It seems like years since we first mentioned this Star Trek-themed shooter on the pages of IMG, each article accompanied by the guarded speculation that the chances were very good of this title coming to the Mac OS -- but always a hair short of absolute confirmation that this was the case. Now that we are certain that Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is coming to the Mac OS, we took some time to quiz the man behind the port about its status. Duane Johnson rose to fame as the man who created 3dfx-accelerated versions of Descent I and II after those games went open-source; soon afterwards he was hired by Graphic Simulations to work on the Mac OS port of Descent III, a gorgeous masterpiece marred only by high system requirements. Now Duane is shouldering an amazing workload, porting Tales of the Sword Coast and assisting with multiplayer networking for Baldur's Gate for GraphSim, while simultaneously working on porting Elite Force for Westlake and Aspyr Media.
IMG: Raven reported that at one point that they had the multiplayer version of the Mac build functioning in-house. Can you estimate how complete the code from Raven is? Is the game currently playable?Thanks very much to Duane for his precious time. We are sure Mac gamers are eager to get their hands on all three works in progress. As reported previously, Tales of the Sword Coast (an expansion pack for Baldur's Gate) is now Beta; there is no estimated release date for either BG multiplayer support or Mac Elite Force.
Duane Johnson: The HoloMatch code only took a day or two to get up to beta since it's mostly Q3 with new bots & effects, plus all that new content of course. So yes, it's quite playable.
The Single player is a completely separate game. This one has been a bit harder, but so far most of the issues have been endian byteswap ones. Either they are not in the "right" places or are missing, and in some of the harder-to-find-ones such as in the MP3 player there were double-swaps. [ed note: endian byteswaps are not a new Trek alien race.]
IMG: Do you anticipate the system requirements will be signifigantly different from those for Quake 3: Arena?
DJ: They should be the same. From what I've played there are more detailed models than in Q3A, but the Level of Detail code works great, keeping the polygon count manageable.
IMG: Do you plan to work on both TOSC and BG multiplayer as well as EF simultaneously, or work on EF after the others are complete?
DJ: Actually, they've been kinda one-at-a-time simultaneously. I've been working on one for a few days till I hit a "good" spot or "bad" spot, then switch to the another for a while. But I must admit that caffeine in all its forms has become a necessity.
IMG: What Mac-specific features do you plan to add -- InputSprocket Support? What about carbonization for Mac OS X?
DJ: Yep, Yep & Yep. I'd like to get multiprocessor support working as well.
IMG: When do you plan to sleep, during reboots?
DJ: As a matter of fac...t.. ZZzz...