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Monday, September 9, 2002

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Mac UT2003 Really Underway?
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Epic Games' vice president Mark Rein made another post to the Infogrames messageboards, discussing the possibility of Mac and Linux ports for Unreal Tournament 2003. While many users (and some news sites) are taking the post to mean the Mac version of the game is "just underway," Westlake Interactive president Glenda Adams --who has ported nearly every Unreal-based game to the Mac-- has a different interpretation of Rein's statement.

In the past Rein has called the possibility of a Mac port likely, but there has yet to be any official announcement. Here is his most recent post, which responds to a reader's question about the Linux port of the game:

Linux is now up and running pretty well. I've been told that we should be able to release the Linux client and server executables around the same time as the windows version ships. Official tech support isn't provided for the Linux versions. Currently Linux will only work well with Nvidia cards - apparently ATI's OpenGL Linux and Mac drivers don't support texture compression. Hopefully this is something they will soon fix. Mac development is just underway so it will still be a little while before it's done.
The confusion arises over whether Rein is referring to the ATI drivers' support for texture compression being "underway" for the Mac or actually the title itself. Adams, who would obviously know if Westlake was working on a port of Unreal Tournament 2003, posted to the IMG forums, cautioning against getting hopes too high just yet:
Before everyone goes too crazy, I'd re-read Mark's post. It sounds to me like he is saying the ATI Mac drivers that support texture compression are just underway, not UT2k3 Mac itself.
Later in the thread she also responds:
Maybe so, but it's certainly news to me as a humble Mac developer that anyone is working on UT 2k3 yet.
IMG has contacted Rein for clarification on the subject, and we will keep you posted of any new word made available.

For more information on the lack of texture compression under OS X, ATI driver guru Chris Bentley provided IMG with word that they are expecting the feature to be included in a future update to Mac OS X. Here's what Bentley had to say:

All the Radeon cards up to and including the Radeon 8500, and 9000 support GL_ARB_texture_compression, and that support has been there since early in 10.1.x. MacOS X 10.1.x and 10.2 do not support GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc. As a result this form of compression is not yet supported on any cards in MacOS X.  We are adding this support for an upcoming release, so games that depend on this extension will run fine with that release.  I believe the situation is the same for all cards on Mac OS X.
Not only will this help potential games like Unreal Tournament 2003, but also Everquest and other large 3D titles which rely on the technology. Stay tuned to IMG for more word on this story as it becomes available.

Mark Rein Post on Linux Support for Unreal Tournament 2003
IMG Forum: UT2003 for Mac Confirmed?
IMG News: Unreal Tournament 2003 'Likely' for OS X
Digital Extremes
Unreal Tournament 2003
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Archives  News  Mac UT2003 Really Underway?