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Tuesday, May 22, 2001

E3: Final Thoughts, Wrap-up
9:20 AM | Patrick Leyden | Comment on this story

Another E3 has past and after arriving home and sleeping for 15 hours (after
being up for 24 hours) I can say after little reflection that Mac gamers
have much to look forward to in the coming months. Even though the
Electronic Entertainment Expo can hardly be called a Mac event, it continues
to be an event for Mac gamers look forward to.

One of the most pleasant surprises at the show for Mumbo Jumbo’s showing of
Myth III: The Wolf Age that took place in the Gathering of Developers
‘Promised Lot’ across the street from E3. Many were skeptical about a new
Myth title coming from someone other than Bungie, but after experiencing
the game for only a short time I can say without reservation that such
skepticism is unnecessary. Myth III is an absolutely stunning game, with its
fully 3D characters, enhanced environmental and lighting effects and a
combination of new as well as classic units to send into combat. Plus, the
potential for new multiplayer game types like “Grinder “ make the wait for
this title almost unbearable. Luckily, it will not be long at all compared to the 2- and 3-year development cycles we've had to wait with other games.

Westlake Interactive continues in their tradition of bringing high quality
titles to the Mac, and vice presidents Phil Sulak and Ken Cobb provided IMG
with updates on pending releases such as Tomb Raider Chronicles, Alice, The
Sims: House Party and the Rune expansion pack. The pair also revealed that
they are bringing Deus Ex to the PlayStation2. Sulak and Cobb quickly
allayed any fears of the company abandoning the Mac but would not yet reveal
the title of the mysterious ‘Peroxide Project’ listed on the Westlake’s web
site. We'll continue to pester them about it, of course.

While MacPlay did not have an official presence at the event, Marketing Guru
Jason Whong was kind enough to show off the latest builds of Baldurs Gate II
and Fighter Squadron on his PowerBook G3. BG II was looking great and will be
a fine addition to any RPG fan’s library. FS is not quite as
far along as BG II, it is also shaping up to be another great title.

Apple also decided that opening up their meeting room to attendees was a
good idea. The room many have been off the beaten path, but well worth the
effort to find it in the corner of Petree Hall. The room was packed with G4s loaded up with the latest
version of Quake III: Team Arena. The latest version of Tony Hawk Pro Skater
2 and American McGee's Alice were also on hand for ‘testing.’ Apple’s small space may not have
seemed like much compared to the massive Microsoft and Nintendo areas, but
it shows that Apple still cares about gaming. In previous years you were lucky to see someone with an Apple business card or two.

As recently as five years ago, Mac users had very few options open to them
for any serious gaming on their platform of choice. If gaming was your hobby
and you owned Apple hardware, you were often left with no other options but
to buy a gaming console or even a Windows PC for gaming. Now that amazing
titles are on the horizon from companies as diverse as MacSoft, Bioware and
MacPlay, being a Mac gamer is no longer a handicap. If the 2001 Electronic
Entertainment Expo is any indication, Mac gaming has come a long way and
continues to gain momentum as a gaming platform. If Motorola and Apple continue to fulfill their promises of faster hardware, and with NVIDIA on board for now and the future, the last few remaining excuses developers have for skipping our platform will melt away.

Our three days of coverage of this event resulted in 32 E3-related articles and many reports direct from the show floor; be sure to take advantage of the power of our search engine and see if you missed anything. While there were few surprises from the expo floor (with secrets seemingly harder to keep all the time) our reporters walked away from the cacophony of the expo with one conviction: while the number of titles coming to the Mac over the next year is extremely small compared to the flood of titles for PC, PS2 and Xbox, the ones we will play are clearly the cream of the crop. Think of the Mac platform as a "filter" which screens out the wannabes and shelf-space fillers and latches on to the best and brightest.

IMG wasn't just there as a team of passive observers; we use these events to evangelize the Mac OS and its future as a gaming platform. Hopefully our contact with and coverage of developers that are considering a Mac version of their game (such as Gray Matter, developing Return to Castle Wolfenstein) might tip the balance in our favor. As for the disappointments from the show (no promises of a Mac OS version of Duke Nukem Forever or Star Wars Galaxies, for example) rest assured that we will continue to track these games and their developers -- not all secrets are revealed at E3, and many of the blockbuster E3 games are still a year or more away. Click the links below to revisit all of our E3 coverage, and get ready for Macworld New York, just months away. Oh, and don't forget WWDC -- Apple's developer event begins tomorrow, and it may very well determine the course of Mac game development as we know it.

E3: First Myth III: The Wolf Age Screenshots
Apple's World Wide Developers Conference
E3 2001 Pictures, Part 2
E3 2001 Pictures, Part 1
E3 2001 News Reports
E3 2001

Click to enlarge
Cornered Rat on WWII Online at E3
1:35 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new post to the World War II Online forums has been made by executive producer Al "Rafter" Corey of Cornered Rat Software. In the lengthy update, he details their E3 experience, which sounds to be quite a successful one. Apparently a video was on display for the first day, followed by a full demo for the rest of the show. Reactions from the crowd were positive for this upcoming massively-multiplayer war sim. Here's a quick clip covering the madness at the show:

Friday morning came and we rolled out a new build of the game for demos. We had three flat-screen monitors with CH setups that we constantly in use. At any time you would see 5 deep and 10 wide in front of the screen. Keep in mind most of these visitors were press or folks from the games industry. By this time many of our gang had lost or were losing our voices. You are forced to shout even when face to face to someone to be heard over the relentless noise of E3. Mo and I gave our first stage demo of the game. We followed Colby and Jerry from "Survivor:Outback" who stood around signing autographs and asking skill testing questions like, "Which animal is native to Australia... The Kangaroo or the Polar Bear?" Needless to say the crows was hungry for something with a little more substance when we took the stage. We gave our pitch only to find we ran out of time before getting through our whole presentation. The crowd for the demo was large and appreciative of our D&P.
Head over and have a read through the rest of the post for more info and even a few screen shots.

World War II Online is currently set for a simultaneous Mac/PC release next month. IMG reported last week that Cornered Rat was still very interested in the Mac build, and we'll hopefully be bringing you more details on it soon. The PC version is available for preorder, with a shipping date of June 6 (though such dates have been known to change often).

The game is currently in closed beta, but an open beta was supposed to occur before it actually shipped. As June approaches, this stress test seems less likely, though a later post from Rafter in that same forum thread indicates it might still happen:

As soon as we can post information about the open Beta, we will.
We'll keep on this, so stay tuned for more information about the beta (and final release) in the coming weeks.

E3: World War II Online Update, June Release
E3 Forum Post on World War II Online
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Click to enlarge
E3 Reports Confirm Hitchhiker 3D Still In Development
1:13 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Back in March IMG brought you the news that a game based on Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" of five novels was in development by Digital Village and publisher Pan Interactive. Since the death of Adams on May 11th, many were concerned that development on this title might cease, as Adams himself was directly involved in the project. Two post-E3 reports, one on MacCentral and one on GameSpy, confirm that this game will indeed be completed and published. As we reported earlier, the game is expected to ship simultaneously for Mac and PC.

While no new screen shots are offered besides the previous concept art renders, both previews contain much new information about the title in progress. The GameSpy article details the characters you encounter, as well as hinting at what gameplay might be like:

All of your favorite characters are in the game, including Ford, Zaphod, Slartibartfast, and everyone's favorite paranoid android, Marvin. There's also a new race called the Towelin Monks. Arthur is such a wimp that he can't bring himself to kill anyone or anything, so he uses his handy dandy nutrient-soaked towel to snap at things like the Bugblatter beasts to stun them so that he can run past. However, his little towel isn't sufficient to take on the Krikkits, so he must entreat the Towelin Monks to provide him with a meta-towel and teach him to use it so that he can defeat the big baddies.
This full-3D game, under construction by some of Adams' closest associates, will definitely be appreciated both by his fans and gamers in general. Both previews are well worth reading, although the writer of the GameSpy piece won't be winning any awards for sensitivity. The game itself is due in very late 2001.

IMG News: Mac Hitchhiker's 3D to be Simultaneous Release
IMG News: Hitchhiker's Guide 3D Title In Development
Hitchhiker's Guide 3D Preview at MacCentral
Hitchhiker's Guide 3D Preview at GameSpy
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 3D

GeForce3 Upgrade Kits, Macs Ready to Ship
12:09 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Several readers and IMG staff members have noted that Apple is ready to ship new Macs with NVIDIA's latest GeForce3 chipset, and the GeForce3 Upgrade Kit is now available for order. Macs equipped with an optional GeForce3 card are due to ship this week, and the Apple store lists the GeForce3 upgrade kit as shipping in the next ten days.

As reported earlier, and confirmed by Apple staff at E3, the Upgrade Kit is intended only for those G4 Mac models with a 4x AGP slot. This includes all currently-shipping G4 models and the second-revision models that shipped since MWNY last January. All 4x AGP models have four PCI slots. Check Apple's Tech Info Library to see if your Mac qualifies. The $499 kit is listed under the Displays section of the Apple store, as are Radeon upgrade kits for towers and Cubes.

After seeing games demoed on the GeForce3 at E3 and now at WWDC, we're sure all Mac gamers are champing at the bit waiting to see if this is indeed the next revolution in Mac game graphics and performance. We would like to caution gamers not to set their expectations too high, however; not only are the Mac drivers for NVIDIA cards still in development, but actual games that showcase the new features of this ultra-high-end graphics card may be at least six to eight months away.

The Apple Store

Games Demonstrated on OS X at WWDC
11:41 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A short but interesting report posted on MacCentral details the games being demonstrated on the latest Apple hardware at the World Wide Developer's Conference, just getting underway. Among the list of games running natively on Apple's next-gen OS you will find American McGee's Alice, Oni, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.

The short report does contain one fascinating bit of information, contained in the following:

he frame rates witnessed at the arcade are high, 60+ frames per second from the Cocoa version of Quake Team Arena. What is more exciting is that this is at a resolution of 1024 x 768 with all of the game's graphics features turned on. Additionally, this is using stock NVIDIA drivers -- those developed for the GeForce2 MX, and not drivers specifically developed for GeForce3.
If this is indeed the case, that the cards are running on GeForce 2 MX drivers -- which is certainly possible, as NVIDIA uses "unified" driver models that support all of their cards at once -- it would explain both the slower-than-expected speeds witnessed at E3 and innermac's experience with the Geforce3 card which recounted many of the same bugs as their tests of the GeForce2 uncovered. It would also explain why GeForce3-specific features such as high-resolution anti-aliasing are not yet enabled.

IMG will be getting our hands on a GeForce3-equipped Mac in the near future, and we will bring you a firsthand report of our experiences, along with benchmarks. In the meantime check out the MacCentral report and make sure to visit the WWDC page to keep up on what is happening at this crucial meeting of the minds between developers and Apple.

Apple's WWDC Web Site
Games on Mac OS X Demoed at WWDC, at MacCentral

Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction Grows Near
11:27 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

One of the more interesting offspring of the flood of E3-related coverage on the web was this "exclusive" press release posted on OpenTechSupport which confirms that Blizzard Entertainment's expansion set Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is almost ready to ship. Accompanied by twelve new screen shots, this in-depth PR sums up all the features and new additions that will make this expansion a must-have for veteran Diablo II players, and perhaps even inspire new fans of the series. Here's an excerpt:

Diablo II has sold over 3 million copies worldwide since shipping just ten months ago, garnering several awards including the prestigious Computer Game of the Year, Computer Role Playing Game of the Year and Game of the Year for 2001 by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction players return to chase after Baal, the last surviving Prime Evil, into the Barbarian Highlands of the north. Traveling with a horrific army of demonic minions, Baal intends to corrupt the powerful Worldstone that protects the whole of the mortal plane from the forces of Hell, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, and damning the world. Players face a new series of quests and challenges to prevent the vile minions of the Prime Evils from destroying the world.

Key features in the final version of the expansion set include:

  • Two new character classes (the Assassin and the Druid) each with 30 unique skills/spells.
  • A complete new act set in the Barbarian Highlands, including 6 new quests.
  • Ability to play the new character classes through the original four acts of Diablo II.
  • Interactive environments such as siege towers and fortified battlements.
  • Thousands of new weapons, armor and magical items, including class-specific and Elite items.
  • New recipes for the Horadric Cube.
  • Double the amount of storage space in the stash.
  • Support for 800x600 graphics mode.
  • Over 50 new monster classes, with 7 additional and new unique boss monsters.
  • Over 20 different Rune Words.
  • 32 Crafted Item recipes in single-player, multiplayer TCP/IP and Realm games.
  • Over 500 new Magic Item prefixes and suffixes.
  • New Hireling abilities include carrying equipment, leveling independently of the player character, and traveling between acts.
  • Increased difficulties of Nightmare and Hell levels.
  • Increased number of item types that can be socketed.

    In Diablo II, players return to a dark world plagued by evil forces. After possessing the body of the hero who defeated him, Diablo resumes his nefarious scheme to shackle humanity into unholy slavery by joining forces with the other Prime Evils, Mephisto and Baal. Players face a new series of quests to rid the world of Diablo and his vile brethren forever.

  • For the rest of the PR and those dozen screen shots, be sure to follow the link below. The Mac OS version of D2:LOD should be simultaneously released with the PC version, according to our discussions with Blizzard at E3. Expect the expansion by the end of June.

    D2: LOD Expansion PR at OpenTechSupport
    E3: Report on Blizzard Titles, Release Dates

    Click to enlarge
    McGee's Alice To Hit Silver Screen?
    10:24 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Canoe's JAM! Movies section has noted an interesting development regarding video games and movies. They report that Dimension Films, noted company behind cinema gems such as Scream, have signed an agreement with game developer American McGee.

    For those unfamiliar with McGee, he helped develop both Quake and Doom while in the employ of id Software. His latest title, Alice, is currently on the brink of release for the Mac fromAspyr Media. Running off the Quake III engine, Alice is noted for its extremely warped and fantastic environment, which aptly conveys the feeling of Wonderland gone insane.

    It is this title that is currently slated to be the first game adaptation to movie fromat by Dimension Films. Wes Craven, a name that should be familiar to horror fans everywhere, will be the one directing the film.

    It's been interesting to see the slow transition of video games into movies. We've seen movie-to-game adaptations since the beginning, but now we're seeing movies such as Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider getting ready to hit the big screen, with Alice now on the way. Hopefully this will lead to a maturation of the game industry and give it the credence that it deserves. However, the demand for more 'cinematic' games will continue to create longer production times and ever-larger development budgets as well.

    JAM! Movies - McGee's Alice Movie Deal
    Aspyr Media
    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    Rogue Entertainment
    American McGee's Alice

    Shadowbane Enters Phase Two Beta, Confirms Euro Publisher
    9:46 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    In a long and detailed press release, Wolfpack has announced that they have reached the "phase two" stage of Beta testing for this cross-platform, revolutionary massively-multiplayer role-playing game. Focusing on player interaction in a dynamic world rather than on simple dungeon-crawling, this ambitious project is intended to create a huge online world while avoiding the mistakes that have made previous games tedious for veterans and threatening to "newbies."

    Phase Two of the beta test means an expansion of the testing pool and a test of the actual dynamic online world itself, now that the character creation, movement and game mechanics have been tested in phase one. Shadowbane is subjecting their game to the harshest circle of critics you can imagine -- their diehard fans -- in order to test, refine and polish the player experience to balance fun, adventure and the occasional tragedy. Here are some excerpts from the announcement:

    Online game studio Wolfpack Studios, Inc. announced the beginning of the second phase of beta testing for Shadowbane, the company's flagship title. Shadowbane is designed to allow tens of thousands of players to interact with each other's characters online in a single game session. Widely regarded as one of the most anticipated titles in the field of Massively-Multiuser Online Roleplaying Games, Shadowbane offers players the unique opportunity to shape and interact with the virtual world around them, forming alliances, beginning feuds, and vying for economic and political supremacy over an array of fantasy worlds.

    A blend of both traditional fantasy role playing and real time strategy games, Shadowbane will offer an entirely new experience to online gamers. "One of the biggest things that sets Shadowbane apart from other online games is our approach to world building and design," comments J. Todd Coleman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Wolfpack. "In other games players must wait at arbitrary dividing lines for world zones to load up. Shadowbane will offer seamless movement through a bewildering array of landscapes and environments."

    The new phase of beta testing will incorporate more users into the growing Shadowbane world. "Phase one taught us a lot, and we've done some extensive refinements to the game that focus not only on functionality, but also on playability," said James Nance, Wolfpack's Lead Designer. "The foundations have been laid, and are sound. This time around we're adding more players, more races, and above all more environments into the mix. Balance is one of our chief concerns, but so is playability - in addition to looking good, performing well, and being fair, Shadowbane will be fun and exciting to play."

    We're certain of that. The PR also confirms that Shadowbane has secured a publisher for the game in Western Europe, known as Swing!. We've been informed repeatedly that discussions to locate US and Worldwide publishers are in progress, and we'll be sure to bring you details on the result of these talks. We've contacted members of the Wolfpack team to find out if the pool of Mac Beta testers will be expanded, as was previously promised, and if there is an opportunity for more of you to join this testing team you'll be sure to read it on IMG first.

    Swing! Games
    Shadowbane Web Site

    Kids Domain Update
    9:20 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    It's time once again for another Kids Domain update report, focusing on the website that lists free and shareware downloads targeted towards kids of all ages. Sometimes fun, usually educational, anyone with children that love to bang on the keyboard should definitely take a look.

    The latest titles to be listed:

    • Bicycle Safety Fun Book - Age 4 to 8

      This PDF teaches kids about bicycle safety and includes various activities such as coloring and word finds.
    • Bike Safety Basics: Proper Helmet Fit and Adjustment - Age All

      This PDF goes over the basics of how to properly wear a bicycle helmet, and is meant as a general pass-out for classes.
    • Adding Integers Drill - Age 6+

      This activity is a series of Powerpoint slides that go through basic integer addition drills, using both positive and negative numbers.
    • Basic Polygons - Age 6+

      This is also a Powerpoint presentation that displays polygonal shapes, with following slides displaying the name of each one. Designed for drilling.
    • Fun Under the Sea Screensaver - Age 4+

      Move your mouse over the big shell to open it, make the sea flowers come out of the tubes and play tunes on the clam shells. Explore the world under the sea (from Disney's Little Mermaid II) and watch it come alive!
    • Concentration: Geography - Age 6+

      A variation of the card-matching game Concentration, this one focuses on matching the correct answers to geography-related questions.
    • Flowers and Colors - Age 8+

      The objective is to cross-pollinate flowers so that the colors are the same as the 3 on the right. This requires some knowledge of color blending, though you can also just try different combinations and see what results.
    • Dropper - Age 6+

      A variation of Tetris that uses a single rectangular shape with varying colors.
    • Cuk Lecture - Age 8+

      An entirely French program that focuses on French reading skills, matching words to various pictures.

    For those interested in these or any other children's programs, be sure to check out Kids Domain for a comprehensive listing.

    Kids Domain

    Aspyr: Tony Hawk 2, TR5, Alice Info
    9:13 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The latest Aspyr newsletter has provided new details (including crucial system requirements) for their many games about to hit stores. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 is nearing final candidate very soon and features some relatively modest system requirements:

    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 plays on any iMac, G3 or G4.

    Hardware 3D acceleration (ATI Rage Pro or better)

    MacOS 8.6 or later (built for OS X)

    233 Mhz

    32 MB memory

    Open GL 1.1

    QuickTime 3.0 or higher

    4x CD-ROM

    Just to confirm, THPS2 will ship carbonized, for those of you OS X junkies!

    It's great to see they were able to get the game playable on Rage Pro chips, as few modern games can make such a claim. Place your preorder for Tony Hawk 2 now to get your copy as soon as possible.

    Tomb Raider Chronicles and the included level editor are being finalized as we speak. This extra treat will allow you to make levels that will run on either the PC or Mac, a rare opportunity for Mac gamers. The system requirements have also been given, and don't look much higher than the previous games in the series:

    Tomb Raider Chronicles plays on any iMac (revision B or later), G3 (blue and white desktop or later), or G4.

    Open GL 3D Hardware Acceleration Required (Rage Pro, Rage 128 or better)

    Power G3 266 MHz or faster (350 MHz recommended)

    MacOS 8.6 or later (built for OS X)

    32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended)

    4x CD-ROM

    Additional Requirements for the Level Editor:

    At least 300 Mb of uncompressed hard disk space

    Oh, and Tomb Raider Chronicles will shipped carbonized. Woohoo!

    American McGee's Alice is also finishing up, with this dark third person action/adventure about ready to ship. The system requirements are of course more stringent than the others, because game's foundation on the demanding Quake 3 engine. Here's the scoop:

    400MHz PowerPC G3

    64M RAM

    MacOS 8.6 or higher

    OpenGL 1.1.2 or higher

    QuickTime 4.0 or higher


    500MHz PowerPC G3 or higher

    128M RAM

    OpenGL 1.2 or higher
    There's no word yet on demos for any of the above games, though the requirements should give you a good idea of how they might run. Aspyr is certainly going to have quite a summer, and they close with this exciting promise of even more:
    Be sure to check in with us next month as we promise to have an announcement that will knock your socks off! That's right, we've got more great stuff in the hopper. We sure are sneaky.

    Just a heads up for Macworld New York, yes we will be there and we will have plenty of new stuff for folks to sink their teeth in to.

    We'll keep you posted as all of these titles move towards store shelves.

    Aspyr May Newsletter
    Westlake Interactive
    Aspyr Media
    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

    Click to enlarge
    Mac Tropico OS X, Editor Status
    9:08 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    A patch for the PC version of Tropico was recently released along with a small map editor for the game. Since Mac users often get the short end of the stick when it comes to editors (Tomb Raider Chronicles being the exception), we asked Phil Steinmeyer of PopTop Software if it would be possible to include in the almost-complete Mac version of this sim game. Here's his reply:

    I'm not sure about the editor for the Mac - I'd have to port a couple
    utility files that do some file manipulation for the editor. I'm on the
    fence about this - I'll see how long the rest of the port takes.
    So, while not a direct confirmation, at least there is a possibility. We'll keep you posted on any new developments with the editor. Phil was also able to give us a quick status check on the rest of the Mac port:
    I'm currently working on the OS-X stuff - things are still going pretty
    smoothly overall.
    While this is no major change since we last heard from him (see our interview posted last week), it's great to hear the Mac version is doing so well. Look for Tropico to be completed in the coming weeks. The game will be published by MacSoft, and is expected to be out by Macworld New York in July at the latest.

    PopTop Software
    PopTop Software
    Buy Tropico

    Click to enlarge
    Shadowbane Interview at SBVault
    9:03 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    The team at IGN's Shadowbane Vault received the opportunity, while attending E3, to interview some of the team members of Wolfpack, developers of the upcoming MMORPG Shadowbane (thanks to Stomped for the tip-off). Part one of this interview consists of a general overview of the game as well as the basic RPG aspects of Shadowbane.

    The Wolfpack team notes that their current marketing tag-line, "Change the World," is representative of the fact that Shadowbane's world is a real ever-changing, interactive world where players can literally affect and change the world with their actions. They cite that other titles of similar design are more like amusement parks, where the player can be affected by the world, but can't really affect the world around them.

    In terms of play, they are trying to make setbacks less harsh for competitive players. They note that their RPG does contain the usual ingredients, including combat, politics, betrayal, exile and the like. However, unlike other RPGs where a series of negative events could cripple the player, Wolfpack is trying to cushion this so that it doesn't do anything more than hurt the player's pride, rather than completely ruining the playing experience.

    Also remarked upon is the way environments will change as a player explores:

    So deserts, timberlands, woodlands, forests, mountains, northlands, beaches, lakes, you have a ton of what we call 'macro' zones, or overall terrain subsets. It's not a zone in terms of … I have to lag out and I have to then reload something when I cross a boundary. It's a zone meaning that the edges of it are very clear, precise, and visible and when you step over it… a fog might roll in, the sky may change to become more dark and gloomy, the desert may become more golden and halo like, different terrain objects may appear like the style of trees, rocks, and plants may change and other terrain aspects may change like an area may become less rocky or more rocky and so forth.
    The newbie factor is also discussed. In typical MMORPGs, newbies often become easy prey for more experienced players. To counter this, Shadowbane is establishing a series of newbie zones, where player vs. player combat is not allowed and newbies can safely level-up by defeating NPCs and wandering monsters. Warden of the Wolfpack team notes that players should work their way up to levels 20-30 before really venturing off into the world. The newbie zones themselves will not be small areas - they will encompass entire cities spread across several worlds.

    Part two of the interview, which has yet to be posted, will cover the economic model of Shadowbane. Additionally, there are a number of pictures snapped of the Shadowbane setup at E3 for those that are interested. This title is currently scheduled to be released sometime this year.

    Official Shadowbane Site
    Shadowbane Vault at IGN
    Wolfpack Studios

    Tomb Raider Trilogy Announced
    9:02 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    The latest Aspyr newsletter is out, and as usual, it is stuffed full of goodies for Mac gamers. While they have confirmed Tomb Raider Chronicles is at final candidate (previously noted by Westlake Interactive), they also have a new surprise for TR fans. Tomb Raider Trilogy is now on its way as well, repackaging the first three games in the very popular adventure series for around $30. The game is expected out next month and will also include a two expansion packs never before released for Mac on CD. Here's a clip from the newsletter explaining more:

    Tomb Raider: The Trilogy is a compilation of the first six Tomb Raider games released. Unlike the PC version, Tomb Raider: The Trilogy for Mac will include all the gold versions of the first three games. Here's what you get: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider Gold, Tomb Raider II, The Gold Mask (never released on CD), Tomb Raider III and The Lost Artifact (never before released on the Mac).

    "The Tomb Raider: The Trilogy provides over 100 hours of game play and completes the Tomb Raider for Mac series," says Jeff Baietto, VP of Marketing at Aspyr. "Tomb Raider: The Trilogy is a must have for diehard Tomb Raider fans!

    Besides the new levels, Tomb Raider: The Trilogy features:

    -New high-res movies

    -Integrated installer for all games

    -Each game will include the latest updates

    The game is in the final candidate stage of conversion and will be made available for preorder, for $29.95, early next week.

    Another advantage for those new to gaming that might not have the latest and greatest hardware is that Tomb Raider Triology will only require a 603e PowerPC at 180Mhz and 32MB of RAM. Stay tuned for more news on the game as it nears a store shelf near you.

    Aspyr May Newsletter

    Mac Games News for Monday, May 21, 2001

    E3: MacPlay Report on BG2, Fighter Squadron4:50 PM
    Custer Corners Neverwinter Nights2:53 PM
    IMG Chats with MacSoft2:49 PM
    "Space Tripper" Coming to Mac OS2:14 PM
    Q3A 128 OS X Native, Q3Radiant Axed2:00 PM
    E3: IMG Report on Summoner, Red Faction1:26 PM
    E3: Myth III Trailer10:33 AM
    ATI Driver Update On The Way10:30 AM
    Q3A Point Release Update10:21 AM
    Myst III Troubleshooting Update9:54 AM
    E3: New Dragon's Lair 3D Screenshots9:44 AM
    E3: Myth II: Green Berets Announced9:38 AM
    E3: Neverwinter Nights News9:32 AM
    First Mac Geforce3 Preview9:27 AM
    Mac Deus Ex Multiplayer Guide Posted9:20 AM
    Baldur's Gate III to be 3D?8:42 AM
    E3: Warcraft III Interview8:20 AM
    E3: Sims Online Preview, Images6:00 AM
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