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, 17:00
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Re: No subject Dec 9, 2004, 17:00
Dec 9, 2004, 17:00
 
only licensed games using the GameSpy SDK may submit changes to the backend
Actually that is incorrect. Any game server software may submit data to the Gamespy master server network without the Gamespy SDK or a license. Just send the data using the standard Quake/Unreal/Gamespy server protocol to master.gamespy.com. If the game is already supported by Gamespy (as these PC games already are), the game server will be listed for that game with the rest of the servers. Epic does this in its Unreal engine games to provide a secondary/back master list server. And, there is nothing in the EULA or other documentation of Epic's games which indicates that it is paying Gamespy a license for this. Where the Gamspy SDK and license is necessary is in retrieving and decoding a list of game servers from the Gamespy master and in providing CD key authentication services if the game uses such authentication.

What this means is that the Macintosh developer cited in this article is really being a "Chicken Little" here. Even without a license, these Macintosh ports could still have their servers listed in the Gamespy server list along with their PC counterparts. Only the Macintosh game client couldn't obtain a list of game servers from Gamespy without a license. So, the list of servers for Macintosh players would just have to come from another source. Macintosh publishers themselves could retrieve and host such a list for the Macintosh game client. PC and Macintosh players would still be able to play together.

A solution would still be necessary for providing CD key authentication services, but I don't think users would mind if that part of the equation were left out.

This comment was edited on Dec 9, 17:30.
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