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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

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Descent: FreeSpace, FreeSpace 2 for OS X Update
12:30 PM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story

Developers "tigital" and Taylor Richards (known as "mtr" in the forums) have made significant progress on the Mac OS X port of Descent: FreeSpace and FreeSpace 2, two critically acclaimed space combat simulators originally developed by Volition. A beta of the FreeSpace 2 demo was released to a small group of testers over the weekend and a second beta is currently in testing. In a forum post, Richards discusses some of the remaining issues:

Music/Voices: They don't work at the moment in OSX or Linux but I'm working on the audio decoder as we speak.

3D Positional Audio: This is also something I'm working on and the code is there but strange bugs keep making things sound weird so it's just a matter of me fixing everything and getting it into CVS.

Movies (in full version): Video is working but audio is waiting on me to have time to finish the streaming code.

FPS: To get a FPS counter just add "ShowFPS=1" to the "[Default]" section of the ini file. Because of the way FPS affects video/audio playback speed and menus the FPS will never be above 120 so don't worry if that's as high as it goes.

Joystick Force Feedback: I'm working on this for Linux and have it most of the way working. I did decide to try and get it working for OSX (I think 10.2.3 and above required) as well, though this is last on the list of things to do.
He later commented on the difficulty of implementing music, ambient sounds, and briefing voices.
The problem with the music, ambient sounds and briefing voices is that the sounds are MS-ADPCM encoded which isn't directly supported by OpenAL at present. An easy and cross platform method of decoding wasn't found but Ryan Gordon gave us permission to use his ADPCM decoder from SDL_sound. I'm currently integrating this into a decoder for the game which can be used for both normal game sounds and streaming audio (briefing voices). When finished this solution will be contained within the game and not rely on external decoding sources like the Windows version does.
No release date has been set for Descent: FreeSpace or FreeSpace 2, but like any open-source project, it will be released when it is finished. The Descent: FreeSpace and FreeSpace 2 demos will be free downloads, but to play the full game, you will have to purchase the PC CDs.

IMG Forum: FreeSpace 2 for OS X
FreeSpace 2

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