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Thursday, October 9, 2003

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Age of Mythology to Ship November 5th
10:44 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

MacSoft today announced that it will be shipping their real-time strategy game, Age of Mythology, will be shipping on November 5, 2003. According to MacSoft's Al Schilling, the game is currently in the final stages of development.

Here's more from the official press release:

Age of Mythology transports players to a time when heroes did battle with monsters of legend and the gods intervened in the affairs of mortal men. Age of Mythology was created by Ensemble Studios, the makers of Age of Empires(r), Age of Empires® The Rise of Rome Expansion, Age of Empires® II: The Age of Kings and Age of Empires II The Conquerors Expansion and, which together have sold over 11 million units.

Players guide one of nine ancient civilizations to greatness by commanding all aspects of their empire, from establishing profitable trade routes and building new settlements to waging war and advancing through four distinct ages. In their struggle for supremacy, players can use mythological creatures like Minotaurs and Cyclopses to bolster their armies’ strength, and they can call upon the gods for assistance in flattening enemy towns with meteors or scattering opposing troops with lightning storms.

Age of Mythology is brought to life through a revolutionary new 3D engine developed by Ensemble Studios. Al Schilling, MacSoft’s general manager, announced Age of Mythology for Macintosh by saying, “Age of Mythology is a great successor to Age of Kings. The game’s uniqueness lies in building an ancient civilization to greatness while harnessing the power of Greek, Norse, and Egyptian gods. Age of Mythology is truly an epic journey of heroism in a very beautiful 3D world.”

The Macintosh version of Age of Mythology has been under development by Westlake Interactive since early in 2003. The game will require a Macintosh computer 450Mhz or faster, 256MB RAM, 16MB video card and Mac OS X v10.2.6 or higher.

The game is currently available for pre-order through MacSoft and the IMG Store. Be on the lookout for a hands-on preview of the game on IMG soon.

Ensemble Studios
Age of Mythology
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IMG Reviews No One Lives Forever 2
3:28 PM | Jason Sims | Comment on this story

Hot on the heels of yesterday's release of No One Lives Forever 2, the IMG review of this highly-anticipated sequel has now been posted.

It all starts with the story. If you’ve read my past reviews, you may already know that I generally don’t care about stories in video games. I don’t care WHY I have to pick up the feather to get the key to open the chest to buy the potion to fix my broken nose... as long as the gameplay is fun! But just like its predecessor, NOLF2’s storyline is significantly more entertaining than it deserves to be. It’s well thought out, riveting, extremely funny, and it’s just the right length. No more boring 10-minute long cutscenes. The scenes here are, without exception, just the right duration and will keep you glued to the screen in anticipation of what will happen next.
Check out IMG reviewer Michael Yanovich's take on MacPlay's latest first-person action title.

IMG Review: No One Lives Forever 2
No One Lives Forever 2
Buy No One Lives Forever 2

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'Hollow Ground' Lands on the Mac
9:52 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

A Swedish development team, AESCAPIA AB, has landed on the Mac gaming scene with a new top-down shooter called Hollow Ground. The game was spotted by iDevGames, specifically because not only is the team releasing for the Mac, but they also have decided to release all the source code for the title.

This third-person action game can be played by one or two players at once, required you to navigate to the surface of a bunker, avoiding nightmarish creatures and grabbing weapons along the way. Levels are picked at random, so you'll never know exactly what will be coming up next.

Here's a list of the game's features:

  • 16-bit antialiased color graphics at 800x600 resolution.
  • Persistent effects: corridors will litter with body parts!
  • Adrenaline-pumping soundtrack.
  • 2- or 1-player action.
  • Four playable characters, with different abilities and weaknesses.
  • Tons of weapons and powerups.
  • Several nightmarish monsters to battle.
  • Over 60 levels.
  • Game pad and native MacOS X support.
Hollow Ground needs 128MB of RAM and supports both OS 9 and OS X. The demo will let you play the first 8 levels, with the all 63 being available after you register the $20 game.

If you're curious on checking out the game's source code, head over to their Downloads page for the details on how to get it. The AESCAPIA team is currently working on releasing a level editor for Hollow Ground as well as another RPG called Prophecy, so stay tuned to IMG for more information from the company.

Hollow Ground
Download Hollow Ground Demo (27.9MB)

Games Unit Not Included In Vivendi/NBC Deal
9:22 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

In the latest chapter that is the saga of the Vivendi Universal selloff, Vivendi's Jean-Bernard Levy has comfirmed that the company's games unit has not been sold, and is currently not for sale.

The news, eclipsed by items relating to the election of California's new "Governator", confirmed earlier reports that Vivendi Universal Games was not part of the merger of its Vivendi Universal Entertainment unit with General Electric Co.'s NBC television network.

Rather than sell the company, Vivendi has decided to shift the Games unit's focus to holiday sales, and to gearing up towards the next generation of video game consoles, due out in 2005.

While sources in the industry suggest that Vivendi's inability to offload its gaming division was due to the unit's high price tag, Levy's spin on the facts is kind of poetic:

Obviously we put it up for sale. We went outside, found it was very cold and we decided to close the door and stay back inside. That's where we are today.
Sources in the gaming and banking industry have a different take on the story, however, claiming that negotiations for the sale were bogged down when Vivendi refused to budge on the unit's $800 million asking price.

Hopefully the news comes as relief to developers working in the shadow of the crestfallen media monopoly. Reports issued earlier this summer suggested that developers like Warcraft franchise creators Blizzard Entertainment were demoralized by the uncertainty and stress created by the situation. In this reporter's opinion, however, time, and this holiday's sales figures will tell whether or not the Games unit has a long future ahead of it.

Gamepro Posts New Doom III Q&A
9:22 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

PC gaming fansite GamePro has posted a new Q&A with id Software's CEO Todd Hollenshead and lead designer Tim Willits about their upcoming release of one of 2004's most anticipated games: Doom III.

With the bulk of the article concentrating on PC system requirements and the state of the Xbox version, the developers took some time to answer questions on game design questions, including how designers deal with the competition:

GP: Does hearing hype on a game like Half-Life 2 change what you do? Does it motivate you or make you say, "We can't be concerned with what they're doing"?

Todd Hollenshead: Valve has been very successful—obviously Half-Life was a great game, and we're happy that it was, because they were a licensee of ours! I think in general that it's a good thing for video games for there to be more good games, and Half-Life 2 certainly looks like it will be a good game. But we really don't focus on what other people are trying to do. We're fans of games so we're looking forward to good ones, but our job is to focus on what we need to do for Doom 3. If we focus on making Doom 3 the best game that we can, because of what Doom is, the brilliance that John has demonstrated in blazing the new paradigm of what 3D rendering is going to be going forward--in terms of bump-mapped surfaces and real-time lighting interaction with surfaces—if we accomplish those goals, we really ought not to worry about what somebody else is doing, because Doom 3 will be a great game.

Check out the link below to read the article in full. While a Mac version of the game has yet to be announced, IMG's Magic 8-Ball says that of the possibilitites of the game being ported, "Chances Are Good".

Gamepro's Doom III Q&A
id Software
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Myth III v1.1.1 Released, New Beta Info
9:22 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

MythDevelopers has released a new update to Mumbo Jumbo's real-time strategy game Myth III: The Wolf Age. The patch fixes several issues and should greatly improve the gaming experience for the owners of this game.

One of the biggest changes is increasing the game's sprite buffer from 256k to a full megabyte. This will mean room for better graphics in the next major 1.2 revision, but they are also now recommending you have a newer video card with at least 32MB of VRAM in order to play the game smoothly.

Here's a full list of changes:

  • Major new keyboard and mouse input code for the Mac. Uses our new core input code.
  • Added version information to the player lists.
  • Fixed "sprite freakout". If sprite buffer overflows some sprites are now dropped rather then distorting screen.
  • Improved framerates.
  • Changed FPS display to not be part of the chat console. No more missing chat while checking FPS.
  • Removed 2 gig of memory limit.
  • Font size adjusted to be larger on higher resolutions.
  • Easter egg added.... you go find it :-D
  • Support for wide screen monitors.
  • Sprite buffer can now hold four times the amount of sprites it could previously.
  • Added sprite count to the FPS display.
  • To download the update, follow the link provided below.

    MythDevelopers also mentions an upcoming Beta Program. While they mention that neither the upcoming v1.2 patch for Myth III nor the planned v1.5 update for Myth II: Soulblighter is part of it, future development plans will depend on a varied, experienced beta team. They intend to start the beta program later this year.

    Download: Myth III v1.1.1
    Myth III v1.1.1 Released, Beta Program Information

    Mac Games News for Wednesday, October 8, 2003

    Mac OS X 10.3 Panther Release Set for October 2412:54 PM
    MacPlay Ships No One Lives Forever 212:17 PM
    IMG Reviews the EluminX Illuminated Keyboard11:40 AM
    Shadowbane Server Migration Underway10:55 AM
    Oliver and Krenek Join Aspyr Porting Team10:52 AM
    Sims: Makin' Magic PC Goes Gold10:41 AM
    Homeworld Source Code Released10:10 AM
    glTron Update for OS X9:47 AM
    New World of Warcraft Class Info9:41 AM
    Phelios Releases Swap9:41 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, October 8, 2003 on one page

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