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Thursday, March 22, 2001


Earth: 2140 for Mac In Production
9:29 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

When German developer e.p.i.c. interactive entertainment released the demo for the TopWare RTS game Earth 2140, many were a bit puzzled; after all, this "classic" title was written in the days when a Pentium II and a 601 Mac were considered cutting-edge. But e.p.i.c has assured us that this is only a preview of what is to come, so we take the news that 2140 is in production as a hopeful sign of the future. That future will hopefully include a port of TopWare's next title, Earth 2150 -- a true-3D RTS with stunning graphics and sound which was highly praised on the PC side upon release. Future e.p.i.c projects will include Gorky 17, a Fallout-style scifi RPG released for the PC as Odium, and the fantasy RPG Dafel: Bloodline. The date for Gorky 17 has been shifted to this May.


Earth 2140 itself is a traditional pseudo-3D RTS title which will seem extremely familiar to fans of the genre, but was bleeding-edge fresh when it was originally released in 1995-96. With quite modest hardware requirements and great graphics and sound, this one should be pleasing to anyone needing a quick fix while the next round of RTS titles grind away in production. Here's the text of e.p.i.c's announcement:

EARTH 2140, the classic realtime strategy game originally developed on the
PC by Topware Interactive is now in production for the MAC . EARTH 2140 for
the MAC will be released on April 4th. On the international version there
are english, french, dutch and italian versions of the game. EARTH 2140 is
set in a world devestated by eccological catastrophes and numerous wars. The
two remaining world powers United Civilised States (UCS) and Eurasian
Dynasty (ED) are fighting for the last remaining ressources and world
dominance.
As with previous e.p.i.c titles, the status of US distribution is unknown at this time. Their recent release of Simon the Sorcerer II was picked up by Mac-O-Rama for US distribution, so it is likely they will also carry future e.p.i.c titles. For more information on the current projects, visit the e.p.i.c. web site; if you are interested in taking Earth 2140 for a spin, grab the demo from MacGameFiles.

Earth 2140 Demo
e.p.i.c. interactive
Earth 2140: How To Play
Past Articles On Epic's Projects
Epic Interactive Brings New Titles to the Mac
Runesoft
Earth 2140
Buy Earth 2140


Vortex NG at GDC, Preview
2:09 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Several months ago it was announced that Vortex Next Generation would be the sole Mac title to be presented at the Independent Games Festival. Developer Rocco Bowling is attending this subset of the Game Developers Conference -- going on this week in San Jose -- as one of the five programmers in the Student Showcase. IMG recently had the chance to play an early build of Vortex NG and write up some thoughts about the title, which is set for release next month. Here's a clip:

The graphics in Vortex are reminiscent of an 80's arcade game while at the same time incorporating many more modern 3D effects. A similar game could have been programmed in a 2D world, though the OpenGL shows off Apple's hardware nicely. The vortex is an impressive dark swirling cloud which serves as a constant background to your battle. The ships and aliens are geometrically simple, though well-designed. A particle system is in place for explosions and other effects. Resolutions up to 1024x768 are currently supported and the higher settings look very nice. A number of the feature can be toggled on or off for better performance. As it stands, Vortex NG should not be very demanding on your hardware, and the author notes it is playable on any iMac.
Check out the rest of the preview for more on the game. We'll try and get an update from Bowling on its status soon.

Vortex Next Generation Web Site
Preview of Vortex Next Generation
IMG News: Vortex NG Reaches Game Dev Finals


MythWarrior in the Works
1:49 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

We just received word from John "Rohan MoR" Whitney that he is about to release a third impressive Myth II Total Conversion called MythWarrior. If you're a fan of the many plug-ins for this extensible game, you've probably already played his excellent Leggo My Myth or Leggo II: Arena modifications. In MythWarrior, you will control units similar to the robots found in MechWarrior. Here's a more detailed explanation from the web site:

While making Leggo II I came upon a indisputable fact: large units that blow stuff up are fun to play. So after many months of work, and many months of no work, MythWarrior is ready to be released.


Mythwarrior replaces Myth's midevil units with big robots that are armed to the teeth. With 5 map variants and 1 solo level Mythwarrior has something for everyone. Or at least something for everyone who has a copy of Myth 2 and likes to blow the crap outta stuff. If that sounds like you c'mon in!

MythWarrior will be released this Saturday at the Mill, for those who are interested. Head over now and have a look through the Mythwarrior web site if you'd like a sneak peek; there are details posted about each of the units as well as some impressive screen shots.

MythWarrior Web Site



Click to enlarge
GarageGames Interview Reveals More Details
10:52 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new interview at VoodooExtreme talks with Jeff Tunnell, president of GarageGames about their recently announced licensing deal for Tribes 2. As we broke the news to you last week, this company's new plan might encourage a Mac OS port of the Tribes 2 engine (known as V12) in the future, which in turn would open the door to a port of Tribes 2 or games made with its engine. The interview questions are quite direct and cover issues such as competing engines like Unreal 2 or Doom 3, the extremely low $100 licensing fee and how they plan to survive as a company with this unusual -- to say the least -- business model. Here's an excerpt:

VE†- Do you plan on doing much to the Tribes 2 engine?† We ask as the next-gen Unreal engine is looking quite sharp, many feel that Tribes 2, at least visually speaking, won't be able to touch the next-gen Unreal engine (purely based on shots).† Are you guys going to continually enhance it?† We doubt the net code needs any work, seems it's only the visuals people are concerned about (when comparing to another engine).


JT - It always amazes me how people get caught up in the "next" engine.† It is pretty easy to look good when you only run on GeForce3 cards with pixel and vertex shaders in non-game technology demos.† That said, everybody at GarageGames is drooling over the Unreal and Doom demos.† We intend to push as hard as we can to keep the V12 (our name for the Tribes 2 engine) as state of the art as possible.† One advantage I think we will have now is that we will have developers around the world contributing to our engine. We will harness this work force by trading off back end royalty points for code that gets added to the V12 and brought back to the developer community.

Check out the rest of the interview for more from Tunnell. We certainly do hope they can survive, as they're likely our best chance of seeing a Mac port of Tribes 2. It's still too early to say anything definite as of yet, but we'll bring you any new information that becomes available.

More Details on GarageGames, Mac Tribes 2
GarageGames' Jeff Tunnell Q&A at VoodooExtreme


British Columbia Video Game Legislation Announced
10:16 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

We noted on Avault that Attorney General Graeme Bowbrick of British Columbia recently announced a new B.C. classification
system for video games. Interestingly enough, much research and cooperation with the U.S. government took place beforehand; thus the newly-stated rules
for game sales and rentals in B.C. have a familiar tone:



  • Store owners will be required to display Mature video games on a separate shelf so parents can
    easily identify them. Adult Only games will have to be kept in a separate room from other games
    in the same manner as Adult Only video films.
  • The director of film classification will review Adult Only and Mature video games for obscene or
    excessively violent content and will be able to ban them from sale or rental in B.C. under the
    same criteria applied to films.
  • Conditions will be imposed for selling or renting video games so minors cannot sample, rent or
    buy those classified as Mature or Adult Only.
  • An advisory board will be established to help government monitor the ratings systemís
    effectiveness and provide advice to the attorney general.


The B.C. Coalition Opposed to Violent Entertainment, represented by Jillian Skeet, had this to say:

"Video-game violence hurts children and their families. I want government, business and the public to work together to protect them."
For the full story, be sure to read the official report. The Regulatory Impact
Statement pertaining to the proposal is also available, and cites the issues and reasons
behind each action implemented. The enactment of this proposal is of course no indication that similar legislation will proposed or enacted in other provinces or countries, but it may be indicative of a shift in mood in government attitude towards the entertainment industries, which have so far been allowed to enact and enforce self-regulation rather than be externally monitored. Be sure to make your opinions on this issue heard in our Forums.

B.C. Govt - Video Games Legislation Announced
Regulatory Impact Statement - Proposed Video Games Act


Do You Finish Your Games?
10:07 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Adrenaline Vault has posted an excellent and humorous article which looks at the many reasons gamers don't "play through" to the end of video games. As many of us at IMG are games reviewers ourselves, we can particularly sympathize with the author in this case. And it is an interesting phenomenon that many gamers --who would most likely never put down a good book or leave a movie early-- will leave a game unfinished. This may be particularly relevant as Mac users who, it seems, must fight and claw for each title yet are always looking for the Next Big Thing. Here's an excerpt from the article:

What keeps us playing all the way through to the end? Motivating players to complete a game is like motivating young minds to learn, by getting them to desperately want to get to the bottom of intriguing intellectual puzzles about which they cannot stop thinking. In other words, you have to stimulate the curiosity of the gamer to make the often massive expenditure of time worth the effort. A typical reason to make it to the finish has often been to confront your nemesis, the arch-villain who is the source of all evil, and this can be quite effective in keeping players from calling it quits along the way. Other traditional rationales include that you desperately want to restore order and save the world, or alternatively that you must unravel a truly hidden and earth-shattering mystery. But, as the game-playing public has become exposed to these kinds of ultimate goals over and over again, often something more is needed.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Do the multiple endings for Deus Ex make you keep it on your hard drive longer, or is the simple reward system for Diablo II enough to keep your attention? And what about those who can't seem to let a game go that they have finished dozens, perhaps dozens of times (Marathon community, we are looking in your general direction...) What keeps some games fresh, and makes others gather dust on the backup partition of your hard drive? Post away in our forum if you've got something to say.

Article on Finishing Computer Games at Avault
Do you play through games to the end?


Lance Multiplayer Demo, Funding Still Needed
9:06 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Some time ago we brought you the news that long-promised shareware RPG Lance had stalled due to lack of funding. The author, Ryan Joseph, came up with a novel method of both funding his software and testing the progress of its development at the same time -- beta testers would essentially "subscribe" and thus help fund the game they were testing. Now a multiplayer version of this game is available as a small demo download, to give a preview of what might be possible in the future if sufficient funding is found to complete the project. The author has also made a free demo available for those unwilling to subscribe; its only limitation is that you are not able to save your progress.


The game itself will be an online RPG with a strong sense of community, literally a user-created world. The real-time combat engine will support player-vs-player combat as well as wandering monsters, and will support at some point 14 character classes from which to choose.


In addition to the multiplayer-enabled demo, the author has also decided to be flexible about "subscriptions" to the software for those that want to participate in the testing and creation of this game. Here is an excerpt from the e-mail message:

In case you were not aware I have got around to making the multi-player
demo. The current version 1.005 is still fairly buggy but getting much
better with every week. The demo is fully functional (In fact it's the same
package the paying customers get) except you will not be allowed to save
your game. Visit the demo page at http://www.alchemistguild.com/Lance/
for the full details.


On a more important note I'm still looking for additional subscribers to get
this project off the ground so the real fun can begin! If you did not know
Lance is what you would call an independent project, i.e. there are few team
members and we do this all in our spare time. Because Lance has no fundings
I am reaching out to the community for support. If you are interested in
supporting this unique venture into online role playing please read on.


Jumping right into it the problem seems to be that $9/month is too much to
ask for development quality software. I know that some of you have enough
money around to afford such a fee but many of you don't so I'm trying
to make a stretch to help those of you in need as I *fully* understand.

Joseph goes on to state that he is willing to cut the subscription fee in half or waive the initial $30 cost for subscribers if testers feel they can't afford the current level. Drop by the Lance page for the demo download and more details on this RPG and The Alchemist Guild's other projects.

Lance Available for Order
Lance Web Site



Click to enlarge
EuroGamer Previews Warcraft III
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

EuroGamer recently had the opportunity to chat with Bill Roper of Blizzard Entertainment and preview the latest build of Warcraft III, the next installment of Blizzard's highly popular real-time strategy (RTS) series.


There are currently several races that will be available for play, including humans, night elves, orcs and the undead. The undead in particular sound quite original in terms of RTS species, as their resource management will involve the harvesting of dead bodies for construction of new units and healing of damaged troops.


Another interesting addition to the mix will be random NPCs scattered throughout the game:

Although these are the main playable races, there are other people in the world. As well as the minor players that other races can recruit (such as dwarven troops for the human armies), there are also now non-player units in many of the maps, including everything from trolls to centaurs. These will attack anybody that strays near them, and as well as adding some colour to the game they should also act as a deterrent to base rushing in multiplayer games, forcing you to advance further before you can break out of your base and start searching for your opponents. They will also encourage the player to explore the map, as killing these neutral monsters will give your heroes experience and are also the only source of mana stones, one of the two resources in the game.
Increased focus will also be given to "heroes," which are singularly powerful warriors created and shaped by the player's actions. Though losing a hero late in gameplay might affect the overall balance of power against a player, a resurrection system is being put in place to mitigate this pitfall. Interestingly, one aspect of the Hero character has changed -- you no longer have to attach your units to a hero, and indeed can fight a battle without them. It is unlikely that anyone would be able to win a game without one, however, as they all wield extremely powerful spells.


The environment itself will also be fairly dynamic, with day and night cycles taking place. Not surprisingly, the time of day will affect certain variables in the game, such as spellcasting and the special abilities of certain races.


A solid release date has yet to be confirmed, with Roper's answer regarding the subject being a vague "we'll see." Most expect this game to be out in late 2001, with the Mac OS version close behind the PC release. For more information on Warcraft III, be sure to read the entire article; we're sure several more like it will be popping up soon.

Blizzard - Warcraft III Official Site
EuroGamer - Warcraft III Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III


Diablo II Expansion Images, Footage
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment's endless deluge of press and hype continues with a major score by fansite DiabloII.net. One of their intrepid reporters returned from a visit to London (Blizzard is on a European press tour) with spoils of war -- not just five screen shots, two concept art images and a cinematic still, but also a movie of the Druid character in action.


As the Expansion (known as Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) shapes up for an early-summer release, millions (perhaps billions) of rabid Diablo II fans are champing at the bit. With two entirely new character classes (Druid and Assassin) and a new Act as well as tune-ups of the other character classes, a refined Unique and Rare items system and tons of new Set items to discover, the expansion has enough stuff to keep even the most jaded Diablo II fan clicking happily away for weeks on end. While you will be able to import your characters from a previous adventure, those who want the full experience with the advantages of the new character classes and all the new items will start over from the beginning.


For the screen shots, the movie and more information about the expansion (and Diablo II) than mere mortals can withstand, visit DiabloII.net. Make sure you grab the movie, it is in Bink format (requires the player) but packs a lot of punch for the small download. This expansion pack is expected to be a simultaneous release for Mac and PC.

Bink Player
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Diablo II Expansion Images, Movie at DiabloII.net


Mac Games News for Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Creative Labs Ships Soundblaster Live!5:12 PM
Mac Summoner Update, More Interviews2:09 PM
Atlas: The Gift of Aramai in Beta Testing1:52 PM
"Stupid Invaders" Spotted in Europe11:04 AM
Deimos Rising Update9:54 AM
Applelinks Previews UT:GotY Edition9:35 AM
RPG Planet Interviews Summoner Producer9:29 AM
Halo Web Site Gains Shots, New Movies9:25 AM
Will Developers Support Mac GeForce3?8:47 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, March 21, 2001 on one page


Recent Mac Games News

Tuesday, March 20, 2001
Monday, March 19, 2001
Friday, March 16, 2001
Thursday, March 15, 2001
Wednesday, March 14, 2001


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