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Friday, February 1, 2002

IMG Interviews Steve Jobs
8:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games is proud to announce an interview with Apple's legendary CEO Steve Jobs. Since his triumphant return to Apple, games have been a major focus for the company. Why does Jobs feel so strongly about games? Was the new iMac built with gaming in mind? Check out our exclusive gaming interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

At last month's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, IMG's own AppleMaster Michael Phillips talked with Jobs about gaming on the Macintosh:

Mike Phillips: Since your return to Apple, gaming seems to have become important to the Mac platform. Why do you feel that games are necessary to the success and expansion of the Mac OS?

Steve Jobs: Simply put, games are fun and lots of people want to have fun with their Macs. When I returned to Apple a few years ago, games were viewed as something which would paint the Mac as a less-than-serious business tool, so game development was discouraged. We feel quite differently, and actively try to nurture our game developers.

Follow the link below to read the rest of our interview with Steve Jobs.

IMG: Steve Jobs Talks Mac Gaming

Return to Castle Wolfenstein Pre-Order at IMG Store
8:19 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The upcoming epic first-person shooter, Return to Castle Wolfenstein from Aspyr Media, is now available for pre-order at the IMG Web Store. If you're a MacGames CD subscriber, you can pre-order Return to Castle Wolfenstein for just $44.

You are B. J. Blazkowicz, a highly decorated Army Ranger recruited into the Office of Secret Actions (OSA) tasked with escaping and then returning to Castle Wolfenstein in an attempt to thwart Heinrich Himmler's occult and genetic experiments. Himmler believes himself to be a reincarnation of a 10th-century dark prince, Henry the Fowler, also known as Heinrich. Through genetic engineering and the harnessing of occult powers, Himmler hopes to raise an unstoppable army to level the Allies once and for all.

Enter a highly immersive story line driven by realistic, mission-based action gameplay, believable AI, and the Quake III engine. Arm yourself with an arsenal of weapons, including Luger 9 mm, Mauser 7.92 mm, MP-40, SP-5 sniper, venom guns, grenades, rocket launchers, and flamethrowers. The game also features a multiplayer mode pitting players in a team-based Axis versus Allies contest for frontline domination.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is scheduled to be released in early February.

The MacGames CD is a CD-ROM subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters and much more. Get eight issues per year (delivered every six weeks) and save big bucks! For a limited time, when you subscribe to the MacGames CD, you can get a full version of Aliens vs Predator, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, Deus Ex, or Escape From Monkey Island; all you pay is the shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada, $12 International). Each subscription or renewal also includes free registration of the shareware game guide Game Doctor, plus great discounts from Mac game stores and publishers. For more information, please visit the IMG Web Store.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Game Developers Conference Fast Approaching
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

This year's Game Developers Conference, the premier technical conference of the game development industry, is being held on March 19-23 in San Jose, California, and February 5 is the last day you can take advantage of discounted early registration.

In the words of the GDC web site:

For over a decade, the Game Developers Conference has been the independent and unbiased forum where game development professionals from around the world gather to share ideas and build the skills essential to creating the next generation of interactive entertainment. The most innovative companies in the industry demonstrate the future of hardware, software and services. Industry luminaries lead more than 300 lectures, tutorials, panels and roundtables covering all aspects of game development for all platforms and all genres.
The GDC has announced the following keynote speakers:
  • Visual Arts: Peter Chan, "Crossing Over to Film and Back Again"

  • Production: Shuhei Yoshida (SCE), "Next Generation Console Development and Production in the Global Market: Opportunities and Challenges"

  • Game Design: Kazunori Yamauchi (Polyphony Digital), "Advancing a Franchise Through Design"

  • Business & Legal: Gabe Newell (Valve), "Redefining the Business of Game Development"

  • Programming: John H. Conway (Princeton University)

  • Audio: Ray Colcord, "The More Things Change..."

  • Level Design: Toshihiro Nagoshi (Amusement Vision), "The Evolution of Level Design and the Relationship Between Background and Interface Design Procedures"

  • General Interest: Shin'ichi Okamoto (SCE), "Sony Computer Entertainment Research & Development"
Head over the Game Developers Conference web site for more information.

Game Developers Conference

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OS X Quake, RtCW Game Browser Updated
6:00 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Developers Mike and Billy Davis have released version 1.0.2 of Only Mortal, a free Mac OS X game server browser offering support for Quake II, Quake III: Arena and Team Arena, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

The application was coded in Objective-C using ProjectBuilder and the Cocoa APIs in Mac OS 10.1.1 on an iBook. Its numerous features include:

  • Standard Aqua interface with customizable toolbar
  • Multiple windows
  • Version checking
  • Multiple master servers
  • Game-neutral toolbar icons
Only Mortal requires Mac OS X 10.1.1 or later. Future updates are planned and may include support for more than one game at a time, Quake I support, searching, and more, although the program is an unlikely candidate for Carbonization.

Only Mortal
Quake III Arena
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Quake III Team Arena
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Click to enlarge
ATI Q&A at Accelerate Your Mac
6:00 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Mac troubleshooting and performance site Accelerate Your Mac! has posted an extensive interview with ATI Technologies about their new 2D/3D graphics cards for the Mac, the Radeon 8500 (AGP) and Radeon 7000 (PCI). The Q&A is chock full of information about various features, including the Radeon 8500's advanced DVD playback.

Here are two excerpt discussing full-screen anti-aliasing and clock rates:

Q: What Apps and Games support FSAA (now or via updates planned in the future)?

A: There's a list of fifteen or sixteen games we know of that are either supporting or planning to support FSAA in the near future and they include some of the most popular games on the Mac. I'm not sure I'm at liberty to disclose the titles since the publishers themselves may have their own announcement plans. Otto Matic, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Red Faction, and Black & White are some that come to mind that are fairly open about their plans....

Q: The Mac Radeon 8500 is said to be clocked slightly slower than the PC version. Why was this done?

A: The slightly lower core clock speed helps ensure that we have a more consistent supply of components for the Mac boards. The difference in performance is negligible so we opted for a more pragmatic choice. I'm trying to avoid an intermittent supply situation that occasionally affected the Radeon PCI card in the past.

Although fairly extensive in its discussion of the Radeon 7000 and 8500, the interview does not contain information about the Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics chip that many gamers earnestly hope will be included in the next revision to Apple's PowerBook line.

Follow the link below for the full text of Accelerate Your Mac's interview.

Accelerate Your Mac: Radeon Q&A with ATI
Radeon 8500

USB Overdrive Beta Released for OS X
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After quite a wait, Alessandro Levi Montalcini has released an early public beta for Mac OS X of the incredibly popular — some would say necessary — shareware utility USB Overdrive.

Montalcini says there are a number of caveats with the beta:

  • The user interface needs to be polished, and the icon is ugly.
  • The Joystick/Gamepad section is not yet enabled. This beta only works with mouse or trackball devices.
  • AutoScroll is temporarily disabled (will be ready soon).
  • Accelerated Scrolling is not yet functional (will be ready soon).
  • Use Global Settings is not yet functional (will be ready soon).
  • The "Auto Move" option is gone until I figure out if it's doable in Mac OS X.
  • The user installation process should be improved.
The small download is very much worth a try, and if you register now you can get both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X versions.

USB Overdrive
USB Overdrive 10.0.0b1 (372 KB)

MacSoft's James Robrahn Talks Quality
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Our friends at MacGamer talked yesterday with James Robrahn, Quality Assurance Lead at MacSoft, about the all-important but often unsung job of software testing.

Introducing Robrahn, Corey Tamás writes:

"I don't make the games you play, I make the games you play better."

This is James Robrahn's signature for his email, and it describes perfectly what he does. Rather than being the rock star programmer that makes a game which puts the industry on its ear, James quietly makes sure that those rock stars end up giving something worth having to the gamer. The job is called QA, and it stands for "Quality Assurance." What it means is that once a game leaves his hands, it works.

One of the ironies of software testing is that, like editing, you don't notice it when it's successful; at its most valuable, you aren't given occasion to pause and reflect on its value.

In their interview, Robrahn tells Tamás of one spectacularly unpleasant such occasion that he was able to spare gamers:

I did have one title that corrupted the hard drive structure; not even Norton or Disk Warrior was able to fix it. This bug was hard to track down. The only time the bug appeared is when you did not have the CD inserted and you hit cancel to the pop-up "Please insert the Game CD." This is the point when the hard drive structure was trashed.

What made it tough to trace down is the fact that you did not know the structure was trashed until you tried to restart the machine. Then you would only get a flashing question mark.

After some time I was able to finally narrow down what was causing the issue. I spent many hours reformatting my hard drive.

Follow the link below for the whole of this interesting interview.

MacGamer: James Robrahn Interview

UT X Help; FSAA Options
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

With yesterday's release of the second Unreal Tournament preview for Mac OS X, a number of elated fans of the first-person shooter found they could now actually play it on OS X. The loading bug so prevalent in the first preview is all but gone, and some nagging mouse issues seem to be the largest problem at the moment.

The project is being done on the side by Westlake Interactive president Glenda Adams, and she was kind enough to help out some readers in the IMG Forum recently. Apparently the game is set to use 16-bit textures by default, but Glenda notes it is easy to make them 32-bit:

In ut.ini, under the OpenGL section, set Texture32Bit to 1.
Further in the thread, Glenda also replies to a poster joking about the possibility of full-scene anti-aliasing being implemented. Much to the surprise of all, this option is already there. Unfortunately, it seems you'll need a new version of the ATI drivers which have yet to be publically released:
To activate FSAA in UT X P2, add the line:


to the [opengl] section of the ut.ini file. I forgot to document this in the readme. You can set it to 0 or 1 (off) , 2 (medium fsaa) or 4 (full fsaa). You can also add a binding in user.ini to "FSAA", ie:


and that will let you toggle the FSAA state on the fly.

You do have to have the absolutely latest ATI drivers for this to work, and I'm not sure if the OS X drivers that do FSAA are available to the public (which is another reason why I didn't document it :) ).

While we can't play with FSAA yet, it's wonderful news to hear it will be there in an Apple and ATI driver update. IMG will be sure to keep you posted on any new reports of FSAA, so stay tuned for more information as UT and other games finally start to use this much-wanted feature.

Westlake Interactive
IMG Forum: UT X PR 2 Comments/Bug
MGF: Unreal Tournament X Preview 2

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LA Times Interviews Gray Matter on RtCW
6:00 AM | John Rousselle | Comment on this story

Although the game industry is huge (edging past the film industry over the last few years, according several criteria), games still receive relatively little coverage in the mainstream press other than the occasional article deploring game violence. Perhaps that is why it is so refreshing to see The Los Angeles Times running quite a good interview with Gray Matter Studios regarding the development and creation of Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

While id Software oversaw production of RtCW, Gray Matter built the single-player mode (the multiplayer mode was handled by Nerve Software) and had a lot of choices to make in deciding how to revisit "one of the granddaddy titles" of first-person shooters.

Here is an excerpt from the interview with Drew Markham, creative director of Gray Matter in Los Angeles:

Q: What are the hallmarks of a first-rate game in this genre?

A: Pacing. That's one of the things that's missing in a number of games. You can't have the volume at 10 all the time. The notes you don't play are just as important as the ones you do. If you want the player to be hyper-aware, you can use silence. I like the roller-coaster-ride feel of having lots of contrast. I think that's what makes a great movie and a great game.

Of course, visuals need to be top-notch. And sound is key. If you don't get the sound right, it can kill a game. There was a game that came out three or four years ago that was stunning visually, but the gun sounded like it was shooting Jell-O. You need that sound element to be on target — the gun has to sound like a gun. We got to play around with an interactive music system. It was amazing watching people play the game with and without the music and watching how their bodies tense up so much more with the music on.

Q: What about the artificial intelligence engine?

A: AI is critical. That's an area that's nascent right now. In the early days, it was easy because you had the player and you had enemies. And the enemies were all hostile. That's an easy behavior model to develop. There's no gray scale; it was pure hostility. When you get into ambiguity, that's when it becomes a lot more difficult.

For more of this interesting read, follow the link to the full interview at the bottom of the page. Westlake Interactive is developing the Mac version of RtCW for Aspyr Media and currently has a final candidate version in testing.

LA Updated Shooter Aims to Stay True to Classic
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Mac Games News for Thursday, January 31, 2002

IMG Reviews Civilization III11:57 AM
IMG Server Update, Special Interview Tomorrow9:25 AM
Tropico Expansion Pack for Mac?9:16 AM
Lineage Beta Moved to Monday8:48 AM
MacSoft Offers Info on Upcoming Releases6:00 AM
Tac Ops Goes Commercial6:00 AM
Torque Game Engine Released for Mac6:00 AM
Unreal Tournament X Preview 2 Released6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, January 31, 2002 on one page

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