the Mouth of Madness:
By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
Since I needed some current info on GameSpy to write this, I contacted Mark Surfas, GameSpy biz dude. Here's a quick Q&A about their whole business model, in case you're into that sort of thing.
What do you think of GameSpy's popularity with Half-life? I'm not really surprised - GameSpy was built on the multiplayer success of Quake - so it's the same audience. Half-Life deathmatch is just awesome. Let's pause for a moment here while I put my shotgun in your mouth, blow you across the room and then spray graffiti on the walls mocking you.
Has the in-game browser kept people from using it, or is it a non-issue? GameSpy offers a tremendous number of powerful and convenient features that will be hard to duplicate in an ingame browser. It's definitely not impossible, but given tight game budgets and the need for a return on investment for the time spent, I don't think you'll see developers create anything in the next year or two but an easy to use rudimentary system.
I use the ingame browser for LAN games, but when I'm thinking about playing on the net lately I usually check out what's going on in QuakeWorld, Shogo, Half-Life. My world does not revolve around one game - so I don't want my server browser to either. But then, I'm an addict. :)
As I answer this we're having a LAN party here at GameSpy/PQ with about 30 people playing Half-Life - it's definitely our favorite deathmatch right now. I think that whatever developers do to introduce more people to online gaming is good - and the recent trend of in-game server browsing is a validation of what we're all about - free gameplay running whatever mods we want on servers scattered all over the net.
Are GameSpy Lites paid for, or is it a free service you offer to developers? GameSpy Lites are built under contract for the developers - in conjunction with a whole set of back-end services that we've developed. These services include running master servers, registration systems, tracking systems, auto-patching, etc. Our aim is to provide everything a developer needs to have in place to their game be accessed on the net quickly and easily.
In January two games will ship with GameSpy lite built into game as the multiplayer interface - Turok2 and Southpark. The guys at Iguana did a terrific job with the Turok2 integration - and gamespy lite is used as both the internet and lan browser. It's sweet.
In 1998 we proved ourselves as a group that both gamers and devlopers/publishers can trust and work with. In 1999 we're going to be evolving the current architecture at a fairly fast clip. This year is going to WILD! for online gameplay.
Developers interested in gaining gamespy support for their upcoming games and finding out more about our back-end technology that they can tap into should email me, [email protected].
How have GS registrations been? Have they been coming in in droves since Baldur's Gate, Heretic II and Unreal all shipped with it? GameSpy registrations definitely reflect the level of online enthusiasm - and we're seeing alot of enthusiasm right now with the recent streak of high quality games hitting the net. We have a nice little business here, and why not? Gamers came up with the product for their own use - and now we're the major enabler of distributed client server gaming. I can't predict where this is all headed - but we're definitely having FUN. We're definitely not going to get rich anytime soon. ;)
Besides Tribes, what other games are in the basket for GameSpy support? Any plans to expand into other (untouched) genres like RTS games? We just added Turok 2, SouthPark, Baldur's Gate, Descent 3 and Dark Vengeance to GameSpy 3d this past week. Coming up... I think you'll see Redline and with some luck, Tribes. (Sierra keeps pumping out the multiplayer hits! Go Sierra! ) There are a couple of surprises coming soon - I don't want to spoil the fun though. :)
The GameSpy architecture has now crossed the client server boundaries and we support peer to peer connections. We just released a new version of the GameSpy Developer Spec and you should see a wide variety of game types receive GameSpy support in 99.
Quick Sales Pitch: The GameSpy Dev Spec and Tookit enable a developer to receive full GameSpy Support with just a few hours progamming and a few more hours testing - literally less than a day. Not a bad investment to put your game in front of over 3,000,000 online gamers. ROCK!
Thanks Mark! You can always check out GameSpy at GameSpy.com!
Credits: From the Mouth of Madness logo illustrated by and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. From the Mouth of Madness is © 1998 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, you naughty boy, you.