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Thursday, April 12, 2001

MOO3 Forum Compilation, OS X Info
9:03 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official Master of Orion III site has updated a section for fans who don't have time to search the forums for tidbits of information. The 'official comments' area neatly organizes thoughts and ideas posted by Quicksilver employees on this third in the popular series. In case you're wondering what the game is about, the official one-sentence description is: "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." This barely skims the surface, though, so it's recommended you check out the web site for more.

While reading through the forum notes, we also found some rather pertinent information about the Mac version. They note that they are staying away from Windows-only technologies like DirectMusic, and they haven't yet decided on what to do about OS X support. Here's an excerpt:

MacOS X: While we have not finalized all of our plans for MacOS X, we're going to end up supporting it in one way or another. The main question will be performance. If it runs great without Carbon, we may just ship as a Classic application. If not, we'll go
the extra step and implement Carbon support. Either way, you should be covered.

I just met with some of the Apple folks at CGDC, and they're very supportive of MOO3. So if there's anything we need, I don't think there will be a problem getting it. In particular, we're planning to ask them for a number of Q/A machines as we get closer to release.

Thanks for your support. We intend to get all Mac fans a great game that's worthy of the platform. We've got a lot of Mac supporters in-house, and are committed to doing it right. This email is being written on a Mac, so that gives you some idea of who uses them here.

For many more details on the game itself, be sure to visit the impressively-large web site. Master of Orion 3 will be published by MacSoft when it is completed early next year.

Master of Orion 3 Web Site
Official Comments Section
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

Titanium PowerBook G4 Reviewed at IMG
1:39 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

After spending a couple of weeks with Apple's new Titanium PowerBook G4, we were finally able to stop Chris Morin's drooling long enough for him to write a review. There is little doubt that this is one of the sleekest, sexiest portables Apple has produced. While the review is a bit lengthy, it is very detailed and contains everything you need to know about the PowerBook G4. Here are some of Chris' thoughts:

Titanium has become the material of choice for designers. Eyeglass frames and watch bands are just a couple new designer applications for this metal. Does this mean the Titanium PowerBook is a piece of jewelry? Well, just ask anyone who purchased one. They will definitely take care of it as such. My first Sherlock search was for an agent for Lloyds of London. The Titanium PowerBook, codenamed Mercury, has a form like none other. Comparing the PowerBook to those many portables I see weekly always brings a superior smile to my face. Their thick black plastic cases and small screens appear so Neanderthal when side by side with the svelte body of my new portable. Here is a Mac that, like the Cube and a few others, spills the elegance of the OS over to the case design. Since installing Mac OS X on this computer, that perception is only strengthened.
We'll be updating the article with benchmarks in the next week to satisfy all you number freaks. In the meantime, enjoy the Titanium PowerBook G4 review.

Titanium PowerBook G4 Review

Click to enlarge
Warcraft III Creatures Featured
11:40 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

While this news isn't exactly "poppin' fresh," we found these reports by to be so detailed and informative that we thought they were worth sharing. Keenly focused as always on the object of their obsession -- which is of course Blizzard's Next Big Thing, Warcraft III -- the crew at WC3net has produced two detailed "spotlight" reports on the Orcs and Night Elves, two of the four 'races' of creatures you will be able to either play as or fight against in this RTS/RPG hybrid. Summing up all of the information leaked so far and filling in the gaps with some informed speculation, they produce detailed lists and images of the Heroes (as well as their known weapons and spells) and the 'grunts' they lead, as well as updated reports on the structures and buildings known so far.

The information on the Night Elves is particularly interesting, as they are shaping up to be quite different from the pseudo-Tolkien variants that are rehashed by most RPGs. We can tell just by reading through the unit characteristics that the Elves will be big favorites for both solo and netplay.

While these reports are indeed compiled from some guesswork and are probably subject to radical change in the 6 to 8 months before this game ships, they provide a glimpse into the depth and breadth of this Blizzard title. The multipage reports should be fascinating reading for any of you that had your curiosity piqued by IMG's hands-on preview of this title published last week.

Preview: Warcraft III
Night Elves Units Index at WarcraftIII.Net
Orc Units Index at WarcraftIII.Net
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

GeForce 3 Details, Benchmarks
11:19 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the actual shipping date for NVIDIA's "next big chip" approaches, more PC sites are producing detailed articles on the capabilities and features of this video processing revolution. Laden with technical gibberish and enough buzzwords to stuff a 4X AGP bus, the feature list of the GeForce3 chipset is extensive. And as you might have heard, this chipset will appear on the Mac platform simultaneously with the PC release, a first for both Apple and NVIDIA.

Although this article is written from a strictly PC perspective, CGOnline's look at the GeForce 3 is still a heady read for those who want a peek "under the hood" at this chipset before it ships. While the benchmarks in the article are almost useless to Mac gamers -- they compare graphics cards that don't run on the Mac using games with no Mac versions -- they do give an idea of the relative areas of improvement that the GeForce3 offers over the previous model. And most importantly, the preview attempts to answer that most gripping question: "What the hell is a quincunx?" Here is a sample:

The GeForce3 is a total monster of a chip. It weighs in with 57 million transistors made with a very advanced .15-micron manufacturing process—that's about 36% more complex than a Pentium 4. It'll handle 800 billion operations per second. Perhaps because it's such an enormously complex chip, it runs at only 200 MHz while the older GeForce2 Ultra runs at 250 MHz. Memory on most GeForce3 cards is 64 MB of 230 MHz DDR RAM (effectively 460 MHz), identical to most GeForce2 Ultra cards. Also like the GeForce2, it has four pixel pipelines with two texture units each. With a slower clock speed, identical RAM speed, and identical pixel pipelines and texture units, it should be slower than the Ultra, right? Not necessarily. NVIDIA has incorporated several new features to more efficiently use available resources.
The latest GeForce3 news for the Mac was both good and bad; the price was lowered by $100, but the actual availability of the cards themselves is extremely limited and initial orders may be pushed back to late May. We won't know until then if the superior performance and quality of the GeForce3 chipset will carry over to the Mac platform, but from our observations of the GeForce2 MX chipset in Mac systems we have high expectations indeed. With all those evaluation boards floating around the PC press, maybe a Mac news or gaming site might even score one to take for a spin -- that sounds likely, right?

CGOnline on the GeForce3

Elegant Chaos Speaks Up on Black and White
10:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

MacNN posted a story yesterday regarding the status of a Mac port for Black and White,
currently one of the hottest titles out for the PC as well as one of the most wanted
for Mac users. As IMG has posted earlier, Elegant Chaos is the development house
rumored to be working on the port. However, many Mac users who were unhappy with the buggy status
of one of EC's previous ports (Sim Theme Park) were worried that a port of B&W would
also suffer a similar fate, and voiced their concerns on MacNN's forums.

Interestingly enough, these posts did not go unnoticed by EC. An employee of EC, Sam Deane,
has responded to those posts with this message:

I can't officially comment on the B&W story, but I can say two things about Sim Theme Park / Theme
Park World.

The first is that development on STP/TPW is not at an end. A patch will be released that addresses
outstanding stability issues and improves general performance. As a previous poster mentioned, an
important part of this process is that we get the feedback that we need, so send it in!

The second, more general, point is that it would be fair to say that a number of lessons have been learnt
from the STP/TPW port, both by Elegant Chaos and by Feral. I can't say everything I'd like to on that
score, but suffice to say that nobody should worry about the same thing happening in the future.

For those wondering if a possible port by EC would suffer in quality, hopefully Deane's comments will alleviate concerns. It's
interesting enough that he saw and commented on MacNN's story and reader postings regarding such an issue.

So, how many more hints do we need before EC makes an official statement regarding a port of Black and White? Stay tuned to IMG for more details.

Elegant Chaos Official Site
MacNN - Games News Page

FiringSquad's History of ATI
9:58 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The team at PC hardware-focused site FiringSquad recently posted an article that details the trials, triumphs, and tribulations
of ATI, the company that has supplied video hardware to Apple (from the Rage Pro to the Rage 128 to the Radeon and more) for over 5 years. Though the article is not a chronological history, it notes ATIs humble beginnings, big breaks, and market ups-and-downs and
documenting ATI's past, present, and future plans.

ATI, which stands for Array Technology Industry, was started by 3 Hong Kong
emigrants: Kwok Yuen Ho (ATI's current CEO), Benny Lau, and Lee Lau, who collectively had
$300,000 between them when they started the company. Due to their lack of funds, they decided
to start a graphics company rather than a full-blown computer company. Being a new company, they initially
had a shaky start, but soon pulled in Commodore as a client, giving them their first
real boost in capital earnings.

The article goes on to detail the companies major breakthroughs, including its stellar record
of multimedia support, as well as its first real tastes of competition through rivals such as S3 and
NVIDIA. ATI's future plans (including its upcoming R200 chip) are also commented on. For the full story
on ATI's roller-coaster history, be sure to read this detailed article.

ATI Technologies Inc.
FiringSquad - History of ATI
Radeon AGP

Ares Updated to Version 1.2.0
9:14 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software, Inc. recently distributed a press release announcing that
Ares, their "tactical Inter-networkable space battle game," has been updated
to version 1.2.0. For those unfamiliar with the title, Ares is an action/strategy game
in which players must manage and protect planets, increase their manufacturing capacity, and
construct armadas with which they can wage interplanetary war. Strategy is emphasized more than
strength, allowing a player with weaker resources to still have the ability to decisively crush a stronger
opponent with the right maneuvers.

This update is free for registered users of Ares and includes
"Hera," a full-featured senario editor that lets players modify existing senarios (including
the built-in ones), create their own senarios, and play senarios created by other

Ambrosia's president, Andrew Welch, had this comment:

Sure, Ares is an older game. However, it still kicks ass, especially for net
play -- and now that we've unleashed a scenario editor on the
creative hordes of Ares addicts, we expect to see Ares live on
for quite some time with new and interesting user-created
scenarios. See you on GameRanger!
The update and the game itself are available for download on Ambrosia's homepage at the link below. There's also
more information and screenshots of Ares for those that are interested in more information.

Ambrosia Software - Ares

Click to enlarge
Brad Oliver on Alice, Carbonized Games
9:06 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

MacGamer has posted a short but significant interview with Brad Oliver,
Mac programming extraordinaire and general all-around nice guy. Even if the name is unfamiliar,
his works should be very familiar to Mac gamers, MacMAME and Alpha Centauri being among
the many projects he has worked on. The interview addresses his current and future projects, including
carbonization of key Mac titles.

In current news, Oliver reports that he is finishing up Centipede. He also notes that
the Mac version of Centipede is greatly improved over the PC version, and now includes
particle effects, new and improved artwork, more eye candy, higher quality cutscenes,
and "a few really cool surprises." To quote Oliver: "As far as ports go, the Mac version is
definitely a big step up over what was released on the PC."

Oliver is also currently working on the Mac port of American McGee's Alice. He reports that
the environment is easy to work with (tipping his hat to John Carmack in the process) and
also acknowledges Rogue Entertainment, the developers of the PC version, for being
truly interested in making the Mac version succeed.

He also notes that the Carbonized MacMAME will only run on the OS X Public Beta release, but not the
full version. Once Metroworks updates CodeWarrior for the retail OS X, he promises
to make another attempt at a Carbon version of MAME.

For more details on Alice's backstory as well as more info on Brad Oliver himself, be sure to check
out the entire interview. It's a good chance to familiarize yourself with one of the more
dynamic Mac programmers out there.

MacGamer - Interview with Brad Oliver
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Rogue Entertainment
American McGee's Alice

Myth: TFL Server Downtime
8:43 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Before the hardcore fans start mobbing online forums demanding answers, we thought we should point out a recent post to which notes the server for Myth: The Fallen Lords is currently offline. The pesky machine has decided now was a good time to call it quits, and they're in the process of getting a replacement up and running. Here are some specifics from Bungie on the subject:

Some of you may have noticed that there have been a number of, well, problems with the TFL server's stability recently. It seems that after nearly four years of valliant service the TFL gaming server has opted for retirement and a cheap gold watch instead of the standard "blaze of glory" route that we prefer not only our employes but our hardware and peripherals to take when that time comes...

What this means for the rest of you is that TFL will be down for a little bit. However, we plan to replace the current server with one that's just as, if not more stable in the next week or so! Hopefully, you won't have to wait long to resume your regular carnage garring activities.

It is a testament to the longevity and depth of the game that, as the third title in the series nears release late this year, people are still playing the original Myth. Look for the server to be back online next week.

Click to enlarge
Mac Deus Ex Adds Tips, Clans, Chat
8:40 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Mac Deus Ex, one of the many great IMG Network sites, has been updated recently with news of some major additions. This excellent resource for Mac fans of the action/RPG Deus Ex is getting even better with new areas of content. Included in these changes are project pages covering attempts to port the UnrealEd and Deus Ex SDK, clan pages for teams formed around the multiplayer experience of this game, and user-generated tips. Here's an excerpt from the site with a rundown on each:

  • Projects - There are a lot of things that can be done in the Deus Ex community, things that can be done a lot easier if people work together. Such things like "Porting the SDK to the Macintosh" and "Creating a Deus Ex computer theme" are hard, almost impossible tasks. But with the Projects section they can now become a reality, by signing up several different people who are skilled at a certain thing, tasks can be better managed and quickly accomplished. If your interested in helping with a certain project, or are interested in starting one of your own, be sure to check this feature out.

  • Clans - Interested in getting your own clan hosted on MacDeusEx? This is a new feature, I don't know if it will work out. Does your clan already have a website? I'll be starting a listing of all clans (both Mac *and* PC) for Deus Ex, be sure to submit all your info, and if you know of a clan that isn't listed also send it in! :)

  • User Tips/Tricks/Hints - Something a little different than a forum, submit your cool information and it will get added to the list. Instead of the forum, where your messages gradually fade away, this area will be maintained an easy to access archive, where many people can see cool things to do in Deus Ex. Be sure to submit all types of things, if yours is very good, it might just get posted to the main page!

  • Chat Room - You might of noticed the Chat link at the top of the page has disappeared. It is now located within the Users page, because a chat room is expressly made for the users. Stop by the room for casual chat, technical support, gaming help, or, when a meeting is going on, for a meeting! Yes, the chat room is host to all sorts of Project meetings. If you know of any good JavaIRC applets, you might want to send their information to, so a Java chat client can be released.

Head over to Mac Deus Ex for the rest of the info and to check out these new areas. Also be sure to sign up for a project if you're interested or contribute some strategies/hints for others to learn from.

Mac Deus Ex
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

Mac Games News for Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Apple Previews Escape from Monkey Island3:29 PM
Tropico Gold for PC, Mac Version in May2:03 PM
'Elegant Chaos' Tips Hand on Mac Black and White?12:24 PM
OS X Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 Solutions, Problems10:23 AM
New Screenshots of Tropico9:51 AM
Vampire: The Masquerade to Enter Testing Soon9:32 AM
New Tropico Contest8:51 AM
Myst III: Exile Goes Gold Master6:00 AM
New Movies/Impressions of Red Faction6:00 AM
New Shadowbane Monsters6:00 AM
Rune: Halls of Valhalla Interview, Preview6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, April 11, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Monday, April 9, 2001
Friday, April 6, 2001
Thursday, April 5, 2001
Wednesday, April 4, 2001

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