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Game developers over Apple support

Ik was net wat aan het rond fietsen in de .plan tracker van Bluesnews, blijkt dat daar de afgelopen dagen een behoorlijk discussie is los gebarsten over de gebrekkige support die game developers tot op heden van Apple hebben ontvangen (zie ook dit niewsartikel van eerder deze week). Rick Johnson, Soldier of Fortune programmer bij Ravensoft, vat het hele gebeuren treffend samen (nouja, deze .plan update is best wel heftig ):

Just to clear up some confusion about this whole Apple topic, as I’ve been seeing a lot of emails with people reading into what I said.

“You guys just want free stuff to take it home…”
Game developers (or at least Raven) don’t ask for equipment from manufacturers to “take it home so we can have some cool things.” This equipment is used to develop on, to test our games on, and upon occasion, to add special features into the games to support that equipment. Examples of this pertaining to SoF would be when we received a Savage S4 video card, and added texture compression; Razer mice and adding support for their 5 buttons; Creative Labs SBLive! Card and 2.0 support; Aureal’s A3D and adding 2.0 support; etc.

“Your anti-apple / anti-mac attitudes are going to bring you down…”
Up until recently, Apple has been “ignoring” the needs of the gaming community. Mac has typically been a graphics / publishing computer, educational computer. “Games and education don’t always go in the same sentence” one might argue. The market has never been very large to support hard-core games. Units were typically substantially lower in sales, which when you add in marketing, packaging, distribution, and other promotional expenses, it can be a very difficult market to break even. We do have a few people at Raven who own Macs, including the Art Lead of SoF and the Product Director.

“Why do you expect Apple to give you free stuff? Just buy it yourself…”
Back in early May at E3, Apple was very eager to work with us. They promised that they would get us equipment, support, etc. Star Trek: Elite Force would seem like the perfect title to make a big hit on the Mac. Time went by, nothing showed up. We started to ask Apple what’s up through emails and phone calls, but we never received any word back. A few weeks ago, we received the Mac version of Heretic 2. Having nothing to test it on, we placed an order for a G4 a few weeks ago. But at this point, we also realized that if Apple wasn’t going to return our messages, that maybe they really weren’t going to be sincere about “wanting games” and being “developer friendly.” Which prompted my small .plan update two days ago.

Generally, we get equipment from manufacturers because it is either not available to the public yet (as in the case of AMD sending us K7s) or for us to investigate the product to see if we can support it. We simply can’t go out and buy every piece of equipment a gamer might have. Most of the time, the equipment we receive is unsolicited. Because of my .plan update a few days ago, we even got an email from a Cyrix representative to send us some computers with their CPU on it to test our games on.

I received many inquires from magazines about this topic. Typically, they would ask “is it Apple that you aren’t getting support from or the Apple community?” I’ve been around Apple community for a long time, way back to the Commodore 64 days, so I know how strong the Apple community is, and their support was never questioned.

The night of my .plan update, Jim Black of Apple made a phone call here. He told us that our “seed equipment” was approved of at Apple, but wasn’t sure of the status, since he had changed positions internally. Yesterday, we received a few more phone calls from Apple. They weren’t too pleased with my update (though we decided as a company to have me do this update). They had indeed sent us 2 Macs mid to late August (3 months after E3), but not to Raven, instead delivered to Activision. Since we were in between producers at the time, and that the Macs didn’t appear to be labeled for Raven, they got absorbed into Activision.

Still though, this doesn’t explain why our messages weren’t being returned (inquiring about the equipment), nor did anyone at Apple really know what was happening with the situation until yesterday. Whenever we get “big” equipment from people, they are always immediately following up with us if we received it, works properly, etc. AMD has always been very good to us, sending a bunch of machines (most recently a few K7s) and they are always on the phone the next day, making sure we got them, and working through any problems we are experiencing. My .plan update resulted from us exhausting every possible avenue we had to contact Apple. Normally these situations are handled behind the scenes, but in this case, we felt we had no choice, and had to go to a more public forum.

Apple has now gotten back to us; we are being placed into their development program, and we should be getting those Macs shortly. Once we get them, there’ll be an update about how Heretic 2 is looking, plus James will make a .plan update on the status of Star Trek: Elite Force (hopefully getting it up and running will only be minor work). We appreciate Apple getting back to us so quickly now, and providing us with additional equipment.

Just a quick follow-up on Heretic 2. We’ve since run the port of Heretic2 that LogicWare has provided us. Runs remarkably well, and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between [break] Inmiddels heeft Raven twee G3's van Apple gekregen, waarvan er eentje dood arriveerde... .plan update van James Monroe:[/break] We got some macs finally, and they're pretty spiffy. Two g3s, one of which seems to have been involved in an impact test. Tt didn't come out alive. Tt has these clever handles on all corners which are great for moving the machine around. The front top handle had been smashed and cracked. This resulted in the corner of the case to which it was attached to pop its rivets and bend outward, slighly opening the case. Also, internally, the heat sink had come off the proc. (very nice lever action way to open the case, btw.) I found a metal strap floating around in there and reattached it. Now it powers up and actually runs.

Now, down to business. I've heard code warrior is the way to go for mac programming... hen i'll get to find out how well our STL and CPP code changes behave on the mac. The PC and the Mac version. I believe this is still a beta version.



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Bron: Blue tracker


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