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The following two messages were originally posted to a message board after a review of Future Cop at MacCentral. However they have since been removed so I've put some copies here.


The truth about Future Cop

Posted By: Tim-John deVroede <tdevroede@ea.com>
Date: 24-May-2000 9:58 a.m.

In Response To: Re: Only one problem with FutureCop... (dan)

FutureCop seems to still have a life out there. First off, thanks to all the people who supported the game. Here's the story behind F.C.. FutureCop was developed for the Playstation. The fact that we were Mac users (about the last team in the studio) was about the only reason you saw it on the Mac or PC at all. The game was developed completely on the Mac, that's one of the reasons we were able to finish on time and do the Mac/PC version at all. The only real reason there was a PC version was because we knew how hard it would be to get the Mac version released without it (hence the hybrid). We tried to go the extra mile throughout the project in order to get the Mac/PC versions together within our Playstation time constraints. The Mac/PC network issue wasn't a matter of NOT wanting to do it, but rather an issue of time, and we had none. There's a lot of truth in what Doug Weathers said in his response, boycotting FutureCop will certainly not encourage EA to make more Mac games. This game is one team's small attempt to help break down that barrier

In the end, we're still Mac users, and we still think it's a pretty kick-ass game(especially for 20 bucks).

TJ FurtureCop Development Team Alumni


Re: Only one problem with FutureCop...

Posted By: Chris Conway <cconway@ea.com>
Date: 24-May-2000 3:24 p.m.

In Response To: Only one problem with FutureCop... (Millennium)

Wow, people still play it an like it! You've made an EA development team that loves the Mac pretty happy.

OK, Tim-John covered some of this in his post, but here's some info:

Future Cop is NOT a port. Future Cop was, amazingly as it may sound, developed on the Mac, PC, and Playstation simultaneously. The way we pulled this off was that most of our development tools (such as the World Builder) ran only on the Mac, and I was able to extend the basic 3D software/hardware rendering engine we used for the Mac and PC versions of Shockwave 1 and Shockwave 2 (two earlier games by the same team, also available for Mac) to support the graphics required for the Playstation version of Future Cop.

The network support was an afterthought, because the Precinct Assault gameplay was added late in the project, and a couple of us thought it would be really cool to play Precinct Assault over a network. Since I didn't have much time, I ended up using NetSprocket for the networking on the Mac version (and Todd Growney, another engineer on the project, used DirectX on the PC version). So the reason there is no Mac to PC network support is because NetSprocket doesn't support it. This isn't Apple's fault, it's Microsoft's, because they won't make the protocol that DirectX uses for networking public. So blame Microsoft.

There were some bugs in the original game, which showed up on an in especially evil way once the voodoo3 came out, which were fixed in the 1.0.2 version. I am pretty sure that's going to be the last patch for Future Cop.

It should be noted that not only did we release Future Cop on Mac, PC, and Playstation more or less simultaneously, but we also released French and German versions (a real pain, believe me) on all three of those platforms at the same time. In retrospect, it's hard to believe we pulled this off, especially in a company that is completely convinced that they will never make any significant money off the Mac...but I'm sure glad we did it.

Our team's last game was Nascar Rubmble for Playstation, which has been getting some awesome reviews since it was released in February. It's out of our hands, but, who knows, maybe you'll be seeing it on Mac soon. :-)

-- Chris


The following interview with Chris Conway was published by Mac Gamer's Ledge. MGL was bought by MacGamer, but the interview didn't get transferred to the MacGamer archive.


Chris Conway
Senior Software Engineer at Electronic Arts

Interviewed by Mike Dixon, MGL founder/CEO (November 2, 1998)

Tell us about what you currently do at Electronic Arts...your title, etc.

"Senior Software Engineer. I'm the one of the few Mac programmers around here, which doesn't mean much at EA, so I've spent most of my time working on generic code that works on any platform (Playstation, PC, Mac, etc)"

How long have you been with EA? Have you worked on any previous EA Mac titles?

"I've been at EA for about 5 1/2 years. I started out working on graphics tools that were used for creating background art and sprites for our Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and 3DO games. After the internal tools group was dissolved, I wrote the world builder for Shockwave Assault 2 for 3DO. While I was working on that I ported Shockwave Assault to the Macintosh (it was released in November of 1995). When that was finished I immediately began porting Shockwave Assault 2 to Macintosh. Shockwave 2 didn't sell well on the 3DO so all ports were cancelled after just two months; but the Mac version was so far along that I was able to finish it completely within a couple of weeks, hoping that EA would release it. They never did. They did eventually sell it to Aztech New Media and it was released in early 1998 as part of their Mac Pack Blitz compilation [more info] (the game was originally finished in April 1996). After Shockwave 2 I joined Laurent Benes and a small team working on a 3D driving game, which then became a Strike game (like Soviet Strike and Nuclear Strike, for Playstation and PC), which then became FutureStrike, which then evolved into Future Cop: LAPD (originally known as LAPD 2100). The whole process took more than two years, and in the end we have Future Cop for Playstation, PC, and Mac. I hope to help create a Mac version of my next project as well."

How did you convince EA to publish Future Cop for Macintosh? Has there been a change of heart at EA?

"I believe EA is releasing the Mac verison of Future Cop because there is no compelling reason for them not to. It fits on the CD with the PC version, and doesn't require a big investment in resources (since it uses most of the code from the PC and Playstation versions), so why not release it? I am not aware of any change of heart at EA about whether or not making games for Mac is a profitable business."

How has the development experience been for Future Cop? Is is being developed using Macs? Is there a Macintosh development team at EA?

"Future Cop was developed using Macs, PCs, and SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc.) workstations. We used the Mac "shell" from Shockwave 2 for our generic game engine from the beginning because some of us prefer to develop games using Macs, rather than PCs. We used Metrowerks tools (for both Playstation and Mac) running on Mac, as well as Playstation development tools that run only on PCs. The PC version was initially derived from the code for the Mac version, but was eventually heavily optimized from the more generic Mac code because of the performance limitations of the Intel processors. There is no official Mac development team at EA that I am aware of."

Some publishers could care less about registration cards. How important will it be for Mac purchasers of FutureCop to fill out the registration card and mail it back to EA? Is there even a place on the registration card to indicate that the game was purchased for a Mac?

"I think there will be a place to indicate whether or not you are using a Mac or a PC. It's safe to assume that the only way EA will ever know that a single person bought Future Cop for the purpose of playing on a Mac is if they get registration cards that say so. The assumption is going to be that PC gamers are buying it, since (from what I've heard) EA has never had much success selling Mac games. I am hoping that we'll get a good response from Mac gamers, they'll send in the registration cards, EA will see that a lot of Mac users bought the game, and maybe they'll consider porting some of their other games as a result. It appears that this is one of the few chances Mac gamers are ever going to get to show EA that there is a Mac gaming market worth pursuing."

EA hasn't released a Mac title in years. Once Future Cop is released, will there be any Mac technicial support offered by EA on this title?

"That's a good question. I have no idea how EA is going to handle technical support for the Mac version. However, since there won't be any bugs in Future Cop and the game will run flawlessly on every Mac that has or will ever be made, they shouldn't need to, right?!"

Has Apple helped you/EA with this Future Cop project? Have you seen any improvements in support from Apple?

"Apple has been extremely helpful (as well as 3Dfx and ATI). However, it is clear that there are not as many resources going into supporting game developers at Apple as there are at Microsoft. The game-oriented libraries on Mac (the Game Sprockets) are lagging behind their Windows counterparts in several key areas (networking support and 3D hardware support, for example), and if this gap continues to widen it is only going to make co-developing and/or porting games to Mac more difficult in the future. The most troubling aspect of the situation for me is the lack of up-to-date 3D hardware for Mac: no matter how powerful upcoming technologies like AltiVec and G4 are, Macs will never represent the state-of-the-art in gaming hardware unless Apple bundles relatively respectable 3D hardware with its computers (as virtually every PC vendor is now doing). In my opinion, putting Rage Pro chips in the iMac is a good start, but that chip is far behind what PC gamers consider to be state-of-the-art technology."

What do you think of the iMac? Judging from what you've seen in regards to Apple's recovery this year, how likely is it that EA will take a second look at the Mac gaming market? Are there any signs of EA Sports titles coming our way?

"The iMac (with Rage Pro) is cool. I like it. But it's not as good a gaming machine as it could have been. I don't know what it will take for EA to take a second look (did they ever really take a first look?) at the Mac gaming market. If the sales figures for Future Cop knock their socks off, that's a good start."

Since Maxis is now under the EA umbrella, where does SimCity 3000 for Mac stand at this moment? Is it a done deal, or is a Mac version still in doubt?

"I probably shouldn't comment on unannounced products [SimCity 3000 for Mac]."

What Macintosh model do you use most on a daily basis? What other computers do you use (if any)?

"Here at work I have a Power Computing PowerTower Pro that's been modified a bit: 300 MHz 1:1 Railbun G3 board (running 352 MHz with 1.5:1 ratio), 9.1 GB and 4.5 GB Seagate Cheetah UltraSCSI hard drives (with Initio Miles Ultra SCSI board), 32x Plextor CD-ROM, 8x Rocket CD-R, 192 MB of RAM, 100-BaseT Farallon Ethernet board, Diamond Monster voodoo2 board, ATI XClaim 3D 8 MB Rage Pro board, IxMicro Twin Turbo video board, two Mitsubishi 21" monitors, and a Sony Playstation Development system (including Playstation PCI board). I'd love to upgrade to a regular Apple G3 machine but they don't have enough PCI slots (I need six, minimum)! I've got a 400 MHz Pentium II system also (on that I alternate between 3Dfx Banshee, nVidia Riva TNT, and Intel i740 AGP boards). At home, I have a Sony Playstation (and an original Mac, somewhere)."

Chris, we really appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions. What's your next project (Mac or non-Mac related), if you can comment on that?

"I probably shouldn't comment on this, either. Future Cop looks like a winner, and we are very excited to once again see a EA product released for Macintosh. We hope it is just the beginning." --Chris Conway