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Friday, June 1, 2001

Coldstone Engine, PoG Update
9:40 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new update has been made to the official Pillars of Garendall log at Ambrosia Software. It seems the team working on the game's base engine, Coldstone, has made some good progress in the past few weeks. The engine is now completely C++ and compiles for both Mac and PC without any changes. New graphic formats are also supported, along with a new "alpha transparency" effect. A good example of this in action in the form of a new screen shot of the game is given to highlight these changes. Here's a clip from the update:

  • Engine now 100% C++
  • Engine now compiles on all supported platforms from the same source code
  • Translucency through alpha masks is now supported (it is as simple as using a PNG with an alpha channel instead of a PICT)
  • Graphic formats now supported: PICT (standard RLE only), JPEG, PNG
  • Full keyboard support in all the game (player control, interface navigation)
  • Perfect window mode

    We are now working to fix refresh bugs, memory leaks and a couple of minor logic bugs. Stay tuned

  • Sounds like the game/engine is coming along quite well, and we hope to hear more about this RPG soon. Once the beta is completed, Pillars of Garendall should be released for Mac Classic, OS X, and Windows.

    Pillars of Garendall Progress Logs
    Pillars of Garendall Beta Site
    Beenox Engine Development
    Ambrosia Software
    Pillars of Garendall

    Click to enlarge
    More Mac V12/Tribes 2 Updates
    3:13 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Some time ago IMG broke the story of the Mac version of GarageGames' engine dubbed V12 currently in the works. This is the same game engine that powers Tribes 2, and a Mac version of V12 would surely increase the chances of seeing a Mac port of this game as well. Today we got more information on the project from David Chait, the man behind the Mac version of V12. David has worked with the Mac OS for many years and is the founder of Reality Bytes.

    While Mac V12 is still very early in development, is does compile and run, which is quite a feat in itself. Carbonizing the code is proving to be a challenge, but the benefits (like OS X compatibility) will be great. There are still some graphical glitches, and the sound will probably end up using Creative's OpenAL and/or EAX. Other optimizations like Altivec are further down the road, but still on his list as well. Here's a quote explaining what all of his work might mean for V12 and Tribes 2:

    So yes, it means that V12 games should be able to be released
    for the Mac, of course with some smaller incremental effort.
    As any developer knows, having it build multi-platform is one
    thing, but really testing and releasing on multiple platforms does
    take some extra work. It's always been my belief that doing
    simultaneous development minimizes that extra work, and as
    Reality Bytes proved it is well worth the added effort.

    As for Tribes 2, I can't comment much since I don't know a
    great deal about the game-specific code. I'm certainly open
    and interested into whether my work on V12 can be applied
    to bringing T2 to the Mac, but that's up to Dynamix/Sierra.

    Once Mac V12 is up and running, getting the rest of Tribes 2 working will likely not be too difficult. And while this is great news for Mac gamers, business issues will likely dictate how the scenario will ultimately play out. Stay tuned to IMG for more on this subject as V12 progresses.

    GarageGames Web Site
    IMG News: V12 Running on a Mac, Tribes 2 Soon?

    Parsec Update, Images
    2:36 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    Take a moment and think about what you were doing at this time of the year back in 1996. Celebrating your college graduation? Graduating from high school? Making the leap from junior-high punk to freshman? With any luck you've changed dramatically in that interval. Well, so has the game Parsec, which continues its seemingly endless march towards completion. Recently the web site was updated with new information on the game's status, as well as a new screen shot and some desktop images.

    Gamers have little right to complain about the extended development time, as this game will be released as "commercial-quality freeware" upon completion. As the recent screen shots reveal, the game does not skimp on the eye-candy; its wide support for various OS versions and graphics cards is also a plus. Once the game is complete the authors will release a SDK which will allow programmers to create "mods," new ship models and other such add-ons to the title.

    Visit the Parsec web site for the new screen shots and more information, and be sure to grab the LAN-test demo of the game if you haven't seen it in action.

    Parsec Web Site

    IMG Reviews Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
    11:05 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

    Although the Mac platform doesn't lack for new game releases these days, it does lack variety in some respects; it isn't often we get the opportunity to play a game that represents an entirely new style of Mac gaming. Just a few days ago Aspyr Media announced the release of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 for the Mac OS, the first commercial "extreme sports" title on our platform. Our reviewer certainly loved this game, echoing the praise it has received both for the Playstation console version and the PC port:

    Remember 720 degrees? That arcade game that made you collect money so you could get into different areas of a skate park to show off your skills. "Skate or DIE!" ring any bells? I only bring this up to say that Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 does have its predecessors. That said, any games that came before and all the games that will come after this genre-defining title pale in comparison to THPS2. This game transcends genres, blending sports, arcade, simulation, and console action into one slick package.
    Read on for the rest of the review, and be sure to add your own comments to the user reviews once you have played the title for yourself. Currently there is an element of doubt concerning a demo for this title; it seems Westlake Interactive never received the code for the PC demo of the game. We'll investigate the issue further, as we're sure many of you would like to try this title before you buy.

    Review: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2

    New Lithtech Game 'Reprisal' Coming to the Mac, Help Needed
    10:20 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Mike Hughes at the newly established Power Infused Productions sent us the news that they are about to enter the gaming market with a new title called Reprisal. Not much is known about the game at this point, except they have decided to go with the LithTech engine as their base. One of the advantages of this 3D gaming engine is that it is compatible with a number of platforms, including, it seems, the Mac OS. Power Infused is currently looking for a Mac programmer to help them bring Reprisal to our platform, and they are also targeting the PC and several console platforms as well. Here's a clip from his mail:

    Power Infused Productions, a recent addition to the Mac market [and gaming market for that matter] is looking for people to work on their next title. Reprisal, a first person shooter powered by the LithTech engine, needs several top quality programmers and graphics artists. We also need a programmer or two and a couple artists for a secret project in development with an associate. If anyone is interested please email ... the first person shooter Reprisal will be out for Mac/PC/XBOX/PS2 when its done.
    So any programmers or artist looking to break into the game industry might want to drop them a line. The Power Infused site doesn't have many details about Reprisal at the moment, though there is this one paragraph description:
    Lost in an unfamiliar territory you must use the skills you have learned in your military training to find your way home. Sneak behind enemies undetected and steal unclassified weapons to use against an alien race. Reprisal will be a first person shooter designed to make even the most experienced gamers think.
    We'll bring you more info on Reprisal as the game develops. No word yet on a release date, though they just announced they are using the LithTech engine last month, so this title is most likely a year or more away. If you have the skills, pitch in and help speed up the development process.

    Power Infused Productions

    On the Neverwinter Nights Creative Process
    10:10 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

    GameSpy has produced the second of two articles concerning BioWare's upcoming online RPG Neverwinter Nights, written in a slightly annoying attempt at pseudo-anachronistic dialect. While the experience of reading it is like listening to someone from South Boston trying to fake a Scottish accent, the actual information will be of interest to anyone anticipating this ambitious RPG's arrival.

    Written by an actual BioWare staff member, the two-part article (which is the beginning of a series) details the process behind creating and fleshing out the "backstory" behind this RPG. Role-playing games center around characters, and characters of course need motivation to drive their actions; thus storyline is an integral part of the RPG, as BioWare (creators of many award-winning titles such as Baldur's Gate I and II) knows so well. Although this game is intended to revolutionize online RPG play by allowing the creation and hosting of unique dungeons by live Dungeon Masters, it will also have a full-length solo adventure for those who prefer that type of play. Our friend with the vocabulary affliction discusses the creative process:

    I find that the best way to start is with a simple goal. As long as your heroes have a clear goal, then you can build suspense, throw in surprises, and make their story an exciting one. Remember, too, you can change their goals over the course of the adventure. As long as their current goal is always a clear one, it doesn't have to be the same one they started out with. Today, for instance, I thought it might be interesting to create a story around the recovery of a Tyrran relic. See, it's a simple enough idea, but it lends itself to all manner of important questions: should the story end when the heroes recover the item, or is that just the beginning? Does the relic have a use in the story, and do the players even know that they are searching for it? Where is the relic? Who knows of it or possesses it and what prevents the heroes from acquiring it? Is Tyr requesting its return as tithe for past divine assistance or possibly as atonement for some sin? What exactly is this relic: an item, a creature, or something else entirely?
    At the very least, a fan of NWN will be interested in the several new screen shots presented. NWN is expected to be released late this year for Mac, PC and BeOS (x86).

    Neverwinter Nights Web Site
    Neverwinter Nights Adventure Creation, Part One
    Neverwinter Nights Adventure Creation, Part Two

    Click to enlarge
    New Trade Wars Info, Images
    9:13 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Earlier this year IMG brought you news on an amazing new remake of the classic BBS game Trade Wars which is coming to Mac and PC early next year. The title will be expanded far beyond the original text-based trading game into a full RTS which will use 3D graphics in a massively-multiplayer online world. Now, after returning from what sounds like a successful E3 adventure, the folks at Realm Interactive have updated the official site with new information and images from the game. The site has a new look, along with many new screen shots and concept art from the game. The screen shots are a mix of space and planetary images, and are all very impressive with a stylized look. Head over now for a glimpse at the game in action.

    The Races page has also been completed, with new details on the three main species now available. The list of corporations also continues to grow, with many of these player-run 'clans' already forming long before the game is even released. Each corporation has their own mini site and is encouraged to start building alliances before the title is released. For more info or to start your own corporation, have a look at their information page. Much more functionality is promised for the corporation sites soon.

    Trade Wars is currently set for a release early next year for Windows. The team is promising that they have Mac, Linux, and even console clients in as part of their plans, and will hopefully have something to show for these other platforms soon after.

    Trade Wars Web Site
    IMG News: Trade Wars Remake Coming to the Mac

    Giants GeForce 3 Shots
    8:17 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    Eight new screen shots of Giants: Citizen Kabuto have been posted at 3D Action Planet. They highlight a new build of the PC game which takes advantage of the GeForce 3's advanced rendering techniques. Some are close-up character images, while others show the very impressive water and landscapes in the game. They're all fairly high-resolution as well at 1024x768, so be sure to head over for a look. In case you're wondering, here's the latest scoop on the Mac version of the game from MacPlay's update:

    Experience the most brutal and spectacular gameplay ever as you crush, burn, drown, eat, kidnap and bury your enemies on twenty-five beautifully rendered 3D islands. Truly one of this year’s most stunningly beautiful and funny, award winning 3D games which boasts a groundbreaking combination of action and strategy.

    Giants: Citizen Kabuto is actively in development at this time and will be one of the first games available for the Macintosh to highlight some of the advanced features exclusive to NVIDIA’s Geforce3. Of course, Giants will rock on GeForce 2 and ATi Radeon, too!

    We’ve got some GIANT secrets about this one, so stay tuned!

    We hope to hear more about Mac Giant's progress at the upcoming Macworld New York expo next month. The latest release date for the game is late this summer or early fall.

    Giants GeForce 3 Screen Shots at 3D Action Planet
    IMG News: MacPlay Breaks The Silence
    Planet Moon Studios
    Omni Group
    Giants: Citizen Kabuto
    Buy Giants: Citizen Kabuto

    Mac Games News for Thursday, May 31, 2001

    Apple on the Sound Blaster Live! from Creative Labs3:38 PM
    IMG Reviews Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab2:45 PM
    Wacraft III Unit Details2:25 PM
    Mac GeForce 3 Tests in 2x AGP Slot12:42 PM
    Tony Hawk 2 Released for Mac10:09 AM
    Mark Adams Quoted at WWDC9:21 AM
    Aleph One Virus Report9:18 AM
    Sphidia Now Hiring Artists/Mappers9:08 AM
    V12 Running on a Mac, Tribes 2 Soon?8:54 AM
    More Civilization III Previews8:52 AM
    Rune Co-Op Q&A, Mac Info8:51 AM
    Clan Lord Updated to v1838:21 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, May 31, 2001 on one page

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