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Friday, May 4, 2001

Mac Summoner Status, Screen Shots
9:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The GraphSim site has received a quick update about the upcoming 3D RPG Summoner. Apparently the game's testing phase is going well, as no major issues are reported as holding it up right now. Kudos go out to Mark Allender of Volition who is reportedly doing a great job of burning through the Mac-specific bugs. The Summoner section has also been updated with a number of new screen shots of the game, taken with the Mac version. The detail on the characters and environments looks really great, so head over now to check them out.

We recently asked GraphSim a couple of quick questions about Summoner. It was noted some time back that the PC and Mac versions of the game began with 3dfx now-defunct Glide 3D API. Though this probably could have been incorporated into the final version for 'free,' it looks as if this was too much hassle to deal with. GraphSim has confirmed that OpenGL will be the only supported API in the shipping version of Mac Summoner, though Voodoo 3 and 5 cards will be fully compatible.

And just as a reminder for those itching to play Summoner on OS X, the game will only run on Mac 8.6-9.x out of the box. GraphSim is planning on providing a Carbonized version of the game after the original is complete, and we'll have more details for you about it later this year. Hopefully the testing on Summoner will wrap up in the coming weeks and the game can actually ship out in a month or so. Have a look through GraphSim's Summoner site for much more information on the game.

Summoner Screen Shots
Buy Summoner

Bannister Carbonizes 3 More Emulators
3:09 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Emulator author/porter Richard Bannister has updated three of his emulators, adding support for 16-bit color and Carbonizing them for Mac OS X. If you have a sudden desire to play a classic console or handheld game with the Mac OS, he's probably ported the emulator for it already. Here is a list of changes:

First on the menu is Jum52 v0.5.2. This release now works properly with the release version of MacOS X, and in addition now uses 16-bit colour (and thus my new blitter library) to give a choice of 78 different video modes.

Along the same lines is Neopocott v0.3.9. This program is now Carbonized for MacOS X, and like Jum52, now uses 16-bit colour.

Finally, there is SMS Plus v0.9.5. This fixes a number of minor issues in v0.9.4, and also adds the new Blitter code.

Jum52 is an Atari 5200 emulator, NeoPocott emulates the short-lived Neo Geo Pocket handheld, and SMS Plus emulates the Sega Master System/Game Gear console. Jump to Bannister's download page to grab these emulators.


Click to enlarge
Elite Force Expansion Pack Preview, Gold Status
2:52 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Adrenaline Vault has posted a preview of the upcoming expansion pack to the FPS adventure game Star Trek: Elite Force. Developed by Raven Software, Elite Force takes place in the Star Trek: Voyager universe, allowing players to interact with various crew members from the series and battle through a plethora of missions.

The expansion set aims to address some player complaints as well as add more freedom to the overall game. One complaint reviewers of the original title had was that a true ship-roaming ability was not available. To answer this, the expansion introduces a new Tour mode. This mode allows a player to freely roam aboard the Voyager and visit more than fifteen areas, including the bridge, the officer quarters, the transporter room, the Hazard Team crew quarters, astrometrics and engineering. Much of this is interactive, with the player being able to chat with crew members and play with the ship's controls while roaming around. Players will also be able to find bonus items, hidden mini-games, and perform tasks such as shutting down the warp core or initiaiting a self-destruct sequence.

The Tour mode also includes two new devices - the ubiquitous Tricorder and a new Proton Gun. The Tricorder can be used to pick up miscellaneous info about characters and objects. It's secondary fire allows it to become a motion detector of sorts. The Proton Gun fires a beam very similar to the railgun of Quake fame.

Why the need for a weapon and a motion detector in a seemingly-peaceful Tour mode? They're needed for use in the two new single-player levels that can be found in the Holodeck. One of the levels is straight out of a holo-novel, where the player becomes Captain Proton and must battle the nefarious forces of Dr. Chaotica. The second mission is an assault on a Klingon compound. There are also two different target-shooting ranges available for those who wish to sharpen their marksmanship.

Included for multiplayer play are seven new holomatch maps, nine new CTF maps, five player-made maps, and twelve new character modes. Two new gameplay modes that have been added are Assimilation and Specialization. In Assimilation mode, it's the Borg vs. everyone else as the Borg roam around and attempt to assimilate everyone. The Specialties mode should be similar to Team Fortress players, as it assigns specific roles and stats depending on which profile a player chooses. For example:

Munro as Infiltrator: Fast and can jump high; has phaser and transporter device; cannot wear armor. Jurot as Medic: Starts with phaser and medical equipment to heal others; has decent armor and regeneration. Biessman with powerful weapons: Starts with Quantum Burst and Tetrion Disruptor; is somewhat slower than other classes; has full armor. Telsia as Sniper: Starts with I-mod and compression gun; can use the zoom feature; has low armor. Chang as Demolitionist: Starts with scavenger gun, grenade launcher and DETPACK; has half armor. Chell as Technician: Starts with phaser, arc welder and portable force field; can drop an ammo station and cause someone to be invisible; has half armor.
There are three new rule variations as well: Action Hero, Disintegrator, and Elimination. In Action Hero, a player will start out with full weapons and health regeneration. Whoever frags the Hero will earn five frags and the right to be the Action Hero. In Disintegrator, each player starts with the compression gun and can vaporize their opponents with a hit. Elimination is a variant of last man standing.

The above preview is of the PC version. There is, as of yet, no Mac version announced, but the possibility is very strong. We'll keep readers posted of any new developments.

In related news, PC site GoneGold is stating that the PC version of this expansion is now "gold master" and should ship by the end of the month.

The Adrenaline Vault - Elite Force Expansion Pack Preview
Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction in Closed Beta
12:08 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A note posted late last night on Blue's News indicates that the expansion pack Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is now in closed beta testing, and those who have been selected as testers will be receiving their copies in the next few days. As with previous Blizzard titles, there will most likely be no Mac beta test, as the purpose of this test is to troubleshoot client-server interaction; any bug and gameplay fixes can be easily rolled into the Mac version later. However the news that the title has hit this late beta stage is good for anyone anticipating this title, as it means the game can't be terribly far from release.

To celebrate this upcoming release Blizzard has been practically flooding their own web site with new screen shots from the game, taken in the new 800x600 resolution option and then reduced in size for the Web. The shots highlight new areas of the game as well as new class-specific magical items, so if you haven't checked out their page in the last week be sure to pay it a visit.

In related news, we have been having e-mail discussions with Blizzard staff over whether their titles will be Carbonized for Mac OS X. One staff member did confirm that a Carbon version of Diablo II is in development, but they do not have a projected release date as of yet; this may have to wait until the Mac version of Diablo II: LoD has shipped; this seems to indicate the LoD will not be Carbonized out-of-box either. In any case all you Diablo II fans can rest assured that development of this expansion is moving ahead on schedule, and a summer release date is almost assured.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Diablo II: LoD Beta Tester FAQ
Blue's News

Creative Labs Back in 3D Card Market
11:54 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

An exclusive interview posted on Guru 3D reports an interesting development in Creative Labs' product line-up: they are returning to the 3D card market, after many hardware sites had reported that they were dropping that aspect of their business. You may recognize the name Creative Labs from their just-released product Sound Blaster Live! Mac Edition, their first Mac OS-compatible product and the first consumer-level sound card for our platform.

Back when rumors were still flying that PC chipmaker NVIDIA was moving to enter the Mac market, Creative Labs was looked to as a possible producer of these cards, as they already had a Mac product planned (the SB Live). These rumors quickly died when it was revealed that CL had no 2001 video card lineup planned, which many took as a sign that they were indeed dropping out of the ultra-competitive retail video card market. Now that they have an all-new lineup planned, which includes a GeForce3-based card at a very nice price point, the idea of a Mac-compatible product as part of their line-up doesn't seem so farfetched. They plan to ship two consumer-level GeForce2 MX cards at the $99 price point (AGP and PCI), a GeForce 2 Pro card and a GeForce3-based card for $399.

The extensive interview goes into detail about the economics and strategies of the PC video card market, perhaps more than the average consumer needs to know. The Mac OS is not mentioned, but their analysis of the different segments of the market and customers is interesting reading. You can be sure we'll pursue our contacts at Creative Labs about possible Mac versions of these cards; this will depend largely on who actually has rights to distribute the Mac NVIDIA drivers which currently power the GeForce2 MX (and soon the GeForce3) cards which ship as BTO options in new G4 towers. A third-party alternative to buying a NVIDIA video card which does not require purchasing an entirely new G4 Mac would be welcomed by many segments of the Mac market, in our estimation.

Feature: Flashing a GeForce2 MX
Review: Sound Blaster Live!
Creative Labs Interview at Guru 3D

Gathering of Developers' E3 Lineup
10:48 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

FGN Online and several other sources are reporting that "developer-driven" publishing house Gathering of Developers has released the lineup of games they will be showing at this year's E3. This list is significantly different than last year's list, for Mac gamers; there are far fewer games that have planned Mac OS versions, unfortunately. However, several titles that will indeed be coming to our platform will be on display as well, and IMG will be sure to bring you the details straight from the expo.

The only two games on the list with announced Mac OS versions are Myth III: The Wolf Age and 4x4 Evolution 2, both due in November of this year. Other titles to be shown include the eternally-delayed shooters Max Payne and Duke Nukem Forever, an RTS known as Stronghold and a third-person action title known as Mafia which has generated a bit of controversy with their ad campaign.

As we noted last month, Shadowbane, a MMORPG in development by WolfPack Studios, is not on that list. There is still no confirmation of a US publisher for the title, but several sources have placed Swing! as the European distributor.

In any case, we'll be there to investigate if any of the currently PC-only titles (we are sure Mac gamers are eyeing Max Payne and DNF) might have a chance of being ported to our OS as well. Jump to FGN for the full list and details, and Gathering's web site for screen shots and details.

Gathering of Developers
GoD E3 Lineup at FGN Online

Click to enlarge
Significant Updates to Quake III
10:32 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blue's News has noted an update to Robert Duffy's .plan file regarding Quake III. The file addresses updates and improvements to net traffic and FPS boosts, as well as comments on current popular mods. It is amazing how actively Q3A is being developed and maintained, considering the age of the game. Here's a sample:

We will be releasing a point release beta early next week. This one has taken some time but it addresses quite a few things. Graeme has been very busy with the network stuff and net traffic is now being compressed at about 4:1, this should make a huge difference for modem players. There should be a substantial FPS boost for most people and there are a bunch of fixes/tweaks in place. This release will also contain an auto update system so you can check for new updates at any time. If you get the beta, the final will be offered via the auto update. This addresses all of the cheats and hacks we know about as well. That is an ongoing battle. This point release will utilize a different protocol as a result of the new network compression.

At the same time, I will finally get the UI stuff release for mod teams. This will allow mod teams to distribute Team Arena style menus/scripts for Quake 3 only mods without violating the EULA.

There are some really nice looking mods going on right now, Urban Terror, Q3F, WFA, Annihilation, Navy Seals are all looking really good. Quake The Movie is also looking really really good, the guys at Tritin were kind enough to send us the first 13 or so minutes and it is amazing stuff. Overall the source changes mod teams will need to integrate are quite small.

It's nice to hear that id Software is still hard at work updating what is undoubtedly one of the most popular FPS games to date. No word yet if Mac owners will be able to reap the benefits of improved net play and FPS rates as well, but IMG will be sure to keep readers notified.

Blue's News - Robert Duffy's .plan file
Id Software
id Software
Quake III Team Arena
Buy Quake III Team Arena

EV Nova Update on OS X, Other Issues
9:23 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new update to the official Escape Velocity Nova progress log has been made by Ambrosia's Matt Burch. This latest update, while not very long, does point to the fact that the title is making good progress. Burch states that EV Nova is very close to being completely Carbonized and therefore able to run 'natively' under OS X. Here's the full update:

  • integrated latest Ambrosia sound and registration libraries
  • game volume is now separate from system volume
  • weapons can be made to pass through shields
  • hypergates can be animated
  • removed forklift cheat and secret about text (to be replaced by something more interesting at a later date)
  • lots and lots of tweaks and bugfixes
  • game is Carbonized except for screen fading / resolution switching
  • This is great news for fans of the series, as it means this third title will be available for just about any modern Mac OS. For more details on EV Nova and some great screen shots, head over to Ambrosia's official page for the game.

    Escape Velocity Nova Progress Logs
    Escape Velocity Nova Beta Screen Shots

    Westlake Clarifies 'Prototype' Project
    8:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The lone unnamed project currently listed at Westlake Interactive's site contains a curious new status listing of "Prototype." Since speculation is usually rampant about any unnamed Westlake projects, this was of particular interest because of the new name. But before rumors about new spy planes began forming, Westlake president Mark Adams provided some clarification on the topic. While he gives away no details about the actual game, he does note it's a doozy:

    "Prototype" is just a milestone between Signing and First Playable. It means the game does some stuff (loads some files, maybe displays a bit of interface), but isn't really playable. We do it mostly on projects that are pretty big, where it could take 2-3 months to get from signing to first playable.
    So Westlake has a "big" game in the pipeline. This could mean a number of things, from just a very Windows-based game which has a lot of MS-specific code to a game with simply a large scope. If anything, this prototype project is even more intriguing now. Thanks to Mark for his answers. He's also updated their Project Status page with a similar note description of the Prototype.

    Have any thoughts on what the Prototype game might be? Head over to our forums and start throwing out some possibilities.

    Westlake's Project Status Page
    Prototype Project Forum Thread

    Majesty Unit Editor Released
    8:25 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    An industrious fan of the highly acclaimed strategy game Majesty has put together a little tool to change the unit statistics in the game. Majesty GPE (or Game Properties Editor) will allow you to tweak stats like speed and HP for many of the characters in the game, though building and lairs will probably be added in a future revision. This little 'cheat' can be a fun way to spice up your Majesty games, though be sure to always back up your unittype.cam files (the one this program changes) before you begin. Here are a few other things to avoid from the ReadMe file:

  • Do not change any of the game parameters to inappropriate values. This will very likely cause Majesty to crash.
  • Do not attempt to play a multiplayer game of Majesty with an altered unittype.cam file.
  • Do not alter the unittype.cam file and then try to load a save game file that was started with a previous version.
  • Head over now to Macgamefiles and give the program a try. It's a very small download, so Majesty fans will have no problem quickly jumping in on the fun.

    Cyberlore Majesty Web Site
    MajestyGPE Web Site
    Download MajestyGPE (95k)

    Mac Games News for Thursday, May 3, 2001

    Apple Low-Key at E3?4:29 PM
    Pillars of Garendall Preview12:08 PM
    PC Rune, Expansion Patched to 1.0711:00 AM
    Fox Signs Publisher, Still No Mac Info10:16 AM
    BioWare Discusses Baldur's Gate II Creation9:52 AM
    Diablo Movies; Expansion Pics, Preview9:14 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, May 3, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Wednesday, May 2, 2001
    Tuesday, May 1, 2001
    Monday, April 30, 2001
    Friday, April 27, 2001
    Thursday, April 26, 2001

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

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