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Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Target Korea Details
9:17 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the beta version of this innovative flight sim progresses towards and expanded beta pool, Targetware is releasing more details about Target Korea, revealing for the first time what actual gameplay may be like. This sim is "targeted" at hardcore online pilots, with an emphasis on realism, but the game also has several features (including open tools and easy-to-edit aircraft) which will encourage community development and participation.

We recently spoke with a member of the team who offered this update on the sim's status:

We are currently in closed beta testing of v.031e for both the PC and Mac
platforms with approximately 75 users. We have just closed off accepting
any more applications for the Target Korea closed beta team and we're about
to initiate a substantial expansion of the present team to facilitate a much
larger scale of beta testing. The on-line database contains almost 1200
applicants, so we hope to have better than half of these actively
participate within the closed beta, to ensure we've addressed all of the
major issues prior to moving to the Open Beta stage in the Fall.

As this expansion occurs, we will be introducing closed beta v.032 which
adds a huge element of game play improvement to Target Korea with the advent
of scenarios. Scenarios will become the heart of what differentiates the
Targetware series of flight simulations from the traditional open arena
concepts used by all of the present on-line MMP flight sim companies. The
scenario concept should not be confused with the simple mission builders
provided by these arena centric sims, but rather they will form the essence
of Targetware's approach to stimulating much greater game play enjoyment,
through forcing strategy and victory conditions to become a major element of
a player's participation when on-line.

While Target Korea will not feature massively-multiplayer online play, this description seems to indicate that online play will be oriented around battles (most likely historic conflicts) rather than simple aerial deathmatching.

Targetware also passed along the results of a poll they posted on the Target Korea web site. The results are quite interesting, and they indicate that at this point in the game's development, the majority of the interest is indeed coming from serious flight sim players. The poll also indicated that those with less CPU horsepower do not want to be left behind when this game ships; this is an era of increasing concern for gamers these days as requirements for some titles climb into the stratosphere. Here are the results of the poll:

If you could suggest one programming priority for the Targetware flight
simulation engine, which area would you like Sickware to focus on?

16% Emphasis on entertainment with goal oriented scenarios through forced
cooperative team play.

10% Emphasis on high resolution in-game graphics models for planes,
terrains and pyrotechnics.

52% Emphasis on software engine physics for historically accurate flight,
weapons and ordnance modeling.

22% Emphasis on system performance (ie: high fps) with acceptable
graphics on wide range of computers.

Stay tuned for more details as Targetware expands the beta of this game to include many more Mac and PC players and begins to tweak online play. Visit the Targetware web site for more details and screen shots.

Targetware Web Site
Target Korea

Monkey Byte Sells Battle-Girl, Free Demo Disc
3:09 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The latest edition of the Monkey Byte newsletter contains two updates which may be of interest to Mac gamers. This independent software (and music) publisher has added the 2D action game Battle-Girl to their catalog of Mac titles, and they have opened up their offer of a free demo CD with unlockable versions of their Mac and PC games to the general public.

For those of you who have yet to discover Battle-Girl, we can't encourage you strongly enough to check out this instant-classic title. Truly one of the most addictive "plotless shooters" we've ever played, this game performs well on almost any 1999 or later Mac and is a very impressive Powerbook game as well. You can grab a demo of this game from MGF.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the newsletter: announces Battle Girl for the Macintosh now available
through the web site.

Battle Girl uses a 2-D overhead perspective and color vector graphics
rendered in a silky smooth control. Battle Girl uses a TripTronic
graphics engine, which means that all the action is superbly fluid and
the controls are easy and precise. The soundtrack totally rocks!
Battle Girl moves to some of the best dance music from all over the world
- so pump up the volume and play to the beat.

Due to the amazing response from our NewsLetter members,
has decided to take our FREE Demo CD-ROM offer public!

For just shipping and handling, we will send out a FREE demo CD-ROM that
contains hours of unlimited gameplay. This CD-ROM is packed solid with
all the game demos available from and music samples from
our Indie bands. If you enjoy any of the games on this Free CD, they can
be unlocked with a code purchased from the web site (only
where applicable)!

Be sure and visit the Monkey Byte web site to check out both of these offers.

Demo CD Info at Monkey Byte
Battle-Girl Details at Monkey Byte
Battle-Girl Demo (1.1 MB)

New OS X Games Revisit Classics
11:27 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

While there is plenty of hype for big-name titles shipping as or being converted to Mac OS X native versions, Apple's new OS continues to inspire programmers to create new (and old) shareware creations as well. Two recent examples offer a new take on classic styles of gaming, yet simultaneously demonstrate the power of OS X.

Cowy the Minesweeper is a hilarious take on a classic gaming genre, and also claims to be the first shareware OpenGL game written entirely in Cocoa (Mac OS X's native API). Featuring a 3D engine and several unique enhancements over the usual "minesweeper" tedium, this adorable title pits you as a minesweeper charged with checking a field for buried explosives. As you maneuver your tank across the field, Cowy ambles about, occasionally stumbling on a mine and getting blown sky-high. Cowy seems to be made of sturdy stuff, as she always manages to survive the blast, but your tank is quite vulnerable to explosions; luckily you have a limited number of bombs you can use to reveal suspected mines without harm. Anyone who has ever played Minesweeper will find the gameplay familiar, and the shareware fee is a reasonable $10.

Another enhanced retread appearing for OS X is Glypha III. This is a remake of a remake -- the original Glypha and Glypha II were clones of Atari's coin-op classic Joust created by longtime Mac programmer John Calhoun. Now open-source, the game has been ported to Mac OS X by Mark Pazolli. Although the game lacks sound (it is just a preview release) anyone who enjoyed the original on their Mac Classic will love this updated version of a blast from the past. The source code for this game is included in the download, for those of you interested in the project.

Stop by MacGameFiles to grab both of these downloads, and be sure to check back often for more OS X-native games to download and try.

Glypha III 1.1b1PR (534k)
Cowy the Minesweeper 1.0 (1.3 MB)

Massive IMG Preview of Myth III Posted
9:32 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

IMG's Michael Yanovich recently took a trip to the MumboJumbo offices and
returned with a massive preview of Myth III: The Wolf Age, along with
a number of screen shots of in-game action. The preview offers a quick
review of the currently known facts on the game, including basics on the new 3D polygonal
models, prequel storyline, and multiplayer basics. More details and impressions
are then given on the much-improved graphics in the game. The 3D engine will
support more detailed models, a wider range of "zoom" and realistic physics. New details
on some of the returning characters and story are explored for the very fist time as well. Here's a clip
on some of the differences that fans of the series can expect in comparison to Myth II:

One side effect of this development path has been to illustrate the remarkable difference between MII’s sprite based units and MIII’s fully 3D characters. For example, 3D trows have not been implemented into the game yet (they will be by the time you read this). So when I was shown portions of the game, I saw sprite Trow standing shoulder to shoulder with 3D thrall. The difference is astonishing.

Zooming into the sprite images resulted in ungainly jaggies and blurring, an inherent limitation in the technology. The 3D images, even at close range, were stunning by contrast. The expressions on the units’ faces, the minutia of the details – one thrall missing a shoulder pad, another one with chunks taken out of his side – are a joy to behold.

Definitely be sure to have a read through the rest of the six--page article, as
well as the impressive new screen shots in the gallery. Myth III is currently
on schedule to be completed this Fall (perhaps as early as October), and the
Mac version will be published by MacSoft.

MumboJumbo Games
IMG Preview of Myth III: The Wolf Age

Click to enlarge
Shadowbane Developer Q&A
9:25 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The weekly update to the Shadowbane web site includes a new developer
journal entry with Billy "Hezrael" Arnold, a 3D artist for Wolfpack.
Arnold is putting the final touches on a new area called the 'Vampyre Lord Keep,'
an appropriately spooky new place for the Undead to hang out. The interview covers
the process involved in making an immense area such as this, and includes a number of
concept art sketches and early renders. Here are several excerpts from the piece:

What exactly is the Vampyre Lord's Keep?

The idea is that it is a central focal point of the Undead Zone where the more powerful undead emanate from. It may also serve as a focal point for various quests. It is called the "Vampyre Lord's Keep" because the Vampyres appear to be the instigators of the Undead menace.

Are the Max renders pretty close to what it will look like in-game?

Yes and no. Yes because the colors and details of the textures are exactly what it will look like in the engine. No because the lighting of the Arcane 3D Engine will make it look even more dramatic than the quick, stand-in lighting I have in these renders.

One more thing. Take a good look at the screenshot of the doors. See that little tiny door set into the right hand door? It looks like a "doggy door", doesn't it? In reality, a Half Giant or a Minotaur could walk through it with more than a foot to spare. That's the kind of scale we're dealing with here. This place is huge!

Shadowbane is currently the only 3D MMORPG appearing on the Mac platform in the foreseeable
future, and we're hoping to see a release by Wolfpack before the end of the year.
The game is currently in its second major testing phase, and more details are expected
as the title nears completion. If you visit the Shadowbane web site, be sure to check the Screen shots, Lore and Bestiary sections as these have also had recent updates.

Vampyre Lord Keep Q&A
Wolfpack Studios

Click to enlarge
Apple Looks at Tomb Raider: Chronicles
7:42 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Apple has posted a new preview of the latest Lara Croft saga, Tomb Raider: Chronicles, due soon from Aspyr Media. The articles covers a variety of bases, from the just-released movie from Simon West, to the other TR title (Tomb Raider Trilogy) also set for release soon. The preview looks at the new venues Lara will be exploring in Chronicles, the experience with OS X, and even a little about the new level editor. Here's a clip about some of the other 'extras' included in a game:

When you complete enough of Chronicles, you’ll unlock some special features that allow you to access storyboards of the cut scenes from the game (cut scenes are those movies that play between levels of a game) as well as a gallery of Lara Croft images. You’ll even get a sneak peak at what Eidos is calling “the next generation of Tomb Raider.”  
Another goodie in the story is a link provided to download five new desktops from IMG's own Brad Custer. This 6MB file with images of various resolutions was created especially for the release of Chronicles, so be sure to give it a look.

IMG Preview of Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Tomb Raider: Chronicles Preview at Apple
Custer's Desktops
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Core Design
Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Buy Tomb Raider: Chronicles

Click to enlarge
Review of Volition's Red Faction for PS2
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

While the Mac and PC versions of this first-person shooter are not expected until this Fall, Red Faction is causing quite a stir among console gamers enjoying this PS2 title. Our partner site Inside PS2 Games has published a review of this innovative shooter which blends a new engine technology with a single-player story line and split-screen multiplayer.

Reviewer Patrick Leyden found a lot to like about this title, and considered the Geo-Mod engine technology to be one of its greatest strengths:

Arguably the most exciting aspect to Red Faction is the specialized enhancements made to the 3D engine that powers the game. The engine is built upon something the game’s developer, Volition, calls Geo-Mod Technology. What Geo-Mod allows the player to do is to interact with the terrain as the game is played and have those changes be more than cosmetic. Put simply, Geo-Mod technology lets the player blow more stuff up.

Having the ability to alter the game’s landscape in real time gives Red Faction an immerse quality than no shooter on any other platform can match (until, of course, the PC and Mac version of this game are released). Knowing that a well-aimed rocket can be used to create a tunnel under a door or to construct a hiding place is, in some ways, more fun than actually defeating Ultor’s guards in combat. A player’s first half-hour with Red Faction will likely be taken up with destroying anything and everything in sight.

This review is just a glimpse of what Mac players can expect from this game when it ships; not only will we get OpenGL graphics, support for multiple resolutions and Carbon support, but the game will also ship with Internet multiplayer support as well as single-player botmatch sessions. Yet another title for Mac gamers to look forward to this year, and one which will arrive on our platform refined and enhanced in comparison to its console debut, much like Volition's other title, Summoner. Read the rest of the review for more details. Mac Red Faction will be published by GraphSim upon completion.

Red Faction Review at Inside PS2 Games
Red Faction

Optimizing Q3A 129 for OS X 10.0.4
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The Mac community certainly has many kind things to say about Graeme Devine, member of id Software and an adamant defender of the Mac as a computing and gaming platform. However, all men have their faults, and Graeme can occasionally suffer from an affliction that can hobble even the best and brightest of the world's programmers -- we call it "cryptic plan-itus." While he has only the best intentions as he updates his ".plan" file with hopefully enlightening information, something gets lost in the translation from über-geek-speak to the plain English favored by mere mortals.

Thus, Graeme's latest .plan update needs a little explaining. While many hailed the release of the latest version of Quake 3 Arena (in this case, version 1.29 for Mac OS X) some expressed surprise at a lack of "oomph"; a quick fix was posted which corrected a bug in the sound system which was eating up speed, but it turns out there is still more optimization to be done. It seems that Graeme left a certain preference setting aside when he compiled this latest version, but manually entering it in the console should result in a slight speed boost.

Here is his update:

Quick update on Mac OS X

If you run with s_chunksize 2048 you get a noticeable framerate improvement over the default. Please note that I forgot to latch s_chunksize, so you need to quit the game and restart after you've changed the value of that cvar.

Mac OS X 10.0.4 seems a lot snappier to me too.


To make this change to Q3A's settings, bring down the console and type "\s_chunksize 2048." To make sure the value has been set, just type "s_chunksize" in the console (don't forget the backslash if you are in the middle of a game) to see what the current value of the variable is. In our own tests this setting did indeed create a small boost in speed, but still much less noticeable than the boost given by disabling sound and music. Remember this is still a beta version of Q3A, and we are sure the optimizations and speed boosts will continue. There is no information as to whether this fix works with the Classic version of the Q3A update; be sure and post your results in our Forums.

Quake 3 Arena 1.29f Update (25 MB)
Graeme Devine's .plan File

Mac Games News for Monday, June 25, 2001

Mac Black and White "In Progress"3:43 PM
Custer Summons 'Spellcasters'12:16 PM
Summoner Ready to Ship11:24 AM
Blizzard Staff Grilled on Expansion, 1.0.89:46 AM
Unreal II Interview9:39 AM
MOO3 Dev Diary on UI9:33 AM
GameSpy Interviews Omni's Tim Wood6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, June 25, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, June 22, 2001
Thursday, June 21, 2001
Wednesday, June 20, 2001
Tuesday, June 19, 2001
Monday, June 18, 2001

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