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Thursday, January 25, 2001

Earth 2140: How To Play
9:48 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The release of a demo of the Mac port of Earth 2140 by Epic Interactive was a big success, with over 1000 downloads in the first 12 hours. However, the first version of the demo archive had a critical omission -- it came without instructions! Accordingly, some very puzzled gamers voiced their complaints on MGF's user reviews and in the IMG forums.

Thankfully Epic came through and forwarded us the instructions, which we have made available as a separate download so that those who grabbed the demo right away do not have to download it again. If you have yet to grab the demo, it now includes the instruction sheet with details on how to play the game.

If you are curious about the history of this game, it was originally developed by TopWare in 1997, which makes it a contemporary with the first Command and Conquer from Westwood. The first RTS to feature 16-bit graphics, Earth 2140 also featured remarkable pathfinding and solid online play; in fact there are still twice-weekly tournament games hosted by TopWare staff. If you're curious as to why this game runs so darn fast on your Mac, it was originally designed with a target system of a Pentium (one!) and 16 MB of RAM -- oh yes, and DOS.

For a quick primer on the game (if you're too busy to read the instructions) here are the secrets to play:

Build a power plant first by control-clicking on your first building and selecting power plant. A strange-looking vehicle will appear. Move this to a clear location (no red areas displayed around it when selected) and then command-click it to start construction. Once this is complete you will have a large number of other structure types you can build available at your primary factory. Building a research center will give you details on enemy movement.

To gain money, build a Refinery and a Mine; mines can only be built on the areas of the terrain that show up as yellow on the overhead map. Once both are built, build a Bantha, click on it, and then click on the mine; it will take the ore to the refinery.

If you're a bit underwhelmed by this now-classic title, have no fear; Epic's next port will be Earth 2150, a true-3D sequel by TopWare which won wide acclaim. Unfortunately the official site for this game has been replaced with a teaser site for the sequel, known as The Moon Project, but we have linked to an old preview of the title to give you an overview of what to expect.

Epic Interactive
Earth 2140 Demo Instructions (see second link)
Earth 2150 Preview at Gamecenter
Earth 2140
Buy Earth 2140

MacSoft Reviews
4:28 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Two of our fellow Mac gaming sites, MacCentral and Games.MacNN,
have recently posted reviews of two MacSoft titles. Both Beach Head
and Monopoly are aimed at the 'casual' gaming crowd, though
there may be something for the 'hardcore' gamer as well. Beach Head 2000 is an
all-out action/arcade game which pits you against a beach full of enemy troops.
Here's a clip from MacCentral's article:

In Beach Head 2000, it's the player against everyone and everything else. From a protective bunker on a beach, one must repel an enemy invasion from air and from sea. Game play is simplistic -- the goal is to shoot everything that comes toward the bunker, without allowing the bunker to be destroyed. Obstacles include aircraft, barges filled with soldiers, and tanks, all of which are armed to take on the player's bunker. Not to fear though, the bunker is armed for the job. Included is an antiaircraft gun, effective against planes and incoming troops, an antitank gun, effective against incoming barges and tanks, and surface-to-air missiles, which are guided and attack any aircraft in the vicinity. There's also a handgun, in case all the other ammunition runs out.
If you're looking for more info on Beach Head 2000, check out the rest of the

Games.MacNN has reviewed Monopoly, a 3D update to the classic board game of
property and power. The game also supports net play via GameRanger, so you don't
have to just play against the computer. Here's more from the review:

Monopoly is a very accurate replication of the board game. Players can choose from all the standard pieces, play on the classic board or one of many custom localized versions, and customize the rules as they see fit. Gameplay is identical to the board game, albeit a bit more awkward due to the 2D, mouse-controlled nature of the game.
While they recognize a few faults in the title, Monopoly fans may find this one
an irresistable buy. Read through the whole review for the full scoop. And
stay tuned for IMG's review of the game to be posted in our review section soon.

IMG Reviews Section
MacCentral Hands on with MacSoft's Beach Head 2000
Games.MacNN Monopoly Review

Audio Overload 1.0
2:11 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Shareware and emulator creator Richard Bannister has released yet another program which allows you to enjoy the nostalgic experience of "retrogaming" -- this time, in musical form. Audio Overload is a music player which supports music from Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Genesis Megadrive ROMs. Here are the details:

Audio Overload v1.0 has been released. Audio Overload is a brand new video
game music player for the Macintosh.

Formerly known as BNSF/MacOS, this program now supports .nsf (NES) tracks,
.spc (Super Nintendo) tracks, and .gym (Genesis/Megadrive) logs. It includes
support for play lists, and it supports transparent decompresion of .rar
archives. The GUI and icons were designed specifically for this program by
PB1400c. Audio Overload is a Carbon application, and thus runs without
problems under MacOS X. It also runs just fine under earlier MacOS releases.

If you've got an urge to listen to the original Final Fantasy soundtrack, this is the tool to use. Be sure and visit Richard's site and check out his wide selection of emulators and related utilities.

Bannister's Software Archives

Click to enlarge
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Details
12:24 PM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The legendary creators of the Warcraft and Diablo series, Blizzard Entertainment, has issued a press release with official information on Diablo II and the forthcoming expansion pack, now called Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. According to the release Diablo II has sold over 2.75 million copies; multiply that by approximately $40 and you can understand why Blizzard is very happy with the result, though of course they don't gross that amount per unit. Although many details about this project are already public, the press release confirms that Lord of Destruction will feature a whole new act, over 250 new items, and two new characters classes: the druid and the assassin. Here is the press release:

Blizzard Entertainment® announced today that Diablo™ II sold more than 2.75 million copies worldwide in 2000, based on information from PC Data and key retail accounts around the world. The game, which shipped in June 2000, is the fastest selling game in Blizzard’s history. The company also confirmed today that the game’s expansion set, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction™ is on target for a worldwide release during the first half of 2001.

“We are very proud of Diablo II and its success. It is our biggest undertaking to date, and we are pleased that our customers responded so positively,” said Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With the expansion set, we are growing the Diablo world by introducing the Assassin and Druid character classes as well creating an all-new Act, complete with new quests. Whether a novice or a hardcore gamer, players will be immersed in exciting new gameplay as they travel through the Barbarian Highlands.”

In addition to the new character classes and a new act, the expansion set also introduces six new quests; various new monster types including Quest Bosses and Uniques; new Horadric Cube recipes; and a doubling of the stash size. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction contains thousands of new magical items with nearly 250 new Unique and Exceptional items as well as all-new Class-specific and Elite items.

In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, players return to follow the path of Baal, the last of the Prime Evils, into the Barbarian Highlands. Traveling north with legions of Demonic minions, Baal intends to destroy the powerful Worldstone that protects the whole of the mortal plane from the forces of Hell. Players will face a new series of quests and challenges to prevent the vile minions of the underworld from destroying the mortal realm.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is being developed by the Blizzard North™ design team and is expected to be available the first half of 2001 in Windows®95/98/2000/NT formats for around $30. A Macintosh version is expected this summer. The expansion set will be available at most computer and software retail chains worldwide, and will also be offered directly from Blizzard at (800) 953-SNOW and Blizzard expects the expansion set to receive a Mature rating from the ESRB. A full retail version of Diablo II is required to play the expansion set.

Read our review of Diablo II to learn more about this real-time RPG. IMG readers have awarded this game an average score of 9 out of 10, according to the many user reviews. More information on Lord of destruction can be found at Blizzard, and we expect that many more details about the expansion will be released in the near future.

IMG Diablo II review
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

ATI Patch Update, Q&A
11:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Chris Bentley of ATI responded to an inquiry about the ATI driver update which has been promised in the near future (see yesterday's article) to address certain issues experienced by owners of the just-released Radeon Mac Edition PCI. Specifically, we were wondering if some of the more advanced features of the Radeon chipset (such as full-scene anti-aliasing) would be enabled in this update, or whether it was just a bugfix release. Here is what Chris had to say:

IMG: So if some (most?) of the TCL features are already implemented, will anti-aliasing be a part of this release?

We are polishing up our support for Full Scene Anti Aliasing. This will be
supported in our next major driver update. We are also delivering FSAA
support to Apple for an upcoming release.

IMG: We've heard some of the more complex TCL stuff hasn't yet made it to the Mac.

Every piece of TCL that the Radeon does, is supported in the shipping Mac
drivers. There are several other extensions over and above TCL that we are
currently putting in place. These include cube mapping and bump mapping
and a couple of other minor ones. These should also be in place for the
next driver update.

IMG: Does ATI have any tech demos that might show off some of these features, since only Q3:A engine-based games use TCL so far?

We do have tech demos, and we'll get them to you when the drivers support
the extensions. Quake2, Quake3, Cro-Mag Rally, Heavy Metal FAKK2, Elite
Forces (in other words any Quake2 or Quake3 engine game) support Transform
and Clipping (the 'T' and 'C' in TCL). There are numerous OpenGL demos that
demonstrate Lighting which will be made available.

This is very good news for Radeon owners. FSAA and advanced TCL support should make your existing games look even better, and as future titles themselves provide more aggressive support for special features such as Bump Mapping, you'll see special effects you've never thought possible -- rendered in hardware, with no performance hit. It seems the driver release due this week is just a bugfix for PCI Radeon owners, with the above-mentioned features coming in the next 'major' update.

ATI Mac Radeon Web Site
IMG News: ATI Driver Update Soon

Oberin: New Mac MORPG
10:54 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Oberin is a new Mac-only online role playing game currently in development. Similar to Verant Interactive's Everquest, the game features a constant evolving world that changes throughout the development of the game. While the game does not contain a primary plot or quest, you will discover many possible goals from encounters with the characters you will meet. Here are the details:

Oberin is an online fantasy role-playing game, available exclusively for Macintosh. Oberin takes place in a persistent, ever evolving world -- your character may come and go, but the world continuously runs.

There is no ultimate goal when playing Oberin. It's an online fantasy world where the fun comes from interacting with other real players. You can join a group of fellow players to hunt for dragons, spend a quiet day fishing, meet a friend at the pub for a game of chess, or spend some time refining your chosen skills.

Oberin is meant to be an open community project. The actual programming is being done by the Oberin development team, but the ultimate direction of the game will be determined by the real people who choose to be Oberin citizens.

This game will be open to public beta test; currently there is no set date for completion. Not intended as a commercial release, the only charge for this game will be a monthly charge to help maintain the servers and bandwidth. Visit the web site for more information.

Oberin web site

Click to enlarge
Myst III Music
10:11 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

GA-Source has posted a short interview with Jack Wall discussing the creation of music for the third installement of the Myst series, Myst III Exile. Wall explains why he chose to use a live orchestra and symphony to compose some of the music for Myst III. Also included are details how the music was composed in order to fit the theme and feeling of the game. Here is an excerpt:

How did the decision come about to use a live orchestra and symphony for the soundtrack of Exile?

Myst III seemed the perfect candidate for an orchestral score. It had four things driving it in that direction: Success, potential future success, a healthy budget and me! I really championed that cause from the very beginning.

When I wrote the initial proposal to do the score for EXILE, I included a budget for orchestra. It was a bit bold, but I really felt this should be a special score and stand out from the crowd - the game deserves it, don't you think? Dan Irish at Mattel thought so. He really took a chance and got the budget approved. I owe Dan a very expensive dinner when all of this is over.

I'm very happy to report that everyone, especially Dan, is ecstatic about the outcome!

Myst III Exile will reach us on April 9th. For more information on this title, check out our detailed preview.

Myst III: Exile Preview
Mattel Interactive
Myst III interview at GA-Source
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Mac Games News for Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Warcraft III Gameplay Trailer2:17 PM
Gaming and MWSF1:20 PM
SimsVille First Look12:25 PM
Crazy Car Q&A11:36 AM
Escape from Monkey Island Progress Report11:18 AM
ATI Driver Update Soon10:49 AM
Q3A 1.27g In Depth10:32 AM
Warren Spector Interview10:12 AM
New SMAC Patch Soon10:08 AM
Earth 2140 Demo Released9:59 AM
SoundBlaster BTO Clarification/Inquiry9:32 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, January 24, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Tuesday, January 23, 2001
Monday, January 22, 2001
Friday, January 19, 2001
Thursday, January 18, 2001
Wednesday, January 17, 2001

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