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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mac Game Companies Talk Universal Binaries, Move to Intel-Only

Here's some good news for Mac gamers from Mac Observer:
While many of the applications used by most owners of Intel Macs either now ship as Universal Binaries or run acceptably with Rosetta, games have proven to be a sticky situation. Casual games and older titles for the most part run well in Rosetta, but newer, hardware-intensive releases will need Universal Binary updates to achieve acceptable performance.

Doom 3 and The Sims 2 will both receive Universal Binary patches, which will be free.

MacSoft's Director of Marketing said that he has seen a 25% performance decrease on the Intel iMac, compared to the 1.8GHz iMac G5, when running such games as Halo and Unreal Tournament 2004 in Rosetta. "The guy who claims to be running Halo 'acceptably' on the new iMac may be right," he added, "depending on what he feels is acceptable and what features he's willing to turn off in order to get an adequate frame rate."
That person "may be insane." Halo is unacceptably slow on the new iMac, and I've got a 1 GB system with 256 MB of video RAM. Halo is unplayable.
Epic Games' Ryan Gordon, who has a lot of experience porting games to the Mac, said that a Universal Binary of Unreal Tournament 2004 could be out "in a few days." He noted that the Intel Mac version has existed since last June's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), where Apple CEO Steve Jobs first revealed the switch to Intel, "but there was no way I'd ship this without trying it on real production hardware."
Publishers had a variety of feedback when asked when they expect to move away from Universal Binaries to Intel-only. While all the games slated for release this year will be Universal Binaries, the need to develop for and support two different processor families adds extra time to schedules that many Mac gamers already find frustrating. An Intel-only Mac gaming universe will hopefully enable release dates that are closer to titles' PC and console counterparts.

Ms. Adams reported that Aspyr will likely make the move to Intel-only in "late 2006 at the earliest, and maybe not until 2007." Mr. Tamte pushed MacSoft's timeframe out further, at least with regard to the company's original development, saying that he expects the shift to happen in late 2007. Over at Feral, the company's representative quoted an 18-to-24-month schedule "for the high requirement games, but lower spec'd games might have Universal Binaries for longer, depending on demand."
[ Posted at 11:02 AM | Permalink ]


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