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Thursday, October 4, 2001


Age of Empires II Preorders Begin
9:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Peter Tamte has announced that after nearly a year and a half of planning and hard work, Bold Games' first title, Age of Empires II: Gold Edition, is now available for preorder. Bold's web site has the acclaimed strategy game --which includes both the sequel and its expansion pack-- listed for $48.95. Age of Empires II is expected out late this month and will be ready for OS 8.6 as well as OS X. Here's the full listing:

Build your civilization into a flourishing empire in this Macintosh version of the award-winning, best-selling real-time strategy game. Includes both Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings and Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion. Works with any Macintosh with at least 64MB of RAM and 233Mhz processor. Works with MacOS 8.6 or higher, including MacOS X.
It should be noted that this RAM requirement is slightly higher than the 32MB listed on Bold's Age of Empires II page. But with the incredibly cheap price of memory (with 256MB available for less than the cost of the game), there's no excuse for gamers to not upgrade from that earlier minimum. For more info on the game, head over to Bold's site now. Get your preorder in soon if you want to be among the first to play this title -- the first fruits of Destineer and Bold's partnership with Microsoft.

Bold Games Web Site
Bold
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires II


Baldur's Gate Fan Fiction Winner Chosen
4:42 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The IMG Network site Mac Baldur has posted the winner from their fan fiction contest, after much deliberation. James Pinhorn's short fiction piece Free at Last was chosen as the best description of a character set in the Baldur's Gate universe.


Here is an excerpt from the 600-word piece:

Sleeveen awoke to the sound of choking in the night. It was not
unexpected, but it chilled him to the bone nonetheless. Even though he had
arranged it all, murder in the night was something to which he was going to
have to become accustomed. The gurgling sounds of the tightening throat in
the next bedroom brought a reluctant smile to his face.


The next morning he began the drama, running out of the little cottage
screaming in horror, "Uncle! No!". The townspeople came running, curious
and comforting, and discovered the blue body hanging from the side of the
bed. "Finally drank himself to death," they whispered to each other in
disgust. No trace of the poison could be found, the hired assassins had
been completely untraceable.

For the rest of the piece, head to Mac Baldur. For his trouble Pinhorn won a prize package which includes full copies of Summoner, Baldur's Gate, Tales of the Sword Coast, Baldur's II and a one-year MGCD subscription. Congratulations to him and our thanks to all of the companies (and judges) that participated.

Mac Baldur


ATI Responds to ROM Update Feedback
11:54 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Accelerate Your Mac's recently-constructed feedback page designed to collect the comments of users of ATI's recent ROM update has not gone unnoticed. ATI recently sent an e-mail addressing the various issues that users seem to be having with the recent update:

The next release will be based on fixing both of the side effects associated with the latest ROM update. The cause of the missing display controls has been found, and we are fixing it now. The IE mouse cursor problem is already fixed in our in house ROM. We need to develop the display control fix, run a full qualification of the ROM update, and prepare customer support prior to making the release. I can't be more specific about a release date though.
ATI is also asking for "more verification on the report of the video out port and/or DVI port not working after the update." People who have encountered this or any other problems with the update are encouraged to add their own experiences at Accelerate Your Mac's feedback page.

ATI
Accelerate Your Mac - ATI ROM Update Feedback Page
ATI



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Next Shadowbane Beta Test Drawing Near?
11:48 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Fans monitoring the Shadowbane forums may have stumbled across a posting hinting at the possibility of the next beta-testing phase of Shadowbane coming sooner, rather than later. A post by Ashen Temper, the Internet Relations Manager for Wolfpack Studios (developers of SB) about gamers playing competing MMORPGs ends with a comment on the beta status:

As for Beta, we're working on the Online Beta Database right now. Can't have beta without first having everyone update/verify their information. Once that step has been taken, we'll move on to the next one.
Various rumors floating around in the SB community also hint that the next beta could be the fabled "Beta 3," which is, among other things, supposed to lift the Non-Disclosure Agreement and allow beta-testers to spill the beans on their experiences with SB.


The full forum post is still available for those that wish to either read it or follow up with more questions. For those wondering when SB's full release will be ready, the current date is set at the first half of 2002, for both Mac and PC.

IMG - More Details on Shadowbane Beta 3
Shadowbane Forums - Re: DAoC=bad for WP
Wolfpack Studios
Shadowbane


Exclusive World of Warcraft Shots Posted
11:45 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Computer Gaming World's November issue came with a surprise for many subscribers -- a ten-page exclusive preview of Blizzard's upcoming MMORPG World of Warcraft. Included with the exclusive were screenshots and artwork that many fans had yet to see. To make these shots more widely available, the CGW has graciously allowed the World of Warcraft Vault to scan and post some of those pictures online for the general community to view.


The shots posted online feature two characters: a human and a Tauren, two different environment shots, and a map showing several continents and how they're divided up. The graphics, particularly for a MMORPG, are simply stunning - a far cry indeed from what current MMORPG fans are used to.


Anyone anticipating the release of WoW should definitely give the new screenshots a look. We still have yet to hear word of a Mac release, but rest assured, IMG is keeping tabs on the situation.

Computer Gaming World
World of Warcraft Vault - CGW Exclusive Shots
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft


EV: Nova Status Check
9:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new update to the Escape Velocity: Nova progress logs reveals interesting work is being completed as the team heads into their final beta testing phase for this anticipated new EV saga. ATMOS and Ambrosia Software recently remarked the game was being privately tested at beta 3, with hopes that the fourth and final build would be out soon. The latest progress update shows they are stepping back to make some tweaks to the interface, as well as finalizing items like the large Mac OS X icons. Here's the full list of changes:

[-] Holovid graphics complete.

[-] DLOG background revisions underway.

[-] Main menu design freeze reversed, revision underway.

[-] Remasking animated ships for memory optimisation purposes.

[-] Addition of Sutherland/Slater planet ambient sounds 90% complete. All planets and stellar objects will now have ambient sounds, unless they're hard vacuum.

[-] Mac OS X icons underway.
Fans of the EV series will surely want to stay tuned as the final stages of Nova's development are wrapped up. There is no hard release date for the game, though it seems likely candidate for completion before the end of the year.

EV: Nova Betashots Page
EV: Nova Progress Log


Eylau, Tactical Warsim Released
9:12 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

By Design, Inc recently announced a new release in their series of Napoleonic war simulations, called Eylau. The title uses their Waterloo Campaign engine, specifically covering the conflict between Napoleon and the Russians/Prussians on February 8, 1807. The 2D title features winter graphics with snow effects, the ability to play as either side in the battle, and fully editable units. The game also should run well on much older Macs, as indicated by the extremely low system requirements:


  • MAC OS 7 or better
  • CD-ROM Drive
  • 10MB Hard Drive
  • 8MB Memory
  • Screen Requirements: Color, 12" minimum
  • CPU: 68030 or better, PPC

The By Design store lists the game for just under $25, though you can bundle three of the Napoleonic titles together for only $36. Head over and check out the site now if you're interested in more information.

Napoleonic Games: Eylau Web Page



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Civilization 3 Network Compatibility Questioned
9:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Brad Oliver of Westlake Interactive has been a busy poster to Usenet recently, helping out a number of fans with questions on a variety of topics. One of the most interesting topics to appear is the fact that network compatibility between Mac and PC versions of the upcoming title Civilization 3 is not guaranteed. Oliver is working on the Mac port for MacSoft, and he notes that it seems networking is still in the air at this point. As many Mac gamers are keenly aware, if a company chooses Microsoft's DirectPlay for their networking, it is virtually impossible (barring some very tricky reverse engineering) for the Mac and PC versions to play together nicely.


Oliver notes DirectPlay's ease of integration is its main appeal, though if they go with another option, compatibility could be possible. Here's a clip:

I've been pushing them to switch to Winsock, but
they're on a tight schedule as well, and DirectPlay represents the
fastest way for them to get the netcode done since they already have it
written via the code they've used in SMAC. If things continue as-is,
it'll be a DirectPlay app.
In a later post he clarifies Winsock's attractiveness over other options like DirectPlay and even OpenPlay; if he can get the Civ3 team to use Winsock instead of DriecPlay, network compatibility would be trivial to port. Here is Brad's pro-Winsock argument:
Winsock is perfect because a) most PC developers are familiar with it,
b) it's simple to use, c) it ports very easily to the Mac and d) it's
dead-simple to get working under MacOS X unlike OP/NetSprocket. It
doesn't hurt also that Firaxis can get access to the Linux winsock
replacement code for SMAC. ;-)
So while it doesn't look good for Mac gamers who want to strategize against their PC brethren in Civ 3, there is always a chance Firaxis could change their minds. Oliver suggest using the utmost care if Mac gamers do want to email their thoughts to the company, and we agree wholeheartedly that rude or nasty comments will accomplish little. Stay tuned to IMG as more on Civ 3's networking is revealed, as the game should be finished very soon for the PC.

Civilization 3 Web Site
MacSoft
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III



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Myst 3 Patch, OS X App Available
9:06 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After a lengthy wait, Mac users can now download two patches for Myst III: Exile which fix several bugs and enable the long-promised support for OS X. The first patch brings your application up to version 1.22, presumably fixing a number of issues the game has with OS 9.1. Once you have the game up to v1.22, unstuff the OS X patch (which is only 574k) and place its two files into your Myst 3 folder. Here is more info from the UbiSoft support site:

To install the files associated with Myst III your computer should have an OS 9.1 partition. The Myst III files for OS X require your Myst III version to be v1.22 and your OS to be 10.1. After updating your OS with Apple's OS X update to 10.1, you will need to install Myst III: Exile and the v1.22 upgrade. Though you may be in OS X, the upgrade will install a new shortcut to Myst III on the desktop of your OS 9.1 partition. This can be copied over to your OS X desktop.


Lastly, there are two files you will need to add to the Myst III folder to run the OS X version. Extract the Myst 3 OS X and Bink Carbon Library files from the M3OSX1.sit file. Then place them in the Myst 3 folder. You can delete the original Myst 3 Exile (US) and the Bink Shared Library, as they are no longer needed to run in OS X.

It's interesting to note the patch requires OS X 10.1, as it looks Apple's newest OS update may allow many current games and future projects to run faster and with more features than before.

UbiSoft Myst 3 Support Site
Download Myst 3: Exile 1.22 Patch
Presto Studios
Ubisoft
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile


Mac Games News for Wednesday, October 3, 2001

One on One with Mark Adams, Part 312:17 PM
Fly! II Available at IMG Store11:25 AM
Master of Orion 3 Image Gallery11:21 AM
Mac Red Faction Progress Update10:48 AM
Sims: Hot Date Preview10:31 AM
Quake III: Gold Listed at Apple9:51 AM
Tropico Demo Released9:23 AM
Black Isle Studios Interview9:14 AM
Geneforge Beta Testers Needed8:50 AM
More on SMAC for OS X8:37 AM
New Halo Screenshot8:29 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, October 3, 2001 on one page


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Tuesday, October 2, 2001
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