In an interview with MacCentral at Macworld Expo San Francisco,
president Ian Lynch Smith provided an overview of the game and entertainment developer’s recent activities. In the course of the discussion, Smith touched on modifications and new developments for a number of existing Freeverse titles, and provided some details on the company’s recent work in the open source community.
First, Smith revealed that Apple had contracted Freeverse to migrate NetSprocket to OpenPlay, and that thanks to Freeverse developer Randy Thompson this work was completed late last year. OpenPlay is a low-level open source cross-platform networking API originally developed by Apple and Bungie Software that provides high-level functionality such as player/group management and messaging. NetSprocket was originally part of Apple’s Game Sprockets SDK, but was open-sourced as a separate component in 1999. The result of Freeverse’s recent efforts is an open source cross-platform networking API that can be used for game-related networking on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. Smith said that the carbonizing of this technology for Mac OS X was also well under way.
Smith next said that Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab, Freeverse’s high-energy arcade-puzzle game, will soon fully support network play through
GameRanger, the free Macintosh multiplayer match up service developed by Scott Kevill. Previously, Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab gamers were able to find opponents through HMS Freeverse — Freeverse’s own online environment. HMS Freeverse predominantly serves the growing community that plays Freeverse’s library of 3D card games, and Smith feels that the head-to-head arcade action of the Puzzle Lab is more naturally suited to GameRanger users.
“BMPL is a different sort of game than our other titles, and therefore it makes sense to move it to GameRanger, leaving the HMS Freeverse as a separate product geared to our card games,” said Smith. “We’re happy to work with Scott to make this happen.”
The update to Burning Monkey’s Puzzle Lab will be released in approximately two weeks, and will also include a number of bug fixes and new “puppets” that can serve as computer-controlled opponents or in-game avatars for human players. Gamers who buy Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab on CD will now get a total of 10 puppets, and existing Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab owners will be able to download the new additions from the Freeverse Web site.
Freeverse has started some new in house cross-platform projects as well. Three of Freeverse’s titles, Reversi: The Eclipse, the OpenGL board game Byte Me!, and the mobster-themed strategy title Deathground are all being ported to Java by Lars Grauland. Smith said he was excited at the prospect of these games being available to Mac and Windows gamers alike.
In news that is sure to please fans of Freeverse’s many card games, Smith confirmed that all of Freeverse’s 3D card titles are now fully carbonized in preparation for the release of Mac OS X.
Lastly, Ian Lynch Smith used Macworld San Francisco as an opportunity to announce plans for a new laptop accessory that is in keeping with past quirky Freeverse offerings like the iVase. Noting that some Mac portables can become rather warm over periods of extended laptop use, Smith announced today that Freeverse intends to bring a lap insulator to market.
“The ‘Save The Boys’ brand PowerBook lap insulator will be shipping first quarter of 2001,” Smith said. The accessory will resemble an oversized mouse pad, and provide a thin protective layer between users of Mac portables and their laps. The Save The Boys brand lap insulator was first suggested to Smith by his newlywed wife Joanna Oltman Smith.