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Thursday, August 16, 2001

Pillars of Garendall Reaches FC2
9:26 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Mac RPG fans have been anticipating the release of Pillars of Garendall all summer long. Not only will this Zelda-style RPG be Ambrosia's biggest release in quite some time, but it will be the proof-of-concept for the Coldstone Engine which powers it, and which may open the door to a potentially limitless number of future RPGs and expansions.

On July 29th, PoG was declared Final Candidate; obviously this is not equivalent to being declared "golden," and yesterday's update to the progress log reveals that they are not quite there yet -- but they are closer than ever. Final Candidate 2 has been released to the testers, and it incorporates new character animation and of course the requisite bug fixes. Here is the full update:

Pillars of Garendall FC2, second final candidate, released.

This new version includes some more OSX bug fixes as well as a couple of minor fixes to the data files. We also finally got the time to put in the new character animations that Dan (our character modeler-animator) did some time ago.

I'm also happy to report that the windows version of PoG has been under intensive testing here during the last two weeks or so and that we aren't experiencing any problems with it except some *very* minor things. There is only one thing actually missing: Quicktime movie support (a matter of time).

Also, all the plugins that will be developed for Pillars of Garendall will work for Macintosh and Windows.

PoG tells the epic tale of a lone warrior sent to rally the troops of allied kingdoms to save his own from being crushed by a siege of monstrous attackers. For more information visit the Progress Log for this game or read our past articles on the subject.

Pillars of Garendall Progress Log
Past Articles on Pillars of Garendall
Ambrosia Software
Pillars of Garendall

Official Black and White PR, More Feral Details
12:48 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

UK developer Feral Interactive has followed up yesterday's confirmation of the existence of a Mac OS port of Black and White with an official press release and details on their other titles in progress. While there is currently no set release date for the Lionhead "god game," Feral does have a few other titles in the work that are due to ship by the end of this year, including a Formula 1 racing game and a helicopter combat sim -- genres untouched on the Mac platform for 5 or 6 years.

Here are some excerpts from the official Feral PR regarding Mac Black and White:

Today Feral Interactive announced that it will publish Lionhead Studios’ Black & White on the Macintosh platform. In the weeks following it’s release on the Windows platform Black & White has established itself as a gaming phenomenon, an enormous worldwide success – both critical and commercial shipping over 1,000,000 copies.

David Stephen of Feral said: “Black & White is a ground-breaking game for which there is already has a huge enthusiasm among the Macintosh audience. We are thrilled to be bringing it to them.”

Peter Molyneux, the designer of the game and Head of Lionhead Studios said: “For me the Mac is an icon of style and technology within the computer world and so being given the opportunity to see Black & White on this machine is terrific.”

Work on the Macintosh conversion is well underway: it is planned that Black & White will run native on Mac OS X and be available in English, all major European languages and Japanese.

Mac programming house Zonic are leading the port in cooperation with long-time Feral collaborators Elegant Chaos

Black&White boasts a new level of artificial intelligence. Your Creature is almost a living, breathing thing. It learns, remembers and makes connections. Its huge range of abilities and decisions is born of a ground-breakingly powerful and complex AI system.

Black & White is packed full of innovations that will be shown off to full effect on the Mac platform. The game utilises brand-new graphics control systems, and you see the world from any angle, direction or height. It’s fully scalable, has light-sourcing and reflections, and you can even import real weather from the Internet into the world. Nothing like this has ever been seen before.

Those of us that have seen this game run on the PC have to agree this is indeed a unique and fascinating game.

Feral also took the opportunity to provide updates on their many other titles in progress. They are the European publishers for Mac Tropico, and their language-localized version is expected to ship in September. The adorable sim game Sheep is now "gold master" and is also expected to ship to the US by the end of September.

For quite some time we have known that Feral has been working on Mac OS ports of F1 Championship Season, an open-wheel auto racing sim, and Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche Versus KA-52 Hokum, a helicopter combat simulator -- in fact the news of their work on those titles is so old that it's in our static HTML archives. Regardless, Feral has released the excellent news that these titles may very well ship in November of this year, fantastic news indeed for fans of these utterly neglected (on the Mac) genres. As these titles are based on "older" engines we would expect excellent performance on recent and current Mac systems. Enemy Engaged got a very positive review from GameSpot (linked below) and it seems visually attractive as well.

Feral has even more surprises in the works; supposedly they are due to announce a new series of titles on Friday, August 24th. We'll be watching this UK company closely for news on Black and White and their other future titles, so stay tuned.

F1 Championship Review at GameSpot
Feral Interactive
Enemy Engaged Review at GameSpot

IMG Posts Tropico Review
11:57 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Michael Phillips has contributed his review of Tropico, the island dictatorship sim brought to the Mac OS by PopTop and MacSoft. This in-depth review includes details on gameplay, performance and replay value as well as plenty of screen shots. Here's an excerpt:

Tropico is an extremely entertaining, richly detailed, yet not overly complex “Ruler Sim”. As El Presidente, players must juggle many tasks, the most important being KEEP THE PEOPLE HAPPY! In order to keep Tropico’s citizens cheery and content, one must feed them well, pay them plenty and keep them amused with hours of tropical island fun. For example, if the people of Tropico spend their days working the fields & factories without any form of local entertainment, they become bored and restless. So, it becomes necessary to build a pub or cabaret. Not only do these buildings entertain the citizens, they provide money for your economy. Mardi Gras style celebrations also provide excellent merriment for your people, as well as potential tourism funds. As your treasury grows, more complex buildings, such as electric power plants and luxury housing become available.
Read on for more details on this much-praised strategy game. Whether or not there will be a demo version of this game is still unknown, but we're certain MacSoft is leaning in that direction. Oh, and be sure to check out the bonus trivia question at the end -- first one to answer it gets a free copy!

Review: Tropico

Carbon UT Progress Report
11:52 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Another month, another update. Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive made a post to Usenet informing the community of his progress on a Carbon version of Unreal Tournament. He has been working on this project for the past couple of months in his spare time, and with each passing month he is getting closer and closer to completion. Here is Mark's "semi-monthly update", as he calls it:

[Networking] is now in, I've been able to pull up the in-game browser,
find a billion games and join several. Most of the maps seem to be
working, although I've had to turn down CodeWarrior's optimization level
a notch or the game consistently crashes. Still frame rates are about
the same as OS 9, load times about 2X faster.

No sound yet, although if I can get that working it will be about ready
to do a public beta (or public alpha :) ). No idea how long that will
take, I have to rip out most of the old sound and music architecture.

Oh, and it always deletes all your downloaded cache files
(maps,textures,etc) when you start the app. It thinks all the cache
files are 5 years old. Guess I ought to fix that one :)

In another post, he addresses mod compatibility with Carbon UT:
Mods should pretty much just work. I just realized today I probably
will have to do something with the umod installer too :(
With networking in place, Mark has reached another milestone, though the sound engine seems like it will pose a formidable challenge. Thanks to Mark for his hard work (in his spare time no less)!

Westlake Interactive

Tim's Plan for the V12 Engine
11:37 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Now that the V12 Engine has been officially released by Garage Games, many gamers and developers are wondering what comes next. Tim Gift of GG recently addressed the question of future V12 support with both a brief statement as well as a task list that shows GG's full commitment to the V12 project.

Here's a clip from Gift's statement:

Our current plan now is to support the growing V12 community. This includes documentation, examples scripts, objects, etc. This is going to keep us busy for a while, but will be critical in getting some momentum going. Once the ball is seriously rolling on development we'll start concentrating on the player site. There are still a number of issue to resolve there.
Also available is Gift's current task list, which lists the following short-term goals:

  • Documentation. Engine overview, dOxygen, etc.
  • Set of script examples
  • Basic SimObject example
  • Example projectile
  • Sounds System
  • Code submission procedures
  • Patch release process (for short term)
  • CVS and/or BitKeeper (long term)
  • Intermediate shape format & importer tool
  • Mod Engine / Demo (which will be a free download)
  • Misc. web site updates

It's nice to see both Gift and GG be so commited to the success of the V12 engine. As most Mac gamers know, the V12 is a powerful engine (used in Tribes 2), that has been made cross-platform for both Mac and PC. Needless to say, the V12 engine, if successful, could lead to the creation of future cross-platform titles with a powerful 3D engine and proven network play. Let's hope that this will be the case.

Garage Games - Plan for Tim Gift
Garage Games - V12 Task List

Click to enlarge
Shadowbane - Race and Music Updates
10:45 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As Wolfpack continues the long, long development cycle for their upcoming MMORPG Shadowbane, they also continues to update the official Shadobane site with more information that serves to 'flesh out' the story and overall world of this title.

Recently added to the races of Shadowbane are the Half-Giants. Just as their name suggests, they are a human-like race that has grown to huge size, wielding enormous physical power. Their true origins are unknown and can only be speculated upon, as this clip from their lore suggets:

What else do I know about Half Giants? Well… er, good of you to ask. While many Half Giant names are remembered and celebrated, there is still little lore about the race as a whole. Some scholars tend to group Half Giants with Shades and Aelfborn, the so-called “lesser branches” of Humanity. Now now, my good lord, no need to rise! It’s their opinion, not mine. And quite obviously false, too – one glance at a Half Giant clearly shows that they’re clearly not “lesser” branches of anything. As to why some men are born so great of frame and strength, I’ve heard a few different reasons. Each tells an interesting story in itself.
Also recently added to the site is a new music clip, titled "March of the Northmen." It can be found in the Multimedia section.

For those interested in checking out either of the above, be sure to give the Shadowbane site a whirl. This title is currently scheduled to be released sometime early next year.

Shadowbane Official Site - News
Wolfpack Studios

Mac DS9 Mystery Solved, Game Ships
10:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

It appears that one of the most dramatic pauses in the history of a Mac game port is finally drawing to a close -- after all the highs, lows and turbulence of this flight, we should have expected a bumpy landing. On August 13 we reported that pre-order ship dates for Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen had suddenly jumped a month ahead; a few days later many had been revised again.

Now a few helpful posters to our forum have indeed provided actual proof that this game is shipping, and those who ordered from Outpost or Amazon should have their copy already in transit. Furthermore a poster from Canada mentioned he had seen the game on shelves in Toronto, so those North of the USA border could potentially have the game already.

In any case, conspiracy theorists can lay their fears to rest that there might be a "just 2 more weeks, we are printing the boxes!" type of delay with Mac DS9: The Fallen. We eagerly await your feedback after playing the game, posted of course in our forums.

Forum Discussion on Mac DS9: The Fallen

QuakeCon2001 Model Contest
9:28 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Level designer Paul Jaquays of id has updated his .plan with details of the QuakeCon2001 Model Contest. With top prizes from Discreet (makers of 3D studio Max), nVidia and Linksys as well as gaining the respect and adulation of your peers in the modelling community, there were plenty of top-class entries. Here's the details from the .plan:

The contest, sponsored by Discreet, NVidia, Linksys, id Software, and Polycount challenged model makers around the world to produce models which could be used as the centerpieces of maps; models which would demand that maps be built to house them; models which would literally knock the contest judges’ socks off.

The 18 model makers, who entered submitted 22 separate models or suites of models, comprised of over 50 individual model components. “The contestants really outdid themselves this year. The talent they exhibited was overwhelming,” said contest coordinator Paul Jaquays of id Software. “I can’t wait to see these models start appearing in game maps.”

We'll have to wait and see how the models are used in upcoming maps, but in the mean time a 'gallery' map has been created using all the contest entries. This is available for your viewing pleasure - or to allow you to mindlessly shoot at the entries - from id's ftp site. For details of the winners and the prizes they received check out Paul's .plan.

QuakeCon 2001 Model Contest Gallery Map @ id's ftp (13.8Mb)
Paul Jaquays .plan file

MacMAME Updated Again!
6:24 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

With an announcement that yet again proves Brad Oliver's commitment to his emulators, MacMAME has been updated to version 0.53. This means MacMAME is again in sync with the latest DOS/Win32 source. The previous version numbering system has also been abandoned, hence the sudden jump from 0.36 to 0.52, here's the explanation:

We have abandoned the "beta" numbering scheme, which was becoming pointless. The current version is 0.53 because 0.36 (the last "non-beta" release) + .16 (the number of "beta" releases since then) = 0.52.
Thanks to Brad and the rest of contributors to MacMAME, for more info on this and it's parent, MAME, follow the links below.

The home of MacMAME
MacMAME news and info - the home of MAME

Red Storm Looks for Feedback on Ghost Recon
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Red Storm Entertainment has a poll on their website asking gamers which platform they would like to see their new squad-based shooter, Ghost Recon, on. The five choices are Macintosh, Playstation 2, GameCube, XBOX, and "I'll stick with my PC". Red Storm is, of course, responsible for the hit games Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear, which were both published on the Macintosh through MacSoft. Although Ghost Recon takes several cues from the aforementioned games, it involved in the Jack Rayans continuum. Instead it seeks to improve upon the gameplay of the Rainbow Six games, making it as realistic and immersive as possible.

Even if the Macintosh comes out on the top of the poll, it will not be certain that Ghost Recon will be ported. What it will do, is show Red Storm (and perhaps Mac publishers) that we are interested in the game. If you haven't heard of Ghost Recon and want to know more about it before you vote, read GameSpot's detailed preview.

GameSpot: Ghost Recon Preview
Red Storm Entertainment

Mac Games News for Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Unreal Tournament Truform-Enabled, Examples3:02 PM
MacPlay Status Updates2:04 PM
On the Baldur's Gate II Delay1:29 PM Debuts for TFL Players Tomorrow12:59 PM
Apple Previews Undying9:51 AM
Omni Group Updates Mac OS X Games Page9:21 AM
MacMAME Updated to 0.37b169:09 AM
Feral Announces Black & White (Finally)9:03 AM
Clue for Myth II Released6:00 AM
Neverwinter Nights Designer Diary Update6:00 AM
New Master of Orion III Screenshots6:00 AM
Sheep Set to Stray into Stores in September6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, August 15, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Tuesday, August 14, 2001
Monday, August 13, 2001
Friday, August 10, 2001
Thursday, August 9, 2001
Wednesday, August 8, 2001

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