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Wednesday, October 17, 2001

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Stronghold Site Opens
9:34 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Take 2 Interactive and Firefly Studios have opened the official site for their medieval castle-builder Stronghold. Be aware that the site depends heavily on Flash, but those willing to suffer a little load time will get to peruse a huge amount of game information. Game features, screen shots, and even detailed biographies of the enemy characters you will face in the solo game are listed. One of the game's most interesting features is the ability to build or defend 12 actual historical castles, replicated with as much authenticity as possible, as well as use period weaponry while in combat.

Stronghold's gameplay is split into two parts: economic missions require you to quickly and efficiently create a castle and a surrounding market, while the warfare part of the game will test your castle-building skills as waves of invaders attempt to storm your fortress. Head over to the site now for much more information on Stronghold, including a demo version for the PC crowd. The Mac version of the game is set to be published by MacSoft, though no official release date has yet been announced; the PC game is due by December.

Stronghold Web Site
Firefly Studios
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Freeverse Needs Help With 'Cocoa Invaders'
3:32 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Freeverse dropped us a note informing us of a in-progress game known as Cocoa Invaders. An OS-X native game built with Apple's native API (as the name implies), this was the work of a Freeverse intern. While the game is functional, it is far from complete -- and Colin Lynch Smith came up with an interesting solution. He is asking interested Mac developers to download the game, check it out and send along any suggestions they might have as to how the game could be improved and/or completed. Developer have their chance to help finish the game, see their name in the credits and even have the source code to play with once the game is complete. Here are the details:


Cocoa Invaders is a native Mac OS X "Cocoa" app built using Apple's free, cool development tools Project Builder and Interface Builder. It is programmed in Objective-C, and successfully incorporates background music, multichannel sounds and OpenGL based animation. Oh, and it's a pretty fun arcade style game.

You're giving the Source Code away?!?!

Ah, yeah. It's not quite open source, but here is what we'll do. Play the game, and think of one thing to change. It can be as simple as an improved intro text font, a settings dialog, or if you're ambitious, a whole new level with different aliens, etc. Email me at ian@freeverse.com, and let me know what you're promising to add to the game. I'll email you the whole project, including all source and data. You use it as a learning tool, add your feature and email me back the changes. You get your name added to the Cocoa Invaders credits and what's more, we'll then email you a 100% free license to reuse the source in any future project.

Grab the game from the link below, and send your feedback and suggestions to Ian to get your chance to contribute to an actual Freeverse title.

Download Cocoa Invaders (12.2 MB)
Freeverse Software

GraphSim Posts 'Sheep' Details
1:16 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

GraphSim has become the US distributor for Feral 's port of the console/PC title Sheep, a cute little game which turns the mundane business of sheepherding into an arcane and unusual art. To celebrate the release of this game, which is now shipping, they have updated their web site with a page dedicated to this unique title.

Perhaps closest in genre to the classic game Lemmings, Sheep has an unusual plotline and humorous gameplay. Here is a list of features:

Choose from 4 characters each with different strengths and weaknesses, including Bo Peep and the over enthusiastic Motley.

There are 4 breeds of sheep, each with their own distinctive styles. They do however share the common trait of stupidity.

Guide your sheep through 28 levels, trying to avoid Mr. Pear and his evil Hench-Cows.

There are many hazards and obstacles to avoid, and just as many bonuses to be found. Solve puzzles, collect the Golden Sheep and unlock the bonus levels.

Sheep is available right now from the GraphSim online store for $34.95. Stop by the web site for more details.

Sheep Subsite at GraphSim

PC Myth III Declared Gold Master
1:09 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Mike Donges of MumboJumbo Games made the much-awaited update to his .plan today, announcing Myth III: The Wolf Age has gone Gold Maste for PC. This means the final version has been tested and is now being sent to duplication. Myth III is actually a prequel to the first two Myth titles, and it utilizes full 3D graphics instead of 2D sprites.

As you probably know, the Mac and PC versions are being made by distributed by different companies, so there won't be a hybrid box like with past games in the series. Donges has explained to IMG that the Mac version is very close behind its PC counterpart, though, and should be heading towards GM in the next week or so. Here's his full .plan with a shout out towards those who helped with the title:

Good news for all of you Myth fans, and all of you soon to be Myth fans. MumboJumbo Irvine has delivered the Gold Master of Myth III: The Wolf Age to Take 2 and it has been sent off for duplication. Hats off to MumboJumbo Dallas for all the support and to Aaron and Devin at Take 2/Godgames for making a difference.
This is great news for fans of the Myth series, as it means the game should be hitting store shelves in a matter of weeks.

Mike Donges .plan Update
IMG: MumboJumbo's Mythadventures

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Pre-Order Red Faction for MGCD Subscibers
11:04 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

GraphSim's upcoming sci-fi thriller, Red Faction, is now available for pre-order at the IMG web store. If you're a MacGames CD subscriber, you can pre-order Red Faction for just $35.

Red Faction revolutionizes next generation gaming with Geo-Mod technology, the ability to completely alter and destroy the environment in real-time. Wage war through 20 diverse levels with 15 weapons of mass destruction. Hijack five fully armed land, sea and air vehicles.

Red Faction is scheduled to be released in mid-November.

The MacGames CD is a CD-ROM subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters and much more. Get 8 issues per year (delivered every 6 weeks) and save big bucks! For a limited time, when you subscribe to MacGames CD, you can get a full version of Aliens vs Predator or Majesty; all you pay is the shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada, $12 International). Each subscription or renewal also includes free registration of the shareware game guide Game Doctor, plus great discounts from Mac game stores and publishers. For more information, please visit the IMG web store.

Red Faction

WC3 Preview
10:15 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpot was lucky enough to receive a recent showing of Warcraft III at the recent Tokyo Game Show, and they've posted a new preview of the game based on the experience. Once again, it was well-known Blizzard front man Bill Roper taking them through the paces of this upcoming 3D RTS. Roper focused on the wide variety of units available in the game, looking very closely at the powerful hero characters.

According to the preview, Roper also said the game is set to begin its beta testing phase sometime early next year. With Blizzard's reputation for lengthy (but necessary) beta phases, this would push the game's release date far past their initial hint that the game would be done this winter. We're also receiving conflicting reports saying the game's beta could start much sooner than January, so take everything with a grain of salt until Blizzard announces the actual beta is in progress.

As far as the rest of the preview is concerned, there is a good dose of information offered on the humans, dark elves, orcs and undead. The hero characters have a number of specialized powers, including a unique 'Ultimate Ability.' Here's a description of one such ability for the human hero, the mountain king:

His ultimate ability (ultrapowerful skills that the heroes possess and that are usable only once per day) allowed him to create a gold mine. Basically, he'll be able to dive underground, dig through the bowels of the earth in search of a suitable gold vein, and emerge with a usable gold mine. This will cause the unit to be out of commission for a good deal of time.
Head over now and read through the rest of the preview the rest of the scoop on unit abilities. We'll keep you posted as more on Warcraft III is announced, especially any new word on the beta test. While Blizzard does not do Mac public betas, as a rule, it would still indicate that the game is actually close to shipping and is feature-complete.

Preview of Warcraft III at GameSpot
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

Ask MacPlay Returns, Round Two
9:50 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

One of our most popular features, the initial Ask MacPlay question-and-answer session was such a hit we have decided to do another one. MacPlay's Andrew Hoolan sat down with a bunch of questions submitted by IMG readers, and did a splendid job in answering fan questions and dropping vague hints about MacPlay's future releases. Here is an example:

Question: When is Baldur's Gate II going to be released? It has been pre-ordered forever. — Caleb Wines

Answer: By the time you read this Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn should be on the store shelves. Or for those who pre-ordered it, on it's way to you. — Andrew Hoolan, MacPlay

Question: Is MacPlay working on BGII: Throne of Bhaal? — Caleb Wines

Answer: As you know, we have already acquired and released Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. It is an amazing game and only one of the many exciting stories that BioWare has decided to tell. We have complete faith in this series and all the other games that BioWare has created. It is our hope that we continue moving forward with our BioWare relationship. — Andrew Hoolan, MacPlay

There are many more slightly vague answers that you can read much into in the actual feature, so follow the link below for more MacPlay Q&A.

Ask MacPlay -- Volume 2

Neverwinter Forum Closing No Cause for Alarm
9:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Something about the nature of the industry -- and the fact that a lot of games do actually fail before even making it to store shelves -- leads people to assume the worst; when this tendency is coupled with poor communication, you can have a virtual riot on your hands in seconds. Yesterday a perfect example of this took place at the Neverwinter Nights web site, after the site forums (run by Interplay) were suddenly closed and all references to BioWare were removed.

Many people assumed right away this was due to the fact that BioWare is actually suing Interplay, the future publisher for some of their titles, for lost or underpaid royalties from past projects. The moderator's very unhelpful explanation that he "could not explain" why the forums were being closed only fanned the flames.

24 hours later, all has been made clear. The Interplay forums related to this game have been closed not out of spite, but simply to make room for a new set of official forums run and moderated by BioWare staff instead of Interplay. The purpose of this is to bring the fan community into direct communication with the BioWare staff developing Neverwinter Nights, a critical link of communication for those fans who plan on developing their own online modules for this expandible online RPG. Though the game is still months from shipping, we've never seen such a rabid fan community. Here's an excerpt from the PR:

BioWare Corp. today unveiled its new plan for game community development. Last month, the award winning developer of the Baldur’s Gate saga announced the creation of a new position, the BioWare Community Manager, that will act as a community evangelist for BioWare. The next phase of the plan will occur tomorrow, October 17th, 2001. BioWare will then unveil the first of the Official BioWare Message Boards designed to provide the gaming community with a forum where they can interact directly with the game development team.

The BioWare message boards are part of the company’s multi-phase strategy to improve customer service and fan communication. " The recently created Customer Service Technician position is already considered a success by everyone here. " Said Greg Zeschuk, Joint CEO of BioWare. " Later this week, we’ll be unveiling our message boards. Our Community Manager will help focus this effort, and our fan community will have the best access to BioWare it’s ever had. "

"The Neverwinter Nights community includes some of the most inspirational and supportive people we’ve ever had the honour to work with. It’s important that we have a clear understanding of their needs, " said Ray Muzyka, Joint CEO of BioWare. " As we’ve grown, we’ve recognized the extreme importance the fan community has in the game development process. By hiring a Community Manager and setting up our own message board, we can only improve our customer service and fan relations. "

We're sure those boards will be flooded with new posts by the end of today. Stop by and perhaps you can put in a good word for the Mac version of this online RPG. As of this posting, the new forums have yet to appear at the BioWare web site, but they are promised by the end of today.

Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Mac Games News for Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Creators Give Civ III Details3:29 PM
Monkey Byte Launches 'Shock Pack'12:55 PM
Mac Gaming Personalities Interviewed12:34 PM
On The Future of Game Design11:20 AM
IMG Previews Age of Empires II10:48 AM
Apple "Speed Bumps" Portables10:42 AM
Apple Sacrifices For Its Games9:35 AM
Deimos Rising Hits Beta 59:33 AM
Neverwinter Nights Forums Disappear9:29 AM
Interview with GarageGames9:13 AM
Myth III Character Animations Posted8:55 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, October 16, 2001 on one page

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Monday, October 15, 2001
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