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Thursday, July 5, 2001


Pillars of Garendall on Third (Last?) Beta [Updated]
9:09 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A recent update to the Pillars of Garendall progress logs at Ambrosia's site has been made by Dee Brown, explaining that the game is now in its third (and hopefully final) phase of testing. The title will be the first to show off the cross-platform Coldstone Game Engine in development by Beenox.


Pillars of Garendall will be an isometric RPG with impressive graphics, lighting, and combat systems. The game should compile for Mac OS 9, OS X, and Windows, thanks to Coldstone's compatibility across all platforms. It sounds like this third beta is quite an improvement over the previous, with much lower memory requirements and improved speed. Here's an excerpt from the long list of changes:

The baby just went on its third (last?) ride.


Synopsis:

This version has hundred of fixes and enhancements over the second beta. The engine must be considered as a total rewrite since it's now 100% C++. It's faster, takes less memory (take almost half the RAM of the latest beta) and look better overall (translucency). The battle system also has been greatly improved with better NPC AIs, different attack styles for the player, more sound feedback, block feature, etc.. In game graphics are also much better.


Dirty details:

Some of the major improvements:


* Engine now 100% in C++

* Translucency now supported

* Initial loading time GREATLY optimized (0.4sec instead of 14sec on my G4)

* Global map loading time improved and some maps (like the first town) have been reworked to load faster

* Take about half the RAM

* Bunch of special FX added

* Battle system improved a lot (more sounds, better AIs, more attack styles, etc.)

* Some hostile characters now have special attacks

* A couple of change to the ending to make it even more interesting (hehe, you will have to see by yourself)

* In-game cut scenes

There are more changes listed in the progress log, so head over and read through them if you're intersted. We certainly hope this is the last beta for the game, as we are eager to play this one very soon -- we'll keep you up to date on any changes in its status.


[UPDATE] IMG received the following note from Dee Brown: "This should be the last beta round. This third beta is a "real world" test for Pillars of Garendall -- final game data, registering stuff, documentation, everything's there. There will probably be some little updates to the engine during this beta to fix minor issues that could be raised by the testers but that's all. We are definitely getting there!"

Pillars of Garendall Progress Logs
Pillars of Garendall Betashots Page
Ambrosia Software
Beenox
Pillars of Garendall


Infogrames to Develop 'Terminator' Titles for Mac
12:26 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

In a press release just posted at Blue's News, Infogrames Inc announced that a deal has been struck for the company to develop and publish games based on the Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day motion pictures. This agreement includes the worldwide rights for current and next-gen consoles as well as PC and most importantly the Mac. Here's quote from the PR

Consistent with the films' plots, the action will take place in past and future worlds, integrating the vision of a post apocalyptic society and time-travel made famous by the Terminator films. While the Terminator line of games will feature elements that are specific to that film, the Terminator 2: Judgment Day line of games, like the film, will be a continuation of the original Terminator and will include additional characters and elements. Infogrames currently has four Terminator related projects underway.
Infogrames has stated that the first of these games is anticipated to be released in the spring of 2002. The Mac versions are likely to be published under the MacSoft brand - which is a part of Infogrames. You can be sure that IMG will be watching this one carefully, and will bring you any updates as soon as we get them.

Infogrames Inc Press Release


dim3 Preview Released
12:14 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Brian Barnes of Klink! Software has announced the release of a public preview of dim3, their 3D game engine for OS X. This freeware engine is open and available for anyone to use (though there are license fees if you end up charging for any games made with dim3). Here's more info on dim3 from the press release:

Klink! Software has released a tech preview of their 3D game creation
system, dimension 3. dim3 is a "game without content," it's a platform
designed for mod makers to make their own 3D games. dim3 is designed
for rapid-development of unique creations.


This is a preview of what the final system will be. It has missing
pieces, and there are no editors, but it will give you an idea of how
the engine works. This release is for those who are starting a game or
looking for an engine to use, and for us to gather feedback from those
people to see how dim3 can be made better.


Of course, if you're just curious, you're welcome to kick the wheels!


Requirements is a G3 or G4, OS X 10.0.3 or better, and a OpenGL
accelerated 3D card.

Any would-be game makers should be sure to give dim3 a look. Keep in mind it is still in an unfinished state and may have a few missing features. The 1.5MB download should be easy on anyone's connection, however.

Klink! Software Web Site
Download dim3 Preview Release (1.5MB)


Eliminator "Aftershock" Reviewed
11:12 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Continuing our commitment to bring you in-depth hardware reviews (and help you spend your hard-earned money wisely), IMG has posted a review of the Gravis Eliminator Aftershock gamepad. A traditional console controller, the gamepad has undergone many cycles of emulation from its NES roots, and this latest example has learned from past mistakes well. Here's an excerpt:

The wonderful world of USB has opened so many doors for Mac gamers in the area of input devices that it makes it difficult to choose the ‘perfect’ gamepad. Today, we look at the Eliminator Aftershock, Gravis’ dual analog solution. Gravis has a good reputation for quality design and craftsmanship. Upon taking the Aftershock out of its box and holding it in my hands, I felt that it was one sturdy gamepad. The sleek, silvery surface, its two analog directional sticks, 8-way D-pad, and four buttons make it appear as a very versatile device. It has a nice weight to it and is just about the right size to fit the hands of most adults and children.
Read on to see if this gamepad is the one your games have been waiting for.

Review: Gravis Eliminator Aftershock Gamepad


New id "Games" Set Rumor Mill Abuzz
11:01 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Over the holiday Blue's News passed along a three-sentence press release that has sent the rumor mill into overdrive. QuakeCon, a tournament and convention inspired by the FPS masters at id Software is due to take place from August 9-12th in Mesquite, Texas, and is an annual pilgrimage for Quake and id fans everywhere. However according to this miniature missive, fans will get a little something extra out of this year's convention: id Software will use the bully pulpit to announce their new GAMES. Note the "S" at the end of that word.


It is common knowledge that id's next title will be a DOOM sequel, currently code-named Doom 3. However, besides the in-house title Return to Castle Wolfenstein, there have so far been no announced plans for other games to be developed in parallel. Here is the statement in question:

NEW GAMES FROM ID SOFTWARE.


QUAKECON 2001


AUG. 9 - 12 -- MESQUITE, TEXAS

Speculation of course runs rampant, with possibilities running from the odd (an MMORPG codenamed "Gauntlet?") to the mundane (Quake IV). UK site PC Zone suspects it will be the latter, while various forum posters poke fun at id's supposed lack of originality. It is worth noting that the explanation might be as simple as a typo or just a big launch for Return to Wolfenstein which will also give Doom 3 an official name. Only time will tell, of course -- let's just hope Carmack's tendency to port his engines to Mac OS X also extends to any new games that are announced, so that we can enjoy those as well. Feel free to add your own best guess on the subject in our Forums.

PC Zone Speculates on New id Titles
QuakeCon Announcement at Blue's News



Click to enlarge
Red Herring Fishes for Mudpie 'Dirt'
10:12 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The fact that a trendsetter financial magazine such as Red Herring is publishing articles about an upcoming video game is ample proof that game budgets (and profits) are becoming large enough to attract mainstream attention. However this article about Cyan's upcoming project Mudpie isn't just about the numbers, although some shocking figures are revealed in the process. In this interview with MYST co-creator Rand Miller, he discusses Mudpie, Rand's goals for the game and what he will need to get there.


In a market where game makers are lucky to even make their money back, Rand Miller is considered an unqualified master of the field -- after all, his first major game (MYST) raked in $320 million and is widely considered to be the first game to not only motivate hardware purchases (in this case CD-ROM drive upgrades) but to bring gaming to a mainstream audience. While reproducing such a feat seems unlikely in a market that is eight years older and even further entrenched in game "genres," that is exactly Rand's goal -- to create a game that once again brings the mainstream audience back into the fold, and once again motivates the market to upgrade (in this case, to a broadband Internet connection).


The article also discusses the finances of Mudpie (which are equally astounding), the search for venture capital to finance the project and some of the history behind it. Here's an excerpt about the game itself:

An early version of Mudpie walks the player through a vast maze of tunnels to the underground civilization known as D'ni, the deserted city that also serves as the backdrop for Myst titles. Rather than shoot at each other, players explore the underground world, which covers several square miles and is rendered in breathtaking 3D animation.


Players will be able to build their own neighborhoods, where they can control entry and shield their children from shady characters. In addition, Mudpie will include short games, like a form of hide-and-seek, within the game. And, of course, Mudpie will be built around a story (advanced by Cyan Worlds staff members, who will converse with players over the Internet) that Mr. Miller believes will draw people back again and again.

While a worthwhile read for fans anticipating this title (which is given a VERY tentative date of mid-2002) this article should be of interest to anyone curious about the finances of game creation and publishing. Perhaps one of the most significant facts noted in passing is that the Miller brothers only received ten percent of the $320 million that MYST made -- certainly a lot of money by any stretch, but the publishers and retailers did seem to get the better end of the bargain. Our thanks to The Riven Unnofical Home Page for the tip.

Riven Unofficial Home Page
Inside Tech: Miller makes a mountain out of Mudpie at RedHerring.com


Bannister Emulator Updates
9:15 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Richard Bannister has posted a couple of updates to his superb collection of console and game emulators. If you've just run out and bought a Gameboy Advance but fancy giving the games a shot on your Mac, then BoycottAdvance/MacOS is for you. Richards' port of this emulator is now at version 0.2.0 and, like most of his work, is carbonized for full OS X compatibility. This version improves speed and compatibility - although a fast G4 is a realistic requirement - as well as adding support for saved states and battery RAM. To get your GameBoy Advance cartridges onto your Mac, you'll need an extra piece pf hardware' thankfully a great company from Hong Kong has the answer, see below for a link.


Next up is RockNES, which is a NES emulator and is now in sync with the DOS version 1.930. Although Richard hasn't had time to do a complete rewrite, it should work better than the previous version.


Finally there is an updated version of the Blitter Library. This is only needed by those with Radeon's who were experiencing problems with the previous version. For more info on the Blitter, IMG recently published a very informative article, a link for which can be found below.

News: 'Bannister's Blitter' Gives Emus a New Look
Flash Advance Linker @ Lik-Sang.com
Richard Bannister's Homepage


Ambrosia/ATMOS Unveil Nova Preambles
9:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Ambrosia's Andrew Welch made an announcement to their newswire recently about a new resource called EV Nova Preambles. This mini-site will provide history and background information for this latest Escape Velocity title in the works by the folks at ATMOS. Each week (for the next two months, at least) a new PDF document will be posted with info on the game. This week's first download is a four-page timeline, which should quickly help you catch up on the historical events in the world of EV.


For more technical info and screen shots of the game, have a look through the many links also listed on the preambles page. Escape Velocity: Nova is currently moving through Alpha and is expected to near beta testing in the near future.

EV: Nova Betashots
EV: Nova Preambles Page


Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Diablo II: LoD Resources Appear9:58 AM
NWN Character Contest Winners9:49 AM
Inside Mac Games Introduces the "MacGames CD"9:24 AM
X-Words, Meet OS X9:09 AM
Tomb Raider: Chronicles Demo Released9:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 4, 2001 on one page


Recent Mac Games News

Tuesday, July 3, 2001
Monday, July 2, 2001
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Thursday, June 28, 2001
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