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Thursday, May 9, 2002

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Secret New Ambrosia Game Shots Released
7:48 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software president Andrew Welch recently posted three new screen shots of an unannounced, upcoming title to the company's web bulletin board system. The pics show what looks like a ship flying over a green landscape. Very little user interface is show, with only a rudimentary compass in place. The framerate is shown between 30 and 50 frames per second. Some lighting effects are already there, through, with a sun flare shining through in the last shot. One hint at the game's name could be that all three JPEGs have the acronym "MT" in them.

While the shots bare a striking similarity to a previous Ambrosia project called Ragnarok, that game was put away when its main programmer, Ben Spees, left the company. Welch himself makes it clear the new title is not Ragnarok, nor is it even using the same game engine.

Here are Welch's two posts to the forum thread:

hmmm... I wandered across these screenshots of a game today, I wonder what they are? Hint: it isn't Ragnarok.
No, it is not based on the Ragnarok engine.
So it seems we have a full-fledged mystery at the popular shareware company. If you've got a guess at the name or origin of the game, you can continue the IMG Forum thread already started about this secret title. Stay tuned to IMG for the latest from Ambrosia as they reveal any new secrets surrounding it.

Ambrosia Software
Ambrosia: Mystery game screenshots
IMG Forum: Ambrosia is being naughty again...

News from the Worldwide Developers Conference
12:44 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Apple Computer's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is in full swing, and the conference's web page is chock full of news, overviews, documentation, and even photos from the event.

Among the many items featured are:

Apple Honors Outstanding Mac OS X Products at WWDC
At this year's WWDC, Apple honored the following developers for the creation of outstanding Macintosh products....
Best Mac OS X Technology Adoption:
Runner Up: Vektor3 3.1.3, Manfred Schubert
A full-featured chess program with an innovative use of Quartz, Speech, and other Mac OS X technologies....
A Look Inside Jaguar
For a high level overview and screenshots of "Jaguar," the next major release of Mac OS X, check out this new web page.

WWDC Opening Day
Steve Jobs and Avie Tevanian opened Apple's 2002 Worldwide Developers Conference by previewing the future of Mac OS X, code named Jaguar. Visit this web page for a sampling of opening day photos and industry press reactions.

Hot, Fresh Docs Hit the Web
Apple has just posted several new pieces of developer documentation on the ADC website, including:

  • UNIX Porting Guide [Preliminary]
  • Objective-C Programming Language [Revised]
  • Complete Cocoa API Reference Available
  • Technical Note TN2051 - Mac OS X QuickDraw Performance
For all these topics and more, head over to Apple's WWDC 2002 web page.

Apple: Worldwide Developers Conference 2002

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Kick Off 2002 Coming in June
12:01 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Kick Off 2002, a fast-paced football (or soccer, as it is known in the U.S. and Canada) game will be coming to the Mac in June. According to an e-mail by IMG reader Danny Dinneed, the game is expected to go Golden Master this month and will be published by Softline Distribution, Ltd. The game is currently being ported to the Mac by Virtual Programming, the same company that ported WipeOut 2097 to the Mac.

Here's more info on Kick Off 2002:

One of the most successful selling football games of all time makes it to the Mac for the very first time, with a whole new look and feel. The Kick Off brand has sold nearly 3.5 million units world-wide over the past 12 years and now for the first time ever Mac owners, whether old or young, can experience a totally different and fun packed experience in football gaming.  What makes Kick Off so exciting is that it will be by far the fastest football game available to play. It throws the player head first into the pace and excitement of international soccer with a sprinkle of humour. Kick Off will stand out amongst other football games because of it unusual control system and playing mode.
Have you been itching to play a soccer game on the Mac? Maybe Kick Off 2002 will help relieve that nagging itch. Stay tuned.

KickOff 2002
Virtual Programming

Master of Orion III Preview at GameSpot
10:37 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

For those who simply cannot get enough, GameSpot is hosting yet another preview of the long awaited Master of Orion III, the third installment in the award-winning series. The preview focuses on the reasons for the delay in shipping the game, from this summer to fall, and the kinds of changes that have been made and are still going on.

Of most substance seems to be the elimination of the "focus point" system, a means by which the player was limited in how much could be done each turn. The new model focuses more on the consequences of becoming too large and taking too long to accomplish things, and actually rewards players with smaller, leaner empires.

Here is a small sample of the preview:

The centerpiece of Master of Orion III's ambitious design was the concept of "imperial focus points," which was meant to address the pacing problem large-scale strategy games often have late in the game, when there's too much for a player to manage comfortably. In a real government, we'd expect a bureaucracy to develop to deal with the management headache of an ever-growing empire. Focus points meant that a player could only have so much influence on the game, and the bureaucracy—an extensive system of automation—would handle the rest. Unfortunately, the result was that the players would spend as much time considering how to manage an empire as actually managing it.

The good news is that the developers have found a way to keep the essence of the focus point system and get rid of the artificial limits on how much a player can control. The AI developed to run your empire is still in the game, and players can rely on it more or less according to taste. You can set broad, empire-wide policies for the AI to follow, specify a production focus for a given planet or system, let the AI handle space combat, or handle any given element yourself. The design is more open to different styles of play, and it still tries to cut down on the need for late-game micromanagement.

Master of Orion debuted in 1994 to critical acclaim, and was followed by the equally successful Master of Orion II, considered to be one of the all-time best galactic empire-building games. Master of Orion III , a far more ambitious title, is now slated for release this fall, and will be published for the Mac by MacSoft.

GameSpot: Master of Orion III Preview
Master of Orion III
Quicksilver Software
Buy Master of Orion III

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Lineage II Interview
8:14 AM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

IGN's RPG Vault has posted an interview by Richard Aihoshi, also known as Jonric, with NCsoft's lead game designer Hyung Jin Kim and producer James Bae in which they discuss Lineage II, the second part of NCsoft's massively multiplayer online strategy and role-playing game (which is actually a prequel to Lineage: The Blood Pledge).

Here's a clip from the interview:

Q: What kind of overall gameplay experience are you planning to provide, and in what ways if any will it differ from the original game?

A: Like Lineage, the core content of Lineage II will be to get powerful players to organize blood pledges to make war with each other. In order to take over a certain area, pledges will surround the castle and fight members of another pledge. However, Lineage II as a 3D game will have a totally different mode of gameplay than the current style of Lineage.

For more on this interview, check out

There is no word of a Mac version of the game at this time, but you can check out the current release of Lineage, available for download at

Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle
RPG Vault: Lineage II Interview
MGF: Lineage 2.4 (377 MB)

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Dog of Prey Preview
8:12 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new preview at 3D Action Planet looks at Dog of Prey, a fun upcoming cartoon dogfighter from a team called Darkhand. The game is based on the Torque engine, a $100 3D engine from Oregon-based GarageGames that originally powered Tribes 2. Thanks to the engine's cross-platform nature, Darkhand plans to release Dog of Prey on Mac, PC, and Linux in beta form sometime this summer. The full release should follow and will be freeware as well.

The preview gives a rundown of this cell-shaded title including the different multiplayer game types, the many planes to be included, and the fun of just flying around, blowing things up. Here's an excerpt explaining two of the game's six modes:

Artifact Recovery - At first glance Artifact Recovery looks exactly like Capture the Flag, but on closer inspection it is seen to be so much more. An artifact is placed, totally at random, somewhere on the map, and the teams have to find it, pick it up, and bring it back to their base. The team with the most number of recovered artifacts wins (NOTE: Artifacts are attached via cable to the back of the plane that picked it up, and the other team can steal the artifact by shooting down the other plane, or flying into the artifact and claiming it for themselves).

Protect the Base - In this mission type each team is given a ground base and they have to destroy the other teams base for theirs gets destroyed. Fighters will cover the bombers who will move in with the heavy ordinance to level the place. Sounds like fun.

For more information, read through the rest of the preview and also check out the Dog of Prey web site. According to the article, the beta could be out as early as next month, so watch IMG closely for any new details on its release.

3D Action Planet: Dog of Prey Preview
Dog of Prey

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More Unreal Tournament 2003 Info
7:48 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Many gamers eagerly anticipating the release of Unreal Tournament 2003 have no doubt soaked up quite a bit of information on early builds of this title, as a recent press event held by Digital Extremes and Epic Games spawned dozens of previews and impressions across the 'Net. However, a lucky few, including the folks at HomeLAN Fed, were invited by publisher Infogrames to take a closer look at the game. The result is a slew of new details that should be of interest to Unreal Tournament fans.

Bombing Run, one of the new game types in Unreal Tournament 2003, has already been documented as a mode involving two teams and a ball, which players must try to fire into the opposing team's goal, located within their base. The ball can be passed to other players, though any player in possession of the ball cannot fire his or her weapons. The development team is considering adding multiple balls to the game, among other possible tweaks.

As far as weapons go, the translocator is undergoing several enhancements. When fired, it will leave a blue streak in its wake, making it more visible. In addition to this, it will also have a camera that can be used by the player as a surveillance tool of sorts. The Redeemer will be present, but may be modified so that it has to stick close to the ground. In addition, another super weapon, named the Ion Cannon, will allow players to launch an energy beam from the sky to the ground, similar to that of a satellite weapon.

Though Unreal Tournament 2003 seems to be sticking fairly close to its roots, some changes are being made, including the removal of the Assault mode and the modification of the Domination mode:

For UT 2003, Epic and DE altered the gameplay mode of UT's Domination somewhat. Instead of simply running around all of the control points, the team now has to hold all of them for 10 seconds after they are all captured in order to win a team point. This makes Domination much more of a strategic game than simply a game based mostly on speed. One of the Domination maps was a bit too large to really enjoy this mode more (we were limited to eight players at a time for the press event) but DE will like tweak the map and the mode before its release.
One substantial departure from the original Unreal Tournament is that Unreal Tournament 2003 will not include support for software rendering, meaning gamers will have to have some kind of 3D-accelerated video card in order to play.

Those interested in more information, including remarks on the levels, single-player options, and mod support can find plenty to peruse at HomeLAN Fed's article. In addition, IGN's Action Vault has posted an Unreal Tournament 2003 Q&A with quotes from the development team remarking on their favorite improvements:

Mike "Cruciform" Wagner: The switch from Sniper Rifle to Lightning Gun is a big improvement in my eyes. It takes away the cheap feeling of being nailed by a guy who camps his ass in a shadow and stays there for a whole match because no one can get close enough to find and kill him. Now the sniper needs to choose his prey a little more carefully, and be ready to move quickly, since players will be able to catch on to his location within the first shot or two. And the weapon effects just kick ass :) Seeing electricity coursing over an opponent as he cooks off is great visual feedback. Now if only we could get the monitor to give off the smell of burnt hair. :)
Be sure to check out the rest of the Action Vault's Q&A for similar quotes and information.

Action Vault: Unreal Tournament 2003 Q&A #3
HomeLAN Fed: Unreal Tournament 2003 Preview
Digital Extremes
Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

GamePad Companion Updated to 2.0.3
7:48 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Those who have been using GamePad Companion to get their game on in Mac OS X may be interested in knowing that an update to version 2.0.3 was recently made available. The update brings with it some fixes as well as new features:

Released version 2.0.3 of GamePad Companion which fixes a couple of bugs reported in 2.0, including problems using multiple devices, installing but not having the preference show up in the System Preferences, and certain supported devices not being recognized. Version 2.0.3 also has improved hatswitch support and better Spanish language localizations.
For those unfamiliar with this program, GamePad Companion allows gamers to configure various game controllers under OS X, including gamepads and joysticks (but not at present mice and keyboards), with features such as key mapping and sensitivity adjustment.

GamePad Companion is a shareware program produced by Carvware Software. Those interested in obtaining a copy or checking out a demo can find more information and links at Carvware's web site.


Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 8, 2002

IMG Talks with Ian Smith about GameSmith1:20 PM
Pre-Order Stronghold at the IMG Store1:08 PM
Bungie Store Reopens12:57 PM
Galactica A.D. Online Open Beta12:28 PM
Civilization III Expansion Pack Announced11:27 AM
MacGamer Interviews Sid Meier11:15 AM
High Voltage 2 Available6:00 AM
Interview with Richard Bannister6:00 AM
The Sims Online Update6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 8, 2002 on one page

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Tuesday, May 7, 2002
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