Since Mac OS X began shipping more than a week ago, many Mac users have been trying to figure out what the game plan is — literally. Games are one of the great unanswered questions of the new operating system. There’s been a flurry of shareware and freeware game releases and some promising and tantalizing efforts from some commercial developers. Now, the head of what’s arguably the leading Mac game conversion studio around —
— has stepped forward with an explanation of what support his company plans for Mac OS X.
Westlake works with the most prominent Mac game publishers in the business, including
Gathering of Developers. Aspyr uses Westlake exclusively, while MacSoft and Gathering of Developers (and others) use Westlake for many of their high-profile Mac game conversions.
“Westlake Interactive has been receiving many queries from gamers and the press over the past few months about our OS X plans, and we’re pleased to announce that we are now officially supporting OS X in our development work,” said Adams.
“We have spent several weeks working with the final OS X seeds and release version, testing game and OS technologies to get a better picture of the transition from 8/9 to X, and believe OS X has a strong foundation to build games on. While there are a few rough edges in the game related OS functions in [the first release version of Mac OS X], we are working closely with Apple to make sure they are smoothed out. Even though some game API’s need to be fleshed out in OS X, Westlake is pleased to be able to start developing OS X native versions of current projects, and is fully committed to native support OS X in future games.
“Games that have just shipped or are close to shipping (Escape from Monkey Island and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2), will be carbonized to run natively under OS X over the next month or so and free updates will be released via the Web. Other projects that are in final beta test (Tomb Raider Chronicles and Centipede), may have time to get OS X native applications on the shipping CD’s, or if scheduling is too tight will have free Web updates.
“Projects that have been signed but that aren’t shipping for more than a month (Alice, unannounced projects) will support OS X natively right out of the box when the ship,” said Adams.
Adams said that Westlake will make an effort to bring some of its popular library of released games to Mac OS X “on a case by case” basis.
“Carbonizing games Westlake has shipped over the past four years, including The Sims, Unreal Tournament, Scrabble, Deus Ex, etc, will be handled on a case by case basis. We are working with our publishers to pick those titles that can be reasonably ported to OS X, and hope to be able to announce some of that work in the near future. Obviously it will not be possible for us to port our entire library of games (31 games shipped as of March 7, 2001), but we realize many of the popular games like Unreal Tournament are still selling and have many fans. We are looking forward to working with our publishers to help us Carbonize some of the most popular games, and have already been testing our older products for Classic compatibility in case they can’t be made native.
“While the transition to OS X will be a bumpy ride for both gamers and developers, we at Westlake are very excited about the future of Mac games and OS X as a gaming platform, and are looking forward to bringing the best games to the Mac for many years to come,” said Adams.