Last week, we talked a little bit about the business decisions that prompt Ambrosia Software’s commitment to old platforms and code. This week, Ambrosia’s own bitwise operator, Matt Slot, tells us a little more about what this commitment means to the average coder in the trenches. Is supporting a single product through numerous generations of platforms and OSes an untenable mandate handed down by our short-sighted management overlords? Matt doesn’t think so.
And he should know. He’s Ambrosia’s point-man on porting and maintaining Apeiron X, a game that, with its recent update to v1.0.2, now runs on all Macs — from 68k to Intel, from OS 9 to Tiger. How does one pack all that multi-platform goodness into a single binary?
I love Ambrosia games.
Now why can't they port some of the cool old 68k/PowerPC OS 9 games to OS X? Barrack, Maelstrom and Swoop all date from the same time as Apeiron, but have never been ported forward.
I paid to register these games for OS 9, but sadly they have died, as I no longer have an OS 9 capable machine at home.
I don't really know why such a big deal is being made about Ambrosia "porting everything". Of their 26 games, two are universal binaries (so far) and roughly 13 of those run natively on Mac OS X (being generous with the EV Classic/Override data files ported to Nova).
Ok, I can understand why some of the older titles aren't able to be ported or made into universal binaries (eg Swoop) but some titles aren't going to be ported/universal binaries. Furthermore, no real reason is given for it (EV Nova for example - how difficult/time consuming could that be? I don't know the Nova codebase, but I imagine/assume it would be platform independent. If memory serves me correctly, Nova is a CodeWarrior project. I imagine this would be the hardest part of making Nova a universal binary).
That being said, I am aware Ambrosia do more than games - and the situation with their utilities is a little different. It is good to see that Ambrosia is keeping up with the times by releasing universal binaries of their products that they can. I also thoroughly enjoy Ambrosia's products - keep up the good work Ambrosia, you are a valuable asset to the Macintosh community.
I wouldn't say I'm trying to make a "big deal" of Ambrosia's multi-platform support (although I do respect it and honor Ambrosia's commitment to such things). But in my career as a programmer, Apple has made port-requiring switches to their platform three times. Two questions all Macintosh developers are likely to ask themselves at some point or another are, "Should I port my app to the latest and greatest?" and, "Should I bother supporting legacy systems?"
Given this is a web site for Macintosh developers, I think it's useful to have a well-repsected company's answers to these questions available to us. That we get both the business- and technical-side of the issue by looking at it though the recent release of Apeiron only sweetens the pot, in my opinion.
Well, here it is...
Barrak and Swoop were the games that made me understand that Ambrosia got the idea behind simple and very effective games... Not to mention addictive...
I cannot for the life of my understand why Ambrosia doesn't rebuild these old games. They were the coolest company once, and not they make boring games and they lost their ability to make suck cool games as the ones they got famous with.
All I want to see from Ambrosia is :
Maelstrom ( I actually own a copy that is intel, don't know who made it but it works)
If they would make those into intel games, I'd buy them again...
They are STILL awesome games... And I for one miss Barrack to the point I would use an old Mac just to play with it... But we have all moved on and yet, these games are left to die... They were the best games Ambrosia EVER made...
I am on an Intel mac today and I cannot use these games anymore... I cannot boot into MacOS 9 (who wants to) anymore, and their current product line is pretty lame... They had an awesome app called Snapz but that too isn't intel based... so... They are really not attractive anymore...