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Monday, November 19, 2001

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Spider-Man Hits Beta
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Both Aspyr Media and Westlake Interactive have confirmed that the web-slinger Spider-Man is now in beta. Kudos to Westlake's Mark Krenek for making such good progress with the port. (He also worked on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, which uses the same engine.)

Here's the scoop on the game from Aspyr's latest newsletter:

Conversion has progressed quickly since Mark Krenek, of Westlake Interactive, reached first playable. As of today, Spider-Man is a solid beta and getting closer and closer to reaching Final Candidate.

Spider-Man is a third-person action/adventure, based on the Marvel comic series. Players play as Spider-Man, high school student Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider and granted tremendous powers. Spider-Man uses his powers to fight off evil and make the world a safer place.

In highly detailed environments, inspired by the upcoming feature film, Spider-Man must use his Spider-Sense to sidestep danger, his Spider-Agility and quick wits to evade pursuit, and his Spider-Strength to overcome the Green Goblin, Venom, Scorpion, Rhino, and other arch enemies in his pursuit to rid the world of evil.

For much more information on the game, be sure to check out IMG's preview as well as our interview with Krenek. Aspyr still expect to see the game just in time for the holidays. If you're looking to make it a stocking-stuffer, head over to Aspyr's site and pre-order it now.

IMG Interview: Spider-Man
IMG Preview: Spider-Man
Westlake: Spider-Man Enters Beta
Aspyr Media: Spider-Man

Custer's Sacrifice
11:59 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

This week's desktop from the prolific paintbrush of Brad Custer is inspired by MacPlay's upcoming Sacrifice:

With the recent announcement by MacPlay that Sacrifice was due to ship December 7th, I felt the desire to use some of the great art that MacPlay sent me to create a desktop for the game. "Choices" features a player character praying to three of the five gods in the game, which one he's actually worshipping you'll have to figure out.
Follow the links below to Custer's Desktops and to IMG's preview of Sacrifice.

MacPlay: Sacrifice
IMG: Sacrifice Preview
IMG: Custer's Desktops

Unreal Tournament X Progress
11:24 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

Unreal Tournament for Mac OS X seems to be progressing very well, giving encouragement to all Mac gamers eager for yet another game to make it to Apple's newest OS. Last week, Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams posted the following update to the newsgroup:

On UT X news, I fixed one of the stability problems (especially on GeForce cards, maybe on Radeons too) yesterday, and it's running much better on my machine now. There is still some weird problem with the ini files getting corrupt, and with the initial loading process just hanging every once in a while. Once I can fix those I'll release Preview 2, which ought to work better for a lot of people.
Keep checking back with Inside Mac Games for further news regarding Unreal Tournament for Mac OS X.

MacSoft: Unreal Tournament
IMG Review: Unreal Tournament
Epic Games
Westlake Interactive
Unreal Tournament

GameGenie Reviews X-Plane 6
11:08 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story has published a brief review of X-Plane 6, the flight simulator by Laminar Research. Reviewer James Allen notes the many improvements over previous versions of X-Plane and the large number of features compared to other flight simulators.

One of the most impressive features of X-Plane 6 is, well, the features.... All in all, the features of X-Plane 6 eclipses any other flight simulator by a large, huge, hefty, and enormous margin.
The only area where X-Plane 6 really doesn't stack up to the competition, according to the reviewer, is in the graphics:
X-Plane 6 canít hold a candle to [Flight Simulator 2002's] tear-inducing graphical superiority. But, graphics are just eye candy, right?
X-Plane 6 is available for Mac OS 9 (but is not recommended for OS 9.2) and will be available for Mac OS X in late November. The demo is available for download, and the full version can be purchased for $59.99 from the X-Plane web site.

Laminar Research: X-Plane
IMG Review: X-Plane 5
Download X-Plane 6 Demo
GameGenie: X-Plane 6 Review

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Shadowbane Contest Closes
10:51 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

Wolfpack Studios and Ubi Soft announced the close of their Shadowbane fan fiction contest. They have selected the five top stories, and on November 15 they began releasing them. Here are samples of the two stories to be released so far:

Fifth place: "Crossroads" by Rogan R. Hamby

Sir Gervais turned from cleaning his sword to see his charge struggling to carry a water pail into the garden. He watched as the scowling young man plopped the water pail and himself onto a stone bench.

Feeling playful in spite of the very serious young man, Gervais kept a straight face and waited for the coming comment. Experience dictated that it would not take long. It didn't.

"Don't you have someone to do that for you?" He glared accusingly at Gervais.

"I do but he's busy. Besides, knights should know how to tend their weapons."

"And how does growing roses fit into that?"

Fourth place: "The Return" by Lonnie Bristol
The small hillock was nothing more than a large, flat-topped mound of piled dirt, covered with thick clover, yet in reverence to the Living Saint, Elyot had called the rise Mount Malorn.

He had remembered playing on this same hill when he was just a boy, before the War of Tears. Back then it had been a place of escape, a place of adventure, and a place of enjoyment. As he stood at its base watching a small group of people gather, he thought back to his youth.

Head over to read the rest of these two contest-winning stories, and keep checking the official Shadowbane site for the third, second, and first place winners.

Shadowbane - Fan Fiction Contest: Fourth Place
Shadowbane - News
Shadowbane - Fan Fiction Contest: Fifth Place
Wolfpack Studios

Classic Maps for Myth III?
10:11 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

Despite the news of layoffs at Mumbo Jumbo, Myth III fans may have a reason for cautious optimism. reported on Sunday (after the MumboJumbo news broke) that some classic Myth II maps are being converted to work in Myth III.

These maps are reported to include:

Desert Between Your Ears

If I Had a Trow

Drowned Kingdom/Empire

I'll Dance on your Grave/Spiderweb

Mudpit Masacre
Longtime Myth fans will recognize this as a greatest hit list of classic maps, and newcomers to the series will learn to appreciate their quality, should they see the light of day. The report does not discuss how the events at MumboJumbo might affect the release of this map pack, said to be in testing.

MacSoft: Myth III
IMG News: Myth III Team Axed; Mac Version Spared
IMG Preview: Myth III Classic Myth maps to be ported to Myth III

Age of Empires II Patch News
9:47 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Our friends at MacGamer received word this weekend from Peter Tamte of Bold Games on the status of one of two upcoming patches for Age of Empires II, along with some advice for users on how to correct some problems right now:

A patch should be out early this week. It fixes all of the problems we've been able to reproduce except for some of the network synch issues. The network synch issues are hard to reproduce consistently and even harder to track down. But, the guys are working hard to fix these too as quickly as possible. As soon as we improve the network synchronization, we'll put up a patch for this too.

Approximately 3% of the people who have purchased AOE2 so far have called or emailed us for tech support. We've been able to fix over 80% of all of these support emails and phone calls either by asking the user to upgrade to CarbonLib 1.4 or increasing the memory partition for the game. The remaining 20% of calls are either network synch issues or one of a half-dozen smaller bugs that are fixed in this patch. The AOE2 programmers at Westlake have been working almost exclusively on fixing these problems, including the network synch issues, since the game was released.

For IMG's preview of this hot real-time strategy game of medieval campaigning and empire building, or to order a copy of your own, follow the links below.

Bold: Age of Empires II
IMG Preview: Age of Empires II
MacGamer: Age of Empires II Update
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires II

Wolf Q&A with Todd Hollenshead
9:21 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Nvidia recently talked with id Software's Todd Hollenshead about Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which id developed with Gray Matter Interactive and Nerve Software. Here's a sample:

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is powered by the venerable Quake III engine. Is this the same basic engine or does it feature any enhancements or modifications?

About the only two pieces of the original Quake III Arena Engine that remain in Return to Castle Wolfenstein are the core rendering system and the network code (although throughout the development of Team Arena and subsequent point releases the network code has been optimized an incredible amount as well). Gray Matter has developed an advanced AI system where enemies will react to their surroundings, take cover, work together, and make different decisions based on the tactics with which you play. They have been able to add realism by incorporating a skeletal animation system which allows for many more animations per character, as well as the use of motion capture data to create animations that are incredibly smooth and lifelike (itís actually a little spooky sometimes). The sound and music systems have been modified to handle more dynamically changing situations, and they incorporated an incredibly cool new camera system, that we developed here at id, that they use for all of the in-game cinematic sequences. They have also made incredible use of the terrain system that was developed for Quake III: Team Arena. Using the terrain system, they have been able to create some massive outdoor environments that are not only amazing to look at, but create a gameplay dynamic that is very unique for the traditional shooter.

For the full interview, head over to Nvidia's web site.

MGF: Download Wolfenstein MP Test 2 (64.7 MB)
Nvidia: Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

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WW2 Online Q&A
8:48 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A quick new interview with Cornered Rat's Chris Sherland has been posted at HomeLan this morning, discussing some general issues about World War II Online. While the game had a rough start, the team has pared down the list of bugs and server issues significantly.

The fabled Mac version has been put off a number of times. While some users are sure to be skeptical, our sources at the company have recently assured us a Mac version of World War II Online is still expected to be released. We do know they still have Mac programmers and testers on the job, which gives credibility to their statements.

In the interview, Sherland remarks on their plans for new vehicles, expanding battles into Asia, and their overhaul of the game's user interface. Here's an excerpt:

HomeLAN - Cornered Rat is reportedly redesigning the user interface for the game. Why is this being done and what improvements are you adding to the game's UI?

Chris Sherland - It's being totally redone from scratch. We did not have time to get the original UI up to the spec we set for it, so we redesigned the UI with all the input we have received from testers and players, and made it much more intuitive and user-friendly. It's also got a whole new look and is more feature rich with stuff like mission briefing rooms, and RPG persona viewers etc.

Head over now for the rest of the Q&A from HomeLan. We'll keep on Cornered Rat and bring you any new info on the Mac version we receive.

World War II Online Q&A
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online

Coldstone Update; PoG Review, Expansion
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Dee Brown of Beenox recently made a post to the official Coldstone Game Engine progress logs at partner Ambrosia Software. It seems the powerful RPG engine is closing its final beta phase now, with just a few minor tweaks necessary before release. This means would-be game makers will soon have a chance to create their own titles which run on Windows as well as Mac OS 8/9/X.

Coldstone will be released to the public once the Windows version of Pillars of Garendall is made available. This action/RPG is the first to use the engine. Here's Brown with more:

When will it be released?

After Pillars of Garendall is released on Windows. While Pillars of Garendall is a really cool game, it's also a showcase of Coldstone abilities and a way for us to test every part of Coldstone on both platforms. It won't be logical to release Coldstone while a game made with it has platform specific bugs. Don't fear though, we are currently working days and nights to deliver a final candidate of PoG Windows as well as the update of PoG Macintosh

Brown also notes a new expansion called Trinity will be out soon for PoG fans. The free add-on will give you three new player classes, along with a host of new items and weapons. Seven exclusive screen shots of Trinity are posted on Ambrosia's web site; head over now for a look.

In related news, IMG last week posted a review by Chris Barylick of Pillars of Garendall. Here's a brief taste:

For as long as I can remember, Iíve wanted to be a brave warrior in medieval times (the treasure, the groupies, the profit sharing...) Yes, Iíd pull my strong yet flexible armor over my rippling muscles, don my fearsome weaponry and go slay hideous dragons to rescue beautiful maidens in varying degrees of distress.

Unfortunately, this hasnít panned out as well as I hoped it would.

Read our full review at the link below, and stay tuned to IMG for more info as Coldstone and Trinity become available.

Download Pillars of Garendall Demo (30MB)
IMG Review: Pillars of Garendall
Trinity Expansion Screen Shots
Coldstone Progress Log
Ambrosia Software
Pillars of Garendall

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Myst III Music Movie
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new movie has been posted at the Myst III: Exile web site exploring the musical component of this latest Myst title. While the QuickTime movie does come in two sizes, the smaller weighs in at nearly 30 MB. The higher-resolution version is 57 MB and so is probably only for those with broadband connections.

Myst fans will definitely want to give the video a look, as it contains footage of Jack Wall talking about his composition of the Exile soundtrack. Also featured are members of the Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra recording the game's score. If you're interested, head over to the Myst III: Exile web site now and start downloading.

Myst III: Exile - Making the Music
IMG Review - Myst III: Exile
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Myth III Team Axed; Mac Version Spared
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

In a post to the Myth Village forums on Friday with the subject "Some ugly but honest truths," Andrew Meggs, formerly of Myth III developer MumboJumbo, wrote that the Myth III development team had been laid off two weeks earlier:

The entire Myth III team was terminated on November 2, 2001. The basic reason was that there was no next project lined up and funded, nor was there expected to be in the near future, it's expensive to keep a team of salaried people around doing nothing, and MumboJumbo was not a huge business with infinitely deep pockets. There's a tangled web between the MumboJumbo Irvine project team, its parent company United Developers, and the game's publisher Take 2. I wouldn't blame anyone specifically for the collapse - call it everybody's fault if you're the angry sort or nobody's fault if you're charitable.
Shortly afterward, GameSpot reported that Ron Dimant of United Developers had confirmed that MumboJumbo's office in Irvine, California was being closed.

The speed with which the axe fell is somewhat surprising. MumboJumbo had recently shipped Myth III for the PC, but its release was plagued with bugs and a patch had been promised; Meggs suggested that the termination of the Myth III team has delayed the patch. Shipment of the Mac version is also awaiting final fixes.

Meggs assured readers that the Mac version would eventually be released, and since November 2, MacSoft have also assured us that Myth III for the Mac will be completed and that the bug fixes from the PC patch will make it to the Mac.

Further allaying the fears of Mac gamers, "Burger" Bill Heineman on Saturday posted to the Myth Village forums:

Don't be concerned about the Mac version. Chris Jacobson and I (now with Contraband Entertainment) are hard at work fixing the last issues. Expect the game to be released soon.
IMG wishes all the members of the Myth III team success in their future endeavors.

IMG News - Quick Mac Myth III Status
MacSoft: Myth III
IMG Preview - Myth III: The Wolf Age
GameSpot - MumboJumbo closes Irvine office
Myth Village - Re: a little concerned about Mac version
Myth Village - Some ugly but honest truths

MacGamer Previews Harry Potter
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Our friends at MacGamer have posted a preview of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, coming to the Mac from Aspyr Media and Westlake Interactive:

Games, books and movies have a lot in common; good ones can sometimes become so huge in the public eye that the innovation and creativity of what they're about can get lost in a sea of hype. This is the lot of a bespectacled, 11-year-old would-be-wizard by the name of Harry Potter. The four books about his adventures (written by J. K. Rowling), the movie being released today and the new computer game from Electronic Arts (coming to the Mac by way of Aspyr Media) are so huge that you might forget that at the heart of all three is a clever, enjoyable story that stirs the imagination and has actually gotten kids to start reading again.
For the rest of MacGamer's preview, follow the link below to their web site. (And if you missed it on Friday, be sure to read IMG's own preview as well.)

Aspyr Media: Harry Potter
IMG Preview: Harry Potter
MacGamer Preview: Harry Potter

Mac Games News for Friday, November 16, 2001

Diablo II 1.09d Update9:48 AM
New, Improved Bungie.net9:21 AM
Trade Wars Image Released8:31 AM
Max Payne Chat8:24 AM
Harry Potter Graduates to the Mac7:46 AM
CG Online Talks Unreal with Tim Sweeney6:00 AM
MacGamer Reviews Tomb Raider: Chronicles6:00 AM
Neverwinter Nights Interview6:00 AM
New Geneforge Creatures and Screenshots6:00 AM
WarBirds III Updated Again6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, November 16, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, November 15, 2001
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Monday, November 12, 2001
Friday, November 9, 2001

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