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Friday, January 26, 2001

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New Mac/PC Summoner Details
9:26 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Volition has started up the PR machine once again to help promote the PC and Mac versions of Summoner which should be out in the near future. The Playstation 2 port was released at the console's launch, and was met with positive reviews from the PS2 crowd. The Mac and PC versions will be slightly different, in that they will contain a multiplayer mode, feature some interface changes, and sport graphical enhancements such as support for 3D hardware and higher resolutions. Two new articles have been posted recently, detailing these changes.

PC.IGN has started up their Summoner Thursday special again, this week with a lengthy update from Volition's Mark Allendar (who is also in charge of all the Mac-specific issues), discussing the many PC-specific aspect of the game. Here's an excerpt explaining some of the multiplayer features:

Combat. Combat is a pretty interesting part of multiplayer in the fact that the placement of characters doesn’t have to be exact. Unlike past games from Volition (namely FreeSpace and FreeSpace 2), exact location of characters isn’t crucial to scoring hits in combat or with spells. In fact, the old adage “close only counts in hand grenades and bombs” could easily be adapted to “close only counts in hand grenades, bombs, and Summoner”. One of the luxuries that we have with multiplayer Summoner is that character placement can be “close enough to look good”. That has allowed us to make some optimizations to the networking code to make it more playable on slower Internet connections. Of course, there are limits as to how far someone can be away from their position before it begins to look bad, but we also have those problems covered as well. Not having to worry about exact placement of creatures allows us to focus more on things that really matter for Summoner, such as getting good loot and killing creatures.

Party members. While not implemented yet, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about which players you will be able to use in multiplayer. We are certainly going to allow a party of 4 Joseph’s or 4 Flece’s to travel together, but this poses some very interesting and very hard questions and problems. First, with more than one Joseph, how do we deal with a Summon. With more than one Flece (or Rosalind, or Jekhar), how to we deal with all the animations that have to be loaded. Summoner was built to have specific sets of animations for the main players loaded at once – certainly not all of them. In the case of multiplayer, we might need to have them all loaded. Our focus on the coming week will be making this part of multiplayer work flawlessly.

The rest of the article is a must-read for any RPG fans looking forward to the Mac version of Summoner.

A similar article has been posted by RPG Vault, and it features many quotes from the Volition team taken from a recent press event held for the game. Here's the scoop:

The most significant change in the PC version of the game will be the inclusion of multiplayer capability for up to four players. Lead Programmer Mark Allender described multiplayer as being outside of the single-player story line, with the focus being on hack and slash action and on finding cool items. He indicated that there are some 500 items at the moment, with more on the way. However, the story line will be much looser, consisting of little more than beating level bosses to unlock further levels, and there won't be much conversation or interation with NPCs. All the single-player levels will be available; there are about 45 in total, including random encounter levels. Each of these will be re-scripted for multiplayer, and most will probably be re-populated as well. Three difficulty levels are planned, and games will be playable via LAN and PXO, the gaming network shared by Volition and Outrage, which were a single company, Parallax, until 1997. Multiplayer code is now functional.
Last word from GraphSim, who will be the publishers of the Mac version, was that Mac Summoner was doing well. A release is likely in the next month or two, though we'll hopefully get a more definite answer on that soon.

RGPVault Summoner Visit Report
PC.IGN Summoner Thursday
Buy Summoner

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• New Mac/PC Summoner Details9:26 AM
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