NCsoft is preparing to launch Lineage - its online, multiplayer swords-and-sorcery game ported from Windows to Mac OS X - in February.
This huge gaming environment is already big in the Far East, where over four million subscribers play it. The company's servers support up to 330,000 simultaneous users.
Developer Jake Song said: "On release, Macintosh and PC users will share the same experience together." The game also offers chat zones, and a variety of ways to build a community.
Castle conqueror Set in the land of Aden, players choose character classes, face challenges, use magic, form alliances and gather power in a selection of areas. The goal is to gather enough allies to conquer a castle, govern the local area and see off competitors. Subscribers receive free updates every three or four months. These increase the size of the world, which also contains a selection of non-player characters against which players test their mettle. The company claims its title is the most popular online game in the world.
Sang has spent three months developing the Mac OS X version. He smiled: "I enjoy working on Mac OS X more than I do on PC operating systems." Understandably thrilled at the title's success in his home country, Korea, he observed: "The Internet began with modems, in Korea, we skipped that step, pretty much, and moved to broadband solutions. 70 per cent of Koreans online use broadband connections.
"We are also beginning to work on other sorts of worlds – kind of like Star Trek. This other project won't be a space-combat game, though."
Lineage is available to PC users with a free 30-day trial. After this, players are charged $15 per month, or $45 for four months. The company is expected to keep similar distribution and pricing for its OS X (and UK) launch. The OS X project is currently in beta.
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