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Friday, August 31, 2001

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Mac Update on World War II Online
9:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

As August comes to a close, IMG recently contacted publisher Strategy First to see how the Mac version of their massively multiplayer war sim World War II Online is progressing. While the game was originally scheduled for a near-simultaneous release back in June, major problems with the PC version caused delays for the Mac. It's hard to release for a second platform in good faith when you know the game it still not living up to its potential (and especially for Mac users, who consistently demand a high level of quality from their software).

After most of the client and server issues are resolved and other promised features are completed, Cornered Rat Software plans to move the game from its current state of free-floating battles to an all-out war. This was the original intention of the "Blitzkrieg" release, and Strategy First now tells us this is when the Mac version will be launched as well. Here's the scoop from Kelly Ekins:

All I can say for now is that the Mac version of WWIIOL will not be released until all the problems plaguing the PC version are resolved and integrated into the Mac version. Our goal is to launch the Mac version with the commencement of the "War."
So while the previous August deadline is now "history," at least you can be assured when World War II Online is released, it will be as they originally intended. It's also good to hear that Mac development hasn't ceased during all of the turmoil, and the publisher does still plan to release it when the game is ready. For all the information you would need about this online sim, see our extensive list of past articles.

World War II Online Site
Past Articles on WWII Online
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Mac Gaming Gods: Brian Greenstone
1:28 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

We continue our series on Gaming Gods with a profile of Brian Greenstone, developer of original Mac games and the closest thing the Mac world has to a household name. Brian’s journey into the world of Mac gaming began in 1981 when he was visiting a cousin who had a TSR-80, and continues with the development of Otto Matic. Here's a sample from the feature:

Nanosaur, Bugdom, Cro-Mag Rally, Otto Matic. Perhaps you have heard of those games? You can bet that the legions of iMac and iBook users out there have become familiar with Pangea Software and their quality games by now. As the CEO, lead programmer, tech support guy and janitor, Brian Greenstone and his small team of artists and musicians have made a name for themselves developing original, Mac-only games. In the Mac gaming industry, original development has gradually been swept aside in favor of ports of popular PC games. Brian’s innovation and focus on unadulterated gameplay has proven to be very successful despite this trend.

Mac Gaming Gods: Brian Greenstone

Red Faction PC Due Sept 18th
12:18 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

GameSpot has posted a short report which confirms that the PC version of Volition shooter Red Faction is progressing well and should meet the target release date of September 18th. This is great news for Mac gamers, as the Mac OS version of the game is being developed simultaneously and should be available a scant few weeks after the PC version goes gold -- perhaps sooner.

The team is currently incorporating the feedback they are receiving from PC players of the multiplayer test demo, tweaking gameplay and fixing bugs. Here's the update from GameSpot:

We spoke briefly with THQ today to get a progress report on its upcoming sci-fi shooter, Red Faction. According to a company representative, the game is in the final stages of development. Currently, the development team at Volition is fine-tuning the multiplayer mode, and they expect the game to meet its scheduled ship date of September 18.
We'll continue to bring you progress reports on the Mac version of the game as they are available. If all goes well, GraphSim will publish the Mac version of this game in late September/early October.

Red Faction Report at GameSpot

New Centurions Test #5 Available
11:49 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Shareware publusher Fantasoft has taken a unique approach to the development of their RPG New Centurions; the title is being developed "in public," with successive builds available at the game's web site. Currently the fifth public test version of the game is available, and the author is seeking feedback and suggestions concerning the game and its development.

New Centurions is a nontraditional RPG set in a sci-fi world. Similar to Realmz only in style, the game will feature an exotic setting and high-tech weaponry. Set at a time in the distant future after the near-destruction of all galactic races by unstoppable drones, you must battle your way across a barren wasteland in a quest for survival.

Grab this latest test version, if you are interested, and be sure to send the author feedback on his work in progress at Our thanks to eagle-eyed reader Adam Kay for the tip.

New Centurions

Rogue Spear Patch Available
11:34 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

VersionTracker has just noted that a patch for Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear has been released, after much anticipation by fans of this game. Not only does this patch address many bugs with the Mac port itself, it also provies a very important component of gameplay -- it improves multiplayer support between the Mac and PC versions of the game by including the latest two PC updates.

Here is the full list of changes:

What's new in this version:

  • Added InputSprocket z-axis support. Enables use of mouse wheel on some 3rd party mice. This may require you to reset your keyboard settings and disable any custom mouse software.
  • Fixed some problems related to finding a compatible display.
  • Fixed temporary file warning message.
  • Fixed crashing problem when starting a new Rogue Spear single player game.
  • Added option to the RS Utility tool to disable InputSprockets.
  • Added option to the RS Utility tool to set the monitor to millions of colors while playing. This only works for resolutions greater than 640x480. The result may be a better image on some computers, but at the cost of using more memory.
  • Removed use of SoundSprocket and added custom 3D sound simulation. Also makes use of EAX (Environmental Audio Extensions) if you have a Sound Blaster audio card installed.
  • Added changes from the 2.51 and 2.52 PC updates. (See below.) In order for multiplayer games between Macs and PCs to work, all players must be running the same version. The Macintosh Urban Operations version is now 2.52. However, because of internal changes, the Rogue Spear portion of the game cannot be played against PC players. This should not be a problem since all multiplayer games are available from the Urban Operations portion of the game.
  • There are a few known bugs still existing. In particular, some text may be truncated using ATI Radeon cards, "Random Maps" does not currently work in multiplayer games, and the "Ruined City" map may cause unexplained crashes in multiplayer. We are attempting to locate and correct these issues.
The last item seems to indicate that the patching process is still ongoing, so watch for future updates.

Review: Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear
Rogue Spear 1.0.1 Patch (2.17 MB)

Alien Legion Reappears
10:38 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Longtime, loyal readers of IMG might remember a game called Alien Legion -- an Unreal-engine based tactical shooter that was announced almost two years ago. At the time we struck up a conversation with the developers, who seemed quite friendly to the idea of a Mac OS version of the game. Then the game seemed to vanish, and the web site sat moribund for almost an entire year. Now it seems this project has started up once again, and they promise more information to come.

VoodooExtreme has noted the recent posting of two new Flash teasers from NeXS Interactive's current work, titled Alien Legion

To get you up to speed, Alien Legion is a strategy/FPS title that utilizes the Unreal Tournament engine. The gameplay itself has been compared to Rainbow Six, where the player has control of a whole squad. Besides the usual FPS "shoot the bad guys" gameplay, players must also give orders to their team members as well as regulate such items as food, health, and ammo.

The two Flash teasers are basically large screen shots which can only be partially viewed through a "spotlight" effect created by dragging the cursor over the picture. The first shot shows the player looking down at what seems to be a futuristic bridge of some kind, while the second shot shows a close up of a very ugly alien baddie.

Both teasers are currently available at the official Alien Legion web site. While a Mac version has not been officially announced, the developers of Alien Legion seem confident that one will be available, particularly due to the fact that the Unreal engine already exists on the Mac. For more details on the subject, be sure to check out past IMG articles.

Alien Legion Official Site
VoodooExtreme - Alien Legion Teasers Posted
IMG - Alien Legion Articles

Official Master of Orion III Site Opens
10:04 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Infogrames has recently opened an official site for their upcoming space-themed strategy title Master of Orion III. The site currently features a collection of screenshots, a list of game feature, and links to various 3rd-party previews. Of particular interest for Mac users is a listing of system requirements, which includes both Mac and PC specs.

Here's the listing for the Mac requirements:

  • G3 Macintosh - 300 MHz or Better 
  • Macintosh OS 8.6 or Better 
  • 128 MB RAM 
  • CD ROM 8X or Better 
  • TCP/IP Internet capable connection for Multiplayer Play

For the official scoop on Master of Orion III, be sure to check out the newly-posted official site. The Mac version of MOO3 will be published by MacSoft and is expected next year.

Master of Orion III Official Site
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

Blizzard Teaser Evolves
9:58 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As we're sure you've heard by now, Blizzard Entertainment plans to announce a new game in development this Sunday at the start of ECTS, the European version of E3. Yesterday they posted a small "teaser" graphic to their site which comes up when you type in the URL; now it has been revealed that there is another teaser appearing on the site.

The first image was of a sunrise -- or perhaps a big explosion? -- on a world seen from space. Now the second image has been posted, and this seems a very fantasy-art themed image of a gorgeous landscape. The teaser text states, "As the veil of darkness gives way to a new dawn..."

If you don't mind us mixing our metaphors, that is one heck of a pregnant ellipsis. We're sure you can't wait to find out what Blizzard will be developing next, as 100% of their titles end up coming to the Mac OS -- usually simultaneously. Stay tuned this Sunday, when we will have reports direct from ECTS as to what this household name in gaming is developing to addict future legions of fans. Make sure to add your best guess to our ever-evolving forum thread in our forums, which is quite frankly the "hottest" discussion we have ever seen in the history of IMG forums, period.

Blizzard Entertainment
Next Blizzard Game Speculation

Garage Games - Call Closed for Mac Testers
9:50 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

IMG readers may recall an earlier article where we noted Garage Games' call for beta-testers of the Mac version of the V12 engine. The call was answered, so much so that Jeff Tunnell was forced to officially close the call for testers. Here's the official statement:

Due to overwhelming interest, we had to close the call for Mac V12 Beta testers. The number of highly qualified developers that have Mac interest was amazing. Thank you for the response.
Though some hopefuls may be disappointed that the call for testers is closed, take heart in the fact that this is very good news. It's always great when the Mac gaming community shows such a strong active stance; anyone who's done beta testing knows it's no picnic.

In other Garage Games news, Rick Overman has updated his .plan file with the news that Open AL, Creative Labs' proprietary audio format, is now being integrated into the V12 engine. He also notes that a final copy of the V12 Engine Overview text will soon be integrated into their Doxygen docs.

Garage Games continues to make steady progress on the V12 engine development. Hopefully, we'll start to see the fruits of their labor as games (or RPGs, or benchmarking tools -- the possibilities are wide open) utilizing the engine are released.

Garage Games - Mac Beta Call Closed
Garage Games - Plan for Rick Overman

Spiderweb Update on Geneforge, Avernum 3
9:31 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Observant reader Adam Kay pointed us in the direction of a forum post from Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software which offers an update on his recent projects. Jeff's two big projects at the moment are a new game called Geneforge and the latest sequel/remake of his popular Exile series, Avernum 3. If you haven't heard about Geneforge, this title intends to depart from the tradition RPG clichés of dwarves and elves by putting you in the role of a Shaper, sort of a combination wizard/geneticist.. You will be able to create creatures to fight and die for you as you move along through the loose, open-ended storyline. As with Spiderweb's other titles, Geneforge will be a huge title with many paths to success. The game's content is over a third complete, and they hope it will be out for Mac and Windows by the end of the year. Here is Jeff's update with more:

Geneforge - The engine is basically done. I am working hard on testing, balancing, and making sure the game system works and is fun.

I am also grinding away on the scenario. There will be about 75 areas, and I am almost done with the 27th one. I am extremely happy with how interesting and open-ended the storyline is. There will be a huge number of potential paths to the end. You can get by on stealth and diplomacy and never build your combat skills, or you can just go nuts, attack everything you see, and wipe out the world. Either way can lead to some form of victory, although you might make things much more difficult for yourself.

It is theoretically possible that the game will be ready on CD-ROM by December for Mac and March for Windows, although reality will probably be a month or two after that.

Avernum 3 is the third in the series of RPGs which are really remakes of the earlier Exile games. Sporting more fun gameplay, better graphics and UI, and a slightly reworked storyline, they should be fun for those Exile fanatics and newbie RPG'ers alike. Avernum 3 will be released further into next year if all goes as planned:
Avernum 3 - We are carefully rewriting Exile 3, adding more stuff, rounding out the stuff that is already there, and, in general, trying to make it more fun. Most of our energy is going into Geneforge, but we're constantly thinking of ways to improve the game system and engine. We are about halfway done with the scenario, but we'll want to spend lots of time adding new material.

Avernum 3 should be out for Mac and Windows in Spring, 2002.

Visit the Spiderweb site for more details about both titles, and screen shots of Geneforge in progress.

Spiderweb Software Web Site
Spidweb Forum Thread
Spiderweb Software

Preview of Myth III Tools
9:24 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Myth Wolf Age has posted another article from a recent visit to MumboJumbo, this time focusing on the editing tools which will be included with Myth III: The Wolf Age. For anyone who might have tinkered Bungie's tools 'Fear' and 'Loathing' to make a map for Myth II, you'll definitely want to check out this detailed look at 'Vengeance.' For a change Mac users can rejoice in a game which will have its editing tools readily available for the platform.

Obviously, the biggest change from the previous editing suite is that the tool must now deal with full-3D models as opposed to the 2D sprites of the previous games. Since complex polygonal 3D models can take more time to render on slower computers (especially if there are many on the screen at once), MumboJumbo has come up with a good solution:

While it's typical for a game to let you manually choose the detail settings so on a fast computer the game looks good while on a slow computer the game doesn't look quite as good but has a respectable FPS, Myth III will have automatic internal benchmarking. If only one unit is on the screen, that unit will have a very high polygon count. As more and more units, scenery, etc come onto the screen, the polygon counts gradually decrease so things don't noticeably slow down. On faster computers there will likely be little, if any, noticeable decline in detail, but if you have a slow computer and you've got a hundred units or so running around killing each other detail levels will significantly decline. The good folks at Mumbo Jumbo have a solution for this that is controlled completely by the mapmaker.

While editing a unit's 3D tag in fear (I regret to say that I'm not sure what tag's actual type was), there is a small 3D image of the unit. Using the mouse you can freely rotate that 3D image in any direction to look at it from any angle. Below the image is a slider that adjusts the polygon count on the unit, and using this you can see what the unit looks like with varying numbers of polygons. Once you find an amount that is about the minimum before the unit starts looking bad, you can lock it in. This way slow computers will take a small performance hit when there are many units and scenery and whatnot taking up polygons, but will remain at an acceptable level of detail for gameplay.

The article should be a good teaser for anxious Myth fans eager to make maps of their own. It is also readable for those less familiar with the process, so be sure to check it out. Myth III is set for a release this October for Mac and PC, and seems to be right on schedule.

Vengeance Preview at MythWolfAge

Mac Games News for Thursday, August 30, 2001

IMG Reviews Sims: House Party11:41 AM
ATI Radeon 8500 Pre-order for Under $30011:16 AM
Take-Two's Current Status, Future Plans10:56 AM
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 Demo Available10:42 AM
Duke Nukem Forever Lives Up to Name10:05 AM
Unreal II Interview with Mike and Mark10:01 AM
Deimos Rising Reaches Beta 39:40 AM
Jesse Spears on Westlake, Future9:36 AM
Apple Goes to the Game Shows9:35 AM
Blizzard Posts Teaser for Next Title9:16 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 30, 2001 on one page

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Wednesday, August 29, 2001
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