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Wednesday, May 23, 2001

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World War II Online Goes Gold, Mac Info
9:05 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official World War II Online site has announced the massively multiplayer online war simulation is now gold master and heading into production. This puts the game from Cornered Rat Software on schedule for their previously announced date of June 6, though these have been known to change before. World War II Online will be a subscription-based title, with the first month free (or included in the game's $40 pricetag) and each subsequent month costing about $10. Here's a clip from the press release:

"I'm very proud of and happy for the CRS development team and the entire staff, " said Jim Mesteller, President and CEO of Playnet, Inc. "At the end of June it will have been just two years since we completed the design and started development on World War II Online™. In addition, our small but dedicated team have built out the infrastructure needed to support a massively multiplayer title and launched a premium games destination site in The result of these efforts places the entire Playnet organization in a strong position for the future."

Scheduled for release in June 2001, World War II Online™ revisits a time and place where real heroes lived and died in one of the most momentous wars in history. To enroll in one of the most exciting games of the year, visit today!

While IMG was assured at E3 that the Mac version would be shipping simultaneously with the PC, we have yet to pin down whether the game will actually be a hybrid CD. There are hints that it might be a seperate release and maybe even a seperate Mac publisher (instead of Strategy First), but nothing has been officially announced yet. No mention of the Mac version is made in the press release, but there is a very interesting new image up at an employee's site. It shows a Mac v1.0 Installer CD, which is very encouraging. Stay tuned for more info very soon.

World War II Online Gold Press Release
Webcam Image of Mac WWII Master
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

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FUEL's E3 Movie Trailer
3:06 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Firetoad Software, developers of the upcoming racing title FUEL, have recently made their E3 trailer available for download. For those unfamiliar with the title, FUEL (originally titled Everglade Rush) is a fantastic-looking racing game that will traverse water, land, and air. Besides sporting Open AL support for Soundblaster owners, this title also has the distinction of being one of the first titles to support Nvidia's new GeForce3 card and exploit its features to the fullest. Firetoad has expressed interest in a Mac version, though no new news on this has been forthcoming as of yet.

The trailer itself is very impressive. It shows the hovercrafts of FUEL navigating a variety of environments, including snowy mountains, lava flows, forests, and large bodies of water. The water itself bears special mention as it is exquisitely rendered, looking extremely real, complete with lighting and translucent effects that allow players to see through the water when conditions are right. The other environments themselves are just as well rendered, with huge amounts of detail clearly obvious just by glancing at various objects. Trees, mist-spraying waterfalls, and even the ground itself are all marvelously textured and detailed.

The trailer is available for download at Firetoad's webpage in Windows Media Format. The latest Mac version of WMP, version 7, seems to be needed in order to run the download. For those interested in more info, a link has also been provided to a previous article regarding a Mac version as well as general details about this upcoming title.

Firetoad - FUEL News/Movie Download
New Game FUEL'ing Its Way to the Mac
Firetoad Software

Help Beta Test Baldur's Gate 2
1:17 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

If you read MacPlay's development update from E3 on IMG, you know that the company has made significant progress on Baldur's Gate II and expects to release the game sometime in July. As they head into the home stretch, MacPlay is looking for beta testers for Baldur's Gate II. Mike Donges of MumboJumbo Games sent us the following note:

When last you heard from me, we were taking on some Alpha testers for
Baldur's Gate 2. Well, now we are into our Beta test cycle, and we are
looking for some intrepid souls to give up an hour or two to make sure that it is totally rock-solid before MacPlay releases in July. If you promise
that you will diligently submit any bugs that you may expose (hopefully
few), and that you will participate in some organized multi-player parties,
please send your contact info and your system configuration to me at Please include the words "Baldur's Gate 2 Beta Test" in the subject field. Please only contact me if you are serious about doing Beta testing."
If you're interested in beta testing Baldur's Gate II, be sure to sign up. To have a chance at being selected, please be sure to note previous beta testing experience and the titles you have tested in the past; beta testing is not merely an opportunity to play a game before it hits the market.

E3: MacPlay Report on BG2, Fighter Squadron
Preview: Baldur's Gate II

Rogue Spear Patch On The Way
12:14 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Nate Birkholz of MacSoft has been an active participant in our forums as of late, bringing IMG readers news on the new titles the publisher has recently acquired. One MacSoft-related topic that occasionally pops up on our forums concerns the lingering bugs that some users have experienced with the Mac port of Rogue Spear, the Rainbow Six sequel published by MacSoft last Christmas. Many readers (and the user reviews for the title) have demanded a patch to fix these problems, but there has been little news of an impending update.

This situation may be changing for the better, however; in a reply to a somewhat annoyed (and a little foul-mouthed) post in our forums, Nate confirmed that a patch for Rogue Spear is in progress and should be released in the near future. Here is part of his post:

the correct code for the patch has been received from Red Storm and we hope to release the patch at some point in the near future. I do not have a definite timeline for this but I hope to have one soon. We are very sorry for the delay, and we hope to rectify the situation.
More importantly, Nate notes that there is a Web page specifically designed to collect user feedback on Rogue Spear. He suggests that anyone who has a question about or issue with the game post a detailed bug report to this site, so they can look into the problem. Any widespread bugs that can be fixed in a practical manner will no doubt be included in the future patch.

If you are experiencing issues with your version of Rogue Spear, be sure and submit a polite, detailed report to the page linked below. We'll keep you updated on the progress of any patch and when it might be available.

Review: Rogue Spear
Mac Rogue Spear Technical Support Page

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Myst III Launcher Available
10:38 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Everyone who has run UbiSoft's new title Myst III: Exile on their Mac is most likely acutely aware of the high demands this graphically-intensive title makes on their CPU and graphics hardware. To make things easier on these players, developer MacStorm Systems has created the Myst III Exile Launcher.

This is a very simple program that, when run, will attempt to quit every user-visible application as well as the Finder itself. This is good for people who get pop-up windows at high resolutions as it prevents the "mouse-cursor" bug. It also frees up the processor and system memory for better general performance of the game itself.

This program weighs in at just 556k, and is available for download as freeware at MacGameFiles at the link below. The requirements are MacOS 8.6 or higher, CarbonLib 1.2.5 or higher, and a copy of the retail version of Myst III: Exile.

MacGameFiles - Myst III Launcher
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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RF's Weapon of the Week
10:17 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

It's time once again for Red Faction's featured Weapon of the Week. For those unfamiliar with the title, Red Faction, in development by Volition, is an upcoming FPS that introduces several elements new to the genre, including utilization of the Geo-Mod engine, which allows players to blow up practically everything in the game, walls included.

This week's weapon is the UAP-32/20 Ultor Submachine Gun. Looking somewhat like an MP5 Navy, this weapon has a full-automatic fire mode for those that like the "spray-and-pray" tactic. This weapon is good for short/medium range assaults, though its accuracy degrades past medium ranges. It is able to fire two different kinds of bullets - either 12mm at 30 rounds a clip, or 5.56mm armor piercing bullets at 20 rounds a clip. Its primary and alternate forms of fire correspond directly to the aforementioned kinds of bullets.

The accompanying Screenshot of the Week shows the Submachine Gun in action, with the automatic fire option being demonstrated as various red spots appear on the body of the unfortunate guard being shot. This game isn't for the squeamish, that's for certain.

Both the Mac and PC versions of this title are expected to ship sometime this Fall; the Mac OS version is being developed in-house by Volition and will be published by GraphSim. Be sure to check out the Red Faction site for more details and screen shots.

Red Faction News
Red Faction

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Mac Tropico Demo Confirmed
10:07 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday IMG brought you details on the (slim) possibility for a Mac port of the map editor for Tropico. While Phil Steinmeyer of Pop Top Software isn't completely decided on the issue, he will give it some thought. Then, later in the day, a demo of the game was announced for the PC. While this demo is an extemely large download (nearly 175MB!), those with broadband connections shouldn't have too much trouble with the file. Of course, with the Mac version of the demo not yet available, we went back to the source for details on a version for our platform -- can we expect a demo, and when? Here's what Steinmeyer had to say about it:

Yes, I'll probably do a Mac demo - it'd be around the same size as the PC
demo (172MB)
So, get your cable modems or DSL warmed up, because this one will be a monster. Those bandwidth-impaired readers of ours will find solace in a new CD from MacGameFiles; as soon as the Tropico demo is finished we will update the MGF CD to save you the downloading headache. The Mac version of Tropico is currently expected to be released in the coming weeks by MacSoft, so stay tuned for more details.

MacSoft Web Site
PopTop Software
IMG News: Mac Tropico OS X, Editor Status
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

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Huge Shadowbane Movie Released
10:02 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GameSpot has recently posted a huge (in both file size and length) movie that focuses on Shadowbane, the upcoming MMORPG currently in development by Wolfpack Studios. The movie itself contains various gameplay moments alongside continuous narration and interview segments with various developers talking about the main aspects of this title.

The first part of the movie, titled "Become a Hero," outlines basic character creation and motivation. Gameplay shots show a character being created, with changes being made to the hairstyle, skin pigmentation, and the racial type. Character motivation is also discussed, with the developers noting that a character doesn't just exist to fight - there must be established motives and direction. A character could fight to defend, to conquer, or to uphold justice. All of this will depend on how much the player is willing to play out their "role."

In one interesting clip, a polygonal character is shown close-up going through the motions of a paired sword martial arts form of some kind. Whether this will be an aspect of the game itself is unknown at this point, as it could just be a test model.

The next segment of the movie is named "Raise an Army" and discusses the creation of the all-important Guild. Guilds are the central player structures of Shadowbane, where players of similar races, ideas, or whatever can gather, exchange information, and make plans. Guilds are entirely player driven, and new ones can be created by any player with a little money and some friends. Each Guild will be represented by a customizable Crest and can hire as many underlings as the Guild Leader wishes, given the Guild can support them.

The "Rule an Empire" segment of the movie outlines town creation. Towns basically spring up around Guilds and what is called a Tree of Life. Like Guilds, towns are built and run entirely by player decision - one town could be built to exemplify beauty, while another could be designed to be a defensive powerhouse. Towns can also contain a multitude of buildings, including various shops, inns, taverns, barracks, and the like. These buildings will be populated by NPCs who can be hired to effectively take care of "dirty work" for players. In other MMORPGs, players often spend countless hours creating objects. In Shadowbane, players can simply employ NPCs through customizable contracts for object creation. For example, a player could strike up a contract with a blacksmith, customize that contract by stating that only swords should be created, and leave the blacksmith alone. Even if the player is offline, the NPC will fulfill the contractual obligations. The quality of such created items will depend on the ranking of the NPC as well as on chance.

The last section of the movie, "Change the World," is doubtless what many players are anticipating - the ability to lay siege to a town and ultimately take it over. As stated earlier, a Tree of Life is at the center of any town. Under control by an associated Guild Leader, this Tree is literally the heart of its town and has the ability to heal and protect the city when directed. However, when the Tree falls, so does the town. To this end, an enemy Guild can set up a war camp and lay siege to a town with siege machines. Spells and such can also be used to poison the Tree of Life, preventing it from healing town buildings and ultimately rendering the town defenseless. Another tactic aggressors can use is to send in Assassins to eliminate the Guild Leader. With the leader gone, no one can direct the Tree of Life to perform its healing tasks.

To counter assaults, towns can employ various defensive tactics, such as knocking out siege machines and laying waste to any war camps threatening them.

As a Guild expands its influence, whether through warfare or other means, its Crest will pop up on the World Map more and more often. The World Map itself updates in real-time, making it so that players can actually actively watch the progress of a Guild as it expands its influence if they so choose.

The movie itself is quite large, though GameSpot offers streaming versions as well as a zipped Windows Media version. For those curious, however, it does contain a wealth of gameplay moments as well as a voluminous amount of information on Shadowbane's major workings. This title is currently scheduled for a release sometime this year.

Shadowbane Official Site
GameSpot - Shadowbane Movies
Wolfpack Studios

Vortex NG Updated for OS X
9:52 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

This 3D action puzzle game by independent developer Feline Entertainment has reached version 1.0.3 for the Carbonized form of Vortex NG. A unique approach which combines excellent 3D graphics and special effects, blazing speed and the classic gameplay of Arkanoid-style arcade gaming, Vortex NG is now fully functional for users of OS 8.6, 9.x and OS X.

This version fixes the "Fatal Error: unable to init OpenGL" error that some Mac OS X users (especially those with more than one monitor) experienced upon launching the game. Apple's method for grabbing control of the full screen with OpenGL is still "in progress" as they say, so as a compromise this version plays in a window.

An updater is available for those who already have a previous version of the game. There is also a 1.0.3 updater available for the Classic version of the game as well. Visit the Feline Entertainment web site for more information and downloads; be sure to grab the demo if you haven't already.

Feline Entertainment

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New Blizzard Movies, Site Updates
9:30 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Blizzard has released the E3 2001 cinematic trailer for the upcoming Diablo II: Lord of Destruction add-on pack. While this stunning example of CGI wizardry doesn't feature any new in-game action, it does show more of the impressive cutscene imagery for which the company is now famous. The movie is in QuickTime format and weighs in at just over 30MB.

The company is also starting to ramp up coverage for their other major title in the works, Warcraft III. Set for a Mac/PC release late this year, the 3D sequel sports a recently revamped web site with lots of new goodies for fans. Screen shots, character animations, desktops, and a QuickTime version of their cinematic movie are all now available (though the Bink format is actually superior in some respects). Fans of the series definitely need to head on over and have a look around.

And finally, the fansite has posted the third and final installment of their E3 interviews. They discuss many of the game's mechanics, as well as some early system requirements and the continual quest for a firm release date. Here's a clip:

What are the most likely system requirements?

Blizzard continues their policy of not going for "only the top 2% of computer users," Andrea Pessino said, "who are able to keep their machines completely up-to-date at all times with the latest upgrades."  According to Andrea and others, the likely requirements could be a PII 400 with a basic 3D card, such as something from the Voodoo 2 generation of accelerators.  This is not a final spec.

While still very early, it's good to hear they aren't counting on everyone having GeForce3's by the time WarCraft III is out. A Voodoo2 3D chip is very modest by today's standards, and we can be sure the Mac requirements will be very similar. Warcraft III for the Mac is expected to be a nearly simultaneous release with the PC version, sometime this winter.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Cinematic
Redesigned Warcraft III Web Site Q&A Part 3
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Cornered Rat on WWII Online at E31:35 PM
E3 Reports Confirm Hitchhiker 3D Still In Development1:13 PM
GeForce3 Upgrade Kits, Macs Ready to Ship12:09 PM
Games Demonstrated on OS X at WWDC11:41 AM
Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction Grows Near11:27 AM
McGee's Alice To Hit Silver Screen?10:24 AM
Shadowbane Enters Phase Two Beta, Confirms Euro Publisher9:46 AM
E3: Final Thoughts, Wrap-up9:20 AM
Kids Domain Update9:20 AM
Aspyr: Tony Hawk 2, TR5, Alice Info9:13 AM
Mac Tropico OS X, Editor Status9:08 AM
Shadowbane Interview at SBVault9:03 AM
Tomb Raider Trilogy Announced9:02 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 22, 2001 on one page

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