SpeakUp with Douglas Hendrix of Solar Systems Software and Mike Ramsey of Trilliun Software Products from 03/01/99
Topic: OS/2 Gaming (Stellar Frontier and Master of the Empire).

<MADodel1> I'd like to welcome our guests tonight - Dr. Douglas Hendrix and Mike Ramsey. Tonight's Speakup is on OS/2 gaming. Dr. Hendrix is the developer of the space conquest game Stellar Frontier and Mike Ramsey is the developer of the strategic wargame Master of the Empire.
<Arkay> oops. "-)
<MADodel1> Just to let everyone know, Mike Ramsey will be giving away 2 copies of Master of the Empire at the end of tonight's speakup via a trivia contest. Non-winners can pick up a copy of this game from http://www.bmtmicro.com/catalog/mote.html The latest Stellar Frontier beta is currently available for free from http://www.stardock.com
<Arkay> :->
<Maxwarp> ..or http://www.quasarbbs.com :-)
<MADodel1> Please hold all questions until both our guests have had a chance to speak.
<MADodel1> Now to get on with the speakup I'd like to first ask Dr. Hendrix to tell us a bit about himself and Stellar Frontier, then we'll hear from Mike Ramsey.
<DrHendrix> Ok.
<DrHendrix> I'm the author of Stellar Frontier, a multiplayer space combat/colonization game played over the
<DrHendrix> internet with up to 32 other players. Stellar Frontier is a mixture of action and team strategy.
<DrHendrix> I've been using OS/2 since version 1.1 in 1989 and I started Stellar Frontier in 1996 as technology demo to showcase OS/2's strengths as a multimedia internet client.
<DrHendrix> BTW, please don't be put off by my using a Windows IRC client. I'm at my day job :(
<TheSeer> *g*
<MADodel1> Just don't smack us with that damn flounder
<mandie> DrHendrix: don't care how you got here...just glad you made it :)
<DrHendrix> :) THx
<Chris> I'm on mIRC myself. I won't hold it against you. :)
<DrHendrix> That's the end of my prepared statement
<WebMaster> long statement!!!!
<DrHendrix> I was never one to mince words
<MRamsey> I'm one of the authors on Master of the Empire (MOTE),
<MRamsey> its a warlords style wargame. It's a a pretty easy to
<MRamsey> to play beer and pretzels type game.
<WebMaster> thats my kind of game!
<dink> i'd like to see more arcade games like b.u.g.s. if you guys are listening.. =) i love shootemups
<MRamsey> I'm too at my day job... paying the bills... smack me for using a windows irc...
<WebMaster> sorry, myself, I'm more bent toward RPG style, myself
<DrHendrix> I am actually starting an OS/2 related project with the author of BUGS and one of the audience here today
<MADodel1> Another game?
<dink> i never really liked anything except arcade games, if that means anything =)
<DrHendrix> Nope, they started it and asked me to join
<MADodel1> MRamsey: anything else to add?
<Chris> I enjoy just about every genre of games from Action to Strategy. The only genre I don't really care for is Sports, but I do enjoy the occasional game of NASCAR Racing. :)
<MRamsey> nope thats it...
<DrHendrix> dink: Is Stellar Frontier enough arcade action for you?
<hrieke> Can I ask why everyone is using PM shell programming for games? It's slow damn slow....
<MADodel1> OK then we can open things up to the crowd
<dink> nope =(
<DrHendrix> hrieke, that's very good question
<Chris> Shell programming tends to be less performance based, yes, but also typically simpler to implement.
<DrHendrix> In the case of Stellar Frontier, it has to do with the fact that when it was started, there was no way to update just a portion of the screen with DIVE.
<Chris> GUI's have built in Sprite primitives, and the ability to draw other basic geometrics
<WebMaster> I don't know, with DIVE it still seems pretty fast.
<hrieke> Try it on 1600x1280x32b color...
<DrHendrix> You always had to update the entire screen. Though, now I am working a a way to directly access the VRAM to allow this missing functionality
<hrieke> I know it flys at 640x480xanything else...
<Chris> But to my knowledge at least, and correct me if I'm wrong, DIVE does not have built in geometrics or raster based primitives 'out of the box'
<DrHendrix> It does not. You have to do it all yourself
<KoolAde> Good Evening manide :)\
<WebMaster> don't mind Chris - he's just upset 'cause hes having to do a DirectX 6 project.
<MRamsey> PM programing can actually be done pretty fast with a dirty rect list, thats what we did with MOTE... it worked ok, but not nearly effecient has dx methods...
<Arkay> DrHendirx and MRamset: I don't usually have time to mess around with online games. Do either of these games have much of an appeal as stand alone, on player games?
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: sorry, my question could be off-topic, but do you anything about Continuos Software Sytems (Avarice'makers)?
<MRamsey> MOTE is entirely a single player game...
<DrHendrix> Maxwarp, all I know is that they disbanded :(
<eTronik> Can't the OS/2 game developers agree on a standard DIVE based library and develop it together ? wouldn't tat benefit everyody ??
<hrieke> It would be a clever trick to have a PM shell for the start of the game, but then jump into a fullscreen mode to play the game...
<mandie> Koolade: g'eve :)
<Chris> Thats actually a common trick with most GUI environments, hrieke.
<DrHendrix> Stellar Frontier has some appeal in single player. it turns out to be very addicting, just flying around and blasting ships, but it's strngth is really in multiplayer
<Arkay> MRamsey: Thanks, I've been meaning to check it out. Is there a demo available?
<WebMaster> eTronik: seems like it would
<MRamsey> We spent alot of time twicking MOTE's AI and you can if you want rewrite or change the AI in MOTE by simply editing the ai.mod file we enclose with the game.
<MADodel1> eTronik: Isn't SciTech working on that with their new drivers?
<WebMaster> I agree with the multi thing - just look at the number of Quake2 servers....
<eTronik> yeah guess so,
<DrHendrix> eTronik: That's good idea. Something to propose to netlabs
<MRamsey> MOTE loads in this pascal file and parses it and uses it as the games ai... so theoretically you could write a better AI then we did...
<hrieke> bummer about Avarice's makers disbanding... I remeber offering them time on the super computer here at WVU (for ray tracing of course)
<Dru_Sator> How are you handling multi-platform support for SF?
<Chris> SciTech is now completing work on a totally accelerated Display Doctor package for OS/2. This will be a Godsend to OS/2 game developers.
<MRamsey> There is no demo for MOTE.
<DrHendrix> Dru: I wrote my own cross platform libs (Win32/OS2/Linux)
<DrHendrix> i am looking forward to trying out SciTech's MGL on OS/2
<Arkay> What's the web site where I can find info about MOTE
<Bseward> hello
<WebMaster> DrHendrix: would you consider making them available to anyone else?
<DrHendrix> They are freely available to anyone who asks :)
<Chris> It should be facinating. Have you ever spoken to Kendall Bennet at SciTech?
<WebMaster> DrHendrix: well, I for one, am asking.
<os2hq> Howdy, neighbors!
<DrHendrix> Then you shall receive, send me an email hendrix@solarsystems.com and I'll give youa URL
<MRamsey> www.bmtmicoro.com has all the info and page links
<eTronik> ok! is there still a market for games in OS/2 ? Stardock says if so then just barely...
<WebMaster> well, when this over, you got one coming.
<hrieke> dang... gotta be going here in a bit.
<DrHendrix> Chris: mostly just spoken to him about its capabilities and given some small input
<SunLord> hmm
<dink> mame has all the games i'll ever need.. =)
<DrHendrix> eTronik: From a $ standpoint, the OS/2 games market is really only for small developers who don't have to make payroll :(
<David> Switch from my webmaster mode.
<Maxwarp> MRamsey: just a curiosity, why didn't you use ibm feature installer for MOTE?
<Chris> There is a pretty fair market for OS/2 games currently, although one would have a difficult time buiding a business based solely on OS/2 games, I believe OS/2 will be come more popular with the approach of Y2K.
<eTronik> DrHendrix: understandably ! :-)
<DrHendrix> That's correct. I really work on the OS/2 version out of loyalty and I enjoy programming under OS/2
<eTronik> Chris: that Y2K thing a whole other topic :-)
<eTronik> DrHendrix: what you mean, enjoy ? what is different from other platts ??
<MRamsey> MOTE actually had a ton of features that got cut when we packaged it ourselves, like the WorldBuilder, several movies,.. and all the campaigns and scenarios.
<Dru_Sator> do either of you see OS/2 gaming on the rise again at this point in the game, particularly in light of the weak commitment to a continueing IBM supported client?
<David> and also to the future, what do you see as the future of the online gaming community
<Chris> OS/2 is actually a very friendly programming environment, especially for games. The project I'm on now is mostly Win9X development, and thus the differences make themselves evident. DIVE's API is far superior, and OS/2 places fewer restrictions on programming in general.
<DrHendrix> eTronik: There are hordes of people writing for Windows, I get enjoyment out of walking the path less traveled.
<Asteroid> How are you getting the word out to OS/2 users that MOTE *exists?* I daresay that most OS/2 users don't have any idea that the program is available; I've seen no advertising for it.
<eTronik> DrHendrix: ahh ! we are alike ! .-)
<DrHendrix> Dru: I don't really know where OS/2 gaming is going, I just wish IBM would at least be neutral and not the negative influence they've been
<MRamsey> Os/2 game programming is unfort. just a HOBBY,... I tried it and besides the personal satisfaction you don't get any money or noteriety.
<Maxwarp> MRamsey: do you plan to add those features with a future upgrade?
* eTronik is thinking taht he hasn't played either Golf nor Entrepreneur, nor Galciv for a long long time...
<eTronik> DrHendrix: what you mean negative influence by IBM ?? any direct negative influence ?
<DrHendrix> eTronik: :) Also, I've been programing under PM for 9 years now
<David> my, you go back to the Microsoft days!
<DrHendrix> eTronik: I mean the negative statements about games and consumers with repsect to OS/2
<eTronik> ahh those yeah !
<DrHendrix> David: Yep, part of any ill feelings I have toward MS stem from their treatment of OS/2 in the early days
<eTronik> they (IBM) really need to be smacked in the head ! :-))
<David> negative statements? you mean besides those from IBM about switching over to NT? I wonder where they came from.
<MRamsey> MOTE just cannot be advertised for effectively...I can't spend anymore money on the OS/2 market when only a few dedicated individuals stick to the system. I've programmed for while with OS/2 PM and besided it being an awesome development environment you just can't "survive" on writing os/2 games.
<Chris> IBM tries to portray OS/2 as a server-only solution, and not as an end-user one. This is unfortunate, especially in light of the ease of application creation on OS/2.
* Arkay smacks IBM in the head
<Dru_Sator> given the monetary weakness of OS/2 games in todays market, are Windows and Linux games enough to fill the coffers with the huge money of Sierra or Blizzard or Id sitting in those markets
<David> I certainly hope so, at least, Chris and I are counting on it sometime....
<DrHendrix> Dru: No question things are getting tougher for the small game developer as the industry matures and the big players gobble up more of the pie
<MRamsey> And os/2 developers irregardless of the BS they feed the public cannot compete with most smaller windows game development companies.
<DrHendrix> But, there are always markets for new innovative games
<eTronik> OS/2 needs a lot of resh blood (read: users) in order to revitalise the ISVs IMHO
<eTronik> resh = fresh
<Asteroid> MRamsey, I guess I just don't follow it. There's a basic concept in marketing: If the target market doesn't learn that you HAVE a product, they can't buy it. People buying your product puts food on the table. No?
<David> yes, now how do we do that? any ideas? (this is way off topic...)
<DrHendrix> IMO, OS/2 would really benefit from a Stardock releasing the next genreration client and that feeling has nothing to do with my Stardock affiliation
<eTronik> Agreed !
<Chris> Irrespective of the ease in development, there just is not enough of a market to live on for the games developer.
<Maxwarp> hmm... i don't rely on stardock :(
<David> I agree. I think anything IBM does for OS/2 now, is probably going to hurt it more than help it.
<eTronik> well, we could also organize some sort of mutiny :-)
<MRamsey> Innovative games, yes..now matter how innovative if the game is on a system that is not used widely, you can't make money. Even if we widely advertised MOTE, it could never recoup the development costs.
<DrHendrix> Chris: This is true, however it is possible to write cross platform games and use the larger windows base to make the $
<David> and do what? switch to '98 or '2000? That would really help
<eTronik> nah nothing like that
<Chris> DrHendrix: That is exactly what the company I work at with David is doing. :)
<Dru_Sator> as a long time OS/2 user and more importantly a long time IBM hardware software user, I have a tough time seeing IBM not making it cost prohibitive for Stardock to do so.
<DrHendrix> Really? What are you doing?
<Maxwarp> MRamsey: do you really believe that MOTE could make you earn more money with a win32 version?
<David> yes, but this is going to be a killer OS/2 game, that will be ***ported*** to '95 or 'NT
<DrHendrix> David, very cool, you have a URL?
<Arkay> David: What is it. Stop teasing!
<David> working on it.
<Asteroid> MRamsey Are you assuming that I'm saying you should advertise in PC/Computing or something? I'm talking about advertising to the people who are qualified to buy the product: existing OS/2 users. However many people that is -- and nobody knows -- a subset of them are interested in buying new OS/2 games. Otherwise, why bother publishing the app at all?
<Chris> We're developing a 3D RPG type of game, and writing it cross platform, supporing OS/2, '95, NT, Linux, and perhaps BeOS as well.
<David> not teasing.
<eTronik> Getting back to MOTE!
<David> yes
<David> inquiring minds want to know......
<eTronik> errr if I have GalCiv, what would I get with MOTE ??
<DrHendrix> Maxwaro: I can;t speak for Mike, but IMO, no doubt MOTE could make more if there were a Windows version.
<os2hq> Just take out a small ad in *Extended Attributes*.
<MRamsey> No, MOTE is a good OS/2 game, but the feature (read in animation, more movies etc) are not there to make it competitive with AOE,
<Arkay> I want to echo eTronik's question.
<eTronik> AOE ??
<os2hq> You can also use LinkExchange to advertise.... works for me.
<Chris> Age of Empires
<eTronik> ahh
<Chris> Microsoft concoction. Fun to play, new idea, but still...Microsoft software. :)
<MRamsey> MOTE will definately make more money on win32... the idea isn't dead.
<eTronik> from the info I've rad about MOTE, I seem to compare it with GalCiv, but I already have Galciv....
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: hmm.. here, where i live, windows user aren't used to buy *any* software, *just pirated copies*
<David> isn't that problem going to be the same, pretty much anywhere?
<MRamsey> MOTE is a landbased game, that in my opinion is WAY better then GC.
<DrHendrix> Well, IMO I like prated copies> It;s free advertising
<eTronik> Maxwarp: strange... I live across the pond, and the same behaviour happens hare !!
<Maxwarp> MRamsey: i whish you good luck
<David> I wish you LOTS of luck! If you leave OS/2 development, thats just one less OS/2 user. We already are pretty thin...
<DrHendrix> The key to making $ today is marketshare, once you have that, you are poised to sell lots of copies
<eTronik> Mr-Data: landbased ? hmm, isn't galciv Gold also landbased ??
<David> stupid netsplits
<eTronik> MRamsey: landbased ? hmm, isn't galciv Gold also landbased ??
<Maxwarp> i see
<Chris> All games developers must face the inevitable truth that if their game is any fun to play, it will be pirated. The pirates will always find a way to do it. And in a way it's a compliment. They wouldn't go through the trouble of cracking it if it was a lousy game. :) Sorry, if this was a bit off topic.
<os2hq> DrHendrix, you're right. It's a purely volume deal. Kill the dev costs by pumping up the volume.
<David> SIMPLE sentences, Chris
<DrHendrix> Chris: Also, that is how games get popular and why version 2 sells 1 million copies
<Chris> Exactly right, DrHendrix.
<MRamsey> Yup, but the quality isn't there in comparison to MOTE. Just my opinion ;-)
<Chris> But a developer has a certain bias. ;)
<eTronik> I see
<DrHendrix> I agree, the land based GalCiv never really did it for me
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: 1 million? i heard that Starcraft which is a best seller, sould just about 60000...
<eTronik> but its basically the same game no ?? so there's a perception problem in there !!
<MRamsey> Starcraft sold 1m+ units
<DrHendrix> Hmmm. I think BLizzard games typically sell in the high 100,000's
<Chris> Quake2 has sole several million.
<Maxwarp> hmm.. i hope, i hope
<David> yes, and Quake3 will do the same, just based on reputation.
<Maxwarp> maybe i live in a different reality here 8-?
<David> off topic again???
<os2hq> I have a question about running SimCity for OS/2 (on the Apps CD)... is that on-topic?
<David> don't know... opinions???
<DrHendrix> GO for it
<freiheit> Did any of our guests develop it? :)
<os2hq> I have trouble with the mouse being *really* slow inside the game.
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: how many copies has sold Trials of Battle for windows?
* Maxwarp laughs
<os2hq> Outside the game is okay.
<Arkay> What are we talking about?
<os2hq> welcome back people.
<mandie> apologies to those that got knocked off of my server :(
<Chris> Probably a memory clash. SimCity east ALOT of memory when going.
<DrHendrix> maxwarp: MY understanding is that it sold less than 2000 copies
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: this is the *reality*
<David> 2000???
<DrHendrix> Maxwarp: Sorry , I didn;t see that you said for windows
<MRamsey> TOB sold less then 200!!! copies not 2000.
<DrHendrix> So far, I don't know if it has been released for Windows
<DrHendrix> Mike: less than 200?
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: yes, of course on the CD there're 2 versions one /2 and one win32
<eTronik> I'd really like to know if MOTE is comparable to GalCiv and is galciv is a best-seeler, isn't the market saturated for such kind of game ?? what is the main diffrence between them ?
<David> TOB is not what I would qualify as a *fun* game to play. Its good, but, not enough variety.
* eTronik got his copy of TOB in customs for more than 6 months now...
<Arkay> I like TOB, but I don't get to spend enough time any any game to get tired of it.
<MRamsey> OS/2 is truly only good for one type of game, strategy. action games are just not good on OS/2, we've all seen tons of examples. Its like programing a game in Java, onyl strategy games (and there are only a couple) are ever worth the CD there distrbuted on.
<Chris> TOB is a nice implementation, but a dismally sad game idea.
<Dru_Sator> woulf an OS/2 development project such as these be better suited to staying out of the Win32 market altogether and embracing other alternative OSes like BeOS, MacOSX and Linux?
<DrHendrix> Mike: I hope to prove that wrong.
<DrHendrix> Dru: You have to code for Win32, it is 90% of the market
<MRamsey> I hope stellar frontiers blows the gates open in sales. It would be awesome!
<Chris> The problem with that is there is simply not enough of a market on all of thoise platforms combined to survive on.
<eTronik> Chris: really ? the Mac is selling like hot cakes right now !
<eTronik> Chris: not mentioning Linux user base!
<David> oh God! Someone got an IMAC toy!
<freiheit> And of course it's the endless cycle -- there WON'T be enough of a market until there are apps available for them that people would buy the OS to use.
<MRamsey> A cross platform game (w32,mac,linux) could make you enough to pay bills.
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: ok, but i really like to know how much copies of games ported from os2 are sold on windows plaftorms....
<DrHendrix> It's amazing though how few hotcakes 1-2 million is when comapred with 200 million
<Chris> All game developers must either 1) Develop several games quickly and sell them simultaneously on the multiple platforms, or 2) Create a cross platform game that also emcompasses Win32.
<eTronik> David: an iMac owner (not me ) is a potential user !! don't you find that important ?
<DrHendrix> Maxwarp: I really don't know, but we will find out with the next Galciv and Stellar Frontier.
<DrHendrix> Enbtrepreneur did pretty well
<Chris> And the market penetration of Linux gaming is really not that substantial compared to the cost of developing a *good*, *quality* game.
<MRamsey> macs are coming into there own in regards to games... Q3 will bring on the advent of a new era.
<David> eTronik: I agree with anyone who wants to BUY something. In the words of the CompUSA salesman, "I sell PC's, not toys".
<DrHendrix> Chris: I've often thought of that: Writing lots of smaller games quickly and selling them for low prices.
<Chris> It's one way to do it. And I was working with a company before that did it.
<Dru_Sator> the sheer numbers would agree with you DrHendrix, but in the win32/200 mil market you are 1 of thousands where in the alternative markets yo uare one of a hundred.. higher percnetages in the averages
* Maxwarp have never seen linux on an end-user desktop pc
<Maxwarp> have=has :)
<Chris> But 10% of the 200mil Win32PC's is still more than 50% of the others. :)
<eTronik> David: that attitude is amazing.... you consider the Mac a toy and we are discussing games in here !! :-)
<Arkay> Chris: and damned unlikely.
<Arkay> :-)
<Dru_Sator> correct, but realistic numbers are more like 1-3% considering the % of work-non gameing machines
<MRamsey> macs
<DrHendrix> Dru: I agree here and that was the reason I wrote Stellar Frontier, but windows really still turns out to be the best bet.
<MRamsey> macs WILL be a target for developers at the end of 99/ early 2000
<David> well,...what can I say... I'm going back to my happy place, having placed foot-im-mouth pretty deap.
<Chris> Arkay: Well, Win95 is considered more of a gaming system than OS/2 or BeOS. A combined Linux/OS2 initiative is where I would put my money if you really don't want to stomach Win32.
<DrHendrix> I am not sure which OS is the next to target though, between Be, Mac and Linux
<eTronik> David: at least is a growing plattform unlike OS/2
<Arkay> Chris: Actually, I would suggest to a game developer to write for Win32, along with OS/2, Linux, Be, Mac, etc.
<David> yes, but my money would be on a game based on something like the WEB-TV. THERE is a HUGE untouched market.
<DrHendrix> eTronik: Yes, true. But is the Stardock deal ever goes dowm, I think OS/2 has a chance at growing a little
<eTronik> DrHendrix: very simple :-) develop simple quickie games for Linux system administrators, longer more elaborated games for mac !
<Arkay> I would want them to make as much money as possible.
<MRamsey> which company (not fan-base) pushing the product into the market...dare i say it but with apple's commitment to their new machine,..that could achieve a game following not unlike to the MS of the windows market
<Maxwarp> MRamsey and DrHendrix don't you think that a *quality* game like Quake2 under OS/2 could sell a lot?
<Donniet> But, writing for all those platforms. Sounds like a lot of API's to learn!
<Arkay> Well, as long as they wrote for OS/2 I'd be happy, no matter what else they wrote for.
<David> no, write the game with NO built-in API, then write a wrapper for the different platforms.
<Chris> Quality always sells more than the $9 piece of junk game from the bargain basement.
<freiheit> Well supposedly the BeOS API is extremely clean and easy to pick up.
<Dru_Sator> it is
<DrHendrix> Maxwarp: the numbers seem to say that OS/2 users by about as many games per capita, as Windows users. Unfortunatly, from Stardock's statistics there is 1 OS/2 user for every Windows user and so sales are roughly 1/20th of Windows
<David> don't know. From what I've seen DIVE is pretty easy, and DIRECTX is not.
<eTronik> yeah and who uses BE ??
<DrHendrix> by = buy
<Dru_Sator> actually, the thougth of seeing if DrHendrix would be interested in a BeOS adaptaion of his libs was a thought
<DrHendrix> 1 OS/2 user for every 20 Windows user, that is
<Chris> I can personally vouch for the extreme learning curve of DirectX. I am workingwith it currently.
<David> and I got the fun of DIVE.
<freiheit> eTronik, who used OS/2 when it was only 1 year old?
<eTronik> oops! almost 2 am in here I gotta go to bed !
<Chris> And I can positively say, that once the library I'm working on for it is completed, I will not touch DirectX again as long as I can delay it.
<freiheit> Be _is_ picking up marketshare and OEM support (just not in the US yet).
<David> LINUX is growing pretty strong, from what I hear.
<eTronik> freiheit: the world is totally different from 10 years ago...
<freiheit> Yeah, 10 years ago there was a choice.
<David> freiheit: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING! the world is totally different from 2 or 3 years ago !
<Dru_Sator> All of the alternatives are gaining strength, however the question remains, can OS/2 grow to a serious threat again?
<freiheit> Now there's a choice but you have to dig to fin dit.
<eTronik> freiheit: plenty of them actually
<TheSeer> the world will be totally different in 2-3 years too.. :)
<MRamsey> Sorry, I'm back
<Maxwarp> the speakup is getting annoying... :(
<eTronik> David: from a computing standpoint , not that much !
<TheSeer> MRamsey: "sorry, i'm back" ..hmm ,-)
<Maxwarp> let's talk about SF :)
<Arkay> sorry, I keep getting kicked off
<DrHendrix> Maxwarp: I'm game
<Chris> I believe that OS/2 will have a resurgance in popularity brought on by Y2K and the new Aurora system, Win2000 will put a slight damper on it, but OS/2 will establish itself as a stable system.
<David> YOU GO!, Chris
<Arkay> Chris, I hope you're right.
<eTronik> Chris: I HOPE you are 1/10 right !!
* Abraxas sides with Chris
<Maxwarp> Chris: among industries, baking and so on, yes of course
<David> sorry, got to get those OS/2 plugs in everywhere@
<Dru_Sator> Is SF in multi-player mode bandwidth intensive and what is the realistic performance on a 33.6?
<MRamsey> I personally wish OS/2 would come back, I like programming for it and making games for it. If Os/2 comes back I there for the long haul for sure.
<Maxwarp> baking=banking :) jet another typO
<DrHendrix> Dru: 33.6 should be more than enough
<eTronik> but truthfully I don't believe it ! unless we market OS/2 as the perfect grassroots OS !!
<DrHendrix> It was designed to work under a 14.4k
<mandie> OS/2 LIVES! :)
<Donniet> I hope Chris is right, too. All of this talk of other platforms on an OS/2 forum is depressing.
<eTronik> no its not !!
<Dru_Sator> How do you deal with Inet latencies despite the bandwidth?
<David> ok, can we get off the "other platforms"? We all know they exist
<DrHendrix> SF with 16 players uses less than 500 bps
<eTronik> we have to accept OS pluralism by default !!
<DrHendrix> Dru: That is a ling story
<DrHendrix> ling = long
<David> DrHendrix: GIVE!
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: sorry for my ignorance about, but please, could you explain something about the server side of SF?
<eTronik> ok gotta go !
<Arkay> DrHendrix: can you give me a little info about what gameplay in SF entails? I'm not really familiar with it at all.
<DrHendrix> Basically all multiplayer action games played over the internet predict and correct as they gat fresh data
<eTronik> bye all ! nice meeting !
<DrHendrix> MaxL GO ahead
<Chris> Well, there is talk of other platfoms as a comparison beween them and OS/2. While OS/2 is superior in many ways, Bill Gates Mickey Mouse OS runs wild in the streets, simply because every piece of hardware in the world has drivers written for it and nothing else.
<DrHendrix> Arakay: You pilot a starship around the solar system with an overhead (Asteroids type) view.
<DrHendrix> You fly around and shoot people and carry colonies around to try to colonize the planets
<David> is this an OS/2 or Windows game?
<DrHendrix> OS/2 and windows
<Dru_Sator> so you are not relying on clientside information. and are using limited AI on the server side for potential player activity and correcting based on periodic polling?
<Chris> Cross platform, I would imagine.
<DrHendrix> AI is both server and client based.
<Dru_Sator> server side polling or client push?
<Arkay> What's the multimedia like? Is there a music track?
<DrHendrix> basically we just let the game engine run ahead and correct whatever is wrong as we get the data
<Chris> Developing cross platform between Win32 and OS/2 is particularly simple. The API's share the same roots, ans therefore it is not that difficult to translate from one to the other.
<DrHendrix> There is a music track. Very Wing Commanderish soundtrack
<David> yes. We've been talking all about graphics, but you know, there is more than just graphics. Hows the sound handled? How do you handle inputs???
<DrHendrix> Chris: That's right.
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: it's possible to play SF on a LAN?
<David> SHORT Sentences, Chris
<DrHendrix> SF can be played on an IP lan.
<Chris> Sound would be through DIVE, I would think. With Input from the standard UI services.
<DrHendrix> Dave, inputs are keyboard and mouse (very simple) and sound is just streamed wav files
<Dru_Sator> doesn't that server implementation create a scenario for jumpy play in real game conditions?
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: sorry, but so you mean it has client/server feature?
<Chris> Actually Dru, things can run BETTER in that type of implementation. :)
<DrHendrix> Dru: yes it can, the correction algorithms must be created lovingly with care.
<David> the *only* way
<DrHendrix> There are some tricks I;ve learned by playing other games and some I've made up on my own
<DrHendrix> Maxwarp: Yes, SF is client/server.
<Dru_Sator> how CPU intensive is the server side and is it also platofrm indy?
<DrHendrix> Dru: One thing is to set up a maximum accelaration so nobody can change their velocity too much
<Chris> Less on the clientside means more CPU time to work with the communications, therefore, more time to recover from dropped packets and such.
<DrHendrix> Dru: Server is completely platform independent and requires a low end pentium. A 66 MHZ 486 might do.
<David> BTW Chris and I run an ISP. We get all the IP problems daily
<Arkay> Would playing head-to-head on a local lan require two copies of SF?
<Dru_Sator> and the server is part of the game for LAN play or ISP side?
<Chris> Yeah, Internet communications is our forte'
<David> does the server part of SF also participate in the game, or is it just a server?
<DrHendrix> Arkay: No.
<DrHendrix> Server send out the AI msgs
<Maxwarp> DrHendrix: it requires a special license or something like that to run SF as server on an ISP machine?
<David> so, each user has an entire copy of the game, and the server just coordinates the actions?
<DrHendrix> David: :) It has taken me quite a while to conquer the internet beast :)
<David> good for you!
<DrHendrix> Maxwarp: Nope, anybody can run a server
<DrHendrix> DavidL yes.
<Arkay> MRamsey: can you give me some info about the gameplay in MOTE, multimedia, input devices, etc?
<David> so, in actuality, the game is played on each user's machine, with the server just coordinating the other player's moves.
<Dru_Sator> does the server support any sort of server-networking for creating server networks
<DrHendrix> Dru: Just as far as contacting stardock to let players know when a server is available
<Maxwarp> 3 AM here... l8r :)
<Chris> However, wouldn't it be better for the server to take a more active part in the game? For instance, the server treats all 'entities' in the game the same, not knowing the difference between a CPU control entity and a human con trolled one. That would allow dynamic adding and removing of human players without changing the balance of the game.
<DrHendrix> David: yes: eachj player has their own universe and it is the job of each client and the server to keep then "similar"
<MRamsey> MOTE supports the unfort. the std os/2 mmpm/2 and has a bunch of videos that are used throughout the game has goals are met.
<DrHendrix> Chris: This is how it works now. AI players are just like normal players, but they are tagged AI
<Dru_Sator> what kind of expansion set support is there in SF for future growth ?
<MRamsey> Gameplay is basically build units in a city (town, village..) and then take over the 4 computer controlled empires.
<Arkay> MRamsey: What type of tempo is the game played at? Does it require hours and hours?
<DrHendrix> Dru: Nothing really planned. I just plan to keep improving it and add any necessary features.
<David> DrHendrix: are the AI players played on the server? or where?
<MRamsey> MOTE requires about 3 hours to play a complete game (on the level 4 ai setting)
<Chris> Well, it's been an intresting discussion, and I hope to see you all here next time. I've gotta grab soem food. :)
<Dru_Sator> so no 3rd party expansion support is in place
<Arkay> MRamsety: But I can save games and finish another day, right?
<DrHendrix> David: There is a copy of each AI player on the server and all the clients. They can act autonomously on the client for awhile, until they receive a msg from the server
<Arkay> Latter Chris
<MRamsey> MOTE allows for save/load games.
<DrHendrix> Dru: No, but I am open to suggestions. One thing is that it is of course possible to create your own solar systems and scenarios
<Dru_Sator> bed calls... thanks for the time gentleman
<DrHendrix> Alter Dru
<DrHendrix> LAter that is
<Dru_Sator> DrHendrix: would you be interested in a 3rd party support for pear?
<David> DrHendrix: so, the AI is a "programmed response", or "programmed scenario" type operation. Each client can predict what the other machines whould be doing ahead of time.
<DrHendrix> What do you mean by that. Is that MDuffy's lib?
<DrHendrix> David, yes. It is only for 1 second that the client AI has to predict.
<Dru_Sator> your xplatform libs. pear was omething else entirely
<DrHendrix> What, are you suggesting though?
<David> DrHendrix: and SF is an IP supported game? Always looking for new ideas for the ISP. Could I order a copy, and then set it up for online play?
<DrHendrix> David: Absolutely. You can just download the latest beta at www.stardock.com
<David> DrH Have to look into doing that, if I can come up with the time.... :-)
<David> DrHendrix: so, I take it, you've had problems with marketing?... Any fresh ideas on how to market these kinds of games?
<David> MRamsey: sorry, I've been involved in my addiction - online games. I'll pick on you a little, too.
<DrHendrix> David: I haven't really spent much time thinking about marketing since 1997, but my advice to small developers working out of their bedroom is to get the market/mind share first by giving the game away and then charging $ for version 2
<DrHendrix> Or giving the beta away and not charging until version 1.09
<DrHendrix> 1.0
<David> DrHendrix: Actually, pretty much what we've been planning. First, a game thats playable, then, with version 2, an ONLINE game thats a blast to play.
<DrHendrix> David: That's right. First you gotta get them hooked . . . isn't that how drug dealers do it?
<Arkay> David and DrHendirx: I like the idea. Gives me a chance to see if I'll like the game or not
<David> something I never have been able to distinguish. When does a game move from BETA to market? And don't give me a Microsoft phrase like "IT LOADED! SHIP IT!"
<Projects> that's not how it's done?
<David> with some things - I think so.
<DrHendrix> David: That's a very hard question to answer. My answer is that it is ready when I don't feel embarassed about people shelling out money for it :)
<David> now, THAT's a perfect answer.
<David> My problem has always been that, to me, programming is an art. I don't want someone playing, or seeing, what I would consider an unfinished artwork. But, to me, that artwork is NEVER complete. There is always at least ONE more thing.... :-)
<Arkay> David: did you say you were working on a RPG?
<Arkay> David: That's why I don't let anyone see what I've written. I'm too embarassed
<DrHendrix> I agree.
<David> Arkay: yes, we hope to have a demo of it out sometime about mid-year
<MRamsey> What rpg are you working on David?
<Arkay> Can you give any details about it?
<DrHendrix> Well, I have to go home now, though I'll connect up when I get there and see if anyone is around.
<MADodel1> MRamsey: Any word on an update to MOTE? Sorry if this has been asked already, my server died and I was incommunicato for a while.
<freiheit> DrHendrix, thank you for joining us tonight!
<Arkay> DrHendrix: Later. Thanks for the info on the game.
<DrHendrix> Your all welcome.
<MRamsey> There maybe an update before this summer, with some bug fixes
<David> Its a medival style, fantasy game, with a 3D engine we're creating. So far, the 3D stuff is pretty killer, and the artwork is going to knock some games silly.
<MRamsey> David: you have a web url?
<David> got some professional musicians that are doing some awesome sounds for it, also.
<DrHendrix> I spend my days on #stardock on Efnet if anyone has any more questions
<David> game has only been in development for about 2 months. We're all running around here so hard we havn't had time to do that.
<David> DrHendrix: Appreciate talking to you!
<DrHendrix> David: You are working with MDuffy?
<DrHendrix> Sounds like the game he is working on
<David> no, just me, Chris, and our company.
<DrHendrix> Ah
<Donniet> DrHendrix: Thanks! It's been educational.
<Arkay> Damn irc server. David: did you ever say anything about the game you're working on? I got kicked off again.
<DrHendrix> Your welcome
<David> should I repeat that again???? you JUST missed it.
<MADodel1> MRamsey: Other then the over-all map not displaying for me, I haven't encountered any bugs. can you elaborate at all on any possible changes?
<Arkay> Well, I guess I can read the log on the Voice site.
* Arkay sulks 'cause he missed what David said
<Arkay> :-)
<David> anyone mind if I repeat it?
<Donniet> I don't mind.
<David> let me go back and copy the lines...
<David> Its a medival style, fantasy game, with a 3D engine we're creating. So far, the 3D stuff is pretty killer, and the artwork is going to knock some games silly.
* Arkay is jumping for joy
<MRamsey> MADodel1: Just fixing that bug (if we can replicate it) and a few other minor fixes... Nothing too majpr has come up in the playability arena
<David> got some professional musicians that are doing some awesome sounds for it, also.
<David> thats it!
<Arkay> David: sounds great. I can't wait. I love good music, too.
<MADodel1> MRamsey: Any chance for being able to move armies in groups?
<Arkay> Thanks for indulging me, everyone.
<mandie> Arkay: always a pleasure :)
<David> ooh, the musicians we found,.... they can send major chills up your spine, anytime
<MRamsey> No, that type of unit association is not possible with the way MOTE was programmed and it would also require changes to the ai compiler...
<Arkay> I'll still be looking at MOTE and SF in the meantime. They both sound like great games.
<David> I'm really interested in SF myself. Anything to help the ISP business along.
<MRamsey> If you try MOTE I don't think you'll be disappointed.
<MRamsey> Single player, single player!!!
* Sector wasn't
<Arkay> Well, that's about it for me. I'd like to say thank you to MRamsey and DrHendrix
<Arkay> MRamsey: I'll keep that in mind. I think it's a game I'll like.
<Arkay> later all
<David> MOTE shounds like a very interesting game, also, but from my particular business perspective, its something I just wouldn't have time for myself, but I'm going to try pushing it.
<Arkay> I don't have time for any games, but that doesn't stop me. I just lose a lot of sleep
<MRamsey> Every little bit helps with an OS/2 game!! thanks
<MADodel1> I like that I can play MOTE at my leisure, especially while I'm working, since it is turn based.
<Donniet> David: Word of mouth works. You just may have some luck with that.
<Arkay> see ya
<David> MR:well, being an ISP puts me in a pretty unique position. I can push things like crazy.
<Donniet> Yeah, I can imagine.
<David> but, for a business, you'd have to be crazy to do this!
<David> MRamsey: I take it you have a URL?
<MADodel1> http://www.bmtmicro.com/catalog/mote.html
<MRamsey> thanks, cut and paste are slow on my end...
<David> sounds good to me. If you need another,... especially for an OS/2 type project,... and a game in particular,... let me know. We're starting a game portion of the ISP, and would love to help.
* Sector thinks the whole internet is slow tonight (people have been dropping in and out)
<David> Sector: I know, I think something is going on with one of the major links. I've been having problems all day.
<MADodel1> OK I think we should get ready for the trivia question. :-)
<Donniet> MADodell: Good idea.
* David puts his DUNCE cap on
* Blackbird feels lucky
<MADodel1> Let's see how well everyone was paying attenttion tonight
<freiheit> What?
<freiheit> :)
<David> does that mean I had to be awake?
<Sector> Blackbird already got lucky
<mandie> hmm..the VOICE BOD aren't allowed to "pay attention"
<freiheit> Oh.
<MRamsey> Ok, its coming from me... How many hours (approx) does a normal MOTE game take to complete?
* David doesn't remember what "lucky" was
<Donniet> About three.
<David> I KNOW< I KNOW
<Projects> eh? repeat? Wasn't paying attention...
<David> about 3 - 4
<Sector> Depends on ai level
<MRamsey> donniet and david win!!!!
<Sector> I'll say 2
* KoolAde heck i cant even figure out what MOTE is :)
<Donniet> Yayyy!
<David> as Chris says WooHOO
<MADodel1> MOTE is a great turn based strategic battle game
<David> sounds like it.
<MRamsey> Send me your address -miker@devilsthumb.com
* KoolAde has Stella F from the beginning :)
<David> got it.
<MRamsey> Just david and donniet!!
<Blackbird> me didn't get a chance to answer
<mandie> larryf!! :)
<MRamsey> I gotta take off guys thanks alot its been fun!
<larryf> Hi There
<Donniet> Thanks. I'll email it now.
<Sector> Thanks for stopping by
<mandie> MRAmsey: thank you for coming tonight
<freiheit> MRamsey, thank you for joining us here tonight.
<David> Thanks a lot! been interesting
<Projects> Blackbird: too busy getting lucky :)
<MADodel1> Thanks for coming Mike
<Donniet> I've enjoyed it.
* Blackbird :)
<MADodel1> This has been one of the most active speakups in a long time.
<mandie> I'd like to thank everyone for attending tonight and thanks to our guests for all of the information they provided
<mandie> nytol :)
<Donniet> Bye!
<freiheit> A log of tonight's SpeakUp will be on the VOICE website by tomorrow.
<freiheit> http://www.os2voice.org/
<freiheit> Thanks to everyone who came and participated.