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Tuesday, April 10, 2001

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Baldur's Gate Multiplayer Beta 2 Now in Testing
9:04 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Our affiliate site, MacBaldur has received word from GraphSim on an updated version of the multiplayer patch for Baldur's Gate. This patch will allow cooperative play of the RPG between Macs on the internet and over the popular GameRanger service. Only a limited number of people will be allowed to test the update, as this email explains:

We have a new version of the BG Multiplayer beta that includes Game Ranger support, and will hopefully fix some of the connection problems. The file is 2.4MB. If you would like to test this, please e-mail amy@graphsim.com with BG MP Beta 2 in the subject line. You have to be able to receive a 2.4MB file via e-mail. This beta will be limited to 100 people on a first come, first serve basis. Unfortunately, we will not have time to reply to all of those e-mails after the 100 person deadline. So, if you don't hear anything back from us in 24 hours, we already have all of the people we need.
Get your request in quick, as this has already been posted at MacBaldur since last night. We'll keep you posted once the patch is available for the general public's use.

MacBaldur Web Site
Baldur's Gate Web Site at GraphSim
Baldur's Gate

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Mac Rune Patch, EAX Info
2:58 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

HumanHead has released a patch for the PC version of the Viking slasher Rune, fixing a number of issues and adding many features. The 1.06 patch deals with many multiplayer bugs and even includes a new model to play as. Here's just a portion of the list of changes from the official RuneGame web site:


- TrialPit slowdown bug

- Don't hurt teammates when you land on them

- DarkDwarf didn't attack players using spirit powerup

- Taunt only once bug
- Swapping magic shield bug


- New player model: Jun

- Shields block thrown weapons

- Attacking blocks thrown weapons
As is often the case, this patch must be ported to work with the Mac version of Rune by the team that did the original conversion, Westlake Interactive. We contacted them about this and asked if the patch would be ported by itself or with the upcoming Rune expansion pack. Here's what president Mark Adams had to say:
We're supposed to get the code as part of the expansion code, so we'll probably do that all at once.
This should hopefully be soon, since the Mac version of the Rune expansion, Halls of Valhalla will be out shortly after its PC counterpart. We'll keep you posted on any changes.

Also, those with the much-anticipated Soundblaster Live! cards will probably be anxious to know about an EAX version of Rune. Mark has also confirmed with us that they will roll the new sound features into the upcoming patch/expansion as well.

Westlake Interactive Web Site
Rune Patch Info at RuneGame
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2 OS X Beta
1:21 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Good to their word, OmniGroup has posted an OS X update for Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2 on their web site. This software is considered beta, though they claim it is even faster than its OS 9 counterpart. Other improvements include fixes to the sound system, which cause stuttering in some cases under OS 9. Here's an excerpt from the ReadMe with more:

Improvements from the OS 9 version

In the process of porting the OS 9 version, we fixed some bugs which
are enumerated here.

- The sound system has been updated to fix a number of issues
including incorrect stereo separation, and some stuttering problems.

- You can hide the application when the game menu is up. This will
allow you to check your mail, read a fan site, or whatever and then jump
back into the game quickly. Simply hit cmd-h or cmd-tab. When you want
to resume playing, just click on the application icon in the dock.

- The OS 9 version appears to only run if it is in the root of the
volume on which it is located. The OS X version should run from

- The OS 9 version will select stretched video modes on wide screen
monitors instead of the unstretched version that has a square pixel
aspect ratio. The OS X version prefers unstretched video modes.

- Various performance improvements on average the OS X version seems to be about 10% faster than the OS 9 version (although we certainly haven't tested every location in the game under every machine configuration!)

Known issues with the OS X version

- The OS 9 app will not read the OS X-generated config files. If you copy config files from Library/FAKK2/fakk2 to your OS 9 installation, the OS 9 version will complain about not having enough video memory. This is probably a line ending problem and we should be able to fix it in a future build.

- There are still some areas that could use performance tuning. If you are seeing performance problems, you can lower your video resolution or lower the detail settings. One especially helpful change is to switch to 'vertex lighting' under the advanced video settings panel.

- If you run with vertex lights, several types of effects will draw incorrectly. This includes the blue glow behind menu items, the load status indicator, the sky in several levels, and some sprites of hanging plants (and probably other stuff). This is a bug in the platform-independent portion of FAKK2, so all versions of FAKK2 have this problem.

- There is at least one sound problems which we are looking at (looping monster attack sounds can sometimes continue on after the monster has been killed).

Head over to Macgamefiles now to start the download of this 2.5MB update. Be sure to read through the included ReadMe for installation details and how to report any bugs you find.

A reviewer at the MGF listing reports the update will also work with the demo. In order to get the demo running, start the game, then hit tilde to bring down the command line. Type "map fakkhouse_demo" (without the quotes) and hit return to start playing. Be sure to rate your experiences with the update in the MGF listing as well. Also be sure to post any issues you have in our OS X forum.

Mac OS X Forum
OmniGroup FAKK2 Web Site
Download FAKK2 OS X Beta 2 Update (2.5 MB)
Gathering of Developers
Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

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Update on Simon 3D, Other e.p.i.c. Titles
11:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With the recent announcement earlier this morning about their new game The Feeble Files, we decided to ask e.p.i.c. about some of their other titles coming to the Mac soon. You may recall they recently finished work on Simon the Sorcerer 2, an adventure very similar to Feeble. They should start soon on Simon 3D, the third title in the series and the first to be set in a fully 3D environment. We got an update from them on this as well as other games like Gorky 17 and Knights and Merchants. Here's the scoop:

Simon 3D: Headfirst told me yesterday that they have gone gold with Simon 3D
meaning we can really get going with this one. So far we were only able to
do preliminary work on Simon, i.e. finetune our engine.

Knights and Merchants: Expected to go beta within the next 14 days or so.

Gorky 17: This is the only game where we have really been hit by Topwares
demise. Some of the code we received was incomplete and after many weeks we
have tried to trace the code from them, our developers are now looking for
their own solutions to the problematic areas. But it also means the game is
further delayed, we hope to have it finished by July now.

It's too bad to hear about the troubles with Gorky 17, but we're still looking forward to this RPG's release this summer. Knights and Merchants looks interesting as well, and we'll keep you posted as it starts to move through the testing process. Also on e.p.i.c.'s roster is Earth 2150, the sequel to the just-released Earth 2140. Stay tuned for an update on that title in the near future.

e.p.i.c Interactive Web Site
e.p.i.c. To Port TopWare Title "Knights and Merchants"
IMG News: The Feeble Files Coming to the Mac
IMG News: Details on Epic's Titles

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Westlake on Deus Ex Soundblaster vs Multiplayer
9:58 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

New owners of the Soundblaster Live! cards should now be enjoying their special EAX-enhanced version of Deus Ex. This excellent "thinking man's FPS" is made even better by the improvements in sound, which allow you to pinpoint those footsteps coming towards you even more accurately than before.

One oddity that some users may find is that this version of the game is labeled 1.0.2, which also happens to be the version of the recently released multiplayer patch for the normal game. The Soundblaster version doesn't ship with multiplayer capabilities, and though this can be patched with the multiplayer upgrade, you will lose the EAX enhancments. We asked Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams for some clarification on the subject:

The EAX version of DX bundled with the cards is earlier than the MP version.
Installing the patch over the EAX version will lose EAX features. I'll be
doing a MP EAX patch at some point as well probably, once we hear if any
other bugs crop up with SB Live users.
So upgrading with the multiplayer patch isn't recommended unless you don't mind losing EAX (which was the whole idea behind buying the card in the first place). Soundblaster players should instead play through the singleplayer mode, which should keep you plenty busy for the time being. This will give Westlake time to release an updated patch that will allow both multiplayer and the EAX capabilities of the game.

Creative Labs Mac Site
Westlake Interactive Web Site
Download Deus Ex Multiplayer Update (35MB)
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

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GameSpy Previews Myst III: Exile
9:19 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blue's News has noted that GameSpy recently got the chance to preview
Myst III: Exile, the upcoming title by Presto Studios. Like its predecessors,
Myst and Riven, Myst III is a first-person adventure game that features incredibly
lush graphics and a wealth of puzzles to solve.

The game will have the player tracking the villain of the story through five ages:
Tomahna, J' Nanin, Voltaic, Amateria, and Edanna. Each of these ages will have its own unique
flavor. The villain is bent on destroying Atrus' family (from the previous titles) as well as
an entire race of beings known as the D'ni, and it's up to the player to stop him.
Gameplay will be completely non-linear, and allow players to backtrack and proceed
whenever and wherever they see fit.

The visual environment of this title is reported to be nothing less than stunning:

The visuals in Myst III: Exile are truly
wondrous. The photo-realistic
environments will simply blow you away.
Unlike Myst and Riven where it was like a
slideshow with pictures, Exile uses a
proprietary engine that allows
pre-rendered graphics to be displayed in
real-time 3D. So players are able to look
around in full 360-degree world.
GameSpy also got the chance to interview Daniel Achterman, Myst III's associate producer,
who divulged additional details regarding this title. He notes that the puzzles in Riven were often
too difficult, even cruel, requiring the player to backtrack and search seemingly unrelated
areas to find a solution. The puzzles in Myst III will be much more localized, though they'll
still be based on clue-finding and exploration.

There will also be more of an emphasis on the gameplay experience, which will constantly remind
the player of the primary goals as well as reward them with a steady stream of
gorgeous animations and new areas to explore.

In regards to his choice of using real actors vs. pre-rendered ones, Achterman offers
his thoughts:

We didn't want to make simple characters. We wanted our characters to have complex
motivations and change noticeably over the course of the game. Our villain in particular is a
very complex, emotional, intimidating character. Real actors are still the best way to get that
kind of performance. Used sparingly, they add a lot to the game. You don't use a paint roller
to paint a portrait, you use the best tool for the job.
Myst III is shaping up to be quite a title. For the rest of the preview and the interview,
be sure to check out GameSpy for the rest of the read. Myst III is expected to be complete for Mac and PC by early May.

Myst III - Official Site
Blue's News
GameSpy - Myst III Preview
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

The Feeble Files Coming to the Mac
9:06 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

e.p.i.c. Interactive has announced the porting of another title to the Mac, the cartoon adventure game The Feeble Files. Since you probably haven't heard of the title, here's a little background. It was developed by AdventureSoft, the same UK publisher that worked with the PC versions of the Simon the Sorcerer series. It also contains similarly quirky graphics and off-beat British humor. Fans of LucasArts adventures will probably feel comfortable with the game's interface and style. The Feeble Files will also have fairly low system requirements for those with older machines. Here's the announcement from e.p.i.c. Interactive:

e.p.i.c. interactive entertainment gmbh has signed a license agreement to
port adventuresofts cartoon adventure "The Feeble Files" to the MACINTOSH.

The game puts you to play an alien called Feeble who works for the crop
circle division of a dictatorial goverment but somehow get involved in a
rebellion to overthrow the system. But you will quickly learn that Rebellion
really has never looked so pAtHeTiC. The Feeble Files features:

* around 80 locations to visit

* more than 6000 voice lines to interact with

* dozens of citizens to meet and laugh at

* professionally rendered characters

* tons of in-between cutscenes

* over 20 actors used for recording the soundtrack

The MAC version will require a 180 Mhz PPC CPU, MacOS 8.6 or higher and 32
MByte Ram. The game is scheduled for release in May 2001. You will find more
detail on the game in the projects section of our homepage.

Sounds like another interesting port from this German company. We'll keep you posted as it nears release in the next month or so. e.p.i.c. is also bringing Knights and Merchants and Gorky 17 to the Mac in the same timeframe. Check out their site for more information on the games.

e.p.i.c Interactive Web Site

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Fly! II Release Date Confirmed
8:41 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

IMG recently contacted GodGames regarding the release date of their upcoming flight
sim Fly! II. Originally slated for an end-of-April release, the date has been pushed
back a bit to mid-May.

For those unfamiliar with the title, Fly! II is a "technologically-advanced general aviation simulation."
It features extremely detailed graphics, several types of commuter aircraft, and a navigation system so technically perfect
that a good pilot can navigate through the game's various environments by the control
panel alone. A multiplayer feature is also included, allowing several players to pursue various flight

Needless to say, this game is shaping up to look pretty incredible. Potential aviators
will have to wait a bit longer for this one, but that wait should be well worth it.

GodGames - Fly! II
Terminal Reality - Fly! Homepage
Terminal Reality
Fly! II
Buy Fly! II

Mac Games News for Monday, April 9, 2001

SMS+ Updated for OS X1:56 PM
Interview with Warren Spector1:29 PM
IMG Reviews Escape from Monkey Island10:15 AM
Elite Force Expansion Pack Image Gallery10:01 AM
Details on Neverwinter Nights: Concept Art9:52 AM
Soundblaster Arrives, Sleep Issues?9:35 AM
Mac GeForce 3 Backorder, Price Drop9:31 AM
Red Faction Movie Madness9:21 AM
Rune: Halls of Valhalla Characters Revealed9:16 AM
Gathering of Developers at E36:00 AM
New Deus Ex Multiplayer Maps6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, April 9, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, April 6, 2001
Thursday, April 5, 2001
Wednesday, April 4, 2001
Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Monday, April 2, 2001

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