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Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Rogue Spear Now Shipping
11:07 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

We has received two reports from IMG readers that pre-orders of MacSoft's much-anticipated shooter/strategy title Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear are now shipping. This sequel to extremely popular Rainbow Six adds updated graphics, all-new missions and much more.

Both readers received notices from a Mac-only software dealer that their pre-order copies of this title had shipped. A demo of this title has been available for quite some time from and has proven quite popular, with over 8,200 downloads and an average user rating of 3 and 1/2 joysticks out of 35 user reviews.

Here is a quick summary of Rogue Spear features, concentrating on differences from the previous title:

Replay feature allowing players to record a mission and then watch the action from the perspective of any member on the team.

Full new sniper support: sniper team member specialists, sniper weapons and special planning & action phase controls for snipers

Improved team AI will assist with preventing stuck or crowded team members in tight spaces

New weapons and special items

Multi-player arm patch to help distinguish team members

Greater and more varied responses from terrorists and hostages

Fantastic new wound effects with characters and damage effects with objects

Improved special effects with grenades, weapons, and flashbangs

Weather effects including snow & rain

Move while crouched and peek around corners
For even more details on this game, be sure and read our in-depth preview, which is of course accompanied by screen shots. Online retailer CompuExpert has Rogue Spear in stock for $39.90, so be sure to order your copy today.

Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear Preview
Rogue Spear Demo (53 MB)

FAKK 2 & 4x4 EV0 For Under $20
5:16 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Online retailer Compuexpert has a 48 hour double Mac madness sale. For a limited time you can get Gathering of Developers' Heavy Metal FAKK 2 and 4x4 Evolution for $19.90 each.

Compuexpert has both items in stock. However, we're not sure when the sale will end. So if you want a copy, be sure to order them today!

4x4 Evolution Review

'Myth III' Trailer Released
12:26 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Gathering of Developers and MacGamer have released a 'teaser trailer' for the upcoming RTS sequel Myth III: The Wolf Age. This short and reasonably-sized trailer provides a brief glimpse at what to expect from this installment in the series, a prequel in terms of storyline but a technological leap ahead of the previous two titles.

The trailer is largely composed of still shots of the previous title, Myth II, but it does contain some new footage at the end which features an animation of the "ghol" unit as a polygonal model. All of the units and foliage of this upcoming title will be rendered in true 3D, unlike the "sprite" 2D images used in the previous incarnations.

We have mirrored this file at for your downloading convenience. Be sure to leave your comments in the user reviews section, and post your speculations on this sequel to our Forums. Myth III is due next November, developed by Mumbo Jumbo and to be published by Gathering of Developers for Mac and PC.

Gathering of Developers
Myth III Trailer at MacGamer
Myth III Teaser Trailer at MGF (16 MB)

Master of Orion III First Look
12:08 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

MacNN has published a "first look" at Quicksilver's upcoming "4x" title Master of Orion III, a game of tactical space and ground combat set in a universe teeming with alien races. This sequel will be a major evolution of the classic series, and will also appear on the Mac OS, published by MacSoft, as we recently learned at MWSF.

With a mix of realtime and turn-based combat, many races to choose from and a huge galaxy to explore, this game is sure to tempt any fan of the empire-building or RTS genres. Here is an excerpt from MacNN's preview:

Master of Orion III (MOO3), being developed simultaneously for the Mac and
PC, is due to hit store shelves in the first quarter of 2002, something
which should placate the series' legions of slobbering fans. MOO3 won't
borrow any code from the first two games, instead being rebuilt entirely
from the ground up while retaining the same feel of the Masters of Orion
games. To say that MOO3 is a bit of an undertaking for a software company
might be the understatement of the year. The current feature list for MOO3
is enormous with Quicksilver working to improve on MOO2 any way it can while
preserving the game players loved.
2002 certainly seems a long time away, but we're sure the 'slobbering' fans they refer to will be patient. Read through the preview for more details, and visit the official web site if you're interested in even more information.

Master of Orion III Web Site
MWSF: MacSoft news, MOO3 coming!
MOO3 First Look at MacNN

NetSprocket Ported to OS X by Freeverse
10:34 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the last of the Macworld San Francisco reports trickle in, MacCentral has posted an eye-opening article discussing Mac shareware publisher Freeverse. This article reveals that NetSprocket, Apple's networking technology, has been rolled into OpenPlay, Apple's cross-platform networking standard developed as an alternative to Microsoft's proprietary DirectPlay. OpenPlay is currently being Carbonized for Mac OS X, which will bring both NetSprocket and OpenPlay networking to Apple's next-generation OS.

What does this mean for gamers? Well, for starters it means that games based on NetSprocket (which are in fact very few) may still work with Mac OS X, even in the Classic layer; it also means that OS X will have two open-source networking APIs for developers to use when creating upon or porting game titles to that OS. Here's an excerpt:

First, Smith revealed that Apple had contracted Freeverse to migrate NetSprocket to OpenPlay, and that thanks to Freeverse developer Randy Thompson this work was completed late last year. OpenPlay is a low-level open source cross-platform networking API originally developed by Apple and Bungie Software that provides high-level functionality such as player/group management and messaging. NetSprocket was originally part of Apple's Game Sprockets SDK, but was open-sourced as a separate component in 1999. The result of Freeverse's recent efforts is an open source cross-platform networking API that can be used for game-related networking on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. Smith said that the carbonizing of this technology for Mac OS X was also well under way.
By providing developer alternatives to DirectPlay, Apple paves the way for more cross-platform titles that will include Mac gamers in the future -- as it seems that DirectPlay still stands as a major barrier between Mac and PC players of ported games.

This in-depth article also reveals that Freeverse's head-to-head puzzle game Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab will soon have GameRanger support, adding yet another title to that free gaming service. Even more interesting is the news that several Freeverse titles are being ported to Java, making them cross-platform games by default, able to run on any platform with a Java 'virtual machine.' For more details on Freeverse's exciting future plans, read the rest of this MWSF report.

Freeverse Ports NetSprocket, Talks Games at MacCentral

Details on Myth III Team
10:01 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Newly-created fan site Myth Village has produced a list of the known team members of (also newly-formed) Mumbo Jumbo, the game company that split off from Ritual Entertainment to work on the upcoming Myth III: The Wolf Age. This team not only contains several Ritual veterans and a former Apple employee, but also has two former members of Contraband Entertainment and several Myth community members who designed quite amazing plug-ins and maps for that extensible game.

Here's an excerpt with a short bio of Paul Callender, known to the Myth community as Fisj:

Fisj first came on the Myth scene when rumors of his map "If I had a Yeti..." started going around. It was the first third party map to be released for Myth. Fisj went on to create Wights of Passage and Torpidinium. He has also helped with such maps as Myopia.

Most recently he has been working on Jinn as a member of the Vista map making group. He works as the lead designer and has done texturemaps, unit collections, tag work, GUI, and anything else that comes his way.

Fisj and Shogun cofounded Vista to make kickass maps for Mythers. He was also part of the defunct Daimyo TC. Fisj's specialties include colourmaps, scripting, unit modelling, page design, and map layouts/ideas, although he sticks mostly to the arty stuff.

Hopefully the Jinn team will be able to carry on without Paul, as this was a plug-in many Myth fans were looking forward to. For more information on the team, be sure and visit Myth Village, which promises to be a good source of Myth III information in the future.

IMG Myth III Interview
Myth Village

Click to enlarge
Tropico Q&A
9:48 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Online Game Review has posted a new Q&A with Phil Steinmeyer, president of PopTop Software and team lead for their current title-in-progress Tropico. The game is a twist on the sim/empire builder genre, which places the player as dictator-for-life of a Third-World tropical island, trying to keep your populace happy, yet tightly controlled. The interview discusses the basics about the game itself, the PopTop team working on it, and what direction they're thinking of going after Tropico is complete. Here's a clip:

OnlineGameReview- What's next for you? Or is Tropico the end of the line?

Phil- I think I'd like to do something different after Tropico. We might revisit the Railroad Tycoon series, or we might do something entirely different. It'll definitely be a strategy game, developed primarily for the PC platform - beyond that, it's too early to say.

Have a look at the rest of the interview for more details, and stay tuned; the game is due to be released for the Mac and PC this Spring. PopTop is doing the Mac port in-house, and the game will be published by Gathering of Developers.

PopTop Web Site
OGR Interview with Phil Steinmeyer on Tropico
PopTop Software
Buy Tropico

Synaptic Soup Dev Diary
9:44 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

VoodooExtreme has received the first in a series of developer diaries from Synaptic Soup's technical director Rik Heywood. This initial entry discusses their new 3D engine Cipher and the first game to be based upon it, Crazy Car Championship. The team has worked to make their engine portable to Mac and Linux systems, and it's even mentioned in the update that the Mac version is quite different from the PC build. Here's an excerpt:

We also thought carefully about portability issues before we started. However, no amount of planning will give you portable code. The only way to be sure is to port it to different platforms as you go. The first port was to Linux, and it really helped. It flushed out lots of issues and it even helped spot a couple of bugs that were lying hidden in the code. The Mac port was a little harder, as Macs do almost everything differently from the PC. It has a bizarre file system (I still get shivers when I think about how much code I had to write to search a directory for files). They even store data in memory in a different order, which means you have to be careful when loading and saving data from disk. It still only took a few days to get everything up and running though.
The rest of the diary covers issues such as team management, the mod community (which they plan to support fully), and their strategy for keeping build times short. Check it out for more information and screen shots, and make sure you've read through IMG's interview with the Synaptic Soup team from last year.

VoodooExtreme's Synaptic Soup Developer Diary
IMG News: Crazy Car Championship... For Mac?
Synaptic Soup Web Site
IMG Interview with Synaptic Soup

Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 16, 2001

'Tranqulity' Released2:56 PM
MacNN on Women in Gaming2:41 PM
WWII Online Interview1:00 PM
Harpoon 3 Updates, Tools11:25 AM
Myth III Preview11:14 AM
IMG Talks with Brian Burke11:10 AM
New Red Faction Screens10:50 AM
First Marathon Texture Pack Released10:40 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 16, 2001 on one page

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Monday, January 15, 2001
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