Those words, uttered by Kevin Flynn in TRON more than two decades ago really inspired me.
I love computer games. Sure – I may not like them as much as this guy or even these guys but I do love games. I especially like games which allow me to kill my friends in fun and creative ways. I’ve organised LAN meets for the last 4 years which have always been “Mac heavy” but we’ve had PC guys there and it’s always been good fun. Admittedly the Mac gaming market is in a little bit of flux right now as some of the best games out there haven’t and won’t be Intel native so performance is going to be a little less (though Halo on my MacBook Pro is flippin’ lovely). As more and more Universal games come out we’re going to see a raft of people wanting to upgrade. My brother is already sold on it 🙂
We have a product roadmap here. Some things that we really want to get started on once SyncBridge 1.0 is released. We’re going to need to have more people on board for them which is cool. One of these things is a game. Or, if it works out, a series of games. I have the basics of a game world, we have discussed the first game release and I’m really quite excited by it. Much like SyncBridge, this is software designed by someone who really wants to play it.
The biggest difficulties we see ahead:
?????? game engine.
?????? me no do grafix.
?????? platform support.
Obviously we want to do a game that will be popular. I’m really only interested in supporting the Mac but it’s entirely likely that the Mac market ain’t big enough for that. My model for this would be early days Bungie which was, in my pinion, the best thing to happen to the Mac games market and if I’d been The Steve, I’d have bought Bungie with some of that War Chest cash rather than leaving it to Redmond. But then I loathe the idea of being an Armchair CEO of someone else’s company. I’m in fanboy mode here.
Engines of Change
This means some tough decisions. I’m not a coder (as I think you have all gathered) and we have a choice – license a game engine or build one. Licensing seems to make more sense and will make us actually a huge heap closer to release. We have to then look at the costs of licensing as well as the development languages and where the engine can be deployed to. This is a tough decision. We considered Unity3D but the lack of multiplayer is a major issue. (the web site talks about networking but is stunningly silent on the actual aspect of multiplayer).
Where are the pikchas
I don’t do graphics but I know how I want it to look. This means getting people who can not only make pretty pictures but who can also read my mind. Graphic designers can do this. Apparently.
For the first game I just want it to be FAST. The textures and background are really important and I want the immersive quality to be such that people complain to us about motion sickness. (mostly because there’s an ex-colleague of mine who gets motion sickness and I will laugh when he tries to play it. Bleargh.
Platform Nine for the 10:30 to Little Thaxton
I’m only interested in Mac gaming but it’s plain to see that if we wanted to do this right, as a networkable game, then we need to include Windows support. And if we’re going to be supporting Windows we’ll need Windows dev guys. And if we go that far, do we look at Linux? What about porting to consoles? To be honest, as I don’t own a console, the idea of writing a game for one doesn’t appeal in the slightest and if I had to choose, I’d probably aim at PSP/Nintendo DS. Which consoles do you choose? XBOX? XBOX 360? PS2? PS3? Wii? That just seems like a huge worm kettle (or whatever the metaphor is). I vote for Mac and we’ll add Windows support if people are nice to us.
Can I see your license, sir?
I don’t want to get obsessive about this. One of the things I loved about Myth II was that it was really LAN party friendly. I personally own about 4 licenses for HALO (3 Mac, 1 PC). I want to make it as approachable as possible – but how to do that and end up with sales that justify the costs of the game engine license? Too hard a question for now.
This has turned into a mad rant. I’ll have a wee think about it and talk more later.