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Monday, April 16, 2001

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Trade Wars: Dark Millennium Interview
8:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Late in February, IMG brought you word of a new title inspired by the classic Trade Wars BBS game. This 3D massively multiplayer title will attempt to set new highs for the real-time strategy genre, as well as bring back memories of the amazing speed of 2400 baud modems.

Realm Interactive is the developing company which has obtained the rights to the game, and GameSpot recently chatted with their lead programmer Dave Adams about his work on the project. The team is currently focusing on keeping the spirit of the original title while making the transition from ASCII to fully 3D worlds. Here's a clip from the interview with more:

GS: Describe some of the main tasks for the player in the game. Will the balance of space trading, combat, and planet building be similar to that of the Trade Wars BBS game?

DA: The balance of these different activities will be shifted in Dark Millennium, with more emphasis on combat and empire building and less emphasis on those activities that are often redundant. One example is trade. In the original, trade was one of the primary sources of growth and expansion. However, trade wasn't very entertaining. Players wanted to trade so that they could do the things that were entertaining, such as building planets, corporations, and sector defenses. In fact, players eventually created helpers to automate the task of trading so they could concentrate on the fun stuff. As a result of this, trade in Dark Millennium will be highly automated.

In addition to combat and empire building, players will be concerned with customizing units, harvesting resources (some hostile--for example, harvesting creatures for resources), diplomacy, growing their heroes and avatar, and of course etching their names in the annals of history.

Trade Wars: Dark Millennium seems to be a massive undertaking, but we're hopeful these folks will be able to pull it off. Head to GameSpot to have a read through the rest of the informative Q&A.

While the game will initially be released for Windows, a Mac version is in the works and should be out soon after. Realm Interactive is currently shooting to have Trade Wars: DM finished early next year, with a beta test beginning this summer.

IMG News: Trade Wars Remake Coming to the Mac
Trade Wars Web Site
David Adams Interview at GameSpot

IMG Hunts for Mac Game Easter Eggs
1:56 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

IMG has just posted an interesting new article which looks at some of the best easter eggs in Mac gaming history. Although Easter Sunday has already passed, every day is a fun day to find these secrets in your favorite titles. Some of the included games are Myth 2: Soulblighter, Dark Castle, Diablo II, and more. Here's a clip:

Myth 2 makes the list of the best Easter Eggs because of the following. On the third level, “Down a Broken Path,” if you explore you may find three frogs on a rock-- blowing them up reveals three small objects that look suspiciously like actual Easter eggs. Blowing up the frogs also unlocks a tongue-in-cheek secret level. The new level is a spoof of the best-selling game Deer Hunter, except in this case some of the deer explode when they get too close to your units. The title of the level, “A Long-Awaited Drinking Party,” is a play on the name of the secret level from the original Myth. And I’m told that if you find the three frogs again in the secret level that they will be spoofing an old ad for Budweiser beer (substituting a certain Fallen Lord’s name for the product in question.)
Head over now for a fun look at this hidden treasures. And if you've got a favorite easter egg which is not mentioned in the article, give a shout-out to our forums and share it with the rest of the world.

The Best Mac Game Easter Eggs

Apple Revs Up For WWDC
12:45 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Apple is very been busy planning an exciting Worldwide Developers
Conference 2001 agenda for you. With over 100 in-depth technical
sessions, hands-on workshops, feedback forums led by Apple's top
engineers, as well as many new exhibits, you're sure to find
WWDC 2001 a valuable, information-packed experience.


Session titles and descriptions are now posted to the WWDC 2001
website. Apple will continue to update session details as the
conference nears, so visit often for the latest session and
activities information.


Don't miss the chance to have your exceptional products recognized
by Mac fans everywhere. Winners receive an all-new Power Mac G4 and
22-inch Apple Cinema Display. Download the contest entry form online.


This year's WWDC takes place May 21-25, 2001 in San Jose,
California. Seize this once-a-year opportunity to learn all there is
to know about Mac OS X, the unique, newly-released operating system
from Apple.

WWDC web site

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Neverwinter Nights Interview
10:55 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Stomped recently posted an interview with Rob Bartel of BioWare, the company currently working on the upcoming title Neverwinter Nights. NN is an RPG based on the 3rd Edition of the official Dungeons and Dragons rule book, and it features solo and multiplayer modes as well as what is shaping up to be one of the most powerful senario-building and dungeon-mastering editors ever developed.

Though many details have already been revealed for this title, Bartel manages to reveal yet more relevant info for NN. He comments that the graphics engine, from a writer's perspective, should be fun to work with. It includes dynamic shadowing, colored lighting, a robust particle system, reflective surfaces and tons of animations, all of which should help a story designer create just the right mood for adventures.

Character generation for the game is taken almost straight from the 3rd edition D&D rules. The Point-Buy system outlined in the DM's guide will allows players to tweak their ability scores. All 7 races and 11 character classes outlined in the 3rd edition Player's Guide will be available, both male and female. As a character develops in-game, a player can choose various special skills and feats with which to flesh out their character. For people who don't wish to roll the dice, several pre-fabricated characters will also be available.

In terms of weapons, there will be 35-40 different types in the game, including kamas, shuriken, and double axes. Interestingly enough, treasure will be randomized in the game, creating a slightly different experience for each player.

One of the aspects of the editor that BioWare wanted to make sure of was its ease-of-use. A user with no art or modeling experience, using the tile-based map editor in NN, could build an eye-pleasing map in about 5 minutes according to various reports.

Bartel has some additional comments regarding the multiplayer aspect of NN:

One thing to clarify is that BioWare is not creating a massively multiplayer world like of Everquest or Ultima Online. That said, a number of our fan groups are! Provided you have a cable- or xDSL-based modem, you’ll be able to host an estimated 64 Neverwinter players on your home machine. From there, you will be able to use in-game Portals to connect your server to servers run by friends or guildmates. Connect enough servers together and your players will have a massive realm to wander and plenty of fellow adventurers to interact with. The really neat thing is that the concept is infinitely expandable. If you ever want to increase your geography or player capacity, just find another friend willing to run a server.

But all of that is really icing on the cake. The core focus of Neverwinter Nights is the classic D&D experience of a small party adventuring under the guidance of an all-powerful Dungeon Master. You can create your own modules to support this or you can use the official campaign that we’ll be shipping with the game. The official campaign will be playable both in single-player or online, with or without a Dungeon Master present. It will be an epic game in its own right and, even if you never so much as dabble in the toolset, download player-made modules, or jump online to adventure and compete with friends, we still intend to give you your money’s worth.

This game has many players aching for the chance to access its features, especially the highly-touted level editor. Bartel remarks on the possibility of a pre-release beta, but nothing is set in stone. The beta, if it were to be released, would most likely feature the editing toolset, which Bartel hopes would generate some player-made campaigns even before the release of the title itself.

For the full interview, be sure to check it out at Stomped. NN is currently set for a near-simultaneous PC/Mac release, sometime at the end of this year.

BioWare Corp.
Neverwinter Nights Official Site
Stomped - Neverwinter Nights Interview
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Creative Labs Starts Forum Thread
10:49 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A thread was recently started on by CreativeOne, an employee of Creative Labs, the creators of the recently released Sound Blaster Live! card for the Mac. The thread was started for SB Live! Mac owners to give Creative Labs engineers direct feedback regarding their recent experiences with the card in order to facilitate the bug-fixing process, as well as alert card owners in general to potential problems.

Reports on the card have varied widely, but some common issues do seem to appear. Many users report hearing various static pops and clicks while scrolling through menus and performing other mundane tasks. Some users report various extension conflicts and system crashes. Plenty of people have complained about the installer for SB Live's system extensions, which is apparently inelegant and multi-faceted. Many problems can supposedly be solved by simply turning OFF "sound sets" in the Mac OS 9 Appearance control panel.

Life is not all bad for new SB owners. The users also report that the card puts out some great sound for their system, with the included copy of Deus Ex - EAX version producing incredible effects that actually improve gameplay. For audiophiles, the S/PDIF issue is being discussed in detail, with initial reports for 4.1 output being extremely positive.

For the rest of the thread, be sure to check out xlr8's forums. Feel free to also follow up in IMG's own hardware forum, where discussions on the SB Live! are also in full force.

xlr8yourmac - SB Live! Forum Thread
IMG Hardware Forum - SB Live! Thread

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Mac Deep Space Nine: The Fallen Still in Limbo
10:35 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Unfortunately, the tale we have to bring you today regarding Simon and Schuster's long-promised port of Deep Space Nine: The Fallen is a familiar one. We've declared this game (on the advice of the porting team, The Collective) "almost gold" more times than we care to remember, but for one reason or another this game remains just a few steps short of the finishing line. Here is the most recent update on the game's progress that we were able to coax out of The Collective, from team member Doug Hare:

Unfortunately we're still waiting on Rad Games providing us with release
versions of their audio libraries.
This is of course the same thing we were told in January, February and March. On the PC side, third-person adventure DS9: The Fallen uses the Miles Sound Library for MP3 sound track playback, as the Unreal Tournament engine upon which the game is based does not provide its own means for MP3 music that shifts to follow the pace of onscreen action. It seems that Rad Games, the creators of the Miles Sound System, have been slower than expected in delivering the Mac OS version of the sound system, leaving The Collective (and Mac gamers) hanging.

You may be familiar with Rad Games' work in other areas, specifically video -- they are the creators of the Bink movie format and player often used for high-quality cinematics and online video, as well as the previously-popular Smacker format.

We're no longer going to make the mistake of predicting when Mac Deep Space Nine: The Fallen will come out; we'll just note that as far as we have been able to determine the project is still pending and planned for release. We've included a link to Rad Games below in case those of you eager to see Mac DS9: The Fallen completed wish to send a polite strategically-targeted e-mail to them encouraging a Mac release of the Miles Sound System.

Preview: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
RAD Game Tools' Miles Sound System
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen

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Omni Group's Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 Notes
9:57 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The Omni Group is fine-tuning a Cocoa (native Mac OS X) port of Gathering of Developers' third-person shooter Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 for release, and a public beta is currently available. A number of threads on our forums are reporting radically different experiences with playing both the final and demo versions under Mac OS X, with some having perfect success and others not able to get past the initial title screen.

One of the most puzzling issues has affected those trying to play the demo version of the game with the Omni Cocoa build. It turns out that the "Insert CD" problem suffered by many is an actual bug, and the current beta was not intended to be used with the demo in the first place. Those who are reporting success must be quite lucky indeed. According to a forum post by an Omni developer, this bug will be fixed and in the future separate "demo" and "full" releases will be made.

The beta itself is progressing rapidly, adding better support for multiple-monitor setups, a solution for the "Unable to Initialize OpenGL" bug and many more minor fixes. A new release is expected later this week.

Overall those who have had success with the Omni port are reporting excellent results, with speed equal to or better than the OS 9 port and better sound and music performance as well. As with Omni's port of Quake 3 Arena v117, this team seems poised to bring the power of Mac OS X and some of the best games of the last year together in a brilliant fasion, unlocking the gaming potential of the Mac we have all waited patiently for. Future titles that Omni will tackle include American McGee's Alice, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Bungie's thrid-person action title Oni. Be sure and report your experiences with the Cocoa port of FAKK2 in our Mac OS X forum.

Mac OS X Forum
Heavy Metal Fakk 2 for OS X beta 2
Gathering of Developers
Ritual Entertainment
Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2

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Big Tropico Preview
9:14 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

A massive preview of PopTop's nearly-released dictator simulation Tropico has been posted at IntelGamer. The long piece is jam-packed with information about the game and also includes a new bunch of screen shots. If you are unfamiliar with Tropico, then this preview should help you get up to speed. The article is also a bit of a walkthrough, as it explains how you should start developing your island. An excerpt follows:

This game isn't about controlling individuals, but is about controlling your people's lives. You can decide what the pay scale will be at most structures you build. If you build housing such as a tenement or apartment building, you can also decide how much rent will be paid. Your people will pay no more than one-third of their salary in rent (just like real life and the IRS, if it is a married couple their salaries are combined.) If the rent is too high or their salary drops, they will move out and build shacks. This will decrease the island's happiness, not to mention hurt tourism since people don't want to visit slums. So you see, every action you take in the game can have a positive or negative influence on your land.
The Mac OS version of Tropico is being developed in-house and should appear in May. We recently posted our own preview of the island sim, so check it out if you want more information.

PopTop Software
Tropico Web Site
IMG Tropico Preview
IntelGamer's Torpico Preview
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

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Tomb Raider 5 Nears Final; Level Editor Update
9:08 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has updated their news page with a status check on their port of Tomb Raider: Chronicles for Aspyr Media. The game is now in final beta testing, and should be released in the near future. Good progress is also being made on the level editor, which will allow Mac users to create their own maps for use in the game. The editor will be included on a separate CD inside the retail box. And if that's not good enough for fans of the series, Tomb Raider 4 will be modified so that you can play custom levels downloaded from the net. Both Mac and PC levels will be interchangeable. Here are the details:

Tomb Raider Chronicles is in final beta testing, and we're very pleased with how it is turning out.

Much of the time on this project is now being devoted to the Tomb Raider Editor. The work is going smoothly, we now have the editor up and running on the Mac, with the ability to load and save levels, including objects and textures. Many of the editor functions are working including multiple undo's, preview mode, wall/floor/ceiling selection, and color palettes. We've also made the editor a bit more Mac friendly, supporting Mac menus, dialogs, and open/save dialogs.

Current plans are to include the editor on a extra CD in the box with the finished game. The online manual and tutorial from the PC will be part of the editor package, as well as several small utilities (level converter and others). The final piece of the editor is the special Tomb Raider Player application, which is a modified version of TR4 that lets you play the levels you create or download from the net. All levels created on the Mac & PC are interchangeable and can be played or edited on either system.

Tomb Raider Chronicles should hopefully be available in about a month and will published by Aspyr Media.

Westlake Interactive Tomb Raider Update
Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Core Design
Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Buy Tomb Raider: Chronicles

Kids Domain's Easter Update
9:04 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Kids Domain has once again updated their listing of shareware/freeware titles geared towards children with a new offering of Mac titles. Here is a list of new items added over the Holiday weekend:

  • Space-Based Astronomy

    This PDF doc, geared towards kids 5 to 8, includes a wealth of activities and information on the science of Astronomy, including the U.S. space program and the Mars surveyor program.
  • Paso Partners Bilingual Instruction

    A PDF doc aimed at 1st graders, this download focuses on plants, seeds, and good health practices. Various activities in language, mathematics, and science are included. This PDF is part of a larger program, designed for Hispanic-primary children to whom English is a second language.
  • Calorie Kids Node Jumpber

    This game features the Calorie Kids. The objective is to rescue all the kids on each level by surrounding them with walls created by the player's Node Jumper. Players must watch out for the Calorie Kid DTS, and use Worm Holes, Transformers, and Force Fields to aid them.
  • Calorie Kids Space Walk

    The objective here is to push various platforms up or down to facilitate getting all the Calorie Kids from one side of a space station to the other. Think Lemmings on a very basic scale.
  • Origami Bunny

    This PDF contains instructions for creating an Origami Bunny, complete with a floppy ear. The designer of this has a website containing many paper-folding activities for anyone to access.
  • Louis Street

    A text-and-graphics adventure very similar to older games such as Cranston Manor and Tass Times in Tone Town, this title has players typing in directions and simple directions to interact with Louis Street, completing various tasks along the way. The author of this game developed it alongside her children.
  • Master Word

  • This game, entirely in French, is a word-guessing game that is useful for building a French vocabulary.

Be sure to check out the site for links to the above as well as a huge listing of even more children-targeted downloads.

Kids Domain - What's New

Oberin Updated
9:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Oberin, the 2D multiplayer online role-playing game available only for the Mac, has recently been updated to version 0.1.6. While this RPG is only a few months old, fans of the genre may find much to like about Oberin. The latest release weighs in at just under 16MB and includes a character creator so that anyone can get started quickly. Here are a few guidelines from the site:

New characters are created with the Oberin character creator. This application is included in the Oberin download. You must create a new character before you can log on to Oberin. Your character name must meet certain standards:

  • proper names only. no sentences or statements.
  • no titles such dr, sir, lord, lady, king, queen, prince, etc.
  • no ranks such as lieutenant, commander, captain
  • nothing that might make someone think they are an Oberin official like putting GM in the name
  • no curse words or anything crude, vulgar, offensive, etc.
  • no names that don't fit the setting such as "masta blasta", "eLiTe", "zero cool", "the dude", etc.
  • no names of animals or monsters
  • Once you've created your online counterpart with this program, you'll log in as a demo player until a Game Master can activate your account. Many of the 'veterans' will be kind enough to offer advice and help in the game, though also be sure to look through the Oberin web site for more information on the game. The play guide is especially useful, so read up if you want a head start on how to master your character.

    Oberin is free, though also still in a state of flux, so keep that in mind while playing. Skills and other features of the game are still being tweaked, and bugs are being worked out. If you haven't yet, head over to MacGameFiles now to download the latest client and give Oberin a try. If you have issues with the archive, drag it onto Stuffit Expander to decompress it correctly.

    Oberin Play Guide
    Download Oberin 0.1.6 (15.8MB)
    IMG News: Oberin: New Mac MORPG

    MacMAME Update
    8:59 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    MacMAME has recently been updated to version 0.37b14. For those unfamiliar with this project, MacMAME is a freeware arcade game emulator that can run classic arcade machine ROMs, allowing users to play most arcade games on their Macs.

    This update comes with the following new features:

    • In sync with the DOS 0.37 beta 14 build.
    • Speed. MacMAME should, in most cases, be as fast as it's ever been, at least in the non-Carbon build.
    • A ton of fixes for the Carbon target.
    • Added ability to move a ROM set to the trash via contextual menus.
    • Fixed bug in the 68020 core that caused trouble with Pop n Pop.
    • Added ability to have group sets closed by default.
    • More work on string internationalization.
    • Worked around optimizer bug affecting YM2151 sound code.
    • Many fixes to the various renderer plugins.

    MacMAME is available for download both at the MacMAME website and from MacGameFiles. - Downloads
    MacGameFiles - MacMAME 0.37b14

    Mac Games News for Friday, April 13, 2001

    Detailed GeForce 2 MX/Radeon Comparison3:00 PM
    Myst III Delayed Until Fall for Europe12:54 PM
    Neverwinter Nights Q&A10:10 AM
    Quick Red Faction Q&A10:03 AM
    Quake III Engine Used to Make Movie9:38 AM
    Blizzard Server Troubles9:35 AM
    Mac Summoner Questions Answered9:24 AM
    NWN Chat Transcripts, OS X Plans8:12 AM
    Unreal II Preview6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Friday, April 13, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Thursday, April 12, 2001
    Wednesday, April 11, 2001
    Tuesday, April 10, 2001
    Monday, April 9, 2001
    Friday, April 6, 2001

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

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