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Tuesday, January 2, 2001

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ATi Radeon PCI Pre-Order
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Online Mac retailers, ClubMac and MacZone are listing the ATI Radeon PCI for pre-order. ClubMac lists the Radeon PCI for $199, while MacZone has it for $229.99, with a release date of January 4th, 2001. Purchasers of this video card are also eligible for ATi's $30 mail-in rebate (which lasts till January 15th, but ATi usually extends it's rebates).

Many of you may remember that the Radeon PCI was scheduled for release by "mid-December." Despite the tardiness of this product, it promises to be a great performer, as is the AGP model of the card. If you want to be the first on your block to have a Radeon PCI, check out ClubMac and MacZone. Other online retailers should begin listing the Radeon PCI as well.

IMG will publish our own review of the Radeon PCI in the near future; performance and features are expected to be nearly identical to the Radeon AGP. For more information on the Radeon, read our review of the AGP version of this card.

Radeon AGP Review at IMG
Pre-Order Radeon PCI at MacZone
Pre-Order Radeon PCI at ClubMac
Radeon AGP

Urban Terror for Mac Q3A
1:08 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Blue's News pointed out that the official Urban Terror web site has posted a new version of this Quake 3 Arena modification which includes a Mac-friendly installer. This simulation of urban warfare features realistic weapons, new player models and cityscape maps. While still in a beta version, the mod is quite a hit, and now Mac users get to join the party. Here's the update:

With the help of Yose, the Macintosh community now has their own installer for Beta 1.27. Here are some details as to what the Mac Installer does. It works by first searching your hard drive for the q3ut folder, if one exists it renames it and moves it to the desktop. The installer then attempts to locate Quake 3, if there are two versions it asks which you would like ut installed into. It installs the necessary files and moves your q3config.cfg and q3key into the q3ut directory. By downloading and installing this program [69.3MB], the problems which have arose in the Macintosh community should be minimized, if not, non-existant.
If you can stomach the download, be sure and grab this mod for a more 'realistic' Q3A experience. Check out the official Urban Terror web site for details and screen shots.

Urban Terror
Download Urban Terror

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Diablo II Demo... For PC
9:57 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Amidst all the confusion surrounding hacked Realm servers and destroyed characters, a different story relating to Diablo II arose over the weekend. In a news post yesterday, VoodooExtreme reported that a demo version of the game, once considered impossible due to the huge size of the game's data files, will be bundled on an upcoming issue of the German gaming magazine GameStar. They also note the full version of Diablo (the original) is being included on the current magazine's included CD.

It is reported that the demo would be much like the 100,000 person stress-test Blizzard had before Diablo II's release. It was essentially half of the first Act, with only the Barbarian character available. Unfortunately, this demo seems to be PC only at this time, so Mac users wanting a glimpse of this RPG may be shut out for now. Of course, you could always read our Diablo II review...

Diablo II Review
VoodooExtreme Report on Diablo II Demo
GameStar Magazine Web Site
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

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Configuring Q3: Team Arena
9:34 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new article at ParkLAN gives a step-by-step overview of how to create a config file to optimize the performance of id Software's just-released expansion pack Quake 3: Team Arena. id admits Team Arena requires a bit more horsepower than the original Quake 3, though with a little tweaking you should be able to make Q3TA quite playable on any system that runs Q3A. The guide even shows you some easy binds for 'talking' messages, or changing your name's color. One thing to remember is that the 'timedemo' command is broken in the Mac 1.27 beta, but will assuredly be fixed in the next patch.

In case you're wondering, there is no Mac boxed version of Team Arena. Mac users need to buy the PC version of Team Arena and then download the latest 1.27 version of Quake 3 applicatioin for the Mac. Though id's Graeme Devine has promised to create an installer, the setup is simple. Make a new folder in your Quake 3 directory called 'missionpack' and copy the 'PAK0.PK3' from the Team Arena CD into it. You can grab both the updated 1.27 Quake 3 app and the full Team Arena demo at Macgamefiles now. Or if your battered internet connection can't handle the 120MB+ download, order a MGF CD and get Team Arena plus many other great demos delivered to your door.

Macgamefiles CD Order Page
Quake 3: Team Arena Tweaks
Download Quake 3 1.27 Beta (8.4MB)
Download Quake 3: Team Arena (120MB)
id Software
Quake III Team Arena
Buy Quake III Team Arena

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Apple Looks at Sim Theme Park
9:30 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A recent update to Apple's games section features a preview of Sim Theme Park, a Maxis coming from Feral and Aspyr Media. In this game you play manager of an amusement park, trying to grow the business while carefully controlling many elements in the park to keep the profits rolling in. Here's a clip from the preview which includes a quote from Karl Fitzhugh of Bullfrog (the original developers):

Not only can you ride your rides, but you get to design the ones with tracks, such as the flumes, roller coasters and go-carts. They’re simple rides when first installed, but your researchers can create jumps, loops, and tunnels that you can add on later.

“Building roller coasters is my favorite [aspect of the game],” says Fitzhugh. “There’s a real satisfaction in building a coaster, riding it, and tuning it up to give the best possible experience. And, of course, being able to publish your parks (and, therefore, your coasters) to the web site means that players all over the world can ride your creation too.”

Check out the rest of the preview for more. A demo of Sim Theme Park is available right now, though many people are having issues running it on some video cards. For those having issues, Aspyr is promising a patch will be released soon.

Sim Theme Park Demo (55 MB)
Aspyr Media's Sim Theme Park Web Site
Apple's Preview of Sim Theme Park
Feral Interactive
Bullfrog Productions
Sim Theme Park

GameSpy on the History of MU*s
6:00 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

GameSpy has posted the first part of their history of MU*s (Multiple User Dungeons, MOOs and the rest), which are some of the earliest games on record. MUDs were the domain of the true geeks, often running on giant mainframe computers sitting in University basements. GameSpy takes an in-depth look at the genre that undoubtedly inspired some of the Massively Multiplayer Online Games in development today:

Multiplayer games across the Net are one of the oldest forms of electronic entertainment ever, and they don't need the latest hardware to play properly. In fact, they don't even need dedicated software to run! If you feel like it, you can write, build, and run your own online game and players may even add features to it.
GameSpy talks about some of the earliest adventure games, such as Zork as well as about some of the technology that makes MU*s possible, including some talk of the original terminal/mainframe interactions these games were based on. Was gaming better, back in the day when your graphics were rendered with pure imagination? Those of you old enough to remember these first games might start the new year with a nostalgic tear, or two.

GameSpy Article

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Diablo II US East Realm Hacked
6:00 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story is one of many sources reporting that the USEast Hardcore 'ladder' for RPG Diablo II has become nothing short of a graveyard after a major hack into's Realms servers; while the details are unknown. The hack itself seems to be related to the server reset that was due for the non-hardcore ladder yesterday. Unknown hackers are logging in as any manner of character, hardcore or regular, stripping them of their items and then summarily executing their characters, leaving the ladder in a total state of disarray. Blizzard has just released a statement that states they will attempt to revive certain characters that died between the 19th of December and today. Here is an excerpt:

During the past week, some players have experienced character
losses. Instances have ranged from hardcore characters dying, to
the loss of items, skill points and experience in normal

As of this morning, we can confirm that the problem causing these
losses has been fixed. We recognize that the loss of a hardcore
character or unique items is a cause of great concern to players.
To remedy the situation, we are taking the following steps:

1. Monday, January 8, we will be reviving all hardcore characters
who died between December 19th and January 1st. The restored
hardcore characters will be revived with the experience, skills
and items possessed as of Tuesday, December 19th. This restore
will be automatic and players do not need to contact Blizzard to
request that their character be restored.
Note: Only dead hardcore characters that died between December
19th and January 1st will be revived.

2. In the event that players believe they have lost items, skill
points or experience, we will be providing a mechanism by which
players can manually flag their character to be restored as well.
The restore will occur on Monday, January 8, and will rollback
characters to the way they were saved as of December 19th. Please
check this forum on Wednesday January 3, where we will be posting
information on how you can flag your character to be included in
the rollback.

We apologize for any inconvenience or frustration that this
problem may have caused players. We believe that these solutions
address the majority of losses that have occurred. Please contact if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank You,

Blizzard Entertainment

Another chilling reminder of just how ephemeral the Internet is. It seems that online gaming will continue to be vulnerable to hacks and disruption, no matter how ingenious the game designer may be.

Blizzard Statement on US East Realm Hack
Slashdot Article
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

SoundBlaster Live! Mac Edition Specs
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Brian Souder of Creative Labs made another post in the IMG Hardware Forums, this time surprising us with what should be the final specifications of the SoundBlaster Live!: Mac Edition. Here is the information straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak):

Wave-Table Synthesis

E-mu Systems, Inc. EMU10K1™ music synthesis engine 64-voice hardware polyphony with E-mu's patented 8-point interpolation technology

Uses SoundFont technology for user-definable wave-table sample sets which includes 2MB, 4MB and 8MB sets. Load up to 32MB of samples into host memory for professional music reproduction. Scalable PCI wave-table synthesis architecture Up to 1024-voice polyphony with multi-timbre capability. 48 MIDI channels with 128 GM & GS compatible instruments and 10 drum kits

Effects Engine

E-mu Systems, Inc. EMU10K1 patented effects processor. Support for real-time digital effects like reverb, chorus, flanger, pitch shifter, or distortion across any audio source. Capable of processing, mixing and positioning audio streams using up to 131 available hardware channels. Full digital mixer maintains all sound mixing in the digital domain, eliminating noise from the signal. Full bass, treble and effects controls available for all audio sources

EAX™ and OpenAL 3D Audio Technology

User-selectable settings are optimized for headphones, two, four or six speakers and external A/V amplifiers

Upgradable 3D audio architecture allows for improvements over time

Hardware acceleration of EAX & OpenAL in games

Creative Multi Speaker Surround™ technology places any mono or stereo source in a 360° audio space

EAX effects - user-selectable DSP modes that simulate acoustic environments Hollywood-Quality, 32-Bit Digital Audio Engine Processes bit resolutions from 4-bit to 16-bit. Processes sample rates from 5kHz to 48kHz. All sound sources are bundled with 32-bit precision for highest quality output

Analog I/O modes supported (Digital will be an update)

MIDI Interface

On-Board Connectors

Line in, Microphone in, Line level out (front)/Headphone out, Line level out (rear), MIDI port I/O, MPC-3 Analog CD Audio in, Expansion header for Live!Drive™ series or Optical Digital I/O card

These features are on par with the features found on the PC version of SoundBlaster Live!. Brian has also hinted at a software bundle that will be included with the Mac version. Stay tuned to IMG for more information; we expect to see these cards in person, and perhaps even walk away with a review/evaluation model, at Macworld Expo San Francisco next week!

Creative Labs Macintosh Webpage
Brian Souder Talks SoundBlaster Specs

JailBreak for UT Debuts
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Originally created for Quake 2, the popular "escape from prison" mod JailBreak has finally been created for Unreal Tournament. Here is a description of the mod from the JailBreak website:

For those of you unfamiliar with this mod, UTJB is an 'escape from prison' mod, based on the well known Quake mod by TeamReaction. In it, two teams compete to kill and thereby imprison as many enemies as possible. Whenever a whole team is imprisoned, its opponents score and all players respawn at their own base. Once your teammates start to fall, it is imperative to release them. Each prison has a Jail release mechanism which accomodates exactly that.
Bots are fully supported, as is netplay, so you'll be able to play online or off.
If you've moved on from Quake 2 to Unreal Tournament and have been waiting for this mod, then you're in luck. Head to for the download.

Download JailBreak (3.8 MB)
JailBreak Homepage

Mac Games News for Friday, December 29, 2000

ATI's Radeon AGP for $1564:12 PM
Mac Games Year in Review3:37 PM
Mac Gaming Sites Roundup1:50 PM
GameSpot on Most Influential Games10:06 AM
No Reset for Diablo 2 Hardcore Ladder10:03 AM
Get More from the Oni Demo9:52 AM
Warcraft III Art Q&A9:07 AM
Diablo II 1.04 Patch Now Downloadable8:59 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, December 29, 2000 on one page

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Thursday, December 28, 2000
Wednesday, December 27, 2000
Tuesday, December 26, 2000
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