In the latest edition of the Mac game publisher’s electronic newsletter, Aspyr Media notes that its work on the Mac conversion of
Star Wars: Empire at War is expected to wrap up this month. Mac gamers who haven’t transitioned to a new machine are in for a surprise, though: The game will be playable only on Macs that use an Intel chip inside.
A realtime 3D strategy game set in the Star Wars universe, Star Wars: Empire at War lets you take the side of the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire, as seen in the original trilogy of Star Wars movies. Set a few years before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, Empire at War lets you fight on the ground and in space, building and setting up tactical forces and guiding memorable Star Wars heroes into the action.
“This is the first Mac game we have developed that is Intel-only, and the decision to not support PowerPC Macs was a difficult one,” said Aspyr. “The complexity of bringing a totally new game engine to OS X meant there was plenty of work just getting the game up and running on the Mac, and adding the extra work of supporting PowerPC as well would have pushed the game release off several months.”
What’s more, an Intel Mac version of the game would likely have not been able to play against a PowerPC Mac version of the game, Aspyr reports, thanks to slight differences in how floating point calculations are managed by the two different processors.
There is an upside, however.
“Because we were focusing solely on the Intel version of the game, we did take care to ensure it would run on all Intel Macs, including those with the Intel integrated graphics chips, like the MacBook,” the company reports.
Aspyr director of development Glenda Adams told Macworld that Empire at War will also not allow Mac to PC multiplayer capabilities, its Intel exclusivity not withstanding, at least not to begin with.
“It’s something we’re continuing to look at but the floating point differences between Windows and OS X and Xcode and Visual Studio code generation are pretty nasty to track down,” Adams explained.
If syncing issues related to those differences can be worked out, Adams said that Aspyr may be able to add PC to Mac multiplayer support at some point in the future.
Aspyr has posted minimum system requirements for Star Wars: Empire at War: Mac OS X v10.4.8 or later, Intel Mac 1.83GHz or faster, 512MB RAM, 3.5GB hard disk space, 64MB VRAM and DVD drive.