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Friday, December 7, 2001

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Duke Nukem Forever to Include Bots
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

3D Realms' George Broussard confirmed in the 3D Realms Forums yesterday that Duke Nukem Forever will feature full bot support:

The bots are in and working now. Very well in fact. This was essentially one of the last major hurdles/features in our multiplayer plans.
Duke Nukem 3D, the blockbuster from MacSoft to which Duke Nukem Forever is the long-awaited sequel, was one of the first shooters to include bot support - of a kind. Intended largely to allow map designers to perform a rudimentary test of a map's multiplayer support, it made no attempt to simulate human behavior in the bot AI, nor even to achieve a balance of skill: to a human player, Duke 3D's bots were invincible. Nevertheless, the bots in Duke 3D provided hours of amusement to many a player.

As first-person shooters evolved, bot support became increasingly important. Neither Quake nor Quake II included bots out of the box, but their modifiability allowed third parties to correct that defect, and a host of bot add-ons were released by independent programmers, allowing players to simulate deathmatch and team games with human opponents.

Unreal's developers, Epic Games, were among the first to ship a game with full bot support, and in Unreal Tournament and id Software's Quake III: Arena, bot play became the primary feature even of the "single-player" experience.

Lately, however, a reaction seems to have set in among game developers to this neglect of the single-player story line in the last generation of FPS giants, and Broussard comments on this trend:

Bots were also a major concern of ours because a lot of fps games have been shipping without them (even Unreal engine based games), and we see bots as significant for the future of multiplayer gaming. We are firmly committed to delivering both a strong multi player experience, as well as single player. Full bot support is a step in that direction.
Duke Nukem Forever has been in development at 3D Realms since early 1998 and will be published for the Mac by MacSoft "when it's done."

3D Realms: Duke Nukem Forever
3D Realms Forums: DNF and bots
Duke Nukem Forever
Buy Duke Nukem Forever

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IMG Interviews David Wareing
1:02 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

With the release of Deimos Rising, IMG brings you an interview with David Wareing, the creator of Ambrosia Software's vertical-scrolling arcade shooter.

Before Deimos Rising, Wareing brought us such games as its prequel, Mars Rising, and earlier still, Swoop:

IMG: Swoop is a very polished effort, but it's interesting how similar in style its graphics and overall presentation are to those of Maelstrom. Did Ambrosia games in the mid-90s have to follow a particular 'house-style'?

DW: The only visual requirement was showing the Ambrosia logo at the start. All our games have been stylistically independent and there's no overall publishing theme that runs through them like, say, games from Freeverse. However, the games of the time, such as Maelstrom and Solarian II or even Lunatic Fringe, do share a similar style, being waved-based and having bonus multipliers and score countdowns and the like. Maelstrom was definitely an influence on Swoop insofar as it raised the bar for sprite-based games, especially in terms of visual presentation. With Swoop, I wanted large sprite-based bonuses and text, as the use of small standard fonts had annoyed me in earlier games.

Deimos Rising does have a bit of Maelstrom memorabilia in it, but you will have to find it yourself (and hope that you don't)!

Later in the interview, Wareing touches on the improvements in Deimos Rising over its prequel:
IMG: Mars Rising was a much more ambitious game than Swoop, but Deimos Rising is very clearly a sequel to Mars Rising. What are the big changes, and in what ways do you consider it better?

DW: I think the overall gameplay is much better. The difficulty curve is kinder, the graphics are certainly a few steps up, and there is much more variety in enemies and landscapes and all manner of objects. It's still a shooter with a simple idea at its core, but there's more depth in there. We've spent much more of our time tending to the variety and difficulty this time around. Mars Rising players will recognize it instantly and be able to play it, but they'll also notice quite a few changes in the style of the game, hopefully for the better.

Follow the link below for the full interview, and don't forget to check out Deimos Rising.

IMG Interview: Ambrosia's David Wareing
IMG Preview: Deimos Rising
IMG News: Deimos Rising Out as Promised
MGF: Deimos Rising 1.0 (34 MB)
Ambrosia Software
Deimos Rising

Radeon 8500 vs GeForce3 Ti
12:23 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

The Tech Report published yesterday an interesting comparison by Scott Wasson of the ATI Radeon 8500 and the Nvidia GeForce3 Ti 500:

Before ATI released the latest drivers for the Radeon 8500, this GeForce3 Ti 500-versus-Radeon 8500 comparison would have read like this:
Don't buy a Radeon 8500. Buy a GeForce3.
End of story (only with more graphs). However, ATI's latest drivers take care of a great many problems—the Quake III "optimizations," Athlon XP incompatibilities, surprisingly low performance—that the Radeon 8500 brought with it when it first arrived on retail shelves. And once you get under that crusty old ATI veneer of lousy drivers and purposely vague public statements, the Radeon 8500 looks like a darned good graphics processor.
The features and performance of any video card are of course dependent not only on the card's hardware, but also on its drivers. Since Wasson evaluates the Radeon 8500 and GeForce3 Ti using their Windows drivers, his findings can only suggest the Mac potential of these two chipsets. (ATI, for example, has a history of promising Mac driver support for features supported in the their hardware - full-screen anti-aliasing comes to mind - and not delivering.)

Nonetheless, Wasson's comparison is of interest to Mac gamers who are curious about the hardware capabilities of these two cards. (Be prepared for a long wait, however; this editor found loading each of its pages to be painfully slow.)

Although no release date has been given, ATI has announced that the Radeon 8500 will be coming to the Mac. Nvidia's GeForce3 Ti 500 is a higher-clock-rate version of the original GeForce3 (which was released for the Mac some months ago), but Nvidia has not announced plans for a Mac version of its latest card.

IMG News: ATI Announces Radeon 8500 for Mac
IMG News: Nvidia Announces GeForce3 Titanium
IMG Feature: Radeon 8500 'In the Flesh'
IMG Preview: Radeon 8500
Nvidia: GeForce3
ATI: Radeon 8500
Tech Report: ATI Radeon 8500 vs GeForce3 Titanium 500

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Deimos Rising Out as Promised
11:34 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Wednesday afternoon (and again yesterday morning), IMG reported that Deimos Rising would be released yesterday, and true to their word, Ambrosia Software released the vertical-scrolling arcade game late last night.

This sequel is about revenge. And not yours. Mars Rising's big brother is here, and he's pissed off. David Wareing has once again crafted a masterpiece of twitch gaming bliss that combines killer graphics, sounds, music, and action into an experience that'll leave you breathless.

Deimos Rising features gorgeous 16-bit graphics lovingly rendered with transparency, alpha masking, and motion blur into a whirlwind of pixelized chaos. If you thought the legions of enemies you faced on Mars were hectic, wait until you touch down on the menacing landscape of Deimos.

Deimos Rising runs on Mac OS 8.6 or later, and natively on Mac OS X. Download your copy from our sister site,, and while you're waiting for the transfer to complete, check out IMG's sneak preview.

Ambrosia Software: Deimos Rising
MGF: Deimos Rising 1.0 (34 MB)
IMG Preview: Deimos Rising
IMG News: IMG Previews Deimos Rising, Out Today
Ambrosia Software
Deimos Rising

MOO3 First Look
8:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Armchair Empire has posted a quick first look at Master of Orion 3, the upcoming turn-based strategy game from Quicksilver and MacSoft. While the preview is not very long, it does give a good rundown of the ability to win the game with diplomacy as well as just military might.

Master of Orion 3 will continue the excellent strategy series with a system that doesn't require intricate micro-management of every detail. Instead, the player will assign leaders to handle tasks based on that character's interest and knowledge in an area. Here's a clip from the article with more:

But these people aren't your lackeys, simply put in place to do exactly what you say. They have their own interests and specialties, some are interested in scientific research, others are career soldiers, and they all have their own agendas, so assigning them to sectors that they have an interest and aptitude in is a must. They're also open to the world of espionage as enemies can bribe them, resulting in bureaucratic nightmares for your empire. With this, diplomacy and politics will play a prominent role in this game. No more waging war, then only needing to make sure the economy recovers and the military is repopulated. Players will have to deal with how their own empire's civilization feels about a war, and how neighboring factions react.
Those who like big battles shouldn't be disheartened though, as the preview also talks about the fighting in the title, as well as the multiplayer mode which allow up to eight people to join in the action at once. Master of Orion 3 is set for release early next year for Mac and PC. MacSoft hopes to publish the title in a nearly simultaneous fashion.

Master of Orion 3
Armchair Empire: MOO3 Preview
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
Buy Master of Orion III

Mac Myth III Nears Completion
6:00 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

MacCentral is reporting that the Mac version of Myth III: The Wolf Age is close to completion. Peter Cohen talked with MacSoft production coordinator Nate Birkholz, who has made similar statements in the past. A bug in the Mac OS X networking code that was holding up the release has been fixed, according to Birkholz:

It took a long time to fix, but now it's done. Network play in Mac OS X is completely fixed -- it's really robust, and we can't break it.
Two bugs in the game, one primarily relating to OS X and another affecting both OS 9 and X, are holding up release of the eagerly anticipated game.

When asked about the demo, Birkholz stated that it would be done when the entire game was complete.

For more details on Myth III, read the IMG preview. Myth III is available for pre-order from the IMG store.

IMG Preview - Myth III: The Wolf Age
MacCentral - Myth III near completion

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Applelinks Looks at Pinball Simulators
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Mac news site Applelinks recently took a look at seven of the myriad pinball simulators for the Mac and reviewed each one. John Kriens bases his reviews on several criteria, including unbiased ball draining, a deep rule set, and an interesting premise.

Anyone who's a pinball simulator fan should be quite familiar with at least one of the titles covered in the review. Pinball game company LittleWing provided five titles: Tristan, Crystal Caliburn, Loony Labyrinth, Angel Egg, and Golden Logres. GraphSim offers a simulation by the name of Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey, and the Lost Boys offer a free download titled Roll 'm Up.

Here's an excerpt from the review of Crystal Caliburn:

Although this game is stunning for the time period in which it came out, I disliked the tendency of the game to drain (although there didn't seem to be any bias in outlanes vs. center). I found the game to be frustrating because I could not play consistently from game to game because of this tendency to drain. Still, the game play is pretty good, and if I didn't have the other games from which to choose, this would keep me occupied. In fact, it is only in relation to the other games that this one is lacking.
Those curious for more information on some of the many pinball games for the Mac should definitely give this article a look.

GraphSim: Fantastic Journey
Lost Boys: Roll 'm Up
IMG Review: Pro Pinball - Fantastic Journey
Applelinks: Pinball Simulators
Empire Interactive
Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey

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The Making of Civ III
6:00 AM | Noah Brimhall | Comment on this story

Civilization III is probably one of the most anticipated titles of the year, and now fans of the series have something to whet their appetite. FilePlanet has made available a movie entitled The Making of Civilization III. Viewers will see some excellent material:

This is a fantastic movie showing the making of this hot and popular sequel in the Civilization series. Watch Sid Meier and other Civ3 team members talk about the creation and aspect of this turn based strategy title. Many features such as graphics, sounds, gameplay, and tactics are talked about....
This seven and a half minute movie is 76 MB, and you may need a GameSpy ID to download it.

Civilization is being brought to the Mac by MacSoft and is due to hit store shelves early 2002.

FilePlanet: Making of Civ III
MacSoft: Civilization III
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

Mac Games News for Thursday, December 6, 2001

Spiderweb President Interviewed11:19 AM
Black & White, Myst III Win EMMAs11:09 AM
FTC Commends Game Industry10:34 AM
Mac OS 9.2.2 Fixes Driver Issues?9:17 AM
Ambrosia Readies Coldstone and Cosmic Memory6:00 AM
Baldur's Gate II Beta Patch Due Soon6:00 AM
IMG Previews Deimos Rising, Out Today6:00 AM
Winner of the Stupid Giants Giveaway6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, December 6, 2001 on one page

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