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Friday, October 5, 2001

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Earth 2150 Series Coming to Mac OS
9:01 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Thomas Steiding of e.p.i.c. interactive sent official word on their plans for the next big RTS series to hit the Mac, the Earth 2150 trilogy. Highly-acclaimed on the PC side, compared to the earlier 2140 real-time strategy games, Earth 2150 is actually broken up into three separate titles. The first in the series, Earth 2150: Escape from the Blue Planet, will be released for the Mac this winter. Two sequels are also planned for a later date, The Moon Project and Lost Souls (which is just now heading for release for the PC). Here's the full scoop:

e.p.i.c. interactive entertainment has signed a contract with Zuxxez Entertainment to bring 3D RTS series Earth 2150 to the Macintosh. EARTH 2150: ESCAPE FROM THE BLUE PLANET will lead the way and should be available for Macgamers this winter. Sequels EARTH 2150: THE MOON PROJECT and EARTH 2150: LOST SOULS will follow at a later date. More information on EARTH 2150 can be found in the projects section. A movietrailer will soon be available. Additional information on EARTH 2150 can also be found on the official Earth 2150 homepage.
For more on the series, a recent interview at Gamers Pulse talks
with ZUXXEZ Entertainment's Dirk P. Hassinger about the third title, Lost Souls. He notes all three games use the same Earth 2150 engine, but the sequels --while value-priced-- are not considered expansion packs so people won't have to buy ealier games in order to play. Here are some detail on the game's units:
What are the different types of characters we can control?

The three factions have very different units. “Eurasian Dynasty” has heavy tanks, armored helicopters, laser technology and nuclear weapons, but no anti gravitation. “United Civilized States” counts on Mechs (both 2 leg and spiders), several air objects and uses plasma weapons and shield technology. The “Lunar Corporation” has only flying units, can influence the weather and uses energy weapons. Each party can combine the chasis of each unit type with several upgrades and weapons, what enables thousands of different units.

While ZUXXEZ developed the first two, Lost Souls is actually being contracted out to a group of dedicated fans of the series. Check out the screen shots after the interview for a better idea of how the games will look. And stay tuned for more about Earth 2150: Escape from the Blue Planet as it nears release this winter.

Earth 2150 Web Site
Earth 2150: Lost Souls Q&A at Gamers Pulse
e.p.i.c. interactive Web Site
Earth 2150

Aspyr Says No Cocoa Alice, Elite Force
3:25 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

For quite some time there has been a somewhat unclear relationship between the Omni Group and Mac publisher Aspyr Media. In late Spring it became apparent that both Omni and Westlake Interactive were working on an OS X-native version of American McGee's Alice, with Brad Oliver creating a Carbon version while Omni worked on a Cocoa (another native OS X API) version. Amid conflicting reports, the Alice version from Omni dropped out of sight. Omni was also working on a Cocoa version of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force since early this year, and this is nearly complete according to records on their web site.

Aspyr Media has made a final decision concerning the fate of these two Cocoa ports created by Omni, and released a statement today to clarify the situation. Here is the full text:

With the release of OS X Aspyr had to take a leap into uncharted waters and
determine the future of Aspyr games. Our first OS X titles were carbonized
by Westlake, allowing both 9 and X users the opportunity to enjoy the latest
and greatest games. However, in an effort to better understand cocoa and
OSX we sent code of titles that were already in conversion to the Omni Group
for evaluation.

The Omni Group has been very helpful in explaining the cocoa process to us
and helping us understand some of the cool features of OSX. However, we
have been completely satisfied with Westlake's performance in providing high
quality carbonized games in a timely manner. We are fortunate to have two
great porting houses available in the Mac industry.

However, there will be no release of any cocoa versions of any of Aspyr's
current titles.

For clarification purposes, Omni has released the following statement,
regarding their evaluation work:

"We had fun working on these ports (and getting to play the games early),
and although we would of course love to have people play our code, what's
most important is that the Mac platform gets great games; it makes no sense
for us to duplicate efforts," says Wil Shipley of the Omni Group.

Aspyr will continue to research the cocoa process but completely supports
the dual compatibility of the carbonization done by Westlake.

As for the Omni Group,"There are a lot of games out there that need to come
to the Mac, and for a lot of them doing OS X only ports is great, so we are
staying very busy," says Shipley.

Omni may be referring to their current work in progress, an OS X-only port of Giants: Citizen Kabuto that will be one of the few games on the Mac platform to have native support for dual-processor systems. The Cocoa port of Elite Force had also been enabled to use these powerful (albelit rare) dual-CPU machines.

The fate of Omni's other unreleased Cocoa game ports (Oni, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2) is unknown at this time, but we're sure that will be addressed once Giants goes gold in the near future.

Aspyr Media
The Omni Group

Myth III to use GameSpy for Multiplayer
1:05 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Since the day Myth III: The Wolf Age was announced, fans of this series have been wondering how the netplay portion of the game -- a critical element of the success and popularity of the titles -- will be implemented. The previous Myth games each had their own server (known as Bungie.net) and interface, and recently the Myth II server completed its move to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. Microsoft owns Bungie.net but Take Two owns the Myth series -- a curious situation indeed.

However a solution has appeared, and in retrospect it seems quite obvious. Popular PC game connection service GameSpy will provide the server matching service for the game. Although the GameSpy client is currently PC-only, the game has an extensible toolkit which has already been used to create one Mac OS GameSpy browser for the game 4x4 Evolution. Thus this same toolkit will be used to provide Mac users with a way to connect to servers and chat with online opponents. Here is the press release:

Computer and video game publisher GodGames,
a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ-TTWO), along with
developer MumboJumbo today announced that GameSpy Industries, the leading provider
of consumer online entertainment and technologies to the games industry, will
provide multiplayer support for "Myth III: The Wolf Age." The game is the third
installment of the critically-acclaimed Myth franchise, and is set for release
on Mac and PC in November 2001.

"GameSpy's technology allows us to focus on 'Myth III''s modern graphics engine
and gameplay," said Mike Donges, Executive Producer at MumboJumbo. "GameSpy has
everything that we need to expand multiplayer gaming beyond what was achievable
in the previous Myth titles."

When "Myth III: The Wolf Age" ships, gamers may utilize GameSpy to play online
right out of the box, battling against friends on specialized netplay maps.
The online portion of the game includes multiplayer modes like Capture the Flag,
Territories, Steal the Bacon, and Assault. In addition, gamers may team up with
friends to play the single-player game cooperatively.

Mike Donges confirmed that the Mac browser would be in-game, and we've asked him for further details on how this will be implemented. In any case the inclusion on the GameSpy browser on the PC side will certainly increase the exposure of this title over the proprietary Bungie.net service, so there will certainly be many opponents (and teammates) to choose from once this game launches.

MumboJumbo and GameSpy Industries Team Up for Myth III: The Wolf Age

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Trade Wars: Dark Milennium Update
11:41 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The official web site for Trade Wars: Dark Millennium has recently been revamped, with a nifty facelift and new concept art for the characters from this upcoming RTS/strategy title. Inspired by the classic BBS game Trade Wars, this title is intended to expand far beyond the typical RTS fare by creating an entire online world of "corporations" and opportunities for alliances, diplomacy and of course conquest.

The game's FAQ has also been updated, with a much stronger affirmation of Mac and Linux support for the game than had been previously presented. The game is being designed for cross-platform support from the ground up, and may even move to consoles after hitting the "big three" computing platforms.

For more information on the game as well as concept art and screen shots, visit the Trade Wars site. The game is still in Alpha, but the team hopes to have it completed by next summer.

Trade Wars: Dark Milennium

First 'Torque' Engine Game Released
10:55 AM | IMG Staff | Comment on this story

The GarageGames web site has released the first game made with their cross-platform game engine Torque (formerly known as V12). Crime Force is just at the preview release stage right now, and unfortunately is also only for Windows, but it should be the start of a series of game releases based on this flexible engine with the low license fee.

For those who haven't been following the subject, Torque is a version of the Tribes 2 engine, stripped of all the content and available to developers for the low, low price of just $100. Tribes 2 is a PC-only multiplayer shooter with impressive graphics and physics, and the creations of third-party developers are expected to stretch the limits of what is possible with the engine. There is a Mac OS version of Torque up and running, though it is lagging a few weeks behind the PC version; eventually it will also be Carbon for OS X.

Crime Story will be a cops-vs-robbers online multiplayer game with realistic weapons and environments. The Criminals advance their score and earn new weapons by stealing money or items from buildings, while the Cops earn rank points for stopping criminals that will allow them to access better equipment.

We contacted the author of Crime Story to inquire if a Mac OS version would be a possibility. Here is his response:

Well that would probably depend on the status of the mac port. Looking
over the torque engine source, it looks like a very portable engine, and it's unlikely I'd add any windows specific functions to it to break its portability. I'd probably need someone else to compile and test it once it's finished though.
While that isn't the positive answer we were hoping for, it looks like the author would at least be willing to allow the game to be compiled for Mac OS if a Mac developer expressed an interest. We've also contacted the GarageGames team for news on the status of the Mac OS build of Torque, and we will bring you their response.

Feature: GarageGames' Tim Gift on V12
Crime Force Web Site

Netrikulator Released
10:12 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Tom Rockwell of FIDIM Interactive has announced the release of Netrikulator, an action/puzzle game for Mac and PC. This shareware title combines the play of two classic titles for a new game experience. Here's a description from the author:

Netrikulator is a one player puzzle game where the player attempts to form as many complete networks as possible before the board fills up. This is done by connected the given piece to one of the available network nodes of the same color. Pieces are connected end to end until full network is created between the two nodes. A demo version is available for download. The full version is only $15. Be warned. This game is addictive. Several people have reported neglecting school and office work while playing this game for hours at a time. I'm taking that as a good sign.
Grab the demo from the link below, and visit the FIDIM web site to find more games and shareware programs.

Download Netrikulator (10 MB)(.sit)
FDIM Interactive

Myth II: Worlds Disc Contents
9:50 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fansite Rampancy.net has posted a list of the full contents of the discs that ship with Myth II: Worlds, a game bundle recently issued by Take 2 Interactive. As you will see from the list, this bundle not only includes the full version of the 1998 title but also many of the most popular maps and plugins produced for this expandible game.

Here is just a small portion of the list:



----------The Seventh God

----------WWII: Titans

----------WWII: Recon


----------Original 1.3






----------Plugin Patcher

----------Tag Extractor


The inclusion of the Jinn project alone would save a modem user over 10 hours of downloading. Oh, and by the way -- there is no Disc 4, so disregard the humorous but entertaining list of contents for that 'mythical' volume.

Myth II: Worlds Disc Contents at Rampancy.net

IMG Interviews Mike Donges on Myth III
9:37 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Today IMG has posted an interview with Mike Donges, Executive Producer at Mumbo Jumbo, on a topical subject -- Myth III: The Wolf Age, which is in Beta and widely expected to go Gold by the end of this month. To say this title is highly-anticipated would be pushing the very limits of understatement, and legions of Myth I and II fans are eager to see what this new company can do with an old storyline and a totally overhauled version of the now-dated game engine.

Among the many topics discussed in the interview Donges provides details on the game's extensibility, the included game editing tools, the use of narration or cutscenes to illustrate the plot and much more. As those who have been following the development of this title know, Myth III is a prequel to the previous two titles, setting the stage for the epic battles that follow.

As you might expect, the issue of fan loyalty to original series developer Bungie comes up:

IMG: As it seems clear that some gamers are still playing Myth I and many still enjoy Myth II, what does this prequel have to offer that will lure the <> <> old-school Myth players away from their favorite and make them play a game that was (gasp!) not developed by Bungie?

Donges: Bungie was a very unique developer/publisher. They created two very enduring series in Myth and Marathon. Looks like they are doing neat stuff with Halo. MumboJumbo is a very unique developer. This team was put together to make this game. Before the first person was hired, Scott Campbell, the designer of the RPG Fallout, created the same design document that we are using today. Nary a word has changed in over a year. Knowing exactly the game that we wanted to make allowed us the luxury of picking just the right people to realize the design. As far as I'm concerned, it's the only way to make a game. Start with a clear and developed vision and don't change it. It will be hard for people to see that until they have Myth III in their hands, but they will get the idea and see the payoff of that development ethic. Ultimately, I think that we have taken the series into a direction that is very much in line with the spirit of the universe that Bungie sketched out, while exercising the creativity and talent of the team here at MumboJumbo. Sounds like a nice spin, but the most pleasure that a biz guy like myself can get out of working in this crazy business is getting a chance to work with some of the finest artists and programmers in the world and see the game come together on a daily basis.

For the rest of the interview, follow the link below; expect much more information about this prequel to be released in the remaining few weeks before it hits store shelves. Two new screen shots are also included.

Interview: Mike Donges of Mumbo Jumbo

MacGamer Interviews Julie Strain
9:22 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacGamer has posted a video interview of B-movie actress and Penthouse model Julie Strain. Narrated by editor Corey Tamas, the two movies are the start of a series, as more footage will appear next week.

Mrs. Strain was the inspiration behind the... character of Julie in Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 (as well as the voice) and also did the voice work for the main character of the movie Heavy Metal 2000. However the subject of these interviews strays quite far from video games, and minors are repeatedly warned that Strain does discuss her profession, which happens to include a lot of time spent with her clothes off in front of a camera.

If you've ever wanted a narrated tour of a B-movie actress' home and makeup studio, this is it. Once again, adult supervision is suggested for viewing either of the movies, which are available in high or low bandwidth format.

Review: Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2
Julie Strain Video Interview at MacGamer

Quake III: Gold Activation Key Troubles
9:08 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Late last night Blue's News noted that there is a problem with Activision's just-shipped title Quake 3 Arena: Gold -- specifically, some copies of the game shipped with a CD Key code that will not activate the Team Arena half of the game bundle. For those of you that have grabbed (or are considering grabbing) this value-priced pack and leaping into the world of Q3A, Activision has constructed a web page that will assign you a new key.

Just visit the page and enter the Team Arena key on the box, and it will translate that key into a new, working code. This code is required for netplay, and is used to not only deter piracy but to allow detailed stats tracking of Q3A games as well.

Blue's News
Replacement Team Arena Key Generator

Mac Games News for Thursday, October 4, 2001

Baldur's Gate Fan Fiction Winner Chosen4:42 PM
ATI Responds to ROM Update Feedback11:54 AM
Next Shadowbane Beta Test Drawing Near?11:48 AM
Exclusive World of Warcraft Shots Posted11:45 AM
EV: Nova Status Check9:15 AM
Eylau, Tactical Warsim Released9:12 AM
Civilization 3 Network Compatibility Questioned9:11 AM
Myst 3 Patch, OS X App Available9:06 AM
Age of Empires II Preorders Begin9:04 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, October 4, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, October 3, 2001
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
Monday, October 1, 2001
Friday, September 28, 2001
Thursday, September 27, 2001

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