An Interview with Mindware Studios
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 21 August 2006. Page 3 of 3. Add A Comment

Phoronix: Though Mindware Studios was founded back in 2001, your only title thus far has been Cold War. Are you able to share what types of projects that your company is presently working on, and any hints at what we may see coming out in the future?

P.R.: Well, I can disclose only very limited amount of information. Of course, we are working on the Voodoo Nights, a unique attempt to bring the concept of the fast action buddy-movies to a computer game. We could finally adapt the Meng renderer to use the latest achievements in the computer graphics hardware, so it can now boast support for fully dynamic lighting and shadows, as well as a bunch of lesser but still nice features like parallax mapping or per-pixel refractions. You might have seen some Voodoo Nights screenshots on the net which show this off a bit. However, we are now careful about not releasing too much info about our upcoming projects, because ever since we have announced Voodoo Nights, surprisingly large number of games featuring two main characters started to appear, with feature sets suspiciously similar to those from our promotional leaflets. I am not suggesting anything, perhaps it's just a coincidence, but let's just say that we are now less willing to disclose too much too early.

Apart from Voodoo Nights, we were creating additional content for a PS2 and PSP rehash of one popular PC FPS, and since the beginning of this year we are working on another new project of ours which looks very promising, but I am not telling anything about it either. We will present it to several publishers in private at the Leipzig Games Convention, so we might eventually release more information afterwards.

Phoronix: With Cold War, you had launched a Linux demo of this game even before selecting Linux Game Publishing (LGP) as your Linux publisher. Will all future Mindware titles have Linux-native clients?

P.R.: Very likely. Internally, we run Meng on several of our Linux development machines every day, so the client itself is not a problem. However, getting the finished game to Linux users might be. It depends mostly on how our future publishers will treat the Linux community. In case of Cold War, even if the publisher was willing to have a Linux version, it still took several months (mostly of paperwork) before it really happened. Hopefully we have learned something from this and will make it shorter next time.

Phoronix: Likewise, will there continue to be Macintosh ports of your titles? Such as Runesoft had done with Cold War for Mac OS X.

P.R.: Well, to put it straight, Mac version of Cold War is not really a port per se. We just compiled Meng on Mac, spent some time preparing big-endian data, and that was it. About two weeks of work, plus few more weeks spent for QA and testing. And then once that much again when we were asked to prepare the universal binaries for the Intel based Macs. That's what we call portability here. So although we don't run a Mac version of Meng daily as we do with Linux, it is very likely that we can easily prepare a Mac version of any of our future games as long as there is any demand for it.

Phoronix: What was the biggest struggle during the development of Cold War, or the MENG engine itself, for the Linux platform?

P.R.: Hmm, I don't really remember any serious struggle regarding the Linux version. There were some OpenAL issues, problems with occlusion queries in ATI drivers, and we had to work around a few pthread implementation bugs, but overall it all went quite smoothly. Compared to Xbox version, where you have to squeeze everything to 64MB of memory, achieve steady frame rates and fast loading times from a relatively slow DVD, and fulfill few hundreds more TCRs in order to pass the certification process, the Linux version was virtually a piece of cake.

Phoronix: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few of our questions. Is there any other information you would like to share with the Linux gaming community?

P.R.: Sorry for having to wait so long for the Cold War version, and thanks for staying with us.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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