Aspyr: Turning 10, Quake 4, Universal Future
7:16 AM | Cord Kruse | 17 comments
Aspyr Media's recently released February newsletter celebrates the company's tenth year of bringing eagerly awaited to titles to Mac users everywhere.
It is amazing what has happened through all of these years, and we are all excited about what the future holds. When we started in 1996, the Macarena was the number one song in the world. So, in honor of 10 years, when you read this, stand up wherever you are and dance like Los Del Rio instructs you to.The newsletter also announces the imminent release of Quake 4. The latest in the popular first person shooter franchise drops players into the combat boots of Matthew Kane as he and his fellow soldiers battle against the deadly Strogg. Quake 4 will be the first Aspyr game to ship ready to run natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. The company is very pleased with Quake 4's performance on Intel iMac test machines.
For those curious about the difficulties involved with converting PowerPC applications to Universal Binary form the newsletter offers some insight:
People often ask what kind of work it takes to convert a PowerPC Mac game to run on Intel Macs. It is generally a two-step process. First the game needs to be compiled under XCode, Apple's developer tool. This can either be a very easy process (Quake 4 and Doom 3 started life under XCode even on the PowerPC), or a fairly lengthy one (The Sims 2 has been in progress being moved to XCode for several months). XCode is more strict about the C++ code it will handle, so often code that worked fine in another compiler won't work without changes in XCode. In a very large project like The Sims 2, this can involve hundreds or thousands of changes to make the game XCode compatible. After we have a game compiling under XCode, then we need to go through the game and remove any code that was added to take care of byte ordering for the PowerPC. Since the Intel and PowerPC chips read numbers from memory in different order, we have to add code to every game to re-order much of the game's data to run on PowerPC. Now that we are going back to Intel, none of the byte re-ordering code needs to be there.Aspyr hopes to release "most, if not all" of its 2006 titles as Universal applications. The upcoming Call of Duty 2 and Civilization IV will be Universal. In addition to work on the new games, Aspyr will also be releasing updates for several of its older games.
While we take care to mark those changes in the code in every project, there can always be a few hidden places that we don't catch until after we've built and tested an Intel version of a game. Once all of those changes are made, we do a thorough QA of the new Universal application, and it is ready to release as a patch or ship in a box.
We have patches in the works for Sims 2 (+university & nightlife), Doom 3, Star Wars KOTOR, and Jedi Academy that will make them Universal. These patches should be ready to release as free downloads very soon.The newsletter concludes with a short Q&A with Cory Gere, Quality Assurance Lead Analyst, and a trivia contest for a shiny new copy of Quake 4.
To check out the newsletter for yourself follow the link below.
Aspyr February Newsletter
Call of Duty 2
The Sims 2
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Buy Quake 4
Buy DOOM 3
Buy Call of Duty 2
Buy Civilization IV
Buy The Sims 2
Buy Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Buy Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
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