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Friday, April 11, 2003

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Brad Oliver on Mac Halo Development
1:43 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Westlake Interactive programmer, Brad Oliver, who is the lead programmer who is working on the MacSoft port of Halo, has made some interesting posts in the MacAddict forum. Initially Oliver's posts were to squash an April Fool's joke that Halo screenshots of the Mac version were posted on the Internet on that day. The posts quickly turned to discussions about Halo's progress, demo, system requirements, and more. Here's a sample of some of the discussion.

Oliver on the current progress of Halo:

The latest PC builds are looking pretty good. The Mac port is lagging behind a bit, mainly because Mac Halo is going to likely be the first Mac game* to ship with vertex shader support. Halo uses the vertex shader path to literally draw every polygon, so that's currently an issue. I expect that once it's fully implemented, the Mac version will be very close in terms of development to the PC version. Since this is a simultaneous-development project, the onus of the work falls on the PC guys, and we sync in their code as they hit milestones. What that effectively means is that once our builds are "feature complete" we should soon be at a point where their development schedule will dictate ours.
Oliver on if there will be a demo of Halo:
Most of those decisions rest with Microsoft and the PC development team. I don't know if there will be a demo, and if a decision has been made on that, I may find out roughly the same time as the rest of the world, or perhaps a week earlier.
Oliver on when Halo might be released:
Ditto for the timeframe. I know roughly what the current status is, but I can't extrapolate from the builds I see to determine how much longer the PC development will take. Even if I could, I think I'd probably get into hot water by "leaking" information like that outside of the PR and marketing stuff that is officially going on. Last I'd heard (and this is public knowledge so far as I know) is that they're shooting for a late summer release. I suppose the real date will probably (as you might expect) depend on how the beta test goes and if they decide to tweak some aspect of the game (like the netplay) based on feedback during the beta. Although everyone is aware that the Mac and PC versions are "late" in the eyes of gamers who expected it a few years back, I do sense that they would rather get it right than rush it out the door and alienate gamers further. Hopefully that sense will become reality.
Oliver on the system requirements:
System requirements for the Mac are pretty up-in-the-air at the moment since the game isn't in a fully playable state. A few things do seem likely though: cards that support hardware vertex shaders will run Halo better than those that do not. There is a software fallback mode for cards that don't support vertex shaders, although I'm not sure yet how the performance specs will play out on those Macs, nor what CPU speeds will be recommended.
And finally, Oliver discusses whether Internet play will be cross-platform:
Of all the components in Halo, the netplay is the one that is most in flux. I'm reluctant to answer, because it could very well change by the time it ships. So bear this in mind: as of right now, it does not use DirectPlay. This could certainly change - they could tie into DirectPlay for a lobby and game-finding system, for example. Also, I'd check interviews with the Gearbox guys. It could be that they've stated somewhere that they're committed to cross-platform netplay. I haven't been keeping close tabs on those kinds of news blurbs.
Halo for the Macintosh is currently being ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive and will be published by MacSoft when completed. We'll be sure to keep you posted on any further developments.

Bungie Studios
Westlake Interactive
Halo: Combat Evolved
MacAddict Forum Post

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