Age of Empires 2, Links 2002 to be Carbonized
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Bold, the newly-named Mac publishing label under Peter Tamte's company Destineer recently sent out an update concerning their upcoming titles and OS X. It seems both Age of Empires 2 and Links 2002 will be Carbonized to support OS X, as well as supporting OS 8.6 and newer. They also plan on supporting Apple's next-generation operating system in all future titles (of which only Halo has been revealed so far).
While not surprising, this announcement is yet another endorsement of Apple's newest OS, as more gamers and game makers begin to make the transition. Both AoE2 and Links 2002 are set for a release this October, so Mac fans won't have to wait much longer for these critically-acclaimed titles. Here's the press release with more:
Destineer's Macintosh label, Bold, announces today thatThe actual port of Age of Empires 2 is already well underway in the capable hands of Westlake Interactive. While the Destineer Studios web site is still just a slash page at this point, we expect more info very soon from Tamte and company.
Past IMG News on Destineer
its upcoming Macintosh versions of Microsoft's Age of Empires® 2: The Age of
Kings™, as well as Microsoft's Links® 2002, will both support Mac OS-X.
Both games will support MacOS-X through Apple Computer's "Carbon" library,
which makes it possible for games and other software to take advantage of
some of the capabilities of Mac OS-X while also working on Macintosh
computers with MacOS 8.6 and MacOS 9.
Destineer's president, Peter Tamte, explains Destineer's decision to support
MacOS-X by saying, "MacOS-X is getting cooler every month. Lots of Mac users
are now running MacOS-X exclusively. All of our games will support MacOS-X."
Age of Empires 2 is scheduled to ship for the Macintosh in early October.
The Windows version has received numerous "Strategy Game of the Year" awards
and sold over 3 million units so far. Links 2002 is scheduled to ship for
Macintosh in late October. Microsoft's Links series is, by far, the
best-selling golf games ever.
Desineer Studios Web Site
Destineer Studios (add to watch list)
A Cluster of Custer Desktops
5:24 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
Our apologies to our pixel wizard Brad Custer for almost forgetting that he has once again updated Custer's Desktops with new desktop images for you to download and install. This time you get five for the price of one! (which is for free, incidentally). These bits of eye candy are even more alluring than usual, featuring the curvy Lara Croft as the subject:
As I've stated before I am a long time fan of the Tomb Raider series.Jump to Custer's Desktops for the downloads and his past desktop creations.
So when I was approached with the opportunity to create desktops that would be included with an actual game, I jumped at the chance.
Sometimes I hit a little "creative block" when I need to produce 5 desktops at once, but not in this case.
I probably could have done more, but 5 seems like a nice number.
Don't ask me how we arrived at it.
This week, however, the desktops are in only 4 assorted flavors instead of 9.
I chose to do this to keep them true to the format they would have been on the cd.
They are titled in order from top to bottom: Blaze of Glory, Bustin' Out, The Legacy Lives On, No Way Out and The Chronicles.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did making them. :)
Mac Deep Space Nine: The Fallen Goes Gold
4:24 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
IMG has just received confirmation from Doug Hare from Collective Studios that, after an almost interminable wait, the Mac OS port of Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen has "gone gold" and is ready for duplication. Even better, he has given us a projected release date: July 23. DS9: The Fallen will be published by Simon and Schuster.
Those of you who have been anticipating this sequel (which was originally due to go "gold" in October of 2000) would be right to be skeptical, but this time it's for real -- all issues with the sound and music playback have been resolved, now that the Miles Sound Library for Mac OS is complete.
Preview: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen
If you'd like more information about this game, read through our preview of the title (posted almost two years ago). July and August are certain to be "hot" months for Mac gamers, and the release of this title only feeds the flames.
Deep Space Nine: The Fallen Web Site
Past Articles on Mac DS9: The Fallen
Simon & Schuster (add to watch list)
The Collective (add to watch list)
DS9: The Fallen (add to watch list)
Buy DS9: The Fallen
Quake Ported to Mac OS X, Again
3:45 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Mysterious developers Fruitz of Dojo have ported the vintage id shooter Quake to Mac OS X. Although this open-source title has already been ported in "glquake" form by the MacDoomLegacy team, this new port is unique in several ways. First, it is a port of the software engine of the game, not the hardware-accelerated version. Second, this OS X port uses only "core" Mac OS X routines such as CoreGraphics and CoreAudio, which (we assume) means that it is a Cocoa application.
Here are the details:
This port does use only core MacOS X APIs like "CoreAudio" and "CoreGraphics". This release includes only the software renderer versions of Quake, which is dedicated to all MacOS X users with an unsupported graphics board, like RagePro and Rage II chipsets. The archive contains three applications: "Quake", "QuakeWorld Client" and "qwsv". The GLQuake versions are currently under development and will be released soon.Grab the binaries from the Dojo page (which contains some not-so-veiled nudity) and add them to either the full install of Quake or the demo to run this classic as a native OS X application.
Mac Doom Legacy Project
Quake 1.0 for OS X Download at Fruitz of Dojo
IMG Previews AirBurst
2:31 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
IMG is making a concerted effort to broaden our horizons beyond commercial releases, and include much more coverage of shareware titles (especially those which originate on the Mac OS). Thus we bring you our latest preview, which focuses on AirBurst. This brilliant homage to an arcade classic features the top-notch visuals and sounds we've come to expect from Strange Flavour, along with addictive gameplay. Here's an excerpt from the preview:
Warlords was a simple game with a simple concept -- you used your paddle to guard your castle (and the knight within) from a ball of fire which took a chunk out of anything it hit. Even with the blocky, nearly monochrome graphics and limited sound abilities of the Atari console, Warlords was a compelling game for a group of kids with a Saturday afternoon to kill. As the ball bounced around and was deflected, your wall slowly came down brick by brick until only one knight survived.Be sure to read the rest of the preview for details and screen shots on this future shareware release.
AirBurst pays homage to this classic and attempts to take this style of play to a new level of visual splendor and challenging tactics. This time the castle wall is an island of fragile balloons floating high above Earth, and the ball of fire is now spiked, ready to puncture your shield. Further complicating matters is the fact that your island of balloons has its own physics, and starts to drift around as you come into contact with the razor-tipped ball and the other players. Add to this a mix of power-ups and twelve (currently -- more variants may be added) styles of play and you have a classic reborn as a truly 21st-century game.
ATI Announces SMARTSHADER Technology
2:01 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
In an aggressive move to achieve feature parity with rival NVIDIA, graphics chip and card maker ATI has announced the addition of SMARTSHADER technology to their next series of chips, which have yet to be released. As with their TruForm technology, this new rendering method is a combination of hardware capabilities and extensions to their drivers (as well as to the graphics APIs DirectX 8.1 and OpenGL). This technology will push real-time 3D rendering even further towards cinematic realism, allowing for complex surfaces and effects to be rendered on the fly for unprecedented visual quality.
NVIDIA wowed the gaming world with the Pixel and Vertex Shader abilities of the GeForce 3 card, which will allow such complex effects as rippled and bumped surfaces, layered textures, iridescent and reflective materials and layered lighting to create realistic scenes. In the long tradition of one-upsmanship between these graphics card giants, ATI has used the interval between NVIDIAs release to create a version of this technology which apparently takes it a step further, allowing for even more complex combinations of shaders, textures, surfaces and lights. Allowing for the combination of up to 6 textures per polygon and up to 22 separate texture instructions (which define how the textures themselves are layered and combined) per pixel, the SMARTSHADER technology certainly seems worthy of its all-caps moniker.
Although the white paper accompanying this announcement focuses on DirectX 8, a PC-only API, the document also promises that all the extensions for programming these new shaders will also be available through OpenGL, making this a cross-platform technology for Mac OS users as well.
The technology document outlining SMARTSHADER properties is loaded with lots of tech speak buzzwords; unfortunately as both NVIDIA and ATI have learned multiple times in the past, all the buzzwords in the world are meaningless if developers never choose to take advantage of these features. Hardware Transform, Clipping and Lighting is a technology well over two years old that developers are only now beginning to make aggressive use of when designing games and game engines. Regardless, here are some excerpts from the white paper with details on what you might expect of future titles which use this technology (if you purchase one of ATIs next-generation cards):
Procedural DeformationMany of the features mention here (such as hardware-accelerated shadows and procedural textures) were only available on high-end graphics systems such as Silicon Graphics workstations for tens of thousands of dollars; the advent of these features in a $350-$500 card is an extremely exciting example of Moore's Law in action.
Many objects in the real world change shape according to simple mathematical functions. These functions can be modeled using vertex shaders and applied to the position of each vertex in an object to create highly realistic, procedural animation. This has a wide range of applications including water waves, flags and capes that blow in the wind, and wobbling objects like soap bubbles.
Shadows are a very important part of any scene, since they help convey a sense of depth and atmosphere. Vertex shaders provide a simple way of generating convincing shadows that can be fully animated and extended to multiple light sources. The shader is used to create transparent volumes that extend behind objects away from any light sources, creating shadows where the volumes contact other surfaces. The closer the light source is to the shadow-casting object, the darker the shadow is.
Single Pass, Per-Pixel Rendering of Multiple Light Sources
Some of the most important effects made possible by SMARTSHADER™ technology involves per-pixel lighting from multiple light sources. Making use of all six texture inputs to the pixel shaders, bumpy objects can be made to accurately reflect light from multiple sources in a single rendering pass. Light sources can include environment maps (providing realistic reflections), point lights, spotlights, glowing objects, and more.
Advanced Bump Mapping
Bump mapping has been demonstrated as a useful technique for improving the realism of surfaces without requiring a huge amount of additional geometry data. Both Environment Mapped Bump Mapping (which works best on shiny surfaces) and Dot Product 3 Bump Mapping (which works best on matte surfaces) can be implemented using pixel shader. ATI’s SMARTSHADER™ technology makes it possible to go a step further with more advanced bump mapping effects, such as self-shadowing bump maps (also known as Horizon Mapping) and the ability to combine multiple bump maps.
Detailed textures normally require large amounts of graphics memory for storage, which limits the variety of textures and amount of detail that can be used. However, with SMARTSHADER™ technology it has become possible to create a wide variety of interesting textures using mathematical functions, which require little or no memory storage because they are generated on the graphics chip.
ATI's next chipset, which will presumably be a sequel to their quite successful Radeon series, is set to debut later this summer. As there has often been a lag between the PC and Mac versions of ATI cards, we might expect to be enjoying the fruits of the furious competition between NVIDIA and ATI some time this Fall. However, only time will tell when developers will actually implement technologies such as these in games and game engines and exploit the new chips to their full potential.
News: ATI Unveils TRUFORM Technology
For more information and demonstrations of this new technology in action, jump to the ATI web site. The Flash-powered demo is particularly informative, though it requires patience or high bandwidth due to the large image sizes.
ATI SMARTSHADER Details and Examples
Quake2 Done Quick2 Ported to Mac
12:52 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
While many Mac gamers have enjoyed playing the Mac port of id Software's classic shooter Quake 2, there has always been one obstacle in the path of true enjoyment -- the fact that the PC mods for this game are not compatible with the Mac version, without some degree of "porting." This limitation has kept many Mac Q2 players from enjoying the wide range of mods and bots available for this game on the PC side, but a dedicated fan community with a foot in each platform has worked to bring some of these over the fence, so to speak.
One of the most popular mods for the Quake series were actually "movies" -- the Quake Done Quick demos are legendary among hardcore players, and show Quake players with almost inhuman skill blasting their way through the solo levels of the game with incredible accuracy and speed. Using moves and techniques refined through years of practice, these FPS artists can plow through dozens of levels in mere minutes, certainly giving the designers of those levels a thing or two to think about. More importantly the QDQ series is a critical teaching tool for those who aspire to achieve perfection in the fine art of blowing hideous cyborg monsters to bits.
Official Quake2 Done Quick2 Site
Brandon Rich has ported the Quake2 Done Quick2 package to the Mac OS version of Quake 2, for your viewing enjoyment. He has also packed all the files needed into one 3.5 MB download, or you can grab just the Mac-specific files and then grab the PC version from the official web site.
Quake2 Done Quick2 for Mac OS
12:11 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story
The site MacGamez.com has returned, in partnership with other Mac games sites including Inside Mac Games and FragMac. Some readers may remember this site from previous incarnations, but Lulio Vargas has come up with a new style, refocused the site's goals and added new staff as well. Here are details from the press release:
What's unique about MacGamez.com? Our writers are thoughtful and clear as essayists; perceptive and pointed as critics. Our writers are everyday Mac gamers, and they are intent on keeping the thrill of gaming alive in each and every review, interview and special feature. We employ columnists rarely seen in Mac publications such as Mac gaming ex-devotees, Apple [Retail] Store employees as well as the traditional reviewers and columnists.Content is currently a little scarce on the site, but don't let this put you off, the MacGamez journey has only just begun and to grow and succeed it needs readers and most importantly, feedback. Be sure to check out the current reviews and previews, as well as an interesting feature article from an insider in the Mac retail market.
Rune 1.07a (OpenGL) Patch Released
12:02 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story
Last week the long-anticipated 1.07 patch for Rune was released by Westlake with a number of fixes, updates and improvements. Unfortunately some simple human error intervened and OpenGL support had not been enabled in the final build.
Mark Adams quickly admitted to this problem and said he'd address the problem ASAP with a patch. And, being true to his word, the 1.07a patch arrived today.
So, if you're interested in playing Rune in OpenGL, go grab this tiny patch from MacGameFiles.
Rune Updated to 1.07
Rune 1.07a patch (256k)
Apple Previews Baldur's Gate II
11:43 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Apple has updated the increasingly-active Games section of their web site with a detailed preview of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn , the first of many titles to be published by the revitalized MacPlay brand. With interview material from members of MacPlay and BioWare (the original developers of the title), the preview provides a look behind the scenes as well as an overview of this epic RPG and the depth of its gameplay.
Baldur's Gate II Preview at Apple
BG 2 was much praised for being more than a mere sequel; while second efforts can be just an extension of the first, this sequel broadened the series in depth, complexity and graphical beauty. The game has been cunningly designed to both reward those who have played through the first game (by allowing them to import their favorite character) but also welcome those who are new to the series with an extensive tutorial. Jump to the preview for more details on this exciting release, due later this Summer.
Myth III Images Collection
10:09 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
GameScreenshots.com has produced a collection of images from MumboJumbo's project in development for Take Two Interactive, Myth III: The Wolf Age. While many of these screen shots have been seen before, one or two on the first page of shots seem to be new additions.
Past News Articles on Myth III: The Wolf Age
The shots are published roughly in reverse-chronological order, and include both in-game shots and concept art. Myth III is of course the next title in the Myth series of games begun by Bungie Software; this latest incarnation will meld the gameplay and physics of the second title with the sophisticated animation and 3D polygon rendering engine created by Ritual Entertainment (which powers such titles as Heavy Meta F.A.K.K. 2). Myth III is expected to be complete in October, and all recent progress reports indicate they are on-track for release. Visit our archive of past Myth III stories for more details, and jump to the screen shot collection to see what all the fuss is about.
Myth III Images Archive at GameScreenshots.com
SimsForMac Site Update
9:48 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
Sims for Mac has recently updated their site with some new downloads for players of The Sims to enjoy. Among those free goodies are 6 new floor patterns, 8 wall patterns and 5 new house types, including an Isla House, Trendy House, a No-Name House and a Goth house.
For those unfamiliar with the site, SimsforMac (as the name suggests) is a site geared towards Mac players of Maxis' wildly successful title. It includes news, hints, and several Mac-friendly download sections including walls, skins, floors and objects. A general forum as well as a "family screen shots" section is also available.
For Mac players looking to spruce their Sim's lives up a little, be sure to give the site a whirl.
Aspyr Media (add to watch list)
Maxis (add to watch list)
Westlake Interactive (add to watch list)
The Sims: Livin' Large (add to watch list)
MacSoft's Al Schilling Interviewed
9:45 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
GameSpy conducted a recent interview with Al Schilling, the product manager of MacSoft, asking him various questions about the Mac gaming industry in general as well as MacSoft's role; this is their second such interview of a noted Mac personality in recent weeks. Though the interview predictably skews towards the usual skepticism Mac gamers are used to receiving, Schilling does an admirable job of defending his company and the Mac gaming market in general.
One of the topics broached is the fact that "it has been argued that the Mac was never meant to be a gaming machine." Schilling is quick to point out that the PC was also never meant to play games, adding that with native OpenGL support, true plug-n-play peripherals, and the entry of Mac-specific 3D video cards have made the Mac a formidable gaming machine.
Schilling is also asked about Mac game title quirks, including later release dates and patch updates. When asked why most Mac titles are released after PC titles, he points towards the money issue. PC titles continue to outsell Mac counterparts by a wide margin, so naturally most developers will go for the higher dividends. Mac publishers work under a different business model, as their margins are smaller and their retail space limited. After a title is released, however, the patch process is no different for a Mac publisher than it is for a PC publisher - they both have the same set of headaches, as a programmer must go back and work on a product they originally thought was closed.
Schilling also notes a shifting of the Mac gaming market itself. In the past, MacSoft had to chase after PC companies to get the permissions to do ports. These days, the high visibility of the company has turned the tables and has PC developers approaching MacSoft for Mac ports of their titles. Schilling attributes much of this success towards excellent Mac development houses such as Westlake, Varcon, Metis, Alt Software and Green Dragon.
Schilling's prognosis for Mac OS X is fairly typical of what Mac developers have been saying about this OS. Initially, it will make programming a little more difficult, as many developers are now having to program for 2 OSes rather than one. However, the superior foundation of OS X (protected memory, native OpenGL) should create a better gaming experience in the future.
MacSoft itself, in business for over 8 years now, seems to be doing just fine. When asked about original titles, he notes that there's nothing currently planned, but mentions are currently porting two A-list titles, Tropico and Fly! II. Waiting in the wings are Max Payne and Stronghold. This series of deals with publisher Take 2, as well as being affiliated with Infogrames, put MacSoft in a very strong position as a Mac developer.
GameSpy - MacSoft's Al Shilling Interview
For the rest of the interview, including his explanations of why some things (such as Unreal Tournament's level editor) never make it to the Mac platform, be sure to check out the full interview at GameSpy.
MacSoft (add to watch list)
IMG Interviews Tim Gift of GarageGames
9:30 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story
IMG recently sat down with Tim Gift of GarageGames for an interview about their upcoming $100 engine V12. The product is actually based on the powerful Tribes 2 engine, and could mean big things for Mac gamers as both the developer tools and games are being ported to the Mac OS. In the Q&A Tim answers a variety of questions about V12 itself, the Mac port, and even a few questions about the premature demise of the once-promised Mac version of Tribes 2. Here's a clip:
IMG: If someone is making a V12 game on a PC, how much work will it be to get it running on the Mac? It's an interesting read, so be sure to head over and check out the rest of the interview. Thanks go out to Tim, David, and the rest of the GarageGames team for their hard work to make V12 a truly cross-platform engine.
GarageGames Web Site
Tim Gift: Theoretically it will just run, but it never works that way. The biggest problem really will be in their own code. If they write just a mod off the test demo, then that should just run with no problem at all. If they modify the code to add their own modules or do any kind of tweaks then they would have to make sure their code ports to the Mac. Again, theoretically is should just port, recompile it and it should just run, but all C compilers are not 100% compatible and there may be various issues. But that's all it would take, since all of the binary file formats are the same.
Interview with GarageGames' Tim Gift on V12
uDevGame Contest Announced
8:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
iDevGames, the premier site for anything related to programming games on the Mac, has started a new contest known as uDevGame. The contest is designed to help both promote making Mac games as well as increase the open-source code base available for beginning Mac programmers to use and learn from. Developers have until September 16 to submit an original work that runs on any Mac platform (Classic or OS X) as well as its source code. Winners will have their pick from $3700 in prizes from various companies. Here's an excerpt from the contest rules page with more details:
CreateThis is a very interesting concept, and we can't wait to see what might come of uDevGame. This should be great inspiration for would-be programmers to start cranking on their first projects, and it might even mean more great Mac-first titles will be available to play in the future.
We hope that uDevGame will stimulate the creation of games on the Macintosh by encouraging people to develop new and original games for the platform.
The need for qualified Macintosh programmers is greater now than ever thanks to Apple's exciting new operating system, Mac OS X. Participants in the uDevGame contest will actively help in the education of the Macintosh developers, as well as encourage and enhance the interest of those new to the platform.
iDevGames hopes this contest will draw attention to those that develop unique and exciting games for the Macintosh, as well as help introduce the best and brightest Macintosh game development talent to development houses and publishers alike.
uDevGame Contest Page
Westlake Projects Page Updates
8:04 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Westlake Interactive has recently updated their news page with word that the port of Age of Empires 2 is now at "Alpha," the next stage after first playable. This title to be published by Peter Tamte's Bold label, and as was announced today, is also being Carbonized for OS X. Alpha status means most of the game's systems are somewhat functional and it shouldn't be too long before it moves into beta testing. Here's the update from Westlake:
Age of Empires II has reached the Alpha milestone, and is proceeding well towards beta.Also of note is that the Westlake project list page has upgraded their still secret 'White' project to First Playable. This is great news, and it's likely we'll find out what White and Stanley might be at the upcoming Macworld Expo this week. Stay tuned to IMG for all the latest.
Much of the game is playable, including network play. We're now working on cleaning up graphics routines and fixing some remaining save game and file I/O code.
Age of Empires II will be published for the Mac by Bold, a divsion of Destineer Studios.
Westlake Project Status Page
Age of Empires 2 Update
Escape Velocity: Nova Hits Beta
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
The Ambrosia Software progress log for their upcoming "threequel" Escape Velocity: Nova was updated over the weekend with news that the game is feature-complete and moving into beta testing. David Williams of the Australian company ATMOS heralds the good news with this short, but sweet, line:
beta 1 build compiled and awayCongratulations should go out to all the folks at ATMOS along with Matt Burch for all their hard work up to this point. While there's no release date set for EV: Nova, you can bet the team will do its best to hurry the game through to completion.
Dave @ ATMOS
EV: Nova Progress Log
Be sure to check out the EV: Nova preambles site for more background on the game, and we also noticed three new screen shots of EV: Nova available as well. They show off some of the title's improved interface and sidebar as well as ships.
EV: Nova Beta Shots Page
Work on Carbon UT Underway Again
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Metroworks recently released an update for their very popular (and critical) Mac compiler Codewarrior which fixes a number of issues with the program. Westlake Interactive's Mark Adams has noted on Usenet that the update also fixed a problem he encountered while working on the Carbon port of Unreal Tournament. Mark is doing the work on the very popular game in his 'spare time,' so that UT diehards can play in 'native' form on Apple's new OS. Here's what he has to say on the port's status as of Friday:
I'm still working on it. Metrowerks just released an update (6.3) that Unfortunately "next week" is also Macworld, which officially begins tomorrow, so we're betting Mark is probably going to be quite busy. It is fantastic he is taking the time to work on the port, and we'll be very thankful when he does have something to show for it.
Westlake Interactive Web Site
seems to have fixed my stumbling block, so I'll probably try to hack on
it a bit more next week.
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