Aspyr Announces: The Gamerhood

via today’s Aspyr Games Newsletter (July 31, 2006):

The Gamerhood(TM), coming soon, will allow Mac users to download casual
games and video games.

Earlier this month we announced the development of a new game application,
The Gamerhood(TM), that will allow a user to purchase and download a game
directly to their Macintosh using a standard Internet connection. A wide
range of Mac games, from very casual titles to some of Aspyr’s AAA titles,
will be made available through The Gamerhood(TM).

Over the next few months, we will be releasing more specific information
on The Gamerhood’s(TM) capabilities and a list of the titles, which will
be immediately available upon the application’s launch. A broad range of
features already being implemented in The Gamerhood are listed below.

The Gamerhood(TM) Features

• Purchase games and download them online
• Play games without physical CD/DVD media
• Check user compatibility by comparing machine’s hardware against a
game’s minimum system requirements before purchase
• Alert users to current Aspyr projects and new games
• Allow users to register games online
• Alert users to game updates and provide installs for updates
• Provide a user-friendly interface and convenient way to organize
personal gaming catalogue
• Allow parents to restrict game play and online game store material based
on ESRB ratings
• Provide users opportunity to take advantage of special offers

Downloading The Gamerhood(TM) will be free to all Mac users and will be
available to North American customers only at launch. Look for more
details about The Gamerhood(TM) from Aspyr as we approach the launch

I recently wondered why Aspyr didn’t have this already.

Mac Shareware Distribution

MacWorld’s Peter Cohen writes about commercial games taking up the shareware distribution model in his The Game Room column:

Shareware isn’t exactly a new idea. But the distribution model for shareware is being adapted by commercial game publishers for a new breed of commercial game that’s starting to impact how Mac games are sold.

Cohen mentions that the stalwarts of the Mac game industry, Macsoft, Aspyr, and Feral Interactive are “painfully aware” that they are missing the boat on download-based delivery of Mac games, and to expect them to jump on the bandwagon in the future.

I’m left to wonder, what has taken them so long? Electronic distribution is such an obvious mechanism, it’s hard for me to understand why they are not already fully invested in such a strategy.

Granted, most of these triple-A games are huge and would have very large bandwidth requirements, but bandwidth is cheap these days. Certainly it’s cheeper than printing DVDs, producing retail shelf boxes and shrink wrap materials, not to mention the “overhead” of dealing with middlemen and retail outlets.

Happy Birthday

It’s been exactly one year since my very first post on this blog.

I’ve accomplished a ton since then.

I have learned Objective-C and some Cocoa. I have dabbled with The Allegro Game Framework but ultimately chose something else. I committed to competing in the 2005 Original Mac Games Cup which directly lead to developing and finally publishing my first game.

Not too shabby for doing most of this after “the day job”. Hopefully the second year will be as fruitful, if not more so.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and supporting me.

21 Days Game Development Contest has announced their next game development contest:

“21-Days Later: Carlosvision”

Carlosvision – The Concept
Since 1998, the Editor-in-Chief of iDevGames, Carlos Camacho, has been tirelessly promoting gaming on the Macintosh platform, as well through building a strong community of indie Mac game developers. He now invites the community to show appreciation for these efforts by re-creating any game from the list below. The titles below represent his favorite 8-bit classic games from the ’80s, which he often finds himself yearning to play.

Donkey Kong Jr.
Earl Weaver Baseball
Empire Deluxe (turn-based strategic global-domination wargame)
Galaga or Galaxian
Jungle Hunt or Pitfall
Miner 2049er
Missile Command
Moon Patrol
Mr. Do
Omega Race (by Midway)
Robotron: 2084

Start: June 11, 2006 (11:59 PM GMT)
Application Deadline: June 25, 2006 (11:59 PM GMT)
Game Entry Deadline: July 2, 2006 (11:59 PM GMT)

Apple Article: Mac Game Engines

The Apple Developer Connection has posted a new article summarizing four popular third-party game engines and using them for Mac game development.

The article covers the following four game engines:

The article is a nice overview of the covered game engines, but I was a bit disappointed that it doesn’t cover any of the free or open source alternatives. It does however provide a very nice clean high-level comparison of the engines in a table format.

Marketing Plan for Indie Games

Gamasutra has a new article outlining a basic plan for marketing indie games. The plan is short and simple in presentation and uses Poly Count Productions‘ new indie game, Edoiki, to walk the reader through all the steps involved.

The author, Juuso Hietalahti (Poly Count Productions, makes a great point in his first step:

1. Goals – Make Sure You Know Where You Are Heading

I would bet that this one step is both the most important and most forgotten step of most marketing and project plans. I know when I plan my game projects, I forget this step. If you don’t know where you want to go, how are you going to get there?

By solidifying the goals of your project, the rest should be much easier to plan and execute. Not only will this help your marketing plan, but also your final product.

Tuncer Dennis: Bungie, Marathon, & Indie Game Developers

Tuncer Dennis (Inside Mac Games, Mac Game Store, Mac Game Files) has a post on his blog about the days when he used to work with the game studio, Bungie.

He includes a nice little video on the days right before the launch of their game Marathon. Though Tuncer is no Spielberg, it’s interesting to see the “behind the scenes” look.

A nice bonus is Tuncer’s brief comments on all the hoopla surrounding the recent negative comments on indies in the game industry by Warren Spector. Tuncer has been involved with the game industry for quite some time so it’s nice to see a another perspective on this issue.