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Tuesday, October 2, 2001

EV: Nova Beta 3 Released to Testers
9:37 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Escape Velocity: Nova progress log has been updated twice recently with word that the latest build of this Ambrosia Software title is now in the hands of testers. Version 1.0.0b3 is the third beta privately released, with another revision currently being prepared for testing. It is hoped that b4 will be the final beta before the game is released, though this is of course dictated by any lingering bugs found in the build.

Another update in the log also notes they now have an 'official' to-do list for the game. This should help sto peed up its release by ensuring nothing important is left out. Here's a clip:

ATMOS (Hobart division) has finished making the monolithic "to-do" list.

That might not sound like much, but the creation of it involved a manual, "one-by-one" check of ~everything~ in the game that's in our demesne.

We now know what needs doing, which helps. It's a lot.

Glad to hear good progress is being made with the much-anticipated project. Stay tuned to IMG for the latest on EV: Nova as it nears release.

Escape Velocity: Nova Progress Log

Click to enlarge
NWN Official FAQ Updated
1:09 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

After an initial delay and an extremely long but often amusing thread on Bioware's Neverwinter Nights message board - which covered nearly every issue of contention for fans - an updated FAQ has been released. Included in this list of commonly-discussed issues is information on the gameworld, player characters, dungeon masters, the game interface, technical details and of course details on the game toolset. Bioware's position on the Mac OS version of the toolset has been reworded, but remains the same as previously:

Our initial goal was to create a cross platform toolset for the gaming community. However, we have encountered difficulty in obtaining a viable cross platform solution to assist us in porting the Toolset. While we would not like to rule out the possibility of a port to the various operating systems, currently this looks unlikely for the initial release.
Don't give up hope, as there is always a possibility that Mac users may eventually get a version of the Toolset. On a more positive note this next-gen CRPG is going to be released for both OS 9 and OS X; though the issue of "when" is still up in the air. Be sure to read through the FAQ for much more information on the title.

Bioware's NWN Website
NWN Preview
Official NWN FAQ
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Evihcra Gives Away Green Berets
12:52 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The add-on database Evihcra is giving away five copies of Myth II: Green Berets to lucky winners selected at random. Just stop by the contest page between now and October 7th to sign up, and at the end of the contest period winners will be chosen at random.

Despite the name, Myth II: Green Berets has nothing in common with the Myth series besides the engine. A tactics-based RTS set in the jungle warfare of the Vietnam era, you must lead an elite squad of Green Berets through treacherous conditions and deadly battles against the Viet Cong. With realistic weaponry and scenery, this high-tension adventure in squad-based combat should be a sure hit for any Myth II fan who loved the World War II-inspired add-ons.

Visit the Evihcra web site to sign up for the contest, and check out their archives of Myth/Myth II, Unreal Tournament, Marathon and Sims add-ons.

Myth II: Green Berets Web Site
Mill/Evihcra Green Berets Giveaway

UT OS X Troubleshooting Tips
12:35 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

The much anticipated Preview Release 1 of Unreal Tournament for OS X has been released, and as can be expected with any early beta, certain users are experiencing problems. Westlake has posted a few tips put together by Mark Adams, and asks that you check these details on the most common problems BEFORE e-mailing them with bug reports. Here is the list:

"Assertion failed: RenDev" error on startup. You MUST use the "Unreal Tournament.ini" and "User.ini" files installed by the UT X installer, not old copies. Don't throw away these ini files or replace them. They contain special settings that only work for UT X.

"Assertion failed MinLogTextureSize<MaxLogTextureSize ". Same as the above error, make sure you are using the .ini files installed by the UT X installer.

Can't start up after switching to windowed mode. Don't ever switch out of full screen mode. If you do, re-install with the UT X installer.

"Class Actor Member Owner Script=48" error on startup. Not sure what causes this, we're looking into it.

Problems with the "first run" dialog that lets you pick renderer (OpenGL, Software, etc). You should never get this dialog. Don't try to switch renderers inside the game. Don't swap out the ini files or modify the GameRenderDevice or AudioDevice lines in the ini file.

This page will be updated as Westlake finds other fixes and workarounds to problems. Be sure and check the IMG Troubleshooting and OS X forums for similar discussions already in progress.

UTX Troubleshooting notes
UTX Preview Release 1 @ macgamefiles
Epic Games
Westlake Interactive
Unreal Tournament

PakRat Updated
12:29 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Tom Naughton's PakRat Quake .pak file viewer has been updated and released as a fully carbonized application, including a full Aqua interface. Other enhancements in this version include support for more image formats and some stability improvements.

If you want to browse the .pak files from almost any Quake engine based game, from the original Quake through to Team Arena and Elite Force, this is for you. Just another example of the Mac gaming industry's steady movement to OS X.

PakRat Homepage

IMG Interviews Otto Matic Author
11:16 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Brian Greenstone has been the champion of Mac-first, Mac-only development for quite some time, leading the way with a series of 3D action titles that appeal to young and old. With Nanosaur, Bugdom and Cro-Mag Rally as bundle games on certain Mac systems, it can be said Brian has changed the way Macintosh systems are perceived as gaming solutions. IMG sat down with Brian recently to discuss his work-in-progress, Otto Matic. We also quizzed him on subjects such as game publishing and Mac OS X. Here's a sample:

IMG: What are some of the "cool things" that people will see in Otto Matic?

Greenstone: My favorite thing to see is when humans get abducted by the alien saucers. That just cracks me up every time! They also get to see saucers irradiate a farmer's crop which creates giant, mutant, killer vegetables. On the Slime planet they'll get to use a freeze gun to freeze the enemies and then shatter them with a quick punch of the fist. On the Jungle planet they'll see Otto drink a growth potion which makes him turn into a giant so he can do battle with the giant lizards and insects there. On the Planet of Fire & Ice they'll see volcanoes grow up out of the ground right before their eyes and then explode shooting out flaming lava boulders! I don't want to give it all away, but suffice to say that there's just tons of cool stuff to see in Otto Matic!

For the rest of the interview and a bonus Otto Matic screen shot gallery, follow the link below.

Interview: Brian Greenstone

Click to enlarge
Max Payne Q&A
10:59 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

An interview featuring Petri Jarvilehto, described as the "head-boy on Remedy's Max Payne," was recently posted at UK gaming site Ferrago. Though many Q&As have popped up recently regarding this popular title, this Q&A manages to cover what other Q&As have not - Remedy's future plans for the Max Payne world.

When asked about a sequel, Jarvilehto responds with a smile and says that "we have a lot of things in mind, but it's still too early to spill the beans." Interestingly enough, XBox and PS2 versions are currently being worked on, which is what the development team is currently occupied with.

When further pressed on the issue the future of Max Payne, including add-on packs, Jarvilehto's response was a PR one: "No public information available." While this isn't an affirmation, it's not a negation either - future add-ons could be a possibility.

As in many Q&A's previous to this one, the question of the absence of multiplayer arises yet once again, with Jarvilehto reiterating Max Payne's single-player emphasis:

[Ferrago]: Will multiplayer options feature in Max Payne in the future? We think on-line Max would be a fascinating experience.

[Jarvilehto]: Nope. I strongly believe that it's better to do one thing well rather than two things mediocre. Creating a game that's both multiplayer and single-player easily results into making loads of compromises on both sides.

If we'd want to do multiplayer, we'd have to start cutting down on all the cool stuff. There's really no good way of adding Bullet Time into a multiplayer game, and you couldn't really do any realcamerawork either; it's better to focus on the singleplayer genre and push that forward.

Anyway, there's plenty of good multiplayer games out there, so I guess we'll just keep focusing on single player experience.

Rights to the Mac version of Max Payne are currently being held by publisher MacSoft; details on the porting team and status of the Mac version have yet to be released.

Ferrago - Max Payne Q&A
Remedy Entertainment
Westlake Interactive
Max Payne
Buy Max Payne

Click to enlarge
History of Quake Movie Available
10:56 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

For die-hard Quake fans that have yet to see or hear about it, a movie featuring the graphics and gameplay of the entire Quake series has been posted for download at FilePlanet. Originally shown at QuakeCon 2001 and released in the Ultimate Quake collection, this movie shows various gameplay clips from the original Quake, Quake II and of course Quake III Arena.

The movie itself weighs in at around 39MB zipped, and is an AVI file. A link has been provided below for those that wish to download it.

FilePlanet - History of Quake Movie
id Software
Quake III Team Arena
Buy Quake III Team Arena

ATI Announces Radeon 7000, 7200
10:38 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

In a move to broaden their product line and cover the full spectrum of the market, ATI Technologies has announced the Radeon 7000 and 7200 line of 2D/3D graphics boards. Aimed at the ultra-low-end of the market, it is doubtful that these cards would be offered for any Mac line except for the iMac series, but if Apple wants to step up from the existing Rage 128 chips in those machines to another ATI solution, the 7000 and 7200 seem an obvious choice.

Here is the press release:

ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT), a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions, today introduced two new additions to RADEON(TM), the world's most powerful and innovative family of graphics chip and board technologies, the entry-level RADEON(TM) 7000 and the value-line RADEON(TM) 7200 desktop graphics boards.

    With manufacturers' suggested retail prices (MSRPs) under (US) $100, the new products are designed to offer value-minded customers solid graphics performance.

    The RADEON 7000 desktop graphics board, based on the RADEON 7000 chip (previously known as the RADEON VE chip), is a 32MB (megabytes) DDR (double data rate) board, providing solid 2D and 3D performance, excellent visual quality and DVD playback. At an MSRP of (US) $79, the RADEON 7000 graphics card offers more features and value than any other graphics card in this price range. (1)

    The RADEON 7200 is a 64MB SDR (single data rate) graphics board, and offers such features as hardware transformation, clipping and lighting (T&L) geometry, CHARISMA ENGINE(TM), and an on-chip hardware DVD decoder. The RADEON 7200 is based on the RADEON 7200 chip (previously known as the RADEON chip). It has an MSRP of (US) $99.

    Other members of the RADEON(TM) desktop PC graphics processor family include the recently-announced RADEON(TM) 8500 and RADEON(TM) 7500 desktop PC graphics boards. With RADEON 7000 and 7200, the expanded RADEON(TM) family will offer ATI customers solid solutions at every price and performance level.

    "The RADEON 7000 graphics board is ideal for users, both at work and at home, who are using their computers for Internet access, e-mail and applications with graphics requirements. The RADEON 7200 will allow home and small business users and consumers to handle graphic-intense applications with ease," said Hangmei Chen, Product Manager, Desktop Marketing, ATI Technologies Inc. "The features found in these two new value-oriented products, each priced below (US) $100, were previously only available in premium-priced cards. These two additions to the RADEON family will enhance ATI's complete product offering for our consumers looking for good deals for the Christmas season."

At just $79 and $99 (projected retail cost, which may be even lower when these boards reach market) these are obviously not hardcore gaming solutions, but the excellent 2D/3D feature set of the Radeon coupled with 32 or 64 MB of DDR RAM would be a blazing-fast card compared to current iMac chipsets. Both are based on the Radeon chipset, and the 7200 certainly be the lowest-cost solution on the market to offer Hardware Transform and Lighting and 64 MB of DDR RAM, undercutting even NVIDIA's GeForce MX series.

ATI Announces Radeon 7000,7200

ATI ROM Update Reports
10:30 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

For those that have either been fiddling around with ATI's recent ROM update or been wondering if they should even bother, Accelerate Your Mac has posted a feedback page for those using the update. The reports cover all sorts of ATI cards, from the Rage 128 to the Nexus 128 to the Radeon, both PCI and AGP. While most of the reports have been positive, there have been some problem reports as well.

Here's a clip from a happy updater:

This ATI update is excellent. It brought back all the functionality I needed from 9.2 and 10.0.4. The TV out works again. Also, before this update, I had problems with the display preference crashing in 10.1. That's gone as well, and all the resolutions are available again. I love 10.1 and now I love it even more! Bring on those drivers every vendor!
And here's a clip from a not-so-happy updater:
I used the update on the retail Radeon card in my PM 8500, since I did the update I've lost all the Geometry, Color & AV controls in the Monitors control panel in OS 9.1, I did the usual stuff pram zapping etc etc but to no avail, my AppleVision 1710av is now recognised as a "Display". I'm not that bothered about it, I'm hoping the kernel panic is fixed in OS X so maybe I can install that on it.
Further comments on the subject can also be found in IMG's forums. Be sure to share your findings with other readers, both positive and negative comments can be beneficial.

ATI ROM Update
IMG Forum - ATI ROM Patch?
Accelerate Your Macintosh - ATI ROM Update Feedback

SMAC for OS X A Possibility?
9:43 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Brad Oliver of Westlake Interactive recently posted to Usenet about the network compatibility between the Mac and Linux versions of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and expansion pack. Brad was the main programmer for the Mac version of the game, and he notes that unfortunately the Linux port uses BSD sockets for networking, rendering it incompatible at this point. He also makes a very interesting statement about the possibility of fixing this in a possible Carbon build of the game for OS X:

No, the Mac version currently uses NetSprocket, the Linux version uses
BSD sockets. If I ever get the time to revisit it, I might make the
carbon version use sockets as well under OSX.
While this already has SMAC fans very excited about the possibility, do keep in mind that Brad is very busy with other big titles right now for Westlake (such as Age of Empires II). We'll keep you updated with any new word on a Carbon version of the game, though, so stay tuned.

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Westlake Interactive

Graeme Explains OS X 1.30
9:34 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Graeme Devine of id Software updated his .plan file late last night with details about the OS X version of Quake 3 1.30 yesterday. He notes that while everyone should make the upgrade to version 10.1 as soon as possible, the title is playable under 10.0.4 as well. He also notes that Q3A for OS X should always be faster than for OS 9 on the same machine. While we haven't confirmed this on all of our tests, your exprience may well prove this statement true. Here's the full update:

The installer for Mac OS X Quake 3 1.30 went up this morning. Been a super busy day so sorry for the lack of plan file update.

Generally, of course, I advise upgrading to 10.1 for everyone asap. Those with a Powerbook and desktop machines with PCI Rage 128 cards will need at least 10.0.4 to play due to a bug in OpenGL on earlier versions.

Under 10.1 this version will always go faster than the Classic build on the same machine.

Download Quake 3 1.30 for OS 9 and OS X
Graeme Devine .plan Update

Mac Games News for Monday, October 1, 2001

NVIDIA Announces GeForce3 Titanium4:22 PM
ATI Retail ROM Updater Released3:28 PM
IMG Debuts New Comic 'Mac Hall'1:31 PM
Quake III OS X 1.30b1 Available1:05 PM
Custer Goes Tropic(o)12:22 PM
Alien Nations Update11:48 AM
Civilization III Limited Edition Selling Out10:44 AM
Return to Castle Wolfenstein Previewed10:41 AM
Tomb Raider: Chronicles 1.0.1 Update10:35 AM
Meggs Talks Macs for Myth III10:27 AM
Cro-Mag Rally Updated to 2.01c10:14 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, October 1, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, September 28, 2001
Thursday, September 27, 2001
Wednesday, September 26, 2001
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Monday, September 24, 2001

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