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Tuesday, February 12, 2002


3dfx Web Site to Shut Down
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

As some Mac gamers will remember, 3dfx Interactive, once the premier supplier of graphics chipsets for add-on 3D video cards, decided in December 2000 — after an expensive foray into manufacturing its own video cards and several consecutive unprofitable quarters — to wind up its operations and sell its intellectual property and certain stocks of chips to nVidia.

Contrary to the impression of some gamers who faulted nVidia at the time for "abandoning" 3dfx's customers, nVidia never purchased its former rival. Placing the interests of its creditors and shareholders ahead of those of its customers, 3dfx chose not to make continuing support of its customers or products a condition of the sale of its intellectual assets to nVidia.

That choice, however, hasn't stopped many of the dedicated users of the company's Voodoo cards from continuing to squeeze as much life as possible from the now unsupported products.

Now the 3dfx web site, which has been serving as an archive of the company's drivers, will soon be shut down entirely. Here's a statement from the one remaining page at 3dfx.com:

3dfx Interactive, Inc. is no longer providing support for any 3dfx products and drivers. Information about 3dfx is no longer available from the 3dfx.com website. Please be advised that on February 19, 2002, the 3dfx.com website will be shut down entirely.
The 3dfx web site suggests that users looking for drivers visit VoodooFiles for third-party as well as original drivers, although the Mac support at VoodooFiles leaves a great deal to be desired. A more convenient source of the latest 3dfx Mac drivers for Voodoo2, 3, 4, and 5 cards can be found at Clan MacGaming.

[Eddie Park contributed to this story.]

3dfx
NVIDIA
VoodooFiles: 3dfx Resources
Clan MacGaming: 3dfx Voodoo Drivers



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IMG Interviews Target Rabaul's Micah Bly
12:17 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG's Tim Morgan has interviewed developer and project manager Michah "Yak" Bly about the upcoming World War II combat flight simulator, Target Rabaul: Pacific Air War 1941-1945.

Here's a brief excerpt from our four-page interview:

IMG: Tell us a little about the setting and time period for Target Rabaul.

MB: Our first campaign, New Guinea/Solomons '43, brings the player to late 1942. The Army and Naval Air Forces of Japan are fighting tooth and nail to hold onto territory captured in the early days of the war, while US and Commonwealth forces push up from the south and east. For most of the campaign, the air battles are fairly even: both sides are stretched very thin across a huge area. The terrain itself is very diverse, with volcanic islands, coral atolls, and the Pacific Ocean on one hand, and the vast jungles and rugged mountains of New Guinea on the other. Either side could win, it's the players that will determine victory or defeat.

IMG: One of the biggest claims the development team has made about Target Rabaul is its focus on historic accuracy. What steps are you taking to meet that goal?

MB: One of the reasons we started this project in the first place was that we wanted to finally see a Pacific Theatre flight sim done right. We wanted the right planes, the right flight models, the right paint schemes, and the right environment. It is very easy to get things wrong. We try to ensure accuracy by involving researchers, historians, and plane buffs in every step of the development process. Before we build a plane, we research everything about it: when it flew, where it flew, who flew it, which models were available, how critical was its role, how was it painted, etc. The research team decides on the markings and camouflage schemes in advance, and the 2D and 3D artists bring that research to life. Throughout the process, the artists get feedback and checks, so errors can be picked up early on and fixed. When we declare an airplane model to be finished, it's because we believe it to be as accurate as we can get with our information. But, and I think this is what makes us different, we will without hesitation go back and change it if someone discovers a problem with it. I believe that if you are building a WWII flight sim, you have to have that level of commitment to History if you want to do it justice. I used 'planes' when talking about the modeling process, but we apply the same level of intensity to the modeling of ground vehicles, buildings, artillery emplacements, ships, the terrain, and everything else that makes up the Target Rabaul environment.

Follow the link below for the rest of our in-depth interview and a gallery of screen shots.

IMG Interview: Target Rabaul's Micah Bly
Target Rabaul



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Exile DVD; Myst Triology in the Works?
11:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Jim Stephenson recently updated his Myst fan site, the Riven Unofficial Home Page, with new information on the state of the incredibly popular adventure series.

It seems there are still plans to release a DVD version of Myst III: Exile, as Stephenson has independently confirmed the original report on Just Adventure. There is also a rumor about repackaging all three Myst games into one trilogy title. Here's the scoop:

As first reported at JustAdventure.com, Ubi Soft plans to package Myst Masterpiece, Riven, and Exile together in a PC/Mac hybrid collection they'll call "Myst Trilogy." Ubi Soft's offices in Germany made the announcement because the package will be sold there first, probably in late March (see the Mysterium.ch fan site for box photos).

I've learned from a source who wishes to remain unnamed that it will also be sold in the U.S. later at a date to be announced.

This sounds like a good opportunity for those unfamiliar with the series to try all three installments.

Be sure to head over and have a look at Stephenson's fledgling Myst IV section. While the game is still quite a ways off, fans will surely want to find out what may be included in the title.

Myst III: Exile
Riven Unofficial Home Page
Riven Unofficial Home Page: Myst IV
Ubisoft
Buy Myst III: Exile



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Apple Talks Ambrosia and OS X
10:47 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new article by Brad Cook up now at Apple's gaming site gives the lowdown on current offerings from Mac-first publisher Ambrosia Software.

Headlining the story are both Deimos Rising, the addictive vertical scrolling shooter, and the Coldstone-based role-playing game Pillars of Garendall. The article includes quotes from Ambrosia president Andrew Welch extolling the benefits of working and playing under Mac OS X.

Matt Burch and Dave Williams are also on hand to give some thoughts on the upcoming release of Escape Velocity: Nova. Here's an excerpt:

Soon, Ambrosia will add a third title, Escape Velocity Nova, to the franchise. "Bigger, badder, and deeper" than the first two games, according to Welch, this one features a rich storyline that allows players to follow one of nine story threads (six major, three minor) depending on the choices made.

"Escape Velocity has been such a popular series because it’s so easy to learn, offers so many hours of gameplay, and doesn’t restrict the player from being able to do what they like," says project manager Dave Williams of ATMOS Software Productions. "They can explore the galaxy, make a fortune as a free trader, or hire themselves out as a mercenary. All for top dollar, of course."

Cook also takes a trip back in time to Welch's classic Maelstrom, one of the earliest color arcade games for the Mac.

Ambrosia Software
Apple: Games from Ambrosia Software


New Combat Mission 2 Interview
8:10 AM | John Rousselle | Comment on this story

GameSpyDaily has a new interview up with the development team from Big Time Software regarding Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin. This upcoming sequel to the ground-breaking 3D tactical wargame Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord focuses on the East Front of World War II and will incorporate large numbers of new vehicles and units, along with many new features:

GameSpyDaily: CMBB will feature a huge number of vehicles and variants. What are some of the relatively unusual or rare ones that armor fans can look forward to? Perhaps the SU-152? Aerosans? The Brummbär? The enormous Karlgerät tracked siege mortars as off-map artillery?

Big Time Software: Yes, the SU-152 and the Brummbär are even already in. Aerosans or the Karlgerät are not — the former are way too complicated to code in for what their impact on a typical Combat Mission battle would be, the latter has simply been too rare. But there is a plethora of other rather rare vehicles, from the Russian OT-34 flamethrower tank to the largely unknown Finnish, Hungarian or Romanian tanks of WWII for example. We have also received tremendous help from CMBO fans and the WWII scale modeling community, most notably the Missing Links website, which have sent us pictures of the most rare vehicles to convert to in-game textures.

GameSpyDaily: What are some of the more unusual infantry units we can expect to see?

Big Time Software: Well, I am sure you will find the Finnish Sissi squads in not too many other games. Or how about a Finnish Jääkäri platoon? Besides the more unusual units of the minor nations, we have again included pretty much any bigger formation that had some relevance to the fighting on the Eastern Front. Depending on the month and year and geographical location of a battle, you might see Soviet Partisans, German Gebirgsjäger (mountain infantry), various airborne formations and much more. Two interesting things to note is that we have also included the use of captured weapons (some German squads might be equipped with the Russian PPsh submachine gun for example, something which has been proved as frequently done in real life) for CMBB, and that one nation, the Romanians, are able to fight on the Axis (early war) and Allied side (later war years).

The original Combat Mission won many awards and succeeded in attracting many mainstream gamers into the strategy fold. Like its predecessor, Combat Mission: Beyond Barbarossa is being coded on the Mac and is definitely a title to watch for if you are interested in the ground war of this period.

For the full interview, follow the link below.

Combat Mission
GameSpyDaily: Combat Mission 2 Interview



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Marathon: Resurrection Single-Player Screen Shots
8:09 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Team Unpfhorgiven, the mod makers responsible for one of two Unreal Tournament reincarnations of Bungie's legendary hit Marathon, have posted several new screen shots of their massive Marathon: Resurrection mod.

Like Marathon|Rampancy, the Marathon: Resurrection project is an attempt to bring the classic first-person shooter to the modern Unreal Tournament engine by recreating the original maps, weapons, monsters, textures, etc. In some cases, as the screen shots show, they have recreated the original look of Marathon with great accuracy. In other cases, it is obvious that the much more powerful 3D gaming engine has given them room to take creative license, resulting in some things that actually look better than the original.

The new screen shots depict Marathon's single-player game, complete with all of the details that made the original so engaging. Many Mac gamers have longed to replay Marathon's single-player campaign in a modern 3D engine, so this should come as very exciting news.

Follow the link below to check out the new screen shots.

Marathon: Resurrection
Marathon: Resurrection Screen Shots


Links Golf Community Available
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Mac fans of the popular Links series of golf games will be happy to know that a Mac-centric web site devoted to Links has recently gone up. Titled Links Golf Community, the site boasts a number of features that should appeal to many players, including a ladder system, organized tournaments, and a BBS for communication.

Here's a clip from the site describing the basic ladder rules:

The LGC developed and maintains its own Ladder for every day play and also hosts a full season of online tournaments. To allow players of all levels to compete, the LGC hosts the ladder and tournaments at both Champ and Pro Levels and also plays the game using the Classic and the Power Stroke swing options.
Also noted is a Ryder Cup Tournament for Links players that puts U.S. players against European players, just like its live counterpart. There are also links to download the Hotline Connect Client and the GameRanger software, used for communication and for setting up online games, respectively.

Those interested in hitting the green with fellow Mac golfers should definitely check this site out.

IMG Review: Links LS 2000
Links Golf Community
Links Championship Edition
Links LS 2000
MGF: Links LS 2000 Demo 1.0.4 (53.4 MB)
Buy Links Championship Edition


Carmack Talks Doom and Video Cards
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

John Carmack of id Software recently updated his .plan file with some thoughts on the latest video cards now coming onto the market. While he notes there should be even newer cards out before Doom III ships, it is always interesting to see what this influential player in the industry has to say about them.

After adding in support for ATI's newest contender, the Radeon 8500, Carmack has many good things to say about the company's improvements in developer relations. There are still many driver issues and one nagging hardware bug, but the card seems to provide good competition to nVidia's line of GeForce cards.

Carmack isn't too hot on the lower-powered GeForce4 MX, though:

Do not buy a GeForce4 MX for Doom.

Nvidia has really made a mess of the naming conventions here. I always thought it was bad enough that GF2 was just a speed bumped GF1, while GF3 had significant architectural improvements over GF2. I expected GF4 to be the speed bumped GF3, but calling the NV17 GF4 MX really sucks.

GF4 MX will still run Doom properly, but it will be using the NV10 codepath with only two texture units and no vertex shaders. A GF3 or 8500 will be much better performers. The GF4 MX may still be the card of choice for many people depending on pricing, especially considering that many games won't use four textures and vertex programs, but damn, I wish they had named it something else.

For the full (and very technical) scoop, head over and read through the rest of his .plan, and stay tuned as both the Radeon 8500 and GeForce4 Ti make their way to the Mac platform.

id Software
Webdog: John Carmack's .plan
Buy DOOM 3


Mac Games News for Monday, February 11, 2002

X-Plane 6.10 Beta 4 Released11:59 AM
IMG Feature: The Making of Otto Matic11:16 AM
Westlake Adds 'Miller'; Harry and Wolf Awaiting Approval9:37 AM
Aliens vs Predator Updated to 1.0.46:00 AM
Battle.net Issues Identified, Addressed6:00 AM
Custer Continues to Conquer6:00 AM
Does Game Length Matter?6:00 AM
GLQuake & GLHexen 2 Carbon Updates6:00 AM
Neverwinter Nights Interviews6:00 AM
Newbie Impressions of Warcraft III Beta6:00 AM
WWII Online OS X Client Lives6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, February 11, 2002 on one page


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