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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-03-22, 14:01

After reading a few of threads asking "can I play x on mac?" or "will x run on a mac?" or "will x look great on mac?", I had to wonder....

Please correct me if I'm wrong- our situation is this-

Most games are designed for x86 and thus has lot of x86 specific codes which are junks on Mac.

They get ported eventually but are done poorly and never uses PPC to the fullest.

For some reaons, PPC archithure sucks rock when it comes to 3-D rendering, a must in FPS and similar.

....

I know there are some good companies, e.g. Blizzard for one, that does a good job of porting, but it's weird that I have yet to see anyone talk about a Mac specific game... How come are there no companies that makes PPC optimized games for Mac, or if there are, how come they're not being talked about here?

Hypotheically, the gamers with mac would be much better off if we didn't have to leech off other systems' games and instead make our own exclusive games that does it better.

Or am I looking at the wrong side of barn... wait.. is that a barn? I can't see!
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HHogan
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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2005-03-22, 14:14

Speaking from experience, and writing in short form, there are a few reasons:

a) Market is too small
b) Even worse that market is full of piracy, %-wise that is.
c) The combination of a and b cannot possibly support the cost of a full fledged game developed for the Mac only.

The tools Apple has given are decent, but it comes down to profit potential. Which is something that doesn't exist on the Mac platform right now.
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-03-22, 14:27

Anyone else remember the Macworld New York keynote when Bungie first showed Halo. Was going to ship in 2001 and be mac only.

Bungie was the last great bastion of exceptional Mac games. I remember Marathon LAN games down on Williams Street after work. I still play Abuse every once in a while.

Ambrosia makes some games too, but beyond Escape Velocity I don't know if I could really single out any that were mac only and incredibly fun. And didn't EV get ported to Windows anyway?

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-03-22, 14:39

Ambrosia, Pangea, and Bungie is about it. I can't think of any others. Bungie no longer makes Mac games, Pangea only makes kiddie games and they do a fairly bad job of it too, and Ambrosia is also past its heyday.

Escape Velocity was kick ass. EV: Nova was pretty good too. They did indeed port EVN to Windows, but they chose about the most irresponsible guy possible to do the port, and the Windows version hasn't received an update since it was released a couple years ago. So the Mac version is a 1.0.8 while the PC version is stuck at 1.0.6 and has several bugs with text display and so on. Not only that but it's difficult to get plug-ins to work in Windows, since they use resource forks. You have to go through all these hoops of installing Stuffit 7.5 on Windows in order to use plug-ins.

The EV games were epic in scale, and lasted for years thanks to their expandability. A lot of what they do is pretty small scale... puzzle and arcade-style games. They are pretty open about their upcoming games (I'm looking forward to Redline, which has been in development for about two years so far), but on the other hand it makes it seem like they take forever to release stuff. In reality they're not too bad. Compare them to a big studio like Blizzard or Valve that often has several years between major releases, and only a few rehashes of their old stuff in between. Ambrosia seems to come out with new stuff a couple times a year.
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-03-22, 14:52

If they could get the capital together to move the Escape Velocity universe online, they'd make mad bank. Anyone that was a fan of EV has been saying this for years. They wouldn't even need to make it 3D, I'd of paid to play on the old engine.

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
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alcimedes
I shot the sherrif.
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2005-03-22, 14:53

there are a few games that are mac only, but nothing with the production house feel like Doom or CounterStrike.

but then there are games like iConquer that make up for it.

and i'd like to second the motion for an online EV. Freespace has done it, and they're not a big shop, so i'm not sure my ambrosia can't put something together.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-03-22, 15:00

It kind of hurts the prospects when they pretty much ban anyone who even mentions "EV" and "online" in the same sentence at their forums. They insist that it would be impossible to handle the time delay with warp jumping (which in the old game took 1-3 days of game time) and that you can't have missions with time limits. I don't know... those seem like lame excuses to me. They had Ares, which gave you online top-down space combat, but you didn't get any of the RPG elements of EV. No customizing of ships and such.

Just imagine, though, an EV MMORPG. I know a TON of people who would pre-order that. As you said, if they could get the money together to create something like that, people would definitely play it. And think... it would bring Ambrosia Software back into the fold of gaming. Arcadey games are only fun and novel for so long. Too many and they start looking like a company that isn't really taking game creation seriously.
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-03-22, 15:29

So you rework the way hyperspace jumping is handled. Look at how Blizzard deals with travel in World of Warcraft.

Maybe a hyperspace jump between two far away points takes two minutes of time. Maybe long ones take five. You still have shit you can do, like read interstellar news, talk to friends, read quest/mission logs, etceteras. That's kind of what I spend my griffon flights in WoW doing. And to get from Kalimdor to the Eastern Kingdoms in Wow takes about two minutes.... surely the journey by boat is longer.

The "temporal issues" they mention are a total fucking cop out. It's a game, not real life.

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-03-22, 17:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by HHogan
Speaking from experience, and writing in short form, there are a few reasons:

a) Market is too small
b) Even worse that market is full of piracy, %-wise that is.
c) The combination of a and b cannot possibly support the cost of a full fledged game developed for the Mac only.

The tools Apple has given are decent, but it comes down to profit potential. Which is something that doesn't exist on the Mac platform right now.

Hmm?

Marathon? Spectre? Dark Castle?

There were lot of kickass games for macs in 90s if I'm not mistaken... And the market was still small.

Piracy can be controlled. Sure they can put in fancy locks, devices, copy protect, whatever but by far, the best deterrent is asking a question. 99.999% of games that you pirate comes without a manual or decoder or whatnot, and when the game ask you that question... well, you're screwed.

Personally, I don't see any reasons why anyone can't write a good game for Mac and make money....
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HHogan
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2005-03-22, 17:21

Game development in the 90s cost approx $80-200,000 per title. And most development teams included about 8 people.

For a AAA title these days you're looking of upwards of $10-15 million. The new systems will push that even higher.

Big difference between then and now. So like I said, the market is too small to warrant an exclusive title.

Even low-budget games will need over 100,000 copies sold to make a profit. Distributors take about 50%, and publishers about 30%. That doesn't leave much for the development firm.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-03-22, 17:22

You're absolutely right, LoCash. I think the main problem is twofold - one, they have noobs all over their forums posting shit asking for online EV, and the only way to control it is to have sticky threads and flame wars and stuff to ward them off. Secondly, they can't simply "implement" multiplayer in the current EV game. In Ambrosia's own FAQs, they say that multiplayer EV would require rewriting the entire game. And that's basically true. So it's just a question of whether they want to (or are able to) write an MMORPG from the ground up and put it in the EV universe. It comes off as stubbornness and an unwillingness to make a decision that would make them a lot of money and make them very popular, but in reality I think it's just a logistical issue. ASW's still a shareware company and I am not sure they have quite the resources needed to create a successful MMORPG. If it were to do poorly, it could probably ruin the whole company.
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-03-22, 17:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by HHogan
Game development in the 90s cost approx $80-200,000 per title. And most development teams included about 8 people.

For a AAA title these days you're looking of upwards of $10-15 million. The new systems will push that even higher.

Big difference between then and now. So like I said, the market is too small to warrant an exclusive title.

Even low-budget games will need over 100,000 copies sold to make a profit. Distributors take about 50%, and publishers about 30%. That doesn't leave much for the development firm.

Aha now that makes sense... It's a little ironic, considering that we have more programming tools (if I'm not mistaken) and can do more stuff with a computer than we could do in 80s, and has lot of shortcuts and stuff that wasn't available back then.. yet the work increases exponetially.

Even so, wouldn't it make sense if let's say whoever made Halo 2, instead of porting Halo 2, go from bottom up and make a new game that might use some of Halo stuff, but has PPC optimation; basically lower development costs for some extra $$, and having a exclusive game helps to attract more people who may never ever touch PC or so.... Would it work?
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-03-22, 17:36

Yeah, I think if it did poorly it would ruin the company unless they had some liberal VC backing where if it flopped they wouldn't be burnt as hard as the investor. But you've got to take risks in life, and I'd say that EV game is one worth taking.

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
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HHogan
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Location: Southern Ontario
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2005-03-22, 17:41

Yeah, we have more tools, but those new tools require more man-power.

These days you need AI programmers, sound, physics, 3d modelers, 3d animators, background design, level programmers, potentially game engine programmers, tool developers, beta testers, plus the guys to handle the project itself, and business execs.

And yeah, it would work to do PPC optimizations throughout, but here's the problem: People are lazy, and budget minded.

Once a project is done, you have 3 problems right away. Burn-out, in-fighting, and cost concerns.

Burn-out because most of the team has been working on it for years now, and they are sick of the game.

In-fighting because programmers tend to hate their fellow team members (a real problem out there)

And budgetting comes about.

So let's say I've just spent the last 3 years working on this game, it has finally gone retail, and the project is wrapped up. I get the final cheque from the publisher, and await for potential royalties to come in.

Do I re-assemble the programmers, and work on a new build for the Mac, or use a 3rd party firm, let them handle the port and I move on to the next project lying in wait.

That's the problem the platform faces. Publishers don't care about the Mac, and they just want their console/PC versions out the door asap. So building throughout the project is also tough to do...
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Kyros
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-03-22, 20:06

For those of you who are griping about lack of EV Online should remember that it would take an almost entire re-coding of the game to make it work right, since many things will have to be changed for online. Furthermore, Matt Burch has declared that he will no longer be working on anything EV related, and he is the one who does the bulk of the coding work, if I recall correctly. The only reason a third EV got made was because it was comparatively little work to update the code to more modern standards and ATMOS was already handling the scenario. EV Nova was originally going to be a EVO plugin, but when ATMOS asked Ambrosia if they would be allowed to charge for the plug in, Matt said it would be better to just make a new game out of it.

Making it multiplayer is far more work than even creating an EV4, and since not even that is going to happen, online is out of the question.

Personally I'm waiting for Gooball. Looks like an awesome Super Monkey Ball like game. And it should be out very soon.

EDIT: YUSSS it's here, woohoo, downloading!
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-03-22, 21:21

Kyros, we realize that online EV isn't going to be a simple reworking of the existing EV Nova game. Maybe Matt Burch won't be doing any more EV games, but an online game with the EV Nova theme would be beyond the ability of a single coder or even a small team to undertake. It would be a MAJOR project, a completely new game from the ground up.

The problem is that there are way too many people saying they want "online EV." That's no more possible than making a "Warcraft RPG" based on Warcraft 3. World Of Warcraft is a brand new game from the ground up, and the only thing it has in common with WC3 is the concept. Ambrosia already owns the EV license so it would just be a matter of hiring enough people to make an MMORPG and then throwing the EV theme onto it.
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abraham
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
 
2005-03-22, 21:32

also remember that it has only been relatively recent that console games are of equal caliber (if not worse) than PC games. No one could play, back in 1992, Zelda: A Link to the Past on a computer. Nowadays... there is much more demand for PC gaming because people realize the possibilites.

Radiohead!!!
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-03-22, 21:37

What Luca said. The thing Ambrosia has is the intellectual property; The Escape Velocity story and universe.

About three years ago myself and six other people actually put together a formal business proposal for an online EV type game. We made it through a few rounds of talks with people, but it ultimately fell apart because of development time and money.

It would be a lot of work and a lot of money, but gaming has been moving online for years now, and MMORPGS really are where it's at right now. Ambrosia can continue what they're doing, or they can take a risk and really try to make an online game and do something risky and exciting. I guess in this economy slow and steady is the better idea, but man would it rock.

I can dream....

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
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Kyros
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-03-22, 21:51

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca
Kyros, we realize that online EV isn't going to be a simple reworking of the existing EV Nova game. Maybe Matt Burch won't be doing any more EV games, but an online game with the EV Nova theme would be beyond the ability of a single coder or even a small team to undertake. It would be a MAJOR project, a completely new game from the ground up.

The problem is that there are way too many people saying they want "online EV." That's no more possible than making a "Warcraft RPG" based on Warcraft 3. World Of Warcraft is a brand new game from the ground up, and the only thing it has in common with WC3 is the concept. Ambrosia already owns the EV license so it would just be a matter of hiring enough people to make an MMORPG and then throwing the EV theme onto it.
I had also considered the fact that others could go for it, but I don't know if Matt Burch would be ok with it. Not saying it's impossible, but it is basically "his" series in the sense that he is the main guy behind it. Also, Blizzard has access to far more than Ambrosia. Setting up servers for an online EV game, which won't hit WOW's popularity, obviously, is still a daunting task for such a small company.
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-03-22, 21:57

If they could even bring to the table a well developed game plan to develop an online version, maybe even some prototype software showcasing very basic features and concepts, they could probably get a big company to partner with them and help. That's always what I saw happening. But didn't some tiny house do one called Clan Lord? *shrugs*

I guess this thread has kind of derailed into a, "MAKE EV ONLINE, DAMMIT" protest thread oops... that's my fault

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: 🇦🇺
 
2005-03-28, 11:02

I only just downloaded this game (EV Nova ... welcome to the party - a few years too late I guess ) and damn, it is addicitve. 1.0.8 didn't work on my system (10.3.8) but 1.0.1 did. I'm such a hack though - I'm not sure how far I'll get before the trial period runs out, but I'll see. If I'm still enthused/interested in it at that stage I'll pony up the $30 US.

I can imagine a MMORPG would rock - but I can also understand how it could also pontentially be the "straw that breaks the camel's back" if it were to flop. I had no idea what it costs to develop software such as this, so those figures posted by HHogan were quite an eye opener for me.

At any rate, I've got some medical supplies to sell and solar cells to buy ... and where can I find Hearth?

Last edited by Mac+ : 2005-03-28 at 11:10.
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-03-28, 11:14

Tip: NEVER go into uncharted territory without at least one solar panel.

Another tip: As soon as you can, buy stellar maps in the Tichel, Nesre Primus, Nesre Secundus, Kerella, and Alphara systems. Those are the ones that connect to Sol that branch out into many other systems. Exploring all of them would take forever.

EV Nova's a fun game. Part of the fun is playing for the first time, trying to figure out how to do things effectively. It's confusing at first. Once you learn a bunch of stuff (how to make several million credits within an hour, how to select exactly which of the six main plot branches to take, etc), it gets a lot easier. It's still fun but in a different way.
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Mac+
9" monochrome
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: 🇦🇺
 
2005-03-28, 11:18

Thanks Luca - I'm getting a bit frustrated with it at the moment ... well, my efforts more specifically, but I'll give these suggestions a shot tomorrow!
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Koodari
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2005-03-28, 13:56

EV Nova downloaded, tutorial running in window now.

Abuse is not a Mac-only game. I played the CrackDotCom original on Windows, Bungie made the Mac port but I don't know if it differed from the original.

Kyros, thanks for the Gooball tip. I ended up not liking that game though.. even on the very first level the camera went nuts in many places and it was really annoying trying to get the collectable items. The sticky feature reminded me of Gish, which is a really good game and multiplatform.
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-03-28, 14:03

Veering the discussion back to topic...

This would work with EV Nova as well, so...

Why not make advances on it. If everyone wants a game on Mac so bad, and I hope that Apple realize that there's money to be made in gaming market, why not make an investment-

Didn't Apple operate with higher profit margin so they can spend more on R + D? Well, wouldn't they then be in a good position to invest in a game to entice switcher and to give mac users some of dignity? ;-)

As for EV, if players want multiplayers, then put their money where their mouth is- If the company get the capital from players, the players can have it for free or something, and the company assumes no risk.

Of course, if that was simple, someone'd have thought of that before I did, so I suppose there's some kind of hunch here I'm missing. meh.
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