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Friday, January 12, 2001

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Heroes III Complete Demo Released
2:28 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Macgamefiles.com has posted a demo for 3D0's just-released Heroes of Might and Magic III Complete, a special Mac-only compilation of the original Heroes III plus two full-length expansion packs. With a random scenario generator, tons of new monsters and maps, and hundreds of hours of scenario play, this demo is sure to tie up your weekend -- and the full game might keep you busy until Summer! Here are the details:

Heroes III Complete Demo

The Ultimate Heroes™ III experience is now available all in one game!

Heroes III: The Restoration of Erathia™

Murdered by traitors and resurrected by Necromancers as an undead lich, Erathia's deceased king commands its neighboring enemies to seize his former kingdom. His progress is halted when his daughter Catherine, Queen of Enroth, returns to the shores of her homeland.
In the service of Erathia, beset by enemies external and internal, you command the land's greatest heroes and fiercest creatures in Queen Catherine's war to restore her homeland, discover her father's killer, and free him from the prison of his undead body.

Heroes III: Armageddon's Blade™

In the demon kingdom of Ecofol, Lucifer Kreegan has a vision to set the world on fire by constructing "Armageddon's Blade." Seeking to dethrone this insane king, Catherine invades. However, her generals report the appearance of the fiery Phoenix and mysterious elemental Confluxes. As Cathering contemplates her next move, she wonders -- do these omens foretell of Erathia's victory . . . or the world's destruction?

Heroes III: The Shadow of Death™

Sandro, a power-hungry lich, seeks two powerful combination artifacts that will allow him to rule all of Antagarich. Four brave Heroes must find the fabled Angelic Alliance sword to defeat the unstoppable forces of the undead, over the course of the seven exhilarating campaigns.


•Over 200 different maps and scenarios to explore and conquer

•Turn-based gameplay allows everyone to play at their own speed

•Internet multiplayer support for up to 8 players at one time

•Unique and unlimited replayability with the Random Scenario Generator



• iMac™, iBook™, Power Macintosh™ G3, Power Macintosh G4, and the PowerBook™ G3

• MacOS 8.1 or better

• 64 MB of RAM with Virtual Memory set to 96 MB.

• 110 MB of hard disk space

Grab this 110 MB demo and take it for a spin; if you want to know what you're in for before you download, read our review of the original Heroes III. This game is now available in stores, online and direct from 3D0.

Heroes of Might and Magic III Review
3D0 Web Site
Heroes III Complete Demo (105.4 MB)

Soundblaster Report
3:30 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Accelerate Your Mac received a reader submission from Macworld, discussing
some information about Creative's upcoming Mac Soundblaster Live! cards.
More than just gaming topics are covered, including some bits about audio/music
features of the add-on. While it's been noted the cards will come with a version
of Deus Ex, apparently UT has already had some modifications to support the new
surround sound features as well (which makes sense, since Deus Ex is based on UT).
Here's an excerpt from the report:

On to gaming. Brian had a version of UT with an unreleased patch that used OpenAL for surround sound. He showed me a demo where he was firing some weapon that shot round razor blades (the ripper?) inside a building, and the surround sound just worked. You could hear the blades bounce around from side to side AND front to back - very cool, assuming you have your Mac set up where you can place speakers behind you. (I don't.) The patch should be made public about the time the card ships.

Several other game companies had "Creative SoundBlaster Live!" logos in their booth, so I expect a bunch of new games that fully support the card to come out soon. There was a version of Escape From Monkey Island being shown in the gaming area that supports the card already.

Head over and read the rest of the report now if you're interested. Unfortunately,
the cards have been delayed for at least two months, though we'll be sure to let
you know about any release date changes as well.

MWSF: SoundBlaster Live Not Shipping, Yet
AccelerateYourMac Report on Soundblaster Live! Cards

ATI Interview on Post-3dfx World
11:14 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A link at VoodooExtreme pointed us to this in-depth interview with Rene Froeleke of graphics card maker ATI posted by PC Insight. While this interview does dip into the more arcane aspects of the graphics card business, it does include some interesting details on how ATI thinks the graphics card market will change (or not change) now that it has been reduced to ATI vs NVIDIA in terms of major competition. Here is an excerpt:

PCi - In your opinion, how do you think this 3dfx buyout will change the marketplace? Will cards become more $$$?

RF - I heard that before and I think some customers underestimate their own power. Customers know exactly what they want and how much they are willing to pay for it. The higher the price, the smaller the addressable customer base. No company in the PC graphics business will be able to drive sky-high margins all of a sudden just because one competitor dropped out.

So to answer your question, I don't think this will affect the price policy of any company in this market.

PCi - With Matrox no longer focusing on 3D gaming at the moment and with S3 out of the equation, that only leaves ATi and NVIDIA in the foray. Do you feel that ATi can keep pace with NVIDIA?

RF - I am very confident that we can keep pace. Our Radeon is widely accepted as a high-performing and feature packed graphic chip and we will continue to deliver products that meet the customers demands.

On the second page of the interview, the arrival of NVIDIA on the Mac platform is mentioned:
PCi - With NVIDIA now in the Mac-place, how will ATi sustain its marketshare in that arena?

RF - The same way we will sustain our market share in the PC area, we will continue to offer high-performance products for a good value.

Be sure and read the rest of the interview for more details on ATI's present and future.

PC Insight Talks To ATI

New 3D Game Development Engine
10:47 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

We recently received word about a new Mac-only 3D engine from the makers of
Tanks of Terror which will be free and run under OS X; currently it runs only under Mac OS X Public Beta. Known as
dimension3, this flexible engine and editing suite will have many impressive features , and be completely free
for any developers to use it (providing they are creating freeware games). An initial beta should be available
in a few weeks. Here are excerpts from the press release:

A number of very talented individuals have created professional maps and mods to many popular 3D action games...  They have two big problems: they are working within systems that were only meant to be extended as far as the original design needed; and they can't sell their creations.

Enter dimension3.  This is a game creation system designed from the ground up for mod work.  Everything is controllable by scripts, they can send messages, create events, spawn or destroy objects, alter any segment of the map, control animations, changing lighting, sounds, or even basic low-level map interaction parameters.  All scripting is done through an object module in JavaScript, so even those with little programming experience can use it.

The system is designed to be a rapid-application environment, with a powerful map editor that allows you to create complex maps quickly.  Everything in the maps are uniquely tagged, from the polygon segments to ambient sound effects, and can be altered from scripts.

dimension3 delivers an engine as powerful as any today, but with the added benefit of the ability to continually upgrade the engine without causing any rework on those using it.  It uses many standard APIs, including OpenGL, OpenAL, Mozzila's JavaScript, and OpenPlay/NSp.

The best part:  The development kit is free to everybody.  If you don't charge for your creations, then it's completely free.  If you sell it, then we'll discuss a small, no-risk %: probably 5%-10% (most likely 5%) on your sales.  There is no up-front fee.  Other deals can be reached!

Later releases will be to the general public, but for the initial testing phase, we'd like to gather a group of testers who have made maps or mods before.  If this is something you'd like to test/use, send me email at bbarnes@klinksoftware.com, giving me a site where I can see what work you've done before.  Companies are welcome! The current builds run in OS X PB only, but will appear for other systems when it's closer to release.  The first release will happen in roughly 2-3 weeks.  Together, we can make this one of the "killer" OS X applications Apple is looking for!

Though we have yet to see what dimension3 can do, we're excited to see a new
Mac-only (and OS X compatible) 3D engine out there. We'll be sure to bring you
more info as it becomes available. Also check out the author's game Tanks of Terror (though it was made with a different engine), which is available now at MacGameFiles.

Tanks of Terror 1.1 (7.5 MB)
Klink! Software

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Avernum 2 Update, Future Titles
9:53 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software has released a minor update for their title Avernum 2, patching both the full version of this shareware RPG as well as the demo. Avernum 2 is their remake/expansion of the earlier title Exile II, with all-new graphics, sound, animation and expanded content.

In related news, the latest edition of the Spiderweb newsletter has arrived, and it bears very exciting news for Spiderweb fans. Not only is Avernum 3 in the works (presumably a 'remix' of Exile III) but there is an all-new title in the works with a very unique angle. Here is an excerpt:

3. What about Avernum 3?

Yes. We have already begun to plan this one. No screen shots yet. No release date either. We're still thinking it over and trying to figure out neat new things to do with it.

4. Geneforge

We have also been making some real progress on our science fiction role-playing game: Geneforge. We hope to have the official announcement and release the first screenshots in the next few months. It will have real time movement (with fully animated characters) and turn-based combat (very similar to Fallout). And the setting is nothing if not unusual.

We hope to have Geneforge ready by Winter, 2001.

Ah yes, another agonizing wait -- such is the games industry. For more details on Spiderweb's many fine RPG titles, be sure and visit their web site; the patch and demo for Avernum 2 are available on MacGameFiles.com.

Spiderweb Software
Avernum 2 1.0.1 Update (1.5 MB)
Avernum 2 1.0.1 Demo (9.4 MB)
Spiderweb Software
Avernum 2
Buy Avernum 2

RPG Creation Tools from Ambrosia
9:42 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

A new product has appeared on Ambrosia Software's "Upcoming" web page. From the few screen shots, and the small amounts of text, it appears to be a RPG creation tool - to create fully featured stand-alone RPG games. Here is an excerpt from the description:

Imagine a set of powerful yet easy to use tools for constructing your very own stand-alone role playing game... no rules... a completely blank sheet of paper on which to pen your masterpiece... where what you can create is limited only by your imagination.

This is exactly what Beenox, in conjunction with Ambrosia Software, Inc., is bringing to you with the Coldstone game development tool.

Coldstone is a role playing game construction kit that offers unprecedented power and ease of use, allowing you to create professional, stand-alone games that are limited only by your imagination. Unhindered by the complex details that Coldstone handles for you, your fantasy world will spring to life as quickly as you can dream it up.
There are a host of screen shots which show graphical scene creation, detailed scripting, layers, NPC control, and much more. The shots also show ColdStone running under MacOS, MacOS X, and Windows, introducing the possibility of developing cross-platform games.

Be assured we will keep you appraised of any new developments about ColdStone, and indeed the other Ambrosia products that we are awaiting.

Beenox Website
Ambrosia Software : Coldstone

MacDeusEx Interviews Mark Adams
9:38 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Mac Deus Ex, a member of the Inside Mac Games Network, recently posted an interview with Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive. The interview, relating to Deus Ex, covers several areas of discussion from a multiplayer patch to the SDK. Although a Macintosh SDK is not possible, the multiplayer patch is still up in the air, here is a short excerpt:

[MacDeusEx]If a Deus Ex multiplayer patch ends up being a large project, and you
decide to charge money for it, how much money could everyone expect to pay
for it? Could we download it from the Aspyr website for a small charge, o
would we have to pay a lot of money for it to be profitable for Westlake?

[Mark Adams] If its a large project, likely Aspyr would have to pay us for it, but
would not pass the cost on to users. Since the PC patch was free, its
very doubtful Aspyr would even think about charging for a Mac patch.
Basically if it turns out to be a lot of work, Aspyr would have to figure
the cost of development is either worth the extra potential sales of the
game or the goodwill of the Mac community.

Keep in mind that the idea of a Multiplayer patch is still just a possibility, and no official word has been given yet. The interview does however give more insight into Westlake and Aspyr's thoughts on Deus Ex and how proud of it they really are. To read the interview in full head to Mac Deus Ex.

Mac Deus Ex

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MWSF: Announcements at Bungie Fanfest IV
9:33 AM | Max Dyckhoff | Comment on this story

In a press release from Miguel Chavez, a.k.a. Freewill, he details what will be expected to occur at the fourth incarnation of the Bungie Fanfest, regularly held at the last several Macworld Expos. Here is a summary of what is to take place later this afternoon:

Many surprises and announcements will be made at the Fest. If you're wondering about Halo, Oni, Myth III, and other miscellaneous bits of Bungie info, there's no better place to get the scoop than here!

Bungie's own "Online Team" will be in attendance to answer any pertinent questions you may have. And Matt 'Community Guy' Soell will deliver the first Bungie Keynote speech.

We'll have a section of the convention room dedicated to LAN gaming, so bring your laptop/desktop PC and play against fellow attendees.

The fanfest is being held in the West Bay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, from 6pm to 9pm tonight (Friday, January 12). The fanfest will cost $7 to get in, and pizza and soda will be served during the proceedings. There will also be a large LAN area, so take along your laptops and desktop Macs to prove your worth against the Bungie community!

For those unable to attend, were sure the Bungie fan sites will provide a detailed summary of the events.

Bungie.org : Fanfest IV details
Bungie Studios
Halo: Combat Evolved

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Mac Simon 3D Update, Call of Cthulhu
9:30 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

We recently contacted Headfirst's Andrew Brazier about two things; the status of Mac Simon the Sorcerer 3D and the possibility of their other title-in-progress Call of Cthulhu - Dark Corners of the Earth might be ported as well. While both games are radically different, they do share the same cross-platform NetImmerse 3D engine, which makes a Mac port more likely. The German company Epic Interactive is doing the port of Simon 3D (and Simon II, it's predecessor, which just went Gold this week), though they are using their own 3D engine to avoid NetImmerse's licensing fees. Here's what Andrew had to say on the matter:

As we are not doing the Mac conversions ourselves, details are a little sketchy at best. Basically, the Mac version of Simon 3D is fairly close behind the PC version, and there is a German company who have expressed an interest in doing a Mac version of CoC but no serious talks have taken place yet.

The PC version has not yet been released, it is perilously close to GM so hopefully
should be out sometime this quarter. Unfortunately Hasbro haven't given us any
concrete release date info that I know about.

Thanks to him for all of his work on getting both games done (the sooner the PC versions are done, the faster the Mac ports can start!). Call of Cthulhu is a completely different game from Simon 3D. It is based off an 80's pen-and-paper RPG of the same name. It will be a 3D adventure/puzzle solving title with almost a horror-movie twist. It's set to be released for the PC late this year. We'll be sure to bring you any more info on Simon 3D or Call of Cthulhu that we can ascertain.

Headfirst Web Site
IMG News: Simon the Sorcerer II is Gold

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Myst III: Exile Release Date, Screenshots
9:16 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

While digging through a press release announcing Myst III: Exile for the Macintosh, The Adrenaline Vault discovered that the PC version is set for release on April 9. Last month, IMG reported that the Macintosh and PC versions would be released simultaneously, including a DVD Collectors Edition. Hopefully, this is a firm release date.

In other Myst III news, Daily Radar has posted a colection of screen shots from the game; many have been seen before, but several appear to be new.

Myst III: Exile Screenshots at Daily Radar
Myst III: Exile Release Date
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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Update on Q3 and Altivec
9:13 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Wednesday id Software's Graeme Devine made a post to the Quake3World forums regarding some enhancements he was making to the Mac version of Quake 3: Arena. Specifically, he was working on Altivec instructions which should give G4 owners a significant boost. Here's his first post on the subject:

I finally got around to programming in Altivec support for Quake3 1.27h. If you have a G4 you'll certainly want to flex that velocity engine! I think this safely puts the G4 ahead of the PC. I'll probably post this tomorrow.

We have in the office a G4/533 with a GeForce2 card. It's a very very nice setup.

He mentioned he might have something available as early as Thursday, though now it looks like the update will be delayed in order to do some more tweaking. Here's his second post:
Still working away on it. I've been encouraged to add more than a sprinkling of altivec operations into the code, so I'm about half way through with a larger overhaul. I'll carry on.
We're sure Mac G4 owners will be willing to wait in order to get even more optimizations in the code. On a related note, if you haven't already, check out our Macworld stories regarding framerates for Q3A and the new G4 towers. Considering they were running a pre-Altivec version of Q3A, these numbers could improve even more. We'll let you know once a new patch with the Altivec code is finally released.

IMG News: ATI Counters NVIDIA Benchmarks
IMG News: GeForce 2 MX Benchmarks
First Quake3World Thread
Second Quake3World Thread
id Software
Quake III Arena

Mac Games News for Thursday, January 11, 2001

Freeverse Unveils Arcane Arena4:22 PM
MWSF: ATI Counters NVIDIA Benchmarks3:14 PM
Diablo II Expansion Interview1:20 PM
Combat Mission Update Adds TCP/IP Play12:25 PM
MWSF: Green Dragon and Monkey Byte10:48 AM
Neverwinter Nights Q&A10:04 AM
Quick Hyperion Update8:47 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, January 11, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Tuesday, January 9, 2001
Monday, January 8, 2001
Friday, January 5, 2001
Thursday, January 4, 2001

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