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Friday, August 10, 2001

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Monkey Island Demo Released
11:06 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The long-awaited Escape from Monkey Island demo from Aspyr is now available at our sister site,

The demo is available in various flavors, from 54 MB for the small demo (no movies, music, or voices) to 150 MB for the full demo. And of course, if you're a MacGames CD subscriber, we'll include the full demo on the next CD, which will be shipping toward the end of August.

Escape from Monkey Island is a scurvy-inducing new chapter in the legendary Monkey Island adventure series from LucasArts. In the game we find Guybrush and his new bride, Governor Elaine Marley-Threepwood, returning to Melee Island from their honeymoon. They quickly discover Elaine has been declared dead, the Governor's mansion is scheduled for demolition, and the slick, yet hauntingly familiar politician, Charles L. Charles, is gunning for her job.

Want to know more about Escape from Monkey Island? Be sure to check out our extensive review.

Download Escape from Monkey Island Demo (multiple sizes)
Escape from Monkey Island Review
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island

id Software Announces Quake 4, New Title
3:51 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

As many PC news sites have been reporting throughout the afternoon, the big news from QuakeCon has been released: id Software announced two new titles are in the works, as well as the in-progress DOOM sequel. Longtime collaborator Raven Software will commence work on Quake 4 in the near future, while new company Nerve Software will work on an unnamed title focusing on "cooperative multiplayer."

Reports from the show on GameSpy, Shugashack and Blues indicate that Quake 4 will use the latest id technology (which means the DOOM 3 engine) and continue the storyline from where Quake 2 left off. The DOOM project, however, seems headed in a different direction towards a "very dark, slow, and storyline-oriented" game, according to Shacknews.

Here's a report from HomeLan on what the mysterious fourth title might be about:

During the press conference, id CEO Todd Hollenshead first revealed two announcements of new games that are being supervised by id. One is being developed by Nerve Software and Nerve' head man Brandon James stated at the press conference that this will be the first game in a brand-new id franchise. Very little was revealed about the game during the press conference, but James did say the game's idea originated at id around the time of the development of Quake III Arena and that it would be a multiplayer cooperative game unlike anything that has been attempted before.
Why does any of this matter to Mac gamers? John Carmack has already promised that the DOOM sequel will run on OS X; presumably that will open the door to both Quake 4 and the unnamed game, as both will be finished after DOOM 3 is on shelves.

While all of these games are a year away or more, we're sure there will be much speculation (and perhaps some video footage from QuakeCon) to come. Be sure to visit our forums and add your own wish list of features for these future titles.

QuakeCon Report at HomeLAN
QuakeCon Report at ShackNews
QuakeCon Report at GameSpy

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Red Faction Demo Released for PC [Updated]
10:37 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Volition has released a king-sized demo for their first-person shooter Red Faction; as expected this is for PC only, as the Mac OS version of the game -- while progressing very well -- is still a month or two behind in development. The PC version of the game is of course a port of the PlayStation 2 version of the game, which has so far received wide acclaim. Those who held out for the Mac or PC version of the game will find their patience rewarded, in the form of better textures, Internet multiplayer support and numerous gameplay tweaks and fixes.

The 129 MB demo has only been out for a few hours, so there aren't many details available, but overall the response seems quite enthusiastic. VoodooExtreme snapped off a dozen screen shots of the game in action, revealing that the demo also has two vehicles you can drive (at least) -- a submarine and a colossal mining machine.

We contacted Jeff Morgan of GraphSim for a status update on the Mac version of the game, and his response was quite enthusiastic. He just received a new 'build' of the full game from Mark Allender of Volition, and here is his (admittedly unscientific) response:

Just tried it on a G4 733 - it looks shippable to me.
Plans for a Mac demo of the game are still uncertain, but Jeff made it clear that he would like this to happen. If all goes well it looks as if GraphSim may be able to ship this shooter for Mac OS far in advance of the projected November release date, so stay tuned to IMG for news!

Red Faction Web Site
Red Faction Demo Screens at VE
Red Faction

Minigolf Maniacs a Dynamix Casualty?
10:26 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A member of the Dynamix development team has just contacted us with a hint towards a game that was still in early development by this seemingly doomed company. Minigolf Maniacs was in the pre-Alpha stage of development, and not even the entire feature set had been determined; however there was indeed a Mac OS X version of the game in the works even at this early stage.

The full-3D OpenGL minigolf game is a bright and colorful sim of this putter-based sport with a cast of cartoonish characters. While this is no Tribes 2, Dynamix developed a whole host of software for Sierra besides teamplay-based shooters, and Minigolf may be left orphaned by the supposed closing of this very large development company.

While there may be some hope that this game will be picked up and finished, the outlook is grim; visit the Minigolf Maniacs site while you can for screen shots, concept sketches and character galleries.

News: Dynamix Shut Down
Minigolf Maniacs

GodGames' Mike Wilson Interviewed
9:50 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

IMG readers may remember yesterday's article, titled "Game Over for Gathering of Developers," which reported that Gathering of Developers was officially calling it quits. GameSpot recently contacted Mike Wilson, founder of GoD, and managed to receive some more details on this sobering news.

First of all, the rumors have been confirmed that GoD will close its offices at the end of the month and hand everything over to Take Two Interactive. Take-two still intends to publish titles such as Myth III and Duke Nukem Forever under the GoD label. Apparently, talks were already underway for the transfer at this summer's E3, where Kelly Sumner, CEO of Take-Two, asked Wilson point-blank what he intended to do with GoD.

Reasons cited for the shutdown include lack of money, loss of purpose, and loss of heart. On the money side, GoD never managed to start with the venture captial it was originally shooting for. Unsuccessful titles such as Kiss: Psycho Circus and The Blair Witch Trilogy also hurt it monetarily.

GoD was originally founded to be a haven for independent publishers, with the idea that current publishers were too greedy and underhanded in their dealings with game developers. Ironically enough, to stay afloat, GoD eventually had to sell itself to one of those developers it was trying to defy: Take-Two. Apparently, there was also tension between GoD and its developers due to that loss of purpose:

"There was a lot of distrust between the developers and Gathering because of the inconsistent way Gathering followed its own core beliefs," explained Ritual Entertainment co-founder Jim Dose, commenting on the fact that what was once billed as an independent publisher soon became a marketing label for an established public company.
Wilson cites himself for the loss of heart, based on the fact that he no longer considers himself a gamer, saying "I'm not a gamer now and I haven't been for a long time. I always told myself if I ever hit that point I would get out."

For more on the demise of GoDGames as well as what the future holds for the current team, be sure to peruse the full article at GameSpot.

IMG - Game Over for Gathering of Developers?
GameSpot - Mike Wilson of GoDGames Interview

New Screenshots of Simsville
9:27 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Courtesy of Electronic Arts, the official Simsville site has posted several screen shots showing both well-to-do neighborhoods and not-so-well-to-do neighborhoods, both generated in their upcoming neighborhood simulation title Simsville. The next game in the ever-popular Sims line, Simsville will, among other things, allow players to import characters directly from The Sims.

The first three screenshots listed show a nice, typical suburban neighborhood - so nice that it could almost be described as campy. Various multi-story houses are arranged in straight rows, each one having a neatly manicured lawn, complete with those alternating light/dark green stripes most people associate with 50's television shows. Families wash their cars, take strolls down the sidewalk, and even hang out at the local movie theater.

The next set of screenshots shows a slightly more seedy version of the nice neighborhood. Swimming pools, once filled with sparkling blue water, now lie stagnant and green. The houses are more drab and their lawns are an unhealthy brown, though oddly enough, they still have those crazy stripes. Replacing the movie theater from the is what appears to be a strip joint, complete with a cheezy neon sign. A bike gang can be seen roving the streets, and a heartfelt scene appears to be showing a cop beating down a presumed criminal.

For those thinking that Simsville would turn out to be just another SimCity, be sure to check out the screenshots. The level of humor and detail contained in them just might change your mind.

Simsville - New Screenshots

QuakeCon's Got The Power....
9:00 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

This years QuakeCon is a highly-anticipated event, but it was almost D.O.A due to a series of Power Failures. No, this was Texas, not California, but anytime you put that many PCs and thousands of gallons of Mountain Dew Code Red in the same room, you are asking for trouble. Here's a report from the convention's web site,

This will go down in history as the QuakeCon that almost wasnít. We had major power supply issues today. Our first generator (which by all accounts should have been more than sufficient) overheated and left us in the dark. But our power vendor was on the ball and had a new generator with twice as much power on hand within half an hour. Unfortunately it had a mechanical issue and power was lost a second time.

But that is when the gloves came off. Calls were made, strings were pulled, and before long we had a GIGANTIC power truck with dual 500-kilowatt generators (which we will have pictures of soon). This is in addition to the first two generators (now relegated to backup). So we now have well over a megawatt of power pumping into the convention center. To put this in perspective, this is enough electricity to power a city of about forty to fifty thousand people. Yes, id Software takes care of their fans. With idís typical sense of overkill, they wanted to ensure there would be no further power consumption issues for the remainder of the event. To quote a certain nameless space marine, "Never use the machine gun when you can use the BFG"

There have also been some interesting pictures taken during the setup of the conference, including the pleasant sight of rows of G4 Power Macintosh systems humming away and the iMacs used for attendee registration. As mentioned yesterday, these are Dual G4 800 Mhz machines with GeForce 3's running Q3A under OS X -- follow the link below to take a look. Stay tuned as we bring you further information from QuakeCon including the much anticipated announcements from id software and the keynote speech by John Carmack.

QuakeCon Setup Gallery
QuakeCon 2001 Kicks-Off

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Buy MGCD and Tropico, Get Myth II Free!
8:57 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Today IMG is running a fantastic deal. Order a subscription to the MacGames CD and MacSoft's Tropico (available for $25 to new subscribers), and get a FREE copy of Bungie's Myth II: Soulblighter, at no extra charge (while supplies last).

MacGames CD isn exciting CD-ROM subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters, and much more. Get 8 issues per year (delivered every 6 weeks) and save big bucks! For a limited time, when you subscribe to MacGames CD, you can get a full version of Descent 3 or Sin; all you pay is the shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada, $10 International). Each subscription or renewal also includes free registration of Game Doctor, plus great discounts from Mac game stores, Macintosh games, and Mac game publishers.

Subscription to the MacGames CD start at just $29 for one year. For more information, be sure to visit the IMG web store.

PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

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Civilization III Website Launches
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

An official web site for the empire-building sim Civilization III has appeared online, featuring information and images concerning this much-anticipated sequel. MacSoft will be publishing the Mac OS version of this title of strategy and diplomacy; as with the previous games in this series, players take on a godlike role shaping the development of an entire civilization from the spear and hand-axe to nanotech and space exploration.

The site will profile a "civ of the week" and even mentions the Mac OS version of the game, promising that system requirements are "coming soon." There is also an essay by Sid Meier on the inspirations behind and history of the Civ series, and the beginnings of a FAQ to handle any questions you might have.

The site appears to be intended as a dynamic resource for those anticipating the game, so be sure to stop back often if you are interested. This game is expected to be released in late 2001, and the Mac version should be close behind the PC launch.

Civilization III Web Site
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

Interview with Wolfpack, Ubi Soft on Shadowbane
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

IGNPC has posted an interview with a member of Wolfpack Studios and an Ubi Soft executive concerning the recent news that this international company will publish the MMORPG Shadowbane for North America. Originally planned to be published by Gathering of Developers, Shadowbane drifted for a time without a UK or US publisher, but with the amount of coverage and exposure this game has had from the moment of its announcement it was clear they would find a publisher soon enough. From the tone of the interview, Wolfpack and Ubi Soft seem to be a good match, and Shadowbane fans can rejoice in knowing that this game will indeed find its way to market for both Mac and PC users.

The very in-depth interview covers the gamut of issues about this game, revealing in depth how community and clan building will work, discussing how players can amass wealth and property and outlining many of the ways they plan to avoid the pitfalls that have rendered other online RPGs repetitive or boring. One of the more challenging aspects of the game for both designer and player will be the possibility of actual online warfare between rival clans or kingdoms, in pitched battles involving hundreds of players simultaneously. Here's an excerpt dealing with combat:

IGN: How's combat going to work in the game?

Todd Coleman: Combat exists on two levels . There's auto-combat which means if I'm off getting a sandwich and someone attacks me my guy isn't going to be stupid, he's actually going to respond. You have your typical melee attack and that's pretty simple, you just click on something and it starts to go to town. At the lower levels that's going to be fine. You'll probably be able to go and adventure using nothing but that. At the higher levels where people are going to start to come into contact with other players and powerful monsters, there's an entire power system that allows for not just spells but individual special maneuvers like a whirlwind, bash, or kick attack --things that kick off interesting particle effects that can allow me to add a tactical layer or thinking to my combat. Combat typically will go, at the powers level, in a kind of a six to eight second, almost chess style of gameplay, where I'll make a move and you'll counter with your move. Underneath all that we have the auto-combat going off, so it'll constantly be ticking away keeping things exciting.

IGN: How will huge battles work? Is there a limit to the number of people you can party together, or when you have a huge strategic battle the general will give formation and you abide by it or not?

Todd Coleman: It is a party, and whomever is the leader of the group can call out formations and people will automatically start to march in those formations. Keep in mind though that we don't ever want to take the control away from the player, so if I click to go over to the right and my formation is telling me to go to the left, I'll still go to the right. We always do what the player tells us to do, but it does add an interesting new dynamic to a strategy game that hasn't been seen before because in those strategy games the troops underneath you are simply robots, you tell them go over there, and even if it means certain death they'll go over there. In Shadowbane, you're dealing with actual people, so there's a whole new layer of command that has to deal with personal interaction; something we've never seen before. It should be a pretty interesting thing to watch.

It will be interesting to participate in as well, we have no doubt. Currently Shadowbane is on track for a late 2001/early 2002 release; the game will be simultaneous for Mac and PC, and may even be a hybrid release. If you are interested in even more information, be sure to browse the wealth of articles on the subject in our news database.

Past Articles on Shadowbane
Shadowbane Web Site
Interview with Wolfpack, Ubi Soft on Shadowbane
Wolfpack Studios

"V12" Game Engine Released
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

For quite some time we have been bringing you news and information on GarageGames and their unique V12 game engine, a cross-platform, open source tool for rapid game development which will be available to would-be game authors for a mere $100 a pop. While there is certainly no guarantee that this SDK will give rise to the next Tribes 2 (the engine from which it is derived), with that low of a threshold price it is sure to inspire many a team to tackle a new project and see what they can accomplish.

A short note posted on the web site last night notes that version 1.0 of the V12 SDK has finally been posted online, after months of preparation. Games created with this SDK will be published through the GarageGames web site and company; for-profit games will of course pay a licensing fee for final distribution.

While it may be some time before GarageGames' colossal gamble pays off, we'll be sure to let you know the instant a Mac-compatible game is created with the engine. This current release is both the PC and Linux versions; the Mac version has lagged slightly behind in the development process. However as any final game will be able to cross-compile across all three platforms, it doesn't matter what platform the game is actually developed upon.

We asked Tim Gift of GG for an update on the Mac version of V12; unfortunately his response was rather vague, but we hope to hear from the team member actually working on the Mac engine (David Chait) before the day is through. Here is Tim's response:

I know the ATI stuff is done, but I'm not sure what the Mac release status
is. Rick and I have been pretty busy getting this PC/Linux release out, so
we haven't been keeping up to date with David. Once things settle down
we'll figure out what's up. Sorry I don't have anything more specific.
For more information, be sure and read our past interview with a member of the GG team.

Interview: Tim Gift on V12
GarageGames Web Site

Dynamix Shut Down
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Mac users certainly hold no love for Dynamix and their parent company Sierra; many remember bitterly the broken promise to bring Tribes 2 to the Mac OS. However it is poor sportsmanship to rejoice at the misfortune of others, and it is sad to note the passing of a development team who at least considered the Mac platform as part of their plans.

Many PC news sites including Blue's News and VoodooExtreme have noted a series of forum posts by Dynamix team members which seem to indicate that the company has been shut down and the doors closed; it is estimated as many as 300 employees may be released by Sierra next week. This follows the earlier departure of about 1/3 of Dynamix' staff just after the completion of team-based shooter Tribes 2 in the Spring of this year.

The recent development (and release -- see related story) of the V12 project by GarageGames had given many Mac gamers hope that a port of Tribes 2 would be a possibility, as they share a common engine. It is not clear how the Dynamix closure would alter this possibility, as Sierra seems to intend to continue supporting and developing the online shooter even without Dynamix. Only time will tell, but in any case the closure of such a large and successful development house is a sobering event for all gamers. Follow the links below for more details.

"Dynamix Shut Down?" at Blues
"Dynamix is Dead" at VoodooExtreme

Radeon AGP Missing at Apple Store?
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacNN and an IMG reader have noted that the ATI Radeon AGP has disappeared from the Displays section of the Apple Store; it had previously vanished from the OEM options for Apple's revamped "Quicksilver" line of G4 Power Macintosh models. Currently you can only order an NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX, GeForce 2 MX Dual Display or GeForce 3 card as either a BTO or add-on option. ATI hardware is of course still standard in all iMacs, iBooks and Powerbook models.

This development is not as surprising as it seems; while conspiracy theorists will be quick to assume Apple has "dropped" ATI's cards from their lineup, there may be a much more mundane explanation. It has been known for some time that ATI is very eager to launch their own answer to the GeForce 3, and this next-generation chipset has been shown behind closed doors repeatedly in the past few weeks. ATI's Smartshader and Truform technologies were on display for the press at Macworld Expo last month, and several PC publications have reported sightings as well.

While it would certainly be pure speculation to say that the disappearance of the Radeon from Apple's store heralds the arrival of new cards, the timing is certainly interesting. With several big PC and Mac expos taking place over the next month, it may be a very interesting time for Mac and PC gamers alike. Be sure to rush to our Hardware forums and post your own wish list for where Apple will go next in terms of graphics hardware.

IMG Hardware Forum
The Apple Store

Mac Games News for Thursday, August 9, 2001

Game Over for Gathering of Developers?12:28 PM
On Browser-Based Online Gaming12:21 PM
Aspyr's Michael Rogers Interviewed10:43 AM
QuakeCon 2001 Kicks-Off10:10 AM
Cheat Prevention in Warcraft III10:06 AM
New Look at Red Faction's Multiplayer10:00 AM
Infogrames Releases More Unreal II Info9:52 AM
Status Report on Mac Giants9:39 AM
Railroad Tycoon 2 Platinum Q&A8:35 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 9, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, August 8, 2001
Tuesday, August 7, 2001
Monday, August 6, 2001
Friday, August 3, 2001
Thursday, August 2, 2001

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