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Apple Businesses Entertainment Games

Open Source Mac Game Programming Competition 187

Posted by michael
from the single-button-mouse-not-a-handicap dept.
Geert Poels writes "The uDevGame Mac Game Programming Contest was established by iDevGames in 2001 to energize game development on the Apple Macintosh platform. With the 2002 edition launched only two weeks ago, already 42 games have entered the competition. Most notable about this competition isn't the impressive collection of prizes worth $11,000 but rather the obligation for all participants to submit all source code. This kind of competition is groundbreaking for the Mac community in every way."
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Open Source Mac Game Programming Competition

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  • Wow! I'm impressed! I was on a mac at my cousin's house and it had only 1 decent game I could find :/
    If its open source on MacOSX wouldn't it be easily re-written for most platforms? Assuming a standard language anyway. Does OSX have something special in the programming language that could stop this?
    • If games like TuxRacer could so easily be ported to DirectX, I don't see why it could'nt be ported to Mac OSX... oh wait, it has!
    • Re:Games for MAC? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If the game uses too much ObjectiveC with Apple APIs it will be hard to rewrite. But a good way to make games is to use SDL (http://www.libsdl.org/). It allows games to be compiled on linux, bsd, MacOSX, windows ... and take advantage of OpenGL.
    • Re:Games for MAC? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lucianx (115093)
      If you write a game to OS X's Native APIs, that means you're either writing for Carbon in C or C++, or Cocoa in Objective-C.

      You'd have a tough time making just the Objective-C/NextStep low-level APIs compile from OS X to GNUStep; then you'd have to deal with the proprietary nib format not being portable, and X-Specific windowing calls.

      You might get some degree of portability if you really stick to something like pure OpenGL for rendering and just rely on the X-specific windowing to set up your GLContext.
      • There is nothing terribly propiety about the nib format.

        The GNUstep project has a converter for nib files if memory serves. Go check out gnustep.org if you doubt me.

        Further, if you want a game to be portable, you write abstration classes in say C++ and then call the Objective-C stuff when compiling on MacOS X. Or you could just use the Java bridge for Cocoa and compile a Mach-o binary from Java code.

        In other words, there is nothing stopping you from making portable code with compilation directives.

    • Most applications written for MacOS X are not using the *NIX side of the API family, Cocoa. There is a second API, Carbon, that is derived from the traditional legacy Mac Toolbox/Quickdraw API. Carbon has two advantages: (1) It targets both MacOS X and MacOS 9. (2) It reuses existing knowledge, experience, tools, and libraries. These carbon apps are not really any easier to port to other platforms than traditional Mac apps. It can be done, but it's not as easy as going from one *NIX to another.
    • <SA JEFFK!!!!! MODE [somethingawful.com]>

      everyeone knows taht MACs haev no games excpet for loesrs like Mist!!! and open sores games are only for Lunix and they dont work becuase yuo download them and they are just a bunch of fiels for only in WordPad and say things like "maek install" that does not make any sense!!!!!

      if these MAC open sorse games are liek LUnix games then MAC users cannot compiel them in WordPad either!!! all real h4x0rs no taht teh only real gaems are for Windoews or XBOX becuase they haev teh COUNTERSTRIEK and taht game w/golfing with SLUTS!!!!! and teh volleyball gaem with otyhyer SLUTS!!!! taht is whey nobody uses MAC or Lunix excpet f4gots!!!!! and MAC cannot even use teh real Interweb except AOL!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!

      </JEFFK!!! MODE>

      Seriously, the lack of "Mac games" is true to some extent but is in reality seriously overestimated. While Macs clearly lack the breadth of games available for the PC, there are plenty of top-notch Mac games available, from The Sims to Civ 3 to Warcraft 3 to Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds to Max Payne to Medal of Honor, etc. etc.

      As to the poster's question, the unfortunate answer is "no, a game ported to Mac will probably use the Carbon API (a revised version of the old MacOS 1-9 API with the old memory/threading junk and Mac-only 3D API thrown out and new interface stuff thrown in) so it can run on non-MacOS X systems." Almost no commercial games are written to the MacOS X Unix APIs or to the OS X-only "Cocoa" API (which requires Objective-C or Java).

      As a result - contrary to all those similar posts saying "Hey, MS Office is available for MacOS X - now it can be easily ported to *NIX," the real story is that games ported to Mac are largely Mac-specific because they're using a Mac-only API. And - pardon the rant here - the Mac-only Carbon API will be dominant until all those Mac luddites out there who are clinging to MacOS

      The bottom line is that while MacOS X is a great step forward for *NIX marketshare on the desktop, don't expect it to translate into a step forward for *NIX games despite the fairly robust current Mac game market.

      P.S. - If any moderators just read the first two paragraphs of my post and mod it down as flamebait, TEHY ARE TEH SUX0RS AND I WILL RAELGUN THEM!!!!

  • Amazed (Score:2, Troll)

    by Winterblink (575267)
    I'm amazed at the Mac game industry actually. I'm amazed there ISN'T one. Hardly any games end up on the Mac. For something which is touted as being a multimedia platform, it's quite surprising. It can't simply be that there's a smaller userbase, because there are LOTS of people who use Macs (I'm not one of them, but oh well). Anyone have any ideas?
    • Re:Amazed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PZMyers (156088)
      I'm amazed, too. Why did you bother to comment here when you clearly know nothing about Macs?

      There is a good, solid gaming industry for Macs. We don't usually get the games quite as promptly, and we don't see the less popular, marginal games from the PC world being ported over at all, but there is no dearth of good games available. Right now, my kids are playing various incarnations of the Sims, Black & White, Unreal, Age of Empires, etc...they have more games available than I can keep track of, at any rate.
    • The problem is the userbase: 4% apple, 1% linux, and you can guess where the other 95% is. So you compete for the mac game market, you're already competing for 1/20'th the user base you are competing for on the Windows platform

      Some games still get made for the mac. A reason for this is you also have fewer games available for the mac. So the mac gaming public snaps up anything that's any good. But I don't have any good figures what percentage of the mac user base are serious gamers. I suspect it's not so large....

      Another problem is the dominanc of the direct X API's which are proprietary microsft. If more developers used OpenGL for example, it would be easier and more cost effective to do ports to the mac. It is a pity though, because I would guess with good graphics cards the G4's could really rock out on a properly compiled/optimized game.

      Just needs a bigger user base. It's a bit of a catch 22: because there isn't enough of a gamer user base, not enough games are made. Becaues so few games are available for the Mac, few gamers will fork out the heavy dough to get one.

      I had a mac a few years ago just before Jobs came back. I remember I had Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3d, and Myth, all of which were awesome. But always much later than the windows guys did. Sigh. It seemed to be getting better there for a while, but now it seems to be stagnating again. Kind of sad that Microsoft bought Bungie. That hurt apple gaming quite a bit. Anyone else remember how Halo was supposed to be a showcase for the G4's powers?

      sigh.

      • The problem is the userbase: 4% apple, 1% linux, and you can guess where the other 95% is. So you compete for the mac game market, you're already competing for 1/20'th the user base you are competing for on the Windows platform.

        The trick here is, what percentage of the other 95% play games? Not all PC users use their PCs for gaming at all, I'm sure a huge fraction of that would be just people using it for productivity purposes (the same holds true for the Mac platform I'm sure).

        That's interesting you bring up the Halo point, you're dead on. That would have drawn a lot of people and developers to the platform after seeing what it could do graphically, especially when put to gaming use. Definitely a pity!

      • You are correct about the problems with games on Mac, however, I have on my jaguar box right now:

        the Sims
        Warcraft 3
        Myth 2 and 3
        BZFlag
        Unreal Tournament
        Quake 3 (I wonder if q3rally will work)
        Diablo2
        MOH::AA
        RTCW

        and I just found out (reading this thread) that I can install TuxRacer.

        Now, this is a fraction of the games I could run on windows, but it's not a bad list either. It's even better for my linux boxes (I run a gaming center with the one mac and 6 linux boxes):

        Half-Life, Counter-Stike, DoD, Firearms, TFC, etc
        RTCW
        BZFlag
        Civ:CtP
        Creatures
        Descent3
        F rozen Bubble
        Insane
        Quake3 (and Q3Rally)
        Myth2
        GLTron
        ArmegaTron
        Railroad Tycoon2
        SimCity 3000
        Soldier of Fortune
        TuxRacer
        Unreal Tournament.

        Plus The Sims is in the mail from transgaming, and thanks to the 3 free months of subscription that comes with it, I will soon be able to play Warcraft III, Grand Theft Auto 3, Civilization III, and Black and White (the latter of which is supposed to run great on os x) on my Linux boxen.

        Plus a *ton* of arcade and card games. Again, a fraction, but not a bad list either.

        All of the above games work great except multiplayer in SoF.

        PC's will probably always be the main gaming platform, but I think the situatin is getting better for mac's and linux boxes thanks to Game developers who care about moer than just the bottom line.

        just my 2 cents
      • Another problem is the dominanc of the direct X API's which are proprietary microsft.

        Actually, I just saw a blurb in MacAddict about a company called Coderus that has ported the DirectX APIs to the Mac. They support both OS 9 and OS X, and any computer later than rev B iMacs. Their product isn't for consumers though, its for developers. Perhaps we could see Connectix using this technology to finally make it feasible to play Windows games under emulation.

    • It's probably due to perception.For years, Apple ignored the game market, as they wanted the Mac to be a "serious" computer, and games where seen to be secondary/tertiary to business/educational use. For years, Mac gamers had little choices, and most were released first in PC format (except for a smattering of titles), then on the Mac.

      Mac users are only now getting Ghost Recon, Jedi Outcast and the latest Sims. And other games, like CounterStrike and Serious Sam, never make it to the Mac.

      Hopefully, this will change, as Apple makes the Mac more useful for the average home user and increases it's market share.

      With the installation of decent to excellent video cards in every Apple product now, and the recent trend for games to spur sales in the PC market, I see good times ahead for Mac gamers.
      • by swb (14022)
        For years, Apple ignored the game market, as they wanted the Mac to be a "serious" computer, and games where seen to be secondary/tertiary to business/educational use.

        Which is why they named and colored a whole line of them like fruit?
    • The Mac was never marketed as a game platform.

      If you want to create, get a Mac, if you want to play games, get a PC. That seemed to be the attitude with many Mac users.

      • But, do you really want a different computer for work and entertainment?
        • Why yes, I find that situation to be much more convenient than packing up my computer and taking it back and forth to work with me every day.
      • Mac users like myself tend to play games on consoles, where programmers actually care about "getting down" with the hardware and tightly optimizing for a platform.

        PC programmers don't give a shit about you if your PC rig is older than 2 years (sometimes even less-look at all the people creaming over DOOM3, which could easily cause cost over $500).

        The console world is full of virtuoso development houses that continually churn out great games (Capcom, Konami, SEGA to name a few).

        The PC game market is still reinventing Doom, Warcraft, and flight simulators, over and over again. Is it really worth it to waste money on a platform that holds its audience in such low regard?

    • Re:Amazed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eric peterson (320592)
      Apple did their level best to discourage game development on the Mac, early on. They were worried about it being perceived as a game machine (as the IIc was) rather than a serious business computer (like IBM's entry offering). To that end, they managed development on the platform much like Sony and other console developers do today; access to technical documentation, development systems, and serious tools (C compilers, assemblers, etc.) was tightly controlled. You had to submit a project proposal and have it approved, and proposals for games were decidedly not welcome.

      Not surprisingly, it worked.

      Tech docs weren't available for the Mac until several years later, when the PC game market was already well established. The Mac was also somewhat hampered by the closed architecture and need for approval from Apple before marketing hardware - you couldn't just develop a zany 3D-accelerator video card because you wanted to - until the PC had practically conquered the market.

      Of course, almost none of these reasons apply today - you can easily get the latest GeForce for your Mac - but there is a great deal of inertia in the industry, and the smaller userbase doesn't help. There is also a viscious circle at work here: because of the lack of games, Mac owners didn't buy their systems to play games, and aren't perceived as game buyers.
    • It can't simply be that there's a smaller userbase, because there are LOTS of people who use Macs

      So, which is it... is there a smaller userbase, or do "LOTS of people" use Macs? Last I checked "a smaller user base" != "LOTS of people"
      • Yes. :) Depends on the type of user. Macs seem to a have good user base in the home, less so in the coprorate world. And it's the home user that buys games (solitaire does NOT count). So, lots of people use Macs in their homes, and the mac has a smaller user base overall. Which brings up an interesting point. Windows comes with solitaire pre-installed, and OS X has a chess game. Does that mean Mac users prefer more intellectually challenging games? :)
        • Which brings up an interesting point. Windows comes with solitaire pre-installed, and OS X has a chess game. Does that mean Mac users prefer more intellectually challenging games? :)


          Good point. Only thing is, have you ever played Spider Solitaire? I'm not sure which is tougher. That's a staple that comes with all of the home OS's now (Win 98,Me,XP Home)
      • A smaller percentage user base can still equal lots of people. Consider.

        The early rev iMacs shipped in the couple millions. The pro models ship somewhere near several hundred thousand per quarter. In terms of total sales of computers, the percentage is in the high single digits. That is, "small" user base.

        But several million people, last I checked, is a LOT of people.

    • Not that it was WEAK, but until Direct X started being used for almost every game, most games were written to directly control VGA cards at the register level. This gave good performance that wasn't possible in a GUI environment, because of the overhead of having to use inefficient APIs to draw everything.

      Well, Macs never had the option of directly controlling the video card registers. It wasn't allowed. You had to use QuickDraw to do everything.

      With 3D accelerated games, and cards to support them, it was finally possible to do a Mac game decently, since OpenGL could be used to control the 3D card directy, mostly avoiding QuickDraw and all that overhead. There was also the short-lived GameSprockets API, that never really caught on, and as far as I know isn't used/supported by Apple anymore. There STILL isn't a good way to do 2D games on a Mac. And by good, I mean efficient and hardware accelerated.
      • ...because of the overhead of having to use inefficient APIs to draw everything.

        it was finally possible to do a Mac game decently, since OpenGL could be used to control the 3D card directy, mostly avoiding QuickDraw and all that overhead. There was also the short-lived GameSprockets API, that never really caught on, and as far as I know isn't used/supported by Apple anymore

        QuickDraw takes advantage of any QuickDraw accelerated video cards, and many of the Mac-specific cards supported this until 3D acceleration become popular.

        QuickDraw is VERY fast (250Mhz machine, 22FPS full screen with CopyBits()).

        GameSprockets is still a part of Mac OS X today, although it's mostly used to do screen resolution changes.

        Ever seen SpriteWorld [spriteworld.org]?
  • Gee, how come no one has submitted an open source version of Cosmic Osmo? I mean this is a Mac game competition isn't it?

    Also think it's wicked cool that the number of games submitted so far is 42. Speaking of which, why no open source port of the old HHGTG text-based adventure game?

    • Cosmic Osmo was truly an experience (at the time.) I would love to have a copy today.

      As for the other, there are many open source z-code interpreters, and if you buy a copy of the HitchHikers Guide (or most other infocom adventures) you can just grab the data fork and plop it into the interpreter and away you go.

      As a matter of fact, the Mac version of the infocom game had the interpreter as 68k CODE resources, and the data fork of the game contained the zcode bytecodes.

      Early version of Apple's "Apple Applet Runner" application (part of their first java runtime release) had a java zcode interpreter built in; if you created a folder next to the application called "Infocom" and dropped in one of those infocom mac games, you could play the games all from within AAR.
  • What when a game (the best/winning game?) is written in a portable manner. e.g. using standard C/C++ and portable libraries like SDL or OpenGL?

    The game would run on Windows, Unix and MacOS(X).

    Are the games written for this contest required to be Mac only?
    • sigh... Did you even bother to read the rules?

      The rules said that "Only native Macintosh double-clickable applications will be accepted (ie: without emulation software). "

      There is no way you could enforce anything else (and there would certainly be no point in doing so...). What does it mean to create source-code that only run on macs? Source-code only runs after it's been compiled and linked, so by definition it doesn't run on anything (not even macs). And since all modern computers generally have the same capabilities, it is generally impossible to create something that cannot be ported (given enough effort).

      • Simply adding a Objective C wrapper around your SDL code would allow you to create cross-platform application that runs natively on Mac OS.
        • I am starting to come to the conclusion that being incredibly dense is almost like a requirement for being on slashdot.

          You don't need Objective C to run "natively" on Max OS. You can also use Java (Mac OS X at least), assembler, C, C++, Pascal, or anything else. If your application only uses SDL and standard C/C++ calls, there is no reason to "wrap" anything in some other language.

  • by superpeach (110218) <adamf@s[ ]a.uklinux.net ['nik' in gap]> on Saturday September 07, 2002 @06:57PM (#4213730) Homepage
    I just saw this link [drunkgamers.com] from NTK [ntk.net]. Parody of some Apple advert or something aparently.
  • Nit picking but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MisterBlister (539957) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @07:00PM (#4213747) Homepage
    If developers use the "uDevGame License", which is one of the license options for this then their game isn't really Open Source as defined by the OSI (and it certainly isn't Free Software)..
    • by Griggs (606973) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @08:31PM (#4213997)
      The uDevGame license was created because truly open-source or free software is a concept some Mac developers haven't learned to embrace yet. In a nutshell the license tries to ensure that code is used for educational purposes (figure out how they did it) rather than just used. This also makes possible commercial development of the game more of a possibility, an issue that was important to some potential entrants. However we also give most of the traditional licenses (GPL, etc) as options, and they are being used. Griggs Webmaster of iDevGames.com
  • I just saw 42 postings wanting unpaid game dev teams on usenet. All claimed to have the perfect game idea but needed programmers, artists, etc to make it. Royalties were to be split up after each respective games goes bigtime.

    Really someone should write a book about the phenomenon. When people find out it takes longer than a week, they tend to give up.
    • When people find out it takes longer than a week, they tend to give up.

      Yeah, good thing that Linux kernel thing only took 6 days.

      "In the beginning, Linus saw that there was no free operating systems, and it was not good"

      "And lo, on the first day, there was created a kernel, and Linus saw that it was good" :)
  • by lingqi (577227) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @07:03PM (#4213758) Journal
    I think somebody should port Solitare and FreeCell to Mac. FreeCell already got the name figure out -- or would that be OpenFreeCell? FreeFreeCell? hmm...

    but anyway. I swear Jobs can increase Apple's market share by 300% if he included Solitare with it. I mean, a windows machine usually spend 50% of its useable life on that program.
    • Re:game collection (Score:3, Interesting)

      by victim (30647)
      MacOS used to come with Eric's Solitaire way back in the system 8 or 9 days. It only played a few types of games unless you forked over some cash, but the game play was beautiful. You just sort of grabbed the cards and flung them where you wanted them and they zipped into place. Very natural. Always amazing to see other solitaires don't do it that way.

      Disclaimer: maybe windows' solitaire does this. I've never played it. I speak of the one's in Debian and freely available for the mac.

    • FreeCell already got the name figure out -- or would that be OpenFreeCell? FreeFreeCell? hmm...

      Hmm...how about GNU/FreeCell? ;-)

    • I swear Jobs can increase Apple's market share by 300% if he included Solitare with it. I mean, a windows machine usually spend 50% of its useable life on that program

      Yeah.. They used to include a trial version of Eric's Solitaire during the pre-OS X days. My mom became such an addict she bought the full version. To this day, she plays almost every night., and it's the only reason why she uses Classic on OS X with her new iMac. I'm wondering if they'll ever get a version out for OS X.
  • I am a hardcore computer game player. I have been on the Mac platform at home since forever, and I have always found more quality games that I could use simltaneously.
    Usually many of the best PC games make it to the mac, with a few exceptions. Agreed, we do not get all of the sucky PC games.

    Quake +mods, UT + mods, Warcrafts, Diablos, Myth series, Warbirds, Giants, and a bunch of others, etc.. Can you play all of this and still have a life ? No ! :-)
    • Satchel Buddah says:
      I am a hardcore computer game player. I have been on the Mac platform at home since forever, and I have always found more quality games that I could use simltaneously.

      Can't use them all simultaneously, eh? Ah, the poor multitasking of MacOS, now heralded as a feature ;)

  • by jukal (523582) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @07:32PM (#4213841) Journal
    Here is [openchallenge.org] a good substitute for the competition :)
  • So if it's open source, can I just take one of the entries already submitted, enhance it a little bit, and resubmit it?
  • by geek (5680)
    Suck.

    I remember years ago, you didn't have to worry much about whether a game would run on your system. Devs are pushing the envelope so far that it's out of reach for 90% of all consumers, Mac and PC alike.

    Most people regardless of their platform still use PC's with 500mhz processors or slower. However the specs for games such Doom3 are outrageous.

    Devs used to care about a good storyline, exciting game play etc. Now it's all about who gets the best framerates, what game has the prettiest textures. I don't care what the game looks like anymore, thats all window dressing. I want a game that's FUN.

    I happen to be a mac user and I can attest that when/if a game is ported to the Mac from the PC, it's usually a great game. You see far less junk on the Mac. The downside is we usually see the games a year or 2 later.

    I play WC3 and AvP, other than that I stick with the console where I'm not locked into an "upgrade path" every six months. I don't care what the latest and greatest is. I want value out of what I own NOW.
    • Devs used to care about a good storyline, exciting game play etc. Now it's all about who gets the best framerates, what game has the prettiest textures.
      You do know, it always has been about the best framerates and the prettiest textures! The only difference is now you can do more with the graphics, so that it looks like devs are using it more. Why else would you always have competing systems trying to hammer in to people that their system has better/faster graphics? Good gameplay can be done in spite of good graphics. It was like that then, and it is like that now. You are letting nostalgia cloud your thoughts.
    • by Powercntrl (458442) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @08:14PM (#4213944)
      Devs used to care about a good storyline, exciting game play etc. Now it's all about who gets the best framerates, what game has the prettiest textures. I don't care what the game looks like anymore, thats all window dressing.

      Should I post this as anon to avoid burning karma? Nah.

      The reason developers now make games that are all about framerates and pretty textures? It sells. The gamers that open their wallets and fork over the green decide where game development is heading.

      Maybe it was cheaper to develop a game back in the hayday of "adventure games that actually had a plot", maybe all these "give me a good plot not fancy graphics" whiners aren't putting their money where their mouth is, maybe there's just a much better return on FPS/eyecandy games. Whatever the reason, every once in awhile you still see a game comes out that tries to revitalize the adventure game genre and it experiences lackluster sales.

      Usually the most common excuse I've seen is that the new adventure game doesn't live up to the legacy of the older games everyone remembers from when the genre was still alive and kicking. The reason is there was a lot more competion to make a good game back then... Now, adventure games are almost a lost art and it will probably take a few tries before some competion builds back up. It means people will have to fork over some money for some lousy games in order to convince more developers that adventure is still a viable genre.

      Course, open source changes the rules a bit. Seems though that most open source games are limited to emulators, software versions of board/card games and Tux racer. If the open source community picks up the adventure game genre, it would sure be an interesting thing to see.
      • I personaly think the real reason we don't see any challenging games any more is that the majority of gammers have become dumb. FPS is all they really understand. They don't want to solve puzzels or make decisions, they want to blow stuff up. So sad.
      • "The reason developers now make games that are all about framerates and pretty textures? It sells. The gamers that open their wallets and fork over the green decide where game development is heading."

        While the "pretty," but shallow games often sell well, it's usually the deeper games like The Sims and (dare I say) Warcraft III that continue to sell like crazy years after the initial release. Hell, even the games in the adventure series of Myst are some of the all-time best sellers. I think there is a great market for thoughtful games, and I wish there was more of that kind of creativity in the gaming scene. Creative games could be very lucrative in such a flooded 3D shooter market.

        Don't get me wrong. I love to frag zombies and Nazis on occasion, but I think there is room for a little more creativity, although developing a game is always a huge investment, so there's a lot of risk involved. I'm sure companies like id and Raven have asserted that there's a lower financial risk involved if they stick to the 3D shooter formula that they have always used.

      • Warcraft III.

        What is its framerate?

        What is its unit sales?

        Framerate does not sell games.

        There was Grim Fandango, Gabriel Knight and Monkey Island... Then online gaming really picked up. Adventure gaming died because your "opponent" is the person who set the puzzle. The puzzle never changes. Compare that challenge to evolving strategies of online opponents.

        Games sell because of challenge. Play Counterstrike for three years and what challenge is there? A bunch of other people who have also been playing for three years.

        Play Grim Fandango for 3 years and you have played Grim Fandango for three years.

        Challenge not Framerate.
      • I have another theory for the low sales of adventure games: they suck. Back in the eighties, there wasn't really an alternative to adventure games if you wanted to play games on your PC. The only notable PC game from those days that comes to my mind is Silpheed. Other than that, you had the Sierra and Lucasfilm adventure games --- I bought and played them as much as everyone else, but in hindsight they were terrible games.

        Playing adventure games has always been more about second-guessing the author of the game than actual logic. Can't enter the castle? Reasonable things like killing the guard aren't allowed. No, the developer has decreed you must make a disguise. Take the mustard, use it on the cat hair to make a fake mustache, then fashion false glasses out of the gears of the music box you found in the dungeon basement. How is this "fun" exactly? And gee, being sane you can't figure this "puzzle" out? Then you'll just have to stay stuck and frustrated for hours.

        And the writing in most adventure games is atrocious. The authors were mostly just random programmers with no real creativity or sense of drama. The text of many Sierra games looks like it was written by a half-literate 15-year-old.

        No, all this adventure game praising is just false nostalgia. Face it: GTA3 is much more fun than whatever you were playing back then.

        • And the writing in most adventure games is atrocious. The authors were mostly just random programmers with no real creativity or sense of drama. The text of many Sierra games looks like it was written by a half-literate 15-year-old.

          No, all this adventure game praising is just false nostalgia. Face it: GTA3 is much more fun than whatever you were playing back then.


          Maybe better than the games you were playing back then...

          One word... Infocom.

          Remember Deadline? Enchanter? Planetfall? Starcross? Infidel? Wishbringer? Among many others?
          These games had a writing style comparable to good novels. (Not exactly James Joyce, but perhaps to popular authors.)

          Comparing those games to GTA is just a joke. Their puzzles were intricately crafted. I recall in Sorcerer, one entered a time travel puzzle on entering a coal mine. You encountered an older version of yourself upon entering the mine, who tells you a combination to a lock in exchange for your spell book. A few minutes later, you find yourself back in the same position as your older self. If you failed to give the book over as your younger self, you would die shortly after leaving the mine. And if you failed to tell your younger self the combination, you would set off a temporal paradox that promptly caused you to cease to exist when your younger self could not unlock the lock. Now, GTA has puzzles and story lines that can compete with that? I think not!

          Bob
      • Maybe it was cheaper to develop a game back in the hayday of "adventure games that actually had a plot", maybe all these "give me a good plot not fancy graphics" whiners aren't putting their money where their mouth is, maybe there's just a much better return on FPS/eyecandy games. Whatever the reason, every once in awhile you still see a game comes out that tries to revitalize the adventure game genre and it experiences lackluster sales.

        Another factor is that the video game market is one of the most tightly bottled there is. Far worse than music, almost as bad as Hollywood. Go into a computer game store and count how many titles are actually for sale. Try the same trick in bookstore or music store of similar size -- there's at least an order of magnitude's difference. Or see how long a given game is actually on the shelf for. (Again compare to music or books.)

        The way the market is structured, there's only room for a few dozen hits at a time, and the major game publishers are going to dump millions into promotion of just a few games to make sure their chosen horses are those hits. And if you're going to spend that money, you're going to spend it on what's easiest to promote -- eye candy is ready made advertisement.

        Who actually buys a game they know nothing about, just to see if it's any good? At $50/box, not many. Whereas I'll regularly grab a book by an author I've never read. The price and transient stock of computer games makes it a market where creativity is not in general profitable.

    • 10 years ago:

      $1000 PC was a piece of junk
      $2000 PC was average
      $4000 PC was good

      today the average PC runs $900. I think the average has moved down quite a bit. I bet you can still run most games on a $2000 PC setup to run games well.

    • Here are the truly great games: Little Wing Pinball [littlewingpinball.com]. I have never seen more pixel-perfect and infinitely fun games.
    • Devs used to care about a good storyline

      Yeah, you know Doom and Duke Nukem 3d were widely renowned for their storylines...
  • No matter what them platform, Open Sourcxe competition should be promoted. The fact that in this case its for the macintosh is irrelevant. If its open source, it's good.
  • Macintosh and Games haven't really been synonymous with each other at any point in Mac history. But, since their "Switch" campaign is on, this might spark my interest.

    First came the news that OSX was in fact a BSD/*Nix derivative with Mac's pretty looks. That got my attention. Then came the news that they were keeping an x86 architecture port of OSX laying around. That got me thinking. Now, if someone comes up with a few nifty games to play on OSX, coupled with the aformentioned x86 port, I might just shun Winblows for good and give the Fruit Factor a try. All I ever do with my PC is cruise the 'Net, do some graphics work (which MacOS has always been good with), maintain my website, and play games occasionally to kill time. Music is another consideration, but since the advent of the MP3 and now OGG Vorbis, it's pretty much been cross-platform the whole time.

    The addition of some nifty games and the x86 port would be all I need to consider diving headlong into a switch. Keep it coming, cause I'm listening now...

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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