A few weeks ago we asked IMG readers to send in questions for Feral for a feature called Ask Feral. Our friends at Feral Interactive took the time to answer the numerous questions. So without further ado, here's this installment of Ask Feral.
Question: Will the Mac and PC versions of Colin McRae Rally be network compatible? - Dustin Otis
Answer: We have looked into making this work, but I'm afraid that the sticking points are impossible to solve. Firstly, there's the technical issue. When PC developers write a game's networking code, they usually do not take into account the possibility of a Mac version. This often leads to severe technical problems that are near impossible to fix. Secondly, even if we were to solve the technical issues, Microsoft's DirectPlay networking protocol is under copyright, and without their consent the Mac version of Colin McRae Rally would not be allowed to connect to the PC version. Third and last, we have GameSpy, without whom players would not be able to connect to each other via searchable servers. Unfortunately, GameSpy do not understand the economics of the Mac games market compared to that of the PC, and the licences they require are simply too expensive.
So in short, it is not feasible.
Question: My question for Feral is if there ANY chance of an OS X version of "Battle-Girl"? Or, at least some hope of a fix to get it to run full speed in Classic (it stutters in the newer versions of Classic). I know we should look forwards not back, but I haven't ever found a game that's wrenched more wasted hours out of me, and I want it back! - Steve Pugh
Answer: I'm sorry to say that we do not have the rights to carbonise Battle-Girl, so I'm afraid this is off the cards. However, I do agree with you, Battle-Girl was a great game that holds many fond memories – the vector graphics, the unique control system, the awesome soundtrack… ah, nostalgia!
Question: Are there any plans to port Mechwarrior 4 and/or make a game similar to it? In my opinion there is a void left in Mac gaming for Sim. type games, such as Mechwarrior and Heavy Gear. Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions such as this. I think it is a great idea to allow gamers to have a place to send in comments and questions. - Zeke Kaz
Answer: We do not comment on games that we may or may not have in the pipeline. However, we always welcome suggestions for new titles to bring over to the Mac, and your enthusiasm for big, hulking Mech-based games has been noted. It is well to remember that economics are a key element of porting – no matter how enamoured we are with a game, we will only licence it if we are confident that there is a sufficient market for it on the Mac platform.
And thanks, we'd like to do this kind of thing more often. Listening to the people who buy our games is one of the best ways to improve on what we do.
Question: What happened to the heavy hints of a new football game (I guess Championship Manager) on your website a month or so ago? - John Travers
Answer: Hints? What hints?? As all football fans know, the role of a manager is to make the difficult decisions that affect the lives of their players and the success of the team. Suffice to say that far from being relegated, one of our star players is merely on the bench. After all, there's always next season, eh? In fact, we looked long and hard at Championship Manager 5 and decided that it did not meet the same level of quality that the previous games in the series had achieved. We decided rather than spoil that track record, it was better to sit this season out and wait for next years much improved (we hope) version.
Question: I recently bought Chessmaster 9000. I am running Tiger 10.4.1 on a G4. When I added the recent update, the game crashed. I had to re-install the original from the CD to play the game. What gives? Any plans for a new patch? - Bob deWitt
Answer: Please send an e-mail to the Chessmaster support e-mail address (found in the game's manual, ReadMe and FAQ documents, as well as the Support tab of the pre-game Options panel), giving details of your problem and we'll do all we can to help. All support e-mails usually receive a response within 48 hours. Regarding Chessmaster 9000 and OS X Tiger, we do have a patch in the works and as soon as it has completed its testing cycle, we'll release it as a public download. In the meantime, if you e-mail support, we'd be happy to provide you with a beta version that should fix the problems you are experiencing.
Question: As a smaller publisher (compared to companies like EA or Vivendi), what steps are you taking to combat the problem of Mac game piracy? - Blake Buck
Answer: What, you want us to give away our secret recipe?! Seriously, piracy is a major concern and we are baffled by the attitude of these people who indulge in piracy, or are ambiguous towards it (we've all read the forums) - it's theft, pure and simple. There is no silver bullet to stop piracy, but we use a number of techniques to make it as difficult and frustrating as possible for the thieves. You'll understand that we do not detail what these are, but suffice to say they include baseball bats and home addresses.