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Friday, May 17, 2002

IMG Talks Bugdom 2 with Brian Greenstone
11:21 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

IMG's publisher, Tuncer Deniz, talked recently with Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software about the development of their latest Mac game, Bugdom 2, the perils of publishing, Mac OS X, and other matters:

IMG: So, Brian, tell us a bit about Bugdom 2. Why did you decided to do Bugdom 2?

Greenstone: Bugdom 2 is more of a spin-off of Bugdom rather than a sequel, so we've put in all new characters, environments, and gameplay. This time we decided to make the game take place around and inside of a house, and we've added a lot more to the adventure aspect of the game since there are other characters who help you along in your journey. Additionally, we loaded the game up with new gameplay. Now that we have much more horsepower at our fingertips we have the capability of doing so much more than we could with the original Bugdom.

We decided to do Bugdom 2 for two main reasons: 1) We constantly get requests for more Bugdom levels, and 2) Bugdom does not run well at all in Classic mode and it cannot be Carbonized, so a new OS X friendly version was really needed.

IMG: Tell us about the development team working on Bugdom 2.

Greenstone: The game design is being done by myself and Duncan Knarr. Duncan is the artist from Otto Matic, and I used to work with him over at Mindscape many years ago. Mike Beckett is doing the music for the game - he's the same guy who did the music for Nanosaur, Bugdom, and Cro-Mag Rally. Up until Bugdom 2, I had been doing all of the character animation myself, and as a result the animation was pretty lame. But this time around, I've hired an actual 3D animator, my brother, Peter Greenstone. He's worked on many major motion pictures doing CG animation. Then of course, I'm doing the programming.

For the rest of our interview, follow the link below.

Bugdom 2, currently in early development, is Pangea's eighth game for the Mac and their 15th for an Apple platform (Pangea released seven games for the Apple IIgs). For more information on Bugdom 2, be sure to read our sneak preview by Michael Eilers, also linked below.

IMG Feature: Brian Greenstone Talks Bugdom 2
IMG Preview: Bugdom 2
Bugdom 2
Buy Bugdom 2

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Aspyr Picks First Hot Date Winner
2:23 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Each week this month, Inside Mac Games and Aspyr Media are giving away a copy of the upcoming expansion pack, The Sims: Hot Date, and we have our first winner.

Robert W. wins two movie tickets and a free copy of Hot Date for his "sincere, simple, and honest" description of his ideal hot date:

Making my wife fondu (her favorite) and eating out on the balcony. Sometimes the most romantic dates aren't overly complicated!
To enter the contest, describe your own "ideal hot date." What does that mean? Basically, if you were to take your girlfriend, or wife, or someone on a date, describe what your ideal hot date would be like. And please, folks... let's keep it clean, okay?

Winners are picked by the good folks at Aspyr Media based on response. So put some thought into it!

IMG Giveaway: The Sims: Hot Date
IMG Preview: The Sims: Hot Date
The Sims: Hot Date
Buy The Sims: Hot Date

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MPQDraft Eases Modding of Blizzard Games
1:54 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

On Wednesday, we noted the release of a Mac-compatible ".mpq" distribution of version 1.7 of the V&K Middle Earth Mod for Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, along with instructions for the mod's installation.

The cross-platform MPQ format is used not only by Diablo II and its expansion pack, but also by Starcraft, also from Blizzard Entertainment. The many third-party modifications (or "mods") packaged in this format generally run well on the Mac, providing a wealth of new gameplay for the Mac gamer who doesn't mind a bit of tedious file shuffling and renaming and who is careful not to forget which mod is installed.

Now, Jean-Francois Roy of MacStorm has alerted us to a Mac utility currently in development called MPQDraft designed to ease the process of loading third-party MPQ mods, and he has provided a demonstration using the V&K Middle Earth Mod:

This is to let you know I have created a program that transforms MPQ patches for Blizzard games into self-executing patches that will load and unload themselves automatically.

I have created such a Self-Executing MPQ (SEMPQ) for the Middle-Earth mod. It is compatible with Mac OS 8.6 up to 10.1 (using CarbonLib on Classic) and works with Diablo II classic and Diablo II X (includes the expansion). It's quite simple to use: download the file, extract it, then launch the extracted application. The first time it is run, it will ask you to locate the Diablo II application, after which Diablo II will launch (with the patch loaded). Subsequent runs won't ask you to locate the application unless it has moved. When Diablo II quits, the SEMPQ will unload the patch and then quit, leaving you with a clean copy of the game.

The program used to create SEMPQs is called MPQDraft and is compatible with Mac OS 8.6 up to 10.1 (using CarbonLib). It supports Starcraft, StarEdit as well as Diablo II. It is currently in beta stage.

To download the self-executing MPQ of the V&K Middle Earth Mod, or the MPQDraft application used to create it, use the links below. As MPQDraft is currently in beta testing, readers should exercise caution when using any SEMPQs made with it: back up your characters first. As always, be sure to strip your Diablo II characters of any Set and Unique items before using them with any mod.

(As noted on Wednesday, this latest version of the Middle Earth Mod requires an English or German version of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction 1.09d, and will not work with classic Diablo II, earlier versions of Lord of Destruction, or versions localized for other languages.)

IMG News: Mac Version of Diablo II Middle-Earth Mod
Diablo II
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
MGF: MPQDraft 1.0.0b5r2 (2.5 MB)
VK Middle Earth 1.7 SEMPQ for Lord of Destruction (4 MB)
Buy Diablo II

Dragon Arcadia Coming Soon
11:21 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Mac game maker Dracosoft has announced the upcoming release of Dragon Arcadia, a role-playing game that will pit players against a world overrun by dragons, with the ultimate goal being the elimination of Tiamat, the source of all the dragons.

The press release issued by Dracosoft has more on some of Dragon Arcadia's features:

With the help of the Dracosoft-developed Cobra Engine, Dragon Arcadia will keep its fans happy with 80+ hours of game play. Battle your way through random levels created by the Cobra Engine, seeking out the feared dragons. The Cobra Engine enables players to battle enhanced bosses and monsters in the Dragon Arena.
Dragon Arcadia is actually a replacement for an earlier title in development, Dragon Alpha, which had some bugs that prevented it from being fully developed. Those who registered for Dragon Alpha will be able to obtain Dragon Arcadia for free and will also be given the opportunity to participate in an upcoming public beta.

For more information on this title as well as screen shots and registration information, be sure to check out Dracosoft's web site.

Dracosoft: Dragon Arcadia

Gaming Performance of PowerBook G4/800
11:21 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Accelerate Your Mac! recently posted some information submitted by readers regarding their experience with Apple's new 800 MHz PowerBook G4. Among the features tested is the performance of the newly included ATI Mobility Radeon 7500, an upgrade of particular importance to gamers:

Quake3 1.31b5 tests in OS X showed slightly better than Apple's quoted 68FPS at 1024x768/32bit HQ settings. (69.x FPS). I applied the 's_chunksize 4096' tweak I've noted in some past AGP card reviews and saw 77.8 FPS at that resolution. The PB G4/667 with Radeon Mobility (16MB ddr) scored about 34FPS in that same test with no tweaks - so the PB G4/800 w/7500 mobility has twice the Quake3 1024x768/32bit performance of the previous 667 model.
These are impressive numbers to be sure, and really show off the power of the Mobility Radeon 7500 with its 32 MB of VRAM versus the previously used Mobility Radeon with its 16 MB.

Other features looked at include Airport range, the heat factor, and screen performance. Those interested in the full report can find it at Accelerate Your Mac!

Accelerate Your Mac!
Titanium PowerBook G4/800

Total Annihilation Sequel Announced for PC
11:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Infogrames has announced the development of a sequel to the very popular real-time strategy game Total Annihilation. The company has licensed the franchise to Korea-based Phantagram to develop and publish the title in Asia, while Infogrames will handle publishing to the rest of the map.

While no Mac version is specifically mentioned in the press release, MacSoft is the Infogrames label that brought the original to the Mac. Encouraging news for a possible Mac port is the mention of development for next-generation consoles as well as the PC, which means the code should be developed with portability in mind.

Here's a clip from the Infogrames press release:

The license deal between Infogrames and Phantagram signals a significant step in support for Asian developers by Infogrames. The caliber of the Total Annihilation series reflects the growing talent and abilities in Asian games development, and its recognition globally. Real-time strategy gamers have been eagerly anticipating the next Total Annihilation game, which promises to push real-time strategy (RTS) gaming to new levels under Phantagram’s direction.

"Total Annihilation is a wonderful franchise and we’re delighted that a new audience of gamers will have access to it through the Infogrames/Phantagram title," said Adam Lancman, Managing Director and CEO of Infogrames Studio Asia. "As one of the leading publishers and distributors of interactive games in Korea, Phantagram is the ideal partner with which to extend this franchise."

"With our expertise and know-how in the development of RTS, combined with our intimate relationship with Infogrames, the new Total Annihilation promises to be one of the most innovative and futuristic strategy games ever," said Sangyoon Lee, CEO of Phantagram Interactive.

You can be sure that we'll stay on this and bring you any new information on Total Annihilation 2 or a possible Mac port.

Infogrames: Real-Time Strategy Gamers to Be Totally Annihilated
Phantagram Interactive

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Sid Meier Talks Civilization III Technology
11:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Civilization III fan site has posted an interesting new article featuring a paraphrased interview with Sid Meier and Soren Johnson. The piece covers some of the more technical aspects of the game, as Johnson was responsible for the artificial intelligence and Meier was the game's namesake and overseer. A variety of topics are glanced over, though a full interview should be posted shortly.

Here's an except with details on the game's artificial intelligence and levels:

Soren was in charge of the AI and it took "7 or 8 months of his time to write it about half writing and then half testing." He'd set the AI to play against itself for ten minutes, and then rewrite as necc. He also tried playing against it himself, of course.

The house rule is that they test the game at Regent level. Anecdotally, they believe that people start at a lowish level and then work their way up until it becomes too difficult.

They've deliberately made the step up in difficulty level steeper than in Civ II (and I think it's generally agreed that they've succeeded).

I asked about the perception that the patches have partly been designed with the macho intent of preventing players using "loopholes" to win at high levels and Soren said that it depended on whether they thought that the strategy was "fair." He mentioned the de and re-reforestation ploy which worked originally and was then eliminated and said that he thought that "wasn't much fun."

For the rest, head over to Apolyton now. Stay tuned for the full interview to be posted in the near future.

IMG Review: Civilization III
Apolyton: Talking with Sid and Soren
Civilization III
Firaxis Games
Buy Civilization III

Mac Games News for Thursday, May 16, 2002

X-Plane Updated to 6.1512:47 PM
MacPlay Announces Value Series12:12 PM
MacPlay to Publish Bejeweled and Alchemy12:03 PM
First Mac GeForce4 Ti Impressions10:05 AM
New Dragon's Lair 3D Shots, Site Available10:05 AM
Bubble Trouble X Released6:00 AM
Combat Ranger Matching Service Announced6:00 AM
Historical Analysis of Nvidia6:00 AM
Pangea Announces Bugdom 26:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, May 16, 2002 on one page

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