Anyone who knows me, will realise that I am in Seventh Heaven because Genga Software have just released a clone of Bolo, a multi-player network tank battle/strategy game, that now runs under Mac OS X.
While XBolo is still only at v0.0.1, and many features are missing, the basic elements of the game exist;
- The object of the game remains the same – control all the Bases and use Pillboxes to defend them;
- You can still have multiple players;
- You use your Little Green Man (LGM) to farm trees and repair pillboxes, built walls, plan mines etc
- and most importantly, you still have fun playing the game.
The game screen looks virtually identical (see Picture 1)
There are sound effects included, and while most of them sound good, the Farming and Shooting Tree sounds need improvement
When you launch XBolo, you are presented with a simple screen with two tabs. The first tab (see Picture 2) enables you to setup as the “host” computer that other XBolo clients connect to. You select the map you want to play, and Yes, all the old Bolo Maps are compatible with XBolo. The Port Number is the TCP/IP port used to connect (normally just leave this at default setting) and finally you set your player name.
The second tab (see Picture 3) is used if you want to connect to XBolo game that is hosted on another machine. Enter the IP address of the server machine (you can find this by check the Network System Preference on the host machine), set the Port Number to connect to (This needs to be the same as set on the Host) and finally your Player Name. In a few seconds, you should be connected and ready to play.
In the Preferences under the XBolo menu, you can set the keys used to control your tank and screen-scroll (see Picture 4) and most people will probably want to change them as the default keys are quite different from the classic Bolo arrangement.
At this stage, I rate XBolo only a 3 out 10 and will gladly increase that rating as more features are implemented. I’m just glad that Bolo has come to Mac OS X.
Features that need to be included
A host of options revolving around the hosting of the game need to be added. These include the setting of the game “type” (Open Game, Tournament and Strict Tournament) and game Start Delay and Time Limit.
Support for Brains, Bots and Borgs is almost essential, and preferably utilizing existing Brains, although new ones would be welcomed as well.
One of the features I miss the most is the Map Overview option, which is extremely useful, particularly if you have two monitors as I do.
Alliances and the all the options like Chat that go with them must be added to allow for large multi-player tournaments.
The Key Setting options should allow for the use of keys like Tab and Return, just as original version. Also, the Auto-slowdown option should be re-introduced.
And last, and certainly not least, compatibility with the original client is an absolute must. Even if it is only by UDP/IP, but AppleTalk support would also be nice.
While a number of features are missing from this, the first release of XBolo, it is great to see Bolo come to Mac OS X and I look forward to watching it develop over time.
XBolo is a US$20 shareware game and can be downloaded directly from the Genga Software web site.
– [Update: Unfortuntely, this link is no longer active]
[Update 17-Nov-2004: Ben Birch’s xbolo.net now has a mirror of the XBolo archives]
Other Bolo Resources
To obtain the “original” Bolo that works under earlier versions of Mac OS and for a vast selection of Maps that work under both Bolo and XBolo, visit the Official Bolo Home Page.
bolo home page »
I have created a few collections of Bolo Maps as well, that can be download from my web server.
A copy of this article, with colour images, is available from my website, http://www.nicholaspyers.com.
Interested in reprinting this article? Any non-profit Apple Macintosh User Group (MUG) may re-print, free of charge, any of the articles written by Nicholas Pyers found at http://www.nicholaspyers.com/articles. There are just a couple of conditions, which basically boil down to letting us know – for the full terms and conditions, please visit http://www.nicholaspyers.com/reprints.