Mac game publisher
production coordinator Nate Birkholz talked with MacCentral today about the company’s continued efforts to bring the Mac version of Myth III: The Wolf Age to market.
Myth III: The Wolf Age is the latest installment of the squad-level real-time strategy game series originally developed by Bungie Software. This new title was developed by the now-defunct Irvine, Calif.-offices of MumboJumbo Games, a software developer based in Dallas, TX (the company is one of several businesses owned by United Developers). Myth III saw its PC debut at the beginning of November, but Mac users are still waiting for a crack at the title.
In Myth III: The Wolf Age, players learn the story of Connacht the Wolf, the greatest of mankind’s heros. Set a millennium before the events that take place in Myth and Myth II, Myth III tells the tale of Connacht’s struggle against the vile Myrkridia and oppressive Trow. While Myth III’s interface will be familiar to fans of the first two games, this title makes use of a new 3D graphics engine and many other enhancements to bring the Myth experience up to date.
A month ago, MacSoft’s Birkholz had provided a similar
status update, and at the time, he indicated that Mac OS X networking in the game’s multiplayer mode was a problem. That’s been fixed, said Birkholz.
“The game’s networking was done using OpenPlay,” explained Birkholz. OpenPlay is a networking technology originally developed by Apple and Bungie and used in Myth II: Soulblighter. Birkholz said that OpenPlay doesn’t work on Mac OS X, which broke networking in the Mac OS X version of game.
“It took a long time to fix, but now it’s done. Network play in Mac OS X is completely fixed — it’s really robust, and we can’t break it,” added Birkholz.
Birkholz gave kudos to the MumboJumbo developers working on the Mac OS X version for all of their hard work. He said that at this point, the game is well on its way to completion — in fact, only two major problems are holding it up.
Birkholz said that recent OS X builds of Myth III demonstrate a crashing problem when users invoke a command-tab keystroke to switch to another application — the company is working to fix the problem. “We’re not about to ship a game with a bug that can be easily reproduced like this.”
The other problem involves the manipulation of large numbers of units; under certain conditions, a specific sequence of events can cause a lock up under Mac OS 9 or a crash on Mac OS X. Again, Birkholz said the problem is being looked into.
There’s one other issue that’s been noted, as well, but it’s not under MacSoft’s direct control to fix. Birkholz suggested the problem may actually be a conflict with the Apple drivers for Nvidia cards in Mac OS X. “We’re seeing OS X crashes and kernel panics under some conditions on certain systems with cards that use Nvidia graphics hardware,” said Birkholz. Birkholz said that MacSoft is working with Apple to find a solution.
As to a demo, Birkholz said that once the game itself is ready for primetime, so too will the demo be. “Obviously, we don’t want to put out a demo based on broken code, we don’t want to give our customers that impression,” said Birkholz. “When we have a fixed application, we will release a demo.”
Birkholz also turned his attention to Mac gamers who have voiced frustration that the game has not yet shipped for the Macintosh.
“As frustrated as everyone else is, imagine our position,” he said.
Users have noted that the problems mentioned by MacSoft in its status updates have been confined to Mac OS X — given that’s the case, why not release the OS 9 version now and offer Mac OS X users a patch or upgrade later?
“We just don’t want to divert the resources we have to get this game out to change the application to make it a Mac OS 9-only app,” said Birkholz. “I’m not sure what sort of engineering that would take, either.”
While he doesn’t want to be pinned to a specific release date, Birkholz said that Myth III’s development is nearing completion. For everyone at MacSoft, it’s been a singular effort to see the game published. Hopefully, they’ll be able to deliver the goods to patient Mac gamers soon.