More Details on Deus Ex 2/Thief 3 Engine
10:29 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Last week we brought you the news that Ion Storm had announced they will be using Epic's powerful Unreal 3D engine (or Unreal Warfare, as it's currently called) for certain undisclosed future titles. With Warren Spector having noted in the past that Ion Storm is still trying to decide on what engine to use for Deus Ex 2 and/or Thief 3, it seems logical that this next generation of the Unreal engine will be used for both.
VoodooExtreme's report on the matter was followed by a long comment thread/flamewar about engines (mostly a comparison between id's opposing Quake/Doom 3 offerings). For those worried about the Unreal engine not being capable enough, Ion Storm programmer Paul Tozour puts such fears to rest with this post:
Just to clarify a few things for everyone:While engine modifications are nothing new when licensees attempt such unique games like Deus Ex, it's good to hear they won't be limited by any drawbacks in the current technology. It's also great to get confirmation that Thief 3 will be using Unreal as well, because it means a Mac port is likely (considering all of the other Unreal-based games which have been brought to the Mac). While neither game has yet been announced as coming to the Mac yet, we'll bring you any new info released about the situation.
IMG News: Ion Storm Using Unreal Engine, Mac Deus Ex 2 Assured?
We will be using the latest generation Unreal(R) Engine that Epic is building for use in their upcoming game Unreal Warfare.
We will also be heavily modifying the engine in several ways as appropriate to Thief 3 and Deus Ex 2.
I can't comment on any of the specific technologies that we are modifying or replacing, but for those of you concerned about specific technologies and how they will work with T3 and DX2, rest assured that we are all too well aware of the specific technological requirements of our unique games and we're not hesitating to make the changes we need to make to the engine to get them to work in just the way we want.
Ion Storm Post in VoodooExtreme Comments
Diablo II: LOD In Stores
3:46 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
IMG has received several reader reports that indicate that Blizzard's latest title Diablo II Lord of Destruction is now showing up on store shelves. Those who have preordered should get their copies in the next several days.
Past Articles on Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Although it is almost inconceivable that an IMG reader wouldn't know what this title is, considering how much coverage we have devoted to this expansion pack, here's a refresher: this add-on requires the original Diablo II to run, and it adds two new character classes, 800x600 resolution, a new Act to complete and thousands of gameplay tweaks and changes (some major, some minor). The disc is hybrid for Mac and PC, so you can grab it at any store regardless of where it is stocked. Be sure and post your feedback on the expansion in our forums!
3dfx Owners Report Trouble With TR Editor
12:13 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
A series of reports published on Accelerate Your Mac are revealing a problem that may be facing owners of 3dfx Voodoo 2, 3 (and possibly 4 and 5) cards. Specifically, when trying to use the level editor that ships with Tomb Raider Chronicles, recently shipped by Aspyr Media, the editor fails to work.
The failure of this editor on V2 cards is no surprise, as those cards do not allow rendering of 3D graphics in a window (rather than full-screen) which the editor requires. However, the V3 (and by extension V4 and V5) series of cards will allow 3D drawing in a window; yet readers are still reporting problems.
Ray Swartz, former Mac engineer for both 3dfx and ATI, wrote in to XLR8 with an explanation of why users are experiencing problems. Here is his note:
The Voodoo 1 & 2 drivers were built on top of Glide2, which was only full screen. But beginning with the Voodoo 3, all the drivers were built on top of Glide 3, which supports windowed mode and 32-bit color. This includes the RAVE and OpenGL drivers. Users of other applications that draw OpenGL or RAVE in a window (such as Lightwave and Cinema 3D) reported similar problems or loss of function, so this problem is not isolated to TR's level editor specifically.
From my experience trying to support multiple-window RAVE apps, like 3D World and the French Touch modelers, there was a bad bug in Glide 3 which often gave various "fifo" errors when more than one window was being rendered to. These bugs were never fixed. Sorry.
As the editor does require 3D hardware acceleration to function, 3dfx owners may be out of luck at present. If any IMG readers are having success with V4 or V5 cards, please report your results in the Forums. Jump to XLR8 for more details on the problem.
Accelerate Your Mac!
Altec Lansing ATP5 Speakers Reviewed
10:50 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story
Mac gamers have recently gained a new appreciation for the audio experience in gaming with the release of Creative Labs' Sound Blaster Live! card. Whether or not you own this add-on, it is clearer now than ever that a great pair of speakers can tremendously enhance your gaming experience, and luckily for all of us the price for excellent speakers is beginning to drop down to a reasonable level. With this thought in mind IMG brings you a review of Altec Lansing's APT5 "4.1" speaker set, ideal for gaming and especially for EAX/OpenAL games played with a SB Live card. Here is an excerpt:
Just before beginning this review, I ran across an article that described an audiophile who has spent nearly $150,000 USD on his home stereo system. Even with audio cables costing tens of thousands of dollars and special air bladders and sandbox systems to prevent vibration, the setup was still not yet perfect to his oh-so-discriminating ear. Read on for more details. We've seen this speaker set retail for below $149, an excellent price for a 4.1 setup.
Review: Altec Lansing APT5
Here in reality, most of us aren't willing to throw down more than a couple hundred dollars on a set of speakers for our Macs. However the tale of the $150k stereo is an important example of just how subjective sound quality is to the listener. With this in mind, here is our review of a midrange "multimedia" speaker setup.
Update on Myth: TFL Server
10:23 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story
Yes, faithful readers, there are people who still play Myth: The Fallen Lords, and they have been without a Bungie.net server to play on for quite some time. One of the casualties of the move from Chicago to Redmond, WA for the Bungie team, the TFL server has been MIA, so to speak. Recently the Bungie.net web site was updated with a progress report, but unfortunately it was not good news. Here's the report:
Of late, many of you have asked me how things are coming along with the TFL server... though you've tended to phrase the question, "OMG, U FAG! Fix TFL or I kik u mb!" Its sad to say that the answer "Soon," has lost it's charm and "We're still working on it," never had the same appeal, so here I am to tell you what's going on, more or less, with TFL. Ah, "soon" -- that most frustrating of words! Keep watching Bungie.net for more updates on the situation. In related news, many of the scripts on the actual Bungie web site are now fixed, allowing you to register your game, create or edit an Order and change your Bungie.net password.
TFL was always a much trickier situation than the Myth2 server. To begin with, it's older by a year at least. It runs on an ancient version of Red Hat, one which requires custom drivers to be written (use Linux, write your own drivers! I tell you, those were the days!). To further complicate this, things like the server's IP address and the IP addresses of the other machines that the server needs to talk to in order to function are hard coded into the system and must therefore be manually searched for and replaced.
All of this, I'm told, should take about a full day of a competent programmer's time. Unfortunate, all of our competent programmers are busy on things like, oh Halo, for instance. This leaves only myself and Matt to do the fix, however, neither of us are competent programmers (someday I'll open source my 126 line "hello world" program!) and both of us are also busy working on (non-programming intensive) bits of Halo.
Now, what you're all waiting to read at this point is that TFL isn't coming back and we've been lying to you all this time, ha ha ha ha! Well, now you've read it and you can relax knowing that it is not true. TFL will be coming back, as previously promised. Unfortunately, I can't give you a more specific timeframe as none of the people who could fix it know when they'll have enough time to sit down and actually do so. Hopefully, this will be soon!
Red Faction Interview
9:58 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Tolstiy's Place has posted an interview available with Mark Lewis of Volition talking about his work on the PS2 and PC versions of Red Faction. This next-gen FPS features great graphics, a complex physics engine and a deep storyline which is sure to captivate the player. The Q&A talks about Lewis' experience with level design (he got his start with Quake), as well as some of the specific challenges he faced when designing with Red Faction's Geo-Mod engine in mind. Here's an excerpt explaining more:
Tolstiy: If we've mentioned that the player can destroy your environments, lets continue this topic. It is understandable that a rocket launcher can blow things up easily but what about less powerful weapons - do they make any damage to the surrounding environments? So, while the Geo-Mod technology will be an asset to game players, it is still limited in use because of technology constraints (such as how much your CPU can handle). Be sure to read through the rest of the interesting interview. The Mac version of Red Faction is set for completion later this year, just after the PC version is released. It will be published to the Mac by GraphSim.
Red Faction Interview at Tolstiy's Place
Mark Lewis: In Red Faction, only the explosive weapons cause geo-mods. The only exception to this is breakable glass, which can be shot out by any weapon.
Tolstiy: The question tightly connected to the previous one - can we hope that less powerful weapons will do real damage to the environments - - e.g. holes in the walls, smashing pieces of architecture (as seen in Matrix) because of gun shots etc and all of that made not by textures (as usually) but using your groundbreaking technology? Please, include some in-game examples here. If the answer is no, ground your opinion.
Mark Lewis: The engine is capable of doing that sort of thing, but we have held back from having bullets tear out chunks of walls. The reason for this is that geo-mods add polygons to the level that the game has to keep track of. If, for example, our assault rifle caused tons of small geo-mods, it could create a processing strain, which we'd like to avoid keeping the action fast.
Shadowbane Finds New Publisher?
9:47 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
While rumor-mongering isn't our usual line of business, an interesting new tidbit of info has been recently posted at Dr. Twister concerning the publisher situation for the MMORPG Shadowbane. As you may recall, Wolfpack, the developer, split from former publisher Gathering of Developers a number of months ago. Now the grapevine is abuzz with word that Ubi Soft might be picking up where they left off, and will become the international publisher for this game. As you know, Ubi Soft are the publishers of titles such as Myst III and Rogue Spear after several acquisitions of smaller game companies.
While very unconfirmed as of yet, this seems to be a likely pairing, and we're hopeful Wolfpack is going to announce a deal with someone in the near future. Several factors seem to make this scenario likely, including a close partnership between Ubi Soft and Swing!, a German publisher who has supposedly secured rights to Eastern Europe distribution of Shadowbane.
Past 20 IMG News Articles on Shadowbane
Shadowbane is currently moving through its second major beta phase and is hoped to be out late this year for Mac and PC. We'll keep you updated on their search for a publisher.
Ubi Soft Report at Dr. Twister
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