For those who have never experienced a game using a force feedback controller, prepare to be amazed. The idea behind the technology is simple. Since the controller is the conduit for players to interact with the game, why not make this communication two-way? In a force feedback-enabled game, the controller can shake or rumble at different strengths and for specific intervals based on what is happening on screen. Imagine a driving game where you can ‘feel’ the road or a shooting game that lets you ‘sense’ every hit. Force feedback technology makes this possible.
Voluntary FeedbackForce feedback has been a mainstay on gaming consoles such as the Dreamcast and the Nintendo 64 and is also popular with PC gamers. Andy Chen from Macally Peripherals recently spoke with Inside Mac Games to explain how Macally brought force feedback to the Macintosh and what Mac gamers can expect from their iShock 2 force feedback-enabled controller.
IMG: Why did MacAlly decide to develop A force feedback software development kit for the Mac?
MacAlly: At the present, Apple has no APIs that supports force-feedback. Although the USB forum has defined a PID class device interface for FFB [force feedback], it is not yet widely supported and considered as a low level solution for game developers.
IMG: Was the force feedback software development kit developed in-house or contracted out to another developer? If it was contracted out, who developed the software?
MacAlly: The SDK was developed in-house.
IMG: What kind of developer support has the FFB technology received?
MacAlly: Developers have been extremely positive in supporting our SDK for implementing FFB on the Mac. All developers we have approached are, thus far, receptive to the idea of implementing the FFB feature into upcoming and current games.
IMG: What software titles currently support FFB on the Mac?
MacAlly: Ambrosia [Software]'s Aperion and Ferazel's Wand are the first titles to support FFB, thanks to the help of Ambrosia's Ben Spees. Ambrosia said that they will implement FFB into all their future games.
IMG: Can you disclose any upcoming titles that will use the FFB software?
MacAlly: We are in the process of working with many Mac game developers, and all the developers we have approached have been extremely interested in supporting our SDK for FFB. Just to name a few, Freeverse Software, Aspyr, Connectix, and MacSoft.