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Thursday, August 2, 2001

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UbiSoft Announced as Shadowbane Publisher
9:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

While this has been the subject of many an informed guess for some time now, today it was confirmed that UbiSoft will be publishing the upcoming MMORPG Shadowbane in North America. Earlier in the year, relations between the game's makers Wolfpack Studios and former publisher Gathering of Developers went sour, and many were concerned that a big publisher would never be found. It's great to hear they're in league with UbiSoft, who just helped bring another Mac/PC game Myst III: Exile to market.

One important thing to note from the press release is a mention of Shadowbane's release in the first half of 2002. This is a new delay for a title that was expected to be done sometime this year, originally. But with the Wolfpack team suddenly going silent about the game's status while heavily beta testing the current code, it's not altogether surprising. A game of Shadowbane's magnitude is not something which should be released before it's ready -- as the creators of World War II Online and (PC-only) Anarchy Online, two MMORPGs with somewhat disastrous launches, can attest. Here are several clips from the official press release on the subject:

Shadowbane is expected to launch online commercially in the first half of 2002. Ubi Soft targets to attract several hundred thousand players and to generate in excess of 40 million dollars over the first 2 years of operations.  Ubi Soft’s online division will handle all back-end support for the game including network and server infrastructure, billing, customer service and in-game support.  Wolfpack Studios will continue to play an essential role after the game’s release by developing updates and ongoing episodic content that will feed the game and its players for years to come.

Josef Hall, President and Co-Founder of Wolfpack Studios added, "Ubi Soft is the perfect partner for us in North America.  Not only are they enthusiastic about the potential of Shadowbane, but they also have a strong understanding of the online marketplace, and are a leader in product promotion and distribution."

For more information about Shadowbane, along with the latest screen shots and info about the next beta test, check in regularly at www.ubisoft.com or www.shadowbane.com.  

We're definitely curious about the "next beta test" and will be passing along any information on we can dig up. We've also sent out requests for specifics on the Mac/PC relationship from UbiSoft; Shadowbane has said from the very beginning that their goal is a hybrid release, period. We're sure they will support the Mac as they have done with a number of other titles (and with Wolfpack themselves being such huge Mac fans -- one of the lead programmers will only work on the Mac version); the only question is whether it will be a hybrid release or a separate boxed Mac version.

UbiSoft Web Site
Shadowbane Web Site
UbiSoft Shadowbane Press Release
Wolfpack Studios

Legacy Interactive Brings "Law and Order" to Mac
4:19 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

In an unusual (but increasingly common) crossover between television and computer gaming, Legacy Interactive has announced they are developing a game based on the hit television series Law and Order. While a courtroom drama may not seem the best subject for an interactive game, Legacy intends to leverage the huge amount of content and large fan base of this show to create a 'crossover' experience.

A spokesperson for Legacy Interactive assured us the game would be available both for Mac OS 9 and OS X. Here is the press release:

Los Angeles, CA, August 2, 2001. Legacy Interactive, creator of the successful Real Life Games series of interactive CD-ROM simulation games, has signed a licensing agreement with Studios USA, producers of the hit television drama Law & Order, to develop a new game based on the popular show.

The critically acclaimed Law & Order is currently televisions longest-running drama series, airing on NBC and in syndication on cable networks TNT and A&E. The series will enter its twelfth season this fall. It has also launched one successful Law & Order-branded series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which airs on both NBC and USA, and a second, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, airing this fall, also on NBC and USA.

Several cast members from Law & Order television series, including Jerry Orbach (Detective Lennie Briscoe), S. Epatha Merkerson (as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren) and Elisabeth Rhm (as Assistant D.A. Serena Southerlyn) will participate in the production of the interactive game.

In developing Law & Order Interactive, Legacy is working closely with Law & Order executive producer and series creator Dick Wolf, president of Wolf Films, to ensure that the game stays true to the spirit of the enduringly popular show. The initial cases for Law & Order Interactive were written by two regular screenwriters of the show and contain the mystery, twists and turns as well as the moral and legal dilemmas that are the signature elements for the series.

The game will feature a 3D engine which will place you right in the courtroom, and is due Winter of 2002.Visit the Legacy Interactive web site for examples of their past work.

Legacy Interactive

Utterer MWNY Hangover Lingers
4:18 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The Mac games web sit which prides itself on being ...unconventional has posted their usual irrevent take on MWNY. Dan "Remy" Dickinson has asked a wide variety of Mac gaming community members (including his own fiancé) five questions and a throwaway extra. While you can expect a lot of inside jokes and some scattered profanity, it is an interesting inside look at both the expo and a host of Mac personalities that make up the gaming and gaming journalism scene.

Here is the blurb:

In a bold move that defies explanation, Utterer.com today posted their MWNY
2001 Hangover Interviews - almost two weeks after the expo ended.

When asked for an explanation as to the delay, Interviewer Dan "Remy"
Dickinson said, "Well, it's not my damn fault. I was holding out for more

The interview, which contains 5+1 questions asked to a large variety of Mac
gaming industry personalities, includes responses from employees at Apple,
Aspyr Media, MacPlay, Ideas From The Deep, Freeverse Software, Macworld
Magazine, MacGamer, Inside Mac Games, Frag Mac, and of course, Utterer.com.

Visit the Utterer.com web site for more.

Utterer MWNY 2001 Hangover Interview

New Parsec Release Due Soon
1:54 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The Parsec web site has been updated with another monthly screen shot and progress report on this "commercial-quality freeware" netplay space shooter. In development since 1997, this 3D shooter has evolved greatly over time; as the latest screen shot reveals, the visuals of the game have taken another leap in quality with a marked increase in texture resolution and polygon detail. The description of the screen shot of the month contains an important hint: it mentions that the "teleporter" shown in the image will be included in a new release of the game which is "due very soon."

IMG spoke with Andreas Varga, longtime Parsec team member and Mac fan. He confirmed that a release is due soon, and it will add many features compared to the existing "LAN test" release including improved mouse control, hi-rez ship textures, new models and more. Here is a list of the new features due in this next release:

  • The new release will feature the new teleporter which is shown in the monthshot of July.
  • We have incorporated a new system to allow easy integration of user-supplied data files.
  • We now display big textured fonts for status messages.
  • A new object camera that can now be attached to any ship is available.
  • Increased the number of possible network players to 8.
  • The new release will also contain our object conversion tool that we use to create object files for spacecraft, power-ups, etc. (including full source code).
    The release of open-source tools may rapidly speed the development of this title. Andreas also let us in on a secret about the next release, but we've agreed to keep it under wraps for now. Keep watching for the new release, or download the old LAN Test from the Parsec web site just for kicks.


    Feature: 'One on One With Mark Adams'
    11:46 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    We have posted a second installment of One on One With Mark Adams, a somewhat casual discussion between EOC Tuncer Deniz and veteran Mac developer Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive. Mixed in with the discussion about the recent Expo and the progress of OS X are some very exciting tidbits of information, including a mini-preview of Max Payne.

    If you want the lowdown on the Mac gaming scene from two longtime veterans, this discussion is full of gems and informed opinions. Here's an excerpt:

    Tuncer: So...looking into your crystal ball...what games are you looking forward to on the Mac?

    Mark: Well I'm looking forward to playing with copies of Tropico and Summoner that Suellen brought me back from MacWorld, but I'm guessing you are thinking more long term. Civ 3 I think will be a great Mac game. Max Payne should also be a good addition to the Mac lineup. Duke Nukem Forever, announced at MacWorld (no one signed up for development yet) obviously is a huge potential game. Duke Nukem 3D would have been the best selling Mac game the year it came out except Civ 2 was also released that year. I'm drawing a bit of a blank on other games, to be truthful I don't keep up quite as much with what Mac gamers are coming from other Mac developers- I have to worry about what we're working on and keep track of what's hot on the PC.

    If you have questions that you would like to appear in the next installment of this article, be sure and send them to tuncer@insidemacgames.com. Follow the link below to check out the feature.

    Feature: One on One with Mark Adams

    Beta ATI Driver Update Posted
    11:02 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    Several sources including IMG readers and xlr8yourmac.com have pointed out that a third-party company has posted Beta drivers for ATI Radeon, Rage 128 Pro and Rage 128; this is a truly rare event for ATI, as their drivers are usually funneled through Apple for release. This beta brings the ATI drivers to version 1.2.2 and changes several of the components.

    The drivers are being posted by IEN, and purportedly fix an ATI driver and OpenGL bug discovered by the Warbirds III development team while developing that online flight sim. They are a beta driver release, specifically NOT endorsed by Apple or ATI in an official capacity. Currently these updated drivers also require OpenGL 1.2.2, a version of OpenGL that was only pre-installed on certain systems (iBooks, recent towers) and is not currently available for download. A note on the Warbirds web site states that they will post revised ATI drivers that do not require OpenGL 1.2.2 later today.

    This Beta release is an interesting move on ATI's and Apple's part; both companies have long been criticized for the slow pace and rare releases of graphics card updates, and the odd situation of different mixes of drivers being released with different hardware. An ATI staff member posting on our forums as "QE Guy from ATI" made a comment that may indicate this situation is changing -- "We are hoping to make Beta drivers a common event," he said in a recent post.

    As it stands we do not recommend that you download and install these drivers, even if you do have OpenGL 1.2.2, unless you are willing to risk the stability of your system; beta drivers are, after all, beta drivers. The accompanying docs do not indicate what specific bugs were fixed or changes were made, but no new features are immediately noticeable. If those of you with OpenGL 1.2.2 and a hardy constitution would care to post some benchmarks in our Troubleshooting forum, we'd greatly appreciate it.

    WarBirds III Web Site
    ATI Driver Update 1.2.2 [BETA, REQUIRES OPENGL 1.2.2] (800k)
    IMG Hardware Forum
    New ATI Drivers Discussion Thread

    Play Warbirds III for Free, Among Other Things...
    9:59 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    i Entertainment Network's Warbirds III site has recently been updated with several interesting bits of news. For those unfamiliar with the title, Warbirds III is a multiplayer online-only flight combat sim that takes place during World War II.

    The game itself is available as a free download, but players normally have to pay a small montly online fee in order to play. However, for the month of August, free online accounts are being offered that will be good until September 4th. For players who are curious about Warbirds, this is a good chance to try out the game completely free of charge.

    In other news, version 08.01.01 was recently released for both Mac and PC. It contains a host of bug fixes as well as some new additions, including:

    • New tank: Panzer MKIV and 3D cockpit.
    • New: Hurricane I, F6F5, Spitfire I, V, IX cockpits.
    • Cockpit corrections on 109e, p38f, p38l, yak3, a90a4.
    • Model corrections for M4A1, Bf110, and the 190's.
    • More airfields.
    • New grass runway in towns.
    • More visual movement with head rotation.
    • New Craters and crater geometry.
    • New Anti-tank Ack (will leave craters on the ground around you).
    • New ground clutter.
    • New damage points for ground vehicles.
    • New tank smoke points.
    • Each bombable object now has a definable hardness.
    • Easily definable point score for damaging structures.

    For more information on this title, check out the official Warbirds III site. It features screenshots, FAQs, and links to various downloads.

    Warbirds III Official Site

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    Apple to be at QuakeCon
    9:39 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    In an interesting move, Apple has announced its intention to be present at the upcoming fragfest QuakeCon 2001. Being held in Mesquite, TX, this event is a huge Quake tournament officially sponsored by Id Software and promises to be one of the largest of its kind.

    Apple certainly means to make its presence known there. They will be running Quake III Team Arena under OS X under their new monster dual 800 G4s equipped with GeForce 3 cards. The machines will be available for both open and tournament play.

    This is certainly a gratifying move for Mac gamers everywhere, and is sure to stir even more interest, and hopefully a little respect, in the Mac gaming community in general. Considering that the latest Q3A benchmarks (seen on several Mac hardware sites) are rapidly gaining ground and can now compete with a 1.3 GHz Pentium 4, the presence of the Mac hardware on the gaming floor is certain to erase some preconceived notions about Mac game performance.

    Apple - QuakeCon 2001
    id Software
    Quake III Team Arena
    Buy Quake III Team Arena

    Carmack Talks Vid Tech, Doom Reqs
    9:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    In response to a recent story on Slashdot.org story, John Carmack of id Software dropped by to lend his thoughts to the ATI vs Nvidia debate, as well as drop some knowledge concerning the hefty system requirements for running their next-gen game Doom 3. It appears he will be attempting to get the most out of the newest GeForce 3 and ATI offerings (the rumored Radeon 2 which hasn't even been officially unveiled yet). In his first post on the matter, he goes into detail on how his latest game engine will utilize the various features of the new cards, though he is careful not to guess too much about which might perform better.

    In his second post, Carmack notes he's shooting for 30 Frames Per Second on a GeForce 3 with Doom 3. While this could make some choke, considering the high cost of such a card now, it's not unusual for id games to greatly push the envelope. And since any game release is still quite far off, many 'hardcore' gamers will be upgrading their systems before then (so don't expect Doom 3 to run on your rev A iMac):

    Obviously, any game done with the new Doom engine is going to run slower than a game done with Q3 technology. You can make some of it back up by going to the simpler lighting model and running at a lower resolution, but you just won't be able to hit 60+ fps on a GF2. The low end of our supported platforms will be a GF1 / 64 bit GF2Go / Radeon, and it is expected to chug a bit there, even with everything cut down.

    There are several more Q3 engine games in the works that will continue to run great on existing systems, and Doom is still a long ways off in any case, so there will be a lot more upgrades and new systems. We are aiming to have a GF3 run Doom with all features enabled at 30 fps. We expect the high end cards at the time of release to run it at 60+ fps with improved quality. This is an intentionally lower average FPS for the hardware cross section than we targeted for Q3, but still higher than we targeted Q2 and earlier games (before hardware acceleration was prevalent).

    This are some very interesting comments from Carmack, so be sure to read both his posts; it is clear that while he is unwilling to play favorites between the two remaining "hardcore" 3D chip makers, he is already looking beyond their present and future offerings.

    John Carmack on Doom Requirements
    John Carmack on ATI/Nvidia Debate
    Buy DOOM 3

    Railroad Tycoon 2 Platinum, Mac Possibility?
    9:19 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    On Tuesday this week, Gathering of Developers announced an upcoming bundle which repackages the titles of the classic Railroad Tycoon 2 series into a Platinum edition with a very reasonable price. As it wasn't readily apparent that there will be a Mac version of this release, since Gathering of Developers divested themselves of all their Mac titles (to MacSoft) some time ago, we decided to do some investigation before running the press release.

    We spoke with Phil Steinmeyer of PopTop, creators of the RT2 series, about the possibility of a Mac-specific release of this game -- after all, the original RT2 and the sequel The Second Century came to the Mac OS, as well as the bundle Railroad Tycoon 2 Gold. "It's unclear at this point. We're talking to a couple Mac publishers," Phil said. "It's not certain whether the game will come out on Mac or not. If it does come out on Mac, it will be a Mac specialist publisher, not Take 2 - Take 2 wants to let Mac specialists handle their Mac games."

    At this point the "Mac specialist" most closely aligned with Take Two would of course be MacSoft, which took on the bulk of GoD's Mac releases and even a few surprises. However they have a very full plate at present, so the possiblity of another publisher isn't ruled out.

    In case you're curious about what this game might be, here are excerpts from the press release:

    High end computer and video game publisher
    GodGames, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
    today announced it will publish Railroad Tycoon II Platinum Developed by
    PopTop Software, the exclusive special edition, which includes the smash hit
    strategy-simulation Railroad Tycoon II, the critically acclaimed expansion
    Railroad Tycoon II: The Second Century, the official 200 page Railroad
    II Strategy guide in electronic format, plus 50 new scenarios and a
    with over two hours of original blues music, is scheduled for release in
    2001, for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

    "Railroad Tycoon 2 was the first of the recent string of 'Tycoon'-game
    said Mike Wilson, CEO of GodGames. "Railroad Tycoon 2's continuing
    is a testament to its outstanding gameplay, and the broad appeal of trains
    railroads to gamers around the world."

    With more than 125 scenarios to choose from, gamers will test their
    skills across continents and amid an ever-changing global marketplace.
    the new scenarios, gamers can tackle the Russian revolution and attempt to
    smuggle Lennon across central Europe and back into St Petersburg. Or they
    can r
    eplicate Andrew Carnegie's feats in building an empire of steel using
    control of East Coast U.S. railroads. Global campaigns throughout the world
    challenge gamers to re-create the greatest historical railroad feats with
    60 engines from around the world, including the French TGV, the Brenner 412,
    4-8-8-4 Big Boy and the Vulcan 240. The 50 new scenarios include a mixture
    original ones created by PopTop, plus some of the best fan-created
    chosen from over 2000 user maps created by RT2 fans since the game's

    While the status of a Mac version of this game is still up in the air, we're sure that it could not hurt to mail your favorite Mac publisher and suggest they add the title to their catalog.

    Pop Top

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

    On The Graphics Card "Wars"4:22 PM
    MacGamer Posts iBook Review3:23 PM
    OpenGL "Cow" Games Updated1:40 PM
    Baldur's Gate Developer Answers Fan Questions11:06 AM
    Power Infused Unveils New Website10:51 AM
    IMG Launches New Forum9:51 AM
    Snapz Pro X Released9:39 AM
    Diablo II News and Status Updates9:34 AM
    No New Mac Q3A For Now...9:27 AM
    Mac DS9: The Fallen Ships9:24 AM
    New Tropico Scenarios9:01 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 1, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Tuesday, July 31, 2001
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    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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