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Monday, June 18, 2001



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Combat Mission 2 Details, Q&A
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpot has posted a very interesting new interview with Big Time Software's Charles Moylan, discussing the upcoming war sim Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin. This is a sequel to the original game which won much acclaim for its 3D graphics, turn-based action, and historical accuracy. The company being an independent developer and only selling the game online makes their success even more impressive.


Combat Mission 2 looks to take on the even larger Eastern Front of World War II from 1941 to the end of the war. The game will feature improved graphics, hundreds of vehicles, and a few gameplay tweaks. Here's an excerpt about the new graphics:

GS: The importance of graphics is sometimes a heated topic of debate among Combat Mission fans. What sorts of graphical improvements will we see in Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, and how do you balance improvements in that sphere versus others?


CM: We're using the same core engine from Combat Mission, but this time with higher-resolution 3D graphics textures. The average person's 3D hardware has advanced since we released Combat Mission, so we want to take advantage of that. Still, the game is automatically scalable and will even run an 8MB card (though we recommend 32MB), so we won't leave people behind.


We're also planning to add some graphical touches that will give some more "height" to certain terrain types, improve some of the flash/fire graphics, and more.

Considering the original game ran on bare-minimum 3D hardware, it will be intersting to see how this sequel will look. For much more info on the title, be sure to head over and read through the rest of the interview. And if you want more on the original, check out our review of Combat Mission, which has one of the highest reader review averages of any title (9.21/10) so far.

Download Combat Mission Demo
Combat Mission Interview at GameSpot
IMG Review of Combat Mission
Battlefront.com
Combat Mission


MacSoft Ships Pong For Mac
2:12 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacSoft today announced the release of the classic remake of Pong. Featuring stylish 3-D graphics, Pong takes the old game to a new level. Here's the MacSoft press release:

Minneapolis, MN, June 12, 2001 – Pong™…like you’ve never seen it before! MacSoft, a leading publisher of entertainment software for the Mac and a label of Infogrames, Inc. (Nasdaq: IFGM) has taken the game to a whole new level.


“The first game of head-to-head competition is back and better than ever,” says Cindy Swanson, MacSoft Marketing Manager. “We’re excited to bring such a well-known game and classic property to Mac gamers.”
The addictive game that started it all is now an incredible 3-D experience. MacSoft’s Pong features stunning graphics, one of a kind game environments and multiple new worlds of fast-paced action where players experience everything from animated penguins to topsy-turvy playing surfaces.


Additional features include:



- Twenty fantastic levels of game play;

- Game enhancing power-ups and secrets;

- Multiplayer action for up to four players that includes numerous cooperative and competitive modes.

Pong was developed by MacSoft in conjunction with Metis International and is available for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

MacSoft


Westlake's Mark Adams on Madden 2002
10:41 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

A few years ago Aspyr Media broke ranks by publishing Madden NFL 2000, a brilliant sports title created by computer sports giants, Electronic Arts. The game, however, failed to meet sales expectations and plans to publish more EA sports titles went by the way side. In a post to the newsgroups, Westlake's Mark Adams, who ported Madden NFL 2000 to the Mac, explains that they tried to bring Madden NFL 2002 to the Mac but in all likelyhood, the title won't see the light of day on the Mac:

Yes, this was true. We really tried to get 2002 to the Mac, but at this point it doesn't look like it will happen. Unfortunately many of the EA Sports games change radically every year, and Madden is one of those. Even in the years where the engine appears to be substantially similar, the underlying code changes quite a bit. One of the hopes for a 2001/2002 Madden for Mac was that we could leverage some of the work from 2000 to make the port come out more quickly and cost less to the publisher. This turns out to not be the case. Basically we end up having 3-4 months to replicate a year worth of PC changes into the Mac version each year.


This coupled with zero international sales for the franchise and lower than projected US sales for 2000 Mac make it very tough to make a case do to 2002.


I wouldn't say the chances are zero- we're still trying to figure out some way to get more EA sports games to the Mac, and who knows, maybe we will find a way. Right now though there are no plans for Madden 2002. We haven't found any magic bullets yet :(

So, keep your fingers crossed, maybe Westlake and Aspyr will figure out a way to bring this promising new game to the Mac, which is due out for the PC sometime this fall.

IMG's Madden NFL 2000 review
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media


IMG Previews Tomb Raider: Chronicles
10:04 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Tomb Raider series of games has been a mainstay on the Mac platform ever since Aspyr Media made it's first big mark on the Mac by porting Tomb Raider II (they eventually released the original Tomb Raider as well). Aspyr then went on to also release Tomb Raider III and last year's Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.


The latest incarnation of Lara Croft is entitled "Tomb Raider: Chronicles" and boasts exciting new levels and locations, OS X support, brand new moves, and a spiffy new level editor. Here's a snippet from the preview:

As a parting gift to fans of the series, Core decided to release the level editor for Chronicles along with the game. While this is common for many FPS titles, it's the first time Tomb Raider fans have been able to make up new places for Lara to explore. It was assumed a Mac version of the level editor would be impossible, since most editors are more work to port than the game itself (ala Unreal or Quake 3). The fact that many companies use heavily Windows-based MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes) to get their game tools up and running quickly also usually hinders any porting efforts.


But now Mac users have no excuse. In the case of Chronicles, Aspyr and Westlake decided the project was doable, and they will be shipping a level editor with the Mac version. Mac gamers will be able to express their creativity through new 3D adventures for Lara. It will also be possible to download any of the hundreds of levels already created by PC users. The editor isn't the most user-friendly program, but there is a good PDF manual and tutorial level to help ease the learning curve.

If you're a Tomb Raider fan (of either the games or the movie) be sure to check out the rest of the preview.

Aspyr Media
Tomb Raider: Chronicles Preview


The Warcraft Game that Wasn't
8:27 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Warcraftiii.net recently dug up an old report remembering Warcraft Adventures, the cartoon-like game which was canned by Blizzard back in 1998. The title was set in the Warcraft world, though it never met with the company's high quality standards to continue with development. Here's an excerpt from their original write-up:

Warcraft Adventures picks up where Warcraft II: Beyond The Dark Portal left us and develops the characters and worlds even further. You return to the land of Azeroth as Thrall, an Orc robbed of his heritage after being raised by humans in servitude. As Thrall, you return to the Orc's divided clans to be reunited.


The game itself looks stunning with animation that will take your breath away. There is a whopping 22 minutes of cinematic animation to watch and it sports a user interface that is easy to grasp. There are also 70 different characters in the game that you will bump into on your travels through the 60 different locations.

Considering Blizzard's record for hit games, cancelling Adventures was probably the right call to make. But it's still an interesting piece of history for the remarkably popular company.

Warcraft Adventures Report



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World War II Online Q&A
8:17 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Rodney Hatch of Playnet has been interviewed recently by GameSpot, talking about the rocky launch of World War II Online and where they stand now. Hatch discusses the extension of their 30-day trial period, the hardware issues that held up the game, and some of the issues addressed in their first patch. Here's a clip from the interview:

GS: The free trial period will be extended indefinitely until most of the game's problems have been fixed. Can you give us a rough estimate as to when this will be?


RH: The development team is putting a lot of effort into dealing with these issues and is putting the majority of the performance tasks at the top of the list. After those have been addressed, the focus goes toward getting the strat, ranks, and more mature mission systems in place and the multicell shared servers reconfigured and back online in place of the "shards" that are currently running. I am not exactly sure when that date will be, as it will depend on the development team and how much time it will take to work out these different issues, but we will be keeping everyone abreast of our efforts on the World War II Online Web site at www.wwiionline.com.

While the title had a difficult start, it now appears to be mostly stable, with the official site back up and running as well. The Mac version hasn't been lost either, with an expected release date of July 10.

World War II Online Q&A at GameSpot
Official World War II Online Web Site
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online



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Myth II: Green Berets Interview
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new interview with Tim Beggs, producer for the upcoming Myth II: Green Berets has been posted at VoodooExtreme over the weekend. This value title will be a total conversion for the game set in Southeast Asia, and it will include a full copy of Myth II and toolset for those that don't already own the game. Here's a quick list of available units from the Q&A:


  • M-16 unit, who also has a grenade launcher.
  • M-60 unit, who throws grenades.
  • A medic, used mainly for healing (of course).
  • A multi-purpose hero. He attacks with an M-16 and has a variety of special items depending upon the mission at hand.
  • Plus a few others.

Currently the game is about 80% done, with an expected release date of late this summer. Check out the interview and Green Beret site for more info on the title.

IMG News: E3: Myth II: Green Berets Announced
Green Beret Q&A at VoodooExtreme
Take 2 Interactive
Myth II: Green Berets


Staff Cuts at Humongous
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In an unfortunate AP story, it was announced that Seattle-based Humongous Entertainment has cut nearly 40 percent of its workforce. The company has produced a large number of children's titles for the Mac, including the "Backyard Sports" series, as well as others like Freddi Fish and Pajama Sam. Here's a clip from the story with a quote from Nancy Bushkin of Infogrames, the company that owns Humongous:

"We believe that by refocusing the efforts we'll be more
successful than we've been in the past,'' said Bushkin, who is
based in New York.


Humongous's roster of educational children's games features the
beloved characters Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam, Putt Putt and Blue of
"Blue's Clues.''


Bushkin said the newly trimmed-down company would only create
future versions of non-sports games such as Freddi Fish "as the
market really demands a need for a new title.''

We wish the best for all of those without jobs and hope they find new work soon.

Humongous Web Site
Humongous AP Article


Massive Emulator Updates
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Richard Bannister made a post to his site late last week with word on new releases for over a dozen of his emulators for the Mac. The majority of the updates have to do with a new blitter plugin which allows many of the programs to run in a number of different video modes. Others have received OS X compatibility fixes, though the big news is the release of Boycott Advance. This emulator will run Gameboy Advance titles, though not necessarily up-to-speed or with sound support. A G4 is recommended to run the games at any reasonable speed. Head over to Bannister's site for info on all of his many applications, or check out listings at Macgamefiles for easy downloads.

Macgamefiles Web Site
Richard Bannister Software Page


Master of Orion III Preview
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new preview of Master of Orion III has been posted at Game Revolution, taking a close look at the known facts about this anticipated space strategy title. MOO3 (as it's affectionately called), will sport many graphical and gameplay improvements over the past two games in the series. One of the largest changes is the inclusion of experience, a fifth 'X' in the genre of 4x games. The article goes into detail about what will be different about MOO3, though here's a clip that should reassure fans the game will not be radically changed:

That does not mean, however, that MoO III is abandoning its core identity. You will still start on a tiny planet in the midst of a vast galaxy (and I do mean vast; the galaxy generator is capable of creating a galaxy with 256 stars, each star capable of having eight planets and each planet capable of supporting five moons) and compete with other races in your attempt to develop a sprawling interstellar realm. You will still research technologies, design ships and build fleets to send against your neighbors. Your neighbors are still very likely to deserve it.
Master of Orion III is currently set for release early next year, with MacSoft publishing the Mac version. We'll be bringing you more info on the title as it nears completion.

Master of Orion III Preview at Game Revolution
Master of Orion III Web Site
MacSoft
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III


Mac Games News for Friday, June 15, 2001

Baldur's Gate Multiplayer Patch Released2:54 PM
Hands On With Tropico Mac (beta)1:54 PM
Myst Top Ten List Posted1:28 PM
IMG Posts Volume 1 of "Ask MacPlay"11:30 AM
Mac Rune: HoV Complete, Awaiting Publisher9:49 AM
Preview of Max Payne at 3D Action Planet9:30 AM
UT OpenAL Report8:34 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, June 15, 2001 on one page


Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, June 14, 2001
Wednesday, June 13, 2001
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Monday, June 11, 2001
Friday, June 8, 2001


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