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Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Myth III Status Update
9:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Andrew Meggs, programmer for Mumbo Jumbo, has recently updated his personal web site with some news about their latest project, Myth III: The Wolf Age. This third in the popular series will be fully 3D for both terrain and characters, and it will be a prequel to the previous two games. In the status update, Meggs notes how he temporarily demoted himself from "lead programmer" to "programmer" in order to be able to focus on coding in anticipation of the upcoming E3 Expo. He also gives a healthy update on the progress of the game as well:

The game, itself, is doing really great. There was a long period early in the
year when there wasn't anything to really see, because the new engine and tools
were being developed alongside the new content, and what we basically had was
a new set of maps for Myth 2, some models and animations in 3DS, and
disconnected code. Recently, that's all come together and it's now Myth 3 with
some rough spots and missing pieces. It does a lot for one's motivation to
start seeing results and progress on a daily basis, especially with the artists
able to sur. On Thursday-Friday, I put textures back in using an all-new
renderer, and the performance increase is incredible. It's such a small thing,
maybe 100 lines of text when you look at the source code, but it's the right 100
lines. We've got the best OpenGL pipeline I've ever seen, and I say that having
worked on ports of games using all three Quake engines. A lot of more advanced
effects like reflections and bump-mapping that we thought we were going to have
to leave out in favor of just putting the sheer number of characters on-screen
that we needed are suddenly back on the table, if we can find the time to make
the extra textures for them. Naturally these would be extras that could be turned
on if you had the hardware for them; the requirements of the base game are
getting lower, not higher.
This is some great news for fans of the Myth series. Currently Myth III is on a very fast development timeline and is set for a release this fall. We'll keep you updated as new word becomes available on its status. For past details on Myth III be sure and read our interview with the team.

IMG News: Myth III Interview
Antennahead Industries Web Site

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Mac Europa Universalis Still Planned
12:19 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

IMG readers have expressed some concern after our report on Hyperion Software's apparent failure to complete a promised port of Soldier of Fortune to the Mac OS -- would their promised port of board-game sim Europa Universalis suffer the same fate? This port, to be completed by Hyperion and Tribsoft, was announced in early October. In January we received word from Hyperion (after they completed their port of Shogo: Mobile Armor Division) that work on EU had not yet begun. Considering what Raven and others have reported about Hyperion's lack of progress on Soldier of Fortune, the outlook for Mac EU does indeed look grim.

However, all is not lost. A member of Tribsoft has posted in our forums with the firm declaration that "Europa Universalis IS NOT DEAD on Mac." Although he did not go into elaborate details on the forums, we contacted this developer by e-mail and had a very positive discussion about the port. Work on Mac EU will indeed continue, and a team will take over the porting duties of this elaborate, gorgeous strategic battle simulation. However, a US publisher for the title is still needed; interested parties should contact Tribsoft, or mail IMG and we will relay the message.

For more information on Europa Universalis, you can visit the Tribsoft web site, visit the official game site, read a detailed preview of the game (if you want information without "spoilers") or the review of the PC version published by MGON.

Europa Universalis Review at MGON
Europa Universalis Preview at Wargamer
Europa Universalis Web Site

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Mac SoF Dead, SoF2 a Possibility?
10:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With new details now emerging about Raven's upcoming ultra-violent FPS sequel Soldier of Fortune 2, Mac users may be wondering what ever happened to the promised port of the original. Originally it was hoped Hyperion might have it out by the end of last year, but it is now looking like less and less of a possibility that we'll see the game at all. When we last heard from Hyperion in January, the port was still in the very early stages of development. A post in our forum about the topic contains a response a reader received from Hyperion which pretty much confirms they don't have the time or energy to work on Soldier of Fortune right now.

And while it may seem strange, Mac users might actually have a better chance at seeing the upcoming sequel ported to our platform. Soldier of Fortune 2 will be using the Quake 3 engine, which Raven is already familiar with from their Star Trek-inspired game Voyager: Elite Force. New word about the sequel posted at Soldier of Fortune Center (taken from the latest issue of PCGamer) notes that the game will also be using an updated version of ICARUS, Raven's AI scripting system used in Elite Force. The post in our forums also contains a note from Raven's Kenn Hoekstra saying much the same thing:

Soldier of Fortune (the original) unfortunately will not be making an
appearance on the Mac. The deal for the port fell through, I believe.
However...SoF2 is based on the Quake III engine, so it would be, in theory,
easier to port to the Mac. I'd say the chances of it making an appearance
are pretty good, though nothing has been signed at this time.
In case you're wondering, the sequel report also contains some of the game's expected features. While there reportedly won't be a multiplayer mode included, SoF2 will contain:

  • 1024x1024 textures vs 64x64
  • Characters of 3000 polygons vs 400 polygons
  • Weapons of 5000 polygons vs 500 polygons
  • Facial expressions on the characters
  • More missions based on the life of John Mullins
  • More realistic weapons vs the microwave gun and such
  • GHOUL II technology vs the GHOUL original
  • 30 pixel accurate areas of damage vs 12
  • From 20 death animations to 100 for 15 body types

Soldier of Fortune 2 is expected out for the PC this winter, though that's no real indication (or even confirmation) of when Mac port might be released. The use of the Q3A engine for development greatly increases the chances for a port of this title, especially since so many games based on it (Elite Force, F.A.K.K.2, and Alice) have been ported so far. While it's sad to see Hyperion having issues, we hope they can maybe recover later this year and start producing Mac games again.

IMG Forum Post Re: Soldier of Fortune
Soldier of Fortune Center Info on SoF2

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Rune Expansion/Patch Info
9:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

ActionVault has done some digging in the official Rune forums and found some great details on the upcoming expansion pack and patch for the game. One of the big complaints by a few fans of the game is that the expansion pack won't contain bot support. HumanHead's Tim Gerritsen and Ted Halsted explain that while they'd love to include bots, they never planned for them and taking the time and energy to program them correctly now would be too expensive for the team. Here's a clip from Halsted's response:

Seriously, with a six to one year development cycle for a SuperRuneArena Pak, we would have bots for you. And a higher price tag. We made a try at bots, but the budget and time constraints would not allow for them to be properly implemented and tested. We were not happy about this.

This is a fifteen to twenty dollar expansion with new game modes, improved net code, and new maps. It is going to be cool for some people, and apparently not for others.

I'd love to see bots too, BTW. Thanks for the compliments on the combat system. I think that bots would be outstanding with this system if properly implemented, but this would require a more expansive contract and time to test and implement and test and test and implement for the necessary half year or more to pull them off in righteous glory attendant with a whole new set of play modes to max them out.

So while some fans may find the news disappointing, the expansion will include many other awesome features to add to your Rune experience. Look for the Rune add-on sometime next month.

In another thread, the team comments that a patch for the original game should also be out very soon. It should fix many major issues with the game, though it will have to be ported by Westlake before it will work on a Mac. We'll keep you posted on its status when this is ready.

Rune Forum Info at ActionVault
RuneGame Official Message Boards
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

More Fly! II Details
9:25 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Applelinks has posted another update regarding Gathering of Developers' upcoming title
Fly! II. For those unfamiliar with the name, Fly! II is a pure recreational flight sim that strives
to capture all the nuances of flying a private aircraft, including navigating a plane
solely by instrument readings rather than sight.

The latest news update sheds some light on the multiplayer aspects of this title. Fly! II multiplayer
will boast continuous environments, complete with constantly changing weather,
other user aircraft, and radio communication (Roger Wilco support is included).
Flight parties can be organized, and emergency situations may develop during play. The ability
to search for and "teleport" to specific players will also be included.

For a clip straight from the press release, as well as screenshots of this upcoming title, be sure
to check out the full article at Applelinks. Fly! II is scheduled for release on April 27th.

GodGames - Fly! Series
Applelinks - Fly! II Update

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No Mac Beta for Diablo II Expansion Set Test
8:58 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blue's News has noted that Blizzard recently updated its FAQ for the upcoming
beta testing of Lord of Destruction, the expansion set for the popular isometric RPG
Diablo II.

When the FAQ first came out, it did not address whether or not Mac owners would be able to get
in on the testing as well, leaving many Mac owners guessing (and probably e-mailing Blizzard). However, in their
recent update, they provide a definite answer to the question:

[Q]: Will there be a Mac version of the Beta available?

[A]: No. The focus of our Beta is on servers rather than specific client systems.
While this is no doubt a disappointment to many a Mac Diablo II fan, it's worth noting that Blizzard
has been very good to Mac owners in recent times, releasing their major titles
for Macs, shooting for near-simultaneous releases with PC versions, and even allowing IMG some time in their studios for a preview
of the upcoming Warcraft III.

Lord of Destruction is due for the Mac within the 1st half of 2001, with an expected price of $30.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Official Site
Blue's News
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Beta Testing FAQ
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Mac Games News for Monday, April 2, 2001

Bushfire Updated to 1.034:35 PM
Westlake on Mac OS X3:40 PM
Atari 800 Emulator Updated3:32 PM
April Fool's Pranks Abound1:33 PM
Creative Labs' SoundBlaster Still MIA11:28 AM
Adrenaline Vault Anticipates Tropico11:16 AM
"Jinn" Demo Level Released11:07 AM
IMG Previews Warcraft III10:02 AM
More Myst III: Exile Collector's Edition Clarifications9:27 AM
Star Trek: Elite Force Add-on Images9:27 AM
OS X Maximum Pool Update Soon8:48 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, April 2, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, March 30, 2001
Thursday, March 29, 2001
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Tuesday, March 27, 2001
Monday, March 26, 2001

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