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Thursday, March 8, 2001

Tony Hawk 2, Centipede in Beta
9:39 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has updated their project status page with news that their ports of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and Centipede have entered the beta testing phase. Mark Adams of Westlake estimates that the games will be in this stage for three to four weeks.

Centipede is Hasbro Interactive's 3D re-visiting of the Atari arcade classic. We understand from comments posted by port author Brad Oliver in an emulation-related forum that the game will include an "arcade mode" with the classic 2D version as well, for those with nostaliga pangs for the arcade stand-up version. Expect this title to be "value-priced" when it hits the market.

Tony Hawk 2 is of course the 3D skateboarding game which has appeared on Playstation, PC and Dreamcast so far, and is even coming to Gameboy Advance. For more information on this title be sure to check out our preview and interview with the porting team.

We wanted to settle a developer/publisher controversy that has been brewing for a while now. In our interview with Aspyr Media's Michael Rogers, he was bragging about his Tony Hawk 2 skills and his ability to perform under pressure. Last time we spoke with Mark, he was also pontificating about his "mad skillz." Could there be a rivalry here? Mark sets the record straight while trying to be diplomatic:

I think my "sick" moves match up with him well :) My personal best is
2,250,000 in two minutes, with a single move of 680,000 points. I'm not
sure what the Aspyr guys are hitting for high scores.
Can anyone else sense a Tony Hawk 2 "cage match" at Macworld New York in the making? Developer vs Publisher in a grudge match to the death!

Westlake Interactive Project Status Page
Tony Hawk 2 Q&A
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 Preview
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Deus Ex Multiplayer Patch Released
1:06 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Apple has teamed up with Westlake Interactive and Aspyr Media to host the download of the multiplayer patch for Deus Ex, which adds a variety of deathmatch and teamplay modes to the previously solo-only shooter. This 35 MB patch, which requires the full version (not the demo) of this game, brings the Mac version of Deus Ex to the same revision as the PC version, allowing cross-platform play.

The patch also allows support for GameRanger, the Mac-only server-finding client. For current GameRanger users, the plug-in for Deus Ex will download automatically.

We've listed the patch on MacGameFiles, and we'll add more mirrors when they become available. Be sure to list your experiences with and opinions of the patch in our forums or on MGF's user ratings.

Deus Ex Multiplayer Patch (35 MB)
Deus Ex Review
Deus Ex Multiplayer Patch at Apple

Click to enlarge
On Tropico Politics
11:39 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Gathering of Developers and PopTop Software have released some information about the political system that will challenge gamers in their upcoming third-world dictatorship sim, Tropico. This won't be some sleepy Caribbean island; the player will have to develop genuine political savvy to manage the demands of citizens and various factions, and hold on to power as dictator of Tropico through astute management and diplomacy. As a press release from Gathering of Developers reveals, the political system is shaping up to be quite complex:

There are three main facets to Tropicoís internal politics. They are:

  • Political Popularity - The dictatorís political popularity is a summation of each citizenís feelings. The boldest citizens provide feedback throughout the game by approaching the leader with grievances or other messages. The leader can try to arrest or shoot any citizen at any time, but this tends to increase overall resentment within the population. Also, targeted citizens can fight back against the government, or flee to become rebels in the hills.
  • Uprisings - The people as a whole can stage a popular uprising, or the army can institute a coup-de-tat. For an uprising to occur, there must be a significant amount of dissent within a group and a motivational and charismatic leader. When an uprising begins, all normal world activity stops until the feud is resolved. A failed uprising will deter other uprisings for a while, but if the dictatorís palace is captured, the game is over.
  • Elections - If the government is a democracy, elections must be held every six years. If the dictator wins the election, the populace will remain relatively passive until the next election. The dictator can also sway the election results in honest ways (tax cuts, reformist policies), and in less-than-honest ways (vote fraud). Unfortunately, the population typically sees right through vote fraud, and a fraudulently won election can be worse than no election at all, leading to an immediate uprising.
We're certainly very excited to see this one in action. Expect Tropico for Mac OS about a month behind the release of the PC version, which should be as soon as next month; it will be published by Gathering of Developers.

Gathering of Developers
PopTop Software
Tropico Site
Tropico Politics Press Release
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

Pangea Lowers Prices
10:46 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Pangea Software, developers and publishers of the colorful 3D titles Bugdom and Cro-Mag Rally, have lowered the price for both titles. A note on the Pangea news page states that both games are now $32.95 each direct from the Pangea online store.

Bugdom has dropped down from a previous price of $37.95; Cro-Mag Rally was previously $39.95. Of course you get them both free with a brand-new iMac, but that comes with a much higher price tag.

For more information on these two titles, look over our in-depth reviews or grab the demos from MacGameFiles.

Cro-Mag Rally Review
Pangea Software News Page

Doom 3 Q&A
10:22 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Daily Radar has cornered Jim Dosť, newest member of id Software, and asked him a number of questions about their next-gen title in the works currently known as Doom 3. While many of the questions are unanswered (or unanswerable) at this point, he does emphasize they are now focusing intently on the single-player experience. Supposedly the storyline (an element which has been all but absent in past id titles) will be much-improved in Doom 3. Multiplayer will also be available, of course, though it's unclear which play modes will be included. Support for modifications will be made even easier with the new in-game level editor, as Dosť explains:

DR: One of the things that really cemented id's games in the community is their ability to be heavily modified by the players. How extensively will Doom 3 feature the ability to make mods and custom levels?

JD: We'll continue that tradition, and Doom will be our most customizable game yet. The level editor is built into the engine, so you'll be able to make new levels for the game right out of the box. Levels won't require the huge preprocessing times that our previous games did. Also, we have an easy-to-use scripting system that will allow people to create very interactive environments. Of course, we'll also release the code so that programmers can make their own types of gameplay. Mod makers and licensees should be very happy with the capabilities of the new engine.

id has noted before that Doom 3 will only be supported under Mac OS X. The good news is that we'll also likely get the level editing tools this time around. Also, since the game is probably at least a year or more from being done, OS X should have a decent installed base by then, and Mac hardware will have gone through two more revisions as well.

Jim Dosť Interview at Daily Radar
Buy DOOM 3

Summoner Trailer Released
10:15 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Developer Volition has released a very nice "trailer" introducing their upcoming Mac/PC release of Summoner, a 3D RPG with an epic plot. The trailer, which is available in either .avi (Windows Media) or Bink format, showcases some of the cinematics and in-game footage from this title.

We highly recommend the Bink versions of this trailer, as that compression format is very high quality and runs well full-screen on most G3 and G4 systems. The files are ".exe" format, so make sure you click-and-hold and choose "Download File to Disk." If you don't have the Bink player, grab it from the link below.

As we recently reported Summoner has been rumored to be close to "gold" on the PC side. While we couldn't pin Volition or Graphsim down to a specific date, both hinted that the Mac version would be very close on the heels of the PC version, as expected. Keep watching for more details, and grab this trailer if you want a preview of the eye-candy to come.

Bink Video Player
Summoner Media Downloads
Buy Summoner

Click to enlarge
WWII Online Interview
9:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

XL Gaming has posted an interview with Cornered Rat Software about their upcoming massively-multiplayer online title, World War II Online. In case you haven't heard, this is one of the few next-gen MMO titles to be coming to the Mac, though it is radically different from RPGs like Everquest and UO. The team creating WWII Online is trying to make a virtual battlefield which allows huge scenes and gives players the ability to control any number of vehicles, weapons, or planning facilities. Some of the questions posed in the Q&A include discussion on how the game got started, a clarification on how "death" is handled, and a reiteration that they want to ship it before E3 (this May). Here's an excerpt which will you an idea of the scope of this title:

WWIIOL is hard to completely explain. There's a lot more going on than might meet the eye. The biggest problem we have here is conveying how new the concept really is. The scale alone is ground breaking, players have simply never had this much area to roam and fight in. That translates into lot and lots of players in the same environment at the same time. Add to that a great physics and combat layer that supports FPS, aircraft, tanks, AT guns towed by trucks, and you've not only got the first virtual battlefield, but a huge one at that. The strategic system and RPG layer allow players to get involved in a huge variety of ways. Gameplay options that go from your sharpshooter, lone wolfing it in the field, all the way to a commander that is making decisions on where to flow resources in order to rush the latest technology into action. Ship building, R&D, resource flow, and more will be manipulated by the high commanding players. Playing WWIIOL can be whatever you want it to be, sniper to supreme commander, it's simply that big.
For more information, visit the Cornered Rat web site and have a look around. The specifics on the Mac version are unknown at this point, but it's hoped we'll see a release fairly soon after the PC build.

World War II Online Web Site
Cornered Rat Interview at XL Gaming
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Myth-ical Chess
9:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Giving a whole new aspect to the strategy element of Myth II, pointed us towards a new chess mod available for the this now-classic RTS from Bungie. MythCHESS 1.0 has both Myth and actual chess units included, and the gameplay is set to compy with actual chess rules -- with a Myth II twist, of course. Some of the other cool features include:

  • Instant Pawnswapping (Pawns are auotmatically traded for the highest point piece your opponent has...)

  • Scripted Turntaking (At the Legendary Difficulty level, players are forced to take turns...)

  • Retextured Models (Used to indicate whose turn it is, they light up!)

  • New Sounds sanctioned by MacSoft (Thanks MacSoft!)

  • Easter Eggs (Cheering Peasents, dwarfs playing chess against each other...)

  • New Scenery! (Hehe, look closely, you may see it...)

  • New Units! (The chess pieces are very cool...)
  • Head over to the Mill now to grab the 2.4 MB download. And prepare for a more 'civilized' multiplayer Myth II -- though we are pretty sure things still explode, occasionally.

    MythCHESS 1.0 Web Site
    Download MythCHESS 1.0 (2.4MB)

    Westlake on Carbonized Games
    8:36 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    Apple announced yesterday that their next-generation operating system, Mac OS X, was complete and has been sent to duplication. With the retail release coming in about two weeks, we felt it was fair to ask Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams a question many Mac gamers have been curious about: What is Westlake's stance on Carbonizing games for Mac OS X? Here is Mark's answer:

    We're actually waiting a copy of the GM (I assume Apple will send one to developers at some point) so we can see if everything we need is there. After that, hopefully we'll have a better idea what we can do (and when).
    It would be unrealistic to expect Westlake to Carbonize many of their old games simply because it would not be practical from a financial standpoint (unless publishers pay them). Their future games, however, may be Mac OS X-compatible out of the box. To reinforce this idea, Mark later posted the following on Usenet:
    We've never publicly said there won't be an OS X version of UT. Just
    that we weren't working on it yet. I'd say UT has a pretty good chance
    of being Carbonized at some point, mainly because if we do any more UT
    based games (like Deus Ex or Rune) after OS X ships, we'll want them
    support OS X somehow (out of the box or in a patch).

    Basically we can piggyback the UT engine Carbon work onto a new project,
    and then roll those changes back into UT itself (and maybe some of the
    older UT engine games).

    Westlake's official position on OS X has always been that we are waiting
    for the new OS to stabilize, so we have a non-moving target to shoot
    for. Once the gold master version is available to developers, we'll
    start looking at how to fit current games (ones that haven't shipped
    yet) into the OS X scheme. In early cases, this will probably be a
    downloadable patch. Later (Summer/Fall I assume) we will actually have
    OS X native versions in the box when you install the game.

    The other factor that has prevented us from jumping on the OS X early
    development bandwagon has been that we don't want to produce substandard
    OS X games. Some of the necessary technology to make our games run well
    and look great on OS X haven't been available yet. We're hoping all of
    this has shaped up in the final OS X release, so we can really produce
    world class games for OS X.

    Westlake always seems to have the gamer's best interest at heart. As Mac OS X final arrives on the desk of Mac game developers everywhere, we'll bring you their first impressions of Steve Jobs' magical new OS and how it stacks up from a gaming perspective.

    Apple PR: MacOS X Goes GM

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, March 7, 2001

    Game Auction for Charity4:57 PM
    MacSoft to Publish UT: GoTY11:26 AM
    Make a Tranquil World9:50 AM
    Yet Another Red Faction Preview9:29 AM
    Mac Game Programming Book Q&A9:17 AM
    Young's Modulus 2.0 Released9:13 AM
    Summoner for PC Almost Gold?9:08 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, March 7, 2001 on one page

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    Tuesday, March 6, 2001
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