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Wednesday, January 31, 2001



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Diablo II 1.05 Patch Released
9:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Blizzard has made a 1.05 patch available for their realtime RPG Diablo II, fixing a few bugs introduced in the previous version and making some more general improvements to the gameplay. The update is only available by logging on to their Battle.net services, though it will likely be downloadable from their site soon as well. Here's just a sample of the changes introduced in this new version:

Major bugs
  • Fixed copy-protection for various CD, DVD, and CD-R drives.
  • Barbarians wielding two potions are no longer prevented from entering games.
  • Socketed items were mistakenly and irreversibly de-randomized in 1.04. Now their gem effect values are taken from the upper end of their original (pre-1.04) random ranges.
  • Fixed all spell ranges. They were mistakenly reduced in v1.04.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented deleting some Characters.
  • Fixed numerous foreign language display problems.


    Improvements

  • A prompt now appears informing the user to delete characters when they have greater than eight characters in a Realm.
  • Player profiles now have a link to their ladder records, if they are in the top 999.
  • A "connecting to realm" message was added.
  • Connect to Battle.net now to grab the patch. Also, check their support site for a complete list of changes. ATI users still having problems with Diablo II might check out the driver update released yesterday as well; if you find that thei driver update does or does not solve your problem, please post your feedback in our Troubleshooting forum.

    IMG News: ATi Releases Driver Update
    Diablo II Patch Information
    Blizzard Entertainment
    Diablo II
    Buy Diablo II


    Tranquility Re-Launches, Lowers Cost
    2:40 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    Rethinking their pay-for-play strategy, TQWorld LLC has re-launched their online free-form puzzle game Tranquility and dramatically reduced cost. While formerly a year's subscription to the game cost $79.89, this has been lowered to $24, and play is free through February 3rd. Here are the details:

    TQworld LLC is please to introduce tranquility ...
    a new Mac-only game unlike any you've played before. With stunning graphics
    and rich music, tranquility sends you on a quest that can only be won with
    calm, sure moves.


    tranquility is a network-based game and a one-year subscription is $24.


    And, between now and Saturday, February 3, people can download tranquility
    and play for FREE. All it takes is a trip to www.Tqworld.com
    , download the program and start playing!


    This is not a 'twitch' game. No gargoyles to shoot, no skeletons to hack, no
    chainguns to blast away mutants, evil or otherwise. Real life gives us
    enough adrenalin attacks as it is.
    When you play tranquility, you are transported to a three-dimensional Realm
    where you seek out ways of being transported to your destination. As you
    complete each Realm, you receive a tranquility Card that will aid you as you
    enter the next Realm and new challenges.


    The graphics of the game are, quite frankly, stunning. It uses what some
    consider the most sophisticated computations ever used on a personal
    computer. Hours of original music and sophisticated 3D sound effects work
    with the graphics to guide you on your individualized path to tranquility.
    tranquility even brings a new sophistication to scoring: the tranquility
    server calculates your points based on a large number of factors concerning
    your play... including things like length of time, amount of movement,
    platforms hits and distance traveled. The tranquility experience points are
    calculated based on HOW these factors INTERRELATE. The calculations are
    intense: we know of no game that does such complex scoring. Try different
    strategies and see how your score changes - it's all part of your Path to
    tranquility.
    All you need to get started is a G3 or G4 Macintosh and a connection to the
    Internet.

    This abstract puzzle game also requires OpenGL and a hardware 3D card that supports that API. Jump to the Tranquility home page to download a trial version of the game.

    TQWorld LLC


    MOO3 Interviews Offer Details, Release Date
    1:35 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    As we recently learned at Macworld San Francisco, "4x" empire-building game Master of Orion III is coming to the Mac OS, via the good graces of MacSoft. Although the game is still in the very early stages of development, many details about gameplay and features have begun to emerge. Arena Games has conducted a short interview with Alan Emrich of Quicksilver, the company developing this title. The interview confirms that the title is due in the first quarter of 2002, but provides some details which indicate it may be well worth the wait. Here is an excerpt:

    What will you do to encourage replayability? (custom races, ships etc.)


    Just about everything we can think of short of a scenario-builder, really. Yes, you can create custom races. Yes, you can designs ships (and task forces of ships). The new events system in the game, I'm sure, will bring people back. The expansion of diplomacy to both the Orion Senate and one's own domestic front should keep them returning. Online multi-player should extend its life. And for all the cheaters out there, we're making hacking together "an editor" as easy for them as possible. Oh, and the on-line and strategy guide support, if it goes according to plan, will document the vast depths of Master of Orion III. With that understanding, players will surely come out with more of a desire to explore it further.

    In an interesting cooincidence, PC hardware sity Sharky's Extreme has also posted an interview with Emrich with additional information from Quicksilver head Bill Fisher, which goes in much more detail and depth. Quicksilver is a game development team with 17 years of experience, and they are quite confident they will be pushing the genre to new levels. Here's an excerpt from the Sharky interview:
    From what we've read at your site and in interviews and previews you've linked there, it appears MOO3 is a massive undertaking. What are the key design goals for your team, and have you found any of them needed modification for reasons of scope or cost?


    Bill Fisher: Our first design goal is to take strategy gaming to the next level. We all agree that this is a very ambitious statement, so we set out from the beginning with Hasbro to craft a development schedule and management plan that would be able to keep it under control. We spent literally months scoping out the technical side of the design, planning and scheduling each anticipated task from startup through release. Knowing the scope, we were able to bring in top-notch project management like Cory Nelson, and highly experienced designers like Alan and Tom. Although we certainly won't promise a flawless project, I can say that I'm delighted with the smooth operation of the team to date, and the steady progress being made in all areas of the production.

    Read both interviews for more details, and visit the offical web site for development diaries and concept art.

    MWSF: MacSoft news, MOO3 Coming
    MOO3 Interview at Sharky's Extreme
    MOO3 Interview at ArenaGames
    Master of Orion III
    MacSoft
    Quicksilver Software
    Master of Orion III
    Buy Master of Orion III



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    Summoner Movies, Stills
    10:19 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    An early build of the RPG Summoner is beginning to make the rounds of the PC news sites, spawning many a screenshot and in-game movie. Blue's News pointed us towards two early examples: a collection of screen shots and movies at Daily Radar and some more still shots at PCIGN.


    Summoner is a console-style RPG from Volition, already published on the Playstation 2 to much acclaim. It will soon be coming to the Mac and PC platforms, with the addition of cross-platform multiplayer support, which is currently being tested and balanced for gameplay. Featuring stunning special effects and ferocious realtime battles, Summoner tells the tale of Joseph, one gifted with the power to summon various demons, golems and supernatural creatures, but cursed by an inability to properly control his power. When one of his summoned creatures goes amok and destroys his home village, he sets out on a quest to redeem himself and master his summoning abilities.


    Daily Radar's collection of five mid-sized movies and 24 stills provide an in-depth look at the PC version of this title. With the benefit of higher resolutions and 3D hardware features such as texture smoothing, Summoner should look even better than the Playstation 2 version; unfortunately Daily Radar was too liberal with the JPEG compression, and these shots are blurry and full of artifacts as a result.


    PCIGN's shots are much clearer, and accompanied by some informative text about the game, albeit from long ago. Well worth checking out for anyone anticipating this game.


    Summoner is due for Mac and PC this spring, and will hopefully be a simultaneous release; as we recently learned at Macworld San Francisco, GraphSim will be publishing this title for our platform.

    Summoner Web Site
    Summoner Images at PCIGN
    Summoner Movies, Stills at Daily Radar
    GraphSim
    Volition
    Summoner
    Buy Summoner



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    Mac Q3:A Status Report
    10:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    id Software's Graeme Devine has updated his .plan file with details on the Mac version of Quake 3: Arena, of which a major update is due in the near future. He discusses problems with OS 9.1, incorporating Altivec support and even mentions the OS X build, which should be released in the near future as well. In case you've missed it, Graeme made a number of Altivec enhancements to benefit G4 owners and actually found a bug in the Metrowerks compiler in the process. Once Metrowerks solves this problem, he should be able to build and then release the G4-enhanced version of Q3. Here's an excerpt from his .plan:

    Mac OS 9.1 Quake3Arena.


    As many other developers have noticed, there's a little work to be done to make our games compatible with the new 9.1 release of MacOS. I've yet to address the issues, but will do as soon as I can. Once those are cleared up I'll release a build. There's a significant speedup over the current debug build out there.


    Mac OS 9.1 Quake3Arena Altivec.


    The Altivec version of Q3A is awesome. Unfortunately there is a bug in the Metrowerks compiler Altivec support which means I'm waiting on the update for the compiler. Metrowerks is currently QAing a build of their compiler with this fix included. For those x86 people out there who wonder what the Altivec is, it's the super computer part of the G4 chip that Apple touts in it's commercials. It really is incredible, and really does make a "super computer power" difference in application that support it.


    Mac OS X Quake3Arena.


    I'll release it along with the next release of the Mac build.

    It's great to hear progress on the compiler issues is being made, since this is largely out of his hands. Watch for more details on this build (which will also include improvements for those playing Team Arena) in the near future.

    Graeme Devine .plan Update
    IMG News: Q3:A(ltivec) Status Check
    Activision
    id Software
    Quake III Arena



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    On MMORPGs and Player as Author
    9:58 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    As the video game creation business transformed from a hobbyist activity to a lucrative way to make money, so has the creation process itself transformed from the instincts of a few code geeks to an actual science, studied in depth and detail. Balancing gameplay so that game authors feel in control of their creation and yet users feel empowered to express themselves fully is one of the many challenges facing creators of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games. Although this genre is still in its infancy on the Mac platform, it will soon become a major part of gaming for all Mac gamers as Shadowbane, Neverwinter Nights, Clan Lord and shareware efforts such as Lance, Arcane Arena and Oberin work towards 'completion.'


    But when does a massively-multiplayer game begin, and when does it end? This was just one of the many questions discussed at this year's Interactive Age conference held at USC. A meeting of the minds between creators of PC MMORPGs such as Everquest and Ultima Online, as well as many other game designers from both the console and home PC fields. GameSpy produced a short but substantive report on the conference, which covers the variety of perspectives offered on the evolving science of game design. Here is an excerpt:

    Although games like Deus Ex allow you "to decide how to get through the story, the design is limited by how much you are allowed to do." Games in which the player controls a party of characters makes creating stories easier because overcomes is that fact that it is "hard to have a relationship when there is no one to have a relationship with". However, Zatkin feels the "true test of self-authorship" is the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).


    In those games, the "player is not the center of the universe, merely a participant in it and everyone has to be a member of the universe with about equal priority." This is challenging, as you are "not designing the game around the actions or what you think will happen with one person," unlike a single-player game, which tends to have a main character. Thus, the purpose of the designer of a MMORPG is to create the framework--basically a "huge, chat room world"--although Zatkin believes that the type of "world is basically irrelevant."

    Mac users will get to find this out for ourselves, as we enter the larger world of MMORPGs with such cross-platform titles as Shadowbane and Neverwinter Nights and perhaps future titles such as Dark Sector. Read the rest of this interview for more details from the conference, including quotes from Warren Spector and Ultima Online creator Ralph Coster.

    "Personal Space: Who Controls the Story" at GameSpy
    Wolfpack Studios
    Shadowbane


    Mac OpenGL Doom Needs Testers
    9:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The OpenGL Mac DoomLegacy project received a large update yesterday, bringing the OpenGL-enhanced version of the classic shooter to 0.9 and fixing many bugs. The update also added (among other things) TCP/IP support. The porting programmer put out a call to testers to take this version for a test drive and send him some feedback on what needs fixing before this project moves to the big 1.0 release. Two more minor update have since been released, and the game now stands at version 0.9.2, with only multiple monitor support still in question. Here's a clip from the website explaining more of the situation:

    Before I release 1.0 I would like to fix issues with voodoo cards, multiple monitors etc. The only way I can do this is to have you try it and send in your bug reports. If Mac DooMLegacy does crash or act weird, please send me the following:


  • Your hardware configuration (especially graphics card).
  • The last thing you did (eg. opened door / completed level).
  • What .wad file you are using.
  • Anything else you think is significant.


    If you have programming experience, then even better! Try stepping through the code until you find the problem, then tell me about it (or fix it and tell me how you did it).


    New features/Fixes in this release:

  • Runs at max. of 70fps instead of 35fps
  • Corrupted texture loading fixed ('bout damned time too)
  • mp3 support via QuickTime
  • Mouse works first time properly
  • Lots of little things


    Known bugs/issues

  • Still don't have a logo/icon! All these creative Mac people and no-one can draw me a logo!?
  • May not work with multiple monitors? (confirm someone please?)
  • May not work with voodoo cards? (confirm someone please?)
  • Can crash when you hit the end switch of a level
  • Sectors missing (see first room of map01 from DooM2 for example)
  • Send any email in the above format to calum@idevgames.com if you've found a bug yourself. Check out the web site, then download 0.9.2 at Macgamefiles now. Remember this is just the application; it needs level and texture files either from the demo version of DOOM or the full version to run.

    OpenGL Mac DoomLegacy
    Download Mac DoomLegacy 0.9.2



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    Combat Mission Mods
    8:33 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    CGO has posed an article which goes into detail about 3rd-party modifications being made for the 3D WWII sim Combat Mission. Big Time Software, makers of the award-winning independent title, originally kept the art in the game to a minimum, so it could run on a variety of lower-end machines. They have let the game's community add new, higher-resolution textures to help improve the game's look, though it will definitely need beefier hardware to run. Here's more from the article:

    Beyond the MDMP mod sets, the CMHQ site is remarkable for its various player tips articles and after-action reports (AAR's) that can help CM gamers to learn the game's tactical nuances. The CMHQ section with the largest growth, however, is that for the "third party mods" where the graphics/sound files modified by individual CM gamers are collected. The third party mods are labeled by CMHQ as "unsupported," however, and neither BTS nor the CMHQ managers promise to resolve "compatibility" issues with any of these mods if necessary. So to repeat earlier advice—back up any files that are to be replaced before applying the mod files. Some of the major categories for mod files in the thidd party region are:

  • vehicles
  • "winterized" vehicles
  • infantry uniforms
  • buildings and other 3-d terrain
  • grass textures
  • game interface
  • special effects & miscellaneous
  • sound effects
  • Check out the rest of the article for more details on the many different types of mods you can download for Combat Mission. The article also includes instructions on how to get mods up-and-running with the Mac version of the game. If you've never tried the Mac demo, head over to Macgamefiles and grab it now; Combat Mission has gained the highest user reviews ever seen here at IMG, and remains a popular download on MGF.

    Download Combat Mission Demo
    BattleFront.com Web Site
    IMG Review: Combat Mission
    CGO Combat Mission Mod Article
    Battlefront.com
    Combat Mission



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    Cyan Becomes Cyan Worlds
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Cyan, the small Spokane, WA-based company which created legendary titles such as Myst and Riven is now kown as Cyan Worlds. The name change also heralds the creation of a new web site, with revamped sections on game info, jobs, and company contacts. The switch to Cyan Worlds also signifies a change in focus, as the following clip from the new site explains:

    And now the journey continues. The next step is both obvious and striking. An entirely new mediumóbroadband Internetóis once again waiting to be defined, beckoning for content. Cyan has redefined itself as Cyan Worlds, and has been growing, building, and expanding to create one final new world... a world unlike anything previously possible... a world that will never end.
    This seems to refer to their highly-secretive project, codenamed Mudpie. While not much is known about this upcoming title, it is assumed Mudpie will be some sort of online game, since the platform is listed as simply "broadband." The one screen shot of Mudpie is quite impressive though, so we're sure it is going to be unlike most persistent online games today. Supposedly the game is so ambitious that they are literally waiting for home hardware and Internet connection technology to improve before releasing it, as the audience of broadband customers and those with ultra-powerful gaming systems out there is sill relatively small.


    There are a number of job openings available, if you happen to be looking for work. If you're hoping for something more immediate from the Cyan world, you can look forward to seeing realMYST and Myst III: Exile to both be released soon for the Mac OS.

    IMG Preview of Myst III: Exile
    Cyan Worlds Web Site


    Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 30, 2001

    Lance Available for Order4:10 PM
    Oni Storms the Web3:30 PM
    The Sims House Party Preview2:52 PM
    SharkyExtreme Looks at Apple Innovation1:16 PM
    Will Wright Talks of Sims Future12:02 PM
    On Deus Ex Music10:52 AM
    Bungie Store Returns10:23 AM
    Myth III Q&A10:01 AM
    Oni Editing Tools Emerge9:44 AM
    MacSlash Interview with Ambrosia's Welch9:27 AM
    ATi Releases Driver Update9:15 AM
     
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 30, 2001 on one page


    Recent Mac Games News

    Monday, January 29, 2001
    Friday, January 26, 2001
    Thursday, January 25, 2001
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    Tuesday, January 23, 2001


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