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Wednesday, August 14, 2002

MindRover for Mac
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

UK-based Virtual Programming recently announced they are porting another acclaimed title to the Mac, MindRover - The Europa Project. This award-winning game from Cognitoy is dubbed an "intelligent robot simulation" in which players must equip and program their robots to complete various challenges. The title takes place in fully 3D gaming arenas set on a space station on Europa, a moon of Jupitor.

Here's more about the gameplay from the official MindRover web site:

Once you have chosen a challenge, equip your vehicle (hovercraft, wheeled or treaded) with various sensors, movement components, and weapons. Then program the behavior of your vehicle in a graphical interface where you wire the components together and set their properties. Then let it go in the arena and watch how it does!
Virtual Programming expects MindRover to be available for the Mac in Quarter 4 of this year. Much more information is up on the official MindRover site if you're interested.

IMG also chatted briefly with the company's Paul Lesurf about their other projects. He confirmed the historical strategy game Europa Universalis II would be available this year, maybe as early as October.

Payback, the game inspired from Grand Theft Auto, is very close to being done. They expect it to be Gold Master (meaning final and ready for duplication) this week and also will have a demo available for players to give the game a try.

TZAR: The Burden of the Crown, an empire-builder with multiplayer support and a map editor, hit just a few snags but should be ready sometime next month. For more on all of these titles, check out the Virtual Programming webpage.

Virtual Programming
MindRover - The Europa Project
Europa Universalis II
Buy MindRover - The Europa Project
Buy Europa Universalis II

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Neverwinter Nights Q&A
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Neverwinter Nights Stratics, a Neverwinter Nights fan site, has posted an exclusive interview with BioWare's Community Manager Jay Watamaniuk, with discussion on BioWare's latest product, Neverwinter Nights. Such topics include the fan community, future patches, plans for a possible expansion, and more. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Tipsykitty: I know that BioWare has been reviewing some of people modules. What do you think of the ones that you have viewed so far?

Jay: There has been excellent use of the toolset, using whats there. We've been looking to see that people do use what we have but to use it to do something thats truly original, some have been great. I'm shocked at some because the toolset hasn't been out very long either. Some are amazing.

More information and details can be found in the full interview.

An Interview with Jay Watamaniuk
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

X-Plane Combat Announced
6:00 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story

Laminar Research, creator of the extensive flight sim X-Plane, has announced its new sister product, X-Plane Combat. As the name implies, X-Plane Combat will add weapons systems to what was formerly a docile general-aviation sim.

In the grand tradition of X-Plane sims, X-Plane Combat will not be a mission-oriented game, but more of a weapons-research platform. Players will be able to design weapons and launch them on their aircraft. Like X-Plane, X-Plane Combat will have no qualms with such unusual combinations as mounting an AIM-9 Sidewinder on a Cessna or dropping a nuclear bomb from the Space Shuttle.

X-Plane Combat will continue X-Plane's legacy of realism by fully simulating missile, bomb, and bullet aerodynamics and physics. Because it is not a mission or storyline-oriented game, the only way one can actually engage in meaningful combat will be to stage online battles. In a move that borrows more from MechWarrior than Falcon 4, players will be able to design their own combat aircraft and battle them in tournaments.

X-Plane Combat is scheduled to be released before Thanksgiving, 2002. It will have the same price as X-Plane. Currently available for free download is an updated version of Plane-Maker allowing designers to prepare their aircraft for X-Plane Combat.

Laminar Research
X-Plane Combat Information

The History of id
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Fans of popular PC games developer id Software may be interested to know that IEEE Spectrum Online has posted a feature article titled "The Wizardry of Id". This article tells readers the history of one of the most popular gaming developers out there, and how it changed the gaming scene forever. While the article mainly focuses on id's earlier accomplishments (e.g. Wolfenstein 3D), it also tells readers how some of their more recent titles have pushed technology to the limits.

Here is an excerpt from the full article:

In late 1991, Id set about using the new technique to put walls of gray bricks covered in green slime in its next game, Catacombs 3D. While running through a maze, the player shot fireballs at enemy figures using another novelty—a hand drawn in the lower center of the screen. It was as if the player were looking down on his or her own hand, reaching into the computer screen. By including the hand in Catacombs 3D, Id Software was making a subtle, but strong, psychological point to its audience: you are not just playing the game—you're part of it.
You can find out more about id's history inside the full article.

The Wizardry of Id
id Software

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Civilization III 1.21g Patch Available
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

MacSoft has let it be known that a new patch is now available for Mac users of Civilization III. The patch, which brings Civ3 up to version 1.21g, comes with two caveats that users should take note of before upgrading.

The first issue is that of a possible Carbon conflict under OS 8.6/9.x, which MacSoft notes may be caused by File Sharing. The fixes include either turning off File Sharing or running Civ3 under OS X.

The second issue involves the use of more RAM:

We have tested version 1.21g on the original minimum-spec (64MB RAM) and 1.21g will run, but it will run quite slowly. We now recommend 128 MB of physical RAM. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but in seeking to keep parity with changes to the PC code we have been unable to circumvent this change in resource requirements.
Those willing to work with the new requirements will find a host of bug fixes with the latest upgrade, including the following:
• Increased the preferred and minimum memory sizes for the Civilization III
application under Mac OS 9. Use the OS 9 Memory control panel to increase
the amount of Virtual Memory if you don't have enough memory to open the
application. If you receive out of memory messages while playing, quit and
use Get Info to increase the minimum and/or preferred memory sizes further.
• Fixed save game bug that led to a unit support cost of zero.
• Fixed several minor save game bugs that could result in mildly corrupt
saved games.
• Fixed bug that could cause areas of the map to incorrectly appear
reconnoitered when loading games saved with Civ III versions older than
• Fixed bug that made games appear to not be using the default rules. This
could cause the Hall of Fame screen not to appear when a game ended.
• Temporary file "save.tmp" is now properly removed when no longer needed.
• Changed location of temporary files created during saving that could
result in broken saved games and/or an inability to load saved games when
multiple users were involved.
• Saved games now have the correct icon and file type.
• Cmd-Shift-Q hotkey no longer triggers OSX logout dialog.
The patch, which is sized at around 4.8MB, can be downloaded from either Infogrames' technical support site or from MacGameFiles.

MGF - Civilization III 1.21g
Infogrames - Civilization III 1.21g
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

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Dragon's Lair 3D Developer Diary
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Those interested in the history behind the Dragon's Lair series may enjoy a new series of Developer Diaries recently posted at GameSpy. Written by Producer T.J. Higgins, Lead Designer Wil Panganiban, and legendary Animator Don Bluth, the diaries provide insight into the history of the upcoming Dragon's Lair 3D as well as some surprising information on the game itself.

The Bluth-written portion of the diaries is particularly interesting, as he explains how the design team at Dragonstone took existing materials for the original Dragon's Lair and actually used them to create the in-game art for Dragon's Lair 3D. For example, art used for the original title was scanned, touched up, and texture mapped onto 3D models for use in the upcoming 3D version.

Bluth also stresses the importance of preserving the original personality of Dirk the Daring:

All of that is in Dragon's Lair 3D, even down to Dirk's voice, which is the talent of Dan Molina who was Dirk in the original game. We felt that it was important in both versions for Dirk's character to rely on sounds (grunts, yells, screams) rather than words to define his personality. A true bumbler is more inclined to yelling and mumbling than to conversation.
The rest of the diaries further explore the transition from the original to the new as well as the PR and marketing aspects of Dragon's Lair 3D. Those interested in checking out the diaries can find all three at GameSpy.

GameSpy - Dragon's Lair 3D Developer Diaries
Blue Byte
Dragon's Lair 3D

Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Subscribe to MacGames CD, Get Links for $35!12:39 PM
IMG Reviews Beach Head 200212:38 PM
Airburst Updated8:44 AM
Apple Looks At Online Gaming8:44 AM
Apple Updates PowerMacs, iMac Price Drop8:44 AM
ATI's R300 vs. Nvidia's NV308:44 AM
Civilization III, Play The World Preview8:44 AM
D&D Creator Q&A8:44 AM
MGD Interviews Freeverse, Part Two8:44 AM
Saitek X45 Giveaway8:44 AM
WWIIOnline Art Interviews8:44 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 13, 2002 on one page

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