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Monday, October 8, 2001

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realMyst Being Handled By Other Company
9:15 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Riven Unofficial Home Page has recently posted some news regarding the current development status of realMyst for the Mac. Apparently Cyan, developer of the Myst series, has given the project to another company for the finishing touches. The main reason cited for this is that Cyan is currently hard at work on their upcoming "Mudpie" title, which is a MMORPG project set in the Myst world.

The name of the development company has yet to be revealed, but included in the news article is this statement from publisher Ubi Soft about their commitment:

We have yet to receive a [final] version of realMYST... [but] creating such a version ... no longer falls under Cyan's responsibility. We are currently waiting for the company now currently responsible for finishing the Mac version to create a Gold Master Candidate. At which time, we will do our utmost to get the game published.
An expected release date has yet to be announced, though of course we hope it will be sooner rather than later. The final publisher of the game is also an unknown, as Cyan's current publishing partner Ubi Soft has never indicated that a Mac version of RealMYST is in the works. However the demand for this game is very strong, and we are certain a Mac publisher will make a play for it.

Riven Unofficial Home Page

Blizzard Announces Carbonization of StarCraft
4:53 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

In an expected, but still slightly surprising announcement, Blizzard Entertainment has related their plans to release a Carbonized (native for Mac OS X) version of both Starcraft and Starcraft: Brood War this Fall. While these games are extremely old by any standard, they are among the most popular games of all time. We are sure such a patch will be welcomed by the Mac gaming community, which seems to be embracing OS X wholeheartedly. Here is the announcement:

Blizzard Entertainment is pleased to announce plans to release a new patch
for StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War. Available this fall, the patch will
bring the classic StarCraft gameplay experience to the next generation of
Macintosh operating systems, allowing both games to run in Carbonized form
under Mac OSX v10.1 and subsequent versions.
We expect this release to also be followed by a similar patch for Diablo II (and Diablo II: LOD). Blizzard, methodical in all things, seems to like to begin at the beginning. Watch for these patches soon.

Blizzard Entertainment

Custer in the Age of Empires
3:42 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Our resident desktop craftsperson Brad Custer has published yet another gaming-themed desktop (as is his wont), this time to celebrate the impending release of Age of Empires II Gold for the Mac OS. Here is the scoop:

Preorders for Bold Games' first title Age of Empires II: Gold Edition are now being taken on their web site. With the exciting news of the pending release of this game I decided to venture into this realm of strategy. Luckily, with the help of Sean from Ensemble Studios, I was able to gather a great collection of art for this game. It was a hard decision which art to use, but I finally pulled several pieces together to create this desktop. "The Conquerors" seemed to be the logical title for this week's selection. I hope you'll enjoy this one as much as I did making it.
Stop by Brad's page to grab the latest gaming desktops.

Custer's Desktops

Civilization 3 for PC is Gold
2:10 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

PC news site Gone Gold is reporting that the PC version of Firaxis' Civilization III has reached Gold Master status, and should ship by the week of October 30th. This information has since been confirmed by the official press release from Firaxis and publisher Inforgrames.

While this is obviously good news for PC gamers, it is also good news for Mac Civ fans awaiting this title; as the code is now final, the serious work on the Mac OS version of this game can proceed full-speed. According to Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive, the company behind the Mac port of this title, they have yet to receive "GM" code for the game but expect it to arrive soon.

Here are excerpts from the press release:

Infogrames and FIRAXIS Games are thrilled to announce that the ultimate version of the greatest strategy game of all time will soon be in the hands of the millions of fans around the world who have been eagerly awaiting it's completion. Sid Meier's Civilization III has gone gold and will ship to retailers October 30th with games reaching store shelves soon after. The most highly anticipated game of the year, Civilization III embodies all of the elements of it's predecessors that have made it a four-million-selling franchise and many new and improved features that will make this the greatest Civ experience ever.
One wildcard in the development of this title has been the choice of the networking API -- to summarize, if Firaxis went with Microsoft's DirectPlay as the networking model, Mac users will be on their own when it comes to playing online. However, if an internal lobbying campaign was successful, the team might have switched to a more portable method of networking known as Winsock. Mark did not have a definitive answer as to which API Firaxis chose to include, so we will have to wait until they receive and assess the GM code to find out.

Westlake Interactive
Civ III Goes Gold

3dfx Drivers for OS X? Dev Needs Input
12:55 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

A link posted at Accelerate Your Mac! has led us to the homepage of developer Adam Thayer, who is attempting the Herculean task of coding usable drivers for the 3dfx Voodoo series of cards for Mac OS X. Now don't get too excited -- Adam is only beginning this task, and his goal is not full-blown 2D/3D drivers; he'll be happy if he can get a Voodoo 3, 4 or 5 card just to boot under OS X and have some form of 2D acceleration. There are many, many obstacles in his path and he has just begun experimenting with various approaches.

However, he does need feedback from current 3dfx card users, especially from those who boot to OS X and use a Voodoo card as their second monitor. He also needs any information that other developers might have about the 3dfx cards themselves, as well. Visit Adam's page for more information, and please contribute any information you have to help advance this project.

Accelerate Your Mac
Voodoo 3/4/5 Drivers for MacOS X

New World of Warcraft Screenshots
10:16 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blizzard has seen fit to release a bevy of new screen shots for its upcoming MMORPG title World of Warcraft. Numbering 18 in all, these new shots show off several features and character types from this anticipated title, while also showing off the general graphical splendor of it all.

Among the new features shown are an inventory screen and shots of multiplayer combat in action, complete with names of each player displayed over their respective characters. Some of the displayed creature types include some kind of hyena-men and a large humanoid creature that seems to be made out of vegetation. More shots of various humans, Taurens, and some breathtaking environments are also shown. Note: the unusual Javascrip method of displaying screen shots on this page seems to be broken in Mac IE 5, so you may need to use another browser to view them.

As for news of a Mac release, IMG is still keeping its eyes and ears open for any hint on the subject. In the meantime, be sure to check out the new screen shots for an even better picture on why this title has us spellbound with anticipation -- as always, with Blizzard titles.

Blizzard - October World of Warcraft Shots
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Stronghold Preview
9:59 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GameSpy recently previewed a beta of the upcoming RTS title Stronghold and posted their initial impressions. For those unfamiliar with the title, Stronghold is a castle-building RTS game that focuses on building and maintaining castles and the towns they contain as well as doing the expected attack/defense combat thing that hallmarks most RTS titles of today.

As if to emphasize that this is not a pure combat sim, Stronghold currently lacks several combat features. There are no unit formations, tech trees, or waypoints to set for the game's various units. Players will usually find themselves more on defense during play, and can set patrol paths and issue commands such as "stand ground." Defensive weapons such as hot oil and the launching of dead cows (a genuine military tactic, not just a Monty Python gag) will also be available.

Here's a clip about the backbone of the game - the campaign mode:

Stronghold's campaign is a set of 21 story-driven linear missions. You start out with a few easy scenarios with goals such as acquiring a certain amount of food or gold, but it won't be long until you'll be building sophisticated castle structures, positioning anti-siege weapons, firing oil-lit arrows and fighting off hordes of bad guys as they try to fill in your moats and scale the walls of your abode. The campaign's linearity may be a tad upsetting to some, especially to Lords of the Realm fans that loved that game's open-ended style, but the campaign does a very good job at introducing new units, buildings and strategies as it progresses. You play the role of the king's prodigy, of sorts, and set out to defeat a set of feudal lords that are tearing the country apart at the seams. Fittingly dubbed the Rat, Snake, Pig and Wolf, the four main bad guys are all unique in appearance, personality, strength and tactics.

Further bolstering the town management system of Stronghold is the economy system. As with most RTS titles, certain structures must be constructed for others to become available. Bakers must have flour, which in turn needs a wheat field. Bow makers need wood from woodcutters, and finished bows are housed in an armory. Furthermore, the local populace needs to be kept happy with working tax rates, multiple foods, inns and religious structures. If players feel less generous, they can opt to become tyrants instead, keeping the populace in check with torture devices and harsh penalties.

Players will also have the option to play both invasion and siege missions, allowing them to alternately play at attack and defense. For those looking for human interaction, Stronghold will support up to 8 players, and various combat and non-combat goals will be available.

GameSpy notes that the animation in this title is top notch, with trees in an apple orchard swaying, hounds flushing out game for hunters, and bakers baking bread. Combat graphics include oil-lit arrows leaving smoke trails, walls exploding into chunks of stone when hit, and arrows impaling enemies. Medieval combat was a nasty business.

The PC version of Stronghold is currently slated for a release on October 17th. There's no word yet on when the Mac version is coming, though MacSoft currently has the publication rights.

GameSpy - Stronghold Preview
Stronghold Official Site
Firefly Studios
Buy Stronghold

Deimos Rising Reaches Beta 5
9:47 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Early today author David Wareing updated the progress log for scrolling shooter Deimos Rising with the news that this sequel has reached another beta milestone, now at Beta 5. While the numbering scheme used for betas is often arbitrary, the fact that another phase of testing has been reached is good news in itself.

Deimos Rising is the much-anticipated sequel to the title Mars Rising, an homage to the classic top/down scrolling shooters of the arcades. No mere retread, Deimos is an example of cutting-edge visuals and technology, and we're sure the long wait for this title will be rewarded.

The progress update confirms that a Carbon version of the game will be created as well. Here's the full text:

Beta 5 will be released to the testers very soon - just some scripting to finish and the difficulty curve to adjust in the earlier levels.

It's been a long haul, but we're almost there. The game is playing well, is rock-solid and induces RSI in less than three minutes of play. Woo hoo!

Outstanding Carbonisation work will commence as soon as the gameplay is locked down. Whether or not the game will be released as a Carbon app initially depends a lot on how well this process goes. Current minimum system requirements are OS 8.6 and a rev B iMac. (Older hardware will still play the game well if video options are used.)

RSI stands for Repetitive Stress Injury, in case anyone was curious. We'll bring you more news on this title as it is available, but in the meantime make sure you visit the screen shot gallery; although the material there is somewhat out of date, it is still quite impressive.

Deimos Rising Progress Log
Deimos Rising Screen Shots, Movies

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Brad Oliver on Carbonized Elite Force
9:16 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

IMG's recent article on the cancellation of Aspyr's Cocoa projects apparently threw some Mac users into confusion. Brad Oliver has been quick to clarify in IMG's forums that it is only the Cocoa projects that have been suspended, and that the Carbonization of Mac OS Elite Force is still alive and kicking.

In terms of specifics, Oliver had this to say about the upcoming Carbonized port of Elite Force:

It's in final candidate now, pending approval from Activision. One Activision gives it the thumbs up, I'll hand off the GM CD to Aspyr, it'll head to duplication, Bob's your uncle and then we'll all be playing it.
Hopefully, the approval process will go quickly. Doubtless there are 10.1 users out there just itching to try Elite Force on their now-speedy versions of OS X.

IMG Forums - Brad Oliver are we not getting Elite Forces carbonized??!!
Aspyr Says No Cocoa Alice, Elite Force
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

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Quake III 1.30 Tested on Dual 800
9:10 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Mac speed testing site Bare Feats has taken the recent release of Quake III Arena 1.30 and put it through the wringer on a dual 800 G4, using frames per second as their benchmark. The main aim of this testing was to see if this latest update took advantage of a Mac's multiprocessing under OS X, particularly after the new 10.1 update.

Bare Feats used a variety of environments and settings in testing, running Q3 through OS 10.1, 10, and 9.2 with both a GeForce 2 and 3. The two main resolutions/settings used were 640x480 at "fastest" settings and 1024x768 at "max settings," both in 32 bit. Commonly used Q3 tweaks "s_chunksize 2048" and "s_mixahead .07, cg_scoreplums 0" were also applied in specific environments.

As one might expect, the testing goes pretty much the way one would expect, with the GeForce 3 and 10.1 clocking the highest speeds. What people might -not- be expecting are the insanely huge fps numbers that are now being racked up: 184 fps at 640x480 and 125 fps at 1024x480 with the optimal 10.1/GeForce 3 setup. It looks like Mac users have finally broken that elusive 100+ mark that PC users typically take for granted. However, it did take a dual-processor machine and an SMP-enabled game to do it.

In an additional comparison test, a Pentium 4 1.6Ghz machine and a dual 533 G4, both with GeForce 3s, were also tested and compared to the original tests garnered from the dual 800. At 640x480, the dual 800 and the P4 are shown to run neck and neck, both scoring 184 fps. At 1024x768, the P4 edges out the dual 800, scoring 145 fps vs. 125 fps.

Those interested in the full battery of test results should check out Bare Feats, which has graphical charts that are much easier to read. By most accounts, it appears that Graeme Devine has done an excellent job with this latest incarnation of Quake III. Let's hope we continue to see this trend of excellence in future Mac OS X titles from id Software.

Bare Feats - Quake III 1.30 on a Dual 800
Mac Game Files - Quake III 1.30
id Software
Quake III Arena

Emulation Updates
9:07 AM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

John Stiles has updated his superb port of the Super Nintendo emulator Snes9x bringing it up to version 1.3.9.Here is a list of the fixes and improvements:

-- Fairly significant optimizations to the CPU core have resulted in impressive speedups throughout SNES9X. In extreme cases, some games will exhibit framerates of double the previous version, while more typical cases still show speedups of over 30%.

-- There were cases where the freeze/defrost screen would fail to appear (even though it still worked properly, you couldn't see it). This should be resolved.

-- Selecting RAVE video in Mac OS X will no longer hang on an empty screen.

-- Low quality video modes were showing incorrect colors. This has been fixed.

-- Mac OS X 10.1 caused Eagle/2xSAI modes to crash. This has been fixed.

-- Another Music Box crash bug has been resolved.
This version is fully carbonized so will run on OS 9 or OS X.

Richard Bannister has been his usual busy self updating Arnold, the Mac's only Amstrad CPC emulator. Included in this massive update including the normal bug-fixes along with new features and near perfect sound emulation, the app is now fully carbonized too.

Another project of Richard's is fMSX/MacOS a MSX emulator, now at version 2.5. fMSX includes accurate hardware emulation, including support for Disk, Cassette, and ROM images. Full sound emulation, including SCC support, is included and of course it's fully carbonized.

For more information and downloads of any of these emulators, or any others you may be interested in, check out the links below.

Richard Bannister's Website

More on Myth III's Multiplayer
9:02 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Readers may remember a recent report that the upcoming RTS title Myth III announced its usage of the GameSpy application for its multiplayer games. A beta tester going by the name Blambi recently posted in Myth Village's forums with his multiplayer experiences, with most of the comments being quite positive.

Blambi notes that, once a game is in session, GameSpy has a "0 out of 10" effect on the game. The only change he notes is that the player list takes up much less space and is now scrollable.

He also notes that, before joining a game, GameSpy does show up, and lists some examples:

Options lag is a thing of the past. You can change the settings of a game (either while initially hosting it or once people have joined) and still chat at the same time. Where the pregame image used to be is all the options (the pregame image might still be going there as a background, this is a work in progress remember), so everything you need is right in front of you all the time (btw - you can also select text with the mouse now, the annoying days of holding down the arrow keys are gone). Non-host players see the options right where they always go.
Blambi was immediately bombarded with various question from other forum users, which he attempts to answer as best he can. For those interested in the thread, be sure to check it out at Myth Village's forums. Though GameSpy is a PC-specific program, we have been told that they will be adapting this game-finding service to the Mac and will directly integrate it into the Mac version of Myth III.

Myth Village Forums - The Take on M3 GameSpy Multiplayer

Mac Games News for Friday, October 5, 2001

Aspyr Says No Cocoa Alice, Elite Force3:25 PM
Myth III to use GameSpy for Multiplayer1:05 PM
Trade Wars: Dark Milennium Update11:41 AM
First 'Torque' Engine Game Released10:55 AM
Netrikulator Released10:12 AM
Myth II: Worlds Disc Contents9:50 AM
IMG Interviews Mike Donges on Myth III9:37 AM
MacGamer Interviews Julie Strain9:22 AM
Quake III: Gold Activation Key Troubles9:08 AM
Earth 2150 Series Coming to Mac OS9:01 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, October 5, 2001 on one page

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Thursday, October 4, 2001
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Tuesday, October 2, 2001
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