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Tuesday, September 4, 2001

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European Exile Set For Release This Week
9:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Two sources have confirmed Myst III: Exile is set for a release sometime this week in Europe. While the game was originally scheduled for a simultaneous release with North America, Ubi Soft later announced a large delay in the game's release, supposedly due to the time it will take to "localize" the game for various European languages and operating systems. Now both the Riven Unofficial Home Page and Eurogamer confirm this 3D adventure game should be out this week, though whether it will be Thursday or Friday seems to be the only subject up for dispute. Localization should be complete, and according to Jim Stephenson, Exile will contain both the country's native language and English:

Ubi Soft says that Myst III: Exile will be released in Europe on September 6. As far as I know, both the regular edition and collector's edition will be released at the same time. Please keep in mind that it may take several days for it to reach every store and for mail orders to be delivered.

Regarding languages, the latest I heard was that versions sold in each country will contain both that country's local language and English.

Eurogamer also has a giveaway scheduled for only European residents with copies of the higher-priced Collector's Edition. If you're living on that side of the pond, be sure to head over now and enter to win.

Review: Myst III: Exile
Exile Contest at Eurogamer
Riven Unofficial Home Page
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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Arcane Arena Beta 3 Available
3:46 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Freeverse Software has made good on their promise to provide a new build of their massively-mutliplayer online game Arcane Arena every Tuesday, as Beta 3 is now available. This currently free online game features chatting, combat and even dungeon crawling, live with potentially hundreds of other players. The game is still in the development stages at present, and seems to be evolving rapidly in response to player feedback. Here is a list of changes in this version:


- Elevator in dungeon that whisks you to any level!
(Eventually this will be limited to dungeon levels you've already been to the hard way - via the stairs. :-)

- Merchants deep in the dungeon who will sell Arcane weapons and armor.

- Wolfpacks. 7% chance any battle in the dungeon will be with a group of 3-6 monsters.

- You can only directly attack someone in the dungeon who is within 3 levels of you.

- The maximum mana that can be spent on any one spell is now 5x your intelligence.

- Dozens of bug fixes!

Grab the latest build and be sure to direct your feedback to the Freeverse team developing this title.

Arcane Arena
Arcane Arena

'Demo' Contest Judging Underway
3:38 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The iQuest 2000 contest deadline was reached over the weekend, and now the products of that competition are available for viewing and judging. The object of the contest was to inspire the creation of high-quality computer-generated art, music or real-time graphics in the 'demo' tradition.

Graphics 'demos' were an invention of the Amiga platform which quickly spread to the PC, and are now catching hold on the Mac platform. The object of a demo was not only to showcase the skills and artistic vision of the demo "team" but to push computer hardware ( as it existed at the time) as far as it would go. This is very relevant to video games, as many of the effects conceived and used in these demos (such as real-time 3D engines, animated textures and lighting, smoke and fire effects and more) later found their way into video games -- and more importantly, many of the demo coders and artists joined the game industry itself after cutting their teeth on the demo scene.

There are three demos, two pieces of art and six pieces of music for you to download and judge. Make sure to come back to the site and cast your vote after downloading -- we wouldn't want all this hard work and effort to go to waste. And who knows, today's Mac demo coders may be tomorrow's Mac game programmers.

iQuest Contest Page at MacScene.org

Custer Goes to Mars
11:23 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Our resident desktop craftsperson Brad Custer has once again presented his weekly gaming-inspired montage, this time from the rarefied atmosphere of the Red Planet. While Mac gamers are closely tracking the progress of Volition's shooter Red Faction as it nears release, they can visit Mars early with this red-tinged desktop.

The latest word from publisher GraphSim indicates that this title is keeping pace well with the PC version and has vastly improved since its showing at MWNY. Watch IMG for more details on this game in the near future. Head to Custer's Desktops to grab his latest creation.

Custer's Desktops

IMG Interviews Sphidia
11:10 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Independent, original Mac game development is so rare these days that every such project is worthy of attention and support; thus IMG sat down with the Sphidia team to discuss their work-in-progress, Dynasty. A tactics-based 3D RTS with an original engine, this game is still in early development but seems to be an ambitious project to say the least. The team offered an in-depth description of the game and its engine, and now Mac gamers have another original title to look forward to. Here's a sample:

IMG: Can you tell us something about Dynasty? The website calls it a "3D real-time tactical simulation" - what makes it different from other RTS games?

Forrest: I'd say it's largely the focus on combat tactics and a realistic environment, as opposed to the more resource-centric stables of real time strategy with their necessarily simplified worlds. You can't effectively manage both slow, high-level gather-and-build strategy and fast, low-level tactical unit management on the same screen simultaneously, and most RTS games simplify the tactics and distort the timescale to allow you to manage your resources and send units into combat at once. Dynasty takes the opposite approach, eschewing resource management and construction altogether and freeing players to focus exclusively on the brutal reality of battle.

For more information and a screen shot of the game in progress, jump to the Q&A.
Dynasty also features individual and persistent units, each with their own unique names, evolving statistics, customizable inventory, and the ability to last through entire campaigns if they can survive it. This, combined with the many "hero" units, each with a detailed history and a lead role in the story, lends a much more personal feel to the game. Unlike past RTS's, your units are not just replenishable grist for the mill, but instead, every last soldier counts.

Feature: Sphidia Interview on Dynasty

In-depth Look Into NVIDIA
10:45 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

For those more interested in the business workings of the computer industry, CNET has recently posted an excellent article that interviews Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, and examines the business history, strategy, and future plans of this graphics hardware giant. Not without their share of troubles in the past, NVIDIA has risen to become one of the key graphics chip creators in the business, with "one out of every 3 PCs" reported to carry their hardware.

Nvidia's bold stance towards the market can be seen in a reply given to a question concerning how important 3D hardware is in computing:

Certain computer companies say the network is the computer. We'll argue the display is the computer. What you see of your computer is your experience of the computer. And it is true that the GeForce brand is now synonymous with great 3d gfx capability. All of our retail partners, many of our PC OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) would go out of their way to show their end users that the GeForce processor is what they have in their PC, it's a necessary ingredient if you will for terrific 3d gfx.
NVIDIA goes further to note that some manufacturers feel that GPUs may eventually overshadow CPUs in terms of importance. NVIDIA, however, feels that GPUs and CPUs will continue to grow and work in harmony, rather than in competition, each driving up the features of the other through cooperative efforts.

Huang also notes their current "cover-all" strategy. Most PC and Mac desktop owners are already more than familiar with this company, as their graphics cards have been available for both platforms for some time now. Laptops can now sport a GeForce2Go if they wish. Workstations equipped with Quatro can use NVIDIA technology, and even the X-box gaming console touts their GPUs.

Huang also tips his hat to the Mac platform more than once during the interview. For example:

We're in the most important content-creation platform creations on earth--workstations and the Macintosh.
Also here:
So I think we ought to go and build a strong and influential position in each one of the markets that we serve, such as the Macintosh, such as the mobile computer, such as the workstations, such as the game consoles.
It never hurts to hear good press for the Mac from an influential company like this one.

The rest of the interview focuses on Nvidia's X-box strategy, troubles they have had in the past, and other various business strategies. The full story can be found at CNET, for those that wish to peruse it.

CNET - Nvidia Interview

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ECTS: Black & White Expansion Set Announced
10:31 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Lionhead Software has recently announced their intention to release an expansion set for their popular god sim Black & White. Titled Creature Isle, this expansion will allow players to have their creatures breed with female creatures.

The main reason for this was made painfully obvious by Peter Molyneaux at the recent ECTS:

Peter nonchalantly opened up the demonstration with the blunt statement, "Overwhelmingly what the fans said is they'd like to see their creature have sex with another creature."
Creature Isle will feature an island with a several male creatures, including a new crocodile creature, all of whom are competing for the attentions of a single female creature. The strongest, most dominant creature, as in nature, will be the one to earn the right to breed.

Also to be included in the expansion is the "tyke" creature, which is basically small creature that will learn from the player's own creature in a "father/son" type of relationship. The tyke can also be imported back into the original Black & White for further training time with creatures.

The current projected release date is between Nov 2001 and Feb 2002. There's no word yet if this pack is coming to the Mac, as we don't even have the original title available as of yet.

In related news, we recently had an unconfirmed report from a former IMG staff member that the Mac OS version of Black and White may be farther along than previously suspected, and is currently playable. A Mac OS version of the game would certainly be a nice holiday present for Mac Gamers, so we wish Feral the best of luck with their port.

IGN PC - Creature Isles Announced
Past Articles on Mac Black and White
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

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More Red Faction Previews
10:22 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Not to be outdone in the recent outpouring of Red Faction updates, X-treme Gaming Radio has added their own two cents with a preview of this upcoming FPS title. Drawing comparisons from the mighty Half-Life and other popular FPS titles, XGR's review tips into the positive realm, giving a glowing report of RF and its many features.

Besides the usual notes regarding the well-animated characters, the Geo-Mod engine, and the great background story, the preview also makes note of one of the less-noted features of RF - the reload time for various weapons. Some weapons require several animations during reload, rather than just the switching of a magazine, which will definitely make reload time a factor while playing the game.

The vehicles are also given some spotlight-time, with particular coverage given to a security vehicle of some kind that features both a submachine gun and an artillery launcher of some kind.

Though the Mac version isn't going to be out right along with the PC version, it is well underway and will hopefully see publication sometime sooner than later. In the meantime, feel free to check out XGR's preview as well as IMG's archives for more RF-related news.

Past Articles on Red Faction
XGR - Red Faction Preview
Red Faction

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ECTS: PomPom Wins "Edge Award" for Space Tripper
9:54 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

We'd like to offer our congratulations to PomPom, the UK developer of the OpenGL-based, arcade-inspired scrolling shooter Space Tripper. The shareware title was awarded the Edge Award for Excellence at the ECTS awards ceremony, just before the show's close earlier today.

We'd like to tell you more about the award and how they were selected, but the ECTS web site (which has been soundly lambasted by fellow members of the press) has almost no information. The voting seems to have been conducted by Edge Magazine staff members, as far as we can tell.

In any case, if you haven't checked out Space Tripper yet, and you have a Mac with OpenGL-ready 3D hardware (ideally an ATI or NVIDIA card with 16 MB of VRAM) then make sure you grab the demo and take it for a whirl -- you just might find yourself looking for the quarter slot and scanning the high scores to see if anyone has bested your last effort.

ECTS Web Site
Space Tripper Demo (3.4 MB)

ECTS: Hitchcock - The Final Cut Preview
9:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpot UK has posted a hands-on preview of the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired adventure game, The Final Cut, from the recent ECTS show. Arxel Tribe is developing the title for Mac and PC, and expects it to be out sometime in October. While the Arxel site is barren of information on the game, the preview uncovered that the game's inspiration is actually from six different Hitchcock films, not just Psycho. Similar to other adventure titles, The Final Cut will have prerendered backgrounds with many puzzles to solve along the way. Here's a clip from the hands-on with more:

Incorporating elements from six Hitchcock films, including Psycho (but not The Birds, Rear Window or Vertigo, unfortunately), Alfred Hitchcock - The Final Cut is an adventure game in which players take control of private eye Joseph Shamley, who is called on to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a film crew. The game is controlled via the keyboard in a manner very much like LucasArts' stunning neo-noir adventure Grim Fandango, and it shares a similar style of play. Shamley spends his time talking to a selection of oddballs and femme fatales in an attempt to discover what's going on and, like all private dicks, poking around in places he really shouldn't be.
Head over and check out the preview now if you're interested. The preview also contains six new screen shots of the game in action as well. The Arxel site notes the game will be available on DVD, though it most likely will also be available on a set of CD-ROMs as well.

IMG News: E3 Report Uncovers Mac Adventure Games
Arxel Tribe Web Site
Alfred Hitchcock - The Final Cut Preview

New Screenshots of Myth III
9:09 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

MythWolfAge.com has recently received two exclusive screen shots of the upcoming title Myth III and has posted them online for all to view. For those unfamiliar with the title, Myth III is a prequel to the highly popular Myth series of RTS games, famed for its focus on deep strategy and tactics over resource gathering.

The new screen shots show off two characters. The first one, Ravanna, should be familiar to fans of Myth II. As with other Fallen Lords from previous titles, Ravanna appears in Myth III as a human. Her class is designated as a Myrmidon Hero, and she wields a pair of unique-looking daggers.

Also notable in the Ravanna screen shot are the life and mana indicators, which appear as columns of light on either side of the character. Group formation and communication menus can also be seen at the bottom of the screen.

The second image features a really ugly enemy hero by the name of Lyche, who appears as a bloated figure complete with torn dress, bluish skin, and ominously glowing hands. Accompanying her are what appear at first glance to be Thrall units of some kind, though it also appears that they are running (something the Thrall never did in the first two games).

Fans of the Myth series should definitely give these new images a once-over. For those eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series, a projected release date of "no later than December 25th" has been established, with a simultaneous Mac/PC release also promised.

MythWolfAge.com - News

Mac Games News for Monday, September 3, 2001

ECTS: All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500DV Announced3:09 PM
AvP Demo, Chat with MacPlay [Correction]1:38 PM
GeForce 3 Ultra Due Soon?12:34 PM
Marathon Aleph One Goes True 3D12:30 PM
World of Warcraft Previews, Impression11:53 AM
Red Faction PC Progress Update11:37 AM
ECTS Report on World of Warcraft9:46 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, September 3, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Sunday, September 2, 2001
Friday, August 31, 2001
Thursday, August 30, 2001
Wednesday, August 29, 2001
Tuesday, August 28, 2001

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