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Friday, September 28, 2001

Bold Site Opens, New Links Details
9:37 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Peter Tamte's Destineer has finally opened a web site for their Bold label of Mac games. As you know, Bold will be porting some of the most popular titles from Microsoft such as Age of Empires II: Gold Edition and now Links Championship Edition. Tamte just announced the Championship Edition in a new press release, and the game should ship around the same time and same price point as its PC counterpart this fall. Links Championship Edition will include many extra goodies from the original Links 2001, including the previously-announced Arnold Palmer course creator. This is great news for golf fans anxious to make their perfect round. Here's a clip from the PR:

Some of the features in Links that are new to the Macintosh community
include a completely new graphics engine, new physics engine, a
full-featured course designer, new golfer personalities, and 13 of the
world's best golf courses, including Oakmont Country Club, The Royal
Melbourne Golf Club, Four Seasons Resort Aviara, Chateau Whistler, The
Prince Course at Princeville Resort, Westfields Golf Club, and many more.

Links Championship Edition is the biggest upgrade to the Links Macintosh
series ever. The game should be available for Macintosh in late November. It
will work with MacOS 8.6 or higher, as well as natively on MacOS X.

The new Bold Games web site has lots of detailed information on Links Championship Edition, with many new screen shots of the golfers, courses and editor. Links is expected to ship in November and should retail for the same as the PC version, between $49-$54. Bold's other title, Age of Empires II Gold Edition, should be released next month as well.

Bold Games Web Site
IMG News: Mac Links to Include Course Designer
Destineer Studios
Buy Links Championship Edition

Mac AvP Due in 2 Weeks, Offer Going
5:06 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

We just had a short discussion with MacPlay regarding the Mac OS version of Aliens vs Predator, which went Gold at the beginning of this month but has yet to ship. According to staff members the Mac version is currently in production, and should ship within two weeks, if all goes well.

IMG will be receiving our copies of the game at the exact same time it ships to stores, and all pre-orders through our online store will ship the same day. Which reminds us -- the time for you to take advantage of the offer is running out! You can get Mac AvP for FREE if you subscribe to the MGCD today, or get it for just $15 if you are already a subscriber. Stop by our web store today to get your shot at free games and special subscriber deals.

IMG Store

Unreal Tournament Carbon Beta Released
4:41 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

True to his word, Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive has released a patch which will enable Carbon support for the now-classic shooter Unreal Tournament. This long-awaited development has required massive retooling of the Mac port of this engine, stripping out many components (such as the audio system) and replacing them with Carbon-capable versions. This beta release is intended for hardcore early-adopters who don't mind a crash or two, and your feedback will be valuable to Mark as he continues to tweak this ongoing project. Here are a list of caveats:

Important- This version of Unreal Tournament is pre-release software and has many known problems. It may not even work at all on certain systems. Do not contact MacSoft or Westlake Interactive for support of this release, it will remain unsupported until it is officially declared final. Please read the "Known Issues" section below so you know what problems are already documented in this release.

Unreal Tournament for OS X is a Carbon application that works with the full version of Unreal Tournament Mac and runs natively under OS X. It requires that you have installed either UT version 436 or UT Game of the Year. It will not work with any previous versions of Unreal Tournament. To install, run the installer and select your Unreal Tournament folder. A new application, "Unreal Tournament OS X", will be added to your folder. Run this app under OS X. It's highly suggested you backup your Unreal Tournament.ini and User.ini files before running the UT X installer. If you haven't updated to OS X 10.1, do so as soon as possible!

Known Issues

This is a very early release intended only for the brave. It has a lot of known problems (and probably many unknown problems as well). Here is a list of the known issues:

- Modifier keys (command, option, control) don't work. Use the mouse button to fire, or bind other keys to fire/alt fire for now. This is a high priority to fix.

- UT X only supports OpenGL rendering. Software rendering may be supported at some point, Rave and Glide will never be.

- There have been no OS X specific optimizations yet. The game should run approximately the same speed as OS 9 in OpenGL, but there are some rough spots.

- Compiler optimizations have had to be turned down to a lower level in UT X, due to problems with bad code generation in CodeWarrior 7.

- Music is not supported.

- Mouse controls may be a bit sluggish. Turning up the mouse speed in the Preferences is recommended.

- The entire sound library has been replaced- this may cause sound problems or performance issues.

- Windowed mode does not work properly. Don't switch out of full screen!

- NGStats don't work (for Mac servers). Make sure and leave them off. If they are turned on, the game will probably freak out at the end of a level.

- Support for input devices other than mouse & keyboard doesn't work. Alternate mouse buttons may or may not work.

This version requires Mac OS X 10.0.4 and 10.1 is certainly recommended, when it becomes available in your area. It should be compatible with current maps and mods, but the best feedback for Mark would be based on a "plain vanilla" install of UT vs one that has been loaded with mods. Grab the small update today and leave your feedback in the forums.

Unreal Tournament Carbon Beta Preview 1

Quake III: Gold Edition Specs
2:47 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Activision has released details about the upcoming release Quake III: Gold Edition, a combo pack of the original Quake 3 Arena plus the Team Arena expansion.

The system specs for this expansion are exactly the same as previous versions, which is no surprise -- however it is nice to see that Mac specs are listed as well. As you might remember, some time ago the Mac OS version of Q3A went "out of print" (though you have always been able to buy the PC version and use the downloadable Mac OS or OS X application). Now it seems Activision is going to put yet another Mac product on the shelves, a nice endorsement of our platform.

Follow the link to check out the specs, and we will bring you more information on this bundle/expansion as it is revealed.

Quake III: Gold Edition System Specs

Quake 3 Arena Version 1.30 Released
2:37 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The long-awaited, non-Beta version of Quake 3 Arena has been released by <>id Software. Graeme Devine just updated his .plan file with news that this update had been released for Mac OS 9.x on the id FTP site, which is of course already suffering under the strain of those downloading the new Wolfenstein MPTest.

We couldn't even get in to mirror the file, but we'll update this article with mirror links as they become available. This should bring the Mac version of Quake 3 Arena dead even with the PC and Linux versions, and addresses the following:

* Fixed sound bug (with Graeme hints) -- this crashed some mods

* Made sure Sys_Printf doesn't get into an endless loop if logfile is on

* Fixed qconsole.log issues, +set logfile 1 +set fs_debug 1 was crashing (any OS)

* Fixed logfile 1 / ttycon 1 issue, didn't exit properly (same endless looping) Also fixes an issue reported by q3f team

* Changed rcon commands from Com_DPrintf to Com_Printf so that they show up in the console (with IP information)

* Fixed autodownload toggle in q3 ui
The 26 MB download also includes several new and tweaked maps and models; we'll let you know when the OS X version arrives, which should follow shortly.

Q3A 1.30 Mirrors at Blue's News
Graeme Devine's .plan File
Quake 3 Arena 1.30 Release (25.6 MB)

IMG Reviews Mac Fun Pack 2
11:26 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

IMG recognizes the fact that not all of you have hours per day to dedicate to a time-sink such as Baldur's Gate II or the cutting-edge hardware to blaze your way through Deus Ex. When you have to spend a great deal of time upgrading and tweaking your system just to get in a few minutes of play, it seems at times as if the industry has forgotten the entire purpose of video gaming -- the enjoyment of no-commitment entertainment that should be fun, not a struggle. To this end MacSoft has released another combo pack of games, this time with a recreational theme. The Mac Fun Pack 2 is comprised of all sorts of virtual leisure pursuits, from eight-ball to solitaire. Here's an excerpt from the review:

The surprise treat of the Mac Fun Pack 2, America’s Greatest Solitaire is a solitaire player’s solitaire (yes, manly solitaire, if there is such a thing), something that became addictive within minutes.

America’s Greatest Solitaire represents a typical solitaire program that has thought out what someone who plays solitaire on a computer might want and wrapped itself around these cravings. The game, which incorporates impressive graphics and sound, is unusual in the sense that it handles the minor headaches facing a solitaire player. Scoring is handled automatically, the program sorting out the cards from the first moment the hand is dealt, putting aces up on top and handling routine plays on its own. This kind of self-sorting is a bit strange to watch, as this is what makes up half of solitaire itself, but is fun in that it makes the player focus on the few major decisions that have to be made throughout the game.

Read on for capsule reviews of all four games included in this $20 bundle.

Review: Mac Fun Pack 2

Reports on 10.1 Game Performance
10:30 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Accelerate Your Mac has posted an early test of OS X 10.1 vs. 10.0.4. This long-anticipated update to Apple's latest operating system is supposed to offer (in the words of Steve Jobs) "Speed, speed and more speed." Gaming performance is one area in particular which is expected to be improved, with a cited 20% increase in OpenGL rendering speed. Did Steve deliver on his promises?

The test covers a battery of performance hogs, though the tests that should be of particular interest to gamers are the Quake III tests with both the Radeon and GeForce 3.

All testing was done on a Dual G4/500 under both 10.0.4 (4Q12) and 10.1 (5G64). Here are the relevant specs for the G4/500:

  • Dual G4s @500Mhz (rev 2.9 CPUs)
  • Firmware version 4.1.8

    (v4.1.9 was released on 9/25, available via OS 9's Software Updates)
  • 512MB RAM (one CL2 OWC dimm)
  • Retail Radeon AGP (tests also done in Q3 w/OEM GeForce3)

For the Q3 tests, version 1.29f-2 beta was used, with the bulk of the testing taking place in 640X480, as the tester's objective was to test base OS efficiency rather than graphics card efficiency. A custom config file dubbed "Oliver 240" was also used, both with sound off and sound on.

As for the results, 10.1 generally appears to improve performance, both with the Radeon and the GeForce 3. Even with High Quality settings at 1024x768, 10.1 boasted around a 7fps increase with both the GeForce 3 and the Radeon. The only case tested where 10.0.4 seemed to perform a little better was under the Oliver 240 config, sound off, with the GeForce 3. However, as with all testing, this should be taken with a grain of salt - the overall tests reveal 10.1 as performing significantly better than 10.0.4.

For the full battery of results, be sure to check out the whole rundown at Accelerate Your Mac. The update to 10.1 should be available over the weekend at Macintosh dealers; be sure and report your own experiences with this OS update in our forum dedicated to OS X issues.

Accelerate Your Mac - 10.1 Performance Tests

Wolfenstein MP Tweak Guide
10:25 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Many people have been enjoying the Return to Castle Wolfenstein MP Test as of late. However, as forum postings show, people have also had inconsistent results with frame rates and overall quality during play. For those who would like to tweak a little more performance out of their game, 3D Spotlight has recently posted a "Return to Castle Wolfenstein MP Test tweak guide."

Though this guide contains some information that is PC-centric, most of it is completely applicable for Mac users as well, as much of the tweaking takes place in both the console and config files. The guide itself is quite exhaustive, covering everything from the time brass casings from bullets stay visible to adjusting the Doppler effects of various sounds. Much of the material should be quite familiar to die-hard fans of Quake III.

Be sure to check out the whole guide at 3D Spotlight. For those having performance issues with RTCW, the tweaks listed there should help improve your game a bit.

3D Spotlight - Wolfenstein MP Test Tweak Guide
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

ATI Releases Radeon 7500 Details
10:22 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

In a recent press release, ATI has announced that their new graphics card, the Radeon 7500, has begun shipping to retail outlets in North America. It carries a suggested retail price of $199.

This is, of course, the PC version of the 7500. As mentioned in IMG's earlier preview of the 8500, a Mac version of the 7500 has yet to be confirmed; however we may have some very exciting news about this in the near future.

The specs for the 7500 via the press release are as follows:

The RADEON 7500 offers consumers a mainstream solution with a set of standard features typically associated with premium-level graphics boards. It also offers users a level of performance not seen before at this price point, incorporating a core clock speed of 290MHz (megahertz) and a memory clock speed of 230MHz, 64MB DDR (dual data rate) and uses ATI's patented HYPER Z™ technology to boost effective memory bandwidth by 20 percent. As a result, the RADEON 7500 can access up to 8.8GB/sec (gigabytes per second) of effective memory bandwidth. The RADEON 7500 delivers up to a 60 percent improvement in performance compared to the previous generation of RADEON high-performance processors.
Though the specs may seem a bit underwhelming to some, especially when compared to the GeForce 3 or the 8500, keep in mind that ATI's whole strategy behind this card is to serve the midrange market, rather than the hardcore gamer. However the benchmarks we have seen at several PC hardware sites so far reveal this card to be quite a competitive release, holding its own against cards costing twice as much and offering several advanced features that few cards on the market can match.

For those who may have missed it, be sure to check out IMG's recent preview of the 8500, which is a powerhouse by any standard. Also be sure to check out the rest of ATI's press release for more info on the 7500. Both cards are set to launch this October.

ATI - Radeon 7500 Now Shipping
IMG - Radeon 8500 Preview

Myth III Interview, Preview
10:11 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the tactics-based strategy game Myth III: The Wolf Age enters the final phase of development, we can expect a rush of new information on the game and its contents. Kicking off the race to spoil all of your surprises is MGON, which has published a detailed preview and several screen shots. Based on a hands-on experience with a beta version of the game, the preview discusses the enhancements of this title compared to the previous two releases and presents a rundown of some of the new units.

Here's an excerpt about the new spell effects which have been introduced:

The spell effects are also absolutely stunning with swirling shafts of light and glowing colours. One of the coolest effects even brings into being a miniature tornado which swirls around the target area hitting enemies with the debris swept up from the battlefield. This looks a lot like a massive food processor as limbs, weapons and other objects smash into the enemy ranks causing much havoc and gaining more mass as enemies fall and become a part of the maelstrom.
Obviously this 'prequel' is no mere expansion pack or retread of the original. Read the rest of the details for more information, if you don't mind having a few surprises spoiled for you.

The most significant difference between Myth III and the previous titles is of course the fact that this time around the game is being developed by an entirely different team, known as Mumbo Jumbo. Without a Bungie member in sight (though a few of the employees are straight out of the Myth mapping community) this conglomerate of Ritual employees and new blood has managed to create this massive overhaul of the Myth engine and plotline in less than a year, an astounding timetable for any game release. An interview at HomeLAN with level designer Scott Campbell and executive producer Mike Donges reveals many details about this game and its development, as well as the team members behind the magic. Here's a sample with details about their fast timetable for release:

HomeLAN - Currently the plan is to release the game in October, which is a rather quick development time since Myth III reportedly began production in November 2000. Has it been hard to create a game as complex as Myth III in such a short amount of time?

Scott Campbell and Mike Donges - I would be lying if I said it’s been a cakewalk. We’ve really fought against the deadline here, and we’re all pretty amazed that we’re still on schedule. We did have one advantage though. Since we had a clear idea of what we’d be doing for the game and how we’d be implementing it, we’ve not had to re-do much at all. Also, since we had the Myth II code base to start from, we were able to use the Bungie tools to begin creating levels from day one. I truly believe that the only two things that made this game possible were hard work, and a love for the game (and some money from Take 2).

For the rest of the interview and a few new screen shots, follow the link below. As the interview confirms yet again, the Mac and PC versions of this game are set for a near-simultaneous release; the PC version will be published by the Godgames label, while MacSoft will handle the publishing duties for our version.

Myth III Preview at MGON
Myth III Interview at HomeLAN

The Sims: Hot Date Previewed
9:34 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

PCIGN has posted a short but detailed preview of The Sims: Hot Date, yet another expansion pack for this game of simulated human behavior. As you might be able to tell from the title, the focus this time around is on interpersonal relationships, and from PCIGN's descriptions and details they have truly enhanced your Sims' abilities to drive each other crazy.

The physical world of the Sims will be radically enhanced also, according to the preview; for the first time your Sims will be able to leave the neighborhood and go Downtown, a place to meet, socialize and relax in a variety of restaurants and clubs which you can of course build and configure. With over 120 new objects in this expansion, those of you that prefer to build rather than mingle will also find something of interest.

The only missing ingredient, it seems, is a promised Mac OS version of the title, but looking at Aspyr Media's catalog of Sims titles it seems fairly obvious that Sims: Hot Date would be a natural addition.

Here's an excerpt from the preview:

According to Sean, "it was a little too easy to get really high relationships" in the original game. Hot Date measures your relationship by both a daily and lifetime rating. (Relationships for existing Sims will be obtain both a lifetime and daily rating equal to the current relationship rating. From there, you're on your own.) Mike explains how the two ratings interact: "The lifetime rating pings the daily one. So if you're daily's really good it'll slowly bring up your lifetime. Accepted romantic interactions will also improve the lifetime one. So you can move it up quicker by steamier ways."

Mood is much more important this time around. So the steamy approach can also have a negative effect on the Sim if their mood isn't right. "You can know someone for a long time but are in a bad mood, you get new interactions like nag." Conversely, apology options open up when you're in a good mood around a Sim you don't like. Good couples who are having bad days will have lots of options to nag one another.

Ah, nothing like a little simulated nagging. Sims: Hot Date is due out for the PC within the next month; we'll let you know if Aspyr decides to add yet another expansion pack to their Sims roster.

Aspyr Media
Sims: Hot Date Preview at PCIGN

Spiderweb Spins Out Avernum 3 Details
8:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Indie game maker Jeff Vogel passed along new information on Spiderweb Software's newest RPG title, Avernum 3. As with the previous games in the Avernum series, this third one is largely a re-creation of the previous third title in the earlier Exile series. With an even more massive world to explore, better graphics and an improved GUI it should keep old-school RPG fans entertained for many an hour. Here's an excerpt from the PR with more details on this Mac-first title:

Avernum 3 is a massive and open-ended game. You can save the world or work
as a merchant. You can buy a house or go on one of many side adventures. You
can hurry to save the cities, or sit back and watch them crumble. Whatever
you choose, Avernum 3 promises a massive and engaging adventure which will
gladly absorb all the hours you can spare.

Experience with Avernum or Avernum 2 is completely unnecessary to enjoy
Avernum 3. Minimum system requirements: 120 MhZ Windows 95 or later or
PowerPC Macintosh, 12 MB free RAM, 20 MB hard drive space, 800x600 screen
resolution, 16 bit color. Avernum 3 is $25, or $32 with the hint book.
Avernum 3 will be released in Spring, 2002 for Macintosh and Summer 2002 for

Visit the Spiderweb site for screen shots and more details on this title. While Spring 2002 may seem a while away, Vogel has crafted many an addictive time-sink to while away the hours -- plenty of time to play through Avernum 1 and 2, if you haven't done so already.

Avernum 3 Web Site

Mac Games News for Thursday, September 27, 2001

Unreal Tournament Carbon Due Soon2:51 PM
EB on Mac Game Sales2:41 PM
Civilization III Pre-Order Bonus Video Available11:44 AM
BabelBloX Released11:28 AM
AvP 'Marine' Tips and Hints11:25 AM
OS X Now Offered at Online Compile Farm11:17 AM
Blizzard Posts New Warcraft III Shot10:55 AM
Interview with Infogrames PR Rep10:49 AM
Interview with Max Payne Level Designer10:15 AM
Elite Force Expansion Pack at FC9:56 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, September 27, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Monday, September 24, 2001
Friday, September 21, 2001
Thursday, September 20, 2001

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