The Idiots Get Stumped By Plug & Play December 19th, 2000
Gary: Hey, man, guess what I've been doing.
Randy: I'm not sure I want to know.
Gary: I have been playing 4x4 Evolution!
Randy: So what? So was I.
Gary: Yeah, but I've been playing with my new Thrustmaster NASCAR Pro Digital 2 steering wheel and pedal set.
Randy: Wow! Is it cool?
Gary: It is awesome!
Randy: So setting it up was a breeze then?
Gary: It is a USB wheel, so it is practically plug and play. I say practically because you have to drag a file into your system folder from the included CD, then you're off.
Randy: It's nice that it supports Macintosh right out of the box. There's no guessing or hoping that you won't have to return the thing, like we had to with our Saitek wheel, which claimed Mac-compatibility, but arrived with a Windows gameport. Doh!
Gary: While the Thrustmaster is not the most Mac-friendly product out there (there's no software installer, for example), it does have the description file, even though you will find it in a folder mislabeled "IMac". This is one of those occasions where you need the Read Me file.
Randy: However, once you get the file in place, any Sprockets-savvy game will see it right away.
Gary: It has a nice feel and eight customizable buttons, so you are sure to find the right combination for your racing needs. I also like the clamping mechanism which will fit almost any desk. It holds a lot better than screws. It actually fits around the drawer that my keyboard recesses into. Of course that creates a problem, when I need to hit the escape key for example. Guess I'll be putting my keyboard somewhere else when I am racing.
Randy: So it was a great experience overall, then? Seems like we wrapped this one up faster than usual.
Gary: It wasn't smooth sailing all the way, which is usual with us.
Randy: And of course it happened in front of a PC user, our friend Trevor.
Gary: When did we start letting them into the cave?
Randy: Nice. Of course we brought our PC-using friend in to show him the wonders of Mac gaming. And he was very impressed.
Gary: When he saw 4x4 fire up he was indeed mighty impressed as I was screeching around corners and shifting with the wheel. And he sat down to give it a try, and 4x4 stopped seeing the wheel the instant he touched it.
Randy: Maybe he's the devil.
Gary: He is our friend after all, dude.
Randy: So what was the deal?
Gary: It took me a while to figure it out, and since I didn't want to troubleshoot with him there, he hasn't gotten to play yet.
Randy: That bites.
Gary: I reinstalled the description file for the wheel. No luck. I reinstalled USB Adapter Card Support 1.4.1, because I have a Belkin USB card in my beige G3. Nada. I reinstalled Game Sprockets 1.7.5. No dice.
Randy: Whatever did you do, Mac Man?
Gary: Man, I will beat you so bad you will be the only one in heaven in a wheel chair.
Randy: Alright, alright. Don't blow a gasket.
Gary: It turns out that my Input Sprocket Extension had been corrupted after all, but since Game Sprockets saw it in my system folder it didn't overwrite it when I reinstalled. I trashed that extension, then reinstalled Sprockets, and it began working perfectly.
Randy: Did we learn something from this experience? Like how a Mac works?
Gary: You are extra snippy this week. I guess we should wrap this up so you can get a nap.
Randy: And then we can have Trevor over for some dirt-throwing, smash mouth racing fun.
Gary: And then we'll play 4x4.
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .