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Monday, July 23, 2007

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Midnight Mansion 1.0.9 Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

ActionSoft recently announced the release of Midnight Mansion 1.0.9, a free update to its popular action/exploration game. Midnight Mansion is an action/exploration platformer with 32-bit graphics, spine-tingling sound effects, and professional quality music. As Jack Malone, players will explore eight huge mansions, each filled with traps, puzzles, and secrets, as they search for legendary treasure.

Midnight Mansion 1.0.9 contains the following improvements:

- Fixed a spot in Cathedral Towers Normal/Hard, room 15104, where Jack could get stuck behind a gray door if he died at the wrong time.
- Fixed a spot in Falcon Manor Easy where you could get stuck if you did things in the "wrong" order.
- Fixed Knight Mansion Normal/Hard, room 15710, where Jack could pull the lever and then jump into the upper area where the scorpions were and get stuck. 
- Fixed editor so "Open Room ID..." will now prompt you to save your current room if you have made changes to it. (Previously, the changes would be lost if you opened a room using this menu command.)
- Editor's "Mansion info..." option (in the Special menu) now tells you how many backpacks are in the mansion.
Midnight Mansion is shareware and is free to try, and costs $20 to register. This version is a free upgrade for owners of any prior version of Midnight Mansion.

Click on the links below for more information.

Midnight Mansion

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Inside Mac Games Posts Marathon: Resurrection Q&A
8:57 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a Q&A session that Cord Kruse recently held with Marian "Tycho" Zamfirescu, Team Unpfhorgiven project coordinator for their Unreal Tournament total conversion Marathon: Resurrection. More than a simple mod, Marathon Resurrection is a complete recreation of the single player and multiplayer gameplay of the original Marathon game, released by Bungie on the Macintosh back in 1994.

Here is a snippet from the interview:

IMG: What sorts of updates to graphics, weapons, physics, and levels have been introduced in Resurrection?

Tycho: Basically, almost everything was re-done from scratch. The only actual game content that was re-used was the story (told through the terminal text) and many of the sound effects in the game, but outside of that, everything from player model to monsters to weapons, levels, textures, music has been painstakingly re-created for true 3D. It truly is a Total Conversion.

Follow the link below to check out the full interview.

Marathon: Resurrection Q&A
Marathon: Resurrection

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Inside Mac Games Reviews Victoria: Revolutions
6:37 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the Victoria expansion pack, Victoria: Revolutions, released by Virtual Programming out of the U.K. Here is a clip from the review:

The historic events are well-fleshed out for most of the popular nations, but there are glaring omissions. The Ottoman Empire doesn't get rolling until well into the game, and the Italians are also given a short shrift. Of course, if you play the US or Britain, you'll have more to do than can be reasonably expected, but there is little for other great nations, like the Chinese, to do that is unique to the Chinese.
Click the link below to read the rest of the review.

IMG Review of Victoria: Revolutions
Victoria: Revolutions
Virtual Programming
Buy Victoria: Revolutions

Connecting Emotionally With Gamers
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In a recent GameDaily BIZ article Bioware's Ray Muzyka, Chief Executive Officer of BioWare, and Greg Zeschuk, President of BioWare, talk about creating games that connect emotionally with gamers rather than just wow them with eye popping graphics. The two discuss their efforts with games such as Baldur's Gate 2 and the upcoming Dragon Age.

When we created Baldur's Gate we were determined to connect emotionally with our fans using characters measuring sixteen pixels tall; fast-forward ten+ years and with games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, we're now developing realistic and incredibly compelling characters in full high-definition. We believe the games industry is poised to truly take advantage of the opportunities that advancing technology affords. Based on our industry's increasing ability to emotionally connect with our fans, we fully expect that video games will establish themselves as a true art form.

At BioWare we've made it our mission to develop the best story-driven games in the world, and we've spent the last 15 years honing our craft as we strive to deliver the most compelling entertainment possible. We've always enjoyed hearing the many debates about the value of gaming and the disagreement as to whether games could truly be called an art form. We've personally seen a number of games that have touched and inspired us - some that our teams have developed, and others developed by groups like Square Enix, Blizzard, Bungie, Nintendo, Capcom, Konami and others. Many gamers tell stories of the strong emotions they've felt at various times during the Final Fantasy series (Final Fantasy VII being one particularly poignant example), as well as Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Zelda, Deus Ex, Halo, Starcraft and Warcraft.
To read the rest of the article click on the link below.

GameDailybiz: Connecting Emotionally With Gamers

id Software's Hollenshead And Willits Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A recent interview from Games Industry features comments from id Software's Todd Hollenshead and Tim Willits. The Q&A covers a variety of topics including the new E3, controversial games, and the changing face of technology licensing.

How has technology licensing changed since you first started doing it?

Todd Hollenshead: Well, id first started doing technology licensing before I was even at id. Back in those days John [Carmack] wrote an engine, id released a game, everybody said 'wow that's really cool, I want to release a game on that same engine,' and that's kind of the way technology licensing worked.

...That approach is completely different for us [now]. We're showing technology - just like when John got up at the worldwide development conference at Apple - showing not the game but the technology first, and talking about it as an implemented cross-platform solution from the get-go. You can see, unless you're blind, that there's a Mac, a PC, there's a 360 and there's a PS3 [in this room], and we're showing the engine running to prospective licensees across all platforms. Not videos, but actually running on the hardware right now.

That's been a big change and a big transition for us, just from an internal philosophy standpoint, and I think it works for the game development as well as the technology side - we've had a far, far greater emphasis on early development of tools that allow us to create all the media and game maps that go with making a game, whereas before John would work on the engine and the tools, and maybe there was one other person to help him out.
Read the full interview at the link provided below.

GamesIndustry.biz: Masters of Doom Q&A
id Software

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Unreal Tournament 3 Interview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

EVGA Gaming has posted an interview with Epic Games' Tim Sweeney about the company's eagerly awaited Unreal Tournament 3. In the Q&A Sweeney discusses specifics about the game's graphics technology, CPU core usage, and cross platform play.

Q. Which next generation graphical features do you think will make the biggest impact on gaming?

A. I feel like the evolution of gaming and graphics could almost be decoupled at this point. Today’s engines and rendering feature sets are sufficient for building just about any type of game, just as today’s movie cameras as sufficient for filming any kind of movie. This isn’t to say that we’re done! Graphics quality will continue to improve at an impressive and scary rate, and I feel that we’re still 10,000X short of having “enough” computing power for rendering 100% realistic scenes. But I think the days when “rendering feature X enables gaming innovation Y” are mostly over. This is why the use of middleware engines has increased so significantly – because one tech codebase can indeed satisfy the needs of maybe 80% of the types of games being built.

On the rendering side, I’m looking forward to the convergence of CPU and GPU programming models around next-generation uniform computing chips that are capable of both tasks. Such a convergence will enable a long string of software innovations that have thus far been held up by the Microsoft/NVidia/ATI obsession with adding new fixed-function features to the rendering pipeline. That’s my wild prediction for the next decade! I believe many of the things that were hinted at in the late 1990’s will finally start to happen – very efficient deferred software renderers, sub-pixel triangle rendering, analytic antialising, and novel new rendering schemes around voxels, frequency-space volumetric rendering, pseudo-realtime radiosity solvers, and so on.
Head over to the site below to read more.

EVGA: Q&A With Tim Sweeney
Epic Games
Unreal Tournament 3

StarCraft II: Banshee & Cobra Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

SCLegacy has posted translations from a Korean website which reveal two new Terran units currently planned for the upcoming StarCraft II. The Banshee, a powerful bomber with cloaking, and the Cobra, a ground unit capable of shooting while moving with its twin rail-gun. The website also offers tidbits about returning favorites such as the Terran Battlecruiser and Ghost.

The First Page shows us a few familiar images, including some very snazzy concept art of the Reaper , but what the Second Page shows is the real paydirt: Here we clearly see the new Terran aircraft from the Artwork trailer, along with a Reaper and a new ground unit. The Aircraft is the Terran Banshee , a powerful bomber with cloaking, and the ground unit is the Cobra, armed with a twin rail-gun and able to shoot while moving! The Ghost also has new skills: Snipe, and another thing which cannot be properly translated. The Battlecrusier now has a "plasma" ability against ground targets. The Reaper also has an apparent "deploy mine", and the mighty Thor will not be built at a building, but instead built by a SCV.

The Third Page provides us with a Tech-Center , which is an add-on to any Terran unit manufacturer, Barracks, Factory or Starport, to allow advanced unit construction, as well as the Reactor , which lets you build more than one unit be built at once! We're also introduced to the Sensor Dome and the Radar Dome , both of which detect enemies, but the Sensor Dome detects over a wider area even as it lets enemies know which areas it is watching, allowing smart opponents to avoid its sight.

The article also mentiones that the Siege Tank got its awaited graphical revamp, but we will only see it at BlizzCon .
Click on the site below to read the rest, and head over to Blizzplanet for a collection of images of the new Terran units.

SC Legacy
Blizzplanet: Banshee And Cobra
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Macgamestore - Rome: Curse of the Necklace Now Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macgamestore.com today announced the availability of Rome: Curse of the Necklace on its web site. Developed by Big Fish Games, the game is currently available exclusively at Macgamestore.com.

A great new Travelogue: 360 game is here. Explore the stunning city of Rome through 360-degree photographs in this great hidden object mystery. Find special objects in over 25 locations and swap the objects for clues to solve the mystery of "The Curse of the Necklace." Discover some of Rome's most popular attractions, including the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Square. You'll also be amazed by locations that only the locals know about, including some that are quite strange and mysterious!

- Challenging Hidden Object game.
- Fun mini-games.
- Many beautiful and mysterious locations.
- Solve an intriguing mystery.
Rome: Curse of the Necklace is available for $19.95 through Macgamestore.com. A free demo version of the game is available for download on the web page.

Buy Rome: Curse of the Necklace

Mac Games News for Friday, July 20, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews AoE3: The WarChiefs6:47 AM
ANKH II Coming To OS X6:00 AM
Armageddon Empires Released For PC, Mac Version Coming Soon6:00 AM
Bruce Morrison Discusses Bringing Marathon To XBox Live6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Soul Hunter Axed, Twilight Archon Featured6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, July 20, 2007 on one page

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