Mac GameSpy Follow-up

Programmer Ryan Gordon's IcculusFinger (thanks Frans), the original source for recent stories about GameSpy Mac support (story and story), has more on the problems caused by increased license fees for the Mac edition of GameSpy ("This is literally the only showstopper in ArmyOps 2.2.1 for the Mac. If I had a GameSpy license, I could recompile the game and ship it. As it stands, there isn't a clear or simple solution to this problem in the 2.2.1 timeframe."). The Mac programmer outlines why you can't just "rip GameSpy out," and the problems that would be caused even if you could. After a lengthy discussion of obstacles facing Mac GameSpy support going forward, he also outlines his thoughts on addressing the situation:
The longer term solutions involve an act of subversion. Namely, someone needs to step up: develop and market a product that replaces GameSpy. It's not a secret that GameSpy's SDK doesn't have any real competition at the moment. It's also not a secret that most PC developers would shed no tears for GameSpy if a better alternative came along. I will be daring and say a small, modestly-funded team could pull this off, and if they hit the right PC developers, could gain critical mass with a quickness. The obvious choices for this, if we're being Mac-centric, are either Aspyr or Destineer. I would suggest this might be best done by an independent company that has no sort of Apple affliation as their primary interest... you don't have to like the fact that PC developers have an irrational fear of Mac-oriented companies...and I don't want to have this fight about Linux clients five years from now. Getting a good Triple-A title on the PC to ship with this, Mac port or not, makes this much more intriguing to everyone else, though. After all, there're plenty of reasons to ditch GameSpy on the PC, too; this Mac episode just illustrates it...they could always inflate their prices universally. Smart developers will take notice now when it's still someone else's problem...because tomorrow, it could be their's, too.
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Dec 9, 2004, 11:26
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Re: No subject Dec 9, 2004, 11:26
Dec 9, 2004, 11:26
 
So what's the status of ASE? Couldn't they step up to the plate?

No, because it's more than just an SDK. You need to have the backend server farm for the master servers too (which ASE doesn't), that or run your own as a game developer (which is probably why GameSpy is so popular -- they do that work for you). This isn't about the user's perspective -- it's about the servers'. Even if you don't use the in game client for server browsing, you're still using the same master servers. Consider it fortunate that GameSpy hasn't tried to lock out other browsers like AOL/MSN/etc do with IM clients.

And, as others point out, ASE isn't cross platform.

Realistically, if anyone was going to challenge GS here they'd have to target the PC market first. Otherwise they simply won't go anywhere. As long as you're sane about your design and coding, porting the SDK to other platforms should not be hideously difficult. There's no way it'll be just a recompile, but it shouldn't be massive development either.

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