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Monday, September 17, 2001


Wolfenstein MPTest Released for PC, OS X Pending
10:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Over the weekend id Software and Nerve released the PC version of their multiplayer test for Return to Castle Wolfenstein. While we reported Friday on a .plan update from Graeme Devine about an OS X version, there is still no build released yet. We urge Mac fans to practice patience, as there can often be delays getting the final code (even GameSpot was mirroring an older, incompatible version of the test for a while). According to Graeme Devine, he has yet to receive the latest data from Nerve Software (the company which created the multiplayer aspect of the title) to package with the OS X MPTest. Here is Graeme's latest .plan update:

Mac stuff.


The OS X dedicated server and client //should// be done today, there was a bunch of changes to the general codebase before the test went out, and it seemed wiser to allow that hubbub to settle down a bit.

When id does release the installer for the Mac version, you might want to be aware that this game is much more than the standard deathmatch. The multiplayer in Return to Castle Wolfenstein is much like the popular Team Fortress games, with many character "classes" and unique abilities requiring good teamwork. The one map included re-creates the incredible opening scene of the D-Day beach storming from Saving Private Ryan. Players on the Allied side must run up the dangerous beach and infiltrate the enemy's bunker, while the Axis powers must do their best to defend. There are two preview/guides available now to give you a better idea of how the game is played.


GameSpy has posted a good overview of the game and its classes One of the most distinct changes from normal "deathmatch" is the fact the dead players won't reappear immediately:

One of the unconventional things about the game is the spawn system. It occupies the middle ground between "respawn immediately" and "staying dead until the next round." When you die, you go into "limbo mode" and wait. Each map has a countdown to reinforcement waves, and when that countdown ends, you respawn. The countdown can be different for each map, and can even be different for each team on a given map. The beachhead map in the test, for example, has Allies respawn more frequently to compensate for the Axis team's more defensible position.
This slight penalty makes sure you take care of yourself, while not punishing you for the whole round. For a much more detailed look at how to play the test effectively, head over to fan site Achtung, Wolfenstein!. They have a complete guide posted with weapon, class and map strategies.

IMG News: Return to Castle Wolfenstein MPTest for Mac OS X
RtCW Preview at GameSpy
RtCW Guide at Achtung, Wolfenstein!
Activision
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein


Custer's Desktop Updated
3:24 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Brad Custer has decided to forgo his gaming-themed desktop this week for a work of a much more personal nature. Intended as a memorial to all who perished in last week's attack on American soil, this desktop is accompanied by a list of links to ways you can help the survivors of this catastrophe. Here is more on the desktop from Brad:

I wasn't sure what was going to happen to our nation and feared that it would drive our country apart, but it had the opposite effect. It has brought our great country closer together than we have been in awhile. Every time I see a fellow American flying our flag or showing support it touches my heart and gives me great pride to be part of it.


I knew this week I wanted to pay tribute in some way to all those that lost their lives or a loved one so I decided to use my weekly desktop as my way to honor them. Please download this desktop and pass it along to a friend.

Visit Custer's Desktops for this latest creation.

Custer's Desktops


Developer Update on WingNuts
2:21 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

One of the "sleeper" hits IMG spotted at this year's Macworld Expo New York was WingNuts, an OpenGL-based top/down shooter in the same style as arcade classic Time Pilot. While the game is due this November and may be nearing Beta stage, not much is known about this game besides a single small screen shot on the Freeverse Software web site.


Today we bring you a description of the game in its current state, from the author. This is a summary of features, gameplay and story line as it currently exists:

Wingnuts is...

Carbonized for OS X

supports various game controllers and joysticks

requires a G3 with Mac OS 8.6 or later (Carbon lib 1.4)

needs 30 Megs of hard drive Space.

Uses OpenGL for cool 3D effects in a classic top-down game.


Has a groovy time period(s) specific soundtrack (or will have soon, its
being written now :-)


Features 30 levels of action with dozens of different aircraft from
Bi-planes to Blimps, and from F-16's to weird aircraft of the future.
Wingnuts also has various boats and ground installations.


Weapons include bombs, missiles, machine guns and power-ups include
super-spinner, super-wave and so many more. (There can be up to 30 different
gun configurations).


Boss Planes await you at the end of each level.


Wingnuts is being programmed by Mark Andersson, author of Burning Monkey
Puzzle Lab. Additional artwork by our own Steven Tze, and co-produced by
Freeverse's Gareth Anderson.


Story Synopsis, (I'm pretty much winging this so to speak, as we're still
assembling the pieces).


Evil Baron Von Schtopwatch has created a time-warp machine and is stealing
planes for his air force in the Bermuda Triangle. Its easier to go back in
time than forward, so he starts by collecting older planes. Your job is to
stop him before he's able to perfect his machine and steal planes from the
future, blowing you, and everyone else, out of the sky.


Wingnuts will be available this Fall at a suggested price of US$24.95.

We're very excited to see this title in action, as reactions from the Expo (which was quite some time ago in the game's development) were very positive. If you haven't tried Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab, we highly recommend you grab it while waiting for more details on WingNuts -- the Zen mode has personally saved my sanity more than once. Visit the Freeverse site for more details and their many product demos.

Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab 1.6.1 (14.7 MB)
Freeverse Software
MWNY: Freeverse Reveals WingNuts
WingNuts


GLSetup Gains Support from ATI
1:59 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

GLSetup is well known to PC users, but it has a much lower if not non-existent profile for Mac gamers; however a recent move by ATI may bridge this gap. GLSetup is a tool which ensures gamers get the optimum performance from their graphics cards by detecting the hardware and installing the appropriate OpenGL drivers. This has been of major importance on the PC side with such a variety of hardware available, often each having various driver revisions. GLSetup has been downloaded by millions of users and has shipped with such popular games as Quake 3: Arena; Serious Sam; Baldur's Gate 2; Tribes 2; Alice; Descent 3; Homeworld; Soldier of Fortune; and many others. It is also free for developers to include the roughly 80Mb package on their game cd's, simplifying driver distribution issues and making life a lot easier for your average gamer.


ATI today announced that they will be supporting GLSetup, another move which proves their commitment to the 3D graphics industry and OpenGL itself and something which can only be good news for Mac users. Here's what John Carmack had to say on the subject:

“ATI's support of GLSetup is a rare thing in the industry -- a company pushing stability, conformance, and a positive user experience, not just the latest benchmarks and features. With the mad rush to always sell the latest and greatest video card, trying to wring cooperation out of competing companies is a difficult task. It is great to see ATI stepping forward with support for a program that broadly benefits all 3D card users and developers.”
ATI has committed funds to GLSetup to help offset the costs of programming, testing and distribution. It has also been stated that these funds will go towards longer-term projects, such as an expanded feature set and the all important development of GLSetup for Mac OS and Linux. How this move will pan out for Mac gamers is an unknown, as we don't have the level of driver complications present on the PC side because of our limited number of hardware choices and driver updates. Of course, anything that eases performance troubles for gamers will be welcome and a move towards smoothing driver and compatibility issues from ATI is no bad thing from any perspective. ATI's decision is in line with our recent conversations with team members in which they stressed that ATI plans to greatly increase the cycle of driver development and release and be much more aggressive about delivering performance upgrades.

ATI's Press Release
GLSetup Homepage


Bold to Ship Age of Empires II with Expansion
1:38 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Peter Tamte sent out a release today announcing the immanent release of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings will also include The Conquerors, an expansion pack available on the PC side and will retail at the same price point ($49) on both systems. This is great news for Mac gamers, as they don't have to feel left out of the extra action included in Conquerors. Age of Empires II: Gold Edition for Macintosh will include other goodies like a random map compilation and three recorded games so you can watch how the masters play. Here's a clip from the press release:

Focusing on legendary leaders, The Conquerors Expansion will challenge
veterans and novices to wage war on an epic scale with all-new
civilizations, unique units and technologies, and campaigns based on
infamous conquerors such as Attila the Hun, El Cid and Montezuma.
Additionally, The Conquerors includes many gameplay enhancements, such as
chat commands, smart villagers and farm queuing.


The Conquerors was developed by Ensemble Studios, creators of Age of Empires
II: The Age of Kings, and features the expertise of Bruce Shelley,
co-designer of "Age of Empires" and the hit strategy game "Civilization."
The expansion has won many awards from leading publications, including
"Expansion of the Year" from PC Gamer, IGN, and others, and the Windows
version has frequently been a top-10 best-selling game -- very rare for an
expansion.


In Age of Empires II, you lead one of the most powerful civilizations of the
Middle Ages through an action-packed real-time strategy game. You raise its
armies, forge alliances, grow its economy, and build wonders to stand the
test of time. The Windows version is already one of the best selling and
most critically acclaimed games ever created. It will ship for MacOS 8,
MacOS 9, and MacOS X in late October.

While the Destineer web site is still a single static page, watch for a full site to be completed sometime this month. And stay tuned to IMG for more on Age of Empires II as the game gets closer to release next month.

Destineer Studios
Past IMG News on Age of Empires II
Bold
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires II


IMG Reviews DS9: The Fallen
12:48 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Today IMG publishes our review of a game which many thought might never appear on our platform. Though the release of Mac Deep Space Nine: The Fallen was delayed almost a year on our platform, the quality of design and well-crafted story line make the game feel anything but "old." Reviewer Patrick Leyden found much to like about this third-person action/adventure title:

Star Trek fans have enjoyed years of exciting and provocative storytelling thanks to a multitude of television series, feature films and novels based on the franchise. Until recently, interactive adventures in the Star Trek universe have not been as successful as their non-interactive counterparts.


Star Trek Deep Space 9: The Fallen is a game that successfully bucks the trend of being just another poorly executed licensed title. With The Fallen, the development group known as The Collective has created a game with an engrossing story, solid gameplay mechanics, excellent graphics and a soundtrack that is second to none.

Read on for more details and an extensive gallery of screen shots.

Review: Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen


Drama as a Gameplay Element
10:06 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

One of the increasing concerns within the development community is how to attract a wider audience to computer gaming. An area of game content which has come under major scrutiny lately is the need for a plot -- a story line that drives the game forward and keeps the player interested. There is a growing awareness that games cannot be sold purely on technical advancements, something which has driven much of the market over recent years. While increasing poly-counts and striving for ever more realistic textures is certainly not something that will be forgotten, it's important to remember that the real sucesses of the market have been innovative games with something different to offer. This was a noticeable talking point at GDCE. Gamers are becoming bored with the plethora of clone titles and again want something to capture their imagination.


Gamasutra, the home of computer game industry discussions, has just posted an article by Randy Littlejohn discussing the use of drama in interactive storytelling. This excellent article theroizes on many ways to include dramatic content in a game, and what makes such a game successful. Here's an excerpt:

A rising concern is, "How do we graft a story to our action game?" Story means linear...right? The whole idea of a story is opposed to the idea of interactivity…right? The basic concern is "How do we make an effective interactive story?" So what does effective mean in terms of interactive storytelling? There are two basic ingredients. These are intuitive interface design and compelling stories. In this article, I will address one of the two ingredients, the development of compelling interactive storytelling.
As depth of game-play is rediscovered, we can hope to see less games which have the 'story clamped onto a game-engine at the last minute' syndrome, something which luckily has not been as quite as apparent on our beloved platform as it has on others. Taking lessons from other forms of story-telling media such as theater, film and TV, the article discusses what makes for a good story and how to draw a player or viewer into it. This is well worth a read whether your interested in hot topics within the industry or just want to know what you may be playing in the future.

Adapting the Tools of Drama @ Gamasutra


Paris Expo Cancelled
9:47 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

In a surprise announcement today, it has been revealed that Apple's Paris Expo 2001 scheduled for the 26th to 30th of this month, has been cancelled. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

“We’re cancelling Apple Expo in the wake of last week’s devastating and tragic events,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re sorry to disappoint our users and developers, but their safety is our primary concern.”
The impacts of this announcement have not yet become apparent, but it is clear that several key product introductions which were planned will be delayed or cancelled. We'll try to bring you comments from exhibitors on this development, as we're sure some are disappointed at not being able to introduce their wares to the public.

Apple-Expo Paris


Myth III Progress, Preview
9:45 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Andrew Meggs of MumboJumbo updated his .plan recently with good news about the progress of the upcoming prequel Myth III: The Wolf Age. The game is expected out in the next month or two for both Mac and PC, with MacSoft publishing the game for parent company Take-Two. Meggs seems to think they are doing very well up to this point, especially for a title with such a tight release schedule. Here's his .plan update:

The game is coming together really, really well. It hasn't seemed like progress has been that dramatic because we're mostly just joining together all the parts we've made over the last 10 months and then polishing the seams, but today I had occasion to grab a build from two weeks ago to try to track down when a certain bug was introduced. Looking at it beside today's build I was absolutely astounded at the cumulative difference in style and playability all our minor changes have made in such a short time.
In case you're lacking for information on the game, GameSpot has also posted a complete preview over the weekend. They discuss the numerous new units, heroes, and improvements as the game moves to a fully 3D engine. Head over now for a good overview of Myth III, and stay tuned as the game closes on completion this fall.

Andrew Meggs .plan Update
Myth III Preview at GameSpot


Creative Call for Feedback
8:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Brian "CreativeOne" Sounder of Creative Labs has made a post to the IMG forums recently, asking for help in convincing both his company and Apple that the Mac Soundblaster Live! is a good decision. With the recent loss of a fellow Mac-supporter at the company due to cutbacks, the development of the improved Mac (and OS X) drivers seems to be adrift. Brian wants owners (and presumably those looking to own a SBLive!) to write him with comments that he can then take to his supervisors. Here's his post:

I don't want you to feel like your SB LIVE Mac was a bad decision. Realize that DevRel is concerned that the project will get killed if he isn't prodding them everyday like he has been. We both feel very strongly about the Macintosh platform, and want Creative's products to not only come to the platform, but should also be ported as a quality product. I think we are all to the point that the OS 9 update is long overdue. I guess it could be some what understandable in this time of cutbacks and tight budgets. The concern here is that the budget gets squeezed so tight, and Apple isn't doing enough to get the OS X info to us or help; that someone looking to squeeze the budget a little further will kill ALL Mac development. Especially without DevRel there everyday to lead the charge. I own a SB LIVE Mac too. I am seriously considering moving to OS X full time. We all know SB LIVE Mac is useless in OS X right now. Let's do something about this.


Please send your letters to me expressing your feelings about the Macintosh, Apple, and Creative. Be direct and to the point, but keep it clean and constructive since I want your letters to go into the corporate report. I'll turn them in each week with the rest of my feedback. Address the letter to Creative management.

It's great to see such a Mac-fan hard at work in the company, and so hopefully other SoundBlaster owners can help him better do his job. Send all email to creativemail@mac.com, and please keep it positive and clean. He also notes its a good idea to convince Apple to help out Creative by submitting feedback to them at their web site below. We hope to see a driver update for the sound card in the near future, and we will keep you posted on any new information that becomes available.

Order Mac SoundBlaster Live! for $89.95
Apple Feedback Page
Creative Labs Forum Thread
Creative
Sound Blaster Live!


Mac Games News for Friday, September 14, 2001

Update on Mac Baldur's Gate II, Giants3:06 PM
Return to Castle Wolfenstein MPTest for Mac OS X2:57 PM
Classic Cinemaware Titles for Mac OS?12:10 PM
Mac Heroes of Might and Magic IV "Probable"11:40 AM
Yet Another Red Faction Q&A11:13 AM
Game Industry Responds to Tragedy10:43 AM
Civ III Q&A with Jeff Morris10:00 AM
Bioware on Neverwinter Nights Requirements9:59 AM
uDevGame2001 Nearing a Close9:16 AM
Quick Spaceward Ho! 5 Update9:10 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, September 14, 2001 on one page


Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, September 13, 2001
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Monday, September 10, 2001
Friday, September 7, 2001


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