Omni on Porting Games to Mac OS X
12:33 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
From the moment Mac gamers first took Omni Development's Cocoa port of Quake 3 Arena for a spin under Mac OS X, they knew this was a team that could exploit Apple's new OS technology to the fullest. Although Omni's other Cocoa ports have yet to surface (they are working on ports of Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 and Oni at present) those of us that have experimented with betas of these projects are quite impressed with their speed, stability and flexible controls.
Omni also spends a lot of time preaching the gospel of Cocoa, Apple's native API for programming in Mac OS X. While it will be quite some time before creating titles exclusively for Mac OS X will be a profitable venture, due to the relatively small installed base of that OS vs OS 9, porting titles to OS X is a different matter.
Rather than just preaching to the converted, Omni has made a very bold effort to share what they have learned about porting titles to Mac OS X with the world -- and specifically, with PC developers. Tim Wood's article Porting Games to Mac OS X published at Gamasutra not only evangelizes the technical aspects of OS X that make game porting easier but makes a strong argument for porting to the Mac platform in general. Here's a sample:
The first reason [to port games to the Mac] is obviously economics. Sure, writing games is one of the most exciting and most challenging jobs around, but if you aren't generating income, you are either independently wealthy, or you won't be doing it for very long. Every developer should strive to write portable and modular code as a matter of course. The benefits of doing this are many and diverse. One of the benefits is being able to move your code easily to a new platform and attract an audience that you wouldn't have attracted otherwise. If your game is written correctly from the beginning, a port to the Mac will generate much more money than the cost of porting it. If you don't do the port, you might as well toss money in the trash.The developer-centric article also contains advice for those with games in progress on how to organize and optimize their work to make it cross-platform friendly from the beginning.
Gamasutra is a widely-read and influential publication for both print and web; we can only hope that Wood's compelling argument finds sympathizers in the PC gaming industry. Read through this article for more details, and be sure to mail the URL to every PC developer you know who's "on the fence" about porting to Mac and/or OS X.
"Porting Games to Mac OS X" at Gamasutra
In related news, we've been hearing rumors for weeks that Omni is working on something very big for Macworld New York next week. We'll be there covering the event to bring you the news, so stay tuned.
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