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Wednesday, April 3, 2002

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Myst Miniseries Coming to TV
11:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Jim Stephenson's excellent fan site, the Riven Unofficial Home Page, was recently updated with very interesting news about a new television miniseries being planned around the famed world of Myst. It seems the Sci Fi Channel is looking to take up the cause with Cyan.

According to Stephenson, who talked with Cyan president Tony Fryman and with chief of design and production Susan Bonds, the writer and director of the Sci Fi Channel's recent successful Dune miniseries is a fan of the games and may have instigated the move.

The four-hour series is still in its early stages (a screenplay writer has only recently been selected) so Myst fans shouldn't expect anything too soon. Stephenson notes that Cyan is fully behind the project, and a quick press release is located on the D'ni Guild web site:

MYST (4-hour miniseries) - Inspired by the best-selling CD-ROM adventure game of all time, this four-hour SCI FI miniseries sends us on a journey to discover what really happened on the island of Myst. Along the way, we uncover an ancient civilization that existed for thousands of years beneath the surface of the Earth—a civilization that created magical books allowing one to travel to other worlds or Ages. Using these "linking" books in MYST, characters defy the boundaries of space and get entangled in the intrigue and mystery of undiscovered worlds. MYST will be a Mandalay Television Pictures production for SCI FI, executive produced by Elizabeth Stephen with Rand Miller and Susan Bonds of Cyan in association with Columbia Tri Star Domestic Television.
For the full scoop, be sure to head over and check out Stephenson's site.

D'ni Guild
Riven Unofficial Home Page
Sci Fi Channel
Buy Myst III: Exile

GarageGames Publishes April Newsletter
11:59 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

April is here, and GarageGames has welcomed the new month with another newsletter revolving around game development and their Torque 3D game engine. While much of the piece is mostly applicable to Torque developers working with the $100 engine, there are some interesting things for Mac gamers in general. There are a number of photos and anecdotes from the recent Game Developers Conference, as well as a very interesting focus on one of the many Torque projects, Dog of Prey.

Dog of Prey is an upcoming cell-shaded air action game based upon the Torque engine. The developers plan on releasing for free towards the end of the year for Mac, PC, and Linux, though a public beta could be out this summer. The newsletter's Q&A talks with the project leads and includes a number of screen shots of Dog of Prey in action. Here's a clip:

Matt: What kind of gameplay are you trying to create for Dog of Prey?

Frank: We are trying to have an arcade-oriented airplane combat game where team play and mission objectives are very important. We want also to put in the game some funny element: deformed plane, funny weapon, funny environment.

Laurent: We always will keep the team play in mind.

Matt: What is your favorite part of the game so far?

Frank: For me: flying at high speed in one of our map.

Laurent: Flying at maximum speed as lower as I can, and shoot Frank.

Frank: You never make it!

For more on Dog of Prey, be sure to check out the rest of the GarageGames newsletter.

GarageGames: April Newsletter
GarageGames: Dog of Prey Q&A

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IMG Reviews Geneforge
11:54 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review by Christopher Morin of Geneforge, the role-playing game from Spiderweb Software:

Geneforge is an RPG... that delivers a cunning storyline in a world where the class with all the power is called the Shapers. The Shapers, possessors of the oldest and most powerful form of magic, use their skills and magic to create life to do their bidding. The game starts out telling the player that he is a newly frocked Shaper and is being sent to a Shaper colony on a distant island to begin his apprenticeship and learn the secrets of the Shapers. Along the way, the living vessel the Shaper is riding, a dryak, is attacked by a mysterious craft. The critically wounded dryak dies only after rescuing the drowning Shaper and depositing him on a deserted island. You are that Shaper. You are only newly accepted into the Shaper ranks, so your skills are almost non-existent. Also, you realize that this island is one that is marked as "barred" on the map you had with you on your voyage. The only reason Shapers barred an island is if some experiment went terribly wrong. You now have to find a way off this potentially very dangerous island....
Follow the link below for the rest of IMG's review of Geneforge.

IMG Review: Geneforge

Only Mortal 2 May Feature Voice Chat
11:44 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

In a recent posting to the IMG Forum, Only Mortal developer Mike Davis revealed that he is working on adding voice chat to version 2 of the Mac OS X-only game server browser:

We're considering IRC in OM 2.x but right now we're working on Voice over IP.

It's running as a stand alone app at the moment and I've managed to chat to a friend in Vancouver, who's using MS NetMeeting, from the UK where I am at the moment, using a modem and the in-built microphone on an iBook.

The idea of it is for clan matches really but it *could* be used to a hosted server for conferencing.

If someone here wants to do an IRC component for OM 2.x, drop me a line to the mail address on the OM web site and I'll fix you up with the SDK for it.

While gaming voice chat solutions exist for Mac OS 9 (notably the free beta of Roger Wilco), currently no such solutions exist for Mac OS X.

In an earlier posting, Davis announced that version 2, currently in the Alpha stage of development, will also add Unreal Tournament support to the Quake II, Quake III, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein support currently offered.

Only Mortal, like other game server browsers, allows gamers to search for online multiplayer game servers by game, game type, map, latency, number of players, and other factors.

Only Mortal
IMG Forum: Gameranger on OS X
Buy Quake III Team Arena

Shadowbane Delayed
11:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

A recent development update at the official Shadowbane web site has revealed that the upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game may be in the works a little longer than anticipated. Originally slated for release sometime in the first half of 2002, Wolfpack Studios, developers of Shadowbane, have determined that their users will be better served if the game is held in beta testing for a few more months.

As those anticipating this game are no doubt aware, Shadowbane has been in beta testing for about a month and a half. Wolfpack cites the problems found in beta testing as a primary reason for the holdup, and now states that the title will "be ready when it is ready."

Their current development plan is as follows:

Our current plan is to steadily increase the number of players in the beta test throughout the next few months, culminating in a very large test group (thinking many thousands) some time this summer.

We understand that many of you will be disappointed that we have missed a deadline for this game, and we, along with Wolfpack, apologize for that. All of us at Wolfpack Studios and Ubi Soft greatly appreciate the support that you have shown for Shadowbane and we thank you for your patience while we work to complete the game and ensure that Shadowbane lives up to its full potential. We will be sure to inform you of our progress with the beta test, and we will make a best effort to include as many people as possible in that effort.

While this news may be disappointing to some, Wolfpack stresses that they do plan on getting Shadowbane out as fast as possible, but without compromising the quality of the game. Those interested in reading the full report can find it at the official Shadowbane site.

Shadowbane: Shadowbane Development Update
Wolfpack Studios

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Marius net Adds Ranked Myth:TFL Rooms
11:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In what looked initially like a good April Fool's Day joke, it seems marius net is now offering ranked rooms for Myth: The Fallen Lords. While the server admins often made clear in the past their distaste for running a ranked system, it looks like the fan base has convinced them to give it a try. While no ranked rooms exist yet for the second Myth game, the feature is promised soon for Soulblighter players as well.

The ranking is not real-time and uses a complex system of calculations to try to eliminate cheating and bias. A marius net forum thread explains the premise:

The new feature is TFL ranked rooms (with SB ranked rooms sooooooon). These are *not* your old ranked rooms however. This is how it works...

Daily a game data file is processed, summarized, and computed. This summary is what you see when you go to the summary report and view the 'all games 31 day' report. This data is then uploaded back to the game server and imported in. You can view people's TFL stats by typing .stats with someone highlighted. This will basically give you the data that is available on the web server.

Please note that this data is updated *once* a day, sometime in the morning. It is *not* realtime. Also - there are various reasons why a game might not be included in the counts. The information is presented *as is* - do not complain that you were cheated out of a game.

For much more information on how the system works, read the rest of the post and a corresponding explanation.

marius net
marius net: MCS Explanation
marius net: Marius net Ranked - no joke (:
Myth: The Total Codex

Mac Games News for Tuesday, April 2, 2002

In Other News: Elite Force 2, Lawnmower, & More12:16 PM
IMG Publishes The Slacker's Guide to Shareware11:48 AM
Over 600 Entries Received for id/IMG Giveaway11:24 AM
Otto Matic Update Adds Force Feedback11:02 AM
Get Amped Review, Seeks US Publisher10:48 AM
Apple Features Icewind Dale10:11 AM
ATI Offers Trade-Up Program9:45 AM
Radeon 8500 Officially Ships9:38 AM
Blizzard Cracks Down on Cheaters6:00 AM
Custer Gets Medieval6:00 AM
R.I.T. Offers First Master's Degree in Game Design6:00 AM
X-Plane Updated to Version 6.116:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, April 2, 2002 on one page

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