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Monday, May 7, 2001

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Myst III: Exile Hits Stores Today
8:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Ubi Soft has announced the release of Myst III: Exile for both Mac and PC today. The game is shipping on hybrid CDs, so if you can find a copy in stores, don't worry about which side of the store (Mac or PC) the game is stocked. The Collector's Edition is available with a number of additional goodies for about $60, while the price for the normal game has dropped to below $40 at some online retailers like Amazon and Compuexpert.

Myst III: Exile is the work of Presto Studios, who took over for the crew at Cyan who are hard at work on the mysterious 'Mudpie'. Exile continues where Riven left off, and includes many of the characters from the first two games in the series. Here's a clip from the PR with more on these familiar faces:

Continuing the strong story that made Myst and Riven so successful, Myst III unveils a new adventure in the Myst saga that begins ten years after Riven ends. Atrus and Catherine, the husband and wife characters whom players rescued in the first two games, have re-established contact with the D'ni civilization. Atrus pledges to help the D'ni rebuild their once-great civilization, which has been torn apart by prejudice and greed. Unfortunately, Atrus' plans for the D'ni go awry when a remnant from his own past resurfaces.

    The mysterious new villain, played by Academy Award nominee Brad Dourif (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), plans to destroy all that Atrus holds dear. Also known for his voice talent as "Chucky" in the "Child's Play" movies and his work in the upcoming "Lord of the Rings" movies, Dourif has truly brought Myst III's sinister antagonist to life. He seeks revenge for the destruction of his own world -- and once he shows up in Exile, only the player will stand in his way.

The Riven Unofficial Home Page has new information for those European fans who won't see localized copies of Exile until next September. They've compiled a list of online retailers that will ship overseas (assuming you're willing to play the US English version), as well as found this group interested in helping:
A Canadian member of the Myst community named Kha'tie has created Project ELF (European Lyst Friends) to ship copies of Exile and other Myst games to fans in Europe. This is a non-profit , volunteer project that is done to help out fellow fans who can't find certain Myst games in their countries. For information, write to Kha'tie and her fellow volunteers at Project ELF at Elf2Project@hotmail.com and give your name, mailing address, and say which games you would like to purchase (realMYST, EX|LE, or EX|LE Collector's Edition). They'll send you an e-mail stating the amount you need to send and the bank account information you need to send an International Wire Transfer from your bank. You'll wire them the money and they'll mail you the game. I'll be posting more about Project ELF in a future update, but I want to assure you that Kha'tie and her Project ELF friends are trustworthy folks who are volunteering their time to help help out fans in Europe.
This is quite an undertaking, but the strength of the Myst community assures a project like this could be executed without troubles. Head over to the Riven Unofficial site for more information. Watch for IMG's review of Exile in the near future.

Myst III: Exile Press Release
Riven Unofficial Page on Shipping Overseas
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Anti-Aliasing: An In-Depth Look
11:10 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A link on Blue's News led us to this fascinating article on FullOn3D.com which provides an in-depth look at "The Theory of Antialiasing," a technique used from the early days of computing to increase image quality and simulate higher-resolution graphics rendering. Anti-aliasing itself is as old as the computer monitor; even the early days of computing used AA techniques to simulate resolutions beyond what the first crude displays were able to achieve. Now AA (known variously as Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing and High-Resolution Anti-Aliasing) has become one of the key buzzword features for 3D graphics cards. Those with 3dfx Voodoo5 cards already know the joys (and the performance cost) of FSAA, but you still might find this look behind the pixels to be both informative and entertaining. Meanwhile those looking forward to NVIDIA's GeForce3 chipset, already released for the PC and due quite soon for the Mac platform, can read a detailed analysis of the new techniques NVIDIA uses (multisampling and "Quincunx" AA) to maximize image quality while avoiding the brutal performance hit that supersampling cards (such as the 3dfx series) encountered.

The article is well-balanced between techspeak and common-sense explanations, and includes interactive examples of various techniques and their result. One caveat: we reccomend Internet Explorer 5 for viewing the article, as it does use embedded .PNG images. Modem users should also be prepared to wait for these images to load (particularly page 3). Nevertheless, if you were ever interested in just what the heck AA is and how it works, this is an excellent discussion of many sides of the issue.

"The Theory of Antialiasing" at FullOn3D.com

Feature On Music in Computer Gaming
10:04 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has kicked off another week of in-depth, original content with a feature article entitled Music in Computer Games. As you might expect, this piece does indeed focus on those little boops and bleeps (or entire symphonic scores) that add atmosphere and depth to your game-playing experience.

However, this is no mere feature. The author takes into account the fact that most Mac game players actually disable the music in their game preferences for a nominal performance boost or to play the game without the CD-ROM in the drive, thus wasting the long, hard hours the composer spent in creating their aural masterpieces. The feature includes an extensive interview with two major heavyweights of game music: Mike Beckett of Nuclear Kangaroo Music, who composed the tracks for Nanosaur, Bugdom and Cro-Mag Rally for Pangea Software, and Marty O'Donnel, who worked on the Myth titles, Oni and Riven. They tackle the technical barriers that force some gamers to turn off background music as well as ways that the music itself and how it is presented much catch up with the content and pace of today's games. Follow the link below for an in-depth investigation into the state of computer game music, and be sure to add your own comments in our Forums.

Feature Article: Music In Computer Games

Kids Domain Update
9:52 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Kids Domain has once again updated their website with more Mac downloads geared specifically towards educating and entertaining children of all ages. New to the list:

  • World of Butterflies - This 47 page PDF contains a wealth of information and activities concerning butterfiles and moths, including how to build a proper "butterfly house" and even a butterfly garden.
  • Child Identification Kit - a short PDF that instructs parents how to take fingerprints and DNA samples of their children in case they go missing.
  • Nightmare Room Screensaver - For those familiar with the Horror for children author R.L. Stine, this screensaver is based off his work.
  • Concentrate: Animals - Based off the game Concentration, players must find and match animals based off of questions such as "This animal becomes frog as an adult."
  • Contentrate: Numbers - Like the above, but based on numbers, asking questions such as "Which is greater, 78 or 89?"
  • Pendu - Hangman in French.
  • Polytris - A variation of Tetris, with 5 main types of blocks and 29 total types of blocks, bombs, weights, and water balloons.
  • Logimots - A French version of the game Mastermind, in which players must guess a five to six letter word based on clues.

Most of these titles are free, and a few of them are shareware with minimal fees. If you have a budding Mac gamer in your own household, the above titles are well worth a look, as is the Kids Domain site in general.

Kids Domain

Tranquility, Reckless Driving Updated for OS X
9:38 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As OS X undergoes yet even more permutations, game developers seem to be getting a handle on things, particularly with the addition of DrawSprockets to the latest build of OS X.Jonas Echterhoff has already taken advantage of this and updated his shareware game Reckless Driving to version 1.3. Reckless Driving is described as an "action game, set in the Spy Hunter tradition." Here's the full list of what's new with this version:

  • Now works with Mac OS X Final. You need to upgrade your System to MacOS X 10.0.2 for Reckless Driving to run, since older versions of MacOS X had a buggy DrawSprocket Library (See Mac OS X readme below).
  • Fixed a bug which would cause the game to crash when you shot a missile at the tunnel walls in level 8.
  • Fixed a bug which would allow you to skip most of level 5 under some rare circumstances.

Another shareware title now taking advantage of OS X is TQworld's Tranquility, which has been updated to version 4.5. This hypnotic title is difficult to describe, but totes itself as an "internet powered game of hide and seek." Game levels consist of intricate geometric shapes and patterns, which players can float through, hunting for "spinners" to take them to the next level.

Both these titles are available for download from MacGameFiles.com. If you're looking for more titles to try out on OS X, give these a shot. Besides OS X, Reckless Driving also works with OS 8x and above, and Tranquility works with OS 9.0.4 and above.

MacGameFiles - Tranquility 4.5

IMG, Creative Give Away SB Live! Final Winner Announced
9:28 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games and card makers Creative Labs have come together to give away five Sound Blaster Live! cards to IMG readers. All you had to do to have a shot at getting one of these cards for free is fill out our contest form and click Submit. Unfortunately, this is the last card we will be giving away, but watch for many more chances to win free stuff in the future. Maestro, a drum roll please:

Final Winner: Jason Burns of St. Louis, MO

Just in case you missed it, be sure and read through our Sound Blaster Live! review if you haven't already. Congratulations to Jason and all of the winners.

Review: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live!
IMG/Creative Sound Blaster Live! Giveaway

'Custer's Corner' Moves to IMG
9:13 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Talented Photoshop wizard Brad Custer has shifted locales several times in the past, and with the recent demise of games.mac.cnn many gamers who loved his game-themed desktops were worried that he might not resurface this time around. Luckily for both the IMG crew and our readers, we were able to provide Custer's Desktops with a new home -- and he has created a very impressive IMG desktop as a present for our loyal readers.

We'd like to extend a formal welcome to Brad and his amazing talents; we're sure he will continue to supply IMG readers with high-quality desktop images for a long time to come. Follow the link below to Custer's Desktops, and watch for more developments in the future.

Custer's Desktops at IMG

Bungie.net Update on Myth: TFL Server
8:49 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Bungie.net site has received a new update recently on the replacement server for Myth: The Fallen Lords. We reported that this server was down nearly a month ago, and Bungie notes it should be up the standard time increment of "soon." Here's a clip with more explanation:

We are working on getting a new TFL server up and running. It is a fresh young server in the prime of its life, and we expect great things from it. It's taking a while to get all the ducks in a row, but it's happening as fast as we can make it happen.

Unfortunately, when Mordia wrote his obituary for TFL server, his grief was so profound that he made the mistake of guessing at a time frame for getting a new TFL server online, thus breaking Bungie Cardinal Rule #7: "No Release Dates." We know that grief sometimes makes you do crazy things, but we still had to cut off one of his fingers as per Bungie Policy. It hurt us more than it hurt him.

Anyway, the bottom line is that there will be a new TFL server online soon - just not as soon as we'd originally hoped. While we finish packing up the old TFL server's things for storage in the attic, and repainting the room in a jaunty shade of blue for the impending arrival of the new TFL server, we suggest you do what we are doing: choke back the tears, remember the good times, and hold on just a little longer. Good times are close at hand. Soon™, even.

Look for more sarcasm and even useful information from Bungie soon at the upcoming E3 festivities in Los Angeles later this month. Also be sure to hit the fanfest if you're going to be in the area at that time.

IMG News: Myth: TFL Server Downtime

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New Diablo II Expansion Set Details
8:37 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GameSpot has received some new information and screenshots in regards to Blizzard's upcoming expansion set for their isometric RPG Diablo II. Titled Lord of Destruction, this expansion set adds two new character classes as well as a wealth of new items, abilities, and senarios.

One of the new items featured in the new screenshots is the Eaglehorn, classified as a Crusader Bow. A unique Elite weapon, the Eaglehorn adds bonuses such as +420 to attack rating, the ability to ignore a target's defense, and +200% enhanced damage.

Another screenshot shows one of the new "charged" items in the game. Charged items will recreate specific character class abilities, such as casting the spell Bolt. However, as the name implies, they will have a limited number of charges (uses) before they become worthless.

Lord of Destruction has just entered closed-beta test phase, with CDs shipping to testers right now. The final version is scheduled for release sometime this summer.

GameSpot - More Diablo II - Lord of Destruction Details
Diablo II - Lord of Destruction
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Reckless Drivin' Updated for OS X
8:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Macgamefiles has an updated listing for the shareware driving sim Reckless Drivin', which has now been updated for OS X final. It requires you be running the latest version of the OS (10.0.2), which fixes some problems with DrawSprocket. This update also fixed a couple of other, minor bugs in the game itself. Here's the lowdown on what's new in Reckless Drivin' 1.3:

  • Now works with Mac OS X Final. You need to upgrade your System to MacOS X 10.0.2 for Reckless Drivin' to run, since older versions of MacOS X had a buggy DrawSprocket Library.
  • Fixed a bug which would cause the game to crash when you shot a missile at the tunnel walls in level 8.
  • Fixed a bug which would allow you to skip most of level 5 under some rare circumstances.
  • Head on over now and give the game a download if you haven't already. It's a lot of fun packed into just over 7MB.

    Download Reckless Drivin' (7.3MB)
    Reckless Drivin' Web Site

    Mac Games News for Friday, May 4, 2001

    Bannister Carbonizes 3 More Emulators3:09 PM
    Elite Force Expansion Pack Preview, Gold Status2:52 PM
    Diablo II: Lord of Destruction in Closed Beta12:08 PM
    Creative Labs Back in 3D Card Market11:54 AM
    Gathering of Developers' E3 Lineup10:48 AM
    Significant Updates to Quake III10:32 AM
    EV Nova Update on OS X, Other Issues9:23 AM
    Mac Summoner Status, Screen Shots9:21 AM
    Westlake Clarifies 'Prototype' Project8:35 AM
    Majesty Unit Editor Released8:25 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, May 4, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, May 3, 2001
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    Friday, April 27, 2001

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