It doesn’t look like Mac gamers will be getting any future versions of America’s Army, the free team-based first person shooter developed and sponsored by the U.S. Army. Confirming news posted in the America’s Army forums, programmer Ryan Gordon said that he’ll no longer work on the game.
At one time the Army did fund development of Mac OS X and Linux-native clients of the game, and paid Gordon to work on them. For some time, however, Gordon has supported them on his own.
“I’m now paid for just the Linux server. The Mac and Linux clients were cancelled several versions ago,” said Gordon in a recent post to his blog.
Gordon explained that the Army withdrew funding of the Linux and Mac clients after GameSpy, a popular online game matching service, increased the cost of its licensing. GameSpy and other middleware developers have placed onerous licensing fees on game developers, and GameSpy’s prices in particular have been cited as an issue for Mac game publishers, who cannot amortize a heavy licensing fee as broadly as their PC counterparts.
Gordon successfully replaced the GameSpy game matching code with an alternative back in March, 2005. Ultimately, however, he’s decided that paying projects and other work is more important than this effort.
Gordon’s experience with Mac conversions of Unreal Tournament has helped him with the project. America’s Army uses the same game engine. Gordon has converted several other Unreal Tournament engine-based games to the Mac, including UT 2004 itself, Postal 2 and others.
“Future versions of the game will be adding more middleware that I can’t keep up with and for which no one will be footing the bill,” said Gordon. “The Army, I think, probably sees these freebie ports as a nuisance, since they’re almost always late, and all they see are complaints from the Mac and Linux users about delays in a project they thought they axed several releases ago.”
Gordon said point-blank that there’s nothing that Mac gamers can do to change his mind or anyone else’s. “The client may resurface at some point, but don’t hold your breath at this time,” he said.
One final note from Gordon for Mac users:
“Apple’s Boot Camp had nothing to do with this, either, as some forum people have apparently decided. That being said, lucky you if you have an Intel Mac: you can boot to Windows to keep playing,” Gordon said.