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Thursday, January 18, 2001

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Second Sims Expansion on the Way
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

EA has announced they will be releasing a second add-on pack for their very popular title, The Sims. Following in the footsteps of the first expansion, The Sims House Party will contain new architecture styles, objects, and more. It will also give the players a chance to group their Sims together more often, hence the 'House Party' name. While there is no mention of a Mac version in the press release, we have contacted Aspyr, publishers of both The Sims and Livin' Large, about the possibility of a Mac port of House Party as well. Here's more information from the PR:

Electronic Arts today announced plans to release this spring, The Sims™ House Party Expansion Pack, a new add-on disk to the top-selling PC game of 2000, The Sims. With new characters, activities, architecture styles, objects, music and much more, the new expansion pack will give players the chance to host outrageous parties for their Sims.

"Just like real people, Sims are social creatures, but it has always been difficult for them to get together and party," said Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of EA’s Maxis™ studio. "This new expansion pack pumps up the fun of watching and controlling your Sims in a group dynamic."

Three new architecture styles and dozens of new objects allow players to hoedown at a country barn dance, chow down at a tropical luau, or go underground at a rave with their Sims. Within each entertaining theme, a festive variety of costumes and décor options are available to add breadth to the bash.

Players can build a dance floor for their Sims and watch them keep to the rhythm of the DJ’s music. They can hire a flashy caterer to keep the buffet table and punch bowl full. Or they can roll in a mechanical bull or the giant cake "full of surprises" and kick the party into high gear. The House Party Expansion Pack makes it easy for the Sims to throw an absolutely unforgettable evening for all of their friends.

The Sims’ unparalleled success most recently inspired the creation of its first add-on pack, The Sims Livin’ Large which shipped this past September. The Sims Livin’ Large allows players to put their simulated families from The Sims into new extreme situations and settings. To date, The Sims Livin’ Large has sold over a 500,000 copies in North America.

There are certainly many Sims fans on both Mac and PC platforms, so the release of yet another expansion is not much of a surprise. We'll hopefully get an answer from Aspyr Media about a Mac port of this expansion pack soon, and will be sure to pass along any information we obtain. For now, check out the official web site for this title and SimsForMac, the Mac-only hangout for your Sims downloading needs.

The Sims Web Site
SimsForMac Web Site
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims: Livin' Large

Jet Ski 1.1 Released
5:02 PM | Charles George | Comment on this story

During Macworld we brought you the news that Monkey Byte Software would be releasing an update for their recently released Kawasaki Jet Ski Racing. It took a little longer than expected, but the patch is now out for your Jet-Skiing enjoyment. As previously stated, the patch adds some new animation to the game and improves on other various aspects of gameplay. The patch can be downloaded from Monkey Byte, and weighs in at a respectable 6.9 megs.

Download Jet Ski Demo from MGF
Download Jet Ski Update (6.9 MB) (.bin)
Monkey Byte

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Marathon: Resurrection Still Alive
5:00 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

IMG has been contacted by members of the Marathon: Resurrection team with reassurances that this project is still in full swing; they are currently without a webmaster, which explains the lack of updates to their site. Marathon: Resurrection is a project designed to bring the weapons, look and feel of the classic Marathon to Unreal Tournament as a "total conversion" mod. Their eventual goal is to update and re-create the entire solo and multiplayer experience of Bungie's classic shooter with the advantages of a modern 3D engine.

Team member Damien Sorresso sent the following:

We’re not dead. Our webmaster, unfortunately, had to move on due to his job
and personal life. We have a few candidates for webmaster. If you’re
interested and have experience with Flash, drop me a line.
However, we are still at work. Jason (our lead coder) just uploaded his
latest build (Jan. 16, 2001, see?). It is fantastic and very playable. The
M.75 is loads of fun (mainly because the reload code hasn’t been implemented
yet =). We just need someone to do some final animations, and we may be set
for a release very soon. If any 3DSMax people out there are sitting idle,
drop me a line.
Although the web site still has many unfinished and incomplete areas, there are several screen shots and model shots worth viewing. The image accompanying this article is from the most recent build, and shows the classic Fusion pistol as well as the "radar" view in action. Don't hesitate to contact the team if you can assist them with your animation or web design skills.

Marathon: Resurrection
Marathon: Resurrection

MacSoft On Top, Says PC Data
4:29 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Software publishing house MacSoft has released a statement to the press which proclaims this company to be the leading Mac publisher, with over 1/3 of the sales in the entire market. The company sees its position as a justification of their shift in direction towards consumer-oriented 'casual gamer' titles such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Jeopardy. Here is an excerpt from their press release:

Dominating the Macintosh entertainment software category for the fourth consecutive year, MacSoft, an Infogrames, Inc. label (Nasdaq: IFGM), today announced that its market share for calendar year 2000 will exceed 37 percent*, far out-pacing its nearest competitor and capturing one-third of all Mac game units sold. The impressive results reflect the successful implementation of MacSoft's new multi-tiered publishing strategy designed to identify new opportunities in the Macintosh gaming sector, while continuing its dominance in established categories. MacSoft's diverse product lineup for 2000 included titles such as Links LS 2000, a dynamic golf simulation; Driver, a realistic driving game; Beach Head 2000, and intense combat game, and a compilation offering aimed at the younger audience entitled, the Mac Kids Pack.

"The tremendous success of the iMac and other new products have brought millions of new users to the Macintosh platform," said Paul Rinde, Senior Vice President and General Manager of WizardWorks and MacSoft. "Understanding this new paradigm, we shifted our growth strategy to not only provide software that the current generation of Mac users have come to enjoy, but also sought to publish content that today's new users require."

Founded in late 1993, MacSoft quickly climbed to become one of the top 10 Macintosh gaming publishers one year after its inception. Heralded for its ability to anticipate shifts in consumer trends, MacSoft entered the hardcore gaming segment and revived what was then a stagnant market with games such as Quake, Duke Nukem 3D and Sid Meier's Civilization II, each of which went on to become top-selling games. Since that time, MacSoft has published more than 100 titles and has added subsequent number one games like Unreal Tournament, Falcon 4.0 and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six to its product mix.

*Source: PC Data

Certainly this growth and stability is a sign of the resurgence of the Mac game market. With three major Mac publishers (MacSoft, Aspyr Media and MacPlay) cranking on all cylinders and a thriving crop of smaller publishers (Monkey Byte, Freeverse, GraphSim, Ambrosia, Spiderweb, etc.) pumping more games into the market, 2001 may indeed be a very fine year for Mac gaming! Congratulations to MacSoft on their continued success, and we can't wait for their next crop of releases.


Eternal Arena 3.4 Released
10:50 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Typically we don't cover 'mod' releases as news, as these are cross-platform files and are usually only of interest to fans of the game they are designed to modify. However, Eternal Arena for id's remarkable shooter Quake 3 Arena is so well-done and packed with features, and has such a reasonable download size, that we felt compelled to mention this new version.

Eternal Arena is a huge collection of new features and 'tweaks' to this shooter which are sure to please hard-core fans and newbies alike. Nice details such as the cross hair ammo counter (a true HUD) and gameplay tweaks such as respawn protection balance out the rough edges and add new thrills for those who are getting a little bored with the game.

This new version adds more features and fixes bugs, and it requires the 1.27g version of Q3A to run. Here is a summary of features in this mod:

New Main Menu & Background, Head/Body model switching, Full awards logging for all games, Anti-spawn suicide timer, Awards now shown on scoreboard, 3D SpiralRailTrails, Weapons icons, Miniscoreboard, Better Map Selection, Weapon Dropping, Rocket Jumping, Player Cloaking, Fast Weapons Switching, Crosshair in 3rd Person, Crosshair Stats & Targetter, Suicide Blast, Bloodtrails, Victory Podiums, Save/Load Configs, Better Model Management, Offhand Grapple, Weapon Positioning, No Team Colours option, Progressive Zooming, Disable items, DeathCam, Team coloured trails, Spawn Protection, Double Jumping and ofcourse "pick n mix" gamemodes like InstaGib Rails, Rocket Duel, Frenzy, LowGrav, Telefrag, Heavy Weapon and Full Load
As you can see, there is a lot packed into this small package, with bits and pieces inspired by Quakeworld, Quake 2 and even Unreal Tournament thrown into the mix. If you are a Q3A player in search of a new angle on this year-old game, be sure and grab this one. Note that there are a few quirks with the setup options, perhaps due to the beta version of Mac 1.27g.

Quake 3 1.27 Point Release Available
Quake 3 1.17 vs. 1.27g Benchmarks
Download Eternal Arean 3.4 (1.7 MB) (.zip)
Eternal Arena

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New GraphSim Web Site, Progress Report
8:42 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

GraphSim has posted a news update announcing an entire new web site is in the works. It will hopefully be easier to navigate, thanks to a reorganization of the content. New pages for their upcoming titles Summoner and Tales of the Sword Coast are already available, with a section dedicated to Mac Red Faction presumably on its way. The new design is previewable now, if you're interested, and includes a revamped online store, community pages and game details. If you have any comments about this in-development web site, be sure to send them to GraphSim's web master.

We recently spoke with GraphSim, and they noted progress was being made on the Mac versions of both Summoner and Red Faction, which are being developed in-house by game creators Volition. Testing for the expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast is also going well, with both this add-on for Baldur's Gate and the multiplayer patch for that title due out soon.

In related news our network site MacBaldur recently posted several images from the recent Macworld Expo, a few of which show off Tales of the Sword Coast and Baldur's Gate II in action, so RPG fans should surely check them out.

New GraphSim Web Site
MacBaldur's Macworld Expo Pics
Baldur's Gate II
Buy Baldur's Gate II

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Myst III at Macworld, New Preview
8:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The official Myst III: Exile web site (not to be confused with the just-announced Myth 3 game from GoD), has been updated with news and pics from the recent Macworld San Francisco Expo. With the game set to be delivered for Mac and PC on April 9, there was already much excitement and anticipation at the show. Here's an excerpt from their update:

MYST III: EXILE made an appearance at MacWorld New York last summer, but it wasn't until MacWorld Expo San Francisco last week that we were able to show
actual gameplay and let the fans test drive the technology underneath the hood. We had the E3 trailer looping on a G3 machine to attract attendees to our booth. Then we grabbed their attention with the gameplay
and technology demos running seamlessly on the G4 Cube. In four straight days of demo'ing, we did not experience a single crash. The ATI Radeon card shipping with the Cube allowed us to show off a couple of the
accelerated graphics features such as moving water and sun glare.

Our Macintosh programmer, Roland Gustafsson, linked four nodes from different locations, allowing fans to experience the 360 degree panning
feature of the engine, while exploring the lush landscapes of the Age.

Check out their page for pictures of happy Presto employees showing off their creation. For more details on this title, be sure to read IMG's just-published preview. Here's an excerpt of said preview:
Myst III:Exile will feature the same point-and-click interface as previous titles. It will have the same puzzles that will make your brain sweat. However, with the new Sprint engine, fantastic graphics, and immersive sound this newest game will draw you into its reality just as surely as the others did. Because of the new Sprint engine, the game designers are not limited to eye-level puzzle placement. Though, there are only certain places the player can go, he or she is free to look all around. The designers have freedom to place their puzzles and clues anywhere they like. Expect Myst III to be even more challenging than the last titles.
Presto has announced Exile will be completed and shipped by April 9, so get ready for the third engrossing installment in this uber-popular series.

Myst III Macworld Page
IMG Preview of Myst III: Exile
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

Reckless Drivin' Runs Into Mac OS X
8:24 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The shareware game Reckless Drivin', a 2D top-down racer from the Spy Hunter mold, has been carbonized to run natively under Mac OS X. Several bugs and misspellings have also been corrected, to assuage the nitpickers. Here is a list of what has changed:

-Carbonized the game, enabling you to run the game natively under
MacOS X. CarbonLib is now required to run
the game.

-The game will now remember the last name entered into the high score list.

-Fixed those misspellings in the game (this time for real).

-Added an FAQ section to the Readme.

And here is a description of the game itself, for those who need a refresher:
Reckless Drivin' is a new action game for the Mac. It's gameplay is similar to it's predecessor, Burning Rubber, a Mac shareware game I released in 1996. In Burning Rubber one had to drive a car through 2-dimensional levels as fast as possible, leaving as much destruction as possible on the way. Reckless Drivin' follows the same basic principle, however, it has been completely rewritten from scratch, and it employs a new graphics engine featuring smooth, dynamically zoomed, scrolling 16-bit graphics. The physics simulation has been redesigned to realistically resemble skidding and tire tracks on different road surfaces.
If you are one of those committed to gaming on Mac OS X Public Beta, be sure to grab this one and take it for a spin, so to speak. Although the number of Carbon games for the Mac OS can be counted on two hands right now, we're sure many more games will 'go native' as the March 24th release date of this next-generation OS nears.

Reckless Drivin' Updater 1.2 (560k)
Reckless Drivin' 1.2 (5.5 MB)
Reckless Drivin' Web Site

Rogue Spear Mods for Mac
8:14 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

IMG reader and Rogue Spear fan Ryan Colley sent us an e-mail concerning his success in converting PC Rogue Spear modifications to make them work under Mac OS. While Mac Rogue Spear has now been out and available for only a week, many Mac gamers already want to play popular PC mods, but couldn't -- until now. Colley found out that if you delete all the PC carriage returns in all the text files of the mod, it should work. Here are the details:

After much "Playing" last night, I have gotten PC "Mods" to work with my Mac
Rogue Spear. The key, you must open up all of the text files (in BBEdit for
Example) and get rid of the PC carriage returns. After doing this, the mods
work fine. I actually even got Covert Operations to work in Single and
Multiplayer. Today is a good day for Mac Gamers!!!
We're sure this will help a lot of Rogue Spear fans out there. For an excellent one-step way to zap all of those CRs (also known as line feeds) grab textSOAP from VersionTracker.

IMG Rogue Spear preview
IMG News Rogue Spear now shipping!

3dfx Co-Founder Interviewed
8:09 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

After NVIDIA's purchase of 3dfx' intellectual property and the announcement that 3dfx would be closing it's doors in February, the 3D card scene has been relatively quiet, with the exception of public relations staff going about their rounds of damage control. However, the insiders still have something to say, and Gary Tarolli, co-founder of 3dfx, spoke with 3D Pulpit about what led to and ultimately killed 3dfx, and his feelings about the deal:

3. How do you - and all the engineers - feel about the efforts that went into Rampage, Sage, Fusion and Fear that are all down the drain now? How hard was this news to break to the 3dfx staff?

I feel terrible - we were so close! The engineers are obviously disappointed. But not all of the work went down the drain. NVIDIA bought the technology and hopefully some of the ideas and techniques will live on and see the light of day in future chips.

Tarolli also reveals that he and over 100 former-3dfx engineers will be moving to NVIDIA. Of those 100 plus engineers, it appears that at least two were on the Macintosh driver team at 3dfx. Also, Ray Swartz was asked by NVIDIA to submit his resume for review, an excellent development to say the least -- having Mac loyalists on NVIDIA's staff will certainly speed along that company's plans for the Mac platform, whatever they may be.

Gary Tarolli Interviewed at 3D Pulpit

Escape Velocity: Nova update
6:00 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

Ambrosia Software, makers of such quality Mac shareware games as Maelstrom, Escape Velocity and Harry the Handsome Executive, have released several images and given a new name to their upcoming threequel in the Escape Velocity series. EV: Nova, formerly the slightly more pedestrian Escape Velocity 3, is marked as "in development." No estimated timeline is given for the Beta and final versions, but one would hope that Ambrosia could get EV: Nova out the door this year. Matt Burch, one of the lead programmers on EV: Nova posted an update to the progress log recently and included a feature we found amusing:

* Increased max number of explosion types and implemented the 'bööm' resource.
For more details and screen shots be sure and visit the progress log and web site.

EV: Nova Progress Log
EV: Nova Screen Shots
Ambrosia Software Upcoming Projects

MacWorld Expo Roundup
6:00 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Macworld Expo shows are never boring, and even the most PC-centric websites often take interest in the debut of new products from Apple. FiringSquad takes a look at Macworld from a gamer's perspective, analying what the affect of NVIDIA's entry into the Macintosh market could have on ATi's stranglehold on the Mac OEM 3D hardware market. As we all know, ATi has been Apple's sole supplier of graphics chips for several years now, and many users are tired of their lackluster support (although it has improved measurably in the recent past). With NVIDIA on the scene, the competition for the hearts of Mac gamers is heating up, as evidenced by the PR benchmark wars which took place during Macworld San Francisco. Here is FiringSquad's take on the situation:

NVIDIA's entrance into ATI's once exclusive Mac club will have a significant impact on the industry. With Mac graphics technology powered by the graphics providers for the Microsoft Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube, the Mac platform will soon earn the respect it needs to become a gaming platform.

NVIDIA's momentum and success with the Detonator architecture will prevent ATI from being complacent on the Macintosh and put both companies into a fierce competition that'll lead to new products and better drivers.

If you are looking for a more in-depth and technical look at the new products introduced at San Francisco, take a gander at John Siracusa's recap of MacWorld at ArsTechnica. He does an excellent job of detailing each part of Steve Jobs' keynote, spelling out the pros and cons of the new hardware and software. Although the article is a bit lengthy at ten pages, it is well worth the read if you missed the keynote address.

MacWorld Coverage at ArsTechnica
MacWorld Roundup at FiringSquad

Mac Games News for Wednesday, January 17, 2001

FAKK 2 & 4x4 EV0 For Under $205:16 PM
'Myth III' Trailer Released12:26 PM
Master of Orion III First Look12:08 PM
Rogue Spear Now Shipping11:07 AM
NetSprocket Ported to OS X by Freeverse10:34 AM
Details on Myth III Team10:01 AM
Tropico Q&A9:48 AM
Synaptic Soup Dev Diary9:44 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, January 17, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Tuesday, January 16, 2001
Monday, January 15, 2001
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