Internet Gaming Part II, An Update
I wanted to spend a bit of time telling you what's happened to my favorite gaming site, The Zone. I wrote a glowing article on it about a month ago as I really liked the site. It got bought out by Microsoft about 6 months ago, which was fine as they supported the Macintosh. About four weeks ago, Microsoft decided to update their Zone software and make it available only to Windows95 customers. Naturally, I was not happy. Neither were quite a few of my Mac friends (and Windows 3.1 users, for that matter). Microsoft has a reputation for being a company that Mac Users tend to boycott. I think you can see why. Just a hint on my stance on this: I use WordPerfect by Corel for my professional word processor.
I looked all over for another game server that would do a similar thing to what The Zone used to be. So far, nothing has come up that is free. However, you can get on Outland for a monthly fee of $9.95, which gives you unlimited access. There is a 5 hour free trial if you want to check it out.
There is an interesting free alternative, but it's not quite the same. You can download GameMaster, and then set up a game link with any ONE other person who also has the software and play a multitude of board games. It's fast and works on older computers very well.
On another front, if you have games like LinksPro (golf) or Marathon (3-D shoot em-up) or WarCraft II (D&D), you can play them over an Apple-Talk Network, right?
Well, what is the Internet if not a massive network? The only problem is you can't connect to your friends over the 'net. Or can you?
The answer comes in the form of a website called SimNet. If you head there, you will probably be as overwhelmed as I was on how to get connected. The simple way to get past all of that is to go directly to their connect homepage. Once there, download the FC Client Software. You'll need to determine if you are an OpenTransport Mac or a Classic Network Mac (Classic Network is not an option with MacOS 7.6), and then download the appropriate version of IP Remote. All the instructions you need to get connected will be included with the software.
Install it all, and then get registered with SimNet await your password in eMail, and when you get it, fire up SimNet Online, which uses the classic First Class Software. It's a neat community of both Mac and PC users who like to play Networkable games on the Internet. They have tournaments and ranking systems based on your progress too.
What's the point of this if you don't have any Networkable games? Check your game library again. There are a lot of them. Here's a list of all the games you can play over a network and more information on all that I've been talking about. Notice that some games don't require going through a network proxy. For instance, I can play Vette! just by getting on the net and giving my current ISP number to a friend. Avara is a neat furturistic Robot battle game that has it's own built in Internet Networking software. Do your homework.
If you decide that "SimNetting" for you, there is a price. SimNet costs $75 a year for a full membership. But, think about that on a monthly basis: $6.25 a month. That's not much to play a great round of Golf against as many as 8 other players around the world.
And, if you join up, I'll be happy to try and beat you on the golf course (LinksPro), which is my favorite cup of tea.
An Update, as of Easter Sunday: I just found another goodie, called IPtnnl 1.0 , which will allow you to connect directly for a game of LinksPro with as many as 7 other players. It bypasses the need for a proxy server. All the instructions on how to use this have already been outlined on Appletalk Games Over the Internet. Caveat, you can't use IPtnnl with Open Transport, which is your only option for Networking with MacOS 7.6. I had to create (on another drive) a second System 7.5.5 in order to get it to work.
Yet a third way to get connected AND be able to use Open Transport, is the use of "Netlink Remote" (shareware fee required), and TCP Serial... Appletalk Games Over the Internet has a section on this as well.
Now, if I just had some players that wanted to try out LinksPro over the net.. (hint hint).