Feral Updates on Black & White, More
9:30 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
The Feral web site was updated recently with some information on the progress of many of the titles they will be publishing for the Mac. Chief among them is the highly anticipated god-game Black & White, which they confirm should be making its debut at Macworld Expo San Francisco. The Expo is set to take place in just over a month, and those in the Europe can get their pre-orders in now for the title.
As those of you who visit us regularly will know, the Mac development of Black & White has been progressing well. We are now targeting a release at MacWorld San Francisco on January 8th, 2002. Pre-ordering from Feral will be available from December 1st.GraphSim will be publishing the game in North America, so look for more information in the near future from them also.
In the meantime if you want to get an eyeful of it have a look at some shots of the game running on a Mac, keep checking out the Feral Black & White area. We have posted a series of screenshots showing the progress of the development up until about one week ago.
In other news, Championship Manager Season 01/02 has shipped, and they have some interesting bundles in place for those wanting to order it with another game like Tropico or Oni. Max Payne, which Westlake just announced they are porting, is set for a Spring release. F1 Championship is expected even earlier next year, with February now being the targeted month.
One interesting turn of events is that Feral decided to postpone the release of Fly! II to their market until some of the game's performance issues can be resolved. Apparently they didn't approve of the title's hardware requirements and are going to go back to the developer and request some changes. They expect things to be straightened out early next year.
Head over to the Feral site for much more information on these and other games and stay tuned to IMG for any new information as it becomes available.
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Send Your "Ask MacPlay" Questions
3:29 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story
In October 2000, the venerable MacPlay brand was brought back from the dead, thanks to former Ritual Entertainment CEO Ron Dimant. The blockbuster deal gave Dimant the rights to use the MacPlay name as well as port five Interplay titles to the Mac. MacPlay was indeed back.
Since then the company has been busy releasing such highly anticipated titles as Baldur's Gate II, Giants, and Aliens vs Predator.
In cooperation with MacPlay, we're working on the third installment of a feature called "Ask MacPlay." The concept is easy: send us your questions, and we'll submit the best of the best to MacPlay. We'll then post the answers on IMG at a later date.
So, if you have a question for MacPlay, by all means, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words Ask MacPlay in the Subject field. You can ask questions about their games, games you'd like to see from MacPlay, or even of specific persons at MacPlay.
One last note. Mark Cottam, president of MacPlay, wanted us to tell our readers to be sure to send "tough" questions. Especially about the recent changes at MacPlay.
BioWare Drops Interplay; NWN Interview
2:30 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story
Game developer BioWare announced on Friday that they have dropped Interplay as the PC publisher of their upcoming cross-platform RPG Neverwinter Nights, two months after filing suit against the publisher:
On Thursday, November 29, 2001, Canadian software developer BioWare Corp. terminated its contract with Interplay Entertainment Corp. to develop its latest computer game, Neverwinter Nights. BioWare announced that, though it has ended its association with Interplay on the project, it is looking forward to releasing Neverwinter Nights on schedule, early in 2002. Development at BioWare is continuing on both Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic as well as on other as yet unannounced projects. In addition to Neverwinter Nights, BioWare developed a number of past games for the Mac, including Shattered Steel, Baldur’s Gate, and Baldur’s Gate II. (Parallax, also mentioned in BioWare's announcement, developed Descent and Descent II.)
BioWare had previously filed lawsuits against Interplay, alleging that Interplay has breached contracts with BioWare by sublicensing distribution of BioWare games to third parties without the knowledge or consent of BioWare. BioWare had also joined with Illinois software developer Parallax in a lawsuit against Interplay alleging that Interplay, British Distributor Virgin Interactive, and the French company, Titus Interactive, had failed to pay royalties due BioWare and Parallax games,
Update: While no contract has yet been signed, MacPlay's Henry Price has told IMG that MacPlay still hopes to publish Neverwinter Nights for the Mac.
In related news, RPG Vault posted on Friday the third installment in their ongoing interview with BioWare. Here's an excerpt featuring BioWare's Greg Zeschuk:
In our impression single-player gaming is still alive and very healthy. We are focusing considerable effort to make the single-player version campaign in Neverwinter Nights as memorable as anything we've ever done in the Baldur's Gate series of games. We believe that if we have a solid single-player game, we will have access to a much greater audience than if we only focused on the multiplayer game.For more information, check out RPG Vault's full interview and IMG's preview of Neverwinter Nights.
BioWare: Neverwinter Nights
Blues News: Neverwinter Nights Contract Termination
IMG Preview: Neverwinter Nights
RPG Vault: BioWare 2001 Interview, Part 3
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Custer Goes to Mars
12:41 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
This week, IMG's Brad Custer takes our desktops to the Red Planet and incites a little revolution:
GraphSim Entertainment announced last week that Red Faction was shipping for the Mac. If you're like me then this was exciting news to say the least. This announcement was the influence for my decision to make this week's desktop titled "Revolution".Head over to Custer's Desktops to check out this latest offering from our resident artist.
GraphSim: Red Faction
IMG: Red Faction Preview
IMG: Custer's Desktops
IMG Reviews Age of Empires II
12:33 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story
IMG's latest review is of Bold's real-time strategy game, Age of Empires II: Gold Edition. Here's a small taste:
Is there anything more fulfilling than devising an extremely creative plan and then executing it brilliantly on the field of battle, eviscerating the enemy with stunning lethality? Well, perhaps a business luncheon with Steve Jobs, followed by dinner with the beguiling Bernadette Peters, but aside from that, I think not! Alexander the Great knew such fulfillment, Napoleon tasted it and now, thanks to Peter Tamte and the happenin’ kids at Bold Games, Mac users everywhere can experience such glory.If the opportunity to refight the battle of Mantzikert and change the entire course of European and Near Eastern history is as tempting to you as it is to this reporter, check out the rest of Michael Phillips's review.
IMG Review: Age of Empires II
Bold: Age of Empires II
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Battle.net Trading Hack Blocked
12:10 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story
Merchant warriors, rejoice! Blizzard Entertainment announced on Friday that it is once again safe to trade on Battle.net:
We have recently implemented a solution for the Diablo II Battle.net trade hack that surfaced earlier this month. Players may now continue trading their characters’ items safely over Battle.net without the risk of losing items to unscrupulous players utilizing the trade hack.Blizzard continued with this warning, sure to be welcome to the vast majority of online Diablo II players:
It has come to our attention that certain players have employed additional hacks and exploits in an attempt to crash our servers. In keeping with our aggressive stance against hacks and cheats, we are devoting our full attention to nullifying these hacks and exploits. Any and all players found using these hacks will be banned from Battle.net indefinitely.If you haven't yet become addicted to the world of Diablo II, be sure to check out IMG's review.
IMG Review: Diablo II
Blizzard: The World of Diablo
IMG Review: Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Battle.net Status: Diablo II Battle.net Trade Hack Fixed
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Deimos Rising Carbonized
9:56 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
Ambrosia Software recently posted a screen shot of their upcoming title, Deimos Rising, playing in windowed mode under Mac OS X complete with iTunes, Adium, and other programs running simultaneously. For those unfamiliar with the name, Deimos Rising, the sequel to Mars Rising, is a vertically-scrolling arcade shooter that can support two players simultaneously.
Andrew Welch, President of Ambrosia as well as a programmer, notes that the OS X version is "a tiny bit slower" than the OS 9 version, and adds that anything over a 350 MHz G3 will run Deimos just as fast on OS X. In a further illustration, he responds to a forum goer's inquiry on running Deimos under a dual 800 MHz G3:
On a Dual 800, you'll be able to render scenes in Lightwave, download a few dozen files, listen to iTunes with full-size visuals on, and play Deimos Rising all at the same time under Mac OS X, without skipping a beat.Interested readers can find more information on Deimos Rising and the screen shot showing it running under OS X at Ambrosia's web site. Deimos is currently at the Final Candidate stage, and will be released as soon as it passes a final round of testing.
Ambrosia Software: Deimos Rising bliss
Ambrosia Software: Upcoming Titles
Baldur's Gate II OS X Speedups
9:49 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
Mac gamers disappointed by the loss of speed when attempting to run Baldur's Gate II under Mac OS X will be happy to hear that several remedies have been posted to the forums at MacBaldur.net. The main workaround simply suggests that users change the graphics settings to run in 16-bit mode, as the OS X 10.1/10.1.1 speed issue seems to be related to the 32-bit mode.
Chris Jacobson, who posted the workaround, also gives the reason why the bug exists:
This bug is related to a Mac OS Toolbox call I use for drawing to the screen, CopyBits. If a 32 bit buffer is the source or destination for the copy, it takes 3-4x longer than it should to copy the data. (This appears to happen all around.) Jacobson also suggests another tweak that involves editing the Baldur.ini file, though this tweak is as yet unconfirmed. For the full details, be sure to check out the posting at MacBaldur.net.
MacPlay: Baldur's Gate II
On OS 9, CopyBits is highly optimized - it takes advantage of AltiVec if it is present, even. However, it appears that on OS X 10.1/10.1.1, it is improperly optimized. Also, reports are the game crashes less in 10.1.1, which leads me to believe bugs were introduced into Carbon in 10.1, and some fixed in 10.1.1.
IMG Review: Baldur's Gate II
MacBaldur Forum: OS X 10.1/10.1.1 Speed Fix - Confirmed
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PoG Patch, "Trinity" Plugin Released
9:41 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Ambrosia Software and Beenox have made good on their promise to update the RPG Pillars of Garendall and have released the game's first plugin, Trinity. This add-on is completely free for registered users of the game and provides three new character classes, new locations to explore, a number of original items, and much more.
The new "speciality" classes will allow you to play as a swordsman, ranger, or conjurer. While the swordsman is a master of close-combat weaponry, the ranger prefers alchemy and ranged weapons. The conjurer uses powerful magical spells and items to balance his limitation of fighting with small arms only. Check out the Trinity page for more information on the plugin.
Trinity highlights the power of the Coldstone RPG Engine upon which the game is based. Beenox is putting the last few touches on Coldstone now and plans to release the RPG-maker very soon. It will allow would-be game developers to easily create games and compile them for Mac OS 9, OS X, and even Windows.
The 1.0.1 patch is a prerequisite for those wanting to play Trinity. The patch also makes a number of fixes and updates, so those playing either the demo or full version will want to download it.
Here's a partial list of some of the changes from the ReadMe:
- should finally work great without CarbonLibFor the full list of changes, read through the ReadMe file included with the 1.0.1 patch. Head over to Macgamefiles now to get both the patch and the plugin. And for more information, read through IMG's recent review of the Pillars of Garendall.
IMG Review: Pillars of Garendall
- no time bomb
- better memory handling
- inventory window now display only one item of a given type with a number over the item's icon for the quantity
- some bugs related to the plugin system fixed
- Several memory leaks fixed
- Cache system greatly improved for faster loading time and less memory usage
- Includes several fixes of Coldstone features not used in the game itself but that could be in plugins
IMG News: Coldstone Nears Completion
Ambrosia: Pillars of Garendall
Ambrosia: Pillars of Garendall: Trinity
MGF: Trinity 1.0 (15.4 MB)
MGF: Pillars of Garendall 1.0.1 Updater (1.8 MB)
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Westlake Hires Duane Johnson
9:34 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
An upbeat post to the Westlake Interactive web site announces that programmer (and rocket scientist) Duane Johnson is now an official employee of the company. It's great to hear a great Mac game advocate and programmer is going to find a new home after the recent restructuring at MumboJumbo and MacPlay. Duane's most recent work was on Sacrifice, though many will recognize him from his efforts with the Descent series and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force.
Here's the full scoop from Westlake:
Mac game programmer extraordinaire Duane Johnson has signed on as a full-time member of Westlake Interactive. Duane comes to us with years of Mac gaming experience, including the 3Dfx Glide and OpenGL versions of Decent 1 & 2, Decent 3, Tales of the Sward Coast (the Baldur's Gate 1 Expansion Pack), Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, and most recently Sacrifice. Duane is currently working on Project Muse, an announced game for release next year.Congratulations to Duane and to Westlake, as we expect big things from both parties in the future.
Westlake's relationship with Duane goes back quite a while; we've actually been trying to hire him on and off for over 3 years. And now we're very lucky to finally snag him:-) Welcome aboard, Duane!
Duane Johnson Joins the Westlake Team
It's also noted that Westlake's newest secret project, Muse, is set for release next year. While their project status page lists it as in "early development," this is the first date we've heard so far on the title. We'll keep you posted as anything new is announced.
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