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Monday, April 9, 2001

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Soundblaster Arrives, Sleep Issues?
9:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A post to the IMG forums notes the arrival of a reader's Soundblaster Live! card from Creative Labs. While preorders of the cards were supposedly shipping nearly two weeks ago, this is the first we've heard of customers actually receiving the units. We here at IMG have yet to get our hands on the card, though concurrent reports at Accelerate Your Mac seem to confirm they are out now. If you haven't yet preordered a card of your own, check you local Mac-friendly retailer to see when they might have the cards in stock.

Further down the same forum thread, the original poster does note a problem. It seems the Soundblaster has issues with OS 9.1's deep sleep feature, as it won't allow the machine to 'wake' without rebooting. We can't confirm this yet, but if you have any input, please feel free to contribute your experiences to the forum. We'll keep on this and get a review of the Soundblaster out as soon as possible.

Update: Accelerate has now posted some initial reader reports of the Soundblaster cards. While they don't mention the sleep issues, they do have some initial game benchmarks and other sound program experiences. Some report stuttering in iTunes' visuals mode, though the included version of Deus Ex seems to be a hit.

Update #2: A later forum post notes that the Soundblaster manual describes the card not powering down completely as a known issue and not a bug. By quickly dismissing the dialog, users should have no issues waking their computer up from sleep.

IMG News: Creative Labs Ships Soundblaster Live!
Soundblaster Live! Experiences at Accelerate Your Mac
IMG Forum: Sound Blaster Arrives!
Sound Blaster Live!

SMS+ Updated for OS X
1:56 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Richard Bannister, creator of a number of excellent Mac emulators and utilities, wrote us recently about a new update for SMS+. This emulator plays both Sega Master System and Game Gear titles and is now fully Carbonized for OS X. Unfortunately, this 0.9.4 version also excludes 68k users, so any of those folks need to either upgrade to PowerPC machines or stick with the previous build. The update also includes a new cheat database, so be sure to check it out. Here are the full details on what has changed:

  • SMS Plus is now Carbonized for MacOS X. Note that this program will no
    longer run on 68K Macs. If you still have one of these, the time has come to
  • Added a comprehensive Cheat Database along with a Cheat Finder so you can
    add your own cheats easily.
  • Changed the video output to 16-bit for increased colour accuracy.
  • Added my new blitter library to SMS Plus, giving a choice of over 50
    different video blitters across five different sizes. Compared to the
    previous release (which supported Plain and Interlaced modes only) this
    should be quite an improvement.
  • Updated Charles MacDonald's web page and e-mail address links.
  • Added shortcuts for Turbo (T) and for toggling Full Screen (Esc). These
    are configurable in the Keyboard dialog.
  • Added Window Proxy Icons.
  • Fixed a few other minor interface glitches.
  • Head to Macgamefiles to make the quick download now.

    SMS+ Web Site
    Download SMS+ v0.9.4 (800k)

    Interview with Warren Spector
    1:29 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    MGON recently had the chance to interview Warren Spector of Ion Storm,
    developer of titles such as the highly popular Deus Ex. The focus of this interview was on
    the state of the industry itself as well as where it's headed. Spector offers some interesting insights
    into his perception of the way things are going for gamers.

    According to Spector, the gaming industry is currently "on the cultural radar
    just enough to be a target for crusaders but not enough to be worthy of
    serious study." To elaborate, video games are definitely a target of politicians, who cite
    them as being the next corrupting influence on America's youth (as were radio and TV in the past,
    supposedly). The industry still tends to follow pop culture, rather than lead it.
    Spector cites his team's own title, Deus Ex, as something inspired by shows such as X-Files and the like.
    However, he's also confident that this stance will change sometime in the future. After all, the young people that are playing
    games now will eventually become parents and will be much more comfortable with games
    and the industry than their parents were, which will in turn bring about changes.

    It's clear that Spector's vision of where the industry is headed is rather large, as shown by the below:

    I bet we also see games that are far more abstract than anything
    we see today and have no connection with the real world at all. And there's someone
    out there now who's going to revolutionize gaming with an idea I can't begin to

    As far as Spector's own plans go, he mentions that he's interested in creating his own studio
    to publish "immersive simulation games of the highest quality." He plans on doing this by
    creating a work environment that creates analysis and argumentation in order to enhance
    the quality of created games, as well as hiring only the best to work on those games.

    One problem that Spector sees in the current industry is the discrepancy between game producers
    in terms of budget. Some developers will spend as much as $5 million to develop a title, whereas
    there are publishers that spend less that that simply to publish a game. This kind of fluctuation could create
    increased risks, which translates to conservative investors. This, in turn, could lead to a lot of
    quality games never seeing publication.

    For more evangelism from Spector regarding his views on the industry, be sure to check out the entire
    article. It provides some interesting insights into a noted game developer's mind.

    Ion Storm
    MGON - Interview with Warren Spector

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    IMG Reviews Escape from Monkey Island
    10:15 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    As reports of arriving preorders begin to populate our forums, IMG has posted our review of the much-anticiapted game, Escape from Monkey Island. This fourth title in the humorous adventure series (only three of which have been brought to the Mac) hails the triumphant return of LucasArts to the platform. We can thank Aspyr Media for publishing the game, and Jesse Spears and the rest of Westlake Interactive for the porting work. Here's a clip from the review to give you a taste:

    Thanks to the use of OpenGL candles and campfires cast accurate light & shadows on 3D objects, thus creating the perfect mood for any setting. Color is as also used quite well in Escape from Monkey Island™. Bustling towns are brightly colored and filled with decorative statues & fountains with clear blue water, while areas such as the Mists O’ Time Marsh are dark & brooding. The most unsettlingly majestic area in this visually stunning game is the dreaded Monkey Island™. There’s something upsetting about thousands of monkeys plotting & scheming in an organized society… Anywho, enough about my odd monkey paranoia.
    Head over now for the rest of the word on the game. If you're a LucasArts fan, we're sure you have already received your preorder. If not, head to Aspyr's site now to get your copy now.

    IMG Review: Escape from Monkey Island
    Aspyr Media
    Escape From Monkey Island
    Buy Escape From Monkey Island

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    Elite Force Expansion Pack Image Gallery
    10:01 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    X-Treme Gaming Radio got their hands on a new set of in-game screen shots from Raven's upcoming Elite Force: Expansion Pack. The screenshots show some interesting new features including the virtual tour, some new enemies and new enviroments. They have also included an audio interview with Les Dorscheid, project leader of the yet-to-be named expansion pack. Their interview goes into topics surrounding the new features that will come with the expansion pack. The multiplayer mode, planets, and weapons are all discussed in this interview, definitely interesting for Elite Force fans. Westlake Interactive ported Elite Force, and will hopefully bring us the expansion pack as well, if publisher Aspyr Media decides on the game. No official announcement has yet been made for a Mac version of the expansion, but we'll keep you posted.

    Westlake Interactive
    IMG Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force Review
    Aspyr Media
    Raven Software
    X-Treme Gaming Radio's Interview and Gallery
    Aspyr Media
    Raven Software
    Westlake Interactive
    Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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    Details on Neverwinter Nights: Concept Art
    9:52 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    Daily Radar posted an article written by Marc Taro Holmes, art director at Bioware, currently developing working on the massive RPG Neverwinter Nights. The article talks about the many different aspects that are involved when designing, creating, and producing art for role-playing games. It's a very interesting read, packed with information about the process. Here is an excerpt:

    On Neverwinter we started with two things: adapting real-world landscape to gameplay and capturing the feel of the fantasy city. The city was one of my pet projects. I'm really after capturing the densely packed, cobbled-together feel of those centuries-old European towns. But at the same time we had a lot of gameplay concerns, such as controlling players' movement with impassable walls and locked gates, providing enough space for combat, navigating stairs and ramps, and making user-created maps fast and easy to make. The same principles of applying your research, knowing your technical limits and drawing fast all apply - and working with your technical leads goes double for environments. Adapting a natural landscape such as old-growth forest or limestone caverns into realtime 3D is more about deciding what to leave out than what to cram in. The game has to carry the feeling of place, but it also has to play well. And that means players have to be able to get around the map with a minimum of cursing.
    Neverwinter Nights should be appearing on Mac around the same time as the PC version late this year. We will keep you posted as more info on the game becomes available.

    Neverwinter Nights Web Site
    Neverwinter Nights Art Article at Daily Radar
    Neverwinter Nights
    Buy Neverwinter Nights

    Mac GeForce 3 Backorder, Price Drop
    9:31 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    Apple has been getting a huge demand for G4 computers with nVidiaGeForce 3, causing a delay due to the excessive requests. This month was supposed to see the integration of the powerful cards into built-to-order and upgrade kits, but delays in the production have cause backorders. As a solution, Apple is now offering different options for this problem, according to a email sent to Accelerate Your Mac:

    1) Cancel the PowerMac G4 order.

    2) Do not cancel the PowerMac G4 order, ship the system when the GeForce3 card is made available.

    3) Ship the PowerMac G4 now with the NVIDIA GeForce2 MX card installed. When the GeForce3 is made available in late May, an upgrade kit will be shipped free of charge. Under this option you can still keep the GeForce2 MX card after the GeForce3 upgrade has been shipped.
    It seems that under the third option you are able to keep the GeForce 2 MX after receiving the GeForce 3. Furthermore, Apple has cut the prices of the GeForce 3 by $100, leaving the BTO option at $250 and the stand-alone card at $499. Accelerate Your Mac has the full letter from Apple support staff. We'll follow up and try to confirm this, but it sounds like a great deal. Remember that you can only have one AGP card in your Mac at a time, so you wouldn't be able to use both GeForce cards at once. Many users may find takers on Ebay, though, so keep the option in mind.

    nVidia Web Site
    Apple Store
    GeForce 3 Backorder Details at Accelerate Your Mac

    Red Faction Movie Madness
    9:21 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    Daily Radar has a large gallery of movies from Volition's upcoming first person shooter, Red Faction. The movies are short and packed with action, showing off the GeoMod engine and many other features. Furthermore they have added a high-resolution image gallery with some nice in-game screen shots.

    Volition will be doing the Mac OS port in-house later this summer after the Playstation 2 version is completed. They will use Summoner's Mac OpenGL core and implement it into Red Faction. Graphsim will publish and distribute the Mac version once it's finished. Be sure to check out the movies for a good feel for what Red Faction will be like

    Red Faction
    Daily Radar's Red Faction Media Gallery
    Red Faction

    Rune: Halls of Valhalla Characters Revealed
    9:16 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

    Human Head, developers of the upcoming Rune: Halls of Valhalla expansion pack, have posted a gallery of characters that will be found in the game. The various models range from simple dwarfs to extremly evil creatures. The gallery is certaily worth a visit if you are interested in what Human Head is preparing. The expansion pack will be ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive and should be available a few weeks after the PC version.

    Alongside the new characters, the Halls of Valhalla will also include many new multiplayer maps and two new game types. Arena is a dueling mode similar to the Rocket Arena mod for Quake or UT. In it, you watch two fighters square off against eachother while you wait your turn against the victor. The other mode is called Headball, and it can only be described as a gory, Viking version of basketball. The expansion will also be self-contained, so you won't need a full version of Rune in order to play the $20 game.

    Westlake Interactive
    IMG Rune Review
    Download Rune Demo (82MB)
    Rune: Halls of Valhalla Character Gallery
    Gathering of Developers
    Human Head Studios
    Westlake Interactive

    Gathering of Developers at E3
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Stomped has received word from Gathering of Developers about their participation in this year's massive E3 gaming expo. Gathering has typically put on their display outside of the Los Angeles show, as they seem to prefer the space of the parking lot instead. This won't likely diminish the glamour or the assured presence of the 'booth models,' though. While GoD may no longer being showing the MMORPG Shadowbane, there will still be quite a few Mac titles present. Here's a clip from the update:

    Other games on display at this year's Promised Lot will include Max Payne, Stronghold, Age of Wonders II, Myth III (for both PC and Mac), and 4x4 Evolution 2 (for both PC and Xbox). As previously announced, Duke Nukem Forever will make its first public appearence at E3 since 1998 in the form of a video trailer at the Promised Lot. In addition, it's possible that Macintosh versions of both Fly II and Tropico could be shown at the expo.
    We'll keep you updated with more info on Myth III, Tropico, and Fly! II as they progress toward the show this May. And while there is still no official word on the 4x4 Evolution sequel or Duke Nukem Forever, we're still hopeful that one or both titles may eventually be ported as well.

    Gathering of Developers Web Site
    E3 Report at Stomped

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    New Deus Ex Multiplayer Maps
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Our affiliate site Mac Deus Ex has been updated with word on a new multiplayer map pack now available. It's comprised of eight hand-selected maps full of fun and even some quirky in-game physics. You can download all eight as part of the third map pack, which weighs in at just over 5MB. Here's a clip from the web site with more info:

    I've found and posted 8 new maps for Multiplayer Deus Ex. By far the best are "The Matrix" maps, which modify the gravity 3 maps so you can jump really high, slow, and far distances. "Morbias" is a direct port from a UT map, the one with the reactor and two elevator shafts on each side. 2 maps have been updated, "Atlantis2" and "Sniper2", they fix various bugs, but seem to add a few more just to complicate keep things balenced. "LibertyIsland", the first level you see in Deus Ex single player, has been converted into a Multiplayer map, and a new map called "GravelPit" has unique architecture and sniping locations.
    Head over now to start downloading the new map pack. Then prepare to join in on the muliplayer action.

    Mac Deus Ex
    Download Deus Ex Multiplayer Update
    Ion Storm
    Westlake Interactive
    Aspyr Media
    Deus Ex

    Mac Games News for Friday, April 6, 2001

    Interview with Steve Polge of Epic on Unreal Tech11:02 AM
    Blizzard on Playing Games With Mac OS X10:44 AM
    Minor Updates on Coldstone Engine, EV 310:19 AM
    New DoomLegacy Soon9:32 AM
    Update on Tomb Raider Chronicles9:29 AM
    Myst III: Exile Interview9:28 AM
    Update on Baldur's Gate, Summoner Testing9:25 AM
    New Warcraft III Preview, Info6:00 AM
    Will Wright Talks More Sims6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 6, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, April 5, 2001
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    Friday, March 30, 2001

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

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