MacDX maker Coderus Ltd and PortAsm/86 maker MicroAPL Ltd have announced a collaboration that the two companies hope will make it easier for PC developers to bring their games to the Macintosh. While this doesn’t mean that PC game developers can just click a button and expect their game to work on the Macintosh, it is a significant step closer for developers who want to make the effort.
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Microsoft’s own DirectX Application Programming Interface (API) is ubiquitous in game development on Windows and the Xbox game console. The technology provides Windows game makers with a common library of commands supplied by Microsoft that they can use to render 3D graphics, embed networking capabilities, audio and other components of their games.
Coderus’ MacDX provides PC game developers with a way of moving that DirectX code to the Macintosh without having to rewrite it from scratch — Coderus claims that most code which uses DirectX can simply be recompiled and linked to the MacDX libraries.
The underlying concept of MacDX isn’t new. In fact, porting companies who specialize in Mac game conversion work by and large use their own homegrown equivalents to MacDX to get the process started. What makes Coderus’ approach unique is that they license MacDX for use by other developers rather than using it exclusively themselves. And Coderus stays in practice with MacDX by working with UK-based game publisher Virtual Programming Ltd to bring PC games to the Macintosh as well.
This new collaboration with MicroAPL Ltd offers an easier way for PC developers to bring Intel-specific assembler code to the Macintosh. MicroAPL’s PortAsm/86 automatically translates that PC assembler source into native code that makes sense to the PowerPC chips inside of Macs. Without PortAsm/86, such code would have to be completely rewritten for the Mac — an arduous task at best, according to Coderus Ltd’s CEO and technical director, Mark Thomas.
“Since we released MacDX, porting of titles has become a lot easier, but there are always problematic areas which can delay a project. One such area is optimized assembly function calls. Presently most developers have to rewrite these functions by hand, which can be complex and time consuming,” said Thomas.