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OmniGroup Claims Alice Done, EF and FAKK2 Soon
Monday, April 23, 2001 6:00 AM | Lucian Fong
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Wil Shipley April 24 - 10:32 PM

Lucian, in the future I'd be really appreciative if you'd just call me and verify quotes before you run them.

I'm always up for talking with the media and I'm very quotable in my own right, PLUS you get the added benefit of getting the real story. :)

206.523.4152 x201
800.315.OMNI x201

Wil Shipley April 24 - 10:27 PM

We have, in fact, ported Oni to Cocoa (or Cocoa-ized it, or whatever you'd like to call it). It's not Q3-based and it took us a couple weeks. I've played it through twice, it's awesome. On the other hand, Oni was extremely well-written and uses GL, so maybe that doesn't "count" either. (I'm not sure I'm going to make it my goal to impress an Anonymous sniper, however, because I suspect the harder I work the more you'll resent me.)

The current public Oni is a different, Carbonized version, and I'm not sure when/if our version will be released; that's up to G.O.D. (We have received permission from G.O.D. to say we did this port, for anyone afraid we're just mouthing off.)

I understand getting sick of hype, but please understand that we didn't ask for people to hype us. We are just trying to have fun, make good software, and do what's good for the community.

When we say, "it took us two weeks to port this Quake-based game" we're saying exactly that. We're not saying, "We are GODS amongst men, worship us you foolish mortals or be destroyed," we're saying, "Here's a game that's fairly well-ported, and porting to OS X was trivial." We're trying to make a comment about how easy it is to program for OS X, especially in light of how many negative comments OS X has received with regards to games.

Back in the NEXTSTEP days there were only about 10 of us software houses, and we found life was a lot better if we just went out of our way to NOT step on each other's toes -- there was a lot of software to be written, there wasn't much need to compete.

I think OS X is largely the same. Specifically, there's a lot of games that need to come to X, and it's great to have two software companies dedicated to it. I don't want to do ports that Westlake is also doing, and I sincerely hope we'll have good enough communication that we won't.

I also apologize for Rick sounding like he was dissing Westlake's work -- he wasn't speaking for Omni and has been reprimanded for putting something in a public place that made it sound like he was. Rick is our newest employee and while I'm glad he's exuberant about working here, Omni as a policy doesn't even want to SEEM like we're starting pissing contests. (And if I've said anything in the past that contradicts this, I went against policy. :)

We're new to the Mac market, and we'd like to fit in without stepping on a lot of toes. Old-schoolers might notice we've silently killed our PDF viewer and our backup software because there are hugely popular alternatives -- we're not out to start fights for no reason, even if it means throwing away what took me, personally, three years of my life.

-Wil Shipley
President, The Omni Group

PS: I should mention that PDF is a registered trademark of Adobe, because I get a call from their lawyers every time I don't. Wish I were kidding.

Brad Oliver April 24 - 1:21 AM

They have to toss out the "classic" MacOS code anyway when going to Cocoa (it's a completely different API), so I'm not sure I see the distinction. I guess I'll have to think about it some more - it's too late for me to grasp it right now. :-)

As for why there are a Carbon version and a Cocoa version of Alice, I honestly have no idea - that's totally Aspyr's call. All I really know is that I'm contractually obligated to deliver a Carbon version to them. What they do with Omni is really their own business and not mine. I'm really looking forward to benchmarking the two apps against each other, that's for sure.


PC, or Mac Source?
Michael Eilers April 23 - 11:06 PM

Omni Group made fairly clear in their comments on porting Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 to the Mac OS that they were working with the Mac OS code for the game, and mentioned many bugs in the Mac version that they had fixed while converting it to Cocoa. If they ported the PC code to Mac OS X, that would be a port; if they converted existing Mac-OS code to Cocoa, that would be Cocoa-izing, as Steve Jobs put it.

While you are dropping by to submit comments, Brad, perhaps you could clarify why there are both Cocoa and Carbon version of Alice, developed independently?

Brad Oliver April 23 - 8:31 PM

Although I'm not Anonymous Mac Game Developer (and I honestly don't know who it is), his (her?) comments hold a lot of truth. Quake 3 engine games are remarkably easy to bring up under any platform, be it Win32, Cocoa, Carbon, Classic MacOS, or Palm Pilot. Okay, maybe not the last one. ;-)

There's always demand in the Mac games market for more Mac developers, so any additional help there is appreciated by all. However, there's a pretty big difference between a cleanly-written engine like Q3 and a Win32 API mess like Alpha Centauri or Call to Power. Westlake has a large Win32 library to make porting go much quicker, as does Blizzard and the MacPlay guys - it's a fact of life, and not one for which Cocoa holds any advantage over any other API.

Switching gears slightly, what's the difference between "porting" and "Cocoa-izing existing code"? What I mean is that with that logic, you could say that Westlake just MacOS-ifies existing code rather than porting it. I don't understand the distinction. Since Omni and Westlake are working on Alice from the exact same starting codebase, does that mean that we're not porting Alice, we're doing something else entirely? I need to know what to tell people when they ask me what I do for a living. :-)


You will soon get your wish...
Michael Eilers April 23 - 3:27 PM

Omni does not do ports; they do Cocoa-izing of existing titles. They've never claimed to do otherwise. In any case, they do seem to have bragging rights currently simply because they are the only ones doing it.

In any case, if you wish to see how they do with a non-Q3A game, their port of Bungie's Oni to Cocoa is now in progress.


OmniGroup's amazing ports
Anonymous Mac Game Developer April 23 - 2:58 PM

I'd like to point out that all of the games that Omni's been able to port to Coacoa in amazingly short times are all based on Quake3, which they had already ported to Coacoa. Also, Quake3 is one of the most easily ported game engines around. id has done an incredible job of keeping the code very clean and easy to port.

I doubt you will see Omni ever tackle a non-Quake3 based game because that would require actual work to be done. It sounds much more impressive when they can say "it only took us 2 weeks to port this PC game to Coacoa".

Let them tackle something nasty to port that doesn't have a cross-platform data format, and has never been ported to any other platforms before...then I'll be impressed.

Sick of the hype
Anonymous Mac Game Developer

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News Headlines for Monday, April 23, 2001

GeForce 3 Arrives for PC, First Review 4:43 PM
Marathon: Resurrection Gallery, Site Updates 4:17 PM
New Mac Flight Sim Resource 11:31 AM
Bushfire Updated to 1.07 10:32 AM
Baldur's Gate II Beta Test Reports 10:05 AM
Blizzard Reports Diablo II Bug 9:09 AM
New Fly! II Screens 9:01 AM
Dim3 Progress Update 6:00 AM
Apple Looks at AirPort Gaming 6:00 AM
Westlake on Alice Requirements, OS X, Demo 6:00 AM
OmniGroup Claims Alice Done, EF and FAKK2 Soon 6:00 AM
Quake and Doom Released for OS X 6:00 AM
View all of the news for Monday, April 23, 2001 on one page

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