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Friday, January 18, 2002



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Rune Expansion Finally Coming to the Mac
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday afternoon, IMG asked Glenda Adams, president of Westlake Interactive, about the status of their long-completed expansion pack Rune: Halls of Valhalla. Adams replied:

Still trying to find a willing publisher/distributor. We're working on those connections as we speak.
And indeed, within hours we received word that Halls of Valhalla will finally be coming to the Mac.

As many readers will remember, the Mac version of the expansion pack was originally going to be published by the now-defunct Gathering of Developers label. Then, when the Mac version was completed early last summer, parent company Take 2 acquired the rights publish it, but chose not to do so.

Now it seems the original developers, Human Head Studios, have received permission to distribute the game themselves, and they will be working with Westlake Interactive to get it out the door very soon.

RuneGame.com Mac Forum moderator Andrew "Quetzal" Plucker brought us the good news after Human Head's Tim Gerritson posted it to their forum:

Today Take 2 decided not to publish Rune HOV for the Mac. Why is that great news? Well, they've agreed to let us sell it ourselves! We're talking to Westlake and Kazi and working out the details, but this means that HOV will be coming to a Mac near you very soon. We still have to work it all out, as this just happened today, but we're committed to making it happen as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who has been so patient. We humbly hope that the wait will have been worth it.

This add-on is different from most. For one thing, it's not required that you have the original game in order to use it. The multiplayer modes work just fine as a stand-alone application.

Rune owners will certainly want to consider revisiting the game, as Halls of Valhalla adds new online gaming modes, player models, and maps. It's great to hear fans of the Viking slasher will finally get their chance to try out HoV. Stay tuned to IMG as more details emerge on the distribution of the game.

Rune: Halls of Valhalla
Westlake Interactive
RuneGame.com Forums: Great Mac HOV News
Buy Rune: Halls of Valhalla



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Reports of French Touch's Death Exaggerated
4:08 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Earlier today, IMG reported receiving word from French Mac gaming site JeuxMac that French Touch, the developer of WaterRace, had decided to call it quits.

Happily, the reports of French Touch's death would seem to have been exaggerated.

Pierre-Olivier Latour, manager and lead programmer of French Touch, sent IMG this clarification:

Once WaterRace was finished and the distribution was going on, we've been working on several Mac/PC game pre-projects (adventure games, action games...). We also wanted to to raise funds for the development of our next game so that we could get paid during development and work full time on it (remember, we worked on WaterRace as free-lancers). Due to several reasons, it appeared that finding money for such projects was extremely difficult, so we got stuck.

On the other side, we have serious problems with our principal distributor in Europe (Softline, and especially its French part (Apacabar): delays in manufacturing (basically the product reached the [shelves] when the hype in the press was over), almost no promotion, minimal information regarding sales, huge delays in payments (or no payment at all)... I have to admit this situation has, as a matter of fact, "de-motivated" most of our team.

However, the company is definitely not closing its door or bankrupting or whatever! We're still distributing and promoting WaterRace since the game received great reviews and sells well in some countries.

Basically, we're in stand-by now.

IMG is delighted to learn that Mac gamers won't lose Latour's French Touch, and that WaterRace (which we reviewed favorably—a demo is available from MacGameFiles), will remain available. We look forward to hearing more from French Touch when the climate of extreme caution that currently prevails among investors moderates, as it inevitably must.

IMG Review: WaterRace
French Touch
WaterRace
JeuxMac: French Touch ne sera plus...
MGF: WaterRace Demo 1.0.1 (23.6 MB)


Free Tony Hawk 2, Deus Ex Offer
12:57 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

From time to time we update the free game offer that comes with every subscription to the MacGames CD. Today we've updated the offer with two fantastic titles: Aspyr's Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and Deus Ex.

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 eight issues per year (delivered every six 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, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, Deus Ex, or Escape from Monkey Island; 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.

If you're already a MacGames CD Subscriber and would like a copy of Aliens vs Predator,Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, Deus Ex, or Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, you can order these titles at a low price. This offer is only open for MacGames CD subscribers.

For more information, be sure to visit the IMG Web Store.



Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Updated for Mac OS X
12:52 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Contraband Entertainment has updated Jazz Jackrabbit 2, the family-oriented side-scrolling arcade game, for Mac OS X. Currently available only from Contraband's Hotline server at hotline.contrabandent.com, the version 1.2.7 update is, according to our friends at MacGamer, a "Hydrocarbon" application.

(A Hydrocarbon app runs natively in Mac OS 8, 9, and X: in OS X using Carbon, but in OS 8 or 9 as a classic app without using Carbon.)

Jazz Jackrabbit 2, originally developed by Epic Games, was ported and published for the Mac by the late Logicware and is now available from Ideas from the Deep.

Contraband Entertainment
Ideas from the Deep
Contraband Hotline Server: Jazz 1.2.7 Update (833 KB)


Bid for Power Due Today
11:58 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Bid for Power, a total conversion for Quake III that has been in development for over two years, is scheduled to be released today. Previously known as Dragonball Z (a name the development team had to stop using when Funimation and Infogrames let it be known that their trademark was not to be used), the mod includes characters, levels, attacks, sounds, and music inspired by Japanese anime, as well as several different multiplayer game types, including Free for All, Last Man Standing, Team Play, Battle for the Planet, Survivor, and Tournament.

One especially intriguing feature of Bid for Power is its use of special attacks:

Ki Attacks

Each character has five attacks. At the lowest power tier, the player only has one selectable attack. Each time the player advances to a new power tier [by killing other players], he gets a new selectable attack. By default, each of the numeric keys, 1-5, choose a different attack. Only one attack can be selected at a time, but switching between attacks is instant.

  • Standard attacks: hold down fire and you fire.
  • Charge-up attacks: hold down fire to start charging the attack, release fire to fire.
  • Minimum charge-up attacks: same as charge-up attacks, but with a minimum charge-up time. The ball of ki will appear in the player's hands once he is prepared to fire.
  • Beam attacks: a type of charge-up attack. Can only fire one beam at a time. After firing, you can aim the attack by moving the mouse.
  • Homing attacks: these attacks will home in on the nearest opponent.
Attack Collisions

Unlike Quake 3 attacks, BFP attacks are more than just a trajectory. Attacks have actual dimensions, and will explode on contact with players. Mid-air attack collisions also happen. Two attacks that collide will damage each other, and the stronger attack will cause the other to explode. The exception is any beam attack, which will destroy any other attack that it makes contact with.

One question sure to be one the minds of many readers is whether Bid for Power will a Windows-only DLL mod or a cross-platform QVM (Quake Virtual Machine) mod. Not to worry:
Q: What platform(s) will Bid for Power be released on?

A: Bid for Power will be released for Windows and Macintosh.

For more information and screen shots of this gorgeous-looking game, head on over to the Bid for Power web site.

Bid for Power


Quake II for OS X Adds Mission Pack Support
10:22 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

The Fruitz of Dojo, continuing on what is turning into a development rampage, have released yet another update to their Cocoa version of id Software's Quake II for Mac OS X, adding support for the Rogue and Xatrix mission packs just a few days after adding support for Action Quake2.

Here's what else is new in Quake II 1.0.3:

  • Fixed a keypad handling bug.
  • Fixed an issue with CD playback which could cause an application hang.
  • Renderer specific variables are no longer forgotten if you switch the renderer type.
  • Screenshots are now saved in TIFF format, rather than PCX for the Software or TGA for the OpenGL renderer.
  • Some minor improvements to the windowed mouse mode.
  • Many minor changes.
Not content to stop there, the Fruitz have also released an update to their Cocoa port of the original Quake, bringing it up to version 1.0.5:
  • Enabled paste via "cmd-v" and the edit menu.
  • Changed mouse acceleration handling [uses now IOKit].
  • Fixed the keyboard repeat issue after application quit.
  • Screenshots are now saved in TIFF format.
  • Mouse wheel support finally works.
  • Added support for up to 5 mouse buttons.
  • Added support for the numeric keypad.
  • Added "Connect To Server" service to QuakeWorld and GLQuakeWorld.
  • Added rendering inside the Dock [if window is minimized].
  • Added application hide [via "cmd-h"] in windowed mode.
  • Added windowed mode to the software renderer.
  • Added application switching [via "cmd-tab"] in fullscreen mode [software renderer only].
  • Reworked windowed mouse code [should now work perfectly].
  • Many other small changes and fixes...
With the recent Carbonization of the GLQuake project at SourceForge (see our story linked below), gamers now have two choices for playing Quake and QuakeWorld natively in Mac OS X: Cocoa versions from the Fruitz of Dojo and Carbon versions from the GLQuake project. What a wealth of riches!

You can download the applications from our sister site, MacGameFiles, but remember that to run them you'll need the Quake or Quake II data files.

IMG News: GLQuake and GLQuakeWorld Carbonized
IMG News: Quake II for Mac OS X Adds AQ2 Support
Fruitz of Dojo
MGF: Quake 1.0.5 for Mac OS X (1.3 MB)
MGF: Quake II 1.0.3 for Mac OS X (1.6 MB)


Art Institutes Offer B.S. in Game Art & Design [Updated]
9:44 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Looking to make a career in game art or design? The Art Institutes International at San Francisco announced on Wednesday that they are offering a four-year Bachelor of Science degree program in Game Art & Design, designed in part with the advice of Apple Computer veterans:

The commercial art and design school is offering its unique new program to bring a new generation of talent to the computer and video game industry. Students in the Game Art & Design program study art fundamentals, 3D modeling, animation, texturing, scripting and other aspects of game level design. Courses include "Storytelling," "3D Character Animation," "3D Modeling," "Life Drawing," "Interface Design for Games" and "Interactive Game Prototyping," as well as a variety of general education courses in mathematics, the social sciences, art history and the humanities....

The program was designed with input from an advisory board of experts in the game and animation fields, including specialists with experience at LucasArts, Sega of America, BioWare, Macromedia, Konami of America, Pixar, Sonique, Terra Lycos, PDI/DreamWorks, Apple and the International Game Developers Association. The San Francisco Bay Area is a natural fit for the program, since it's home to a critical mass of game and interactive entertainment firms, including Electronic Arts, LucasArts, Stormfront Studios, Konami of America, 3DO and many others.

Update: The San Francisco location joins The Art Institute of Los Angeles and The Art Institute of Phoenix in offering this cross-platform program, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. For more information, follow the links below.

AiSF News: Bachelor's Program in Game Art & Design
AiSF Programs: Game Art & Design
The Art Institutes



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Civ 3 Update on the Way
8:36 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

IMG has confirmed with Westlake Interactive that a patch for the recently released turn-based strategy title Civilization III is under way. Programmer Brad Oliver has posted hints of this in the IMG forum, along with suggestions to people who have trouble running the game now. Some of the issues readers are reporting include slowdowns in Mac OS X, sounds cutting out, and preferences not sticking.

Oliver notes that some solutions are available now, if you don't want to wait for a patch. One of the most-reported issues is the speed under OS X. It seems the Quartz engine is used to render the game's text by default, and while this certainly makes the game look better, it can be a major slowdown for slower machines. Simply disabling this option on startup (hold down command if you don't see the options menu) should help speed things up greatly.

If Civilization III isn't remembering your preferences, it seems the game's prefs file is probably missing its resource fork. Here's his advice:

We should have a fix for this very shortly. If you want to work around it until then, open up the "Civ3 Preferences" file with a resource editor like ResEdit or Resorcerer and add a resource fork to it, then save it.
If you do have a copy of the programmer's utility ResEdit (available as a free download from Apple), all you need to do is drag the prefs file onto the application and, if the resource fork is missing, ResEdit will ask if you want to add it. Click OK and you're done. If this sounds too daunting, then you might want to wait for the patch.

Other more minor problems like sound and music cutting out and the right mouse button not being recognized under OS X are being looked into now. Thanks to Westlake for their hard work in tracking down these nagging issues so gamers can get down to playing this addictive strategy title. MacGames CD subscribers who don't already have the game will definitely want to take advantage of the $39 special at the IMG Store.

IMG Preview: Civilization III
Civilization III
IMG Forum: Civilization III Help
Buy Civilization III


Shadowbane Shifts into New Beta
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Wolfpack Studios and Ubi Soft announced yesterday the opening of a new round of Shadowbane beta testing to a lucky set of individuals. This latest private beta marks another important step in the massively-multiplayer online RPG's development, and we hope it signifies a light at the end of the tunnel for the other gamers anxiously awaiting their turn. Here's the official word:

Wolfpack Studios and ubi.com are pleased to announce that the official North American closed beta test has commenced for the eagerly anticipated fantasy-based Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) Shadowbane. Over two years of game development, internal testing, and design work by Wolfpack Studios has culminated in the release of this closed beta test. The selected group of beta testers, chosen from the rapidly expanding Shadowbane community, have started to enter the lands of Aerynth and experience the immersive world and addictive game play of Shadowbane this week.

"We are very excited that Shadowbane has reached this key milestone, and we are looking forward to seeing how the world of Aerynth and the community evolve during the closed beta period," said Jason Rubinstein, General Manager of ubi.com. "This test will help us further shape and define this great project with Wolfpack Studios and lead the way to commercial release."

Five new screen shots of Shadowbane in action are also now available on their site. While they consist mostly of character pics, some spell effects are highlighted, and the newest version of the user interface seems very polished. For more information, check out the Shadowbane web site.

Shadowbane
Shadowbane: Screen Shots
Wolfpack Studios


Mac Games News for Thursday, January 17, 2002

IMG Reviews Tomb Raider: The Trilogy12:51 PM
Galactica Multiplayer Enters Beta11:59 AM
Sovereign Poll: Which OS Rocks for Games?10:58 AM
Battlegram 1.0—Instant Battle.net Chat9:44 AM
Vertigo 1.0 Debuts9:38 AM
Graphic Breakdown of Master of Orion III9:32 AM
Enemy Engaged Passes First Playable8:28 AM
Marathon: Resurrection Tournament Announced8:28 AM
Q&A With Warcraft 3's Bill Roper8:28 AM
Worms Blast Interview8:28 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, January 17, 2002 on one page


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