MacSoft's Al Schilling Interviewed
9:45 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
GameSpy conducted a recent interview with Al Schilling, the product manager of MacSoft, asking him various questions about the Mac gaming industry in general as well as MacSoft's role; this is their second such interview of a noted Mac personality in recent weeks. Though the interview predictably skews towards the usual skepticism Mac gamers are used to receiving, Schilling does an admirable job of defending his company and the Mac gaming market in general.
One of the topics broached is the fact that "it has been argued that the Mac was never meant to be a gaming machine." Schilling is quick to point out that the PC was also never meant to play games, adding that with native OpenGL support, true plug-n-play peripherals, and the entry of Mac-specific 3D video cards have made the Mac a formidable gaming machine.
Schilling is also asked about Mac game title quirks, including later release dates and patch updates. When asked why most Mac titles are released after PC titles, he points towards the money issue. PC titles continue to outsell Mac counterparts by a wide margin, so naturally most developers will go for the higher dividends. Mac publishers work under a different business model, as their margins are smaller and their retail space limited. After a title is released, however, the patch process is no different for a Mac publisher than it is for a PC publisher - they both have the same set of headaches, as a programmer must go back and work on a product they originally thought was closed.
Schilling also notes a shifting of the Mac gaming market itself. In the past, MacSoft had to chase after PC companies to get the permissions to do ports. These days, the high visibility of the company has turned the tables and has PC developers approaching MacSoft for Mac ports of their titles. Schilling attributes much of this success towards excellent Mac development houses such as Westlake, Varcon, Metis, Alt Software and Green Dragon.
Schilling's prognosis for Mac OS X is fairly typical of what Mac developers have been saying about this OS. Initially, it will make programming a little more difficult, as many developers are now having to program for 2 OSes rather than one. However, the superior foundation of OS X (protected memory, native OpenGL) should create a better gaming experience in the future.
MacSoft itself, in business for over 8 years now, seems to be doing just fine. When asked about original titles, he notes that there's nothing currently planned, but mentions are currently porting two A-list titles, Tropico and Fly! II. Waiting in the wings are Max Payne and Stronghold. This series of deals with publisher Take 2, as well as being affiliated with Infogrames, put MacSoft in a very strong position as a Mac developer.
GameSpy - MacSoft's Al Shilling Interview
For the rest of the interview, including his explanations of why some things (such as Unreal Tournament's level editor) never make it to the Mac platform, be sure to check out the full interview at GameSpy.
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