There’s good news for Mac gamers hoping for new titles based on V12, the core engine used to create Tribes 2 from Dynamix and Sierra On-Line. GarageGames.com has recently reported progress getting the game engine to work on the Mac.
GarageGames.com is a game development company that was started up by former members of Dynamix. The founders of GarageGames.com struck a deal with Sierra to license the technology that Dynamix used to build its team-based FPS game, Tribes 2. The engine, called V12, is available for a very low licensing fee and a royalty arrangement to whoever wants it. In this way, GarageGames.com hopes to spur much more grassroots, high-quality game development efforts.
Folks from GarageGames.com have been open to the idea of V12 engine technology coming to the Mac, but it’s required the efforts of an actual Mac developer to make it happen. The first hard inkling that V12 may come to the Mac recently from GarageGames.com associate David Chait, whose
.plan file was recently updated on the site. Chait reports some success getting the V12 engine software to work on the Mac.
“Mac build is up and running,” said Chait. “Note that this is a Carbon app at the moment, but building against CarbonLib 1.0.4 to keep slightly older OSes in the mix (back to 8.1 I believe). Other notes from Chait’s .plan file include: full cross-platform CW .mcp projects, builds Mac and Windows exes from singular project file. basic GUI is working: window, event handling, keyboard and mouse input. script system is working V12 gui controls are working: backdrop graphic, buttons, scrollbars,… V12 in-window console display works fine. SIOUX-based external console window is partially working. May strip it apart and rebuild it with just the features we need. All V12 3rd-party libs are built as DLLs. All MW libs are linked as DLLs, and are Carbonized as needed. Full CW .mcp projects for Mac and PC. V12 in-game is working. System loads up, player can move around landscape. V12 rendering is basically working. Texture loading/handling needs a little tweaking, and format handling on Mac needs some work (colors are coming out wrong in landscape and sky). V12 specialized x86 ASM routines have been reverse-engineered back to C-code to compile for Mac. Hopefully we’ll get original code from Dynamix, but not waiting on it… Basic performance, on a G3/233 with a Radeon, with no optimizations at all, is amazingly good. But performance will certainly shift back and forth as we get some serious content to run against, and start tuning.
Chait also notes some specific work that needs to be done, including some necessary improvements to OpenGL rendering and color palette; 2D graphics; work on the audio system (including support for OpenAL, the audio API that will enable Creative Labs SoundBlaster cards to be supported); Input device support, OS X compatibility testing and much more.
“This is just the start, there’s a long way to go,” said Chait.
If Chait’s name rings a bell, it’s because David Chait is a founder of Reality Bytes, a Mac-friendly game development studio that created titles like Dark Vengeance, Havoc, and Sensory Overload.
If you’re a Mac game or application developer and this technology interests you, you might want to drop by
GarageGames.com’s Web site to take a look at what the company is doing.