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Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Myth III Details Surface
10:09 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Fisj, one of Myth III: The Wolf Age's developers, has posted at's Myth II Mapmakers forum with details some of the upcoming changes in the engine for the upcoming prequel. Specifically, he is addressing concerns expressed by Myth II map makers who wanted to know exactly what will be different for their favorite hobby, considering the modified engine Myth III will add to this venerable title. Here is an excerpt:

Major change will be sprites to 3d. Apart from 16bit colourmaps and detail maps, terrain will likley remain fairly similar. Water will also receive an overhaul, likley to be transparent. As mentioned below you'll have to consider and paint the bottom of a body of water (rocks/boulders/bicycles) too :)

Terrain will remain the sameish.

Models will take after units and also receive an update. I imagine since the models will all be using tiki [ed note: this is Ritual's character animation system, also seen in Heavy Metal: FAKK2] then scenery will me animatable as well. No more funky models which require vegasing and custom apps to run.

Tools will be similar, but redone and merged according to Andrew. Anyone for floathing? :)

Sounds and tags will remain largely similar. Will take out some oddities and annoyances as we see fit.

Scripting will have some tweaks and bugs fixed. We'll also add some necessary scripts for m3. I would like to see some other simple but powerful changes implemented. Hell ... we have a virtual novel of feature creeps that the level designers and artists have listed. It all depends on how fast we work, time at end to implement things etc.

Making myth levels will not be as easy as quake editing, but then again, it never was. If you're competent at making myth levels now, then it won't be a large learning curve for m3 imho.

The next game in the Myth series, Myth III: The Wolf Age, will boast new 3D characters and all sorts of other goodies; for more details on this title (still in early development) take a spin through IMG's news archives.

Eighteen IMG Stories on Myth III
Fisj's Post on VistaCartel Forums

Click to enlarge
Elite Force Retrospective
2:25 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Gamastutra has posted an article written by Raven's Brian Pelletier, Michael Gummelt, and James Monroe with a 'post-mortem' of their latest title, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. The articles discusses the good and bad areas in the development of the game, as well as the many changes they made to the Quake 3 engine and the compromises that resulted. They had to include a whole new single-player element of design, as well as implement their new scripting system and other modifications. These changes made it possible for Raven to recreate the Star Trek world Elite Force needed to satisfy fans of the series, but it came at a heavy cost in terms of development time and effort. This article is a must-read if you are interested in learning how Raven managed to create such a great game. Here is an excerpt:

What Went Right

1. Improvements to the Quake 3 engine. Raven had worked with id Software's engines since 1992, but this was the first time we had to add a single-player game to an id engine. Normally, we had the luxury of starting with a full single-player code base and just adding things such as breakable brushes, new AI, navigation systems, and so on. But this time we had licensed a multiplayer game and had to put in many systems we took for granted. We needed AI and navigation appropriate for single-player enemies (not multiplayer bots), as well as teammate non-player characters (NPCs) and cinematics. We needed an expanded animation system for all the different animations our cinematics would require, we needed to create a load and save routine from scratch, and the list went on. One of the things that made this possible was the decision early on to separate the multiplayer and single-player executables. At this time, Quake 3 was still about eight months from completion, so we started on single-player and would worry about multiplayer when we got the final code base. We were able to make drastic changes to the single-player game and shortcut the networking, allowing us to get away with a lot of things that would have just done very bad things to networking. With this new freedom, we revamped even more systems. In the end, we actually surpassed our initial ambitions as far as new systems and features were concerned.

Elite Force was ported to Mac OS by the great guys at Westlake Interactive, and published by Aspyr Media. Check out the demo over at MacGameFiles and our review of the full version if you haven't beamed this one up.

IMG Star Trek: Elite Force Review
Gamastura's Elite Force Postmortem
Star Trek: Elite Force demo at MacGamefiles
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Lance Demo Released
12:10 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The Alchemist Guild has released a demo of Lance, a massive multi-player online RPG designed for the MacOS. If all goes as planned Lance's sense of community will be much stronger then any large production RPG which will enable you to effect the world on a very personal level and get involved with the actual development. Separation of the players and game masters will not exist. Here's a little note from the author:

Keep in mind this demo is primarily to excite potential customers enough to subscribe so I can get the project off the ground, it will be dull so don't get your hopes up. Because I don't have the central server up and running yet you will only be able to play single player (with a fixed demo character) so there won't be much to do. For security reasons the server is also a demo so it will only allow you to connect 2 times per session then will expire. When this happens quit the server and re-open it.
Be sure to carefully read the installation notes over at MacGameFiles. RPG fans should also check out Oberin, which is another MMORPG in development for Mac OS.

IMG Oberin: New Mac MORPG
The Alchemist Guild
Download Lance demo at MacGameFiles

IMG Revamps Hardware Section
10:55 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

In our never-ending quest to bring our readers the most comprehensive and easiest-to-use resources on all things Mac gaming, we have reconstructed our Hardware section to fit our new scripted database. Now the Hardware section will enjoy the benefits that our Reviews and Previews sections have already experienced: true dynamically-rendered HTML, user reviews, links to company and product information and tons of room to expand.

Our first two reviews posted in this new format are an in-depth look at Apple's G4 Cube from a gamer's perspective, as well as a look at Gravis' Destroyer Tilt gamepad, a new twist on a classic design.

Watch for a virtual flood of hardware reviews in the future, as we strive to fill a surprisingly large gap in Mac gaming coverage with detailed, in-depth reviews of the hardware that can make a tremendous difference in your gaming experience. Remember to contribute your user review, if you have experience with a product that you'd like to share with your fellow IMG readers.

IMG's Hardware Section
Review: Apple Powermac G4 Cube
Review: Gravis Destroyer Tilt Gamepad

Game Over for Gamecenter?
10:20 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Gamecenter posted a note on its website informing readers that they would be shutting down operations at the end of this week. This is the latest move by ZD/CNET to cut costs and streamline operations in order to compensate for decreasing revenues and the recent slowdown of the Internet economy. Earlier this month, the Gamecenter Alliance (which IMG was a member of) was dissolved, presumably for the same reasons. Here is the notice in it's entirety:

Gamecenter is closing shop at the end of this week, wrapping up a fun-filled, four-and-a-half-year run. We're still working on a couple of feature stories to be published by week's end, so don't delete your bookmark just yet.
GameSpot, which is also owned by ZD/CNET, will become the primary portal for the network. Although several gaming networks have had to downsize or even cease operations, IMG is still going strong. You can rest assured that we will be bringing you the best gaming-related coverage for many years to come.

Gamecenter Shutting Down

All-new Marathon Conversion Rubicon
10:16 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

Marathon, from Bungie, the seven-year-old game that refuses to fade from the hearts of Mac gamers, continues to inspire level designers to create complex projects with Bungie's simple yet powerful tools. IMG has received details on a Marathon solo project of epic proportions, which apparently includes many never-before seen features along with a new cast of characters, new weapons and an all-new storyline.

This scenario is apparently four years in the making, and is the largest Marathon scenario project in history. According to the press release we received this morning, it features:

-360+ new textures

-Over a dozen new characters

-Tons of new scenery

-8 new weapons

-More solo levels than any other Marathon scenario to date

...all wrapped into a nonlinear plotline that can be traversed in any number of ways, featuring different endings based upon a player's choices over the course of the game.

Rubicon is set in Bungie's familiar Marathon universe, picking up where Marathon Infinity left off. Although the Marathon Infinity engine is beginning to show its age, it is important to note that according to the press release Rubicon will feature a nonlinear gameplay dynamic. Incorporating large amounts of nonlinearity into a first person shooter is a feat few commercial game developers have attempted, and by the looks of the internal documents we were permitted to see, Marathon Rubicon goes all out in executing this feature. Several screenshots have been released, with promises of many more (and even a movie!) to be released in the future. For those still enjoying the classic look and feel of the Marathon Infinity engine or the Aleph One modified project, this should be a thrill.

And the release date for this ambitious project? They say it should be out in the next month, as it is currently in beta testing. Visit the web site for more details and screen shots.

Marathon Rubicon website

Click to enlarge
Core Q&A on Tomb Raider
10:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

French site Gamedata has interviewed Susie Hamilton of Core Design, with many questions related to the company's popular Tomb Raider series. The Q&A covers many aspects of the titles and the larger-than-life image of Lara Croft herself, arguably the most famous computer game character ever. Topics include the upcoming Tomb Raider movie starring Angelina Jolie (which is hoped to be an "Indiana Jones type franchise"), the current set of games available for so many platforms, and the upcoming Tomb Raider Next Generation title. Here's a clip:

Can you tell us about Tomb Raider Next Generation ? What will be the biggest change?

Oh, absolutely everything. Everything is redesigned. We have a brand new Next Generation engine. Lara changed, the character changed. Her statistics remain the same, but the way she looks is changed. We’re not finalized on how she’ll finally look, but she’ll be one in a series of playable characters. The whole thing is more sophisticated. It’s more grown-up. The plot is quite dark and sinister, we probably won’t even call it Tomb Raider, it will be called something different. Tomb Raider has been very successful for us, but we are very aware that people now want something different. So now, with Playstation 2, instead of pushing a new version of Tomb Raider that just looks better and has a few new features, we want to create something that is completely new. There are a lot of surprises in there for people.

Hamilton also discusses a little of their other game, Project Eden, which is very much unlike the Tomb Raider series. Be sure to head over and have a look at the rest of the interview. No specific mention of a Mac version of Tomb Raider Next Generation has been announced, but we're sure Aspyr is already on the case. Hopefully they will have a look at Project Eden, as well.

GameData Tomb Raider Interview
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Core Design
Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Buy Tomb Raider: Chronicles

Around the Web: Rune Review, MacGamer Videos
9:42 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacNN has posted a review of Human Head's recently released Rune. Reviewer Chris Barylick gives the game high marks. Here's a snippet from the review:

When I first saw Rune demonstrated at Macworld Expo last summer, my jaw dropped to the floor. A Viking was hacking his way through a village, tearing through buildings with weapons as large as himself, stopping only to drink cups of mead to replenish his energy. I dropped my bag of free Macworld swag, staggered a step and stared. The game made a memorable first impression.
Be sure to check out the rest of the review at MacNN.

Our friends at Mac Gamer keep churning out more Macworld Expo videos. Yesterday Mac Gamer posted three new videos featuring Jason Whong's MacPlay, Lane Roethe of Monkey Byte, and Holly McDermitt of Handspring. Those with a modem and Internet Explorer, don't worry, your system hasn't crashed after you click on the link -- the empty white box that pops up will eventually become the movie, after it loads in its entirety.

IMG's Rune Review
MacGamer Videos
Rune Review at MacNN

Monopoly Casino is Gold
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Yesterday, MacSoft announced that work on Hasbro's Monopoly Casino has been completed and this title has been sent off for duplication. This title is a collection of popular Casino games, presented with famous Monoply characters and themes. Some of the other features include:

  • Over 40 Monopoly themed games with over 200 variations.

  • Slots, Blackjack, Poker, Keno, Roulette, Craps, Pai Gow Poker and more, each with special themes and animations cycles.

  • Monopoly games that are now in casinos, like Reel Estate,
    Once Around and Chairman of the Board

  • 48 total games with over 200 variations including 19 Monopoly
    slots games, 12 Poker games, 10 Video Poker games and 2 Roulette games.
  • Monopoly Casino promises tons of reply value and fun for the whole family. It should start to appear on store shelves in a couple of weeks. Keep your eyes on IMG for a review and the best prices on Monopoly Casino.


    Mac Games News for Tuesday, February 6, 2001

    ATi Mobility Radeon Revealed1:17 PM
    Escape from Monkey Island is Beta11:34 AM
    X-Plane Updated to 5.60b510:27 AM
    Blizzard's Tenth Celebration Begins9:34 AM
    Fatality's Guide to Q3DM79:24 AM
    Return to Dark Castle Public Beta March 1st8:58 AM
    Oni Prequel?8:55 AM
    Official Cro-Mag Rally Strategy Guide8:53 AM
    Vampire: TM Set for May Release8:50 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, February 6, 2001 on one page

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    Monday, February 5, 2001
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