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Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Mac OS X Beta Due Sept 13th
5:27 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

MacCentral noted earlier today that Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced in his keynote address at Seybold that the Beta release of Mac OS X will be available September 13th. Mac OS X is Apple's long-awaited next-generation OS which will bring such powerful tools as support for multiple processors, protected memory and UNIX-level stability to our platform. However, OS X has also caused quite a disturbance in the Mac gaming community, as it is currently missing many features that older Mac games will need for compatibility.

OpenGL is one of the core technologies of this new operating system, so existing games that depend on this API for operation should do just fine. However, since the majority of games are not going to be updated to be native -- "carbonized" -- for OS X, they will have to run in the Classic layer, which is basically Mac OS 9.0.4 running as an application. One of the elements missing from Classic is support for Game Sprockets, Apple's set of APIs for graphics, networking and input devices.

Current versions of Mac OS X (Developer Preview Release Four) run almost no games at all, in Classic or otherwise; many of them crash on launch, looking for some feature of DrawSprocket or the Mac toolbox equivalent. Apple has been extremely quiet about Sprockets support under Classic or Mac OS X, even for developers -- back in June several developers we spoke to expressed their fears about Apple's silence on this matter.

Since that time Apple has done little to relieve developer's fears, although some we have spoken to recently (such as Westlake Interactive) mentioned that they feel that Apple is now listening to their concerns and making progress. Pangea's Brian Greenstone had this to say earlier today: "In all honesty the jury is still out. I think they have a good attitude about it all, but whether a good attitude equates to good games API's on OS X is still yet to be seen."

In any case it will be very, very interesting to see how games run and perform on the Beta release of Mac OS X. For a look back at developers' initial responses to Apple's plans for OS X, read our feature by Brian Greenstone.

Mac OS X
Mac OS X Beta Due Feb 13th
The Death Of Sprockets

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Archives  News  Mac OS X Beta Due Sept 13th