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Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Blizzard Mac Team On Intel Switch, First Compile on X86
10:18 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

The Blizzard Mac team is at WWDC 2005 this week, but took time to post in the World of Warcraft forum when questions came up about Blizzard's support for the new Intel Macs. More importantly, will World of Warcraft be able to run on the new Macs come next year? Here's what they had to say:

It's not too scary. We can probably get WoW running with a very modest effort, in fact we are taking the first steps to test drive the new Intel compiler with our code this week. Older games such as Warcraft III and Diablo II are a little different and we will have to see what the demand is for fully native versions of those titles. We'll need some time to work through this stuff and I hope to be able to provide more details after WWDC - but be assured it is very interesting and we are moving ahead with learning everything we can.

One thing to keep in mind - it would be my expectation that any user with our games playing on their machine today, will be able to keep playing those games as long as they want on that machine. What I mean by that is, as we explore adding Intel support on OSX to our games, we will not drop PowerPC support or let it regress in quality.

The PowerPC Mac customers are 100% of the Mac installed base now and for the next year or so, and it would be foolish to upset those users. This is in line of not obsoleting products or raising/changing system requirements for them after they have shipped, a policy we have very steadily followed.

Later on, the Blizzard Mac team reported that they were able to run World of Warcraft on Rosetta, the dynamic translator that will allow PowerPC apps to run on Intel Macs. They were also able to recompile World of Warcraft on 86/OSX, though it will need more debuging before they can get it up and running.
I ran WoW(PowerPC) on the pre-release dev kit machine today, under the Rosetta dynamic translator, and while very glad to see that it loaded up and ran with very minor rendering glitches here and there, the speed is not yet satisfactory. So, of all our titles we will give WoW the highest priority in going native on x86. This is still an exploratory effort and it is too early to commit to any kind of date or specific plans.

I can say we got the whole game compiled on x86/OSX and had its "first launch" this afternoon - it ran into a bug pretty early on, but now it's a debugging effort and beyond the "get it to compile and link" effort.

For more on this discussion, head over to the Blizzard forum.

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