Planetside Mac a Possibility?
8:21 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
When scouring the web for news, we often come across PC titles that look simply amazing. An example of one such game is a massively multiplayer first person shooter known as Planetside in production right now by Sony. The actual team making Planetside is Verant, already known for their amazingly-popular MMORPG Everquest. Verant's PC-only past led us to believe there is absolutely no chance of ever seeing a Mac port. After all, Everquest is highly dependent on Windows routines, and we've never heard a hint about any Mac client, so we assumed the same for Planetside. In fact we feel a bit guilty for even mentioning this game to our readers, lest yet another glimmer of hope for a PC title we know you'll lust after be created, and then squashed.
Every major PC publication has tripped over themselves with excitement when covering the game, and a quick look at its (3D!) screen shots will tell you why. But beyond the screen shots, Verant already knows how to run a massively-multiplayer online world, which makes Planetside a certain hit. There are already many comparisons being made between this title and Halo, though Planetside is set right from the start to be a massively-multiplayer online game with teamplay. And unlike the online RPGs out there, Planetside players shouldn't have any problems jumping in and having fun (assuming they've played an FPS like Quake before); stats and equipment have been simplifed to focus on action, cooperative play and team effort.
The persistent online world will feature three corporations fighting for power over continents eights kilometers square. Character development is similar to Deus Ex, with players able to specialize and add implants as they advance in rank within their corporation. This is just a quick synopsis; check out the Planetside web site for more details on the game.
The observant-reader-of-the-week award goes out to Max Sztabnik, who found a Mac-related thread in the Planetside forums. In this thread, Verant's senior technology architect John Ratcliff remarks that he would be willing (if asked) to do a Mac port. This is a personal statement by him, and not at all any sort of announcement from Verant or Sony, but encouraging nonetheless:
Here's my *personal* opinion on the subject, which absolutely in no way reflects the public position of Sony Online Entertainment in any way.While this most likely means there are currently no plans for a Mac version, it's great to hear the lead programmer for the game have such a positive attitude towards the possibility. We are strongly against printing rumors, and we hate to get your hopes up, but this was just too good to pass up. Even though Sony is not known as a publisher of Mac OS titles in the past, our platform is being included in several A-list future massively-mutliplayer and online titles such as WW II Online, Shadowbane, and Neverwinter Nights -- this may help us make a case for a Mac version of Planetside.
If I am asked to port Planetside to Macintosh, then I will do so. It's not a very significant project, my code is extremely objected oriented and highly modular. Porting to the Mac would be a fairly painless process. A matter of a few works [ed note: could this be a typo for "weeks"?] at most.
I haven't been asked to do so yet, but it's not really that big of a deal because it's really more the sort of thing you do at the latter stages of a product when everything is pretty tight.
What we need now are some Mac publishers to start talks with Sony or Verant and help nudge them in the right direction or perhaps even take over publishing duties for a port, as GraphSim is doing for both Red Faction and Summoner. You can be sure the staff at IMG will be doing our very best to encourage communication between Sony and any prospective candidates.
Mac Planetside Forum Thread
We'll see if we can get any more out of Verant about cross-platform possibilities, and you can be sure we'll pass along anything we find. In the meantime you absolutely have to visit the Planetside web site and check out the two QuickTime VR 3D screen shots, as well as the static images -- yes, this is a realtime engine, folks, no gimmicks. A recent discussion of the engine's technology hosted with John Ratcliff revealed that each blade of grass in that screen shot to the right is a separate 3D object with collision detection, so that you can crush it with your jeep, shoot it with your gun or stomp it underfoot! And yet the engine runs in full frame rate on current hardware (Pentium II with a GeForce 2) and features worlds that are 'virtually' eight kilometers a side and take literally hours to cross on foot...
Planetside Web Site
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