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Wednesday, June 12, 2002

MacSoft to Publish Neverwinter Nights
10:18 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

As promised, here's the big announcement. MacSoft today signed an agreement with BioWare Corp. to bring Neverwinter Nights to the Macintosh. Neverwinter Nights is based on the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game published by Wizards of the Coast and is scheduled to ship in the summer of 2002, only two months after the PC version. We also have exciting news about the Aurora NWN Toolset coming to the Mac (be sure to scroll down all the way).

Here's more from the official press release:

“We are thrilled to bring a product of this caliber to the Macsoft lineup,” said Al Schilling, product manager for MacSoft. “The Macintosh community is already eagerly awaiting Neverwinter Nights because of its dynamic single player storyline, advanced graphics technology, revolutionary on-line multiplayer capabilities and the new “Dungeon Master” feature”.

“Neverwinter Nights will provide limitless adventure and Macintosh gamers will have unprecedented game play options as they join the existing Neverwinter Nights community,” said Trent Oster, BioWare’s Neverwinter Nights producer. “Due to the player options, this game builds excitement as the first complete role-playing system, allowing players to step into the shoes of the Dungeon Master to tell and create their own stories and adventures.”

The ‘official campaign,’ which can be played in single or multi-player, will thrust gamers into a deep, enriching fantasy world with over 90 hours of gameplay across four engrossing chapters. Players will enjoy a fast-paced adventure, revolving around an epic story of faith, war and betrayal. The intuitive user interface was designed to be accessible to new RPG gamers as well as the hardcore fan base.

In a gaming first, Neverwinter Nights allows gamers to design, build, and share their own Dungeons & Dragon role-playing modules using the “BioWare Aurora Neverwinter Toolset.” Gamers can take the role of online “Dungeon Master,” creating and presenting their challenges to the Internet community with support for dozens of players.

Online gamers will be able to enhance their Neverwinter Nights experience with an exclusive community that will foster the development of new adventures and offer resources for Dungeon Masters, module builders and players.

Neverwinter Nights will be available worldwide in Fall 2002 for a suggested retail priced of $59.99.

IMG talked to MacSoft's Al Schilling about one of the big questions that still seems to be looming: will the Aurora Neverwinter Toolset be ported to the Mac? Here's Schilling response:
Rather than see NWN released for Mac as just a client in the PC box, we've opted to license the Mac rights so that we can bring NWN-in its entirety-to Mac users. We are awaiting receipt of the toolset code so that we can assess the cost of porting the tools. Currently, our intent is to offer the toolset to Mac users.
That's fantastic news for Mac gamers! So while there's no guarantee the tools will be coming to the Mac, there's a good chance they will be ported, provided the costs to port them are reasonable.

Neverwinter Nights Mac will be available for Mac OS X only. We'll be sure to keep you posted on any further developments.

Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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IMG Posts Stronghold Review
2:30 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a review of MacSoft's new medieval strategy game, Stronghold. The game is described as a mix of three gaming styles - ruler sim, city builder and RTS.

Here's a snippet from the review:

So, what about offense? How exactly does one destroy a castle’s defenses? Let’s just say that there’s more than 1 way to skin a peasant. On those missions where offense is called for, there are numerous tools at the player’s disposal. For example, engineers can be called upon to build siege equipment, such as the catapult, trebuchet (REALLY big catapult), ballista and siege tower. Unlike siege equipment in a game such as Age of Empires II, siege equipment in Stronghold must also be manned and operated by engineers. Trebuchets don’t magically activate themselves, they require 3 engineers in order to load, aim and fire. Of course, any engineer manning siege equipment is 1 less available for building siege equipment. Once built and operated, trebuchets and catapults can do a number on anyone’s best-laid defenses.

Aside from being able to launch heavy boulders that crush castle walls and the occasional peasant, trebuchets and catapults have a whimsical side use. In order to thin out the ranks of those hiding behind their mother’s skirts inside the castle, it’s possible to launch dead cows over the walls, spreading disease and sometimes-instant death from above. I ask, what other game can deliver the whimsy of flying cattle corpses? None, my friends! Ladders and siege towers may also be used to quickly scale a castle’s walls. It’s even possible to command men to tunnel under walls and fill in pesky motes for easy crossing. Just about anything goes when it comes to breaking an enemy’s fortifications.

If you're into strategy games, be sure to check out the rest of our review. If you like what you hear, you'll be happy to hear that Stronghold can be obtained from the IMG Store for $34 - if you're a MacGames CD subscriber. Otherwise, the game costs $39.

IMG Review - Stronghold
Firefly Studios
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Aspyr Ships Clive Barker's Undying
1:57 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

In a press release issued yesterday, Aspyr said it began to ship Clive Barker's Undying, the thrilling first-person shooter of horror. The game was ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive.

Here's more from the official press release:

Aspyr Media Inc., in a continuing partnership with Electronic Arts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, ships 'Clive Barker's Undying' for the Macintosh today, with the conversion performed by Westlake Interactive. 'Clive Barker's Undying' is shipping built for Mac OS X.

The year is 1923 and players are Patrick Galloway, a rugged adventurer and investigator of the supernatural. Galloway has been summoned by an old friend Jeremiah Covenant, to his family estate in Western Ireland. Nearly a quarter of a century earlier, he and his younger siblings had performed an ancient ritual at the Isle of the Standing Stones. As a result of an innocent incantation, the Covenant siblings unleashed a horror beyond comprehension. Now on his deathbed, Jeremiah knows that Galloway is his last chance to contain the deadly curse and purge the evil from the Covenant Estate.

You can order Clive Barker's Undying now from the IMG Store for $37. Be on the lookout for our review of Undying soon. In the meantime, check out our extensive preview.

IMG Preview - Clive Barker's Undying
Clive Barker's Undying
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
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DOWN Release July 1
1:52 PM | Vern Xiong | Comment on this story

Fantasoft has announced DOWN for release on July 1st. For those who don't know, DOWN is an exploration game with action and adventure elements.

Here's what the official transcript from Fantasoft read:

DOWN will be released on the 1st of July. So there's still one month of beta testing and polishing to go. While new patches to the beta might find their way to the testers until the final release of the game. Rumours of a level editor shipping for free are spreading. If so the editor will be released after the game's initial release.
Also, here are the systems requirements:

  • G3 / 64MB RAM
  • 256mb virtual memory
  • OS 9 or higher / OS X or higher
  • Open GL capable 3D-accelerator
  • Rezlib Extension
    130MB HD

    To find out more about the game, hop on over to their website also. You can see all of the pretty screenshots for yourself.


    Click to enlarge
    ATI March 2002 Installer, Mac OS X 10.1.5 Issues
    12:12 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

    Several readers in the IMG forums who have just purchased a Radeon 8500 have asked whether or not they should apply ATI's March 2002 driver update to Mac OS X 10.1.5.

    ATI has informed us that the installer currently posted on their website will not work under 10.1.5, but a new installer will be made available at a future date. Although the 10.1.5 update contains newer ATI drivers, Radeon and Radeon 7500 owners will lose FSAA. This is because the aforementioned drivers came from a different development branch. Radeon 8500 owners are not affected. Again, this will be addressed in a future update.

    Radeon 8500
    IMG Review: ATI Radeon 8500

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    Return To Castle Wolfenstein GotY Screenshots
    11:22 AM | Daniel Bogan | Comment on this story

    Blue's News has posted some early screenshots of Return To Castle Wolfenstein Game of the Year, an upcoming repackaged version of the game (for the PC, at least to start with) featuring some extra and reworked maps not included in the original - reportedly, "Chateau", "Rocket", "Keep" and "The Damned".

    The GotY edition will contain 7 new multiplayer maps not on the original retail CD -- Trenchtoast, Tram Siege, Ice, Chateau, Keep, The Damned, and Rocket. Chateau, Keep, The Damned, and Rocket are brand new maps not released yet, but those will be available in a GotY Map Pack on the net later this week. The GotY edition will also contain a few extra goodies like concept art, wallpapers and more.

    While you're at it, be sure to read our review of the current game, to whet your appetite in hopeful anticipation - or do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the game from our store today.

    IMG Review: Return To Castle Wolfenstein Review
    Return To Castle Wolfenstein GotY Screenshots
    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    Return to Castle Wolfenstein
    Buy Return to Castle Wolfenstein

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    GamePen Posts The Sims Online Preview
    9:16 AM | Daniel Bogan | Comment on this story

    Gamepen has posted a preview of The Sims Online, which will bring the world's most popular game to the Net. According to the article, the game is similar to its offline sibling - existing Sim addicts should have no trouble easing right in - but there are some exciting additions planned to keep you glued to your seat until the wee hours of the morning.

    Here's a snippet:

    The cool thing is that you can have roommates living under the same roof in order to cut costs and expenses.  This works out in your favor because it’ll allow you to pay less for bills and have more money to spend on luxury items.  It’s not known yet exactly how many people will be allowed to live under one roof but it’s a pretty cool feature no matter how you look at it.
    While the game hasn't been confirmed for the Mac, it stands to reason that we'd be blessed with a port if the popularity of The Sims for the Mac is anything to go by. Be sure to go check out the rest of the article for more information and some early screenshots of the game.

    The Sims Online GamePen Preview
    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    The Sims
    Buy The Sims

    Apple Previews WarCraft III
    8:31 AM | Daniel Bogan | Comment on this story

    Our friends over at Apple's Games section have posted a fresh preview of the upcoming WarCraft III from Blizzard, with an overview of what we can expect from this hot real-time strategy title, including several screenshots and quotes from Blizzard North's vice-president, Bill Roper.

    Here's a small snippet from the article:

    Like the previous games in the WarCraft series, Reign of Chaos continues the story of the kingdom of Azeroth, where orcs and humans wage war for supremacy of the land. This time, however, they are joined by the night elves and the undead, who are also bent on controlling the land, and Roper promises that the four single-player campaigns — one for each race, with eight chapters per campaign — will uncover much information about them.
    WarCraft III is scheduled to be released in early July for Mac and PC. Be sure to check out the rest of the article for the full scoop.

    Apple Previews WarCraft III
    Blizzard Entertainment
    WarCraft III
    Buy WarCraft III

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    Max Payne at Final Candidate, Jedi Knight II News
    7:06 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Westlake Interactive updated their web site with news that Max Payne, the highly acclaimed third-person shooter from MacSoft, is in the Final Candidate stage.

    Max Payne is now at Final Candidate status and is awaiting final approval from the publisher. The game is in great shape and hopefully will be approved in "a New York minute". The software will appear on store shelves soon after that.
    Westlake has also posted a development updated on Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. As mentioned on IMG last week, Jedi Knight II has reached first playable:
    Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast hit First Playable status late last week. Says JK2 Mac coder Brad Oliver: "It looks great and is fully playable. I've snuck in a few online games against unsuspecting PC users. JK2 appears to be progressing very smoothly so far. With any luck, we'll be able to sneak a few surprises in for Mac users by the time it ships."
    Overall this is great news for two fantastic games. Be sure to check out our extensive previews of these cool new games.

    IMG Preview: Max Payne
    IMG First Look: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
    Westlake Interactive
    Max Payne
    Aspyr Media
    Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
    Buy Max Payne
    Buy Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

    Jedi Knight II: Tips from the Source
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Gaming site 3D Action Planet has recently started a feature titled "Frag 101," with the objective being to gets tips on how to play FPSes from their respective programmers. The first in this series targets Jedi Knight II, and inquires Mike Gummelt, Gameplay Programmer for Rave Software, as to the lowdown on how to be a better Jedi.

    The feature is rife with spoilers about the single player storyline behind JK2, but those who have either played the game already or don't care will find plenty of tips concerning both the single and multiplayer modes, including debates on which weapons work best:

    I can't say that there's a best weapon in multiplayer, as far as I know, because it really depends on the situation or the opposition. The repeater is good in a variety of situations... the flechette gun is great against jedi, detpacks are good for trapping high-traffic areas, the disruptor is good for camping and protecting an area, even the bryar pistol is really nasty if you have good aim.
    Also covered are tips on taking out specific enemies, the use of both dark and light force powers, and cool tricks to try in-game. Those interested in getting a leg up on the competition can find the whole read at 3D Action Planet.

    3D Action Planet - Frag 101: Jedi Knight II
    Aspyr Media
    Westlake Interactive
    Raven Software
    Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
    Buy Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

    New Deus Ex 2 Details
    6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

    Deus Ex fans eagerly awaiting the sequel, titled Deus Ex 2: Invisible War, need look no futher than GameSpot, which has posted a Q&A on this upcoming title. Though short, the article contains a wealth of information gleaned from game designer Harvey Smith that should be of great interest to those who can't wait to jump back into the world of conspiracy and intrigue that made Deus Ex so popular.

    A detail unearthed in the past is that players will be in the shoes of a new character, Alex D. Alex, who was five years old in the first game, will be fairly customizable, with players being able to choose their gender, skin/hair color, and nanotech enhancements. Alex is described by Smith as being related to Paul and J.C. Denton from the original game.

    Fans of the Denton brothers need not despair, as both Paul and J.C. will be making appearances in the sequel. Smith notes that J.C. can end up either as a mentor or an enemy depending on how players approach the game. Other characters such as Tracer Tong and Nicolette DuClare will also be making the trip to the sequel.

    The AI and stealth features of DX2 will also be seeing some enhancements which are sure to please those who like to avoid conflict:

    We're spending a lot more time on the AI. Paul Tozour (interacting with other AI-experienced Ion people, like Doug Church) is putting together an overarching AI system that works for DX2 and Thief 3. Also, Brian Sharp is writing a custom sound-propagation model for the games. In DX2, if you go into an office to loot it, and you close the door at your back, the sounds you make in the office will be muffled by the door. In addition to these wholesale systemic changes, we're tweaking out a lot of the biomod powers so they allow the player to sneak, exploit the AI, and so forth.
    Other features discussed include an improved combat system, a lighting system that allows for dynamic shadows that can be used to hide in, and a physics system that registers ricoheting bullets. Those interested in the full set of details are encouraged to check out the Q&A at GameSpot.

    GameSpot - DX2: Invisible War Q&A
    Ion Storm

    Neverwinter Nights PC Gold, Mac News
    6:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Yesterday Infogrames announced that the PC version of Bioware's Neverwinter Nights is gold and should be shipping to retail stores under the Atari label before the end of the June. So what about the Mac version?

    A reliable source that wished to remain anonymous told IMG that an announcement regarding the Mac version will likely be made today. The source would not provide any other details beyond that. So stay tuned, hopefully we'll be bring the announcement sometime later on in the day (pending approval) regarding Neverwinter Nights Mac. And trust us, it'll be good!

    There's been a lot of confusion regarding Neverwinter Nights on the Mac. While Bioware early on in development intended the game to be a hybrid CD (PC, Linux, and Mac) all in one box, that all seems to have changed when Infogrames bought the rights to publish NWN. Unfortunately, confusion still remains. Online retailers are falsely selling a "hybrid" version of the game that supposedly contains the PC, Linux, and Mac versions. Do not be fooled into buying it as only the Windows version is in the box! As promised, we'll have news on NWN Mac soon.

    In the meantime, check out this excerpt from the PC press release of NWN:

    "Finally, PC gamers the world over can breathe – their dream computer game is complete and only days away from their PCs," said Jean-Philippe Agati, senior vice president and general manager of Infogrames’ Los Angeles studio. "Neverwinter Nights has lived up to all of its promises – engaging and exciting single player campaign, a groundbreaking multiplayer component, never-before-seen user editing abilities and, for the first time ever, a true translation of the D&D® ‘Dungeon Master’ to electronic entertainment."

    Neverwinter Nights redefines the electronic role-playing game genre using the fully-3D BioWare Aurora Engine and the Third Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) core rulebook, published by Wizards of the Coast, Inc. The game contains an amazing 60-100 hour single player campaign that is also playable in multiplayer mode. More than just a game, Neverwinter Nights breaks new ground as the first complete role-playing system for the computer platform, allowing its players to step into the shoes of the Dungeon Master to tell their own stories and create their own adventures in the spirit of the exciting pen and paper original.

    One interesting bit later in the PR is a note about the Linux client, which seems to be suffering from a delay in release:
    The PC version of Neverwinter Nights will ship to retailers before the end of June. Linux gamers can anticipate the online release of the Neverwinter Nights server at launch and the client program shortly afterward. Linux gamers will still need the Windows version of the game to register at the Neverwinter Nights community site ( and to import essential game resources into their Linux server and game.
    While this is fairly standard for Linux games, it may provide a clue as to Bioware's recent development status for the non-Windows versions of the game. Keep an eye on the page for any new updates we receive on the Mac client situation later today.

    Neverwinter Nights Gold Press Release
    Neverwinter Nights
    Buy Neverwinter Nights

    Carmack Talks Doom 3 Rendering
    6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

    A very technical new interview with John Carmack of id Software has been posted at Beyond3D. Those with a slightly more technical knowledge of computers and video hardware will likely find it a fascinating read, as the Q&A gets much more in-depth than the average interview. Because Carmack has so little time for features such as this the answers are short, but the question have been derived from posts to the site's forums and cleaned up for clarity. Here's an excerpt:

    Beyond3D: It appears the models are low in poly count. Knowing what I know, it would appear that the reason for this, specifically with regards to your engine, is because of the shadow volume based lighting. With higher poly counts, your engine's speed would suffer. Am I correct? And how would ATI's TruForm look?

    Carmack: The game characters are between 2000 and 6000 polygons. Some of the heads do look a little angular in tight zooms, so we may use some custom models for cinematic scenes.

    Curving up the models with more polygons has a basically linear effect on performance, but making very jagged models with lots of little polygonal points would create far more silhouette edges, which could cause a disproportionate slowdown during rendering when they get close.

    TruForm is not an option, because the calculated shadow silhouettes would no longer be correct.

    For more on the ATI/Nvidia debate, rendering pipelines, and lighting techniques, head over now to read through the full interview.

    id Software
    Buy DOOM 3

    Mac Games News for Tuesday, June 11, 2002

    Neverwinter Nights PC Gold, Mac News!4:47 PM
    Dragon's Lair 3D Interviews10:43 AM
    Lineage Chat Tonight, Server Changes7:46 AM
    MacGamer Posts Soldier of Fortune II Preview6:41 AM
    Falcon 4 Utility and Patch Available6:00 AM
    Neverwinter Nights Nears Completion (Updated)6:00 AM
    Westlake New Game Codenamed V.A.S.T.6:00 AM
    Wolfenstein - Game of the Year Edition Details6:00 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, June 11, 2002 on one page

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    Monday, June 10, 2002
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