Update on the status of NAM 33’s full release (and some more bad news for Mac users)

As you may know, NAM 33’s Pre-Release has been available from SC4 Devotion’s LEX since the end of July, and we have been working toward a finalized “official” NAM 33 build since that time.  That finalization process, however, has had just as rough a road as the development up to the point of the pre-release did.

First off, we’ve had to go to to an alternate plan with respect to the Euro RHW textures.  MandelSoft retired from SC4 to focus on his modding work for Euro Truck Simulator (where, as you might expect, he’s doing some pretty amazing things), and while he made every effort to find someone to carry on his work, no one picked up the mantle.  With a myriad of changes to the RHW ramp interfaces for NAM 33, including a re-design of the texture specs for overhanging models, some geometry refinements to some existing draggable/FLEXRamps, and the addition of over two dozen new ramp interfaces, the process of updating all of his alternate RHW texture sets to cover NAM 33’s feature set would require a quite substantial effort–certainly more than the remainder of our already-overloaded developers could handle.  This is especially so given that those alternate sets use different width specs than the default North American/US texture set, so a lot of geometry would have to be created from scratch.

What this means is that MandelSoft’s RHW sets will be discontinued, at least for the time being.  This includes not only the base Euro RHW set, but also the Ontario RHW set (popularized by Haljackey), the Irish/South African set, and the more subtle regional variations on the Euro set.  MandelSoft’s non-RHW EU textures will remain.  In order to ensure that there are at least some Euro textures, I have actually gone through and, with the help of some Photoshop Actions, was able to produce Euro textures from the default North American set in a partially -automated process.  The process I have developed does have the significant plus of making it so that Euro textures can be readily produced as soon as an RHW feature is added.  That said, it’s still not been the easiest task finalizing the new set, especially with juggling rather heavy “real life syndrome”, and there still is work to do here.  A fair amount of installer modifications will also need to be done, in order to reflect these changes.

There is also more bad news on the Mac front, unfortunately.  There have been some rather contentious exchanges internally within the team, that have been brewing for the last few months that we’ve been working on NAM 33.  Normally, I wouldn’t discuss internal politics here, but some of those issues did recently spill out into the public forums at SC4D, to the point of requiring staff intervention, and they’ve had a pretty significant negative impact on the development process of late.  The results have been that one developer has been placed on a two-year leave, another has resigned, and a few innocent parties on the team who became tired of the tension quietly decided to take some time away.  Unfortunately, one of those innocent parties is our one and only Mac user on the team, so there is presently no one with the capability of actually producing a Mac installer at present.

Even more substantial, a user astrobill at SC4D recently reported that the existing Mac installer for NAM 32.1 will not run on the latest version of OS X, El Capitan (10.11), presumably due to the new “System Integrity Checking” (SIC) feature, and without a Mac-fluent developer on the team, we have no way of really investigating the issue any further at present.  This all likely means that NAM 33 may have to go without a Mac release, and Mac support in general may again be shelved for a time (the NAM Team won’t support any NAM 32.x release after NAM 33 is finalized, and NAM 32.0 has already been dropped from support).

-Tarkus

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Steaming at Steam: Paradox (and Cities: Skylines) Sale Ends Prematurely

To start off the month, Paradox Interactive, publisher of the popular new city-simulator Cities: Skylines, launched a Steam sale, per <a href=”http://steamcommunity.com/games/255710/announcements/detail/66783563363719219″>this announcement</a>.  Cities: Skylines was one of the titles that was included in this sale, which, per the official announcement on Steam from Paradox’s totalymoo (yes, there’s only one “l” in the name), was set to run “Oct 1-5”.  Hearing about it from a user over at Simtropolis, and figuring that this as an excellent opportunity to finally pick up the title, I picked up a $20 Steam card at Target on my way home from work this afternoon, so I could take advantage of this “perfect opportunity”.  However, once I finally got onto Steam, at about 4pm on October 5th here in Oregon (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-7:00), what did I find?  The game had already gone back to its full price of $29.99.

steam-oct5-cropped

I took that screenshot this evening after dinner . . . it’s still October 5th here, as you’d see from the timestamps on the file.  And even on the US East Coast, which is three hours ahead (UTC-4:00), it’s still October 5th as I type.  For the entire US userbase, it’s still October 5th.  For those in Hawaii (UTC-10:00), it’s not even 5pm on the 5th yet. And apparently, judging by the comments, the price went back up to full well before October 5th was over for those in Central European Time (UTC+1:00):

steam-oct5b-cropped

Again, a screenshot taken on October 5th–the whole first page of comments is almost entirely people who, like myself, are wondering what happened.  It would indeed be a perfect opportunity, but it appears it had, for whatever reason, ended prematurely.  Now, if the sale announcement had included specific information about what timezone was supposed to mark the end, this would be perfectly understandable.  But, it does not.  It just says the 5th.  I suppose the birds on Howland and Baker Islands in the Pacific (UTC-11:00, the farthest west timezone) probably wouldn’t object to being excluded (though they are still US territories), but in light of no fine print, this appears to be a premature end to the sale for about half of the world (and probably at least half of Paradox’s and Steam’s userbase).

To quote Fred Willard’s character from A Mighty Wind, “Hey, wha’ happened?”

-Tarkus