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Friday, August 17, 2001

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Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn is Gold
11:11 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Mac RPG fans, rejoice! The long-awaited release of Mac OS Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn is upon us. MacPlay has just announced that this game has been declared "gold master" and is in duplication, due to ship out in early September.

BGII is widely considered to be the ultimate classical D&D RPG, and has won enough awards to stock an entire trophy case. This 5-CD adventure is Carbonized for Mac OS X. Here are excerpts from the press release:

MacPlay is pleased to announce that Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn has gone gold and that the award-winning game will be available from major retailers in early September. MacPlay is committed to bringing the best possible experience to the Apple gaming community, and Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn has been developed to utilize the most powerful features of OSX.

For those wishing to preview the game, an engaging trailer is now available on Apple’s Game website at Product information is available on MacPlay’s website at, and an aggressive preorder campaign remains in effect through the end of the month. Customers should expect to find the game at all the major Macintosh software retailers within the next few weeks.

“We are very excited to bring such a critically acclaimed title to the Macintosh,” said Mark Cottam, President of MacPlay. “Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn is the first of many key product releases scheduled over the next 4 months for MacPlay and illustrates our ongoing commitment to Apple and its loyal gaming community.”

Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn was named “Game of the Year” by MSNBC and Game Industry News, as well as “RPG of the Year” by Gamespot. The game is the latest chapter in the mythic saga that continues the much-loved Baldur’s Gate storyline. The Forgotten Realms® adventure ensues along the southern portion of the Sword Coast in the merchant kingdom of Amn. This region includes such diverse environments as the Forests of Tethyr, the Cloudpeak Mountains, the Drow cities of the Underdark, and the Capital City of Amn, Athkatla.

Developed by BioWare, the same team responsible for Baldur’s Gate, and converted to the Macintosh by MumboJumbo, Baldur’s Gate II features an incredibly detailed design and story with a highly engrossing plot showcasing immersive environments and dynamic characters that will thrill and engage players throughout the span of the game.

For more information on the title, be sure and check out our preview of the game. MGCD subscribers can pre-order Baldur's Gate II for just $39, which comes with a free BG2 Collector's Edition Bonus Disc, or you can also pre-order through CompuExpert.

Preview: Baldur's Gate II
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II

New IMG Feature: Mac Gaming Gods
11:18 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Today IMG begins a ten-week series of profiles of the major "movers and shakers" in the Mac game industry. This Friday feature will focus on the people that actually make Mac games happen, from porters to publishers to company leaders.

Our first game god is a man who has had an undeniable impact on Mac gaming: Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive. As president and programmer for the company, he has been personally responsible for porting over 15 games to our platform, and yet he still finds time for his own original development. Here's an excerpt:

Mark landed several part time jobs programming database extensions in high school and college, but his first real break into the gaming industry came after he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. With his Bachelor’s degree in computer science in one hand and local newspaper in the other, he scored his first full time programming job porting Origin’s Space Rogue from the Apple II to the IBM PC, Mac, and Amiga.

He started to make his mark (no pun intended) in the Mac gaming industry as a freelance programmer with ports of classic games such as Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat, Links Pro, and Duke Nukem 3D. In 1997, several events took place which changed the course of Mark’s life and gave Mac gaming a big boost. Lion Entertainment hit hard times in August of that year and went out of business, putting Mark and fellow Mac programmers Ken Cobb and Phil Sulak out of jobs. (At the time, Lion was working on ports of Quake, Shadow Warrior, Unreal and Deadlock.)

For more on the story of how Westlake was born, be sure and check out the rest of this feature.

Feature: Mac Gaming Gods: Mark Adams

Red Faction (PC) Progress Update
10:55 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

VoodooExtreme has posted a short progress report on the revolutionary shooter Red Faction in the form of a short developer diary entry by James Tsai of Volition. While his comments refer to the PC version of the game, they are good news for Mac users as well -- the closer the PC version gets to "gold," the sooner Volition can complete their work on the Mac version as well (which will be published by GraphSim).

Tsai's comments refer to the recently-released demo for this game, which came in both solo and multiplayer flavors. Here are his comments:

Certainly a hectic week on our end of things. Got the Red Faction Multiplayer Test download out on the Internet and am awaiting all kinds of feedback now. We're hoping it's well received -- I think Geo-Mods are shown off a lot better in multiplayer since there's really absolutely nothing that's scripted. In single player, we could kind of "convince" players to deform certain areas. Now, it's in there hands entirely. It's been fun to hop on servers and play against people other than Volition and THQ employees. Sometimes the chat comments you see going back and forth are just as helpful as the emails we get.

Also getting lots of feedback from the single player demo that made its way onto the internet. We have everything at that support mail address go right into our newsreaders so we can sort and go through the messages in an organized fashion. We've gotten a lot of really informative reports so far, and a good mix of praise and constructive criticism. Implementing what we can based on feedback will help make this a stronger game. We're getting closer and closer to release, and the public has finally gotten a taste of the PC version.

Be sure to follow the link to the update below to check out three new screenshots of the game in action.

In related news, yesterday we spoke with GraphSim regarding the progress of the Mac OS port of the game. While it hasn't quite reached Beta yet, Jeff Morgan said the OS 9 performance is improving rapidly and the game is fully functional except for loading/saving games and network play. OS X support is still in the works, but everything seems on track for the projected early November release.

Red Faction Developer Diary at VoodooExtreme

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Applelinks Previews Fly! II
10:15 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Kirk Hiner of Applelinks has posted a preview of Terminal Reality's upcoming title Fly! II. For those unfamiliar with the game, Fly! II is a realistic flight simulator that features slick graphics, detailed control panels and a host of aircraft to choose from, including the Bell 407 helicopter and the ever-popular Cessna Skyhawk.

Hiner comments on the amazing graphics of Fly! II:

Cockpits, scenery and such have all been bumped up to inspiring levels...the landscapes are starting to look more realistic than real life, but then you don't really get much detail when flying at 23,000 feet anyway.
He also notes the complexity of the controls:
There's nothing more daunting than receiving a beta disk of a flight sim that prides itself on the realistic complexity of its physics engine, but not receiving a manual for said game. Just getting off the ground proves impossible without the proper training, and as nice as the cockpits look, it's the amber waves of grain and purple mountains' majesty we really want to see...
For the full preview, be sure to check out Hiner's article. Macsoft, who is handling the publishing for the Mac version of Fly! II, currently has this title listed for a Fall 2001 release.

Applelinks - Fly! II Preview
Terminal Reality
Fly! II
Buy Fly! II

Lance Returns
9:48 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Developing a shareware MMORPG is a grueling task; the technologies and innovations required by this still-new genre and the complexities of online communities can prove daunting to a developer. That's why we're happy to report that Lance, a title by The Alchemist Guild, has reached a new beta stage and now has a demo capable of network play.

This is the first news and beta since March, but author Ryan Joseph assures us it will not be the last. Here is his update:

After a long period of silence I have something to say. I just released a
new version of Lance to the public for the
first time in many months. If you knew there was a horrid bug corrupting the
clients memory and causing it to crash
every 2 minutes, this is fixed now. I also added a number other features and
improvements. There is still work to be
done but for the first time ever it networks and does not crash. There is a
free demo on the website for all to enjoy.
Visit the web page for more information.
Upon completion, Lance will be published by Fantasoft. For more information and screen shots, visit the web site.

We'd also like to remind fans of this genre that Oberin, a similar but distinct project in community building is also continuing its development, and of course Clan Lord maintains its steady metamorphosis with bi-weekly updates.

Lance Demo Beta 3 (5.3 MB)
Clan Lord
Lance Web Site

Open-Source Unreal Map Editor In The Works
9:19 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

The subject of map and level editors has long been a sore point for Mac gamers since the early days of the platform; often Mac gamers have been left out of the creative loop simply because game tools are built with technologies which make them difficult or even impossible to translate from one platform to another.

One the most often requested of these 'missing' tools has been UnrealEd, the tool used to create games based on the Unreal/Unreal Tournament engine. Andrew "Quetzal" Plucker, webmaster of the Mac Unreal Tournament website [osX] today brought us news of an interview with Paul Snively, lead developer of a new open-source project known as Seppuku. The aim of this project is to create a truly cross-platform map and mod editor for all Unreal engine-based games.

Quetzal:   Just for clarification: Seppuku is meant to be a cross-platform editor that can be used to create maps and mods for a wide variety of UT engine games including UT, Deus Ex, Rune, etc. Correct?

Paul Snively:   Yes, that's correct. The hope is that variation among the various Unreal-tech-based titles will be comparatively minor. I'd expect to start with UT itself as a base due to the public availability of the UT version 432 headers, and support the other titles with plug-ins that basically tell Seppuku what features the title adds/changes/removes from UT. Of course, this support will be contingent upon either receiving file format information from the developers of the title, or from reverse-engineering. We'd vastly prefer the former. :-)

The project is in very early development and in Paul's own words is 'suicidally ambitious' hence the name, Seppuku; the ritualistic samurai method of suicide, also known as hari-kiri. The project needs help to evolve and reach the stage where a usable tool could be released:
"Pretty clearly, I'd like to have at least one more senior C++ guy who's ruthlessly committed to writing very modern, very clean, very portable ANSI C++. I'd also like to have someone start thinking about defining the feature-set of UnrealEd etc. thoroughly, crafting a functional spec for us to target. And I need someone to create widgets for MacOS and Windows.

Finally, we need help with promotion, getting the word out, and the like, but there's also a risk there of promoting vaporware. It's a tricky balance to maintain.

If you want to know more, or feel that you could help, read through the full interview at [osX], there are also forums following the project's development at Mac Deus Ex.

[osX] website
Project Seppuku forums @ Mac Deus Ex

Westlake Project Status Updates
9:14 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has updated their project status page with news on the status of their ports in progress. For those eagerly awaiting an update on the unannounced Project 'Stanley,' there's still plenty of time for speculation!

The update does include the already known information that Tomb Raider Trilogy, American McGee's Alice and The Sims: House Party are now available from Aspyr. The one piece of new information is that the game-show based Jeopardy 2nd Edition to be published by MacSoft has reached First Playable. For more information on any of these games, follow the links below to the official sites as well as our own reviews and previews.

American McGee's Alice Preview
Aspyr Website
Jeopardy 2nd Edition @ MacSoft

RAD Game Tools Clarfication, Omni Group Updates
9:01 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Jeff Roberts of RAD Game Tools and Ken Case of Omni Group contacted IMG with a couple of clarifications to the article we printed yesterday concerning the Bink libraries and Mac OS X support. Apparently, Bink has been Carbonized since November of 2000 and many developers have been using this version. Roberts had this to say in a statement to IMG:

We are fans of the Mac at RAD and have supported it since
1995. We do all of our development on MacOS X and are looking forward to 10.1. We shipped a Carbon version of Bink way back in November 1999, and 30 games have shipped with it already.
Ken Case pointed out to us that the Omni Group's game page had been updated to reflect this information, which was previously misleading. He wished to clarify their position on RAD's support for Mac OS X:
RAD does support Mac OS X for Carbon CFM ports (which is what most other developers are using for their games), they just don't yet support Mac OS X's native Mach-O format (which is what we use for all our game
ports). We don't think the problems we're encountering are due to our
use of Mach-O, but it was inaccurate for our web pages to say that RAD
doesn't support Mac OS X when, in fact, they do.
On a side note, Case informed us that the Mac OS X port of STV: Elite Force is based on the 1.20 patch, and unlike previously stated it is uncertain as to whether it will work with the expansion pack or not. Omni has removed the references from their site to avoid further confusion.

Omni Group Game Ports
RAD Game Tools

Mac Games News for Thursday, August 16, 2001

Official Black and White PR, More Feral Details12:48 PM
IMG Posts Tropico Review11:57 AM
Carbon UT Progress Report11:52 AM
Tim's Plan for the V12 Engine11:37 AM
Shadowbane - Race and Music Updates10:45 AM
Mac DS9 Mystery Solved, Game Ships10:28 AM
QuakeCon2001 Model Contest9:28 AM
Pillars of Garendall Reaches FC29:26 AM
MacMAME Updated Again!6:24 AM
Red Storm Looks for Feedback on Ghost Recon6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 16, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Tuesday, August 14, 2001
Monday, August 13, 2001
Friday, August 10, 2001
Thursday, August 9, 2001

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