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Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Pangea to Announce New Game Tonight
10:12 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

As revealed one month ago today on The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Mac gaming radio show, Brian Greenstone, head of the popular Mac-only game developer Pangea Software, will be announcing his company's next game today.

The announcement will be made on Your Mac Life, the weekly general-interest Mac radio show, which airs live at 9 pm Eastern Time, 6 pm Pacific.

Greenstone has been tight-lipped about the new game, but did offer us this tidbit:

Since January, we've been quietly working on our next project which we will be announcing tonight. For now, I'll say that this project is the result of many, many requests we've received over the last several years from our customers.
Be sure to visit Inside Mac Games tonight after the announcements as we'll be posting a first look at Pangea's new game.

Pangea Software
Your Mac Life

Mac Version of Diablo II Middle-Earth Mod Available
1:31 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

As many fans of Blizzard Entertainment's role-playing blockbuster Diablo II already know,
there are a number third-party modifications that offer new vistas of gameplay for the player looking to spend even more time with the game.

One such modification is the V&K Middle Earth Mod for Diablo II: Lord of Destruction:

We tried to adopt the storyline, items and monsters to J.R.R. Tolkien's World of Middle Earth. In order to do this, we used various sources ranging from the Lord of the Rings or the Silmarillion to I.C.E. MERP sourcebooks about Middle Earth and of course much much totally made-up stuff for which good old J.R.R. would probably like to see us burning in Orodruin :)
The Middle Earth Mod has a long history, taking shape originally for the first Diablo and its expansion set, Hellfire (never released for the Mac), and then taking shape again and growing through many versions first for Diablo II and now for its expansion, Lord of Destruction.

Earlier versions of the Middle Earth Mod for Diablo II used the Mac-compatible ".mpq" distribution format, but more recently V&K, the mod's authors, switched to the Windows-only "-direct" format. Yesterday, Inside Mac Games wrote to V&K's "Khan" about the possibility of again making a Mac-compatible version available, and Khan replied this morning with good news:

You are right, any modmaker should make a Mac-usable mpq version available. Keep in mind though that since we changed two dll files, there will be minor differences between Mac and PC versions. These would be that Mac users would have less powerful potions, get more XPs by the Ancients Quest (act 5 statues) and would "suffer" from the critical hit bug (Assassins and Barbarians have 100% chance to deal double damage if they spent points in mastery skills, while they only should have 20% at the max skill level). Otherwise mpq and direct txt versions are compatible. If a Mac user is the host, the above mentioned differences will be there but for all players. If a PC user is the host, the game will run correctly. I would suggest having a PC host if one is available.

We have an mpq version of the current mod and we'll put a link to it up soon. We just didn't do so in the past because of the aforementioned differences. But it has been stated by people who should know about this stuff, that it will not cause any asynchronous behaviour.

Our thanks to Khan for making a Mac-compatible version available. While the Middle Earth Mod's web page has not yet been updated with the link, Khan was good enough provide it for IMG's readers, and you can download the .mpq version of Middle Earth Mod 1.7, the latest, via the link below.

Version 1.7 requires the English or German version of Lord of Destruction 1.09d; it will not work with classic Diablo II, nor with earlier versions of the expansion set, nor with versions localized for other languages.

Here are the steps to install the Middle Earth Mod, or any other Diablo II .mpq mod, in Mac OS 9 or X:

  • Open your "Diablo II Files" folder.

  • Backup your copy of "Diablo II Patch" (and, for Mac OS X, "Diablo II Patch (Carbon)").

  • Rename "DiabloIIPatch.mpq" (or whatever the mod's .mpq file is named) to "Diablo II Patch". (For Mac OS X, also duplicate this new "Diablo II Patch" file and rename it "Diablo II Patch (Carbon)".)

  • (Optional: change the new "Diablo II Patch" file's type to "D2pq" and its creator to "Dbl2"; this will give the file its proper icon but is not necessary to play the game, as the Diablo II application looks for this file by name only.)

  • Place the new "Diablo II Patch" file (and, for Mac OS X, "Diablo II Patch (Carbon)") into the "Diablo II Files" folder (replacing your original(s), which you backed up in step two).

As with all third-party mods, V&K warn players not to use their original game characters with the Middle Earth Mod, or at least to strip them of any unique or set items beforehand. Failure to do so can corrupt characters and crash the game. (Naturally, you'll want to back up your original characters first so you can continue to use them with the original game.)

Naturally, while Diablo II mods work in single-player and in open TCP/IP games, they are not usable on the Realms.

While this editor cannot attest to this mod's faithfulness to the spirit of Tolkien's great classic, it promises to offer entertainment at the least. If you begin to feel that life has lost some of its freshness as you run your seventh Diablo II character through the Barbarian Highlands on Hell difficulty, you might want to check out the V&K Middle Earth Mod. Or put the mouse down and go reread The Lord of the Rings.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
The Phrozen Keep
V&K Middle Earth Mod for Diablo II
Middle Earth Mod 1.7 (4 MB control- or right-click to 'Download Link')
Middle Earth Mod 1.7 Readme (16 KB)

Click to enlarge
Young's Modulus Updated for Mac OS X
9:34 AM | Patrick Leyden | Comment on this story

The 3D mech combat simulator Young's Modulus from Laminar Research, the makers of X-Plane, has recently been updated to run natively under Mac OS X. In addition to its compatibility with Apple's next-generation operating system, version 6.14 of the game features an improved physics model, enhanced artificial intelligence, and an overall improved look.

Young's Modulus takes place in the early 23rd century, as humanity has begun to reach out and colonize other worlds. When an unknown enemy attacks, the United Human Federation must use their All Terrain Attack Walkers, or A.T.A.W.s, to protect their cities and defeat the enemy.

The demo features both single-player and multiplayer modes and is available for Mac OS 9 as well as X. The full version of Young's Modulus, which includes free updates up to version 6.99, is $19.00 US.

IMG Review: Young's Modulus
Young's Modulus
MGF: Young's Modulus 6.14 (7.3 MB)

Click to enlarge
Tranquility Updated to 5.1
9:34 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

TQworld, makers of Tranquility, have updated the Mac OS X version of their product to 5.1. Mainly updated to be kept in sync with the recently released Windows version, it also comes with several bug fixes and features:

The 'C' key activates some new background color modes. You'll notice that one of the modes is activated by default, giving the game a blue gradient background.

The 'A' key turns on Autopilot mode. When you activate it, the game will (sort of) play itself. Think of it as a screen saver/demo mode.

The '^' key turns on 'follower' mode. This mode adds a rotation to the platforms that makes them appear to follow the previous platform. It really doesn't affect game play, it just looks neat and adds a visual variation to the game.

Some of the control keys have changed (again sorry) in 5.1 so press the '?' key to see the new mapping.

For those unfamiliar with the title, Tranquility, while hard to describe, is a 3D game of hide and seek that utilizes a hypnotic kind of sensory input to draw players into its world.

Those interested in experiencing Tranquility themselves can find downloads to the latest version either at the TQworld site or at MacGameFiles. The download, which is shareware, is sized at around 13.1 MB, and allows newcomers to try out demo levels before deciding whether or not to purchase a full membership.

IMG Review: Tranquility
MGF: Tranquility 5.1 (13.MB)

New Apple Xserve Promise of Future Offerings?
9:34 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday, Apple held a press conference in which they announced their first rack-mounted server, Xserve. The machine is probably not for many enthusiasts, but is targeted rather at institutions and ISPs that want to move their servers to a G4-based solution running Mac OS X. This doesn't mean there isn't anything for the Mac gamer to get excited about though.

The Xserve features dual G4 processors running at 1 GHz, and for the first time in a Mac machine, four DIMM slots supporting up to 2 GB of 266 MHz PC2100 DDR SDRAM. This much faster RAM has been rumored in Apple towers for some time (and has become a standard on the PC side), so it's great to see it finally show up in Apple's hardware as well.

Readers can hope the Xserve is a precursor to new Power Mac architecture down the road. New rebates on G4 Power Macs running through July would seem to indicate an upgrade is on the way, but of course only Apple can tell when and where new hardware will be released.

For ISP employees lucky enough to get an Xserve, you'll be happy to know the box could probably be used as an excellent gaming rig as well. The Xserve can be upgraded with a 64 MB ATI Radeon 8500, making this one very thin (1.75 inches) and powerful gaming machine. For the complete scoop on the Xserve, check out the Apple web site now.

Apple: Xserve

Mac Games News for Tuesday, May 14, 2002

GeForce4 Titanium Shipping from Apple1:59 PM
IMG, Others Win Moofie Gaming Awards1:29 PM
IMG Store Begins Max Payne Pre-Orders12:26 PM
IMG Interviews Aspyr's Ted Staloch12:25 PM
Unreal Tournament X Feedback Requested10:09 AM
Apple Previews Stronghold6:00 AM
New Medal of Honor Screenshots Available6:00 AM
Official Unreal Tournament 2003 Page Live6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, May 14, 2002 on one page

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