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Thursday, December 14, 2000

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Simon the Sorcerer 2 Gold Soon
11:08 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Overseas developer Epic Interactive has confirmed with IMG that their port of 2D adventure title Simon the Sorcerer 2 is nearly complete and should go "gold" on Monday next week. This humorous title is a mix of puzzles, mini-games and lots of really odd characters, and should be a big hit with those who loved the King's Quest series.

Thomas Steiding of Epic confirmed over e-mail that the Mac version should go gold soon, just after their port of this game to the Amiga was finalized. An ideal iMac/iBook game, this title's low processor requirements and offbeat humor should appeal to the younger crowd while challenging the old fogies. Here are some details about the game from Epic's web site:

Simon was sitting on his bed, when all of a sudden, a large wardrobe appears in his room before him. He climbs into it, and is magically transported back into the world he went into in the last game, except everything seems to be a little more "modern." When visiting Calypso, he learns that he needs to get an item called "mucusade," which is what the cabinet runs on to transport things. So the only way he can get home is if he gets the mucusade. Don't worry though, Sordids' back and will make this a long and challenging quest for Simon.


  • 80 + locations
  • about 100 charcters to interact with
  • meet many weird and crazy characters such as the swampling
  • full spoken dialogues (speech in English, German and Italian subtitles)
  • easy to use point&click interface
  • hundreds of Sound FX
  • more than 50.000 frames of animation
  • handdrawn charcters and backrounds
  • CD quality music
  • play in window mode or full screen
Sounds like quite a treat! We'll let you know when and where this game will be available.

In related news, Epic's port of the RTS title Earth: 2140 has just gone gold for the Amiga; at last report, the Mac version was 2-3 weeks behind the PC version, so this one might be on its way as well! We'll do more investigating on this issue; in the meantime check out the Earth: 2140 web site for a glimpse of what is to come.

Epic Interactive's Fall Lineup
Earth: 2140
Simon the Sorcerer 2
Epic Interactive
Simon the Sorcerer II
Buy Simon the Sorcerer II

Click to enlarge Reappears
4:04 PM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Over the past forty-eight hours, the Halo community has been discussing the appearance (or rather, the discovery) of, whose site contains what could be the sixth "Cortana Letter." When the Cortana Letters appeared on the scene in 1999, they were the subject of much discussion amongst the Marathon Community, as well as the entire gaming community at large. Bungie has always been cryptic in their promotions, often promoting discussion and confusion amongst their fans in an effort to rile them up with excitement for their upcoming games.

Known to hide things amongst public messages and cryptic posts to fan forums, Bungie has always been shrouded in mystery, keeping much to themselves. The Cortana Letters in the summer of 1999 marked what could only be a new high in their craft of creating mystery. While a whois search on the domain results in ownership by a member of, one can only wonder what to make of a recent post to the forums at suggesting that the ownership was taken at the behest of another, possibly a Bungie employee. What does it all mean? Only time will tell.

Mac Halo
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

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Summoner Screen Shots
1:10 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fan site Summoner Watch has posted a series of screen shots from the PC version of Summoner, an RPG developed by Volition. Already out for the Playstation 2, this epic tale is currently being augmented for PC and Mac gameplay, with the addition of multiplayer support and multiple resolution and graphics API support.

These shots are a world apart from the first few images we saw of this game, revealing a dramatic increase in detail, texture quality and overall polish. One or two seem to show the 16-bit dithering characteristic of 3dfx (Glide) cards, but overall they are quite a treat.

Summoner will be released for Mac and PC early this spring, published by THQ. For more details on this game, visit the Summoner web site.

Summoner Images at Summoner Watch
Summoner Web Site
Buy Summoner

Rogue Spear Preview, Demo Soon
11:24 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Today we've posted an in-depth preview of MacSoft's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, based on a recent beta of the game. Rogue Spear recently went Golden Master and will be shipping soon. Here's a little snippet from Jeff Wescott's preview:

Another coup for Rogue Spear is the graphics engine. When I reviewed R6 last year, my biggest gripe was the poor graphics. Everything looked blocky and undefined, well below par when compared to its contemporaries at the time.

According to Red Storm, the graphics engine was completely rebuilt in Rogue Spear. The visuals here are immensely improved, from the modeling to the level design. The extra work here really paid off, and makes for better eye candy, which is always a good thing. Little details were attended to as well, like adding weather effects and persistent marks from bullets and explosions.
A demo of Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear will be released exclusively at soon. We'll post information on the demo as soon as it's released. In the meantime, be sure to check out our preview.

IMG's Rogue Spear Preview

Demo "mACROsTRANGE" Released
11:11 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

While this isn't a game by any stretch of the imagination, it is an interesting development for those eager to see what your graphics card and Mac can accomplish. The "demo team" hAUjOBB has released a Mac port of their demo mACROsTRANGE, which uses the OpenGL API.

This non-interactive demo is a literal demonstration of the team's abilities as coders, artists and musicians. Combining 3D visuals and effects, 2D artwork and stereo sound in MP3 format, this is a demo of technology and programming skill designed to max out your hardware and see what it can really do. Graphics demos are a tradition of the computing "underground" since the days of the Commodore 64 and Amiga, but in the last few years the PC has taken over as the primary platform for demo coding and display.

Here are details from the press release:

"Haujobb" are proud to present their new production called "Macrostrange".

Macrostrange is a scene demo. Scene Demos are computer art, something like a
video-clip full of fantastic animations, graphic effects and big beat music
packed into a wonderful design. No, you can't play anything while watching this
demonstration, but I guarantee you, that you won't believe your eyes.

Haujobb is a scene group (as all scene groups: non commercial!), with about 40
members all over the world. They're well known for their excellent scene demos
for PC and Amiga for many years now and have won many scene competitions. Now
they've ported their biggest success, the demo "Mikrostrange", to the Mac. It's
now called "MACrostrange".

While this isn't a game, you can see many game technologies and special effects being used; it is widely accepted in the industry that many of the effects, techniques and even ideas used in the game industry today were inspired by the demo scene. 3D engines were commonplace in graphics demos a year before DOOM was released, and special effects such as motion blur, lens flares, colored lighting and real-time morphing all saw their debut as demo features.

Being somewhat of a demo connoisseur -- I have a 300 MHz Pentium II with DOS 4.6 that I keep specifically for running them, and a library of hundreds -- mACROsTRANGE is actually a rather mediocre effort as demos go; it is very short, the transitions are choppy, and there is a tad too much bragging going on for what the demo actually contains. But seeing it run on a Mac in high resolution under OpenGL is quite a thrill indeed, and the porter did an excellent job. If you've got a 16 MB graphics card or better and a G3 or above, I highly recommend downloading this just for the experience. A V5 with 4x FSAA really shows off the gorgeous visuals, to say the least. Be forewarned: the demo is slightly unstable (it tends to crash with a Type 2 on quit) and it doesn't work well with File Sharing or Appetalk enabled.

If you want to learn more about the Mac demo scene, and download many more Mac demos, be sure and visit Mac Demos HQ; I recommend MacProphecy and the entries for the iQuest 2000 competition. Hopefully this port of a PC demo to the Mac platform will inspire other coders to port demos across -- many demos are open-source, and would be an ideal project for a beginning programmer to tackle.

Download Macrostrange (9.4 MB)
Haujobb Web Site
Mac Demos HQ

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Dragon's Lair 3D Q&A
10:38 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new interview at 3D Action Planet with Steven Parsons of Dragonstone discusses the upcoming remake of the arcade classicDragon's Lair, known as Dragon's Lair 3D. The Q&A asks many great questions about the game, which will be using a real-time 3D engine. The classic cartoon-ish look has been preserved, so old-school Dragon's Lair fans shouldn't be too disappointed. Here's a clip about the graphics in the game:

3DActionPlanet: I've noticed from the screenshots and what I saw of the game in action that you're going for a "cartoony" look, just like the original cell animations. Doesn't that sort of conflict with the whole idea of bringing the game into 3D with modern technology?

Steven Parsons: The original Dragon's Lair is unique in that it used high quality animation that had a more realistic feel to it. To keep the Dragon's Lair 3D game true to the original, we felt that we needed to keep the cartoon look and feel in a true 3D environment. One way in which we're capturing that look and feel is by making Dirk the Daring and the cast of Dragon's Lair 3D as full 3D polygonal characters, and making them look cartoonish by applying "toon shading". 

Another method we've used to capture that look and feel is to use a lot of color highlights in lighting the environment, duplicating the same lighting used in the original Dragon's Lair. The differences are that we are using some 2D techniques to improve the look and feel of the 3D environment. Our goal is to give the player the immediate familiarity with the Dragon's Lair environment that they remember, while at the same time offering fantastic new gameplay challenges and yet more enjoyment!

The stark contrast of the cartoony Dirk with the beautiful colored lighting effects of the realistic 3D engine make this game truely unique.

Those who played the old game may remember it wasn't like an FPS today where you had complete control over the character. To keep both new FPS'ers and fans of the old style happy, there are three different control modes for the game. Here are more details:

1. Easy. This will allow the player to select one of five movements when the game reaches a decision point, just like the original 2D Dragon's Lair. A scripted sequence will play according to the selection made, either allowing Dirk to continue or resulting in his demise!

2. Medium. This level is the third-person, "full user control" approach to Dragon's Lair 3D. The player will control all of Dirk's movements.

3. Unfair. This level is the same as the Medium level, with the exception that we are making this mode extremely difficult and generally unfair! This level is for those who want a true challenge.

This should be a fun change of pace from the standard shooter fare. We hope to see Dragon's Lair 3D sometime next year, as it should be released for both Mac and PC at the same time.

3D Action Planet Dragon's Lair 3D Q&A
Blue Byte

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Monkey Island 4 Interview
10:32 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The Unofficial Escape from Monkey Island site has posted an interview conducted with this adventure game's two project leaders, Sean Clark and Mike Stemmle. It's a very humorous interview, and you can tell from the snappy answers that the game gets its unique sense of humor from these two cut-ups. The long interview covers topics such as jokes in the game, making the switch from 2D to 3D and it even has a question about their work on Sam and Max, another great LucasArts puzzler. Here's a clip:

Can you give us a little insight into the puzzle-making process? How do you devise the often intricate methods used to get just one object made - such as ‘making’ the Ultimate Insult?

First, we drink a lot of beer. Kidding.

Although everyone has a different way of thinking of these things, there is a basic approach that seems to work. Most of the big puzzle ideas come from the story. Most of the annoying, nonsensical puzzles tend to feel that way simply because the goal of the puzzle doesn’t match the goal of the main character. From there, we find ways of breaking the puzzle up into smaller puzzles, and find ways of integrating them with each other, and the locations we’ve designed. Puzzles we’ve identified as being more thematic we tend to make more complicated.

Then we drink a lot of beer.

The rest of the interview offers some insight into the making of this game. Be sure to give it a read if you've got the time.

Aspyr Media will be publishing this title for MacOS courtesy of LucasArts some time next year. Westlake Interactive's Jesse Spears has ported the game to a first-playable state, and it will be unveiled at the upcoming Macworld San Francisco Expo. We'll bring you more details on this title as it gets closer to completion.

Escape from Monkey Island Interview
IMG News: Harpoon 3 (and Monkey 4) Update
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island

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Team Arena Preview
9:34 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

PC.IGN has posted a preview of id SoftwareQuake 3: Team Arena. The preview is based on a visit to the id offices, as they played test games against the developers. It contains quite a few interesting details about the modifications to the Quake 3 engine, such as the new organic landscape rendering engine, which produces visuals on par with Tribes 2. The preview also includes a series of new high-resolution screen shots that certainly show what Team Arena is capable of. Here is an excerpt:

The next game we played was harvester, my favorite new game type, on a Cathedral level with plenty of jump pads leading to the skull drop-off point and a bridge spanning the central "skull" room. To keep balance between the teams, most of the maps in TA are mirror images of each other with a central area for the skull generator and to house the flag in one flag ctf. This is where the Scout power-up came in real handy, the added speed allowing me to easily avoid rockets whizzing by my head, which seemed all that more realistic with the addition of a new Doppler effect. I played clean up on this level, picking up skulls and delivering to the enemy drop-off point as fast as I could...when I could get in. Again, the opposing team had some wicked railgun snipers. Several times they would just wait for me to hit a jump pad, get in mid air, and snipe me right before I passed through the skull drop-off...very frustrating. Since there were only three ways into the enemy base, a couple of snipers could cover base pretty well, so we had to coordinate our runs as a team and divert the enemy snipers. The strategy worked pretty well, and we ended up winning the harvester battle 15 skulls to nine.
As reported yesterday, the demo for Mac OS and Mac OS X is currently being tested and should be reaching you soon. Stay turned for more info on this release as it hits stores.

Team Arena preview at PC.IGN
IMG Mac Team Arena Demo Status Update
id Software
Quake III Team Arena
Buy Quake III Team Arena

Mac Games News for Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Sim Theme Park Demo Available (Again)4:23 PM
Console Games Unhealthy for Women?3:14 PM
ULTIZURK IV: Lord of the Cyclops3:02 PM
On 'Warez' and Abandonware2:55 PM
Mac Team Arena Demo Status Update1:37 PM
Tropico Preview / How to Grow Digital Trees12:12 PM
GameRanger Adds Sin, Majesty10:17 AM
HMS Freeverse Update8:57 AM
Avernum 2 Due Thursday8:33 AM
Heroes III: Complete is Gold8:22 AM
Chat With the Baldur's Gate II Design Team8:15 AM
MacPlay Ships Sin Gold, Majesty8:11 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, December 13, 2000 on one page

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