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Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Earth 2140 Demo Released
9:59 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

It seems our long wait for Epic Interactive's Mac OS efforts has been rewarded -- this German company has made good on their promise to port the RTS Earth: 2140 to the Mac OS (as well as the Amiga), and a demo is now available. Other Epic ports should follow in the near future, including Gorky 17, Simon the Sorcerer II and Simon the Sorcerer 3D. Here are the details on this demo, and the system requirements:

Experience life in 2140 AD: Two warring factions battle for the last remaining resources on the planet. High tech weaponry and superior firepower are the new tools of diplomacy. Only one side will triumph, and only one person can determine which side it will be. Sitting at the helm of the most advanced tactical interface, you will decide which side to support, you will decide which troops come home alive, and you will decide if humanity survives to the year 2141.

Earth 2140 Features:

• 640x480 or 800x600 resolution 65,000 colors

• 70 different vehicles and buildings

• 50 exciting missions

• Multiplayer feature for up to six players

• Excellent Strategic and economic AI

• Stereo soundtracks with CD quality



• OS: MacOS 8.6.1

• CPU: 180MHz 603e Power Macintosh

• RAM: 32MB

• HD Space: 80MB

• 3D Video Card w/4MB

As you can see the system requirements are extremely reasonable, and the demo itself is a very sane 12 MB download. Grab it right away, and be sure to post your feedback on MGF's user reviews or in our Forums.

Epic Interactive
Earth: 2140 Demo (12 MB)
Earth 2140
Buy Earth 2140

Click to enlarge
Warcraft III Gameplay Trailer
2:17 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Blizzard has just released an amazing new gameplay trailer for Warcraft III. The movie showcases fighting and charatcter animations in the game, and features some very snazzy effects such as offensive magic spells as well as town-building. In particular, one building is shown being constructed from the ground up, wall-by-wall, with clouds of sawdust flying. The Bink video format isn't the clearest, but many of the units are recognizable, especially with large heroes standing tall above the others.

This movie is definitely worth a download for fans of the genre, though make sure you've got the Mac Bink player first. Warcraft III will hopefully be released late this year, with a Mac version shortly following the PC release. Blizzard is known for their long testing phases, however, so this could get pushed back even further into the future.

Warcraft III 2001 Gameplay Movie
Mac Bink Tools Web Site
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

Gaming and MWSF
1:20 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Even though the Macworld Expo San Francisco was over weeks ago, attendees are still collecting their thoughts and pondering what all the new products and software introduced at the expo might mean for the future of Mac users. Corey Tamas of MacGamer has produced another feature on the expo, this time summing up his perspective on what the expo meant for Mac gamers, and his opinion on the significant announcements made at the expo.

Obviously the emergence of NVIDIA on the Mac platform wins much praise, as well as Apple's introduction of a motherboard revision to speed up bus speed and AGP speed as well as improve memory access bandwidth. However, neither one of those developments are significant to Mac gamers with no immediate plans to upgrade their hardware. That is why Corey chose to praise a growing trend in Mac software:

For the first time I can boast about gaming on the Mac. With simultaneous releases becoming more de riguer, a Mac user can no longer be derrided for lagging behind. It's not just a matter of simultaneous releases, either... it's the best and most exciting titles are making their way en masse to the Mac, and simultaneously to boot. The reborn Macintosh with the GeForce technology makes every 3d game more robust, smooth and beautiful. We have the indefatiguable efforts of Mac publishers like MacSoft, Aspyr, MacPlay, Gathering of Developers, Blizzard, Pangea and a small handful of others to complete the equation that Apple, despite their best (or worst) intentions, cannot complete on their own. Simply put, the stage is set well enough... but it is populated with the titles that come from these names.
For more of Corey's thoughts on the Expo, jump to the feature below.

IMG's MWSF Coverage
MWSF: What Did It Mean?

SimsVille First Look
12:25 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Game Revolution has produced a very short preview and four screen shots of SimsVille, Maxis' next title in their seemingly inexhaustible Sims genre. This title seems to be a hybrid between their Sim City and Sims series, bringing the individual personalities and family dynamics of the Sims and the town building and management of Sim City together. Here's an excerpt with details on the future title:

The family is the focus of SimsVille. As you build your town, you're not just constructing homes and shops, you're moving in families and giving them the necessities of life.

The Sims of SimsVille have unique personalities that govern their interests and attitudes. A family of lazy Sims might spend their time stretched out on lounge chairs, while their active neighbors will spend their time biking around town. Their personalities will even influence which restaurants they favor.

The families' interests will also be expressed in the look of their homes-the family who loves tennis may have a court in their backyard, and families with dogs will obviously need dog houses.

There is no word on the final release date of this title, or whether it will be coming to the Mac OS. However, considering Mac users' very enthusiastic response to The Sims and Livin' Large, both of which are topping recent Mac game sales charts, we are certain Aspyr Media is keeping an eye on all things Sims for possible future porting and release.

SimsVille Web Site
SimsVille First Look at GameRevolution

Crazy Car Q&A
11:36 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yes, we realize Synaptic Soup and their multiplatform Cipher engine
have received quite a bit of press lately, and they don't have much substance to show for it. However we are still going to fill you
in on a new interview with the team, because this article focuses on their
first title to use the engine, Crazy Car Championship. The game itself
it still likely a year from completion, but this is shaping up to be a fun (and visually stunning) take on the 'kart
genre' (ala Cro-Mag Rally or Mario Kart). The Q&A at discusses
the game's setting, type of cars and characters as well as the game's style.
Here's an excerpt with more:

[]: In the press release you use the sentence ‘Jules Verne meets Flash Gordon in The Cannon Ball Run,’ what do you mean with that?

Vince Farquharson: Jules Verne meets Flash Gordon refers to the look of the game which mixes Victorian and 50'’s visions of sci-fi together to create a unique aesthetic. The Cannon Ball Run is a movie about a race, where there were no rules on what vehicle you could enter. If you could build it or buy it and then get it on to the starting line, it was in. That’s pretty much what you do in CCC, winning races gains you money that can be spent on buying a wide range of components that radically change the look and feel of you car. The races will see a mad mix of hybrid contraptions, which each contestant feels is going to win them the race.

The engine will allow the game to run on Mac, PC, Linux, along with the next-gen
consoles, though it's really up to the publisher to decide which platform they wish to support. The Cipher game engine can cross-compile to any of those platforms almost instantly, and has already been demonstrated running on a Mac Powerbook (with 4 MB of VRAM, no less!) so we're sure we'll see future games based on this engine on our platform.
We're sure when the time comes, a Mac friendly-outfit such as Aspyr, MacPlay, or
GraphSim will pick up the ball and run with it.

IMG News: Synaptic Soup Dev Diary
IMG News: Another Cipher Q&A
Synaptic Soup's Crazy Car Championship Web Site Crazy Car Championship Q&A

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Escape from Monkey Island Progress Report
11:18 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Jesse Spears gave a detailed report on his current work-in-progress, the port of LucasArts' whacky adventure game Escape from Monkey Island to the Mac OS. This zany title for kids young and old features OpenGL-based 3D graphics over gorgeous 2D backgrounds, and is the fourth installment in a venerable series (the third title skipped the Mac OS). Here is an excerpt from Jesse's report:

can't tell you exactly, but we're getting very close to the Beta Milestone (and Beta Testing...please don't ask me, I think they were selected long ago, and I don't handle it anyway . I'd guess we'll probably hit beta before the end of the month, but I can't give a better estimate than that right now (and, as always, something might come up).

Final OS/Hardware requirements are pretty close to finished (all that's left right now is required Disk Space). But, I don't think I should spill the beans on all of it (I'll leave that to Aspyr).

Progress on the port is proceeding extremely well, and we expect many more details on this game in the near future. If all goes well, we'll see this LucasArts title published by Aspyr Media this Spring.

While you are at MacNN, be sure and read their in-depth preview of the Coldstone Game Engine, a flexible content engine which will allow non-programmers to create their own cross-platform role-playing games. The preview is accompanied by impressive screen shots of the engine in action, and this looks to be a powerful tool for those of you who always dreamed of creating your own game, but just couldn't find the time to crack open that phone-book-sized manual for C++.

Escape from Monkey Island Progress Report
Coldstone Game Engine Preview at MacNN
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island

ATI Driver Update Soon
10:49 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Accelerate Your Mac received word from ATI about a possible driver update
for those PCI Radeon owners having issues with the cards. Many with the new
cards have complained of poor game performance and visual anomalies. Apparently,
the new drivers are in testing now, and could be out within a week. Here's a

I don't know of a specific release date unfortunately, however the idea is to have it out this week. As far as we know all of the driver issues were resolved late last week and it's being QA'd right now on a wide variety of machines to ensure that it works smoothly across the board. As soon as QA signs off on it, it'll be available for downloading.
This is great news for those who are skeptical ATI can fix the problem in a hurry.
Hopefully, the new drivers will also support some of the other newly-implemented
features in Apple's OpenGL 1.2.1, such as full-scene anti-aliasing. We'll keep you
posted as soon as anything becomes available, so stay tuned.

ATI Mac Radeon Web Site
AccelerateYourMac ATI Driver Report

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Q3A 1.27g In Depth
10:32 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

GameSpy has produced an article which takes an in-depth look at id Software's recent revision of their instant-classic shooter Quake 3 Arena. Version 1.27g introduced a large number of surprisingly revolutionary changes for a year-old game -- but this update was also designed to pave the way for id's Quake 3: Team Arena expansion pack, which includes aggressive modifications to gameplay as well as an obvious emphasis on team-oriented combat.

Some of the changes id made to Q3A include better bot AI, in-game movies that can be used as texture maps, new teamplay rules, HUDs and scoring, "chrome" textures and textured skies. The GameSpy article analyzes each addition and speculates on how mod makers for this extensible game -- who have created modifications so in-depth they could stand alone as new titles -- might make use of these new features. If you take your Quake seriously, this article is an excellent look at what the future may hold. Note that Mac Q3A 1.27g and Team Arena are still both in Beta; we greatly anticipate the release of a special Altivec (Velocity Engine)-powered final version in the near future.

"Mods Get the Point" at GameSpy
Q3:A(ltivec) Status Check
id Software
Quake III Team Arena
Buy Quake III Team Arena

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Warren Spector Interview
10:12 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The German fan site has posted an interview with Ion Storm's Warren Spector, lead designer for the impressive title Deus Ex. The Q&A discusses a variety of topics with Spector, including quite a few questions about the sequel Deus Ex 2 (though these do not generate many informative answers). He also reiterates his hope that games move forward and evolve, making them deeper and more immersive for players. Here's an excerpt discussing (what little he can) DE2:

What is the current status of DX2?

WS: We're in preproduction, doing tech research, working on story and character stuff, defining mission goals, investigating how we're going to build our game worlds, figuring out how artists and designers are going to collaborate to build maps and create content that will be competitive a couple of years from now -- the old ways may not work anymore. One of the coolest things about gaming (and something the biz guys don't always appreciate) is that no two projects are alike. Technology changes so rapidly you're always working on refining your development process. Experience gained on one game isn't always relevant on the next. Right now, we're in a period where the graphical and gameplay quality of our games is poised to take a major leap forward, thanks to ever-more-powerful hardware. We're trying to figure out how to deal with much higher poly counts, increased audio capabilities and a bunch of other stuff. It's never dull!

Check out the rest of the interview for more on Spector's philosophy and his anticipated games from other companies. As you can tell from the response above, the sequel is still years away, so perhaps you should give Deus Ex another run through to pass the time... Once a graphics engine for the sequel (the original was based on the Unreal engine) is decided upon, we will have a much better idea of the game's chances of coming to the Mac -- we think the possibility of this is extremely likely.

Deus Ex Interview with Warren Spector
IMG News: Mac Deus Ex 2 Details
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

New SMAC Patch Soon
10:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Last night we reported on a patch released for Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri that fixed the game's issues with Apple's OS 9.1 update. Aspyr made this patch available thanks to the work of Brad Oliver at Westlake Interactive. Oliver later posted to Usenet that more problems will be fixed in another patchm to be released soon. He recognized the following issues which he's working on fixing currently:

Don't break out the bubbly yet - there are still some minor issues with
that patch. Hopefully I'll have it all sorted out by the end of the
week. Current problems:

  • University draws as black instead of white
  • Some button lists draw with white text instead of black
  • Credits scroll looks a little goofy
  • Arrows in base window have white highlights instead of black
  • (SMACX) Faction picker graphics have white artifacts

    I've got most of these fixed since the build I sent Aspyr yesterday, but
    I want to make sure I've got everything. If you see anything in this
    beta patch that I didn't mention above, let me know.

  • While most of the issues may be minor, at least you know Oliver is already on the job and aware of the problems. For now, give the 1.5.2b1 patch released yesterday a try and we'll let you know when anything new arrives.

    Aspyr's SMAC Web Site
    Download SMAC 1.5.2b1 Patch
    IMG News: Alpha Centauri & Sim Theme Park Patches Released

    SoundBlaster BTO Clarification/Inquiry
    9:32 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Brian Sounder of Creative Labs posted some corrections to his earlier post which we reported on last Monday; initially he had claimed that their upcoming Mac SoundBlaster Live! audio cards would be a build-to-order option at the Apple store. Apparently, Apple isn't necessarily going to make the cards a BTO, but will more likely carry them at the store along with many other Mac-friendly products. Here's his post:

    Actually - not BTO yet - we would like to see it. It is just going to be available at the Apple store when it starts shipping. I mixed the two together. This cold medicine is eating my brain.
    In another post, Brian asks for feedback from gamers on whether they would like to see this BTO option become a reality:
    It would be nice to see the SB LIVE! be a standard item or a BTO feature. I think Apple responded to user feedback about the PCI slots. It just so happens an SB LIVE! among other things will fit in there nicely! How many people here would get it in their new system if it was a BTO option?
    If you feel like the Soundblaster would be a good fit for your next Mac, make a post to our forums yourself. Or maybe drop Brian an email (though don't flood the poor man, please, he's sick) at his work address, which is available in the forum thread as well. A BTO option would certainly help boost the base of Mac users with the cards, which in turn would encourage developers to modify their games and ports to take advantage of the SoundBlaster's many capabilities. Read our Soundblaster Live preview for more details on what this card will do for you, and give Brian your feedback in our Forums -- consider him a direct link not only to Creative Labs, but to Apple as well.

    SoundBlaster Live Preview
    Would You Like SB Live as a BTO Option?
    IMG News: Apple to Offer BTO Sound Blaster?

    Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 23, 2001

    ATI Radeon PCI Shipping7:36 PM
    Alpha Centauri & Sim Theme Park Patches Released5:58 PM
    Myth Series Backstory3:54 PM
    Rogue Spear for $29.90 Deal Ending Soon2:38 PM
    Mac NVIDIA Interview1:53 PM
    Top CTF Maps1:02 PM
    Matt Soell on Halo11:01 AM
    Unreal Engine Evolves10:56 AM
    SimsForMac Adds Houses10:40 AM
    IMG Interviews Oni's Hardy LeBel10:06 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 23, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Monday, January 22, 2001
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    Tuesday, January 16, 2001

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