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Friday, February 8, 2002

Click to enlarge Closes Doors, Opens Source
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In what is likely to be an unsurprising announcement for many, will close its doors to players of Myth II: Soulblighter on February 15th. This will mark the end of Bungie's involvement with the game, though they have decided to release the server source code to the general public. Though slightly modified to remove some proprietary code, the source will enable anyone with the drive to set up their own servers for players.

This is similar to Marius net, which supports both of the first Myth games now, though without any ranked rooms. The Marius admins have made it clear they won't be using much of the released code, as they don't have the time or energy to administer features like ranked rooms.

Bungie does promise to keep their Myth Vault section around as a place to organize any other hosting efforts:

The Myth Vault site will serve as a central location for the Myth game server development community, with a forum for people interested in discussing the code and the possibilities. In the future this site may also offer links to fan-run servers, leader boards, order databases, whatever — that's all up to you.
Head over to the Myth Vault story for the complete scoop, and be sure to get in your last games while you can. For now, Marius serves as an excellent replacement, with other servers sure to spring up soon.

Bungie: Myth Game Server Open Source
Bungie: Myth Vault
Marius net
Myth II: Soulblighter

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Icewind Dale, realMyst Reach Beta
4:09 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

MacPlay's Henry Price sent word to IMG today that two of their upcoming games have reached the beta stage of development and are scheduled to begin shipping to retail in early March: Icewind Dale and realMyst.

The long-awaited Icewind Dale, developed by Black Isle (who also brought us Fallout and Baldur's Gate), is a role-playing game based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules and set in the Forgotten Realms:

Using the award-winning BioWare Infinity Engine developed by BioWare for Baldur's Gate, players create a party of adventurers in the frigid north to combat monstrous cyclops and frost giants that dwarf the player characters as they search for an evil lying deep within the Spine of the World. Icewind Dale offers high-level character advancement in this adaptation of the AD&D rules under license from Wizards of the Coast.
A modern 3D rendition from Rand and Robyn Miller's Cyan of the Mac-first, all-time best-selling computer game, realMyst is Myst freed from the technical constraints of the mid '90s:
realMYST uses a state-of-the-art real-time 3D graphics engine to present Myst as it was originally intended: a tale of mystery and intrigue, set in an immersive, dynamic world. Wide-open game play allows players to walk and look anywhere they choose in real-time with 360 degrees of freedom. Witness extraordinary 3D effects as day changes into night and weather changes from brilliant sun to dreary rain, creating an entirely new game experience.
To promote their upcoming releases, MacPlay is taking pre-orders at the introductory prices of $49.99 for Icewind Dale and $29.99 for realMyst, with shipping free within the U.S. and $20 internationally. (Current customers of Baldur's Gate II and any customers who have previously purchased from MacPlay's online store can receive an additional $10.00 discount under the company's Customer Loyalty Program.)

For more information on Icewind Dale, read our preview at the link below.

IMG Preview: Icewind Dale
Icewind Dale
Buy Icewind Dale

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IMG Reviews Zork: Grand Inquisitor
12:00 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review by Christopher Morin of Zork: Grand Inquisitor, the graphical adventure game from MacPlay descended from one of the original text-based computer adventures.

Here's an excerpt:

The world of Zork is a rich world that has been developed over twenty years. It started out as a student project at MIT in the late 70s and has grown in history and lore, as has its cult following.

You can expect to be more entertained by the game's myriad of mind-numbing puzzles and its cheeky humor much more than you will by the style of game play or the graphics. The real purpose here is for the gamer to overthrow the Inquisition, restore the Flathead dynasty and achieve the level of Dungeon Master; not be overcome and awe inspired by the savvy textures and colors. There are great locations in Zork; they are just not the focal point of the story.

The puzzles in Zork are indeed troublesome. Just as many sat dazed for days at the puzzles in Myst, Zork will make even a rocket scientist cry like a baby. I had to keep telling myself to not be too rigid in my thinking. The puzzle at the Flood Gate Control Panel was especially maddening. It is not a pretty sight to see a grown man cry. The ever-chatty Dalboz even expressed his sympathy by observing, "This is frustrating," in a tone that connoted frustration with my stupidity rather than the difficulty of the puzzle. Okay, Dalboz, get yourself out of that lamp and do it yourself!

Follow the link below for our full review.

IMG Review: Zork: Grand Inquisitor
Zork: Grand Inquisitor

Click to enlarge Opens Starcraft, Red Faction Archives
11:16 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story, a network of online archives of modifications for several popular games, has just opened two more: the SciLab Archives for Red Faction and the Dylarian Scrapyards for Starcraft. The new archives contain a wide variety of maps, mods, tools, and extras to enhance your Red Faction or Starcraft gaming.

The archive roster already includes The Mill for the Myth series, the Lh'owon Ar'kives for Marathon fans, the Liandri Depot for Unreal Tournament players, and The Sims Public Archives.

All of the files in each archive are available for download, and membership is free. The site also has online polls, user forums, private messaging, search functions, and several other features.
Red Faction

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New Shadowbane Closed Beta Journal Available
9:25 AM | John Rousselle | Comment on this story

Now that the upcoming multiplayer online role-playing game Shadowbane has entered a new phase of beta testing, Wolfpack Studios and Ubi Soft are continuing the tradition of beta journals with a new entry on the Shadowbane web site entitled "The Call of Saedron." Told in-character from the perspective of a male elf warrior, this entry takes us to a mysterious temple in the Vargill Swamp, and is accompanied by eight new screenshots. Here is an excerpt:

The stepped forms that towered overhead appeared to be some sort of temple complex. As Ren studied the statues and intricate carvings, a scaled beast launched into an attack. Ren drew his curved blades and prepared for the onslaught. His long-time training as a warrior provided the skills he needed to survive, and ultimately conquer this threat to his life. He would not be meat in the belly of an alligator when his patron called him onward.

More dangers awaited inside the temple as Scaly Ones fought ferociously against the invasion of their sanctified ground. A seemingly endless stream of lizard men poured forth to combat the elf. Panting with exertion, Ren evaluated the situation. Despite his efforts to answer Saedronís call, he seemed no closer to that goal. This place held no answers. Turning from the temple Ren headed further into the depths of the swamp.

In a recent IRC chat, Sean Dahlberg of Wolfpack and Chris Mancil of Ubi Soft confirmed that a Mac OS X version of Shadowbane is in the works and that they plan to add more Mac users to the beta test in the near future.

Shadowbane Beta Journal: The Call of Saedron
Wolfpack Studios

Gameporium Loves Mac Gamers
9:21 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Just in time Valentine's Day, online game retailer Gameporium has announced its "Valentine's Mac Game Lovin' Sale." Boasting the distinction of having one of the shortest names of any Gameporium sale in memory, the promotion will run until the 14th of February, and free shipping is standard.

Specials include many games priced under $10, with the extra bonus of a free stuffed Jazz Jackrabbit bunny with any Logicware purchase. Gameporium partner Oz Suguitan made the following statement in his press release:

We're offering sweet, sweet Mac compatible games for Mac gamer's sweethearts or their sweet Macintoshes. For those with Mac-using valentines, the absolute best gift is hours of enjoyment playing Macintosh games like WingNuts from Freeverse, or GraphSim's Black & White, or one of the hundreds of Mac Games we have available at Gameporium.
Check out Gameporium's sale via the link below.


GameSpy Interviews Ressurected Cinemaware
9:19 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

James Hill of GameSpy interviews Lars Fuhrken-Batista, vice president of back-from-the-dead Cinemaware, and Jason Falcus of Atomic Planet Entertainment about re-releasing some of the company's old games for use on current platforms. An extensive interview, it covers a wide array of topics, including the rise and fall of Cinemaware, future plans for the re-formed company, and even the assertion that past piracy of their games has created a customer base for the company's reincarnation.

A major area of focus is the re-release of the classic Commodore-64 and Amiga title Defender of the Crown for PC and cellular telephones (WAP). When asked why the new Cinemaware chose Defender as its first release, Fuhrken-Batista had this to say:

From a personal standpoint, Defender of the Crown was one of our all-time favorite games. It's also the premier Cinemaware title, so for us it was a logical choice to restart Cinemaware with the title that made it famous. The decision to make a new Defender of the Crown came about because it was the game that really launched Cinemaware into the spotlight in 1986 — and has been played by over 1M gamers worldwide.
The Q&A also reveals some details of the new company's future plans and some of the old games that might get a new lease on life in the near future. According to Fuhrken-Batista, there are several classic games being considered for re-release:
We are seriously considering Wings, It Came from the Desert, and Rocket Ranger. We would really like to see some other classics, such as Choplifter, resurrected!
As reported by IMG in the past, many of Cinemaware's revamped titles will also be making their way to the Mac, so stay tuned for more information.

GameSpy: Cinemaware Interview

Aspyr Updates Project Status Page
9:16 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media, publisher of such A-list Mac titles as The Sims, American McGee's Alice, and Tony Hawk: Pro Skater 2, have updated their project status page. Here's the lowdown on their upcoming titles, with current status and estimated release dates:

  • Spider-Man: Final Candidate, Shipping
  • Harry Potter: Final Candidate, Feb 2002
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Final Candidate, Feb 2002
  • 4x4 Evolution 2: Duplication, Feb 2002
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Early Development, March 2002
  • The Sims: Hot Date: Early Development, March 2002
This should be very good news to Mac gamers who are anticipating these titles, but as always, take this page with a grain of salt — a game that's shipping is obviously no longer a final candidate.

Aspyr Media

Unreal 2 Preview
9:14 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

British gaming site Games Radar UK excerpts a preview of Unreal 2 by PC Gamer that features hyperbolic descriptions of the upcoming title as well as information from a Q&A session with Legend head Mike Verdu and some actual screenshots. The article kicks off with some over-the-top rhetoric about the promise of the unreleased game:

Unreal 2 is about technology. Unreal 2 is about the impressive talents of a large number of US coders who have come together to create a thing of sublime digitally rendered beauty. Unreal 2 is, without a doubt, the most sumptuous visual feast ever served on the banqueting table of the PC gamer. Unreal 2 is about the future, in more ways than one. Unreal 2 is about cutting-edge science-fiction rather than our standard fare of B-movie pulp. Unreal 2 is about taking the things that should be made better in PC gaming and making them brilliant.
Despite all this talk of cutting edge technology, all is not lost for those who aren't at the top of the line. According to the piece, Unreal 2 will still be playable by older computer owners, but with the loss of some of the more dramatic features and graphics. Heavily influenced by Half-Life, Verdu goes into some detail about Unreal 2's gameplay:
I was very impressed with the way Half-Life broke up the playing experience and we wanted to have similar moments in Unreal II. Sometimes you'll just be exploring a cool environment; at other times you'll be having a Serious Sam-style shootout with a swarm of aliens. In other cases you're taking on tough single opponents like a lone heavy Skaarj. I think this change in experience will keep people playing. This is reflected in the method we've used to build the game which sees you travelling from planet to planet in a ship. I hope our environments are interesting enough for people to simply say "I can't wait to see what's next!"
Will all the hype, the interview still ends on a cautionary note, stating that like many impressive games in development, things still might not come together for the second Unreal.

Games Radar UK: Unreal 2

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EV Nova 1.0.0b8 Released
6:00 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Matt Burch at Ambrosia Software has just announced the release of EV Nova 1.0.0b8, and that development is proceeding steadily on the long-awaited sequel to the companyís popular shareware game Escape Velocity. According to Burch's post in the company's forum:

Yes, it's another beta. No, it doesn't mean that Nova has suffered some kind of catastrophic setback, it's just the way software development works — especially when you have a project as large as this one and you want to make sure it's adequately tested
For more information on EV Nova, see our preview at the link below.

IMG Preview: Escape Velocity: Nova
Escape Velocity: Nova
Ambrosia: EV3 Progress Log

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nVidia VP Talks GeForce4
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Computer and Video Games have a new interview posted in which they talk with nVidia's marketing VP Dan Vivoli about the newly announced GeForce4. The Q&A is to the point, asking legitimate questions about the time frame for implementation of the card's feature set and why gamers should choose the GeForce over other options like a game console. They also recap nVidia's remarkable rise to success over the past few years. Here's an excerpt:

C&VG: But GeForce 1 came out more than two years ago and we're still not seeing many games using features such as Bump Mapping in games.

Vivoli: Well, Bump Mapping wasn't that big a thing for GeForce 1, Transform & Lighting (T&L) was and every game supports [T&L] now. Bump Mapping should start being around in the next-generation games. The games developer always faces a choice: games that are built for the enthusiast use everything, but games that are more mainstream, like The Sims, they won't use as many [of the features] because it limits the market. Like, if you have to have a GeForce 4600 to play it, that limits their market early on. Now if you were making a game today, you'd make the Ti 4600 your benchmark feature set because by the time the game comes out, that would be free and built in to core logic. So there's always this kind of race condition that we're in and what you always find is that there is a few games for the enthusiast that take advantage of everything and a few months later you get more, and then about a year or two later everyone has those features.

The rest of the interview is interesting as well, so head over and give it a read. Also be sure to look through IMG's write-up of the nVidia event posted yesterday.

IMG: nVidia Launches the GeForce4
Computer and Video Games: nVidia Interview

ComputerUser Examines OS X Gaming
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As the popularity of Mac OS X grows, so too does its library of software. Determined to disprove the myth many Windows users believe about the Mac lacking quality games, ComputerUser has recently published the first of a two-part series by Dennis Sellers devoted to Mac OS X gaming. Titled Gaming for Mac OS X, the feature covers a variety of well-known Mac game publishers and the games they've provided for OS X users.

Besides the usual gamut of popular favorites like Aspyr and Ambrosia, lesser known developers such as Dark Shadow Software Limited are covered:

Currently Dark Shadow Software Limited has one Mac OS X game shipping: "Star Conquest." It's already Mac OS X-compatible, but an update (version 1.2) is planned for early 2002. "Star Conquest" is a turn-based strategic wargame. It can be played in single-player, multiplayer, or network-game modes. The objective is to guide your species in its expansion to all corners of the known universe. You start with two or more populated planets and a small number of starships. Using these ships, you have to explore and colonize other star systems.
Anyone interested in seeing another take on the current state of OS X gaming should find this ComputerUser feature quite interesting.

ComputerUser: Games Growing for Mac OS X

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Ambrosia's President Interviewed
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

German Mac gaming site recently interviewed Andrew Welch, president of Ambrosia Software, and they have kindly posted an English translation of their talk. The interview covers various aspects of Welch's experiences in the industry and also touches on Ambrosia's current plans.

For those wondering about Ambrosia's current project status, Welch notes that EV Nova, the "threequel" to Escape Velocity, should be the next title Ambrosia finishes, with the cartoonish pop-pop to follow sometime after. On a tangent, Welch adds that he's currently working on some internal tools as well as an update to their popular utility Snapz Pro X.

When asked about the possible Carbonization of Ambrosia's older titles for Mac OS X, Welch responded somewhat in the negative:

We can't really go back and carbonize old games — it really is up to the respective game authors if they are interested in doing so. I very well may do it for Apeiron, for instance, but that's because it is my game, and I'd like to see it updated for Mac OS X.
The rest of the interview covers topics such as how Ambrosia got started, how it earned its name, and Welch's personal view of games. Those interested in learning more about Ambrosia's legacy can check out the full article at

Ambrosia Software Interview with Andrew Welch

Mac Games News for Thursday, February 7, 2002

Black & White Mac Ships12:37 PM
IMG Notes from nVidia's GeForce4 Launch11:39 AM
Pyrogon Dev Diary; Candy Cruncher Soon11:08 AM
MacGames CD #5 In Duplication10:28 AM
First Looks at Worms Blast9:22 AM
Radeon 7000 OS X Compatibility Info Corrected9:22 AM
Starcraft Updated to Version 1.099:22 AM
Raven's Raymond-Judy Leaves for Destineer7:42 AM
Red Faction 1.2 Beta 3 Released7:42 AM
Shadowbane Mac News7:42 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, February 7, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, February 6, 2002
Tuesday, February 5, 2002
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