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Tuesday, July 3, 2001

Quick EV: Nova Update
9:01 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new update to the Escape Velocity: Nova progress log was made early this morning with the latest on the title's art and interface work. It seems they are getting very close to having the bulk of the graphics work completed, as the game is now moving towards the end of the alpha stages of development at Ambrosia Software.

Escape Velocity: Nova is the much-anticipated third title in this series, and will be an attempt to bring a cutting-edge 2D engine with many special effects to a now-classic style of gaming which blends plot and intrigue with action and swashbuckling adventure. EVN has been in development for quite some time, but according to this latest update the extended alpha development period may be drawing to a close.

Here's the quick update from the boards:

[-] Main splash screen to beta readiness

[-] Startup screen 99% complete

[-] Main menu 90% complete

[-] Interface (buttons, DLOG Backgrounds, status sidebar) to beta readiness

Soooo damned close now!!
For more info on EV: Nova, be sure to check out its page at Ambrosia for cool screen shots and movies. There is currently no hard release date for this third in the massively popular EV series, but we'll keep you posted on any new changes.

EV:Nova Progress Log
EV:Nova Betashots Page

MacMAME Arcade '84 Challenge Begins
4:33 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

MacMAME information site usually just rounds up the latest information on the Mac version of this popular emulation project. However, now they have teamed up with two other sites to sponsor the MacMAME Arcade '84 Challenge, a high-score contest which will test your skills at classic titles such as Berserk, Dig Dug and Robotron. The four-week contest will be an elimination round with the final week focused on the most popular game of the first three weeks. Here are the details from the report:

CinemArcade, Bitchkitty Wizbang, and are announcing the MacMAME Arcade '84 Challenge!

The contest will take place during the entire month of July. Based on the games that are featured in the movie Arcade '84, we'll attempt to discover the overall favorite game, then the overall champion of that game.

Based on hi-score submissions to Wizbang (note: this is a new URL - update your bookmarks), we'll narrow down the top 3, then two, then the single most popular game during the first 3 weeks of July. Then during the final week, we'll play for the championship title for that game.

Progress will be posted at the contest page, the scores will be posted at Wizbang and any new contest news will be posted to the MacMAME Message Board, and probably at the three sponsoring sites as well.

Participants will submit their scores as screen shots, but only one per game per week. According to the contest page the prize will be a unique QuickTime VR 'toy' with the winner's name -- and of course the respect and adoration of their MacMAME-playing peers. Visit the official web site for more information.

Wizbang MAME HiScore Site
MacMAME Arcade '84 Challenge Official Rules

Click to enlarge
Space Tripper Updated to 1.5
4:06 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

PomPom has updated the excellent 3D action/arcade title Space Tripper to version 1.5 recently. This new version makes some minor improvements to the already highly-acclaimed game, which is set for a boxed release sometime this fall. The MacGameFiles listing shows the full three-level demo, which weighs in at just over 3MB. If you're on a slower connection and just want just download a patch, have a look at the official PomPom download section. Here's an excerpt explaining what is different in this release:

fixes certain issues such as:

-No front end menu graphics

-Game stuttering
Be sure and try out Space Tripper if you haven't already -- it is one of the most attractive and polished shareware releases we have seen in a long time. It's scored very high in the MGF ratings so far, so be sure to post your thoughts after you try it out as well.

Space Tripper Web Site
Download Space Tripper 1.5 (3.4MB)

Interview With Phil Saunders on Myst III: Exile
2:39 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

In our continual search to bring you a Mac perspective on the world of gaming, our own Michael Phillips has conducted an interview with Phil Saunders of Presto Studios on their latest title, Myst III: Exile. This latest entry in the beloved Myst series has been an unqualified success, and now we take you behind the scenes of the making of this title. Among the many details discussed are Presto's Mac roots and the software and tools used to make Exile. Here's a sample:

IMG: Were you supportive of bringing Exile to the Mac OS?

Phil Saunders: You bet! All of us were. We’ve been a Macintosh development studio since day one. Our first title, The Journeyman Project, shipped initially on the Mac, and was ported to the PC at a later date. It wasn’t until 1999 that we shipped our first PC only title, because Activision just wasn’t supporting Macintosh gaming at the time. I myself am a hardcore Mac-head. My first computer was a home-built Apple ][+ and my current home computer is a G3 Powerbook. I can’t imagine not owning a Mac.

Read the rest of the interview for more details on this intriguing game.

Feature: Interview with Phil Saunders on Myst III: Exile

Alien Nations Set for September Release
11:29 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

IMG recently received an update from Titan Computer on their various projects and ports. It was revealed in July of last year that Alien Nations, a unique RTS/empire builder sim published for the PC as Amazons and Aliens was being ported to the Mac platform. On March 5th of this year IMG reported that the RTS was in beta testing.

The note from Titan claims this title is set for a September release, and offers an update on several other projects they are working on:

AlienNations is close to release we expect it for September. The Phoenix project is put on ice atm and i have my doubts that the team will finally finished Phoenix. Head Hunter is renamed to Rage Hard; first screen shots will be released soon. Rage Hard Alphaversion will have its premiere on Maxpo in Cologne this year. We have also signed Echelon The Storm a futuristic flight sim.
We can assume all of these new projects will have Mac versions (Titan also does Amiga development); we've contacted the team for confirmation. Read our past posts on Alien Nations for more details on this game, or visit the official web site.

Titan Computer
Alien Nations Web Site (JoWood)
News: Alien Nations in Beta Testing

New Halo Footage Released, Seropian Interview
10:37 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

[ed note: we posted this article at around 4 PM yesterday, but we've shifted it to today for those of you who missed it.] Fansite has posted a midsize (32 MB) MPEG movie of Bungie's action game Halo which shipped with Gamestar magazine last month. The footage is of Bungie and Microsoft's Xbox demo of the game at E3; unfortunately, as you might expect, the download server is already jammed with traffic and there is no description of what the movie might contain. For Halo fans, the question of whether to download or not is likely a moot point. Keep checking, as they might list new mirrors for the file; we'll be sure to add more mirrors to this story if they appear. [Update: Check for seven mirrors of the movie, including Hotline servers]

In related news, the Canadian Mac site ehMac has conducted a short but interesting interview with Alex Seropian, one of the founding members of Bungie and the current CEO. Among the many issues discussed include the early history of Bungie, their new office space in Redmond and the future of Halo. It is an interesting read, although his quote about the Mac OS version of Halo is less than encouraging. Here is a sample:

ehMax: There has of course been a lot of talk about Microsoft's acquiring of
Bungie mid last year. When Microsoft took ownership of Bungie you explained
that one of the major things Microsoft was acquiring (besides assurance
you'd be making kick butt games for Xbox) was that they wanted to acquire
Bungie's culture and chemistry to influence the way they make and publish
games. Has Bungie been given the space and flexibility needed to keep that
chemistry alive?

Alex: Happily yes! We just completed construction of our new offices in
Jan. We have the only 'open pit' office layout that I know of at Microsoft
and it's working really well. We'd be totally screwed if all of our guys
were in their own offices. Our process is just too dynamic and it relies on
constant interaction between the programmers, the designers, and the
artists. I'm really happy that Ed Fries and Stuart Moulder understood all
that. They've given us a lot of freedom to do our thing the way we want.
That's motivated us too, we really want to prove to them and everyone that
we can do something really special with Halo. We still have bagel Fridays,
soccer on Thursdays, and mom jokes all the time...

Read the rest of the interview for a refresher course in Bungie history.
List of Mirrors for GameStar Halo Footage
Alex Seropian Interview at ehMac
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

Mac WWII Online Delayed One Week
10:11 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

In mid-June we brought you the news that Cornered Rat/Playnet's massiveley-multiplayer online war sim World War II Online would ship for the Mac OS on July 10th; unfortunately we just received the information that the ship date is now expected to be July 17th. Playnet will ship a boxed Mac version of the game, rather than a Mac/PC hybrid, a strong show of support for our platform.

Considering the turbulent launch period of this game on the PC side, the delay may actually be a blessing; by the time we get to join the fracas, issues such as server bandwidth problems and a battlefield split into zones may be resolved. The extra time may also allow some tweaking of the game for speed, as many PC reviewers of the title have reported less-than-fantastic frame rates in pitched battles.

We'll bring you more details on the Mac version of this game as it nears release.

News: Mac WWII Online Shipping July 10
Past Articles on WWII Online

Mac Rune: Halls of Valhalla Finds Publisher
9:55 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Helpful IMG reader Andrew "Quetzal" Plucker directed us to a forum post by Tim Gerritsen of Human Head which confirms that Rune: Halls of Valhalla will be published by Take Two Interactive in the near future. As you might remember, on June 15th we brought you the news that the port of Mac Rune: HoV had been completed by Westlake Interactive but was on hold due to the fact that the once Mac-friendly publisher Gathering of Developers had entered an agreement to shift their Mac titles to MacSoft for publication. Rune: HoV was not one of the titles MacSoft picked up, so it was momentarily in limbo.

The post by Gerritsen seems to suggest we will know very soon as to when we can expect this expansion pack on shelves:

Take Two has told me that they will be publishing the Mac HOV, but the guy who needs to work out the details with me is on vacation this week. I will post new news when I have it. Hang in there.
Rune: HoV is no mere expansion pack. Although it does contain many of new maps, models and gameplay tweaks for the third-person action/adventure game Rune, it can also function as a complete game if all you want is online play. Watch this space for more details as the final publisher and publishing date is revealed, and check our past articles on the subject for details. The release of a patch for Mac Rune which will bring that game to version 1.0.7 should arrive at the same time this expansion is released.

News: Mac Rune: HoV Complete, Awaiting Publisher
Past Articles on Rune: HoV
Tim Gerritsen's Forum Post on Rune: HoV

Click to enlarge
Apple's Adventures in Wonderland
9:07 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

American McGee's Alice is currently in duplication, and should be appearing on store shelves within the next few days. For those of you anticipating this title, Apple has posted an article looking at this dark and impressive thriller. The game was of course ported by Westlake Interactive, and Apple is quick to point out it will run on both System 9 and OS X. The preview looks at the game's divergence from the original story, featuring quotes from Aspyr's president Michael Rogers. He comments on the Alice's unique look and purposefully surreal designs. Here's a clip:

“Alice is probably the most unpredictable game available today,” states Aspyr president Michael Rogers. “From the opening scene, and continuing throughout the game, Alice is a slightly disturbing, eerie, and wickedly fun experience.”

Rogers promises that Alice, “will definitely stand out on the shelf with its unique packaging and central character. A game like Alice has its place in the market: it’s fun, provides hours of gameplay, and has some of the best artwork ever seen in a videogame.”

Also check out the rest of the article for a rundown of Alice's deadly "toys" and a QuickTime trailer of the game.

American McGee's Alice Previewed at Apple
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Rogue Entertainment
American McGee's Alice

EightBall 1.2 Available
8:23 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Wilfried de Denterghem has recently released a new dockling for Mac OS X users. Titled EightBall, this freeware program lets users put the well-known "magic 8-ball" decision maker right in their dock for easy access.

Usage couldn't be simpler - just ask your question and click on the 8-ball to receive an answer.

This download is available at MacGameFiles. It's sized at a mere 102k, making it easy even on dialup users. A link has been provided below for convenience.

MGF - EightBall 1.2

Interview with Shadowbane Artist
8:17 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blue's News has noted the posting of an interview by Shadowbane Warcry with Olaf "Dodger" Piesche, recently hired programmer of Wolfpack Studios. Wolfpack, of course, is the development studio responsible for the upcoming MMORPG Shadowbane. The interview delves into his personal life, his relationship with Wolfpack, and his recent work on Shadowbane itself.

Piesche is currently responsible for the visual aspects of the Arcane Engine used by Shadowbane. He has reworked the particle effects system, added some more terrain detail, and reworked part of the sky, adding another sun in the process. He notes that there is plenty more to come.

Included with the interview are screenshots that show off the new particle effects, though Piesche is quick to note that there's more to it than meets the eye:

Also, keep in mind that these screenshots are just showing you raw particle effects. When they are actually tied to powers in the game, you'll likely see these things layered on top of each other (with other effects as well, such as lightning, shadows, ghost images, etc.) So the overall look of any particular power should be much more spectacular.
When asked about his favorite aspect of Shadowbane, Piesche responds that it is the huge amount of flexibility and detail that players can experience while interacting with the Shadowbane world. He further adds that players will potentially be able to create their perfect character, given the large number of options available in character creation.

For more on Piesche himself as well as how it feels to be a Wolfpack worker, be sure to check out the whole interview. No solid release date on Shadobane has been set yet, though it's still expected sometime this year.

Shadowbane Official Site
Shadowbane Warcry - Piesche Interview
Wolfpack Studios

Mac Games News for Monday, July 2, 2001

Custer Celebrates Diablo II: LoD2:34 PM
StarEdit Emerald Released2:24 PM
IMG Reviews Summoner12:50 PM
New Parsec Screenshots12:36 PM
Project Mudpie Featured on MSNBC9:34 AM
GameBrains Ponders Mac Gaming9:22 AM
Diablo II, Lord of Destruction and updates9:15 AM
Myth III Status Update9:07 AM
Neverwinter Nights Delayed?9:04 AM
Games4Mac Interviews Brad Oliver8:59 AM
nVidia Features Crazy Car Championship8:40 AM
Anthology for OSX Updated to 1.0b28:24 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, July 2, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, June 29, 2001
Thursday, June 28, 2001
Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Tuesday, June 26, 2001
Monday, June 25, 2001

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