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Thursday, May 10, 2001

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Max Payne E3 Info, Images
9:29 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Gathering of Developers has posted a new section on their web site which focuses individually on each of their titles which wll be shown at the upcoming E3 event later this month. It began on May 8 with Max Payne, though it wasn't very applicable to Mac gamers until yesterday, when MacSoft suddenly announced they were bringing the title (and many other Gathering projects) to the Mac themselves. The quick preview contains just basic game information and some quite amazing new screen shots. Be sure to head over and have a look to see what you will be enjoying. Here's a clip from the game text with more info:

Everything ripped apart in a New York minute... Max Payne is a man with nothing to lose in the violent, cold urban night. A fugitive undercover cop framed for murder, and now hunted by cops and the mob. Max is a man with his back against the wall, fighting a battle he cannot hope to win. Prepare for a new breed of deep action game. Prepare for pain...
The Remedy site has more infomation on the game, and stay tuned to IMG to bring you new information as it becomes available. It's unknown at this point who will be porting the game or any timeline on its release, but we'll keep you posted.

IMG News: MacSoft to Publish Tropico, Max Payne, Myth III, and More
Gathering of Developers E3 Preview
Max Payne Web Site
Remedy Entertainment
Westlake Interactive
Max Payne
Buy Max Payne

New Westlake Project, E3 Announcement?
4:28 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

An update to the Westlake Interactive project status page shows a new
blip on the radar for this excellent Mac porting house. The new title is in early development with a code name
of "Peroxide" for those gamers trying to guess what it might be. The name sure
has us stumped, so if you've got any ideas, shout them out in our forum. The other
"Unnamed" project is also still on the list and listed in the prototype development

Mathieu Lopez of the French site MacGameZone recently contacted
Westlake's Mark Adams in hopes of getting a hint as to what their unrevealed
games might be. Not surprisingly, Mark couldn't answer, but he did hint that
the upcoming E3 event might shed some light on the situation:

It'll hopefully be announced around E3 (or shortly after). Can't say any more :)
Mark was able to confirm the project was *not* the newly announced Max Payne
from MacSoft. IMG will be scouring E3 for all kinds of information, so
stay tuned for more on Westlake's hidden treasures in the near future.

MacGameZone.net Web Site
Westlake Interactive Project Status Page

Meggs on New Myth 3 Publisher, Progress
12:30 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A helpful reader pointed us towards the fan site MythWolfAge.com, which is reporting on posts made by Mumbo Jumbo developer Andrew Meggs following the news of the sudden shift of the publishing rights for Mac Myth III: The Wolf Age from Gathering of Developers to Mac-only publisher MacSoft. Myth III: The Wolf age is the third title in a well-respected real-time tactical combat series with a fantasy setting. The first two titles were developed by Bungie, but this third version is being produced by Take Two Interactive, which purchased the rights to this title as well as Oni last year.

Meggs' comments are in response to questions posed by MythWolfAge forum posters who were very curious (and in some cases suspicious) about this sudden split between Mac and PC publishers, as the game was formerly planned to be a hybrid release by Gathering of Developers. Here are Meggs comments on how publishing will work now, after the MacSoft acquisition:

: So does this mean there wont be a joint launch?

Obviously there won't be a hybrid CD anymore. :( The game will go gold on the same date for both platforms, but at that point it's a race between the manufacturing and distribution capabilities of Take 2 and MacSoft.

He also answers an unrelated question about editing tools for this game; unfortunately it seems those of you who are polishing your Fear and Loathing skills might have a new tool to learn:
: Will fear/loathing still be available on Mac?

Fear and Loathing will still be on the Total Codex CD, but that's it. Editing Myth 3 will involve a new thing we call Vengeance, which is in no way a reference to any dealings any Myth 3 team members may have had with a former Chicago-based company. Vengeance is built with a modified version of a cross-platform library called YAAF (see www.yaaf.org), which allows us to sit in CodeWarrior and with a single click generate functionally equivalent versions for both Mac and Windows from the same source code.

Note that Meggs does not state that this tool will be made publicly available, as Fear and Loathing were. In light of the huge popularity and extended life of Myth I and II mod and map making, it seems very likely that some form of tool will be produced, however.

And finally, Meggs makes a curious comment that manages to both clear the air and further cloud the situation regarding the highly unusual arrangement of companies under Take Two and Gathering of Developers. Don't blame us if his description leaves your head spinning:

My email ends in ritual.com, my paycheck is signed by United Developers, my last trade show badge said MacPlay, our voice mail used to have bad days when it said, "Thank you for calling ParSoft," and the Baldur's Gate II port and the Myth 3 development are both contracted to Mumbo Jumbo at an office where every single programmer comes from Contraband. It's just business as usual in a very incestuous industry.
We'll take his word for it. In related news, he provides a status update on the game's development:
We're very much on track (in fact, AHEAD of schedule) to finish the game by our October 1 deadline. At that point the process of manufacturing and distribution begins -- the fastest I've seen a publisher get something onto shelves was three days after it was final, and that was with GoD, so I'd expect a fairly fast turnaround for at least the PC version. No idea what MacSoft will do.
October may seem ages away, but this is an extremely fast development schedule for an A-list title. We expect much more about this revision of a now-classic series to be revealed at E3 late next week, so stay tuned to IMG for full coverage of the event.

Official Myth III: The Wolf Age Web Site

Ken Dyke on OS X 2D Acceleration
9:44 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ken Dyke, a former programmer with 3dfx and currently working for Apple as an OpenGL engineer, has posted some comments in xlr8yourmac's forum regarding graphics card acceleration for OS X's Quartz API. The article is laced with technical jargon, but does sum it up simply for those that just want to know what it means. Those of you who have complained about the speed of the Finder of OS X and slow window redraw will find his comments both enlightening and depressing. While this isn't game related, the underlying mechanics of the OS are pretty fascinating, we think you'll agree.

Here's a clip for the techies:

The Quartz/CoreGraphics imaging model is essentially the same as PDF/PostScript, and makes heavy use of Bezier curves. There are no GPUs out there that can rasterize PostScript/PDF paths, so the CPU is at the very least stuck with the burden of rasterizing an alpha mask that represents the anti-aliased shape of the path you are trying to draw. Given such an alpha mask you might be able to use it as a texture to then render a character glyph or whatever else you're trying to draw.
Here's the summation of it all, for casual and expert gamers alike:
With Quartz, a huge leap in 2D image quality was raised (for better or worse), and we've once again surpassed what the current generation of graphics hardware is capable of dealing with.

Over time I suspect we'll see GPUs that do more of what Quartz needs, but right now they simply don't exist.

Interesting news, to be sure. It's nice that Apple managed to raise the bar substantially in terms of 2D graphics, but it's a shame that current GPUs (the processors of graphics cards) can't fully support it. As Dyke so accurately puts it, it's "for better or worse." Be sure to check out the link below for the full post.

xlr8yourmac.com - Ken Dyke's Thoughts on OSX 2D

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Myst III FAQ Notes Mac OS X Development
9:35 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ubisoft has recently updated their Myst III: Exile Tech Support FAQ with new information regarding the optimization of Myst III for OS X. Here's the quote straight from the page:

[Q] - I have a Macintosh with OS10. The game won't run. Why?

[A] - We are currently working with Apple to insure that the updated, OS10 native application includes all the fixes and optimizations necessary. This should be completed by the end of May. Try running the game in "Emulator Mode" under OS10.

Naturally, "Emulator Mode" most likely refers to Classic mode on OS X. Needless to say, this is great news, particularly for those aching to try a new title on OS X. Let's hope that the target completion date holds true.

The FAQ also discusses many issues related to troubleshooting the performance and behavior of this game, so make sure you give it a throrough read if you are having problems of any kind.

Myst III Exile Technical Support FAQ
Myst III: Exile
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Harpoon 3 Warning For OS X Gamers
9:26 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Harpoon 3, a naval combat simulation game by Jesse Spears, was recently Carbonized to run under OS X. However, Spears has updated his Harpoon 3 page with new news regarding running H3 under OS X. Simply put, don't do it. It does some "very nasty things," including inciting a kernel panic. Here's his write-up:

Briefly, the OSX native version is going to take some more work. It apparently does some very, very nasty things...and I even caused a "kernel panic" one time :-P

I've sent off another file to the Carbon Dater to see what I've missed. I got all the stuff that caused compile or link errors (and warnings), but I know there's some stuff that will compile, but now works differently. I'll let you know more when I know more.

Spears also mentions that people using OS X can use the Classic version, which runs faster than the Carbon or Native version does under OS 9.1.

Harpoon 3 Info Page

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More Info on Tropico Development
9:23 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Phil Steinmeyer, the head of PopTop Software, has updated his column on Computer Games Online with more insight into the last hours of development working on Tropcio, PopTop's recently-released island management sim. Titled Inside The Sausage Factory, Steinmeyer's column tends to focus on game development in general, and is a good read for those who design games or are interested in working in the field.

One of the problems Steinmeyer addressed late in the game was a common obstacle: making the game run acceptably on lower-end PCs, particularly in the realm of graphics and animations. He also discusses last-minute art additions, including an "Archeological Dig" event, and points out a quirk in the various types of tourists which appear on beaches.

The development of the box art and ad campaign are also hashed out in his article:

I really liked the result. Brian, and some of the other artists in the office, didn't really like it. We sent it to marketing folks at a number of Take 2 offices and got mixed responses. Germany loved it. The U.S. guys were ambivalent. For a while, it looked like we'd be making two versions of the box, one with the general for Germany, one without for the U.S. However, with a little more work on cleaning up the image, and a little more time to let it sink in, we seem to have come to a rough consensus in favor of the general all-around for the packaging. If you see the box in stores with island-only and no general, you'll know we've changed our minds again.
The "back-and-forth" nature of the responses should give gamers a general idea of how game development can sometimes take place.

Though the article does contain its share of technobabble, again, it is an extremely good read for anyone interested in the inner workings of game development. Steinmeyer is a respected name in the industry, and his advice is worth noting.

Tropico for the Mac has recently been picked up by MacSoft for publication, as noted by IMG in yesterday's article. There is no solid word yet on when the game will be released, though the estimate seems to be around the middle of summer. IMG will be sure to keep readers up-to-date when we get more news on the subject.

IMG - MacSoft to Publish Several Titles
Computer Games Online - Inside the Sausage Factory
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

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Escape from Monkey Island Patch Released
9:20 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has updated their site with new patch for Escape from Monkey Island. This brings the game to version 1.1.1 and fixes the Jambalaya Beach problems noted here in IMG's news earlier in the week. Programmer Jesse Spears has mentioned there might be another quick update following this one to address some other issues, but for now here's the scoop from Westlake's site:

A new patch for Escape From Monkey Island is now available. The patch fixes two problems on Jambalaya Beach and is recommended for all Monkey Island players. Note that you must have Escape From Monkey Island CD 2 in your CD-ROM drive for the Updater to succeed. For more information, consult the Read Me text when you double-click the Updater.
Those are slightly odd instructions, so make sure to read the install proceedures carefully before applying the patch. At under 800k, it should be an easy download for anyone to make.

IMG Review of Escape from Monkey Island
IMG News: Monkey Island 4 Troubleshooting, Patch Soon
Westlake Info on Patch
Download Escape from Monkey Island 1.1.1 Patch (795k)
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 9, 2001

MacSoft to Publish Tropico, Max Payne, Myth III, and More3:10 PM
Apple Previews Emergency Room 31:08 PM
Captain Bumper 1.0 Released12:56 PM
Game Doctor May Prescriptions Available12:32 PM
Myst III Exile Sound, 3dfx Issues10:37 AM
New Game Company Pledges Mac Support9:51 AM
Interview with Giants: Citizen Kabuko's Ken Capelli9:34 AM
World War II Online Preview, Interview9:17 AM
Mac Doom Legacy Updates for OS 9, X9:11 AM
OS X F.A.K.K.2, PCI Radeon Issues Revisited9:08 AM
More Red Faction Info8:52 AM
GarageGames Q&A8:25 AM
Diablo II Media Mania8:12 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 9, 2001 on one page

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Tuesday, May 8, 2001
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