Hi,
I am glad we're getting Heather back. Karen's not all that bad, but I, was a
MOTA BETA owner since Beta 4, have gotten used to that one.
Best Regards,
Hayden

-----Original Message-----
From: gamers-boun...@audyssey.org [mailto:gamers-boun...@audyssey.org] On
Behalf Of Charles Rivard
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:33 PM
To: Gamers Discussion list
Subject: Re: [Audyssey] USA Games News 3/18/2010

Tom:  Is this OK to share with other gaming and not gaming lists?  Thanks.
---
In God we trust.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Thomas Ward" <thomasward1...@gmail.com>
To: "Gamers Discussion list" <gamers@audyssey.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:21 PM
Subject: [Audyssey] USA Games News 3/18/2010


> USA Games News
>
> March 18, 2010
>
> Introduction
>
> Hello gamers,
>    Welcome to another edition of the USA Games news letter. I know it
> has been a very long time since our last issue, and truth is there
> hasn't been much to say over the last couple
> of months or so. Mostly we have been involved in rewriting the core of
> our Genesis engine
> which has been a massive undertaking. More about that later.
>    However, we finally have some good news on the way. It looks like
> 2010  is going to be a
> more productive year for us, and we are finally going to start
> delivering some of the titles
> we promised. That is certainly some good news in deed. So without
> further comment let's get
> straight to the news.
>
> Genesis Engine
>
>    As many of you may recall back in early December we decided to
> rewrite our game engine,
> Genesis 3D, from scratch in C++. The rewrite was suppose to resolve
> several ongoing issues
> with Mysteries of the Ancients such as: problems with newer 64 byt
> Windows platforms,
> improve system performance, resolve some bugs do to Managed DirectX
> itself, to simplify the
> installation of the game, and possibly create cross-platform versions
> for Mac and Linux. To
> a large degree our rewrite that attempts to meet all of these design
> goals was a success
> over all. However, during the course of development we discovered that
> supporting
> cross-platform versions of our engine and games isn't technically or
> financially feasible at
> this time.
>    For one thing there really is no standardized way to program an
> application for Mac,
> Linux, and Windows. Each of these platforms have there own unique
> libraries, tool kits, etc
> we call APIs that are often as different from each other as the
> operating systems
> themselves. This obviously makes it difficult to write anything that
> can be compiled and run
> on another operating system without some degree of rewriting some part
> of your program to
> support the new platform. While there are game APIs specifically
> designed to help create
> cross-platform games such as OpenAL, SFML, SDL, etc these APIs don't
> meet the same standards
> of DirectX or XNA, and lack features I would otherwise get by using
> a more professional
> API like DirectX.
>    To explain this situation better imagine writing a game such as
> Raceway where you want
> to support special game controllers such as a racing wheel with force
> feedback support.
> While SDL, SFML, and DirectX all have reasonable support for standard
> devices like mice and
> keyboards the same can't be said about specialized game controllers
> like racing wheels. SDL,
> for example, has very generic joystick support that often doesn't work
> at all on Linux and
> Mac, and has no support for specialized game controllers such as a
> racing wheel with force
> feedback ability. This obviously is somewhat of a disadvantage as I
> can't provide the same
> degree of features on Mac and Linux releases that I could on   Windows 
> releases.
> Another case in point is DirectSound verses something like OpenAL.
> OpenAL is a decent audio
> API for Mac, I can't argue that, but at the same time it lacks
> features I could get with
> DirectSound. One very simple example is a stereo pan control. In games
> like Mysteries of the
> Ancients the sounds only need to be panned left and right. This is a
> simple process with
> DirectSound as it has a function for this. With OpenAL it was designed
> with 3d audio support
> in mind and it lacks a basic pan control which is over kill for a game
> like Mysteries of the
> Ancients. So in other words with OpenAL I have to use the 3d audio
> processing weather I need
> it or not. This is hardly ideal for a side-scroller.
>    There are plenty of other technical issues I could mention here,
> but I won't. Needless
> to say creating cross-platform games is less than ideal for the
> developer or the end
> customer alike. There are, however,  commercial routes I could take
> such as licensing
> Transgaming's Cedega and Cider cross-platform engines, but this is
> also expensive. Before I
> go that route I'd have to be sure I'd get my money back on the
> investment, and from what
> I've seen so far the Mac and Linux markets are still too small to make
> this financially
> feasible. Writing accessible games doesn't make much money as it is
> without the cost of
> investing in expensive cross-platform tools for a small minority
> market within a small
> minority market.
>    Cross-platform issues aside the engine itself is coming along very
> well. I've
> successfully rewritten the engine  in C++. I have dropped support for
> the .NET Framework,
> and have rewritten the game as a native Win32 application with support
> for DirectX 8 and the
> FMOD Ex API. This should resolve most bugs/issues present in MOTA beta
> 10 and earlier, and
> will greatly simplify the game installation for new customers. Since
> it uses native Windows
> libraries it should  install and run on Windows XP or higher right out
> of the box so to
> speak
>    As I write this the core of the engine itself is almost finished.
> This excludes tools
> such as a level editor, which I still have to write, but the core of
> the engine itself is
> about done. What this means is that I'll be able to release games like
> Mysteries of the
> Ancients beta 11 in the not too distant future.
>
> Mysteries of the Ancients
>
>    Over the past couple of months I've frequently been asked
> questions like "when will beta
> 11 be released" or "what new features will I be adding to beta 11."
> Both of these are
> difficult questions as both really depend on the completion of the
> Genesis Engine first.
> That has been my priority for the last three months, and obviously has
> to come first.
>
> Without the engine I wouldn't be able to create Mysteries of the
> Ancients. However, I can
>
> answer a few of these questions based on where I am right now with the 
> project.
>    As far as when the game will be released I can't in truth give a
> definitive answer to
> that question. However, as the new Genesis Engine is ready to be used
> for game development I
> can say it will be pretty soon. I have already ported the game's code
> over to the new engine
> and have been playing around with it. There are some loose ends and
> bugs to fix, but I'm
> certainly getting there with it. I figure the game will be going to
> the private test team
> within the next couple of weeks.
>    As far as new features and content none are planned for beta 11.
> The main reason is, of
> course, that I'm still very much actively involved in getting the
> engine together let alone
> upgrading it. In fact, you may find beta 11 will temporarily have a
> few less features as I
> work the bugs and problems out of the new engine and try and get it up
> to where we were with
> beta 10 before we began the rewrite. Don't worry though any missing
> features will be updated
> and returned in later updates to the game. Although, It is likely I
> will address all of
> these during the private testing period.
>    Mostly the major changes are superficial changes such as instead
> of Scansoft Karen I
> have restored Acapela Heather as the voice of the game as per request.
> I have made a few
> keyboard changes such as speak strength is now on the s key instead of
> the g key. As I've
> said most of the changes you will notice are very miner and
> superficial.  The real changes
> are at the game's core, in the engine, where you will likely notice
> some improved system
> performance if I did my job right. One thing about C++ it does allow a
> game developer to
> fine tune a game so that it takes full advantage of a systems
> processor, memory, and
> operating systems native libraries. All and all I do think you will
> enjoy the results.
>
> Sincerely,
> Thomas Ward
> president of USA Games Interactive
> http://www.usagamesineractive.com
>
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