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Mac Gaming Gods: Graeme Devine
August 24, 2001 | Lucian Fong

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Last week we presented Mark Adams of Westlake Interactive as our first of ten Mac Gaming Gods, a list of the top ten most influential people in the Mac gaming market. This week we continue our top ten Mac Gaming Gods series with id Software's Graeme Devine.

A Mac Gaming God is a person who has had a significant influence on the Mac gaming market. These are people--whether they be programmers, publishers, or developers--who have the creativity and drive to help bring games to the Macintosh platform.

Graeme Devine certainly isn’t ashamed to admit it publicly, and neither should you. As one of the most recognized names in the gaming (Mac or PC) industry, he is also an ardent supporter of the Macintosh platform. Those of you who have been following Graeme’s .plan file know that he praises Apple nearly every chance he gets, whether it be about the ease of development under Mac OS X or Apple’s cool new hardware.

His influence as a designer and programmer at id Software has shown in the Mac gaming industry. Not only is he a vocal Mac advocate, but Graeme had a heavy hand in programming Quake 3: Arena for the Mac. That in itself may not seem like a large accomplishment, but just think of the games based on the Quake 3 engine we would have missed out on if not for his efforts. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, American McGee’s Alice, and possibly more in the future. Brad Oliver, a programmer for Westlake Interactive, has praised id for the portability of the Quake 3 engine. The modular nature of the engine allowed him to port Alice to the Mac in a matter of weeks.

Like many programmers, Graeme got his start young. His father brought home a Tandy TRS-80 when he was eight and he learned to code Z80 assembly language on it. Showing ambitiousness at an early age, he self-published several games on the TRS-80 under simple names such as "Firebirds" and "Castle".

At age 14, Graeme started working at Atari where he ported Pole Position to Amstrad, Commodore 64, MSX, Spectrum, and Apple IIe. His development system at the time was an Apple IIe with 128 KB of RAM and a CP/M plug-in card. Graeme was talented enough to forego college, but he had already completed 12 O-levels (single subject exams similar to SAT II) and three A-levels (advanced exams required for college entrance) in the United Kingdom.

He took his first job in the United States with Lucas Films’ game division (this was prior to the creation of Lucas Arts). There he programmed Ballblazer, the C64, MSX, and other ports for Atari, which later became a classic game and was remade for the Sony Playstation.

After working at several other game development companies, Graeme’s next milestone came in 1990 when he founded Trilobyte with his partner, Rob Landeros. He was given the blessing to develop The 7th Guest by Virgin Interactive’s CEO. The 7th Guest went on to become one of the best-selling games of all time, with over 2 million copies sold. It popularized the use of CD-ROM drives for games and raised the standard for interactive and immersive games.

In 1999, id Software’s search for a project manager/programmer ended when they hired Graeme Devine. The rest, as they say, is history. As previously mentioned, Graeme was partially responsible for bringing Quake 3 to the Mac. He also programmed the Quake 3 authentication and master servers (which is running on Mac OS X). Some of Graeme’s more recent achievements were the demos of the new DOOM engine at MacWorld Tokyo and QuakeCon 2001. His current projects include implementing a 5.1 sound system in the DOOM engine, general programming issues, and porting it to Mac OS X.

Two of Graeme’s most favorite games are Dungeon Keeper, Warcraft II, and "any game that I’m awake playing at 3 AM." And what kind of hardware does this Gaming God pack? He has a dual G4/500 and a dual G/800, each with a GeForce 3 under the hood. When on the road, he has a PowerBook G4/400 and a dual USB iBook to choose between.

Next, we present you with a short questionnaire with Graeme Devine.


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