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Wednesday, August 28, 2002

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Myth III Beta Testers Sought
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story has put out the call for beta testers of their upcoming builds of Myth III: The Wolf Age. They are specifically looking for those testers who are currently having issues with the game, in hopes they will be able to resolve such problems with subsequent revisions. While they are also wanting to hunt down Windows XP users, though those having problems on any platform (including the Mac) will be considered.

Here are the criteria for the beta, from the PlayMyth post:

1. Time. You should have at least a couple of hours a day to play Myth 3 testing new builds.

2. Variety. You'll need to play solo and online (currently GameSpy, ultimately PlayMyth) to test changes made to multiplayer maps and just check for general game stability.

3. You must have existing issues with the game - meaning you can't play it for one reason or another because of operating system or hardware.

If you think you fit the description, then shoot an email over to Be sure to include any problems you are currently having with the game. If accepted, you will be notified and given access to download beta builds. Stay tuned to IMG for any news on a final release of the Myth 1.1 patch from MythDev and PlayMyth.

PlayMyth: Myth 3 Beta Testers Wanted

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IMG Reviews DOWN
12:32 PM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

IMG writer and contributor Chris Barylick has written a review on Fantasoft's new shareware adventure game, DOWN. The full review features an in-depth look at the game's graphics, sound, controls, and of course, gameplay.

DOWN is a new adventure game that features explorative gameplay, in combination with action and adventure. It features 16 chapters, 10 types of encounterable creatures, and more.

Here's a sneak peak of what's inside:

Fantasoft has always had a distinctive look to its games, even if it never really tried to push the limits of graphical design for shareware games. The idea of a simple graphics layer over a more complicated photorealistic or OpenGL-based background layer is effective to an extent, but has limitations. In the case of Down, it doesn’t work, the two looks clashing and making the player wonder why the background layer looks great while the foreground characters look dated to say the least. While a game may not have to consistently look like the Mona Lisa to tell its story, the foreground layers make the player wonder exactly what their character is supposed to look like, whether they’re kicking a chipmunk to death (or if that’s just their imagination) and why so much effort was taken to make one layer look good while the more primary layer looks as if was drawn by a team of preschoolers?
You can find out more about DOWN in IMG's review.

IMG Review: DOWN

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Trade Wars: Dark Millenium Interview and Screenshots
12:15 PM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Trade Wars: Dark Millenium, the upcoming MMORPG from Realm Interactive and NCSoft, is already receiving much speculation/anticipation. Popular video gaming website GameSpyDaily, managed to track down David Adams, lead designer of Trade Wars at Realm, and talk to him a little more about just what this new, sci-fi space traveling adventure will offer.

Adams explains that Trade Wars will attempt to become a much more unique MMORPG than the ones currently on the market. Realm has high hopes of creating their own MMORPG engine from scratch, vying to create a much more fast-paced world:

GameSpy: What are some of the things you're doing to make the game simple to play and accessible to a wide range of computer systems?

David Adams: As we design the game, we try to take any activity that we find tedious or boring and streamline it. Traveling, for instance, is one aspect of many online games, which can become quite tedious. Trade Wars will feature a waypoint system, which allows players to return to places they have already explored very quickly - travel there once and warp there every other time. There are other examples where we have chosen fun over realism, and attempted to streamline the experience - smaller death penalties, spells that quickly return you to combat after dying, in-game quest log and journal, etc... In short, we have taken all the elements of good single player and non-massive online role-playing games, which have made them accessible and easy to play, and put them into a massive online game.

In addition to an interview, GameSpyDaily has also included some new screenshots for your viewing pleasure. You can find these, as well as more information about Trade Wars: Dark Millenium in the exclusive interview.

Trade Wars: Dark Millenium Interview
Trade Wars: Dark Millenium Screenshots
Trade Wars: Dark Millenium

Sam & Max Sequel Announced for PC
12:00 PM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

LucasArts announced recently plans for a sequel to their hit 1993 adventure game, Sam & Max Hit the Road. Michael Stemmie, co-director of the classic, will be directing the sequel. While no media is available yet, this information is sure to delight fans of the classic rabbit/dog adventure game they learned to love. An estimated release for Sam & Max 2 will be in the first quarter of 2004. Be assured that LucasArts will reveal more information up until its final release.

Here is what LucasArts president Simon Jeffery had to say about the recent announcement:

"Sam & Max Hit the Road is a classic and as close to being a signature game as any LucasArts has ever done," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts. "The Sam & Max sequel, much like the recently announced Full Throttle® II, perfectly complements LucasArts' renowned adventure game legacy and lends further support to the company's commitment to investing in and developing more of our original properties."
You can find out more information about the upcoming sequel in the official press release.

Sam & Max Sequel Press Release

Cyan Discusses Myst Online
9:10 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A new article at The Spokesman Review, hometown paper for game-maker Cyan Worlds, has posted a new interview with founder Rand Miller, discussing their plans for the long-awaited massively multiplayer online title, Myst Online. Jim Stephenson has summarized some of the main points from the Q&A on his Riven Unofficial Home Page, though fans will want to be sure and read the full story.

With Parable, the newest codename for Myst Online, Cyan is seeking to attract more mainstream gamers than most MMORPGs like Everquest or Asheron's Call. They are hoping to make Parable more akin to interactive TV than a standard game, which adds significantly to its ongoing production costs as more scenarios are created. Here's a nice description from the article:

Instead of solving mazes or shooting creatures, the point of Parable will be moving through a complex world, meeting people, discovering adventures, avoiding difficulties. There will be no violence, in the traditional game sense.
Miller notes in the interview they are hoping for 1 million subscribers, and also talks of the difficulty in funding such a large venture in a tough market, as well as the internal struggles to get the first pieces of Parable in place. Here's a clip about his drive to make Myst Online:
After Myst and Riven, what made you want to try to do something much more complicated, like Parable?

"The short answer: Doing an online game was something I and (brother) Robyn thought about long before Riven was realized. `What if your worlds never ended?'

"The only way to do that is with a medium that never ends. We had even proposed it to several companies before Riven. But it was too early.

"On top of that, I needed to think about the people we had here. It's easy, on one hand, to shut things down and let people go.

"But these people are talented and creative. If we kept going, they continue making a living and we may have something with a lot of good to come out of it.

Check out the rest of the article for more from Miller, and also have a look at Stephenson's page for details on a recent showing of Myst Online.

Myst Online: Uru Live
The Spokesman-Review: Interview with Rand Miller
Riven Unofficial Home Page News

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Presto Studios Closing Down
8:51 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Jim Stephenson broke the news on his Riven Unofficial Home Page that, according to executive producer Greg Uhler, Presto Studios will be closing its doors soon. Presto is the company which was handed the monumental task of making Myst III: Exile by Cyan. Before that, the team at Presto created many hits, starting with The Journeyman Project adventure series.

Here is Uhler's statement from the article:

"Due to business, financial, and personal reasons, Presto Studios is discontinuing software development. Whacked! for the Xbox will be the last product that we ship. The company will remain as a corporate entity for many years, but will not be developing products. A minimal staff, including Michel and myself, will be here until the end of October."
We wish all of the employees at Presto the best and hope they land safely in new opportunities soon. Stephenson has posted Presto's address and email for those wanting to contact the company in appreciation of their work.

Presto Studios
Riven Unofficial Home Page News
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Technical Analysis of DDR in Macs
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Ever since Apple introduced its new line of PowerMac G4s, much debate has raged regarding the practicality of introducing DDR RAM in the current system architecture. Though some websites have released benchmarks showing virtually no performance improvements, it may not be as cut and dried as people think, particularly in regards to the L3 cache debate.

Taking an analytic view of the problem, PowerLogix has released a white paper, titled Real World Analysis on DDR Cache for the Motorola 7450 Family. The paper focuses on both the theoretical and actual gains of DDR vs. SDR, providing benchmarks, theoretical analyses, and a conclusion that some people, at least in part, may find surprising:

The net result is that there is no advantage in using DDR L3 cache memory over SDR L3 cache memory on the 7450 family processors. There is also very little performance difference between an L3 cache of a given type running twice as fast as another L3 cache of the same type! Clearly it is important to have some sort of L3 cache, but the type and speed of the L3 are almost irrelevant. In fact, the only factor that matters to any degree, is L3 cache size, and even that is not a huge difference (about 7% maximum difference in our benchmark tests, which is measurable but not necessarily noticeable in day to day usage.)
Though the paper is written in a technical matter, even novices should find its layout easy to follow. Those interested in persuing the whole report can download it at PowerLogix's site.

PowerLogix - DDR White Paper

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More GarageGames Chats
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As reported earlier, GarageGames has been hosting a series of online chats that focus on indie game development. Latest in the docket is a chat transcript with a title that says it all: Team Building; Recruiting, Inspiring & Building the Dream.

One of the topics touched on early in the chat is that building a team of inspired indie game developers may not be as easy as people think. Though there are undoubtedly tons of gamers out there who dream of working in the business, getting them to actually bite proves to be somewhat difficult:

Attracting quality talent as an "indie" with no track record is very challenging and time consuming. Placing "help wanted" ads on your company web site, GG, Gamasutra, Flipcode, etc really only result in a handful of hits - surprisingly enough. Our best results have come from "cold emailing" potential candidates from a list we generate by searching the web. For example, to find a quality level designer that knows Torque - we scrounged and sent emails to anyone that had created some decent looking maps.
Other topics introduced include inking out profit-sharing plans, what to shoot for when creating a game for the first time, and how to keep a team from ripping itself apart. Those interested in the transcript can find it hosted at CyPR Media.

Team Building – Community Chat 0.2.0

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Apple Posts WarCraft III World Editor Article
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

You may not have known it, but Blizzard Entertainment's latest strategy game, WarCraft III, came with two distinct products: the game, of course, and the World Editor.. Apple has posted a new article concerning this powerful tool, in high hopes of getting gamers to take advantage of it.

The article covers a general summary of what the world editor has to offer. Different features and ease of use. The article also includes a subsection with a detailed tutorial on how to make your very first level (as well as the finished product available for download), so you can get started right away. Here is an excerpt:

The trigger editor also allows you to play cut scenes or display character dialogue at the appropriate times during the mission, which means that you can tell your own Warcraft stories and add to the game’s mythology. You can build your maps for either single-player or multiplayer action and send them to your friends or upload them to, where you can also download other gamers’ maps. Or you can use them to create custom games at
If you don't have WarCraft III yet, you can order it off of the IMG Store (Standard Edition only), for the low price of $49.99.

WarCraft II World Editor: Expand Your Digital Universe
IMG Review: WarCraft III
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

Enabling Quartz Extreme for PCI Macs?
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A recent post to the Ars Technica Mac forums revealed it is possible to enable Mac OS X 10.2's Quartz Extreme on Macs without AGP video cards. While not necessarily game-related, many gamers have upgraded Beige or B&W PowerMacs with PCI Radeon or Radeon 7000 cards from ATI, and those brave enough can now try it out.

The modification requires the user to change one file and restart, though please only do this if you're well aware of the dangers it could pose to your system, and understand that it's not an official Apple practice.

While many IMG readers have verified it does work, there are reports of some glitches with movies playing in the background and stuttering on terminal transparency windows. If you're up to the task, first make sure you "su root" and follow the instructions from the Ars poster:

Open the config file
/System /Library /Frameworks /ApplicationServices.framework /Versions/A/Frameworks /CoreGraphics.framework /Versions/A/Resources /Configuration.plist
Change IOAGPDevice to IOPCIDevice
Restarting should enable Quartz Extreme, which can be verified with a simple "Quartz Extreme Check" application available at Versiontracker. Creative users are also finding they can enable Quartz Extreme on a secondary PCI card if they have something else like a Radeon 8500 in the AGP slot by adding the IOPCI line instead of overriding the AGP line, but as always, be very cautious with any such modifications.

For those concerned Quartz Extreme might negatively affect game performance, OpenGL guru Kenneth Dyke recently made a very informative post to the IMG forum explaining exactly how VRAM is used in Jaguar. He notes that for fullscreen games, the VRAM is used the same by any OpenGL application --whether it be a game or OS X 10.2-- so there is no danger of the OS "hogging" memory from a game. Check it out for the full scoop.

Macintoshian Achaia: Enabling Quartz Extreme over PCI
Quartz Extreme VRAM Clarification
Download Quartz Extreme Check 1.1

Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 27, 2002

IMG Posts Ask Aspyr - Volume 111:43 AM
Quake 1 Meets Doom III9:28 AM
Wolfenstein Patch Clarifications9:07 AM
Want Mac Games at Worldcon?8:47 AM
Bugdom 2 Update, New Screenshots8:40 AM
GamePad Companion Updated for 10.28:34 AM
Ghost Recon Officially Beta6:00 AM
Lineage Fix for Mac OS X 10.26:00 AM
New Lineage II Screens6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 27, 2002 on one page

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Monday, August 26, 2002
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