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IMG Interviews TransGaming
August 4, 2006 | Tuncer Deniz

TransGaming yesterday announced Cider, a software portability engine that promises to bring Windows games to the Mac in record time. The technology allows it to wrap Windows games for use on an Intel Mac. Mac gamers will simply be able to put a DVD in, install the game, and double click on the Mac icon and run the game. No dual booting, etc.

So will this new technology mean the end of porting? Will Cider enable publishers to ship Windows and Mac games simultaneously? IMG chatted with TransGaming's CEO Vikas Gupta and CTO Gavriel State about Cider.


IMG: I'm curious about how long you have been working on Cider for the Mac. Did you start working on it after the switch to Intel was announced?

Gavriel State: Actually, the core technology in Cider is something that we've been working on for six years now. It is technology derived from some of the other technology we've used in the past to bring Windows games to Linux and Mac. At its heart it is a technology that allows us to provide an implementation of Windows API on non-Windows platforms.

So we've actually used similar technology in the past to ship Mac games. With the Intel Mac transition, as soon as that happened, we got our developer kits right away and have this stuff up and running for almost a year now. In that time we've watched Apple's OpenGL drivers improve and things of that nature and we're now to the point where we can now commercialize Cider.


IMG: The user experience is probably going to be the most important part of Cider. Can you describe how a Mac gamer will experience Cider-based games on an Intel Mac?

Gavriel State: The approach we're taking with Cider is that any Mac user can walk into an Apple store or any other store that sells Mac games and purchase a game off the shelf. Our goal is to provide users a solution where they buy the game, go home, open the box, put the CD in their Mac, and install the game whether it be through a drag and copy or through an installer. Then they simply double-click and run the game. Really no different of a user experience than current Mac games.


IMG: How about CPU overhead when running games that use Cider. Will games run a little slower, very slow, or will the end user see any difference between the Mac or PC version?

Gavriel State: In the testing we've done so far, from a playability perspective and usability perspective, we haven't seen anything significant issues on the games we've been working on. While in some cases there may be some small performance degradation, in other cases that maybe made up for by better efficiencies on the Mac platform.


IMG: Compared to Cedega, you have a different business model for Cider, one that involves publishers instead of end-users. Can you talk a bit out how the business model for Cider will work?

Vikas Gupta: I think the primary reason is that publishers are much more attuned to the Mac or Mac experience. Linux, for a lot of developers and publishers, is an operating system that is really out there and requires a lot of technical sophistication and so on. Where as more titles have been coming out for the Mac over the last few years, whether they published for the Mac or not, have really been more exposed to that.

So when we started talking to the developers and publishers about the business model, about the technology, about what it brings for them, and the opportunity to bring their titles to a new market to generate new revenues, it was a very exciting proposition for them. Any avenues to increase revenue opportunity is a very palatable one. So we're finding that the receptivity from the publishing community has been phenomenal. And that's why today, you know, we haven't announced who we've signed agreements with, but have already in place agreements with several top-tiered publishers.


IMG: How does Cider compare to other solution that have been announced, like CrossOver Mac, which also promises to run Windows apps at native speeds on the Mac.

Gavriel State: CrossOver Mac is an end-user product that runs Windows apps on your Mac. The CodeMaster guys, they're great guys, and have been working on that technology for several years. But they've mainly been focusing on Office type applications. They have a long history of getting apps like Photoshop for Windows running under Linux and getting Microsoft Office running under Linux.

We certainly don't believe that their offering is going to offer that....first of all, the Mac user is going to expect to the Mac user experience that a Mac user expects and second of all, the kind of performance that's really required to run high performance games on the Mac platform.


IMG: As you guys know PC games today are very complicated and usually ship with bugs that developers later on patch. I'm curious on how bug fixes and those kind of things will work on a Cider-based Mac game. Will publishers have to release a Mac patch, etc? How will that work.

Gavriel State: This is going to vary depending on the publisher. We expect to have different relationships with different publishers depending on whether they are the ones to own the customer or we are. The fundamental thing is that a patch is a patch is a patch. So we'll be able to take those Windows patches and wrap them similarly with the same technology and provide them to the Mac user. So there will be Mac specific patches as opposed to running the Windows patch on a Mac platform. Again, from our perspective, we believe strongly in providing a solution for the Mac user that is a Mac application.


IMG: When can we expect the first Cider-powered games on the Mac?

Vikas Gupta: We're working on that with our publishers and the fact of the matter is that the technology is ready and things are looking pretty good and it's a matter of getting them published. A lot of that has to do with strategic timing more than anything else. So we're probably looking at early October for that first stream of games to start hitting the market. It's really a timing issue based on when we believe with the publishers that it is optimal to get them out to the market.



Related Links
 
IMG News: TransGaming Announces Cider
TransGaming's Cider

 



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