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Thursday, November 30, 2000

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WaterRace is Gold
8:57 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

French Touch has announced that their long-awaited Mac-only powerboat racing game WaterRace has finally reached the golden master stage, and is currently in production. They expect the boxed versions of this title to ship in December. A 3D racer with thrilling speed and visuals, this title seems to have undergone a major transformation in the last few months before its release, as the list of new features they added to the game since we've last seen it is extensive.

Obviously French Touch received much useful feedback from the game's debut at Apple Expo Paris, because they went back to the drawing board and heavily augmented the game's features and details. Here is an excerpt from their press release which comments on what has changed in the last few months:

A lot of new features requested by the visitors of the Apple Expo Paris and
our Beta-Testers Team were added.

Moreover, we have completed the outstanding artificial intelligence, which
will lead computer opponents through the beautiful landscapes. It is a
really challenging AI, that players will not defeat from the beginning on.
In WaterRace, the AI is divided into "bots" (one per ship) and each bot has
its own "virtual input device" to control the ship. Therefore, the AI is
behaving exactly as normal human players do and cannot cheat!

Many new animated characters and wildlife have been added in the
environments. The level designers worked a lot to create a complete world
for each location, with a special atmosphere, unique 3D models, lighting
effects, animations and ambient sounds.

We've spent a huge amount of time tuning the very detailed physic engine of
the game to make sure each ship had a unique behavior and all the ships were
well balanced regarding performances.

The 3D engine has also been improved and now fully supports almost every 3D
video card on the Mac from the ATI Rage II to the ATI Radeon and the 3Dfx
Voodoo 5500 (provided you have the latest drivers of course).

A very important point about WaterRace is its ability to run correctly on a
lot of Macs contrary to most games that will be out for Christmas: it
requires a G3 with 6Mb of VRAM and that's it! It needs only 14Mb of memory
and 100Mb free space on the hard disk. Consequently, it runs beautifully on
almost all iMacs (even some Rev. A), iBooks and PowerBooks!

That detail alone makes this game remarkable -- a 3D racing game that runs in 14 MB of memory, when the latest shooters demand upwards of 128 MB for optimum performance.

French Touch notes that you can pre-order this game from their web site for the special price of $27.00 US (+ $5.00 international shipping); after the game ships it will be $34 a copy. There will be a demo version of the game released within a few days, after it undergoes final testing.

The French Touch and WaterRace web sites have also been redesigned, and now feature new screen shots and three QuickTime movies that reveal WaterRace in action.

After this deluge of information, the French Touch team disclosed some personal details about the development of this title, which has been a long, difficult road indeed:

French Touch is a independent team of European game developers with no prior
game development experience that was created 2 years ago. It has grown from
5 people at the beginning to 9 nowadays. Members of the team work on game
projects unpaid, during their free time and even more complicated, from
different locations (Switzerland, France, Spain...). because nobody would
ever finance a Mac only game project. So each of us had to manage 2 jobs at
the same time to complete the game: one for a living and one for the

It's true that there is a bunch of similar teams over the Internet, but it's
quite rare that this kind of project eventually ever comes to life, so we're
quite happy to have finished WaterRace. Let's hope people will appreciate
our work and that it will encourage other similar Mac only developments!

Congratulations to the French Touch team on the completion of this Mac-only title, a rarity even in the early days of the Mac OS. We can't wait to get our hands on the demo! Be sure and visit the updated WaterRace web site and soak in all that QuickTime and screen shot glory, and keep one eye on for the arrival of the demo.

French Touch
New WaterRace Screen Shots
WaterRace Movie Trailers
WaterRace Web Site
French Touch

Article on Game Piracy
4:13 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

MacGamer has published a thoughtful editorial dealing with software piracy, a controversial element of the gaming community that has been present since the first 2400-baud modem or the easily-transported 'floppy' disk. Supplemented by quotes from game developers, the editorial discusses game piracy, its possible impact on the gaming community at large, and methods being used to prevent the illegal copying or use of such software.

While few developers are willing or able to provide hard numbers on the actual effects of game piracy, their emotions towards the subject are quite clear. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Everybody who uses a computer is probably familiar with piracy. I'm certain many old-school gamers out there remember how "borrowed" disks of Dark Castle and Crystal Crazy circulated throughout the dorm or remember trying to photocopy the manual of Prince of Persia to thwart the copy-protection scheme in place. As the computer industry has grown, so has piracy, locking the developers and the pirates in conflict, damaging the industry, the developer, and the end-user. According to the Business Software Alliance, losses from piracy exceeded $12 billion worldwide in 1999 and topped $59 billion for the past five years. And with CD-R drives and broadband internet connections becoming more and more commonplace, piracy is becoming more and more of a problem.
Be sure and read the rest of this editorial for more details on this issue. If you feel there is a side of the discussion that wasn't represented, voice your opinion on our forums -- while many may debate the real consequences of piracy, it is clear that it effects all Mac gamers in one way or another.

Editorial on Game Piracy at MacGamer

IMG Debuts New Review System
3:29 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

If you've been wondering why IMG hasn't posted any reviews of late, it's because we've been working diligently on a new review system. In addition to being fully databased and scripted, the reviews section has been completely revamped.

The new review index is now sorted by date with the ability to also sort by genre or title. In addition, the reviews themselves have been greatly fine-tuned by providing more information such as publisher URLs, detailed system requirements, demos, and more. In the near future we'll be including even more information such as tech support numbers, links to updates, other related articles, and much more.

Another exciting part of the new review system is the ability to write your own reviews. Don't agree with our reviewer? Write your own review and let others know what you think!

Be sure to check out our new reviews page!

IMG Reviews Section

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Red Faction Interview, Details
2:08 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

ActionTrip has posted an interview with James Tsai, Volition's assistant producer for their upcoming shooter Red Faction. This highly-anticipated title will take the first-person shooter genre to a new level of mayhem, allowing the player to actually destroy walls, shatter windows and even collapse entire buildings with the awesome array of weapons at your disposal. This interview provides a good overview of what this game will have to offer, and provides details on the artificial intelligence and other aspects of the game.

One question that has intrigued players from the beginning has to do with the implications of the Geo-mod technology which allows you to destroy physical structures in the game: if I can just blow a hole in the wall, what is my motivation for finding the keycard that opens the door? Tsai answers this question and provides details on your AI opponents:

AT: The constant terrain deformations must be causing some major problems, at least as far as the AI. How are you coping with the challenge?

No man, no gun, no nothing!
Where is our guy?

JT: The added liberty players will get from Geo-Mods definitely makes development more complicated. From a level creation standpoint, the designers can control what areas can be modified and how severely, if at all - we can therefore create environments that will let a player leave a satisfying path of rubble in his path but protect regions critical to their advancement from game-breaking modification.

The AI will also respond to geomods as well; hide behind cover, and that high powered turret just may blow it out from in front of you. Duck behind fallen geometry, and the goons firing hot lead at you might circle around to get a clearer shot and pin you down. The challenge here is to make sure our enemies react realistically and logically with the dynamic environments we set the player in.

Sounds like a challenge for both level designers and the players who enjoy the fruits of their labor. As we recently learned, Red Faction will debut for PlayStation 2 early next year, and a few months later for Mac and PC. Be sure and read the rest of the interview for more details, and take a gander at those astounding screen shots, some of which appear to be new.

James Tsai Interview at ActionTrip
Red Faction Web Site
Red Faction

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Update on MacSoft Titles
9:57 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

MacCentral's Peter Cohen had a chance to chat with Al Schilling, president of MacSoft. Schilling gave an update on the status of MacSoft's current porting projects. According to Schilling, the long-awaited title Driver is complete and has been sent out to duplication; it should be out before Christmas.

There is good news for Rainbow Six fans as well, as Rogue Spear is currently being tested by Red Storm pending final approval. It should be released at next year's Macworld San Francisco. Here is an excerpt from MacCentral's report:

Schilling also reports that at long last, Driver for the Mac has gone golden master. The game is currently in duplication and is expected to hit stores in time for Christmas. Driver was originally slated to be released earlier this year, and it looks to be worth the wait. It is a 3D driving game that was originally released for the Sony PlayStation game console and the PC. In Driver, players assume the role of an undercover cop sent to infiltrate the inner circle of an organized crime ring. You must do so by successfully completing driving jobs -- outrunning cops and other criminals in a host of '70's-style muscle cars. The game also features replay capabilities that give the power of an action film director -- you can change camera angles, cut scenes, and edit together a sequence worthy of the biggest Hollywood blockbuster.
Check out the demo of MacSoft's latest release Links LS at, and head to MacCentral for the rest of the report.

Al Schilling Interview at MacCentral
Links LS 1.0.1 demo at MacGameFiles
Reflections Interactive
Buy Driver

Championship Manager 00/01 coming to Mac
9:20 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Feral Interactive has annouced that the rumours of the Mac port of CM99/00 are true. They will be porting Championship Manager 00/01 to Mac OS. Feral will bring you a multi-language version of the game inclulding English and Spanish. Their annoucement:

The rumours are true, the rumours are always true....our favourite football game returns for another season on out favourite platform. After the stellar success of CM 99/00 on the Mac we knew we had either follow through with CM 00/01 or take our street address of the website. Well you asked for it repeatedly and it's coming...soon. Also note that Europe's favourite football management game is about to become available in Spanish for the very first time!
We will get more information on this soon, but for now you can check out thier site for more info on the game.

Feral Interactive
Championship Manager 00/01 Details

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NY Times on Gaming
9:07 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

The New York Times has published an article this morning concerning the ever-growing trend in gaming toward Hollywood-style cutscene movies, and the increase in pay for their lead programmers and staffs. The speculation about a convergence between video games and actual Hollywood movies has been a favorite topic of media pundits for some time, but the NYT took this opportunity to actually critique the possibility that visuals are becoming more important than gameplay:

Instead of stilted backgrounds, limited mobility and cartoonish characters that typified many computer games on the market just a couple of years ago, a whole new class of games is displaying increasingly movielike design, tone and texture. They are taking advantage of more muscular game hardware like high-performance microprocessors and greatly improved graphics capabilities.

None of this, however, guarantees a good game. Too many extraordinarily cinematic moments can seriously stall game play and make the overall experience of playing them more passive than interactive. Some of these powerfully cinematic games are raising a question about video games in general: should they be more fun to watch than to play?

When one recent game begins with a cutscene that lasts, according to the Times, 9 full minutes, where are games headed? Will they end up in the same category as cinema, defined as an art form and worthy of highest praise? Or will they end up like blockbuster movies, with huge budgets, name brand stars and lines around the block to purchase their license -- but leave players with an empty feeling? Discuss this issue on our forums.

NY Times on Gaming (registration required)
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

Virtual GameBoy Update
6:00 AM | Ryan Niemann | Comment on this story

Virtual GameBoy, currently the most compatible and fastest GameBoy emulator for Mac, has been updated to version 2.0 . The new update includes a handful of key features that improve speed, compatibility and graphics quality. Thanks to for the news. For more information, and the download, check out the web site.

Virtual GameBoy

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Neverwinter Nights Update
6:00 AM | Charles George | Comment on this story

Bioware's Trent Oster has updated the official Neverwinter Nights site with some very tantalizing info about this upcoming Advanced Dungeons and Dragons-based RPG. The large update contains details on how the interface, combat system, character generation system and more are progressing in development. According to the update everything is going quite well, especially the combat system. Trent Oster had this to say about how development is progressing and what Bioware has to do next:

Beyond interface, our interactive combat animation system is almost complete and looking great. Say goodbye to the "Flintstones Boxing" of yesteryear, because we're bringing you a whole new level of combat interaction. Thrusts, parries, and dodges all add up to the intricate ballet that will be combat in Neverwinter Nights. As for the focus of the coming months, we just have the small challenge of implementing the entire 3rd Edition D&D rules set, a high-quality toolset, a DM Client, and a tiny little matching service. Trust me, the pain is worth it.
We are sure that all the pain Bioware suffers will result in an amazing game in the future. Neverwinter Nights will be released for Mac and PC simultaneously in mid to late 2001, if all goes well. If you need more details on this extremely ambitious RPG be sure to check out IMG's own first look and interview with Trent Oster.

Interview with Trent Oster
Neverwinter Nights First Look
Neverwinter Nights Development Update
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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AvP Fixed, Back in Testing
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Aliens versus Predator saga continues... Last we heard from programmer Bill "Burger" Heineman, the game was in the final stages of testing at Fox Interactive, the title's publisher. And just recently, a bit more prodding on Usenet has brought forth more details about the status of this port. Apparently Fox found a few bugs in the final candidate release, but now it's back in their hands, awaiting final approval. Here's the post to Usenet by Heineman:

Let's see, fox handed me a bug sheet with 4 issues today (All very minor
issues) and I'm sending a new build off to them with all issues fixed. It's
really awaiting Fox to put it in a box and ship it.
If all of the bugs were really that minor, there should be not too many more delays until the title heads into full production. Great news for anxious AvP fans, though we're sure many of you won't believe it till it's actually been sighted in stores.

In related news, another level pack for the Gold version of the game has been released, according to AvPNews. We've confirmed in the past that the Mac version should have no problems using PC add-on maps. This is the fourth such set of extra levels released so far, with eight free maps available overall; there is sure to be more in the future. We'll be sure and keep you updated on the status of this game as it finally nears actual duplication and shipping.

AvPNews on Free Levels
Fox Interactive Web Site
Fox Interactive
Aliens vs. Predator: Gold

Help Make Games
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A couple of recent posts at iDevGames point out some interesting tidbits relating to those on the other end of the spectrum, the game developers. The first is about a new company hoping to make it onto the Mac gaming scene in the next year, RohlMedia Interactive. They're looking for a bit of helpful information about porting process itself. Here's a clip:

There doesn’t seem to be any information about game porting, though. My development team is looking to become the newest Mac porting shop, with plans to port at least 3 big-name Windows games by late fall 2001. Perhaps you could point me in the direction of helpful information regarding the porting process?
Those in the know might be able to steer them towards some helpful info. That same person might also consider taking up another project, writing a book about Mac Game Programming. There are many such books for Windows, but Prima Publishing is looking for a skilled writer to cover this topic on the Mac. We'd be very interested to see such a book published, though we're betting details on this won't be fully realized until Apple finalizes their OSX gaming plans.

Lastly, a developer has written us looking for help with his new RPG project. He's written a game engine called Titan in RealBasic and now needs some artists skilled in drawing and animation as well as sound and music composers to give him a hand. The game is called Anceta, and it will be the first title to use his engine. Here are a few specs on Titan:

  • High resolution graphics (although limited to 8-bit by the SpriteSurface in REALbasic.)
  • Ability to buy, sell, and equip items, weapons, and armor.
  • Projectiles for use in Magic spells and Items.
  • Animated explosions
  • Sprite Explosions
  • Powerfull scripting language that enables scripted movies and the ability to create a scripted AI.
  • Ability to pick-up items from the ground, items sometimes are dropped from enemies when they die.
  • Completely customizeable through editors that will ship with the game.

Check out his web site if you think you might be interested in lending a hand. There's no release date yet set for Anceta.

RohlMedia Interactive
Anceta/Titan Web Site
iDevGames Web Site

Mac Games News for Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Elite Force/Livin' Large Giveaway Winners4:41 PM
Jesse Spears Interview at MacCentral4:33 PM
WC3 and D2X Previews, Part 212:15 PM
More Oni Screen Shots12:05 PM
Update on Elite Force, Baldur's Gate Patches11:52 AM
Elite Force Arrives, Multiplayer Issues11:21 AM
Dark Castle 3 Update9:56 AM
NMGC Axed9:31 AM
Volition on Red Faction Release Dates8:36 AM
Combat Mission Beta Net Patch Released6:00 AM
Details on Mac WWII Online6:00 AM
Fifth Race in Warcraft 3 Revealed6:00 AM
Oni Preview at Gamecenter6:00 AM
Tropico Info/Eye Candy6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, November 29, 2000 on one page

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