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Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Shadowbane Loses Publisher
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

One of the A-list titles we are looking forward to with great pleasure is Shadowbane, which will be the first 3D MMORPG to ship with support for the Mac OS. Unfortunately the developer Wolfpack Studios has encountered an unwelcome change of plans -- according to fansite Crossroads of Shadowbane, Shadowbane has quietly been dropped from prospective publisher Gathering of Developers' list of future releases.

Although many might see this as cause for alarm, a Wolfpack spokesperson assured Crossroads of Shadowbane that work on the title would continue, and that it would be released in the future, though by what means was not specified. The report on Crossroads also hints that Gathering of Developers and their owner Take Two Interactive may be in some financial straits, though we have seen no corroborating evidence to suggest that this is the case.

We have contacted the Wolfpack team to confirm that work on the Mac OS version of this game will continue. In the meantime, here is a statement made by "Warden" of Wolfpack:

...We're telling you, flat out, that we aren't in a position to talk right now. I realize that a lot of people have doubts, and thats unfortunate.. more unfortunate, perhaps, because there's not really much I can do about it.

In the meantime, beta continues to move forward, we're hiring new people on a weekly basis, and no one at Wolfpack seems worried. Let me be very clear on this point : Shadowbane WILL be released. We are not concerned for the future of this product.

While this is reassuring, those of us anticipating the Mac OS version of this game (which is keeping parity with the PC version in simultaneous development) find the situation a little chilling, as not all PC publishers are as Mac-friendly as Gathering of Developers has been in the past. If the title was picked up by another major PC house such as Activision or Electronic Arts, Wolfpack may have a challenge convincing them that a Mac OS version of the title would be worth releasing and supporting. We'll continue to investigate the issue, but ultimately we do have faith that a Mac version of this title will indeed reach the market. For information on Shadowbane itself visit the official web site, the Crossroads of Shadowbane fan site or browse through our long list of related articles.

Shadowbane Web Site
Past Articles on Shadowbane
Crossroads of Shadowbane
Wolfpack Studios

IMG Reviews iMac SE
6:34 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In case you haven't made it out the the IMG front page today, our review of the iMac SE has been posted for your reading pleasure. The article takes a look at the 600 Mhz version of the colorful machine, as well as testing it for interested gamers out there. This iMac does ship with a 16MB version of the Rage 128 Ultra, as opposed to the earlier 8MB chips, and sounds like it handles games well. Here's a clip from the review with more:

When tested against a variety of old and new games, the iMac Special Edition was a solid performer. Unscientific benchmarks had this machine easily breaking the 30 frames per second barrier at 640x480 resolution using 32-bit color in both Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. In most cases, the frame rates in these two 3D shooters peaked above 60 frames averaging at over 30 frames per second.

With its support of both OpenGL and RAVE acceleration, the Rage 128 Ultra easily handled every game title that was thrown at it. Carmageddon 2, which is best played using RAVE acceleration, is a four year old game that worked just as well as Blizzard Entertainment’s recent hit Diablo II, which can work with or without 3D acceleration. Not surprisingly, simple 2D games such as Delta Tao’s Spaceward Ho! also ran without incident.

Be sure to head over and read through the rest of the interview now. While the polka dots may not appeal to the hardcore crowd, the machine is the fastest G3 available and should do well with most every game out there.

IMG Review: iMac SE 600

SixtyForce Update, Source Released
6:14 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After receiving no updates for nearly half of a year, SixtyForce has a new version 0.6.0a1 available. Gerrit, author of this popular Nintendo64 emulator, doesn't note many changes in this update other than a fix for the memory expansion pack emulation. A look through the menus finds some larger differences between this and past versions, though. Performance and compatibility seem better, so give it a download and try for yourself.

Also included in his recent update is a downloadable version of the SixtyForce source code. While the included readme notes that some files have been removed, interested parties should be able to compile a version of the SixtyForce application. If you're interested in seeing the innards of another impressive emulator, here's your chance.

Download SixtyForce 0.6.0a1 Source Code
SixtyForce Web Site
Download SixtyForce 0.6.0a1 (170k)

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Myst III: Exile Survey/Contest
12:12 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Riven Unofficial Home Page has new word of a survey from Ubi Soft in which you can enter to win a copy of the Myst III: Exile Collector's Edition. Five copies of this $59 game will be given away to survey entries selected at random. Since the title has changed publishers quite a few times in recent history, it looks like Ubi Soft is looking to gauge just how popular the series will continue to be. Myst fans will definitely want to fill it out as a show of support. As a little reminder, here's what the Collector's Edition will contain in addition to the normal game:

  • The official Prima Myst III: Exile Strategy Guide
  • The Making of Myst III: Exile CD, a 22 minute video looking behind the scenes of the game
  • A special Squee toy, allowing you to decorate your home or office with Exile's most lovable character
  • The Myst III: Exile Soundtrack CD

Both the normal game and the Collector's Edition will be released to the general public in May 7. Get your preorders in now to ensure your copy will arive on time.

Myst III: Exile Survey
Riven Unofficial Home Page
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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IGN PC Previews Red Faction
10:05 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

PC IGN recently got to check out Volition's upcoming FPS Red Faction, a game that is said
to redefine the FPS genre as we know it. Though the version they preview is the PS2 version, the gameplay details are still pertinent,
as this title will also be released for Mac and PC later in the year.

The main focus of the preview is on what is probably Red Faction's most innovative aspect: it's Geometric Modification
engine (Geo-Mod for short), which "enables realtime 3D environment deformation." In other words, if you can shoot it,
you can mess it up.

Though this may initially sound like more like a destructive perk than an actual feature, the applications
that are possible with this engine open up a whole new world of gameplay. For example, walls are no longer the impassible
barriers they used to be. In Red Faction, if an enemy's hiding behind a wall, a player can riddle the wall with bullet holes,
hoping to hit the target behind it. Or, more simply, they could just blow the wall apart with a well-placed rocket, exposing the enemy behind
it for an easy frag.

Puzzle solving has also been expanded due to the new engine. In one demonstration, the player had to
change the path of a lava flow in order to bypass it. This was achieved by blocking the flow and rechanneling
it to create a pathway.

Tired of having to retrace your steps over and over to navigate through a maze-like series of corridors? Know the hall you want is beneath you,
but don't feel like running 2 miles to reach the next set of stairs? Blow a hole in the floor and drop through. Knock a few walls down
and go on your merry way. The Geo-Mod engine will allow for all of this, making for some truly open-ended area navigation.

Weapons and vehicles will also be augmented by the capabilites of the Geo-Mod. One of the weapons, the rocket launcher, will have an HUD
that allows a player to see enemies through walls, allowing them to frag them without ever seeing them. Other weapons, such as the railgun, will be
able to shoot through several surfaces. Vehicles can be used to plow through walls. One of the vehicles, referred to as the driller, seems
to be designed specifically with this ability in mind.

Speaking of vehicles, Red Faction is offering several to pilot. They include the already-mentioned driller,
a minisub, a flying fighter, an Armored Personnel Carrier, and a jeep. The vehicles are reportedly easy to
enter and exit, and respond and handle accordingly to their designed capabilities. Each one can be used for combat purposes, meaning
battles from air-to-air to ground-to-person are possible.

For more details on what looks to be a groundbreaking game, be
sure to check out IGN PC's full preview for the rest of the story.

IGN PC - Red Faction Preview
Red Faction

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New Fly! II Screen Shots
10:02 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

FlightXPress, a German website, has recently posted exclusive screenshots of
GodGames' upcoming flight sim Fly! II. Fly! II touts itself to be a
"technologically-advanced general aviation simulation" that features control so realistic
a good pilot will be able to navigate solely via the instrument control panel.

The new screenshots themselves show off some of the amazing graphical detail that Fly! II contains.
The planes boast full decals, details, and light-sourcing. The ground, even from several miles up,
is also extremely detailed, with one of the shots showing contoured farmland with amazing accuracy.
Even the clouds and the ocean look real.

The clincher for these new screenshots, though, has got to be the helicopter. It is just as highly detailed as any
model in the game, demonstrated by one of the shots that shows a detailed control
panel and cockpit viewable through the cockpit windows. Besides that, well, it's a helicopter, so you just have to
love it.

There's currently a rumor that the Mac version of Fly! II may not make the late April release date
originally scheduled. IMG is currently looking into this, and will be sure to let readers know when details
have been confirmed. In the meantime, be sure to visit FlightXPress and see the new screenshots.

FlightXPress - Fly! II Screenshots
GodGames - Fly! II Info Page
Terminal Reality
Fly! II
Buy Fly! II

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Rune Expansion Interview
9:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new interview with HumanHead's Tim Gerritsen and Chris Rhinehart covering their upcoming expansion pack Rune: Halls of Valhalla has been posted recently at VoodooExtreme. This add-on for Rune has been published remarkably fast and will focus on the multiplayer aspects the team couldn't get into the original game. Included in the expansion will be 33 new levels, new models, new skins for current models, and two new gametypes. These new modes will be Arena and Headball. Headball has been described as "basketball for Vikings," so you can probably guess the gory details there. Arena is similar to the 1 on 1 style of rocket arena for Q3 or UT. Here's a clip from the interview with more info:

VE - What was probably the most difficult thing to implement into the add-on, but something that the entire team really wanted to see in the game?

CR - Arena was originally planned to be purely 1-on-1.  Everyone wanted to see if X-on-X could be implemented.  This caused a bunch of internal code/maps problems, which were all eventually ironed out.  I'm extremely glad we got X-on-X implemented, it really is the coolest multiplayer mode I've played in Rune.  It feels like a fast, furious team deathmatch, with the fear of dying you get in Counterstrike because once you die, you're out of that battle!

Head over to VoodooExtreme now and have a read through the rest of the interview. They've also snagged seven new screen shots of the add-on, so take a look at those as well. The Mac version is expected out from Westlake Interactive and Gathering of Developers in about month. We'll keep you posted on any changes in its status.

IMG News: Rune: Halls of Valhalla for Mac Confirmed!
Halls of Valhalla Interview at VoodooExtreme
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Warcraft III FAQ Update
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has once again updated their "Scroll of Knowledge" FAQ for upcoming RTS/RPG Warcraft III. With over twenty new additions to the already extensive list, the new pre-answered questions cover the gamut from 3D card support to the role of Ogres in this long-awaited sequel. If you've got a question about this game that wasn't answered by our hands-on preview of the title (although that is tough to imagine) then it can be found on this list. Here's a small sample:

Why were the Burning Legion removed as a playable race?

The concept for the Burning Legion has always been one of an epic and dominating force within the world of Warcraft. During the race design process, we found that the Demons lost much of their flavor and importance in the world when we were forced to try and balance them to the other races. In the end, we felt that using the Demons as an ultra-powerful NPC race would be a better option for the game, and in the process, allow us to give the other races more concentrated spells and abilities.

Will the Burning Legion be a playable race using the world editor?

No, but they can be used as non-player units for multi-player games or in trigger maps.

How will the Undead construct buildings?

Acolytes will raise undead structures from the Blight.

We'll just nod our heads knowingly after that last one. Remember when you visit the FAQ that the updated questions are in white. And if you've missed out on our WCIII preview, we think you'll do the right thing and click the link below.

Preview: Warcraft III
Blizzard's Warcraft III Web Site
Warcraft III "Scroll Of Knowledge"
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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Marathon: Resurrection Site Returns
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Last Thursday we reported that the Marathon: Resurrection web site had been updated with a new Flash introduction that was sure to give old-school Marathon fans a thrill of nostalgia. Now the site itself has reappeared with several updates and a new title screen, reassuring fans of this project that it will indeed continue.

In a nutshell, the Marathon: Resurrection project is an attempt to bring the Marathon experience to life in an advanced graphics engine, specifically the Unreal Tournament engine. With maps, mods and "mutators" the team plans to re-create both the solo and multiplayer aspects of Marathon, while adding their own subtle improvements and enhancements.

New updates to the site include a gorgeous title screen with a radical re-vision of the "Hunter" character from the marathon series and several new images added to the weapons gallery. Fans of this project should definitely check out the new additions; we have been assured that there will be much progress on this project in the near future, and hopefully a beta of what they have completed so far.

Marathon: Resurrection Web Site
Marathon: Resurrection

Mac Games News for Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Mac Europa Universalis Still Planned12:19 PM
Mac SoF Dead, SoF2 a Possibility?10:08 AM
Rune Expansion/Patch Info9:41 AM
Myth III Status Update9:35 AM
More Fly! II Details9:25 AM
No Mac Beta for Diablo II Expansion Set Test8:58 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, April 3, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Monday, April 2, 2001
Friday, March 30, 2001
Thursday, March 29, 2001
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Tuesday, March 27, 2001

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