when Sculptured Software (now Kodiak Software) was doing the PC
version of Mortal Kombat 3. They created a version of Mortal
Kombat 3 that worked over a local LAN, which means you could
play it over a corporate (or home) network, but not over the Internet.
They inform me that they never attempted an Internet version due
to it not being considered a necessity at the time, but they also
tell me that it was a good thing too, since they are not sure it
could have been done. Latency over a LAN is one thing, over the
net is quite another. And thats no reflection on them, they
did a great job in the conversion, they would have just run into
the same brick wall that awaits anyone else trying this over the
not to say that network play is a no-no though.
A few years
back, Midway did a conversion of Mortal Kombat 3 for the
arcade to run on their proprietary ethernet network WaveNet. And
a fine job they did too. However, even on a dedicated network, the
game was still laggy. I remember having a conversation with Ed Boon
(one of the two creators of Mortal Kombat) at the time. This
was just after Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate had been released
in the arcades. He stated: I didnt think anything would
make me go back to playing standard Mortal Kombat 3 after
Ultimate was released, but this network version has.
High praise indeed for a networked version of a fighter. However,
the game was still laggy, and without instant network response times,
its hard to see how this can ever be so. I dont see
many people installing fiber optic cables between their houses just
so they can play a good game of Vicious Heart Rendering Killers
Something that may be
worth mentioning here is the old X-Band hardware device. For those
that dont remember it, the X-Band was developed by a bunch
of Ex-Nasa guys (so I recall, I could be wrong about this), and
it was basically a modem that sat between a cartridge and a SNES
or Genesis. The idea being you put in some select games, (like
Mortal Kombat for instance), the modem would detect this, and
then allow you to play the game head to head against another player
over the phone line. It would dial up its main core system, wherever
that was, and find someone else who was also waiting to play the
game, supply his or her telephone number to you and then break the
connection. Then it would dial the other player, and start the game.
At the end of the game, there was even a chance to chat with your
opponent before playing again, or finding a new opponent.
Each time you played,
it would alternate between you doing the dialing, or the other player
doing it, which means half as many phone calls, and also a direct
connection between you and the other player, thus alleviating the
nightmare of the Internet. A neat idea. How it hacked the software
for the game itself, to allow a second party to play I have no idea.
I would imagine there must have been some reverse engineering going
on there, or maybe just a second joystick simulation. Whatever.
When the system was being tested, X-Band the company shipped out
a ton of these to testers everywhere, and promised to pay the phone
bills for the first month. However, it ended up dying a death when
out in the real world, which was a shame, since it did actually
work, and worked well, surprisingly enough. This approach is possibly
the only way a fighter is really going to work when playing remotely.