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Monday, May 20, 2002

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Contraband Porting EV: Nova to Windows
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GameSpy reports that Ambrosia Software and Contraband Entertainment are planning to bring the hit title Escape Velocity Nova to the PC. The game will be joining the small but select group of important Mac-first titles ported to Windows — games like Myst, The Journeyman Project, Marathon 2, Spaceward Ho!, Crystal Caliburn, Harpoon, and Bugdom (also ported by Contraband) — showing the compelling appeal of the Escape Velocity series across platforms.

While details are still sparse, Ambrosia president Andrew Welch and Contraband's Chris Jacobson have confirmed the port in an Ambrosia forum thread. The project should be underway soon, according to Welch:

Yep, it is true -- we have been negotiating the contract for some time, and will be signing it and delivering a source drop for the port as soon as EV Nova 1.0.1 ships (which will be very soon).
While Mac gamers might be hesitant to share such a killer title with PC users, remember that their registration fees can help Ambrosia fund future development.

[Sean Smith contributed to this story.]

IMG Review: Escape Velocity Nova
Contraband Entertainment
Escape Velocity: Nova
GameSpy: Escape Velocity Nova
Ambrosia: Nova Being Ported to Windows
MGF: Escape Velocity Nova 1.0.0 (75 MB)

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IMG Previews Max Payne
12:16 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a preview by Eddie Park of Max Payne, the shooter that introduced slow-motion "bullet time," coming up from MacSoft and Feral Interactive:

I am a die-hard John Woo fan. And not just one of these recent wanabe fans either — I've been watching his movies since I was in high school, long before he was widely known in the U.S. People who think "The Matrix" started the usage of double-fisted pistols and slow-motion camera shots should recheck their facts and look back to such films as "A Better Tomorrow," "The Killer," and "Hard Boiled" to see who really started what has become a staple of action cinema.

That being said, when I heard that a game was being created that was not only inspired by John Woo, but allowed gamers to be directly involved in a John Woo-style universe, I was more than a little intrigued. My main concern, of course, was whether or not the development team would be able to pull it off, especially for a nit-picky fan such as myself. I vowed that if they screwed it up, I'd have to go Chow Yun Fat on them and run through their offices with dual pistols blazing. Or something like that.

My chance to scrutinize this title finally arrived this week in the form of a CD-R, a mock-up of the box packaging, and a couple of PR sheets. The title of this game, of course, is Max Payne — a game plenty of us have been waiting for. Just ask the myriad people that have begged me for a copy....

Developed by Remedy Entertainment, Max Payne is in conversion for the Mac at Westlake Interactive. For the rest of Park's detailed preview and a gallery of screen shots, follow the link below.

IMG Preview: Max Payne
Feral Interactive
Max Payne
Remedy Entertainment
Westlake Interactive
Buy Max Payne

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MacSoft Ships Stronghold
9:55 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacSoft today announced that it is shipping Stronghold to retail stores this week. Set in medieval times, Stronghold gives players the daunting task of protecting their land from invasion while keeping their people well fed and content.

Here's more from the official press release:

"Stronghold is a unique castle simulation game combining the best aspects of a City Builder and a RTS game," said Al Schilling, MacSoft product manager. "There are many challenges on the road to victory, and Stronghold will be of interest to both casual and hardcore gamers."

In Stronghold, gamers establish a settlement, build their castle, and engage in warfare to defend their population of lords, ladies, jesters, livestock and more. Gamers engage in warfare with troops such as engineers and tunnelers while using mobile equipment like catapults, siege towers, and battering rams. Other popular weaponry includes static siege engines including mangonel, ballista, and trebuchets.
Stronghold offers a variety of combat and non-combat game modes including Free Build, where players can build with no enemy to fight, goals to achieve, or time limit. The Siege Mission lets players choose to attack or defend pre-built historical castles. Additionally, the Combat Campaign allows players to fight their way through a 21-mission campaign against four ruthless opponents: the Rat, the Snake, the Pig, and the Wolf.

A robust, full-featured map and scenario editor is included in Stronghold allowing players to build and play custom maps. Other options include playing in a previously saved map, building a new map from scratch, and building a map for multiplayer mode.

As exciting is the enthralling multi-player game play for up to eight players via LAN or over the Internet using GameRanger.

Stronghold is currently available for pre-order from the IMG Store for just $39 (or $34 if you're a MacGames CD subscriber) as well as from the MacSoft web site.

Firefly Studios
Buy Stronghold

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EV Nova Patch at Final Candidate
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Gamers who have been enjoying Ambrosia Software's spacefaring hit Escape Velocity Nova should be pleased to hear that an update, version 1.0.1, appears to have reached the Final Candidate stage of testing.

The list of changes accompanying this patch is quite extensive. Here's a small sampling:

  • 'Duel with Moash Thurokiir' misn no longer shares an ncb with Polaris storyline
  • Moash, Aurora and Heraan system now use a independent ncb for visibility (not a Polaris one)
  • Reduced the number of ships called in the 'Observe Bureau' so that the mission is a little easier to comprehend
  • Increased number of ships that attack player in Polaris Storyline
  • Increased number of ships that attack the player in the Vell-os storyline
  • Did a global search for 'immanent' and replaced it with 'imminent'
  • Misn id 690 is now available from a spob that exists
  • Misns are now harder to get - reduced the probabilities of random basic misns being offered - all major storylines (excepting Vell-os) now require greater combat ratings to be offered, Vell-os has only a 5% chance of being offered at any spob

Those interested in seeing the full list can find it in the EV3 progress log at Ambrosia's web site.

For those unfamiliar with the title, EV Nova allows spacefaring gamers to shoot enemies, trade with various races, and explore the universe, all the while following whatever paths they see fit to choose. Check out IMG's full review of EV Nova for more information.

IMG Review: Escape Velocity Nova
Escape Velocity: Nova
Ambrosia: ev3 progress log
MGF: Escape Velocity Nova 1.0.0 (75 MB)

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Shadowbane Interview & E3 Plans
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

IGN PC recently sat down with Todd Coleman, Vice President of Marketing at Wolfpack Studios, and conducted a short interview with him. Unlike previous interviews, this one focused mainly on the long, convoluted development cycle of their upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Shadowbane, a title that many gamers have been waiting on for quite some time.

The bulk of the questions amount to pretty much the same thing: why has Shadowbane taken so long, and what effects have its long development cycle had on it? In one instance, Coleman notes that what was originally thought of as a mad idea has now become the standard:

IGNPC: Do you guys still feel like the black sheep of the gaming industry?

Coleman: I don't know. We've always tried not to take the critics and naysayers too seriously. After all, the audience loves to boo and hiss as much as they love to applaud and cheer.

It is sort of surprising, though, how many of the more recent game announcements have included PvP to some degree or another. One of the reasons we chose PvP was because it was the pariah of the market — as a small company up against EA, Sony and Microsoft, we thought the best strategy would be to pick a niche that (a) we enjoyed, and (b) no one else wanted to touch.

Somehow the concept of a dynamic, player-driven world went from being "a naive idea that will never work" to the "holy grail of MMOG development." The key difference between this perception isn't actually a technology or design revelation, but a recognition of a marketing truth — regardless of how well Shadowbane does, we were right about one thing: players certainly seem to want more control over the fate of their online worlds.

In other news, a recent post at the official Shadowbane web site notes their plans for the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), including the introduction of several new regions:

  • A new forest zone that comes to life, immersing the player with detailed trees, rivers, and lakes with swinging rope bridges and topped off with plenty of bandits to keep you company.

  • The City of Nightbridge, a fallen metropolis under a desperate siege. Experience flaming trebuchet rounds floating over the walls, see buildings burn and crumble! Draw your sword and jump into the fray with armies of combatants struggling to the last man against the oncoming hordes of the enemy.

  • And last, but defiantly not least: an Undead Wasteland complete with a menacing Vampyre Keep, surrounded by a menacing chasm, and filled with a deadly army of lifeless surprises waiting to meet you.

Players interested in either Coleman's thoughts on Shadowbane's development history or Wolfpack's upcoming E3 plans can find more information at IGN PC and the Shadowbane web site.

IGN PC: Shadowbane Interview
Shadowbane: E3 Plans
Wolfpack Studios

Master of Orion III Update, Concept Art
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official Master of Orion III web site was updated recently by Quicksilver's art director, Rantz Hoseley, with a quick note on the game's status. The title, which was delayed recently, is set to be published for the Mac by MacSoft this fall. More details are due to be released at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week. Here's the update:

Just to bring everyone up to date...

1. Development on MOO3 is going very well, and the game is shaping up nicely.

2. We're swamped right now getting the game finished and getting ready for E3, but we'll post updates as we get a chance. Please understand that we're a little busy here, your patience is appreciated.

3. We'll release screenshots and movies of the UI in action in a month or so, after debugging.

Stay tuned as IMG reporters head to E3 this week to check out Master of Orion III and many other titles. In the meantime, have a look at the new concept art now available.

Master of Orion III
Master of Orion III: Concept Art
Master of Orion III: Development Update
Buy Master of Orion III

MacSoft's Al Schilling on The Gamesome Mac
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Tonight on The Gamesome Mac, the weekly Mac gaming radio show, Andy Largent and I will be talking with Al Schilling, Senior Product Manager of Mac game publishing powerhouse MacSoft.

From Duke Nukem 3D and Quake to Myth III and Civilization III, MacSoft has brought game after hit game to our platform, year after year. We'll talk about MacSoft's history, the business of Mac games publishing, and, of course, their current and upcoming games.

As we do every week, we'll also serve up news, reviews, and commentary, answer listener questions along with our guest, and give away some great games to listeners in the show's live chat room.

The Gamesome Mac can be heard on Mondays from 8 to 10 pm Central Time (6 pm Pacific; 9 pm Eastern; Tuesday, 01:00 UTC) on the MacTV Network.

You can tune in live at The Gamesome Mac's web page, where you'll also find an archive of past shows with Westlake's Glenda Adams, Pangea's Brian Greenstone, IMG's own Tuncer Deniz, Aspyr's Michael Rogers, and Contraband's Bill Heineman (QuickTime is required for listening).


Custer's Desktops to Be Updated Fridays
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Beginning this week, Brad Custer, IMG's prolific and talented artist-in-residence, will be publishing his weekly desktop picture on Fridays instead of Mondays.

Custer recently celebrated his first year with Inside Mac Games, and whatever your taste in Mac gaming, you're sure to find a suit of eye candy fit for your monitor at Custer's Desktops.

IMG: Custer's Desktops

Mac Games News for Friday, May 17, 2002

Aspyr Picks First Hot Date Winner2:23 PM
MPQDraft Eases Modding of Blizzard Games1:54 PM
Dragon Arcadia Coming Soon11:21 AM
Gaming Performance of PowerBook G4/80011:21 AM
IMG Talks Bugdom 2 with Brian Greenstone11:21 AM
Sid Meier Talks Civilization III Technology11:21 AM
Total Annihilation Sequel Announced for PC11:21 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, May 17, 2002 on one page

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