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Monday, July 23, 2001


Alice, Tony Hawk 2 Demos Coming Soon
9:39 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

In a post to Usenet last week, Suellen Adams, Business Coordinator for Westlake Interactive mentioned that a demo for Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 would be released in the future. We wrote to Westlake and President Mark Adams confirmed that Mark Krenek, the programmer who ported Tony Hawk 2, has been working on the demo for a while. Although he wasn't able to provide any other details, he informed us that Aspyr would be making an announcement "soon".


Brad Oliver also revealed on Usenet that a demo of the newly-released adventure game, American McGee's Alice, would be released within the next few weeks. He recommends that anyone who isn't sure if Alice will run on their machines wait for the demo before purchasing the game.


For more information on those games, read our in-depth Alice preview and Tony Hawk 2 review. We'll be sure to keep you updated on the status of the demos.

Review: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
Preview: American McGee's Alice
Westlake Interactive
Neversoft
Aspyr Media
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2


IMG Talks Giants with Omni's Tim Wood
2:27 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG recently visited OmniGroup after the Macworld keynote in
an attempt to dig up new information on their work with Giants: Citizen
Kabuto
. Tim Wood was nice enough to answer questions about the OS X-only
game from MacPlay, as well as their ports of other titles on the
way. Giants will require a nice machine to run well, though it looks like with
Apple's new 'QuickSilver' PowerMacs, they will eclipse the performace of even
the high end PCs. Here's an excerpt:

IMG: Giants has been announced as OS X only, can you talk about some of the reasoning for that?


Tim Wood: This game requires a really big, bad machine. So anyone that has one of those will probably be running OS X anyway. This won't run on a G3, it won't run on a Rage 128, it's a modern game. Even on the PC...


[Tim switches to his PC setup]


This is my favorite scene right here. We're getting like 13 frames per second at one particular spot [on the PC], I guess now it's getting 16 or 17. And this is a 1.3 Gigahertz Athlon, which is as fast or faster than the Pentium 4s out there. This is pretty much the fastest PC money can buy.


We still have a bunch of tuning we have to do to on the Mac OS X side as well. There's a lot of room for optimizing, the GL drivers that Apple is working on, etc. And I know some specific things that have been fixed [in OS 10.1], though OpenGL being "20% faster" seems like generic marketing speak. So as far as performance tests, it's looking really good.

The rest of the Q&A contains lots of good information, so be sure to head over
and read through it. There are also exclusive new screen shots of Giants
in action under OS X available. Giants is currently expected to be released
towards the end of the summer.

IMG Interview with OmniGroup's Tim Wood
MacPlay
Planet Moon Studios
Omni Group
Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Buy Giants: Citizen Kabuto



Click to enlarge
New Max Payne Movies
10:38 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blue's News has noted the posting of two new Max Payne movies by Italian site Multiplayer.it. These movies, both of them in QuickTime format, show off some gameplay footage of this Hong Kong-style action shooter.


The first movie, which runs for about 11 seconds, shows Max Payne sniping a shotgun-wielding enemy. After Max zooms in with the scope and fires, the camera follows the bullet at a close-up angle up to the point where it impacts with the enemy.


The second movie, which runs for about 36 seconds, shows off the slow-motion effects of Max Payne (dubbed Bullet Time). In true Hong Kong-style action, Max charges into battle with guns blazing in each hand and dives to the side, all of which takes place in slow-motion. In one shot, the camera zooms in on a just-dispatched enemy, showing that enemy shake with the impact of the bullets before collapsing, again all of which is in slow-motion.


The movies aren't terribly large in size, so interested people shouldn't have much problem in downloading them. The ftp site only allows an anonymous user to initiate one download at a time. Links to each movie are provided below for convenience.


Though the PC version has recently shipped, MacSoft has yet to announce when they plan to release the Mac port. For more details, readers can check out an early IMG article - "Apple Highlights MacSoft," which discusses the possible timeframe of a Mac version of Max Payne.

Apple Highlights MacSoft
Multiplayer.it - 36 sec. Max Payne Movie
Multiplayer.it - 11 sec. Max Payne Movie
Blue's News
MacSoft
Remedy Entertainment
Westlake Interactive
Max Payne
Buy Max Payne


Kids Domain Update
10:09 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Kids Domain has once again recently updated their ever-growing list of titles. For those unfamiliar with the site, Kids Domain has links to freeware and shareware titles directed towards the younger generation, usually geared towards education.


New on the Mac list for this week:


  • Our Wedding Day - A printable PDF with several wedding-themed pictures ready to be colored.
  • Elmo Activities - Help celebrate Elmo's birthday with several games and activities, including coloring pages, mazes, and connect the dots.
  • Dynamite - A variation of Hangman, where the player must guess a philosophical phrase before the dynamite blows up.
  • Marine Madness - A take on the old classic Space Invaders, where a player must take out roving crabs with an armed sub.
  • Dinky Screensaver - A screensaver featuring a cartoon dinosaur attempting to procure honey from a swarm of bees.
  • Hansel & Gretel - A Language Arts lesson centered around the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel. Players must answer questions as they read through the story.
  • Benjamini - This program, aimed at the younger set, contains 4 interactive pictures. Simply click around on each picture to produce animations and sounds.
  • Lights Out - A puzzle game played on a grid, the object is to get rid of all the black squares. Click on a square, and that square as well as all surrounding squares flip to change color.

For screenshots, more information, and links to download each of the above files, head on over to Kids Domain. Kids Domain also contains a huge listing of older files for perusal and download.

Kids Domain


Carbon UT Progress Report
9:44 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Mark Adams, who has been Carbonizing Unreal Tournament for Mac OS X in his spare time, made another post to Usenet detailing his progress. Last week, IMG reported that an update to Metrowerks Codewarrior, a development environment for Macintosh software, fixed the problems which had halted his progress. Adams has some more good news for Mac gamers this week:

I was able to get mouse controls working this weekend (thanks Brad!),
and started doing a few timing tests. Performance seems pretty close to
9.1 in OpenGL, which is what I'd expect.


Load times are VASTLY improved. On my test G3/400, UT takes 26 seconds to load under 9.1. Under OS X native, it only takes about 13 seconds! And the OS X disk cache must be very well tuned- if you quit UT and relaunch it again a short time later, the game loaded in 7 seconds. Not that you'd quit and relaunch a lot, but still pretty cool.

Long launch times has always been an annoying aspect of UT and hearing that it was been decreased by 50% on a midrange machine is very encouraging. It seems like the benefits of porting UT to Mac OS X are showing themselves right away.


In another post, Adams responds to an inquiry of whether the improvements to the UT OpenGL renderer for the PC have been included in Carbon UT. Daniel Vogel, a programmer for Epic Games, has been continually updating the OpenGL renderer for better performance. On Windows PCs, running UT in OpenGL is almost as fast (if not faster) than Direct3D, Microsoft's 3D API. Here is Adams' response:

I actually rolled some of those GL changes into the code a while back,
but I may re-examine the latest GL driver in UT when we get to the
optimization of Undying. If anything major comes of it, I'll probably
put it back into UT (maybe Deus Ex & Rune as well).
Apparently, Adams is referring to the 436 update for UT which reduced memory requirements and improved performance. The PC OpenGL renderer has been updated a couple of times since then, but it is unknown if those changes will provide more framerate increases. All in all, this is exciting news as it will allow Mac gamers to play one of the most popular Mac games on Apple's next generation operating system, OS X.

Westlake Interactive
Epic Games
MacSoft
Westlake Interactive
Unreal Tournament


AirBurst Review Posted at MacGamez
8:46 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

MacGamez, the newly revived site dedicated to covering gaming on the Mac, has posted a review of Airburst. This is the second title from Aaron Fothergill and the UK-based Strange Flavour and already looks to be a shareware hit. It has received a nearly perfect score on Macgamefiles' reviews so far, and MacGamez seems to concur that Airburst is a lot of fun. Here's a quick excerpt:

The first thing players need to do is get their usual shareware preconceptions out of their minds. It would be all too easy for people to write this title off as a flashy redundant arcade buzzkiller, or snuff it completely as "another tacky shareware hit-or-miss." Some might even decree it a foul, worthless title - solely due to the fact that neither Ambrosia nor Freeverse had any involvement in the game's development.


This, my friends, is a ghastly mistake.


Airburst mania is something that can't be stopped easily. Once it takes hold of you, you will be hooked for hours on end, with the battle cry of "just one more match" heard well into the evening.

Though they long for an internet multiplayer mode, the review is very positive of the title, which carries an amazingly inexpensive price of $5. Read through the review now if you're not convinced, or check out IMG's preview of Airburst posted last week. And be sure to download the demo now at Macgamefiles if you haven't already.

IMG Preview of Airburst
Download Airburst (6.8MB)
Airburst Review at MacGamez
Strange Flavour Web Site


Amiga Classix 3 Available (in Germany)
8:32 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The e.p.i.c. Interactive site was updated earlier in the month with information on a new Amiga emulator for the Mac and PC that contains over 100 classic game titles called Amiga Classix 3. Since the Amiga proved much more popular in Europe than in North America, there is currently no place to order the package on this side of the Atlantic. Thomas Steiding of e.p.i.c. also explained the Mac version is missing some features the PC includes. Here's more of his explanation:

I do not know if there is much demand for it in the US, as the
Amiga was mainly a european phenomena and in the us was mainly used by TV/Video specialists and less by the common home user.


The product is mainly for PC, but does work on Mac (and Amiga of course). Reason for this is that the PC emulator is much more advanced than the Mac emulator (no aga support). I think its great value for many pple who used to have an Amiga in the good ole days. The CD comes with more than 100 formerly commercial games sch as XTreme Racing, Beneath The Steel Sky, Lure Of The Tempress, Tower of Souls, Behind The Iron Gate, Wheelsüin, Tactical manager, F1 Manager, Xiriaz and many many more games.

Lovers of the maligned Amiga may want to send e.p.i.c. some polite email and an offer to pay shipping costs if you're interested in obtaining a copy of the title. For more info on the games included Amiga Classix 3, check out its page. We should have more info on e.p.i.c.'s other titles in progress later this week, so stay tuned to IMG for the latest.

e.p.i.c Interactive Web Site
Amiga Classix 3 Page


GameRanger OS X Q&A
8:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Scott Kevill, creator of the Mac-only game and chatting service, GameRanger, has recently given a quick interview with MacGamer about the just announced OS X version of the popular program. The five question chat goes into detail about his reasons for making an OS X version, it's compatibility with Cocoa/Carbon/Classic games, and also lists some of the new features available. Here's a clip:

What are the new features in the new GameRanger?


There are a number of new features, but probably the most obvious that existing GameRanger members will notice is the new layout of the main window. Much more emphasis is now placed on playing the games rather than the way the chat tended to dominate the window before. The new games list is hierarchical and modeled on the elegant Mac OS X Finder interface. It defaults to an iconic view where you see icons for each game genre (eg. Classic, Action, ...) and then the icons of the games themselves as you go deeper. Like the Mac OS X Finder, the power users can switch to a list view to see more items at once, and details. The goal of this was to make it very intuitive for new users yet still satisfying power users.

Head over to MacGamer and read through the rest of the Q&A if you're interested. Also be sure to have a look through the newly revamped GameRanger web site. The new version of the application is set to debut sometime in the next month.

IMG News: GameRanger Goes Native For OS X
GameRanger Web Site
Scott Kevill Interview at MacGamer


2001: A QuickSilver Odyssey
8:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After returning from last week's Macworld New York expo, IMG's Brad Custer is again on the ball with a great new desktop for you to download and enjoy. This time the inspiration is the new 'QuickSilver' line of upgraded PowerMac G4's, which include a single Harmon Cardon speaker built-in to the front. The comparison to the Hal 9000 computer in the classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey is evident, especially with a little help from PhotoShop. Here's more of Brad's explanation:

This week's desktop selection was inspired by the MWNY Expo. During the long keynote speech (some have compared it to a torture session at a POW camp, but I won't mention names) we were given the first look at the new G4 unofficially named "Quicksilver". I won't go into all the techincal specs, but the one feature that really caught my attention on the redesign case was the speaker in the lower part. As soon as I saw it I instantly thought of Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was one of those rare occassions where I envisioned the entire desktop instantly and during the entire expo it became a running joke between myself and Patrick from IMG. I knew I had to create it. I researched the apple web site looking for a straight on product shot much like the free posters they were giving out at the Apple area, but I couldn't find one. I knew I could scan the poster today at my job, but I wanted to work on the desktop Sunday so I broke out the digital camera and took a photo of the poster, which actually worked. ;D So, next week I'll return to the regularly scheduled game desktop, but I wanted to do a MWNY desktop. I hope you enjoy this week's creation as much as I did making it. :)
Head over to Custer's Desktops and download a copy of the new image in your preferred resolution.

Custer's Desktops



Click to enlarge
Myth II: Green Berets Goes Gold
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Take-Two Interactive sent word over the weekend of Myth II: Green Berets for the Mac and PC going Gold Master and heading into production. The game takes the gameplay of Myth II into a Vietnam-like setting, with more modern weapons and characters. The game will include ten singleplayer and eight multiplayer levels, though the solo levels will also be internet-ready for cooperative play as well.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc (NASDAQ-TTWO) today announced that Green Berets (Powered by Myth II) has gone Gold and is expected to be released by the end of July 2001.


Green Berets is a squad based tactical game set in the treacherous jungles of Southeast Asia. Plan your surgical strike and sneak deep behind enemy lines to attack your enemy head on in 10 dynamic missions through rice paddies, underground tunnels, and superbly detailed terrains.


Powered by the magnificent Myth II engine, stalk through dense jungles with M60’s, grenades, med kits and radio equipment to call in awe-inspiring air assaults, engage the enemy in blinding firefights and obliterate enemy bases with intense explosions. Combat enemy snipers and mortar crews and secure landing zones with your crack team of M16 gunners, Huey helicopters, and special Heroes (over 18 units in all). Your objectives are clear, rescue POW’s, locate downed pilots, sabotage communication towers, and seek and destroy the enemy.

Like the original Myth II, the box will be hybrid with both Mac and PC versions available. The level editing tools should also come included with the title.

Myth II: Green Beret Web Site
Take 2 Interactive
Myth II: Green Berets


Myth III: The Wolf Age Preview, Movies
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new preview of Myth III: The Wolf Age has been posted at GameSpy after a recent visit to the MumboJumbo studios. Andrew Meggs and the rest of the MJ team are hard at work putting this third in the Myth series together in time for their release this fall. The game should be a simultaneous release, though with different publishers now for the Mac and PC versions, it won't be a hybrid box.


The transition to a fully 3D engine is looked at in the preview, with the new characters being made of hundreds of polygons instead of 2D sprites. The netplay is also becoming more solidified, and should be more multiplayer maps included than initially expected. There might also be a short beta test of the net play, and a demo is expected once the game is sent off to publishing. Here's an excerpt:

While optimizations still need to be done, the team is much further along than they were at E3. Narration and music are complete, while the rest of the sound recording is being finished up this month. The engine includes real physics (trees reacting to wind, units react to explosions) and everything casts shadows. Water is translucent, and players will even be able to see fish in the rivers and streams.
Check out the preview for new screen shots of Myth III as well as pics of the team hard at work. There is also a small (1.6MB) zip file available for download containing three character animations and a short cut scene clip.


If you would like even more Myth III movie action, MythWolfAge has scored two short movies taken at the recent Macworld showing of the game. While they were taken with a handheld camera (and there is no sound available), they do show some of the battles and player taunts in the game.

Myth III Movie #2 (4.7MB)
Myth III Movie #1 (6.8MB)
MythWolfAge Web Site
Preview of Myth III: The Wolf Age at GameSpy



Click to enlarge
More on Neverwinter Toolset Saga
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Many Mac users have expressed grief over the news that Bioware would likely be unable to include the toolset in the Mac and Linux versions of Neverwinter Nights. While it's not unusual for such tools to be left out (such as is the case with Unreal, Quake and others), many felt the Neverwinter Nights level creator was an integral part of the game. Bioware's Rob Bartel has provided another large post to their forums in an attempt to provide some explanation for their reasoning, as well as to say all hope is not yet lost. Here's his post in full:

Hi again, folks. Many of you are still expressing feelings of being lied to and for that I apologize. As I mentioned in my last post, we had always hoped for full multiplatform capability for the toolset. We had reason to believe that Borland-for-Linux would be available by this time and that a third party would be handling a Mac port on our behalf. For reasons beyond our control, these once-feasible options have both fallen through. Again, we regret this deeply and understand how many of you feel - we want a multiplatform toolset, too. But I promise you that we have not been lying to you - we told you what we understood to be true and we continue to do so now that that understanding has changed.


As for concerns that, as a developer, we are abandoning alternate platforms, I sure hope not. Many of you on the boards have mentioned that games of any sort on these platforms are few and far between and top-of-the-line roleplaying titles even more so. Well, with NWN, you're still getting that - a simultaneous multiplatform release of a rich D&D RPG from the developers of the Baldur's Gate series. On top of that, you're also able to experience the adventure with other players, regardless of platform, in multiplayer mode. Plus there are competitive play modules, random dungeons, persistent worlds, user-made campaigns, and so forth that you'll be able to download off the 'net or simply join in and play via the matching service. While that may or may not include the toolset, that's still something bigger and better and cooler than a lot of things out there - to ignore it entirely is to do yourself a disservice.


Another thing I've heard alternative-OS users on this board say is that it's good to support developers who cater to their platform of choice because it shows the developer (and other developers who happen to be paying attention) that their platform has market potential. That holds true in this case, as well. If Linux and Mac users make up a good portion of the traffic on our Matching Service, you can bet that that will turn heads and make it easier for us to pitch the toolset to a third-party porting company or convince the powers that be that we should do the port ourselves. For that matter, if you really want to the toolset ported to your platform of choice, consider emailing some of these porting companies and letting them know that there is a market for such a product (as it's "just a toolset" and not the game itself, many companies are understandably reluctant to take on such a risk).


As for open-sourcing the toolset itself, I'm not enough of a tech-head to assess the feasibility of such a move, nor enough of a legal beagle to know if there might be unforeseen complications along the way. Personally, I'd love to see it but it's really not my call to make.


Hope that helps...

While Rob makes some very good points, please don't bother inundating Westlake with email saying you want the toolset. They are aware of the situation, but it's really going to take an effort from a publisher (be it a Mac publisher or Interplay) to pay for a third party to develop the toolset. If there's any new word on the situation, you can be sure we pass it along.

Neverwinter Nights Forum Thread
BioWare
MacPlay
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights


Cross-Platform Development and MOO3
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

QuickSilver's Rob Barris recently made two posts to the Mac strategic Usenet group about developing Master of Orion 3 simultaneously for Mac and PC. According to him, this third in the very popular series of strategy games is being developed for both every day, which cuts down on the game's bugs, as opposed to causing any slow down in their dev time. Here's what Barris had to say:

MOO3 is being simultaneously built on both platforms pretty much
every day, this seems to help. I very much prefer the co-development
route to porting. We especially notice this with respect to bug hunting
- there have been a few that were downright hard to nail down on one
platform, that are a turkey shoot on the other (and that goes both ways).
In a second post, Barris attempts to respond to a question about co-developing a game for the Mac and PC like this. While things don't always build nicely for both, he feels they're more often in the right:
It can be hard to get started. You need a critical mass of stuff
that works, and you need people that care about getting it working and
keeping it working. I don't have an easy way to measure the costs
and/or savings off the top of my head.


It is great when you get into the groove and feature after feature
comes up and works on both targets.. and there also times when that
doesn't happen - sigh. I feel we're far more frequently in the former
condition.

For more information on Master of Orion 3, head over to its official web site. The title will be published for the Mac by MacSoft upon completion early next year.

Master of Orion 3 Web Site
MacSoft
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III


Mac Games News for Friday, July 20, 2001

Mac WWII Online Update, AltiVec Info3:37 PM
Myth II: Green Beret Interview, Details3:17 PM
MacGames CD Shipping This Weekend2:51 PM
MWNY: Second Macworld Image Gallery Posted12:37 PM
Unreal Engine Continues to Evolve10:36 AM
Preview of Marathon: Resurrection10:22 AM
MWNY: Day Three Coverage Begins10:12 AM
Civilization III - New Screeshots9:29 AM
Thief 3 Images, Info9:03 AM
Mark Adams On Carbon UT Progress8:48 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, July 20, 2001 on one page


Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, July 19, 2001
Wednesday, July 18, 2001
Tuesday, July 17, 2001
Monday, July 16, 2001
Friday, July 13, 2001


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



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