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Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Vampire: TM Set for May Release
8:50 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

MacSoft has updated their web site with new information regarding one of their very exciting upcoming releases -- Vampire: The Masquerade. The title, originally developed by Nihilistic, is an impressive 3D RPG with very nice graphics and strong story elements. The game is set in two time periods, medieval Prague and modern London. Both are dark worlds, filled with creatures which you must battle against as a Vampire yourself.

Vampire:tM is actually based on a popular pen-and-paper RPG of the same name from White Wolf. It seems excellent progress is being made by MacSoft, too, as this game is now due to be released sometime around this May. Here's the full update from MacSoft:

Well, it's definitely 2001, and that means it's the year of the Vampire on the Mac!

In May of 2001, MacSoft will release Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption for Macintosh. This phenomenal role-playing game will grip you with its chilling tale of undying love and ancient evil.

Explore an astounding 3D world as Christof, a fallen Crusader whose fate is in your hands and whose tale will span centuries in this game of triumph and betrayal. As May draws nearer, we will begin to release details of this magnificent adventure. Until then, stay out of the light...

You can be sure we here at IMG will also be bringing you the latest info on this game as it becomes available. If you're looking for more details on the game, check out Nihilistic's FAQ or the PC version's official site at Activision.

MacSoft Web Site
Nihilistic Vampire: The Masquerade FAQ
Activision Vampire: The Masquerade Web Site
Vampire: The Masquerade
Buy Vampire: The Masquerade

ATi Mobility Radeon Revealed
1:17 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Yesterday, ATi issued a press release announcing the Mobility Radeon, which they touted as "the highest performance, most feature-rich mobile graphics processor in the world." Despite it's name, the Mobility Radeon does not use the same core as its desktop-dwelling cousin. Instead, it merely "borrows" features from it. The Mobility Radeon features one pixel pipeline (the desktop Radeon has two) with three texture units, ATi's bandwith-saving technology Hyper-Z, and has support for 64 MB of DDR-memory operating at up to 200 MHz. The higher end of these specifications will probably not be used by manufacturers, in order to cut down on cost and power consumption. Although this mobile chip does not have a geometry engine like NVIDIA's Geforce2Go, it does consume less power than it's competitor.

Today, MacCentral talks with Darren McPhee, product manager at ATi, about the new Mobility Radeon. Here is what he had to say about the possibility of Apple including their new chips in their PowerBooks:

"I can't comment on Apple," said McPhee. "Obviously, though, we've had a great relationship with Apple on the mobile side. And if you look at our market share, you'll recognize that we work with the leading computer manufacturers in the world."
Traditionally, Apple has used ATi's latest and greatest graphics chip in their high-end portables. It would come as no surprise to us if the Mobility Radeon makes it into a future revision of the PowerBook G4. For a more in-depth look, check out SharkyExtreme's preview. What do you think of the Mobility Radeon, and of its chances of appearing in Apple's high-end mobile hardware? Sound off in IMG's Hardware Forums.

Mobility Radeon Press Release
Mobility Radeon Preview at SharkyExtreme
IMG Hardware Forum
ATI discusses Mobility Radeon

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Escape from Monkey Island is Beta
11:34 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive has updated their web site with news that the port of the LucasArts' adventure game Escape from Monkey Island has reached Beta status, and they expect a short testing period. IMG saw this game in action at Macworld San Francisco in January and it seemed nearly complete, so the title's rapid progress in the hands of Jesse Spears comes as no surprise.

Here is the update from Westlake:

Escape From Monkey Island has gone Beta!

The game is looking very solid and plays well on our low-end machine requirement (ie, G3/233, ATi Rage Pro, & 64 MB of RAM). Jesse Spears has done a great job bringing this game over to the Mac; there's not much left for him to do besides polish and add a few extra features.

We anticipate a fairly short testing cycle with EFMI (probably just a couple of weeks). So with any luck, everyone will be unlocking the secrets of Monkey Island very soon!

EFMI will be published by Aspyr Media and should run well on everything from a Rev B. iMac to the latest G4 powerhouse -- oh yes, and on the TiBook as well. Aspyr recently launched a section of their web site dedicated to this title, and they are currently accepting pre-orders for $49.95.

In related news Westlake has also announced that Monopoly Casino has been declared Golden Master by MacSoft and should be available in stores shortly.

Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive News Page
Aspyr Media
Escape From Monkey Island
Buy Escape From Monkey Island

X-Plane Updated to 5.60b5
10:27 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

One of the most in-depth flight simulators on any platform, X-Plane, has been updated. This version introduces a new feature: multiplayer. Now players will be able to fly with each other (X-plane does not simulate combat, just flight) via the Internet.

X-Plane is the world's most comprehensive flight simulator, and the most realistic flight simulator available for personal computers. Welcome to the world of props, jets, single- and multi-engine airplanes, as well as gliders, helicopters and VTOLs such as the V-22 Osprey and AV8-B Harrier. Here are the details:

MULTIPLAYER!!! See the INTERNET option in the Settings menu. Fly formation or RACE with your friends... take a couple fast planes and race around towers! Fly a Boeing and have your friend intercept you in an F-22!
Join up and then select the GLIDER TOW option if you want to be towed around by the other guy... he can fly with complete freedom, towing you! Join up and then select B-52 Drop if you want to be carried around by the other guy... he can fly with complete freedom, carrying you!
When in MULTIPLAYER you can send messages with the ENTER key... and the speech synthesis handles the messages just like ATC communications on the other guys machine so he will HEAR the multiplayer messages that you typed spoken verbally by the ATC speech synthesizer! HAR!

Hook up multiple computers with an ethernet cable! The other machines can show other views, tower views, or maps that are updated in realtime! Hook up multiple machines with one machine as an instructor console so the instructor can fail equipment and set weather conditions! The instructor can do all sorts of sneaky stuff on his machine without you knowing it, like load in windshear, fail equipment, set poor runway conditions, or anything else to throw you some curve-balls!

Flight simulator fans should definitely try this game, if they haven't already; the learning curve is steep, but the rewards are great for the armchair aviator.

X-Plane 5.60b5 updater at MacGameFiles
X-Plane 5.60b5 demo at MacGameFiles
X-Plane web site

Blizzard's Tenth Celebration Begins
9:34 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment, creators of such brilliant time-sinks as Warcraft II, Diablo and Diablo II, have an anniversary coming up; their tenth, in fact. Apart from being one of the largest and most successful software houses in history, they are also composed of some of the most respected designers in the industry. And they also have one other critical skill: they know how to play to their obsessive fan base.

In this spirit they have published a guide to the primary movers and shakers behind the scenes at Blizzard, from the founding members to the originators of such blockbusters as Starcraft. Here's an excerpt about how the company was founded:

Blizzard today is a world-renowned game company. It has published four consecutive million-unit sellers, produced three Games of the Year, and gained the esteem of millions of gamers. But before Blizzard became one of the most successful computer game companies of the late Nineties, it was just an idea in the mind of Allen Adham. Even as early as his sophomore year in high school, Allen knew that he wanted to make games, and at an early age, he started laying the groundwork for the creation of the company that would one day become Blizzard.

Back in the Eighties, Allen hung out with a group of friends that included Interplay founder Brian Fargo. He would playtest games for Fargo and eventually program his own games while studying at UCLA. Allen worked on Demon's Forge and designed and coded an adventure game called Gunslinger, selling a few thousand copies of each. Thanks to these early experiences, Allen gathered the necessary knowledge to start a real game company. He contacted college buddy Mike Morhaime and convinced Mike to take the leap into game design. They each contributed $10,000 to the startup, and on February 8, 1991, with their first employee, Frank Pearce, already on board, the three founded Silicon & Synapse, a name that Allen says "meant the melding of computers and the mind." Back then, all Allen and Mike wanted to do was just make games and have fun.

Any company this successful can be excused for throwing a party on their own behalf. If you want to learn more about Blizzard (and check out some quite funny details on and screen shots of their early work) then this bio guide is a good place to start; we're sure Blizzard has more up their sleeve for their actual anniversary date, February 8th.

Blizzard Entertainment 10th Anniversary Celebration

Fatality's Guide to Q3DM7
9:24 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Stomped isn't just a web site; they also run their own LAN gaming arena known as the Stomping Grounds. Thus they have befriended many of the tournament gamers out there, and have already hosted several of their own competitions.

Perhaps in the spirit of encouraging future champions, Q3A tournament terror 'Fatality' has posted an in-depth tutorial on teamplay in Q3DM7, a very popular map as it is also included in the demo version of the game. While not ideally suited to teamplay, the map does have quite a few secrets to reveal, and Fatality knows them all. His tutorial includes screen shots and detailed instructions, so if you want to rule DM7, this is the guide for you.

Fatality's Q3DM7 Guide at Stomped

Click to enlarge
Return to Dark Castle Public Beta March 1st
8:58 AM | Tom Bridge | Comment on this story

ZSculpt Entertainment's Zach Black has confirmed that a Public Beta version of their upcoming release Return to Dark Castle will be available on or around March 1st. Return to Dark Castle is the third game in an age-old series surrounding Duncan's quest to vanquish the Black Knight.

Dark Castle and Beyond Dark Castle are some of the oldest side-scroller action games in the panoply, aging back to the days of the Mac Plus and before. Delta Tao relicensed the series after buying the rights from what was left of Silicon Beach Software several years ago, and releasing Color Dark Castle. Since then, ZSculpt has fully re-engineered the game, bringing some more modern touches such as sprites and transparent lighting effects to the game. Stay tuned for the Public Beta, which will be available on

IMG Return to Dark Castle Sneak Preview
IMG Interview with ZSculpt
Delta Tao
Z Sculpt
Return to Dark Castle
Buy Return to Dark Castle

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Oni Prequel?
8:55 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

FGN has a very interesting report about a possible prequel to Oni from the new owners of the license, TakeTwo. Unlike the current game, the prequel will be developed for WAP-enabled devices like phones or hand helds by a company called Quantum Sheep. Here's a quote from the report with more on this odd development:

"Despite the limitations of the mobile format, Quantum Sheep has done a fantastic job of creating a game which is not only easy to pick up and play, it doesn't require players to be connected to their service providers for an age," explained Rachel England, Head of Online International Marketing, Take Two. "However, Take Two's commitment to mobile phone users doesn't end here - we've yet another superb and unique service launching to coincide with the PlayStation 2 release."
It seems the title will be a simple sort of training simulator for Konoko. We're not exactly sure about the content or how thrilling it is to play a game on your cell phone, but you can check out the Quantum Sheep site for more info.

Quantum Sheep Web Site
FGN: Oni Prequel Announced
Bungie Studios
Gathering of Developers
Buy Oni

Click to enlarge
Official Cro-Mag Rally Strategy Guide
8:53 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Pangea Software has posted an official strategy guide for their popular 'kart' racer Cro-Mag Rally. If you find yourself having a trouble making headway with the game, be sure to give this guide a once-over. There are sections covering the difficulty modes, general driving tips, details on the cars, powerups, tracks, and even battle tips. You're sure to find help even if you're a CMR expert. Here's a clip from the driving section on why this isn't a gas-and-go type of racer:

Unlike most racing games where you simply hold down the acceleration button and never let go, Cro-Mag Rally requires a bit more interaction. In Cro-Mag Rally, speed kills - remember that. You've got to get used to letting go of the gas pedal and hitting the brakes, especially on the levels with tight turns like China and the Viking Village Yes, hitting the brakes slows you down, but in this racing game, "control" is more important than speed.
And if you have yet to pick up Cro-Mag Rally, consider IMG's new bundle which includes Pangea's other popular game, Bugdom, and a CMR T-shirt for only $49.00!

IMG Review of Cro-Mag Rally
Cro-Mag Rally Strategy Guide
Pangea Software
Cro-Mag Rally

Mac Games News for Monday, February 5, 2001 Debuts4:34 PM
Shadowbane Enters Beta4:18 PM
Monkey Shines 2: Gorilla Warfare is GM12:13 PM
Warren Spector Interview at VoodooExtreme11:59 AM
Ernesto Released11:44 AM
'Own' in Oni10:52 AM
'Majestic' Web Site Debuts10:37 AM
TopWare Troubles?9:32 AM
Red Faction Delayed9:29 AM
CodeWarrior Update, No Q3 Help9:24 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, February 5, 2001 on one page

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Friday, February 2, 2001
Thursday, February 1, 2001
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