World War II Online Preview, Interview
9:17 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
As summer approaches, more information on the massively multiplayer online war sim World War II Online is becoming available -- helped along by the desire to generate hype for E3 next week. The game is being developed for Mac and PC by Cornered Rat Software and will be published by Strategy First. It will be not only the first 3D MMO game on the Mac, it will also be the first FPS MMO on the market at all. World War II Online is currently in closed beta, though rumors are beginning to surface that the open beta could begin very soon. When asked about the status of the open beta, a Cornered Rat employee dropped a large hint last week in their forums about adding 25 new servers to the system. While it's unsure whether a Mac client will be available simultaneously with the PC version, we've contacted them and will bring you any information we receive.
An interview with Chris "Mo" Sherland, producer for the game, has been posted at Playnet. This lengthy chat discusses a number of issues surrounding the game. Sherland describes their inspiration and planning for WWII Online, as well as giving many details about its current state. Here's an excerpt about the Mac version:
Playnet.com: PC and Mac platforms will interact in the same environment, too. Has producing a game for two systems proven difficult? Those looking forward to the title should definitely head over and have a look at the rest of the interview.
Mo: Not really. There are some challenges in how to approach dual platform development, but as a port for the Mac, WWII Online has gone fairly well. Once the basic systems were finalized on the Mac, things got a LOT easier for those guys.
Playnet.com: What differences, if any, will there be between the two in terms of gaming?
Mo: There will be no difference between the two systems as far as how the app looks, runs, and plays.
Another great source was also posted recently in the form of a new preview at GameSpot. They were lucky enough to play through some of the closed beta and give a few initial impressions of the game. One of the biggest challenges for the team will be to ensure the mission system works well (so that the game doesn't degrade into chaos of a normal FPS). The preview covers this, as well as the game's vehicles, 'choke points,' and more. Here's a clip:
The assignment of such missions will be up to players who have gained sufficient rank (through achieving missions set by others) to start assigning missions on their own. Missions will have various priorities, and assigning a high-priority mission will cost more "mission points" than a low-priority one. You will have only a certain number of mission points to assign, so working in tandem with fellow officers will be crucial to your side's success. Targets will also have a point value based on their identity and how many missions they have assigned to them, and the most points for successfully completing a mission will come from those that are high priority and executed against high-value targets. As you rise in rank, you'll gain the ability to assign more and more missions.The rest of the preview contains some very cool screen shots as well as good information, so be sure to head over and have a read through it. Currently only the PC version is available for pre-order (with a release date of June 6), though we're inquiring about the Mac's status at this time. Stay tuned for much more info as E3 approaches.
World War II Online Web Site
Playnet Interview with Chris "Mo" Sherland
World War II Online Preview at GameSpot
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online
MacSoft to Publish Tropico, Max Payne, Myth III, and More
3:10 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
In an amazing new announcement, MacSoft has surged back onto the 'hardcore'
Mac gaming scene with help from Take Two Interactive. MacSoft
is now the official Mac publisher of titles such as the upcoming Tropico,
Myth III, and Fly! II, as well as previously unannounced (for Mac) games Max Payne and Stronghold. This is quite an interesting turn of
events, as Gathering of Developers was previously expected to publish
these games for the Mac OS. Here's the full press release with more information:
PLYMOUTH, MN, May 9, 2001 -- Infogrames, Inc., (Nasdaq: IFGM) a global publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced that it has acquired the Macintosh publishing rights to several high-profile titles from Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO). MacSoft continues to dominate the Macintosh entertainment software category having achieved a market share of over 37 percent for calendar year 2000*.This is quite an undertaking, especially considering MacSoft's already
"As the market penetration of Mac gamers deepens, so does the need to provide this growing audience with a wide variety of products" said Cindy Swanson, Marketing Manager of MacSoft. "As the leading publisher of Macintosh game software, we are excited to be adding such an acclaimed array of products to our lineup."
Under terms of the agreement, Infogrames acquires the Macintosh publishing rights to Tropico™ and Fly! II™, which will be shipping this summer, as well as such highly regarded titles as Max Payne™, Stronghold™ and Myth III™. Infogrames also obtains the Macintosh rights to several additional titles that will be announced at a later date.
"MacSoft is the unquestioned leader in the Mac gaming arena, " said Kelly Sumner, Chief Executive Officer of Take Two Interactive. "We are excited to have Take-Two's premier properties brought to the Mac audience and look forward to working closely with MacSoft to do so."
impressive lineup of value games from Hasbro and the RPG Vampire:
The Masquerade due out very soon.
Tropico and Fly! II are the first of the new crop of titles expected out early
this summer. Myth III will follow in the fall, hopefully shooting for a November
release. We can only guess as to what the other titles alluded to might be.
You may be unfamiliar with Max Payne, the upcoming story driven 3rd person "John
Woo style" action game from Remedy and 3D Realms. You will play
a fugitive undercover cop running from both criminals and the police to try and
get your life back to normal in a chaotic future version of New York City. The screen shots look
very nice, though the particular emphasis on story will make it one to watch for as well.
Stronghold is a realtime strategy game from a development house called Firefly Studios.
The employee are made up of some former Impressions workers, the company behind
the Caesar 3 and other city building series. This should give them
a good basis for Stronghold, as the title is trying to bridge the gap between the
RTS and city-building genres. Stronghold will focus specifically on building castles and
then fighting your enemies while defending your home front. For more info, read
through a slightly aged preview at PC.IGN.
Mac gamers who follow Gathering of Developers closely will notice two titles missing from this list: Duke Nukem Forever and 4x4 Evolution 2. We'll be sure to follow up on this at E3.
Another fascinating detail of this release is the fact that MacSoft, and not MacPlay, will be publishing Myth III; since Myth III is being developed by Mumbo Jumbo, one of the companies under the United Developers umbrella along with MacPlay, one would expect it to go to MacPlay if Gathering passed on publishing a Mac version. This is very interesting, and shows how unusual the relationships between the United Developers companies can be.
Take Two Interactive Web Site
This announcement is a great push for Mac gaming, ensuring this summer will be an
exciting one indeed. Stay tuned to IMG for much more information on all of these
titles in the near future.
Stronghold Web Site
MacSoft Web Site (not yet updated)
Max Payne Web Site
Stronghold Preview at PC.IGN
Apple Previews Emergency Room 3
1:08 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story
Apple has update their gaming section with an article on Legacy Interactive's Emergency Room 3. the article gives gamers a good overview of the games' features and content. In this game, inspired by medical dramas such as E.R., you will be an emergency room doctor that has to diagnose, operate and discharge patients as they come in. The better you do this, the more points you get. Here's an excerpt from Apple's preview:
When you play ER3, you won’t necessarily feel like you just became George Clooney, but you will get a sense for how difficult the average doctor’s job is. From McGuigan’s breezy banter to the impatience of the parents of injured children to the threat of a stern lecture from Fleming if you screw up, there are many elements in this game that will remind you of your favorite medical drama.Apple has also provided a QuickTime movie showing the game in action. If you want more details about the game, check out our review of the first title. The game is low in system requirements and perfect for iMac users.
IMG Emergency Room: Disaster Strikes Review
Apple's Emergency Room 3 article
Captain Bumper 1.0 Released
12:56 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
We've been consistently impressed with the various preview releases of Captain Bumper from MacRun in the past, so we are very glad to announce that this game is now complete and shipping; a version 1.0 demo is also now available. While still an old-school side-shooter in form, this blazing-fast and gorgeous game is quite fun and addictive, and the 2D animation is superb. It will run on any PowerPC machine (yes, back to the 601) and requires only 8.6 or later, as well as GameSprockets.
The game tracks the exploits of Captain Bumper in a quest to free a princess held prisoner on a mysterious planet populated by the "Zerubs." Piloting your tiny ship you will take on asteroids, all manner of alien craft and a host of ground weapons as well. The speed and action is quite intense. If you'd like some retrogaming action but with gorgeous graphics and surreal, '50s-inspired alien landscapes, we highly recommend you grab the demo and give it a try.
MacRun Web Site
The game is available for purchase from the MacRun web site, for $25 US. It is heartening to see that there are still plenty of Mac-only, Mac-first developers willing to publish titles of this caliber on our platform.
Captain Bumper 1.0 Demo (14 MB)
Game Doctor May Prescriptions Available
12:32 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
Game Doctor is the ultimate compendium of cheats, walkthroughs, guides and tips for Mac games, and is constantly being updated with new information. The latest crop of titles added to this resource include a few big names as well as some shareware classics. Here's a list of the games added to the GD database with this latest prescription:
AvernumThis update is free for registered users of Game Doctor. Be sure and download the demo of this utility if you haven't seen it in action yet -- your days of fruitlessly searching the web for obscure cheat sites will be over.
Escape from Monkey Island
Heroes III: Complete
Simon the Sorcerer 2
Game Doctor 1.3.1 Demo (3.5 MB)
Game Doctor May '01 Prescriptions (44k)
Myst III Exile Sound, 3dfx Issues
10:37 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Myst III: Exile has arrived for both Mac and PC, and many eager fans of the past titles Myst and Riven have already snapped this one up for their Mac. Unfortunately, with this third journey to the lands of MYST, the system requirements of the game have increased substantially to accommodate the astounding levels of eye-candy visible in the screen shots and preview trailer for this game. As a result, there are several posts on our own forums and in Usenet news groups detailing performance problems with the game.
Three Myst III players report both speed and movie playback problems with the game; it is no coincidence that all three have 3dfx Voodoo cards, V3 and V5 models. Exile uses the OpenGL graphics API for hardware acceleration and certain 3D effects (such as lens flares) when this mode is enabled. While 3dfx's support for OpenGL is good, it is far from perfect, as anyone who has tried to play Diablo II in OpenGL mode on a V5 can attest. One user reported a loss of movie playback, while another reported poor frame rates and choppy sound to boot.
We were in contact with several beta testers for Escape from Monkey Island during the testing phase for that game, and they reported many of the same problems with the Voodoo5 in that OpenGL game -- no movie playback (though the sound of the movie plays back fine) and choppy performance in some situations. The problem improved greatly when you took three steps: 1) Make sure that virtual memory is turned OFF; 2) turn off FSAA and enable VSYNC and 3) Make sure that you haven't given the game a large memory allocation that does not allow room (8-10 MB minimum) for OpenGL to load as well. Unfortunately, due to the totally unsupported status of the 3dfx cards, if the problem is indeed a driver issue it is unlikely to be solved; in fact some developers have expressed a reluctance to even test a game on these cards in light of the fact that they are essentially a dead end.
Other users with systems that scraped the low-end of the stated system requirements for the game have also reported choppy or unsatisfactory performance. No one with less than 16 MB of VRAM should expect to be able to run the game in hardware mode, so we do not recommend this option for iMac or Powerbook owners.
Preview: Myst III: Exile
We encourage those who have bought the game so far to make reports in our Troubleshooting forum, so other gamers can offer advice -- posts of positive experiences with the game are also useful, be sure to speak up if you are having a great experience with the game as well! We'll pass your feedback along to Presto if it seems you have discovered actual flaws in the Mac port of the game.
IMG Troubleshooting Forum
New Game Company Pledges Mac Support
9:51 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
A new game development company, Black Sea Studios, has recently surfaced. Located in Sofia, Bulgaria, Black Sea hopes to organize as much talent as possible in one location with the goal of creating great games (a noble goal indeed).
Here's a blurb from their just-debuted website:
As a Bulgarian company Black Sea Studios aims to become a center of gaming industry in whole East and South Europe, attracting young talents and experienced professionals from all over the world. With creative atmosphere and perfect working environment we do hope to achieve free exchanging of ideas in-between our teams with one final goal – creating fun.They also mention their intention to support the Mac platform, among other platforms:
At Black Sea Studios we’d like to develop for wide range of platforms like (but not limited to): PC, Macintosh, XBOX and PS2.No official titles have been announced yet, but Black Sea notes that three games are in development - two RTS games and one humor-oriented action game. All three titles are scheduled to be announced on their website soon after E3.
Black Sea Studios
This is welcome news indeed, as the Mac platform can always use another software developer. Be sure to check out their website for more info on this new company; we're very curious to see what they come up with, as Europe is rapidly becoming a major player in the games scene overall.
Interview with Giants: Citizen Kabuko's Ken Capelli
9:34 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
Hypothermia recently received the chance to interview Ken Capelli, Lead Artist for Planet Moon Studios, the team responsible for Giants: Citizen Kabuko, among other titles. The interview focuses, among other things, on the design aspects and general development of Giants.
The PR through Giant's development cycle was one of some debate, as it was announced so early and "took so long" that some players started deriding it as vaporware, never to be released. Capelli comments a bit on this:
Well, Giants ended up taking quite a bit longer than originally intended partially as a result of organic design changes during development. As the game reached development plateaus it became clear when played that certain aspects would benefit from expansion, modification, simplification... or just downright removal (in the case of the Shepherd and
other enemy creatures) or massive addition (in the case of the multiplayer game).
As far as future plans go on Giants, including mods and new levels, Capelli mentions that a final patch (for the PC version) and a few new multiplayer levels will be released soon, and that future plans for his company will be announced at E3.
Planet Moon Site
For the rest of the interview, be sure to check out Hypothermia. The Mac port is currently underway by MacPlay and is expected out later this year. For more info, readers can scan IMG's preview.
IMG - Giants Preview
Hypothermia - Ken Capelli Interview
Planet Moon Studios
Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Buy Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Mac Doom Legacy Updates for OS 9, X
9:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
The official Doom Legacy site has been updated with word of a new 1.32b1 release for all of their many represented platforms. The two you're likely most intersted in would be OS 9 and OS X, both of which have been ported by programmer Calum Robinson. While he gave a sneak peak of the OS X version a while back, now it is officially available for both systems. Some improvments include support for Heretic .WADs, lighting improvments, and even 3D floors (very impressive for a 2.5D engine like Doom). Here's a clip from the site with more:
Hardware specific enhancementsInitial testing shows this version runs very well under OS X. The previous fullscreen issues seem to have been resolved thanks to the recent 10.0.2 update from Apple. Head over to the Doom Legacy site for some cool 3D shots of the new maps in action. And be sure to check out Macgamefiles to start downloading the files now (at under 3MB for both, they shouldn't be too big of a problem even for slower connections).
Download Mac Doom Legacy
Some work on the lighting and the coronas with a new cvar for adjusting the size
Improved OpenGL and Glide support
Fixed most of texture problems
Added support for 3D positional sound cards (require DirectX 6 or above)
Timeout detection and kick player if connection timeout
New menu option : create server and connect server
Use masterserver to detect all servers in the world
Fixed issues with netgame and dehacked
No more palette change in splitscreen
Added FraggleScript support
Added Heretic support
When solidecorpse is true you can smash it and turn it to giblets
Joystick can be used for free look using joystickfreelook cvar
Some limitations of the engine removed (memory usage, polypool,...)
New cvars added like scalestatusbar
Added -nodinput command line switch for people having input problem under Win32
Display #SECRETS and #MONSTERS on the overlay
...and the usual bug fix...
Mac Doom Legacy Web Site
Official Doom Legacy Web Site
OS X F.A.K.K.2, PCI Radeon Issues Revisited
9:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
IMG has recently been in contact with OmniGroup's Tim Wood about the beta of Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2 for OS X. Those able to run this Cocoa version of the game have noted all-around improvements over its OS 9 counterpart in frame rate, sound, and more.
Unfortunately it seems that some PCI Radeon owners may not be so lucky. Many have been unable to even launch the app successfully -- instead having it quit after a few seconds of resolution changing. OmniGroup confirms this is a problem not with the game, but with how OS X is interacting with the PCI Radeon. Here's Wood's response (and semi-solution):
It turns out that PCI Radeons don't work well at all with non-G4 After some quick testing, this solution will allow the application to launch, though game play averages FPS in the very low teens: not exactly optimal. OmniGroup assures us this driver issue is known by both ATI and Apple, and both companies are working to resolve it as we speak. Those with AGP Radeons and FAKK2 can look forward to instant gratification, however -- the Cocoa version of this game is extremely impressive, with no sound problems, a rock-solid frame rate and even scroll wheel support. Hopefully we will see a solution in an upcoming update to OS X, as it will likely affect other 3D apps for those with PCI Radeons. We'll keep you posted as any permanent solutions become available. The final version of this Cocoa port should arrive in the near future.
Download F.A.K.K.2 Beta 2 for OS X
machines and in some cases with G4 machines. Apparently Mac OS X will
send garbage to the PCI Radeons on a non-Altivec machines.
You can try turning off compiled vertex arrays (you will take a
performance hit, of course), but setting 'r_ext_compiled_vertex_array 0'
in your config file.
OmniGroup Web Site
IMG News: OS X Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2 Solutions, Problems
Gathering of Developers
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2
More Red Faction Info
8:52 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
The official Red Faction website has been updated once again with a new screenshot and weapon of the week. For those as of yet unfamiliar with this title, RF is an upcoming FPS, created by Volition, that is introducing several new play elements in hopes of revitalizing the aging FPS genre.
This week's featured weapon is the Precision Rifle, which is basically the sniper rifle for this game. Known fully as the MK/SG-1 Defender Precision Rifle, this weapon uses 20 round clips and explosive ammo. The alternate fire for this one is much like sniper rifles from other FPS games - it goes to scope mode and allows a player to zoom in for long-range accuracy shots.
The screenshot of the week shows a player engaged in multiplayer combat, targeting a bot with the Precision Rifle, which should answer the question for players wondering whether or not there'll be bot support. There's also a clock pictured in the lower left-hand corner, presumably indicating how much time is left in the game, which would be a welcome feature for those that have to flip back and forth between a status screen and the actual game in other FPS multiplayer games in order to check the time. More of RF's graphical detail is also shown, with the walls sporting realistic rust stains and bots on an upper catwalk clearly visible through the grating.
Red Faction Official Site - News
Work on the PC and Mac versions of Red Faction seems to be proceeding apace. Red Faction is currently scheduled for release in the late 3rd quarter/early 4th quarter. For more info, be sure to check out the official website.
8:25 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
A new interview with Jeff Tunnell, president of GarageGames, has been posted at GameSpot recently. Tunnell discusses his new company, made up of mostly former Dynamix employees, which is working to release the Tribes 2 engine (called V12) for only $100 a license. This is brand new idea in a world where modern 3D engines will run developers anywhere from 100-250 thousand dollars. The catch is that GarageGames gets the first chance to publish any titles that come out of the deal. And if the game is good (or big) enough, it may even get handed off to Sierra. Here's a clip with Tunnell explaining what he thinks is a realistic schedule for the engine:
GS: When do you expect the first GarageGames games to be released? Can you tell us anything about the games themselves? Have you started working on any new in-house games? It's a startling concept, but Mac gamers might be even more interested because of the porting possibilities. In previous discussions with Tunnell, IMG has confirmed they are already talking with Mac developers about the possibility of porting solutions.
JT: We will release the V12 "real soon now" (see the site for updates). From there it will take at least six months for games to be released that will be fun to play, and six months from there before we have any games that are worthy of making money. We don't know what kind of games developers will make, but we are looking forward to creative projects that publishers would not take on.
GarageGames Web Site
Nothing official has been announced yet in any form, but it's a possibility we're hoping might bloom into a Tribes 2 port for the Mac. And extending the analogy even further -- Mac compatibility built into V12 may mean a host of new independent games could be playable as well. This is all speculation at this point, but we'll be sure to bring you more information as V12 gets closer to release.
Jeff Tunnell Q&A at GameSpot
Diablo II Media Mania
8:12 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Since the beta for the Diablo II expansion has opened to a wider number of people the web has been flooded with new information, impressions, and screen shots of this Lord of Destruction add-on. We though it would be easiest to wrap up all of this isometric RPG goodness into one, easy-to-swallow story.
If you're looking for new media, there have been a host of new screen shots of the game made available of late. PC.IGN has a few new ones, as well as RPG Planet, who have made an entire 'pictoral preview' out of new images. It's a nice quick way to preview the game, so give it a look. New gameplay movies are also available at GameSpot if you're tired of static images. These eight MPEGs range from about 9-15MB a piece, so those with higher bandwidth should consider giving them a once-over.
The impressions also begin at GameSpot, where they dish out many new details on what has changed in this add-on. Not only has Blizzard added two new characters and a fifth Act, the company is also tweaking many skills and characters to better balance the original game. They also talk about the many new items, socketed weapons, and resolution change to 800x600. Here's a clip:
It's been reported previously that one of the big changes introduced in Lord of Destruction is a technical enhancement to the game, which will let you play it at an 800x600 resolution, rather than Diablo II's (and Diablo's) fixed 640x480 resolution. It takes no time to get accustomed to this change, though the improvements it yields are instantly noticeable. You get to see more onscreen, and yet the characters remain large enough to be easily discernible. The new, less obtrusive minimap option (which can replace the full-screen automap overlay) also works great. The higher resolution makes all the characters in Diablo II look sharper and makes the 3D-like parallax scrolling effect of the isometric terrain even more pronounced.And lastly, another quick look at the title has been posted at GamePen. They give a more general look at the game along with some excited reporting on what's new and exciting in the expansion. While the new Assassin and Druid classes will be much talked about, the mercenaries are now much more powerful as well. Here's an excerpt explaining more:
The biggest and best improvement is the new revamping of NPC hirelings. Now, you can equip them with weapons and armor, and heal them during battle. Morever, they can be resurrected when killed with all of their items intact. You have actually have someone to give hand-me-down items to. For example, my hireling Amplisa has a triple-sapphire bow (which gives her 3-9 additional cold damage), some good leather armor, and a magic cap that increases attack damage. She now kicks ass, and the one time she was killed, she was resurrected for a mere 1,600 gold. As Blizzard says, "Hirelings aren't just paid mercenaries-they are co-adventurers. They fully share experience for their kills with you and your party, and they receive a smaller share of experience for monsters that you or your party members kill." They even follow you from act to act, so Amplisa, whom I received as a reward in Act I, can follow me to the bitter end! It looks like there will be much for Diablo II fans to love in the add-on. With the stress test fully underway now, the final version is expected out this summer.
Screen Shots at PC.IGN
GameSpot Preview of Diablo II: LoD
Pictoral Preview at RPG Planet
GamePen Preview of Diablo II: LoD
Gameplay Movies at GameSpot
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
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