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Tuesday, February 26, 2002


Mac Baldur Rises; New IMG Forum Opens
8:59 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

After a brief interlude following last month's Macworld Expo, Mac Baldur, the Mac-centric website featuring all things related to Baldur's Gate, has rejoined the land of the living.

In conjunction with its reappearance, IMG has launched a new Role Playing Games forum where fans can discuss the Baldur's Gate series and other Mac RPGs.

Here's what IMG webmaster Jason Sims had to say about these developments:

This new forum was created for the many people who were using the forum at our Mac Baldur site. Mac Baldur is now up and running again, though it is currently "frozen" and not being updated. Fans of Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and other RPGs can now discuss their favorite games here.
Despite Mac Baldur's current dormancy, however, IMG's publisher, Tuncer Deniz, assures Baldur's Gate fans that the site will again be updated, although it's too early to say when.

Mac Baldur
Baldur's Gate
Baldur's Gate II
Icewind Dale
IMG Forum: Role Playing Games
Buy Baldur's Gate II
Buy Icewind Dale



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IMG Previews realMyst
12:45 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a preview by Christopher Morin of realMyst, the renovation of the classic Mac-first, HyperCard-based adventure from Cyan's Rand and Robyn Miller that has sold more copies than any computer game in history.

Coming to the Mac from MacPlay, realMyst uses a modern 3D engine to re-present the story of Atrus, his two sons, and the world of Myst.

Here's an excerpt from our preview:

realMyst features a realtime 3D engine delivering full screen graphics in place of the classic pre-rendered shots. All the graphic elements have been upgraded to 32-bit color and new sound effects have also been added to an original soundtrack with digitally re-mastered music. Animations and movies and are now larger and in higher quality.

In the game players will get to explore the world as the Miller brothers intended them to with the original. Players will be able to explore just about everywhere. The areas outside of the originalís predetermined paths are now mostly available for exploration. For example, the player can now take a direct route or a more circuitous route through the trees to the clock tower on Myst island rather than staying on the main path. The water in all the ages now has depth and movement to make it more realistic. Light and shadows move and change their hue. The realtime 3D engine allows the incorporation of dynamic special effects that brings the world of Myst to full, vibrant life. There are also now day and night cycles, dynamic lighting, weather effects including thunderstorms, roiling water, and fluttering wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

Where the original game did have some prerendered animation sequences, realMyst has live action everywhere. The book room in the Stoneship age has aquatic life moving outside the windows. There are bats flying through the tunnel in the Selenic Age. Just about everything you wanted the original Myst to be, realMyst is.

Follow the link below for the full text of our preview, along with a gallery of screen shots.

IMG Preview: realMYST
realMYST



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Marius net Turns on Autopilot
11:40 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

In a case of singularly unfortunate timing for online fans of Myth II: Soulblighter, the administrators of marius net have lost interest in the Myth multiplayer service just ten days after Bungie.net's closure.

Marius posted the following announcement yesterday:

It's time for a new hobby. Conner and I have been putting in countless hours supporting marius net for a number of months now, and it's time to move on to other things.

So, we've set up the server and web site to eliminate all support work. As a result, we will no longer be accepting new login requests. New users can sign on using the "guest" account, but will not be allowed to chat. They can, however host and join games and chat in game. We will also be turning off the game stats since that requires a lot of effort to maintain.

The server will remain on as long as we have a free pipe, and the rules still apply, but Conner and I have no desire to spend our time on this anymore.

Unfortunately, the timing of these changes means that users of Bungie.net who were not quick to register accounts at marius net during the brief two weeks since the former service's demise will be permanently relegated to the status of second-class citizens.

In a post to the marius net Forum, Conner provides more detail about the limitations on new users:

...we will not be accepting any new registrations for marius net effective immediately. It was just too much work to maintain - and a few people were making that work even worse by submitting bogus/duplicate requests.

So, starting now, you can log in as guest. Yep. Just enter in guest as your username, any password you want for your password - and you'll be on marius net.

As a guest you will not be able to chat in the rooms and your screen name will show up as "Guest XXXX".

A new command .wankguest will make it so if you don't want guests in your game, they will not show up in the lists.

Also, because any data tracking system with random guests in the mix will be flawed any way you look at it, all game tracking has been turned off.

These changes had to be made because quite frankly marius net was simply eating up far too much time. It can now more or less run itself.

The loss of game stats is also sure to come as a disappointment to online fans of Myth II as well as of Myth: The Fallen Lords, for which marius net has long been the only online service.

Fortunately, Bungie recently made the source code to Bungie.net available, leaving open the possibility that some enterprising fans could launch a new multiplayer service for Myth I and II. Such an effort would probably require less work to set up than marius net, since Marius and Conner did not have access to the source code when they painstakingly deciphered Bungie.net's multiplayer protocol.

For Myth II players who don't care to be indiscriminately "wanked" simply because they're not members of an old guard, GameRanger remains an option, and Scott Kevill's free online multiplayer gaming service is still accepting registrations.

IMG Review: Myth: The Total Codex
Myth: The Total Codex
GameRanger
marius net
marius net: What comes around...


Beta Testers Sought for Galactic Patrol for OS X
10:18 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

MonkeyByte.com recently sent word to IMG that they are seeking serious beta testers for an upcoming Mac OS X version of Galactic Patrol, their 3D homage to the classic arcade hits of the early 80s:

MonkeyByte.com is looking for 15 serious beta testers to pave the way for a final release. If you are able to play, then you are able to test. Send an email to support@mbyte.com with your system specs. We are especially interested in testers with "non-standard" Mac peripherals (mice, joysticks, video cards, etc).
"Serious," of course, means that you're willing to isolate and hunt down as many problems with the beta as you can, and to submit clear, detailed reports on all the problems you find.

For screen shots or to download the latest demo of Galactic Patrol for Mac OS 9, check out the game's web page at the link below.

MonkeyByte.com: Galactic Patrol
MonkeyByte.com: Galactic Patrol OS X Beta



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Myst Trilogy Announced
9:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official Myst III: Exile web page has been updated with the announcement of the Myst Trilogy, confirming recent rumors of the bundle. The game is a repackaging of all three Myst titles (Myst, Riven, and Exile) into one retail box.

While no price has yet been given, the Trilogy should be the perfect gift for those yet unfamiliar with the series, providing many hours of entertainment for adventure fans. Here are the details from Ubi Soft:

With over 10 million copies sold worldwide, the Myst franchise has established itself as the standard in the adventure game genre. Ubi Soft Entertainment will offer all three volumes of this mythical saga into one epic pack for the first time with Myst Trilogy.

Prepare to be transported to the limits of imagination and experience the Myst chronicles in its entirety. Journey to classic Myst Island, to the wonderful world of Riven and conclude with the beautifully surreal ages of Myst III: Exile.

Unravel a chilling tale of injustice and intrigue that defies all boundaries of space and time. Summon every spark of intellect and intuition to learn the truth of the troubled land that you explore. Unlock the mysteries of Myst Trilogy.

We'll keep you posted when we find out details on pricing and availability.

IMG Review: Myst III: Exile
Myst III: Exile - What's New
Ubisoft
Buy Myst III: Exile


Apple Opens WWDC Registration
9:31 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Today marks the first day to register for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which will be held in San Jose from May 6 to May 10, 2002 in the San Jose Convention Center.

Here's a description from Apple's WWDC web site:

Join thousands of developers in San Jose this May at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference where you'll learn about the future of Mac OS X, Apple's new Unix-based operating system.

Immerse yourself in Apple technologies during this information-packed, five day event. Participate in more than a hundred in-depth technical sessions and hands-on labs presented by Apple's technical architects and lead engineers. Discuss issues, share ideas, and solve problems with Apple engineers and your peers in a casual atmosphere.

Apple is offering a pre-registration price of $1,295 through April 14, a savings of $300 off the regular price of $1,595.

Through April 14, Apple is also offering a Getting Started bundle, which includes a full-year Apple Developer Connection Select membership and a discount on one Apple Macintosh system, in addition to WWDC registration, for just $1,695.

Be sure to visit the WWDC web site for more information.

Apple: Worldwide Developers Conference 2002


MOO3 Interview Addresses Mac Development
9:16 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

In yet another of many interviews focused on the upcoming turn-based strategy title Master of Orion III, Digital Game Developer has posted a new interview with William C. Fisher, president of Quicksilver Software.

In this excerpt, Fisher talks about one of the benefits of cross-platform development:

Our primary programming environment is Metrowerks CodeWarrior, because we're developing simultaneously on dual platforms. This allows us to build for three different operating systems (Windows, Mac OS Classic, and Mac OS X) all using the same source code base. We don't actually have separate Windows and Mac OS source code, except for a few files. This, in turn, gives us some very powerful debugging capabilities, because what appears to work on one platform often breaks on another. Bugs are much more obvious and therefore much easier to find. We can also build in Visual C for Windows, which gives us the ability to use profiling tools like VTune to enhance our overall performance
Fisher also details the hardware used by the programmers and artists at Quicksilver, and much of the interview deals with the technical hurdles the developers faced in bringing this game to life. There is plenty of information to interest anyone looking forward to playing this game.

Master of Orion III is the long-awaited sequel to the popular and innovative turn-based strategy games of galactic empire building and conquest, similar in scope to the Civilization games. MOO3 takes a somewhat different turn from its predecessors in that it shifts focus away from the micromanagement of colonies and ships, and allows the player to delegate that authority to underlings. In fact, MOO3 limits the number of actions a player can take in a turn by assigning action points that can be used to do only a few things per turn. Thus, it's actually impossible for players to completely micromanage every colony, ship, and space battle. Ultimately, the idea is that the player will spend more time doing just the important things without getting bogged down in monotonous details.

Master of Orion III will be published for the Macintosh by MacSoft.

Digital Game Developer: The Development of MOO3
Master of Orion III
Quicksilver Software
Buy Master of Orion III


Shadowbane Status
8:59 AM | David Finley | Comment on this story

In case you're wondering about the current status of Shadowbane, one of the most highly anticipated massively multiplayer online role-playing games, IGN.com recently conducted an interview with Thomas Stitch, a programmer at game developer Wolfpack Studios. Here's what Stitch had to say about beta testing and setting priorities:

The game is coming along really well. We've just gotten into our closed beta phase within the last month, and have gotten some great feedback so far. At this point in development, we're really focusing on getting the client and servers stable and optimized. System bug fixes are the highest on our priority lists. Our goal is to get the game stable, then get the systems debugged. After that, we can shift our attention to tuning the gameplay. That doesn't mean we're not actively trying to do some preliminary tuning of the game at this point though. In a way, building a game is like sculpting. We selected the stone, cut it to size, and have roughed out the shape. Now, we're at the stage where we're getting out the hand tools and adding more definition. By the time we hit open beta, we'll be using the "fine tools" to add in the final bits of detail and finishing touches that'll give it a high gloss shine when it's released.
To learn more of the ongoing saga, follow the "Shadowbane Progress Report" link below.

IGN.com: Shadowbane Progress Report
Shadowbane
Wolfpack Studios



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Lineage Episode X Meets OS X
8:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The newest article now posted at Apple's Games web site takes a look at the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Lineage: The Blood Pledge, which today launches its tenth free episode for the title. The game is currently available for Mac OS X in a beta form, though at 404 MB, it's a large download, and those without a broadband Internet connection might want to opt to have a free CD sent to them.

Ellen Beeman takes a look at the game's feature set and chats with Jake Song, programmer and CCO for NCsoft. Here's an interesting quote from Song on their flexibility with the game's fans:

If there are any issues or specific requests from the Mac community, I'm willing to modify things. I'm very open about this. Lineage is not a fixed world. It will change; it's interactive development. We're always getting feedback from the user community, and improving, adding more content, changing game balance. There's a new episode every quarter. So I think people should try Lineage on the Mac, and then keep playing!
Beeman also takes a look at Lineage's four character classes, major locations, and gameplay details. For more from Song, be sure also to check out IMG's recent interview.

In related news, the Lineage web site was updated recently with information on the launch of Episode 10 for the game. The servers will be down for around two hours this morning (10:00 CST) to upgrade them with the new world and game changes. Mac users who have recently connected to the game should not need to upgrade anything to play afterwards, though there could be another small patch coming down the road.

The Lineage web site has undergone a minor change in that you'll be able to access it through www.lineage.com (formerly www.lineage-us.com). Check it out for the latest news on the game or to see the changes in Episode 10.

IMG Interview: Lineage's Jake Song
IMG Preview: Lineage: The Blood Pledge
Apple: Welcome to Lineage
Lineage
Lineage: Episode X Publish
Lineage: Next Episode X


Mac Games News for Monday, February 25, 2002

IMG Interview on Sony's Station.com12:17 PM
Custer's Return to Wolfenstein10:05 AM
GameSpot Previews The Sims Online for PC9:48 AM
The Making of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds9:46 AM
Feral Status Check; Sheep, CM Updates6:00 AM
Lineage DNS Fix6:00 AM
Major Harpoon3 for OS X Update6:00 AM
OpenGL 2.0 Details6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, February 25, 2002 on one page


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Friday, February 22, 2002
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