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Wednesday, August 1, 2001

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Mac DS9: The Fallen Ships
9:24 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

We will be the first to admit that there were times we thought this day would never come, but now it is the time for rejoicing -- at long last, Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen has shipped for Mac OS. This Unreal-powered action/adventure is sure to thrill both Trek fans and those who enjoy the increasingly-popular genre of the third-person shooter. With three complete (and unique) solo adventures and an engrossing plot inspired directly by the events and characters of the television series, this game is Trekkie heaven.

DS9 has the stunning visuals you have come to expect from games based on the UT engine, combined with celebrity voice work and authentic sound effects from the Paramount archives. Combining both action and adventure elements, the game features in-engine cutscenes, interactive elements such as a working Tricorder and vast environments to explore. Here are excerpts from the press release:

Simon & Schuster Interactive announced today
that its highly anticipated CD-ROM game, "STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE (R): THE
FALLEN," has shipped to retail for the Macintosh(R). THE FALLEN, which has
been in development for two years, utilizes a heavily modified version of
the Unreal(TM) Tournament gaming engine to produce a gaming experience that
will take gamers into both the next chapter of Deep Space Nine and the
future of interactive gaming (Rated "T" by the ESRB).

THE FALLEN marks the first opportunity for fans of the Deep Space Nine
series to see and hear their favorite characters in an original story since
the show ended its run in 1999. Developed by Collective Studios of Laguna
Beach, California, THE FALLEN stars the following cast members from the
acclaimed TV show who have lent their voices to the game:

* Michael Dorn…."Worf"

* Nana Visitor…"Kira"

* Alexander Siddig… "Bashir"

* Rene Auberjonois…"Odo"

* Armin Shimerman…"Quark"

* Andrew Robinson…"Garak"

* Terry Farrell…"Jadzia Dax"

With the scope of a motion picture, this unprecedented game, featuring
next-generation graphics and special effects, immerses fans in the world of
Deep Space Nine like they've never seen before. Gamers explore areas of the
space station that were never shown on the show and travel to incredibly
detailed and atmospheric locations to complete this rich game.

"The Fallen represents another accomplishment in our vision of combining our
expertise in digital entertainment with a cornerstone Paramount Pictures'
property," said Gilles Dana, senior vice president and publisher of Simon &
Schuster Interactive. "In this case, this effort has produced the
equivalent of a totally immersive, interactive episode of Deep Space Nine
that will appeal to Star Trek fans and hard core gamers."

THE FALLEN also brings to gamers a sophisticated camera system that takes
third-person perspective gaming to a higher plane, whether in close quarters
or wide-open expanses. For example when a gamer is in a corner, the camera
will switch to a first person perspective allowing the player to actually
see through the character to get a clear view of the action.

Utilizing a revolutionary multiple camera system and pushing game design to
the next level, THE FALLEN gives the player three unique and equally
compelling single player experiences allowing the player to be Sisko, Worf
or Kira in an intertwining and simultaneous storyline.

Additional Features
- A custom-designed inverse kinematics and bones animation system provides
character movements and ambulatory dexterity.

- Highly detailed architecture and intricate lighting techniques that
provide cinematic ambiance and mood. Each of the three character-paths
features over 10 levels of gameplay across 40 unique, detailed maps,
transporting the player through rich, photo-realistic environments never
before seen in any Star Trek episode or motion picture.

- More than 10 new weapons, Federation issue and beyond, most with multiple
firing modes.

- Opposition comes from more than 20 alien species, all with well tuned
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and an all-new race of bio-analogous creatures
known as the Grigari.

For more information on the plot and setting of the game, be sure and visit the official Deep Space Nine web site or browse our archive of news stories on this long-awaited title. Pre-orders of the game should begin shipping late this week, if all goes well. There will be no demo released for this game, unfortunately, but watch IMG for a detailed review in the near future.

Deep Space Nine: The Fallen Web Site
Past Articles on DS9: The Fallen
Simon & Schuster
The Collective
DS9: The Fallen
Buy DS9: The Fallen

On The Graphics Card "Wars"
4:22 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As reports continue to trickle in about ATI's recent spate of back-room demos of their next-generation technologies for the press, the war of words between this Canadian company and their principal competitor NVIDIA has begun to heat up. While this article isn't gaming-related, it does provide an interesting look at just how fierce this battle is going to become, as both companies race to capture the high-end gaming market with $300+ cards.

With 3dfx and their products out of the picture, swallowed by NVIDIA last year, ATI has seized the opportunity to gain ground in the hardcore gamer market, an area where they have traditionally trailed in third. While their next-generation chipset is still under wraps, the "white paper" they have released regarding its specifications has clearly irked NVIDIAs PR staff with some of its claims and potshots. An article on sums up this war of words, and while it is a little thick on buzzwords it does outline the significant issues being debated.

The dirty little secret of these high-end cards, of course, is that games that will actually take advantage of them are at least six months to a year away -- thus the war between ATI and NVIDIA is actually over developer support, not customer market share. A killer game that works best on one card vs. the other would certainly drive sales and loyalty, but the odds are good that developers will refuse to split their audience and continue to develop "generic" feature sets that will work on the last few generations of cards. In fact, both the GeForce 2 and Radeon chipsets have features that developers never took advantage of, and they are almost two years old.

In any case the article is an interesting read just for the war of words, and it does drop some hints about what we might expect from ATI and NVIDIA in the future. As ATI has already been showing their new tech in private meetings, an announcement of their next chipset and card is expected in the near future.

Sparks Fly in Graphics Card Wars at PCWorld

MacGamer Posts iBook Review
3:23 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Corey Tamás of MacGamer has posted a lengthy and detailed review of Apple's second-generation Dual USB iBook. This sub-five-pound wonder was the shock of the year in terms of a radical makeover, and Apple can't keep them in stock -- over 180k of them have sold so far in a scant four months.

As you might expect this review is from a gamer's perspective, and touches on areas of performance, design, usability and specifications. While there are no specific game benchmarks, here are Corey's comments on the game-playing ability of this portable powerhouse:

With an 8 MB 3D chip (the ATI Rage Mobility) you can get an awful lot done. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, for instance, runs smooth as silk at 1024X768 with all the options maxed out. You can play a very respectible Quake III or Unreal Tournament game on this thing, Tomb Raider (1 through 5) flies and lighter 3d games like Centipede play without a hitch. 2D games such as Starcraft or Scrabble are going to look and feel like they were made for this hardware. The only game that gave the iBook any problem was Diablo II. At the time of this writing I could not ascertain if the problem was with the hardware or with the software... but given how well the unit performs with other modern games I tend to believe that the iBook is not the culprit.
Read the rest of this piece for more details on Apple's sub-notebook for the Mac masses.

iBook Review at MacGamer
iBook Specs at Apple Web Site

OpenGL "Cow" Games Updated
1:40 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacGameFiles has listed two updates from shareware author Martin Wengenmayer to his OpenGL-based titles for Mac OS X. As both of these releases reveal, Martin has a somewhat unusual fascination with bovines, but both games are great examples of both OpenGL and OS X technology and are a lot of fun to boot.

TheCowCatchingGame has been updated to 1.6.2, while Cowy the MineSweeper has reached version 1.1. The most significant change is the addition of music to Cowy, and both games have received minor bug fixes. If you're looking for a lighthearted OS X 3D game, either one of these is worth the download.

The Cow Catching Game 1.6.2
Cowy the Minesweeper 1.1 (3.2 MB)

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Baldur's Gate Developer Answers Fan Questions
11:06 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Dragon's Breath Forge has recently posted a Q&A session involving David Gaider, designer at BioWare (makers of the Baldur's Gate series), and 10 fan-submitted questions that Gaider graciously answers.

The questions range from interesting to ridiculous. A question regarding the golden pantaloons of Baldur's Gate has Gaider explaining this long, difficult Easter Egg. Another relevant question inquires as to why certain spells were left out of the game, to which Gaider replies that the spells were either infeasible with the engine, too complex, or redundant in the face of other spells.

Other interesting questions, including why there was only one new NPC in the Baldur's Gate 2 expansion set Throne of Bhaal, why Water Elementals were never added, and what Gaider's favorite beer is are also asked and answered. For readers interested in the full Q&A session, be sure to peruse The Dragon's Breath Forge for the full write-up.

The Dragon's Breath Forge - David Gaider Q&A
Baldur's Gate

Power Infused Unveils New Website
10:51 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Power Infused has recently unveiled their new website. IMG readers may remember earlier reports on this recently-formed company, who's flagship title is currently going under the name Reprisal. Reprisal will be using the LithTech engine as its base, making it compatible with a number of platforms, Mac OS included.

The site currently features character and concept art sketches, with models, screenshots, and the storyline of Reprisal to follow later this week. Power Infused also notes that they are still looking for level designers, 3-D modelers, and programmers to add to their staff.

For more information on Power Infused and their title Reprisal, be sure to check out their new site, as well as earlier articles published by IMG on the subject.

Power Infused
IMG - New Reprisal Info, Screen Shots
IMG - New Lithtech Game 'Reprisal' Coming to the Mac, Help Needed

IMG Launches New Forum
9:51 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Although we loved our WebBBS-based forum and it was quite popular, it had one handicap -- the larger the thread archive became, the slower and slower the forum ran. Participating in the forums shouldn't be a chore! With this in mind IMG has launched a revised forum based on PHP, a faster-executing type of code which is much more resource-efficient. In addition you might find it more cosmetically attractive as well.

In the future we intend to extend the feature set and capabilities of this forum with our own code, but for now dive right in and join the discussion. Unfortunately the old BBS file format is incompatible with the new forum, so all archived messages have been placed offline. If you asked a question recently, now is the time to ask it again. In addtion to the previous four categories, we have added a place to Buy and Sell your Mac games and hardware, and a place to provide feedback on the IMG web site and content.

The forum should be easy to use for most, but if you want a quick primer on how to use the advanced features be sure and read the FAQ. Note that you can't use HTML in messages, so you might want to read the FAQ section on BBCode for a primer on this simple tag protocol if you want to include links, boldface text and other elements in your posts.

IMG Forums FAQ
Inside Mac Games Forums

Snapz Pro X Released
9:39 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

As mentioned several days ago on IMG, Ambrosia Software have been working on making a brand new version of Snapz Pro, for Mac OS X. As seen on the Ambrosia website, Snapz Pro X is now available for public consumption, so the wait is over!

Snapz Pro X supports saving screen images as .bmp, .pict, .gif, .jpg, .png, .tiff, .pdf, or Photoshop files, and can even record the action as a QuickTime movie. Screenshots can be scaled, cropped and dithered. Snapz Pro X can also add borders, generate automatic thumbnails, overlay watermarks/copyright notices... you name it, it has it!

While this isn't strictly gaming news, Snapz Pro is an invaluble tool for gamers, and the IMG team uses it all the time to capture screenshots from games where other utilities fail.

The pricing for Snapz Pro X is complex - if you want only image capture it will cost you $29, and for movie support you will need to pay $49 (you can always upgrade from the first to the second later, if you decide you need it). If you already own Snapz Pro 2, you get $10 off both prices.

Bear in mind that Snapz Pro X is ONLY for OS X, it will not work under any OS versions before OS X; Snapz Pro 2 is still available for this purpose.

Ambrosia Software

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Diablo II News and Status Updates
9:34 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Following last weeks 'Rollback' of the Diablo II: US East Realm and as part of the preparation for the upcoming 1.09 patch for D2 and D2: LoD there have been several status updates from Blizzard posted on the web site.

Some people have been experiencing problems with their D2 characters stored in the US East Realm; if you're still missing items in your inventory or having other character related problems due to the rollback, e-mail with the subject "D2 USEAST ROLLBACK" including your Account Name, Character Name and the exact time and date you last accessed your character. Remember, do NOT include your password, as no-one at Blizzard will ever ask you for this -- anyone you does is likely to be trying to steal your character!

There has also been an update regarding a 'Dual-wielding' exploit being used by a number of D2: LoD players:

A number of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction players have been
exploiting a loophole that allows non- barbarian characters to
improperly dual-wield weapons. Please note that this will no longer
be possible once the modifications in the 1.09 patch have been
implemented. As a result, one of the two weapons will be deleted from
the character's weapon slot if users are still improperly utilizing
dual-wielding. Players who do not wish to lose a weapon in this
manner are advised to discontinue use of this technique.

Additionally, more serious complications can arise when players use
this method in an attempt to obtain additional benefit out of a
Barbarian's normal dual-wield, and players are often corrupting their
character file in the attempt.

Finally there is news of the extreme success of Lord of Destruction which has become the fastest selling expansion pack ever, with worldwide sales already passing the magic one million units mark. Be sure and read our review of the expansion and add your own thoughts to the user reviews.

Review: Diablo II: Lord of Destruction main site
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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No New Mac Q3A For Now...
9:27 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Graeme Devine of id Software updated his .plan yesterday evening to address the lack of a new Mac build of their popular shooter Quake 3: Arena to match the PC update which was just released. It seems that since most of the changes in 1.29g were Windows-specific anyway, they don't have plans to release a Mac version of the update. All versions are still network-compatible, as well, so there aren't any worries about being left behind this time. Here's his .plan update in full:

Mac stuff.

1.29f Mac is 100% compatible with 1.29g, the fixes are almost all WIN32 related input/sound etc. There are no networking changes, QVM or othersuch evil things we've done in the pass to force everyone to upgrade. There's a forthcoming build that addresses the 1.29g build and that will be made available on all platforms, but meanwhile there will be nada zip zero no build of 1.29f for the Mac because we've already moved on from 1.29f.

And besides, we're working on DOOM. :-)

We'll be on the lookout for the next update for Q3A, and let you know once 1.29h (or whatever letter it ends up becoming) is released; the goal on the PC side is a full (non-beta) version 1.30. Frankly, it is amazing that this game is still being updated nearly two years after its initial release.

Graeme Devine .plan
id Software
Quake III Arena

New Tropico Scenarios
9:01 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Several helpful IMG readers have pointed out that Pop Top has released two new scenarios for the island-empire sim Tropico. [Update -- we have posted Mac-friendly versions of these maps on MacGameFiles; see links below.]

The scenarios Mt. Sucio and Green Island begin with unique and challenging start conditions. Here is the description of Mt. Sucio:

Your island was the Mecca of Carribean tourist resorts. Fame and money flowed your way. Then the volcano erupted and something else flowed your way... MUD! It oozed its way down the side of the volcano and right through the middle of your state-of-the-art tourist facilities. Now there's nothing left. Diversity is the key you think. No longer will you be so dependent on one income. Farming, mining, and production will all be money makers on the island, and yes, the tourists will be back too. Grand plans you have Presidente, but can you achieve them?
If you've got Tropico, be sure and grab these maps -- the Mac OS version is already 1.0.3, so there is no patch necessary to run them. For more details on Tropico, read our hands-on preview.

Green Island Map (132k, Mac format)
Mt Sucio Map (247k, Mac format)
Preview: Tropico

Mac Games News for Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Burning Monkey II Carbonized12:42 PM
IMG Reviews Pong, Diablo II LoD11:41 AM
Bannister's Blitz10:24 AM
Garage Games' e-Commerce Goes Beta9:50 AM
Gorky 17, Knights and Merchants in Beta9:34 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, July 31, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Monday, July 30, 2001
Friday, July 27, 2001
Thursday, July 26, 2001
Wednesday, July 25, 2001
Tuesday, July 24, 2001

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