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Interview: MacPlay's Chris Jacobson
June 12, 2001 | IMG Staff

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Chris Jacobson, lead programmer of the Macintosh conversion of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, is a skilled Macintosh, Windows, and Unix programmer working for MumboJumbo Games in Irvine, California. A self-taught, disciplined (and sometimes rabid) programmer, Chris has spent the past three years developing entertainment software, and has contributed to the Macintosh conversions of both SiN and Fighter Squadron. In addition to his commercial software development efforts, Chris created, programs, and administers a small, free online role-playing game which recently celebrated it's 4 year anniversary.

We recently interviewed Jacobson about MumboJumbo, Baldur's Gate II, and more. Be sure to also check out the 2 new screenshots from the Mac version of the game.

IMG: First off, can you explain how the whole MacPlay and MumboJumbo thing works?

C.J. MumboJumbo and MacPlay are both susidiaries of United Developers. MumboJumbo is essentially contracted by MacPlay to work on titles. However, because MumboJumbo and MacPlay are not DIRECTLY related, this doesn't restrict MumboJumbo to working exclusively under the MacPlay brand, or exclusively for Macs. The MumboJumbo crew has a wide range of skills and experience with all kinds of platforms. Currently, the majority of our crew (all our artists, level designers, and 2 of our programmers) are working on Myth 3 for Gathering of Developers and MacSoft, while several other programmers are involved in Mac ports for MacPlay.

IMG: Can you give us a status update on Baldur's Gate II and when you expect to go golden master?

C.J. Baldur's Gate II is in beta testing - we're ramping up our testing at the moment to try to find as many bugs as we can, so that we can ensure a stable and enjoyable game. I plan to reach GM by the end of the month, so we can launch the game at MacWorld NY.

IMG: How are you bringing BG2 to Mac OS X, through Cocoa or Carbon?

C.J. Carbon (only on X), since it is the fastest way reach OS X. Cocoa is still heavily undocumented, and doing a Cocoa version would practically be a whole new project, whereas Carbon is still very much like Classic Toolbox to allow 99% of the code to remain the same. Unfortunately, due to lack of documentation and sample code, certain issues with porting to OS X (such as handling CDs in the game) have slowed down OS X development. But, it is getting there. We hope to start testing on the Carbon OS X version soon.

IMG: Now that Apple has released the retail version of Mac OS X, and now that most of the promised developer tools are available, how do you think that it stacks up as a platform for gaming and game development?

C.J. MacOS X has some features that Mac game developers have been waiting for for years: protected memory, memory mapping, improved Virtual Memory. However, the tools are still immature, and GCC still does not produce very good PowerPC code. The lack of documentation also makes the task more difficult than necessary. As for the games, I've seen some very good performance on games.


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