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Thursday, July 26, 2001

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Myst III, realMYST Mac Updates
8:56 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday we brought you a quick update on why there has yet to be any OS X version of Myst III: Exile, from a report gathered from Usenet. We also contacted Presto ourselves to confirm this news about the OS X version, and inquire about a patch to fix some issues in the OS 9 build as well. Greg Uhler gives pretty much the same response about the OS X patch, though he notes an OS 9 patch could be out in the near future. Here's what he had to say:

A minor Mac update is being tested right now at our publisher's
offices. Regarding OS X, we are still waiting on Apple to release a
fix before we will release the native OS X EXILE application. No ETA
from Apple though...
In other Myst-related news, Mac fans will remember that realMYST has yet to be published for the platform. If you recall, realMYST is a remake of the original adventure game which uses a realtime 3D engine instead of prerendered 3D scenes. Jim Stephenson's Riven Unofficial Home Page has received word from Cyan on the matter, with Richard Watson commenting on the status of the game (currently in limbo):
Richard said, "We stopped working on it.... [around] early 2001 because we were basically waiting on Mattel Interactive (the publisher at the time) to commit to publishing it. It... still needed some optimization... and needed to go through the publisher's QA process, but it was up an running here at Cyan, as many of you have seen... We were not, however, willing to put any more time, effort and money into it when the publisher obviously had no desire to do anything with it until Exile's release.

"In the last few months, Ubi has contacted us about the Mac version of realMYST, so things are looking up, but I'd still think it's a safe bet to say that there will not be a big push for realMYST (Mac or PC for that matter) until Exile has shipped worldwide.

With Exile set to ship worldwide in September, Mac fans could perhaps see the game by the end of the year, depending on UbiSoft's actions. Visit Stephenson's home page for other good info on realMYST and Myst III.

Riven Unofficial Home Page
IMG News: No Mac OS X Myst III: Exile = Apple's Fault?
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Red Faction Multplayer Details
4:31 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A short report on GamePlay provides some insight into what the multiplayer aspect of the upcoming shooter Red Faction might be like. While this game debuted some time ago for the PS2, the PC and Mac versions will feature enhanced multiplayer support (vs the 2-player split-screen mode of the console version) upon completion with support for both LAN and Internet play. This title's unique Geo-Mod engine, which allows players to actually change the level geometry by blowing holes in walls and craters in the ground should make for some very interesting gameplay strategies indeed.

Here is the list of features the GamePlay article reveals:

The Geo-Mod technology also allows for some fun ambushes. You can blow deep into a wall and lie in wait for someone to run past you and then leap out behind them and nuke'em.

Confirmed PC multiplayer features include:

* 24 multiplayer map

* Authentic developer level editor

* Game modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch & Capture the Flag

* 32 player support

* Dedicated server Internet infrastructure

* Server configurable Geo Mod settings (If you don't want players blowing up walls then you can turn this element off)

Support for 32 players in a game should make for some very interesting battles indeed; we're not quite sure what "dedicated server Internet infrastructure" means at this point but we can assume it will be similar to the multiplayer for Summoner, which has its own game hosting/finding service built-in which runs on a Volition server. With 24 multiplayer maps, team play support and tools to create an active mod community, this game has a chance to be as big as Q3A and UT are in terms of replay value and longevity. Read the rest of the report for more details. The PC version of this game is due September 21st; the Mac version, which recently reached First Playable status, should be close behind; it will be published by GraphSim.

Recent News Items on Red Faction
Red Faction MP Report on GamePlay

Maverick Gets Jiggy With It
3:37 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Mark Adams has sent word that his other company, Maverick Software
has a new shareware title in the pipe called Jiggy. This combination
of a puzzle game with an action twist is now in beta testing, with
a demo release expected out in a few weeks. Jiggy will pit your puzzle skills
against the clock, as pieces continue to pile up in a tetris-like jumble. The
demo will have 10 levels, while the full registered version will include 35 and
the option to make your own puzzles. Here are the basic requirements from the
Jiggy home page:

Jiggy runs natively under OS X and also supports OS 8 and 9.

Requirements (subject to change)

G3/G4 PowerMac, iMac/iBook or PowerBook (233 MHz or faster)

32 megs of RAM

Display capable of 800x600 resolution (thousands of colors)

System 8.6 or later

QuickTime 4 or later

Stay tuned for more information on Jiggy in the coming weeks. It's always good
to see more quality shareware piece its way together on the Mac.

Jiggy Web Site

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WW2Online OS X Plans
2:48 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

An alert reader pointed us to a new production notes section of the World War II Online forums which gives a lengthy list of things they are currently working on for this massively-multiplayer online game. Included in the middle of an extensive list is a new bit of information about their work with an OS X version of the game. This line provides the clue:

Couple of little name conflict fixes for OS X (our 4th platform!)
While Cornered Rat has noted in the past they were hoping to support OS X, this is great to see they are on the ball already. We went to Russell "Hoss" Mirabelli, one of their main Mac programmers, to ask for any other information about the OS X version. With the Mac retail box due to ship out sometime next month, we wanted to know if it might include an OS X copy as well. Here's what Hoss had to say:
It has only just become a target platform recently. It's unlikely that
it will ship with OSX in the box, it should be available relatively soon
after release. It's too early to tell about performance.
So, while they may not be able to hit the target for the retail version, it's still great to hear they are going to be supporting OS X eventually. This massively multiplayer online war simulation is getting more stable on the PC side, and though the Mac version has been delayed, we're still optimistic about a release in the near future, perhaps in mid-August.

World War II Online Production Notes
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Sims Patches Posted
12:10 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

As promised, Aspyr Media has released patches for both The Sims and the expansion pack Livin' Large. As always MacGameFiles has the downloads; there is both an OS 9 and Carbon patch for The Sims which bring them to version 1.1.4, and a OS 9-only patch for Livin' Large which updates that game to 1.2.1.

Here is a list of changes in the Sims patch:

- Fixed a problem with some skin textures having bad colors under MacOS 9.1 and later.

- Worked around a QuickTime music bug where coming out of Pause mode would occasionally crash the Mac OS.

- Fixed a problem with a low-level sorting algorithm which would cause long lists of floor tiles to "jump around" when you selected them in Build Mode.

- Fixed multiple PC bugs in the Sims IsoRect and SpriteListInfo classes.

- Tweaked the low-level hardware timers to avoid counter wrapping.

- Fixed two memory trashers: one when converting directory IDs to full path names, the other when initializing the Westlake libraries.

- Made some minor tweaks to low-level mouse button handling and cursor screen pinning.

- Fixed a minor problem when shutting down the sound system.

- Fixed a problem with some German translation text.

- Fixed a minor problem in the Mac credits.
The patch for Livin' Large also has an extensive list of changes; many are incorporated fixes from previous Sims patches plus the same fixes as listed above. Grab the patches at MGF.

The Sims 1.1.4 (Classic/Carbon) (1.9 MB)
The Sims Livin' Large 1.2.1(8.9 MB)

Apple Features Freeverse Software
9:20 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple's recent media coverage of several noted Mac game companies continues with this recent article devoted to independent publisher/developer Freeverse Software. Titled "Freeverse: A Royal Flush of Card Games for Your Mac," this article features Freeverse's own president Ian Lynch Smith and looks into the success of his comany as well as his future plans. For those unfamiliar with Freeverse, they are the makers of some of the most successful software card games in existence, with many of them featuring multiplayer online play straight through Freeverse's own servers.

Smith is quick to point out that the multiplayer aspect of Freeverse's games is the real secret to his success. To quote him: "Our secret is not that we can shuffle the cards better, but that we recognized from the beginning that social interaction is an essential part of the experience."

Currently on Freeverse's plate is iPuppet Classic Cards, a collection of card games that will allow players to create their own online graphical personas. Also in the works are two other titles: Wingnuts, an arcade game previewd at this year's MacWorld Expo, and Arcane Arena, an online MMORPG.

Some may scratch their heads at Arcane Arena, as this style of game is a huge departure from what Freeverse normally does. However, Smith notes that it is being done "in a very Freeverse fashion; there may even be a burning monkey or two in the game." An original tactically-oriented combat system and an elegant interface are also promised.

For those wondering if Freeverse is going to support OS X, fear not. Freeverse is "100 percent commited to X," and is currently Carbonizing several of their popular titles, including 3D Spade Deluxe and Burning Monkey Solitare 2.

For even more news, future plans, and background information on Freeverse, be sure to check out Apple's current feature spread.

Apple: Freeverse Software

Stupid AppleScript Games Updated
9:01 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Stupid AppleScript Games, a freeware game collection authored byMatt Garrison and Kynan Shook, has recently been updated to version 1.5. As the name implies, this freeware product is a collection of simple games written in AppleScript, including Blackjack, Echo, War, Guess the Number, Rock-Paper-AppleScript, Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, Scrambler, Matcher, Pico-Fermi-Bagels, Poker, Crazy Eights, and Eight Ball. Most of the games are single-player, though some are two-player and no-player games as well.

Here's what's new in this version:

  • Added a new game, Crazy Eights
  • Added a new game, Eight Ball
  • Added a timer feature to War
  • Released an OS X compatible package

The file is modest in size (111k) and comes in both Classic and OS X flavors. To run it, one simply needs a Mac with AppleScript and either Standard Additions or Display Dialog scripting addition (most Macs will probably have these installed already). It is currently available for download at VersionTracker.

Stupid AppleScript Games 1.5

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Hands-on Impression of Max Payne
8:57 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The lucky folks at Gamespot have recently gotten their hands on a final copy of Max Payne, the highly anticipated Hong Kong-style shooting fest just released by Remedy Entertainment and 3D Realms, and have posted their initial impressions of the game.

The game starts mundanely enough, with Max Payne saying goodbye to a co-worker as he heads home to his family. Once he arrives home, players can take control of him, and upon entering the house, will be greeted with gunshots and screams coming from the house's upper floor. Bursting in on the scene, Max finds his family brutally murdered, giving him the
catalyst he needs to start kicking some butt.

Gamespot notes that much of the action sequences of the game are spent in slow-motion, or "shootdodging." Often Max will enter a room with several enemies, and apparently it is almost impossible to survive these encounters in real-time. The shootdoding meter is refilled by killing enemies, which means that players can afford to use it judiciously. However, different weapons, such as pistols and shotguns, have different timings in usage, a factor that must be taken into account when moving in slow-motion.

Gamespot is also quick to point out the amazing graphical detail of Max Payne. Rats scurry about in the subway, hotel walls have peeling wallpaper and water-damaged ceilings. They note that, on the PC version, a Pentium III 600 equipped with a GeForce 2 running at 1024x768 performed quite solidly at default settings. To back up their graphics claims, Gamespot has also seen fit to post many new screenshots as well as additional movies showing off Max Payne's graphical splendor.

For those who can't wait to get their hands on this title, be sure to give Gamespot's recent write-up a look. A Mac version has been announced by MacSoft, though there's no work yet on the development schedule.

Gamespot - Hands-on: Max Payne
Remedy Entertainment
Westlake Interactive
Max Payne
Buy Max Payne

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American McGee Interview on Alice
8:52 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

With American McGee's Alice available now for the Mac OS from Aspyr Media, this in-depth interview with Mr. McGee himself on Gamasutra has such excellent timing. The discussion covers the third-person adventure game that bears his name, as well as his history in the industry and his plans for the future (which includes a career in directing film and video).

Among the many topics discussed include the pros/cons of having your name attached to a game, his inspirations for some of the dark themes explored in the game and possible alternative plotlines that turned out to be too "dark" to use. Along the way he comments on what went right and wrong with the final product, and what got cut due to lack of time.

Any time you attempt to use "literature" as your source material, you will find strong objections from those who feel you are interpreting the material incorrectly. McGee didn't seem to have that experience with his revision of the world of Lewis Caroll:

Do you feel that you have a much truer Vision of Lewis Carroll's work than Disney?

I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but I have heard quite a few people whose opinions I respect a lot, say that they feel that this is one of the truer depictions of the fiction that they've ever seen. One of my favourite stories was when we were showing the demo at E3 in Los Angeles, and Stephen Spielberg actually came into our demo room, and got to see what the game looked like. Afterwards he said, "This is the truest rendition of this work that I've ever seen. Good job." That was very cool. It was a nice piece of validation that we were actually on to something. It showed that we weren't trying to force my view of the world on this project, but actually, a natural extension of what the story was.

Keep watching IMG for a review of Alice soon. A demo for the game is also expected within the next few weeks.

Interview with American McGee on Gamasutra
Aspyr Media
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Rogue Entertainment
American McGee's Alice

Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 25, 2001

MacPlay Website Debuts, Accepting BG2 Pre-Orders4:37 PM
'Evihcra' Adds Unreal Tournament Archive1:53 PM
Aspyr Updates Sims, Preps EFMI Demo1:39 PM
No Mac OS X Myst III: Exile = Apple's Fault?1:02 PM
Diablo II Realm Rollback11:51 AM
PopTop's Future Plans?11:32 AM
Master of Orion III Interview11:21 AM
Trade Wars: Dark Millennium Update, Images9:46 AM
Beyond Atlantis Released?9:17 AM
iPuppet Needs Beta-Testers9:14 AM
Mac DS9: The Fallen Goes Gold, Really!9:13 AM
Marathon: Resurrection Public Beta Released9:10 AM
Lane Roathe and His Ideas From The Deep9:05 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 25, 2001 on one page

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Tuesday, July 24, 2001
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