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Wednesday, March 28, 2001



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Baldur's Gate Multiplayer Test, OS X Info
8:07 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Our affiliate site Mac Baldur has relayed a request from GraphSim for brave souls who want to be testers for the upcoming multiplayer patch for Baldur's Gate. This will be a free update for the massive RPG that will allow Mac gamers to play through the game cooperatively. Here's a clip with more info:

We will be doing a limited beta for the multiplayer update. You must be
able to receive a 2MB file over e-mail. Also, this does not support
GameRanger (yet) and there are known problems that you might experience.
All of this is covered in the Read Me file which will be included in the
update beta.
If you're seriously interesting in helping out the test, head over to Mac Baldur to find out how to sign up.


In related Baldur's Gate news, Apple has posted a new article on the title. It includes some quotes from GraphSim's Jeff Morgan on the game and its upcoming expansion pack, Tales of the Sword Coast. A clip about OS X support is also included:

When asked about GraphSim’s commitment to Mac OS X, President and CEO Jeff Morgan said, “We are in the process of making all of our new and viable existing products Mac OS X compatible as soon as possible. Our current list of products scheduled for compatibility are Summoner, Baldur’s Gate, Tales of the Sword Coast, F/A-18 Korea Gold and Descent 3. Also, we anticipate that Red Faction will be compatible at shipping.”
It's great to hear GraphSim will be porting even (relatively) older games like Descent 3 to OS X. Head on over and check out the rest of the article for more on the Baldur's Gate series coming to the Mac.

GraphSim Web Site
MacBaldur Web Site
Baldur's Gate Article at Apple
MacPlay
BioWare
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II



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Mac Escape from Monkey Island is Gold
4:50 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has updated their news page with a short note, the contents of which you can ascertain by reading the headline -- Escape from Monkey Island has "gone gold" and is heading to duplication. Aspyr Media noted that this title was gold last week, but Westlake's update has a little news at the end that Mac OS X fans will be eager to hear.


This rollicking 2D/3D adventure title has all the humor and crazy puzzles of the original plus subplots galore and fantastic eye candy that must be seen to be believed. A gorgeous combination of inspired hand-illustrated backgrounds and high-poly 3D models, this one has all the production values LucasArts is famous for, and yet runs on modest systems as well. Here is the news from Westlake:

Escape From Monkey Island has gone Gold Master!


We have delivered the final CD's to Aspyr Media, and it should be heading towards duplication and the stores soon!


We have also begun early work on building an OS X version of Monkey Island, so check back here for future info and updates.

Aye, that's some fine news, it is. So, fish your eye patch out of the drawer and put a new coat of furniture polish on that wooden leg, because this one is coming to a store near you. For more information, read our detailed preview of this title.

Westlake Interactive News Update
Preview: Escape from Monkey Island
LucasArts
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island


Rune Expansion Set Goes Gold
3:37 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Adrenaline Vault has recently posted the news that Rune: Halls of Valhalla
has gone gold and will be in stores on April 24th. This news was handed to them straight from Gathering of Develoers and Human Head,
the developers of Rune, a hack'n'slash game based on the Unreal Tournament engine.


Halls of Valhalla is an expansion set that can either be tacked onto Rune or be played as a stand-alone
product (online multiplayer only). It is a deathmatch-oriented expansion that adds several new game modes, multiplayer maps and creature types
to the Rune universe.


One of the new game modes, Headball, has players chasing each other around an arena attempting to sever
the heads of their opponents, which can then be picked up and run through goals for points. Options such as
multiple goals, goals with different scoring points and the possibility of using severed limbs to score as well add some
spice to the mix.


The other new mode, Arena, focuses on one-on-one combat in which players will equip before battle and then wage
gladitorial-style combat, with the victor being rewarded with full health and equipment in preparation for the next match.
Larger servers will and maps will allow for larger teams.


As a side note, Gathering and Human Head Studios will be releasing Rune Gold sometime this August. Rune Gold will contain the original Rune,
Halls of Valhalla, and content not yet specified.


Be sure to check out The Adrenaline Vault for the exclusive scoop. Rune: The Halls of Valhalla (PC version) is currently
priced at $19.99. We expect the Mac OS version to follow shortly afterward, and be the same price.

The Adrenaline Vault - Rune: The Halls of Valhalla
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive
Rune


"Carbon" Games Abound on MGF
1:04 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Our partner site MacGameFiles.com has been updating with games Carbonized for Mac OS X since the release of Apple's next-gen operating system, and we thought we'd bring a few to your attention. Just because you are an early adopter of this OS doesn't mean you have to give up playing games!


While a bit simplistic and not likely to challenge Baldur's Gate for depth of plot, TheCowCatchingGame 1.3 is a nifty demonstration of the power of OpenGL under Mac OS X. The premise is simple: fly around in your alien craft over a 3D landscape and scoop up some suspiciously South Park-like cows for points. While we think the author's shareware limitations are a bit draconian, this is a great preview of what will come for future OpenGL-based Carbon and Cocoa games; it even does full-screen drawing and resolution switching, something that many other games are having trouble with so far.


We mentioned the fantastic Bushfire yesterday, but we just have to plug it again because it is so darn addictive. Reminiscent of the classic Apple ][ and arcade title Choplifter, this one features no violence and great graphics and sound. If you've Got X, you need Bushfire.


Mike's Cards 1.7 is a Carbon version of the shareware classic, which features a whopping 124 varieties of solitaire games with both one-pack and two-pack variations. The obvious advantage to having a Carbon version of the game would be not having to launch Classic any more when you need a quick time-filler or cards fix.


Double 2.0b2 is a simple solitaire "Maj-Jongg" title game that some might find familiar. Fans of Shanghai will find this one clickworthy.


Shapes II 1.0 was one of the very first OS X games to debut after the OS release, and it is an instant classic for those who are fans of Tetris, Candy Crisis and other realtime puzzle games. A small download well worth the effort for puzzle fans.


And finally Richard Bannister's excellent emulator Generator 0.18 is Carbonized and has been recently updated to fix a rare OS X crash. This emulator runs cartridge ROMs from the Sega Genesis/Megadrive console at amazing speed and with good fidelity.


While the crop of Mac OS X native games is currently quite small, we're sure there will be a flood of titles after Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in a few weeks, and even more this summer. Be sure to post your own experiences with Mac OS X and gaming in our Forums, so others can learn from your experiences and suggest solutions.

Generator 0.18 (720k)
IMG Mac OS X Forum
Double 2.0b2 (667k)
Shapes II 1.0 (4 MB)
Bushfire 1.0 (10.6 MB)
Mike's Cards for OS X 1.7 (3.8 MB)
TheCowCatchingGame 1.3 (1.7 MB)



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EuroGamer Previews Diablo II Expansion Set
10:51 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

MacNN has made note of EuroGamer's recent posting of a Diablo II: Lord of Destruction preview.
Lord of Destruction is an expansion set for Blizzard's highly popular isometric RPG Diablo II, and features new characters, new items, and a quest
that picks up right where Diablo II left off. The overall balance of the game has also been tweaked to assure a better overall experience for players of all classes.


As you might have heard, the new classes include the Assassin and the Druid character. The Assassin is a martial arts-themed character with both charged and "finishing"
attacks that can be combined for different results. New abilities include such powers as such as lighting bolts, life force draining, and increased hit power. The Assassin will also be able
to set traps and use psychic shadow abilities ranging from Cloak of Darkness, allowing one to hide in the shadows, to Shadow Master, which creates an exact shadow duplicate
of the player that can fight independently.


The Druid commands elemental spellcasting abilities, such as the summoning of volcanoes and hurricanes, that can be used to damage
and hurl creatures far away. Plants and animals can also be summoned by the Druid to aid in combat or replenish health. The ability to shapeshift into different half-animal forms can also be acquired, giving the Druid
access to a whole new set of abilities and statistics.


Many new items have also been added to the mix, as well as some inventory fixes:

Class-specific items such as animal pelts for druids and the claw-like melee
weapons of the assassin are added to totems for necromancers and other new
weapons, equipment and armour for the old classes. Several hundred new item
descriptions have also been added to the game, and the random item system
can use these to produce literally hundreds of thousands of new objects for you to gather. To make some space
for these the size of your inventory has been increased, and a secondary weapon slot has been added to enable
quicker switching in the heat of battle, for example allowing you to easily change from a bow to a sword as your
enemy gets closer.
For those wondering about their existing Diablo II characters, the ability to port an existing character into the new system
is in place, though the characters will be unplayable online with players who don't use the expansion set.


For more details on the new classes, items, and backstory, be sure to check out the entire preview. Lord of Destruction is currently scheduled for
a summer release.

EuroGamer Previews Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
MacNN
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction



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Yet Another Tropico Interview
10:26 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

For those people that just can't get enough Tropico news, Blue's News has recently noted
that Russian site GamePort.ru has posted a Q&A session with David Deen of PopTop Software. Tropico, for those as of yet
unfamiliar with this title, is PopTop's upcoming island nation management simulation game, cut in the mold of SimCity.


One of the more interesting aspects brought to light in the interview is the ability of the player
to ruthlessly control the citizens if so desired. A player can mobilize his military, brand people heretics, make arrests,
and even "eliminate" troublemakers. If a player wishes to be kinder, they have the options of
controlling pollution, making charitable donations, and defending their populace.


The possible intrusions/influences between the two superpowers of the U.S. and Russia are also remarked upon:

[GP]: Will we have to fight off the intrusions in our internal politics by USA?

[Deen]: To a certain extent, yes. If you give them reason, both the U.S. and Russia can try to tell you how to run your country.
If you don't agree with their policies and ignore them, they can decrease their financial support or even send gun
boats down to, "protect their interests." Get one of the two mad enough without the support of the other and you'll
be ousted by a world power.

For those that are worried that Tropico may be too complex for the unseasoned gamer to handle, fear not.
Deen asserts that even though Tropico contains much depth and detail, the overall gameplay experience is still
easily accessible to "newcomers and housewives alike."


The rest of the interview contains more insight into PopTop's motivations and hopes behind creating Tropico. The Mac
version of Tropico is scheduled for release sometime after April 2001, most likely less than a month behind the PC version.

Blue's News
Gameport - Interview: Tropico
PopTop Software
MacSoft
Tropico
Buy Tropico


More Deux Ex Multiplayer Maps, Mods
9:35 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Our network site MacDeusEx has posted several more map packs and mods for the multiplayer-enabled version of Deus Ex for Mac OS, as well as a solo mission. Each has been tested on the Mac platform, so you can be sure your download time isn't wasted. Here are the details:

lot (9) of new DXMP maps have been added at MacDeusEx.com, including the
very cool "Skyline" map which is specially designed for players of all
types. The author put a lot of time into this map (2-3 months) just for it's
unique architecture, it is excellent.


The new maps are available in another new "Map Pack", weighing in at 9.3MB.
You can of course download each map separately if that's easier for the
downloader.


Also one single-player map and one SP mod have been posted. The SP map is Rydberg
Field, it's a whole new mission for Deus Ex, complete with an introductory
and conclusion map. The mod is a small "GoldenGun", a single shot is instant
death no matter where it is delivered.

Jump to MacDeusEx for more maps, mods and information.

MacDeusEx


Tony Hawk 2 Status, New Fan Site
9:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In the midst of another recent update, Aspyr gave us a quick status check on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. It seems Mark Krenek of Westlake Interactive is doing a great job with the port and the game is now in the late beta phases. Aspyr seems more than happy to be 'testing' for the game as well, check it out:

THPS2 is in late Beta development. The game is playing fabulously and
Michael Rogers, President of Aspyr, recently finished 100% of all level and
was seen skating as SpiderMan (that's right, Spidey is a special bonus
character).
We're hoping the Mac version can move towards final candidate soon and be available later next month some time. We'll keep you posted on any changes in its status. For more information, check out our preview of Tony Hawk 2 and interview with Krenek, the game's programmer.


In other news, a fan site for the genre has reopened recently as PlanetTonyHawk. We mention it, as it seems like a great resource for fans of the game on every platform (of which there are many). There will be downloadable skate parks created with the PC version which we are certain will be playable with the Mac port as well. The in-game park editor will be available in the Mac version version as well, don't worry! So if you can't get out to your local skate park, give PlanetTonyHawk a visit in anticipation of the game's Mac release.

IMG Preview: Tony Hawk 2
PlanetTonyHawk Web Site
Aspyr Web Site
IMG Interview with Mark Krenek of Westlake
Westlake Interactive
Neversoft
Aspyr Media
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2


Unreal Tournament: GotY On Shelves
8:58 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

We have recieved reports from two IMG readers that MacSoft's Mac OS port of Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year is now on store shelves, after a "stealth launch" that didn't even include a press release. This title went "gold" a little over two weeks ago, so this is about the right time to expect this one on the shelves. Those who have discovered it are delighted at the $19.95 price, which gets you not just the full version of Unreal Tournament but several popular (and huge) "mods" as well, including ChaosUT and Rocket Arena. Several map packs are also included, with top-of-the line creations from Epic's own designers.


If you have held off buying UT for whatever reason, it is tough to pass up at this price. Even if you are a diehard UT fan, this version might be worth picking up for the 200 MB+ of downloads it will save you, plus the new interface that allows you to choose mods and filter servers.


For more information on this expansion, check our past articles on the subject. UT: GotY should be in a store near you, and should be appearing in online stores as well almost immediately.

MacSoft to Publish UT: GotY
MacSoft



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Aleph One OS X Release Available
8:01 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Earlier this week we brought you word that Aleph One, the open-sourced Marathon project using OpenGL, was moving in the direction of OS X. Now the official web site notes an early carbon OS X version is available for download for those brave souls using this new operating system. As with most OS X software at this point, there are a few bugs you should be aware of. Here's an excerpt with both things left to implement and some of the known bugs:

Things to do:


  • Add NavigationLib support for FileHandler.cpp. (Or use Apple's MoreFiles.)
  • Add Network support. Port all existing Classic AppleTalk APIs to OpenTransport. Or just go for OpenPlay instead? Either way, the existing code has been cleaned up as much as possible to compile for Carbon. Enjoy.
  • Sound-file support isn't there. QuickTime needs to be plugged in instead.
  • PPostEvent usage? Why?
  • Carbon Mouse support may not work well. Fix it yourself. :)
  • Overhaul the event handling mechanism to use Carbon Events.
  • Make AlephOne build its own precompiled headers.


    Bugs:


  • The cursor disappears way too often. There's an unbalanced InitCursor/HideCursor/ShowCursor somewhere.
  • Although MacOS 10 somewhat supports 256 color bitdepth fullscreen, it doesn't look good, so the minimum screen bitdepth is Thousands of colors.
  • There's a lot of (CGrafPtr) and (GrafPtr) casts floating around. This was done to maintain both Carbon & Classic API compatibility.
  • As always, the source is also available so any programmers out there can help out the cause. The binaries for the game only weigh in at under 2MB, so give it a try if you've got OS X up and running.

    Download Aleph One for OS X (1.9MB)
    Marathon: Aleph One Web Site
    IMG News: Marathon Aleph One Begins OS X Move


    Q3 Rocket Arena Issues
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Reports on the recent 1.5 release of the Rocket Arena modification for Quake 3 have been mixed. While some Mac users report that this gameplay modification is running well, many others have noted problems with the mod in our forums. In our initial testing of this mod before our report, we also ran across the "Update Your Version" message in the game. Correspondence with the author assured us it was simply the discrepency between RA 1.5 and servers running the old 1.4 version. Now it appears this is more of a widespread problem with the Mac version for some reason. The official web site recognizes the issue and notes they are looking into it right now. Here's a clip with the update:

  • Warping / wrong menu problems on some servers
    Servers MUST set sv_floodprotect to 0 - there is a known problem in 1.27 where it will drop commands if you set floodprotect to 1
  • Mac support not working for some users
    I'm looking into this
  • Missing menu text / fuzzy text / missing textures
    This is caused by pk3 files with bad shaders in them. You should delete any 3rd party maps/add-on pk3s from your baseq3 and arena directories. One well known problem causer is "realmra3".
  • Problems connecting / playing (UPGRADE NOW message)
    This is typically caused by connecting to 1.4 servers, although some Mac users are also getting this message.
  • Missing MP3 player / chat on menu
    These features don't work on pure servers
  • It's good to see the problem is getting attention already. We'll keep on this issue and let you know when there is a fix available. In the meantime, you might want to postpone that 90 MB download.

    IMG News: Rocket Arena 3 for Mac Released
    Rocket Arena 3 Web Site


    Vortex NG Status Update
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    We received word from Feline Entertainment's Rocco Bowling that he has returned from the recent Independent Games Festival with many great new ideas for his upcoming shareware title Vortex Next Generation. The game is a 3D take-off of the classic 80's arcade game, Araknoid. Here are a few items in the works for the game:

  • Vortex NG natively supports Macally's new iShock II Force Feedback
    controller.

  • GameRanger support is a
    definite now instead of a maybe.

  • Due to lack of funds and lack of finding a publisher, there will
    not be a WWW High Scores database...

  • When Vortex NG is released, it will be OS X compatible.

  • Vortex NG will also be multi-threaded, hence it will take
    advantage of dual processor G4s.


    In regards to a time frame, I'm still aiming for a month. Of course,
    things may happen in the meantime, so it may fall back to two months.

  • Bowling says one of the biggest benefits of the conference was that he received a ton of good advice from other game makers. Here are some changes he's now working into the game because of it.
    Besides some erroneous bug fixes, the following
    was/is being done:

  • The arrow on the ball was removed and replaced with a comet-like tail.
    Many people at the expo felt the arrow portrayed the wrong message (some
    even felt it as hostile!). The tail still helps you know where it's going
    (or more precisely, where it has been), but looks a lot cooler.

  • Tweaking inputs so that the hRider is easier to control. Also adding
    support for joysticks and am currently testing with a Macally AirStick and a
    Gravis Destroyer Xtreme.

  • May add OpenAL support... may not. Depends on time restraints. Will
    probably add in future as an update.

  • Other miscellaneous adjustments...
  • If you're wondering what Vortex NG is all about, check out our recent preview of the game. And stay tuned for more info as it nears release.

    Vortex Next Generation Web Site
    IMG Preview: Vortex Next Generation


    Mac Games News for Tuesday, March 27, 2001

    Quake 3 Arena, 4x4 Evo on OS X Tips3:51 PM
    Cro-Mag Rally Updated for OS X!3:06 PM
    Aspyr Media Update on Alice2:24 PM
    Shadowbane Movie Reveals Combat2:16 PM
    Gaming With Mac OS X: Day Two11:17 AM
    Myst 3 Collector's Edition Changes9:52 AM
    Synaptic Soup Dev Diary9:28 AM
    GameSpot UK - Red Faction Interview9:11 AM
    When Tropico News Rains, It Pours9:08 AM
    Bushfire for OS X Released8:31 AM
     
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, March 27, 2001 on one page


    Recent Mac Games News

    Monday, March 26, 2001
    Friday, March 23, 2001
    Thursday, March 22, 2001
    Wednesday, March 21, 2001
    Tuesday, March 20, 2001


    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.



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