Q3:A(ltivec) Status Check
9:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
A new post from id Software's Graeme Devine to the Quake3World
forums appeared last night, explaining the current delay on the G4 Velocity Engine -
enhanced version of Quake 3: Arena he has been working on. It seems the latest
stall is not from himself, but instead the Metroworks compiler, which won't play
nice with his new Altivec code. It will compile under Mac OS X, though there are many
issues (input, etc) still present with that version, due to the development status of that public beta. Here's Devine on the project's status:
A lot of you have been asking about the status of the Altivec build of Mac Quake 3 Arena.The comments about the G4 and above being supported are certainly interesting
I've run into a small hitch, and it's hard to get around. The Metrowerks 6.0 compiler does not generate something called the "VSRAVE" instruction correctly when generating Altivec code. This leads to a crash in the product whenever an Alitvec register is loaded (in certain situations). Metrowerks is aware of the problem and promises a fix, however, no time frame was available from them.
I had previously used the Altivec for optimized versions of the memory copies and sets. Moving 16bytes at a time compared to the 8 on the MMX. John was interested in this, and so I started to look a little more at how much we could push the Altivec by converting our floating point code to use the "vector float" data type.
This leaves OS X as the only platform available that correctly compiles Altivec code. OS X PB of course has it's own set of issues, so it takes a little longer to get everything together here. OS X Q3A and ongoing id products will certainly be G4 and above only builds.
Considering Apple's pride in the Altivec, it's somewhat frustrating to not be able to show it off!
I'll see what comes up tomorrow and go from there on releasing what I have so far.
for G3 owners, though it would certainly be best to wait for some clarification
on this point before panicking about OSX support. We'll be sure to keep you
updated as this story progresses.
Graeme Devine Forum Thread on Q3 Status
IMG News: Update on Q3 and Altivec
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Apple Wraps Up Mac Gaming at Expo
3:46 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
Apple has posted a short wrap-up on gaming news and events from the recent Macworld Expo San Francisco, which took place last week. With a sprinkling of screen shots, this article considers all of the exhibitors present, big and small. While Apple's attitude towards games and gamers has been lackluster in the past, this year's crop of games (and happy developers behind them) seems to indicate that the Mac is in no danger of vanishing as a gaming platform.
2001: A Gaming Odyssey
For more gaming news from the Expo, be sure and check out Apple's article; while much of the content was already covered here on IMG, there are several new tidbits to be discovered, including the news that many future Gathering of Developers titles will be Mac OS X-savvy.
2:25 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
IMG network site SimsForMac sent over word that they have posted a
number of updates lately. Changes to this site include new listing of skins, several tutorials and even some
hints/cheats for those with more 'flexible morals.' For the skin fanatic, there
are many additions to the Children, Women, and Speciality sections ready for downloading. As always, these should be Mac-friendly and ready to
run on your copy of The Sims immediately.
SimsForMac Web Site
Some of the other added content includes tutorials on actually making your
own skins and faces for use in the game. The two new tutorials are both
converted from an old version of the site, but are now updated and include examples. Lastly, two pages of hints have been added, allowing you
to modify your game via cheat codes. While some are "pointless," they're fun
nevertheless, so have a look. As always, SimsForMac lives off of your feedback,
so make sure to drop them a line if you've got more content.
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Cro-Mag Rally 1.0.7 Patch
2:06 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
Pangea Software has released a patch for both the demo and full versions of Cro-Mag Rally, the frantic 3D "kart"-style racer for Macs that support hardware OpenGL acceleration. This patch makes many minor changes, and is a tiny download. Here is a list of what the patch provides:
Tweak for ATI Radeon card and some 3Dfx cards to prevent graphic anomolies with hardware pageflipping. Supports analog input devices such as joysticks, steering wheels, etc. In Easy modes the tournament games are now saved incrementally rather than upon completion of the tournament; in other words, you can restart a saved game in the middle of a tournament instead of only at the beginning.Be sure and grab it, or grab the updated demo if you haven't taken this game for a spin. To learn more about this title, read IMG's in-depth review.
Cro-Mag Rally Review
Cro-Mag Rally Demo 1.0.7 (40 MB)
Cro-Mag Rally 1.0.7 Patch (demo and retail)
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MWSF: Blizzard Report, Expansion Pack News
1:48 PM | Patrick Leyden | Comment on this story
IMG wraps up our Macworld Expo San Francisco coverage with some detailed notes from our talk with longtime Mac favorite Blizzard Entertainment. The next release from Blizzard Entertainment is the upcoming Diablo II
Expansion Pack. This add-on for the hugely successful Diablo II adds two new
character classes, new items and spells as well as an entire fifth act to the game.
Inside Mac Games had a chance to sit down with Brian Love from Blizzard to
see an early build of the Expansion Pack running on a PowerBook G3.
The two new character classes are the Assassin and the Druid, of course. The Assassin has a
variety of new martial arts-inspired combat moves which results in the
Assassin being a very formidable close-range fighter. The Druid, on the other hand, has
the ability to morph into other creatures such as a wolf or a bear. The
effect is quite impressive and adds a new dimension of play to Diablo II. The
Druid also has some impressive magical abilities, including the power to
summon a volcano to drown his enemies in floods of lava. So much for Druids being peaceful tree-worshippers.
The Diablo II: Expansion Pack also adds a significant number of new items,
magical abilities, and skills. In addition to new, class-specific items,
Brian Love explains that there will be "a galaxy of new items available" to
all character classes. There will be an entirely new set of Exceptional and
Exceptional Items will also be introduced that are exclusive to the Hell
level of the game. There will be anywhere from 50 to 100 new magical
prefixes and suffixes added to the game in order to further enhance the
In addition to these new features, an entirely new Act V will continue the
story started in Diablo II. Act V will take place immediately following the
end of Diablo II, with the title "The Story of Baal." Players will have the
option of starting a new character and playing the game from the beginning
or taking the character they used to complete the original Diablo II
directly into Act V. Players will not, however, be able to jump into the
Nightmare difficulty level in Act V unless they have completed the previous
four acts at this difficulty level.
Love says that Blizzard has been "happy with the sales" of Diablo II and
that they expect the Mac version of the Diablo II: Expansion Pack to be
released within 30 days of the release of the PC version, baring any
unforeseen problems. While there is no official release date for the
expansion pack, Blizzard is targeting sometime in the second quarter of this
year. This new information about the Diablo II: Expansion Pack is just a
sampling of what this title will offer to fans of the original. You can
expect more details about this exciting release in the coming weeks.
Blizzard Entertainment (add to watch list)
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (add to watch list)
MWSF: Westlake Report
1:39 PM | Patrick Leyden | Comment on this story
We're wrapping up our final reports from MWSF, bringing you details and information from the show floor. No expo would be complete without an in-depth conversation with the friendly staff of Westlake Interactive, the premier Mac porting house and source of many A-list titles for Mac publishers.
Westlake Interactive released 14 titles in the year 2000. This was possible,
in part, due to the expanded staff at Westlake Interactive. The company now
consists of eight people, with seven developers and Suellen Adams running the
business side of the organization. Both Deus Ex and the Eddy Award Winning The
Sims exceeded expectations of sales. This success helped the Summer/Fall
time period in 2000 to be more successful for Westlake than the same period in
Currently on tap for 2000 are three titles: Tomb Raider Chronicles, Escape
from Monkey Island and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2. Even though these projects
are in their infancy, Westlake expects to be able to deliver them within the
next three months. Announcements of additional titles for 2001 could come as
soon as next month. Westlake Interactive is also continuing their plan to
diversify their company by developing for unspecified game systems/consoles. Westlake president
Mark Adams said that "there's a pretty good likelihood that we'll do a PS2
game this year."
This does not mean that Westlake is turning away from the Mac games market.
In fact, the company is already thinking about Mac OS X and gaming. "We're
certainly optimistic about it," Adams replied when asked about how the latest builds of
MacOS X look from a game developer's perspective. At the moment, however,
the company is concentrating on MacOS 9 development and will release web
updates to allow titles to run natively in MacOS X when such updates are
Westlake has also worked with Creative Labs to bringing their EAX Environmental Audio
API to the Mac, a special simulated 3D sound processing method. Creative was taking pre-orders for their SoundBlaster
Live for Macintosh card at Macworld San Francisco, with an expected delivery date of 6
to 8 weeks. A special EAX-enabled version of "Deus Ex" will be bundled with
the SoundBlaster card. Mark Adams is also investigating releasing a patch
for Unreal Tournament to add EAX environmental audio effects and possibly
adding OpenAL or EAX support to the upcoming "Tomb Raider Chronicles" game as well.
On the topic of the multiplayer patch for "Deus Ex," Adams recently spoke
with the developers at Ion Storm, who made the game for the PC. The PC
version of the multiplayer patch is still in beta. As soon as it is complete
Westlake will be given the code to see what kind of effort would be needed
to bring multiplayer capability to Mac "Deus Ex." No decisions on the
subject can be made until Mark Adams and his team take a look at the code.
Overall, Mark and Suellen Adams indicate that they are encouraged by the
growth of the Mac games market of the past twelve months. While they admit
there are still challenges in order to sustain Mac gaming, they are hopeful
that the new hardware and software releases from Apple will further grow the
platform and help Mac gaming. If 2000 is any indication, 2001 will be a
stellar year for Mac gamers.
Status of DS9: The Fallen
12:53 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story
Simon and Schuster's Star Trek third-person adventure game Deep Space 9: The Fallen was due to be released for the Mac OS last month, a date which was obviously missed. We contacted The Collective's Doug Hare to find out more on the Mac status of the game. He told us the good news that The Fallen is finished -- however the audio section is missing. Here are the details:
The Mac version of the game is complete apart from the music playback. WeWe're certainly looking forward to this one, as the PC crowd has been able to enjoy it for several months now. We will keep you posted as this title finally nears release.
Simon & Schuster
used the Miles Sound System on the PC which provided us with MP3 playback
and unfortunately the Mac version of Miles is running late which is the
reason for the Mac delay.
Hopefully we should get the Mac version before the end of the month at which
point we'll go into final test.
IMG The Fallen video
IMG The Fallen screenshots
DS9: The Fallen
Simon & Schuster (add to watch list)
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MOO3 Interview, Dev Diary
12:32 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
One of the few new games to be announced at last week's Macworld Expo San Francisco was the "4x" empire builder title Master
of Orion 3, coming via our friends at MacSoft. This is the third
in the popular sci-fi strategy series, and the development team promises it will
completely overhaul the genre. A couple of relevant articles were posted over
the weekend, including a developer diary at GameSpy and a new interview
from Cows Say MOO.
The GameSpy developer diary is actually the fourth in their MOO3 series, and this
time they discuss the all-important aspects of diplomacy. Here's a quick clip
from the intro of the article:
One of the primary goals for diplomacy in Master of Orion III: The Fifth 'X', just as with the other elements of the game, was to provide an experience which would surpass that seen in so many 4X games (including the prior MOOs). Part of doing that required the construction of a wide variety of diplomatic options…everything from making trades to issuing threats and praise. These general options cover not only the more usual things you'd expect to see (trading for worlds, ships, or access to strategic minerals), but also some you might not (embargoes; military intelligence; and votes on various items in the Orion Senate, a sort of galactic UN in which all races do not necessarily get to participate).In case you're confused on the 4x/5x points, most strategy games are 4x;
eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. The MOO3 team is adding an fifth
X, incorporating the idea of eXperience into the game. Check out the rest of
the diary for much more detail on how diplomacy will be vital to succeed in MOO3.
The interview at Cows Say MOO is with QuickSilver Software's Rantz Hoseley,
self-appointed 'race meister' for MOO3. Hoseley is revamping the races in the
game both graphically and from a game-history standpoint. The Q&A covers this
and a lot more so, have a look if you're interested.
IMG News: MacSoft News, MOO3 Coming!
Master of Orion 3 is still a ways off, though the team hopes to have it completed
early next year. MacSoft hasn't said whether the Mac port will be done in-house
or by a third party developer, but we'll let you know more as this game's
Master of Orion Web Site
Cows Say MOO Interview with Rantz Hoseley
GameSpy MOO3 Developer Diary #4
MacSoft (add to watch list)
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Buy Master of Orion III
Heroes III Demo Help
10:32 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
In case you missed the announcement, the Heroes III: Complete demo is now
available at Macgamefiles. This demo is quite a large download, and has been well-recieved by MGF visitors, who have rated the game 4 1/2 josysticks (out of 5). One of the few
complaints that downloaders have voiced about the demo so far is the puzzling lack of a tutorial to get gamers' started with this title's unique hybrid of game types. While the game itself isn't overly complex, the lack of even a short list of instructions may frustrate gamers who just committed so much download time and drive space to this demo.
A post to
our forums from Heroes fan Rocco 'rogue27' Carello notes that he has provided
a solution by posting the Heroes III Help Manual on his fan site. If you're
new to the world of Heroes this manual will be an invaluable resource to the intricacies of this engrossing game. He has apparently cleared the posting of this material
with 3DO already, so we shouldn't have to worry about it being taken down due to
copyright issues. His site also has a short "training" area which you might
want to read through for a quick headstart on the game's combat mode tactics and strategies.
Mac Heroes Web Site
Also, if you find the demo to be too large for your bandwidth, consider
ordering the third MGF CD. This action-packed release is now available, and it includes both the Heroes III and Diablo II
demos, which each weigh in at over 100MB apiece.
Heroes III: Complete Help Manual
Download Heroes III: Complete Demo
3DO (add to watch list)
Bots in Rune?
9:50 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story
Askin' Haskins, From Gathering of Developers' site has asked Human Head's Tim Gerritson about possibly having support for "bots" in Rune, their latest Viking hack and slash game. Gerriston replises they they are looking into this issue for their add-on pack, but they are confronted with many difficulties. Here is Gerritson's stance on the issue:
We are definitely looking at it as a priority for the new add-on pack, though we are not releasing any details yet about it. The biggest issues for bots are navigating some of the complex environments that we have for multiplayer as well as making the AI work well for bots to function in a melee combat environment against or with multiple persons. The addtion of "bots" to Rune would allow those with modest or no Internet connection to enjoy the thrill of multiplayer melee combat without going online, so we're sure some of you would be looking forward to this.
The problem is getting effective melee opponents as bots. We don't want useless opponents in the game, as that wouldn't help much. We've gotten lots of messages from people saying, 'UT had bots, isn't it just a simple thing to just throw in UT bots?' Of course, we could do that, but the bots would all have sniper rifles and chain guns while you have an axe, and they would stand around stupidly by some of our more complex climbing puzzles since there is no climbing and edge grabbing in UT. It just isn't that simple (if it were, we would have done that for the original release).
We will give more details when we get closer to final release of the add-on pack.
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Update on Deus Ex
9:46 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
You may recall one of the exciting Macworld announcements last week which stated that the
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! cards coming to the Mac OS would be bundled with the full version
of Deus Ex. We can't imagine a better candidate for a bundle deal, as this game has tons of realistic and ambient sound, as well as an excellent sound track -- provided Westlake would add EAX or OpenAL support to Deus Ex. This
would give players a huge boost, as it would provide true "positional" 3D surround sound when
sneaking around this sci-fi noir. And of course any opportunity to relieve the CPU of
the burden of generating sound would also be welcome. Here's what Westlake's
Mark Adams had to say on the matter:
We worked with creative over the last month or so to add EAX support to The only downside to all this is that the cards themselves have now been delayed
Deus Ex. This is the special version that will be bundled with their
We will probably make a Unreal Tournament patch that also supports EAX at
some point as well, and then the next step (once the cards are out
probably) we'll start looking at supporting the full OpenAL 3D sound as
for at least a couple of months. Preorders at the expo are now expected in March,
due to some last-minute software issues. We'll keep you posted if any new information
on the Sound Blaster cards is released.
Sound Blaster Live! Preview
Creative Labs Mac Soundblaster Page
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Aspyr Media (add to watch list)
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Bungie Fanfest Aftermath
9:32 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story
Last Friday the annual bacchanal of Bungie's ever popular Fanfest was held in the West Bay Conference Center, San Francisco, as part of Macworld San Francisco.
Miguel Chavez (aka Freewill) hosted the party, with appearances from Matt Soell, Max Hoberman, Stefan Sinclair, David Candland and Peter Marks, all long-time Bungie Employees. It started with a keynote from Matt, informing us of Halo's progress, Oni's progress, what the former Myth II team are up to, and how life in Microsoft HQ is.
SiliconDream, of rampancy.net has summarized the happening of the fanfest on the rampancy.net forum. Here are some excerpts.
HaloHave a look at the forum posts below - there is much, much more to be learned.
rampancy.net : codetoad's Fanfest
- 3 Weapons have been finalized--two human and one Covenant. The Covenant weapon has heating vents that open and glow when the weapon's been fired.
- They're working on a rescue mission at night, where you get to look down on a huge firefight.
Bungie online stuff
- Massive updates of all bungie.com and bungie.net sites are forthcoming.
- There will be more detail in player profiles, and they'll be fully searchable.
- The Bungie Store will be back soon, and they'll have Oni preorders--in fact, they expect to be able to ship their preorders earlier than anyone else.
rampancy.net : Fanfest images
rampancy.net : SiliconDream's Fanfest
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OS 9.1 Causes Glitches with Alpha Centauri
9:26 AM | Jay Swartzfeger | Comment on this story
Gamers have reported on Usenet and other discussion forums that updating to OS 9.1 causes various glitches with Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
Overall, the glitches don't seem to be too serious, and are only cosmetic in nature. Glitches noticed by IMG staff include black areas on the main menu turned white, black areas on the map are also inverted, the base size is unreadable because the size tag is turned white, and a few menu redraw problems exist as well. None of the glitches appear to affect actual gameplay, however.
SMAC fans may want to wait to update to OS 9.1 until Aspyr releases a patch to fix the glitches; we're sure Brad Oliver of Westlake Interactive is hard at work on this problem as of this minute.
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Review
Mac Baldur Posts MacWorld Expo Report
9:20 AM | Jay Swartzfeger | Comment on this story
Mac Baldur has posted a report on information gathered regarding the RPG Baldur's Gate at last week's MacWorld Expo. The report includes information regarding the expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast and the promised multiplayer patch for Baldur's Gate.
Mac Baldur has also posted some interesting tidbits concerning Baldur's Gate II, Icewind Dale and the possibility of other RPGs and expansion packs being ported to the Macintosh.
Head over to Mac Baldur to get your daily Baldur's Gate fix.
MacPlay (add to watch list)
BioWare (add to watch list)
Baldur's Gate II (add to watch list)
Buy Baldur's Gate II
More Radeon vs. GeForce2 MX Benchmarks
9:14 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story
As the festivities of MacWorld San Francisco come to an end, the benchmark wars have just begun. Barefeats and Mac-Gamer (no relation to MacGamer) have published benchmarks they obtained from the show floor, comparing the ATi Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce2 MX. Although you can't directly compare the Radeon and Geforce2 MX because of the different system configurations and various versions of Quake 3: Arena that were used, the results are nonetheless interesting.
As shown in the benchmarks ATi provided IMG, the combination of a PowerMac G4/500 DP, Mac OS X and a Radeon easily breaks the 100 FPS barrier. With it's optimized OpenGL layer and support for AltiVec and multiprocessing, MacOS X is definitely the future of gaming. Despite the Radeon's higher fillrate, DDR SDRAM, and supposed use of both G4/500 processors, Barefeats' and Mac-Gamer's benchmarks seem to show that the Geforce2 MX wins at high resolution, which contradicts results posted at many PC hardware review sites.
MWSF: GeForce 2 MX Benchmarks
The benchmark wars should be decided once independent parties get their hands on the new hardware and run them through rigorous tests, under controlled condtions. You can be sure that IMG will be one of them.
MWSF: ATI Counters NVIDIA Benchmarks
Mac-Gamer Macworld Benchmarks
Barefeats Macworld Benchmarks
Myth III Details
9:10 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story
The much-anticipated announcement of Myth III : The Wolf Age has revived an already lively game community built around the previous two titles, and the recent Fanfest in San Francisco has fed this fire. The team from Mumbo Jumbo - an offshoot of Ritual Entertainment - was there to answer questions. The team includes a number of creative Myth II community members, and reports suggest that they appear to be very well staffed, giving a huge amount of potential to Myth III as a true Myth project.
A number of points were discussed - SiliconDream of rampany.net says this about the project:
These guys are very interested in having a complex and consistent story. I'm ten times as excited about Myth III story-wise after hearing them discuss certain elements of their plot. They're obviously extremely well-versed in the backstory.The team also talked about "procedural foliage" - a buzzword which means that trees will no longer be static objects, but will sway with the wind, and be blasted to pieces by explosions nearby, causing branches to snap off, and trunks to collapse.
Myth III has no set release date, but the team were hoping for it to be released before Christmas this year, an extremely ambitious goal considering that the previous titles took almost two years to complete apiece.
rampancy.net : Myth III
Quake 3 1.17 vs. 1.27g Benchmarks
8:41 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story
VoodooExtreme is reporting that someone by the name of "Q]Strider" has released a utility that converts Quake 3 v1.17 demos to v1.27g demos. As youmight remember, the new version of Q3A doesn't include the two key 'demos' (recorded games) used so commonly in benchmarks of this game, and it is alsoincompatible with any demos from preious versions. This utility is only for the PC, but VoodooExtreme has done the work for us by converting the classic demo001 and demo002 tyo 1.27g compatibility and making them available for download.
To use the converted demos, download the .zip file linked below and uncompress it. Place the "UCGuide117.pk3" file into the "baseq3" folder in your Quake 3 directory. Next, fire up Quake 3 and bring down the console with the tilde key and type "timedemo 1," then hit return, then type "demo 117demo001," which should run the timedemo. Wash, rinse and repeat for demo002.
We took the liberty to run our own comparative tests at the default Normal and High Quality settings. To make things interesting we also benchmarked with the sound off, using the "+set s_initsound 0" command. The test machine was configued as follows:
Power Macintosh G4/450 PCINow, the results in FPS:
Voodoo5 5500 PCI in 66 MHz PCI slot
MacVoodoo 1.1.3b Drivers
256 MB RAM (default amount allocated to Quake 3)
MacOS 9.1, VM Off
Quake 3: Arena Demo001
|Normal (Sound Off)|
|HQ (Sound Off)|
Each result was obtained by running the demo three times and averaging the scores. Prior to each demo run, the machine was rebooted and the "q3config.cfg" file was deleted.
As you can see, the timedemo scores in v1.27g were actually slower than in v1.17, even though many people reported that actual gameplay was smoother and more fluid. With the sound disabled, v1.27 scores slightly higher than v1.17. This leads us to believe that non-sound performance enhancements were made. Keep in mind that this is a debug version, and Graeme Devine has promised a final version with AltiVec optimizations.
IMG Hardware Forums
Download the converted Quake 3 demos and feel free to post your results in the IMG Forums.
Download Quake 3 1.27g Demos (178 K)
Quake 3 Demo Converter at VoodooExtreme
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