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Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Star Wars Battlegrounds, Hot Date Hit FC
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media's Amy Torres has sent out the April edition of the company's monthly Newsletter just in time, announcing a number of great things for Mac gamers.

Foremost among the announcements is the word that both Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and The Sims: Hot Date expansion are now at Final Candidate status. This means that, pending final testing and approvals, the games could be in the hands of Mac gamers in a few short weeks.

Here's a clip from the Aspyr Newsletter about Galactic Battlegrounds:

Just in time for the movie? Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds conversion has recently reached FC. Brad Oliver, of Westlake Interactive has been knocking conversion milestones out. We hope to go into duplication in the next two weeks.

As a special promotion, the first run of Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds for the Mac will include a 16 page Prima Hint Book in the box. This is a special offer for the Mac version.

Other good news is that Undying is nearing final candidate status as well, with Glenda Adams making great progress on the port, currently in beta. This Unreal Engine-based thriller received much acclaim on the PC side and is sure to be a hit on the Mac as well.

On the World War II front, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is now shipping, and it seems the other Quake 3-based game, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, is marching through its beta development very quickly.

For the full scoop on all of these titles and more, be sure to sign up for the Aspyr newsletter on their web site. You can also find it posted in the "Inside Aspyr" section under "Newsletters."

Aspyr Media
Inside Aspyr
Westlake Interactive
Buy Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds
Buy The Sims: Hot Date

IMG Enters Round 8 with Glenda Adams
12:48 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

IMG has posted the eighth part in its continuing series of conversations between publisher Tuncer Deniz and legendary Mac games programmer Glenda Adams, president of Westlake Interactive. Here's an excerpt:

Tuncer: What kind of games do you like to play? What makes a game good?

Glenda: I tend to enjoy very immersive games, mostly role playing and action. A game like Deus Ex that really pulls you into its world, and has a very consistent gaming experience. It doesn't always have to be a plot heavy game that draws me in though, I spent a lot of time playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, because you could get such intense concentration on your skater and the moves you were doing. I like a game that I can lose myself in for a while. If I knew exactly what makes a game good I'd be sitting on the beach right now, counting my money :) It's really an intangible thing, like what makes a book or movie "good." I think good games have immersion in common—even a game like Tetris will draw you in to a state of intense concentration.

Tuncer: What kind of games do you hate? What's the worst one you've ever played?

Glenda: Hmm... There are the obvious "bad" games that are just poorly written, or extremely buggy, or have bad graphics. Everyone can probably name several of those. I think the worst kind of game is something that really shows promise and you get excited to play, but then doesn't deliver, either in execution or in game design. I don't think it's fair to pick on other people's games, so out of games I've been involved with, the one that always comes to mind for the most disappointment was Klingon Honor Guard. It wasn't a horrible game, there were parts that were very cool. But overall it didn't deliver on a great license like a game like Elite Force did. And because it was rushed to release on the PC by the original publisher, it had some really rough edges later in the game. But "best" and "worst" games are funny—I've heard from a few people that honestly thought KHG was one of the best games they'd played. They really loved it.

For the rest of their conversation, follow the link below.

IMG: One on One with Glenda Adams (Part 8)
Westlake Interactive

Aleph One Updated
12:30 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Loren Petrich of the Marathon Open Source project released yesterday a new build of Aleph One, the updated engine for Bungie's classic first-person shooter, featuring such modern improvements as OpenGL acceleration, high-resolution textures, scripting support via a Marathon Markup Language (MML), and now, animated 3D models:

Support for animated 3D models, courtesy of Brian Barnes's Dim3 format — more at

  • The MML for doing that is to create child elements of called with attributes seq (Marathon-engine sequence) and model_seq (model sequence) — it maps a Marathon-engine sequence onto a model sequence.

  • The sound and timing info is still in the shapes file; each model frame is associated with a shapes-file frame (first model - first shapes, etc.).
For more information on Aleph One or to download the new release, visit the Marathon Open Source project via the link below.

Marathon: Aleph One
Bungie Studios

Click to enlarge
Lineage Update Today
12:14 PM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

NCsoft announced yesterday afternoon that the following changes would be published today for Lineage, their massively multiplayer online role-playing game, during it's 10:00 am Central Time maintenance:

  • A bug with the mage set of armor has been corrected. Players will no longer lose mana when restarted while wearing this armor.

  • Haste will not continue to affect a resurrected monster, unless hasted again after the resurrection.

  • Corrected a bug where the monster damage animation was playing even if a "miss" instead of a hit occurred.

  • Fixed a bug with dog names reverting back to the original name.

  • Corrected a bug with the enchanter and polymorpher NPC payments.

  • Corpse decay is now between 45 and 60 seconds for monsters, and 5 minutes for dogs.

  • The vendor named "Buakheu" sells Bless of Eva for 330 adena.

  • A new animation for character level-up was added.

  • The magic gem requirement for making elven wafer was removed.

  • The "go on alert" option was removed from the dog control menu.

  • Tsurugi is now one-handed.

  • Some new items have been added to Lineage. We will allow for player discovery to announce what these items are.

  • Specific "boss" monsters have been rebalanced. This rebalancing can possibly include loot, strength, and spawn times. The monsters changed are: Baphomet, Beleth, Necromancer, Giant Ant Queen, Death Knight.

  • Arena rental re-activated.

For current players, any updates to the client software are downloaded automatically from the Lineage servers. For new users, the 377 MB Lineage client, which requires Mac OS X, is available for free via CD-ROM from the game's web site, and, for the patient and swift, via download from our sister site,

New users may play for free for 30 days before deciding whether to pay the monthly subscription fee. For more information on Lineage, visit the game's web site and be sure to read IMG's preview, both of which are linked below.

[Sean Smith contributed to this story.]

IMG Preview: Lineage: The Blood Pledge
Lineage News: Publish Announcement
MGF: Lineage 2.4 (377 MB)

MacMAME Updated to Version 0.59
11:46 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Over the weekend, the tireless Brad Oliver released version 0.59 of MacMAME, the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.

This phenomenal freeware application emulates standalone arcade consoles from the late '70s through the late '90s — 1820 unique games with a total of 3290 variants.

Here's what's new in version 0.59, along with the names of the programmers who contributed the improvements:

  • In sync with the Win32 0.59 build. [Brad Oliver]
  • Many visual/cosmetic glitches under OS X are now fixed. [John Butler, Brad Oliver]
  • Several bug fixes for the PPC 68020 core. Taito F3 games should work much better now. [Kent Miller]
  • HID Manager support in OS X. [Brad Oliver]
  • Much cleanup and deadwood removal. [Brad Oliver]

MacMAME is Carbonized to run natively on Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It requires a digital image of the ROMs (instructions encoded into the hardware read-only memory) from the arcade games to be emulated.

For more information on MacMAME, visit the project's web site, linked below. The emulator is available for download from our sister site,

MGF: MacMAME 0.59 (4 MB)

Click to enlarge
Stronghold Mac Goes Gold
10:47 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacSoft today announced that Stronghold for the Mac has gone gold and will begin shipping to stores May 21. Stronghold is a unique "castle sim" that combines the best aspects of city builder and real-time strategy game. Set in medieval Europe, Stronghold challenges players with the daunting task of protecting their land from invasion, while keeping their people well fed and content.

Game features include:

  • Medieval warfare with siege troops such as engineers and tunnelers, mobile equipment like catapults, siege towers, and battering rams, and static siege engines including mangonel, ballista, and trebuchets

  • Robust, full-featured map and scenario editor

  • Enthralling multi-player game play for up to 8 players via LAN or over the Internet

  • Four separate game modes: economic (non-combat) campaign; siege famous historical castles; test castle building prowess in the "Siege That" challenge mode; and freebuild mode to peacefully design your ideal castle

The final system requirements are as follows:

  • 350 MHz G3 or faster processor (500 MHz or faster for on-line play)
  • Mac OS 8.6 or higher (Carbonized for OS X)
  • Rage 128 or better video card
  • 128 MB RAM, and 750 MB free hard disk space
  • Internet or LAN connection required for on-line play

In related news, Stronghold for the Mac is now available for pre-order at the IMG Store for just $39. If you're a MacGames CD subscriber, you can pre-order the game for $34.

Buy Stronghold

A-OK! The Wings of Mercury Blasts Off
6:00 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

The space simulator software company You Are Go! has started shipping A-OK! The Wings of Mercury 3.0 for the Classic Mac OS. The educational game simulates America's first spacecraft, Project Mercury. Players can choose from orbital missions like John Glenn's 1962 flight or sub-orbital missions, simulating the first two American space flights by Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom.

The program also features the A-OK! Mission Control Center, an application that simulates the consoles at Mercury mission control and allows up to ten participants to assume the roles of Flight Dynamics Officer, Flight Surgeon, Cap Com, etc. The networked simulations can run on a LAN or over the Internet, and a tool kit for mission modification is included.

Here's an excerpt from the press release on this spacecraft simulator's staggering detail:

The operation of every gauge, light and switch in the spacecraft is simulated to a high degree of fidelity. So accurate are the spacecraft systems that users consult reproductions of the actual flight documentation used by the Mercury astronauts. The simulator can generate hundreds of failure scenarios that require split-second decisions to survive.
With the retail version priced at $59.95, A-OK! The Wings of Mercury 3.0 can also be had as a downloadable demo version for those who want to try before they buy. However, the demo version is restricted to sub-orbital, non-networked simulations and does not allow the use of the A-OK! Tool Kit. According to the company's web site, a Mac OS X-native version will be released shortly. The program is currently unavailable for Windows.

A-OK! The Wings of Mercury
A-OK! The Wings of Mercury Demo

HID Wizard Released for OS X
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

In an interesting bit of software wizardry that should be of interest to both gamers and developers, Z Sculpt Entertainment has made available a development library titled HID Wizard that allows InputSprocket compatibility for Carbon applications under Mac OS X. According to their web site, no device drivers are necessary for it to work.

Here's a clip from the press release detailing its workings:

It is a FREE compatibility library meant to replace InputSprocketLib. Simply add it to your CodeWarrior project and you are ready to go! Under classic, it tests for the presence of InputSprocket and calls it internally. Under OS X, it is implemented as a layer above the HID Utilities. We have included a sample project which shows how to use it. It is donation-ware, in other words, the end user can choose to register and contribute some money, but all features are enabled "out of the box." It will always be free to developers.
HID Wizard allows controller configuration via a graphic layout and uses a click-and-drag interface for the arrangement of buttons. A few sample layouts for popular controllers such as the MacAlly iShock II are included.

As HID Wizard is still in beta, a few featurs, such as analog support and event timestamps, still need to be implemented. Users who would like to try it out can find it at the official Z Sculpt site. It carries a shareware fee of $9.95 for users, but is free for developers who wish to implement it. More information can be found at the official HID Wizard page.

Z Sculpt: HID Wizard

Click to enlarge
Aspyr Offers Spider-Man Special
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As Spider-Man fans across the nation tear themselves to pieces in anticipation of the upcoming movie premiere, Mac game publisher Aspyr Media has decided to throw a little fuel on the fire by offering a special deal on Spider-Man. For this week only (April 29 through May 5), Aspyr will be offering Spider-Man for the discounted price of US$29.95, plus shipping and handling.

Here's a clip from Aspyr's Spider-Man page for those that may have missed this title:

In highly detailed environments, inspired by the upcoming feature film, Spider-Man must use his Spider-Sense to side-step danger, his Spider-Agility and quick wits to evade pursuit and his Spider-Strength to overcome the Green Goblin and other arch enemies, in his pursuit to rid the world of evil.
More information on this game can be found in IMG's review. For those that have been waffling on whether or not to purchase this title, this is a great opportunity to pick it up on the cheap, not to mention a good way to get a taste of the web-slinger before he hits the silver screen.

IMG Review: Spider-Man

Click to enlarge
Apple Investigates Archer
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new preview at the Apple Games web pages looks at No One Lives Forever, the upcoming first-person shooter from MacPlay starring the spy stunner Cate Archer. The game is coming to Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X very soon now, and the article gives gamers a good overview of the ins and outs of this humorous shooter.

No One Lives Forever features an acclaimed single-player mode, as well as multiplayer mayhem with up to 16 Mac or PC players via the in-game GameSpy interface. Here's a clip from Apple's preview:

Part "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and part James Bond, with liberal dashes of Austin Powers and "Get Smart" thrown in for good measure, this first-person shooter features 60 single-player levels, 10 multi-player levels, 30 weapons and gadgets, and 20 over-the-top characters....

No One Lives Forever also departs from other first-person shooters in the variety of ways you interact with the environment. Thanks to the advanced capabilities of the Lithtech engine, at different times in the game you'll find yourself riding a motorcycle or even falling through the air without a parachute.

As well as describing the gameplay, the preview also provides cheats, a rundown of secret spy tools, and the first Mac system requirements:

  • Mac OS X version 10.1 or Mac OS 9 or higher
  • 350 MHz PowerPC G3 processor or faster
  • 128 MB of RAM
  • 3D accelerator with 8 MB video RAM
  • 400 MB hard disk space

If your machine is up to the task, be sure to get your No One Lives Forever pre-order in now at the IMG Store. MacGames CD subscribers can get their early orders in for only $39.

Apple: No One Lives Forever Preview
No One Lives Forever
Buy No One Lives Forever

Custer Returns to Castle Wolfenstein
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

IMG's resident artist, Brad Custer, has wrought a tour de force of desktop imagery — no fewer than 18 desktops inspired by the release of Return to Castle Wolfenstein from Aspyr Media:

id Software's definitive first person shooter returns to reunite you in an apocalyptic battle with ultimate evil. Rage against Hitler's diabolical machine in single-player action or wage war in team-based multi-player mode — all in a full-blown Fatherland graphically realized to Germanic perfection. Face your fear. The fate of humanity is in your hands.
To grace your screen with Custer's Desktops, follow the link below.

IMG: Custer's Desktops
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Mac Games News for Monday, April 29, 2002

No One Lives Forever Pre-Order at IMG Store1:35 PM
Apple Unveils the eMac1:05 PM
MacGamer Interviews Aspyr's Rogers12:43 PM
Apple Releases Gamer's Dream PowerBook12:16 PM
IMG Reviews the PowerBook G4/66711:05 AM
Aspyr's Michael Rogers on The Gamesome Mac6:00 AM
Galactic Patrol Special Assignment Announced6:00 AM
Installation Guide for Retail Tac Ops6:00 AM
Shadowbane Site Revamped6:00 AM
Sid Meier Interviewed Yet Again6:00 AM
Unreal Tournament 2003 Hack Protection Details6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, April 29, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, April 26, 2002
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Monday, April 22, 2002

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