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Friday, November 16, 2001

Harry Potter Graduates to the Mac
7:46 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media announced this morning that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the action-adventure game based on J. K. Rowling's best-selling fantasy novel, is heading to the Macintosh.

According to Michael Rogers, President of Aspyr:

We are all big fans of J. K. Rowling's work and look forward to seeing this magical adventure.
Today's announcement seems to have been timed to coincide with the joint release of the PC game and of the Warner Brothers film of Rowling's novel.

Harry Potter, developed for the PC by KnowWonder, is the previously secret "New World" project in development for the Mac at Westlake Interactive. In the game, players assume the role of Rowling's promising young wizard as he enrolls in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

For more information on what promises to be a very hot title, follow the link below to our Harry Potter preview.

IMG Preview: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Westlake Interactive
Aspyr Media

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Diablo II 1.09d Update
9:48 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Nipping the heels of Wednesday evening's Diablo II 1.09c update is a patch to version 1.09d. Yesterday evening, Blizzard Entertainment posted in the Status Forum:

A new patch for Macintosh Diablo II users is available that fixes a
potential crash in

Mac users can simply connect to to automatically download
the patch. Please note that PC and Mac users will be able to game
with each other.

We presume the patch is available for both Diablo II and it's expansion pack, Lord of Destruction, as past updates have been.

IMG Review - Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Blizzard - World of Diablo
IMG Review - Diablo II Status - Macintosh Patch D2 1.09d
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
Buy Diablo II

New, Improved
9:21 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Now that Bungie Studios have some time on their hands, they're beginning to dedicate some of it to In a new message greeting visitors to the web site, Yeroen writes:

Welcome to the new and extremely improved! In its previous incarnations was a single site devoted to the Myth games, with some general Bungie news thrown in every so often to spice things up. The new is a network of sites that encompass the entire Bungie community experience. Whether you're a longtime fan or a curious newcomer, you find plenty to keep you coming back.

The first addition you'll notice is the Seventh Column, a site devoted to fostering development of the Bungie community on a local level. Look up a Seventh Column fan club chapter in your area, or create your own. Use the provided web tools to post news, share information, schedule LAN parties or gatherings, and generally have fun. Members get a hefty discount at the BungieStore (when it reopens, more on that later) and are generally considered cooler than the vast majority of humanity - especially by members of the opposite or otherwise desired sex. But it's not just a way to boost your ego and get cool stuff for cheap - you'll also drive us closer to our goal of total world domination. In other words, it's the Right Thing To Do.

Yeroen goes on to describe plans for a future section devoted to Halo called Tru7h and Reconciliation, the resuscitation of the Myth Vault, and a new Bungie Store.

Follow the link below to read Yeroen's full message or to poke around the new

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Trade Wars Image Released
8:31 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Offering new hope that the project is still well underway, the Trade Wars: Dark Millenium web site was updated recently with a new screen shot. This massively-multiplayer real-time strategy game is based loosely on the old BBS text game of the same name. The new screen shot shows off some new units as well as their surrounding 3D environment.

While Realm Interactive will release the PC version first, the company is making sure both Mac and Linux clients are covered as well. Here's a clip from their FAQ:

What game platforms will the game be available on?

We will initially release on PCs but have been developing Macintosh and Linux compatible versions that will be released shortly thereafter. Realm will be working to release on new internet-enabled consoles in the future.

Realm is building Trade Wars from the ground up with cross platform compatibility in mind. Cross platform development issues are being dealt with NOW, not at the end of the development cycle after the game is complete. This means Macintosh and Linux game players will have a home in the MMPOG world.

Check out the Trade Wars web site for much more information on the game and a look at the many impressive screen shots available.

Trade Wars: Dark Millenium
Past IMG News on Trade Wars

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Max Payne Chat
8:24 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A quick interview with Remedy's Matias Myllyrinne has been posted at PC Game Central talking about his work on the recent PC hit game Max Payne. While the Q&A is brief, it does give a good rundown of the title's premise, as well as some of the issues that came up in development. Max Payne's major features are photo-realistic graphics, its story line, and special features like "bullet time."

Here's an excerpt from the article:

What would you say was the biggest challenge for the dev team while making this game?

Matias: I think the very character of such large project is the largest challenge. It simply comes from the enormous depth and scope. The entity is very complex with various interdependencies. Max Payne took the passionate effort of our team for over four years -as well as close co-operation with producers Scott Miller and George Broussard (3D Realms, producers). There are simply so may different aspects that one needs to get right at the proper time... music, on site photo shoots, graphic novels, level design, screen play, different programming elements... AI, tools, etc. We were lucky to be working with such good partners. An ambitious project like Max Payne is a lot of work but entails a lot co-ordinated and focused work inside the team but also outside - but this very co-operation and team work are the most rewarding aspects of game development.

Check out the rest of the interview for more background on the title. A Mac version of Max Payne is underway and will be published by MacSoft in the US and Feral Europe in the spring of 2002.

PC Game Central: Max Payne Interview
Remedy Entertainment
Westlake Interactive
Max Payne
Buy Max Payne

WarBirds III Updated Again
6:00 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

WarBirds III has been updated yet again, bringing it to version 11.14.01. According to the developer, iEntertainment Network, the new version includes the following changes:

New Aircraft:


Hurricane IIc





NEW: F86 Sabre jet now selectable in the planes list.

NEW: Support for multiple terrains.

NEW: Added support to run WarBirds III simultaneously on multiple host machines.

NEW: Chunk installers will make download packages smaller and allow for easier upgrades.

FIXED: Particle system memory leak, this will stop a lot of the crashes to desktop.

FIXED: (Mac) CH USB Throttle and Pedals work together now.

FIXED: (Mac) Radeon black screen of death has been addressed.

FIXED: Correct loadout is sent to host on start of flight (will allow more accurate parsing of log files).

FIXED: The attached gunner loadout now matches the loadout for the player to which he is attached.

FIXED: Fuel divisor from host is now recognized.
The developer cautions, however, that this version will not work with the ATI Radeon AGP video card.

WarBirds III is a massively-multiplayer online dogfighting simulation with a persistent universe that takes place during World War II over the skies of western Europe.

iEntertainment: WarBirds III
Download WarBirds III 111401 Update (5.9 MB)

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CG Online Talks Unreal with Tim Sweeney
6:00 AM | Brian Rumsey | Comment on this story

The Unreal engine, used not only in Unreal and Unreal Tournament, but also in such games as Deus Ex, Klingon Honor Guard, Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen, and Rune (and to be seen next year in Duke Nukem Forever and Unreal II), has been evolving constantly.

Tim Sweeney of Epic Games, who has worked on the Unreal engine since the beginning, recently talked about its evolution with Computer Games Online:

Back in the early '90s, Epic was busy with fast-action 2D games like Jazz Jackrabbit and Extreme Pinball. Why the move to 3D? Sweeney explains, "DOOM had come out and everyone at the company was addicted to it. It was obvious that was the direction future games would take." The actual name "Unreal" didn't come until after at least a year in development. "It was just a cool name for a 3D experience, right? Because it has this connotation of 'reality plus.'" From the absolute first line of production code, Unreal took about three and a half years to make, four years if you count the initial research.
Unreal fans and those interested in the evolution of gaming will find this a worthwhile article. The Unreal engine has been an important factor in the Mac gaming universe for a few years now, and should continue to be for at least a few more.

CG Online: Not Just Quake-ish Anymore

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MacGamer Reviews Tomb Raider: Chronicles
6:00 AM | Brian Rumsey | Comment on this story

Supposedly the last of a legendary series, Tomb Raider: Chronicles has made its way to the Mac via Aspyr Media and Westlake Interactive, and our friends at MacGamer have posted a review:

Purchasers of Aspyr's recent Tomb Raider Trilogy will find Chronicle's gameplay and interface quite familiar. The core character movement, environmental interactivity, and general gameplay all stick to the same winning formula that got Tomb Raider its success. For new gamers, the controls and learning curve is relatively simple and shouldn't interfere with enjoyment. Information concerning the nuts and bolts of Tomb Raider can be found on our Tomb Raider Trilogy review. Long time fans may be disappointed in any major improvements added to Chronicles, but there are still enough new features that should be an interesting experience -- one of which includes a Tomb Raider level editor which will be discussed later in the review.
So, is Tomb Raider: Chronicles a worthy way to end this long-lived series? Check out the full review to see whether or not MacGamer thinks so.

Aspyr Media - Tomb Raider: Chronicles
MacGamer Review - Tomb Raider: Chronicles
IMG Review - Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Core Design
Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Buy Tomb Raider: Chronicles

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Neverwinter Nights Interview
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Media and Games Online Network recently interviewed Greg Zeschuk, joint CEO of BioWare, about their upcoming role-playing game, Neverwinter Nights.

Here's a brief excerpt:

MGON: What is the basic premise of Neverwinter Nights?

Neverwinter Nights is the most accurate representation of pen and paper gaming available anywhere (with the exception of actual pen and paper gaming of course).

It features the ability to function as a player, dungeon master (the individual in control of the world where the game takes place), and builder (creating modules and adventures to play in either a single or multiplayer mode).

The interview touches on a variety of topics related to the evolution of BioWare's RPGs and of gaming in general:
MGON: As the industry matures, focus on games' social evolution is increased. What do you feel is the most important consideration in developing the social nature of a PC game?

Understanding how people desire to communicate is the most important element of injecting a social element to games. For example, having a robust and versatile in-game chat system is essential for social interaction. This extends outside the game to community groups and online resources.

For the complete interview, as well as an assortment of development screenshots from this beautiful-looking game, head on over to MGON via the link below. And if you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out IMG's own preview and screenshot gallery.

MGON: Neverwinter Nights Interview
IMG Preview: Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

New Geneforge Creatures and Screenshots
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software have posted new creatures and screenshots from Geneforge, their upcoming fantasy role-playing game that features the ability to create one's own army of lethal, totally obedient creatures.

Your character will be able to create servants to aid in combat. When a servant is created, the player may choose to make it more or less powerful. A player can make a large host of weak creatures, or a small number of stronger creatures. In addition, servants grow stronger with time. The player can pick a fixed, stronger, less versatile force, or create less experienced creatures which can be perfectly designed to match the situation.
Geneforge has eighteen different kinds of creatures that the player can create, including the Thahd:
Thahds are large, clumsy humanoids. They have thick bones, strong muscles, small internal organs, and tiny brains. A good melee creature, with a sad tendency to get confused in large battles.
Sound like anyone you know?

Visit the Geneforge web page at the link below to check out the new creatures and screenshots, as well as for other information about this upcoming Mac-first game.

Spiderweb Software: Geneforge
Spiderweb Software

Mac Games News for Thursday, November 15, 2001

New Disney Titles10:30 AM
Black & White Mac Development Screenshots9:23 AM
Age of Empires II Patch Soon7:30 AM
Diablo II 1.09c Update6:00 AM
MacGamez Reviews Giants: Citizen Kabuto6:00 AM
Mini-Interview with Feral Interactive6:00 AM
Quake 1.0.2 for Mac OS X Released6:00 AM
Sacrifice to Ship on December 76:00 AM
Sierra and Jellyvision Part Ways6:00 AM
Status of Updated Sound Blaster Live! Drivers6:00 AM
Wolf for PC is Gold; Mac, "Coming Soon"6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, November 15, 2001 on one page

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Wednesday, November 14, 2001
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