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Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Volition on Red Faction Release Dates
8:36 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

VoodooExtreme spotted a thread in the message boards for Red Faction, discussing why the game would be released first for the Playstation 2. Originally, this title was going to be simultaneously released for PS2, PC and Mac. Now it appears that Volition is taking the same path they did with Summoner: release first for the PS2, then add features for the Mac and PC versions. Here's the post from Volition's Mike Breault:

THQ decided they wanted the PS2 version to come out first. And we're adding a bunch more multiplayer functionality to the PC version, so it'll take a little longer.
In another thread, he offers more clarification:
Expect the PS2 version before April (Q1 2001) and the PC version 1-2 months later.
While not entirely surprising, this does push back the game's release date. We're betting Mac users will see Red Faction very early next Summer -- a disappointment for those eager to play this title, but the sting is lessened by the knowledge that the delay will be spent adding new features.

If this is the first time you've heard of this revolutionary shooter, be sure and check out the Red Faction web site. Or, click the link below for a list of our last twenty stories about this title.

Red Faction Web Site
Last 20 Stories on Red Faction
Red Faction Forum Thread 2
Red Faction Forum Thread 1
Red Faction

Elite Force/Livin' Large Giveaway Winners
4:41 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

For about a week you have had the chance to win a copy of either Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force or The Sims: Livin' Large by filling out a questionnaire on our web site. Now the contest is over, and it is time to announce the winners. Without further ado:

Elite Force Winners:

  • Pascal Robert of Montreal, Quebec
  • Scott Mitchell of Kirkland, Washington

Livin' Large Winners:

  • Matthew Tevenan of Seattle, Washington
  • Yen Lee of San Jose, California
Congratulations to the winners, your copies are on the way from Aspyr Media. Watch IMG for more giveaways and contests in the near future!

Aspyr Media

Click to enlarge
Jesse Spears Interview at MacCentral
4:33 PM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Jesse Spears, who is working on Aspyr's "Unimaginable" Project (Escape from Monkey Island), had an interview with MacCentral this past week, offering some insight into his title Harpoon3 and his relationship with Westlake Interactive.

Jesse recently reported that his port of this LucasArts adventure title has reached 'first playable' status, and is progressing well. Here is a quote from the interview on how Jesse joined Westlake:

MC: What made you say "yes" to those folks at Westlake? Did they ask you really nicely?

JS: We had actually talked twice before.

JS: So, when Westlake contacted me with the chance to work on "Escape from Monkey Island", I jumped at the chance. It was Real Game, one which I'd actually like to play (can't say that about anything I worked on at Human Code). And it was a chance to work on the Mac, at home, and for a little more money (well, in theory, assuming I can meet my milestones and have something to work on all the time).

For more details on this port and Spears' experience in the Mac gaming industry, be sure and check out the rest of the interview.

Jesse Spears Interview at MacCentral
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island

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WC3 and D2X Previews, Part 2
12:15 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story has posted the second part of their huge previews of Blizzard's Diablo 2 expansion pack and their upcoming real-time strategy title Warcraft III. This 18-page long preview of both games contains a wealth of information, especially for Warcraft III.

They have also some exclusive screen shots of Warcraft III, revealing this full-3D title in action. They list many details on the characters and 'races' which will populate this game, including the all-important Hero character class. Here's an excerpt:

The heroes have undergone a number of changes since Warcraft III was first announced. At first, Blizzard was going to require that heroes escort regular units into battle (you wouldn't be able to just create a bunch of non-hero units and move around or fight with them), and also have the number of heroes you made directly affect your army's population cap. Blizzard has since scrapped those plans, and instead created other ways to encourage players to use heroes, but not force them into doing it. Warcraft III's lead designer, Rob Pardo, stressed his desire for gamers to actually play with the heroes in Warcraft III, not "hide them in the back of the town" as was the case in Starcraft and Warcraft II.
For more details on the Diablo II expansion pack and Warcraft III, be sure and check out the rest of this preview. Both of these titles are due for simultaneous release on Mac and PC platforms; The Expansion is due early 2001, while WC3 is supposedly due the middle of next year.

Diablo II Review
WC3 and Diablo II Expansion Preview at
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

More Oni Screen Shots
12:05 PM | Charles George | Comment on this story has posted a small feature which lists information on the characters of Oni recently released by publisher Gathering of developers. This third-person shooter features a 17-level solo game and over 50 characters, so this list just scratches the surface.

The feature also contains a collection of screen shots which appear to be from a training level in the game. There is also one screen shot which features a comparison between normal Rage 128 Pro 3D acceleration and the Voodoo4 4500 card with 2x FSAA enabled. The tutorial seems quite detailed, and should be a great way to learn Konoko's complex repertoire of moves. Be sure and check out the screen shots for more details.

Oni will be released on January 29th for Mac, PC and Playstation 2 simultaneously.

Ten Oni Screen Shots
Oni Feature at

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Update on Elite Force, Baldur's Gate Patches
11:52 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Word on the street is that a patch for Elite Force will be coming out soon for the PC, fixing a few scripting bugs and other minor annoyances. We decided to contact Duane Johnson, the programmer behind the Mac port, to see if it would be necessary to port this update. He responded with good news for Mac users who already have the game:

The released Mac version already is up to date with the PC patch, it is
the reason that we did not release a month ago. The number of internet
holomatch games [for Mac players] should jump substantially once its available on the PC.
This is great, and another reason to thank PC users for essentially being 'beta-testers' for our games... Aspyr is publishing Elite Force and this game is currently available.

Duane is a busy guy, and when he's not working on Elite Force or at his new job with 3dfx, he's porting the Baldur's Gate multiplayer patch for GraphSim. He gave us a quick update on that as well, after we inquired whether it could make an appearance before Christmas. Here's his response:

I've made the break through that was holding up the BG multiplayer
patch. So now their are some smaller bugs & clean up work, but testing
is underway. So if nothing nasty shows up...
GraphSim has told us before that they plan to release the patch simultaneously with the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion pack. We'll keep you posted as more details on these add-ons for Baldur's Gate are released.

GraphSim Web Site
Aspyr Web Site
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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Elite Force Arrives, Multiplayer Issues
11:21 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

We've received word from several IMG readers and posters on our forums that copies of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force are beginning to arrive on shelves and doorsteps for eager Mac gamers. Be sure and shop around, as the price for this game varies widely -- from over $50 to below $40.

One issue many purchasers of the game are reporting is a perceived lower overall frame rate compared to Quake 3 Arena, which shares the same graphics engine. As many previewers and reviewers of this game have mentioned, the level and model design of this title are much more complex than Q3A's straightforward deathmatch arenas, and thus a slowdown is to be expected. The addition of advanced artificial intelligence for your teammates in the solo game is also another source of CPU strain. In any case we were able to achieve excellent performance by just turning down a setting or two, so be sure and explore the System settings and options. We'll have more detailed tips on tweaking performance with our review of this title.

Another issue many Mac gamers noticed immediately when they tried to play Holomatch online was a seemingly total lack of servers to play on. Well, here is an interesting twist on a common situation -- it turns out the reason that Mac Elite Force players can't find any online servers is due to a version mismatch between our copy and the PC servers. However, the version mismatch is in the opposite direction from the usual situation -- it is the PC servers that are out of date! The Mac OS version of Elite Force contains version 23 of the Holomatch client/server, while the PC crowd is using version 22; on the PC side, 23 has been held up while they are putting together a patch that fixes several AI and scripting bugs as well. For once we are ahead of the game, and the situation will be resolved as soon as the PC patch is released.

Finally, many are wondering when the demo for this game will appear. We can confirm it is on the way very soon, so keep your eyes on And if you want a chance to play this amazing game for free, be sure and sign up for our Elite Force and Livin' Large Giveaway!

Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Preview
Elite Force and Livin' Large Giveaway
Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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Dark Castle 3 Update
9:56 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Zachary Black from ZSculpt was kind enough to point out that they have posted an FAQ for the upcoming release Return to Dark Castle, a full-color remake of this classic Mac-only title. While this project has been in development for four years, a Spring 2001 release date is mentioned in the FAQ. Here are other highlights from the FAQ:

Q: What is taking so long!?

A: A number of things. First of all, when I (Zachary Black) began working on DC3, our game engine was only about 50% complete. It lacked a scrolling level system, high quality music mixing, etc. With the help of my programming partner (Zack Morris), we more of less completed that engine over the summer, and proof is in the re-release of our first game, Meteor Storm, and the debut of our newest game: Retro. Secondly, many of the techniques being used early on in DC3 had to be scrapped because they were just too constricting for such a large project. These mostly relate to sprite animation, level design, etc. Basically, development time over the past few years had to be split equally between our gaming engine and our current projects ( Retro & DC3 ). The good news is, it's all downhill from here, and we should be able to pump out new games in a matter of months, not years. :-)

Q: Will DC3 ship with a level editor?

A: Probably not. We (Z Sculpt) do have a crude level editor that I use to design the levels for DC3, although it's still unknown if it will ever be cleaned up and polished for consumer use. I would like to see it happen, possibly sometime in the future...

Q: Where can I get the original black & white Dark Castle games?

A: I believe Delta Tao plans to include the original games on the Dark Castle 3 CD.

The re-release of this classic is highly anticipated by those who remember these addictive, hilarious games. We'll be bringing you more details on this title in the near future. In the meantime, if you haven't tried Retro, be sure and visit the ZSculpt web site and check it out, it is definitely worth the download.

ZSculpt Return to Dark Castle FAQ
Delta Tao
Z Sculpt
Return to Dark Castle
Buy Return to Dark Castle

9:31 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

IDG World Expo and Apple have announced that the National Macintosh Gaming Championship has come to an end. The championship did not make it to last Summer's Macworld Expo New York either. Supposedly the reason this event was cancelled for MWNY was due to a lack of available floor space, but no explanation has been announced for this final cancellation of the Championships. Here is the announcement:

We would like to thank everyone who has participated in the National Macintosh Gaming Championship during the last 3 years. Apple Computer and IDG World Expo have decided to discontinue the event.
This is quite a loss, as the gaming scene on the Mac has never been better! Apple and IDG better have more reasons than just not enough floor space, as many gamers expected to play in next years Macworld San Fransisco. Voice your opinions on this unwelcome cancellation in our forum.

National Macintosh Gaming Championship

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Details on Mac WWII Online
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fellow GCA member Stomped pointed out that Playnet has posted an audio interview with Russel "Hoss" Mirabelli of Cornered Rat Software which discusses the Mac OS version of World War II Online, a massively-multiplayer combat game. This ambitious title, which seeks to simulate the entire theater of war from grunts in the trenches to Aerial combat, is being developed on Macs and PCs simultaneously.

Both the Mac and PC versions of this game are in beta currently, and may be released for public beta testing in the near future. The audio interview provides details on Mac and PC development, the use of OpenGL and some details on gameplay. If you have QuickTime 4.0 or later installed, the interview (which is in MP3 format) should play right in your browser; alternately you can download it and listen to it with an MP3 player such as SoundJam or SoundApp.

For more information on WWII Online, visit the Playnet web site or the official web site for this title.

World War II Online
Audio Interview with Russel Mirabelli on WWII Online (MP3)
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

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Combat Mission Beta Net Patch Released
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A recent email from the folks at Battlefront alerted us to a new patch for their popular 3D war sim Combat Mission. This 1.1 release, while still in beta, provides a number of features and fixes, foremost among them being full TCP/IP support. Now anxious fans of the title can finally play games between eachother over the internet (except for poor ol' Windows 2000 users, darn). The full list of changes is amazingly long, so check out the readme which they nicely posted to the Battlefront forums for the full scoop. The page also contains full details about getting an online game up and running. Here's a quick excerpt from the email:

After many months of very hard work we have just posted Combat Mission 1.1 Public Beta patches for Macintosh and Windows systems. Besides adding TCP/IP connectivity (see below for some Bad News) a whole bunch of tweaks, fixes, and new features have been added. We invite anybody that can not wait for these new features, and does not mind a possible bump or two, to read the rest of this notice and then download the patch. For those of you who wish to wait for 1.1 Final, no problem. We post another notice when we have uploaded what we consider to be Final.
Give the patch a try and be sure to report in any bugs you might find to the appropriate address. Combat Mission has a widespread and dedicated fanbase, especially considering the game is only available for order through their web site. If you haven't already tried the demo, head over to Macgamefiles now to download it. We'll keep you posted once the 1.1 patch is finalized.

Download Combat Mission 1.1 Beta Patch (1.6MB)
Battlefront Web Site
Combat Mission ReadMe
Download Combat Mission Demo
Combat Mission

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Oni Preview at Gamecenter
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Gamecenter has posted a short preview of Take Two Interactive's upcoming third-person shooter Oni, which has been receiving very heavy press coverage as it nears release. Their short preview is based on playing through the first level of the game, and is accompanied by five screen shots, at least four of which seem new.

When we first played Oni in Spring of 1999 (yes, 1.5 years ago) we were pleasantly surprised at how natural and fluid the character and camera movement was. Gamecenter had a very similar reaction to the game:

The first thing we noticed when playing through the training demo was how naturally the camera controlled for a third-person perspective. Unlike many third-person games, the camera was easily manipulated with a standard mouselook, and objects always turned transparent if they were obscuring the view. We ran the main character, Konoko, through the training missions, and the combat system felt natural and was easy to pick up. Players will execute combo attacks by quick successions of punches and kicks, and these also were not difficult to pick up. The firearm aiming system was precise but not too twitchy, making it easy to pick off several targets quickly and in rapid succession.
As we're sure you've heard a thousand times, Oni is due late in January for a simultaneous release on Mac, PC and Playstation 2 platforms. The latest status reports declare that the PC version is 'gold,' while the Mac and PS2 versions are in late beta testing.

Oni Preview at Gamecenter
Ten New Oni Screen Shots
Bungie Studios
Gathering of Developers
Buy Oni

Fifth Race in Warcraft 3 Revealed
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story reports that the fifth and final race in Blizzard's upcoming roleplaying strategy game, Warcraft 3, has been revealed in the newest issue of Computer Games Magazine. The first four races have long been known to be the Humans, Orcs, Undead and Demons, but the last race has been kept secret from the public ever since development started. So, without further ado, here are the details from

Computer Games Magazine is out in certain areas a bit early, which is great, as it puts the "What is the Fifth Race?" queries to an end. The answer: Night Elves. In a ten-page article, long-ago history is told, where the Night Elves, the first to practice magic in the land, allied with Dragons to drive out the evil Burning Legion. Elven characteristics, spells (one powerful spell called "Sleep," another that provides the ability to cloak into the night shadows), a timeline of the WarCraft series' history, and more is revealed in Issue 122, January 2001, of Computer Game Magazine.
In related news, FiringSquad takes an in-depth look at the gameplay and units of this 3D successor to Warcraft 2. Warcraft 3 is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2001, for Mac and PC.

Warcraft 3 Preview at FiringSquad
Night Eleves Quick Facts

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Tropico Info/Eye Candy
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The PopTop site has had a recent update, providing links to many Tropico-related items around the web. In case you haven't heard, Tropico is a game looking much like other city-building sim games, except it has a distinct dictatorship twist. Instead of a benevolent god or city mayor, you play the role of a flawed (but perhaps lovable) dictator, who must rule of over a tropical island and control a miriad of different people.

GameSpy has a new preview of the game, giving a much deeper look into how it will work. Here's a clip from the article that described your predicament as ruler of the island:

Tropico's main premise is to influence, and not control, your island's inhabitants. With a deformable landscape (the game uses a modified version of the Railroad Tycoon engine), and camera zooming to view anything from a small shanty home to the entire island itself, this is achieved by looking at what serves your own best interests while still keeping the poor subsistence farmers and other minimal wage workers from lynching you in your luxurious palatial residence. Which, as you'd expect, can be extremely tricky, especially as there's 46 different characters and 35 different occupations for your inhabitants to choose from.
The rest of the preview does a nice job of summarizing the feel of the game, so be sure to give it a once-over. And if the included screen shots aren't enough, two other sites have even more for you to check out. GamePlex has eight new shots and Tropico Paradise has nine new pics, so check them out for an even better look at the game's graphics.

Lastly, the PopTop site itself has a new character highlight for the week, this time covering the fisherman. While they appear to be a sort of cross between Shaggy and Gilligan, their industry will certainly help out your island's economy. Tropico is set to be released next March for the PC and then the team expects about a month after that for the Mac version to be completed.

Gameplex Screen Shots
GameSpy Preview of Tropico
Tropico Paradise Screen Shots
Tropico Character Highlight
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

Mac Games News for Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Oni Preview9:41 AM
Cro-Mag Rally Patch Today9:32 AM
Giants First Impressions8:04 AM
Bioware Q&A6:00 AM
Warcraft III Preview6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, November 28, 2000 on one page

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Monday, November 27, 2000
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