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Friday, May 11, 2001

Four Escape Velocity Nova Movies Posted
11:40 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The upcoming projects section of the Ambrosia Software web site has been updated with four small movies of Escape Velocity Nova in action, revealing for the first time the many new special effects and engine enhancements that should make this sequel a treat for both fans and first-timers. While the EV Nova beta screen shots page cautions that the graphics and sounds in these movies are not "final" (as the game is still in development) they reveal a radical change in appearance from the tiny sprites and 8-bit graphics of the previous incarnations of the EV series. Ships can now vary from tiny to colossal in size, and various 16-bit graphic effects such as alpha blending, transparency and lighting are revealed.

According to the latest developer update, this title is still in Alpha status (1.0.0a2) despite the name of the screen shots page. The game is expected to be released at the end of 2001, and will be Carbonized for Mac OS X. Follow the link below to check out the movies and read more information on this highly-anticipated Ambrosia release.

Escape Velocity Nova Movies, Images
Ambrosia Software Upcoming Projects

Starfleet Command 2 Interview
10:33 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Black Ops Station recently had the chance to interview Jinxx, a programmer for Taldren, a company responsible for the PC version of Starfleet Command 2. MacPlay will be bringing this title to the Mac OS this fall.

The interview itself is a little scattershot, and tends to talk about the game in terms of readers already being fairly familiar with it. Nevertheless, some general details can still be gleaned from it.

One of the main points the interview seems to focus on is the involvement of the community regarding the development of SFC2. Jinxx mentions that quite a few letters reach him, both hostile and polite, and that he takes the time to peruse all of them. He also mentions that mods, player models, and the like are always encouraged and supported whenever possible.

Also mentioned are the "Dynaverse II" servers. After doing some digging, it appears that Dynaverse II servers are player-maintained servers that allow multiplayer play for SFC2. They are highly modifiable, with players able to control ship costs, how economy affects the overall game, even/uneven battles, and other such factors. Jinxx mentions that he is still waiting for the Dynaverse II servers to be released, although it sounds like many players already have theirs up and running.

The interview also goes into Jinxx's relationship with Taldren, as well as asks his thoughts on some other related games and issues. For the full story, head over to Black Ops.

Starfleet 2 Command Report
Black Ops - Jinxx Interview

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Battle.net Terms of Use FAQ Updated
9:55 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blizzard has recently updated their Battle.net Terms of Use FAQ in response to the many player inquiries and complaints regarding the recent update of Diablo II, Blizzard's RPG hit, to version 1.06.

In a previous article, IMG mentioned that Diabloitems.net was boycotting the new update due to the fact that it asked users to agree to allow Blizzard to scan their computers and transfer data. The FAQ addresses this issue specifically, mentioning that except for transmission of the CD Key, user name, and password, nothing else gets recorded, stored, or used.

Blizzard stresses that the main reason for the change was to discourage further attempts at online cheating. As they put it:

Due to certain inappropriate actions that have taken place over time on the part of certain members of our user community, we felt that changes were necessary to more effectively manage the Battle.net experience.
Interestingly enough, in another portion of the FAQ, Blizzard mentions that they do obtain certain demographic information:
Additionally, Section 9(iv) of the Terms of Use Agreement allow Blizzard to obtain certain "non-personal" data from your Internet browsing software in order to make certain demographic assumptions regarding the users of Battle.net, if permitted by local law. The purpose of being able to gather this "non-personal" information is to be able to more effectively align Blizzard's product system specifications with our customer's system specifications and also to be able to better tailor the Battle.net experience to our customer's preferences.
This would indicate more than the CD key, username, and password could potentially be scanned.

For those that wish to look into it for themselves, the FAQ is available at the link below. There's also a link provided to IMG's earlier article regarding the boycott if players wish to get more information regarding this issue.

Battle.net - Terms of Use FAQ
Diablo II Protest
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

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Neverwinter Nights Interview
9:41 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, founders of Bioware, were recently interviewed by Computer Games Online with the focus on their upcoming RPG Neverwinter Nights. Following their string of successful D&D conversions, including the famed Baldur's Gate series, NWN takes the next logical step by allowing players to create and command their own senarios, effectively becoming online Dungeon Masters.

As far as creating senarios goes, the Bioware team is making sure that the construction tools are completely scalable according to the user. A casual user could create a map and drop in monsters quite easily and quickly. More advanced users who wish to affect the game at a deeper level can take advantage of the scripting language to implement more complex commands. The file formats will also be left open, meaning that players will be able to do things like create custom art and textures, though Muzkya mentions that it won't be easy. The toolset will also allow for something Zeschuk terms "hackpacks," which allow hacks to be enabled. There are also conventions for expansion packs so that NWN can be officially or unofficially expanded at any time.

One of the interesting parts about the Dungeon Master aspect of the game is that, if desired, a live Dungeon Master doesn't have to be present in order for the game to run. The computer AI is more than capable of running an adventure, particularly if the senario is well-scripted by the creator. The DM doesn't have to be present on site either if they wish to run a game - any client can remote-DM when connecting to a server.

Almost frighteningly, NWN can potentially be without end regarding senario sizes. When asked about the number of areas that can be linked together, Zeschuk replies that it's simply an issue of memory. Theoretically, a player could create a bottomless dungeon if desired. Players in a party can also split up and go their own separate ways if need be, again with the only real limitation being memory.

For D&D players out there, the question about level caps was asked. Zeschuk and Muzyka that it's exactly the same as in the 3rd edition rules. The rules for higher-level characters are also included.

The rest of the interview goes into even greater depth regarding NWN details, and even reminices a bit on the old title Adventure Construction Set for the Apple II. Anyone interested in NWN information should definitely check it out, as it is a well-done piece. There is no solid release date yet on any version of this title, other than sometime this year, but Muzyka mentions that the game is currently in the latter stages of the "implementation" phase, meaning that actual content is being created. The next phase will be the QA and testing phase.

Computer Games Online - Neverwinter Nights Interview
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Myth World Cup 2001
9:03 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The time of year for Myth fans has arrived again, it's time for all Myth clans and players to battle it out in this year's Myth World Cup 2001. Clans and teams will have to battle it out against up to 96 different and deadly opponents. Rule and requirements are already posted on the official site for the contest, and registration has already begun:

It's that time of year again! Dust off your swords, shields, and keyboards,
'cause the Myth World Cup is back for 2001. The MWC is traditionally the
largest and most intense Myth tournament of the year, and we've been working
since late December to make this one the most fun yet.

Registration will open Friday, May 11th at 12:00 PM eastern and conclude
once we reach our target of either 64 or 96 teams (depending on how
interested the community is). Once we see how fast registration is filling
up, we'll announce a starting date for the actual games - probably the third
or fourth week in May.

Teams reaching the finals will play for various prizes, which are not yet revealed. See the site for more information.

Bungie Software
Myth World Cup 2001 Official site
IMG Myth II: Soulblighter Review

MacGameFiles CD March/April 2001 Released
9:02 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Our sister site, Macgamefiles.com, has released a new a CD entitled "MacGameFiles CD - March/April 2001". It includes just about every demo, shareware, updates, movies and more released on Macgamefiles.com from the month of March and April. Here's a partial listing of the files included:


Clan Lord 179

Cro-Mag Rally™ Demo

X-Plane 5.66

Young's Modulus 2.20

and much more...


3D Brick Bash! 2

Avernum 2 v1.0.2

Bambini 1.1

Bob's Bricks Millenium Ed 1.0.1

Brickball 1.0

Bushfire 1.0.7

Captain Bumper 1.0

Dirt Bike 3D 1.6

Domitrix 1.1

glTron 0.61

glTron for OS X

i-mill 1.0.5

ichiGo 1.0b1

JewelToy 1.1.1 for OS X

Legendary Lair

Mac DoomLegacy 1.0


MacSolitaire 1.2.1

macyunsofts SNAKE

macyunsofts ZADOR

Mystery Island II 1.0

Qube 1.0

Reckless Drivin 1.3

and much more...

The CD contains a lot more. A complete listing is available at the IMG web store and is available for $9.99 each.

Free Mac OS X Book at WWDC
9:01 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

WWDC 2001 opens with a fireside chat with Apple CEO Steve Jobs,
immediately followed by a session with Avie Tevanian, Senior Vice
President of Software Engineering.

Then, enjoy great food and warm weather at the annual Apple Campus
Bash, held each year at Apple headquarters in Cupertino. Take time
to check out the latest Apple hardware and to mingle with Apple's
hardware and software engineering teams. A quick conversation with
the right engineer could be just what you need to resolve issues
you've been working on for weeks.


Apple Technical Training, the same team that teaches Apple
engineers, invites you to participate in intensive, hands-on
developer training. Attendees can enroll at WWDC and save hundreds
of dollars off each Cocoa and WebObjects course.


"Learning Carbon" and "Learning Cocoa", two new books written by
Apple and published by O'Reilly & Associates, become available for
the first time at WWDC 2001. Apple Developer Connection is excited
to provide each attendee with the opportunity to take home one of
these authoritative Mac OS X volumes as a thank you gift.

For complete details about WWDC 2001 sessions and activities, visit the official WWDC web site. May 21-25 will be here before you know it, so be
sure to purchase your WWDC 2001 e-ticket today!


Interview with Westlake's Mark Adams
8:49 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

iDevGames, the site dedicated to encouraging the development of games for the Mac OS, has just posted a new interview with Mark Adams, president of Westlake Interactive. In the chat Mark answers quite a few questions about porting games to the Mac, the state industry in general and analyzes several new technologies such as OpenAL, OS X, and the GeForce 3 (which they have yet to see). Here's a clip from the Q&A with more info:

Westlake Interactive has been consulting with Apple on how to make Mac OS X the best gaming platform possible. Which areas did you cover with them and are there any you feel still need addressing?

Mostly we talked to Apple about the need for DrawSprocket functionality and input device support. The DrawSprocket issues are much better in 10.0.2, and we're hopeful input devices will also shape up quickly. We've also been talking to Apple on optimization techniques, but often those are less about what needs to change in OS X than about what we need to do differently in our code to run best under X.

Westlake Interactive announced that it would work towards including Mac OS X support "out of the box" for future projects. How long do you think the Mac OS 8/9 "legacy" market will exist and will you continue to support it?

I believe the 8/9 market will still be a factor for at least another couple years. We'll support it as long as our publishers want us to. If one of our publishers wants a X only game, we'd love to do it.

Head on over to iDevGames for much more information from Mark on a variety of topics.

iDevGames Interview with Mark Adams

First Myth III In-Game Shot Available
8:40 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The fan site MythWolfAge.com has scored an anonymous donation which appears to be the very first screen shot of Myth III: The Wolf Age in-game action. While the previous shots were of character renderings with the new polygon engine, this is the first time we've had an clear look at the updated engine drawing the landscape as well. The image depicts a few of the game's fully 3D models moving through some underbrush on the new terrain. Here's a clip from MythWolfAge with a description:

The shot sports three Berserks, two Spearmen, and interesting terrain effects. There is grass in the open areas, and it would appear as if there is some kind of moldy substance on the rock in the rear left. Whether this is the result of impressive texturing (or impressive PhotoShop work) or the new underlying fine terrain mesh is yet to be seen.
If the shot is proves to be genuine, it's a very impressive jump over the level of detail shown by the engine used in the previous two Myth titles. The plants and grass look very well done, and the characters look to be one with the surrounding environment. Head over to have a look now. And stay tuned as Gathering of Developers is expected to preview the game for E3 next week and will likely release more screen shots then.

Myth III is now going to be published for the Mac by MacSoft this November. In forum comments yesterday, programmer Andrew Meggs noted the shift should not affect the simultaneous release and they are in fact ahead of schedule at this point. Much more information on the title should be available at E3 later this month.

IMG News: Meggs on New Myth 3 Publisher, Progress
MythWolfAge Screen Shot

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World War II Online Images, Status Update
8:28 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The World War II Online site has been busy lately, with the forums buzzing about the open beta and preorders predicting a June 6 release date. Cornered Rat also managed to add two new screen shots to the game's Media page, giving you an impressive look off the wing of a plane in the clouds. A status update has also been given by one of the employees in the forums about where they stand with the game's release.

It sounds like they're working hard to get to a feature-complete version of the game to their closed beta testers. Once this been debugged and the servers tested, they will consider whether they need to open the testing up for more people (similar to Blizzard's 'stress testing' of Diablo II). After that, they are still hoping to have the first scenario, titled Blitzkrieg, released early next month. Here's the scoop:

The guys are camping at work, some waking up in there offices in the morning even. :)

Were locking down a version to get to the beta folks that has a ton of new features, and will be the basis for release.

As soon as that's decently complete and stable, hopefully a matter of days, we have to decide how many to add to a short open beta if it doesn't take too many days, pray for quick debugging.

The hardware is in place, the software is getting very close.

We will need to do some serious load testing and it's our intent to do that very soon, and get released in early June.

Were fighting time and business issues, and doing our best, and hopefully we can give all of ya an experience like the ones Hatch posted from our beta testers.

While there is no Mac-specific information there, we've heard Mac clients are in the current closed beta now. We're still trying to pull some specific requirements from the company, but as you can see, they're quite busy at this point. Stay tuned to IMG for more information as the title nears completion next month.

World War II Online Forum Thread
World War II Online Screen Shots
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Mac Games News for Thursday, May 10, 2001

New Westlake Project, E3 Announcement?4:28 PM
Meggs on New Myth 3 Publisher, Progress12:30 PM
Ken Dyke on OS X 2D Acceleration9:44 AM
Myst III FAQ Notes Mac OS X Development9:35 AM
Max Payne E3 Info, Images9:29 AM
Harpoon 3 Warning For OS X Gamers9:26 AM
More Info on Tropico Development9:23 AM
Escape from Monkey Island Patch Released9:20 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, May 10, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, May 9, 2001
Tuesday, May 8, 2001
Monday, May 7, 2001
Friday, May 4, 2001
Thursday, May 3, 2001

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

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