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Wednesday, May 1, 2002

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Wolfenstein Single-Player Demo Planned
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Gamers eager to try Aspyr Media's newly-released Return to Castle Wolfenstein before buying the game may get the opportunity. On The Gamesome Mac on Monday evening, Aspyr's president, Michael Rogers, revealed:

We are planning to do a single-player demo.
A multiplayer demo of sorts already exists: late last year, id Software, who developed this first-person shooter along with Gray Matter Interactive and Nerve Software, released two Mutiplayer Tests, but they ran only under Mac OS X.

A demo of Return to Castle Wolfenstein's single-player campaign would not only give potential buyers a taste of that mode, it would also allow Mac OS 9 users, many of whom have older systems near the low end of the game's official requirements, to evaluate the game's performance on those systems.

Rogers would not predict a release date for such a demo, but he noted that its turnaround time should not be long. Elaborating, he said:

I'm not trying to make a firm commitment here, but I'm pretty sure that on our list of things to do is a demo for Wolfenstein.
A demo, however, is not the only Wolfenstein-related project planned at Aspyr, and the publisher must decide how to allocate resources with Westlake Interactive, who converted the title to Mac OS 9 and X:
We're also working on that project to do the 1.31 patch and some other technologies to try to build into the game as well.

You know, in fact, I'd be interested to hear from people if they would rather have the 1.31 patch or a demo, because frankly we're trying to set some programming resource priority as well.

The version 1.31 patch, already available for Windows and Linux, will allow multiplayer compatibility with the latest PC and Linux servers; the "other technologies," according to Rogers, include the PunkbBuster anti-cheating technology reported previously on IMG.

Rogers clarified that the choice Aspyr is weighing is not which project to do and which to abandon, but which project to do first. If you'd like to answer his request for feedback and help Aspyr decide, click on the "Comment" link above and voice your preference, and we'll pass your comments along.

To listen to the full interview with Michael Rogers in last Monday's broadcast of The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Mac gaming radio show, visit the show's archives, linked below.

IMG News: Devine Talks About Wolfenstein & Punks
IMG Preview: Return to Castle Wolfenstein
The Gamesome Mac
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
MGF: Wolfenstein MP Test 2 for Mac OS X (64.7 MB)
Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

IMG Reviews the ATI Radeon 8500
11:07 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review by Lucian Fong of the Radeon 8500 Mac Edition AGP video card from ATI Technologies:

Nearly a year and a half has passed since ATI has released a high end AGP graphics card for the Mac. The previous Radeon was a big step up from the Rage 128 Pro, in both performance and features. Mac users finally had DDR memory and hardware TCL, which had been standard on the PC for quite some time.

ATI's Radeon 8500 continues that trend and represents another revolution of graphics technology on the Macintosh. Not only does it come with the obligatory speed increase, but also advanced features such as Truform, Smoothvision (FSAA), and Smartshader (pixel and vertex shaders). ATI's second generation TCL engine and memory bandwith-saving technology, HyperZ II, serves to increase performance even further....

For the rest of Fong's detailed review, complete with screen shots and, of course, Quake III and Unreal Tournament performance benchmarks, follow the link below.

IMG Review: Radeon 8500
Radeon 8500

Jeff Vogel and Other Indie Developers Speak Out
10:49 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

An article posted at the Stratos Group should be of particular interest to Mac gamers, especially those fond of shareware. Through interviews with three prominent independent developers, the article discusses the current state of independent game development and goes into great detail concerning their trials and tribulations in going up against the overwhelming might of the big publishing houses.

What should really interest Mac gamers is that one of the featured developers is Jeff Vogel, founder of Spiderweb Software and maker of the famed Avernum role-playing series. Jeff has a lot to say about what it takes to get quality shareware made and noticed by the gaming public. As it turns out, it's a lot harder than most people realize.

Here's a sample from the article:

Independent releases simply can't compete with the budgets of the Big Boys. Whereas the major publishing houses generally attack the gaming market as a whole, Vogel says, "I cater to niche markets. I can't compete with the Big Boys head to head. I, like any smart small developer, look for a market too small for large developers, and cater to it as best I can." This tactic has certainly worked for Spiderweb.

Taking a similar approach is Joel [Mathis, founder of Idle King Software]. "The trick is to develop to your abilities. Instead of trying to make a huge first-person shooter based on the current technology, my first title is a puzzle game. There's a lot of simpler-to-develop game styles that have been effectively abandoned by the mainstream gaming industry because they can't support the five million dollar budgets, but I can make a puzzle game, sell it for ten dollars, and make a profit."

The link below will take you to the entire article. If you're one of the many who is still holding on to a piece of unregistered shareware that you use regularly, this article might encourage you to take that leap and send in your dues.

Stratos Group: The Current State of the Independent Developer
Spiderweb Software

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Gorky 17 Demo Released
9:48 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

e.p.i.c. interactive has released a demo of Gorky 17. Weighing in at 98 MB, the demo is available for download from our sister site,

Here's a brief description of the game:

Gorky 17 combines the best of three genres: (I) exploration and interaction with your environment (adventure), (II) character development (RPG), (III) engrossing battles with a wide variety of enemies (strategy). Adventure elements are smoothly woven into the strategic battles, to create an exciting world and get you intensely involved in the scheme of things. Here you’re not just an observer - you’re truly part of the action! The horror/s-f story, along with the in-game events and spectacular Softimage-created FMV cut scenes, is central to the game. The plot is realistic and rich, with riveting twists and turns that will keep you glued to your chair.

Gorky 17 is built for Mac OS X and requires at least a G3-300, 128 MB RAM and an 8 MB Videoboard. Recommended are a G3-500, 128 MB RAM and a 16/32 MB Videoboard and 200 MB virtual memory. The game can also be run on Mac OS 9 machines (where it will need more RAM), however, playing the game under Mac OS X is recommended.

Head over to to downoad the demo. The demo will also be included on the next issue of the MacGames CD.

Gorky 17 Demo (98 MB)
Gorky 17

SimCity 4 Announced
6:00 AM | Tristram Perry | Comment on this story

Electronic Arts has announced that SimCity 4, the long-awaited next generation of its popular franchise, is under development. Featuring new simulation and graphics engines, Sim City 4 promises new regional game play and the new ability to track the lives of individual Sims as they go about their daily routine. The new game will make its debut on May 22 at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles

According to Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw:

SimCity 4 is the ultimate SimCity experience. We have really lifted up the hood and made amazing improvements to the underlying simulation to give the player the most responsive, personal and satisfying SimCity yet.
Blending aspects from god games with classic urban planning, SimCity 4 lets players create realistic landscapes for their cities. Also, SimCity 4 cities are part of an entire region: each city a player now creates will become part of an ever-growing tapestry of municipalities that, once connected by transportation networks, can share and compete for resources.

No mention has yet been made about a Macintosh version of the game.

Electronic Arts

Trade Wars: Dark Millenium Interview
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Computer gaming site HomeLAN Fed recently hooked up with Realm Interactive's David Adams and asked a variety of questions involving their current project, Trade Wars: Dark Millenium. For those unfamiliar with the name, it is based off an old BBS game bearing the same title. Dark Millenium is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game with a science fiction background that involves the exploration of space and the completion of various mission-based objectives.

The interview covers a variety of topics, from the beginnings of Realm Interactive to the back story of Trade Wars: Dark Millenium. The game currently offers four playable races, optional player-vs-player combat, and a wealth of quests and missions for players to complete. The quest system in particular is singled out by Adams as being integral:

One of the key gameplay aspects of Dark Millennium is our quest system. We are building a highly robust, fully scriptable, questing system. Our goal is to continually add new quests to the game world, and to use some of these quests to advance the storyline of the game. This serves two purposes. One, the player should always have something new and interesting to do. Two, the player has an opportunity, through the quest system, to affect the outcome of the story.

In addition to offering standard RPG quests, our quest system is also being designed to support a certain degree of RTS-like combat quests. The fiction of the game involves huge warring factions whose wars are fought out through the in-game questing system. For example, one quest might send you to retrieve battle plans for a secret Nekron laboratory. The follow-up quest might involve assaulting that laboratory with a squad of 12 marines. This is just one example of how both RPG and RTS will be woven together inside of the questing system.

A publisher has yet to be found for this title, but Adams notes that he expects the game to launch by the end of 2002. The PC version is planned to be launched first, with Mac, Linux, and console versions to follow.

For more information on this upcoming title, be sure to check out the full read at HomeLAN Fed.

HomeLAN Fed: Trade Wars: Dark Millenium Interview

Mac Games News for Tuesday, April 30, 2002

IMG Enters Round 8 with Glenda Adams12:48 PM
Aleph One Updated12:30 PM
Lineage Update Today12:14 PM
MacMAME Updated to Version 0.5911:46 AM
Stronghold Mac Goes Gold10:47 AM
A-OK! The Wings of Mercury Blasts Off6:00 AM
Apple Investigates Archer6:00 AM
Aspyr Offers Spider-Man Special6:00 AM
Custer Returns to Castle Wolfenstein6:00 AM
HID Wizard Released for OS X6:00 AM
Star Wars Battlegrounds, Hot Date Hit FC6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, April 30, 2002 on one page

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