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Tuesday, November 28, 2000

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Cro-Mag Rally Patch Today
9:32 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A quick chat with Pangea's Brian Greenstone this morning revealed he is just about to release a 1.0.4 patch for the amazing kart racing game Cro-Mag Rally. In this update, Brian has addressed the concerns people have had with the title, primarily the sensitivity of the controls. To fix this problem, he has created a special physics editor screen, which allows the user to tweak just about every possible attribute in the game. This should satisfy those that feel the game is too touchy for their setup.

Another new feature of the forthcoming 1.0.4 patch is a 'super-easy mode' option In this mode, the CPU-controlled karts move more slowly, and your level of control over your own kart is increased. This should make the learning curve less steep for beginner players.

UPDATE: The 1.0.4 patch is now available for download at Macgamefiles. There is a patch for both the demo and full version of the game, so be sure to grab the correct one. And if you haven't yet tried out Cro-Mag Rally, download the full 1.0.4 demo today!

Cro-Mag Rally 1.0.4 Full Demo
Pangea Web Site
Cro-Mag Rally 1.0.4 Patch
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

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Oni Preview
9:41 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

As we grow nearer and nearer Oni's impending January release date, more details about this game are being released every day. GameSpot has released their preview of what should be a visually stunning example of 3rd-person action.

Their detailed preview, based on a demo of the game they witnessed at a Gathering of Developers press event, discusses the storyline, characters and motivations behind the main character Konoko and her enemies. There is also some discussion of the environments and obstacles Konoko will face, as well as a detailed list of the weapons available. Here is just a sample of Konoko's arsenal:

Vandergraph pistol: This handheld pistol discharges a powerful bolt of electricity that can stun nearly any of the TCTF soldiers you'll run into, letting you either run away or attack them while they're stunned.

Mercury bow: Arguably one of the most visually appealing weapons in Oni, the mercury bow fires a supercooled sliver of mercury that can pierce all but the most solid of objects. This weapon acts as the standard sniper rifle in Oni, and while ammunition is very limited, it is quite deadly.

Screaming cannon: This massive rifle creates an energy field that tracks the nearest enemy and traps them for an indefinite amount of time.

Oni is due for a simultaneous release for Mac, PC and Playstation2 in late January, complete with animated cutscenes drawn by the creators of the Bubblegum Crisis series.

Oni Preview at GameSpot
Gathering of Developers
Bungie Studios
Gathering of Developers
Buy Oni

Giants First Impressions
8:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The lucky folks at Xtreme Gaming Radio recently got the chance to play through an early build of Giants: Citizen Kabuto and were nice enough to write up a page with their first impressions. The title is from Planet Moon Studios and will come to the Mac thanks to the newly-revived MacPlay. It's difficult to describe exactly what Giants is, other than a game pitting three characters against eachother in an all-out battle for domination. And seeing how this preview goes so far as to predict it might become Game of the Year, it's not to be ignored. Here's a clip:

The controls of the game are VERY FPS-friendly and instinctual. This might be the game that convinces you to go get the new Logitech Optical Mouse with the cool thumb button (I couldn't game without mine). It's so much fun zooming around on your jetpack--flying up the face of mountains and 'buzzing' lakes, creatures, and homes.

In the multiplayer side of the preview there is a RTS slant to it in that you take some of the creatures you find, bring them back to your home base, and they will build things for the copter that you see below.

While this may seem a bit excited, from the looks of the screen shots, it's not too overblown. If you want even more eye candy than the preview provides, head over to the official Giants site to gawk at four new pics just-released from the game's publisher InterPlay. And be sure to read through our own preview for much more information about the game. Giants should be out sometime next year for the Mac.

Giants Screen Shots
IMG First Look at Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Xtreme Gaming Radio Giants Preview
Planet Moon Web Site
Planet Moon Studios
Omni Group
Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Buy Giants: Citizen Kabuto

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Warcraft III Preview
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Thresh's Firingsquad has written up a nice, nine-page preview of Blizzard's massive upcoming 3D RTS, Warcraft III. They've been given an in-depth demonstration of the game, and provide many details about how it's looking so far. Here's a bit explaining the unit commands and AI:

From what we could see in our demonstration, Warcraft 3 has just as many and possibly more unit commands than Starcraft. You have the standard move, patrol, stand ground, attack, spells, and special abilities. We also saw a Red Cross icon. It may have been a place holder graphic, but one can only wonder what that command that is (we forgot to ask). Can you now tell a unit to go home to heal, or maybe find the closest healer to have himself healed?

Blizzard has also put more work into the movement AI. This may eliminate pathing problems like the one in Starcraft where units had trying to find the shortest distance between a curvy path, or the issue with the attack command in Warcraft 2.

Check out the rest of the preview, too, as it does a good job of detailing the four known races (with the fifth to be announced in a month or so). Warcraft III should be out for the PC late next year, with a Mac version following close by.

Firingsquad Preview of Warcraft III
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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Bioware Q&A
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Mushroom has posted a new interview with Bioware's Trent Oster, producer for Neverwinter Nights. He answers questions about the game's adoption of the new 3rd edition AD&D rules, explains how NWN is *not* a MMORPG, and even makes comparisons to Vampire: The Masquerade (another game being published by MacSoft). Here's an excerpt from the Q&A:

NWN seems to cover just about everything a pen and paper RPG does. Is there any aspect of the traditional pen and paper RPG that you cannot put into NWN?

Absolutely. Transferring the D&D rules from pen-and-paper to the computer is much like making a movie based on an existing novel. Things need to be tweaked and adjusted in order to make sense within the context of the new medium. What is fun and meaningful in one medium may fall flat in the next and vice versa. Some things might prove too difficult to implement or, alternatively, sometimes obvious improvements can be made over the original. Sometimes fundamental differences between the two media alter your work in unexpected ways. The pen and paper game, for instance, is an oral medium - the DM describes a scene and the players picture it in their own heads, subconsciously filling it with a million personal details that make it resonant and meaningful to them. Computer games, on the other hand, are a very concrete, visual medium, a simulation of reality. We can't match what might be in the player's head but, as TV and movies have proven, with proper use of sound, color, and imagery, we can certainly influence and channel the imagination in equally resonant and meaningful ways. In short, we put a lot of thought and effort into the process of adapting the D&D rules. On the one hand, we always try to keep the intent of the original designers in mind and, on the other, we do everything in our power to make Neverwinter Nights the best and most enjoyable game we can.

We are very much looking forward to the release of Neverwinter Nights next year. The graphics are stunning, and the folks behind Baldur's Gate should know a thing or two about how to make RPG's fun. It's still a ways off, but should be released sometime midway through next year.

The Mushroom Interview with Trent Oster
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Mac Games News for Monday, November 27, 2000

Rune Maps/Mac Update9:44 AM
Harpoon 3 (and Monkey 4) Update9:14 AM
Mac GLHexen 2 Released9:10 AM
UT Assault Bonus Pack Updated8:48 AM
Shadowbane Preview/Interview8:10 AM
Huge X-Plane Update6:00 AM Releases New Game Icons6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, November 27, 2000 on one page

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