Warhammer Online for Mac

Warhammer Online has a Mac client, finally. Except that, rather than an actual native effort, it’s a shitty Transgaming wrapper.

I downloaded it, clicked ‘create account’, and it crashed.

I left the downloader, once persuaded to work, overnight to get everything. 20 mins after I leave it, as far as I can tell, it hung solid again. So I’m still no closer to finishing this 15 gigs of download, and meanwhile the 10 day trial account I had to sign up to to even start downloading is ticking away. I’ll be lucky if I even see the inside of the game at this rate.

I had roughly the same experience when trying both City of Heroes and Eve Online – both also shitty Transgaming ‘ports’. Random crashes, graphical glitches, the latest prettiness tends to not be supported, and they’re a lot slower than the comparable Windows versions.

It seems to me that Transgaming have done more to hurt the Mac gaming world than anyone else. The idea that you can turn your product into a Mac game OVERNIGHT, without employing ANYONE WHO SEEMS TO CARE ABOUT THE PLATFORM is an absurd thing to peddle.

World of Warcraft runs on the Mac well because every Blizzard game since the dawn of time has run on both Windows and the Mac, off the same install disk. I’m convinced that a significant chunk of the WoW user base are there for the same reason I am – there are no decent alternative (mainstream) MMO for the platform. Until recently, there were just none. Now there is WoW and three shitty Transgaming ports. I assume they won’t get lots of Mac users, because their Mac clients all SUCK. Which is self-reinforcing. Why bother putting effort into such a niche platform?

mobileme – annoyances so far

Update – I’ve resolved one of these issues. The calendar timezone / summer time problem is fixable by selecting (GMT+00:00 London) rather than (GMT+00:00 GMT) in the timezone list (you have to scroll down the full list of timezones rather than just looking in the short list at the top). Now I see everything in local time. Good. Will update here as I solve further problems.

On the down side, it’s been pointed out to me that the local machine doesn’t push changes into the cloud – it merely syncs every 15 minutes. Of all the bits of this that I’d expect to be smart enough to do push, the local machine seems like the strongest link. Of course, I’m sure it’s a temporary thing. And it does explain some weirdness – I was expecting my setup to behave like the thing that was demoed at the keynote, so when it didn’t I assumed something was broken. But if this is ‘correct’ behaviour, then I’m less worried.

I’m trying mobileme. I’m aware that it’s just launched and will be wobbly. But even knowing this, it’s really annoying me.

The mobileme calendar app doesn’t respect any of the local calendar settings. It’s not even smart enough to pull the initial timezone from my account settings, so I had to tell it I didn’t live in Cupertino.

It also doesn’t understand summertime. I’ve told it that my time zone is GMT, which is true. But it’s summer over here, so localtime is +01:00. So all my me.com calendar items are an hour out. I don’t want to tell me.com that I live in Europe just to have the times be right.

Setting up sync was a serious pain – nothing worked right. My address book didn’t make it from the computer to mobileme, though my calendars did. Neither of them made it all the way to the iPhone, which had helpfully deleted all my data in the expectation of getting more over the air (which is fair enough, I guess). Turning sync options on and off on the phone seemed to solve the calendar problem, but I had to do a full reset of SyncServices on the computer to get the Address Book to sync up. Which, naturally, duplicated contacts and calendar entries all over the place, like it always does.

Bookmarks sync worked perfectly. If I used Safari, I’d care.

Push isn’t working very well, but I’m willing to write that up to me.com being loaded. Seems to take a few minutes to sync anything, which is a far cry from what the keynote visit promised me, but I can’t imagine that I’ll ever really care.

Back To My Mac looks promising. Except that I can’t turn it on on the mac that lives under my TV. It complains that my router doesn’t support UPNP. Which would be a reasonable complaint, except that (a) it does, and (b) I can turn this thing on on the laptop, and it works fine. And the laptop is on the same network, behind the same router.

You can’t seem to choose which calendars to sync to the iPhone. I have some local testing calendars that I leave turned off most of the time, but that are full of data. They clutter up the iPhone display and I can’t turn them off.

The biggest killer, though, is that mobileme doesn’t seem to support calendar subscriptions. I can’t add a subscribed calendar via the web interface. My local subscribed calendars don’t sync up to mobileme, and so don’t sync down to the iPhone. And most of my calendar items live in remove calendars, pulled from Dopplr, Upcoming, MighTyV, etc. So without this, I just can’t use it, and I’ve gone back to using iTunes. Pity.