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Friday, March 30, 2001

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Mac Hitchhiker's 3D to be Simultaneous Release
10:23 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday we brought you word of a new 3D adventure based on Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. More details have emerged on that today, including some great news on the Mac side of the fence. The title will be a 3D game set in the third person with similarities to Tomb Raider and the latest Legend of Zelda. Of course it will also contain the classic Adams humor and wit as you control the character of Arthur Dent as he travels throughout the galaxy. The game is being made by the same team that developed Adams' previous title, Starship Titanic, so you know they're already in familiar territory.

We managed to contact Pan Interactive, the group developing the game, to ask about the possibility of a Mac version. Douglas Adams is a well-known Mac fanatic, so our hopes were high. Pan's Susan Hedin did not disappoint with her answer:

The Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy will be released for Mac at the
same time as the Pc version!

We do not have an official site yet unfortunatly, but you may read a
bit more at our PR agent's site;

and in time there will be something here as well

Peter Noble PR, the company mentioned above, has three releases concerning Pan available for you to read. They provide more information on both Pan as a company and the game itself. Check them out for character screen shots and other infomation. The title is currently set for a release early next year, and you can be sure we'll keep bringing you more information as it becomes available.

IMG News: Hitchhiker's Guide 3D Title In Development
Pan Interactive
Peter Noble PR
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 3D

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Spiderweb Forums Active
6:20 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A recent update to the Spiderweb Software web site notes that the company now has message boards available. These boards include general topics like hints and tech support as well as game-specific areas for their many role-playing titles. Having trouble getting Avernum 2 up and running? Still trying to make it through the first Exile? Well, these boards are already very active with people willing to help you. Check them out if you're interested.

In related news, we thought this would be a good time to gloat over the release of Avernum 2 for Windows. The game was finished for the Mac way back in December, so if you're feeling nice, head over and give your PC-brethren some pointers.

Spiderweb Software Web Site
Spiderweb Software Message Boards
Spiderweb Software
Avernum 2
Buy Avernum 2

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Diablo II Q&A with Bill Roper
5:57 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

EuroGamer has posted the second half of an interview with Blizzard's Bill Roper about the upcoming add-on, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. In the article, Roper discusses various issues surrounding the expansion like new features, why they are adding 100 servers in Korea, and general security. He also reveals why they didn't add in certain features like a deathmatching mode. Here's an excerpt:

"It was a great idea that we came up with - we'll have these arenas that people can combat in - but we didn't really plan it out very well at the beginning", Bill admitted. "So when we tried to implement it in the expansion we realised that we wouldn't be able to do it justice, and people would probably be disappointed."

"We would have to have a way for people to gamble, so we would have to have some variation on the secure trading type thing where you can put items up. We'd have to have an area for it, and we'd want people to be able to come in and watch you battle. That got very strange on what we would have to do to make it work the way that we thought people would want it to work. And then we looked at how many people would really use it, and out of all the surveys it was a fairly small percentage of even the core players."

The rest of the interview gives some interesting new information on the game, so be sure to head over and have a read through it.

The Lord of Destruction expansion will add a fifth act and two new character classes to Diablo II. Blizzard hopes to have the Mac version out soon after the PC later this summer.

Bill Roper Interview at EuroGamer
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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WWII Online Interview
5:29 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new interview with Cornered Rat Software, makers of the upcoming massively multiplayer online war sim World War II Online, has been posted at Games.MacNN. They have talked with the Mac programmer Russell Mirabelli, as well as Chris Sherland and Rodny Hodge, about many aspects of this large title due out simultaneously for Mac and PC.

World War II Online will be an enourmous battlefield where you will go online to participate in nearly every feature of this historic war. Players can choose to be foot soldiers, pilots, tank controllers, or even truck drivers. The Q&A covers all of the basics about the game, including this clip about trying to get the players to organize within the game:

MacNN: Is there any safeguard or incentives for players to choose different roles, or do you just expect the community to balance this out themselves?

Mo: Well, kind of both. We've set the ground-taking thing to be exclusively a first-person shooter experience. You can't move the front line unless you use troops. So, we've reserved that for those guys and we've given that power to troops. In other words, without troops you really can't get anything done. You can slow down the supply flow of your enemy, bomb their stuff and give them a hard time, but you won't actually be able to move forward. Beyond that, we are also trusting in the community to get together and figure out how to play this game. In the manual and in the online tutorials that we'll have available through player services, we'll teach you how to use the guns and how to post missions and how to use the application itself. But we're really doing this so that the players can make that happen themselves.

Head over to MacNN to check out the rest of the interview. World War II Online is currently in a closed beta and the team is hoping to have the full version out later this year. The final Mac system requirements aren't yet known, but the team notes they will be "hefty." Be sure to have a look through the official web site for more info.

World War II Online Interview at Games.MacNN
Cornered Rat Web Site for World War II Online
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Old-School OS X Software
3:59 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

MacCentral found a new page posted at Casady & Green (the company famous for programs like Conflict Catcher and SoundJam) which details their gaming plans for OS X. One of their first and largest titles is Zone Warrior II, a 3D space-combat flight simulator. They have updated the $15 program, Carbonizing it to run on OS X as well. Here are just a few of its features:

  • Real planet pictures and star maps
  • Smooth 3D space-flight simulator
  • Fully textured graphics rendered real-time
  • 256 colors, display from 640 pixels wide up to 1024
  • Arcade action - shoot everything that moves through space Gouraud-shaded

In addition to Zone Warrior II, Casade & Greene will also be porting such Mac classics as Glider Pro, Crystal Crazy, and Step On It!. Many old-school Mac fans have probably wasted away many an hour at Glider Pro or Crystal Crazy, so it's great to see them making the transition to OS X.

Beta versions of Glider Pro and Step On It! are available for download now from the company's web site. Zone Warrior II is also available in its final version. There is no exact word on a Carbon copy of Crystal Crazy yet, but we'll keep you posted. Head over the Casade & Greene site now for more info.

OS X Games at Casade & Greene
Casade & Green Report at MacCentral

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New Marathon Archive Opens
3:20 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Evihcra has opened a new file archive dedicated to Bungie's classic FPS, Marathon. Even at its advanced age, new maps and modifications are continually added to expand this extremely popular series. Called the Lh'owon Ar'kives, the site will have Evihcra's other features as well. Here is more of an explanation from their press release:

The Lh'owon Ar'kives is more than just another archive, it is a fully
interactive, highly organized, and customizable online database COMMUNITY
where you can present your own hard work to the world as well as submit
reviews of the work of others. This is the perfect place to get feedback on
your Marathon creations. You have FULL PERSONAL CONTROL over your own
gaming files. Submit them when you want, removing or replacing them as YOUR
need arises. This site is designed to be very creator friendly. We are
gaming authors ourselves, we built our "dream machine" for the love of
gaming and now we want to let you in on it too.

In addition to the standard forum elements we provide:

  • Private Messaging
  • Online Polls posted by moderators
  • Find out who's online in the network and where.
  • Seamless integration into your account.
  • Email reminders when people respond to your postings.
  • Forums available to creation groups (that qualify).
  • Full text string searches for ease of locating information.
  • Identification of recent threads and posts since your last log in.
  • Head over to the Evihcra Marathon site now and have a look around. They have files nicely divided by category (Aleph One, Infinity, etc) for your browsing pleasure.

    Evihcra: Lh'owon Ar'kives

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    The Story of Tropico's Music Roots
    12:53 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    GameSpy has added another article to their ever-burgeoning list of Tropico news bites.
    The latest one centers around the island management sim's musical score and how it came to be.
    Written from the viewpoint of a harried PopTop employee, it provides a humorous look into what genre
    of music was decided upon, and the subsequent search for finding a music group that actually played it.

    To break it down into the raw details, the style of music originally decided on for Tropico's soundtrack
    was Bachata. Here's a quote from the book Bachata: A Social History of a Dominican Popular Music by Deborah Hernandez:

    Tracing its roots to the country's poorest areas and documenting its initial rejection by the media, mainstream musicians, and middle and upper
    class Dominicans, the author presents a history of this now-popular musical form. Five decades of musical, social, economic, and political
    change are analyzed through issues of class, gender, politics and migration and their impact on bachata and the Dominican music industry.
    The search for PopTop was actually quite difficult, as it's hard to find any real concrete info on Bachata via the net, with most of the search engines
    turning up nothing but albums. However, they were able to get in touch with Latin Music Specialists, and though they were not able to get what they had originally envisioned,
    the music they found was to their liking.

    Anyone looking for more Tropico news or just a good laugh should check out the article, as its humorous style is quite amusing. It also provides
    a look into the single facet of game creation, and just how troublesome it can be. And if nothing else, it has more screenshots of Tropico for readers to drool over.

    Tropico - Official Site
    GameSpy - The Sound of Musica
    PopTop Software
    Buy Tropico

    OS9, X Comparison Tests in Radeon vs. GeForce2
    11:28 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    xlr8yourmac recently posted up results of a test that compares ATI's Radeon to
    Nvidia's GeForce 2, both in OS9.1 and OSX version 10.0.1 (the unofficial update
    that was floating around this week) environments. Both cards were AGP, with the tests
    being done on a G4 533 dual processor. The testing medium was the 117 build of Quake 3, the version
    Omnigroup ported over for the OSX beta.

    Though the more technical points of the comparison may not hold much interest for the casual gamer,
    the hard numbers, specifically frames per second, should spark some interest. In OS9,
    the GeForce 2 seems to be the clear winner, with an average 7 fps advantage over the Radeon
    when viewed in 640x480 resolution mode (67.1 vs. 61 fps in 32-bit mode). If you normally play at a higher resolution, the advantage becomes less clear.

    However, when run under OSX, it's the Radeon that edges out the GeForce 2 by almost 7 fps, when viewed in the same
    resolution and bit mode as above (116.5 vs. 110.1 fps). Obviously both the NVIDIA and Radeon drivers are still in development for Apple's next-generation systems, as is the Omni Development port. Those numbers seem to indicate that the multiprocessor support added to Q3A is in full effect.

    It is important to remember that this benchmark is only in Q3A -- this is far from a comprehensive benchmark or comparison of the two cards, just a simple data point for comparison. Several factors,
    including the fact that a Q3 beta was being used, as well as the fact that sound was disabled for it to work under OSX, may
    be playing with the numbers a bit. Overall it shows amazing frame rates on both sides -- many of those numbers are equivalent to those seen on 1 GHz PCs! The strength of NVIDIA's driver development is obvious, and we can't wait to see what they come up with next. If we have both the GeForce 3 and ATI's next-gen card on the Mac this Summer, our days of gazing in envy at PC gaming machines might very well be over.

    Nvidia Official Site
    ATI Technologies - GeForce2 vs. Radeon

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    Baldur's Gate II Postmortem
    11:09 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Although the game has yet to be released for the Mac, GameSpot has posted an excellent postmortem for Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. The article was written by Bioware CEOs Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka as well as James Ohlen, executive producer for the game. The ten-page piece covers a number of things that went both right and not-so-right with this massive sequel to the amazingly popular original. When a game spans nearly 200-250 hours of play, you know it must be managed with care so that your artists, designers, and programmers don't let the project get off track. The postmortem covers the intricacies of the design project and much more. Here's an excerpt with a list of features both BioWare and fans wanted to see in the sequel:

    After combining and editing the two lists, we came up with the major feature list that looked like this:
    1. Higher resolution support (800x600 and up).

    2. 3D support for 3D graphics cards.

    3. Non-pausing dialogue in multiplayer.

    4. Drop-off panels in the interface.

    5. Multiple new character kits (subclasses) for all classes.

    6. Faster character movement.

    7. The ability to wield two weapons at once.

    8. Improved character animation (more detail, more frames).

    9. Inclusion of all of the "famous" D&D monsters, including the most famous of all, the dragon.

    10. Spells up to the ninth level for mages.

    11. Streamlined journal, annotatable map GUIs.

    12. Deathmatch mode.

    13. Character interaction and romances on par with those of Final Fantasy VII and other great PC and console RPGs.

    14. Definite evil and good paths to allow for alignment-based role-playing.
    RPG fans should definitely head over and read through the rest of the postmortem, as it gives you a great idea of what you might expect to find in Baldur's Gate II. MacPlay has given no specific date as to when we might be seeing the title other than this year. We'll keep you posted on any status updates. For now, check out IMG's preview of the game for more info.

    IMG Preview of Baldur's Gate II
    Baldur's Gate II Postmortem at GameSpot
    Baldur's Gate II
    Buy Baldur's Gate II

    Croteam on Mac Serious Sam
    10:53 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    This is the first time you've heard the shooter Serious Sam mentioned on our news page, but with any luck it won't be the last. When this first-person shooter with Doom-like gameplay and a next-generation graphics engine hit the streets on the PC side a few days ago, it received many accolades for putting the speed, mayhem and madness back into the genre. With hordes of enemies, a powerful arsenal and a definite sense of humor, this title by a small Croatian development company has been an instant hit -- and of course we want to see it on the Mac OS.

    A visit to the Croteam web site reveals that their engine is built upon OpenGL as a foundation and the networking is straight TCP/IP; there are no closed Microsoft technologies standing between a port of their engine to the Mac OS. The publisher for Serious Sam is Gathering of Developers, a strong Mac OS supporter in the past; combine these factors and this game warranted some serious investigation.

    IMG contacted Croteam and spoke with several staff members. While we didn't get a definite answer, we did find some good news to report. Here is the reply we got from lead programmer Alen Ladavac:

    Our stance is that we would like to make our engine as portable as possible.
    And Mac is, together with Linux, one of the first two platforms to think
    about when we are speaking of game portability. Unfortunately, we are still
    a very small developer and that is why we were not able to allocate
    resources for any porting or crossplatform development. I believe, however
    that this situation will change in the future.
    We've got a suspicion that once the dollars from Serious Sam sales start to trickle in, the situation might improve rapidly. Croteam is also moving to license their game engine aggressively, so a port to the Mac OS might not just bring Serious Sam to our platform, but future titles made with the engine as well. We'll keep tabs on Croteam; in the meantime be sure to visit the web site and check out the screen shots and engine specs.

    Gathering of Developers
    Croteam/Serious Sam Web Site

    Rune Expansion Set Screen Shots
    10:48 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    The Adrenaline Vault has recently posted some new screenshots of The Halls
    of Valhalla
    , Human Head's upcoming expansion set to their popular hack and slash game
    The shots themselves show off some of the new features such as new maps, new weapons, and
    new characters models including a new female warrior and what seems to be some sort of lizard man.

    Rune: The
    Halls of Valhalla (PC version) is currently priced at $19.99. We expect the Mac
    OS version to follow shortly afterward, and be the same price.

    The Adrenaline Vault - Rune Expansion Set Details
    The Adrenaline Vault - Rune Expansion Set Screenshots
    Rune: Halls of Valhalla for Mac Confirmed
    Gathering of Developers
    Human Head Studios
    Westlake Interactive

    Mac Summoner Progress Report
    10:21 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    Ever since this 3D RPG went "gold" for PC we have been anticipating the Mac version of this title, which is being ported in-house by developer Volition. This complex, console-style RPG has undergone a revolution in interface and features during its transition from the PlayStation 2 console to the Mac and PC platforms, and now includes co-op network play and high-resolution textures as well as support for various monitor resolutions.

    As the game is now based on OpenGL and a Mac OS version was in the plans from the beginning, the port is moving along quickly. Here is an update from lead programmer Mark Allender:

    Basically, it boils down to tweaking the sound code, networking code, and
    the graphics.

    I'm working on the final networking details right now-- basically hooking in
    support for Once that is done, I'll be moving on to
    tweaking the GL pipeline and polishing off Macintosh-specific bugs.

    If all goes well this project should be complete in the next few weeks, and then it will be handed off to GraphSim for publishing. For more details on Summoner, take a trip through our news search engine to check out past articles; there are plenty to choose from. The official Summoner web site has more images and details as well.

    Past Articles on Summoner
    Summoner Web Site
    Buy Summoner

    Mac Games News for Thursday, March 29, 2001

    Marathon: Resurrection Updates1:52 PM
    Hitchhiker's Guide 3D Title In Development1:01 PM
    Majesty Expansion Units Previewed10:45 AM
    Applelinks Reveals Fly II Instrument Details10:06 AM
    New, High-Rez Red Faction Trailers10:01 AM
    Update on ATI Technologies9:39 AM
    GameSpot Previews Neverwinter Nights9:34 AM
    e.p.i.c. To Port TopWare Title "Knights and Merchants"9:20 AM
    Unreal II Details Emerge8:55 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, March 29, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Wednesday, March 28, 2001
    Tuesday, March 27, 2001
    Monday, March 26, 2001
    Friday, March 23, 2001
    Thursday, March 22, 2001

    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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