Programmer Ryan Gordon works with Epic Games to produce Mac and Linux versions of products based on Epic’s Unreal Engine technology. Gordon handled the Macintosh conversions of MacSoft’s Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004, and also did Mac versions of America’s Army, Aspyr’s Spider-Man 2 and Shrek, all of which use Unreal game engine technology. Gordon recently posted news to his
.plan file about some preliminary work he’s doing on the Unreal Engine 3 code, and offered kudos to Apple for its effort to develop a more open framework that Mac game developers can use for sound processing.
Gordon indicated that work has officially begun on Unreal Engine 3. Any games based on the new engine are still a long way off from being released, but Gordon wants to lay the groundwork now. “Obviously, there’s a lot to be done at this point, but best to start now so I’m not scrambling to port a whole engine when UE3 games get closer to shipping,” he said.
Aspyr Media noted plans to publish a Mac version of the Spider-Man 2 action game
just earlier this week. Gordon noted that development of the game is almost finished. “This is floating through [Quality Assurance] right now as a final candidate, so it’s Darned Near Done.”
OpenAL is a cross-platform audio application programming interface (API) that enables game developers to use positional “3D” audio. Past audio schemes have largely been proprietary. But OpenAL on Mac OS X enables Macs to play back 3D audio if they’re equipped with the right sound hardware, like Power Mac G5’s digital optical audio connectors, or third-party sound cards from companies like M-Audio. Gordon has been working on OpenAL for Mac OS X, but he cheerfully reports that he’s changing direction, thanks to Apple’s stewardship.
“For those that weren’t at WWDC, Apple gave out preview discs of MacOS X Tiger. One of the things Tiger installs by default? OpenAL.framework. No kidding. That’s basically awesome. It’s Apple’s version, which is open-sourced and residing in Creative.com’s [version control system] repository,” said Gordon.
Gordon notes that there are some operational differences between Apple’s OpenAL code and his own code, developed for use with his versions of Unreal Tournament. Gordon says that he’ll “devote further Mac development and debugging to the Apple implementation” rather than his own.
“All of the missing functionality in Apple’s implementation could be fixed with some elbow grease, which I’m sure will show up one way or another in the near future. Overall, this is a very good step forward, and I applaud Apple for giving game developers something they really need,” said Gordon.