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Tuesday, August 21, 2001

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Arcane Arena Enters Public Beta
9:44 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Independent developer/publisher Freeverse Software has released a public beta test version of the online combat/RPG title Arcane Arena. As with all public betas, their intention is to allow serious users to hammer on the game for a bit and provide feedback on "lag," gameplay and general robustness.

Arcane Arena is a unique approach to online gaming for Mac users, as it is very much focused on combat -- quite different than other offerings such as Clan Lord or Oberin. Blending both realtime and turn-based combat with teamplay, this one is sure to find a broad audience. Here's an excerpt from the press release:

We're happy to announce that Arcane Arena has entered public beta!

Arcane Arena is a persistent online RPG with a strong emphasis on combat. The only puzzle to solve is how to escape the Arena with your hide, (and maybe a gold piece or two). Arcane Arena's unique BattleTimer incorporates elements of turn-based and real-time strategy, the Arena accommodates team on team gore-fests, and a multi-level dungeon is provided for, well, cliche.

The game is now available to download and play. Bug reports are strongly encouraged and new builds are expected weekly.

You can sign-up to join the beta-test and grab the 40meg game (or order a CD version) here...

"You and your comrades enter the Arena. Across the way you see your five opponents. Their leader fires his bow at you but you both know the range is too far, and the arrow skids harmlessly across the stone floor. You summon a Familiar which goes screaming across the battlefield until an energy bolt from their side destroys it. Following the plan, two of your teammates cast enchantments on you -- you feel stronger and faster. You take out your battle ax and nod to your remaining team mate. He nods back and unleashes almost all his mana, teleporting you directly into the enemy. You smile at the startled archer; too close to use his weapon, he barely has a chance to wet himself before your battle ax crashes down..."

So, sign up while you can try your luck in the ring of combat -- and be sure and provide Freeverse with as much positive feedback as you can; you've got the opportunity to shape the future of a Mac-only game.

Arcane Arena Beta Signup
Arcane Arena

Update on Mac V12 Engine
1:39 PM | IMG Staff | Comment on this story

IMG recently contacted David Chait, the Mac programmer for Garage Games, to ascertain the status of the Mac OS port of V12. If you've been following our numerous reports on this engine, V12 is a cross-platform networkable 3D engine based on the Tribes 2 code base that can be used by developers to get a game up and running quickly without having to laboriously code their own engine.

The PC version of the SDK for the engine has been released, but the Mac version had been delayed while Chait worked on incorporating ATI's Truform technology into the engine. However Chait has assured us that a Mac version of the SDK is on the way, and the Mac engine is nearing Beta status. Here is his update:

We're working toward a Mac Beta, but there's some feature work
that will still be needed -- we are considering doing an early release with
some things up in the air/missing just to get it out to the community a
little sooner.

The [Truform] stuff did introduce a delay, but in the end it was a useful thing to
show off V12, and it got the Mac community some much-needed headlines.
We're hopeful ATI will use V12 in future demonstrations, but nothing planned
as yet.

As the Mac engine will eventually catch up with the PC version, and thus develpment can take place on the PC and still be easily translated into a Mac version at a later date. We'll keep you updated on the development of the Mac engine, and of course let you know when any games/demos developed with the engine appear.


Diablo II/LoD 1.09 Patches Available for Download
12:43 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Blue's News has noted that Blizzard has made the 1.09 patches for Diablo II and Lord of Destruction available for download. The patch was previously only available by logging on to The patch for Diablo II "Classic" is 8.8 MB, while the expansion patch is 4.5 MB. has also posted the long list of changes made in the recent patch. While the list is too long to post here, it seems that most of the changes have been made for the better. Unfortunuately, the sorceress' fire spells have not been toned down very much, so they remain extremely powerful. Post your comments and experiences in our forums on this game which seems constantly in a state of flux -- were the changes for the better, or worse in your opinion?

Comments on Diablo II/LoD 1.09 Patch
Diablo II Classic 1.09 Patch (8.8 MB)
Lord of Destruction 1.09 Patch (4.5 MB)

Mac Red Faction Status Update
12:03 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official GraphSim site was recently updated with a progress report on the ground-breaking (literally) first-person shooter Red Faction. It seems progress with the Mac version is going well, and they are now ready to declare the game is at Alpha status. This means most of the major features are in place, and they're on track still for an October release. Here's the full update with more:

We have received an Alpha version of Red Faction, one of the most sophisticated and innovative First Person Shooters ever in the action genre. A few features are not yet fully functional in the Alpha version, but the overall performance of Red Faction is great! Be sure and check out the game features, weapons, characters and screen shots for an overview of this revolutionary new game currently projected to be released for Mac in October.
Very good news for FPS fans looking to get their hands on Red Faction. For more information on the title, check out the GraphSim pages. Also stay tuned to IMG for more about the game as it nears completion this Fall.

GraphSim Web Site

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IMG Reviews Alice
11:23 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Today IMG has posted a full review of the dark and alluring adventure American McGee's Alice published for the Mac by Aspyr and ported by Westlake. Here's a sample:

'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

'What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. 'Explain yourself!'

'I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, 'because I'm not myself, you see.'

'I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.

'I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, 'for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'
This quote from Lewis Caroll's 'Alice In Wonderland' does a good job of introducing the style of the game, with gorgeous yet twisted graphics and music from Nine Inch Nails member and co-founder Chris Vrenna. For more details on how you can help Alice battle with her psyche, be sure to read the full review. Alice is also carbonised, so will work under both OS 8/9 and OS X, straight out of the box.

Alice Preview
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Rogue Entertainment
American McGee's Alice

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Warcraft III's Bill Roper Interviewed
10:30 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As if our giant article on Blizzard's upcoming RTS Warcraft III wasn't enough, we have even more information for readers today., a website devoted to all things Warcraft III, has posted a recent interview with Bill Roper that divulges even more details regarding this highly-anticipated title.

One of the new items revealed is the news that each race will have some kind of aerial capability. Roper cites the Gyrocopter, a mechanical flying machine piloted by a risk-loving Dwarven pilot, as one example. Another unit, the Zeppelin, is a neutral transport unit that can be purchased by any race. Roper emphasizes that air transports will not be nearly as important in WCIII as they were in Starcraft.

Roper also reveals even more details concerning the enigmatic Night Elves. Though we noted yesterday that their structures are trees that can uproot themselves to both move and attack, it's now also revealed that their Tree of Life (the Night Elf equivalent of a Town Hall) can entwine a gold mine and draw out the minerals when needed. Wisps, which sound like the Night Elf peon unit, are used to grow new buildings. Once buildings are completed, extra Wisps can be attached to decrease the time required to build units from that structure.

As far as the game's development status, Roper gives a general answer:

While this is always a fairly subjective answer to give, the Orcs and Humans are currently about 90% complete and the Night Elves and the Undead are about 60% complete. As always, we are doing massive amounts of iterations on all of the units across all of the races while we tweak game play and balance as well as focusing on making each unit unique and useful.
As to when WCIII itself will be completed, Blizzard's answer has always been "It'll be ready when it's ready." A simultaneous PC/Mac release has been announced, though of course this is subjective as well. In the meantime, be sure to check out the rest of the Bill Roper interview for more information on what looks to be another smash hit from Blizzard. - Bill Roper Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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Elite Force Expansion, OS X Release Soon
10:24 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The Aspyr Newsletter has two pieces of great news for fans of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force: not only is a Carbon patch going to be made available for players of the original title, but the expansion pack for this game is also on the way.

The Carbon versions of Elite Force and the expansion were developed by Brad Oliver of Westlake Interactive; unfortunately this leaves the Cocoa version by Omni Development in limbo, as it currently cannot be released due to a problem with movie playback.

Here's an excerpt from the newsletter with details on the Carbon patch and the expansion itself:

Star Trek-Voyager: Elite Force Expansion Pack (STV:EFX) is heading for the
Mac and it will be OSX compatible. An OSX patch for Star Trek-Voyager:
Elite Force will also be made available on the Expansion Pack CD (the patch
will also be made available as a download, upon release of the game).

In STV:EFX, the U.S.S. Voyager comes alive with an interactive tour mode
that takes you to places that make the ship tick. It also includes 21
New multiplayer maps that allow for more hardcore action, new characters
(including Captain Janeway as Borg!) and new single-player missions with new
alien creatures and a new "Borg Slayer" game. You've just been given an
all-access pass to the Delta Quadrant's most desirable ship. Grab your
exploration rifle, and let the non-stop action begin.

STV:EFX will ship carbonized and will provide the OSX updater for the
original game. It will also include and incorporate the STV:EF1.20 patch.
These updates will be made available as a download. However you can get the
updates without waiting on download time, on the STV:EFX cd.

Brad Oliver, of Westlake Interactive, has been working on carbonizing both
STV: EF and STV: EFX. "We are extremely pleased with the job Brad (Oliver)
has done on previous projects and were impressed with the quality of work he
did for American McGee's Alice, particularly the carbonization. We knew
that Brad was our guy for the Expansion Pack," says Ted Staloch, VP of Sales
for Aspyr. "Westlake continues to amaze us with their quality of work and
their continued efforts to keep gaming technology moving forward."

Very exciting news for Mac Elite Force fans. Aspyr notes they will begin taking preorders for the title this Thursday, and the expansion will only be available from their web site for $19.95; of course the full version of the game is also required.

Aspyr Media
Review: Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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Aspyr Project Status Updates
10:08 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Aspyr has recently updated their project updates status page with more information, particularly concerning the Carbonization of several Sims titles.

Both The Sims - Livin' Large and The Sims - House Party Carbon installers have reached Final Candidate status, with Livin' Large boasting an August 24th release date and House Part simply bearing the release date of Late August.

Undying, Clive Barker's horror FPS title, is still sitting at Early Development. This horror title's current estimated release date is listed as August, but this is doubtful at best, particularly if the game is listed as being in Early Development mode, which is also questionable, given that earlier status reports on this title placed it as being well underway. We'll get back to you on this one.

iPuppet Classic Cards, the online card game project Aspyr is sharing with Freeverse, is currently sitting in Beta status, with a projected released date of November.

Last but not least, Otto Matic, Pangea's upcoming 3D adventure title, is still posted as being in Early Development, though they hope to release this title by the end of the year. Don't forget to check out IMG's recent preview of this one.

Aspyr - Project Status Page
IMG - Otto Matic preview
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims: Livin' Large

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HomeLan Previews Red Faction Beta
10:05 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

John Callaham of HomeLan recently played through a beta of the PS2 and soon to be PC/Mac shooter Red Faction and has posted a preview containing his impressions of the presentation, gameplay, and the multiplayer aspects. For the uninitiated, Red Faction, developed by Volition, is a FPS title that seeks to break out of the FPS rut by incorporating various features, including the ability to deform the environment via the Geo-Mod engine.

The gameplay aspect of RF sounds quite favorable. Callaham notes that gameplay is not completely linear, with players being given the choice of things such as alternate routes and various objectives, rather than just going from point A to B while eradicating everything in the way. In one mission, the main character is stripped of weapons, bringing a more stealth-based approach into play.

For those that enjoy nothing more than the eradication of everything, Red Faction certainly seems to deliver. Though most of the enemies are human, there are some alien and robotic menaces to take on as well. Locational damage is included in the package (headshots and all), and the AI itself seems fairly intelligent:

I was also impressed with the AI of Red Factionís enemies. They bob and weave to avoid fire, take cover, and even run away sometimes. I was particularly impressed when I commandeered a stationary gun and the Ultor soldiers, seeing a rather powerful weapon being trained on them, ran away from me and didnít return until I left the stationary gun.
The multiplayer mode will feature Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Team Deathmatch modes. 25 multiplayer modes, complete with various destructible points, will also be in place, including one huge outdoor map that Callaham predicts will be a favorite. Server admins will be able to adjust how much damage is allowed to each level if they so wish.

For the rest of the preview, be sure to check it out at HomeLan. RF is currently set for a mid-September release date for PC, with the Mac version to follow close behind. IMG will be sure to update readers if we hear any changes regarding this.

HomeLan - Red Faction Preview
Red Faction Official Site
Red Faction

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Apple Relives WWII - On the Mac
9:36 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple continues to show its support for the Mac gaming market with yet another gaming-related article. This most recent one, titled "Let the Battle Begin: WWII on the Mac," focuses on a slew of game that use WWII as their setting. WWII has always been a popular subject for mass entertainment, and Mac games are no exception to this rule. To prove this, Apple brings several titles into the limelight, including Warbirds III, World War II Online, Combat Mission and Fighter Squadron: Screaminí Demons Over Europe.

Each title gets its due from Apple, though Warbirds III in particular gets the most real estate in the article. Warbirds III, supported by the i Entertainment Network, is an online massively-multiplayer flight simulation. World War II Online, by Cornered Rat Software, is an upcoming massively multiplayer FPS. Combat Mission, by Battlefront, is a 3D turn-based strategy title. Finally, MacPlay's own Fighter Squadron is a combat flight sim featuring over 90 missions and 10 different planes.

Apple's feature also contains screenshots of each title, as well as some words from each title's developers with various links of interest. For those interested in WWII gaming, the article is definitely worth a look.

WWII Online
Combat Mission
Fighter Squadron
Warbirds III
Apple - WWII on the Mac
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Radeon 8500 Demos
9:20 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

For those that wish to see more examples of ATI's recently announced Radeon 8500 graphics card in action,'s Gamers HQ has recently posted links to two tech demos.

The first link leads to a zipped mpeg, weighing in at 12.8MB, that features a swimming dolphin. This movie is used to show off the Radeon 8500's Truform technology, which is said to "overcome traditional memory and bandwidth problems to deliver the smoothest and most realistic images ever seen."

The second link leads to a demo of the Radeon 8500's SmartShader technology, which basically deals with modeling the "surface and material qualities" of 3D objects. Available in both a Flash and a downloadable zipped version, this demo shows off both the vertex and pixel shading technology that SmartShader has to offer.

Links to both tech demos as well as to more information from IMG regarding the Radeon 8500 can be found below.

ATI - Truform Demos
IMG - Radeon 8500 Search Results
ATI - SmartShader Demos
Gamers HQ - Radeon 8500 Demos

This Weeks Custer's Desktop
7:03 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

Our own Brad Custer has released this week's dose of graphical goodness for you viewing pleasure!

Last week confirmed the exciting news that Feral Interactive would be porting the highly anticipated Black & White. I'm looking forward to this game and the idea of "playing god" appeals to me. ;D But, the ingenious of the game doesn't stop there. You also control a titan that comes in many different animal forms that will do your bidding. There's something about a 500 foot cow running loose that just screams, "FUN!"
As usual the desktop picture is available in a variety of sizes to suit all needs. Follow the link below to take a further look and be sure to keep an eye on the development of Brad's own website, Custer's Corner.

Official Black and White PR, More Feral Details
Custer's Corner - in development
Custer's Desktops

Mac Games News for Monday, August 20, 2001

NWN Toolset Saga Continues12:59 PM
"Doulber" Coming to Mac OS12:51 PM
Diablo II Realm Downtime and 1.09 Update12:11 PM
Weekly Kids Domain Update10:31 AM
Unreal II Developer Interview at the Action Vault10:29 AM
"Doom3" Preview10:28 AM
Gamespy Offers New Warcraft III Insights10:19 AM
Escape Velocity: Nova Reaches Second Beta10:14 AM
Marathon Revisited9:39 AM
Emulator News and Updates9:08 AM
Carmack Comments on OpenGL, Mac Market9:02 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 20, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, August 17, 2001
Thursday, August 16, 2001
Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Tuesday, August 14, 2001
Monday, August 13, 2001

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