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Thursday, August 23, 2001

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Undying Release Pushed Back
9:12 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official Aspyr Project Status page was again updated recently with two noteworthy changes. The first is the inclusion of their just-announced expansion for Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force.

The expansion is currently in beta, with an expected release of sometime next month. It will be OS X-ready, and a patch for a carbon version of the original title will also be made available. Check out the add-on's mini site for more info on the game and its system requirements.

The other change concerns Clive Barker's Undying; the projected release date for this game as been changed, pushing its expected release back to October -- an appropriate month for ghouls and goblins. Earlier in the week, we had reported it was unlikely Aspyr was going to have the title, which has only been in development for a short while, completed by the end of August.

It seems likely that the Carbonization of the game for OS X is holding up its progress. Undying is based on the Unreal Tournament engine, and Westlake likely has to finish work on carbonizing this flexible engine before Undying can be completed. Carbonizing the UT engine for OS X is a very complex process -- due to the lack of many APIs and programs on that OS that exist in OS 9 (such as RAVE) entire parts of the engine have to be overhauled -- the OpenGL rendering must be enhanced, the music system replaced and the sound system ripped out and replaced with a more standard API for OS X audio. In any case we wish Westlake the best of luck, and look forward to Aspyr's next two releases.

Elite Force Expansion Web Site
Undying Web Site
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Clive Barker's Undying
Buy Clive Barker's Undying

IMG Previews Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption
3:19 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a new preview today, providing an early glimpse of MacSoft's upcoming thriller, Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption . The game features an engaging storyline coupled with gorgeous 3D graphics based on the Nod engine. The gameplay is a mix of RPG and adventuring, and you must continually balance your Humanity in order to stay sane. While the multilplayer wasn't working yet in the Mac build, the preview discusses the single-player storyline and features in detail. Here's an excerpt:

The engine can render both indoor and outdoor scenes, and while the environments are much smaller than the epic landscapes of Summoner the amount of detail is vast. Many interactive elements abound including hidden traps and switches, working machinery and caches of treasure.

The Nod engine is also quite good at rendering scenes of horror and gore make no mistake, this is not a game for the timid! If the idea of undead rats and walking corpses makes you uneasy, then the horrors you will encounter later in the game might send you screaming from the room trust me, the Vampires are just the beginning.

Head over now and read through the rest of the preview for much more information on this horror-inspired title. Make sure you check out the three-minute movie of actual gameplay; we will post a higher-resolution version of the movie in the near future.

IMG Preview of Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption
Vampire: The Masquerade
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Readers Report 9.2.1 Issues
11:44 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Several days ago Apple released a surprise for Mac owners -- a downloadable update to Mac OS 9.2.1, which can be used by anyone with 9.1 or 9.2 already installed. This 80 MB download is primarily expected to improve the performance and robustness of Classic under OS X, but it also makes several changes to gaming-related components under Mac OS 9 as well.

Several readers have commented in our forums on various issues with OpenGL, specifically regarding Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena. While some critical information is omitted (such as which video card they are using) we'd like to ask IMG readers who have installed 9.2.1 to visit the Troubleshooting forums and offer their own experiences with this OS update.

NVIDIA drivers for the GeForce 2 MX and GeForce 3 card have reached version 2.3 in this release, while the ATI drivers have also been updated. However, the version of some of the ATI extensions is still slightly "older" than the beta drivers released by IEN earlier this month, in a few cases.

There have also been reports of problems with Escape from Monkey Island and also problems with monitor resolution. We don't know enough at this point to recommend for or against upgrading to the new version, but it is always wise to proceed with caution when updating something as critcal as your system software. In any case be sure and visit our Troubleshooting forum with your own comments (and even benchmarks) on 9.2.1 and Mac gaming.

Mac OS 9.2.1 Update
IMG Troubleshooting Forum
Beta ATI Drivers Released
EFMI and 9.2.1 Report at MacFixit

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Civilization III Hits Beta, Due for PC in October
11:01 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Stomped has produced a very short report which notes that Firaxis has confirmed that Civilization III has reached the Beta stage and is on track for an October release for PC. We've been tracking the progress of Civ3 since MacSoft announced they would be publishing this game for the Mac OS by the end of the year.

The short comment published by Stomped indicates that all the final artwork for the game is in place and the feature set is complete -- all that remains is tweaking, polishing and bug-fixing. Why does any of this matter for Mac gamers? Quite obviously, the more complete the PC version is, the sooner serious work can begin on the Mac port.

As the third title in the Civilization series and the work of Sid Meier, this strategy title is widely expected to inherit the classic, addictive gamplay of the first two games augmented with many refinements and of course better visuals. The recently-launched Civ3 web side has many details on and screen shots of the game in progress, so be sure to pay it a visit if you're interested.

The Mac OS port of Civ3 is underway at Westlake Interactive; currently it is still listed as being in "early development" phase.

Civilization III Web Site
Westlake Interactive
Civilization III Reaches Beta at Stomped
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

Mac OS Planet Comments on Mac Game Viability
10:33 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apparently John Carmack's recent statement regarding the viability of the Mac market for gaming has ruffled more than a few feathers around the Mac community. George Wagner of Mac OS Planet recently added his own two cents to the argument against Carmack's claim in an article titled "The Mac Isn't A Viable Game Platform?"

Rather than engaging in a debate about the Mac gaming market, Wagner instead suggests ways that Mac gamers can improve the market. Not to say that he doesn't engage in a little chiding regarding the so-called non-viability of the market:

Of the 90% market share figure (No, I don't agree with this number, but that is another column) that
is commonly used, we can see some of the problems. Since a large portion of the Windows market
is corporate, it will not affect the gaming sales. Conversely, since the Macintosh has a smaller
corporate share, a higher percentage of the Macintosh market will be potential gaming customers.
So let's just grab a number, say 4 to 1, of Windows to Mac gaming customers. In a level playing
field, Mac sales should be around 20 percent of sales. However, we are not playing on a level
playing field. If you go into a store, it is difficult to find Mac software, and when you are lucky
enough to find some, it is usually only the hybrid titles. This makes it difficult for the average Mac
user to find games. And since games are often an impulse buy, a lot of potential sales are lost.
Among the methods he lists to improve the market are contacting companies to make more Mac games, telling them how much you enjoy Mac games, asking local stores to stock more Mac titles, registering games once bought, encouraging others to buy Mac games, and of course, buying more games yourself rather than resorting to piracy. He also gives short arguments for each method listed. For example:
First and foremost, buy games. Money speaks louder than anything. Don't pirate, all that does is
reduce the number of Mac sales. Personally, I have seen small companies devastated by piracy, to
the point of going out of business. The Macintosh community cannot afford to lose any good Mac
developer. If it's good enough to pirate, then it is probably worth buying.

For the rest of the read, be sure to check out Wagner's column, titled "The Playful Mac," at Mac OS Planet. The methods listed are well thought-out and supported and would definitely go a long way towards improving the state of the current market.

IMG - Carmack Comments on Mac Market
Mac OS Planet - The Playful Mac

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David Gaider Q&A - Part 4
10:11 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Dragon's Breath Forge has recently posted the 4th part of their Q&A session with David Gaider, developer for various BioWare titles such as Baldur's Gate 2 and Neverwinter Nights. As in the previous parts, the questions range from intelligent to ridiculous, querying everything from Gaider's favorite part of BG2's development to his favorite color.

Surprisingly, most of the questions center around BG2. Gaider notes that his favorite part was scripting the AI:

Scripting AI once I reached that level of ability...playing with the scripting language in ways it had never been intended. I can't really describe just how happy I was the first time I saw Draconis go invisible and then run off to a corner to heal himself.
He also notes that no more expansion packs are planned for BG2, which is not surprising considering the sheer openness of the upcoming Neverwinter Nights. Gaider adds that whatever adventures players want to see added to BG2 may as well be made themselves in NWN.

The rest of the Q&A is available at The Dragon's Breath Forge for those curious about Gaider's favorite color and food. He does answer some development-related questions as well, for those seeking more intelligent questions and answers.

The Dragon's Breath Forge - David Gaider Q&A
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II

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Unreal 2 Q&A
9:46 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fansite Unreality has posted a short Q&A featuring fan-submitted questions answered by Mike Verdu of Legend Entertainment, a member of the team developing Unreal 2. As with most sets of fan-submitted questions, these are fairly haphazard, and some of them are just plain ignorant as you will see. However if you would like a broad overview of this game and what the final version might contain, the Q&A is a good place to start.

Two critical issues for Mac gamers anticipating a possible port of this game are also considered -- what the system requirements might be, and when the game is due to be released. Here are the answers, from a PC perspective:

8. What are the system requirements looking like at this point?

Right now we're developing a game that will be playable on a PIII-500 with any hardware accelerator card that supports T&L (e.g. GeForce I, 2, 3, ATI Radeon, etc.). The game will look fantastic on a high end system, but should be playable on a good mid-range machine.
We are still evaluating how to support lower end systems with TNT2 and Voodoo3/4 class cards... Infogrames will make a final determination later this year.

9. What is the timeframe for release?

Spring 2002.

Translated into Mac hardware, it seems that any G4 with a GeForce 2 MX or Radeon would be able to handle this game just fine, which seems remarkable given the almost photorealistic quality of the screen shots. In any case if you have any lingering questions about this sequel-in-progress, you might find them answered in this list.

Unreal 2 Web Site
Unreal 2 Q&A at

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USWest Diablo II Server Restored
9:34 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Following up on yesterday's update regarding downed servers and players having their characters revert to Level 1, Blizzard has posted an update on the current status of their popular online multiplayer service.

The USWest Diablo II realm is now online. All characters which were
reverted to level 1 have been restored. If you experience problems
with your characters still registering as level 1, please contact
There is still no update regarding the Barbarian Bug, which causes Level 1 Barbarians to fail to load.

For more information on the recent bugs has been experiencing as well as any updates made, links are provided to both and IMG's past article on the subject. Forums - USWest Realm Update Server Status and Barbarian Bugs
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

New Infogrames Arcade Remakes?
9:19 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

VoodooExtreme has posted a quick report on new arcade remakes in the works at Infogrames. You may recall MacSoft has already brought a number of these titles to the Mac, 3D retreads of classics like Pong, Centipede, and other games from Atari -- a company which Infogrames now holds all intellectual rights for. Mentioned in the report are two future remakes; Ms. PAC-MAN The Quest for the Golden Maze and Dig Dug Deeper.

Both are expected to be redesigned 3D versions of the original games, and should be out this fall for the PC. While there is no mention of any Mac version, it's likely MacSoft might announce something in the near future, as games of these type align with their strategy of addressing the "consumer" market for Mac games. The Infogrames site has yet to be updated.

MacSoft Web Site
Infogrames Web Site
Infogrames Report at VoodooExtreme

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August MacPlay Newsletter Released
9:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

While looking around the spiffy new MacPlay web site, we noticed their very first newsletter has been posted with lots of good information on their many titles. This August issue starts with a word from public relations man Andrew Hoolan and then dives right into the latest news, recapping Baldur's Gate II going gold and yesterday's Aliens versus Predator announcement. Next are two quick previews of their first new games in a while; Baldur's Gate II and Fighter Squadron. Both give a nice overview of the games, including quick lists of their promised features, so be sure to head over for a look.

Also in the issue is a short strategy guide for their 'motivational' fantasy strategy game Majesty, and they even have a short Q&A session which handles some questions from anxious fans. The most interesting piece comes at the end, when they give a comprehensive list of their many titles being released in the coming months. Here's the scoop:

  • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn - Available September 2001.

  • Fighter Squadron: The Screamin' Demons Over Europe - Fall 2001.

  • Sacrifice - Fall 2001.

  • Icewind Dale - Coming late 2001.

  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto - Available September 2001.

  • StarFleet Command Volume II: Empires at War - Fall 2001.

  • Aliens vs. Predator (Gold Edition) - Available September 2001.

  • Zork Grand Inquisitor - Available October 2001.

  • Heretic II - Available October 2001.

  • Hexen II - Available October 2001.

That is certainly an impressive list of A-titles, and we will definitely keep you posted as they start appearing in stores this fall.

You can preorder AvP and Baldur's Gate II right now from their web site, or remember that MacGames CD subscribers can order BGII for only $39 at our store. Majesty and Sin are also free options with new subscriptions, or only $10 for those already subscribed.

MacPlay August Newsletter
IMG News: MacPlay to Publish Aliens vs Predator
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II

Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Bill Roper of Blizzard on 'The Mac Show'3:40 PM
WWII Online Q&A3:00 PM
Airburst Postmortem Posted12:40 PM
IMG Reviews Monkey Shines 212:31 PM
MacMAME .53a Fixes Bugs, Updates OpenGL12:22 PM
Terminal Reality Drops Mac, PC Support?11:59 AM
English League Manager Released11:37 AM
MacPlay to Publish Aliens vs Predator10:46 AM
Post-Release Myst III Interview10:24 AM
Warcraft III Loses Four Heroes9:52 AM
Red Faction Image Gallery9:43 AM Server Status and Barbarian Bugs9:37 AM
MOO3 Devs Discuss UI9:19 AM
New Mac Hitchhiker Update, Site9:15 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 22, 2001 on one page

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Tuesday, August 21, 2001
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