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Friday, March 24, 2006
Aspyr's Oliver Talks Universal Binary Games
12:24 PM | Tuncer Deniz | 2 comments

Aspyr programmer Brad Oliver has posted some interesting tidbits in his personal blog. In his blog, Oliver reveals that work on the Mac port of Civilization IV is coming along nicely, with the game "rendering a good 80-90% of everything correctly".

Oliver also reveals that a forthcoming patch for Civilization III: Complete will "fix a few crashes and problems with third-party scenarios. It's also being built as a universal binary so it'll be native on the new Intel Macs."

And finally, Oliver says that Universal Binaries of Jedi Academy and Jedi Knight 2 are almost complete:

For kicks, I've been working on universal binaries of Jedi Academy and Jedi Knight 2. Those are mostly done now. They ran afoul of some bugs in Apple's OpenAL implementation on dual-processor Macs which made them highly unstable, but lucky me - Apple posted a fix for these exact issues a few days back to the Creative CVS. So I'm cautiously optimistic that all I need to do now is grab those latest OpenAL fixes, build it and it'll be ready for testing and release.

We've run into a few Xcode issues that have caused us some interesting times. First is build size. We use precompiled headers to speed up build time, and it helps dramatically. Civ4 is roughly 1500 source files and takes a good 15 minutes to build on the Core Duo chip. The downside to using precompiled headers is that it bloats the .o files. So at the end of the build, we have roughly 1500 .o files that range in size between 3.5 and 6 megs. This in turn gives the linker fits - we can't currently build a universal binary in Xcode for the debug builds as some of the subtarget libraries spew a vm_allocate failure error trying to allocate 1.6 gigs. Thatsa spicy meatball! Still, we're able to build either PPC or x86 and debug those. This bulk also tends to affect the debugger. Breaking into the debugger in Civ4 takes - on the Core Duo - almost 2 minutes. At first I thought it was simply hung or broken but as I was asking one of my colleagues about it, the debugger eventually sprang to life. Luckily some of our smaller projects (like Civ3) don't suffer from this, athough I still have to watch my disk space. I inadvertently chewed up 12 gigs the other day (and filled my hard drive in the process) doing a build of Civ3 Complete followed by a build of Play the World - each takes up around 6 gigs of intermediate space.

We still maintain our PowerPC builds in CodeWarrior, so this helps quite a bit. When we run into problems debugging in CodeWarrior or Xcode, we just switch to the other. Usually one of them is up to the task. Ah, the life of a Mac developer!

To check out Brad Oliver's blog, follow the link below.

Brad Oliver's Blog

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