update, posted on the forums of Oni Central:

Just got word that the reworked Mac demo is almost ready to go. We'll be sending it to Gathering later today. They might run it through another testing gauntlet but in any case you shouldn't have to wait much longer. Thanks for being patient with us. :-)
Our sources have confirmed that the demo is indeed on track and may be out as early as Friday. Keep an eye on MacGameFiles.com, that's where it will pop up!

Matt Soell on Mac Oni Demo Status

Mike Wilson on a Dismal 2000
2:19 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Our GCA partner Stomped has posted an interview with a quite pessimistic Mike Wilson, CEO of publishing group Gathering of Developers. Seemingly disappointed by sales of GoD's large Fall crop of games (which included Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, 4x4 Evolution, Rune and more) he sees an industry in a state of disarray, plagued by a crowded market and ballooning game budgets. Some of his comments in particular will chill the hearts of Mac users:

Stomped: What is your opinion on the state of the gaming industry this year? Was it a good year overall in your opinion? Why or why not?

Wilson: I think that 2000 has been very much a transition year for the industry, in more ways than are on the surface, but especially in terms of platform diversification. We've seen the great console wars begin, but only to a precursor level compared to what will be the Great War, in late 2001. We've seen new iMac's and G3's and G4's sell like crazy... but seemingly no new Mac gamers appear... and then Apple drops the gaming section from Mac World. All this while their developer relations people are busting their asses trying to get great products out for the system. Linux continues to gain momentum, and Indrema could possibly be a very bright light at the end of those guys' tunnel. And then, there is the PC. This year saw one great PC release after another come and go, with very few making any money. Many of these games would have been blockbuster hits in a less crowded, confused market a couple of short years ago. Now more than at any other time in the history of the business, PC developers and publishers are looking for relief wherever they can find it... console development, licenses, value products... anything where someone in the equation can actually earn a buck for all the energy and work put into game development and publishing.

There has indeed been a tremendous amount of consolidation in the past year, with many smaller companies being snatched up by larger ones (including one-time Mac platform champion Bungie) and several long-standing development houses crumbling under financial pressure. However, the Mac publishers we have talked to seem to have enjoyed this year as compared to past ones, so perhaps all is not as grim as Wilson thinks. However, one thing is clear: as game budgets climb to Hollywood-size numbers ($2-$6 million -- one PS2 title had a budget of $60 million) we will see fewer games being made and more small companies either folding or being bought out in the next year.

Gathering of Developers
Mike Wilson Interview on Stomped

Portable Nvidia Chips for Mac?
11:19 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With all of the 3dfx/Nvidia in the past week, Go2Mac has an interesting news post regarding placing portable Nvidia chips in Apple's PowerBook line. Even the current ATI chips would be hard-pressed to keep up the the 16MB portable version of Nvidia's Geforce technology. And with the relationship between Apple and ATI supposedly a bit rocky since last Summer's Radeon fiasco -- although some ATI emplyoees we have spoken to claim this incident is a myth -- this might be the perfect time for Nvidia to steal an Apple OEM deal. Here's a clip from Go2Mac's article:

The consensus from video experts is that the new mobile nVIDIA GeForce2 chips are superior in performance than the ATi Mobility M4. According to sources, nVIDIA has been much more enthusiastic about working with Apple than ATi has been lately. But that may be a result of the animosity that developed after the ATI press release fiasco.
This article is unsourced, based on rumor and is about a notebook system which has not been announced, so don't get too excited. Go2Mac has certainly published rumor as fact before.

A version of the GeForce 2 MX is supposed to be on its way to the Mac at some point as well, though nothing official has been announced about that either. For a look at the MX technology and chipset, be sure and check out our feature article.

IMG: Nvidia GeForce 2 MX In-depth
Go2Mac Nvidia Article

FAKK2 Postmortem
11:10 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has posted another of their excellent game "postmortems," this time analyzing the good and bad aspects behind the making of Ritual Entertainment's Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2. The article was written by one of the lead programmers for the game, Scott Alden, and he gives a great rundown of the obstacles they encountered while making it. While FAKK2 used the Quake 3 engine, you'd be surprised how many of the scripting and effects systems were implemented by the Ritual team themselves, many of which came from their previous title Sin. Here's an excerpt:

The scripting system is described in more detail in the Sin Postmortem I wrote in March 1999, but in a nutshell the scripting language gives the level designer complete control over any object or entity in the game. The functionality it provides ranges from the simple linear movement of objects around the level to the complex scripted sequences that exist throughout F.A.K.K. 2. We extended the functionality from Sin's 500 or so commands to about 700 in F.A.K.K. 2. This added complexity put a more rigorous demand on the level designer, as they really had to put on a programmer's cap in order to use the scripting language in F.A.K.K. 2.
Alden acknowledges that the game's length (or actually, the lack of it) is most people's largest gripe; the multiplayer patch is apparently still on its way. This should help extend FAKK2's life for gamers. In case you missed it, a new Mac patch for the game was also released today, so be sure to grab that if you haven't yet. And read through the rest of the postmortem for the inside scoop on the making of FAKK2.

Gamasutra Postmortem on FAKK2
IMG News: FAKK2 1.02c Patch Released
Gathering of Developers
Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

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4x4 Update Coming, 'Treasure' Maps
10:54 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fan site 4x4 Garage, a great source of information and downloads for Terminal Reality's SUV racing sim 4x4 Evolution, has posted two news items of interest. Apparently there is a patch for both Mac and PC 4x4 EVO on the way, which fixes several bugs. Unfortunately, there is no date for the release, and it appears the Mac OS version will be delayed.

"Evan" from Terminal Reality gave 4x4 Garage the following update:

"Ok 4x4 fans. Here is the official update on the patch....
The PC version of the patch currently in the later stages of testing in my lab.

The patch WILL:

1. Disable the profile reset situation that people are getting.

2.Fix a bug in time attack that no one has found yet (or at least they haven't reported it). We found the bug in time attack a few days after we went gold, so I am glad we can squash it.

3. The patch will also have a little extra optimization for OpenGL and DirectX.

The patch will NOT:

1. Add damage

2. Display the loading screens when using OpenGL

3. Add any new vehicles

4. Add force feedback

5. Move the treasure chest on Construction Junction to a spot above the ground surface.

6. Change physics

I hope this information helps to give some satisfaction to a few of you. It will be released "when it is done", and no sooner. It will be marked as a "beta patch" because it has not gone through full compatibility testing - but I don't anticipate any problems.

For the Mac patch, our Mac guy is in crunch mode on another project, and has promised to get the Mac patch - with the same fixes as the PC minus the DirectX optimization - done as quickly as he can. I can't offer any more information than that. It will come, I just can't say when.

It does make one curious as to exactly what the Mac programmer at TRI is up to, as they don't currently have any Mac-compatible future titles announced; perhaps a patch for Fly2K is in the works. In any case, it looks like we will have to be patient, but 4x4 is quite playable and fun in its current unpatched state. IMG readers have rated this game as a nine out of ten in our user reviews, and no demo we've ever posted on MGF has had so many downloads.

In related news, you might have noticed Evan's comment about a "treasure chest." There are indeed hidden treasure chests on all of the maps in 4x4 evolution, each containing a small amount of cash ($2000-$4000). A serious 4x4 fan has put together a collection of screen shots which give you hints as to where to find these little bonuses. While they are useless in Quick Race or multiplayer games, they are a definite plus in Career mode. Be sure and check this out if you need a little boost for your virtual bank account -- let the treasure hunt begin!

4x4 Evolution Review
4x4 Treasure Maps
4x4 Garage
Terminal Reality
Gathering of Developers
4x4 Evolution

Mac Combat Mission Mod Manager 1.5
9:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Author Dave Ratynski has announced the release of Mac Combat
Mission Mod Manager
, a tool for working with mod files of WWII combat simulator Combat Mission. Here are the details of this tool:

I just wanted to inform you of the recent release of version 1.5 of Mac Combat
Mission Mod Manager program, MCM3 for short. Created with RealBasic, MCM3
dramatically reduces the time and energy spent modifying Combat Mission.

This program allows the mac user to easily customize their version of Combat
Mission, by automatically swapping out the stock textures and sounds with any of
the numerous third party mods that already exist. With MCM3, the user can also
copy out the different textures, allowing them to create their own modifications
(with an appropriate graphics program, not included). Gone are the days where
the mac CM player had to use ResEdit to swap out the different texture

Version 1.5 includes an improved user interface and support for mac system sound
conversions. In addition, the previews of both the selected modification
texture and the current game texture are automatically loaded and displayed,
saving time and effort. The user can also tell MCM3 to make a backup of the
data file they are modifying, select a different folder to modify, and play sound
files or not. In extreme cases, the user can use MCM3 to revert back to either
the original CM data file or a previously modified version. A log file now
allows the user to view what mods they have converted, or reverted, in CM.
Additional features include a jpg/bmp viewer, which allows the user to see a
picture of the mod before they convert it, and the ability to read text files
within the program (which typically consist of a readme for the selected mod).

Lastly, an extensive, graphic-intense readme is included with the program, to
assist the new user in exploring the capabilities of MCM3. An example of
converting a mod is included in the readme.

Excellent news for those who want to inject new life into an already exciting game. Grab the file if you are interested (it is freeware) or give the Combat Mission demo a try if you are new to the title. There is also another mod creation utility, CM MacMod, as well as several texture packs available at the Combat HQ web site.

Combat HQ
Download Mac Combat Mission Manager 1.5 (3.3 MB)
Combat Mission Mac Mod Managers
Combat Mission Review

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New Combat Mission 1.1 Beta
9:19 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A post to the Battlefront forums notes that a new beta for the much-acclaimed 3D wargame Combat Mission is now available for download. This version 1.1 beta 22 lets Windows 2000 users join in the internet multiplayer fun, along with making a number of other bug fixes. An earlier copy of the beta was released a few weeks ago, so be sure to grab this update if you haven't already. Here's a few of the changed made in v22:

  • AI Unit purchaser tweaked so that its better about buying vehicles/armor for Combined Arms forces.
  • Fixed a bug that incorrectly counted the number of knocked out vehicles and crewmember casualties during Operations.

  • Rough terrain tiles now abut so that they block vehicular traffic along shared edges.

  • Infantry leaving buildings in danger of collapse: they're a little smarter about it but there's also a good chance they won't leave at all.

  • Fixed a bug that often caused airplanes not to show up in Operations. (*really* fixed it this time!).

  • Vehicles can now hit mines when moving in reverse (bug fix).

  • Vehicles can get Bogged while moving in reverse (bug fix)
  • These are just of few of the many things tweaked/fixed in this impressively -large war sim. If you have yet to try out Combat Mission, be sure to give the demo a spin. And also read through IMG's review if you are looking for some more info on the game.

    IMG Review of Combat Mission
    Download Combat Mission Demo
    Download Combat Mission 1.1v22 Beta (1.6MB)
    Battlefront Forum Thread
    Combat Mission

    F.A.K.K. 2 1.02c Patch Released
    9:18 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 programmer, Andrew Meggs, has released another "unofficial" patch for the game. In addition to fixing problems when using the chainsword, the new patch includes various sound problems that have appeared on some systems. Here's a list of the fixes:

    Redesigned MP3 decompression buffers for much better speed and stability.

    Sound mixing performance has been improved.

    Increased sound mixahead to reduce sound skipping, especially on low-end machines.

    Increased free memory requirements to improve stability during level loading and eliminate texture white-out. You may need to increase your computer's virtual memory.
    As always, you can grab the 587k patch over at Macgamefiles.com.

    Heavy Metal FAKK 2 1.02c Patch
    Gathering of Developers
    Ritual Entertainment
    Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

    Mac Games News for Tuesday, December 19, 2000

    Team Arena Demo Released!5:12 PM
    Deus Ex Multiplayer Update3:15 PM
    Quake 3 1.27 Point Release Available2:49 PM
    A History of Infocom12:25 PM
    Mark Adams on 3dfx's End12:18 PM
    3dfx RIP from Gamecenter10:22 AM
    Elite Force Demo Released7:55 AM
    Game Developers Speak Out on 3dfx Buyout6:00 AM
    Mac Team Arena Today?6:00 AM
    More Details on Oni Demo6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, December 19, 2000 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Monday, December 18, 2000
    Friday, December 15, 2000
    Thursday, December 14, 2000
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    Tuesday, December 12, 2000

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

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