Deimos Rising in Beta, New Media
9:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Ambrosia Software, makers of many excellent Mac shareware titles, have updated the Deimos Rising page with new screen shots and movies of this arcade sequel in action. The three QuickTime videos are a very manageable size at 2-3MB a piece, and the screen shots are worth a look as well. The game's progress logs have been updated with word that Deimos Rising is now officially in beta testing. While a new build is already expected out soon for internal testers, it's great to hear the title is progressing.
For those who missed out on the original, known as Mars Rising, both titles are a trip back in time to the arcade style of game known as the "scrolling shooter." Taking hints from games such as Xevious and Twin Cobra, Deimos Rising cranks the venerable arcade genre up a notch with gorgeous 16-bit graphics, advanced special effects and complex enemy AI and event scripting.
Here's the quick update:
Deimos Rising has finally entered Beta testing!Head over now to have a look at the new media for the game. While testing may last a while, we hope to see something before the end of the year.
Testing proceeds very well indeed, with few technical problems found. In response to tester suggestions, some changes are being made to gameplay elements and we should be going to Beta 2 shortly, where we will be concentrating more on making the game fun and tweaking the difficulty curve.
Deimos Rising Progress Logs
Deimos Rising Beta Media
Massive Look at Neverwinter Nights
2:45 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
CGO has posted a two-part look at the upcoming 3D RPG Neverwinter Nights. This long preview tries to pin down what you have to look forward to with this video game recreation of pen-and-paper D&D. Neverwinter Nights even adheres to the new 3rd edition D&D rule set, though some modifications and changes were necessary in the translation to the computer monitor. Here's an except that serves as a good explanation for what this title entails:
The concept that would grow into Neverwinter Nights was both completely new and strikingly familiar—each player would have one character, his or her alter ego in the game. You would play in groups of virtually any size (64 players is currently the maximum), although a modest group of four to eight players would probably work best. Although a complete and balanced set of mechanics (ruleset) would drive the game, it would not limit it. Groups of players would be encouraged to devise their own house rules, and to add a human touch, there would even be a human Dungeon Master who could opt to oversee the game. This guardian could throw in a curve ball from time to time, and step in whenever a player decides to improvise. And speaking of improvising, the Dungeon Master would have to be able to create new content—new adventure modules—to keep things interesting.The preview explains in detail the game's system of modules. 30 pre-made scenarios will let you easily jump into a game, though creating your own will also be highly recommended. Much of the preview covers this ability to create your own 'dungeon,' with the second part exclusively looking at the scripting in the game. RPG fans will definitely want to head over and read through both parts of the preview. Neverwinter Nights has no official release date, though a Mac version is expected to be released around the same time as the PC release this winter.
Neverwinter Nights Preview at CGO, Part 1
Neverwinter Nights Preview at CGO, Part 2
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Max Payne Interview
2:05 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
The German site MP Zone has translated an interview with members of the team from Remedy about their work on the upcoming shooter Max Payne. The chat covers topics such as their inspirations for the game, the difficulties of a four-year development cycle, and the trouble of developing your own graphics engine. Max Payne is set in New York, and you take on the alter ego of an undercover cop running from both the mob and the law. It's a third-person shooter, but other special features like 'bullet time' will allow you to slow down the environment to get out of sticky situations. Much has been made of this game's action movie/John Woo-like visuals, so here's a clip explaining more:
Q:There are a lot of (action)movielike elements in Max Payne. Does the game work as a bridge between games and movies, or is one of the games goals to bring the depth of a movie's story to the world of games, where the lack of a proper story is common?The rest of the interview is worth a read if you're excited that MacSoft will be bringing this fast-paced title to the Mac. While development has yet to begin on the port, we'll hopefully bring you more details on any progress in the near future.
Max Payne Interview
A:Storytelling is one of the reasons we wanted to do things movie-like. In our team there are a lot of gamers who are fed up with missing and/or lacking storylines. In Max Payne, we try to tell one story as good as possible. Another one of the reasons is movielike effects and camera-action. They aren't common in games and they help to create a meaningful experience for the player.
The main idea in development has been the thought of wanting to awaken different feelings in the players(fear, anxiety etc.) like a movie might do. The style has been mostly film noir. We've also taken influence from John Woo's movies and other movies, like the Matrix.
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IMG Talks Summoner with Volition's Mark Allender
9:56 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story
IMG has recently chatted with Mark Allender of Volition about the upcoming 3D RPG Summoner. Mark is the one largely responsible for bringing the game to the Mac. He's been a long-time proponent of the platform, having worked on other titles which came to the Mac OS such as Descent and Descent II as well. In the interview, Mark discusses the decision to bring Summoner to the Mac, some of their trouble with the port, and even hints towards the future of their titles on Mac OS X. Here's a clip:
IMG: Was it a challenge making Summoner's multiplayer aspect cross-platform?Definitely head over and have a read through the rest of the interview for more good information on Summoner. The game is very close to completion now and will be published for the Mac by GraphSim. Check out our recent preview of the game for more info.
IMG Interview with Mark Allender
Mark Allender: It wasn't very hard. The hardest part was writing Open Transport code to replace the socket code that we had in place for the Windows platform. Almost all of the high level multiplayer code worked without modification, but it was designed that way from the beginning.
IMG: Have there been any major obstacles in the porting of Summoner to the Mac OS?
Mark Allender: A few. We've encountered bugs in both the video drivers and features that haven't quite been implemented yet in Apple's GL engine. Actually, the biggest obstacles were not the porting of sound, networking, and graphics code (although those were challenging), but getting the game to work across a wide variety of Macintosh platforms. Sprinkle in a few machine specific problems, and there were indeed a few bumps.
IMG Preview of Summoner
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Diablo II Q&A with Blizzard's Bill Roper
8:23 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
A new interview with Blizzard's famous PR-man Bill Roper has been posted at PC Zone. They take a look back at Diablo II, discussing the things they might have done differently, how they were caught flat-footed by it's online popularity, and what he's most proud of in the game. There's even an interesting question about the possibility of a persistent online world, though it doesn't sound like they'll be making any announcements of that nature in the near future:
If you talk to anybody in the industry, you'll find that this is kind of the Holy Grail, making a game with a persistent world, where anyone can jump in at any point and then just jump out again when they've had enough. Doing this would definitely be a shift from what we've done in the past, because if you want to do it well, you have to maintain it, even after the product shifts. Head over and read through the interview for the rest of the scoop from Roper. Also stay tuned for more information on the Diablo II expansion pack, Lord of Destruction, set to be released for Mac and PC sometime this summer.
PC Zone Interview with Bill Roper
This is why it makes sense for people to pay a monthly fee for a game like EverQuest, because you have to maintain a team of 15-20 people who work on providing new content. It's the only way to make the experience worthwhile. It's a different model to what we've done before, and while this wouldn't necessarily scare us off, we'd have to sit down and have a look at how we could do it.
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7:55 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
PCRave recently posted an interview with Michael Hara, VP of the 3D chip maker NVIDIA. In the Q&A, Hara answers questions about their latest GeForce 3 technology, how it might be affected by the presense of the GeForce 2, and even discusses how Apple fits into the picture. While NVIDIA's cards are available as options in PowerMacs today, ATi still has a foothold in Apple's consumer and portable machines. It seems NVIDIA might be trying to change that:
PCRave: Apple’s Steve Jobs has stated that NVIDIA GeForce3 will be available in their made to order iMac systems as well as the GeForce2 MX. The Macintosh market has traditionally been a niche market in terms of number of units sold when compared to PCs. The majority of graphics card sales are driven by gamers, hardware enthusiasts, and OEM design wins. With Apple’s closed architecture and weak gaming market, how will NVIDIA compete against an already well-established ATI in this space?While it is true the company is making a big move towards the Mac, current driver issues and an ingrained reliance on ATI will make this an uphill battle for NVIDIA. Head over and have a read through the rest of the interview for a better idea of where NVIDIA plans to move next.
IMG Feature: Flashing a PC GeForce 2 MX
Mike Hara: The essence of the Macintosh is a rich, multimedia user experience. In fact, Apple’s and NVIDIA’s visions are very much aligned. We are both dedicated and driven to deliver rich, multimedia experiences on computing platforms. We are working hard to develop products that exemplify the Apple vision. Apple is dedicated to deliver this at every price point, for every form factor. NVIDIA is the only company capable of doing this today for Apple. More importantly, the Macintosh market is demanding NVIDIA graphics. At both the San Francisco and Tokyo MacWorlds, Steve’s introduction of the GeForce2 MX and GeForce3 were met with standing ovations.
IMG Feature: Radeon vs. GeForce 2 MX
NVIDIA Interview with Michael Hara at PCRave
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World War II Online Update, Mac Delay
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
A lengthy new development update has been posted to the official World War II Online site, giving out details on the impending release of this massively multiplayer war sim. Among the update is a post from a few of the developers at Cornered Rat, as well as a short like of Frequently Asked Questions. It seems the Mac version is on par with the PC, though a snag in distribution will hold it up beyond the June 6 date mentioned before. Here's a clip:
Will the Macintosh version be available on June 6th?The developers seem both happy at the tremendous response they've been getting, along with a little anxious about the current state of the game. With such a huge undertaking (and hefty system requirements), there are of course going to be some bugs and glitches in the server. The team also plans to add new content and keep upgrading the clients in the game for better performance. Here's an excerpt:
Although the Macintosh version of WWII Online was completed simultaneously with the PC version, it will not be available in retail outlets until after June 6th. A retail distribution agreement has been reached however we do not have a firm date for availability at the time of this update. We will be announcing availability in the coming days.
This release represents the very best efforts of our development team under the timelines we faced. It is the first step on journey towards delivering all the function and features we'd like to see- and we think you would too. I'd rather it was perfect before we stuck it out there but we can't sit on it forever. We can't sit on it at all. The upside is, as MO mentioned earlier…we're in a business where the game's never finished, and updates are part and parcel of the way we do things. The game WILL improve as time goes on…more features will be added, more theaters…more vehicles…and more polish.We'll keep digging and bring you any new word on the Mac version that becomes available. Read our previous story on the game to find out if your system measures up to this RAM-eating WWII simulation.
IMG News: Mac WWII Online Features Stiff System Requirements
I think the game's pretty damned good as it sits. I hope you all will find it as good, and I hope you'll stick with us as we work to complete…or build on…that vision we had a couple years ago, of what the world's first virtual battlefield ought to be.
World War II Online Dev Update
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