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Tuesday, September 10, 2002

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Mac UT2003 Date; Westlake Responds
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In case you missed the news, IMG confirmed yesterday that the Macintosh port of Unreal Tournament 2003 is now being developed in-house by Epic Games for OS X. Epic VP Mark Rein was kind enough to provide more clarification on the Linux and Mac ports in another post to the game's forums, where he notes they are hoping to have the Mac version done by the end of the year:

"Any idea how long the Mac port will take?"

We won't know that until after the PC version of the game ships but we're hoping to have it in stores in time for Christmas.

This is obviously a very fast turnaround for the game, and we wish Epic the best in their development cycle. In a recent interview posted at the Unreal Admin Page, Epic's Joe Wilcox revealed that ex-Loki Games employee Ryan Gordon will be handling both the Linux and Mac OS X ports.

Also, IMG recently chatted with Glenda Adams of Westlake Interactive (the company responsible for the original ports of Unreal, Unreal Tournment, and many titles based on those engines) about the announcement of Epic's doing the development in-house. Many gamers have expressed concern about companies like Westlake being able to obtain the Mac OS X code for licensed games, as well as the decision to not support Mac OS 9. Here's a quick Q&A with answers from Adams:

IMG: How will Epic's self-development of the Mac OS X version affect possible game contracts Westlake might get down the road for titles based on this next-gen UT engine?

Glenda Adams: We've talked to Epic and they assured us that we'd have full access to the UT2K3 OS X code for use in ports of licensed games to the Mac. So once UT 2K3 is finished for OS X, Mac users should see some very timely ports of games that license the new UT engine, just like they did with older UT-based games (Deus Ex, Rune, Harry Potter).

IMG: That's great! Have they said anything about the possibility of supporting OS 9?

Glenda Adams: It makes perfect sense for Epic to only produce an OS X version of UT2K3 (and not support OS 9), much of the technology necessary for the game is only accessible on the Mac under OS X. It's the same situation we have in developing EverQuest Mac- there simply isn't a way to do it under OS 9.

Thanks much to both Glenda and Mark for their help in settling this situation. Like other gamers, we are looking forward very much to the Mac OS X port of Unreal Tournament 2003, as well as the many titles already announced as using the engine.

While any such titles will require publishers to want to bring them to the Mac, there are a number of likely candidates already such as Unreal 2, Deus Ex 2, Thief 3, Lineage II, and others. IMG expects to get information on these titles in the future, but stay tuned for more about Unreal Tournament 2003 itself very soon.

Unofficial Linux support for UT2003
IMG News: Epic Confirms In-House Port of Mac UT2003
Unreal Admin: Interview with Joe Wilcox
Digital Extremes
Unreal Tournament 2003
Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

One on One With Glenda Adams
1:21 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted the eleventh part in an ongoing conversation between old friends Glenda Adams, Mac gaming goddess and president of Westlake Interactive, and Tuncer Deniz, publisher and editor-in-chief of IMG.

Here an excerpt to whet your palate:

Tuncer: Alrighty, well, let's get to the hot topic at hand. As we reported yesterday, Epic has decided to port Unreal Tournament 2003 to the Mac in-house. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Glenda: Obviously we were hoping to have some hand in the development of the Mac version of UT 2003, but I think Epic will do their best to do a great OS X version themselves. In the long run, no matter who ports UT 2003 to the Mac it will benefit us (Westlake) and Mac gamers in general. Once the engine is available on the Mac, we'll be able to look at several projects based on UT2003 as potential Mac games. I'll definitely be following the development with interest- I know the incredible amount of work it took to port the original Unreal, and even the update from Unreal to the original Unreal Tournament was non-trivial.

For the full chat, follow the link below.

One on One with Glenda Adams

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IMG Store: Soldier of Fortune II Now Shipping
10:48 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The dazzling first-person shooter, Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix from MacPlay is now available from the IMG Web Store. If you're a MacGames CD subscriber, you can order for just $39. Non subscribers can order the game for $49.

The sequel to one of 2000's most innovative first-person action games, Soldier of Fortune II delivers a realistic covert-operative themed gameplay experience with intense action, mind blowing Quake III Arena powered graphics and a mile-a-minute storyline. Assume the role of John Mullins, a military consultant working for the top-secret anti-terrorist group known as The Shop. In the game, you must tackle a wide-range of missions from hostage rescue and intelligence gathering, to search-and-destroy. Level design in Soldier of Fortune II is flexible enough to allow for multiple styles of play. "Hit 'em hard" with a frontal assault or use stealth weapons for a subtle approach.
The MacGames CD is a CD-ROM subscription service featuring the best in Macintosh game demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, cheaters and much more. Get eight issues per year (delivered every six weeks) and save big bucks!

For a limited time, when you subscribe to the MacGames CD, you can get a full version of a free game; all you pay is the shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada, $12 international).

Each subscription or renewal also includes free registration of the shareware game guide Game Doctor plus great discounts from Mac game stores and publishers. For more information, please visit the IMG Web Store.

IMG First Look: Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
Raven Software
Buy SoF II

Apple to Boot OS X-Only in 2003
8:54 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

In what will likely be regarded as a controversial yet probably not unexpected press release, Apple today has announced that their systems will ship to boot only Mac OS X as of 2003. While compatibility with OS 9 applications will still be supported through the Classic environment, there will no longer be the option of booting up the computer in OS 9.

Here's a clip from the press release:

“We expect that 20 percent of our entire installed base will be using Mac OS X by the end of this year, making it the fastest operating system transition in recent history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Now it’s time for Apple and our third-party developers to focus all of our resources exclusively on Mac OS X, rather than dividing them between two different operating systems.”

All new Macs sold since January 2002 have had Mac OS X factory-set as the default operating system. Over 75 percent of customers using these Macs have elected to keep Mac OS X as their default operating system. Apple estimates that there are over 3 million Mac OS X users today, and expects to reach 5 million Mac OS X users—or more than 20 percent of the installed base—by the end of this calendar year.

This is obviously a move to help nudge the last of the new users (and therefore developers) over to OS X, but it won't come without pains for at least a few Mac gamers. There are still some game titles which don't run well in the Classic environment and require a reboot, specifically older games that require 3D control of the system or use the now-defunct RAVE API.

These are obviously in the minority, as most new game titles already include native OS X support. Hopefully this will be the inspiration developers need to start updating their more popular, older applications to OS X (if they aren't already). IMG will keep an eye out for any new updates made available or in the works.

Apple Announces Mac OS X-Only Booting For 2003

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Avernum 3 and Geneforge for OS X
8:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software has announced that their OS X beta for their role-playing game Geneforge is now finished, with a final version 1.1 of the demo now available. The company's other recent title Avernum 3 is also now in the process of Carbonization, and an OS X beta is available for it as well now.

As with Geneforge, if you'd like to help test version 1.1 of Avernum 3, Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel only asks that you post comments or problems in their forums. Both games should now run on any system from OS 8.1 through OS X natively, so if you haven't tried their demos (both weigh in at about 12MB) be sure to do so now.

Spiderweb Software
Avernum 3
Spiderweb Forums
Download Avernum 3 1.1 OS X Beta (11.8MB)

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WarCraft III Map Hack Users Banned
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has attempted to crack down on a WarCraft III map hack being used in their online gaming service by removing the accounts of those offendering gamers. Over 20,000 accounts found using the hack have been closed, removed from ladder records, and have been banned from for two weeks, according to a recent news post on the official site:

In keeping with our aggressive stance against hacks and cheats, we have closed 20,000 accounts that were found to be using Warcraft III map hacks, and removed their ladder records. In addition, the CD keys of those offenders have been banned from ladder play for two weeks. We will continue to monitor the Warcraft III realms for malicious players. Please note: repeat offenders can suffer permanent removal from if they continue to use hacks.
While Blizzard regrets employing such measures, they are very stern when it comes to fair play.

If you find hacking or cheating while you are playing on, you can report such instances to

Warcraft III Map Hack Users Banned (News Post)
WarCraft III
Blizzard Entertainment
Buy WarCraft III

Snow Jam Maps Released for Slope Rider
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Snow Jam, a set of 3 brand new courses for the Mac snow-boarding game Slope Rider, has been released for registered users of the original Slope Rider. Here is brief description of what the new map pack includes:

Snow Jam, a set of 3 new courses for registered users of Slope Rider is here!
The Snow Jam courses are terrain-park and race styled courses for a fast-paced ride.
You can download the Snow Jam course pack off MacGameFiles, along with a demo for Slope Rider 1.0.1 Note that you must be a registered user of Slope Rider in order to play Snow Jam.

Download Slope Jam for Slope Rider 1.0
Download Slope Rider 1.0.1
Slope Rider

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Black & White 2 Early Impressions
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Video game publication IGN has posted a sneak preview of Black & White 2, the upcoming sequel to the popular god game from Lionhead Studios. In this exclusive sneak peak, IGN sat down to view a demonstration of what sort of features the sequel will include. Among them are increased army support, graphical enhancements like weather and lighting, and deeper multiplayer support.

Here is an excerpt from the full article:

But the list of additions and alterations doesn't stop at just the combat. There are a few new defensive options as well. Once you build a village and an army, you can fortify the village with walls. Not only do these walls look cool, but they offer protection to your citizenry. A medium sized wall is recommended to build (all things in moderation, right?), but you can build it as tall as you want. The only catch is that the taller it's built, the less stable it becomes, wobbling and breaking to pieces at higher reaches. We saw a bit of the wall building demonstration, which looks quite simple, and is just a matter of painting the walls on the ground wherever you desire them with round fortresses in between.
For more information, check out the full article, and, if you would like to learn more information about the original Black & White, be sure to check out IMG's very own review.

Black & White 2 Early Impressions
IMG Review: Black & White
Black & White

Shadowbane Pushed into 2003
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

UbiSoft and Wolfpack Studios announced late yesterday they would be delaying the release of the massively multiplayer online RPG Shadowbane beyond its previous November target. While the title has already been many years in development, this will give the team a chance to extend the beta testing period to find more issue and gameplay tweaks. While obviously this will be dissapointing to fans anxious to play Shadowbane, it might also be seen as a good measure that the publisher UbiSoft is not in a rush to push the game out the door before it's ready.

Here's a clip from the official web site on the matter:

Dear Fans of Shadowbane,

Wolfpack Studios and have decided to extend Shadowbane’s beta test period so that we have sufficient time to implement and test improvements to the game. While we had hoped to launch the game in early-November, we have decided to extend the beta test through the holiday season....

In addition, the next Shadowbane beta release will provide a number of long-awaited enhancements and is looking better than ever. Current beta testers should look for it soon and for those who have signed up and are waiting for their confirmation to join the beta, watch your email over the coming weeks.

Head over to the Shadowbane web site for the full announcement. In addition to this word, fan site Warcry has been following employees' statements in various forums regarding the delay. In a quick, but informative Q&A post, Wolfpack's Vosx gives the reasoning behind their decision, the open beta schedule, as well noting the February date now held by retailers isn't necessarily accurage:
What are the chances of the Feb date being push back.

We have not announced a date. Online retailers and game sellers need a date for their record keeping and projections. We have not announced a release date, we have not announced Febuary. All we are saying is that it will not be November like we had hoped.
Only one complaint - notifying retailers before the fans, rather than simultaneously, that rankled a bit.

Keep an eye on sites like Warcry for much more on the Shadowbane delay, and also stay tuned to IMG for an in-depth look at the game in the coming months.

If you're curious to know what the excitement over Shadowbane is about, GameSpy has published a new preview of the game giving a nice rundown of its features. Those following the current closed beta war reports should also have a read through the latest journal just posted recently.

Official Shadowbane Announcement
Shadowbane Warcry: Vosx Q&A
GameSpy Preview of Shadowbane
Shadowbane War Report- August 28 through September 3
Wolfpack Studios

Mac Games News for Monday, September 9, 2002

Epic Confirms In-House Port of Mac UT20031:00 PM
IMG Interviews GraphSim, New Game Coming12:17 PM
IMG Store: Baldur's Gate II, Icewind Dale for $2912:11 PM
Bugdom 2 Goes Alpha10:43 AM
Feral: Theme Park Hits OS X, F1 Delay6:00 AM
GarageGames Announces License Changes6:00 AM
Geneforge OS X, Galactic Core Updates6:00 AM
Icewind Dale Ready for 10.26:00 AM
Mac UT2003 Really Underway?6:00 AM
MOO3 Status Update6:00 AM
Neverwinter Interview6:00 AM
WWIIOnline Mac Patch Posted6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, September 9, 2002 on one page

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