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Thursday, March 1, 2001

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Troubleshooting Quake 3 1.27h
10:21 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Since the Quake 3 1.27h update was released yesterday, many Mac gamers have been reporting various crashes and other problems with the new version. According to posts in the IMG forums, readers have been experiencing unexpected quits and freezing. Graeme Devine updated his .plan again with a tip on how to rid yourself of these troubles:

You need to have all the current pak files to use this update (pak0->pak5), if you're at all concerned about whether or not you have them, or don't know what to look for, then please wait for the installer version.
To clarify his statement: You cannot update from 1.17 to 1.27h. You must download the 1.27g beta installer, which contains all the necessary .pak files, and install this first; then install the application for 1.27h. If you are still having problems, try deleting your q3config.cfg file or temporarily remove any mods you have installed so you can isolate the problem. Increasing the memory partition for the application may also help. Also note that you cannot run "demos" from previous versions of Q3A (117 and below). As soon as IMG finishes testing this new build, we will post a report with our experiences and benchmarks.

Quake 3 1.27h Discussion
Quake 3 1.27h Released, AltiVec Version Due Soon
Graeme Devine .plan Update
id Software
Quake III Arena

The State of Inside Mac Games
2:44 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Since it is March 1st, I thought I'd give our loyal readers an update on what's been happening behind the scenes at IMG.

Back in early January we received notice from CNET that they were closing down the Gamecenter Alliance program, which IMG was a part of since April of last year. The Gamecenter Alliance program was, for all intents and purposes, a banner network. They sold the ads, we put them on our site, and CNET paid us (rather well, in fact).

With the revenues generated with the CNET program, we were able to launch new sites such as the wildly popular as well as the IMG Network sites. During that time we were also able to triple our readership in a span of about 6 months, and maintain that growth today.

So, when CNET told us they were shutting down the Gamecenter Alliance, we were left with a dilemma. How were we going to make money so that we could stay afloat, and more importantly, what could we do to keep IMG growing? One thing was for certain: we wanted Mac-oriented ads back on Inside Mac Games. And as you've probably noticed, since February 1st, we've been running primarily Mac-related ads on the site.

Today we're proud to announce that five Mac-specific companies have signed up to sponsor Inside Mac Games: Aspyr Media, GraphSim Entertainment, MacPlay, MacSoft, and Pangea Software. Without their generous support, Inside Mac Games would not have been able to continue operating in its current form. To them we say a big "Thank You!"

IMG is also proud to announce that we've teamed up with Backbeat Media, who will be selling the ads that appear throughout IMG. Unlike CNET they are working with us to tailor the content to better suit your needs and the needs of our sponsors -- be sure and check out our banners, and click on a few if a product or service interests you.

The result of all this is that IMG will not only be able to continue to serve the gaming community, but to flourish as well. In the past few months we've been working on the monumental task of converting our site from an html-based system to a fully-scripted database system. This means that IMG doesn't have to touch an html editor ever again (woohoo!) to update the site. The scripted system allows us to easily publish previews, reviews, features, and news items in a matter of minutes. The IMG site will be cross-indexed and searchable in a way that was not previously possible, and we will offer many innovative ways to tunnel through our years and years of content. More importantly, when we redesign the IMG site (look for that soon), we can do a switchover to a new design without "breaking" the site. Don't worry, we aren't going to "fix" anything that wasn't broken in the first place -- we will refine the site, not radically change it.

Before CNET informed us of their decision, we had plans to launch two new Mac-game related web sites this year; we decided to hold off on those plans until we were back on our feet. We're now moving ahead with those plans, and you will see results soon.

So, what does this all mean to you, the IMG reader? Since we started IMG back in 1993, our number one goal has always been to help grow the Mac games community. And I think, in our own way, we've been able to do just that.

So, in closing, I'd like to thank our sponsors, our loyal and hard-working staff, and our faithful readers for making IMG what it is today. If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at

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ZSculpt to Release Dark Castle Public Beta Tomorrow
2:19 PM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Zack Black announced this afternoon that ZSculpt would be releasing a public beta of Return to Dark Castle tomorrow evening. The game is being released some time this Spring by Delta Tao. A full-color revisiting of the original Dark Castle -- a game that sold more Mac 512ks than anything else -- this 2D adventure game mixes puzzles, reflexes and really odd sound effects into an extremely addictive game. Having played the Beta release this winter, we can say that we're certain Return to Dark Castle will live up to the series it is a part of. Check back tomorrow for more information about where to get the demo; in the meantime you can read our preview for details and screen shots.

IMG Preview of Return to Dark Castle
Delta Tao
Z Sculpt
Return to Dark Castle
Buy Return to Dark Castle

Update on Westlake Projects
1:27 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive was kind enough to send us a huge update on the many projects this porting house has been working on. The project that is probably the foremost in the minds of Mac gamers is the Deus Ex multiplayer patch, and add-on in high demand. We are glad to report that Mark is personally completing the port, and is very close to finishing it:

Testing has been going very well on the DX MP patch. I believe the final PC patch (which is what the Mac version is based on) is due to be released very soon, and we're currently planning to have the Mac version ready within a few days of the PC release (just long enough to get a bit more heavy duty testing in against PC servers).
According to the Westlake Project Status page, the patch should be released in about a week.

Next in the queue are Escape From Monkey Island 4, American McGee's Alice, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2. These games all generated a lot of interest on the PC side, and that is just one of the reasons Mac publishers are bringing them to the Macintosh, through the services of Westlake. According to Mark, they are all progressing very well:

Monkey Island is very close to final, its really in the last stages of
cleanup and polish. Alice is coming along quickly, our work on Elite Force
gave us a lot of knowledge of the Quake3 engine, so that has helped. I
think we will hit a first playable version on Alice very soon. Tony Hawk is
just about to go into beta, and looks really nice. I'm still somewhat
addicted to it, and its nice to play it on the Mac. My person high score is
now 2.25 million :)
It sounds like Mark has been "busy" testing Tony Hawk 2, to say the least.

Last but not least are two more Westlake ports in progress, Hasbro's Centipede and Eidos' Tomb Raider: Chronicles. Centipede will be aimed toward the casual gamer/family market, and TR: Chronicles is the last in the series of action/adventure game featuring Lara Croft. Here is the latest word from Mark:

Centipede also is almost ready for beta test. I think its one of the better
arcade adaptations, it has a lot of the feel of the original but with some
cool twists.

Finally, TRC is a bit ahead of schedule, and we may start beta testing it in
the next week or two. I've been adding some little extras that we weren't
able to get into TR:TLR, like multiple monitor support, mip mapping (which
makes the levels render much cleaner in the distance), and EAX reverb for
the Sound Blaster Live! cards. I'm also looking at supporting the MacAlly
iShock II force feedback gamepads in TRC.

Wow! It looks like TR: Chronicles will have many goodies when it is released. It is very encouraging to see Westlake use upcoming technologies in their projects.

To top everything off, Westlake has begun working on an "Unnamed Project." Do you have a guess at what it is? Do you think you can beat Mark Adams at Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2? Post your thoughts in the IMG forums.

IMG General Forum
Westlake Interactive Project Status Page

Zroids Released
12:07 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Thunderwizard Software has announced the release of Zroids 1.0.0, a shareware game of multiplayer action. Featuring four-way split-screen play, this title will be familiar to anyone into old-school 2D scrolling shooters, but features some twists on the genre. Here are details from the press release:

Helsinki, Finland, March 2nd, 2001 - Thunderwizard Software has today released it's latest software product, Zroids 1.0.0. Zroids is a fast-paced action game for up to 4 human players, and a maximum 6 of players with computer players included.

Some of the features of Zroids:

  • Up to 4 simultaneous human players
  • Up to 6 players with computer players included
  • 6 ships to choose of
  • 16 different weapons
  • 6 levels are included, but however registered users may take adventage of unlimited number of custom and user-made levels
  • 16-bit graphics with realtime lightning and transparency
  • Multichannel sound effects

The price of registering Zroids is as low as $10, which includes lifetime license for the product. Unregistered version allows users to evaluate the software for up to 30 days.
Visit the Thunderwizard web site for more details and downloads.

Zroids (3.6 MB)
Thunderwizard Software

Master of Orion 3 Site Redesign
12:07 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The good folks at Quicksilver Software have recently given the web site dedicated to upcoming "4X" title Master of Orion 3 a major face-lift. The site is now much easier to navigate, with sections clearly labeled so you can quickly find what you need. In case you're wondering what MOO3 is all about (no, it's got nothing to do with cows!), here's a one-sentence overview from their site:

Master of Orion 3 (MOO3) is a deep, easy-playing strategic-level game evolving the Master of Orion series by modeling the story depth of science-fiction epics like those you've read and seen in the movies or on TV.
Quicksilver is attempting is to add a 'Fifth X' to the genre; The addition of eXperience would add to the other four X's: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. The game is still in early development, but should be out for Mac and PC in the first quarter of next year. The Mac version will be published by MacSoft.

Master of Orion III Web Site
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

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Myst III Developer Diary
11:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the release date for Presto Studios' upcoming title Myst III: Exile draws near (May 7th, to be precise) the team is still crunching away on the game according to the latest developer diary published at GameSpot. Daniel Achterman has written up a short piece that describes the status of their work, as well as giving some insight into how this game will separate itself from the previous two MYST titles created by Cyan.

Much has changed since the day MYST was created; no longer are developers limited to 8-bit images and Hypercard scripting when creating virtual worlds. Presto Studios has been making adventure games almost as long, and their latest titles (The Journeyman Project III) have been technological marvels; they are bringing this considerable experience to the Myth III project with the goal of reducing that "on rails" feeling that causes gamers who demand a more interactive world to despise games such as Riven. While they still won't be able to provide a "shooter-style" level of freedom and retain the amazing graphic detail the MYST series is known for -- yet -- the team has devised powerful scripting systems to give the game a much more interactive look and feel. Here is an excerpt describing the scripting system:

As you can guess, we have our work cut out for us. Of course, scripting is a significant component of any major game, but creating a prerendered game of this level of detail presents particular challenges. Consider, for example, a single location in the game--say, a room somewhere. Maybe the lights in this room can be on or off. Graphics have to be created for both states, and the engine must be programmed to load the correct state based on what the user has done. Suppose that there is a screen door that can be open or closed. With the light, that makes four room states. Suppose there is an object behind that door that can be present or missing. Accommodating all these variables makes 2x2x2, or 8 states for a single location! Since there can even be multiple locations inside that room, you can see how the work piles up...

Of course, many users won't even notice the attention to detail that goes into scripting the game. When they watch a creature moving through the world and then step forward and see the creature in the same position from their new location, they don't see the detailed frame tracking, state updates, and animation searching, all of which go on behind the scenes. All they see is a creature moving in a seamless, consistent world.

Although we find it a little alarming that they are still creating game content with a little more than a month before the game will be on shelves -- talk about down to the wire! -- we're sure the combination of Presto and Cyan will create a memorable adventure title with "crossover" potential. Although this is a 2D game like the previous titles, the engine will take advantage of 3D hardware for effects such as lens flares, movie scaling and other effects. For more information on this title, read through our preview. A simultaneous Mac/PC release is expected, with a DVD-based collector's edition due several months afterwards.

Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile Preview
Myst III Developer Diary #4 at GameSpot
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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Ken Hoekstra on Elite Force Add-On
10:59 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Daily Radar spoke to Raven Software's Ken Hoekstra about the just-announced add-on pack for Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force which is due this Spring. While this expansion pack is for the PC version only, we are sure Aspyr Media is keeping an eye on this as a possible future project. The interview discusses some of the new features and gametypes that will be included in the add-on pack, as well as Ken's reactions to the success of the title and the many accolades it received from fans and the press. Here is an excerpt about a very Trek-themed game type:

DR: What about the multiplayer component? Can you talk a little bit about the class-based game you're working on? One thing we've always wanted to do is conquer other lesser beings by assimilating them to our point of view -- so will there be a cool sort of Borg-conquers-all mode?

KH: The multiplayer component consists of over 20 new maps, 11 new Holomatch skins and several game modifiers for the existing multiplayer games. There is a Borg Assimilation game type now, where one team plays as the Borg Queen and a bunch of drones, while the other team plays as the Federation or other "good guys." The good guys attempt to destroy the Borg queen while the Borg attempt to assimilate their enemies. Once assimilated, you must join the Borg in their attempt to recruit all of your former teammates.

Other modifiers include a class-based player system, a disintegration mode and a last-team-standing mode. There are six player types you can choose from in the class-based system, including Infiltrator, Medic, Technician, Demolitionist, Heavy Weapons and Sniper. Each class has different ability variables like speed, jump height, armor, damage and accuracy. It's a nice change of pace, especially for team-play modes.

It sounds like many popular third-party Q3A mods have inspired some of the addtions to this adventure game/shooter. We'll be sure and let you know the instant we have a concrete answer about this expansion pack from Aspyr Media. Elite Force has been a big hit with IMG readers (7.7 out of ten average score) and MGF visitors (15,000+ downloads, 4.5 Joystick rating); if you haven't read our review or tried the demo, follow the links below.

STV: Elite Force Demo (115 MB)
Ken Hoekstra Interview at Daily Radar
STV: Elite Force Review
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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WaterRace Add-ons Released
10:14 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

French Touch, the company behind the boat racing game WaterRace, has released new add-ons for this 3D title. The add-ons consist of new boats with bizarre shapes, such as a mad cow, a pod racer craft and other creative additions. WaterRace has a very open architecture that allows users to develop their own personal skin for boats and create new levels. The details:

French Touch has released 6 exclusive and free add-ons for its arcade racing
game WaterRace. They demonstrate that the game has a very open architecture
and since it is provided with complete editing tools, it's easy to create
totally weird add-ons!

The add-ons currently available feature:

an alien space ship,

a mad cow,

a star wars racer,

and more...

In order to use the add-ons, just drop the files into thew add-ons folder of the full version of WaterRace. If you haven't taken this RAVE-powered game for a spin, be sure and grab the demo.

WaterRace Demo (23.6 MB)
French Touch
French Touch

Mac Games News for Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Quake 3 1.27h Released, AltiVec Version Due Soon12:45 PM
Radeon Mac Edition PCI Review Posted12:31 PM
Elite Force Add-on Details11:24 AM
Elite Force Add-on Announced10:32 AM
New WWII Online Shots, Pricing Info10:06 AM
Clarifications on SB Live! Status10:04 AM
Red Faction Q&A8:52 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, February 28, 2001 on one page

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Tuesday, February 27, 2001
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