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Tuesday, February 13, 2001

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New Skins, FAQ at SimsForMac
9:20 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

IMG's network site dedicated to everything Sims, SimsForMac, has received a few updates of late. Most notable is the addition of a helpful list of Frequently Asked Questions for those having trouble with The Sims and word that a virtual ton of downloadable skins are on their way. Apparently the site The Well Dressed Sim is working with SimsForMac to see which of their skins are Mac-compatible. The benefit of this exchange is already being revealed, as they have posted four new skins from this affiliation. Check out their page of Male skins for the latest.

The new FAQ covers a number of topics like adding customized skins and objects to your game, killing your poor sims, and how to get that sad clown to leave. If you're having trouble with The Sims (or the add-on Livin' Large), be sure to read through the FAQ. There is also the hints section, if you're looking for more general strategies on how to play the game. And finally, if you still have questions, be sure to check out their forums for some advice.

SimsForMac Skins Section
SimsForMac FAQ
The Well Dressed Sim Web Site
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims: Livin' Large

Myst 3: Exile Delay Explained
1:52 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Staffer Chris Morin dutifully informed us that webmaster, Gordon Currie, made a post to the Riven Guild forums explaining the recent announcement that the release of Myst 3: Exile would be delayed until May 7, 2001. Here is a portion of the forum post:

The reason for the additional delay was the fact that the pre-orders for Myst III: Exile have GREATLY exceeded what the publisher had originally anticipated. With all of the promotion and the PR being done, (not to mention the positive response from Gaming Magazines and the media in general), manufacturing has been stepped up.

A few weeks back I sort of hinted that there could be delays in getting the product due to a anticipated HUGE demand. Pre-orders get filled first, and thus I voiced a concern that those who don't pre-order may not get their copies as quickly as others.

Apparently, Myst 3 pre-orders have reached and exceeded the 500,000 mark. There is no telling what the final total will be when retail sales are tallied. With those numbers, it would seem that Presto Studios will have one of the top selling games of 2001. To read the rest of Currie's post, visit Riven Guild's forums.

Myst 3 Delay Explained
Myst 3: Exile Website

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Details on RealMyst Delay
11:38 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

One of the frequently-asked questions we get at IMG is "where the heck is RealMyst?" This true-3D remake of the classic adventure title MYST has been available for the PC for quite some time, but the promised Mac version is nowhere to be found. Our own research has indicated that the title is still in progress, and that performance issues are the primary cause of the delay; the PC version is based on Direct3D, and translating this API to the Mac OS without a significant speed hit can be a challenge. As the original MYST ran on almost every Mac available at the time, it is understandable that Cyan and Red Orb would want this title to run well on a broad spectrum of platforms, not just G4 towers. This may be a struggle, as reviewers of the PC version reported choppy frame rates even with quite powerful gaming systems.

A recent post to the IMG forums seems to confirm this issue. Poster "Noraa" said that the following message was delivered by e-mail, in reply to a question about Mac RealMyst's delay:

Since Rand and I and others here at Cyan are Mac guys, having only Macs at
home and at work, we're anxious to see it released on the Mac too. :)

We don't have a set date for when the Mac version will be ready, just as
soon as we can get the performance at an acceptable level (at the moment it
is not performing acceptably on the G3s, we're doing our best to change

As soon as it's ready, playable, stable, fast, wonderful, etc. we'll get it
out the door.

Unfortunately without a set date, we can't give you a guess as to when this game will be released, but we will press the RealMyst team for a more specific answer. For more information on RealMyst visit the official web site.

RealMyst Web Site
More Mac realMYST Reassurances
"Regarding RealMyst"

Developer Reactions to Possible IDSA Regulation
11:16 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Yesterday we reported on Gamecenter's final article, which uncovered a supposed proposal by the IDSA to tighten restrictions on advertising and marketing "M"-rated software titles with the intention of "protecting" young readers. Stomped has posted a follow-up article which gathers developer and publisher reactions to these possible restrictions, and discusses the theoretical impact of such a move which may make it difficult for certain magazines to find advertising content. While M-rated games are not the top-selling titles, they do contribute a significant portion of the market overall, specifically those titles marketed and sold to the misnamed "hardcore" gamer audience.

Stomped's report provides reactions to the possibility that advertising of M-rated titles would be restricted only to magazines with a largely adult (18 and over) readership and television programs with a largely 18-and-over viewership. Here is an excerpt:

Stomped spoke to the heads of several developers who have created well-known and popular M-rated games for their views on the situation. Although none of them had seen the article when Stomped spoke to them, some felt that restricting the current marketing of M-rated games was a bad move. "I just think that age-based ratings are flawed to begin with" said 3D Realms president Scott Miller, adding that he thinks that ratings should be based on the content of the game rather than age. "The problem with the ESRB is that all violent games end up in the M category, but there's a big difference between a game that deserves to be M rated, like Kingpin and Soldier of Fortune, and a game like Unreal Tournament, which shows cartoonish violence and doesn't depict pain and suffering. The ESRB, if it were applied to TV shows, would rate any show with human blood, like ER, with an M rating, but by MPAA standards ER would be more appropriately rated PG-13."

Miller would prefer to have a new rating, which he calls T-15, added to the ESRB ratings to allow certain games which depict violence but not of the realistic nature. " It seems obvious to me that the ESRB is an incomplete ratings system and needs a middle ground rating like T-15.", Miller told Stomped, "If a T-15 rating existed, then the remaining games that ended up in the M category probably should follow the IDSA guidelines. But as I see it, with the ratings system as it now is the M rating catches too many games, and so as it is it seems highly unfair to me."

The Interactive Digital Software Association is a coalition of major publishers and game makers, headed by the appointed president Doug Lowenstein. The ESRB ratings developed by the IDSA are voluntary and have no method of enforcement, but many major distributors (such as Wal Mart and Target) have chosen to put Mature titles out of reach or require an ID for purchase, following the lead of the movie theater chains. While we must stress that this IDSA document is merely a proposal, nothing more, it does reflect movement in the market to regulate the content that minors are exposed to. In some cases we have seen certain titles change their content (notably Giants: Citizen Kabuto and supposedly Oni) in order to allow marketing to a broader audience.

Several IMG readers have begun interesting threads on this subject in our forums; as always you are encouraged to stop by, read the posts and add your own input.

NOT Brought To You By The Letter "M" at Stomped
Proposal to Regulate M-Rated Games Uncovered

EmuScene Updates
10:32 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Mac EmuScene, the IMG affiliate covering all sorts of Mac emulators, has received a few updates of late which emulation fans might find worthwhile. The first is a note that a new Sega 1 emulator, Modeler, should be coming to the Mac soon. The program is still in the early phases of development, but it already supports titles such as Sonic, Spiderman, and Golden Axe 2. Here's what one of the developers on the project had to say:

There's a good chance of a release (for Win32 and Linux at least, MacOS will take a bit longer) this weekend, so stay tuned.
Keep checking Mac EmuScene for more info on this as it becomes available.

Other emulators already on the Mac have also been updated recently. A couple of apps from Richard Bannister (author of many Mac emus) have been released, including a new Atari 5200 emulator, Jum52. Here's more info:

Jum52 is a brand new Atari 5200 emulator for MacOS. Jum52 supports reasonable compatibility with Atari 5200 titles. At the present collision detection is a bit hit and miss (no pun intended) but otherwise the emulator is solid enough. It also includes full sound support. Jum52 is a Carbon application, and thus runs just fine under MacOS X.
Bannister's Audio Overload is also now at version 1.1, adding support for GameBoy files to this popular arcade music player.

Finally, Macgamefiles has the scoop on Playboy Advance, a GameBoy emulator which plays nearly 85% of non-color titles for the handheld console. Squirrel Software, the developers, are looking for help with this emulator, so if you've got the knowledge drop them a line. You can download Playboy at MGF now.

Download Audio Overload 1.1
Download Jum52
Mac EmuScene
Modeler Forum Thread
Download PlayBoy Advance

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Rune Q&A with Dave Halsted
9:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

RuneCenter has taken a minute to chat with HumanHead's Dave Halsted about his work on the Viking slasher/adventure title Rune. This quick Q&A discusses his work as a level designer for HumanHead, the upcoming patch for Rune, and his wishes for a sequel (which is has not been announced, as of yet). Here's an excerpt detailing what you new features you might expect to see in the patch:

Give us every detail that you can about the upcoming Rune Patch:

There's a ton of nice stuff in there. I think Rune fans will be very happy with it - it's almost entirely geared toward online play. Mundane stuff includes bug fixes for a number of Rune power quirks, and bringing the larger markets up to compatibility with code-changes that had to be made for certain foreign-language ports. There are a number of balances to DM play - a better partial-Berserk powerup, the more powerful Runepower attacks have been brought down to earth, a couple weapon-damage tweaks, all skins now available and all skins spawn with full health (a couple didn't), etc...

The programmers have been working on net-code, and there're some things with blocking that Chris is working on that I'm really psyched on. All that and more!

Keep in mind that any update to Rune would need to be ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive. It's still good to hear many issues are going to be addressed. "Bot" support for Rune is still up in the air, but we'll let you know if anything changes.

In other Rune news, the results for the Rune mapping contest are in, and so many excellent submissions were received that seven lucky winners were chosen (instead of the original five). The winners are going to have their entries included in an upcoming Rune add-on pack. The three runner-ups and seven honorable mentions have their maps featured on the RuneGame web site if you want to download them and try them out.

RuneCenter Interview with Dave Halsted
RuneGame Contest Winners
IMG Review of Rune
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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World War II Online Interview
9:24 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Stratics has interviewed Rodney Hodge about the upcoming title World War II Online. In case you haven't heard, WWII Online is a massively multiplayer war sim which is set to be released for the PC and Mac by Cornered Rat Software. The game is currently in closed testing and is expected to be released later this year. The Q&A gives a good introduction as to what war sim fans can expect from the title:

What will make WWII Online distinct and different from other Massive Mutliplayer games?

Sheesh... where do I start?

The carnage! On a grand scale! The game is PvP, kill or be killed, and you can do it in so many ways. :) As well the technology we are working on should allow everyone to play in one world, no shards, no zones required. The game will combine traditional sim genres, but the FPS aspect is really new. For FPS crowd they will be fighting in by far the largest MMP game world ever made, not a shoe box like most FPS games, with real visual ranges in miles instead of a few hundred feet, and real weapons with realistic ranges from a handgun to an 88mm AA/AT gun. That's our version of a BFG.

Right now the team is adding user-interface elements to the game, as well more vehicles and cities for the European battlefields. We'll keep you posted on its progress and let you know once this title is near completion.

Stratics WWII Online Interview
World War II Online Web Site
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

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Black & White Trailer, Dev Update
9:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new trailer showing off the gameplay in Lionhead's upcoming genre-crossing title Black & White is now available for download. The game has been delayed quite a few times on the PC side, the status of a Mac version or when it might be completed is unknown, but we are quite hopeful in that respect. The gameplay movie weighs in at over 22MB, so only those with the bandwidth (or a lot of patience) need apply. It shows some impressive footage of different parts of the game. The activities of the villagers are shown, as well the good and bad things you can do to them. A very interesting clip includes two creatures fighting (a cow and panther, it appears), which will reportedly make up part of the multiplayer aspects of the game. If you've got a decent connection and are looking forward to the game, it's definitely worth a download.

In related news, a new development update on the game has been posted to GameSpy. The piece was written by Steve Jackson, and in it he attempts to explain why B&W has had so many setbacks. It seems one of the major hold-ups is the AI, which, as you have probably heard, is going to be quite impressive. Unfortunately when a title depends so heavily on the intelligence of its creatures, bugs are bound to arise. Here's a clip with more:

Giving the Creature a mind of its own has been a mixed blessing. There is no doubt that just following your Creature as he wanders about is compulsive viewing. You can never sure what he's going to do next. It's intriguing to watch as he investigates what is food and what isn't -- he tries eating grain, cows, trees, villagers or even rocks. If you ignore him for too long he looks towards you, jumps up and down and waves his arms as if to say: "Hey! Are you still there? Come and play with me!"

Programming the Creature's AI has been a monumental task for Richard Evans. Though Richard's list of "A Class" bugs (programming glitches which bring the game to a halt) is now well under control, it's the behavioral bugs that are difficult to anticipate with such a free-form game.

Have a read through the rest of the update for a humorous anecdote explaining exactly what an AI will do in such a 'free form' game. There has still been no official announcement of a Mac version of B&W, though you can bet IMG will be there if any new details are released.

GameSpy Black & White Dev Update
Download Black & White Trailer (22MB)
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

Mac Journeyman 3 DVD Patch
9:07 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Before Presto Studios received the go-ahead from Cyan to take over development of Myst III: Exile, the company had already produced a successful Myst-like trilogy called the Journeyman Projects on their own. Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time, like the previous two titles, was made available for Mac and PC on CDs. A DVD version was later produced, though it was only made available for those running PCs. This was unfortunate, because the DVD allowed you to stop swapping the 4 CDs from the previous version, along with including other features. Interestingly, Apple ran a promotion bundling the DVD version (minus the extra features) with their machines a few years ago, though nothing has ever been made available to the general public.

Now, Jim Stephenson's excellent Cyan/Myst fan site brings word that a Mac patch is available for download to use with the PC Journeyman 3 DVD version. Here's the scoop on how to make it work from Presto's programmer Roland Gustafsson:

1. Download the Mac game application.

2. Unstuff the Mac app and put it in a new folder.

3. When you get the PC DVD, simply find the "J3DATA" folder on the DVD (it's in the "INSTALL" folder) and copy it to the same new folder that the application is in.
If you haven't tried out Journeyman Project 3 and do have a DVD player in your Mac, this may be an excellent opportunity. There are many bonuses to getting the DVD version, such as:

  • Over half an hour of cinematic movies with double the video playback resolution of the original CD-ROM
  • Specially remastered spherical VR graphics featuring sharper detail and brighter colors
  • All gameplay animation have been reprocessed to play back with twice the original detail
  • Exclusive broadcast-quality MPEG-2 version of the Legacy of Time video trailer is also included for playback on your PC or set-top consumer DVD player

So if you're in you can't wait for Exile to come out, grab the PC build of Journeyman 3 and give it a try. Finding a copy of the game might be a challenge, so scope out your local PC retailer and see if you can dig one up. If we can find a reliable supply of the DVD version on the web, we'll pass that along as well.

[Update]: New instructions and an update download location has been added in the links below.

Updated Install Instructions
Riven Unofficial Home Page
Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time Web Site

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Summoner Preview
8:46 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpy has posted a preview of the upcoming 3D RPG Summoner. The title was originally released for the Playstation 2's launch last fall by Volition, and Mac and PC version are underway now. Thes ported versions will include many new features, foremost among them being the addition of an Internet multiplayer mode for the game. The preview discusses this and a few other features such as the story, characters, and combat. Here's an excerpt:

There are thousands of items to find and equip, but you'll encounter some limitations on what your character can and cannot equip unless you spend your skill points wisely. Equipped items drastically change the appearance of your characters. Put on a cloak and your character will have on a cloak. Equip shiny plate armor and you'll see your character wearing plate armor. This may seem like a small thing, but it makes for some very, very cool visuals and makes finding new weapons and armor even more appealing.
Summoner is set to be released in the next couple of months. The Mac version is being published by GraphSim; check out their site for more infomation on the Mac specifics.

GameSpy Summoner Preview
GraphSim Summoner Web Site
Buy Summoner

Mac Games News for Monday, February 12, 2001

MacMoorhuhn Shooting Game Released4:51 PM
Tropico to Feature Over 80 Structures4:16 PM
Myth III Team Interview at MythWolfAge.com9:36 AM
New Info on Myst 3 Ages9:19 AM
Sharky Extreme Interview: NVidia9:08 AM
MOO3 Dev Update, Interview9:06 AM
Mac DoomLegacy 1.0 Released; Heretic Next?8:43 AM
New Rogue Spear Mods6:00 AM
Proposal to Regulate M-Rated Games Uncovered6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, February 12, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, February 9, 2001
Thursday, February 8, 2001
Wednesday, February 7, 2001
Tuesday, February 6, 2001
Monday, February 5, 2001

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