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Monday, June 25, 2001

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Blizzard Staff Grilled on Expansion, 1.0.8
9:46 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Over the weekend the Diablo II Development Team along with Bill Roper, Lisa Bucek and Beau Yarbrough met online with a collection of Blizzard Fansites to answer questions which arose after the recent 1.08 patch release. The team were the perfect people to deliver new details - including information about a 1.09 patch - and were not afraid of admitting their own mistakes. For the full chat log follow the link below, but here are a few samples:

Q: We have followed up on a 1.08 patch with some server side changes, what about people who do not play on

A: There will be a downloadable patch (1.09) that gives the players all the same changes that are on This should be available within a couple of weeks.

Q: How have Boss drops been changed / modified?

A: End Bosses (Diablo, Duriel, etc) have had their drops modified so that they are MUCH better and will be better EVERY time to kill them, not just the first time. This makes risk/reward better.

There was also news of the inclusion of more server side Horaric Cube recipes for Diablo II, no expansion set needed! With the end of the beta test for the Lord Of Destruction expansion pack, there will be a special tournament taking place on June 27th for all high level Hardcore players. Here's what the Dev team had to say:
We'd like to invite all the high level hardcore players to voluntarily take part in a dueling tournament!!! Since the characters are being erased anyway, there's nothing to lose, so we thought it would be fun to have a little informal tournament. We'd like to invite all hardcore players to join the channel that we will announce on our forums shortly. The tournament will take place June 27. This will be totally voluntary, informal, and with no prizes or anything, but since the beta's ending, a champion must be crowned! Details will be posted on our forums shortly!
All of this nicely co-incides with two major events in the D2 world on June 29th: the release of Lord of Destruction and, on, the start of a new season which brings a Standard and Hardcore Ladder reset in all but the Asian Realm's 2 and 3 Ladders. This reset only affects the Ladders themselves; no existing characters will be deleted, allthough you must create a new character after the reset if you want to take your place on the new Ladders and prove your worth.
Diablo II Lord Of Destruction Website
Diablo II Chat Log
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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Mac Black and White "In Progress"
3:43 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Veteran readers of IMG know that this publication has maintained an upbeat attitude about a Mac port of Lionhead's unusual title Black and White. In fact, we've been covering the game since late 1999/early 2000, although we toned things down when it became painfully obvious that a Mac port of the game would be a long time coming. Once it became clear that a simultaneous (or even near) release of a Mac port was an impossibility, speculation about this title cooled until April of this year, when some comments by a small UK company known as Entourage sparked the flames of interest once again.

Even though Entourage promised more information "soon," it seems Lionhead themselves are the ones who have confirmed, once and for all, that Mac Black and White is coming. However, the news is both good and bad -- while a port is indeed in progress, we might not see results until late 2001 or early 2002. A report on the fan site LionGames confirms in passing that the Mac version is on its way; here is the update from Mark Webley of Lionhead:

  • PlayStation version is underway at the moment and we are expecting it to be finished within 2-3 months.
  • Playstation 2 and Microsoft Xbox version are also underway - being developed by Black & White Studios - we expect to see them finished (but not released) in June 2002.
  • The Macintosh version is most definitely underway and we hope to see something released before Christmas.
  • The Linux and BeOS never managed to get anywhere. We haven't necessarily given up hope but the publishers we have been speaking to about this are not too optimistic about the marketplace for selling Linux or BeOS titles. Black & White is a VERY big project to convert and I guess for some people the cost of converting it, is just too restrictive.
With this confirmation all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place: Entourage is porting this game, and their longtime partner Feral Interactive is the likely publisher. For more information on the game follow the link to a list of past articles on the subject.

LionGames Web Site
Past Articles on Mac Black and White
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

Custer Summons 'Spellcasters'
12:16 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Once again Brad Custer has proved himself a master pixel pusher and released yet another gorgeous desktop/wallpaper image for Mac gamers. This week his theme is appropriately inspired by the just-shipping RPG Summoner (see related story) which is certainly not lacking in eye candy itself.

Head to Custer's Desktops to grab this image, and make sure you examine his previous efforts as well -- collect them all!

Custer's Desktops

Summoner Ready to Ship
11:24 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG spoke briefly with Jeff Morgan of Graphic Simulations about the status of the 3D RPG Summoner, which recently "went gold." All of you that are anticipating this gorgeous, involving RPG will be very happy to hear what he had to say:

The Summoner CD's have been replicated and are being delivered to our warehouse today for the final assembly of the retail boxes. With any luck we'll be shipping some Summoner copies today but in all likelihood we'll be shipping tomorrow.
This is fantastic news, and a great way to kick off a Summer which will be packed with one big game release after another. Visit the GraphSim web site or the official Summoner site for more information, or check out our preview of the title.

Preview: Summoner

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Unreal II Interview
9:39 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The German site Gameplex has recently posted an interview with Mike Verdu of Legend Entertainment. In the Q&A, Verdu discusses their work on the massive FPS sequel Unreal II. Legend has had much experience with the ever-evolving engine, having produced an expansion and an original title (Wheel of Time) with the Unreal engine as the basis. Epic interactive handed off development of the Unreal sequel to this company, which speak volumes about Epic's confidence that the sequel will live up to expectations. While it should be noted that no Mac version of Unreal II has been announced as of yet, it seems
a very likely candidate for a Mac port.

Unreal II will place the focus back on a single player storyline, though it won't pick up exactly where the first Unreal left off. In the sequel you will play a sort of space cowboy who's duty is to protect civilians on the frontiers of the universe. Here's a clip from Verdu with more info:

Unreal was a classical 3D-shooter with a minimum of story and very linear levels. How different to that is Unreal 2?

We are creating a very rich story for Unreal II - which will be delivered using in-game cut-scenes and our new real time conversation system.  We’ll also have a variety of types of game play, including traditional first person missions, hostage rescue, squad based combat, escort missions, exploration and discovery in new environments, and a number of multiplayer variants.  We want to make a game that has the classic elements of a shooter but has enough new experiences to keep people engaged, surprised, and delighted as they play all the way through the game.

The rest of the interview talks about the powerful 3D engine and what sort of hardware it will need to run adequately. They're currently considering the second generation of 3D hardware (Voodoo3, etc) as a baseline. Fortunately, by the time the game is released next spring, most gamers will likely have the power necessary to play Unreal II. We'll keep you posted with any new Mac info that may become available about the game.

Unreal II Q&A with Mike Verdu

MOO3 Dev Diary on UI
9:33 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new development diary for Master of Orion 3 has been posted by GameSpy, dissecting the complex design process for the User Interface (UI) in a game such as this where the player must manage large amounts of detailed information. Since many strategy titles are intimidating to new users because of bad UI design, QuickSilver has spent the past two years defining and refining what they believe is a good interface for MOO3. The diary provides an interesting look at how you go about managing such an extensive amount of information without getting buried. Here's an excerpt with info on a WWW-like interface in the game:

Create natural hyperlink shortcuts from the current screen to every possible relevant screen. So, aside from standard interface buttons, many items in MOO3 are tagged as hyperlinks that immediately take the player to their associated screen.

So if, for example, you read your Situation Report and want to go to a specific planet where that revolt is occurring, you have some options. You may back out of the SitRep screen, navigate through the galaxy, selecting the appropriate solar system and then the planet in revolt. Alternately, you could click on the hyperlink-looking name of the planet on the Situation Report (it looks like a hyperlink because it is one). Another way would be to go to press the Planet Button in the Button Window and click on that planet there.

Throughout MOO3 there are multiple ways to access the same screen. Links will be provided wherever another screen is relevant to the current screen. Which way players take to get from here to there is entirely up to them.

The rest of the diary is just as interesting, so be sure to give it a look if you want more info on this strategy title. MOO3 is currently set to be released for Mac and PC early next year.

Master of Orion 3 Development Diary
Official Master of Orion 3 Web Site
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

GameSpy Interviews Omni's Tim Wood
6:00 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Rapidly increasing his gaming profile, OmniGroup's TIm Wood has been interviewed by GameSpy concerning both Omni's and his own history in the Mac market and the ever present debate of Apple and OS X's relationship with gaming. With Tim's history of porting many id titles to OS X, and his current focus on bringing A-list titles such as Heavy Metal: Fakk2 and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force to Apple's next-generation OS, he is surely one of the best to talk to concerning the future of Mac gaming. Concernig OS X's advantages over other platforms Tim says favorite has to be the SMP support in Mac OS X. The Quake3 testing that I've done shows that a SMP-500 with a GeForce2MX is about 33% faster than a single processor 733 (also with a GF2MX). Also, the SMP-500 is nearly twice as fast as a single processor 500Mhz box. That is, we're getting an almost linear speedup from the extra processor (which isn't as common as you might hope). Now, just imagine how nice the next generation of SMP hardware from Apple will be with a higher clock rate and a GeForce3 :)
Read the full interview to get an insight into the thoughts of someone who is likley to be a key-player in future Mac gaming developments, especially with Omni's dream to create their own games from scratch in the future.

OmniGroup Website
Interview with TIm Wood @

Mac Games News for Friday, June 22, 2001

Beta Rogue Spear Patch Released5:50 PM
Jena & Auerstadt 1806 Released11:47 AM
'Dragon Alpha' Set for Aug 1st Release11:29 AM
Targetware Expands Closed Beta Test11:18 AM
IMG Interviews Andrew Welch10:08 AM
Mac Deep Space Nine: The Fallen in July?9:19 AM
dimension 3 Game Engine Update8:58 AM
Geneforge Media Updates8:54 AM
More 'Secret' Westlake Projects Appear8:51 AM
e.p.i.c. Interactive Update8:43 AM
Classic Version of Q3A 1.29f Beta Released8:39 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, June 22, 2001 on one page

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Thursday, June 21, 2001
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