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Monday, October 2, 2000
Omni Group Offer, Complications
6:00 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

The Omni Groups's president Wil Shipley made an informal post to the MacNN forums which suggested that they were willing to port games to Mac OS X for free. Why? Because they love games! In the forums, a user asked about a Carbonized version of Unreal Tournament; Shipley replied that they would try and carbonize it. However, this issue is nowhere near as simple as it seems. Here is Shipley's post:

We did use Obj-C for the platform code in Q3, but the vast majority of the code is unchanged -- eg, written in straight C by Carmack.

He writes the easiest programs in the world to port: "Put sound output here." "Here's a framebuffer, show it." "Give me a key or something." That
kind of thing.

We don't know how much faster the OS X version is than OS 9, because we've been using various post-1.17 releases that have various speedups for
both OS 9 and OS X, so while we know OS X is fast we haven't tried to compile under OS 9 and compare the two.

But this is all in Graeme's hands now -- id has always said they are going to support OS X themselves, natively, so we probably won't have as much
to do with future releases. Carmack and Graeme have both been programming NeXTs for almost as long as I have, so it's not like we have some
magical knowledge of OS X that they don't.

Anybody else want a game ported to OS X for free? Bungie? Anyone?


-Wil Shipley

President, The Omni Group

However, despite Omni Group's generosity, carbonizing a game completed by another company is no simple matter. Porting companies do not own the source code or have rights to the games they port; these rights remain with the publisher and company which created the title. In order to gain access to the source and publish a Mac OS X-native version, OmniGroup would have to convince both companies it was a worthwhile project. Brad Oliver of Westlake Interactive (also known for his work on MacMAME) had this to say on Usenet:
I suspect there would be a lot of complications with the publisher. In
the case of id, Activision sells all the copies of Quake 3, so whether
you buy the Mac or PC version is academic to both of them, as far as
their bottom line is concerned. Obviously you'd need some version of Q3
to supply the data files for the OSX version, and I understand it
doesn't matter if it's Mac or PC.

In the case of UT however, there is a different publisher on the Mac and
PC side, so if a binary were made for OSX that ran using the PC data
files, MacSoft would probably not be too thrilled to lose sales that way.

What I'm trying to say is that in these cases where there are two
different publishers for the Mac and PC versions of games, Omni (or
whomever) would be best served by working out a deal with the original
developer. In any event, Westlake couldn't grant anyone permission to do
it. And since Westlake derives royalties from the sales of Mac copies
(as does MacSoft), I don't see us rushing out to encourage that revenue
stream to dry up while others do the same work for free. :-)

Mind you, this isn't a company statement by any stretch (I'm not in any
position to give one either), just my application of common sense to the
issue. :-)

But back to Omni. What I'd like to see is a Cocoa-ized version of
MacMAME, one that runs faster than the OS 9 version or the prelim Carbon
build I have. If they can pull that off, I'd be mighty impressed. Best
of all, there are no licensing hassles for them to try such a project.
:-) I'd love to see what kind of 2D performance they can pull out of OSX
and if/how they get joysticks working.

We'll see if Omni accepts that challenge; MacMAME's performance under OS X Public Beta (running in Classic) is already excellent. Stay tuned for more developments.

The Omni Group
OMNI's forum post

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• Omni Group Offer, Complications6:00 AM
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