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Thursday, October 11, 2001

Neverwinter Dev Update, Media
11:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A healthy dose of new information on Neverwinter Nights has been released recently, offering new details on the development of this 3D RPG from Bioware. The first is a quick "dev diary" update at NW Vault from producer Trent Oster. He talks about some unexpected features in the game which didn't exactly turn out how they had planned, and how they went about fixing them. Here's an interesting clip about dying with dignity:

The other bizarre side effect I had the joy of witnessing was the macabre Full Monty of the Dead. When a character dies, the game spawns a container to hold whatever had been in the character's inventory. The problem we had was one of timing. You would expect a character to receive the killing blow, fall to the ground, and fade out with the container appearing quickly thereafter. Instead, characters who received their death blow dropped their inventory container immediately, before they even had the chance to play their death animation. This resulted in the character removing all of the equipment he or she had equipped, armor and clothing included. It was the strangest thing - you'd be engaged in mortal combat with a dangerous foe but, on your final blow, they would instantly be stripped naked and fall down dead. Talk about getting caught with your pants down! While we all had a chuckle at this unplanned 'feature,' we decided it diverged a little too much from the expected gameplay and revised the timing accordingly.
Head over to NW Vault to read the rest of the update, as well as check out their past articles on the highly anticipated RPG. And if you're a wolf fan, Planet Neverwinter has received new images and D&D information on these creatures and their role in the game.

For a better look at Neverwinter Nights, the official site has been updated with new screen shots and wallpapers for you to check out. The new screen shots are very impressive, showing off the game's characters and lighting effects. Three areas are revealed, so be sure to head over for a look. Also grab a new desktop image if you like one of the new characters on display.

Neverwinter Nights is expected out for Mac and PC late this winter, though Bioware has stated before that they won't ship out the title until it's ready.

Neverwinter Nights Designer Diary #2
Wolf Info at Planet Neverwinter
Neverwinter Nights Desktop Images
Neverwinter Nights Screen Shots
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

Click to enlarge
Aliens vs. Predator: Alien Strategy Guide Posted
12:08 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Following up on September's "Marine Tips and Hints" strategy guide, Macgamez has posted a followup guide for Aliens vs. Predator, this one focusing on playing as the Alien. As with the Marine guide, the Alien guide covers basic control schemes, various modes of sight, and combat tactics against all opposing races.

Here's a clip from the intro:

Don't think that just because the Alien is quick and deadly you'll have an easy time of it - you may be fast, but you're not too hard to kill. And Aliens don't have the range of the gun-toting species, so you'll have to get in close to get the job done.
Playing as the Alien is perhaps one of the most unique experiences in FPS gaming to date, as it changes many of the rules and norms that even the most experienced FPS players are used to. Anyone looking to sharpen up their Alien-playing skills should definitely give this guide a look.

Macgamez - Alien Tips and Tricks
Fox Interactive
Aliens vs. Predator: Gold

Click to enlarge
Halo - Not Just Kid's Stuff Anymore
12:02 PM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Fastest Game News Online recently posted a story concerning the ESRB rating of Bungie's upcoming title Halo. Being released first as an X-box title, Halo's rating has recently been changed from Teen to Mature, making it an "adults-only" title.

As many game enthusiasts are aware, the ESRB rating of a title is a serious matter to the gaming industry, particularly to Marketing people, as the rating can affect game sales depending on how high it is. Some national stores simply refuse to carry M-rated titles, parents will not purchase M-rated titles for their children, and M-rated titles tend to receive less advertisement opportunities.

Here's a quote from Bungie concerning the recent rating change:

Some of these changes were relatively trivial and did not make the game any less fun or compromise the vision of the designers. Others would require a lot of last-minute work and change the atmosphere of the game in significant ways. The team decided to keep the game as we originally submitted it to the ESRB, which meant shipping Halo with an M rating.
Though this news may or may not affect the Mac/PC marketing strategy of Halo, it does present some interesting news nonetheless. Whether or not sales will be affected will only be known after the X-box's official launch.

FGN Online - Halo Matures Past Teen Rating
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

iShock II Reviewed
11:53 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Mac-specific game hardware is not exactly the most prolific aspect of the Mac gaming scene. However, companies like Macally do provide Mac-specific gaming controllers, making our lives a little easier. The Mac Gaming Database recently tested one of Macally's latest offerings, the iShock II, and have posted a review based off their findings.

Here's a clip from the intro:

If gaming hardware had ratings like software, the iShock II would be slapped with a 'Mature.' No, the controller doesn't graphically resemble any body part, but the thing is huge. It has a real sturdy, quality feel, and it's a joy to wrap big hands around, but young kids will probably find it a little too bulky, though.
They test the iShock II with a variety of titles, including Snes9x, Airburst, and Virtual Game Station. Also noted is the fact that it ships with five demos that take advantage of its force-feedback capabilities. The controller also features Game Sprockets support. However, like other controllers currently out in the market, it is currently unsupported by OS X.

Overall, the review itself is quite positive, naming the iShock II "the best game pad for the Mac that we've ever tested." For the full review, be sure to check it out at Mac Game Database.

Mac Game Database - iShock II Review

MacGamer Posts More Strain Video
11:51 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story has posted their second video with Julie Strain, the star of Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2. Strain is known for her roles in popular B movies and also served as the inspiration for the Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 movie and the lead character in the computer game. The second video comes in two flavors for both low and high bandwidth users.

A word of warning from MacGamer: "while this interview and article contains no nudity or overly inappropriate language, Julie Strain makes her living by starring in films intended for adults. If you're a minor or are offended by such content, you're best to skip this one.

But if you're not one to get offended, be sure to check out the video.

MacGamer's Strain Video Offers Myth II: Worlds Giveaway
11:30 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

While the press release is sadly lacking the usual "Battle Cat" banter, plug-in and community site is presenting yet another giveaway contest for those willing to fill out a simple form. Help them in their quest to gather demographic data on their visitors, and get a shot at winning the latest Myth II bundle from Take Two Interactive as well. Here's the details: in conjunction with Talonsoft and The Mill will be sponsoring
ANOTHER raffle, this time we will be giving away 5 copies of "Myth2 Worlds"
from Friday October 12th to Friday October 19th. Anyone can enter but you
must be 17 years of age or older as the game is rated "Mature 17+". Entries
will close at midnight October 19, winners will be announced afterwards.
Stop by the contest page to fill out the form, but not until the 12th of October.
Evihcra Giveaways Page

Tony Hawk, Mac User
10:27 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

While this isn't strictly gaming news, Tony Hawk is enough of a Mac personality (and the man who inspired the video game Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, now playing on the Mac platform) to inspire some interest. Macworld sat down for a short interview with this longtime Mac fan and pro skater.

The interviewer actually seems to have quite a bit of street knowledge about skating, which is amusing considering this is intended for Macworld magazine. Here's a sample:

Q: As far as your skating is concerned, do you have any ambitions you haven't fulfilled yet?

A: Not really. I'm enjoying my time now. I'm focusing on the projects I'm doing and trying to be better, like with the video game and with clothing and shoes. And as soon as I heard that Activision was doing the PC version [of Tony Hawk Pro Skater], I began pushing for Mac. I met with Apple when I went to the keynote speech [in January 2001]. They talked about the AppleMasters program, and I was really excited about that. And they helped push my Titanium PowerBook order through, because I literally ordered my Titanium the night of Macworld Expo. I use it on a daily basis. If you ask my wife, she'll say I use it too much. As far as skating goes, I still want to keep improving and promoting the sport, but it's not like I have some Holy Grail that I'm after.

Tony also mentions that Tony Hawk 3 is in development for the Playstation 2, and is due in November, and that he is "pushing" for a Mac OS port of the game as well. We'll let you know if Aspyr decides to add that one to their catalog. Follow the link for the rest of the interview.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
Q&A With Tony Hawk

Click to enlarge
Tropico Postmortem
9:35 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Brent Smith of PopTop Software has written the latest in the excellent series of game postmortems for Gamasutra, looking at his company's most recent title, Tropico. The article goes through the basics of the game's creation, including their inspirations, what went right, and the mistakes made along the way. It's a fascinating look at the inner-workings of the game development process, and Tropico fans should be even more interested in how this dictatorship/simulation was created.

Some of the good things in the process included already having the Railroad Tycoon II engine as a basis for the game, the tight workplace, and generally fun topic. The complex design also proved to be one of their biggest obstacles, as many employees had different visions in their head of what the game should be. Here's a clip:

Now we found ourselves with a blank slate, an original idea where every gameplay detail had to be created from scratch. Unfortunately, we approached this in much the same way as we had approached RT2. Rather than settling on a unified design, or even trying to create one, each of us ran back to his workstation and began to create what we thought the game would be.

It quickly became apparent that we were not all moving in the same direction. People had very different views of where the game should go. Decisions had to be made on the fly. Some people's visions were cut out entirely, while others had theirs altered to the point that it became something entirely different.

Head over and read through the article to see how they got around this and other issues. Be aware that Gamasutra is now requiring free memberships to read their stories, so login first.

Poptop Web Site
Download Tropico Demo (170MB)
IMG Review of Tropico
Tropico Postmortem at Gamasutra
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

Mac Games News for Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Alien Nations: A Short Tutorial3:34 PM
IMG Reviews Wireless Intellimouse Explorer11:36 AM
Dreamcatcher FUELs Up11:05 AM
Mac Alien Nations Demo Released10:53 AM
New Shots of Rogue Spear: Black Thorn10:27 AM
MJ on Myth III Mac Release and Optimizations10:14 AM
Mac Torque Engine Update10:11 AM
New Unit for Warcraft III Revealed8:53 AM
Harpoon 3 Ordering Made Easier8:41 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, October 10, 2001 on one page

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