Mark Allender is the Senior Programmer at Volition working on the Mactinosh port of Summoner and all around cool guy. I recently had a chance to chat with Mark about his work on Summoner, his thoughts on Mac OS X and one subject so profound that it nearly moved him to tears.
IMG: First, could you give us a little background on yourself and your work at Volition?
Mark Allender: I've been at Volition for a little over 6 years. I started work at what was Parallax Software and initially worked on Descent for the PC and later the ports of both Descent and Descent II for the Macintosh. Since then I've worked on Freespace and Summoner.
IMG: What factors went into the decision to bring Summoner to the Mac OS?
Mark Allender: Based on our past experience in the Macintosh market (with Descent and Descent II), THQ asked us about the feasibility. THQ was looking towards the Macintosh market as a potentially under-exploited one for games, and we at Volition felt that providing a Macintosh version would be fairly easy, given the code base for the Windows version.
IMG: Was it a challenge making Summoner's multiplayer aspect cross-platform?
Mark Allender: It wasn't very hard. The hardest part was writing Open Transport code to replace the socket code that we had in place for the Windows platform. Almost all of the high level multiplayer code worked without modification, but it was designed that way from the beginning.
IMG: Have there been any major obstacles in the porting of Summoner to the Mac OS?
Mark Allender: A few. We've encountered bugs in both the video drivers and features that haven't quite been implemented yet in Apple's GL engine. Actually, the biggest obstacles were not the porting of sound, networking, and graphics code (although those were challenging), but getting the game to work across a wide variety of Macintosh platforms. Sprinkle in a few machine specific problems, and there were indeed a few bumps.