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Wednesday, September 19, 2001

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Knights & Merchants Shipping
9:06 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A press release from e.p.i.c. interactive announces that their Mac port of the strategy title Knights & Merchants is now shipping. The game focuses on economic strategy, placing you in charge of winning back provinces which once belonged to your king. The real-time action forces you to quickly and efficiently organize your manufacturing and production in the most effective way. The game is also localized for English, German, French and Spanish speakers. Here's a list of features:

  • about 25 different types of buildings , including horse stables, farms and schools.
  • over a dozen different types of characters such as serfs, miners or winemakers
  • 10 different types of military units including archers, Knights and pikemen
  • realistic landscape display using complex Gouraud Shading techniques
  • production processes portrayed in detailed animation (watch your horses grow : )
  • rendered cutscenes
  • onscreen hints and tutorial mode provide easy guidance to get started
  • multiplayer Mode for upto 6 players in LAN
  • 20 Singleplayer Missions
  • 10 multiplayer maps

Check out both the e.p.i.c. and original Knights & Merchants sites for much more information on the game. You will most likely be able purchase the title at Mac-O-Rama, as they are usually the North American distributor for e.p.i.c.'s other titles including The Feeble Files and Earth 2140.

e.p.i.c. interactive
Knights & Merchants
Knights and Merchants
Buy Knights and Merchants

Ancient Warfare Released
4:04 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

By Design, Inc has announced that they have released Ancient Warfare, a pseudo-3D isometric game of realtime combat. This version features the historical combat of Romans vs Barbarians, and will be expanded in the future to even more eras of combat.

Here is the press release:

We are proud to announce the release of the Ancient Warfare for the
Macintosh. This initial version will ship with Romans and Barbarian armies.
It also includes a campaign for the Roman empire in 68 AD when Rome had four
emperors. The game will be expanded in the coming months to include
additional battlefields and ancient armies.

This historical combat game includes the following:

- True isometric view of the battlefield.

- 3D rendered graphics

- Rich sound effects

- Variable formations, line, box, wedge, etc.

- Includes infantry, archers, cavalry, wagon trains, etc.

- Construct large or small armies

- Fight on battlefields including forest, deserts and snow tile sets

- Original musical score

- Fight individual battles or campaigns

Note: There will be a special promotional offer until the end of October,
2001. We have 3 authentic silver coins from ancient Rome that we will give
a way in a drawing from the names of all those who have ordered Ancient
Warfare before the end of October 2001. These coins come with historical
notes and a guarantee of authenticity. The were all minted in the 3rd

System requirements:

Mac/OS 9 or better

iMac, G3 or G4

70 Mb hard disk space

20 Mb memory

CD-ROM drive

As you can see the system requirements are quite low, making this game an inviting option for iMac or iBook owners. Currently there does not seem to be a demo version available, but the By Design web site has more screen shots and details. The game retails for $24.95 + $4 shipping and handling, and can be ordered direct from the web site.

Return to Wolfenstein MPTest B4 Available
3:49 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Graeme Devine just let eager Mac OS X users know that a fourth beta of the Return to Castle Wofenstein multiplayer beta test has been posted on the id Software FTP site. This is still considered to be a "bleeding edge" download for serious users only, as it may still crash or have problems. Here is his update:

Mac News

Build b4 is going up, this should fix the "unexpected quit" issue. All of the other bugs have been an installation issue that will be fixed with the installer.

Basically, if you're getting Create VM on UI failed as an error, this means that your .bundle files are not in the same folder that the demomain folder is residing. WolfMP expects this.

As you might imagine, the FTP site hosting this file is under major strain, so access is intermittent. Be sure and post your experiences with the MPTest in our forums, where several interesting discussions are already underway.

Graeme Devine .plan File
Wolfenstein MPTest Beta 4 (2.6 MB)

Baldur's Gate Fiction Contest Continues
11:49 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

We'd like to remind fans of the Baldur's Gate series that a contest is currently underway at Mac Baldur which is intended to uncover the best fan fiction inspired by this in-depth series of RPGs. Contestants must submit up to 600 words which sketch out a "backstory" for a character one might find in the Baldur's Gate Universe. If you need a little incentive to inspire the muse, here is a list of the contents of the prize package:

The winner will receive the following RPG Prize Pack courtesy of our friends at GraphSim, MacPlay and Inside Mac Games:

• Baldur's Gate

• Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast

• Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

• Summoner

• A 1 year subscription to the Inside Mac Games MGCD

• Dungeons & Dragons DVD OR the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook

Visit the Mac Baldur web site for more details and information on the BG series.

Mac Baldur

Interview with Geneforge Creator
11:09 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The RPG Vault recently interviewed Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software, a shareware company known for its series of excellent "old-school" RPGs that are often compared to past favorites such as Ultima III. The focus of this interview is on Spiderweb's latest offering: Geneforge. Players take the role of an apprentice Shaper, a magic user capable of creating and molding life. Shipwrecked on a mysterious island, players must ultimately make choices that will affect the outcome of the game and the behavior of the inhabitants.

Here's an excerpt about the various types of creatures that can be created:

[Jonric]: How many different types creatures can you make, and how do you learn to make them? What are some interesting ones? Does the player directly control creatures, or are they AI-controlled?

[Jeff Vogel]: Eighteen different types that I admit to. There are places on the island where you learn how to make them. One is a suicide creature that explodes when an enemy hits it. Some spit acid. Some are pure melee. Others use poison, or stun the enemy.

Creatures default to being AI-controlled, but, if you spend more essence on them, you can gain full control of them. This is a good idea.

The focus on Geneforge seems to be on player creativity. Besides being able to create and control various creatures, Vogel notes that players should be able to get through the entire game without striking a single blow if they should choose to do so.

The interview also reveals elements of game design, a ton of gameplay details and a small plug by Vogel to buy more Spiderweb games. For the full interview, be sure to visit RPG Vault.

RPG Vault - Geneforge Interview
Spiderweb Software - Geneforge
Spiderweb Software

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IMG Visits Firetoad Software
10:23 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Often our only contact with developers both large and small is through the faceless medium of press releases or freshly-burned Beta CDs. However it is a truism in any field that the only way to get to know someone is face-to-face, and that's why we go out of our way occasionally to get an in-depth look at products (and companies) in development. Recently IMG paid a visit to Firetoad Software, a small outfit with king-size ambitions. This company made their splash as being one of the very first to adopt the pixel and vertex shader effects introduced by NVIDIA and their GeForce 3 card; much to our delight, they also expressed a desire to port their game (first known as Everglade Rush, now known as FUEL) to Mac OS X. Here's an excerpt from the feature:

Firetoad Software is an up and coming small developer based in Calgary, Canada that has been making a lot of noise lately. Their latest game, Fuel, features stunning visuals, rip-roaring gameplay, and a snazzy soundtrack that has impressed those who have downloaded the trailer, seen the screenshots, and checked out the game at E3.

Dig deep into Firetoad and you’ll find a small game company that is still a little wet behind the ears, but more than eager to make its own mark in the crowded computer game world.

Read on for the rest of the feature, as well as a screen shot gallery of the game in progress.

Feature: A Visit to Firetoad Software
Firetoad Software

More Details on Shadowbane Beta 3
10:21 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Shadowbane Warcry, a fansite devoted to news and details on the upcoming MMORPG Shadowbane, has recently posted new information regarding the anticipated Beta 3 release of this title. One of the primary reasons beta 3 is so anticipated is that this version may be the beta that will lift the Non-Disclosure Agreement, allowing beta-testers to divulge information on their experiences with previous betas; it is also hoped that more Mac OS testers will be included in the beta pool.

In the meantime, there are literally thousands of fans queued up and waiting for the chance to become beta testers. Todd Coleman of Wolfpack Studios notes that they have yet to sort the list properly. Concerning the opening of beta 3, Coleman notes that new testers will gradually be added, rather than letting everyone in at once:

If we tried to simply dump all of the phase 3 testers into the server at once, something would collapse -- bandwidth, support, server load, bug tracking, or just bugs in the server code itself. In all likelihood Ubi and Swing will probably start with a smaller number and add new accounts over time (though we'll try to accommodate people as quickly as possible.)

The exact timing is, as I said, going to have to be determined jointly with Ubi and Swing. A lot of these areas -- bandwidth, support, distribution, communication -- now fall under their jurisdiction.

Ubi Soft is the current North American publisher, and Swing Enter@inment is the current European publisher. The official release of Shadowbane is currently set at the first half of 2002, for both Mac and PC.

Shadowbane Official Site
Shadowbane Warcry - News
Wolfpack Studios

uDevGame Contest Reminder
10:04 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Although we mentioned this contest in yesterday's news, the "window" for contest voting is so short that we thought it was worthy of a second reminder. Editor Carlos Camacho of iDevGames passed along the press release which marks the official start of judging and voting of the 24 entries to the uDevGame 2001 contest, which lasts through September 24th. Here is the PR:

The uDevGame contest has been an ambitious project to garner attention for game development on the Macintosh platform. As the first major Macintosh game programming contest, uDevGame 2001 was founded on three principles:

• Stimulate the creation of games on the Macintosh by encouraging people to develop new and original games for the platform.

• Help in the education of the Macintosh developers, as well as encourage and enhance the interest of those new to the platform.

• Draw attention to those that develop unique and exciting games for the Macintosh, as well as help introduce the best and brightest Macintosh game development talent to development houses and publishers alike.

The participants were limited to two months to develop their game entry. Under normal game development, the process of creating games (even shareware games) can take several months, so the developers who managed to meet this challenge deserve our respect. We should also applaud them for their willingness to release the source code to their game entry. iDevGames has been working towards creating various resources which Macintosh game developers can share to create better games and the additional code from this contest will be a boon to all developers.

uDevGame 2001 attracted the attention of industry media from around the world. In addition, the sponsors of uDevGame 2001 have been extremely generous with the total prize pool worth over $4,200 (US). The quality of prizes and support from them has surpassed my wildest dreams.

Now that the submission period has come to an end, the process of selecting the best four games has begun. The link below will take you to the voting page. Public voting ends on September 24, 2001. Before casting your vote, take your time and evaluate each entry. However, don’t stop there. Please write to the developer and express your opinion and advice for future refinements of their games.

Once again, I’d like to thank all the staff for helping me get this contest going, my sincere thanks to all of the great sponsors who believe in the Mac platform, the many game players who have downloaded and tested the games, the Macintosh web sites that have covered the progress of the contest, and of course the developers who spent many countless nights trying to perfect their game before the deadline. In closing, if you were on the sideline this year, I look forward to receiving your game entry for uDevGame 2002 and if your company has a passion for the Macintosh like we do, please consider signing up as an official sponsor for uDevGame 2002.

From what we have seen of the entries so far, this contest can indeed be considered an amazing success. Make sure to grab all of the contest entries and try them for yourself, then place your vote -- before time runs out.

uDevGame 2001 Contest Entries
uDevGame 2001 Voting Booth

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Arcane Arena Beta 5 Released
9:55 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Just slightly behind schedule, Freeverse Software has released another public beta version of their action-oriented online RPG. This title features an online, persistent world and bloodthirsty combat that bridges the gap between turn-based and realtime. And it is a Mac-first, Mac-only title!

Here is a list of changes and updates:

- Graphic for Elevator and it now only lets you go as deep as you've been
before. i.e. Time to take the stairs. :-)

- New Magic Armor store on level... 60.

- Improved Monster AI.

- More groundwork in place for Quests.

- Monsters will run and join existing battles. Ugh!

- Dozens of bug fixes!

It sounds as if many of the changes affect the "dungeon" area of the game, which seems to be growing in popularity. Grab the latest beta from the Arcane Arena web site and be sure to give the team feedback on your experience online.

Arcane Arena
Arcane Arena

New Myth III Images
9:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fansite MythWolfAge has posted eight new screen shots from Myth III: The Wolf Age, the prequel in development by MumboJumbo. This strategy/RTS title will be instantly familiar to fans of the Myth series, but as is quite obvious from these large, detailed images the visual quality of the title has been remarkably enhanced. The site notes that one of the images shows a battle with 116 units on the screen at the same time, quashing the worries of some gamers that the new polygon-based units in the game would make such battles impossible due to memory constraints.

Perhaps the most interesting screen shot of all, however, is the second from the top. It reveals the action from an entirely new camera angle that was impossible in the previous versions of the Myth series, in which your camera angle was fixed at a certain angle relative to the ground. The image is most likely from an in-engine cut scene, another innovation Mumbo Jumbo has added to the title. It also reveals that the game models are not tiny ten-polygon stubs but are indeed detailed enough to hold up to close scrutiny.

Myth III: The Wolf Age is nearing completion and is set for an October release for Mac and PC. MacSoft will be the publisher for this strategy/RTS. For more information visit the official web site.

Myth III: The Wolf Age
Exclusive Myth III: The Wolf Age Images at MythWolfAge

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Castle Wolfenstein MPTest Updated
9:11 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

id Software's Graeme Devine has updated the client for the Mac OS X Return to Castle Wolfenstein multiplayer test to beta 3. An update to his .plan file says that he appreciates the feedback so far, and interestingly notes not many have asked for "Classic" (OS 9) support. Beta 3 should fix issues common to those with dual-monitor configurations and OS X, as well as add support for some ATI Rage cards. Also keep in mind that Graeme is using a developer copy of 10.1, so our experience may vary from his. Here's his full .plan:


my iTool folder is overloaded!!! Please download the build from:


There's a new OS X build of WolfMP up (build b3). This fixes issues with dual monitors and some ATI Rage cards. If it goes well I'll make up a full installer and we can get everyone in on the fun.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone out there who downloaded and tested these builds. The reports and encouragment have been excellent.

Not a single email asking for Classic support though. I thought that was interesting (I'm sure they will flood in now).

While some readers are reporting crashes between levels during the game, others are having a great time -- be sure to report your experiences in our forums so others can troubleshoot their systems. MacGameFiles has listings for the latest version as well as for a Mac-friendly version of the data files from the PC test.

Download Wolf MPTest Beta 3 (63MB)
Graeme Devine .plan Update
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Mac Games News for Tuesday, September 18, 2001

uDevGame Contest Entries Arrive, Voting Begins2:53 PM
On the Death of 3dfx2:33 PM
Halo Movie Converted2:15 PM
Heros of Might and Magic IV Site Opens1:28 PM
Official Halo Site Launched9:56 AM
Green Berets Updated to v1.19:09 AM
Focus on Stronghold Enemies8:42 AM
Devine Makes Early Wolf MPTest Available8:38 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, September 18, 2001 on one page

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Monday, September 17, 2001
Friday, September 14, 2001
Thursday, September 13, 2001
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001

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