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Friday, September 14, 2001

Return to Castle Wolfenstein MPTest for Mac OS X
2:57 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Graeme Devine of id Software recently made a surprise update to his .plan file with news that there will be an OS X version of the upcoming Return to Castle Wolfenstein multiplayer test demo -- inadvertently revealing that this game is bound for the Mac OS. While the game uses the Quake 3 engine, and thus was considered a likely candidate for a port, there had been no official word from Activision or id on the matter before this. Devine has also commented in the past how much easier OS X is to build for, so it's not unsurprising to see them only releasing for this next-gen operating system -- at least for now.

In his .plan, Devine is refers to a one-level multiplayer test of Return to Castle Wolfenstein scheduled for release for the PC this Saturday. Here's the full update:

Mac stuff.

I've been playing the WolfMP test natively under Mac OS X. I've also got the OS X installer for WolfMP all wrapped up and standing by.

No other details have been released at this point as to whether there will also be an OS X installer included in the final version of the game. It seems likely Mac gamers will be able to just purchase the PC version and download a Mac OS X application to make it work (much like Mac users can do now with Quake 3 and its expansion). And while a version for OS 9 has also not been completely ruled out, we'll keep you posted if any plans are revealed. For more information on the game, check out the official web site and stay tuned to IMG.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein Web Site
Graeme Devine .plan Update
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Update on Mac Baldur's Gate II, Giants
3:06 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Many IMG readers have been wondering about Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, which was declared "gold" over a month ago but has yet to appear on store shelves. Responding to our request, Andrew Hoolan of MacPlay has given us an update on the status of this Bioware RPG.

According to Andrew this game was sidetracked by non-technical issues, and is currently in duplication. It should hit store shelves about the same time as Aliens vs Predator -- the end of this month. As to what the issues behind the delay were, he did not specify; some have speculated that the delays were do to the reorganizations taking place at Interplay, but we have no firm proof of that possibility.

Hoolan also passed along the news that the Mac OS X-only port Giants: Citizen Kabuto is very close to going "gold." This much-anticipated release will be a test case for OS X-only titles, and another demonstration of Omni Development's mastery of the Cocoa API.

Our thanks to MacPlay for the update, and we look forward to seeing BG2 on shelves at the end of September. Remember, both titles can be pre-ordered through IMG's web store.

IMG Online Store

Classic Cinemaware Titles for Mac OS?
12:10 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A sharp-eyed IMG reader spotted the news that game developer Cinemaware, a company that has existed since the virtual dawn of computer gaming itself, is working on "digitally remastered" versions of their classic titles including Defender of the Crown. In a September 10th announcement, the company released the news that many of their classics are being remade and updated in this fashion and may be ready for release soon -- and the Mac OS is one of their targeted platforms.

The value-priced titles have been "digitally remastered" by clickBOOM, a team of Amiga developers. Along with Defender of the Crown, Cinemaware also plans to release versions of The Three Stooges, Wings, The King of Chicago, Lords of the Rising Sun, Sinbad and others.

Check out the Cinemaware announcement for examples of how these classics will be enhanced. We're not certain which titles will be released for the Mac OS, but we've contacted the company and will bring you the results of our inquiry.

Defender of the Crown Remastered Edition Details
Cinemaware Press Release

Mac Heroes of Might and Magic IV "Probable"
11:40 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Fan site Celestial Heavens Unleashed has updated their unofficial FAQ with various questions and answers related to Heroes of Might and Magic IV, an upcoming sequel in the classic turn-based strategy series. Mac users have been keeping an eye on this sequel for some time, with good reason -- all of the previous Heroes titles have come to the Mac OS, and 3D0 has not ruled out a Mac port of this sequel either. The FAQ contains many interesting pieces of information, including the news that the game has been in development for over two years and is in "crunch time" at 3D0 with the goal of a holiday-season release.

While we stress that this is an unofficial FAQ, it does appear to be based on actual conversations with development team members. Thus, the following Q&A may be of some interest:

Q: Which platform will Heroes IV be available for?

A: The PC is the platform on which the game is developed, so PC users will get to play the game first. A Macintosh version is also probable later next year, based on the development cycle 3DO has followed so far.

In related news gaming web site To The Game has recently posted a ton of new shots featuring various characters from 3DO's upcoming title Heroes of Might and Magic IV. The characters range from the ordinary to the incredibly weird, including Nagas, Trolls, and Djinns. There's even what appears to be a Leprechaun of some kind, complete with green clothes and a green top hat.

For those unfamiliar with the title, HOMM4 is an upcoming turn-based strategy title set in the fantasy world of Might and Magic. It differs from its predecessors in that the view is now isometric, and Heroes can now participate directly in battles, rather than only directing from the sidelines.

The PC version is currently set for a release date of January 2002, with the Mac version hinted to follow sometime later that year.

To The Game - Heroes of Might and Magic IV Character Shots
3DO - Heroes of Might and Magic IV
Strategy Planet - Heroes of Might and Magic IV FAQ

Click to enlarge
Yet Another Red Faction Q&A
11:13 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

James Tsai of Volition certainly seems to be making the rounds these days. Following up on yesterday's Q&A at PC Game Central, Tsai has also recently spoken with the Krawall Gaming Network and answered another round of questions centered around Volition's upcoming FPS title Red Faction.

Though the bulk of this interview doesn't reveal any new details, it does probe a bit into possible future plans concerning RF and Volition, though Tsai is understandably vague about the subject:

[Krawall]: Are you going to continue the Red Faction story (with Add-ons, for example) ?

[James Tsai]: We’re not really discussing the future of Red Faction as a franchise just yet. A lot of what we decide to do will be dictated by how well the game keeps being received and whether or not gamers really want to see the title continue to grow. As soon as we can announce something, we will.

And for those that are still on the fence as to whether or not to purchase this title, here's a last-ditch appeal from Tsai:
[Krawall]: Can you give our readers one important reason, why they should buy Red Faction ?

[James Tsai]: Red Faction features so much that FPS gamers want: a great story, cool weapons, a destructible environment, robust multiplayer…simply put, this is one of the most complete first person shooters to come out in a long time. That, and it will keep us developers from starving.

The rest of the interview can be found at KGN for those that wish more information on RF.

KGN - James Tsai Interview
Red Faction Official Site
Red Faction

Game Industry Responds to Tragedy
10:43 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Video game developers and publishers are certainly human beings first and foremost, but in the past they have been accused by elements of society of creating "entertainment" out of the depiction of human suffering and death. Many developers will tell you vehemently that nothing could be further from the truth -- they have faith that their audience can clearly distinguish between fantasy and reality, and even the most extreme video game is often much tamer than an R-rated film. Nevertheless the industry is increasingly aware of its position as part of the broad spectrum of media, and it is reacting in its own way to the events that took place Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.

Game companies and the web sites that cover them are looking for a way to participate in the cleanup and recovery, to do something else than sit idly by while others suffer. is collecting donated copies of games from companies such as Westwood Studios, Activision, Infogrames and others as well as their own review copies and selling them on eBay, with all proceeds to be donated to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. While these are mostly PC games, there are also PlayStation, PS2 and N64 games included in the list so far, so stop by and bid on any items you are interested in.

Stomped is reporting that Wal-Mart may be pulling all copies of Westwood's Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 from shelves. The game box depicts the World Trade Center twin towers with an explosion in the background, and a detail shot on the inside flap depicts the buildings actually on fire and under attack -- of course the game is almost a year old, and has been on shelves the entire time.

Many game companies are announcing they are going to donate profits from game sales to the relief fund. Shrapnel Games, a company which designs realistic wargames, is donating 5% of the profits from their web site sales to the relief effort through October 10th. Many gaming web sites (including IMG) are including banners and badges that allow visitors to the site to donate to the relief fund.

The tragedy has also led developers and publishers to scrutinize their own games and in some cases halt or alter their progress. The conspiracy-theory focused title Majestic, which contacts players through phone calls, pagers, faxes and e-mail, has been put on hold completely due to fears it would offend already distraught relatives and friends of those who are missing with ill-timed phone calls.

An extended report on Reuters (noted at Adrenaline Vault) says that many game makers are having to reconsider the content of their games in development -- New York City is a common setting for all types of media, and many games "in the pipe" from a Duke Nukem title to Metal Gear Solid X for the X-box depict the actual destruction of that city.

The mainstream media is also reporting that Microsoft is considering removing the Twin Towers from the NYC model used in their Flight Simulator, an astoundingly long-lived title now in its sixth revision; we were unable to find an official confirmation of this.

On the Mac front, Apple Computer is responding to the tragedy as well. They have postponed the opening of an Apple store in Tampa, FL from Friday (today) to Saturday and the Apple home page itself has been replaced by a message of condolences and a link to the Red Cross web site.

We'd like to extend our own thanks to the many visitors to our forum -- especially those from outside our country -- who have expressed their sympathy, shock and horror concerning this attack. IMG itself has an international staff from many countries, but at times like these national borders and nationalities are irrelevant -- we come together to reaffirm our humanity, and our respect for human life.

GameRankings Red Cross Donation Auctions
Red Alert 2 Pulled From Shelves (report at Stomped)
VideoGame Makers Stay Course, Aim Not to Offend (Reuters artcile reposted at Avault)
Apple Computer

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Civ III Q&A with Jeff Morris
10:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The fan site CivFanatics has recently interviewed Jeff Morris, associate producer for Civilization III. A number of questions about the game are asked, including topics such as what has changed since Civilization II, how historical civilizations would be included, and why they chose not to include natural disasters. The game is set to appear on the PC this fall and the Mac soon after, thanks to the folks at Westlake Interactive and MacSoft. Here's a clip from the interview with more:

CivFanatics: Why were the historically insignificant Aztecs, Iroquois, and Zulus included, and the much more important Spanish and Mongols not?

Jeff Morris: The designers looked for an interesting mix of diverse civilizations. Since the amount of art generated for each civilization is significantly higher in Civilization III, we couldn't include as many as in Civilization II. Those civilizations that are represented are 'rendered' in much more detail than their peers in Civilization II.

Be sure to head over and read through the rest of the Q&A if you're interested in the title. And also check out yesterday's story for many new screen shots from Civilization III. Westlake still lists the game as being in 'Early Development' but we'll keep you posted on its progress.

Civilization III Interview with Jeff Morris
IMG News: New Civilization III Screenshots
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

Click to enlarge
Bioware on Neverwinter Nights Requirements
9:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Planet Neverwinter potted a post in the official Neverwinter Nights messageboards about the potential system requirements for this 3D RPG. A poster was concerned about an earlier interview in which Bioware's Trent Oster commented a Pentium II 300MHz with a TNT video card would get approximately 10 Frames Per Second. While this is a rather slow system for today's standard (a TNT 1 being about the equivalent of a Voodoo2), it is still an issue to some users.

Bioware's Derek French responded to the fan, saying their optimization for the game had not even begun yet. It's too early to be able to give final system requirements in any case, as French notes:


Originally posted by Thysis:

What I would like to know is what screen res does it run at 10FPS at? If it's something like 1024x768 running at 10 frames, it not that bad, but if it's running at 10FPS at 640x480 with everything set to low detail, then the engine has some serius issues.

It was most likely running at 640x480. What you have to understand is that the engine has not been optimized at all. At this stage of development optimization is not needed yet since various things have not been finalized yet. Messing with various rendering paths while you are still adding features, functionality, and data would make basic bug tracking much harder. Also, that test system was using a TNT1 video card. That is below our current targetted min spec system, so this, again, doesn't reflect how the released game will perform.

Don't panic as we once we do our optimization pass things will get much better.

While there is still no official release date for Neverwinter Nights, Bioware hopes to have it available for PC and Mac (sans editing tools) sometime this winter.

Planet Neverwinter
Neverwinter Nights Forum Thread
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

uDevGame2001 Nearing a Close
9:16 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

uDevGames 2001 a game development contest organized and hosted by iDevGames is nearing the closing date of September 16th. After this date no more submissions will be accepted, and the public voting begins! This will take place between the 19th and 24th of September, before the official judging panel deliberates and the winners are announced on October 1st.

uDevGames was created to not only bring attention to the Mac game development scene and encourage its growth, but also in the hope that it would be an educational process for all involved. Here's what Carlos Camacho of iDevGames had to say:

Even with talented programmers, creative designers and powerful tools, typical game development times are long. Yet, the uDevGame competition asks that original games be created in a relatively short period. The reason for this is simple: we wish to showcase what can be done on the Macintosh and demonstrate how quickly and simply it can be achieved.
There's already 21 entries listed, and all will have their full source-code distributed so the community can learn from the entries in the months to come. If you haven't downloaded some of the submissions, be sure to do so this weekend, then have your say once the voting begins! Many are available for download at MacGameFiles -- which is also a good place to voice any opinions; you never know, the developer may be watching. IMG wishes the best of luck to all developers involved and thanks to Carlos and the rest of those at iDevGames for organizing the contest, which will hopefully flourish in years to come.

uDevGames 2001
Current uDevGames 2001 Entries

Quick Spaceward Ho! 5 Update
9:10 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Joe Williams of Delta Tao software continues to take advice and give updates on their upcoming sequel Spaceward Ho! 5 on Usenet. While the game was just announced as starting development earlier this summer, it sounds like they're already making good progress on this sequel in the classic space strategy game series.

One of the biggest features of Ho! 5 will be the ability to play against opponents over the internet . The title will also feature better graphics at higher resolutions, while maintaining the same fun gameplay gamers have come to expect. Here's the full update on the game from Williams:

The new, unreleased Ho! isn't yet playable. But it does let us connect
over the internet, create a game, join it, and see vaguely what the
galaxy looks like. Pretty good!
Glad to hear things are still going well in the game's development, and we hope the first playable milestone is hit soon. If you're unfamiliar with the Spaceward Ho! series, be sure to download version 4 now and see why fans are so excited about a new revision.

Spaceward Ho! Web Site
Download Spaceward Ho! 4 (1.1MB)
Past IMG News on Spaceward Ho! 5

Mac Games News for Thursday, September 13, 2001

Return to Dark Castle Beta 6 Released11:54 AM
IMG Reviews Captain Bumper11:35 AM
New Civilization III Screenshots10:51 AM
Harpoon Updated to 3.3.410:50 AM
Focus on Red Faction's Multiplayer10:49 AM
'Surrender' Needs Beta Testers10:44 AM
Interview with Spider-Man Creator10:03 AM
Blizzard Opens World of Warcraft Forums9:48 AM
Cyan Reveals New Mudpie Images9:32 AM
Age of Empires II Reaches Beta9:29 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, September 13, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Monday, September 10, 2001
Friday, September 7, 2001
Thursday, September 6, 2001

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