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Friday, March 8, 2002

Icewind Dale Goes Gold
12:05 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacPlay announced today that Icewind Dale has gone gold and is scheduled to begin shipping to retail in about three weeks. In the spirit of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure Tomb of Horrors, Icewind Dale is a classic dungeon crawl incorporating the award-winning gameplay elements from Baldur's Gate, offering players a chance to hone their combat skills while exploring the enormous caverns and dungeons beneath the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.

Here's a snippet from MacPlay's press release:

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.

Icewind Dale is one of the largest computer dungeon adventures ever created for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Developed using the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules by the Black Isle team that brought you Baldur's Gate, Fallout & Fallout 2, and Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale features improved graphics for advanced 3D effects that will leave you spellbound. With a new interface and streamlined player control, there's nothing to stand between you and glory; nothing except for 70 types of new monsters and some of the most formidable combat you'll ever encounter. Complete information on Icewind Dale can be found at

"The release of Icewind Dale builds on our already strong line-up of titles by bringing another award-winning role-playing title to the Macintosh community," said Mark Cottam, President of MacPlay. "Gameplay of Icewind Dale under OS X is incredible and a real treat for anyone familiar with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure series. We are very excited that Icewind Dale has reached the Gold Master Stage."

To promote the upcoming release of Icewind Dale, MacPlay is allowing customers to preorder the product at the introductory price of $49.99 directly from the company's web site. Customers within the U.S. will receive free shipping and handling, while a minimal charge of $20 will be applied to all international customers.

Until March 15, 2002, current customers of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, as well as any customer who has previously purchased from MacPlay's online store, will receive an additional $10.00 discount under the company's Customer Loyalty Program, linked below.

IMG Preview: Icewind Dale
Icewind Dale
Buy Icewind Dale

Massive Microsoft Giveaway Next Week
2:04 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games and Microsoft have teamed up to bring our readers a massive hardware giveaway. Each day next week, we'll be giving away a different piece of Microsoft hardware. Three of each item will be given away, which means you'll have 15 chances to win in all! Here's the line-up:

  • SideWinder Game Pad USB
  • SideWinder Precision 2 joystick
  • Internet Keyboard Pro
  • IntelliMouse Optical
  • IntelliMouse Explorer

Be sure to visit IMG next week for your chance to win one of these great game controllers. Special thanks to Microsoft for sponsoring the giveaway.

IMG Hardware
Microsoft Hardware

Australian DoD Picks Harpoon 3
1:57 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In a remarkable piece of news, Advanced Gaming Systems Inc. has announced a new licensing deal with the Australian Department of Defense for Harpoon3. The acclaimed naval warfare simulator was recently ported from the Mac to the PC by Harpoon3's author, Jesse Spears.

Here's the press release with more info:

On March 2, 2002 AGSI completed an arrangement to license the ADOD source code for Harpoon3 PC product.

This license allows ADOD to use the Harpoon3 code for educational and technical evaluation purposes.

Don Gilman, AGSI's President, said, "We are pleased that the many years of effort put forth by the original Harpoon II programmers has been recognized not just by the players, but by military professionals in an official capacity.

"This also says quite a lot about the dedication of our players and how that led to Jesse Spears' work to create the Harpoon3 product lines."

This is not the first military use of Harpoon, according to Gilman:
This actually continues the official use of the computer Harpoon family. The original Harpoon was considered an educational product by the US Naval Institute and was carried in their catalog for some years. It was also used at the Brazilian Naval War College.  Harpoon II was used by the US Air Force Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base.
Check out the Harpoon3 web site for more details. The game's Mac OS X beta version recently received yet another major update (to 3.4.2b4), available at our sister site, MacGameFiles.

Australian Department of Defence Licenses Harpoon3
Harpoon 3

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IMG Reviews Spider-Man
1:41 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games today has posted a review of Aspyr's recently released Spider-Man, a third-person action adventure based on the Marvel comic series. Players play as "Spider-Man," high school student Peter Parker, who is bitten by a radioactive spider and granted tremendous powers.

Here's a snippet from our review by Chris Barylick:

From the very beginning Spider-Man hooks you and pulls you in with what turns out to be an addictive combination of Oni-style acrobatic action and comic book cheesiness. The controls, which are a bit different since game play excludes the mouse and relies entirely on keyboard or joystick inputs, are a bit difficult, but flow easily once a pattern has been established. The standard configuration suggests you move with the arrow keys and perform maneuvers with the key pad, a combination that allows for about an inch of room between your hands. Simply remap the keys to a configuration that suits you and you’re in business.

The training simulator is extensive, allowing players to practice moves, combat, weapons and different fighting techniques, the combat modules deserving additional attention. If you can pass these, you can fight practically anything in the game. The simulator teaches the player to view the fight not as something to be waded into and slugged out but as a way to use weapons like the web shooters and acrobatic moves like clinging to the ceiling to your advantage. While Peter Parker may have the proportionate strength of a spider, he'll have his head handed to him if he tries to take on a dozen henchmen at once and the training simulator teaches the player this.

Be sure to check out the rest of our review by clicking on the link below.

IMG Review: Spider-Man

Sigma Chess Carbonized, Upgraded
1:39 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Every seasoned player knows that gameplay is ultimately what makes or breaks the staying power of a game, and while 40 years of dizzying progress in computer gaming technology has not availed to topple chess from its throne, it has provided useful service to the King of Games.

Sigma GameWare yesterday released version 6 of Sigma Chess, the excellent master-strength chess program by Ole Christensen that features "database support, PGN/EPD support, basic desktop publishing, endgame databases, novice levels, a true perspective 3D board, ExaChess compatibility, and much more."

The program is available in two versions: Sigma Chess Lite, an impressively functional freeware offering with certain advanced features limited or disabled, and Sigma Chess Pro, a full-featured commercial product available for the astonishingly low price of $15.

Sigma Chess 6 is a major upgrade offering the following new features, among others:

  • Unlike previous versions, Sigma Chess 6 is a Carbon application that runs natively on Mac OS 8.6, 9, and X.
  • Sigma Chess 6 can analyze multiple positions/games simultaneously by smoothly multitasking between each engine "instance."
  • In Sigma Chess 6 Pro it is now possible to perform database searches on specific board positions and opening lines.
  • Sigma Chess 6 Pro collections can contain up to 1 million games.
  • PGN files can now be opened directly without you first having to create a new empty collection.
  • HTML Export. Sigma Chess 6 can now generate chess related web pages with embedded chess diagrams, annotation text etc (similar to printing). It uses the same piece set naming convention as in ChessBase, so you can use your favorite ChessBase piece sets instead of the standard Sigma Chess HTML piece set.
  • Improved Position Library Support. Now supports standard position classification glyphs (=, +/- etc). Also, you can now easily build your own position library by importing positions from game collections.
  • A new player ELO dialog is included which shows more rating statistics, including an ELO history graph showing the development of the player's ELO rating. In Sigma Chess 6 Lite only the results of the first 10 rated games are included.

Much more information is available from the Sigma Chess web site, including the full user's manual in HTML format and a good collection of links to Mac-related and general interest chess sites on the Web.

The free Sigma Chess Lite is available for download from our sister site, MacGameFiles.

Sigma Chess
MGF: Sigma Chess Lite 6.0 (2.9 MB)

New Mudpie Shot, Movie Revealed
12:06 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Jim Stephenson's Riven Unofficial Home Page fan site for everything Myst pointed us to some very dramatic new media of Cyan's top-secret "Mudpie" project. One new screen shot of the broadband online game has been released, along with a new movie clip in the same setting. This is the first video to be released for the game, so Cyan fans will want to give it a look.

Apparently, the media was found thanks to an Easter Egg in the re-release of Myst Masterpiece Edition for the Mac. Here are the details from Stephenson's page:

These two goodies were actually hidden in an Easter egg in the Mac version of Myst Masterpiece. The egg sends the player to a hidden Cyan web page. Originally the page just had a "congratulations" message, but about a year ago Cyan added the screen shot and video. When no one found them, a Cyan staffer began dropping hints in Cyan's chat room. Recently, with the help of several other fans, I used the hints to find the egg (apparently I was the first person to find it). I contacted Cyan and they gave me permission to repost the shot and video, but asked that the URL of the hidden "congratulations" page not be revealed.
Fans will definitely want to head over for a look, as both are very impressive visual feats. The screen shot especially shows depth and variation in the Mudpie world not seen before. Stay tuned to IMG for the latest as Cyan leaks out any new information on the game.

Riven Unofficial Home Page: Latest News

Descent 3 OpenGL Updated
11:50 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Nearly one and a half years after the last update, GraphSim Entertainment surprised us with word of the public beta release of a new patch for Descent 3, the space-based, truly 3D first person shooter developed by Outrage Entertainment.

This small version 1.4.2b1 update is only for the OpenGL version of the game and resolves unspecified issues with nVidia graphics cards.Here's the word from GraphSim:

Update 1.4.2 Beta 1 (OpenGL) updates the Descent 3 for Mac OS 1.4.1 (OpenGL) application program and fixes the compatibility problem associated with NVIDIA graphics cards.

NOTE: Descent 3 for Mac OS Update 1.4.2 Beta 1 (OpenGL) will not run correctly unless you have the update, Descent 3 for Mac OS 1.4.1 installed.

The game was planned to be Carbonized for Mac OS X, though there's no word yet if this is a first step in that direction. Descent 3 fans running the game on nVidia cards should head over and grab version 1.4.2b1 now from our sister site, MacGameFiles.

IMG Review: Descent 3
Descent 3
MGF: Descent 3 Demo (48.4 MB)
MGF: Decent 3 1.4.1 & 1.4.2b1 Updates

NY Times on Game Development
6:00 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Leave it to the folks at The New York Times to cover the subject of game development in an interesting and in-depth manner — as if hiring David Pogue wasn't enough! Yesterday's technology section has two different feature articles on game development.

The first article, titled "So What, Exactly, Do Online Gamers Want?" discusses the state of the online gaming industry and how people play games online. Much is made of the fact that Majestic failed to be the crossover game that introduced online subscription gaming to the masses. Also, some interesting facts about online gaming are brought to light:

Nearly 50 percent of Internet users play games, according to Jupiter Media Metrix, the technology research firm. About 40 percent of online gamers are over 35 and half are women.
The second, "Far From the Market, Game Designers Dissect What Fizzles," covers a new conference called DICE, an acronym that stands for "design, innovate, create, entertain." The event is for top game designers to discuss the way they work and the trends that promise to change the industry.

Participating designers included Will Wright, creator of the SimCity games, American McGee, of Alice fame, strategy sim guru Sid Meier, and Shigeru Miyamoto, legendary creator of Nintendo classics like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers.

Here's Miyamoto on his fellow attendees and his relative fame:

This is a very peculiar and distinct crowd — I'm happy that I can experience a rock-star lifestyle, but only for a very short time.
Both articles are thoughtful, well-written, and worth a look. Click the links below to read. (Registration is required for access to the site's content.)

NY Times: Game Designers Dissect What Fizzles
NY Times: What Online Gamers Want

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More Neverwinter Nights Details
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

PC Game Central recently interviewed Greg Zeschuk, co-Executive Producer of BioWare's upcoming role-playing game Neverwinter Nights. The focus of much scrutiny from the game-playing community, Neverwinter Nights is expected to be one of the hottest RPGs released this year, particularly if the legions of Baldur's Gate fans have anything to say about it.

Though the interview covers much information that's already known, a few new details did manage to surface during the questioning. As far as game play goes, Zeschuk explains that the Neverwinter Nights campaign will focus largely on a player's single character rather than on a party. Players will be able to hire retainers and so forth, but the emphasis will be on that one character.

Of course, the main question rolling around for most gamers is the estimated release time for this title. As far as progress goes, Zeschuk notes:

The game is coming along very well — overall we're very happy with how it's going. The main thing we're working on now is making it fun — the real challenge in making roleplaying games is tuning them to be a fun experience rather than just a direct implementation of a rules system with some content tossed in for good measure.
Further into the interview, Zeschuk adds that BioWare is planning on a summer 2002 release.

For more information on Neverwinter Nights, including the possibility of a beta test for the multiplayer aspect, the full interview can be found at PC Game Central. Also be sure to stop by the BioWare web site, which recently posted two new screenshots of Neverwinter Nights in action.

IMG Preview: Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
BioWare: Neverwinter Nights Screens 3
PC Game Central: Neverwinter Nights Interview
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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Lineage Client for Mac OS X Patched
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Yesterday, NCsoft patched the Mac OS X beta client for Lineage: The Blood Pledge, their massively multiplayer online role-playing game that has the largest community in the world.

Here's what's new:


  • Support for windowed mode. Press cmd-return to toggle between fullscreen and windowed mode.
  • Right mouse button and mouse wheel function the same as the PC version.

Bug Fixes

  • Pressing the control key in the title screens no longer crashes the game.
  • Disconnects are detected and reported to the user.
  • Players can now quit out of pledges.
  • Mail sent from the Macintosh client is now readable on all platforms.
  • Pressing CTL-P will take a screenshot and place the file on the desktop.
  • Fixed some random spurious crashes.
  • Game music is fully utilized.
  • When deleting a bookmark, backspace can be used as an alternate to the delete key.
  • Emblems uploaded from the Mac no longer swap red and blue colors.
For more information on Lineage, head over to the game's web site, and be sure to read IMG's own preview at the link below.

IMG Preview: Lineage: The Blood Pledge
Lineage: Mac Client Patch

Mac Games News for Thursday, March 7, 2002

IMG Reviews the Yamaha LightSpeed3 CRW3200FXZ12:39 PM
MacGamer Reviews Geneforge11:58 AM
Bubble Trouble Coming to OS X6:00 AM
Gateway Rescinds, Reoffers Radeon 8500 Deal6:00 AM
Whong Itches to Test FPS Skills in Real World6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, March 7, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, March 6, 2002
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