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Tuesday, December 26, 2000



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New WaterRace Demo, Order Info
9:51 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Mac game maker French Touch has released a new demo version of WaterRace, addressing several complaints many users had about the game's difficulty and camera controls and adding two new race courses. They have also established an online ordering system, and have found both European and US distributors, so the game will be on actual store shelves in the near future.


Here is their list of updates:

1) We have received the copies from production a few days ago so the
pre-orders are now closed.
You can buy the WaterRace CD (with printed users manual) for US $39 only
(international shipping & handling included!!) from our web site.
You should get your copy in one or two weeks depending on your location.

2) We have released a new version of the WaterRace demo.
New & improved features in WaterRace demo 1.1:


Gameplay:


  • new ship: Formula 1 (!)
  • new levels: Artic & Halong (!)
  • improved camera
  • adaptative AI (the bots now wait for the human player so he/she does
    not race alone)
  • a bit less difficult


Technical:


  • fixed a problem with the error messages displayed when QD3D was not
    installed.
  • now renders using the Apple Software engine on 3Dfx V3 cards. You need
    to trash the WaterRace preference file located inside the "French
    Touch" folder of the Preferences folder.
  • mouse support (hidden option)


Notes:


  • If you have installed MacOS X Beta, you need to remove the "Classic
    Rave" extension located inside the Extensions folder to play
    WaterRace.
  • If you are in trouble controlling the ships, read the enclosed "Ship
    Driving tips" text file.
  • 3Dfx V3 compatibility with WaterRace is not assured anymore, since
    3Dfx went out of business before their Mac driver team was able to fix
    the remaining bugs which should have been fixed in 1.1.3 final.
    We are now trying to figure out a workaround solution.
French Touch also notes that they will release a patch for the full version of WaterRace in the near future, and also notes that a French version of the demo is now available. Be sure and grab the updated demo from Macgamefiles.com.

WaterRace Demo
French Touch
WaterRace Order Page
French Touch
WaterRace


Mac SoundBlaster Live! Pricing Info
3:00 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Brian Souder of Creative Labs made a post in the IMG Hardware Forums
regarding the pricing of the SoundBlaster Live!: Mac Edition, which
will be released at Macworld San Francisco in the next two weeks. He also hinted at a discount
for people attending the show:

At MacWorld Expo NY we were estimating about $130. We would like to keep
it under this mark. Our ultimate goal is the $100 price mark. It depends
on licensing of other packaged software & overhead costs for product
development. For those of you going to MacWorld San Fran, there may be
a show special. Hopefully it won't take that long for you to recover from
this price point.
If spending $130 on a sound card may sound a bit steep, remember that this
is Creative Labs' first foray into the Macintosh market. Selling lots of
sound cards and turning a profit will ensure that future Creative products
will be available on the Mac. Also, this is not an "official" announcment,
so pricing is subject to change.

Creative Labs Mac Products
Brian Souder in the IMG Forums


MacPlay on Mac Gaming 2K
12:05 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the end of the year 2000 draws near, now is a good time to look back and reflect upon the year in Mac gaming, and look towards the future as well. Certainly 2000 was a banner year from any perspective, considering that Mac gamers enjoyed not only the release of many A-list PC titles (some simultaneous with the PC releases) but also the emergence of serious, Mac-savvy 3D hardware (the 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 and the ATI Radeon Mac Edition). However, we decided to ask the publishers and developers themselves what they thought of the year in gaming, from their industry insider perspective.


Our first Q&A is with Mike Donges of MacPlay; the resurrection of this classic brand-name was a tremendous morale boost for Mac gamers, as was the announcement that such amazing titles as Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Star Fleet Command II will be coming to the Mac OS. MacPlay certainly has plenty in store for 2001, but what did they think of 2000?

IMG: What are you thoughts on the Macintosh game market? Was this a good year for Mac games? Or is it in a decline?


Mike Donges: I think that the Macintosh gaming market is in great shape. We still have a way to go to reach a critical mass, but all the right things are happening. We have more triple A titles than ever before. They are coming out closer to the PC releases. We have much higher exposure in the general gaming universe. Apple is still selling a ton of hardware, and that hardware is getting more compelling with companies like nvidia, 3DFX (sniff :-( ) and Creative Labs getting into the market in a big way. Apple is shipping Multi-processor machines, which should make games rock under Mac OS X. Sure the new round of consoles makes everyone all atwitter, but there is still a great opportunity in this market.


IMG: How has your company fared this year? Are sales going well?


MD: Well, as we just shipped our first round of games [ed note: SiN Gold and Majesty are their first releases], we'll have to see. I know that there has been a lot of excitement about Majesty and sin, and we have even more titles close on the horizon. Just you wait and see.


IMG: Looking to 2001, what things need to be done (either by Apple or the market) to keep growing the Mac games market?


MD: Consumer marketing is the key. We need to create more synergy with our PC publishing friends to raise more general awareness of the Mac as a gaming platform (have you seen the new Diablo 2 TV ad?). Apple could definitely do more there, but they are doing a lot of really great things. Without them, we wouldn't even be talking about this right now.


IMG: What's #1 on your wish list as far as the Mac market goes?


MD: Smiles and $.

Our thanks to Mike Donges for his insightful replies. Watch IMG all this week for more thoughts from Mac developers on this year in gaming.

SiN Gold Preview
Majesty Preview
MacPlay



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Human Head on Gaming Y2K
11:44 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Our CGA partner Stomped has produced yet another of their end-of-2000 interviews, this time with Tim Gerritsen of Human Head, creators of the recently-shipped Rune. Tim's answers are quite lengthy and involved, but well worth reading considering his long history in the games business. Overall he felt this was a positive year, but like many other developers Stomped has questions, he has seen troubling trends in the industry and also notes the continuing stagnation of the "hard core" gaming market. He covers many bases in his answers, and even comments on the "scapegoating" of video games as a way of explaining certain cases of youth violence.


Tim also notes the growth of the mainstream gaming audience, and how this group of gamers may be receiving their information from other sources than the hard-core crowd:

A lot of hard core games fell flat on their face this year, despite their quality. This is affecting the PC gaming magazines as well. The big two usually have fat Christmas issues each year as the big publishers spend lots of dollars before X-mas. However, that didn't happen this year, as lots of hardcore PC games spent big money earlier in the year on full page and two page spreads and still sold disappointingly. Meanwhile, several titles spent no money or very little money in the hardcore gaming mags and made heaps of money on their mainstream titles. It is becoming clear that to make money in the this business doesn't require advertising investments in the hard core gaming magazines and that even good exposure in the big mags does not get you sales. I think this is a bad omen for hard core games magazines, since who the hell spends money in them if it doesn't work out to big sales. Meanwhile, mainstream and more general lifestyle oriented mags are where advertisers are going in droves.


This doesn't mean that PCs are a dead medium for hard core games, not by a long shot, but it does mean that there will be far fewer titles, which will have to be far more polished and have far better marketing plans to make a maximum splash on the market. Meanwhile, the hardcore games based on existing franchises will continue to do well as Red Alert 2, Diablo II and Baldur's Gate II have proven. It's just that the fans of those games aren't as willing to bet their $50 on Hitman or Rune or Alice if they haven't heard as much about it, and since the mainstream gamers aren't reading the hard core mags, they need to get that info from other sources.

Several "hard core" PC game magazines already folded this year (IncitePC and PC Accelerator, just to name two), so Tim's predictions may be correct. Be sure and read the rest of his Q&A for more thoughts on the game industry in 2000.

Tim Gerritsen Interview at Stomped
Rune Review
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive
Rune


Creative Labs on 3dfx Demise
9:27 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Digit-Life has conducted an interview with Eoin Leyden, brand manager at Creative Labs, about the recent fall of 3dfx. Leyden talks about his feelings on the acquisition, the effect it will have on the video card industry, and what lies ahead for the remaining contenders. Here he offers his thoughts on the near future:

I think the overall effect will be quite neutral over the years we have seen an awful lot of consolidation in the graphics market and I believe this will continue to be the case. Ultimately people want the best possible technology at the best possible price and the source of that technology is not as important as it once was. Voodoo had probably the best, most loyal following of any chipset and yet even that was not enough so save them when they fell behind the technology curve.
Creative Labs is poised to enter the Macintosh market with its release of SoundBlaster Live!: Mac Edition at Macworld San Francisco this January. There have also been rumors that they may market a Mac version of the GeForce2 MX for NVIDIA, but nothing concrete is known at this time.

Creative Labs Interview at Digit-Life


Epic Releases Fourth UT Bonus Pack
9:24 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

As a Christmas gift to fans of Unreal Tournament, Epic has released another royalty-free bonus pack. The 14.2 MB download contains two new high resolution player models, nine new skins (including two from the Playstation 2 port), 10 new maps spanning four UT gameplay types (Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Domination, Team Deathmatch), and two updated UT maps (Lament, Facing Worlds).


Epic's James Green notes that the new player models take advantage of the skeletal animation system, which allows for smoother character animation and easier model creation. He hints that he will be releasing a tutorial for model creation shortly after New Year's Day.


What are you waiting for? Head to MacGameFiles for the download!

Download UT Bonus Pack 4 (14.2 MB)


Speaker System Roundup at Gamecenter
9:23 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

As modern games come pouring into the Mac gaming market, with it comes the need for directional (3D) sound. Games such as Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 require that you know where your oppenents is, and a poor sound system can throw off your game.


Recently Gamecenter put various 2.1, 4.1, and 5.1 speaker systems from Klipsch, Midiland, and Altec Lansing to the test. Here, Gamecenter explains the power ratings speaker manufacturers stick on the speakers:

PMPO is an inaccurate and misleading standard. It stands for Peak Music Power Output, and it's supposed to indicate the absolute maximum amount of power a speaker can handle in a short burst. Since it's almost impossible to actually measure and prove such a figure, companies that use PMPO tend to exaggerate the number to make their speakers look more powerful than they actually are. On the side of a box, "1,500 Watts of Power!" looks better than "50w." Note that if a power rating seems too good to be true, it probably is.


RMS offers a truer number for comparison of power ratings than the usually empty hype of PMPO. Unless an RMS rating isn't offered, we at Gamecenter don't acknowledge PMPO ratings; and even when we're forced to, we don't take them seriously.

Remember, when considering the purchase of any speaker system, you should go to a brick and mortar store listen to it in person. Also keep in mind that games will not be able to take advantage of 4.1 and 5.1 (the first number represents the number of satallites and .1 being the subwoofer unit) systems until Creative Labs releases their SoundBlaster Live!: Mac Edition, which will contain outputs for front and rear channel speakers. In any case, speaker shopping is an excellent way to add a whole new level of experience to your gaming with a relatively small outlay of cash.

Speaker System Roundup at Gamecenter


Mac Games News for Friday, December 22, 2000

New Deus Ex Maps and Mods4:35 PM
Oni Demo Released4:30 PM
Shadowbane Preview1:05 PM
Dream Seedz Myth TC released12:10 PM
'Levelord' Reflects on 200010:03 AM
Aspyr, Macworld to Host Charity Event9:47 AM
F.A.K.K. 2 for $208:50 AM
Dragon's Lair 3D First Look8:24 AM
Tales of the Sword Coast, Multiplayer Patch Update8:22 AM
Bungie FanFest Info6:00 AM
Warcraft III Interview6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, December 22, 2000 on one page


Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, December 21, 2000
Wednesday, December 20, 2000
Tuesday, December 19, 2000
Monday, December 18, 2000
Friday, December 15, 2000


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