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Wednesday, November 15, 2000

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Shogo for Mac is Gold
8:31 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Hyperion Entertainment's port of Shogo has recently been approved for distribution by Monolith and is now expected to ship by December. This anime-inspired shooter uses Monolith's LithTech graphics engine and boasts dazzling graphics with low system requirements.

A demo for this game has been available from for some time; downloaded almost 8,000 times, it has received an average user rating of four and a half joysticks. Although this game is antiquated by PC standards, the blazing speed of the game on even humble Mac gaming systems is sure to thrill those who feel shut out of the 'shooter' genre due to high system requirements. Here are more details on the game from the Hyperion web site:

Some sections of the game have to be traversed on foot whilst other sections can only be completed with the aid of a Mobile Combat Armor unit, a 10 meters tall metal suit that packs some really amazing fire-power such as a laser-cannon and a multi-warhead launcher. In true anime fashion, the MCA's are extremely maneuverable and it's great fun to squash a foot-soldier now and then, but just remember to make a run for it when you're the one on foot...

Shogo uses Monolith's LithTech(TM) 3D engine which is every bit as advanced (if not more so) as the Quake II(TM) engine from ID. You will immediately notice the difference: the explosions, the gore and the particle and lighting effects are like nothing else out there. The LithTech engine will let you enjoy convincing indoor and outdoor scenery as you do battle in your MCA with enemy tanks or traverse an abandoned city on foot.

Any game that pits individual soldiers against 30-foot-tall robots gets points for originality. Watch for this one on store shelves soon! If you want more information about this title, be sure and read our preview and download the demo to get a feel for the unique, anime-inspired world of Shogo.

Download Shogo: MAD Demo (41.3 MB)
Shogo: Mobile Armor Division Preview
Hyperion Entertainment
Hyperion's Shogo Web Site
Hyperion Entertainment
Shogo: MAD

3dfx, ATI Interviews
3:54 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A pair of interviews with graphics chip development rivals 3dfx and ATI have appeared on the net. While neither interview deals with the Mac platform directly, they do provide an inside look at these companies and where they may be going with their hardware plans for the future.

The interview with K.Y. Ho, CEO of ATI, was conducted by Gamecenter Alliance member Gamer's Depot. While this interview primarily focuses on the rivalry between NVIDIA and ATI now that both are competing for the same OEM markets, it does contain some interesting details. One question reveals that there are no plans for a Radeon card using MAXX technology, ATI's trick for putting dual processors on the same card; instead, this dual-processor approach will have to wait until the Radeon 2 has been released. Here is an excerpt:

GD: Are you guys looking into implementing MAXX technology with the Radeon?

K.Y.: Oh definitely, because that allows us to take one step right away, but the one thing you need to have is a  bridge chip, but it doesn’t make sense right now because of timing. The problem is that the bridge chip is not available yet and by the time we finish, Radeon2 is coming out, so it doesn’t make sense. But maybe by then we will have the bridge chip ready for Radeon2 and that’s OK, then we would have a full product life cycle. (laughs)

The idea of a card with 2 Radeon2 chips on board simple boggles the mind, when considering our experience with the blazing Radeon card. There is no firm release date for the Radeon2 chip, but there is every reason to expect it to appear for the Mac OS when it is available.

The interview with Karen Gleitsmann of 3dfx, conducted by Aussie site BigKid, is quite an interesting read in its own right. Not only does she let slip that she has a Mac at home, but she also discusses her own attitudes towards gaming. There aren't many details on future plans for 3dfx, but there is a good summary of the advantages of Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing:

Could you explain the rationale behind 3dfx's push toward FSAA?

We were originally on this path of where the frame rate was the Holy Grail. If you could get a higher frame rate, then you were the best. If you got this higher bar on the benchmarks, then you were the best. But you get to the point where you get so many frames in a second, it's just not interesting anymore. I don't really know too many people who want to play their games at 120+ frame rates per second. Once you exceed 75 or 100 fps, the benefits from higher frame rates diminish.

The processing power that we put out is so much faster nowadays. We're trying to translate that extra horsepower, that extra frame rate you have, into higher image quality and making your pixels look better. We'd like to take all that extra power and give people options of what to do with it. Let's concentrate on how we can trade off that excess frame rate to make things look better. Sampling a scene multiple times so you have straight lines that are actually straight instead of jagged; so you have better looking objects. Your objects could be more cinematically accurate in terms of shadows, in terms of motion blur and depth of field focal shift and other effects.

There is also some discussion of 3dfx developer relations and the 3dfx 'Total Immersion' clinic for developers. Read both interviews for more insight into the two companies that make Mac gaming faster and better looking with each new product.

ATI Radeon AGP Review
3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI Review
ATI Interview at Gamer's Depot
3dfx Interview at BigKid

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Rune Reaches Final Candidate
2:53 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive updated their project status page today with news that Rune has entered the 'final candidate' phase of development. This means that the game is in the final stages of testing and will be declared golden master, barring any show-stopping bugs. Westlake has been able to port this game to the Macintosh so quickly (under 4 months) due to their previous experience with the Unreal Tournament game engine.

Rune is a third person hack-and-slash adventure game based in the world of the Vikings. You play the role of Ragnar, a young hero out to avenge the death of his father and prevent Ragnarok, the end of the world. This game was released for the PC several weeks ago and has received very good reviews. Check out IMG's preview and stay tuned for more information as it breaks.

Rune Preview at IMG
Westlake Interactive Project Status Page
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Cro-Mag Rally Ships Early
1:50 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Pangea's president Brian Greenstone informed IMG today that their latest creation Cro-Mag Rally would be shipping out today! Those lucky enough to get in on the pre-order deal should be getting their hands on all of the caveman racing action very soon. Here's the scoop from Brian:

Woo hoo! Cro-Mag is shipping today - a day earlier than expected, so people who placed preorders should have it tomorrow!
The CMR demo is already nearing the #1 spot at Macgamefiles, with almost 8,000 downloads in just a few days. Be sure to grab it if you haven't already. And check out the Pangea web site for much more information on the game, as well as our preview.

Pangea Web Site
Download Cro-Mag Rally Demo (40MB)
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

'King of the Hill' Game Available
9:57 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Computer Games Online has noted that Fox Interactive recently announced the availability of a game based on the award-winning animated television show King of the Hill. This value-priced title features characters from the show (created by Mike Judge of Beavis and Butthead fame) in various interactive games and puzzles. Although there is no information about the game on either the Fox or Fox Interactive web sites, the Mac and PC versions of this title are listed in several online stores.

Here's an excerpt from the article on CGO:

Fox Interactive today announced the availability of an all-new interactive experience for fans of King of the Hill, the Emmy Award-winning Fox animated television series. Featuring dozens of activities and games, King of the Hill also includes an original storyline, 15 different characters from the show the exclusive bonus game—Texas Huntin'. The King of the Hill game can be played on both PC and Mac computers and is available nationwide for about twenty bucks.

The story takes place at the seventh annual block party during the Fourth of July weekend in the Hill's Texas neighborhood. You assume the role of the newest addition to the block and must rely on your social graces and hand-eye coordination to gain the friendship and acceptance of your fellow neighbors. Throughout the day's festivities, residents compete in events including Scavenger Hunt, Mosquito Attack and the Lawnmower Race. New neighbors also chip in and complete party chores such as Ice the Beer and Sunscreen Bill. At the end of the party, Hank Hill and the rest of his crew decide whether or not to accept the new tenant. You control your own fate and each ending based on how well you handle each activity and challenge. Individual games also include Mini-Golf with Bill and Dale's Paintball.

Fans of the television show's quaint charm might find this title a good stocking-stuffer for the holiday season. We'll bring you details and screen shots when they are available.

Fox Interactive (not updated)
King of the Hill Announced on CGO

Ambrosia Makes Games for Windows
9:03 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software's programming guru Ben Spees took some time to write up an interesting article for the newsletter The Ambrosia Times. In this short article he reveals an extremely interesting development with his upcoming game of racing and combat, called Ragnarok. Apparently Ragnarok will be the first Ambrosia game to be released for Windows as well as the Mac OS. While longtime Ambrosia fans may recoil with disgust at the thought of this, Ben defends his decision:

Thanks to Matt's [Ambrosia employee behind a set of networking tools] tireless efforts, the tools have now matured to a sufficient point that we are able to write games that will work on both Mac and Windows with relatively little effort. My new game, Ragnarok, will be the first to put that theory to the test. Ragnarok is a racing/combat game that focuses heavily on multiplayer mayhem. With this sort of game, you can never have too many opponents to blow up. So, our thinking went, what better source of mindless drones than the PC gaming community?
We all knew that PC gamers had to be good for something. In the article Ben also describes in great detail his experience developing for Windows, both good and bad. The good news from the article is that Ragnarok will also be fully carbonized so it can scream on the upcoming Mac OS X. Ambrosia fans should also check out the article to see several amazing new screen shots of the game. Expect Ragnarok to be streaking its way onto Mac and PC platforms in the near future.

Ben Spees on Cross-platform Ragnarok

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Starfleet Command II Q&A
8:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

One of the 'big five' games being brought to the Mac OS by MacPlay over the next year is Starfleet Command: Volume II- Empires at War. Our partner CGA site Stomped has interviewed Josh Morris, a member of the Taldren team working on the game currently for the PC. Starfleet Command II is a strategy game very different from either of the other Star Trek titles coming to the Mac soon. The Q discusses what they've added to the game since the original (which wasn't exactlya blockbuster on the PC side), the game's new races, ships and weapons, and these details about multiplayer mode:

Stomped: The most exciting part of SFC II has to be the Metaverse online persistent game. How will this part of the game work?

Morris: Players will log on through the game for a FREE account. They will then create a character and choose an Empire to fight for. Players will go on missions, gain prestige, buy new ships, and eventually hope to wipe the other empires off the face of the map!

Take a read through the rest of the interview, and be sure to check out the screen shots included as well. There is no specific word from MacPlay on the game's release date as of yet, other than it should be out next year.

Official Starfleet Command II Web Site
Stomped Starfleet Command II Interview
Starfleet Command II

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TR: Chronicles Gold for PC, Mac Dev Soon
8:34 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Both and Adrenaline Vault are reporting that Tomb Raider: Chronicles, the fifth and final game in the series, has gone Gold for Windows. We asked Westlake Interactive (the company who has ported all of the previous games) if production has begun on the Mac version of this title, to be published by Aspyr Media; We also wondered if they had any word on the possibility of porting the level editor for the game, which will be released with the PC version. Here's what president Mark Adams had to say:

We should be receiving the code soon (Eidos/Core likes to wait until they
are done to send it to us), so we don't have any ideas on schedule yet.
No info on the editor yet either.
Core has said this will be the last game of the series to use the current graphics engine, with the 'next generation' already under development for console platforms. We'll bring you any word we might receive from Aspyr on the schedule of development for the title itself or the level editor. However, those who are anticipating building Tomb Raider caverns for Lara to explore should be warned: game editors are often just as tough to port as the entire game itself, and this is why they rarely ever make it to the Mac OS. Report on Tomb Raider: Chronicles Gold
Aspyr Media Web Site
Westlake Interactive Web Site
Adrenaline Report on Tomb Raider: Chronicles Gold
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Core Design
Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Buy Tomb Raider: Chronicles

3dfx Leaves Graphics Card Business
8:30 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

According to a report posted on CNNfn, graphics-chip company 3dfx plans to exit the card manufacturing business. This is a retreat of sorts for the company, which switched to making their own cards after the purchase of manufacturer STB last year. 3dfx plans to move to the same model of product delivery that rival NVIDIA uses: developing chips and allowing third-party manufacturers to manufacture and distribute actual products. Here is a quote from the article:

Two years after striking out in a new direction, graphics-chip maker 3dfx is going back to its roots in an attempt to regain the company's dwindling strength in an increasingly tight market.

The company plans to close its Juarez, Mexico, card manufacturing plant and remove itself from the business of building the graphics cards that reside in desktop PCs. This is an abrupt switch from the December 1998 takeover of STB Systems, which 3dfx heralded as a move that would put them in charge of their own destiny. Instead, that move -- combined with numerous production delays and supply problems -- has removed the company from its once-dominant position in the industry.

3dfx also plans to infiltrate other markets such as set-top boxes, cell phones, PDAs and video game consoles; however, they have been virtually shut out of the next-generation console market by NVIDIA (which will power the X-box) and ATI (who will provide chips for Nintendo's next effort).

Obviously, this raises questions about 3dfx's commitment to the Mac platform, not to mention who might be making Mac-specific 3dfx-based cards in the future. Accelerate Your Mac has received some clarification on 3dfx's stance towards the Mac from the company's Lisa Grubb. She notes (albeit briefly) that this doesn't change their strategy towards the Mac platform; instead they are simply going to be outsourcing the actual production of cards to other companies. Check out the page for more information. Be sure and share your opinion of these developments on our Forums.

Accelerate Your Mac Web Site
CNNfn Report

Mac Games News for Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Update on Mac Red Faction11:34 AM
Update on Freeverse Projects10:22 AM
Myth III Details9:36 AM
Cro-Mag Rally Tops Downloads, Patch Soon8:32 AM
The Fallen Ships for PC, Mac Version Soon8:32 AM
Avernum 2 Interview6:00 AM
New Warcraft III Info6:00 AM
Oni Loses Blood?6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, November 14, 2000 on one page

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