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Tuesday, July 17, 2001

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MWNY: MacSoft Announces Duke Nukem Forever, Others
8:16 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In a huge press release and new section to their web site, MacSoft has announced they will be publishing a number of new titles to the Mac, including the long-awaited sequel Duke Nukem Forever. This is not entirely surprising, given their newly founded relationship with Take 2, but still should be a great boost to Mac gamers who loved Duke Nukem 3D. The game has been in development at 3D Realms for a number of years and promises to be one of the most fun and interactive titles on the market.

Alongside Duke Nukem Forever, MacSoft will also be expanding their 'value' selection of titles with other sequels like Beachhead 2002 and second edition versions of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Here's the full press release with more:

Macsoft, an Infogrames, Inc,  (Nasdaq: IFGM) label, will storm the Macworld Expo in New York, with its strongest lineup to date.

“We’re excited to bring these diverse games to the Mac community,” said Cindy Swanson, MacSoft Marketing Manager. “From first person action to game show classics MacSoft is focusing its efforts on delivering the highest quality entertainment products for the marketplace.”

Leading the lineup is the much-anticipated sequel to Duke Nukem™ 3D, Duke Nukem Forever. Developed by 3D Realms, and published by Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO),  Duke Nukem Forever features the latest technological advancements in the industry. Using the enhanced version of Epic Games’ Unreal™ engine, Duke Nukem Forever is part four in a series of games featuring Duke Nukem as the hero. Its predecessor, Duke Nukem 3D, became one of the top selling games of all time. Duke Nukem Forever features a former nemesis, Dr. Proton, who’s mission is to dominate the world. It’s up to Duke Nukem to foil Dr. Proton’s master plan with an arsenal of weapons and quick-wit.   

Other high-profile titles previously announced are Max Payne™, Stronghold™, Myth III™ all from Take-Two Interactive and Sid Meier’s Civilization III and Master of Orion III from Infogrames, Inc. “These blockbuster titles will ensure MacSoft continues to be influential in the Macintosh entertainment category,” adds Cindy Swanson.                    

Rounding out the lineup are: Beach Head™ 2002 by Digital Fusion and perennial favorites Wheel of Fortune® Second Edition and Jeopardy!® Second Edition, published by Infogrames Interactive.

In Wheel of Fortune Second Edition Vanna White returns with more than 2,500 new puzzles to test player’s skills. The latest installment of Jeopardy! Second Edition includes more than 4,000 new answers and behind-the scenes interviews and sample exams like those used to screen contestants for the show.

Beach Head 2002 picks up where its predecessor left off, putting players in the position of a lone solider charged with defending a vital inland command post against an imminent airborne assault. During MacWorld, running today through July 20, MacSoft will be showcasing their newly released title Tropico™ and soon to be released Vampire®: The Masquerade Redemption™ and Fly! II™ products. Also featured will be its arcade lineup of Pong™, Centipede™, Q*bert™and Breakout™.

Duke Nukem Forever and these value titles add to an already amazingly diverse lineup of games headed to the Mac in the next year. Check out the cool new MacSoft Macworld Expo web site for more information on their many upcoming games.

MacSoft Macworld Expo Web Site
Duke Nukem Forever Press Release
Duke Nukem Forever
Buy Duke Nukem Forever

MWNY: V12 Engine Used for ATI Demo
4:28 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has just received information from a member of the GarageGames staff that the Mac OS version of the V12 engine will be demonstrated, up and running, at the Macworld Expo New York tomorrow.

While we can't reveal the full details just yet, graphics chip/card maker ATI Technologies will be using the engine to demonstrate the latest capabilities of their hardware. What that hardware is and where the demo is taking place may be restricted to press only, and protected by NDA. We'll bring you any and all information the two companies are willing to release, so stay tuned.

GarageGames Web Site

V12 Nears First Release [Updated]
3:45 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The GarageGames site has received an update today noting that their
license-friendly game engine V12, derived from the Tribes 2 engine, is now getting very near to release.
Apparently the recent builds have been approved by Sierra, and they just need to
make some web site tweaks before they're ready to start licensing the code
for the very low price of $100 per non-commercial developer.

V12 should include nearly all of the tools necessary
to make games on the Mac as well, if you are an interested developer. David Chait is working hard on the Mac side
of V12 to get it up to speed. [Update: Tim Gift has informed us that the Mac client and code of V12 will have a slight delay behind the PC version, due to the last-minute integration of a new technology.]

Here's a clip from GarageGames' Tim Gift on the project's status:

The latest version submitted to Sierra has been approved, and according to
Sierra is now "Tribes 2" free. This was the last hurdle to jump through, and we
are now cleared for release. Just a few things left on the to-do list, including
some web related changes to support basic e-commerce, and the private V12
For much more info on V12, including what it will mean for Mac gamers, be sure to
read through our interview with Tim Gift, posted yesterday.

IMG Interview with GarageGames' Tim Gift
V12 News Update

MOO3 Poll Seeks Player Stats
2:12 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The fansite Orion Sector, an unofficial site which covers all things regarding Master of Orion III has produced a poll to gauge who might be interested in this epic space-based strategic warfare title. Typically we do not cover polls as news, as these are often used as a tool to attract hundreds of angry Mac users and their page hits (usually with a provocative question "dissing" the Mac platform). However this poll seems quite neutral, and may even provide useful information for the MOO3 development team.

MOO3 will of course be published for our platform by MacSoft upon completion, so the future of the title is not in doubt; Orion Sector just wants to get a handle on what percentage of potential players will be using which OS and what their system configuration will be like. Be sure and stop by to add your vote to the roster. The site itself is an excellent source of information about all things MOO, so check out their resources if you are interested.

MOO3 Player Survey at Orion Sector

More from Hook on Game Design Philosophy
12:56 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Brian Hook has produced another version of his "Ask Hook" column at VoodooExtreme, explaining more about his new company and his general philosophy towards games and gamers. IMG originally broke the story last week about Hook's new venture Pyrogon, including his plans to create Mac versions of future titles. In the update at VE, he offers examples of some excellent 'smaller' games, and even mentions the works of Mac-only developer Ambrosia and the RPGs of Spiderweb Software. While most Mac gamers are familiar with these companies, seeing their work mentioned on a PC-focused web site is always gratifying. Here's an excerpt from the article with more:

And Mind Rover isn't alone. There are a lot of neat games like that that just languish quietly away from the mainstream because they're not sexy, new, high tech or immediately identifiable within a genre. Look at the games from SpiderWeb Software which are old school RPGs, or the games on the Mac from Ambrosia , including an awesome 2D space exploration game called EV Override.

No, these aren't going to work out your liquid cooled Athlon 1.8GHz, nor are they going to use quad textured vertex shader graphics, but they're fun, appealing, and don't just cater to the hardest of the hardcore crowds so in vogue today. And they're all done by companies that believe in what they're doing instead of just doing whatever it takes to get a publishing deal. And, EVERY one of the games I mentioned is $25 or less. But because they're not "cool" they won't get the cover of PC Gamer or picked up by the megapublishers and distributors, even though all these games are more fun than half the crap that does get onto the covers of Computer Gaming World or PC Gamer.

Head over and read the rest of the quick statement from Brian. And be sure to stay tuned to IMG as we'll be bringing you more from him in the near future.

Brian Hook Q&A at VoodooExtreme

German Publisher Confirms Black&White, Otto and Sims
11:35 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

An IMG reader from overseas has some interesting news for those of you in Western Europe -- Application Systems of Germany has updated their web site with the details that they are working on localized versions of Black and White, Pangea Software's title in development Otto Matic, and a German version of The Sims expansion packs based the ports already published by Aspyr Media.

All the pages are in German, of course, but rough Altavista translations have made it clear that most of the information on these pages is just the standard details previously released for each title. Two items of note: The page on Lionhead's god-game Black and White features the logo of Feral, long suspected to be the future publisher of this title but never officially confirmed. Also, the Sims page indicates that not only will a German version of The Sims be published, but also the two expansion packs as well. The page lists Black and White as due for Fall, though this is doubtful considering the progress report we noted earlier today in news.

Our thanks to "Stephan" for pointing out these updates, which were revealed in a chat-room conversation. This publisher is also working on versions of Tomb Raider Chronicles, Sheep, Summoner, Monkey Island 3, Tony Hawk II and Alice.

Application Systems Mac Products Page
Application Systems

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Red Faction Q&A On Status, Features
10:46 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Homelan has produced a detailed Q&A with James C. Tsai of Volition about the port of their PS2 shooter Red Faction to PC. As you might recall, Red Faction is the other Volition title which GraphSim will be bringing to the Mac OS after the recent release of Summoner. As with that 3D RPG, the Mac port of Red Faction will be completed in-house, and perhaps even more closely behind the PC release than with Summoner due to their recent Mac development experience.

The Q&A itself does discuss the story and setting of the game, but primarily focuses on the differences (and similarities) between the PS2 and PC versions. Here's a sample:

HomeLAN - The setting on Mars and the storyline itself has a lot of similarities to the movie Total Recall. How did you come up with the story and were you aware of the comparisons to the movie?

James C. Tsai - A lot of factors went into developing the story. Putting the game on Mars and in outer space allowed us to incorporate cool stuff like variable gravity levels and showcase Geo-Mods in areas such as the subterranean mines. We’re very aware of the comparisons to Total Recall; in truth, it’s probably one of many science fiction movies and stories that helped shape Red Faction. You can really see all kinds of science fiction influences throughout the game, not just in terms of story but in art style and level design as well.

HomeLAN - What is the current status on the PC version of the game? Is everything still set for a mid-September launch?

James C. Tsai - Right now we’re still targeting a September launch – the guys came right off the euphoria of getting the PS2 version done and everyone has buckled down for the summer. We’ve been keeping busy by getting the multiplayer component of the game in and preparing the necessary support we’ll need to have when it’s released.

The Mac and PC releases of this game should be identical and cross-compatible, as with Summoner, and will support OpenGL; it may even be Carbonized for Mac OS X upon release. However, as IMG confirmed some time ago, the Mac version will not contain the in-game editing tools, as these were constructed with several Windows-only technologies. Read the rest of the Q&A for more details, and get ready for a second great title from Volition and GraphSim this Fall.

Red Faction Q&A at Homelan
News: Past Articles on Red Faction
Red Faction

Westlake Updates Release Page, Reveals "White"
10:09 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

To accompany MacSoft's new catalog of releases, Westlake Interactive, a frequent partner with the Mac publishing house in the past, has updated their Project Status page. Among the new listings is the name for the "White" project: Wheel of Fortune 2nd Edition. Seems that one was an allusion to the co-host of the TV show, Vanna White.

"Stanley" remains veiled. The other two updates include Jeopardy 2nd Edition and Civilization III, which are both now listed as "Early Development."

As Westlake has ported five titles based on the Unreal/Unreal Tournament engine in the past, and Duke Nukem Forever is based on the Unreal/UT engine, it seems logical to assign this game to the "Stanley" project on Westlake's list; however, as that title is not yet complete for PC (and in fact has no projected release date) they might not begin on that project for some time -- in which case the guessing-game surrounding "Stanley" can continue...

MWNY: MacSoft Announces Duke Nukem Forever, Others
Westlake Interactive Project Status Page

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Baldur's Gate Saved Game Editor Updated
9:49 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Waidsoft has recently released a piece of freeware for players of Baldur's Gate who wish to modify their saved characters a bit, perhaps to advance in the game or restore a lost character.Titled MacBGEditor, this program allows users to modify the statistics of their characters to their heart's content.

There are both Mac OS X and OS 8.x versions available. The OS X version can run by itself, but the OS 8.x version needs some additional programs: MRJ 2.2x and JFC/Swing 1.1.1, both of which can be found at links provided at the Waidsoft MacBGEditor instruction page. The editor itself is listed at around 240Kb, so even modem users should have no trouble downloading it.

For the full instruction set on use as well as known issues with the software, a link has been provided to the MacBGEditor page.

Waidsoft - MacBGEditor
Baldur's Gate

Aspyr Ships Tomb Raider: The Trilogy
9:37 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media has shipped Tomb Raider: The Trilogy for Mac OS, right on time as promised by their release dates schedule. This combo pack is for those who are either new to the series or who started with Tomb Raider: Chronicles and want to see the history behind that title. The combo pack combines the three previous titles with three expansion packs, two which have never before been published on CD-ROM for Mac. Here's the press release from Aspyr:

Aspyr Media Inc., in a continuing partnership with Eidos Interactive Inc., a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment, today announced that it has shipped Tomb Raider(R): The Trilogy for the Macintosh(R).

    The game's conversion was performed by Westlake Interactive.

    Tomb Raider: The Trilogy is a compilation of the first six Tomb Raider games released. The Trilogy for Macintosh includes Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III and all the gold versions of the first three games. This includes Tomb Raider Gold, Tomb Raider II Gold and The Lost Artifact -- which has never been released for the Macintosh.

    "Tomb Raider: The Trilogy provides over 100 hours of game play and completes the Tomb Raider for Mac series," says Jeff Baietto, VP of Marketing at Aspyr. "The Trilogy is a must have for diehard Tomb Raider fans!"

    From Venice to the South Pacific, players must make their way through over 50 levels of intense action and adventure, in exotic locations like Area 51 or Antarctica. The Trilogy also features new high-resolution movies for Tomb Raider Gold, an integrated installer for all six games and the latest updates to each game.

    "Tomb Raider: The Trilogy is a great way to either get into the Tomb Raider series or to complete your collection," says Matt Knoles, Product Manager at Eidos Interactive.

    Tomb Raider: The Trilogy, for Macintosh, will be available wherever Mac games are sold, with a Suggested Retail Price of $29.95.

The release of this title completes Aspyr Media's extensive catalog of Tomb Raider titles; we can only hope their fruitful relationship with Eidos continues in the future.

Aspyr Media

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Warcraft III: Grunt Character Revealed
9:05 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The official Warcraft III site at Blizzard has recently added yet another character to its ever-growing lineup. This time, it's the aptly-named Grunt, a staple of the Orc race. Described as "the first and last line of the Horde's defense," the Grunt acts as the more general, infantry-like unit for the Orcs; you know, the cannon fodder.

Here's the official description:

These powerful fighters arm themselves with mighty battle-axes and display all of the savagery and cunning of their race. In past generations, Grunts were characterized by their depravity and brutality. But now, under the visionary leadership of Thrall, the Grunts more closely resemble their savage, yet noble ancestors.
For those that have yet to see the official WC3 site, it has started profiling many characters from the various races, offering animated GIFs of the characters in action, sound bites, and a picture profile for each type. Gamers starving for more WC3 information should definitely check out the general site for even more information on WC3's huge character roster.

Warcraft III: Grunt Unit
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

Official Myth III Site Opens
8:54 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gaming publisher GodGames has opened an official site devoted to the upcoming RTS title Myth III: The Wolf Age. It features several sections, including a news page, storyline section, press section, media section, and a support seciton.

Most of the sections carry information that has been out for a while now, including the backstory that encompasses a time 1000 years before the first Myth title. The main page does mention some interesting troops, including Myrkridian Pack-Mages and Ghol Priests, as well as mentioning some of the standard multiplayer games, such as Carnage, Flag, and Ball.

For those that may have missed them in the past, the media section contains several screenshots as well as two movie trailers of the game. The trailers in particular show off how amazing this game is currently looking.

For those that are interested in even more Myth III stuff, be sure to check out this official site.

Myth III Official Site

MWNY: IMG Heads to Macworld Expo
8:51 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

"The captain has turned off the fasten seat belt sign."

You know what that means. Get that laptop out! So here I am cruising at 35,000 feet somewhere over the great plains crammed in a Sardine Airlines "Super Luxury Jetliner". Luxury...right....

There was once a time when I used to like travelling to shows like Macworld, E3, and the Consumer Electronic Show. But of late, I've been cutting down on the travel and sticking to going to shows I really look forward to. Macworld Expo in New York happens to be one of those shows. And let me be frank, the only reason I'm going to Macworld is to see Steve Jobs' keynote address on Wednesday.

The first time I ever went to a keynote was to see Gil Amelio talk....err...babble for a mere two hours. Listening to Gil flashing endless boring slides was about as exciting as cleaning crusty lint from one of those old beige Mac mouses the size of a bar of soap. But when Steve Jobs took over Apple a few years ago, all that changed.

Steve, above all else, is a showman -- he knows what people want. They want to see cool stuff. In fact, that's usually how he begins his keynotes. "Thanks for coming, we've got some amazingly cool stuff to show you. Let's get right to it."

So what am I hoping to see at Macworld Expo this year? Cool stuff, of course! I want to be blown away. I want to see the new PowerMac G5, the new flat panel iMac, the revved iBook, the OS X 10.1 update...I WANT IT ALL!

Will I get it? I doubt it. While I won't make any predictions (I'll leave that to the Mac "news" sites), here's kinda what I'm hoping with happen.

First, the iMac. It's no secret that the iMac is in need of a serious overhaul. Introduced nearly three years ago, the iMac was an instant success and helped resurrect Apple. Over the years Apple has revved the iMac by introducing new colors, speed bumping the processor, and adding more RAM and a bigger hard drive. But when Steve Jobs introduced the much ridiculed "Flower Power" iMac last winter, it became obvious to many that the current iMac was nearing its end of life.

Rumors that a new flat panel based iMac would be introduced at MWNY have been met with "confirmations from sources" that a new iMac would not be introduced simply because the new iMac is not ready for prime time. Are new iMacs being introduced at Macworld? Or will see we more revved iMacs? Are the "confirmed" reports that the new flat panel iMacs will not be introduced at MW just part of Steve's plan to provide disinformation within the Mac community? Only time will tell. The anticipation leading up to it is palpable to say the least!

Another rumor I've been hearing is that the Power Macintosh G5's will be announced at Macworld. While I think the chances of the G5 being announced are slim, there's a good chance the Power Macintosh line will be revved to include faster processors, more RAM and hard drive space, and possibly a new case design. The big quesiton that remains is, will the Mac finally breach the 1 Gigahertz barrier?

There have been other rumors about a new iBook being introduced with possibly a 14 inch display. This one doesn't make much sense, since that would mean redesigning the 3-month-old iBook case entirely. My bet would be on a faster processor and more RAM. Or possibly nothing at all.

Well, whatever the rumors may be, IMG will be here to cover the story. In addition to myself, veteran IMG writers Patrick Leyden and Michael Phillips will be at the show, as well as newcomers Chris Barylick and Brad Custer.

We'll be filing news reports straight from the show floor so be sure to check in to IMG often throughout the day from Wednesday to Friday.

Ooop, here comes lunch! Airline food, yum! I'll see you all at Macworld (that is, of course, if I live through this "pepper steak").

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Black & White Dev Update
8:36 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Although the game hasn't official been announced by any Mac publisher, enough hints have been dropped to reveal Black & White will be coming to the Mac. Lionhead, makers of the original PC title, have admitted as much themselves, and various hints have pointed to a port underway by Elegant Chaos. A quick update on their web site notes that development is going well, though the complex game still has a number of pieces that need to be 'reassembled':

Development is proceeding well on you-know-what. We now have some additional developers signed up, and are busily working away. One could liken the experience to taking a car apart and re-assembling it. At the moment, we have a large floor covered in greasy car-parts... and we're trying to remember what went where :)
We're hoping to maybe hear more about Black & White at the Macworld Expo this week. IMG will be covering all aspects of the conference, so stay tuned as our coverage ramps up.

Elegant Chaos Web Site
Black and White Web Site
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

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MWNY: Tropico Ships for Mac with OS X Support
8:27 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Alongside MacSoft's other announcments today, they also let it be known that Tropico is now shipping for the Mac with full support for OS X. We've been following this dictatorship sim for a nearly a year now, and it's great to see it finally reaching the hands of Mac gamers. Tropico has received rave reviews on the PC noting it's originality, graphics, and depth of play. Here's an excerpt from the press release with more info:

MacSoft, an Infogrames, Inc (Nasday: IFGM) label, today announced the release of Pop Top Software's Tropico for the Mac. Featuring stunning graphics and a fully customizable environment, Tropico for the Mac includes additional scenarios and presents gamers with a very unique experience. Tropico will be displayed at Macworld Expo New York in the MacSoft booth (#2209) within the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

"Tropico for the Mac will interest both casual and hardcore gamers," said Paul Rinde, Senior Vice President of Infogrames. "It's a refreshing twist on 3D strategy simulation games and we are excited to bring Tropico to Mac OS X." 

"With its power, speed, stability and superior graphics capabilities, Mac OS X is an incredible platform for gaming," said Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "We are delighted that MacSoft has chosen Tropico as their debut title for Mac OS X and we look forward to them publishing more AAA games for our platform."

Check out the Tropico expo web site for some screen shots of the game. Also be sure to read through IMG's preview if you're looking for reasons to order the game now.

Tropico Macworld Expo Web Site
IMG Preview of Tropico
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

Mac Games News for Monday, July 16, 2001

A Cluster of Custer Desktops5:24 PM
Mac Deep Space Nine: The Fallen Goes Gold4:24 PM
Quake Ported to Mac OS X, Again3:45 PM
IMG Previews AirBurst2:31 PM
ATI Announces SMARTSHADER Technology2:01 PM
Quake2 Done Quick2 Ported to Mac12:52 PM Returns12:11 PM
Rune 1.07a (OpenGL) Patch Released12:02 PM
Apple Previews Baldur's Gate II11:43 AM
Myth III Images Collection10:09 AM
SimsForMac Site Update9:48 AM
MacSoft's Al Schilling Interviewed9:45 AM
IMG Interviews Tim Gift of GarageGames9:30 AM
uDevGame Contest Announced8:18 AM
Westlake Projects Page Updates8:04 AM
Age of Empires 2, Links 2002 to be Carbonized6:00 AM
Escape Velocity: Nova Hits Beta6:00 AM
Work on Carbon UT Underway Again6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, July 16, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, July 13, 2001
Thursday, July 12, 2001
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
Tuesday, July 10, 2001
Monday, July 9, 2001

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