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Monday, April 30, 2001



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realMYST Delay Confirmed, Feedback Sought
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Cyan's full-3D return to the islands of MYST has been missing in action since December, and has been rumored to have been complete for some time. IMG's own investigations recently revealed that Mac realMYST indeed complete, and merely awaits publication by Ubi Soft. Now this situation has been officially confirmed, and a Cyan employee is encouraging those who are genuinely interested in seeing this title released for the Mac OS to e-mail Ubi Soft with your concerns.


Our own discussions with Cyan revealed that the reason Mac realMYST has yet to appear on store shelves has to do with Ubi Soft's concern over stealing any thunder from the release of Myst III: Exile for Mac and PC in the second week of May. Mac users are a strong fan base for the series, and it is easy to see that Ubi Soft would not want to confront Mac MYST fans with a dilemma when Myst III arrives by forcing them to choose between the retro-realMYST or the next installment in the series.


However, Ubi Soft is already catching a great deal of heat from MYST fans in Europe, who are understandably piqued at the fact that their localized versions of Myst III will not ship until September (see related article). Cyan employees, Mac fans to the end, are concerned that Mac realMYST may once again be put on the back burner while Ubi Soft deals with the Myst III release and the ire of European customers.


Alert IMG reader Martin Kuhn pointed us towards a discussion on the official realMYST forums in which Cyan employee Richard Watson expressed his concerns about the fate of Mac realMYST. Here is an excerpt from his post:

To the Mac users it may concern:


"What's the hold up with the Mac version of realMYST?"


The question hits my email box at least once or twice a day. I've tried to answer as honestly and completely as
possible without pointing any fingers. As time goes on, it's getting harder to do.


We've tried to keep an optimistic attitude, hoping that good news would be available "any time now." But it seems
that this view is no longer realistic. So I guess it's time to let y'all in on a little secret.


Cyan had not been the Mac version of realMYST's roadblock for several months. Some of you probably saw it
running on Rand's PowerBook back in December
.


We hoped to have it finished, polished, tested, and out the door by now. Unfortunately, Cyan is the developer not the
publisher, and the last two items in that list are not up to us. Having the publisher change hands twice in the last
six months hasn't helped. And frankly, each time the publisher has changed hands, the Mac version of realMYST
has been knocked down a few notches on their list of priorities as the release of Exile has become closer.

Watson goes on to present a solution, of sorts. He suggests that those who are genuinely and honestly interested in the publication of Mac realMYST should e-mail Ubi Soft at Myst3europe@ubisoft.fr and voice their concerns. He had the following instructions for how to compose the letter, which we strongly encourage participants to follow to the letter:
1) Be polite. As a Mac enthusiast, I'm pretty empathetic when a frustrated Mac user complains about a game they
want not being available for the Mac. The publisher is not likely to be as empathetic, and the tone of letters that I
get from some of you will do much more harm than good. :)


2) Be encouraging. Related to #1. Encourage them by pointing out that you intend to buy the product, not
demanding that realMYST for Mac is your Divine Right.


3) Only write if you will actually buy the product. Flooding them with requests when you don't intend to buy the
product only gives them ammo against publishing Macintosh versions of their products in the future.

We encourage any and all of you interested in seeing Mac realMYST published in the near future to e-mail a polite, carefully-worded and short message to the address below. For more information on realMYST itself, browse our extensive list of past articles on the subject.

Myst III Delayed Until Fall For Europe
Update On Mac realMYST
Past IMG Articles on realMYST
e-mail Myst3europe@ubisoft.fr
Richard Watson's Post on the realMYST Forums
Ubisoft
realMYST



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Myst III: Exile Box Shots [Update: Trailer Available]
3:24 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The ever-resourceful author of the Riven Unofficial Home Page has scored a major find for fans anticipating the release of Presto Studios' contribution to the MYST mythos, Myst III: Exile. The site has been updated with images scanned from the actual box the game will ship in at its expected debut May 7th.


The page also provides the news that Presto may release a Web version of the official theatrical trailer for the game, which will show before major summer movie releases much the same way as Blizzard hyped Diablo II's release. That release is expected to be later today.


The box images are definitely more of what we have come to expect from the Myst series and Presto Studios -- namely, dazzling eye candy. There is also a zoom of the bottom of the box, which confirms both the system requirements for the game (233 MHz G3, 64 MB of RAM, 640x480/16-bit color and optional 3D hardware support) as well as the fact that the game will ship as a hybrid CD. Those who are anticipating this third entry in the series that defined the graphic adventure game will find this fan site well worth the visit.


UPDATE: The official Myst III site now has a link to a QuickTime version of their award-winning theatrical trailer for the game. Weighing in at just under 10MB, it's highly recommended if you have the bandwidth available. Check out the link below if you're interested.

Download Myst III Theatrical Trailer (9.3 MB)
Myst III: Exile Box Shots
Riven Unofficial Home Page News
Presto Studios
Ubisoft
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile


IMG's Release Dates Page Updated, Automated
1:35 PM | Jason Sims | Comment on this story

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve our site and increase the flexibility of the content, we have debuted our new database-driven Release Dates page. Use this comprehensive list of everything that's coming to stay on top of forthcoming releases; with our database tools, it's easy for us to keep release info up-to-date. No more messing around with HTML to update the page -- now we can keep our chart up-to-date around the clock with the latest release dates information.

The new Release Dates page lists every game on the horizon that we know about--you can help make it more complete and accurate by e-mailing us with any information we're missing. Along with links to more information about the game and its publisher, our list also indicates the status of development (when that information is available). Sometime today, the list will be expanded to also indicate whether each game is expected to support Mac OS X or not.

All items in bold have been recently updated with information.

Our New Releases sidebar is now automated as well--you can find it in the right column of our homepage or the full news page. It lists the ten most-recently released games, with links to information on each title, and also provides a link to our new Release Dates page.

IMG's Release Dates Page


Centipede for Mac OS is Gold
11:56 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

We've just received word from MacSoft that the port of Hasbro's return to the arcade classic Centipede is now "gold" and should be shipping in the next few weeks. This 3D remix of the Atari arcade classic comes to the Mac OS with several improvements over the PC version, such as higher-resolution cutscenes and a hidden mini-game. The Westlake Interactive project status page also confirms the "golden" status of this title.


Perhaps of more significance to those who follow the Mac game scene is the fact that Brad Oliver was the author of the Mac OS port of Centipede, and now that his work on this title is complete he can turn his full attention to another title: The Mac port of American McGee's Alice for Aspyr Media.


Unfortunately the MacSoft web site seems to have suffered a minor crisis and their information about Centipede is missing. However we have dug up the page of the original developer, so if you want a preview of what to expect, follow the link below.

MacSoft
Westlake Interactive Project Status Page
Centipede Web Site


IMG Reviews Sound Blaster Live!
11:23 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

IMG continues our effort to bring you the most comprehensive and up-to-date hardware coverage with our review of Creative Labs' first product for the Mac platform, the Sound Blaster Live! Mac Edition. Our own Jason Sims spent an exhausting two weeks putting this audio card through its paces, testing it not only with games but with pro audio applications and all manner of audio-related software. As we know you use your systems for more than gaming, we also tested MIDI support, Creatives' SoundFonts technology and audio input and output. Here's an excerpt:

Computer gaming has been revolutionized on every front in recent years. Multiplayer gaming, traditionally restricted to small networks, has gone large: millions of people are now playing games over the Internet. Graphics have leapt into rich, 3D worlds, driven by increasingly-powerful video cards. Dozens of new, innovative controllers appear on the market every year. And, with the debut of sound cards supporting surround sound, audio has gone 3D too. Creative's Sound Blaster Live! is the first and only sound card to offer 3D surround to Mac gamers, and the possibilities are promising indeed.
For the rest of this in-depth look at the first audio revolution for Mac gamers, follow the link below.

Review: Creative Labs' Sound Blaster Live! Mac Edition


Macally iShock/iShockII Drivers Updated
11:08 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Peripheral maker Macally has updated their drivers for the iShock I and II gamepad controllers to 2.0, adding several new features. The iShock series is designed to bring the console controller look-and-feel to Mac gaming, and is an ideal complement for Virtual Game Station and console-style games such as Bugdom.


The forthcoming iShock II gamepad will feature a special addition rare in the Mac peripheral world -- force feedback or "rumble pack" support. As these drivers support force feedback and the iShock II specifically, this is a good sign we should expect this product on shelves soon. Here is a list of changes presented in this update:


  • Support Macally force feedback APIs (iShock II only).
  • Improved reliability of the “auto-fire” function.
  • Supports 2 players mode. Both iShock and iShock II are interchangeable and can be used simultaneously.

For more information on both of these peripherals, check out our review and preview.

Macally iShock Drivers 2.0 (1.3 MB)
Preview: Macally iShock II
Review: Macally iShock


Interview With Joseph Staten on Halo
10:26 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

IGN Xbox sat down with Joseph Staten and John Howard of
Bungie's Halo team. The interview is obviously centered around
the Xbox version, but some details are given out about the game in general.
Bungie is defiantly happy with the Xbox as a platform, but they are still very eager to
brig it to Mac OS and PC. Lead designer John Howard explained that they are
currently putting all their efforts into the Xbox version and fixing up a
lot of game content for their demonstration planned for this years' E3. Here is a sample:

IGN Xbox: Because the guys at IGN PC threatened us with death if we didn't ask, what's up with the PC version? Will they see it before the Covenant invades earth?


JS: Given that it will be hundreds of years before the first Covenant recon picket stumbles across our most distant colony world--yes, absolutely! Oh man, we're all pushing so hard to get the XBOX version out on time, we really have zero time to think actively about the PC and Mac versions. But they're always in the back of our minds. You know: "hmm...how should I do 'x' so it’ll be relatively easy to implement on the PC/Mac?" Tell the IGN PC guys to keep the faith, and we'll get back to you, OK?

Furthermore, all the cinematics have been finalized, the artificial
intelligence has been improved and certain levels are even bigger in size. IMG will be bringing you team coverage from E3 all four days of the event, so we'll be sure to keep you updated on this title and more.

Bungie software
Mac Halo
IGN's Halo Interview


Dirt Bike 3D Updated to 1.6
10:08 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Dirt Bike 3D, a shareware game created by Brad Quick, has recently been updated to version 1.6. This update adds Open GL support, allowing anyone with a PowerPC processor to run this game under OpenGL now if they so choose.


For those unfamiliar with the title, Dirt Bike 3D is a motorcycle simulation game that uses accurate physics models to simulate the driving of a dirt bike. A player can design a custom bike and race it against computer opponents and the clock. Registered users can also create their own courses.


The trial download is currently available at Mac Game Files at the link below, and weighs in at around 1.1 MB. The registration fee for this title is $15.

Mac Game Files - Dirt Bike 3D 1.6


Interview With An id Programmer
9:49 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The boys at Quakeidge have recently posted the results of a interview with Jim Dosé, one of the programmers at Id Software and responsible for games like Quake III.


While the interview doesn't really reveal all that much about Id's plans, present or future, it does present a humorous look into the life of a game programmer in general. Here's a clip:

[QG]: Briefly explain, if you would, a normal day at id Software?  Is there a series of tasks you go through (ex: grab the coffee, etc) before starting programming?


[JB]: First, I go to sleep.  After I wake up, for the first 3 hours or so I listen to the owners tell me how worthless I am and ask “When are you going to quit?”.  Then lunch.  Then I usually have to wash everyone’s cars (while they drive).  Then Ken and Seneca play “I’ve got your nose” with me (I used to like it as a kid, but now I think the knives kind of hurt).  Answer email (if I get any).  Clean the toilets with my toothbrush.  Then dinner.  Brush my teeth.  Then I work on the game code for about 10 hours.  Repeat.

The rest of the interview runs in a similar vein. Dosé talks about everything from what kind of computer he uses at work (dual 8 MHz 286) to how much easier the GeForce 3 makes modeling (just write a text file containing what you want and the GeForce 3 does the rest).


For more of the above, be sure to check out the full interview.

Id Software
Quakeidge - Jim Dosé Interview



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Neverwinter Nights Info/OSX Notes
9:26 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

RPG Planet has recently updated its Neverwinter Nights message board with some new info from the designers themselves. Currently being developed by BioWare, Neverwinter Nights is an upcoming RPG based off the 3rd edition rules of Dungeons and Dragons that will feature both single and multiplayer play, as well as a powerful editor that will allow aspiring DMs to craft and implement their own scenarios.


One of the bits of information recently confirmed from earlier reports was that Neverwinter is being Carbonized for Mac OS X. Here's Producer Trent Oster's comment on the subject:

The game was working on the Mac until we found out about OS X. The Carbonizing effort hasn't been massive, but it has had a fair number of headaches. For the longest time we couldn't get mouse input. In short, the OS X port pushed the Mac port further behind, but through hard work our local expert has almost caught back up.
While OS X is naturally frustrating in its current semi-incomplete state, it's nice to see game developers continue with Carbonization nevertheless. Hopefully titles like NWN will pave the road for Carbonization of applications in general.


In other news, the scripting language is currently being tweaked even further. Used for various scenario-running/creating tasks, the language is powerful enough to affect the game negatively if used poorly. To this end, some safety features are being put in to avoid things such as infinite loops.


For those curious about module sizes, the largest module (not a final build) currently built runs at about 300k. The guess for a finalized larger model is currently at around 1 to 3 megabytes. The small file size of the modules ("dungeons") is due to the fact that only the positions of the structures and monsters as well as the events scripting needs to be transmitted, as all other aspects are handled on the client side.


In more exciting news, Interplay, publisher of NWN, is sponsoring a "submit your NPC" contest! Here's a clip from their contest page:

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at designing a game and immortalize your character within the official game release of Neverwinter Nights? How, you may ask? Simply submit your original NPC into Designer for a Day Contest and thousands could meet your character in Neverwinter Nights!
It's nice to see a game-related contest that's not PC-centric. The prizes (besides having your character immortalized in rendered pixels) include a sketch of the winning NPC (Non-Player Character), T-shirts, and signed copies of Dungeons and Dragons rule books.


Be sure to check out the links below, both for the NWN message board and the contest rules for the upcoming Interplay contest. NWN is currently tentatively scheduled for an end-of-the-year release.

Neverwinter Nights Official Site
RPG Planet - Neverwinter Nights Message Board
Interplay - NWN Create Your Own NPC Contest
BioWare
MacPlay
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights


iMac SE/600 Review Updated With Benchmarks
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Due to popular demand, Inside Mac Games has updated it's iMac SE/600 review with benchmarks taken from the popular games Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. While the Rage 128 Ultra graphics chip features in the SE/600 is definitely an improvement over the graphics hardware included in previous generation iMacs, it is still bested by a G4/500 with an equivalent graphics card (Rage 128 Pro) in Q3A benchmarks. However, in the more demanding Unreal Tournament benchmark, the iMac SE/600 powers ahead of the G4 due to the 100 MHz edge in raw CPU speed.


For the rest of the numbers, visit the updated game performance page for the iMac SE/600 review.

iMac SE/600 Review: Game Performance


Mac Summoner Status Update
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official GraphSim site has been updated with a progress report on the upcoming 3D RPG Summoner, now in beta testing. It sounds like the porting process is going very well, as expected, and they are focusing on the multiplayer mode which will allow Mac and PC players to connect via the Internet. While the single-player aspect of the game will have a running story line, the multiplayer mode will allow you to join up with up to three other people to fight your way through the game's various levels cooperatively. No major story will be in place for this, but the action is fun and considered similar to Diablo II in game play (i.e. based on random encounters and conquering dungeons).


The update also provides some clarification on system requirements for the game. Here's the report:

Beta testing of Summoner for the Mac is well underway. All features of the game are working great and looking good. Testing will continue with multiplayer playability. Minimum system requirements include a 300MHz Mac with a G3 or G4 processor. Summoner will require 3D graphics acceleration and must have at least 6MB of video memory to run.
If you're curious about the full system requirements for the game, here's a clip from the main Summoner page:
Minimum System Requirements:
  • Macintosh with a 300 MHz or faster G3 or G4 processor
  • Mac OS 8.6 or later
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 800 MB available hard disk space
  • 8X CD-ROM Drive or DVD drive
  • 3D graphics acceleration with 6MB of video memory
    (ATI Rage™ Pro/128/RADEON™, NVIDIA®, or any OpenGL® compliant graphics accelerator)


    Recommended System Requirements:

  • Macintosh with a 400 MHz or faster G3 or G4 processor
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 3D graphics acceleration with 16MB of video memory or better (ATI Rage™ Pro/128/RADEON™, NVIDIA®, or any OpenGL® compliant graphics accelerator)
  • Multiplayer via Internet connection
  • Proper thanks should go out to Mark Allender of Volition who is hard at word on debugging the Mac version of Summoner. We're hoping testing will wrap up in a matter of weeks, and the game could be in stores soon afterwards.

    GraphSim Summoner Web Site
    GraphSim
    Volition
    Summoner
    Buy Summoner


    Ambrosia Updates on Deimos Rising, EV Nova
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Two of Ambrosia Software's upcoming titles have received updates to their progress logs over the weekend. Both are highly-anticipated sequels, so fans of Deimos Rising or EV Nova (or the proceeding titles, Mars Rising and Escape Velocity) should be interested.


    Programmer David Wareing has offered a long update which explains some recent delays in Deimos Rising. He notes that they tried to implement a new weapon system from the one found in Mars Rising, which made gameplay in this arcade-style shooter somewhat difficult. After much testing, however, it was found the new system was getting in the way of having fun. Since having fun is usually the point of playing games, Wareing has now tweaked the system so it can be fun while still having a manageable learning curve. Here's a clip from the update with more:

    With Deimos, the plan was to give control of weapons to the player, who would collect money, with which to buy the weapons. A weapon shop would appear at the start of each level. If the player started at a higher level, he would get a starting bonus, with which he could purchase goodies that would enable him to compete against the Horde straight away.


    What went wrong? Complexity. The system was convoluted and took too much time to complete even basic transactions. Even after a complete redesign, it was obvious that the weapon shop idea was actually harming gameplay and the flow of the game. Part of this was to do with the interface - despite months of design work, I could never come up with a suitable interface that relied only on game controls (i.e. no mouse interaction - remember this is an arcade game playable by two players, who most likely will be using gamepads or joysticks). Cunning plans that looked great on paper, failed in the cold light of reality. All the weapon shop did was make the player do math and become an accountant.


    So, I've ditched all that stuff and used a simpler, more traditional system with a few twists. Like arcade games such as Twin Cobra, Raiden and 1943, weapon pickups appear every now and then, displaying a weapon icon, which cycles through available weapons for that level. To choose a weapon, the player grabs the pickup at the right time. As the levels progress, the available weapons change, allowing for more powerful weapons as the game gets harder.

    To prove that good progress is being made on the game, a number of new screen shots have been released. While not necessarily high resolution, interested fans will definitely want to check them out; they can be found at the bottom of the post.


    Escape Velocity Nova is the third entry in a very popular space strategy series. EV Nova will feature an enhanced graphics engine and pre-rendered cut scenes, along with detailed storylines which will be revealed as you travel the galaxy. This most recent update offers a quick look at the games content, which seems to be nearly complete. The bulk of the work to be done involves coding and testing the missions, but most of the artwork and storyline appears done. Here's the scoop:

  • weapons sprites complete
  • asteroid graphics complete
  • stellar object graphics 99% complete
  • outfit pictures 78% complete
  • landing scenes 95% complete


    --

  • Storylines 100% complete
  • Missions 75% complete
  • Check out the EV Nova page for more info on the game as well as some cool screen shots. No official release date is given for either title, but we'll keep you informed on any new information.

    Deimos Rising Web Site
    EV Nova Progress Log
    Escape Velocity Nova Web Site
    Deimos Rising Progress Log


    Mac Games News for Friday, April 27, 2001

    Westlake Talks OpenAL & Unreal Tournament11:45 AM
    World War II Online Preview11:45 AM
    GarageGames Interviewed11:35 AM
    Warcraft III Preview10:07 AM
    Myth III Site Opens With New Images, Reqs9:56 AM
    Mac OS X Migration Program at WWDC 20019:53 AM
    Mac Info on Deus Ex Patch for PC9:52 AM
    Power Macintosh G4/733 Review Sneak Peek6:00 AM
     
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 27, 2001 on one page


    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, April 26, 2001
    Wednesday, April 25, 2001
    Tuesday, April 24, 2001
    Monday, April 23, 2001
    Friday, April 20, 2001


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



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