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Monday, July 9, 2001

Ambrosia Opens PoG Preambles
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Following last week's announcement of a preambles section for EV: Nova, Ambrosia Software has also unveiled the Pillars of Garendall Preambles. The preambles consist of an eight-part story, which will give you some history for the upcoming RPG as well as an idea of what the graphics will look like. It's an interesting read, so be sure to head over and check it out. There's also a new map of the Kingdom of Garendall posted for the first time. As we've come to expect from Ambrosia titles, the visuals of this game are quite polished and original, and are definitely worth a look.

Unlike the EV: Nova preambles, the one for PoG is visual -- a collection of screen shots. They appear to be from the introduction to this game and flesh out the backstory for the role you will play in this realtime RPG.

Pillars of Garendall is being developed in conjunction with Beenox, Inc. and will be the first title to use Coldstone, their cross-platform RPG game engine. The game just recently went into its third beta phase and it's hoped to be the last before the title heads into production. Look for more details on Pillars of Garendall soon on the pages of IMG.

Pillars of Garendall on Third (Last?) Beta
Beenox, Inc. Web Site
Pillars of Garendall Preambles
Ambrosia Software
Pillars of Garendall

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Rune Updated to 1.07
1:20 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As IMG predicted when we noted that Rune: Halls of Valhalla has secured a publisher last week, the update for the Mac version of Rune has now been released which brings it to parity with the PC version. Among the "bonus" items in this large (33 MB) update include support for EAX audio (for those with SB Live! cards) as well as OpenGL support, fixes for dual-monitor setups and a large number of gameplay tweaks already implemented on the PC side. All players of Rune should grab this updated version ASAP, as it fixes many of the game's quirks which perturbed early online players.

Here is a partial list of changes in this version:

This program will update your version of Rune to 1.07.

This patch brings Rune Mac up to the current PC version, and includes all bug fixes from previous patches.

You must have Rune fully installed on your system before running this update.

To update to 1.07, simply run the "Rune 1.07 Update" application and follow the onscreen instructions.



Mac Specific Bug Fixes:

- Fixed bug with nVidia cards on dual monitor system

- Added EAX support for Sound Blaster Live! cards

- Cleaned up OpenGL support

- Added more native Game Ranger support

Bug Fixes:

- Occasional server crash bug fixed

- TrialPit slowdown bug

- Loki2 script bug in zombie transform pit

- Don't hurt teammates when you land on them

- DarkDwarf didn't attack players using spirit powerup

- Taunt only once bug

- Swapping magic shield bug

- Avalanche shouldn't kill teammates

- Shield meter doesn't update on clients

- Weapon swinging sounds not playing correctly

- Disallow breaking shields of people in neutralzones, by a non-neutral-zone player

- Don't hurt teammates shields in team DM

- Ice/Stone powerups in neutralzones

- Avalanche doesn't do any damage bug

- Empathy versus Empathy infinite loop bug

- Infinite spirit powerup cheat fixed

- Fixed some problems with severing limbs on certain models

It is also worth noting that the release of this version should now allow Mac users to play the Rune Co-Op mod which allows players to journey through the solo game with others, battling the enemy AI-controlled opponents. Jump to MacGameFiles to grab the download. As always, our heartfelt thanks to Westlake Interactive for their commitment to bringing Mac users the latest and greatest games, and patching them after release (often without compensation). If we're interpreting the signs correctly, the release of this update indicates that a boxed Mac version of Halls of Valhalla should be right around the corner.

News: Mac Rune: Halls of Valhalla Finds Publisher
News: Rune Co-Op and 1.07 Patch
Rune 1.07 Update (33.8 MB)
Gathering of Developers
Human Head Studios
Westlake Interactive

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Combat Mission 2 Preview
12:05 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The recently-revamped Computer Games Online web site has posted a detailed preview of Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin , the next title from successful "indie" developer Battlefront. According to the article this sequel will follow the path of most titles of this type, adding more detail, more realism and a new setting to the already-classic style of turn-based play the original Combat Mission offered. This second historical simulation of WWII ground combat will focus on the period between 1941 and 1945 on the Eastern front of the war, which was fought primarily between Germany and Russia. This horrific four-year battle created some of the worst carnage of the second World War and was very much a back-and-forth campaign, giving this sequel a much wider scope than the one-year length of the original game.

The addition of depth to the campaign will be accompanied by a tremendous increase in the game's level of detail and troop control, according to the preview. Here is an excerpt:

Beyond rules changes and numerous tweaks, Combat Mission 2 will include a host of new features, units, and equipment. Though buildings will remain limited to two levels, there will be many new types and shapes. You'll get real trenches to supplement foxholes and bunkers, and many artillery spotters will have to rely on field telephones, so if they move they won't be able to call in artillery any more. Though multi-turreted tanks such as the USSR's T-28 won't be in the game ("It ain't gonna happen," vows Grammont), you'll still have a huge variety of weapons, vehicles, and troop types to play with. The Hungarians, the Rumanians, the Finns, and probably the Italians will join the Germans and the Soviets, and you can expect an appearance by nearly every weapon system that any of these forces used in significant numbers.
For more details and a few preliminary screen shots and concept sketches, check out the rest of the article. If you have yet to discover the original Combat Mission, be sure to read our review and download the demo. The game received a remarkable 9.26 rating (out of ten) from 31 user reviews.

Combat Mission 2 Preview at CGOnline
Review: Combat Mission
Combat Mission

Custer Ventures Into "Shadows of Amn"
10:44 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG's own Photoshop wizard has conjured up yet another gaming-themed desktop for your downloading enjoyment. This week's theme is Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, a title which we are quite suspicious will debut at or soon after Macworld New York later this month. Here is Brad's description of this week's composition:

It's been nearly a year since I first created a desktop for the original Baldur's Gate.
During this year's E3 (Yep, I'm mentioning it again nearly 2 months later) the guys from IMG along with yours truly had the honor of viewing Baldur's Gate II with Bioware and Macplay.
Both companies supplied us with press kits, which had some nice art on it for BG2, which I happily accepted.
Normally, I like to check the web for official desktops/wallpapers for each game, but I was surprised when I found there seems to be a lack of them for this title.
This gave me a lot of room to work with and I eagerly took on the task creating this week's desktop simply entitled, "Shadows of Amn", after the game itself.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.
Stop by Custer's Desktops to grab this creation and many other examples of his work.

Custer's Desktops

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Max Payne Hands-on Previews
10:25 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

Recently, George Broussard, head of 3D Realms announced that Remedy Entertainment's cop-gone-bad game Max Payne is nearly complete. Many PC web sites got their hands on the final version of this game and are now putting up their thoughts on this long-awaited (four years in the making!) title.

GameSpy has posted a nice hands-on preview of Payne; their report goes in detail on many features of the game. They have also commented on the deep plot that the game features. Here is an excerpt:

The bulk of the story is told through a combination of both comic book-style panels and cinematics. As Max moves through the story, more elements are uncovered through the things he finds and examines. The story line is extremely important -- unlike many action games where the overarching plot merely serves as a backdrop for the action and could probably be removed without significantly affecting the game, Max Payne's story drives the action, which in turn further drives the story. Small cinematic touches, such as quick, photo-flash memories and short voiceovers, happen during the action to fold the story even more into the gameplay. It could be one of the tightest combinations of gameplay and story line yet seen in the action genre.
In addition to that PC.IGN has posted their own preview, supported by some very nice screen shots. Their preview is quite interesting and a good read. They provide information on the game's interactivity and gameplay, as well as the action:
As it is, the game is very fast paced, but also allows those that like to explore and interact with the environment the chance to do so. Almost everything that you see in the game will be interactive in one way or another. Take TV's for example, you can turn them on, off, or shoot them. But you'll also see shows being played on them now and again. Some are just for the fun of it, like a Soap Opera that will play a dramatically bizarre scene out for you if you stand around watching it for long enough. Some of them will be more important than that, but I'll get into that in a sec. The game can definitely be played through without ever touching anything extra in the game, but I spent a lot of my time testing out what things did when they got shot. I shot soda cans which spurt soda out of the hole, fire extinguishers that spew all over the place, windows, TVs, and pretty much everything I could.
GameSpot has also posted a preview as well, which is shorter than the others but gives you a good overview and introduction to the game. All of the previews do agree on certain elements -- the game is fast-paced, interactive, very and supposedly fun with a deep plot and packed with hardcore action; however these are hardly reviews of the game. This is surely a promising title and we certainly can't wait for MacSoft to bring us the Mac OS version.

GameSpy's Max Payne preview
PC.IGN's Max Payne preview
GameSpot's Max Payne Preview
Remedy Entertainment
Westlake Interactive
Max Payne
Buy Max Payne

Topware Troubles Resolve in Reality
10:13 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

You may recall our reporting on the troubled company TopWare, which just recently was bought out by a German publisher, Zuxxez Entertainment. It seems the games division of TopWare now has a new identity, taking the name Reality Pump, and a chance to start making games again, according to Avault. The Reality Pump team has developed many titles which are now on their way to the Mac thanks to e.p.i.c. Interactive such as Earth 2140, Earth 2150, Gorky 17, and Knights and Merchants. Here's a clip from the Avault report:

The developers of the award-winning RTS game, Earth 2150, have recently acquired a new name. Effective immediately, the team will go by the name of Reality Pump - Game Development Studios. Following the purchase by Zuxxez Entertainment of the former TopWare Interactive's game division, the team, which was known merely as the development arm of TopWare's Polish subsidiary, was given the opportunity to create a unique identity. After lengthy internal discussions, the new name was chosen from among several options.
We hope the best for Reality Pump in their new endeavors, and we expect hear more from e.p.i.c. on the progress of their ported Topware titles soon.

e.p.i.c. Interactive Web Site
Past IMG News on TopWare
TopWare/Reality Pump Report at Avault
Earth 2140
Buy Earth 2140

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World War II Online Future Features
9:55 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official World War II Online site has recently received an updated "intelligence report" which explains the team's plan for the future of this massively-multiplayer online game. Cornered Rat notes that they still have not 'started the clock' on the $10 monthly fee. This will not begin until they -- along with publisher Strategy First -- deem the game is stable and feature-complete. The report lists a number of features that they are in the process of tweaking right now, and which should be implemented in the next few weeks. Among them is a more complex scoring/ranking system, improved user interfaces and a number of new weapons and vehicles.

The 'Blitzkrieg' mode hasn't even begun yet; this will be the true full-scale war envisioned by the company. Once a majority of these features are in place and the game is balanced out, they will then start charging their montly fee. Here's an excerpt with more info:

These features and fixes are not inclusive of all development work being done and is in addition to our on-going commitment to reducing memory requirements and load times as well as other optimizations and known bugs.

This represents the majority of issues surrounding our ability to kick-off 'Blitzkrieg' but we are constantly evaluating, prioritizing and rescheduling based on both the effects on gameplay and performance as well as our ability to deliver them in a timely manner. In order to introduce these features and fixes into the game we will be releasing at least two major updates and most likely some smaller patches as well. Some features will be added in stages. We will be pre-announcing the date when the clock for the 30 day free trial starts along with more details on when the war will begin as soon as possible. Until then enjoy the free play and again thanks for your support.

It is likely Mac users are going to have to download some large patches once the game is available as well. Check out the rest of the report for specific details on their changes.

EB World is currently taking preorders for the Mac version of the game, though they have now changed their release date to the first of next month. While retailer dates aren't known for their accuracy, the game is definitely expected to be delayed beyond the initial announcement of July 10 (tomorrow).

WWII Online Intel Report
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Kids Domain Update
9:32 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

It's time once again for another update from Kids Domain, the website that features links to various freeware/shareware titles that are targeted towards kids, or at least are kid-friendly.

Among the titles recently listed:

  • Kawasaki ATV Demo - Created by Monkey Byte, this is a demo of an ATV racing game, complete with jumps and flagposts to race through.
  • Ted and Terry Go Sailing Coloring Book - A printable coloring book centered around water safety and sailing.
  • Ramona Activities and Party Supplies - Centered around the popular character from works by Beverly Cleary, activities include mazes, coloring books, and quotes. Party supplies include nametags, a party sign, and even a Klickitat street sign.
  • What's Up With the Earth - A printable PDF designed to be used as a teacher's guide during Earth Day. Topics include Species Extinction, Forests, Oceans and Fisheries, Water Supply, Agriculture and Soil, and Climate Change. Activites are also included.
  • House of Mouse Screensaver - A free screensaver featuring many recognizable Disney characters.
  • Progressive Math: Addition and Subtraction 6-10 - A program that concentrates on addition and subtraction using the numbers 6-10.
  • Geometry - A program that calculates the surface area and volume of common geometric figures, both 2 and 3D.
  • Trig Solver - Finds the angles and lengths of right triangles.
  • Frustration - Based on the classic board game Trouble, this game plays very similarly.
  • Asteroids Revenge - Plays like the original arcade version of Asteroids, except that the view is 1st person instead of 3rd.

For links to these downloads as well as more info, be sure to check out Kids Domain.

Kids Domain - What's New

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New Neverwinter Nights Message Boards
9:04 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

BioWare, the official developers of the upcoming D&D based RPG Neverwinter Nights, has recently noted the opening of some new message boards specifically devoted to discussion on its upcoming title. Opened by Black Isle Studios, these new boards contain forums such as Neverwinter Nights Developer Questions/Answers, Neverwinter Nights Hot Topics, Neverwinter Nights Campaign Discussion, and Neverwinter Nights Dungeon Masters.

Though the boards have only been up for a short time, the intense interest in NWN has already set the boards on fire, with over 7000 registered members on board to voice their thoughts, wishes, and opinions of NWN. Topics such as monthly fees, DM powers, and additional campaign modules are already being debated.

Anyone interested in NWN should definitely give the forums a look - developers of NWN have already posted many times, and will undoubtedly continue to monitor and post as they see fit.

Neverwinter Nights Boards
Neverwinter Nights - What's New
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

New Reprisal Info, Screen Shots
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Early last week, IMG brought you details of a new LithTech-based shooter heading to the Mac titled Reprisal. The game is in development by Power Infused Productions, and the company's founder Michael Hughes just recently sent us details on their newly-revamped web site. The site has a new look and contains more information on Reprisal as well as some in-game screen shots and images of the weapons for this FPS. Here's a clip from Reprisal's story to give you an idea of what the game is about:

His Name was Christian McGuire. In 2096 he was specially selected due to his broad military and science qualifications to test the, until recently classified, X-Vest. A highly advanced piece of trans-dimensional technology that's Research and construction took leaps and bounds in the early 80's.

It was said that the X-Vest could open a portal to another plane of reality parallel to our own, or countless others according to researchers working on the project.

On the day of the test run Christian activated the vest and was engulfed in spacial distortion. His signal was lost, as was this unsuspecting operator.  

Though the details are few and the site is still sparse, head over and have a look around if you're interested. We'll be sure to keep an eye on this title, as it's the first 'modern' LithTech-based game that developers are attempting to bring to the Mac.

New Lithtech Game 'Reprisal' Coming to the Mac, Help Needed
Power Infused Web Site

Warbirds III Updates, Adds Tanks
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

The online-only WWII flight sim WarBirds III has been updated to version 07.03.01. Yes, we caught this one a few days late, but fans of the sim should definitely grab this upgrade. Not only does it add two tanks to the battlefield simulator, it adds eight new plane cockpits and fixes numerous bugs including a memory leak. Here is just a partial list of the changes made in this version; those of you who have been playing for a while will be relieved that the beta team found and fixed "the Thing." Here we go:

Code changes in WarBirds III version 07.03.01

* New Models:

* All FW190s.

* M3GMC Half-Track with 75mm cannon.

* M4A1 Sherman Tank.

* New cockpits:

* P51-B

* P51-D

* ME 262

* Yak3

* Yak-9D

* FW190A-4

* FW190A-8

* FW190D-9

* Added the old WB2.7x-style chasecam. Use Alt-V to activate.

* Different convergence for primary and secondary weapons.

* Turret movements are now broadcast (you can now see enemies turrets moving).

* Host should show correct number of captured fields.

* Icon display weirdness fixed.

* Ju-52 props start in the proper sequence.

* The 90 degree rotated gunsites (P38, etc) are now correct.

* The many Left and Right reversals are corrected.

* M3 muzzle flash is not where it should be, and not behind the armor.

* International Keyboards are now supported.

* Mac memory leak fixed (you should now not be forced to restart after X amount of sorties)

To download a trial copy of this game from the iEntertainment network or to update your registered version, visit the Warbirds web site.

WarBirds III

Mac Games News for Friday, July 6, 2001

New Max Payne Screen Shots2:34 PM
Summoner Now Shipping2:09 PM
Mac WWII Online Preorders Available10:24 AM
Neverwinter Nights Chat Transcript9:26 AM
Not Tonight, My Sim Has a 'Hot Date'9:01 AM
Galaxy Yexi Announced for the Mac8:56 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, July 6, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, July 5, 2001
Wednesday, July 4, 2001
Tuesday, July 3, 2001
Monday, July 2, 2001
Friday, June 29, 2001

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