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Friday, June 29, 2001

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More Updates from GarageGames
9:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Tim Gift of GarageGames has updated his .plan with new information on their powerful 3D engine V12. It seems they are quickly moving through testing, and should have it out to waiting licensees soon --pending approval from Sierra. They must assure Sierra and Dynamix that any Tribes 2 material (other than the generic engine) is removed from V12 before it is released. Yesterday we brought you lots of good information from David Chait, the programmer working on the Mac client, and Tim mentions his work again in his update. Here's a clip:

Things are looking pretty good on the V12 side. Rick and I along with our associates and beta team have been making good progress. David Chait has a Mac server and client running. Win32 can connect to Mac client and vice versa :) Very cool :) Ryan Parker has been working on the linux port and has the linux dedicated server running :) Also very cool :) The rest of us continue to work on cleaning up the code, getting the shell for our test app together, networking, etc. We've already released one beta, today we've released the second. The networking code is all working in this beta, so we'll be doing some multi-player testing with the beta guys :)

The V12 is basically ready to be released. Long term there is still lots of work to do, especially documentation, but the core features are there, and it runs :) Our major hold up is getting final approval from Sierra. They get to look at our build to verify that we've removed all the Tribes 2 intellectual property. We gave them a build two weeks ago and received a reply Tuesday. We've addressed the issues they brought up and are going to give them a new build tomorrow morning. Hopefully this one will go through :)

Rick and I have a few things to work out on the site before the launch. We were going to do those this week but then received the mail from Sierra. That got us side tracked. Rick will probably start on it this weekend, and I'll get on it when I return.

If you missed our Mac V12 update yesterday, be sure to go back and read through it as well. Sounds like V12 is progressing well, and we'll bring you any new info available as they near release. It is important to note that just because a Mac OS version of V12 is being created and maintained does not mean that games made with the engine will necessarily be ported to our OS; however, as we have seen with Quake 3 Arena's engine (also developed with cross-platform use in mind) code such as this can become an important bridge between platforms and make conversions much, much faster than traditional brute-force game porting.

IMG News: Mac V12 Status Update
Tim Gift .plan Update

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Stronghold Interview, Details
2:11 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Blue's News led us to this interview by Eurogamer featuring a discussion with Firefly, the team developing a Medieval sim known as Stronghold. This title was one of the several that MacSoft has acquired from Gathering of Developers for Mac publication, and we've got a feeling many of you are looking forward to it indeed.

Among the numerous details revealed by the interview and accompanying screen shots are an outline of the gameplay and setting, specifics on castle building and combat and a hint of what multiplayer mode will be like. Eurogamer also reveals the interesting detail that Firefly is composed of three former team members of Impressions Games -- the company that developed the Caesar series and Lord of the Realms I and II.

Here's an excerpt with details on castle building, and why Stronghold is more sim than RTS:

New technologies will become available to you as you progress through the game, and the process of
designing and building your castle has been made as flexible as possible. "Players can build walls of
any thickness then add defensive crenulations. They have a choice of different gatehouses, towers and
drawbridges, as well as the ability to add stairs. All of these interconnect and function together [in] a
Lego-like system they can use to create their castle. Once the main castle is in place they can add
moats, killing pits and pitch ditches, mount mangonels and ballistae on the towers, decorate it with
flags and gardens..."

It's not all about building, defending and attacking castles though, because at its heart Stronghold is a sim. "The player doesn't have to micro-manage
resource gathering or continually click to produce troops, these all happen automatically for them. Instead they must balance their overall economy,
setting rations and tax levels. The main variable in managing the castle economy is popularity, [which] determines how many people will come and
work at your castle. If your popularity falls too low people will leave your lands to find work elsewhere."

This title sounds like a Castles: Siege and Conquest fan's dream come true. Read on for more details and screen shots. Currently this title is expected to be released in the Fall. Who is doing the Mac OS conversion and how far it might lag behind the PC release is not known at this time. In related news, if you haven't seen the movie of Stronghold in action that we reported some time ago, we highly recommend grabbing it.

Blue's News
Firefly Interview on Stronghold at Eurogamer
News: Stronghold Gameplay Movie Released
Firefly Studios
Buy Stronghold

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Tomb Raider Trilogy, Alice Go Gold
1:54 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media has just announced that both Tomb Raider: The Trilogy and American McGee's Alice have cleared the "final candidate" hurdle and are now Gold Master. Both games are heading to duplication and should be on store shelves in the next few weeks.

Tomb Raider: Trilogy is a compilation of the first six tomb raider titles -- Tomb Raider I through III and the three expansion packs released in between. Two of the expansion packs, The Gold Mask and The Lost Artifact, are new to the Mac platform.

American McGee's Alice is a critically-acclaimed title designed by a member of the original team at id Software that features a surreal, often frightening 3D adventure through a dark and twisted version of Lewis Caroll's Wonderland. Based on the Quake 3 engine, this title has been praised for both its atmosphere and visual design.

Here's the update from Aspyr:

American McGee's Alice and Tomb Raider: The Trilogy have gone into

Translation: All code work has ended and the GMs have left the building!


Final system requirements for each are:

    American McGee's Alice(TM) plays on:
  • MacOS 8.6 or later
  • MacOSX compatible
  • 400MHz or faster
  • 128 MB of memory
  • 4X CD-ROM
  • Hardware 3D Acceleration required (ATI128 or later)

    Tomb Raider Trilogy :

  • For use on any iMac, G3 or G4
  • Power PC 603e at 180 Mhz or faster
  • MacOS 8.6 or later
  • 32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended)
  • 4x CD-ROM
  • Hard drive and color monitor
  • QuickTime 4.0 (included)

Thanks to Mac programmers Mark Adams (TRT), Ken Cobb (TRT), Phil Sulak
(TRT) and Brad Oliver (Alice), of Westlake Interactive for all their
conversion work on these projects.

We'll let you know when these titles start showing up on store shelves. You can still place pre-orders on Aspyr's web site; make sure you check out our Alice preview for more details on that title.

Aspyr Media
Preview: American McGee's Alice
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Rogue Entertainment
American McGee's Alice

'Bannister's Blitter' Gives Emus a New Look
12:41 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Richard Bannister has long been one of the most prolific and creative figures of the Mac shareware/freeware scene, cranking out one amazing emulator (or port of a PC emulator) after another. His ports aren't mere copies of the original; he often goes out of his way to add Mac-specific technologies, features and interfaces. However, Bannister's latest creation may change the way you look at all of his emulators, and several others besides.

This revolution in emulator visuals is known as Bannister's Blitter, and it takes the form of a plug-in library which is currently supported by 15 of his emulators. The library adds 24 video modes (some only available at 2x setting) which can be combined with 12 "filter" settings to create a radically different appearance for all your favorite emulated games. Want to see what a Neo Geo Pocket game would look like on a 80's-era RGB arcade monitor with a broken "green" gun? Want to replicate that experience from your youth with your Nintendo hooked up to the fuzzy TV in the basement? The settings for these are just the tip of the iceberg. And the blitters can also be used to greatly enhance the visuals of so-so gaming systems by adding interlacing, blurring the blocky edges of low-rez graphics and even blowing up the image to 5x its original size.

Here is a list of what is included in this version of the Blitter:


  • Arcade Mode (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Arcade Mode 25% (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Arcade Mode 50% (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Arcade Mode 75% (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Blur (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x)
  • Interleaved (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Interpolated (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Interpolated 25% (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Interpolated 50% (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • Interpolated 75% (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
  • RGB Mode (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)


  • Inversion - All colours are reversed.
  • Broken Red, Broken Green, Broken Blue - Simulates the effect of a broken electron gun in a monitor, or for preference, the end display on a monitor that has been left on for years. Quite a lot of the monitors in my local arcade look like this :)
  • Red Only, Green Only, Blue Only - Gives you one channel of the video image only.
  • Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical, Flip Both - Ever tried watching the Konami animation backwards?

    Full Screen Modes

  • RAVE Blocky, RAVE Smooth - Uses the RAVE API (only available under MacOS 8/9) to scale the video to full screen rapidly. Uses ATI-specific calls where possible to provide maximum possible speed.
The modes that simulate an RGB monitor and Arcade mode are quite impressive; anyone who has stared at the blurry picture of the low-quality monitors and televisions used in many arcade games will no doubt find the image quite familiar. The RGB setting slightly offsets the red, green and blue pixels of the image to create a grainy look, while the Arcade mode simulates the look of an early color Trinitron appearance. The Interlaced modes are similar to the line-skipping modes in MAME; interlacing was a common method of increasing game performance by skipping every other line when drawing the image and then just relying on the slight blur and brightness of the arcade monitor to cover up the missing lines.

What is even more interesting about this library is that it works with MacMAME (and other offspring such as CPSMAME and GeoMAME) thanks to a plug-in created by Ian Patterson. Currently the Blitter only works with 16-bit games (such as Capcom, Neo Geo and others) but this is an early version of the plug-in.

Bannister's Blitter is $10.00 shareware. Jump to his web page to download a trial version which will work for 10 launches. You can grab the Blitter library with the plug-in that enables MacMAME use from the link below. MacMAME Carbon users might want to watch for a slight bug; after you launch the emulator and the message appears warning you that this is a trial version of the Blitter, the "Warning" message that you get when launching MacMAME is hidden. Just switch to the Finder and back to MacMAME to continue.

MacMAME News and Info
Download MacMAME/Blitter Enabler (392k, .sit)
Bannister's Blitter Library

Fantastic Journey Review Posted
10:31 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

GraphSim's foray into porting and publishing PC titles for the Mac OS has included many "serious" games such as Descent 3 and Baldur's Gate, but they haven't left the "casual gamer" out in the cold. After it was revealed that the team who developed Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey had created a Mac version which was never published in the US (or indeed outside of Germany) GraphSim snatched this one up for republishing. While the result was a game with the usual Pro Pinball play and polish, it does have some differences from previous titles in the series. Here's an excerpt:

On the Mac or PC (or Playstation) platform, it has long been the case that if you wanted to play a really amazing and extremely accurate pinball sim, you only had one company to turn to: Empire Interactive. Beginning with Pro Pinball: The Web and continuing with Timeshock and Big Race USA, Empire has practically been the only game in town for “pro” level pinball play, and with good reason -- no one else has been able to top their realism, quality of play and eye-popping graphics...

As the fourth title in this series, Fantastic Journey has a lot to live up to; frankly, Timeshock and Big Race USA are very tough acts to follow. While Fantastic Journey retains the same flash and dazzle as the previous titles and continues the high quality of realism and “polish,” the developers seem to have gambled on the play itself by choosing to simplify the sim greatly -- perhaps as a way of attracting new gamers to the fading genre of pinball.

Read on for the rest of this review. Currently it seems the only place to buy this game is the GraphSim web site, though boxed copies should appear on shelves eventually.

Review:Pro Pinball Fantastic Journey

Blizzard Seeks Mac OS Help
9:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new listing on Blizzard's employment page reveals they are currently looking for a Macintosh programmer to help out with their game titles. This would certainly be an exciting opportunity for any would-be Mac game maker to sign on with a very well-established company (to say the least!). Think you might have what it takes? Here are the requirements:

Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a very smart Macintosh programmer who has a passion for games. An ideal candidate would have a very strong knowledge with C/C++, as well as experience in Apple Game Sprockets and game related applications for the Mac OS.


  • A passion for Games and Mac Programming
  • A strong knowledge of C/C++ and Win32 APIs
  • Knowledge of Open GL and Apple Game Sprockets
  • Experience with OpenPlay, PowerPC or Intel x86 Assembly helpful
  • Knowledge of Code Warrior also a plus
  • Industry and Hobby Experience also a plus
  • The mention of OpenPlay is particularly exciting, as an endorsement of this open-source, cross-platform networking API by an industry giant such as Blizzard would prove that it is a viable alternative to the Windows-only DirectPlay API Microsoft encourages Wintel programmers to use.
    Check out the official listing for more details on submitting your resume, etc. They also have some tips available for programmers who are hoping to work there, a worthwhile read before you e-mail that resumé.

    Blizzard Mac Programmer Listing

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    Space Tripper to be Boxed
    8:38 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    IMG recently exchanged some information with PomPom, the UK company responsible for the excellent 3D shareware title Space Tripper. Artist Michael Michael let us know about their further plans for the game, which includes a publishing deal in the near future. He's hoping the deal will be finalized soon, with this game appearing on store shelves sometime this Fall. That's great news, though anyone who has played the game will realize its quality and polish would be appealing to a publisher as well as to the casual gamer.

    We also received some details on a possible OS X version of the game. It seems they've been hung up by a few issues under Apple's new operating system, and are in the process of trying to work them out now. Here's a clip:

    As for the OS-X version? Not sure there i'm afraid. We've had alot of
    problems with OS-X, as the 9.x version was finished some time ago.
    We decided to release the OS9 version anyway as we don't know exactly
    when or if we can sort out the OS-X problems.
    Hopefully they will be able to get things under OS X settled eventually. We've pointed them towards the Apple games devlist as a good place to start. As it stands, the OS 9 version runs great on a variety of hardware. If you haven't yet checked it out, head over to MacGameFiles now and try the demo -- we just can't stop playing this game, and we highly encourage anyone and everyone with 8 MB of VRAM to give this one a try. It's being rated a 5 out of 5 by MGF users, so also be sure to add your thoughts after you try it out.

    Download Space Tripper 1.3 (3.4MB)
    Space Tripper Web Site

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    Civilization III Interview
    8:14 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    A new interview at FGOnline talks with president and CEO of Firaxis Games Jeff Briggs and his upcoming title Civilization III. This third title in the massively popular strategy series has been underway for two years and it now in testing. Firaxis hopes to have it completed this fall, and a Mac version should be published by MacSoft soon after the PC. The Q&A discusses what makes Civilization so popular, the challenges of making a succesful sequel, and the features found only in Civ III. Here's an excerpt:

    FGN Online: What feature of this version are you most proud of personally?

    Jeff Briggs: It's hard to say that one feature is better than another. The thing I’m most pleased with is how the new systems – Trade, Culture, Nationalities, and diplomacy all fit together and integrate into the old system. But if I had to choose just one, it's the diplomacy.

    FGN Online: Why?

    Jeff Briggs: We've kept the conversational interface from Civ II and added a "bargaining table" that can be used to conduct detailed negotiations with history’s great leaders (whose expressions change depending on the types of deals you try to broker with them!). Everything is available for trade including treaties, gold, goods, technologies, cities, units, world maps, communication with other civilizations, etc. Players will be able to mix-and-match deals without any restrictions.

    Have a read through the rest of the chat at FGOnline if you're interested, and stay tuned for more info on Civ III from IMG as the game heads towards completion later this year.

    MacSoft Web Site
    Official Civ III Web Site
    Civ III Interview at FGOnline
    Firaxis Games
    Civilization III
    Buy Civilization III

    Mac Games News for Thursday, June 28, 2001

    Mac V12 Status Update12:55 PM
    Mac Quake III Production Halt12:46 PM
    IMG Talks One on One with Mark Adams12:27 PM
    The Science of Game Design10:35 AM
    Black & White Add-on Interview9:18 AM
    D2: Lord of Destruction Patch Available9:04 AM
    New Shadowbane Screens, Info8:38 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, June 28, 2001 on one page

    Recent Mac Games News

    Wednesday, June 27, 2001
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    Monday, June 25, 2001
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    Thursday, June 21, 2001

    Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.

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