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Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Spaceward Ho! 5 in the Works
9:50 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

An excited new thread in the Usenet group was started by Joe Williams, president of Delta Tao Software, announcing their intent to develop Spaceward Ho! 5. The last incarnation of the series was a popular space strategy game released nearly four years ago. Here's a clip from the Spaceward Ho! 4 web site describing the style of gameplay in the series:

Spaceward Ho! is a strategic game of awesome scope. You control the entire military and economy of a spacefaring race. Your goal: explore and colonize the galaxy.

Unfortunately, you are not alone. Alien enemies bent on galactic conquest will oppose your expansion. You fight them by developing new technologies and expanding your empire, or you can ally with them to turn enemies into friends.

Terraform newly discovered worlds or mine their natural resources. Maneuver your starship fleets, both in defense of your own systems and in offensive strikes against the evil aliens. Your strategic decisions will determine the fate of the galaxy.

We're sure their next sequel to the series will build on the same basic gameplay ideas, only better and more polished than the last. Here's Joe's post:
We've just started work on Spaceward Ho! 5.

Now's the time to let me know your top requests.

Later in the thread, Joe also notes they are planning to make the game Carbon for OS X, as well as provide internet play via the popular GameRanger service. This game is still in the concept stages of development, so it may be quite some time before we even have a projected release date.

Download Spaceward Ho! 4 Demo
Spaceward Ho! Web Site

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Deus Ex Multiplayer Update Released
5:34 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media and Westlake Interactive have released a new multiplayer patch for Deus Ex. The update brings Mac players up to speed with the latest PC servers, as well as allowing Sound Blaster Live! owners to play multiplayer with EAX for the first time. If you're not playing online though, the patch is unnecessary, so save yourself the trouble of downloading it. Here are a couple clips from the ReadMe with more important info:

This update adds multiplayer functionality to Deus Ex Mac. The Mac version is compatible with the PC version 1.112fm, and will play against those PC servers. This version also includes support for EAX sound effects using the Sound Blaster Live! cards (if you do not have a Sound Blaster Live! card installed, the EAX code is disabled).

In order to retain compatibility with the PC multiplayer, some interface changes normally in Deus Ex Mac have not been included in this version:

- Starting training for the first time no longer informs you about the "right mouse" button alternate on the Mac, command-click.

- There are two options in the Sound Settings that do not do anything- "Dolby Surround Sound" and "Use Hardware 3D Sound".

- There is no "Configure Input Device" button in the Keyboard/Mouse settings. This button normally would have brought up the InputSprocket dialog to configure your mouse or gamepad. To access this functionality, use the old version of Deus Ex (InputSprocket settings are carried over to the multiplayer app automatically). You may also use the "talk" keyboard command during a multiplayer game to get to the console prompt, then backspace over the "Say" and type "configisp".

Check the included docs for more information on the available multiplayer modes. We'll also keep you posted as more mirrors become available.

Deus Ex MP Patch 1.0.3 (35 MB)
Ion Storm
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media
Deus Ex

Jeff Vogel on GeneForge
2:23 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacGamer has posted an interview with Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software, creators of the Exile series of RPGs. The discussion centers around GeneForge, the next title in the queue for Vogel and a sharp departure from the much-loved traditional RPGs Spiderweb is known for. Accompanied by several 3D renders of game characters, the article discusses the plot, gameplay and inspirations behind this unusual title. Here's an excerpt:

What's the basic plot of GeneForge?

You are a member of the guild of Shapers, a secret clan of wizards with the ability to create and mold lifeforms to suit their purposes. You have been kidnapped, however, and taken to a remote area. It is an area closed off and forbidden by the shapers, because it contains a number of rogue creations, dangerous and powerful creatures they don't want anyone to know about.

You've been brought there by a man who wants to steal the secrets of the shapers and use them himself. You will have to decide whether he should be fought or helped.

Is the GeneForge world in a fantasy setting like Dungeons and Dragons, or a futuristic setting?

It's a fantasy setting, but with technological elements. They sort of exist side by side.

Read the rest of the interview for more details, and visit the Spiderweb site for information and demos of their past games.

GeneForge Web Site
Jeff Vogel Interview at MacGamer
Spiderweb Software

Enigma 2.0 Released, OS X Compatible
1:57 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Freeverse has sent along the word they have overhauled their classic codebreaking puzzle game Enigma, bringing it to version 2.0 and adding Carbon support for OS X compatibility. The creators relish in the fact that the game is both addictive and frustratingly challenging at the same time. The game is a very good deal at under $15 to register. Here's a clip from their press release with more info:

Enigma 2.0 features all new graphics and characters while retaining that same classic gameplay that has made it so popular with those of us who enjoy a good migraine now and again.

Best of all, Enigma 2.0 is OS X native!

If you, (or your kids), are looking for a game that teaches deductive reasoning, calls you a monkey, and really works the noodle, then I think we can help you.

Head over to the official site for more details on the game, or grab the updated demo available now at Macgamefiles. Because of the Carbonization, make sure you have CarbonLib 1.3.1 installed to play.

Enigma Web Site

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Mac Europa Universalis Still In Development
1:46 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Back in October of 2000 we brought you the news that Europa Universalis, a complex historical warfare strategy game, would be brought to the Mac OS by Hyperion and Tribsoft. Since that time, several events (including the cancellation of a planned port of Soldier of Fortune to the Mac OS by Hyperion) have cast doubt on the future of this port. However, in early April of this year a member of Tribsoft posted in our forum reassuring Mac strategy gamers that this title was indeed still in development.

It has been over three months since that date with no updates on this title, but once again a member of Tribsoft has dropped by the forums with a progress report, of sorts. Reassuring another posted that the title is still in the works, he posted the following:

it's not dead. In fact, I was working on this Mac port (along other things). Unfortunately for all the patient Mac users waiting for this game, I'm in Germany for the rest of the month. This delay the announcement and the port itself.

There's no announcement date or publishing date at the moment. However, I will kick my butt when I will be back in Montreal to make sure we can make some announcements soon.

Sorry about the delay...

Mathieu Pinard

Tribsoft Inc.

Our thanks to Mathieu for the update, and we hope he doesn't bruise his posterior in the process. For more information on this strategy title, follow the link to a list of past articles on the subject.

Past Articles on Europa Universalis
Europa Universalis Update in IMG Forum

New Master of Orion III Artwork
11:52 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

GamespotUK has posted ten new images of the upcoming space strategy game Master Of Orion III. These development shots show how the games' interface is progressing, along with some beautiful models of two of the playable races. Unfortunately the screens are rather small and blurry, but they will give those who are interested a glimpse of the future of this "4X" game.

Developers Quicksilver are aiming to produce a sci-fi epic, adding elements of character and plot progression to the traditional mold of the turn-based strategy game. Taking control of an entire galactic civilization, the player manipulates presidents, councils and dictators through the use of political, administrative and espionage skills to achieve their goals. There is a wealth of information about MOO3, including a developer diary, over at the official site. The game itself is scheduled for release by MacSoft early next year, with some form of OS X support promised as well.

Official MOO3 Website
Master of Orion III Images at GameSpot UK
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

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Another Myst III Interview With Greg Uhler
10:50 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As is common in the post-release phase of game development, the developers are often interviewed in a "postmortem" fashion designed to get their opinions on the creation process, how the game turned out and what they might turn to next. GameSpy has conducted just such an interview with Greg Uhler of Presto Studios concerning their recently released title Myst III: Exile, which has already sold in excess of 75,000 copies. Unlike the interview we mentioned yesterday, this one focuses less on personal issues and more on the mechanics of making the game -- and what might be coming next.

Here's an excerpt:

GSD: How has the creative process changed given the wealth of new and more capable development tools available today? How have these tools changed how you visualize what you'd like to achieve?

Greg Uhler: Obviously the improved tools have helped us realize our visions much more realistically, but the tools have also helped our production process. Tools such as 3DStudio Max are so accessible, that our designers are able to use the product to pre-visualize their ideas. Our modelers and animators no longer have to translate a 2D sketch into 3D, as they are now able to use the three-dimensional blueprints from the designers as templates for their final 3D work.

GSD: Are 3D titles like Volition's Summoner, which draw upon adventure, action and role-playing genres, the direction where adventure games are going?

Greg Uhler: Yes, I think ‘traditional’ adventure games have evolved and affected many other gaming genres. Just look at Half-Life. It’s a single player game that has so many adventure elements that it is almost incorrect to call it a shooter. Many other titles are using story or puzzles or characters to enhance their own genre, and I feel this trend will continue well into the future.

Certainly the crop of games IMG viewed at E3 were in line with this prediction, as plot and backstory have become a part of many areas of gaming which once relied on twitch reflexes alone. Read the interview for more information about the title and what Presto might do next. Although it is not mentioned in the interview, it has been rumored that Myst IV (and perhaps even V) are already in the works.

Greg Uhler Interview at GameSpy
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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New Civ III Preview, Fan Site
10:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

As E3 proved, fan enthusiasm towards another in Sid Meier's excellent Civilization series is unwavering. Information from that even about Sid's next project continues to trickle out, and it has resulted in new sources of information for those anticipating the game.

Another quick look at Civilization III has recently been posted at Game Revolution. The game will have some updates to both gameplay and graphics, though the designers definitely seem to be trying to keep what has worked in the past. The graphics are, in fact a slight point of controversy, as some gamers feel they look dated. Here's a clip from the preview explaining more:

The gaming industry, like the music industry, has conditioned us to believe that contemporary works should have a certain feel to them, a trendy slickness that Civilization III does not have. Instead, the look of a game whose focus is building things which can endure over time is modeled on Flemish Renaissance art which has remained culturally significant for almost half a millennium. This makes sense to me, but it is interesting to ponder how many critics will pan the graphics because they look "dated."

That look permeates all of the screens in the game. The report screens, which are the most efficient that I have ever seen in a game of this genre, manage to convey a wealth of information quickly without breaking from the Bruegel-esque theme. Long-time Civ players will be particularly pleased with the layout of the "Domestic Advisor" screen. Finally, you will be able to see production, income, resources, and happiness on one screen. The "Foreign Advisor" screen has also been impressively streamlined. Portraits of the various leaders are arranged in a circle. Lines of various colors connect the different leaders and indicate which of several diplomatic states exist between the different governments.

We're sure fans of the series will love Civ III, no matter what the style of the graphics. As proof of this, CivFanatics has recently set up a new area of their site, called the Civilization III Info Center. This very long list of questions and information should get you well acquainted with everything known so far about the title. Definitely head over for a look if you need to find out something about Civ III.

MacSoft is set to publish Civ III to the Mac in a near-simultaneous release sometime late this winter. We'll bring you more info on the game as it nears completion.

Civ III Preview at Game Revolution
Civ III Info Center at CivFanatics
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

Myth: The Great War Announced
9:59 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

If there is one clear lesson for developers about the way to ensure the longevity of a title or series, it is this: provide powerful, easy-to-use editing tools and your game just might live forever. Case in point, IMG received the following press release, concerning the announcement of the Cartographers of Myth's new solo campaign for Myth II : Soulblighter.

After almost a full year of work, the Cartographers of Myth are proud to announce Myth: The Great War. TGW is a seven level solo campaign set 5 years before Bungie's Myth: The Fallen Lords, and features new units, new maps, new story, and a return to Myth: TFL style gameplay without sacrificing Myth II's improved physics engine.

Check out the web site for screen shots, a historical outline, and more detailed information.

The Great War is set for release in early-to-mid Summer of 2001.
The screen shots on their web site are certainly impressive, including one of a new "Dwarven balloon" which certainly looks interesting. The team has a number of excellent maps under their belts, so solo players should have much to look forward to.

The Great War Website

Mac Games News for Tuesday, June 5, 2001

IMG Gets Tranquil3:05 PM
Custer Thrashes Out Another Desktop11:19 AM
Rune Expansion On Track for Release9:49 AM
Myst III: Exile Interview9:40 AM
Another DS9: The Fallen Update9:21 AM
No WWII Online Public Beta, New Mac Info8:45 AM
Cipher Engine Info8:25 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, June 5, 2001 on one page

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Monday, June 4, 2001
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