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Thursday, December 6, 2001

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IMG Previews Deimos Rising, Out Today
6:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

As IMG reported yesterday afternoon, Deimos Rising is scheduled to ship today, so we posted a preview.

What's Deimos Rising? It's the sequel to the popular shareware shoot-'em-up, Mars Rising, from Ambrosia Software. Here's a snippet from Andy Largent's preview:

If Mars Rising is the DOOM of vertical-scrolling titles, then you can call Deimos Rising the equivalent of Quake 3: Arena. Every graphical piece and user interface screen in the game has been revamped for a very polished look. Your ship and those of your enemies are all very nicely pre-rendered, along with whiz-bang goodies like particle effects and translucent animations. The game is rendered in full 16-bit color as well.

In addition to making the graphics look better, the team seems to have a good sense of when to make use of their effects. The particles are used a little more judiciously in Deimos Rising, with the overall effect of explosions being less distracting, though just as impressive. Also be on the lookout for many little niceties like tracks left by enemy tanks, craters from your bombs, and smoke coming out of the wrecks of your enemies.

Be sure to check out the rest of our Deimos Rising preview. And get ready for the real game today.

MGF: Deimos Rising 1.0 (34 MB)
Ambrosia Software: Deimos Rising
IMG Preview: Deimos Rising
Ambrosia Software
Deimos Rising

Spiderweb President Interviewed
11:19 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story has an interesting interview with the president of Spiderweb Software, Jeff Vogel. The interview covers everything from games as art to how to start off as a game developer.

When asked about gearing online RPGs toward role-playing, Vogel said:

Role-playing is fun, but overrated. I think Planescape: Torment was one of the greatest PPGs ever, but it bombed. On the other hand, Baldur's Gate sold a trillion copies. Why? Because role-playing is fun, to a point. Eventually, pretty much every RPG fan just wants to hit things.
Vogel also talks about the fate of independent developers in a tough game industry:
If there's no air in a room, small creatures who don't breathe much will die just as soon as big creatures.

If the computer game industry is in trouble, it will hurt everyone. But, last I checked, our industry is still making phenomenal amounts of money. So I'm going to wait to offer opinions on this problem until I am convinced that there is a problem.

Vogul is the creator of such games as Geneforge, Exile, and Avernum. Spiderweb Software is an independent game developer based in Seattle.

Spiderweb Software Jeff Vogel Interview
Spiderweb Software

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Black & White, Myst III Win EMMAs
11:09 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

Black & White, coming to the Mac from GraphSim and Feral Interactive, has won this year's Gold Award from the EMMA (Electronic Multimedia Awards) Foundation:

The game is stunningly innovative in many ways, and raises the bar on "God games." Black & White’s unique gameplay and excellent attention to detail makes for a superior interactive experience.
Black & White picked up two further EMMAs as well, winning both the PC Games and the Technical Excellence – Animation categories.

Myst III: Exile from Ubi Soft also won EMMAs for technical excellence. The first award recognized the 3D media in Myst III:

It's for sure the most impressive virtual reality performance in the 3D category. Technology and imagination go together and are the essence of the game product.
The second award was in recognition of the sound:
The Superb cinematic use of well-mixed sound serves both to support the game and further enhance the user experience.
This is the 10th anniversary of the EMMAs.

GraphSim Entertainment
Feral Interactive
Ubi Soft
EMMA Foundation
IMG Review - Myst III: Exile
Feral Interactive
Lionhead Studios
Black & White

FTC Commends Game Industry
10:34 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a report entitled "Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children." This report focuses on the marketing of R-rated movies, M-rated games, and music labeled with explicit content. The report praised efforts by the game industry to restrict marketing of M-rated games to teens and other youth:

For the electronic game industry, the Commission found continued positive steps to limit ad placements for M-rated games in popular teen media. The Commission found little advertising on popular teen television programs. However, in its review of marketing documents for 14 violent M-rated games, the Commission found that all planned at least some ad placements in media venues popular with teens; two expressly targeted an under-17 audience. The Commission also found continued placements of advertising for M-rated games in youth-oriented magazines and popular teen Web sites.
The report also looked at the ability of teens to buy M-rated games, and while 78 percent of the the FTC's "mystery shoppers" were able to buy M-rated games, this was an improvement over the 85 percent that were able to buy the games in their last report.

The FTC also found "commendable progress" in the marketing of movies, but was critical of the marketing of music.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board is a group voluntarily set up by the game industry to rate games. They established the M rating for games that may only be suitable for persons aged 17 and older.

Entertainment Software Rating Board
FTC: Marketing of Violent Entertainment to Children

Mac OS 9.2.2 Fixes Driver Issues?
9:17 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Apple released Mac OS 9.2.2 yesterday afternoon, and its updated ATI and Nvidia drives appear to correct a number of issues for many games having trouble under 9.2.1. Reports are filtering in from all over the net that games like Diablo II, Unreal Tournament, and Baldur's Gate II run better and without certain glitches. The update is available through your Software Update control panel and as a download from Apple's support web site.

Rob Barris of Blizzard was one of the first to post about the update in our forums. He notes that while there still seems to be some room for Nvidia enhancements, overall 9.2.2 is well worth the download for Diablo II players. Here's a part of his post:

[Mac OS 9.2.2] contains updated Nvidia and ATI video drivers along with other enhancements. Our testing has shown a nice boost in frame rates on both ATI and Nvidia hardware in OpenGL mode....

late edit - it appears that the Nvidia drivers are not measuring up here in speed comparisons with earlier beta versions - we are looking into this. More on this as soon as I find out.

While your results certainly may vary depending on your configuration, many gamers are saying the game does run better under the updated OS.

It appears the graphical anomalies that have plagued certain players of Baldur's Gate II might also be fixed in the update. A forum poster at MacBaldur notes that his previous issues with the game's 3D mode and ATI hardware are now resolved. A similar report about UT and resolved Nvidia issues has also appeared in our forum.

After installing the update, give your favorite Mac OS 9 game a spin and see if it has received a boost. If you're having problems still, be sure to drop a note in our forum for help.

Apple: Mac OS 9.2.2 Update
IMG Forum: OS 9.2.2 Fixes UT Incompatibility
IMG Forum: Diablo 2 & LOD: try MacOS 9.2.2
MacBaldu Forum: OS 9.2.2 Fixes ATI Graphics

Winner of the Stupid Giants Giveaway
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Stupid Giants Giveaway Contest has officially come to a close. I received many entries, some of which were vastly entertaining. Unfortunately, as much as I would've liked to give a free copy to everyone who entered, MacPlay saw fit to grace me with only one extra copy.

That being said, congratulations to Andrew Ballou, who correctly answered all three questions and turned up in the random drawing. His copy of Giants: Citizen Kabuto will be mailed to him by my normally lazy self as soon as I wrangle a mailing address from him.

For those who were wondering, here are the three questions I asked, along with the correct answers:

Q: What is the name of Sir Launcelot's servant?

A: Concorde.

Q: What word do the Knights Who Say "Ni" abhor?

A: "It."

Q: What's the third question asked of Sir Robin by the Bridgekeeper?

A: What is the capital of Assyria?

Thanks to all who entered! Next time I review a game, I'll have to order extra copies just to assuage my guilt at only being able to award one.

IMG Reviews - Giants: Citizen Kabuto
MacPlay - Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Planet Moon Studios
Omni Group
Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Buy Giants: Citizen Kabuto

Ambrosia Readies Coldstone and Cosmic Memory
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Coldstone progress log at Ambrosia Software has once again been updated with more information. A joint project between Ambrosia and Beenox, Coldstone is a powerful RPG construction kit that will give gamers myriad tools with which to build various adventures.

Most recently added to the progress log are links to several screenshots related to the creation of the recently released Trinity plugin for the Coldstone-created Pillars of Garendall. The shots, which are said to be examples of the final user interface in Coldstone, show various tools such as level builders, sound manipulators, and plugin load calls.

In related news, Beenox has also announced their intention to release Cosmic Memory, a title also created through Coldstone:

Cosmic Memory is a classic mind game with freaking cool animation and fx entirely made with Coldstone in 5 days (you'll be surprised). This game has nothing to do with PoG (it's nowhere close to a RPG). For those who plan to purchase the Coldstone CD, the full game project is included and you can modify the game at will!
It'll be interesting to see what kind of non-RPG games Coldstone will be capable of constructing. For those curious about Cosmic Memory but not planning on purchasing Coldstone, a freeware version will be made available for all platforms, owing to Coldstone's cross-platform compatibility.

Ambrosia Software: Coldstone Progress Log
Beenox: Coldstone
Ambrosia Software
Pillars of Garendall

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Baldur's Gate II Beta Patch Due Soon
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Contraband Entertainment's Chris Jacobson recently posted a message in the forums at MacBaldur outlining further details on the upcoming beta patch for Baldur's Gate II. He notes that the patch is nearly ready, and outlines various issues, either fixed or not, and gives reasons for the ones that haven't been fixed.

The issues that have been fixed include:

  • Spellbook Full assertions.
  • Rest Encounters fixed.
  • Moving items in inventory/containers assertion MAYBE fixed (not sped up; deeper, potentially unsolvable issues with that).

Among the issues that have yet to be fixed are as follows:

  • OS X 3D speed - sorry, this looks like it's a problem in OS X Open GL.
  • OS X 32 bit speed - at the moment, run it in 16 bit. Hopefully Apple will fix this issue in OS X Carbon.
  • OS X Multiplay - only happens for some users, myself not being one of them.
  • Inventory screen slowdowns - haven't been able to work this one out yet.

Jacobson also notes that people who want to receive the patch need to reapply by sending the following information to

  • REAL Name

  • Forum Name

  • Email address

  • Your Mac model + RAM

  • Versions of Mac OS 8/9, OS X you are running

  • Version of DrawSprocket - NECESSARY on 8/9

  • Problems you are experiencing in BG2

  • Your written agreement that neither I, Contraband Entertainment, or MacPlay will be held responsible for any damage caused by your use the BG2 patch.

Those interested in more information can follow the forum thread at

MacPlay: Baldur's Gate II
IMG Review: Baldur's Gate II
MacBaldur Forum: BG2 Patch Beta - Almost Ready, Reapply
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II

Mac Games News for Wednesday, December 5, 2001

IMG Reviews CH Products Pro Pedals11:59 AM
Questions from the Id11:48 AM
OS X Sacrifice Screen Shots10:51 AM
OpenGL 2.0 Support Survey10:44 AM
Virtual PC 5 Released10:25 AM
Geneforge Hits RC29:40 AM
MacMAME Status Update8:07 AM
MacSoft Redesigns Web Site8:00 AM
Heroes III Complete Patch Available6:00 AM
Tony Hawk Swipes an Eddy6:00 AM
Tropico for OS X Updated6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, December 5, 2001 on one page

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